Professional Coaches: The Top 4 Personal Branding Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

My name is Andria, and I am a professional brand strategist for entrepreneurs, especially “solopreneurs”. Personal branding is important in many industries, but personal branding for professional coaches is especially important and especially challenging. As a professional coach, your personality is a big part of the product. This stands in contrast to some other products, such as foods; if you like the taste of chocolate, you will buy chocolate candy no matter what the packaging or the advertising campaigns, because you know about the product beyond the brand. Conversely, when you are a professional coach, the only ways to attract new clients is through personal branding or through word of mouth.

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My goal as a professional brand strategist for coaches is to help you develop a brand strategy for their services. Because personal branding for professional coaches deserves to be treated as its own special category within the field of personal branding for entrepreneurs, Bomnipotent’s founder Creighton Wong and I have just written an e-book called Top 4 Personal Branding Mistakes Make by Professional Coaches – Learn How To Avoid Them. Here are some pieces of wisdom the book contains about personal branding for professional coaches.

  • The four Cs of personal branding
  • Saying just enough, but not too much, on your website
  • Examples of professional coaches who have successfully built personal brands for themselves
  • Ways that technology makes personal branding both easier and more challenging
  • Links to sites that can be helpful in developing your personal brand

The book discusses personal branding for professional coaches from the perspective of a professional brand strategist for professional coaches, but it is so much more than just a list of four mistakes and the solutions to them. You will learn about what personal brand strategy is and how to develop your own unique personal brand as a professional coach. Reading the book is an empowering experience; I do not believe that charisma and presence are something that you either have or you don’t. Instead, the book focuses on things you can do to build your personal brand whether you are just starting out as a professional coach or whether you have been working in the professional coaching field for a while and want to strengthen your brand identity or appeal to a different audience in addition to the client base you already have.

What do you do about negative comments about your business online? What about social media, which can easily put you in contact with any potential friend and just as quickly turn that friend into an enemy? These are challenges faced by many professional coaches, even ones who are careful and meticulously strategize about how they present their businesses and personal brands. Our book contains advice about how to respond to these challenges and many others that you as an independent professional coach face in today’s Internet age. The advice you will learn can help you publicize your company and your services to build a loyal customer base.

If you are really serious about developing your personal brand in order to enhance your coaching career, then sign up for our free webinar, Top 4 Personal Branding Mistakes Made by Professional Coaches. The webinar will take place on October 19, 2016. Not only is the webinar absolutely free, but everyone who attends will receive a FREE copy of our e-book, Top 4 Personal Branding Mistakes Made by Professional Coaches.

Signup for Free Webinar Now!


Robert Herjavec Shares Why You Don’t Have to be a Shark to Create Success

As an avid watcher of Shark Tank, I jumped at the opportunity to attend an AOL Build taping with “Nice Shark” Robert Herjavec. For those of you who don’t know Robert, he is a successful entrepreneur, cyber security expert, and investor, having come to this country as an immigrant with nothing, and is now worth over $200 million dollars. He was talking about his new book, You Don’t Have to Be a Shark: Creating Your Own Success.


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After seven years of being on Shark Tank, Robert observed that “…people are afraid of sales”. Many people think “sales” is a four letter word or has a sleazy connotation. This inspired Robert to write a book that teaches non-business people how to sell. Herjavec believes you must learn how to sell yourself to create your own success.

Here are some key takeaways from the interview relating to self-promoting your personal brand:

1) If you don’t learn how to sell something… especially yourself…you are not going to be successful in business, at your job, or in relationships.

2) You don’t have to be pushy or arrogant, but you must have confidence in what you are selling.

3) Nobody wants to do business with people who don’t even believe in themselves.

4) Be great at something that you are passionate about.

Watch below the full AOL Build interview of Robert Herjavec on You Don’t have to be a Shark: Creating Your Own Success.



What impressed me about Robert is that there is something relatable about him and his story. To go from someone with nothing to make it big in business is the American dream, even though he’s Canadian. He has done this with passion. Robert shared a story about one of his first computer jobs he got out of college which he had no training for, but he showed he had the passion. He told the boss that he was willing to work free for the first six months until he learned the skills necessary to succeed, and then they could decide to pay Robert if he gave them good value. Robert bet on himself because he believed in himself. On Shark Tank, he regularly invests in people who believe in themselves. It is this passion, this authenticity, that can make you stand out from the crowd in business, or in any endeavor in life.

About Andria Younger

Andria Younger is a personal brand strategist and marketing consultant in New York City and ranked in LinkedIn’s Top 25 for personal branding. Follow Andria on Twitter or check out Andria’s personal branding blog at andriayounger.com.


Voilà – Change, Choices, and Chocolate

New York City entrepreneur turns passion for chocolate into retail entertainment concept where adults and children learn about the art of chocolatiering .

How do you transition from the world of banking and commerce into producing happiness?  Through chocolate, of course!  At least, that was the plan for Peter Moustakerski, who went from the world of consulting and finance to launching one of the most unique businesses in New York City, Voilà Chocolat.  I entered the shop to the enticing aroma of what may be the best chocolate in New York City.  While waiting to meet with him, I had a delicious cup of coffee, and could see the machines which temper the chocolate.  Adults and children come to Voilà to make unique gifts, from bars to chocolate pops to animals, and can personalize their creations with unique toppings.  This makes Voilà a great gathering place for groups, from birthday parties to team building activities. I’m always on the search for entrepreneurs who have interesting personal journeys and backstories.  Peter Moustakerski is one of those entrepreneurs. I sat down to discuss what went into Peter’s decision making process during this radical career change from corporate world to being an entrepreneur.

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Peter Moustakerski, founder of Voilà Chocolat in New York City.

Tell me about your backstory and background.

Peter:  I was born and raised in Bulgaria.  My parents were engineers, and my high school afforded me the opportunity to get exposed to the rest of the world.  I studied computer science and had the opportunity to be part of one of the early exchange programs between Bulgaria and China almost 30 years ago.  I ended up spending the next 13 years of my life in China, at a time when the business environment in China was like the Wild West, a cowboy in an uncharted territory with rules I had to learn as I went forward.  I made many connections and learned the ropes of how to start up a business in China by opening a candy factory producing for the Chinese consumer.  I realized that there was a void, a need in China that I hoped to fill.  I learned to network, wine and dine the right people to get the permits needed, built up the manufacturing and the marketing from the ground up.  We made a lot of mistakes during that time, and also had many successes. Eventually, I moved on from that to work at the USDA.

How did candy manufacturing in China lead to a job with the USDA?

Peter:  It was the late 1990s, and US growers and manufacturers were looking for opportunities to enter and distribute in the Chinese market.  It was a visionary concept to view the people in China as consumers. I had the connections to make that happen in the Chinese food distribution world, so even though I was a third-country national, the USDA hired me.  It was while I was doing this that I met my wife, who was an editor for The Economist writing about the opening China market.  We moved to the US in 2001, and I enrolled at Columbia Business School.  Having my crazy background led to some interesting opportunities.  I became the interpreter for the President of Bulgaria as he traveled around China and Hong Kong.  From there, I got involved in the consulting crowd for Booz Allen.  I later ran a strategic initiatives group for UBS, where I learned how to be effective in large business environments. After that, I began working for Bridgewater with its founder, Ray Dalio, who recruited me to help build his family office.  

What did you learn from working with Ray Dalio, the founder of Bridgewater?

Peter:  Ray Dalio is a very smart and intellectually intense person.  But he also pushed you to your limits.  A few years earlier, he had begun thinking about and writing what was behind his success.  He wrote down his values and principles, which became the nucleus for the culture of Bridgewater.  The published vision was followed at Bridgewater almost at a cult level.  His process of self-analysis was a great opportunity to learn who you are, what you want, and how you are going to go about getting it.  After this job, I realized that something was missing in my world, and in the world in general: having more hands-on, creative fun together with other people. So I wanted to fill that void.  I realized that whatever activity we do as people, we are only going to enjoy it if we do things we believe in.  

How did working at the world’s largest hedge fund lead to the idea of Voilà Chocolat?

Peter:  I knew I wanted to work with chocolate.  I combined my passions for chocolate and business, and observed how much fun people were having when they were working with chocolate, as I used them as willing guinea pigs  along my journey of learning the chocolate craft.  I realized I could create a retail entertainment concept, that did not exist in the world, where people could interact and learn about the art of chocolatiering .  Then came the journey of taking that concept, and making it a real business. Thankfully, I had the background to create a business plan that would work, raise the capital needed for this venture, and connections that helped me build a network of people that would stand behind this seemingly crazy concept, and finally recruiting people who shared this vision.  After spending over 2 years launching the business and running the first store for over a year, we now have plans to expand, and aim to have 50 retail stores in key markets around the country.  Our vision of a larger concept gives us the flexibility so we can change and modify quickly to evolve.

What is one mantra that has helped throughout this journey?

Peter:  Creating a business is a very personal journey.  Corporations were designed to be impersonal, to shield away the people.  A business works well when it reflects your personality and values. We have a simple values-based vision at Voilà:  Create unexpected happiness. Succeeding in this goal becomes a powerful multiplying effect.  So, the people you hire should share your vision, your energy, your promise.

What other advice do you have for budding entrepreneurs?

Peter: You have to be patient to get from A to Z, as the path is not always straight.  Keep to your values as a compass to guide you along the path to arrive at the best decisions.  Things are not going to turn out exactly the way you expected.  You have to have the passion to elevate you up.  You have to have the forward drive to say: if it didn’t happen today, it will happen tomorrow. Like a marathoner, think about the next step, not the long journey ahead. You have to be agile, and have sideways flexibility when you come against a wall.  You need to create an agile evolutionary process to succeed.

About Andria Younger

Andria Younger is a personal brand strategist and marketing consultant in New York City and ranked in LinkedIn’s Top 25 for personal branding. Follow Andria on Twitter or check out Andria’s personal branding blog at andriayounger.com.


“Beeing” Full Frontal: Samantha Bee and Making Your Point

As a personal brand strategist, “the backstory” on how individuals take a passion and turn it into a successful business always fascinates me. Often, a life-changing event led people to pursue a particular profession. Being a New Yorker, one of the opportunities I take advantage of is going to AOL Build interviews at AOL Headquarters. I recently went to see Samantha Bee talk about her new TBS series, “Full Frontal”.

As an avid viewer of the The Daily Show with John Stewart, one of my favorite correspondents was Samantha Bee.   Many alumni, such as Stephen Colbert Steve Carell, and John Oliver have graduated from The Daily Show and gone on to achieve great success. Just like Colbert, Carell, and Oliver, Samantha Bee is charting new territory as the only woman in the late-night show field with her new TBS series “Full Frontal” which airs on Monday nights at 10:30 pm ET.

Click here to watch the AOL Build’s Samantha Bee interview:

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At the AOL Build interview, Bee shared her journey and the process of creating a new show that offers a unique, satirical take on weekly news and explores in-depth stories that have been largely overlooked by more traditional media outlets. What I’ve always liked about Samantha is her strong point of view and comedic take on politics. At first, she mostly tried to be quiet and fit in at The Daily Show. Samantha shared it was Jon Stewart who really encouraged her to find, explore, and develop a strong point of view. Being able to have a convincing, controversial point of view takes a lot training and boldness, which is what she had at The Daily Show. As she said at the AOL Build interview about the show concept:

We wanted our show as authentic as humanly possible, and we hoped other people would go on that journey with us. It turns out other people will go on that journey with us, which is very rewarding because we know we have a strong point of view.

Personal branding is all about you being at the center of your brand and having a unique perspective/voice to stand out from the competition. Here is what I took away from Samantha Bee’s interview on building a strong point of view:

  • Don’t be afraid to have a point of view. Make it strong and real!
  • Go out in the world and talk to people who disagree with you.
  • If you’re going to create something (i.e. a business, TV show, etc.), create something you enjoy and are passionate about.
  • Don’t get caught up in what people might think who do not share your opinion.

Questions: Is the point of view of your brand clear to your audience? Do you keep your point of view strong and real?  Share your answers on LinkedIn or Twitter.

About Andria Younger

Andria Younger is a personal brand strategist and marketing consultant in New York City and ranked in LinkedIn’s Top 25 for personal branding. Follow Andria on Twitter or check out Andria’s personal branding blog at andriayounger.com.

 


Kanye West Needs A Time Out Before Destroying his Personal Brand

Kanye, you need a time out! We need a break! There’s a fine line between being controversial and spiraling out of control.

The twitter rants, public attacks at Taylor Swift, and self-proclaiming to be a god is out of control. As a personal brand strategist, it’s really painful and scary to see successful people take their personal brands and reputations down a self-destructive path of no return.

Just because you made it to the top once, Kanye, doesn’t mean you can do it again if things fall apart. I’ve helped rebrand professionals who have suffered traumatic career setbacks that have played out in the media. These are my toughest and most challenging projects. Some people recover, and some don’t. For those who are able to rebrand and start over, it takes years to recover and repair some, not all, of the damage.

For those in the public eye, such as professional athletes, actors, or recording artists, it is important to protect your personal brand and reputation as much as you protect and invest your money. Your brand is your money maker, so you need to protect it even more! The fall from grace is never pretty, such as we have seen with Whitney Houston, Lance Armstrong, Charlie Sheen, and Lindsay Lohan.

Kanye, many successful public figurers surround themselves with management teams and family members who don’t have the individual’s best interest at heart, enabling and even stroking the self-destructive personal branding and reputation behavior. For example, Melissa Rivers, on Fashion Police, recently asked Kris Jenner how the family selected what the Kardashians would wear to the recent Kanye West’s Yeezy Session 3 Fashion Show in NYC. Melissa Rivers asked…”Did he [Kayne] design each outfit for you [Kardashian-Jenner family] specifically? And did he give you options? And what was going to happen if you said, ‘I don’t like it?’ “ Kris Jenner’s response was…”I don’t think any of us would dare say we didn’t like it.”

Kayne, maybe everyone on your payroll or family is too afraid to tell you the truth or to stop. I’m not!

Let me offer you some FREE personal branding and reputation management advice. There is a fine line between controversial and self-destructive. You need to STOP before your personal brand and reputation goes up in flames.

If you can’t handle $53 million in personal debt now, I guarantee you will be far more in debt professionally, emotionally, and financially if your career, business ventures, personal relationships, and brand goes down the drain. Your buddy, JayZ, may be happy you’re boosting Tidal subscriptions, but you are quickly crossing the line and becoming a brand liability instead of a brand asset to family members, business partners, and endorsers, such as Adidas. For example, you could have ruined your sister-in-law’s endorsement deal with Puma with your latest Twitter rant. When your behavior starts hurting family members, they will begin to avoid you so you won’t affect their bottom line.

Is this what you want? I don’t think so. It’s clear something is going on in your personal and professional life. I hope you will reach out and ask for help from someone who will offer you some unconditional and unbiased support, guidance or advice. If you can’t do it for yourself, then do it for your two beautiful children. As someone who has seen too many go down this self-destructive path, you can turn this around before it is too late. Quoting yourself,


My fifteen seconds up, but I got more to say

That’s enough Mr. West, please no more today.

Kanye, do something to protect your personal brand before your 15 seconds and your opportunities are gone.

About Andria Younger

Andria Younger is a personal brand strategist and consultant in New York City and ranked in LinkedIn’s Top 25 for personal branding. Follow Andria on Twitter or check out Andria’s personal branding blog at andriayounger.com.


Personal Branding is Why Donald Trump Will Win the GOP Nomination

As a New Yorker and a personal brand strategist, I have to admit when I first saw Donald Trump announce his candidacy for presidency, I thought… “Here we go again with another Donald Trump PR stunt”. However, my opinion changed when I watched the first CNN Republican Debate in August along with 22 million other viewers. Frankly, it was the best two hours of reality TV I’ve ever watched! I remember saying to my husband…“the GOP better take him seriously because Donald Trump is a master at leveraging his personal brand and the media.”

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While I’m not a fan of Donald Trump, his double-digit primary wins in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada are impressive from a branding and marketing perspective. Trump seems to be steamrolling his way to winning the GOP nomination. While the GOP may still be in denial about Trump and top political strategists and pundits are scratching their heads why this “outsider” is leading in the polls, there is actually a very simple explanation for the Donald’s popularity and success. It’s personal branding! Here is how a personal branding master plays big to win:

First, a personal brand is a lightning bolt. Personal branding is essentially telling your story in your own voice. No matter what you are offering to your target audience, you must be at the center of your brand. A personal brand has tremendous power. You can either harness this power, or it will electrocute you. There is no mistaking…Donald Trump is the CENTER of his brand. He is a master at projecting power and protecting his personal brand by being clear and consistent on his brand message platform as to who he is, what he does, and what’s his story. Did you happen to hear that Trump is a billionaire and has done thousands of deals? We have all heard it, loud and clear!

Second, masters of personal branding keep their brand message platform simple and relatable, such as Donald Trump’s mantra, “Let’s Make America Great Again”. This simple message has gotten many people to “buy-in”. Donald Trump is tapping into fears, frustrations, and economic challenges people have with the current status quo in the United States. A branding master knows how to identify pain points for their audience and quickly build a deep emotional connection through shared common interests, goals, struggles, or passions. People may say they don’t trust Trump, but believe he is correct that America has lost its way. He has struck a nerve. When you connect with people on a deep emotional level, they feel like you understand their challenges and problems. They will walk through fires and do your marketing for you. Just look at the size of Donald Trump’s rallies compared to all the other candidates on both sides.

Third, masters know how to keep their personal brand front and center in the media. They are constantly putting content and comments out to attract followers and the media. Think about it, Trump’s approach to media is more like an entertainer (i.e. Kanye West) than a presidential candidate. Since the presidential election in 2008, the media world has changed dramatically. We now live in a celebrity obsessed, reality TV, Kardashian world where entertainment is news, and news, political or not, is entertainment. Being provocative, personal attacks on people’s reputation, family, appearance, and integrity (live or via social media) is not an option, but almost a requirement to gain attention, followers, and airtime. As we have seen, no one is safe from a Donald Trump public or social media attack, even the Pope. Unfortunately for the other candidates, Trump has pretty much sucked up all the media time and attention.

Fourth, personal brand masters are experts at “growth hacking” their personal brands and DON’T need to spend a lot of money on marketing. Look as the latest campaign casualty, Jeb Bush, who spent $130 million on his primary efforts. Even money couldn’t help him with his personal brand image and the ability to connect emotionally with voters. When you have to beg for applause, it’s all over. A master brand manipulator uses integrated marketing strategies to build their brands. They focus on the big multipliers which generate the most influence and word-of-mouth marketing buzz. These are speaking, PR/media, content, connections, and social media. As we all know, Donald knows how to communicate his thoughts and opinions across all marketing channels (i.e. Tweeter and speaking) while remaining on-message, true to his brand.

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Finally, what makes Donald Trump unique is that he is both a disruptor and a master of personal branding. For competitors, this is a deadly combination if you don’t know how to play the game. There is nothing typical about this election cycle. In a crowded field, you have to find ways to stand out from the competition. To position yourself as an influencer, authority, or leader, a personal branding master is not afraid to stand out and offer unique perspectives, provoke, or take a stance against the status quo. Donald Trump’s approach to his campaign has been unorthodox. He has been controversial by challenging, provoking, and disrupting the usual politics by self-funding his campaign, then openly discussing campaign fundraising, and attacking his rivals for their fundraising influences, which immediately set him apart from his opponents. He challenged the media itself as being unfair in their influence. Both these issues struck a chord with the public. Donald Trump has hammered these points home repeatedly with powerful effect, as seen at the polls. His message continues to resonate and will result in the GOP nomination.

Questions: Is Donald Trump a master at personal branding? Can disruptive personal branding create an impact for your business? Share your answers on LinkedIn or Twitter.

About Andria Younger

Andria Younger is a personal brand strategist and consultant in New York City and ranked in LinkedIn’s Top 25 for personal branding. Follow Andria on Twitter or check out Andria’s personal branding blog at andriayounger.com.


5 Things A Leader Can Do To Improve Their Reputation

What are your professional goals for 2016? Earning a promotion, scaling-up your company, recruiting the best talent, or improving team performance? Your success will be determined by your ability to build relationships, shape culture and drive breakthrough results, as well as the ability to enhance your reputation as a great leader that attracts and retains top talent.

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Why is reputation important to leaders?

As a personal brand strategist, my most challenging rebranding and reputation repair projects are senior executives who have suffered traumatic reputation damage due to negative media or social media attacks. We live in a world where everyone is a free agent according to the article Fortune’s World’s Greatest Leaders: 50 intrepid guides for a messy world.   It takes a different way of leading to survive this fast paced world, as well as prevent the revolving door of employees leaving, disengagement, burnout, or even worse, an online negative reputation attack led by unhappy employees.

For example, Indeed.com requires an individual to review past employers before applying for a position. Have you read any of these reviews? People do not hold back! Think about it…would you go to a restaurant if you read bad reviews on Yelp.com about the lack of service or how bad customers are treated? Probably not! The same goes for leaders. You are not going to recruit or retain top talent, as well as survive if people hear or read negative things about your leadership, how employees are treated, or if the work environment is not friendly.

As a personal branding expert, I believe a leader’s reputation is directly linked to their interpersonal skills. I asked my client, Chalmers Brothers, who is an expert in emotional intelligence and leadership development, what has been his experience working with Fortune 500 and tech senior executives when it comes to interpersonal skills? As co-author of Language and the Pursuit of Leadership Excellence: How Extraordinary Leaders Build Relationships, Shape Culture and Drive Breakthrough Results, Chalmers found most leaders are fired, replaced, or removed not because they lack technical expertise or know-how, but due to the lack of effective interpersonal skills.

5 Things a Leader Can Do to Improve Their Reputation

All leaders have their own unique style, habits, and routines of how they lead, communicate, engage with others, and build relationships… for better or worse. But the lack of effective interpersonal skills often prevents leaders from achieving their professional and personal goals, and can damage their reputation permanently.

From his upcoming SOAR Executive Retreat in March, Chalmers offers five essential things individuals can do today to improve their leadership effectiveness, reputation, and drive results:

  1. Build Healthy Relationships. Resist the temptation to fall for “The Grand Illusion” that you are the leader and in control. This leads to developing unhealthy, dysfunctional, unproductive working relationships. Real power, energy, effectiveness is achieved when you are able to build and maintain mutually beneficial relationships both inside and outside the organization.

  2. Grow Emotionally. Become as emotionally intelligent as you are intellectually intelligent. Notice missing conversations in your life and learn how to increase the quality of critical conversations with the most important people in your professional and personal lives. Mood and emotions of people dramatically impact organizational performance.

  3. Agree to Disagree. Do you have to be right all the time? Create a space for healthy, respectful disagreement that leads to a team situation which encourages a full commitment to action. Most of us will not volunteer to be with, work with, or associate with people who constantly make us wrong. Being right all the time drives people away from the organization and prevents successful execution.

  4. Execute. Organizations are networks of commitments (requests, offers, and promises) to take action. As a leader, notice whether or not you’re getting valid response when making a request of another, as well as when you are (or aren’t) providing a valid response to someone else’s request of you. Learn the “nuts and bolts” of execution and dramatically improve how people collaborate and work together. Your leadership purposefully shapes and sustains a culture of accountability.

  5. Keep Learning. Be willing to say, “I don’t know”. This vulnerability is really a strength that produces opening for learning opportunities where they did not previously exist. This expands your ability to “look at things” in multiple ways, which greatly increases your horizon of possibilities. Declare yourself a beginner in domains in which you need to grow. Whether it is emotional intelligence, leadership techniques, or any other skills needed to succeed, a leader striving to learn is perceived not as an individual with a weakness or liability, but wisdom and a position of strength. Continuous learning fosters an environment of innovation and adaptability, as well as helps you stay relevant as a leader.

Questions: What is your leadership reputation inside and outside your organization? Are you doing everything you can to optimize your interpersonal skills? Share your answers on Twitter or LinkedIn.

About Andria Younger

Andria Younger is a personal brand strategist and consultant in New York City and ranked in LinkedIn’s Top 25 for personal branding. Follow Andria on Twitter or check out Andria’s personal branding blog at andriayounger.com.


3 Things Your Website Must Do to Communicate Your Personal Brand

As a Personal Brand Strategist that has worked for entrepreneurs, founders and consultants, I often get asked the question,

“What are the most important things I need to do to communicate my brand on my website?”

If you are in the midst of creating a personal brand or reinventing your brand, it’s critical to remember that this process is all about YOU. Your brand is essentially you telling your story in your own voice. No matter what you are offering to prospective clients, you must be the center of your brand.

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And for those who are looking to position themselves as a paid expert, generate leads for services, or sell products, a website is a must, but only if it is properly branded. When done correctly, it will be the foundational centerpiece of your business to market, promote and monetize your brand.

One person who does this extremely well is Michael Hyatt, who is a virtual mentor, author and professional development expert. He has mastered the art of the personal brand, as you can see here.

Website by Michael Hyatt at www.michaelhyatt.com.

Website by Michael Hyatt at www.michaelhyatt.com.

I really like Michael’s website because it’s clean and simple, and he uses highly quality personal photos that capture his energy. You can immediately see the type of mentor he is from these pictures alone. In addition, the tone is warm, inviting and friendly. And most importantly, his site clearly communicates that he is an expert in personal and professional development, while at the same time showing what his brand stands for.

3 Things Your Website Must Do to Communicate Your Personal Brand

1. Be clear about what you do. Companies and people pay for expertise and accessibility. If a person visits your website and can’t figure out what you do, they are not going to hire, refer, or recommend your services. CLICK! They just moved on! Communicating a consistent brand message across all platforms (print, social, content, speaking and pr/media) is essential to your personal brand strategy. I have found this step alone, being clear and consistent about what you have to offer, has of helped most of my clients to be able to increase their consulting fees by up to 50% in one year alone.

What to Avoid: Don’t just list everything you can do on your website. I see this a lot with my highly accomplished clients. You might think it makes you look impressive, but it comes across as unprofessional, “small player” and, even worse, generalist (the kiss of death for a paid expert).

Tip: Focus in what you enjoy doing vs. everything you can do (there’s a difference). Write down, in five words or less, exactly what you do, and stick to that. For example, “strategic marketing strategist.” It’s simple, clean and to-the-point.

2. Connect on a deeper emotional level. People buy from people. There’s an emotional element to making a purchase or hiring an expert. A website needs to communicate a personal brand that is trustworthy and authentic by connecting to people on a deep, emotional level. This can be done through shared experiences, passions, challenges, and interests.

This is what I call Interest Breeds Authenticity. Think about it. Who would you trust more and hire, someone that shares similar interests, passions and experiences as yourself or someone that just uses generic messaging, buzz words, stock images and the same old same old? Building an emotional connection through shared interests gives you a unique competitive advantage over your competitors, especially when trying to “play big” in the wider marketplace.

What to Avoid: It’s always good to understand what competitors are doing, but don’t let competitors define who you are or what your website looks like. Your website needs to reflect you who are as a person. It should showcase your unique perspectives, skills and talents.

Tip: Do you share a common interest, passion, or hobby with your clients and target market? One of my former clients, Jonathan B. Smith, is a high- growth business expert, author of Optimize for Growth: How to Scale Up Your Business, Your Network and You, as well as a pilot. I was able to combine his business expertise with his love of flying into beautiful, captivating homepage images that showcased both his personal and professional sides. We also worked on creating a blog post connecting flying to scaling up businesses, which made him stand out from his competitors in a unique way.

Website by Jonathan B. Smith at www.chiefoptimizer.com

Website by Jonathan B. Smith at www.chiefoptimizer.com

3. What is the story behind your brand? Personal branding is all about telling your story in your own voice. It’s important to share the story of how you become an expert or authority in your field, or what brought you into this particular business in the first place. You also want to share the mission of your brand, particularly if it’s personally motivated. And don’t just do this once. Its important to tell your story in a variety of ways across different platforms such as videos, photos, blogs, podcasts or on your website.

What to avoid: While you want your website to be personal, you need to be careful not to share too much information in a way that could jeopardize your reputation. Only share personal and professional experiences that tie directly to what you are trying to accomplish with your business and leave the posts of your most recent vacation or night on the town to your private accounts.

Tip: For inspiration on how to use storytelling as part of your branding strategy, look at other websites outside of your industry. Can you incorporate some of their storytelling styles and branding elements into your own website? For example, a leadership development strategist might look at websites of top celebrity wedding planners.

Remember, when it comes to developing a successful personal brand strategy to monetize your expertise and “play big” in the marketplace, it’s important to develop a personal brand strategy for your website which clearly communicates who you are, what you do and why you’re different. It’s that personal connection through your website which is going to set you apart from your competition, position you as a “go to” expert and put you on your way to building a successful personal brand.

Question: What is your personal story of how you became an expert? Share your answers on LinkedIn or Twitter.

About Andria Younger

Andria Younger is a personal brand strategist.  Andria provides personal brand consulting services to entrepreneurs, consultants, CEOs, and founders on how to brand and market themselves as paid experts, as well as coached them how to “play big” in the B2B marketplace. Follow Andria on Twitter or read her personal brand blog at andriayounger.com.