Something that humbles me, excites me and scares me is when people ask me for my advice on how I got to where I am in my life. I’m humbled and excited that people look at me as someone who has “made it”, but it scares me more than people know! I personally feel like I have come a long way for myself but I have a long way to go until I feel like I’m at a place where I have accomplished everything I want to accomplish.
It’s weird because as a national titleholder, you are forced to grow up a lot. I was 17 when I won Miss Teen USA, but mentally I was always already very mature. After my reign, I went from being a 17 year old to a grown woman with bills and a mortgage (in my crazy brain) and all of a sudden it hit me. There are so many things I want to accomplish!! WHY AM I NOT THERE YET!? Then of course, I have to remind myself that I am only 22 and I have so much time to get to where I want to be! We all do! But for some reason in this day and age we rush ourselves. With so many outside influences and pressures, it’s easy to get discouraged in your 20’s or even your 30’s about not being where you want to be! But the best part about life is that you have the power to change it and make it exactly what you want it to be 🙂
So I did! I realized that I didn’t want to go to med school and I didn’t want to be a doctor (luckily this was during my freshman year of college. God forbid it had been during my senior year my parents would have FLIPPED) – I want to be a television host. Once I accepted what I wanted for myself, I started to put my plans into action on how I was going to achieve this goal… & full disclosure – I’m STILL working on it!
BUT, if there is anything that I have learned so far while building my personal brand, it’s the following things – and I hope they will help anyone who is going along this journey with me! So here they are:
My 5 Steps for Building Your Brand:
1) Understand that YOU are your brand. Your brand is only going to expand and grow internally as much as you do
- Represent yourself and your brand with the utmost class and to the highest standard.
- Believe in what you are doing 110%. If you don’t believe in it, nobody else will. LOVE WHAT YOU DO. If you aren’t fully invested in it, you’ll be more inclined to leave it behind when the waters get rough.
- Know your brand backwards and forwards. Become an expert on it.
- Perception is reality. You need to portray the image that you want people to see.
2) NETWORKING. NETWORKING. NETWORKING.
- The key to building any structure is having the resources. Networking with other people in your field will always be a step forward for you and your business.
- Carry a few business cards on you at all times. If there is an opportunity to exchange numbers/emails with a fellow professional, TAKE IT.
- FOLLOW UP!!!!!! Then follow up again. You have to demonstrate the passion you have for what you do. The truth is, people get busy and forget. Don’t let them forget you.
- If you have any business in this day and age you better have a social media platform as well. It’s a necessary evil to some but in today’s world, 140 characters can mean life or death for a booming brand.
3) The brand comes first
- Once you have people/organizations/companies counting on you and backing you, you have to stay on your A game. No excuses.
- Plan ahead. Don’t let your brand suffer because you “weren’t prepared”, “were late” or “weren’t in the mood”.
4) Understand the power of hearing the word “No”
- You’re going to hear a lot of No’s. No you can’t accomplish something, no we don’t want you a part of something, no we don’t need the service you provide – but eventually you’re going to hear the word YES. Let those “no’s” fuel the fire within you to meet your end goal.
5) Never give up!
- Those who think they can and those who think they can’t are both right. Stay positive. Never let a small bump in the road steer you off your path to success.
Hope this helps! Just know that you are not alone. Even the best of the best want to make themselves even better. Building a brand is a continuous process and it is going to take a lot of work and dedication – but
you we can do it 🙂 xo