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  1. Shakespeare once said:

    “What's in a name? That which we call a rose

    By any other name would smell as sweet”

    I first read this hauntingly beautiful line in my literature class during my secondary school days and it has stuck in my head since then.

    But now I beg to differ.

    If a rose is not called a rose, it would have the same "market" value as it carries. It would also not be the symbol of love. 

    Here’s a classic example I like to use. Tell me what you think of each of them.

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

    - Insurance agent 

    - Financial advisor 

    - Wealth Coach

    - Legacy Architect

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 






    An insurance agent is easily replaceable because there are dozens of such agents around. There is no differentiating factor and that’s why you are losing out. Life is tough. So if this carries on, you will be out of a job very soon. You have been warned.

    A financial advisor is someone who knows a fair bit more than an insurance agent. This is probably because of the number of years of experience. However, it still covers a broad spectrum as some are MDRT-class while others are struggling with their own brand identity.

    A wealth coach is premium and definitely sells better than the insurance agent or financial advisor. Remember, it’s not just money. It’s wealth we are talking about. And note when you talk about wealth and not money, you are actually providing a more specialised service (ask yourself this question - who is able to command a higher fee - the general practitioner in the neighbourhood clinic or the plastic surgeon?). Now you know why specialists earn so much more than generalists.

    How about a legacy architect? To me, that is luxury premium. Like a Hermes…which is highly exclusive. After all, I am preserving my monies for my next generation(s).


    To start building your personal branding in Singapore, here's the top 3 things you must do:

    #1: Start With A Personal Brand Label

    Brand labels define us and the perception it gives others (our customers). The most important thing you have to remember is to keep moving up the value chain.

    Whatever brand label you decide to give yourself, make sure you have enough substance. Don't fake it because the consequences will be dire. In other words, if you are just starting out in the financial industry, you wouldn't want to call yourself a legacy architect. 

    This is because you don't have any experience. You haven't served any clients or managed their portfolio yet. And above it all, you have no results or track record to show. So at best, your personal brand label would be either a financial advisor or insurance agent.


    #2: Know Your Personal Brand Appeal

    Different strokes for different folks. 

    Do you know your affinity market? In other words, who does your personal brand appeal most to?

    Market segmentation is essential because we tend to relate better to a certain group of people, or industry, or niche.

    Once you have found your affinity market, you should focus your personal branding efforts to relate and engage them. 


    #3: Amplify Your Personal Brand Value

    We see thousands of people enter the workforce (either as fresh graduates) or mid career entrants. Question is: how do you brand yourself differently so that your message resonates with others?

    If there's anything you need to remember, it's this word called "value".

    You need to create value for others. This can come in terms of educating or sharing relevant information with them. Do not bombard them with the latest celebrity gossip or Netflix recommendations.

    Once value is created, you will be deemed an expert or go-to person in the industry. Slowly but surely, your personal brand value increases in the hearts and minds of your audience. And then they will trust you more. After trust is established, it is so much easier to do business. And if this trust is strengthened, you could even get referrals!


    As the global economy stagnates, jobs are harder to come by and openings in MNCs are highly sought after. So the earlier you work on your personal brand and elucidate it, the better.

    Branding is a journey and not a destination. If you are keen to build your personal branding in Singapore and would like someone to guide you along, drop me an email here and we'll be talking soon =)

  2. Internship is all the rage. Why so? Being experiential in nature, students are able to apply their classroom knowledge in a professional setting. Very often, the real world out there is vastly different from what you have learnt from textbooks.

    Thus, there is an increasing trend for both universities and polytechnics to make internships a compulsory component of any course.

    The length of each internship may vary – some are as short as 6 weeks while others stretch to 6 months (or beyond should the student request to extend).

    Personally, I support internships as it’s part of career planning.

    Let’s be honest about it – many undergraduates do not know what they want to do after they graduate. And this is worrying. But with the help of internships, they are able to better access themselves and future plan if what they study currently is indeed the industry they see themselves working in.

    Like it or not, there’s no escaping from internships. So the earlier you embark on your internship search, the better.

    Here’s the top 3 factors you should consider before preparing for your internship search.


    #1: Focus On Transferable Skills

    Many students are only attracted by the big names in the market. They completely ignore the mid-tier and smaller companies. And that in itself is a huge mistake.

    Don’t get me wrong.

    >Big is good. But it also means competition is stiffer if everyone else is thinking the same way.

    Just as not everyone is cut out for the limelight of Hollywood, in the same vein, the biggest names may not be the perfect fit for you.

    You could be a big fish in a small pond, or a small fish in a big pond. It depends on your own expectations of the internship.

    I have heard stories of students interning at some big brand name companies, only to lament they were not involved in big projects or given opportunities to do field work. Instead, they spent their time behind a desk doing menial work.

    If this is indeed true, then they would have been much better off interning at a startup or SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) instead where opportunities to learn more may be present. And nimbleness and flexibility rule.

    The bottom line is this. Instead of fretting over which company or organization to apply to, the question you should ask yourself is this: What can you gain from the internship?

    In particular, I am referring to the transferable skills you can develop and bring along with you post internship.

    Essential transferable skills employers are looking out include skills such as communication (written and spoken), team building, creativity and problem solving. And these skills can be highlighted in your resumes.


    #2: Align Your Internship With Your Career Goals

    If you do an internship just to clear the course requirement or have something to boast about in your resume, then you are clearly misled.

    Instead, an internship should be something meaningful that will prove to be a stepping stone to your eventual career.

    For example, if you are in a civil engineering course, then you should find a suitable internship in your field of study (should you eventually aspire to become a civil engineer).

    There are exceptions to this. That is if you want to do something completely different after you graduate.

    We know a degree or diploma does not restrict you to just that field or course of study. Bluntly put, it is just a piece of paper that shows you are rather good in studying.

    Take some time to do this very meaningful exercise – what is your career goal after graduation? You can break it down into different niches – example: private versus public; local versus international.


    #3: Apply Early For All Internships

    Start your internship search early and apply when you find something you like. Good internship opportunities are snapped up quickly.

    You have been warned.

    So once you have set your mind on a specific industry or niche, start doing your research. Interestingly, the best internship opportunities may not always be advertised online. If you are truly keen, you can still apply and get an intern position. Just make sure you sound passionate and authentic in your cover letter. Recycling someone else’s cover letter or blindly pasting from your old version will definitely not cut the deal.

    Another reason why you should apply early is because the competitive internships have many rounds of interviews. A FMCG company that is a hit with many undergraduates has 9 rounds of interviews.


    Let your next internship be the perfect time for you to learn and grow, shine and dazzle. And your career path ahead be brightly lighted. All the best!




  3. I used to think my life was a tragedy, but now I realise it’s a Shakespearean comedy.

    Hi, my name is Lionel Lim…

    …let me share a short story about myself…

    My father had passed away from cancer.

    I became head of the family unwillingly.

    All the bills, payments, expenses, expectations came to me.

    I fell into depression as I hated my life and could not cope with this new role which I did not ask for.

    Plus I hated my job…

    …and I was told during one of my annual health checkups by the doctor I had high blood pressure.

    I was so young. I didn't want to die.

    Looking back, I had hit life’s lowest ebbs.

    No one expected me to go far in life because the odds seemed stacked against me...

    But somehow I made it. And I am now having the last laugh.

    This looks like a script from a movie. But it's my actual life story. 

    I have single-handedly built my personal brand to become one of the most recognised in Singapore without any experience, financing, or fancy network of Godfathers helping me behind the scene.

    How I went from zero to hero...

    How I went from a face in the crowd to being the face the crowd faces...

    All thanks to the power of personal branding.

    The question I have for you is: what are you doing to boost your own personal brand mojo? 

    If your answer is you don't know where or how to start, then you are in luck!

    I appreciate your honesty because I'm about to gift you something special...

    If you’re keen to learn my techniques to:

    ✅  Boost your Personal Brand so as to easily attract HR people, head-hunters and recruiters to take notice of you, EVEN IF you have absolutely zero experience or knowledge about it right now...

    ✅  Become a highly sought-after career professional that has very LITTLE to do with being super smart, popular or having good looks... and how you can EFFORTLESSLY apply a little-known proven formula to rise above, and stand out amongst the pack.

    ✅  Package, Promote and Present Yourself as The Preferred Career Choice in your industry, that will allow you to EASILY blow your competition away at the next interview or networking session.

    ...then all you have to do is to reserve a seat for yourself at my upcoming Career Success Personal Branding Masterclass.

    Register and the only thing I ask of you is to show up. Because if you don't show up, you are depriving others of a seat. And we all know that's not a very nice thing to do.

    Click on the link and experience for yourself why big name companies and top universities are willing to pay me to teach their staff and students.

    Together, we will make magic happen =)

  4. “Lionel, what is the number 1 skill that has enabled you to make it?”

    I didn’t have to think long and hard. 

    It’s personal branding. 

    How I went from nobody to somebody...

    How I went from charcoal to diamond…

    I owe it all to personal branding

    I always say this - I may not be the biggest, fittest or smartest. But I am the one who is able to outclass, outshine and outlast all the others. 

    The barriers to entry to become an entrepreneur are low. You just need about $250 to register a domain name, build your website and get it hosted. But it’s what you do after that that truly matters. Yet I have witnessed an alarmingly high exit rate. To be brutally honest, I’ve seen so many of my competitors, comrades and counterparts throw in the towel.


    Because they are selling what everyone else is selling. There is no differentiating factor. 

    When you have no differentiating factor, you can only compete on price. 

    And competing on price is simply killing yourself because you will rather lose money than lose the customer.

    When you keep giving discounts and promos and free stuff away just to stay in the industry, you have long exhausted your own existence. And when you see your accounts in the red, you know it is time to go. 

    When you sell cheap, people will associate your product or service as cheap. And cheap is easily replaceable. There are so many other cheap (or cheaper) ones out there. 

    I chose a different strategy from Day 1. I never competed on price (and sorry, I don’t give discounts either). Instead, I chose to build and grow my personal brand. 

    And that made all the difference.

    So whether you are a graduating student, existing manager or executive, or aspiring entrepreneur, the number 1 skill you need to master is the art of personal branding.

    We see thousands of students graduate each year - from the local universities and foreign universities. I challenge you to ask yourself this simple question - what makes you stand out from the rest of your peers? After all, everyone has that same degree (albeit the class of honours may be different) - but it's still pretty much the same degree. If you are unable to answer this question, that means you lack a personal brand identity. 

    If you are currently a director, manager or executive in the corporate world, we know promotions are few but many are vying for that position. What makes you the favourite choice to get that promotion? Work performance apart, it's how your personal brand appeals to others in the workplace. I call it the Brand Attraction Quotient.

    And if you are an aspiring or current entrepreneur, the importance of having a personal brand is even more important. What is that unique offering that only you can provide to your audience? And why must others buy from you?

    A personal brand is not a given. It is a never-ending journey where you start, nurture and grow it...and at times evolve and innovate it so it stays relevant to the times and people. 

    See you at the top!

  5. Selling is a process that all of us engage in many times in our lives, yet we take it for granted. We do it on a daily basis - whether we are selling products, services, concepts or ourselves. The point I want to highlight is that anybody, whether in business or social life, can “sell” yourself far more successfully than you can ever imagine. It only involves the subtle manipulation of your dressing.

    There is no question about it – professionals spend more time on their dressing and put their outfits together more carefully than the amateurs.

    To the great majority of financial advisors, a sale is more than just a casual occurrence. It must be repeated continuously. After all, it is the most compelling force in their lives and forms the backbone of their businesses, their jobs, their economic well-being and their very existence.

    What many financial advisors fail to realise is that they lose a sale not because they give a poor verbal sales presentation. Rather, they lose the sale because their appearance conveys silent messages that they are not likeable, not honest, not trustworthy and not even sincere.


    Tip #1: Get A Power Boost From A Good Haircut

    As a seasoned image consultant, I’m often being asked if there are any traits common to all successful financial advisors.

    My answer is this: Successful financial advisors almost always have their hair styled neatly. Imagine if your hair was disheveled, even if it was short, it would trigger very negative reactions from others.

    Your hair is your crowning glory. Keep it neat, and if you hair happens to grow in every possible direction except the right one, please find either something that will keep them down (think the right hair product) or a hair stylist who can help to tame your tresses and minimize the problem.

    Do you know there is also a direct correlation between your face shape and hair style? This in turn determines your chances of success.

    Astonishing as it sounds, it all boils down to choosing the right hair style to suit your face shape.


    Tip #2: Camouflage Your Height and Size Flaws By Wearing The Right Clothes

    Whatever size you are, it’s always a double-edged sword.

    Tall and big sized people are often seen as being more authoritative. When they speak, people generally listen to them and believe what they say. This is true even though they may be extolling the benefits of a mediocre product or service.

    Extensive research has shown this group of people enjoys three major benefits in life:-

      -   Clothes fall and drape more naturally on them

      -   They can handle extra weight much better than their shorter counterparts

      -   They get noticed more easily because they stand out from the crowd


    However, if they are too tall or big in size, they can be very intimidating. Imagine conversing with a giant.

    Well, one tried-and-tested way of overcoming the height and size issue (whether you are tall or or big or not so tall and not so big) would be to pay attention to the colours of your dressing.

    I like to use the black-brown test to determine if you are cool or warm. Look under your eyes to see if the colour lights up your face or draws the energy away from it.

    Once you have determined if you belong to the cool or warm category, then you should ensure the clothes you wear (especially on your top) are in the right colours.


    Tip #3: Pay Attention To Personal Hygiene

    The biggest turn off that a potential client sees in a financial advisor is the lack of personal hygiene. This can materialize in any of the five common instances:

       -   Sweat Patches on Your Shirt or Blouse (especially if you are late and rushing)

       -   Lipstick Stains On Your Teeth (after meals for female financial advisors)

       -   Food Debris Stuck In Between Your Teeth (please check you are good to go before you meet your prospect)

       -   Body Odour (you know yourself…wear 100% cotton clothes in Singapore’s hot and humid weather)

       -   Dandruff Flakes (Christmas came early)


    A person’s personal hygiene reflects his/her upbringing and level of service. So don’t ever jeopardise your chances.

    People buy people. So if you learn to impress at first sight, chances are your sales will also soar. All the best!


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