Recently in the last 6 months it has become crystal clear why developing your personal brand is so important.
When it comes to branding here are 2 very different lessons that we can all learn from when it comes to creating a brand around you, instead of the company you are marketing.
Solavei and Vemma are two network marketing companies that have recently either been shut down by the FTC or have declared bankruptcy (chapter 11) leaving their distributors high and dry.
My heart goes out to the thousands of individuals who’s lives have been turned upside down or ruined because now these 2 MLM companies are no longer in business.
I say “now” because it looks like Solavei is reorganizing with a company based in the Netherlands named Aspider. I want to wish each and every distributor the best of luck as Solavei works on putting its company back on track. BUT…
The Damage Has Already Been Done!
If you were a distributor building your business with either of these 2 companies, or with any company for that matter and you were not developing your personal brand at the same time, unfortunately you have been left out in the cold without a business.
The very business you may have spent years building has been ripped out right from underneath your feet. The really sad part is, there is nothing you can do about it. It many cases when network marketing companies close their doors or get shut down, the distributors had no idea it was coming. Usually they find out at the same time or the same way the general public does.
What Went Wrong With Vemma & Solavei and How You Can Protect Yourself From This Happening To You!
Back in September of this year (2015) the Federal Trade Commission accused the Vemma Nutrition Company of being a pyramid scheme and they have temporarily shut them down. Vemma is the maker of the wildly popular energy drink known as Verve. They also sell other drinks and nutritional supplements, weight loss products and more. You can read the full story here!
In short, the FTC filed its complaint on 45 different characteristics that added up to a business model that rewarded Vemma reps for recruiting and buying their own products rather than concentrating on selling Vemma products.
Solavie, a mobile service provider on the other hand found themselves underwater with liabilities ranging from $50 to $100 million in the hole and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Solavei’s business model was similar to a typical MLM company but unlike most MLM companies their compensation plan was paying out far too much to the distributors. The company found itself changing the comp plan more than once to make up for the losses.
T-Mobile was providing the back end network for Solavei and has recently filed a petition for $21.6 million in unpaid services. OUCH!
It appears the merger with Aspider is underway, but again, if you were a distributor with Solavei and only marketing their products and not branding yourself, all is lost. Even if the merger with the new company takes off, you will find yourself back at square one, starting all over again.
Now, had you been developing your personal brand along the way with different affiliate programs, creating your own products etc., you would still have a working business model to generate income from.
How To Build Your Brand
You may not realize it but you have already started to develop a personal brand just by being involved in social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and even going back as far as MySpace. Everything you do on social media is part of your branding identity.
5 Ways to Begin Branding Yourself
1. Know Who You and Your Audience Are – Always Be Genuine and Authentic.
Be honest with who you are and know what goals you want to achieve. From here it should be easy. As long as you always speak from the heart you will attract like minded individuals. More importantly is knowing your target audience. In one of my previous articles: 5 Biggest Obstacles to Overcome in Your Network Marketing Business I go into great detail on this subject.
If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to create a few social networking accounts. Almost everyone on the planet already has a Facebook account, now it’s time to pay attention to what you post and share. If you’ve taken the time to discover who your target audience is, begin by appealing to their interests.
Pinterest is another great way to connect with your audience along with Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Create and share posts/articles and link them back to your other social profiles.
3. Become a Person of Value
If you are an expert in your niche, fantastic, share your knowledge freely with others. If you are new in your field like I was a few years ago, then it’s time to begin the education process so you can become an expert in your new field. Developing your personal brand is all about the value you can bring to others. There is a famous quote by Jim Rohn that says: “You don’t get paid for the hour. You get paid for the value you bring to the hour.” How powerful is that!
The more value you can offer, the more people will begin to trust you. Remember, people connect and buy from people they know, like and trust.
4. Start Blogging
In my opinion creating a blog is the best way to brand yourself in any niche. Once you have purchased your domain name, WordPress.org (not .com) makes it super easy for you to start creating content. If I can do it, anyone can. The reason for using the .org platform over the .com is with the .org you own everything. The content you create and work so hard on can never be taken away from you. Platforms like Blogger, Tumblr, Wix can shut you down in a moments notice. ( kind of like what happened to Solavei & Vemma)
Having your own blog can be the central hub of your online business. This is how you can build a massive email list by offering your visitors valuable free information in exchange for their email address. Every business should use a Blacklist checker tool by ZeroBounce to avoid any disruptions in communication.
Once on your list, you should continue to offer valuable information along with making special offers on either your own products, affiliate products or both. Stick with the 80/20 rule here. 80% value, 20% promotion.
5. Continued Education & Partnerships
Every industry offers continued educational programs so you can stay one step ahead of the competition. The real estate industry for example requires agents every 2 or 3 years in most states to take X-amount of hours of continued education. You should treat your business no differently. As you begin to build your own personal brand online, you will find things change rapidly and just how important it is to keep developing new skills and increase your knowledge.
If you are in the network marketing industry one of the best ways to increase your education is by partnering with leaders who have built their entire business on helping educate others.
My Lead System Pro (MLSP) has done just that! They have helped thousands of people create an online presence. IMHO they are the best in the industry at not only developing personal brands, lead generation is their speciality. With the recent roll out of MLSP Sites, you can be up and creating content on your very own blog in 24 hours or less. Not to mention the lucrative affiliate program they have in place.