By ANDREA ZSAPKA
As a personal branding coach, the idea of growing my brand during a pandemic was a challenge I was happy to face.
This article is a summary of my struggles of being locked out of my own home for 4 months as I was shunted between countries due to various pandemic policies. Sadly, no one pays you to be a human ping pong ball, so I had to do my best to make a living. Along the way, I learned a few survival tips that helped me make this period the most inspirational time of my life
As a personal branding coach, the idea of growing my brand during a pandemic was a challenge I was happy to face. I think I did quite alright if I do say so myself. Ultimately, we must make the best of our circumstances, and I hope that by sharing what principles saw me through this period, you too can benefit.
1. Learning never stops, so stay curious
We keep moving forward, opening new doors, doing new things, because we are curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. ~ Walt Disney
As an entrepreneur you need to be genuinely curious all the way, no matter what. This will keep you open-minded and motivated. Learn at every opportunity, from everyone you talk to and focus on implementing what you learnt.
In my case, I began to take online networking very seriously, I approached everyone I could to introduce them to my brand. I attended many webinars where I talked about my brand, and eventually experimented with brand webinars myself.
Because I already had a pretty big network of contacts. I was able to test my course ideas against a group of participants from diverse backgrounds. I learnt many things about different applications like ZOOM, Webinarjam, and Streamyard. How you deliver your webinars and content is extremely important. I tested Live streaming, going live on social media and invested in Premium packages.
Some worked out. Some didn’t. I kept the good and threw away the bad.
Read: How to Steady the Stormy Seas of Self-Esteem by Building Self-Worth
2. Don’t be afraid to do it differently
A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty ~Winston Churchill
After arriving in Argentina and being barred from entering the city of my dreams, Buenos Aires, I was devastated. I even asked all the immigration officers if they could tango because I didn’t want to leave the place without doing something. I listened to some tango music in our small surveillance room before they deported us and shed some tears as I said goodbye to Argentina.
At first it felt absolutely awful, but what came after this completely changed my view about how to approach problems.
I encountered many things that didn’t work during my online personal branding adventures; applications that didn’t serve me, advertisement campaigns that didn’t bring conversion, courses that were unpopular, methodologies that did not serve your customers, branding strategies and elements that weren’t much help to my image building. Always keep it creative and fluid.
Flow, my grasshopper. Flow like water.
When my ‘Active Lifestyle’ webinar didn’t pick up I stopped immediately. When I saw no conversion on an advertisement I changed the target group or wording or the content. Improvisation is the name of the game as an entrepreneur.
I constantly ask how people see the things I do. Surveys, polls, feedback sessions are perfect to realign and redesign your brand and your products, even pricing. In all the courses I did, I included a practice session after I found out the things learnt were not being put to action.
I changed the structure of my webinars. One week I’d have guest experts, and the next week might be practice and implementation. It helped the community-building aspect too because my WEEBERS are solving problems together.
3. Take care of your wellbeing
To be successful in life you must get in the habit of turning negatives into positives. ~ George Foreman
There’s a wonderful old Italian joke about a poor man who goes to church every day and prays before the statue of a great saint, begging, “Dear saint—please, please, please…give me the grace to win the lottery.” This lament goes on for months. Finally the exasperated statue comes to life, looks down at a begging man and says in weary disgust, “My son—please, please, please…buy a ticket.”
Brazil helped me tone down. I kept my stress level to a minimum and did a lot of exercising. Also I watched what I ate, and tried to have a schedule allowing me to relax and breathe (yes I had to schedule breathing!) every day.
Many times during the day I had a 10 – 15 minute break where I shut down the computer to just dance, move, stand up, and did I mention breathe. Talking to friends and family also helped a lot.
4. Let go of guilt
Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization. ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Your personal brand, in the end, is who you are. There is no limit to what you can create based on your experience, personality, background, origin and identity. Amsterdam was the perfect place and time to strengthen my brand and understand my situation. In personal branding, self-awareness is a crucial step to building an authentic brand that resonates with and attracts your tribe.
Social pressure is very strong in my culture. To let it go, I shut myself off from outside influences, and every time I made a decision I checked whether it aligned with my goals and values. I created a checklist and once a decision was made I stuck to the principles and said no to everything that didn’t serve my purpose.
Ignoring social expectations may sound odd coming from a personal branding coach, but you want to think of your authentic self first, and then how to brand it.
Personal branding is a marathon, not a sprint
To summarise it all up:
- Never stop learning
- Don’t be afraid to do it differently
- Take care of your wellbeing
- Let go of guilt
For your personal branding and business: the world today is not stagnant. It’s an ever-changing messy mix of problems, desires and solutions. Having a new vision will help us align and grow. Be patient and work on what you can control: grow your brand visibility, network, and prepare for the future
By the way, if you feel like dropping by, join us for one of our WEEB weekly entrepreneur elevator webinars where we tackle daily problems together with the help of international experts. I’m always down for a good ‘brandstorming’ session.
Oh, Andrea, we see what you did there, but we’ll allow it.
See Also: 5 Ways to Think Like an Entrepreneur
Andrea Zsapka is a certified coach and personal branding expert. Born in Hungary, she made the decision to move to Malaysia and has been living in Kuala Lumpur for the past 4 years, teaching individuals how to make changes in their lives to follow their passions. She is also a bonafide dance instructor, and may force you to do the tango if you pronounce ‘Zsapka’ wrongly. Drop us a line at [email protected] if you would like to connect with her.
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