I love what I do for work; I help people stand out! My expertise is with modern business etiquette, personal brand building, and reputation self-management–I'm on a mission to guide people on investing in their professional selves. Over the years, it occurred to me that the term "building your brand" no longer refers to what one does to promote a business. Instead, to my mind, it means creating a personal identity and image that matches how people think of you. Like it or not, you as an individual are now expected to construct a brand around your unique traits. Amazon's Jeff Bezos said it best, "Your brand is what other people say about you when you're not in the room."
Now, I want you to picture who you were ten years ago. Thanks to your cell cycles, your skin is different, your hair continues to grow, and overall you have physically changed because your cell cycle determines the inevitable process of aging. The good news is that your mind continues to develop. Your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs are influenced by what you have learned, seen, and heard. Yet, are you aware of this transformation? And, who have you become? How would you describe yourself today?
#1: Where does your reputation stand today?
Reputations are changeable. They can go from being significant to the polar opposite in an instant. So my first suggestion is what I feel is the most important if you take a few moments to dig into your digital and in-person presence. Here is where your use of humility kicks in; what is your reputation like today? Now, if you want to get answers, ask those around you who you know will give you an unbiased truth. Then, if you know your reputation can be more refined, you're ready to work with a coach.
#2 - How can you elevate your presence?
There are many aspects to developing your persona into one that's sophisticated, bold, composed, a thought-leader, etc., a presence that transcends your previous self. Of course, this takes time and patience to generate, but it's worth doing. Determine your outlets; where are you seen? Think about online and in-real-life. These platforms require consistency with your messaging. As a woman in today's world, there are higher expectations with self-presentation. Keeping up appearances can be overwhelming and what a personal brand coach does is help you filter through the noise to assist you in creating a defined presence.
#4 - Who do you trust?
I believe in building long-term relationships, ones that withstand the ups and downs of what life throws at you. When sharing your time with a personal branding coach, you want to make sure it's worth your while. You will ideally be working with them for years to come.
A great way to start is by having a virtual or real-life consultation which the coach should navigate. If you are confident in their approach to coaching, you've seen great reviews, like their credentials, and respect how they consistently show up; you should feel confident in starting sessions with them. They should feel like your #1 fan, a cheerleading squad for just you, and if not, then you have your answer.
#5 - How much are you willing to invest?
When planning to work with a personal brand coach, you must think about the short-term goals and the long-term goals you have.
Your investment corresponds with you wanting this to work: Your re-brand is about you, and your coach creates a roadmap for you to get there. So what is your brand worth to you? Well, that's a question only you can answer.
Perhaps, you're going through a life-changing experience. You’ve changed careers, or switched industries… Maybe you're looking to elevate your reputation with what you're doing now. Whatever the reason is, one thing is for sure, you want to change; you want to be intentional with your approach; and with the proper guidance, you'll need the right person around you to make it happen.
Janika (Jan) LeMaitre is an Australian destined to help people with their professional brands. It's why, after moving to Boston in the U.S., she started her consultancy, The Better Professional®. She is a consultant, coach, speaker, board director, and host of the 'Polish Your Persona' podcast. Jan guides her clients on modern business etiquette, personal brand building, and reputation self-management. Her mission is to provide invaluable knowledge and life-changing skills for inner-entrepreneurs to successfully evolve their business, brand, and overall reputation.