Dan Schawbel’s BIO
Dan Schawbel, recognized as a “personal branding guru” by The New York Times, is the Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, LLC, and the author of the #1 international bestselling book, Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future (Kaplan, October 2010). Dan is the founder of the Personal Branding Blog, the publisher of Personal Branding Magazine, the youngest columnist at BusinessWeek, and has been featured in over 350 media outlets, such as The New York Times and ELLE Magazine. He’s spoken at Google, Harvard Business School, MIT, Time Warner, IBM, and CitiGroup. Dan was named to the Inc. Magazine 30 Under 30 List in 2010, and BusinessWeek cites him as someone entrepreneurs should follow on Twitter (@DanSchawbel).
Millennial Branding, LLC is a leading personal branding company, focused on delivering online branding strategies for both personal and corporate brands, in order to help them stand out in the marketplace and achieve their goals.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW
1. What prompted you to start your Millennial Branding?
Dan: I learned how to market myself during college before I even used the term “personal branding.” I had eight internships, seven leadership positions on campus and my own consulting business building websites for small companies. Despite all my efforts, it took me eight months, interviewing for three positions, to get a job at EMC in product marketing, which was my goal at the time. Part of the reason why it took so long was because I was afraid of networking or the art of “asking for help”! In early 2007, I was inspired by Tom Peters to delve right into the field of personal branding as the Gen-Y spokesperson. Within six months, I started the Personal Branding Blog, had my articles published in magazines and online sites, created an online TV show, and more. Fast Company profiled me in August of 2007 and EMC PR got wind of it, sending it directly to a Vice President who recruited me to be the first social media specialist. This circumstance inspired me to write Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future, which eventually spawned my company Millennial Brandinga few years later.
2. For most successful entrepreneurs, there is no typical day so give us a sample of your schedule from start to finish.
Dan: I don’t really have a schedule to be honest. The only thing that has been consistent from day one has been me reviewing hundreds of RSS feeds every morning, bookmarking the important articles, and sharing them throughout my network. Everything else is in constant flux. For instance, I could be managing my team, working on my next book, getting ready for an event, and so on.
3. What are your “can’t live without” apps on your desktop/cell phone?
Dan: I have no desktop applications because that would be too distracting. As for mobile applications on the iPhone, I like “Square,” which I use to accept credit cards for book purchases at events. I like the Nike+ GPS for tracking speeds and time when I run. I also like Shazamfor notifying me of song titles when I’m out of town. The “Notes” application is also useful for remembering names and keywords for later.
4. What are your tricks for time management?
Dan: Make a list of the top five things you need to accomplish in a given week and stick to it. I don’t have great time management skills, but I’m really good at accomplishing a lot in a short period of time so I get away with it.
5. Best advice received when you started your career?
Dan: The best advice I received was when I got my first book published. Instead of relying on the publisher to market the book, which they don’t, I created the entire promotional program. If I failed to market the book all by myself, it would have failed and ruined my writing career.
6. Given the current economic climate, how has your strategy for building awareness of your work changed for the short-term and long-term?
Dan: It has only accelerated because a lot of my advice applies to job seekers. Building a strong personal brand will always be relevant and important, regardless of occupation. My business has grown from the media attention that I receive from helping job seekers.
7. What’s been your proudest achievement as such an immensely accomplished Entrepreneur?
Dan: I would say one of them is when my book became a #1 bestseller in Japan. I don’t know Japanese but I was up till 4am EST that night thanking every Japanese buyer on Twitter, which was pretty remarkable.
8. What are some of the ways that you achieve balance in your life?
Dan: No entrepreneur has balance in their life. It’s just a fact and if someone tells you otherwise, then they are probably not a successful entrepreneur. Work always comes first and you try and weave your family and friendships as you go. I sometimes spend one hundred hours per week trying to build this business and if I didn’t, it wouldn’t go anywhere.
9. Your top 3 book recommendations for our readers (and why?)
Dan: I don’t read books because I have trouble focusing and I only consume online media. I would recommend “Linchpin” by Seth Godin because it explains why you need to be different than everyone else. I also recommend Marcus Buckingham’s book “Now, Discover Your Strengths” because you can only truly excel at your true talents. Finally, I recommend “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” which is a classic text that any professional should read.
10. If you had an exceptional month and earned double of your average month, what (if anything) would you spend it on?
Dan: I would just reinvest it back into the company and save some of it just in case I had a poor month. Being an entrepreneur means that you’re unstable so you should always protect yourself.
11. What are some of your most rewarding charitable involvements and why?
Dan: We do free community events to help support the entrepreneur community in Boston, MA. For one of these events, we paired with The Jimmy Fund for a charity fundraiser. We believe in giving back to the community by staging events that bring people together.
12. Who has been the most influential person to you as you’ve advanced in your career?
Dan: That’s a great question. I really admire Tom Peters who inspired me to pursue my passion with personal branding. I’ve only spoken to him once but his voice has traveled with me ever since.
13. What’s your advice to someone interested in entrepreneurship?
Dan: Pick a business that you’re passionate about because you’ll give up otherwise. It’s a lot of work and you have to be persistent and do whatever it takes to make your dreams come true. If you’re starting a business to make a quick buck, go work for a company instead.
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