When people hear the word “entrepreneur” their minds go off into God only knows how many different directions, and most of them will more than likely fall under the category of “not me.” However, I want you to understand something.
Everyone is an entrepreneur. We all have a product to sell and a service to provide. You are your product, and whatever you do with your life is the service you provide. However, when you sell your product and provide your services to the benefit of others more so than yourself, you then become an employee. Now, there’s nothing wrong with being an employee, there’s a job and a place for everyone. Better stated, somebody has to do the work that not everyone wants to do.
That’s not to say that those who do the work that other people don’t want to do are at the bottom. In fact, such people exist on every rung of the vocational ladder. There are people who are happy at the bottom; in the middle; at the top, and at every level in between. And then there are people who are unhappy wherever they are, but won’t do anything to better their situation. These are the people who give stink to the words “employee” and “entrepreneur” alike. Where you fit in the vocational spectrum is based on how you feel about yourself and the work you do. How you do that work and the conduct you display go to define your brand.
“Branding” in this sense is new to no one. It’s just the modern day verbiage for developing and exhibiting your reputation. Simply put, your brand is your reputation and it extends far beyond your vocation. When you think of yourself as an entrepreneur, imagine yourself as a company. As was stated earlier, you are your product. All of these things make up the definition of your personal brand:
- How do you want people to see you?
- How do you want people to receive you?
- What qualities do you want people to be thinking of when they’re thinking of you?
All It Takes Is One Indiscretion
Establishing and maintaining a positive and productive brand is something that could very well take a lifetime; however, all it takes is one indiscretion … all it takes is one second to decide to go left or right when you know you should be staying on the straight and narrow, and your brand could be irreparably damaged. When Chris Brown assaulted Rihanna, he damaged his brand. When Tiger Woods’ infidelity became public knowledge, he damaged his brand. Even when Michael Jackson’s inability to let go of his childhood to where he genuinely thought in his mind that it was fine for a man his age to share a bed with children who were not his own … he damaged his brand.
The same way you think about your favorite snack, soda, and restaurant … even your favorite toilet paper … you want people to think as favorably about you as you think of those things. And why do you think so favorably of those things? Because they make you feel good. Because they have proven themselves. If you want to have a brand that is desired and admired by others, then it’s up to you.
Do It and Do It Well
It’s up to you to present and carry yourself in a dignified manner. When you go to work; whatever it is you do, do your job and do it well. If you do just enough to get by, don’t think that just because your superiors aren’t saying anything to you that they aren’t saying things about you. If you actually are an entrepreneur and you provide a product or service, then you must certainly be cognizant of how you present who you are and what you do.
You have to realize that in the minds of the people around you, perception is reality, but you are the only one responsible for creating and exhibiting the perception that makes up that reality. How you do this goes to define your personal brand.