Your personal brand is the new resume

Look, let’s just be honest for a moment. Your personal brand exists even if you don’t pay attention to it. Just like financial credit, its there even if you never think about it. I would go so far as to say spending time working on your personal brand and how you represent yourself on social media is just as important as the work that you do everyday.

What is personal brand anyway?

Your personal brand is easy to describe when you think of your friends and co-workers, but it’s difficult to think about when you turn the camera on yourself. Here’s an example:

Imagine walking into work and heading for the coffee machine. Think about that co-worker that you see all the time and they’re always talking about their favorite football team. When you see them, you know you can always talk about the game.

For me, it’s tattoos. I have tattoos from my neck down to my knuckles. So, when someone gets a new tattoo and they see me walking around the office, guess who they’re excited to share their new tattoo experience with? I’ll stop and listen to every minute of it, because I love tattoos.

So the easiest way to think about your brand is to think about the conversations you have with people the most. Maybe it’s your pets, fitness and meal prep, or maybe books and movies. It doesn’t take too much thought to figure out the topics for your personal brand.

Wait, my brand is lame and I need to change it.

You’ve done some soul searching and realized you’re not known for what you want to be known for. It happens. The good news is, you can start implementing small adjustments that can have a big impact on your personal brand right away.

Draw out your personal brand wheel.

Your personal brand wheel should look something like this.

Draw a circle in the middle of a blank sheet of paper. That circle represents your personal brand.

Now, draw three lines from that brand wheel in opposite directions. Write down a topic that you’re passionate about at the end of each line. Those are your main brand topics you want to be known for.

Under each topic, write topics you can share about with confidence and passion.

One of my topics is Star Wars. So under that main personal brand topic, i’ll list a few subtopics I can share about, like this:

Star Wars

  • Classic Movies
  • New Movies Gossip
  • Toy Collecting
  • Video Games

Do this same process with each topic and you’re on your way to focusing and really shaping your personal brand.

Now, these topics aren’t locked in and you can still post and share things that are off-topic from your personal brand topics, but decide on three to focus on and you’ll be in great shape.

In my next article, I’ll share how you can take these personal brand topics and use them to start building and joining in communities that share your same interests.

The single most important tip for personal branding

Isaac in a Stormtrooper helmet

I help my fellow employees at GoDaddy build their personal brand everyday. It’s my job and I love it. I love watching the light bulb go off and seeing them realize they have something cool to share with the world.

Personal Brand development takes time

The process of building a personal brand feels overwhelming at first. Most of the people I coach are thinking about their personal brand backwards. Their thought process might look something like this:

  • I can’t believe the world hasn’t asked me to do a Ted Talk yet…
  • I know something and it’s cool.
  • Also, can I have free clothes and a car?

At this point in the conversation, I usually just tell them, “you’re the man now dawg” and bail. Ok, not really, but that’s my sign to help them understand what Personal Brand really means.

Be real

  • Do you boo.
  • Be authentic.
  • Be yourself (Brian Fanzo preaches this).

You get the picture. There’s a reason personal branding experts key on this statement. It’s important.

If you’re trying too hard- if you’re not being real with your audience, they’re going to smell it like a fart in a car. It’s obvious when someone is faking it.

If you’re honest, people can tell and they’ll love you for it. There’s something magical that happens when you stop faking and start doing – it’s called authentic passion.

I remember watching an episode of American Idol years ago. It was one of those first episodes in a season where you watch people try out for the show. Sometimes they are amazing and touch your soul with their voice. Other times, they touch your soul because regardless of skill – they are all in and they don’t care what you think. They just love what they’re doing.

This kid from Berkley walks out and starts singing a Ricky Martin song. His tone was wrong, his voice was wrong, his dancing was wrong. His heart though, NAILED IT.

By the end of the clip, I was 100% on board for team William Hung. I loved that guy! I wanted to hang out with him! Honestly, I still love that guy.

Be pure

Being pure sounds easier than it really is. Stop thinking about your hypothetical Ted Talk. Instead, think about how the skill, knowledge, or talent you have can help people right now. That’s pure.

Here’s some examples that illustrate what this looks like in real life.

I have a friend named Shawn. He loves writing. I know that I can call him and ask him for advice on an article I’m writing and he’ll spend half an hour giving me his ideas. I’ll hang up with notes that are longer than the article I showed him.

Then, there’s Heather. She’s passionate about a few things, one of them is training search and rescue dogs. I know that if I ask her questions about my dog, she’s going to share some rad advice about how to be a better dog owner. Notice I didn’t say, “how to train my dog better”? I learned that from her. She’s THAT good. I called for dog training advice and she trained me!

You can’t fake that kind of passion and if you’re honestly passionate about a subject, you’ll want to share it with everyone. That’s the key friends.

Share your authentic passion and the rest happens. People will find you. If you’re being real and authentic with your audience, you’ll get asked to speak about that passion.

Hey, on that note, if you want to talk about Star Wars – I’m game!

Isaac in a Stormtrooper helmet

Know your why and you’ll grow your personal brand

One of the hardest things to nail down when thinking about your personal brand is “why”.

Group shot of Isaac, Dennis, Heather, Logan, and others

I was sitting around a long conference table at GoDaddy talking with my friends Dennis Yu, Logan Young,  and Heather Dopson. The conversation centered around personal brand and Dennis asked me, “why are you passionate”?

I thought for a second and before I could even start my answer, he stops me. He says, “no, do it on video – in under a minute”. I immediately thought, “Damn Dennis, how about I do it juggling flaming bowling balls too”. That’s a lot of information to share in a short time.

I’m glad I didn’t say that because Dennis would have said, “YES! That would work great for Facebook!” – I’m only half joking.

What Dennis was getting at is the core of Personal Branding. He wanted me to really think about and know what drove me. If I couldn’t share a story that explained my why in under a minute, I didn’t have enough focus – yet.

Look at it this way. Nobody cares about your passion until they know why its your passion.

Let’s look at a few examples.

Richard Simmons was a fitness guru before it was cool. His message was, “If I can get in shape, anyone can”. His passion was fitness and we knew why – he wasn’t active and made a choice to get in shape.

John Walsh from America’s Most Wanted is passionate about catching criminals and protecting children from predators. His son Adam was taken from a mall and met a tragic fate. He found relief by helping others and catching bad guys.

It’s easier said than done.

I grabbed a video camera and went to work recording my “why” video. I didn’t know just how hard it would be. My first video clocked in at just under four minutes. It wasn’t concise enough.

I filmed another round and edited it down to 2:36 minutes. Still, too long. I mean, my family would watch it, but that’s about it. I had to cut out another minute of the story.

The third edit came in at just under a minute and a half. That would work. Here’s the secret I learned:

Telling people why you’re passionate gets easier the more you do it. You naturally edit yourself down by telling the story over and over. You skip the filler and quickly get to the point by practicing.

You know what else happens? You get authentic. The real passion and emotion comes out and it translates well on camera. So grab your phone and start recording friends. Share your passion and tell the world why it’s so important to you.

Expect to mess up. Expect to edit yourself. Expect to get frustrated. Expect to get discouraged. It’s going to happen the first few times you film. The best example I have is driving a car.

Don’t over-think your video

When you first get your permit to drive, you’re over-thinking everything. Mirrors, hands, feet, controls, pedals. Then there’s the anxiety about driving – it all adds up.

Think about driving a car now. Do you think about any of it. It’s just natural at this point. It’s so natural that you can hold a coffee, talk to your passenger, and change the radio station without even thinking.

So trust me, it gets easier and your videos, blog posts, and social posts improve. You just have to commit to doing it. If I can do it – anyone can do it.

Just for fun, here’s my first “why” video:

You can see more of my videos at: facebook.com/isaaciirvine

Use Canva to boost engagement

Canva changed my social media game

I’m a huge fan of graphic design. Good graphic design. I am so nerdy about it that I even have a tattoo of the Photoshop toolbar tattooed on my arm. Yup, I’m THAT much of a fan. So when I tell you that I love Canva, it says a lot.

Not long ago, if I wanted to make an image for my social networks, I would set aside about thirty minutes to create something decent. It wasn’t something I had time to do for every post.

  • Take a picture
  • Transfer picture from my phone to my computer
  • Design something from scratch
  • Find the right font
  • Adjust the colors

You get the point.

Canva changed how I share images

Enter the age of social media and we all live our lives online and share our experiences with everyone. Suddenly, lunch became a photo session. We share pictures of food and people love it.

My feed was boring. I’m not that interesting. I wake up, go to work, come home, gym (maybe) and hang out with my family. Not all that engaging. I once shared a picture of the inside of my Jeep on Instagram because I was proud that I cleaned out the old Starbucks cups I collected on my commute for a week.

I was thinking Instagram wasn’t for me. I needed something to spice up my IG and Twitter feeds.

Then, I found Canva.

It’s all the good stuff I quickly do in Photoshop, only easier. It goes something like this:

  • Pick a pre-designed layout
  • Change the background (if you want to)
  • Edit some text
  • Publish to your social media.

Enjoy instant well-designed posts in minutes.

Which one of these is more interesting?

I’ve used the desktop version of Canva for awhile and I’ve noticed it’s lifted my Twitter game almost over night. People are more likely to click on a tweet if it has a picture. It’s human nature.

I recently found the Canva app for my iPhone and my Instagram game has shot through the roof. Good bye random selfies and hello new friends and followers.

Below is my most recent Instagram nine-box. The post in the middle was made with Canva. It has twice the likes that any of the other images I posted. It works my friends.

If you want to give it a shot, it’s a free download for both desktop and mobile. Visit Canva.com and tell me what you think.

Musterbrand’s Cassian’s Jacket review

musterbrand cassians jacket

Musterbrand delivers with Cassian’s Jacket

Following up on my last review, I’m stoked to show you Musterbrand’s Cassian’s Jacket. My buddy Clancy saw my Musterbrand scarf and stopped me in the hallway at work to show me his new Cassian’s Jacket. I have to say, I love this thing. I’m jealous actually.

A few weeks after the release of Rogue One, and I’m in love with the movie. Seeing Cassian’s jacket in person looks like someone stole it direct from the set. The attention to detail is fantastic. There’s ribbing sewn down the sleeve that matches what you saw on screen. It just LOOKS like Star Wars without being super obvious about it.

It’s subtle and that makes it perfect. In fact, the only thing that denotes an affiliation with the film is a small patch sewn on the shoulder.

The fit is standard and it wears well. Clancy told me, “The sleeves are a little long, but I like it because I can put my hands over my head without turning the jacket into a crop-top.

You can find these limited edition jackets online at http://musterbrand.com. Just head over to their Star Wars section and look for Cassian’s Jacket.

Musterbrand Jyn’s Jacket Review

It’s no secret that I’m all in on Musterbrand’s Star Wars clothing line. If you’re looking for stylish clothes with a Star Wars vibe, you’ll fall in love too.

I recently purchased and reviewed the Musterbrand Imperial Scarf and used some friends from work to help model it for my review. A month later, I’m walking through the break room at work and I hear, “Isaac, check this out!”. I look in the direction of the comment and see a friend and shes gesturing to her new jacket.

I look closer and immediately get jealous. She saw the review and went online and fell in love with the Limited Edition Star Wars Jyn’s Jacket from Musterbrand. She ran over and started showing me all the cool details about the coat. I can’t lie, it’s amazing. The sewn piping on the left sleeve add subtle, but very recognizable nods to the costume design themes we see in Rogue One. Then she turns and shows off the Rogue One patch on the right sleeve. Again, subtle but easy to identify.

The fit was great. and the closures were interesting to look at. Zipper covered by a velcro flap adds a unique look and breaks up the lines on the garment. In real-world terms – It just looks rad.

The inside of the coat has just as much attention to detail. A screened print spelling REBEL decorates the inside of the coat as well as a metal tag with a unique number etched on it because its part of Musterbrand’s Limited Edition line of Star Wars apparel.

Overall, I’d recommend the coat. If you’re looking for an interesting jacket, you’ll love this thing. If you’re a Star Wars fan and you’re looking for a jacket that looks like it was taken off the set of the movie, you’ll REALLY love this thing.

Anovos Premiere Line First Order Stormtrooper Helmet Review

Anovos Premiere Line First Order Stormtrooper Helmet review

I first heard of Anovos during the build up to Star Wars The Force Awakens. I’m a member of the 501st Legion and like many members, I was eagerly searching the internet for images of the new Stormtroopers for the film.

Rumors started floating around about a new company of former 501st Legion members and prop builders teaming up with Lucasfilm to make fully-licensed props. This was a huge break for fans and costumers alike. We would finally have a company that could produce movie accurate props from the Lucasfilm archives.

I was stoked.

The First Wave Hits The Market

A few friends were part of Anovos’ entry into the market with what we called “The Alpha” wave of First Order Stormtrooper suits. These folks were the test group for how Anovos would distribute products into the market. Anovos uses the wave or tiered approach to releasing new items.

The sooner you place the order, the cheaper the price for the item. The problem for people like myself is the blind trust I need to have with Anovos about what they are delivering.

I was skeptical to say the least. I’m not about to drop a chunk of money on something they just have pictures of with a disclaimer of “prototype shown, actual product may vary”. So, during Celebration Anaheim, I stopped by the Anovos booth to take a look.

I saw the Premiere line of First Order helmets and asked if I could get a closer look.

First Impressions

These helmets are LEGIT. I was sold on the spot. The overall construction of the helmets are top-notch. No bubbles or flaws on the outside of the helmet and the inside… oh, the liner.

When you look inside of one of the Premiere helmets, you’ll see soft foam lining throughout the helmet, with microfiber fabric overlays. Then, they have an adjustable foam padded donut to keep it secure and comfortable while you wear it.

When you put it on, it literally feels like you’re putting on a real helmet from the movie, because it basically is.

I met up with a friend of mine who was part of the “Alpha wave” of adopters and asked if I could try on his helmet. He agreed and I honestly felt like Finn in the trooper transport from the movie pulling the helmet over my head.

It fits like a glove and somehow still feels roomy enough for a fan and microphone setup inside. Another favorite is how well Anovos pulled off the bubble lens for the eyes. Traditionally, we heat up a welders shield in the oven to get the lenses to bubble like the ones you see in the movie.

The issue is that bubble lenses cause distortion when looking through them. So, as a cosplay or costumer, it’s hard to see through them and still judge distance balance when walking around. In fact, I know tons of people who get headaches from wearing helmets with bubble lenses for long periods of time during a troop or event.

Anovos lenses, don’t distort that bad. In fact, I was comfortable wearing my helmet from the start.

One of the biggest gripes I hear from other people in the costuming community is price. I’ll be honest, Anovos products sound expensive. The Premiere First Order Helmets cost about $600.00 before shipping. The more affordable standard line helmets sell for about $250.00 in comparison.

Is it worth it?

The short answer is yes, and I’ll tell you why. When building a fan-made replica, you’re paying for an unfinished product. They require bondo skills, trimming, sanding, painting, hardware, and assembly. Guess who does all of that? You do.

I’ve spent months of spare time assembling other fan-made helmets in the past and once I’ve added up the cost of materials I had to buy and the time it took to put it all together, it usually adds up to something close to what the Premiere helmets cost.

That’s excluding the fancy lining.

So, in the end, it’s sometimes cheaper to just buy the completed helmet from Anovos, and you know you’re getting a product that is the closest thing to owning a piece of the movie you can get.

If you’re not a costumer, but you like collecting movie helmets, then Anovos is the perfect option for you. You’ll receive a movie replica prop that is a duplicate of what you saw on the big screen.

Take a look at Anovos and see for yourself. They carry a steep price, but in the end, you get what you pay for and you’ll know you’re holding a helmet that’s the closest thing to owning an actual screen-used prop on the market.

Anovos.com

Musterbrand Star Wars scarf review

Musterbrand scarf review

Musterbrand Imperial Scarf Review

I’m excited to tell you about my Musterbrand Imperial Scarf. I love this thing. I’ll be honest, I suck at fashion. I’m 44 years old and this is the first year I’ve started exploring how clothes can make me feel good. I grew up doing extreme sports stuff on my BMX bike so I’ve always picked clothes based on function rather than style. I have tattoos from my neck to my knuckles so dressing up always felt pointless to me. That was until I found scarfs.

My boss turned me onto them because he would rock some jeans and a t-shirt paired with a scarf. He looked cool and comfortable, and the scarf tied the look together. It just looked legit.

I started grabbing scarfs from those big chain stores to try them out and was surprised at how a simple accessory could make me feel better about how I looked. Now, here comes the twist.

I like Star Wars. I really like it actually. I was casually checking my Twitter feed when I saw an article about Musterbrand and how they’re making high fashion garments with the Star Wars license. I’ve seen brands try this before and fail horribly. I was skeptical. I expected to see some basic jackets with Star Wars logos screen printed on them or something similar. I checked out their site and was hooked.

Musterbrand gets it. They just get it.

I scrolled through their jackets and got a sense for what they were doing. They produce garments INSPIRED by movies and video games we all know and love. I clicked over to see their accessories and found the scarfs. I literally grabbed my credit card while I waited for the scarf images to load.

This was everything I was looking for in a scarf. It’s big, it has long flowing lines, and it’s interesting to look at. They solved my biggest problem with trying to update my look and style. I wanted to dress better, but I didn’t know how to do it. I had no idea where to go to find cool clothes from a brand that understands me. Musterbrand made it easy.

A few clicks later, I tweeted about it:

Tweet about Musterbrand

I was that excited about getting this Musterbrand scarf, that I had to tweet about it. That’s rare for me.

A few days later, the box was waiting for me when I got home. I tore into that thing and was so happy that Musterbrand delivered on everything they promised. My scarf was exactly what I thought it would be. I wanted a large triangle scarf and this thing is big.

I have a hard time buying clothes because I’m a big guy. I’m 6’0 and 240lbs. I love lifting weights so as a result, I’m thick through the neck and shoulders – a bad combo for most scarfs. Musterbrand was different. The Imperial Scarf hangs nice and low and gives me the same flow lines and accents that I saw from the model on their site.

The scarf has a nice texture and weight to it, but it’s comfy enough to wear inside all day. This is a big deal because I live in Phoenix, Arizona. It’s hot here. The Imperial Scarf is something I can see wearing all year when I need to dress up a casual look or if I’m trying to impress at a work event.

The styling is amazing

The thing that makes this scarf perfect are the accents. It’s a Star Wars scarf, but you wouldn’t know it unless you got close enough to see the subtle rubber Imperial Cog cog sewn onto the bottom of the “V”. They also added some strings placed around the edges that add more lines and flow to the garment.

I’ve wore this thing a few times now and twice I’ve had other men complement me on it and ask where I got it. Think about that for a moment. When was the last time someone stopped you and asked about a piece of clothing you were wearing? It’s definitely new to me.

I’ve been checking out their other scarf offerings and I’m deciding on what to get next. That’s the beauty of what Musterbrand does with style. Even if I’m not familiar with the video game or movie in the collection, they still have great looking pieces.

The Recap

Musterbrand makes great looking clothes that nerds like myself can wear while representing the games and movies we love. You don’t need to look like a poster child for Hot Topic to show the world you love a popular movie or game franchise. You can rep your love for Star Wars without looking like a 16 year old living in your parents basement.

Video Review