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Dennis Thorgesen
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Building your personal brand; What is your story?

Published on 8/7/2018
For additional information  Click Here

Building your personal brand 

What is your story?

Lisech eMarketing logo

Everyone's story is unique, as are their personal abilities. Think about your life, what makes you different from the rest of the world? What abilities do you have that others are yet to learn?

 

How can you tell your story?

 

Here is a little of mine. Hopefully it can help you with ideas for yours.

My early businesses, except when I managed a restaurant, had something to do with "the trades". The first company furnished ditches and holes in the ground also known as shallow wells. As the company owner I had to market and advertise like every other business. To get the business off the ground I pounded on many doors and wore out a few phone books. There were also hand written fliers up at every place locally that would allow them.

 

As time progressed I had friends and former customers finding customers for me. Near the end of my time in that business I had people and company owners driving 35 miles one way to pick me up. These people had never met me. There was not a single time I wasn't picked up. I was a small child (at age 15) when I started the business I weighed under a 100 pounds and was 5' 1” tall. What people saw though were the callouses on my hands and bright metal only on my shovel tips. Business owners KNEW from what they saw I was the right person for the job.

 

The second business was fixing things husbands couldn't find time or didn't understand how to do. My father's company built spec houses among things. On the days I went with him from age 14 on I learned how to do something new. It was a rare occurrence that I would have to be shown how to do something twice. When anything broke at either my mothers or fathers I was the one called on to fix it. The reality was what I had been doing from age 14 on was learning a trade.

 

For that business I had a business plan, a marketing plan, and an advertising plan. I had the money to pay for all of it plus live for six months without depending on company income. Six months later when I got tired of working 20 hour days I sold the company. I had set my marketing and adverting limit to 50 miles from home.

 

The next two companies were partnerships

 

The first was a construction company that did mainly commercial work. Marketing that company created it's own challenges. Everything was bid.

This requires networking. It became who you know, as much as what you know. Although my company was not always the lowest bidder we won more than we lost. There were times when even though we weren't the lowest bidder we still got the job.

We had a crew at one of the movie studios creating sets, I spent much of my time leading that crew. My crew couldn't always see in their mind the directors vision. I learned early the first is to show where something is happening, the second reason a stage exists is to keep eyes on the character. My partner in this business retired early, three years before we had agreed, so I didn't have the money to buy him out.

 

The second partnership was a roofing company

 

For the first two years I worked only from home. My second son was born, and I wanted to be at home with him. With the first son I never saw his milestones. He died at age 3 months. My partner didn't have a problem with this because I supplied the money, tools, advertising, and marketing. With this one I came close to bankruptcy, before I found a workable marketing plan, figured out with whom to network, and started helping do the actual work.

 

At first people thought it odd that when I talk to people in their late teens I recommended learning a trade. I go on to explain that I started my first business in the trades, and every offline business was tied to a trade. Knowing how to do something others don't know how to do, or doing it better than everyone else opens a lot of doors. Once you learn one or the other you can make your own way.

 

My last offline business was staging houses for sale. This means fixing broken things, then making the house look presentable inside and out to prospective buyers. Basically it just tied together all the trades businesses I had owned. It was a white label business. This means there was a purposeful lack of a logo. It didn't mean the brand didn't exist, or have standards, or make a promise. Part of the promise was no one would know it wasn't the owner doing or having friends do the work. Every truck was white, there was no branding of any kind on the trucks.
Lisech eMarketing stairs photo
I loved it because it required figuring out what possible buyers were looking for, then creating it. At times it meant making changes to the structure, other times just setting up the inside of the house and cleaning up the yard to give the property curb appeal. Many times I trimmed or removed trees that were either eyesores, or in a place that reduced curb appeal.

The reality is when I created the design of what I was going to do, it was to make a buyers dreams come true.

When clients didn't see a need for what I recommended, I just referred them to other clients who had fought me, yet had done what I said should be done. There were no losers, everyone either received their asking price or reset their property to a higher asking price.

 

The lessons here

Everything you do has to create a win/win situation. If you want people to pay you, they have to see great value. The reason for this in my case is because I knew people would send me referrals, and some give me repeat business. My personal ethics came in to play here as well. In the end it was my personal ethics that had me sell the business for a loss. I couldn't physically live up to my brand promise. 

Repeat and referral business is the life blood of every business. It costs more to find a new client than keep an existing one happy and returning. This doesn't mean you have to work for peanuts. or cut your prices to "keep clients happy". You can charge (your) price as long as the value is there. Know your value and don't be afraid to ask for what you are worth. © August 7, 2018 9:30 PM CDT Dennis Thorgesen, Lisech eMarketing, business, personal brand creation, and consulting, all rights reserved.

 

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