Having a personal brand is so vastly undervalued. The first question is always, "Ok, but what's the ROI?"

In the words of Gary Vaynerchuk, "What's the ROI of your face?"

The first time I heard him say this, I thought he was just being deliberately brash. But after thinking about it, he's 100% on the money. Having a Personal Brand is about building equity behind your name--and, in a sense, "your face." If people recognize you in crowd, you hold market value. If people know who you are without needing to be directly told, you hold market value. If people seek you out because they know of who you are and what you're about, you hold market value.

How do you measure that ROI?

The truth is, you don't in the conventional sense.

But measure your network, and doors of opportunity that start to open, and I'm sure you will very quickly see the value.

Here are 5 people I see as having powerful Personal Brands, and those who have paved the way for others (like yourself) to learn how to create the same. I believe so strongly in the value of having a personal brand, I actually just released a free e-mail course teaching people how to get started.

1. Lewis Howes

Talk about someone who saw the value of building a Personal Brand, pivoted, and has created an empire. Lewis Howes went from playing professional football to mentoring, writing, and advising people on how to make a living doing what they love. That's an oversimplification, obviously, but what has astounded me about Lewis is his ability to get his voice into so many different domains and areas of expertise. His value can't be measured in the same way you measure clicks on an ad campaign. More than anything, it's his name and his persona that is his true equity--and that's the type of game you want to be in.

2. Noah Kagan

#30 employee at Facebook. #4 at finance company, Mint. Noah Kagan decided to go "all in" on himself. He built himself into a public guru for digital marketing, and is now the Chief Sumo at AppSumo.com. He is a prime example who is "double-dipping" in the best way possible, building a Personal Brand that perfectly parlays into his company's offerings. This is one of the biggest benefits of having a Personal Brand, is the ability to leverage yourself as the marketing wing for your own business. If only more CEOs knew how to do this...

3. Dan Bilzerian

Ok, all joking aside, you cannot dispute the Personal Brand Dan Bilzerian has built for himself. His content absolutely falls under the category of "entertainment," and that's perfectly fine--he knows his audience (18-35 year old males) and he knows what sort of content they want to see: guns, women, and anything expensive. Obviously, this is the "path" that most people try (and fail) to replicate, renting Ferraris and models to appear "successful." But in Dan's case, his equity now is him. He'll get paid to show up to venues or events and people will want to attend simply because Dan Bilzerian is going to be there. It borders on the grey area of "celebrity" but that's kind of the point. When you yourself are recognizable, you hold a level of credibility and value that other people in your niche simply don't have (yet).

4. Gary Vaynerchuk

Of course, Gary is one of the most vocal thought leaders out there about the value of having a Personal Brand. He understands the game, and he's capitalizing on every avenue possible: products, courses, speaking, and using his own equity to gather clients for his agency, VaynerMedia. On top of all that, who do you think these hungry startup founders want to back their newest venture? Gary. His Personal Brand has positioned him as the "go-to" guy for anything digital related--and that's powerful. Study up. Gary gets it.

5. Joey Swoll

Here's a guy I've been watching on social media for the past few years, and who has taken the idea of building a Personal Brand to the highest level. He is a bodybuilder and co-founder of the supplement company, Shredz. What has intrigued me so much about Shredz as a company is that they took the complete opposite approach of every other supplement company (and honestly, most conventional companies period). Instead of using influencers as billboards to promote the company, they have invested a lot of time (and money) in each influencer, helping them build their own individual Personal Brands--Joey Swoll being a prime example. He offers a lot more than just an affiliate link to Shredz products. He, himself, is a "product," and people look to him as a thought leader in the fitness world. He leads training retreats, does online coaching, reps the company he helped build, and all the while he does so based on his own equity.

Honestly, the above list doesn't do justice to the amount of people who are doing Personal Branding the right way. There are a lot of them, in every industry--and yet, when you pull back and look at the masses, they are a proud few. Most companies, businesses, and even entrepreneurs don't yet realize the value of having their own "Personal Brand." But look at the ones who are doing it well. They all share the same thing in common.

They have their own audience.

Published on: Sep 9, 2016
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