Kisha Gulley was once kicked out of a Facebook group for mothers with autistic children after a c...Read More
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
After working for decades in the fields of business strategy, tech, retail and marketing, I firmly believe that personal brands are the future.
They will drive the future. They will create the future. They will lead in the future.
People like Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson and Arianna Huffington have proven that visionary leaders with unique and recognizable personal brands have the power to shape our world.
These mavericks push far beyond leveraging their personal brands for book deals, speaking opportunities and reality TV spots. They are truly extreme pioneers. They create extraordinary change, transformative legacies and wealth that will last well beyond this lifetime.
And they do it by building iconic empires.
An iconic empire is a group of interrelated businesses that create diverse wealth streams for a visionary founder. These visionaries don't devote all of their energy into a single company or model. Those building iconic empires create divisional structures that leverage their ideas across many platforms.
Think of Chip and Joanna Gaines, who have their own television network, multiple bestselling books, a wildly successful line of hard goods through a partnership with Target, multiple real estate investment firms and a shopping/eating/tourism destination with Magnolia Market at the Silos in Waco, Texas. From the very beginning, they spread their talent across multiple avenues and doing so generated enormous wealth for them. The iconic empire isn't something that just happens for entrepreneurs with stellar personal brands; it's a strategy.
And it's a strategy that you can utilize. Here are three ways you can start creating your own iconic empire today.
Before you can think about creating multiple wealth streams, you need to establish yourself as the best in the world at what you do. Step fully into that role. Own it. And prepare to broadcast it. You have zero competition and you're in a category of one. Or if you are in a category of multiples, ensure you are sitting at the absolute top of that niche.
Leverage your status as the best in the world into a statement about the paradigm you're shifting. Talk about the revolution you're leading, the concepts you're pioneering. Say something that is so incredibly bold that people sit up and pay attention. Don't be controversial for the sake of being controversial, obviously, but use language that's startling and declarative. Tell people how you're pushing boundaries and own it. This will feel uncomfortable at first, but once you step into it that fear will fall away.
Work hard, set yourself apart and tower over anyone foolish enough to compete with you.
Related: The 5 Vital Rules of Personal Branding
Once you've become the unquestioned owner of your niche or industry, consider how you might begin cultivating multiple wealth streams. In addition to your primary business, what might you do to share your ideas and talents with others? What formats and business models make sense? What fits well with the revolution you're leading? Don't force yourself to enter markets or adopt strategies that clash with your mission or force you too far outside your zone of genius. Pursue ideas that fit naturally with your vision.
Consider an icon like producer and showrunner Shonda Rhimes. It makes perfect sense for her to write books (she's a gifted writer), negotiate brand partnerships (she's a spokesperson for Dove's body-positive campaigns) and build out media and content divisions (she blogs and podcasts like a pro). It does not make sense for her to pursue selling certifications and licenses (she's not championing a proprietary method), hosting retreats (she's a confirmed introvert!) or build out a retail arm of her empire.
Pursue wealth streams that will succeed because they are organically aligned with your gifts and support your main body of work.
Related: Marketing Yourself: Developing Your Personal Brand
Next, you must build a place where your biggest fans can interact with you. Build a place of true beauty and stunning experiences. Your magical place is where your clients and potential clients will congregate. Since you'll also be leading instead of teaching, I tend to use religious terminology here. Effectively, when you build your magical place, you're creating a temple for your people to come and worship you. It must be a space that truly represents you through images, words, movement and sound; everything the visitor experiences there. You need to create a place where people who are curious about you can go, and people who follow you can connect.
Your magical place is also where strategies like sales funnels come into play. Where are you sending people once you become visible? When you start talking to your market, where will people go to learn more? And once they're there, what will you show them, offer them and tell them?
Give careful consideration to the experience. When visitors enter your magical place, they should feel a drastic shift. It should be like leaving the noise and grime of the airport at large and entering the first class lounge. Elite, elevated, refined and unspeakably beautiful. Creating that magical world now — even if it's just a Facebook Group at the start — will give you something to build upon as your business grows.
Chip and Joanna Gaines, as well as Shonda Rhimes, have done this impeccably. Magnolia Market at the Silos is a literal, physical magical world dedicated to all things Chip and Jo. Visitors can eat at their restaurants, shop for goods that Joanna has designed, stay at a vacation rental home that the Gaines' renovated and attend events on the beautifully manicured grounds.
Rhimes has an online hub at Shondaland.com where you can find links to all of her current and upcoming projects, buy her books, watch videos in which she offers advice, revisit her most famous speeches and listen to her podcasts. It's a bold and colorful site that exudes the same energy that Rhimes herself is famous for.
Naturally, the wealth-generation aspects of an iconic empire happen privately, but the magical world is public. It's where people who are curious about the revolution you're leading can learn about you, connect with you and gain a deeper understanding of your ideas and accomplishments.
All icons are dedicated to creating extraordinary wealth from their businesses and deep impact from their work. The savviest among them transform that dedication into a multi-layered, diversified, interconnected empire of endeavors that amplifies their abundance exponentially. If you're eager to build generational wealth and impact with your innovations, start making your iconic empire plan today.
After your plan is set, then make the bold, strategic moves that will bring your iconic empire to life!
Related: Self-Made Billionaires Around the Globe: Where and Why They Thrive (Infographic)