With the rise of entrepreneurial powerhouse Marie Forleo and her Digital B School, thousands of women are now building “personal brand” businesses.
More than 8,800 entrepreneurs have enrolled in her online business program since she launched B-School in 2010. Go. Marie. Go.
The ability to build a business doing what you love feeds your soul. But the personal brand marketplace is getting crowded inside a torrent of social media one-upmanship.
How do you distinguish yourself, your product, and make money (our favorite part) in such a saturated marketplace?
Your personality alone is not a business model
Don’t confuse yourself and your product. Your business needs to be about more than just you, even if you’re like, the most passionate person on earth. For your business to succeed, you have to have a formula that shows how your personal brand and products translate into a viable revenue model. Profits come from models, not ideas.
As Karen Kang writes in “Branding Pays: The Five-Step System to Reinvent Your Personal Brand”: “Without a brand goal, strategy and action plan, personal branding becomes akin to baking a cake without a recipe.”
Marketing is not sales
Even if you manage to get your message in front of 10,000 potential customers, you aren’t guaranteed that any will spend money with you. Reaching 10,000 potential customers is “marketing.” Making money is “sales.” Learn how to sell. Ask: What do you need to present to your customer that takes them from “I want what you have” to “I’m willing to give you money for that”?
Personal branding guru Kristen Domingue asks, “Are you clear on your market and what they really desire? You have to get in touch with what your ideal customers are experiencing and sell to that core need, or your message will get lost in the noise.”
Invite your customers to a party
Alt-rock musician Amanda Palmer, who crowdfunded her most recent album, raising over $1 Million on Kickstarter concluded her fantastic Ted talk with simple advice: “Don’t make people pay for music; let them.” She’s one of many new entrepreneurs who have picked up on a cultural shift. The way we think about commerce is changing. Selling is no longer about persuasion; it is about inviting potential buyers to join your community.
Author John Morgan says, “The future of branding is marketing with people and not at them.” With social media now integrated into our lives, your network and your client base are one and the same.
With so many information products out there, it is easy to fall into the “If she can do it, I can!” trap. You can create a sustainable business doing what you love; but in order for it to feed your wallet, you need passion, market alignment, and a revenue model that scales.