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To describe 2020 as a blender is arguably an understatement. I don’t think there is anyone that can say they have not been affected by Covid 19 in some way.  There were so many lessons learnt but one of the many that stands out more than the rest is that we need to stop procrastinating on the things we want to do because you truly never know when things will drastically change or worse, when you won’t be here anymore to see your dreams come true. So as we close out the year, there are a few things I want you to put on your 2021 agenda to get done.  The New Year shouldn’t just be one of recovery but of exponential growth.  For all of the down time we had to think, recalibrate and re-evaluate in 2020, here are 5 things we should be doing to elevate our personal brands and grow our businesses in the next 12 months.

Implement a system for your social media and content

I don’t think there is a struggle that unifies early stage business owners in the digital space more than the struggle to implement a simple system for content creation and distribution. I know because I have been there. Staying consistent, feeling stumped on what to say, where to post, how to post or which network to be on can all feel like a jumble in your head.  For 2021, I want you to “unjumble” those thoughts, create clarity and most of all create a system so that your life goes from overwhelm to under control and thriving.  Always start with the end in mind, ask yourself, what you want people to do when they see your post, watch your video, or read your status. What do you want them to feel and what do you want them to learn from. Most of all, what actions do you want them to take? This should be followed up by your systems for creation and for distribution. Use a calendar to map out your days, map out your posts and use a scheduler for easy posting and distribution. Content is not complex; however it can feel that way in the absence of a direction and a plan to make it happen. Make 2021, the year you invest in yourself and take your content to new heights to grow your business.

Boosting your brand with your own product

One of the most important lessons I’ve learnt leading a service based business is that creating unique products is at the centre of exponential growth and brand differentiation.  Everyone has the same 24 hours in the day to work, but some people will only ever serve 5 people at one time while others will serve 500 or even 5000. The difference in the number of people you can serve begins with being able to scale your effort so you can serve multiple people. By doing this, you not only show up as business savvy but you position yourself and your brand even more strongly as the “go-to” for a solution in your industry. Creating a successful product means that you have fine-tuned and tested your systems, gotten some results and now you’re ready to offer that tool to your audience.  I know reading about this may seem daunting, but it’s so much simpler than you think. I never thought I could write a book before I actually did it. Once I started the information started pouring out and that’s because I knew my area of expertise, understood the process of brand building and could share it with you in a concise and easy way.  Perhaps a book may not be what you create, but whatever your industry, find a way to package your knowledge so you can increase your reach, scale and passive income.

It’s time you niche down

If I count the number of times I mentioned this recommendation it still wouldn’t be enough. Too often, when new entrepreneurs hear the term “niche down”, they interpret it as leavingImage of the words build your brand opportunities and money behind. Therefore, most people don’t focus on a niche until they learn the lesson the hard way, that is, experiencing burn out or they become overwhelmed and frustrated from doing too much.  The new year is a perfect time to shift your vision from focusing on short term wins with money you may make from one or two jobs, and move to having a long term vision for growth and development.

Ask yourself, “How can I be the “go-to” person when I’m diluting my skills in every corner?”  and “How can I perfect my craft, If I’m not focusing my energy on work that will help me get better?”  The most critical one to ask is “How can I expect to set boundaries with clients if I say ‘yes’ to every request they send my way?” Niching is not just a fancy term that is reserved for big business or something that will cause you to lose money; it’s an activity that is meant to help you focus, improve your skill and also protect your mental and physical burn out.

Update your personal pics

When was the last time you got dressed up and took a new set of professional images? Given the fact that working from home has been the reality of many of us since March of 2020, I’d venture to say that it’ been a while. A lot may have changed in 2020 and it might very well be time to update your pictures and update your social profiles. In years past, upgrading pictures every 24 months was more or less the norm, but with our work life being almost 100% virtual, images are probably the number one way we’ll be seen by our network. Therefore keeping your images fresh is something I’d recommend. Even if your pictures aren’t taken by a professional photographer each time, dress up and take a few selfies that you can use to update your social profiles.

Banish procrastination and fear

One of the most counterproductive habits in which we can engage is being a chronic procrastinator. More often than not, procrastination is a sign of fear and anxiety. We don’t want to deal with a new or challenging task in our business so we put it off for as long as possible and at the last moment , give it a  “slap and a dash”, throw it over the finish line and say we’re done. However, the result of the effort amounts to naught because it wasn’t given the time and consideration needed to ensure that it would be successful. This then leads to inevitable failure and a confirmation of the fear we felt in the first place. It’s pretty much a vicious cycle.

Use the new year as a time to work on our self-awareness, take note of counterproductive behaviours that may be holding you back from achieving optimal results in your business.  Create a system of accountability around yourself so that you get your work done.  This system should include an accountability partner or mentor who can support you if you feel like you’re waning. Use calendars and alarms to keep you up-to-date, use project management tools to map out activities and make it a habit to measure your progress along the way.  Twelve months of consistent work can put you in a whole new place in terms of growth and earnings.

It’s amazing the things you can accomplish with consistent action and commitment. Personal brand building and business development means creating relationships where we can be of service while being served. However, having the correct tools, systems and most of all mindset will make a world of difference between failure and success. Give yourself the gift of growth in 2021. I look forward to celebrating success with you to ring in 2022.

Jamila Bannister

Jamila Bannister

Jamila Bannister is Personal Branding Strategist, author and content creator from Trinidad & Tobago. She works with entrepreneurs who want to market their businesses by leading from the front with thought leadership and personal branding. She focuses on helping people create strong personal brands through brand strategy, content creation and public relations