I had a great conversation with a friend today on this, We’ve known each other for around 7 years, through our lows and highs We’re both doing fairly well for ourselves now, and have learned some things. We started with fitness, but we’ve become more broad and principle based over time. We discussed developing a personal business as a series of stages: Your own identity, Attention Economy, Engagement, Marketing along with Relationship Building and Direct line selling. We’re both in the fitness industry, of course. We observe how EASY it is to generate “attention”, and people mistake attention, followers, and “low investment” engagement for marketing. As we defined it, attention is NOT marketing. Marketing is intentional and specific and prioritizes convertible engagement.
To use a generic example, we cite the “hot fitness chick” w/ 100,000 followers. Such women have massive attention, but this doesnt convert to sales nor credibiity, its simply a lot of eyes on them most market nothing better than skinny tea and ass programs. If a person wants to create a “rich” personal business, they don’t just need attention. They need a high value engagement model and they need to build RELATIONSHIPS. This is bridge between engagement and marketing. Some people never get pass the engagement stage. They get very very popular, and can talk to people. But they are fearful to market themselves and SELL. If you create high value relationships, you can market yourself very effectively.
Specifically, we used examples of free content, identifying problems and providing solutions, and high value interaction like video. If one is doing these things, the selling becomes an extremely direct process, as value has been established long before the sale ever takes place. AND the sales are ironically NOT “salesy” because you presold yourself many times over.
Now, in this conversation, we are discussing people who are personal trainers and want to grow their business with strong clientele. So keep in mind the context, this isn’t “empire” building on how to make a million a year. That said, if you work ONLINE It is prescient And I do think it applies to most every level of business, as the digital world is a highly PERSONAL one. Companies live and die by reputation/perception/engagement.
“What are mistakes people make?”
Well, lets go through the continuum.
1.Your own identity-People can get very very caught up in defining their brand, to the point of redundancy. When no one knows who you are, how hard do you need to define your brand? One can get extremely caught up in the personal branding, and its akin to a business obsessed with having the perfect “business plan” You can make a 100 page document laying out mission purpose philosophy strategy & guess what? You’ve still done NOTHING.
Personal business are PERSONALITY driven. There’s your “brand identity” right there. That goes for whether you are public or anonymous. Your personality and persona are what are your brand.
2. Attention Economy & Engagement-People screw this up constantly. Quantity is emphasized over quality and depth. You see this constantly on twitter. How many media people have tens of thousands of followers, yet have shit engagement? 10,000 awesome fans beats 200k who barely give a shit about you and half them are trolls to begin with. Don’t underestimate the power of concentrated tribes to be cliched, 100 lions will rip the shit out of 10,000 sheep.
3.Marketing-The way most people market, or try to They get caught up in their quantity paradigm They try to cater to a crowd, which then dictates back to them what they should do You are now everyone’s slave. You might have some success with this, you might But you will also be phony af, NOT “authentic” And you will be beholden to your audience. On top of that, the likelihood that you’ll produce ANYTHING of high quality is low. Again, fitness industry, everyone one is selling transformations, skinny tea, and booty building, and meal plans. Ironically, I see the same thing in the “entrepreneurship” industry. Coaches selling coaching on how to coach Marketings marketing how to market Entrepreneurs selling to entrepreneurs how to entrepreneur. Its rather hysterical! No doubt some of this is REAL and Quality But, a lot of it is very very dubious Startups for startups showing up to startup anyone? LOL
4. Engagement and Sales-This is where personality comes back in. A lot of you are simply afraid to be real and be YOURSELVES. And I mean that. No one wants to sparkle and let their personality run wild. Your personality/persona is what connects people to you. It is what sets you apart. It gives you a story that people can identify with, a person they can relate to. But people are fearful of being judged, criticized, and they hold back. This makes you boring, uninteresting and you cannot sell anyone, because your persona is too weak to convince anyone you are worth buying from.
Of course, if you have REAL WORLD RESULTS to back up what you sell. Well then, you ought to have some confidence to your personality. But assuming you have that, but are too afraid to be fucking real with people. Same problem: you’re good, but boring. To use myself as example, I let my personality run fucking WILD. It has WORKED. It has worked VERY VERY WELL. But, I also know I’m world class in what I do. 2 hrs w/ me & I can change your health the rest of your life. My confidence is nigh Infinite.
If you have paid attention, You’ll notice I’ve cultivated distinct phrases that people identify with me. Within my sphere, I’ve popularized email lists, long form tweet threads, periscopes Ive made myself massively available for questions. Everything I do is an experiment, I pay attention. I do what I believe drives relationship/engagement. No one has any doubt to my realness, I freight train that shit on the daily. Largely because I’m probably unhinged/mildly insane (In a good way).
Now, if my persona did not work, I’d know it I’d have no following, no sales, no email list. But I do! So I adhere to my personality driven formula. What does this mean FOR YOU. You must find your formula, you cannot limit yourself and what you are capable of. You have to think abundantly, which is the meta point to all this
How can you being you provide real value for people? Dont discount yourself