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Have you ever been told to just work hard and keep your head down? Or not make too much of a splash? Many of us have! It’s the way things used to be in the professional world, driven by an old-school corporate culture.
But this is advice you should no longer consider when it comes to advancing in your professional life. In this article, we’re going to break down why a shift has occurred, and how to really achieve the life, career, and financial freedom you deserve!
It used to be that individuals would go to university, get a job, work for their company for 40+ years and retire comfortably. This was the way—the only way— for a majority of professionals.
But times are changing— extremely quickly.
Job security is no longer a promise. In fact, a recent study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that people now hold around 11.7 different positions on average between age 18 and 48. They also reported that 43% of working professionals are expected to be part of the gig-economy by 2021.
So what does this mean for you?
It means that your career is no longer defined by what positions you hold or companies you work for— it’s defined by your personal brand, and what opportunities it can produce for you!
First, let’s define what a personal brand is: it’s the conscious and intentional effort to create and influence public perception by positioning yourself as authority in your industry and elevating your credibility.
The benefits of cultivating a strong personal brand are extensive. Below, we’re going to look at the top 3 most important reasons you shouldn’t wait to begin building your own:
If anything, this past year has truly shown us how easily our jobs can be lost. Unfortunately, the pandemic is causing companies to make employees redundant everywhere you turn.
Let’s think about this for a second. Say you have a mid-level manager at a financial firm, Julie, who has not spent much time building relationships outside her company during her tenure. She rarely checks LinkedIn (in fact, her profile isn’t even complete) and she doesn’t really share any of her creative or outside-the-box ideas with leadership or her network. She keeps her head down and just wants to do a good job.
Then, let’s compare that with Sara, a mid-level manager from a competing financial firm. Their firms are both very well respected. Sara has a few years less experience than Julie. However, she is very active in her professional community. She has become a thought leader in her industry by sharing her insights, making connections and living out her values.
In this scenario, which candidate do you think would have a better chance at landing a new position if they’re made redundant in a bad economy?
If you said Sara, you’re correct. And what makes Sara a more likely choice? Her personal brand.
Because Sara has made a name for herself in her industry and taken the time to make strong connections, she has a much better chance of standing out in a pool of candidates than her peers. Employers have a perception of Sara that she cultivated by carefully writing her own mission and brand story.
The bottom line is this: Having a strong personal brand helps you protect yourself from putting all of your eggs into one basket. Made redundant? It won’t be a hurdle to land on your feet. Want to leave your position to do your own consulting? You’ll already have a handful of clients itching to work with you.
When you become your own professional brand—separate from your current position or employer— you open the door to several different ways of making revenue. Of course, you can always tout your own position and use your company and connections to lift you up, but you’ll become more than just an employee or founder— you’ll become an influencer.
Becoming an expert or influencer in your industry opens you up for really exciting opportunities. Things like professional speaking opportunities, books, partnerships and sponsorships, collaborations with brands you admire, etc. Not only does this help you build financial security, but it also makes you more attractive in this new age workforce.
Because being your own professional force is the way of the future. The 2019 Deloitte Millennial Survey showed that a whopping 49% of millennials planned to leave their job within the next two years to pursue their own track. The generation feels disillusioned with traditional institutions, skeptical of business’ motives and pessimistic about economic and social progress.
Honestly, I was one of them too. I left a great full-time position with an agency to pursue my own venture. And several coworkers of mine have done the same. It’s a mass exodus.
But in order to succeed on this path and make it easier for yourself to have credibility, close deals and sign clients — you have to have a strong personal brand.
You don’t have to wait until you leave your current position, either. You can start building your brand today in your current position by seeking out writing opportunities, trying to garner PR mentions, speaking at conferences, etc. The more of these wins you get, the more people will see your success and want to be associated with your brand.
As I just mentioned, the more wins you gain, the more people will want to be associated with you— this includes people you admire. Having a strong brand gives you undeniable credibility when reaching out to other influencers in your industry for collaboration or relationship building. These people are inundated with requests to connect, but they can’t give their time to just anybody!
They want to connect with others who have something to offer them as well, and if your brand influence is strong, that means you.
If you’re tired of clients, customers and partners not quite understanding what your business is all about, or you work in a corporate environment where you’re getting passed up for promotions and opportunities— I can’t stress to you enough that building your personal brand is the answer.
If you want to create a life of fulfillment and financial freedom on your own terms, you just can’t afford to wait on this.
If you are ready to take the next step in making this dream a reality for yourself, I’d like to invite you to hop on a call with me. Please know that call availability is limited, and I can only truly accept them from people I am sure are extremely motivated to create an insanely viral personal brand. If that’s you— I’d love to hear from you!