marketing

How to Create a Personal Brand

By now you may have heard of the “Instagram aesthetic” – a diminishing trend of cultivating the perfectly curated feed native to the platform. This phenomenon enabled social media influencers to expand their realm of influence and generate a following based upon creating relevant content that resonated with a specific audience. So, how did they do it?

By creating a strong, personal brand.

Though this idea may sound repulsive to some, personal brands can be extremely effective ways to generate income and leverage greater influence among a specific audience. Some equate this practice to “taking pretty pictures” or “writing a blog every now and then” but creating a personal brand and monetizing influence takes time and intentionality.

The investment may seem more than anticipated, but creating a strong brand can lead to many benefits, including more credibility and exposure within your field, additional streams of revenue, and a more personal connection to your audience. The dedicated following that comes with having a personal brand may just make the journey worth it to tackle your dream projects.

Ready to give it a go? Here are some factors to keep in mind when establishing a strong personal brand.

Choose your niche

The most renowned personal brands are typically quite specific and are focused on a certain niche. Choose a topic that excites you and brings you passion. You don’t have to drop all of your hobbies but when it comes to generating a following, choosing one topic in particular like fashion, marketing, psychology, or fitness can help target a specific audience while allowing you to become known in your field.

Find someone to follow

Because personal brands exist for nearly every idea, find an influencer or brand you resonate with, and follow them closely. What topics do they post about? What patterns in their content strategy do you recognize that you can implement? What interviews, podcasts, or blogs about their journey do they share in regard to getting started? Take note, and learn from their example. 

Cultivate a social media following

Building a strong and faithful following online is one of the most effective ways to have an audience to both serve and sell to. Create content with your target audience in mind and develop a strong tone to your writing.

Focus on writing to one clear person and you’ll begin to attract the people you would like to influence. Post about similar ideas and as with a personal brand, don’t be afraid to become a bit vulnerable on your journey. Additionally, invest your energy into the platforms where your audience spends most of their time.

Define your audience

Develop a content strategy and examine your analytics as you generate traction or ensure you have a clear idea on the front end of who you’re targeting. Implement marketing tactics and practices that most closely resonate with your audience.

For instance, podcasts may work well with millennials, but YouTube is more effective with GenZ.

Create partnerships

Influencer marketing and affiliate marketing are great places to start in this respect. If you don’t have the follower count to make connections try looking for like-minded people online who are doing the same thing as you. Come up with giveaways or encourage your audience to look into partners’ websites and contents, and ask them to return the favor. Finding your competition and working with them will benefit you more often than not.

Collect information

Most influencers focus on growing an email list so they have the rights to information, so in order to build out your brand to leverage influence, ensure you are creating content that serves and creating lead magnets to convert your audience.

Create a strong community

We live in a digital age and many people online are in search of the community they don’t have. Use that to your advantage – having a specific audience that attracts like-minded people is a strength. Instead of making your brand just about you, bring your audience together and they’ll follow you over a cliff.

Why Your Lead Generation Isn’t Working

The success of most businesses hinges on lead generation.

If you don’t have people inquiring about your product or service, you won’t be in business – or for long, anyway. Even if you have a blog, work in retail, or volunteer with a nonprofit, understanding the process of acquiring leads is pertinent to gaining any kind of traction for your organization.

Essentially, lead generation is a process that finds the clients and customers you need to need to attract.

This is significant since your ultimate goal should be for prospects who are unfamiliar with your organization to become leads that eventually purchase from you, sign up for your offer, or volunteer with you. Lead generation is an ongoing process that provides your business with a steady pipeline you can scale and grow.

It’s important to develop a plan to ensure you have a sound process to not only generate quality leads but to keep them. Here’s why your lead generation process may not be working.

You aren’t qualifying your leads

Even though it may seem beneficial to have a large volume of leads coming in, those leads only to create more work if they don’t fall into the category of your ideal client. For instance, if you sell pacifiers and are targeting young moms, having 100 leads from mostly 50 + year old men won’t help you generate revenue.  Your lead generation process should be tailored toward your ideal client, and therefore should ask specific questions and offer the information that will convert your lead to a customer.

You don’t have an inbound marketing strategy

In an oversaturated market place with many competitors, it is no longer enough to simply sell to your audience. Furthermore, the most successful companies have found ways to serve their clients. Research the inbound methodology to learn more about ways to educate your audience and offer them value. Most people are skeptical of providing their information in fear of being spammed, so you’ll want to create content worth your ideal client’s time.

You don’t have automation sequences in place

When you create offers or lead magnets, most times your prospects want the information they inquired for immediately. Creating automation where sequences are enabled to send them to lead magnets and other relevant content will keep them engaged. Your audience also may not be ready to purchase from you immediately, so create a drip campaign to warm your audience. This will enable you to set up sequences to follow up with your audience and warm them to your product or service.

You don’t have a landing page

If you don’t have a landing page created, it may be challenging for you to generate leads. Having a page for this purpose will more clearly outline the purpose you’ve established for your leads. Different than just any normal page on your website, a landing page will better educate prospects on your offer clearly articulating the benefits for them, in addition to streamlining your marketing efforts for ads and retargeting.

You’re not running ads

SEM and social ads are great ways to better reach your audience. Using Facebook Pixel to target your existing traffic and creating ads is the best way to continue to engage leads. The rule of 7 explains it takes 7 times for your prospects to see your offer before they take action. 

Your offer isn’t good enough

Sometimes your end of the bargain and whatever lead magnet you provide to gain customer information simply isn’t as valuable to prospects as it may be to you. Focus on creating offers and lead magnets that your current client base already wants. Ensure that you are adding value, and allow that to shine through as you aspire to get more leads.

Affiliate Marketing for Beginners

Affiliate marketing is an excellent opportunity to generate additional revenue, specifically from products or services you’re passionate about.

In essence, affiliate marketing allows you to earn a small commission for recommending products you love to friends, family, and larger audiences. Typically, a person becomes an affiliate through a business by either applying or reaching out and receives a special link to direct all prospective purchasers. Once a purchase is made, the affiliate makes a commission.

Different from multi-level marketing, there is no incentive or pyramid structure to limit your earnings or one specific type of product you must sell. Though some may argue that it takes a certain follower account or industry to make an income, even having a small blog can allow you to start generating passive income through this method.

Create a website

The first step to generating traffic to gear toward specific products or services is by creating a website. Create a brand based on a specific audience and provide content like photos, a blog, a podcast, etc, that can help you promote products or services.

Find products you love

Begin to search for products that are not only relevant to the type of media you create. Search for products you truly love and enjoy. Choose products and services you have experience with and that improve your quality of life.

Initiate successful partnerships

An affiliate partnership ensures that both the affiliate and brand are benefitting from an agreed upon arrangement. Though starting out this may be a bit of a challenge, there are plenty of existing companies that have not yet created an affiliate program. If you have a local small business you frequent, consider it as an opportunity to develop a partnership.

Consider Amazon Affiliates

One of the original affiliate programs in existence, Amazon does offer an affiliate program with up to 10% commission. What’s great about this program is that it’s free to join and because Amazon is universal, there’s truly a product for every niche interest.

It’s easy to sign up, so begin to look for opportunities with this platform.

Use Pinterest, Facebook Ads, and Email Marketing to build your list

These marketing tactics ultimately will be the foundation for building your online audience. Based on the product or service you plan to offer, research which platforms your target audience spends the most time on, and create content for them there.

Creating and maintaining an email list is one of the most effective ways to continue to keep customers in the door.

Ditching the 9-5: How to Find Remote Work Opportunities

Digital nomads use telecommunications technologies to earn a living. I’ve been working remotely since 2016 and have been a digital nomad since July 2018. I often work remotely from countries other than the United States, coffee shops, public libraries, and sometimes co-working spaces.

It’s starting to become the newfound “millennial dream,” but without hard work, it can be difficult to make it a reality. The daily grind, cultural norms, and rising student debt can also get in the way. Though landing a remote position may seem daunting, nearly 38 percent of workers will be able to work remotely in some capacity over the next decade, according to Remote.co.

Here are some easy ways to get started researching opportunities regardless of your background to begin settling into remote work.

Earn your way there with your current company

Though it may seem impossible to earn remote status with your employer, step out of the lens in which you view your position and ask yourself: “Is it possible to work remotely within my current role? Does anyone else at my company do this?”

Even if only one person works remotely, you may have the leverage to begin initiating conversations with your employer if you’ve paid your dues.

Though it may seem to be a risk, if you’ve been loyal to your company, nothing is impossible. Though it may mean moving to a different position or leveraging odd hours, be open to discussing new possibilities.

Pick up clients as a freelancer

If you’re interested in this workstyle but are unsure if working remotely may be the right lifestyle for you, consider taking on several clients as a freelancer, initially.

This way you can begin to establish work rhythms that will benefit you if and when you do make the decision to transition into remote work.

If you have a skill like graphic design or photography where you could grow your client base, consider starting your own small business.

Look for startups on websites like Angie’s List and note the companies

There are websites that can guide you on your search to finding the right remote positions, just like Angie’s List. Many tech companies offer remote opportunities directly from this website. As you search for positions online, Google also offers “work from home” as a filter as you aspire to search for positions as well.

Consider making a spreadsheet of all the companies you find that have these opportunities, and connect with hiring managers on LinkedIn. Though there may not be a position you qualify for immediately, begin scoping out companies you would like to work for and continue to check back for the right opportunity.

Look into creative circles

Creative Mornings and Creative Circle are great resources as you continue the search to help you land remote work, in addition to networking with like-minded digital nomads.

Co-working spaces are another creative outlet to network and collaborate with other entrepreneurs. Seek out any opportunity to cultivate relationships with people who currently work remotely and aspire to learn from them.

Take on multiple jobs and passions

Though some may find certain jobs unappealing, a compromise to obtain a remote lifestyle may mean sacrificing your full-time salary, in exchange for a lower paying job.

Therefore, taking on multiple passions – like your remote position that gives you work flexibility in addition to another revenue stream – may make this lifestyle possible for you a bit sooner. Explore different options and combine the passions that generate revenue.

Go all in! 

Even if you hate your job, remember that no one is forcing you to work there. Be thankful for the income, development, and stability your company provides no matter your frustrations.

But when the time comes, don’t be afraid to take the leap and go all in to embrace remote work.

Why Millennials are Drawn to Multi-Level Marketing

We’ve all received the dreaded text message or DM from a person we haven’t spoken to in years pretending to catch up.  They mention the too-good-to-be-true promise of an extra $1,000 working from your phone and the “be your own boss” mentality that comes from a shiny new “business “opportunity…that comes with buying inventory and hosting parties.

MLM’s, network marketing, pyramid schemes, or whatever name you choose are becoming increasingly popular with millennials.

And though there’s nothing more frustrating than the way some MLM’ers approach sales, it’s helpful to understand the appeal and motive behind the decision to work for these companies.

Here are the top reasons millennials are chasing after these MLM opportunities instead of corporate careers.

Work from anywhere mindset

It’s no question that wanderlust consumes culture.

Unless you find a company that offers unlimited vacation time, the Bureau of Labor Statistics claims that 76 percent of private industry workers (who make up 84.7 percent of all workers in the U.S.) only receive 10 paid vacation days annually.

That’s about two weeks to squeeze in travel, so it’s no wonder why the MLM appeal of working from wherever you desire is appealing. Multi-level marketing companies are entirely commission-based, so distributors have the flexibility to set their own schedule.

Work-life integration

Unfortunately, many stereotypes peg millennials as being lazy, or without the desire to work. More often than not, the case isn’t necessarily that millennials don’t want to work,  they just want to work on their own terms.

Growing up immersed in technological development, many millennials inadvertently have become accustomed to constant stimulation. Likely, this has resulted in a preference for positions and companies offering work-life integration as opposed to work-life balance. Multi-level marketing opportunities integrate life and work in a way that enable partakers to cultivate relationships in the process – sometimes to a fault.

Can’t find jobs

With the job market becoming increasingly competitive, many struggle to find relevant positions within their field of expertise, or find themselves overqualified for given positions. As a result, many recent college graduates pursue such opportunities in place of full-time income. 

Full-time jobs aren’t enough

With crippling student debt and a lack of alternatives to pay off loans, finding high-paying jobs in a graduate’s given field is nothing short of challenging.

Most millennials have student debt hovering around $33,000, not including interest, and many are desperate to find a career where earning potential isn’t capped in order to find freedom from debt.

As a result, some look into network marketing opportunities as a side hustle to pay down monthly expenses on top of their current salary.

Social media

Stay-at-home parents have typically had the upper hand in this industry because of their engaged network of friends who help host “parties,” but millennials have replaced them because of their knack for social media networking.

Social media has become one of the most popular platforms for those in this industry to build relationships, and because millennials are the social media generation, they’ve adapted.

Community

MLM’s do bring community and connectedness because a distributor’s upline commission depends on the sales of the person below them. This creates a mentor-mentee relationship, in addition to a community of partakers within the same upline. And even though we live in a world more connected than ever, we all have experienced mindless scrolling while feeling utterly alone. It’s possible many millennials find that community within these industries.

Multi-level marketing companies have become a necessity for many millennials to live out their desired work styles and pay down debt with the ideals of owning their own business – just without equity and risk.

However, there are plenty of reasons working for these companies may seem desirable, but the return on investment might not be as good as it seems because of the amount of time spent, pyramid structure, and commission levels. Not to mention, the reputation amongst employers and peers.

Want these same ideals, but in a way that’s scalable, not commission based, and on your own terms?

Try freelancing instead.

Instagram

  • An honest review of camel milk: the series. 🐫 SWIPE 😂
  • I went with a bare face to TWO meetings this morning?! I’ve always struggled with my skin and finding a good dermatologist, skincare from @the_lassi_indpls, and @michianamicroblading have been instrumental in taking care of acne and scarring from my teenage years + thin and frail brows. Plus moisturizing. And drinking water. And washing my hands before I touch my face. And wearing sunscreen. #AsSheIs
  • One of the biggest reasons why Americans don’t travel abroad – other than not having a passport – is the cost of airfare. Rising taxes, hidden fees, and baggage add-ons don’t help, but if you can manage to travel only with a carryon and during the offseason, then it IS possible to travel frugally. ⠀
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My roundtrip from Cincinnati to Iceland? $300⠀
Chicago to Paris? Close to $350⠀
One way from JFK to London? $290 ⠀
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I don’t usually travel outside of the U.S. during Q4 (because it’s expensive) but I’ve got Colombia, Peru, Iceland again, and wherever we decide to go on our honeymoon on my list for 2020. I’ve written a list of the biggest ways I save money on plane tickets #ontheblog. ⠀
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Where do you want to go in 2020?
  • *me, looking to find something witty to say about the time change; really it’s all a racket by the federal government*🇨🇭photo taken during my trip to Switzerland this past spring with an overpriced latte
  • Damn what a month. 4+ AIER titles on Amazon, wedding planning in full swing, clients served, and my article reprinted by @entrepreneur!? Like what!? 😳 
You CAN turn your passion into your dream career. It’s not easy but the adventure is worth it. ❤️ Read the full article at the #linkinbio
  • Five years ago & a lifetime to go. #PerfectlyPierce ❤️
  • Wishing I had more photos of me with camels so I could post one every hump day (Wednesday.) This fella loves Kit Kat bars, giving kisses (he had some nasty breath tho 🤢), AND he sports a nose ring.
  • As a 10-year-old “Mengele Twin,” Eva Kor suffered some of the worst of the Holocaust. At 50, she launched the biggest manhunt in history. In her 80s, she circled the globe to promote the lesson her journey taught: healing through forgiveness.
When I first heard her message about forgiveness in 2014, it challenged me to reflect on my life and live with more intention.
My recent travels to Israel not only emphasized her message but how important freedom is for ALL people – regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, nationality, sex, identity, etc.
"Eva: A-7063," tells the full, astonishing story of Eva, tracking her from Auschwitz to Israel to the United States - even into the U.S. Capitol for her jaw-dropping arrest - and ultimately to her courageous return to the Nazi death camp. It reveals her hidden pain, unbridled rage and unextinguished love for humanity that transformed her into an international spokeswoman followed by millions.
I'm excited to partner with the Indianapolis chapter of @affnetwork, @aierdotorg, and the Indianapolis chapter of @bastiatsociety to bring Eva's story to the Indy community with a free community screening this Sunday at the Indiana Historical Society.
Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and the screening will begin at 6 p.m. A Q&A session will follow with the director of the film, Ted Green. A reception with appetizers and drinks will take place afterward in the Indiana Historical Society lobby.
Tickets for the reception are $10 and proceeds will benefit @candlesmuseum in Terre Haute, Indiana.
I hope you'll join us for what I know will be an impactful event. (Register for tickets at the #linkinbio.)
  • Looking for the point behind all of those "OBJECTIVE" blurbs at the top of résumés...
I've written and edited A LOT of résumés, cover letters, CVs, and LinkedIn profiles. What annoys me the most at the start of any editing process is the giant "OBJECTIVE" that's slapped on right after contact information. 
Your objective is to get the job, not to awkwardly put your five-year plan above what already speaks for itself – your experience. Plus, you'd be better off talking about your career objective/goals in person with the interviewer so they can ask you follow up questions. (Sometimes, it's okay to purposefully be a little vague!) As we quickly approach the new year, check out my website for more résumé tips if your goal is to land your dream job in 2020.
(I have room in my October schedule to review 5 résumés fo' free; shoot me a message if you want to take me up on it.)
  • *Trying to think of something inspiring to say about the fact that there's three months left of this decade...* Finish the degree, ask for the raise, write the business plan, start the blog...just START. 
If there's anything I've learned in the last decade, it's that there is no such thing as the "perfect time" and that opportunities will arise when you least expect them. 
So just say "yes," and you'll figure it out afterward. (Read more about my unconventional career on my website. #linkinbio)
  • Guess what day it is...👀🐫
  • Ready to go back to camel rides, endless falafel, and adventuring in one of the most beautiful places in the world now pls 🌍

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