Advertising
Advertising

Build Your Personal Brand by Working for Free

Build Your Personal Brand by Working for Free

Build Your Personal Brand

    After reading that headline, you may think I’m insane or tell yourself that working for free is out of the question. 

    Advertising

      There have been millions of layoffs since the end of 2007 up until now and for college graduates, the competition might make you comatose.  The NACE reports that 41% of students haven’t even started the job search and 27% of graduates are going to graduate school because of the bad economy.  Of course, going to graduate school is going to put you in more debt and you’re betting on the economy coming back in two years.  If you’re trying to get a job right now, you’ll notice that many employers are cutting down salaries of current employees and offers to new hires.  Although, your education is a factor in you getting a job, what’s more important is your work experience.  Just like content is king on the internet, your experience is king when it comes to getting a job. Today, I’m going to explain why you might need to work for free for at least part of your time each week.

      When interviewing, experience trumps income

        Have you ever noticed how resumes don’t have salaries next to each job you’ve had?  You’ll ies ever find a resume that lists salaries or internship compensation.  Salaries are negotiated if there’s a job offer that doesn’t meet the applicants standards.  Corporate salaries are based on job title and you can salaries at various companies by doing to Glassdoor.com.  Since, salaries aren’t listed on resumes, your experience becomes the most important element in getting a job, aside from how you present yourself online and in an interview.  I took two non-paid internships while in college to gain more experience, thus building my personal brand to become a stronger applicant.

        Advertising

        When I applied for jobs, the experience I gained at those companies really made a difference and it was well worth the compensation sacrifice.  Since it’s hard to get a job right now, start focusing on building your credentials, enhancing your resume and acquiring skills that can help you in future job searches.  It will pay off and you’ll forget that you had to sacrifice compensation.

        Work for free so you remain active

          The worst thing you can do right now is sulk on your couch, with some potato chips, and a coke.  Well, there could be worse, but the point is that you need to stay active at all times.  Recruiters don’t want to talk to people that have been out of the job market for a while, without remaining relevant to their industry or at least trying to acquire some experience. You never want to get into a situation, where you’re in an interview and you’re asked “so what have you been doing recently, I noticed that your last job ended six months ago,” and then not have a good answer.

          Advertising

          Find people in your network that can help you stay active, by working for them for free if they can’t pay you.  Also, you can do community service or start your own company to at least make it seem like you haven’t given up and that you are aggressive and actually care about your career.

          Work for free while having a side job

            If you work for free to gain experience, you’ll still need a side job to make money.  Work for a company for free part-time to gain experience and also work for another company to get paid.  If you want to get money, and things are getting tough, then it’s not a bad decision to do retail or work at a restaurant to pay the bills.

            Advertising

            If you do that, and you invest time in building your personal brand online, gaining experience by working for free part-time and job searching constantly, you should be in a good position to get a job when it becomes available.  A lot of college students are making these hard decisions right now because they realize that they don’t have a choice.  If you want to stay ontop during tough times, you’ll have to make tough decisions, but you’ll want to make them before everyone else does for yo.

            More by this author

            Personal Branding Basics 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

            Trending in Work

            1 7 Strategies to Keep Employee Motivation High 2 How to Become Smarter: 21 Things You Can Do Daily 3 7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success 4 The Savvy Employees Guide to Asking for a Raise 5 How to Master the Art of Stress Free Work

            Read Next

            Advertising
            Advertising
            Advertising

            Last Updated on December 10, 2019

            7 Strategies to Keep Employee Motivation High

            7 Strategies to Keep Employee Motivation High

            Highly motivated employees are essential to the success of any business. Most people spend a third of their lives at work.[1] That’s a significant amount of time away from home, apart from the people who make us happy and the things we love to do. So keeping employee motivation high is essential for creating an office environment that gets the best out of our people.

            But do you know what motivates your people?

            It’s simple:

            • Is their work stimulating?
            • Does it challenge them?
            • Is there room to grow, a promotion perhaps?
            • Do you encourage creativity?
            • Can they speak openly and honestly with you?
            • Do you praise them?
            • Do you trust your staff to take ownership of their work?
            • Do they feel safe in their work environment?
            • And more importantly, do you pay them properly?

            Every one of these factors contributes to the general happiness of your employees. It’s what motivates them to come into the office each day and work hard, hit goals, and get results.

            In contrast, an unmotivated employee is typically unhappy. They take more sick days, they’re not invested in seeing your business succeed, and they’re always on the lookout for something better.

            Stats show that 81 percent of employees would consider leaving their jobs today if the right opportunity presented itself.[2] So it’s up to you to set aside time and energy to create a work environment that benefits every one of your employees.

            These seven strategies will help you motivate your people to consistently deliver quality work and, more importantly, to stick around for the long term.

            1. Be Someone They Can Rely On

            You rely on your people to turn up to work each day, to come to you when they have a problem they can’t solve, to be honest, and to always engage professionally with customers.

            Advertising

            But this is not a one-way street. You, too, need to be someone your team can rely on. They trust you to have their backs when a client is unreasonable, to know that the decisions they make are in your best interest, and to make good on your promises.

            If you say you’ll attend an important meeting, be there. If your company makes a profit and you’ve said you’ll pay a bonus, pay it. The goodwill of your people is something you never want to test, let alone lose.

            Be reliable; it’s astounding how much this motivates your people.

            2. Create an Awesome Company Culture

            There’s no denying that company culture trickles down from the top. Your leadership and attitude massively influences the attitudes, work ethic, and happiness of your staff. If you’re always stressed-out, overly demanding, and unreasonable, it’ll create tension in your office which will adversely affect your employees’ motivation levels.

            In fact, the HAYS “US What People Want Survey” found that 47 percent of staff who are actively looking for a new job, pinpoint company culture as the driving force behind their reason to leave.

            So if you have high staff turnover, you need to determine whether your company culture might be the motivating factor behind your churn rate.

            Here are four ways to build a culture that keeps your employees highly motivated.

            • Be conscious of the image you present. Your body language and attitude can positively or negatively impact your employees. So come to work energized. Be optimistic, friendly, and engaging—this enthusiasm will spill over to your people and motivate them to be more productive and efficient.
            • Appreciate your people and be reasonable. Celebrate your team’s achievements. If they’re doing a good job, tell them. Encourage them to challenge themselves and try new things. And reward when deserved. If they’re struggling, help them. Work together to find solutions and be a sounding board for their ideas.
            • Be flexible. Give your people opportunities to work remotely—this is highly motivating to staff, particularly millennials. They don’t want to be battling traffic each day on their way to work. They don’t want to miss their kids’ baseball games or ballet rehearsals. Stats show that companies that offer flextime and the ability to work from home or a coffee shop have happier and more productive employees.
            • Create employee-friendly work environments. These are spaces that inspire and ignite the imagination. Have you ever been to Google’s offices? No headquarter is the same. From indoor slides and food trucks, to hammocks, and funky work pods on the wall, gaming rooms, and tranquil interior gardens, there’s something for everyone. It’s a space where people want to be, catering to their need for creativity, quiet, or team building; you name it.

            So take a look at your company culture and ask yourself, Is my business an attractive workplace for talented professionals? Does it inspire commitment and motivate my people? What could I do to improve my company culture?

            Advertising

            3. Touch Base with Your Team Weekly

            Make time for your people, whether you run a remote business or work in an office, set aside time each week to talk to your people one-on-one. It’s non-negotiable.

            When there’s an open line of communication between staff members, work gets done. Don’t believe me? A study by Gallup found that 26 percent of employees said feedback from their leaders helps them to do a better job.[3]

            Your people want to feel trusted. They want to take ownership of their work, but they also need to know that when they have a question, they can reach out and get answers. If you’re unwilling to make yourself available, your team will quickly become unmotivated, work will stagnate, and your business will stop growing.

            So block off time on your calendar each week to touch base with your people, even if only to let them know that what they’re working on matters.

            4. Give Them the Tools They Need to Do Their Jobs Well

            Imagine trying to run your business without electricity. How would you contact your clients? What would happen when your phone or computer battery died?

            Technology is super critical to the success of your businesses. It allows you to work more efficiently, to be more productive, and to handle matters on-the-go. That’s why you need to give your people tools that will make their jobs easier.

            Make sure their equipment is in good working condition. There’s nothing more frustrating than a laptop that takes ages to boot up. It’s got to go. Replace outdated software with new software. Don’t make your designer work in Coreldraw; give them access to the most up-to-date version of Adobe Creative Suite. Take it a step further and buy them a subscription to Shutterstock or Getty Images.

            Make working for you a pleasure, not a pain; and watch your employees’ motivation levels rise.

            Advertising

            5. Provide Opportunities to Learn and Upskill

            Would you believe me if I told you that 33 percent of people cite boredom and a need for new challenges as the top reason for leaving their job?[4] If you want to retain your talent, you need to upskill.

            Thanks to technology, we live in a rapidly evolving world that demands we change with it. A copywriter is no longer just a writer; they now need to be experts in SEO, Google Adwords, CRMs, and so much more.

            A pastry chef needs to be a food stylist, photographer, and social media manager. An entrepreneur needs to be a marketer—or at least take ownership of the marketing message for their business—if they hope to scale.

            Technology makes all of this possible. No matter your location, your people can continuously expand their knowledge and gain new skill sets—something that’s highly motivating to employees. They want to know that there are opportunities to grow and develop themselves.

            If you won’t invest in your people, then your business becomes just another job to tide them over until they find where they truly belong. So be the company that sees value in developing its people.

            6. Monitor Their Workload

            Overworked employees tend to be unproductive and unhappy. Your people cannot be at full capacity every day, month to month. Something’s got to give. They’ll become deflated and their work will eventually suffer, which will negatively impact your business.

            What I like to do is implement a traffic light system. It helps me to keep a finger on the pulse of my business. So there’s red, yellow, and green:

            • Red means they’re fully loaded.
            • Yellow means they’re busy, but they can potentially take on more.
            • Green means they haven’t got enough to do.

            I use this traffic light system because I don’t want my team members to be stressed out of their brains all the time. If they are, they won’t make good decisions and they won’t do good work.

            Advertising

            If my people are regularly overloaded, I have things to think about. Perhaps I need to hire a new person to help ease the load or take a closer look at what projects are good to go, and which can take a back seat.

            And this is why #3 is essential. If I’m regularly engaging with my people, I’ll know that while they’re coping with their workload, it is impacting their performance and health, and I’ll take action.

            7. Don’t Mess Around with Your Employees’ Pay

            Never mess around with your people’s salary. As a business owner or high-level manager, it’s easy to forget that most people live from paycheck to paycheck. Delayed compensation can mean a missed bill payment, which could result in costly penalties they can’t afford or hits to their credit score.

            So it’s your job to ensure that you pay your people on time.

            The Bottom Line

            A motivated team is an asset to any business. These people never give up. They get excited about coming to work each day and can’t wait to test a new theory or tackle a particularly tricky challenge. They’re proud of the work they do. And more importantly, they have no reason to leave.

            Wouldn’t you rather be part of their success story than the business that drove them away?

            More to Motivate Your Team

            Featured photo credit: Emma Dau via unsplash.com

            Reference

            Read Next