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A Crucial Part of Your Personal Brand

business_cardBigg success is life on your own terms. We’ve said that the reason for the redundancy – “your own” – in our definition of bigg success is to explicitly show that you are the entrepreneur of a very important enterprise – your life.

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If life on your own terms means building your own personal brand, there’s a very important principle to keep in mind:

You’re the entrepreneur, the CEO, and the brand manager!

With their careers, some people fall short in reaching their potential because they just sell a service. They exchange their time and knowledge for money.

As bigg goal-getters, we don’t want to just sell a service. We want to create our own brands.

But we don’t want to just create a personal brand, we want to build our lives on our own terms.

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Would you like more tips and tools to live your life on your own terms?
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One crucial key to building our personal brands is consistency. There are at least three areas where this holds true:

Promotion

One of the things the biggest brands do very well is convey a consistent brand image. Yet that’s one of the mistakes that we make most frequently in building our personal brands: we’re inconsistent in showing ourselves to the world.

You want to convey a consistent message across all the media you use – your resume, your cover letters, your e-mails, notes you send, social media you might use, clubs you join, and on and on. With these materials, you create the image of who you are.

You also want to keep in mind who you’re trying to relate to in order to create the best promotional materials for your brand. Promotion sets the expectations. What can I expect from you? That’s your brand promise.

Performance

You want to meet, or better yet exceed, the expectations you set. Believe it or not, it’s better to deliver at a consistently lower level than to perform poorly at times and superbly at others.

Kind of counterintuitive, isn’t it?

However, think about your experiences as a customer. Aren’t you happier if your expectations are low but satisfied, than if your higher expectations aren’t met?

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georgeFor a very simple example, think about getting an e-mail from me today that is written well and has no typos. Tomorrow, I send you an e-mail that’s just full of typos. What would you think?

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marylynnI might think, “What’s going on with George today? Is he sick? Is he too busy? Is he just this careless sometimes?” It raises a lot of questions.

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At the start, strive to meet expectations all the time. Then find ways to gradually improve your performance so you exceed expectations regularly. That leads to bigg success!

Persona

Have you ever dealt with a person who is very chatty and friendly one day and may seem somewhat aloof at other times?

It’s okay to be moody; we just don’t need to share it with the world! We have to find a way to control our emotions so we present a consistent temperament.

Sweatin’ to an example

Think about Richard Simmons. He’s done pretty well for himself. He’s always dressed in the same kind of clothes, complete with the shortest of shorts. He’s wacky and upbeat. He’s always empathetic and dancing to the oldies!

You may not want to emulate Richard Simmons. We can understand. However, he has done an outstanding job of building his brand. You know what to expect and he consistently delivers.

All someone has to do is say Richard Simmons and you get a clear image in your mind of who he is and what he’s about.

That’s the lesson for all of us. Consistently – in your promotion, your performance and your persona – build your personal brand so you can live your life on your own terms. That’s bigg success!

What are you doing to build your personal brand?

You can share that with us by leaving a comment below, calling us at 888.455.BIGG or sending us an e-mail at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com.

Thanks so much for personally reading our post today. We brand that a good day!

Please join us next time when we share how recent bad luck and bad timing almost kept us from life on our own terms.

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00364-040209.mp3

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Overcoming Adversity: How Stephen Hopson Opened the Runway for Deaf Pilots

Stephen Hopson
Our guest on the show today was Stephen Hopson, former Wall Street stockbroker turned pilot, author and speaker. We met Stephen at the Successful and Outstanding Bloggers Conference. Once you meet him, you never forget him.

Stephen Hopson is the founder of Adversity University. He knows a lot about overcoming adversity. He’s been deaf since birth, but as he says, we all face our own adversity in life

A dream is born
As a young boy, Stephen said he had very low self-esteem. He had a hearing aid box that was strapped to his chest with cords running up to his ear. He was also very thin. But he was a boy with a dream … to be a pilot.

When he was just four- or five-years old, he saw a plane in the sky and knew he wanted to fly with the big boys. After much prodding, he convinced his mom to take him to the airport. It became a weekly event.

Upon arriving at the airport, Stephen would jump out of the car and run up to the fence. He would put his fingers on the fence and wait for a plane to come out. The minute he saw a plane, he would run back to the car and put his head on the hood, with his face looking out so he could see the plane take off.

When the plane took off, the little car would vibrate like a washing machine. That’s how Stephen heard the sound of a plane.

Living the dream
He didn’t pursue his dream until many years later. He completed college and went off to Wall Street. After fifteen years, he quit his career to pursue his dream of becoming a motivational speaker.

One day, he learned about other deaf pilots on his computer. He didn’t realize that deaf pilots had been flying since 1948. At that point, his childhood dream came roaring back to life!

He began looking for a flight instructor. Many of them weren’t aware that deaf pilots could fly. So they didn’t want to train him. Finally, Stephen found a willing instructor.

He could only fly on good weather days. Deaf pilots navigate by referencing landmarks – like cities, lakes, and highways. But when weather turned bad, deaf pilots were not allowed to fly.

Until 2006.

That’s when Stephen Hopson became the first deaf pilot to fly in bad weather. He says that flying in bad weather is like flying in a milk bottle because you can’t see where you’re going. So, as Stephen says, he became the first deaf and blind pilot! He thought about starting Helen Keller Airways!

Now other deaf pilots are following his footsteps. He says it’s very difficult to fly in bad weather because you have to communicate with your co-pilot, whose job is to translate what the controllers are telling them over the radio. The co-pilot writes it down on a dry erase board and then gives it to Stephen, which is very challenging.

What an amazing accomplishment! Look at the doors Stephen has opened for others.

Stephen’s H.E.A.R. Principle for overcoming adversity

Have a passion for what you do. Otherwise obstacles will seem difficult to overcome.

Entertain the possibilities that are available to you.

Authenticity. Be authentic; be who you are.

Remember who helped you.

We thank Stephen for sharing his inspirational story and his incredible insight with us today!

Our bigg quote today is by none other than Stephen Hopson himself.

“Establishing goals, visualizing myself achieving them, as well having faith that
it will all work out well are essential ingredients in overcoming … obstacles.”

So don’t let adversity keep you grounded … overcome it and soar to new heights.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file | podcast:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/biggsuccess/00147-060308.mp3

9 Questions to Answer Before You Make Extra Mortgage Payments

Bigg Challenge
One of our listeners, Randy, is considering making paying his mortgage every two weeks instead of every month so he can pay it off faster. He wants to know if this is a good idea..

Bigg Advice
We can’t give you a direct answer, Randy, but we will give you nine questions that will help you determine if you should make the extra payments.

#1 – Do you have any other debt?
Chances are your mortgage is the cheapest debt you’ll ever find, after taxes are considered. So if that’s the case, you should pay off your other debt first.

#2 – Do you have an emergency cash reserve?
The general wisdom among financial planners is that you should have somewhere between three months to a year of living expenses in an account that’s readily available.

#3 – How good is your credit rating?
The better your credit rating, the better chance you have to borrow in the future at a reasonable cost should the need arise. When you make extra payments, you’re essentially investing in an illiquid asset. So if your credit score needs some improvement, work on that first.

#4 – How do you feel about debt?

Some people don’t like having any debt at all. If you’re one of them, and if you’re happy with the answer to the first three questions, then make extra payments!

#5 – What’s your interest rate?
This question gets you ready to determine your best financial move. There are two things you need to know:

  • the interest rate on your mortgage
  • your tax bracket (i.e. how much you’ll pay in taxes on your next dollar of income, that’s called your marginal tax rate).

Multiply your interest rate by (1 – your marginal tax rate) to get your after-tax cost of interest.

#6 – How disciplined are you?

If you’re likely to just spend the extra money if you don’t make extra mortgage payments, then by all means just make extra payments. If you’re disciplined
(or set it up so you don’t have to be), then you’re ready for the next question.

#7 – When do you plan to retire?

In general, the longer you have until you retire, the more aggressive you can be. So if you plan to retire in a relatively short time, lean toward extra payments. If you have a relatively long time before you retire, you’re probably better off investing.

#8 – What could you earn if you didn’t pay off your mortgage early?
You figured out your after-tax interest cost in Question 5. That’s your cost of money. Now you’re going to look at how much you can make from your investments. That’s your projected return. If the return on your portfolio is greater than your cost of money, that’s a sign you shouldn’t make extra payments on your mortgage.

#9 – Will your current portfolio support your desired lifestyle?

If you already have enough money to keep you happy for the rest of your life, why do anything risky? Just pay off your mortgage and reduce your risk even more.

We’ve offered some general advice here. Find a certified financial planner or CPA to help you with your specific situation. 

Want to read more? Here are the
9 questions you should ask before paying off your mortgage
in more detail.

Our bigg quote today comes from Walter Savage Landor:

“We talk on principle, but we act on interest.”

But you shouldn’t pay down your principal unless it’s in your best interest.

Next time, we’ll share a love story with lessons. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

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Diversify, Diversify, Diversify

By Bigg Success Staff
09-26-08

Bigg Success with Money

diversify

One of the most important tenets of investing is to diversify, diversify, diversify. However, it’s a principle that’s been around for a long time – remember “don’t put all your eggs in one basket?”

By diversifying, we earn the greatest return over time with the least volatility. There are three ways to diversify your portfolio:

#1 – Diversify across asset classes
Your portfolio should include a variety of stocks, bonds, cash, real estate and more. A rule of thumb is to subtract your age from 120 to determine how much of your money should be invested in stocks (or more likely, stock mutual funds). Most of the rest should go into bonds (or bond mutual funds).

#2 – Diversify within asset classes

Within each of these asset classes, you also want to diversify. For example, you don’t want to own a single stock, or even just stocks in a single industry. You don’t even want to just own domestic stocks. Own multiple stocks in multiple industries in multiple countries.

#3 – Diversify over time
There’s one thing that’s certain about the market – it will go up and down. By investing some amount of money at regular intervals (e.g. with every paycheck), you diversify over time. This principle is known as dollar-cost averaging.

When the market is up, you’ll buy less of the same than when it’s down. So you’re buying less when prices are high and more when prices are low. Doesn’t that make sense? Isn’t that what you would like to do with anything else you purchase frequently?

Two simple solutions

One relatively easy way to diversify is through mutual funds. Pick no-load funds with low annual expenses and good performance. Diversify between stock funds and bond funds. Pick domestic funds and international funds. Then re-balance every year to keep your assets allocated properly.

An even easier way to do this is to pick a no-load mutual fund with a targeted retirement date. Then let them do all the rest. The downside is you may get a little better performance by selecting funds from more than one fund family. The upside is you have pros constantly watching over your portfolio. All you have to do is watch over the pros!

Diversification smooths out performance. When stocks go down, bonds often go up and vice versa. So you get the best possible returns without the volatility of a single class of financial assets.

Defining Success at the Highest Level

By Bigg Success Staff
04-30-08

Life Skills

rose 

Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum has created entire islands. He is building the world’s tallest skyscraper.

His horses have won many of the biggest races around the globe, but victory in the biggest race of them all has eluded him.

He hasn’t won the Kentucky Derby.

His “run for the roses” highlights an important principle – we can invest a great deal of time and money to pursue a goal, but still far short.

It’s a major accomplishment just to get a horse qualified to run in the Kentucky Derby. In the most competitive endeavors in a hyper-competitive world, it takes a certain amount of luck to win the bigg prize.

That’s why it pays to define success properly. If you’ve done everything you can possibly do to become everything you can possibly be, you’ve succeeded!

All you can do IS all you can do, but all you can do is what you must do.

If you can honestly say to yourself that you’ve given your “all”, you’re a winner!

Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

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