You’ve worked so hard to establish a reputation, but now it’s backfired…and, you’re in personal branding hell.
Building a strong personal brand—being known as the go-to person in a specific niche—has it’s ups. Everyone turns to you for information, for ideas, for thought leadership, for advice, for strategy, for connections, for presentations, for favors, for opportunities, for jobs, for partnerships, for salvation.
But, if the way to choose to leverage your personal brand is to trade time for money…
You may well have just built a personal brand that feels more like a cage than a stage.
Because, there are only so many hours you can bill for, so many planes you can get on, so many individual conversations you can have before you…and your life…implode. Especially if you’ve also got a family you actually want to see, friends you love to be around, other activities, passions and hobbies you love to engage in and a commitment to taking care of your body and your mind.
If your personal brand requires you to trade time for money, at some point, you’ll need to make a life-critical decision.
Either increase your rates to a level that let’s you earn enough to live well in the world, while working a balance of hours that affords you a life outside your living. Or, keep your rates accessible to most, forcing you to work a ton of hours…and risk the neglect-driven atrophy of all the other parts of your life you claim to hold dear.
There is, of course, a third option…scale your brand independent of trading time for money.
Keep a certain amount of face-to-face time, especially if that experience makes you come alive (it does, for me). But, then build a plan to scale your business and your income around solutions and experiences that do not require you to trade time for money.
1. Commodotize knowledge & Filter Access – Brain dump what you know into a format—books, videos, info-products, virtual courses—that allows you to share what you know on a mass scale and likely a far more accessible price, without you having to deliver that knowledge repeatedly or provide unlimited or individualized access directly to you.
Lewis Howes’ course on LinkedIn Marketing, Dave Navarro’s Launch Coach products, Naomi Dunford’s small biz marketing programs, Chris Guillebeau’s Unconventional Guides and John Jantsch’s Duct Tape Marketing products are great examples.
2. Train For Bucks – Train people to leverage your knowledge to become independent consultants, then charge a substantial fee for that training. Yes, you may well end up training your competition, but that just means you need to keep growing, learning and improving to stay one step ahead. Plus, if you change your mindset from scarcity to abundance, you’ll realize…you’re actually training your future collaborators and teachers, too.
Legendary copywriter, John Carlton, is a great example, making the leap from writing copy for clients to training people to become copywriters with his Simple Writing System. Or, Pam Slim and Michelle Woodward, two well-known coaches who now virtually train others to make a better living coaching.
3. Build a Team – Bring together a team of people, share what you know, delegate levels of responsibility, then empower and trust them to go out into the world, then go beyond your expectations to help you create even better solutions and bring them to market. This is the foundation of every company that grows out of the unique abilities of an individual.
What Jason Fried did with 37Signals is a great example. Or, how James grew professional writing company, Men With Pens. I did this, too, in my last brick and mortar biz, Sonic Yoga, building a team of amazing teachers and community leaders around me, so that I ended up working only about 5-10 hours a week by the time I sold the company.
4. Be a Catalyst & Aggregator – Leverage your brand to bring together, organize and help market others in complimentary disciplines, forming a collective effort that draws more potential clients with shared needs to your blended efforts. Then, create integrated in-person and commoditized solutions that reach across a broader swath of your clients’ needs.
Brian Clark of copyblogger has executed on this and the above approach masterfully with his company, Unglued Media, bringing in people like Tony Clark (no, he’s not Brian’s second cousin) and Sonia Simone as partners, then teaming with Chris Pearson (DIY Themes), Darren Rowse and Chris Brogan (Third Tribe Marketing) and others to build an online training and product powerhouse.
These are just a few ideas. Point being…
Be very conscious about the way you scale and leverage your personal brand. It’s the difference between living well or living hell.
As always, would love to you know what YOU think…
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