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In 2013, I felt like a failure.
To understand why I felt this way, let me get into my work history a bit:
In 2007, I tried to create a startup related to music. I blew up almost all of my savings.
In 2008, I worked in real estate. I had $ 50,000 in commissions lined up for a month of work. The market collapsed and the banks did not want to finance my transactions.
In 2008, I went to work in an investment fund. Shortly after, the stock market collapsed.
In 2009, I was VP Marketing for a lead-gen startup. I took this business from $ 0 to $ 50,000 in revenue in three months. The business became heavy and collapsed.
In 2010, I was VP Marketing for a startup that offers discounts in restaurants and bars. I took this business from 100 to 1,000 suppliers in nine months. The next round of funding never went through, which collapsed
At this point, I thought I was a total and utter failure. Everything I have tried to do to succeed and make millions of dollars collapse before my eyes.
Have I ever been the successful entrepreneur I had set for myself?
Things seemed thin. I knew that 95% of businesses failed within the first five years. Hell, I have experienced this statistic over and over again.
In fact, it seemed impossible to get where I wanted to go, so I gave up and got a job at a Fortune 100 company.
I thought maybe I could just climb the ladder and give up the entrepreneurial dream I once had.
The only problem was that I was not a culturally appropriate person.
After two years of working with them, I have outdone everyone in my department, time and time again. But I never had a promotion or increase. I lived exactly what it was like to see the rich get richer while the poor (me) continued to get poorer.
I never considered failure as an option, but I was there, failing again.
Then one day it appeared to me. I would not go anywhere with this company. But I couldn’t leave and start another business, could I?
Related: What You Can Learn From These 4 Reasons For Failure
If I did, I would knock on my grandmother’s door telling her that I was being kicked out again, begging her to bring me back.
It was there that I discovered something that would change my life. In fact, it’s also something that will absolutely change your life as an entrepreneur.
What I discovered was the art of personal branding.
What is a personal brand?
A personal brand is when you put your branding efforts behind you as opposed to a business. In turn, you become an expert in your field.
Let me explain how it has changed my whole life and how it can also change yours.
1. Find a niche
Before, I wrote copies for companies and posted them on social networks. It would work most of the time, but it didn’t generate enough revenue to keep a business afloat. With these skills that I had acquired, I redirected my efforts towards writing my failure stories online.
What happened in my turn was that I had found something that others wanted to read. I created an audience that wanted to hear what I had to say.
2. Be honest
Some of my stories were crazy. People couldn’t believe how honest and authentic I was in what I wrote. But my audience appreciated it. Some have even decided to take it upon themselves to create lasting friendships with me.
My network has grown from a large number of sellers who have only gone out for themselves to a world class network of part of the world elite.
They appreciated the authenticity of what I wrote.
3. Provide value
I didn’t just provide stories. I also brought value.
Want to know how to create a business plan? Of course, I explained it in detail, step by step.
Do you want to know how to structure your company’s equity? Finished.
I slowly started to move away from my stories. Instead, I shared the valuable lessons I have learned throughout my career. So I acquired the reputation of being an expert in my community.
4. Increase demand
As my personal brand developed, I was drawn to many directions, from wanting to create an e-commerce start-up to being invited to work on projects by other entrepreneurs. I have tried some of these projects, but nothing really stuck.
Over time, I discovered that there was one thing in common. People kept asking me if I would teach them to do what I was doing. They kept asking me to take them under their wing and to supervise them.
I could have started a consulting firm, but I knew the time limits I would have in dealing with clients on an individual basis. As a seasoned entrepreneur, I knew I had to do something on a large scale.
So I started doing my homework on the type of business that would best suit my situation.
Related: How LikendisLikes Benefit From 3 Types Of Failures
5. Stack your success
While I was doing my homework, I continued to spread the word. Shortly after, I was featured in post after post, podcast after podcast, on the radio and potentially even in TEDx this coming year.
But I could only do this by celebrating each small victory, going back to the drawing board, and then moving for another victory. After each victory, I stacked my successes so that they combine.
Now I ended up having a collective of over 100,000 social media followers on multiple platforms, 10 million views of my content and a reputation where I could say “jump” and people would ask “how high?”
6. Define your brand
When it all came together, I understood how to define my brand.
People wanted to know exactly how to do what I was doing. So I thought the best way to do it would be to teach people how to do what I did in a group environment.
I decided to create an online course that teaches others how to build their personal brand like I have at InfluenceTree.
But if I had tried to start this business in 2013, I would have laughed and thought I was a joke. I mean, I had nothing but a track failure rate, right? In addition, I would not have created a demand for the product.
However, I could only create this demand by investing in the one thing I could count on that didn’t have a 95% failure rate: Myself.
So if you want to be successful, you have to go back to the drawing board, stop promoting your business as your number one priority, and then start investing in your personal brand.
Because if you present yourself as an expert in your field, people will buy from any company you partner with. Or they will even tell you what they want to buy from you, like they did to me. Get rid of the 95% failure rate by investing in the one thing that is guaranteed to have your back: yourself. The benefits will follow.
Related: Don’t be discouraged if you can’t reach your crowdfunding goal