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Personal branding for service-based businesses means dream clients, more profits and doing what you love

I used to have one of those dream clients who had standing appointment, tipped well and always gave me a Christmas bonus.

She never complained about my work, even if her gel polish was all gone when she came back, which was about half the time.

Once, I referred her to a friend. The next time I saw her, I was surprised to seee all 10 nails intact.

Me: “Did you enjoy seeing my friend?”

Her: “Absolutely not! She was so boring, she barely talked and I just can’t have anyone else do my nails!”

Me: “But she did an awesome job!”

Her: “Oh yes, my nails lasted and still look perfect. But she doesn’t compare to you.”

Me:

That’s when I realized clients don’t come to me just for nails.

And they don’t go to you just for your services, either.

People can get great nails, amazing nail art or a delicious foot massage anywhere.

But the unique experience *you* create in every human interaction?
There’s only one place to get that.

If you don’t believe me, poll your clients. Ask them why they see you. You’ll probably hear a lot of, “You’re great at your craft, but I really love your X, Y, Z!”

Call it your special sauce. Your je ne c’est quoi. Your unique selling point.

I call it your personal brand.

Yes, you are a brand. It’s not like Coke or Pepsi, but we all have personal brands…whether we like it or not.

Personal branding is the ongoing process of creating the image or idea people have when they think of you. It’s an automatic thing that happens to help people know what to expect when they interact with you.

When it comes to marketing your service-based business, strong personal branding is essential in order to stand out from the crowd. It’s my humble opinion that the reason 95% of beauty pros quit before 5 years is because they don’t know how to build a strong and marketable personal brand.

What does a strong personal brand accomplish?

😍 Build an audience of potential clients

😍 Attracts your dream clients who pay well, behave well and want all your services

😍 Repels nightmare clients who haggle, don’t tip or buy retail

😍 Crafts your dream service menu so you enjoy every second of your work

😍 Paints a picture of your killer client experience

😍 Builds your niche (“Nail Art Specialist”, “Extreme Enhancement Specialist”, “Nail Blogger”, etc.)

😍 Builds relationships with industry peers and brands if you want to be sponsored or educate

People will brand you no matter what, so you might as well take charge of yours and create the image you want to have.

If you’re less than thrilled with the clients who are in your chair, take a look at the image you may be projecting.

Do the ways you talk, dress and act speak to your dream client? Or do they speak to a different kind of crowd?

If you don’t know, ask your clients why they choose to come to you. Look for commonalities between clients’ answers. Notice if a certain “type” of client gives similar reasons than another type of client.

Does asking people for their opinion sound scary?

Don’t forget that you’re asking for feedback first and foremost to grow your business. While your business may feel personal to you, it’s just business to your clients. They are literally trading money for a service and automatically receive the perk of your special sauce, but it’s 100% transactional.

Be open to what they have to say. Chances are, it’s going to be much nicer and kinder than you thought.

Is it still a little scary? Answer this question first:

What do you want to be known for?

Jot down a few bullet points or journal out a few pages. Think B-I-G picture.

List your favorite services and the ones you could rock to the moon and back.

Include the soft descriptors like creative, compassionate, cozy, edgy, egalitarian, educated.

Throw out the current parts of your business that you don’t love–”No booze for clients, just teas, please!”

When you’re clear on what you want to be known for, then go into research mode.

Survey your clients to find what matches. Learn where your ideal personal brand intersects with the personal brand you’ve already created.

Now you’re ready to create an action plan to refine your personal brand and blow the ceiling off your service-based business. Use your findings to create a strong brand that will bring dream clients to your chair and more ease and flow into your whole life.

I’ve seen hairstylists maintain their income while cutting back hours. I’ve helped nail professionals hit that elusive 6-figure revenue mark. And I’ve helped bodyworkers prebook fully. All by simply getting intentional with their personal brand.

Would you like help honing your personal brand to get more dream clients in your chair? I have single strategy sessions available just for this purpose. Check out the calendar and book your appointment here.

Let’s hear from you: what do you want to be known for in your business? Leave a comment below to declare it and make it happen.

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