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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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Blog Traffic Loves Generous Service

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Blog traffic absolutely loves generous service. Do you want to succeed? Help oodles of people for free through blogging and guest posting. Toss in helping bloggers by noting bloggers on your blog, by commenting genuinely on blogs and by mentioning bloggers on social media. Traffic flows your way. Because blog traffic loves generous service. The more help you offer through your eBook, course and blog, the more traffic you drive. Simple equation. Give, to get. Keep giving freely and blog traffic finds you. Hug this super simple, powerful law of life. Service prospers you. Blog traffic flows to generous bloggers.

What gives? Why do many bloggers struggle to drive blog traffic? In essence, most human beings vibe mainly from an energy of fear and loss. You and I learn to do stuff with fear being our main driver. So, blogging becomes another outlet through which to do stuff from a dominant energy of fear. Like, publish one post for the week and do no more. Because you fear not getting enough return on investment. Plus you fear wasting time. Plus you fear working hard. Plus you fear looking like a fool if people come across all of the awesome content you create and, due to your increased exposure, you become the object of intense criticism. Ouch; that would hurt, eh? Being burdened by these fears, you play small, be stingy and just publish one post every 1-2 weeks. If YOU are stingy with the Universe, the Universe BE’S stingy with you. Give. Receive. Don’t give. Don’t receive. So, withholding generous service ensures blog traffic gets withheld from you. What a simple strategy to put into action, right? But of course, what an uncomfortable strategy to put into action, too, because facing and feeling fear, never feels all that comfortable. Nobody loves this process. Me included. But ya gotta take that route to be a successful blogger.

Help as many people as possible daily through a few clear strategies. Keep publishing content to your blog. Keep guest posting. Gain immense exposure and gain skills and yep, gain credibility……and of course, gain blog traffic. All occurs because you gave freely of your time and talents. Give freely. Gain blog traffic. But giving freely FORCES you outside of your comfort zone. For example, I publish 9 or more guest posts and blog posts daily, between both. No joke, this taxes me sometimes. I face fears about doing billionaire work and not see billions in my bank account yet. All that crap. Yep, I proceed. I blog into deep fears, feel fears, and clearing these fears helps me drive more blog traffic, leading to increased blogging success. All about that free giving, folks. Give freely, and you shall position yourself to receive more easily.

Be with scary emotions. I feel you. I have been there, guys. Nudging through to feel these energies is the way to clear these energies. Keep giving, and the getting becomes easier and easier in blog traffic terms. Imagine guest posting on 30 blogs over the next 3 months. Visualize how this increased exposure boosts your blog traffic. People see you all over, click your bio link and you get more blog traffic. Your generous service through guest posting put everything into motion.

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Why Ask Blogging Questions Already Asked Thousands of Times?

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Ya know what?

I feel awesome teaching bloggers with my friend Sue-Ann. We are currently helping course students via the creative, innovative, never duplicated: How to Bling Your Blog and Feed That Hog course.

Live, interactive and engaging, students already noted how we cover new, different topics compared to virtually all other blogging courses. Sure we cover the basics. But we do so quite differently than your average blogging course. Sue-Ann and I both became successful by doing things differently than most other bloggers. We think. We deliberate. We virtually never do things mindlessly. Alas, many of my fellow bloggers – most newbies – move in the opposite direction. One quick Quora visit reflects this mass sheeple mentality crippling most newbie blogger careers. Again, a few moments ago, I spied at least 4 bloggers asking the same, old, “how do you succeed at blogging” type question again, said questions being asked for the millionth time.

I have compassion for new bloggers. I also understand how every new blogger feels entitled to ask virtually any question. But just because you can ask any question, does that mean you should ask any or every blogging question popping up in your mind? Nope. You should note Why? Asking the successful blogging question wastes your time and my time because tens of thousands of bloggers have answered this question accurately tens of thousands of times across thousands of online platforms. We covered it already. I even created an entire course to devote to answering the question. Why litter Quora and the web in general with the same blogging question for the 10,000th time? At best, it is a time waster. At worst, borderline spam.

I love ya’s but you need to begin thinking like a successful blogger well before experiencing success. How would a successful blogger go about figuring out how to succeed at blogging? Pay someone to access the answer in 5 or 10 seconds. Hire someone to coach them. Buy a course or eBook in a minute. Why waste 24 or 36 hours waiting for an answer from some blogger when you get the answer 30 minutes after buying and reading one of my 100 plus eBooks? Failures wait for answers to questions asked thousands of times. Winners buy the answer immediately. This is the difference between struggling bloggers and future pros. Strugglers put no thought into the process. Why in the Hades would you ever believe 10,000 bloggers prior to you have NOT asked the successful blogging question? Of course they did! Think logically for 5 seconds. Of course hundreds of top bloggers answered the successful blogging question. And yes, of course you access that question through Google and Amazon in seconds, querying and investing money in instant answers from pros.

No brainer territory, guys. Buy the solution in seconds. Stop being like poverty conscious bloggers who put zero thought and little logic into why they ask a question obviously asked and answered accurately, thousands of times. Blogging gets easier if you think mindfully. Blogging gets harder if you mindlessly give zero thought to the craft. Invest money in getting proven answers to basic blogging questions. Accelerate your online success. Save your time. Save my time.

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Blogging

When Is It Too Late to Start Blogging?

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Never!

Ego sometimes clings to limiting ideas. One such idea is the notion that starting a blog at some specific age proves to be futile because of it being too late. I recall hearing Gary Vaynerchuk professing how people in their early 20’s ask him if it is too late to begin a business. Do you see why ego deludes you? Fear manifests as all types of crippling beliefs holding you back. Someone clinging to fear, being 21 years old, asks if being 21 is too old for starting a business. Why? Some 21 year olds observe 14 year olds who create million dollar ventures. Or some 21 year olds see fellow 21 year olds who already became millionaires, when the limited-thinking 21 year old simply has never been an entrepreneur. Guess what? It is never late to begin blogging. It is never too late to begin blogging. I recall a 73 year old new to blogging who bought 4 of my eBooks after I wrote a guest post on Build Your Own Blog. He began blogging at 73 years old. Imagine that? Yet 21 year olds some 50 years his minor fear being 21 is too old for beginning a successful venture.

Fear makes you think silly things. Be beyond fear. Feel fear. Release fear. Move in a direction of possibilities. Move toward opportunities. Now is the time to begin blogging whether you are 21 or 101. Now is the time to begin. Seize the moment. Do you plan to be around for a bit? Blog. Begin blogging. It is never too late to start blogging because you and I sit in the perfect place at the perfect time for our individual journeys. I began blogging in my mid 30’s. 35 years old, to be exact. Being a 35 year old beginner blogger never crossed my mind as being too old because I did not cling to the fear fueling that too old, aged, limiting belief. I saw actual 12 year olds blogging during my newbie blogging days. Who cares that a kid 20 years my junior began blogging? I had 20 more years LIFE experience than he. Possessing 20 more years life experience puts you at a tremendous advantage when it comes to learning the in’s and out’s of blogging the right way. Heck; the 73 year old new blogger may have zero blogging experience but 73 years of life experience. What seems more important at that point in your life? Does knowing how to format a blog post at 73 count more than the fearlessness, serenity and peace you acquired from facing 73 years worth of fears? Dude begins blogging with the mindset of a Blogging Yoda, for all he faced and for all the experience he has. Does THAT sound like it’s too late for blogging?

The only thing I would say is to begin blogging now because blogging experience is your best ally. Do not wait on the sidelines. Even though you can begin blogging at any age, why wait until you turn 45 when you can begin blogging now, at age 40? Why hesitate? Experience benefits you tremendously. Whether you start blogging at 13 or 73, experience earned and learned from, accelerates your blogging success. But you need to see the journey through and you need to begin blogging now. Go ahead. Blog. It’s not too late!

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Do you fear deleting your worn out, failing blog to start over? Buy my eBook:

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