Personal Branding: Honesty

As the sole owner and employee of Best Copy, personal branding is important for me and for my business.

Most of my jobs come from referrals and a good referral is worth its weight in whatever the most expensive commodity currently is. It is one of the many, many reasons I didn’t take my husband’s name when we married last year; my name is part of my brand and I have been marketing myself as such for the past four years. My personal brand and my good name are of the highest importance to me and recently I was thinking about what my personal brand is and it came down to three words: ‘honesty’, ‘friendly’, and ‘informed’. 

I want to talk about how honesty plays a big part in my personal brand.

First of all, I am a terrible liar. When I’m telling a lie, I start smiling like an idiot; it is written all over my face. Second, I have a terribly guilty conscience quite like that of my dearly departed dog, Becki Boo-boo. Becki was sneaky as they come, being a border collie, but she could never hide when she had done something wrong; she would hang her head, her tail would be between her legs and she would look up at you with the whites of her eyes showing. Most of the time we didn’t know what she had done so we pretended to give out to her to alleviate her guilty conscience.

While this somewhat tragic aspect of my personality causes amusement to some (notably my husband) this honesty is a code I work by.

If I do not think you need my help, I will tell you. If I think I am not the right person for the job, I will tell you.

While honesty can sometimes come as a blunt shock, especially when critiquing creative or academic work, I will temper this honesty with friendly informed advice to improve your work. This honesty has proven itself to me and my business again and again. To take a recent example, a student called me in a panic asking to remove the section breaks from her thesis as she had tried everything and could not remove them. I told her I could inform her of the steps to remove the section breaks free of charge but she was so upset and panicked she didn’t trust herself to do it, so I cleaned her document of all the breaks for her. This student was grateful for my honesty and my help and, in turn, she recommended me to a friend, whose entire thesis I proofread and formatted. This small job and my honesty was paid forward in the form of a bigger job that I thoroughly enjoyed.

I think this is why, whenever I think of personal branding, my first thoughts on my personal brand are always honesty.

I don’t want to earn my living off taking money from people who don’t know what they are doing, I want to help and encourage people to make their work the best it can be and honesty is the best policy for this.