The Holistic Approach to Building Personal Branding Authority

by Shana Lynn Yao
CEO | Business & Personal Success Strategist
Total Genius™



Entrepreneur #idealclients #BBF

I’m an expert.

Have you said it yet? In public? To the world?

“I’m an expert” is an empowering statement that, to many small business owners whose business is based on YOU. It feels like a grandiose and bragging statement. It's somewhat uncomfortable and becomes every new entrepreneur’s struggle – to instantly step into the new role of “expert” status, as opposed to that of an employee, worker, consultant, freelancer, etc.

Even with a resume of experience and personal courage,this self-promoted term feels a bit pompous and unjustified, as the human brain works to silently sabotage your confidence - focusing attention on others who have achieved a perceived greater success, and stealing your self confidence with it's unconscious self judgement and perceived fear. 

And while difficult and seemingly unnatural, it's essential for every entrepreneur to understand how to overcome these negative thoughts and turn them into value building, positive actions that lead you to your success.


While declaring your expert status is a decision, justifying it to yourself and others, is a practice. An expert is, well, an expert at what he or she does. They are leaders in their industry. And they speak confidently about their work.

So can you actually become an expert instantly? Can you become an instant expert and do it with integrity?

Here are 8 tips to help you instantly gain your expert status in your business, so you can speak as the confident leader you are, attract the clients that need you and want to pay you, and quiet your self-judging mind.


Becoming an expert at what you do begins with a decision - a decision to act as a business owner who is excellent at what you do. To actually start acting like an expert, possibly before you actually feel like one.

The reality is, if you are waiting for a day that you will win the expert crown or that you will one day wake up and feel like an expert, you’re going to be waiting for a non-existent time. Stepping into the expert role, even if it is uncomfortable, will force you to be the best at what you do. It’s a bit of a mind game, but we seek to be congruent with who we think we are, according to renowned humanistic psychologist Carl Rogers. So if you claim to be an expert, you will almost subconsciously consistently look for ways to improve your skills so you actually become more congruent with your expert status.

Thanks to our human reticular activating system, our brains are literally like fine-tuned radars – seeking out what we are focused on. So if you focus on being an expert, your reticular activating system will lead you to the information and people that will support that expert status. Practicing your Success Identity™ everyday will help remind you of the expert that you are and the higher value you aspire to be.


Compassion is not feeling sorry for someone. Compassion is feeling your client’s pain. Understanding their struggles. Putting you in their shoes. Literally understanding their pain so deeply that you understand all of the impact that their pain is causing in their life and how you are able to help them.

If your business is positioned correctly - based on your own personal story - you understand the deep-rooted emotions and pain that only someone who has felt it, understands. Decisions are made in the emotional brain - so your ability to understand your BBF ideal client's personal struggle could determine whether you get clients are not.


That means in your website, in your communication and any marketing that you do, you use the words they would use and think the thoughts they would think.

People’s beliefs are born from 3 schools of thought.

  • Thoughts they know they are having and can admit out loud. Like if they are overweight – they feel fat. They know and can say their weight is causing them to be depressed. Keeping them from enjoying life.
  • Thoughts they know they are having but don't want to admit – like they think they are overweight and they know it makes them really jealous of their skinny best friend but would never say it out loud. They know their weight is keeping them from applying at the job they really want but they just tell everyone else it’s because they don’t want that job.
  • And thoughts they don’t know they are having, that the problem is causing. They feel fat but and they don’t know it’s actually making them avoid getting a dog because deep inside they feel so out of control and irresponsible that the thought of having a deeper connection of something love them doesn't’ seem possible.

Your copy/marketing should address all 3 schools of thoughts. They should address the thoughts that only feeling compassion can understand and know. These are things that your "genius" - the combination of your expertise and life experience solve for your BBF ideal clients. 


Be known for who you are.   Many new entrepreneurs think they have to create a persona that isn’t them, just to “fit in”. They try to embody what they think the market might like. But doing this is exactly the opposite of what an expert is. And expert is known for who they are. They are known for standing in their unique point of view and leading people to change through their own resolute belief.

This is important to communicate with your personal brand. What do you represent? What do you want to be known for?


You need to position yourself as THE expert in doing what you do or selling the product you sell. Positioning, as defined by Jack Trout and Al Ries – experts in marketing and branding and authors of the book “Positioning”, define it as “the act of designing your company’s offer and image to occupy a distinctive place in the industry.   It’s how you ‘place’ the product in the mind of the consumer.”

Positioning for the genius entrepreneur, however, is greater than just your rank amongst your competition. Positioning for an entrepreneur actually starts in your head. 

Yes, if you are human, how you rank in your own mind - your confidence in yourself, your ability to see past external influences, and your overall vision of your success determines your positioning on the outside. If you are unable to develop a rock solid Personal Influence™, you may struggle with doubt, and not do the things necessary to establish your expert positioning on the outside.

A rock solid confidence in your expertise and life experience, and developing your business based on your best qualities and own personality, is how you position yourself externally as the expert you are.


Experts have such a strong belief in what they do they represent hope for their clients. They embody what they believe to the core, and because of this, they are able to create change. Experts see what their clients cannot.


To be known as an expert, you need to tell your story. When you really know what you do, you have come to that conclusion by understanding how your life played into your story. An expert has a strong and impactful story about their journey and knows how to tell it so it helps their BBF ideal clients relate it to their personal story.


Experts exhibit a high sense of consistency in their message, their brand, and their marketing. Experts must operate at a higher level than the clients they serve, and consistency is a demonstration not only of their brand but also of their ability to manage as an expert.

As you can see, the term “expert” has more to do than just your skill level. It’s a standard, a state of mind, and an embodiment of who you are as a person and who you need to be in your business.

Claiming “Expert” status works on two levels. It changes your positioning in the eyes of your potential clients, and it changes your positioning in your OWN mind, so that you are able to market your business like only an expert would.


What are you waiting for? You indeed are an expert.

People who are experts in their business KNOW their genius. They know what their lives have led them to do, and because of it, SPEAK with confidence, KNOW their personal value, and DON'T SETTLE for less.  

Because having a business that uses your strengths, talents, and life experience, is how you are an expert at it and how marketing and running your business becomes a breeze. It’s just a part of you.

Your expert status - your "genius" -  lives inside of you. It's just waiting to be discovered.


Building authority for your personal brand is critical to making money and achieving success as a holistic entrepreneur. It's created through the consistent practice of the steps above, and essential to creating the POSITIONING required to stand out to your ideal clients to see your value. It's the truth that you stand for, the purpose it serves in  your life, and the place that it holds in the lives of your ideal clients.  This is the strategic difference you have that sets you apart from your competition.

A business that is positioned correctly means:
√ You sell what your ideal clients need
√ You have an evergreen marketing tool that can be your client attraction magnet
√ You know the exact words your ideal clients need to hear because you're so clear on them you speak their language
√ You are reaching your target audience all around the world because you're not relying on standard marketing tactics
√ You have a personalized marketing and positioning strategy that makes you STAND OUT as THE answer for your ideal clients

In business, It’s not about being better than the competition. It's not about trying to be everywhere. And it's not about being on Facebook and trying to get more "likes".

It’s about having a business that is positioned correctly, with a strategic marketing plan of action. A business that is based on your expertise and life experience, that supports what you STAND FOR, and ATTRACTS your ideal clients based on a purposeful strategy and system that works.

Are you ready to claim your expert status?


Shana Yao is CEO and Founder of TOTAL GENIUS™, where she works with high achieving entrepreneurs to discover your genius - the combination of your greatest strengths, talents, and life experience - to create a profit generating business based on your purpose, that fulfills your life and makes an impact on the world. She is an award-winning Business and Personal Success Strategist with over 28 years of experience managing multimillion dollar retail and shopping center locations, including the famed Rodeo Drive. 

In her signature program Discover Your Genius, Shana helps her clients achieve discover and empower their genius within. Using her knowledge of neuroscience, neurolinguistic programming, positive psychology, emotional and positive intelligence, and high level business strategies, she works to develop her client’s unique vision by uncovering their purpose, their message, building their profit-generating signature program and putting their words into action on their website and in their customized marketing strategy.Schedule a chat to get your business positioned to sell.