SPONSORED ARTICLE: Concierge by CoolHandle

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sponsored Article: Concierge by CoolHandleMaybe it's just the way the word "concierge" rolls off the tongue, but when we hear it, we know to expect extraordinary service. We can let our shoulders drop and trust that someone is handling all those pesky details without the slightest hiccup. That smooth, seamless service is worth the extra buck for the peace of mind it buys, right? But what about from your business partner?

Sponsored Article: Concierge by CoolHandle

Today's post is a sponsored article courtesy of CoolHandle. With over a decade of web hosting experience on various hosting platforms and operating systems, particularly Apache and Linux, CoolHandle brings a wealth of knowledge and the capability to handle any and all hosting needs.

Maybe it's just the way the word "concierge" rolls off the tongue, but when we hear it, we know to expect extraordinary service. We can let our shoulders drop and trust that someone is handling all those pesky details without the slightest hiccup. That smooth, seamless service is worth the extra buck for the peace of mind it buys, right? Sure, maybe in the hospitality industry, but what about from your business partner?

Take heart, Internet entrepreneurs! Concierge by CoolHandle is at your service, literally.

Back in the day, entrepreneurs had to hire a variable circus of vendors just to get a website launched before say... Armageddon. Between the web design guy with the poetic ponytail, the hard-hitting copywriter with a pocketful of prose and the no-nonsense lawyer with a nervous tick, the "dedicated team" starts to look more like the cast of a doomed sitcom. And that's before outsourcing...

Streamlining the building process requires planning, integrity and creative vision. To uphold that hierarchy of values is no easy feat, especially with a motley crew of "experts" who aren't connected to your business, much less each other.

With the recent emergence of the concierge service for the Internet marketer, entrepreneurs can rest easy, as there is ONE team leader, ONE vision, and ONE company shouldering the responsibility to get your site up and thriving.

Consider how much time and effort it takes to coordinate four friends to meet at an entertainment event, on time, tickets in hand, attitude in check. Now add four more friends, some traffic and weather issues and maybe a few of the friends consider English to be a second language. You, being the upbeat Master Leader that you are, dive in, confident that your vision is strong enough to get everyone to the show on time.

I don't have to tell you how the story ends, but let's just say it's not going to be filed on the fairytale shelf.

The great thing about Concierge by CoolHandle is that like any concierge service, the pampered client is never forced to blurt their needs, because those needs are already anticipated and presented in a tailor made menu for each customer. This isn't a drive through window where you get two options: junk or more junk, supersized. This is a classy, detailed and delectable, a la carte menu based on the taste you want to create for your clients. It's design with results and support with style.

Yet, after a decade of working with Internet marketers and affiliates, there's not a vendor war story they haven't heard and that's what keeps them grounded. Concierge by CoolHandle is not the kind of elitist service where the staff is too pristine to get down and dirty and really work to make your creative vision a reality. Every good service person has a little sweat on the brow because the effort is worth the result: content, pampered customers.

But what's this pampered service going to cost? What's the going rate for excellence? Not as much as you would think since you get to pick just what you want from the menu; so you don't pay for what you don't need. When you order from a fast food restaurant, your order includes a drink, even if you're not thirsty. When you order a la carte, you get what you're in the mood to taste.

Taste concierge. Let the shoulders drop and the ideas flow. Expect to be pampered. Or... go for chaos. Everyone has their preference, but chaos isn't a very exotic-sounding word or experience.

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Personal Branding Tip: Be Yourself

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Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Personal Branding Tip: Be YourselfSome readers will undoubtedly be uncomfortable with the idea of being labeled as a "brand". However, what they fail to realize is that many elements of their personal brand have already been labeled long ago. In almost every situation, personal branding is at play. Since you are already being labeled for being you, you might as well embrace it!

Personal Branding Tip: Be Yourself

Many people will ultimately view personal branding as a form of self-promotion and selfishness. I can't argue with this as in many ways it is. However, this doesn't mean personal branding is a bad thing.

Personal branding is the process of discovering what is true and unique about oneself and sharing it. Each and every one of us has a unique value proposition that differentiates us from others and helps us to stand out from a crowd. Personal branding helps us to identify this value and articulate it to others. In this way, individuals can enhance their recognition as experts in their field, establish reputation and credibility, advance their careers, and build self-confidence. Simply put, developing your brand makes you a more valuable asset, whether to the company you work for, a potential employer, or your own enterprise.

Some readers will undoubtedly be uncomfortable with the idea of being labeled as a "brand". However, what they fail to realize is that many elements of their personal brand have already been labeled long ago. Consider this, one is literally a representative of the products they buy, the lifestyle they live, and the connections they have. Throughout our life, we have made decisions among competing brands, choosing some brands over others, and along the way have built up attitudes, impressions, and beliefs about the foods we eat, cars we drive, clothes we wear, people we interact with, and companies we work for without even noticing. The various corporate brands we support shape our own personal brands, and ultimately what others think about us.

In almost every situation, personal and professional, personal branding is at play. Since you are already being labeled for being you, you might as well embrace it! And, for what it is worth, it might as well be the REAL you.

Above All Else, Be Yourself

There are several tips, tricks, and strategies I could share on the topic of personal branding, and each would be immensely helpful. In fact, I may one day write about them individually. However, I feel that none of them is as important or will better serve you more in your personal branding efforts than this one: simply be yourself.

There is a misconception that branding is all about changing who you are in order to fit others' expectations. While image management is typically just that - a product of conscious manipulation - personal brand is about sincerity.

In true personal branding, authenticity is required. Those who pretend to be someone they are not run the risk of being exposed. Just as good romantic relationships are based on genuineness, openness, and a willingness to be up front from the start, in business your relationships depend on authenticity. Authenticity showcases exactly who you are and what you can deliver. For example, if you brand yourself as a graphic designer, you should be able to back that up with a portfolio of solid design examples.

A false image may get you some short-term success, but over time, others will likely see through it. Rather than constructing a false image and working hard to maintain a deception, you should pay attention to what is truthful and amazing about you and work hard to make the most of it.

Allow me to clarify if I may...

In closing, I wanted to address some early feedback that I received on this post prior to publishing. I am in no way suggesting that individuals shouldn't be concerned with their brand's perception as long as it's accurate and authentic. This is certainly not the case and could lead to a bad brand experience. Instead, I am advising readers to be "real" with the information they do decide to share.

For example, while publishing photos of yourself and friends falling down drunk at a bar may in fact be an accurate representation of your Saturday evenings, it is not something you'll want to share with your professional network. The truth of the matter is that perception is a major element to the personal branding experience. In other words, it's important to be selective as well as authentic when building your personal brand.

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