You are in business for yourself. This has never been more imminent that ever than to the Personal Branding and Social Media explosion of the last 2-3 years. Even those working at dream jobs and for companies that you love walking into everyday, you are building a business, the business of YOU.
- You are making contacts, calling people on the phone, meeting them at conferences and shuffling business cards at happy hours or chamber events.
- You are working to manipulate the amount of money you make. Make more sales, get a higher commission check. Land huge projects, receive big bonuses.
- You are acting as the CEO, the expert and the leader by posting your thoughts and ideas on blogs, Twitter, Facebook walls and YouTube videos.
I took this concept to heart after chatting with John Jantsch for the latest Personal Branding Magazine (link). John encourages all of his employees to think long term and act as a CEO. As we move from company to company, job to job or take that leap into entrepreneurship we take the experience, the contacts, the ideas and the financial resources we have accumulated over the course of our careers.
Treating your brand as a company
Isn’t that the concept behind personal branding? Treat the way you market yourself as you would a product or a business is a definition I have used before and I think its totally relevant. You want to build buzz, create anticipation and put value in yourself and your work. The reward can come in many forms and may be different for everyone.
The one common denominator is that you are the CEO of your company. The company that puts food on the table and mortgage checks in the mail. This is your company. You may have employees that depend on you or have a family that depends on you. No matter the situation, you need to be in control and thinking of how you can grow your company.
“Refusing to settle and resisting the urge to compromise is uncomfortable. But, as we all know, being uncomfortable is what can make us great leaders, so if we want to rise to the top, we have to resist the urge to settle.”
Settling as the leader, or commander, of your own business can be disastrous in today’s landscape. Those that get complacent and stumble into a routine are the ones that are expendable to a company. Your value to a company is in your growth. Your value as the CEO in your life is growth.
If you get fired, laid off, whatever and you are not working your brand like a CEO, you are going to have a rough transition. If you are already working on your brand, this may be an opportunity to tap into your personal company’s resources and rock your next move.
The Jay-Z principle
Shawn Carter is someone I look up to. Not just because he is one of the greatest rappers of all time, but because he is always planning for tomorrow while living in today. At the start of his career, the Reasonable Doubt days, he was looking towards the next move, expanding his label’s roster and building a larger distribution pool for his music. Eleven number one albums later his next move is the most anticipated in the entertainment industry.
When he left Def Jam Records he didn’t have to start from scratch, look for a label and beg for a job. Instead he was the CEO of his own career, started a new imprint, Roc Nation and brought his catalog of hits, worked a deal that heavily favored his interests and started at a higher level than he left.
That needs to be your goal
When you leave a company, when you switch jobs or when you start your business you want to begin at a level that is stronger than where you left off. This may sound difficult, but if you are managing your life like that of a CEO, or someone who is running their career like a business, than this is very achievable. Start today by:
- Developing your network, stay in touch with awesome people and valuable resources
- Continue to educate yourself – grab online courses, eBooks, read blogs, take additional college or technical classes, intern, volunteer or get a coach/mentor
Develop and incubate your ideas through blogs and social media outlets
- Leave your comfort zone and head to networking events, conferences, happy hours, random lunches or meetups, Tweetups, start your own event or talk to the person next to you in line or in the elevator
How are you becoming the CEO of your life, your career and your future? I’d love to work together in the comments below or in conversations on Twitter!