“If you can’t advertise yourself, what hope have you of being able to advertise anything else?” Advertising tycoon, David Ogilvy.
In order to get ahead, the ability to ‘advertise yourself’ or build your personal brand is a necessity. Forbes estimates that 50% of the U.S. workforce will freelance in some capacity by 2020. So, whether you’re working in a 9-to-5 or running your own business – those who excel will have learned how to effectively promote their expertise.
The changing world of work was my motivation to write The Personal Brand Bible For Ambitious Women: Featuring Success Secrets from Six-Figure Trailblazers, a blueprint for those looking to become more influential in their industry. It’s packed with words of wisdom from self-made millennial women earning six-figures including Oxford-educated finance lawyer, Nana Darko; CEO of Boss Babe, Natalie Diver and Tonya Rapley, founder and CEO of My Fab Finance. Here are three nuggets from the book to help build your personal brand this year.
Identify key things that make you unique and share your story.
People think and remember things in stories, rather than facts. Share the ‘why’ behind what you do to be more memorable. Tonya Rapley, founder of My Fab Finance, the leading financial education and lifestyle blog for millennials, told me in the interview for the book that she felt compelled to create her business after seeing there wasn’t anyone talking about money from the perspective of a millennial woman of color. Sharing the ‘why’ behind what you do is a powerful way to form an emotional connection with your community and will help you to quickly build the all-important ‘know, like and trust’ factor.
Build solid connections.
Your network truly is your net worth. Those who progress up the corporate ladder, build a successful business or gain funding do so from having nurtured the right relationships. This is all a result of effective self-promotion. Hard work and talent is not enough. Nana Darko, Oxford University graduate and city lawyer shares in the book that the junior lawyers at her firm weren’t necessarily the best at their job, they were just ‘present’ in any given situation and had cultivated a solid network.
Host your own event or volunteer to chair the monthly meeting at work as a way to do more speaking engagements.
Most people dread public speaking but to build your personal brand, you must get comfortable influencing others and selling your ideas. As an introvert, I cherish time alone to recharge. I’d happily spend most of my spare time curled up on the sofa reading a book! But as a business owner, I know I need to be out there. A friend once said: “It’s not what you know or who you know, it’s who knows you.” That stuck with me. The only way to really make a lasting impact is for people to know who you are and the difference you make. Start by putting yourself forward for small speaking gigs and building from there.
Taking the time to reflect on what you’d ultimately like to be known for and working backward from there to ensure the work you’re doing is aligned to your purpose will take you far in 2018 and beyond.