Who are you and what do you want?
The first step with personal branding is figuring out who you really are and what you want from your life. Ask yourself, what three or four keywords describe your essential qualities quickly and clearly? When you step out into the world, you are promoting you. That is, only you are responsible for your personal branding campaign. Your words, your actions, your expressions, and your appearance instruct others on how to respond to you. If you are attracting angry, frustrated, opinionated, cheap, customers, it’s time to change your bait.
Your appearance is just part of your personal branding
New clothing and shoes aren’t always the issue. But wrinkles, stains, smells, and lack of personal care are an advertisement on how you treat your business. Personal hygiene is vital. If you love garlic, that’s fine. But your clients don’t want to breathe second-hand garlic. Your personal brand takes a hit with every negative interaction. People watch you in line for coffee. They watched you impatiently chew out the stressed-out barista. As you stand there in your wrinkled pants, stained shirt, and unwashed hair, with an attitude. I have bumped into clients in the most casual and non-professional of environments. Coffee shops, fast-food restaurants, grocery stores… you name it. I have always made sure I am ready to meet my next client, display my best customer service, and showcase my high-value professionalism. Then my business card will have a chance at not being thrown away after the encounter. Smiles and compliments are free. Give them away. Not only will you feel better, but you will also make others feel better… about YOU! The clerk will appreciate a “thank you.” It will surprise them if you actually use their name since you already saw their name badge.
Success looks successful, and look for the successful
We should all want to work with the best. Most of us want to buy the best. And to boost our own brand, we want to be associated with the best. For example, we wear Michael Jordan shoes on the basketball court… because somehow we think others will think we can drop a 3-pointer. Do others want to be associated with you? Who do you associate with? Who do OTHERS see you associating with? Personal branding takes your best self out into the world. You can actually attract success TO you by presenting yourself as successful. A high-value contact can be made at 10pm in a Walmart checkout line. While we are talking about Walmart, pajamas at Walmart belong on the shelves, not the patrons. Treat every moment outside your home as a potential new client meeting. Let the best parts of your image be seen, and save your worst parts for sleep-in Saturday. And for the love of all that is holy, please don’t wear pajamas to Walmart.