Three mistakes entrepreneurs make when personal branding

May 6, 2015  //  By:   //  DISCUSS, ON CAMPUS  //  No Comment

In being an entrepreneur, or perhaps in hoping to be an entrepreneur, there are several branding aspects to be carefully considered. Personal branding in particular, for oneself or one’s startup is key to a successful business venture. According to Dorie Clark, a contributor at, there are three mistakes which almost every entrepreneur is likely to make, when personal branding, that can lead them straight to failure.

Being a business school and all, I’m sure we’re all pretty familiar with the fact that if someone is going to buy your product or service, they’d want to understand you and the values you stand for. What Clark does is, she points out things many entrepreneurs do, without really thinking about it, that can jeopardize their brand; like being very banal in their descriptions of their brand. I was quite surprised that these were mistakes made by thousands of people on a daily basis, so I thought I’d share them, to see if you feel the same.

1. Assuming they understand their personal brand


This one at a first glance just sounds downright stupid. Of course we understand our personal brand – it’s basically how we see ourselves and what our values are, right? Wrong. Your personal brand isn’t what you say it is – it’s what other people say it is behind your back.

And the only way to solve problem is to take that first step, however uncomfortable it may be, and ask people of their honest opinions of you; where you’re excelling and where you’re doing not so great. That way you can use the feedback to adjust your personal brand so that it reflects an image you’re happy with.

2. Thinking “my work speaks for itself”


Unfortunately there are many entrepreneurs who just assume that people just understand what they’re all about. It may seem obvious to you, and perhaps to the people who know you well, but most people will either not bother to work out what you’re doing and why, or they’ll just make up some ridiculous theory to compensate for you not giving them a clear narrative. Make sure you remember to tell your own story — don’t leave it to others to do it for you.

3. Not living out their brand


Although we see from number one and two, that it is crucial to fully understand your personal brand and then to to narrate it on to others, it’s still not enough to do just that. Like Clark says “It’s the totality of what people perceive about you, based on what they find when they Google you, how you interact with them and others, what kind of people you associate with, what leadership roles you’ve taken on, the type of content you’ve created, the ideas you promulgate and more.” It takes a lot of hard work to actually live out all the perceptions you’ve created, consistently each and every day. It might sound over the top, but when people start seeing you properly live out your brand to the fullest of your abilities, that’s when they’ll become interested – and that’s when you’re all set for success.

There’s a whole world full of do’s and don’ts when it comes to branding for entrepreneurs, and luckily MarketingLab happen to be setting up an event, where they’ve invited three startups to give us their take on branding so we can get to know even more! For more event details, click on the link below. See you there!

MarketingLab: Branding for Entrepreneurs Event


About the Author :

Mihika is currently on her 6th semester of her bachelor in BA English and Organizational Communication. Just back from an exchange semester in Australia, when she's not thesis writing, she can be found scrolling through cat videos on the internet, at BASTARD - the board game cafe, having a drink with friends, or on the hunt for new Instagram shots. But lets be real, most of the time you'll probably find her taking a nap.

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