Creating your personal brand statement –An exercise

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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8 free online tools to use in building your personal brand

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! 🙂

So what’s a personal brand?

I am an anomaly. I can stand in front of an audience and present or perform without flinching or butterflies, but give me a room and tell me to network and I want to bolt straight through the door. I don’t have a fear of public speaking, throughout high-school and college I performed alone on stage without a problem. But put me in a one-to-one situation and watch how quickly I lose my cool.

I suck at networking, and I even sucked at virtual networking.

When Twitter came out I hated it. The thought of sharing my thoughts with the world or chatting up a bunch of strangers was not my thing. It’s just a fad, I thought. Boy, was I ever wrong. So I had to start training myself to become more open and more willing to walk up to people virtually and strike a conversation, I’m still not that great at it, but its a work in progress.

Maybe you have it wrong about personal branding, too. If your idea of building a personal brand is boasting about how awesome you are at every opportunity then you are on the wrong track. Building your own brand is a lot more fun than that

What personal branding is (and is not)

What is personal branding

It’s the sharing age and you could be a hot commodity

Who’s going to know how awesome you are if you don’t start showcasing your talent and skills? Building a personal brand in the tech age is all about sharing what you know. With your skills and talent you are a hot commodity to someone seeking help with a project or building a team.

Personal branding is about sharing what you know with the world. Referrals from one job or project to another are great but being found when someone is looking for someone with your skills is even better. It’s not enough to just do an awesome job at your company and ignore LinkedIn, Twitter and other networking tools. You have to spend time on creating your own brand too.

People that share what they know get further a lot faster than those that stay mum. So you’ve got to start thinking about what your skills and passions are and  how you can use technology to leverage them. Creating your brand or building your reputation is super importnat if you are building a business, but it’s also important if you want to stand out in your field.

Share what you know even if its jut becoming an active member of a LinkedIn group, or guest posting in blogs in your field every once in a while.

Personal branding can help you get work or clients

Whether you are an entrepreneur trying to build your own business, starting out on the job market, or working in a company, building a personal brand can help you get the projects you want to get. It can help you get the right kind of attention without having to straight up brag about it

What do you want to be known for?

Remarkable people are those that stand out. If we were to meet today, how would I remember you?

It’s time to get in the business of building you. What your name and work says about you will set you apart in every instance. The more remarkable you are the more likely you are to be remembered, and the more likely you are to succeed. It’s not just about having a skill, It’s about being able to market that skill to people who need it.

What are you good at? what do you want to spend your life doing? how are you going to share how awesome you are at ____________?

Think about it this weekend.

What’s your hustle?

Before I start work everyday, I sit down and write a blog post.

It’s based on whatever I’m thinking about that day, and whatever future goal I have in mind. I don’t always publish (I’m working on that) but I write something down.

How did you get here?

Living in the midwest -Winter -Building your brand
How did I get here?

I love finding out people’s stories. How they got to where they are now. I came from Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, to a small town on the shore of one of the great lakes in a city that freezing half the year. People always like to ask me that, in short, it’s a long story.

Here’s what I do: I’m a content strategist for an internet marketing agency called PureDriven in northern Minnesota.

I work in a virtual climate, which is great but hard sometimes and I got my job a few months after graduating college.

When I see people looking for jobs, I harken back to last summer when I was sitting on my bedroom bed, sub-letting my friend’s apartment with no idea where my life was headed and facing job application after application.

It wasn’t like I hadn’t tried, I had three internships under my belt by the time I graduated. Where did that lead me? The afore-mentioned apartment, bed, application scenario.

I tried my hardest to pour my heart out to a computer in hopes that the select word I had picked from the job description would put me at the top of the list.

I hated it.

I hate online applications.

Hate. Hate. Hate.

There is nothing personal or real about them, if you manage to get a phone interview you are crossing fingers and saying whatever it takes to get an in-person interview.

And if you get an in-person interview even if it’s a “boring” industry or a “boring” job, you will say whatever it takes to get the job.

And after two years of working in a career center in college I knew exactly what to say.

It was depressing. Faced with the prospect of spending a depressing summer I decided that I was just going to start a blog and write about stuff that actually interested me, while I applied for jobs that well, didn’t.

I decided to set myself up as a consultant for small business because I figured hey, there are people out there who know a lot less than I do and if I can set it up to do small projects for them it just might work.

Heck, I thought, why not?

It sort of worked, and it kept me motivated.

I even crafted sales letters that I sent to local businesses I found through the local chamber pages.

When I wasn’t applying I was working on my hustle or hanging out with friends.

I don’t know what to do with downtime after about a day or two.

It didn’t really work out, I wasted the little money  I had sending out mail, and hours in the computer lab printing stuff. I didn’t really hear back from any of those businesses, I got one or two projects from people who knew me, but in the overall sense my business was a fail.

Honestly though, it saved me.

Here’s why: It helped me get a job I actually wanted without any need for an application, or bullshitting whatsoever.

Building Your Brand 101

“Follow the dots, and trust that they will somehow connect”

If you want to do something you enjoy but have no idea how to get an in, in the industry work for free.

The blog I was running and my fledgling business –haha- got me the attention of a former fellow intern on LinkedIn and she connected me to a local marketing expert who kindly took me under his wing and let me work while learning the ropes. He hustled to get me hired at his company, all because I had shown genuine interest and initiative he later said.

Those job applications I did, well after about a month of those I got a few phone interviews. And one even got me two interviews at a legit job I might have taken. A few weeks into my new job, those boring applications got me 2nd interviews, but by that time, I was already saved from the hum-drum life; a life where I would have to fight to get to do what I do everyday now as a part of my job.

That’s pretty sweet.

If you want to get somewhere you’ve got to write it down. Then take steps towards it. Small steps. I’m all for the jump out and catch your dream but you probably have a couple of bills, and you will probably need some cushion for a little while.

But don’t be afraid to stick your neck out there and start somewhere, even if it’s a small blog moonlighting as a marketing consultant while you’re still learning 😉

What your hustle? What’s your dream? What do you want to wake up and do every day 5 years from now?

It’s not going to happen instantly, but if you take those small steps, it’ll happen.

“Follow the dots and trust that they will somehow connect.” -Steve Jobs

Best. Quote. Ever.

I’m fired by something else now, helping myself and others learn how to build a brand for themselves online.

I’m just doing it because I love marketing, and that field caught my interest. A quick Keyword research told me it has others curious too so I decided heck, why not?

What gets you fired up?

Figure it out, and go get ’em!

Is Oatmeal that interesting? (Why you should own your digital footprint)

Quaker Oatmeal Picture

I share a last name with a famous brand of oatmeal, and my initials DQ are also the initials for Dairy Queen a chain famous for its calorific deserts found in America (particularly the Midwest).

Maybe it’s because I’m a little vain sometimes I Google myself just to see what is out there. I don’t know about you but I sometimes like to Google people I come across (you’d be amazed at what you find) and recent events in my personal life have made me wish I had started this habit earlier. When I started this blog, I barely came up on page 2 near the bottom; page 1 was other websites posting stuff that involved me, a parrot forum (Yes, I was bewildered too) and the aforementioned oatmeal brand.

This bothered me a little because I wanted to come up for my name, and better yet I wanted to have a say in what results were placed at the top of Google. I believed that in a search for my name, the researcher would for sure find me more interesting than the oatmeal brand.

Like it or not, everyone is increasingly having their own digital footprint. Whether it’s your social media profile, a random article you submitted on a site, a government record of land or marriage license, or even a random news article that comes up. Traces of things you touch are filtering through to the online world which as we know lasts a lot longer than human memory, and thanks to increasingly more efficient search engine results, can be pulled up instantaneously.

Why you should build your online brand

The other day Google placed me on top of my LinkedIn profile. Which is a personal an accomplishment for me because I think it has more authority in general than I do. But therein lies a great reason to start your own web space in my opinion.

As more and more things are posted online wouldn’t it be great that the first results when someone looks you up are your own? Think of it in any part of your life, from job interviews, to potential romantic partners to even applications to rent

or potentially get a new roommate. It is increasingly important to show some sort of credibility online and if you cannot control what others post at least you can control what you put out there.

The thing that surprises me is my generation is not always out there on LinkedIn or Google+ or blogging, or Tumblr or Quora. And that is a –OK, but in a world that is increasingly digital with instant searches and now Google Glass shouldn’t we extend the time we put into creating great first impression in the real world to our persona online?

There is always something you are an expert in, whether it’s crocheting, sticking to a fitness program, healthy lifestyle choices, ideas to beat kids boredom or pursuing a dream of travelling, why not share it. Not because you have to but because if someone Googled your name wouldn’t you want the first thing that comes up to be about something you are passionate about? Wouldn’t you want to give them a great first impression both online and off?

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About the writer: Daisy Quaker is an Internet marketing consultant. She loves helping small businesses grow through marketing and by telling their unique stories online. She writes about various Internet marketing tactics and strategies on this blog sporadically. She loves meeting new people, say hi to her on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.