9 ways to monetize your personal brand 💰Apr 12, 2023
I will let you in on a little secret in this week’s “Build a Brand” newsletter; it’s the ONE thing stopping people from building their personal brand…
Most people don’t understand how to build a business model around their personality.
Perhaps you believe making a living by “just being you” (that is, blending your unique value, personality, and insights) sounds like some far-fetched goal that’s only been obtained by rarified social media influencers. Or, on the flip side, you may think people building their personal brand are barely scraping by.
In reality, these extremes couldn’t be further from the truth; there is a large contingency of people making a comfortable living building their brand online.
According to ConvertKit’s State of the Creator Economy report, 22% of full-time creators (people creating and selling content) are sitting in a revenue range between $50,000-$150,000.
What’s more inspiring? You don’t have to be an OnlyFans adult film star or outrageous YouTube prankster to achieve this… (Note: I don’t judge those types of creators, they are just not my audience or ideal client.)
Notice the top 5 categories of full-time creators’ topics from ConvertKit above. If you’re reading this newsletter, I'm willing to bet you fall into one of those categories!
So, why, then, does it feel so out of grasp for you to actually turn your passion into full-time profits? Why are you continuously squandering your unique gifts by working for corporate retainers and feeling like you have 5 bosses to answer to at all times?
Because you haven’t created your business model around service and product lines that can scale with you.
I’m willing to wager that because you haven’t done this, you spend your energy and time getting work done for clients instead of creating content to help you cash in on your unique gift…
So here are 9 ways that you can (and should) model out your magic to finally create a schedule that allows you time to do work that is meaningful and fulfilling…
1. Sponsored Content
You can earn money by partnering with brands and creating sponsored content. Brands always seek influencers who can promote their products to a specific audience. You can create sponsored posts, videos, or stories and get paid for your work.
How to make this work for a business professional:
While most of us think of Instagram Influencers rocking t-shirts with the hashtag #ad when we think of sponsored content, there are many opportunities for you as a coach or a consultant to get sponsorships. Do you have a newsletter with a targeted audience? Maybe you market to HR leaders. Great, perhaps a payroll software would love to pay to advertise in it. Get creative here. Think like a marketer.
2. Affiliate Marketing
I bet you're always telling your clients about new and handy tools they should use. For instance, I can’t get enough of the social media scheduling tool, Loomly. It’s the best I’ve seen in terms of quickly publishing content. So I signed up for their affiliate marketing program. It’s not a lot, but I earn a couple hundred a month from it. If you get 2-3 of these going, that can be a couple of grand flowing into your business by recommending something you’d already be recommending.
3. Digital Products
Most people are familiar with this one. You create courses or membership programs to help your audience solve a problem. I want to push you, though. Beyond courses, consider frameworks, templates, or ebooks that you can sell for a higher-dollar amount. Gumroad is chock-full of these. For instance, I bought a Notion template on Gumroad for $10 that saved me time in building one from scratch in Notion. The seller had hundreds of purchases for something I guarantee you took him less than 10 minutes to make. Darren McKee also sells a digital book about getting started in SaaS sales. You can create and sell digital products like ebooks, courses, or webinars. These products can be related to your personal brand and offer value to your audience.
As an expert in your niche, you can offer coaching services to your audience. You can offer one-on-one coaching or group coaching sessions. Coaching services can be offered through video calls, emails, or in-person meetings.
My favorite way to approach scalable coaching is the following:
- Start with hourly office hours around a specific topic (For example, I have a one-hour coaching session for $750 to help people get rapidly unstuck in their personal brand)
- Notice trends that come out of the coaching sessions
- Offer live group coaching around those trends
- Turn live group coaching into an evergreen online course
5. Speaking Engagements
Between 72-75% of the population fears public speaking. For the 25% or so of us that come alive in front of a room, though, keynotes and break-out sessions are an excellent way to cash in on our passion.
Bonus? LinkedIn is the number one place conference organizers seek out these professionals, so with the proper positioning and network building on the platform, you can really explode.
6. Brand Partnerships
There are a few brands that I champion, and I’m happy to let them use my story on their websites. Often, in exchange, I receive the services (the services I already was paying for and raving about!) for free. While I’m not actively earning money on this, I am reducing my expenses and cost of goods sold, which means higher profitability for my personal brand.
Given the size of my LinkedIn network, some of these platforms approached me, and others I approached for these opportunities. This is really a “Don’t ask, don’t get” scenario. Just go for it! You’re a customer and a fan; it’s harder for them to say “no” to you.
7. Write a book
Most authors will be lucky to sell more than 1,000 copies of a book in their career. This is a sad but true fact from working with a lot of entrepreneurs-turned-authors. So why in the world would you do it?
Because if you’ve built up your social media network and asked for genuine support, you will earn money from the book, but, more importantly, you’ll make more money from your other offerings because of the book. Your keynote fees will shoot up, and your online course sales will grow.
8. Host Workshops
Notice I have this separate from “paid speaking.” Why? Because I see them as two different things, and so should you. Speaking is when you are paid to talk to a large group to deliver a message for an hour or so. Workshops are active training sessions with corporations. They are generally longer (half-day or full-day) and more intensive. I love teaching, and workshops are one of my top-ticket services. Going into a company with a group of 20 salespeople for a day and transforming their LinkedIn profiles and content plans is one of my favorite things to do. I love the interaction and love watching the lightbulb flicker on when you can tell they’ve gotten something.
9. Set up a paid newsletter
You may think, “Paid newsletter…what? My free newsletter is how I build goodwill with my audience to sell other things!” Valid point, but to that, I say, “This isn’t an ‘either, or,’ it’s a both."
Consider engineer-turned-writer Gergely Orosz, who writes a paid newsletter called “The Pragmatic Engineer.” His free newsletter version offers one free article per month on the software engineering industry. His paid Substack newsletter gives a deep dive into a software engineering–related topic on Tuesdays and a timely article on Big Tech and high-growth startups on Thursdays. (Plus, an ever-growing document collection, which is useful for engineering managers and software engineers.)
The results? Over 180,000 subscribers to his free newsletter and thousands to his paid newsletter. The result? About $1.5 million/year for Gergely.
- You likely aren’t consistent in building your personal brand because you don’t have a business model driving it.
- When you understand how to package and monetize your brand, you’ll find greater motivation.
- Select 1-3 services/products from the list, and try implementing them in the next 90 days.
- Be patient with yourself. Like any good business, tinkering with your marketing, services, and products takes time. Remember, you have to first earn $1,000 before you earn $10,000, and $100,000 before you earn $1,000,000. But you need to start somewhere.
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