Personal-Branding Tips From ‘Shark Tank’

Ah, the great American dream!

Quit your day job, roll up your sleeves and build a multi-million dollar business. Who wouldn’t want that, right?

Below, sharks from the ABC hit show, “Shark Tank,” contestants who’ve been there, done that (and lived to tell) as well as a prime-time TV host share their career advice. It turns out their lessons about personal branding ring true even for people who still have a day job. After all, both full-time jobs and entrepreneurial endeavors involve putting your own stamp on something to ultimately stand out from the pack.

1. Become a leader. “The thing about success in anything is to be a leader. Even if you’re working for someone else, you have to be able to articulate your ideas in 90 seconds or less, explain why you’re worth being a leader and, lastly, you have to execute. You actually have to deliver on what you promise. If you look at people who are successful, they became famous for what they say happens, and they deliver on their promises. That’s what makes great leaders and great entrepreneurs and employees, frankly.” — Kevin O’Leary, “Shark Tank” shark

2. Treat yourself like a brand. “First of all, they should treat themselves like a brand regardless — day job, home, personal life. They have to put their personal brand in two to five words, and they have to be very honest in what they stand for. If you look like you’re working at a company and you’re in finance, I think you should be wearing things very close-fitted, tight to the company. The perception is you’re very diligent and meticulous. Some people think branding and dressing a certain way is expensive, but shining a pair of shoes no matter how old they are does not cost a lot but it makes a definite effect. If you wear suits, even if it’s a $99 suit, just get it tailored the right way.” — Daymond John, “Shark Tank” shark

3. Be grateful for the bad work experiences. “My husband quit his job about a year ago. He worked in a Fortune 500 company as a sales manager, and I’ve been in sales executive positions in past jobs and was an art auctioneer in the past — lots of different things. My husband was in advertising for a while, but I also had the opportunity to work in sales in a very challenging environment, and I think it really forced me to overcome objections and obstacles in ways that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to otherwise. It gave me the perspective when I met challenges within this business to say, ‘OK, instead of letting this defeat me, what are the ways that I can overcome?’ And we can become better because of it.” — Stephanie Parker, “Shark Tank” contestant and co-owner and co-creator of Zipadee-Zip wearable baby blankets

4. Connect with people, and be genuine. “Ultimately, people connect with people. It’s one of the reasons why I worked with a Fortune 500 company as a client for so long. I formed and built relationships with hundreds of their employees, not to mention their customers, too. I’ve always been someone who is very fulfilled by pleasing others, and there is no better way to do that than to be good in every aspect of your job. Over the years, I’ve made sacrifices for myself to benefit the client, but make no mistake, those sacrifices do get noticed. I think if you’re the kind of person who genuinely does everything possible to ensure their business is succeeding and does it in a very ethical way, they’ll reward you with their loyalty. I saw many times some people ‘got ahead’ in the short term by unethical means. Again, it was short-term success, and they moved in the industry often. When you do good, work hard and are genuine in helping others, you can inspire. At the same time, it comes back to you in the long term.” — Julie Busha, “Shark Tank” contestant and owner of Slawsa condiments

5. Embody the entrepreneurial spirit. “An entrepreneur’s really a state of mind. You can be a janitor and be an entrepreneur and show your boss and show people how to innovate, how to be different, how to squeeze a little bit more out of here, how to do this. Or, ‘hey, what if we did this, we could sell this?’ That’s really the state of mind for a lot of people, and you can do that in any job you’re in.” — Jeffrey Hayzlett, host of “C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett” on Bloomberg Television

Adapted from an article by Vicki Salemi originally appearing in U.S. News & World Report