Art Shaikh is Founder & CEO of DigitalWill.com
Firstly, many people fear the words 'personal brand' as it means going public with your thoughts. I want to know if you have always found it easy to 'put yourself out there'?
I have never been "shy" but I am also not seeking the limelight. When you are the founder of a startup, it is a necessity to be publicly visible, as investors are going to invest in YOU and not necessarily your brand.
When it comes to building an authentic personal brand, what advice would you give professionals starting out?
The key word there is "authentic." Be yourself. Of course keep it professional, but also don't hesitate to be open and honest with your public statements. You never know what people are going to resonate with, so it doesn't hurt to be on social media and get your name out there.
Do you think personal branding and reputation go hand in hand, and what can people do to maintain a positive reputation while brand-building?
Yes, they do go hand-in-hand. This sort of circles back to what I was saying before about being authentic but professional. It helps to think ahead before shooting from the hip, but it also isn't always wise to put every Tweet through a focus-group before publishing. It is all about balance.
Can you share a success story of how you or someone you follow used their personal brand to build business or career?
My personal brand has helped me in securing millions of dollars in funding and has led many to reach out about investing in DigitalWill.com. I don't think I am doing anything different than most, but cultivating strong digital presence has opened up doors to places I could only dream of.
Which platforms do you find most effective for establishing thought leadership and growing professional presence?
I have used LinkedIn and Instagram to help build my brand. One thing I have been fortunate with has been strong press coverage, which I then share on multiple platforms to amplify it.
How do you ensure your personal brand stays true to who you are and your evolving goals?
I am truly no different in person than I am online, as everyone will tell you. My goals are out there for everyone to see. When you are a founder, your life is dedicated to your mission, and this permeates everything you do.
What are some practical strategies or tactics professionals can use to expand their network and build meaningful connections?
Be bold but not overbearing. I am always more about attraction rather than promotion, so I usually allow valuable connections to develop organically. Either what I am doing resonates with you, or it doesn't. Although, when it comes to estate planning, it technically should resonate with everyone, as legacy building and generational wealth are important topics.
Along your personal branding journey, have you encountered any common obstacles that readers of this interview should be aware of?
Obstacles, no. I think there are challenges that many face, such as being shy or overthinking things. I know from the perspective of a founder that you can't be shy, or you'll never build what you're dreaming of.
Imagine you have a time machine that can transport you to the future. What impact do you envision your personal brand having on the world?
I think my personal brand will be known for helping estate planning become more equitable and accessible for everyone around the globe. I think it is also going to be impactful in helping others preserve their legacy and generational wealth.
Close your eyes and imagine you're a bestselling author. What captivating book would you write to share your personal brand journey and insights?
I am not one to write that much, but I suspect it would be about how losing my father unexpectedly led me to create tools that connect families and ensure their heritage lives on.
Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge with us here! Where should people follow you to find out more about your work?