How should you build your personal brand when your expertise spans different, unrelated professions?
I recently attended a local business networking meeting where this topic came up.
Do, Did and Needed
The format was very simple. In the first half of the meeting, everyone in the room had two minutes to explain who they were, what they did, and what they needed. This was designed to give attendees ideas of which other attendees could help them, so that they would approach each other in the open networking time that was the second half of the meeting.
During the first half, one of the attendees – let’s call him Peter – stood up to tell how twists and turns in his career had led him to have a lot of expertise in three unrelated fields. Employed and not job searching, Peter still felt that he had a lot of untapped potential and decided to start actively building his personal brand.
- Get a business card with a personal logo
- Redesign & rebrand his personal website
- Network more
As Peter rightly said it, it would have been better to have done steps 1) and 2) before doing 3) but you need to make the best of networking opportunities when they appear, even if your networking tools aren’t all ready.
Then Peter did something that I always love seeing.
He vouched for one of the other people in the room – let’s call him Jerry – saying that “Jerry was such a great graphic designer, he managed to create a personal logo for my business card that ties together the three different fields I work in. It’s really fantastic and I can’t wait to show it to you next time.”
While that compliment-filled announcement certainly made everyone curious about the design marvel that is soon supposed to appear on Peter’s business card, I sat there thinking “is that even a good idea?”
Was Peter making the right choice in building a personal brand combination based on his expertise in multiple, unrelated fields?
If so, was this the best way to begin?
If not, what other direction should Peter take?
Can you think of anyone who has successfully built a personal brand around unrelated domains of expertise?
I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.