Is there anything more audacious than heading over to GoDaddy and buying a domain with your name on it?!
And then building a website all about you?!
When I first launched my personal website three years ago, I slept with one eye open. Waiting for the internet police to come find me and tell me I’m not important enough to have one. Surely I needed a Nobel prize first?
Thankfully for me, I was working at Shopify and a new (free) website was at my finger tips. In fact, building a website was actually going to make me better at my job, and since I didn’t have an idea for an ecommerce store, a personal site was the next best thing. Perhaps it was a lie I told myself to get over my imposter feelings, but hey, my fear shouldn’t be the only one allowed to tell little white lies.
Those first few years, I was writing and re-writing that website… unsure of how to brand myself or what to write about. And herein lies the biggest benefit of building a personal website: to gain clarity on who you are and build the confidence to take up space in this world.
As professionals, we quickly fall into the trap of letting our careers define us, which results in our self-worth being so deeply tied to our output that we end up filling every moment with work. Slowly draining every ounce of creativity, fun, and joie de vivre from our hearts. Hello, burnout.
This past year I’ve been untangling the strings between who I am and where I work.
I’m not amazing because I work at Shopify.
I work at Shopify because I’m amazing.
Having my own online space forced me to keep chipping away at the outer layers of my identity and the fears that hid the full me underneath the expectations of how I should be. Last week’s website relaunch, three years after the original, was me finally embracing what I want my website to be. A space for secretly ambitious professionals to come together and begin taking part in the unlimited abundance of the online world—far, far away from the spammy online marketing crowd that has tainted the online space for many of us.
Because why are we, ambitious professionals, with our fancy degrees and powerful careers, not taking part as well?!
In this capitalist driven world, I am—brace yourselves—creating content for the pure joy of creating content. A luxury that comes with separating my income stream from my content creation. I have no online course to sell you right now. No need for the “let me fix you” messaging to lure you into buying something. Whether I have 1 follower or 1,000 followers, my income remains unchanged.
It took a while for that to sink in for me. That I truly, truly, truly can just show up as myself and make content that I like.
Perhaps I’ve just discovered that the sky is blue, but hot dang. No TikTok dancing-and-pointing-at-thin-air in my future! And isn’t that something to celebrate?!
Amidst all these newfound realizations, I had an interesting conversation with a potential new client. (PS. A life update coming next week!)
This client said something along the lines of “I don’t know exactly what you’re up to these days, but I always see a strong work ethic from you and I trust you”. Could it be so simple that our online brand is nothing more than a taste of what we’re like in the real world? What we talk about at dinner parties? What makes us come alive? What curiosities we are pursuing?
If you’re a professional or side hustler agonizing over how to build your personal brand, it’s time to simply exist online. Forget the “expert” label you think you need.
Have the audacity to buy a domain with your name on it.
To build a scrappy website.
To join the conversation online, whichever way you want and on whichever medium you enjoy.
If you’re looking for permission, this is it.
And if you’re tied up with the overwhelming tech choices, comment below and we can nerd out on strategies, platforms, and all that jazz.