It seems like in today’s era everyone is concerned about their brand and the way they are perceived on social media. I completely understand why. According to Influencer Marketing for Dummies influencers can make up to 5,000 dollars per post depending on their following and the brand they are working with. That’s more than many people’s monthly income.
Brandon Miller, Entrepreneur and Brand Coach shares his knowledge on the importance of building a brand and even breaks down HOW on his #ProTipTuesday videos on Instagram. Brandon fully believes in the power of a side hustle and has not one, not two, but three side business that he is fully invested in. All while balancing a 9-5 in corporate America. I have chosen him for our More Than Millennial Spotlight.
When I asked Brandon, what has been his biggest takeaway from working a 9- to-5 he explained: “I’m an advocate for pursuing your passion in whatever endeavor your pursuing. My biggest takeaway would be to find something that you’re passionate about and be relentless in that pursuit.”
Brandon shares despite the flaws within his 9-to-5 he is constantly growing and learning. ” As far as my full-time job is concerned, do I love everything that I do? No. But I love emerging technologies, problem-solving, and improving workplace diversity and inclusion. Once I began focusing on those topics I’ve begun to thoroughly enjoy my work, despite the aspects that bothered me.”
Brandon shares some steps that are necessary for a person wanting to build a successful brand:
Step 1: Develop a strong foundation: that is, understanding your strengths and weaknesses as well as understanding what your values are. Many will begin getting acclaim and recognition for their brand and then lose sight of their values - and put simply, everything gets out of whack.
Step 2: Understand your passion and your purpose: You’ve heard the saying, “the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, well, we all have many talents and in building a brand you have to utilize those talents to achieve your purpose efficiently.
Step 3: Associate with a strong network: You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with; make sure you’re associating yourself with those that are helping you build your brand and not deteriorating it.
Step 4: Develop a unique perspective and be vocal: We live in a “copy and paste” society,everyone wants a brand and everyone wants to “do something.” Make sure whatever you’re doing is unique and has a valued perspective.
Step 5: Stay consistent: Faith without work is dead, and so is a brand. Be consistent with the work that you’re doing, keep putting out content, keep working, and keep building to ensure that your brand lasts.
Brandon describes when he felt like he began getting recognition for his brand: “From a personal brand perspective, I don’t think I have a clear answer. Growing up I always was a hard-worker and tried to pursue excellence in whatever I was doing (school, involvements, sports, work, etc.). I noticed my parent’s ‘brands’ and always tried to emulate them, so I’ve always received recognition to an extent based on the examples and associations I had with them.
For my professional brands, I had a mindset shift in college when I began to realize I was born into a blessed, fortunate environment to be a blessing to others. I’ve rooted an aspect of philanthropy and faith into all of my projects and with that, you really can’t lose. You’ll always be recognized in your pursuit of doing good and doing His work.”
Brandon explains how he pays his bills while he is building his many brands. “I’ve worked a 9-5 ever since I graduated from Georgia Tech and I’ve always enjoyed my full-time work more than I’ve disliked it. With that being said, I’ve always been fortunate enough to pay my bills (now remembering to pay them when due has been a struggle from time to time).
When first starting my brands, it was a lot of very late nights, early mornings, working through lunch breaks, and sacrificing my weekends to get things done. But like I said if you’re pursuing your true passion it doesn’t feel as daunting. Now that the brands are a bit more mature and we’ve grown our teams the workload has balanced out tremendously.”
Brandon’s advice to someone who wants to pursue their passion but needs to work a nine to five in order to pay their bills is; “Do it, heck, I still do it. When you’re passionate about something, you’re going to get the work done, regardless. When you’re truly committed to pursuing a passion, no one will set expectations higher than you will for yourself. My motivational advice is, just do it. My tactical advice would be to master the art of time management and to leverage the resources of your 9-5 to help your 5-9.”
When I asked Brandon how he gives so much attention to each of his brands when he has three he explained: “This has to be one of my most popular questions, and most people just think I don’t sleep (which used to be the case). I think it comes down to three things.”:
- If you are managing more than one brand you have to have a tribe, that is, you have to build teams that will help you get the work done. In each venture that I am a part of, we have developed strong and diverse teams of talented individuals that help get the work done. If they are on the team in an official capacity, we make sure to clearly identify roles and responsibilities and communicate regularly. For my personal, Be Great Brand, I’m technically a team of one, but I have homies that help me out tremendously and I’ve built my brand on collaborations, so most projects I embark on include a pretty dope group of people.
- Time management. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for how to manage your time to give adequate attention to each brand, you just have to experiment and find out what works for you. For example, I tend to get up between 5 and 6 am so I can knock out all of my personal stuff early, start my day on the right foot, and give myself time after work to work on the business. I’ve also set the standard of establishing what days I devote the majority of my focus to each brand (i.e. Sundays are for personal branding, Mondays are for Too Fly Foundation, and Tuesdays are for The Black Burdell).
- Manage your expectations. Since I’m working with multiple brands I know that I personally can’t go for breadth and depth in each of them, and I also know that there will be peaks and valleys in activities for each as well. For some brands, I go for depth and hone in on one area and other brands I go for the breadth and try and spread the word through as many channels as possible.
For Brandon, the term millennial means: “A millennial is a go-getter and a risk-taker. They understand that their happiness and their success is their own responsibility. They are eager, motivated and don’t let societal norms define them.”
Brandon shares his advice to anyone who thinks they don’t have the resources to pursue their passion: “I don’t even think I have true advice for that person, I think I would just tell them that they are making an excuse. Straight up. We are in the internet and social media age you can practically find an answer to any question you have or an expert in any field you’re interested in within a minute.
I would tell them that if they are committed to building a brand that they can’t be scared to take risks or shoot shots. If you have a question find an expert on Instagram and shoot them a DM. If you need to learn a skill, find an affordable course on Udemy or start reading through blogs. If you’re struggling to meet people in your industry, go to meetup.com and find a like-minded networking group. I’m a firm believer that you have to have a growth mindset (“how can I learn more”) versus a fixed mindset (“I have to work with what I have”) to build a successful brand.”
Brandon explains for him success means: “Success is finding balanced happiness. Some find so much joy in their work, that they lose sight of personal relationships and what’s going on in the world around them. Others are fueled solely by an aspect unrelated to work and dread going into the office every day. To me, success is finding that perfect balance when you know you’re walking in your purpose and the good outweighs the bad.”
Brandon shared the common misconceptions of being an entrepreneur that he wants people to know. :
“Being an Entrepreneur is not fun 100% of the time. I think people associate ‘owning something’ with ‘having a lot of money’ or ‘being happy’ or ‘having it all together’ which is completely false. Like, couldn’t be more false. Straight up wrong.
Entrepreneurship takes a lot of late nights, early mornings, hearing people tell you ‘no,’ negative effects on personal relationships and friendships, not being able to go out, not being able to take trips with friends, losing money, and losing sleep. There’s a lot of ‘not so fun’ moments that you don’t see from the outside looking in. I’d bet money that if you peel back the curtains of entrepreneurs that you think have it together, there is a whole lot of dysfunction, myself included.
The blessing, though, is when you’re walking in your purpose, challenges look like opportunities.”
Brandon's Top 5 Rules of Success:
- You never achieve your success alone
- Just like tithing, it’s important to give back 10% of what you achieve. (Time, resources, funding, etc.)
- All small wins are successes, celebrate every step.
- Don’t be ashamed to toot your own horn. It’s ok to be proud of yourself.
- Balance “Being Great” (your confidence) with “BeingGREATful” (your gratitude).
Between Brandon’s the Be Great Brand, The Black Burdell, and the Too Fly Foundation there is a lot in store.
With the Be Great Brand expect a lot of storytelling related to brands and entrepreneurs all over the country. In addition, Brandon has co-authored a book with Simone Danielle that will be released very soon, and he will also be taking The Brand.U Personal Branding workbook to the next level with unique, online content.
With the Black Burdell, he and his team are going to begin expanding their mission of promoting, supporting, and cultivating young, black entrepreneurs outside of Atlanta. He will begin hosting events and be providing scholarships in Dallas, TX as well as Chicago and the West Coast.
Lastly with, the Too Fly Foundation, through CreativelyLIT he will begin fundraisers (that is, day parties, brunches, happy hours, and concerts) in more cities nationwide to provide travel grants and passports for students looking to travel abroad. This year he is focusing on developing awareness and consistency of his brand, establishing partnerships that align with the mission – so look out for a fundraiser touching down in your city soon.
Comment below what questions you have on how to build your personal brand.