Investing in Your Brand Isn’t Just About the Money
Simply put, “investing” is what you do to make something grow. When you think about investing, your mind’s eye may quickly conjure up images of buying into assets like stocks and real estate and NFTs and crypto in the hopes of selling those assets at a higher price than you paid for them. After all, on the most basic level, investing really is a simple concept: you buy an item for X, watch the market for that item grow, and at the right time, sell the item for X plus more.
Now, let’s take that concept and apply it to your career.
A person doesn’t start out as an influencer or a celebrity, and they don’t just become a recognizable brand from sheer hope. As a matter of fact, most of us are content to just earn a living doing what we do. But for others, building a career is a goal reached by acting on a calculated series of opportunities and investments.
Investing in things like photography, or advertising, or social media growth or PR is essentially spending your dollars on items and services that will grow your career. The key phrase in that statement is “spending your dollars,” but is that all there is to invest? Well, I’m glad you asked and no, it’s not! Contrary to popular belief, investing is not always about money. Time, effort, action and patience can be invested too and when it comes to your career, these four things are just as important as the almighty dollar — if not more so.
ENSURING TIME IS ON YOUR SIDE
Time is the biggest investment you will ever make in your career. It’s also the thing you have the least of. You cannot replace time, so you have to manage it and invest it wisely. Sure, you are going to make time management mistakes, but you can minimize them by not asking yourself to do too much with the time you have. Don’t promise things you don’t have time to deliver, don’t take on more than you can handle and don’t sign up for things you can’t possibly take advantage of.
The worst thing in the world, the thing that will hurt you the most, is being labeled as someone who doesn’t follow through or someone that doesn’t do what she says she is going to do. Most often, not following through is about poor time management — or just not having enough time — but the impact is the same: you end up looking like a flake or worse. Don’t be that person! If you promise something or sign up for something, just follow through, and if you can’t, at least send a message stating why you can’t.
PATIENCE IS A MUST FOR SUCCESS
Given today’s “on demand” mentality, patience is not a rule we easily adhere to anymore. From all the episodes of a TV show to late-night pizza to new furniture to our latest Amazon purchase, we want everything right now. But here’s the thing, and I hate to be the one to break it to you: not everything can be now. It’s not always an option and now isn’t always better. Some things take time to grow, and that takes patience.
If you want to build a solid brand, you’re going to need to invest a great deal of patience. But don’t worry, you’re in luck; unlike money, patience is one of those things you can have an endless supply of. Growing into a brand is going to take a bit of it. It’s not going to happen overnight, and you would be foolish to expect it to. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re going to be all that and a bag of chips because you’ve reached 30-to-40,000 followers — while those are great numbers, they’re still relatively pedestrian in the grand scheme of things. At 100,000 engaged fans you can have a solid income, at 250,000 you’re on your way to a career and at 500,000? Well, at that point you’re starting to build a brand.
ACTIONS CAUSE REACTIONS
Everything you do from this point forward is going to matter, from intent to perception to character to belief. Every word you utter on social media is going to endear or offend. You’re going to become a human starting gun for any number of causes or controversies and you’re going to wield a lot of verbal power; use it wisely, as it can easily be a double-edged sword. Endear yourself with your followers and the sponsors will follow; offend them and the sponsors won’t give you a second look. This might seem obvious, but if it were, there would be a lot fewer controversial influencers out there. Some food for thought? Stay away from politics and religion.
YOU’RE GOING TO PUT IN A LOT OF EFFORT
When I was younger, many moons ago, a very wise man told me that the only thing you could possibly gain without effort is failure. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve personally tested that theory, but I can tell you it is 177% correct. Building a career and brand is not something that just happens. It’s going to take some work.
The truth is, you’re going to gain a certain amount of celebrity status by what you post on your platforms, and I use the term “celebrity” very loosely. To be blunt, it’s not all that difficult to get guys — and girls — to follow you or to click your hot and sexy photos. If all you care about are clicks and likes, congratulations, you’re going to have a great time watching people share your photos while you’re working your day job.
See, what is difficult is to get them to look beyond the photos, beyond the racy and the provocative content. That’s what creates the difference between a mere model and a full-fledged brand. It’s your ability to speak to your followers and get them to engage, while liking, commenting, clicking, buying or inviting others to your content, that’s key. It’s the innate ability to elicit trust and belief. When they believe you and trust you, they will follow your advice and your recommendations.
Patience, effort, time and action are key to achieving the growth you’re seeking. Invest those things wisely, and a big payout will surely follow.