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Personal Branding For Startup Founders: 5 Ideas For Those Who Have No Time

Throughout our extensive experience helping startup founders build their personal brand, we have come across a recurrent obstacle, the lack of time.

We get it. Building a thriving venture is not an easy feat. However, we also believe that the process is not as daunting as it can seem in principle. What if we told you that you can gradually boost your brand by putting in only 10 minutes a day? In this column, we will show you how.

What is personal branding and why is it important?

The concept of a personal brand refers to being intentional about what people think about you, and what they say about you when you are not in the room.

Meanwhile, our founder and CEO, Dina Mostovaya, remarks that it should not be approached as an end in itself, but instead, seen as a tool that can translate into tangible results. Therefore, the first question to ask yourself is “What is the main purpose I am expecting to achieve from investing my resources in personal branding?” By bridging this undertaking to the big picture, you can clearly see the value behind it.

Strategically showcasing your talents, values, principles, and unique contributions often paves the way for exciting new business opportunities.

Among the benefits are inbound requests from investors and partners, coveted speaking engagements at major conferences, enhanced credibility within your industry, and increased media exposure.

Our close collaboration with clients on cultivating their personal reputations consistently yields tangible results. Take Mikhail Taver, for instance, founder and managing partner of Taver Capital. His active presence on LinkedIn has helped us to secure several high-quality media publications—journalists see his expertise through his posts and know right away how he can be useful to them.

Similarly, consider Karolina Attspodina, founder and CEO of WeDoSolar, whose feature in Deutsche Welle led to a surge of interest from prominent media outlets, including CNN TV.

Then there's Sergey Gribov, partner at Flint Capital, whose impactful personal brand and active engagement in the media secured him consecutive invitations to major TechCrunch events.

5 ideas to boost entrepreneurs’ personal brand in 10 minutes a day

#1: Write a post for your social media

Audiences and communities value consistency, which will be key to establishing your digital image. This doesn’t mean you need to write original, long-form posts all the time. From our experience, many founders often scramble to come up with ideas to discuss. If you are one of them, an easy hack is to start with your news feed — the one that you already look at on a daily basis.

Then, write a short post (between 4-6 sentences) about whatever world event or recent announcement caught your attention, and complement it by sharing the link to what you read. Don’t worry about perfection. By hitting “Publish” regularly, you will build a healthy habit — posting consistently — and showcase your expertise and ideas to your network.

#2: Spend 10 minutes to comment meaningfully on others’ posts

When scrolling through your social media feed, be intentional. As platforms aim to drive up engagement, there is a lot of valuable content being shared, and many posts garner a sizable number of impressions and reactions.

If you see such a post on a topic that inspires a thought or idea, leave a comment. Not a generic one, but something thoughtful that demonstrates what you have to bring to the table. By sparking a conversation, you will boost your visibility, and the more interactions you have, the more your content and profile will be discoverable, including by potential clients and stakeholders.

#3: Grow your network by connecting with people of interest

Besides content, you can bolster the quality of your profile by increasing your number of connections.

Initially, you can start with people you already know, and those who you would like to add to your professional environment. Similarly, if you attend a conference or an event, invite those people who you became acquainted with to be a part of your network, and send them a short note. This will help build rapport. The same goes if you meet someone that you have something in common with, whether that happens at a coffee shop or at the tennis club. Following up means a lot.

You can also target connecting with or following journalists who cover your industry, as well as potential investors and partners. However, don't fall into the trap of adding new connections to your network just for the sake of numbers. Random connection requests that have no further intention are pointless and actually hurt your personal brand, because it tells others that you are not certain of your goals, or who you are as a thought leader.

#4: Spend 10 minutes to pitch a podcast

From a PR standpoint, podcasts offer tremendous value, since there is an increasingly growing number of listeners. It is reported that on average Americans tune into eight different shows per week.

By participating in a podcast, you can effectively establish an emotional and conceptual connection with the listeners, one that, if leveraged correctly, has the power to transform an audience into a loyal and supportive community.

As a startup founder, there is a huge list of different podcasts you might be interested in engaging with. Some of them are easier to be featured in, others are more challenging.

You can easily start with shows like The Thoughtful Entrepreneur, Listening With Leaders, or B2B Tech Founders Lounge, or find other ones that are more relevant depending on your industry. At Mindset, we’ve shared some recommendations, as well as some tips to help you get featured in your podcast of choice.

#5: Make a short Q&A video

Nowadays, most platforms make it possible to share video content. You can do this through YouTube, Instagram Reels, or LinkedIn, to name a few.

This format has some advantages, because it allows you to quickly provide valuable content and engage with your community. Also, since audiences now prefer bidirectional dialogues, opening up the forum for a Q&A session fosters a better communication dynamic, and enhances your perception as someone who is attentive and open.

Final thoughts

While these steps won’t build a comprehensive personal brand, they are excellent first steps to get started on the process. By doing them consistently, you will certainly boost your visibility, and open up potential opportunities that you might have not had on your radar.

As you start posting regularly and being more proactive about your social media presence, remember that, as it happens with any goal, we get what we give. Our success depends on prioritizing what we wish to put our time and genuine effort into. We all have the same number of hours in one day, and “I don’t have time,” is better translated to “it is not important for me right now.”