In Part 1 , I talked about quality work being flushed down the toilet (there were also references to a half-assed job pass, a dead gold fish, and The Matrix). Now, I want to share with you how to use your personal brand to take control of your career.

I wish I could say, “just quit your job and soar like an eagle.”  But I won’t because I hate fluffy talk and try to avoid words like soar, inner child, and empower. Plus, things like having electricity and food on the table kind of put things in perspective, ya know?

Transforming your job into a thriving career can come in various stages. No matter where you stand, if you want to take control of your career, you need access to more professional opportunities.

Don’t get stuck in bizarroland, as I call it, where people sympathize with laziness and villainize competence. Start creating goals in line with the direction that you want to take and follow them.

William Arruda, who is well known in the personal branding industry, highlights some things to consider in his “Personal Branding Trends for 2015” report, which you can download here. Whether it’s baby steps or a big leap, here are the roles to keep in mind if you are too smart for your job.

Intrapreneur

If you always go above and beyond in your career, chances are you’re an intrapreneur. An intrapreneur is a risk-taker who intuitively comes up with out of the box solutions to help a company meet their goals. Intrapreneurs think like entrepreneurs but use their personal brand within a company. This skill is highly sought after by progressive companies who want, and appreciate, true talent.

In this path, which you’re probably already following, your name speaks volumes in your favor. You’re more than just your current company or title. You’re a brand within a brand. To use this to your advantage, never lose sight of your ultimate goal, which is to build a career that works to YOUR advantage (and not be a company’s pawn).

To really showcase your skills and prove your worth, you must continuously assess your career and track your accomplishments in terms of showing results (there’s no room to stay comfortable). Whatever you do, even if it seems like it’s not a big deal, always focus on how it benefits your company. Results and numbers matters most, not the individual tasks. Then you use this information to build an impressive portfolio for your personal brand, which should be both on paper and online.

It’s becoming more important for professionals to have a strong online presence, since that’s often the first impression you make with a recruiter or potential networking partner.  You can use many platforms like creating your own personal website, having an online resume, or posting informative videos.

I know it’s frustrating when you’re the brightest bulb amongst broken night lights, but the people that matter recognize the difference (trust me!). Use every projects and training you receive to further build your brand and land your ideal role.

Want more? Read this: Career Distinction: Stand Out by Building Your Brand, by William Arruda and Kirsten Dixson

Consultant

This path is not for the faint of heart but perfect if you’re comfortable with change and work in a high demand field like information technology, human resources, or business management.
Consulting can come in many forms depending on how you choose to approach it. Projects are available for as short as six months or as long as two years.

At first glance, consulting can seem intimidating, but it really isn’t much different than any other role if you are already an intrepreneur. As a consultant, you are a combination of an intrapreneur and entrepreneur. You are basically using your skills and working on a per project basis, which is great if you get bored easily and like to constantly learn.

As a plus, you also get the freedom of operating as an independent brand at a higher pay rate. Many companies will shell out over $100,000 annually for roles that a full time employee would make 30% less to do the same thing or more. A couple of good sites to find consultant work are Dice.com and Flexjobs.com.

There are many advantages to consulting if your skills are in demand and your circumstances allow you the freedom to move around in your career. Just be sure to choose wisely and make sure that every opportunity adds value to your portfolio.

Want more? Read this: The 4-Hour Workweek, by Tim Ferris

Entrepreneur

If you’re tired of working for “the man” and are ready to take a leap, this is the path for you. As an entrepreneur, you are the boss and can set your own standards and not have to fight against mediocrity (you already know that it won’t get you far anyway). Having a strong personal brand is even more important because YOU will be your business—no pressure. There is no doubt that deciding to become an entrepreneur is a big decision and will be hard work. But you have the ability to take the skills you’ve learned throughout your career and put it to use the right way.
The best way to build your business is to have a clear direction and marketing plan. Real talk: Just because you enjoy something as a hobby, doesn’t mean that it can be a business that can supplement the salary of a fulltime job. If your business idea solves a problem (is there an audience that has a need for what you’re selling?) and you have a clear niche (are you able to show how you’re different from your competitors?), you’re off to a good start.

It’s also important to have a financial cushion to start with so that you allow time for the learning curve. This may mean building enough money to last a year or working while you build your business. Or it may mean that you start your business and keep your day job until you’re able to transition to your business full-time. You have to be honest with what will work best for you and be prepared for your business to not be an overnight success.

When you think about all that you’ve done in your career, you’ve collected a number of skills that will come into play as you start your new venture. In fact, it will feel more familiar than you think. Everything down to coordinating projects, building relationships, creating content, and customer service skills will all be important factors.

If you approach your business with the determination to succeed and the desire to solve a problem, there will be endless opportunities for you to thrive.

Want more? Read this: Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months, by Melinda Emerson

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Marietta Gentles Crawford
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Marietta Gentles Crawford

Writer + Personal Brand Strategist, Founder at MGC Ink
Marietta Gentles Crawford is a writer, personal brand strategist, and author of "From Nine to Thrive: A Guide to Building Your Personal Brand and Elevating Your Career." With over ten years' experience climbing through top corporate and government brands as a writer and trainer, her passion is inspiring professionals to dare mediocrity.
Marietta Gentles Crawford
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