Navarre artist and business coach Anne Pryor shares her strategies for building a true-to-yourself online brand.
When you talk with Anne Pryor, her excitement about life and work comes through vividly. “A friend calls me an oracle. I reveal the divine purpose in others,” says Pryor, who’s translated her varied skills into an eclectic and downright cool career, with branches in art, coaching, media and more. “I have what I call a ‘freedom plan portfolio career life,’” she says with a chuckle. “If you picture a flower with five petals, that’s me.”
Two days a week, Pryor does professional coaching and speaking engagements out of her office in Navarre. She spends a day doing consulting and strategy work, helping executives develop their online presence. Another day, she’s volunteering with Ready for Success, working with dislocated or economically stressed men and women. She uses her work experience and knack for visual presentation to help them navigate the sometimes awkward world of developing a wardrobe and dressing appropriately for an interview or new job. “I help them look and feel confident and significant,” Pryor explains.
On a fifth day each week, she’s in her studio, creating art. After a posthumous communication from a friend years ago, Pryor was inspired to begin painting with ink and essential oils on plastic—using her breath instead of paintbrushes. She created what she coined the “Lovitude” symbol, a visual representation of love and gratitude, “the highest energy in the universe,” she says. She gifted Lovitude pendants to professors in her master’s program, and their positive response inspired her to trademark the icon. Now she paints a variety of brightly colored original works—including variations on that symbol—that are said to energize souls and help them do their highest good. Her art has been printed on pillows, cards and other retail items available at local spots like Kowalski’s, Bachman’s, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and the General Store of Minnetonka, plus other locations nationally.
While Pryor’s work brings her in contact with different clientele and plays on her diverse talents, it all facilitates purposeful connections between people. “The highlight of my morning is opening my email and hearing from clients, ‘I got a raise,’ ‘I got offered a job,’ [or] ‘I’m writing a book,’” Pryor says. “Leaning into my expertise and unearthing thought leadership on behalf of others … that’s what it’s all about.”
“You can really change the world—
and yourself—by lifting other people up.
I make time to do that—and I just love my life.”
“Pryoritize” Your Digital Brand
Pryor’s friends refer to her as the LinkedIn Doctor, and for good reason. She spends much of her time working with executives who want to up their online game in order to create new business opportunities, land a promotion, network more efficiently or simply “bring their brand to life online,” says Pryor. “They say, ‘Anne, can you polish me up? I’m embarrassed online.’” After more of those phone calls than she can recall, she’s learned a few things about coming across well through thumbnail photos and taglines. Here’s her to-do list for refreshing and reinventing your online profile—no matter your career.
Know Who You Are
In order to put yourself in the best light online, you have to understand who you really are. Ask yourself what brings you joy, what you bring to a team and what your best assets are—and then focus on those things. Select photos and words that are true to your personality and portray your best self.
Know Where You Want to Go
“Your LinkedIn profile is like a flashing digital billboard,” Pryor says. “Ask for what you desire—and be willing to allow what comes of it. Accept, appreciate, acknowledge—and then act!”
On Sundays at 3:30 p.m., Pryor does her weekly LinkedIn “oil change,” the minor maintenance that keeps everything else humming for her online. She’ll make small tweaks like swapping in a fresh photo, sharing a powerful quote or article or updating the descriptions of her work experience. It’s her way of celebrating where she’s been and starting the next week on the right foot.
Invite Four People to LinkedIn Weekly
People don’t often think of their personal contacts as having networking potential, but as they say, “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” Connect with untapped friends and family members—or business contacts you’ve met recently—to make sure your online network is as robust and current as your face-to-face one. You never know when you’ll be able to make a connection.
Get a Makeover
Especially in these doldrums of winter, give yourself a little TLC—because your profile pic speaks volumes about who you are and what you’re about. “Get new glasses, color your hair, get a new photo taken, polish your teeth,” Pryor says. “Do something—even something little—to make yourself feel and look great.”
Curate Your Content
Be on the lookout for relevant content that will establish you as a thought leader in your network. Read something interesting in the Sunday business section? Come across a great quote in that novel you’re re-reading for the fifth time? Write a white paper or article recently? If you found it helpful, others might, too. Pryor explains that LinkedIn has become a perfect spot to hone a personal brand over time—kind of a part-blog, part-resume that never sleeps—and become established as an authority on certain topics or in certain industries. “LinkedIn is such a media-rich format,” she says. “People truly don’t need websites anymore.”
Pryor gives back by providing pro-bono LinkedIn training and speaking through nonprofit organizations and associations and student groups. She takes phone calls Monday through Friday between 7:33 a.m. and 8:33 a.m. to provide direction and advice to job seekers. She suggests that clients volunteer regularly for two separate organizations: one that has a vocational focus and lets them give back while also developing work-related skills, and one that’s completely avocational. “You can really change the world—and yourself—by lifting other people up,” says Pryor. “I make time to do that—and I just love my life.”