Ryan Serhant: The 3-Step Strategy System You Need to Build Your Brand From Scratch | E281

Ryan Serhant: The 3-Step Strategy System You Need to Build Your Brand From Scratch | E281

Ryan Serhant: The 3-Step Strategy System You Need to Build Your Brand From Scratch | E281

With big dreams of Hollywood stardom, Ryan Serhant moved to New York City to work as an actor. But when he became one of the many unemployed actors struggling to make rent, he decided to get into real estate. Having closed more than $8 billion in sales and starred in multiple reality shows, he has built an impressive personal brand as one of the most successful real estate brokers in the world. In this episode, Ryan will do a deep dive into branding and break down the three-step strategy that transformed him into one of the most recognizable brands in real estate.

Ryan Serhant is a real estate broker, producer, reality TV star, and bestselling author of three books, including his latest, Brand It Like Serhant. He is the founder and CEO of SERHANT, number six on The Real Deal’s list of Top Residential Brokerages for 2022.


In this episode, Hala and Ryan will discuss:

– His come-up story from struggling actor to real estate superstar

– The business opportunity COVID presented to him

– Why he wrote Brand It Like Serhant

– His three-step strategy for growing a brand from scratch

– Why it’s easier to get your name out there in 2024

– Feelings a good personal brand must evoke

– The three-step Serhant brand strategy system

– How to discover your core identity

– Why entrepreneurs must start building their brands today

– How to build your brand personality using power adjectives

– How to contextualize visual identity within your core identity

– The fears that prevent people from building their brands

– And other topics…


Ryan Serhant is a real estate broker, producer, and star of Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing New York, and its spin-off, Sell It Like Serhant. He is the founder and CEO of SERHANT, a real estate brokerage that combines media, entertainment, education, and technology. Known for its award-winning marketing content and PR campaigns, the company ranked number six on The Real Deal’s list of Top Residential Brokerages for 2022. Ryan is the bestselling author of three books, including his latest, Brand It Like Serhant: Stand Out From the Crowd, Build Your Following, and Earn More Money. Named “the most influential broker in the world with the most exposure,” he is an official contributor to Forbes and is often quoted in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Wall Street Journal China.


Resources Mentioned:

Ryan’s Website: https://ryanserhant.com/

Ryan’s Book, Brand It Like Serhant: Stand Out From the Crowd, Build Your Following, and Earn More Money:



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[00:00:00] Hala Taha: Young end profiters, as you likely know, I am a huge advocate for having a strong personal brand, and it's more important than ever in 2024. A lot of us are entrepreneurs, we're freelancers, and the way that we're able to get our name out there and our business out there is by the digitization of our personal brand and how strong our personal brand is online.

Whether you are a corporate employee or an entrepreneur, you need a strong personal brand. Even people want to hire people with a strong personal brand. It is becoming so important. If you want to be young and profiting, you need to have a strong personal brand. So I've been having a ton of episodes on this topic recently because I feel it is so important.

And that's why I am interviewing Ryan Serhant today. Ryan Serhant is a bestselling author. He's the CEO and founder of a very large brokerage real estate firm called Serhant. He's written several books. His latest book is called Brand It Like Serhant. And today we're really going to be focusing on branding, personality, adjectives and why we need to have that.

We're going to be talking about consistency, bragging, shouting our brand from the rooftop and why that's important. So we've got so much to uncover today. Without further ado, Ryan, welcome to Young and Profiting Podcast.

[00:02:41] Ryan Serhant: Thank you for having me. 

[00:02:43] Hala Taha: You came on the show way back in 2020, episode number 59. And in that episode, we really focused on big money energy, 

And today we're really going to get straight to the point. We're going to talk about branding. We're going to talk a little bit about your background story, but really the meat and potatoes of today's interview is going to be on your new book called Brand It Like Sir Hunt. So to kick us off, Ryan, can you give us a super high level overview of your career journey and how you ended up being the real estate mogul that you are today?

[00:03:11] Ryan Serhant: Mogul, I think is a big, generous word. I got into real estate in New York City in 2008 because I just, Ran out of money and I needed to pay my rent. That's the only reason I got into it. It wasn't in my blood. I wasn't obsessed with it. It was what's better than being a bartender? That was the math that I did.

And then I fell in love with it. And I fell in love with the entrepreneurship of being able to work for yourself. And I think I'm also a builder. You know, I'm a builder. I like to create. I like to wake up and say, what am I going to do today to be successful? And let's go do that. Instead of just doing what I've been told to do.

And so I built a big sales team. Most people know me from million dollar listing New York, which we did for 10 years on Bravo that aired around the country. And then I did a bunch of other shows and then I started my own company in 2020 wrote my second book. That's when you and I met and we've sold a lot.

I think, you know, all cross, I think total lifetime sales this year of about 10 billion this year, probably sometime over the summer. And we sell real estate all over the world. Now we do sales training. We do B2B sales training all over the world. Now we have a production studio now, and it's all just cause I'm, we just invent it, you know, just make things up, see if they work, see if people are interested.

And then we just make them really real. 

[00:04:30] Hala Taha: I love that. And it's so true. Entrepreneurship is a lot of making up ideas, making up offers, and seeing if you can make money off of it. So I totally agree. And I heard from a little bird that you have a new Netflix show coming out. So like you said, you were on the super popular show, Million Dollar Listing, and you were sort of like the breakout star from that show, and you had a spinoff and everything.

So what's this new Netflix show about? 

[00:04:54] Ryan Serhant: Well, I can't tell you the title or when it comes out, although it'll come out soon. I It's a real estate show, but it's not Million Dollar List in New York, and it's also not selling Sunset. I don't even know how to describe it. It's a reality show, but it's about me and the agents that work with me, the deals that we go through, the drama, the fun, the insanity, and the building of our business.

So I think anybody who is entrepreneurial, who wants to see what's at stake when you bet the farm to go build a business in New York City, it goes through the pain. It comes out soon, but until we shot it last year, I don't know if anyone pays attention to these things, but 2023 was the worst housing market in global history since 1995 post savings and loan crisis, less home sold globally in 2023, then in 2008 and 2009, and those were the worst years ever.

That was Lehman brothers. That was bankruptcy. That was the stock market crash more home sold. During those years, then sold in 2023. And that's when we filmed this TV show. So like, it is just, it's a lot, but anyway, I hope everyone watches it and tunes in. Netflix is a great platform. It's exciting to do.

It's my fifth TV show, my fifth reality show. So it'd be good and good for business, hopefully. 

[00:06:12] Hala Taha: Amazing. Well, we can't wait to hear more about that when it officially releases. So like you were just saying, you started this business during COVID. Everything shut down, I think almost immediately after we met up.

Actually, I was just about to start in person interviews for the first time, and then it squashed all my plans to do in person interviews for a while. Since then you started this company. You may have just started it when we talked, but it's like rapidly expanded. You guys are all over the place. I'm actually looking for a new place in the city.

I see your listings everywhere. So your new company. You did it in a very risky time. COVID was a really bad time for real estate. So talk to us about that. Why did you decide to take that risk and why do you think you were successful in such a terrible time in the market? 

[00:06:59] Ryan Serhant: In hindsight, it was the best time.

Mmm. I think when things are good, they're only gonna get better. And when things are bad, They're only gonna get worse. As I'm talking to you right now, the price of Bitcoin is back to over $60,000 a coin, right? Six months ago you would've said that was insane because it was bad and it's only gonna get worse.

But now that it's here, now everyone need to all the news and everything, oh, on its way back up to a must. It's only gonna get higher. It's only gonna get better. So people are lemmings. They will follow you into off a cliff. And so for me. I've just always tried to take the contrarian point of view, and you're not always going to win.

A lot of times the contrarian view is wrong. Sometimes it's right. I got into real estate in the first place the day Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy and the subprime mortgage industry collapsed. That day, worst time ever, in hindsight, best time ever because I had less competition. Same thing for when we started the company.

And my goal wasn't to start it during COVID. I started brainstorming and thinking about starting my own company in 2017. Took me three years to Get out of the firm. I was at previously because we had a huge sales team and it was a lot of it was a lot I could do a separate podcast about that whole thing.

And then I was good to go by the end of 2019. Here we go. July 1st 2020 is going to be a start of a new decade. And then people started getting sick. And this whole thing, obviously, everything happened. And so I just had to delay a couple months. But in hindsight, covid was the best thing that could have happened to me.

You know, it was obviously terrible for anyone that lost their jobs or got sick or passed away. But it gave me the opportunity to go do something big and new against the grain. So as every other competitor was cutting back and firing and furloughing and having a hard time, I, you know, I was able to come out and say, Nope, no, we're good.

We're brand new. Everything's amazing. And, and it drew a lot of attention and was, Cost efficient because I didn't need to pay for paper. I didn't have to pay for employees in New York city. I didn't have to cover office expense for a while. Like, Oh no, listen, during COVID, we don't have to do that stuff.

And so it was a great time to start a business. If I go back in time, I would have started more businesses in 2020. I think we all would have. I also would have bought Tesla at 25 a share. 

[00:09:21] Hala Taha: It's so true. It's like we can either look at obstacles as opportunities or we can look at them as giving up. So I think you did the right thing and everything worked out.

Let's move on to the main topic of today's episode, which is branding, and it seems like branding has really served you well in your career. So can you talk to us about that? 

[00:09:42] Ryan Serhant: I'm in sales. Um, I think most of us are in sales, whether we like to think that or not. You know, I saw a statistic by the U. S.

Department of Labor in 2020. 18 that said 23 percent of all United States taxpayers are filing a 1099, which for those outside of the United States means that that's self employed work, right? That's gig work. Which means you're selling something, whether you're selling advertising for your podcast, or you're selling yourself as a freelance reporter, you're selling insurance, software, real estate, whatever, you're selling something.

Today, that number is 36%, and the U. S. Department of Labor says by 2027, over 50 percent of all U. S. taxpayers are going to be filing some form of a 1099, whether they have a W 2 or not. Which is crazy. It's right in line with my greater thesis that as higher education points to a less secured outcome than what we know it for, and sales, gig work, entrepreneurship points to a more secure outcome, the axis is coming, right?

Within the next couple years, you can have the greatest podcast, you can have the greatest blog, you can have the greatest t shirts, Whatever, you can't sell it if no one knows about it. So, I wrote my first book, Sell It Like Sirhan, in 2018. That was the sales tools, like the toolkit. This is how you sell in the 2020s and beyond.

Big Money Energy that you and I spoke about a couple years ago was, okay, so you've got the toolkit. If you don't have the confidence to use it, then it's the toolkit's gonna sit in the garage or sit in the closet. And this is the last book I will ever write, ever, because it's so hard and takes so much time.

But Brand It Like Sirhan took me two years. And completes that sales trilogy, which is okay. So you know how to sell the confidence to do it. Now, if no one knows what you're selling, then you can have the greatest idea in the world. No, one's going to buy it. You're never going to make an income from it.

You're never going to be able to leave that nine to five that you want to leave so much to go and work on your side hustle. That could be that big thing. And I just could not find a branding blueprint. How do I use podcasts? How do I use Tik TOK? What is TikTok? And Instagram real and why is it different from a YouTube short?

How do I work with PR? There's a whole section on PR. And so anyway, it all came from all of my branding failures over the years and everything that I did wrong thinking, what is a brand? I don't know. Nike. Is it a logo? Is it coloring? Like what is your brand? How deeply entrenched is it into financial education into podcasting, into your appearance?

How do you define that? So, we built a brand strategy system for people. We started teaching it to our sales teams here in New York City. We started branching out and teaching it to sales people in every industry all over the world and all that has turned into the book. 

[00:12:43] Hala Taha: I'd love for you to dig a little bit deeper how the landscape has changed over the past four ish years.

There's no more corporate ladder, remote work. How has it shifted to make personal branding just so important and more important than ever? 

[00:12:59] Ryan Serhant: Well, I think it's always been important. I just think there was never a focus on it. Think about you're an analyst at a company or you're just an employee. Your brand is your reputation.

If you do the math, forget product branding, I mean, the book goes into product branding a lot, but just focus on personal brand. You have one, whether you like it or not, you just might not know it. Mine was when I did this exercise. The premature gray haired white guy who thinks he's funnier than he is who looks at the ground while he walks.

And that's it. That's what someone told me. I was like, well, really, that's how you describe me without using my name. That's my brand. He's like, yeah, that's how people know you. I'm like, that's what people say about me. That's not great. That's not the image that I want to present to the world. So brand starts with core identity, core identity, when it leaves your fingers or leaves your lips turns into.

Perception, right? The perception the world has of you, that perception, when you leave the room or leave the chat or put your phone away, turns in reputation and just like a pot of boiling water. Over time, it eventually boils. So over time, that work eventually becomes the brand. It's what you're known for.

And it's developing a clear and concise and memorable personal brand that I think will make the biggest difference for everyone who wants to build a successful career or whatever definition of success that you have. Obviously the world has changed a lot in the last 10 years. 10 years ago, 2014, Instagram had just come out.

YouTube was still kids playing with slime. And just random clips, early, early days of vloggers. Netflix was DVDs. It's just a different world. 10 years before that, the biggest show on the planet was American Idol, Survivor, and daytime soap operas. The world has moved incredibly, incredibly quickly, and people want to hire people that they know.

And so how do you get them to know who you are and what your value proposition is? And the way to do it today is so much easier than it was 10 years ago or five years ago. You just have to be able to build a machine that cuts through the noise to grab that attention, because there's a lot of people building brands now.

It's not just one person. Think about how hard it was to get your name out there. 15 years ago, there were far fewer platforms, far fewer distribution engines, so to get into or onto one of them, you had to either be well connected, have tons of money, or have gotten quote unquote lucky, right? Have amazing talent, or get lucky today everyone in the palm of their hands has a distribution engine.

You know, it's something that I say to companies, you know, I speak it. Different firms all the time and every company has to be a media company. You don't have to be like me. You don't have to have an actual production company as part of your umbrella, but you've got to be a media company as you are pushing yourself out there and getting brand awareness.

And I think there's nothing more important today. It used to be that you'd hire an assistant as your first hire, like, Oh, I need you more. I need to hire assistants. I think you're either hiring a content creator or a publicist as your first hire these days because your job is to generate business, to generate lead flow.

You want to sell more ads, you want to sell more shirts, you want to sell more software, whatever it is you sell, your number one job all day long is to build business. 

 So I recently interviewed this guy Rory Vaden on the show. he's a branding expert, and he told me that his definition of a personal brand is a digitization of your reputation basically online, which I thought was really smart because really personal branding right now is just.

[00:16:43] Hala Taha: How do you make yourself known and visible and searchable online? And it's really hard to stand out today with AI. There's so much content going on. There's so much competition. Everybody's on social media. So a lot of people are looking at creating a personal brain as really competitive, really daunting, and they might have a negative outlook on this.

It's just so overwhelming. So what is the positive good news story of this? What is your encouragement for people that it's not too late to start their own personal brand? 

[00:17:14] Ryan Serhant: Well, I know Rory well, I work with Rory, um, work with Rory on Branded Like Sir Hans, because that's what his company does. And I get excited because of the opportunity.

You just want more opportunity. It's like people getting upset about AI and what it's going to do to Hollywood and all the jobs that it's going to put out. Every single revolution we have, whether it's industrial or technological, makes certain jobs no longer necessary. And so you have to make the determination of, are you going to be on the unemployed or on the employed side?

Because someone's going to have a job. There are more workers today than there ever were before. There's more jobs created today than there ever were before. Maybe the jobs are different. And so you have to adapt, right? You have to ebb, to flow. There's no blacksmiths the way they're used to. And thank God, I like my shoes being made out of plastic and making me bounce.

And what would life be like without it? I get excited about things like AI and the ability to generate brand everywhere because I'm more excited about the amount of talent around the world that we get to meet now. Just like we were talking about before, 10 years ago, how hard would it be to find that musician?

That writer, that artist, that actor out there, 20 years ago, you had to be so connected or have money, which just wasn't in the cards for so many people. And the cemetery is full of musicians and athletes and very talented people that just never got their opportunity. They never got their opportunity. The greatest basketball player that's ever played.

You don't know who they are and we'll never know. Because they never got the opportunity the fastest human on the planet the greatest actress on the planet the greatest guitar But we're just never gonna know who they are because they never got the opportunity until now Because if they are great They can point their phone at themselves and that value distribution engine can take that talent and put it to the world and then the world Gets to decide just like Elon Musk on stage with Sorkin talking about You know how the world will decide.

The world will look at your talent and they will decide, are you worth it? Is that a scary thing? Sure. But I would rather take a greater opportunity and make it global than stick with the hierarchy we've known for a hundred years. 

[00:19:38] Hala Taha: Yeah. I love that. Okay, so let's move on to getting some strategies from your book.

So let's talk about what a good personal brand feels like to your clients and customers. What kind of feelings does a good personal brand invoke? 

[00:19:52] Ryan Serhant: Well, every personal brand needs a strong know, like, and trust factor. That's the first thing. Think about every job you've ever had, every relationship you've ever had.

No one wants to work with you or talk to you unless they feel like there's a little bit of trust. They like you. People don't want to work with people they don't like for the most part and they know you they know who you are they know of you right that's that brand awareness that we create the feeling needs to always be relatable and or aspirational so there are brands like lvmh one of the most valuable companies in the world i'm in soho right now lvmh owns all these stores like all of them you And a lot of them are aspirational because they're expensive, right?

It's not just that they're luxury. Luxury, I think, is got a wide definition because what's luxurious to you might be different to me. Expense is different though, and there's a singular definition there. And so that is aspirational. But then you have relatable, like we mentioned Nike before. That's relatable.

I want to run faster. I want to be in shape. I want to be happy. I want to be fit. I want to. Hit my weight goal for this year that I told myself I was going to hit. And I've always said from the day I got into this business and sales. That people hate being sold, but they love shopping with friends, which is just so true.

You walk into a store and someone comes up to you and says, Hey, anything I can help you with? And you say, no, no, I'm good. You walk into a shoe store, you got shoes on your feet. You didn't walk in barefoot. It's not like you need shoes. So how do you create the want? How do you turn a. Need into a want and then vice versa, how do you turn a want into a need because that need is what opens up the wallet that gets the credit card swipe, right?

That creates a new customer and you're going to do that if you feel like you're shopping with a friend or there's that no like and trust factor there where the person or the content or that brand is fully relatable and or aspirational. 

[00:21:58] Hala Taha: Those are some really, really great tips. I agree with all of them.

And I know that in your book, you have a three component strategy and you call it the Surhant brand strategy system. Could you go over that at a high level? And then I'll just ask you some questions about each one. 

[00:22:16] Ryan Serhant: Sure. Like I said, it starts with core identity. It's really understanding and really breaking down and being incredibly honest with yourself as to who are you?

What makes you, you define yourself without using your name. What are you known for? I told you when I did it, I look at the ground when I walk, like, why on earth would that be my brand? Like, what does that even mean? That's not my brand. I guess that's my reputation. Why do I do that? Oh, okay. I guess from the ages of 14 to 24, I had really, really bad skin.

And it built a muscle memory in my brain that told myself that when I walk and see strangers, I get embarrassed when they look at my face. So I'm just going to look at the ground. And I'm just never going to stop doing that. I'll just look at the ground. And even though I got older, my skin cleared up, I never changed.

My brain didn't rewire itself. So I had to make certain determinations that way. And you're figuring out what I call your and, and anyone can do this. Like my mom is building her personal brand right now. She just wants to play more golf. You're a mother and golf. What's your aunt? I am real estate and media, and you can have a thousand ands, but you got to pick one.

What is the one? What's that one thing that you are connected to? Maybe it is books and makeup. Maybe it is podcasting and finance. Everyone has one. You figure out what that and is, and that's what's going to connect you to a personal customer. Because it used to be that it was just content to commerce.

You'd see movies, every TV show, you'd see a Mercedes Benz drive thru, and that was content to commerce. The brand paying for access to the consumer that's gonna watch that movie or TV show, and then maybe you might go out there, and the next time you drive by a Mercedes dealership, you might say, Oh, that's the same car that Brad Pitt, okay, yeah, I like Mercedes, and now all of a sudden you drive a Mercedes.

That's content to commerce, but what's changed today is there's a middle C. That's been created because you can no longer just do content to commerce because everyone does it. It's been diluted. It's a commodity now Anybody can do content on their phone and try to create commerce and no one cares What they care about is a community.

So this started with early influencers And that whole business has completely changed now But how do you go from content to community, commerce, and the way I think about it, once you build that and and create that core identity, it's community first, the community will tell you the content to create that is unique to them.

Maybe it has nothing to do with video or images. Maybe your thing is a LinkedIn. Maybe it's a blog. Maybe you're a thought leader. Maybe that's your thing. So you've got a great community that you've built based on your and because your and is bicycles. I love cycling. Okay. That's the community that you join.

Now you're going to build your own community. That's unique to you and cycling from there. That audience will tell you what they want to see. Maybe it's you cycling. Maybe it's every morning jumping on that peloton and what music are you going to listen to, whatever it might be, that's going to create that consistent content that is phase two of our brand strategy system that doesn't have to be videos, doesn't have to be dancing, it doesn't have to be anything, but it has to be consistent.

Maybe your consistent content is just picking up the phone, call a hundred people a day, maybe that's your thing. Great, but you got to do it and you got to be consistent with it. And that community will tell you what they want to see. And then from there, phase three, you know, we call it amplification in there, but it's shouting it from the mountaintop.

No one's going to know what you do well, unless you tell them. Your mom isn't telling all her friends, your dad's not telling all his friends. And you can only brag so much on social before that algorithm just crushes you. So you've got to be able to humbly put your successes out to the world so that people see you because success begets success.

People want to work with people who are busy. People want to work and they want to buy things that other people have. So how do you create that FOMO? How do you build that velvet rope? How do you put that out? Like, I'm standing in a, Office building right now that I built in the center of Soho in New York City, the building was built to be the Tommy Hilfiger flagship store in New York City, and a realtor has it.

That makes no sense. How does that make any sense? How do I afford this place? I have a building in Soho that's bigger than Prada. That's crazy. Totally crazy. Except for the world has totally changed. The brand has changed, and the statements that we make using that consistent content that's built out of our core identity has changed.

And the only reason I do all this, and I'm not like a professional author, even though I've written these books, I just have this itch. As I think about legacy and like, what is my giving back other than money, how can I help empower the next generation of entrepreneurs of salespeople of 17 and 18 year olds who are graduating high school and saying, now, what do I do with my life people with 1st, 2nd, 3rd careers who are trying to say, why did I take this job 15 years ago?

I want to go and do what actually makes me happy, but I'm nervous. I'll never make money. Where can I figure out how to go do this? That's why I write these things and do this stuff and put it out there and I just tell people listen a little bit. 

[00:27:45] Hala Taha: Such great strategies. I really love it and I really like that identifying your and and I actually talked to James Altucher just a few weeks ago and it's similar to what he was telling us about intersections and purpose sex and this was actually related to creating a new business idea and so he basically was saying pick two things.

That you're an expert on are two things that you love and combine them to create your next business idea. So it's very similar in terms of figuring out what are your two main pillars for your brand that is uniquely you. So my question about this is what questions should we ask ourselves to discover what our and is?

[00:28:27] Ryan Serhant: First of all, it's relatively pretty easy. I mean, I think you have to think about, okay, this is what I did Monday through Sunday. Okay. What do I do during the day? What do I do at night? What do I like? What's interesting to me? And it could be as simple as you have kids, you hang out with your dog, that's what you like, you like wine, To start, it can always change, you can change your and whenever you want, but you've got to find that initial hook. We say like, ask them, so it's like, you hook them, you help them, you ask them, that's kind of the three prongs to getting new customers, you want to hook them with something, and then you help, you help, you help, you help, you help, you help, you show them that you provide value, and then you can ask, you never start by asking somebody for something, why would I ever help you, I don't even know you, That's that retail issue that we talked about, where you walk into the store and someone says, Hey, can I help you with anything?

No, no, no, you haven't hooked me and you haven't helped me. Please don't ask me any questions. I'm just here because I saw this. I'm gonna go buy it online later by myself. Comfort of my couch. And so you have to ask yourself those questions. Of what do I want to be known for two years from now, like if you could just write down and be realistic in two years, my personal brand will be Ryan Serhant and what you got to have that North star.

So what is it? And then what are you known for today? I was Ryan Serhant and my and was my hair and was the fact that I wouldn't make eye contact. And I needed to say, okay, well, which one am I going to take control over? I want my and when I get into the business early, I need my end to be confidence because you got to work with a salesperson who has confidence.

So I'm not going to touch my hair. I think the hair is actually going to help me. People will be super confused by how old I am because they'll see the back of my head and they'll say, Hey guys, and then I'll turn around and they'll say, what just happened? But I will fix the looking at the ground because that doesn't scream confidence.

And I'm going to eventually get my aunt to be Ryan Serhant and Confidence, to Ryan Serhant and Luxury Real Estate, to Ryan Serhant and Luxury Sales, to Ryan Serhant and CEO, to Ryan Serhant and Technology and so on and so forth. And if you need help doing this, you can ask a friend, game show style, and ask them the same question I did, which is, without using my name, how would you describe me?

Don't ask your parents, don't ask siblings, don't ask anyone that would be afraid of upsetting you. Get a real answer. Actually ask. The scariest thing, but also the best thing that Million Dollar Listing did for me early on in my career was Internet commenters, you know, you don't have to listen to them I had never actually put a camera in front of my face and gone to work for a year and then put that out there To the whole world you want to see what your personal brand is and how people really think about you Go do a reality TV show and then see what the whole world has to say about you That was an eye opening moment and your first instinct is to push back and be like, well, everyone's an idiot, right?

These, these anonymous commenters, like they're just stupid. But then when it's a lot of them, then you say, huh, maybe I should do a deep internal dive and try to understand who am I? Who is that person? So you do that work and you ask those questions. To have a really clear self identity, so many people I think walk around and they really have no identity of self, they really just don't know, they wake up, they brush their teeth, they get coffee, they go out the door, they're tired, and then another year goes by, and another year goes by, so if you're not figuring out what that North Star is for where you want to get to two years from today that gives you a year to put your plan into action and a year to execute, then before you know it, it's 2030, and then it's 2040, and then it's 2040, And I think building your brand today is giving yourself your own newspaper 20 years ago.

You could have your own newspaper that got put on the front doorstep of everybody you wanted to be in front of. I would have taken my own New York Times 20 years ago. I would have taken my own, Washington Post. And today you all have that opportunity. 

[00:32:37] Hala Taha: So what you're talking about really is being intentional, having brand vision.

Something that I just want to call out is important of what you just discussed. is the fact that you actually need to decide first what you want your personal brand to be so that you can be intentional and consistent in your content so people know what you stand for. If you don't know what you stand for, first off, you're not going to be able to be consistent.

So you need to have that vision like you were talking about. So another key component to creating a brand, you say, is identifying three key brand Adjectives. What are your key adjectives and why do you think that's important for people to have? 

[00:33:15] Ryan Serhant: Again, it's an exercise that I put into the book and that we put into our courses just to help people have a frame of reference for where they're trying to get to.

So it's who you are today and where you want to get to. It's just like a fitness journey. Today I weigh X, tomorrow I want to weigh Y. And then really making determination of, but do you, do you really, do you understand the trade off? Do you really, really, really want the thing you talk about? Because maybe you really don't.

Right? And I think most people kind of don't. You'll want to quit smoking, but it's like, I'm going to die anyway. Like I hear that from people all the time. I'm in sales, you know, lots of people smoke. So for me, one of those power adjectives that I wanted to work towards And maybe it comes from, I don't know, insecurities that I had when I was younger.

I want people to understand that I am polished. Now polished has a lot of different definitions, different ways to think about it. It could be just shiny. Polished for me is put together. Polished for me is confident. When I talk to a seller of a 50 million dollar penthouse, I need them to not think I'm messy.

I need them to not think that I don't have my shit together. I need them to know, as part of my brand, and they'll never actually say the word out loud, but I need it to be present, clear, and memorable, that he is polished. The marketing materials I bring to the table, the way I speak, the way I present myself across social, are newsletters.

Everything that I do, I think about the word polished as one of my words. And so you can go on thesaurus. com and start typing in words based on where you want to get to in those next two years. And you can start acting that way today. Being polished is not that hard. It's exactly what you just said. It's about being intentional.

Being intentional as to how you want to have the world see you, which goes back to that core identity math and building that personal brand. So that is one of my adjectives and there's many different words out there, but I think it is important and it helps create that vision board vocabulary, which I think so many people were so visual.

We all create these vision boards. What do you do or you don't you print out that photo of the person who looks like that you print a photo of a car you want to vacation you want to put it there and you remind yourself all the time and i think that can be helpful it can also be sad and so i like using words that you want to get to right so if you want to make more money maybe one of your words is rich right maybe one of it it's a wealth like i have a i don't know if you can see but there's a one be on my wall.


[00:36:08] Hala Taha: Yep. 

[00:36:09] Ryan Serhant: That I put there to basically self shame myself every day that we're building a billion dollar brand here under the umbrella, the holding company one day could be tomorrow, could be in a hundred years. I don't know, but it's there all the time. And my camera on these zooms podcast looks directly at it when my head's not blocking it because I have to get close to my microphone and it is there to remind me all the time.

Hey, there you go. That's a visual, but there's a word that's attached to that. And pick those three adjectives. 

[00:36:45] Hala Taha: I teach a LinkedIn masterclass, I'm one of the biggest influencers on LinkedIn and a big part of my masterclass is branding. And something that I noticed with my students is a lot of people just feel like brands are fonts and colors and that's what they're laser focused on.

But in reality, that is, in my opinion, one of the least important things that you should focus on. So can you talk to us about why visual identity isn't the main thing that people should focus on? 

[00:37:11] Ryan Serhant: Yeah, I remember when I delivered the first manuscript of Branded Laser Hands. And the publisher looked at the chapter on visual identity and saw how long it was and was like, are you really going to talk about fonts and coloring and everything that goes into this for this many?

I'm like, yes, because it's really, really important, but look at where it is in the book. And it's like halfway through the process of building that brand. I'm in real estate, so obviously this is the way I think about things. The font and all of that stuff, that logo. Is the paint. It's the paint on the house.

It's what the shingles look like. It's that appearance that that house has from the street, but there is no house without a foundation. There is no house without a crack foundation. There's no house without a flooded foundation. There's no house without the two by fours and the insulation and everything you can't see behind those walls.

The house doesn't exist. And so, cool. That's how I think about visual identity. And I think if you just think about building anything to get there, you're not going to paint the house before it's built. There is no house. And so many people like to go to visual identity first because it's how they kind of correctly associate Brands, if you just saw the Nike swoosh without ever seeing the company, you wouldn't say, ah, Nike.

I mean, it's been like 50 years now and it's a long, long time, but you associate it with athleticism for aspirational body types, for fitness, for athleisure, right? There's so many things you associate it with that the logo then just is there to remind you who created those sweatpants. And so you've got to do that foundational work first, that kind of goes back to just the core identity work, which is not that hard.

You just have to do it. And I think the number one mistake people make when building a brand is they do exactly what I did for years is I went immediately into my logo and my thing and picking a color. And I was like, okay, everyone in real estate in New York City, there are all these different, no one's purple.

And so my real estate branding was purple because no one had purple. I didn't actually stop to think about, well, maybe there's a reason people aren't purple. And I had no connection to purple. I didn't do the math. I didn't look it up. I was just like, well, purple, purple works. And then I got bored of purple and I was like, what else?

Yellow. And then we were yellow for a long time. I was yellow until we started the company. And that's how we stood out. We were yellow, yellow, yellow, yellow, yellow, for no reason other than branding is a logo in colors. So when I built Sir Hans, the company that we started in 2020, the last thing I thought about was logo and color said, I've made all the mistakes now.

I'd rather regret the things I did than the things I never tried because I learned from them, but let's take a step back. What is the core identity of this business of this product? What does that look like? Who is that person? What do they do at 9pm on a Tuesday? Do all of that work that I talk about in the book.

That'll inform your logo and your coloring. Everything. That community will inform it. My first book was out like Sir Hampton. Wrote it, we created an education platform out of it, and so we do sales training, direct to consumer and B2B all over the world now, and we've just always called it Sell Like Sirhan, you know, that's because there's the chorus, I did a TV show called Sell Like Sirhan, it's out there, it's easy, you get it, but now the community that we built there has changed, rapidly, I started it, and it was just real estate agents, kind of around the world.

Now, we have people who work in surgical centers in Mumbai, we have people across Africa, we have people in 128 countries that don't fucking care about Ryan Serhan selling real estate. They just don't know where else to go for a sales education that helps them build their career that they can be a part of a cool community that's fun.

And so they influenced how our brand is changing and on the beginning of April, so like Sirhan is totally changing. New website, new look, new ad. Since the day I started in 2019, the whole thing is changing as influenced by that community. And it's super exciting because they're the ones who told us what to do.

And they're the ones who have influenced what that identity looks like. 

[00:41:24] Hala Taha: You're saying really smart things. The main takeaway that I get from that is that your brand is always evolving. Don't be afraid to evolve and change your brand and listen to your community. And then to your point with visual identity, it's really your messaging and your foundation that's going to inform the visual identity and their psychology of colors and fonts.

And you need to understand that so that it actually reflects what you want to represent, which is really words that you need to put on paper and decide. Right? So. I really agree with everything that you're saying. So let's move on to phase two. I just want to understand, for consistency is key, what would you say people's biggest roadblocks are with that?

[00:42:01] Ryan Serhant: They just don't get started. And they let the fear of embarrassment overpower the fear of failure. I don't think we actually have fears of failures these days. You can always get another job. You can always move back home. You can always stop. The risk these days is nominally financial because that's what your risk appetite is.

I think most of us these days have a fear of being embarrassed. You don't want to be embarrassed. You don't want to make the wrong move. What if I put it out there and my friends make fun of me? My mom laughs at me. My little brother is going to call me a loser, whatever it might be.

You have to pretend that no one else exists other than the community you're trying to reach. Embarrassment isn't real. It's completely internalized. Does nothing for you. Just like worrying. That's nothing for you. You focus on the things you can control and just put out consistent content. That is in line with you and your and, and always make sure that you have a post with purpose.

The purpose might just be to build engagement and following because you're funny. Maybe you're charitable, maybe that's your thing, and you're just trying to raise money all the time. That's how you're operating, but you must be consistent. You know, I go through calendars and everything in the book as to what works, and every platform is totally different now.

It's a bit annoying, but it is what it is. Just like newspapers were different platforms for magazines were different platforms for local radio and new state. I mean, it's all the same now and different at the same exact time. And so finding that consistency, at least minimum a couple times a week and sticking to it is the only way that you are going to find any kind of stickiness within the marketplace that you're trying to penetrate.

And you're going to end up finding something sticky that you never, ever, ever, ever, ever anticipated. It's typically going to be the thing you weren't focused on. What you're focused on in your brain is usually not what everyone else is focused on. And that's part of the excitement, also part of the fear.

And you just gotta stay consistent over and over and over. 

[00:44:07] Hala Taha: Okay, so moving on to the third phase, which is shouting everything from the mountaintops. When do you feel like we're ready to take things primetime and what are the things that we should be doing? 

[00:44:18] Ryan Serhant: I think your earliest successes are ready for primetime.

Your creation is primetime. The people that are going to pay attention to you are going to be few and far between. But you want to build up that early brand awareness and cut through that attention kind of deficit as quickly as you possibly can. And you can do it across social, you can do it through collaborations.

You find someone that you want to be like, you can intern for them, work for them, do things for free for them, push, push, help them as much as you possibly can. And then you've got brand awareness by proximity. How many people out there do we know because they were connected to somebody else you already knew?

How many brands do we know of because somehow they did a collaboration with a brand you were already aware of? That goes a long, long way. And so, putting yourself out there, understand that success begets success. Every deal you do, people should know about it. And it's not you congratulating yourself, it's you congratulating the client.

www. microsoft. com so amazing to wrap up this recent sprint that we did for my X and Y business with Bob Smith and Co. It was amazing to watch what they've done. I really can't wait to see how they succeed this year. That's you just being nice while also telling your entire community you did another deal.

You helped people out again. You have a great value proposition again. I think there's, a fine line between how annoying you can be as somebody who touts their success all the time. There's also no memory anymore. No one cares. No one has any memory anymore. Things come, things go. What is terrible today, no one will ever remember by Friday.

[00:46:02] Hala Taha: Yeah. Okay. So I thought we could round out this whole conversation. I've got a really great quote from your book, a brand is your map and compass all in one. I thought this would be a great way for us to round out the conversation. Tell us what you mean by that. 

[00:46:15] Ryan Serhant: It is the direction that you're moving forward to today.

And it is the horizon that you're shooting towards two years from now. It's like personal financial goals. I want to save X dollars this year. So that within the next two years I can have paid off X and I will be debt free or whatever you want to get to you have to have those micro wins that are then attached to that macro win you can't have one without the other trying to get someplace and so that's what I mean by that right the brand that you create for yourself today.

Is going to guide you to the brand that you want to build for yourself and be known for tomorrow. That's the only way that I know how to do it. And what's great is that we all have the power to do it for ourselves today. You don't have to have a production company. You don't have to go hire a huge social team.

You don't have to do all these things. You can do it on your own. 

[00:47:14] Hala Taha: Well, thank you so much for this conversation, Ryan, about branding. I end my show with two questions. It doesn't have to be about what we talked about today. What is one actionable thing our young and profiters can do today to become more profitable tomorrow?

[00:47:28] Ryan Serhant: Oof. What can they do today? Look at your subscriptions. You know, what is that app that you downloaded a year ago that you forgot that actually is charging you right now and invest into yourself to make more money, but also stop spending money on stuff you don't need to spend money on. 

[00:47:48] Hala Taha: And what is your secret to profiting in life?

And this can go beyond business. 

[00:47:52] Ryan Serhant: You. Work for the 70 year old version of yourself. Use that FACES app. Age yourself to be an old person. Print it out. That's your boss. At the day, you don't work for your current boss. You don't work for anyone else. You're gonna be that person before you know it.

And if that person isn't happy, you failed your job. You gotta work as hard as you possibly can so that that person has a great life. that means being profitable today, that's what that means. If that means Spending so much money right now so that that person's life is super profitable. Then the way I operate, then that's how you do it.

But just remember who you work for. It's no one else. It's you in the future. 

[00:48:33] Hala Taha: I love that so much. Ryan, where can everybody learn more about you and everything that you do? 

[00:48:37] Ryan Serhant: Just at Ryan Sirhan everywhere. Branded like Sirhan now out, I guess it came out last week. Whenever it came out, buy it anywhere books are sold.

Barnes and Noble. I signed a bunch of copies. If you want a signed copy there. Or anywhere books are sold. 

[00:48:52] Hala Taha: Amazing. Well, thank you so much, Ryan. I love this conversation and hope to talk to you soon. 

[00:48:57] Ryan Serhant: Thank you. 

[00:48:57] Hala Taha: Thanks for listening to this episode of Young and Profiting Podcast. If you did enjoy this show and you learned something new, then please share this episode with your friends and family. It would really mean a lot to me if you help spread this podcast by word of mouth. You can help us build a vibrant community of fellow young and profiteers.

Just hit that share button and text the link to this episode to someone you know who could benefit from it. And why not drop us a five star review on Apple Podcasts while you're at it. Help us make sure that others can find us and learn from the same amazing conversations. And if you like to watch your podcast episodes, you can find all of our episodes on YouTube.

If you want to get in touch with me, you can find me on Instagram at Yap with Hala or LinkedIn by searching my name. It's Hala Taha. Before we go, I want to thank my production team, Jason, Amelia, Hashim, Furkan, Ambika, Kriti, Aaron, everybody on the team, you guys are amazing, thank you for all that you do.

This is your host, Halataha, signing off.

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