Today we talk with Larry D West III the co-founder of Elite Young Professional. Some of the things we talk about:
Christian: [00:00:14] Hey, how's it going? Today we're going to talk about how young
professionals can make themselves stand out in a crowded field. We're going to talk about
a little bit of personal branding, networking, thought leadership, and today we have a
cohost with us, Larry D. West the Third, co-founder of Elite Young Professionals.
Larry: [00:00:33] Oh man. Thank you. It's a pleasure to be on the podcast.
Christian: [00:00:36] It's awesome. Yeah. So just for those people who don't know what
you do and what exactly is Elite Young Professional?
Larry: [00:00:44] Yes. So you know, it started about somewhere in the middle of 2015
going into 2016. It started as a program that I used to put on. I used to travel around to
different universities and speak in front of the college students and talk about what it really
takes to build your career and to stand out. And so it started as just a simple boilerplate
talk speech that I used to give, and then from there, it's actually transformed into its own
media company in a sense. So what we do now is we create a lot of content around career
and lifestyle for young professionals and how do you start to leverage those things to really
be successful in life. So we put a lot of things out there. We've got the podcast that's out
there. We've got blog posts out there. We're doing a lot on the social media side. So it's all
about creating value, adding value, and putting content out there for young professionals.
Christian: [00:01:33] Cool. And speaking of that that's actually some of the things that
we're going to talk about on how young professionals can make themselves stand out, and
the number one thing here is, you know, personal branding.
Larry: [00:01:45] Yeah. That's huge. I always say that there are three parts to a personal
brand, and it should answer these three questions. That's who you are, what you do, and
why I should do business with you, if you're an entrepreneur, but if you're on the corporate
side, who you are, what you do, and why I should hire you. And I think a lot of times what
young professionals don't really get especially when they're going through school is that
they don't get that the personal brand is the most essential part of your career or your most
successful career tool I should say because you think about it. When you're in a college
setting, you've got a class of a couple thousand people. A couple thousand people that are
in the same major. Couple thousand people vying for the same jobs and position you're
vying for, and outside of these things like the typical things, extracurriculars and things like
that, how is it that you really stand out? Everyone has internships nowadays, right?
Everyone has a 3.0, 3.5-grade point average and different things like that. So the key is to
really build a solid personal brand that can answer those three questions, and you
leverage that to start building a career. And that's the most essential part of the brand.
Aaron: [00:02:49] So we don't want to go super in-depth in here, but just give us some
surface level stuff of what may be some good examples of personal branding or some
good tactics or some things that they can really take away for the personal branding to
kind of start on today or maybe some resource to go check out for personal branding.
Larry: [00:03:06] Gosh, yeah. No, absolutely. So a few things. So you have what are
called an online brand and offline brand. Those are the two places where you really start.
Your online brand because we're in a time where social media and we're in the Internet of
things kind of a timeframe, being present online is absolutely going to be key. So few
places you want to be. LinkedIn is absolutely going to be one especially if you're looking to
build a professional side to your career. Facebook remains the dominant social site
because so many people are on there, and we have this battle between being public and
private, right? And so you want to make sure that everything you want your potential
employer or potential customers to see and you want them to know about you is available
in public for them to see and consume. No one wants to go through the hassle to try to
figure out who you are and what you do. So make sure it's public and out there, but that's
the online presence and being consistent with that. On the offline side of it, where are you?
How are you showing up? Are you inside of networking groups? Are you doing things in
the community? How are you putting yourself out there on the offline side and does that
match and is it consistent with the online side? That's really where you start the foundation
for building a brand and presence.
Aaron: [00:04:17] I guess who's a good example of personal branding? Or you know,
maybe they just need to check out Larry and just follow some of your stuff and just check
that out for the personal brand, but who do you look up to for yourself, Larry?
Larry: [00:04:28] So there is this awesome guy that I know, a 27-year- old from Milwaukee.
His name is Larry D. West the Third coincidentally, right? So that's where you start. No,
but seriously some really awesome people to start to look at in terms of leveraging and
building your personal brand especially on the online side, and entrepreneurs get excited
about this guy, there's Gary V, that's absolutely awesome because-
Christian: [00:04:49] The beast, yeah.
Larry: [00:04:50] And he's authentic, and that's another part of the personal brand is that
he bleeds through on all sides. You see his authentic side when he's doing the simple
videos talking to folks out in the street, and that's the same as his put-together edited
videos where he's actually presenting in front of an audience. So that's a key guy to really
look at. Another person to look at there's a lady, her name is Lindsey Pollak. She does a
lot of writing on millennials, so to speak, but she does an awesome, phenomenal job really
teaching young professionals, millennials so to speak, about how to build and leverage a
personal brand. Two key people to check out.
Aaron: [00:05:27] That's really good knowledge, and we heard you talk a little bit about
your offline side which is like networking. How can somebody who's, you know, just getting
out of high school or maybe just going out of college- We think of networking for business
professionals, and that makes sense for an entrepreneur who's already out there. But
where do they start with networking? How do they leverage that?
Larry: [00:05:49] Perfect. So good place to start with networking especially if you're a
student that's whether high school or college your professors or your teachers around you
because more often than not they've been around for a while and they have connections
with other people in other places. Here's some of the things they have to know about this,
and this is true both on the entrepreneurial and on the corporate side is that one, when you
start to get into the networking side of things, it's easy to say OK, you introduce me to
someone. I going to ask them for an internship or ask them for an opportunity because I'm
an awesome person, but what it really comes down to is what do you have to give that
person? What kind of contribution are you making? I call it being a plug really, and it's
about always coming from contribution. Prime example, if I'm pursuing an internship with
an individual you introduce me to, right? I'm going to come from a standpoint of
understanding who that person is, what their paying point is, and how I can actually help
them solve that. That's going to be a lot different from sending in a boilerplate resume. A
lot different from saying hey, Mr. Such-and- Such introduced me to you. Can I have an
internship? If I can come in and say hey, my name is Larry West. I noticed that you have a
business in this area. Have you thought about pursuing this kind of a market because I
think it will really help you grow your revenue? You know, different things like that, and
then drop your contact information. That resonates a lot more.
Aaron: [00:07:05] That's out of the box thinking right there. I'll tell you right now.
Larry: [00:07:07] Absolutely. And again, it's about coming from contribution. Think of
different ways that you can contribute to that person instead of actually taking from them,
and that's when you start to build the network because people remember that. Then they
start to contribute to you. It starts to get reciprocated over time. Being the plug.
Christian: [00:07:22] Not too long ago, we recently did a sort of a PDF white document,
white paper for the Allen Fairview Chamber of Commerce, and in there, I mean, that was
one of the main things that a lot of chamber members were advocating to is, you know, go
and help out other people. When you start networking, you know, be the person who's
connecting other people. Be a resource for other people, and you know, that will come
Larry: [00:07:50] Yes, a lot of- especially on the younger side, we say, well, we don't have
enough experience. What do I have to give? What do I have to contribute? And the reality
is you have a lot to give. This is kind of veering off topic here, but this is the part where you
start to looking intrinsically at yourself and say what value you bring to the table. Why it is
that someone should actually hire you. What kind of things can you do that no one else
can do? And that's what you present. As simple as that.
Aaron: [00:08:17] I think one thing that makes somebody an elite young professional, just
kind of going off to play with your names, and we didn't talk about the backstory of, you
know, a different company that you used to have which is talking about professionalism
and leadership. But one point we wanted to hit here and you can kind of talk on is thought
leadership, and that can be kind of a, not a convoluted word, but it can be a mouthful. So
can you break down what thought leadership is and what that really means for somebody
who is a young professional?
Larry: [00:08:46] Absolutely. So we can look at the key part of the whole word which is
leadership, and leadership when you boil it down it's about influence. And so when we talk
about thought leadership, it's about how your thoughts create influence, and that really
comes down to cultivating content. Creating content around your industry, around your
field, around your niche, and it doesn't matter where you are inside of your career. You can
always begin to create content. I mean, you think about some current college students
right now that are majoring in journalism. There's no reason they can't have their own blog
right now. There's no reason they can't be putting out videos or covering their own
athletics at their school. We have access to so much technology and information that
there's no reason you actually have to wait, and so it doesn't matter what industry it is.
Figure out what are the key points inside of your industry. What are the things that people
are typically covering, and how can you contribute to their field? And a lot of times it's just
regurgitating what's already there, just putting your own spin on it. You don't have to
recreate the wheel or reinvent the wheel.
Aaron: [00:09:44] I was going to say we could do- This exact same podcast as being
recorded over in Milwaukee right now, but we have our own spin and we stole Larry. So I
mean, our show's going to be better, but.
Larry: [00:09:54] Just like that.
Larry: [00:09:55] Absolutely. Absolutely. Gary V says the exact same things. He just says
it louder and cusses some, and it works for him.
Christian: [00:10:01] Yeah. I think this whole content creation is something that we did
pretty well at the beginning, and just like Larry just said, I was very sort of shy or on the
side of, you know, other people are doing this right now. Other people are talking about
these things that, you know, we're talking about. Right when we started doing Tip for Tip or
when we started, you know-
Aaron: [00:10:20] Brain10.
Christian: [00:10:21] Yeah, Brain10 which is another show that we used to have.
Larry: [00:10:24] I remember hearing that on the first episode. The pilot you all shot.
Christian: [00:10:28] Yeah. So yeah, I was very like no, we don't need to do this. Like you
know, there's a lot of people already doing that, but I feel like, you know, 100 percent this
is something necessary that, you know, young people who are starting out, they need to
Aaron: [00:10:40] And I would even say that our company if it would be still around. I don't
know if it would still be around if we weren't creating the content that we had because
Brain10 had like almost 150 episodes or something, and Tip for Tip is like 75 episodes. So
I mean, there's a lot of content that I don't know if we would still be in business or not
Christian: [00:11:01] Now I want to backtrack here a little bit, and I want to ask you about
this. You said earlier that you need to be authentic. That need to be honest on social
media. We know that Gary does it very well. Now he does cuss a lot. We're not going to
cuss on the show, but this is something that I think Aaron, I, and Franklin have talked
about before. Do you think that helps? Or do you think that's, you know, something that
you shouldn't do? Or do you think that's going too extreme?
Larry: [00:11:29] Two schools of thought on that. One, if that's who you truly are and that's
the you that you want to display out there, that's what you want to be known for, then do it.
That should be you. I say that in the same breath you have to be cognizant of your
audience, right? So still let your authenticity bleed through, but if you're offending your
audience, if you're trying to be more on the professional level and you're going to offend
your audience by cursing or whatever it is that you want to do, then you may want to dial it
back a little bit.
Aaron: [00:11:59] Right. Like a graffiti artist you kind of- I mean that sounds bad, but you
would kind of expect them to maybe have a little bit more rash language than somebody
who's, you know, selling computer equipment to the hospital or something.
Larry: [00:12:12] Yeah.
Christian: [00:12:14] All right. So out of these last two points that we have here which one
do you want to talk about?
Larry: [00:12:19] Let's go entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship.
Christian: [00:12:23] Okay.
Larry: [00:12:24] So that simple. Doesn't matter again if you're starting your own business
or if you're building your corporate career. You want to be entrepreneurial in every sense
of the word, and so that basically means taking ownership over what it is you're doing and
building it and being dedicated to it and putting sweat equity into it and really cultivating
something that's special. Being elite, right? And the intrapreneurship side really comes
from the corporate side because some people think if you have a nine to five you can't be
an entrepreneur. So you're not a traditional entrepreneur because you don't own a
business, but you can still create different vertical lines within your current company. Think
of another product, another service offering. How do you change current procedures that
are going on? And that's what it's about in terms of being a change agent and being an
entrepreneur. Adding value to either your clientele or your current company that you're
with, and that's huge in terms of building a brand. That's what you can be known for.
Aaron: [00:13:17] Awesome. So any last thoughts, Larry? Where can people find out more
about you? I know there's going to be a ton of questions, especially those young
professionals trying to make their way through this.
Larry: [00:13:27] Yeah, absolutely. So I'm on all social media channels, and the branding
is consistent across the board. Larry D. West the Third. Larry D. West the Third.
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. All those. Elite Young Professional is the company, and
so we're on again all the social media channels. That's Elite Young Professional.
Aaron: [00:13:45] Awesome. And if you go over and follow Larry, just do us a favor and let
him know that you came over from the podcast so we can just tell him he owes us
Larry: [00:13:53] Boom. Just like that.
Aaron: [00:13:54] All right. Thank you guys again for tuning in. We really appreciate it.
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Narrator: [00:14:30] The Marketing Native's podcast is a production of BitBranding.