A Brand Called You got this all started.  The internet blew it up.  There are thousands upon thousands of people today who are seeking to build a brand through a website and monetize it based on their thinking or selling something of their own.  I personally feel it’s an amazing aspiration and hope genuinely for people to pull it off.  Being your own boss must be very liberating.  But it’s also really hard.  You have to be good enough to draw attention, and that usually means actually having something intelligible to say.  Not as easy as it sounds (trust me, there have been enough goose eggs lain on this blog…)  You also have to have discipline.  Any entrepreneur can tell you that.

The last thing you need, in this day and age, is an incredible capacity to be nice.  When you aren’t, all of a sudden your product sucks.  Why?  Because you are your product.  That means that every day you wake up on the wrong side of the bed or say something off hand that you didn’t mean, you lose customers.

brand_called_you1There are many people who can afford to lose customers, just like established companies.  One or two here and there is not going to kill them.  It doesn’t help either, though.

As an entrepreneur of your own fledgling brand, though, it KILLS YOU.  A lot of marketers will tell you if you can find 100 people that truly want and value your product or service, you can make a living.  If you find 1,000 you can get rich.  Find 10,000 and you can be a jerk, if that’s your prerogative.  A startup can’t afford to lose potential sales, especially lifetime value of customers who would return.

Case in point:  I read a lot on business and marketing.  When I read something, I normally review it and tell others to read it if it’s any good.  I link to blogs all the time with content and writers who offer knowledge and treat others well.  When someone treats me poorly in an interaction, I don’t look back.  I just stop following them on Twitter or in my RSS.  I’m not going to complain to them and tell them.  I just stop buying.  Same thing with most products and services; I vote with my wallet.  This is what empowers consumers.  Some might say me fickle for simply turning off someone who treated me poorly, but that’s the nature of consumerism.  There are other options.  I live by this as a marketer.  I know that other people can provide similar products and services and as such it’s my job to keep my customers happy and cognizant that my company is thankful for their business.

If you are your own brand, you have to remember this every day.  When you anger a twenty something sneezer, you’re losing fifty years of lifetime value!  Not only that person’s purchases, but their likelihood to recommend your brand.  If you’re really unlucky, they will speak poorly of you in closed circles.  Openly complaining to an entity is good for that entity, it gives them the chance to make up for it.  When customers silently walk away is the problem.

So that is the issue with being your own brand.  You have to live it every day, just like employees are responsible to represent their company.  But for a Brand Called You, it’s 24/7.  This is why truly great individuals will succeed; they have inherent talent and congenial attitude that allows for their success to grow.