Keep It 100 Percent Real, and You Can Have It All
I’m sick of reading the same, dull, boring shit online. Do you know of the 1 percent rule? It states that 1 percent of people online are those who create content vs. the other 99 percent who either copy or share that content.
There are just a few individuals and platforms that I enjoy reading. I have love for The Hustle and enjoy getting Ryan Holiday’s monthly book list. My dude Noah Kagan keeps it real. I like texting him random questions and reading his blog posts because of his unique perspective.
So, how do you stand out in a world that doesn’t shut up? That’s the question I’m always asking myself when working on my personal branding.
For my personal brand’s success and growth, I’ve learned how to stand out. I must keep it 100 percent real (or authentic for you non-slang speakers). Transparency and authenticity have empowered my professional success and granted me contributor roles with high-level media outlets (Entrepreneur, Inc., etc.), high-level press (TIME, Fox, HuffPo, etc.), personal branding opportunities, paid speaking offers and a loyal following.
Here’s what I mean:
Authentic personal brand
My boy Everette Taylor and I have a similar mantra that reads, “Do not sacrifice who you are for anyone.” It’s a luxury that most people can’t afford. A lot of people put on a professional facade, a dual identity, that pigeonholes them into being that alter ego for the lifetime of their careers.
Most of the time that alter ego is not really who they are, and they have to live a dual life. That’s exhausting. I’d rather just be open with all that happens, all that I experience and all that I am. People are either going to like it or not. At the end of the day, I don’t care.
I write about my unique experiences consistently. Here are some examples:
- 6 Life Hacks Learned in Prison That Will Maximize Your Productivity
- How My Wife’s Sudden Passing Catapulted Me Into Social Entrepreneurship
- Fire Your Marketing Team and Hire Homeless People
- 11 Pieces of Rebel Advice That Will Catapult Your Startup Success
We all have unique life experiences, perspectives and personas. We’re all different. However, people love the herd mentality. People are afraid to take risks and care too much about public opinion. Figure out how to portray your voice online.
Paid speaking gigs
I recently was found online through written content I contributed to Entrepreneur. I was offered a paid speaking gig, a week in paradise with a paid flight to Barcelona, Spain, free lodging, food and added promotional horsepower for my brand. This opportunity came from me speaking my mind online and keeping it one hundo (haha … more slang).
Entrepreneur gave me a shot at contributing content because of my unique pitches and personal experiences. The content resonated so much with the community I went from once every two months to weekly to bi-weekly writing. Additionally, I’m now leveraging my contributions with Entrepreneur to obtain additional roles with other high-level outlets. I’ve recently become a contributor with Inc.
TIME picked up this article: 6 Life Hacks Learned in Prison That Will Maximize Your Productivity
There aren’t many people writing about productivity life hacks they learned in prison. First and foremost, 90 percent of people that went to prison wouldn’t think about broadcasting it over the internet. Secondly, few people have even slightly similar personal and professional experiences that would enable them to write something like this.
So I was awarded some fresh press opportunity thanks to sharing my experiences and unique insights.
Thought leadership (assuming you have some merit) is the result of all of the above activities. My buddy Patrick Eckstein and I were talking about this exact thing the other day at lunch. We both agreed that even though it can take longer, it’s totally worth it. His company William Painter lives by this same ethos.
Each activity provides a new level of credibility, which takes you to a higher standard of value that helps you get more press, better paid speaking gigs, new contributor roles and a larger engaged community. The cycle compounds and continues.
You can have your cake and it eat too (that's if you’re a cake eater) -- an impressive online presence, paid speaking gigs, established thought leadership and a loyal following. All you have to do is be yourself.