Avoid These Personal Branding Pitfalls and Skyrocket Your Career

If one thing has become very clear to me in operating my business, it is that personal branding is not only a competitive advantage but more of an absolute requirement.    

Personal branding accomplishes many things like increasing one's confidence and credibility and it definitely provides a clear focus for personal development while establishing oneself as a thought leader. It also works wonders for career and entrepreneurial success by allowing individuals to pursue whatever it is that they’re passionate about. 

Learning how to take advantage of personal branding in the online world is especially important as there are many ways that you can succeed or fail in your pursuits to establish your brand.  From my research and personal branding experience here is a list of 5 pitfalls to avoid when you are building your personal brand.

1. Don't Assume Personal Branding Is For Everyone Else
Whether you’re a university graduate, a small business owner, a c-suite executive, or somewhere in between, personal branding has a place in helping you take your career to the next level. Personal branding is all about marketing and distinguishing yourself -- and showcasing that online. When you take control of your online narrative you are helping yourself to achieve your goals. Whichever path you’re on, your online presence can either help you or hurt you along the way. Don’t make the mistake of thinking personal branding doesn’t pertain to you.

2. Don't Pretend To Be Someone You Are Not 
It's human nature to try and project the best side of yourself when meeting someone new by going into the impress mode. In the short term this can attract someone’s attention but if taken too far, you risk becoming someone you’re not for the sake of continuing a relationship. Authenticity is key, both for relationships and personal brands. Don’t make the mistake of pretending to be someone you’re not, it will eventually catch up to you.

3. Don't Wait Until Something Bad Happens
It’s harder to take control of your personal branding online narrative once there is something negative or bad that you need to contend with. Many people only realize how important their online presence is once they have a problem.  You can avoid this classic mistake by making sure your personal branding  is done on a pro-active and preventative basis. If you stay on top of your personal brand on a consistent basis, you will fare much better overall.

4. Don't Forget to Ask The Hard Questions First
Unless you are very experienced in personal branding, you need to ask some important questions first before you write a blog post, start tweeting or using other social media platforms. It takes some effort but figuring out what differentiates ‘you’ from others is a necessary first step to making your brand realistic and relatable.  You want to be ready to get in front of the people who matter most to your business and career.  

Personal branding requires a lot of time, with a focus on website design, content marketing and solid social media activity. Unless you take the time to properly determine your unique value proposition or your target audience you are just spinning your wheels. Trust me, I have made this mistake.

5. Don't Ignore Others In Your Brand Discovery Process 
When creating a personal brand, I cannot overemphasize the importance of external consulting with friends, family, and professionals.  Remember that you are creating a brand to impress others, not yourself, and it's perfectly OK to ask for help.

Talking about your brand with someone else and especially a personal brand professional can help you to be more objective in the process. When you listen to others who have experience in personal branding, you can better determine if you are on the right path.    

If you need help to start building your personal brand or you are ready for a 2nd opinion, contact Jennifer Grant International, we are here to help.

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