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How To Take Risks (Without Betting Your Business)

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How To Take Risks (Without Betting Your Business)

I’ll be the first to say that the uncertainty in business is messy.

Real messy.

Especially when you want the risks you do take to pay off — big! Most of the time, if we’re honest with ourselves . . . we don’t want to take any risks.

We just want to create things and have people buy our stuff. But it doesn’t work like that, does it?

Running your own business you’re most likely playing to win.

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Although we may not come out on top all of the time, we can limit our risks significantly.

Planning to grow your business includes stepping out on a whim and following your gut. Your next brilliant idea can have you betting on a losing hand, if you don’t do these 3 things to minimize your risk and increase your gains. It could be what stands between you and your extra thousand dollar payoff.

1. Create Mini Projects, Not New Businesses

Can you say shiny object syndrome? (Definition – The immediate need to create an entirely new business model after being inspired by a dream you had last night.)

Before you begin drafting a flow chart, changing website copy and creating a whole new advertising campaign, play with the idea. Some projects need to be left in the idea phase, and some need to be tinkered with before you can move forward with a solid plan of action.

The awesome thing about working for yourself is being able to toy with new ideas and play with how to implement them into your current business.

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Where we get carried away is when we abandon one thing to chase another.

Calling your new idea, a project you’re “beta-testing,”is an easier pill to swallow than a business fail.

2. Start With A Low-Cost Trial Run

Are people excited about your new idea?

The sure fire way to find out is to put it to the test! Before you build a brand new marketing budget, set up a landing page with the benefits of your “beta-test” service.

  • Share it with existing clients on your mailing lists.
  • Reach out to new prospects on social media.
  • Throw it out there to a Facebook group in which your target audience hangs out.
  • And have a call to action to either collect emails or purchase.

Getting emails or better yet, dollars, confirms there’s a need. Wherein you can create a full-blown service.

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Investing too soon without the thumbs up from your ideal client, is shooting your business in the foot and will leave you broke (in time and money).

With today’s technology, it’s fairly easy to try out new ideas quickly.

3. Hit-up Your Competitors

Reach out to those dominating the spaces you have an idea for.

This is to see what works, not to share your idea, of course. Find out if has been done before what the current struggles are. Just because someone else is doing it, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.

It confirms they’ve found success and left a blueprint for you to acquire the same.

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I have been guilty of trying to be too different and falling flat on my face. My industry space does things a certain way for a reason; because it works! Take my hard lesson and arm yourself with the data that turns ideas to $$ profit.

Never stop tinkering with fresh new ideas and beta-test them. This keeps you ahead of the game and innovative in your industry space.

If someone had to told me not to start a hot new business venture because it was “easy to do.” I would have avoided the painstaking months spent pounding my head against a brick wall trying to launch a SAAS ( Software as a Service).

Not to mention megaphone announcing to my family and friends “I’m building a software company!” with no tangible results to show 6 months later.

Nothing is ever a loss though, we learn from our mistakes and failures, but if you can avoid them straight to the bank –do that.

What’s your next calculated risk?

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Last Updated on August 25, 2021

Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

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Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

As a recruiter, I have met and interviewed hundreds of candidates who have no idea who they are.

Without a personal brand, candidates struggle to answer the question: “tell me about yourself—who are you?” They have no idea about who they are, what their strengths are, and how they can add value to the company. They present their CV’s believing that their CV is the key to their career success. In some ways, your CV still has its use. However, in today’s job market, you need more than a CV to stand out in a crowd.

According to Celinne Da Costa:[1]

“Personal brand is essentially your golden ticket to networking with the right people, getting hired for a dream job, or building an influential business.” She believes that “a strong personal brand allows you to stand out in an oversaturated marketplace by exposing desired audiences to your vision, skillset, and personality in a way that is strategically aligned with your career goals.”

A personal brand opens up your world to so many more career opportunities that you would never have been exposed to with just your CV.

What Is Your Personal Brand?

“Personal branding is how you distinctively market your uniqueness.” —Bernard Kelvin Clive

Today, the job market is very competitive and tough. Having a great CV will only let you go so far because everyone has a CV, but no one else has your distinct personal brand! It is your personal brand that differentiates you from everyone else and that is what people buy—you.

Your personal brand is your mark on the world. It is how people you interact with and the world see you. It is your legacy—it is more important than a business brand because your personal brand lasts forever.

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I have coached people who have very successful careers, and they come to me because they have suddenly found that they are not getting the opportunities or having the conversations that would them to their next role. They are having what I call a “career meltdown,” all because they have no personal brand.

A personal brand helps you become conscious of your differences and your uniqueness. It allows you to position yourself in a way that makes you stand out from the pack, especially among other potential job applicants.

Don’t get me wrong, having a great CV and a great LinkedIn profile is important. However, there are a few steps that you have to take to have a CV and LinkedIn profile that is aligned to who you are, the value you offer to the market, and the personal guarantee that you deliver results.

Building your personal brand is about strategically, creatively, and professionally presenting what makes you, you. Knowing who you are and the value you bring to the table enables you to be more informed, agile, and adaptable to the changing dynamic world of work. This is how you can avoid having a series of career meltdowns.

Your Personal Brand Is Essential for Your Career Success

In her article, Why Personal Branding Is More Important Than Ever, Caroline Castrillon outlines key reasons why a personal brand is essential for career success.

According to Castrillon,[2]

“One reason is that it is more popular for recruiters to use social media during the interview process. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees.”

The first thing I do as a recruiter when I want to check out a candidate or coaching client is to look them up on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Your digital footprint is the window that highlights to the world who you are. When you have no control over how you want to be seen, you are making a big mistake because you are leaving it up to someone else to make a judgment for you as to who you are.

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As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

In her book, Becoming, Michelle Obama writes about the importance of having a personal brand and her journey to defining her personal brand. She wrote that:

“if you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”

When you have a personal brand, you are in control. You know exactly what people will say about you when you leave the room.

The magic of a personal brand is that gives you control over how you want to be seen in the world. Your confidence and self-belief enable you to leverage opportunities and make informed decisions about your career and your future. You no longer experience the frustrations of a career meltdown or being at a crossroads not knowing what to do next with your career or your life. With a personal brand, you have focus, clarity, and a strategy to move forward toward future success.

Creating your personal brand does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of work and self-reflection. You will be expected to step outside of your comfort zone not once, but many times.

The good news is that the more time you spend outside of your comfort zone, the more you will like being there. Being outside of your comfort zone is where you can test the viability of and fine-tune your personal brand.

5 Key Steps to Creating Your Personal Brand

These five steps will help you create a personal brand that will deliver you the results you desire with your career and in life.

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1. Set Your Personal Goals

What is it that you want to do in the next five years? What will your future self be doing in the next five to ten years? What is important to you? If you can answer these questions, then you are on the right path. If not, then you have to start thinking about them.

2. Create Your Unique Value Proposition

Create your unique value proposition by asking yourself these four questions:

  1. What are your personality features? What benefit do you offer people?
  2. Who are you and why do people enjoy working with you?
  3. What do you do and what do people want you to do for them? How do you solve their problems?
  4. What makes you different from others like you?

The answers to these questions will give you the information you need to create your professional story, which is the key step to creating your personal brand.

3. Write Your Professional Story

Knowing who you are, what you want, and the unique value you offer is essential to you creating your professional story. People remember stories. Your personal story incorporates your value proposition and tells people who you are and what makes you unique. This is what people will remember about you.

4. Determine Which Platforms Will Support Your Personal Brand

Decide which social media accounts and online platforms will best represent your brand and allow you to share your voice. In a professional capacity, having a LinkedIn profile and a CV that reflects your brand is key to your positioning in relation to role opportunities. People will be connecting with you because they will like the story you are telling.

5. Become Recognized for Sharing Your Knowledge and Expertise

A great way for you to promote yourself is by sharing knowledge and helping others. This is where you prove you know your stuff and you gain exposure for doing so. You can do this through social media, writing, commenting, video, joining professional groups, networking, etc. Find your own style and uniqueness and use it to attract clients, the opportunities, or the jobs you desire.

The importance of having a personal brand is not going to go away. In fact, it is the only way where you can stand out and be unique in a complex changing world of work. If you don’t have a personal brand, someone will do it for you. If you let this happen, you have no control and you may not like the story they create.

Standing out from others takes time and investment. Most people cannot make the change by themselves, and this is where engaging a personal brand coach is a viable option to consider.

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As a personal brand coach, working with my clients to create their personal brand is my passion. I love the fact that we can work together to create a personal story that defines exactly what people will say when you leave the room.

Other People’s Stories

Listening to other people’s stories is a great way to learn. In his article, 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding, Rafael Dos Santos presents the best Ted Talks where speakers share their stories about the “why,” “what,” and “how” of personal branding.((GuidedPR: 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding))

Take some time out to listen to these speakers sharing their stories and thoughts about personal branding. You will definitely learn so much about how you can start your journey of defining yourself and taking control of your professional and personal life.

Your personal brand, without a doubt, is your secret weapon to your career success. As Michelle Obama said,

“your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”

So, go own your story. Go on the journey to create your personal brand that defines who you are, highlights your uniqueness, and the value you offer to the world.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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