You Be You: Create a Profitable Personal Category


stand outIn their book “The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing,” Al Ries and Jack Trout talk about the “Law of the Category,” which is that “if you can’t be the first in a category, set up a new category you can be first in.” I’m coming to understand the importance of this concept, especially when thinking about individuality.

Each of us has our own unique makeup, a combination of genetic predisposition, life experiences, personality, interests, etc. If you think about it, that’s very helpful for creating a “new category” for our lives, businesses, and (ultimately) our success.

Take people like Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess), Gary Vaynerchuk and Tim Ferriss. They’ve each built incredible success around a combination of unique personality and passion. That combination represents their self-created categories, something that each of us has the power to create for ourselves.

Michael Port says, “The greatest strategy for personal and business development on the planet is bold self-expression.” Power that with your passion, whatever it may be, and you have the potential to build something that not only thrives in its own right, but also brings you personal fulfillment.

Where do you start? There are a few steps you can take to help you develop your own unique category.

Have Fewer Outgoing Filters
Many times, we make the mistake of filtering who we are. People like Lawson, Vaynerchuk, and Ferriss do not filter themselves. Lawson says that her blog was created so that she had “an uncensored space to say the f-word and talk about ninjas.” Pretty unfiltered, and she does it without apology. Vaynerchuk drinks wine with Cap’n Crunch, no apology. Ferriss challenges the “deferred-life plan” with his 4-hour workweek and, again, no apology. Do they appeal to everyone? No. Do they care? No. By not filtering themselves, they’re definitely going to turn some people off. But they’re not trying to accommodate the masses, and that’s what makes them so successful.

Have More Incoming Filters
Don’t try to appeal to everyone, and don’t try to work with everyone. In fact, become very selective about who you serve and refer everyone else out. By better filtering what’s coming into your life and business, you’re able to provide a service or product that’s highly suited for your client or customer. In turn, those customers will sing your praises and refer more work that’s well-suited for you.

Be Narrow
Not narrow-minded — be narrowly focused, and the more laser-focused you can be, the more likely you are to actually create a new category for yourself, and when you do, you’ll own it. Do you know another energetic and opinionated wine guy who calls it like he sees it and makes wine approachable for everyday people? No. Gary Vaynerchuk is now in a class by himself, which would be a great place for you to be, too!

Figure Out What Lights You Up
Just because you’re a virtual assistant doesn’t mean you have to do everything a virtual assistant is expected to do. What do you love to do?  What do you have fun and enjoy doing? What could you talk about for hours on end? Somewhere in all that is a passion for work you were meant to do, and if you’ll clearly identify it and then boldly say it and own it, you’ll have the second part of the category-creating combo down.

Build the Framework to Support Your Unique Voice
Once you know who you uniquely are, who you ideally serve, and what you passionately do, every profile, web page, and piece of media you put out there should represent that. “Boldly express it,” as Michael Port would say, and you’ll start attracting the right kind of following, a following of true fans.

Personality + Passion = Your Very Own Category
Your Very Own Category = Success + Excitement for You

What lessons have you learned in “bold self-expression” and how it relates to your success in life and business? In what ways can you start to create your own unique category for your business?

Image from Flickr by HAMED MASOUMI


Jeff Slobotski

I still am struggling with this…I’m a connector and enjoy linking people up and promoting what they’re doing…how do you monetize and build that?

On the side, I also run a site highlighting others in the community doing amazing things…again going back to my passion of spreading the news and light to others as well as linking them up…

Would love to hear and discuss further…


very good. I would add the filter of living in your specific strengths and passions. I created a free online assessment to help anyone do just this –

it is key to create your own filters – that allow you to personally define success on your own terms. Then, the journey becomes yours alone.

Rick Smith

Amber Weinberg

I’ve tried to make a balance of filters. I use my portfolio to be professional, but I use my blog to talk about industry specific things, but in my own geek speak. I don’t worry so much about censoring myself there, I just try to let my personality come through my writing as much as possible.

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