The Art of Branding Yourself

Lately I've been hearing a lot about the idea of ​​branding yourself. I found an article from Investor's Business Daily that talks about the Art of Branding Yourself in Business.

The author, Gary Stern uses David Bach, the author of books like Smart Women Finish Rich and Automatic Millionaire, to illustrate the idea of ​​branding yourself.

Bach did not set out to be the Wells Fargo Investment guru. As a CPA he wanted to teach financial seminaries to women, mainly widows and divorceses. Thus he wrote Smart Women Finish Rich, because his passion was teaching people about money.

Bach says "I wanted to bring my message to millions of people, change their lives by making complicated issues simple and get people to take action. make an impact. "

David Bach had the ability to teach people about money. This is where he felt he could add value to his clients. This was his brand.

Stern quotes Rick Haskins (Author of "Brand Yourself") that "Since Corporate America has exploited many people, attaching a name and a face to a brand is becomg more important."

This is so true is not it? People have no idea who to trust anymore. By branding yourself as an expert and as someone who has truly had their clients best interests at heart, you will become trustworthy in their eyes.

So how does this relate to you and your MLM business?

Here's a fact. For the most part people have a preconceived awareness of what an MLM or direct sales business is. Their mom was in Avon or had a cousin in Amway or something. So if your prospect has seen these people do it, and fail, then what do you have to offer them?

This is where most people begin to start selling their business opportunity. "We're debt free," or "We're ground floor" etc.

In your prospect's mind, he's saying "Who gives? How are you going to help me succeed?"

See, where most people start selling their business opportunity, this is where you should start selling yourself, selling your brand.

"I can help you because …"

"I have your solution …"

This is what Bach did for his clients. He welcomed on his knowledge and showed that he was out to help his client. Bach had their best interest at heart.

The best way to start your brand is by becoming an expert about your business opportunity and your products. Why? Because knowing this will allow your prospect to trust you and, most important, follow you.

Here's the list of strategies that Stern says has worked for Bach:

1. Tap your passion: Identify your own passions and purpose in life.

2. Become skilled at generating publicity: This is getting your name out there. You can easily do this with Google AdWords or using Internet Marketing strategies, like Magnetic Sponsoring.

3. Keep it Simple: Stick to the basics by only focusing on what your client / prospect wants and what they need to do in order to get what they want.

4. Evolve the Brand: Start with a niche then begin to expand into other niches. When you become in expert in say home care, then become an expert in nutrition and service those type of clients.

5. Create Multiple Revenue Streams: What is meant here is create multiple revenue streams to your business. You can do this with affiliate programs. Or you can market your own information product like an ebook or brochure about your business opportunity.

6. Secure Sponsors: Again this refers to affiliate programs such as Magnetic Sponsoring. You can use Dillard's information product as tool to help grow your business and get clients.

7. Know your target audience: This is critical. Your target prospect is not your uncle who's plopped in front of the TV right now. Look for people who are looking for your products or your business opportunity.

These strategies are just a thumbnail sketch of what you can do to enhance your business. Obviously when you go into depth in each of these strategies there is a lot to learn. There are plenty of resources out there to help you grow your business.

A true entrepreneur will do whatever it takes, right?

Remember to add value to your prospects by explaining what you have to offer them.

Low Cost Hosting

If you are thinking about getting low cost hosting then you are most probably new to the internet, and new to designing websites. When people first start out they think that they should look for the cheapest option for them to get started. This is by no means a bad idea, as we are all trying to save money in this economy. But you have to take many factors in to consideration when you want to develop a site.

There is basically two types of hosting, paid and free and a lot of people that start out go down the free route. Free hosting gives you the option to upload files to the host server, but it is limited to how much you can upload. The speeds of the server will be a lot slower than a paid host, so for example, if you have a few pictures that you have uploaded to the server for your site, it might take a little bit longer for them images to appear on your website.

Because you use free hosting you do not get a domain name from a registrar, so if you were to start a new business, you would be greatly hampered in trying to compete with other sites in your niche. Customer support is non existent in free hosting also, so if you were to ever have problems, you would basically have to try and work it out for yourself.

Free hosting works if say you are a person that wants to share files to friends or family, or you have a hobby and would like to share to people, you do not mind the restriction that free hosting serves. But if you are serious and want to make a real business online then paid hosting is the way to go.

It is the old saying you pay for what you get, and within the hosting business this term applies exactly the same here. It comes down to what you get for your money, so you need to look in to this very carefully before choosing a provider. What you should be looking for in a provider is the following.

  • Unlimited domains: You need to know if you can have as many websites as possible on the hosting package. It is pointless having the host, if you can only say have five domains, so you could only build five websites.
  • Unlimited Disk Space: This is also very important, say you have a photography business, and you want to upload hundreds of photos on to your site. You need a good host that has unlimited disk space.
  • Unlimited bandwidth: You need a host that has good speeds and this depends on the bandwidth.
  • 24 hour live support. I consider this to be very important, if they do not offer live support like this then I would not use the company.

On a final note all the big hosting companies offer different types of packages to suit the individual. They offer packages such as Baby plan, hatchling plan, then they go more advanced with options like reseller hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated servers and so on.

Low cost hosting is only as low as what you are prepared to give to your website, there is some great packages out there right now, ranging from $4 a month up to $10 a month. It is up to you the consumer to make your choice.

How Closing Accounts Can Kill Your Credit Score

One of the major factors of how your credit score is calculated is your capacity. This is the ratio of credit used to the amount of credit that is available. This accounts for 30 percent (almost a third!) of your credit score. For example if you have 5 credit cards with a $1000 limit and you have 3 of them maxed out and 2 of them inactive your capacity would be at 60 percent, $3000 of your $5000 total credit limit. This is not good in the eyes of the lenders and your credit score would suffer because its ideal to be at 10 percent of your capacity.

Remember a credit score is a formula measuring your ability to pay back your debts and obligations. If you have a high capacity and little room left for your maximum then your ability to pay back your obligations is viewed as more limited.

So in the example above, lets say you decide to close the 2 inactive cards for whatever reason. Nowadays, the credit card companies will charge a fee to inactive cards so a lot of people are now closing their inactive accounts. Well unfortunately, they are killing their credit score. If you are maxed out on three cards and you close the other 2, guess what, you are now at 100 percent capacity because your total credit limit is now $3000 instead of $5000. I know from personal experience this will cause your credit score to plummet.

My advice? Don’t close your inactive cards. Use them once a month, maybe for gas, or treat yourself to a latte from Starbucks. Then pay them off immediately so you don’t incur any interest. Do what you can to pay off the cards that are maxed out, or at least get them down to where your balance is under 10 percent of the limit. If you can, try to transfer the balance to a lower interest card, so it can save you a few bucks on the interest. This strategy is sure to improve your credit score because capacity is a major factor, and if your capacity improves, your score improves.

Asking your bank for a credit limit increase on some of your cards isn’t suggested nowadays, this is a strategy that old credit repair people recommended but in today’s economy with the credit crunch, it prompts an account review, which for some quirky reason, may cause the banks to LOWER your credit limit. This would damage your capacity as well.

You are already disciplined enough to not spend on two cards. You are unique in today’s credit crunch world, use your discipline to your advantage, don’t close your accounts. You will be doing more harm to your credit score than good.

The American Jobs Act, Unemployment Discrimination and Employment Brand

Online recruiting organizations: Are you ready to stop hiding from candidates? You should be. Your brand depends on it.

With The American Job Act currently before Congress, employers would be subject to EEOC discrimination claims if they fail to hire an unemployed candidate based on the fact that they are not currently employed. The notion was hatched as a backlash against the perception that employers do not want to hire unemployed workers.

That’s a specific law with a specific target, but if you peel the layers back, it’s the first salvo fired out of frustration from a country full of candidates that are tired of being treated badly by the people, systems and processes that have grown up around recruiting in the last 10 years.

I get it. Recruiting organizations are under siege by way too many qualified candidates for the positions they have. More importantly, they’re under siege by way too many completely UNqualified candidates.

While not considering candidates that are unemployed may cut your candidate pool down to a manageable size, it’s not smart from a branding standpoint. Unless your employment brand is cold and cutthroat, you should embrace all candidates. You should treat them with respect and you should engage as many of them as possible.

Everyone wants a fair shot. That’s just part of being human. And when sweeping generalizations like “we don’t consider unemployed candidates” take hold, or faceless applicant tracking systems process bits and bytes and spit out rejection emails (often delayed to appear like the candidate was considered by a human), then the appearance of a fair shot disappears.

Candidates are customers. Candidates are voters. Candidates are individuals capable of expressing their frustration to large numbers of other individuals through social networking.

Here is and actual tweet I came across the day after writing this article: “@jimcramer FYI you herd it here first, Taleo is keeping the unemployed… unemployed.”

Obviously, not everyone is qualified. And every recruiter has tales of resume spammers and unqualified, unprepared candidates sucking their time. But the fact is, if you appear not to care about candidates, then your brand suffers. And now with an entire nation who is totally focused on getting people placed in jobs, delivering bad candidate experiences is asking for more Federal regulations governing how you interact with candidates.

There is a quietly growing awareness in the industry that candidate satisfaction matters. There is a faint notion growing that engaging candidates and trying to ensure that they are communicated with and treated with respect and reverence, will actually result in a more effective recruiting process.

There are tools available that allow organizations to engage candidates and solicit feedback throughout the recruiting process. Companies can now listen to how candidates feel about their recruiting process from beginning to end, track satisfaction and fine tune practices to make them as effective as possible.They sit on top of a company’s career site pages and asks candidates what they think, in real time and with appropriately times follow up surveys.

Without fail, candidates regularly comment “Thank you for asking my opinion.” So when I say treating candidates with respect helps your employment brand, I speak from experience. Your “Best Place to Work” badge is fine, but it just lays there. Asking a candidate what they think about how they’ve been treated? That shifts the earth a little bit and provides evidence that you have a great place to work.

Plus it provides a goldmine of ideas about how to better interact with candidates, tweak your career site and make your online recruiting efforts more effective for passive candidates. The one’s who already have jobs. The one’s you were targeting that got the White House involved in messing with your business in the first place.