(The Secret is... there is no secret)
What this post is not: a list of #hacks, a recipe for overnight success or a get-rich-quick formula. This isn’t about how to get ahead without working hard. This isn’t about how you can work less and get more. There are no secrets here on how to put in the bare minimum in the name of “work-life balance”. So instead of slugging through The 4-Hour Workweek and wondering why. things. just. aren’t. clicking. for you -- understand that things would be so much easier if you just actually worked. Dedicatedly.
This applies double for your personal brand, which if you’ve been following along, you now understand you have whether you want one or not. The question is really whether you are willing and able to nurture your work and tend to your personal brand with a crazy fierce level of commitment. We’re at a point where reputation, both online and IRL, can be both easily bolstered and quickly spoiled. You can put out great content, do great work and get recognition from across the globe in an instant. But hasty online reviews can be written, questionable pics after one too many margaritas can be posted and your sloppy commitment to your brand unravels all of the hard work you previously did. One step forward. Two steps back.
Stop doing that.
The thing about personal branding that I’m just not sure I can communicate enough is that there is no off switch. There’s no punching the clock on it. Whether you’re a solopreneur or a fledgling freelancer or the head of a huge corporation, your reputation - your brand - is really all you have. Companies will come and go. Jobs will change. Titles will shift. The rest of it is, for a large part, out of your control and highly volatile. What is in your control is crafting the image people have of you, and creating a solid foundation to back it up. It’s not enough to say you’re flexible or friendly or talented. You must do those things. Be those things. Embody those things 24/7. People are smart and they can suss out when you’re being inauthentic or embellishing or just telling them what they want to hear.
Unfortunately for you, this means that there’s no easy way out, or up. That being said, there’s a reason why they say the high road is never too crowded. While everyone else is busy trying to look authentic, you can just focus on being authentic. It takes some dedication but the payoff is worth it.