Young people easily get carried away in ideas and goals. It has to do with life experience, or to be precise, the lack of it. Daily dreaming often leads to nothing but frustration for not achieving those high goals. What I have come to learn is that we all possess a crucial asset that is constantly underdeveloped – the personal brand.
The essence of every business is to create something that will satisfy a need to a market that is willing to pay enough for the business to survive. We focus methodically to develop the best product/service possible – often getting carried away, that we forget why we started in the beginning.
There is also a chance to use our business skills to make ourselves even better:
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” – George Bernhard Shaw, Author
Why not create yourself to satisfy the market needs? Learn to do stuff, make yourself visible to the “customers” and gain long term rewards. Even better, starting young, you have the opportunity. Explore the things you might want to become, test ideas and make drastic changes to improve your personal brand development.
What is a personal brand?
I will start with words of Tim Ferriss, the Author of “The 4-Hour Workweek”:
“Personal branding is about managing your name — even if you don’t own a business — in a world of misinformation, disinformation, and semi-permanent Google records. Going on a date? Chances are that your “blind” date has Googled your name. Going to a job interview? Ditto.”
A personal brand consists of all the unique characteristics that one persona has. The use of this skills or traits solves problems or satisfies needs, just as any other product would. How well this job is done directly relates to the success of the brand. Everything you have done is considered an achievement. So are all the failures that you have learned from. Just like a product in its creation, your personal brand undergoes similar steps in becoming a successful one. But first, one thing is for sure:
having a specific skill set does not equal a successful personal brand
Why would you want to invest in personal brand development?
Lets assume that you know how to motivate people. It is a very crowded industry that has taken up a significant size in recent years. You can do a better job at motivating people than the competition. Lets also assume you have undergone specific training, you have some/lot of experience and satisfied clients. The problem is that you can’t get the “big gigs”. Than again, no one knows about you!
How would they know when you live in your bubble of mediocrity? Why not make it big? Go out there and capture the market when you have the product to satisfy the needs!
Improving your personal brand does the following good things for you:
- Gives direction and focus – being devoted to something specific will only lead to success because of a clear devotion and direction. Your traits will shape your personal brand, thus giving you focus.
- Boost confidence – projecting yourself as a brand improves your professional success rate. If you are known for doing something successfully, repeating the success is a major bonus for your confidence.
- Sense of ownership – your professional “destiny” is in your hands. You face all the failures but also reep the rewards.
- Projects competence – you do not have to claim to be able to do stuff – your personal brand will speak for your ability.
- Makes you visible – anyone wanting to know more about you can easily find such info. Right away you are way better than anyone who does not invest in a personal brand.
Tools of the trade
Before we go into the tools, you would have to define your target market. This would help a lot with picking the right channels for the job.
- Define your specific skills – what can you do with them?
- Find the market – the needs, the competition, the behaviour patterns
- Reach the market – different markets have different channels of reach
- Be patient – success does not come over night.
Once you have defined the prerequisites, get to work:
- LinkedIn – the worlds biggest professional network is the best place to start. Check out some of the following guides to help you use LinkedIn efficiently:
- The Ultimate Guide to a Perfect LinkedIn Profile
- 8 Steps To Creating A Powerful LinkedIn Profile
- How to Use LinkedIn: The Ultimate List of LinkedIn Tips
- So You’re on LinkedIn … Now What?
- 7 Steps To Creating the Best LinkedIn Profile
- The Beginner’s Guide to LinkedIn
- LinkedIn – MOZ
- 5-Step Quick Guide For Getting Started On LinkedIn
- Blog/Personal Website – the most custom solution for personal brand development. Creating a personal website or a blog can do wonders for you. It is far more work demanding because it requires a wide range of additional skills, which you should be willing to learn (code, graphic design, SEO, marketing, social media and other). The best guides out there are:
- Networking – the Internet is a tool that makes our life easier. Yet sometimes going the old fashioned way does the job. Go out there and meet the right people. Some interesting articles:
- Social Media – the presence of a lot of people on social media is a potential market that must not be undermined, no matter what target market you are trying to reach. Great insights at:
Bringing it Together
The idea behind this guide is to help you to start thinking of the concept of the personal brand. Once you have identified your need to recreate yourself the rest is relatively easy. My personal view is that every ambitious young professional should invest in personal branding for countless reasons. It is an investment that does not seem to ever have a return, but actually is the best one you will ever make.
Until next time!