#19: Sujan Patel: How to Build Your Personal Brand
8 December 2016
00:00 00:00 CC Download
“You don’t need to be an entrepreneur to build a personal brand, you can be an employee, you can be a company. A company is a living organization, a person is still a person.”

From today’s episode you’ll learn:

Today's guest

Sujan Patel
Sujan Patel is the co-founder of Web Profits, a growth marketing agency helping companies leverage the latest and greatest marketing strategy to fuel their businesses. Sujan has over 13 years of internet marketing experience and has led the digital marketing strategy for companies like Sales Force, Mint, Intuit and many other Fortune 500 caliber companies.

Podcast transcript

Hello all, it’s Business Sidekick and it’s Justyna again, LiveChat content writer. My today’s guest star is Sujan Patel, the co-founder of Web Profits agency, digital marketing expert and adrenaline addict.

To be honest, at first I wanted to talk with Sujan about content marketing, but as soon as I started to dig deeper, when I took a look at his website, the pictures he shares, I said to myself: no way!

Sujan is a very interesting character, he’s not afraid to be himself, he talks loud about things he cares about, including fast cars, motorcycles and parachute jumps! I think that this kind of honesty that shows people that you’re a person of flesh and blood and is much more interesting and effective than showing your, let’s call it - business side only.

So, in other words, I’m talking today with a branding expert about how to successfully implement branding for your business.

Hello Sujan, thank you very much for accepting my invitation and being a part of Business Sidekick.

My pleasure, excited to be on.

Awesome. Can you please tell me something about yourself?

Yes; so I’ve been doing digital marketing for 13 years, I’m a co-founder for a handful of start-ups these days and a marketing agency called Web Profits and also a couple of software companies called Narrow, and the list goes on, it’s been a fun couple of years.

As you said, you’re a digital marketing expert, co-founder at Web Profits, you’re working now as a consultant, right? You’re a talented entrepreneur and you also have a temper; is it true that you’ve asked your wife to marry her to marry after two weeks of your relationship?

Yes, I like… I’m definitely a risk taker, that’s for sure, it’s something I kind of have a good gut feeling or intuition and then I just typically react with it.

You know what’s really awesome, I found all this information on your website and I was really amazed that you shared it with your audience! It’s not only the story of success but it’s also the story of your life, right?

Yes, I think I kind of put everything in one place because I try to be as transparent as possible and hopefully my kind of whatever I’m doing can help motivate people or they can maybe learn from it or maybe not, hopefully, not make the same mistakes and so I try to share everything that I’ve learned. I like to do things the hard way, I feel it’s very fun for me, maybe I’m crazy, maybe not, but I look to do things the fun way and share with everybody my experience once I’ve learned.

I remember when I saw your cover picture on Twitter and I said to myself, oh my God is this guy upside down, oh my God what is he doing. Can you tell our listeners what’s on this picture?

Yes, it’s a picture of me skydiving, I used to be afraid of heights and so naturally I was like, let’s go jump out of plans.

Yes, naturally of course.

Naturally, of course, and so yes I took on sky diving and so my website picture is literally me upside down, jumping out of a plane. So I usually go a couple of times a month, usually do about 5, 10 jumps a month.

Wow. You also love fast cars and motorcycles, right?

Yes. Some would say that I’m an adrenaline junkie but, yes, I like to do things that are fun and fairly risky I guess.

Oh yes. Also I’ve seen your video and you have this “get shit done” t-shirt on you and you’re saying about the 17 bones that you broke motorcycle racing, that’s really whoa. To be honest when I saw this video I was like, whoa this guy is awesome, and you know why, because I think the business world is terribly boring and I think that an entrepreneur seems to be a copy of another one, they are all talking about the same things, revenue, money and having more customers, they all wear suits, play golf. Why do you think it looks like that?

I don’t know, honestly I think people just mimic or copy other people and they continue on with whatever boring trends, I think it’s just copying and lack of innovation. I try to go the opposite way, I actually tried that way and it didn’t work because I was just like everyone else. I can’t outsmart the smartest people in the world, that’s just not possible, I mean not with my capabilities today. So my approach is kind of be unique, be different, show personality; I think it’s very important to show personality because frankly everybody has a personality, whether it’s craziness, like I do, jumping out of planes, or maybe you are obsessed maybe with Pokémon and that’s fine, I think it’s fine showing that you are a human being.

I’m not, but thanks.

Of course not. But you know, whatever the hobby, whatever your passions are, I think it’s important to show that and showcase that because that is what makes you a human. And I think when you add the emotion in human personality to business that’s kind of how you can stand out,

I was always laughing that people want to be like a Blake Carrington because they watch Dynasty too much. When you decided to be different?

Yes. I think the biggest thing for me of why I was aiming to be different was just to essentially stand out. I’ve been trying to build up a personal brand, a business and I found that when I tried the normal or when I found that the normal way was the boring, the typical way, I didn’t get anywhere.

So when I started telling people, when I meet people in person, talk to groups of people, I realized that what I do is actually interesting, when I say my story people are attentively listening and I get good feedback and so I started putting more in my personality and how I really feel on the web and using that to kind of build my brand and just, again, just to be different.

I think there are a lot people that are educating or providing concept, it’s hard to stand out from those guys, so how do I be different, I don’t use big words, I share my experiences, I make sure that I share my experiences as a practitioner, not just a random person giving advice and I have strong opinion and I vocalize that instead of keeping it quiet.

So basically by talking about your real life, your real thoughts, you’re building trust among you audience, right?

Trust and I think authenticity. People generally have, I’ve gotten, this is lots of feedback and things like that, so I use what I do and getting feedback from people asking my audience, my peers, the people I look up to, my mentor for feedback, I don’t ask them for advice, I ask them for feedback.

I like to do things and so I just go and execute, maybe that’s not, there’s a few times when it’s successful but a lot of the times it’s not and when that happens I just ask for feedback, I just adjust. I’ve found that all these things are working and generally I get feedback like, I like your videos and you’re sharing it specifically here’s a simple way to do it; people have given me feedback saying, I can relate to you; personally that’s what I’m going for because I am trying to share that it is not that hard, you can be unique and that the most professional person in the room or have to wear a suit, $500 000 shoes or $5000 watch or whatever.

Did you define your target audience? I mean how did you know that it will work? Or you didn’t?

Early on, I didn’t. I think early on I just went in and started just doing things, I had a general idea of who my audience was, but very vague. As I continued it got more and more clear and honestly people ask why are you building a personal brand, who’s your audience, it’s entrepreneurs and marketers, I would say it’s the next generation of people doing things, my peers, maybe other founders and entrepreneurs, that’s it. I keep it vague and try to be appealing to multiple types of people, and there’s not really a reason why I’m doing these things.

Intuition again.

Sure. I share my experiences right? That helps me remember my experiences so I don’t make the same mistake. It helps me get over failures and just move on.

What was your biggest mistake you would share?

I think my biggest mistake was early on. Not leveraging, blogging and writing and sharing my experiences like I’m doing now.

Guys like Gary Vaynerchuk, Neil Patel, there are so many people that have been doing it for 10 plus years and it shows; they’ve built so much authority. I started being consistent probably 2014 so not that long, I started earlier but realistically consistently producing good content and being out there, having this different personality, showing my craziness or skydiving, whatever you call it.

If I did this earlier I would have a way bigger audience. I’ve been doing it for three years now versus 10 years and so that’s my biggest mistake.

Do you think that personal branding is something every entrepreneur should do?

Yes, definitely. It helps open doors, get intros, get deals, whatever you’re doing with your business it’s going to help you get further, it helps you network and learn from other people’s failures and sometimes get help when you need it or when you don’t need it; people prevent you from failing even if you don’t know that you’re doing something wrong.

I think that personal branding is a necessity for every marketer, entrepreneur, everybody that has a career in anything, it doesn’t matter if you’re in marketing or a scientist. You have a personal brand and audience; you have people rooting for you, people that will help you if you ask.

The good thing about it, I just thought that because I was watching your videos and I know about your interests, I personally think like: I know you, that’s why, for example, it’s much easier for me to talk to you, to reach out and that’s awesome, right?

But I’m also wondering if it is possible to create a personal brand if you have an organization, if you’re working in a company? Do you think it’s also possible?

Oh yes, definitely. You don’t need to be an entrepreneur to build a personal brand, I think you can be an employee, you can be a company, you don’t even have to be a person anymore. A company is a living organization, a person is still a person, I think you have to figure out why you’re doing this.

Let’s say you’re a marketer or a salesperson, you want to leverage a personal branding, you were thinking of doing it; think about your end goal, what are you trying to do with personal branding? A lot of people don’t know what they want from the outcome and so they think it might not work.

What if someone doesn’t have such an extreme or interesting interest?

Talk about what you are most passionate about, it doesn’t matter if you love chess or skydiving, it doesn’t matter what is boring or interesting, if you’re passionate about something, that’s where you can show that you have a personality and generally speaking, people are also going to be passionate about it and they can see it, I think that’s why it doesn’t matter if it’s boring or not, there is no boring; boring is, or not interesting is awesome. I would say share your passion.

Can you give a piece of advice to a person that would like to start with personal branding. Are they any basic steps you would suggest to take?

Yes. A couple of things, first and foremost, if you’re just starting off, start on something like LinkedIn or Medium to blog so that you’re blogging where there’s an audience. If you’re selling to consumers, if you’re trying to build your brand and your business person, typically LinkedIn is good because all your business connections have the opportunity to see your stuff.

Being consistent is very, very important, often times people fail at this and I see people come and go, they had a spurt for six months where they cut some fraction but be consistent and lastly don’t just repeat what else is out there, think about how you can share unique information or what is going to be very valuable to your audience.

I always lead with adding value because worst case scenario if things don’t work out and you don’t build a big personal brand, you still contributed positively to your community, your work environment and you may have not built, let’s say worst case scenario, not built a big personal brand, but a 100 person audience, you have made an impact on a 100 people’s lives and little things can make a big difference, you never really know because most times you don’t have a two-way conversation with you audience and that’s something is hard to pull off but comments, social media, engaging people in real life, those are the kinds of things that help you get that feedback.

It sounds really great. Thank you very much for our chat it was great fun and I have only one last question, can you tell me something more about the injury you had? What the hell happened there? I’m talking about the 17 bones injury.

Oh yes. 17 different times, not one time.

Oh my God, alright.

Less painful but spread out over a longer period of time. Ever since I was a kid I’ve always been a misfit, I’ve always, when I see a sign that says don’t do this, my immediate reaction is what would happen if I did that and so as a kid I was always doing that. I like being a misfit, it’s fun.

It looks like you’re also a misfit in the business, right?


Thank you very much for this chat, it was fun.

Thanks for having me.

If you want to build a brand for your business, focus on these things:

  • Define your brand, think of it as a person,
  • Speak to your customers honestly and aim to build long-term relationships,
  • And don’t be afraid to be innovative, bold and daring. Be yourself, this way you’ll always be original!

One last word from me: let’s just say “no” to boring business and boring entrepreneurship. It’s 21st century, the age of startups, so let’s forget about old-fashioned way of doing business and make it more personal!

Alright, that’s it for today! I hope that you liked today’s interview and that you will be able to implement Sujans tips in your business. In case you don’t want to miss further episodes of Business Sidekick, hit subscribe button on iTunes, SoundCloud or Youtube.

All the best and take care!

#Business Psychology


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