Published in Non-Clinical

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Building a Personal Brand

This is editorially independent content
5 min read

Discover five key missteps optometrists should avoid while building their personal brand.

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Building a Personal Brand
Creating your personal brand is the biggest topic for young professionals. There are so many lists of what to do to build your personal brand, but there are some things that you should avoid.
Here is a countdown of the top five mistakes that someone can make when building their personal brand.

1. Going on a branding journey alone.

There are so many people who have created successful personal brands. In the optometry community, it is easy to find someone who has created a personal brand and is willing to share their experience. Optometrists are building their brands on LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, podcasts, or in optometry organizations.
Ask them about how they created their brand, what they wish they would have done differently, and any advice they’d like to share with you. With this knowledge, you are able to avoid pitfalls that may have slowed down your branding journey. Gain knowledge from those who have already started to pave the way!

2. Focusing on appearance rather than substance.

A majority of our time is spent on social media platforms, consuming incredible images and learning about people’s experiences in life. The highlight reel of social media can make us sometimes think that we need to only have highlight experiences to share that create our brand.
This thought process can work for a short amount of time, but will not sustain your brand for a long period of time. Create a brand around what is important to you, rather than what the rest of the world desires. People will recognize you and your brand when you have a clear message that is true to you.

It is always a bummer when you meet a person whose brand you admire, and they are nothing like their personal brand. It leads to a lot of distrust of you and your brand.

3. Inconsistency.

Inconsistency could easily be tied into our last discussion around having a message to share. But consistency is such a foundational part of branding, it deserves its own section. Most people think brand consistency is mostly around where and how you show up in the community.
Although this is totally true, it isn't the part of consistency to focus on when you are building your personal brand. Instead, focus on finding what you are passionate about and channeling your energy there. Think about what clinical specialty, business expertise, or unique perspective you can give, and keep that at the center of your personal brand.
Then, when you want to grow, your brand will remain consistent because you have the core of your brand at the center. Over time, people can grow and change. If this occurs, and the center of your brand changes, make sure you are staying consistent with your new change. This will help your brand to be recognizable even in the change.

4. Saying “yes” to any and every opportunity.

When you are building your brand, it is easy to think any publicity is good publicity. However, within that element of truth, it doesn’t do much to build your brand over time. Earlier, we talked about how part of consistency is showing up at that same place over and over again in the community. Picking where you want to show up is an important piece.
It is easy to say yes to every conference, and every meeting. You will become worn out by going in a million directions, and will soon lose any joy in building your brand. Not only will you become worn out, but it is hard for people to know what your passion truly is if you keep saying yes to everything.

Narrow down what you want your brand to be, and focus on building relationships in those areas.

5. Being anything but yourself.

Building a brand can feel intimidating, and it is easy to find a similar brand and duplicate what works. However, these moments are going to show that your brand isn’t authentic to who you are and will become hard to manage as you continue to grow.
Build your brand in a way that excites you and reflects who you are. Others will appreciate your authenticity (including yourself!). You will feel that the brand you have created can guide you to protect your time and energy with opportunities and growth.
For example, my own professional journey has taken turns and changes that were not expected. These changes match my brand and have helped me dive deeper into the parts of optometry I really love. It was easy to move forward with these opportunities because they matched who I was and what I represented!

Closing thoughts

Building your personal brand is a journey that brings great clarity and direction. Not only does it help you professionally, but it can also help you grow personally.
These five pitfalls to avoid will give you great next steps in creating your brand and your impact on optometry. Put in links to go back to your socials so people can find you and your brand!
Kate Hamm, OD
About Kate Hamm, OD

After graduating from UMSL College of Optometry in 2019, Dr. Kate Hamm, OD began practicing at a private practice in Wichita, KS. Optometry and women’s equality are Kate’s passions. She volunteers with the Kansas Optometric Association, co-hosts a podcast on Defocus media: Lunch Date with Rachel and Kate, is the co-founder of the Optometric Compensation Research Group, and she recently completed an internship with Essilor.

Kate loves to connect with her community, and is involved with her local Lean-In and League of Women Voters chapter. Even though she seems busy, you can usually find her goofing around on her Instagram @dr.instahamm with her cat and husband.

Kate Hamm, OD
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