Mike Kim is a strategist for personal brands. He’s consulted for thought leaders like John Maxwell and Donald Miller. He is the author of the book You Are the Brand.
You Are The Brand Book – The 8-Step Blueprint to Showcase Your Unique Expertise & Build a Highly Profitable, Personally Fulfilling Business.
3 Value Bombs
1) Regardless of where you are on your entrepreneurial journey, we tend to see ourselves first through the lens of the organization or occupation that we work for rather than really seeing that those skills are inherent to us.
2) Become the person you’re trying to sell to people. Do the hard work of it. Entrepreneurship has a funny way of bringing out the best in you, but also revealing the roughest parts of you.
3) Share 3 simple stories that lead into the insightful incident. Your founding story, which is how you got into the industry; your business story, which is how your company started; and the customer’s story, which are the stories of your clients and testimonials.
**Click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.
Today’s Audio MASTERCLASS: Marketing Isn’t About Closing A Sale, It’s About Opening A Relationship.
[1:03] – Mike shares something that he believes about becoming successful that most people disagree with.
- Life is short, but it’s the longest thing you’ll ever do. Spend more time with loved ones, eat great food, never pass up a great adventure.
[2:03] – The first thing to do when building our personal brand.
- Ask yourself if you can build a campfire around it. Is it warm? Is it encouraging? Is it a light in the darkness? Is it place where stories can be exchanged and where community can be formed?
[4:35] – Identifying the skills and experiences that you can turn into a business.
- Regardless of where you are on your entrepreneurial journey, we tend to see ourselves first through the lens of the organization or occupation that we work for rather than really seeing that those skills are inherent to us.
- Look at the things you’re doing everyday and ask yourself if you should be doing those things.
[6:48] – Mike shares some examples of how he has personally helped brands, businesses, and leaders find clarity in their messaging.
- Ask three questions: (1) What pisses you off? (2) What breaks your heart? (3) What’s the big problem you’re trying to solve?
- Your story frames the context for the content that you’re sharing.
[13:29] – Mike likes to challenge people to become the person that they’re trying to sell, and then build that “campfire” around what it is that they share.
- Branding is about identity.
- When we look at personal brands, it is a composite of your ideas, expertise, reputation, and personality.
- A lot of people sell a false version of themselves.
- Attention is not owed. It’s earned.
- Become the person you’re trying to sell to people. Do the hard work of it. Entrepreneurship has a funny way of bringing out the best in you, but also revealing the roughest parts of you.
[18:09] – How can we just take a stance – say something unique and special to get us momentum and traction around our own campfire?
- Never make a point without telling a story, and never tell a story without making a point.
- It’s your personal stories that keep you from being blender-gray.
- Share 3 simple stories that lead into the insightful incident. Your founding story, which is how you got into the industry; your business story, which is how your company started; and the customer’s story, which are the stories of your clients and testimonials.
[22:12] – Why does Fire Nation need to your book “You are the Brand”, and where can we get it?
- Nobody really teaches you how to put all the things together. Many people end up just committing random acts of marketing. They just throw stuff against the wall.
- In the book, there’s an 8-step framework that helps put things together so you don’t end up like Dr. Frankenstein creating this monster—a non-revenue generating, expensive monster.
- You Are The Brand Book – The 8-Step Blueprint to Showcase Your Unique Expertise & Build a Highly Profitable, Personally Fulfilling Business.
Boom, shake the room, Fire Nation JLD here and welcome to Entrepreneurs On Fire brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network with great shows like the shakeup today, we'll be focusing on why marketing isn't about closing a sale. It's about opening a relationship to drop these value bombs. I brought Mike Kim and to EOFire studios. Mike is a strategist for personal brands and he has consulted for thought leaders like John Maxwell and Donald Miller. He is the author of the book. You are the brand and today foundation. We'll talk about what you should do. First building a personal brand, how you can identify the skills and experiences.
You already possess to turn it into a business. We're going to have a challenge for you. That's a real challenge and how to be unique Fire Nation, which is so rare these days and so much more. When we get back from thanking our sponsors in today's on demand digital world, our ideal customers have more good content and products to choose from every hour. Then they could consume in a lifetime being good as no longer. Good enough. The solution passion marketing, download your free passion marketing ebook to learn how to become a top priority for your ideal customers. At passion marketing.com. Hiring can feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack, but when you post a job on ZipRecruiter, their matching technology finds these qualified candidates for you and invites them to apply.
0 (1m 26s):
So while other companies give you too many options, ZipRecruiter finds you the needle in the haystack. And right now you can try ZipRecruiter for free at ZipRecruiter.com/fire. Mike say what's up to Fire Nation and share something that you believe about becoming successful. That most people disagree with.
1 (1m 47s):
What is up Fire Nation. It is awesome to be with you. JLD here's what I think life is short, but it's the longest thing you ever do. So spend more time with loved ones, eat great food, never pass up a great adventure. That's what I truly believe about living a successful life.
0 (2m 5s):
You pronounced some ventures over the past few years, brother, one of them took you to Puerto Rico and you know, some of them have taken you to other parts of the world as well. So you are definitely living and breathing that, which I think is super cool. And we're going to be diving deep into why you Fire Nation are a brands. And you know, as I tease in the bullet points, we're going to be going through a lot of different things for you as an individual need to know, to build your brand the right way. So let's just dive right in because Mike, I want to know what should Fire Nation do first? Not second, not 10th, not 25th. What should we do first?
0 (2m 45s):
When we're building our own personal brands,
1 (2m 49s):
You ask yourself this question and JLD, this is so appropriate for the show. It's an analogy that I use ask yourself, can I build a campfire around it? And what I mean by that? Is it warm? Is what you're sharing online. Encouraging? Is it life giving? Is it a light in the darkness? Is it a place where stories can be exchanged? Is it a place where community can be formed? That's exactly what you've done with Fire Nation. It's what so many of your colleagues and friends have done. They've shared themselves, shared their ideas, their expertise, their reputation, their personality in a way that is attractive to people in a way that is a holding space for people.
1 (3m 31s):
And it's a place where people can form these communities. It's why you have Podcaster's Paradise. It's why you have the recruit down in Puerto Rico. That's really the first step. Ask yourself that question and use it as a litmus test.
0 (3m 43s):
Well, I do love that phrase, building a campfire around it. I mean, one thing that I always talk to my artists about is finding your zone of fire, because it's so critical that you have that passion, that you are bringing value to the world. There's enthusiasm as well as expertise. And it feels warm and it feels right. And it feels exciting. And I love that vision of the campfire. I mean, that's just one thing that we, as humans will always be drawn towards, like when it's dark out and there's a fire, we want to get close to that fire. We want to sit around it. We want to look into it. We want to roast marshmallows. We want to have conversations. And how can you Fire Nation feel that way around the brand that you're building for yourself.
0 (4m 27s):
But one thing I still find people struggle with Mike. And this one I want to move into next is actually identifying the skills and experiences that we as individuals have, that we can then go ahead and turn into a business. So we can then go ahead and build a campfire around like a lot of people are doing what I like to say, becoming a pale imitation of other individuals. And then they wonder why they're not succeeding because nobody wants a pale imitation of somebody else. They want the unique, special version of you. They want your campfire. That is unique. That is solving a massive pain point that they have.
0 (5m 7s):
So how can we identify those skills and experiences, Mike, the weakened then turn into a business.
1 (5m 13s):
This is what I did. And I don't know how I stumbled upon this exercise. I think it was just out of frustration years ago when I started out, I looked at all the different jobs I had. I used to teach SATs to high school students. I don't know if you even knew that I worked. Yeah. I worked at chase Mellon investor services of work in their phones. I did a semester of telemarketing between college semesters. I worked as the music director of a church and a, I was the CFO of a company and one day JLD I wrote down everything I did at these jobs, not just what was on the job description, but literally everything I did. Did I mentor people? Did I mentor young teachers? Did I talk my CEO off the cliff a few times? You know, did I work with volunteers?
1 (5m 53s):
Did I speak from stage? Certainly did I do all these things? So I, these things down and I wrote down, you know, I spoke at the stage and I, you know, performed music and I hosted conferences and I mentored people and I sold products at that job. And I took my pen and I crossed out the end of every sentence. And instead of saying, I spoke at church or I led music teams or recruited volunteers there, it just said, I spoke. And I marketed at a hosted conferences and I mentored and I coached. And bro, I tell you, when I looked at that list, staring back at me, it was like, I saw myself for the first time, because for so many of us, regardless of where you are on your entrepreneurial journey, listening in right now, you, we tend to see ourselves first through the lens of the organization or occupation that we work for rather than really seeing that those skills are inherent to us.
1 (6m 48s):
So I want to encourage you, even if you've been in the entrepreneurial journey for, for, for a while, look at what you're still doing every day and ask yourself, list those things out and ask yourself, should I be doing these things? And then start to cross the mountain, you'll see yourself and how you're spending your time in a completely new light
0 (7m 5s):
So Fire Nation. I really hope that you're putting yourself in these scenarios of Mike's talking through and trying to picture, like, what would my list look like? Like what would my list of attributes look like them might lay me up. That might be my campfire and Mike here at Fire Nation. We'd love personal examples. So give us some personal realistic and specific examples of how you personally have helped brands, how you've helped businesses, how you've helped leaders find clarity in their messaging. Let's like, let's really give some case studies
1 (7m 38s):
Here. Yeah. So here's the little framework that I ask every client that I work with. And I've been privileged to work with some very, very well-known clients in the industry, my industry with John Maxwell, Donald Miller, Daniel. Amen. And whether it's them or people starting out, ask them these three questions. Number one, what pisses you off? I'm from Jersey. So I'm a little salty. Number two. What breaks your heart in number three? What's the big problem you're trying to solve. And oftentimes we don't know the answers to one or more of these questions. So a really good example of this would be with a young lady that came to one of my workshops. Her name was Courtney, and I was asking her these questions.
1 (8m 21s):
I said, what's the big problem you want to solve? And she said, well, I want to help people kind of rearrange things inside their home because I have studied this electric meter. And it gives off this low level radiation. And I want to help them kind of understand how to reconfigure their diet, their home, the energy in their home, the way their space is laid out. And it didn't really have any context. So when I went into the other two questions, well, what really ticks you off and what really breaks your heart? I was getting to the core of her message and she started JLD tell me a story. And this is for you Fire Nation. It's like your story frames, the context for the content that you're sharing.
1 (9m 3s):
And she began to open up and tell me, well, I moved 10 times in 10 years because we're a military family. And I noticed my young kids were getting headaches. All of a sudden in these random homes that we lived in and for no reason, couldn't figure out what was going on. So I did some research dug into this and then what broke my heart was I realized that some of these appliances are giving off low level radiation. And they're pretty harmful, especially if your head is leaning towards or your bed is pointing towards there's this electric meter in your house. And I was like, wait, what? And Jody, I tell you, within three minutes of her telling me this story, I understood why she did what she did and what drove her. That is a really simple example of how just having a story and asking yourself the answer to these questions can frame the marketing, not just for your entire brand, but even for individual products or services or coaching programs.
1 (10m 1s):
And the fact that I can even reverse engineer your story for Podcaster's Paradise and entrepreneurs on fire. Using those three questions shows why they, you, why you have such clarity. You know, I can even picture you driving to work and looking for a podcast daily, right? And you've shared that story so brilliantly. Well, what pissed you off there? Wasn't an entrepreneurial show daily. What broke your heart? You hated going to work and not feeling like your soul was being fed. So what's the big problem you're trying to solve. You decide to do something about it. And here we are all these years later and look at what you've built.
0 (10m 36s):
We all have stories. We all have stories. You cannot live life without stories. And that's why I love when I share with this to people, like why do we love history? Not like we love like the history of like going back and like studying all the wars. And I'm not talking about that kind of history. I'm talking about like the history of us, the history of humankind and why is his story broken up into history? It's his story? It's her story. It's your story. Fire Nation. We all have stories. So ask yourself these questions that Mike is talking about. You may be shocked at what you uncover and we have some more fire coming up.
0 (11m 19s):
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0 (11m 59s):
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0 (12m 40s):
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0 (13m 23s):
And right now you can try ZipRecruiter for free, just visit ZipRecruiter.com/fire. That's ZipRecruiter.com/fire ZipRecruiter, the smartest way to hire. So Mike we're back and I love a good challenge. You love a good challenge. And in fact, you will like to challenge people straight up to become the person that they are trying to become, and that they're trying to sell with their brand online and build that campfire that we've been talking about all episode around what it is that they share. So we talked a little bit about this, but let's even go deeper here. Let's really break down this campfire.
0 (14m 5s):
Let's really throw this challenge out to Fire Nation. This gauntlet that you want to plant in the sand,
1 (14m 11s):
People do it one or two ways. And of course, over the last couple of years, we've seen the rise of image when it comes to personal branding because of very visual platforms like Instagram and YouTube. And oftentimes people will ask me, well, what's a personal brand. And we all know branding is about identity. It started with farmers branding using an iron to identify their cattle. And in the course of just researching for my upcoming book and for the various programs that have done, I came across this guy named Josiah Wedgewood. He was born in the 17 hundreds and he was an English Potter and he won this pottery competition held by queen Charlotte and in a brilliant move. He's like the father of modern, modern marketing.
1 (14m 53s):
He called all his pottery after that Queen's ware. And he's actually the person that pioneered these ideas of money-back guarantees and free delivery. Now, whether it has to do with cattle or with pottery or our personal brands, branding has always been about identity. And when we look at a personal brand, what I mean by that is it's a composite of your ideas, your expertise, your reputation, and your personality. Unfortunately, for a lot of folks out there and they go one or two ways, the first way first group of people is they sell a false version of themselves. And I'm going to give an extreme example, but we've seen people do this. And we we've been suspect at times where people will rent a mansion on Airbnb, for example, a stage, a photo shoot, and imply that it's their house.
1 (15m 40s):
They won't say it, but they'll imply it. And these folks don't realize that attention isn't owed. It's earned like, dude, I know you have earned every bit of fanfare and you started from zero just like everybody else. And so you have these group of people that try to sell an image. And on the flip side of that, you have folks who are oversharing in the name of authenticity, which is a big word right now, authenticity. But what's unfortunate about this group of people is that they're selling their struggles instead of solution. They're like a car wreck on the highway. They get a lot of attention, but it's very short-lived and it's not for the right reason. Right? So when I talk about becoming a brand or saying to folks, you are the brand, right?
1 (16m 22s):
This is you become the person that you're trying to sell to people, do the hard work of it. Entrepreneurship has a funny way of bringing out the best in you, but also revealing the roughest parts of you. And the question that I asked to my clients, my coaching students all the time is who do you have to become in order to serve the people you want to serve? Do you have to become a better marketer, a better communicator, more emotionally grounded? Like what is it that you need to do to become the person that you're trying to be in order to serve the people you want to serve? And that's really how I look at that.
0 (16m 58s):
So Fire Nation, I'm over here taking notes and I hope you're really taking and absorbing all this as well. I mean, I loved that phrase, the rise of image. I mean, think about that. I mean, this is the world that we've moved into and become the person you were trying to sell to people. I mean, that may sound obvious, but unfortunately it's not obvious practice. And who do you have to become Fire Nation to serve the people you want to serve, know the people you want to serve. Okay. Now, how do you become that person that is capable and able to serve the people that you want to serve? Now, Mike, I want to talk about something that is very important and very difficult to do.
0 (17m 42s):
How can we say something that's unique? I mean, something that just doesn't sound like all the other hollow promises that everyone is making every minute of every day, it's like, we now just have this world of pale, weak imitations of other people where they just see somebody say something and they're having success doing that. So they just say the exact same thing. And they're like, now I want that level of success. Or let me just piggyback on X, Y, or Z. And it's just so obvious that they're not building a campfire. They're like trying to like steal a twig. That's on fire from somebody else's campfire to get some of that heat to get some of that fire. So how can we just take a stance?
0 (18m 25s):
How can we say something that's unique and special in is going to get us momentum and traction around our own campfire.
1 (18m 34s):
I love that you use this phrase, a pale imitation. The one of the phrases I use is never be blender, gray, you know, and the way you do that is personal stories. So let me tell you a story, right? And then this is an aside Jody, but as a communications guy, as a copywriting guy, I always tell people, never make a point without telling a story and never tell a story without making a point. And that's, that's one of the most natural ways we can stand out from the crowd. When I was a kid, my mom got swept up in the home, juicing craze, you know, the juice man juicer. And, and then a little while later, there's this fitness guru. I don't know if you remember him, Jack Lalaine and this guy had multiple gyms around the country and he came out with a competing product called the power juicer.
1 (19m 15s):
And he was doing all these pull-ups on TV because he used his own juicer, of course. Right. And he just outsold the competition because of the personal brand that he had because he, he leveraged his personality, his stories. Now I remember my mom bought me this and bought this juicer. And I remember I was probably like eight years old when I first drank it. And it tasted disgusting. I don't know what she put in it like radishes, dude, beets, lettuce, spinach Moss from the backyard. I don't know. And the juice was this weird shade of gray with a tiny hint of brown and green. And it was nutritious, but it tasted horrible and it was not appealing. And that is how a lot of people's brands are.
1 (19m 56s):
You're good at what you do. You're an expert at what you do, but your story, your marketing, your message is blender gray. That's what I started calling that color, blender gray. And it's your personal stories that keep you from being blender, gray. And the easy way to tell these stories is to think of any story that we were taught to write in high school or college and flip the script. And what I mean by that is this, most of the time we're taught. When you write a story, you start with the introduction, which is the exposition. Then you have as an inciting incident, and then you have a resolution. The key is to flip the inciting incident and put that first.
1 (20m 39s):
Right? And we do this in every day life. We were just untaught this. We have to unlearn this because of English class. Right. And we get into writing mode. So you might say something like this. Oh, how was work today? Huh? Well, oh my gosh. You never want, guess what? This idiot Mike Kim did today on the podcast. That's what you would say to Kate, right? Like if I did something stupid today, right? And I meet you for dinner out in Puerto Rico, how are you doing it? Like, what's, what's wrong? Why, what what's, what's going on to pro I got out of the car just now. When I dropped my phone number, I broke it. Right. And we that's the everyday way we tell stories. We, we start with the inciting incident. Even like those animal videos on national geographic, it's it doesn't show the zebra grazing for 20 minutes.
1 (21m 24s):
It's the zebra with a lion hiding behind in the stock, ready to pounce on them. That's the inciting incident. So when, when Fire Nation, you talk, when you hear a guy like me talk about using storytelling in your marketing. I don't want you to hear that. I'm asking you to write your life story. I'm asking you to share three simple stories leading with the explosion or the inciting incident, your founder story, which is how you got into the industry, your business story, which is how your company started and the customer story, which is the story of your clients, are your case studies, your testimonials. And it's those three stories that will make you stand Fire
0 (22m 5s):
Nation, put the inciting incident first. Like if you can just walk away with that and start practicing that in your business, in life, you are on the right track. And I love those three stories, the founder story, the business story and the customer story. And that's using case studies, testimonials, etc, Fire Nation. So Mike, you wrote the book. You are the brands, give us the 9 1 1 on this. Like, why does Fire Nation need to read this book? Where can they go to consume more of this content that you've been sharing? And then we'll say goodbye.
1 (22m 42s):
So the reason I wrote this book is because there are a lot of good programs out there that sell disparate parts of what it means to build an expert business. And there's nothing wrong with that wonderful products on podcasting, you know, to Shay, to JLD for what he's built, I've taken his programs through killer. There are programs on copywriting and blogging and Facebook ads where the challenge is, is that nobody really teaches you how to put all these things together. And for many people, they end up just committing random acts of marketing and they throw all these things against the wall. And it's sort of like Dr. Frankenstein piecing together a creation that's made of all these disparate parts in the book.
1 (23m 24s):
You are the brand. I outline an eight step framework that helps you put it together so that you don't feel like Dr. Frankenstein and end up with this monster. A non-revenue generating very expensive monster. And it is a challenge when we're trying to build a concrete business out of something as intangible and as a theory, as our ideas, our expertise, our reputation and our personality. And so that's really why I wrote this book. It's how I built the brands for some of today's most influential thought leaders, how it built my own brand. And it shows you how this little weird world of marketing really works.
1 (24m 4s):
And most importantly, why the best strategy for success is to simply tell the truth. And you can find the book at YouAreTheBrandBook.com and on Amazon Barnes and noble and all the other stores, worldwide Fire Nation. You need to realize that when you hear some interesting information, when you hear somebody who's an expert in their area of expertise. When you hear someone like Mike, who's actually gone through the process that he now teaches and goes into detail with within his own book, you are the brands you need to invest in yourself. And it's not the dollars and cents that the book cost. It's the time, the energy, the bandwidth to apply this knowledge to your life.
1 (24m 51s):
This is how you win at such a high level. So, you know, as Fire Nation, you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
0 (24m 58s):
You've been hanging out with MK and JLD today. So make sure you keep up that heat. If you head over to EOFire.com and type Mike in the search bar, the Sean's page will pop up with everything we talked about here today. Best show notes in the biz. And one more time, Mike, where do we go? URL wise to learn more and pick up this book. YouAreTheBrandBook.com. YouAreTheBrandBook.com. Fire Nation. Get over there. And Mike, thank you for sharing your truth, your knowledge, your value with Fire Nation today for that brother, we salute you and we'll catch you on the flip side. Hey, Fire Nation today's value bomb content was brought to you by Mike and Fire Nation.
0 (25m 38s):
Over the last decade, I've interviewed more than 3000 of the world's most successful entrepreneurs, and I've created a revolutionary 17 step roadmap to your financial freedom and fulfillment. I put it all into my first. That is my first traditionally published book, The Common Path to Uncommon Success, which was personally endorsed by Seth Goden and Mr. Gary Vaynerchuk himself. The Common Path to Uncommon Success is a step-by-step guide that you need to achieve the lifestyle of your dreams, financial freedom and fulfillment visits, UncommonSuccessBook.com to learn more and order your copy today. I'll catch you there Fire Nation, or I'll catch you on the flip, the flip side in today's on demand digital world.
0 (26m 22s):
Our ideal customers have more good content and products to choose from every hour. Then they could consume in a lifetime being good as no longer. Good enough. The solution PassionMarketing, download your free passion marketing ebook to learn how to become a top priority for your ideal customers. At PassionMarketing.com hiring can feel like trying to find a needle, a haystack, but when you post a job on ZipRecruiter, their matching technology finds these qualified candidates for you and invites them to apply. So while other companies give you too many options, ZipRecruiter finds you the needle in the haystack. And right now you can try ZipRecruiter for free at ZipRecruiter.com/fire
1) The Common Path to Uncommon Success: JLD’s 1st traditionally published book! Over 3000 interviews with the world’s most successful Entrepreneurs compiled into a 17-step roadmap to financial freedom and fulfillment!
2) Free Podcast Course: Learn from JLD how to create and launch your podcast!
3) Podcasters’ Paradise: The #1 podcasting community in the world!