Book Review: “Badass Your Brand” by Pia Silva, a Guide for Entrepreneurs

Badass Your Brand: The Impatient Entrepreneur’s Guide For Turning Expertise Into Profit, by Pia Silva, is a how-to book directed at small businesses and freelancers. Specifically, these businesses sell services and want to secure clients without networking and pitching proposals that never work out. The case studies feature Silva herself, plus business owners in her circle including financial advisors, photographers, consultants, and a physical therapist.

The book easily caught my eye through its sponsored ad in my Facebook News Feed. As a freelancer, I constantly get targeted content wanting to onboard me in some membership website or online course, so I can learn to earn my own living doing what I love. I’m not against those business models; in fact I’m building such a website for one of my favorite recurring clients. However, the promotions for these programs all look the same after several months. Silva’s pitch connected, however because all she’s selling is a book I could download for about $10.00 from Amazon. It was different.

And that’s the point of Silva’s approach. Her book tells the story how she and her husband turned around their graphic design and branding business, from being $40,000 in debt, to making six figures, within months. They did it by making themselves their own brand, and standing against aspects of their industry they knew were detrimental. Then, they offered their strategies to friends and clients who were struggling, and helped them achieve success on their own terms.

The book is only six chapters long, plus the introduction and epilogue, and I read it all in one evening. Writing this review a day later, I can reflect that Silva’s approach is standard in each case study, but easily personalized. It’s like variations on a theme, in which an artist paints multiple works of the same subject, but does it differently each time. Chapter Four lays out the formula, including four “angles” an entrepreneur can fulfill. It’s best to work all four, but you can get by with at least two, and you can choose which two or three suit you best. They are, 1: determining your target market, or niche, who are your most rewarding and profitable clients; 2: developing your “brand personality,” so you can stand out from the crowd and compete; 3: offering a “lead product,” which is your service, clearly defined up front, that you can sell for a flat, affordable rate; and 4: the “bull’s eye product,” which is a deluxe version of the lead product that you would want to upsell.

The reasoning behind each of these angles is given in Chapters 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6. It appears odd, writing this review, that the nitty-gritty of the instructions are given in the middle of the book. However, when you read the book, it fits nicely with Pia’s personal narrative. Storytelling is a time-honored method of persuasion and teaching. You get the sense that in the first half, Pia and her husband Steve are learning lessons, they implement them in Chapter 4, and the later chapters validate those lessons. She emphasizes in the epilogue that she and Steve are hacking through the proverbial jungle with the rest of us, and the path they discovered saved them and their self-employed friends.

I feel I have a good grasp on my own Angles 1 and 2, but I’m excited to try out Angles 3 and 4. Before discovering this book, a fellow web designer suggested my own offerings were too vague, and vulnerable to fruitless negotiating and project proposals. I was slightly suspicious then, but I see his point now after reading Badass Your Brand. I could probably offer two or three tiers of products.

Badass Your Brand is a low-risk purchase at less than $10.00 on the Kindle, or $15.99 for a hard copy. Pia Silva is an authority; she’s not only a personal success story, but she’s a public speaker and regular contributor to Forbes. Not all companies will directly benefit from it. It’s explicitly anti-corporate, and there’s a passage in which she had to turn down a client because it was an e-commerce website, which wasn’t her and Steve’s specialty. Still, an intuitive business owner might adapt the four angles into something that works.

Purchase Badass Your Brand on Amazon: Buy

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