As I am entering the home stretch on my MBA at UBC’s Sauder School of Business and my itch to become an entrepreneur is getting more intense, I’m seeing more and more importance in building my personal brand.
As the name implies, personal brand, is basically a brand like any other, only it applies to you as an individual. Often, this means your professional identity but it’s really more than that. To help rather than harm one’s reputation, their personal brand must be genuine. In other words, it’s not about how you want the world to see you as much as it is about how you show the world who you truly are. A nice thing about this is that the exercise of brand building can very much be one of self discovery as well.
Here’s a bit of what I’m doing in my personal brand journey.
Get yourname.com. Believe it or not, miketoscano.com and nearly every variant of my name was taken when I first tried to register it way back in 2000. So I got mmtoscano.com, which just doesn’t sound as nice. To my pleasant surprise, I decided to check the availability of miketoscano.com on a lark. Lo and behold, it was available! So I snatched it. The lesson here is to register your name as a domain name before someone else does. In Canada, we are lucky because we can also register yourname.ca so there is one more (proudly Canadian!) option. Netfirms.ca is a good place to see if your name is available as well as to register it.
Get a Twitter feed. Admittedly, I wasn’t sure what to make of Twitter when I first heard of it some years back. We had to sign up and use Twitter in the MBA program at Sauder and I quickly became excited about what we could do with it. Twitter makes it easy to see what people are talking about and to get in on the conversation. What you tweet, also tells the world a bit about yourself. I believe there is a right and a wrong way to use Twitter for building your personal brand, however (Hint: Don’t take photos of everything you eat or talk about what clothes your wearing that day). What you post should be at least a little interesting/entertaining/engaging to your audience.
Create a blog. Blogs take a bit more time so they’re really not for everyone (neither is Twitter). What’s good about blogs is that what you write in them lasts a lot longer than in other mediums and if you write interesting articles, people will find them through search engines like Google. I actually get a modest amount of traffic to my blog this way, particularly for my technical posts (I am a Unix systems administrator).
That’s about all for now. Part two is coming soon. Until then, remember: building a personal brand is telling your real story and sharing it with others. The tools you use to tell the story are less important.