Jessie van Breugel helps creators and entrepreneurs implement a brand and content strategy that allows them to turn their personal brands into money.
An in-depth guide to propel your creator’s existence.
Attract like-minded people and you start acting as a lighthouse. Radiate the signal, your audience wants to pick up. Put yourself out there, and attract problems you can then provide a solution for.
Whether you’re building the next tech unicorn, working towards a successful solopreneurship, or working for a thriving company, investing in your personal brand has never been more important. It doesn’t matter what your profession is. As long as you bring your unique voice, personal traits, and skills into the mix, you’ve got something that’s impossible to duplicate. There’s always room for better or different.
Having a personal brand is being known for ‘something’, being the guy or the girl. Be an edge case and share your message with the world.
Our world is becoming more digitized by the day, and it’s your obligation to create your own digital home. Own your spot before someone else does. The Internet doesn’t need more lurkers. It needs game-changers. The Internet allows you to reach the entire world — within seconds — with all of the computing power available in your pocket.
Start building your personal brand today.
Decide Who You Want to Be
Your vision defines your future. It shapes your journey and the decisions you make. It’s also hard to define.
First, you decide who you want to be.
Rather than just imagining an ideal life, you focus on building character & establishing habits.
It prepares you for obstacles and when life throws you off track. Things that will evidently come. Ask yourself the following yourself:
Who are you in the lowest of lows and the highest of highs?
Secondly, why should you define “who” rather than where?
Because your vision does not change. Your vision is bigger than small events.
For example, if I get dropped off high in the mountains of Costa Rica or in the middle of Times Square, my vision remains the same. Yet, the next steps change, as the outcome may look totally different. But my core vision stays consistent. And, so should you approach vision as well. It’s your north star.
Thirdly, you decide who you want to impact.
A vision is worthless if it’s self-serving. At the end of our lives, we’ll be solely concerned with relationships.
How does your vision make the world or an audience better?
Therefore, you want to make your vision bigger than you. Your vision should be something people can believe in. If you are to make an impact in whatever you do, you’ll need people besides you. Can someone adopt your vision and make it their own?
Your vision will be your legacy.
Then, you translate your vision into steps.
Analyze your environment. How can you execute your vision in your job or with family and friends? How do your goals relate to your daily life?
Your vision should transcend all aspects of life. Create the actions needed to realize it.
Finally, you show the way.
If you want your vision to last longer than you, create a system to teach others and inspire them. If you really believe in it, then you believe it should live a life on its own. A true test of a leader is what happens after they leave.
Make it part of you. Personal branding is all about vision. Let it flow in the words you speak, your mannerisms, and how you treat other people. Your vision should be identifiable through your interactions.
Practice what you preach.
The Real Secret Lies in the Combination
Without skills, it’s hard to achieve anything worth having in life. Betting on luck isn’t a strategy.
Most of us aren’t born with a golden spoon in our mouth, so to become successful we have to do the work. Skills are the necessary tools to build our life. If we choose right, we can be the designers of our own life.
How beautiful is that?
In this modern age, we’re not going to wait for the opportunity to come by. We are going to create opportunities ourselves. Our combination of skills is what makes us unique. Improve your skills and you’re ready to take off.
If you want extraordinary results in life, there are two things you can do:
- Become the best at one specific thing.
- Become very good (top 25%) at two+ things.
The first road leads to the point of near impossibility. Some might even say it comes with luck. Few people will ever play in the NFL or make a platinum album. If you’re not born into natural talent, it’s not recommended to take this path.
The second road is actually pretty easy and the secret lies in combining your skills. Everyone has a couple of areas in which they could be in the top 25% with some effort. By layering in multiple things you like doing, have an interest for, or are simply gifted with — the number of people with this particular skill reduces exponentially.
For example, writing is a crowded field, as is mindfulness. Combining those two still leaves you in a highly competitive industry. Imagine the skill of mobile app development and a natural interest in photography. The competition reduces significantly, but the potential increases exponentially.
The more industries or passions you layer into it, the more specialized and niche your personal monopoly becomes. Therefore, the real secret lies in the combination.
Work it out for yourself — what’s your niche?
The sweet spot is to have 3 or 4 skills. But, the more specific skills you can layer in, the better.
To define your skills, answering the following questions:
- What do you know what others don’t know?
- What do you think about when you aren’t working?
- What’s the thing that excites me and gets me out of bed?
- Where have you spent above-average time on doing or learning?
Your skills and interests are greater than the sum of their parts. It’s about finding attributes that are rarely seen together, but extremely valuable combined.
Nobody Beats You at Being You
The person who’s zealous for their craft will always have more leverage than the one working solely for a paycheck.
So, what fuels your passion & motivates you?
Let me tell you one thing:
Nobody beats you at being you.
It doesn’t matter what your profession is. As long as you bring your unique voice, personal traits, and skills into the mix, you’ve got something that’s impossible to duplicate. Be an edge case and share your message with the world.
You want to be the only person in the world who does what you do. Your reputation precedes your revenue — not the other way around. Building a personal brand comes before everything. You can’t build a brand out of thin air and expect people to follow you.
Invest in your personal monopoly. The internet has never made it easier to upskill yourself. To make it in life, it boils down to two options:
- Make yourself useful.
- Make yourself scarce.
It’s up to you.
Your unique voice & personal traits, combined with your skills make it impossible to duplicate. There’s always room for better or different. Be an outlier and solve specific needs for your specific audience.
Your unique interests are exactly what help you do that.
- Identify what you’re passionate about
- Clarify your voice and unique value
- Apply it and refine it
Never Have Zero-Days
Building an online presence is a long game. If you want to play and win, it requires patience.
A creator has to show up every day. Building in public brings a magical aspect to it: it creates external accountability. Having an audience comes with a special level of responsibility. You have to bring your A-game. You can’t come up with C-grade content every day.
Everything we know is built upon iteration. Every unique idea you think you have is based on something else. Ideas that are radically different in every aspect are rare. Building and learning in public require you to reframe ideas, mental models, or strategies to make them your own. Face it and use this knowledge to your advantage to stay consistent.
There’s always the next article to write, the next person to network with, or the next very best Twitter thread to compile. It’s an ongoing battle between productivity and longevity. This puts our mental health and future as a creator at stake
There’s a way we can overcome it:
Never have zero-days.
A zero-day is a day in which you have done absolutely nothing to move closer to your goal or dream.
No matter how lazy or broken you are on a certain day — never let yourself have a zero-day.
There’s always something you can do that will pay dividends in the future: Read one page. Do one push-up. Write one sentence. Reach out to 1 person. Publish 1 comment. Write 1 line of code. It’s about getting started. Little progress is better than no progress at all. It adds up.
The goal is to build a sequence of 1’s instead of 0’s.
It may sound small, but little progress is better than no progress at all, no matter how insignificant it may look. Anything to ensure you’re still making even the smallest progress towards your goal or dream.
Find a way to have a consistent streak of non-zero days, and you will see your motivation skyrocket as you go.
People who succeed have momentum. The more they succeed, the more they want to succeed, and the more they find a way to succeed — Tony Robbins
The way to make real lasting change is to ensure you never have a zero-day.
The Internet Rewards the Curious and Brave
Before you run out of the gates and start creating content for an audience, just know 3 things:
- Nobody will care about you
- You will get ridiculed at some point
- Somebody will say something means to you
Overcome these fears and you have thick enough skin to continue. Everything worth doing is outside of your comfort zone. Building a personal brand is a game you’ll never lose. The Internet rewards the curious and brave.
Ever asked yourself how many kilometers you scrolled on your mobile phone? Stop doomscrolling. Limit the time spent on consuming content, increase the time spent creating. On a collaborative website like Wikipedia, 90% of the participants of a community only consume content. 9% of the participants change or update content, & 1% of the participants add content. Creators don’t wait around for a favorable outcome; they create the outcome they want.
Think of it: 99% of the internet are consumers. Join the 1% and stand out. Become a creator.
Your mental health, thumbs, and bank account will thank you for it.
You begin to see opportunity in every corner.
How to get started?
It has never been easier to pump out your content, make a name for yourself, and earn money online by just being you. Being a creator forces you to articulate your thoughts in a way your audience understands them and resonates with them. This is a highly valuable skill and transferable to any aspect of life.
Start putting yourself out, it builds confidence. Believe me, the first moment you put something out to the world, you’re terrified as hell.
Who am I to say this?
There’s literally no downside to publishing your work online. If nobody sees your stuff, you learn two things: you become a better creator and you learn what didn’t work with your audience.
The easiest way to do this?
It’s the most fundamental way of communication. Every business on earth needs writing to share its unique message, so do yourself a favor and start messing around with your first letters on paper. Storing and distributing text online is cheap, which means your words can be read by almost anybody, anywhere in the world. Your work literally travels the world while you sleep.
Having to write about a topic is the ultimate test of your knowledge. Writing about topics where your knowledge is limited, forces you to study harder. Having an external force of accountability pushes you to become better.
Writing becomes the vehicle of growth.
You pick three topics you’re passionate about, experienced in, or just know a bunch about. Write about a topic that’s known to you, but one you can help others with. Study like a freak, internalize the matter, and write about it.
By doing this, you’ll attract like-minded people and you start serving as a lighthouse. You radiate the signal they want to pick up. Before you know it, you attract problems you can then provide a solution for.
A creator doesn’t have to limit himself to creating. There are a couple of other strategies in the world of content creation:
- Curate others’ content to share with your own audience.
- Iterate on content to make it 1% better.
- Collaborate, team up and work together.
- Finally, create something out of thin air.
A 10-step process to start today:
- Pick 3–5 creators you’re interested in.
- Curate their best work.
- Summarise it in a thread
- Use this thread to write a blog post on Medium — it’s free and you earn money.
- Create a tweet with one thing you’ve learned from this article — this forces you to write concisely.
- Use Twitter Analytics or Medium Stats to find out what works.
- Do more of the things that work.
- Host a Twitter Spaces and discuss the topic with others — being able to teach is the holy grail of understanding.
- Research email software as ConvertKit or Mailchimp
- Build an email list as soon as possible to convert followers into email friends.
Form Your Tribe
We all love community. Yet, many people communicate, few connect.
You should focus on facilitating a community that empowers everyone.
The key is to look for like-minded people who share your lofty ambitions. People who’ll support you. Lift each other up, instead of tearing each other down. Attract like-minded people to exchange ideas and build each other up. There is no community without relationships.
In the beginning, you do things that aren’t scalable. But, having your community is priceless. You can use it for pre-testing or fine-tuning ideas, generating more value, and strengthening your relationships online. Communities shouldn’t be too big. Then, it’s hard to create and maintain a relationship with each member.
Find ways that make a direct impact on each person. Build a community around what you believe in. Be proactive in building your community. Creators should feel comfortable reaching out to other creators. Whether that’s through Twitter DM, responding to blog posts, or filling in contact forms.
Do it right, and you will grow richer, smarter, and friendlier. Form a tribe. On Twitter. When you find the right communities, you feel it: it’s thriving.
The moment you start putting your genuine thoughts and ideas out there, you begin to connect with brilliant, like-minded souls.
Show interest, invest time, and effort in others. This will pay it forward.
How to get started:
- Create or resurrect your Twitter profile.
- Identify 3 topics you like
- Find big accounts in those spaces
- Follow others that you find interesting and engage with their content
- Start sharing your own ideas with the world.
- If I didn’t succeed in convincing you, this video definitely will.
- Bonus: Twitter forces you to become a better writer and thinker.
Build, Measure, Learn
As creators, we can’t expect to grow without feedback. With many tools available, it’s easier than ever to figure out what resonates with your audience and whatnot.
- Understand that feedback already exists.
People are more than willing to tell us what they think. They might have even said something in passing. It’s our nature to avoid it. We can change this habit by actively seeking it & finding opportunities to get it.
- Become a better listener.
Pride comes before the fall. Especially when we think we have more to say than others. Your audience knows more than you. Thousands of years of experience are at your fingertips. Listen to what they think and say about the content you give them.
- Use feedback to drive change.
Eric Ries’s book The Lean Startup introduces us to his famous cycle. Use feedback to grow, adjust, and build your process. Data lets you measure and your interpretation helps you learn. From there, you build again.
Build: You created great content
Measure: You studied behaviors and responses
Learn: You know what works
Now: Using what we learned, we build again, repeating the cycle.
- Don’t take it personally.
If people are giving you negative feedback, it’s a great sign. It means you created something that’s worth paying attention to. Be grateful for that and use it to make it better.
- We are ultimately serving others.
We want to create value. If others don’t enjoy it, then we are only creating for ourselves. Find what resonates with others and what they need or want and iterate.
- We want to double down on the things that our audience resonates with.
It helps you create the best content possible, you’re able to identify what works and resonates, which you can then double down on.
Ultimately, this sets you apart and allows you to become a signal.
Hold Up, Before You Go
Building your online presence and audience will be the currency of the future and doing this right will set you up for an exciting and prosperous future. For those that are willing to put in the work and put themselves out there with a well thought out strategy:
- Consistency rules everything — show up every day.
- Put out quality content — nobody likes to read B-content.
- Engage with others and be supportive — build one another up.
- Be yourself — anyone can smell a copycat from a distance.
The best moment to start is today.