The SPI Beginner’s Guide to Branding

Think about when you woke up this morning. Maybe you turned off the alarm on your iPhone. Then you went into the bathroom and brushed your teeth with Crest toothpaste, took a shower using a bar of Dial soap, got dressed and put on your favorite Toms shoes. On your way to work, you stopped by Starbucks drive-through in your Honda Pilot for a cold brew. 

Every day, we’re surrounded by brands we’re loyal to, whether it’s an iPhone or an Android, Starbucks or Folgers, Crest or Colgate, Honda or Toyota. There are reasons why we pick one brand over another.

We know what brands we like. But branding is a word that is thrown around in the business and marketing world that can be vague and confusing.

What Is Branding, Anyway, and How Do You Do It?

A brand is the idea, image or feeling that people have when they use or think about specific products. defines a brand as: “Your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors’. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.”

Whether it’s Nike, Toms shoes, Trader Joe’s, Disney, Tesla, LEGO. I could go on and on. And we could probably all identify what makes those brands stand out and what they stand for:

Nike = Empowerment (“Just do it!”)

Toms Shoes = Altruism (‘We ‘stand’ on issues that matter)

Trader Joe’s = Good food that’s fun to buy (Cookie Butter anyone?)

Disney = Quality family entertainment 

Tesla = Futuristic electric cars with great design (one of my favorite brands!)

LEGO = Innovative building blocks that encourage creativity in kids (and adults!)

Each of the products we use every day have a distinct brand “personality.” When we use those products it conjures up certain feelings, ideas, emotions whether we realize it or not.

Think about Crest toothpaste. You may use it every morning, and without thinking about it, you feel good about using a product that has been around since 1955, that has the approval of 9 out of 10 dentists, and maybe has even been recommended by your own dentist.

When you pull that red, white, and blue tube out of your medicine cabinet every morning, you feel safe and confident that the product will work and prevent cavities. Maybe you even feel nostalgia because it’s the brand of toothpaste you used as a kid.

It’s no accident that you feel that way about Crest. No doubt the folks at Crest HQ have been working for decades to perfect the design of their packaging, their advertising, the quality and consistency of their product, in procuring recommendations from the American Dental Association, in getting dentists to recommend their products. Even how Crest TASTES has probably been the topic of more than a few meetings at Crest HQ. Brand personality doesn’t just happen. A company or person has to establish and cultivate their brand, find out what the audience wants and why their product is better than that of the competition.

So what does this have to do with you? Well, if you have your own business, or are your launching a personal brand online, if you want to be successful you need to establish, cultivate, and grow your own brand.

In this guide, I want to help you do just that.

Learn to build a website you can be proud of.

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In our FREE 5-day challenge, you’ll learn what you need to start a successful brand. Pat walks you through what you need to know, the technical side of setting up a website and email, and advice on which pages your website needs.

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The Advent of Online Brands

With the rise of the Internet 20 years ago, and the advent of online brands and social media, also came the rise of web-only brands and personal brands. If you’re an online entrepreneur with digital-only products, you don’t need to worry as much about branding the packaging of your product, but you DO need to think about the design of your website, the quality of your digital products, the values and personality you want to communicate to your audience, and the images and messaging of your Instagram account, telling your story, what differentiates you from other online companies in your space, among other things.

But whether you have a brick-and-mortar store with a physical product, or you have a web-only brand, the benefits of brand are still the same:

You may be feeling overwhelmed at this point. But don’t worry! Fortune 500 companies may spend fortunes on focus groups, testing, design, packaging to establish their brand. But as an online entrepreneur, you can start small! I did. And you can, too.

You don’t have to have it all figured out at first. If you waited until everything was perfect and your brand was nailed down perfectly, you would be waiting forever. It’s best to get started with a few essentials nailed down, and then you can ramp it up later.

In this guide, we’re going to cover:

How Branding Works

If you Google “how to build a brand,” it’s mind-boggling how many terms are thrown around: 

  • Brand strategy
  • Brand architecture
  • Brand assets
  • Brand archetype
  • Brand personality
  • Brand positioning
  • Brand identity
  • Brand voice
  • Brand values

Whew. It’s overwhelming and confusing, and some of the definitions of these terms overlap. But when you’re just starting out, let’s keep it simple.

In this chapter I’m going to tell you THREE things you need to lay the foundation for your brand. In the next chapter I’m going to tell you TWO things you need to start creating your brand presence online.

Three Steps to Lay Your Foundation

First you need a mission statement, then a vision statement, and finally, a brand value proposition. These things are closely related, but they all have different purposes. 

  • A mission statement defines what your company is and what it does.
  • A vision statement defines what you want your company be and achieve in the long term
  • A brand value proposition defines the reason why a customer would buy your product

Mission Statement

I’m a firm believer in the importance of approaching your business with a mission in mind, and really it’s at the root of all that you should be doing and the decisions that you make.

Your Mission Statement defines what you or your business are about. It is action-oriented, determining what your business does, how it does it, and who it serves.

Jeff Sheldon from, who I interviewed in this  session of the SPI Podcast, has a very clear and simple mission statement:

“Create high-quality, well-designed goods that I would want to buy myself.”

It’s this mission that led to several popular products in his line to fully fly off the shelf, including cool, well-designed apparel, sleek, minimalist desk accessories, tumblers, coffee mugs, and more,

Sean Wes’s ( mission is also very clear and powerful:

“To demystify the path to building a sustainable, profitable, audience-driven business.”

Sean, whose company is a one-stop shop for business knowledge and creative support and offers courses, videos, a podcast, and a book, is definitely someone who has inspired me, especially when it comes to how clear his head is in terms of where he dedicates his time. All that supports the mission statement above.

I like Warby Parker’s mission statement, which speaks to their culture and philanthropic aim:

“Warby Parker was founded with a rebellious spirit and a lofty objective: to offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially conscious businesses.”

And a good (and out of this world!) example of a mission-vision statement combination would be from one of my favorite companies, SpaceX:

“SpaceX designs, manufactures, and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft. The company was founded in 2002 to revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets.”

To live on other planets. Now that’s just awesome. Sign me up for Mars!

Now, when it comes to me and Smart Passive Income, for a long time I didn’t even have a formal mission statement, but when I started out I had this on the homepage of my website: “the crash test dummy of online business.” And, below that, “My experiments will show you how to build an ethical business fueled by passive income.”

So that basically served as my mission statement.

These ideas have been with me from the very start of SPI. They mean the world to me, and are at the core of who I am and what SPI is all about. Sound like a mission statement? Because it is!

But recently my team and I developed an official mission statement, and here it is:

To elevate entrepreneurs to within reach of their dreams.

From the beginning, I wanted to serve my audience first, and lead by example, providing fellow entrepreneurs with the opportunity to learn from my personal experience—both the ups and downs—to help inform their own journeys. That has been the mission of SPI all along.

Do you know what your mission is? It doesn’t matter what stage you’re at in your business, it’s always important to remember why you do what you do, and the best part—it doesn’t cost any money to determine what that is.

Vision Statement

In Will It Fly?, a best-selling book I wrote a few years ago to help future business owners like yourself, I created what I called the Airport Test, which is a thought experiment to get you to think about your personal vision. In it, the reader is faced with a hypothetical scenario:

Imagine that you are five years in the future, and you run into a friend you haven’t seen in awhile. This friend asks how you are doing and you respond by saying that you are “amazing, life couldn’t be any better.”

I then ask: “What’s happening to you in five years that makes you respond that way?”

The test is designed to inspire you to start thinking about your future, and the components that can lead you to a successful future in business.

So, how would you answer that question?

To help inspire some thought, here are a few responses I received from readers who went through the Airport Test exercise:

“If you do the paper airplane exercise (The Airport Test), you will really see what’s really important to you and you can make sure that you never do anything that takes you off of your path!” —Jeff

“My favorite section, so far, is the airport test which has already been helpful with important life decisions. I no longer feel guilty standing my ground because I know what I truly want.” —Jessica

“The best part of the book so far has been the Airport Test, I have it with me and review it daily since I don’t think I need to wait 5 years to START living many of those statements, it just means giving myself permission to do so.” —Denise

Now it’s your turn. How would you answer that hypothetical question? Where will you be in five years?

A vision statement is the place you want to be, the place you’re striving for.

Here is the SPI vision statement: 

SPI is a trusted learning and development ecosystem that serves a worldwide community of online entrepreneurs. The community is alive with individuals and teams from all walks of life and at all stages of their entrepreneurial journeys bonded by a common cause — to build purpose-driven and profitable businesses they can be proud of. SPI empowers its community members to take action toward achieving their goals by providing best-in-class educational content and training experiences. Beyond its own creations, SPI partners up with other industry experts to develop and champion useful resources that further enable its own mission.

We can learn as many strategies as we want, we can build businesses that make money, but unless we know what those foundational elements are—the mission and vision statements—we’re just going to be heading down a direction that we ultimately don’t want to be. It might be fun at the time that we’re building it, but if we don’t consider foundation upfront, you might look back and say, “Wow, I did all of these things that actually didn’t help me get to where I want to go.”

Remember to make sure your goals are within the realm of possibility. I’m not saying you shouldn’t dream. Dreamers are folks like my hero, Elon Musk. You should dream, but you should also understand your strengths and limitations. Each year is a blank slate, a fresh start, so don’t feel defeated. You can do whatever you put your mind to.

Brand Value Proposition

Now let’s go one step further. It’s essential to nail your mission and vision statements, but those statements are for you and your company, to know who you are and to guide you where you want to go in your business and life.

But, I hate to break the news to you, but your customers probably won’t really care about your mission and vision statements. They want to know WHAT’S IN IT FOR THEM. That’s where the brand value proposition comes in.

Let’s revisit’s definition of a brand: “Your brand is Your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitor’s offering. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be, and who people perceive you to be.”

I really like this definition because it’s simple and easy to understand. It gets right to the point. It also covers the three foundational elements we’re talking about in this chapter: “Your brand is derived from who you are [your mission], who you want to be [your vision], and who people perceive you to be [your value proposition].”

Since we’ve already talked about your mission and vision, let’s move on to your brand value proposition. In my free online course, Build Your Own Brand (more on this later), I give students an exercise that helps determine your brand value proposition:

Fill out this sentence:

I help __________ get _____________. They’re attracted to my brand because unlike everyone else, _________________________________.

Basically, who are you trying to help? How are you trying to help them? And what makes your product or service better than other products and services in your category? How is your product different? What will make customers want to buy your product and become raving fans?

To write your brand value proposition, you need to know these three things:

Who Is Your Target Audience?

First, is that you need a target audience. If your answer to the question “Who do you want to read your blog?” is “Everybody!” – then you have some major rethinking to do. You will be more successful (and have an easier time) catering to a specific, target audience.

I like to use the shoe store analogy. At the malls here in San Diego, you can see up to five or six different shoe stores in the same mall. There’s a walking shoe store, a running shoe store, a sandal place, casual/hip shoes, and even stores that sell stilettos and crazy 4-inch wedges with goldfish in them.

Each of these stores sell a specific type of shoe, to cater to a specific type of customer. A customer who is looking for running shoes will most likely visit the running shoe store because that is their specialty. This is how the little guys can compete with the big guys – specialty.
Similarly, you need to define your target audience. The more specific, the better.

Here are a few examples:

  • School librarians who need ready-made curriculum
  • Entrepreneurs who are overwhelmed but aren’t ready to hire a full-time team
  • Industry leaders who want to write and publish a book

Secondly, you must know your target audience. What are their likes and dislikes? Where do they come from, and where do they go? What do they love or hate? The list of things to know about your audience goes on and on, and the more you know about them, the easier it will be for you to specialize for them.

When I started my very first website and business,, I knew exactly who my audience was: Architects who wanted to pass the LEED exam.

The LEED exam tests knowledge based on the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Rating Systems. At the time, I was an architect myself, and I was also studying for the LEED exam because I wanted a promotion and I thought being LEED certified would help me stand out from other candidates. The exam is difficult, and to help me study, I started a blog where I could organize all of the information I needed.

Those of you who have already heard my story know that soon after that I was laid off from my job during the Great Recession of 2008. But I was able to leverage my website to start my online business. Turns out, thousands of other architects had been following my blog because they wanted to find out how I passed the LEED exam! I created a study guide that I sold on my website, I started making money, and the rest is history.

So I knew exactly who my audience was: architects. Of course in the 10 years since I started my business, my audience has changed. But back in 2008, if I was filling out the sentence above, I would have written:

I help architects . . .

Okay, great! I knew who my audience was, but why were they following my blog? I was surprised to learn that I was getting thousands of visitors a day. How could that be? There were other LEED study resources out there. So what made my blog so appealing to other architects?

I was helping them in some unique way . . . but how?

How Will You Help Your Target Audience?

When I created, it was mostly for myself. I was using it to study for the LEED exam and to document my journey to passing the exam. When I started studying for the exam, I noticed that the information I needed to know was pretty dense, and not easy for me to personally understand.

I needed organization, charts, and helpful tips from others. Nothing of that sort really existed for LEED on the internet, so I figured I’d do it myself.

I organized my notes, read all of the study guides, took a class and spoke to a bunch of people and placed all of that information online so I could easily access my notes from anywhere to help me understand.

Little did I know, I was starting something big. I launched in February of 2008, and passed the LEED AP Exam on March 28, 2008. Soon after that the website reached 500,000 visitors (over 3 million page views!). Other architects were using it for help. My website was helping them pass the LEED exam!

I started hearing from my audience things like:

“I passed the LEED exam yesterday thanks to your website. It is by far the most helpful out there! Your brain dump idea was GENIUS! I am telling everyone in my company about the site. You need to write a book…LEED for Dummies or The Idiot’s Guide to LEED. Your information is essential to passing the exam!”

“It was nice to get connected with all of you through this site, thanks to all, especially to Pat! I passed it on Saturday! Took Friday off, I am so relieved!”

So I could fill out the second part of my brand value proposition statement (although I wasn’t calling it that at the time! I didn’t even know what a brand value proposition was).

I help architects get the knowledge they need to study and pass the LEED exam.

What Makes Your Product or Service Unique?

So why were so many other architects using my website to help them study for the LEED exam instead of using other resources?

Well, they were using it for the same reasons I created it: because all of the other study guides and information out there was really dense and hard to understand. I needed to break down the information, simplify it and make it easier to understand so that I could pass the exam. It turns out, other architects needed that as well.

So if I had been writing out my brand value proposition back then, I would have written:

I help architects get the knowledge they need to study and pass the LEED exam. They’re attracted to my brand because unlike everyone else, I break down the information so it’s easy-to-understand and they can trust me because I’m a fellow architect who recently passed the exam myself.

To be honest, I just stumbled upon my brand value proposition for that first product I created. It’s clear to me now why people were attracted to what I had to offer. But at the time I was just creating a website that would help me pass the exam.

My business has grown like crazy and has evolved into Smart Passive Income. So of course my brand value proposition has changed over the years. But I wanted to tell you about because it’s a really clear illustration of 1) an audience, 2) how I could help them, 3) what made my product unique.

I feel very fortunate that I ended up getting laid off, and also very fortunate that I already had a product to offer and use to launch an online business.

But most people start their businesses from scratch and don’t have a ready-made audience. The good thing about that is that you can be really intentional about your brand value proposition. What audience do you want to serve? How can you help that audience? What makes you, and your product, unique?

Maybe you already have a business. Then now is the time to revisit your mission statement, vision statement, and brand value proposition to make sure they’re still accurate.

If you’re just starting out, spend some time creating your mission and vision statements, and your brand value proposition.

This step is extremely important, because these three blocks lay the foundation on which you will build your brand and from which the rest of your business will flow. 

Personal Brand vs. Company Brand?

As we close out this chapter, I want to address one more thing that you will need to decide as you move forward and build your brand. Will your brand be a personal brand, or a company brand?

We’ll talk more about tips for building each type of brand in Chapter 3, but I want to briefly mention it here because you’ll need to decide early on what type of brand you will be.

A personal brand is different than a company brand. A personal brand is built around you — your personality, your lifestyle, and your interests.

In contrast, a company brand is built around an identity you create for your business. With a company brand, you can stay behind the scenes.

Since the advent of the internet, it has been easier and easier to build a personal brand. But personal brands didn’t start with the internet. Think about Oprah Winfrey. Her whole business is built around who she is: The Oprah Winfrey Show, O Magazine (a photo of her has been featured on the cover of every issue since its inception), her website: At this point, probably everyone in America knows her by her first name.

It’s Oprah’s personality, lifestyle, and charisma, that have made her successful.

But some entrepreneurs aren’t comfortable being so much in the spotlight. They want to stay behind the scenes and brand their business, not themselves. And that works, too!

When you’re just starting out, you’ll need to determine whether YOU want to be in the spotlight.

Is a Personal Brand Right for You?

There are a number of things to consider before focusing your energy on building a personal brand, such as:

  • If you succeed, you will be in the spotlight – a bright one. Can you handle the attention? If not, then creating a brand around YOU probably won’t work out very well.
  • It might get to a point where your every move is watched very carefully – almost paparazzi style. The more popular you get, the more doubters, haters and trolls arrive to try and knock you down too. 
  • If you can’t take criticism very well and feel you might lose focus because of it, then again a personal brand may not be for you.
  • When your brand, websites and products sell because you’re the person behind them, it can be very difficult to sell your business or pieces of it. If you’re looking for an exit strategy, then it won’t come easy with a personal brand.
  • Building a personal brand is a long term process with long term goals. If you’re looking to “get rich quick”, then you’ve got to look elsewhere.

Some people think that you need a personal brand in order to succeed online, but you don’t. We just hear more online success stories from those with personal brands because they are the ones sharing everything. So think about what type of brand you want to be before you proceed!

Now that we’ve laid the foundation, let’s talk about how to start building your brand online!

How to Start: Building Your Online Brand Presence

Once you have your mission statement, vision statement, and brand value proposition, and type of brand nailed down, the next step is to create a presence and get out your message to your audience about who you are and how you can help them. There’s no point in having a brand if people don’t actually SEE your brand, right?

In this chapter, we’re going to talk about two steps that can help you start to build your brand.

What You Don’t Need

A weird trend started to develop while I was in my early years of high school: All of the cool kids started to print their own business cards.

Did they own their own businesses?


But printed on these cards were their names in fancy writing, a logo (usually clip art), and any clubs they were in and special talents that they had. The coolest of the cool kids even had their pager number on there too.

I started to see these cards being passed out, collected, and talked about. So, of course, because I wasn’t one of the cool kids—but I really wanted to be one of the cool kids—I designed and printed one of my own.

When I think back to this part of my life, it makes me laugh hysterically, especially because I remember my own card saying I was a musician (true), and a karate expert (maybe not so true, although I did have a black belt). But at the same time, I know exactly why this kind of thing was happening.

It was fun and exciting to print these cards, to feel them in our hands, and to hand them out and share them with friends—the people who already knew our names and pager numbers anyway.

A little piece of cardstock made us feel like we were official, and that we had something more substantial than what we actually had, which was no business at all.

When I help new students through their entrepreneurial journey, it’s funny because many people who are at the start behave in a very similar way. For some, it’s literally the same thing—printing business cards—but for others it’s a customized blog theme, or having all of their social media profiles match perfectly. It’s swag like T-shirts, and the perfectly-branded email signature.

All of this stuff can be important and plays a role one way or another within a brand, but when you’re just starting out, you need to learn to differentiate between what you really want and what you really need.

Because your time and energy is limited, you must remove the focus on what is truly important in the beginning.

What are those must-haves? They are:

  • A working website
  • An email list

Working Website

In my online course, Power-Up Podcasting, I teach people how to start, launch, and market a podcast that matters, and also how to make sure it gets found post-launch.

What’s interesting is a common question I receive from students making their way through the course:

Do I really need a website to have my podcast?

The technical answer is, well, no. You don’t. You could easily set up your podcast using simply what you set up via your media host, with no website of your own at all.

But that’s crazy-talk.

Of course you’d want your own website!

You don’t need it to launch a podcast, or host your own video channel on YouTube, or crush it on social media, but in order to build a sustainable, long-term business, you should absolutely have your own website.

These marketing channels are where you go to meet new people and share a little bit about yourself. This is where you are utilizing other platforms that are not fully under your control to provide opportunities for relationships to start, and for you to share a bit about yourself with others.

Your website, however, is like your home. It’s where you invite those people you meet in outside establishments to visit so that you can make them feel more comfortable, allow them to get to know you even more, and eventually help them out on a deeper level. It’s where you can direct people, under your control, to what else you might have to offer. It’s where you can begin to serve them better.

One business idea I had a while back was to provide a service to help popular YouTubers get their websites up and running and help them start to build an email list. It really scares me that many of them have millions of viewers and millions of subscribers, but no real web presence other than their YouTube channel and social media.

All it takes is one mishap or one company decision to completely disrupt everything they’ve worked so hard for, and a website becomes almost an insurance policy for the popularity they’ve earned on those outside platforms.

Plus, let’s not forget Google and search engine optimization too!

When building a website, there are tens of thousands of different ways to go about it. There are options for hosting companies, website and blogging platforms, themes and designs, plugins, etc. It’s really confusing (which is partly why many people don’t even get started), but it’s vital for the long-term success of your brand.

That’s why I say a working website—it just needs to work at first. Like with the business card example, it’s very easy to get lost in the “what’s the best way to design my website?” rabbit hole, which is a hole that many people never escape from. Yes, the look and feel of the website is important, but what’s more important is getting something up, rather than nothing.

It’s a ready, fire, aim approach, which means you can be a little off the mark at first, but then hone in on what works for you later on. You can always change things later and make improvements, and small purposeful and incremental improvements are always better when it comes to website-related items—so take that approach at the start. Take that big, bold action of getting started, and then slowly progress toward perfecting it along the way.

Plus, as you begin to publish content and begin to help people navigate through your brand and your offerings as they come, you’ll likely change and adapt to the audience that you eventually build, and can make adjustments as necessary to the website from there.

Start simple. Start simple. Start simple.

You just need it to work.

Work comes in many forms, however. Work in terms of just being ON, that’s first and foremost. Second, you want it to make sense. You want it to be easy to navigate and have some sort of structure to it. But the most important metric I want you to consider is how it’s working to help you build your email list—the third must-have for building a successful online brand.

An Email List

Is an email list necessary in order to build a successful online brand? Again, technically, no. It’s not. But you’re climbing a much steeper mountain without it.

The biggest mistake I made (and I made it twice) was not starting an email list right away.

On, I didn’t build an email list mostly because I had no idea that I could. I thought it was a fancy thing big brands had access to, and because I was so new to online business back in 2008, I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

Eventually, I found out what an email list was after a mastermind group I was involved with suggested I sell my second product—an audio version of my LEED exam study guide—to those who had purchased the ebook version.

“It’s always easiest to sell to those who have already bought from you,” I was told.

Well, the problem was I had no idea how to reach out to those initial customers, other than one by one via email. I got the email addresses from the PayPal notification emails that were sent to me, and after sending over 500 emails I was eventually banned from sending emails for about a half a day because I was sending too many within a specific time period.

I made the same mistake again when starting The site was launched in October 2008, and I didn’t begin collecting email addresses until January 2010—almost a year and a half later.

That time, my excuse wasn’t about not knowing—it was that I didn’t think it was the right time. My site had just started, I wasn’t planning on selling anything, and I didn’t see the value in it.

So I get a few email addresses—maybe. So what then? Why is that important?

When I finally started to collect email addresses back in 2010, the importance of email became very apparent, very quickly. And as time went on, the reasons for having the email list revealed themselves even more.

At first, I saw a direct correlation between emails that were sent, and spikes in traffic to the website. This came because of broadcast emails about new posts that were published, and also the influx of visitors to older posts from my archive that were linked to some of the first few emails in the autoresponder sequence.

I also saw that emails that were sent to my list became great conversation starters. I was able to have a direct interaction with my audience because of it. I could ask questions and get answers back. I could get feedback for my work to help improve it. And, it also just showed people that I was a real person who took the time to reply.

Then, in 2013, something crazy happened—my website was hacked. SPI was down for an entire week after a DDOS attack left the site unusable, and during that insane week as I was trying to get things back online, I was still able to keep in contact with my audience to let them know what was going on. It showed me that even if my site was gone, I’d still have my email list so that I could set up shop elsewhere if I needed to. That’s huge for peace of mind.

More recently, when I made the decision to start creating my own products, the email list I’ve built has been instrumental in the success of the launch campaigns for those products. Both public launches for Smart From Scratch and Power-Up Podcasting surpassed six figures in earnings, and email, by far, was the number one referral source for sales.

For more information about setting up an email list, from what provider to start with to how to begin to segment your audience, click here for a free How to Start an Email List tutorial.

Branding Tips: What I’ve Learned From Building My Brand

Now that you have laid the foundation for your brand and started building your online presence, let’s talk about some tips I’ve learned during my 10 years of building a brand. 

I’m going to focus on building a personal brand, since that has been my experience. But most of these tips also apply to building a company brand. For instance, both a personal brand and company brand need to build trust, but with a personal brand customers need to trust YOU, and with a company brand, they need to trust your COMPANY.

Oh, and by the way, now that SPI has grown into the company it has become, we are starting to separate it into both a personal brand and a company brand! We now have SPI Media, which of course I’m still a part of. But more and more my team will be taking a role in educating, training, and interacting with the SPI community. 

I also still have my PERSONAL brand, Pat Flynn, that will focus on the things that I’d like to focus more on in the future, such as events, in-person training workshops, more books, and philanthropy. 

Another example of this is Gary Vaynerchuk. He’s the founder and CEO of VaynerMedia, a full-service advertising agency serving Fortune 100 clients. His Fortune 100 clients care more about the services VaynerMedia provides, and the results they get, than about who the CEO is. But over the years Gary Vaynerchuk has created his own personal brand as well. Through speaking, his online presence, his GaryVee YouTube channel (which has 2.4 million followers!), he has created his own personal brand as well. 

So even if you start off with a personal brand, your business may evolve into a company brand at some point. And vice-versa. If you start out with a company brand, you may become well-known in your field and evolve into a personal brand. 

Either way, as you read through this chapter, just apply the tips that make sense for your situation. 

Tip 1: Build Trust

Establishing yourself as an expert in an industry and mastering the ability to sell YOU is not an easy task, nor is it one that can happen overnight. However, with some hard work and smart strategies put into place you can begin to create a personal brand that can pretty much take you anywhere you want to go.

I’ve been lucky enough to experience building a personal brand first hand, and although it wasn’t intentional from the start, I’ve learned a lot about what kinds of things need to happen before reaching that tipping point where people begin to mention your name when your niche or topic of choice comes up in conversation.

Before you can obtain mass amounts of readers, followers, subscribers, customers and fanatics, you’re going to need to build trust. This is true of any brand (personal or company brand). People need to trust YOU or your company.

As Gary Vaynerchuk says, “Your personal brand is your reputation. And your reputation in perpetuity is the foundation of your career.”

Would you give away your name and email address to someone you didn’t trust?

Would you pay for a product from a person who has been known to not fulfill their end of the deal?

Of course not!

Big personal brands succeed because they earn bigtime trust.

So the question is, how does one build trust?

Put the “Person” in Personal Brand
People connect with other people. Real people. Not websites or products or fancy offers.


The idea is to incorporate (your) personality onto your blog or website, which accomplishes a couple of things:

  1. It makes you and your brand seem more real. The more real you can become online, the easier it is for people to trust you; and
  2. It helps you stand out from the competition, because no one is just like you.

Now, this doesn’t mean you have to share every single detail about your personal life on your blog or website, but there are chances to share bits and pieces of it that can help you connect with your audience in a very memorable way.

For example, I have a picture of my family in the “About Me” section of my website. . People instantly see that I’m a dad and that family is very important to me.

Also, I strategically post fun things I’m doing with my kids (like building LEGO machines and going to Disneyland!), on my Instagram Stories. Of course I’m careful about it, but showing my audience a bit of my personal life is key.

Don’t let the fact that you’re doing business online stop you from being personable and sharing things about yourself that you’d normally feel comfortable sharing in person with someone.

Tip 2: Avoid Hype

There’s no quicker way to lose the trust of your audience than resorting to hype when you communicate with them. I really wish all internet online marketers read this tip, because there is way too much hype out there right now. So people think that the louder you scream, the more results you’ll get. While that may be true in the short term, in the long run it will damage your brand and break trust with your customer. After a while, your audience will get tired of all of the screaming and hype, and lose trust in you.

Resorting to hype to communicate and market your brand is, to be honest, lazy and makes you come off as desperate. If you have a great product and a great story, and if you consistently create quality content that serves your audience. there’s really no need to use hype to get customers in the door.

When building my business, I’ve tried to back things up with hard numbers, case studies, testimonials, and helpful content.

What you see is what you get, and no one gets let down in the way that hype can let you down in the end. Remember, you’re building your brand for the long-haul. And any short term gain from resorting to hype will hurt your brand in the end.

Tell the truth, or don’t write anything.
Especially now with how connected everyone is, any lies or deceit can spread like wildfire, and it only takes a moment to make everything you’ve worked hard for crumble like a month-old cookie.

It may be tempting to tell little white lies to make your product or story seem more compelling. But don’t do it. Just don’t. Just like lies can spread like wildfire online, it’s also easier these days to find out when someone IS lying. Whether is pumping up your resume to make yourself look better, or creating an online presence that isn’t authentic, it doesn’t pay off in the long run.

If your audience senses that you’re not being totally authentic, then that will damage your brand.

Tip 3: Connect with Your Audience

Answer all comments on your blog, Instagram and Facebook feeds, and even YouTube channel as quickly as possible. The good, the bad, the ugly; but especially the bad and the ugly.

For large companies, responding quickly is a must. For the entrepreneurial blogger, answering every comment is important (see 5 Reasons Why You Should Respond to Every Comment), but it doesn’t have to be done quite as quickly.

As far as addressing the bad and the ugly – I think that’s extremely important. Often times, those are the ones we want to avoid answering because we don’t want to stir things up, but if you can respond politely, and even go above and beyond in your response, you may change some minds and get others to support you too.

A great example of someone who does this is Gary Vaynerchuk, who actually responds to any bad reviews made about his books on He goes above and beyond, offering to speak to them over the phone to clear up any misunderstandings.

This is what really impressed me about him and led me to purchase his life-changing book, Crush It! (full disclosure – I earn a commission if you purchase)

Tip 4: Tell Your Story

You have to have a story. This is true of a personal brand and a company brand. But for a personal brand, the story will be about YOU. With a company brand, it will be about the COMPANY. Either way, people love stories.


When a story begins, we keep reading to see what happens. When a story ends, we remember and reflect on what we had just heard or read.

A good story will attract new readers, keep them engaged and help them remember who we are later.

That’s powerful stuff.

Darren Rowse from Problogger has a story: when he first launched, it wasn’t making any money. It was only after his wife told him that he had 6 months to make it profitable or els– that he started to really get serious with blogging, and we all know he has one of the top blogs in the world now.

Yaro Starak from started blogging back in the 90s about a geeky card game called Magic The Gathering (that I played too, hehe). That’s where he learned about blogging and now he has a million-dollar business teaching others about blogging and online entrepreneurship.

And then there’s me . . .

I’m not afraid to admit I have a great story to share. I’m sure that you would agree that at least part of the rapid growth of SPI is due to my inspiring story:

I get laid off.

I start an internet business.

I make more money now, and work much less.

I think when I first started in 2008, there were so many people who had been laid off from their jobs during the Great Recession, that my story was one they could relate to. It also gave people hope that maybe they could find a new way to make money and support themselves and their families.

I know what it’s like to be at rock-bottom. I got laid off right before I was supposed to get married. Such bad timing! We were paying for a wedding and I had no idea how we would support ourselves as a new couple. For a time, we both had to move back in with our parents.

Compared to many people who had it much worse during the recession, I’m thankful that we had a safety net to fall back into, but at the time it felt really bad.

Many people could relate to my story, and they were also curious about this new way of making money online. I was happy that I could help others by taking them along on the journey with me as I tried different things out online to make money.

I told my story as I build my business, and people were intrigued.

Now, you may be saying, “But Pat, I don’t have a story to tell! My life is boring!” But I think you DO have a story. Everyone does. Even the fact that you’re trying to start your own online business has a story behind it.

Maybe you’ve been in the corporate world for years and years and are just tired of working for someone else. Tell THAT story. What was it like in the corporate world? What were you frustrated with? What was your “breaking point” where you decided that you just had to do something different?

No doubt there are many people out there who can relate to that story.

Or maybe your story is about wanting financial freedom. Maybe you’re tired of struggling financially and like many people are living paycheck to paycheck. So one day you’re at your wits end and decide to start a side-gig selling an ebook about your area of expertise.

No doubt there are many people out there who can relate to that story as well.

Be vulnerable (but avoid TMI!)

You have a story, you just need to figure out what it is, and then have the courage to tell it. I was a bit embarrassed that I got laid off, but I had the courage to tell my story, and I think that little bit of vulnerability is what helped me to build trust with my audience from the get-go.

Being vulnerable helps to connect us to one another. So when you tell your story, don’t be afraid to be vulnerable, and tell your audience about those dark times or frustrations. Just don’t go overboard and tell them your whole life story and deepest darkest secrets. That would be TMI (too much information!). But an appropriate amount of vulnerability is key.

Tip 5: Illustrate Expertise

If you want to be the go-to person for information about a particular topic, then you must prove to be a reliable source for that knowledge.

When building a personal brand, you are your content. People are consuming you and your wisdom, thoughts, beliefs and opinions – all through your content. Always aim to provide the highest quality, unique, and consistent content possible. A person who publishes content religiously will be seen as more of a trustworthy expert than one who does not.

That being said, here are ways to establish your authority.

When I first started my LEED exam blog at back in late 2007,  I was also extremely active in a forum related to the exam where a lot of people went to ask for help. A couple of months later, without even knowing it, I was eventually driving a ton of daily traffic to my site and became fairly well known as the expert in the forum.

Was I really an expert?

To me I wasn’t—but because I was leaving detailed answers to everyone’s questions, I portrayed myself as one.

Forums are beautiful because it’s easy for a person to find answers to questions they’re looking for from existing threads, and if they notice you’re the one always leaving brilliant answers, they’re going to want to learn more about you.

And after a certain point, you’ll become so well known that other people will mention you as a resource, and the promotion just takes on a life of its own:

Screenshot of a forum post, where a user recommends Pat's Green Exam Academy website

There are, of course, some rules that you must follow when utilizing forums for promotional purposes:

  1. You must first give before you can receive, and your primary purpose in the forum is to answer other people’s questions and solve other people’s problems—not to promote your website. Traffic to your site should be the result of people making the conscious decision to want to learn more about you and what you have to offer—not because you’ve tricked them or forced a link down their throats.
  2. You should never post a link to your website—not until you’ve become well-known enough that you won’t seem like you’re just spamming. Even if the link you’re posting is 100% relevant, it will always seem self-promotional until you become an authority figure.
  3. Always make use of your forum profile and signature. This is where you’re allowed to be a bit self-promotional, so talk about who you are, why you’re there and most importantly, link to your site.

    Note: different forums have different rules, so be sure to read them over first before you do anything. Some forums, for example, don’t allow you to post any links until you’ve been a member for a week and have posted a certain number of times.

    To find a forum for whatever niche you’re in, you can simply type the following text into a Google search bar: forum: “keyword”

Get on the Radar of Well-Known People in Your Niche

There is nothing that can quickly boost the credibility of your brand quite like an endorsement from a highly respected, top player in the same niche as you.

In the not-so-distant past, guest posting on big blogs was THE way to get in front of a ton of people. A guest post is sort of like an endorsement from the blog owner, which means huge spikes of traffic and lots of new subscribers for the guest author. Lately, however, guest posts are having less of an impact, probably due to the fact that they seem to be more and more common, sometimes more common than actual posts from the author on many of the top blogs around the world.

In the more recent not-so-distant past, featuring ‘Major Player’ generated content in a list post was an effective way to indirectly get loads of traffic, primarily from resulting shares on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. In this tactic, you’d contact several of the top people in your niche and ask them all to answer one or two simple questions, and then publish all of the answers into one major round-up post.

The best, but toughest type of endorsement you can get from a top player in your niche is a feature, or even just a link to your site included in a regular post written by the author of the blog. This isn’t easy and it’s something that cannot be forced (or else you’ll just be ignored), but with some work and a little bit of luck, you can get featured on another person’s site.

Here on SPI, I’ve featured several pieces of content written by others who have caught my attention a number of different ways—primarily with their unique content that they provide on their own blogs, and how often I hear about those pieces in my social networks. This is probably the same reason why A-list bloggers like Yaro Starak and Darren Rowse were happy to feature me on their sites too when I was first starting out, which obviously did a lot for my brand and my traffic.

Of course now that podcasting is popular, this applies to podcasting as well. Invite a well-known entrepreneur in your field onto your podcast (if you have one), and that will boost your credibility. In addition, if they promote their interview to their audience, that will boost your traffic and again, give you credibility.

You can also see if you can get invited onto other people’s podcasts. Maybe the person who you interviewed will invite you onto their show. As you become better known through your podcast, you’ll find that you may get more invitations to be interviewed yourself.

Besides blogging and podcasting, here are 5 non-spammy methods to get on the radar of anybody online. Here’s what I suggest:

  1. Retweet (RT) tweets on Twitter that link to their own posts, and compliment them (genuinely) on their work. Since it’s a RT, they’ll see your name in their “@ Mention” column.
  2. Tag their Facebook page while linking to their posts on your own Facebook page. Like Twitter, this shows up on their own Page and they see exactly who was responsible for the share.
  3. And beyond that, on Facebook and Twitter, you can obviously converse and chat with them about whatever it is they are talking about. Don’t go overboard though—you don’t want to seem like a stalker. Just be genuine, like you were talking to this person at a party. No self-promotion—just get to know each other.
  4. Link to their posts from your own site. If they have trackbacks, pingbacks  or something like Google Alerts enabled, they’ll see where the link is coming from. If not, they may eventually see some kind of traffic coming from a new source (your blog), and they might be interested in learning more about where it’s coming from.

Getting featured on other sites or podcasts won’t always happen, but using these strategies you can at least introduce yourself to these people and get on their radar, and possibly generate long lasting business relationships with them.

Recommendations From Others

The best kind of promotion is promotion that is done for you and your brand by others.

Many of you, I’m sure, ended up on my website not directly because of me, but because of another person that you know.

What if instead (before you knew about me), I emailed you out of the blue and asked you to come visit my site about earning a passive income online? Chances are that most of you would not even think twice and you would immediately delete that email.

Recommendations from others about you are much more powerful than recommendations of yourself, from yourself. That is why it’s important to not only focus internally on your brand, but externally as well – connecting heavily with other people and brands in your industry.

Don’t think of them as competitors, but as business opportunities and relationships.

How many times do you eat at a restaurant because you heard from a friend how great it is, or maybe you read reviews on yelp or saw it featured in the news

Same idea.

Expand Your Reach & Look Professional

The channels you use to deliver your content have a direct effect on you, your credibility, and your brand as well.

  • The design, look and feel of your blog or website can drastically change how people interact, consume and share your content. You can have the best content in the world, but if you have a crappy looking website, you will seem like less of an expert than you really are. As I mentioned before, your first goal when starting out is just to have a blog that works. Keep it simple. But as you get more established and can afford a good designer, make sure your website looks great and professional.
  • Expanding into other media to deliver content, such as videos and podcasts, can drastically increase the authority and trust you have within your industry. You’re no longer “just a blogger” or “just a podcaster”, but you’re an all-around expert in your field. Through my own experience, I can confidently say that the results are very clear.

Produce Quality Products

Products such as ebooks, software, membership sites and courses often come with an instant increase in authority and trust.

This is exactly why many people go through the process of working with a publisher to get a book published, even though the process is long and drawn out, control is yielded and profits are slim to none.

Once you’re “published”, however, you are seen as an instant expert. Tours, interviews, speaking gigs and an increase in consultation fees are usually the results of one publishing a book. (For more on getting published yourself, check out our Epic Guide to Writing and Publishing Your Book.)

For those of us who aren’t in a position to publish a physical book, we can easily create digital products (like ebooks) that can have the same effect

You have to be careful here though, because if you put out a low-quality, no-value product it can really do some damage to your personal brand. On the other hand, if over-deliver with your products a lot of good things will happen as a result.

Now let’s look at real-life case studies in the next chapter.

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Branding Case Studies: Zappos and SPI

One of my favorite books of all time is Purple Cow by Seth Godin.

In it, Seth describes that the key to success is to find a way to stand out—to be the purple cow in a field of monochrome Holsteins. (Holstein is a breed of cow. I looked it up.) Seth’s description really resonates with me because looking back at my entrepreneurial journey, that’s exactly what I’ve always done—I have always purposely tried to stand out from the crowd.

Let’s look at two examples of how you can stand out as a business. One example is from a company brand, and the other is from my experience as a personal brand.

Branding Case Study #1: Zappos

When you’re trying to make an online presence, whether it’s on a blog, with a business, on a social network, whatever—there’s one thing you have to ask yourself about what you’re doing: what do you have to offer that makes you stand out from the crowd?

Entrepreneurs who know the answer to this question, take advantage of it and showcase it, are the ones who become successful. In other words, they take what they know how to do and what makes them unique and they “milk it”.

You don’t have to come up with a unique product, idea, or blog to be successful – don’t misinterpret what I’m trying to say. All you have to do is make sure there’s a reason why people should visit your website, read your book, or buy your product. Do this, and you’ll get your followers and beat your competitors., which you’ve most likely heard of already, is a web-based company that sells shoes online. They entered the market when there were quite a few other shoe selling websites. But, even so, is a huge success. Why? Because they figured out how to stand out from the crowd with their great customer service. Some even call it “over the top” customer service, and they make sure to let people know this is what they are all about.

There are a bunch of viral stories out there about what some Zappos customer service agents have done for their customers. These include, among other things:

  • Free shipping and returns
  • 365-day return policy
  • Order as late as midnight and the shoes will be delivered before breakfast
  • If they don’t have the shoes you want, a Zappo’s customer employee will call competitors and track down the shoes for you.

Have you ever visited a company website where the contact info is “buried” somewhere you can’t find it? You get the impression, probably rightly so, that they don’t really want you to call them. Because you’re a bother. You’d take up their time. They’d have to pay more customer service representatives to take all of the calls.

But Zappos is different. On the Zappos website, the customer service number is on EVERY PAGE. They want customers to call them. They want to help. In addition, when someone does call, the customer service reps can stay on the call as long as it takes, and make management-level decisions on the best way to help customers and provide solutions. They don’t have to check with their manager to provide a refund or accept special-case returns. Customers will always find a friendly voice on the other end of the line.

This differentiator has made Zappos extremely successful. They found their “thing” and milked it for all its worth. They not only have great customer service, but it’s also quirky and fun. They give their employees the freedom to be themselves, make decisions, and help customers in any way they can.

If you have a company brand, think about what makes your company different than the others. How can you stand out? Once you decide what that one “thing” is, then milk it!

Branding Case Study #2: Smart Passive Income

I’m including SPI as a case study because it’s the personal brand I know the most about:)! Plus, how I’ve tried to build SPI, I’ve done some things that I think will be helpful to you as you build your own brand. I’ve shared my story throughout this guide, but here are a few more specific things that I want to point out.

If you’re a personal brand, there’s one thing that you have, one thing that you possess right now that is so unique, no one else in the world has it. If you can harness this and utilize it for your own blog or business, nothing can stop you.

What is it?

It’s you.

Nobody in this world is just like you. No one has shared the exact same experiences, has the exact same tastes and understands the world just like you, so don’t be afraid to be yourself sometimes. This is why your story is important too.

Hopefully, this mental exercise will be thought-provoking and help you remind yourself why you’re business or blog is unique, or help you realize that you need to do something to stop blending in.

In fact, you may be reading this guide today because there was something I did, or something on my Instagram Story that one day made you think that I was different from the hundreds of thousands of other people talking about entrepreneurship and making money online.

Here are some examples of how I purposely try to stand out from the crowd:

  • I’m not afraid to tell my story.
  • I’m honest and I try to stay humble. 
  • I talk about my failures and struggles as much as I do about my wins and successes.
  • I’m transparent. I try to be honest about what’s not working in my business, and why.
  • I connect with my audience as much as possible, by commenting in the various SPI Facebook groups, sending emails, following up on comments, taking the time to snap a selfie with a fan when I’m at conferences. 

Early on in my business, I started giving real-life examples and tips about online marketing from my own experience, and I got fairly detailed about what I was doing. For a while, I was offering monthly income reports on my blog. A lot of people have told me they enjoyed seeing my exact income report numbers and reading the details about what I was doing to increase my earnings online and plan for a successful future.

My point is, know what you’re good at, know what you bring to the table that others cannot (or don’t do as well), and make it your own marketing tool.

Once, when I was en route to Austin, Texas (my first time there!) to meet with my mastermind group for a few days, something funny happened.

While sitting in Terminal 1, Gate 9 at the San Diego airport, listening to a podcast (the Tim Ferriss Podcast. Not for your super young kids, but it’s awesome!), and a woman who I have never met before walked up to me, smiled and waved.

I took off my earbuds and then she said, “Hi Pat!”

Rarely does anyone ever come up to me in public and talk about what I do online. When it has happened, it’s really weird to me and I don’t think I could ever get used to it.

It’s flattering—don’t get me wrong—and I appreciate it very much, but it doesn’t make me feel like a “rock star”.

Plus, my wife once said to me, “If your head grows too big I won’t be there to support it for you.”

I love her for that. Seriously.

While attending blogging and business conferences, however, people who I’ve never met before come up to me all of the time, since I’m in a place where my audience is gathered already.

The first time someone approached me, he started asking questions like he knew me, and I started to freak out because I knew nothing about this person who seemed to know so much about me.

That was scary.

But, when this kept happening over and over again, I realized that everything I was doing online to build a relationship with my audience—the blog, the podcast and the videos, the stories within and the personalization of my content, it was working!

I realized that I was making real connections and building real relationships with real people through my content, and instead of being scared, I was thankful for those moments.

I became proud of my work.

And I became humbled as well.

“Hi!” I replied to the woman at the airport.

“Hi Pat, I’m Jean! I listen to your podcast all of the time! Thank you for what you do…I was in marching band in the 80s and played the trumpet too, I heard you mention it at the beginning of one of your podcasts.”

Jean and I ended up chatting for over half an hour about random things—mostly marching band and trumpet related stuff—until I had to board my plane.

It was such a fun conversation!

Sitting on the plane, I thought about how that conversation started and it was interesting that out of all the things to say first, she mentioned the marching band.

But it also makes complete sense, because it’s one thing she knew we both had in common.

And They Told Me I Was Stupid…

When I first started my podcast, there was a lot on my list of things to do. One of those things was to create an intro that would play at the beginning of each episode.

Because I didn’t like listening to the same intro over and over again on other podcasts (I would often fast-forward through them), I had an idea to include a different intro each time, specifically by having my voiceover guy introduce a new, random fact about me at the start of each episode.

When I shared this idea with my online business colleagues—some who had podcasts already, some who did not—nobody got it.

They would say things like: “Pat, you’re wasting your time and money. Focus on the meat and content of your show instead.”

I also heard: “Nobody will care or remember these random facts about you. It’s at the start of your show, and you said it yourself…it’s random.”

And one person, who I trusted (and still do), replied with:

“Pat, don’t be stupid.”

Well, I did it anyway.

Fast forward nearly ten years later with a top-rated business podcast and 8 million downloads, those same exact people who doubted my choice have since told me how smart I was to do it.

When I think back to the conversations I’ve had with people who have come up to me at conferences, a couple of things come to mind:

1. They almost always mention the podcast—never the blog anymore. When I realized this at New Media Expo in early 2013, I switched from a bi-weekly show to publishing an episode once a week.

A podcast is an incredible way to make a personal connection with several people at the same time.

(If you’d like help starting a podcast, check out my free step-by-step podcasting tutorial! No cost or email opt-in required.)

2. Within those conversations, I would say that one of those random facts from the introduction of my show is mentioned 50% of the time.

That’s a lot.

People ask me about my fantasy football team, my marching band career, when I was a DJ, how I was 11 lbs. 12 oz. when I was born, and the one thing that seems to resonate with the most people—my love for Back to the Future, my all-time favorite movie.

When I get deeper into those conversations, I find out that they remember those things because they experienced or enjoy those things too, or know someone close to them who has.

These random things that seem to have absolutely no relevance to the topic of my blog or podcast are making all the difference in the world when it comes to connecting with my audience.

Therefore, it actually has all the relevance in the world to what I do online.

It’s okay to share bits and pieces of your life with people—and actually—you’d be doing yourself and your audience a disservice if you don’t.

Your hobbies, your interests and other things outside of the topic of your blog, you may feel like it doesn’t matter—that’s it’s wasted space on your blog or podcast—but it does matter.

It’s like that ice breaker during the first day of summer camp.

People connect with real people, and this is a quick and easy way to show that you’re a real person online—a place where people are often not being real and are afraid to show exactly who they are.

Although your audience may not connect with everything you have share, it only takes that one shared experience—that one time at band camp—to make people remember you and keep coming back.

So…how, exactly?

So how are you supposed to share bits and pieces of yourself with your audience?

For me, I chose to do it regularly during the intro of my podcast, but you don’t have to do it that way. Plus, I’ll be honest, it does take some work to do it this way.

The intro to each new episode is edited—I can’t just copy and paste an intro from a previous episode—and I have to work with my voiceover guy to get them done ahead of time.

It’s worth it to me though.

Here are some other ideas for you:

  1. You can share bits and pieces of yourself on social media, on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  2. As interesting things come up in your life, mention them in your podcast episodes or blog posts, and if you can interweave those happenings with your topic and content, even better!
  3. Create an entire blog post or podcast episode that is devoted just for helping people get to know more about who you are, like this one from Scott Dinsmore from Live Your Legend.
  4. If you do any public speaking, inserting bits and pieces of your real life into your presentation can help add flavor to your talk, and make a connection that will keep people’s attention and keep them engaged for much longer. I’ll often start my own presentations with a relevant story or video that involves my kids (and I’ve started one talking about marching band too!), which then leads into the main topic of the talk.
  5. Definitely mention one or two things about yourself on your about page. But of course, make sure you structure your “About” page in an effective way, like described here in my very first episode of AskPat!:

As we close out this chapter, think about it. How can you stand out from the crowd? If you have a blog, own a website, sell anything online or are part of a social network, please ask yourself: “What am I doing that makes me unique?” Really ask yourself…right now.

If you know the answer, then you’d better make sure your viewers know that too. If you don’t know the answer, then you’d better figure out what it is that you want people to notice. Now let’s talk about some branding mistakes to avoid in the next chapter.

Branding Mistakes: Six Things to Avoid

Now that you know the basics of branding, let’s talk about what can go wrong! There are many spectacular stories of branding-gone-wrong out there (if you’re old enough, you’ll remember the New Coke debacle of 1985!), but many times branding mistakes are everyday decisions that all add up to take you down a path that will result in a brand that won’t stand out or meet the needs of customers. Here are the most common mistakes you can make as you build your brand:

Mistake 1: Following the Crowd

It’s easy to get caught up in the trap of feeling like you have to be like everyone else. You’ll see other online entrepreneurs doing cool things and finding success, and feel like you have to do exactly what they’re doing. Don’t fall for this trap. If you try to be like everyone else, you won’t stand out. As we talked about before, you need to find what makes you unique, and then milk it.

Here’s an example. For years I envied other online entrepreneurs because they were holding their own live events and conferences. I kept thinking “maybe I should be doing that too!” But I knew the time wasn’t right, so I resisted following the crowd because if I ever DID host my own live event, I wanted it to be unique, and special.

Finally, 2019 was the year. It just felt like the right time to launch FlynnCon. I had hired my fulltime team in January of 2019, so I knew I’d have the help I needed to plan and host the event (live events are a lot of work!). 

I also knew that in the ten years since I started Smart Passive Income I had grown as an entrepreneur and I had something to offer the SPI Community during a two-day conference. So I went for it!

But instead of making FlynnCon like all of the other conferences out there, I wanted to keep it true to the SPI brand. So my team and I came up with ideas for how to make FlynnCon a different kind of conference experience. 

  • First, we kept it small and intimate. We capped the tickets at 500.
  • Second, we made it family-friendly. We offered workshops for tweens and teens to train the next generation of entrepreneurs
  • We built in more time for community building. Most conferences schedule back-to-back sessions to there are only a few minutes here and there to network and chat with other attendees. 
  • We had only a handful of carefully selected guest speakers. We wanted quality over quantity.
  • We added a SmartBar (similar to Apple’s Genius Bar) where attendees could have face-to-face time with our partners from ConvertKit, Teachable, Buzzsprout, and RightMessage to get their questions answered.

Our first FlynnCon was a huge success and I’m convinced that it was because we dared to be different! Don’t make the mistake of following the crowd. Know who you are, focus on your values, and focus on what makes you unique.

Mistake 2: Not Clearly Defining your Purpose

If you don’t have a clear mission statement and core values (which we talked about in Chapter 1), an important part of your brand will get lost. Think about how other brands share their missions and what that means for who they are and the products that they create. For instance:

Patagonia: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.

Tesla: To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.

Workday: To put people at the center of enterprise software.

These missions aren’t about the product, they are about what the product ultimately could help people do, or what their mission can do for the world.

Sure, here at SPI we offer courses, podcasts, educational guides, but our purpose is to serve others, to help our audience build the business and life they want. Like I mentioned before, our mission is to elevate entrepreneurs to within reach of their dreams. 

We try to keep our focus on the bigger purpose, not just our products. 

Mistake 3: Poor Visuals (and Not Hiring a Professional Designer)

When you’re just starting out, the most important thing is to have a website that works, an email list, a basic logo. But as soon as you have things up and running, you’ll need to hire a designer to make things look more professional. 

We launched a redesign of the SPI website at the end of 2019, and obviously you know what it looks like—since you’re reading this guide! But while it looks new and refreshed, it still has the same brand personality that SPI has always had. And while the logo and website are updated, they still look like SPI.

The important thing is to continually improve the visual look of your brand while keeping the brand personality. A great designer will help you do that. Sticking with the same feel, from design to style to messaging, can hurt you in the long term as you continue to grow and expand, and also add new offerings or ideas within your business. 

A once-a-year check in to revisit things is smart. “What got you here won’t get you there” is a common phrase, and it has to do as much with the brand and look and feel of your work as it does with the actual action steps you take and the goals that you have.

Mistake 4: Thinking It’s ONLY about Design

While you do need to have a professional-looking brand, it’s a mistake to think that’s ONLY what your brand is about. Your brand is about so much more than that. 

My good friend, Chris Ducker from once said that a brand is how people talk about you when you’re not there. Hiring and finding a good designer is great, but branding is also about designing the experience people have within your brand. In my book, Superfans, I teach you how you can create all kinds of different experiences that will lead people to become fans of your work, spread the message, and thus spread your brand as well.

Mistake 5: Inconsistent Identity

Once you nail down your brand, what makes you unique, your brand identity, you need to be relentless in keeping it consistent. If you have a quirky brand, keep it quirky. If you have a brand that is down-to-earth and relatable, keep it that way. 

This applies to everything: Your design (website, logo, social sharing images, marketing materials, etc.), as well as your “voice.” If you have a personal brand, your content should sound like you. If you’re not a comedian, don’t try to be funny. If you have a company brand, develop a brand guide that will inform your employees of design standards and the characteristics of your company’s voice.

This is important because image recognition is the number one way that people make connections in their brains. Huge companies know this, and even babies know this when they recognize the face of their mother for comfort and food.

This is why I do my best to brand each of my pages online the same: My website, Facebook page, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter account all have the same look and feel. I use the same gravatar throughout all of my different platforms. 

When we redesigned the SPI brand in 2019, we also developed a brand guide. It includes:

The logo, and acceptable variations:

SPI Branding Guide showing four acceptable variations on the SPI logo

The primary and secondary brand colors:

SPI style guide showing the two SPI green colors, #00854c and #00B854
SPI style guide showing ten secondary colors and their hex codes

The brand fonts:

SPI style guide showing when and how to use the two fonts in headers, subheaders, and body text.

We refer to this guide frequently and make sure our brand is always consistent and that SPI always looks like SPI!

Mistake 6: Failing to Innovate

It would be easy, once you find a bit of success, to just start coasting. But if you do, soon you’ll find yourself and your product irrelevant. 

Think about Toys “R” Us. For decades, since 1948 to be exact, it was the go-to store to find the toys you wanted to buy for your kids’ birthdays or put under the Christmas tree. But then people started buying toys online. All of a sudden, driving to a big-box store didn’t seem too appealing. Unfortunately, Toys “R” Us didn’t innovate. They rested on their laurels while other retailers (both brick-and-mortar and online) by-passed them. In 2017, they filed for bankruptcy and shuttered their stores.

Interestingly, Toys “R” Us is just recently trying to make a comeback. CEO Richard Barry, says the company is focused on updating its customer experience and adding new technology and plans to open 70 new stores in Asia, Europe, and India. We’ll see if it’s too little too late. 

The moral of the story, especially if you’re an online entrepreneur, is that you must continue to innovate. Things change fast. You need to keep up or become irrelevant.

Now, in the next chapter, let’s talk about some tools that can help you with your branding!

Branding Tools

There are some tools that can help you as you begin to build your brand. 


All great books that help you learn more about your brand and how to build a community behind it, because like I say, a brand is not the product, it’s the story you tell, the mission you have, and ultimately how it makes your readers, viewers, customers and students feel.

Full disclosure: The links below are Amazon affiliate links. That means if you click that link and subsequently make a purchase, SPI Media will earn a commission. You pay nothing extra; any commission we earn comes at no additional cost to you.

Superfans, by Pat Flynn [Amazon link]

This is my most recent book, and as I mentioned in the previous chapter, in the book I teach you how you can create all kinds of different experiences that will lead people to become fans of your work, spread the message, and thus spread your brand as well. Branding is not just about design or a logo, it’s an overall experience of your brand. This book will help you to create those experiences that will make your fans loyal.

Building a StoryBrand, by Donald Miller [Amazon link]

Before you can build your brand, you need to know your story. In this book Donald Miller helps you to clarify your story so you can be confident and clear when talking about your business to others. Building a StoryBrand does this by teaching listeners the seven universal story points all humans respond to, the real reason customers make purchases, how to simplify a brand message so people understand it, and how to create the most effective messaging for websites, brochures, and social media.

Talk Triggers, by Jay Baer [Amazon link]

Word-of-mouth is a powerful tool to help make your brand catch on fire. But nobody talks about just average products or experiences. They talk about unique, fun, extraordinary experiences and brands. (Think about Doubletree Hotels by Hilton and the warm cookies they offer you when checking in.) In this book, Jay Baer gives several case studies of companies that have created chatter by doing unique things. He offers readers a 4-5-6 learning system (the 4 requirements for a differentiator to be a talk trigger; the 5 types of talk triggers; and the 6-step process for creating talk triggers).

Made to Stick, by Chip and Dan Heath [Amazon link]

In Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath reveal the anatomy of ideas that stick and explain ways to make ideas stickier, such as applying the human scale principle, using the Velcro Theory of Memory, and creating curiosity gaps. Along the way, readers will discover that sticky messages of all kinds—from the infamous “kidney theft ring” hoax to a coach’s lessons on sportsmanship to a vision for a new product at Sony—draw their power from the same six traits.

Primal Branding, by Patrick Hanlon [Amazon link]

Patrick Hanlon is a former advertising executive and branding expert who has worked on brands such as LEGO. In this book Hanlon explains how the most powerful brands create a community of believers around the brand, revealing the seven components that will help every company and marketer capture the public.

Email Marketing

We talked about this in a previous chapter, but I want to mention it again here because it’s so important. To me, email marketing is still the best tool you can use to communicate with your audience, to help support your mission, the brand and serve your audience. It’s the only communication platform that you still own and control, and thus I highly recommend getting an email list setup. If you’re starting from scratch, start with challenge to help you get your first 100 email subscribers (because it is a lot easier than you think!), and when you’re ready to start sending email broadcasts and building automations and start to put your brand and email communication on autopilot, check out ConvertKit.

Design Resources

If you’re not a designer, it can be intimidating to try to figure out how to create a professional-looking website, logo, and other visual branding. But thankfully, there are several online platforms that can make it easy for you to connect and work with professional designers at a reasonable price.

When my videographer, Caleb, and I were developing SwitchPod, we needed a top-notch design for our logo. So we checked out 99 Designs, which is a platform where you can find a designer for what you need. Here’s how it works: You submit a design brief for a logo (or website, business cards, etc.). Various designers will look at your request and send you ideas. You’ll provide feedback and then select the winner who will design your logo. 

Here’s the SwitchPod logo, which I think turned out amazing:

Switchpod Logo

Other similar platforms include and


To get your website up and running, check out my course, Build Your Own Brand, which is a free course designed as a challenge with a process to get your brand and website up in five days. There’s more information about this in Chapter 8, but I just want to mention it here as well.

In addition, I recommend the following:

Website Hosting

Flywheel is our recommended web host, because they offer thoughtfully built tools to manage your clients and websites while growing your business. Flywheel handles all of the technical bits and bobs of running a website built on WordPress—including nightly backups, blazing-fast speed, 24/7 support, and free SSL certificate.

Website Creation and Content Management System (CMS)

WordPress is the platform we used to build this website, and we highly recommend it if you want an easy and intuitive way to get your site up and running. WordPress offers built‑in optimization and responsive, mobile‑ready themes that allow you to create a simple website for your family or sell products around the world—it’s up to you.

[Note: Some of the above links are affiliate links. That means if you click that link and subsequently make a purchase, we will earn a commission. You pay nothing extra; any commission we earn comes at no additional cost to you.]

Now, let’s talk about how you can take your branding to the next level in the next chapter!

How to Take Branding to the Next Level

Once, an SPI reader asked me the following question:

“Pat. You seem to be EVERYWHERE online. Everywhere I go, people are talking about you and your name always comes up. How do you do it?”

To be honest, I never believed I would become this successful online, especially with SPI—a blog in the “make money online” niche, which as you probably know is wildly oversaturated. Although my success is partially accidental (as a result of getting laid off from my job and stumbling into online entrepreneurship), I know exactly why I’m here.

What it really comes down to is this:

If you want to become successful online, you must think about what you do as building a brand. In order to build a brand, you must do what you can to seem like you’re everywhere

Don’t confuse that with actually BEING everywhere, because when you are everywhere, nothing has your full energy. And when something doesn’t have your full energy, it will never get to a point where it can serve you and potentially become automated.

But when you are in the right places, where your target audience exists, and if you serve your audience well, they’ll talk about you all the time and you’ll start to hear people say things like, “Wow, I never stop hearing about you,” or “you’re everywhere these days!”

A successful blogger is not just a blogger. True—it’s the blog where things get started. It’s where authority is constructed and content is published. But if you stick to just a blog, you’ll be just that—stuck to your blog.

Your blog or your website is only the beginning. It’s your hub, your homebase where people can go to find out more about who you are and what you do, but it’s also just one piece of the giant puzzle that is your brand—your omnipresent, influential and (if applicable), money-making brand.

Below are ways to “seem like you’re everywhere”:

Tip 1: Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

Before I get into more specific, actionable items, you must first realize that to “seem like you’re everywhere” isn’t going to be a walk in the park. It’s going to be uncomfortable at times because you’re doing things that you aren’t used to or even scared to do.

With that said, let me tell you this: the only thing holding you back is you.

In The 4-Hour Work Week [Amazon affiliate link] Tim Ferriss gives us some exercises to perform throughout the book to help train our entrepreneurial minds (full disclosure—I earn a commission if you purchase the book through this link). One particular exercise was to enter a crowded area and lay yourself down flat on the floor, looking upwards.

What’s the point?

The point is that it will train you to do things that you wouldn’t normally do, to get you to not worry so much about what other people are thinking and just take action—no matter how silly or ridiculous an idea may be at the time.

When I thought about writing my first ebook, it was something I honestly did not want to do. I was afraid of the process and I didn’t know if it would sell even one copy. Well, I’m glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and decided to write that ebook, because it turned into a six-figure online business.

Getting your name out there can be tough, but also fun! Try other media you haven’t tried before, like a podcast or YouTube channel. New channels can be a way to give another voice to your brand, and also find people who wouldn’t normally consume content from you in the other ways you produce them.

Tip 2: Be Comfortable Being Yourself

Often times, when building a business, we emulate others. It’s important to know that it’s okay, and you should be inspired by others creatively, but if you work hard to be too much like someone else, you’re putting in time and effort to be unoriginal. You need to put your own spin, have your own voice in your work, and the reason people don’t do this as much as they should is because we’re afraid.

We’re afraid of being ourselves, so we try to be like someone else, or we hesitate in showing up fully in our brand and to our audience. The number one advantage you have over everybody else is you—you are 100 percent original, so why wouldn’t you insert yourself into your brand so that people can get to know you, the person or the people behind the brand, because guess what—people connect with other people. They don’t connect with websites or logos or brand names, they connect with brands that make them feel a certain way and the people who are on the other end.

You don’t have to show up and take center stage, though—just a little bit of your personality goes an extremely long way. Take the SPI Podcast, for instance. As I mentioned in a previous chapter, at the beginning of every episode my voiceover guy shares a fun little fact about me. It’s nothing big, just a little something to share about me.

When I had this idea back in 2009 when I was developing my podcast, other people said the idea was idotic. They said things like “you’re wasting people’s time,” and “it doesn’t matter.” Now, 65 million downloads later, those same people are calling me a genius.

I am not a genius though. I’m just being human, and that’s what you need to be too. These little things about me are who I am and become a way for me to stand out, be different, and make a true connection with people.

Tip 3: Be a Guest on Other Blogs, Podcasts, and Video Channels

This is huge.


Guest blogging and podcasting is probably the easiest way to get a load of relevant traffic to your website in the shortest amount of time. Beyond that, and even more important for your brand, you and your site’s URL (and possibly your logo too) will be shown to tons of people who may have never heard of you or your website before. After getting published, you’ll be instantly known by that many more people when they come across the blog post on the site.

There are several free guides about how to guest post online. One of my favorite’s is Chris Guthrie’s Guest Posting [Ultimate Guide].

To get guest spots on podcasts, you have to ask yourself, how can I provide value to the host and their listeners. If you come in asking if you can be on their show, you’ve already lost it. First, start with understanding what’s most important to the host and what topics you could provide help for their audience with. Within that, try to get specific for the kinds of things you can offer and support how it actually could be useful. You won’t be chosen if you are coming up with ideas that already exist in their archives.

Also, consider any relationships that you have where they might know the person already. It’s always much easier when you get introduced versus a cold outreach. Now may be the time to reach out and ask for a favor for an introduction. If you don’t know anybody or don’t know where to start, look at the host’s archive to see if you happen to know anyone they’ve interviewed already, and you may be able to start there.

Finally, a quick and easy way to stand out amongst the noise is to send a quick one- to two-minute video with the introduction and what you could offer his or her audience. A video is much easier to consume, and it shows there’s a real person on the other end. Just make sure you don’t ramble for five to ten minutes, make it short, quick and snappy, and make sure you are just fully you!

Tip 4: SEO and Natural Traffic Generation

Generating natural traffic through search engines is one of the best ways to market and promote your website—not only because you’re getting highly targeted traffic, but also because that traffic is virtually free.

If you have a brand new site, this will obviously take time to happen. Your goal is to get on the first page of Google for your target keyword(s), and depending on the niche you’re in it could take months, or it could take years.

I won’t go into too much detail here since search engine optimization is something that is talked about quite a bit on the blogosphere in general, and it’s constantly changing. however I will highlight a few key factors you should definitely pay attention to:

It all starts with great content

Now, more than ever the content you publish on your site is hugely important. It should be unique, extremely detailed and useful, or else you’re not going to get anywhere.

Think about creating content so good that it doesn’t deserve to be anywhere else but at the top of the search engines, and on everyone’s Facebook and Twitter streams.

If you want to make any movement in the search engines, you must acquire high quality backlinks to your site. If you’re unsure of what backlinks are, and where to start, Neil Patel has a good primer on what backlinks are and how to get started.

Get traffic from long-tail keywords

A majority of my search engine traffic does not come from searches for my primary keyword—it’s for other keywords that people type into Google that I never even targeted, it’s just stuff I’ve written about somewhere in my posts.

On my security guard training site, for example, 42.91 percent of my search engine traffic comes from my target keyword “security guard training,” while 57.09 percent comes from 2,142 other keywords. And although most of those keywords only gather one or two hits, together they definitely add up, and as a result my Adsense revenue is always increasing.

The biggest thing to take away from this example is that the more relevant content you publish, the more chances people will have to find you.

And if you’re having trouble with SEO, start here: answer people’s questions. Ask your audience what they need help with, and then create content answering those questions. That shows relevance to Google, which helps you climb the rankings, and not only will you then have answers that people can find on your website and in Google to direct more traffic your way, you’re actually serving your audience and showing them you know your stuff, too.

Have real life conversations to find out what they need help with, that always works best, but if you don’t have access to your audience yet, or don’t have the capability to reach out to them, find conversations already happening online where they might exist, or use a tool like to help you find the exact questions people are typing in.


Starting a podcast was probably one of the best decisions I’ve made. I’ve been able to expand my brand through platforms such as Apple Podcasts (previously iTunes), Stitcher, Spotify, and more. Podcasting has gotten much more popular in the last few years. In 2019 there were around 700,000 podcasts. But compare that to 600 million blogs! Podcasting is still much less competitive—so it’s relatively easy to gain some momentum.

There are a ton of untapped niches here, so if you can create a show and become the leader and the voice for the subject on Apple Podcasts, you will promote your brand and you will see traffic, and potentially income as a result.

Of course, setting up a podcast isn’t 100 percent easy, and you’ll definitely want to make sure the quality of your audio is top-notch to get the best results. Check out the Podcasting section of this website to learn how you can get started, and be sure to download the Podcast Cheat Sheet.


YouTube is actually the number two search engine in the world, and although some niches are pretty tapped out on this platform (weight loss and fitness, for example), there are some untapped niches that are very under-represented on YouTube.

As many of you know, I’ve been a big proponent of using YouTube to promote one’s website, and it has done wonders for my traffic ever since I started. Currently, my YouTube videos have been viewed millions of times, and they continue to become a major traffic source for SPI.

If you find and fill a hole in your niche on YouTube and create a video that’s useful, you will get views and you will get traffic back to your site.

Some of my videos, like this one on how to make passive income online, and this one on how to start a podcast, have almost a million views each.

If you want to learn more about YouTube, check out this blog post I recently wrote about what happened when I got serious about my YouTube channel. 

And this SPI Podcast with guest Darrel Eves on How To Build a Successful YouTube Channel in 2019.

Tip 5. Create Raving Fans

It takes time, but if you continue to provide good content on your blog and build a nice community behind it, after a while you’ll eventually see that you and your blog may accumulate a number of “raving fans.” I like to think I have a few here on SPI, and I love each and everyone one of them to death.

Ravings fans should be treated like royalty, and you should go out of your way to make them happy. Do favors for them, or just spend time talking to them on Facebook or through email.


Because they are the ones who spread the word about you and your site. Some raving fans are more enthusiastic than others, but each one plays an important role in expanding your brand and influencing people who you alone cannot.

Let me say that again: your raving fans will influence people who you alone cannot.

This is why each and everyday I notice a huge influx of traffic from a few random websites that I’ve never been to before. My name and a link to my site show up on forums and blogs around the world not because of me, but because of my raving fans and their recommendations.

Thank you—you know who you are.

Key Takeaways

A few things to take away from these strategies that I want to make sure you understand:

  1. Branding is more than just putting up a website or creating a logo. You also need to market and promote your brand. Hopefully these five strategies give you some idea of what direction you can possibly take from this point forward.
  2. Rarely does one see immediate changes overnight (although there is the occasional viral video or link from a super-site that can give you a quick boost), so be patient. Branding and marketing is a process that takes time, and the beginning is the hardest part. However, once you get going it can have a snowball effect and things can begin to take off on their own.
  3. And lastly, branding and marketing is a people thing. It’s the relationships you build—not just with other big players in your niche, but directly with your audience, that can take your website, and your business, to the next level.

Build products for people. Create content for people. Help as many people as possible. If you can do that, then you will be rewarded sometime in the future.

Now, on to a challenge for you as you start to build your brand! 

The Five-Day Build Your Own Brand Challenge

If you already have an online brand, hopefully this guide has been a great reminder for you about the foundational items you should have in place.

If you’re close to starting and you’re ready to build a website of your own (or you’ve been meaning to but haven’t had the right excuse to get started), I’m happy to let you in on a little secret: I have a FREE course that will help you get started on building your brand.

It’s called the 5-Day BYOB Challenge (BYOB = Build Your Own Brand). In five days, I’ll walk you through all of the steps you need to get a working website up and running, complete with a mini-campaign to help you build your email list.

It’ll be all you need to get that jump-start as you begin to build your audience and your brand online.

This is a full-on comprehensive course with five modules (one per day), with several short lessons that will guide you through this entire process.

From honing in on your brand mission, to getting your domain name and building your website from scratch, to what design to use and what plugins to install, to what pages to include and even how to begin to think about collecting email addresses—it’s all here in this course that’s framed for a five-day window of action. The cost for something like this could easily be in the $200-$300 range, but because I know how vital this is to everyone building a business online, I offer this course for free.

Yep. Free.

If this is something you’re interested in, then make sure you click the link below to register for the challenge now.

Click here to sign up and register for BYOB!

Learn to build a website you can be proud of.

Build Your Own Brand: Making Your Mark logo with a waving flag

In our FREE 5-day challenge, you’ll learn what you need to start a successful brand. Pat walks you through what you need to know, the technical side of setting up a website and email, and advice on which pages your website needs.

Join 45,000+ other BYOB students

Like I said, the course includes one module per day, and each module has 3-4 videos to help you through the day’s objective. Here’s what you’ll learn and do:

Have you been thinking about starting a website for a while, but held back because you didn’t know quite how to get started? The BYOB Challenge is for you!

In the BYOB Challenge, I break down the how of each step. You have to do some work, but I promise—you can build a brand for yourself. Let’s get started!
More info is available on the registration page, including some cool giveaways for people who complete the five-day action plan. If you’ve been waiting for the right time to get started, here it is.

Click here to sign up and register for BYOB!

Learn to build a website you can be proud of.

Build Your Own Brand: Making Your Mark logo with a waving flag

In our FREE 5-day challenge, you’ll learn what you need to start a successful brand. Pat walks you through what you need to know, the technical side of setting up a website and email, and advice on which pages your website needs.

Join 45,000+ other BYOB students

Thanks, and I look forward to working with you through this process!