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How To Build A Personal Brand That Precedes You




Branding myself with the word “success.”

Your professional life becomes way easier and doors open when your reputation precedes you. But to get that point, you have to know how to build a personal brand.

As an online business owner and author, every day I see the benefits of a strong personal brand in the marketplace. Put simply, bigger and better opportunities come out of thin air when people know you and your work.

What I’ve also discovered is reputation is not only important for entrepreneurs and celebrities, but literally every single professional can benefit from a powerful personal brand.

I’m talking about:

  • Realtors
  • College students
  • Actors
  • Accountants
  • Engineers
  • Bankers
  • Athletes
  • Coaches
  • Sales reps
  • Teachers
  • Hairdressers
  • Coaches
  • Stylists

And I could go on and on.

We’d all be better off if we watched less television, played less video games, texted less drama, binged less Netflix, and instead blocked off time to build a top personal brand.

Why should you stop all the non-value producing activities and focus your limited time on building a personal brand? Here’s why.

The Power Of A Strong Personal Brand


A job candidate with an established personal brand positions themselves to get their dream job from the start. Maybe they have a strong blog, podcast, or YouTube following, which becomes a unique factor that helps them stand out from the pack.

You can also mention stories and experiences from your personal brand work that make you qualified to succeed in this new job. Odds are the company will be intrigued and impressed.

If you’re looking for a raise or promotion, executing to the best of your ability helps. But what if other coworkers also do that? Then your personal brand can be the separating factor that gives you the nod over the other guy or girl.

And say you want to completely change careers. You can reach out to your audience for assistance in landing your new job in a different field. Or the income from your personal brand can buy you time before you decide what to pursue full time.

In my world, the entrepreneurs with the biggest brand get paid six-figures for a one hour keynote speech, they get features on the top sites, and new business opportunities flock to them without them breaking a sweat.

When authors like Tony Robbins come out with a book, you can all but guarantee it’s making The New York Times bestseller list because of Tony’s fan base.

While I’m nowhere on the level of the people I just described, I’ve definitely seen the firsthand benefits of my growing personal brand through appearing on tv, countless podcast interview requests, and word of mouth. Each of those has helped me move forward professionally or financially.

For example, my blog audience, email list, and social media following helped my three books become bestsellers. With no personal brand, no one is buying those books when they came out then or now.

And I’ve used my personal brand as a selling point to do digital marketing  for clients and win rich contracts. Part of the pitch is if I can build a quality personal brand for myself in a few short years starting from nothing, imagine what I can do for your established company.

I could go case study by case study, but trust me when I say my personal brand has paid me more than 10,000 times over. That’s not an exaggeration!

It’s just a fact that building a personal brand pays off down the road in your career. The hard work and patience turns into tangible results regardless of the professional path you follow.

Are you willing to do what it takes? Or whatever it takes? If you want a personal brand that works 24/7 to serve you, here’s what you’ll want to do.

How To Build A Personal Brand

1. Show up

Look, you can’t build a personal brand if you don’t show up to work for it. It’s a little sad this has to be the first tip, but it’s true that most people don’t work to build a brand.

They want the easy route and there isn’t one if you want a huge audience. The only option is to go to work and put your head down so you don’t get distracted.

The way you show up in the personal brand space is by focusing on one of these platforms:

  • Blog
  • Podcast
  • YouTube channel
  • Public speaking

Once you build traction, continue to stay on that platform but then add another one and send your audience there. For example, a successful blogger might add a podcast to the mix and encourage the blog audience to listen to his new podcast.

Put in the hard work when no one cares what you’re doing to get to the point where millions of people care down the road.

Because get this: Life becomes easier down the road for the people who continue to show up. They get blessed with new opportunities left and right.

Life becomes harder for those who don’t show up to build a personal brand and have nothing to leverage when times get tough.

It’s ironic, but 100% true.

2. Know your specific audience

A personal brand without an audience isn’t a personal brand at all. But audiences don’t randomly show up.

It’s your job to know them and cater to them. I’ll cover catering to them later after you know them.

It’s absolutely critical you know who you’re communicating with or you won’t connect with them. No connection means they won’t stick around for long.

But by understanding your target audience, you can build loyal fans who roll with you for decades. Read this article titled 1,000 True Fans to see how 1,000 diehards can make your career.

One of my favorite lines from that read is:

A thousand customers is a whole lot more feasible to aim for than a million fans. Millions of paying fans is not a realistic goal to shoot for, especially when you are starting out. But a thousand fans is doable. You might even be able to remember a thousand names. If you added one new true fan per day, it’d only take a few years to gain a thousand.

Answer these audience questions before you start creating content:

  • Who is the ideal person you want to target to get 1,000 true fans?
  • How old are they?
  • What are their pain points?
  • What is their financial position?
  • What are their habits and hobbies?
  • What do they dream about achieving?

When you know these answers (if you don’t, do some research), you’ll know know how to give value to these people and persuade them to follow you.

3. Give free value

Most people trying to establish a personal brand fail. This fact is backed up by a New York Times article which reports that about 95% of blogs are abandoned.

I have a theory why.

The people who start a blog, podcast, or YouTube channel with the initial idea that they need to receive something right away are the ones that quit when it doesn’t happen soon enough. They’re 100% in it to receive, not give.

But the ones who have the attitude that they’re going to give value to people (most likely in the form of information or entertainment) set themselves up to win in the long run.

Because the formula to success in this space isn’t hard:

Give value + be patient = personal brand results

You’d be wise to memorize this equation and execute it.

Look at PewDiePie’s YouTube channel or Ramit Sethi’s blog for real life results. The reason they broke out to the top is they published free content for decades without stopping.

Besides free written, audio, or video content, another way to build a community of loyal followers is to do giveaways and promotions.

You could give away your time to call a follower. You could spend money and do a contest where one winner wins the special prize. Or you could create a product you give away to your audience who sign up for your email list.

Give and you shall receive applies in the personal brand field more than anywhere else.

4. Be an authentic, real person

I don’t usually talk politics on Take Your Success (besides this post) because I try to keep this a positive space. But a main reason Clinton lost the 2016 Presidential Election to Trump is she didn’t come off as authentic or trustworthy to the average American.

Reason I bring that up is your personal brand will also let you down if you fall into the trap of trying to appear perfect online. That’s not what people want, it’s actually the opposite.

People love someone who knows who they are, owns it, and doesn’t falter under popular opinion. Chameleons and people-pleasers don’t go far when it comes to personal brands. We want real people.

How do you pull off authentic? It depends what space you’re in. But here are a few examples.

An aspiring model can publish the original photos on Instagram with the touched up final shots.

An aspiring news reporter can put together a clip of their bloopers and fails in their first year.

A lifestyle blogger can get real by talking about the loneliness and other downsides of traveling the world alone.

An online personality can do a personal video about their childhood, their family dynamic, or how a traumatic event changed their outlook on life.

And you can start doing live videos. Engagement is higher when you broadcast yourself live. It also creates the effect where people feel like they’re in the same room as you.

Be real and you’ll blow up quicker than trying to be perfect.

Perfection is boring. A hero’s journey of ups and downs is much more interesting.

5. Show expertise or work towards it

This “being an expert” idea trips up a ton of people starting out. They think they have to be a know-it-all in their space to get started, which is nowhere near the truth.

Say you’re not an expert, no problem. Just showcase your journey to becoming one. Remember authenticity sells well, and the climb to the top is very interesting.

And expertise comes with time. So what often happens is you document your journey to becoming an expert and transition to communicating with the authority of an expert.

Now if you’re an expert, don’t act like you’re not. Show off your expertise because that’s what is going to give people the most value and separate yourself from the competition.

Just in doing so, I recommend communicate to people in a conversational tone where they can understand you. The people who win are pros at breaking down complex ideas into simple ideas for the average Joe to comprehend.

Sharing your high-level ideas whether it’s in the food, fitness, or juggling arena will attract beginners who want to improve.

6. Collaborate with strong personal brands

Whether you’re a blogger, podcaster, or YouTuber, your personal brand will grow when you:

  • Guest post on other blogs
  • Allow others to guest post on your site
  • Go on other podcasts
  • Invite other interesting people on your podcast
  • Appear on other people’s channel in video collaborations
  • Do videos with other people on your YouTube channel

What happens most times when you’re on someone else’s platform is you are free to shout out where people can find you. So if you provide value or interest with your opportunity, part of their audience will check you out and follow you.

And other content producers who see this may invite you to collaborate with them on their platform. This snowballs forward for more opportunities and a bigger following.

Plus you’ll build your network by interacting with other personalities in the space. Depending on the person, this can pay huge professional and financial dividends.

Star entrepreneurs Grant Cardone and Gary Vaynerchuk understand this principle for growing their audience. That’s why they teamed up for this video.

7. Stick with it for decades

This goes back to and is a continuation of Step 1: Show up.

The fact of the matter is the world is a huge place with billions of people in it. And you’re not the only one striving to create a top personal brand in your field.

Competition is tough in anything worthwhile, but one way to increase your odds of winning is to never give up.

You need to stay the course on this mission for 10-plus years to make solid traction and grow a huge following. That’s a prerequisite for 99% of people.

Sure, some people break out to become stars in a year or two, but that’s the extreme minority and they often had luck or family money in their corner

You don’t need luck or money, you just need dedication. Commit to mastering your craft. Inspire others. Entertain them on their bad days. And be someone they can count on every year to show up.

Too many people quit before they see any results, only to try something else and also quit that. This way of living means you’ll always start from zero and never stick around to accomplish anything of significance.

Show up for decades to get the true fruits of your labor. That’s what legends have sacrificed to become legendary.

Final Words

Be encouraged by the idea that there was a time when no one knew Warren Buffett, Jennifer Lopez, or Steph Curry. They showed up and worked for their personal brand day and night.

Who cares if no one knows you right now? If you build your personal brand brick by brick, the sky’s the limit!

And if you’re fortunate, years down the road people will be wishing they had your personal brand like you wish you had someone’s now.

I’ll see you at the top in a few decades. Let’s grab a glass of wine to celebrate. We’ll have certainly earned it.


Patience Is One Key To Success

Why Authors Are Uniquely Positioned To Win The Long Game



5 Things Successful Freelancers Do At Networking Events




As an independent contractor or self-employed freelancer, your level of success depends on your ability to create and sustain relationships. The number of clients you have, the stream of work you produce and the revenue you earn are all contingent on the scope of your business network.

The more dedicated and intentional you are about forming quality connections, the more professional growth, impact and advancement you’ll experience. “By growing your network, opportunities arise, business partners appear, connections are made and trust is garnered in the local community,” says Sharon Schweitzer, best-selling author and consultant.

And in the freelance and entrepreneur world, the service you’re promoting is ultimately yourself—which makes it even harder. If you’ve ever tried to write a personal bio, you know what I mean. Promoting yourself can be challenging, but successful business owners and freelancers know it’s necessary.

As you attend various networking events to grow your network of potential client and those who can support your efforts, keep these tips in mind.

Come Equipped with Business Cards

Every networking event is a chance to gain new clients. As such, you need to present the most professional version of yourself. That version doesn’t just dress well and act polite—that version of yourself always has business cards too. This gives everyone you meet something to remember you by, while showing that you take your work seriously.

Remember that the design of your cards should not only be polished, with readable text and all the right information. It should reflect your brand and personality as well. Check out these interesting business card ideas to find inspiration and a unique style that matches who you are and the work you do.

Pro tip: Find a way to make your business card actionable or helpful. For example, if you’re a personal trainer, you could include a workout on the back of your business card. Not only is this more memorable, but you’re already helping the person who you just met—and you haven’t even done anything yet.

Release Fear

For some people, attending a networking event is stressful. Not only do you have to talk to people you don’t know—but you have to show them that you’re successful and worth connecting with. This is where the fear of personal failure, which was the number one fear among 1,000 Americans polled, can slow you down.

Successful freelancers push this fear aside to present a confident, successful person. To release any personal fears holding you back, use these tips from The Muse:

  •   Choose “non-lame” events and stick with events you’re excited to attend
  •   Stop saying “networking,” which makes it feel intimidating
  •   Volunteer at the event instead of going as an attendee
  •   Research the roster ahead of time so you know who will be there
  •   Reward yourself afterward, I.E. “If I give away all my business cards, I’ll…”
  •   Have conversation starters prepared
  •   Approach people in pairs, which may feel less intimidating

Pro tip: Practice your power poses before going to a networking event to boost your confidence. Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist, suggests that standing in these power postures, and using similar body language, boosts your confidence, even when you don’t feel confident. Learn the different power poses in her Ted Talk.

Seek Contacts to Fulfill Specific Needs

One of the many advantages going to a networking event is that it attracts different people with varying degrees of experience, interest and expertise to one place. As a freelancer, this means there are chances to meet a wide variety of people who could help you, from developers for your website to potential business clients.

Successful freelancers define what they’re looking for before they step foot through the door. I.E. a mentor, client, partner, or even just a fellow creative to bounce ideas off. Keep these goals in mind as you build connections at the event and afterward. Global entrepreneur Ted Rollins suggests:

“As these relationships grow, consider how they fit into that burgeoning ‘why.’ Someone could be more valuable in expanding your business, while another person might serve you best in a mentorship role.”

Pro tip: Stay in touch with everyone, even if you don’t need their help right now. This is one of the best times to be in touch with someone because it gives you a chance to help them instead. When the time comes to reach out for a request, you’ve done the work to maintain that relationship over time.

Use the Skill of Active Listening

This interpersonal skill is highly regarded in professional settings because it shows other people that you want to form a reciprocal relationship instead of just a self-serving one. Mind Tools describes an active listener as someone who makes a “conscious effort to hear not only the words another person is saying but, more importantly, to understand the complete message being sent.”

To practice this at a networking event, approach people with an open stance, hold eye contact, remember to smile and use receptive body language—freshen up on receptive body language with this guide from Skills You Need.

Don’t forget to ask questions that start with “Who?” “What?” “How?” and “Why?” The more attentive you are toward someone, the more they’ll trust your motives.

Pro tip: Practice active listening in every area of your life—with your friends, your family and your spouse. Work toward being an active listener, even in the simplest of conversations, so it comes easier to you when it matters most, like when you’re meeting a potential investor or business partner.

Send a Follow-Up Message Promptly

Communication is critical to solidifying your new potential relationships and successful freelancers follow-up within 24 hours. When you do, express your gratitude for their assistance, offer any other relevant information that wasn’t shared in person, and reiterate what a pleasure it was to meet them.

Not only does prompt correspondence keep your name fresh in people’s minds, it establishes you as a genuine individual whom others feel secure doing business with. If the context is appropriate, you can even add personal touches like inquiring about a recent vacation they took or mentioning a common interest you share to express that you’re invested in them relationally.   

Feeling uninspired? Check out these follow-up email templates.

Pro tip: After following up via email, connect with anyone that stood out to you on LinkedIn. This is a second chance to remind them of who you are, and once connected, you can casually interact via “liking” posts and commenting. This ensures you stay top of mind and makes it even easier for them to reconnect with you at any point.

Step Into the Networking Arena

Learning how to network effectively is an asset you can take straight to the bank. Move outside your comfort zone, engage with other professionals, and use these pointers to maximize your efforts and form connections that will provide value for many years to come.

BIO: Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years and is currently a full-time freelance writer and self-employed content marketing consultant. She’s been featured in Forbes and Business Insider and has written for Virgin, Glassdoor, Lifehack and more. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07 and connect LinkedIn.

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Why Your Salary Is Costing You Millions In Earned Income




The average person craves a salaried job the for comfort, security, and the guarantee they can pay their bills.

But a salary will cost countless people millions of dollars in earned income throughout their career.

It’s ironic that we want a guaranteed income so we can live comfortably leading up to and through retirement.

That’s what society promises, at least, until things become uncomfortable.

Once something bad happens—you get fired, laid off, don’t save enough, salary increase doesn’t keep pace with inflation, make bad financial choices, have expensive kids, get divorced—and now you’re far away from a comfortable retirement nest egg plus have less skills and determination to go make your own money.

The salaried gig looks great on the outside, until you dive deeper to see that it’s often the single biggest demotivator and limiting factor to earning more money.

Your Salary Kills Urgency And Entices Laziness

Though not entirely similar, a salary shares some common characteristics of communism.

You get the same paycheck every month regardless of your performance—pretty close to communism.

At many jobs, a guy like Bill will voluntarily show up at 6 AM every work morning and leave at 8 PM, while slacker Johnny over there shows up at 8 AM and leaves at 6 PM and is paid the exact same wage as Bill.

The paycheck doesn’t reflect the reality that Bill worked 20 plus more hours than Johnny and got a heck of a lot more done than Johnny.

Talk about unfair? The salary gig is cruel, I’m telling you.

And since that situation isn’t fair, human nature will get Bill to think, “Stop working so hard. Why bother to put in the extra hours if I’m not rewarded? I’m going to start acting like Johnny because he’s doing just what’s asked of him and the boss doesn’t notice my performance.”

Now I’m not naive to think that bonuses, raises, and promotions aren’t a thing in the workforce—a differentiator from communism.

However, those are just too much out of your control to count on and you’re not rewarded until months or years later. And they often require smart salary negotiation, which is difficult if you’re not practiced, on top of luck.

Plus, in the example above, if Bill decides to work less and deliver less value then he won’t get the bonus or raise even if there’s one available.

The idea is that a salary often persuades workers to do the bare minimum to keep their job and keep getting paid.

It doesn’t entice individuals to give their all each and every day to not only make themselves double the income, but the company double the return on investment in them as well.

Knowing a paycheck is coming has a cocaine effect where you’re addicted to that monthly guaranteed income even though it’s not in your best interest to rely on it.

What’s worse is the damage it does to your overall net worth.

Guaranteed Income Costs You Millions Of Dollars

The addiction of needing a salary will costs millions of people, millions of dollars in lost income.

Let’s take a look at the multiple reasons why a salary sets you up to fail in the chase towards wealth.

For one, the average salary increase in the US doesn’t match the potential of a hustler who gets to decide their own income based on their work ethic.

A May 2017 forecast from WorldatWork predicts that salary increase budgets for U.S. employers will grow 3 percent on average in 2018 across most employee categories.

Say you make $50,000 a year at your 9 to 5 job you despise. Are you going to bust your butt for 261 work days in the year for a 3% salary increase? I’m not. We’re only talking about $1,500 at that rate.

The work compared to the payoff doesn’t add up to a good deal. It’s not motivating to me. It shouldn’t motivate you.

I could work at McDonald’s and come out with more dollars per hour than that thievery.

You’ll drag your feet for a 3% salary increase (+$1,500), but perform like a workhorse if you have a definite opportunity to double your current income (+$50,000).

That’s a difference in $48,600 between the two of them for the year and this is just the beginning. The difference is exponential over the lifetime of a career.

Second, when your income is entirely in your hands—be it as a beginner entrepreneur, commission sales rep, recruiter, or other job—your butt is on the hot seat from the get go to perform.

There’s no room to take it easy if you want to eat that week and keep your business alive.

Plus, you’ll be motivated to save extra money since this can turn into the business’ emergency fund or a payroll account to hire some contractors or full-time employees.

Meaning each dollar you earn has a higher purpose than eating expensive meals and treating yourself to materialistic clothing purchases.

And by investing in your business, your company and you personally will take home more profits than if your income was tied down by a normal 9 to 5 job.

I’m not surprised when I look at the richest people in each state only to find that none of them are salaried works but entrepreneurs and business owners.

Now you don’t have to be an entrepreneur, but you do need a job with no ceiling on your income if you want to get maximum performance out of yourself and the rewards that come with it.

Third, the rate of your learning is immensely sped up when you have to rely on your own work ethic to make money and pay the bills. You can’t afford to be out of the know in your industry if you want to compete with your competitors.

This is the pressure that forces you to gain knowledge and then use that experience to win more deals for yourself.

Plus, you can compound your knowledge to make more money in the future or consult others on the keys to success based on your experience. These opportunities aren’t there in the corporate world.

By getting off the addicting salary drug and choosing your own medicine, you force yourself to provide value to others so you can ultimately get paid what you’re worth.

And the more patient and skilled you become, the greater this income increases over years then decades.

That’s how your income grows by hundreds of thousands of dollars every year, which adds up to millions, instead of 3% and $1,500 (if that) every year.

Work Like You’re Not On Salary

You only get to do this thing called life once.

Why take the safe and boring road with a salaried job that is like driving a minivan straight on a flat road until retirement, when you can take the thrilling road in a sports car up a mountain with jagged cliffs and unbelievable views?

Bet on yourself. Work your face off. And work like you’re not on salary.

By mixing things up, you’ll discover if your company rewards you for going above and beyond what’s asked of you.

And if they do incentivize your efforts then you don’t need to find a different job. Maybe it doesn’t though and you see the writing on the wall: you’re worth millions more than you will ever earn here so you find a better job you love.

It’s like any pursuit in life, you need to get out of your comfort zone to truly push yourself, grow, and become the best version of yourself.

Happiness comes from personal growth. So take the jump and make the most of it.

Millions of dollars are nice, but the feeling of personal satisfaction from working incredibly hard and getting rewarded for it will far trump the money—every time.

Related: Would You Live Off A Dollar A Day To Achieve Your Dreams?

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What You Should Know If You Start A Career In Marketing




Silvia Li, young hustler and marketer extraordinaire, contributed this one of a kind article.

When college students majoring in marketing graduate, they expect to land a job in which they can apply all the skills they learned during their four years in school.

When I was a freshman, that’s what I thought. Looking back, I was naive to think that way.

Marketing strategies are changing every day. Consumers are behaving differently every day. Generations are shifting. And textbooks, unfortunately, haven’t changed in years.

Simultaneously, competition for marketing jobs is insane.

You have to stand out among many other graduates to land a job where you can make enough to pay your bills and loans, while having enough to travel and enjoy personal life post-graduation.

So what should you know before diving into a career in marketing?

What does it take to get a job in marketing?

What do you actually need to know to enter the real world of marketing?

Without real marketing experience or projects, there’s a lot you can learn ahead of time to maximize your chance of landing a marketing job.

In my career working with the world’s top entrepreneurs on marketing, I have learned a number of lessons that I wished I knew on my first day as a marketer.

To all of you starting a career in marketing, here’s a list of lessons and things you can do to prepare before starting your first job.

The list is a collection of advice from all the lessons I’ve learned – including my experience launching the largest startup publication on Medium to trending globally on top storytelling sites to working on digital campaigns that have trended internationally and creating global movements.

It takes more than a resume to work with the best talent in marketing

When I set my sights on becoming the best marketer in the world, I knew I had to surround myself with the best.

I started by providing value.

I reached out to one of the best entrepreneurs in Los Angeles who ran an education technology nonprofit called Yang Camp. And I sent her a list of ideas that I thought would help her grow her organization.

I didn’t know if the ideas were any good, but they certainly got her attention. I didn’t need a resume to get the job.

Don’t get me wrong. My resume was helpful but at the time, but other people might have looked more qualified in paper.

I had told myself and told others that I would find the best ways to provide value and that my resume didn’t completely reflect who I was.

I worked extra hard.

I created partnerships all across Los Angeles with schools and nonprofits to ensure our curriculum was being taught in different schools and afterschool programs across the city.

We worked with Microsoft and Girls in Tech Inc. to bring together over 100 young students to learn about STEAM.

I created campaigns that everyone in the Los Angeles area saw.

Little did I know at the time that in order to work with the best, it wasn’t about my resume. It was about being resourceful, strategic, and resilient.

Since then, I’ve signed up for a lifetime of tackling complex problems and working with the best talent in the United States.

Most of you have had a summer internship somewhere, perhaps a startup or famous marketing agency or well-known organization or nonprofit.

Guess what? So do hundreds of people in your school. The fact that you had an internship helps, but it doesn’t necessarily help you stand out and show that you’re the best candidate.

It might get you an interview but it’s still not enough to show who you really are and what you can accomplish.

Companies are seeking folks who can come up with new things so extracurriculars or projects that show you were a key asset are always a plus.

To show real impact in marketing, you need to show that you’re up-to-date with the latest trends.

As mentioned earlier, marketing is changing every day. Own your resume – show your uniqueness, your value, and your impact.

Find a team that will empower you to learn – Teamwork makes the dream work

To maximize your satisfaction at work, find a marketing gig where collaboration is part of the culture.

Trust me, this will reduce misunderstanding. It’ll establish a well-connected community with ample opportunities for you to grow and learn from executives and other managers.

While companies that let you do your own thing will be fun and allow you to tackle new challenges, working directly with a team will provide you a lot more mentorship and guide you in the early phases of your marketing career.

During the interview process, make sure that they have open communication channels and continuously boost employee engagement.

During your interview, ask your interviewer if the organization encourages everyone to regularly report their likes and dislikes.

Do they help employees feel like an integral part of the company’s grand vision? If their answer doesn’t make you happy, make sure to ask more questions to understand where they are coming from. If you completely disagree, maybe it’s not worth working for that organization.

Corporations with pre-set hierarchies make it tough for employees to give feedback or learn new skills. That’s why you need to find the best fit and balance. Read the job descriptions well and find a place where you feel comfortable.

When I worked at Startup Grind powered by Google for Entrepreneurs, the largest independent startup publication in the world inspiring and connecting 1,000,000 entrepreneurs, I immediately knew that my boss was a leader.

Since day one, he encouraged me to own projects and try new things. I could sense it during the first interview call that he was someone to trust and who would empower me to dream more.

Throughout my time at Startup Grind, I learned all things about marketing including public relations, content marketing, SEO, social media, and influencer marketing.

Crazy thing is that I learned by example and by doing my own research.

Because my team trusted me and worked with me, I was able to grow and launch the largest startup publication on Medium.

Early in anyone’s career, you’ll have multiple ideas to make your organization grow. Write them out on a list and share them with your supervisor. She’ll have feedback.

If my boss, hadn’t given me an opportunity to try this new project, I wouldn’t have grown this publication, which at this point, has been read by millions of people.

The content of the publication has now been syndicated to large media outlets including BBC, The New York Times, and more. It has even surpassed the White House’s Medium publication, which is pretty incredible.

As a marketer, I’ve been lucky to work with the smartest people on Earth. I’ve been able to work with serial entrepreneurs and New York Times Best Sellers.

But none of these collaborations would have happened if I didn’t work with a team that trust me and empower me to grow.

Make sure you find that early in your career.

Marketing isn’t all about brand awareness and viral campaigns. It’s about business impact.

Marketing innovation has made huge leaps and shifts in the last few decades but there’s something that hasn’t changed.

Marketing strategies need to be tied to creating revenue or reaching a goal in the short-term and long-term.

When you launch a new strategy, you need to ensure that you have an overall vision on how each thing you create leads to a greater impact in the organization. Your video went viral! Great!

But did the right audience see it? Did they share it with other people that are interested in buying your product? Make sure it does!

During my time as Head of Marketing at Hostfully, a venture-backed startup focused on the vacation rental space based in San Francisco, I built a marketing infrastructure that ensured that every single marketing stream would lead to possible sales.

To do so, we needed to figure out where our users were and where they spent the most time.

I spent days researching and building the different personas of vacation rentals. I created a content strategy that would promote our brand without mentioning our name.

Instead, our main goal was to provide value to customers, which would ultimately lead to more people referring others to our blog. Our blog became a large percentage of our traffic and led to more active and paid users. In a few months, we brought tens of thousands of users.

Business impact needs both quantitative data and qualitative data. They will both show you what’s effective, what’s not effective, and whether your hypotheses made sense.

Effective marketing campaigns focus on creating content that users get value from and eventually will convert to paid users.

You need to be ready to think critically and understand who your users truly are. How can your company serve them to be better?

Make sure you know this in every organization you work at.

Mentorship and freelancing – Learning outside of work

Early in my career, I learned the importance of mentors. From day one, I found people who I looked up to and wanted to learn things from them.

I found Twitter to be one of the best tools to network. Twitter, in fact, changed the face of my career as a marketer. I met the best talent in Silicon Valley through this social platform.

I followed their conversations and engaged with them on a daily basis. Little did I know that I would get to know them in person. Because of these initial Twitter conversations, I had the privilege of working with them to launch the first Startup Weekend focused in the Latinx community.

This event held in Oakland brought together entrepreneurs in the Bay Area who were eager to build products.

Do you know what else has helped me to become a marketer? Freelancing. As you see, I’ve worked with all sorts of organizations throughout my career.

How did I find these? By building a brand online.

I’ve been a viral blogger on Medium, Commaful, and on my own blog, WRITE LAB.

People have read my blog for years and have seen my thought process and experience. This has led to getting cold emails from founders and venture capitalists reaching out to work with them.

Last year, I worked as a content marketer with devAcademy, a tech company in Peru where I developed the company’s first content marketing strategy that led to ten thousands of unique views in just a few weeks.

I also revamped their website content to improve their user experience and conversion rates.

This job was very fulfilling because I got to work with an entrepreneur who is a hustler. Not only did I learn about the tech ecosystem in Peru, but I also learned more technical skills and what it takes to become an entrepreneur.

If you’re a marketer, you need to learn multiple skills. Go learn outside of work – network, read a book, freelance, and volunteer on projects that you’re passionate about.

These are all of the things I wished I had known before I started my marketing career. If I could go back in time, I’d try to accomplish all these things earlier in life.

I hope you found this list beneficial in planning a successful marketing career.

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Brian Robben's three books.