personal branding and narcissismSo, you’ve decided to go into business for yourself or you have just re-entered the job market and are looking for a way to separate yourself from the competition. Thanks to today’s technology and society’s need to constantly stay plugged in and connected; you have the opportunity to put your personal brand in front of millions. Personal brand? Wait, what!?! Yes, you read that correctly.

You are a brand and to sell it, you will need to become a bit of a narcissist.

Personal Branding Defined

Branding itself is a series of actions that differentiate and distinguish something. Think old school, Wild West and cattle herders. A branding iron was used to place a mark on the cattle that distinguished and differentiated the animal from other farms.

Personal branding incorporates tactics and actions that distinguish and differentiate you from others like you.

If you are a freelancer like myself, you may want to use personal branding as a marketing strategy to differentiate yourself from other freelancers and larger firms in your industry. If you are looking to re-enter the job market, employing personal branding tactics can help you stand out against your competition.

Find Your Inner Narcissist

For some this will be easy and for others it will be difficult, but you have to awaken the narcissist within yourself. Why? Because personal branding is, well, all about…you. How can you make yourself standout? What sets you apart from someone else with the same skills and qualifications? What makes you different? What makes you better? These are the questions you have to ask yourself and when you find the answers, that’s what you have to show and tell others.

Use all of the tools you have available in our technology-driven landscape. Create a website for yourself and put yourself on display. Find the best social media networks for the audience you are trying to reach and sway in your direction. The trick to personal branding is not to just tell people how awesome you are, but show them. While you are showing off, you will also need to show how you can help and enrich your audience’s lives.

No one likes a braggart, but if that braggart can benefit him or her, a love connection can be made and a relationship forged. Plus, once they get to know you better, they will feel confident that not only did they make a great business decision, but they actually like you as well.

The business landscape is a tough one and 2013 may prove to truly be the year of the entrepreneur. According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), there are more Americans starting businesses or working for a start-up company now, than there have been in 14 years. This means that there is a lot of competition out there, as well as a lot of noise for consumers to filter through to find the right business or service. If you aren’t doing something to stand out in the crowd, you will get lost in the shuffle and fade into the background. Shine a spotlight on yourself and use personal branding.

This is a guest post by Colleen Eakins

Colleen Eakins is a freelance graphic designer that approaches design from a marketing perspective. According to her, “anyone can make a pretty picture, but is it effective?” Colleen’s designs answer that question with a yes. When she is not busy saving the world from bad kerning, she enjoys going for a run (trot), playing with her dog and staying active. You can see all that she is up to on Twitter (@ceakinsdesign) and Instagram (@ceakinsdesign).

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