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5 Steps To Building A Strong Personal Brand

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Whether you’re an entrepreneur running a business or a career focused professional, building a strong personal brand is essential for earning respect in your field and achieving success.

Your personal brand is your reputation, it’s how others perceive you, it’s how you market yourself and deliver a unique promise of value. As Amazon founder Jeff Bezos says, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”

If you look at some of the most successful people in the eye of the media today – from Arnold Schwarzenegger and Taylor Swift to Richardson Branson, they’ve all developed solid personal brands that are both authoritative and likeable. 

Here are 5 steps to build a strong personal brand:

1. Connect with influencers

Having your name associated with successful peers is a guaranteed way to raise your profile and give your personal brand a huge boost. Make a list of the biggest influencers in your industry and build strong relationships with them over time.

You can start off by simply commenting on their blog posts or social media updates, then as you build their trust you can offer to help with their new project or invite them to an industry event. Once your name Is frequently being mentioned amongst industry influencers, then you too will be perceived as an influencer.

 

2. Let your personality shine

People are drawn towards others who are interesting and fun to be around so avoid being dull in your professional life. Whether you’re speaking to a client on the phone or sending an email to a supplier, try to breathe some life into your interactions so that people remember you with a smile. Don’t be afraid to be different – it’s better to be a little different than to be the boring person that nobody remembers.

“Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.” – Allen Ginsberg 

3. Get recommended

Few things strengthen your personal brand more than public praise from other people, especially if those praising you are well known. If you’re a business owner, you should be asking your most reputable clients to publicly recommend you on social media as well as your own site.

If you are career focused, then you should be asking your most senior colleagues and ex-colleagues to recommend you on LinkedIn to prove the value you have provided.

 

Branding
 

4. Create valuable content

In order to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry, it’s essential that you demonstrate your expertise through providing useful informative content on the web. Whether you create detailed how-to-videos or write data driven industry reports, make sure you create something that will help your clients and boost your reputation at the same time.

Once you provide value to somebody upfront without asking for anything in return, you build trust and make it easier for them to begin a working relationship with you.

 

5. Take on public speaking engagements

Public speaking is a proven tool for boosting your reputation and positioning yourself as an authority on a particular subject. Public speaking is a difficult skill to master so start with small groups of colleagues or clients before pitching yourself to speak at conferences and events.

Only speak about the subjects you are most knowledgeable and passionate about to ensure you can speak confidently and deliver engaging sessions.

“The success of your presentation will be judged not by the knowledge you sent but by what the listener receives.” – Lilly Walters

If you’re looking to achieve success via a strong personal brand, then keep working hard to prove yourself as an expert in your field and build trust in your market.

What steps can you take to create your own successful personal brand? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

Andrew Fennell is the founder and Director of London based CV writing and career development firm StandOut CV. Andrew is also a regular contributor to the Guardian Careers sections and speaks about career development at Companies and Universities across the UK.

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17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Rebecca Matias

    May 9, 2018 at 5:55 am

    Awesome tips, Andrew!All of the steps you have mentioned are very helpful for businesses in building a strong brand. But for me, #4 is the most important thing in building a brand,it is the perfect means for creating a signature style that builds recognition and conveys your brand’s personality.Thanks for sharing your ideas.

  2. Ram

    May 1, 2018 at 2:55 am

    Very informative article with simple yet powerful steps to build one’s personal brand. Providing value to other through quality content is a very potent way of standing out from the crowd and making an impression.

  3. Ran Mendis

    Aug 3, 2016 at 4:13 am

    Cheers Tim, what a coincidence? I watched cool runnings couple of days ago n super inspired. Awesome work Tim you have just extracted the cream of it and my favorite point is ” being different is important ” I’m a big fan of yours and you inspired me to create content, now I’m doing dailly. Keep writing Tim. Respect n Regards. Ran Mendis

  4. folawewo Oludare

    Feb 1, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    Thanks Andrew. Personal lifestyle and business life are 2 aspects that needed to be mash together. Balancing this could prove a task as maximum concentration is needed,even sometimes,reflective meditation is require to bring out the best of trait. But altogether,I really find this article very helpful as it gave the stepping blocks of ideas on which to climb higher in achieving a goal. So insightful. I will make use of it. Thanks.

  5. Nihar Pradhan

    Jan 18, 2016 at 7:28 am

    Wonderfully written Andrew…Brand is such a vital component of building a successful venture, many times as innovator or creator of new ideas we overlook the brand per se and get bogged down in the nitty-gritty of the product and its functioning, these all matters but it is brand that counts in the big picture. The identity and the trust that comes with brand is what sets the product or service apart in the market…

    Yes, it so much about creating valuable content and being able to articulate and speak out loud in the gathering and being able to garner the confidence that makes a huge difference…

  6. Joseph Themba

    Jan 8, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    Great one Andrew! Many thanks

  7. jay

    Jan 6, 2016 at 11:51 pm

    Nice!

  8. Ngonidzashe

    Jan 2, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    I like this. This is a great article.

  9. Nissar

    Jan 1, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    Great post Andrew. Thanks for writing this.

  10. Owen Hone

    Dec 31, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    Great post Andrew

  11. Lawrence Berry

    Dec 30, 2015 at 3:41 am

    Marketing and branding is very important in building s successful business and making money. Becoming a household name is one the toughest things to achieve but these steps can help you achieve just that. Connecting with influencers is important. Learn from them and find a way help them as they will offer you help as well. Successful people want others to be successful as well.

  12. Doreen Pendgracs

    Dec 28, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    Terrific article. I’ve worked very hard over the past 6 years to build my brand. His hard it is!

    Congrats to Tim for joining Toastmasters. I’ve been a member for 15 years and have found it to be an invaluable organization.

  13. Stephen Osoko

    Dec 28, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    This was very insightful. I particularly have been using Step 1. There are so many benefits of engaging with influencers without a doubt! Great Post Once Again!

  14. Tim Denning

    Dec 27, 2015 at 6:34 am

    Andrew thank you for this post. While I already do some of these five points, there are still afew that I don’t do and your article is a good reminder for me to make it my new years resolution. One that I currently don;t do is public speaking although i have signed up to Toastmasters to build some skill. I have heard Lewis Howles speak of Toastmasters a few times so I figured it must be worth a try.

    I hope to read more of your work and thanks again!!!

    • Andrew Fennell

      Dec 28, 2015 at 4:39 pm

      Thanks Tim – Yes it can be hard to balance all points but looks like you’re doing a good job!

  15. addicted 2 The Grind

    Dec 26, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    Great Post #1 is the most important in my opinion. If you produce great content it will be seen eventually but if you connect with influencers in your space that can speed up the process.

    You can’t be scared or to cocky to interact with other thought leaders in your space.

  16. Ajasa

    Dec 26, 2015 at 10:31 pm

    Many thanks sir this article is very helpful sir

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Startups

10 Small Startups That You Can Build on Your Own Right Now

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Image Credit: Twenty20.com

Having a business of our own is a dream that is very obvious and common all throughout. With the rise in startups and funding options, the market is blooming with successful entrepreneurs. And rightly so! But many ambitious people are seen dropping out of their dream of building a business only because of the funds involved in setting up one! We forget to acknowledge that the idea if planned and executed well, is strong enough to pull in all the investments.

Both Facebook and Microsoft started as very small business ideas and we all know the fate of them in today’s world. The basic idea is to invest your idea and build your own brand out of it. There is a market for startups that is constantly evolving with different niches.

So for anybody looking to start small yet efficient, here’s a list of 10 small startups that you can build on your own as per the current scenario:

1. Blogging/ Vlogging

In the past few years of digitalization, this has emerged as one of the top-notch money-making investments. The cost involved is as meagre as it can get, but the returns are particularly amazing.

Before starting to blog, one has to invest in a domain name and hosting whereas, for vlogging in platforms like youtube, there is no money involved. All it takes is an expertise in any field and the confidence to present it in the best engaging way possible. Bloggers earn through a lot of collaborations and affiliate marketing whereas youtube itself pays it’s users when they reach a good set of engagement through content.

2. Baking

If baking is your passion, it can very well be your profession. Your only big investment is a good oven and then, your skills do the magic! If you’re enthusiastic about baking, you can prepare cakes, muffins, cookies, and homemade bakery items.

The market for this has huge potential as customers are always experimenting on taste and are looking for the best customization. By posting your bakery items online, you can directly connect with your customers and provide economical solutions as per your brand.

3. Stylist

With the rise in competition amongst folks to be more presentable, personal stylists stand a great chance in the market. Most everyday individuals are trying hard to keep a great profile at their display due to the increased demand for visibility.

Coordinating your makeup, your hair, and your dress for the perfect occasion calls for expert advice, and the expert advice comes with money! So put your styling sense on display and get yourself great customers.

4. Developer

This is one of the highest demanding markets if you have the skill for it! A new app or a website is getting developed all the time. From small businesses to public figures to bigger enterprises, everybody has an online presence for their brand. Web developers and App developers are hence, almost every entrepreneurs “go-to” person. The investment is null if knowledge is not counted as one if you already have a good system to back up your codes.

“Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out.” – John Wooden

5. Event Planning

Starting up with an event management company requires a dedicated human resource with a knack of marketing and networking skills. You could start your office at your home before you earn enough to expand it.

Event planning has become a need in almost every household to offices for it gives people the liberty to enjoy their event without thinking much of it. Event planning is hence a rescue measure nobody forgets to take!

6. Professional Photography

With Facebook and Instagram taking a toll on people, the demand for enriching and captivating pictures has hit people enormously.

People tend to pay chunks of money for video shoots and detailed photography to capture their big days. As a professional photographer, you are in demand for great projects!

7. Interior Designing

A dream home is always designed as per the customer’s choice. And today, almost every house purchased includes the customer getting its interior designed well for their convenience. Interior designers with a decent outreach in the market are a business of their own! The only requirement is to understand the needs and use your own creativity to earn out of it.

8. Food truck

Food at an affordable rate, and one that pleases your taste buds never goes out of fashion. A cafe or a restaurant is out of budget for most people, but renting a food truck along with a good cook is not only trendy but also a cheap investment.

Food trucks have been in the market for quite some time now and are a great spot for food lovers. A food truck also has an advantage of mobility and hence, is a great business idea that can attract crowds.

9. Tutoring

Are you good with understanding psychology and teaching methods? Then this is an exclusive business plan for anybody willing to invest the time. There is a need for quality learning methods and a greater understanding of subjects whether it is a school course, music, or an art. There is almost no investment in teaching except for the time spent. And hence, this is the most cost-effective business.

“Don’t think about your errors or failures; otherwise, you’ll never do a thing.” – Bill Murray

10. Travel agency

A home based travel agency would cost very little since it has to be tied up with a host agency. The time is such that most of the people are at least planning a tour once in a year on average. The cost of setting up a travel agency is less but the commission earned is really worth more than the investment. It is one such happy-go-lucky businesses out in the market!

Every business has its own share of failures and successes. There are a lot of myths associated with starting a new business that you will come across but you should be careful to ditch them. You will understand it only when you give it a try. Try something new, and you’ll never know where it might go.

Which one of these 10 startup ideas resonates most with you and why? Let us know your thoughts below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Startups

Working With A Bad Boss Is The Real Soul-Crushing Dream Killer

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Bad bosses are ruining great companies all over the world. The problem is not the people it’s the bosses that they work for.

You know what I’m talking about. We’ve all had one of these bad bosses.

  • They micromanage
  • They promise the world and deliver nothing
  • They overload you and know you’re going to fail
  • They never listen
  • They’re always too busy (busy doing meetings aka socializing)
  • They never back you in performance conversations
  • They get angry at you when you’re doing your best

I could go on for hours.

BAD BOSSES SUCK and are destroying otherwise great companies.


My bad boss

I’m lucky. I’ve only had one bad boss.

This boss would complain to everyone about how bad the company was. He told everyone he wanted to leave except me. I asked him several times and he lied to me. His only trick to motivate me was to remind me that bonus time was right around the corner.

Somehow that bonus was supposed to make up for the fact we hated going to work and it was soul-crushing.

Everything this boss taught me was wrong.

Stab your colleagues in the back on their way out. Bag other bosses and then pretend you didn’t. Never support your team’s personal goals outside of work.

For around six months, while this bad bosses reign of terror lasted, no one wanted to come to work. The best part about work was going home. Even better was long weekends and any excuse not to have to talk with him.

The company had a good name and quality products but the culture had spiraled out of control. This bad boss had become one of many.Conversations at work became nothing more than weekly meetings where everyone would go through what they did and have KPI conversations. It was demoralizing.

I tried to tell him that I discovered a major client was leaving. He ignored it and told me I was wrong. I gave him clear evidence. He still denied it — until the client finally left.


Titles, salaries and bonuses are not enough

Who gives a damn about all of that.

These things feel good for about a day and then they become nothing more than trivial pursuits that don’t mean anything at the end of the day.

Titles, salaries and bonuses are like dog treats used to lure dogs into obeying orders. Is it really acceptable to treat humans in this way and reward them like incentivized dogs that should do as they’re told and roll over?

I’ve had some good bonuses in my career. The best year was when I made no bonus and got the girl I’d always dreamed about.

I’ve had some awesome job titles in my career. The best title was the one of leader which was given to me by the internet after I spent years inspiring people through personal development and entrepreneurship. The titles you appreciate are the ones that don’t describe a department or area of a business.

I’ve had some awesome salaries too. The difference between five figures and six figures is hardly noticeable. I didn’t suddenly go from homeless to driving a Ferrari. In fact, when I had less, I appreciated it so much more. Saving up to buy an iPad felt like a huge achievement.

There are too many bad bosses waffling on about KPI’s and incentives and not enough trying to show their people how to find meaning in their life and do work they love. That’s the work of a good boss”


How do you escape a bad boss?

“Having a bad boss isn’t your fault. Staying with one is” — Nora Denzel

Take responsibility. Do something about your bad boss. Change departments or change companies. Whatever you do don’t give your boss the thumbs up by sticking around. Instead, give them the quiet middle finger and get your ass out of there as quickly as you can.

It’s your responsibility to vote with your career and show them who’s not your boss.

Respect yourself too. Escaping your bad boss is less about them and more about you. If you respect yourself, you’ll escape. It’s not prison. You can use platforms like LinkedIn to find another career. There’s lots of nice people out there that will help you escape your bad boss if you’ll just have the courage to ask them.


Nothing will kill your dreams quicker than a bad boss.

A bad boss can affect you more than you realize. They make you feel sick, they make you lack energy and they don’t support you thus killing your goals and dreams.

You need a good boss that’s willing to let you do projects, do good work, and meet people that are aligned with your dreams. Not working towards your goals each day at work kills your motivation. Keeping a bad boss happy is soul-crushing.

You need positivity, advice, coaching, and the right people to achieve your personal goals. A bad boss is never going to listen to any of that because they are all about themselves and their KPI’s.

Stick KPI’s where the sun don’t shine. No person has ever been or ever will be genuinely motivated by that three letter acronym ‘KPI’ that you bolster on about until we all want to fall asleep”


What does a good boss look like?

Really simple everybody:

  1. They respect you first and you respect them back.
  2. They trust people to do the job and support you to do so
  3. They don’t give you the answer they help you find it for yourself
  4. They have emotional intelligence, empathy and compassion oozing out of them
  5. They appreciate the work you do and the challenges you face
  6. They’ll never ask you to do something they’re not prepared to do themselves (i.e., managers that don’t talk to clients)
  7. They help you to grow by giving you challenges aligned to your own goals

I’ve had many good bosses that follow this format. One such boss got me to attend Toastmasters which not only helped my public speaking but built my confidence.

This same good boss also allowed me to work one day in social media. He’s the reason I now work a four day week, so I can continue that tradition of working one day entirely on social media.


A message for the bad bosses of the world.

You can’t hide any longer.

People are catching on to the fact they can choose any company they want to work for.

“LinkedIn now provides us with endless opportunities to get the hell away from you and meet good bosses”

As freedom in the working world spreads, bad bosses are going to be ignored and therefore be forced into hiding and made extinct like the dinosaurs. Bad bosses, we’re coming for you!

We’re going to silence you through leaving your ass behind.
We’re going to encourage others to do the same.
We’re going to choose ourselves first.

There’s no excuse to be a bad boss….ever.

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Startups

4 Simple Ways to Transform Your Startup Into a Success

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Who said for a startup to become a success it must struggle for years? If planned and executed smartly, any startup can sail on the ship of success without any hurdles.

There are many myths associated with startups like ‘It has to be small because it is a startup,’ or ‘You just need an idea and the rest will follow,’ or even, ‘Investing in marketing or advertising for a startup is a waste”. Just because a startup is something new for you, doesn’t mean it’s new for people too.

There are thousands of others with your same idea already out there in the market. Hence, for your startup to climb the ladder of success as soon as you roll the dice, you better get the right figures i.e you better do what you need to do in the right manner and proportion. Confused? Let us make it more clear to you.

One of the most often quoted statistics is that 50% of all startups fail to survive even five years. And the reasons for their downfalls are so silly that later they repent only if they had taken care of it at the beginning itself, the startup could have survived. A post-mortem of 287 Startups was carried out by CBInsights among which, the common reasons of startup failure that emerged out were:

  • Lack of focus, motivation, commitment and passion
  • The eagerness of scaling too fast
  • Floating with pride and spending a lot
  • Ignoring good pieces of advice and falling into the wrong company
  • Lack of general and domain-specific business knowledge: finance, operations, and marketing and experience
  • Investing blunders and running out of cash
  • Improper budgeting
  • No getting market exposure
  • Poor product/service
  • No business plan/strategy
  • No/Poor marketing
  • Focusing only on profit and not on customers

For a startup to succeed, money and ideas are not enough, it needs a lot of input from your side as well to grow and survive, like your passion, commitment, willingness to adjust, patience and persistence, observation, relationship with all and basic knowledge and skill. But above all, professionalism is the most important factor. Starting small and new is nothing to be taken lightly. How you interact with your investors, clients or customers, matters, after all, they are the one who will make or break your startup.

Here are the 4 simple ways that will reflect your professionalism as well as turn your startup into a success:

1. Two heads are better than one

Go get a co-founder. Studies show that a startup with two founders significantly increases the odds of success. How? Because two balanced and fully invested partners can keep the startup going on their shoulders equally well. A co-founder means you will have someone to rely on, share the load, chip in during critical times, handle responsibilities, motivate each other and so on. In the end, so what you will have to share the fruit of success, at least your startup will have a balanced support which will prevent it from drowning in the future.

Take for example the Mistay Founder Pranav Prabhakar who believes that, “Multiple founders with complementary skills bring in wider perspective to the team. While taking key decisions and at high-pressure situations, it’s always preferable to have someone who can provide support and an alternative perspective,” and hence has Sandeep Jaiswal as the co-founder of Mistay.

According to Sandeep, ‘A co-founder makes it easy to navigate through tough times. A partner with complimenting skill-sets and different style of thinking is important to help avoid mistakes one would otherwise make, he stressed. So having a co-founder is like an extra support for your startup.

“The value of an idea lies in the using of it.” – Thomas Edison, General Electric Co-founder

2. Get a website/app or both

If you are thinking an investment into web/app is a big waste of money, then hello, it’s 2018 and today from kids to oldies, everyone is constantly browsing either on a desktop/laptop or on mobile. Your potential customers, clients and investors are out there on all platforms and to make them learn about your startup, you must have a website or app of yours ready.

If you are still worried about the budget, for starters, host your site on WordPress which is the most popular CMS of the planet. Its versatility and possibilities are endless which you can take benefit of or go for professional pre-made website templates that easily available at affordable prices.

3. Let people know

Branding and marketing both are lifelines for a business and just because you are a startup doesn’t mean you can survive without them. Branding means establishing a professional presence in both online and offline medium. Make your company logo, colour and other identities visible everywhere as much as possible. Give your clients pens, diaries or other stationary items with your company logo, this will remind them of your great service.

Also, spend rightly on marketing even if you are running a single campaign, make it an effective one that creates an impact on the people. Don’t forget to check whether the market is right for your product/service. Marketing at the right time only will prove beneficial. For eg., marketing your summer clothes brand during winter is useless.

4. Deliver what you promised

Sticking with your word creates your professional image and even a slight slip in it will bring down your startup empire. Nothing is more irritating than a business failing to deliver what it promised. Don’t brag about anything it will only lose your potential customers, stain your reputation and in a worse scenario, get you in legal troubles. First, deliver what you told them you can gradually add and inform them if you wish to serve more. Until and unless, as a startup, don’t try to go overboard and create a mess of everything.

“Always deliver more than expected.” – Larry Page, Google Co-Founder

Turning an idea from concept to production is no cakewalk. The eagerness to establish into a giant is understandable, but, why take unnecessary big risks and crash in the end? Better study the market first, define what new you are giving, plan at its best, execute smartly and enjoy the rewards.

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Startups

Don’t Let The New Person Have Lunch By Themselves.

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I joined a new company two weeks ago. I’ve been the new person at work many times before — I know what it feels like. A new workplace is scary, overwhelming and challenging.

What I’m about to share with you makes me incredibly emotional and it’s very close to my heart.

During the week I saw someone else, who was also new, having lunch by themselves.

They walked through the big grey door by themselves, took one look over at all the tables, and then headed towards a table in the corner away from everybody. My heart sunk.

I knew what he was going through and it wasn’t easy. Right as he walked through the door, I was in the middle of a conversation.

Mid-sentence, I said:
“Excuse me for just a second. I’ll be right back.”

People sitting on my table looked at me funny. They knew I was odd and did weird stuff. They were trying to figure out what I was about to do in their own minds.

I’ve always been told that leadership is not about being the boss but setting the right example

I walked over to the other side of the lunchroom. I said:

“Would you like to come over and have lunch with us?”

I wanted him to feel part of the team. The first couple of weeks in any career are make or break — I should know given my recent exit from finance after seven years.


I know what it’s like to be the new person.

I was the new person in insurance.
Then I was the new person in business banking.
Then I was the new person in eCommerce.

Each time I was the new person I felt scared, incredibly fearful, overwhelmed, anxious and self-conscious. Not much has changed really. I still feel like that which is why I’m obsessed with being part of the solution.

The solution is this:

“Don’t let the new person have lunch by themselves.”

Taking the time to make people feel included and like they matter makes a difference. You could be the difference between a new person staying and having an epic time at work, or giving up in the first few months.


The difference is even bigger than you think.

What do I mean? If being the new person doesn’t go well, it can lead to many issues that you may not have realized. The new person could become lonely; the new person could underachieve and be fired; the new person could struggle to make friends.

These issues could lead to a failed career or not being able to pay bills or even mental illness.

As a worst case scenario, these issues could even lead to suicide. The difference of helping that one person to have lunch with the team could be far greater than you realize.


Inclusion is how we cure loneliness.

Loneliness is why we have social media, dating apps and cafes.

No one wants to be that person having lunch by themselves because they feel like they’re not enough or can’t fit in.

The cure to loneliness is inclusion”

You can be the difference by encouraging inclusion.

Be the leader and set the example of inclusion.

Embrace differences in culture, gender, sexual orientation and race.

Stopping someone from having lunch by themselves will teach you far more about life that you might think. Bottom line is this: we’re all the answer. Be inclusive.


One sentence can change everything.

That one sentence “Hey would you like to join us for lunch?” means more than you think. You were the new person once. I was the new person too.

That one sentence can change someone’s perspective.

It’s not about lunch buddies; it’s about leading with heart and being a good human being.

It’s what you must do. Next time you see someone having lunch by themselves, invite them over. If they are too shy to come over, sit down with them and have lunch together.

It’s the simple hacks like this that will change your reality.

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Success is for the Self-Taught

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Truman Capote, Jimi Hendrix, Steve Jobs, Nikola Tesla. Those are four names you never thought you’d see in a sentence together. As it happens, these four individuals have more in common than their success, ingenuity, and fame. They were all autodidacts. In other words, they were self-taught learners. (more…)

Ellie Batchiyska is a writer for Every USB, helping business and entrepreneurs with their branding through the use of custom flash drives.

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17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Rebecca Matias

    May 9, 2018 at 5:55 am

    Awesome tips, Andrew!All of the steps you have mentioned are very helpful for businesses in building a strong brand. But for me, #4 is the most important thing in building a brand,it is the perfect means for creating a signature style that builds recognition and conveys your brand’s personality.Thanks for sharing your ideas.

  2. Ram

    May 1, 2018 at 2:55 am

    Very informative article with simple yet powerful steps to build one’s personal brand. Providing value to other through quality content is a very potent way of standing out from the crowd and making an impression.

  3. Ran Mendis

    Aug 3, 2016 at 4:13 am

    Cheers Tim, what a coincidence? I watched cool runnings couple of days ago n super inspired. Awesome work Tim you have just extracted the cream of it and my favorite point is ” being different is important ” I’m a big fan of yours and you inspired me to create content, now I’m doing dailly. Keep writing Tim. Respect n Regards. Ran Mendis

  4. folawewo Oludare

    Feb 1, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    Thanks Andrew. Personal lifestyle and business life are 2 aspects that needed to be mash together. Balancing this could prove a task as maximum concentration is needed,even sometimes,reflective meditation is require to bring out the best of trait. But altogether,I really find this article very helpful as it gave the stepping blocks of ideas on which to climb higher in achieving a goal. So insightful. I will make use of it. Thanks.

  5. Nihar Pradhan

    Jan 18, 2016 at 7:28 am

    Wonderfully written Andrew…Brand is such a vital component of building a successful venture, many times as innovator or creator of new ideas we overlook the brand per se and get bogged down in the nitty-gritty of the product and its functioning, these all matters but it is brand that counts in the big picture. The identity and the trust that comes with brand is what sets the product or service apart in the market…

    Yes, it so much about creating valuable content and being able to articulate and speak out loud in the gathering and being able to garner the confidence that makes a huge difference…

  6. Joseph Themba

    Jan 8, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    Great one Andrew! Many thanks

  7. jay

    Jan 6, 2016 at 11:51 pm

    Nice!

  8. Ngonidzashe

    Jan 2, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    I like this. This is a great article.

  9. Nissar

    Jan 1, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    Great post Andrew. Thanks for writing this.

  10. Owen Hone

    Dec 31, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    Great post Andrew

  11. Lawrence Berry

    Dec 30, 2015 at 3:41 am

    Marketing and branding is very important in building s successful business and making money. Becoming a household name is one the toughest things to achieve but these steps can help you achieve just that. Connecting with influencers is important. Learn from them and find a way help them as they will offer you help as well. Successful people want others to be successful as well.

  12. Doreen Pendgracs

    Dec 28, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    Terrific article. I’ve worked very hard over the past 6 years to build my brand. His hard it is!

    Congrats to Tim for joining Toastmasters. I’ve been a member for 15 years and have found it to be an invaluable organization.

  13. Stephen Osoko

    Dec 28, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    This was very insightful. I particularly have been using Step 1. There are so many benefits of engaging with influencers without a doubt! Great Post Once Again!

  14. Tim Denning

    Dec 27, 2015 at 6:34 am

    Andrew thank you for this post. While I already do some of these five points, there are still afew that I don’t do and your article is a good reminder for me to make it my new years resolution. One that I currently don;t do is public speaking although i have signed up to Toastmasters to build some skill. I have heard Lewis Howles speak of Toastmasters a few times so I figured it must be worth a try.

    I hope to read more of your work and thanks again!!!

    • Andrew Fennell

      Dec 28, 2015 at 4:39 pm

      Thanks Tim – Yes it can be hard to balance all points but looks like you’re doing a good job!

  15. addicted 2 The Grind

    Dec 26, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    Great Post #1 is the most important in my opinion. If you produce great content it will be seen eventually but if you connect with influencers in your space that can speed up the process.

    You can’t be scared or to cocky to interact with other thought leaders in your space.

  16. Ajasa

    Dec 26, 2015 at 10:31 pm

    Many thanks sir this article is very helpful sir

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Startups

10 Small Startups That You Can Build on Your Own Right Now

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Having a business of our own is a dream that is very obvious and common all throughout. With the rise in startups and funding options, the market is blooming with successful entrepreneurs. And rightly so! But many ambitious people are seen dropping out of their dream of building a business only because of the funds involved in setting up one! We forget to acknowledge that the idea if planned and executed well, is strong enough to pull in all the investments.

Both Facebook and Microsoft started as very small business ideas and we all know the fate of them in today’s world. The basic idea is to invest your idea and build your own brand out of it. There is a market for startups that is constantly evolving with different niches.

So for anybody looking to start small yet efficient, here’s a list of 10 small startups that you can build on your own as per the current scenario:

1. Blogging/ Vlogging

In the past few years of digitalization, this has emerged as one of the top-notch money-making investments. The cost involved is as meagre as it can get, but the returns are particularly amazing.

Before starting to blog, one has to invest in a domain name and hosting whereas, for vlogging in platforms like youtube, there is no money involved. All it takes is an expertise in any field and the confidence to present it in the best engaging way possible. Bloggers earn through a lot of collaborations and affiliate marketing whereas youtube itself pays it’s users when they reach a good set of engagement through content.

2. Baking

If baking is your passion, it can very well be your profession. Your only big investment is a good oven and then, your skills do the magic! If you’re enthusiastic about baking, you can prepare cakes, muffins, cookies, and homemade bakery items.

The market for this has huge potential as customers are always experimenting on taste and are looking for the best customization. By posting your bakery items online, you can directly connect with your customers and provide economical solutions as per your brand.

3. Stylist

With the rise in competition amongst folks to be more presentable, personal stylists stand a great chance in the market. Most everyday individuals are trying hard to keep a great profile at their display due to the increased demand for visibility.

Coordinating your makeup, your hair, and your dress for the perfect occasion calls for expert advice, and the expert advice comes with money! So put your styling sense on display and get yourself great customers.

4. Developer

This is one of the highest demanding markets if you have the skill for it! A new app or a website is getting developed all the time. From small businesses to public figures to bigger enterprises, everybody has an online presence for their brand. Web developers and App developers are hence, almost every entrepreneurs “go-to” person. The investment is null if knowledge is not counted as one if you already have a good system to back up your codes.

“Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out.” – John Wooden

5. Event Planning

Starting up with an event management company requires a dedicated human resource with a knack of marketing and networking skills. You could start your office at your home before you earn enough to expand it.

Event planning has become a need in almost every household to offices for it gives people the liberty to enjoy their event without thinking much of it. Event planning is hence a rescue measure nobody forgets to take!

6. Professional Photography

With Facebook and Instagram taking a toll on people, the demand for enriching and captivating pictures has hit people enormously.

People tend to pay chunks of money for video shoots and detailed photography to capture their big days. As a professional photographer, you are in demand for great projects!

7. Interior Designing

A dream home is always designed as per the customer’s choice. And today, almost every house purchased includes the customer getting its interior designed well for their convenience. Interior designers with a decent outreach in the market are a business of their own! The only requirement is to understand the needs and use your own creativity to earn out of it.

8. Food truck

Food at an affordable rate, and one that pleases your taste buds never goes out of fashion. A cafe or a restaurant is out of budget for most people, but renting a food truck along with a good cook is not only trendy but also a cheap investment.

Food trucks have been in the market for quite some time now and are a great spot for food lovers. A food truck also has an advantage of mobility and hence, is a great business idea that can attract crowds.

9. Tutoring

Are you good with understanding psychology and teaching methods? Then this is an exclusive business plan for anybody willing to invest the time. There is a need for quality learning methods and a greater understanding of subjects whether it is a school course, music, or an art. There is almost no investment in teaching except for the time spent. And hence, this is the most cost-effective business.

“Don’t think about your errors or failures; otherwise, you’ll never do a thing.” – Bill Murray

10. Travel agency

A home based travel agency would cost very little since it has to be tied up with a host agency. The time is such that most of the people are at least planning a tour once in a year on average. The cost of setting up a travel agency is less but the commission earned is really worth more than the investment. It is one such happy-go-lucky businesses out in the market!

Every business has its own share of failures and successes. There are a lot of myths associated with starting a new business that you will come across but you should be careful to ditch them. You will understand it only when you give it a try. Try something new, and you’ll never know where it might go.

Which one of these 10 startup ideas resonates most with you and why? Let us know your thoughts below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Startups

Working With A Bad Boss Is The Real Soul-Crushing Dream Killer

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Bad bosses are ruining great companies all over the world. The problem is not the people it’s the bosses that they work for.

You know what I’m talking about. We’ve all had one of these bad bosses.

  • They micromanage
  • They promise the world and deliver nothing
  • They overload you and know you’re going to fail
  • They never listen
  • They’re always too busy (busy doing meetings aka socializing)
  • They never back you in performance conversations
  • They get angry at you when you’re doing your best

I could go on for hours.

BAD BOSSES SUCK and are destroying otherwise great companies.


My bad boss

I’m lucky. I’ve only had one bad boss.

This boss would complain to everyone about how bad the company was. He told everyone he wanted to leave except me. I asked him several times and he lied to me. His only trick to motivate me was to remind me that bonus time was right around the corner.

Somehow that bonus was supposed to make up for the fact we hated going to work and it was soul-crushing.

Everything this boss taught me was wrong.

Stab your colleagues in the back on their way out. Bag other bosses and then pretend you didn’t. Never support your team’s personal goals outside of work.

For around six months, while this bad bosses reign of terror lasted, no one wanted to come to work. The best part about work was going home. Even better was long weekends and any excuse not to have to talk with him.

The company had a good name and quality products but the culture had spiraled out of control. This bad boss had become one of many.Conversations at work became nothing more than weekly meetings where everyone would go through what they did and have KPI conversations. It was demoralizing.

I tried to tell him that I discovered a major client was leaving. He ignored it and told me I was wrong. I gave him clear evidence. He still denied it — until the client finally left.


Titles, salaries and bonuses are not enough

Who gives a damn about all of that.

These things feel good for about a day and then they become nothing more than trivial pursuits that don’t mean anything at the end of the day.

Titles, salaries and bonuses are like dog treats used to lure dogs into obeying orders. Is it really acceptable to treat humans in this way and reward them like incentivized dogs that should do as they’re told and roll over?

I’ve had some good bonuses in my career. The best year was when I made no bonus and got the girl I’d always dreamed about.

I’ve had some awesome job titles in my career. The best title was the one of leader which was given to me by the internet after I spent years inspiring people through personal development and entrepreneurship. The titles you appreciate are the ones that don’t describe a department or area of a business.

I’ve had some awesome salaries too. The difference between five figures and six figures is hardly noticeable. I didn’t suddenly go from homeless to driving a Ferrari. In fact, when I had less, I appreciated it so much more. Saving up to buy an iPad felt like a huge achievement.

There are too many bad bosses waffling on about KPI’s and incentives and not enough trying to show their people how to find meaning in their life and do work they love. That’s the work of a good boss”


How do you escape a bad boss?

“Having a bad boss isn’t your fault. Staying with one is” — Nora Denzel

Take responsibility. Do something about your bad boss. Change departments or change companies. Whatever you do don’t give your boss the thumbs up by sticking around. Instead, give them the quiet middle finger and get your ass out of there as quickly as you can.

It’s your responsibility to vote with your career and show them who’s not your boss.

Respect yourself too. Escaping your bad boss is less about them and more about you. If you respect yourself, you’ll escape. It’s not prison. You can use platforms like LinkedIn to find another career. There’s lots of nice people out there that will help you escape your bad boss if you’ll just have the courage to ask them.


Nothing will kill your dreams quicker than a bad boss.

A bad boss can affect you more than you realize. They make you feel sick, they make you lack energy and they don’t support you thus killing your goals and dreams.

You need a good boss that’s willing to let you do projects, do good work, and meet people that are aligned with your dreams. Not working towards your goals each day at work kills your motivation. Keeping a bad boss happy is soul-crushing.

You need positivity, advice, coaching, and the right people to achieve your personal goals. A bad boss is never going to listen to any of that because they are all about themselves and their KPI’s.

Stick KPI’s where the sun don’t shine. No person has ever been or ever will be genuinely motivated by that three letter acronym ‘KPI’ that you bolster on about until we all want to fall asleep”


What does a good boss look like?

Really simple everybody:

  1. They respect you first and you respect them back.
  2. They trust people to do the job and support you to do so
  3. They don’t give you the answer they help you find it for yourself
  4. They have emotional intelligence, empathy and compassion oozing out of them
  5. They appreciate the work you do and the challenges you face
  6. They’ll never ask you to do something they’re not prepared to do themselves (i.e., managers that don’t talk to clients)
  7. They help you to grow by giving you challenges aligned to your own goals

I’ve had many good bosses that follow this format. One such boss got me to attend Toastmasters which not only helped my public speaking but built my confidence.

This same good boss also allowed me to work one day in social media. He’s the reason I now work a four day week, so I can continue that tradition of working one day entirely on social media.


A message for the bad bosses of the world.

You can’t hide any longer.

People are catching on to the fact they can choose any company they want to work for.

“LinkedIn now provides us with endless opportunities to get the hell away from you and meet good bosses”

As freedom in the working world spreads, bad bosses are going to be ignored and therefore be forced into hiding and made extinct like the dinosaurs. Bad bosses, we’re coming for you!

We’re going to silence you through leaving your ass behind.
We’re going to encourage others to do the same.
We’re going to choose ourselves first.

There’s no excuse to be a bad boss….ever.

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Startups

4 Simple Ways to Transform Your Startup Into a Success

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Who said for a startup to become a success it must struggle for years? If planned and executed smartly, any startup can sail on the ship of success without any hurdles.

There are many myths associated with startups like ‘It has to be small because it is a startup,’ or ‘You just need an idea and the rest will follow,’ or even, ‘Investing in marketing or advertising for a startup is a waste”. Just because a startup is something new for you, doesn’t mean it’s new for people too.

There are thousands of others with your same idea already out there in the market. Hence, for your startup to climb the ladder of success as soon as you roll the dice, you better get the right figures i.e you better do what you need to do in the right manner and proportion. Confused? Let us make it more clear to you.

One of the most often quoted statistics is that 50% of all startups fail to survive even five years. And the reasons for their downfalls are so silly that later they repent only if they had taken care of it at the beginning itself, the startup could have survived. A post-mortem of 287 Startups was carried out by CBInsights among which, the common reasons of startup failure that emerged out were:

  • Lack of focus, motivation, commitment and passion
  • The eagerness of scaling too fast
  • Floating with pride and spending a lot
  • Ignoring good pieces of advice and falling into the wrong company
  • Lack of general and domain-specific business knowledge: finance, operations, and marketing and experience
  • Investing blunders and running out of cash
  • Improper budgeting
  • No getting market exposure
  • Poor product/service
  • No business plan/strategy
  • No/Poor marketing
  • Focusing only on profit and not on customers

For a startup to succeed, money and ideas are not enough, it needs a lot of input from your side as well to grow and survive, like your passion, commitment, willingness to adjust, patience and persistence, observation, relationship with all and basic knowledge and skill. But above all, professionalism is the most important factor. Starting small and new is nothing to be taken lightly. How you interact with your investors, clients or customers, matters, after all, they are the one who will make or break your startup.

Here are the 4 simple ways that will reflect your professionalism as well as turn your startup into a success:

1. Two heads are better than one

Go get a co-founder. Studies show that a startup with two founders significantly increases the odds of success. How? Because two balanced and fully invested partners can keep the startup going on their shoulders equally well. A co-founder means you will have someone to rely on, share the load, chip in during critical times, handle responsibilities, motivate each other and so on. In the end, so what you will have to share the fruit of success, at least your startup will have a balanced support which will prevent it from drowning in the future.

Take for example the Mistay Founder Pranav Prabhakar who believes that, “Multiple founders with complementary skills bring in wider perspective to the team. While taking key decisions and at high-pressure situations, it’s always preferable to have someone who can provide support and an alternative perspective,” and hence has Sandeep Jaiswal as the co-founder of Mistay.

According to Sandeep, ‘A co-founder makes it easy to navigate through tough times. A partner with complimenting skill-sets and different style of thinking is important to help avoid mistakes one would otherwise make, he stressed. So having a co-founder is like an extra support for your startup.

“The value of an idea lies in the using of it.” – Thomas Edison, General Electric Co-founder

2. Get a website/app or both

If you are thinking an investment into web/app is a big waste of money, then hello, it’s 2018 and today from kids to oldies, everyone is constantly browsing either on a desktop/laptop or on mobile. Your potential customers, clients and investors are out there on all platforms and to make them learn about your startup, you must have a website or app of yours ready.

If you are still worried about the budget, for starters, host your site on WordPress which is the most popular CMS of the planet. Its versatility and possibilities are endless which you can take benefit of or go for professional pre-made website templates that easily available at affordable prices.

3. Let people know

Branding and marketing both are lifelines for a business and just because you are a startup doesn’t mean you can survive without them. Branding means establishing a professional presence in both online and offline medium. Make your company logo, colour and other identities visible everywhere as much as possible. Give your clients pens, diaries or other stationary items with your company logo, this will remind them of your great service.

Also, spend rightly on marketing even if you are running a single campaign, make it an effective one that creates an impact on the people. Don’t forget to check whether the market is right for your product/service. Marketing at the right time only will prove beneficial. For eg., marketing your summer clothes brand during winter is useless.

4. Deliver what you promised

Sticking with your word creates your professional image and even a slight slip in it will bring down your startup empire. Nothing is more irritating than a business failing to deliver what it promised. Don’t brag about anything it will only lose your potential customers, stain your reputation and in a worse scenario, get you in legal troubles. First, deliver what you told them you can gradually add and inform them if you wish to serve more. Until and unless, as a startup, don’t try to go overboard and create a mess of everything.

“Always deliver more than expected.” – Larry Page, Google Co-Founder

Turning an idea from concept to production is no cakewalk. The eagerness to establish into a giant is understandable, but, why take unnecessary big risks and crash in the end? Better study the market first, define what new you are giving, plan at its best, execute smartly and enjoy the rewards.

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Don’t Let The New Person Have Lunch By Themselves.

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I joined a new company two weeks ago. I’ve been the new person at work many times before — I know what it feels like. A new workplace is scary, overwhelming and challenging.

What I’m about to share with you makes me incredibly emotional and it’s very close to my heart.

During the week I saw someone else, who was also new, having lunch by themselves.

They walked through the big grey door by themselves, took one look over at all the tables, and then headed towards a table in the corner away from everybody. My heart sunk.

I knew what he was going through and it wasn’t easy. Right as he walked through the door, I was in the middle of a conversation.

Mid-sentence, I said:
“Excuse me for just a second. I’ll be right back.”

People sitting on my table looked at me funny. They knew I was odd and did weird stuff. They were trying to figure out what I was about to do in their own minds.

I’ve always been told that leadership is not about being the boss but setting the right example

I walked over to the other side of the lunchroom. I said:

“Would you like to come over and have lunch with us?”

I wanted him to feel part of the team. The first couple of weeks in any career are make or break — I should know given my recent exit from finance after seven years.


I know what it’s like to be the new person.

I was the new person in insurance.
Then I was the new person in business banking.
Then I was the new person in eCommerce.

Each time I was the new person I felt scared, incredibly fearful, overwhelmed, anxious and self-conscious. Not much has changed really. I still feel like that which is why I’m obsessed with being part of the solution.

The solution is this:

“Don’t let the new person have lunch by themselves.”

Taking the time to make people feel included and like they matter makes a difference. You could be the difference between a new person staying and having an epic time at work, or giving up in the first few months.


The difference is even bigger than you think.

What do I mean? If being the new person doesn’t go well, it can lead to many issues that you may not have realized. The new person could become lonely; the new person could underachieve and be fired; the new person could struggle to make friends.

These issues could lead to a failed career or not being able to pay bills or even mental illness.

As a worst case scenario, these issues could even lead to suicide. The difference of helping that one person to have lunch with the team could be far greater than you realize.


Inclusion is how we cure loneliness.

Loneliness is why we have social media, dating apps and cafes.

No one wants to be that person having lunch by themselves because they feel like they’re not enough or can’t fit in.

The cure to loneliness is inclusion”

You can be the difference by encouraging inclusion.

Be the leader and set the example of inclusion.

Embrace differences in culture, gender, sexual orientation and race.

Stopping someone from having lunch by themselves will teach you far more about life that you might think. Bottom line is this: we’re all the answer. Be inclusive.


One sentence can change everything.

That one sentence “Hey would you like to join us for lunch?” means more than you think. You were the new person once. I was the new person too.

That one sentence can change someone’s perspective.

It’s not about lunch buddies; it’s about leading with heart and being a good human being.

It’s what you must do. Next time you see someone having lunch by themselves, invite them over. If they are too shy to come over, sit down with them and have lunch together.

It’s the simple hacks like this that will change your reality.

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