CREATING A PERSONAL BRAND – RULES FOR PERSONAL BRANDING

Having a personal brand is important for an entrepreneur because now more than ever, it’s important for CEOs and founders of companies/brands to come out to the forefront and connect with their audiences. People connect with people. – Kevin Stimpson

People reinvent themselves all the time—to take on a new challenge, shift into more-meaningful work, or beat back perceptions that have hindered their career progress. Sometimes the rebranding is subtle or evident. Taking control of your personal brand may mean the difference between an unfulfilling job and a rewarding career.

A personal brand is, in many ways, similar to a corporate brand. It is who you are, what you stand for, the values you embrace, and the way in which you express those values.

Just as a company’s brand helps to communicate its value to customers and stand out from the competition, a personal brand does the same for individuals, helping to communicate a unique identity and clear value to potential employers or clients.

An overwhelming 85 percent of hiring managers report that a job candidate’s personal brand influences their hiring decisions. Your personal brand should highlight your strengths, establish a reputation, build trust, and communicate the unique attributes that you bring to your current (or desired) industry. Cultivated well, your personal brand will signal to employers whether or not you’ll be the right fit for an open role.

Developing a personal brand might sound challenging, but there are incremental steps you can take to build credibility in your field. When you have a personal brand that clearly articulates who you are, what you do, and how you help others, it makes it easier for other people and entrepreneurs to see value in connecting with you. You can leverage your personal brand to build your network, both online and offline, quickly and effectively.

Building a personal brand that positions you as the go-to expert in a specific industry or niche helps you to attract more of your ideal clients. When you’re positioned as an expert, it’s also easier for people to refer clients to you. Having a strong personal brand helps justify charging premium prices for your products and services. Without a brand, you become a commodity that competes on price. And there will always be competitors that can beat your price.

Over time, your business will evolve. You may even start multiple businesses in different industries over the course of your career. Your personal brand stays with you as you move from one venture to the next. Having a personal brand helps to build trust with your audience, and position you as an authority and a thought leader in your industry.

The Brand Building Process

The first thing you have to do to identify your personal brand is to know who you really are. You have to sit back and reflect on your values, abilities and passions. What you like to do and what you’re great at. Then you include very important skills you have, and those things that really interest you, what you like to talk about and what you always want to find more about. Being clear about your values is very important when creating your personal brand. If what you do is not in line with your values, you will not be happy with your work or your business and you will probably end up quitting. Sit down and reflect on what is important in your life, what makes you feel happy and fulfilled.

Ask yourself:

1. In which areas of work do I excel?

2. What motivates me?

3. What characteristics have others complimented me on?

4. Which projects have others had to help me with repeatedly?

5. Which roles seem to drain my energy?

6. Which projects can I spend hours on without feeling overwhelmed or tired?

If you’re struggling to answer these questions, ask friends, family, and co-workers how they would describe you. Once you’re more aware of the different facets of your personality, you can decide how best to brand them.

Your personal brand is more than a reflection of who you are today; it’s a roadmap of where you to go. In addition to understanding your existing skills and competencies, it is important to assess your strengths and weaknesses as they relate to whichever industry or career you want to break into next. By doing this, you’ll uncover the skills and traits that make you distinct, as well as the areas where you need to improve or gain new knowledge in order to advance. Forecasting where you want to be in five or 10 years—and the attributes you want to be known for—can help you better determine what steps you need to take in order to get there.

What you offer and the kind of person you are will interest a certain kind of people, not everyone. You have to be very clear about who those people are. Study your audience and address them with your message. If you help your audience achieve their goals, they will help you achieve yours. At first it can be a bit complicated to know exactly who your target audience is. It will take you some time to get to know the type of audience that is interested in what you offer, however, this is essential in order to be able to attract the kind of people you can help and who in turn will help you. The main thing here is to understand the motivations of your target audience, what worries them or what interests them. This will allow you to better design the content of your blog, podcast or marketing emails in order to attract the attention of the right audience.

As you start mapping out the careers you want, it is recommended to compile research on experts in those roles. Find out who the thought leaders are in whatever field you’re interested in, and don’t just follow them, go online and find out if they have blogs, or where they contribute their thinking. Look for people who are successful and examine what they’re doing. Imitate them, and then do one better. In building a personal brand, your goal is to stand out—but you can’t rise to the top without taking inventory of who’s already there.

As you cultivate your ideal personal brand, it’s important to network regularly and effectively to grow your professional circle. Connect with peers and industry thought-leaders by going to formal and informal networking events. The more connections you make—and the more value you can provide in your interactions—the more likely it is your personal brand will be recognized. And, considering 85 percent of all jobs are filled through networking, regularly attending these events will help you not only build your brand, but potentially advance your career, too. At these events, don’t be shy about asking fellow attendees to meet again for an informational interview or a casual coffee chat. And remember, if you don’t get a chance to connect at the event, reach out via email or LinkedIn to spark a conversation.

Having current and former colleagues and managers endorse you is one of the easiest and most effective ways to define your personal brand, allowing others to communicate your value for you. Just as a business might cultivate customer reviews and testimonials for use in sales and marketing collateral, you too should cultivate your own reviews in the form of recommendations.

One of the most important aspects of personal branding is making sure your online presence is engaging to hiring managers, co-workers, and others—even if you’re not on the job hunt. With so many different social media tools available today, your online presence will likely look different depending on the medium you choose. While your story should match across all platforms, once you know where your targeted audience is most likely to turn, you can redouble your efforts in telling your best story there. Additionally, if you want one of your sites or profiles to be exclusively for friends and family, adjust your privacy settings to ensure that potential employers don’t stumble upon any information that could potentially harm your chances of landing a job.

Your brand is more than just an online persona; it’s how you carry yourself at home, in the office, and even on your daily commute. Your reputation is everything! The more opportunities you have to work with others, volunteer for projects, and assert yourself as a leader, take them. That’s part of your brand.

Leadership isn’t reserved for C-suite executives. Strong leaders exist at every level of the organization. Leadership comes from how you behave, how you act, and how you inherently interact with people. That’s real leadership. That story you tell, combined with those everyday interactions, ultimately define your personal brand.

Your brand is your public identity, what you’re trusted for. And for your brand to endure, it has to be tested, redefined, managed, and expanded as markets evolve. Brands either learn or disappear – Lisa Gansky

THE JOURNEY OF WRITING

Good morning readers, I trust we are all in perfect health? 2021 looks like it is going to be all sorts of amazing. I am pretty sure most of us were in church to cross over and give thanks to God, preparing ourselves spiritually for this year. The Crossover service is essential in our lives when transitioning from one year to another; to make resolutions and desire to leave old habits back in the old year. The purpose of this blog post is a reflective one, reminiscing on how the journey of writing has been so far. It is also to motivate upcoming and budding writers to keep writing, because you might never know who might be reading.

We all do need inspiration for major activities that come our way. In a culture obsessed with measuring talent and ability, the important role of inspiration is often overlooked. Inspiration awakens us to new possibilities by allowing us to transcend our ordinary experiences and limitations. Inspiration propels a person from apathy to possibility, and transforms the way we perceive our own capabilities. Inspiration gives you the drive and discipline to continue whatever you have started. It keeps you in sync with your passion and fuels it. Why did I decide to write? Just for the love of it.

4 years ago, I had finished watching an episode of the famous detective series, The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock Holmes, a regal, brilliant obsessive-compulsive high on the drug of puzzles typically snooped around a crime-scene, and collected his information. He observed countless details about the scene and the victim (many of which the police seem to have overlooked) and then from that information arrived at a conclusion that may not be necessarily true, but could be probable based on the information available.  Sherlock Holmes, together with his assistant, Dr. Watson used a technique known as inductive reasoning in solving all of their crimes. Inductive reasoning allowed Sherlock to extrapolate from the information observed in order to arrive at conclusions about events that have not been observed. Here, we see the detective walking into the scene a blank slate; with no pre-supposed ideas about what may have taken place. And he goes on to gather information until he arrives at a conclusion — that still may be incorrect. And yet more information will come and come until he is quite sure he’s arrived at the right conclusion.

His assistant, Dr. John H. Watson created a blog, on the advice by his therapist to write his thoughts and feelings about returning to civilian life from the military as form of dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He does not start regularly updating until when he first meets Sherlock. The blog became an internet phenomenon and was viewed by nearly 2000 people in one day. These fans even started showing up at the crime scenes in order to catch a glimpse of the duo even before they started work. It was then I decided to start my own blog.

Instead of crime scenes, I decided this blog will feature cases seen at the hospital from my own perspective. From interacting with the patient for the first time, through diagnosis to treatment and discharge. This would enable people with similar complaints not resort to self-medication but seek the necessary treatment at the hospital.

Then it got to the point where I had to start writing. Did I even trust myself to produce good content? I locked myself in a room one day, with a pen and a paper and told myself “I was going to write!”  I penned down the free floating ideas that came to my mind without a topic in mind. Interestingly, what I realized was the more I wrote my thoughts down, they seemed to center around a particular theme, which led me to the Title ‘Missing Ingredient’. I had wanted to understand the essence of living and the most important thing in our life as individuals; the bits and pieces that mend together to make our lives meaningful. Before I realized, I had scribbled down a 1000 words.

I could not hide my joy, when I realized I had been able to write something down, whether meaningful or not. Just the idea of being able to write was what kept my joy in check. However I had to share the content for people to read. My idea behind my blog jumped alive and the creative ideas kept coming, as I quickly went to Google and searched “How to create a blog”. Even though I came across a lot of alternatives, the option I have never regretted choosing is WordPress. WordPress gives you the ability to follow the work of other bloggers, and also be followed back. The more likes you get on a post, it meant a lot of readers were enjoying your post, motivating enough to keep you writing. I quickly created a username after creating the blog and selected an appealing theme to make reading easier, and match the content I had aimed to produce. After successfully creating the website, I had to creatively come up with a name. Just because I wanted it to be a form of Online Journal, I named it Diary of a Growing Black Man.

After editing the piece consecutively, I rewrote the final piece in my diary and named it my first blog post. I then proceeded to type this piece in WordPress. WordPress automatically outlines the errors in your post in red so further editing to produce the masterpiece can be done. In addition, there are a ton of fonts to select from, to get the readers stay fixated on a post. Immediately, I was done typing, I let out a huge sigh of relief and published it on my website. https://eliezerontim.wordpress.com/2017/06/11/the-missing-ingredient/

Again I went on Google and searched “How to Make Your Content Viral”. I can’t understate how influential Search Engines have been in my life because as curious as I am, they always seem to have the right answer to my questions. In order to create content that would go viral, it is essential to share the content on various platforms including Social Media profiles such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, and also share them on receptive websites which accept guest blogposts. I immediately followed these steps and had a large readership within a day.

The feedback I got from my audience was so overwhelming, that I felt a deep sense of satisfaction. Many were actually surprised I had written such a good piece, even though it was my first time. Checking the daily statistics was the best way to start my day because it gave me a sudden surge of dopamine to spring forth the ideas into being. In addition, it gave me so much happiness and joy.

The hardest part of any venture is actually not initiation but maintenance. How do I keep getting content to keep my blog active? The inspiration behind most of my content is as a result of talking to different people and getting to know their views concerning a wide variety of topics. I am the person who will strike a conversation with a random stranger just to be inspired enough to write a post. You never know how much someone knows until you ask. I also try to limit the post between a 1000-1500 words because humans have a short attention span. The feedback I get from my readers after I exceed the 1500 word limit is still overwhelming. For all of you who read my posts, I appreciate you all. Let’s be great in 2021.

Fast forward 4 years later, I have been able to publish over 65+ articles on this website. I am thinking about being an author of a best-selling book to hit the Ghanaian marketplace. Also I have managed to put up another blog mainly for Mental Health Articles for which I have about 15 articles. https://www.onlinepsychiatrygh.com/blog . I have been employed by an affiliate marketing company known as Skills to Dollar Bills, and finally, I manage the social media content of an NGO, DYKB (Development of Youth Using Kindness from a Biblical Standpoint).

Writing has been a fulfilling experience for me because I get to channel and make my thoughts known using a piece of paper and a pen as a scaffold. My views and opinions are heard visibly, and finally, with the right gig, I know it will be rewarding financially.

You have probably always wanted to write but don’t know how? Remember Hard Work Beats Talent! Whatever comes through your mind can actually be written down. The fluid thoughts are meant to be heard. It could be true the escape route for most introverts tends to be writing, but I know a couple of extroverts who are excellent writers, so bear in mind, everyone can write. Scribble down whatever comes into your mind, and don’t stop until you have made sense and put a full stop to the last sentence.

Bear in mind, writing teaches you persistence, determination and consistency because good writers take several days to finish editing a good blog post. Aside their vocabulary being enriched, they develop keen eyes for good posts and strengthen their mind by reading further and deciding to write. You might want to learn the use of punctuations, develop your own style of writing and take further courses. This will render a voce to your writing and place your name on the writing leaderboard.

Keep writing, keep pushing because a professional writer is an amateur who did not quit. Stephen King, a famous author states “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot” Read a thousand books, and your words will flow like a river. All you have to do is sit down, remove all distractions and start writing. In the initial phase you might need someone to edit your works until you become perfect.

“You don’t start writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it is good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That is why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence” – Octavia E Butler

Thanks for reading!

Eliezer