Tag Archives: Growth

How to Develop Your Personal Brand – Part 1

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When I bring up the concept of “Personal Branding” to non-marketing people, they look at me like a deer in the headlights.

So what’s a personal brand? I’d describe a Personal Brand as the culmination of everything professional about you including your style, resume, reputation, social media presence and of course your work. Developing a strong personal brand is key to maintaining your competitiveness in the marketplace as well as giving the professional community an idea of who you are.

The first step in creating a personal brand is defining how you want the outside world to see you. Think of qualities that you exude as well as characteristics that would set you apart from others. For example, one of my key characteristics is that I wear a suit every day. A lot of people wear suits every day so what I do to differentiate myself is to have fun with it. As I’m passionate about style and men’s fashion, I spend a lot of time thinking about how to craft the perfect professional outfit that represents both my personality as well as projects confidence. When I walk into a room, I try to create an impression in not only my outfit but also in the way I carry myself. Some people will argue that it’s the person, not the suit that makes the man but I disagree. I think that while your work should speak for itself, the way you dress and carry yourself in professional situations makes a significant impact on your professional success.

The second step to creating a Personal Brand is to think about what comes up when people type your name into a google. Do pictures of your latest weekend bender come up first or is it your Linkedin profile? Social Media is a great way to start conversations, express your ideas online and create a living record of your life experiences. That being said, it can also be a powerful tool in building your personal brand. These days, most employers will conduct a google search of prospective employees. Even potential clients may do a search on you to get a snapshot of your background before deciding to move forward with that big contract. Using social media to create a strong personal brand is a great way to show off your work as well as give people an idea of who you are online.

Here are a few ways you can use social media to build your personal brand:

– Write a blog!
– Make sure your Linkedin Profile is up to date.
– Use Twitter to interact with your industry online
– Use Pinterest to tag articles and pictures
– Use Linkedin and Facebook to share great articles, videos, books and ideas
– Use Amazon.com to review great books you’ve read
– Record a Podcast!
– Comment on blogs
– Start an online portfolio and link your social media profiles to the site
– Post a photo gallery to flickr.

There are tons of other ways to increase your personal brand online. The idea here is to make sure that you tag everything and use SEO to make sure your name comes up within the first few searches in Google.

Remember that while you want to create a positive professional image, you also want to be authentic. At the end of the day, it’s not about how many times your name pops up on google, it’s about the quality of how you are being represented and what it says about you.

You should like the Pinstriped Suit on Facebook!

What Goes Through My Head When My Alarm Goes Off in the Morning

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6:00am – “Diiiiinnnnggg” – I hear the gradual sound of the Tibetan singing bowl alarm clock app.

(“Groan, Is it 6:00am already? You know, I used to like the sound of Tibetan singing bowls…..zzzz”) – I hit the snooze button

6:10am – “Diiiiinnnnggg” – I hit the snooze button again.

(“Aww Jeez, Time to get up. Okay, 5 more minutes. Seriously, I have to change my alarm clock app…zzzz”)

6:15am – “Diiiiinnnnggg” – I hit the snooze button again.

(“Okay, that sound is really getting annoying. I guess I should get up. If I pop open my email, i’ll feel more awake. Oh look J Crew Factory is having another sale…zzz”)

6:20am – “Diiiiinnnnggg” – I finally hit the Stop Alarm button.

(Okay, i’m getting up now for real. Time to check my reminders from yesterday. Oh and look, Kobo is offering another 10% off coupon”

6:25am “Yawn”, stretch” – I get out of bed.

“Sigh, I remember the good old days when I was a student and I bounced out of bed at 5:00 am after a night out on the town. Oh well, time for my morning Earl Gray.”

You should like The Pinstriped Suit on Facebook!

5 Ways to Spark Your Creativity

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Feeling stuck or mentally blocked? I find that there are a number of ways that help me get the creative juices flowing.

Here are my top 5 tips to stimulating the creativity muscle:

1) Spend time in silence

I meditate most days and even spend time driving around in my car in silence. Stopping for a few moments and taking a break from absorbing information or concentrating on a project really helps me open up to new ideas and methods for tackling a project.

2) Writing

I use Julia Cameron’s technique of writing morning pages each day to clear out the mental junk in my head and open up space for creativity. Check out the “Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron for more information.

3) Having Great Conversations

This is a really helpful practice to getting you inspired and energized. I find that if I’m feeling blocked, and I have a great conversation with somebody, I immediately benefit from the inspiration and ideas that come to me. My 30 day challenge idea came from a great conversation.

4) Cross functional activities

If you focus too much on one area, you’ll find that your creativity is limited. Try exposing yourself to new books, activities and people. I got really into rock climbing last year, and it was a fantastic way for me to learn about myself and also think about things differently.

5) Read good books

I usually read a lot of non-fiction but recently I started reading more literature. I finished “Pride and Prejudice” and now i’m working on “The Great Gatsby”. Good books are awesome at stimulating the brain in different ways.

You should follow Matt on Twitter!

Should I Get an MBA ?

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I’ve been thinking a lot recently about whether or not I should consider getting an MBA. In conversations with business people, academics and friends, I’ve gotten pretty mixed responses about what the perceived value of an MBA is. There are tons of articles out there siting both the benefits and disadvantages of an MBA.

A mentor of mine who has an MBA in addition to a number of other credentials states he thinks the market is saturated with MBAs and so I’d be better off getting a more technical credential such as an accounting designation. His reasoning is that these days, specific skill sets and applied education are more marketable to employers.

Part of the reason why I want to get an MBA is because I would like to get some more formal education. I learn a lot from reading, keeping up to date with the latest industry trends and having great conversations, but it isn’t quite the same as completing a MBA. I remember when I was finishing my undergraduate degree in business administration and I took fantastic class on business strategy. Working with my professor and with my peers, I challenged myself in ways that I just don’t get to do anymore. There was something invigorating about trying to solve business problems with a group of people who are all highly invested in the outcome.

Josh Kaufman wrote a great book called “The Personal MBA“, which delves into this subject at length. The primary idea in his book is that an MBA can be useful; however, it depends on what you want to do with it. He argues that if you want to be an entrepreneur, then classroom learning might not the right fit. As an entrepreneur, I’ve always learned best by trial and error. Another factor he raises is cost. The reality is that MBAs can be extremely expensive these days and depending on the type of job or project you work on after graduation, it could be years before you recoup the benefit from lost time and money.

At this point, I’m still on the fence on whether or not an MBA is the right choice for me. I do want to work towards building a venture but i’m not sure if an MBA will get me there.

You should follow Matt on Twitter!

3 TED Talk Playlists I’m Watching Right Now

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Last year, I made a commitment to try to watch a TED Talk every morning while I ate breakfast. This lasted for a few weeks but in that time, I absorbed an enormous amount of ideas, inspiration and actionable steps for creating great work.

Recently, I noticed that TED now has playlists which are organized by topic or by an individual. This is awesome! I normally find TED Talks by browsing or clicking on a link through Facebook. Having a collection of videos on one topic, in one place is great for absorbing tons of ideas worth spreading.

If you’re looking for a little Sunday motivation, check out these three awesome TED Talk playlists I’m watching right now. (I’ve noticed you can’t embed playlists the same way you share individual talks so the playlist links are embedded in the titles) I’ve embedded my favorite video from each playlist into the post.

1) Work smarter (11 talks)

Work smarter is a fantastic collection of TED Talks including some of my favorite authors such as Simon Sinek (Start with Why), Shawn Achor (The Happiness Advantage) and Jason Fried (37 Signals).

2) The Creative Spark (10 talks)

The Creative Spark includes inspiring talks by Elizabeth Gilbert (Your elusive creative genius), Ken Robinson (Schools kill creativity) and David Kelly (How to build your creative confidence). Elizabeth Gilbert’s talk is one my absolute favorite TED Talks.

3) A Better You (11 talks)

The A Better You playlist is a collection of success masters ranging from John Wooden to Tony Robbins. Make sure to check out Matt Cutt’s talk on “Try something new for 30 days”.

You should follow Matt on Twitter!