The Importance of Your Personal Brand

personal brandToday, we have a post from personal finance blogger Harry Campbell.  Harry started blogging about personal finance on his main site Your PF Pro a few years ago and enjoyed it so much that he started a second site dedicated to finding the perfect work-life balance at The Four Hour Work Day.  When Harry is not blogging, he works full time as an aerospace engineer and enjoys surfing and playing beach volleyball.

Do you know what your personal brand looks like? If you’ve never even thought about it before, it’s time to start. Now more than ever, it’s important to understand that we each need to build, cultivate, and maintain our own personal brands.

You might already know why it’s important to have a good reputation at work, or a certain image within a particular field. You need to maintain your reputation so that people who matter – potential employers, current supervisors, or partners and coworkers – relate your name to positive qualities before they’ve even met you. In the past, we really only needed to seriously worry about this in a professional sense. After all, not many potential connections were going to stumble across your name in the yellow pages. Instead, maybe they’d ask someone in their network about you, or call up a previous manager.

Global Scale

But thanks to today’s global economy and increasingly online world, it’s easy to run a simple Google search to discover all the online information available on a particular name. Regardless of whether or not you find this creepy or a violation of privacy, it’s reality.

Additionally, as more people forego the traditional workforce and strike out on their own with a side business or as freelancers, the Internet has become an increasingly noisy place. As a result, it’s becoming more and more important to create a solid, accurate image – a good personal brand – that will be appealing to anyone who is browsing online and hits upon your information.

Perception is Everything

How people perceive who and how you are can make or break opportunities in your career or business. It doesn’t matter if you work for someone else as an employee or have started to venture out into self-employment: the workplace is incredibly competitive. If you manage your personal brand, you’ll have a leg up on your peers and it will be easier to stay one step ahead of all that competition.

Having a personal brand means you have a presence within your chosen industry. It means you are more than a barely-filled-out LinkedIn profile or a locked-down and totally private Facebook page. When someone Googles your name, multiple social media accounts will pop up, and the latest posts will show that you’re actively engaged in what others in your field are talking about. It means other employees (or entrepreneurs) within an industry network not only know your name, but know what you do, what kind of value you provide, and what you believe in or stand for.

Getting Started

So how to do you go about building your personal brand if you haven’t started yet? First, ask yourself what’s currently out there. Do a Google search on your name – what comes up? Is the information accurate? Are the results even referring to you, or are they all about a different John Smith? Once you get a feel for your relevance and presence online, you can start taking steps to grow it or improve it.

Start with social media accounts. There’s nothing wrong with having other social media platforms that are completely private and for your personal friends and family only. But make sure that’s not the only platform you’re using. For example, if your Facebook account is private, fire up a public Twitter account, follow people in your field, and don’t be afraid to tweet things that are relevant or helpful. This will help you establish a presence online and will also have the added benefit of growing your network.

Personal Website

Consider setting up a website (“” is a good idea for a domain) to feature the kind of work you do or want to do. Use it to showcase a portfolio or host case studies of how your efforts have improved a marketing strategy, sales numbers, or conversion rates. And adding a blog to your site is another thing to think about; it’s a good way to ensure you have a way to constantly produce content that’s longer and more in-depth than a social media update.

Once you have some sort of brand in place, you need to manage it. Your goal should be to always add value in whatever arena you’re active in. This will further cement your reputation as someone others want to be around and work with, as it proves you’re knowledgeable, helpful, and willing to work with others. It’s the easiest way to make your name memorable and to create a brand that is recognizable – and in demand.

Editor’s Note: Do you have a personal brand? Interestingly enough, I feel like my Budget Blonde brand evolved all on its own. If you liked Harry’s post, you’ll probably enjoy this one too. :)

5 Foolproof Ways To Make Money Online

Do you have a family vacation you want to go on? An addiction to beautiful shoes? A bunch of debt you want to pay off?

Perhaps you just got laid off or, like many of my friends, moved to a foreign country where you are not permitted to work without a visa.

Or, do you just want a little cushion or an emergency fund for hard times? Sure, you can wait for the income tax refund that you might or might not get, but when money’s tight you don’t want to wait!

If any of these scenarios sound like you, you should be a freelancer.

While my experience has primarily been with freelance writing jobs, you can do just about anything online from making phone calls for people to being someone’s personal assistant to agreeing to wear a big hotdog outfit and jump on a trampoline (you think I’m joking – and no that was not me.)

But, before you get all pumped up and start dreaming of ways that you can spend the extra cash, you should know a few things.

  1. Finding online jobs is a job in itself.
  2. You might not get paid what you think are worth.
  3. If you want to be successful, you have to work extremely hard.

Now that I’ve said that, here’s my take on it:

Over one year ago, my only “freelance” gig was helping family and friends edit their papers, formal letters, and personal statements for graduate school. Time and time again, people told me I should charge for my services, but I just did it to be nice.

Then, when I moved to the Caribbean island of Grenada, I got stir crazy. I wasn’t working for the first time in my life, and I had just finished a rigorous masters degree program. I actually got a little down, because I felt like I had just done two years of intensive studying, only to do nothing with it.

So, I started to research online writing jobs. And, I got my first one making $10/post (I do a little better than that now!)

As the months went by, I continued to look for jobs. At least once a day I applied to something. Many of them did not respond. Many of them lowballed me. But, I kept on persisting.

I don’t want to list the exact amount I make each month doing this, but I can say that it is in the thousands. And it started at zero only one year ago.

I should also note that I don’t have any talents that are particularly better than anyone else’s. I’m just a gal that likes to write.

However, what I believe has always set me apart is that I have an intense work ethic, and I’m a self-starter. I can literally force myself to sit for hours and do this. I think my family thinks I’m crazy. But, I’m just crazy satisfied, because for the first time in my life, I am really enjoying what I am doing.

So, now that I’ve rambled on and on, here are the 5 main ways that I get freelance jobs:

  1. I look on problogger every day. These are mostly writing jobs, but occasionally they have social media marketing jobs (which you can do with a little know how and an understanding of facebook, twitter, and pinterest.) The important thing is that if I see a job I want, I apply the exact same day, and I try to make sure my resume and job qualifications match up perfectly. This is a very popular job board, and you have to be quick.
  2. Criagslist is king. One of my biggest tips/secrets is that I look at craigslist jobs in major cities every day. I found one of my highest paying clients by applying to a job I found on the New York City writing jobs section of Craigslist. Be wary of sending too much personal information. Just send an introduction and qualifications.
  3. I was lucky to get in on Fiverr in its early stages. This is a website where people pay you to do things for 5 bucks. It can really be anything. The hurdle you have to leap over is getting your first gig and first positive review. Then, you immediately jump up in the rankings. This one takes time, but it surprises me each month with the profits. In fact, I opened up a separate high yield savings account just to put Fiverr profits in, and I am using it to by a new macbook computer in the beginning of August.
  4. Another tactic I use that’s not typically discussed is that if I see a blogger that is similar to me, I check out who they are writing for. Often I will take it a step further and ask for their contact’s e-mail address. (You can see who I write for on my Hire Me tab, for example.) This is key because if you just e-mail a big website at random to ask for a job, it might get lost. You are looking for the specific e-mail address of the content manager, assistant editor, or social media manager. They are the ones who get you hired. And, their e-mail addresses aren’t often out in the open.
  5. Sign up with a site like Odesk or Freelancer. While I do not work with these sites myself, many, many freelancers that I know personally have gotten amazing amounts of work from these sites. One SEO company that I work with actually got hired personally to do SEO for the entire site, so they even use their own freelancers to get things accomplished!

Bonus Tips: You are not the only one who is trying to make money online. You might get some work by passively applying for jobs, but you will not be able to quit your day job. The only way you can do that is with a go getter attitude and constant persistence. Network on twitter. Get to know a lot of people who do the same type of freelance work that you do. Connect frequently. Apply every day. Get better. Get recommendations. Present yourself as a professional. And when you get the job, do a victory dance!

5 Foolproof Ways To Make Money Online

Have any questions or tips I did not cover? Just leave them in the comment section below!  The more, the merrier. Let’s have that freelancer love spreading around!