Recently, Carrie Dils wrote a post titled A Personal Brand(s)??, whose basic premise was that she is one person with a lot of brands. That totally seems to describe me as well, and she hit the nail on the head when she said that this is a marketing nightmare. It’s a nightmare that I’ve been struggling with for a while now.
I just published “A Personal Brand(s)??” https://t.co/t4LCM5Gv1B
— carrie dils (@cdils) January 31, 2018
Like Carrie did in her post, I’m going to share what I’m working with. Also like her, this isn’t a brag or anything like that. How scattered I’ve been is actually a little embarrassing.
- Currently, I develop and market plugins. Most of which have nothing to do with each other.
- Conditional Checkout Fields: Provides an easy way to add fields to a WooCommerce or EDD checkout page based on the products in the customer’s cart.
- WP1099: Provides affiliate and multi-vendor marketplace owners a way to export 1099-MISC payment info from their site.
- WP-CRM System: Creates a customer relationship management system inside WordPress. Plus has a couple dozen (ish) add-on plugins for additional features.
- WP In-Post Ads: Allows bloggers to easily insert ads into
the_contentof their posts.
- 14 free plugins on WordPress.org. Some related to the above, some not.
That is what I’m up to now, which is confusing enough as it is. If anyone knows about the rest of my background, the water gets a little more muddy.
- Prior to plugin development I ran a local web design company. Even though I don’t do this work anymore, I still get calls from former clients to do work for them.
- I was an infantry soldier, and I have done work for veteran and military family issues.
- My college degree is in accounting. I worked at a CPA firm and in finance for an insurance company for years. This was the basis for WP1099.
- I even ran an eCommerce business that made it to Entrepreneur Magazine’s 100 Brilliant Companies list (see Ogomo).
My background is weird 🤯.
Personal Branding Challenge
Let’s forget about my past for a minute and just look at right now.
Right now I’m trying to market four separate plugins. That’s four completely different brands on four completely different websites each with their own social media accounts.
How do I (a one-man company) effectively market four different products? There is no one unifying theme around any of them, or even one company brand that ties them all together.
My “personal brand” doesn’t really fit into any bucket very neatly.
But, does that matter?
Will the Nightmare End?
I think it’s fair to say that I’m not going to make my personal brand some unifying force that brings all my products together under one roof.
How could I? In the last 14 years I’ve had so many different career paths, it would be stupid for me to pick one thing and say “yep, that’s what I want my personal brand to be known for”. I don’t know what I’ll be doing in 5 years, and I don’t want to commit to something like that.
At least not now.
Right now I’m happy with the work I’m doing. It’s not easy work, but it’s enjoyable. And, I’ve always been open to trying new things, so if my career ever takes me in a direction that isn’t satisfying, I’m more than happy to switch directions.
Maybe that’s what my personal brand should be all about. Adaptability.
I don’t think I’ll sell much of that though.
The challenge I guess is when I meet new people and they ask what I do. “I’m a plugin developer” is too vague. They usually want to know more, but not too much more. If I describe all the plugins I’m marketing, people zone out after the first one (maybe two). So, how do I quickly summarize what I do?
What if I talk about a plugin that I eventually decide to sell or phase out if it’s under performing, which is something I’ve been considering? Will this add to the confusion?
Like Carrie, I’m genuinely curious.
How do other people maintain separate brands? Do you have a unifying brand to tie everything together? Are separate brands OK? Or are we just overthinking it?