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Get in the “Shark Tank”: Build Your Personal Brand

I’m not what they call “business-savvy.” While I am self-employed and do run my own “company” per se, I have the business acumen of an out-of-work hot dog car owner. I am, however, fascinated by business and entrepreneurship. Being so, I’ve been watching ABC’s “Shark Tank” voraciously.

Get to branding

If you haven’t seen “Shark Tank,” here’s a super-abridged rundown: Entrepreneurs approach a group of big-time investors with an idea, who then decline interest or bid for stake of the entrepreneur’s business. Being a Mark Burnett (“Survivor”) production, I know the show’s strictly for entertainment purposes and not indicative of any business reality, but it’s still fun to watch.

This article isn’t about entrepreneurship in a business sense, but in approaching life like a fired-up, confident businessperson, believing in and selling your “brand” to friends, family, women, etc.

Most of my day is taken up writing ad copy for various companies. The words brand, market, advertise and promote float through my head constantly. Writing about these subjects so much, I’ve started to see parallels between the branding of a business to that of a person.

I’m not talking about branding in a cold, dehumanizing sense. You’re not a pair of slim fit jeans or a taquito. I’m talking about putting your best foot forward, about connecting with your audience (coworkers, potential girlfriends, etc.) and inspiring confidence.

Entrepreneurs, whether they’re selling something big like the iPad or something incredibly worthless like an ice cream glove, have two things in common: 1) they’re passionate and 2) they’re confident. Successful entrepreneurs really believe in their product and have the confidence to sell it, to risk embarrassment and failure to succeed.

Would you consider yourself a successful personal entrepreneur? First things first, you need to believe in yourself. Would you trust a vacuum salesman who didn’t believe his vacuum could suck up the coffee grounds and/or vomit stain on your brand new carpet? Hell no. Just the same, people will only believe in you so long as you first believe in yourself.

What do you have to offer? Like an entrepreneur, you’ve got to accentuate the positive. Say, for example, you were selling an SUV. Would you bring up the fact that your car gets three miles to the gallon or highlight its shiny, futuristic look? The answer’s easy.

So, you don’t have the body of a Greek god? Highlight what you do have, whether it’s a great sense of humor or serious bowling skills. Don’t dismiss what may seem like faults however. An honest businessman lets his customers know of a product’s shortcomings. Rather than deny what bothers you, keep working to improve your station until you’re a brand new, sparkling you.

Have confidence in yourself and you’ll go far. Everyone’s got a brand. Those who believe in their brand and do their best to highlight the good will succeed. Put as much faith in yourself as this guy does in ShamWow and you’ll be golden. Just don’t get in fights with Miami Beach hookers.

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About John Brhel John Brhel is a freelance writer from upstate New York that enjoys picking apart life's idiosyncrasies and listening to Huey Lewis & the News.

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