How To Not F*ck Up Your Brand: A Guide To Building Your Brand

Ryan Felman wants to show you how to not mess up your brand. He's written this short, easy to read book that pulls no punches.

The backstory

Ryan Felman, otherwise known as @PathToManliness on Twitter, doesn’t mince words.

Sometimes he swears.

Does this bother you? I know it bothers some people.

If it bothers you, don’t read his very cool book – How to not F*CK UP Your Brand – if you can’t get past the occasional F-bomb.

In fact, you’d better stop reading this right now.

But if you want actionable business and branding advice you should read it. The link is here if you can’t wait to get into it.

Otherwise read on below for my thoughts and an overview of what you’re getting for the money.

First of all, this book really found me at the right time. That was about a month ago.

I was already rethinking my personal brand including how I work and earn. And Ryan’s short eBook had an immediate impact when I read it.

One of the first things that he says is to stop worrying about f*cking it up. And just START…!

But you already knew that, right?

Anyway, there’s lots of actionable advice in this book. Here are just a couple of gems below:

Play the game

Ryan says that building a brand is a game. And that the game is simpler than you think. This is something I already knew to be true.

Over time, when I’ve experienced success in other aspects of my life – including work and creative projects – it’s because I’ve conceptualised things as a game.

Also, the difference between the winners and the losers is simple. The winners didn’t quit. Branding = a game.

A game within a game perhaps.

Play the game properly

Also, according to Ryan if my brand is not making money… then I’m just role-playing at business.

This is a brutal truth. Plenty of people think they’re in business but they’re just play acting. In other words, what they think is a business, is really just a hobby.

One of the steps I’ve taken since reading HTNFUYB is to consolidate my various projects under my THIS IS GRAEME brand.

These projects and interests of mine need to make money, even if it’s only a little.

Otherwise, they will get relegated to the status of hobbies. Hobbies are great. But it’s good to see things for what they really are.

The flipside is that a couple of things that I’ve previously looked at as hobbies I’ve elevated to the status of *business*.

This might be temporary… let’s say it’s an experiment in figuring out what my particular skill stack is.

Sell something other than your time

Another thing is that I need to have something to sell.

I already sell my time But that’s not the direction I wanna head. I need leverage.

So my re-frame on this is as follows:

  • I need to have something to sell that allows me to get back more from the system than I put into it.

So… what I sell needs to evolve. I need to use what I know to create force multipliers.

I’m applying this lens to all new projects, big and small.

I won’t stop renting out my time immediately. Or perhaps even ever. But that’s the eventual and aspirational goal.

You’re a sucker by default

Social media is an infinity pool according to Ryan. This is something I also know to be true I stopped posting on Facebook and Instagram last year because I realised that there are only two categories of people on social media.

One group are the sellers. The other group are the customers. And by customers I mean suckers.

If I don’t have something to sell I’m a customer by default.

I was a customer. I was being sold.

What a sucker. But that’s the default setting.

This is a lesson I want my kids to learn. In other words, social media is fine by all means.

But don’t be a sucker. Instead, make sure you have something to sell to justify why you’re there.

One out of three is doing this and the second one is working on it.

You need to have SECRET PROJECTS.

I’m not joking. This is very important.

I now have SECRET PROJECTS. Some of these I’ll share on my blog.

Over time, these will turn into products.

This means I get to switch off the default setting of being a sucker.

I’m a seller. Not just a customer, a user, an endless scroller of screens.

Stop making excuses and start

You have to start. This is such a cliche… But it’s true.

Aside from what I have to do to pay the bills, my creative efforts are now centred on work that at the very least has the potential to give me the leverage I want.

In his book, Ryan has a list of things to get started on. I’m now doing or working towards doing all of them.


One idea was affiliate marketing. It’s not a new idea. And I’ve been sceptical for years.

But here we are with this post. And this link:

Click it and buy the book and I’ll earn a small percentage of the sale price. It’s not much.

But it’s leverage.

It feels good.

Find like-minded people

Ryan also had some other advice that I’ve taken to heart. This advice relates to Twitter, which I realise is not everyone’s cup of tea:

  • The real gold happens in the DMs on Twitter.

I’ve only learned this in the last few months. But the secret is what Ryan says:

  • “If you simply want someone to spend their time mentoring you, then you need to offer something of value. Or pay them.

Look at it as an investment in yourself. So I’m working on that.

You might see the results here or you might not. It’s one of the SECRET PROJECTS.

What else?

There’s plenty more still for me to digest in the book including:

  • How to use social media more effectively.
  • How to build an email list early on.
  • How to create and add value.
  • How to recruit influencers.
  • How to leverage my network.
  • How to create great content.

But I think that’s enough to sink your teeth into for now. Now get out there and buy the damn book.

Here’s the link in case you missed it earlier.

Author: Graeme Smith

Education, technology, design. Also making cool stuff...

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