What are your best ‘Personal Branding Tips’ for entrepreneurs?
So for this article, I decided to reach out to 37 experts, and ask them to share their best personal branding tips for online entrepreneurs (bloggers, podcasters, authors, speakers, coaches and other content creators online).
And I must admit, I’m blown away with all the fantastic answers that came in. So before we dig into it, thanks for all the fantastic contributions, you guys rock!
What are your best personal branding tips for entrepreneurs?
So without further ado, here are their answers!
Personal Branding Tips For Entrepreneurs
My best personal branding tips for entrepreneurs are:
- Be yourself instead of a clone of someone else.
- Deliver on the commitment you’ve made. It’s the best way to brand.
- Oprah never called herself “The _____ Lady.” Don’t brand yourself like that.
Here are my best personal branding tips for individuals:
- Stop trying to do social media and just be social. Treat social media platforms and new connections just as you would in real life, be human.
- Start a blog. Sharing your opinions, knowledge and perspective through a blog is the easiest way to show people who you really are.
- Network. Who you know is just as important as what you know. Dedicate some time on a monthly basis to simply network with others.
- Be unique. Don’t create a brand that’s just like everyone else’s. Find out what makes you different and leverage that so people have something to remember you by.
A couple years back I interviewed Derek Halpern about building a blog/traffic/etc. After the interview he had some personal advice for me, “you know, Chris Rock doesn’t go on stage as Chris Rock, he goes on stage as CHRIS ROCK”. Basically, be an amped up version of yourself, because those extreme traits are what make you memorable. Derek does this on Social Triggers TV, and Andrew Warner of Mixergy.com is another good example. That is personal branding world #1.
But I like world #2 better. I’ve interviewed 100+ of Ramit Sethi’s students. One of the questions I ask is “how did you go from finding Ramit to buying one of his courses?” A big reason is they see Ramit as a guy that tells it like it is. No candy coating, just the blunt truth. And Ramit has told me himself this isn’t some sort of show he puts on. “This isn’t a shtick. This is actually how I talk.” Otherwise he couldn’t have kept it up for 9+ years. That’s what I try to do. I try to talk like myself and be myself.
~ Michael Alexis is a very successful writer and lawyer from Canada. You can get your hands on some of his awesome interviews with experts like Ramit Sethi here.
Creating a personal brand is now something that can be done globally with the evolution of the social web. Click to tweet!
It was just over 5 years ago when I discovered the social web. I joined Facebook, Twitter and started my blog. Along the way I learned that marketing, publishing and commerce had changed forever. It was no longer business as usual. The game had moved on. Authority, influence and business was moving online.If I distilled what I learned on that journey into 5 top tips to building a world wide personal brand they would be:
- Develop a laser type focus.
- Design and launch your own digital platform. This can be a blog or a website.
- Create and publish the best contagious content you can in a variety of media including text, video and images.
- Grow your own content distribution networks. This is done by building a large following on social networks, growing an email list and optimizing your content for search engines for distributing your content
- Build online credibility by publishing a book. You can now self publish on Amazon, Apple and on your own blog and get paid for it !
So if you want to accelerate your personal brand and be seen as a thought leader and expert in your industry or niche, then you need to create authority online.
To help people achieve that, I created a Master Class on “How to Create Authority Online” It shows the steps and the framework that I have discovered over the last 5 years that work if you want to succeed in building a powerful personal brand online”.
~ Jeff Bullas is a top Social Media Marketing Blogger and influencer, Strategist & Speaker.
Many people get caught in the beginner’s trap, thinking that you need years of experience in the marketplace in order to charge premium rates and attract ideal clients. The truth is that you can get known and stand out as a high-end brand from day one of launching your business. The #1 way to do this is through having endorsements from influencers in your industry prominently displayed on your website (which you should also invest in having beautifully designed). This immediately puts you in a category with those influencers.
The next question of course is: how do you get these testimonials? The secret comes down to consistently adding value to those you respect and admire. Get proactive, stay on the lookout for ways you can help them solve their problems, and offer your services pro-bono. When you find great ways to make a busy, influential person’s life easier, they’ll naturally thank you. With their permission, that “thank you” can become a testimonial on your website. Even if you can’t start with the superstars in your industry, start building that relationship with anyone more credible than you.
~ Selena Soo is the founder of S2Groupe who helps visionary entrepreneurs, experts and coaches get known & stand out.
In our digital utopia small online communities flourish, the gatekeepers are withering away, and we are exposed like never before. So, it’s time to plant your flag and start building brand equity in a space that favors uniqueness and honesty more than ever. When it comes to personal branding, here are a few thoughts …
Don’t fear transparency:
In “To Sell is Human” Daniel Pink writes about information asymmetry … the old “buyer beware” world where the salesman knew more than the buyer. But today we are much closer to “seller beware,” which he calls information parity.
The old “secret” information is now there for the world to see, and because of technology it’s getting easier to spot the fakes a mile away. But this is good for you and your audience, because honesty prevails in the end.
It also helps to bleed a little:
Quick, think of three bloggers you’re crazy about. If your list is like mine, you have three writers very adept at displaying their wounds and past ugly business for the world to see. Expert at turning life experience into valuable, inspiring, actionable advice. Content that is thoroughly entertaining AND helpful.
Why not use your past experiences to craft great copy? Tell the world about your big mistakes and the lessons you’ve learned. There is nothing wrong with showing the world your private parts.
And own your niche like a tattooed food trucker:
The beautiful little niche is a boon to entrepreneurs online and in the brick and mortar world. Just look at food trucks and the way chefs are killing it. People formerly under the boot of the boss, restaurant owner or the bank. The chefs that are making their mark have clearly distinct offerings all their own, and they do indeed “own it.” To me, this is the spirit of a new day and we can all take a few lessons from these empowered entrepreneurs.
John Lee Dumas & Kate Erickson (EoFire Team)
Personal branding is your connection to your audience, and it’s all about building person to person relationships with them. Once you’re able to build those relationships, you’ll find that you have loyal followers and raving fans who support you, which is integral to finding your stride and momentum as an entrepreneur and to growing your business. I feel there are three keys to building your personal brand online, and those are:
- Be yourself
- Be honest
- Be present
By being yourself, you’ll invite opportunities for your audience to connect with you on a personal level. If you try to be someone other than your true self online, it won’t last, and it will eventually ruin your brand altogether. Being honest helps build trust and credibility with your audience, which will lead to a loyal following who knows, likes and trusts you. Finally, being present is so important because if you’re not engaging with your audience, then they’ll have no reason to stick around. Continue building upon those relationships and you’ll find that your loyal followers will soon become your raving fans.
~ Kate Erickson is the Content Creator and Community Manager for EntrepreneurOnFire. If you enjoyed her personal branding tips, be sure to reach out to Kate on Twitter.
Tip #1: care. Give a damn about something. If you care about something I can feel it. When you put your ass on the line for something, I can tell. When I care about that same thing, it’s magic. If I don’t, you don’t mind… because you care about that thing enough to focus on it (which means saying “no” to other things).
Conversely, if you don’t care, I can tell. If you don’t give a damn, if you’re not putting your ass on the line, you’re bland to me, you’re not worth sharing, not worth smelling, not worth subscribing, not worth a comment… I’d prefer a Buzzfeed article about cat buttholes to you… because cat buttholes are putting their asses on the line.
Tip #2: (see tip #1… it’s worth two cuz cats are involved)
Tip #3: learn how to be yourself on the mic, on the page, on the camera, etc. Shit’s tough. Way too much to cover on this one, so I made this.
Tip #4: Wake up at the crack of dawn, get tips 1 and 2 and put them in a cup with 1 raw egg and drink it raw and then go on a run in sweatpants and a hooded sweatshirt and work really fucking hard for the next 8 years. You’ll probably have a pretty good brand by then.
Here’s my 3 best personal branding tips for entrepreneurs:
1. Be the real you. There’s no better way to foster a lasting and meaningful connection with your audience than by being your true self. Don’t be afraid to talk about things other people won’t say. It might make you polarizing, but it will also make you powerful. There are people who won’t like you or your brand no matter what – embrace it.
2. Be consistent. Your brand isn’t about your logo, it’s about the total experience you provide to your people. It’s the promise on which you build your business. If you’re flaky, why should they invest their time in you? They have a lot of other choices. Show up. Show up BIG. Show up without fail.
3. Be of service. People are so hungry for inspiration, meaning, and truthfulness. Create content that strives to embody those qualities and it will take on a life of it’s own. If you create a brand built around the people you want to serve (and not yourself) your personal brand will always have power and reach.
~ Marlee Ward is a Chief Radical Entrepreneur (aka CRE), marketing strategist, and speaker, and helping you create irresistible marketing messages and strategies with integrity and ease.
1. Even if you don’t use YourName.com to host your blog or main website, make sure you use it as a “home base” for everything that you do. Have some great pictures of yourself, links to everything you do, and a simple way for people to contact you. Think about everything you’d want someone to know about you within the first five minutes of Googling you and put that on YourName.com.
2. Whatever you do online, put more of YOU into it. Put pictures of yourself on your site, as your bio photos, etc. Make videos. Show your personality. Almost every brand I follow online is because of the people behind the brand. Make sure you don’t hide your persona.
3. Don’t be afraid to label yourself as “the ______ ______ guy/girl”. For example, Cliff Ravenscraft is the Podcast Answerman. Pat Flynn is the passive income guy. I refer to myself as the DIY Video Guy. Make it easy for people to understand exactly what you do in a few words or a sentence.
When it comes to personal branding, you want to make sure that you call-out to your brand when you’re invited onto other peoples shows, blogs and media.
That’s as simple as saying “Hey this is Jesse Krieger, author of Lifestyle Entrepreneur and creator of BusinessInAWeekend.co”
There you go, I just took my own advice and branded myself 🙂
But seriously, once you have established WHAT your brand is, then it’s all about getting out in front of different audiences and building relationships with others based on your brand and identity.
When you meet people and/or get a link from someone’s site, you want the place they go to really reflect your brand and clearly and concisely explain the value you have to offer them.
When I think of branding, I first think of a logo design and tagline. The imagery used, the colors, the curves, the message, these all speak to people’s needs as you make your first impression on them.
One example is my former company, USB Superstore. Our logo was an illustration of a flash drive, with the words “USB Superstore: Innovation In a Flash.”
It’s hard to be confused about what we did and who we served. Then the rest of the site showcased sliding banners, each of which spoke to an identified market vertical such as Marketing Directors, Universities, etc. that buy wholesale flash drives.
So here are some personal branding tips to put into practice right away:
- Define and design your brand. Get a great logo done that’s representative of your focus (doesn’t have to be expensive, but does have to look sharp)
- Proactively call-out to your brand when you meet people, get interviewed, do a guest post, etc.
- Have a next-step that people can take when they arrive at your site. Offer them something that deepens their experience with your brand, for free, in exchange for their name and email. Sample chapters from a book, a mindmap, a checklist, something that helps them achieve the promise of your brand.
Now you’ve branded yourself AND have a way to build a relationship once they’ve opted-in.
Be yourself and create useful, inspiring, and entertaining content to set yourself apart from the rest online.
The most important thing to remember is you must know your audience. Click to tweet!
My top 3 personal branding tips are:
1. Plan on being at the top. What would a top 10 do? Think as if you are already a massive brand.
2. Invest on advice. It’s hard to out of your own box. Ask people that have done it before what you should do.
3. Pick one thing. What are you going to be the BEST at? Don’t do 7 different things. Figure out what your differential is in the market and play up that.
Three personal branding tips from Jim Joseph, author ofThe Personal Experience Effect:
1. Commit to a Goal. Determine what you want out of life and map a course to go after it. Run your life, don’t let your life run you.
2. Position yourself. Figure out what you are uniquely good at and showcase your talents in ways that will attract others. This will position you for success.
3. Be consistent. Apply yourself consistently in every interaction, all throughout your life. That way people will know what to expect from you and will appreciate what you have to offer. Over and over again.
Is this going to be the year that your personal brand really takes off? If you’ve finally decided that it’s time that you took charge of your career success, then you should look into personal branding. Personal branding is for people who are smart and good at what they do, but not good at branding themselves as effectively as they might. It’s for people who have come to realize that they need to take control of their career identity and career success. They realize that there is no security in a job; security lies in your ability to take charge. Security lies in you.
How can you set yourself apart from others and propel your career success? Here are five personal brand tips from my book, You Are a Brand: In Person and Online, How Smart People Brand Themselves for Success:
Own your value
I was at a networking event recently where job seekers and people in transition each had an opportunity to give a one-minute elevator speech. Must people flub their audition? There’s no branding in a laundry list of job titles. You’ve got to know what you stand for and be able to articulate your value – the benefit that you bring to a professional situation – in a clear, crisp, compelling sentence. After all, if you can’t define what’s special about yourself, how can you expect others to figure it out?
Harness your online career identity
People are Googling each other all the time. And people are going to Google you too whether it’s a colleague, HR professional or senior executive. That’s how we do business today. A week online identity is like a weak reputation. People won’t think you’re as good as others who have a strong online identity. The place to begin is LinkedIn, the number one career site. Take the time to write a compelling headline sentience and career summary, both of which appear “above the fold” when people look you up on LinkedIn. It’s important to have a flattering photo that is appropriate for your career arena, so no vacation shots or pictures with your dog. LinkedIn research shows that profiles with a picture are seven times more likely to be viewed.
Tell a compelling career narrative
Language is a uniquely human ability, and story gives language emotional power. And emotion is the short route to the brain as marketers know so well. Marketers wrap their brands in story and you should too. Start by identifying your key theme, your meta-narrative that ties all the pieces of your career together. Write down on separate cards all the different things that you’ve done, and ask yourself, “What is the overall theme or story?” Make sure that the story leads to where you want to take your brand next. Downplay the parts of your career story that will take people off course. Your career story should be updated regularly (both virtually on social media like LinkedIn as well as the career narrative you share in person).
Build your brand where it counts most
Successful people nurture a network of contacts. You’ll find the more people you know, the more opportunities will come your way. Career success is about accessibility and networking gives you accessibility. You’ll want to pay special attention to building a strong strategic network of mentors and sponsors, senior people who advise and advocate for you. (There’s nothing better than that!) An important component of your strategic network are allies, people who are at your level (more or less) who mutually support each other. The best groups of allies form a tight “band of brothers” (or sisters) relationship sharing tips, contacts and support.
Start creating content
Visibility is important for brands and it’s important for you too. Blogs and social media like Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn are good places to begin. It’s easy to set up a blog for free on WordPress of Typepad using one of their templates. To tweet, you only need to come up with a sentence! You focus should be creating content based on what you know and love, content that is relevant and helpful to others. Many companies are setting up Twitter tribes to tweet about company products and developments. It’s good for your company and good for you because of the boost in visibility it will give Brand You. Besides, studies show that communications from rank-and-file employees is much more effective with consumers than messages from senior executives.
Most of us have been told that the key to success is hard work. But in the internet age, the new formula is hard work + branding = success.
I think the two most important questions you should ask yourself :
A) What do you stand for ? And to be more accurate, what beliefs do you represent that you can infuse into your branding ?
You want to stand for something that potential customers can identify with – your ideal customers. If you get that right, you’re going to enjoy most people you work with.
B) Knowing your ‘essence’, who is your target market and what product / service can you cater to them ? You want to find the convergence point where your passion and your customer’s needs overlap.
If you get those two questions down, you can build the strong fundamentals of your brand.
~ Mars Dorian is a ‘geeky’ illustrator and branded content creator.
My top 3 Personal Branding tips are:
1. What is Your WHY?
Every entrepreneur should start out with a strong sense of what their “why” is. I love the quote by Simon Sinek that “people don’t buy what you do, they buy WHY you do it.” If you are passionate and truly get your “why”, this will be so much easier to translate to your brand, your message and the image that you project.
2. Develop “Your Name.com” Website
A personal brand is all about YOU! This means you have to lead with your name. This website will become your home. The place where you share who you are, how you serve others and where you share your message. This is the best way I know to build an authentic presence that people will connect with.
3. Get Involved With People!
Talk to people! Network and get involved; both online and offline. I am constantly amazed at how many people broadcast on social media and they ‘forget’ to talk to those that talk to them. Don’t be that person! Reach out to people that you would like to connect with through social media. Create relationships with your customers and genuinely show that you care.
~ Kim Garst is the CEO of Boom Social, Entrepreneur, Social Media Consultant, Trainer & Mentor to Biz Owners.
My best personal branding tips for entrepreneurs are:
1. Be authentic – Your personal brand is your life, not someone else’s. You need to tell real life stories whether that is by generously sharing personal and professional pictures or by documenting your life through words or video. The most successful personal branders are real people that we feel a deep connection to.
2. Add value – Stop selling and instead think about how you can offer as much value as possible to your followers. Adding value means sharing information or entertaining with no immediate expectation of anything in return. For instance, if you find a really interesting article share it. If you stumble upon something that is hilarious or useful share it. Don’t share just to share – take the extra time to be mindful of the value of what you are sharing and start to look for opportunities to share information that will be especially beneficial to your followers.
3. Engage – Nothing is more powerful than taking the time to single out and respond to your unique followers. Look for opportunities to make people feel that you care and that you are approachable and available to connect. Be that person who stays for 30 minutes after his speech to answer questions from the audience. Thanks your most loyal followers as often as possible publicly and privately. Look for opportunities to be unscripted and authentic.
~ Kris Jones is an internet marketing veteran, best-selling author, serial entrepreneur and public speaker. Kris serves as the Chairman of Internet Marketing Ninjas, Founder & CEO of ReferLocal.com, and is the Founder and Managing Partner of KBJ Capital.
As an entrepreneur you are your business. The power of ‘YOU’, your own uniqueness, is truly the secret that separates you from everyone else. What is your unique value? Why should someone choose your service/product over others? How can you be wildly successful and make an impact? Here are two personal branding steps to get you started.
Step 1. Know Yourself to Grow Yourself
Do you know how others see you? Is there a gap between how you view yourself and how those around you do? The first step to grow yourself is to know yourself and this involves both internal reflection and gathering external feedback.
The 360Reach Personal Brand Survey enables you to gather data regarding the attributes, skills, competencies and strengths that define your brand. The process begins with a self-assessment and is followed by requesting feedback from others so you can compare how you view yourself with how you are currently perceived. The results will enable you to identify areas that you want to accentuate and areas you want to diminish as you define your brand.
Step 2. Articulate your VPs
The foundation of your brand is called your ”VPs” – vision, purpose, values, and passions.
Vision: Your image of what you see possible for the world – your desired future.
Purpose: Your role in turning your vision into reality.
Values: The ideals or operating principles that determine how you conduct your day-to-day activities. Your values are true to you and you do not compromise them.
Passions: This is what motivates and energizes you. Your passions get you out of bed in the morning, but as an entrepreneur you must always have ‘unadulterated tenacity’ to drive your passions forward.
Want to know all 10 steps to build your business through personal branding?
~ Peter Sterlacci is Japan’s personal branding pioneer and founder of BeYB (Believe. Become. Be Your Brand).
Here are my best personal branding tips for online entrepreneurs:
1. I love to quote Steve Martin: “Be as good they can’t ignore you”. That’s my number one rule for success.
2. Next: look at your competitors. Who are they? What do they do? How do they look? When you know – be the opposite.
3. My motto: The road to success is trying. It means that you should dare to fail and keep an agile mindset along the way.
4. Decide on a successful attitude. I’ve chosen to live by the standard “Work like a captain. Play like a pirate”. What it means to me is that I’m deadly serious about what I do and that I put great effort into making it as good as I possible can. But also that I make sure I’m having the time of my life while I’m doing it.
5. Be visual. If your competitors pictures themselves in dark suits, put on a red. If you have a passion for quirky glasses, highlight them in your profile pic. Transform your webpage into something bold and bright that reflects the essence of you. (You don’t need to look far to see what I mean. Our host Navid leads by example, I would say).
When it comes to your branding, I have two pieces advice that you should really take seriously. Trust me. Run with these two and thank me later.
1. Your brand is not what you think of your business. It’s the opinion of your audience that counts. Your content is how that opinion is formed. Your content is what will attract your audience to you. It will assist in establishing your authority positioning. By producing high-quality content that your target audience finds valuable, you will attract prospects to you versus trying to track them down and sell to them the old-fashioned way by bombarding them with ad after ad begging them to buy.
The key to effective branding is attracting people to you and then building a relationship with them through engagement. Attract first; then engage. You attract by offering them valuable information. The more you give, the more attractive your brand becomes.
2. If you want to be great at branding, then work on being an effective communicator. Brands that resonate with us do so because they are able to communicate their brand effectively.
Many businesses have very good products or services yet don’t experience the type of success they are trying to achieve because they do not know how to effectively communicate their brand message to people. You must learn to communicate clearly. You have to consistently state clearly what you’re all about and why your audience should care. It doesn’t matter how much value you offer, how innovative your product is or how amazing you are at what you do, if you cannot communicate it to your audience.
~ Omar Zenhom the founder of Business Republic and he recently launched his online training program and community the $100 MBA. Here’s a great guest post he wrote for me on how to create your own live event and why you should.
My biggest personal branding tip is to be authentic. People can smell inauthenticity from a mile away, and even if they can’t detect it, you’ll probably end up putting off a brand that is a copycat of people you admire if you don’t just be yourself.
There are many others, there’s only one you. Embrace it.
I also say it’s important to bring in pieces of your personality when you are engaging in traditional “work” types of activities.
If you go to a face-to-face networking event, most people are never 100% focused on business. Most people will have normal human conversations about the weather or sporting events, or what their kids are up to, etc. You should be the same way online. You should work to integrate your personality into your expression of who you are online so that people get a feeling for what you would be like in “real life.” They will be more drawn and connected to you if you are more human.
~ John Corcoran is the founder of the blog Smart Business Revolution and creator of Power Networking System. You can get John’s free guide on How to Build a Network Filled with VIPs and Top Performers in 14 Days here!
One piece of advice for people who are just getting started online or with branding is to allow your brand to evolve naturally over time. Most of the people on this list didn’t start with the website they have today, and you shouldn’t spend months working on your first website.
Instead focus on providing value to your audience and getting more clear on your message and brand, and from there you’ll know what you need to include or remove from your site.
Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, micro-blogs, Skype, texting, digital photography, YouTube and other technologies allow us to communicate in ways previously unimaginable. With mobile devices, we can broadcast when something occurs. The great benefit of today’s Internet is that anyone can publish information for a worldwide audience. The great danger of today’s Internet is that anyone can publish information for a worldwide audience. In today’s world, everyone has a personal brand because anything in digital format reflects on a person’s reputation. The challenge is that what you say online can be archived and made searchable, available for anyone to find…forever. This means that one online mistake can theoretically come back to haunt you for the rest of your life. Following are a few personal branding tips that will help you maintain a positive online persona:
- Own Your Online Name. If your name is “Joe Smith,” do you own www.joesmith.com, www.joe-smith.com, and even www.joe-smith-sucks.com(and all of the .org and other variations of the above names)? If you don’t “own” your own name, then you’re leaving your online reputation in the hands of someone who does. To purchase your own name, visit GoDaddy.com or NetworkSolutions.com. Conduct a search and if the name you want is available, purchase it for a fee of about $10 per year.
- Set the Privacy Settings on Your Social Networks. Do you want to keep your personal life personal? Make sure you set your Privacy settings to help you do that. Whether its Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc., customize your settings to the level of privacy you deem appropriate. Make sure to click on the multiple links within a network’s settings so that you do not inadvertently agree to share your information with the application—and potentially the world—when you use the application.
- Give Yourself the Newspaper Test. Remember your digital messages are archived and theoretically searchable forever. Do you really want your permanent digital legacy to be one written in a time of anger? Ask yourself this question every time you’re about to hit “Send” or “Post”: “How would I feel if this post made the front page of tomorrow’s newspaper . . . would I be embarrassed if my professional network read this? Would I be embarrassed if my great-grandchildren read this? If the answer is yes, then don’t post it to the Web, send it in an email, or respond in a text message.
For most people, crafting and managing a personal brand is just following some simple, common-sense tips. The key is thinking before you hit send or post, and recognizing that everything you do online can potentially positively or negatively impact your reputation, forever.
~ Sam Richter is founder of the acclaimed Social Selling Institute, has been named one of the world’s Top 25 Most Influential Sales Leaders multiple times, and his best-selling book, “Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling” was named Sales Book of the Year.
My best personal branding tip is to have a clear idea of who your ideal client/reader/audience is and position yourself as the expert in that niche. The more specific you can position yourself, the clearer your message will be and the more likely you are to attract your ideal client. Many entrepreneurs think that if they go broad they’ll reach a wider audience, but that actually doesn’t work. For me, for example, I decided to create products and services specifically for entrepreneurs who have a consumer product line and all of my messaging is centered around that. This helps me stay focused and put out messages that speak directly to my audience.
~ Andreea Ayers is a serial entrepreneur and the founder of Launch Grow Joy she guides Entrepreneurs who want to launch a consumer product line through retail outlets and the media.
Here’s my best personal branding tips for online entrepreneurs:
1. Be You – This sounds obvious but so many people don’t do this. Being transparent giving your audience the “real” you is important. For example, I love hip hop music, so I add snippets of my favorite songs to my podcast episodes and my intros.
2. Know Your Value – Don’t just talk to talk. Understand the value you bring to the table and why people are/and should be following you. Make sure you’re always serving your audience.
3. Be In Good Company – Nobody ever gets anywhere alone. Aligning yourself with other individuals that stand for things you believe in and that share similar beliefs will amplify your exposure and elevate your personal brand. You’ve heard the term “guilty by association” right? Well, you can also be “awesome by association”. 🙂
My best personal branding tip is to heed Oscar’s advice (Wilde that is) when he said:
Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken. Click to tweet!
The minute I opened up and was unapologetically myself, in all I did and said, that’s when my brand was really formed and made unique, and that’s when my tribe started gathering around me. It’s the point at which you are most honest, sincere and powerful. No use trying to hide behind something you’re not, and definitely no value in trying to please everyone. No one likes vanila. Be pistachio or lime or pomegranate – but not vanilla. You’re not bland and forgettable.
Stand out through video. Everyone has a blog — it’s extremely difficult to stand out above the crowd in written format. If you have the personality for it, try a YouTube channel that positions you as an expert in your topic. Here are two guys that are doing this well: Yu-kai Chou and Derek Halpern
Creating a personal brand is sort of like getting ready for a date. When you’re looking for a boyfriend/girlfriend, you put on your best clothes, but also something that reflects YOU. You don’t dress up as the sexy librarian if you’re actually an extreme sports lover. You don’t offer to go to the ballet if you’re really into the latest Jay-Z concert. And you don’t do that because: 1. you’d be uncomfortable wearing the wrong outfit and trying to be someone you’re not and 2. you probably don’t want to date the person you’re going to attract. Branding is the exact same way. You want certain clients. You want to feel comfortable in your own skin. You want to put your best foot forward.
Each personal brand has three elements: The Story, The Voice, and The Look. The story is how you got to where you are now. And every great personal brand has a great story. Oprah. Martha Stewart. Steve Jobs. Their back story is compelling, makes us know them. Your story will help people feel like they know you and want to hire you. The Voice is how you phrase everything you put out there – web copy, emails, status updates, EVERYTHING. It has to be true to your personality. The Look consists of font, color scheme, and design elements. And this part you really have to love, because you’re going to see it over and over and it’s what represents your business other than your headshot.
The Story, Voice and Look have to be consistent. Consistency is key. You cannot deviate from the fonts, the colors, the voice. A good brand is really only as good as it’s ability to be recognized. So if you are deviating from the look and feel of your brand – even slightly – it’s confusing. And it’s because you’re married to your brand that you have to make sure it really reflects you and your personality. That’s the way you’ll really love it! Choose your favorite colors, the fonts you absolutely love, and write like yourself. Be funny if you’re funny. Be a know it all if that’s your game. But always be yourself – when you are, your brand remains consistent and strong.
My best advice for growing your personal brand is to be everywhere and treat everyone the same. By being everywhere I am referring to leaving comments on different sites, writing guest posts on various sites and also making sure you are active across all of the major social networks. The more people see your name and face, they more they will recognize you as a trusted and well known brand. I’ve always made sure that I respond to all of my personal emails and always get back to all interview requests. I don’t care about the size of the blog or where you are from. Anyone that takes the time to get in touch with me deserves my attention, and that’s why my brand has become what it is today.
~ Zac Johnson is an entrepreneur, internet Marketer, blogger and super affiliate.
Here’s my best personal branding tips for online entrepreneurs:
1. Always be truthful and share your strengths as well as your weaknesses. Share content that will benefit people and teach them something. Make them feel like they want to keep coming back for more.
2. Always be helpful and give away as much information as you possibly can. Some people think this is crazy, but the more you help others the more they will follow you and trust what you share.
3. Build great relationships along the way because these are the people who will be your raving fans. They’ll be eager to support you, share your content and refer others to you.
~ Adrienne Smith is serious blogger, traffic builder and engagement superstar.
Here’ my best personal branding tips:
1. Do more than everyone else is doing.
In other words, exceed expectations. When you do this, you stand out from the crowd and push through mediocrity.
2. Give back.
In a world of taking, people have forgotten how to give back to others. Your motive should always be others, not yourself.
3. Never stop learning.
Before you can pour into others, you have to fill yourself up. To give back, you need to have something to give. Consume more information and give back more.
~ Adam Smith is a writer, editor, speaker & podcaster.
A strong personal platform with your unique brand is the most powerful asset you can carry into your future. If you don’t toot your own horn, no one else will. Start by writing three words (be nice to yourself!) that describe you. Work these three words your bio copy and elevator pitch. Send them to your designer so she can layout your blog to match them. Use these words to tell your photographer the kind of shots you are looking for. Pictures are worth a thousand words, so start with three and the other 997 will fall into place.
Final tip: Imagine the guy at the top of your niche visited your blog. What would you change to keep that person reading your content? This will help elevate your game.
Personal branding is a cyclical process that consists of exactly two actions:
Discover. Show up. Repeat.
What is fascinating is that most of the time showing up does not mean adding stuff on (more design, more words) but rather about shedding the unnecessary (what I love to call business bullshit).
The metaphor that best explains this is sculpting:
You work with what you have and feel into the possibilities of the stone in front of you until you get a glimpse of potential – the sense of a shape. Then you gradually remove layers.
As Michelangelo wisely said when he was asked how he made a sculpture as magnificent as David “I carve away everything that is not David”.
The personal branding process is about carving away everything that is not you. The brilliance and clarity of your personal brand depends on the amount of bullshit you are willing to let go of.
If you want to shift from perfection to bullshit elimination here are a few tricks:
1) Become Aware of Your Perfection Mindfuck
Everyone has it. Becoming aware of it is the first step to getting over it.
Make a list of the things a perfect (insert title you identify with) has/does.
For example: A perfect online-entrepreneur has a fantastic web presence, a list of 6,000 dedicated followers, at least one fabulous passive income product, a best-selling book in the pipeline and lives in Bali, while renting out the San Francisco home base via Airbnb.
Be brutally honest and detail-oriented. Then look at your list and become aware of how much of this is stuff YOU REALLY WANT and how much of it is just EGO PERFECTION MINDFUCK that you should trash right now. Or pursue anyway, knowing its’ true nature.
2) Get Started Now
Once you accept that perfection is an ego-driven illusion you are ready embrace your now. Time to show up NOW with what you have NOW. Say what you need to say, write what you need to write, design what you need to design. The moment is perfect to deliver NOW.
3) Embrace Your Quirkiness
You are special, just like everyone else. Show up with your whole imperfect self. Imperfection is friendly and memorable. Like that story of the Norwegian singer Samsaya who has a 3mm gap between her front teeth. When the major record labels told her to get it fixed she refused and went on to create her own record label and called it 3MM Records. You aren’t going to forget that one, are you?
4) Get Comfortable With Blank Pieces of Paper
If you have embarked on the entrepreneurial journey it means you have put in a bunch of work to figure out what defines you, who you really want to work with, what your true voice sounds like. You’ve created, texted and talked. You probably have an entire Evernote database and 7 notebooks full of useful text snippets and stories.
From time to time it is good to just take a blank piece of paper and ask yourself the big questions AGAIN:
Why? How? For Whom? What is the value I desire to add?
5) Always Start With Simple Words
No matter which medium you use, whether you blog, podcast or create videos – the essence is in the words. Whenever you start something new, or it is time to revamp what you have (which means you are re-entering the cycle) work with the essence first. Keep your words simple and easy to understand. If a 6-year-old does not get you is not simple enough.
It might sound straightforward but if you are honest you will admit that the first thing you did when you decided to become self-employed is fill your niece’s sketchpad with logo ideas. AND THAT IS OK TOO BECAUSE PLAYING IS IMPORTANT.
But when you enter the personal branding cycle again work with the bare essence in the knowledge that all the work you did is not wasted. The essence is within you and everything you are letting go of is just helping you become clearer.
~ Anaïs Bock, Bullshit Elimination for Passionpreneurs.
My top 3 personal branding tips for lifestyle entrepreneurs are:
1. Pick a direction
Picking a single direction to focus on is probably one of the hardest parts of personal branding. It’s not to say that you have to be super niched, In fact, I think being too niched, especially when starting out, can be a quick path to loosing passion for your topic. But nowadays it’s very common to see very “floaty” specialties people are branding themselves with. Things like “life design coach, world traveler, lover of life” all sound fun and interesting, but aren’t going to get you many paying clients. You can talk about this stuff in your about section, but at some point you will need to weave your story into a very specific call to action that solves a very specific pain, or sticking point people are facing. Start with the pain your going to cure, then craft your brand around that in the most artistic way you know how.
2. Hire a professional photographer
Although it’s not totally necessary if your just starting out, I would say if you have the money, hire an awesome (as in the best) photographer you can afford. Get them to follow you around your city for one or two days. Take several changes of clothes and just get loose. Take several thousand photos all in different poses, clothes and ambiance. If you are creating a brand out of YOU, then you need to capture the essence of YOU with someone who is very skilled at doing just that. You won’t regret it and I guarantee it will be the best money you ever spend. With great photos, you can get away with a lot of mistakes in the beginning. I think of it this way; if a picture can say a thousand words, just imagine what you can communicate with really good photography and a little copy. This will give you an edge guaranteed.
3. Don’t make your blog your home page
I’ve had my website, which started as a blog back in 2005. And in that time I’ve probably started my blog over at least 5 times, only to abandon it again several months later. Over the years I built up some posts, that served me well when people visited my site. But since I wasn’t updating regularly, my site always looked dated. Chances are, unless you are an amazing writer and plan on putting around 10-20 hours in every blog post (what the best bloggers are doing nowadays) you will will find that the effort of daily blogging isn’t worth it. Instead I would make your personal site more into the form of a landing page, that links to other interesting pages on your site to sort of take people on a journey about you and your unique offer to the world. You could still have a blog page, but I would make it secondary to a good about section and perhaps a free offer in exchange for an email.
~ Nate Bunger is the founder of Dream Life Academy, a retreat in South America where he does live, one on one trainings that lead people into a life they love.
Odalis Salazar Mullins
Here’s my best personal branding tips for entrepreneurs:
1. Make helping and collaborating with others part of your personal brand. You don’t want to be known as the person who asks for favors, but then takes a month to respond to any requests for help that they receive.
2. Personal branding is not about being someone you’re not. It’s about authenticity. Without it, you may attract opportunities, but they might not be the right fit for the “real” you.
3. Show gratitude with a small gift. Gratitude among entrepreneurs is a requirement and everyone sends a personal thank you note or email. But you can’t imagine the wonders that a small gift like a $5 Starbucks gift card can do for you and your brand.
~ Odalis Salazar Mullins is the founder and CEO of Promethean Brand, a site dedicated to helping young professionals create personal brands that get them the careers they want.
My 3 best personal branding tips for entrepreneurs are:
3. Be yourself.
As simply complicated as that!
~ Paul Jarvis is a web designer and best-selling author.
My Best Personal Branding Tips (When Starting Out Online)
- Be Yourself – no one can duplicate that. You have a unique story, personality and set of strengths. Be sure to tell it, and you will be able to connect with your target audience in a very powerful way!
- Don’t aim for perfection when it comes to website design and let the branding evolve over time (it took some time for me!)
- Find your unique selling proposition (USP) and get clear over your message and brand. It will really help you and set yourself apart from the competition.
- Create really good content that your target audience will love. Always try to exceed their expectations, and give them this “WOW” experience. That will help you get noticed and build your tribe (Email list!) in a very honest and authentic way around your vision.
Now It’s Your Turn!
If you made it thus far (around 9000 words later!), I would like to thank you for taking the time to read this article! I hope you really got some great insights and very useful personal branding tips you can start implementing right away.
If you’re not branding yourself, you can be sure others do it for you. Click to tweet!
Again, if you’re one of the featured ‘experts’ above, thanks so much for your awesome contributions! I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed putting this together
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If you can take one or two of all the amazing personal branding tips from this post and go out there and take some massive action, what would it be? Share in the comments please!
Also, if you happen to have built and a profitable personal brand online already, I would love if you can share your best personal branding tips for online entrepreneurs in the comments section below and continue the conversation there.
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Thanks so much, you’re all awesome and be sure to go out there and do something great. Until next time, stay inspired!