If you want to make a designer, writer, or creative person uncomfortable, ask them to talk about themselves. We spend so much of our time and energy building brands for others…and yet, building one for ourselves oftentimes feels terrifying. Is it because we’re more critical of ourselves than of others? Is it because we change our mind too often? Is it because we don’t have time? Any way you slice it, it’s HARD for creatives to self-brand, including the right language and messaging. And yet, creatives really need to be able to talk and write about themselves effectively.
This is something I’ve certainly struggled with myself, but after a bit of research and experience, here are a few things I’ve found helpful:
Try to be Objective
If you have a process or strategy you use for a client, apply it to yourself. This might seem awkward and unnatural at first, but eventually, the structure might actually help you narrow things down. What are your objectives in creating your own brand? Which audiences are you targeting? What are some attributes you want to connect to your personal brand? Even if these are just starting points, you’ll be putting words on the page.
Ask Friends or Colleagues
When in doubt, collect ideas from the people you work with. Ask them for a few words or phrases they would use to describe you. I once had someone describe me as “a professional problem solver,” and I actually used that for a while in my portfolio. Those around you will have fresh insights on your strength and skills, so don’t be afraid to get their input.
Steal from Personality Tests
This one is my favorite because I love a good personality test. I’ll use my own example from the Enneagram (my preferred personality assessment): I’m a One/Perfectionist. That means I’m structured, organized, diligent, practical, and straightforward. Guess what? ALL of those things are traits I could include while describing myself professionally. Maybe you’re into Myers–Briggs, DiSC, or Buzzfeed quizzes — all potential mines for nuggets of truth.
If you’re struggling with writing about yourself, whether it’s in your LinkedIn profile or on your website, you certainly aren’t alone. As creatives, we often focus on the stories of our clients or projects; we shouldn’t forget that our stories deserve to be told, too.