Tell People Who You Are, They Will Believe You

As a child, like many of us, I was often asked what I wanted to be when I ‘grew up’. I think many of us should return to this question in 2016. A significant change is taking place. In many ways, we are taking a step back in time. Before universities became seemingly inseparable pitstops along the continuum of success, there was the skill economy, where referral and the merit of hard work was tied to the individual, not an institution. Progressive employers recognize this and focus more on what an employee can actually do. They look for the value that they can add, not where they attended school? I mean Harvard produced both Mark Zuckerberg and George Bush Jr., the only different is one is a genius billionaire the other…well…he does this.

If you were a skilled metallurgist, architect, artist or farmer, your work spoke for itself and others would endorse it through word of mouth. Today, endorsements take place on this very platform. A piece of paper from an accredited institution just doesn’t hold the same power it once did. Many millennials are waking up to this fact and the power of social learning sites, many of which are free…Looking at you Khan Academy. Life is cyclical and society is firmly heading up the skill curve. Social media is reviving the skill economy because more and more individuals are realizing that a university education isn’t the only key to success.

So while we welcome 2016 with open arms, complete with fireworks, new year’s resolutions and the all too familiar forgetfulness that accompanies them after a few weeks, I think 2016 holds a new narrative for social media tools and the people forward-thinking enough to use them to maximize their personal brands and in turn their income. Simply put, you could be the most skilled person alive but if no one knows about your talents you won’t earn one red cent. I firmly believe that if you tell people who you are, they will believe you. So become a child again and tell the world, what it is you want to be and what it is you are. Here are 5 tips to help you do just that in 2016:

1. Find your niche

What do you do better than most people? Really give some thought to this. Every person on earth, irrespective of their background has certain aptitudes and talents that have developed over the years. Begin thinking about your top skills. If you can’t come up with anything, ask a friend what they think you are great at. Often times we don’t see our skills for what they are, so some outside eyes can help. Many things we label a hobby, are marketable resources from which businesses can and have been built. 

2. Improve Your Social Media Presence

If you’re not on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram you should be. This doesn’t mean you have to maintain presences across all these platforms (initially), but you should be present on a few based on your intent and the kind of audiences you want to attract. For businesses this is even more important.  These networks allow you to shape your narrative and show your expertise. They also allow you to connect with potential clients, and build a tribe.  The immediate plan should be to reach out into your physical and digital networks letting them know the ventures you are pursing and ask for a chance to help using these new skills. Ask for endorsements and recommendations. You may have to do a few complimentary gigs, but hey, that also counts as your first client. Freemium to premium is an awesome model to follow. Not everything has to be a financial transaction. A great reputation is literally worth its weight in gold.

3. Create Quality Content

While social media allows you to share your thoughts in an instant with millions if not billions of people, you have to make it worth their while. Don’t be in a rush to spew drivel, take some time and think about what your audience needs to hear, what tips and insights would really be valuable to them. Often times a small insight that makes their lives easier will make them lifetime followers. Once you keep up the momentum that is. What can you teach people? Once you are above average on any topic you can give some advice. However, you should always be working towards mastery. Give tips via a blog on Medium, WordPress or Tumblr, or a video course/mini-series on YouTube. Use Periscope to tell the world about how to knit cat sweaters and the barrier to entry is much lower today, with many more opportunities.

4. Build Your Tribe

Creating great content is just one part of the equation if you plan to create conversions in the near future you will have to build relationships with your users. You will have to care. Read comments and respond and listen. Results come from 80% listening, 20% broadcasting. Once again 80+20=Success!

5. Commit To Everyday Learning

This one is short and sweet. Investments in yourself and your skill-set pay the highest dividends.

6. Invest in Your Brand

Yes, your yearbook photo from high school or college is cute and nostalgic, but is has no place on your LinkedIn profile, or the profile photo for your Facebook page either. Even if you plan to work for someone else for the rest of your life you should invest in professional photos and a personal website which is your #1 sales tool and team. When you sleep it is actively recruiting clients and contacts for you. Branding cannot be underestimated as you have the chance through your posts, photos and interactions to determine what the world and prospective business partners think about you. Don’t let this chance go to waste. Build a #BossBrand.