Larry BraunerI’ll share one of my idiosyncrasies with you, but promise you won’t laugh: Most people go to the library to find books — not me. When I accompany my kids to the library, I take my own books with me to read while waiting for them to finish.

Think that’s peculiar? I can assure you that there’s a totally rational explanation: It’s rare to find the trendy business books I like to read at a library. I’m much more likely to find them at a bookstore.

Still, my kids like to tease me about this seemingly odd behavior.

Looking for Trendy Business Books at the LibraryImagine my surprise when on a recent library visit, I found both Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk and Six Pixels of Separation by Mitch Joel in the new arrivals section. Finding these books was a fluke, but nevertheless, I do plan to check back in that section in the future. ;-)

I read and thoroughly enjoyed Crush It!. The words of @garyvee helped to reinforce and refine my personal approach to business and social media branding. (I’m still in the middle of Six Pixels of Separation and liking it so far.)

Business developers are starting to approach me to explore joint ventures. They tell me how successful they are and then talk to me about changing my path, building a giant email list and making videos.

Gary, on the other hand, talks about building your personal brand through social media by being authentic and “delivering your content by video, podcast, or blog.” Being authentic guarantees to “differentiate you from everybody else, including those who share your niche or business model.”

Gary’s whole book resonated with me. However, his emphasis on building a personal brand around one’s passion got me to stop and reflect for several days about my own passion.

I realized that while I love social media, the web, and data crunching, I have a greater passion for helping people solve difficult problems. Throughout my career, I’ve been happiest when solving business problems has been at the core of my work.

Gary Vaynerchuk writes that loving your family, working super hard and living your passion are the keys to success. What’s your passion, and are you building your personal brand and future around that passion?

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15 Responses to “Are You Building Your Personal Brand and Future Around Your Passion?”

  1. Chrystal on March 14th, 2010 9:56 pm

    Absolutely. I am living my passion. My passion is to help women in lots of ways. I won’t go into detail here about my main passion (it’s PG-13 or maybe R rated). But, my other passion is helping women to grow their businesses and I am lucky enough to get to do both!

    Great article, Larry. I think you hit the nail on the head. From what I know about you, you seem to have a real passion for solving problems and sharing your vast knowledge.

  2. Peter Egan on March 14th, 2010 10:16 pm

    I love the concept of building a career around one’s passion(s) in life.

    That was the idea when I started registering domain names several years ago - to register names related to things I enjoy doing/writing/talking about and start building websites around those topics.

    Granted, work is work, and I’d be lying if I said that intertwining work and play has taken a little bit of the fun out of the latter.

    All-around, I enjoyed the post, and found your writing impressive enough to check out a few of your other posts (which I intend to do upon completion of this comment). ;-)

  3. Jack Goldenberg on March 14th, 2010 10:31 pm


    I’m only half finished with the book, but I think your recommendation is right on. This book is a game changer.

    Most people, me included, think the Internet is another form of communication. It’s not. It’s really THE form of communication that will change EVERYTHING much more than we realize.

    It’s like when they called the car a “horseless carriage.” Or when they called TV “talking radio pictures.” People can only define things in terms which they understand, so they define everything in terms of “what was,” not what something will be.

    The automobile changed everything. It opened up whole new worlds in every form of human endeavor.

    You can’t really understand the paradigm shift the Internet and social networks will cause unless you look at both with NEW EYES.

    Jack Goldenberg

  4. Lisa Murray on March 14th, 2010 11:52 pm

    This is a really interesting question and one that a lot more people are starting to explore… Personally I’ve been following my (multiple) passions for three years, and am currently coaching others to build profitable businesses based around their bliss…

    Last week I put a question on LinkedIn around this idea of following your bliss. It’s interesting how many people have subscribed to the e-Myth concept without actually asking if there are other possibilities!!

    I am writing a book on this later in the year and would love to hear from people who have followed their bliss and developed a successful business.

    I loved Gary Vee’s book - it was simple and really demonstrated another path… maybe bliss is found on roads less travelled…


  5. Greg George on March 15th, 2010 9:15 am


    Gary Vee’s book changed my life and I am sure has changed the life of others. It touched me in a way that made me change careers and do what I should have been doing all along. Personal Branding will soon become a very popular sport.

    Have A Positive Day,

    Greg George

  6. Udi Drezner on March 15th, 2010 9:59 am

    Great post!

    Building your personal brand around your passion is important. Nothing like feeling passionate for your work, to get you motivated.

    Check out a branding tool I [market] to support branding efforts online, LookupPage, a platform on which you can create a professional web page for yourself (very fast to put up, and simple to manage and track). It guarantees your visibility on Google’s first page search when someone searches your name/brand. It also shows up on all search engines online.

    Udi Drezner

  7. HealthStar on March 15th, 2010 10:49 am

    This is very true. It’ is so important to build our business around what we are passionate about. It’s so important to blog or make videos to brand ourselves so that people can see who we are and what we love. After all, most of us sign up as a customer or business partner with someone that we like and care about and with whom we can easily talk and come to when we have a question or a problem.

  8. Sheila on March 15th, 2010 10:54 am

    Larry - “Books” and “library” got my attention! I love sharing my passion(s) and turning it into cash for causes. Thank you for this reaffirming article!

  9. krissy knox on March 15th, 2010 12:52 pm

    Larry, I am living my passion. Or shall I say — beginning to. And I am attempting to build my brand around it. But building one’s brand takes time.

    When one builds a brand, he must be totally authentic. He must go out of his way to help others solve their problems. To do this, I’m sure you know, he must engage in social media on many fronts, including Twitter and on blogs. He must be part of social networking, part of the community, so that others get to really know him, and what he has to offer.

    At the same time, I believe it’s beneficial, no, extremely important, to do the things you mentioned also. He should do some “number crunching” and some collecting of names for email lists, newsletter lists, etc.

    What I’m attempting to say is that both you and Gary’s methods of accomplishing what you are mutually trying to accomplish are valid and good. Actually, I believe you are trying to accomplish the same thing — having your business revolve around your passion. You are just going about it a little bit differently. But you have, in no less of a way than Gary, love your passion for helping others! You just, perhaps, go about doing it in a different way… That’s how I see it…

    Larry, you are just more of a numbers guy. It is what you do with those numbers, that collection of names, that matters, and that reveals your passion in the end!

    We do need to not get so caught up in statistics that we forget about people, but as long as we are not doing that, we are doing fine! The numbers and facts are very useful, as long as they are not an end unto themselves, and as long as people are not mistreated or passions forgotten.

    I’d like to share something with you and then I’ll get out of your COMMBOX! When I approach business I use both methods — the way many conduct business such as you do (through constructing email lists, by number crunching, collecting and using statistics, etc), and also Gary’s way (helping others by learning about them through social media such as Twitter and blogging, using a very personal touch to achieve branding, etc.). I find both extremely useful, rewarding and effective!

    When I began my online business, I worked the way Gary did. Now I am using, in addition, many practical methods, like you use, Larry. One is mailing lists, both for email and newsletter.

    So what is the point here? Both what you do and what Gary does makes me extremely successful, and they are compatible for a businessperson to do in his business. I wouldn’t make it without either! And they are very morally compatible for a businessman to engage in also.

    Most importantly, neither method has caused me to lose my passion. They, together, have caused me to strengthen it! Using the personal touch in branding has strengthened my passion because I love to help people, and to teach them things — to share my knowledge so that they can advance on their own and grow their own business. This is both good business PR for me, and helps them grow!

    And “number crunching” and using “statistical methods” has also strengthened my passion in doing business! Why? Because it causes me to work hard. It’s because I just love a challenge! And I absolutely love to work with numbers, to play with them, just as I love to work with people. Especially when in the end the numbers “games” help me get ahead in my business — helping me in my business, and thereby helping others by allowing me to serve them with my business. The thing is I love numbers, and I absolutely love competition! Trying to beat someone else at a numbers game — like getting the most subscribers on a blog, or making the most money at something, etc, is just a blast to me! I like to set goals, and beat someone else, or even beat myself!

    So in business, Larry, what you and Gary do to follow your passions is important! And both methods are compatible within the same business plan, and not contraindicative, as long as you make your passion your main focus!

    I hope this comment makes sense!

    By the way, I found this blog through a tweet on Twitter, and RTed this post. It’s great! I’m subscribing through RSS feed. Thanks for a great blog!

    krissy knox
    please follow me on Twitter: @iamkrissy

  10. Steve on March 15th, 2010 1:24 pm

    I’m grateful that I have always worked to do this very thing. Today, my social media work is an extension of those passions, and so are my blogs. Am very grateful for the opportunity to live in a day and age and country where we can do this. Now, it’s time for me to get to my library and check Gary’s book out :)

  11. Larry Brauner on March 15th, 2010 6:45 pm

    @Chrystal You might say Chrystal that your passion is passion.

    @Peter Thank you.

    @Jack Consider this paradigm: In our ever changing world, all paradigms are temporary.

    @Lisa It can appear safer to ignore other possibilities.

    @Greg Positively!

    @Udi Good luck with your venture.

    @Sheila “Cash for Causes” has a nice ring to it.

    @Krissy I appreciate your support.

    @Steve Or buy it, using my link, of course. ;-)

  12. Henry Kretchmer on March 15th, 2010 8:27 pm


    Really enjoyed your post, and I do not think that’s it’s peculiar if you bring your own book to the library, I have done it a few times my self.

    I have been following Gary V for a year or so now, and when Crush It came out, I was reading it the same day. I love how he is so straight forward and tells it like it is — no sugar coating it with him. His passion is so intense I think sometimes he is going to explode. Just like you, I have a major passion for helping others; the feeling is so great. I am so glad I decided to follow you, because if I hadn’t, I would have missed this post.

    So glad that you are part of the UWB; it’s great to have on board.


  13. Ian Harm on April 4th, 2010 6:27 am

    I know what you mean about the library thing, many would see it as odd but I know where you are coming from. By the way thanks for the book recommendations I will definitely check them out.

  14. Amanda Page on August 9th, 2010 9:59 pm

    Anything that you do will be worthless if you do not have passion. If you are talking about your future, you should have the passion to make your dreams come true.

  15. Angel on September 24th, 2010 6:20 pm

    Passion is what you need to live your life to the fullest. Everything will mean nothing if you don’t have passion on it.

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