Tag Archives: Leadership

2 Brand Building Strategies to Increase Credibility

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The right marketing tools will land you high dividends not only in profits, but in visibility and credibility. Finding brand building strategies that work for you in your business separate you from other experts and growing businesses. The faster and more consistently you pinpoint these the better, but where do we start and which methods are best?

There’s no perfect strategy or ideal tool for increasing leads and landing new customers. Remember, the market is ever-changing and adaptability is the name of the game as an emerging entrepreneur. Every market and each business has different dynamics to consider for gaining traction.

Nearly all variables come down to your ability to align your expertise, systems and solutions to your clients present needs and future desires. If you can find multiple methods for seamlessly integrating your customer’s problems with simple, effective solutions your business will steadily rise above others.

Writing for Brand Building

Blogs– Sharing valuable tips, tools and tactics consistently is the best way to grow your influence. Blogging is one way to build your authority, share your expertise and help others overcome problems. Each time your audience achieves a goal or simply feels a sense of progression you build a bridge of trust with them.

Posting regularly deepen your relationship by being the reliable expert with great stuff. Your consistency and their confidence in you brings a steady stream of traffic to your website, increase social shares, and acquires higher quality backlinks.  All of these improve your site SEO, moving you past thousands of competitors with boring, static pages.

Customers looking to hire industry and subject matter experts instantly head to search engines. Recent data shows 16+ blogs a month generates 3x more traffic than those posting 1-4 per month.  If you’re not much of a writer, consistency is the initial key and I recommend starting with a modest goal of blogging weekly and progress from there.

Publication Articles– Much like blogging, however you’re writing to serve the audience of an outside publication. Look both locally and online for places you know you can bring value to. Most importantly, choose publications that align with your values and target audience.

Look into newspapers, industry specific magazines and major publications. “Getting in” as a contributing writer can boost your credibility, increase traffic to your site (where you have plenty of great blogs to read) and land you some new targeted customers.

Research, write and submit an article that fits the desired publications style, guidelines and is helpful for their audience members and you may be calling yourself a writer soon.

Books– Arguably the most effective brand building tool is a published book. Becoming an author does take considerably more time and effort than blogging or writing articles, however with the rise of technology and self-publishing it’s easier than ever to access the needed resources.

Once published, as long as your book is up-to-date and relevant, you can leverage it in your business forever. Use your book to gain attention and interest on the front end promotion of a webinar, include it as a bonus within a new product package or sell it on the backend of any speaking engagement.

Don’t start writing until you decide a publishing method as each has it’s pros and cons. Once you pick whether traditional, hybrid or self publishing fits your business strategy, complete your book and leveraging it for both a credibility boost and revenue generation.

Speaking for Brand Building

Vlog– The video version of a blog is a great place to start if you’re good in front of a camera. Consider your audience preferences before you start shooting. If your audience absolutely loves reading then video may be part of your content mix, but not a primary strategy.

Video will help your audience not only learn from your knowledge, but they’ll have the opportunity to connect with you as a person. Video allows them to see if you’re the type of person they want to engage with, follow and later work with. If you’re not much of a writer or blogger you can record yourself speaking on a topic to help clearly share your message in writing.

Take some time to think about how you want to reveal yourself to the world. Decide your image, value and presence on camera. Most importantly, define how you want to serve the audience, the values and beliefs you stand for and what people can expect from you. Learn more about video and you will attract people to engaged in your content.

Speaking/Keynote– If you’re a credible expert and entertaining then speaking is powerful in expanding your brand influence. Being a speaker provides you the opportunity to share your message to the masses or instantly impact small, influential groups. This is especially effective if you have a distinct system or methodology you provide via product or service.

Speaking allows you to not only connect with people on a person level like video, but they get to experience you live. This kills any thoughts of how rehearsed, edited or phony (for the haters) others may think you are on video. If you have great stage presence, good with your voice and diction and come well prepared you can land high paying keynote spots; great for revenue and credibility boosting.

Overcome stage fright, know your stuff and avoid being a perfectionist and this strategy is prime to grow your brand. Practice by speaking anywhere and everywhere there is the opportunity to share with your audience. Raise your speaking game well enough and you earn opportunities influence the masses of the biggest companies and share the stage with top experts.

Audio– Audio may not sound like a speaking strategy, but ultimately it’s you sharing your knowledge behind a microphone. Audio options are great strategic tools for those who feel uncomfortable with video or writing. Live or recorded content is a great way to share and connect with your audience or subscriber list as you build your writing and on camera skills.

Create a plan and a schedule for an audio version of a blog to share insights and industry trends. Utilize teleseminars or screen cast webinars as a great way to offer value for free or as a revenue source. Lastly, you can do podcasts (as the host or a guest) to interview, learn and connect with other subject matter experts. This is a great way to find strategic partners.

To build a powerful brand it’s important to nail down several effective strategies for building credibility and influence. Although, these aren’t the only methods, it’s these two strategic staples that have stood the test of time for growing businesses.

Use them consistently and strategically for everything your brand needs to grow. Gain high impact with quick and relative ease from online video and publication articles. Or you can enjoy the long term effect and credibility explosion of putting considerably more work into books and keynote speaking.

Which of the brand building tools could benefit you most this year? You can start or join the conversation by leaving a comment below.

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4 Benefits of Stepping into Your Fear

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The things we love most come with the greatest amount of fear. It’s because you love it so much that fear intensifies. When putting your heart and soul into something you don’t want it to fail. You don’t want to think you can’t succeed doing what you love.

When you choose a path of purpose fear gives you direction, it’s like your inner compass. Fear is good. The unpleasant emotion we feel is when we are threatened or perceive a threat, however in today’s world real, true threats are becoming less and less. When’s the last time you stepped out of your car to find a tiger staring you down?

We live most of our lives avoiding “threats” in our comfort zone. Our brains natural instincts are to keep us out of harm’s way, to keep us feeling comfortable and safe. But, it’s outside our comfort zone that we find a life of happiness and purpose.

Applying all of our gifts to something significant is fulfilling and where we find meaning in our lives. We want to be a part of something bigger and show others what IS possible. Whether you are BEING the change, creating change in others or making a bigger difference in the world it’s how you apply fear that can be the deciding factor between you achieving success or living life comfortably content.

My Fear

For a long time I resisted pursuing entrepreneurship despite my heart being pulled towards it. I allowed my fear to run me off, when instead I should have followed it as a sign. Here’s a quick list of some of the fears I experienced:

  • A fear of the unknown- I didn’t know what’s pulling me in this direction I’ve never explored, what’s to be expected?
  • A fear of what family, friends and girlfriends would think- if I took a leap without knowing what I was doing or getting myself into or even worse failed, how would they view me?
  • A fear of change- If I did this things will have to change and how much work will this be?
  • A fear of missing out- If it’s a lot of work what will I have to miss to sustain it?
  • A fear of rejection or not being good enough- If I do this I want to be excellent, but what if I can’t live up or what if they don’t like me?

10 years I ran from these and a variety of other fears only to see my dreams fall further away and my life crumble the farther they fell.

Step into Your Fear

It wasn’t until I became desperate enough and stepped into my fear that everything changed. And it was then that I learned fear is to be followed, it’s not a deterrent. Here are some of the rewards you can expect from your courage and stepping into your fear.

  1. Improved Self-Confidence– Confidence is a tricky mix of competence, courage and clarity. The great thing about stepping into your fear, there is no losing. Either you win or you grow in knowledge, wisdom, skill or clarity. This helps give you direction and builds greater confidence to take on bigger, stronger fears.
  2. Deeper Connections– We don’t want others recognizing our slight slip-ups, hidden blemishes, or the kinks in our armor. However, it’s in our adversity and vulnerability where we gain virtue and great respect. Sharing our struggles doesn’t show weakness, it reveals strength and it creates deeper bonds with others. People see character in crashing, crumbling and climbing back up. There’s courage in simply sharing truth no matter if it’s sunshine and rainbows or dark and stormy weather.
  3. Comfort in Change– No matter when, where or how you begin; the journey of change is rarely what you wished for. Like a ship at sea, no path is permanent; you’re ever-adjusting until you reach your destination. Sometimes there’s a trail and other times you’ll be called to blaze your own. It’s at this time you no longer stumble upon doubt, uncertainty and shame; instead you take pride, find flow and experience peace.
  4. Creative Freedom– When we’re not isolated by fear we begin think outside the box. We see new opportunities and explore unmeasured methods. We no longer believe in boundaries, rather we push for possibilities. In this sea of possibility you’ll find many of the hidden joys of life.

The majority of people succumb to fear each and every day, you don’t have to be one of them.

Dreams have a greater magnetic pull than fear. Yes, fear can overcome you if you allow it. But, you are strong. Find a reason greater than your excuses, a clear dream over procrastination or an ambition that ignites your inner fire, and you’ll conquer your fears.

Soon, you’ll look back on your struggle and understand it wasn’t that scary after all.

What would be possible in your life if you could run right through your fear today?

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Honest Communication Doesn’t Hurt

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You know the saying, “Truth Hurts”. After we look a little deeper into how honest communication affects us and others in our lives you may challenge the thought.

Have you ever pitched a project to client, received a “no thank you”, and wondered why? Wouldn’t it be great to know why you’ve failed? But why is it, when a friend points out that your presentation really was pretty terrible, or a colleague notices that your proposal pretty much killed any opportunity and tells you about it; we don’t want to hear it?

Like most, we’re looking for encouragement and positive motivation. Of course we all like a little coddling and cuddling. We enjoy when others give attention to our fantasized stories (You know, the I walked 10 miles up hill in a blizzard type work stories) and support our “I couldn’t be wrong” excuses and complaints.

We’ve all done this time and again. We’ve done it in failed projects, goals and relationships. We’ve done the same to friends, family members and coworkers. And, to be honest, we’ve probably done it sometime very recently. But, at what consequence?

Your Responsibility

I completely understand not wanting to come off as rude, inconsiderate and lacking empathy. Being blunt and disrespecting others or destroying relationships is the last thing we want to do. It IS important to use tact when communicating this way, however it’s equally important not to enable bad behavior by a lack of feedback or “sugar-coating” your message.

Are you truly helping yourself or others by being nice and withholding information?

Stephen M.R. Covey once said, “When we talk straight, we tell the truth and leave the right impression.” Despite some initial pain and discomfort, honesty builds a bridge of trust between you and others.

In the big picture, consistently telling the truth builds a bigger and stronger bridge between you and the other person. A well built bridge helps to grow relationships and can withstand time, great distances and the many other storms of miscommunication.

Far too often a lie (including little white ones), despite our good intent, is a lack of personal responsibility. We don’t want to deal with the consequences that come along with both telling the truth and accepting it from others. Being “brutally honest” is being responsible. And responsibility is a huge responsibility.

Below I share 4 opportunities to improve honest communication in your daily interactions:

  1. Find Reality. Be in touch with what is and how things are not what you hope, think, or wish things to be. The only thing that is real and that will be consistently is what is. Once you find reality, it will be easier for you to confront brutal honesty and the facts that are real…such as your faults, weaknesses, failures, etc. Are you lying to protect yourself or others?
  2. Be Mindful. Evaluate the conversations you have with yourself, be consciously aware of your language you use when speaking with others and reflect and review old discussions to see if you were telling the truth. Are you leading conversations with honesty or by your fear and mistrust?
  3. Include Others. Tell your family, friends, colleagues and clients you are trying to improve your communication with them and others. Inform them you would like them to provide clear, honest feedback. Surround yourself with others who care about your growth and success, but watch out for those who lead you to believe in a false reality. Are you allowing others to enable unproductive thoughts, actions and behaviors?
  4. Be Honest. Use tact in order to tell the truth so it cannot be misunderstood without disrespect or leaving false impressions. Don’t beat around the bush, use flattery or have hidden meanings when you talk to others. Represent the reality of the situation as best you can through good communication skills and even better judgement. Are you building trust by telling the truth?

Successful relationships, businesses and dreams are built upon communication, integrity and trust. There is a thin line between honesty and being a little too blunt, but I’ve never known anyone to hate another for telling them the truth. Yet, for many, it’s easier to avoid the “hurt” of being brutally honest by enabling ineffective and unproductive thoughts, actions and habits.

If you’re equally open to your reality and listening to the truth as you are for providing brutal honesty then you’ll never find yourself burdened by the weight of regret. Be a person known for honesty and you’ll find sturdy bridges of connection you when you need them most.

“The consequences of deceit are usually greater then the ones of the truth.” –Dr. Henry Cloud

Take a few moments after work or before you head to bed and write down a few examples to the above questions. Acknowledging these slip-ups will help to put you more in-touch with your reality.

Be Bold,

Brandon Sobotka

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How To Work Smarter and Enjoy More Time

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Hello and welcome back.  We’ve all heard the saying work smarter, not harder.  I’ve used it for years now, but recently it’s taken on a new meaning for me.

Do you ever worry about missing out?  I do.  Don’t we all wish we had more time?  We don’t want to miss out on the many festivities that come along with the summer time fun.  But this summer is a little different.

This past winter we welcomed a new baby girl into our world and the game changed.  For years I vowed to myself that I wouldn’t miss out on creating wonderful memories with my kids like my family missed when I was young.  After all, time is the only commodity that truly matters and investing it into those we love will show the greatest return.  Isn’t it true?

Here are four keys why studies are showing utilizing reflection just may be the smartest way to work:

  • Learning is more effective if you take the time to reflect on, meaning to synthesize or articulate, the important points.
  • Take 15 minutes at the end of a training, meeting or your day and reflect on the main things you learned.
  • Use a journal to deepen the reflection and your learning.  Write, document and track 2-4 key points through out your learning time.
  • Teach to enhance learning.  By sharing or teaching newly acquired skills or subject matter you are essentially reflecting on the material therefore enhancing learning and boosting performance.

Although you can’t stop or even manage time, you can increase productivity.  Completing tasks and responsibilities more effectively will help you do more work in less time.  Reflection is a smart way to “make it stick” to the brain and conquer important goals so that you can share more meaningful moments with your loved ones.

Whether your taking on a new project, mastering a new skill or going through some innovative change at work, if you want to learn faster grab a journal, note card, digital recorder and share what you’ve learned with others today.  Don’t hesitate, choose a method of reflection and implement it after your next meeting.

Which of the four areas are you finding to be most difficult for gaining more time?

Live inspired, Lead Bold,

Brandon Sobotka

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The Important First Step of Leadership Starts Here…

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As an Entrepreneur, Husband and Father it’s imperative to hone both my leadership skills. I’ve studied leadership and high performance inside and out.  I’ve practiced both the physical sciences and the mindsets in business and personal settings. In my own experience as a business leader as well as developing new leaders I’ve discovered one simple, yet important fact.

Your leadership journey begins with this rewarding first step.

Choice. Clearly, there are many decisions to be made as a leader, but the first step is to make a conscious decision to accept that we are in control of our own life – to choose how we respond. Events, society, or family history does not pave who we are. We decide. We choose to lead.  Ourselves.  Others.

Accept this as reality and we are accepting the leadership role.

Choosing Leadership

When we make the decision to choose leadership, we increase our productivity and become a natural leader through our actions. It is not enough to simply have an organizational title listed on the corporate ladder or just occupying a position of leadership.

Leadership occurs often way before you gain a title. Becoming a leader usually transpires prior to the opportunity to influence others from a position of power. You see there are leaders and there are those who lead.  Leadership arises when we first choose to lead ourselves, when we first decide to become self-aware and proactive. It happens when we agree to no longer be dependent upon someone else, others or some thing, but to become independent and interdependent. We must commit to this choice.

Day after day many people choose to make this important commitment. They make the choice to lead, exercising vast influence, without being in a so-called “leadership” position. They motivate and inspire people not by power or by position title, but because they know who they are, they know what they want and they do what it takes to to get there.

In making the choice to lead, we are taking responsibility for ourselves first, which means we are committed daily to working on our own personal and professional development to “lay the bricks” of our vision. If we cannot lead and develop ourselves, we will fail in leading and developing others.

Leadership Responsibility

Choice is not simply taking initiative, but it is when we decide we’re going to make things happen for ourselves. It is when we take responsibility and say “I’m in control”. It is when we are confident in our guiding principles and lead inside-out. We don’t let circumstances or outside conditions control us, our thoughts, or our feelings. We don’t procrastinate, make excuses, or point fingers.

Once we embrace this choice, we are on our way to becoming a truly inspirational and successful leader. We recognize that we will be criticized in our leadership role, but we will not fear criticism. We will realize that our decisions may not always be the most popular, but understand this comes with the territory. When we make this choice…we will soon discover the rewards of leading are well worth it.

When did you choose to take leadership of your life and what impact has it made for you?

 

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