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Building & Financing Your Personal Brand

Building a business from scratch is an uphill battle. One tool that you should have is a personal brand.

Think of the businesses that you admire. Can you describe what that company does, what that company values, and what their mission is? That is what makes up a brand. If you haven’t created one yet, or if you need to work on a personal and/or professional brand, keep these five key points in mind.

#1) Define Yourself & Your Brand

This is similar to but not identical to your mission statement. Take a moment to sit in front of your computer or take out a piece of paper and jot down the values that you consider to be important. Need some inspiration? How about some wise words from the great Sir Richard Branson:

Branding demands commitment; commitment to continual re-invention; striking chords with people to stir their emotions; and commitment to imagination. It is easy to be cynical about such things, much harder to be successful.”

#2) Specialize in Something

Make sure that you are specializing in something that is relevant to your field and market. Being vocal about it will help you stand out as well. Think about how your specialty and your brand will help you stand out from the crowd. Think about how this will help consumers choose you over everyone else in your field.

If you can’t think of a specialty, you may need to expand your mind a little by learning one. Are you in freelance? Are you a web designer? Perhaps creating a specialty in vintage design, or a specific design which adapts well to any platform. Are you a writer? Perhaps you can specialize in a specific type of writing: blogs, articles, interviews, etc. These specialties will make you indispensable at work.

#3) Level Up on Communication

Knowing how to communicate is important in every field. It is especially important for executives, CEOs, and business owners. You need to be able to communicate well in order to build your brand. More specifically to this article, you should be able to convey your personal and professional pitch to other colleagues and potential clients.

One way to strengthen your pitch is to write out a quick summary of your experiences and interests before any networking event (like a conference or a luncheon). You should be able to confidently express the values of your company.

Public speaking courses, writing courses, and constant practice are only a few ideas for how you can enhance these skills if you feel that you lack the confidence in your communication abilities.

#4) Make Your Brand Seen

Advertising on social media can be an important asset, depending on your brand and product/service. For some companies, Facebook ads work better than Twitter ads. Other companies can’t use social media to convey their message because of their target market.

#5) Don’t Know What to Finance?

If you don’t know what to invest in when it comes to your personal brand, consider these specific items first:

Your Logo and/or Motto. As a whole, humans are visual creatures. We are drawn to things which are visually appealing to us. A great example of this is literature. Because we have different preferences, certain book covers appeal more to certain target markets. The key phrase being, “target market”. Before you invest any money, you need to know who you’re marketing to.

Writers and web designers. If you have the money to invest in writing and the visual appeal and ease-of-use of your website, I would highly recommend doing so. While you are working out the kinks of your business, delegate these things to professionals. You want to be able to convey the right message and do so in a visually-appealing manner.

Morale Boosting Activities and Items. A company is only as strong as the team that runs it. In the beginning of any business, most team members are ecstatic to build a new empire. Unfortunately, when the company hits hard times, that enthusiasm can wane quickly. Make sure that you’ve got some money set aside to help boost the morale of your hard working team members.

What you do speaks to your personal brand. Your values, you (as an individual), your standards for your product, and your expectations for your team speak volumes about what your brand and company stand for. This is how your company is seen.

It’s happened hundreds of times in the past, a company will be thrust into controversy because of a personal decision that the CEO made. Consumers often drop them like a bad hat. Why? Those decisions affect their brand as a whole. Consumers flock toward companies who brand themselves with the same values that they consider important.

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