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  1. “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!

  2. 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!

  3. How you behave on social media is just as important as how you behave as a person.

    Don’t forget your social media persona is an extension of your real persona.

    With the increasingly popularity of social media, learning how to navigate it can be a potential minefield if you trend carelessly. There have been reports of flippant posting, incessant ranting and offensive use of language in recent years. And these guys have got themselves in hot soup.

    At the end of the day, the old-school values of being honest, true and responsible still holds true. We all love our online connections to embody these qualities…so do practise them yourselves too!


    Rule #1: Be Who You Are

    Never pretend to be someone else. Using a fake photo or creating a non-existent avatar will get you into trouble should you be exposed eventually.

    If you absolutely have to share an image or work or article you love, remember to give credit for it. If you want to err on the safe side, ask for permission from the creator before you circulate the work.

    Simply copying and pasting is not going to make it. Be original and show the world who you are.


    Rule #2: Be Rationale

    Your social media accounts can be assessed by almost anyone in the world (unless you choose to put it as private – but then it will defeat the purpose of having a social media account to socialise, right?)

    It is easy to click that post button. But do think twice before doing so. Being trigger fast may be fatal…especially in a moment of anger.

    Think of it like self-censoring your post.

    Do you whine too much on social media? Another case of too much overtime or nasty boss or long-working hours?

    Do you showcase your happiness too much? I know of couples who only pose their lovey dovey photos online. We know you are happy you found your Mr Right or Ms Right. Too much is just saccharine and not sweet.

    Do you over-flaunt your wealth? Oh so that is your 3rd property or new sports car? We know you can afford it. But not everyone is as privileged as you.

    I always ask myself if what I intend to post will trigger any tsunami of unhappiness or resentment.

    Companies, like mine, do our background checks on social media before we hire. So you know what to do.


    Rule #3: Be Engaging

    One of my aunties (who is also a connection on my social media) asked me why I bother replying to almost everyone who comments on my post.

    Well, this is basic courtesy right?

    Social media is about building a community of like-minded people. It’s a community where we support, love and grow. So if someone takes time and effort to type a reply or leave a comment on my wall, all the more I will send a “thank you” or smiley or gif image to show my appreciation.

    Don’t take your connections for granted.

    Social media can be an effective tool to network, build relations and boost your personal brand – that is if you do it correctly and rationally.


  4. So I quietly passed my 10th year work anniversary...with no fanfare, no celebrations, no parties.

    Can't believe it's been a decade since I started my first business back in 2009. It's been an exciting journey and I can't wait to do so much more. It’s gratifying to be able to do what you love and turn it into a profitable business while following the M.A.D. principle - making a dollar while making a difference.

    How often do you live your life? Once.

    Whose life is it? Yours.

    Thank you everyone for the great times and let them roll for many more years to come!

    For my readers out there who are still hesitating to take that first step out, here’s my advice: “If you let people steal your dreams, then it’s the start of your very own nightmare as you have chosen to surrender your rights to lead a more fulfilling life.” – Lionel Lim, 2019.







  5. Love it or hate it, there’s no running away from social media. So the earlier we embrace it, the better it is.

    Just think about it – if we are able to make social media work to our advantage, we would have successfully created a powerful online brand presence.

    It’s all about growing personal networks, building relationships, driving sales and forming win-win partnerships for the long run. There is no short cut to success. But if you were to take the first foot out, slowly but surely, you too can scale great heights.

    Here’s how I create my brand on social media. Hope it works for you too!  


    #Tip 1: Be Consistent

    If you are here today and gone tomorrow, it’s hard to build trust. Trust needs to be earned and it takes time. 

    Therefore, being consistent is the definitely the way to boost your social media presence. 

    Do you know people like routine? Just think about it. Do you take the same route home or try out a different route each time? Do you always check your phone first thing in the morning when you wake and last thing you do before you sleep? Do you always scroll your feeds when you login to your social media accounts?

    I bet you your answers will be a resounding yes!

    Therefore, when you are consistent on social media, your followers will notice. And some may even be excited to see what you are going to share next.   



    #Tip 2: Be Relevant

    There’s a lot of noise out there. The question you have to always ask yourself is this – are you being relevant to your audience? Being relevant is important because you are amplifying your voice to a specific audience and giving them what they want to hear. So if you post with no specific audience in mind, then chances are you will receive little or no feedback from others.

    And that’s really not fun. Because if no one reads your stuff, likes, comments or shares it, then chances are you will feel demoralized and will give it up totally.

    I always ask myself this before posting anything – will my followers find this post interesting? Will it add value to what they don’t already know?  


    #Tip 3: Be Authentic

    Put your face and name on your social media handlers. People want to interact with real, flesh-and-blood human beings. Not an avatar, meme or cartoon character. 

    Humans have individual personalities. And I’m sure you too like me, have one of your own.

    Remember, it’s your voice that people want to hear. And putting a face behind that voice does work wonders.

    I see my social media platforms as an extension of what I teach in my workshops. They are like bite-sized golden nuggets of information that are curated to bring you to the next level.

    So if you would like to see how I boost my brand presence on social media, here are my social media handlers. Do remember to follow me for more updates =)





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