As an angel investor and an entrepreneur, there’s always a nice steady stream of money out of my pocket going into new ventures. Lately, I’ve been feeling more reluctant when it comes down to writing the checks.
Why? This thought keeps creeping into my head:
“Instead of spending $20,000 on this new idea, what would happen if I put $20,000 into my personal brand?”
Cause I’m curious. Really curious. If you take a broad definition of the term personal brand, it can include everything from how well you are known as an expert in a certain field, to how many followers you have on Twitter. All of which can contribute to the influx of opportunities that come your way.
Why Invest in You?
Let’s look at the reasons more specifically. Up front, few can argue that being viewed as an expert in a field or service is going to be positive for your personal bottom line. Experts who have a voice, or a “brand,” speak at conferences and write articles in industry rags. They have mindshare in their respective industry, and the attention of the masses to boot.
To the bottom line, this offers numerous monetization options. Industry experts can charge to speak. They can sell information products. They can charge high consulting feeds. Most of all, they get the most ideas and opportunity brought to their doorstep by other companies, investors and the like.
I’m always shocked at the amount of connections I make when I speak at a conference. Or how many people will say “I read your post, and it made me want to ask you this” (in a good way).
There’s also the thought that investing $20,000 in a new website has more downfall than investing in your own brand. Let me explain.
Like any new business a lot can go wrong
If you put a lot of money down on a new domain name in the retirement niche, you’re betting you can market that site effectively against the competition, generate profitable traffic, and build a defensible position against everyone from the other retirement sites. Don’t forget to count in Google and the big brands as other competitors.
Like any new business, a lot could go wrong.
How to put the money to work for you
Alternatively, let’s say you put that money into your personal brand. You build a new website, invest time in creating thoughtful posts, buy advertising to drive visitors and sign ups, pay to fly to industry events and speak, and hire someone to help you develop a small info product. What’s the downside? That you’ll be more well-known?
You could also hire people to run social media accounts on your behalf, pitch speaking gigs, pitch guest posting gigs, and package and mail free t-shirts with your new logo on them out to fans from your new fancy website.
It’s all in the name of mindshare. And I can’t see how it’d ever be a bad investment.
My friend Neil Patel is always talking about how his blog QuickSprout brings him tons of opportunity for consulting and investments. Neil has consistently put out good content on the blog, and positioned himself as a stud internet marketer and young investor. His investment is more time-oriented than a straight cash investment would be, but it serves the same purpose. I doubt he regrets any time spent in building QuickSprout because it’s done so much to further his personal brand and bring him opportunities.
Never a bad investment
Whereas that retirement site could someday be just another poor investment, your personal brand can always use more time and money. Being known as an expert that people turn to for advice is priceless.
That’s the truest form of an annuity I can think of – in a time when a lot of people are struggling to find jobs or might wonder where they can secure consistent income, well the answer is pretty simple . . . invest in your own brand.
Nathaniel Broughton is a veteran internet entrepreneur and investor. Dating to 2002, he has helped produce 3 Inc 500 award-winning companies. Nathaniel owns Growth Partner Capital, a venture fund that provides SEO consulting, premium link building and online reputation management services. He is also owner of SuretyBonds.com, a nationwide bonding agency. Previously he served as CMO of VAMortgageCenter.com, a $65 million nationwide mortgage bank which acquired his marketing firm Plus1 Marketing in 2008. A resident of San Diego, Nathaniel often writes from his experience as an investor, marketer, and advocate of “networking like Paris Hilton parties – Nonstop”. Follow him on Twitter – @natebro.