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Entrepreneurs: How to Build a Personal Brand

by Pamela Weinberg on April 29, 2014

Branding PinterestIncreasingly, building a personal brand is important for all of us. But, for entrepreneurs it is critical. In fact, there are some branding experts who recommend that entrepreneurs brand themselves first, before spending too much time positioning your product or service. Certainly, great personal branding can make an entrepreneur synonymous with their company and the value it provides.

Take for instance, Alexa von Tobel, CEO and founder of LearnVest. Alongside founding and scaling a successful startup, she has created a powerful personal brand that aligns with her company’s mission. As a TEDx Speaker and New York Times bestselling author of Financially Fearless: The LearnVest Program for Taking Control of Your Money, she is well-known for her desire to help “empower people everywhere to take control of their money so that they can afford their dreams”

So, whether you are just starting your own business or in the process of expanding it, having a strong personal brand will provide a solid foundation for your (continued) success.

Obviously, not everyone has unending cashflow and so hiring a PR agency and some branding specialists is not always an option. On that note,here are some tips on personal branding for entrepreneurs on a budget:

Develop a Personal Mission Statement

Your mission statement should serve as the “GPS” for your business. It should reflect what you stand for and why you’re doing what you’re doing. This will differentiate you and your business from the competition and will serve as an anchor for decisions as you continue to grow. Your mission statement should include both the goals for your business and some strategies to reach those goals. It should be updated with new goals as your old ones are met.

Your personal mission statement can also help keep you on track when you are in danger of becoming derailed from your goals. As entrepreneurs we are natural risk takers. Often times this is a positive, even if our risks don’t reap rewards, there is still a lot of learning that derive from them. Referring back to our mission statements when we fail can help keep us on focused on our goals and on the strategies and tactics we have laid out to reach those goals.

Do Your Own Public Relations

If you can hire a PR specialist that’s awesome. However, if this is not within reach,there are some great resources that can help you garner “free” public relations for you and your business. For  example free press releases can be issued via www.pr.com, and www.free-press-release.com

Another way to get PR, and also a great means to showcase your expertise, is to leverage www.helpareporter.com. Through this service you can pitch stories to bloggers and journalists as well as respond to queries from reporters in your area of focus. Being quoted as a credible source in a big media outlet can be a massive boost to your profile.

Start a Blog

One of the best ways to build your brand is through blogging yourself. Blogging has the dual advantage of getting the word out about your business and building your voice and brand at the same time. Writing isn’t easy and so, like any muscle, you have to practice. However, if your writing captivates people, your content may get shared via other complementary websites and blogs to further expand your reach.

Guest posting on other sites is also a great strategy to build reach when you don’t yet have a following. Investigate higher-trafficked sites related to your business and see if you can write for them. That way you’re benefiting from their traffic and ability to bring quality referrals to your site.

Speak at a Conference or Professional Organization

Life often feels like it’s lived primarily online these days however, raising your visibility is a fantastic way to build your brand. Attending conferences is great; speaking at them is even better! Even if the conference attendance isn’t huge, each email that is sent out prior to the conference will have you listed as a presenter. This confers upon you instant expert status – just make sure you bring a business card holder to collect all the new connections!

We hope these are helpful and, as always, would love to hear from you. If you have any tried and tested branding tips for that have helped build your business we’d love to share them with the community.

Join Pamela for a networking event May 13. Click here for more information!

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