Developing Your Professional Brand While Working Full-Time
If you dread going to work tomorrow, chances are it’s because you do not feel fulfilled with the environment and tasks you have in front of you. What if you looked at your career from a new perspective? If you work for a company, the resources from a people and department perspective may be more bountiful than what you think. Does the company you work for offer the following:
-Leadership & Development Training
-Continuous Learning Opportunities
-Reimbursement for Books or Online Courses
-Employee Resource Groups
-Company Networking Events After Work
If the company you work for offers additional opportunities for you to learn and develop, try them. Exposing yourself to new learning experiences could be beneficial to your professional career and your consulting aspirations. Each day that you go to work start evaluating the resources available to you. In addition to those listed above, remember that learning from others could be your most valuable resource. If you aspire to reach a specific position, have you set-up a lunch or coffee meeting with those in that position? Taking the time to get to those in the role can provide you with insight into what is needed to be successful. Taking time to listen to these individuals could stretch your learning capabilities and equip you with knowledge that could be transferred to your consulting efforts down the line. Once you have evaluated your transferable skills and identified the type of consultant you would like to be, start looking at resources at your company that will support your efforts. Expanding your knowledge and building relationships throughout your company will only better position you to have more to offer and grow as an employee and a consultant.
Before you jump into full-time consulting, start by building relationships that allow you to provide your expertise to help your co-workers. As you see results, ask yourself what you could have done differently and start to evaluate the amount of time it takes to deliver that expertise to your co-workers. Gather feedback from those you provide expertise to around your style, presentation skills, quality of content, and ability to communicate with them. In addition to communicating, research of tools you will need to be a successful as a professional consultant is vital. The following is a business checklist to get started if you haven’t already.
-Start Developing your brand story
-Develop the look of your brand
-Define what you would like your client experience to be like
-Research website platforms for your consulting business
-Research the best of the best at what you would like to do and start incorporating like about them into your consulting plans
-Research who you would like your target customer to be and what their demographics are
-Evaluate the social media platforms that will best connect with your target audience
-Develop a list of topics that you would like to build social media posts, blog posts, YouTube Video content, podcast content, downloadable items, online courses or any other form of content you would like to share with your audience
-Research the best structure for your business
-Identify the professional services support you will need for business plan development, accounting, marketing, etc.
In addition to business preparation steps, you should focus on actions that you will need to take in the workplace. The following are a list of tips for you to best maximize your time and work experience:
-Avoid negative conversations and gossip as they only act as time stealers. That is time you could spend thinking about how to improve your skill-sets.
-Use your lunch breaks to learn. Try listening to an informational podcast or watching an online learning tutorial.
-Take time to get to know people you have never interacted with before. Establishing new relationships can help you share your brand throughout the workplace. Sharing your brand will help people gain a better understanding of what you have to offer.
-Be pleasant and positive. Being a pleasure to be around can help you stay top of mind with individuals. Establishing your audience now can help you build a community behind your brand.
In conclusion, every day is a new day to learn. Every person in the company that you work for has a different story and set of skills. Recognize the worth of those around you and your resources to develop into the best contributor you can be. By doing so, it prepares you to deal with different individuals and start to think through problems that need to be solved. The better sense of self you have as a professional, the easier it is to develop your service offerings as a consultant. Being able to position those offerings and connect with your audience will be critical in your success as a consultant.