High Maintenance (“When Harry Met Sally” Style)

High Maintenance When Harry Met Sally Style 08 11 2014“You’re the worst kind. You think you’re low maintenance but you’re actually high maintenance.” Harry to Sally

Unless you specialize in the uber-difficult, one of life’s small victories is isolating and politely turning away high maintenance, suck-you-dry people.

Clients. Customers. Colleagues.

The obvious culprits are easy to spot and you can often quickly escort them out of your orbit.

But the Harry Met Sally type is a different breed. Continue reading

Personal Brand Ethics: Building Trust And Connections

Personal Branding Ethics 07 28 2014One of my great joys is midwifing my clients’ greatest work out into the world.

Each of them serves their audience in a unique way, building connections, amassing a tribe around a shared central theme. They are making a living yes, but they are relentlessly focused on their big idea. One that is—by definition—for GOOD.

So it always jolts me when I trip across someone who has clearly crossed an ethical boundary in promoting their personal brand. Continue reading

Your Manifesto

Manifesto 07 21 2014Whenever I work with a new client, I spend a significant chunk of time fleshing out and testing their point of view.


Because being exquisitely clear about how you see the world—how you apply your expertise in real life—is a core building block of your personal brand. Most especially if you’re an expert on the prowl for new clients, readers or media attention.

That’s why I’m so fond of manifestos, the public expression of your point of view. Not the lunatic variety, but the inspiring, won’t-you-come-along-for-the-ride enticements that will propel the like-minded into your camp. Continue reading

What Happens When You White-Knuckle Your Big Idea

What Happens When You White Knuckle Your Big Idea 07 14 2014You’re ready to make a big leap forward.

Maybe you’re writing your first book.

Or adding new programs and products.

Perhaps you’ve decided it’s time to go seriously digital and build a national or global platform.

You can do it confidently, with thoughtful purpose.

Or you can go at it with white knuckles, letting your fear lead you. Continue reading

Your Brand Is Bigger Than You

Your Brand Is Bigger Than You 07 07 2014Your brand—whether it’s your personal brand or your company’s—may feel like it’s all yours.

But it’s bigger than you.

The members of your community have a stake in it. They feel it viscerally when your brand shifts—or is attacked from the outside.

It can strengthen your reputation. Or pull it down.

Case in point: Michael Hyatt (speaker, author, blogger) vs. the National Speakers Association.

The essential issue: the NSA announced at their annual conference that they are changing their name to “Platform”. The problem? The name is—while perhaps not legally—clearly “owned” in the marketplace by Michael Hyatt.

Adding insult to injury is the new logo uses the same shade of red AND a quite similar graphic to Hyatt’s use on his book cover and various digital properties.

Oops. Continue reading

2 Ways To Kick-Start Your Summer

We’re just at the real start—at least in the northern hemisphere—of true summer. The kick off your shoes, go to the beach, grab a lemonade and lounge chair part of summer.

Can you use this time to grow your personal brand AND your business? Of course you can… Continue reading

The Power Of Niche

The Power of Niche 06 23 2014I’ve heard all the arguments against “niching”—creating a specialty area of expertise and building a highly engaged audience around it.

“Niching feels like career suicide.”

“I’ve tried it more than once and I just can’t get enough traction to make it work financially.”

“I like the idea, but just can’t envision focusing on one thing—I think I’d go mad.”

And yet some of the very same people who made those statements not only went on to niche, but enjoyed immediate results from their focus. One PR expert who struggled to nail down one client in three months signed contracts with four in a week after changing her message and her methods. Continue reading

The Remarkability Equation

The Remarkability Equation 06 16 2014Are you remarkable?

How about your work?

Remember how good it felt the last time someone you respect gave you that compliment?

How amazing would it feel if your day was chock-full of remarkable work with those who need—and appreciate—it?

After working with tons of clients over the years, I’ve come to view remarkability—whether you deliver it 1-to-1 or 1-to-many—as a formula: Continue reading

Should You—EVER—Work For Free?

We’ve all had them.

Those pesky requests to work for free or discount your fees.

How do you say no? And is there ever a time when “yes” is the right answer? Continue reading

True Ambition

Artwork by Sara Franklin Design

Artwork by Sara Franklin Design

Ambition is daring to follow your dream” Jenipher Lyn, author of “How Being Stubborn, Depressed and Unpopular Saved My Life”

One thing I’ve learned from hundreds of clients is that you’ve gotta have ambition to keep the fire stoked.

Not the bulldoze-everyone-that gets-in-my-way brand of ambition.

Nope. We’re talking true ambition: the earnest desire that springs from deep within you. A desire so strong it drives you even when the going feels excruciating. And when that desire is expressed as serving your audience in some profound way only you can do?

Rocket fuel. Continue reading