The Complete Guide to Building Your Personal Brand

The Definitive Guide to Marketing Automation

Written by Neil Patel & Aaron Agius

Chapter Eight

How To Be Unique

“Be yourself because everyone else is already taken.”

We asked Chris Ducker the question:

What one action, decision, or choice has had the single biggest impact in the growth of your personal brand?

He responded with a great quote about being unique:

Truly being me. All the time. When I started blogging, I used to hide behind another ‘brand’ domain name, and always felt that I had to watch myself, in terms of what I was saying, how I was saying it, etc. As someone that has many corporate clients, as well as an amazing online tribe, I used to be concerned about what my clients would think.

The moment I switched to blogging at chrisducker.com, I promised myself I was going to be the ‘real’ Chris all the time. It’s allowed me to resonate with my followers so much more and has opened the doors to more opportunities than I can shake a stick at!

I like being me. Besides, I’m the only Chris Ducker out there­—which makes me, my thoughts, my personality and my style 100% original.

Think of the great people you admire—business leaders, parents, family, friends and all the people in your life that have done something worthy of praise. In all likelihood, each of these people has pursued their own path. They’ve taken lessons from those that came before, but they’ve innovated on those lessons to create things that are better.

The entire guide you’ve been reading is about building your personal brand. It’s not about copying someone else’s brand. There is a lot of discovery in this guide. You’re instructed to go through exercises that allow you to figure out what you’re passionate about and what would make you happy in life if you sit back 50 years from now to reflect.

In this final chapter we’re going to give you a few more directives on how to be unique. It’s the most important point from this entire guide. The world needs more people that are independent. It needs people willing to try new things and to find new ways of making life more successful and more enjoyable for more people.

So follow these final steps and start your journey to discovering who you are and what your vision is for your future.

Why It’s Necessary To Stand Out From The Crowd

We asked Lewis Howes this question:

If you were building an online presence from scratch today, what 3 things would you consider to provide the biggest ROI on your time and money?

His response included a point about being unique and creating something unique:

Creating Something Unique: This could be a book, podcast, software or even a funny newsletter. Create something based around a specific topic/niche and promote yourself everywhere as the go-to for that niche. People get worried about being stuck in one topic, but this is the best way to get known fast so you can talk about whatever you want later where people will follow and listen to you.

Some of us have been conditioned throughout our lives to stay quiet and to fall into the background. It’s safe in the background. When you’re in the background there isn’t much that can harm you, but if you’ve spent any amount of time in the background you’ve noticed that you can’t really accomplish much either.

People are attracted to uniqueness. Individuals, companies and organizations that embrace uniqueness can make themselves more appealing by standing out from the crowd.

For example, you to go a greenhouse to pick out flowers for your kitchen table that you want to give as a gift to someone you care about; you walk in the greenhouse and all they have are red roses. As far as you can tell there is no difference between any of the flowers so you go with the bunch that’s closest to you and you walk out the door.

If you make a habit of being a red roses amongst other red roses you’ll be giving yourself more competition than necessary. Red roses are great flowers. Any bunch would be a good choice at least on the surface, but the person picking the flowers can’t tell the difference.

Now, you go into a different greenhouse and see a bunch of red roses once again. But this time you notice a beautiful bunch of yellow roses. You immediately walk over and have a smell. You admire their beauty and you’re compelled to choose them.

Being different gives you an advantage over the competition. In the rose example there is nothing really different between a red rose and a yellow rose. They’re both roses, but one simple difference like color can be enough to entice someone to notice you.

If you want to succeed with the steps in each of the chapters in this guide you need to figure out what makes you “yellow”. Being different gives you an advantage. There are billions of people in this world are competing for the same jobs, the same clients and the same promotions.

Your key to winning in your life is to figure out what makes you different, learning to embrace that uniqueness and using it to get people to pay attention and to choose you over everyone else.

Here are three short steps to figure out what makes you unique.

Step One List Your Quirks, Passions And History

We asked Yanik Silver, Founder Maverick1000 and author ‘34 Rules for Maverick Entrepreneurs’ this question:

What one action, decision, or choice has had the single biggest impact in the growth of your personal brand?

He responded:

I realized people want to interact with people. That means being ‘real’. It’s too easy to put a positive spin on everything but that’s not being genuine or authentic. I share the good, the bad and sometimes the ‘ugly’. For instance, Sir Richard Branson is one of my biggest business heroes. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to spend over 6+ weeks with him and a group of Maverick entreprenurs I host on his private island. From these excursions, I’ll share some of the stories and insights on my blog. Now on the other side of the coin, I’ll also reveal things like how I fell through my attic. (Yes, I had no idea I was only supposed to walk on the joints.)

Most people have unique quirks, passions and even a history that makes them different. Create a list of all the things that might make you unique. It might be a crooked smile or a certain wave in your hair. You might have an incredible talent for whistling or you might be an ace at bowling. Your history might include working on your grandparents’ farm every summer or participating in scores of swimming events through school and even into your current years.

This is a brainstorming exercise so go through and list everything about yourself that is quirky and different. Also list your passions, the things you care about more than anything in the world.

Step Two Prioritize Your Unique List

Next, go through the list you’ve created and prioritize it. List the things you care about the most or the things that you think separate your from others. We all have unique things about us that might not be so unique when we think about it.

Remember, you’re trying to separate yourself from the packs of other people vying for the same things in life. If you have something incredibly different then you’ll want to use that to your advantage.

Step Three Blend Your Unique Traits Into Your Personal Brand Goals

Once you have your priority list you can start working your most unique traits into your personal brand goals. Basically, you’re adding your uniqueness into your vision for the future.

For example, if you’re a private pilot that likes to fly airplanes in your free time it’s probably something you’re going to do throughout your life. You’re committed to it because you get great enjoyment from it. You could work this into your personal brand goals in many different ways. You could start a column on your blog where you share stories about your flying experiences. You could start a business that has something to do with aviation. You could even make your love of aviation something that people see when they meet you. You could wear a small airplane pin on your shirt everywhere you go.

These things are all conversation starters. They come together to build your story and stories are memorable. When you go that interview or sales meeting you’re competing with many others, but the person you meet with might remember, “The candidate with the great flying stories.”

That can mean the difference between getting a new job or being stuck in your old one. It could mean the difference between huge sales growth or stagnant sales.

How To Develop Your Personal Story That Separates You
From Others

This is another business saying and when it comes to finding success in life you’re always selling. You’re selling yourself to an employer. You’re selling goods to consumers. If you can hone your personal story you’ll have a much easier and more successful time succeeding in all facets of life.

You’ve already started creating your story with the previous step. Now it comes down to honing a story that shares details about who you are. That let’s people in so they can get to know you and when people know you they trust you and buy into what you’re selling.

Step One Why Are You Here?

One of the most successful people when it comes to personal brands is golfer, Arnold Palmer. He’s recognized throughout the world for his image. A major part of his brand is his ability to golf obviously, but since he first started building his brand he’s used the story of his family and where he came from.

Palmer was the son of a farmer and golf course groundskeeper. He come from meager means early on and some people might shy away from sharing that aspect of one’s life with others, but Palmer embraced it and people were drawn to him and his story.

Write down where you’ve come from. Be proud of the things you’ve experienced and especially of the things you’ve overcome. People latch on to these stories and they feel like they really know you after you share information about your background and history.

Step Two What Is Your Vision?

Next, people want to know where you’re going. We’re a curious species in that we always want to know what’s coming next. We’re always looking forward and you can feed into that curiosity by telling people your vision for the future including your own future.

A common question in job interviews is, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

You should be able to answer that question and surprisingly, few people can. We think ahead, but we don’t really hone our vision. You can gain an edge by using your vision to your advantage.

Step Three Practice Telling Your Story And Writing Your Story

You’ve worked on your vision throughout this guide. Now your task is being able to tell your vision to others. Try it out with your friends and family. Tell them your plans for life. Gauge their reaction. If they’re asking questions it’s a good thing. If you see a sparkle of interest in their eye it means you’re doing a good job.

Your story is going to set you apart from the competition. Start practicing your story now and it will serve you well throughout your career.

How To Create A Personal Elevator Pitch That Wins
Over People You Meet

An elevator pitch is when you make your pitch to someone within the time it takes to ride the elevator. They’re next to your riding in the car and you only have about 30 seconds to make your case. When it comes to your personal brand, it’s essential to be able to tell your story and express your value in the time it takes to ride an elevator.

Throughout your professional life you’re going to be presented with opportunities to meet people. You might even meet them riding in an elevator in an office. These are opportunities to introduce yourself and get them interested in what you do. They might hire you. They might partner with you. They might be intrigued to the point of telling a colleague about you.

Here is how you can turn your story and value statement into an elevator pitch.

Step One State What You Do For People

The person you meet will often ask for your name and ask what you do.

State what you do in terms of how it is a benefit for your target audience. You want the person you’re giving your pitch to, to see the value in what you can offer them.

A plumber would have a few potential statements for this opening: I fix plumbing issues and help people get out of messy situations.

Or: I help people pick new plumbing fixtures and professionally install everything.

Step Two Provide Proof Of Your Value

Proof can really set your elevator pitch apart. Have one or two examples of work you’ve done that have been really successful and keep those ready in your mind for your elevator pitch opportunities.

You could share a recent project you worked on and how it increased profit for your employer or how recent work you’ve done made your clients look great in front of their family and friends.

For the plumber, he or she could say:
A recent client of ours recently had their kitchen featured in the local newspaper “Best Of” section for a remodeling article.

Step Three End With A Call To Action

Finally, end each conversation with a call to action. You can simply hand the person your business card and ask them to contact you if they ever need work or if they anyone that might need work.

Sometimes the difference between getting people to take action and never hearing from them again is simply giving them an action to take.

How To Build Presentations For Telling Your Story

Your local university and professional groups are usually looking for speakers. They want professionals to come in and talk to students and other professionals in the community about experiences in the work force. Students are looking for examples of how they can take on the professional world and there are usually frustrated professionals seeking ways to improve their lot in life.

You can use these speaking engagements as opportunities to grow your brand in front of your target audience. The speakers at these events not only get exposure to students and other professionals, but also to professors and business owners.

At these events, you will usually be asked to bring a slide deck presentation that you can use to aid your discussion. Setting up this presentation in the right way can make you stand out from other speakers and presenters and make you appealing to your target audience.

Step One Address The Common Issue The Audience Shares

Start your presentation by addressing the common issue each person in the audience is having. If you were speaking to students you would start by talking about the struggle to get a first job out of college. If you were speaking to a group of frustrated professionals you would touch on that frustration by stating how many people are frustrated with their job, but don’t know where to start to get something better.

By addressing the common issue, you speak right to each person in the audience and grab their attention. They see the potential benefit for them and will pay attention.

Step Two Share Your Story Of Struggle

Next, move into your story of struggle. You have to prove your credibility and earn interest. Your story accomplishes both of these. You’ve already been working on your story throughout this chapter. For each presentation, tweak your story so the details focus on the topic of discussion.

Your story might not mirror those in the audience exactly, but stories give people a way to understand a topic and they can work their own experiences and situations into the story and see what the solutions might be by listening to you.

Step Three Share Your Story Of Success

Start by sharing your story of success—I was a graduate struggling to find the right job just a few years ago…—and then move into your story of success. Talk about the steps you took to take control or your life to achieve your goals.

Step Four Provide Action Steps For The Audience

Next, give the audience action steps. You can talk about these throughout your story and presentation and then when you’re done with the presentation, list the action steps the audience needs to take to follow a path similar to yours. People like actionable presentations and giving these steps will make you different than other speakers. You want to be memorable and different.

Step Five End With A Call To Action

Finally, end with a call to action. Always leave something in it for you at the end. Share your contact information and ask people to contact you if they have questions. Audience members might contact you with a few follow up questions or someone in the audience might ask you about a job opening they have.

How To Get Speaking Opportunities

Speaking has been important for people growing personal brands including Chris Ducker. We asked, Chris the following question:

If you were building an online presence from scratch today, what 3 things would you consider to provide the biggest ROI on your time and money?

His answer included a point about speaking opportunities:

I’d start looking at events and meetups where I could speak. Speaking allows you to connect with people in a much more different way than that of blogging and podcasting, for example. Provide tons of value in person and then getting to speak with your audience immediately after you come off stage is not only very gratifying, it’s a huge step forward in creating those P2P (People to People) Relationships that mean more than anything else in brand building, I believe. Plus, speaking in front of a crowd instantly puts you in the light of a leader, which is why people are there to see you present in the first place.

James Schramko also had worthwhile information about finding speaking opportunities. We asked him:

What one action, decision, or choice has had the single biggest impact in the growth of your personal brand?

His response:

Travelling to bigger markets (USA from Australia) to expand my network. The led to introductions and speaking from stage at large events.

The best places to seek speaking opportunities, as mentioned above, are local universities and professional groups. Your city likely has a chamber of commerce. Contact them and ask if they have any programs where local professionals can come in and share their story.

Do the same with universities. Contact the university and ask if there are any classes or any groups on campus that would enjoy hearing from a professional in your industry.

These speaking opportunities work to build your collection of credentials and they also put you in front of your target audience. You could even get recognition from the local press, expanding your reach even more.

Employers, clients, etc. are always looking for social proof and getting speaking opportunities at official organizations like universities and professional organizations are proof that you’re an expert in your industry.

Lewis Howes also believes in the power of speaking. We asked him:

What one action, decision, or choice has had the single biggest impact in the growth of your personal brand?

His response was:

Connecting with influencers at the key events they are speaking at and attending.

Be Yourself Because Everyone Else Is Taken

Being different could also include doing things others aren’t doing. For example, we asked Gagan Biyani the following question:

What one action, decision, or choice has had the single biggest impact in the growth of your personal brand?

His response was:

Starting the Growth Hackers Conference was the single most valuable action that helped build my personal brand. Starting a conference allowed me to network with and speak alongside a number of incredibly talented growth marketers. You can only do that if you’re a credible speaker already, so really the trick to building a personal brand is to have a track record first. After that, starting events and conferences is a great next step.

Throughout this guide we give you the tools necessary to build YOUR personal brand.

You may take inspiration from others, but always keep thinking about building your brand. Opportunities will come to you if you stand out from the crowd. Nobody is going to hire you for a job, choose your company as a vendor or invest in your business unless they understand why you’re different.

Use the items in this chapter and earlier in the guide to help you build your personal brand. Then embrace the things that make you unique. Embracing your uniqueness and being passionate about it makes you appealing to people. It makes you appear more valuable than others that don’t embrace their own unique qualities.

Be yourself and be confident when interacting with people. That alone can lead to amazing opportunities both in your professional and personal lives.

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