For the past few days, I’ve been writing a blog called Side Hustle. There, I’ve been trying to identify secondary income streams that are best suited to me, while also offering a broader list to others. I called it a semi-autobiographical guide to side hustles. It was a misguided venture, but a valuable one.
In keeping that blog, I quickly zoned in on the first considerations I think anybody doing anything should make. These are the concerns of your personal branding. Of my personal branding. And I was wrong to jump on a new identity for myself when I have a highly effective brand identity already established. This is my brand audit.
Who I am
So in keeping that new blog, I discussed my aims to set myself up as “the side hustle guy”. That is, I would be the person who could help any other person should they ask to setup their own secondary incomes or side businesses. This isn’t a preexisting facet of my identity, but something I can certainly imagine myself doing. I already have the digital and technological chops to help with that ever-more-important side of things…
And that’s the thing. I already have a brand there. People already know me as the web developer guy, whether or not I’ve done much to foster that. For the past ten years, I’ve worked in web and IT roles starting with a job as a web administrator and quickly graduating to software development. Over that decade, though I haven’t frequently delivered content or branding positioning myself as such, I have established through casual conversation and social media posts that I am a bit of an authority in web and software development. So as I came to discuss branding on the Side Hustle blog, it occurred to me… I’m doing this wrong.
It was a valuable exercise. Actually, since the beginning of the year I have espoused the benefits of writing on another blog called What You Make Of It. It needn’t be writing, I’ve stated, and it needn’t be public, but to just be discussing things in some format with yourself really helps you to zone in quickly on who you are and what you’re doing. Keeping regular notes this past year has helped me to exercise more, to write and read more, and to be more productive. And writing about branding for Side Hustle taught me something else: I am a web and software guy, and I need to seize the opportunity to say that.
I spent about an hour then going over myself and my content, deciding what was the best thing to do for my brand. Not for Side Hustle, not for What You Make Of It, for me. The questions raised were, “how am I already regarded?”, “what do I have the capability to deliver in that regard?”, and “what market(s) benefit from those capabilities?”. I have a long list now of offerings which I can set up, and I’m working on a sort of flow for their delivery that might best help those markets. Stay tuned.