On today’s episode, I get to introduce you to my friend, Cinnamon Wolfe. Cinnamon is such an amazing woman who is so smart and has a great perspective on things. She has a podcast of her own called Focused.
I first met Cinnamon in a Facebook group actually. Cinnamon used her expertise in Squarespace to help me optimize my site at the time. Our friendship has grown over the years, and we often are in contact. I love hearing her perspective as she considers herself to be a little bit different than a lot of others in her field. And I would agree and think she is different in the best ways.
When you look at a lot of creatives, especially on social media, there are certain things about them that kind of tend to be the same. Which has me thinking: Should you build a personal brand when you feel like you don’t quite fit that mold? Let’s hear what Cinnamon has to say!
*There were a few audio issues that happened during this recording. Nonetheless, the content is still fantastic! I hope to have all of these issues resolved by the next episode.
She gets asked a lot, but yes, Cinnamon is her real name! Cinnamon is a private photo editor for photographers and is also a business coach. She used to be a photographer but has hung up the camera (she even sold her equipment) and now enjoys serving other photographers simply through editing and coaching. She also does so through her own podcast called Focused.
Before photography, Cinnamon got her Master’s Degree in Human Resources and worked in that field for a while. She states that she wasn’t one of those people who wanted to get out of her corporate job or hated the cubicle life; she actually really enjoyed her job. But her husband is in the military so they ended up moving, which was the main reason she quit working in the corporate world. They landed in a small town where there wasn’t really a job opportunity for her, so she decided to test out what it would look like doing her own thing – she envisioned spending time blogging, working out, reading, and cooking.
But none of that happened. Within just a few months, Cinnamon became so bored that she knew she needed to do something else. And that was when photography sort of fell into her lap. Her friend had a camera she used to learn photography, and she fell in love with it. Cinnamon loved learning the process of how it worked and being able to manipulate images and light. A photography business was not her goal at the beginning, but it evolved from there.
Naming a Personal Brand
In a lot of ways, Cinnamon is her brand. She is Cinnamon Wolfe, and she is the person behind it all. I asked her if that was a conscious decision she made to have herself be at the forefront of her business or how that came about.
Cinnamon shared that really the only conscious thing was naming her business her name – she knew she wanted it to be her own name, and she knew it would stand out. When she sees people asking what they should name their business, she always suggests using your own name.
“We are in the business of running personal brands.” Cinnamon believes that your business name should reflect that. It can be hard to attach it to your name, but things aren’t always supposed to be easy, right? Naming your business with your own name will help it be sustainable and allow for more connection to you. To start, at least buy “yourname.com” domain for the future.
Personality and Business
Cinnamon describes herself as an introvert and says that often. I asked her how that plays into being the face of her business and showing up in the ‘spotlight.’ She told me that there is often a lot of confusion around what it means to be an introvert and extrovert. Many business owners are actually introverts, but they feel they need to be an extrovert as they have to show up to build their brand.
When Cinnamon first discovered she was an introvert, she felt like it really cleared things up for her. Learning about herself in that way was super helpful to help her understand how she operates and her comfort level for things. When Cinnamon does test that limit, she often asks herself: “What is actually the worst thing that could happen here?” If the worst thing is not that bad, she’ll take a step forward. Doing this has helped Cinnamon throughout running her business as an introvert and even just in approaching life in general.
Introverts tend to think a lot about things before they talk, and Cinnamon finds that to be true for herself. That is why blogging first appealed to her, over something like YouTubing. She could write up her thoughts, think and read them over, and make edits accordingly. Cinnamon leaned into it and used that personality trait as a strength in her business, which led her blog to become a big part of it.
Cinnamon touched on StrengthsFinder, a personality test, and reminded us that we don’t always have to focus on the hard things and trying to make them less hard. Ask yourself what is easy for you or what things you really jive at, and do more of that.
The first episode of Take it Personally talked all about best practices for Instagram stories. Cinnamon mentioned that things have shifted for her, and now Instagram stories have become a big way that she shows up in her business. Even as an introvert, she gets on her stories and builds connection with her audience. Cinnamon reminded that if you aren’t doing it everyday, it is going to feel weird or uncomfortable. Perfection won’t just happen, and it’ll take practice to get more comfortable with recording yourself.
Cinnamon originally started with Snapchat so moving to Instagram stories wasn’t too hard of a transition. But like with anything new, it’s not always easy or natural. You need to come back to your mindset and how you are thinking about it because that will affect how you view showing up on stories.
For Cinnamon, showing up in Instagram stories is her way to connect with people. She doesn’t work in an office anymore but instead works from home, so to be able to connect with others, she has to get on the app and join the conversation. Cinnamon does just that, and she loves what the app provides. It has allowed her opportunities to meet amazing friends and clients. “If you look for connections, you will find them,” shares Cinnamon.
Not Fitting the Mold
In discussing what to do if you feel like you don’t fit the mold, Cinnamon says that “she’s been there.” She has felt that she isn’t the typical creative, but yet she has found a way to build a brand that people connect with. Cinnamon does things how she wants and let’s her audience get to know her. Two of her brand words are “friendly” and “funny,” and she went on to say that there really is not a mold for that that she has to fit into, and I love that. Building a personal brand is about YOU. And you don’t have to be the same as everyone else out there.
If you are struggling with this, Cinnamon suggests taking a social media break. It gives you an outside perspective as you step away and unplug. You aren’t surrounded by things to compare yourself to as you aren’t fully in it. So take a little break so you can come back feeling refreshed. Cinnamon also advised that if you aren’t sure if you fit the mold, discover and decide what it is you really want. You need to establish that and be crystal clear on that first. Turn everything off, go to a neutral place, pull out a notebook, and decide what it is that you really want to do with your business. “If you don’t know what that is, you are just going to chase after everybody else’s stuff. If you don’t know what race you are running, you are probably just going to try to join someone else’s race.” You need to know what you want to do so you can actually go do it. Having that clarity makes feeling that you don’t fit the mold a lot easier.
Social media is so amazing for connection, but it can also cause us to compare ourselves to others, in turn damaging our own thoughts. Cinnamon sees the importance of connection and reminds us that it’s not a popularity contest or to see who can get the most followers. She suggests to focus on the things that truly matter like your family, your life, your friends, and serving your clients.
Cinnamon has some exciting things happening in her life, one being that she and her husband are moving into an RV and will be living and working on the road starting early next year. She has been preparing her business for it over the past year, and she is so excited for this next adventure.
Regarding her business, Cinnamon is moving to a team model. She has hired a few editors to work for her to help her clients get the best service possible. She has some group coaching events coming up in the next year as well (who knows where she will be when those happen!).
Connect with Cinnamon
Thanks to Cinnamon for being a guest on Taking it Personally. I hope you were inspired by her words. You can find Cinnamon at cinnamonwolfe.co. Her website is sort of the hub for everything, and from there you can find her podcast, Focused Podcast, or connect with her on Instagram @cinnamonwolfe.co.
Cinnamon and her husband will also be documenting their RV life on social media. You can find them @focusedontheroad on YouTube and Instagram.