|Your Personal Project in 7 Steps.|
"Branding is only for large companies," or "I'm not a product that needs to be sold" and things like that, all of them revolving around the same point: "Freelancers or entrepreneurs don’t need to have a personal brand"
And, after thinking about it for awhile, I decided to approach this issue from a different point of view: The need to have a “Plan B", which I’m sure will be more familiar to you.
Those who know me, can confirm I’m a positive person, a results driven guy and always moving forward, and really touches me deeply to see, day after day, more and more of my colleagues who, after having spent much of their lives working for someone else, whether you name it working for a well established corporation or simply raising their kids (who said it wasn’t a job?), find themselves suddenly needing to move on and find a new way to make a living on a different place, to get themselves a job and do not have even the foggiest idea where to begin with or how to make things happen.
People say the best managers, always plan for the unexpected.
And it is an statement we can also apply for any area of our lives, be it professional, personal, in our family or with our partner. But that's another story.
In any case, in many posts oriented to entrepreneurs like you and me, the emphasis is on the fact that we must keep on going until achieving our goals, that we can not ever give up fighting for what we so desire, and even they make reference to the fact that having a "backup plan" (the very well known "Plan B") means that we are not really 100% committed to what we're doing, and that's not true.
At least, not from my point of view.
Only if we could have total control of all the things that happen in our lives, we might be almost sure our business will be a success, or that we will never get fired from the company for which we have been working for the last twenty years, or as it happened to my mother, for instance, who never thought my dad was going to die at the age he did, and she was so counting on him to live forever that she wasn’t ready to take care of all her things so suddenly.
However, life, time and time again, demonstrates us that neither in business nor in professional or personal life, things happen according to our will. That’s why it’s so important to always plan ahead, and make sure to be prepared for the unexpected in all areas of life, especially as it relates to our jobs and the way we make money.
If you can recognize that not all things are in your hands and that, for reasons out of your control, the company you work for might tomorrow decide not to continue to use your professional services, ie, simply let you go, then you will also recognize that it is a moment in your life for which you better have a couple of options.
When do you realize you were in need of a “Plan B"?
Unfortunately, when you already need it. It is normal. You might be now going yourself through a professional situation in which it would be advisable that you started to develop your own plan "B".
Obviously, it’s much more comfortable and less stressful to think that you’re going to stay in the same job for ever. After all you are an excellent employee, always meeting and exceeding your goals and working your heart out to help your company grow.
Don’t let comfort become your desktop partner, and guide your life. Don’t let a good title and a good payroll, to cloud your eyes and make you think such situation will last forever, because it could be the other way around. Keep in mind not everything is under your control.
Remember that too much positivism without an equivalent dose of realism, turns into fanaticism, and that's not good for you or anyone else. I am a deeply positive person, but also realistic, and I think I’ve had the ability to properly plan ahead for all scenarios I have lived.
Please do keep in mind: Make it a realistic positivism or, if you prefer, always a optimistic realism. Your choice.
How can you get started on developing your own “Plan B"?
Of course the first question for which you will have to have an answer is whether or not you like what you're doing right now in your professional life.
If you feel very comfortable in your professional area, and you want to spend the rest of your life within the same arena, the steps you might want to take are very simple:
- Go really deep in your professional preparation: Don’t ever stop learning. There are always new topics, areas worthwhile to venture on and develop. Consider, for example, that the social media and digital marketing area has been an extension of my professional degree in marketing and advertising. You can also do the same in your area. Name it post-degree studies, specialization courses, masters, name it as you wish, but never give up learning.
- Develop a strong network within your professional environment: Engage with your customers beyond what your job requires you to, build relationships with your suppliers, coworkers, with people within your industry and, why not, with people on related industries as well.
- Join discussion groups, boards, forums and every opportunity you have to make yourself visible and recognized as a professional, and let the world discover what you know about your area, and earn the recognition and authority your experience allows you to have.
- Don’t close yourself to listening to what other companies are offering: And even when you're not seriously looking for a job, it’s always good to know how much other companies are paying for a position like yours. Who knows? Maybe you could be earning twice as much as you earn now, and you didn’t know about it.
- If you enjoy writing, build a blog: and turn it into a space to add value to our society and the world, to help others solve their problems, to demonstrate your experience and knowledge in your professional field.
- If you hate writing, but like to share your thoughts: Participate in online portals dedicated to topics of your interest, leave your comments in someone else’s blog, share the best of your knowledge and own experience, and let your own professional environment know that you exist and have much to contribute.
If, however, you don’t like your job, don’t feel identified with what you're doing now, neither with your professional area, or just feel it’s time to make a change in your life and want to give it a try on a different area, then you must start by clearly defining what is that thing you would want to move on to.
Make sure it’s something you really love, something you don’t mind spending hour after hour of your time with no rest, something at which you might be very good or even one of the best.
Once you've discovered that something you want to dedicate to if you were in need of implementing your “Plan B", if things don’t go as they were planned, then you should follow all recommendations I have listed for you above .
And without realizing it, you're developing on a very simple way a “Plan B" of your own and, at the same time, your own "personal brand".
Did you notice how easy it is?
Recommended posts in this blog:
Scenery Planning: Don’t Trap Yourself On A Dead End Street
Personal Branding Strategy: A Case Study