Late last year, I had the honour to have Paul J.R. Renaud, Executive Coach, writer, speaker and owner of one hell of a personal brand, as the keynote speaker at IBM EduTHINK Academy. An amazing expert in networking, Paul has helped grow executives and personal brands across 1o countries and 6 continents.
This is why, when I had the chance to interview him, I didn’t even hesitate. And together we managed to tap into the question: How does Networking contribute to Personal Branding?
Everyone has a brand, but not everyone’s personal brand is developed to be a strength.
MC: You talk in your speeches a lot about networking and the importance of personal branding. Is building a personal brand difficult?
Paul: Today, personal branding is a key to succeeding in many different parts of life. Your brand is an attempt to get people to associate you with certain qualities.
At its core, your brand is your reputation: how people think of you.
Basically, all the benefits of personal branding come down to one question. Why should someone choose your brand over another? What makes you different and more suitable for the task at hand than your competition?
When you want to show someone that they should choose you, you have to brand yourself as a better fit for the role in question.
If you wait to start thinking about a personal brand until you need something, it’s likely too late.
For professional managers who have attained the C-level status (CEO. CFO, CTO, COO) there’s a pretty good chance that the company can help facilitate one’s personal brand. If you are not working for a large size firm and you opt to become an entrepreneur then establishing your personal brand can’t hurt. I guess it depends on what camp you’re in and what has happened throughout your career.
Personal brand is something that has to be built over time.
A brand is something you’re constantly building. It’s the affirmation of who you are.
Does everyone have a brand?
In my opinion not everyone spends the same amount of time to develop his or her brand. It’s a matter of choice, importance and the lifestyle you lead because your personal brand is the unique combination of skills and experiences that make you, you.
A brand is something you’re constantly building because it’s the affirmation of who you are and what you love to do. Whether you’re a full-time employee, a freelancer or an entrepreneur, your personal brand speaks before you. Being intentional about what you want it to stand for shapes the opportunities you attract.
Effective personal branding will differentiate you from other professionals in your field.
The most important thing is to understand your value.
Your value isn’t based on who you work for or your position at a job. It’s based on what you’re able to bring to the table. What is it that you do extremely well and who does it best serve? In business, we talk a lot about finding a target audience and a niche market. It helps you narrow down the list of potential customers that you can best help and who you would most enjoy working with.
What would be the advice you’d give to an entrepreneur/freelancer who is just starting off?
My brother once told me that ‘being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart’ in other words you need to be comfortable with taking risks. He was right.
It’s tough. You need a lot of energy, you need to accept rejection, you need a network of people (customers, staff and investors) that believe in you, you need financing and you need a mission. These are the characteristics of entrepreneurs.
One thing is for sure: you can learn the new stuff.
You learn by keeping that inquisitive mind that you had as a child, questioning everything; you accept setbacks along the way and you surround yourself with mentors, coaches, stakeholders that can and will give you sound advice. Never stop learning. Ask questions and always seek advice.
You’re an author, an executive coach and a TedX speaker as well. How did you build your personal brand?
I’ve always been keen to outdo and outperform. Some people may call this being a workaholic, a ‘keener’ or just passionate.
But I wasn’t always good at what I did. I made a lot of mistakes and failed along the way. It was frustrating yet in my heart I knew from all my role models for me that I was due for greatness at one point ( like all of us). This is what motivates me to do what I do.
I’m on a journey to becoming successful…one step at time. This is how I built my personal brand.
According to Cervantes, the famous Spanish novelist, he said: ‘The road is better than the inn’. In other words, success is not a destination, but rather a journey. I really agree with this. Looking back at my career, the people I know that have had real, tangible success, are the ones who enjoyed the ride. The real winners were those that thought of it as a journey, instead of dwelling on the outcome or the title, despite any struggle the journey threw at them.
If I look at what I’ve acquired in my career, my skills as a listener and my experience in business and I add to that all the advice I received from the many people I had met, these were the key ingredients to get me started into a new career as an Executive Coach.
Am I successful? You would have to ask my clients. I prefer to tell my clients that I’m effective at my profession instead of successful. I’m on a journey to becoming successful…one step at time.
This is how I built my personal brand.
To be continued…
I really hope you’ve enjoyed the first part of the interview. I’ll be back next week with the rest :). But until then, instead of focusing only on your Valentine :), I challenge you to think about yourself and your personal brand.
- How much do you focus on networking (whether online or offline)?
- And what you should be doing next to consolidate your personal brand and start turning expertise into profits?
If you’re looking to improve your personal brand and start making those big $$$, you’re in the right place. Check out my services HERE.
Don’t hesitate to contact me for more details about the celWEBrity Factor journey, the personal branding program that helps talented people like you to build meaningful projects and businesses out of their expertise!