In a previous article "There's More to Selling NFTs Than Just Your Art" we talked about the importance of personal branding as a way to monetize your work. A brand is more than just a logo, font, and colours. It's your story, content, community, and presence. A representation of who you are, your values, and what makes you unique.
Through work, I've done with clients like artist, musician, and community leader, Ed Balloon, in addition to my own work building a web3 brand, I've developed a solid understanding of the many important, and necessary, steps within this process.
The great news? Most of this work is free. With some intention, consistency, and patience we all have the ability to build a meaningful brand in web3.
Start with Personal Reflection
This advice isn't new—if you want to show up authentically, you need to know what you stand for and why you're doing what you do. What is your purpose? Why does it matter? How does it manifest in your work? Reflecting on these questions will help you gain clarity about what matters most to you, and how your personal brand aligns with those values.
While you may be tempted to move this to the bottom of your “to-do” list, I promise you there is nothing more important than starting with this exercise in self-reflection. If done well, it will provide the clarity and confidence you need to jump in and get building and create a strong foundation for your brand to grow and evolve with you over time.
Give Before Asking
Value comes in many forms. We've been conditioned to believe that capital is the most valuable thing we can give to others. What we tend to overlook is:
- the advice, network connections, and opportunities many creators bring to web3 from their previous work experiences
- that support doesn't always mean buying art—sometimes a quote-tweet, introduction, or piece of advice can have a far greater impact
Know the value in these items, give them away, and ask for nothing in return.
Over time these daily acts build trust. People understand that they can count on you to provide support and, in turn, want to reciprocate the support when your time comes.
Consistency is key. These tactics are strategic, intentional, and planned in advance—this is not an accident. Consistency in your content, message, and support helps condition your community to know what to expect from you.
Constantly changing up any of these brand elements will almost certainly cause confusion. When there's confusion, people get tired. When people get tired, they stop engaging.
Find Like-Minded People Online and In-Person
We start with self-reflection to better understand ourselves, values, and what we're working towards. By better understanding ourselves, we’ll also better understand like-minded, values-aligned, folks that are more likely to resonate with your brand
If you want to grow and evolve as a creator, surround yourself with people who share your values and principles, and think critically about the world around them. These are your potential followers and audience, but they’re also potential collaborators and partners. Folks that will help push your artistry and world view beyond the personal boundaries you’ve set for yourself.
Test and Experiment
No one gets it perfect the first time. Or second, 10th, or even 300th. Every time you push content and engage with your audience you are testing a theory—that this is something that will resonate with your community. Some will hit. More won't. What’s important is that you focus on not being afraid to:
- Try new things: if something doesn't work, don't give up. Tweak it and try again. If something works, acknowledge and reflect on it so you can build on its success.
- Make (MANY) mistakes: it takes time to establish yourself as someone people can trust for advice and ideas. Don't get discouraged if others don't understand your vision.
- Ask for feedback: having others share their unique perspectives about your ideas and work will challenge your creative process and personal biases. Your work will thank you for this.
Your early days of NFTs + web3 involved a ton of research and learning. Don't be afraid to approach your personal brand with this same level of enthusiastic exploration. Regardless of your career before web3—legal clerk, accountant, graphic designer, etc.—you have value and experience that can make this space better for all creators.
In Part 2 of Building Your Personal Brand as a Creator in Web3 + NFTs, we’ll explore more tactical, day-to-day, activities every creator should consider when building a brand.