Why I’m Stepping Back from Building a Personal Brand…and Where My Business Is Headed Instead

Why I’m Stepping Back from Building a Personal Brand…and Where My Business Is Headed Instead

Not long before I published my first blog post I’d had a very straightforward dream:

I was in my bed in my 450-square-foot NYC studio apartment. I woke up and turned to my right where I saw a bookshelf. I saw a navy blue book with the title Unforgettable on the spine. I opened the book and read the following words:

“If you are to live in the light you must make your living through the sharing of insight.”

I’d been considering starting a blog for several months before I had this dream.

It didn’t take a degree in Jungian Psychology for me to know what it meant.

So, 11 years ago, I began blogging and was thrilled to discover that I could essentially get paid to be myself.

It worked so well and I was so grateful to have a business that could evolve as I did.

A year ago, though, I started to feel differently.

Making money by being myself had begun to feel limiting on a lot of different levels.

And so, as I did with the dream, I decided to trust myself.

I decided it was time to step back from being a personal brand and allow the evolution to continue beyond the confines of my life, identity, and experience.

(Note: If you have a personal brand or are thinking of starting one, I am not saying it’s not a good idea. I did it for 11 years and it’s been awesome. Just because it’s not right for me anymore doesn’t mean it’s not right for you. And, of course, if you’ve been running a personal brand and have been longing to step back, take the permission for that here if you need it.)

There are 2 primary reasons I’m stepping back from building a personal brand:

  1. I want the work we do to be able to reach places and people that it can’t while attached to my specific, personal identity.

Some people really resonate with me and my story. Some people really don’t. The work we do really matters, and I don’t ever want the details of my identity to infringe on someone’s ability to reimagine the way they work.

  1. I want more personal privacy and creative freedom.

The thrill of being able to get paid to be myself wore off and at some point along the way, I started to feel like I was selling myself and my life. I started to feel on the hook to share the precious moments that I wanted to keep just for me and my family. I started to feel creatively extracted.

I wanted there to be ways for revenue to be generated that didn’t require my life force as the primary fuel source.

I longed to be generative for the joy of it, not because it was a strategy.

This past week during our team meeting, I was looking at the beautiful faces of the key players in our company on Zoom as they talked through who was going to write which email to send to various segments of our community.

I felt a rush of joy in my body and I blurted out:

“This is so exciting!!”

I realized that the voice of the company we’re building was the conglomeration of the voices of these beautiful souls I’m privileged to work with.

They didn’t need to try to pretend to be me as they were writing.

They could write as we.

This change is about moving from me to we.

What we’re going to be doing moving forward and this gorgeous company we’re growing will be revealed in all of her glory on August 11th. (Make sure you’re on the list so you don’t miss the announcement!)

If you’ve been around for a while, you’ll still be receiving the best insights and strategies for reimagining work and doing less with great results. Please don’t worry. This change is good for all of us.

Plus, I’m not actually going anywhere. I’m just changing the way I work in concert with what my body and soul are saying.

We have so many exciting things we’re working on, and since we’re orienting as a we now, we can get them to you faster, more powerfully, and with way more fun and ease!

Stay tuned for the big reveal next week and please leave any comments or questions you have below, so we can address them as we make this incredibly freeing and exciting transition!

Here’s to all of our liberation.

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  • This is incredibly exciting, Kate. Congratulations! It seems soooo right!

  • Lisa

    Dear dear Kate
    I cannot begin to tell you how my entire body responded to this message. I would crowd fund your next steps in a heartbeat… that is to say, whatever your announcement! I am onboard!!!
    I became a member of your first origins group but fell off when I felt there was no longer a good fit.
    But I follow you like I watch a sunrise and sunset… you have become a rhythm in my life.
    I suspect I’ve been waiting for what’s coming next. And I’m 99.9% sure it’s going to be a game changer.
    I’m glad you’re including a We… because I find so much of your voice is a catalyst that gets lost in the implementation.
    Sending so much love, encouragement and admiration. Your life is covetable and having a window into it has been such fun… but your gifts are life altering and should feel more universal and accessible and, less voyeuristic.
    A personal brand is what I have been struggling with myself. I have a message but I have a life, it’s mine, it’s unfolding… and not always for sharing. The ego has enough hold over me. Freedom is too high a price.
    Again! My admiration, support, love to you, and your little family…

  • K

    THIS—> “I wanted there to be ways for revenue to be generated that didn’t require my life force as the primary fuel source.” Ooh boy that resonates. Congrats on the transition! I’ll be watching with excitement to see how you do it.

    • Kate Northrup

      Oooh I’m glad that one resonates. It’s a big one and I’m really here to explore how to live into it and share along the way!

  • Leah

    Very very exciting!

  • Susan Wark

    That’s such exciting news!!! Can’t wait to see the next chapter you have in store for us. I love listening to your audio books and your wisdom especially the egg wisdom which I share with all my friends.

  • Martine Hughey

    Congratulations Kate! I’m so excited for you and the team! What a beautiful way to grow your business and help more people. Me to we… yes.

  • Thanks for sharing Kate – this makes so much sense & reflects something we have coming, too! Good luck and excited to see the new company in all its glory xx

  • Jennifer Waterman

    Congratulations on following the energy that’s prevailing. I am experiencing the shifts with my business as well. Blessings to you!💗💖

  • Right on time for me to read this! So excited to see what’s next and appreciate your leadership and generosity Kate! Much love! ❤️

  • Wooho!!! 🎉

    Thanks for leading the way!

  • This is awesome, Kate. I love the reminder to listen to yourself and the loving signs and nudges were given every day all day to lean into what brings us the most joy. I resonate with everything you shared. Thank you! Looking forward to what comes next 🙌🏻

  • Isra

    When I read #2 I want more personal privacy. I literally took my phone and put it to the side. I had to take a moment and a breath on that.

    Yesterday morning I had a call with my coach and she told me “Stop posting personal pics, remove your personal energy from it.” And it felt so freeing and scary when she said that. But she’s right, and this was the confirmation I needed. It’s time for me to also step back from being a personal brand to a universal message. Thank you for being a leader.

    • Kate Northrup

      I’m so glad this resonates with you Isra! For me it doesn’t mean that I won’t ever share about my personal life. I just don’t want to feel on the hook to do so in terms of it being tied to revenue. Blessings on your transformation too!

  • Stefanie Boucher

    I’m so glad you are listening to your inner voice, Kate! I suspect that there are many of us out there who feel strongly inclined to make a living sharing our insight, but are hesitant to give away so much of ourselves (or our loved ones) as part of a personal brand. In fact, my (perhaps) false belief that you can’t have one without the other has been creating an energy block in my life for years. Your honesty and authenticity could really be of service to many who are ready to observe and learn a new way of being. Very excited to see where this leads!

    • Kate Northrup

      I’m so glad this resonates with you Stefanie! I’m happy to go first on this one and share along the way ;)

  • Fida Kassem

    Me to we ! Just love it , congratulations dear Kate , I’m reading your announcement while I’m practicing by myself deep with my “calling” by Reha goddess, and feel so deep what you mean with me Brand to we brand, thank you and I will be so long with you, you are unique and special.

    • Kate Northrup

      Oh I’m so glad this resonates and that you’re diving into Rha’s work. She’s really quite something!

  • Yes Kate! So many people will benefit from the important work you’re leading. Excited for what’s to come!

  • Hello Kate! You really are an inspiration to me on all levels. I am today sowing the Life I want. I have a business and I am the other way around than you. I started promoting it from a business outside of me, and that made me feel limited, drained. Now I am putting more of myself into him and I am exposing myself to share myself more. My true essence, but without leaving what I built. I think I’m doing a good mix. I am excited to read you. Thank you for inspiring me so much.

  • Miracle

    Oh Kate –

    So THIS is the energy you had behind your messages for me on our last DLD and Group Coaching calls, huh!?!?! Haha Lucky me!

    I can’t wait to hear more, and thanks again for being such an inspiration and wayshower.

    Seeing it all in writing just now was so confirming because it helped me remember that I was frustrated about this exact thing a year ago and talking to my coach about it, and we obviously never came up with a solution that felt good, which is why it’s still something I struggle with.

    So I can’t wait for you and your Team’s guidance on how to make this concept a reality!

    Thank you thank you thank you.
    Miracle (Origin Member)

    • Kate Northrup

      Yes Miracle – this is indeed the energy that was coming through. We’re always happy to share the steps along the way in whatever way would be useful to you in your own transformation!

  • I’m so excited and happy for you! I love the way you follow your intuition and let the universe guide you. I love the way you encourage the rest of us to give ourselves permission to do the same. After a very successful corporate career, I long to be a personal brand instead of someone else’s, but I can so see where you are and where you’re headed. It’s been an honor to follow your personal brand, and it will be an honor to see where the Do Less brand goes. May you find the freedom and privacy you’re longing for!

  • Valerie

    I’ve been mulling about personal branding vs business enterprise development… either way I’ve been stuck in the what direction to take and after reading your wonderful update and am now leaning far more in to the business enterprise!! Not wanting to feel the need to share personal life while building a business feels so much more aligned ✨

  • Janet Sellers

    I LOVE THIS! I had asked Spirit for some insight as to how to word my affirmations for this weekends Lion’s Gate Portal opening, and your words in my inbox today were so easily applied to my own situation for my business. Thank you Spirit! Thank you Kate! Thank you Origin. I am really really excited for you Kate, and your whole team!

  • Michele

    I can’t wait to see how this realization manifests, I’m very excited for you and your team!

  • Wow Kate, so proud of you for listening to your intuition. Congrats! I’ve always stayed away from being a personal brand (mostly because the business succession lawyer in me, it’s notoriously hard to pass on your business). I think you will find out incredibly liberating to have your privacy back, and to only share what you truly want. Wishing you the best of luck! Keep shining your light out there!

    • Kate Northrup

      I love the logic in this as a business succession lawyer – I’d never thought about it that way and it’s brilliant. Thanks for the support, Simran, and for being such a valued member of our community!

  • Becca

    Wow, LOVE this post! The expectation in the blogging world to create a personal brand has put a lot of pressure on me in the past and has totally blocked me for years to create a blog. Thankfully I have now found a business model that suits my introvert personality way better and which is still financially promising.

    As an introvert I often feel this world was made for extroverts who have no problem showing you the content of their fridge which would be enough reason for me to freak out.

    This post resonated with me more than any other post you wrote before, and it`s a reason for me to keep a closer eye on your blog in the future. Thanks for continuing to be an inspiration!

    • Kate Northrup

      Oh I’m so glad this resonated so deeply with you, Becca. Yes – there is no one business model for everyone and I’ll definitely be sure to address different personality types in our upcoming content!

  • noga (pronounced like "yoga")

    I’m looking forward to seeing what this change will look like for me from a reader\follower’s point of view. I sometimes sign up to websites that look interesting and then get overwhelmed and confused when I get different emails from different people who naturally write in different voices. I’m curious to see what the transition you’re making will look and feel like and I have lots of faith that it will continue to feel personal.

    • Kate Northrup

      Yes – we’re being so mindful not to confuse people in the transition so for the time being the emails will be written by me so we keep that consistency!

  • Here’s to teaching by example. Kate you are a soul sister to me, I have found so many answers to my own journey thanks to the nuggets you’ve been sharing since I crossed your voice. I love witnessing how you strategically trialled stepping back progressively this whole year: from the ending of the podcast, to Mike’s stepping back and the changes in Origin where you chose to trust the community and your team to make it all work. And when you got a Yes to whether the business would still work without you being the face of it all the time, Shazam!
    Thank you for proving once again your bravery and authenticity.
    Here’s to all our liberation, Yes!

  • Janelle


    I had a blog in 2011 when my son was born by 2014 I didn’t want to be the face of my blog and knew privacy meant a lot to me. I went back to my corporate career & cherished the freedom. All the best for your next chapter. Janelle xoxo

  • Well, I feel like Kate’s mom personal brand benefitted Kate’s. In the case of succession within family it’s a pretty good investment.

    • Kate Northrup

      It absolutely did. Thanks for pointing that out. That’s why I made it clear to say that this is my decision but it’s a very personal one and it’s definitely not a blog about why personal brands are a bad idea.

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