When you are building your own company, your credibility and reputation as an individual and the reputation of your business are intricately woven together. As an entrepreneur, your personal brand impacts everything from your revenue to your ability to hire employees and differentiate from competitors.
In this blog post we will discuss the reasons why personal branding is important for entrepreneurs, and offer tips and examples to help you realize the importance of your own personal brand.
For big corporations like Microsoft or Apple, the personal brands of their executives are certainly important, and play a role in building trust among their customers. However, these corporations have massive business brands to fall back on that are agnostic of their executives, with their reputations and brand loyalty being built across decades of providing products and services.
Entrepreneurs do not have the luxury of falling back on massive business brands as large corporations do. And this script is often flipped, as many entrepreneurs are the faces of their businesses. People don’t do business with them because of their company brand, they do so because of their personal brand. The trust, reputation and fomo customers feel is all predicated on the entrepreneur’s reputation and credibility.
An example of this can be found in famous entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk’s personal brand. His businesses like his marketing agency VaynerMedia provide great services for their customers.
However, Vaynerchuk’s prominent personality and reputation as an innovator and thought leader is what sets his company apart, and provides the draw that makes top brands want to become clients. Vaynerchuk has established an engaged community, and personal brand with clear positive attributes on display like work ethic, transparency and approachability that make clients, employees, and business partners want to come to him.
It is this type of impact that makes personal branding the primary marketing channel for entrepreneurs, taking personal branding from a nice-to-have like it may be with other career paths, and making it an essential asset that is directly tied to revenue and business ROI.
The better your personal brand is, the more money you are able to charge for your products and services, and the higher quality clients you can work with.
For example, Niharikaa Kaur Sodhi is now known as a top writer on platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and Medium. She is able to charge good rates for her consulting services and digital products. In her personal branding content she discusses how when she first started out she couldn’t be selective about who she worked with or the writing jobs she took. As her brand grew, she was able to attract higher paying clients as her expertise is in high demand.
All entrepreneurs can emulate this by growing their personal brands and raising the bar for their reputation. As their reputation grows, they will be able to charge more, and sell more or less depending on how they’d like to invest their time.
As you build credibility through your personal brand, not only will you be able to work with higher quality and better paying clients and customers, you will also be able to find them easier.
That is because a personal brand serves as a business referral engine. As you continue growing an audience that trusts you and giving more customers and clients positive experiences, word will spread and referrals will start coming in from people in your niche.
In the age of influencers, key opinion leaders (KOLs) and creator brands, people are buying more and more from individuals they trust. The idea is that consumers are interested in buying products that are deemed to be credible by trusted practitioners in their respective field. And consumers are responding, with 74% of consumers saying word of mouth influences their buying decisions.
For example, Erika Kullberg is one of our favorite personal brands to talk about. She’s built a huge personal brand in the legal industry. Kullberg offers legal tips and advice to her significant audiences on channels like Facebook, YouTube and TikTok, and sells templates for common legal document needs through her business Plug and Law.
While her products are great, people buy from her because of her trusted personal brand name and the credibility she garners from her career as an accomplished lawyer. Through offering so much free value to people via her personal brand channels and building trust with her audience she’s been able to transfer that same trust and credibility to her business.
Entrepreneurs who build strong personal brands can take advantage of this consumer buying trend, as people will be buying from their company just as much for their own brand as they are from their personal brand as the leader of their company.
In our blog post comparing personal brands vs. business brands we talked about how personal brands and business brands are converging. This trend is driven by creators like Kullberg and others who have made their personal brands synonymous with their businesses.
Instead of building separate brands for their companies, like Jeff Bezos did with Amazon, many entrepreneurs are building their businesses under their own brand names. For example, Justin Welsh is on a “solopreneur” mission to build a portfolio of personal businesses that account for $5M in annual revenue. He has built his own line of products and services, and his own marketing funnel across channels using his personal brand to drive customer and client leads.
Look for this trend to continue as entrepreneurs continue to see success with personal branding-led growth.
One of the biggest benefits of personal branding is that a personal brand is an asset that you will have for the rest of your career. Professionals can take their personal brand with them from job to job and leverage it as a resource for career advancement and job opportunities. If monetized via side hustles, a personal brand can even help professionals change their career trajectory by starting to work for themselves and to leave their 9-5s.
If you are an existing entrepreneur who is already self employed, or operating as a part time creator, you can leverage your personal brand as a platform for launching new businesses.
Gary Vaynerchuk is a famous example of this. Vaynerchuk started his personal brand back when he was running his family’s wine and liquor business. He became prominent as he shared the marketing and business strategies he was using to grow his family’s business to $60M in revenue, becoming known as a marketing guru. That naturally led him to start his marketing and advertising agency VaynerMedia. From there Vaynerchuk leveraged his established personal brand to sell books, do paid speaking gigs, and start several other businesses, such as VaynerSports, an agency for professional athletes.
Justin Welsh is following a similar blueprint, as he has diversified his product and service offerings as his personal brand has grown. He expanded from consulting services to selling digital products like courses and ebooks.
Similar to the way in which building an audience on a new platform is easier when you have an existing audience on another platform, launching new businesses and products will get easier over time as you have an established following and reputation to put behind them.
As your personal brand grows, and you expand your niche audience by adding new topics that you are known for and corresponding audience segments, you can launch additional products, services, and businesses.
Treating a personal brand like a platform in this way leverages it as a tool you can use throughout the rest of your career to make money and grow your thought leadership reputation.
A personal, and perhaps even more powerful reason why personal branding is important for entrepreneurs is because of the freedom it gives you.
When discussing the value of a personal brand we often refer to a personal brand as a “career safety net.” That is because having an established personal brand gives you career and revenue stability regardless of what comes your way.
For example, if your personal brand has grown to the point that it is driving leads for quality clients and enabling you to charge more for products and services, you can choose to work less if you’d like and embrace work life balance. Or you have the opportunity to keep working as many hours as you’d like to keep scaling your business.
This is a different level of career leverage than professionals with no personal brand, or smaller personal brands have. If they stop working hard, or lose their job from an employer, they don’t have a significant reputation and passive income streams to fall back on.
That is why personal and career freedom is one of the biggest benefits of personal branding. Growing a strong personal brand gives you the power to decide what you want to work on, and when you want to work on it.
A personal brand is a huge asset for any professional, but this is especially true for entrepreneurs. As personal brands and business brands converge, consumers pay more attention to the people they are buying from, and it becomes more common for professionals to be part time creators, it’s never been more valuable for entrepreneurs to invest in personal branding. We hope the research, tips and examples in this blog post help you build your own personal brand and achieve your goals as an entrepreneur.
Personal branding is helpful in entrepreneurial businesses by giving entrepreneurs a platform for improving the reputation of their business, attracting more and higher quality clients, and enabling them to diversify their revenue streams.
Personal branding has a range of benefits ranging from network growth to career opportunities and the ability to monetize your personal brand through hustles and entrepreneurship.
Personal branding is important for career success because it creates an asset that demonstrates your credibility, displays and improves your skill set, and expands your network, leading to better job and business opportunities.
Entrepreneurs need personal brands because they are the face of their business, and they often do not have a significant corporate brand to leverage for marketing like a large, established company does. This means entrepreneurs need to grow and rely on their own brand to drive the growth and reputation of their businesses.
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