Building a personal brand… what does it take?
Most people who give branding advice have never built their own personal brand. They give you formulas and action steps without having ever experienced the challenges of building a personal brand themselves.
Dan Lok, on the other hand, used his personal brand to go from local businessman to internationally known CEO and mentor. He also knows the struggles of influencers who have a loyal following but can’t convert the attention to money.
That’s why in this article, we’ll go over the top personal branding tips we’ve learned from Dan Lok and other industry experts.
Before you start building a personal brand, there is one thing to think about. Why do you want to build a brand in the first place? What is your goal?
Maybe you seek to share your message with the world, impact others, or connect with people interested in your services. Whatever it may be, start with your goal in mind.
In this article, we’ll show you what to keep in mind when building a personal brand. Following these tips will enable you to get attention from the right people, grow your company, and make a difference along the way.
Most people believe they have to get famous first. Their plan is to get millions of followers, and then start a personal brand. But the truth is, you don’t need a huge follower count to be ready for building a personal brand.
In fact, even with zero followers, you can have a personal brand. Your personal brand is your reputation.
If you were to ask your friends to describe you in three words, what would they say? Would they say you are 'successful, honest and wise' or 'rich, fit, and gorgeous' or something else entirely? Would they say great things about you? Whatever they are, those three words are your reputation, and are, therefore, your personal brand.
Think about it; maybe even ask your friends to describe you. Do you like what they say? If you dislike it, think about what you want to hear instead and work on changing your reputation.
The human brain likes to categorize. Even if you have more than 3 traits, people will remember you for your most prominent behavior. That’s why what you are known for becomes your personal brand.
Having a personal brand means that you yourself are the core of your business. It depends a lot on how you present yourself and how you get your message across. You are marketing your story and your personality.
Common personal branding experts don’t address this. They tell you to find your USP - your unique selling proposition - and base your personal brand on that.
But the truth is, it is the other way around. Your personal brand is based on your personality. Because your personality is unique, your personal brand is also already unique.
You don’t need to start by finding your USP because you already have it: your personality is your USP.
Here’s what to focus on, instead, for building a personal brand: Make sure you have a strong foundation. Choose one thing you are good at—maybe a skill—and use it as the foundation of your brand.
Think about Michael Jordan: his personal brand is still alive, even though he is retired. Why is that?
It’s because his brand had a strong foundation. His reputation as a great basketball player is rock-solid. He can still leverage that brand, even if he isn’t actively playing.
By following this example, you avoid a crucial and common pitfall. So many influencers focus on fame. But, having no foundation—no skill or product to offer—they aren’t able to monetize their personal brand.
Put simply, they get a lot of attention, but can’t convert it to money. They are famous without fortune. As long as you aren’t called Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian, you can’t make money just by being famous.
So, how can you avoid achieving fame without fortune?
Let’s go back to the basis for a moment. Why are you looking into building a personal brand? Most likely because you want to build up to something meaningful, and make money from it.
You want to impact others and grow your business at the same time.
The truth is, doing that isn’t very glamorous. You have to build up your personal brand one fan at a time. You don’t magically get 50,000 fans. You start small, then build your reputation.
Let us provide a perfect example. When Dan Lok started out, his workshops used to have only 2-3 attendees. But he put 100% of his effort into those 2 or 3 people.
The people who attended the workshops loved it and told their friends about it. So, after a while, it wasn’t two people anymore. Slowly the amount rose to 10, 50,100, and now thousands of attendees.
That’s what it means building a personal brand one fan at a time. Focus on real, genuine connections, instead of pursuing a follower count on your social media profile.
The moment you take your fans for granted, you lose brand equity. So, value them: ask for feedback and never take your supporters for granted.
If you build your personal brand online, keep interacting with your fans by liking comments, and asking for feedback.
Dan Lok now has over 2.79 million subscribers on YouTube, yet, he still takes time to reply to and like comments.
As we mentioned previously, regular personal branding advice focuses on finding your USP. But you don’t need that, as your personality is already unique.
Instead, work on publicly showing your personality. People buy people.
Most people would rather buy from a person they know than a CEO hiding behind a logo. If you are known as the face behind your product or service, you will automatically stand out. Showing who you are builds trust.
For a strong personal brand, you are allowed to be prolific. Be open about what you stand for and what you stand against.
If your audience knows your message, you’ll get the attention of people who like what you do and who will buy from you. If you don’t stand for something, you can’t make a difference.
There is a lot of noise in the marketplace. Because of social media, it’s easier than ever to start building a personal brand online. That’s why you want to represent something, have clear values, and be known for what you are good at.
There is one big advantage building a personal brand has over building any other business:your personal brand is transferable across industries.
Even if you change what you do—maybe as you switch careers—your personal brand will stay consistent. Your fans will not only like you for what you do: they will like you for who you are.
You can think about it this way: Dan Lok is known for many things. He is a closer but he is also a copywriter and a CEO. He produces YouTube videos about martial arts as well as business. Because of his congruent and strong personal branding, he can just be himself and show different facets of who he is.
If he were to change careers and do something completely new, thousands of his followers would still be interested. Being authentic and real with your fans creates a lot of trust.
Social media makes personal branding so much easier. Dan Lok personally reached the greatest success with YouTube. But, any social media presence will help you create your brand and build a business faster.
If you want to build your brand online, start with your reputation. What do you want to be known for? Write down the three words you want others to say about you.
Then let your actions reflect those three words, and post content frequently. Offer your services fast; don’t wait until you have thousands of followers.
Remember, you don’t want fame without fortune. You want to make money as you build your personal brand. That’s how you get the right attention from the right people early on and make an impact.
Your personal brand allows you to build a business faster, and make an impact on others as you do so. With a strong personal brand, you stand out naturally and attract the attention of the right people.
Now, you can figure out all of this alone and spend days researching, or you could invest in a personal branding course. But how would you know that the instructor gives actual good advice?
It’s best to learn from someone who has done it all before. Dan Lok used his personal brand to build an 8-figure company. He has collected and shared his best practices on building a personal brand in the Personal Branding Secrets Video Training. Access the full training here.