You’ve probably heard the word “brand” or “branding” thrown around a lot. And, when you think of branding you probably think of big businesses. Companies that have big marketing budgets and can spend millions of dollars on advertising to cement their brand identity into the minds of consumers.But branding is important for solo-professionals, too.In fact, I would argue it’s MORE important because YOUR brand is what sets you apart from everyone else who does what you do. Just imagine if you’re an accountant, or a life coach, or a wellness coach. How many other accountants and life coaches and wellness coaches are out there?Well, a quick search on Google indicates all three are VERY competitive markets:”Accountant” results on Google: 30,500,000″Life Coach” results on Google: 2,030,000″Wellness Coach” results on Google: 784,000And that’s just online! If you’re trying to compete as a generic accountant or life coach or wellness coach (and most other industries as well, these are just three examples), you’re swimming in a VERY big pond with LOTS of other fishes!You need to differentiate yourself so you get noticed.A strong brand will do that. It will help you stand out to a particular audience. It will help you be remembered more quickly and easily, It will help you attract exactly the right customers.While a strong brand can do a lot to ensure the success of a business, the lack of a brand can kill a business. After all, if you don’t stand out and you’re not memorable, you can market til the cows come home and not much will happen. It can be very frustrating. Whereas with a strong, memorable brand, you get much better results from your marketing.Some people mistakenly think their logo is their brand.While your logo may represent your brand graphically, it is NOT your brand. And frankly, you don’t even need a logo to build a very successful business as a solo-professional.So, if it’s not your logo, what IS your personal brand? Well, it’s how you represent yourself. It might be your “expert” title (although this too is not totally necessary)… it’s your signature program or process… it’s your business name if it’s unique and descriptive. It’s your personality, the way you write and talk… it’s in EVERYTHING you do and say.SO really what it is, is ALL of these things combined and the main umbrella idea or outcome they represent.Here’s a quick exercise to measure the power of your personal brand.Think about your business. Can you imagine one of your clients or prospects easily explaining in just a few words who you are and what you do for people… in a way that is NOT generic (So NOT, she’s a life coach – THAT is not a personal brand, that’s a generic label and that will actually hurt your business and lose you money!)Here’s an example of what I mean. Picture Susan, an organizing expert who has dialed in her personal brand. Here’s what her ideal clients might say: “Susan? She’s the ‘Weekend Organizer’… THE person who can help you re-organize your entire house in just one weekend.”Short, sweet, to-the-point, benefit/outcome oriented… get the idea?If you CAN’T do the same for your business, or imagine your prospects or clients talking about you in such a clear and concise manner, you probably need to spend some time dialing in YOUR personal brand.Here’s another clue that your personal brand may need some work: You’re struggling to generate awareness of your business and attract clients. Remember, if you’re not memorable and don’t stand out, and you don’t appeal to a particular audience, you’re just getting lost in that big pond with all those other fish.Creating a strong personal brand is well worth the investment. In fact, in my opinion it’s one of THE most important steps you can take to ensure the success of your business. And, to get to that success a whole lot faster.