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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.

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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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Blogging

What Bloggers Can Learn from Advanced Dish Washing Machines

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Blogging can be compared to a lot of different things, such as writers, authors, newspapers, and even media outlets. However, have you ever considered blogging quite similar to that of a dishwashing machine?

If not, you aren’t alone.

Just like a dishwashing machine, there are many different components to having a sucessful website, blog, and content on your site. All of which are also influenced by how well your writing is, and the type of audience you are attracting. But there are also many little tools, components, features, and levels of expertise factored in along the way.

With all of these little elements in mind and working all together, blogging can also be quite similar to the way advanced appliances and dish washing machines work and improve our lives on a daily basis.

How Blogging is a Lot Like a Dishwasher

Sure, it might seem funny at first to compare something like a home appliance that does cleaning, to the extremely vast and complex world of blogging — however, when it comes to creating content and coming up with new ideas on how to get more creative with content than ever before… this is just a perfect example!

To bring this concept and mentallity altogether, let’s take a look at the Bosch 500 Series Dishwasher, which is quickly making headlines and gaining attention for it’s ease of use and advanced technhology.

Below you will find a listing of each of it’s features, and then how one could apply such a feature or setting into that of a blog as well.

A little fresh air equals a lot more dry.

The Bosch 500 Series Dishwasher claims AutoAir™ automatically opens the door at the end of the drying cycle to let moisture escape and fresh air circulate for better drying results.* (*Compared to Bosch Dishwashers with PureDry.)

— A fresh breath of air can do a lot for a dish washing machine when it comes to cleanliness and drying. However, the same definitely applies to that of a website, blog, or content creation as well. It’s never easy to come up with new content all the time for your sites, so every once in a while, be sure to take a fresh breath of air and see what type of new content or topics you might want to start writing about.

24” width
There’s room for up to 16 place settings. Plus, 5 wash cycles including five-level wash, 5 options like Extra Dry, and a concealed heating element.

— Much like a website or blog, there is always room for additional content, plugins, settings and theme. Just like a dishwasher, you don’t want to load it up so it’s jam packed and hard to clean everything thats inside. So with this in mind, think about how you can better organize the content on your site and the tools that allow it to run at it’s best performance, while also eliminating the junk.

Flexible 3rd rack
Accommodate the odd one out. Adding the 3rd rack with its adjustable tines can create the right fit for deep, tall, or uniquely-shaped items.

EasyGlide™ rack
Load and unload smoothly. It’s easy to adjust and move the racks, even while they’re full of dishes.

RackMatic®
Fit it all, every time. With 3 different height levels and up to 9 possible rack positions, you can customize each load for your needs.

— Just like how a dishwashing machine has additional rack for better storage and management, the web hosting associated with your site likely can do the same. However, it’s not always about getting as much space as possible, but instead knowing how to best optimize the space and resources you are working with. After all, you don’t want to throw all of your utensil (site articles) on the top rack and have them fall out of place. You would instead use the utensil rack to make sure they are all in one place and maximizing the performance of cleaning throughout your washing. In blogging terms, this can also be associated as having one powerful web hosting solution that is optimized for WordPress, so it’s running at peak peformance at all times.

24/7 Aquastop®
Protect your floors. This 4-part leak prevention system uses sensors to detect and stop leaks, and can even turn on by itself.

— One of the worst things that can happen with a dishwasher, is to have it leak water all over your kitchen. With an Aquastop in place, this can help stop leaks before they start. The best way to compare such a feature to a blog, would be to have an anti-virus and hack security solution in place. This can often be done by adding a security WordPress plugin, or going with a higher end hosting solution that offers 24/7 backup and advanced security of their own.

44-dBA noise level rating
Wash dishes in peace. Bosch dishwashers are so quiet, you have to check the exterior Infolight® to know they’re on.

— Dishwashing machines come in all different shapes and sizes. No matter how big it is, you are going to want to make sure it’s night and quiet. When a dishwasher is made by Bosch, they are made by a name and brand that is known for excellence and superior products. The same type of mindset needs to be applied when choosing a web hosting or monetization platform for your blog as well. Go with a hosting solution that is reliable and has a well-branded name. And when it comes to choosing a propert monetization method for your site, go with one that has a proven track record and success as well.

 

How Bloggers and Like Top of the Line Dishwashing Machines

Yes, the idea that bloggers are like dishwashing machines might have seemed a little silly at the beginning, but after reading through the article, you might have a bit more of a clear picture on why it’s true.

Bloggers and dish washing machines will each continue to develop over time, while also learning how to adapt to the changing enviornments around them and impriving over time.

So the next time you see your dishwashing machine… you might just think about blogging as well!

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Blogging

Is Creating or Connecting More Important in Blogging?

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Both.

Creating and connecting are equally important elements in becoming a successful blogger. Creating content without building friendships means nobody knows about your content. Imagine publishing posts in a cyber cave. No one finds you and no one finds and reads your content. Connecting without creating content means nobody trusts you because you did not prove you know your stuff through creating helpful, valuable content. Imagine a high volume of traffic finds your blog through your friend network. What do people see? Nothing. Or, thin content, weakly created. You can be friends with 10,000 bloggers but if you share little valuable content you cannot gain trust or earn credibility.

This is why you need to create helpful content and build strong connections with leaders in your blogging niche.

Create

Create helpful content solving reader content through blog posts, guest post, videos and podcasts. Give readers value to become valuable in their eyes. I publish 7  to 10 or more pieces of helpful content daily to display I know what I talk about, blogging-wise. People come across my content – through my friend network – and trust my advice because I’ve been helping people through free content for years.

People dig the free-mium and buy the premium. Make money blogging by creating oodles of helpful, free content to improve your skills and to gain credibility.

If you do not create content people will not trust you. Try succeeding online with zero credibility; not gonna happen. Prove you know your stuff. Create helpful free content to prove you know your niche and to inspire readers to trust you.

Connect

Connect with top bloggers in your niche. Help them. Ask for nothing. Expect nothing. Bonds form. Friendships develop. Top bloggers promote you, endorse you, hire you and buy your stuff, amplifying your reach and multiplying your success.

Comment genuinely on top blogs from your niche. Promote top bloggers on your blog and through social media. Be generous. Ask for nothing in return. Prove you are interested in the blogger, NOT solely in what the blogger can do for you. Bonds form. Sweet blogging success flows your way.

Watch me explain how to grow your blogging network here:

Imagine trying to blog without connecting, as thousands of bloggers do. Write a post. Publish the post. Share to Facebook. Retweet on Twitter. Sit there. See what happens. Wait. No traffic. No profits. Why? Literally, you publish content for your eyes only until you network generously and make friends. Nobody knows you or trusts you because you blog solo, all day long. Nobody trusts someone who is a lone wolf, who is not a team player, because you do not listen to other people and generously serve people and help people and do all the things successful bloggers do, to prove they listen, they process and they help.

Connect. Expand your reach by growing your friend network. Make blogging easier. Have fun making friends. Prosper.

Both Important

Begin creating and connecting from day 1 as a blogger. Begin creating helpful content solving reader needs and connect by commenting genuinely on blogs and by promoting fellow bloggers. Success will be yours if you follow these 2 basic blogging fundamentals.

Be patient. Good things require both generous service and time.

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Blogging

Why Are You So Quick to Quit Blogging?

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Why are you so quick to quit blogging? Ask yourself that question. Wait for an honest answer. Most bloggers quit because they do not see instant results. This is delusion. This is a silly way to filter blogging. Blogging takes time, effort, generosity and trust. Develop the states of mind and you will never quit until you become a full-time blogger. But if you do not develop the states of mind you will quit quite quickly.

Be straight with yourself. Being honest about your blogging intent gives you a truthful perspective on your blogging journey. I was impatient as a new blogger and ran into all types of problems with my blog. I wanted to get rich quick. I wanted fast, easy traffic. I wanted to get something for nothing. I experienced a massive reality check because numbers did not increase for me as a new blogger. Everything actually seemed to fall apart. I went in the opposite direction of success. I seem to move directly toward failure.

After experiencing some rough moments I quit for short periods of time. Plus even when I blogged, I quit on sound, proven strategies. I was stupid. I was greedy. I was desperate. I quit blogging because I felt at the time blogging quit on me. But I made the choice to quit on blogging and to quit on following a proven, sound blogging system so this was all my fault. 100% of the time, if you struggle with your blog it is your fault. Take ownership of your struggles and take ownership of your quitting. Move in a more freeing, fun direction that allows you to see increasing success.

You can succeed and will succeed. Watch me share how I lived my dreams through blogging:

Do not quit on blogging so quickly. Good things take time. Good things take generous service. But if you are filled with fear you cannot possibly see the journey through because you will quit the split second you feel frustrated or annoyed or hopeless with the blogging process. Bloggers who quit quickly simply fill their minds with fear and poverty and scarcity and lack. See scarcity, be scarcity, and you will quit really quickly because you see no possibility or opportunity or growth with your blog.

Shift your mind from scarcity to abundance by facing your fears. Feel your blogging fears. Clear these energies. See abundance around you. See your growth. Observe opportunities unfolding before your very eyes all of the time. What does it take for you to publish a genuine comment below after reading this post? Literally, about 30 seconds. But those 30 seconds can boost your blog traffic and position you to befriend top bloggers. Quitters blind themselves to these opportunities because they are so mired in fear and scarcity. Winners sees opportunities because they vibe love and abundance.

Stop being so quick to quit blogging. Feel your fears. Purge your fears. Move into abundant, generous actions that yield stunning blogging success over the long haul. Nobody succeeds overnight by quitting fast but successful bloggers who see the journey through ride out frustrating periods and free themselves through this amazing online medium. Do not quit blogging. Do not be quick to quit this inspired medium for fun, freedom and service. You have so much blogging potential. Seize it. Use it. Be present with your mental blocks. Allow your fears to move along. Do not quit blogging so darn quickly like the masses of aspiring bloggers. Ride out those tough moments. Be with your fears. See the blogging journey through to become a stunningly successful, full-time blogger.

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Do you feel like your blogging profits are a bit lacking?

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