📺 Stream EntrepreneurTV for Free 📺

Why Personal Branding Needs To Be Profitable (Besides Being Attractive) If you focus on more than surface appearances, your personal brand will have every opportunity to be profitable, and, by extension, you will be rewarded and recompensed for your product, service, knowledge, and wisdom.

By Mark Sephton

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


It's not enough -perhaps it's never been enough- to just be attractive when it comes to personal branding. How we look and how we show up is important to our brand, but it's also about what's "under the hood."

The whole ecosystem of what you do, and why you do it, positions your personal brand, and has a long-lasting legacy. If you focus on more than surface appearances, your personal brand will have every opportunity to be profitable, and, by extension, you will be rewarded and recompensed for your product, service, knowledge, and wisdom.

We need to be continually mindful of not only what we bring to the table, but also of what we leave at it. What we leave often includes profitability. Many of us, including myself, have heard that dreaded question asking us what is it exactly that we do. While the answer may seem obvious to us, these sorts of questions indicate that, perhaps, it isn't so obvious to others.

Because, for example, there is so much variety to my work and where I am showing up, I can understand how my personal brand may be confusing to some, or even put some people off, because there is no clear understanding how I could help them. It doesn't matter if I "dress the part" (in my case, a nice shirt and blazer) if people don't understand my professional purpose. This misunderstanding or missed connection will most certainly affect my business' profitability.

To understand how to make personal branding work for me, I caught up with Tonya Eberhart and Michael Carr, founders of BrandFace- they specialize in personal branding, and help individuals and businesses turn purpose into profit.

Michael Carr and Tonya Eberhart, founders of BrandFace. Image courtesy BrandFace

Excerpts from our conversation are below:

Why is it no longer enough just to be attractive when it comes to our personal brands?

Honestly, it's never been enough just to have a brand that looks nice. At first glance, a great photo or clever logo may capture someone's attention, but if there's no differentiating substance beyond that, your brand has sorely missed the mark. You must consider your brand's #1 job, and that is to precede you. We believe that 98% of the people you meet will meet your brand before they meet you, and if your brand isn't properly defined, developed, and displayed to set you apart in your space or niche- it's simply pretty, but it's not impactful. After all, a great brand isn't about being known for your profession. It's about being known for being different in your profession.

Why is key messaging and positioning so important when it comes to our brand being profitable?

A comprehensive brand includes both messaging and imagery, which have specific goals. First, the messaging should appeal directly to your ideal customer, including mentioning specific things about them that allow them to self-identify with your messaging. Doing this creates a magnetizing effect, and makes the prospect feel as though you and your business were made just for them. Specializing in something makes us appear special, and, in turn, makes our prospects feel special. Second, brand imagery should clearly reflect the message, and align with whom you serve in context; otherwise, there can be a disconnect. When both the messaging and imagery are aligned to appeal to your perfect prospects, that's exactly what it does, thus allowing those who are a fit to self-select, and take the next step toward getting to know you better.

Related: The How-To: A Guide To Creating Your Personal Brand

How do we ensure that our personal brand is profitable?

The first step that leads to profitability is making sure our five critical questions are definitively answered:

  • Whom do you serve?
  • How do you serve them?
  • What qualifies you to serve them?
  • How does it make their life better?
  • What makes you different?

If your brand does not address those questions throughout your messaging, and include eye-catching imagery that clearly aligns with what you want to be known for, you're missing many opportunities to have conversations about your business. Conversely, when your brand is infused with those important elements, you have a full time "promoter" that works for you, even while you sleep.

How do we become concise in our brand messaging, so that people don't misunderstand what we are really trying to say?

How completely and concisely you answer the five critical questions above sets the tone for a clear understanding. Be as intentional as possible in your answers. The goal with your brand messaging is to get your prospect to clearly identify with you- or better yet, self-identify with your message. They must be able to see that you recognize their challenges, and that you provide a clear (and different) solution than anything they've tried before. The more you can tap into your prospects' pain points, challenges, and needs, the greater the opportunity to attract exactly the type of client you want to work with every day.

If we hear the words, "What is it exactly that you do?" what does this tell us, and how do we make sure they do know what it is we do?

It's a big red flag when people don't even understand the basics (what you do), let alone how you're unique inside of what you do. First, set the tone with a brand identifier that positions you in your space or niche. Prospects should not have to search through sentences or paragraphs to be able to understand what it is that you do, and what sets you apart. A brand identifier serves as a brief tagline or slogan, which articulates who you are or what you want to be known for. This is the first nod in gaining understanding. Second, a descriptive elevator pitch should follow, which is simply one sentence that explains who you serve, how you serve them and how it changes their life. Just those two elements alone usually help you steer clear of the "what do you do" dilemma.

Related: Why You Need To Follow The Goldilocks Rule When It Comes To Building Your Personal Brand

Mark Sephton

Entrepreneur, Mentor, and Business Coach

Mark Sephton is a personal mentor to entrepreneurs. His mission to help others has seen him break into global markets while working with startups and millionaire entrepreneurs around the world.

Mark’s love for entrepreneurship has been expressed through serving as a podcast host for Brainz Magazine. When not on the mic, Mark is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur, and a speaker for corporate events, entrepreneurship summits, and major conferences worldwide.

His expertise in personal and professional development has positioned him as an expert in the industry, resulting in transformational experiences for audiences, clients, and businesses alike. Drawing from personal experiences, Mark has taken the essence of what he has experienced and built a business that helps draw out the magnificent potential that every person beholds using his GPS system to highlight blind spots, efficiencies and deficiencies.

He is also the author of three personal development books Inside Job, Plot Twist, and his latest book, Mark of a Man, launching on November 30, 2021.

Side Hustle

These Coworkers-Turned-Friends Started a Side Hustle on Amazon — Now It's a 'Full Hustle' Earning Over $20 Million a Year: 'Jump in With Both Feet'

Achal Patel and Russell Gong met at a large consulting firm and "bonded over a shared vision to create a mission-led company."

Business News

How Much Do Engineers, Software Developers, and Analysts Make at Apple? See Salary List

Using application data from highly-skilled foreign workers, Insider revealed a range of salaries at the tech giant.


9 Success Habits of Wealthy People That Cost Nothing

Money isn't everything but lack of money is a lame excuse for a lot things.


Want to Be More Productive? Here's How Google Executives Structure Their Schedules

These five tactics from inside Google will help you focus and protect your time.

Growth Strategies

Bolstering Bridges Between France And The GCC: A Look Back At The Inaugural Edition Of Vision Golfe

Held under the patronage of French President Emmanuel Macron, Vision Golfe was staged by Business France, a French government agency that supports the international development of the country's economy.