Richard A. Lindsey, CPA

Lindsey & Waldo, LLC – Certified Public Accountants

  • Aug 22

    When you meet someone for the first time, here’s the scoop, good, bad or indifferent: The experts say that in as little as one-quarter of a second, a person makes up his or her mind about you. In the first five seconds, a person’s first impression of you flips back and forth 11 times. Your first impression is more important than your next five combined. The message is, according to Rainmaker U. founder, Timothy O’Brien, “Your fate could be sealed even before you utter a single word. The reality is you are the product, like it or not.”

    No one has ever stated it better than Napoleon Hill: “People buy your personality and ideas long before they buy your products and services.” Yet, in his best-selling book, What Clients Love, Harry Beckwith reports that the facts reveal that most of us try to sell exactly the opposite; we sell price first, products or service second, company third, and ourselves last.

    What all this means for your success is, that your personal brand and how you market yourself are far more important than price, product, and yes, even smarts.

    A personal brand is not something you can choose to have or not have. Everybody has a personal brand. What you can choose is whether yours is positive, negative, or neutral. If you’re going to have a personal brand anyway, why not make it a great one?

    According to O’Brien, a personal brand is “a personal identity that stimulates a meaningful emotional response in another person or audience about the qualities or values for which that person stands.” For example, when you think of former Enron CFO, Andrew Fastow, who was initially charged with 78 counts of fraud, what are the values or qualities that come to mind? Trust? Honesty? Credibility? Probably not.

    The single most important step in building a great personal brand is accepting the fact that what you think of yourself is nearly irrelevant. Branding is all about what others think of you. Al Ries and his daughter, Laura, authors of 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, define the process of branding as “reserving a word or phrase in the mind of another.” To build a personal brand, you begin by identifying the emotion you want to evoke in your audience. Then you identify the word or phrase that reflects that emotion, and which you want others to associate with you. Lastly, you must, must, must consistently engage in intentional behavior that promotes and reinforces the word or phrase you have chosen.

    Anyone whose success depends upon or requires the cooperation of another individual or group needs a great personal brand. Financial planners need to sell their clients on their capabilities. A CFO of a publicly traded company needs to sell Wall Street on the integrity of its company’s numbers. A minister needs to sell his flock on the message of the gospels. Now more than ever, he who has the best personal brand wins!

    The best part of personal branding is that it focuses on the most important asset you have — you. Personal branding is about standing for something. Your personal brand is the embodiment of the values and qualities you cherish. Build a great personal brand and you won’t have to follow the crowd. The crowd will follow you.

  • Aug 7

    Question: Do I qualify for the health care premium tax credit?

    Answer: Beginning the first of this year, individuals and families can buy private health insurance through Affordable Insurance Exchanges, which are marketplaces where individuals can find private health insurance. (This is a new program created by the Affordable Care Act [ObamaCare].) If you purchase health insurance through an exchange, you may be eligible for a tax credit that will make your coverage more affordable.
    The credit is aimed at middle-income Americans. A larger credit is available for older individuals whose coverage costs may be higher. The credit will be refundable, which means it can be used by people who pay little or no federal income tax. You can arrange for the credit to be paid to your insurer in advance so that you have less out-of-pocket costs.