Treat Yourself Like a Client in 2011

Confession: I didn’t come up with the title of this post. I’m “borrowing” this golden nugget of advice from fellow Emersonian and marketer extraordinaire, Ben Grossman of Oxford Communications. So what does it mean to treat yourself like a client? In a nutshell, it means that each of us must begin to look at ourselves as our own brand.

Everything we do, say, wear, write, tweet, etc. says something about who we are, and who we aim to be. Therefore, it is important – especially in the online world where so many of today’s connections are made – to understand that we ought to set aside some time to treat ourselves like a client.

Being a college student, this is particularly important, because it is our personal brands that we must sell to employers upon graduation in order to land those jobs that we want. However, it is still easier said that done. Amid a schedule that includes class, work, internship, and numerous writing positions I often struggled to find time to keep my own online profiles updated. Through my talks with Ben, it seems like the challenge to treat yourself like a client after graduating isn’t any easier.

Below are five quick tips that will hopefully make treating yourself like a client easier and less exhausting:

1. Know What You Stand For: You wouldn’t roll out a marketing campaign for a client without first understanding your client’s positioning statement, right? The same applies for your personal brand. It makes no sense to begin branding yourself online without first knowing what you stand for. Try writing a description of who you are (include job, interests and a dash of something fun and witty) in 160 characters (the amount allowed by a Twitter bio). Then refine this statement until it screams YOUR NAME.

2. Push Yourself: Did I mention that there is a time commitment involved here? Set some honest, yet ambitious goals for yourself. Blog three times per week. Tweet everyday. Whatever the goals may be, make them real and quantifiable. It doesn’t help to simply say that you will blog and tweet more. Making goals measurable allows you to know you are hitting your goals, so that you can reward yourself appropriately.

3. Collect Knowledge: This may seem intuitive, and many of you probably already do this, but it is always smart to be smart about whatever topics you associate with yourself. Do you like cooking? Keep a Google Reader folder for a bunch of cooking blogs and websites in order to stay informed about the latest trends and news in the cooking world. Part of treating yourself like a client is to establish yourself as a thought leader. In order to do so, you must be knowledgeable about your particular area of expertise.

4. Connect Your Online and Offline Selves: As the mobile world blurs the lines between our real world selves and online selves, it’s important that the two are more or less in unison. If you present yourself as a professional online, you better dress, talk and act professionally in the real world as well. Brand disconnect is a killer for clients in the marketing world, and it can also be a killer for your personal brand as well.

5. Be Active: As bad as it is to have an online account that doesn’t communicate the true you, it’s just as bad to have an inactive account. Remember that old MySpace profile you made many years ago that you never use? Delete it or give it a serious makeover. It’s time to make sure that all your profiles are in harmony with one another, and actively used.

And with that, make 2011 your best year yet!

2 Responses to “Treat Yourself Like a Client in 2011”
  1. Ben Grossman says:

    Thanks so much for the shout-out, Zach! It seems like a relatively widespread challenge for both agencies and individuals to treat themselves as clients. These are some great tips to help individuals and agencies start walking the walk that we talk so well. Of course, as any professional or organization in a service industry knows, when it comes down to the wire, clients always take precedence.

    Cheers to doing brilliant work as you treat yourself as a client in 2011!

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