I cover personal branding in more detail in my book, How to Land Your First Job in Sports: 7 Simple Steps (September 2011), but it’s an important subject to tackle for both aspiring sports execs and those that want to take their career to the next level.
Look what Jay-Z, the Grammy Award-winning business mogul, says about his personal brand: “I’m a business, man. Not a businessman.”
Jay-Z gets it. His brand extends beyond music, crossing over into some very lucrative areas such as apparel, adult beverages, fine dining, and high-end clubs. No question, the man’s a brand franchise.
Build Your Rep
What Jay-Z understands, that some of us don’t, is that a person’s brand is their reputation. Because of his stellar reputation—something he’s worked on and developed his entire life—he’s been able to move seamlessly into areas he’s most passionate about.
Whether you realize it or not, you’re building your reputation every single day, in just about everything you do. Are you reliable? Are you trustworthy? Are you a hard worker? Are you a team player? Do you deliver quality?
Jay-Z also sticks to his brand values. He’s very smart about what he’s willing to do, or not willing to do. He will not bend or sacrifice his good name for money. What about you? What do you stand for? What are your values?
Tie Your Passion to Your Talent
Everyone has a passion for something. And fortunately, we’re all born with God-given talent. The key is to discover what your true passion is, as well as your natural gifts and tie those things together.
For Jay-Z his passion is music, fashion, and high-end taste. His talent is his vision, creativity, marketing and influencing people. When he tied those things together he became a rapper, a record label owner, an apparel manufacturer and an overall tastemaker.
Don’t let this entrepreneurial example throw you off. Instead, discover your own strengths by looking through the same “passion” lens in which Jay-Z views himself. The majority of the time our true gifts are the same things in which we have the most passion for.
Jay-Z’s Secret to Success
Beyond tying his passion to his talent, which is the cornerstone to personal branding, Jay-Z’s secret to success is to anticipate opportunities, think insanely big, and be relentless in his drive to be the best.
To have massive success in the sports business, use one of Jay-Z’s moves and identify a problem, or something missing in the marketplace, and become the solution. Ultimately, that becomes your brand.