Chris: “Cmon man, you have to go snowboarding with us tomorrow!”

Me: “I can’t, I just got too much work to do. Here’s an idea, lets have fun tonight!”

Chris: “What do you have in mind?”

Me: “Come over, bring your laptop, your thinking cap, and lets work the night away!” (keep in mind this was a Friday night)

Chris: “Dude, I thought you said you wanted to have fun tonight…”

Me: “I’m serious man. There’s nothing more fun than being productive and finishing up your projects!”

Chris: “You got a seriously skewed view of what’s fun…”

Your personal brand is not just you; it’s also the people you hang around with.  My Dad once told me:

“Show me who you hang out with, and I’ll tell you who you are.”

This quote rings true now more than ever.  Look at your recent Tweets and tell me who you’re @’ing and who’s @’ing you; look at your Flickr and Facebook and see who has been tagged in pictures with you.  We all know about the predominant ways of building your brand (create a blog, get, but did you know that helping your best friends build their personal brand indirectly increases your personal brand as well?

Here are the steps to introducing an unproductive friend into the productive, personal branding lifestyle.

Understand the mindset

I’ve actually spoken to a lot of my motivated friends who are outside of the blogosphere and all of them see their current position as a stepping stone to their next big move. When I ask them if they’re doing what they’re passionate about, they respond by saying, “I could never be passionate about my job; I’m passionate about things outside of work.”

People like my friend Chris are the masses; they see a clear distinction between passion and work. Work is simply a means to provide a life where you can do what you want.  Understand the mindset and you can change the behavior.

Plant the seeds

Introduce your friends to the blogs you read. Don’t just post it on your FB profile; instead, send them a personalized email or message so that they’re more likely to read it.  For a good place to start, link them to Gary Vaynerchuk.  We all know who he is and admire his energy and passion, but I promise you your best friends from high school or college don’t know him.

Secondly, take your friend out to coffee and have a serious career talk. Challenge him with penetrating questions like, “What are you passionate about?” and “Do you really love what you do?” If you really care about this person, then don’t be afraid to ask these tough questions. It is your job to make your friend open up and help guide them to a passionate lifestyle.

Collaborate on a project

Baby steps and hand holding are key. You can’t just tell them to start a WordPress blog and leave them on their own; most people who start blogs or Twitter quickly drop them because they never build a momentum of followers or readers.

Start a collaborative blog with your friend. Show her how to write her first post, how to add widgets on the sidebar, and introduce her to your best friends in the blogging community. For example, outside of the great contributors on Personal Branding Blog, I introduce my first-time blogger friends to Ryan Paugh, Holly Hoffman, Greg Rollett, and Rebecca Thorman.

Advice in Action: I know exactly what my girlfriend Kim is passionate about – fashion.  For an entire year I pretty much pushed as hard as I could to try and get her to start her own fashion blog.  Why didn’t it work?  Because I was pushing her to do it rather than collaborating with her.

Knowing that Kim is shy when it comes to the blogosphere’s culture of no privacy, I spoke to her and her friend Kat about starting a collaborative blog about fashion. I designed the site, showed them Twitter, and taught them how to push it out to the community.  The result was In Our Closet and their collaborative Twitter.

Avoid the blogging black hole

Our community writes such great content about being productive and doing what you love, but we have to realize that a lot of our readers already know the things we preach. A good friend once told me, “The community is turning into a black hole. Everyone who reads our material already knows what we’re teaching and just like to read material that they agree with. We need to find a way to get the non-bloggers to read our blogs.”

Non-bloggers are most likely not going to read your blog, that’s why they’re non-bloggers. Use the techniques above to get your best friends to join the passionate lifestyle and in-turn, increase your own personal brand.


Jun is the Founder and CMO of Future Delivery where he is building Viralogy, the Social Media rank.  His personal blog, Become a Young Successful Entrepreneur, gives a real, unfiltered view of the Startup Life so that current and aspiring entrepreneurs can learn from his successes and mistakes.