The Business Of Personal Branding

04/17/2015 12:06 pm ET | Updated Jun 14, 2015

I'm reminded of being in the fashion business. At that time, my emphasis was on the business side of fashion. And although it's some 20 years since I was in that business, not much has changed. In essence, it's still about buying and selling. Yes, creativity was always relevant, however, if what had been created didn't sell... Need I say more? As far as Personal Branding's concerned, the business aspect is fundamental. However, there seems to be some misunderstanding/confusion about this. I hear many say, 'Malcolm, Personal Branding's a bit alternative for me.' My response is usually, 'It maybe just an alternative to what you're used to.'

When people come to understand that their Personal Brand can determine their success, they tend to pay more attention. Simply, our Personal Brand is as important as we want it to be. Moreover, it's to do with how much importance we attribute to it. How much are you willing and prepared to do to improve your Personal Brand? Are you prepared to really look at yourself from the inside out? That way, you can ascertain if you communicate your true values and beliefs. For instance, do you tend to say Yes, when you often feel No? Or, do you think you could be more authentic? Are you being the Best version of you? In fact, do you know what the best version of you is?

No need to answer any of these questions now, but worth reflecting on them. Only by allowing ourselves to own up, so to speak, about that we wish to improve, can we begin the process. Almost like the effect of a drug, we become addicted to improving our Personal Brand. Over the years, I know I've become devoted to improving my Personal Brand. When we ask ourselves how we'd like others to experience us when first meeting them, initially our thoughts might be a little blurry. Not surprising, as for many, this is an unusual question to ask of ourselves.

Start by asking three people you trust, how they'd describe you to someone who doesn't know you. That way, you may become somewhat enlightened. Actually, I believe you will be pleasantly surprised with what you hear. For many this can be a wake-up call. For some, it might alert the 'Phew! I'm actually okay' button. For others, perhaps draw attention to making an adjustment or two. For instance, would it help if you improved your grooming? Could you benefit by increasing your EQ (Emotional Intelligence)? When we really ask ourselves what could we improve, though our ego might respond with, 'I'm fine just the way I am.' We are very rarely just fine the way we are, as there's always something we can improve or change for the better.

Some tips:

Know you are a work in progress

Learn to trust those 'gut feelings'

Patience is not just a virtue, it's essential

The harder we work, the luckier we get

Luck's all around us, we just need to be more aware of it

Curiosity is how winners become more successful

Aspiring to be more authentic is a worthy aspiration