Have you ever wondered why some people seem to land business seemingly out of nowhere? They show up at a place and phone calls roll in, emails land in the inbox, and even social media mentions pop up.

It seems like these fortunate souls are getting business out of nowhere, but that’s just an illusion. In truth, they’ve put a lot of work into making that business happen. You see, people who know how to leverage their likability and competence into a personal brand get more business than those who don’t. In business, it’s not just about what you know. It’s about who knows you and knows what you do.

When you run a service business based on your capabilities, you’ve got to know how to connect with your audience. You need to know how to allow people to like you and know what you do, so they can do business with you — or send business your way when they come across someone who has a need you can fill.

Sow how can you become more likable and show people what you do? You do this through the power of your personal brand.

Put simply, when you’re in a service business, likability + competence = power of your personal brand.

If you’re not likable and you don’t show that you can actually do the job, then your personal brand won’t have any power. Your personal brand won’t help you land clients, deals, and gigs. But if you can show that you are likable — meaning people enjoy you and enjoy doing business with you — and you can show that you can solve their problem or help them in the way they need helping, then you will leap ahead of your competition that hasn’t figured this out.

Tips to land business — based on the strength of your personal brand

1. Smile. It sounds simple, but you’d be surprised at the number of people who don’t smile. So when you’re out meeting people and engaging, take the time to smile. And make sure it’s a real one. Get your eyes and your mouth involved. If you smile only with your mouth, then it’ll be spotted as a fake right away and that bit of trickery won’t do you any good. In fact, it will backfire. The person you are trying to woo with your smile will instinctively conclude that you are a fake or disingenuous person.

You might think smiling only involves face-to-face meetings, but that’s not true. It involves phone calls and what you do online also. Smile when you answer the phone. Yep, smile. It shows up in your voice! You can sometimes use emoticons or lighthearted language online, when appropriate. And when it’s not appropriate to use such, be careful to monitor the tone of what you are writing. Remember, determining tone can be difficult online, so if you’re making a joke or saying something that will come off sounding mean and harsh and not funny, skip it.

Nobody is doing business with you if they don’t like you or think they will enjoy the experience.

2. Inspire trust. Inspiring trust means being true to who you are and doing what you say  you will do. Show yourself to be someone who is honorable. Your actions must match your words. And remember, nothing is really secret online. So be sure to make sure even what you say via social media matches what you say in person, on your own website, and elsewhere.

3. Show knowledge. This means sharing information that shows you know what you are talking about. You can do this via blog posts, books, speaking, etc. Get known for the thing you want to get business for doing.

4. Display competence. Do the thing you do. Competence is about being able to perform the task at hand in a satisfactory way, based on your knowledge and experience. If you only talk about doing a certain thing but don’t do it, you can’t show competence. So make sure you are working in the area you want to get business. You can show competence by having testimonials from clients on your website and in your promotional material like your brochure. You can also show competence by conducting workshops and demonstrations. If you are just starting out, this can still work. Work (on a limited number of projects) for free or at a lower rate to gain the experience and ask those clients to provide testimonials attesting to the great job you did.

5. Be proactively helpful. You’ve got to put yourself out there, so others know you are available to help them. If you never market yourself or let it be known that you have this ability and are available to help them, then you won’t be able to bring in the type of business you want.

Following these five tips will enable you to build a personal brand for doing the work you do. This personal brand can speak for you when you show up at social events, business functions, and even casual outings. You become known for the person you are and the work you do, and this can lead to new business as more people tell others about you — whether they have actually worked with you or not! The beauty of the power of a strong personal brand is that it extends far beyond those who know you personally or have actually worked with you. A personal brand can inspire confidence in those who have never worked with you, but have only heard of you or your work.

A strong personal brand is important in any business endeavor, but especially a service business built on your skills or expertise, such as writing. As a creative entrepreneur, who you are is just as important as the writing, design, and creating you do. It all plays into the personal brand that separates you from others doing similar work and looking for business.

If you take the time to invest in how you present yourself and show how well you do what you do, you too can be one of those people who can inspire confidence and gain new business simply by showing up.


Monica Carter Tagore is the author of the upcoming Connect and Conquer: Grow Your Business, Organization, and Career Through Online and Offline Relationships. Join our mailing list by clicking here to be among the first to hear when it is published. Visit for more information on connecting to your audience through social media, story, branding, and more.