You have the power to design how you are seen by the world, which is a bit intimidating, if you ask me.
To be honest, I still get stressed out when I do a portfolio redesign or update my online profiles, and I’ve been building my personal brand for the last seven years.
Finding quality inspiration helps relieve this stress, though, which is one of the reasons I wrote this post.
The other reason is because when I google “personal brand examples,” all the posts list the same trite (and to be frank, overly spammy) people, so this is my attempt to outdo them with a way better list of the most authentic hidden gems out there.
Whether you need inspiration for your personal website, professional bio, or just some really cool photography ideas, this post has you covered. By the end of it, you’ll know all the different paths to crafting a successful personal brand.
Personal Brand Celebrity Examples
Sarah Cooper is a former Google employee turned writer/comedian. Before she had a personal website, she had her infamous blog, The Cooper Review, which she syndicates on Medium.
Click through Sarah’s website, and you’ll see phenomenal photography of her pretty much mocking personal brands.
She’s half-dressed in one pic, probably poking fun at remote work.
In another, she dramatically flips her hair, again probably poking fun at some of these outrageous women “gurus.”
TLDR: Her photography is on point—absolutely perfect for a comedian/humor writer.
Her personal brand is consistent.
When you google “Sarah Cooper,” everything you find is about her and consistent. You’ll either discover her hilarious, hand-drawn comics or pictures of her, like I just showcased above.
Her website also has a very consistent look and feel.
Notice how the color palette, fonts, logo, and images all match. It’s a prime example of a perfect personal website because:
It showcases her personality.
It’s centered around one main theme—comedy.
It’s well-structured, broken up into brief pages based on what she does.
It provides links to her social media, which is also consistent with her brand.
Her personal bio is funny, yet impressive.
I like how Sarah offers two options for learning more about her by providing a short bio and a longer bio.
If you want to learn more, just click “I want the life story,” which leads me to another thing I love about her website… Her personality is even injected in the microcopy (e.g. the button text).
The reason I’m so focused on how personable her website is is because likability matters in life.
While “people will pay you for things they love,” they’ll pay you even more if you’re someone they love on top of it.
“Likable people are more apt to be hired, get help at work, get useful information from others and have mistakes forgiven. A study of 133 managers last year by researchers at the University of Massachusetts found that if an auditor is likable and gives a well-organized argument, managers tend to comply with his suggestions, even if they disagree and the auditor lacks supporting evidence.” Source
Paul Jarvis is sort-of like an underground personal brand celebrity.
Even though he looks really young (which he says is due to being vegan), Paul has been freelancing since the 90s.
You’ll instantly pick up the same lovable tone regardless of what you’re reading. You just can’t help but like Paul after reading his stuff, which leads me to my next point.
Not only does Paul show off his personality in his copy, but also in his minimal design. Paul loves minimal. You can even see that his house is minimal in this video he did for the Creative Class.
If you follow Paul, you’ll also discover that he loves rats and actually has a few pet rats. Couple that fact with this post about “finding your rat people,” and you’ll begin to see the point of his minimalistic, pink rat logo.
He nonchalantly advertises himself.
Read the above screenshot. It’s his newsletter subscribe page, and it’s impressive.
He took a stellar testimonial, made it the headline of his subscribe page, and then killed the first line: “I hear that a lot,” which makes you think “damn, this guy is legit.”
And it’s because Paul is super legit.
He teaches what he knows.
Before Paul created courses, he wrote for prominent publications, including but not limited to: Fast Company, Newsweek, Forbes, and Life Hacker.
That’s how he grew his audience. It’s something personal brands must do today.
Marie Forleo is an is an American life coach, motivational speaker, author, and the host of Marie TV.
She is practically a full-fledged personal brand celebrity at this point, showing off pics with Oprah and Tony Robbins on her site.
What I love about Marie
Her story is compelling, relatable, and makes sense.
The post shared her story about how she got into doing what she does today. Not only did I totally relate to her story, but I also began to see how the dots connected to who she is now. That helped me identify with her and instantly like her.
Before I read it, I tuned her out because she looked like just another self-help guru with big hair and perfectly concocted outfits.
This is why your story is so important. It makes people relate to you and, therefore, like you. It also allows you to explain your “why”—why you do what you do. Show me the passion, people!
Ramit Sethi is the author of I Will Teach You to be Rich (a blog and a NY Times’ Best Seller) and the founder of Growth Lab, a place for entrepreneurs to learn how to grow their businesses.
What I love about Ramit
His content is phenomenal.
Ramit taught me everything I know about negotiation. I wholeheartedly believe if it wasn’t for Ramit’s content, I wouldn’t be making the money I’m making today, especially when half of my peers are underemployed or unemployed.
He has a likable personality.
Ramit is like a cool nerd. He can teach you so much stuff because he’s so smart, but he’s also extremely likable because he has a great personality that he injects into his brand (in his copy, videos, etc).
His photos show his transformation to today, so while his current persona (who is mad rich) may not be relatable to you now, his old broke college student persona is totally relatable to you in the present.
This gives his audience the feeling they can be mad rich too someday if they read Ramit’s content.
His about page is long, but you don’t even notice because his copy is so well crafted. If you keep scrolling, you’ll notice logos of places he’s been featured as well as a handful of testimonials (with pictures) of the person who wrote them.
Pictures of his everyday students, who have succeeded with Ramit’s help, are a nice touch because it increases trust with his audience and makes him relate even more.
Then, at the end of the page, he has three calls-to-action (CTAs):
Earn more money
Find your dream job
Save more money
Whichever one you click tells Ramit what you’re interested in. So if you provide your email to get the free download, then he’ll segment it into the list that is most relevant to your interests, based on the one you clicked.
This a super smart way to cater to multiple audiences on the same site.
Personal Brand Examples for Students
Lily Herman is a freelance writer, editor, and digital strategist, and her work has been published on Teen Vogue, Allure, Glamour, Refinery29, TIME, Mashable, Business Insider, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, and more.
I discovered Lily’s writing on The Muse, and I included her because she’s a prime personal brand example for students.
What I love about Lily
Her website is simple yet impressive.
Lily lets her achievements speak for her. Take a look at her bio:
Can you say, “WOW?!”
She opens with a long list of notable publications that any visitor would recognize, which makes you keep reading.
Then she breaks up her achievements into easy-to-digest bullet points, in which she QUANTIFIES things she’s done.
She’s the founder of Get Her Elected, a political network of over 2,000 volunteers offering their skills pro bono to more than 220+ progressive women candidates running for office.
From February 2013 to May 2016, Lily was the co-founder, editor-in-chief, and CEO of The Prospect (TP), the largest student-run college access organization in the world. The site had over 400 student volunteers worldwide (all under the age of 22) over the site’s three-year span and has had over 6 million page views to date.
She links to everything.
You can easily stay in touch with Lily by following her on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, and if you click through, you’ll notice she’s active on all platforms.
In fact, she’s practically a celebrity on Twitter as she has the “verified” badge and a healthy following to follower ratio.
Her bio is also impressive, and she makes it easy for people to get in touch with her by providing a professional email address.
Last but not least, I like how her profile pic is pointed toward the “follow” button. Eye-tracking studies have proven that this increases conversions (e.g. the number of people who click “follow,” in this case).
Aja Frostfreelance wrote her way through college. Her writing has been featured literally everywhere you can imagine online.
Today, she’s a senior SEO strategist at HubSpot, where she’s worked since graduating a few years ago.
What I love about Aja
She features well-known logos on her site.
Aja’s site is also simple but impressive because she features logos from very well-known media outlets and brands she’s worked with.
She includes testimonials.
I love how she includes meaty testimonials from prominent editors who have loved working her. This is a prime example of stellar “social proof.”
Her social media is consistent and professional.
Take a peek at her LinkedIn bio, because that’s how you write a great LinkedIn summary!
And here’s a screenshot of her Twitter, which has more than 8,000 followers and prominently links to an impressive brand (HubSpot) in her bio.