There have been many changes, innovations, and ways of getting jobs in our industry, but the one thing that hasn’t changed is that we are still responsible for developing how to get our foot in the door when starting our own careers. Selling your own product is not something any one relishes figuring out, and doing in today’s hyper-competitive environment. Sure, some of us are better at it than others… But it has to be done!

The first step to creating a career is creating a brand for your product – that would be you! Your brand IS your public identity, what others know they can trust you for and with. And for your brand to endure it is essential that it is tested, redefined, managed and must be expandable as you grow into your full-time career. In other words, change usually means growth, and moving forward.

So, in the beginning step up, be brave, make the mistakes and don’t be afraid of failure. This is how you will start the long learning curve of how and why you are unique as you grow your product. Try out lots of different options early in your career. Then watch the responses: how YOU feel, what the market values, what people appreciate about you. You can call this phase the “definition phase” of your product development.

There is no objective standard for being qualified, so test the market for yourself. Building and maintaining mutually profitable relationships is also key to building a career. Listen hard to the people you trust who are responding to what you are doing that have already been successful or are busy working in this industry. And for heaven’s sake, don’t get caught up in the “offer du jour.” Be your Brand. Great brands stand for something. What you do and choose not to do defines who you are. When you start devoting at least 75% of your time, energy and monies toward building your product and brand essence, it’s liberating, and a very efficient, positive way to build your career.

When what you do and care about are aligned with what the market wants and cares about, you’ve created a recipe for a successful brand and career. Your brand is the sum of what you do; your purpose, your point of difference, your personality, your promise, your passion.

Start now. Avanti.

— Carol


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