With talks growing of a pending recession in 2020, intrapreneurs (i.e. managers who perform like entrepreneurs within a growing or large organization) are poised to be lifted into more strategic roles as the companies they work for prepare to maximize profits amid the slow down period. The key programs that these intrapreneurs introduce, can possibly propel their careers forward once the cycle is over because of the challenges they'll face and ability to weather those storms.
With that said, now more than ever, there are professionals growing less afraid of foregoing the tradition climb up the corporate ladder by embracing their talents and venturing off on their own. Entrepreneurship (i.e. persons who own and operate their own businesses) is peaking, and a recent study conducted by Upwork found that the unshackled freelance community is increasing three times faster than the overall workforce in the U.S. This study also forecasted that by 2027, freelancers will make up the majority of the workforce. While this paradigm shift offers exciting and inspiring opportunities that many have never considered before, it is important to realize that competition in any industry will be steep and entrepreneurial success will not come easy.
No matter how you slice it, developing a strong brand is the key to standing out from your peers for those important opportunities or establishing yourself as someone your customers should work with despite their shrinking budgets.
The process of building a brand is a custom strategy based on your objectives and who your target market is. But there are three general concepts of personal brand development that should be kept in mind at every stage of the game.
Bring your best self to work. It's important to really do some soul searching and consider whether what you are pursuing is true to your passion, skillset, and the person you are. If the role that you're in satisfies you, bring your best ideas to the table every day. Stay comfortable in your own skin despite the ebbs and flows of day to day activity. Self-branding at its best is not selling a manufactured version of yourself; it is the tactical act of showcasing your value to your intended audience. You have chosen your career because you love the work and can back up your talk with a proven track record. If you’re not sure what you’re passionate about, consider what you would do with your time if you won enough of a jackpot to not have to work again. Start there, and consider how this innate interest could be monetized.
Determining your value is an important part of brand development, because it will determine your entire narrative. Consider what you do the best, and track how you satisfy those needs regularly. If you're gazing into the horizon of your next career move then think about how your skills can satisfy a need in a certain market. Having a brand that blatantly resembles one that already exists is like being a knock-off of a designer company. Stick to creating a lane for yourself, as opposed to following in someone else’s. Perhaps you find a lane you can be passionate about and apply your skillset to, but it is saturated with other professionals offering the exact same service or skill. That's OK! Master your approach to the market problem by learning to articulate your solution a little better than your competition.
In an organization, be mindful of company culture (learn the rules then break the rules, LOL) and focus on delivering your value with impact and timeliness. Develop relationships, communicate with purpose and get help when you need it. Stay abreast of market changes, nurture your energy and keep receipts! If you're flying solo, by now you’ve determined your passion and business concept, so the last element is deciding what content will best represent your vision. How you communicate your value is a process. There are plenty of resources available on the web that can walk you through content creation in the context of brand development and selling. In short, you have to know your ideal client. How old are they? What do they like? How are they currently acquiring the service or business concept you are introducing, if at all? Once you’ve defined that, your advertising and related activity should align with your target customer behaviors.
No matter what side of the spectrum you stand on, you're a dynamic value producer and the company you work for, or the customers you seek, need you! With that mindset, maintain your authenticity, be of value, and take a strategic approach to how you communicate that value, and show up to execute that value, every day.
Your brand depends on it.
Hi! I'm Tiffany Yarde, author of "How to Wine With Your Boss." I've got tons of opinions on humanity, economics, upward mobility, and good wine. Like what you've read? Please share on social media!
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