#42: Chris Ducker is widely considered the expert on building a personal brand as an entrepreneur.
He’s the best-selling author of two books, Virtual Freedom and Rise of the Youpreneur, and has helped entrepreneurs all over the world become the go-to leader in their industry by building a thriving personal brand online.
Now, you may or may not have already realized how vital a personal brand is to the future of your online business. And if not, that’s okay.
In this episode, we cover why your personal brand matters so much, the biggest mistake most people make when building their brand, and how you can leverage your personal brand to turn followers into customers and future-proof your business.
If you’re the type of person who wants to be the leader in your niche and fuel your business growth, you’ll definitely want to give this episode a listen.
Podcast Episode Summary
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- Why it’s important to be uniquely and unapologetically you all the time;
- How to future-proof your business;
- The power of the personal brand business model;
- How to get over your fear;
- How “marketing like a magnet” works;
- What the Holy Grail of online business is.
A Youpreneur very simply put is somebody who builds a business based around their expertise and their personality. (04:14)
If you’re building a business based around what you’re good at, not your weaknesses because we don’t care about those. We delegate those. We get rid of those. We focus on what we’re really good at. And we serve our people in that way, in that manner. (06:23)
If we focus on what we’re really good at and we do so in a way that leans into our personality and our uniqueness, then that business can’t be copied. It cannot be duplicated. (06:37)
It’s actually not the fear of putting themselves out there that stops them from doing so it’s the fear of rejection in a very personal manner that stops them from putting themselves out there. (09:00)
Marketing like a magnet – you attract the best and repel the rest. (10:33)
We’re all a very different parts of our own journeys. You can’t compare someone else’s 99th or 100th step to your first, second, or third step. And you shouldn’t do that. That in itself actually will be the end of your career as a Youpreneur right there. So don’t allow that imposter syndrome to creep in, make sure that you keep your eye on the prize in terms of the types of people that you’re wanting to help you define who you are, you define your perfect customer, and then you go out and you start creating content that can serve them the best way possible. (13:41)
If that business of you or that Youpreneur business model is what you want to chase down and what you want to build a profitable business around, then you have to give yourself the permission to be uniquely and unapologetically you all the time. (24:38)
You will attract your tribe by your vibe. (25:01)
Connect with Chris Ducker
Ep. 42: Future-Proof Your Business with a Personal Brand, with Chris Ducker
We focus on what we're really good at. And we serve our people in that way, in that manner. If we focus on that and we do so in a way that leans into our personality and our uniqueness, then that business can't be copied. It cannot be duplicated. It's fundamentally impossible to do that if you're building a business based around your uniqueness.
Welcome to Content Heroes, everyone. We're back with another great conversation to help you build a profitable business on your own terms by creating content online. Our guest today is widely considered the expert on building a personal brand as an entrepreneur. He's the bestselling author of two books, Virtual Freedom and Rise of the Youpreneur and has helped entrepreneurs all over the world, become the go-to leader in their industry by building a thriving personal brand online. Now you may or may not have already realized how vital a personal brand is to the future of your online business. And if not, that's okay, today, we're going to cover why your personal brand matters so much, tThe biggest mistake most people make when building their brand and how you can leverage your personal brand to turn followers into customers and future-proof your business. If you're the type of person who wants to be the leader in your niche and fuel your business growth, you'll definitely want to stick around for the rest of this episode. So let's jump in.
You're listening to the Content Heroes podcast, where entrepreneurs, marketers, and creatives share how they build profitable businesses on their own terms by creating content online. And now your host, Josiah Goff.
I'm here with Chris Ducker, the founder of Youpreneur.com. And I am very excited to have this conversation today. Chris, thanks so much for being on the show.
Thanks for having me, man.
Awesome. Well, before we get into Youpreneur, can we start with your origin story? I'd really love to hear how you got to where you are.
Yeah, well, I mean, you know, it's not much different to what I do today, really, if I'm, to be honest with you, I mean, this is, people often ask me where that beginnings is or where, and it's sales, you know, sales and marketing. And it's still pretty much what I do day to day to this point. Obviously things have changed a little bit over the, over the years, but ultimately what I am, what I do is a sales and marketing guy, that's what it is. I didn't do college. I dropped out three months in, much to my father's dismay. The guy didn't talk to me for three months, literally, which is tough. It's a long time to be living in someone's house and not have them talking to you. But he was not very happy that I, that I ditched it, but I turned out, okay, so there you go. But yeah, 17 straight into a tele-marketing job, working for selling classified ad space for a magazine publication in the UK. And then, you know, we fast forward all this time. I've been in the publishing world. I've been in the infomercial world, pretty much anything you can imagine in regards to sales and marketing, I've had my hand in it in some way, shape or form. And really building businesses now for the last 15 years. We have three different businesses under the same umbrella. We have a call center facility, which is 350 employees working B2B with clients around the world. We have Virtual Staff Finder, which is our VA recruitment company, which is a 10 year company now. With 12-year, 10-year, and now a five-year company, which is Youpreneur, which is focused all around coaching entrepreneurs to build businesses around their personality and expertise. And that's what we do day to day. That's what I do day to day, but I ultimately serve our audience and our customers by creating the content that fuels the growth of the business now.
So Youpreneur has, has really taken off. And you wrote this book, the rise of the Youpreneur, which I read, I found incredibly helpful, not just in clarifying what I want my personal brand to look like and the way I structure my business moving forward. But, but also the business on the agency side of things and who we're serving, and there's just so much, you leave no stone unturned in this book. And that's what I love about it. Like you go through and incredible detail, walk people through the whole process. So can we start at kind of a high level? Like what is a Youpreneur?
A Youpreneur very simply put is somebody who builds a business based around their expertise and their personality. That's it? So it's people like authors, coaches, consultants, speakers, content creators, anybody that is really serving a collection of individuals that they would classes in the audience or a community or a mine. You know, we're all about that serve first, sell later mentality with what we do. So it's about, you know, showing up on a consistent basis, providing high quality, original, valuable content to build your profile, to be able to spread and market your message. And then obviously as, as time goes by and opportunities present themselves, we get to the opportunity of being able to monetize that following and that audience. And you do that very simply by just providing solutions to people's problems. And if we do that in the right way, as Youpreneurs, then we're blessed to be able to put a price tag on that solution. Our clients buy whatever it is we get to sell whatever they need to them. And everybody's happy.
That's great. So one of the core themes of this book is this idea is the concept or the argument that one of the best ways to future proof your business is to build it around a personal brand. Why do you think that is?
Well, because look, and I'm so glad that you point out "around the personal brand". I think that's an important part for people to understand, because a lot of people, they get a little sketchy, they get a little, a little scared, the idea of building a business based around them themselves. But the fact is it's actually building a business based on you, but not reliance on you, right? So that's where systems, processes, delegation, staff, etc, come into play. Now that might not be happening for a while. Right. But ultimately that's the end result, the end goal is to be able to do that. But the reason why this is the way to future proof yourself is because if you think of it very logically, very seriously, like sit down and figure this out, if you're building a business based around what you're good at, right?Not your weaknesses because we don't care about those. We delegate those. We get rid of those. We focus on what we're really good at. And we serve our people in that way, in that manner. If we focus on that and we do so in a way that leans into our personality and our uniqueness, then that business can't be copied. It cannot be duplicated. It's fundamentally impossible to do that if you're building a business based around your uniqueness. And so yeah, you might be in an industry or a niche that is very, very competitive, might be a whole bunch of people. One of the, one of the big objections, people will come to me with this as a model will be, well, what's the point in doing it? It's already been done already. Like, you know, the whole personal brand thing. I'm in the health and fitness space, for example, you know, I'm a health and fitness coach. There, there are a gazillion health and fitness coaches out there. Is this a viable model? Yes. Because people actually don't sign up to work with health and fitness coaches because necessarily of the end result, I mean, we know you work with somebody that's going to help you lose weight, get stronger. You will be healthier and fitter. You don't need to be a NASA employee to figure that one out. The reason why we decide to go with the person that we go with is because we know, love, and trust them for some reason, right? Whether they've been referred to you by somebody that you already know, love, and trust, or maybe you've found them online, you've been listening to their podcast. You've been reading their blog, watching their YouTube videos, checking them out on Instagram, whatever it is, we have known them and we trust them. And because of that, they are now our favorite health and fitness coach. So we are more likely to sign up with that person because of that unique relationship that we have in place with them already. And there lies the power of the personal brand business model.
Oh, I love it. That's great. So, you know, listening to you kind of talk through that at, one of the first things that popped in my head that I'm sure a lot of people who are listening have this reaction of, when you buy onto this idea of creating a business around a personal brand, very quickly, I can see this fear coming in of like, that means I have to put myself out there. Right? So what do you say to those people who want to get kind of over that hurdle of that fear of putting themselves out there and being the face of their business?
Well, here's the thing, it's not actually the fear itself and I've worked with thousands of people on this, right? So I know, right? I know that this, this is the case. It's actually not the fear of putting themselves out there that stops them from doing so it's the fear of rejection in a very personal manner that stops them from putting themselves out there. It's not like they're hiding behind brands and name on their blog or something like, this is your name, you're out there, you don't want to be rejected. It's not the actual aspect of putting themselves out there. It's, it's that fear of rejection. And here's the thing. And this, I also know to be very, very true, 9 times out of 10, it just won't bloody happen. It's really that simple. Like that's just the brutal reality of it because the more unique you are, the more you are like yourself and that's the way we should be anyway. And I'm not going to start going into authenticity. That word gets thrown around a lot nowadays, but just the more of you that you put into what you do, two things will happen. And the good news is that they happen at the exact same time. So it's not double the amount of work. Number one, you will attract the very people that you are supposed to be attracting into your ecosystem, right? The people that are of the same mindset, who go after the same things, who follow the same people, you do all the same mantras that you do. We want those people coming towards us in terms of what we're doing and what we're putting out there at the exact same time, because you're putting you uniquely into your messaging and your marketing, you will repel away the people that aren't supposed to be in your ecosystem. This is why I call this marketing like a magnet. You attract the best and repel the rest. So we can do that just by putting us into what we're doing. Therefore, obviously smart money says we're not going to be rejected. Not really because the people that should be in our ecosystem will come into the ecosystem. And those that won't well, they'll just naturally de-select themselves from whatever it is we're putting out into the world. Will you get some kooky remarks on your YouTube videos? Yes. Just delete them and move on. Are you going to get the odd email or the odd blog comment or Instagram comment from somebody that says you're a douchebag or whatever? Yeah. That's probably going to happen as well. Again, delete, block and move on. Right? Life is too short, plain and simple.
I love that.
Somebody actually said to me the other day that my head looked like a peanut. This is a YouTube comment. They said, they actually said that my head looked like the shape of a peanut. And I'm like, do you really have nothing else to do other than comment on the shape of my head? Like, this is ridiculous. Obviously, delete block, move on. You know what I mean?
I love it. It's almost like the rejection as a feature rather than a bug, because you do want to be rejected by the people who you don't want to have business with.
Absolutely. And these are the people, you know, to be honest with you. These are the people that we want to de-select themselves. 'Cause these are the type of people that will on day 29 of the 30-day money back guarantee, they will go out and ask for that money back. And we don't want those people in it. We can't build a business, a profitable, sustainable future-proof business with those kinds of customers in our ecosystem anyway. Right? So we're happy for them to de-select and move on. We want them to, we encourage them to quite frankly.
Yeah. And we can't help them. And so, we then we're just wasting our time and kind of denying other people that we could be able to.
Awesome. So for those that are listening, who brought and they, they know that they want to start building their personal brand, what are some of the first steps they can take?
Well, I mean, it really comes down first and foremost to figure out exactly who you are, what you do, and what you want to be known for. Because that, at the very core of what we do as a Youpreneur in our personal brand business model is, you know, at the very center foundationally of everything that we're about. So once you define what your strengths are, again, avoiding the weaknesses, turning your back on them completely. Once you discover what your strengths are, what your passions are, what you're good at, how you can help people, boom, there's your business model right there. Whether you do it through coaching, whether you're doing it, you're doing it through, you know, a membership website, whether you're doing it on a YouTube channel, you know, regardless of what it is, as long as you know who you are and what you want to be known for, that's the first step right there. And that very naturally allows you to select what your customer avatar is going to become moving forward as well, because obviously based on your strengths and what you're about, you can then figure out the type of person that you can obviously help. And we're all in different seasons of our lives, right? Like we're all a very different parts of our own journeys. And that's why it drives me nuts. When I see people starting out on this journey, comparing themselves with the Gary Vaynerchuk and the Marie Forleo's and all that sort of stuff. Like you can't compare someone else's 99th or 100th step to your first, second or third step. And you shouldn't do that. That in itself actually will be the end of your career as a Youpreneur right there. So don't allow that imposter syndrome to creep in, make sure that you keep your eye on the prize in terms of the types of people that you're wanting to help you define who you are, you define your perfect customer, and then you go out and you start creating content that can serve them the best way possible. Now what happens when we start off and this is actually something I go into in quite a certain amount of depth anyway, in the book is what will happen is we'll start creating content that we think our people want. Two keywords there: "think" and "want". We create content that we think our people will want to see from us. That will happen probably for about three to six months, if we're consistent. Further down the line, something amazing will happen. Something miraculous will take place. And that is, that your audience that you've been now very lucky and privileged to attract into your world, they'll start telling you what they really truly want from you, right? What they need from you. And at that point, you can tweak your content strategy a little bit to start serving up, not what you think they need, but what you know they want. And there lies the moneymaker right there. Because if you do that for long enough, at a high enough level, it's a no brainer for those people then to go from visitors to customers in whatever way you want them to, whatever way you fashioned together. Right? So it's such an incredible business model because you're in you're, you're pretty much in control of everything you can possibly be in, in terms of the marketing and the growth of your business, where people fail horrifically here, however, though, is when people start giving them that feedback. When they start getting the emails and the DMs and the comments and things like that, with what people actually want from them, some ignore it, they completely ignore it. And they carry on doing what they want to do themselves. And that there will be at your own financial peril ultimately, because what will happen is those people who have now told you what they want and they're not going to get it from you, they're going to go find it from somebody else. Right? So it's like a recipe. You know, you can go to a restaurant that's highly, highly recommended from two or three of your friends. You turn up and the doors closed and it says, I'm sorry, we'll close for refurbishments, come back another time. What are you going to do? Are you going to go home hungry? Or are you going to go to another restaurant? Right. So we don't want people to go to other restaurants. We want people walking through, into our restaurant and ordering from our menu and for us to be able to do that, you've got to serve up to them exactly what they want to eat, so to speak.
Oh, absolutely. That's awesome. You mentioned there, this journey of going from a visitor to a customer, can we dig into that some more? I know there's a lot of different ways to go about that, but what are some things that you've seen that have been successful?
Well, in terms of personal brand business owners online, right? Youpreneur business models online, and we call it the business of you, right. So, it really starts with attracting people into the top of your funnel. If you imagine a funnel from a broad spout at the top, going all the way down into a very now spout, the very bottom of that funnel is your top 5% paying clients ultimately right? At the very top is just lots and lots and lots of traffic coming in from various sources. And this is why it's important to have your own website, right? To be able to collect those email addresses, have your hub. If you don't have your hub, you're dead before you've been kicked off. Because I see people with two, three, 4 million subscribers on Facebook or on YouTube, and they got no business model because they built their business ultimately on rented land. You know, when you see somebody like, Oh, I've got a million subscribers on YouTube, how much money you're making buddy? How much money is YouTube giving you on your ads? Because that's all they can do. Maybe you've got some sponsorships. Maybe they've got a little bit of extra money coming in above and beyond the Google ads that YouTube is going to be paying you. But other than that, there's not much. But if you had even just a third of those million subscribers on an email list, then you could survey that email list. Then you could create products and services for those subscribers as well. All different ballgame. You know, at that point, you've got a real business at the end of the day. So it really comes down first step, getting as many people as you can, from as many different platforms into the top of your funnel. Creating an opt in magnet of some variety that will attract them to be able to go ahead and relinquish their email address, which is a massive commodity nowadays, as we all know, some would say maybe even more, you know, worth more than somebody's money, I think at one point, right? And so getting people to relinquish that email address in regards to sort of getting on that list, getting that bribe that you've ultimately produced for them, right. That opt in magnet and the relevancy score has to be very, very high here. Right? So if you're a health and fitness coach, that's too broad. We need to niche down a little bit. If you go from I'm a health and fitness coach too, I'm a health and fitness coach who was going to work with men to I'm a health and fitness coach. It's going to work with men in their forties. Now we're starting to get somewhere, right? The relevancy score will go up through the roof. I'm a health and fitness coach who's going to work with men in their forties who're recovering from surgery, bang, there's our niche right there. That's our list. So now we create an in magnet that says the five top strategies to recovering from surgery in your forties. And you go ahead and you just pump that out to as many people as you possibly can to opt into there. From there, you can survey them after you served up some good quality content with them over a relative amount of time, three to six months, or so, you survey the audience, find out what they want. Then you can go ahead and start creating products and services. Maybe it's an online course. Maybe it's a mastermind experience online. Maybe it's a membership, whatever it might be. It doesn't matter what it is. Actually. There's so many different ways to be able to monetize that once you've got that hard core group of people following you. And that really the, you know, that's the model right there.
Oh, that's great. So one of the things you touched on that, and I was curious to dig into a little bit was the membership model. Cause I know in your book, you talked about how you avoided that for a long time. And then you made the decision to bring that in as part of your business model. Can you talk through why and how that has changed your business or impacted your business?
Yeah, I mean, to be very Frank, the reason why I avoided it for so long was because it's not like an online course, you create, you know, you spend maybe two, three months working on the course from conception to launch, right? Once that digital course is out there, all you gotta worry about is marketing it. The work's been done. It's about as passive as you can get in terms of an income stream. Likewise, when you're doing one-on-one coaching or, or one to many coaching, maybe it's group coaching platform where you've got maybe 10 people paying you a premium to get on a Zoom call with your Facebook group or whatever it is on a regular basis, you know, you kind of show up, you do your thing and then you leave, right? With a membership model, you've got to show up every single month. If you're charging monthly, you've got to show up every single month by creating content, by answering questions in a forum or a Facebook group by providing Q and A time, you know, whatever it is, whatever you've promised, you've got to show up over and over and over and over and over and over again. And that's why I avoided it quite frankly. I mean, it wasn't down to the fact that I'm a lazy individual. I'm clearly not, but it was because at that stage of my own journey, I didn't want that added stress. That added pressure of having to show up over and over and over again, once things had already been automated in a number of different ways for our businesses. And I had that additional time, I knew that the membership model was right for the picking at that point. And that's when we launched in 2015, the Youpreneur Academy, which was the big kind of launching platform for the Youpreneur brand. And we had over 200 people joined in 48 hours. It's, you know, now we've had well over a thousand people and we continue to serve hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of them on a monthly basis for a monthly fee of just $39 a month, Right? You know, the average churn rate is between three to six months for most people on a membership platform, ours is well over a year. So clearly we're doing something right before people decide to either move on or upgrade themselves into our Youpreneur incubator, which is our mastermind coaching platform, which is kind of the next logical step. And so, yeah, I mean, that was the reason why I avoided it was because I didn't want to have to show up every single month like that. Now we do. And again, we've automated that now to the point where it's very, very minimal work for me personally. And I spend time with our higher paying coaching clients. And that's, you know, the model that we've built out over the last five years, but that's the beautiful thing about membership. It truly is honestly the Holy grail of online business because it's recurring revenue and it's predictable revenue and those two things right there, or they have be there for a business to survive, especially in our very, should we say interesting current climate? I think that's a nice way to put the nightmare that we're all having to go through right now.
So Chris, before we start to wrap up here, I'm really curious if you, I could offer one piece of advice to the people out there listening who are considering taking this Youpreneur path, what would that advice be?
Well, I mean, you know, let's circle back to where we began, right? In regards to the importance of being yourself. And I think that uniqueness factor of you, if you are genuinely wanting to chase down and that's a term I use quite frequently, cause what you gotta do, if you want anything, you've got to chase it down. It's not gonna fall in your lap. If this is the model that you want to chase down, if that business of you or that Youpreneur business model is what you want to chase down and what you want to build a profitable business around, then you have to give yourself the permission to be uniquely and unapologetically you all the time. I cannot stress that enough because again, marketing like a magnet, you will attract your tribe by your vibe, plain and simple. So we want to bring people in that all what, we're all about, what we stand for, what our focus is on what we want to do for the world. And we want to repel the rest of them away because you know, these negative forces and not what we're all about at all. And I think it's just very important to reemphasize the importance of that uniqueness and that on the apologetic mentality of I'm going to be me all the time, no smoke, no mirrors, no tricks, no illusions. It's just what you see is what you get. And if you like it, stick around, if you don't, you know where the door is, it's important for you to have that mentality really.
Yes. I love it. Awesome, Chris. Well, this has been fantastic. Before we hop off here, can you share with everybody where they can find and connect with you online?
Sure. Well, obviously I wouldn't be much of a personal brand entrepreneur if I didn't have ChrisDucker.com, obviously. You can hit me up on the socials @ChrisDucker, but obviously if you want a deep dive into the world of Youpreneurship, then just go to Youpreneur.com.
Fantastic. So we'll make sure all that's linked up in the show notes. Definitely go pick up a copy of Chris' book, The rise of the Youpreneur incredibly helpful. This has been an awesome conversation and for everyone out there listening, go be a hero.
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