Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Why developing a personal brand is critical in this economy.

Ever since Tom Peters talked about the importance of “brand you” and long before, people have been developing their own personal brands. Whether its celebrity brands of Tiger Woods, Donald Trump or Richard Branson – or perhaps lesser known personal brands of a host of authors, coaches, dancers and songwriters, we know that there is a way to cash in on the success of a personal brand.

For years, actors and actresses have been building their own brands and then renting them out to the director of their next film. That’s what makes the cash registers at the box office ring. But the same approach can be utilized for anyone in the work place. Celebrity or “expert” status can be developed at even the local level by being a person who is well-connected, willing to teach and share, willing to be open.

Authors gain a unique position in the marketplace simply by writing and publishing their thoughts about their expertise or lessons learned. It seems an author can gain almost instant credibility and turn into a sought-after speaker just by getting a book published. Doesn’t even have to be a best seller. But if it does rank on the best-selling lists (which doesn’t always mean it’s a great book), then some level of celebrity status is sure to follow. Just think about J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books – a young, unwed mother determined to write. Or authors like Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield – who were turned down from 134 publishers until they finally found one who would take on the Chicken Soup for the Soul series – which is still going strong, 100 million books later.

Personal brands give a person leverage that didn’t exist before. Not only in the job market, but also in generating passive and residual income. A recording artist makes money each time his or her song is played on the radio or a CD is sold. Both recording artists and authors can make money when they sleep as books and CDs can be purchased from or Barnes & Noble any time day or night, in any country around the world. Not a bad gig. Not everyone has the talent to be a recording artist, but as Bob Proctor says, everyone has a book in them. At least one, perhaps two – or perhaps many more.

But why should YOU work on building YOUR personal brand? I guess the answer to that question is “Why wouldn’t you?” Why wouldn’t you want to strive to be well known in some way? I do believe in the law of attraction but I also believe each of us must take some action in order to attract people, business, money and abundance to us. A personal brand can be started so easily with the use of the social networks that literally someone could be on their way to building their brand in a day. And with a little effort in the evenings – even while watching reruns of House – one could build an internet presence within just a few short weeks.

But certainly that’s not the full answer. Building your own personal brand is critical in this economy because it is like life insurance. It adds a certain level of protection for your income because many people are, for one reason or another, looking for jobs. Or they have jobs but the income isn’t enough to cover their expenses. Or they’re simply not satisfied with either the income they’re making now – or where they are in on their career path.

Recently, I had a conversation with a friend of mine – a very successful and well-educated individual – and he commented that there were points in his professional life that he felt like he has lost his momentum. The adventure in his career wasn’t always there. Have you ever felt like that? I know I have, many times. Many people fall into that same category – the category of “seekers.” Always wanting more. And knowing, without a shadow of a doubt, that “more” is out there just around the corner. That they have the potential to do more, to have more and to, most importantly, be more. Can you relate to that?

During the holiday season, people begin planning for the New Year and make their resolutions. I hope that one of the resolutions you make for yourself will be to take your own personal brand to the next level. And then, do what Mark Victor Hansen suggests, “write a list of 101 goals in 20 minutes.” Be aggressive at what you want to achieve – more is possible than what we first believe. And let's not be afraid to define ourselves and share our beliefs, values and hope for the future.
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