Make Your Brand About You

You’ve probably heard advice like this a lot in the online business space:

“Don’t make it about you. Make it about your client.”

“Your [brand/offer/website/copy/content] needs to be about them, not you”

And, of course, there’s truth in this. You know me, I’m all about nuance and context. The value of this advice has to do with making things relevant to your person. That means – create things that are interesting, useful, important to specific people.

Of course there’s value in that. For example, I’m writing this letter here to you, because I think this will be relevant to you. I’m in business, because I KNOW I can help specific people with specific needs. Duh…

But so many of us take this advice to the extreme. We end up trying to cater to the needs of other people (or what we think they need) to such an extent that we begin taking ourselves and our needs out of the mix completely. It’s the kind of patriarchal capitalist martyr BS that those of us conditioned as women are especially prone to.

We are cultured to put everyone else’s needs first. 

It starts small…

We ask for what they want first.

We prioritise their interests, tastes and preferences.

We tell ourselves we can be satisfied with what they want more.

We wait to be told what we should do.

We outsource our decisions to their people’s opinions.
We convince ourselves we’re doing a kindness, we’re being generous by taking up less space and prioritising their needs before our own.

Because our needs, wants, desires, interests, passions, fulfilment don’t matter. They’re not as important as theirs.

Because we don’t matter.

We exist to cater to others. 

Otherwise we’re selfish. And god fucking forbid we’re selfish.

Sounds familiar? Yeah… same.

The further this rabbit hole we go, the darker this shit gets. Yet we do this in our lives and we do this in our businesses.

Here’s the thing. I have absolute faith that you KNOW your people are important. That you put them at the forefront of your mind when you do everything in your business and you try reaaaaaallllly fucking hard to make sure that your brand speaks to them.

“You need to ask yourself what people want” is actually such patronising advice. Like you never fucking thought to think about your target audience when you’re building your business, creating your offers, writing your copy, creating content.

I believe the problem that’s far more common is that in the effort to people-please, you’re leaving less and less space for YOU in your brand, your offers, your content. And you, my dear, is what makes your brand a better fit for your aligned audience than someone else’s. You are not only important. You’re necessary. And you’re the whole fucking point. Otherwise, they could just meet their needs somewhere else.

I’m not writing this Trail Note, because I did a survey and found out that it’s what you want right now. Or because I listened to some marketing guru who said that this is what business owners need to talk about right now if they want people to listen…

Actually, I’d planned another topic for this Trail Note initially. Because it’s something that I know is going to be really relevant to many of you. And a conversation I’ve seen spark some important conversations in the online space. 

It’s good to keep your finger on the pulse of your industry and pay attention to what your people give a crap about. It allows you to respond to what’s current and of value to your people through what you create.

But how often do people not really know what that is or how it looks exactly, until the thing is presented to them?

I know I regularly set out looking for one thing and then find something else that proves to be just what I needed instead (or also).

So I’m not here writing about this, because I know this is a topic you’re looking for. Or because someone asked me a question about making your brand about you. But because I’ve seen how this plays out on the daily. And I give a crap about this. And because I know that you’re here BECAUSE you resonate with my thoughts, personality, perspective and experience. For whatever reason. And that’s why you’ll give a crap about this too.

And if you don’t. You’ll unfollow. And that’s also cool. Freedom of choice is beautiful that way, isn’t it? What a joy, how liberating to not have to please everyone all the time…

Here something else I know to be true – authentic self-expression is magnetic AF.

It draws the right people in through shared resonance.

Because making something relevant, interesting, valuable, useful, important to your person is also about you. It’s that shared relevance, value, interest that aligns you with your right people, and your right people with you.

Your brand is not about THEM vs YOU.

It’s about them AND you.

Bending backwards to fit into other people’s expectations isn’t fun or helping you magnetise your dream, soul-aligned client.

Your brand is about you. Because it’s about WHY what you offer is the best fit for your dream client. And that why – is you.

Which means YOU are relevant to your dream clients. Your thoughts, ideas, experiences and passions are relevant to your people.

That’s why I believe in pursuing what lights you up first, and letting the right people come for the journey with you. Because they’ll want to when they see what you have to offer. When you stand in your power, own your voice, show your personality, do what lights you the fuck up and romanticise the hell out of what you love to do – people shut up and lean in.

You know what the big reason behind so many bland brands, uninspired content and copy-cat offers is? The stuff that’s drowning in the sea of sameness? It’s this constant people-pleasing that’s taught as a golden, unbreakable business rule.

“Make everything about your ideal client…”


It’s like terrible dating advice:

Project a personality they’d be interested in. 

Only talk about what they like on your date. 

Don’t be too yourself. Don’t be too weird. 


You know what’s realllyyyyyy fucking annoying? When people tell you what they think you want to hear. When they placate you, and shape-shift to cater to your personality and needs. At best, it’s inauthentic. At worst – it’s downright manipulative.

So here I am, with a permission slip to make it about you. 

Put yourself back into the equation of the relationship you have with your people. Take the first step – show them who you are and what matters to you.

Fucking make it about you.

Your passion

Your joy

Your experience

Your insight

Your wisdom

Your story

Your life

Your work

Whatever lights you up. What’s relevant to you.

You know what will happen when you do? Those “OMG, I needed to hear this so much” messages will start to pop up more and more.

Because now you actually talk about something that you, as a human on this planet actually feel, experience & navigate. Something you have real thoughts, feelings and insights on. THAT is what makes it relevant to your people. Why? Because YOUR PEOPLE ARE LIKE THAT TOO. They’re also out there navigating that stuff and having feelings about it. So they see themselves reflected in you when you talk about your own human experiences.

I wrote about my distant relationship with my father in one of my emails. And I got a response from someone saying “I felt really seen by that.”

They also have a business and a distant father. They also struggle with validating themselves and feeling good enough because they’ve felt so abandoned. I didn’t write it for them, or about them. I wrote about MY relationship with MY father and MY feelings about that, and how it impacts MY business. Yet THEY felt seen. THEY felt understood. THEY felt less alone in THEIR experience.

I made it all about me. And in turn it became about them, too.

That’s the power of making it about you.

Because whilst you’re absolutely a fucking magical unicorn.

You’re not so unique that no one can ever relate to your thoughts, feelings, experiences or interests.

You could say that what was at play was the power of making my relationship with my father relevant to my audience. But it wasn’t. It was about making it relevant to my experience as a business owner with a personal brand.

We say the greatest, most timeless works of literature have something universal within them, a shared human experience we can all relate to. They’re not about the reader, they’re about the characters in the story, quite often about the author themselves. But the reader sees themselves reflected. And it’s the reader, in fact, who makes it about themselves through this experience of resonance.

What you care about, what you experience, what you think, believe and understand doesn’t have to be the exact same for someone else to be deeply relatable. It’s enough for someone to see a parallel, a similarity to something of theirs for it to have meaning to them.

When I first did my branding and built a website for my photography business, I didn’t do market research, look at trends and try to create something that would appeal to my “target market.” I looked at what felt most me, what moved me and created that.

As a result, every client that hired me said they loved my vibe, my brand and my website. It was a simple DIY site and branding, but it had a TON of personality and all my clients specifically commented on how besides me evidently being a good photographer, it was my unique brand that moved them to choose to work with me.

My dream clients didn’t hire me because my brand was SO THEM. They hired me because it was SO ME. What they love or care about and what I love or care about always overlaps, but in completely unique ways each time.

Which means that I get to be discerning about who I’m for and who I’m not for, but without dimming my true personality or squeezing my multi-passionate and multi-faceted self into a box to suit one specific kind of person. 

I am not in a tight niche. I AM the niche.

As a consumer, I don’t just follow or buy from brands that fit within the exact same style, interest or taste preferences. It’s the ones who are so brilliantly, yet unapologetically themselves that really pull me in. It’s their way of being themselves that resonates most deeply with me as a human. Each of them resonates with me deeply for completely unique reasons.

And so when I felt disheartened with the brand photography industry and what was on offer, I didn’t throw the towel in and assume that’s all people must want. I created things that were outside the box as a solution to what I believed was missing, for my own fulfilment and in pursuit of my own vision.

I didn’t always do things, because I knew that people would want it. Instead, I tried things I knew could be amazing and the right people came as a direct result of me being brave enough to try something new. The ones who’d say: “OMG I was looking for something like this far and wide and just couldn’t find it. I am SO excited I found you. No one else is doing this like you do.”

It didn’t make my business an instant, overnight success or me a millionaire. I’m a long way from there for other reasons. But it did help me book clients who chose to pay well above average industry rates, because they recognised that I was in a league of my own and they were not looking for average, they were looking for a visionary. And you don’t become a visionary by following the crowd, but by giving yourself permission to dream and create outside the norm.

How can you apply all this in your own business?

I’m not telling you to never take the temperature of the room, do market research or ask your people directly what they might want. 

But I am encouraging you, instead of always waiting for permission (in the form of prompts, feedback, input, answers, questions, direct requests…) from your people before you create that content, put together an offer and make decisions about your brand and how you take up space with it – start with your own inspiration, interest and vision. Begin from what burns inside you, what feels natural or relevant to you. See where that can take you and who that speaks to after you’ve given yourself the freedom to create what you love first.

And finally…


Put your passion, fulfilment, needs and desires first. 

Pursue a vision of your own.

Stop discounting the value of YOU.

Let the right people follow.

You don’t need to find that magic thing that people want. You can just do what you want and figure out if it fits or who it fits in the process.

Make it about you. Do it for you.

Don’t worry about what happens if people don’t need, want, resonate with or like it.

The person that doesn’t get why your work is valuable is not your dream client.

The person that hates your content is not your dream client.

The person that doesn’t want your offer is not your dream client.

The person that ghosts your tailored proposal is not your dream client.

The person that thinks your work is too expensive for them is not your dream client.


So stop trying so hard to always please them. Start doing what lights you up.

Make it about you, for once.

And let us cheer you on. Let us shut up, lean in and listen to what you have to offer. Let us be challenged, inspired and moved by you and your work.

Don’t just give us what we’re asking you for. Offer us what we never thought to ask. Offer us what’s on your mind and in your heart when nobody asks.

When you yourself are so turned on by what you have to offer. Your right people won’t be able to look away.

This blog post was originally shared as part of the Trail Notes – a regular email series where I take you behind the scenes and alongside me on my own brand-building adventure. If you enjoyed this and would like more, you can see another example here and here. If you’d like to receive more insights and reflections on the brand journey directly to your inbox – join the Trail Notes here.