Those days are long gone, not just for celebrities but for all of us. We’re all in the public eye now, swimming around in a clear glass fish bowl of our own making.
With every e-mail and video and blog post and tweet and status update, we add to the real-time documentary of our lives.
For the person who thinks of himself or herself as a brand—and remember, everyone needs to start thinking of themselves as a brand—the ability to spread your great ideas and share your triumphs is a golden opportunity.
I urge you to start training yourself to think through the consequences of every business decision you make before you actually make it.
I know for a fact that many people have a hard time thinking long term. Successful entrepreneurs are like good chess players; they can imagine the various possibilities ahead and how each one will trigger their next move.
Too many people, however, can’t think past their first move (worse, some don’t care to, like a small number of CEOs who know they’ll be gone in three years and just want the stock price to go up no matter the long-term impact on the company). They’re all about what’s good for their business today. That kind of thinking is at the root of a lot of really crap judgment calls, the kind that will sink a personal brand.
you’re building more than just a business, you’re building a legacy.
I am always hyperaware that everything I’m doing is being recorded for eternity.
It does bother me a little that all the cursing I sometimes do in my keynotes is going to become part of my story, yet I have to embrace it because that’s just how my DNA expresses itself when I’m onstage.
Will this business deal make me money? Yes? Good. Will I be proud of how I made that money? Yes? Okay, then, let’s do this. If the answer is no, I don’t go there, ever. Legacy always wins.
That’s not how it works. Not in my world, anyway. No matter how big you get, every e-mail, every customer, every friend, every single person with whom you come into contact matters and deserves respect and attention.
Legacy is the mortar of successful, lasting brands. I’ve known this since my days in retail.
She hadn’t received her case of White Zinfandel. It was December 22 and there was no way FedEx was going to deliver the wine in time for Christmas.
I threw a case of White Zinfandel in my car and drove three hours in blinding snow to the woman’s house.
I knew that it was up to me to set the tone at the store, and that this was a perfect way to do it. Our corporate culture was cemented the day I delivered the case of wine to that woman.
I follow the same philosophy when I answer every single one of my e-mails. Making connections, creating and continuing meaningful interaction with other people, whether in person or in the digital domain, is the only reason we’re here. Remember that, set the tone, and build legacy.
Conclusion - The time is now, the message is forever
Today’s entrepreneurs are building on top of a foundation that has changed our society forever, something that goes much deeper than Twitter and Tumblr and YouTube.
Internet allow us to connect at unprecedented levels and extend ourselves beyond our farthest horizons. People still underestimate the reach of this thing. The Internet is only fourteen years old or so—it’s so young it hasn’t even had sex—yet it has already crushed many of the biggest communication platforms known to humankind, and it’s not done.
The Internet is as powerful as oxygen, but we have not seen its full capabilities. It’s got a long way to go, and it’s going to morph and change and reveal all kinds of surprises. You’ve got to be prepared to evolve and adapt along with it.
loving your family, working hard, and living your passion. In telling your story. In authenticity, hustle, and patience. In caring fiercely about the big and the small stuff. In valuing legacy over currency.
Apendix A - did you forget anything?
- Identify your passion.
- Make sure you can think of at least fifty awesome blog topics to ensure stickiness.
- Answer the following questions:
- Am I sure my passion is what I think it is?
- Can I talk about it better than anyone else?
- Name your personal brand. You don’t have to refer to it anywhere in your content, but you should have a clear idea of what it is. For example, “The no-bs real-estate agent,” “The connoisseur of cookware,” “The cool guide to young-adult books boys will love to read.”
- Buy your user name—.com and .tv, if possible—at GoDaddy.com.
- Choose your medium: video, audio, written word.
- Start a Wordpress or Tumblr account.
- Hire a designer.
- Include a Facebook Connect link, Call-to-Action buttons, Share Functions, and a button that invites people to do business with you in a prominent place on your blog.
- Create a Facebook fan page.
- Sign up for Ping.fm or TubeMogul and select all of the platforms to which you want to distribute your content. Choosing Twitter and Facebook is imperative; the others you can select according to your needs and preference.
- Post your content.
- Start creating community by leaving comments on other people’s blogs and forums and replying to comments to your own comment.
- Use Twitter Search (or Search.Twitter) to find as many people as possible talking about your topic, and communicate with them.
- Use Blogsearch.Google.com to find more blogs that are relevant to your subject.
- Join as many active Facebook fan pages and groups relating to your blog topic as possible.
- Repeat steps 12 through 16 over and over and over and over and over.
- Do it again.
- And again.
- When you feel your personal brand has gained sufficient attention and stickiness, start reaching out to advertisers and begin monetizing.
- Enjoy the ride.
Apendix B - Five business ideas I won't get to, They're yours
I believe that livestreaming is the future, so most of the new businesses I envision build on that platform.
The QVC of the internet
Ustream.tv and Justin.tv are free platforms that replicate live television—they provide the perfect opportunity for a great salesperson to start an efficient online QVC.
Invite guests—inventors, entrepreneurs, authors—and talk about whatever you find interesting or useful or exciting.
affiliate link all of the products you think are worth selling.
A tea blog
I think the tea market in the United States is about to blow up.
opportunity to build a site much like Wine Library TV. Offer a tea-of-the-month club.
The sport center of the web
five to ten college seniors debating sports while livestreaming on Ustream.tv from a dorm room.
Advertisers would eat up the chance to get their name mentioned on a show with a hundred thousand listeners and viewers. Imagine: “This hour brought to you by Sports Authority.” Has a nice ring to it, right?
Online book review
a daily book review video blog. Get two or three of your most entertaining, most passionate associates to talk about the books they love, what’s coming up, what’s hot, what’s not.
At the same time, lower the price on your one hundred top-selling books. Spread your neighborhood charm to the world. By using your blog to expand your reach beyond your local market, you will explode your brand and your business.
Combing the reach of Facebook with product sampling is something that very few, if any, companies are doing, and it’s about time they start.