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ColdFusion Authors: Yakov Fain, Jeremy Geelan, Maureen O'Gara, Nancy Y. Nee, Tad Anderson

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CFDJ Feature — Your Personal IPO

How to publicize and promote yourself to employers and project managers

While the IPO market on Wall Street has cooled substantially, there is a new IPO looming on the horizon that has the potential to make you millions of dollars in the coming years. This is not hype. This is not a pipe dream. This is not a fantasy. It is a reality that is yours for the taking.

If your stockbroker told you about this, you'd do everything you could to get in on the deal. If a friend worked for this IPO-poised venture, you would try to get hired to get your options before the big day of "going public."

The good news is that you already have an inside track on the hottest IPO of the next decade.

It's you.

Twenty years ago, the acronym IPO meant little to people outside of Wall Street and the investment banking industries. In the late 1990s, IPOs came to center stage - turning young college students into multimillionaires in a matter of minutes. Fortunes were won or lost in the blink of an eye and everyone wanted to be in on the next big IPO. In the decade to come, people will begin to focus on their own IPOs - the initial public offering where they present themselves to industries, the marketplace, and even the world in an attempt to build long-lasting, personally gratifying careers. The first steps in developing your own personal brand and taking it public to the world are outlined below in an easy-to-accomplish, step-by-step format that promises to bring you a more fulfilling work experience in future years. Whether you work in-house for a large development company or spend your days freelancing - developing your personal brand will drastically help your career.

The Personal Brand
People are always talking about "brands." Soft drinks have brands, cars have brands, computers have brands, schools have brands, even countries have brands.

But do people have brands?

Absolutely.

Your personal brand is the image created in the minds of people when they connect with your name, your work product, or your service offering. It's your reputation. It's the experience people have when they interact with you. It's the expectation people have when they learn that you will be part of their team going forward.
Your personal life experience, personal point-of-view, and the way you are perceived by others, combine to make your personal brand.

Your personal brand is yours. It's unique to you. It's mobile - you take it with you no matter where you go. It's unique - your individual life experience made you who you are today. It's valuable - your earning power, your position in your industry, and your ability to find the next great project all hinge on your personal brand. Much has been written about the celebrity personal brand. Images of Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, Tiger Woods, Bill Clinton, David Beckham, Donald Trump, and LeBron James dominate any discussion of the value a strong personal brand can have on a career. Each of these individuals has spent countless hours developing personas and their respective career trajectories reflect this personal study and focused effort.

The Significance Of Your Personal Brand
According to the most recent findings by the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the average American will have 10 different jobs before reaching 40 years of age. In short, that means you will be working in a new position, for a new boss or company, on an average of once every two to three years. That's a lot of changes in a short amount of time!

Given the frequency of job changes, the maintenance and development of your personal brand is vital. Gone are the days of employers helping to groom your career over time by providing a long-term employment ladder that you climb to retirement. Now, constant changes have employees shifting from project-to-project, company-to-company, and even industry-to-industry in a chaotic career dance that is only controlled by the tempo the employee sets.

A well-developed and polished personal brand will help you navigate a variety of options while at the same time positioning you for new opportunities.

While your personal brand can be many things, it must be the following:

  • Honest and authentic
  • Promise value
  • Build trust
  • Offer differentiation
  • Continually grow and develop
Developing your personal brand is not as daunting as it seems, and can be broken down into three key steps: investigating, expressing, and evolving.

Investigate Your Brand
In the same way a company would decide to go public, for you to present your brand to the world you must first begin with what the experts refer to as "due diligence." This is nothing more than taking the time to thoroughly investigate your self. What types of projects have you worked on in the past? What endeavors would you like to focus on in the future? What are your best skills? What are you known for? How does your involvement with a company, project, or program make it better?

The answers to these questions help inform your personal brand offering - the attributes that are uniquely yours and for which people admire and seek you out. This searching process requires you to consider your past performance and highlight the key moments where you achieved stated goals, exceeded expectations, and contributed to the success of a project. By making a comprehensive list of these activities, you will identify your personal brand assets.

Express Your Accomplishments & Contributions
After identifying the traits and characteristics that comprise your personal brand offering, you must design a means for expressing these skills in the context of your accomplishments and contributions. In short, you must show people what you're good at doing.


More Stories By Joey Coleman

Joey Coleman is chief experience composer at Design Symphony. A recovering attorney, his personal life experience has seen him serve in the Office of Counsel to the President of the United States (Clinton Administration), juggle in front of the Taj Mahal, and establish a marketing and design firm specializing in the development of amazing experiences for clients’ customers. He is a frequent presenter at conferences and was selected as the top speaker at CFUNITED ’05. To receive your own Personal IPO kit, visit: www.designsymphony.com/IPO/

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