To start building a personal brand from the very beginning, Chris recommends defining who you really are and what you want to be known for. His book has an exercise called “The Self-Awareness Test” that can help.
Divide a sheet of paper into two columns. In the first column, list the things you do well, ways you stand out, how you’re known, and ways you over-provide. In the second column, list all the stuff you struggle to do. Chris says entrepreneurs often have trouble with the second column, which he calls “the get real column,” because they like to think they’re brilliant at everything.
After you complete both lists, make a plan to eradicate or delegate the items that you struggle to do in your business. Instead, focus on what you do well because it’s what you’ll be known for.
For example, as a speaker, Chris loves to get off the stage, walk around the crowd, and workshop with people. He can and has performed keynotes, but he knows it’s not his strong point. He’d rather roll up his sleeves and get involved in a workshop-style session. He’ll leave the keynotes to people who do them well, like our mutual friend Pat Flynn.
When you’re aware of what you do and don’t do well, you’ll flow into figuring out whom you want to work with and serve, what types of things to do, what kinds of content to create, and what kinds of problems you can and will solve. As these points become clear to you, you can start developing a niche or focus for your personal brand.
- Pick a Niche
When I ask what he’d say to those who want to serve everyone, Chris says you can’t please all of the people all of the time.
Instead, find your niche. Just as professional sports teams have several types of coaches and homebuilders contract with all sorts of specialists, from the architect to the plumber, entrepreneurs need a specialized focus, too.
Your niche not only helps you stand out, it also helps you get your messaging right. You create a lot more work for yourself if you try to go too broad because your messaging won’t be clear enough to attract the audience you want.
Chris feels frustrated when he knows an entrepreneur can do extremely well in one particular sector or sub-sector of a larger industry, but they try to go broad. Then they complain they’re not growing fast enough, or not making enough money or impact. If they would slow down and look at what they’re doing, they’d see they can affect more change, make more money, and help more people by going after a slightly smaller market.
Another example is LEGO, which was on the brink of bankruptcy 10 or 12 years ago, because the company was trying to do too many different things. In 2005 or 2006, LEGO hired a new CEO who said, “Let’s just bring it back down to the brick.” Now LEGO is doing much better.
2. Know your USP
The term USP (unique selling point) is often bandied around in sales and marketing departments up and down the country. This refers to the niche factor that makes a product or brand desirable and different from its competitors. Understand your own USP – it could be your specialist training or a unique combination of past experience and personal interests. Once you’ve honed in on your USP, make sure you let future employers know about it.
3. Live your brand.
As mentioned before, one of the ways you can make building a personal brand difficult on yourself is to separate your brand from your personal life. While certainly doable, it’s easier when initially creating a personal brand to have your actual lifestyle and brand be one and the same.
Tim Salau, community builder and founder of Mentors & Mentees, who works with college students to help them build brands that will get them hired, believes in this idea as well.“Your personal brand should follow you everywhere you go. It needs to be an authentic manifestation of who you are and amplify what you believe.” With this in mind, your personal brand is not only a reflection of a series of job functions like marketing, finance or creative but also ideals like giving back, thoughtful leadership or mentorship.
4. Build Your Online Presence
From Twitter to podcasts, blogs to Facebook, to establish your personal brand, you must get your voice out there. First, you must secure URLs, social usernames, etc. that are the best fit for your brand before someone else does! This includes both your personal website and any social networks you choose to join.
Tools like knowem and NameChk can help you check availability across hundreds of social communities. If your preferred name has already been chosen, try using dashes, underscores or numbers to find one that best fits your brand. Linkedin is one of the best places to start getting socially if you’re interested in improving your job standing or looking for clients then LinkedIn is the best place to start. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are the other major networks you’ll want to take a look at. Secure your username here and start building your profiles on the network(s) that will best fit and help further your personal brand. In addition, ensure your personal website showcases your best attributes and/or work. If you’re a writer or designer, establish a portfolio. If you’re a speaker, start a podcast or film yourself speaking at a conference.
5. Create a positive impact.
After you’ve developed your personal brand over a period of time, there are generally two ways to continue to build your brand – hop over others and burn bridges or steadily grow a community around your brand. Jacob Shwirtz, head of social partnerships at WeWork, who has worked with many of the top influencers in the world, including makeup personality, Michelle Phan, gives us this wisdom. Keeping a positive attitude and helping others will only help healthily grow your brand in the long run.
Source: Forbs and others