Start by asking your associates whether they'd like white or red, suggests Laura Maniec, owner of Manhattan wine bar Corkbuzz and, at 32 years old, one of the world's youngest master sommeliers. Go with the majority, and remember, a bottle fills about four glasses. Impress seasoned tipplers by skipping the usual Chardonnays and Merlots in favor of something more daring, like the versatile Albariño from Spain or a dry red or white from Mount Etna in Italy. When in doubt, kick it to the sommelier. (Find your preferred price on the menu, point it out, and tell her, "In this range, please.") Just don't invite your guests to choose. "If you're paying the bill," Maniec says, "you need to take charge."
Branding means establishing who you are and what you stand for, then transmitting those values through your résumé, portfolio, and social-media presence. Whether you're an accountant or an exotic herbalist, make sure all your materials (even business cards and LinkedIn profile) convey a clear, consistent, immediately recognizable message about you. "When I moved to New York, I started using the tagline 'A Swiss designer gone NYC,'" says graphic designer and founder of Tattly LLC, Tina Roth Eisenberg, better known as the SwissMiss Blogger. The Swiss New Yorker quickly became her brand. "It said I was trained in Swiss aesthetics but was nevertheless adventurous. People knew what it meant instantly — and it still works for me today," she says.