Hey brand builder, Rory Vaden here. Thank you so much for taking the time to check out this interview as always, it’s our honor to provide it to you for free and wanted to let you know there’s no big sales pitcor anything coming at the end. However, if you are someone who is looking to build and monetize your personal brand, we would love to talk to you and get to know you a little bit and hear about some of your dreams and visions and share with you a little bit about what we’re up to to see if we might be a fit. So if you’re interested in a free strategy call with someone from our team, we would love to hear from you. You can do that at brand builders, group.com/podcall, brand builders, group.com/podcall. We hope to talk to you soon.
Welcome to a very special recap edition of the influential personal brand podcast. I am about you break down the interview that just happened between me and AJ Vaden, who at this point you probably know is the CEO and co-founder my co-founder at brand builders group. She’s our CEO. She’s also my wife and has been my business partner for a long time. My best friend, just the, the most brilliant woman, like I just love being in business with AJ, obviously doing life together and raising a family and all that, but I, I love being in business with her. And so I’m gonna break down the recap of, of some of the things that I just learned from this interview. And I’m gonna give you my top three takeaways from from, from the inner view with AJ and the first, I mean, the first kind of key takeaway, just to make sure you got it is that this moment is the demarcation line for a change in the format of this podcast.
So I don’t know how long you’ve been listening, but what we have been doing is typically. I will do an interview every week, and that is like the first episode that comes out in a week. And then AJ and I do a recap, basically sharing our takeaways from that interview as the second episode every week. And we are changing that. So as of, of now going forward, what is happening is that every week I will do an interview and then I will do the debrief recap of that interview all as one episode, and then AJ will conduct an interview and she will do the debrief, recap, all of that interview or, or that episode. And so it’ll be, you know, more content, although we’re publishing at the same frequency every single week. So that is part of why we did this very special edition with me and her together as a way to, you know, draw attention also to the change in format.
And this podcast is growing tremendously. We are regularly in the top two hundreds of all podcasts in the careers category and across all iTunes and, and in the us and in several countries around the globe. And so we’re just excited about it. We’re putting more resources into this show and into the content that comes, you know, comes out and, and the prep for it and getting guests for it and just working really, really hard to make it more and more valuable to you. So that’s that, you know, related to that, obviously we talked about this a couple times, but this interview was based on a national research study that we can called the trends in personal branding, national research study. And this took us over a year. All in, it was, it was tens of thousands of dollars that we invested into it.
It’s been well over a year in the planning phases and the execution, and then creating this and we are giving it away for free right now. If you go to brand builder, group.com/podtrends, brandbuildersgroup.com/podtrends, you can download this entire study, which we believe is changing. The Fu that the future of marketing is personal branding. And that there is this transference, this tip happening where it’s less about companies and products, and it is shifting more towards people in the future, at least, you know, that’s what we’re banking on and, and, and we love, and, and we’re excited to be a part of it. So make sure that you go download that brand builders group.com/pod trends. You want to get your hands on this study. It’s beautiful. It’s really easy to flip through it’s 70 pages or something, but you can flip through the whole thing in probably 10 or 12 minutes, and there’s some extremely powerful insights that come right out of it.
So go, go make sure you grab a copy now in terms of the interview that happened. And it’s, it’s fun. I love interviewing my wife. I love learning from my wife. I love learning from her as my wife and my friend, but as our CEO, I mean, she is just extraordinary in her ability to run an organization and understand what an organization needs. You know, she has a lot of experience doing corporate consulting in the life that we used to come from at our former company that we, we started together her back in 2006, and then we exited in 2018 when we sold that company, a huge part of what she did was just do consulting with organizations. And so she understands, you know, big trends and, and how to move, you know, big ships and, and, and, and, and see what’s coming and see the way that things really should be.
And so I of learning from her and these are, you know, some of, some of, some of my biggest highlights from, from the from the whole interview. Okay. So the first one is that personal branding and, and this, this is something that you’re gonna wanna understand, and if it wasn’t super clear, make sure you, you grasp this personal branding. Isn’t really something new, personal branding is simply the digital of reputation, the digitization of reputation. And, and we also sometimes say the monetization of reputation. We talk about this as a hypothesis. This is something we tested in our national research report, and that this trends report, this national research study that we did, which is that personal branding is all about reputation. It’s just do people have, what do people know you for? And do they trust you? And what are the behaviors that you can engage in that will build you more trust that will help you become more well known that will help you have a greater impact in the world world.
That is reputation. And I love the way that AJ described this. When she talked about her small town, how even in the small town, everybody had a reputation. And it made me think about the, the small town where I grew up in Frederick. It’s not a small these days, but when I went to high school in Frederick, it was so small. We, we, I mean, we, we didn’t have a stoplight and it was like, everybody knew everybody and everybody had a reputation, they were all known for something. They all had certain characteristics. And it was just kind of like you learned the reputations as you went along and, and then you go, well, that’s just a tiny, small kind of farm community. And that is blown up to become what the, the world is is and what the, in like what the internet is and what will one day become the metaverse, which is just this digitization of your reputation is what are you known for?
How well are you known? Are you trusted? What do we look to you for? What do we look to you as the, the go to source for blank? And that’s what brand builders group is, is all about. We don’t brand companies, we brand people, we, because a, a, a person is, is, is simple and clear of like, this is you. And what do you want to be known for? What do you believe? What, what are you the expert in? And of course, one of our biggest philosophies that we teach is that you are most power positioned to serve the person you once were, you are most powerfully positioned to solve the problem for someone else that you have already solved for yourself. It’s the digitization of reputation. And so we are here as a company to help you become more well known and seeing the data a have been 74% of Americans are more likely to trust someone with an established personal brand.
Of course they are, because it’s just a new word for reputation, personal branding, reputation. They’re the same thing. Personal branding does not mean social media and video courses and bestselling books and podcasts, and, you know, websites and da, da, da, da. Those are just extensions of a reputation. It’s about you, your values, your beliefs what you wanna be known for your expertise, the path that you’ve walked, the lives that you serve, the, the mission that you’ve dedicated yourself to, and your, your, your track record of being able to help people do that. And, and your track record of being able to do that for yourself, that is reputation. All these other things are just extensions of that into sort of a, a digital world, which you know, right now is mostly websites and social media and content. And, you know, something that we see in the future, you know, now be eventually becoming the metaverse, but your reputation will follow you everywhere.
Whether you’re in a small town like Frederick, whether you’re in a big corporate company, a big global company, whether you’re online or social media on your website, or one day into the metaverse, your reputation will follow you. And so you have to build it and, and, and manicure it deliberately and professionally and intelligently and, and intentionally, and that is something that we’re here to help you do. So that was just huge, personal branding is the digitization of reputation. The second of thing, which is one of, one of my favorite things that AJ has ever said, and one of my favorite things that she’s ever taught me and one of my favorite things about her that she has done is she believes and has proven that it does not take millions of followers to make millions of dollars. It doesn’t take millions of followers to make millions of dollars.
And I think too often, we go, oh, well, you know, I, I can’t monetize my personal brand or personal branding. Doesn’t apply to me cuz I don’t have millions of followers or I don’t care to have millions of followers. I don’t wanna be famous, but that I think is an err in judgment because we all want to be more well known. I mean, we, if, if we wanna make an impact in the world, if we wanna make a difference in the world, if we want our life to count for something, if, if we want to be on our deathbed, looking back and saying, my life mattered, why did my life matter? Because I made a lot of money because I had a lot of followers. No, because I impacted a lot of people because the, the, the, the way I spent my hours in life will have an impact after my death, that, that my life stood for something, it counted for something, because it affected someone.
It helped someone, it helped many someones. It helped thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of people to live a better life, a more enriched life, a healthier life, a more meaningful life, whatever your mission is, but that is why it, it matters. And that the, you don’t have to have millions of followers to, to make money from doing that. The, the, the look, the brand builders, we say that we serve mission driven messengers. The reason we say that is not because we don’t care about money. We do care about money, but it is subservient to the mission. The mission requires money. Money is a, is necessity of growing the mission. It, it takes a lot of people and, and resources and skill sets, and it takes a team to accomplish anything. Great. And so those people typically aren’t available to, to work for free. So you gotta have money.
And so money is a, a necessary component that we have to be able to deal with and generate in order to a, a good steward in fiduciary to grow a business and to accelerate our message, but the, but making money, isn’t the number one priority. It’s not the highest focus. The highest focus is, is the mission. It is making an impact. It’s making a difference in the world and you can make a difference in the world without having millions of fun followers. You can look the, the, sometimes you’ll hear people complain about the algorithms, right? Oh, you know, the algorithms is you, you, I, I can’t get enough reach cuz the algorithms are blocking me. Well, yeah. Sometimes that’s frustrating, right? Like if you catch the algorithm, right, it’s gonna expose you to new people. What a blessing, what a, what a tremendous opportunity. But regard, you know what the algorithm can’t stop.
It can’t stop you from making a deeper impact with the people that are in front of you right now, whether that’s one or five or 10 or a hundred or a hundred million people, the algorithm doesn’t stop. The impact that you have with the people who do see your content. It might, I prevent you from reaching more people. But here’s the thing. If you focus on serving the people who are seeing your content right now in a deeper way, the algorithm will push you to more people. So if you focus on serving the people in front of you like serve the person you have now serve the one view that you’re getting on your or video, like go all in on going, how can I help these 13 people that are following me? What value can I add to their life? How can I support them?
How can I lift them up? And, and what you will find is if you do that, you know, those dozens of followers will become hundreds and thousands. And before you know it, you don’t need million of followers to make millions of dollars. Like the money actually trails much faster than you would think. Like you might think, oh, I gotta have a million or several hundred thousand followers to make money. You don’t like some of the wealthiest people inside of the brand builders group, community. I mean, I’m talking about the people who sell their company for hundreds of millions of dollars, tens of millions of dollars, or they’re, you know, multi seven figure businesses or multi eight figure businesses. Every single year, they’re making real money. They don’t have a ton of followers cuz they’ve spent their life building, building a, a, a, a company building a machine that actually makes money.
And they haven’t spent much time building, building their personal brand. So, you know, you, don’t the followers and dollars. It’s not a direct equation. Now we want lots of followers cause we wanna make impact, but you don’t need millions of followers to make millions of dollars. You also don’t need millions of followers to make an impact. Every single person is an opportunity for impact every single click, every single view, every single, you know, share like comment, every person who subscribes, like instead of always being consumed and concerned with how many do I have? What if you became all in consumed infatuated, like just totally concerned with the idea of how do I impact the people that I do have in a deeper way, how do I become more valuable to them? How do I educate them better? How do I inspire them better? How do I coach them better? How do I love on them better? What do they need? How can I help? How can I be of value? How can I be of use to them?
And if you do that, you will make millions of dollars, even if you don’t have millions of followers. And so I just love when AJ goes off on that because it’s, it’s such a good reminder that the, the, the thing that we think we need is not the thing that we actually need and it’s not even worth. It’s not even the thing worth chasing. It’s not chasing I, our, our advice to you would be don’t chase followers and don’t chase dollars, chase impact, right? Chase making a difference. Chase mission, mission driven messengers means mission over money. Mission is greater than money. Money is subservient to the mission. Impact is what we’re after. And we believe not just believe we know we’ve lived. It we’ve experienced it. It’s it’s happened in our life over and over again in our friends’ lives. In our clients’ lives. We know 100% without a shadow of a doubt. If you chase impact, the money will come.
If you focus on making a difference, you will make money. If you focus on creating fans, you will create customers, chase impact. And so, anyways, that is huge. Inspires me when she talks about it. It, it just lights me up cuz that’s, that’s why we started the company like brand builders group is not even focused on, I mean, we have revenue targets and things, cuz they’re necessary to run the business and like, you know, pay people, a living wage and hopefully create exciting opportunities and incomes for them. But it’s like we’re after impact, we’re chasing impact. We’re not chasing dollars. And that’s how, you know, if you belong here, I mean, seriously, that’s how, you know, if you belong in this community is if you’re someone who goes, yep. I buy in, I will chase. I am chasing impact. I wanna make a difference. I, I, I feel like my life is meant to be used for something.
I feel like there is a calling inside of me, a message inside of me that I am supposed to deliver some message to the world, not how do I make, how do I double my income in 60 days? I mean, doesn’t mean we don’t wanna do that. We do wanna do that, but that’s not the focus. That’s the byproduct. That’s the byproduct money is the byproduct of mission. At least that’s our philosophy. And then the last thing, and this is just a quick one, but oh, it was so good when she was talking about the data of which industries do personal brands matter the most. Right? And it’s like, oh, of course. It’s of course it’s like, you would think it’s oh, it’s influencers and it’s authors and it’s musicians and it’s artists like you would think this is who we think of when we think of personal brands.
And yet the data says it’s doctors, it’s lawyers, it’s financial advisors, right? It’s it’s accountants, it’s service providers and it is coaches and consultants, but it’s it’s and, and here’s, here’s what the takeaway was. She said the higher level of trust that is required to do your job. The more value having an established personal brand becomes the higher level of trust that is required to do your job. The more having an established personal brand becomes that is so powerful. Right? And, and you go on the one hand, that’s a really interesting statistic. On the other hand, I go, well, no, duh, like of course I have to trust my doctor. Like if this is the person that potentially is gonna take a knife and cut me open, like if my heart’s on the line, like hopefully I, I trust them. Or, you know, the person that I’m taking advice and counsel from for my overall health and wellbeing, it’s like, of course I have to trust that person.
If it’s my accountant, it’s like, I have to trust that they know what they’re doing, but also trust that they have my best interest in mind, my financial advisor, I have to trust them, not just their competency, but the fact that they care about me. And that is where the, this differentiation is, is happening. It’s not just about demonstrating that you have competency. It’s about demonstrating that you have compassion. It’s about demonstrating that you care, not just that you’re able, but that you care. And that is why seeing your face on social media or a website or, you know, having a chance to access you is really important. Not just, you know, here’s our company, here’s who we are. There’s power in that too. But the, the evolution is going. I wanna know you, I wanna know the person, the other side of this desk on the other side of this camera, on the other side of this operating table, on the other side of, you know, filling out my taxes, like, who are you?
And do I do I believe in you, do we believe the same things? And do you know what you’re doing, but, but do you care about me? Do you understand me? Do you know what I’m struggling with? And can you help me? And that is personal branding. And the more that, the more trust that is required there, the more that the personal brand matters, right? Like the more intimate our relationship is gonna be. The more trust that is necessary, the more having a personal brand matters, not millions of followers, but just this, this authentic, this authentic connection between us, this, this transparent visibility into who you are and what you believe. And, oh, I just, this, having the data to back all of this up is just, I mean, it’s edifying and it is it’s convicting even, even more than we were before. So I hope you love the interview with AJ.
You’re gonna love the episodes, right? Like I, I know you’ve probably gotten to hear some of her on the debrief, but hearing more, I mean, she’s so astute and sharp and just the way she sees the world. And so we’re just, I’m personally excited for you to get to know her and really like hear more of her heart and, and see it come out in these interviews that she’s doing. I know you’re just, you’re just, you’re gonna love her more and more and more, the more you get to know her. And, and we wanna get to know you more, right? So I hope we’re seeing you like I mean, we love doing this podcast, love it. The trick is we never see you, right? We, we don’t even get much feedback other than, you know, if you can leave us a review, leave us a review, cuz we see those.
But if you follow us on social, you know, I’m most active on Instagram, AJ’s most active on LinkedIn. We’re also picking up our social media presence and, and trying like as more of the company gets more people in place AJ and are trying to like spend more time getting to know you and interacting with you. You know, come leave us comments and, and, and share with us what you’re thinking and what you’re struggling with and, you know, download the study. And also our team wants to get to know you. Like if you think, if you’re wanting to become more well known and make more of an impact request, a free call you know, come over and check us out free brand call dot com. What is it? I don’t know. It’s on every ad