5 Personal Brands Generating Real ROI

Let’s set the record straight: developing your personal brand is not an act of vanity. It’s an act of good business sense.

People in leadership positions within extremely diverse industries – from the medical field to academia, from the fashion industry to the wellness world – are leveraging their educations, crafts and day-to-day jobs into profitable business centers all on their own.

It’s not enough to simply have built success, developed expertise, sharpened your perspective and honed in on your value. As a mentor of mine once said: “Personal branding is what happens when your value meets a megaphone.” It’s one thing to know what you know, and something else entirely to share what you know. Leave the megaphone on the table, and that’s where you’ll leave the money, too.

It’s easy to talk about the benefits of a personal brand, and quite another to witness it in action. Let’s take a look at five professionals who have picked up their own megaphones to create real ROI. I’m talking about hundreds of thousands of audience members, internationally acclaimed thought leadership and millions of dollars in income.

Sophia Amoruso is the founder of online fashion behemoth Nasty Gal. After having a built a successful start-up, she turned her personal story and penned the best-selling book GIRLBOSS, which started no less than a movement of entrepreneurial girls aspiring to her level of success. Along the way, she grew a personal 422,000 Instagram community, launched one of the most highly listened-to podcasts “GIRLBOSS Radio” on iTunes, and landed the cover Forbes as one of the most powerful self-made women, with a net worth of $240 million.

Advertising executive turned entrepreneur Simon Sinek is best known for his infamous TED talk on the concept of “Why,” which became the third most watched talk of all time on TED.com. From this notoriety, he launched his own platform, startwithwhy.com, and productized his authentic voice into two best selling books including, Find Your Why: A Practical Guide to Discovering Purpose for You Or Your Team, along with digital courses, trainings and workshops. Simon is a member of RAND Corporation, one of the most highly regarded creative think tanks in the world, and regular contributes to INC., Business Week and The New York Times.

With 150,000 Twitter followers, Dr. Kevin Pho has established himself as “social media’s leading physician voice.” He has collaborated with over 2,000 medical professionals as contributors on his website kevinmd.com, is an acclaimed key note speaker, regularly touring the country’s top medical institutions and research centers and author of the book: Establishing, Managing, and Protecting Your Online Reputation: A Social Media Guide for Physicians and Medical Practices.

Professor and Economist Paul Krugman has taught at MIT, Stanford, Yale, NYU and The London School of Economics, and was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. It’s safe to say that those credentials alone mark an extraordinary career and even a legacy. But it’s his 20 books, 200 scholarly articles, several hundred columns in The New York Times, Fortune and Slate, along with his 2.1M Twitter followers that catapulted him as one of the most recognized, relevant and sought-after economic thought leaders of our time.

Bartender turned Life Coach turned Entrepreneur Marie Forleo built her 8-figure business on YouTube. She developed an audience of 300,000 with her witty and heartfelt advice videos and interviews with top thought leaders and entrepreneurs like Tony Robbins, Elizabeth Gilbert and Seth Godin. She leveraged this massive reach to launch her signature digital course, “B-School,” resulting in over $10 million+ in revenue.