Looking to build up your business? First, you’ll need to find out what’s out there about you and perhaps make some changes to your digital footprint. Anyone and everyone can learn a huge amount about you via your digital footprint; that is, the trail you leave behind when you post updates, pictures or check into places on social media, send emails, visit websites and so on. While it’s super easy to put information online, it’s far more difficult and expensive to take the information down – some would say impossible – and unfortunately, that’s where things can go horribly wrong for your professional success. Your digital footprints are both ‘active’ and ‘passive’. ‘Passive’ footprints are the unintended footprints that occur as a result of visiting websites – the sites collect your data without you even realising. ‘Active’ footprints are the ones you leave when you make deliberate choices on the Internet – the posts and blogs your leave on your own accounts, the comments you make on other people’s accounts, the emails you send. Take control When you control your digital footprint, you help protect your own identity and reputation, as well as the reputations of your family and friends. Here are a few steps you can take to protect your digital footprint: Find out about your digital footprint by searching your name, any names you’ve had (ie before marriage) and potential misspellings. Do this on several search engines and ask the site administrator to take anything down that you don’t like.Double-check your privacy settings, but don’t trust them – Privacy settings on one social media stream won’t necessarily protect your data from others.Deactivate or remove extra accounts you’ve had for internet access, social media and email.Create strong, memorable passwords using a combination of words, numbers, symbols, and upper- and lowercase letters. Make it easy to remember, but difficult to guess. Avoid the most popular combinations, like birthdates, anniversaries, or the names of your partner, kids or pets.Keep all your antivirus software and other software programs up to date so they’re less accessible to be mined.Use a lock or password on your mobile device and occasionally review your apps for their privacy and information-sharing settings. If you don’t use an app anymore, delete it. Only post things that you want your clients, bosses, banks, or professors to see. Un-tag yourself from questionable Facebook photos, unfriend yourself from questionable Facebook ‘friends’ – and avoid getting involved in negative commentary. If you really want to delete your digital footprint, it’s going to take an enormous effort and even then, you probably won’t succeed. That’s because even after you’ve deleted every account you have, you’ll find that many companies will still keep data you’ve previously given them… but at least it won’t be publicly shared. Take action Protecting your reputation and building your business takes time. At Ayers Group our experts can free you to of regular administrative hassles, like payroll management, your tax obligations and financial management, so that you can get on with the job of building your business. Talk to us today.