When she struck out on her own, Villalobos said she “tried to step into the box of being an MBA and a consultant, and it didn’t work.” She was a slave to her business and wasn’t even making money.
Things turned around when she decided to be—and brand—herself.
Premium brands, such as Christian Louboutin with his signature red-lacquer-soled shoes, can charge so much more for their products because of branding, Villalobos explained—and the same is true for people.
“You want to be a celebrity in your field so that people are asking for you by name,” she said. “When you’re top of mind in your field, you get more referrals,” and it’s much easier to bring in business through referrals than through advertising, cold calling, or submitting proposals.
You must be careful, though, because “if you don’t brand yourself, then others will do it for you,” Villalobos warned before explaining how to do just that.
Begin within. “You have to start by figuring out who you are before you can build a brand.” Focus on the PITs—passions, interests, and talents—that make you who you are. Take your examination all the way back to childhood and don’t forget to look at your personality, because it doesn’t change.