Are you ready to take your career to the next level? Ready to take that next level position? Increase your salary? Become a prominent leader in your industry? It’s time for you to start taking self branding very serious! You’ll learn 15 actionable steps in this guide that will do just that and take your career to the next level!
If you’re just finding out about this career series, you can check out the other posts in the series here:
Self branding is the secret key between a mediocre career and a highly successful career.
We all have to realize that times have changed. Even if you work for a company, you are still a bit of an entrepreneur, because companies no longer have the loyalty employees they use to and employees have to keep their best interest in mind.
The days of getting a job at a company, climbing the ladder, and retiring with a nice pension are over.
Companies are not loyal to their employees and you have to keep your best interest in mind no matter how much you like the company you work for. You have to be ready for the next downsizing or to jump on the next opportunity that arises elsewhere.
To do all of this you need to create a personal brand for yourself! Not just any personal brand, but an amazing personal brand.
WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU?
So what will you get for doing all this work? Here are just some of the benefits of building a great personal brand:
Higher Perceived Value
Better Job Opportunities and Higher Pay
It’s definitely worth it and will bring way more opportunities your way.
Question is, how do you do that? I’m going to show you how.
Here are the steps and tips you need to take to take your career to the next level by building a great personal brand!
1 CHANGE YOUR PERSONAL BRANDING MINDSET
You are your own business or company no matter if you work for a company or not. You need to present your image to any company you are applying for as an industry leader and influencer.
You need to think of yourself as a leader in your industry even if you are not currently. (We’ll get you there)
Not to sound to hokey or anything, but you mindset affects you a lot. If you tell yourself you are or are becoming an industry leader and influencer it will help you subconsciously to get there.
You will be afraid. Anything out of the norm for you triggers that fight or flight response and is scary. That’s ok.
The more you put yourself out there and reach new levels the more you will fear it.
That’s good! If you aren’t nervous or scared about what you are doing, you aren’t putting yourself out there enough.
As you conquer that challenge, you will also conquer that fear, and it will build confidence. Amazing confidence!
As of now, start thinking of yourself as a leader, influencer, even celebrity, and get ready to start putting yourself out there big time!
2 KNOW YOUR TARGET MARKET
Who are you selling yourself to? If you are looking to exceed in your career as a marketing professional, your target market is high level marketing professionals.
If you want to exceed in a career as an IT Security expert, your target market is going to be IT Security Professionals.
Before you even begin to brand yourself you will need to identify who are you trying to reach and appeal to.
Who could help you exceed in your career?
3 CHOOSE YOUR NICHE AND CREATE AN IMAGE FOR YOUR PERSONAL BRAND
Once you’ve identified your target market, now you can choose your niche and how you want to represent yourself (your personal brand).
Let’s say you want to appeal to marketing experts you will need to present yourself as a marketing expert and leader in your industry. That is your niche. Marketing Expert.
You could narrow your niche down even more to something along the lines of small business marketing expert or corporate marketing expert. Possibly even some area of marketing like social media marketing expert.
Choose what best represents the career you want to exceed in.
Next, choose the image you want to portray. Some like a clean professional image. Others like to create a more aggressive and gritty image.
Whichever you choose, be authentic and be yourself. Don’t try to be fake. People will relate better to a real and authentic person than some fake portrayal of a person.
4 GOOGLE YOURSELF AND CLEANUP YOUR IMAGE
Go to google.com right now and search for your name. It’s not arrogant, it’s necessary.
You need to know what is out there, online, about you. Whoever is checking you out surely will.
If there is anything out there that doesn’t exactly shine a positive light, you need to get rid of it.
Party pics, nude pics, drunk pics, whatever it is, remove it. Whatever your niche and ideal image is, that is what you should see. Nothing else.
Get busy cleaning up any not so savory images or posts.
5 CREATE A PERSONAL WEBSITE FOR YOUR PERSONAL BRAND
You need a website for yourself. If nothing else it will serve as the hub for all things related to you.
There are a variety of sites that make it super easy to create a professional site for your personal brand including a custom domain like https://www.davidshepherd.co
My personal favorite is Squarespace. I highly recommend taking a look at their site and custom domains. They make it very easy to get a great site up, quick.
Make sure you at least create a single page to start. You can always expand on it later.
Include your name, picture, info about you, and your contact information to start.
6 CREATE A LOGO FOR YOUR NAME
Create a logo for your name! It doesn’t have to be anything crazy. A great font can really make your image begin to look very professional and appealing.
Thankfully there are now a ton of awesome resources that will make it super easy to create your logo for FREE! Here are two that I like.
Squarespace Logo Maker is super simple and will give you a very basic logo to get started.
If you want to bump up your logo quality to the next level, check out Canva. They have an amazing graphic design app that you can use for free.
Even better, they have tons of ready to go templates to get you started to help you create your own logo.
7 CREATE YOUR TAGLINE THAT TELLS EVERYONE WHAT YOU DO
It’s not an absolute requirement, but highly recommended. A tagline will tell whoever stumbles upon you what you do in a glance. If that’s what they’re looking for they’ll immediately tune in. If not, they’ll move on and that’s fine because they are not your target market.
It doesn’t need to be anything corporate and weird, just a simple and quick way to describe you.
It could be as simple as:
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING EXPERT
Or, you could go more creative and create something like.
SIMPLE SMART MARKETING
It’s really a matter of preference. I wouldn’t get so creative and abstract to the point that the reader doesn’t know what the hell you do.
Make sure that part is clear.
Here’s an example of the logo in Canva updated to include a tagline for me.
8 LOCK DOWN YOUR NAME ON SOCIAL MEDIA
If you haven’t already, sign up for social media accounts that matter to your target market and lock down your name on the most popular sites even if you don’t know if you will use them yet.
You may not use all of them immediately, but it’s good to lock down a username that fits your personal brand.
If you can get your name, that is great. If you have a more common name, get as close as possible. I had to take @dkshepherd for my Twitter username because @davidshepherd was already taken.
Here are some of the common social media sites you should consider locking down:
9 GET A PROFESSIONAL PROFILE PHOTO
To stand out among the crowd, you need a good photo to represent you. Avoid the typical selfies. Go hire a professional photographer.
It generally doesn’t cost to much. I had a set done for $80 at a photography shop in the past.
My current selfie (at the bottom of this guide) was actually done in a park by my fiance, Krista. We liked it and stuck with it.
However you go about it, make sure your profile photo looks good. A bad picture won’t do you any good.
Once you’ve locked in on a good profile picture, add it to your website and across all of your social media accounts. You want to make sure they are all the same.
10 BUILD A UNIFIED BRAND IMAGE ACROSS YOUR WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS
Choose a color scheme and stick to it. It can be black and white, blue and white, black and yellow. Whatever fits your personal brand. If you need some help check out a color scheme tool like Coolors.co.
Once you’ve chosen a color scheme stick with it and make sure all of your images across your website and social media accounts use those same colors.
Next, you need to choose a font or two to use for your website and any imagery you use going forward.
I tend to stick with the font, Raleway, for all of my images and website. Find a font that you like and stick with it to create a unified brand image across all of your sites.
Finally, make sure all of the fields and options are completed on all of your social media sites. Everything should look complete and clean. Nothing is worse than a half ass site to make you look amateur.
No matter how sparse your content is, make sure everything looks clean. We’ll get to the content next.
11 CREATE A BLOG FOR YOUR NICHE
There isn’t a much better way to become an expert in your field than a blog. A blog is the foundation of content. It’s searchable by google and helps spread your knowledge, positioning you as an expert in your field.
Choose topics that are related to your niche and will appeal to your target market. Some common blog posts are:
Create a schedule for your writing. Whatever you can fit into your schedule. You could write:
Pick one schedule and be consistent.
12 SHARE AND PROMOTE YOUR BLOG CONTENT
Once you create that content, you need to get it out there in front of your target market. You need them to see it. Go wherever your target market is.
Share anywhere you can that your niche is. Share on your social media accounts like:
Share in any groups you are part of. Get it out in front of your target market so you can present yourself as the expert in your field.
13 GET INVOLVED IN GROUPS RELATED TO YOUR NICHE
Most professional careers have groups that you can join. Join them.
Not only can you add the group to your resume, you will also learn a lot at the meetings and gain some contacts to help with networking.
Outside of local meetings, join any online groups related to your profession as well. You can find them on sites like:
Once you are a member, don’t just attend the meetings and laeve. Don’t just read comments in the online groups.
Make sure you are actively participating!
Take a leadership role where you can and actively contribute to the group. This helps others, yourself, and the group in general.
You will also begin to become seen as an expert and leader in your group, where your target market is. This is exactly what you want!
14 START SPEAKING ABOUT YOUR NICHE TO YOUR TARGET MARKET
This one builds off the previous tip. Once you take a leadership role and begin to build your expertise status in your groups, ask to be a speaker!
Yes it can be intimidating, but the level of expert status you gain from being a speaker is incredible.
Create an awesome presentation and give it to your niche audience. It will propel you to super expert status and provide opportunities you never could have imagined in your career!
15 CREATE A PHYSICAL PROMOTION PIECE FOR IN PERSON NETWORKING
If you don’t already have a great physical promotion piece, it’s time to get one. The classic business card is dead.
What happens when you give out an old school business card? It probably gets thrown in the trash or stuffed in a drawer never to be looked at again.
Problem is though, when you run into someone who you need to give your contact information to, you will have nothing to give them.
What you need is a business card 2.0. Yes, I made that up, but basically, you need a great physical promotional piece that impresses whoever you give it to and they won’t stuff it in the drawer or throw it away.
If you’ve been following all the personal branding tips, they will in fact be excited to make a connection with you and will keep that piece handily available.
Check out MOO. They have a selection of cool promotional pieces and modern business cards that will really make you stand out.
Make sure you stick to your personal brand imaging and order a pack.
That was a lot of tips, but if you follow them, you will truly take your career to the next level.
So let’s recap and list out the action steps. Make sure you put these on your to do list, calendar, or whatever you use and take action!
CHANGE YOUR PERSONAL BRANDING MINDSET
KNOW YOUR TARGET MARKET
CHOOSE YOUR NICHE AND CREATE AN IMAGE FOR YOUR PERSONAL BRAND
GOOGLE YOURSELF AND CLEANUP YOUR IMAGE
CREATE A PERSONAL WEBSITE FOR YOUR PERSONAL BRAND
CREATE A LOGO FOR YOUR NAME
CREATE YOUR TAGLINE THAT TELLS EVERYONE WHAT YOU DO
LOCK DOWN YOUR NAME ON SOCIAL MEDIA
GET A PROFESSIONAL PROFILE PHOTO
BUILD A UNIFIED BRAND IMAGE ACROSS YOUR WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS
CREATE A BLOG FOR YOUR NICHE
SHARE AND PROMOTE YOUR BLOG CONTENT
GET INVOLVED IN GROUPS RELATED TO YOUR NICHE
START SPEAKING ABOUT YOUR NICHE TO YOUR TARGET MARKET
CREATE A PHYSICAL PROMOTION PIECE FOR IN PERSON NETWORKING
CREATOR OF MONEY BADASS