Why you shouldn’t waste time on Online Personal Branding…

Why you shouldn’t waste time on Online Personal Branding…

or should I say, not ALL your precious time?…


Hi there!

I don’t know how about you, but you see them everywhere: the online challenges, the online webinars, the videos.

Social media is everywhere.

Blog, tweet, sell yourself online to death.

Yell as loudly and as frequently as possible online.

Because if you don’t, you don’t matter.


Almost 20 years ago Tom Peters wrote an article called “A brand called YOU”. it is said that Tom Peters is the guy who came up with the term “Personal Branding”. The concept existed long before that, but Tom Peters gave it a name.

His idea was: “We are the CEOs of our own companies: Me, Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”

Back in 1997 he received a lot of negative feedback and today that still is the case. I even think the amount of negative feedback has increased a lot.

Some people tell it to my face, others behind my back. That’s OK. Personal Branding is for some of us a “4 letter word”.

And I’ve got the feeling it’s mainly the ONLINE Personal Branding that has caused the idea that Personal Branding is fake, not authentic.

How about you – what do you think?

Some people tell me, Personal Branding is all about bragging and shouting out loud that you exist. And thanks to social media, that is not too difficult.

And I admit, I sometimes wonder too: “Isn’t that guy working too hard on building his (online) Personal Brand instead of focusing enough time and attention on building his business?”

And that’s when things go wrong. This is not what Tom Peters intended and it sure is not what I intend when I work with my clients on their Personal Brand & Businesses.

In my opinion, and that’s what I keep telling my clients, and that’s what I keep repeating in my blog, and when I’m ‘on stage’:

  • Personal Branding is about becoming an industry expert, influencer, about becoming the go-to-person in your field.
  • It’s about developing meaningful relationships with your clients and ambassadors.
  • It’s about showing the value of your services. Not telling. Value, as in, how is your service of real value to your (potential) client.


It is not…

  • It’s not about you bragging and showing off.
  • It’s not about building a network of thousands of superficial connections.
  • It’s not about “fake it until you make it”.
  • It’s not about being popular.


Do you start seeing the paradox?

  • You need a large network, but one with meaningful & authentic relationships
  • You need to be the go-to-person, but not the popular guy who doesn’t get anything done
  • You need to show your added value, but you must not brag….
  • You need to spend time on your marketing & branding, but not so much time that you are no longer delivering a super service to your clients…


It’s a tough world 🙂

Or so it seems.

It doesn’t have to be though.

robot-507811_1920Call me old-fashioned, but how about the good old face2face contacts?

How about having coffee or lunch with your (potential) clients, friends, family, colleagues…?

People relate to other People. People hire People. People want to do business with other People. As Simon Sinek put it, “The goal is to do business with people that believe what you believe.”

Spending all your time online feels like becoming more machine than human, more processed than raw and more fluff than substance. And shouldn’t it be the other way around?

Shouldn’t we be focused on becoming more human in how we relate to those around us and less machine?

Is it any wonder that more and more people decide to go offline?

When I started my YouBrandBuilder business, I wanted to build a successful business as fast as possible. So, I hid behind my desk, worked on my website, my programs, my brand, my social media presence etc etc.

Very hard.

Very efficient.

No time to waste seeing people face2face.

Hurray for Skype and GoToMeeting.

And I was wrong.

I know there are many people who are very successful building an online business and spending 100% of their time online. When you think of it, it’s a great way to make money. When and where you want.

And that’s why you see all these online businesses, online challenges popping up.

And that’s fine.

But it is not me.

I wasn’t being true to myself when I was focusing solely on the online business.

It was not authentic.

And Personal Branding is all about being authentic.

So I’m seeing people face2face again.

All right, I still write blogs, am omnipresent on social media, organize online workshops & trainings…

But what I love the most, is getting out there, and spending valuable time with people.

Turns out it is a very good way to do business, to attract clients, to build a meaningful network.

Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?

How about you? Online or Offline?

life- greet bunnens

Anyway, I’ve learned my lesson, and luckily I keep learning.

So here are my lessons learned – you don’t have to agree with me, I’m just sharing my point of view:

  • There’s more in life than the online world
  • Get out there and build meaningful, authentic relationships. Quality is more important than quantity.
  • Spend time on your (online) Personal Brand but do it in a way that suits you.
  • Spend time on building your (online) Personal Brand but don’t forget to spend time on building your business too.
  • Never forget to create real value for your client. It all starts with delivering an outstanding service. “Over-deliver, Under-promise”, remember?
  • Your campaign is not more important than the quality of your product or service.
  • It’s important to get noticed and be recognized by your peers and clients and hiding inside a clam shell is not the way to go. So be visible, but don’t exaggerate and have your own hones voice.
  • Be visible by showing your work and ask your happy clients to vouch for you. Social proof.
  • Having a well-articulated (online) personal brand doesn’t mean you’re a sellout. It doesn’t mean you have to be a chameleon or anything other than you.
  • Your real self is all you have to be. When done right [read: effective] branding isn’t about creating artifice—it’s about revealing yourself.
  • Be passionate about your topic
  • Have yourself a digital detox treatment once in a while.
  • And go out there, see people face2face. Genuinely listen to them.
  • Be real!



What do you think of this whole (online) Personal Branding subject?


2 thoughts on “Why you shouldn’t waste time on Online Personal Branding…”

  1. David Ducheyne says:

    On-line presence has no value if you cannot make the link to the real world. if your on-line presence hinders the IRL-experience, you’re doing it wrong.

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