A personal brand is your reputation at scale. It's key to achieving your business goals and shaping the online legacy you rely on. Amelia Sordell, CEO and Founder of UK personal branding agency Klowt, shares her story, practical advice, and learnings as a business leader on Salt's Creating Futures podcast. We hope this interview is the push you need to take steps towards building or refining your brand online!
I'm the founder of the personal branding agency Klowt. I started my business during the pandemic, and three years later, I'm sitting in Klowt's office in central London.
I have always been an entrepreneur, and unsurprisingly, my first job was in sales. I started a women's wear business at age 21, initially doing very well but failing in year two. I then went into recruitment and advanced from Talent Advisor to Team Leader in just 12 months before managing marketing for recruitment consultants and agencies. That's when I learned that human-centred marketing delivers real results.
Amelia on personal branding
My bread and butter, and Klowt's bread and butter, is personal branding. Personal brand is just a fancy marketing term for reputation, but personal branding is a strategy focused on that reputation to build the brand you want to be known for.
For example, I want to be known as someone good at sales, an expert in personal branding, and someone who builds businesses. My strategy to achieve that reputation is to post content focused on these topics: to talk about sales, personal branding, and my business. Because this is what is going to get me closer to my goals. I don't care if I have a million likes on TikTok - I don't even care if I have a hundred - because that is not my goal. I want to be famous or recognised by the people I need to be recognised by to achieve my goals.
What people need to understand about personal branding is that you need to be a slightly more energetic, amplified, objectified version of yourself to achieve the results you want. Personal branding is your reputation at scale; it's shaping what you want people to think about you when you're not in the room.
Amelia on growing up and gaining confidence
When I was younger, I experienced a lot of anxiety speaking to strangers. I was terrified of talking to people I didn't know because I lacked confidence and self-esteem with anyone outside my immediate circle. This continued until I was about 30 and manifested in various ways.
I'm confident at work because I know I'm good at my job. And I'm confident in being a mum because I know I'm good at being a mum. But I didn't know who I was outside of those two identities. Then, the pandemic happened, and I was forced to sit within the four walls of my house in an unhappy marriage with two children and consider whether this was the life I wanted for myself.
Most people romanticize having a 'lightbulb' moment, but I think it's a build-up over time. For me, it was undoubtedly a build-up over time, but then there was a moment one day when I thought, "I'm done. I must do something about this." I had £1,400 ($2,900) in my bank account and was the family's only breadwinner. I had two children to feed, a mortgage payment due, and childcare to pay for. If my plan didn't work, I was f**ked. But what was the alternative?
Amelia on bravery as motivation
Bringing a bit of the bravery I felt starting Klowt to one or two people daily drives my passion. We have a massive neon sign on the wall of our office that says, 'Just f**king post it', and that's my mantra. But it's easy for me to say because I've been through that trench; I've already made the brave decision, jumped off the cliff, worked out how to build the parachute, and now I'm at the bottom yelling, "Come on guys, it's fine!"
You absolutely must be a coach. You must hold people's hands, but at the same time, you also need to push them off the cliff because most people won't take the risk - even if they're capable of overcoming it.
Amelia on business lessons
Everything is 'figureoutable'. There is very little you can do that's going to end your business. You can come back from bankruptcy; you can come back from a bad credit score; you can come back from failing and bankrupting a company like I did, needing to return to the workforce, then being a 30-year-old divorcee with two babies and sole responsibility for the family's income.
You just have to be willing to put yourself out there to come back from the challenges in front of you because if you sit in a corner and cry about it, you won't make it out. You have to be prepared to learn how to swim.
Amelia on career advice
It's just not that deep. Most things don't matter. If you get bad feedback, action it. If you get fired, no worries. Most of us have been at some point. You still have the rest of your life to live.
Ask for stuff, particularly if you're a woman. The worst that will happen is someone will say 'no'. So, you move on and are in no worse position than you were before you asked.
Don't be afraid of working sh*t jobs for sh*t employers. Many jobs aren't always good, not because the people running those businesses are inherently bad but because they don't have all the answers and don't have time to find them.
Work isn't always going to be fun, but if you enjoy more than 50% of what you're doing, you may have landed the dream job!
Listen to the full interview with the incredible Amelia Sordell on the Creating Futures podcast on Spotify or watch the interview on YouTube.