Effectively promoting ourselves might be one of the hardest tasks we have as marketers. Touting a company or product line is easy, but talking about our own accomplishments feels uncomfortably like bragging. But some self-promotion is necessary to succeed in your career, particularly if you're hoping to build a side business to supplement your income.
Dorie Clark has built a career around helping others to define and polish their personal brand so they can take their career or business to a new level of success. Two of her three books relate to personal branding: Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It, and Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future.
She's an adjunct professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and a frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review. Dorie consults and speaks for clients, including Google, Microsoft, and the World Bank.
I invited Dorie to Marketing Smarts to share tips from her latest book, Entrepreneurial You: Monetize Your Expertise, Create Multiple Income Streams, and Thrive. Even if you're happily employed, as Dorie herself learned the hard way, things can change quickly. After being laid off from her job as a political reporter in 2001, she reinvented herself and eventually built a "portfolio career" with multiple income streams from writing, speaking, teaching, consulting, coaching, selling online courses, and more.
In her new book, Dorie shares insights she learned while interviewing some of the world's most successful entrepreneurs, and explains how she herself applied their approaches to increase her own income by more than $200,000 over what she'd earned the previous year.
Here are just a few highlights from our conversation:
Whether you're an employee or a consultant, you could benefit from thinking like an entrepreneur (02:58): "I have worked my way up to seven income streams, and I have been pretty strategic about it. For me, it was the product of a conscious decision. I started my consulting business 11 years ago. At the time...I was a marketing strategy consultant. Companies would hire me and I would do a marketing plan for them or maybe a social media plan, but that was it.
"To a certain extent, as an entrepreneur, you are diversified, because, instead of having one employer and one paycheck, you have multiple clients. That is good as a hedge against uncertainty...but I began to realize that, perhaps like a lot of professionals, I was still caught in the trap of trading time for dollars. So I was working hard and I was making a good living...but I was just on the road all the time. I was constantly driving around and having client meetings and things like that. I kept wondering, Is there a better way to do this? Can I leverage myself more or work in smarter ways?
"So I began to really start to investigate, strategically, how I could do that. The culmination of that process was writing Entrepreneurial You, for which I interviewed 50+ very successful...entrepreneurs who have multiple revenue streams to break down what their process was. How they built them up, what exactly they're doing, what worked and what didn't. I wanted to hear from them about what they did, but I also wanted to practice it."
Starting a side business has never been easier (or easier to afford) (07:40): "It's becoming more and more common [to have a 'side hustle']. What prevented a lot of people from doing it in the past was capital costs. Until very recently, it was often hard to start side businesses. We see the proliferation in entrepreneurship and startups these days. It used to be that people would have to raise huge amounts of money...even to just buy the servers they needed to function as a basic level as a company. Everybody needed an office....
"But now, thanks to globalization, we're able to literally just get going with a laptop. You can start consulting part time, coaching part-time, you can start speaking part-time. You can become an app developer and hire people on a site like Upwork to create exactly what you specify, and you can do that all now so easily with minimal money and almost no technical background. I think that technology has really enabled a lowering of costs and a level of virtualization that has really opened the field up for people."
Dorie and I talked about much more, so be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!
Music credit: Noam Weinstein.
Consultant, coach, author, and speaker Dorie Clark. Be sure to check out Dorie's latest book, Entrepreneurial You: Monetize Your Expertise, Create Multiple Income Streams, and Thrive . Dorie's other books include Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future, and Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It. Follow her on Twitter: @dorieclark.