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If you've ever felt like the idea of having a personal brand was a little bit icky, you're not alone. Most people aren't terribly comfortable promoting themselves, and speaking in the third person is always a bit awkward (just try not to do it on the bus).

Personal branding doesn't have to be awkward, it is how you tell the world about your skills, passions, values, and your amazing personality. The goal isn't to present a fake version of you, it's to allow the real you to take control of your digital identity.

You see, right now there's a lot of data floating around out there about you. Where you've worked, things you've said, pictures you may have regretted putting on Instagram, but it's OK. Today's personal branding isn't about being squeaky clean, it's about embracing your personality and curating the best parts of what makes you great into a digital identity that can embrace every potential opportunity.

Your personal brand provides you with the opportunity to mix business with pleasure in a way that you control. So while the pics of the New Year's party are out, the short video that shows off your ukulele skills might be just the thing that helps you stand out from the crowd.

So how can you get started? If you haven't already done so, we have a handy ebook, Digital Me: Personal Branding in the Social Media Age, available for download. However, if you're looking for some quick wins. Here's how to get started with your personal brand.

  1. Go grab your personal .CA domain right now.

It's self-serving, sure, but it's really the best way to start building your online identity. Your personal brand needs a place to live, a place you own, and a personal .CA domain is a great hub for all your online activities. Need help choosing a domain? We have a blog post that can help with that too.

  1. Add your new domain to all your social media profiles.

With so many different social media networks, and new ones popping up every day, adding your personal domain to your profile allows you to link all your accounts together in one place

  1. Start a basic website to use as your online hub.

It's not as complicated as you think. Many domain name Registrars offer a website builder when you buy your domain. There are also many simple website builders out there like Wordpress, Wix, Squarespace, and PageCloud have great options that are simple and affordable.

So once you have your personal domain and website, you're going to want to figure out what your personal brand is all about.

Here are some questions to get you started.

  1. What is your X-factor? The one thing that separates you from other people with similar skills and experience.
  2. What are your values? The things that define who you are and how you see the world?
  3. What are your passions? The things that make work not seem like work at all. What is your purpose? The thing you were put on this Earth to accomplish
  4. What is your personality? The things that make the way you see and interact with the world unique.

Finally, the most important thing to remember is that building a personal brand is a long term process. It's not going to happen overnight. Start somewhere and build slowly.

Once you get started you'll discover that it's not really as intimidating as it may have seemed at the start, and you will be building something that is uniquely you.

Don't forget, if you're looking for more help with your personal brand, download our ebook, or visit cira.ca/digitalme.