You coined the term ‘Youpreneur’, which is also the title of your recent book ‘Rise of the Youpreneur: The Definitive Guide to Becoming the Go-To Leader in Your Industry and Building a Futureproof Business’. What does ‘Youpreneur’ mean?
A Youpreneur is someone who builds a profitable business based around themselves, their experience, their personality, and their unique customer base. To give you some examples, this includes consultants, speakers, experts, financial advisors, thought leaders, coaches, mumpreneurs building businesses around their passions, authors, content creators, bloggers, podcast hosts, YouTubers. Basically anyone in any industry building a business and offering products based around their experience and personality. The Youpreneur concept grew naturally from my own work blogging and podcasting, which I started in 2010. It became evident to me that people were relating to me more than to the brand name of the podcast. They were saying, “Hey, listen to Chris’s podcast”. Eventually I realised that I had a personal brand myself. It wasn’t something I set out to do, but it came about with speaking, then the first book deal, then the second, and so on, until I realised I had built a business around myself. The term, Youpreneur, itself was born over a cup of coffee, with a mate.
You are an extremely successful serial entrepreneur who now mentors, supports and inspires other entrepreneurs. Tell us about the transition between running your own businesses to launching Youpreneur.
The transition for me was a relatively easy one because I hadn’t been involved in the day to day of running my businesses for several years. I hit burnout big time in 2009 and had to make a change. By the end of 2010, we had hired eight people to replace me – which gives you an idea of why I was burned out. I launched Youpreneur in 2015, and the transition from burnout in 2009 to Youprenuer in 2015 came about gradually. The blog had been growing, and the podcast had grown exponentially. We’re now at 7 million downloads, which is just incredible. People were coming to me to ask for help and coaching. So, we started with an online membership community for mentoring, and this was hugely successful, and we just kept building with the book, the live Summit, the coaching. The issue here more than anything else and why Youpreneur has done so well is that not only do we provide quality information in a convenient library – we provide community. Being an entrepreneur can be quite lonely. When you put yourself into a situation where you’re surrounded by people who get you, it all becomes so much easier. It’s important not just for when you stumble, but also for when you hit your goals and are looking for that high-five.
How has entrepreneurship changed since you launched your first successful businesses?
It’s all become so much more personal. Now building a business is all about what I call ‘P2P’ or People to People. People want to do business with other people more so today than ever. People want to do business with people they know, love and trust – not just like, but love, feel passionate about. We’re all now operating in a very fast-moving, crowded, noisy space that is constantly changing and will never stop evolving. So, the way to stand out is not to be better, but to be different – being different is better than being better!
You are a champion for future-proofing businesses. What recommendations can you give to help entrepreneurs and individuals to futureproof their careers and businesses?
I’ve started and built a number of different businesses. You come up with an idea, you launch it, you get clients, you lose clients, you pivot, you get more clients, and on it goes. But when you build a business built on your personal brand, it will be the last business pivot that you’ll ever make because you’re building your business around your uniqueness. Because you’ve built the brand around you and your audience’s trust in you – your audience, your clients, your tribe, these people will follow you. Because they want to do business with YOU, they will pivot with you, as you yourself evolve. Because of that you become futureproof.
Tell us a little about the process of developing a personal brand.
How long have you got? There’s 300 pages in my book about it! But, I’d say it really comes down at the very core, to what do you want to be known for. So, the first step is to define who you are. Understanding who you are – your strengths and weaknesses – is key. A very easy exercise I give everyone at the beginning of working with them is the self-assessment test. I ask them to write down the ‘flatter yourself’ list and then the ‘keep it real’ list. That list tends to be a slightly tougher one, especially for the Type A entrepreneurs we work with. It’s actually the more important one because once you know what your weaknesses are, you know what to avoid. Some people say you should work on your weaknesses, but I’m a big believer in avoiding your weaknesses, delegating your weaknesses. Instead, lean into the things you excel at; that’s how you find success.
How do you see the personal brand trend developing in the UK and abroad?
It’s going to become more and more important. Personal branding is going to become more and more mainstream. Seventy percent of kids today will say they want to be YouTuber when they grow up – and of course they can tell you who their favourite YouTubers are. These kids can also tell you who their favourite actors are, their favourite Instagrammers and so on – that’s the next generation and that’s personal branding. And you look around and see that even Richard Branson has his own blog and is on social media because he wants to influence and sees the importance of being seen as the leader of his business. So, yes, I think it’s going to be incredibly important and even more mainstream and across every industry and platform – across the board.
The rest of this editorial will be published at a later time.