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Podcast Summary: How To Build A Million Dollar Personal Brand with Lewis Howes and Rory Vaden

by | Jun 16, 2021

Time for something a little different. I stumbled upon a podcast conversation that is so good that I found myself with crazy hands while I took notes during the whole episode. It’s a conversation between Lewis Howes and Rory Vaden about how to create a million dollar personal brand.

Rory is a New York Times best-selling author, two-time finalist in the World Champion of Public Speaking competition, and co-founder of Brand Builders Group where he teaches people how to grow their influence and build and monetize their personal brand.

Rather than just link off to their podcast conversation, I’m going to share my notes with you, which contain all of the main points of the conversation plus some comments from me, because you know I can’t help but to insert myself into a conversation that I wasn’t a part of.

Their chat is a little over an hour long. My notes take a few minutes to read. What I want to know is this: what will you do with the extra hour I’m about to save you?

Here’s a link to the full podcast episode for you: How To Build A Million Dollar Personal Brand

My Notes For The Podcast

  • Rory did a Research study of about 1000 people and found that personal branding is the future.
  • Personal branding is highly profitable.
  • He defines personal branding is the digitization of reputation.
  • 64% of Americans said they are more likely to buy from a person that has an established personal brand rather than from someone who doesn’t have a brand.
  • People trust other people who have developed a personal brand.
  • 33% of people in the study said they are more likely to date someone who has an established personal brand than someone who doesn’t. (Pro tip for people who are dating: create dating profiles that link off to your personal brand website.)
  • A personal brand is a trust accelerator.
  • We trust people we see.
  • You have to be visible and show up on your website and on social media. (All the introverted folks just uncomfortably shifted in their seats, including me.)
  • If people can’t see you online on social media, they are less likely to trust you and buy from you.
  • We trust people we learn from.
  • We trust people we know intimate things about.
  • We trust people that entertain us.
  • These things are what social media allows us to share with our followers.
  • People are interested in the intimate details of our life. It’s like shadowing a celebrity for a day and seeing what their life is like.
  • If people feel like they know us, they will trust us and be more likely to buy from us. (This argument he’s making here is the best argument I’ve ever heard for using social media to share personal stories. It might actually get me to do more than curate news on Twitter.)
  • Things that lead people to want to buy a product or service from someone: it’s not whether they have a New York Times best selling book. 62% of the people in the survey said they are more likely to buy from you if you have a lot of great testimonials of people saying that you helped them solve a problem or make a change in their life.
  • 56% are more likely to buy from you if you are paid to consult or advise people about your area of expertise
  • People in the survey mentioned that it was important to them that the person’s personal brand website is nice looking, loads quickly, and is mobile responsive.
  • The fastest path to cash is to monetize whatever you’re already doing.
  • The first step to building a million dollar personal brand: Find your uniqueness so that you can exploit it in the service of others.
  • How do you do that? You are most uniquely positioned to help the person you once were. (He’s referring to things like any kind of challenge you faced in the past that you overcame, or things you needed in an earlier part of life that you figured out how to get. Those are the kinds of things you’re uniquely positioned to help others with.)
  • The genesis point of personal branding: What kind of problem can I solve? What kind of problem do I want to dedicate my life to solving?
  • The answer to those questions is what will light you up and keep you going on the path. Doing the things that are the answers to those two questions are where we connect with a feeling of purpose and meaning in our work.
  • If you just focus on the money, you may end up compromising your reputation because you’ll do things in your business just for the money, rather than treating people right and in alignment with your brand.
  • Finding your uniqueness is the intersection to the answers of these 6 questions. You brainstorm answers to these 6 questions. (This is a bit like creating a Venn diagram with 6 overlapping circles.)
    What problem do I want to solve?
    What am I passionate about?
    What do I research or where do I have academic, “head” knowledge in?
    What area do I have results in?
    What are the things people would buy from me?
    What business do I want to be in?
  • The DARES framework to find the perfect business model to be in. You want to create a business model that is:
  • The larger goal of building a personal brand, from Rory’s perspective, is to find your uniqueness and build a business model around your uniqueness that is digital, automated, recurring, evergreen, and scalable.
  • The problem you want to solve is also a thing you feel called to do. If it’s just about making money, that’s not a calling.
  • Your calling is more like the thing you would do on a Saturday afternoon because you love it so much that you don’t need to make money from it to make it enjoyable.
  • Rory’s reputation formula: results x reach = reputation.
  • The #1 thing to think about first when building a personal brand: how can I add value to the audience?
  • The strategy for doing that is much more important than the technology or platform you use to make it happen. (What he’s referring to here is that the strategy is more important than what specific software tools you use to implement your strategy.)
  • Social media strategy: The 3 E’s: If you do social media right, you’re either going to educate, entertain, or encourage your audience (or some mix of the three.)
  • Jay Baer’s content marketing strategy: Be useful. Teach everything you know for free, but do it one bite at a time, and in a random order.
  • Why random order? Because people don’t pay for information, they pay for organization and application. That’s what you deliver in a product, course, or service.
  • They need someone to help them implement it all to their specific situation.
  • So, don’t be afraid to give away all of your information for free because people will want help applying it all to their specific situation or business or life.
  • The old approach of sharing a little bit but making people pay for the rest of it, or to pay for the really good stuff, is coming from the scarcity mindset. This flips that around and has you giving away all of your knowledge for free but charging for helping people apply your knowledge into their specific life or situation. They’ll have to pay for the application, the hand-holding, the accountability, and getting direct help applying your knowledge to their specific situation.
    • He didn’t bring this up in the conversation with Lewis, but I would add that another very big thing people will pay for is becoming a part of a thriving, vibrant, supportive, online community of other people like them. This can be accomplished in a number of different ways, such as a private discussion forum or social network or in a Facebook group.
  • What can also happen is that you give away all of your how-to knowledge for free and people see that the process you’re teaching is really complex and time-consuming and they go “Wow, there’s a lot to learn about this. Do you have someone on your team that can just do this for me?” And that’s what can lead them to hire you or your team if you offer a done-for-you service.
  • When you’re starting out with building a personal brand, most of us want to ask things like “Should I start a youtube channel? Should I start a podcast? Should I build a website on Sqaurespace or WordPress? Should I be posting on Facebook?” But those are not the right questions to ask. Strategy is more important than technology platforms. Instead, ask “How can I be most useful? Where are my people hanging out online? And are there places they’re hanging out where I want to show up? If they’re on youtube and they love videos, do I want to make videos and show up there with video content? Or are they on Medium and they love to read, and do I want to show up there with written content?”
  • Media is a multiplier. This means you can multiply your time by spending time on things today that create time tomorrow. For example, creating a video today that’s out on the internet and being watched for months or years is like an employee of yours doing work for you. It’s a time multiplier.
  • That video is building trust and reputation without you having to do that every day.
  • The Content Diamond. It’s a method to create content in one media format and spread it out into many other different media formats and locations. Shoot one 5 minute video a week answering a question. Have it transcribed into text. Post that text as a blog post. Take out short quotes from what you said in the video and post them on social media with imagery. Extract just the audio and post it as a podcast episode. Then have someone do some fancier editing on the video so it’s useable for Youtube content. Then post a 60 second version of it on tiktok, a 2 min version on IGTV. Then you post all of those things on your blog as a blog post where people can see it all in one place. So, you create an asset, disassemble it, post the mini bits all over the place in different media formats, then put it all back together and post it on your own blog.
  • The biggest problem people have who come to Rory’s business to get help building their personal brand is this: diluted focus. People want to write a book, create an online course, do a Ted talk and a podcast, start an instagram account, and a dozen other things.
  • If you have a diluted focus you get diluted results.
  • People struggle with finding out what their uniqueness is, getting clear on who they serve, what their business model is, and what their methodology is.
  • You have to get clear on those things first before trying to build an audience. Most people go out and try to build an audience first before they’ve figured out what their uniqueness is, who they want to serve, what their business model is, and what their methodology is.
    • This is a bit different than Joe Pulizzi and Brian Clark’s method of building the audience first, where you get somewhat clear on the who and what problems you want to solve, and then you engage your content marketing plan over a year or two to build up an audience to a minimum viable size. At that point, based on what your audience tells you they want, you figure out a way to monetize the audience you’ve built up.
    • Rory is saying the opposite: he’s saying to get super clear on the “who” and what problem you want to solve first. Get clear on your business model and offer. Create a professional website, and THEN worry about getting traffic to that site.
      Which approach is the best? That will come down to what feels like the best fit for you. I’d recommend reading Joe Pulizzi’s Content Inc. book and see how that approach sits with you.

That’s it for the notes for this podcast episode. Hope they helped you in some way!



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