In this era of personal brands and influencers, there’s a phrase that’s captured the imagination of content creators: “Productize Yourself.”
This concept, and others like it, has created a massive echo chamber on social platforms.
While I believe the overall idea is sound, many followers may be focused on the wrong thing—mimicking a particular influencer’s style or being fixated on superficial personal branding.
So, what should they be focused on instead?
Read on to find out…
What Does “Productize Yourself” Actually Mean?
In simple terms, to “productize yourself” is to package your unique combination of skills, knowledge, and experiences into marketable products or services.
The ultimate goal?
Scale your impact without directly trading time for money.
Naval Ravikant, renowned entrepreneur and forward thinker, explains that it’s about identifying your unique strengths and leveraging them to the maximum.
The Potential Benefits that Come with Success
Ideas from large influencers of this philosophy, such as Dan Koe, who champions “The One-Person Business,” and Justin Welsh, who promotes the concept of the “Solopreneuer,” have become ubiquitous—and many aspiring creators are taking their word as gospel.
These influencers frame the success they’ve had as evidence that anyone else can do the same, and often pitch a number of compelling potential benefits:
- Freedom from the Time Trap: Unlike traditional services that bind you to hourly rates or fixed contracts—strive to build income generating streams that reward you even when you’re not actively working.
- Low Overhead Costs: Without the need to maintain a physical office space, hire multiple employees, or invest in large-scale infrastructure… you can operate with minimal financial burdens.
- Agility: Removing the layers of bureaucracy and the need for consensus that larger organizations often grapple with—you can adapt to market changes, pivot your strategies, and implement new experimental ideas.
- Diverse Earnings: Having multiple productized services or offerings means you’re not putting all your eggs in one basket.
- Following Your Passion: By aligning your business with what you genuinely love and are enthusiastic about—you attract like-minded people with similar interests.
Beware the Lure of Superficial Personal Branding Advice
Who wouldn’t want freedom, agility, and to follow their passion?
While I believe the above results are attainable, it’s important to remember—when consuming the content of influencers—we are their product.
To be successful requires more than mimicking their style, and it certainly requires more than simply building a personal brand.
If you don’t have a specific audience with a specific problem in mind—you won’t be able to create a viable product.
And a viable product is what a business needs to be successful.
So, it’s important to remember that the following is NOT your product:
- Your content
- Your personal brand
This is your marketing.
Actionable Steps: How to Productize Yourself with Success
- Define Your Vision of Future Success: Fully understand that this is not a short term venture—you must have a long term vision. With your specific skills in mind, research the market and determine how and where you can best help people solve problems.
- Specify Your Offer: Think about this from the BEGINNING. What problems can you solve? Who can you solve them for? Build digital products, and offer your services. Services is where most people start—but digital products will help you scale without the extra effort.
- Grow Your Online Presence: Pick a social media platform, and begin to put your unique thoughts and strategies out into the world. Become a ‘documentarian’ of your process, and share your expertise. You are your best advertisement. Heavily curate your social media feed so that you primarily see what your audience is talking about. Seek questions, and answer them.
- Create Systems and Automate to Scale: This is optional, but can create even more leverage. Create systems, templates, and frameworks tailored to your business. Determine what you can delegate, what you can automate, and what you can do without.
- Evaluate Your Progress: Gather and analyze feedback—especially regarding your products. Continue to experiment and iterate. Consistently polish your offer. A compounding effect will occur with time.
Remember that the world is big a place, and the internet gives people the freedom to find exactly the right “group” they want to be around…
But you don’t have to be everywhere.
There are plenty of people on every social platform—more than enough that need your help… so, don’t spread yourself too thin.
And most importantly, don’t focus on the number of subscribers you have, but instead—the quality of your subscribers.
Is Personal Branding Still Important?
Personal Branding is the perception others have of you.
It encompasses your personality, values, mission, and the emotions you evoke in your audience.
Done well—when someone has a specific need in your specific area—they think of you first.
While great personal branding does nothing to HURT your chances of success… it’s not the only way to create a successful online business.
If you want to create a business, your goal is simply to:
- Find people that have a problem
- Create a solution for them
- Put it up for sale
- Tell them about it
And yes—this is made easier if the perception people have of you is already developed.
That said, treat your personal brand and your content for what it is: Your marketing machine.
It’s about setting yourself apart—one post at a time—establishing a distinct identity that resonates with your target audience.
Don’t Neglect the Product in Productize Yourself
If you take one thing from this article, let it be this:
Developing a marketable, sellable product should be your ultimate focus.
This is how you build a sustainable content creator business.
This is the part that most aspiring creators seem to overlook when taking in content from large influencers.
These influencers do mention the importance of digital products, of course—but it gets glossed over and buried by talk of how many followers they have, their social media schedule, what their typical day looks like, and platitudes about how great your life will be once you find success.
He argues that the noise coming out of The One-Person Business and Solopreneur clones often skip over the business part. And the meat of their message gets boils down to:
- Step 1: Write about your life.
- Step 2: Make Money.
But the money never comes.
I strongly agree with Josh’s view, and urge creators to begin thinking about and developing product(s) early in their venture.
Putting It All Together
To “Productize Yourself” is a powerful philosophy on how to approach content and business in the digital age, and personal branding is only a part of the idea.
It’s extremely important not to neglect the “product” in productize.
Remember: Your content is not your business. It’s simply the marketing for your business.
Your business is built by marketable products you create that solves someone’s problem.
Learn to sell. Learn to build. If you can do both, you will be unstoppable.Naval Ravikant
Here’s a link to the full tweet thread that Naval eventually summarized with the two words: “Productize Yourself”
How We Can Help You
At Awesome Content Creator, it’s our mission to help you craft high-quality, valuable content… and turn your ideas into a sustainable business.
Our specific area of expertise is in marketing—copywriting, video creation, packaging, and presentation.
We are laying the foundations now.
Our focus is to build products that help you enhance your messaging and truly showcase your business.
What are your thoughts on this solo-entrepreneur mindset?
Has focus on the “product” been lost amidst a sea of personal branding noise?