…or moron personal branding. I know, I came out hating it. Still do, kinda. But it’s a useful shorthand if done right.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea lately. Inc Magazine talks a little bit about it, too. It’s been on my head lately, and maybe for good reason.
Maybe I’m wrong about it. Meaning this: I don’t understand–and may never understand “life coaching.” I am a creditor to many life coaches, and pity has kept me from pursuing my interests. (Full disclosure, as you’d expect nothing less: I myself am a debtor to a couple of ‘dull normal’ businesses at the time this is written.) I don’t get long term or lifelong coaching engagements. I understand full-well hiring an expert to understand a particular problem: to get a job, to quit a job, to quit quitting jobs. Hiring a coach to beat back general malaise isn’t something I get.
Personal branding–as a means to prop someone up–is vacuous and stupid.
Personal branding as a short hand for others-focused ideas isn’t stupid: “Dave Ramsey” style debt reduction, or Martha Stewart quality home dec can matter. Those two–and many others we can name–made their personal brands about something else. Was it self serving? Surely. Was it worth it?
I’ve run from it because I think that part of me wants to be faceless. Some part of me wants to remain an underground troll, oscillating in suffering from and rejoicing in some low grade sociopathic personality disorder. I run from branding because if it’s about me then I have to engage emotionally, and care. If it’s about flat rate, then I can leave it alone and let it go.
If it’s about me, I can be rejected,or hurt, or called out. If it’s about a company it’s all a mere business decision. If it’s about me there’s some connection.
Personal branding can be done without being a flake.
It can be done without being a narcissistic asshole (note: I tend towards narcissistic asshole and I make little-to-no effort at personal branding, so you don’t have to develop a personal brand to become a narcissistic asshole)
There are people that are involved with personal branding that I seriously admire.
I can hide behind some fatuous made-up company because it’s easier to do. It’s just me shirking the responsibility to be amazing.
Hiding diminishes both me and my voice. It takes away from what I can and am here to give.
I can help dudes like my buddy Tim Blakenship get results like this:
? Last week I actually had 6 calls. 2 out of area that are in progress and 4 locally. I got pretty busy this week, but am going to maintain the level of posts to my blog as that seems to dictate my level of business. I received an awesome client testimonial that i put on my site as well. Today i was interviewed by the Las Vegas Business Journal regarding my expertise in short sales. ( The reporter found my blog) My Blog is my only advertising. Im your biggest fan.
That’s not unusual–we do good work, when we get clients that actually work. Which is about half of them.
But if I’m not a real connection, but some faceless service, then I can’t do that, can I? Companies that build websites are a dime a dozen. Amazing people that helped YOU are rare. I want to be the second. I want my voice to be everywhere.
I am depriving people of good work by being hidden. By being anonymous. People want to believe. People want to be a “Dave Ramsey Debt Free” fan or a “Ron Paul Libertarian.” No Drama Obama was a cool and calm meme that got him elected. They want people, not corporations. They want voice. For all the shit that I’ve thought about personal branding, for all the disdain that I have for pablum peddling soft skill e-book writers, the crux is this: they want to believe. Fathertongue/Mothertongue stuff.
So I have to come out from behind and maybe create some fame. And use my powers for good.
I help “dull-normal” small businesses get online, one inch at a time.
I “wal-mart” proof businesses.
To make sales, one on one and connect with people.
My discomfort with what I was doing was spiritual: what does it matter how famous I get? (And some “famous” success stories owed me money, which hurt me this year). Well, if I am not truly about me, if I don’t really love my fame, but want to help others, and that’s my “calling card,” and I do what i
??The people I admire that are practitioners have something more to give than “look at me,” r even “kumbaya community” and it’s clear in everything that they do and say. There’s a “take it-or-leave-it” approach to the way they are that gets beyond the generation Y “look at me” addiction. Some of my heroes (Boomer, X and Y). They are dependent on talking, maybe. Thing is, so am I. Thing is, running from reality is stupid. Pretending that I am a corporation is one of my dumbest pretenses.
Gary Vee – used video to sell a shit ton of wine. Did it with authenticity. Did it daily, when nobody was watching. Caught on slow and killed it. He’s a little more “vague” than I’d like at times, but the idea is that you work your ass off at communicating and connecting. He’s a salesman that leveraged a hard-to-leverage business by putting his soul into getting…a little better all the time.
Nametag Scott Ginsberg – I know Scott fairly well these days. I consider myself fortunate to be able to skype with him and chat occasionally. His schtick is about writing. That’s what he is at the core of his being. That’s what he lives and who he is. He’ll say it’s about approachability, but look between the lines at the example he sets. I know of no better living example of pursuing perfection.
Elizabeth Potts Weinstein gets specific. She says that she’s about Living Your Truth. Even though it might be a sconch touchy-feely for me, she’s not hiding what she’s about. She talks about business, smarts and stuff right away.
A personal brand–if it’s to have any meaning–has to be a symbol for a standard of care, excellence and esprit de corps. As energetic as Gary Vee. As Approachable as Nametag Scott. As direct as Elizabeth Potts Weinsten. A Nordstrom, an institution.
Excellent, but the same for others. Like Naomi no clue what she’ll say next. None. But we know why she’ll say it, what the purpose is and everything else.
What this means for me (and you, eventually) is this:
- I’m going to admit that I do what I already do. That is to coach (and oh, I used to hate that word) “normal” businesses unreal results on the internet. No more hiding from it.
- I’m going to be everywhere. Guest posting, making videos, making people get things? I’m there. You want me guest hosting on your webinar? I’m your huckleberry. You got a blog with 8 readers? You want mine in? You betcha.
- I’m going to give sound, rock solid, business building advice that doesn’t depend on social media or search to work
- I’m not half assing it. I’m already a cartoon charachter for those that know me. In the next 3-4 days, I’ll have a symbol for how I help and the value I ad.. Gitomer took the mechanic’s role. Housechick was super-girl. Neither goes far enough.
- I’m not waiting: The time will pass anyway, I need to be in, personally, and I’ve to my ideas as it stands.
This isn’t an announcement of the “someday-maybe” kind, it’s overdue. I can’t stand by and watch salesmen suffer. I’ve had–no denial–a great year. There are things that will be better, but I’m on pace.
Watch this space for some radical things.
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