It is one of the most challenging things you will do in your life if you choose it: balancing your passion and entrepreneurial spirit while working your 9 to 5 job. Even more difficult is trying to grow your business and build your visibility. But although most entrepreneurs started their career working for someone else, at one point they all knew that they would never get rich putting money in someone else's pocket.
Many people feel uncomfortable and are unsure of how to grow their business without there being an inherent conflict with their present job. I am here to say that the best way to do so without the trepidation is through personal branding. Building a strong personal brand takes time, and extra time can be difficult to find while working full time.
Here are some tips to building your brand while working full time:
1. STOP PLAYING ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND USE IT TO GAUGE YOUR AUDIENCE
There are millions of active users on Facebook daily and over 1 billion on Instagram liking, sharing and commenting on various posts. However, many of us do not use it for our benefit. Find ways to engage your audience, listen to them and grow an influential following. Linkedin is my personal favourite! It is a professional platform — not a social platform. It is considered the professional playground for those who wish to be considered serious as entrepreneurs and professionals. Ask questions of your connections? Learn the needs of your market and develop new products or services for your market. Social Media is perhaps one of the easiest ways to gain market intelligence. Use Facebook analytics to better understand your customers and use polls to find our how your customer needs are changing. The more information you can gain from your customers the easier it is to grow your business.
2. FOCUS ON QUALITY & NOT QUANTITY
It is not necessary to post every day and on all platforms. If you want to develop a strong brand online then you need to decide how you can engage users with your brand. Consumers must know and like you before being sold on your product or service. There are many businesses making noise across social media, without a strong social media strategy. Instead of establishing a deep relationship with users by generating quality social media content they simply post things randomly without giving much though to the objective of their posts. Consider the value and impact you wish your content to have with your audience. You should also consider what you are contributing, rather than what you are gaining from them.
3. NETWORK FACE TO FACE
Your business doesn't have to rely on the internet to succeed!
After working in sales and lecturing for many years, I have learned the value of making face-to-face connections with people. Such connections have taken my working relationships to the next level. It allows people to connect in a way that is simply impossible from a distance. It's easy to show off your amazing personality when you meet people in person and of course you'll build your credibility while gaining valuable insight into the other person you're connecting with.
4. SEPARATE YOURSELF FROM YOUR EMPLOYER ON SOCIAL MEDIA.
Before jumping straight on social media to promote your business, one should decide how much of your presence you want to put online because companies and recruiters will find you and check it. I know of an individual that does put her present employment on her Linkedin profile until she leaves the firm. In a small country like Trinidad, this may not be a bad idea, not only will it help build your business somewhat anonymously but its much safer if random people online do not know where you work.
5. TRY BRANDING YOUR COMPANY AND NOT YOURSELF, INITIALLY.
One of the first decisions you’ll need to make when thinking about branding your business is whether you want to build a personal brand or a business brand. In many companies, employers frown on employees who have their own side hustle. They think it is such a distraction from the job that they are paying you to do. Business brands allow you to position your business from inception, whereas building your brand around your own persona takes time because trust and credibility takes time. This may be a safer route initially until you go full fledge on your own. You can still build your personal brand through, blogs, videos and specific content. I use both methods and they work pretty well.
Build a brand you’re proud of. It's not easy building a business while working...it takes a lot of personal sacrifice; not to mention, branding yourself around your new entrepreneurial venture on the side can also be tricky. There are some studies that suggests that employees who start their own business while working for others tend to do better than those that don’t. I can personally attest to test. It takes share tenacity and grit to perform at optimum level without dropping the ball in any area.
About the author:
She is a certified trainer with over 15 years experience in marketing management both in public and private organizations as well as through her own consulting.
She is the holder of a LCCI Diploma in PR, Advertising and Marketing and an undergraduate degree in Sales and Marketing. Ms. Jollie has also acquired a Masters degree in Management Consultancy from the University of Wales and holds various certificates in Personal Branding, Project Management and E- Commerce.
She has worked and consulted with some of the major and well known organisational brands in Trinidad.
Ms. Jollie is also a part time lecturer and facilitator at SITAL College, Cipriani College, The Open Campus of the University of the West Indies and The School or Higher Education.
Throughout her involvement in education she has gained experience concurrently in the construction, advertising, consulting, food distribution and retail industries, holding positions such as Director of Marketing, Sales and Marketing Manager, Sales Supervisor and Production Coordinator.