I’ve written before about the Young Turks of Personal Branding these amazing Millenials who seem to emerge from the cocoon fully formed and ready to rule the world.
Take Dan Schawbel, all of 25, who last month released his book Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success, which is already the top-selling career book on Amazon. When I wrote about Dan two years ago, he was already a “personal branding force of nature,” and I’m happy to say my article about him helped him get to the next level a little faster. Though take my word for it. No matter what, he was headed there.
I recently connected with another Millennial master of the universe, Shama Hyder, aptly named since she serves as an online marketing shaman, working her magic so flat-footed Internet newbies soar online. At just 23, Shama has created a six-figure company with five employees. Her company, Click to Client, specializes in social media marketing, helping companies market their businesses online. (Full disclosure: I am working with Shama on some online marketing initiatives.)
Shama, a born entrepreneur, who started her first business at age nine, ran a coaching business that she subsequently sold, and started her current business while in graduate school. Extremely disciplined and focused, Shama works a mere 18 hours a day. Yes, you read that right.
Early on, Shama recognized that she had a talent for marketing.” Marketing is typically hard for people, but it’s so natural for me,” says Shama, who even in high school was writing personal development style newsletters for her peers.
Credit Shama’s success as well to her ability to listen to her customers. When she started her business in 2007, she called it After the Launch and focused on generic business consulting. Her clients, however, didn’t quite see it that way.
“I originally didn’t want to get boxed in and thought I would be better off positioning myself as a general business consultant,” says Shama. “But we weren’t really doing that. Clients hired us to handle their online marketing. In fact, our clients referred to us as their online marketing experts. So I did what any smart marketer would do. I stole our elevator pitch from our clients,” Shama says with a chuckle.
All well and good, but how has Shama managed to differentiate herself from the zillions of other folks calling themselves online marketing firms?
“We specialize in online marketing for reputable service-oriented companies,” she says. “They don’t need the long red sales pages with’ buy now and we will throw in the knives’ type marketing. They are a sophisticated company reaching a sophisticated audience. In terms of our services, we actually take over online marketing for companies. We serve as their online marketing department if you will.”
Shama has also practiced what she preaches, marketing her own business and creating a personal brand strictly through social media. Not only is she active on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, (she has close to 10,000 Twitter followers, for example), but she also has a newsletter and a web TV show, ShamaTV.com, starring Shama and, her Internet-savvy pooch, Snoopy. She is also in demand as a social media marketing speaker and generally speaks at roughly four events a month.
Interestingly, Shama at first was hesitant about letting clients know how young she is.
“I thought it would hurt my brand as a CEO of an online marketing firm. But, one day, a client let me know that they hired us because of me! That I was young enough to have grown up with this ‘internet stuff’ so it came naturally. I was shocked to hear this! A few other clients said the same thing. At that point, I realized that my age wasn’t a hindrance, but an asset.
Shama may have hit the nail on the head when she talks about her generation:
“Social media comes naturally to our generation since our baby boomer parents were much more interested in sharing their life lessons than previous generations,” says Shama. Our parents would say, ‘Here is my book, my life story, learn from it, sweetie. Do what I say, not as I did myself.’ They were all about openness and communication.”
Here is some advice from Shama on creating your brand online, what she calls establishing your online BOD:
Brand: Can your brand be summed up in one word or phrase? Is it that easy to sum up? Because it needs to be online.
Outcome: What can you do for others? Not your process, not your personality. What is the final result?
Differentiator: What makes you different online? What makes you stand out from the rest?
Wendy Marx, Public Relations and Personal Branding Specialist, Marx Communications