Who hasn’t wanted to be like Steve Jobs of Apple or Bill Gates of Microsoft, but with their own company? What I discovered these thought leaders have in common is a personal brand that extends the efforts of the company. I’ve learned that it isn’t just their business that defines them. It’s their thought leadership, voice and character as an entrepreneur.
You’ve already accomplished step one to building your personal brand. You’re an entrepreneur. If you’re like most of us, you find your business being one of the main aspects that defines you. This is why I wanted to share with you a business model that will grow both your business and personal brand beyond your wildest dreams.
Step 1: Become an Entrepreneur
Step one, check. You’re an entrepreneur, which means you have the experience, knowledge and thought leadership it takes to create a personal brand that is unlike any other. There may be other companies that offer similar products or services as yours, but there’s only one you.
Can you see your name on the cover of a business magazine? What would your tagline be? What message would you share to the world? Keep this vision in your mind, because this type of personal brand awareness could be in your near future. You have the resources already available to you to start sharing your story and communicating with consumers in a way that surpasses your company’s products or services. All you need to do is tap into your creative energy and share your story.
Step 2: Become an Author
You’re already an entrepreneur, so consider becoming an author. Authorship is one of the best ways to establish yourself as an expert in an industry. Being an entrepreneur means you have ideas, experiences and advice that are unique from most. There are plenty of people who want to write a book. It’s stays at the top of their bucket list year after year, but for some reason or another they never finish, or in most cases never begin writing it.
Whenever I meet someone who has the initiative and self-discipline to finish writing a book, I think, “This person is on their way to building something larger than their business. They must be a real thought leader.” I don’t believe a book is an expensive business card; my book has its own P&L.
When I began to write my book, I referred to all the stacks of notes and drawings I’d kept over the years, not to mention all of the voices in my head. I compiled all my observations, failures and successes into a final piece of work that inevitably became part of my personal brand. The true magic to being an entrepreneur and an author is that it begins with the development of a new business model, one which grows your credibility as an expert in the field and extends your corporate brand.
Step 3: Become a Speaker
Along with your published book, there will be opportunities for speaking engagements. I quickly learned that speaking provides ample lead-generation opportunities. I’d already proven myself as a successful businessman through my entrepreneurship and established myself as a thought leader from my authorship, but speaking offered me opportunities for networking and additional credibility.
The more I spoke to different groups, the more I was asked to speak. The more I was asked to speak, the more credible I became not only as an entrepreneur but as a thought leader on my unique subject matter. Because I’ve been through the book-writing process, I’m flooded with more content ideas for a second book edition.
Now when I speak to various organizations, not only am I paid for the event itself, but I have the credibility to cross-sell. I’m able to speak and network pertaining to my book’s subject matter, and also for my business. For example, I was just asked to speak this June at the Inc. Leadership Conference. I would never have thought that was possible before publishing my book!
The Business Model: Speaker, Author and Entrepreneur
The reason this business model works so incredibly well is that being an entrepreneur provides the material for writing a book. Writing a book helps generate speaking opportunities, and speaking opportunities help sell books and provide opportunities for your business. There’s a fine formula for making this business model a true success. The first step is writing a book and promoting yourself as a thought leader, and if you desire, a speaker.
I’ve learned that people want something real. They want to know the person behind the product and service. My best advice would be to compile your ideas and experiences into a book and begin extending your personal brand beyond your business. Focus on what you’ve learned and what you can offer others. Another level of success will soon follow.