For the last year or so, Christophe and I have been reading and absorbing the wisdom of Naval Ravikant. This entrepreneur and investor knows how to get to the point fast and understands how to differentiate and build a successful business from scratch.
This article is not for everyone — I don’t think creating strong brands and brand names is a bad move. Exactly the opposite. But this is for solopreneurs, people like myself who keep inventing names, designing logos, creating FB business pages…without realizing what it really takes to get noticed.
So, why Naval? Well, in one of his articles he talks about embracing accountability to get leverage, and this really stuck with me. He described it as a double-edge sword because when things go well — you get all the credit, but when things go wrong — you will “bear the brunt of failure”.
To be accountable means to stand behind what you talk, to take action upon your words. To be, what we call, a pure player. Being accountable means taking risks, showing up, and sharing your wins and losses. This is how you build credibility. Because, if people don’t trust you — you have no business.
I have seen so many people — independent workers, solo entrepreneurs — who keep brainstorming names for their new brand. They design and set-up everything they think they need, and then — nothing. There is no engagement, no trust and no clients. Often than not the entrepreneurs will talk in plural to build a sense that it’s a serious company with more employees. They keep sharing their articles and waiting…until they give up and think they need to build a better brand.
I think it’s obvious by now what I meant by the title.
Creating smart Brands and Brand names is a great idea, but it makes much more sense when your business model is based on building a bigger company or when you have many products/services you want to differentiate. If you are a consultant, a photographer, a designer — your name is stronger than any brand. It’s you. Nobody can compete with you on being you. You differentiate from the start and become unreplaceable by being authentic.
By using your name you create first step towards trust. They can match your face, your voice and your message with your services any time. By being transparent and accountable for everything you do and share, you give a human aspect to your Brand. Because, yes — what you have is still a brand. Your name is a brand name and your face is a logo in people’s mind.
I’m not against creating Business Pages on Facebook and separating your personal life from your work life, don’t get me wrong. But, people relate to other people and their stories much faster. They start trusting them much faster. They listen to what they have to say. They feel if you were able to learn what you know, they will to. In a way you become their role model and somebody who really understands and motivates the hell out of them.
So, stop hiding behind a Brand name.
Start being the Brand.