The first book I read by Michael Port was Book Yourself Solid: The Fastest, Easiest and Most Reliable System for Getting More Clients Than You Can Handle Even if You Hate Marketing and Selling. It contains some of the most practical, actionable, and no-nonsense advice I’ve come across to authentically market yourself.

372Port sees personal branding as two components: your “who and do what” statement, and your “why you do it” statement.

Your who and do what statement

First you need to be clear about whom you help and what you can help them do. You’ll probably share this with others in your industry. It’s the first filter people will use to determine if you’re right for the job.

Fill in the blanks for yourself. Be accurate and concise: “I help [who you help] [what you help them do].” For example, “I help professional service provides book themselves solid.”

When creating your who and do what statement, think about specific problems you solve, who you solve them for, and what the results are. Put it down on paper to make it real, and then start revising and honing it. Show it to friends and family. Write and rewrite it. Throw it out and start again. It’s an iterative process, not a one-shot deal. But it’s vitally important to make it concise and authentic.

Your why you do it statement

3718789722_8800a8f2a3Now that you have your who and do what statement, potential clients and employers want to know if they resonate with you on an emotional or philosophical level. As Port says, “They’ll want to know if they connect with your why you do it statement – the reason you do what you do.”

This part can be tough. You need to identify exactly why you’re the person to serve their specific, personal, and urgent needs. If you do it right, ideal clients will feel attracted to you on a deeper level, and be more likely to hire you or purchase your services.

In Port’s business, he’s known as “the guy to call when you’re tired of thinking small.” That’s because he’s been saying this over and over since the day he realized that was his why you do it statement. How did he develop his? One day a colleague in his mastermind group was giving him a hard time and asked, “Why would I hire you for that?” He blurted out, “Because I’m the guy to call when you’re tired of thinking small.” Everyone in the room held their breath and then broke out cheering with excitement because they knew he had hit on something. The “Think Big Revolution” is now his tagline.

When creating your why you do it statement, think about who you are at your core, why you do what you do, and why people should work with you. What is it like to be around you? What is the vision that inspires you? How do you want to touch others’ lives in a positive and meaningful way?

As Port says, your why you do it statement will “resonate with those you’re meant to serve.” When you make it clear who you’re serving, what you help them do, and why you do it, you will repel those who will be a pain to work with (for you) and attract those who will be a joy to work with. Personal branding means not pleasing everybody, but truly pleasing those who will benefit the most.

Write out three possible why you do it statements. Be bold and give yourself options. Identify which parts of each option you like and don’t like. Combine them and start over. This is in iterative process that can take weeks or even months. But unless you start, you have nothing to improve upon.

2041435108_968a5ae489Personally, it took me about a week of soul-searching, and then a week to wrap language around my purpose and vision. My why you do it statement stems from my vision of a world where everyone devotes their working lives to meaningful, fulfilling projects. If Michael Port is the guy to go to when you’re tired of thinking small, I’m the guy to go to if you’re a passionate person looking for meaningful projects online. Your web presence allows you to be found by like-minded people who need your help and will pay you for it. A strong web presence makes it much easier to find you and connect you to people with similar passions and goals. The stronger your online identity, the more you will attract meaningful career opportunities and be able to work on fulfilling projects.

So give Michael Port a call if you’re tired of thinking small. Give Pete Kistler a call if you’re passionate about finding meaningful projects online.

Now tell me, why should I call you? I’d love to hear your who and do what statement, as well as your why you do it statement. Leave a comment and share the core of your personal brand.


Pete Kistler is a leading Online Reputation Management expert for Generation Y, a top 5 finalist for Entrepreneur Magazine’s College Entrepreneur of 2009, one of the Top 30 Definitive Personal Branding Experts on Twitter, a widely read career development blogger, and a Judge for the 2009 Personal Brand Awards. Pete manages strategic vision for Brand‐, the first online reputation management platform for job applicants, named one of the Top 100 Most Innovative College Startups in the U.S.