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想创业,首先树立你的个人品牌

Ryan Foalnd 2018年11月07日

所有创业者都应该首先致力于创建个人品牌,其次才是自己的公司。个人品牌将伴你一生。声誉日隆之后,你创业成功的几率将大幅提高。

图片来源:Photograph by Adrianna Williams — Getty Images

去年秋天,我受邀前往《别独自用餐》(Never Eat Alone)一书作者凯斯·法拉奇位于好莱坞山的豪宅参加一场高端活动。来自全世界创业和科技领域的领导者均获邀出席。

此次活动旨在帮助我们近距离接触那些可能会给我们的职业和个人生活提供帮助的人士。

在晚宴上,我们首先进行了一番自我介绍,并诚实地分享职业和个人生活的最新情况。法拉奇不希望我们讲述自己的事业多么顺利,而是鼓励我们分享目前遇到的困难。

坐在餐桌对面的一位男士讲述的故事,深深地触动了在场每一个人。

他曾经陷入几乎无家可归的境地,现在却打造了一个高端人脉网络,其中包括几位最成功的商界大佬。他在社交媒体上动情讲述自己在过去两年的失败经历,目前已拥有超过10万名粉丝,文章阅读次数超过1000万次。

他叫莱纳德·吉姆,现任商业咨询公司InfluenceTree的主理合伙人。在InfluenceTree,莱纳德和他的团队培训创业者如何打造个人品牌,如何获得刊物的重点关注,以及如何利用“增长黑客”玩转社交媒体。

如果遇到吉姆这样的人,你需要准备好合适的问题。吉姆阐述了创业者创建个人品牌需要做哪些最重要的事情,以及为什么个人品牌如此重要。

创业者如何着手创建个人品牌?

吉姆:我们获取知识的速度,远远快于我们获得智慧的速度。读书和上课可以为你提供生活中需要的知识,但如果不加以运用,这些知识对你毫无用处。首先,你需要有真实的经历。没有经历,没人会在乎你说的话。你必须走出去,体验生活,不断学习,然后培养某些方面的特长。一旦你拥有这种真实世界的经历,你就可以将其转化为实实在在的东西。

假设创业者已经拥有真实世界的经历,他们如何将自己的信息传达出去?

吉姆:在我看来,利用自身经历有两种方式。你必须决定,自己想成为其他人模仿的好榜样,还是成为坏榜样,以告诫其他人在生活中应尽量避免哪些错误。

就我而言,最初开始创建个人品牌和表达观点时,我决定要成为一个坏榜样,告诫人们应该避免去做哪些事情。我通过分享失败的经历找到了一个细分市场,并围绕这个市场建立自己的品牌。在拥有大批受众之后,我就开始调整自己的细分市场,致力于传授打造个人品牌的艺术。你必须找到未充分利用的细分市场,并坚持到底。

你在写作方面取得了巨大的成功;创业者应该从哪里开始?

吉姆:你可以从Quora开始。我选择这个平台,是因为那里的数百万用户就是现成的受众,你只需要回答他们的问题即可,这比创作独立的内容更容易。第一年结束时,我的内容的阅读次数从零增长到200万。最初我在那个平台上只有3名粉丝,后来增长至3400人,并被评选为“优秀答主”。多数出版物的内容只会存在一周时间,然后便会慢慢淡出视线,但Quora上的内容直到今天依旧在持续传播。

网上有无数的内容,创业者如何脱颖而出?

吉姆:关键是建立联系。我发现,在分享信息时,不论是书面信息、语音、艺术或采用视频的形式,你都需要仔细琢磨,并保证100%诚实。做让你害怕的事情。尽量保持透明。

分享你最脆弱而其他人难以启齿的时刻。通过发出理性透明的声音,人们会与你的内容产生共鸣。第一次分享内容时,我有些战战兢兢。我认为,人们会将我看成彻头彻尾的失败者,因为在写作之前,我的生活可谓一事无成。但事实恰恰相反。一些人评论说,我很勇敢。也有人直接与我联系,讲述了他们自己的故事。甚至有人说我的故事鼓舞了他们。

每个人在生活中都有弱点,但我们的资源有限,不知道与谁诉说。通过保持透明,你可以和每一位与你有类似或相同生活经历的读者建立直接的联系。

创业者如何进一步加深这些联系?

吉姆:忘记自己。你要考虑自己可以做些什么来帮助你的受众和粉丝。无私地向其他人伸出援手,可以让你与其他人建立超乎想象的信任感。正是因为有这样的心态,我这样一个小人物才有机会结识许多商界高管。

创业者如何在社交媒体上增加自己的粉丝数量?

吉姆:始终尽自己的最大努力。创作值得分享的内容。如果你分享的内容可以引起人们的共鸣,他们就会喜欢上你的内容。他们会希望读到更多。

与一小部分受众建立起直接联系之后,他们就会开始分享和宣传你的信息。但粉丝的增加是一个双向的过程。如果你读到了其他人创作的有吸引力的内容,关注他们,通过评论、电子邮件或推文,让他们知道你。

随着信息的扩散,社交媒体上关注你的人会越积越多。通过这种做法,在我开始写作一年半之后,我的Quora粉丝增加到了2万人。现在,我在Quora、推特、Medium、Pinterest、LinkedIn、Instagram和Facebook等社交媒体上的粉丝人数超过了10万人。

内容在刊物上发表,似乎有助于建立创业者的公信力。那么如何才能让自己的内容登上媒体刊物呢,你有哪些建议?

吉姆:关键是知道在什么地方发布。就我而言,刊发在《郝芬顿邮报》、《Inc.》杂志和《福布斯》的内容最初都摘自Quora。我在Medium上发布的内容也被一些媒体采用。

你必须按照目标刊物的风格编写内容。例如,若你希望在《Inc.》杂志上发表文章,那么你的文章格式就应该符合这本杂志读者的习惯。我在《Inc.》杂志上有一个专栏。《Inc.》常用的格式是列出十个条目。文章长度不能超过800个单词。内容通常是读者可以马上付诸实施的可行建议。在遵循与目标刊物的风格相匹配的格式之后,我的内容才开始被多家刊物采用。

为什么你认为创建个人品牌对创业者如此重要?

吉姆:95%的公司会在前五年遭遇失败。这意味着,95%的创业者们付出的努力,在初创公司失败后便付诸东流。相反,你的个人品牌却会永远存在,它不会随着你的公司失败而失败。我工作过的初创公司,有三家最终以失败告终。我为创建这些公司所付出的努力全都成为泡影,我不得不一次次地从头再来。但现在不再是这样了。我认为,所有创业者的重点首先应该是创建个人品牌,其次才是自己的公司。为什么?因为个人品牌将陪伴你一生,随着信誉和追随者的增加,你创建一家成功初创公司的几率将大幅提高。任何时候开始创建个人品牌,都不算晚。(财富中文网)

译者:刘进龙/汪皓

审校:任文科

Last fall, I was invited to an exclusive event at the Hollywood Hills home of Never Eat Alone author Keith Ferrazzi. The top leaders from across the world in the startup and technology realm were invited to join.

The purpose of this event was to help us connect with a few people who could potentially help us with our careers, and our personal lives as well.

At dinner, we were told to introduce ourselves by sharing both professional and personal updates, and to be honest. Rather than the usual, “I am doing amazing–things are going great.” Ferrazzi encouraged us to share what we were struggling with.

Across the table was a man whose story really struck a nerve.

Because after almost being homeless, he now has a top tiered network of some of the most successful people in the business world. Writing about his failures over the course of the last two and a half years, he built a social media following of well over 100,000 followers and has had his content read over 10 million times.

His name is Leonard Kim, and he is now the managing partner of InfluenceTree. At InfluenceTree, Leonard and his team teach entrepreneurs how to build their personal brands, get featured in publications, and growth-hack social media.

When you meet someone like Kim, you need to be prepared to ask the right questions. Kim discussed some of the most important things entrepreneurs need to establish and build their personal brands, and why it is so crucial.

How do entrepreneurs get started on building out their personal brand?

Kim: We acquire knowledge much faster than we acquire wisdom. Reading books and attending lectures will give you the knowledge you need in life, but without application, that knowledge does nothing for you. The first thing you need is real experience. Without experience, no one will care what you have to say. You need to go out there and live life, learn what you can, then become good at something. Once you have that real world experience, you can turn it into something tangible.

Let’s assume that they have the real world experience; how do they get their message out there?

Kim: The way I see it, there are two ways to go about leveraging your experience. You have to decide whether or not you want to be an example for others to live by, or a bad example to teach others what to avoid in life.

For me, when I first started building up my personal brand and started communicating my message, I decided to be that bad example and teach people what not to do. I found a niche in sharing my failure and built my brand around that. Once I had an audience, I pivoted and changed my niche to the art of building the personal brand. You need to find a niche that is underutilized and stick out with that.

You have had great success with your writing; where should entrepreneurs start?

Kim: You should start out on a platform called Quora. The reason I used it is because they already had a pre-built audience of millions of users, and you simply answer existing questions, which is easier than coming up with standalone content. By the end of my first year, I went from zero to 2 million views on my content. I started with three followers that grew to 3,400 on the platform, and was eventually named a Top Writer. Unlike most publications where content lives for a week then dies off, content on Quora continues to be circulated to this day.

With so much content online, how can entrepreneurs stand out?

Kim: The key is in building connections. I have found that when you are sharing your message, whether it be in writing, voice, art, or through a video, you need to hone in and be 100% honest. Do what scares you. Be as transparent as you can be.

Share your weakest moments that others are too ashamed to talk about. By being a transparent voice with reason, people will begin to resonate with your content. I was trembling the first time I did this. I thought people would look at me as a total failure, since prior to writing, I never really achieved much in life. But the exact opposite happened. Some people commented about how bold and brave I was. Others reached out directly to me and told me their stories. A few even decided to go as far as saying that I was an inspiration.

We all experience weak points in our lives, but have limited resources on who we can talk to about it. By being transparent, you are making a direct connection with each of your readers who have gone through the same, if not similar experiences in life.

How do entrepreneurs take those connections to a deeper level?

Kim: Forget about yourself. Instead, ask what you can do to help your audience and followers. By offering up your assistance without any ulterior motives, you will be able to build trust with people you never knew were possible. This is how I was able to go from a nobody to connecting with some of the top executives in the business world.

How do entrepreneurs increase their social media following?

Kim: Always do your best. Create content worth sharing. When you share content that resonates with people, they will become addicted to your content. They will want to read more.

When you create direct bonds with the small portion of your audience that reaches out, they will begin to share and promote your message. But gaining followers is a two-way street. If you see someone else who is creating compelling content, follow them, then let them know through a comment, an email, or a tweet.

As your message expands, your social media following will continue to build. By doing this, within 1.5 years into my writing, I had amassed 20,000 followers on Quora. Now, I have more than 100,000 collective social media followers from Quora, Twitter, Medium, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook.

Getting into publications seems to help build credibility for entrepreneurs. Are there any tips to getting your content into publications?

Kim: It is essential to know where to publish. For me, my content that was featured in Huffington Post, Inc., Forbes, etc. was first picked up on Quora. Others have used Medium to achieve this.

You need to write in the style of the publication you want to be in. For example, if you wanted your content to be seen in Inc., where I have a column, you need to start writing your content in a format that fits the Inc. audience. What works in Inc. is usually lists of 10. Their articles tend to be under 800 words. The content is usually around actionable advice that a reader can implement immediately. When I wrote my content in the format that matched the style of the publications I was aiming for, it started to get picked up by them.

Why do you think it is so important for entrepreneurs to build a personal brand?

Kim: Ninety-five percent of businesses fail within the first five years. That means that 95% of the work that entrepreneurs do will vanish when the startup goes under. On the contrary, your personal brand lasts forever and does not have to fail alongside your business. I worked at three startups that have failed. All that effort I put into building out these startups vanished, so I had to continually start over. Not anymore though. I believe all entrepreneurs should focus on building their personal brand first, and then their business second. Why? Because your personal brand lasts a lifetime, and you significantly increase the odds of launching a successful startup when you have a reputation and followers behind you. It is never too late to start.

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