Branding: Starting from Scratch

You have aspirations. You want to be known as an expert of something. Maybe you want to start a blog. Maybe you want to write a fiction book. No matter what  it is, in the beginning, you’re not what your aspiration is.

You may even think that this is a Catch-22, where to establish yourself as the thing, you have to be that thing to establish yourself as that thing. How can you be an author if you haven’t written a book yet?

At this point, it may feel like you have to be a magician to conjure your aspiration into existence before anyone recognizes that you ARE who you want to be.

You can start establishing yourself as a writer even before you’ve finished the book.

You can establish yourself as an expert, a blogger, or something else. I’ve done it, not once, not twice, but multiple times in multiple venues. I’ve even helped other people and groups do it.

It’s generally the same process no matter the venue and for whatever thing you’re trying to conjure.  At first, the thing (acknowledgement for your expertise, your identity as a writer, or your identity as … you name it) doesn’t exist and then you conjure it into existence. So how do you do it?


The first thing is that it starts with your mindset. What is a mindset? 

According to Dr. Aparajita Jeedigunta, a Certified Professional Coach and Social-Personality Psychologist, your mindset is simply your internal framework — the core beliefs and assumptions that you make about yourself that dictate not only how you see yourself and your future potential, but also how you show up in all the spaces in your life and interact with the world around you. 

One problem you may run into is imposter syndrome, which can get in the way of fully realizing your mindset. “Imposter syndrome is something that afflicts all of us at some point or another in our lives, usually when we are about to do something that’s out of our comfort zone. It is that inner voice of doubt that tells us that we may not be good enough, or that we are just faking our competence until we get called out on it,” Dr. Jeedigunta explained. 

What are ways you can overcome imposter syndrome? 

  • Recognize when you’re having thoughts of self-doubt.
  • Stop comparing yourself to others and focus on what you can do.
  • Reframe your ideas of failure as learning moments.
  • Acknowledge your own growth and accomplishments.

If you don’t believe you’re an expert or writer when you do have the knowledge or have the skills, no one else will.

It exists and it has a name

The second action step that you need to take is to create content that shows that the thing exists.  I’ll use an example from what I’ve done. 

I was part of a grassroots group. In the beginning, it was a weekly protest, but the leaders had aspirations of being more than that. They wanted to be seen as movers and shakers in local politics, a force to be reckoned with.  

What I did first was make sure that the protest was more than a transient event that evaporated as soon as we packed up our signs and drove home. I made sure that I blasted photos and quotes from the protestors all over social media. I taught them that they should not only promote upcoming events, but once the event happened let people know that it did.  I got them to comment on the posts and repost the posts. I made sure we seemed omnipresent. 

I created a name for the event and promoted the name. I made sure everyone else involved in organizing the event used that name.  There’s power in naming things. 

Eventually, between the work I did and the other organizers did, the weekly protest became a thing.  

If you build it … you have to build it

If you build it, they will come … eventually. It’s not enough to promote something and name it, you also have to build your thing. What do I mean by that?  

If you’re an expert and are just beginning to establish yourself, you have to show people that you are an expert by being an expert and creating expert content. You might ask, how?

I’ll tell you. Answer questions posed on social media. Write articles for platforms like Medium or on your own blog. Show that you know what you’re talking about. 

If you’re establishing yourself as a writer and want to show people that you are, post about your process and use hashtags that will get your posts noticed by the right people.

And most importantly, get other people to say that you’re the thing.  The expert.  The writer. The thing you’re trying to establish yourself as. 

One of my passion projects is community building within the indie creative community. I turned a group chat into a group that is now becoming a community that people are wanting to join and are inviting their friends to join. 

My first goal in doing this was getting the chat members to buy into the idea of being a group that did things, like cross promotion. One of the things that I did was when the group members did shoutouts, I’d name it. I’d say something like this is so great, we are stronger together. Slowly, I got buy in. 

Then we decided to do a joint promotion giveaway. I took the opportunity to share my vision of what it could become.  From there, the group members started saying that we were a thing. Then after making friendships with influencers, like bloggers, they started calling us a thing.

Now we are a growing thing.  That thing is a vibrant, international group of supportive creatives. 


1. Mindset. You must believe that you are your aspiration. 

2. Show others you are your aspiration by doing what you aspire to be. Promote yourself by showing others that you are doing what you aspire others to see you as. 

3. Get others to endorse you. This is the most important thing, because it’s the most powerful. Other people saying you are your aspiration will carry more weight than anything else you can do, especially if that person is trusted in your community. 

You can start where you are marketing yourself. If you’re just starting, you can market yourself. The best time to market yourself is right now. 

©2020, 2021 Michelle Raab, PhD. All rights reserved.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: You may copy up to 50 words without permission, provided that you give attribution, link back to the original post, and do not change the meaning or message.

Proofread by Cassidy Reyne

Do you want to tell your authentic story with your brand?  Do you need to bring your story into focus? Do you use a pseudonym and want to develop a brand around that pseudonym?  If you are a creative or approach your career, business in a unique way and want help in developing your brand or rebranding, contact me.  I offer a service that will give you a personalized plan on how YOU can stand out in social media.  

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