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Role of personal branding in entrepreneurship: Machel Waikenda


Speech by Machel Waikenda, Director, Blackstar Entertainment at St. Paul’s University Culture week

I see the essence of entrepreneurship as adding value to the lives of others in a way that’s commensurate with what’s likely to work for you. A way that is defined by the essence of passion. Everyone is different. Paths to entrepreneurial success, or failure, are different. I liken it to a journey.

It can be a humbling experience. For some, it can be a way of life. One may not only have to come to terms with what’s most important in one’s life,

But also make some tough decisions surrounding that. I see entrepreneurship as being personal. At the behest of your talent. Fuelled by the passions of your dreams.

We are here because of our talents and passions and these are the holy grail of any business empire. A need to pursue a better life through the nurturing of our talents. Your purpose as an entrepreneur, in any field, as long as its defined, and fueled by passion or your talent or hobby, is not to make money, it’s not to become independent of the wrath of an unfair boss, it’s not to avoid the morning commute and it is definitely not to live the life of your dreams… well maybe those are some of the reasons but they are not the main reason.

The essence and purpose of entrepreneurship is to create change. Define the elements of a better society and through this, wealth will emanate. Wealth that will last generations. Not riches that will last a season. We all aspire to be great businessmen and women, own property and be respected. As an entrepreneur, personal branding is important. This comes before even branding your idea or business. You cannot be a great and respected entrepreneur if your brand has credibility issues.

What is your personal brand? If I only know you by your Twitter and Facebook posts what is the unstated promise I believe you represent? What is the unstated promise I believe I will receive if I associate with you? Is it you the professional, or you the one who just posted the sexist joke?

How do you define and brand yourself? What is the role of social media in creating awesome entrepreneurial brands of young people? Most people online are building “a brand,” but sometimes people forget whose brand they are building and if they are making the right strategic moves. For instance, if your Twitter handle reads “@toadgreen”,” then you aren’t building your own personal brand. When people retweet you, they are viewing @toadgreen’ and not your full name. So stop for a second and consider what brand you’re trying to build and why. Are you looking to become an industry expert, or are you focused on establishing your company’s name, or both?

A lot of people are rushing to get on social networks, and are forgetting to fill out their profiles, or what their purpose of participation is. You need to have a clear idea of who you are, what you want to be known as, and the type of content you can consistently publish, otherwise you won’t stand out.

There are thousands of people who brand themselves as realtors, lawyers, Models, social media gurus, and marketing experts, and very few of them are successful. By basing your brand off of what you’re passionate about and want to be an expert in (if you’re not already), you will be able to become a serious player in the social media world.

I recommend that we take a portion of our day to learn as much as we can about what people are saying about us, as well as review a competitor and partner activities, and peruse industry trends and case studies. The more you read, the better and more prepared you will be to communicate through various social media channels. The agenda is to better yourself against the best.

Give yourself personal target that you must achieve. Be different and love being different. The more you can offer a fresh perspective or a brand new concept, the more people will gravitate to you. No one wants to subscribe to another modeling blog or meet someone at a networking event that does the same thing as someone else. The more you’re able to take your distinct personality and ideas and carve your own niche, the better off you’ll be.

However, nothing is easy. It does sound so, but it’s not. We need a unique fuel called Faith to be able to achieve our dreams as great entrepreneurs and that is made possible through deliberate personal branding. The journey of an entrepreneur is laden with many lessons and failures. These define the essence of success. Remember, success is a bad teacher, embrace the mistakes and failures you encounter.

In conclusion. Faith is defined as a belief in something unseen. You must have faith in yourself to handle future plans. You must have faith that your plans will be flexible enough to deal with the unknown. And you must also have faith in one more thing which may surprise you – serendipity.

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