Over the ten-plus years of this blog, I have had many people comment on the look and feel of the site. They like my “logo” or the “clean and minimal look and feel”1. They like the consistency of my “branding” across all of my sites2. Or, any number of things along these same stylistic lines.
They think, that in order to be even moderately successful one needs this sort of “personal brand strategy” to be taken seriously. That, they can’t get started doing what it is they want to do without figuring such things out first.
The problem is that what they see as my personal brand is not, in fact, my personal brand. How my site or logo or business cards or the fact that they are all nicely matchy-matchy have nothing to do with my personal brand.
Because, I now know that worrying about “personal branding” and “social media strategy” and the rest of that silliness has ZERO to do with success. You know what that stuff is?
1) An excuse to cover up the fear of not getting started doing what you say you want to do by telling yourself you need all of that stuff to start or be successful.
2) Something for people who wish to capitalize on that fear to tell you need to get so they can sell it to you and make themselves successful.
Here are two examples of people far more successful than me who care nothing about their “personal brand”. Both of these people started in exactly the same place we all have and are huge successes with ZERO attention paid to what most people think is personal branding:
Seth Godin — Seth doesn’t even host a blog on his own domain name. He uses TypePad for gosh sake! The only personal brand he has is this: He shows up, every day, with helpful advice about (mostly) marketing and life. He shows up with a desire and willingness to create things that help people be better at sales and marketing.
Alan Weiss — Look at that website? It’s like an assault on your eyes! And, his Twitter handle isn’t even his name. It’s the damn car he drives. Yet, he makes millions in consulting fees every year and has written some of the most sought after, expensive, and hard to find (because they are always out of stock) books on the subject of consulting and life-balance. He shares his knowledge and tough love. He shows up with a desire and willingness to create things that help people be better and more successful consultants.
The desire and willingness to create things that genuinely help people is the only business plan and personal brand you need. With this, you can get started today. No fancy website or business cards needed.
Do you or do you not want to help people? If so, then do so. Don’t wait until you come up with a “personal brand”. Because, what you call my “personal brand” is not, in fact, my personal brand.
You know what my personal brand really is? I’ll give you a hint: It has nothing to do with my “simple, minimal, and unique branding”. It is the ONLY thing that has made me as moderately successful as I am…
The only personal brand I strive to develop is genuine kindness and a desire to help others.
That is my personal brand.
If you want to copy something, copy that. If you want to have any chance of being successful, start there. And, when you do, measure your success not in money, but in the number or people you genuinely and selflessly help.
You don’t need to pay me, hire me, have my consultation, ask my permission, or anyone else’s for that matter. You don’t even need a domain name for now if you don’t have one — Just ask Seth. In the words of Steve Jobs, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
Are you willing to do the work? Do you, or do you not, want to help people?
You need to stop stalling, get out there, and have a willingness and desire to create something that helps people right now — Today.
I hope this helped. I really do.