Building Your Personal Brand
This question was presented to me by one of our clients during his “Hot Seat” call that we have here at Brand Builders Group. It is a very important question and I wanted to share it with you:
“I’m 66 years old and though still proudly firing on all cylinders and more excited about what I’m doing than ever, I’ve also invested over 30 years in my career as a Business Coach and feel like I’ve done almost everything wrong when it comes to branding. You repeat often that “this stuff takes YEARS…” – and, my friend, I don’t really think I have years – like 10 – to get this right. I need to make this sh** come together sooner than later. Meanwhile, I see many of our members at Brand Builders Group that blow me away and cause me to question whether I have the “right stuff”- e.g. many Strategists look like they were picked out of a runway model line-up, you and AJ have killed it in your young careers, I saw a young couple (I’ll call them Kim Kardashian and Justin Timberlake) participating in one of your live events from their bed…and oh, BTW, have over 2 million followers on YouTube – wait, what?! All that is awesome – but I’m not “those people”. So, the question is – do I need to hang it up and just go work at McDonald’s because I’m just too late to the party, or what can you say about the Journey to Influence and breaking free from “being a secret all these years” for someone like me that is later in their career?“
I take the question specifically as, “am I too late to the party in building my personal brand?”
The only and best answer to this question is the Chinese proverb.
There’s the Chinese proverb that says the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.
I mean, that’s the truth. You could have planted the tree. You were saying you spent 30 years doing it wrong. That’s a bummer, right? It would have been better to do it right, starting 30 years ago. That window has passed.
But the second-best time ever in history to plant a tree is today.
Right here, right now.
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time to plant a tree is today.” – Chinese Proverb
Are you too late to the party in building your personal brand?
According to what measure?
This is what’s amazing about this career.
Zig Ziglar didn’t even start his career till he was in his fifties and didn’t even hit his prime until his seventies.
Brian Tracy is someone that I’ve known for years. He is still out there right now, crushing it.
Jack Canfield, Ken Blanchard are other examples. These guys are crushing it and they’re in their late seventies and eighties.
It does no good to ask yourself, worry, and pontificate on “am I too late to the party to build my personal brand?”
It does no good.
The questions you should be asking are:
“What can I do right now today?”
“What do I need to immediately take action on?”
“What is in front of me?”
“What is the future right now?”
Not “what have I missed in the past?” Not looking at what is behind, but asking “how can I spend my time right now in the way that will multiply?”
I’ve been at this for over 20 years and by my accounts, I’m way behind. I feel short of so many people. People who have even been doing it in less time than I have. I have those same self-doubts too.
It doesn’t matter if you’re 66 or if you’re 16 – Get going.
That’s the first thing, but that’s not the most important.
Focusing on the Customer
Here’s the most important thing.
Who cares how many followers you have?
Do you know who cares about how many followers you have?
You are the one who cares.
You’re the one who looks at how many followers you have and says that you don’t have enough or you’re not as good as some other person. Or you’re behind or question why this other person has so many followers.
You’re the only person who looks at that.
Do you know who doesn’t give a crap about that? The person that your brand is designed to serve.
If somebody has cancer, they don’t care about who’s the best doctor and who’s got more credentials than the other person. They care about finding someone that can help them cure their cancer. Even if they’re not number one or if they are number 999 on the list, they don’t care about the person’s credentials. They don’t care about where they go to school.
It might be something that they look at, at some point, but what they really care about is if you can help.
“Can you save me?”
“Can you solve this problem for me?”
They’re not thinking about you.
They’re not reading your bio.
They’re not looking at your followers.
They’re not looking at your YouTube subscribers asking the question of “who is this guy? I think someone else’s better.”
They’re just asking “can you help me?” and “do you understand my problem?”
Your personal brand isn’t about you.
If you can save one person that has cancer and you are 85, would you be late to the party to build my personal brand?
Is that how you would describe your life? Is that how you would describe your business?
I don’t think so.
I sure as hell know that to that one person, they wouldn’t say you were too late.
That one person would thank God for you because you showed up in their life at the exact time that they needed you.
That is all they care about.
The Comparison Game
We must stop thinking about ourselves and comparing ourselves to everyone else.
We must become relentless, ruthless, uncompromising, and unwavering in the idea that you focus on the person you are serving.
I cannot think that I don’t have as many followers as this person. I can’t be consumed.
If I’m consumed with that, what I am not consumed with is how can I find another strategy or another tip to help my customer?
How can I solve their problem faster? What can I do to make this easier for them? How can I forward the thinking that’s been done in my space? What tools or templates or technologies or systems or checklists or frameworks can I develop to help my customer solve their problem better?
You don’t have time to be consumed with the customer because you’re too busy consumed with yourself and your competition.
Forget the competition and our own insecurities!
Instead, allow yourself to be completely absorbed and consumed with your customer’s needs and problems.
Where are they stuck? Why can’t they move forward? What is the thing that is holding them back and how can you help them push back, push past that?
The more you become consumed with your customer, the faster your brand will accelerate.
Followers are like money.
I know a lot of wealthy people. The people who are after money can never get enough money. They always need a little more than what they have.
People who are consumed with followers, views, engagement, etc., it’s the same way.
They can never get enough. The person with a million feels like they’re behind because all the people they hang out with have 5 million. The person with a hundred thousand feels like they’re behind because all the people they hang out with have 500,000. The person with 10,000 always feels behind because all their friends are 50,000 or a hundred thousand. It never stops in that.
What makes a difference is to be consumed, burdened, empathetic and compassionate about the problems that your customers have and throwing yourself, unapologetically, unabashedly in as much all-consuming fashion as you can such as laying your life down to help them.
If you help one person, then you’re not too late.
So, the problem is not am I too late? The problem is that am I too self-centered?
The nature of the question is completely self-centered.
Am I too late? Am I good enough? Am I behind?
Who gives a crap?
The questions you should be asking are how can I help? How can I serve? How can I provide a better solution to my customers who is out there that need me? What can I do to make it easier for them? Where are they getting stuck? What is the problem they have? Where do they live? What are the limiting beliefs they have that I can help them walk through? What are the technical challenges they’re facing that I can help them push past?
You have to become consumed with that.
You can’t be consumed with yourself, your own insecurity or consumed with your competitors, which is why we had that whole conversation about differentiation.
I could care less about differentiation. It’s external. I’m not trying to differentiate myself from every competitor. That’s an endless, meaningless game.
What I want to do is live in my uniqueness in the service of my customer.
Care about your customer, not your competitor.
Focus on the customer. Be consumed with the customer. Be dedicated to the customer.
If you’re 66, or 76, or 86, or 96, if you’ve got one more day on this planet, and there is one more life that you can help, then you got to go help that person.
You’re not too late.
If you are alive and you have access to a camera, the ability to post something on social media, or get a blog, article, or website posted, you’re not too late to impact that person.
You’re only too late compared to whatever crazy expectations or comparisons you might’ve had for yourself.
If there’s a reason that we have gotten to where we are, it’s because I realized early on how extraordinarily self-centered I was and decided I have to let that go. I have to just become consumed with how can I help?
And that is where purpose comes from.
If you’re playing a game of how many followers do I have, then you’re comparing yourself to someone else. Someone wins and someone loses.
But if you’re just playing the game of how can I help? You can only win.
You can only be in the positive. You can only get better.
We must change this.
This isn’t about an Instagram hack.
It’s not about the right hashtag or what website you’re using or what tool you use to send emails. All that stuff is important and matters and we will help you through that.
But what matters more is the heart.
This is a heart transformation.
This is a heart change.
This is a soul shifting that needs to happen.
It is letting go of the insecurity and the comparison and trading that in for the customer, for service centeredness, for asking the question of how can I help?
Not the question of am I worth it, or am I good enough? Or am I late?
But how can I help? How can I be of use? How can I be a value?
To the person that you are in front of today, you’re not too late for them.
That’s the only thing that matters.
The answer to your question is no, you are not too late in building your personal brand. So, quit asking the question. Put your head down, get busy, doing what you can do, stay plugged in here and keep going.
We all struggle with the same problems which is why we’re here on this journey together. Share below in the comments what you are struggling with so we can support you.