Should You Start A Brand? Weigh These Factors
Last Updated on February 4, 2023 by Bert-Jan Schilthuis-Ihrig
All successful creators, no matter what type of content they’re passionate about, all have something in common: they made the decision to start a brand.
Or maybe, they didn’t even specifically pursue the idea of a “brand,” per se, but they wanted to create and build something for themselves online.
If you’ve been watching these people from the sidelines thinking “I’d love to have my own brand, but…,” then it’s time to demystify and make a plan so that you can join all of the others who have offered themselves their dream job.
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What It Means To Start Your Own Brand
Starting your own brand (also referred to as a “personal” brand) essentially means that you have gathered an audience around a topic. Common forms of personal brands are blogs and influencer brands (such as on Instagram and YouTube).
The topic can be extremely specific, such as an Instagram account dedicated to menstrual cups, or a YouTube channel that talks about camera gear. Or, brands can also be wider, often known as “lifestyle brands,” and these can follow an individual’s life (think vloggers who share their daily routines) or it can follow a ”[topic] lifestyle” model.
Writing From Nowhere (this blog) is a perfect example of this! This is a remote work lifestyle brand. It centers around my favorite topic (remote work) and everything that it encompasses, from the travel lifestyle to work-life balance.
What You Need To Start A Brand
You don’t need a business plan or to be registered as a business to start your own personal brand. In fact you only need 3 things…
- A topic. Whether it’s broad or niched, make sure it’s something you enjoy and have energy for!
- To provide something to viewers. Why should anyone come to listen or watch what you’re doing? You have to provide something, whether it be entertainment, tips, reviews, recipes, workouts, etc. Providing value to viewers is the bread and butter of having your own brand
- A platform. This can be a YouTube channel, Instagram account or a website (and every brand should have a website, no matter what their primary platform is)
This is so important that I want to offer a warning about the influencer brand models: there is a massive missing piece to this model, and that is having your own website.
It’s misguided to only have an Instagram account because you don’t own that account. Instagram (and therefore Facebook) owns that space, and they just let you use it.
Any platform can shut down your account (happens on IG all the time), get hacked (same), just stop working for creators (Facebook) or be shuttered overnight (remember Vine?).
Influencers don’t want to hear this, but Instagram is likely on its way out anyway. Or, as the article “Instagram Is Dead (It Just Doesn’t Know It Yet)” puts it after looking at the numbers, “By 2025, Instagram will almost certainly be on an irreversible negative-growth trajectory.”
Building a brand and making a living from it is a long game. It’s well worth playing, but it’s a mistake to be short-sighted in your approach, and an Instagram-focused model is just that.
Think big-picture and get your own website to accompany any brand build on a social media account.
Your website is your home online that you own, control and can never have taken away from you.
3 Signs That You Should Start A Brand
I reckon that if you’re here reading this, you have an urge to create something for yourself. Maybe you feel like starting a blog could change your life, or you think an online biz could be your answer to everything. You’re right, for both of those feelings. But let’s dig a little bit deeper into the reasons to start your own brand.
1. You Have The Urge To Create
The unexplainable urge to create is something that should be listened to. Do you know the creative itch I’m talking about?
Maybe it originates from an itch in your fingertips or boredom or somewhere else completely. It doesn’t matter where it comes from, but it matters whether or not you listen to it.
There’s something at the other end your creativity, and I hope that you’ll follow it. You don’t know what self-discovery, joy or success you’ll find.
2. You Want The Success Other People Have
That success that you see online is real, and you have access to it. This isn’t like an Olympic podium, where there’s only room for three. There’s room for everyone, including you, but you have to go make it happen for yourself.
To run a profitable personal brand is to be self-employed, and the independence that comes along with that is pure bliss. With that independence, you can work from anywhere (AKA being location independent).
This is a lifestyle that attracts many adventure lovers: working online + travel = the digital nomad lifestyle, one of the most incredible ways to live.
You don’t have to feel envious of that success that you see other people have with their brands because you’re able to join them. With access to the internet and $2.49 a month to spend on your website, you can start a brand and begin your journey.
You’re invited to start a brand just like anyone else. Will you accept that invitation?
3. You Want To Challenge Yourself
I think building a brand is attractive to many people who are bored with their careers for this exact reason: it’s a challenge. Deciding to start a brand is an amazing opportunity to challenge yourself!
Because, simply put, it’s a lot of work. To create and discover and build and try and try again is a creative workout. It makes you strong, and pushes you to peaks that you would’ve otherwise never seen.
It will change your life.
How To Choose Your Brand Topic
If choosing a topic is difficult and you’re not completely certain, choose a broader lifestyle model. Find one topic that interests you and start creating content!
If you find yourself wondering about what to do to, these tips on developing your online business idea will help you out.
For example, this blog actually started out as an eco-lifestyle blog! I wasn’t sure what to write about and that was my biggest passion at the time, so that’s where I began. The brand name was flexible so I could pivot that brand I’d already built to focus on remote work.
You’re the captain of your own ship – you can change whenever you want.
Another alternative is to create a brand that you intend to sell. In the blogging world, this is known as a “niche site.” You choose a very specific niche, produce loads of content on just that topic and build up revenue via affiliate marketing and display ads. Then, you sell your website for 30x it’s monthly revenue.
3 Things To Think About Before You Start Your Own Brand
So, you’re hooked? Let’s start laying the groundwork for your emerging brand right now!
1. Mute Imposter Syndrome
There are some thoughts that every. single. person. who’s started their own brand has had echoing around their head:
- What if it’s all an embarrassing waste of time?
- Who cares what I have to say?
- What if my friends and family think it’s ridiculous?
- Who am I to start my own brand?
- What if I can’t come up with anything original?
Imposter syndrome is going to come at you like a dementor from Harry Potter, and I want you to promise me that you’ll resist as if it’s coming to kill you (it’s coming for your dreams, after all).
Replace that list of insecurities with these instead.
Repeat after me: it’s okay to be…
- it’s okay to change
- and change again
- and to learn publicly
- It is worth it
Imposter syndrome (along with these other things) will hold you back from growing your brand exponentially. But you should take some comfort in knowing that experiencing imposter syndrome is just a stepping stone on this journey! I think you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t felt unqualified and unsure in the beginning of their journey, and it’s usually a good sign that you’re about to experience a lot of growth.
2. Your Website
We’ve already talked about the beginner mistake of only having your brand presence be on social media, but let’s dig into the website a bit deeper.
You’ll need a website and therefore a brand name. My favorite place to start websites is GreenGeeks.
3. Your Form Of Content
What type of creating will you start your brand around? This is flexible and can change at any point, but you have to hit publish on something first.
Consider one of these popular content forms:
I won’t be veiled: I think the best form to focus on when you start a brand is blogging. Blogging is forgiving: you can’t edit a podcast or video years later. Plus, the oldest a blog post, the more authority and more traffic it will have.
Blog posts will bring in traffic for years to come, and they don’t need major upkeep. It’s a very powerful, low-maintenance type of content.
You can start blogging today with these 10 beginner blog post ideas.
What My Brand Has Brought Me
This blog started in 2018 in a hostel in London. I had no plan, but knew that I wanted to build something for myself. I had been working as a freelance writer and graphic designer and I was tired of helping other people build their brands.
The thought had been on my mind to start a brand for years, but I was waiting for a sign. It turns out, feeling fed up with waiting was the sign!
I opened up WordPress to create an account without even having a name picked out. I got to the page where I had to choose a domain name and in a spur-of-the-moment decision, tapped “writing from nowhere” in.
Charging it all to my credit card because I was completely broke after a year of traveling, my personal brand was born!
I started my personal brand with no direction, but I saw the success other people had and felt a magnetism to try my hand at it, too.
That was in 2018. Fast forward to 2021: Bert-Jan and I have both hung up our careers and are now fully employed by this brand. I make money via affiliate marketing and Pinterest coaching and management.
It’s life-changing, and I offer all of this encouragement because it took *so* much encouragement for me to take the plunge. I thought about starting a brand a thousand times, and then one day decided that it was time to stop dreaming or to try.
Final Thoughts On Why You Should Start A Brand
You’re staring at a door that says “start a brand.” Are you going to open it? It will be a lot of work and you’ll feel so lost at times, but your life may very well change.
I cringe to that of what my life would be like without Writing From Nowhere, so I really mean every work of encouragement that I offer.
If the idea is on your heart, then you owe it to yourself to try. Launch your website today. Somewhere is waiting for you.