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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Today there are entrepreneurs around the world who, without being agents of a government, are more popular than some presidents. We recognize them for the business success they have had and it seems that everything they touch turns to gold. I’m talking about people like Elon Musk in the United States, Carlos Slim in Mexico or Jack Ma in China and so the list goes on, maybe you already have someone else in mind.
How much do we know about the companies these people founded? For example, Elon Musk is a co-founder of at least eight companies just like Carlos Slim and Jack Ma . However, perhaps only one or two companies of each are the most popular. The real question is, do you know how many times other companies have failed? What if I told you that they have failed more times than they have succeeded?
Entrepreneurs usually have role models, people who inspire us to undertake because if they could, we could too. This is where the role of personal branding comes in. As you advance and build that brand more people will be able to see what you are capable of and in the long term you can create chain success. The point will come when your failures will not be relevant but your present and future. For those companies that caused admiration for their success and almost everything you undertake afterwards, you are the main promoter who will give your business greater visibility.
The problem is that building a personal brand is the same or more difficult than building a brand for a product or service and you have to start practically from scratch. Although today social networks and digital media make it easy to do it with few financial resources, but of course there are specialized services that can help you. The first thing you should ask yourself is what you want to convey, why do you want to be recognized and sought out.
In my case I am an entrepreneur, I have been able to co-found some companies such as mpliofilizadas.com and ketzalia.com , but my motivation to create my personal brand goes beyond that, I am also an academic at the HEC Paris in Qatar university as an entrepreneurship researcher. I am passionate about entrepreneurship from practice to study and teaching, that is why I believe in the balance between theory and practice. Lately I’ve started to think precisely that I should put more effort into building my personal brand.
Although I must say that I am in the process of creating my personal brand especially on my Instagram and LinkedIn , I have had a change in what I write, how I dress, what I post and upload to my social networks because I just asked myself why I want it recognize me and how I am going to achieve it. The results have been present in a short time, they contact me to ask me for consultancies, opinions for the media, conferences and even a couple of radio interviews. And it is that on the internet I found the so-called “smoke sellers”, people who have worked hard to create their personal brands and have thousands of followers willing to pay for any of their conferences or consultancies when in reality their supposed achievements are doubtful to verify .
As an entrepreneur, no one really teaches us to sell our image as a brand. You can start with or without studies, but your main focus at first will be to build your company and the brand or brands that represent it, not just your personal brand as its founder. Academics are taught to carry out scientific studies based on evidence and present it to the scientific community of the research field until it eventually reaches a publication in a peer-reviewed journal or book. So I thought, if there are people speaking as entrepreneurship gurus without evidence or verifiable experience, why don’t academic-entrepreneurs like me do it and we would do it with full knowledge of the facts.
As an entrepreneur, nobody really teaches us to sell our image as a brand / Image: Depositphotos.com
The image is the most important
Just as when you launch a product on the market, you have to take into account the design, the brand, the quality, among other factors. Also for your personal brand you have to build an image aligned with what you want to convey. A successful businessperson may not convey confidence or the message of success if he is always dressed in the same sportswear.
Curiously, I teach a master’s course called development and innovation of products and services and I always tell them to take care of the image, they can have a similar product to another, but if they have a better image at a similar price, it will be more attractive. They say that love is born from sight and I believe that, in building a personal brand, image is essential to achieve that goal.
Now, surely you are wondering, what do you mean by personal image and how do I know if I’m doing it right? In the first place, within your company you already have an image that you may not have very present, but those who work with you in it see you as the leader, who carries the strategic role in the growth of the company. Assume that role and dress in a way that gives you confidence and security that you can transmit, remember that you will be the one who negotiates contracts, press releases, closes sales or participates in an exhibition. If you need help, there are also image consulting specialists like Atelier that will help you with this.
Take care of the content you publish
When we talk about content creation, sometimes we think that we need to hire a graphic designer and it is not like that. In digital media, content goes beyond creating images with inspiring phrases or eye-catching designs. Content can be the photos you upload, videos, stories, reels , blogs , lives , and even news that you share from other pages. Remember that whoever follows you in digital media is because they are interested in the type of content you share and if it is always very random, your message will not be clear, you must homogenize it to a single topic.
In some cases there are those who choose to create a profile separate from the personal profile in order to distinguish between what is published in one and the other. Personally, I chose to use my personal accounts to create my brand, the people who already followed me have seen me grow and it generates confidence to speak as an expert on the subject of entrepreneurship that I am positioning myself. In your case, for example, you may want to convey that you are an entrepreneur of a start-up in the fintech sector and then it would be appropriate to share finance content, the work area, new contracts achieved, rounds of capital raising that you are obtaining, etc.
The main idea of the content you publish is that you be consistent, congruent and innovative. That is to say, that it is not a sporadic publication, but that whoever follows you already hopes that some day of the week or perhaps daily you are going to publish something that interests him about the subject he is waiting for. In doing this, on the subject of personal branding, I have noticed that what works the most is to share pieces of your life related to business or entrepreneurship in the most natural way possible.