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Where did you say your office was? From employee to entrepreneur- How to build your entrepreneurial identity

If you’ve been brave enough to make the leap from employee to entrepreneur, you may have suddenly found yourself having to rebuild ‘brand you’. You and everybody else knows you are a great employee, but does your employee brand automatically transfer to the new entrepreneurial you? For most of us going from large established organisations to suddenly working from a kitchen table, there are no swanky offices, strong brands and a good reputation to hide behind. You may feel that the ‘you’ you know and love, the ‘you’ you’ve been creating for years has faded away. Here are a few points which will help you create your new identity, brand you!

  • Who is the real you?

Your brand, your mission and your purpose should be an extension of you. If you’ve thought carefully about what your product represents, then you should already know who you are as a person. Channel that person in every meeting, your marketing material and every service or product that you offer.

  • Time to talk about yourself more

Speak to as many people as you possibly can about your project. Your friends will get tired of listening to you talk about your work, however, the more you talk about yourself as an ‘entrepreneur’ the easier it is for yourself to except your new identity. “The external world of our society plays a huge role in defining our self-identity.” In other words, connecting your internal identity (how you see yourself) to your external identity (how others see you) may help put the building blocks of your new identity together.

  • Love yourself and customers will love you too

Clients will only take you seriously if you take yourself seriously. I found myself negotiating contracts worth thousands of pounds within a few days of my website being up. My new company had zero infrastructure and in my head, it didn’t really exist. New entrepreneurs should refer to their mission, think about what makes you special, what makes your company and the service you are providing different. People buy people, customers don’t care if your office has mismatched furniture but they do care about your work ethic, whether you keep your promises and what their working relationship with you is like.

  • What do you mean you don’t own any taxis?

We have reached an era where companies don’t own anything tangible. Uber doesn’t own any of its own taxis and Airbnb don’t own any real estate. This is the current trend and it is obviously one which seems to work for many, however, in the early days of starting your business, it may be harder for you to talk about what you do when it may seem that there is not much there. Practice describing your business and its model, it will help you to define what it is about and it will build your confidence when talking about it. Write about your business, blog about it or try to get some PR from a newspaper or professional blog. There is a lot of help online on how you can do this.

  • You’re an entrepreneur from the word go

It may take what seems like a century to get a sale. You may think to yourself, I’m hardly an entrepreneur if I haven’t made any money. You are wrong. If you were brave enough to have a dream, to share your ideas with people, to put yourself out there in a very scary world, then you are as entrepreneurial as they come. Go to networking events and meet like-minded people, get a mentor, someone who has been there and who understands the road you are on. Hang in there and repeat after me… you are an entrepreneur.

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