Owning Your Personal Brand Starts with YOU

When it comes to designing your personal brand, it’s essential to understand yourself. If you don’t, you can’t possibly represent your best self to your ideal clients and others who need to know about you, like colleagues, cohorts, and coworkers. You need to know how you’re wired and be able to communicate this effectively. From there, people will choose whether to work with you or not based on what you’ve shared about yourself.

Understand how others see you.

Do you know how others see you and how you come across at work? If not, take a survey. Ask friends, family, colleagues, coworkers, managers and others whom you trust what they think your top five skills are and the top three words that come to mind when they think of you.  

By knowing who you are, what you want, and what makes you unique, you will be able to clearly communicate your goals and unique value to people in your network, whether they’re internal people from other departments, potential clients or potential employers.

Consider your top priorities.

Your top priorities can help you design your personal brand and attract your ideal client or other professionals who need to know about you to help you advance your career. One healthcare executive regularly posts photos of her marathons, family, and speaking engagements. This shows she has a solid work/life balance with a focus on health, and can easily wow an audience. Ideal positioning to attract leadership opportunities in healthcare, her target audience. She landed a senior leadership role with a major healthcare organization and was also elected to a board role with her professional association.

By sharing her interests and values online and off, she’s attracted people and organizations with similar values, which helped advance her career. (That and a stellar work history with bottom-line results.)

Choose your career goals.

Choosing your career focus is an important part of your personal brand. When you love what you do, that enthusiasm is going to shine through to your potential clients and other professionals in alignment with your brand – and your career – and attract them to you. As a result, people will be eager to work with you.

Before you decide on your career focus, it can be helpful to consider other jobs you’ve worked. What did you enjoy doing—presentations, leading others, teaching, etc.? What did you hate doing—researching, administrative tasks, etc.? When you know what you enjoy, you can fill your business and career with more of those tasks. As for the tasks you hate, consider delegating or outsourcing them to someone who enjoys them.

Own your experience.

There are many ways you can show your expertise. Maybe you’ve been quoted in a popular trade magazine, news media or well-known website. Maybe you’ve been thanked for your insight or your help with a difficult project. Ask for recommendations about your work on LinkedIn or, with permission, display your recommendations and testimonials on your website or blog.

Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through your work. Enhancing and owning your personal brand personal brand can help you create a career you’ll love for years to come.

For more help up-leveling your personal brand to attract right-fit opportunities to you, check out my upcoming online workshop, “Leverage Your Personal Brand to Propel Your Career” sponsored by the Association for Talent Development (#ATD).

© Wendy Terwelp / www.knocks.com / All rights reserved.

Wendy Terwelp is an award-winning career expert and personal branding strategist who works with high-performing leaders and organizations who want to advance careers, rock networks, and up-level their brands online and off. Follow her @wendyterwelp.

3 Benefits of Personal Branding

Think of your favorite brands. They all stand out for one reason or another. For example, Apple is known for its sleek product designs and cutting-edge technology. Nike is not just about athletic apparel – it’s a lifestyle brand. Their tagline, “Just Do It,” resonates with their target audience.

Just as businesses can become known for their brand, so can professionals. Developing and enhancing your personal brand is a smart way to position yourself and stand out on the job and with your clients.

  1. Branding Makes You Memorable

But first, you’ll need to set aside time and energy to reflect on who you want to be and how you wish to be known. Doing this will save you energy in the long run because you’ll be able to focus on your strengths and minimize (or delegate!) your weaknesses.

Another benefit of developing your personal brand is that it becomes easier to present yourself consistently, in any environment. Imagine being able to create a memorable experience so colleagues, coworkers, and potential clients know exactly who you are, what it’s like to work with you, and how your work will benefit their goals. This picture you create will help them remember you.

2. Branding Makes You an Authority

Not only will potential clients remember you better, it’ll also be easier for them to tell others about you. The same occurs when up-leveling your brand on the job. Looking for a promotion? You’ll want to raise the bar on your career brand.

By providing thought leadership, connecting others, and communicating your value, you’ll raise your brand – and your visibility. You’ll be viewed as an authority in your field, all because you took the time to work on your branding.

But this is only the beginning. As you become more well known, you’ll attract ideal opportunities and clients.

3. Branding Makes You More Money

As a result of increasing demand for your work, you’ll also be able to raise your rates or get a raise. Think about being well paid for work you love. With smart branding, this is a real possibility.

Of course, higher rates or salaries aren’t the only reason to build your personal brand. You can also expect to get more attention from others in your network who could make personal introductions on your behalf or create strategic alliances throughout your organization or your industry. Imagine getting to work on projects that you love with other business leaders you’ve admired for years.

All of these things and more can happen when you’re willing to stand up and own your brand. You were made to shine, so embrace your personal brand with gusto.

Want to talk about YOUR brand and what you can do to take it to the next level for career advancement? Let’s talk! Book your complementary, confidential strategy session today.

Personal Brands are Portable

“No matter where you go, there you are.” —The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (motion picture) (1984).

And everywhere you go, your online reputation follows.

If you haven’t searched your name online recently, do so. Put your name in quotes, like this “Wendy Terwelp,” to narrow the search parameters.

Next, use these questions to assess your online brand and visibility:

Your Social Media Profiles: Have you chosen the right social media networks for your target audience? Do your social media profiles contain a current professional photo, your one word that represents you, and a clear brand story about your background and experience? Does your profile pop with your personality?

Your Network: Who’s in your network? And who needs to know about you? Invite those who are a fit for your current goals. And those whom you’re confident in referring to others. Is it time to review and prune some of your current connections? Your network reflects your personal brand.

Your Thought Leadership: TED talks say “ideas worth sharing.” Are yours? Review the content you’re sharing. Is it relevant to your goals and helpful to your network and target audience?

Your Personal Brand Hub: If you haven’t done so already, grab your name as a domain. This way you can create and curate content about you in a personal brand hub. When people search on your name, this on-brand content will rise to the top of the search.

Time Savers: Maintaining a highly visible brand online doesn’t have to be time consuming. You can repurpose your content. If you’ve written an article or blog post, use quotes from it in other social media, like Twitter or LinkedIn, and include a link to your post. Take advantage of tools like Hootsuite to schedule posts in advance for consistency. And keep the conversation going by addressing responses in real time.

I invite you to share your results in the comments.

And if you’d like help in up-leveling your brand online, let’s talk!

©2018 Wendy Terwelp | All rights reserved.

Five Moves to Rock Your Network® Online

Editor’s note: updated May 2019

How do you leverage social media to network effectively and stay top of mind? Check out these five rock star moves to get connected, get known, and make your network thrive:

1. Pick Three: With so many social media networks to choose from, I recommend picking three so you can manage them well. For career and business development, I recommend: LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. As of 2019, LinkedIn has more than 610 million members, Twitter has more than 326 million users, and Facebook topped 2.38 billion.

2. Create a branded bio: Tell a story in your social networking bios. Let your personality pop. Don’t regurgitate your resume information or company bio. Know that chemistry helps you land and KEEP new clients and jobs. Likability counts, be interesting.

3. Know what you want: When you start networking online, it’s important to know what you want from the activity. If you want new clients, be sure your profile is on brand, up to date, professional, personal, and communicates your value and scope of practice. Have a professional, current headshot. For #LinkedIn, add a custom background image or color as well.

4. Join a group: Know that in order to make the most of an online group, you’ve got to take an active role. If you’ve got a business, join groups where your ideal clients will be, including niche and specialty groups. For job seekers, find out where your ideal employers hang out and join those groups. People like to do business with those having similar values, backgrounds, and experiences.

5. Be relevant and add value: Social networking gives you a chance to demonstrate your thought leadership and set yourself apart from your competition. As an executive and leader in your profession, it is even more critical to demonstrate your expertise online.

Take Action: Review your current social networks and identify at least three action items from the above list you can implement immediately. Schedule time to effectively manage your online network and communicate with your contacts regularly. It only takes minutes a day to fuel your network and fire it up!™ That way, your network is there for you when you need it.

Grab your free social media action plan here!

© 2006 – 2019 | Wendy J. Terwelp | All rights reserved.

Martin Moore: Taking the Leap, from Side Hustle to Dream Gig

I met Martin Moore Martin Moore  at a networking event and when he shared his story of career transformation with me, I knew my readers would want to hear about how he did it. Moore transformed his career at age 37 from auto mechanic to content developer for Koss Headphones. In this role, he shoots and edits all commercials and photos for Koss and manages their social media, blog, email, marketing campaigns (print and digital), and website UI/UX. He also leads Koss’ new Ambassador Program. Moore and I talked about what inspired him to change careers, what got him interested in content development, how he made the transition from side hustle to full-time gig, and his best career advice for others wanting to transform their careers.

Wendy Terwelp: What inspired you to make your career transition, and what age were you?

Martin Moore: My favorite quote is by actress Mae West, who said: “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

Every day when I wake up, I try to approach the day with that mantra. To make every day count.

I’ve always been two things, a creator and an entertainer. Whether it was doing magic when I was a kid, playing music as a young adult or photography and filmmaking today; creating, making, entertaining people… that is what I love, that is what completes me.

Up until this past year, creating has never been a career for me. At best it’s been a side hustle, at worst an unattainable dream. Every time I looked at my life, where I was and where I wanted to be, there was this huge dichotomy between my reality and my dreams. Every time I thought about taking a chance on perusing my dream of doing photography and video full time, I would be so afraid at the thought of failing, that I would never take the chance.

Around 2014, when I was 34, my career as an auto mechanic was failing. Epiphany is the only word I can use to describe the feeling the rushed through me. I finally reached the point where I wasn’t afraid anymore. I asked myself, “Why are you constantly afraid of failing at trying to do something you love, when you can just as easily fail at doing something you don’t love?” Which, as it turns out, was my current situation at the time.

So, to answer the question “What inspired me to change my career?” The tangible possibility that I could leave my shitty job as an auto mechanic and do what I really loved for a living.

Martin Moore Milwaukee Vlogger Photographer Koss Headphones

Terwelp: How were you able to transition from mechanic to content developer and brand evangelist for Koss while you were working full time?

Moore: Work. Work. Work. And work.

Now this is a super cliché answer, but there is a reason why it’s the same answer anyone who’s ever accomplished anything gives, because it’s true. For me, going from an Auto Mechanic to Content Developer for Koss Headphones was a drastic career change. I cannot convey in words how drastically different every aspect of my career life is now.

In 1997 when I was 17, I started changing oil at Jiffy Lube. In 1999, after one year of college, I dropped out to start working for Honda as a technician. I spent the next 20 years working a job I was good at, I enjoyed, and most importantly made good money doing.

As the car industry started changing, so did my career as a technician. The culture became frustrating. I was making less and less money. But worst of all, I was watching my pride for what I did slowly evaporate. I hated working on cars, and it was around 2014 when I looked myself in the mirror and said, “You’ve got two choices, get out now while you still can or keep working a job you hate until you’re 64.”

Martin Moore Milwaukee Vlogger Photographer Koss Headphones

“I don’t have to tell anyone who has changed careers, started a business or followed their dream, that in doing so, it tests everything you ever thought you knew about yourself.”—Martin Moore

So, it was around 2014 when I decided I was done. I wanted to shoot photos and make videos for a living. I didn’t know how I was going to do it, I just knew that I would.

For the next three years, 365 days a year, my life went as followed:

  • Wake up at 5:30 a.m.
  • Get downtown by 6:30 a.m. to record beginning of vlog (vlog is a video blog)
  • Start day job at 8:00 a.m.
  • Change out of work clothes on lunch break record middle of vlog
  • Change back into work clothes, work until 5:00 p.m.
  • Go back downtown by 5:30 p.m. finish recording vlog
  • Get home by 7:00 p.m.
  • Edit vlog until 1:30 a.m. and upload
  • Wake up at 5:30 and repeat.

At the same time, I ran my photography/video business shooting weddings, events, and commercial work. I went to meetings, networking events, and was actively social networking — all while working my 50-hour a week auto mechanic gig. I didn’t have a day off. I didn’t have weekends. When I went on vacation I was vlogging and editing.

Martin Moore Milwaukee Photographer Blogger Koss Headphones

 “I needed to create a brand for myself.” Martin Moore

The point to all this work was simple, I needed to create a brand for myself. “Martin Moore” needed to not just be my name, it needed to be something that was always in the back of people’s minds; so, anytime someone needed photos, or a video “Martin Moore” was the first person that popped in their head. If I could create that, it would in turn create attention for me and my business.

The biggest contributing factor to building Martin Moore as a brand was when I finally learned the art of “Not Giving A *uck.” The one thing that held me back more than anything was me being afraid to be me. Taking myself too seriously. Letting comments and feedback from trolls and haters get to me. Pretending to be something I’m not. Everyone goes through these things when they are trying to build a personal brand, and everyone who has made it to the other side will tell you the same story. As soon as they stopped caring about what other people thought and concentrated on themselves, that’s when they discovered true creative and entrepreneurship euphoria.

The end game [for building my personal brand] was to either run my own photography/video business full time or get hired by a company I loved to do the same thing.

By the spring of 2017 all my hard work paid off. After years of tasting some success, and tasting a lot of failure, Koss approached me and brought me on to create all their content. The rest as they say, is history.

Social Media LinkedIn Pinterest Facebook Instagram YouTube Twitter

Terwelp: Did social media numbers play a big role in landing with Koss?

Moore: I’ve always concentrated on the people behind the numbers, and never the numbers themselves. By every single metric a brand measures, I am a nobody. There are golden retrievers on Instagram with more followers than me. The funny thing is, I can’t walk down the streets of Milwaukee without someone recognizing me. I am overwhelmed daily with DM’s and emails from people asking for advice, wanting to set up meeting with me or simply thanking me for inspiring them. When I go to networking events, there are lines of people waiting to talk to me; and the interesting thing is a lot of times there will be someone there with 10 times the followers standing next to me alone. So that’s what Koss saw in me, that’s what OnMilwaukee.com saw in me, and that’s what other brands and companies saw in me — my ability to produce real engagement, authentic relationships, and true influence. Koss found me from a YouTube video with 58 views. The numbers don’t matter.

Terwelp: What’s your advice for engagement?

Moore: My biggest tip for engagement: Look at social media and P2P [person-to-person] networking as a telephone not a radio. Don’t just dictate to people; create engaging content and hold conversations. Don’t just make relationships, maintain them.

Terwelp: What role did networking play in helping you make this transition happen? 

Moore: Networking was absolutely the most vital piece of the puzzle. Meeting people, getting my name out there, networking was the only way to reach people who otherwise had no clue who I was. There is nothing more valuable than word of mouth.

Wendy Terwelp Career Coach Career Transformation Martin Moore Koss Headphones

Terwelp: What was the most important thing you did to make this career transition happen?  

“Stick to my plan. Don’t pass on opportunities. Network. Work harder than everyone else.” —Martin Moore

Terwelp: What do you feel was the main benefit of transitioning from auto mechanic to content developer?  

Moore: To make sure the quote by Mae West was something I lived by, not passively consumed. To be happy.

You can listen to all the Gary Vee [Gary Vaynerchuk] podcasts you want, read books, and go to seminars, but until you find that place inside of you that motivates you to want to live your life the way you want to, the benefits of transitioning to a new career will always remain just a dream.

“Find that place inside of you that motivates you to want to live your life the way you want…” —Martin Moore

Terwelp: What advice would you recommend to others considering making a career transition?

Moore: Changing careers is scary. You’re trading comfort, competence, tenure, and stability for everything that’s the antithesis of those. We spend a third of our lives working, so if you’re one of those people who is excited for #TGIF every week because you hate your day job, you need to change that.

I’ll leave you with this: Look at that career, that job you hate as the Titanic sinking, and your dreams and goals as the shore; and in between those two points are a bunch of lifeboats. Every lifeboat is an opportunity, and every boat you get into gets you one step closer to the shore, your dream. Every opportunity you don’t take, every boat you don’t get into, there is someone right next to you, in the water, treading for their life who will gladly take your place.

Wendy Terwelp is a career transformation and networking expert who works with professionals ready to take charge of their careers and love Mondays again. Ready to rock? Let’s talk!

Photos of Martin Moore provided by Martin Moore.

How to RSVP to LinkedIn Invitations from People You Don’t Know

“Hi Wendy, I’d like to join your LinkedIn network.” Sound familiar?

This is the standard LinkedIn invitation sent when people hit “connect.” And there’s a good chance you’ve received many of these since you joined LinkedIn.

As a career expert who advocates LinkedIn as a tool for career management and personal branding, my clients frequently ask me what they should  do about LinkedIn invitations from people they don’t know.

When you receive the standard LinkedIn invitation from people you don’t know, typically one of two things happen, 1) it’s deleted or 2) you hang on to it because you don’t want to offend the invitee by not accepting. Translation: “invitation limbo.” And a full inbox. After a certain time, invitations are deleted automatically by LinkedIn.

Here are solutions you can use to take action on LinkedIn invitations from people you don’t know:

Step One: Review their profile.

  • Do they have a professional headshot?
  • Do they have a professional summary that communicates who they are and what they do? Is it interesting? Does this seem like a person who’d add value to your network?
  • Have they provided value added content? This could include media links, status updates that resonate with you, etc. Check out their activity.
  • Look at their groups. Do you share any in common?
  • Check out shared connections. How many do you have in common? Have any of the common connections written a recommendation for this person?
  • Is this person an alumni of your school? Or employer?

If all of these are a “go” and the person seems like they’d be a wonderful connection to your LinkedIn network, hit “accept” and write a personal message welcoming him or her to your network.

Step 2: But, I’m still not sure…

  • If their background seems intriguing, and you’d like to learn more prior to accepting, pick up the phone and make a personal connection or
  • Hit “message” and here’s what I say, “Hi! Thanks so much for your LinkedIn invitation. Refresh my memory, how do we know each other?” Or, “Hi, Thanks so much for your invitation, how might I be of service?” See if they reply and determine your next move based on their response. 
  • If they’ve written you a message, you can reply to the individual without immediately accepting the invitation.

Step 3: Notice Red Flags

If the profile is missing key ingredients, seems sketchy or that profile looks too familiar (hello, stock photo!), decline.

Step 4: You Get to Choose

It’s YOUR LinkedIn party and you get to decide who gets to join. You got this!

Let me know your favorite tips for LinkedIn invitations in the comments.

And if you or your company needs help with LinkedIn, let’s talk!

Wendy Terwelp is president of Opportunity Knocks™ of Wisconsin, LLC and author of the Rock Your Network® series. Dubbed a “LinkedIn Guru,” by the Washington Post, Terwelp works with organizations ready to take their employees to the next level with the right personal brand, networking strategies and online activities… to not only close more deals and attract more clients, but prepare emerging leaders for the roles you have to fill. Her consulting services, speaking engagements, and workshops serve audiences worldwide through conferences, associations, and corporate engagements.

Terwelp’s private coaching clients regularly win raises, promotions, and jobs. Are you a rock star at work who wants career success on your terms? Schedule a session to discuss your career, goals, and next steps.

 

 

What’s that thing you do? ONE thing.

You’re at a networking event… meeting… conference… cocktail party… and it happens.

“So, what do you do?” the networker asks you.

“Um, well I’m a consultant / L&D pro / social media expert…” you say.

Slash happens. And I get it. You have a lot to offer and a lot of interests. When you’re at an event, all those slash titles can be hard for one person to take in. A more effective approach, decide how you wish to be known and communicate that one thing – not everything. It’s confusing to the listener.

What’s the one thing you wish to be known for and and your best, most relevant story, that demonstrates your expertise to the audience who needs to know about you?

When I coach my clients on effective networking, we work hard on creating a dynamic brand-driven sound bite that gets attention, without overwhelming the listener.

Picking one thing can be tough, but it’s important. As one of my client’s said, working through the exercise, “It’s like my whole career – skills, experience, knowledge is summed up in this one project. It just doesn’t feel right.”

That may be true, however, in networking, and asking your friends, etc. “who do they know, who…” it is important to be clear and focused. Sharing ONE story helps people get an idea of what you can do for someone. It also helps them easily share your story with their connections. And your network becomes your personal sales force.

Challenge: Create your sound bite. Be focused. Share a benefit-driven story that demonstrates your expertise. Tell how your network can help you best.

Want step-by-step help to network like a rock star? Check out my book, Rock Your Network® and rebuild your network in 5 minutes a day online or off.

© 2018 Wendy Terwelp | Wendy Terwelp speaks about social networking, F2F networking, personal branding, and career development. Want raving fans, referrals, and even happier, more engaged employees? Book her here: https://www.knocks.com/speaking/