Sophie Milliken is the Founder and CEO at Moja Group. Moja works with entrepreneurs and senior executives to amplify their personal profiles and become known authorities in their industries. A multi award-winning businesswoman and proud mum, Sophie also enjoys supporting the Northeast region. She is a supporter of Northern Power Women and co-founder of City Ladies Networking. She is Chair of Smart Works Newcastle and has achieved huge success delivering the aim of doubling the number of unemployed women supported with interview clothing and coaching across the Northeast and securing Sara Davies MBE as the charity’s ambassador. In June 2021, Sophie became a Founding Ambassador for Every Child Needs a Mentor.
Standing out in your industry can feel like it will take a lot of time and effort. It will but it is completely worth it. To build a strong personal brand, you should focus on a collection of different things which will amplify brand you.
People often think personal branding is simply what you post on your social media, but it is so much more. I discovered the power of personal branding when scaling my first business. I started actively seeking opportunities that would allow me to get known in my industry.
I was a guest on podcasts, authored a book, became a guest columnist for an industry magazine, delivered a TEDx talk, appeared on radio and TV, and won multiple awards. I had always done voluntary work alongside my main role, but I aligned my charity interests more clearly with my work and my own values.
Doing all these activities took time but I had so much fun. Much of these events created great content for social media which helped grow my personal brand further. I noticed two significant things happened because of my efforts. Firstly, when I turned up to sales meetings, my prospective clients were already warmed up. They would comment that they had seen my article or congratulate me on a recent award win. It made the conversation easier, and it felt like they had already decided to buy before I even started my pitch. This significantly increased sales. One article I wrote for an industry publication was posted on LinkedIn which was read by someone who got in touch and went on to spend 70K with us.
Secondly, the more work I did on my profile, the more opportunities came my way. Following my TEDx talk, I was invited onto two podcasts, approached to be an ambassador for a charitable organisation and secured several speaking engagements.
Breaking down the components looks like this:
Winning or even being shortlisted for industry awards creates instant credibility for the work that you do. You can use award badges on your website, in your email signature and benefit from the social media and press coverage in the lead up to and on the night of the awards ceremony.
Attending events online or in person will give the chance to meet and speak to influential people in your industry. There are always connections to be made at these events and opportunities up for grabs. I met a lady at a networking event a couple of years ago who introduced me to the producer of a TV show which then led to a live TV appearance.
Blogs, articles and even writing a book will position you as an expert in your field. It is easier than you think to secure these spots. Craft a great pitch and make it easy for whoever is commissioning the piece. Ask for intros to journalists and speak to others (while networking!) who have been successful at this in the past.
This can take the form of being a podcast guest, or even better, podcast host. Podcasts are still very popular and can be found on a variety of platforms so are easy for people to find. They are fun and create great social content.
Speaking at conferences and events is a great way to get people to talk about you. Taking this one step further and delivering a TED or TEDX talk will give you an awesome showreel you can signpost others to.
Media and Press
Getting onto the radio or TV or being in the press have major credibility and create lots of social content along with strong SEO hits for your name. Your pitching skills will be required to show why you are the best person to contribute and you will need to be pretty organised too as they usually come with deadlines, so you need to act fast.
Power and Influence
Consider joining a charity board as an advisor or trustee. Or look at taking on a non-executive director role for another business. You’ll meet interesting people and learn from board colleagues. There will be social events to go to within the role and again, these will provide those chance conversations that lead to fun opportunities.
All of the above components come together to create your personal brand and identify what you become known for. You are what google says you are so share the outputs of all the above components far and wide through your own and your company social media. Tag relevant people in the posts where appropriate and then be prepared to hear from people who want to know more – and enjoy it!