How to Build a 6-Figure Personal Brand in 2021

Michael Leonard

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If you’re an expert in almost anything, you can build a personal brand business around your passion.

I’ve been fascinated with the digital education industry and personal branding since 2016 when I bought my first online course. After investing in the program, I immersed myself in the material and applied it to my life.

Not only did I get amazing results, I kept thinking how cool it would be to share my knowledge with the world. Since then, I’ve poured tens of thousands of dollars into online education for all aspects of my life and business.

One of the best investments I’ve made has been working with James Wedmore. His podcast has millions of downloads and is a top internet marketer that blends business with spirituality.

He’s also generated millions of dollars selling online courses with his personal brand, Business by Design. This program helped me and thousands of students who want to build online businesses around their passion.

When I wanted to transition from writer to writing coach, I joined his program to learn from the best in the business. While I’m not making James Wedmore money (yet), I’ve made huge strides and been able to impact more writers than ever.

If you’re ready to start a profitable side hustle or full-time personal brand business, 2021 is your year. Here’s what I learned from my seven figure mentor about becoming an expert in your niche and selling digital products.

Step 1: Niche Down

The first step is getting clear on your niche. I’m talking about really niching down here, not just saying:

  • I’m a yoga expert
  • I’m a writing expert
  • I’m a fitness expert

This is too broad and won’t help you stand out among the sea of competitors who also want what you want. Instead, it should be something like:

  • I’m a yoga coach who helps beginners yogis.
  • I’m a writing coach who helps writers make $5,000/month freelancing.
  • I’m a CPT who helps busy dads drop 10 pounds without neglecting their family.

In the beginning, niching down might feel extremely difficult. I resisted this for a long time and it was arguably the biggest mistake in my nearly four years of digital entrepreneurship.

Why?

Because there are more and more people coming online than ever before. The barrier for entry is extremely low, so it’s up to you to niche down so that you stand out.

Niching down will help several ways…

Attract The Right Tribe

Having a niche differentiates you and ensures that you can attract the right people to your brand. The goal is to get your first 1,000 true fans, not 10,000 people vaguely interested in your business.

Nail Your Messaging

Having a niche also helps your messaging as much as anything else. If you’re trying to market to a broad audience, it’s almost impossible to write effective copy.

Instead, to write high-converting copy, you have to know your specific person almost as much as they know themselves.

Your sales copy (in Facebook ads, emails, free content, social media, and sales page) needs to make the reader think, “Are you in my head? How do you know I’m feeling this way!?”

If not, people won’t buy your offer. And the only way to get this granular by niching down.

Fake Step 2: Create Your Online Course (Joking, don’t do this)

If you’re like most people, you probably think that you should create your online course now that you nailed your niche. But step two isn’t to start creating your digital product just yet.

Here is what most first time course creators do (I’m not judging I did the same thing early in my business too):

  • Find a topic that you think people need to make their life and business better.
  • Spend months creating the most epic online course ever. Invest in tons of software film videos, write PDFs, worry if you’re enough, fight imposter syndrome daily, crush caffeine, and power through it.
  • Once all your videos and lessons are complete, you try to create your sales page. You blankly stare at the screen trying to figure out what the hell to write. You look at other sales pages to get ideas about formatting, headlines, etc. Somehow you power through it but feel even more of an imposter than ever before.
  • Don’t tell anyone you’re doing this new project for fear of judgement, including friends, family, and followers because you have no clue if it’s going to work and don’t want to look like a failure.
  • Connect a payment processor so people can buy your digital product and feel like you’re ready to make millions.
  • Get the courage to start promoting the offer to your email list and social media.

Then, a few months later when you finally try to sell it, you get crickets. No one buys, no one clicks, and your life feels like it’s over. You start to question your worth as a human and your ability as an entrepreneur (trust me I know).

Let’s avoid this step and get to the actual second thing you should do.

Real Step 2: Get People Results

Before spending hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars trying to create everything for your course, test your ideas. As my mentor James says, “Monetize before you make it.”

Before filming one lesson for your online course, find people in the real world and see if you can actually help them get results. You can choose to do this for free or a small investment on their end to make sure they’re serious about getting results.

For this step, do not charge what you plan on in the future.

The goal of this step is not to make money but to get people results.

Why?

Two reasons…

Beat Imposter Syndrome

First, getting results for people ensure that you’re not a one off fluke. It will prove that you have a process that others can duplicate and get results as well.

Plus, once your students start seeing success, your confidence will skyrocket!

This will help you promote your offer, show up more on social media, and become a better entrepreneur in general. Not to mention it’s truly one of the best feelings ever and extremely rewarding as a coach when your initial students get results.

Success Stories

Reason number two is because you can acquire case studies and testimonials for your eventual launch. One of the biggest mistakes I made was trying to make millions selling courses before ensuring it would actually help students get results.

After learning from tons of 6 and 7-figure entrepreneurs, I’ve learned how important it is to get as many testimonials as possible. You literally can’t have enough success stories!

Think about it, people invest in digital products from people they know, like, and trust. If someone doesn’t think they can get you can get them results, they won’t invest in your offer.

But if you have screenshots of success stories, written testimonials, and video testimonials, you’re much more likely to get the sale. People want to see that your process can work for others as they envision themselves as that testimonial.

The more success stories you have, the more that new individuals can see themselves getting similar results. Once they feel you can help, then they will want to start working with you.

Shoot for 3–5+ people to get results that you can showcase during your launch. Usually, not everyone will get results because they don’t follow through so try to get around 10 people into your beta program.

Step 3: Start 1:1 Coaching or Consulting

You might think… is it time to create my course yet?

Not quite…

The third step is simply an extension of step two but charge a higher amount of money so you can work more intensively with students. At this point, you know that your system works. So don’t offer free or low-price coaching if you know you have a system that gets results.

Remember, people don’t appreciate free! If they did, they would use every free PDF they’ve downloaded and be a millionaire already.

For example, I’ve invested in $27 digital products and $12,000 coaching… guest what, I paid a lot more attention to the $12,000 than the $27 investment.

When people invest higher amounts of money, they will focus 100% more. The higher the investment, the higher the commitment.

I’ve seen this when I coach writers as well. 99% of my case studies and testimonials are from people who have invested in my paid programs. They aren’t coming from people to go through my free content such as YouTube, Instagram, and my podcast.

By charing your worth, it will help with several things as well:

  • Cash flow: Cash is oxygen in your business. Use this money to run ads, buy course software, hire a VA, and other ways to reinvest in your business.
  • Build more case studies: Remember, you can’t ever have enough case studies and testimonials for your upcoming launch.

Step 4: Launch a Beta Course

You might be thinking, can I create my course yet!?

Almost.

Once you have a proven track record of success, let your followers and list know that you plan on creating an online program. The goal is to get people to your beta offer, which is a small fraction of what the full program will eventually cost.

For example, if you want to charge $997 for your course in the future, charge $197–397 for your beta launch. Let them know that this program will cost $997 in the future but they have a unique chance to invest before and get all future updates 100% free.

Then, cap the number of spots to 8–10. This will create scarcity and get people to enroll faster.

Outline Your Program

As you start enrolling people in a beta, it’s time to outline your process. Since you’ve already had people go through your methodology, next up is breaking down the content in an A to Z format.

Here are some best practices when thinking of creating an online course that doesn’t overwhelm buyers:

  • 4–7 Core modules.
  • 4–7 Lessons within each module.
  • Short, bite sized video lessons to help people make it through the program (and hopefully get results).

Group Coaching

Once you have your beta testers, take them through your core modules on a weekly basis as a group coaching program. This way you can get live feedback on if your content is on point or needs tweaking.

Master Messaging

As you go through each call with your beta testers, record them via Zoom so you can rewatch and listen to what people are struggling with.

Their messaging will help you with future copy and ensure your content helps solve their problem!

Serve Your People

Finally, make sure that you are still going above and beyond as a coach(this is something I see with all successful entrepreneurs). Answer the question in your private Facebook group, respond to emails, and jump on the phone if you have too.

Film Your Course

Once you’ve completed all of these steps, then you can actually create your online course. Batch record all your videos, hire a VA to help you edit videos, upload, and then write your sales page.

Once you know you can get results, have success stories, and know your offer inside and out, copywriting the sales page will be easy!

Step 5: Rinse and Repeat

Finally, it’s time to launch to your followers!

At this point, the course should sell itself since you’ve nailed your messaging and proven you can get other results.

Now that you have successfully done your first beta launch and had students go through your program, it is time to keep going. Here’s the next steps to take to scale.

Make Your Program Better

When I first started selling online courses, I assumed I needed a suite of products to make 6-figures per year. But once again, I was wrong.

One of the biggest things I see with 7-figure entrepreneurs like Amy Porterfield or James Wedmore is that you only need one core product. Both of these internet marketing legends have one core product (Digital Course Academy and Business by Design) and launch once per year.

That’s it.

Guess what?

They make millions of dollars of revenue and impact tons of students with one single offer.

They don’t have 10 digital products. And they don’t launch all the time.

They have one core product, a strategic launch, and amazing results.

Keep Launching

At this point, you have two options; keep running live launches or automate everything. Either way, you need to keep launching so that you can grow your list.

Work on tweaking your copy, trying out new strategies (like Facebook or Google Ads), affiliate partners, and more.

Keep Evolving

Finally, make sure you’re evolving as an entrepreneur so you can allow your business to grow. Don’t forget, your business is a direct reflection of who you are. If you aren’t growing, your business probably won’t either.

I’ve spent over $50,000 on digital courses, mentors, coaches, and mastermind groups. This is vital to scaling your business and upgrading your life.

Final Thoughts

While this isn’t the fast, overnight success story that so many fake internet gurus claim, it’s the formula to create lasting success.

Remember to follow this process:

  • Get people results.
  • Offer a beta program.
  • Create your online course.
  • Officially launch your offer.
  • Tweak, optimize, and keep launching.

Building an online business around your digital products is possible, but like anything it takes a lot of trial and error. By not creating your course first, you can ensure that you don’t waste time, get results, and ensure you’re 100% committed to this business.

If you want to build a successful personal brand business, you need to think long term. Forget the overnight millions dream and focus on building an epic business that gets people results.

Once you do this, students will tell everyone about how successful they have become and your brand will only grow.

When my mentor James started his first program it made $19,000 on the beta. In 2020, his launch was over $5,000,000 in the middle of a pandemic.

Just keep going, you can build a successful personal brand too!

Photo: Alla/Deposit Photos

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My name is Michael Leonard and I am the creator of Inspire Your Success. I'm on a mission to help readers build online writing businesses and quit their jobs to live a life of freedom!

Scottsdale, AZ
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