What form of currency never fluctuates with the market?
Answer: Your reputation.
While many people say you shouldn’t care about what others think about you (and that it’s not your fault, it’s theirs blah blah blah), that only applies to the personal level. For example, if you get pregnant out of wedlock and your neighbor thinks you’re morally bankrupt, then that’s when the “who cares?” mantra applies. But if you have a career or a business and you’re still wearing that matra on your shoulder, giving yourself an excuse to act recklessly, then you got it all wrong.
Your reputation is your asset. It’s how people assess your credibility and trustworthiness. As much as you want to believe that you can make it to the top on your own, you will meet (and need) hundreds of people on your way. New acquaintances will not create new businesses with you right away. They will gauge your trustworthiness. The way for them to do this is by researching your reputation. They need this to assess the risks of choosing you.
Here are some ways to start your reputation from scratch:
DEFINE YOUR IDENTITY. It sounds tedious but it’s the first step in building your reputation. Define yourself and define your products and services. Write down all things that you want people to associate with you and write down all the things you DON’T ever want to be associated with you. Make a list and keep it. Show this list to your website designer, PR team, and everyone that can help you build your brand.
NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK. If you’re new to your career, make sure you make friends with people that can help you. You will learn a lot from them and you can help each other. Make sure that when you approach them, you don’t come out as a TAKER, but also a GIVER. Being useful to others is still the best way to network. Make sure they won’t forget you. Simply write a simple e-mail or add them on Facebook. If your new acquaintances have a good impression on you, they will tell others for sure.
ASK PEOPLE TO REFER YOU. Sometimes, you have to be clear to others of how you want to be helped. You can ask blogger friends to review your latest CD or product, for example.
REVIEW WHAT YOU SHARE ONLINE. Pay attention to your Facebook profile. what have you been sharing for the past year? Are they mostly rants about random things? Then even if you’re the friendliest person on earth in person, people will still think you’re negative. What you share online shows who you are. If you’re so vain online, you probably are very vain in person, too. I have a friend who’s a lawyer. She kept posting pictures of her in sexy outfits and swimsuits. Open-minded people will not see anything wrong with it but to the close-minded, judgmental bunch, they see her as unreliable. If you want to share your sexy photos, send it thru e-mail or instant message…anywhere not too public.
BE TRUE TO YOUR WORDS. When you say you’re going to call at 5:32 pm on June 19, 2015, be sure you’re going to do that. Promising something and then not fulfilling it is one great way to ruin your reputation.
Reputation is usually built from one thing: happy customers. Depending on your business, it may be the quality of your product, your low prices, or your friendly service. But the bottom line is that your reputation is constructed of exceptional customer experiences.
BE PROFESSIONAL. Sure. You’re an artist. You don’t have to wear a tuxedo wherever you go. However, make sure you iron your clothes and pick the ones that are decent enough for the general public. What you wear is your identity and maybe you want to look trashy but it also shows how much you respect the people you’re meeting. We’re aiming for decent, not necessarily formal. That’s just one aspect of being professional. The rest are: don’t be late, keep your promises, call if you’re going to be late, deliver good work, and many more.
BE LIKEABLE. You don’t have to try too hard to become Mr. or Ms. Congeniality. Just smile more often, be kind, be pleasant, and don’t gossip.
DELIVER GOOD WORK. Well, this is probably the best way to build a good reputation. Nothing beats this. If you have flaws in the stuff mentioned above, they can forgive you if you deliver good work. Keep improving, strive for excellence. And good reputation will follow.
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