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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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            Published on October 8, 2019

            How to Advance Your Career (and the Big Mistakes You May be Making)

            How to Advance Your Career (and the Big Mistakes You May be Making)

            The late writer William S. Burroughs once said that “When you stop growing, you start dying.” It might have a morbid undertone, but it’s one hundred percent true in terms of one’s career.

            The days of finding a job with one company that you can stick with for 30 years, and simply relax as you move up its company escalator are few and far between in today’s world. This isn’t necessarily bad news. On the contrary, it means that you’re the one in charge of shaping your career advancement.

            By putting these principles and behaviors into practice, you’ll begin to see how to advance your career quickly. Ready? Let’s get started…

            1. Define What Success Is for You

            There’s no right or wrong definition of what success in your career looks like. The important thing is to figure out what success looks like for YOU. It might, and probably will, change along the way, but if you don’t have some sort of milestone on the horizon, then you won’t know which direction to go in.

            Think about success in your career in terms of one year, five years, and 10 years. Once you have that, it’s time to lace up your boots and get to work.

            2. Learn How to Develop and Follow a Plan

            Nobody just stumbles upon success accidentally. Sure, they may stumble upon breakthroughs or new methods accidentally, but all success stories have one thing in common — a plan.

            Establish a timeline for the things that you want to achieve in your career in the next year, five years, 10 years, and so on. Consider the skills that you’ll need to learn to make these things happen and work on acquiring them.

            3. Surround Yourself With Those Better Than You

            It’s a rule of thumb among musicians that if you want to get better, then you need to get out of the bedroom and play with people who are better than you.

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            By surrounding yourself with people who are better than you and where you want to be, you’ll not only see how these people climbed to where they are in their respective fields, but you’ll learn from them and naturally want to push yourself to be better in your own job as well.

            4. Seek Out a Mentor(s)

            A mentor will not only be able to help you refine and reach your career goals, but will be invaluable in landing promotions and finding unadvertised job openings.

            One unique approach is to work on fostering a relationship with a mentor both within and outside of your company. This will help in giving you different perspectives as you rise up through the ranks in your company and career overall.

            5. Stop Wasting Your Mornings

            You may not think you’re a morning person, but if you can learn to be one, you’ll thank yourself 10 years down the road.

            Prepare a to-do list of tasks that you want to accomplish the day before and work on knocking them out for at least one hour before you respond to morning emails. The problem with responding to emails first, is you’re giving your attention to somebody else’s agenda, instead of plotting your own course for the day.

            6. Arrange or Attend a Networking Party

            If you’re attending networking events simply because you might get a few free drinks, you’re doing them wrong. These events are great for meeting new people and forming relationships. Your goal shouldn’t be to get hired by the end of the night, but to simply make a good impression by being friendly and authentic. So what’s next?

            Reach out a few days later via email or on social media to follow up and connect!

            7. Pick Up Some New Skills

            Nobody wants to be the old dog that can’t learn any new tricks. To move up in your career, you’re going to likely need to pick up new skills along the way. Maybe your company offers on-the-job training or you have the option of taking online classes at night.

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            By learning new skills, you’ll not only be able to expand upon what you can already do, but you’ll make yourself more valuable to your employer and future employers.

            8. Exploit the Benefits Already at Your Disposal

            Remember what we just said about the possibility of your company providing on-the-job training? Take advantage of these sorts of benefits!

            If you’re working for a company that allows you to job shadow other employees or has company mixers, you should attend these. They not only allow you to develop your skills within the company, but show seasoned executives within your field that you’re interested in more than just clocking in for a paycheck.

            9. Make Yourself Indispensable

            Good help is hard to find and employers want to retain outstanding employees. If you can learn to make yourself indispensable to your company, you’ll not only communicate that you’re successful, but will have a lot more job security. What’s this entail though?

            It’s actually not all that difficult. By being reliable, adapting to new challenges, and holding your own work and performance to a high standard, you’ll stand out among your peers and others will take notice. Easy enough, right?

            10. Get Off the Fence

            People who advance in their careers are those who don’t shy away from voicing their opinion and stand up with authority when the opportunity arises.

            If a problem arises in your company and you think you might have a solution or are willing to work to find one, then let others know. Employers value and promote problem solvers. Start off with something small and work your way up towards tackling more difficult tasks and projects.

            11. Don’t Wait for More Responsibility, Ask for It

            If you want more responsibility in your job, then be open about it with your manager. Your manager may be so busy with their own work that they weren’t aware you were looking for more challenges.

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            Just make sure you can handle it and that you already show strong performance in your current duties. And if your manager doesn’t seem supportive about offering you more responsibility, well, then it could be time to look for new employment.

            12. Stop Wasting Time on What You Don’t Want

            If your career goals start with “I should do this…” there could be a problem. This kind of language in referring to goals can doom them to failure because the want isn’t there.

            Consider using the RUMBA method (Reasonable, Understandable, Measurable, Behavioral and Agreed) when setting your goals. That “agreed” part should really be “want.” By going after career goals that you actually want to accomplish, you’re much more likely to achieve them.

            13. Seek Out Feedback and Apply It

            Simply doing your job might not always push you up in your career advancement. Too often, employees just assume that their bosses will notice their performance strides and reach out when the time is right to advance.

            Don’t be afraid to regularly seek out feedback and ask for constructive criticism. It not only shows that you value your manager’s opinion but demonstrates that you care about your job and want to become better in your chosen field.

            14. Pick Your Bosses Wisely

            Advancing in your career can move a lot quicker if you’re working for the right people. If your boss isn’t any good at their job or doesn’t value you, then moving up could become difficult.

            A great boss though, will be able to help you capitalize on your strengths and be an advocate for your success. If there aren’t any strong developers of talent in your management chain already, then look around for some and seek them out as mentors.

            15. Learn to Develop Your Sense of Timing

            The odds of asking for a promotion or raise are in your favor with over 70 percent of respondents to a survey from PayScale reporting some success. One thing to keep in mind that can make all the difference is when you ask.

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            Some corporate cultures may prefer that employees reach out about advancement during their annual review, but maybe you work for a more free-spirited startup. The best approach may be to take note of when others advance and ask about how the organization handles employee development.

            16. Work Hard and Promote Yourself

            Working hard and delivering a solid job performance are the keys to advancing in your career no matter what field you’re in. This doesn’t mean you need to be completely humble about your accomplishments either.

            Keep a record of your positive impact within the organization and let others both within your company and your field know that you’re enthusiastic about your role and work.

            17. Don’t Just Build Your Network… Cultivate It

            It’s way too easy to add new people to your LinkedIn network and then forget about them for all eternity. Rather than just collecting business cards or social media contacts, you should be cultivating relationships with the ones you already have.

            Follow up with people that you haven’t spoken to in a while, offer to connect them with somebody you know in their field, or ask about a new job title they may have taken on. Doing so could be the spark that leads to a potential job referral.

            18. Join a Professional Organization

            The National Association of (insert your industry here) and other professional organizations can still offer a great wealth of advantages from networking to industry insights, and skill development.

            Even outside of professional organizations dedicated to particular job fields, civic organizations can also be fantastic for making new contacts. After all, so much about career advancement is who you know, and you never know who you’ll meet who knows somebody else who is looking for someone with your skills and experience.

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            Featured photo credit: JESHOOTS.COM via unsplash.com

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