The best way to grow your brand and your business is the way that’s best for you.
So one of the best things you can do for your business is get to know yourself.
What lights you up? How do you best work? When do you work best? What makes things easier for you?
When you understand these things, you can build a brand and business that works for you, and make sure everything you’re doing is as enjoyable and sustainable as possible. The dream, right? Well let’s make it happen with these 15 self-discovery strategies.
Love em or hate em, personality tests of all kinds can be super useful when it comes to understanding yourself better. There are a huge range of them out there, it’s just about finding the one that works for you!
Myers Briggs, AKA the 16 Personalities Test, is the most well known personality test out there. You’ll answer a series of questions and will get a result that’s a combination of four letters that are either:
It’s obviously hard to fit the broad spectrum of human personalities into just 16 types, so while they don’t determine who you are or restrict you in any way, they can help you understand yourself a bit better and put words to things you might not have been able to explain before.
The CliftonStrengths assessment will analyse your answers to a range of questions and rank your performance in 34 different strengths. You can choose to pay to see either your top 5 or all 34. These strengths are split into four main categories:
Understanding your strengths is super insightful because it allows you to lean into those strengths and let go of the things you’re not so good at. Instead of spending time, energy, and resources on the things that aren’t your strengths, you could outsource those or simply let them go. Then you can focus on the things you are good at and build a business that embraces and optimises for those.
A free alternative to the CliftonStrengths test is High 5. This is another strengths assessment that does essentially the same thing but is broken down into the following different categories:
If you don’t want to pay for CliftonStrengths, or want to give them both a go, I’d recommend trying High 5. I’ve had clients who have preferred this one, so worth a try for sure!
The Enneagram is a slightly more complex personality test based on a circular framework that will tell you which of 9 personality types you are, how that impacts who you are, and what that means for your life and business.
This is a free test and there are loads of resources out there for learning more about your Enneagram.
The DISC Assessment is a more corporate personality test that is mostly used to see how you work with others. It’s shaped like a disc that is split into four quarters, labelled D, I, S, and C, standing for:
Doing this assessment will give you a score for each part of the disc and an analysis of your personality type, including sub-types for each of the different categories.
Although this test is mostly applicable if you are in a team or still working a part or full-time job alongside your creative business, you can still learn a lot if you’re working alone. Plus, it’s free, so why not! You’ve got nothing to lose and you never know what you’re going to learn.
When you’re working hard, launching products, delivering services, going to events, creating content, and everything else that goes into being a creative, you’re using up a lot of energy.
It’s important that you know how you’re going to get that energy back and the best way to do that for you, so that you don’t burn out.
Knowing where you sit on the introvert to extrovert spectrum is a really vital part of that.
This isn’t about whether you like being around people or not - that’s a common misconception about introversion and extroversion. Instead, it’s about how you recharge your batteries and regain your energy. After a long day or exhausting event, as an introvert, you’d want to be alone to recover. As an extrovert, you might want to go out or be around your favourite people.
You might not be at one extreme or the other - this is a spectrum - but understanding where you sit on that spectrum will help you build your business in a way that works for your energy and how your battery needs to be recharged.
Human Design is an astrological personality system based on your birth chart that will tell you whether you are a generator, manifesting generator, manifestor, projector, or a reflector.
This is another way of helping you understand who you are as a person and how that impacts how you interact with the world and your business.
There are a lot of people on Instagram and elsewhere online who share resources about Human Design and tests that will help you plug in your birth date and time to find out your Human Design Chart to see which personality type you are.
Journalling is my favourite way to get to know myself better, because I can get my thoughts, feelings, and questions out of my brain, including the ones I didn’t even know I had until I started writing. There are a few different ways to journal, so let’s look at them all now.
Starting things off simply, you can document your day and take note of what happened. Write down the good things that happened, the bad things that happened, the lessons you’ve learnt, and anything else you want to remember.
Having these memories is super nice, but will also be a useful way to see what you’re spending your time on, what sticks out to you, what goals you’re hitting, any milestones that matter, and what you’re focusing on at any one time.
The Artist’s Way is an incredible creative challenge by Julia Cameron that I recommend to any artist or maker, but within that book is Morning Pages. This involves writing three pages of anything that comes to mind. Julia recommends doing this first thing in the morning, but you can do it whenever works for you, and you could start with three sentences, three paragraphs, and work your way up to three pages.
These morning pages can be transformational and revelatory. You’ll be surprised what comes out of your brain and onto that piece of paper (or screen!) But whatever you write, you’ll learn more and more about yourself every time. It will help you figure out what you're thinking, what you're feeling, what's on your mind, what's stressing you out, what's making you anxious, what good things you're thinking about, what's on your mind first thing in the morning, and what all the things going on in your brain are.
We’ve probably all heard that gratitude is important, but while its impacts on your life and mental health are undisputed, it will also help you understand yourself, what you value, what’s important to you, what you want to pay attention to, and what really matters.
Spending some time either in the morning or evening as often as you can to think about what you’re grateful for will really help you get closer to yourself and understand how you can build a business that optimises for more of the things that matter to you.
Another method of journalling is to pick one question or topic to write about. Do one Google, Pinterest, or Instagram search and you’ll find countless prompts, but some things you could journal on could be:
The more you journal, the more you’ll understand, get to know yourself, learn about how you work, and be able to evolve your business and brand to work for you.
Tracking your time is such a useful tool for learning about how you do things, what works for you, and what doesn’t. But you have to do it in a structured way and pay attention.
First, you need to pick a period of time that you’re going to track, anywhere from a week upwards, and specifically track your work time. (You could also track your spare time if you wanted to but since we’re talking biz, that’s what we’re most interested in here!)
When you’ve tracked your time, take a look at:
This will teach you a lot about what’s going on and how you work. You might figure out whether you’re more productive in the mornings or evenings, or if you’re getting more work done towards the beginning or the week or the end, or if you’re ending up working a lot of evenings and weekends that you don’t want to.
These insights will help you see what works and how you can adjust your business around how you work to make things more appropriate, efficient, and enjoyable for you!
Imagine you’re waking up on a Monday morning and it’s your ideal, perfect day:
And then think about your week as a whole:
The goal is to make your dream day and week a reality! When you know what they look like, you can start making changes and taking action to make them happen.
We’ve already tapped into this a little when we talked about introverts and extroverts and tracking your time, but something else that will help you get to know yourself super well is mapping your energy. Let’s look at a few ways you can do this to help you build a brand that works with your energy.
Firstly, you can keep a running list of things that drain you and things that fuel you.
As you're going about your day, if you're doing something and notice you’re struggling, slogging through, and feeling drained, put that in your “drains me” column.
But if you find that you are doing something and you are flying along in a flow state, your music is grooving, you're having a great time, you're losing track of time because you're just like in the zone, it's awesome, and you wish you could do this all the time, put that in the “fuels me” this column.
This is useful because it starts to paint a picture of the work you want to do more of and the work you want to do less of. This will help you grow your business going forward because you’ll know what to delegate and what to continue doing. You’ll have a list of things that can guide which projects to take on, collaborations to say yes to, and which opportunities are right for you.
This is how you’re going to build a business that you love, by understanding what you love and what you don't love? So you have to figure out and create a list of things that drain you and things that pick you up that allows you to do that.
If you need a little boost along the way, you can also think of the small things that bring you joy. That could be a cup of tea in the afternoon, a call from a friend, or a walk around the block. These are the little things that will give you a boost when you need them, if you’re struggling or having a bit of a lull. You can look at the list, pick something that’ll work, go have a 5-minute dance party, and feel a little better than you did before. It might not fix everything, but it might help. And knowing what those small joys are will make all the difference in those moments when you need them most.
On the opposite side of the small joys list, you can also create a “stop doing” list. I’m willing to bet there are things you’re doing now that you don’t need to be doing. Things that are either wasting your time, sucking your energy, or are things you think you “should” be doing when you really don’t need to.
So when you are auditing your time, thinking about the things that drain you, or doing any of the other things on this list and anything comes up that makes you pause to wonder whether you really need to be doing it, put it on the “stop doing” list and stop doing it.
Sometimes it’s not as cut and dry as that. You might need to either just phase it out or hire a VA to help you do it or figure out a way to stop doing it. But some things you can just stop doing. Maybe it's just stop posting on Twitter, stop worrying about creating Instagram Reels or stop creating custom proposals.
Whatever it is you're doing that's draining you, taking too much time, and wasting all the time and energy and resources that you could be spending on things that bring you joy, get you in a flow state, make you money and allow you to lean into your strengths. Those are the things you should be doing.
Lastly, there are things that you will notice over time that are good to note down and remember. There's no set way of tracking them, but you just need to take notice of how you work and build processes and systems around your behaviour that can help facilitate building a business that works for you.
For example, I’ve noticed that if I don't schedule social media posts, they just don't get done. I am not a spur of the moment social media person. So I just needed to learn that, remember that, build that into how my business works and operates and make sure that I'm planning and scheduling content instead.
When you notice things like this and accept that its who you are and how you work, you can create systems and processes that allow you to embrace that and make it work for you in the best ways possible.
October 11, 2023