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How Success Is Happening For Kyle Courtright


Brand designer Kyle Courtright went from working with $50 to working with fortune 500s.

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Brand Renegades

Discover how two entrepreneurs used unconventional business strategies to turn their startup into a multimillion-dollar company.

4 min read

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Kyle Courtright, founder of Courtright Design, didn’t always have it easy. This brand designer started with a mere $50 to pull from.

Courtright had to maintain a strict budget to make his business dreams come true, stopping at McDonald’s for inexpensive date nights with his wife as he grew his graphic design business. At one point, he would work in his car in front of his apartment building’s office just to grab an internet connection.

Related: Looking for inspiration? Check Out Entrepreneur’s How Success Happens Podcast

During this time, he worked low-paying 9-5 jobs while burning the midnight oil to gain skills in SEO and website design. He did this all in an effort to market his graphic design company, which he admits felt like more of a “hobby” at the beginning.

Just three short years later, he left his 9-5 job to work as a full-time freelancer. Courtright has been able to work with Fortune 500 companies including Toyota, Chipotle, Lowe’s, Walmart and NVIDIA. Other clients he’s worked with include USA Olympics, the Detroit Lions, the Sacramento Kings, NBA, NFL, DR Horton, American Cancer Society and National Parkinson Society. 

Related: Looking for the Best Sports Podcasts? Check Out These Great Shows.

Courtright carefully creates beautiful design remedies to purposely fit each specific client’s brand, and the results speak for themselves. His minimalist, clean and innovative design style impresses his clients, who keep coming back for more.

“Visual communications must showcase excellence, be timeless and scream unforgettable,” Courtright says. “If you deliver an excellent end product and treat people with love and respect, you have a client for life.”

His capability stack is expansive, making him a valuable go-to for his clients in all things design. From logo design, to web design/landing pages, email template design, digital and print ads, sales sheets, case studies, PPT decks, infographics, illustrations, product design and large-scale print, he has unapologetically positioned himself as the jack-of-all-trades designer.

“It’s a responsibility I don’t take lightly. What a privilege to help bring brands to life in a visual way. To help stir emotion and win the hearts and minds of my clients’ audience? That’s the type of purposeful work I love being a part of,” Courtright says.

Not only has Courtright had incredible opportunities in the world of brand identity design, but he’s also authored The Ultimate Guide to Logo Design and is the founder of Logo Wave Awards International. 

When I asked him about his thoughts on how to market yourself as an entrepreneur, he says, “Marketing isn’t (just) about closing a sale. Instead, it’s about building a solid, unbreakable bond and relationship with your clients. Show them that you genuinely care about them and how you can help them reach their goals.”

Courtright offered some practical advice to help entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level:

  1. Hopping on a phone call (or meeting in person) works wonders for building strong relationships. Picking up the phone instead of settling for email grew his business by 309% overnight.

  2. Never underestimate the value of empathy. Find ways to understand and resonate with your clients on a deeper, more meaningful level. It’s all about connection, and we have to make sure to create a long-lasting one.

  3. Being distinct is to be yourself. No one can do, say and think the way that you do. A differentiated brand is one that glances at the competition instead of dwelling. Create a brand that’s true to your beliefs and your customers — and bottom line — will thank you for it.

Related: Hear Arodd, Josh Harris, Al Roker, Arthur Blank and others on the How Success Happens Podcast


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How I Got Myself on 75 Podcasts in the Past Year


This is how to leverage podcasting as a low-budget marketing tool.

Free Book Preview:
Brand Renegades

Discover how two entrepreneurs used unconventional business strategies to turn their startup into a multimillion-dollar company.

4 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

I have been on over 75 podcasts in the past year, sharing my story about MASAMI, the clean premium haircare brand I co-founded in February 2020. That’s right, 75 and counting!

While being a guest on podcasts may seem difficult and intimidating, I’m here to tell you that it’s actually quite easy. There are a lot of advantages to incorporating podcasts in your marketing plan. First, podcasts are a great way to tell a holistic brand story (much harder to do with digital ads and our short attention span).

Good podcasts are like binge-worthy Netflix shows  once you stumble on one you love, you’re likely to listen to all of the previous episodes. The beauty of podcasts is that they are evergreen, so they are discoverable long after you record the episodes. 

Additionally, podcasts can give people a sense of the people behind the business — transparency has become a mandate these days as people want to understand the founders, their values and their story. Podcasts are also a great source of content. You’ll get long-form content that you can use on your social channels (and if the podcast is also video, you can post it on YouTube). You can also take snippets and soundbites to push out across Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Finally, the search engines will love the content  which helps your SEO.

Related: Top 25 Business Podcasts for Entrepreneurs

How to find opportunities to be on a podcast

So, how do you go about being a guest? The first step to being a guest is understanding what you can comfortably (and expertly) have a conversation about. For me, topics include launching a business, brand positioning, juggling kids and work, clean beauty, haircare, wellness, female empowerment, marketing tips, leadership advice and career pivots. Luckily, there are loads of podcasts on all of these topics and the numbers keep growing. In fact, nearly 900,000 podcasts launched globally in 2020. 

Next, you need to pitch yourself to podcast hosts. Fortunately, this isn’t as hard as it seems. Many podcasts have websites where you can submit an application to be a guest. Lots of podcasts also rely on networking and communities such as Facebook groups to find guest. Poddit has a “Find a guest, Be a guest” Facebook group you can join. You’ll see the “asks” by podcasts hosts for guests to speak about specific topics. You are sure to find ones that are relevant to you. You can also submit your “Be a guest” profile and see who is interested in having you on their podcast.

Related: Podcast Advertising: Is Programmatic the Next Big Thing?

How to prepare for your podcast interview

You just got accepted to your first podcast. Congrats! Here are a few tips to make sure you’re prepared:

  • Be conversational. Have fun. Remember that if you say something you wish you hadn’t, or you are fumbling for words, most podcast hosts can edit it out. A lot of hosts will do a pre-podcast call to go over the interview format, the questions or just get to know each other. You can always offer up specific questions for the host to ask too. Overall, it’s really about making sure you’re comfortable so you can have a natural and organic conversation.
  •  Know your material and be prepared to share examples and details. While high-level advice can be helpful, I’ve found that the more granular the suggestions, the more people find them useful. Don’t be afraid to share tools, brands and partners that have worked for you. Chances are they will work for someone else too.
  •  Get the tech stuff right. If you don’t have a quality mic and headphones, now is the time to invest. Make sure your lighting is good if you are being videotaped as well. Don’t forget to find somewhere quiet where you won’t be disturbed (as charming as your dog may be, it’s not great to hear him or her on your podcast). And don’t forget to turn off computer or phone notifications.

That’s it! See, it’s really not so hard. You’ll find that it gets easier and easier the more you do. The key is to just get started. You’ll be happy that you’ve unlocked an entirely new storytelling channel for your business.

Related: How to Create Your Own Successful Podcast | PCMag


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Consumers Want Video Content. Why Not Use It to Strengthen Your Personal Brand?


6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Rumor has it that personal branding is set to transform marketing in 2021, but not in the way you might think. Today, the concept is more focused on humanizing business — and those behind the business. By establishing and strengthening a founder’s personal brand, there’s an opportunity to put a face and personality to a larger brand’s name. It can also help establish a sense of integrity or expertise when that founder becomes a credible spokesperson who can highlight the company’s progress and long-term victories.

Email newsletter Morning Brew has always done a great job at this. Its co-founders, Alex Lieberman and Austin Rief, are especially present on social media, Twitter in particular. The two also encourage their employees to do the same, which really elevates the sense of thought leadership coming out of the brand as a whole. With each subsequent post, they continue to weave a stronger and stronger identity that helps the brand stand out and elevate the company above the competition.

But as you move from text to video as a way of personal branding, you take your efforts to yet another level. This allows for even more personality to be married to a brand, as you’re leveraging a more engaging medium — people are simply less likely to scroll on by. Video also has a way of feeling more authentic and genuine than a 280-character tweet, which can be important. A study from Stackla found that 90% of customers mentioned authenticity as a deciding factor when it comes to which brands to support. Besides, according to Social Media Week, 78% of consumers report watching online videos each week, with 54% wanting more content in general. The audience is there, so why not leverage the demand?

Related: Personal Branding: The Key to Success in the Digital Age

Approaching video content wisely

The question, then, is this: How exactly do you create video content that moves your personal brand (and company brand) in the right direction? The following are often the best places to start. 

1. Share your brand story

The reasons people don’t use video range from lack of time to little clarity surrounding the return on investment. But among non-video marketers, one of the more common reasons is not knowing where to start — and that’s where your brand story will come in handy. It’s a logical entry point for viewers.

Put some thought into your personal brand as you begin to build out a narrative. If you’re skilled at a particular craft or field, for example, this might be a good starting point. Perhaps your business fits within a certain niche. This, too, provides a natural means for engaging with an audience.

As your brand story begins to take shape, consider storyboarding your thoughts and ideas. Think about which settings would best support your narrative and add interest. What sorts of angles should you use? Close-ups? Wide shots? Take your graphics or lighting needs into consideration. Plan out every aspect of the shoot to connect with an audience.

Related: How to Build a Brand Story That Buyers Emotionally Connect With

2. Get used to being on camera

The sole way to get comfortable on camera is to practice being in front of the camera, and the more you practice, the more natural it will feel. Given enough practice, authenticity will set in and come across to your viewers. Start off by filming a few videos, and make sure you’ve prepared some talking points.

Keep it casual and conversational by trying to imagine that you’re actually talking to an audience (people rarely enjoy canned speeches). Even if it’s an audience of one, it’ll help make the interaction feel a bit more natural. And consider your body language during the shoot. According to SOAP Presentations, effective presentations are 55% nonverbal communication.

After you’ve got a few in the can, review them. If you feel comfortable, share those files with a friend or two to gather a little feedback. Then, step in front of the camera again, keeping any tips or advice in the back of your mind.

3. Focus on authenticity

One of the key elements of building a personal brand is that it’s, well, personal. It allows people to catch a glimpse into who you are as an individual. Keeping your content genuine and authentic can be effective in conveying this. Share pieces of your actual life — not curated versions that often ring hollow. If it’s not genuine, the content doesn’t matter.

Gary Vaynerchuk has become an internet personality largely due to his authenticity on screen. He talks to the camera as if he’s talking to friends and rarely (if ever) censors what he’s saying. Even his very first video, which had no budget whatsoever, comes across as distinctly genuine, and he builds his personal narrative from there.

Related: Why Authenticity Is a Key Ingredient to Entrepreneurial Success, and How to Make Sure You Have It

4. Try going live

Although going live might feel like high stakes, livestreaming does provide the opportunity to engage with your audience in real time. It can also make your content feel less rehearsed, giving a sense of immediate gratification and allowing you to really connect with viewers in a different way.

Just make sure to do a trial run or two prior to the shoot, map out the details to ensure everything goes smoothly and consider the purpose of going live. Don’t do it just to do it. Consider why you’re employing this tactic. Is it to educate or improve sales? Above all else, don’t set it and forget it. Repurpose the content for other platforms.

Glennon Doyle has been using livestreams to grow her personal brand for a while now. It started as the result of the pandemic, as she had to cancel tons of book appearances. But now, it has grown into almost a daily experience with her morning meetings on Facebook and Instagram. She shares funny and emotional stories, highlighting the difficulties of parenting and maintaining a relationship during the pandemic. The result? She’s now a New York Times bestseller, and her new podcast topped the Apple Podcasts charts before it was officially released.

For personal branding purposes, it’s really important to put a face behind your brand, insert some personality and come off as a genuine, authentic person. That’s the foundation for creating great video content. Once you’ve mastered the above areas, you should be moving in the right direction.



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What It's Like To Be LA's Top Real Estate Agent

Aaron Kirman knows how to close a deal: He’s sold about $6 billion worth of real estate over his 25-year career, making him the No. 1 agent in Los Angeles and among the top in the country.

As a top realtor, Kirman makes seven figures, but not all real estate agents earn a ton of money — and that’s one of the biggest misconceptions of the job. Most bring home less than $50,000 a year, he estimates, while a top producer will make between $200,000 and $500,000. “Then you have the very, very, very top — a select few who make more than a million,” he says, adding: “And then there’s one level up, which is big, mega brokers. I’m pretty lucky to consider myself one of those.”

To experience a sliver of what it’s like to be the top realtor in the City of Angels, I spent a day with Aaron, meeting clients and looking at listings in some of the wealthiest neighborhoods in LA.

He routinely sells multi-million dollar properties, including one estate for a whopping $65 million, and on his new CNBC show, “Listing Impossible,” he helps stubborn homeowners sell their luxury real estate.

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What It’s Like To Be LA’s Top Real Estate Agent


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Don’t Let Clickbait Ruin Your Reputation


6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In a world inundated with competition, many entrepreneurs and small businesses look to marketing “tricks” to get results. It can be tempting to seek the quick, easy click-throughs that come from a catchy headline, but you always pay a hefty price for cheap thrills. If there’s nothing to back up the headline, you’re going to lose interest (and potentially the respect) of visitors and potential customers.

Of course, some marketers simply don’t care; it’s a matter of pulling in traffic at all costs. The ends justify the means. Sure, clickbait seems easy. However, that’s exactly where the problem lies. Let’s learn more about the dangers of clickbait and what you can do to reach your audience instead.

What is clickbait?

If you’re late to the game, clickbait refers to those “catchy” article headlines that are designed to get people’s attention and make them click through to the website. Many marketers and entrepreneurs like to use it because it does generate more clicks and interest, but it also drives bounce rates through the roof. 

We’ve all been victims. Think about it: Sometimes there is no question you’re about to click on a blatant clickbait piece. You’re fully aware, but curiosity wins out. You just have to know what the “little-known hack to drop 20 pounds by tomorrow night” is all about.

Related: The Future of Content Marketing: Why Clickbait Won’t Cut It

There are probably dozens of ways that these misleading headlines can ruin a solid reputation or brand, even with just a single use. As soon as a company or business posts an article with a clickbait headline, it’s basically confirming that all it wants is attention and maybe the user will get something too. 

How clickbait destroys brand reputations 

Audience disappointment

Clickbait headlines are notorious for offering all shock and no substance — that is, these headlines may evoke strong emotions, but the content behind them is usually shallow, uninteresting or misleading. Sure, you can get people excited with a flashy headline. You can also disappoint them just as quickly when they show up and see that there’s nothing substantial behind the hype.

Clickbait ruins other valuable site data

Companies that use clickbait are putting almost all of their website analytics and metrics at risk. How are you expected to get accurate tracking information and data about your website and its contents if the lead-generation tactics used aren’t reputable? 

A single clickbait title can spur hundreds of views, but it can create just as many bounces and confuse all of your data. That makes it nearly impossible to track marketing strategies and improve conversion rates because there is no accurate information available on which to base improvement or measure success.

Other ways to score clicks and drive traffic

You should never be out to trick people. A lot of marketers rely on clickbait because they are looking for a one-time gain — the fast results. They’re not concerned about whether the content actually delivers. 

When your audience members notice reckless posting, it’s a safe bet they will not be amused. They could even see your brand as spam or a company not worth investing in. A quick shot of website traffic is great, but long-term relationships are always better in business.

Here are some more valuable ways to increase click-throughs and drive traffic with your content, without having to use clickbait or other misleading tactics.

Provide value-adding information

Your biggest goal with content is to create quality information that your visitors can use. Brands that are able to create content that answers the “how” and “why” of their product or service are proving that you don’t need gimmicks to generate a lot of click-throughs. 

Educating the target audience is not only a good way to encourage higher click rates, but it also gives a brand a stronger reputation as an authority in its industry.

Related: 30+ Ultimate Headline Formulas for Tweets, Posts and Emails

Use headline-analyzer tools

When creating headlines that are powerful and attention-grabbing — without becoming clickbait —there are a number of tools out there that can assist you. A headline analyzer can take all of your content titles and score them for you, while also including tips and insight to help increase readability and sharing potential. 

These tools shouldn’t be the only way to create effective headlines, but they can be a helpful tool in the initial brainstorming process, or to help those who are just starting out with their own headline creation.

Consider listicles

Unlike clickbait, listicles are here to stay. Some marketing critics may be tired of them, but consumers love list-based and numeric headlines. Consider adding numbers to your headlines and create a list-type article to generate more interest: “X Lesser-Known Tips for Marketing Success” or “X Ways to Build a Brand Without Buying Your Audience.”

They’re not the only option for compelling content, but marketers who are struggling to figure out how to create strong headlines and content can always rely on listicles to help them make a statement.

Just say ‘no’ to clickbait 

The best content marketing takes advantage of a myriad of tools and possible content styles. It focuses on generating strong headlines with even stronger content to back up the title and giving users something valuable that they can take away. Whether that’s a little more information about the specific brand, an industry-relevant “how-to” article or just tips and insight that users can benefit from, it has to be something of value.

As it stands, the majority of consumers see clickbait headlines and immediately steer clear. Check out your social-media feeds. Scroll through and find someone who’s shared a clickbait-style title and check the comments. At least a handful of them will be social-media users leaving comments like “This is clickbait. No real substance” or “This information is useless and has nothing to do with the title.”

Related: 6 Easy Ways to Attract More Website Traffic

Most importantly, you cannot treat your potential audience like it’s not smart enough to recognize gimmicks and marketing tricks. Take the time to do content marketing right and build a brand that’s in it for the long haul.


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A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Attention-Getting Product Listings #Etsy #EntrepreneurBooks


6 min read

The following excerpt is from the Staff at Entrepreneur Media Inc. and Jason R. Rich’s book Start Your Own Etsy Business. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | IndieBound or click here to buy it directly from us and SAVE 60% on this book when you use code SIDEHUSTLE2021 through 6/20/21.

One of the core steps in establishing your Etsy shop is adding the product listings for the items you plan to sell. You compose and create product listings one at a time, using Etsy’s “Add a New Listing” tool, which walks you through the process of composing and publishing, and then organizing, each listing. As you’re about to discover, Etsy divides this process into five steps.

Related: 3 Things You Must Know Before You Start Your Etsy Business

Step 1: product photography

The first step in creating a product listing involves uploading between one and five digital photos for each listing. Be sure to choose photos that best showcase your products from different angles or perspectives. Mix and match traditional product shots with lifestyle shots.

A product shot should depict just your item in the photo, typically with a white or solid color (or very simple) background. The primary focus should be on the product and should show as much product detail as possible. A lifestyle shot captures your product being worn or used in the real world. For example, if you sell necklaces, a lifestyle shot could show a model wearing the necklace in conjunction with different outfits.

Step 2: listing details

One of the very first things visitors see when they view your products is the product listing’s title. This title must be short, descriptive, attention-getting, accurate and contain keywords you believe customers will use to search for your items. As always, target it specifically to your core audience.

The “About This Listing” section includes three separate pull-down menus: “Who Made It?,” “What Is It?” and “When Was It Made?” For each listing, select the most appropriate option based on what you’re selling.

You’ll also need to choose an applicable category for the product and fill in the price. The price should be pre-calculated to take into account your cost of materials, time/labor, business overhead expenses and marketing/advertising expenses, as well as the profit you want to earn. It shouldn’t include shipping and handling fees or sales tax.

The “Description“ field is where you can describe your product using your own words. Use as many relevant search words or phrases as you can because this text will be searchable by your potential customers.

Related: This Teen Paid for College by Selling on Etsy. Here Are 5 Ways She Did It.

Finally, if you’re selling multiple items that fit into clearly definable categories, such as specific types of products, products priced similarly or products best for certain holidays, consider using sections to sort your items and make them easier to find within your shop.

Step 3: variations

On Etsy, a single product listing for an individual item can have multiple (optional) variations. For example, the “Handmade Wool Sweater” you’re selling could have one listing, and using the “Add a Variation” tool, the listing could offer the sweater in multiple colors and/or sizes that you choose to offer.

The Variation option(s) that the customer selects will be displayed on your Sold Orders, Receipts and Transaction emails, so you’ll know exactly what item(s) to send based on the customer’s choices.

Once you select a variation, customize what options your customers will be given based on the type of variation you select. With each variation you select, you have the option of adding a separate price and displaying whether that particular variation option is currently in stock.

Step 4: shipping details

This section requires you to provide details about the size and weight of your item and where it will be shipping from; select the shipping options you want to offer to your customers; and disclose the processing time needed to fill each order. You’ll also need to provide the origin zip code for the location you’ll be shipping your orders from.

As a general rule, offer the fastest processing time possible. You should also select which countries you’ll ship to.

Based on the shipping option(s) you choose and the option the customer selects when placing an order, Etsy will calculate the shipping/postage fee based on current rates. In addition to shipping charges, you can add a handling fee, which will be automatically added to the customer’s shipping total and won’t be listed separately. If you choose to add one, keep it low and be able to justify it.

Next, provide the item weight for the item after it’s been packaged as well as the length, width and height of the package. Based on the various shipping options you’ve selected, in the Preview Shipping Costs field, Etsy will display what your customers will be charged for shipping and handling when placing an order.

Step 5: add search terms

The final step in the product listing process is a list of words you add to the Tags field to help customers find your shop and product listing when searching. These tags should accurately describe your item in the most detailed way possible.

Related: 12 Ways to Increase Online Sales

The Materials field is another optional tool you can use to provide a collection of search words you think potential customers might use. For example, if you’re selling a handmade sweater, your materials list might include words such as “wool,” “yarn,” “all-natural,” “organic,” “died,” “handspun,” “synthetic,” “Scottish,” “Merino,” “sheep,” “alpaca,” “cashmere” and/or “natural.”

Once you’ve completed a product listing, click the Preview button and carefully review each listing. Fix any mistakes, then click the Save and continue button to store and publish the listing in your shop.

Did you enjoy your book preview? Click here to grab a copy today—now 60% off when you use code SIDEHUSTLE2021 through 6/20/21.


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The Secret to Winning Awards for Publicity and Credibility


These four easy pathways to recognition can give your company a boost and set it apart from the competition.

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Discover how two entrepreneurs used unconventional business strategies to turn their startup into a multimillion-dollar company.

4 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

I still remember the first time I saw “award-winning” on a professional bio. The woman was experienced, a confident presenter, and I was studying her to figure out how I could follow a path to become like her someday. I just couldn’t imagine how incredible I’d need to be to win a professional award as she had.

Little did I know that I would eventually apply for more than 100 award submissions for others and become a judge for awards as well, experiencing the entirety of the process.

What I learned is that standing out takes preparation and often a plan to become award-winning in your industry. There are a few solid pathways that one can follow to improve the odds of receiving award-winning status, some of which are extremely easy to do.

Path 1: Focus on measurable accomplishments

Many industry award programs focus on highlighting accomplishments. In order to win these types of submissions, it’s important to have achievements that can stand out amongst others.

If you’re looking to win a future award, you can use your quarterly evaluation or work-planning period to think about ways to proactively generate new accomplishments for the next year’s award submissions. Some questions to ask yourself in the planning process are provided below.

  1. Are there new projects I will be executing this year? How can I measure and report results that can be shared publicly?
  2. How much money can I earn or save the company this year? Are there ways to maximize that?
  3. What big transitions are happening in the industry right now? How can I make a big impact in connection to this change?

Thinking proactively each year can help you prioritize results that lead to awards.

Related: The Recap: The E-Business Awards 2021

Path 2: Network and share your goals

While self-nominations are often accepted, some awards prefer another person provide the nomination for you. Letting people know that you’re hoping to go after an award next year can seed them with the idea to nominate you when the opportunity comes up.

Another reason to network is to make sure that those who do the judging see you in action and are aware of your impact and leadership. I’ve sat on boards for awards and a natural inclination of our human minds is to give preference to those we know and have seen doing great things. If people have heard of you and have positive memories, that will boost your opportunity to win.

Related: 5 Ways to Network on the Clubhouse App

Path 3: Be a thought leader

Being an industry leader also generates positive awareness that can lead to recognition by award judges. Some awards even have scoring specifically for assessing your leadership in furthering the industry, so being seen in this capacity is a direct pathway to winning.

Some ways to build your profile in thought leadership include writing content on your blog or LinkedIn profile, contributing to industry publications, being interviewed on podcasts or speaking at events.

Related: What Exactly Is Thought Leadership?

Path 4: Get yourself in the running!

Using these pathways to build a profile worthy of awards is the first step to achieving that goal, but none of these matter without a well-written award submission.

Often, reviewers are reading dozens if not hundreds of submissions, so if your content is subpar, it won’t get very far in the review process.

If you’re not comfortable writing about yourself, find a pro who knows how to write stand-out award nominations and hire him or her to help. Even if you’re being nominated by another person, he or she often needs your input to fill in the answers, so provide quality written content to boost your chances of getting noticed.

Winning awards isn’t simply a vanity metric, it’s a true differentiator for professionals in most industries that can lead to better opportunities and higher pay. For entrepreneurs, it can be the difference between landing a client or losing a contract to a similarly qualified competitor.

Keeping an annual or bi-annual budget for award submissions is a great way to keep your company and your employees in regular consideration for opportunities to win these honors, which you can use for PR and brand credibility to garner new business.


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4 Overlooked Benefits of Account-Based Marketing for Enterprise Organizations


There’s no doubt account-based marketing for large enterprises is invaluable. If it’s used strategically, it can benefit an entire organization from the top down.

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4 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

There are thousands of articles, webinars and infographics out there that dive into all of the benefits of an account-based marketing (ABM) strategy. For large enterprises, however, resources are slim. If marketing and sales departments within those companies are looking to launch a pilot program or enhance their current ABM tactics, they won’t find a lot of remedies for their particular pain points or evidence backing up ABM as a go-to-market strategy.

Instead, they’ll find general ABM rules and practices that cater to small and medium-sized businesses and mid-market enterprises. While business-to-business companies of varying sizes may have a similar approach to ABM (highly targeted and personalized), a large enterprise will have different expectations, challenges and objectives regarding an ABM program.

There’s no doubt account-based marketing for large enterprises is invaluable. If it’s used strategically, it can benefit an entire organization from the top down. Here are four ways large enterprises can use ABM to grow their bottom line and scale marketing success.

1. ABM can increase security and customization

We’ve all seen it before: You’re at a large enterprise and the number of technology roadblocks you encounter seems endless. It’s one thing after another. The CRM the CMO wants to use isn’t approved by finance. Your current content-marketing platform doesn’t promote scalability. Most commonly, the IT department will not approve any third-party integrations due to a recent security breach.

Luckily, ABM can still be put into action — your team just has to think outside of the box. With the right resources and an integrated tech stack, large enterprises can run ABM campaigns using a microsite. Not only does a microsite boost security (as no third-party tool has been given access to the enterprise’s main site), but it can also be personalized and tailored by target account in order to increase engagement.

Related: 6 Skill Sets Every B2B Marketing Team Should Have on Its Roster

2. ABM lends itself to a better understanding of a prospect’s buying journey

Prospects conduct most (70 percent, according to Sirius Decisions) of their buying journey anonymously and online. Before your display ads have even been approved, your target has formed his or her own opinions and may have even considered your competitor. But, according to CSO Insights, 90 percent of buyers are “open to engaging sellers earlier in the buying process, especially when facing a new, risky, or complex situation.” What does that have to do with ABM and enterprises?

By utilizing ABM tools like intent data and visitor-intelligence software, enterprises can align on where the prospect is in the buying process — which is harder to accomplish in a larger, more complex organization. This way, both marketing and sales will have the necessary information to know what to say and how to best engage with the accounts, leading to an overall better performance and higher ROI.

Related: Account-Based Marketing Wins the Popular Vote

3. ABM helps resolve challenges across divisions

For enterprises with multiple locations and several products, reporting and insight on marketing and sales performance are often siloed. The learnings gained in one division may not translate to another, resulting in missed opportunities and wasted marketing spend.

Enter ABM. Similar to point No. 1, the right ABM tech stack can resolve these challenges. With a fully implemented, integrated and optimized tech stack, an enterprise will have complete reporting and analytics visibility from point A to point B. This type of combined reporting dashboard will allow enterprise stakeholders to gauge the total ROI and make decisions about how to better leverage tactics in all markets. 

Related: Account-Based Marketing Isn’t Going Away. Here’s Why.

4. ABM insights can be used to inform other enterprise-marketing initiatives

One of the most important points large enterprises should keep in mind is that ABM is neither linear nor a one-and-done approach. Successful ABM strategies have a continued approach to all interactions with target accounts. One sale isn’t the end game if you can continue to upsell or cross-sell within that company. 

That said, large organizations can benefit from ABM long after the deal has been made. The insights garnered from the ABM campaign — whether it was 1:1, 1:few, or 1:many — can be used to inform larger content-marketing campaigns, website updates and even smaller SEO tactics. Whether it’s keyword research, customer pain points or what did or didn’t resonate, you’ll have the concrete data to apply best practices to other marketing channels and assets going forward. 


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Customers Don’t Care About Your Product’s Bells and Whistles. Here’s What They Really Want to Hear.


With the emergence of drop shipping, many sellers have stopped accumulating in-depth product knowledge. But knowing your products inside and out is just as important as ever.

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5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Whether you’re selling a service or a physical item, knowing your product is incredibly important for your business’s success.

For example, David Stern, a sales coach, describes shadowing a salesman on a sales call. When the client’s potential buyer asked if he could provide a specific service, the salesperson said no; in fact, the salesperson didn’t even understand what service the potential buyer was asking about. The potential buyer had to explain it to the salesman.

When this conversation was relayed to the salesman’s boss, he was furious. They did offer the service — it was just that the veteran salesman had never looked into it. Not only did he lose thousands of dollars on that sale, but also because he didn’t have the product knowledge, he’d never offered the service to anyone else either. Tons of potential sales could have been made if the salesman had taken the time to know the product.

Related: How to Build a World Class Sales Team

Why should you know your product?

Stern’s example is an extreme case of ignorance — you might be saying to yourself, “Of course I know what I sell!” But do you know everything about it? Having in-depth product knowledge has many benefits:

● Increased confidence. The more you know your product, the more comfortable and confident you’ll feel when pitching it to others.

● Strong communication. Since you know all the benefits of your product or service, you’ll have a much easier time communicating with potential buyers. Knowing your product helps you adapt to the various types of people you might encounter and communicate with them, rather than just talking at them.

● Successful response to objections. If you know your product, you also understand the possible downsides of it. No product or service is meant for everyone — and what potential buyers really want to know from your sales pitch is if the product is right for them and their needs. If you know your product, you’ll foresee what questions and objections they have and know how to work around them.

● Enthusiasm. One of the biggest things that can make someone afraid to sell is a lack of knowledge. When you don’t have all the information, you’re naturally more nervous to talk about something for fear of being asked a question. Remove that fear by gaining product knowledge, and you become much more enthusiastic. Having a full understanding of the benefits and being able to foresee objections makes you much more enthusiastic about the product. This, in turn, makes customers much more interested in hearing from you.

Related: 5 Sales Presentation Tips From a Self-Made Millionaire

How to promote your product using your product knowledge

1. Hold demos or discovery calls. Showcase your product knowledge during demos for physical products or discovery calls for services. This is your time to shine and answer all the questions your potential customer might have.

2. Sell the benefits. You might have heard of selling benefits, not features. People only really use about 20 percent of a product’s features. So, if you overload them with information about all of your product’s bells and whistles, it will go in one ear and out the other. What people really want to know is how the product will make their life better.

For example, if you’re selling a knife, you could tell your potential buyer how sharp the blade is, what it’s made of and how well built the handle is. Or, you can tell them that they can chop vegetables at three times the typical speed because of the well-made blade. You might include that they’ll never have wrist pain again because the handle is ergonomically designed. Which sounds more convincing to you?

3. Lead with objections. Once you’ve covered the benefits, address objections before the customer does. This allows you to voice what they’re likely already thinking — something they might not even ask about before shutting you down. By pointing out objections before the customer can, you position yourself as an expert. Don’t let this get in the way of listening, though. Your customer will want to feel heard, so be sure to ask the customer if he or she has any objections as well.

Related: The Sales Superpowers of Introverts

Product knowledge can make or break a sale. Remember, people are always asking what a product can do for them before they make a purchase, so knowing your product positions you to answer this question. 


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The Danger of Linking Yourself to Your Brand


6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Have you ever stopped and thought about how self-promotion has evolved over the years? Back when I joined the workforce decades ago, you promoted yourself via a fully-stocked resume. A college degree. An internship with a reputable company.

These days, it’s just as common to see someone brand themselves as an entrepreneur and launch a startup based on their TikTok presence and facility with YouTube tutorials. Not that there’s anything wrong with that — we should all be in favor of the entrepreneurial spirit, regardless of how it manifests itself. And we’ve all been taught that we should mold our brands around ourselves, that we should love what we do, that our companies deserve our passion.

Related: 7 Easy Ways to Use TikTok to Make Money

And that’s right — at least, to a certain degree. Once you get past that point, though, there can be a downside to molding a brand in the entrepreneur’s exact image behind it. There’s a dangerous trap in this that could hinder the growth and development of your brand.

Personal branding vs. company branding

First off, when I talk about personal branding, it isn’t that I’m against it. As an entrepreneur and CEO of a logo design company, I have first-hand experience of the importance of personal branding. If you are your company — if you’re an entertainer, an artist, if you do something inherently dependent on your personality — then it’s necessary.

Sometimes it seems like individuals can take it a little far, monetizing every little aspect of their lives, but that’s a personal decision. The road diverges, though, when company branding comes into play. Personal branding is about the individual; company branding is about the larger brand as a whole.

Company branding requires cohesiveness from everyone involved in the brand. Personal branding really only requires that the individual behind it follows through.

Related: 3 Principles for Personal Branding Success

The two may seem easy enough to keep separate, but when a brand has a big, bold personality behind it, things can start to get complicated.

Take Tesla as an example. Generally, the perception in recent years has been that Tesla owners and fans are also big fans of the company’s CEO, a name you may have heard of — Elon Musk.  Musk is inextricably entwined with his brands, and his name is one that most will think of when asked to provide an example of a successful entrepreneur. He’s built brands on his ideals, ideas, values, and spirit of exploration and innovation — and he’s made some controversial decisions, to say the least.

However, an interesting survey by Escalent notes that the CEO is actually one of the biggest factors against purchasing a Tesla for most potential consumers. Think about it. If there’s someone who understands personal branding, it’s Musk. And he’s very upfront about his personality, likes and dislikes, etc., all especially obvious if you follow him on Twitter. But his out-loud opinions and failure to use an inside voice, metaphorically speaking, have caused his personality to bleed into his brands’ perception.

That’s one of the clearest examples I can think of where a brand is just too closely linked to the entrepreneur behind it.

Related: The Basics of Branding

When an entrepreneur’s personality overshadows the brand identity

It isn’t always this clear-cut, of course. Some entrepreneurs have larger-than-life personalities; it isn’t their fault, necessarily, but there is something that can be done about it.

What it boils down to is the awareness of prioritizing brand over the individual. For an entrepreneur, pouring our hearts into our startup and trying to get everything just so that can be difficult to remember.

That’s part of why it’s so important to keep going back to your original goal with your startup. If you set out with the goal of company branding rather than personal branding, analyze your marketing, social media use, and other interactions and see whether you’re sticking by that.

Not every entrepreneur has an out-loud personality, of course. But there can be detractions in other ways, too. Too closely identifying your brand with your own personality runs the risk that if someone doesn’t like you as the entrepreneur, they’ll avoid your company, too. Whether you’re loud or quiet, your reputation becomes the reputation of the brand.

Note that this is going to happen to some degree, regardless of what measures you take. But it’s better, in the long run, to focus on building the brand personality; it will mitigate the impact that your own personality has, to a certain extent, and allows you as the entrepreneur to cultivate a brand that reflects your values and passions — not your opinions.

Balancing the cult of personality with brand growth

If you’re one of those entrepreneurs with a charismatic personality, able to talk your way out or into anything, with a winning smile and a whimsical charm — well, congratulations. Not everybody is born that way.

Charisma is a bonus for an entrepreneur, but it isn’t a requirement of entry to the world of startups and product launches.

It’s perfectly fine to leverage personal charm on behalf of your brand. As any entrepreneur knows, we need to use all the tools we have at our disposal to make a success of our business.

But it’s smart to be cautious about how much emphasis you put on yourself as a person at the brand’s expense. A big, bold personality doesn’t have to be negative — it just has to be appropriately channeled.

As the entrepreneur behind your startup, you may consider yourself the face of the brand, but don’t forget that the brand personality has to shine through. That’s the best way to avoid wearing your brand’s reputation on your sleeve, and one of the best things you can do to help your brand has a life of its own — even beyond yours.


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