Personal branding is that mythical thing where you decide you want to be famous and have a reality TV show with your family, right? Umm…not exactly. Simply put, it’s the perception that people have about you after your interactions on a regular basis – be it a business meeting, social gathering or from your online presence. After other people form their perception, the question for you is what they observe about you, what you want them to remember?
If the answer is no or you’re not sure, here are a couple of tips to help you build a personal brand that you can be proud of.
1. Define your brand
The first step is to know who you are, your personal goals, mission and what you want to be known for. We all have different passions and ambitions so having a personal brand isn’t exclusively for public figures.
If you want to be computer programmer, what are the unique skills you want to be known for? If you want to become a popular stylist, what style and approach do you bring to your clients so that they remember you?
Once you define that, develop a personal mission statement that summarizes who you are, what you do, who do you do it for, and how do you deliver value in a way that no one else does.
2. Start Building Your Reputation
Once you’ve developed your personal mission statement, now is the time to let people know about it. Take time out to network, go to forums within your industry, and find opportunities to interact with different people both socially and in business.
Personally, I always set a target each month of people I would like to interact with. I also create a target list of the business workshops or events in my area of expertise that I want to attend in order to build my skills and meet new people. This way, I get to grow and represent my brand as well.
3. Get Advice
Amid all this networking and building visibility, it can be easy to get carried away and forget to find potential mentors or advisors. Mentors can help you focus all those ideas you have running through your mind, and hopefully share advice that can keep you from making common mistakes.
Not all mentors need to come from your area of expertise. It can be good to find someone with a totally different background than you who can give you an external point of view and general leadership advice.
4. Know Your Stuff
If you are going to start claiming to be an expert in an area, then you should definitely be an expert in an area. That doesn’t mean you can’t continue to learn and grow, but you should have a good idea of where your talents lie and how you’re going to build upon them.
Get to know your weaknesses, identify your strengths and work to become the best person in that area. Your goal is to become the first person people think of when they have a problem they want to solve or are looking for an expert, so make sure you’re ready for the opportunity when they come calling.
5. Maintain Your Connections
After you do all of the hard work to start to build a reputation and connect with relevant people in your industry, you also have to put in the effort to keep up with your brand new contacts.
Use social media and blogging to keep your brand in the right places and the right publications. Set up a system where you’re sending follow up emails to every business card you collect or person you meet at conferences.
As you maintain your connections, then they’ll be more likely to recommend you for new opportunities or open up their network further.
6. Keep Learning and Improving Your Skills
Have you noticed a common pattern here? Just because you decide to become an expert in something and build your personal brand around it doesn’t mean your job is finished.
If you want to maintain relevance in the market and stand out for the long term then you need to make sure you’re always on top of relevant trends and continue to add new skills to your toolkit.
In conclusion, becoming well known in one area of expertise is so important for Motherland Moguls today. When you can’t rely on a job to employ you forever, we all have to be masters of our fate and keep our options open.
Hope these tips gave you a good road map to starting building your personal brand and showing the world all you have to offer.