Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Building Your “Standout” Brand as a Consultant

“I am a consultant.” This declaration is probably heard more these days than ever before. More than at any other time in history, this economy has prompted well educated highly skilled professionals to seek to earn a living by plying their trade without working for an employer. So how does the “standout” consultant rise above the masses of tenderfoot claimants who are just temporarily between jobs? Conversely, how can bright new consultants convince prospective clients that they are really tuned-in and not just singing the same old song?
Many people who in recent years have found themselves unemployed are well trained and highly qualified. More importantly, the need for their skills has not disappeared. Most of these people were simply “laid off” in order for the company to cut the costs of salaries and benefits. Now these companies are challenged to continue to increase productivity with less manpower and faced with diminished brainpower.
Many of these displaced workers were key management and executive level employees. Because of their high salaries and the fact that there are fewer openings for top-level positions, they may have limited success finding a new job at the same level. In order to earn a living, out of necessity these former long-time employees are now faced with the daunting task of becoming first time entrepreneurs.
Given the economic trends concerning workforce expansion and economic productivity, hiring consultants as opposed to full-time employees is becoming the rule rather than the exception. Translation: This isn’t your grandmother’s workforce. Progressively more opportunities to become a consultant may become available in the future than permanent full-time jobs created. 
So what does it take to gain a foothold as a consultant in this current environment? Essentially all consultants have to do 3 things to succeed:
1) Define your area of expertise
2) Find Clients
3) Deliver a quality product
Numbers 1 and 3 will be determined by the experiences and abilities that you have acquired throughout your career. Number 2 will be a function of your efforts to effectively build and promote your brand in order to stand out from the competition.
When you walk into your local Home Depot in search of a new hammer, you assume the hammer is a good one because of the quality you expect from the Home Depot brand. To gain this same level of confidence from your prospective clients will require you to create the perception that your generic skills are of a higher quality than the identical skills presented by the next guy. This seems like it could be a daunting task. However, by employing a few strategies you can manage to stand out from the crowd.
As a reminder, there are 3 Branding Fundamentals that should always guide your Branding Strategy:
1) Build your Brand Identity
2) Maintain your Brand Consistency
3) Focus your Branding Outreach
The image that you present through your marketing materials (business cards, correspondence, website, etc.) is very important. The information this “identity package” transfers to the public are the first signs of your dedication to quality. What these materials communicate will be the first sign that the potential client will receive as to the soundness of your thinking. You must make sure that these simple things create a lasting impression, which will help potential clients remember you instead of the other guy.
In this day and age, you must build and manage a quality online reputation. There are a number of well known platforms available for establishing an online presence. However, most business people drop the ball when it comes to monitoring and managing their internet presence. The analytic tools of your various pages and blogs should be evaluated regularly to make sure you are consistently reaching your target market. Using online tools and social media better than the next guy will definitely give you a leg up on the competition.
Another vital yet overlooked key to successful branding is building and managing the right relationships. Who you associate with and are associated with can make more of a lasting impression than you ever could by attempting to make your own unassisted introduction to certain prospects. A referral from someone your client already knows and respects can be the key to opening the door to new business. Sometimes, it really does come down to who you know.
In summary, to attract customers as a consultant in this competitive environment you will have to stand out from the competition. Once you determine your area of specialization and determine the niche market that you will service, finding clients will be your greatest challenge. To be successful at building your business, you will have to build a brand that stands out from the competition. The keys to successfully leveraging that brand will be determined by maintaining the consistency of the brand and continuously engaging your target market.
Vince Rogers is an accomplished resource manager, communications strategist, change agent and thought leader. He is academically trained in economics, marketing, management and professional communication. He possesses many years of successful professional experience in financial services and real estate management and marketing
Please follows his posts on LinkedIn
Photo courtesy of 

Thursday, October 15, 2015



is featured in a series of articles to promote the 

One Million Woman Link-Up” initiative of


When it comes to utilizing “social networking websites, it can be hard to resist the urge to mix business with pleasure. We often hear about people, especially young women, having negative outcomes because of decision makers scrutinizing their Instagram pics, investigating their FaceBook pages and deciphering their random Twitter “Tweets”. Potential clients, bosses and co-workers are allowed to bear witness to them engaging in various youthful indiscretions that can hinder their career and professional mobility.
Tailoring the privacy settings of your accounts should suffice to prevent these intrusions into your online realm. However, the more purely social sites may not be the proper setting to build your professional brand in the first place. Unless of course you are an up-and-coming bikini model, aspiring twerk-team MVP or the next “Sweet Brown” variety of internet celebrity.
FaceBook is very popular with young professionals. It provides access to a wide array of fun applications, games and social events. It can also be used as a tool to help brand yourself. You may do this by posting relevant content to your page that can be read by your “friends”.
Twitter is another widely popular portal to the world of social networking. It allows  you to communicate succinct messages to your “followers”. The site also allows you to follow important contacts. You can even send targeted messages to key people.
Instagram has become the premier platform for people to share photos. The site almost single-handedly created the “selfie” craze. Regardless of whether these pics are in good taste or not, just the sheer number of selfies a person posts can be viewed negatively by others.
For the most part, these sites give users access to a wide array of purely fun applications. Because the goal is primarily to have fun, most people have a hard time presenting a cohesive professional image using these sites. Instead, many people who attempt to use these sites to help build their personal brand, can’t resist engaging in the less professional offerings that drive the success of social networking sites. Ultimately, they end up with pages consisting of a mix of some pertinent information peppered with an assortment of cool, but potentially damaging pictures, random quasi-humorous “tweets” and other non essential content. Some of which might even be considered, lewd, vulgar or even pornographic by employers and potential clients.
When it comes to professional branding and career positioning, LinkedIn is a more relevant online networking tool. It can be most adequately utilized to establish a well conceived, powerful and consistent personal branding strategy on the World Wide Web. LinkedIn allows you to be proactive with your branding strategy, rather than hoping that the right people see and understand your posts on the other social sites.
Of course with any successful branding strategy, you must take the time to conceive and execute a plan that addresses your desired outcome. This strategy should achieve the dual goal of positioning you as an expert and networking with the people who you want to make aware of your expertise. There are essentially 3 Keys to Creating a Successful Branding Strategy on LinkedIn:
1) Create a Powerful Profilepage.
The first step to developing powerful relationships on LinkedIn is to fully complete your profile page. This will give your profile a better chance of standing out to potential connections. The key to any good relationship is that it be mutually beneficial. It should be clear to potential contacts when they look at your profile why they should want to build a professional relationship with you.
2) Strategically Build Your Network of Contacts
To start with you will want to add contacts that you know well and who know you such as:
  • Former Employers
  • Co-workers
  • Professors
  • Classmates
Each time that you add a new contact, you should write them a recommendation or endorse one of their skills. Eventually you can ask for recommendations in return. Having recommendations will make your profile stand out to potential new connections more than anything else.
3) Join the Right Groups.
After you have acquired some contacts and recommendations, you should then join LinkedIn Groups. Make sure that you join groups in the specific areas of interest that you want to build your network. Now that you’ve joined the right groups, you share a common interest with some of the top people in your field. This will make it more likely that they will accept your unsolicited connection requests.
The keys to personal branding that you will need as you start to use LinkedIn are the same skills you will need as you pursue any branding strategy. As you build your profile on LinkedIn, remember that you are attempting to position yourself as a trustworthy subject matter expert in your field. Then as you pursue the task of building your contacts, keep in mind that you must assemble a winning team in order to achieve long-term career and professional success.
The best way to make a good connection is to be become a resource to others by:
  • Promoting your contacts businesses.
  • Putting links to their sites on your websites and blogs.
  • Writing recommendations for them.
  • Commenting on their posts.
  • Answering their questions and polls.
Strive to become a valuable resource to your LinkedIn connections. This creates a reason for them to expand your relationship or to interact with you “offline”. Escalating your relationship with influential connections beyond LinkedIn can be the key to landing your “dream client”, promoting your business or landing a lucrative new project.
In summary, you can build a strong brand by properly leveraging LinkedIn. The key steps in this process are creating a powerful Profile, strategically joining the right Groups and acquiring the right Connections and Recommendations. It is also very important to become a dynamic resource to others, rather than just an inactive contact. If you follow these steps, you can utilize LinkedIn as a powerful platform that can dramatically enhance your professional success.
Vince Rogers is an accomplished resource manager, communications strategist, change agent and thought leader. He is academically trained in economics, marketing, management and professional communication. He possesses many years of successful professional experience in financial services and real estate management and marketing. His articles have been regularly “Featured In” on multiple channels @ Pulse | LinkedIn

Thursday, March 12, 2015


"....are you dealing with the fruit of the problem, 

or the root of the problem?....

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Overcoming the "9 Deadly Challenges" that we all face in life

In 2013, I was writing a Personal Branding column for In my role as the Atlanta Personal Brand Examiner, I provided readers with expert information about building strong professional identities. My writings empowered many people. Yet even the best advisers sometimes find themselves in need of wise counsel from others.
Therefore, I decided to seek relevant articles written by other expert Examiners about the issues that concerned me. I compiled them into an e-Book that I shared with the public for a limited time and free of charge. Over the years, I have determined that there are “9 Deadly Challenges” (Fear; Stress; Worry; Negativity; Procrastination; Impatience; Materialism; Debt and Negative Priorities) that prevent people from overcoming the obstacles that we all face in life. I included in this collection nine articles that discuss these topics, written by various contributors.
These "9 Deadly Challenges" are the greatest killers known to mankind. They murder ambitions, slay dreams, annihilate finances and slaughter the spirit. I would like to share with you a few thoughts of my own about these "demons". They are as follows:
FearFear causes paralysis by making us believe that moving forward with something will result in undesirable consequences. The reality is that staying in the same place will most likely result in a negative outcome as well.
Stress: Failing to manage or alleviate negative Stress can result in spiritual, mental, physical and even sexual dysfunction - ah, got your attention now. Learning to identify the source of, understand your reaction to and manage the stressors of life is critical to personal and professional satisfaction.
Worry: In the Christian Bible, Matthew 6:27 says "Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" There's really not much else that needs to be said on the subject of Worry - nothing good can come from it.
NegativityNegativity or looking at things positively are both habits that have to be cultivated and practiced. There is almost always a bright side to everything; you just have to choose to see it.
ProcrastinationProcrastination or even its cousin "Amateur-crastination" is brought about by the mother of all paralyzing behavior - "Perfectionist Panic". The cure to this deadly disease is to dedicate yourself to winning small victories each and every day - don't try to eat the entire elephant in one bite.
ImpatienceImpatience stems from the deadliest of the 7 sins - Pride or a belief that nothing or nobody else matters except your own desires or ambitions. Yet it has been demonstrated many times that the most successful enterprises and relationships are those that include other people and considers their needs as well as your own.
Materialism: The love of things - Materialismis the root of all kinds of evil, not the love of money. Determine what things are keeping you in a state of servitude and further away from living the life that you want to live - then try to get rid of them!
Debt: As W.E.B DuBois once said, "To whom you give your money, you give your power." Your Creditors are your Masters! - free yourself from Debt slavery as soon as possible.
Negative Priorities: Having Negative Priorities means putting things that may make life easier, ahead of things that make life more fulfilling. Having Positive Priorities means putting things that that make life more fulfilling, before things that just make life easier. We should manage our priorities in much the same way that we manage our money. Create a "Priorities Budget" to determine what is most important to you - then stick to it!
Hopefully, you can benefit from the articles in this collection as well as the personal insights that I have shared. I believe that by confronting these "demons" we can overcome the “9 Deadly Challenges” that we all face in life. Everybody faces these challenges to some degree. I am confident that with some effort and commitment to change we can gain freedom from these killers of achievement.
Vince Rogers is an experienced resource manager, communications strategist, change agent and thought leader. He is academically trained in economics, marketing, project management and business communication. He possesses many years of successful professional experience in financial services and real estate management and marketing. Please follows his posts on LinkedIn @
Also, please read the article "A Success Plan for Your Personal Relationship with Money" to learn more strategies to " you from the fear, stress, worry and negativity that are preventing you from pursuing your