I’m Mike Kim — a specialist in business strategy, personal branding, and messaging that converts. I’m also the author of the Wall St. Journal and USA Today bestseller, You Are the Brand. My core philosophy of marketing is this:
Marketing isn’t about closing a sale, it’s about opening a relationship.
When we get this part of marketing right, results follow. I’ve used this same approach to serve today’s most influential thought leaders including John Maxwell, Donald Miller, Catalyst, and Daniel G. Amen, MD.
Before running my own consulting business, I worked for several years as the CMO of a successful multi-million dollar company near New York City and before that (to many people’s surprise), I was in vocational ministry as the music director of a church.
Nowadays you’ll find me chilling with my new puppy Fuji or looking for the next great place to scuba dive — all while leading masterminds, serving clients, and recording my podcast and YouTube channel.
While I enjoy those media channels, most of my writing is done privately to my email list. The vast majority of my readers feel my email list contains my best content. You can sign up at mikekim.com/list and expect to get updates on Tuesdays, and never, ever any pushy sales emails.
My Top Blog Posts
If you’re new, here are a few places to start:
- How To Market Yourself Like No One Else Can
- The 3 Step Framework To Build A Winning Brand Identity (From Scratch)
- The “3 Plagues” Crippling 90% of Personal Brands Businesses
- 7 Tips For Hiring A Copywriter (From A Copywriter)
- Use This Grid To Write Better Sales Copy, Guaranteed
- Secrets of Verizon FIOS: Boost Your Sales Copy With These 5 Phrases
- Course, Coach, or Contractor? How To Know Which to Invest In
- WARNING: Do This & Be Swamped with Opportunities, Promotion, and Influence
- 5 Reasons Opportunity Isn’t Knocking At Your Door
Connect with Me on Social:
Life isn’t linear. Unfortunately, most of us are ill-prepared for that simple fact. Traditional career paths tell us that life is a highway, or at least a (corporate) ladder. Sure, there are curves or bumps but for the most part it should be straightforward: graduate high school, get a degree, land a job, consider an advanced degree, and work your way rung-by-rung up the ladder.
Growing up as a second-generation Korean in New Jersey, it seemed like the only two career options for me were lawyer or doctor because that’s what my culture valued: respectable and stable careers that involved lots of education. It’s also what my parents told me I had to be. The problem is that I hated science, suits, and institutionalized learning so it seemed life was over at the ripe old age of 17.
In a last ditch effort to pave a future for me, my father tried to get me into golf. Citing my natural swing and height, he took me to the golf range regularly but I didn’t have the discipline those PGA people had. Plus I hated walking (and still do).
“What Are You Going To Do With Your Life?”
Truthfully, I hate that question because I still don’t know the answer. I’m sure you’ve tried the all-popular, “Imagine what you would do if you had an infinite amount of money” trick? My answer: I’d move to Fiji and buy every Transformers G1 toy my parents didn’t get when I was a kid. Then what?
I think what we’re all really looking for is fulfillment. Yes, that’s a broad concept. But think about that word: Full. Fill. -Ment. You are full, because you are filled, and this is a process. The suffix “-ment” means the process, product, or state caused by an action.
It’s more than money. It’s more than a career. It’s more than just friends, or family, or spirituality. We human beings are a confluence of these things and more, and they all contribute to our fulfillment in different ways.
So if life is a process of being continually filled (and emptied), wouldn’t the better question be, “What things am I going to do with my life?” Questions like this often lead to more questions than answers, but those who are persistent enough to keep peeling back the layers eventually get to the core.
One Of The Greatest Gifts You Have Is Your Potential, One Of The Greatest Gives You Can Give Is To Fulfill It.
While society (and the hit Rascal Flatts tune) tell us “life is a highway”, real life is more like off-roading. Living the life you really want requires a totally different set of skills. No one tells you what books to read, which job to apply for, or what city to move to. You never know when the next test of life will come your way, or what it will even be about.
Worse, you don’t even automatically advance a grade (or pay grade) each year. It’s a different set of rules out here, and that’s why we often feel so under-equipped in life. I used to drive in New York City all the time and think I’m a halfway decent driver, but you’d never catch me commandeering a Range Rover to go off-roading in the jungle. They don’t even have traffic lights there, let alone roads. Again, different rules.
If you open your favorite GPS app on your phone and set the directions from New York City to San Francisco, the line will look like a straight shot right across the country. Zoom into your starting point, and the GPS line to get out of Manhattan alone will be more crooked than your least favorite politician.
Most of us need to see the big picture in order to trust the process and keep moving forward. Without seeing the big picture, the steps in front of us seem hazy at best. No one wants to keep “throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks”.
Clarity Comes Through A Marriage of Movement and Meditation.
Clarity is power, and that’s what my business is about — especially if you’re building a personal brand business.
If you can see the bigger picture, then you can zoom in to see why the minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, and day-by-day actions are important. If you’re a meticulous, nose-to-the-ground detail-person without an idea of where you’re really going, maybe it’s time to zoom out for a bit and make sure you’ve charted the right destination.
Clarity comes in shades and nuances. Sometimes you need general clarity first, then you’ll be able to get more specific. Sometimes we think we’re supposed to suddenly attain razor-sharp, 4K video clarity. Accept that specific clarity may come later.
I know that fighting for clarity can be really frustrating. It can wear you out and make you think about giving up often. At times it will make you feel like you’re walking through a heavy fog trying to find a twig or branch with your hand. I’ve been there.
But you’ll never find your way out of the fog by just sitting where you are and just waiting for the weather to clear up. You’ve got to keep putting yourself out there, trying new ways of expressing yourself, and experiencing life in fresh ways. One of the best ways to do that is to start, run, and grow a business that is a natural outflow of you.