Over the course of the past two decades, we’ve witnessed the rise of a veritable “golden age” of entrepreneurship.
A blend of factors, including the popularity of tech startups, the availability of more resources and technology for building companies plus a rejuvenated interest in entrepreneurship in general have cultivated an interesting new persona in break-out new businesses: the entrepreneurial rock star.
Related: 5 Steps to Build Your Personal Brand
Accorded the same celebrity as traditional rock stars, these entrepreneurs captivate public interest and generate mass appeal for their respective brands. But how did these people get there, and how can you adopt the same practices to generate a similar appeal for your own personal brand?
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Qualities of an entrepreneurial rock star
First, consider the distinctive qualities of the prototypical entrepreneurial “rock star,” and why this position is valuable and rightly coveted:
- The face of the company. These entrepreneurs all became the face of their respective companies over time, in some cases becoming even more celebrated than the companies themselves. For example, can you imagine Apple without Steve Jobs? Even better, how many people are familiar with the operations of SpaceX, Solar City or Tesla? Aren't those same people, however, familiar with Elon Musk? I’d wager that Musk’s popularity exceeds that of his individual companies.
- Personality. Being an entrepreneurial rock star is about more than just owning a successful company. You also have to have a recognizable, dynamic and appealing personality. That last quality doesn’t mean being friendly or likable to everyone, but it does mean that something about your personality appeals to the masses. For example, Richard Branson’s willingness to be daring helped propel him to popularity as much as his material success.
- Role modeling. People also idolize people who have done incredible things, so that they themselves can learn and hopefully replicate those role models' success. That's one reason people latch on to CEOs of hugely successful startups even when those CEOs themselves aren’t trying to become popular. (Think: Mark Zuckerberg.)
The human factor
It’s important to recognize that a major factor for the existence of entrepreneurial rock stars is an inherent quality of us humans: We like to see and connect with other humans. It’s far easier to look at, learn from and be inspired or entertained by someone with a face and personality than it is by a corporation.
The simple fact that someone who's a mere human being -- and a sincere one at that -- can provide a massive boost to his or her potential appeal.
Only some entrepreneurs?
Many startups and businesses skyrocket to popularity, but only some of those hyper-successful entrepreneurs end up becoming “rock stars.” Why is this? Part of it boils down to visibility; some entrepreneurs intentionally try to avoid the spotlight.
But another, even more, significant motivation is the bandwagon effect, where more people tend to pay attention to what’s already popular. Essentially, once certain entrepreneurs reach a popularity threshold, they become even bigger celebrities simply because of the exposure. Their position in the public eye then rises rapidly.
How to become an entrepreneurial rock star
So, how can you become an entrepreneurial rock star in your own right? What strategies do you need to adopt?
- Build a personal brand. Personal brands are a gateway for you to build a bigger, more trusting and closer audience, whether you’re aiming to become the face of your brand or just looking to promote your content in higher circles. Remember to be true to yourself; people respect sincerity, so just demonstrating your real personality and expertise will take you a long way in generating popularity.
- Be bold. You’ll need to distinguish yourself in some unique way. Be bold in your actions and content and take advantage of any publication opportunities. The bigger the impact you make, and the more headlines you generate, the more attention you’ll receive for your personal and corporate brands. Elon Musk is an example of a bold entrepreneur, best known for his goals of colonizing Mars and making sustainable energy sources accessible and affordable for the world. Musk proves that where there's a strong enough will, there's a way.
- Get published. Obviously, if you want to make yourself visible, you’ll need to get yourself published. Work on getting some guest posts in general publications, starting off with less prestigious and local sources to build a name for yourself. For help, see "The Ultimate, Step-by-Step Guide to Building Your Brand by Guest Blogging."
- Increase your visibility. Nobody becomes a rock star overnight. If you want to achieve that level of popularity, you’ll need to gradually scale your efforts up over time. That means reaching out to bigger and better authorities, increasing your production of content and doing more to support your personal brand. For help increasing your visibility, see "Content Unleashed: The Ultimate Guide to Promoting Your Published Content."
Even if you adopt these characteristics and work hard at promoting your own personal brand, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to become an entrepreneurial rock star. However, any gains you make to your personal brand’s popularity can (and likely will) be reflected in your corporate brand’s popularity. Any efforts you put into promoting yourself will be worth it, one way or another.