Here’s what your personal brand can learn from your personal dating choices. When it comes to dating we all have a no-go list. Sometimes it’s a physical thing, or a personality thing, but we have trained our minds to instinctively spot and notice our type vs. people who are not our type.

Personal branding -Building your target market

It’s not just a dating thing. We pick who our friends are, our partners are and in which company we want to be a part of. That’s a good thing, and something your personal brand can learn from. Professionally though that’s a different ballgame. We don’t want to shut down any possible opportunity that comes our way even if we may or may not be the right fit because we are scared we might miss an opportunity. I think we need to borrow fa lesson from our dating lies, our brand does not and should not appeal to everyone. If it does not appeal to someone we should not feel the need to water t down so it can fit. Sometimes it just won’t click, and that’s ok.

Why do we feel the need to water down our personal brand to appease everyone?

Whether you use it to grow your career, or business, your personal brand is your identity.  It comes out in different ways via blogging, the language you use on social networks and even in your resume. Truth is you’re probably not interested in just about any job you can get or you don’t want a career in just anything. You have a dream or a passipon in a field that you thirst to make a name for yourself (otherwise your personal brand would not matter all that much). Yet, we are almost driven to tone down the things that make us quirky, or different so we can appeal to the masses.

Forget the masses, embrace your quirks

This is my rallying call. Don’t water your brand down by trying to make everyone happy and hit all the right notes. Focus on your niche whether it’s an industry you want to be a part of or a type of customer you want to attract. Focus on them and learn who they are, learn what they read, what language they use, the insider code they communicate with and even what their world view is. Focus on your type and just like in dating eventually you will come to a happy medium.

How to make your personal brand unique

Your tone

There’s a reason teenage girls would read Seventeen magazine, and anyone past the age of 21 would not want to. it’s not written for them. Likewise is your messaging targeting your main audience or is it too wishy-washy that just about anyone can hire you? Do you speak the insider language of the group you are marketing to (every group or “tribe” has their own narrative and common terms they use to identify themselves). If you learn and speak authentically to the group then people in the group will take notice and welcome you.

Your core values

“Dance to the rhythm of the madness in you.” If you have core values and are passionate about something chances are it might not gel with everyone. That’s OK. You are not trying to get everyone, just the people who see the world as you do. That’s your niche. That might not please everyone but it till  give you direction and purpose. Ask your weeks why are you doing this? And remember that when the road gets a little murky, or your vision is a little jaded. Proclaim your core values the real reason you are doing what you do, think of it as a service to others, what value do you want your work to achieve. And use that to connect your personal brand with your niche, because other than that your personal brand statement is just a nice soundbite that is empty in value.

Be honest and upfront

Your audience will reward you for being who you are. Make connections with people by approaching them honestly. As you build your brand you are probably not starting at the top but somewhere in between, or on the lower rungs of the ladder. Be honest about that. You can make real connections when we allow ourselves to be a little vulnerable and admit we might not know a whole lot about our niche, target market, or how we will get from A to B, but we are working to figure it out. Give people a chance to root for your team and let them surprise you.

If you’re for everyone, then ultimately you’re for no one. Or at least that’s how the saying goes. Same way you’re hopefully not just dating anyone that walks by, your brand should not trying to hook any party that meanders along. Spell out who you are for, and who you are not for, and your path and decision-making becomes much easier. More on that next time :-)

Personal brand statement goal setting -Oscar WIlde QuoteOne of my first days in college, my health professor asked us to write down all our lofty goals, and just save them somewhere. He said that if we had written them down we might direct forces within our beings to achieving those goals whether directly or indirectly.

I tried that, and as far as I can tell, I am a long ways from getting a cherry red jeep, or taking a hot air balloon ride across the Serengeti.

So I switched the idea of writing all my lofty goals, and narrowed them to just 3 simple goals that I hope I can achieve within the next 5 years. I can’t tell much else beyond that, and 5 years is long enough to make me feel like I have time, but short enough that I can break down into chunks of what I want to accomplish this year, and the next.

What does this have to do with personal brand statements?

Well if you really think about it, personal brand statement is a vision of how people should see you. So using it as part of your goal setting will help you refine what professional goals you should set yourself in the interim to make that personal brand statement happen.

So how do we use personal brand statements to create SMART goals?

SMART goals by the way are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time specific. So let’s start with a personal brand statement I recently wrote on creating your personal brand statement, and work off that to create a SMART goal.

“I want to help people find and leverage their uniqueness to achieve success in their career or business.”

Make the personal statement goal Specific

So breaking this down, how do I want to help people? Off the bat we can start with tools that I can use to achieve this vision: Blogging, creating and maintaining an e-mail list, joining LinkedIn groups that talk about personal branding, guest posting on related blogs. All these activities are centered on setting myself up as a resource for people to learn about personal branding.

Make the personal statement goal Measurable

How will I measure and track my progress towards achieving this goal? Tracking your progress can be inspirational and help you stay motivated and on-track. Just the other day I had a sign-up to my mailing list; this is how I am choosing to measure my success because I can get actual numbers on how I am doing.

Make the personal statement goal Attainable

It would be fun to say I want to be featured on talk shows, write a book and become famous for personal branding, but that is too lofty for me to achieve within the time I am setting for myself. So instead, I am focusing on making the goal attainable by looking at factors and activities I can control. I can start by promoting the blog, and writing darn good posts. I can research and read all that is out there to become an authority on the subject matter, I can seek out people in my profession to build connections with, these are all within my sphere of control, and fame is not.

Make the personal statement goal Realistic

I’m a big dreamer and optimist. I really think there’s nothing you can’t achieve with focus, time and passion. So for me making it realistic understands the constraints I am working under, namely I do not have a lot of money and time to throw into it, so focusing on what I can do is more of a priority. To that end, I can probably set apart an hour every other day to work on writing blog posts or promoting them before or after I get work done.

Make the personal statement goal Timely

At this point, you can take all the ideas you have and break them into chunks. Overall, say you want to achieve your vision in 5 years’ time, what can you overarching goal can you make each year that will help you get and stay on track?

Break down each of the ideas into phases, and then further down into quarters of the year. I did this by creating Evernote notebooks around each phase so that if I get ideas or see things I would like to carry out at a later stage I can put them into the respective notebook, and come back to them when I get to that phase. In case you were wondering, I’m at Phase 1.

That’s it; you’ve turned your personal brand statement into SMART goals. High-five me in the comments if you’re on board with this plan!

I like to take morning jogs, nothing too ambitious just 30 or so minutes will do. Most times I listen to music, and occasionally, I listen to podcasts. Today I’m glad I chose to listen to this Ted Talk by Dr. Meg Jay.

Don’t let the title fool you, I think the message here is just as relevant whether you are in your 20s, 30s, or 40s. The idea that we have all this time to do all these things we want to do keeps us from pursuing what we really want to do with our lives.

My big scary goal: By the end of this year I want to get moving on making this blog a priority not a choice, and actively pursuing opportunities to grow its audience.

Here is the speech. Play it over your lunch hour, drive home, or whatever down time you have today, it’s well worth it.

Meg Jay: Why 30 is not the new 20

Complete this sentence. Writing exercises are ­_____________. I hope you answered fun, because we are about to jump into a personal branding writing exercise: Creating your personal brand statement.

Personal brand statement -Writing exercise -Daisy QuakerSay it with me, “Yaaay!”

Why you need a personal brand statement

A personal brand statement is a clear statement of who you are, what you do and why you do it. It can give you direction, focus and a way to set yourself apart, and it helps the world figure out what you’ve set out to do.

It’s a big deal for corporations to have personal brands, but it’s also a big deal for you. So you’ve got to carve out a small chunk of time and dedicate it to creating your personal brand statement before you dive into building your personal brand.

So let’s get started in creating your personal brand statement

Who are you and what do you do?

This will help you find your personal brand identity. It’s not enough to say “I am a consultant” or “I am a businessman/woman” what does it really mean?

Remember when you were learning nouns such as teacher, or leader or coach? These are roles that give others a picture of you in a snap! So focus on finding a role that paints a picture, and don’t from being adventurous by using terms like innovator, storyteller, and artist. This might not make it into the product but it will set you on track.

Now, what do you do? I’m not talking about an “I work with companies to blah, blah, blah.” statement. That’s too generic. Make it something specific, clear, but simple. How does your identity + what you do =helping others? Remember simple is powerful. A personal brand statement example for a graphic designer might be: I’m an artist who helps businesses bring their creative visions and ideas into reality. So simple anyone can understand their big idea, ad what’s more they become curious.

Another approach might be to start with a phrase like “I want to help ……”

If you’re starting out, i.e. of building your business, starting your career or looking to move up in your in your field, a good starting point would be to talk about your goal.

“Help” is a keyword in this exercise because it approaches your goal as a service which not only gives the feel-good vibes, but it also attracts others that need the help you offer.

Why do you do it?

Without further ado, what makes you do what you want to do? What is your purpose?

Think about the big picture, the overarching goal, the main thing that drives your focus and just let your creativity and imagination run the show. Sure it might not give you something concrete at first but with refinement you will get a very clear way to explain what you do to others. Once again, avoid big words; keep it simple, honest, ambitious and real.

After some drafts I came up with my personal brand statement:Personal Brand Statement Examples

“I want to help people find and leverage their uniqueness to achieve success in their career or business.”

Now that was fun right?

I feel motivated and purposeful! Writing a personal brand statement is really a motivational activity, it allows you to close your eyes and imagine. Told you writing exercises are fun! Spend some time working on and thinking about your personal brand statement, write it up, print it and put it somewhere you can see the same way a business would hang up their mission and vision. It will help you as you go about building your personal brand.

But we are not done yet.

Once you have figured out your personal brand statements we can get started on creating by-line. I will publish the 2nd part of the personal brand statement exercise –the tagline next week. Look out for that post next week or sign up to the personal branding mailing list to get each post delivered to your e-mail so you can always get your copy of personal brand building tips and advice.

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I’ve got a dumb question. Ever tried to hit a nail into a wall without a hammer?

Personal Branding Tools -Hammer

Well, when I first moved into my apartment that’s exactly what I did. I wanted to get some pictures up on my depressingly bare walls. A little search got me a box of nails from an earlier project, but no hammer. So what bright idea crossed my mind?

“I have a bunch of heavy books why not just use that?”

Let me tell ya –bad idea.It was hard, it didn’t really work and after several useless attempts I gave up.

Are you using the same the right tools with your personal branding efforts? Books are for reading not hammering nails into walls.That’s what hammers are for.

Whether you are an entrepreneur, a college student for even an employee wanting to move up in the chain, we’ve figured out by now personal branding will get you to that next step. But what tools do you use?

Here are 8 online tools to help develop your personal brand

1. LinkedIn

Get cozy with LinkedIn because it all starts here. No matter how many websites crop up giving you new and fun ways to showcase your skills, you’ve got to start with a completed LinkedIn profile. It is after all one of the websites that comes up highly in search results if someone were to search your name, so you’ve got to dominate your LinkedIn profile.

Here’s a short to-do for LinkedIn:

Create a profile if you haven’t done so already. Tweak your profile to present your current and future opportunities. Find keywords that would describe you and plug them in. Complete all your profile information. Ask people you have worked with for recommendations.

2. LinkedIn Groups

Make this your new hang out. There are LinkedIn groups for just about any career or profession, so find two groups and join them for starters. Don’t go on a join-every-group frenzy because it will be tough to keep up with them all. Just start small and see what you can learn.

Here are some tips before you join:

Search for niche groups like groups that are in your local area and your field, or even worldwide. Check out the groups analytics on the right sidebar halfway down the page. This gives you a snap shot of who is in the group. If it’s an open group you can check out some of their recent discussions to see if they are relevant to you.

Once you are admitted into a group. Wade in slowly first. Get a feel for the group y reading several discussions, then become more active and take part in more discussions or find other groups. By creating these connections when you don’t need them, they will be more useful when you do.

3. Twitter

Some people use Twitter for personal communication with friends. Some people use it for business. If you are in the business of building a brand, I would recommend using it for both. Start by making your posts public so people can see the content you share whether you are connected to them or not. Be yourself, but don’t give too much info (TMI). I’ve seen that happen. Don’t worry too much about the follower numbers, being active enough and engage with the right audience is a lot better than having a bunch of followers who are not even remotely interested in the stuff you produce. So build for the right audience.

4. About.Me

If you are looking for a simple platform to host all your accounts then about.me is a good website to look into. It lets you build your profile in a matter of minutes, and link all your accounts such as LinkedIn, Twitter and your blog in one place. It’s an easy alternative for people who do not want to invest in a blog or personal website I haven’t explored the tool beyond building a basic page, but I’m sure there are links to sharing content on there as well.

5. Google Alerts

Start monitoring what is being said about you online. Set up a Google alert early on so that if someone does mention you’ll know right away and can respond. Google alerts helps by tracking your mentions and sending you e-mail notification. You can set it up to e-mail you as it happened or once a day/week. It’s helpful if you also want to follow trends around a topic that you are invested in since it will limit the amount of links you get to only the best ones in that topic.

6. Social mention

Social mention works like Google Alerts only it alerts out of mentions of your name in blog posts, comments and social media. Basically what others are monitors conversations around your name. Once again, set it up just to alert you. As you start out with building your brand you may not have as many mentions but the only inconvenience really is the 5 minutes it will take to set it up.

7. Namechk

Say you want to use your name across all social media profiles. You can use Namechk to see which accounts will allow you to post under your name and which will not. Claim your name across the major social networks as a tactical advantage, you might not go further than setting up a profile and feeding blog posts into it once in a while, but if it does end up being useful to you it will be under your brand. This is also helpful if you have a name similar to someone else, that way you can look for something unique and then set it up to match across most of the major platform –consistency is one of the pillars of a great brand.

8. Personal domain

Are you going to blog? Or build a name sake website? I’d argue that you should (Check out my post on owning your digital footprint). There are plenty of plenty of tutorials, tools, tips and out there. Block out a weekend and take a gander on WordPress.com, or your own website hosting platform there are plenty of options such as building a website with a service like RebelMouse.

And there you have it 9 tools to use to hammer that nail in building your online brand. If you were wondering what I did with that picture well here it is:

Personal branding tools -Nail to the hammer

Turns out the apartment ledge that runs across the room is pretty handy for frames too. Problem solved! :-)