Over the course of the past two decades or so, we’ve witnessed the rise of a veritable “golden age” of entrepreneurship. A blend of factors, including the popularity of tech startups, the availability of more resources and technology with which entrepreneurs can build companies, and a rejuvenated interest in entrepreneurship in general have cultivated an interesting characteristic of breakout new businesses: the entrepreneurial rock star.
Treated with the same level of celebrity as a traditional rock star, these entrepreneurs captivate public interest and generate mass appeal for their respective brands. But how did these entrepreneurs get there, and can you adopt the same practices to generate a similar appeal for your own brand?
Qualities of an Entrepreneurial Rock Star
First, let’s take a look at the qualities of the prototypical entrepreneurial “rock star” and why this position is both valuable and, rightly, coveted:
· The face of the company. These entrepreneurs all became the face of their respective companies over time, in some cases becoming even more popular than the companies themselves. For example, can you imagine Apple without thinking of Steve Jobs? Even better, how many people do you know who are familiar with the operations of SpaceX, Solar City, or Tesla — would those same people be familiar with Elon Musk? I’d wager Elon Musk’s popularity exceeds those of his individual companies.
· Personality. Being an entrepreneurial rock star is about more than just owning a successful company. You also have to have a recognizable, dynamic, and appealing personality — that last part doesn’t mean you have to be friendly or likable to everyone, but it means something about your personality must appeal to the masses. For example, Richard Branson’s daringness helped propel him to popularity as much as his material success.
· Role modeling. People also love to idolize people who have done incredible things, so they can learn from them and hopefully replicate their success. This is one reason why people latch onto CEOs of majorly successful startups even when those CEOs aren’t trying to become popular, like Mark Zuckerberg.
The Human Factor
It’s important to recognize that a major factor for the existence of entrepreneurial rock stars is inherent to human beings; we like to see and connect with other human beings. It’s far easier to look at, learn from, and be inspired or entertained by someone with a face and personality than it is by a corporation.
The simple fact that you’re a human being — and a sincere one at that — can provide a massive boost to your potential appeal.
Only Some Entrepreneurs?
Many startups and businesses skyrocket to popularity, but only some of those hyper-successful entrepreneurs end up becoming “rock stars.” Why is this? Part of it boils down to visibility; some entrepreneurs intentionally try to avoid the spotlight. But another, even more significant motivation is the bandwagon effect, where more people tend to pay attention to what’s already popular. Essentially, once certain entrepreneurs reach a threshold of popularity, they start to become even bigger celebrities simply because of the exposure they get. It’s a slope that escalates quickly.
How to Become an Entrepreneurial Rock Star
So how can you become an entrepreneurial rock star in your own right? What strategies do you need to adopt?
· Build a personal brand. Personal brands are a gateway for you to build a bigger, more trusting, closer audience, whether you’re aiming to become the face of your brand or you’re just looking to promote your content in higher circles. Remember to be true to yourself; people respect sincerity, so just demonstrating your real personality and expertise will take you a long way in generating popularity.
· Be bold. You’ll also need to distinguish yourself in some unique way. Be bold in your actions, content, and ongoing publication opportunities. The bigger impact you make, and the more headlines you generate, the more attention you’ll receive for your personal and corporate brands. Dan Price, CEO of Gravity Payments, rose to stardom after setting his company’s minimum annual salary at $70,000. He was subsequently featured on the cover of Inc magazine with the headline “Is This the Best Boss in America?” and his employees bought him a Tesla Model S to thank him.
· Get published. Obviously, if you want to make yourself visible, you’ll need to get yourself published. Work on getting some guest posts featured in off-site publications, starting with low-authority and local sources at first to build a name for yourself.
· Increase your visibility. Nobody becomes a rock star overnight. If you want to achieve those levels of popularity, you’ll need to gradually scale your efforts up over time. That means reaching out to bigger and better authorities, increasing your content production, and doing more to support your personal brand.
Even if you adopt these characteristics and work hard at promoting your own personal brand, there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to become an entrepreneurial rock star. However, any gains you make to your personal brand’s popularity can (and likely will) be reflected in your corporate brand’s popularity. Any efforts you put into promoting yourself with be worth it, one way or another.
For more content like this, be sure to check out my podcast, The Entrepreneur Cast!