How To Build A Personal Brand

Be bold. Be real. Be you.

I may not be an expert, but I’ve definitely learned a lot about building a personal brand over the years. I started my digital journey using an anonymous pseudonym “MorganFreeman7” in May 2011. But as I quickly gained followers in those first few months, it wasn’t long before I realized how important it is to create a strong, authentic personal brand. Rebranding & revealing my true self as “Denise Joyce” was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. So whether you’re just starting out or hoping to improve with hopes of growing & retaining your audience, here are my tips on how to build your personal brand.

Be you.

The first thing that I learned creating content as “MorganFreeman7” was that I didn’t want to gain followers as someone else. Every time I gained a new YouTube subscriber, I felt ashamed that I was hiding behind an anonymous screen name & referring to myself as “Moe”. Don’t build your personal brand around a facade. Authenticity allows your audience to get to know the real you. Your brand should be a reflection of who you are, what you believe, & what you stand for.

If you don’t come across as authentic to your audience, it’s much harder for them to relate & believe in what you have to say. Though I gained a good amount of followers as “MorganFreeman7”, I constantly felt disingenuous. Building a personal brand requires developing an understanding of your true self & choosing to share that person with the world. Don’t be afraid to take off your mask & be vulnerable! Believe me, your audience will appreciate it. 

Build your online presence.

The way you project yourself online becomes your public persona, so you need to be aware of how you’re appearing and coming across to your audience. Be sure to build your online presence in a way that represents your true self & improve upon it on an ongoing basis.
Every so often, take some time out to evaluate your social media profiles. Your online presence should accurately reflect your persona as you continue grow & change. You will always be your best PR, so be sure to interact with your audience as well as other creators in your industry. Even if you get anxious & shy interacting with new people like I do, just go for it! You never know what opportunities await you if you just take a risk & put yourself out there. 

Keep learning.

Industries are constantly changing, so depending on your niche/area(s) of interest, it’s important to stay relevant and up-to-date with new trends. It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle if you can’t keep up with any new changes within your market. 
Even if you’re not actively creating content, I encourage you to keep learning. Read books, read blogs, listen to podcasts, or watch videos. Your next exciting burst of inspiration can come from a variety of outlets. I’ve always been an advocate of learning, developing new skills, & expanding your knowledge. I refuse to be complacent.

Be kind to yourself.

Especially if you’re just starting out, understand that it takes a lot of time to build your personal brand. Don’t beat yourself up & compare yourself to someone else who much further along on their journey. As long as you keep moving forward at your own pace, you’ll eventually find what works best for you. 

It’s also good to recognize when you need to take a step back & relax. (Don’t worry – even I have trouble doing this!) In the past couple of weeks, I’ve been told that I’m “overly ambitious” & “addicted to the hustle”. Despite the sincere concern from my peers over my well-being, I usually brush off these types of comments, because I like being driven and ambitious. 

I prefer to wake up each day with purpose & determination, but like they say too much anything is bad for you. Be sure to pay attention to your mind & your body. You’re not going to accomplish much if you end up exhausted mentally & physically. Taking a break doesn’t mean you’re giving up on your dreams, it just means you’re human. Feel free to also check out my recent blog post about my secret to staying productive, if you need help finding the time for self-care!

XO Denise

white ipad on the table near small clear glass jars

What I Learned In My Twenties

From my blog archives with a few new edits, I originally wrote this on December 26th, 2016. Enjoy!

I woke up this morning as I do any other day. Sleepily rising from my bed & wiping my eyes, as I unrolled my pink yoga mat & laid it out on the floor. Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskara) followed by 20 minutes of meditation allows me to set my intentions for the day, feel at one with the universe, & just fills me with positive vibes overall. But as I eased out of my meditative state, reality struck me. It is exactly one week until my 30th birthday!

I’ll be in Vegas on January 2nd, probably drunk & filled with all you can eat sushi. It feels as if it was just yesterday that I was blogging about being 29 & doing things that scare me. This year has been a whirlwind of adventure & immense personal growth. I am so happy to say that I am nothing like my insecure, overly-cautious, early 20-something-year-old self.

In this past decade, I started my own YouTube channel, blog, & built my own personal brand from the ground up across many social media platforms. I’ve also entered into a career in the Beauty Industry, which I never thought I’d do.

If you’re in your early or mid-20s, struggling with finding yourself & forging your own path, don’t worry – I’ve been there too. I’ve learned that the universe tends to unfold as it should, so there’s no use in getting too anxious or worried about what your future will hold. Stay positive, keep moving forward, & never give up hope! If you still don’t believe me, here’s a list of the most important things I’ve learned in my 20s in no particular order.

WE ALL DESERVE TO BE HEARD WITHOUT JUDGEMENT. 

At an early age, my dad instilled the importance of developing my arguments. During family dinners, we would discuss various topics, & I’d only be allowed to participate in the discussion if I was able to provide reasoning for my beliefs & be open to hearing the opposing point of view. I’ve learned that the common phrase “everyone is entitled to their opinion” has become shorthand for “I can say or do anything I want.” This is often why 20-somethings engage in unnecessary arguments ultimately leaving opponents unable to reconcile. Even if you disagree with someone, you should only be entitled to your opinion if you can back it up with good reason.

YOU DON’T NEED TO EXPLAIN YOUR DECISIONS TO ANYONE. 

Don’t be afraid to forge your own path. Not everyone will understand the choices that you make, but they don’t have to. It’s your life, & you’re the only one in charge of your happiness. Don’t ever feel guilty for doing what you think will be best for you. And even if others continue to dissuade you,  you shouldn’t be afraid to make mistakes. (Don’t let anyone hold your mistakes over your head either!) Be willing to fail early & often. It’s better to take risks while you’re still young.

BE YOU. 

Be unapologetic of who you are, because, at the end of the day, you’ll be happier. You should never feel the need to hide any parts of yourself. What works for one person won’t necessarily work for you. So don’t try to force it if it doesn’t feel right. Be genuine & authentic. The right people will still be around & like you for who you are.

APOLOGIZE AND FORGIVE. 

Holding onto our past mistakes causes a lot of unnecessary turmoil. I’ve learned that holding onto these negative emotions only makes you complacent and petty. Don’t be afraid to apologize to anyone you’ve hurt & forgive anyone who has hurt you. Letting go & taking the high road allows you to grow & become a better person.

TRAVELING IS THE QUICKEST WAY TO REALIZE HOW INSIGNIFICANT YOUR PROBLEMS ARE. 

The life you lead is minuscule in the grand scheme of things. In France, I saw miles of Syrian refugees with nowhere to call home. It made not being able to afford to buy my own home before turning 30 pretty trivial. With so much pain & suffering in the world, be grateful for what you have.

I’ve learned & grown so much in this past decade. I can’t wait to see what my 30s have in store for me. Whether you’re in your early, mid, or late twenties, what are the most valuable things you’ve learned?

XO Denise

a romantic setting in the bathroom

My Secret To Having a Productive Week

“A Sunday well spent brings a week of content.”

Since my life has gotten so busy, I always make sure to block out time for Sunday self-care. If you lead a busy life, I hope that sharing my self-care Sunday routine will help remind you to take time out for yourself when you need it. It’s my secret to having a productive week!

Prayer

After walking & feeding my pug, Pogi, I start every morning by praying. But on Sundays especially, I make sure to thank God for everything I’ve been blessed with & for guiding me through another week. I then say my Catholic prayers: Our Father, Hail Mary, & Glory Be, because prayer keeps me grounded & humble.

Breakfast

Next, I enjoy a delicious breakfast. I’ve mentioned before that breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Whether it’s actual breakfast or brunch, I usually cook myself something delicious, such as a veggie egg scramble or a spinach, mushroom, & feta wrap with a side of fruit. Last Sunday, I had blueberry waffles with bacon, along with a cup of coffee & a small glass of Simply orange with pineapple juice.

Spiritual Cleansing

The proverb “cleanliness is close to godliness” resonates with me 100%. On Sundays, I like to run my iRobot Roomba, do my laundry, & deep clean my apartment. I hate clutter & mess, so I like to start my week with a clean home. Once my apartment is dirt & germ-free, I spiritually cleanse & raise the loving vibrations within my home with my Camaya Healing sprays.

Next, I will clean & pamper myself. First, I take a shower. I shampoo & condition my hair with OGX coconut curls then apply a deep conditioning hair mask. I wash my body with my cleansing gloves & body wash. I’ll also do a body scrub, if needed. Then, before getting out of the shower, I give my bathtub a good scrub too.

Upon getting out, I pull my tub stop up, then I start drawing a bath. Depending on my mood, I’ll do a lavender bubble bath, a LUSH bath bomb, or a LUSH bubble bar. While my bathtub is filling up, I whiten my teeth with activated charcoal. Then, I’ll wipe down my sink & mirror, because it gets everywhere. I also wash my face with Biore pore unclogging scrub & apply Simple micellar water.

Then, I keep my hair up in a Kitsch towel scrunchie or an after spa hair towel wrap, light a few candles, & find a sound bath from YouTube to listen to while I relax in the bathtub. Before getting in the tub, I also put on either an under-eye mask, a sheet mask, or a mud mask on my face. Once I’m done with my bath after about 20 – 30 minutes later, I drain the tub & rinse out my deep conditioning hair mask.

Curly Hair Care Routine

Next is my curly hair care routine. While my curls are still damp, I use an OGX leave-in conditioner & It’s a 10 Haircare Lite Leave-In. Then, I scrunch curl cream into my hair. I’ll either use a diffuser, or I air dry my hair & slowly let my curls come to life!

My Skincare

Once my curls are all set, I move onto my skin next. I already washed my face in the shower, applied micellar water, & did a mask. To keep my skin glowing & well-moisturized, I always put lotion on my body after showering. Next, I apply eye cream, retinol serum, & moisturizer. I love letting my skin soak in all the products. It’s what gives me my youthful glow!

Planning

Up next is prepping & planning my week using my Happy Planner, colorful felt-tip pens, & stickers. To me, there’s something magical & special about physically writing down your goals & plans for the week. It makes each goal feel like a firm commitment, rather than just a thought at the back of my mind that I might get done. In my planner, I record everything that I’m doing that week & set goals for myself in 3 main categories: Health/Wellness, Career, & Personal

Health/Wellness
  • Workout (4x)
  • Meditate
  • Pray
  • Drink lots of water!
  • Nourish your body
  • Floss, flouride rinse, & charcoal!
Career
  • Project ABC
  • Project XYZ
  • Meeting Prep
  • 1:1 Prep
  • Etc.
Personal
  • Groceries
  • Laundry
  • XO Denise Joyce
    • Film
    • Edit
    • Write
    • Schedule content

Watching Feel-good Movies & Baking

I wrap up my Sunday evening by streaming one of my favorite feel-good movies (Shrek, UP, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Mean Girls, etc.) on Disney+, Hulu, or Netflix & baking. I love enjoying dessert on Sundays. And I feel like I deserve my dessert even more if I take the time to bake the tasty treats myself. lol

I bake banana bread, cupcakes, muffins, peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, or I can even prepare a no-bake cheesecake. Since all of my recipes are made with love, it’s a fun & very relaxing way to wrap up my day.

Again, I love the quote “A Sunday well spent brings a week of content.” Sundays are one of my favorite days of the week because I spend the day pampering myself & enjoying everything that I love. That’s my secret to having a productive week. Do you have a Self-Care Sunday routine? What are some of your favorite ways to enjoy your Sunday? Please feel free to share in a comment below.

XO Denise

turned on silver imac with might mouse and keyboard

How I Survived Being Unemployed Post-Pandemic

When the San Francisco Bay Area announced the COVID-19 stay-at-home order last year, it honestly was a blessing in disguise for me. My consulting contract with Adobe was set to officially end on March 25th, 2020. So with the world shutting down, I was in a panic, unsure of what was coming next for me. Luckily, due to new extenuating circumstances, including a necessary hiring freeze, Adobe was able to extend my contract until July 2020. July turned into December 2020. Then December turned into March 2021. Until March, when I received my official contract end date: June 25th, 2021. July could have been a struggle for me mentally & financially, but I enjoyed the month without work as FUNemployment instead. Here’s how I survived being unemployed post-pandemic.

HAVE A SAVINGS

My Savings has always been the primary way to keep myself afloat. When I am employed, I deposit 10% of every paycheck into my Savings to use for emergency circumstances, such as unexpected medical expenses, car maintenance, sudden job termination, etc. I encourage you to always keep three months, or even six months if you can manage it, worth of your fixed monthly expenses in a Savings account. Then, once you have more than enough money in your Savings account, pretend that it’s not there. Do not continue to dip into your Savings to spend on non-essential, frivolous things. Your Savings isn’t extra cash you find laying around.

UPDATE YOUR LINKEDIN & RESUME

It’s important to keep your LinkedIn up to date. Recruiters scour LinkedIn every day looking for new potential candidates to fill their open roles. Be sure to keep your work history up to date, & update your profile picture to #OPENTOWORK. I worked with a few amazing recruiters during my job search last month, & I found amazing new job opportunities through my network.

Your resume is also important to keep up to date. While you may have had the luxury of not needing to apply to a new job for the past XYZ years, you want to add your most recent role & any relevant job, intern, or volunteering experience to give your future employers a sense of your career growth over the most recent years.

APPLY TO JOBS ASAP

It hurts to be blindsided by a sudden job layoff or termination. I was fortunate enough to have my end-of-contract day given to me three months in advance in March 2021. I immediately started applying for new job opportunities; only to be unsuccessful in my search. While I found & interviewed for many great roles in my particular area of expertise, the salaries for many of the roles I interviewed for were very low. With the rising cost of living in the Bay Area, there was no way I could justify taking a $30K pay cut, even if I was excited for the role.

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED

Unemployment will always be unpredictable. I started looking for a new job three months before I became unemployed, & I still had to continue to look for a new job for a whole month without any income. But through lots of applying, interview prep, prep calls with Recruiters, & Zoom interviews, I finally found the perfect next role for myself with an amazing team, a substantial salary, stock options, & a variety of benefits!

If you are actively job searching, don’t give up hope! I survived being unemployed post-pandemic, & you can too. Unemployment is a struggle that many of us will experience at least once throughout our lifetime, but if you stay hopeful, prepare yourself, & put in the work to find the best new role for yourself, your next job offer will be here before you know it.

XO Denise

bed with cushions reflecting in mirror in bedroom

How I Deal With My Body Dysmorphia

Last March, I mentioned my Body Dysmorphia in the blog post: Learning to Love Myself. Anyone who also struggles with a Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) has a unique experience. We will all learn to deal with it in our own way. By sharing how I deal with my body dysmorphia today, I hope to inspire & help others who are still struggling on their personal journey with BDD.

IDENTIFY OBSESSIONS & STOP THEM IMMEDIATELY

Years ago, I would weigh myself & measure my arms, hips, thighs, & waist every Sunday. Unlike my current self-care rituals, this eventually became a self-hate ritual. I would hate myself & became frustrated & irritated if I gained weight or didn’t lose enough weight. I’d obsess over my flabby arms & thighs & constantly suck in my stomach with all my core strength. Because despite any change in the numbers on the scale or loss of inches, I never saw a leaner, sexier, or stronger body in the mirror.

All my obsessions did was justify depriving myself of things that I loved to eat. I was obsessed with hitting 10,000 steps every day, even on days that I took a barre3, RUMBLE, or SoulCycle class. With my FitBit & Noom, I obsessively record every single calorie that I eat, every calorie that I burn off, & shame myself for being weak & having a chocolate peanut butter cookie.

I was thrilled when I was sick & lost my appetite altogether. Or better yet… when I got the stomach flu because it would guarantee around 7 pounds of weight loss with minimal effort. It took a long time for me to finally self-reflect that my actions, despite not refusing to eat outright or making myself throw up, were unhealthy. Why would a sane person wish illness on themself?

Now, I do not allow myself to stare & judge my body. If I must look at myself in the mirror or look at a full body photo, I only compliment myself. I also do not take my measurements unless absolutely necessary. I no longer constantly wear a FitBit or check my Health app on my iPhone. It’s how I track my daily step count & the calories that I consume & burn throughout the day. But I know that obsessing over those numbers isn’t healthy.

BE MINDFUL OF ALL THE WAYS TO LOVE & NOURISH YOUR BODY

Instead of counting calories, I eat colorfully. I always make sure my meals are a mix of protein, veggies, & whole grains. I love fresh fruit & veggies! If I can count at least 5 natural colors that I’ve eaten for the day, I know that I’ve done my job of nourishing my body with healthy foods. For example, banana (yellow), spinach (green), baby carrots (orange), bell pepper (red), & blueberries (blue).

Instead of obsessing over calories or steps, I keep track of how many times I move in a week. Right now, I dance every day for 25 minutes by playing the Nintendo Switch video game Just Dance. Three times a week I lift weights. And once or twice a week, I stretch my body & do yoga. As long as I’m moving & strengthening my body in a way that I enjoy & love, I’m doing my best to be healthy.

ACCEPT THAT THE JOURNEY HAS JUST BEGUN

I am fully aware that acceptance of my BDD is just the beginning. There will be good & bad days when it comes to my relationship with my body & food, but that’s ok. I know that I can potentially struggle with my BDD for the rest of my life. There will be days that I slip up & eat a McDonald’s two sausage burrito breakfast meal with hash browns & an iced caramel mocha followed by Taco Bell as a late-night snack, but I am now more aware that I am human. We all make mistakes. Instead of punishing myself by walking around my apartment late at night until I hit 10,000 steps or skipping meals the next day, I accept what I did, forgive myself, & move forward.

I hope that sharing how I deal with my body dysmorphia helps you or someone that you love. Do you or someone you love have BDD? How do you or they deal with it? Let me know in a comment below.

XO Denise

pastry and boiled egg on plate

My Unemployment Routine

After many contract extensions, my consulting contract with Adobe officially ended on June 25, 2021. I am still so blessed & grateful to Adobe for keeping me employed through the COVID-19 pandemic. But with vaccinations & the world slowly reopening again, it was time for me to finally say goodbye. I’ve never been one to be lazy. From a very young age, I began to establish routines to stay productive, & that is why I’m going to share my unemployment routine today. I hope it helps inspire any of you who are lacking in motivation & productivity to create your own.

The Importance of a Routine

At only three years old, I established my very 1st-morning routine. I still remember waking up, brushing my teeth, getting dressed, pretending to put on makeup in my Dad’s car, getting dropped off at pre-school, saying hello to my teachers, & heading straight to the snack bar for my morning Fruit Roll-Up. lol it’s ok if you don’t believe that I have a clear memory from when I was three, but if I close my eyes, I can still see myself going through it. As an introvert, my mind is always deep in thought, & I personally love a routine to keep me productive as well as ensure that I’m taking care of myself.

My Unemployment Routine

So let’s get into my unemployment routine! Please keep in mind that I adjust as needed for Zoom readings, Job Interviews, etc.

7:25 am | Wake-Up
  • Walk Pogi
  • Feed Pogi
  • Pray
  • Meditate
  • Shower
  • Breakfast
8:45 am | XO Denise Joyce Daily Card Pulls
9:00 am | XO Denise Joyce
  • Post to Instagram & TikTok
  • Engagement with my Followers on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Twitter, & YouTube
  • Analyze & update XO Denise Joyce Engagement & Growth Analytics
  • Check Emails
    • Reply to reading requests
    • Send reading reminders for that day’s scheduled Zoom readings
  • Do my Hair & Makeup
  • Cleanse my workspace with my Camaya Healing Sprays
  • Fulfill paid Instagram & Twitter DM intuitive card reading requests
  • Fulfill paid digital intuitive card reading requests
  • Set up & cleanse my filming space with my Camaya Healing Sprays
  • Film 2 – 4 General Energy Intuitive Card Readings for YouTube
12:00 pm | Lunch
  • Walk Pogi
  • Prepare a salad or sandwich
  • Cuddle & play with Pogi
  • YouTube Sound Bath Meditation
  • Cup of Tea (Green or Peppermint)
1:00 pm | XO Denise Joyce
  • Edit YouTube videos
  • Create YouTube thumbnails
  • Upload & schedule YouTube videos
  • Schedule YouTube Tweets for when the videos are live
2:00 pm | Zoom
  • Job Interviews
  • Zoom card readings
  • Fulfill any additional paid Instagram & Twitter DM intuitive card reading requests
  • Fulfill any additional paid digital intuitive card reading requests
4:00 pm | Job Search
  • Apply to new job opportunities
  • Interview prep
  • Follow up with Recruiters
6:00 pm | Dinner
  • Walk Pogi
  • Feed Pogi
  • Cook Dinner
  • Eat Dinner
8:00 pm | Workout
  • Abs
  • Arms
  • Squats
  • Just Dance or Peloton Ride
  • Shower
9:00 pm | Relax
  • Video Games
  • Watch TV
10:00 pm | No more screens!
11:00 pm | Get ready for bed

How My Unemployment Routine Has Helped Me

If COVID-19 stay-at-home orders have taught me anything, it’s that without a routine in place, it would be easy for me to stop taking care of myself. Last month, I could have been neglecting Pogi, sleeping in until noon, ordering DoorDash every day instead of cooking, & not working out. But instead, I’m busier & more productive than ever because I’m working to create a beautiful & successful life for myself.

Do you have a daily routine? How do you ensure that you stay productive? Let me know in a comment below.

XO Denise