Is building a personal brand worth it? It’s something that I’ve mocked before. And it’s one of the latest “get rich quick online” schemes out there (move over, Shopify dropshipping, Crypto, niche sites, e-zines!). Seems everybody out there now is all about shouting into the abyss.
Building a new personal brand after dropping out of college is the sexy thing to do. Especially since the bar has never been lower, with platforms like Instagram and Twitter making it accessible to anyone.
But, is building a personal brand for everyone?
Can you actually make money?
But the real question lies in whether or not you can sustain it. Because make no mistake, you will have to continuously hustle, create, and keep building it up if you want to make it. Take it from me—I’ve been writing here at This Is Trouble for over 5 years now. And yes, building a personal brand like this one has easily been the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done.
At the same time, it’s not for everyone.
The entrepreneurship life is not possible for most—or else, everybody would be entrepreneurs. The world simply can’t sustain that. So, to figure out the whole personal branding question, let’s first take a look at the “typical path” that many people find themselves in these days.
When I graduated college, I was taught that the below was what we should aim for:
- $12k (taxes)
- $3k (401k)
- $2k (insurance)
= $45,000/12 months
Yikes. That’s pretty scary when you break those numbers down, isn’t it? Make no mistake. Making $60k right out of college is a great starting salary. But as soon as you start breaking those numbers down, it comes down to peanuts. Especially if you live in the majority of American cities, where the car, gas, and insurance are necessary evils due to an appalling lack of public transit options.
Add in anything else and it just drops more and more rapidly.
Think big, 80″ TVs.
Maybe a swimming pool (my personal favorite).
All of a sudden that measly $23/hour drops even more precariously.
Amazon has a $15/hour minimum wage now (and sure, they’re going to have some of the same expenses). But, people who work at minimum wage levels typically have to make cost-cutting initiatives somewhere. If they don’t, they just can’t get by. The real danger is in that middle-class bracket. You have just enough to be comfy. Enough to indulge in a few luxuries.
Then, BAM. Debt.
Here’s the thing:
I was reading a study the other day that said that most Americans barely have $5,000 in a savings account.
The bar is laughably low, and yet people still aren’t doing what they need to do. Why save money for a rainy day when there’s a new television to buy?
If this is you, I say this in the nicest way possible:
You need to get your shit together.
Build a side income stream.
You can’t just walk into your boss’ office and demand a 10% salary raise, in most cases.
But, let’s say you made $60k/year, and you wanted to make an extra six thousand bucks a year. Totally doable. Even part-time. My course could teach you how. And yes, a niche website could easily net you an extra $6k a year.
Anyways, back to building a personal brand…
Some don’t start their brand because they’re afraid they’ll run out of things to say. A realistic fear.
At the same time, look at me. I started off writing about dating and sex. Eventually I added a bit of travel flair into it. Then it became Dating Abroad. Some online business. Hell, now I even started an olive oil company and yap about that.
The point is, building a personal brand is all about connecting people to you.
And yes, that means, when (not if) you die, the brand, and the majority of the business, likely also goes with you. Of course, the key is to leverage your personal brand, and the power behind it, to get into opportunities with bigger companies that will still be around after you die.
But, don’t let the notion that you’re going to change over the next ten years prevent you from building a personal brand.
Of course you’re going to change.
How could you not?
If you’re not sitting around and watching Netflix and munching on Cheetos, you’re naturally going to move forward and accomplish things in your life. This is a good thing. And yes, people will absolutely hate you for it. But the people that love you? Don’t worry, they’ll stick around.
Building a personal brand is as much about growing over time, and taking your audience with you—on the journey—as it is about being an authority on Subject X. Much of the learning that your audience will take from you is from dissecting your journey and struggles along the way.
Sure, the end product is the sexy part—but the real learning is in the pain.