- Media cartographer Evan Shapiro’s “You, Inc.” urges Media & Entertainment professionals to manage their careers proactively as their own businesses.
- He’ll be keynoting this year’s NAB Show New York and presenting new research exclusive to the event. You can learn more here.
- Shapiro highlights the importance of understanding one’s unique value and superpowers, urging individuals to build their careers around their personal strengths and passions.
- In the competitive M&E industry, Shapiro stresses the importance of personal branding and effective self-marketing, emphasizing authenticity and consistency.
- He provides practical steps for building a powerful personal brand, including investing in oneself, taking risks, testing and adapting one’s brand, and maintaining authenticity.
Media cartographer Evan Shapiro has his finger on the pulse of the Media & Entertainment industry. Known for his innovative thinking and forward-looking insights, Shapiro has coached countless professionals on how they can turbo-boost their careers.
In a pair of essays posted on Substack he introduces a concept that every professional in the industry should consider: “You, Inc.”
As job security becomes as unpredictable as the stock market, Shapiro encourages individuals to view their careers as their own businesses, a concept that has the potential to revolutionize how we approach our professional lives.
As Shapiro himself puts it, “If you want to ensure your personal long-term viability in the marketplace, the best, first step I recommend is to look at your career path as your own for-profit business.” This is a call to action for all professionals in the industry, a reminder that they are not alone, and an encouragement that there is opportunity out there for those who are willing to take control of their careers.
Understanding “You, Inc.”
Shapiro’s “You, Inc.” is not just a theory, but a practical approach to career management. He argues that in a rapidly changing industry, professionals cannot afford to be passive. “Your career is your business. If you don’t run it well, no one will do it for you,” he writes in “You, Inc. — Your Personal Business Plan,” underscoring the need for proactive career management.
Moreover, Shapiro emphasizes the importance of understanding one’s unique value and superpowers. He urges individuals to build their careers around their personal strengths and passions, rather than the title on their business card. “I am a huge believer in having a career that you’re deeply passionate about, and that regardless of where you work, is built around who you are as a person,” he states. This perspective challenges the traditional view of career progression, which often prioritizes job titles and company prestige over personal fulfillment and individual strengths.
The Role of Personal Branding
In the media industry, where competition is fierce and the landscape is constantly evolving, personal branding has become more important than ever. Shapiro believes that marketing oneself effectively is a must. However, he acknowledges that this can be a daunting task. “Marketing yourself in this era is a LOT like bungie jumping. That first step is always the hardest. But no matter how scary it is, once you push yourself off that ledge, YOU WILL BOUNCE BACK,” he advises in his second post, “There’s More to You than Them.”
Shapiro’s analogy underscores the initial fear and discomfort that often accompany personal branding efforts, but also the resilience and growth that result from taking the leap. “If you don’t think you ‘have a brand,’ no matter where you are in your career,” he says, “then it’s time to start imagining what it should be, and thinking about the best ways to create awareness for you and your business.”
He also emphasizes the importance of authenticity and consistency in personal branding. “Being real is the new black, and doing it consistently is the new (career) oil,” he declares. This advice is particularly relevant in today’s digital age, where authenticity can set individuals apart in a sea of curated online personas.
Practical Steps Towards Building a Powerful Personal Brand
Shapiro doesn’t just theorize about personal branding; he provides practical steps for building a powerful personal brand. He encourages individuals to invest time, energy, and resources in themselves and their careers. “Anything of long term value requires investment — of attention, time, energy and resources,” he writes. This advice underscores the importance of continuous learning and development in career progression.
“Yes, there is a real danger in tying TOO MUCH of your self worth to your job,” he acknowledges. “Yet, specifically because life is so short, I am a huge believer in having a career that you’re deeply passionate about, and that regardless of where you work, is built around who you are as a person.”
Shapiro also emphasizes the need to take risks and put oneself out there, and to continually test and adapt one’s personal brand. “Marketing yourself is like marketing any product. You need to build a unique brand, test it, then adapt; lose what doesn’t work, lean into what does,” he suggests. This advice mirrors the iterative process used in product development, highlighting the dynamic and evolving nature of personal branding.
In addition to these steps, Shapiro also provides more specific advice. He encourages individuals to join organizations where they can push beyond their existing knowledge and network, to dedicate time each week to expanding their network and knowledge base, and to wake up every day with the intention to learn something new. This is not meant as a vague suggestion, but as a push to create specific dedicated time in one’s calendar each week for these efforts, like one does for a workout.
Shapiro also advises individuals to look ahead a full year and block off time and budget to be at major events, and to make sure they have meaningful, productive reasons — such as meetings, panels and networking opportunities — to be there. He also encourages individuals to invest their own currency in their personal network, asking for advice, feedback and even help from those they know and trust best.
Finally, Shapiro emphasizes the importance of authenticity in personal branding, cautioning, “Marketing yourself should not end when you get a job. And to retain the true long term value of your career, your personal brand needs to be bigger than the title on your business card. This does NOT mean doing a constant pitch for your superiority. It does mean finding consistent, authentic ways to demonstrate your superpowers.”
Shapiro’s advice on building a powerful personal brand involves a combination of investment, risk-taking, testing, and authenticity. By following these steps, individuals can create a personal brand that truly represents their unique value and superpowers, equipping them to navigate the ever-changing landscape of the Media & Entertainment industry.