“Hey, aren’t you that writer who’s always with the beanie?” Yikes! How did you know that? “That beanie gave you away.” Oh, I wasn’t expecting that but hey, that is personal branding for you. So how should you build a strong brand that sets you apart? Let me share you my little secret: get yourself a mentor or in my case, mentors, and I’ll tell you why.
At some point in our life, we need to start somewhere and let’s be honest here, at times we can be so unsure on how to go about with the hurdles thrown at us, so by all means, do not be afraid to look up to someone to guide you through. This someone “has been there, done that” and he or she is the one that can offer you the best advice to shape yourself and realise your full potential. From them, you will not only get experiences, but you will change as a person; it is that unique combination of your skills, experience and personality that you want others to see you. Imagine this, your very own personal brand in no time, who doesn’t want that?
For these past years, I never thought even once that personal branding is an important aspect of my life. Truthfully, when you talked about the personal brand the first thing that pops out of my mind is how I would dress; at least at that point of life that was my perception. But now as I have been exposed to “life and reality”, these invaluable experiences led me to what I have become today and the trick is to ask yourself these questions:
Who am I? It’s never an easy answer but let’s be frank. If your name is a common one, people would hardly take notice of you unless something sets you apart from others. Start slow, get to know yourself and I mean it. You probably think you’re the expert of yourself but the hard truth, someone else is. So don’t be afraid to ask them for advice on how you can quickly get to know and improve yourself. Quality feedback is rare but hey, having one from someone who wants the best for you is definitely a win. Get this right and you can start building your own authority.
What do I want to be remembered as? Now, this is where things get a little hazy. It’s to find that niche that screams you and what you personally want to bring to the table; it’s about what will help others recognise and differentiate you. Honestly speaking, I was lost in this department because I want to be a lot of things but in the end, I fail each and every one. It’s not pretty but that’s where my mentor came in and helped me to lay a foundation to start. Keep in mind that your mentor is your friend, will always be there to help shape and inspire you. If you think your parents are the only staunch supporter of your success, maybe it’s time for you to change that mindset. Your mentor, too, has your best interest at heart. Trust me.
Why should I stay consistent and authentic? Easy peasy. Your lack of consistency in the brand can eventually impact you in a negative way. It may not be noticeable at first, but slowly, it can lead confusion to others on your brand identity and you do not want your hard work get thrown out of the window, do you? Now, the question is this. Where does the role of a mentor play in here? Well, let’s just say if you decided to derail from your initial objective, they are the ones that become your Waze and bugged you to stay on course. So, let’s just look the part and stay consistent because authenticity is key to a great personal brand – don’t follow the crowd, let the crowd follow you. Be that trendsetter, you feel me?
Where can I showcase my brand? Let’s try LinkedIn for starters, shall we? Though at the present point, I’m guessing some of you are already asking this: why LinkedIn? Why not Facebook or Instagram or even Twitter? You have to admit; LinkedIn is where the professionals hang out and this is their playground. In this platform, your professional network and followers are always keen to get to know you and some even insisted to learn from you! How cool is that? Oh, and did I mention that your mentor can introduce and recommend you around too? I remembered when my mentors introduced me to some connections via LinkedIn, my notifications just won’t stop coming in and it still does. So, for now, let’s stick with LinkedIn as your playground and be on top of your game, aye?
After all of these questions, remember that personal branding takes a little bit of patience and passion. You have to invest your time to slowly break through this ever-crowded industry. And don’t think twice about having a mentor, make it happen. They are your light when you are lost as they can help you avoid that same mistakes plaguing the people before you. But ultimately, becoming a recognised authority in your niche is definitely not far-fetched… well, as long as you work for it of course.
Be unique. Be different. Be you. Cheers!