What do people say about you when they hear your name?
It's the question everyone should know how to answer as they create their own narratives of who they are and who they want to be. For black women, that narrative is even more important as we constantly work at demystifying myths in the workplace and constantly dealing with the pressures of how people perceive us at work and online.
Personal branding helps us navigate how we are perceived at work and online by displaying are authentic selves and controlling our narratives.
For many of us, our personal brands can be the gateway to creating the type of life we want. Personal brands can lead to promotions, new job opportunities, and salary increases if we play our cards right. Here are four women who manage their personal brands and full-time careers. Read how they monetized their personal brands and how they used their personal brand to create opportunities in their full time role.
Cwanza A. Pinckney, M.D.
By day she is the Medical Director, Emergency Physician for CHI St. Luke's Health in Houston, TX.
By night, she is the "The DJ Doctor ™", which she started as a personal lifestyle brand to combine her love for music, medicine, mindset coaching, and being a DJ in a way that was understandable to clients and patients. "Having a personal brand was important to me because I needed to feel that my representation to the world truly embodied my spirit, was authentic, represented all of my gifts, and was aligned with my values and entrepreneurial goals," Cwanza shared.
Three Goals She Had for Her Brand:
"First, I wanted to keep my brand multidimensional so that my gifts could be expressed through many different products and services. I also wanted to make a brand that has room to grow as I develop new products and services." Lastly, she created a brand that "people find engaging and leaves a solid platform for meaningful conversations with consumers."
How She Funnels Her Additional Income:
"My brand includes DJ services, mobile medicine patients, private concierge patients, and coaching for personal development. Each product has its own unique sales funnel tied under my overall brand that has allowed me to earn additional income based on my passions and purpose."
"In one year, I was able to earn an addition six figures based on my passions."
How She's Established Her Brand's Worth:
"As a physician, I was able to leverage my advanced expertise and create a more convenient platform for patient care services. As a DJ DR, I was able to leverage the perception of what a doctor looks like to create interest in my DJ services because you won't find too many DJs who are doctors; clients love and find it fascinating and relatable. The diversity of my lifestyle brand attracts my coaching clients because they are able to find validation in being a multifaceted individual who doesn't have to be stuck in a box and labeled based on one career path."
How She Leveraged Her Personal Brand with Her Employer:
"I re-negotiated my hours to the most profitable shift slot that allows me to be in the hospital only three days per week and have my weekends free. By strategically scheduling my shifts in the Emergency Department, I always know my schedule and can block my schedule so that I can effectively schedule meetings, meet patients, coach clients, and DJ throughout the other four days of the week."
By day, she is a Program Management Specialist for the Federal Government
By creating opportunities for herself outside of her full-time job, she's been able to offer her expertise outside of the core of her job function to work on special projects as a direct result, which has led directly to an increase in salary and bonuses.
Her Personal Brands Developed Out of Circumstance:
"One came about as a need, the other, a professional desire. I began blogging as a way to cope with a bad breakup almost 10 years ago. Before I knew about therapy, I blogged about my journey through pain, loss and healing almost as a series of love letters to myself. This began during college while I was also finding my way professionally and trying to discover who I was and what kind of woman I wanted to be."
"I knew that I wanted to help people - Black women specifically."
"At the same time, I'd been working in the nonprofit world developing and managing programs, working as a freelance career coach, and doing a lot of pro bono consulting in the nonprofit and career coaching space without any real strategy. I knew I needed to have a distinct brand that was separate from my career coaching."
How She Established Her Goals:
"First, I wanted to organize my thoughts and professional goals in spaces that were separate from my job. I work in government and I enjoy working for the public, but I have to feed my soul's purpose and I knew working a 9-5 alone would not get me there. Then, I wanted to earn additional income to fund my scholarship for women in college, Adri Speaks 4 Books."
Her Coaching Has Becoming Lucrative:
"Management and career consulting can be a very lucrative field. I've earned additional income by providing resume critiques, career coaching strategies, strategic planning services, business process improvement consulting, and a myriad of other tools and services that help improve the career prospects of my individual clients and organizational health of my corporate clients. I've also earned income by providing life/love coaching services. This service offering will be amplified after I publish my book this year!"
Her Content Establishes Her Brand's Worth:
"Writing for publications with platforms that I love, maintaining a blog that has international reach and readers, and having several professional references and mentors to help guide me has been the key."
"I do this work because I love it, and having the content has been the best way to establish my brands."
By day, she's the Director of Communications for the Tennessee Department of Correction.
By night, she's an author, blogger and speaker on all things love, relationships and marriage.
Her Personal Brand Gave Her Freedom:
"Freedom is what I gained the minute I understood my personal brand."
"My first goal was to merge my lives. I had a work life and profile, a personal life and profile, and a freelance profile. Storytelling ties them all together. It gave me the freedom to be authentic across all platforms and no longer worry if what I shared on one adversely affected another."
Referrals Keeps Her Money Flowing:
"Once I totally understood my brand as a storyteller, I was able to do freelance scripting for events, communications consulting work for small businesses, and become an author. Branding helps people know who and what they are getting when they reach out to you and when they refer you to another friend or business connection. My previous clients share my work and successes because they know the brand and then turn around and reinforce the brand when they refer me to another person."
Her Personal Brand Helped Her Grow Her Team:
"I work in an industry that historically hasn't been very transparent. As a storyteller, I have to explain to people why the Department of Corrections matters, how the work we do impacts communities, and how the offenders we supervise are entitled to and deserving of second chances. To accomplish that mission, I've had to expand my team and add a graphic designer, a videographer and another Public Information Officer. The team is growing because of my Commissioner's trust in me and the storyteller brand."
By day, she is the Digital Marketing and Communications Manager at Meharry Medical College
By night, she manages her lifestyle brand at JasmineSweet.com where she shares sweet moments with her audience to inspire and uplift them.
Her Brand Allows Her To Share Her Perspective:
"I went to school for broadcast journalism, and I thought I wanted to be a news reporter, but I always had an interest in so many other industries as well. I wanted to be able to live the things I loved, as well as tell them from my perspective. Whatever I'm experiencing, I'm sharing. To be 28 years old, I've done a lot of living and I'm willing to share the ins and outs of it."
Her Goal Is To Stay Authentic:
"It's cliche, but I simply wanted to be my true and honest self and be accepted for just that. That is still my goal. As a young black woman, I'm facing all kinds of adversity. When I build my brand, I'm thinking about women like me, women who've come before me and those coming up behind me."
"My brand is bigger than me."
Her Large Social Follow Attracted Clients & Partnerships:
"As long as I have the internet, I am making things happen by all means necessary. I don't just manage my 9 to 5 and my brand, I have freelanced for a plethora of small businesses and brands. I also serve as the communications manager to Grammy Award-winning artist, Dom Flemons and worked for international recording artist Valerie June as a social media manager for nearly 10 years. Her songs can be heard on shows like Queen Sugar. As my personal brand continued to grow, I started working with brands last August after I realized it could be an avenue of revenue. I was simply blogging for nearly eight years just to tell my story, and now, I'm working with brands to collaborate on the efforts of sharing a true life experience with a product or service."
Her Brand is a Reflection of Her At All Times:
"That same energy that I give my brand and my blog, I give to all other facets of my job. When you're in tune at work, you can be in tune otherwise. Don't neglect your duties at your 9 to 5. That's like robbing Peter to pay Paul and we all know that doesn't work. Moreover, my brand is a reflection of me at all times. I don't want to compromise either situation. The only conflict that I find between the two sometimes is time. I can't wait for the day that I can give 100% to my blog. I can't wait until the day that I can have a staff and a boardroom full of women just like me whom are working their 9 to 5s to stay alive, but remarkably navigating building their own personal brands."
"Building a personal brand while managing a full-time job is no easy feat, but understanding your purpose makes it all worth the while. It means you are controlling your narrative and creating the life you want to live."
*Featured image via Jasmine Katrina
Originally published May 14, 2018