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Is your inflated brand scaring away prospective employers?

Is your inflated brand scaring away prospective employers?
A few weeks ago, a few social media consultants and myself were having a spirited discussion regarding solo-preneur to micro to small business growing pains. What some of us were really saying was: I’m starting to feel that owning my own business isn’t fun anymore, I think I like working as a consultant better.We toyed around with the idea out loud and with others like was it time to get a full-time job? And if it was, could having a gigantic personal brand do more harm than good? Could my personal brand actual scare away potential employers?Is this really possible, I thought. I had spent the last three years or so, building a personal brand that stood for something and reaping – what I believed were — the benefits of a strong online and offline reputation. I never considered the possibility that  my persona brand could be too big for an employer?

Of course everyone from Katie Couric to Angela An and every other news caster, employment counselor and economist has talked about the importance of networking and building a brand. But what if the opposite can be true, with potential employers declining to meet with you because your brand is too big?

We speculated about the negatives of hiring someone with an inflated personal brand. Someone in the company — presumably a decision maker — doesn’t like you because of some inflammatory remarks you made at a speaking engagement.

Especially at a small business or startup, the president may be concerned that by hiring you, your brand will overshadow the company. We also speculated as to whether or not, expectations of what you can do and accomplish are inflated because of your larger than life online persona.

Clearly that conversation got me thinking. So, I reached out to someone who I know works with small businesses and asked what she thought about the question: Can a strong personal brand scare away a potential employer?

Here’s some of what Andrea Applegate of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce had to say on the subject.

Regardless of your occasional tech and social media savvy lawyer or nurse,most small business owners really don’t know much about social media. She continues, “technology, PR, marketing, or youth oriented industries are the types of small business owners that are well versed in social media.”

Andrea notes that since, “small businesses in other industries don’t even understand social media, so it (the killer social media brand you’ve been cultivating) is meangingless to them.”

Here’s the real dagger in your social media lovin’ heart: According to Andrea, “most small businesses and startups have no real understanding of how powerful social media can be and is.”

Although this is good news of sorts. I mean if you decide to hang up your consultant lifestyle for a straighter laced existence, then working with a startup or small business feels like less of a sell out — over working for the man and going straight corporate.

But that brings to light another problem: My potential audience may not have any idea about me and my awesomeness? Now what do I do.

According to Andrea Applegate — it’s time to get integrated. Since many business owners have their finger on what’s happening in their industry — start working traditional reputation building channels as well.

Social media my not be the first place your audience turns for everything from coupons to daily news, said Andrea “you have to distinguish yourself as an expert in your filed using traditional mechanisms (like speaking at conferences, writing white papers, etc.) because these activites have a higher value for these employers.”

Whoa, so you’re advice to consultants thinking about getting a 9 to 5 gig with a small business or start up generally is to go integrate old school reputation management with new school personal branding methods. That’s great advice! Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but valuable nonetheless.

What do you think? Is this sounds advice to consider, or B.S.? Are you thinking if the company doesn’t get social media is it not the right place for you to begin with (I admit that’s my gut reaction =)

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On Re-Connecting with My Life: Do You Need To?

I’m not sure if this is new age spirituality or what not, but lately I’ve felt a little disconnected from my life? I think that’s a rhetorically savvy way of saying, “I’ve felt out of touch with things lately.”

Admittedly, my life has been on a bit of a roller coaster especially where my work-life balance and career are concerned. So, I’m now settling into a new routine. As much as I like to change things at will — I’m not so good at handling changes that don’t come from my own command. Does that sound familiar?

So, how do you know if you might be out of touch with your life? Great question? And I wish I had some profound answer to that question. Speaking from you own experience, I realized I was out of touch when I finally made the mental decision to wrap my mind around the situation and truly embrace it as a blessing (perhaps in disguise, but you get what I’m saying); rather than something thrust on me without my permission. (Because as much as we like for life to go our ways in every instance, it usually doesn’t happen that way).

Although my approach may sound simple, it’s actually not. I think most people are not very self-reflexive. Not by default, but rather people don’t give themselves the luxury of thinking about their own needs first. Do you believe that if you put their own needs first — especially if you’re a woman — that you are being selfish, self-involved, and basically a horrible person? If so, you’ve fallen into a trap that turns into a very viscous cycle. Well there’s great news for you: That’s not how it has to be. And what’s better — it may not take a whole lot to snap out of it.

Here are a few things that I did to kind of get out of this funk of feeling far away from everything that was important.

Going back to the things I enjoy. There are a few things that I really like doing such as kick boxing, hiking, and road trips. I haven’t let myself do much of those 3 things in a very long time. But that’s all changed. I’ve been hiking in the park a few evenings each week — and the warmer weather is making that possible. And I’ve been kick boxing at a great new women’s fitness facility called, R Studio.

Getting organized. I wasn’t ready to start freelancing again so soon. In fact I had kind of hung up my freelancer cap for a while. But, situations dictated otherwise. So, this weekend, I took some quality time to find a great web-based project management software (product review forthcoming). And also did some needed spring cleaning to spruce up my work and life sacred spaces — how’s that for balance.

Getting reaquainted. As much as people say it doesn’t matter — human connection is one of the most powerful connections we can make. And for me, I find my batteries recharged by developing new relationships — like I do in learning new things. So, I stepped up networking. More than meeting new people, I decided to return to those emails with invitations for coffee and lunch to which I had not been particularly response. And I’ve enjoyed catching up with people. As an added bonus, there have are some great professional opportunities developing — go figure, all that from networking.

Now I don’t want you to think I’ve got beer goggles on or something. These three little changes are not a magic bullet. The good news is, making the mental decision is the first step to changing your demeanor.

So, at the beginning of this article I asked if you were feeling little disconnected with your life. After reviewing how to snap back into things — upon second thought what do you think now?

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Posted by on April 11, 2011 in business

 

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How to Network Video Series

I’m a big fan of networking, not just because some might consider me a “social butterfly” but as an Independent Consultant, to continue gaining new projects I need to consistently meet people and build relationships with others.

For this new series, I’ve decided to do scour the web for informative (and sometimes entertaining) networking and job search videos. In this first installment, from HowCast, they provide some quality networking tips that you can put into practice today. Take a look and let me know what you think. Also, if you know of a good networking or job search video out there, pass it along and add to the series.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9VUqB7wQpY

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2010 in communication

 

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