How to Build Your Brand to Break Through the Glass Ceiling

A glass ceiling is a political term used to describe “the unseen, yet unbreachable barrier that keeps minorities and women from rising to the upper rungs of the corporate ladder, regardless of their qualifications or achievements.” Well, that’s the definition according to Wikipedia.

My glass ceiling consists of a hell of a lot more than that. I have been everything from a Customer Service Representative to an Account Manager, before working my way up the ladder, and then finally working on my terms. I’ve worked in corporate America; I’ve owned small businesses. I’ve been an entrepreneur, and a solopreneur.

After 30 years in the corporate world, I have bumped into my fair share of glass ceilings. I’ve fought through some of them and helped colleagues shatter their own. It’s challenging, it’s rewarding, and it’s exhausting.

It wasn’t until I started dreaming of my own entrepreneurial debut that I realized … it didn’t have to be that way at all.

I could just walk right around that barrier like it didn’t even exist.

It’s true! I could walk around it by building my new business, learning how to become a successful entrepreneur, and finally stepping away from my corporate gig to focus on full time.

More importantly, what I’ve realized through this entire process is that if working in someone else’s world is holding you back, create your own success!

If you build your business to go around, over, or above any “version” of what people believe it should look like, you’ll be able to create your own personal brand and ignore any glass ceiling that appears to pop up. You can position yourself like the rock star you are using these five online media tools:

1. Your own website: Showcase your passion here. Be authentic and build content through blogging, testimonials, videos, and online resources that are valuable and highlight your strengths. Tell us who you are and how you came to be. Remind us that you are a real person who is passionate about this one great thing in life, and why you are the one we should trust. Not quite sure where to start? It’s all right to hire someone to help. Spending the extra money for someone whose passion is website building is money well spent, and you’ll zoom past any learning curve obstacle in record time.

2. LinkedIn: Establish your expert status here and prove why you have the chops to be in business. You’ve probably heard this again and again, but it’s important to make sure you have a polished profile that sets you apart from others in your field. In addition, your profile should include skills and endorsements that highlight your talents, groups that connect you with prospects and valuable research, and connections that expand your reach. There is no limit to who you can find on LinkedIn, so if being a successful entrepreneur is truly about “who you know,” you are primed for success without a barrier when you use LinkedIn to its fullest potential.

3. Facebook: Use Facebook to build your fan base, from the loyal first crew (friends, family, and colleagues) to a robust following made up of people who want what you’ve got. Advertising has never been cheaper or easier to do. There’s no need to have millions in revenue and an ad team standing by when you can make your own personal business ad in minutes, and see results faster still. You are in control to create your own success — no longer do you have to wait for approval from a boss or teammate. (And if it doesn’t work, who cares! Just try again and test another idea. It’s all part of the process.)

4. Twitter: Ahhh, Twitter. That honest, real-time news feed is so valuable for us! You can reach anyone you want. No matter how famous or how unreachable, they are bound to be there. This is my favorite platform by far to engage, follow, and connect with people I never would have had the opportunity to before, and these connections often come with business rewards that include more visibility and more clients. The invention of Twitter helped me to be able to say, “Screw the glass ceiling!” I love this platform even more because of it.

5. Instagram, YouTube, Google+, etc.: Social media in general gives us a thousand more ways to adapt and overcome. It can help us ignore any ceilings put in front of us, to build our businesses the way we want to build them, and position ourselves as business owners who deserve to be here. Welcome to a level playing field, folks. Business just got interesting.

For the last few months, I have been diving deep into a new side of my business called Portraits and Profits. Through this program I’ve had the opportunity to work with strong women, and each day I’ve been able to see these women really step into their power.

The more I see this, the more I realize that we are rock stars of our own design. We do have the ability to ignore the glass ceiling and create our own business success!

Who’s with me?

Here’s how to get started. Check out my free video series: “The 3 First Things to Do on LinkedIn.” And, of course, comment below and tell me your glass ceiling stories. I’m here to support you!

Karen Yankovich is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.