It is all too easy to make serious branding mistakes that can tank your business or at least cause it to take a serious hit. Following are five particularly deadly personal branding mistakes to avoid at all costs.

Being Self-Centered

Building a personal brand name is not all about you. It's about networking with people, giving them what they need and having them in turn give you what you need.

No one wants to work with a self-centered individual. Your experience and know-how may diminish that of the competition; however, your customers will take their business elsewhere if you spend your time online and offline bragging about how great you are. Make it a point to listen more than you talk and you will not only discover your clients’ needs and how to meet them but also gain their trust and admiration.

Lack of Authenticity

There is no point in putting up a front to fool people into doing business with you. People will eventually discover what you are really like and your dishonesty will lose their respect.

Don't try to be something you are not. If you are self-made professional without a degree, be honest about it. If you are a recent graduate with little or not work experience, tell your clients instead of trying to make your small amount of work experience small larger and/or more important than it really is. While it is OK to emphasize your strengths and point out all you have to offer, don't try to make yourself look perfect.

Lack of a Clearly Defined Purpose

One of the biggest personal branding mistakes to avoid is failure to have clearly defined goals. You need to know what you want before you can go after it. If you have only a vague idea of what type of business you want to run, sit down and think about what field of expertise you want to be known for.

There are many different jobs any given professional can do. A freelance accountant, for instance, could specialize in handling SMB finances, work with companies that handle imports and exports or focus on tax preparation. Lawyers can specialize in any one of a number of fields. A real estate agent can specialize in certain types of sales instead of trying to gain a small share of each market.

Once you know you purpose, you can figure out who to target. Knowing who to target will enable you to write effective content that will make your audience want to do business with you.

Failure to Network Offline

The internet is a great place to meet new clients, interact with existing ones and spread awareness about your services. However, it does not take the place of offline promotion and networking.

There are many ways you can effectively network with people offline, including:

  • Keeping business cards on hand at all times and giving them out freely
  • Telling your friends, relatives and acquaintances exactly what you do and how and why you do it
  • Investing in offline advertising such as flyers, newspaper and magazine ads and billboards
  • Engaging with the local community by sponsoring a local charitable event
  • Attending industry-related expos and events

Not Using the Internet to its Fullest Potential

At the same time, other personal brand mistakes to avoid fall under the category of failing to use the internet to its fullest potential. Some common mistakes in this category include:

  • Failing to make sure your website is compatible and easy to view on mobile devices
  • Failing to use the right social networks
  • Not setting aside time to create winning content on a regular basis
  • Not having the right tools on your website so potential clients can learn more about your business, buy goods and/or set up an appointment with ease
  • Having a website with an outdated URL or look that no longer appeals to your target demographic

Other Personal Branding Mistakes to Avoid

A few other personal branding mistakes to avoid include:

  • Lack of proper etiquette is deadly both online and offline. People who do business with you expect to be treated with respect and gratitude, so be sure to meet this need by being appreciative, gracious and taking the lower seat when called for.
  • Failing to be specific when dealing with clients online and offline is yet another mistake to avoid. It's great if you can say that you are dedicated, have high standards and are a team player. However, it's much better to offer your clients specifics about how your work for them will surpass their expectations.

Brandgy can help you out if you need help creating and/or maintaining a clearly defined, attractive online presence. The company handles branding, content marketing, website design and a host of other services to help you promote your services in the way that is most attractive to potential customers. Get in touch with us to find out how we can work together to successfully build your personal brand name.