Personal brand

Commoditising yourself

Einstein was once quoted as saying “If I were given an hour in which to do a problem upon which my life depended, I would spend 40 minutes studying it, 15 minutes reviewing it and 5 minutes solving it”. Actually he was quoted on several occasions quoting similar things, but the sentiment of the point still holds.

With important decisions, I think it is often wise to ask yourself if you are asking the right questions (usually more difficult ones). As your persona is essentially you, is that something you should even commoditise? Can there be anything valuable enough to gain by doing it? Even if you could perfectly brand yourself, should you?

Obviously, you are the only person that can answer that. For me, the conventional reasons for creating a personal brand weren’t enough and never would be.

I started FreeUP to make larger changes than I could as an individual, I believe in what we do and in the journey that I have mapped out for us. I now have other people on the team who believe, and to anyone who has ever had that privilege, you know how wonderful it is. My reward for heading online and creating the ‘personal brand’ is to talk to more people, to connect with more like minds and to have my ideas aired with opposing minds.

My reward is to travel as far as possible.

The original question

Now for 5 minutes of effort on the original question, how to create a personal brand.

I’m sure there are many answers to this question, where certain phrases, opposing positions to popular thoughts, airs of perfection, etc, will all gain higher ratings, placing you at that all-important pinnacle. Would this really be your personal brand or just a brand? If the points you are raising and values you hold aren’t yours then it just seems like a show. This was why I resisted having a personal brand for so long until an investor raised this salient point with me on a call.

He quite simply listed what he thought of me and said that I should just post along those lines, essentially just write it as if it were you. I remember thinking that this was something I was uniquely qualified to do.

And that was the point I understood.

I would be writing as myself to tell my story, not to live up to a certain expectation or to provide ‘unique’ insights. The uniqueness of my insights would happen naturally, people would find value or they wouldn’t, my brand would be my thoughts and beliefs online. It required no artificial preparation or consideration and didn’t feel like I was selling out at all. Furthermore, rather than considering how much I should give away, I was excited to see what it could do. All told, it was a complete change from how I had previously felt.

I don’t think you should brand yourself with others’ words just to have a personal brand. Don’t give away things you don’t want to to have a personal brand. Have a personal brand to be you, to work in larger teams, to change the world. Don’t do it for anything less and remember, you are uniquely qualified to be you.

1 thought on “Personal brand

  • Great post Tom, a personal brand should reflect the personal qualities of the individual, and for you those are curiosity, adventurous and problem solving – you show the brand values in your communication, conversation and engagement. Ian

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