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3 essential questions every personal brand MUST answer: an interview with master marketer Mike Kim

Pro marketer Mike Kim shares his 3 PBs of personal branding, thought provoking questions designed to help you get to your core, the people you're meant to serve and your business idea. You can listen to the podcast here:

Val: You are in for such a treat today. My guest is not only a friend and mentor, he's a master marketer. Mike Kim is here today to share his perspective on marketing and for those of you who haven't heard him speak before, I want you to get ready to have your mindset about marketing completely reset.

What I love about Mike is he makes it really simple to understand what you need to do to be a successful marketer and I also want you to remember though that simple doesn't necessarily mean easy. I hear from many of you that connecting with your audience feels confusing and you're not sure where to get started. Well, today's episode is part one of my interview with Mike. Mike will share his three PBs of personal brand marketing and how to find your passion and the people that you're meant to serve. He will also share the number one thing that people get wrong about marketing. And it's so simple, once you hear it, you will never approach connecting with your audience the same way. But before we get started, I'd like to give you a little background on Mike Kim, who is a real world marketing pro.

Mike hosts the top rated Brand You podcast, and if you haven't listened to that yet, immediately after listening to this podcast, please do. After working as the CMO of a multimillion dollar company in New York, Mike stepped into the world of consulting and since then he has been hired by people and companies like John Maxwell, Donald Miller, Susan Evans and catalyst. And if you're ready to learn how to market your personal brand and do stuff that wouldn't embarrass your mother, then you really need to subscribe to his podcast. And with that, grab your notebooks and something to write with to capture all the value Mike gives in this interview. Welcome, Mike am so glad you're here.

Mike Kim: 02:41 It is an honor to be with you, Val, and with all of you who are tuning in, and sharing some time with us today. Thanks for joining us. Hope to add some value to you all today.

Val: 02:49 absolutely Mike, I really would be remiss if I didn't share this. There would be no Camera Ready with Val Brown without Mike Kim. It was a couple of years ago and I was getting started and Mike was pushing me to get going, you said "Val, you need to get out there." And he had me on his podcast was the first podcast I was ever on. And to say I was nervous as an understatement. And that really just opened up a lot of possibilities for me. So here we are today. One of the things I learned in working with you, Mike, one of the first things you taught us was you asked us to ask ourselves three questions and you said, if we didn't understand our why about why we were doing what we're doing, go no further. And the three questions you asked is what makes you mad, what makes you sad and what problem are you trying to solve? And I can't think of a better way for our listeners to get an opportunity to know your philosophy than this.

Mike Kim: 03:50 Yeah, I must have given you the PG version

Val: 03:53 [laughs]

Mike Kim: 03:56 because in those questions, and I, you know, I've since like called them like the PB three, like the personal brand three because these are really questions that get to the starting point in the core of who you are. Because most people now who want to start a personal brand, they do it because they want to, they want to start a side hustle and they want to get out of their regular day job and they want to earn money. And my thinking is there are a lot of ways to earn money. If, if money is all you care about, you can flip stuff on Ebay or Craigslist if you really need to. There's a lot of ways to make money, but if you want to start a business sharing what you know and monetizing your expertise and making in an actual impact on people, there are deeper reasons for that than just money.

Mike Kim: 04:40 So that's what you got to tap into. That's what's going to keep you going. And here you are at 40 episodes and you obviously are doing this not just because of the money, but because it's a passion.

Val: Absolutely.

Mike: And so I asked people like, what pisses you off? I mean I'm using that word on purpose. Like I want to get to the core of what really, really grinds you. What really gets you angry, what breaks your heart? You know, what, what makes you really, really sad. And number three, what's the big problem you're trying to solve? And you know, the first, what pisses you off is that is the injustice that you see in the world. And I, I use that word on purpose in justice. That's the injustice that you see in the world. What breaks your heart is the compassion that you have for people.

Mike Kim: 05:21 And that that's a loaded word, compassion, right? Yeah. And the big problem you're trying to solve, that's your business idea. That's your business idea. And so for me, when I asked myself those questions, sure, I'm in marketing, but here's what I said when I asked myself like what pisses me off. It's that is that there are institutions and organizations out there for the sake of their own benefit will suppress, will almost innocence and neuter the human spirit, right? And institutionalize a bunch of people who are actually very smart, who are very wise, who are very experienced and turn them into a cog in the called corporate America or business or whatever it is, right? And I understand those companies need to exist. And some people flourish in those. I'm talking about the person in that company that knows they were made for something different, knows that they were made for something more that can't figure out how to get out.

Mike Kim: 06:14 And what breaks my heart is that, you know, you know, just to paint a picture of this, I'd be driving down the street in New Jersey where I lived at the time. I've seen these people at seven 38 in the morning while I'm going to get coffee, you know, sitting in the, in the rain, standing out in the rain waiting for their bus to go take them to a job. They probably hate it. And I said to myself like, I bet some of those people were varsity athletes in high school. I bet some of them graduate with a 4.0 from college. I'm, I bet they have master's degrees and stuff like that and are literally go into a job that they hate. They're miserable. Their families as a result are miserable. They live this like just kind of like, you know, routine life. And that breaks my heart because some of those people don't want that, but that they think that's all they've got.

Mike Kim: 06:56 They think that's the only option. So the big problem trying to solve is to help those kinds of people. But I do it through marketing. I don't wake up in the morning and look at a really poorly designed add and say, that really pisses me off. [laughs] now there are some people who are like that. Yeah, there are some people who are like that and they should work at an ad agency. They should. They should absolutely do that. But that's not me.

I don't like calling myself a life coach or a career coach or anything like that. I'm a business coach, but in a sense, I am coaching them through life, through business, and helping them start and market a business. And that's why I do what I do. So when I lose track of like why I'm getting lost in the weeds of a certain product launch or some sort of campaign, I go back to those three questions is I know it's because there are people out there, there are people out there. Even even you Val, when we first were working together you were like, I want to do something different. I'm like, okay, let's go do something different, right? I have this expertise. You had this insight and all this experience and I was like, let's package this up and, and start to share it with the world and create a new new life in a way. So that's why I do what I do is those three questions.

Val: 08:07 When you talk about being a business coach, the life piece is part of it. You have to coach the whole person. And I think that that's what really, for me, when I started working with you, I'd never experienced that before where somebody cared about all of me. It wasn't just like what I was doing. It's like, what are you bringing to this and what's going to sustain you? So there's really long hours and the disappointments and the trial and error. So absolutely.

Well, the next set of questions that you ask us was, and I love this one, is what do you want me to pay you for? Which one of I friends do you want me to tell you about? Right? And I was like, Gee, I don't know. I've never really thought of my business in those terms, you know? And, but it doesn't that make it simple, doesn't it? It makes it so easy when you think about that.

Mike Kim: 08:56 Yeah. It's the whole point is to make it relatable, right? So like, you know, you get, you get to this point where you're like, yeah, I want to start a business. And here, here's what happens. Most people, most people, they stay right in their head. They don't go and execute. I'm not like that. I mean, I spent a little bit of time in my head, but then I just go do it. And once I get, you know, some bumps and bruises, I come back and I was like, okay, at least I tried that. What did I learn? Right? And so I found that in a lot of the people that I met who are coaching people in business, like business coaches, like they had these in marketing coaches, they had these ideal client, you know, exercises and Avatar. And I just didn't really like that.

Mike Kim: 09:38 I know that there's a place for that, but it didn't really get me the answers that I wanted. Right. Because here's what I would say, I just want ta client base to make money. All right? And I'll serve whoever gives me money. I know that's not a good answer. And I know that's not like a good way to build a business, but that was my answer at the time.

That's all I understood. And so when I ask people like, well your ideal client, your Avatar, forget all that, which one of my friends do you want me to tell or talk to about your business? They'd say wait, what? I'm like, okay, let me just give you a few scenarios. You want to meet my friend Sarah, we were coworkers. She's probably about 24 now and graduated from pharmacy, not too long ago, single.

Mike Kim: 10:21 Do you want to talk to her like, hmm. Not really. No. I'm like, okay, do you want to talk to, you want to talk to my sister? She's 37 two kids, you know, a couple of degrees. Works from home for one of the big four consulting companies. You want to talk to her? They're like, oh yeah, actually maybe. Yeah, maybe I do because I am trying to talk about life balance and, and wellness, you know, as, as a woman. Or do you want to talk to my, one of my best friends, Henry, he's 40 he's got an eight year old son. He works at Whole Foods as a recruiter or do you want to talk to my friend Jennifer? She's in her fifties and she's a doctor. She's got a daughter in college, and so I start to paint those pictures and then they would start to say, oh wait, wait.

Mike Kim: 11:03 Yeah, actually, you know what? I want to talk to people like your sister. I want to talk to people like, your friend Henry, I want to talk to Jen because she's older and she's got money because she's a doctor, right? And now it kind of like helps them have a picture of a real person because I'm actually using real people in the example. And then I tell, then I asked like, well what do you actually want me to pay you for? And they'll say life clarity. And I'm like, last time I checked, you can't buy a bottle of life clarity.