Business Brand or Personal Brand?

In vlog by Michael Michelini0 Comments

Pulling Yourself Off The Face Of a Website

Mike’s Blog 151

In Mike’s blog I talk a bit about personal brand and using your own name website and brand to build up a business. It isn’t how I originally started with doing online businesses, I was like so many – I had a name for my business and on the contact page I would put a generic contact us form with no mention of my personal name and that I was part of the company.

So many of us are afraid of our personal name getting in trouble, or getting a stalker, or getting negative press. Hey, I have to admit, I am still nervous about some of those things happening – and I still get warnings from friends and family that I put too much “out there”.

But at the same time, I do think we have to start to separate ourselves personally from a business. This is what is starting to happen at Global From Asia – and not in a negative or shady way. What is starting to happen is as I write the email auto responders, as new leads come in for the corporate services (in our joint venture with Unipro), as people opt in for the email bonuses, I am taking my personal name off the automatic email reply. I am realizing these people are not finding the website, the service, the bonus, based on my name or referral.

This has been so exciting to me!

The emails are now being sent from a general email box at the company domain name. They are being routed to our client services department.

Not that I am trying to hide behind the company, but the idea here is that it is growing and scaling. And as I work on the website, working on more guest contributors (getting flooded with emails for guest posts), thinking of having more people help on the podcast, considering others doing the video interviews – it is so exciting.

I think this is the goal with a business, to make something that will leave a legacy. Something that is bigger than you, and something that others can read the directions and walk away and do it. We have gone through quite a few staff over the years, and as the company has grown and changed (a few pivots, JVs, and close calls) the team has too. But finally we are figuring out the positioning and the right partners for non-core GFA products and services (like I mentioned earlier, we made a joint venture with Unipro Consulting Limited on the corporate services) – GFA focuses on its core – media (content creation), events, and a premium members program.

It has also been so exciting to see the traffic growing as well. And I still crack a smile when a new member signs up for GFA VIP and comes from web searches, talking to our client services, and then to our community manager. I can help them out in our private forum, and that is the first time they even heard my name.

There was a cool book I read, man, I wish I could remember the name – but there was this funny clip in it. The author discusses going to a resort and browsing around. He sees a smooth and amazing operation, and takes a seat at a bench. A gardener is nearby and they strike up a conversation. The author mentions that during the discussion he finds out this gardener is the founder and owner of the resort. He is confused why an owner ad founder of a massive tourist resort would be the gardener. The gardener (owner / multi-millionaire) responds that he enjoys gardening! Haha!

The point of that story is that – he is doing it just because he likes to do it. And he isn’t stressed out in the operations of the business, and he isn’t even famous. The author would have had no idea this gardener was the owner and founder of the business. The gardener didn’t have to be there, and he could have easily just have hired someone to be the gardener.

To summarize this rant – I think in today’s online marketing world – you need to start a business with “your face” on it. At least to leverage a bootstrapped budget. Because the best way to build a business is to leverage your personal name and brand. It will be easier to get media coverage, easier to get the first readers, first customers. But you should think about the longer term where you can transition it to a “faceless corporation” (sounds evil!) – a business that can run on its own without you.

I wonder where you are in this phase? Do you agree with the personal branding leverage to get started and moving to a more scalable business without your personal brand later? This is why I always wonder about a domain name that has your full name – that one will be hard to separate your personal brand and name from later on!

Here at Mike’s Blog – I think it has nice ring to it – and am starting to position it more as an internet marketing blog as well.