Personal Brand? No Crossover

I just read this article by Sarah Lacy where she describes part of her journey into becoming a brand and then attempting to leverage her new positions. The pivotal paragraph for me was:

Sarah: That take-on-the-world morning, I was having coffee with Steven Levy, then of Newsweek, now of Wired, who challenged this whole idea of whether this “Sarah Lacy” brand was actually translating into things that mattered, like book sales, money, something real and tangible, or whether it was a just smokescreen of hype. And I granted his point. I’ve long been dubious of Internet celebrity’s staying power. It seems the Internet famous hit that moment where they’re on the Today Show, and just about to close a deal with ABC or HBO or pick the big money, you’ve-made-it acronym, but it never really materializes.

I’ve watched this happen several times since I entered the scene in 2006. Internet Celebrities attempting to take their game to the next level. The first, and most obvious example from the paragraph above being Amanda Congdon, formerly of Rocketboom fame, who went on to do Amanda Across America and then a derivative show for ABC where they attempted to emulate Rocketboom, but severely overproduced Amanda, stomping the life and fun out of the personality that she had brought to the Rocketboom anchor chair AND forcing 30-second pre-roll advertisements that had lots of people clicking off the site before they ever got to Amanda’s performance.

Another example would be Lisa Donavan (LisaNova), who went from YouTube to MADtv and then back to the internet. Then, there’s Ze Frank, who made up his own brand of show and viewer interaction, soared to immense popularity, deliberately quit his show after a calendar year and last I noticed, was on the lecture circuit.

So the question is whether the Personal Brand you’re creating “is actually translating into things that matter”. I touched upon this in August, 2008, in Conversion of “Cred”, but Sarah sums up my own personal experience here:

Sarah: But when it comes to stats, the synergy and the cross promotion hasn’t been as easy as it would seem on paper. I’ve been pretty aggressive about linking between things, and if you follow me here or on Twitter, you get a pretty clear day-to-day account of my life. Yet, I’m stunned by how many people read this blog, but never go to TechTicker. Or how many people watch TechTicker, but have no idea I write a BusinessWeek column. Or how many people follow me on Twitter, but still think I’m on staff for BusinessWeek full-time. Or– I swear to God– the number of people who know me from any of those platforms and say, “You wrote a book?” If my life were a reality show, you could insert a montage of all the times I’ve said “my book” in the last year and it would be a mini-series in length. Whenever I get recognized and someone asks if I’m Sarah Lacy, I smile and say yes, but then coyly ask how they know me. Because I’ve learned it’s different every time, and it’s never all-of-the-above.

What I’ve found is that people in general tend to cherry-pick when it comes to content on the net. There *is* no overall “Let me see what Bill Cammack is doing now”. Instead, it’s actually “Let me see what Bill Cammack is offering me that I’m interested in at this particular point in time”. Actually, it has nothing to do with ME in particular. It’s just that I happen to be talking about or showing them something they came to the table already interested in.

This is the reason why when it comes to your Personal Brand, there’s no crossover. People in general are interested in ONE aspect of your character or personality. Without something drawing them to feel like they want to get to know more about YOU as a person, they will NEVER find out about the other elements of your Personal Brand.

I believe it was Hermann Mazard that replied to one of my Twitter posts about Personal Branding with something to the effect of “Doesn’t defining yourself as a brand limit you?”. The answer to that question is whether or not YOU are limited as a person, personality or character. The reason I mention this is that Sarah Lacy is saying she’s a brand with multiple branches or elements. If you’re only willing to “advertise” one element of your brand, then “yes… It is limiting”. Otherwise, your brand is actually a COMBINATION of the different skills and qualities you’re bringing to the table. The only limit to your personal brand is YOU… and the amount of “YOU” that you’re willing to publicize.

However, as Sarah points out, there’s a difference between broadcasting several elements of your Personal Brand and each viewer or reader receiving all the elements you’re publicizing.

Jill & BillThis became obvious to me rather suddenly, as I was hanging out at some party last year, in what I refer to as “mixed company” (people that don’t know each other, but know me). Someone that I hang out with every chance I get and that I also know reads my DatingGenius dating advice column was visibly and audibly stunned when this other person he had just met mentioned that I was an Emmy Award-Winning video editor. So, this guy that I’ve been hanging out with for MONTHS already and has been reading one category of my blog never ventured into any of my OTHER categories or looked at my sidebar, where it’s clearly marked, what I do, and what I’m into. πŸ˜€

That’s when it REALLY clicked for me that people cherry-pick. Personally, I’m the opposite way. Once I determine that I’m interested in one aspect of a person, I E-Stalk them until I feel I have a full grasp of who they’re expressing themselves to the internet to be. I Google them and look for them on Facebook, Twitter and other social sites. What I’ve found when it comes to what people absorb or take away from the media I float out onto the internet is the exact same thing that Sarah states. They know me for ONE THING, and not the combination of things that I project/express.

Having said that, πŸ˜€ Before this particular article, my only awareness of Sarah Lacy was that Twitter blew up one day, talkin’ ’bout some chick interviewed the Facebook dude and asked him a bunch of questions that put him on the spot. This was accompanied by videos and other commentary. So I knew what Sarah looked like, I saw the video of her interviewing Zuckerberg, and I saw one or two other videos on the net of her speaking about that incident, and that was the extent of my “knowledge” about her. Essentially, had I met her in person, I would have fallen into the “oh, You wrote a book?” category of people.

I think that part of the reason for this is that this is a search-based culture, which is why Google’s doing so well. People want to know about what they want to know about when they want to know about it. They search for specific things, serially, and really aren’t interested in HOW they got the information or from whom. So if someone searches “Dating Women NYC” and hits my site, they’re not concerned about WHO IT IS that gave them this informaton. They’re concerned with the information itself.

This is why there’s no crossover. People can come to my site looking for dating advice and not care about social media posts, or care about social media and not production & post-production or care about text blogging but not videoblogging…. It’s actually even more specific than that. They can show up here looking for one particular topic and then not delve into ANY of my other posts on the exact same topic! πŸ˜€

I think that what this amounts to is “You can’t take it with you”. I had this discussion with Tyme White back in March, 2008. The question was, essentially, “If there’s a hostess (Eye Candy) of a show, and the show fails, does that become a negative mark on her resume?”. Tyme said “yes”, because the actress would be associated with a failure. I said “no”, because it’s clear to people that the Eye Candy has NOTHING to do with the actual content or production of the show. She’s merely reading a script, so that’s the extent of her culpability. As long as she looks good and can read as if she graduated from college, she’ll thrive regardless of a history of failed shows that she hosted.

Similarly, in response to Hermann’s question and Sarah’s personal observations, I believe that people cultivate several simultaneous and completely separate brands, under the “umbrella” of *A* Personal Brand. This is why a personal brand is not limiting… because you can make as many of them as you want. It’s also why you can’t cross-monetize. People that love one aspect of your umbrella of brands don’t give a damn about any of the other aspects.

IME, people that like my dating blog don’t care about my social media blog. People that like my social media blog don’t care about my videos. People that like my videos don’t care about my bike. People that like my cycle stuff don’t care about my video editing content. People that like my video editing content don’t care that I hang out with a bunch of chicks all the time. People that like my photo sets don’t care about what I do to get money…..

So, ultimately, it comes down to how “sticky” your fans are. There’s no guarantee that you can say to your dating blog fans “Hey! Check out this social media post I made! πŸ˜€ ” and that they’ll actually look at it. ‘Matter of fact, there’s no guarantee that you have ANY ability to persuade ANY of your viewers or readers towards doing anything at all. Sarah pointed this out, and I think her point is valid & documented:

Sarah: I’ve written before that one of the advantages of the Internet– the relatively low barrier to click on something– is an advantage for building brands and gaining distribution online, but it’s also a disadvantage. People flock to you as a side-show, but don’t actually want to invest real dollars to support whatever you are doing. Honestly, how many of Tila Tequila’s million MySpace friends buy her CDs? There’s a currency in mild watching-a-train-wreck-fascination and even hate online, that doesn’t exist in the offline world in the same way. And, to date, it hasn’t translated.

I think the ‘side show’ analogy is perfect. People will come to see the bearded lady IN THE CARNIVAL, but if she releases a CD of Barry Manilow covers, nobody cares. They were fans of hers as a FREAK, not fans of hers as a talent that they wanted to hear/see more from. As soon as you take the freak out of the carnival, you hear the crickets at her performances.

Another issue is that you can’t discount the effects of the fishbowl / echo chamber. A lot of the internet fame that’s generated amongst “geeks” can’t be duplicated amongst “real people”. Let’s say you’re a reporter who talks about gadgets or tech stuff. As soon as you’re placed in front of an audience who doesn’t care about that, you’re finished.

On top of that, there are a lot of people that “follow” other people on the net because of that person’s access to information, as opposed to them actually thinking that this person has any “sticky” personal value. This is another reason why crossovers don’t tend to work out. People weren’t paying attention to that person because of their actual personality. They were looking at their physical appearance or leeching off of the fact that that person would get information about tech gadgets before other people. If you remove them from the genre or niche that they’re internet-famous in, they have no star power at all.

Bill, Caroline & DavidSo, the song remains the same when it comes to MSM. You’re not going ANYWHERE unless you have some form of talent or personality trait that people outside of the fishbowl are going to appreciate and latch onto you for.

Meanwhile, there’s no cross-monetizing Personal Branding elements under your umbrella. You have separate audiences for each of your niches. The amount of TIME that you dedicate to maintaining your internet presence will determine how many of your branches you can cultivate simultaneously.

This year, 2009, is going to be all about Personal Branding and positioning. It doesn’t help you to have 5,000 Twitter followers if you can’t get a job from ANY of them. It doesn’t help you to host a tech gadget show if your aspiration is to be an actual actor/actress. It doesn’t help you to create social media destination sites if nobody wants to socialize with YOU, or, more importantly, with EACH OTHER.

The game’s going to change this year. Live Broadcasting & Character Development are going to be the route to developing Passionate Viewers and consequently “sticky” Popularity / “Cred”. Just like rap music, internet video has gotten to the point where ANYBODY can get on the mic. The only way you’re going to successfully cross over and gain traction outside of the fishbowl / echo chamber is by demonstrating UNIVERSAL value.

As opposed to the sum total of your branding efforts, your position & success in 2010 is going to depend on the branch(es) of your Personal Brand that you invest your time cultivating and demonstrating to people that you’re a viable, universal talent that can make it to AND THRIVE IN “The Big Show”.

~Bill Cammack

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  1. Haha, I still disagree with you. I think you’re putting A LOT more logic into the “it “doesn’t” follow you” discussion than most people actually do. People have impressions and not necessarily based on logic. Your mainstream average person is not going to say, “Oh, she was reading a script….”. The default is “She was in X and that sucked”. Companies do not want that stigma; neither does the actor or actress, because they become less marketable. The more “content” a person makes that the general audience dislikes or potentially worse doesn’t care about, the harder it is for the person to continue to thrive in that niche.

    Amanda Congdon is a good example. She’ll always be known as the girl that shouldn’t have left Rocketboom and when she did flopped on her own. She kept trying to do projects on her own and the more she tried, the further she distanced herself from the popularity she once had. According to your theory, companies would be open using her because she was simply the girl reading the script. I think companies would be wary of using her if they are aware of the negative impressions surrounding her that would be difficult to overcome and monetize.

    Scriggity is another example. Shauna was great – no one could live up to her. Every female they got after her, regardless of look and skill, could never compare to Shauna. According to you, the next women should have been women simply reading a script. Instead, they were dogged by the audience because the audience “really” wanted Shauna back.

    As far as Sarah Lacy is concerned, to many people (perhaps the majority of mainstream people) she is the woman that screwed up the Facebook interview. Just for fun (not many people online this early) I asked some friends if they heard of her and if so, what book she wrote. None of them knew the book but they remembered her messed up Facebook interview. Thanks to your article I took a more thorough look at her site and where she writes. Now my impression is “The girl that messed up the Facebook interview, wiggles WAY too much on TechTicker to the point she annoys me, and writes what I consider ‘fluff’ for BusinessWeek.” Thank you for being the catalyst in broadening my personal profile of her. I mean no disrespect Sarah but that is MY perspective. I’m sure others looking at the same content I did will see something different.

    BUT if it is negative, the impression will always override the logic of “she’s just a girl doing her job…”. If she wants to straighten out her brand she should work on one thing…

    How to be taken seriously and how to connect with her audience. I wish her luck, particularly since it is challenging for women to succeed in male dominated fields.

    1. awwwwwwwww Here We GO! :/

      What you’re saying is that the average Joe/Josephine can’t separate content from being a figurehead. I doubt that’s the case. “Miami Vice” was the worst ‘remake’ since the movie camera was invented, yet Colin Farrell & Jamie Foxx continue to receive offers to act in new films.

      They are ACTORS… figureheads. It’s up to the new director to utilize them to make his or her film look and sound good.

      Of course, YOUR argument’s going to be that if people think Colin Farrell SUCKED in Miami VIce, they’re not going to be interested in watching his next film. I disagree. I think people have fans for whatever reason they have them. Some people are fans because of how the “on-air talent” looks. Some people are fans because of how those people interact with their audiences. Some people are fans because of the activities they’ve witnessed the “talent” getting involved in off-screen. There’s no telling which aspect of the “talent”‘s presence a particular viewer has latched onto, so there’s no way you can definitely say that the viewer is assessing blame for the failure of a show that the “talent” had no control over. It’s POSSIBLE, and I’m sure there’s a percentage who see things that way, but it’s not a given.

      Scriggity is a completely different example. πŸ™‚ Shauna was Shauna, and everyone else was NOT. Period. You can’t blame the post-Shauna trajectory of the show on the subsequent hosts, except in direct comparison to Shauna. Once you place them back “out in the wild”, the hosts are just as viable as “on-air talent” as they were before. Just like Colin keeps getting work, so will they. πŸ˜€

      You may have a point that I tend to view things as individual achievements and not everyone being downgraded or upgraded because of involvement with a show that rises or falls. Of course, being a content creator myself, it’s way more clear to me that there are people working behind the scenes and filming and editing and writing, so I’m going to see shows in a more modular fashion than most.

      Regardless, I think the average viewer can tell the difference between someone who just can’t act or even read above a 3rd grade level, and someone who has the look and the ability but was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and ended up on a show that ceased to exist. I think that any stigma that MIGHT be attached to that figurehead is easily overshadowed by strong performances on their next project(s).

      1. I’m not saying they can’t separate content from a figurehead, I’m saying they won’t because there isn’t a reason for them to. A viewer either likes the person or they don’t. If they don’t like the person the separation of content vs. a figurehead debate won’t apply. They’ll watch or listen to someone they do like. You are in video so you have a skewed perception, IMO. Reality is, and the entertainment industry has proven this, if an entertainer continues to make movies, records, etc. that are not successful, the amount they are paid decreases. Their ability to get new jobs decreases. You have A – D lists. A’s get paid more, D’s do not receive the more quality gigs.

        Heck, in the normal job world if a person goes to work and doesn’t produce enough to make their stay there worth while for the employer, the person will get fired. It’s the same point. The figurehead vs. content argument dies when it comes to money.

        Maybe the difference is the type of gig. “A” gig and a good gig are two different things to me. According to a friend of mine that is an actress if the successes don’t outweigh the failures the ability to get any type of gig decreases exponentially.

        1. I think you’re assuming more turnover / opportunity for failure than really exists on the internet at this point in time. It’s not like people are getting into new shows left and right. I think the most I’ve seen personally is maybe four different shows in a two-year time span. Sure, if you don’t do well with four shows in a row, it might be time to try a different career. If it’s your hobby, try, try again.

          Also, your work analogy isn’t valid unless the “on-air talent” is BAD at what they do. That’s not the only reason why shows fail. If that were the case, then I’d agree with you. “As goes the show, goes the talent’s rep”.

          What I’m saying is that the talent could be GOOD and the show still doesn’t get the viewership it needs to remain viable. Anyway, now that actual production companies are entering the space, all this stuff is going to go BACK TO THE OLD SCHOOL, with auditions, etc.

          hahaha The British are coming!!! The British are coming! πŸ˜€

  2. “It doesnÒ€ℒt help you to have 5,000 Twitter followers if you canÒ€ℒt get a job from ANY of them.” – I keep asking and asking and asking for someone to show me tangible monetary results for all this work by the people trying to spin up their careers, products etc, and I can summarize all the responses I’ve received as, “if I keep talking about it, it will happen” or, to paraphrase a notable web biz persona (who started out with his family’s already successful brick and mortar), “if you have a passion for it, you won’t have to worry about the money”.
    Don’t mistake my criticism for ill will. I know enough people doing this tap dance and they are genuinely working hard to sell themselves/products/services through these SM channels and I’d sure like to see them rewarded… I would love to hear a success story that talks about ROI in terms of money, not clicks, views, stickiness/retention statistics, or an increase in followers.

    1. Well, see, hahaha That’s the thing about SM. It’s not actually tangible. It’s vaporware. πŸ™‚

      It’s ideas, concepts, plans… It’s choosing to use Facebook Connect vs Google Friend Connect. It’s making a Facebook Group vs making a Facebook Fan Page vs making a Ning site. It’s using instead of YouTube… Ustream instead of BlogTV.

      The way you make money with SM is explaining how to use it to people who know less than you do. This is why there are so many “Social Media Experts”. The obvious problem here is that you have to have clients to consult in order to make money by telling people stuff. This is why there are so many “Social Media Experts” with day jobs.

      Meanwhile, with money drying up out from under startups, people are being laid off, and somehow, the hundreds (or, in my case, a couple of thousand and for some people in the TENS OF THOUSANDS) of people that you’re acquainted with on your social or business connection sites don’t have one single job that YOU can do for them or anybody they know.

      I guess that’s one of the downsides of SM… everybody you know works the exact same job. πŸ˜€

  3. Ya know, I deliberately didn’t use the term “vaporware” because of the negative connotation but I’m glad you did. That’s what I meant! πŸ˜€

    “The way you make money with SM is explaining how to use it to people who know less than you do.” – Yup. Nothing wrong with that, but nebulous returns lead to scaled back investment in tough times.

    I had a brief conversation at an event with someone Bill and I know who is currently looking for a job. I’m a helpful kinda guy. This is generally not well known about me – ’cause I’m not well known πŸ˜‰ – I don’t have any superpowers but I have a significant number of recruiting contacts, people who have gotten me work, people who’ve supplied me with talent for project teams. So I asked this person what they did expecting to hear something other than SM since they were out of work when I was talking to them, like maybe Data Analyst, Project Manager, Business Analyst, Tech Writer, or even Librarian. What I got back was SM. Wow, how does anyone have that as their only profession?

    1. That’s the whole point, and it’s basically why this site became what it is and will be whatever it eventually evolves into.

      The whole thing is about demonstrating proficiency and building up people’s confidence in you. The three wins are 1) building up a social/”business” rolodex, 2) becoming a SM manager for a company that doesn’t know more than you do about it, or 3) going “HA-HAAAA” and pulling back the curtain to reveal the actual product or service that you can provide to people for money, now that you have the crowd’s attention.

      So, even though my site began as a way for me NOT to have to take tapes to clients in order to have them hire me, that was rarely useful. My resume’s more useful, but it’s still only utilized when someone’s Googling around, looking for editors. Meanwhile, the evolution was from there to housing my video blog to text blogging to text blogging in several different areas.

      So, now, my site is a demonstration of my proficiencies. I clearly have a fantastic grasp of 90% of what companies would need to bring their group up to speed with SM, so I could market that. I’m obviously good at marketing myself, being that I’m on something like my 10th month of my Google page 1 ranking, so I could manage someone else’s internet presence for them. I can market that. Meanwhile, besides pioneering and knowing more than other people, I have an actual skill, video editing. There’s also website development, running a SM community, making music, live broadcasting, etc etc etc

      So while my site seems to be strictly a loss leader, it’s actually a constant, living, breathing demonstration that I know what I’m doing, which leads people to hire me for sections of their projects that they can’t handle. Tomorrow, for instance, I’m going to digitize some tapes because a client doesn’t have an HDV camera and I do. Instead of paying to rent a deck AND wasting their own time encoding the tapes, they’re paying me to handle that for them.

      In another instance, I got a call because someone couldn’t make a video out of stills and was running up against the deadline of her project. I had her send me the files, and I handled the business for her. That wouldn’t have happened without my over 300 video episodes I’ve released since 2006 that demonstrate my proficiency with video in general and internet video in particular.

      This is why I stopped calling myself a Social Media Expert shortly after I started… even though that’s exactly what I am, because I do this stuff all day every day. The problem is that when everybody uses it, the term takes on the meaning of “a person who sells ideas and concepts” so that people go “ohhhhhhh… Another one of those… :/”

      As you said, there’s nothing wrong with being a SME at all. It’s just going to be tougher and tougher for people to gain compensation as a) companies hire students directly out of college that are already well-versed in SM and b) the SMEs that just finished getting laid off end up in companies where they can become the “staff consultant”, as it were.

      Remember how there used to be a lot of jobs for HTML coders? πŸ˜€

  4. I’ve made money just based on my presence on Twitter and online in general. I don’t brand myself as a social media expert, I just DO it. People notice, ask me my opinions, and sometimes I get paid for that. Sometimes I write web content for people and get paid for that too. If I didn’t have a social media presence, I’d be looking for work; it would be me knocking on employer’s doors. Instead, I don’t look for work, it comes to me.

    I tend to agree that negative stigma can alienate a group, from where-ever that stigma comes, but I’m sure performers can still use “failures” on their resumes. Anyone in that specific industry can look through the hype to see proven skills. It may be a bit more challenging, but stirring up passion in any direction usually gets you enough attention to get your headshot in the door.

    But on branding: I feel like my “brand” is slowly getting out of my control. I’m far from well-known, but I feel pressure from the SM community to move into a more exposed social media role. I get comments about how I should be using Twitter, what I should blog about, how I should utilize SM to be seen as an expert. I am actually starting to feel guilty if I veer from that format. I get comments that I can’t be categorized easily, that people don’t know what I do for a living, that they can’t depend on me for consistent content in one subject. I have narrowed my subjects on my blog to social media and writing (my two main interests) but that isn’t good enough for either community. And Twitter, geez, don’t get me started.

    The pressure to become more well-known, as an authority, is well-intentioned, surely. Just like the kid from a small town with a great voice is encouraged to head down to Nashville and give it a shot, I’d face some major challenges and I’d need a whole lotta luck to get to the level of a Scoble or a Brogan. Even then, I’d have given up fiction and poetry to settle down in SM. So here I am, a realistic kid with a voice, that can’t stay home and can’t imagine making it against all odds either.

    It really does push me to choose. Which would you pick, Bill? I’d say video, because that is what you do. For me, I’d make more money in tech/SM, but writing is what I do.

    1. Hey Chris! πŸ˜€

      Definitely, I think that SM is a good thing. Basically, what I’m saying by calling it vaporware is that it doesn’t really tangibly exist, not that it’s some kind of scam or snake oil sales. πŸ™‚ For instance, Social Media consulting is your concept about “Recent Visitors” lists invading privacy. That’s an idea. It’s not a product or service. It doesn’t tangibly exist… However, by selecting to follow your advice, a company might benefit in that more people would be willing to link their friends to a site that doesn’t have an opt-out indicator widget. People might visit more, since they know that their visits aren’t being visibly logged, and in chronological order. The site might look better without all those non-picture avatars there. The site might look better without a static list of people, because everyone that comes to the site logs out of mybloglog/yahoo before clicking SPECIFICALLY SO they don’t show up on the list, and the list stagnates and doesn’t honestly represent the viewership of the site anyway. Not to mention the people who have NEVER SIGNED UP for mybloglog in the first place.

      So, the positive aspect of SM is that you or I or anyone else can get paid merely because we’re ahead of the game. If they don’t pay SMEs for our advice, they can waste their own time trying to figure out what we already spent the last year and a half thinking about. Meanwhile, they won’t be spending time on their own business, and they’ll probably lose more money than they would have spent on the consultant.

      The negative aspect is that since it’s not a tangible skill, like carpentry, for instance, if someone gets laid off from a staff job without having their own set of clients, they’ve got a big problem. All of a sudden, they need to scramble to find people or companies that need the knowledge they’ve accumulated. I see what you mean though, and I agree that it’s ALSO an opportunity, in case someone has difficulty finding actual work, knowledge of SM CAN pay bills for you in the interim or even become a secondary career path.

      re: Negative Stigma – To use “Miami Vice” again, that was an horrific film. BOOOOORING. They should have been disallowed from putting the name “Miami Vice” on it. It was a travesty. I would have rather watched two back-to-back episodes of the real thing. Anyway… You can’t look at that movie and low-grade all the funny stuff Jamie Foxx did on “In Living Color” and you can’t take away his other heralded performances. As you mention, it all goes on the resume, in the career.

      The PERSON is going to be “judged” on their own merit. The SHOW is, as well. IF the show was bad because the “on-air talent” isn’t talented, then BOTH the show and the figurehead get blamed and THAT goes along with them to the next show they host. If the PERSON was good in the show, but it failed for other reasons, I don’t believe any stigma’s going to be attached to that performer.

      As far as your branding issue, I had the same thing happen to me. First, I was a video editor, then I was also a website developer, then I was also a videoblogger, then I was a text blogger about video, then a text blogger about tech, then a text blogger about dating, now about going to the gym… Meanwhile, I’m on forums and social media sites and applications. What I found was that since my life is dynamic, not static, I always have different things to talk about. This isn’t useful for any type of consistent, sustainable content other than “What is Bill thinking/saying today”. This, of course, makes it impossible to build a community of people whose lives are static and they only want to read about one topic over and over.

      My suggestion would be to split your blog (horrible formatting, I know. It’s because of my theme change. I don’t have time to deal with that right now. πŸ˜€ ) as much as possible so that the people that want to read SM can get that, and the people that are interested in other things that you post can find that as well.

      Twitter’s a completely different issue, because you want to have only one account, and you can’t split whom you send your posts to. You could have two accounts, but that would misrepresent your “readership”.

      On top of that, you have to look at what you want to be your legacy. Will it benefit you down the line to say “I followed what people wanted me to do at the expense of what I really WANTED to do”? or “I did what I WANTED to do and wasn’t as successful as I could have been at SM consulting”? On top of both of those issues, you have an actual FAMILY you’re raising, which puts an obvious strain on time, disallowing you from burning the candle at both ends and putting in as much time on the hobby side as you put in on the business side and rocking BOTH.

      If I were in your situation, I’d give the SM side “the old college try”. πŸ˜€ I’d set aside, say, two months where I’d get down & dirty in SM, full bore, and see how I felt about the two months I had spent doing that. Was it worthwile? Did I gain followers? Did I get paid business? Do I have more props in the SM community? Are more people looking to me for advice?… Also, How was it, neglecting writing? What did I miss out on? Have my skills in it diminished? Has my passion for it decreased or increased?

      That’s what I’d do. I’d take a trial period and simulate a permanent choice. That way, if you don’t like it, reel it back in and go the other route.

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