Personal development, skills training, and entrepreneurship. They are the three phases that Ruben Martin Rubio (Barakaldo, 1978) identifies as essential steps to build a personal brand, basically understood as the mark that someone leaves on others. The businessman and trainer from Bizkaia collects in his book ‘The power of your personal brand’ the keys to starting a business, looking for a first job or getting out of unemployment.
-What exactly is personal branding?
– Broadly speaking, it is popularly said that it is “what others think of you when you are not there.” And I add: how another person makes us feel. That is, what I make you feel, what permeates you and what you are going to think about me.
-Should we all have a personal brand?
– Yes, and the first concept is that we all have a brand. Anyone who leaves an opinion on another has a personal brand.
-How to build it?
-I distinguish three phases. The first is to build your best version. First you have to know yourself and know who you are, what it is that empowers you and what you lack. Make a situation diagnosis of who you are, what you have and what you don’t. That is working to improve it. Phase two is knowing how to sell. What skills do we have to train to have a good personal best. And the third, entrepreneurship.
-What would be those skills that should be trained?
-If I had to keep only two, it would be communication and sale. Because surely you know a lot of people who have a project that is worthless and sells it wonderfully. On the other hand, there are people with a spectacular project and they don’t know how to sell it. Of course, first you must have a base: work on values. Because you can become a good salesperson and communicator, but be just a wrapper. If you’re not developing a good version of yourself and you don’t have a product that works, all those sales and communication skills are worthless to me.
-The fine line between selling something and selling smoke.
-Totally. That is already a question of values, like what they say about weapons. A gun is good or bad. That depends on the person who wields it. Well this is the same. The same thing happens with personal branding and communication. It has to be an ethical sale. I, for example, return the money for my training courses to anyone who is not satisfied.
-We should all have a personal brand. Is it something especially suitable for unemployed people looking to stand out from the crowd?
-Absolutely. This is where we have to differentiate ourselves. Labor reinvention. We think that now there are a lot of people who have lost their jobs. It doesn’t matter how old you are. There are people who are going to be unemployed because their business was stopped, or their sector has been badly affected by the pandemic. And they have to reinvent themselves. We have to change the mindset that everything is going to go back to what it was yesterday. See how the world is today and how I reinvent myself and adapt to get ahead. A person who is unemployed has to stand out.
-For example, how?
– I was looking for someone to hire. And the one who stood out was the one who had made a ‘video resume’. First he sent me his resume on ‘Drive’, then a written presentation, and finally a video. I see this video and that person is telling me who she is, what she does, I see her communicate, sell…. It is transmitting an emotion to me. Right off the bat, it’s a different exhibition. And that’s one way to differentiate yourself.
– Do we usually look for different results doing the usual?
-Yes, let’s see if the flute plays. What we have to do first is to achieve personal development, and then train our skills to look for a job, move up in the company or try to undertake. I believe that the future of work, and that is how I wrote it almost a year ago in my book, is to work in a company, or as a freelancer, and at the same time have an entrepreneurial project. The future is that: permanent employment plus entrepreneurship.
-He says it like it’s easy.
-As an entrepreneur one can invoice whatever it is. There is no roof.
-How has the emergence of social networks influenced the concept of personal branding?
-Each one gives a different development to the concept of personal brand. Some say it consists of having a professional profile on LinkedIn. Others say it is being an ‘influencer’, having a lot of followers and that brands pay you to advertise their products. Everything is fine, everyone has their own way of exposing what is personal brand. Mine is particular: personal development, skills training and entrepreneurship. Or work reinvention.
The role of social media
-Is there a lot of posturing around the personal brand?
-I speak of values. I met a speaker in December who I fell in love with. He was on stage with a strong posture, with incredible language … super powerful. They were four days of very good training. But then I met him understage and I asked myself, ‘Who the hell is this guy?’ I was selling you a movie upstairs and then downstairs it was unpresentable. You cannot say one thing and do another. It is the incoherence of some brands: sell one thing and be another. I advocate building a very powerful version of yourself that is consistent with yourself, because the lie has very short legs. And in social networks you cannot hide.
-What do you advise those who want to start building their personal brand?
-First, become the product you sell. Show that you get the results that you offer to others, and that you sell. And when you can prove it, start selling. The thing is, we all want to earn quick money. We are used to asking without contributing anything before.
-What do you mean?
-What first do you have to give, and then ask. For example, a journalist who wants to retrain as a ‘Copywriter’, can add value through a channel where he shares free tips. It can be a blog, videoblog or social networks). When people start to see that the content is good, that you build trust and that you sow authority, people start to follow you. You create a community and without selling them, they are interested in you to the point that they see that you have a paid course. And they sign up. Or that you have a book. And they buy it.