Attention Entrepreneurs: A Maverick Mindset Is Brand Candy

We all know what an oxygen-starved brand looks like, right? You can spot one a mile away. The lights are out, so to speak. If you have a hunch your personal brand might need even a bit of resuscitation today, adopt a maverick mindset. After all, in this economy, brands thrive on a sweet cocktail of eclectic thinking, a provocative point of view and the desire to stake out your territory like no other. To shift your mindset so your brand can revive itself – and flourish – I’m putting three ideas on the table to get you started:#1: Start wearing the hat of brand maverickOK. What’s a Brand Maverick? Here’s my pocket version definition: (i) a nonconformist who prefers taking an independent stand; (ii) a master of making a mark on the world; (iii) an innovator with a desire to do things their way; (iv) an individual who challenges the status quo; (v) a risk taker who pushes harder than most.Take Richard Branson, for example, the quintessential Brand Maverick. Overseeing his Virgin brand of 360+ companies, Branson’s willingness to pay attention to building his high-energy brand is pretty clear. What’s more, he’s having a blast along the way. (Just look at that twinkle in his eye!) Apple’s Steve Jobs is another Brand Maverick – although less flamboyant than Branson. An innovator who is changing the world, Jobs has that behind-the-scenes maverick personality. FYI Brand Mavericks are not required to parachute jump out of planes or live out loud on a regular basis. It just depends on what your particular personality craves.Ask Yourself: Are you willing to put on the hat of Brand Maverick? It involves a conscious decision to look at your brand through a fresh, new lens. It’s about taking a more provocative approach. Ditch those traditional methods of doing things that don’t work for you anymore. What’s going to take you out of your comfort zone? Do it. Make it a conscious habit for five days. Then watch what happens.#2: Think of your brand as a dynamic, living organism Consumer psychologist and brand strategist Mark Rodgers talks about brands as dynamic, living organisms, and the importance of creating healthy and highly-functioning brands. You need to create the conditions for growth, and that requires being nurturing, congruent, empathetic and having integrity. Paying close attention to your brand as it grows and evolves is key, and you have to evolve, too – right along with it.Ask Yourself: When’s the last time you nurtured your brand? Are you paying particular attention to the dialog your brand is having everyday – whether it’s with your raving fans, employer or clients? Are you aware of the hidden messages that your brand is expressing on a daily basis? Brands are a bit like puppies, you know. They need constant attention, affection and pats. They also need a firm hand, too. How are you nurturing and nourishing your brand today?#3 Have more fun with your brandI can always spot a brand with low energy levels or a dark cloud hanging over it. It’s a clue that tells me that the ‘guardian’ behind the brand is either not engaged, motivated or inspired. Let’s face it – not a great strategy. I’d say most people like to work/play with others who are open, energized, have a relaxed sense of humor, and enjoy life and living to the max. You? Let’s look at Pentagram, for example, a global brand that loves having fun. Pentagram is a 2D-3D design firm with offices in London, New York, SF, Austin and Berlin. They’ve created this microsite where you can check out what kind of personality type you are. While you’re on the site, think about the kind of fun you could be having with your brand. (My personality type? Cooper Black Gothic.) There is only four simple personality questions, and make sure you keep the sound on!Ask Yourself: How much fun are you having with your brand right now? If you’re not, go back to the drawing board and remember what inspired you to create your brand in the first place. Probe deep. Be honest. Because the more fun you’re having, the more others will turn their heads in your direction and follow you. Be the real master of serious play. It’s magnetic and powerful stuff, and just part of the joy of wearing the hat of the Brand Maverick.Will all Brand Mavericks please stand!Author: Mary van de Wiel is best known for her global expertise when it comes to coaxing out the real power in brands to dramatically increase sales. Van is founder and Creative Director of and a weekly contributor to Dan Shawbel’s Personal Branding Blog. She is the author of soon-to-be-published Dead Brand Walking: A Brand Therapist’s Viewpoint. Follow her on Twitter

Advertising A Property

The key to renting is advertising a property, unless you have a strong network to utilise and can spread the news about your rental properties, advertising really is something you need to maximise.For a lot of landlords out there, it’s difficult to know where to start. Advertising a property where and with who? What price should you be charging in rent and deposits? What should you write in your advert to ensure a maximum number of people are interested?Before you go to the high street, use an online letting agent! I know we are one and of course I will always promote our services, but you really could save £100s by using the services of an online letting agent when advertising a property you own.Advertising A Property: Where…
Offline (in news-shop windows etc.)
Online (using websites that advertise your property on major web portals such as Rightmove, Zoopla etc)
Advertising A Property: Online – what to do and how to do it:Asking Price:
Start by researching your local area to see what price to rent yours at, look on rightmove and Zoopla and compare others that are being advertised and compare the condition inside – this will give you a really good idea what yours will go for.

If you are still unsure you could call a letting agent and see what they recommend – all letting agents will have access to online searches through Rightmove and Zoopla to look at the surrounding areas and see what has let/ is up for let that is like yours.

Generally Landlords ask for one month to 6 weeks rent as the deposit, be aware the most you can ask for is two months

I would also suggest being a little cautious over asking for a very large deposit as this may put your property out of some tenants budget
What company to use when advertising a property:

Decide what services you require – are you able to conduct the viewings yourself or would you rather someone else did them for you. Most online letting agents require you to complete the viewings yourself and wherever possible I would advise that you do! However if you can’t then you may need to look for a local agent. If you go for a local agent try to get a few round so you can get their opinion on letting the property and also negotiate over their charges!!

Research potential websites where you can post your property rental listing yourself – this gives you great control over what is shown to tenants

Check that they advertise on all the major websites and look for ones that are members of the Property Ombudsman as this will shortly be made law

Ensure the service that is listed is exactly what you require, for example, if you dont want to deal with all the enquiries and pre-screening yourself, ensure that the service you pick does that for you

What to write/ add to your listing:
Create a listing at the website or websites you select

you should be able to complete a form about your property, which will assist you in providing all the information that is needed. However if you are still unsure take a look at other properties being advertised

Make the listing descriptive, think about what is special about the property and what would make you view, if you were a tenant looking. Pay particular attention to the summary description as this is the first thing tenants see in their search results and will entice them to read more

You should be able to include several pictures to give potential renters a good idea of what the property looks like. This is essential for your listing, not showing images can lead to tenants assuming there is something wrong with property and that is the reason there are no pictures

Make sure that you add your EPC details as all adverts must now display this rating (most agents will be able to organise one for you if you don’t already have one)

What next when advertising a property?Sit back and wait for the enquiries to flood in!!
Once your advert is live ensure that you get links sent to you so that you can check how it looks and act on any mistakes immediately to prevent missed opportunities

Your agent should be pre-screening the applicants before they are put forward for a viewing, but just in case ask the agent when they call you all the main questions that you want to know if they dont tell you that immediately. This saves you and the tenant time on wasted viewings

Meet with potential tenants to show the property and discuss the rental agreement. We always suggest meeting the tenants yourself, this way you can get a feel for them. It also means that any questions about the property are answered immediately by you and prevents delays in offering

Once let remove or update your online listings as soon as possible after renting the property.
Offline Advertising A Property:Whilst over 90% of house hunters start their search online, there is no harm in ensuring you have covered all angles to get your property let and avoid a void!
Place a “To Rent” sign with your phone number at the site of your rental property to attract drive-by applicants or order a To-Let Board from your online letting agent, that they erect and remove for you

Depending on your target tenant it might still be worthwhile placing a classified ad in your local newspaper with your phone number, briefly describing the property’s basic features, monthly rent, any security deposit and the availability of the unit. ?

Prepare and place announcements or flyers about the availability of your rental property on bulletin boards in local shops, businesses, churches and any local community centers near your property.

If you have more than one rental property, inform your current tenants about the vacancy and ask them to spread the word to friends and family. This is especially useful if you rent to students

Inform your friends and business associates about the availability of the rental property to take advantage of word-of-mouth advertising.

How to Start a Home Business Online and Make Money on the Internet

Everyone dreams about leaving the daily grind and their nine to five jobs behind in favor of a home bases online business. You may be one of the many who is thinking about this day in and day out, but the problem lies in knowing how to get started. Before you can have a successful online business you do in fact have to start one and knowing the process of doing so will help you realize your eventual dream of being self-employed.There are number of steps that should be taken in order to start your home business online. Here are some steps you will need to complete in order to get your business rolling:1. Decide what you want to do: How do you propose to make a living online? While there are many avenues that you can take you must first decide what you will do in order to know where to go. For example, if you decide you are going to start a business selling items online you need to decide whether or not you will have a website to sell your items, sell on eBay, or do a combination of both. But again, you need to first determine your plan for a business.2. Decide to incorporate or not: Depending on the business you set up you may want to incorporate as a C Corp or an S Corp. Then again you may want to stay as a sole proprietor. Whatever you decide, you do have to pick something. The best thing to do when making this decision is to make an appointment with your accountant and have them explain to you the pros and cons for each in regards to the business you are planning on opening up online.3. Find out about licensing: With whatever business you decide to do online you will more than likely at least need to obtain an occupational license. Furthermore you may have to get licenses specific to your state or even your county and city. There may even be additional licenses that are required by the industry in which you will be participating in accordance to the law. The point is you need to find out what licenses you will have to obtain in order to do legitimate business online.4. Promote Yourself: The last step in staring your home business online is to promote yourself and let it be known by all that you are coming out of the gates with thunder. It isn’t enough to just have a plan, but you also need to let others know that you are out there and let them know exactly what it is that you will have to offer them.While working for yourself is probably the most rewarding job of all, if not started properly you can be in for a big disappointment. By taking the appropriate steps to start the business off the right way you too can be up and running with a home business conducted online that will allow you to leave the rat race far in your rear view mirror.