One of the things that frustrates me to no end is when entrepreneurs strive too hard to build a personal brand or become an influencer before they work on building a company. We go into business to be profitable and make lives better. Yet, that is somehow getting lost in our Kardashian-worshipping world where what you appear to be is more than what you actually are.
We’ve turned being an influencer into a job title that people are starting to love and revere. We’ve also taken a process that used to happen organically and turned it into a rigid, formal process with a set of rules to follow. Whole conferences are built around meeting and mingling with online stars. But, you know what?
Outside of those conferences, you can meet a lot these influencers working at restaurants and other non-influencer jobs to make ends meet – that’s because the majority of online stars are flat broke.
Followers do not equal financial stability.
When you have a large following, you should be able to build a profitable company, but you need a solid business model behind the glitz. If you want to do make up reviews, find a way to get sponsorships, build an email list and cash checks as soon as possible. If you want to make bank with your YouTube comedy channel, make sure people can buy bonus content from you – don’t just give it all away for free.
There are a million different ways to monetise what you love to do. Just be sure that you offer amazing value to your followers if you want them to open their wallets for you.
Here are six tips to being profitable and popular:
1Be loud and opinionated
Some people just can’t over-tweet or make too many videos. Their audiences are huge, and people pay attention every time they open their mouths. Even if you don’t love everything a loud person says, you have no choice but to listen. They invite conflict and debate and don’t care whether you like them.
The best way to help elevate yourself is to elevate those around you.
Give until hurts. Teach everything you know. Teach your secrets. Walk people step-by-step through what you do and how you do it. Make your failures just as public as your successes. Use every lesson in your life as good advice.
Remember: Nobody listens to the silent expert.
3Break all the rules
Productive people are too busy knocking over barriers to help their audience to waste time on rules. They don’t have time to ask whether they are doing it the “proper” way or not. One of the worst things you can do is look at somebody else’s rule list and apply it to your marketing. No two people or companies are the same. Determine what your mission is and goals are. Then make up your rules along the way.
4Have no shame
Sometimes, people are afraid to share their knowledge because they don’t want to seem arrogant. They might not want to making a scene over a controversial topic. But, if you don’t speak up on your expertise, people will turn to the guy who does.
I stopped being embarrassed a long time ago. I know I am going to look like a fool part of the time. I am going to make mistakes. That said, I’d much rather come crashing through the wall than cower in the corner when it comes to being an expert in my field.
If a large online following always equated to money, the world would be full of instant millionaires. This is definitely an area of business where the 80/20 rule applies. 80% of the money online is being made by 20% of the people. How do you start the revenue flowing? How do you take 10,000 YouTube subscribers and make it rain money? Get them off YouTube ASAP and over onto your email list.
Then, give them something to buy. Make something cheap for people that don’t have much money and make something else expensive for people that love you and have $1000 burning a hole in their pockets. As soon as you see your traffic and online following start to grow, develop products to make their lives better.
6Own your platform
One of the most important pieces of internet advice I give out: Do not build your empire on rented land. The bitter reality about social media that most people seem to forget is that you don’t own your social media information. You don’t own any of your followers. I’ve seen Facebook fan pages with 50,000 followers get shut down with no explanation and no recourse.
What ever happened to all those Vine stars?
Please be sure you are building your own website and your own email list. You can even go as far as building your own social media site with tools like Buddypress. But, start building your empire on your land today. I tell people to always imagine how their business would look if one or all of their social media sites disappeared tomorrow. If that would dramatically affect the flow of new business coming into your door, then you have work to do.
Branding is something we all have to do. Let most of it happen naturally.
Your brand is a reflection of your personality. Don’t fake it. Work on being completely yourself and totally transparent and your following will happen naturally.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.