I became a college professor at the age of 24. It was difficult, but I was prepared when the opportunity came. I put my best foot forward and played my cards right. It has been a life-changing journey, and I am still growing. Although I could see myself teaching in higher education for the rest of my life, I could not fight the desire of wanting more. To achieve more, I told myself, “focus on marketing your uniqueness.”
In my dreams, I envisioned myself leading a TED Talk as an author and a renowned motivational speaker for NerdyGirls around the world. I imagined myself using the professor platform to reach the masses.
But how would I make my dreams come true?
I naively thought my differences alone would cause people to line up at my door. I believed being a young, black woman in an older male dominated industry would surely land me requests for conferences, podcasts, and seminars.
While I thought that my distinct perspective would work in my favor, I thank life for teaching me not to assume anything. Your differences can work in your favor, but it is essential to market your uniqueness.
Roll Up Your Sleeves
Unless I had extra money to blow on PR, I had to roll up my sleeves and do it myself. So, I assessed and did my research. I searched for people who were living the life that I wanted to live.
I wanted to put my uniqueness on display, but I realized that I had nothing. I had no digital presence, nothing to engage people and reel them in. I lacked interactive content for anyone to access to learn about my NerdyGirl brand and who I was.
I was that tree that fell in the forest that no one could hear because no one was present. I didn’t invite anyone!
Learn from my mistakes.
Strategy #1- Focus on marketing your uniqueness and never stop selling it!
Let’s unpack my main tip for people looking to get ahead by marketing their uniqueness.
Tips for Success
1. Make Contact
- Never stop introducing yourself.
- Reach out to friends and colleagues to assess your efforts.
2. Don’t’ Get Complacent
- Never get too comfortable with the feeling that you’ve “made it”— continue to work hard and sharpen your craft.
- Continue to take risks for yourself.
- If you’re feeling stuck, it may be the case that the next step you’re trying to take is the wrong one. Try to reassess.
3. Keep Researching
You can never do enough research in your industry.
- Who is leading your industry?
- What are the trending strategies?
- Where do you fit?
- What do you bring to the table?
4. Out with the Old
Let old ideas go- you’re stepping into new territory for yourself, so be open-minded and ready to receive new information that will probably contradict current values, attitudes, and ideals. Your current ideas may have run their course. It’s time for a new paradigm.
If you’re looking to take your career to a whole new level, your work ethic and mindset must upgrade as well.
Remember, make your efforts consistent— “A river cuts through a rock not because of its power, but its persistence.”
What’s your advice for people seeking to take the leap? Let us know!