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How To Blend Your Personal Story with your professional brand story

The most powerful kind of branding is the kind that creates true emotional resonance with your ideal audience. 

But, in order to create that lasting, meaningful connection, you have to give your audience something to connect TO.

One way to do this is to find a way to integrate your personal, human story into your brand story. 

But first, what exactly do I mean when I say brand story?

I actually don’t mean your “elevator pitch” or the actual story you launch into at a cocktail party when someone asks you that dreaded question:

“So what do you do?”

It’s not necessarily the kind of story that you literally tell someone. Instead, your brand story is the unique narrative that conveys the heart and soul of your business.

Your brand story is the unique narrative that conveys the heart and soul of your business.

It’s rooted in your distinct background and it blends many different experiences, motivations and emotions together to form the DNA of your brand. Think of a brand story as the melting pot of answers to all those important, juicy, deeply-rooted questions about your business and what it stands for.

Questions like:

  • What do you believe in?
  • Why did you get started?
  • Who are you passionate about serving?
  • Why do you get up every morning excited about your business?
  • What led you to this point in your life?

The goal of any story is to tap into your emotions and to take you on a journey, to give you something to relate to.

So your brand story is the foundation to providing your audience with a way to connect to your business. It is what brings an underlying truth and authenticity to your final brand identity.  

 

How do you uncover your brand story?

First, it's helpful to start by finding the pivotal and important moments that led you to this point in time in the first place and where your brand stems from in your past.

For those of you out there that are more analytical, think of these pivotal moments like data points. Don’t worry about trying to connect the data points just yet, just focus on finding the pieces of information that seem important.

Once you find those important data points in both your personal and your professional life, then you can work on connecting the relevant pieces into a strong creative concept.

The first thing you have to realize is that something prompted you to start your business. It didn’t just materialize into thin air. YOU made it. And because of that fact, YOU are an indelible part of the heart of your business (and brand.) So, predictably, the process of developing an authentic brand begins with YOU. 

The process of developing an authentic brand begins with YOU.

I like to refer to this process of understanding how your business came to be as uncovering your "origin story."


What is an origin story?

In comic book terminology, an origin story is a back-story that reveals how a character gained their superpowers and the circumstances under which they became superheroes.

That’s right, for the purpose of this lesson, we’re going to imagine that your business is a superhero!

Sure, superheroes have all of their powers and the ways that they fight crime, but watch any superhero show, read any comic book, and what makes the characters reallllly interesting? It’s their origin story. It’s finding out what major events had to happen in order to lead them to their heroic path.

The same is true for your business. A superhero’s list of powers is like your list of services or your list of products. They might be cool and all, but the bits and pieces of the backstory that led to all of that? Now that’s the interesting part.

For example, recently I’ve been watching Marvel's Daredevil on Netflix (no, not the mediocre action movie with Ben Affleck from back in the 2000’s - it’s much better, I promise.) Daredevil has heightened senses, a high threshold for pain and a thirst for justice. And I admit, all of that is certainly pretty cool.

Understanding how Matt Murdock, the man became Daredevil, the superhero. He lost his sight in a chemical spill when he was just a boy which gave him his heightened senses. His father, a boxer, raised him alone and always forced him to study because he wanted him to be better than he was. He became a lawyer so he could enact justice and right wrongs, but even that left him feeling powerless to help those in harm’s way.

All of that is what forms his origin story, and all of that is what makes me feel connected to him as a character.

So… that begs the same question for your business: Who was the superhero before he (or she) was the superhero?

Or, rather: 

Who was the person behind the business (aka YOU), before he/she came to create the business?

That’s what you need to unearth. You want to seek out all those important, pivotal moments that led you to where you are today. What are those events that made everything shift?

I call these “plot points.” A plot point refers to any event or occurrence that moves the story forward. They’re the forks in the road. The points of impact. Those plot points are what we’re looking for in your personal story.


Finding your plot points

I think we can all agree that we undergo a number of metamorphoses throughout our lives. Sometimes those transitions can be caused by where we are geographically, what we’re studying, who we’re dating, what job we have, or a major event that shifts our mental or physical lives in a big way.

As an exercise, I really want you to dig into the memory vault and think about the steps that led you to where you are today. Close your eyes and I want you to imagine your life is a book. (For now, try to focus less on the business necessarily and just think about your own life story, your personal journey.)

If you had to divide up your life into chunks, what do you think would be the major chapters?

What would be the plot points - those important moments that pushed your story forward? What events ended one chapter and opened up another?

Start when you were a kid and move forward on your life’s timeline until you hit what feels like a natural break point -- an event or moment where things shifted directions. When you stumble upon that moment or event, consider the possibility that it could be one of your plot points.

As you do that and move toward the present, here are some guiding questions to ask yourself when considering your plot points:

  • Is this relevant to WHY I decided to start my business?
  • Did this change my perspective about myself or the world?
  • Did a major part of my life suddenly look and feel different?
  • Did my goals or future ambitions change?
  • id this contribute in some way to how I run my business?

 

Example: Made Vibrant

To show you how this "plot point" exercise can help inform your branding and how one person’s individual story can feed into their brand story, I’ll use my business, Made Vibrant, as an example:

Chapter 1: Overachieving kid goes to college

Much of my childhood and adolescence was defined by my need to excel. I was a straight-A over-achiever kid, and just about every ounce of work I put into school was to achieve the external definition of success that I had been taught from an early age.

Plot Point: Switched majors from pre-med to advertising

Something happened though when I got to college. Even though I chose to be pre-med as a major (probably for how it would look to the outside world), as I sat in an Advertising 101 class, I fell in love with the idea of creativity and business.

Chapter 2: Advertising obsessed

Old habits die hard. I pretty much applied my obsession with succeeding to this new creative field, and I became consumed with trying to rise to the highest level of achievement within the advertising world. Not exactly a recipe for happiness and fulfillment.

Plot Point: I discovered my fancy NYC ad internship wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

I landed a highly-coveted internship at one of the world’s leading agencies in New York, and every day I hated going to work. Something about it just felt empty to me. Everyone was stressed out and jaded. Despite how it would look to other people, I made the decision to turn down the NYC ad exec dream life for something that felt happier and more me.

Chapter 3: Disillusionment with agency life

Instead of the fancy NYC agency, I took a job at an advertising agency in North Carolina, thinking it would be slower-paced, less cutthroat and more creative. Unfortunately I was in a media planner position - not very creative - and I could feel myself anxious to do something that used my creative talents more.

Plot Point: Quit my first advertising job just six months in

Suddenly acutely aware that it wasn’t right for me, I quit. Yet again I was learning a lesson to choose my own happiness over the expectations of other people, and it felt really good.

Chapter 4: Finding my creative voice

During this time, I started my own personal blog and began teaching myself design programs at night. I was starting to feel free.

Plot Point: Went to work for Jason’s startup company

My boyfriend, Jason, had a marketing startup company and needed someone to run operations. I convinced him to hire me (who else would be more invested than me?) and I got a taste for what it was like to feel actually valued at a job.

Chapter 5: A new world of work opens up

Working for his startup, I got to wear a different hat every hour it seemed, and I also realized that having the flexibility to design my schedule and motivate myself gave me a new energy I hadn’t experienced before. Meanwhile, I was still teaching myself design and starting to take on side projects.

Plot Point: Startup company closes shop, I decide to start my own business

When it became clear that the company could no longer stay afloat, I had a choice: go try to get another advertising job or try to make a go of it by myself. I chose the latter.

Chapter 6: Made Vibrant is born!

After a few months of freelancing, I decided to take my talents and create a larger brand around them: Made Vibrant.


...And, the rest is history, right?

All of those lessons I learned along the way: the power of choosing your own happiness over the expectations of others; letting go of perfection and the need to excel; searching for a way to express my creativity; teaching myself design; my hunger for flexibility… each one of those shows up in my brand story and contributes to how I connect with my audience.

My hope is that by going through the plot point exercise, you’re able to discover new layers and interesting insights about what led you to form your business that you haven’t yet thought about.


 

On owning it

As one last point on your personal origin story, remember this: People can feel sincerity.

The more truthful you are about where you come from and who you are, the more sincerely your brand will come across.

The more truthful you are about where you come from and who you are, the more sincerely your brand will come across.

It’s not enough to just identify these important moments in your life. You have to also recognize that those are the things that help you stand out. Those are the things that give you power. You have to acknowledge that these elements are crucial to your brand DNA, and you have to see them as strengths.

When I started my design business, I used to be afraid that because I didn’t go to art school, that it was somehow a disadvantage. Then I realized that instead I could OWN the self-taught, self-made part of my story.

The fact that I learned everything myself not only showed that I was dedicated and resourceful (which people like when they hire you), but I also expressed that my method and process was different. I wasn’t weighed down by the “right” or “wrong” way to do things, and that made me more creative. Also, the fact that I had a background in advertising and startup culture showed that I had a working knowledge of how businesses run. This point was especially critical in getting some of my higher paying projects for larger companies right out of the gate.

Never forget: Your differences are your strengths. Take ownership of your personal origin story and it will help you stand out in a vast sea of online businesses.

Your differences are your strengths. Take ownership of your personal origin story and it will help you stand out in a vast sea of online businesses.

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3 Factors That Separate Good Branding From Great Branding

3 Factors The Separate Good Branding From Great Branding

We all know that branding is a vital part of building a successful online business.

Cohesive, modern branding helps lend credibility and professionalism to your online presence, which is key when you’re trying to get your name out there and start cultivating a community.

But, when does branding go beyond simply lending legitimacy to your business? What elements of branding actually have the power to move the needle when it comes to expanding your audience, or - even better - your revenue?

In my experience, I’ve found that three different factors lead to varying levels of effectiveness in brand design.

They are attentionunderstanding and resonance.

But, the major catch here is that all three of these are NOT created equal. Each one conveys a different level of connection between your company and someone who comes across your brand, contributing to whether that person becomes a paying customer/client. (And we can all agree paying customers/clients is a very good thing, right? Right.)

Let’s dive into each factor, but first I want to paint a little picture for you.

Imagine you’re strolling through Times Square on a busy day. Every 20 feet or so you run into a different street performer, each one vying for your attention. Some are aggressive, some are boring, some are intriguing and others are just flat out entertaining.

The truth is, though, they all have the same goal in mind: to get you to stop walking, hang out for a while, and eventually to drop some cash into their hats.

Hmmm… stop, hang out for a while, and offer up some money. Sound familiar?

Yep, that’s online business in a nutshell, my friends.

Think about it. That’s all any of us is trying to do: go out there, put on our best show, and try to capture the hearts of people browsing the web so we can create a profitable business.

Now, as any good street performer knows, if you’re going to get someone to give you a few bucks, you’re first going to need them to stop walking and pay attention.

Which brings me to our first factor:

 

1. Attention

If branding was a video game, Attention would be Level One. (Yep, for those of you keeping track at home, that’s street performers and video games. What can I say? I’m trying to keep it interesting for ya!)

It’s no secret that, as a culture, our attention spans are as fleeting as ever, and if you have any hope of building an audience, you first have to get on their radar. The mission of Level One is to use your brand to simply stand out in the sea of your competitors.

I love how Seth Godin defines the term “brand” on his blog:

“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”

Inherently in his definition, Seth implies that the whole point of developing a brand is to rise above your peers. (Peers are more commonly referred to as "competitors" but I hate the idea of reinforcing that comparison mindset, so let's instead say "differentiate yourself within the peer landscape.") But to do that, you first have to be seen.

This means doing research. Take a look at the various businesses in your industry. In what ways are they zigging that you could be zagging?

Be careful, though. Make sure that whatever branding you develop comes from an authentic place, not just an interest in standing out from the pack. Don’t drench your site in neon colors just because you don’t see anyone else in your category doing it. If you do that and you’re a watercolor artist that sells pastel florals, your brand is going to feel dissonant with your business foundation. On the other hand, if you’re a fun and energetic resource shop for creatives with vibrant in your brand name, it just might work. 😉

When my friends, Omar and Nicole started their business, The $100 MBA, they did so with the belief that they could challenge the norm when it comes to business education. The advice they give is practical and energetic. That mix of rebelliousness (challenging the norm) and energy/enthusiasm brings an underlying authenticity to their red, black and white brand color palette.

Here are some questions to ask yourself if you’re trying to achieve attention:

  • Does my branding stand out in a lineup of similar businesses in my category or niche?
  • Would I stick around if I stumbled across a site like mine?

Now, The only problem with striving for a brand that only aims to garner attention is that it’s fleeting. A flashy street performer might be able to make you stop for five minutes to watch, but unless there’s something to keep you there, then you’ll eventually just move on, right? If you’re only attempting to gain attention, it’s likely that whatever traffic you do manage to get will come and go.

Which brings me to the next level of branding achievement - understanding.

 

2. Understanding

Once you have the attention of someone, if you want any hope of keeping them engaged for the long haul, you’re going to have to effectively communicate what you do. Great branding should be designed to reinforce and support your company’s message. You can use elements in your brand identity to give contextual clues to your audience, letting them quickly decipher what your business is and if it might be for them.

Take Evernote, for example. I love the elephant icon in their logo because it reinforces the original purpose of their product, which is to help you keep track of and remember things. Though someone might not make the connection right away, if they see the logo in context, the elephant image is a memorable icon that supports the understanding of their product.

Image source

Branding not only has the power to enhance understanding of a product, it can also lead to a deeper understanding of a company’s differentiator (which is especially useful for a service-based company.)

Take the design studio, Ghostly Ferns, for example, a creative studio that declares on its website that it’s “Not your average design studio” and they only work with “happy companies.”

Aside from the large and direct brand statements, as a visitor to the website, I immediately notice that the branding is unexpected and whimsical. Not only have they grabbed my attention with a distinct, inspired brand, but now I understand that their aesthetic and differentiator is the unconventional nature of their designs and the value they place on friendly client relationships. The branding reinforces the communication, and if I leave the site, I walk away with a deeper insight into what their business is about.

Some questions to ask yourself if you’re trying to achieve understanding:

  • Does my brand have a tone or energy that is aligned with the basic facets of my business (who I’m trying to target, what my focus is, what I believe in?)
  • Does my brand identity offer any clues as to what my business is about or who it’s for?

Attention and understanding can be powerful, but I would argue that, most of the time, neither one is enough to ensure that a passerby converts into a customer --or better yet -- a fan.

So, then, what turns a person from a casual visitor into a customer, a client, or a brand advocate? What makes the person in Times Square throw their fiver into a street performer’s hat, or -- what’s even more powerful -- go tell their friends about the experience they had with that one special performer?

The answer is resonance.

 

3. Resonance

You did it! You’ve made it to the final level of effective branding and if you can tackle the Boss - Brand Resonance - then you win the ultimate game reward: a brand advocate.

Resonance is all about going a step beyond speaking to someone’s mind and instead, speaking straight to their heart and their soul.

As Simon Sinek poignantly said in his TEDx talkStart With Why“People don’t buy what you do, they buy WHY you do it.”

After working with dozens of branding clients - from solopreneurs to large marketing companies - one thing has become clear to me: crafting a powerful brand story is the first step in connecting with your brand’s true fans.

Just to be clear, when I say “brand story,” I’m referring to the unique narrative that conveys the heart and soul of your business. I like to think of brand story as the melting pot of answers to all those important, juicy, deeply-rooted questions about your business and what it stands for.

Questions like:

  • What does your business believe in?
  • Why did you get started?
  • Who are you passionate about serving and why?
  • Why do you get up every morning excited about your business?

Every place and way that you communicate that narrative - whether it’s through your brand identity (your logo, color palette, photography, typography, etc.), your copy, or an event experience - is an opportunity to make an emotional connection with a potential customer or client.

Brand resonance happens when the values and beliefs of a brand align with the values and beliefs of an individual. 

But, in order for brand resonance to occur, you have to invest the time in understanding what your beliefs and values are as a business. You have to know what you stand for and bake that into your brand. That’s what will give you the power to create lasting members of your tribe.

For example, this business, Made Vibrant, is based on the belief that when we show up as our truest, most vibrant selves, the world is a better place. It’s an imperfect process, but it’s about the growth we all experience along the way. This underlying belief is reflected in the bright and vibrant colors of my brand, and the emphasis on the imperfect process comes through in the hand-drawn elements seen throughout my branding. Those visuals, coupled with the direct, mission-driven copy, were intentionally created to resonate with creatives that are motivated to grow.

I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve received with sentences like:

“It’s like you were talking right to me!”
“I found Made Vibrant at the perfect time!”
“This is exactly what I needed.”

That is the exact kind of response you’re aiming for.

Resonance gets you an engaged audience and an engaged audience gets you clients, sales and revenue. Not only will people stick around to hear what you have to say, they’re going to buy, and - even better - they’re going to tell their friends to check you out too.

 

So, let’s recap:

There’s attention. (“Ohh, look at that.”)
There’s understanding. (“Ohh, I see what that company does.”)
Then there’s resonance. (“Ohhh, that company GETS me.”)

Remember, branding isn’t JUST about your logo or the fonts you choose for your website. It’s the sum of every tangible and intangible connection someone has with your business.

Most branding - even good branding - stops at levels one or two of this list. Good branding is well-designed, professional, attention-grabbing and aids in the communication of what a company does.

But excellent branding? Excellent branding transcends attention and understanding and hits you right in the heart.

I encourage you to take a look at your own branding and see where you stack up against each of these three levels. 

If you’re dressed as a break-dancing grandma in Times Square, sure, I’ll probably stop for five minutes to watch you dance.

BUT, if you’re dressed as a break-dancing grandma in Times Square with a big photo of your own grandma beside you, wearing her track suit because she loved to dance and back in her heyday she taught you everything you know about break-dancing... well then HECK YEAH I’m going to give you my money. And HECK YEAH I’m going to remember you AND tell my friends about you because I love my grandma and she taught me things too.

Resonance, my friends. That is when your branding will truly start to move the needle.

 
 

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Copy of How To Blend Your Personal Story

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The most powerful kind of branding is the kind that creates true emotional resonance with your ideal audience. 

But, in order to create that lasting, meaningful connection, you have to give your audience something to connect TO.

One way to do this is to find a way to integrate your personal, human story into your brand story. 

But first, what exactly do I mean when I say brand story?

I actually don’t mean your “elevator pitch” or the actual story you launch into at a cocktail party when someone asks you that dreaded question:

“So what do you do?”

It’s not necessarily the kind of story that you literally tell someone. Instead, your brand story is the unique narrative that conveys the heart and soul of your business.

Your brand story is the unique narrative that conveys the heart and soul of your business.

It’s rooted in your distinct background and it blends many different experiences, motivations and emotions together to form the DNA of your brand. Think of a brand story as the melting pot of answers to all those important, juicy, deeply-rooted questions about your business and what it stands for.

Questions like:

  • What do you believe in?
  • Why did you get started?
  • Who are you passionate about serving?
  • Why do you get up every morning excited about your business?
  • What led you to this point in your life?

The goal of any story is to tap into your emotions and to take you on a journey, to give you something to relate to.

So your brand story is the foundation to providing your audience with a way to connect to your business. It is what brings an underlying truth and authenticity to your final brand identity.  

 

How do you uncover your brand story?

First, it's helpful to start by finding the pivotal and important moments that led you to this point in time in the first place and where your brand stems from in your past.

For those of you out there that are more analytical, think of these pivotal moments like data points. Don’t worry about trying to connect the data points just yet, just focus on finding the pieces of information that seem important.

Once you find those important data points in both your personal and your professional life, then you can work on connecting the relevant pieces into a strong creative concept.

The first thing you have to realize is that something prompted you to start your business. It didn’t just materialize into thin air. YOU made it. And because of that fact, YOU are an indelible part of the heart of your business (and brand.) So, predictably, the process of developing an authentic brand begins with YOU. 

The process of developing an authentic brand begins with YOU.

I like to refer to this process of understanding how your business came to be as uncovering your "origin story."


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What is an origin story?

In comic book terminology, an origin story is a back-story that reveals how a character gained their superpowers and the circumstances under which they became superheroes.

That’s right, for the purpose of this lesson, we’re going to imagine that your business is a superhero!

Sure, superheroes have all of their powers and the ways that they fight crime, but watch any superhero show, read any comic book, and what makes the characters reallllly interesting? It’s their origin story. It’s finding out what major events had to happen in order to lead them to their heroic path.

The same is true for your business. A superhero’s list of powers is like your list of services or your list of products. They might be cool and all, but the bits and pieces of the backstory that led to all of that? Now that’s the interesting part.

For example, recently I’ve been watching Marvel's Daredevil on Netflix (no, not the mediocre action movie with Ben Affleck from back in the 2000’s - it’s much better, I promise.) Daredevil has heightened senses, a high threshold for pain and a thirst for justice. And I admit, all of that is certainly pretty cool.

Understanding how Matt Murdock, the man became Daredevil, the superhero. He lost his sight in a chemical spill when he was just a boy which gave him his heightened senses. His father, a boxer, raised him alone and always forced him to study because he wanted him to be better than he was. He became a lawyer so he could enact justice and right wrongs, but even that left him feeling powerless to help those in harm’s way.

All of that is what forms his origin story, and all of that is what makes me feel connected to him as a character.

So… that begs the same question for your business: Who was the superhero before he (or she) was the superhero?

Or, rather: 

Who was the person behind the business (aka YOU), before he/she came to create the business?

That’s what you need to unearth. You want to seek out all those important, pivotal moments that led you to where you are today. What are those events that made everything shift?

I call these “plot points.” A plot point refers to any event or occurrence that moves the story forward. They’re the forks in the road. The points of impact. Those plot points are what we’re looking for in your personal story.


Finding your plot points

I think we can all agree that we undergo a number of metamorphoses throughout our lives. Sometimes those transitions can be caused by where we are geographically, what we’re studying, who we’re dating, what job we have, or a major event that shifts our mental or physical lives in a big way.

As an exercise, I really want you to dig into the memory vault and think about the steps that led you to where you are today. Close your eyes and I want you to imagine your life is a book. (For now, try to focus less on the business necessarily and just think about your own life story, your personal journey.)

If you had to divide up your life into chunks, what do you think would be the major chapters?

What would be the plot points - those important moments that pushed your story forward? What events ended one chapter and opened up another?

Start when you were a kid and move forward on your life’s timeline until you hit what feels like a natural break point -- an event or moment where things shifted directions. When you stumble upon that moment or event, consider the possibility that it could be one of your plot points.

As you do that and move toward the present, here are some guiding questions to ask yourself when considering your plot points:

  • Is this relevant to WHY I decided to start my business?
  • Did this change my perspective about myself or the world?
  • Did a major part of my life suddenly look and feel different?
  • Did my goals or future ambitions change?
  • id this contribute in some way to how I run my business?

 

Example: Made Vibrant

To show you how this "plot point" exercise can help inform your branding and how one person’s individual story can feed into their brand story, I’ll use my business, Made Vibrant, as an example:

Chapter 1: Overachieving kid goes to college

Much of my childhood and adolescence was defined by my need to excel. I was a straight-A over-achiever kid, and just about every ounce of work I put into school was to achieve the external definition of success that I had been taught from an early age.

Plot Point: Switched majors from pre-med to advertising

Something happened though when I got to college. Even though I chose to be pre-med as a major (probably for how it would look to the outside world), as I sat in an Advertising 101 class, I fell in love with the idea of creativity and business.

Chapter 2: Advertising obsessed

Old habits die hard. I pretty much applied my obsession with succeeding to this new creative field, and I became consumed with trying to rise to the highest level of achievement within the advertising world. Not exactly a recipe for happiness and fulfillment.

Plot Point: I discovered my fancy NYC ad internship wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

I landed a highly-coveted internship at one of the world’s leading agencies in New York, and every day I hated going to work. Something about it just felt empty to me. Everyone was stressed out and jaded. Despite how it would look to other people, I made the decision to turn down the NYC ad exec dream life for something that felt happier and more me.

Chapter 3: Disillusionment with agency life

Instead of the fancy NYC agency, I took a job at an advertising agency in North Carolina, thinking it would be slower-paced, less cutthroat and more creative. Unfortunately I was in a media planner position - not very creative - and I could feel myself anxious to do something that used my creative talents more.

Plot Point: Quit my first advertising job just six months in

Suddenly acutely aware that it wasn’t right for me, I quit. Yet again I was learning a lesson to choose my own happiness over the expectations of other people, and it felt really good.

Chapter 4: Finding my creative voice

During this time, I started my own personal blog and began teaching myself design programs at night. I was starting to feel free.

Plot Point: Went to work for Jason’s startup company

My boyfriend, Jason, had a marketing startup company and needed someone to run operations. I convinced him to hire me (who else would be more invested than me?) and I got a taste for what it was like to feel actually valued at a job.

Chapter 5: A new world of work opens up

Working for his startup, I got to wear a different hat every hour it seemed, and I also realized that having the flexibility to design my schedule and motivate myself gave me a new energy I hadn’t experienced before. Meanwhile, I was still teaching myself design and starting to take on side projects.

Plot Point: Startup company closes shop, I decide to start my own business

When it became clear that the company could no longer stay afloat, I had a choice: go try to get another advertising job or try to make a go of it by myself. I chose the latter.

Chapter 6: Made Vibrant is born!

After a few months of freelancing, I decided to take my talents and create a larger brand around them: Made Vibrant.


...And, the rest is history, right?

All of those lessons I learned along the way: the power of choosing your own happiness over the expectations of others; letting go of perfection and the need to excel; searching for a way to express my creativity; teaching myself design; my hunger for flexibility… each one of those shows up in my brand story and contributes to how I connect with my audience.

My hope is that by going through the plot point exercise, you’re able to discover new layers and interesting insights about what led you to form your business that you haven’t yet thought about.


 

On owning it

As one last point on your personal origin story, remember this: People can feel sincerity.

The more truthful you are about where you come from and who you are, the more sincerely your brand will come across.

The more truthful you are about where you come from and who you are, the more sincerely your brand will come across.

It’s not enough to just identify these important moments in your life. You have to also recognize that those are the things that help you stand out. Those are the things that give you power. You have to acknowledge that these elements are crucial to your brand DNA, and you have to see them as strengths.

When I started my design business, I used to be afraid that because I didn’t go to art school, that it was somehow a disadvantage. Then I realized that instead I could OWN the self-taught, self-made part of my story.

The fact that I learned everything myself not only showed that I was dedicated and resourceful (which people like when they hire you), but I also expressed that my method and process was different. I wasn’t weighed down by the “right” or “wrong” way to do things, and that made me more creative. Also, the fact that I had a background in advertising and startup culture showed that I had a working knowledge of how businesses run. This point was especially critical in getting some of my higher paying projects for larger companies right out of the gate.

Never forget: Your differences are your strengths. Take ownership of your personal origin story and it will help you stand out in a vast sea of online businesses.

Your differences are your strengths. Take ownership of your personal origin story and it will help you stand out in a vast sea of online businesses.

Here's your TL,DR quick reference guide.

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Free 7-day Branding Email Course

Figure out who you want to reach and what you want to say in less than 7days. Brand clarity awaits!