How can solopreneurs combine a personal brand with their company brand or product?
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC recently published #FixYoungAmerica: How to Rebuild Our Economy and Put Young Americans Back to Work (for Good), a book of 30+ proven solutions to help end youth unemployment.
1. Focus on Values
In the process of building your company and brand, keep the focus on the values you hold personally that have influenced your business offers. Share how these values infiltrate your life and work so you’ll attract clients who hold those same values and connect to your brand.
2. “Product U”
A colleague of mine Arthur Wylie talks about the concept of Product U. In today’s landscape where people are oversaturated with businesses and products, drawing a connection to the individual CEO/entrepreneur is what will draw them in. Emphasize the ‘why’ of your product/brand. Why did you create it? If you can honestly say you want to help people, and tie your personal story to it, that’s gold!
3. Aren’t They the Same?
My brand is my business and vice versa. I’ve built numerous businesses that are all based around my lifestyle, and I’m able to leverage the credibility of my personal brand which establishes my expertise in small business and travel. I’ll cross-promote anything on my personal site and business ventures without hesitation because they go hand and hand.
4. Lead With Your Name
It’s so easy for us to think we need to have a big business name and brand, but if you’re a solopreneur, then you are your business. Lead with your name, because that’s the one thing in your business that isn’t going to change. Think Walt Disney, Ralph Lauren, and Corcoran Group.
5. Lifestyle Mastery
LIfestyle Mastery is when the people who know you best don’t know the difference between your work and your play. Figure out what you love to do, what you do even if you are not being paid and then figure out a way to be paid for it. I always hang out with entrepreneurs and tell them how they can get more done and make more money by delegating more work, so I started an outsourcing business.
6. Take Responsibility
When your personal brand and your company are the same thing, you are ultimately responsible for every step (and misstep) your company takes. That means making it clear to your clients that you are accountable and willing to personally step up in any situation. Anything less and your brand will suffer.
7. What Sets You Apart?
I’m of the mind that ‘personal branding’ is really just a buzz phrase that means ‘being yourself.’ How can you leverage who you are, warts and all? Focus on your biggest quirks — the things that make you most clearly YOU — and magnify them as a means of setting yourself apart from the competition.
8. Discuss Your Passion
Don’t be afraid to let your audience know who you are and why you do what you do. Be transparent. They will love your honesty and learn to trust you.
Photos of yourself, your travels, your life, etc. help to differentiate your business from huge enterprises that typically use stock photography.
10. Be the Face
Be the face of the company and include yourself in marketing materials. When you are the face of the company and you improve your personal brand, it improves the company brand. We work with clients all the time that see company results by building their own professional brand when they are the face of the company.