If you are a professional – a lawyer, web designer, consultant, or some similar occupation (as opposed to owning a product-based business) – I don’t need to tell you there is a lot of competition out there.
So how do you compete when everyone else in your field is trying to reach the same clients and eyeballs?
You have to create a great personal brand.
Creating a great personal brand is the secret sauce to getting noticed, standing out, attracting top-tier clients, and making more money. Indeed, once you build your personal brand to the point where you are spoken of in the same breath as those at the top of your field, then you do not have to compete on price. In fact, you can charge more because your clients will value your work above others’.
Charging a premium for your services is but one of many reasons you should consider working on your personal brand. In addition, a great personal brand:
- Gives you added credibility
- Keeps you top of mind
- Results in consistent business
- Ups your income potential
Consider Martha Stewart for a moment. Her personal brand was so strong that she could go to jail, come out, and not miss a beat.
Having a great personal brand is even more important for us mere mortals when online reputations are so central and when online networking and social media play such a vital part in our lives and businesses.
So, how do you create that valuable personal brand?
To help us understand, I recently chatted with an expert in the field.
Dan Schwabel is a leading expert on personal branding, with a very popular blog, The Personal Branding Blog, and a successful book on the subject (Me 2.0). Dan says the key to personal branding is authenticity; “your brand must honestly represent you and your value and values.” It must also be, he says, “transparent, and visible.”
Here’s how you create that powerful, authentic, personal brand:
1. Be bold and authentic: “Wallflowers and shrinking violets don’t build brands,” Dan notes on his site. “People who are bold and enthusiastic do. For executives looking to make their mark and build a brand, being a hands-on, in the trenches type of person translates into authentic experience.”
2. Help, and then help some more: “If you want to really stand out, you must be useful and add maximum value at all times. Do this by offering free info, training, and content about your industry and share that info while speaking at events and on podcasts.”
3. Use all available tools: Apropos of #2 above, the way to build a brand is by consistently getting your name, message, tips, content, and information out there using all of the tools available to us today – a personal website, blogging, social media, podcasts, videos, etc.
4. Get a logo and catchphrase: Old school tools work. A well-done logo creates an immediate graphic representation of you and your business.
5. Monitor: “Google alerts” let you see what is being said and written about you online. “Twitter search” does much the same for its service. By following these prompts, you can positively inject yourself into any online conversation about you, your services, and your business.
A top-notch personal brand can skyrocket your business to the next level. Yes, it takes time, but the results will pay dividends for years.
About Steve Strauss
Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert /servlet/JiveServlet/downloadImage/38-3352-408614/Steve%2BStrauss%2BHeadshot%2BSBC.pngcolumn is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success.© Steven D. Strauss.
Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned. All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Steve Strauss.
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