A-Ha #3: The Discovery Delusion

For Part 3 of this series, click here. To check our earlier posts, visit our main page here.

Focusing on strengths? Check. Tweaking perspective? Check. We’ve completed the first two steps on your path to building a superstar personal brand. Those steps are fundamental, but they’re only the beginning. Where do we go from here?

We wait to be discovered, right?

Wrong.

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A-Ha #2: The Player Principle

For Part 2 of this series, click here. To check our earlier posts, visit our main page here.

Be yourself. It’s the first step to turning your uh-oh moment into an a-ha realization. But where do you go from there? How do you continue on the path to success?

Change your vocabulary.

The words you use to describe your situation help frame how you think and what your outcome is.

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A-Ha #1: The Identity Ethic

For Part 1 of this series, click here.

After my life took a turn off of the path that I (and my family) always thought it would be on, I was left adrift. I wasn’t sure where I was going to go with my life and how I was going to get there.

Well, I did know something. I knew what I thought was wrong with me and that I needed to fix it.

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The Big CLOSE.

Ever wonder how you got to where you are?

Today I was thinking about that…

When I was a kid, every year we’d visit my cousins’ house in Chicago. My family would drive out from Longmont, Colorado and stay there for a couple of weeks, during which time my (indulgent) teenage cousins and I would plan and execute our annual Talent Show in their basement.

The Talent Show featured your standard musical, dance and gymnastic lineup… mostly on roller skates. My mom still has a picture of me at 8 years old in pom-pom pigtails and overalls roller skating in circles around the “audience” (our parents), singing “Tomorrow” from Annie. At right is a picture of me posing before a gymnastic performance.

My talent show duties included: talent recruitment, ordering the numbers, hand-crafting invitations, designing costumes, spreading the word, and getting the parents to attend.

Ah, the glory days…

So no surprise, I guess, that nowadays my favorite time of the year (twice a year, actually) is Summit SeasonThe Women’s Success Summit (May 17th & 18th) is my grown-up version of the talent show. The Summit brings together South Florida’s most ambitious, talented and successful women (and men!) to inspire, educate and ELEVATE the business community.

The theme? The Big CLOSE – all focused around the principles of selling – selling yourself, your ideas, your products, your services. (And by the way, we are ALL selling SOMETHING.)

Clear your calendar, friends, this is one event you must attend. Personally, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. And yes, men ARE welcome to attend, and in fact, several often do!

Aside from the phenomenal content and national powerhouse speakers (check out the lineup here: www.WomensSuccessSummit.com), we have new and exciting sponsorship initiatives for businesses that want to engage 800 upscale, professional and highly influential women over 2 whole days. Check out the sponsorship deck here. Or contact Jessica Lurie for details (888) 531-3830, jessica@mivistainc.com.

By the way, I’m SO excited to announce our new venue, The Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables, (YAY!!!) and our partner, Chispa Marketing, that is producing this Summit.

This Summit will deliver game-changing strategies, foster powerful relationships and inspire those oh-so-important “a-ha” moments to help women like me elevate themselves beyond where they are today. Take a look at some of the amazing speakers and sessions we have lined up, and prepare to be blown away…

Forget Brand Loyalty… Try Brand LOVE

In business, the most profitable brands are those that people with money to spend LOVE (and love to HATE). Think about it: Apple (definitely has its fair share of lovers and haters), Christian Louboutin, Porsche, Whole Foods, and the list goes on and on…

By honing in on the real lovers of your brand, you can start to develop the most compelling messaging for them… which is the direct path into their hearts. And being in people’s hearts breeds loyalty.

On a related note, it also helps to “unload” those clients, prospects and audiences with whom you do NOT resonate.

Just recently I removed 20% of my contacts off of my email list. That’s right. I unsubscribed people from my own list. That may sound crazy to you… especially if you’re trying to build your email list. Why would I do such a thing? Simple. Metrics showed I didn’t resonate with them enough. And if I didn’t resonate, they’d never contract me or refer me business.

In addition to cleaning out my email list, I also eliminated several service offerings and stopped taking small, project-based or “one-off” clients (unless they pay a LOT more).

The result: some awesome free time to spend having a life.

Here’s to “blinging your brand!”

Michelle Villalobos (veeyalowbos)

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Creating Your Personal Brand – Part I: Defining Your Brand

The most important first step in creating an effective, compelling, personal brand that drives referrals, buzz and word-of-mouth business is to DEFINE your personal brand as narrowly as you can.

Consider these essential elements:

  1. What value do you provide (rather than what services you offer)? Here’s an example, if you are a personal trainer, try positioning yourself in terms of the result: “lose weight,” “get in shape,” or “get hot.” Keep in mind that to cut through the clutter, you’ll want to choose something memorable, something “sticky.” David Barton Gym uses “Look Better Naked.” Now that’s memorable.
  2. Who is your target customer? Get specific. If you say “everyone” or “anyone,” that’s simply not defined enough – especially online.
  3. In what geographic area do you focus?
  4. What makes you different from your competition (your USP – unique selling proposition)? This is a tough one because a UNIQUE selling proposition by definition means that other people can’t say the same thing. So if you say “unparalleled service” or “top-notch quality” that’s simply not unique enough (because everyone says that). How are you truly different from everyone else? That’s your USP.
  5. What are some basic key words (like “luxury real estate” or “small business coach”) that you’d like associated with your name?
  6. What do you want to be top of mind for? From the above, create a one-liner that describes who you are and what you do, that you can start using in multiple places (more on where to deploy this later). For example, mine is “Michelle Villalobos delivers never-boring workshops, seminars and keynotes to help professionals – especially women – market, sell and promote themselves. Our programs are 100% performance guaranteed, or you don’t pay.”

Keep in mind that your goal is ultimately to be “top of mind” for something, and it’s impossible to be top of mind for multiple things – at least at first. So if you have a side business or have two jobs, you need to choose one brand that encompasses both, or just focus on one. Later, once your brand is established, you can start to expand your brand and leverage it into new areas.

Think of Martha Stewart, who got her start focusing on food and catering. Once established in that niche, she started expanding her focus to encompass “homemaking” in general. Plan now for where your going 1 – 3 years out.

Stay tuned for parts 2 – 10 of this Personal Branding Series. Want more? Check out our Personal Branding video training program at http://www.MakeThemBEG.com.

Michelle Villalobos is based in Miami, FL and travels nationally & internationally to consult on brand strategy and deliver workshops, seminars & keynotes, especially for women’s groups and companies marketing to women.