Decades ago, having a "brand" was only necessary for small businesses and corporations as a means to differentiate themselves from their competition.

Fast-forward to today and anyone has the ability to create his or her own brand. How? The internet has given everyone a free platform to become content creators, and, in effect, our own brands.

Look at world-renowned entrepreneur and investor Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Work Week. He has managed to take a brand he's cultivated via his lifestyle (the "human guinea pig") and turn it into a multimillion-dollar business through speaking engagements, affiliate marketing, sponsorships, and even his own TV series.

Here are the top four reasons why you need to start building your own personal brand.

1. Find a better job.

If employers look for one thing when hiring, it's initiative. They want to find employees who aren't just passionate about the industry but are also creating something out of that passion. By fostering your personal brand, through blogging or creating content in another form, you're effectively letting potential employers know that you take your career seriously enough to go out of your way and do work (even when no one pays you for it).

2. Win over more clients.

Starting my digital-marketing business, I was a small fish in a big pond. In order to stand out and attract clients I knew I had to differentiate myself. By investing in a personal website, growing my social profiles, and writing for various online publications, I was able to impress and win over potential clients in every single pitch I went to.

Studies have shown that people (especially Millennials) are more likely to trust other people than they are companies. That means it makes more sense to grow your personal brand over your company's brand.

Creating a personal brand that showcases your thought-leadership allows clients to understand who you are, how you work, and more importantly, why you're better than your competitors.

3. Grow your network.

Having a strong network means more leads, better advice, and greater business opportunities. However, growing your network can be tough. That's where personal branding can help. Developing your personal brand allows you to become an acclaimed expert in your industry, someone who others look to for answers. This allows you to connect with individuals who you may have never ended up connecting with otherwise.

I've been able to leverage my personal brand to connect with CEOs, investors, and other business owners all over the world.

4. Control your message.

It's not a question of if you have a personal brand--everyone does--it's a question of whether you're in control of it. If you aren't in control of your personal brand, someone else could be.

Do you know what comes up if you were to Google yourself? It's the first thing many potential clients or employers will do before going into business with you. One gaffe in the form of an unfavorable photo, video, tweet, or status update could cost you a business deal.

By making a consistent effort to develop your personal brand identity, you control how you are perceived by others.

Where to start...

Taking control of your personal brand doesn't have to be hard. Here are three simple ways to get started:

  1. Become active on the top social-media sites (Facebook and Twitter) by contributing to conversations in your industry.
  2. Buy your domain name and create a personal website.
  3. Start blogging (or vlogging) about what's going on in your industry, using your own voice and opinions.

For a more in-depth look at how to grow your personal brand, here are some great resources: