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The One Thing You Need to Build a Personal Brand and Become a Thought Leader

Just because you create a personal website and call yourself a “social media expert” or “marketing expert” doesn’t make you a thought leader.

The One Thing You Need to Build a Personal Brand and Become a Thought Leader

If you Google “how to build a personal brand”, then you will probably see articles about “seven ways” or “eight key steps” to building a personal brand.

Well most of those articles are full of crap.

Just because you create a personal website and call yourself a social media or marketing expert doesn’t make you a thought leader. The number one thing you need to do to become a thought leader is through ACHIEVEMENTS.

If you want to be heard and respected by others, then you must give them a reason to listen. Highlight your accomplishments to prove that you’re worthy of their time and money. That’s how you build a personal brand and become a thought leader in your space.


You have to do the HARD WORK.

I started using WordPress in 2006 and didn’t start WPBeginner until 2009. After five years of being involved in the community, consistently sharing my expertise and experience, helping out hundreds of thousands of users, attending dozens of WordCamps and other WordPress related events, now I get asked by others to speak on the topic of growing a successful blog and building a seven-figure business around it.

After spending the time and effort in building a YouTube channel with more than 200 million views, now when I give someone YouTube advice, it carries a little bit of weight.

You don’t just build a personal brand overnight. You have to put the hard work in it.

My friend Michael Hyatt has a strong personal brand. He talks about leadership, productivity, and publishing. You know why I listen to him and respect him? Because he has the accomplishments to back him up.

Michael has been in the publishing industry for nearly 30 years. He was the former Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, the 7th largest trade book publishing company in the U.S.

He has written eight books and is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller.

That’s why he’s a thought leader and that’s why he has a strong personal brand.

My friend Neil Patel also has a strong personal brand. He talks about growth hacking and increasing traffic to your website.

Do you know why people listen and respect him as an entrepreneur? Well, because he has built several multimillion-dollar businesses (CrazyEgg and KISSmetrics).

He’s the guy who helped CheezBurger network grow to 500 million page views per month. He’s the guy who helped TechCrunch grow their traffic by 30% in 60 days.

His advice carry weight even among industry leaders.

This holds true for any thought leader or expert.

Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerburg, Richard Branson, Ben Horowitz, etc. all built a successful business first before they became mentors, coaches, or even classified as “experts”.

The bottom line is, in order to be a thought leader, you need to have the accomplishments in your field.

If I were you, I’d focus more time on stacking up your accomplishments than building your personal brand. Because your brand is not you, not your logo, or the color scheme of your website. It’s what other people think of you.

Do the hard work and you will reap the rewards. 


This post originally appeared on, and is re-published with permission.

Category Careers

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Syed Balkhi

Founder at WPBeginner

Syed Balkhi is an entrepreneur and a public speaker. His passion revolves around helping businesses succeed. He is known for ... [Read full bio]

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