After years of trying, are you still not cutting through the clutter in the marketplace? It may be time to make some serious changes when it comes to your personal branding, and quick. What comes first is discovering your purpose and what separates you from your competition. Before you jump off, ask yourself this: Do you know your brand? Do you even think you have a brand?

Good personal branding means being able to share with the world – and certainly your ideal clients – what makes you special and valuable for them. From my personal experience, there is definitely adventure in finding your X factor, discovering what makes you and therefore your business unique, and determining what separates you from the crowd. You just have to be ready for it as you may be pleasantly surprised!

Start your quest by looking for your X factor within: What is your passion, or passions? One important task when finding your X factor is throwing yourself into a vision that you are truly passionate about, so you really can’t afford to mess that step up. If you don’t feel passion, you’re not in the right line of business. Good news is if you are not sure about your passions there are very effective ways to find out who they truly are. Keep looking! It’s worth it, changes are, no one’s going to buy it (literally) if you’re not buying it yourself.

Believe in your idea 100%, and dare to think out of the box: What do you think people would have answered Henry Ford if he asked them what they needed at the time? Faster horses. He gave them cars instead. Surround yourself with believers too. Being in business with people who have a diverse skill set and knowledge aligned with your idea will help you reach the market place with a solid brand. Using Ford’s example, successful entrepreneurs are the ones who believe and react to a gap in the market. They’re the ones standing up for their vision and not afraid to fail. If your idea doesn’t stick right away, don’t be scared to fall and get back up again.

Dare to ask yourself: What is your market, who would actually need you and listen to you? You wouldn’t believe how many entrepreneurs set off to launch companies offering services or products that are not needed, or tell stories that are already told. You need to be completely honest with yourself: are you needed? Are you offering something unique?

And remember, finding your X Factor is the key to offer the best service and be the best in your field. You just have to do the work to find what it is. Your story - your personal, unique story- is all you have: Use it both creatively and wisely. This is your greatest tool to market yourself. It may sound like therapy and something quite scary, but you can’t really separate business from your life - unless you want to feel miserable and unfulfilled. Examine your life story and recreate in your own mind the moments in your past – those transient vagaries of time, whether overrun with sorrow and anger or triumph and happiness – that have helped shape who you are today. This is your story, own it!

Something I found very useful was listening to what others had to say about me to find the true gift within me. You may not be objective about yourself and your brand, but trust others to send you in the right direction by carefully listening to their opinions of you. Your network, your associates or even clients could see strengths, weaknesses or quirks that make you unique and that actually make you valuable, so make it a point to gather feedback to find your gift.

I have cooked up a nice little sauce using what I call the “5 C’s” to find my X Factor. These secret ingredients make an important component of my Authentic Personal Branding Success Module:

C For Clarity: Free yourself from distractions and ask yourself who you are, where you’re heading, where you want to see yourself in a few years, what lights your fire, what your values are and what attributes and strengths you think others see in you (your authentic personal brand). Here concentrate solely on what you want and not how you will get there. There’s plenty of time for that.

C for Confidence: Once you find your values, passions, vision, and mission, you will get a tremendous amount of confidence. This will make it easier for you to position yourself in the market as a unique brand that stands out from the crowd. Ask yourself what type of entrepreneur you want to be known as, what the X factor behind your business may be, what you want people to say about you and your expertise, and why they should recommend you. In other words, what makes you the best? Build yourself up!

C for Communicate: It is essential that you communicate your uniqueness with confidence and clarity. There are 4 ways of branding yourself: Branding by association, branding by achievements, branding by testimonial, and branding by WOW. The latter is a genuine, authentic branding, and it can be done in several ways. When it comes to building a trustworthy and authentic brand with a WOW factor, you must position yourself as the expert in your field – and you must truly believe this, because if you don’t, you’ll instantly convey this lack of belief whenever you communicate. We human beings have a decent knack for feeling who is authentic and who is faking it. Fakers don’t win.

C for Consistency: Consistency ties in with communication rather seamlessly, and it’s all about finding your focus points and sticking to them. Consistency is vital to success when building a brand. It means a brand that people can depend upon because its actions consistently reinforce the core values and the vision. Consistency is a crucial part of your brand because trust is one of the cornerstones of a successful enterprise. And trust is, to a significant degree, built on the edifice of consistency. Develop your core values and your vision, and never stray from them. Your actions should, at every turn, be consistent with what you stand for.

C for Commitment: Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your fully fleshed out brand. Staying committed to your goals, missions, and future vision is the key. If you promise yourself that you are going to do what it takes to live those beautiful dreams of yours, you need to stay committed. You have to. Holding yourself accountable to your missions and dreams can be a headache for all of us entrepreneurs. We, who are creative and always lighting up with new ideas, may find it difficult to hang on to one mission for very long. It won’t be easy, but there’s no way around it: you must stay committed to your vision and to developing your brand to its fullest potential.

It takes commitment to find your genuine purpose and discover your X Factor, what makes your brand authentic. Don’t allow yourself to fall into the ‘boxes’ other people might be pulling you into: these boxes are limiting your brand’s potential and not serving your business (or even lifting you up). Staying committed to yourself and your vision will result in increased customer trust. Additionally, it will give you the feeling that you are on track – in life and in business. As you almost certainly can affirm, the feeling that you are accomplishing goals in life – that you are surmounting tough obstacles and always reaching higher – is something that gives life a deeper, less superficial meaning. With your unwavering commitment, you will be forging a legacy.


By Runa Magnus, personal branding expert, author of Branding Your X Factor, founder of The Change Makers and the #NoMoreBoxes movement.

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