Your personal brand is NOT your business.

Published: by Michael Kove
Your personal brand is NOT your business.

Your Personal Brand is NOT Your Business

This is a rather triggering statement, considering the rise of personal brand gurus and solopreneurship proponents.

I must be careful to tread on this topic, because, avalanche of “whataboutism” will come my way.

“What about Dan Koe?”

“What about Justin Welsh?”

You’re correct, those individuals have strong personal brands. But that’s not their business.

Their personal brand IS NOT their business.

Let me explain.

What is a business?

For a business to be a business (and not a hobby) it must make money by selling products, services, information, rights, or knowledge.

If you’re building a personal brand and call it a “business” that means you’re selling yourself, but you cannot sell yourself. You can only sell something you can do.

“But, I am a freelancer, I deliver services myself,”

  • yes, your business is freelancing. Not you.

Your personal brand just helps you get clients.

You can be a business of one (like Justin Welsh) but you still have to sell something to your audience - be it products, courses, skills, time, etc.

Personal brand is a gateway to business. It’s a marketing channel.

I am not labeling gymnastics here. It’s important to understand this concept.

You build a real business and use your personal brand as a marketing avenue. ddd Personal Brand Is not a business

Let me illustrate a few simple examples:

  • You create a product, like a digital course, training, or cohort. You have an addressable market to whom you sell your product. Your business is training and consulting (EDUCATION). You sell your knowledge packaged in a digital (or physical) product or service (1-on-1 coaching).
  • You build a software product (SaaS). You’re selling subscriptions to that software to your audience. The business is your SaaS startup. You’re just a spokesperson (founder) of it.
  • You have a community around your brand. The business IS the community, not you. You’re just an organizer and leader of that business.
  • If you have a big following on social media and you sell retweets or sponsored posts - your business is publishing. You have a platform, you have attention, you sell views. In a way, your business is a media company

You see? The business is not you.

There are few benefits to having strong reputation (i.e., Personal Brands):

  • Your personal brand allows you to get opportunities you otherwise wouldn’t have.
  • You might get invited for equity stake at a company (story of JK Molina and TweetHunter) or you might join a venture with others (story of Dan Koe and Kortex).

But in the end, you become part of a bigger business beyond your own personal brand.

You can and should be using your personal brand to promote your business(es).

Few other examples of Personal Brands:

  • Person: Elon Musk
    Business: SpaceX, Tesla
  • Person: Andrew/Christian Tate
    Business: War Room - Community, The Real World - Education
  • Person: Iman Ghadzi
    Business: Educate, Agency Navigator
  • Person: Joe Rogan
    Business: Broadcasting (podcasting)

Personal Marketing

Here is a distinction on why Personal Brand isn’t a business:

Given enough budget and time, could a person build a business being fully anonymous? A business can exist without Personal Brand.

However, building a personal brand without business (product/service) behind it - is non-monetizable.

“But, what about ad sharing revenue?”

Good question.

Ad sharing revenue is nothing different from putting Google Ads on your personal blog. It’s still PUBLISHING BUSINESS. You are in media business, you’re selling advertising space to Google on your publishing platform (your Channel).

You’re still a publishing company.

Personal brand is a reputable marketing channel as I said multiple times above

But it’s also a segmentation channel.

When you build your reputation online, you attract certain types of followers and fans. People who align with your core message, story, belief, and mission. The stronger relationship between you and your audience the stronger your marketing channel is.

Personal Brand is a Markeitng Channel

Bringing back analogy of traditional marketing

In traditional marketing, a media buyer would ask a media channel about its audience (demographics: age, gender, location, marital status, hobbies, political or religious affiliation, etc).

With a personal brand those will be directly reflective of who you are.

Most of your followers will be those that resonate with your message.

This is why transparency and genuine content is very important, otherwise your audience will not align with you.

While you may create content on various topics, your core and underlying message remains around single direction and things you stand for.

At the end of the day, building a marketing channel, called “Personal Brand” is not your sole business. Nor can it be.

Find a big problem to solve, build a business around it and use

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