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4 Steps to Personal Branding Success

4 Steps to Personal Branding Success

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    In light of my new book,

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    internationally today, I want to share the main process used in the book that will help you build a powerful brand.  Personal branding helps you stay very productive because you can focus on projects you enjoy and have a sense of purpose and passion behind them.  It’s really hard to be productive, without truly loving what you’re doing, because motivation is so critical to achieving maximum results.  There are many other benefits for personal brands, such as the ability to demand a premium price, just like Donald Trump has done with the ties and steaks that wear his name.  Also, you gain greater visibility and acknowledgment for your work and opportunities that your peers won’t be able to maintain.  The four step process (DCCM) I’ve developed over two years ago walks you through self-discovery, all the way to maintaining your brand as it grows.  Today, I’m going to briefly walk you through each, so you have a better idea of where you stand and what you need to do to find your passion, monetize it and lead a happy life.

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    Discover

      In order to really understand who you are and carve out a career path moving forward, investing in self-discovery is critical. In fact, if you don’t spend time learning about yourself, your values, personal mission, and unique attributes, you will be at a disadvantage when marketing your brand to others. Start by removing yourself from distractions and ask yourself, “Who am I?” and, “If I could do anything, what would it be?”  Also, when discovering your brand, you’ll want to lay out a development plan for yourself, that includes your current situation and your goals broken down in intervals, from one year to twenty years in the future.  It’s extremely important to have a destination in your head and on paper before proceeding to create your brand in step two.  The most successful individuals will be able to merge their passion with expertise, so that they have the fuel needed to push through adversity, and the skills required to solve customers problems.  Also, selecting an unsaturated niche that you can claim during this stage is significant for positioning your brand as unique.

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      Create

        Creating your personal brand is all about forming marketing materials that position you as extraordinary in your niche.  When I was at college, I used to bring a resume, cover letter, CD portfolio, references document, and business card with me to interviews.  I even had my own promotional website.  With the rise of web 2.0 and all of these social media tools, we can get far more creative these days.  For instance, now you can create a blog, or a video resume on YouTube or a LinkedIn profile to separate yourself from the other individuals applying for the same jobs as you.  The point of creating your brand is to have several materials online and offline that can help sell you.  They are all used as talking points that can get a conversation started between you and your audience.  Online, they tell your audience more about what you do, what you offer and the benefits of working with you.  Offline, they are used in situations where people need a visual display of your brand.

        Communicate

          Now it’s time to use everything you’ve created to let people know you exist.  The communication stage is focused on allowing you to gain the necessary visibility to be recruited based on your passion or what people readily see online.  The are many direct and indirect methods of attaining this visibility, such as commenting on blogs or attending in-person networking events in your industry.  You can even do some freelance writing for magazines, newspapers, online websites and blogs to get your name out there.  When it comes to your own blog, if you build it, they won’t come.  You have to find way to attract your audience, which could mean joining forums, interviewing experts, starting a newsletter, networking with people in your industry and much more.  In this step, you’ll want to put on your “personal PR” hat and leverage your materials to pitch the press, which includes bloggers and traditional journalists now.

          Maintain

            As you grow, mature, and accelerate in your career, everything you’ve created has to be updated and accurately represent the current “brand you.” It’s very easy to be careless with your online brand, leaving your websites months or even years old or your LinkedIn profile positioning you as an intern, instead of a marketing manager.  Going back to everything you created and updating it with fresh information is critical.  Also, you need to monitor your brand online to ensure all conversations about you are positive and factual. Brand maintenance also captures reputation management, where you have to own your Google results by ensuring that you have the right social networking profiles setup and monetized, as well as enough content created or press mentions to own the top ten results for your name in Google.

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            More by this author

            Dan Schawbel

            Dan Schawbel is the leading personal branding expert for young professionals.

            Personal Branding Basics You Need to Know for Career Success 3 Areas You Must Invest in During an Economic Recession Your Personal Brand is Equal to Your Google Results Command and Control Your Google Results 5 Things to Do Before You Build Your Personal Brand

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            Last Updated on September 29, 2020

            How to Start an Online Business That Will Grow and Succeed

            How to Start an Online Business That Will Grow and Succeed

            Unsurprisingly enough, all businesses are online today. Considering the advances in the smartphone industry as well as the increasingly accessible internet facility, it was only a matter of time before businesses took advantage of the online environment.

            This increasing popularity makes for a promising future for a lot of young entrepreneurs. And knowing how to start an online business will open up a world of possibilities for you that was not possible 10 years ago.

            So, keeping the potential for exponential growth in mind, let’s dive into the article below, and explore the steps of starting an online business that will bring you success.

            1. Becoming the Master of ‘ONE’ Trade

            Most successful online businesses are the master of one trade. And that’s why beginning with a niche is always a good idea.

            A niche market is a focused segment within a larger market. Imagine a men’s shoes market and then, imagine handcrafted brown Italian leather shoes for men. While the previous one is a bigger market, the latter one is simply a more focused segment within that market.

            Knowing the niche helps a lot to start an online business and if you are feeling a bit lost, here are some self-queries that will act as a perfect guide:

            What Speaks to Your Heart?

            This first way of discovering the niche is perfect for those who want to do what they love. Working in a market that you love will ensure that constant excitement and drive to do better, eventually leading to ultimate prosperity.

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            Decisions Based on Knowledge

            The second way is perfect for those who have a lot of untapped knowledge about a specific industry. Utilizing the insights on a specific industry is a great way to find a niche. This way, you’ll already know all the ins and outs of the industry and can easily get ahead of all the competitors.

            Undiscovered Potential

            Lastly, conducting research into various industries and finding an untapped segment is another amazing way of finding the right niche. This practice will require you to come up with a new and unique solution for uncatered audiences.

            2. When Is Your Idea Valid?

            All the great ideas for starting an online business needs to be valid. And once you have found the niche, this validation process is what comes next.

            Proving the soundness of the idea is not at all hard. A detailed industry examination is all you need initially to understand the value of the concept and recalibrate it to turn into a great online business.

            Market research is a systematic unraveling of the target market. This research will include all the information on the product/service you are about to sell, the target audience, and how the competitors are operating in this crowded market.

            This in-depth research will give you the initial idea of how the products can make an impact in the outside world. And once the small online business ideas are validated, it will be time to move on and craft a plan and start working on establishing the business.

            3. Crafting the Map to Success

            Having a proper plan for an online business is like having a map when you travel to an unknown city. This is a document that includes all the factual information on the business and crucial business data.

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            To help you out, here’s a list of all the information online business plans must include:

            • An idea of objective – The best online business plans always have a clear outline of the business goals and intentions. Having this clear outline will increase the efficiency of business functions later on. The target demographic, business model—all kinds of information needs to be a part of this document.
            • Taking stock of available resources – A startup needs to utilize all the resources it has, and that’s why the plan needs to have an in-depth outline of the financial resources in use as well as the employees and their expertise. With a better idea of all the resources in hand, starting an online business will be an easier process.

            4. The Virtual Storefront: A Process of Development

            The steps of how to start an online business are incomplete without the website creation process. With the right website approach, you can easily succeed in increasing business revenue.

            What does that perfect business website look like? Let’s follow these steps to create an effective business website.

            Choose Your Approach

            There are numerous ways of making a website and for a positive outcome, you need to choose the perfect approach. Depending on the business model, initial finances, and end goals, there are two kinds of approaches for the online storefront:

            • Third-party approach – Third-party platforms will connect you with the customers out there. For small online business ideas, Creating an account or site with these platforms will be beneficial because these platforms come with a large array of services as well as a big enough existing consumer base ready to utilize.
            • Creating a new website –  A business-specific website will help you eliminate the third party go-between and connect directly with the buyers. With this approach, you get more control over the business and how it is presented to the consumers out there and the revenue you make. Any of the above-mentioned approaches can be beneficial for easy online business startups. However, to achieve some specific business goals, having a customized website will be more beneficial for you.

            Design Can Bring You Maximum Success!

            For those who have decided to create their own site, the design is of paramount importance. With a great design, you will be able to engage and interact with the visitors better and encourage them to make a purchase.

            The design, however, is not just a matter of aesthetics. A website’s design encompasses all aspects of it, from the visual effects to the content that’s used on the site.

            To create a truly amazing design that reflects new online business concepts here are a few matters to consider:

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            • Keep it responsive – Many markets are simply skipping over the desktop phase and launching the business for mobile users around the world.[1] Considering this popularity of the mobile internet market, the business website has to be responsive. This approach will help you to reach a bigger audience and conduct business on a larger scale.
            • Users want a fast experience – Using high-quality images on the site does improve the visuals, but make sure all those images are compressed. Having a faster website will enhance the user experience on the site. Besides compressing all the media content on the site, you can also utilize an asynchronous loading technique that loads all the contents simultaneously, reducing friction. With a faster site, it will become easier to implement the online business startup ideas into reality.
            • Define the brand – The design stage determines a lot of things for the business website and one of those things is the business image. To make an impact on the world with the business, you have to create a perfect image and for that, a brand guide is necessary. The brand guide is a document that includes all the information and guidelines on various visual elements on the site that makes up the business personality. Based on the kind of image you want to create, all the elements will be outlined in this documentation.

            Where the Website Becomes Reality

            Since we know how website design helps to launch a successful online business, it is time to move onto development. Online business development is where the idea becomes a reality. And to make this reality perfect, you need to make sure that the development and deployment process goes well.

            A high performing site always includes all the right features that enhance the user experience as well as helps you to convert more traffic. And for the best results, ensure the use of only the latest tech stack during development.

            Here are some development issues you have to pay attention to while building the business website:

            • The right partner makes all the difference – For small startups who are wondering how to start an online business, finding the right development partner is going to make all the difference. However, before making a decision, there are a few things you should contemplate. The team that you are about to hire should have experience in catering to your industry, as well as an extensive portfolio and good reviews. Additionally, it will be perfect if the agency or freelancer also provides a 360-degree service, from development to maintenance.
            • How to assure the quality of the site? – Testing the site is an integral part of the answer to the question of “how to start an online business?”. An experienced partner will be able to help you the most with this. From security testing to split testing, this stage in development will help in understanding how well the site functions and what needs to change. And once the changes are made and the test results come clean, it will be time to launch the website.

            5. Some Tricks to Increase Online Sales

            Selling online is not easy, but not hard either. In a physical store, you can use campaigns, go door to door with pamphlets, and such. However, successful online businesses have their own style of campaigns that helps them to sell more without any problems.

            So, what are these tricks?

            Utilize the Magic of SEO

            With an increase in quality traffic, the sales ratio will go up too. And to drive quality traffic on the website, you need to utilize the SEO tricks, and probably hire an SEO expert.

            When starting an online business site, ensure all the content on the site is optimized to rank for the right queries by target consumers. With a higher rank on the SERP, the traffic will increase on the site.

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            With the increase in quality traffic, it will become easier for you to convert visitors. The visitor data will help you to adjust the site performance. In brief, utilizing SEO will open the doors to a lot of possibilities for your small online business ideas.[2]

            Entice With Free Value

            Consumers today have lots of options to choose from. And keeping all that in mind, it will be wise to create a business plan for an online startup that provides free value to the users before asking them to buy something.

            Consumers want to buy from someone who knows what they are doing, especially in the case of a curated service or goods provider. And that’s why to turn the profitable online business ideas even more effective, you need to start offering free value on the site, with free products and content.

            Having a blog is also another way of displaying your expertise. With specialized content on the industry, you can easily grab the attention of the audience. And once assured of your knowledge on the matter, consumers will feel a lot safer about making a purchase.

            A Killer Customer Service Is Everything

            Your small online business idea needs a better service option. Using AI-based interactive features to implement better support for the global consumer base will prove to be extremely beneficial. With a 24/7 automated support channel, customers will be satisfied with your business and come back more often.

            It’s an Easy Process: All You Have to Do Is to Start

            And there it is, the simple five-step process of starting an online business that is bound to succeed. If you look closely, you’ll notice that there are not a lot of differences between creating a physical business and an online one. The main differences are only in the consumer and competitive landscape.

            While a physical store faces and caters to local competitors and consumers, the online business has to deal with the same on a global basis. So, focusing well on the global market landscape while crafting the plan will help you succeed.

            More Tips on How to Start an Online Business

            Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

            Reference

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