AMY PORTERFIELD: “I believe it's easier to make a name for yourself when you start out with a personal brand. But I think that there are times when entrepreneurs can actually outgrow their personal brand, and that's something I'm looking into. Again, I have no idea what I'm going to do—I'm in the early stages—but I just, I see some cons with having a personal brand, and that's why I want to explore them here with you as I explore them in my own business.”
INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-seven-figure business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, the budget, and the time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and a life you love, you're in the right place, friend. Let's get started.
AMY: I want to tell you about a podcast that I recently discovered, and it's part of the HubSpot network, and I am loving it. It's called The Shine Online, hosted by Natasha Samuel. And she interviews the brightest entrepreneurs she knows to bring you no-fluff advice—you know how I feel about that—honest discussions about the mental-health and lifestyle aspect of entrepreneurship; and actionable strategies and success stories of those who've mastered the art of shining online. And it's a really conversational podcast, which I love. I personally loved her recent episode. It's titled “New Year, New Strategy: My 2023 Content Predictions,” and she dives into her expert content predictions for the upcoming year. It is good. So you can listen to The Shine Online wherever you get your podcasts.
Hey, there. Welcome back to Online Marketing Made Easy.
I wanted to check in on you and see how you are doing. So on my end, I'm doing good, except that I'm officially convinced that I developed allergies when I got to Nashville. So it's been two years since I moved from California to Nashville. I've lost my voice, like, four times. I'm congested most of the time, whether it be even in the summer or winter or fall or whatever. So I'm one of those people that has seasonal allergies, I guess. So I'm going to visit an allergist because just last week I lost my voice again, and I thought, “How am I going to get these podcast episodes recorded if I don't stay on track?”
Speaking of staying on track, I'm doing this episode from an L.A. hotel because I've got a bunch of interviews in person to do tomorrow. So if my audio sounds a little bit off, that's why. But at least I have a voice. Hallelujah. And any of you who suffer from allergies, I now have a new-found compassion for what you go through. It is not fun.
So anyway, I'll stop complaining. Let's get to today's episode.
I've recently been thinking about the benefits of having a company brand. So about fourteen years ago, I started my business with a personal brand. And today, I'm wondering if I could move to a company brand successfully. Don't worry. I'm not going to do this anytime soon. So you’re not going to see a big change in my brand. But I have been exploring it.
So that got me thinking, what are the pros and cons of having a personal brand versus a company brand? Is there a better out that's better than the other? So when I say personal brand, I mean a brand where you are leading with your name, essentially. So Marie Forleo, personal brand. Amy Porterfield, personal brand. Amyporterfield.com is where you find me online. I'm the face of the brand. Marie has Marie TV. So I'm just trying to throw out a few different examples here. So it's the website, it's the branding of the podcast or the video show or anything like that. And it all kind of comes back to me in this case. Versus a company brand, similar to what Michael Hyatt just moved to. He used to be Michael Hyatt; then, Michael Hyatt & Co.; and then, they officially moved over to Full Focus. That's a company brand. Or one that we all know, Target. That’s a company brand, right? These companies aren't necessarily associated with just one person. And even the Full Focus podcast, it has multiple personalities versus just one host. And there isn't the owner's name in a company brand, so it's not the owner's name.com, or anything like that. So that's the difference between a personal brand and a company brand.
So let's talk through a few pros of having a personal brand versus a company brand, because I actually think there are some really good pros here. With a personal brand, people feel deeply connected to you. They feel like they know you and that you're, like, their business bestie. When it comes to creating content, you have more flexibility with a personal brand versus a company brand.
So, for example, I started doing Tuesday episodes in late 2021. I did this because I noticed that some of my Thursday episodes that were very personal did really well. So because I have a personal brand, I decided I wanted to start doing short, more-personal episodes every Tuesday, that really took my listeners behind the scenes. That's easy when you're a personal brand.
Now, let's say there's a company brand called X, Y, Z Nutrition, and they started a podcast, and the owner of the company started doing episodes that were more on the personal side. I'm not saying this can't work, but it would definitely feel like a stretch versus if you were a personal brand.
On the other hand, I think that having a company brand gives you the freedom to create a little more space between you and your company. I'm not saying you'll care less, but decisions could be made from more of a business perspective than sometimes a personal perspective. And I know in my business when I'm making some decisions, I have to look at the personal side of things as well because I am a personal brand. So it actually does touch my personal life when I do some things in the business, where when you have a company brand, that's a little less likely to happen.
Now, for the cons of having a personal brand versus a company brand. So for starters, it's definitely harder to expand and bring other people in to teach or other people to also be the face of the business when it's just been you for so long or it's all about you. So even in my business, I really have somebody else do the trainings or the teachings because that's just not how I built this brand. So if I were to move to a company brand, I might be able to include more people, more perspectives in my trainings because the light won't just be shown right on me.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm actually really [07:53 unclear] I started a personal brand, because I believe it's easier to make a name for yourself when you start out with a personal brand. But I think that there are times when entrepreneurs can actually outgrow their personal brand, and that's something I'm looking into. Again, I have no idea what I'm going to do—I'm in the early stages—but I just, I see some cons with having a personal brand, and that's why I want to explore them here with you as I explore them in my own business.
So again, with a personal brand, sometimes you're going to feel limited with who you can bring in and represent your business, because, primarily, it's going to be you. And if you're an entrepreneur with a personal brand but you have a team, like myself, you may start to have employees who actually know more about a product that you offer or something that you teach because they are the ones that, they have their hands in it; they're tweaking it; they're making it better; they're doing a lot of research on the back end.
And so when I look around, sometimes I think, “Oh, my gosh. That person on my team actually could probably at this point teach it better than me.” And that's a very weird feeling as a business owner in general, but as a personal brand, it starts to make you kind of think, “Wait a second. Maybe they should be teaching it.” But when you're a personal brand, it's harder to give them the opportunity to step up and be the ones to teach the content. It’s doable but just a little bit awkward.
And I believe that I could offer my audience a more-elevated experience by having some more people step in and teach where they're really good. So I don't know. It's something that I like the idea of including more teachers that can add more value. So when you have a personal brand, it's a bit harder to elevate other voices, even if you know that it will bring your students and your audience immense value. Just something to think about.
And adding to that, another con of having a personal brand is there is a lot of pressure to bring in your personal life. So I'm talking to a lot of people with a personal brand right now. I know most of you have a personal brand, or you're developing a personal brand. And you will start to, if you haven't already, feel this pressure, that, “I need to share more of my personal life in order for this brand to grow.” And for someone [10:18 unclear] me, that doesn't necessarily come easy. I was literally just having [10:24 unclear] with Jenna Kutcher about this, about she's really good at sharing her personal side and bringing in her baby girls and her husband. And for me, that doesn't come as natural. So we were actually talking about different ways to infuse my personal life into my business, that doesn't feel forced or inauthentic for me. So it's something I care deeply about. And I do want to share some of my personal life, but I want to do it in a way that feels really good.
So sharing things that have nothing to do with the business always can kind of be a little bit difficult for me. However, I do it because I know that people want to know who I am and what I'm about. And I think it’s important: if you're a personal brand, you've got to share some of your personal life because you’re a personality out there. They want to see all sides of your personality, not just the side that has to do with whatever it is you're teaching or sharing. So something I've struggled with a bit, but I think I've gotten really good—like, much better—over the last few years.
And then another con to a personal brand. This one's going to sound a little bit weird, but in some ways, it has an expiration date. Now, don't get me wrong. I love what I teach. I love my students, and I wish I could support them forever. But do I really [11:40 unclear] teaching on webinars or creating Reels when I'm eighty years old? No, I do not. But if I want this business to live beyond me and I still want it thriving when I'm eighty years old, then that's when I might want to think about moving away from a personal brand and into a company brand so I can expand it in new ways. So what I'm saying is, I do think a con of having a personal brand is it is difficult to create longevity for your business as a personal brand.
Now, let's take a look at a company that has gone from a personal brand to a company brand, impeccably. And that's Michael Hyatt. For many years, he was a personal brand. Michaelhyatt.com. He wrote all of his blog posts. He was a huge blogger before most people were. And he was the face of his company. And he did webinars. He did ads. He did all the videos. It was Michael, Michael, Michael.
And then, a few years back, they moved to Michael Hyatt & Co., and I saw them starting to expand, include more people. Michael Hyatt's daughter, Megan Hyatt Miller, came in on the scene. She started doing some of the trainings. So the “& Co.” were so that they can start to expand that.
And finally, the brand is best known today as Full Focus. They offer products, podcasts, coaching, all of it. And while Michael's still very much a big part of the business, many of his philosophies are taught through coaching, through their products, even by other people now. So he is not necessarily the face of that company. And I believe that Michael's company has actually benefited immensely from this transition, and I know Michael has personally as well, and they are absolutely thriving.
So, many of you know that I'm not only a huge fan of Michael and the work that he does, but he's also a dear friend. So I've been able to see and watch this evolution happen from behind the scenes. And I think what we can learn and really examine about his approach is if you are going to make a transition like this, go slowly. They would make a change that made sense, and then, they'd actually let it solidify, and then, they would make a new change. It was very intentional, with, of course, their students and their clients in mind every step of the way.
Another thing is that they didn't make a huge hoopla about it. That's my mother's word. But they didn't go on and on about their transition, their change, all of that. They just said, “Hey, we're making this change. Here's why we think this is important,” and then they just moved on. And I thought that was really smart as well, because at the end of the day, it's not about, is it Michael Hyatt or Full Focus? It’s about how they serve. And they really kept their heads down, and they kept serving at the highest level.
So the question is, is a personal brand the right answer, or is it a company brand? And I actually don't think you could go wrong either way. Like I said, many of you listening are your personal brand, or you're creating a personal brand, and hey, that's what I did for fourteen years, and I'm still doing it today, and it has been incredibly valuable to me. And I love that I grew so much about putting myself out there. I'm afraid if I started my business as a company brand, I probably would have never pushed myself to do as much video, to start this podcast, to get out there on my own, make a name for myself. And so I'm glad I started there. Now, will my business evolve into a company brand? Maybe; maybe not. But I love that I have options. And so do you.
So when it comes to making this decision for your own business, I think that you have to lay out the pros and the cons for you. For me, starting out as a personal brand and staying that way for many years has benefited me in many ways. I do think my business is shifting and changing now, and I'm excited. It's growing. It’s time. And that's something I'm looking into. Do I need to make some changes?
Your business will change over time as well. Can you go from a company brand to a personal brand? Absolutely. Can you go from a personal brand to a company brand? Absolutely. But again, you want to be really smart about this and think about it before you do anything.
And think about where you dream about taking the business. I think that has a big part of it as well. I didn't do a lot of dreaming in terms of, “Where might I be in five years or ten years from now?” So if you could start looking at big picture, that might start to help you decide that maybe you just want to start with a company brand right from the get-go so you never have to make a transition. And that could be a beautiful thing as well.
All right, my friend. I hope you found this valuable. I've always wanted to have this conversation with you about personal brand versus company brand, some pros and cons, and really just what it feels like in my own business and where my mind is now, fourteen years later. And I think it's just something for you to think about and be really mindful about. But also, it's great for you to hear that you can absolutely make a transition as your business grows, either way.
I can't wait to see you again soon. Until then, make it a great week. Bye for now.
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