Should you build a business or personal brand?

Read Time: 5 minutes

Welcome to BE THE EXPERT! In today’s issue:

  • Business or Personal Brand?
  • New AI champ…
  • Must Have Systems for Online Business Success

Personal brand, business brand, or both?

I know I spent a lot of time looping on this question, how about you?

In this issue, I’m going to break down the pros and cons of each option and then propose a solution that works in almost all cases.


  • You can create personal, business, or hybrid brand
  • There are pros and cons to each (below) that you need to work through to make your decision
  • The hybrid model, especially my “personal brand conglomerate” version, is great for solopreneurs…

Considerations When Choosing a Branding Strategy

Your branding choice should align with the type of products or services you offer and the ideal customers you offer them to.

A personal brand might be more suitable for coaching and consulting, where personal connection is key, whereas a business brand might work better for a SaaS or product-based business.

Here are the main factors to consider:

Your Target Audience

Do they prefer engaging with a relatable individual or a professional entity?

Knowing your audience’s preferences can guide your branding strategy.

If your ideal customer is another business, then a business brand of your own will often work better.

If your ideal customer is an individual or small, founder-led business, then a personal brand can be more effective.

Your Long-Term Goals

Consider your long-term vision.

A business brand may be best if you plan to scale and sell your business someday.

A personal brand could be more suitable if you intend to maintain a personal touch over the long term.

Your Resources

Building and maintaining a brand requires time and investment.

A personal brand might require less initial investment but more ongoing personal engagement.

A business brand might need more upfront costs in branding and marketing efforts but is easier to delegate to a team or agency to build and manage.

Understanding Personal, Business, and Hybrid Brands

Personal Brand

A personal brand is built around you as an individual. It leverages your name, personality, and unique voice to connect with your audience.

Think of popular entrepreneurs like Tim Ferriss or Marie Forleo.

Their brands are synonymous with their names and personal stories.

Characteristics of a Personal Brand:

  • Showcases your personality and values.
  • Allows for a deeper personal connection with your audience.
  • Often more flexible and adaptable.


  • Strong Emotional Connection: Personal brands can create a deep emotional bond with your audience, fostering loyalty and trust.
  • Flexibility and Authenticity: You can pivot and adapt your brand as you grow and change.
  • Authenticity: Allows you to be yourself and share your personal story.


  • Dependence on you: The brand’s success heavily relies on you.
  • Scalability Challenges: It can be harder to scale a personal brand compared to a business brand.
  • Personal Risk: Personal controversies can directly impact the brand.

Business Brand

A business brand is created around a company name and identity.

It can feel more formal and structured, focusing on the business’s mission, vision, and values rather than an individual personality.

Examples include brands like ConvertKit or HubSpot.

Characteristics of a Business Brand:

  • Professional and often seen as more credible.
  • Easier to scale and sell.
  • Provides a clear separation between personal and business for the founders and staff.


  • Professional Appearance: Often seen as more credible and established.
  • Easier Scalability: More straightforward to grow and potentially sell.
  • Separation of Personal and Business Life: Helps maintain a clear boundary between personal and professional life.


  • Perceived Lack of Authenticity: Can be seen as less relatable and more corporate.
  • Structured Branding Efforts: Requires more strategic and consistent branding efforts.
  • Potentially Higher Costs: Often involves higher costs in branding and marketing.

Hybrid Brand

Combining personal and business brands means leveraging the strengths of both approaches.

This hybrid model allows you to use your personal influence while maintaining a distinct business identity.

Characteristics of a Combination Brand:

  • Balances authenticity with professionalism.
  • Offers flexibility in content and marketing strategies.
  • Creates a strong, diversified brand presence.


  • Best of Both Worlds: Combines a personal brand’s authenticity with a business brand’s professionalism.
  • Greater Flexibility: Offers versatility in marketing and content creation.
  • Stronger Brand Presence: Creates a robust and diversified brand image.


  • Complex Strategy: Managing both aspects can be complex and demanding.
  • Higher Investment: Requires significant time and financial resources.
  • Risk of Brand Dilution: If not managed well, it can dilute the brand message.

My recommendation…

I recommend the hybrid model with a twist: I call it the personal brand conglomerate.

To explain this, I like to use the analogy of a holding company or “conglomerate.”

You’ve probably heard of Warren Buffett, one of the most successful investors of all time (not to mention one of the most successful personal brands of all time…)

He owns the largest share of Berkshire Hathaway, a conglomerate he’s grown since 1965!

Berkshire owns companies ranging from Geico and BNSF

Railways to Heinz and Dairy Queen.

It invests in others ranging from Apple to Coca-Cola.

This is a prime example of the hybrid model:

  • The Warren Buffett personal brand at the top.
  • A business/conglomerate brand alongside various child brands.
  • Then, yet more brands like his foundation for philanthropy

Another example, closer to our world in online business, is Gary Vaynerchuk.

He has a massive personal brand, and underneath that are various business brands, such as Vayner Media, his agency, VaynerX, VaynerSports, and several more across business, media, advertising (and wine!)

Maximum Flexibility

The thing most of us forget in the ebb and flow of building an online business is that we (hopefully) have a 20 – 60 year time horizon in front of us!

During that time your interests and activities will evolve.

Major areas of your life may include:

  • Family
  • Employment
  • Business(es)
  • Philanthropy
  • Hobbies

I like to position a personal brand as the umbrella or “holding company” above all of those potential activities.

Then, the businesses you decide to build under that conglomerate have their own brands so that they can be built, scaled, and potentially sold as your interests and needs change over the long term.

How this works for solopreneurs

Now you may be saying, “dude I’m just trying to make my first $10k online” 🙂

I get that, so let’s bring it back to reality.

What I decided to do after looping on this for a while was twofold:

  1. Have most of my social accounts and content under my personal brand (note how this email comes through: David ZiembickiExpert Business)
  2. Have a child business (Expert Business Agency) with its own brand (note this wasn’t called “David Ziembicki’s Agency”)
  3. Have brands, when needed, for other businesses, interests, and philanthropies like my wife and I’s giving foundation.

While I have no plans to sell my company anytime soon, it is also highly unlikely I’ll be running it when I’m 80 years old…

The model above provides maximum flexibility with minimum cost/complexity.

Your personal brand doesn’t need expensive assets, it’s mostly driven by the content and influence you create.

Your business brand needs some basic branding, while initially, much of its associated content and influence will derive from your personal brand.

For these reasons, I use this as the default starting point with our clients unless/until there are specific reasons to focus on one over the other.

Take Action

Choosing the right branding strategy is an important (but not unchangeable) decision.

Whether you opt for a personal brand, a business brand, or a hybrid of both, it’s essential to consider your unique situation, goals, and resources.

I recommend starting with the personal brand conglomerate model and adapting from there.

Whenever you’re ready, here’s how I can help:

Solo to Virtual CEO™ – Training + Community: All of our core training in one community! Includes courses and detailed tutorials for each of the 9 foundational elements all online businesses need and our Expert Business Operating System for planning and managing your entire business…

Solo to Virtual CEO™ – DIY/DWY/DFY: All of the above plus our entire tech platform (DIY), daily coaching/support (DWY), and MY team working FOR YOU (DFY) to build your expert business…

Expert Business Content Engine: Done-For-You content editing, repurposing, and publishing! We help you create and publish content at scale across all channels (YouTube, Podcast, Blog, Socials)…

Saturday Spotlight 💡

Content Spotlight:​

In this video, I reveal the 9 essential systems all online businesses need for success.

You can’t build an income and impact-generating online business if you’re missing even one of these systems because they all work together to enable growth.

Tool Spotlight:​

Cassidy AI – Build AI automations powered by your content and data

Related to the news below, Cassidy is one of my favorite AI tools and one we use daily in my team.

With Cassidy, it is one click to change between AI models when one comes out that is cheaper, better, or both (like the new Claude 3.5 Sonnet below) We were able to switch within a day of it coming out this week…

News Spotlight:​

Introducing Claude 3.5 Sonnet – Anthropic

Today, we’re launching Claude 3.5 Sonnet—our first release in the forthcoming Claude 3.5 model family. Claude 3.5 Sonnet raises the industry bar for intelligence, outperforming competitor models and Claude 3 Opus on a wide range of evaluations, with the speed and cost of our mid-tier model, Claude 3 Sonnet.

David Ziembicki

CEO, Expert Business Agency

David Ziembicki is the founder and CEO of the Expert Business Agency, which helps coaches, course, and membership creators build their online businesses. David has been an industry-leading technology and business consultant for over 25 years having worked at Microsoft, Deloitte, SAIC, and Avanade.