The Wedding CEO: Photography Podcast

How to Re-Define Your Personal Brand in 2024

January 23, 2024 Alora Rachelle
The Wedding CEO: Photography Podcast
How to Re-Define Your Personal Brand in 2024
Show Notes Transcript

Alora reflects on her journey of navigating her own personal brand and how she expresses her intention to change the way she handles her branding from here and her life shared on social media.

She also touches on the choice of having a personal brand versus a business brand and their differences. 

This episode provides insights on personal branding, online privacy, and self-trust, encouraging you to lean into your strengths and trust your instincts in your own journey.

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✨ My Favorite Things ✨

Welcome to The Wedding CEO Podcast, where we discuss all things marketing, sales, and scaling, so you can become the CEO of your life and business. I'm Alora Rachelle, and I've been a wedding photographer for over a decade, and now I'm sharing all of my secrets so you can stop sacrificing your time and make more money like a CEO.

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Disclaimer and a little bit of what's going on in my life because I don't really post that much on social media like I used to. There's a couple of things moving forward. I'm going to be basically revamping what having a personal brand looks like for me. For the past movement that had all of us sharing every minute of our life, trying to be relatable, you know, the messy bun era. I mean, does anybody remember this? If you've been around since at least 2018 when this was going around. I'd mentioned before about the Girlboss movement. 

I have, more than I have wanted to, shared my entire life online. Whether it was my children, whether it was my daughter, every single thing that she was doing and for the time I did think it actually helped me book weddings. Actually, some of my clients would tell me they booked me because they fell in love with my family, my daughter, how I balanced entrepreneurship with her, and my husband and our marriage, and our Sarcasticness. If you haven't seen my Instagram stories every once in a while I'll post some of his iMessages to me, which are just so wild.

But anyway, I have decided moving forward a couple of things. I don't want to share my children's faces on the internet anymore. I have a lot of regrets about this, especially all of the research that I've done in 2020 about what people in the dark web are doing. With images that we post of our children and for some reason, it did not really click to me that I was sharing  every moment of my family's life, you know, essentially without their consent online.

I have gone through my Instagram just these past few weeks and trying to wipe out as much as possible my kids of their faces. Now there might be some photos of them walking away, which if I do post photos of my family, that's going to be the move that I take because I don't know, there was this moment when I was sharing a boomerang of me and Ella or something like that. Maybe I was sharing something with my Wedding CEO group and my daughter was like, who are those people? 

I'm like, that's my students or whatever. 

She's like, do they know me? 

I was like, yeah, probably. Because I have shared, like, photos and videos of you your whole life. 

She's like, my whole life? 

I was like, yeah. 

She's like, how do they know me my whole life? 

In my head, I'm just like, this is a weird conversation to have with a six year old. I felt guilty that I have been sharing her entire life online for a long time. I mean, for as long as she's been born. I think Instagram stories came out when she was six months. You do the math, right? 

I have been feeling a way about this, but everybody was still sharing like their kids. I'm like, well, maybe I'm just overreacting. Maybe I'm overthinking this because I have a problem for some reason, trusting myself and my gut feeling. I'm always like, maybe I'm overreacting. Maybe this is not as big deal. 

But the longer that I've sat on it, I've recently seen a lot of other business owners, influencers, whatever, removing their kids faces from the internet. Even celebrities do this. Like, I don't even think we know what Mindy Kaling's kids look like. There's a lot of celebrities where they don't even share their kids, or they put a heart over their face.

While I won't be doing any of that, I just think I'd rather share the back of their head or them running away or something like that. But it feels nice to know that their privacy will be saved. Because I was on the internet where I get all my information, I suppose. 

But there is a comment saying, our kids response, we're going to pay in the future, for how much information, non-consensual photos and memories that we have put of our kids online. I thought about it, and a part of me, honestly, has shared so much on Facebook that I honestly just want to deactivate the account, but guess what? In the terms and conditions of Facebook from the beginning, those images aren't really deleted. When you delete them, they are still in the internet forever. 

I remember that early Facebook, there was a huge controversy about it. Why do you guys post so much of your life on Facebook? Don't you know that once you delete it, it's never deleted? It's just stored somewhere else in the internet? That is terrifying. It even makes you wonder, like, when you're dead, do you really pass away if you're online forever? 

Anyway. Unnecessary. funnel of emotions and feelings. But for me, my decision while my son is actually turning three this week. Yay, we made it. He's three years old. While my son is turning three, while my daughter is still young and six, I'm like, I can still save this. I can still salvage their life, keep their privacy. Honestly, If I'm going to be super honest and transparent, I don't want my daughter to have social media until she's old enough to be able to balance her own mind instead of having all of this information shoved down her throat and her brain telling her how to act, how to look, what to have.

I'm so glad that I didn't get Facebook until I was 18, 19, which is when I didn't get Facebook until we all left high school and I think that's when it was starting to take off. It just stopped being open for colleges, it started being open to the public around like 2008 or something like that. I'm so glad that I didn't get it until then.

I know I'm not going to be able to protect her from everything, but she will not be having social media in elementary school. She will not have social media in middle school. The most fragile time of her adolescence, her mind is not going to be affected by the garbage that is unregulated on the internet.

Why am I sharing this with you? It's something I feel. I never really share personal life and stuff updates. I always get straight to business. But I've always wanted to talk about this, but I didn't want to have a whole episode dedicated to it. 

But all that to say, moving forward, I'm going to be kind of changing what having a personal brand looks like for me. I will be sharing what's working, what's not working, what makes me feel comfortable. Because I guess in a way, it kind of goes into what we teach inside of our program about having a brand story. People are always like, I want to be like a faceless account or I don't like sharing your personal life or I'm very private.

That's totally fine. You can share things about your business that help with your business brand because not everybody has a personal brand. Some people have a studio, some people have and co, or a company, you know, there are different ways of having a business other than your name. A part of me always thinks that if I didn't have my name, it would be so much easier. 

But ultimately, I'm gone down too far if I launched a new studio name, I wouldn't know what to call it. I don't know how it would take off because of how much brand recognition is in my name at this point. I like my name and it's fine. I've gone back and forth about it though, just to be fair. Like I've constantly decided like, do I want to just be known as a company versus a brand, like a personal brand because a lot of weight comes with that. You know, when you make a mistake, it's your name of it's just a company where it's like, Oh, Facebook, I hate Facebook. It's like, this person, I hate this person, you know?

There is so much like comfort in knowing that you can't personally be canceled, but we're in too deep. I mean, if you cancel me, my name is pretty easy to find. It's very unique. There's that too. I just hope I never find it. I'd rather not be on Reddit. I have been down, down the rabbit hole of Reddit, and it is a terrifying place to be.

All that to say is, if you are in a place where you're like, I want to reinvent myself. This year I have plans to do this, or I want my photography business to look like this, or I want my online business to look like this. Maybe take a minute and think do I want a personal brand or do I want a business brand? How am I going to market this brand? Because it all starts with your core values, your brand statement, your personality traits, if it's a personal brand, if it's a business brand, you're going to have to basically build personality for that brand. 

What I mean is when you see commercials of 7 Up, I'm just, I don't know why I'm thinking about Pop, 7 Up, Sprite, Coffee, Folgers, those brands still have a personality or they have descriptor words that describe the kind of client that likes these brands.

You're going to have to figure all of these things out and realize moving forward for the rest of the year, if that's something you want to commit to. If you have a personal brand, like me, and you're trying to figure out whether or not you want to share as much about your personal life, or if you'd rather not, or if you want to do a little bit of this and not a lot of that, that's where I'm at and we can go on this journey together.

But what it looks like for me is what I'm coming up with is sharing one personal aspect and it doesn't have to necessarily be my family. I always thought having a personal brand, you have to share your family. That's not necessarily the case. You can share something about you that is personal that you can kind of choose to share with your audience.

For me, it's home decor, right? I'm probably going to be sharing home decor until I'm finished with my house. Every little project that I do, that will be my relatable piece is my home decor, my style, if I find something on Amazon. You know, stuff like that, I'm comfortable with sharing that, that is not exposing anything of like my life, my family.

I'm totally okay with sharing me and my husband's sarcastic conversations and iMessage every once in a while. He'll do something funny, I'll screenshot it. Me and my audience will have a laugh. People will DM me. I get the most DMs when I share my husband's iMessages, to be honest with you. People are always like, more of Ken! I'm like, he's a very, very introverted person. This is the most you're going to get out of him in real life and online. I'm learning what that looks like for me. 

Then I'm also learning to share parts of my business that really help people understand what it is that I have, what problem it is that I solve. The kinds of solutions that I can give inside of my programs and my offerings and so the personal brand method I'm really taking it apart because I used to think that you had to share three to five things of your personal life constantly. If you share three to five personal things of your life, you're sharing your life your entire life at that point. I only have two hobbies, I like to read books, maybe go for a walk, and there's not much to it.

But if you're sharing that much, it might feel like a lot to people. I'm kind of pulling back the curtain, doing some strategizing, understanding what part of my brand story I want to share. If you don't want to share anything about your personal brand story, like just know that it's fine. That you don't have to, you just share what you want.

People are going to tell you what to do all the time. That is the price we pay for the wealth of knowledge in the online space, in social media, on Google, everybody's telling you what to do. I think, now that I'm on this rant here, the reason why we don't trust ourselves and our own gut is because there's so much information we feel like we have to get validation and approval from someone else and what they're doing and how they're doing it. 

If someone says this is the right way to do it, we just believe them, versus listening to ourself and writing down, I actually don't want to do this, but I want more of this. I want more of this. I want less of this. That's all I want. Like I want a simple business. I don't want to complicate things. I don't want to be on seven different platforms at one time.

I don't want to make five reels a week to go viral. Is there another way? I always say lean into that, lean into your strengths and lean out of your weaknesses. I feel like a lot of times we're always leaning into our weakness to make it a strength, but if you're leaning into your strengths and you're in this place where everything's free flowing or having a good time, you're feeling creative and it's just fun, then it just keeps getting better.

Then I think eventually your weaknesses can be brought into the equation, but you'll be in such a good place, you'll be able to take that head on and be able to work on that because you'll be so strong in your mindset, you'll be so strong in your way of thinking and positive that you'll just be willing to take on your weaknesses at that point. You're like, it's not really a weakness, it's just something I could work on. I can work on this. Now I have like the bandwidth, I have the space to do that.

That's what the personal brand is looking like for me. If you're also a mom, that's feeling the same way that I am about constantly sharing my kids. Some people love it, and I respect both ways. I am not the kind of person that will scroll and be like, I cannot believe they're doing this. It's just kind of like, this is my choice, this is my decision. I felt this way for like two years, and I'm finally doing something about it. Because I didn't trust myself. 

I just kept saying, well, if other people are doing this, then maybe I should calm down. Maybe I'm overreacting. I'm learning this year to trust myself. I have a lot of things that I want to focus on. My personal ins and outs, my personal focuses and one of them is definitely going to be trusting myself more. Stop listening to everyone telling me what to do when I ultimately know what to do always. 

I feel like we always have that innate gut feeling of being like, you know what you need to do, but you're just waiting for someone else to validate what you already feel. But what if we just did the thing that we felt to do? Instead of waiting for someone else to tell us or wasting time trying to get validation for things you don't want. 

Anyway, this is an episode for you if you are feeling like you want to kind of redesign your personal brand or if you just want to change your personal brand into a business brand, or maybe you just want to do whatever you want to do.

That is where the beauty comes. When did we stop being creative and we started being so robotic and so the same? I am leaning into more creativity when I have hobbies outside of business, outside of business books, outside of the industry. While everybody right now is planning their year, I'm honestly just planning a quarter at a time. Which feels really good to me. I have these crazy big audacious goals. But I'm starting them very slowly. 

This year I want to work on a long term marketing strategy. The first three months of this year, I'm just going to be working on building that strategy. Then the next three months, maybe I'll start working on selling better, nurturing better.

Then I'll start working on other things. I mean, that's not related if you're like a wedding photographer, maybe as a wedding photographer. You can focus this year on just solidifying your style, your photography style, your editing style, maybe overhauling and updating your website, refreshing your brand messaging, like there's so much that could be done right now while you have the time to do so, especially while you're booking those clients for 2025. It seems like 2025 is going to be like a huge boom and then the next few months you'll be shooting the weddings and hopefully automating, systemizing, getting help, doing less, letting the business work for you, right?

Then maybe towards the middle end, you overhaul everything, hire somebody, don't hire somebody, outsource something, build a team, don't build a team, or maybe just take it easy. Anytime like a photographer's in our program are like, I am actually not going to burn out in October. I am doing this many sessions a month, or I'm doing one mini session sellout, and I'm just going to take it easy for the holidays and just focus on booking weddings. I'm like, yes. Why do photographers feel the need to book 10 sessions in October and then be absolutely burnt out for Thanksgiving? You're like, ugh, I'm so glad this is over, or I'm so tired, or all these weddings I have to finish, or all these images I have to edit in like 30 days, and it's like, ultimately, we're doing it to ourselves, people. We're doing it to ourselves. 

This episode was kind of a hot mess of all my thoughts. But, if you're feeling me, and you want to let me know that this helped you, feel free to DM I'm there all the time at alora.rachelle.

I will see you in next week's episode. Bye! 

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