I was recently brought to New York for a part in a new startup TV show. I can’t tell you details right now, but think “Shark Tank meets Apprentice.” As I’m on the show and on set, I’m talking to these entrepreneurs and I realize that they are missing the ball on three things when it comes to their .
There are three things holding you back from building the personal brand you want.
Number one, you’re probably branding the wrong thing.
Number two, you’re not investing the time because you don’t think you have it.
And number three, nobody knows who you are.
So let’s break it down and start building your brand the right way, today.
1. You’re Probably Branding the Wrong Thing, or You’re Not Branding at All
The phrase “personal brand” has the word “personal” in it. That means you. The thing is, you’re probably branding your company, your startup, or your employer, which means you are a brand conduit.
Why are you not?
If you’re not taking the time to also brand yourself, you’re making a huge mistake. Think of it as being behind the camera versus in front of the camera. It’s easier to be behind the camera. But you’ve got to step out and be in the limelight a bit; otherwise, no one will know who you are.
How do you do this tactically? Let’s say that you’re at a conference for your employer, and you’re tweeting from the corporate account. This is great, as it is your job. But why not also tweet from your own account? Take pictures at the conference, and share it on your social. For work and for you. Think about what you learned in that conference and report back to your boss, like you are supposed to do. But also create a thought leadership piece about your insights from the conference and post it on your LinkedIn.
The idea is that you’re doing the same awesome job for your employer, but you’re also piggybacking off the experiences you gain and showing off your expertise.
When it comes to sharing your startup, yes, do it! But if all you do is brand your startup, then what happens when your startup changes or redirects? You lose all of that brand — all of the effort you put in to get people to know about your brand disappears. And if all you focused on was your startup, there is a good chance that no one still knows who you are. Make the slight tweak and take time to brand yourself along the way, and whether your startup is successful or not, people will know who you are. That is the power of a personal brand. That’s why you should always be branding yourself.
It can be as simple as stepping in front of the camera every once in a while. You don’t have to say everything perfectly. Your message doesn’t have to be totally clear. You just have to start communicating who you are.
I know what you’re thinking, “Wait a minute, Ryan, I don’t have any time.” Well, that’s what everybody says.
2. You Don’t Have the Time and You Don’t Make the Time
When it comes to your personal brand, you have to make the time. That time is truly an investment, an investment in sharing your message, creating content you want to share, then sharing it.
Here’s a trick to getting more time out of the day — it’s called the Parkinson’s Law. It says that you will complete the task in the amount of time that it takes to complete it. Have you ever gone on a trip bringing a medium size bag and you pack it full? Or if you have a larger bag, you pack it full. Or if you have a smaller bag, you always pack the bag until it’s full.
The same thing happens with your time. In order to make time for your personal branding, which is sharing content and creating content, you need to create deadlines. Decide to say things like, “I’m going to post a certain amount per week, or a certain amount per month, or a certain amount per day.”
Make the goals, then tack on a timeline. If you don’t have a deadline, you’re not going to get it done. But miraculously, once you get a deadline, you will actually find a way to make it happen.
It’s a natural law, you can tap into it.
3. Nobody Knows Who You Are
If no one knows who you are, it could be a huge problem. Especially if you are an expert. If you’re an expert, you want to be known for your expertise. You want people to invest in your knowledge so you can help them out. In order for them to want to pay you for your expertise, they have to know who you are.
You have to figure out what you want to be known for, then share that message with the right people. Because guess what? Your product, your service, your insight, your knowledge, is not for everyone.
When you say, “everyone or anyone,” you’re a lot less interesting. A big branding mistake happens when people think, “Well, I’ve got a post, and people will like it. And I should get all kinds of followers.” No. You have to get the right type of followers; followers that engage.
But here’s the thing, when you’re just starting off, people aren’t going to like it. People aren’t going to share it. People aren’t going to view it because you’re just starting.
There’s this thing I call an invisible. It’s somebody that sees your content but doesn’t necessarily click the “Like” button. The trick is, you’ve got to start creating the content for people to even start knowing who you are. There are people everywhere, all over the place. It’s not important to get in front of them all. It’s important to figure out who you want to get in front of, then get in front of those people with the right message.
You don’t have to be all things to all people.
So there you have it, people. The three things that you’re probably missing when it comes to building a personal brand.
Number one: you’re not branding yourself, or you’re branding the wrong thing. It’s a personal brand, which means you’ve got to brand your person. And that simply means sharing with what you’re already doing.
Number two: you’re not making enough time. Make the time by setting a deadline.
And number three: nobody knows who you are. Start sharing and get out there!
Do yourself a favor and start building your personal brand. Take some chances and risks — it can only grow from where you start. But you have to start to get where you want to go.
What are some creative ways that you build your personal brand? I’d love to hear in the comments.
Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.