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Defining Your Talents plus Discovering Your Passions Equals Your Brand
Advice From Experts in Personal Branding
As you will see in this article, personal branding isn't about a logo and a tagline. It's about:
- Defining your talents and discovering your passions to truly know what motivates you.
- Putting your passions into words so the world knows what you stand for.
- Using what you learn about yourself in the above steps to effectively target and connect with the people that need your skills the most.
- In today's market place, everyone needs to define their brand to get anywhere professionally.
Do you find that you're not making the money you expected from your online writing, or online business? Alternatively, are you frustrated because you hate your job and you don't feel like you're developing professionally, and work to you is dull and boring?
In this article, Branding = Defining you talents + Discovery your passions.
According to experts, this is probably because you haven't defined your brand, are working in the wrong industry, and looking for clients or jobs in the wrong places.
Expert Advice: To reinforce how important personal branding is, I've inlcuded some invaluable advice from 3 personal branding experts:
Steve Jobs: His philosophy in life was that once you find your passion, everything else falls into place.
Donald Trump: Always quick and to the point, he says it like it is in a couple of sentences. You have to take the initiative to make yourself and your business stand out.
Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn Cofounder and Chairman: Points out that branding isn't just for the big guns. He co-wrote a book on the topic that made it to #1 on the New York Times Best Seller's List. I've included a mini-book review, so make sure you check it out because you can use the tips from the authors, without buying the book.
1. Personal Branding
Do You Think You Have Defined Your Personal Brand?
Personal Branding Polls
There are two polls in this article where I ask your opinion on personal branding. Please take a second to answer them. The first one is located to your right.
I got the questions from a survey completed by the Glenn Llopis Group. A link to an article he wrote for Forbes.com evaluating the results is found in the reference section at the end of this article.
To get a better understanding of how branding is not only about you, make sure you read it. Because he has valuable information explaining how the cycle of branding completes itself between you and your potential client or boss.
Watch out for the poll answers to see the results of the survey.
Personal Branding: 20 Questions to Unveil Your True Passions
Personal Branding: Benefits you the most because it helps you find out what your passions are, and what really makes you excited about your life and work. Having this knowledge lets you figure out what people in the world will benefit the most from interacting with you. Which of course also helps them.
20 Questions: I've compiled a list of 20 questions to help you get to your fundamental values and find out who you are at your core; and if done properly this will lead you to what your true passions are.
Although I've placed them in the middle of the article, it would more beneficial for you to answer them after you've read the entire article.
2. Living Your Personal Brand
If You Think You Have Defined Your Brand, Are you Consistently Living Your Brand Daily?
1. Poll - Survey Results
In the survey completed by the Glen Llopis Group, and discussed in his April 8, 2013 post, on Forbes.com the results showed the following:
- 15% of people think they've defined their brand
- 70% of professionals think they have defined their brand
Note: In his article he points out that the focus of the professionals "was centered on self-promotion rather than a commitment to advance themselves by serving others."
Discovering Your True Passions, Using Your Talents, and Putting it Into Words
Finding your passions, using your talents, and putting it into words (your brand) is a tool that empowers you to:
- Get a perspective of what you want to get out of your online business, writing, or career goals.
- If you're a writer, decide what niche(s) you want to write in, and what style of writing you excel at.
- Focus on what direction you need to take your career so you can get what you want, by helping the people who need your talents the most.
- Narrow down your target market so you know where to look for clients, or prospective employers.
- Market yourself online and offline with laser focus to connect with the people who benefit the most from your product or service.
- Cut out the middle man like freelance writing web sites so you can focus your attention on finding clients, or employers who are willing to pay you what your service is worth.
- Give your current and prospective clients, or boss, a clear and concise message of what they can expect from you consistantly, that no one else can deliver.
If you're a writer, once you find your ideal client(s) and write about your passions in a niche that excites you, you’ll not only love your career, but will naturally make more money too.
If your career lacks direction, deciding what your brand is will also help you get your mojo back. Whether you're a writer, freelancer, lawyer, teacher, blogger, affiliate marketer, or run a small business out of your home office, learning how to brand yourself will make a huge difference in your life.
What is a Brand, Really?
According to Wikipedia a brand is a "name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.
However, it's more than that. It's a way for you to decipher, and communicate with your ideal client, audience or employer. For example, if you're a freelance writer, you're writing is not going to appeal to absolutely everyone who needs a freelance writer. There is a specific client looking for you, and defining your brand will help you know where to search so you can find them.
Then market yourself, by speaking directly to them, in their language.
2. Poll Survey Results
In the survey completed by the Glen Llopis group, his results showed the following:
- 5% of people think they live their brand every day.
- 50% of professionals think they live their brand daily.
The results are quite shocking, when you read LinkedIn's Co-founder Reid Hoffman's thoughts later on in this Hub on how important personal branding is.
Steve Jobs' Advice to the Stanford Graduating Class of 2005
Steve Jobs: Personal Branding Advice From an Expert
The key to getting started is understanding yourself, and figuring out what drives you.
During his address, in the video to the right, Steve Jobs had some excellent advice, that we can all use no matter what industry we're in:
"You’ve got to find what you love."
"Don’t be trapped by dogma which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other people’s opinions drown out your own inner voice, and most important have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become."
Advice From Donald Trump on Why Branding Yourself Is so Important
“Think of yourself as a one-man army – You’re the foot soldier, as well as a general. You have to plan and execute your strategy by yourself.” Donald Trump
You can't do this effectively if you don't define you personal brand.
How To Decide What Your Personal Brand Is
The key to figuring out what your brand is, is to take an in-depth inventory of yourself by asking some deep questions.
Examing your answers will cause a life change, because you’ll clarify what you really want to do with the rest of your life. You may even choose to specialize in something or change careers completely. I know I did.
Before You Answer the Personal Branding Questions
Keep an open mind and pretend that you’re meeting yourself for the first time. Don’t go with who you think you are right now. Your whole perception of yourself will probably change, in a good way.
20 Questions to Ask Yourself to Define What Your Brand Is
What are your Passions?
How Can Your Passions Benefits Others?
What do you want to achieve with your career, writing, or online business?
What motivates you to excel in your work?
What are your goals? Include everthing: personal, professional, and romantic.
What is one group of people you want to help? Why pick them, and how would you help them?
Why are these goals important to you?
What do your friends compliment you most on?
How do you describe what your purpose in life is?
What are you known for by your family`?
What do you want said in your eulogy, and why?
What career did you want to have as a child and why?
What do you stand for?
What qualities in others do you admire?
What don't you stand for?
What do your clients or employers like most about you, and your work ethic?
What makes you angry?
What news articles about people are you drawn to and why?
What gets you pumped up?
What type of advice are you asked most often to give?
What are your character strengths?
What skills are unique to you that would benefit others the most?
Your Top Five Character Attributes
To help you discover what your character strengths are, you can go to the University of Pennsylvania’s Authentic Happiness website and take the VIA Survey of Character Strengths. The test gives you your top five character attributes.
The survey has 240 questions. To find it on the website, go to the engagement questionnaires section in the center column of the page, and it’s the sixth one down. You have to sign up and provide your email address and choose a password. Don’t worry, the website doesn’t send you any emails.
Character Traits - How They Helped To Evaluate My Passions
Below are my top 5 character traits, according to my VIA Survey results. I am including them to show you how they will make you think about yourself in a way you never have before. They even brought up memories of my childhood, that I've long forgotten about.
Curiosity and interest in the world: This is why I always love to research and constantly keep learning. Even as a kid, I was always enticed by what was going on in faraway lands. I love to study people to understand why they do what they do. One of my favorite celebrities is Anderson Cooper because I admire his empathy, how he gets to the truth, and his bravery for the dangerous places he's travelled to get a story and help people.
Sense of purpose: I've always known that I'm here for a reason. I've always known that whatever job I take on, I'm meant to do it.
Kindness: I'm in my element when I'm helping those in need. The best times I've had in my life have been when I worked in home care, with the homeless, and the mentally ill. With my new found self-awareness, I can now do more volunteer work, rather than paid work in these fields.
Fairness, Equity, Justice: I think everyone has the right to be on the same playing field, and constantly learning is the way to make that happen. Since I was a child, I've always been drawn to the underdog. I'm proud to say that the kids bullied in school were the first to add me as a friend on Facebook, before the popular ones. I made a point of letting them know how important they were, and tried to help them define their brand, without knowing the terminology.
Judgment, Critical Thinking: To be honest, when I first seen this, I wasn't exactly sure what critical thinking is. When I Googled it, I found this definition on the University website under critical thinking dispositions:
"Critical thinkers are skeptical, open-minded, value fair-mindedness, respect evidence and reasoning, respect clarity and precision, look at different points of view, and will change positions when reason leads them to do so."
Put Your Brand Into Words
After you review and think about your answers to the 20 questions, it's time to start thinking about how you're going to put your personal brand in writing.
This should be easy to complete at this stage, provided you did your homework.
Think of these questions as a guideline:
- What does your ideal customer want?
- What is their biggest problem?
- What can you do to solve it?
- What do you think about, and talk about the most?
Personal Branding Advice From LinkedIn Cofounder Reid Hoffman
During the accompanying video interview, Hoffman talks about his insights into how personal branding is related to the book he co-authored - "The Start-Up Of You."
One reason he cites is that we "live in a networked world." Meaning that we are searchable by Google and people search other people all the time. He goes on to give reasons why people search eachother.
Why Personal Branding Matters?
According to Hoffman, a brand is not just an image, there is substance behind it.
The Start-Up of You #1 New York Times Best Seller Written by LinkedIn Cofounder Reid Hoffman and Award Winning Author Ben Casnocha
As the cover of “The Start-Up Of You” states, the book is about how to “Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career.”
Recap of the Book:
The book is an interesting read because of the unique perspective of their entrepreneurial experiences. As well, it has a number of exercises to help readers improve their networking and self-improvement skills.
Other highlights of the book are:
- Everyone is essentially a small business, and as a result, we should always be planning and adapting our strategies like businesses do.
- Everyone should think like an entrepreneur, and create specific networks that will last after our start-up phase.
- We can’t settle, we always have to think of ourselves as continually striving to change and better ourselves.
The book does a bit of promoting LinkedIn and Hoffman’s other ventures; but, after reading the book, LinkedIn becomes a more valuable resource.
I'm not able to go into details about their book. So if you want to learn more about how to develop your personal brand, please read it.
Writing for HubPages
Branding Yourself Also Applies to Your Hubs
If you write for HubPages, learning how to brand yourself is also important to your readers. The process of branding yourself also lets you know who benefits the most from your articles.
Once you know who your target market is, it's easier to research where they hang out online. THis to ensure that your personal brand, expertise and knowledge, gets in front of your ideal reader.
What Do You Think?
If you read the entire article and answered the questions, I hope the answers and expert advice helped you.
Please share your thoughts and insights about the concept of personal branding to help other readers in the comment section.
As well, don't forget to read the articles written by my fellow Hubbers below my article for further reading on branding.
- Personal Branding Is A Leadership Requirement, Not a Self-Promotion Campaign - Forbes
Developing your personal brand is essential for the advancement of your career and development as a leader. Unfortunately, personal branding has become a “commoditized” term that has lost its intention as people have irresponsibly used social media a