Dan Schawbel, recognized as a “personal branding guru” by The New York Times, is the managing partner of Millennial Branding, LLC, and the leading authority on personal branding. He is the author of the No. 1 international best-selling book, “Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future” (Kaplan, October 2010), founder of Personal Branding Blog and publisher of Personal Branding Magazine. Dan has been featured in more than 350 media outlets, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Details magazine and ELLE magazine. He has been a keynote speaker at colleges and universities including Harvard Business School and MIT and at major companies like Time Warner, IBM and CitiGroup.
What are you working on right now?
I’m currently working on building the brand name of my company, a new book, speaking engagements, and I’m writing for new media sites, including Entrepreneur.com.
3 trends that excite you?
1. The consolidation of social networks excites me because profiles are hard to manage, and it’s hard to convince clients to join several when they don’t have time to operate them.
2. I’m keeping an eye on location-based technology and waiting for a career adaptation of it. Right now, I wouldn’t recommend that people use this technology when trying to build their careers.
3. The change from one-to-many communications to one-to-one is interesting to me, because people don’t respond to messages as much as they used to.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I bring ideas to life using multiple mediums, like my iPhone application, two blogs, a book, a magazine, my speeches and columns. By having the message and ideas in multiple mediums, you can help all audiences and be where people are searching on a daily basis. The big ideas that I’m bringing to life over the next several years is that perception can make or break your career, and that the Internet is the global talent pool filled with personal brands.
What inspires you?
I get inspired when people put themselves out there for the world to judge. When people take a risk, get criticism and are able to accept it. I’m also inspired by people such as Tom Peters, Marcus Buckingham and David Meerman Scott. The lives that they have created for themselves through their ideas and content is inspiring to me, and others.
What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?
The biggest mistake I’ve made was spreading myself too thin from the beginning. If I were to have focused on one thing, then maybe it would have been more successful. I have no regrets though, because I’ve enjoyed every minute of this journey. The amount of projects I’ve started has caught up to me and has made my business a little more complicated now, but I still believe in it.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Brand yourself for the career you want, not the job you have. You need your online presence to reflect the person you want to be if you want to attract the right opportunities. By focusing on a niche audience and on a topic that you’re passionate about and have expertise in, you’ll be more successful and happier.
What is one book and one tool that helps you bring ideas to life?
I like Seth Godin’s new book, “Linchpin.” The ideas in the book are reflective of my life and experiences, and it’s an important message for everyone in this economy. Photoshop is my favorite tool for bringing ideas to life. I like to create products and images out of ideas that I have during the day and then publish them in various forms.
Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?
Ryan Paugh from BrazenCareerist.com. He’s a very talented community manager, and he’s been able to establish one-to-one relationships with people in his community over the past three years, which has helped him grow his business.
How did you get started with personal branding?
I learned how to market myself in college, with eight internships, seven leadership positions and my own consulting company. It still took me eight months to get a job upon graduation, because I was uncomfortable with networking. About a year into my full-time job, I started a blog called Personal Branding Blog, and then I established a magazine, an online TV show and wrote articles. Fast Company wrote about what I had done for six months, and I was recruited to be the first social media specialist at my company, without applying for it, which gave me the idea to write “Me 2.0,” and build a business around personal branding.
What is your feeling about work/life balance?
I don’t think you can live a balanced life anymore because of how fast the world is changing and the impact technology has had on our lives. I enjoy going out in Boston on weekends, but I do realize that what I do outside of work can impact how I’m perceived while working.