Personal branding is one of those buzzwords in the business community that no one actually knows how to define. It seems to be a lot like Potter Stewart’s take on pornography: “I know it when I see it.”

Branding, in general, is how an entity is perceived. What comes to mind when you think of Coca-Cola? Facebook? How about when you think of your best friend? Justin Bieber?

If you’re a Pepsi fan, your impression of Coke may be slightly less favorable than others, but you get the same general idea. Same thing with Justin Bieber — even if you’re a superfan, you probably have a good grasp on how he is perceived by others.

In this world of online solopreneurship, it can often be difficult to distinguish our business brands from our personal brands. For many people, their business brand is their personal brand — think Tony Robbins and, arguably, Oprah. But how about people like Mark Cuban and Donald Trump?

Both men are billionaires with successful businesses, but each business’s brand is separate from their personal brand. In fact, you may not even be able to name a specific business that either one of them owns! They are controversial personalities when representing their personal brands, but their technological, real estate, and other businesses are doing fine, because they are separate.

So how are you keeping your personal brand separate from your business brand? And, perhaps more importantly, how are you honing your personal brand so that people have the right impression of you in their mind?

Here are some ideas to help you determine how your personal brand is doing:

  • Ask your friends and followers on social media what three adjectives come to mind when they think of you.
     
  • Take the Fascination Advantage Assessment to learn more about how the world sees you. Unlike regular personality tests, this one takes the outside in approach.
     
  • Take the Strengthsfinder test from Gallup (bonus: try out their newer Entrepreneurial Strengthsfinder). Compare your results to those from the Fascination Advantage and your friends’ responses. If they’re misaligned, what does that tell you?
     
  • Compare your bios across various social media sites. Are they all telling the same story? Are they telling the right story?

Start thinking about how you, the person, can stand out next to you, the business owner. Ultimately, people want to work with people, not brands, so don’t forget to be a human.