The Importance of Building your Personal Brand and How any Entrepreneur can Get Started

Sam Winsbury, the 24-year-old behind the UK’s fastest growing personal branding agency, Kurogo, shares The CEOs guide to building a personal brand in 2024, exclusively for Startup Magazine.

Winsbury is on track to turn his personal branding agency into a global £1 million business, just two years after starting out on his own as a freelancer.

How? Well, of course he has the know-how, clear ambition, and the right team in place to support his clients’ needs, but he also practices what he preaches when it comes to his personal brand – which he believes is an “essential and practical exercise” – one that any CEO should be investing the time into if they’re if you’re serious about growing their business and want to be better known for the right things by the right people.

First, let’s get absolutely clear on one thing. Personal branding is not about forging a false representation of yourself. It’s about spotlighting the skills, expertise, experience, values, and personality you already have in the best way possible to build the reputation you deserve.

We’re not trying to become celebrities here. Or even turn you into an ‘influencer’. Personal branding shouldn’t be considered a ‘luxury.’ It’s a practical exercise for entrepreneurs serious about growing your business and building a credible reputation then creating and maintaining an authentic personal brand should be considered essential.

This isn’t about faking it until you make it. Taking time to build a personal brand will help you attract investment, generate awareness of you and your proposition, land public speaking and panel discussion opportunities in front of the right audiences, attract and retain top talent when the time comes to expand your team, increase company valuation, raise your prices & conversion rate, and generate more leads and revenue.

Several of our clients generate six figures in revenue from our work, we've had clients on TV, clients in the news and on major panels at conferences, which has all come organically through strong personal brands. Ultimately, building their personal brands has made them key figures of interest within their industries. My own personal brand has given me an audience of over 25,000 people and brings in multiple 6 figures of revenue to Kurogo every year, as well as getting me consulting opportunities, interview opportunities and media appearances.

But hey, I get it. You're drowning in a sea of to-dos, barely keeping your head above water. CEOs, big and small, often gripe about not having time to think about their goals, create regular, meaningful, and strategically timed thought-leadership pieces, or find relevant media opportunities. Smaller outfits might be battling imposter syndrome or dreaming of having a media team without drowning in costs. There are plenty of barriers to getting started, but here's the deal – it's worth it.

Let's talk numbers because who doesn't love some hard facts: Statistics show that leads obtained through employees’ social media convert 7x more frequently than others and 77% of consumers are more likely to buy when the CEO engages on social media. Thought leadership significantly changes buyers' perception of a company for the better according to 65% of respondents. In fact, a whopping 45% of your company's market value could be hanging on your reputation.

Bottom line, your reputation is your biggest asset; so, take control of it. Competition is cutthroat, and let's face it, most brand messages sound like a broken record. Your personal brand is your ticket to standing out. If you're serious about hiring top talent, winning clients, and customers, scoring investments, and building a credible rep within your field this year, your personal brand is your ticket.

If you’re not sure where or how to begin, here are my three top tips:

Note down your ideas:

We all have light bulb moments at random times- it might be in the middle of the night, during a morning dog walk or over a cuppa. Whenever inspiration strikes, don't trust your memory; jot it down.

I have a running note in my phone. It could be an insight during a client meeting or a trend you spot on your industry radar. Capture those gems and watch them fuel your content engine.

Schedule Content Creation Time:

Along with your reputation, time is a precious commodity, so make the best use of it. I slot in two sacred hours every week for content creation or exploring PR opportunities. Forget the daily scramble because it won’t work if you take an ad hoc approach. This is about crafting thoughtful, quality content that hits the bullseye.

Source Inspiration from Industry Peers:

Feeling stuck in a creative rut? Look at what your peers are up to. Never copy paste, instead, adapt those insights and work with them, to fit your industry and style. If you’re playing it safe in sharing your opinion – or saying the same thing as everyone else, then you might as well not bother – taking inspiration is fine, but always ensure you’re being true to yourself.

Looking to the year ahead, I’d focus particularly on the following:

  • Leveraging Video Content: In a world where attention spans are shorter than a TikTok video, videos can provide a much richer interaction with your audience. Engage, entertain, and educate – the trifecta of personal brand power.
  • First Impressions Matter: Social media is a crowded place. Make your first impression count. Stand out, be memorable, or risk being lost in the noise.
  • PR/Media Features for Instant Authority: Want instant authority? Landing PR features is a reliable way to position yourself as a top figure in your industry.
  • Social Media and PR Over Website and Design: Forget obsessing over the perfect website or a fancy logo when starting from scratch. Pour your energy into social media and PR. That's where the real action is.

If you’re starting from scratch, remember we’ve all had to start from the beginning at some point – you’ll be fine if you develop a strong and clear positioning strategy – make sure you know your audience and define your message. That's your bedrock. Understand and be clear on ‘why people should listen to YOU. Cut through the noise, be authentic, but have a point of difference. Nail that, and you're golden.

You also need to create a profile proving your credibility. Online and offline, you need to be and do what you say you are. Hit the ground running with thoughtful content that aligns with your expertise and industry and be consistent, so the world knows you’re here to stay – that helps build trust.

In a nutshell, we operate in a world where trust is currency. Your personal brand isn't just a badge; it's the key to sustained growth and success.