Top 10 Rules for Having a Strong Personal Brand

Sometimes on Twitter (@DanSchawbel) I get into rants when ideas or thoughts come into my head.  The other night, I tweeted a list of ten rules.  I didn’t even bother saying what they pertain to, but from the tweets it was apparent that they had to do with how to be successful.  From my viewpoint, they were completely focused on how to become a strong personal brand.  If you actually follow all ten, you too will be a personal branding expert.

Aside from breaking down the top ten rules below, I sincerely think a lot of success is about confidence in yourself, which translates into a positive attitude and then success is the output.  If you don’t have the go-getter attitude, then your body language and verbal cues will lack influence.  People that are successful have an internal feeling of pride and confidence that appears that way on the outside.  It’s pretty obvious when you spot someone like this and I’m sure you have as well.  Without further ado…


Top 10 Rules for Having a Strong Personal Brand

Rule #1: Never give up!

This one is self-explanatory.  If you give up, you won’t make it far in life.  You’ll also let your competition more successful and you’ll feel like a quitter and lose respect from your peers.  Before you start a major project or a company or even a blog, decide whether the concept is something you’re A) passionate about  B) have expertise in  C) have either the financing or the support system to back you up.  Not having A, B or C, is a reason to take a step back from executing on your plan. People who are truly passionate about something tend not to give up and see things through.  On the other hand, those that lack that enthusiasm will end up wondering why they even started in the first place.

Rule #2: Believe in yourself so other people can believe in you.

The best way to get other people excited about working with you or being part of your community is to feel the emotion that you want them to feel.  You can tell when someone lacks confidence and people can’t fake it either.

Rule #3: Know yourself so other people can get to know you.

This rule is taken directly from Chapter 5 of Me 2.0, which is also the first step in the personal branding process called “Discover.”  By discovering your brand and narrowing down your interests, strengths and aspirations, you’re able to better communicate who you are and what value you can contribute to other people.  Not taking the time to get to know yourself better will lead to awkward conversations and the inability to stand out.

Rule #4: Your greatest and most unique asset is your personality, so use it!

It’s really easy to cover up your personality and mimic someone else’s.  I’m sure there has been a point in your life where you’ve gone incognito during a social event because you didn’t want to be judged harshly by other people (you wanted to fit in).  When you go on a first date, you cover up your identity because you’re afraid of putting yourself out there and taking a chance.  The girl or guy might be turned off on date one when you tell them you put mayonnaise on your steak.  This is why a lot of relationships and marriages fail actually.  People wait till they’re comfortable with you to reveal their true brand “colors.”  I think there’s a massive opportunity in putting yourself out there immediately.  Your brand personality is your ultimate differentiator because it can’t be copied and it can filter out your friends from everybody else pretty quickly.

Rule #5: By copying someone else you are selling yourself short.

Let’s say your friend started a blog on the Red Sox and it became so successful that the actual players started reading and commenting on it.  You decide to copy the exact idea and then don’t see the same results.  People get sick of the twenty million marketing blogs out there and the thousands of companies with the same ideas, audience and business models.  When you break away from the pack, you can form your own pack and get a greater degree of notoriety and respect (for yourself).

Rule #6: Be consistent in everything you do if you want to build your brand.

Don’t tell me that your website looks different than your business cards and that your LinkedIn profile appears different than your paper resume.  Start analyzing your actions taken both offline and online and think about how to make them more consistent so people say “oh that’s something ____ does.”  The more people can identify with certain habits, clothing, tag lines, colors, etc, the more your name will get out there through word-of-mouth.

Rule #7: You need three things to be successful: Passion, Expertise and a Support System.

I’ve blogged about this before because it’s one of the frameworks I like to communicate to the masses.  Passion allows you to never give up (Rule #1), expertise allows you to fulfill job requirements or client needs and a support system is the only way you can progress in your career.  You’re probably thinking, “but there’s got to be more to being successful.”  The truth is that there isn’t because everything else works itself out when you have these three elements locked down.

Rule #8: Take a stand on a topic because no one is interested in neutral.

Having opinions on topics is very important in a world where there are already a billion resources like the Encyclopedia and Wikipedia.  The only way to really get people talking is to be red or green and not yellow (like traffic lights).  When you’re neutral, then people will pass over you and not care because they think you’re either afraid to take a stand or you just don’t care enough.  The people that get the most attention are those that cite their own views on a topic and don’t back down.

Rule #9: You get out what you put in, so work as hard as you can and you’ll see amazing results.

Working for eight hours a day is only going to get you eight hours of (possible) results.  Doing the bare minimum of anything isn’t a great way to brand yourself either.  The world praises over achievers, who invest a lot of time in delivering value.  The social media world forces all of us to work even harder because there is so many more opportunities out there.  Companies aren’t just hiring social media specialists for fun.  Know your limits as well.

Rule #10: Imagine your future and then take each day to build it!

Take a good look at yourself.  No really, you should.  Think about where you currently are (financially, career, family, relationships, etc) and where you want to be in five, ten, fifteen years.  If you do one thing each day to get to your long-term goals, you’ll end up reaching them.  Sometimes this means setting aside an hour each night to do one thing that will help you move to the next.  Neglecting short term work won’t help you achieve long term results.