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Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2017 Favorites (under $75!)

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It’s that time of year. The Nordstrom sale is about to start and you’re invited.

If you have the Nordstrom card, you can start shopping now during the presale. If not, the sale will open to the public on July 20th.

I did a little preview of the sale and picked out my favorite items under $75. Click on the pictures below to get more information on any given item.
Can you believe those prices? I’m a sucker for simple jewelry, so that necklace is definitely in my cart as well as that white shirt. It looks just like a COS shirt, but for much less. #Winning.
I plan on doing some more browsing and will keep you updated on more fabulous finds. 🙂
Happy Shopping,
Leslie

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why you should care about personal branding

What is personal branding (and why should you care?)

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Have no clue what personal branding is? You’re not alone.

 

When you work around something day in and day out, it’s easy to forget that not everyone understands what you’re talking about. This is something I’m reminded of on a daily basis, specifically, every time I introduce myself.

 

My standard introduction used to be: “Hi, my name is Leslie Friedman and I’m an image consultant who specializes in personal branding”.

 

Forget knowing what personal branding means, most people couldn’t make it past image consultant. “What exactly IS an image consultant?” is a question I began to answer so many times that I added a little extra phrase to my introduction.

 

“Hi, my name is Leslie Friedman and I’m an image consultant that specializes in personal branding. Which basically means that I help people leverage their appearance to be more successful.

 

This not only happens when I throw out the term ‘image consultant’ but when I talk about personal branding. I incorrectly assume that most everyone knows what personal branding is, when actually, the exact opposite is true. If you’re one of those people, this article is for you.

 

I’m staying away from any industry jargon or other confusing terms to simply explain what personal branding is, and of course, why you should give a damn.

what is personal branding?

So, let’s get started shall we?

 

The concept of personal branding has been around for less than 20 years. It all started when this guy, Tom Peters, wrote an article in 1997 for the magazine Fast Company about this radical new idea- if companies can have brands, then so should people.

 

A brand is what makes a company distinctive and recognizable. Just think of Starbucks or McDonald’s. Not only do you immediately think of the products these places sell, but you also see the golden arches and green medallion symbols from the logos. All of these special little things that go into making a company recognizable, help create its brand.

 

Peters proposed that people could have similar brands. They too could have all those ‘special little things’ that go into making them recognizable as a person. Famous people are pros at this. Think of Beyonce, Steve Jobs, or even President Trump. My guess, is that most of you could recognize these people instantly if you were given a verbal description of who the person is/what they’ve done, or if you saw them. You could do that for the same reason that you could identify Starbucks or McDonald’s if you heard someone describe them or if they showed you a picture. These celebrities and companies have done the same thing- created brands around themselves. They decided what they wanted to be known for and then made sure their actions, words, and appearance all reflect those attributes.

personal branding secrets and checklist

I know what you’re thinking, “I’m not a celebrity, and I don’t want to be one..so why should I care? Why should I go through the effort of developing a personal brand? What’s in it for me?”

 

Here’s the thing; you don’t have to be a celebrity (or even like the person) to learn from what they’re doing and use it to help you.

 

Essentially, celebrities are using personal branding techniques for job security. The longer that person is in the spotlight and people know about them, the higher the chance they’ll be able to sell products, etc. Far less people would buy Beyonce albums if she wasn’t popular and people didn’t know who she was.

 

In the same manner, we can use personal branding to make us more successful. What do you want? Job security? Money? The ability to travel? A family? You can get pretty much anything you want by adjusting your personal brand.

 

Here’s a side by side example with an actual brand, a celebrity, and a ‘normal’ person, to help you make the connection.

 

Company/Person Goal Ways to achieve goal
Beyonce To sell albums Works to become nationally recognized and remains in the spotlight
Walmart To sell low price goods Spends lots of time sourcing goods that are less expensive for its stores
A 5th Grade Teacher To help students learn Shows up to work on time and is focused on doing their job

 

Your brand (personal or corporate), is the set of characteristics you/your company is uniquely known for and exhibits through their actions, words, and appearance.

personal branding quote

Keeping their end goals in mind, look at the chart below and see how each company/person from above uses specific actions, words, and appearances to achieve their goals.

 

Company/Person Actions Words Appearance
Beyonce Makes music and goes on tours Talks about herself as a celebrity Wears ‘news worthy’ ensembles
Walmart Sells low cost items at its stores Advertises to specific target markets about their deals No frills stores are clean but not fancy
A 5th Grade Teacher Help students one on one to learn material Builds up students with her/his words Dresses appropriately to teach students

 

It seems really simple, right? If Walmart wanted to sell expensive products to the ultra-rich they wouldn’t sell low cost items, advertise to everyday people like moms, and have a basic store. Likewise, if a teacher didn’t really want to help students they wouldn’t care about showing up on time, actually teaching, and wearing clothes that don’t distract students.

 

Our reputation, or how we want to be known, needs to make sense with our end goals and needs to be supported by our personal brand. We all have a personal brand. We all have traits that make us uniquely who we are. What we don’t always do, is focus on developing and nurturing that brand.

personal branding cheat sheets

We go through the motions and do what we’re supposed to because that’s what our boss and HR want us to do, but we don’t often think about how we could be using everyday things like actions, words, and our appearance to get ahead.

 

If our desire is to travel, maybe culture awareness is a strong characteristic that we embody.

 

If our desire is to make a lot of money, maybe a strong work ethic and go-getter attitude are what we are known for.

 

If our desire is to find a spouse, maybe dressing a way that shows your value will attract the right person.

 

Essentially, your personal brand is the process of creating and managing your reputation.

 

Personal branding isn’t a difficult concept, but it does take a decent amount of self-awareness. What do you want? (even if it’s just for the next 5 years) How are you being perceived right now? How do you want people to think of you? Once you start exploring these questions, you’ll be on your way to cultivating an incredible personal brand.

 

I know creating a personal brand isn’t easy. You may want to start, but have no idea how. That’s perfectly normal. So, normal in fact, that I created an entire e-course (including a 20+ page workbook) that walks you through creating your unique brand step by step. This is for anyone who wants a helping hand through the process, and is serious about really developing a brand that will help reach your goals. Sounds good? Click the button below to get instant access to the beginning of the course (for FREE!).

personal branding e-course

Questions about personal branding? I’d love to hear them! Comment below.

 

Obsessed with your success,

Leslie

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beauty from the inside out part 2: pretty girl problems

Pretty Girl Problems

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Part 2 to the 6-Part Series: Beauty from the Inside Out
Featuring Becky Lauren and Leslie Friedman

Beauty from the Inside Out is a 6-part series exploring the struggle women have every day, from looking nice and staying healthy to taking jobs and choosing friends, because we want to or because society expects it from us. Each week we’ll discuss a new topic, culminating in how we can break the mold as strong, confident, beautiful women.

Part 2: Pretty Girl Problems

Prepare yourself for this one, ladies, it’s going to be a long one.  It’s something that really affects me in every way every single day and it’s very important to me…

In today’s age we’re still living in a world where most career women struggle working in ‘a man’s world’.

I still laugh every time I watch Kristen Bell’s video ‘Pinksourcing’ . In the video she makes fun of everything that is unfair about being a women in the workforce.

I’ve known what I wanted to be since I was 8 years old. I was going to be “in the special forces”.  I of course didn’t really know what that meant other than wearing a uniform and carrying a gun and beating up bad guys.  At 8 years old I had no idea this dream wasn’t actually a possibility for me.

It wasn’t until I started growing up that there limitations on what I could dream and achieve.  Some of these limitations were real and some were conditioned. “Oh a pretty little girl like you can’t be a Soldier, that’s for boys!”

Do you have pretty girl problems?

Can women be in the special forces? At the time – no. In today’s age – kinda.  But were there really cool jobs similar to that women could do? Absolutely!

As I started to grow into my professional career in the corporate world sitting at the large mahogany conference room tables of ‘old white men’ the reality of working in a man’s world began to sink in.

If you were an attractive woman, you obviously got the job because of your looks.  If you were unattractive you obviously got the job because nobody wanted you so you had nothing to do but to work. (This is actually something that’s been told to me by numerous people over the years)

As a woman working in a field dominated by men, I am confronted by the double standard every single day. The struggle for me has always been where the line is, when to give into it, and when to fight it.

 

Where does ‘Pretty Girl Problems” come from? It’s from years of being told that my problems weren’t important.  When I would give a presentation to someone much higher up in the company than I and they couldn’t stop staring at my legs (I’m 5’10) I was told it’s a ‘pretty girl problem’.  When I had people from the company texting me slightly questionable things when they were drinking it was a ‘pretty girl problem’. When people assume I got my job because I’m a woman and they needed to make a ‘quota’, that’s a ‘pretty girl problem’.

 

“Oh it must be SO HARD getting all that attention from men all the time.” My male co-workers would joke. Yes. It is, and no, I don’t like it.

I once had a mentor, she was mid 50s, sit me down when I was an intern and give me some of the best advice I still look at today. She took me for coffee and as we sat down said “You, my dear, are going to have some trouble in this world.” The piece of advice she gave me which I still use is this: “There is a double standard that you aren’t going to get rid of in your lifetime, so you might as well take advantage.  Your looks will open doors to you that it won’t for men. Don’t be afraid to use that, but you better make sure that when you open your mouth you are smarter than anyone else in the room.  You better floor them!”

Leslie and I talked a lot about how to dress as a woman in the workplace. I’ve always joked that I have a pendulum that swings from ‘I don’t give a fuck to lesbian pant suit’.  I’ve been told that if I don’t want men to stare at me I shouldn’t wear dresses and skirts, form fitting clothing, or low tops.  I don’t disagree that if I avoided wearing those things I might not get as many looks.  My issue lies in who’s side society is taking.  

By saying “she’s asking for it. She’s wearing a pencil skirt with a shirt tucked in, you can see her shape” what we’re really saying is that we’re choosing men. We are choosing that their opinions and actions mean more than a woman’s. THEY can’t handle themselves so we need to change how we exist in the world. No. I just won’t.

Except I do. I think we all do.  I’ll have an inappropriate comment made to me or someone stare just too much and the next day I’m practically wearing a mumu with my hair in a bun and no makeup. And I’ll do that for a few days so I don’t get the attention. And in that moment, in that decision, I’ve let them win.beauty quote

 

The crazy thing is, that these same problems happen to women regardless of what industry they’re in. As an image consultant, Leslie works with women across all different fields look their best especially when they are going to work. She’s noticed that a ‘pretty girl’ double standard is present in almost all workplaces, but does vary from industry to industry. For example, a woman who wears heels in a more casual teaching environment is judged as being sexy and trying too hard while a woman who wears flats in a high power ad agency might be seen as lazy and unprofessional. Likewise, it is deemed equally inappropriate (by the men who have always set the standards, of course!) for a woman engineer to wear a skirt at a manufacturing conference as it is for a woman lawyer to wear a pant suit in the courtroom.

So, what’s Leslie advice to these women? Dress in a way that makes you feel comfortable, reflects the way you want to be perceived to your client (ex. Professional, capable, etc.), and is appropriate for your workplace (I don’t want to see tight pants, short shorts, or unbuttoned tops on men either). If you feel comfortable in a skirt, wear an office appropriate skirt. If you feel incredible in a power suit, wear your power suit. Your appearance certainly has an affect on others, but it also affects YOU! The way you look should empower you, while setting the stage for your actions- which is the real secret to breaking barriers.

Pretty Girl Problems affect all of us.  I have a million stories of this and I’m sure each and every one of you do as well. We know women who exacerbate the issue and we know women who hide from it. I’ve always tried to live my professional life and professional friendships with integrity – in a way where I had fun, I dressed fashionably but appropriately, and acted in a way that nobody would question my intentions.  “Live your life in a way that if someone spoke bad about you, nobody would believe it”

Xoxo
Becky and Leslie

P.S. Don’t miss out on past or future videos and posts in this series! Sign up HERE to get access to everything!

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Dealing with Jealousy (and using it to your benefit!)

Dealing with Jealousy (and how to benefit from the green monster)

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Part 1 to the 6-Part Series: Beauty from the Inside Out
Featuring Becky Lauren and Leslie Friedman
Beauty from the Inside Out is a 6-part series exploring the struggle women have every day, from looking nice and staying healthy to taking jobs and choosing friends, because we want to or because society expects it from us. Each week we’ll discuss a new topic, culminating in how we can break the mold as strong, confident, beautiful women.

Part 1:
Dealing with Jealousy
(and learning to benefit from the green monster)

 
Jealousy doesn’t always get the best rap.
 
Think about it. If you were describing your best attributes during a job interview, you probably wouldn’t throw out, “Oh, and one of my all time greatest character traits is my jealous nature”.
 
No, of course not. But jealousy isn’t all bad, and it can actually help you decide where priorities and values lie. For that reason, it’s the perfect place to start this 6 part series.How to use jealousy to become a better person
 
Jealousy is really like alcohol in a lot of ways. It can lead you to hurt yourself, or to help yourself. The choice is yours. We’ll talk about how it’s hurtful, first, because that’s the aspect we’re most familiar with.
 
We’ve all watched our girlfriend get drunk and start saying something stupid or pouring out her inner most feelings. It’s a painful thing to watch, especially if you’re sober. It’s obvious that she is saying something hurtful or acting stupid, but she totally doesn’t see it. It’s similar with jealousy. As women we’ve somehow been ingrained to minimize what we are jealous of. Just like the drunk girl spilling her guts, you can spot the jealous girl a mile away. “Oh well she has an easy job and can work out whenever she wants” or “she’s just showing off because she’s trying to get a man”.
 
Has another woman ever made a snide comment to you about your hair, weight, or appearance in general? It’s hurtful and probably the result of jealousy. You have something they don’t, and in order to satiate the jealousy they bring you down.

“Calling somebody else fat won’t make you any skinnier. Calling someone stupid doesn’t make you any smarter. And ruining Regina George’s life definitely didn’t make me any happier. All you can do in life is try to solve the problem in front of you.” – Mean Girls

 
Women deal with jealousy in two main ways: motivation or negativity. Some will see their co-workers new car and think ‘that car is awesome, I need to work harder to get one’ while others will say ‘I’ll never be able to afford a car like that’. Which one are you? When other people have something you want does it motivate you to work towards it? Or retreat and hide from it? If you’re the latter then it’s time to change your approach! It’s time to start using jealousy in your favor!
 
A lot of introverts or people with social anxiety like to drink when they’re at social functions. The ‘liquid courage’ makes them feel less stressed about talking with others.
 
These people understand how alcohol affects them (and knows exactly where their limit is) and how they can use it to make themselves better at a specific task.
 
mean girls quote about jealousy
You can take the same jealous (that can be equally bad if not controlled) and use it to your advantage. No matter how jealousy affects you, in three easy steps you can start putting it to use for your personal benefit.
 
Step 1: Identify what triggers jealousy for you. Whenever you have a jealous thought (I want.., I wish…, She has the best…,) stop and think about what they have that you want. You don’t even have to do anything about it at this point, just write it down or remember mentally. Eventually, you will see a pattern. Maybe, it’s other women’s bodies that you are jealous of. Maybe, it’s their clothes, cars, homes, or how they seem to raise their kids. Whatever it is, find your main triggers. Remember to separate the person of jealousy from the attribute you are jealous of. You aren’t jealous of Staci, you’re jealous of her jet-set lifestyle.
 
Step 2: With each trigger, really ask yourself- is this something I actually want? It sounds stupid, but you’d be surprised. I used to envy every single post someone I follow put on Instagram. “She has the life! It’s so wonderful!” However, one day I really thought about if I would want that life and the answer surprised me- it was no. She travels constantly and is never at home with her family. She has a stressful job and works for months at a time without breaks. It may have looked great (and I hope it’s really great for her!) but it wasn’t what I wanted. I only really liked the idea of it.
 
Step 3: Once you find out the triggers that point to something you actually want, set some goals and use the things you want as an incentive to do better and be better. Remember- don’t compare yourself to the person you envy. They are at a different place in their life as you. Instead focus on the aspect of their person/life that you like, whether that’s their relaxed attitude or dedication to working out.
 
It’s most important to keep your priorities straight. Just like one too many drinks takes you from comfortable and cool to sloppy drunk, the wrong motivations behind jealousy will just make things worse. You need to turn your jealousy into motivation to be better. If you’re jealous of how good of shape your frenemy is in, don’t COMPETE with her, set a new workout and nutrition schedule for yourself and start working out so you look at your own body and say “damn, I look great!”. That mentality turns into putting others down instead of building everyone up together
 
What do you think? Tell us about a time when jealousy has helped or hurt you. What struggles do you have finding that line between healthy and harmful amounts of jealousy? Comment below!
 
Xoxo,
Leslie & Becky
 
Did you miss the intro post or video? Don’t worry! Click here to get access to all past and future parts to the series!

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How to be an effective communicator

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how to be an effective communicator

Communicating with someone else doesn’t seem like a hard concept…until something goes wrong and a ‘misunderstanding’ happens.

 

“Did you get more milk?”

“Uh, no. Was I supposed to? I thought you were picking it up”

“No, I asked you to get it!”

 

Sound familiar?

 

I’m sure we’ve all found ourselves in a situation like the one above at least once, if not more.

 

When a misunderstanding happens, it’s easy to point the finger and blame the other person for not listening. However, we need to understand that WE could be partially to blame for the mix up. If we’re not communicating effectively, then it’s easy for things to go south quickly.

 

Intuitively, we know we need to be strong communicators to get what we want. Ironically though, we don’t usually do what we need to do to strengthen those skills.

 

This article is designed to help you start thinking about your own communication level and what you can do to be more effective.

 

If you have no idea where you’re starting from, then it’s going to be hard to know where you need to improve. That’s why we’re going to start laying the groundwork for discovering who you are and what your message is.

 

Sound good? Great! Let’s get started.

We’ll start really simple and then build our way up to the complex stuff.

 

COMMUNICATION- SIMPLY SPEAKING

For starters, communicating is simply interacting with others.

 

However, just because you are physically communicating with someone/something else doesn’t mean you’re doing a good job at it. I communicate with my dog on a daily basis, but when she fails to sit when I say ‘sit’, I’m obviously not doing it well. I also communicate with my husband on a daily basis, and when I’m too tired to really pay attention to what he’s saying, I’m also not doing it well.

 

Just because you’re speaking the same language and physically ‘hearing’ one another, doesn’t mean you’re communicating well. You’re just communicating.

 

In order for communication to happen (good or bad), there needs to be at least two parties. Although technically, I guess talking to yourself or self-reflection time could be considered communication- but we’re not going to go there today. For the sake of staying focused, we’re going to say communication happens when at least two parties are present.

 

The two parties are (obviously): YOU and THEM.

 

‘You’ are, well, you, and ‘them’ is whomever you’re trying to communicate with. Since you have the most power over yourself, we’ll start with you.

how to get what you want by communicating effectively

YOU

The great news is that you have pretty much full control over yourself. What you say. What messages you send. How you act. Most of us realize this, yet we never do anything to harness that power.

 

A lot of what I’m about to say may sound really obvious. That’s because it is. However, before you write me off, ask yourself if you are doing these simple things every time you communicate. The kicker here is that they are SIMPLE, but not always EASY. Keep that in mind.

 

Point 1)

In order to be an effective communicator, you need to know who you are and what you want. Simple, right?…but definitely not easy. Here’s why each matters:

  1. Know who you are. The reason you are communicating, depends on your needs. Are you talking to a group of people because you need social interaction or a job completed? There’s a big difference. The more self aware you are, the better you will be able to get what you want (because you’ll know what you need and how you are conveying yourself).
  2. Know what you want. The end goal of communication is to get something out of it. Right? You talk to the cashier because you want to buy something. You leave a note for a co-worker because you want them to know something. You talk to your spouse because you want a higher level of intimacy. If we didn’t need anything from anyone else, we probably wouldn’t see a need to communicate.

 

So, who are you and what do you want? Imagine you just walked into a tv show and have no idea who the characters are or what’s happening. You ask your friend to explain and they say, “Jerry is trying to break up with Shannon because she cheated on him”. Just from that, we know that Jerry is a guy in a relationship who wants to break up with his girlfriend. Now, imagine instead of a tv show, it’s your life. If you write a note or speak to someone, how could that be summarized? Here are some examples:

  • (Networking event) Leslie is a professional Image Consultant who wants to seek out new clients.
  • (Writing an Email) Leslie is the leader of a giveaway collaboration among several blogs and is writing to make sure all the bloggers understand the rules of the sweepstakes.
  • (Standing in line at CVS) Leslie is an entrepreneur who wants to be seen as friendly in the community, so she smiles and makes small talk with people in line.

Every time you communicate, you are saying something about yourself and what you want. If you have no idea who you are (or how you wish to be perceived) and/or what you want, then it’s very likely that you’ll fail communicating.

 

TL;DR version: Make sure you know how you want to be perceived and what you want out of every exchange you make.

motivational quote about communication
Point 2)

There are two main ways that we communicate: tangible and intangible.

  1. Tangible. This is our physical presence and our non-verbal communication. If I want to seem friendly to the people in the checkout line at CVS, I don’t really have to talk to them. I could smile and nod, show open body language, and/or show respect by waiting patiently and not constantly checking my phone or watch. All of these things would make me appear more friendly, without me having to say or write a single thing. Likewise, if I wanted to seek out new clients at a networking event, I could dress appropriately for the event while still looking stylish. People with judge your appearance before your words or actions, so it’s important to set the stage correctly with your non-verbal language!
  2. Intangible. This is what we most often think of when it comes to communication. Here are few sub-categories of intangible communication:
    1. Verbal- What are you saying? Does is clearly indicate what you want (or help you to get what you want)?
    2. Written- What’s the point of the email you just sent out? Does the note you wrote for your spouse/co-worker/child accomplish your end goal (getting what you want)?

We’ve all received that email or talked to that person and then thought, “what are they trying to say?” or “what do they want?” When time is precious, there’s nothing more annoying than reading a super long email to only reach the end and not be sure what they author was trying to say. Additionally, it’s important for your intangible forms of communication to be aligned with your tangible forms (this will happen naturally if you know who you are what you want). If you wear really promiscuous clothing to a networking event, yet want to gain to new clients for your law practice- you’re going to fail at communicating. Likewise, if you act really sweet to your son and then leave a harsh note about his grades, your bad communication will confuse him.

 

**A brief note about why consistency in tangible and intangible forms of communication is important: because it builds trust. Consistency builds trust while inconsistency breaks trust. If you want someone to trust you, you need to be consistent.**

 

TL;DR version: Understand how you communicate both in tangible and intangible forms and make sure the two are consistent!

 

Like I said before, this is really great because you have so much power!! You can wake up in the morning and decide who you are and how you want others to see you. You can decide exactly what you want from someone else and then change your approach to raise your chances of achieving your goal!

 

THEM

Here’s the side you can’t control…as much.

 

Why do I say as much? Because you do have some control over how the recipient of your communication reacts. It’s just not complete control (for the record- that would be weird and if you do have complete control you’re probably in a cult).

 

The way you present yourself and your message has a direct effect on whomever is on the receiving side.

 

Example: I have a great new idea for a company. I want to pitch this idea to someone I know has the capital to back it at the next networking meeting. Here are several ways I could do that:

 

  1. Put on a power suit,  come into the meeting confidently, and chat with the person of interest, and then pitch my idea (or make another personal meeting to pitch my idea) or
  2. Wear jeans and a t-shirt, come into the meeting, and avoid the person of interest until I have enough courage to go pitch my “maybe it’s a good idea, I don’t know, but what do you think” idea.

 

Here are the likely effects of each:

  1. The person may or may not fund your idea, BUT they will most likely respect you and would be open to doing business in the future.
  2. The person may or may not fund your idea, BUT they will most likely not take you seriously and not have much respect for you or your idea.

 

These were extreme examples, but it illustrates that we really do have more power than we think over other people. While ultimately, the end choice is theirs, we can influence their decision of us.

Effective communication infographic

IN THE END

Influential people (whether that’s a celebrity or the mover and shaker of your local town) all have something in common: they are great communicators. They know exactly who they are, what they want, and how they can use different channels of communication to get a desired outcome. You can think of it as a trifecta of effective communication, and (the best part) it works pretty much every where. Here is a range of examples. See if you can guess the person each is describing.

 

Who they are: What they want: Methods:
Celebrity entertainer Empower women to ‘slay’ Singing and songwriting
Technology entrepreneur Elite technology for the masses Creating solar cars and exploring space travel for everyday people
Mom-blogger of 3 kids To raise well-behaved children that positively influence the world Lots of daily love, encouragement, and family volunteering

 

If you guessed: Beyonce, Elon Musk, and….(if you weren’t sure about the last one, that’s okay because I made it up)- then you’d be correct. I wasn’t thinking about anyone in particular, but it could be almost any mom. The point is that you don’t have to do something on a huge grand scale to be an effective communicator. A mom who nurtures her kids to be good people is just as effective as a communicator as Beyonce is- as long as they are fulfilling their goals and getting what they want.

 

Remember the milk misunderstanding from the beginning of the article? It didn’t have anything to do with providing technology for the masses or empowering a certain sex. It was literally a matter of keeping the household running smoothly.

 

Everyone is different and leads different lives. Because of that, we will all be different people who want different things and employ different methods to achieve them.

 

So, here’s my question to you: Who are you, what do you want, and what methods are you using to reach your goals? Please share in the comments below!

 

Cheers!

Leslie

 

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The Complete Shopping Guide for Tall, Petite, and Plus Size Women

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Special size guide- where to shop for tall, petite, and plus sizes

If you’re a special size (like tall, petite, or plus), finding clothing that fits can be downright agonizing. Luckily, I’ve come up with the complete guide to shopping for special sizes. I’ve broken down each special size into several sub categories like: casual, work (business clothing), wedding, shoes, etc. so you can easily find exactly what you’re looking for!

 

My goal was to make this list digestible, not exhaustible, so if I left out your favorite place to shop- leave a comment and tell me where you love to shop and for what size range (tall/petite/plus/etc.)

 

Note: each brand name is a direct link to the website where the described type of item can be found (therefore, ASOS under tall casual will go directly to tall clothes on the ASOS website).

 

Price indicator: Average cost of items from each retailer

$: $0-100

$$: $100-250

$$$: $250+


the complete guide to finding clothes for tall womenTALL

Casual/Everyday Clothing

  • Ann Taylor: $$ Ann Taylor has a whole section just for tall women and provides a good selection of classic clothing at reasonable prices.
  • ASOS: $ Asos has a ton of tall options when it comes to well priced, casual clothing. Be advised however, that their target market is for the under 35 crowd.
  • Banana Republic: $$ The nicest of the three Gap companies, BR has tailored casual and professional clothing in tall sizes.
  • Gap: $ More casual than BR, but with some dressy options like blazers and tailored pants. Much of what is available in regular sizes is available in tall.
  • JCPenney:$ Like many other department stores, JCP offers a specific tall shopping section on their website. While most of the clothes are casual, you can find professional separates like skirts, dresses, and jackets.
  • J.Crew:$$ From cocktail dresses to denim shirts, J.Crew has a lot to offer tall women.
  • J.Jill: $ Relaxed, casual clothing for tall women. J.Jill caters to a 35+ age group.
  • Lands’ End: $ Casual clothing and swimwear is available in tall for both their original (older target market) and canvas (younger target market) lines.
  • LOFT: $ LOFT is Ann Taylor’s less expensive and more casual line. You’ll find similar aesthetics to Ann Taylor, but less formal.
  • Long Tall Sally:$ to $$ This online boutique only sells brands that are suitable for tall people (and fashion forward!) They cater to a young professional market (ages 25-55).
  • New York & Co: $ Affordable clothing ranging from casual to professional. BONUS: Their new Eva Mendes collection is adorable AND available in tall.
  • Old Navy: $ Like its sister brands Gap and BR, Old Navy offers a good selection of casual tall clothing.
  • Simply Tall: $-$$ This online boutique only carries tall casual and (some) professional clothing. The pieces are more classic than trendy and cater towards a 30+  market.
  • TopShop:$ Like ASOS, TopShop has tall options in trendy, younger looking clothing.

 Work

  • JC. Penney, J.Crew,  New York and Co, Simply Tall, Long Tall Sally, Ann Taylor, LOFT

Formal/cocktail

  • ASOS: $ ASOS specializes in casual and formal clothing and skips the whole professional look. Luckily, they have great depth in those two categories and lots of tall items to choose from.
  • Ann Taylor: $$ While Ann Taylor doesn’t have tons of cocktail dresses, they do have several classic little black dresses at reasonable prices that are one fabulous necklace away from cocktail worthy.
  • Long Tall Sally: $-$$ From cocktail dresses to shoes up to size 15, LTS will have you fashionably dressed for your next event.

Shoes

  • DSW: $ Find trendy and classic shoes up to size 15 and in wide options.
  • Long Tall Sally: $ This online boutique only sells shoes in size 9-15 (and they’re good looking!)
  • Nordstrom:$-$$ Nordstrom carries a decent amount of their most popular shoes in a special 10.5 and up section. (You can also search by wide foot and wide calf!)
  • Shoes of Prey:$$-$$$ Can’t find any shoes you like? This website allows you to create your own. No longer does your long, narrow foot have to wear ugly shoes. Sizes up to 15 in varying widths.
  • Zappos:$-$$ Zappos has a nice range of styles from tennis shoes to professional heels all the way up to a size 20!

Subscriptions

none 🙁

tall women's shopping guide

 


where to find clothing for petite womenPETITE

Casual/Everyday Clothing

  • Ann Taylor: $$ Similar to talls, Ann Taylor provides a whole section of classic, refined clothing just for petite women.
  • ASOS: $ Well priced casual and going out clothing for a younger crowd. Great selection of petite clothing.
  • Banana Republic:$$ BR has a nice selection of casual and professional clothing for petites both online and in stores (some stores have a petite section that’s just as big as the ‘regular’ section!)
  • Dress Barn:$ A great option for both career or casual clothing in petite sizes. You can also find a Dress Barn in most larger towns, so buying things online isn’t your only option.
  • Gap:$ More casual than BR, but with dressy options like tailored pants and blazers. Their pant options for petite (and tall) are quite extensive.
  1. JCPenney: $ Like many other department stores, JCP offers a specific petite shopping section on their website. While most of the clothes are casual, you can find professional separates like skirts, dresses, and jackets.
  • J.Crew: $$ J.Crew offers a nice variety of preppy clothes in petite sizes. You’ll find everything from cropped sailor jeans (at least, this season!) to suits.
  • J.Jill: $ Relaxed, casual clothing in petite sizes 0P-18P. J.Jill caters to a 35+ woman.
  • Lands’ End: $ Casual clothing and swimwear is available in petite for both their original (older target market) and canvas (younger target market) lines.
  • LOFT: $ A younger and more casual version of Ann Taylor clothing complete with an entire petite section.
  • Lord & Taylor: $-$$ If you’re looking for a great variety of petite work clothes, Lord & Taylor has you covered.
  • Macy’s:$ Work clothes, lounging clothes, swimsuits, jeans…you name it, Macy’s probably has it (in petite!)
  • New York & Co.: $ Affordable clothing ranging from casual to professional. BONUS: Their new Eva Mendes collection is adorable AND available in petite.
  • Nordstrom:$-$$ Nordstrom offers a really wide selection of petite clothing ranging from casual t-shirts to formalwear.
  • Old Navy: $ Like its sister brands Gap and BR, Old Navy offers a good selection of casual petite clothing.
  • Talbots:$-$$ Classic casual and professional clothing in petite and petite plus sizes (up to 22w)
  • TopShop: $ Like ASOS, TopShop has casual petite clothing for a trendy, younger crowd.

Work

  • Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Dress Barn, Gap, JCPenney, J.Crew, LOFT, Lord & Taylor, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Talbots

Formal/Cocktail

  • Ann Taylor: $$ Although they don’t have a lot of cocktail dresses, there are some good options you can dress up to be more formal.
  • ASOS: $ If you’re looking for a dress for an upcoming wedding/cocktail party/whatever, ASOS has a great selection.
  • Dress Barn: $ Pretty day and cocktail dress options at prices under $100.
  • Lord & Taylor:$$ Petite formal dresses in available from a variety of well known designers.
  • Macy’s: $-$$ Convenient search options allow you to find dresses for daytime, cocktail, prom, and even weddings.
  • Nordstrom:$$ A good variety of formal dresses suitable for different occasions and ages.

Wedding

  • David’s bridal: $$-$$$ They say they have a dress for every bride and every budget and I think they’re right! Petite gowns range from $99-$2000.

Swimwear/intimates

  • Dainty Lady: $ This British company only sells petite sized undergarments, and they ship anywhere!
  • Lula Lu: $ Online lingerie store specializing is petite sizes as small as AAA.

Shoes

  • Cinderella of Boston: $ This online boutique only carries sizes 2-5.5.
  • DSW: $ DSW offers shoes all the way down to size 3.
  • Nordstrom: $-$$ Forget shopping in the children’s section. Nordstrom has cute shoes (flats, heels, you name it) down to a size 4. There’s even a ‘4.5 and under’ search option.
  • ShoeBuy: $ Online retailer with a variety of shoes brands in sizes as low as 4.
  • Shoes of Prey:$$-$$$ Can’t find any shoes you like? This website allows you to create your own as small as size 2!
  • Zappos: $-$$ Zappos has a nice range of styles from tennis shoes to professional heels as small as size 1.

Subscriptions

  • M.M.LaFleur: $$ Professional clothing subscription company that offers sizes 0P-16.
  • Stitch Fix: $ Casual clothing subscription box with a growing number of petite offerings.
  • Trunk Club:$$ Casual and professional clothing picked by a stylist and sent to you at your request (so, not technically a subscription because it doesn’t come every month unless you want it to!) Inquire about special sizes.

petite women shopping guide

 


Where to shop for plus size women's clothingPLUS SIZE

Casual/Everyday

  • ASOS: $ Once again, ASOS provides a great selection of casual and formal clothing in plus sizes up to 26.
  • Avenue: $ An online store exclusively for plus size women. They even carry special plus sizes like petite, tall, shoes up to size 13, and bra bands sizes 50 & 52.
  • Catherines: $ Don’t like buying online? Catherines are almost as plentiful as department stores across the US. They sell casual plus size clothing for a 30+ age woman.
  • Dillards: $-$$ Huge range of any type of clothing you could possibly want.
  • JC.Penney: $ Like other department stores, JCP has a nice selection of plus size clothing including swimwear and underwear. While they don’t sell plus suits, you can buy professional separates here.
  • Jessica London: $ An online retailer specializing in plus size clothing. They carry casual clothing, suits, cocktail dresses, lingerie, swimwear and everything in between. Sizes go up to an 8x.
  • Kohl’s: $ A low cost option for casual plus sizes up to size 26W.
  • Lane Bryant:$ Online and brick and mortar retailer specializing in plus sizes. They carry everything from work clothing to swimwear (and activewear!)
  • Lands’ End: $ Lands’ End signature classic style and great quality is available up to size 26w.
  • Lord & Taylor: $-$$ A range of casual and formal styles from various designers that go up to size 30.
  • Macy’s: $ Having trouble finding professional clothing in plus sizes? Macy’s has you covered with a special ‘wear to work’ search option.
  • Nordstrom: $-$$ Nordstrom proves that plus doesn’t have to be frumpy or for just a certain age group.
  • Simply Be:$ Simply Be carries sizes 8-28 exclusively and cater to curvy figured women who want trendy clothing. :
  • Talbots: $-$$ Classic casual and professional clothing in regular plus (sizes 12w-24w) and petite plus (12w-22w).
  • Torrid: $ Trendy, casual clothing for women sizes 10-30.

Work

  •  Dillards, Jessica London, JCPenney, Kohl’s, Lord & Taylor, Talbots

Formal/Cocktail

  • Dillards: $-$$ Get your sparkle on with dresses for all occasions.
  • JC.Penney: $ From mother of the bride to cocktail hour, JCP offers a nice range of occasion dresses at a good price.
  • Lane Bryant: $ Classic cocktail dresses for (mostly) less than $100 a pop.
  • Nordstrom: $$ Lots of options for plus size women including a whole prom collection!

Wedding

  • David’s Bridal: $-$$$ Find plus size wedding dresses in sizes up to 26. Prices range from $40-$2000 and you can even search for plus size petite.

Swimwear/Intimates

  • ASOS: $ Find trendy swimwear up to size 24 and/or size 38 DDD/F. They also have cute lingerie up to size 24 and/or cup size 44L.
  • Bare Necessities: $ Classic undergarments up to a size 58B.
  • Catherines: $ If you’re more concerned about function and practicality when it comes to underwear than lacy little nothings, Catherines is the right place for you. They also have a nice selection of swimwear.
  • JCPenney: $ Affordable swimwear and intimates with sizes up to 26w.
  • Lands’ End: $ Lots of swimwear options up to 26w and a nifty search tool that allows you to filter results based on things like ‘sun protection’ and ‘conceal thighs’.
  • Lord & Taylor: $ L&T is bringing sexy back for women who wear sizes up to 38I. They also have plain panties too, if that’s more your thing.
  • Macy’s: $ Pajamas, shapewear, sexy lingerie, and basic undergarments- Macy’s has anything you could need.
  • Nordstrom: $-$$ Sexy lingerie and practical undergarments and shapewear for up to size 48F in certain styles.
  • Simply Be: $ A diverse range of underwear and swimwear…they even have mermaid blankets!
  • Torrid: $ Fun and trendy underwear and swimwear for sizes up to 48DDD.

Shoes (see wide shoes below)

Subscriptions

  • Dia & Co:$ Monthly clothing subscription box specifically for women sizes 14+.
  • Gwynnie Bee:$ Subscription clothing box company for sizes 10-32.
  • Stitch Fix:$ A casual subscription clothing company that offers sizes 14W-24W and 1X-3X.
  • Trunk Club:$$ Casual and professional clothing picked by a stylist and sent to you at your request (so, not technically a subscription because it doesn’t come every month unless you want it to!) Enquire about special sizes.
  • Plvsh:$-$$ Personal styling subscription box (for sizes 14+) that could include casual or professional clothing based on your needs.

plus size shopping guide

 


where to find wide shoes for womenWIDE SHOES

*Wide shoe hunting tip*: think outside the box. You might not think of shopping for shoes at a plus size store if you aren’t plus size, but these types of stores usually carry a good selection of wide shoes!

Here are some great places to find wide shoes:

  • ASOS: $ Trendy, wide, AND well-priced…is that even possible? With ASOS it is.
  • DSW:$ DSW not only offers wide shoes, but they also carry them in sizes 4-15.
  • Nordstrom:$-$$ Nordstrom has you covered with four different wide categories including: wide calf, wide, extra wide, and extra-extra wide.
  • Shoes of Prey: $$-$$$ Can’t find exactly what you’re looking for? Create your own! Shoes of Prey allows you to customize your own shoes including length (sizes 2-15) and width (both narrow- extra wide).
  • ShoeBuy: $ Online retailer carrying a variety of wide shoes from different brands ranging from size 4-17.
  • Simply Be: $ Under the footwear category, Simply Be let’s you choose between with type of wide shoes you’re looking for (sandals, boots, heels, flats, etc.)
  • Zappos:$-$$ Zappos has a reputation for having a wide shoe selection and for a good reason- they carry sizes 1-15 and AAA through extra extra wide including tennis shoes, casual, and professional shoes.

wide feet shopping guide

Whew, that was a lot of information! Be sure to book mark this page (and download the cheat sheets for your preferred size) so that you know where to turn next time you need to go shopping.

Tell me…what’s your favorite place to shop for hard to fit clothes?

Cheers,

Leslie

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Take the quiz to find out what your style is!

The secret to finding your style

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“I don’t have a style”

You have no idea how many times I’ve heard that phrase from either clients or random people (once they find out I’m an image consultant, of course).

The funny thing, though, is that all these people really do have a style.

They have a style that feels old and boring to them because it’s what they’ve always worn, but that’s exactly what style is: a consistent way of dressing in a certain manner.

We often don’t consider our daily uniforms (you know, your go to outfits and accessories) as a style because it doesn’t fit into our perception of ‘style’.

Culture and society tells us that style is ever changing and it’s whatever is vogue right now. It’s avant garde and artsy. We think of style as something only a select few can obtain and that there’s some secret one style per person limit.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. While, style can be avant garde or artsy, it most certainly is not restricted to one person or a specific group of people. Many people can have the same style and that’s perfectly okay.

All you have to do to find your style is simply look in your closet. What outfits do you gravitate towards? What are the common patterns? 

Find out your style with our new quiz

THAT IS YOUR STYLE!

If your closet is filled with jeans and t-shirts, you have a casual, all-American style.

If your closet is filled with tailored clothing, you have a more professional, pulled together style.

If your closet is filled with a mix match of colors and patterns, you have an eclectic style.

The question you should be asking is not, “what is my style?” but “does my style (clothing) say what I want it to about me?”

Do the clothes you wear most often (which make up your style), lead others to perceive you the way you want to be perceived?

Don’t miss this, because it’s the biggest secret to mastering your own style: your outward appearance must accurately reflect your strongest character traits.

If you’re a young professional that wants to be seen as experienced, professional, and dedicated- a jeans and t-shirt style is not going to work for you.

Likewise, if you want to seem laid back and fun, a closet full of super tailored clothing and business suits is not going to achieve that.

Fashion and style quote

So, before you get down and out about your style, ask yourself if it makes sense for your lifestyle and how you want to be perceived. If the answer is YES, embrace it. Just because you don’t look like the pages of a fashion magazine doesn’t mean you don’t have a style and can’t own it.

This is something that you need to realize BEFORE you even start thinking about what style you are most drawn to.

Why? Because your personal appearance does two things: 1) it affects other people and 2) it affects you.

First, your image sends a message about yourself. Before you think about how to construct that message, you need to decide what you want to say.

Second, your clothing affects the way you feel. A single piece of clothing has the power to make you feel bold and confident or uncomfortable and self-conscious. Fit, color, and feel all contribute to the way we feel in an outfit, but so does one other thing: the actual style of the garment. Just like we’re drawn to certain cars and feel awkward in others, different styles of clothing can change the way we feel while wearing them. For that reason (among others), it’s important to have at least an idea of what types of clothing you like.

While you could separate different styles into multiple categories, I use a basic 6: minimalist, bohemian, traditional, eclectic, modern, and feminine. This quiz will help you decide which style you like the most.

Each style says something different about the wearer. We all make similar snap judgements when someone dressed ‘goth’ or ‘preppy’ walks by, right? Well, it’s the same with ANY style.

To help you decode what your style may be saying about you (both good and bad), I created this nifty PDF that you can download for no cost. Enjoy!

what does your style say about you pdfCLICK HERE to download for FREE

Xoxo,

Leslie

 

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how to create a personal brand

The 5 Secrets to Developing a Stand Out Personal Brand

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We can theorize about personal branding and mission statements all day, but unless we put any of it to practice in an applicable way, it doesn’t do any good. Unless you understand what your personal brand is, the rest of this book will just be entertaining fluff. Here’s the thing. I didn’t sit down and write a book about how to make you look pretty. Yes, I am all about you looking fabulous, but my intent is to help you create a look and then use it to be successful. There are plenty of books out there on how to get dressed. There are even more on how to do it with style. I want to tell you how to alter your appearance to get what you want. Whether it’s a better job, happier home life, or improved self-esteem, I want you to be living to your fullest potential. And that’s something that needs to start from the inside, from your personal branding, and then move its way outward.

 

So, let’s talk about your brand. I promise it will be easier than you think. Remember, we are trying to figure out what makes you, uniquely you. This includes personality traits, general characteristics, and accomplishments. It’s everything that sets you apart from others in your home, office, town, state, and even country. Everyone has a personal brand, but most people’s brands aren’t realized or well developed. Using the following secrets, you can create a strong personal brand that will serve as a solid foundation for your future success!

Side note: the following is an excerpt from my book: Dressing Your Personal Brand. To download the entire book, click here.

personal branding short version

Secret #1: Strong personal brands are a mix of intrinsic and extrinsic traits.

This is something a lot of people either forget, or disregard. Your personal brand isn’t just about who you are, but what you’ve done, and how you’ve accomplished it. It’s not just what you’ve done (e.g. Where you’ve gone to school, awards you’ve won, accounts you’ve landed…). It’s not just about your personality (e.g. Extrovert, leader, intuitive…) or about how you your personality manifests itself (E.g. Outgoing, team player, problem solver…). Rather, a strong personal brand includes traits from all of these areas. There are several reasons why this is.

 

For one, it shows that there are multiple facets to you other than how you were born or what you’ve accomplished. Think about it. Any of the above characteristic sets can be entirely independent of another when creating a personal brand. One whole set of traits without any of the other sets leads the recipient to believe that you have certain qualities, but don’t know how to use them. For example, if I say I am a Harvard graduate with a PhD in Biology and a successful career in research- that only describes my accomplishments. Alternatively, if that same person said, “I am an extrovert with a positive attitude and upbeat personality”, they’re really only talking about their intrinsic traits. The best personal brands show a blend of intrinsic and extrinsic traits. They declare, ‘this is who I am and what I’ve achieved with what I’ve been given!’ For example, it would be best if the above person said, ‘I am an extroverted, ivy league graduate who is passionate about finding cures to common diseases in order to help everyday people.” See how much more powerful it is when you combine the qualities you are born with and what you’ve accomplished?

 

Secret #2: Your personal brand is like a lock.

Remember those good old combination locks you were assigned in gym class during middle and high school? Every lock contained the same numbers, but each lock had their own special combination of those numbers that caused it to open up. Personal brands are very similar. The human population as a whole contains all the same characteristics, traits, and accomplishments. However, it’s the way in which these are combined that make your personal brand special to you and unlock your full potential! Many people believe that they have to reinvent the wheel or discover a whole new personality trait in order to have a successful brand. This isn’t true at all. The key isn’t to make up characteristics that nobody else has, but rather to find the right combination of traits that you possess to create a new (or at least new to your desired audience) sequence. If you want to add some novelty into your combination, you do that by altering what you do or accomplish. For example, there are lots of philanthropic, anthropology graduates. However, there are much fewer philanthropic, anthropology graduates that have devoted significant amounts of time to studying a specific species of animal just as Jane Goodall studied apes.

 

There is no one size fits all method to identifying your personal brand. However, I usually recommend that people narrow down their five strongest descriptors and use that as their personal brand. Just as a combination lock may be 12 + 4 + 7 + 22 + 35 = open, your personal brand can do the same with this simple formula: intrinsic personality trait + accomplishment + general characteristic + goal + passion = winning personal brand! In a sentence it would look like, ‘My name is Kathy and I am an extroverted, award winning research scientist who uses my compassionate nature to pursue the cure for cancer and help everyone I come in contact with.’ Each of the individual parts of this sentence are true for hundreds of people, but when you pull together the parts that are uniquely yours, then you can accurately describe your own personal brand.

 

Just think of your personal brand statement as a ‘cut to the chase’ elevator speech. In a few seconds or less, what do you want the other person to know about you? With a successful elevator speech or personal brand statement you lay down your most important cards, and in doing so, will attract others who share the same passions and goals as you. Here’s a personal example of how a strong personal brand statement can help you. A few months ago, I was attending a small entrepreneurial networking session and we had the opportunity to introduce ourselves. Some of the attendees seemed caught off guard and stuttered a short line of thoughts like, “well, I’m Jake and my wife and I are thinking about possibly starting a fishing business, maybe”. Other people, like myself, confidently threw out their personal brand statements along with an invitation to talk afterwards. I think I used some version of, “Hi, My name is Leslie Friedman. I’m an author, speaker and image consultant who is passionate about helping people leverage their personal brands and their appearances to be more successful. I really enjoy collaborating with other entrepreneurs, so don’t be shy to come say hi after the program; I’d love to talk to you.” It is simple and to the point. Not every person in the room found me after the program to say hi, but the ones that did were also aligned with my goals and came with opportunities. A solid personal brand statement not only helps you keep focused, but it is a key component to opening doors.

how to develop a strong personal brand

Secret #3: Don’t forget about your end goal.

I’m sure you have a lot of characteristics, goals, passions, accomplishments, and traits that define you. The key to picking the right ones for a strong personal brand depend on what you want to accomplish with your brand. Remember when we talked about your end goal and having a mission statement? If you don’t know what your end goal is, then it will be very difficult to pull together a personal brand that will lead you there. Just as you need to pick the right paint when painting different parts of a house, you need to find the right combination of attributes that will help you accomplish your end goal best. If the aforementioned, bio-scientist Kathy wants to help elementary aged children by having a long career as a second grade teacher, then her personal branding statement is way off. If her goal is to be a notable, bio-researcher with a significant influence in the realm of disease prevention, then she is right on track. Nabisco probably had a clear end goal in mind when they created Oreo, and they made sure that the branding around the Oreo cookie ensured the success of reaching that goal. In this same way, we need to make sure our brand is properly setting us up for our end goals.

 

Secret #4: The easiest way to discover your brand is by not trying.

Your personal brand is 100% you and there’s no one who has a clearer view of you than those around you. So, if you’re stumped about what your brand is, sit back and let the people around you throw in their input. Simply ask any objective, third party person who spends time around you (a coworker is a great option) to describe who you are. Better yet, have them describe you to another coworker. The more people you sample, the better picture you will be able to make about yourself. It is also worthwhile to ask the people that know you the best (spouses, family members, friends) how they would describe you. Most likely, your personal brand is going to be a combination of the two opinions. While this is one of the most effective ways to find out what your personal brand is, it can also be the most painful- especially if you’re not branding yourself to your fullest potential.

 

If other’s responses are way off base compared to how you would describe yourself, your brand is having an identity crisis. Look into inconsistencies and ask yourself 1) which way you would like to be seen and 2) what you’re doing to elicit an undesired response. Maybe you think working through your lunch hour every day brands you as hardworking and dedicated, but really it comes off as aloof and as a bad team player.

 

Even if you have your personal brand down pat (these are the traits I want to be known for!) it’s important to consistently ask for feedback to make sure your branding is accurate. Large companies are constantly soliciting feedback on their products and their brand image to ensure that the image they are presenting to the consumer is exactly the branding they desire. Find the combination of attributes that is most accurate for you and most effective to reaching your end goal and then double check it over year after year to make sure you are always on track for success.

personal branding quote

Secret #5: Your personal brand might change. And that’s okay.

The personal brand you develop during the length of this book may not be the same brand you have in twenty years. It may not even be the brand you have in five or ten years, and to be completely honest, it shouldn’t be. Hopefully, you are constantly in the process of developing and growing into a bigger and better person. Throughout your life you will have different accomplishments, experiences, and encounters that affect your goals, missions, and values. You will also have different priorities today than ten years from now. If you’re a young, professional making their mark in the workplace, you may place more value on being seen as knowledgeable and experienced. Ten or fifteen years down the road, however, you may place more value on being known as a leader and a great communicator. The key is to constantly reassess your mission statement and your personal brand statement to ensure that it aligns up with who you want to be today and the short term future. When you are younger, your brand statement may change as much as every year to every five years, while at the peak of your career, it will probably change every ten to fifteen years.

personal branding secrets and checklist

Coming up with a personal brand that is reflective of your true self shouldn’t be difficult. If you’re forcing a certain goal or character trait on yourself that doesn’t come naturally or that you aren’t passionate about, you’ll have a hard time living out your brand. It’s much easier and less energy consuming to actively develop and pursue a brand that feels like second nature.

To your branding success!

Leslie

PS> Like what you read? This is only a small portion of my book: Dressing your Personal Brand. Read the rest of the book here.

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personal branding strategies for work

Personal Branding Strategies for the Workplace

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When we think about work, personal branding isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind. After all, personal branding is personal and most of us make a decent effort to keep our personal and professional lives somewhat separated. The truth is, however, that our personal brands (and, therefore, our personal branding strategies) are vital components of the workplace. Each person in a company is important to the success of the company as a whole. That means, of course, that each personal brand plays an important role in helping the company reach its goals.

Think of the company Procter & Gamble. P&G is a huge company, and a brand within itself, but it’s made up of smaller companies- each with their own brand. Crest, Tampax, and Downy are all brands that create relatively unrelated products. However, they are all home and hygiene brands, which fall under the larger brand of P&G. Without the smaller brands that reflect the objectives of the P&G brand as a whole, P&G wouldn’t even be a brand. Personal brands work the same way in the workplace. Your company has its own objectives, goals, and brand. As part of the company, you are one of the smaller brands that helps the parent company reach its goals.

If your company or organization is the big parent company (like P&G, Nestle, Mars, etc) then there are four different types of smaller brands that make up that company. These ‘smaller brands’ are the personal brands of four different groups of people:

  1. Employers
  2. Employees
  3. Customers
  4. Job Seekers

Each one of these groups, is filled with their own brands. A successful company should understand what brand each group represents and how it relates to the company as a whole.

 

strategies for employers

Employers:

Your main objective as an employer, is to find employees whose personal brands fill your company’s needs, and then effectively lead them to build a successful company. Think about the people directly under your supervision. Can you name their strengths? If you had to describe each person in one sentence, what would that sentence say? Would it be hard to do? If you don’t know what your employees bring to the table, then you are probably missing out on utilizing their greatest strengths. This is bad, obviously for the company, but also for the employee, who probably feels unsatisfied in their position. When employees are living out their brands and doing what they do best, then they are more likely to report job satisfaction. As the employer, you know that happy workers create a better workplace, more productivity, and less turnover (hint: all of these things leads to more profit!)

 

Employer personal branding strategies:

Take some time to sit down and think about every employee you have. (If you are in charge of a large number of people, maybe just choose your direct reports.) Pretend that someone has asked you to describe who they are in a few phrases. What would you say? Write down each employee’s name and their greatest strengths. Now, think about your company. What are the biggest needs or challenges facing your company right now? Compare the two lists. Do you currently have people’s strengths matched up properly to help fulfill your company’s goals? What could you do differently? Keep your employee strength/brand list handy for when a new project pops up. Use the list to help you find the right person for the job. Here’s a nifty worksheet to help you get started.

 

Customers:

Without customers or clients, you can’t have a business. Because of this very obvious fact, it’s important to think about who your customer is and how they would describe their own personal brand. What is important to them? What traits do they value? This is why market research is an essential aspect of any company. Here’s something really cool: if our company brand (or the brand of someone associated with the company) is able to resonate with a customer’s personal brand, then an immediate emotional connection is made- whether the customer needs our products or not. This emotional connection is KEY to creating loyal customers.

Customer personal branding strategies:

Why do your customers like your brand? Why do they buy your products? If you don’t know, ASK THEM! If you hear repetitive answers, you’re onto something. Be sure to continually assess your marketing strategy. Are you marketing to the right group? Are you forming an emotional bond? Does the personal brand of your customer make sense with your company’s brand?

 

strategies for employees

Employees:

As an employee, you want to set yourself apart from everyone else (and, therefore, set yourself up for success) by cultivating a strong personal brand. Imagine that your boss is sitting in a conference room right now and is asked by his supervisor to pick one person from his department to fire and one to promote. You certainly don’t want to lose your job, but you also don’t want him to hem and haw about who he should promote. You want him to not waste a second before announcing, “[your name] is the first and only person that is perfect for the promotion job!” A strong personal brand has the power to produce those kinds of results. If you haven’t started thinking about your brand, then consider the following strategy…

Employee personal branding strategies:

Write down your job title and ask yourself, “what makes me different from everyone else with this job title?” Make a list of accomplishments, character traits, and experiences that help set you apart from everyone else. Now ask yourself, “Do my actions, words, and appearance consistently reflect the attributes on the list I just made?” (Ex. if you wrote: professional, outgoing, excellent writing skills… then evaluate if you are displaying those traits the best you can in the workplace). Think about what you want to be known for within the workplace. It might just be one word: Dedication. Integrity. Leadership. Choose a word or short phrase and write it down somewhere. Do your best to live out that word or phrase through your actions, words, and appearance every day. When a new project comes up and your boss needs someone with outstanding leadership, (s)he won’t have to think twice about giving the project to you. Download a FREE worksheet to get started.

job seekers strategies

Job seekers:

If you’re not in a company, then you’re probably looking for somewhere to work (unless you’re retired, of course). Knowing your own personal brand and finding a company that holds similar values, makes the job search process more difficult, but also more rewarding in the end. Think of the first job you had out of college. If you’re like the majority of people, you did not enjoy the job, but you had to make money and pay off student loans. Very few people I know actually loved their first job. You know why? Because when you’re inexperienced, you have less options and, therefore, you are less picky about what job you choose. If they want you and they will pay you, then you sign up. The downside of this mentality to job seeking, however, is that you end up working for companies that don’t reflect your personal values. Your personal brand doesn’t align with their company brand…but you need a job, so you overlook that. Sometimes we just need to pay the bills, but if you’re looking for a fulfilling career, try the job seekers strategy below.

 

Job seeker personal branding strategies:

Before you even apply to a company: research, research, research! What is the company’s mission statement? What is their brand? What about the work culture? Do these things support your personal brand or are they totally different? Remember when we talked about P&G? P&G is a company comprised mostly of home and hygiene brands for personal use. It makes sense that P&G owns Head & Shoulders. It wouldn’t make sense if they owned Avis car rental. It doesn’t matter if you’re Head & Shoulders or Avis, just make sure the company you’re applying to makes sense with your brand! After you find a company or list of companies, identify their greatest needs. Compare those needs with your brand and your strengths and come up with concrete examples showing how you can bridge the gap. Tailor your resume to mostly show your ‘bridge’ skills and experiences (the ones that show you are capable of bridging the gap and solving their problems!) Make sure your interview answers also bridge the gap and show how you, in your truest form, can help fulfill the company’s needs. Use this FREE worksheet to help you get started.

 

Whether we know it or not, all of us have a personal brand. It might not be intentionally developed, but it’s there. Both personal and corporate success is possible by understanding personal brands and putting them to work to achieve your goals (no matter what workplace group you’re in!)

 

To your success!

Leslie

 

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What happens when you need to change your personal brand?

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Your personal brand is your unique combination of characteristics, accomplishments, and experiences that set you apart from everyone else. It’s how you want to be known to the world.

But what if you decide that your current brand isn’t working for you anymore? What if a career/priority/goal shift happens and you realize that you want to head a new direction? Is it possible to change a brand once it’s established, and if so, how do you actually go about doing it?

what-happens

The good news is that changing up your brand isn’t only possible, it’s necessary! Notice how the title of this article is ‘what happens WHEN you need to change your personal brand’ not ‘what happens IF you need to change your personal brand’. As we continue to grow and develop both in a personal sense and with our careers, it is vital that our brands grow with us.

A great example of a product brand that has grown and evolved is Starbucks. Below, you’ll see the original Starbucks logo from 1971 and the current logo.

Image result for original starbucks logo

Not only has Starbucks changed their logo over the past 45 years, but their business concept has changed as well. Instead of simply selling whole coffee beans like they did in the beginning, Starbucks has grown to sell everything from coffee, to mugs, to music.

Over the course of time, Starbucks realized that they had to change their brand to stay relevant to their market, achieve new business goals, and stay competitive. Your personal brand is also like a business. You are constantly in the business of selling yourself and your talents. Over time, your goals will change, as will your priorities and values. You may find that the talents you’re currently marketing (I’m a kind, career oriented, go-getter) are not the same talents you want to be marketing 10 years from now (I’m a kind, family oriented, volunteer). The first step to changing your personal brand is understanding that it is OKAY to make that change.

Second, you need to do some thinking about what you want to change. Maybe you were a career man who, over the course of a decade, has gotten married and had children. You still love your career, but you want your personal brand to reflect that you are also a loving father. Small changes, like this, are easier to navigate. The aforementioned man may decide to set a goal to leave work at a reasonable time each day and might occasionally turn down after work drinks to spend time with his family. By understanding what change you wish to make in your brand (in this case, a shift from workaholic to family man), you can start taking active steps to start being perceived differently.

Some changes are easier to manage than others. Often times, big branding changes happen as a result of a significant career move or a radical belief transformation. Stepping down from a corporate career in New York City in order to become a yoga instructor in Hawaii is a drastic example of a career change that would affect your personal brand. Likewise, subscribing to a new belief system, whether it’s converting to a religion or choosing a eco-friendly lifestyle, will also result in a personal branding change.

There are two main ways to pull off a major change in your personal brand:

1 ) Ease into it. The person who leaves their corporate job in New York, may use their vacation time to get yoga certification while teaching classes in the city. Slowly, becoming a yogi becomes part of their brand and when they decide to leave the corporate world for Hawaii, it’s a bold move, but not shocking.

2) Do it quick. If easing into something isn’t your style, a more dramatic switch may be fitting. In this case, the person from the above example simply packs up their stuff one day, quits work, and heads to Hawaii. Everyone is shocked for about a month, but soon the old brand fades away and the new one is quickly adapted.

No matter how small or big the change, it’s important to think through the shift you want to make and how you will execute it, before you make any moves. While altering your brand is normal and expected, doing it too many times within a short time period will make you look confused, indecisive, and rash. Instead, be thoughtful about your change and then start taking action to improve your brand!

Leslie

 

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