Get Creative: How to Brand Yourself from the Inside Out

branding from the inside out

how to brand yourself

Get Creative: How to Brand Yourself from the Inside Out

I was asked to speak at an event next spring being hosted by one of my coaching clients. She suggested the topic of “branding from the inside out.” Hmmm, I thought, what does that look like and feel like? Where did she pull that topic from especially as it related to the work we are doing on her business? As I sat at my computer early this morning, third cup of coffee in hand, brainstorming ideas and doing some research, I had a huge aha about my own business and the work I do with people. It was one of those “wake up and smell the coffee” moments, full of equal parts glee and “oh crap, am I starting over again?”

I have been doing a great deal of revising, starting and stopping, tweaking and practicing in my business this year. It’s hard. For 11 years I ran a publishing company – I knew exactly who I was, what I was selling and how I could serve people. I sold that business in December 2012 and have been building my coaching practice and settling myself and my family into our new home/life in Santa Barbara, CA. I have been rebuilding everything: friends, support, community, colleagues… at 48 I can tell you that starting over takes courage and creativity.

What I know for sure is: I am a published author, award-winning entrepreneur, certified coach and creative, fun-loving woman with a Ph.D. in poetry who has been happily married for 17 years and is more proud of my kids than anything else in my life.

BUT – I am also that gypsy, adventurer, artist, spiritual guru, teacher, poetry-loving, inspired, entrepreneur who wants to serve, values freedom and creativity, loves business strategy and marketing. How do I translate that into a coherent brand that articulates who I am and what problems I solve for people? WHOA!

Another thing I know for certain is that I need outside help when it comes to building my business. I am great at helping others but there is nothing as valuable as an objective perspective to help us get clarity on who we are or what’s next. I am always working with at least one coach and find this to be my most worthwhile business investment every year.

Client Feedback is your best branding tool!

But sometimes it’s my clients who spark amazing insights that help me refine who I am and how I work with people. I excel at helping others get clear about their big WHY, helping them create a vision and a strategy to make their dreams a reality. I suddenly realized that I needed to participate in my own process, use my own assessments and add some fun creative elements to get clear about who I am and what I want my brand to feel like!

So I spent my Saturday in my craft room creating a vision board that captures what I want my brand to feel like. I had so much fun!

Using a Vision Board to Brand Yourself from the Inside Out

First, I took my own core values assessment to really focus in on the values that are at the center of the business I am building. These are different than my personal values, although there are definitely some cross-overs! When was the last time you looked at your core values or thought about if the business you are building is a true reflection of who you are? If you are interested in a free core values assessment, download one here.

Then, I asked myself a few class branding questions like what’s my big WHY, what’s my vision and mission, who do I want to serve… I created a mind map, one of my favorite business development tools.

free core values assessment

I put that aside and grabbed a large sheet of watercolor paper and started painting. I wanted to capture the “feeling” of my brand as I perceive it – colors, emotions, feelings, ideas… what drives me and why? That’s the painting at the top of the post.

how to brand yourself

Here’s the final product. I love how it looks and feels and what it communicates about me and to me. This is not for public consumption, this is a guidepost, a reminder to stay true to what I value.

create a vision board for your brand

So what’s next? Back to revising my ideal client profile based on this newest vision of who I want to be when I grow up! I am clear about the problems I solve and the results my clients experience and I am having so much fun helping them create success!

Are you ready to breakthrough to your perfect brand?

Are you struggling to create a vibrant vision for you business and to create a viable plan of action that leads to freedom, flexibility and financial independence -without sacrificing time with your family or your relationships? Schedule a 30-minute breakthrough session with me now and let’s talk. My big WHY is helping women entrepreneurs build businesses that express ALL of who they are! See that big “Freedom” in the center of my board – I believe deeply that we all deserve the freedom to live our lives and build our businesses on our terms.


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  1. Nanette Levin on November 3, 2013 at 4:28 am

    I certainly understand reinventing yourself, Minette, as I’m going through a bit of the same process right now. After selling the farm and moving this summer, I’m finding the areas that needed more attention aren’t where I would have thought. Of course, I’ve always been guilty of shoemaker’s children stuff. I think that comes with the mindset that drives one to be in a service business.

    • minette on November 3, 2013 at 6:37 am

      Hi Nanette, glad to hear from you. Yes, I can imagine that selling the farm has been a huge transition. Hope it’s going as smoothly as possible.

  2. Jennifer on November 3, 2013 at 7:42 am

    Hi Minette! LOVE this! It’s absolutely a great way to find branding, and my clients would love this so I am going to share on my FB page. 😀 Thanks!

    • minette on November 3, 2013 at 7:57 am

      Thanks, Jennifer. Yes, it was a fun project. I will continue to show how I turn this vision board into a business plan. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Deborah Weber on November 3, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    How great to see peeks at your process and then your vision board. Love it!

    • minette on November 3, 2013 at 7:01 pm

      Thanks, Deborah, it was a fun project for sure!

  4. Amy Putkonen on November 4, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    Great idea, Minette! I love your orange painting at the beginning! It’s gorgeous! Welcome to the challenge!

  5. Kelli Spencer on November 5, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Thanks Minette! I too have been going through some changing pains and have had the word freedom coming in quite a bit.
    Nice article.

    • minette on November 6, 2013 at 8:11 am

      Awesome, Kelli, freedom is definitely where it is at. My mantra: freedom, flexibility and financial independence.

  6. […] Now that I am on to my newest entrepreneurial adventure, where I have to sell ME, not an ad in a magazine or a booth at an expo, I find myself considering this question again: what makes a brand remarkable? How can I be memorable and stand out from the crowded space of coaches and speakers? I am still working on my personal answers, but you can see stage one of my process in this post on branding. […]

  7. Cindy Mihalko on November 7, 2013 at 8:05 am

    Minette – Thank you for the reminder of branding and mind mapping. With creating my newest business, Your Celebration Solutions, I have made a lot of decisions and still have more to make. I think mind mapping and a vision board are in order for me! Thanks again!!!

  8. Kelly McKenzie on November 8, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Such an inspiring post and so refreshing to read that you know you needed to revisit your own life plan. Have heard wonderful things about the vision boards and have yet to do one. I will. Thank you. Had quite the afternoon yesterday when I threw my paid parking ticket in my purse and could not leave the parking lot until I found it again. 15 minutes rifling through the trash that is my purse. OK = major wakeup call. Time to slow down and refocus. Oh boy. Off to do just that.

  9. Carolyn on March 4, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    Great fun to see another side of a creative person.
    Pulling things out and being able to express them with colors and shapes
    is what I find the most satusfying.
    Great example for those who say they aren’t creative !

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