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Personal Branding: A Personal Story

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I recently came across this piece on Inc Magazine about that “one word” that defines a great personal brand.

As a consultant and model, I was forced to build my personal brand early. (I was barely seventeen when I started modeling.) Somehow, I navigated the uncertainties of “the grown-up world” through all of its unspoken rules, business etiquettes, and professional networking strategies that college never taught me.

Developing a Brand that People Can Trust

Never be defined to the absolute. Instead, embrace in the evolution of your brand.

Tweet this thought.

Professionally, the most advantageous experience I’ve had in my career that helped me build my personal brand was (ironically) being a convention model. As a convention model, I represented myself to the agency. I also represented the agency to the client. And I represented the client to an audience. Once I realized that I was representing myself and others simultaneously, a personal brand seemed to be the only thing that made sense to tie everything about me together. (This is ironic because for years I tried to disassociate myself from being a “model” for personal reasons.)

What truly started to shape my personal brand were personal struggles; inevitable moments of weakness and uncertainties about my character. I questioned my strengths and purpose which carved a path for me to challenge my personal integrity. Each time we question ourselves is actually an opportunity to improve or further develop our personal brand. So trust your instinct.

If your brand story doesn’t feel right to you, then it’s not really your brand story.

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If my personal brand was a formula, it would be a concoction of fifty percent personal struggles (as a young, female professional), forty-eight percent observation, 1.5 percent analyzing, mimicking, and role-playing along with my embrace of the beautiful .5 percent knowledge knowing that I can never be defined to the absolute.

Ironically, after just making the preceding point of never being “defined”, I titled this blog post The “One Word” in Personal Branding. 

Advice for a Struggling Personal Brand

Before the rest of my colleagues realized how easily employers can find and view personal Facebook profiles, my online presence was already being built for me. I was branded as a model. And that was a problem.

All of a sudden, I was viewed as a model. Each job interview went well. (I was trying to break into the tech industry.) I was told that my personality and perspectives were impressive; that I had strong skills and fit the culture of the companies. Yet after that handshake and a friendly, “We’ll be in touch,” I knew that the interviewer would simply Google me and change his mind because my personal brand was associated with a different industry. The only jobs that were ever easily offered to me related to fashion and modeling.

Turn a disadvantage into a competitive, marketable advantage.

Tweet this thought.

Recently, I was in desperate need of advice and support from someone who understood the crises and challenges that confront me. Ideally, she would be another model about my age who also had aspirations to be more than “just a face.” Someone who also fits into the following demographic profile: young, female, recent college grad from an urban, socio-economically challenged background whose work experience thus far was mainly centered around her physical appearance. (I was a model, a restaurant hostess, a retail manager at a very superficial company that I won’t mention.) My fancier job titles included: “spokesmodel” or spokesperson, “brand ambassador,” and “receptionist.” I enjoyed all of my jobs but unfortunately only few contributed to a direct career path that I was seeking.

Strategically and slowly but surely, my job title evolved from being a “model” to “promotional model” to “brand ambassador” to “spokesmodel” and finally to “convention model.” Suddenly, I was an regarded as the “go-to” spokesmodel who understood the anatomy of brands because I worked directly with an extremely diverse series of brand strategies and campaigns (for big and small clients) on different levels. Suddenly, I became a straddler: one foot in one door and the other foot in another door. I was at the impressive, dynamic intersection where industries merged… and that was beautiful. With my high heel in one door, and my sketchbook in another, I was crafting a new me. Tweet this story. Yet with my college loans piling a year after graduation, I grew weary of my professional future.

Luckily, I met fellow Image Consultant, model, and friend Yanez Perez who shared with me the single most important advice I ever received about developing and, more importantly, maintaining my personal brand. Yanez recently ventured into the exciting business world and started her own Image Consulting business, Instead. She taught me three basic things:

  1. First and foremost, Respect everyone. No matter what title or power he or she may or may not hold. (Notice the capital R. It is crucial to note that respect comes with sincerity.)
  2. Secondly, make your presence be known. Be a (visual) statement. Carry yourself well. Make an impression.
  3. Always speak for yourself because you are your best (and only) true advocate.
  4. And actually, there is a fourth secret: Strategize.

Don’t let demographics, job titles, and other factors define who you are.

Tweet this thought.

After years of building my professionalism and cultivating a string of experiences as a social media marketing and field marketing professional for my own clients (in addition to my brief work at a Philadelphia-based, award-winning digital media company) even at age 26, I still get the casual brush-off as just a “pretty face.” Or in harsher words once said to me, “Why don’t you just stand there and look pretty?”

I had to carve my own brand before it was carved for me.

Tweet this thought.

Strategically, I snipped the strings that were tying me down. I remember when I first fell in love with Twitter. (Thank you Twitter cofounders.) I dreamed of its conception during my high school days when it was cool to update statuses but be AFK or “away from keyboard.” Who knew that my discovery of Twitter would lead to my next epiphany?

Social Media Networks

Social media saved me.

Before social media, I was just a model. That’s it. That was all there was to me according to Google. (Gee, thanks Google. I wish you would’ve let me know that there was another Sophie Tran who was also a model.) However, since I plunged into the beautiful blankets of social media, all of a sudden, I had a second opportunity to re-invent my brand.

“Call me,” Yanez said when I confided in her. And so I did.

During that one-hour phone call with Yanez, I realized that my fears of having a stale personal brand was actually a sign that I was yet again facing another milestone in the evolution of my personal brand.

So here’s my ‘one word’: Undefined. 

Be refined. Yet undefined. That is the essence of every personal brand.  

My name is Foxy, and my job is to sniff out the good guest bloggers from the ones who aren't. This post was written by a contributing author to Blogging Tips. If you would like to learn more about becoming a writer (not one-time guest blogging) for BloggingTips.com, please contact us.

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Why Do People Still Sleep on Blog Commenting?

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Chapters 2 and 3 of my eBook:

How to Build an Online Empire through Blog Commenting

dissect both my commenting success stories and why to comment on blogs from your niche. I lead in with a clear primer prepping you for the blogging journey, commenting-wise.

Why do bloggers still ignore the immense power of commenting? A few reasons reveal themselves but at the core, bloggers fear nobody will read their blog comments. Seriously; do you genuinely believe folks read all blog comments? Of course not because folks sometimes skip over comments. But a percentage of bloggers and readers do scan comments or take apart comments word by word, getting to know fellow bloggers. At the core though, fear rings strong, guys. Bloggers fear wasting time. I get it. I too have to catch myself, to remind myself of these sweet blog commenting benefits.

Benefits of Blog Commenting

Ready guys:

  1. bond with top bloggers through an underused vehicle, often ignored, but totally free of gatekeepers, unlike trying to reach someone through email or phone
  2. anybody can comment on a blog; new blogger, struggling veteran blogger, etc
  3. anybody can impress with comments at any stage of your career; any human being can share their thoughts in genuine fashion
  4. blog comments are forever; evergreen content
  5. blog comments serve as branding and bonding vehicles
  6. blog commenting is a free method for connecting with bloggers
  7. blog commenting on blogs with raving communities ejects you into the blogger’s tribe
  8. people who buy your stuff often need to see you are legit, active and social online; enter blog commenting

Those are but a few reasons why you want to comment on top blogs from your niche. Do your best to dwell on these reasons if you want to mail it in, skipping on blog commenting because you feel like commenting on a top blog wastes your time.

Still?

I just find it weird that years into me discussing blog commenting as a viable means to bond and grow business, bloggers scoff at it. I do have an idea why, though. Bloggers focus on things over people. Bloggers want links and do not put in the time and energy to develop connections with other human beings. Put in the time, and you will be golden. But if you want to deal with things to manipulate people you will have a terrible time getting traction online because business may flow through things, but business originates in humans. Think that one through for just a moment.

Comment Genuinely

Commenting works if you comment genuinely on blogs from your niche. Nobody likes someone who wants to publish a link, and to leave. We call these guys comment drive-bys. Stick around. Write a few sentences. Be genuine. Be helpful. Be warm. The more you give to blog commenting, the more you get from blog commenting. Do you see how it works? The process is quite simple but you need to be onboard, fully, to be a generous, genuine blog commentor.

Be present. Imagine yourself speaking to another human being, in person. How should that feel? Good, methinks. Bask in that feeling as you publish a few sentences or paragraphs via a blog comment. Feel the fun in connecting with humans. Blogging is 100% in the connections. Never forget that.

Clients, customers, business and traffic find you through genuine, generous, frequent comments. I am living proof. Peep my example if you want to comment but believe commenting will be a waste of your time. Trust me; it won’t.

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4 Ways to Respond to Blogging Critics

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Critics.

We all have ’em.

Or, if new to blogging, critics will pay you a visit eventually. Being seen online means being criticized sometimes. Part of your successful blogging tax.

Fools waste precious time and energy engaging critics in some way, shape or form. Avoid doing this. Paying, loyal, loving fans deserve your energy. Go to where you are loved.

Follow these 4 tips to respond to blogging critics effectively.

1: Ignore Critics Completely

If I come across a nasty 1 star review of my eBooks, I ignore the barb completely because miserable, angry, unhappy people cannot think clearly and tell the truth. Why trust a raging, mindless, idiotic bull? Ignore these people. Buy my critics eBook too to begin spotting these fools.

2: Listen for a Shred of Stinging Truth

OK guys; following this step feels uncomfortable but you need take the step to become a successful blogger. Listen closely to critic feedback. How does it feel to you? Upsetting? Embarrassing? Does a critic anger you or annoy you? Do you want to debate or debunk those morons? If any negative emotion feels triggered by receiving criticism you believe some or all of their critical feedback. I did tell you; this step/tip feels unpleasant. But how could you ever sell a bunch of eBooks and help people and make money if you genuinely do NOT believe in the value of your eBooks? How can you become a pro blogger if you believe you will always be amateur hour?

Critics trigger false beliefs you need face, feel and release to reach the next stage of your blogging growth. I never had powerful break throughs until a critic tossed some nasty barb my way, triggering some fear I needed to release to gain enough clarity and confidence to reach the next stage of my growth.

3: Psyche Homework

Critics see you as a mirror. What criticism seems doled out to you, on to you, is a critic speaking of themselves. We are connected; all of us. Critics never seem to see this and choose to speak of self via their criticism of you. Do your mindset homework. See how criticism serves as a projection of individual onto you? Relax. Prep yourself for future criticism. Consider writing blog posts discussing problems critics see in self if this topic applies to your blogging niche. Turn criticism into help and profits, too.

4: Never Gang Up

Ganging up on critics with your friends only shows your weakness. Critics fear. Critics are in pain. Imagine taking time to rile the troops and kick a wounded dog? This is what it’s like to get your tribe rounded up to gang up on and belittle critics. Plus, try getting featured on world famous blogs by building a bully image these days. I dare you.

Relax. Critics have issues. Ignore these folks outright. Leave them be, and you will be happier, healthier and wealthier, too. Never waste your time fighting critics; especially with friends. Do something uplifting and enriching with your time, energy and efforts.

Help people. Do not try to hurt, hurt people. Give your attention and energy to love, generosity, abundance and service to experience the greatest blogging success.

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Blogging

How to Self-Publish eBooks for Increased Blogging Profits

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Have you bought my blogging eBook?

Well; this is one of my 100 plus eBooks:

How I Published 10 eBooks in 4 Months and How You Can Too

I thought 10 eBooks in 4 months was cooking in 2014, as a newbie author. Boy, was I off. I eventually went on a blitz including publishing 1 eBook daily for 3 months in a row during one of my trips to Bali, in 2015. Anyway, I want to help you self-publish eBooks to boost your blogging profits because every blogger loves registering sweet profits, right?

Follow these tips.

1: Solve Common Problems

Solve common problems in your blogging niche. Earn profits by solving problems through eBooks people need solving. If they need the solution they buy the solution. Does it get any simpler?

2: Keep It Short and Sweet

Gone are days of 50,000 word eBooks being the norm or a bit more normal. Kindle short reads and other short, sweet numbers seem resonant with our ever-increasing microwave culture. Note how folks love watching videos and getting the latest updates via phone. People enjoy getting what they want quickly so if you solve a pressing problem fast people buy the eBook-solution.

I span 6000 to 15000 words per eBook; find your sweet spot.

3: Be Prolific

I think too many bloggers eat into their eBook profits due to holding back. Do not be stingy. Self-publish freely to increase your exposure and to better increase your blogging profits. I shipped 100 plus eBooks and promote a fair chunk daily. Being prolific helps me to help more readers; smart way for boosting your profits.

4: Help People for Free….A Lot

Do you see how many guest posts I publish daily? Quite a few, folks. I publish guesties to help you and to increase both my presence and eBook sales. Profits flow to leveraging bloggers. If self-published authors guest post heaps, all the better for increasing your blogging and eBook sales.  Keep helping people via blog posts, videos and podcasts too. Do not be shy. Increase your skills, exposure and eBook profits by generously helping people for free through content creation.

5: Show Off 5 Star Reviews

I recently began showing off my 5 star reviews for my eBooks, via my blog and social media. People sometimes buy based on word of mouth marketing. Observe the review below in response to the eBook above.

Seeing positive reviews makes it easier for a reader to buy your eBooks and pad your profits. Show off 5 star reviews. Go to where you get love to get more love and to increase your eBook profits.

6: Keep It Simple

Short and sweet eBooks sell.

Simple eBooks sell even more frequently.

I always simplified my eBooks as much as humanly possible to both reach maximum readers and to increase my eBook profits. Why do people buy solution-eBooks? Authors who offer simple, easy to follow reads find few issues selling a nice volume of eBooks. Keep eBooks simple. Imagine yourself writing for a small child. Be clear and simple. Resonate with readers. Sell more eBooks.

7: Persist in Promotion

I did not begin selling eBooks until I promoted the heck out of these reads. Often this involved mentioning 1 eBook per every blog post and guest post I published for months at a time. Such is the effort of a self-promoter who drives increasing eBook profits.

Tap into this prospering blogging income stream.

Being writing and selling helpful eBooks today.

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