Personal Branding Is Not A Hobby

Personal Branding

Building your personal brand is not easy.  Beyond all the hype and success stories that you read and hear about, it is a grind.  I often compare it to trying to find a light switch in a dark room that is unfamiliar to you.  It will certainly make you second-guess yourself as you often wonder if you will ever see the finish line.  Imagine for a second running a marathon where the finish line keeps moving farther and farther away.  I think you get the point.

In this economy, it is especially brutal that to be wildly successful, your skill-set/mind-set must include a bit of Seth Godin, Donald Trump, Dr. Phil, Luke Skywalker and Conan the Barbarian in order to move things forward.  The competition for customers and market share is intense.  Keep in mind; you still have to stay abreast of your image, product/service line, your industry while also managing your emotions as they bounce back and forth between joy, bewilderment and exhaustion.  Updating your blog, making connections on Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter is the easy part of the process.  Aim, shoot and reload!

Your ability to differentiate your brand on a consistent basis is a delicate balance of both art and science.  Heading due north in your dinghy without a compass will certainly play games with your psyche.  Bertha Calloway said it best, “We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.”  I suspect Bertha never saw the movie, “The Perfect Storm.”

The tricky part of building your personal brand in the “new now” is also applying everything that you learned in that webinar/workshop six months ago, while at the same time figuring how to actually add value to your clients right now with your new found knowledge.   Now comes the part where you have to marry some inspiration with some perspiration.   Put the work gloves right now.

I have compiled a collection of tactics that helped me and others stand out in the crowd. These tips for success are industry agnostic and have helped many stay focused in these uncertain times.  If you are looking for a plug and play solution without any effort then stop right here and do something else.  Building your personal brand is not a hobby!  The great ones never want easy, just possible!

What is it that you do exactly…?

You must be clear about your value proposition and be able to articulate it clearly and concisely… Sell the “big picture,” not every feature known to man about you and your product or service.  It is not necessary to venture into the weeds during the initial conversation. You are not a landscaper.

Easy Does It

Make working with you painless. Clients will avoid you if doing business with you is too cumbersome.  Most clients have enough issues already so they certainly do not want to inherit any from you. As important, spend $15.00 and purchase Daniel Goleman’s book, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ.  It will provide a nice framework for keeping you on the yellow brick road.

Have the Proper Perspective

Things are never as bad as they seem (nor as perfect). Keep grinding, smiling and prospecting! We all have bad days so avoid the urge to panic and begin second-guessing your ability to be successful. Have someone you can call, email or text to remind you that you are capable, things happen and tomorrow is a new day.

How to Win Friends, Influence People and Build Your Brand

The great ones make a memorable first impression and they always wear well over time. Why? Their concern for customers is real, and it goes deeper than a transaction. Clients come to value them as much and sometimes more than the actual products or services they purchased. Tell the truth, follow up and be genuinely as concerned as they are about their goals and objectives.

Do Take Things Personally

Most people have a job while very few have a career.  The “rock stars” are passionate about what they do and it borders on an obsession. They eat, sleep, and drink conversations about their work, their clients, that meeting, this week, next month, that new prospect, this new  tool etc… They never know enough, and never work hard enough. They can always do more and will never be out-worked. They do not see rejection and internal resistance as a roadblock but rather a challenge.

Wake up, Dress up and Show up

Every day is the most important day of your week. Go to work and avoid the unnecessary distractions that will kill your productivity.  Stay focused on building your brand continuously (what makes you different), and your network.

It is by no means easy but nothing great ever is. Stay focused on creating an authentic experience and you too can differentiate yourself amongst all the other poor souls waiting for their phones to ring

It is about progress not perfection!


Devin Hughes, The Chief Inspiration Officer is a former college basketball player, sales, marketing, leadership  and personal branding aficionado, professional speaker, part-time academic and frequent eclectic thinker.  He draws on a variety of ideas, disciplines and trends to inspire “Big Thoughts” and facilitate conversations as a catalyst for meaningful change.  He is a graduate of Colgate University; he lives in Southern California with his wife and four daughters.  Follow him on Twitter.  Connect with him on Facebook and Linkedin. His website is  He is available upon request for consultation.