No surprise that in this economy more and more people are toying around with the idea of changing careers. For some, such a change represents an opportunity; for others, it may be a necessity because their industries are shifting, shrinking, or becoming extinct. The question my clients ask with more and more frequency is how to go about it. Regrettably, though, there’s no simple or one-size-fits-all answer, because each situation is unique. In other words, no two people’s circumstances are the same. A career coach cannot make such a decision for a client; the answer has to come from the individual. A career coach can of course counsel, guide, and support the process.
Let’s make sure we understand that I’m not referring to a job change. A career change is a radical change–for example, an executive with a finance background who buys a restaurant, or a manager at AT&T, a very well-known communications company, who shifts into managing an adult community or a nursing home. Those are real-life examples of people who were successful at making those changes; I know them personally. So, the questions are, What drives the process? and What does it take to come out as a winner?
Now let’s agree from the beginning that a career change involves significant risk. Not all career changes work out well. Decisions of this nature have at least two major components: the intellectual and the emotional. The emotional part involves the pain that a person endures and that strongly motivates and impels the person toward willingness to take a risk. The other component is the intellectual part, which involves, say, the person’s need–or desire–to make more money or the person’s disappointment with the industry, or with the nature of the current job, or with an intolerable boss who is apparently not leaving soon.
At the core of the job-changing decision-making process are three questions that require concrete answers:
What are the job-changing individual’s values?
What does the job-changing individual have to offer a potential employer?
What does the job-changing individual expect in return?
Values have to do with one’s feelings about family, recognition, monetary rewards, security, promotions, belonging, commitment, loyalty, and so forth. The answer to the question regarding what one has to offer will be an analysis of skills–such as marketing, presentation, sales, research, and data analysis–and then identification of whether one has the traits that support those skills: is the person aggressive, independent, articulate, persuasive, logical, visionary?
The remaining issue deals with what the person wants in return. This touches on environmental and cultural factors. For example, does the person like to work in small organizations or big ones? How does the person feel about leadership styles, corporate politics, company reputation, work/life balance, and flextime for new parents, for example? And how about critical matters like salary, health coverage, and investment programs versus the minimum levels of compensation and benefits needed?
As you can see, a career change is loaded with complexities. My advice is to consult someone who is equipped to guide you as you navigate this maze. And a challenging maze it is indeed.
Spotting the business trends can be difficult for leaders and unfortunately, not all predictions may come true. However, some of these trends are so obvious that ignoring them would be same as signing your death warrant as a company. Below you can find some of the most obvious trends of 2019.
Personalization: In the past, mass production and mass marketing was popular. Companies were making mass production and with mass marketing, they were making the product popular so everybody was buying it. A few years ago, with the rise of social media and big data, this trend has started to change. People wanted to feel special and therefore, personalization concept has come into our lives. Companies which personalize marketing and produce products that can be personalized will continue to grow. Unfortunately, companies which cannot adapt to this trend will eventually die.
Remote Employees: With the rise of millennials among the workforce, remote working became the new norm especially for tech companies. If you want to hire the best employees and retain them in your company, as an employer, you should let them work remotely at least two days a week. This will give them the flexibility they need and enable them to be more creative since they are getting out of their daily routines by working somewhere else than office.
Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding will continue to rise not just as a tool to raise capital but also for validating new product ideas. Smart companies use crowdfunding platforms to engage with customers and learn from them early on. The best way to validate a new product is to ask your customers. Using these platforms, you can engage with your customers and as a result, you can reduce your risk, save money and accelerate new product’s time to market.
Green Products: Consumers started to become more aware of the planet and the damage they cause. For this reason, they tend to use green and eco-friendly products. They also care about being socially responsible and prefer to purchase from companies which not only want to earn revenues but also have a social mission and help the planet. If companies cannot go greener, then, they may face losing some of their customers.
What’s one thing that all professionals can learn from the success of unlikely brand stars like YouTube celebrities?
Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.
1. Don’t Take the Well-Trodden Path
I believe that YouTube celebrities don’t feel bound by the norms of an industry. Most have found their own niche by doing things in a very unique way. Generally speaking, professionals try to follow accepted practices and follow well-trodden paths. But YouTube stars show that sometimes being unique and out-of-the-box and finding your own way to do things can be a much quicker path to success. – Tyler Gallagher, Regal Assets
2. Build Personal Relationships
YouTube celebrities who share many aspects of their lives with their audience are building personal relationships with their fans. Their fans truly feel like they know the YouTuber because of their openness, even though they’re only watching them on a screen. Professionals can look at this and see how important it is to share more and build personal relationships with their audiences. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights
3. Be Consistent and Engaging
YouTube celebrities know that if they want their audiences to stick around, they have to provide relevant content consistently. Consistency also plays a key role in any professional’s career progression. YouTube celebrities engaging with their target audience and harvesting relationships are other aspects that professionals can incorporate into their lives. Customer retention, after all, is crucial. – Derek Robinson, Top Notch Dezigns
4. Do What You Love
Many YouTube celebrities have captivated audiences by enjoying what they do and having fun doing it. Since people gravitate toward others who make their day a little brighter, do what you love, and publicly share it to build your personal brand. Let everyone know you’re in your zone and that it’s the best place ever. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
5. Self-Promote, But Provide Value
Ultimately, YouTube celebrities and influencers use the notion of “If you build (show) it, they will come.” I think the key to the successful ones is that they do it in a tactful, interesting and insightful way. It’s okay to self-promote as long as you add value in some way and people walk away from it with knowledge or a tidbit that can help them in their daily lives. – Vincenzo Villamena, Online Taxman, Global Expat Advisors
6. Help Others
There’s a common theme among a lot of popular YouTube celebrities: their focus on helping others. Whether it’s sharing favorite recipes or business trips or just sharing information in a new way, think of ways that you can add value in your own unique way. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
7. Collaborate With Others
It’s not always about you. Collaboration and cross promotion are huge with vloggers and podcasters, so look to your own network for opportunities to work together, conduct expert interviews and share with your industry. – Sam Saxton, Paragon Stairs
8. Be the Best Version of Yourself
You can jump on YouTube and find thousands of videos about anything. So why are some channels more popular than others? Because the people on those channels are awesome. No matter what their expertise may be in, they have a personality and charisma that attract a crowd both online and off. Practice being your best self no matter where your business is based or what you do, and you will win. – Jason Criddle, Jason Criddle and Associates
9. Be Authentic
Following your personal passion and being authentic in who you are as a person or company brand is key. Many people have a celebrity they follow for inspiration, but who we follow largely depends on who we can relate to. Transparency and authenticity help create real, organic followings with die-hard fans. – Mark Krassner, Expectful
10. Provide Clear Calls to Action
YouTube celebrities are known for reminding us to subscribe to their pages and “comment down below.” This is because calls to action work. Whether you’re writing a blog post or designing marketing materials, don’t forget to have a clear call to action giving people instructions on the next steps. – Jared Atchison, WPForms
11. Know the Value of Simplicity
Many YouTube celebrities aren’t doing any fancy editing, camera work or effects with their videos — some of them are even using their smartphones to film themselves. Professionals can take from this the fact that you don’t need to get complicated with video for it to be a success. You can market your business on YouTube too or use video in your marketing. Make it engaging, but keep it simple. – John Turner, SeedProd LLC
12. Aim for Reach, Relevance and Resonance
The success of unlikely brand stars like YouTube celebrities can be attributed to three R’s: reach, relevance and resonance. They have the ability to reach out to their target audience and curate content that is relevant and resonates with the people following them. – Rahul Varshneya, Arkenea
13. Understand the Importance of Audience Loyalty
When it comes to YouTube stars, the first thing that stands out is just how loyal an audience is to a personal brand vs. a company brand. We can harness personal brand loyalty to help us either stay at our current height or grow to new heights when used properly. – Justin Cooke, Empire Flippers
A branded website is just the start to building a great audience for your personal brand. Once a visitor comes to your landing page you need to capture their attention in order to convert these leads into sales. But if you are not reaching the right audience you’re not generating enough targeted prospects.
How does a personal brand attract the right visitors for better conversions? The method is simple once you apply the right market research as to exactly who your audience is. This includes knowing the right content that applies to your niche, and staying on top of the latest trends.
With a clear target market focus your personal brand can attract more website visitors who will become loyal customers.
How to attract interested buyers to your website
Here are several ways to effectively build your personal brand online.
Write attractive headlines – Subject lines that are unique, specific, urgent and useful gain the most attention, especially on mobile. Use a good headline checker to test out your ideas. Offer your visitors a promise that catches their attention and matches what they have been searching for. In doing so you will compel them to want them to know more about how your brand can help them in a way that is not being offered by the competition.
Connect with your audience in a personal way – Write content that keeps your prospects interested and tells the reason of why you’re producing products or services. The could take the form of a video or powerful image, and describes what is unique to your business and how you can best serve your customers.
Be the answer they are looking for – Remember that you are selling solutions, not features, and you want your offer to communicate the benefits of what your brand has to offer. If you want to attract more interested buyers be sure that you are offering high value in exchange for their time and attention. This will help greatly increase your conversion rates and return buyers later.
Create a separate lead generation page – Create a simple lead magnet to include on your website, in your email marketing and on social media to increase the conversions. These lead or sales pages are designed to walk your prospects through the process of finding out more about what you have to offer them quickly and easily with email integration.
Your personal brand’s website should be a place where visitors know exactly what your brand can offer them, and find your content that best meets their needs. When it comes to proper content optimization and social media engagement for your target market you can not only attract more leads, but grow your brand influence in multiple platforms.
Do you ever walk into a colleague or leader’s office, completely composed, outline a problem, pause and wait for them to tell you what needs to be done? Or worse, a customer or client? In your calmest voice, you say, “The sky is falling.” Pause. “What should we do?”
Do you go into an operating review knowing that you are going to miss your targets, make excuses, and not bring answers on how to make up the difference?” “The sky is falling. I don’t know why. And Bob never told me that the sky was going to fall.”
If either of these scenarios sound familiar, you know that freezing up or making excuses can be a risk to your work, your reputation and your business – and we definitely don’t want that!
The most successful professionals tackle problems head-on, and view issues as opportunities to apply critical thinking, speak candidly with leaders, and facilitate solutions. They don’t necessarily have all of the answers themselves nor are they always the “smartest people in the room.”
Problem solving skills are essential for building your personal leader brand. This mindset can pay dividends, make you a more desirable team player, and shape your image. Here is some guidance:
Start by framing up the problem and your intent to solve it.
When approaching a leader or colleague with a problem, make sure to open the discussion with some framing. “We are over-budget on our project. I would like to explain the reasons and have some ideas on how we can make-up for the overage. I would like your help in addressing this issue.” In this case, we indicated that we had a problem, said that we had some ideas to solve them but that we weren’t confident, and that we needed the other person’s brain power to solve for it.
Don’t get defensive, bring alternatives.
Recently, one marketing leader went to a business review knowing that he did not achieve his lead generation targets. He made excuses for missing the targets, “We didn’t have new content for the web site. We couldn’t get push emails out the door. And we got product information late.” By getting defensive, the conversation got emotional and combative.
There are times that goals get missed and mistakes are even made. State the facts and identify an alternative or countermeasure to address the gap. “We missed our goals this month for lead generation for several reasons. We have analyzed the issue and are taking these three actions over the next month to address.”
Remember that you are equipped to solve problems.
I recently received an email saying, “I don’t have the capacity to address this issue and need you to provide me with direction.”
Even if you do not have the information or confidence to address a problem, don’t lead with what you don’t have. Lead with what you do have. “We have a situation with safety in our location. Here are the facts that I know about and what I would recommend. What might I be missing and need to consider?”
If what you are really looking for is to vent, ask for a human moment.
Issues in the workplace can be frustrating. When you approach your leader or colleague with a problem, they want to help you solve it; however, that may not be what you are looking for. You may just want to come in and vent.
If you don’t state this intent up front, you may leave the impression of being a complainer. Everyone needs human moments to let off steam. “I need a human moment. May I share my frustrations and then I promise, I will be resilient and start problem solving?”
One leader operations leader set the “five-minute rule.” Anyone can come into her office and vent for five minutes. After that, they have to move into constructive problem solving mode. She said that most people stop after three minutes.
There’s no doubt that business issues will arise – it is all in how we handle and manage through them.
First, remember that an interview is a work-related competition. The same competition onstage for the theater is called audition. People compete throughout their lifetimes. They compete for resources, such as money, time, awards, rewards, and honor. So let’s focus on the interview competition, in which several preselected candidates compete for only one job opening. The question to ask is, What does it take to win? In that work-related competition, the interviewer or hiring manager is the decision maker, and in the mind of that hiring manager are four notions that the right candidate will fulfill.
I understand what you say
The interview is all about communication between the interviewer and the candidate for the position. To become able to make a fair decision, the interviewer has to understand what the candidate is communicating. The information the candidate presents has to be clear and simple and sequential. If the information is convoluted—meaning, it’s, say, complex or long-winded or too fast or too soft-spoken or hindered by a foreign accent—the interviewer will most likely miss out on some important information.
I trust and believe you
The interviewer knows that candidates’ intentions are to sell themselves, so therefore there’s a natural resistance factor between the two parties. Trust is a major part of the hiring process. On one hand, if the interviewer does not believe what the candidate is saying, trust will not develop between them. To be credible, the interviewer has to be specific, should quantify when possible, should give examples from the past, and, most important, bring in a third party to verify and attest to those truths. On the other hand, the candidate, too, must be specific, quantify, and give examples.
I would like to hire you
This is music to every candidate’s ear. This is what candidates want to hear, but the words don’t come automatically. After all, this is a competition for one single job. So, here’s where the challenge comes in: The interviewer has a need that must be met. But this is the moment when the candidate has to differentiate from other competitors for the role by converting the interviewer’s need into a want. This is when the art of interviewing is playing a pivotal role. This is when one has to go beyond the facts and into being attractive as an employee. This hinges more on emotions than on logic. The interviewer has to imagine that the candidate is already a part of the company’s group and is receiving positive comments by all those affected.
You possess knowledge or qualities I can’t find anywhere else
Here’s where the toughest part of the competition creeps in. The hiring manager has choices and is going to choose the candidate who has unique knowledge, pertinent experiences, or specific qualities the company needs. Blending into the crowd is not the answer. The interviewer is looking for something to be able to sell about you to others—like the boss or your future team. So, what’s unique about you, and can you accentuate it in the interview? Great! You’re hired.
Recently, I attended a large business event in a warm and humid city in the Southeast. The agenda urged participants to dress “casual.” Not business casual. Women have largely cracked that code. For those who haven’t there’s no shortage of advice. And retailers have special sections featuring business-smart brands like INC, JCrew, Lafayette 148, and my everything-old-is-in favorite, Halston Heritage.
But casual? You’re on your own.
The problem with “casual” is particularly acute when the occasion is an industry conference where you may be meeting many people for the first time—customers, competitors, potentially valuable contacts, or industry experts—whom you would like to impress.
Or it’s an internal gathering of the top tiers of your company’s leadership. “One thing that particularly stresses me out when I hear ‘casual’ is that senior company leaders may be at an event or meeting,” one senior female professional told me. “The CEO sets the tone and what he or she wears can be a wild card.”
And if the company is a multinational the event could include colleagues from around the world, each with a different definition of casual. You don’t know what small feels like until an effortlessly stylish Parisian has given your attire a coldly appraising once over.
At the gathering I attended, the conundrum of “casual” dress at a business event was a primary topic of hallway conversation among the approximately 25% of attendees who were women. “It’s stressful to find the right outfit that isn’t too casual or too formal” was a common refrain. “You don’t want to be over-dressed but you don’t want to come in yoga pants and a t-shirt” was another.”
How about splitting the difference with jeans? Okay, but what kind? Trouser jeans? Skinny jeans? Definitely not jeans with holes. And shoes—they’re a big enough problem any time. Everyone agreed that sneakers and flip-flops are a no-no, but beyond that the right footwear was up for grabs. From head to foot, women must ask themselves this question: “What impression will I make if I wear [insert item of clothing or accessory]?”
Husbands are no help. Said a female attendee whose husband was also at the event, “He wasn’t stressed at all about the dress code. When I asked him what he was planning to wear he said shorts and flip flops. I said no way. He said: Way.”
We took an informal poll of the men in attendance. Approximately 90% of those we asked said that they were perplexed by the word “casual” yet not concerned about clothing or accessory choice—or the impression their choices might make.
The good news for women is that we’re right to stress out about clothing. A salary.com survey of 4,600 business professionals found that 56 percent of respondents admitted that they make assumptions about people at the office based on how they’re dressed. Nearly a quarter of respondents said the dress codes in their workplaces are too lenient.
The next time you’re advised to wear casual attire to a business event you can reduce the stress by following these guidelines:
Use common sense: Dress for comfort. Wear clothes that fit. Avoid low cut or backless tops, tight dresses or skirts, ripped or faded jeans—and keep your tattoos and body piercings private.
Wear layers: If you are unsure just how casual your group is going to be, wear a few layers. You can always take off layers or put them back on based upon the formality or informality of the group. Your innermost layer should be the most casual, like a t-shirt or modest tank top, and then formal up to a casual blouse, and finally a cardigan sweater and then a jacket. And don’t forget, most meeting rooms are cold, so layers help keep you warm.
Accessorize: Nice accessories can redirect eyes from that blouse or pair of pants that you weren’t sure about. You can always take off earrings, bracelets and necklaces or put them on depending upon the formality of the group you find yourself in and the activity you are engaged in.
Leave the bright red shirt at home: If you are unsure of how casual to go, choose pieces with more conservative colors – blues, black, gray, and tan are always safe. Brands like Iris and Ink and Eileen Fisher offer comfortable and elegant pieces in more muted tones.
Don’t cut corners with your shoes. Definitely, do not wear sneakers, flip flops, or strappy sandals. Select and wear stylish shoes that are in season. Be careful of toes by avoiding too much cleavage and ensuring that the nails are well groomed. If nothing else, a good pair of shoes attracts favorable attention from people in the know (like other women) and sets off no alarm bells with those who aren’t.
And a final plea for meeting organizers: When you decree casual dress please be more specific. “Business casual” was enough of a contradiction in terms when it first appeared. “Casual business” is even worse.
In order to speak to your target market your personal brand needs to be active on social media in all places where they are engaging. Mobile marketing is increasingly the main vehicle behind search, watching videos, and making purchases.
By expanding into this arena your brand can tap into a much larger audience in your niche. This will take just some updating to your content curation and marketing strategies along with having a responsive website design.
How can you successfully build your brand on mobile? Social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter should be your main focus. After conducting target market research you can find out exactly which ones your audience is active in the most. Let’s take a look at how this can benefit your branding strategy:
How Mobile Marketing Will Help Build Your Brand On Social Media
Here are several places you can start reaching a larger audience online:
Mobile video – The best performing content are videos that are professional, can clearly project what the topic is about, answer a pressing need or question, and have a strong call to action. Several websites are popular with YouTube being at the top of the list. Native video on your website can also enhance the viewing experience for your visitors, especially as these offer a compelling brand story.
Create live stories – This is one of the fastest ways to capture an interested audience and take them behind the scenes of your brand. Instagram stories are the most popular for many users with Facebook coming in at a close second. By posting these at least once a day you can greatly increase your Fans and followers.
Messaging apps – If your audience is using these types of apps then you can create an easy way for them to contact you and provide them important updates and offers. Be sure to include a chat bot on your website as well on the front page so that your visitors can ask questions and find out more about your company.
As mobile continues to grow in popularity, it is more important than ever to optimize your content, and to make your personal brand stand out. This will not only increase your subscriber list, but will also reach your community where they are at.