the podcast recap episode with aj & rory vaden

Ep 77: Getting Your Slice of the Personal Brand Pie with Chris Harder | Recap Episode

For anyone who is into direct sales or is interested in exploring this option, the episode we had with Chris Harder is a must-listen. We speak to him about the benefits of this business model, and he shares how he and his wife have maintained direct sales as part of the income stream through the years, despite the many other sources of income they have. Chris talks about the difference between a personal brand and a media brand and how this distinction will help you to understand what you want to achieve with your podcast for example. We all tend to think that having many followers on social media is the key to success, but as you’ll hear from Chris, you don’t need a million followers to make a million bucks—sometimes you just need a thousand of the right followers. He warns against comparing yourself with others on social media, pointing out the hard work that goes unseen, and reminds listeners that social media is only one of the many aspects of building a personal brand. We also discuss what he says about the rule of reciprocity, the dangers of the ego, and more.

Listen to this episode below:

Key takeaways from this episode:

  • Sign up for our free brand-building course at!
  • The importance of identifying your primary business model.
  • The benefits of direct sales and how it relates to a personal brand.
  • Distinguishing between a personal brand and a media brand and how podcasting fits in.
  • Hear why you don’t need a million followers to make a lot of money.
  • What you see on social media is just the tip of the iceberg of a personal brand.
  • Why ego is your greatest obstacle in creating a powerful personal brand.
  • Always be on top of the latest trends and have a presence on popular platforms.
  • Focus on giving away and being generous—and watch it come back to you.

Tweetable Moments:

“What I loved is, he talked about how direct sales has the lowest point of entry or the lowest barrier of entry but also has some of the biggest upsides.” — @aj_vaden [0:03:23]

“You don’t have to have millions of followers to make millions of dollars.” — @aj_vaden [0:06:05]

“Just keep in mind that when you see somebody who has a million followers, there are hours and hours of work that they have done to get there that you don’t see.” — @roryvaden [0:07:39]

About Chris Harder

Chris Harder is a Life and Career Coach but is widely known for running one of the most successful podcasts in its genre, For The Love Of Money  Tune in as each week, Chris will be giving you every tool you need to be unapologetically successful. These episodes will share the secrets, tips, and incredible stories of how wealthy entrepreneurs, celebrities, and people of influence have risen to the top, and what they’ve done to make this world a better place as a result of their success. Chris Harder pulls out the best in people, proving that when good people make good money, they do great things!

Links Mentioned:

RV: (00:06) Hey, brand builder. Welcome to the recap edition of the influential personal brand podcast. I am joined by my wife and CEO and business partner. AJ Vaden, we’re breaking down the Chris harder, which Chris and Lori have that in common with us, that they work and do business together. It’s pretty rare. It’s pretty rare. So we’re sharing our top three highlights three and three. AJ you go first, babe? Well, this isn’t necessarily whatever AJV: (00:36) My highlights, but one of the things that I think is really important one of the things we talk about a ton at brand builders group is the importance of identifying what is your primary business model. And I think that’s one of the things that really makes brain builders group really unique in the marketplace is we’re not just a strategy firm in terms of what is your personal brand. And what’s your message. I think one of our real uniqueness lies in the fact that we focus a ton on the business side that’s our background RV: (01:07) Making money is AJ spiritual gifts. AJV: (01:10) But I think there’s so much that so many people talk about social media and websites and the visual identity and without a plan, none of that really makes you money. And that’s a real core competency of ours is how do you actually turn your brand into a business? And what I loved about what Chris talked about kind of throughout the entire interview is how they’ve leveraged direct sales you know, kind of just whole concept of how do you, how do you find what your primary business model is? And we talk a lot about that. We have an acronym for that page. We have a lot of acronyms here. But what I loved is he talked about how direct sales has the lowest point of entry, the lowest barrier to entry, but also has some of the biggest upsides. And if you’re not really sure what your primary boss business model is, or maybe you don’t have a secondary or ancillary, this could be a really great option for you to leverage because how I see a personal brand, as it relates to direct sales is really more of like attraction marketing. AJV: (02:15) It’s the fuel that happens on your blog and your podcast and social media is really attraction marketing as you as the face, but yet you’ve got this really great product and you’ve got the fulfillment, you’ve got the shipping, you’ve got the backend business, the infrastructure, the technology with that direct sales company. So it’s a really interesting component and I kind of will tie this into my first point. I changed my mind mid thought, but I just love that. And I think for anyone who is in direct sales, you need to listen to this interview and anyone who isn’t completely confident that their current primary secondary ancillary business model is going to make this a full time gig. You should consider direct sales and see what’s out there and see how that fits into your business model. That could be a really great one. And I just, I love that. AJV: (03:04) So my first point how that kind of connects is the difference between a personal brand and what he calls a media brand. And I loved this as it relates to a podcast and he shared this example that I thought was really kind of aha. It’s like, are you building your audience to be big enough so that you can sell just your coaching program or your consulting or your speaking, or your course, or are you trying to make it big enough that you can get ads and sponsors and brand deals. And that to some degree is the difference between a personal brand and a media brand. And I thought that was very insightful because we have clients on both ends of the spectrum and they have a really solid like, Hey, I want to build a coaching business. I want to build a mastermind. I want to build a course. I want to do live events. And for that, you don’t need millions and millions and millions of followers, right? RV: (03:57) In particular was the permission to say, you don’t have to have millions of followers. You can make money from a brand, from a personal brand. And to think about the media brand AJV: (04:08) A totally separate. Now, if you’re trying to get ads in sponsors and brand deals, different story, but is that really your business model? And I think that just even having that filter as you’re making these decisions to help, you know, like, what am I doing this for really makes an extraordinary difference of what I know one of yours is not comparing yourself to the person who has millions, because you don’t have to, because you don’t have to mail. You don’t have to have millions of followers to make millions of dollars. RV: (04:41) That’s my point. Oh, I love that. Well, yeah. So I’ll, I’ll go right off of that, because that, that was part of the conversation about the comparison game. And I think, you know, it’s easy to be like, well, I don’t want to start a podcast cause I don’t think I can get millions of people or go, well, my podcast is an important cause I only get a few thousand downloads a month and, and the point is like, no, millions of downloads does not equal success. It all depends on what the strategy and the purpose is. You may only want a thousand people listening and it’s like, but it’s the right thousand people that are listening and he’s extremely targeted. And I would say that there’s a lot of people who make more money from a targeted podcast. That’s like the right thousand than just a broad one that reaches a ton of people, but there’s no clear monetization strategy. And you know, what w what he was saying specifically on the comparison game that spoke to me was if you’re gonna play the comparison game, play the full comparison, meaning you can’t just look and, and you mentioned. Yeah. And, and him and Laurie, I also thought it was interesting to your point about the direct sales that they still to this day draw a lot of income from their, their direct sales business, which really was years and years. AJV: (05:57) And it’s been the launching pad for all the other, RV: (05:59) For everything. Yeah. And, and, you know, I got, I got a big part of my start in direct sales and, and, you know, my mom was in direct sales. I’ve grown up in the whole direct sales world and we speak a lot to direct sales companies and just, just love the love of the business and the people. But if you’re gonna play the comparison game, just keep in mind that when you see somebody that has a million followers, there’s hours and hours and hours of work that they have done to get there, that you don’t see. And I think a lot of our clients, when they become brand builders group clients, and they see us breaking down the content diamond and the relationship engine and the funnels and all of the things that we teach about how to do it, they go, wow, there’s a lot of work here. And it’s like, yeah, it doesn’t just happen by accident. And you should give yourself permission to just like, be like, to be okay with where you’re at and don’t compare your, your step one to someone else’s step 77. AJV: (06:56) Yeah. I love that. So my second point was something that we talk a lot about Cod the fastest path to cash, but Chris also kind of referenced that. And he said, I know, I know dozens, if not hundreds of people who have launched their personal brand and made six figures in the first year. And I also know people that it’s taken them five years to make six figures in just their personal brand. And I thought it was really interesting. And I think a lot of it has to do with what is your primary business model? What are you selling? Because if what you are selling is a $10,000 membership program that lasts a year, you don’t need a ton of clients. You just need the right ones. You need a targeted audience with a very clear offering to the right people at the right time at the right price. AJV: (07:46) And if you sell 10, you’re kind of at six figures versus if you are launching a hundred dollar, of course, it’s a volume business. So what is it that you’re selling? And if you’re going all in and launching your personal brand, it’s keep that in mind. It’s what are you selling? Doesn’t have to be the long game or the, the, the end of it. Doesn’t have to be what you do for the long term. It’s just, what are you doing now to play the long game, knowing that your business model may shift over the course of time. And there may be things that you have to do right now that you don’t want to do a year or two or five years from now. But you know that you’ve got to kind of pays the path to get there. You’ve got to build your audience. AJV: (08:31) You’ve got to build your content. You’ve got to build your platform. And I just thought that was really interesting of well, but two people could be both launching a personal brand, have the exact same platform, the exact same number of followers, but just because their offering is different, one is going to make a lot more money quicker than the other. And I think all of those things, and I don’t think building a personal brand is about money. However for many of you you do have to make money. So I think that’s important to talk about and to reference. And I just really thought that was a very interesting concept. And one to keep in mind as you’re making these decisions of what should I launch and how should I launch it, and when should I launch it and what do I want to do short term, and what do I do longterm? And RV: (09:18) That reminds me of a time. One time I shared the stage with Jesse Itzler Sarah Blakely’s husband. And he was, you know, they’re both super wealthy and successful independently. And he was telling the story, I forget the name of the company is maybe net jets, but as a private jet, it was a private jet company. And he said, the reason that I got into that business, as I figured out, it would take me the same amount of work to sell like a hundred customers, a a hundred thousand dollar product, as it would take to sell a hundred customers, a $10 million product. And so I realized that if I could just go get a hundred customers, I might as well just get the higher price point and just go for a few customers. And I didn’t, I didn’t have to be the guy that had 10,000 customers or a million customers. I only needed like a hundred to turn this thing into a billion dollar business. And you know, that’s, to what you’re saying, the price point selections is important. And that’s a big part. I think, of phase one that a lot of our clients do struggle with. Cause they don’t think so much about the money part or look at it at scale, like you’re talking about of what is it like the longterm? AJV: (10:25) Yeah. I think so many people see a personal brand just of what you see on social media. And that’s such a teeny tiny, very last thing you do part and there’s so much work and thought and strategy that goes in beforehand. And that’s why I loved Chris’s interview is it talks a lot about the things, not just the podcast and the, and the brand deals and social media, it’s all the other infrastructure that has to be in place. RV: (10:47) So the biggest takeaway for me, which was my second with Chris, which I loved was he said, ego is your greatest overhead. I just loved that. And that is tweetable moment. That’s a pillar point as we would teach and that concept y’all have that ego is the thing that holds you back because it’s the thing that keeps you scared and keeps you worried and like keeps you stuck is because you’re afraid it won’t be good enough. And it will, you know, whatever you’ll face criticism. It’s also the thing that keeps us from scaling because we’re so focused on ourselves and we’re, we’re not just serving our audience and helping them. And I just thought that was super powerful. And if you’re stuck in any, in any form or fashion, as it relates to the business, it’s like, God, ask the ego question. Who am I thinking about? And who am I producing content for? And how am I making decisions every day? Is it for me? Or is it for the best interests of are our customer? And that’s just, that was strong. Ego is the greatest overhead AJV: (11:54) That is strong. Alright. My third point, I’ll make it short and sweet of just this whole concept of, you have to know where the trends are heading and if you’re not creating them, you need to at least know where they are, because they’re all relevant to you. If you’re building a personal brand and he used the example of social media and he said it, you know, it kind of, if you look at the evolution of where people are going and what people are doing, it went from MySpace to Facebook and Facebook to Instagram and Instagram now to take top. And we were just having this debate before we started the interview. And I’m like, yeah, just, I started really like Ted talks on my thing and does it really have to be my thing to have a presence on there? And is that where the trends are going and what’s it going to look like in one to five years, but to just say, that’s not my thing, I’m going to ignore it really. It’s probably a little bit negligent. If your business is in the business of personal branding, so it was a good aha moment for me. RV: (12:51) We did ignore Snapchat though. We made a conscious decision to ignore Snapchat and that worked out well. But what we didn’t do was go all in on stories yeah. At the time, which is what we should have done, which was like, okay, AJV: (13:04) Again, it’s all about just, you gotta be in the know, and that takes time and research. And just knowing what’s out there, it’s like, if this is your business model, make it your business and it’s your business to know what’s going on. Yeah. RV: (13:17) Be where the people are on that note. So one thing our team shared with us this morning is, is they saw something that apparently Instagram is about to start on rolling ads on IgE TV posts. So that’s a new thing that’s coming. That’s more of a, what we would call a phase three conversation about paid traffic. But if you’re listening and you know, you, you know, our lingo and phase three, and you’re in that paid traffic section, that’s a big time, big time win because if someone’s watching HGTV, that’s a super fan. And so the idea to be able to run ads to those people is yes, powerful, powerful. So be on the lookout for that. My last thing you know, is what Chris was all about is this thing is all about generosity and just giving. And he’s such a giver him and Lori, they’re always doing sponsor your, to like contests and sponsoring small businesses and giving them money to help them start. RV: (14:09) And they’re just really awesome about that. But I think he, you know, he said, it’s the key to everything. One it’s good for your heart. But the other thing is, as a business strategy, it creates massive reciprocity. And even it doesn’t mean you have to be given away a thousand dollars sweepstakes every week, but you’re giving away your ideas. You’re giving away your knowledge. You’re giving way education, encouragement, insight information. And that creates the law of reciprocity when you give to people. And that’s the power of podcasting and YouTube and all social media and email is that you can give, give, give, give, give, give, and it’s like, you can’t lose you. You can’t, outgive, you can’t, outgive the universe. If you just focus on giving away an amazing experience and everything, you know, it’ll come back to you. And we call this the rule of 10. RV: (15:04) When we talk about pricing in phase two, when we work on your offer structure, and the rule of 10 is, is when, when you’re setting your price, set the price at a rate where you feel confident that you’ve already given away 10 times the value for free as what you’re asking them to pay right now. So by the time they even see a price from you, if it’s a hundred dollar product, the person is literally going, I’ve already gotten a thousand dollars worth of value. And we shared this on a webinar a couple of weeks ago, the rule of 10 and somebody in the comments wrote, and I love this. They said the rule of 10 takes all the slime out of internet marketing. And that’s exactly what we’re talking about is just generosity. Create the law of reciprocity, like test it, try to give away everything. RV: (15:56) You’re not, you know, and see if it doesn’t just come pouring back in to your business. And so Chris just nailed that on the head for me. So that was, that was it’s great interview. God, listen, SP you know, if you’re, if you’re in any kind of network marketing, direct sales, for sure. These guys are superstars, they turned it into a whole media empire. An awesome, awesome couple, although Laurie’s not there. We’ll get Laurie we’ll we’ll, we’ll rope her in to come and do an interview too. So thanks for being here and we’ll catch you next time. Bye.

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