Personal branding

Be Yourself, brand advocacy, Brand Experience, branding, Business, business intuition, Business-Of-One, competitive advantage

You Are Enough

I read this book titled Company of One by Paul Jarvis. It kind of helps me question the status-quo of the ‘growth’ status every company so ardently wants. The word ‘growth’ does sound competitive, aggressive and progressive – and seeing it from the lens of an a ‘company of one’ perspective gives me a new high!

Come to think of it – every individual, whether leading a team in a company to a company owner to a professional using his consulting chops to the hilt – we all are small business owners of our little ideas. 

But having a business intention that is predicated on commercialism and growth can [sometimes] overshadow our creation capabilities and [sometimes] limit our creative imagination to surface. After all, it’s all about maximising your evolution. We all want more commercial success when we work hard so to get there. 

This may sound contrarian, as I liken what the book says, ‘to never grow up, and why staying small is the next big thing for business’.

Now it doesn’t mean we can’t think valiantly and let our imagination be limitless. Instead, it’s about putting your gifts to use in a way that serves as a fuel for your customers/ audience to keep recommending you for your work.

It’s important to find your personal enough point – so that you feel free to operate as your best version. Knowing that being a business owner doesn’t necessarily mean racking more customers, or being in an acquisition mind-set to constantly thinking about how much money you’re making, can help you question what your growth inflection point is.

Plus: it is very difficult to operate as a solo business owner/ entrepreneur when our quest for getting more business is trite. We might have not figured out just yet as to why and how can we can get more business as a solopreneur.

And that’s why it’s crucial to find what you stand for, and what you can offer, but with growth that defines your upper bounds and unleashes your best potential.

So what does ‘you are enough’ mean in the context of being your company of one?

Here are some views that I align with – and you can, too:

  1. Thrive in your exist strategy. Says Natasha Lampard of the popular conference in the book: to focus on sticking around, profiting and serving your customers as best as you can. Loyally serving your customers over the long-term pays off massively than drifting in short-term money-making spiral that could dwindle if you are not offering the best customer experience. Maintaining real relationships that are rooted in trust, humanity and empathy gives you can edge over your other company owners to win and expand your existing customer base. Maintaining your brand image then gives you a sound social-proof when your customers become your brand champions.
  1. Choose customers that align with your brand. It’s certain that you might get knocked-down from some business deals and new business proposals. But some rejections can push you to determine which customers you’d like to do business with, and which customers you’d like to gracefully decline. Your customers are a reflection of how your brand values and serves in the longer scheme of things. So why miscommunicate or let ambivalence kick-in when you don’t quite find a fit with profitable customers? Look for purpose over profits – and in due course your purpose will strengthen your business valuation.
  1. Find your [brand’s] true north. Talking about self-awareness doesn’t sound cliche or passe. In fact, it pushes you to know what’s your DNA, how does it operate, and how it can be manifested in ways that carves your brand identity. When you find your values that speak your core [aka your truth]- the person you are and not always what you aspire to be – can differentiate your services from others. Staying small also brings you from a humble place of what your inner muse thinks in its contours of imagination and possibilities. And when these possibilities meet opportunities, growth occurs!

The crux is – as long as you have your brand chops in place and an idea that can generate curiosity in people’s minds, your work will never be stale.

You are enough! – to inspire and create a business of your dreams.

Marketing Strategy

Your Brand Is Not Alone

Oftentimes the conversations you trigger about your brand starts with ‘I’. While it’s a word that speaks of initiative and drive – after all it’s you who has given birth to your brand. But, when we always roundup our brand talks with ‘I’, we also feel that opinion overshadows outcome (in some cases).

Now think of moments when you comment on someone’s post or content, and surprisingly, people understand your perspective, because you also think of your individualism as a plural.

This is where you don’t feel reclusive or a bit sidelined; in better frame of words: your brand is not in its contours of brand-speak. Instead, when you think like your audience – and your community in general -quite pleasantly, people relate to your perspective (which inadvertently speaks about your brand).

So reframe your brand’s positioning by thinking more like ‘us’, more like ‘how can I help my audience’, more like ‘how can I fundamentally ‘get’ my audience?’ And that’s when you relate and effectively respond to conversations.

Your ‘brand’ is not a shop; it’s a platform in itself for people to participate and create a better ecosystem that underpins your purpose. So harness the collective and blend it with your brand’s persona – this anchor spot should help you to stand out from the competitive brand world yet make your brand a part of your audience’s lives.

That said, there is also an audience that sits somewhere in the continuum of your brand’s journey from I to us: people who have contrarian opinions/ perspectives. That’s when you can seed in and also find some ‘grey’ points where you can park in the word ‘I’ with humility and empathy.

Remember: your brand is not alone. It’s just finding the right minds that can speak a language that is better than the two ‘I’ combined. Because, at some point, 1+ 1 can be greater than 2. We can outnumber, outshine and evolve better when voices meld – however only when we understand, relate and empathize with each other instead of going into the rabbit holes of competing and comparing.



Go A Year, At A Time

Adam Grant said it agreeably in his ‘work in 60 seconds’ weekly series on Linkedin, ‘Throw out your 10-year career plan. Plan for what you…

Be Yourself, Brand Experience, branding, business intuition, Career

Are you bringing your whole self to work?

Or let’s put it more fundamentally: are you fully self-expressed? Let’s say if you are bold in your expression – written, oral, professional – is it surfacing well for people to experience the real you at work?

Some of you may be humble and a bit subdued in your demeanor – but is your work persona blending appropriately with the organization’s culture and values?

This question kicks in at the right time, because as you’d know, globally, the workplace success hinges on people and culture.

Let’s first understand, what does it mean when a question like this knocks on your mind – bringing your whole self to work?

Isn’t it implied that we all are ourselves when we are working?

Not quite.

Here’s the way I see the answer: it’s about being the most real version of you: someone who could make quirks (better word, trying to improve every day), someone who could be vulnerable (and sometimes may not know the right answer to every question), someone who is humble (I like the way Adam Grant puts it, ‘humble narcissist’), someone who is naturally curious to reframe and redesign problems for better solutions, and someone who is courageous enough to take risks and hedge problems effectively with bold decisions and initiatives. But the most important facet of being your whole self is how well you define authenticity of your work approach, your personal brand and conversations.

I didn’t use the work moderate – as, in reality, we are in some way a bit extreme in the way our emotions engineer us to take decisions, personally and professionally.

While the answer sounds easy to write and fictionally digests in our imaginative mind, but how we actually put it to practice? How do we love our work and at the same time be true to ourselves for it to reflect in our career, communications and disposition?

Here are three ways you always strive be the real you, no matter what field/ career you are in.

  • Have a unified intention. Per the book ‘Book Yourself Solid’ by Michael Port, he aptly mentions about having conflicting intentions, which might hinder our growth in the long-term. For example, you might want to write a novel and please your spouse with its successful publishing. But in your subconscious your intent to write a book might conflict with how it will please your spouse and would await your spouse’s approval for it to be a ‘hit’ in your gut. So while you both intentions are noble but for it to gratify you, you have to holistically have an intention for the best interest of your book’s success. Which, then, would also please your spouse!
  • Purpose. Do what matters – consistently – and that defines your sense of purpose. Write your core strengths and go tunnel-like with them to create something lovable at work. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like some aspects of your job. To be candid: we never get an ideal job which we would truly define us at work. But we can always create what we love – and that is through cultivating our strengths of our work. And gradually, our strengths will begin to harvest a seed of purpose for also doing things that were not in sync with our areas of interest. The weight of purpose always trumps the dissatisfaction of overall work we feel when we are not quite ourselves.
  • Positive self-talk helps. What you narrate to yourself, consistently, is what you begin to display in your emotions, talks and work. And so, it’s very important to first treat yourself well before you begin to treat others, with care and empathy. Once you are comfortable with yourself, you naturally become comfortable with others as well. As a result, bringing your whole self to work would no more be tense, especially when you are aware of how you want to communicate with your peers, colleagues, and boss and people in general.

These are certain implied changes you can make internally – and you will be on your way to be the most productive, positive and purposeful in your career and life.