Jessica Moorhouse started blogging as a way to track her personal finances and keep herself accountable. Six years later, Jessica has built herself into a go-to millennial personal finance expert, managing her blog JessicaMoorhouse.com, hosting the Mo’ Money podcast, founding the Millennial Money Meetup and cofounding Rich and Fit. She talks about everything from interest rate hikes to why staying at a job you hate is bad for your financial health. We sat down with Jessica to find out how she went from recreational blogger to full-time personal financing influencer.
Pilot: When did you first start thinking about personal branding?
Jessica: For about four years, I had been consistently blogging, but with no real purpose. The decision to purposefully create my personal brand came when I decided to make my blog more than just a side project and make it an actual business, that’s when I became hyper-focused on its potential.
Pilot: What process did you go through while developing your personal brand?
Jessica: The first thing I did was identify my audience, which is essentially me – millennial, mainly women, who live in urban areas. They are professionals that in general make a decent living, but they don’t necessarily know how to manage their money properly.
Next, I needed to figure out my offerings. I decided I was going to talk about money and how to get the life you want, breaking money management down in a non-judgemental and non-dry way that’s relatable, simple and realistic. That’s how I came up with my tagline: money, life and balance.
Then I asked: what do I want? I want to be that go-to millennial finance expert. So how do I get people to recognize me as such? I simply started calling myself a millennial money expert. Some people are afraid to call themselves an expert, but I was confident in my experience and knowledge and figured I didn’t have anything to lose. I listed myself as an expert on all my social channels and on SEO and I create good content consistently. Now, when media search for “money expert Canada” or “millennial money expert,” I come up on Google, and I’ve secured many media credits that way.
Pilot: How do you balance personal brand and authenticity?
Jessica: Once I was really clear on who I am and what I’m saying, I made sure to always maintain that voice – you can’t fake that. If you do, people notice. The voice that I use on my social media or my blog, it’s what’s coming out of my brain, it’s who I am. People trust you, they believe you, and they’re attracted to that genuine honesty, even if it’s sometimes ugly.
Lots of the things I talk about aren’t happy-go-lucky. The blog post/video I did recently was about quitting a job that you hate. So it’s a little bit of my story: I worked at a ton of crappy jobs, I looked like a job hopper on my resume, but here’s why you shouldn’t feel ashamed about that and why I didn’t! It happened in my life so I can tell you what it’s like. I think people earn trust and once they do that, you can’t go back, so you have to be who you are.
Pilot: Over the six years you’ve had the blog, you’ve changed – you’ve gotten married, moved to Toronto, bought a house. So when you change, does your personal brand change?
Jessica: Even though I’m a person and I evolve, I think your personal brand can stay with you. I quit my 9-to-5 in January and made that shift to being a full-time entrepreneur, and thought, do I want to talk more about freelancing and entrepreneurship? Yeah, I do, because I have a lot of information on that now. Although what I talk about may shift, I always have to be aware that all the stuff I’m talking about has to be clearly tied to personal finance so it’s on-brand.
The Kardashians, for instance, know what they’re doing. If you look at what Kim Kardashian was 15-10 years ago, how the hell did she evolve into Kanye West’s wife who’s prim and proper? She’s damn good at what she does. It’s possible to stick with the same brand and evolve with it over the years. Your audience is also evolving and you have to keep that in mind.
Kim Kardashian isn’t famous for being famous – she’s famous for being the first personal brand.
Pilot: How would you recommend people start crafting their personal branding?
Jessica: When people want to start thinking about their brand or taking it more seriously, make sure you block off a good chunk of time to do it. I took a good year to a year-and-a-half to rebrand and launch because I wanted to make sure I had everything in place. Once you’ve figured out the big picture, you need to break it down into the details:
- It’s about what is your colour scheme and how do those colours relate to what you’re doing? I chose happy, bright colours because I want those colours to give off positivity.
- What font do you want to use? That font will define your character.
- What social media platforms do you want to be more prominent on and why? I chose Facebook and Twitter because it made sense to give off information because information is what I do.
Take time to do research and write everything down on. I still have my brand guidelines I made for myself. It’s in a Google Doc I can reference once in a while so I can know what’s going on, and always ensure I’m on brand.
Want to hear more about personal branding (and a little more about Kim K)? Come out to Pilot’s Kim Kardashian is my Co-Pilot to hear from other personal branding experts!
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity and style.