In my book Package Your Genius, I break a successful personal branding process down into 5 steps – get clear on your genius, make the case for what you bring to the table, define your big ideas, make yourself visible, and last sell yourself.
Today I want to dive a little more into that first step – getting clear.
In terms of getting clear on your genius, I’ve talked a lot about following your energy and assessing what information your energy is giving you. Typically, the work we find energizing is linked to our most purposeful work – this is the internal way we can assess which path to take. The other way is looking at external factors, or what the world is mirroring back to you in the questions you hear most often or the requests for help you regularly receive.
But lately I’ve been thinking about two other questions you can use to zero in on what you’re meant to do, or at least what you can package and make money from right now.
The first thing is to think about what you’ve been able to successfully do that most people haven’t. And this is not to say that no one has ever done it before, but at least the majority of people you interact with can’t claim to have done the same thing.
I don’t know if you do this, but I pay close attention to any marketing that speaks to me and encourages me to pull out my credit card. I’m on a lot of different email lists, so whenever someone is able to break through the noise, I try to dissect what made their offer so appealing to me. I got an email today that made me think twice about signing up on the spot, and I’ve also recently participated in a workshop series that I wouldn’t have expected me to buy, if I were on the other side marketing to me, so what gives.
This morning, I got an email from Dorie Clark about landing your book deal. I was intrigued because I’m obsessed with the publishing industry right now, and Dorie is a well-respected author and thinker in the personal branding space. She’s published a number of books through Portfolio Penguin, and she’s putting together a workshop to talk through the book proposal process as well as how to land an agent. She’s even invited her editor at Penguin to attend and is hosting a VIP dinner with a book agent.
For anyone who has aspirations of playing in that world – or even to understand the process from the vantage point of someone who has successfully navigated it – this event is very attractive. I didn’t pull my credit card out immediately, but I thought it over because Portfolio Penguin has published a number of my favorite authors including Shane Snow, Ryan Holiday and Jenny Blake. Their authors seem to have this fraternity – they regularly invite one another on each other’s platforms, interview one another for podcasts, mention each other in their newsletters, etc. It’s definitely a circle worthy of tapping into if you like the type of books they write.
But I’m also interested in the pull back the curtain aspect of the book proposals. Dorie mentioned she’d share her failed proposals as well as the ones that won her the deal, introduce participants to her editor at Penguin and set up a VIP dinner with a literary agent. If ever there were a fact-finding mission for the publishing process, this is it!
So for you, the first follow up question to help you get even more clear on the genius you have access to right now is – What process have you successfully navigated? Can you pull back the curtain on your steps?
A second event I went to recently was hosted by Farnoosh Torabi and Susie Moore. They did a PR workshop where they invited about 12 or so NYC journalists to speak to attendees and break down what they’re looking for in their pitches.
Even though I sell PR and do it successfully, I was interested in this event for two reasons: first, I struggle brainstorming my own PR ideas and ways to package what I do for the media. It’s like the dentist who can’t clean his own teeth or the cobbler with no shoes –