3 Ridiculously Simple Personal Branding Hacks That Always Work

I treat nearly everything I do as a test or social experiment of some kind. Particularly with personal branding, I am always experimenting and implementing new ideas to see what works and what doesn’t. I’ve got a few new tricks I’ve successfully tested over the last 8 months.

Here are 3 incredibly simple Personal Branding hacks that always work for me:

1. Make your bookmark your business card.

No not that PornHub page you bookmarked. Not that kind of bookmark. Your book bookmark. You know, BOOKS--those clunky things filled with words that contain knowledge? Yeah, those things.

Instead of your Barnes & Noble receipt, a wallet sized photo of A.C. Slater,

or a real life sized Kevin hart (dude is tiny!), use your business card as your bookmark. Throw your book in your bag, and you always have at least one business card on you. If your card is oriented vertically, you can even position it so your name sticks out of the page. When your book is set down on a table, it can stir intrigue from those around you.

Just last week I struck up conversation with someone on the train who happened to work at the company where I taught a personal branding workshop earlier that day. He wasn’t in the office that day so he missed the workshop, but we chatted and I was still able to give him my info because the book I had in hand had my business card between pages 117 and 118.


  • Does not work with e-readers.
  • Reading means less time for Snapchat.


  • Never be caught without a business card.
  • Get caught READING in public!


2. Ask people what they are struggling with.

I’ve concluded that the absolute worst question to ask someone is, “How can I help?”

When someone asks me how they can help, my mind goes into, “Oh gosh, ummmm, geez what do I even need help with? Should I ask them to water my Eucalyptus plant?! WAIT--I don't even own a Eucalyptus plant!”

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Not a lot of things give me social anxiety (extravert advantage), but asking me how you can help is one of them.

The bottom line is 99% of the time people either don’t know what they need help with, or don’t know if they are allowed to ask for help.

Instead, I have found that one of the BEST questions to ask someone as they introduce themselves and they tell you about their career, their entrepreneurial venture, their project, etc. is, “What are you struggling with?” (Another way to phrase it is, “What’s your biggest challenge right now?”)

People may not know where they need help, but EVERYONE knows where they are struggling.

In this example, my Cofounder Martin told me his struggle was being hooked into a fishy business deal.

This method gets someone to open up to you, forming an authentic and honest relationship, and gives you an opportunity to provide immediate value. You may have advice, a suggestion, or a contact you can put them in touch with. And if there truly is no way you can help them, people at least feel better getting some shit off their chest.

They’ll remember you as someone who cares.

I ask people what they are struggling with all the time and it’s led to introductions that benefited them, tuning them to helpful resources, and even brought us new students in our workshops and classes.

You don’t forget the people who help you.


  • Engage in real human conversation.
  • Take genuine interest in another person.


  • Provide immediate value to people you meet.
  • Form honest and authentic relationships.


3. Wear an article of clothing that speaks to the weirder sides of you.

This one I have a love/hate relationship with.

Why? Well, oftentimes I go to networking events, conferences, etc, wearing a blazer and a wrestling t-shirt.

LOVE = I get to wear my wrestling t-shirts outside the house at professional events.

HATE = I spend more money on wrestling apparel as a result. :)

I was at an event several months ago wearing this shirt with a blazer:

And yes, this is a photo of me wearing the shirt on a different occasion for a public speaking appearance.

This is a shirt featuring a WWE wrestling group called “The New Day”. At that event, I kid you not, 7 people spent 30 minutes trying to figure out the nuances of the shirt (“Is the unicorn blind or just an artist wearing sunglasses because they are in outer space???”), and I got to explain The New Day to them. THAT’S a conversation I want to be part of!

Too many people think they have to put on a certain image or look.

Now, obviously, don’t be a bum. But take those events, those conferences, those coffee meetings as an opportunity to show people what you care about. Whether that means a shirt, a wristband, your sneakers, or otherwise--whether it’s your love for wrestling, Breaking Bad, running, yoga, or Captain America, give them a window into your weird.

You’ll strike up more of those real and authentic conversations. People will get to know you better personally--not just as your job title. And what usually happens is they have a weird thing they care about and you form a common bond over your weirdness.


  • Look different from everyone else.
  • Strangers are genuinely interested in you.


  • Put personality into your appearance, confirming you’re not a robot.
  • Form common bonds over shared interests.


Have you tried any of these? What other Personal Branding hacks have you used before? Leave a comment below.


Take care and be awesome today,


written by Rajiv Nathan

Why We Struggle To Take Credit For Our Success

I want your thoughts on this...

The other day I was hanging around a bunch of students who were in a coding bootcamp. They were all building websites.

One student turned to another and asked him, “how’d your site turn out?”

He replied to her and told her everything he didn’t like about the site. Everything he didn’t do well. But miraculously, SOMEHOW the site turned out good.

Here’s where I need your help: Why do we take opportunities to compliment ourselves and turn them into self-deprecating diatribes???

Why is it so hard to give ourselves credit, to say we like what we’ve created...that we put a lot of effort into something and we’re proud of it...that we’ve worked hard to develop a skill and it’s great to see the hard work pay off?

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People do it ALL THE TIME! My brother has said before, “I’m not that smart...yet somehow I’m a doctor.”

I’ve had past coworkers say, “I’m not really creative, but I managed to put this together (shows me amazing visual presentation).”

Why do we shun taking credit and consistently opt to put ourselves down, as if things happen by some magic stroke of luck?

It’s a mindset I’ve never understood, and I’m genuinely curious about. Is it a fight against Imposter Syndrome?

COMMENT BELOW with these 2 things:

  1. Why do people struggle to compliment themselves or feel good about what they’ve done?

  2. Compliment yourself. Tell me something you’re really REALLY great at. Don’t be shy. To get the ball rolling, I’ll tell you I’m really REALLY great at making complex information digestible and approachable for people, using metaphors and everyday examples.


I’m really looking forward to your thoughts here.

Take care and be awesome today,


written by Rajiv Nathan

Why No One Wants To Steal Your Idea

I got a question from one of our tribe members, Matt, a few days ago about his concerns over starting a blog.

Your workshop this past Friday left me feeling inspired to start blogging my ideas, but am concerned that my audience could potentially steal my ideas and beat me to market... Is this a real concern, or am I over-analyzing it?

The idea I'm most excited about making a reality is an app. I've done all the groundwork and am ready to start working on creating the app itself, but have no legal guidance. I assume my options are either to hire a lawyer or to censor myself in my blog, but I would greatly appreciate your thoughts (as a successful, experienced blogger).


Like I was going to edit out the part where he compliments me :D

Have you stopped yourself from starting because someone could potentially steal your ideas?

Here’s the deal, YES you’re overanalyzing it. If you have an idea to blog and are scared that someone will steal your ideas, consider the following sequence of events that has to take place:

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  1. They see your idea and like it.

  2. They like it enough to want to steal it.

  3. They have the energy, commitment, and resources to follow through on stealing it.

  4. They take the time to piece together all of your information across dozens of blog posts to figure out how to steal it.

  5. They follow through on stealing it.

That’s assuming a hell of a lot out of another person. Chances are, that person doesn’t exist.

Of course, it’s POSSIBLE someone steals your idea. It’s always POSSIBLE. But is that possibility going to stand in the way of you trying?

I once heard the entrepreneur Ramit Sethi say, “You should be so lucky that someone wants to steal your idea.”

I LOVE that quote. It’s true. Chances are, your idea isn’t worth stealing. At least not at the start anyway. It’s not until you give yourself a chance to flesh out what’s in your head will you come up with something that’s potentially steal-able.

But even then, here’s the big thing to understand about blogging:

A blog is about providing value to a certain group of people. You provide value through information that helps them.

You aren’t creating a blog to release lines of code you’ve created for an app, or share your wireframe sketches (no one would want to read that anyway).

Your blog exists to build influence and relationships. Focus on what your audience struggles with, and arm them with information that will helps understand or overcome those struggles.

You’ll build trust-based relationship with your audience, and if they use information you’ve put out before, they’ll most likely link back to you because of how helpful you were.  <<And look, now I'm linking to him.

So embrace your dopeness, don't wait, and create!

Take care and be awesome today,


Written by Rajiv Nathan