One of the best ways you can create career optionality and stability is to build your personal brand – content creation is the easiest way to do that.
It's not easy though.
Before I started writing online, I had a biggest fear of putting myself out there.
I was scared of what people would think of me, if people would call out my writing, or people would think I’m self-absorbed.
It paralysed me for months from doing anything about it, even though all the ideas were in my head.
I’ll be distilling 3 personal concerns I had to building my personal brand and 3 counterarguments if you’ve experienced the same fear.
Concern 1: “No one will care what I have to say"
This concern is natural from the general insecurity that what we have to say isn’t interesting to other people.
Tim Ferriss has said that “Everything I do is scratching my own itch, because if I do that, at least I know I have a guaranteed audience of one.” There is immense value in writing even for the sake of mental clarity and making your ideas cohesive.
If you aren’t convinced by this, ask yourself before you write: “Will this be interesting/useful to at least 1 person in the world?”If this answer is “yes” or “maybe”, then you should share what you have to say.
Not everyone is going to read what you write. Some of my closest friends from high school don’t read my work, but they’re not the target of my writing.
What fuels me is when a stranger reaches out to me saying how they learned something new or connected with my personal experience after reading my blog. There will often always be another person that can learn from your writing.
Concern 2: “No one will care what I have to say"
This concern falls into the bucket known as imposter syndrome.You don’t need to be an expert or professional to share work you’ve done, lessons you’ve learned, or experiences you’ve had. Just start.
What you’ll find is that:
A. Documenting is powerful
Gary Vaynerchuk has the mantra “document, don’t create.” His philosophy is that nothing you create needs to be perfect, all that matters is the fact you’re producing.
And it can be as simple as documenting your journey as a university student through your career – the decisions you make, why you do so, and the things you learn. Many content creators regret not starting earlier and documenting their journey.
B. The more you write, the more you become an expert
The more you produce content on a specific topic, the more you’re going to eventually dig into the weeds of things and grow your domain knowledge. After a year or two, the amateur in you or feelings of imposter syndrome can subside – all that matters until then is consistently writing and learning till that point.
Concern 3: “People will think I’m self-centered”
When I’ve watched a helpful YouTube video, read a book or article, not once have I thought that “this author is self-obsessed for sharing their knowledge and experiences.”
Chances are you haven’t as well.
Provided whatever you’re writing is interesting and useful, people don’t think this – and, another truth is that most people are concerned about their own lives.
While friends and family may comment, they’re likely trying to be constructive or supportive – 95% of their time will be spent on their own personal concerns.
I try to remind myself of this Eleanor Roosevelt quote: “You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realised how seldom they do."