Ask me to write about any other content creator or multihyphenate and I will say “yes” without a second thought. As a storyteller, blogger, and copywriter, words are quite literally what keep the lights on in my apartment. But, if you ask me to write about myself, I’m looking at a lot of blank pages and blinking cursors.
Unfortunately for me, I have to write about who I am a lot. From crafting social media bios to creating the about page for my marketing agency to writing bylines for my articles, I’ve written “Calli Zarpas is…” more times than I can count.
While I was building my personal website with Polywork, it was the first time I was able to put everything I do in one place. Both exciting and a little scary, I at first struggled to wrap up my entire life into a neat, little package. If you’ve also been confronted with that pesky blinking cursor, I’m here to walk you through the essential components of my personal website and what I learned as I build it.
Writing your headline and choosing your badges
Narrowing down your entire existence to a few words can be a bit tough. Recently, I was the on-set producer for a shoot with Emma Gannon, known as the bestselling author of The Multi-Hyphen Method and much more. She was able to expertly reduce her professional life to the following titles: bestselling non-fiction author, award-winning novelist, podcaster, and creator of popular newsletter The Hyphen. I really appreciated her use of adjectives as a way to better describe what she does and differentiate herself from other authors, novelists, and podcasters.
For my headline, I focused on who I am as a business professional. I started with “ideator” and “creator,” two words I feel describe me to my core. For me, these are the two titles that connect everything I do and will give potential clients insight into what I bring to every project. Then, I shared more specific titles like “digital marketer” and “microinfluencer,” which you might find on a resume or LinkedIn profile.
For my badges, I wanted to share more about who I am outside of my 9 to 5. While these might not directly interest a potential client or collaborator, my world outside of work influences the person I am in my projects. Traveling to more than 30 countries has made me a problem solver and a strong communicator and crafting keeps me creative and collaborative. These personal traits also differentiate me from my competition.
Ariel Garcia, a website designer who has worked with multihyphenates like Shannon Monson and Julie Sarinana, believes the best websites should speak to who they’re trying to connect with rather than the creator of the website themselves. I often work with clients in the travel and wellness industries and I would hope these clients would connect to me on a professional and personal level after reading through my badges.
Choosing a hero photo for a personal website
You can also consider your target audience when choosing a photo. For me, I want my audience to know I’m in touch with trends, technology, and social media. I chose a casual selfie taken in my MacBook’s photo booth app because it embodies more of that trendy, social media savvy energy than a classic headshot.
In the background, you can see my Pinterest homepage, which is a source of creative inspiration, as well as a notification for my Slack and photo app, which I often use for work. If you work in a more traditional industry or have an older ideal audience, you might lean towards a professionally-taken picture that will help your audience easily identify you as the expert.
Building your About Me section
As a copywriter, I knew my “About Me” section would be a place where my audience learns about me and my writing style. In my first paragraph, I got straight to the what I do, who it’s for, and why to work with me with one sentence:
I create scroll-stopping social media content, top-ranking, SEO-focused blog posts, and brand campaigns for value-based brands and creators who want to craft a human-first community, fulfill their brand promise, and convert social currency into profit.
You can build your own value proposition by asking yourself questions like:
- Who can I best provide value for?
- Who most needs my services or product and why?
- How do I specifically meet the needs of my target audience?
- What is my target audience’s pain point?
My About Me section also provides insight to who I am as a person by touching on the fact that I split most of my time between Washington DC, Paris, and Greece and that I’m a sucker for an iced matcha, thrifting, and a good restaurant.
I also include some of my other projects, like my personal TikTok account and weekly newsletter. You can also see that I’m passionate about wellness, travel, and taking care of the world around me. Human connection and cultivating positive and authentic digital interactions is a huge part of what I do as a writer and producer.
I wanted those values to shine through my writing by adding multiple human touches and making sure my values as a person and creator were obvious. Having clear values can help attract the right audience members, differentiate yourself from your competition, and build community.
You can weave your specific skills and values into your About Me section by asking yourself questions like:
- What type of projects are you often attracted to and what do they have in common?
- When do you find yourself working in a flow state?
- What do you appreciate about the brands you like?
- Who do you look up to and what do they have in common?
- How do you spend your free time?
- What are your passions and hobbies and what drew you to them?
Selecting your links
I chose to link to my newsletter, digital marketing agency, podcast, and TikTok on my personal website. I wanted to include the main places you can find me online but you can find other ways to provide value to your viewers here.
Freebies, articles you recently enjoyed, projects you’ve worked on, and more can be included in this section.
Crafting your resume & portfolio
While you probably know how to create a resume, there are some new rules for the modern resume. These include sharing side projects in addition to full time positions, explaining gaps in your work history, and trading buzzwords for keywords. Put yourself in the shoes of a potential client and ask yourself what they would want to know about you as a business person.
The portfolio part of your website is going to depend on what industry you’re in and what work you’re looking for. If you are a graphic designer, but you’re looking to get more professional opportunities as a photographer, you might consider including more photography work than graphic design work.
Your personal portfolio is one of the best places to show how you provided value to previous clients. Potential clients will also be able to see if your past work lines up with what they’re looking for.
Where your clients should contact you
Because human connection and creation is the main thing that drives me and my work, I wanted to include all of the ways I am open to connecting within my Contact Me section. This included everything from grabbing a coffee to house swapping to joining a book club.
You might only include your professional services or look through your resume and your most recent projects to better decide which opportunities you’re currently open to.
Create a personal website of your own
You can see how my site came together at polywork.com/callizarpas and click the link below to start building your own site today.