Many of us desire to create the life of our dreams, do work we love with people whose company we enjoy and have the freedom of a great lifestyle. We’re also often enticed by the “quick fix” self-development guru.
I’m all for self-development, growth and becoming the best version of “you”, I also know it takes work and having the confidence and desire to put yourself “out there”. The outcome is that when you are known and recognised for your work, have developed your personal brand in your niche, the closer you will come to your ultimate lifestyle choice.
As a consultant I seem to spend a lot of my time writing content; blogs, articles, proposals, have written a book and co-authored another with the intent to help you and to become known in my field of personal brand and image management.
Like most other consultants I get distracted and procrastinate – life happens – and I need to do the actual work of serving clients. I also spend time with my research and planning to make sure I have the foundation right before I espouse any new approaches to personal branding.
One thing I have discovered that is constant with building a personal brand, is to step back first and look at your base brand and toolkit before take-off and presenting your brand to your audience. Having that foundation right will help you to get out there and be ‘on show” as the thought of that for many people is very uncomfortable but necessary to bring your closer to your goal.
It also helps to get the knowledge, do the work, innovate and persevere. As the famous quote goes, I’m a great believer in luck. The harder I work the more luck I have.
If you want to stand out in your business or in your career through managing your personal brand, the approach I’ve observed is condensed into seven main areas.
1. WHY. Consider your reason for establishing a personal brand. Do you need to reinvent, new job, starting a business or career change – is change being forced upon you? Where do you stand now and where do you want to go? Look at your big picture, future goals and how you can move your current position to go from here to there. Do you desire to become a successful businesswoman or entrepreneur and make money to have your choice of lifestyle? Perhaps it is recognition in your job, be rewarded for that with job security and remuneration.
2. YOU. Identify your personality characteristics and your passions. Do an audit to determine your skills and knowledge areas. Find out from others what they think your key traits are. Delve deeply to uncover your identity and essence. Determine the exact sort of people you want to work with and how you can help them.
3. WHAT. Discover what sets you apart – your point of differentiation. What position do you already own with your target market and what do you want to own? Is there a unique concept or idea you can hang your hat on and be the master of? Where’s the creative element? Build your brand by being first with a new idea or by recognising a major trend in your field and moving to the head of it.
I worked with a leading fitness guru years ago who pointed out to me that “wellness” was going to be BIG and predicted it would be a growing movement. That person is now a multi-millionaire, yet one of their early forays into the industry was a Wellness Centre, which unfortunately was ahead of its time. Didn’t deter them though, they persevered, believed in the message and movement and it certainly paid off.
4. LOOK. Package you and your product or service to be visually appealing. Get the communication collateral looking good with appropriate colours, fonts, logos and design. Also develop your own image and unique style suitable to your personality and work. Dress for the role you want, (i.e leading female entrepreneur) not necessarily the one you have (never leave the desk WFH consultant).
5. PROMOTE. To go from where you are now to where you want to go, you need to implement a personal branding plan and become known in your niche. Sell yourself through various communication channels. Tactics include: publishing – write articles for magazines and online newsletters; write a book; social media marketing; send out interesting media releases on your topic to journalists to help create word of mouth publicity; speak for clubs and other organisations. Self-marketing will build your brand identity.
One of my corporate clients recognised she was spending all her time working and not on branding herself so made a concentrated effort to join committees, meet and greet people and did a lot of work to raise her profile within her industry. It has paid off with new job opportunities.
6. PARTNERS. Create contacts and build your network. Join networking groups appropriate to you and your personal brand and people you can help and those who can help you. Build a great team and help others become as successful as you. Work with the best whether employees, contractors, consultants or partners. They will help build your brand reputation.
7. ACTION. Make it happen and create your own luck. Develop a personal brand plan for yourself every year and review it often. Include specific goals, strategies, action steps, and a timetable. The key of course is to implement your plan by remaining focused and committed to your future success.
Need some tips on how to do this, then download my free video series, NOOK, LOOK, HOOK 3 Steps to Build a Stand Out Personal Brand.
Sue Currie is a speaker and the author of IMPRESSario, Present and Promote the Star Within You. She is passionate about helping business executives and entrepreneurial professionals elevate their personal brand, image and professional presence. Sue’s suite of image management services delivered through workshops, consulting, coaching and keynote presentations provides a multi-faceted approach to gain high transformation for her clients.