This week, we interviewed entrepreneur, author, and Chief Visionary Officer of Nao Media & Consulting, Christopher Craft, about his brand new book. The book, which comes out in May, is all about refining your personal brand to become a successful human being, no matter where your professional and personal paths take you. Read on for Chris’s insights on work, life, and passion below.
1. Tell us about your book, O.P.E.N. Routine: Four Components to Personal Branding Excellence. What’s the major theme or takeaway (without giving us the whole story, of course!)?
The book highlights the alignment of four core components that are needed in order for your brand to reach amazing heights. The components are opportunity, passion, education, and networking. The book goes beyond the discussion of a system; it shows how the four components must be practiced and internalized in your lifestyle.
2. You’ve had an interesting journey in writing this book. Who or what inspired you to take the leap from blogging and talking about it to actually writing a book?
I wasn’t into reading during high school and college. I only read what I had to in order to get good grades. I’ve always been into writing, though. My interest in reading books really ramped up about 7 years ago. So, now that my love for books has caught up with my love for writing, writing something long form just seemed to make sense. Also, I have a good amount of experience with life and business for my age. I’m 33 years old (34 next week). I’m still young and sometimes I feel like I should still be in college; but being a parent and an entrepreneur for over 10 years has upped my maturity level. The combination of youth and experience at this point is what inspired me to write a book. Also, I know there’s nothing like being a published author of a book. I talk a lot about authority and credibility in the book. This new step is helping me increase both.
3. There’s a lot of talk about what a “personal brand” really means, if it even exists, and whether or not it matters. What’s your take on this?
Everyone has a personal brand. We can’t choose to not have one. I believe that if everyone knew of its existence, then our world would be a more pleasant place. Your brand is how people experience and perceive you on a daily basis. Taking it further, your brand is a collection of opinions by others mixed with your general self-perception formed over a long period of time (could be a month or a year). On a higher level, your personal brand is your story. So yes, it exists. The O.P.E.N. Routine drives this point home early and often.
4. If you could go back in time, what are three things you would tell your 18-year-old self?
I would tell myself to stop flirting with my passion. I knew I loved to build things with media since high school, yet I followed the scholarship money and ventured along the science and engineering path. My dad gave me a choice too. He said that he’d support me if I went directly into music and media, but I thought the real college thing was the thing to do. So I did it. So while my formal education did not directly support my passion, I don’t really have any regrets. I met some really smart people who I work with to this day during college. Also, like my friend Moses Ting likes to say, majoring in electrical engineering taught us how to think differently from the people we work with now (doing digital design in his case and digital marketing in my case).
5. Who do you think would get the most out of your message with O.P.E.N.?
Young entrepreneurs and soon-to-be college/grad school graduates will get the most out of O.P.E.N. This book is perfect for those who are about to face the real world. They can use this book as a reference guide during all stages of their career. I actually just presented the O.P.E.N. Routine to some law students who will be graduating soon. They saw a ton of value in the system.
6. What’s one thing we should know about you, your company, or your journey before we read the book?
You should know that I’m far from perfect and that I’m really honest about that in the book. I’m a work in progress and will always be. The same goes for Nao, my company. The awesome thing about this realization is that it justifies the importance of my journey.
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