Monday, August 8, 2011

5 Personal Branding Tips for a Stock Market Crash

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Now obviously isn't the time for niceties so I'll just jump in here with some simple advice. Avoiding the cliches in favor of fresh thinking.

1. Divide & conquer on price: In a price-sensitive economy you can't ignore the price wars completely. So establish a value-level brand, a midlevel brand, and a premium brand. Let's say you're a consultant: There are things you do that cost a ton of money, and others you basically give away. If Think Banana Republic, Gap (needs fixing, I know), and Old Navy.

2. Convert from "Mechanical Turk" to "Angie's List": If what you do can be automated, get out of it. Quickly, elevate yourself from a worker to a service provider like no other. Do you answer the phones? Add something to that job that makes an executive's life easier. Run a plumbing business? Walk the dog as a freebie and now you are a "home life support specialist." Wake up and brand yourself differently now.

3. Find a second job or create one. Even if you work full-time, you can do something on a freelance basis. Cook for a busy parent, or a block of busy parents. Write. Teach. Babysit. Diversification of your income stream helps you achieve financial balance in an unstable marketplace.

4. Learn a new, hyper-technical skill that you can master. If you are far enough ahead of the curve, your skill makes you valuable and not a Mechanical Turk. I won't list any here - because you'll tell me that they're obsolete already - but in your industry, you know what they are. Even a commonplace skill can be difficult and esoteric enough to fit here if others need it, they can't figure it out, but you can. Example: decorating cupcakes. 

5. Pick up the gold laying free on the street: People haven't figured out how to monetize good content because so many others are giving it away for free. That means opportunity for you. Whatever your line of work, read avidly the tips available about how to optimize your business. Then use them. Because most people are too busy to pay attention.

It's a difficult time, but we can pull through it. In the meanwhile, keep your wits about you, and good luck!

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