When it comes to building a personal brand, the golden rule is to be authentic to who you truly are.
Most people get caught up in trying to paint a picture of who they wish they were, instead of expressing what it is they know best. Aspiring influencers, especially, forget that what makes a personal brand, personal, is having audience members be able to relate to you, your experiences, and what it is you stand for.
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Nowadays, most entrepreneurs see the value in taking the time to build their own personal brand. They know that by having an audience, and taking the time to share what they’ve learned on their own, they can leave a positive impact on others—and build awareness around their own projects at the same time.
For example, when Chris Cavallini was building his now wildly successful company, Nutrition Solutions, delivering pre-cooked healthy meals to customer’s doorsteps, he was also building himself and his personal brand—and it paid off, big time. As a kid, Cavallini moved from foster home to foster home. Today, he is the CEO of an 8-figure company, as well as a renowned speaker and positive voice in the entrepreneurship community.
Having a personal brand has been a huge part of his success. Here are a few mantras he followed to build his—and how you can build a personal brand too.
Find ways to provide value to people for free.
“For me, building my personal brand was a slower process because of how immersed I’ve been in building the business. But the two were always happening simultaneously, in some form or another. And what I’ve learned is that the strategy for building a successful company is the same for building yourself, which is to find ways to give value to others without expecting anything in return,” said Cavallini.
“Whether that means educating your audience, motivating them on a daily basis, or just allowing them to connect with you and ask questions, you have to give them a reason to follow you.”
He went on to explain that if you’re trying to speak someone else’s language, and not being authentic to yourself, that’s going to come through in the verbiage and content you’re putting out. People can tell when you’re trying to be something you’re not.
According to Cavallini, the easiest way to think about it is to ask yourself what you’re really passionate about—and then share that. You can’t fake passion, and that’s what’s going to be attractive to people more than anything else.
Find someone successful to model, and study them.
When Cavallini was first getting into entrepreneurship, he was looking to the people who had already ‘made it’ to learn from, just like everyone else. He says the same goes for personal branding, and understanding all the different ways you can connect with the kinds of people you want to reach.
“Do your homework, study up on what has worked well for others, and then create your own playbook based on what you know and what it is you want to share,” he explains. “Remember, it’s not about copying someone else. It’s about learning, improving, and then putting it into your own unique style and voice.”
Especially when you’re first starting out, this is one of the best things you can do. Take the time to survey who else is in your space, and how they communicate and share what it is they know. You’ll save yourself a lot of wasted time trying to reinvent the wheel.
Lead by example, not by the content you post.
“I’ve always believed that actions speak louder than words. So, even if you’re posting the most motivational stuff on the Internet, if you don’t walk the walk then people are going to see right through that when they meet you,” said Cavallini. “Your personal brand online should be a reflection of who you are, your best self. Which means it’s up to you to uphold those standards within yourself. That’s how you become a real leader.”
This resonates tremendously, considering how many people turn to social media to portray a version of themselves that is far from the truth. Part of building a successful and impactful personal brand is in ensuring that when people meet the “real you” outside the Internet, they get the real deal.
“You can’t expect people to do things you’re not doing yourself,” added Cavallini.