Inside the Mind Of… Bobby Umar

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Bobby Umar is president of Raeallan, a prolific business coach, and founder of the conference called Discover Your Personal Brand.

Inc Magazine named him one of the Top 100 Leadership Speakers, alongside such noteworthy giants as Richard Branson, Brene Brown, John Maxwell and Robin Sharma. Bobby is a four time TEDx speaker, and has more than 450,000 social media followers.

He has been named the second best business coach to follow on Twitter and the fourth best leadership influencer, according to Kred.

Umar is an international author of three books, including a number one best seller. He hosts a weekly tweetchat called “The Power of Connection” that has reached over 65 million impressions weekly. To date, his social media influence has garnered over a billion impressions.

He was also named a “2015 Speaker to Watch” by the National Speakers Bureau and Global Speakers Agency.

With a background in brand marketing (Kraft and Unilever), engineering (Bombardier) and the performing arts (Second City), Bobby has led Raeallan for over a decade and is now a recognized thought leader in networking, social media and personal branding.

He founded the DYPB – Discover Your Personal Brand conference, the largest event in North America dedicated solely to personal branding, featuring 60 experts and over 300 delegates.

In excess of a 100,000 people from across the world have experienced his high-energy keynotes, interactive teambuilding activities, and engaging workshops.

 

How would you best describe what you do?

Bobby Umar: I’ve been a professional motivational speaker. My expertise is in leadership, leadership development.

In that area, the three main areas that I espouse are networking/connection relationship building, personal branding, and social media. In the context of being a speaker, I’ve expanded to include coaching, group coaching, as well as some consulting and also an author. And, of course, the big event: Discover Your Personal Brand.

 

What makes you particularly unique?

Bobby Umar: I think two things. One is, I have the ability, on stage, not only to be super dynamic and very energetic – but at the same time be willing to create an atmosphere of deep, authentic connection by sharing vulnerability, sharing personal stories, and reaching people on an emotional level.

 

What would be one of those stories?

Bobby Umar: I might share a story of my own personal struggle with binge eating disorder. Or I might share all the struggles I had as an entrepreneur, like having dark days, having a bad partnership that fails, when you screw up, all the things that happen to an entrepreneur.

You are constantly second-guessing yourself, sometimes your value and your position, and your focus, and there are a lot of things that come along the way. So, I’m very comfortable sharing those stories if it’s meant to help, or inspire, or provide insights to my audience.

 

Name a challenge and how you overcame it.

Bobby Umar: Which one? (chuckles) I think a big challenge was where I focus my attention. You know, I dabble in a lot of things. I have 450,000 followers on social media. It can be very distracting. I’m the parent of young children. I’m very dedicated to them. It can be very distracting. And so, for me, trying to find a way to really focus my time and energy, and prioritize, was a big challenge for me.

It was really emphasized the day my son – at four-years-old – was like ‘Daddy, where are you going?’ I was going to teach a class at night. He’s like ‘Awww.’ And I was like ‘Oh man! I do not have my priorities straight.’ Why am I going off for the entire evening for two nights a week, thirty-two weeks a year to teach a class that doesn’t pay very much anyway? It didn’t make any sense.

The thing that really helped me through that, honestly, was getting a business coach. I coach people now, but in the beginning, I never really had a business coach or mentor. So, I got a mentor, and I also go a business coach. They really helped me focus on prioritizing my time, and the balance between being a parent, being healthy, and my business and what I’m trying to do. So, that’s been fantastic for me.

 

Would you be able to impart a key piece of advice, or identify a key pitfall to avoid?

Bobby Umar: I’ll try the first one: key advice. I think you should constantly share your idea all the time, so that you are getting feedback.

Because you want to keep honing the idea, and the business, and what you’re trying to do.

I think that’s an important piece. You don’t necessarily need a business plan, but you need to clearly understand what your idea is, what your business is, who are the people you serve, what’s your target.

And you should be fleshing that out by talking about it all the time. Most of us entrepreneurs are selling ourselves and selling our ideas all the time. So, get it out there, start talking to people, and be open to feedback and constructive criticism. Because, if you won’t, you’ll be one of those people that shows up on Dragons’ Den and has wasted a half a million dollars in a crappy business.

The second thing I think is really difficult to understand is the value. So, you have to really put together and understand your value. What’s the value you are giving? What’s the value you are creating for people? What is that value worth? Because most entrepreneurs really struggle with pricing.

The third thing I think is really important is getting a coach, getting a team of advisors, getting a mentor, to help you focus, keep you accountable, spend the time where you need to spend the time, to focus your business and ramp up your business.

And things to avoid? I think one pitfall is guilt over having bad days or unfocused days. Just write it off. Next day, get back into it. You need to get back on the wagon and start doing stuff.

The other thing is, people avoid asking for help. You can’t do it by yourself. You have to ask for help in certain areas. I certainly don’t do my own accounting, so I get someone else to do that for me.

When I struggle with some area – like when I was trying to understand Facebook ads – I went out there and started asking people questions, and advice, and getting help.

The big pitfalls: people aren’t willing to ask for help, people feel vulnerable, or feel like ignorance means failure.

But really, leverage your strengths, understand your needs, and then ask for help. Because those of us who want to survive and be successful in any business have to ask for help.

 

How does a half million Twitter followers happen?

Bobby Umar: Number one, patience. It takes time.
Number two, having the right message that really resonates with people. So, you have to create content and share content that people really care about, and share in a way that people love. Are you able to write, for example, a tweet that is so compelling people retweet it like crazy?
Creating the right connections. Strategic hashtags. Also, leveraging influencers helped me build my profile.

 

What motivates you the most?

Bobby Umar: The biggest thing that motivates me the most is understanding my ‘Why Statement’ and the people that I serve. My ‘Why Statement’ has actually changed this month. It was adjusted a little bit. So my ‘Why Statement’ is this: There are lost, stuck or unfulfilled leaders everywhere.

I meet people everywhere I go –business, parenting, life, family– who feel either lost, stuck, or unfulfilled in their life, whether it’s their business, whether it’s their career, whether it’s their relationship.

That’s a big thing in what I do.

I’m happy to share my expertise and my insights with them.

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Dave Gordon

Dave Gordon

Dave Gordon is a Toronto-based freelance writer whose work has appeared in more than a hundred publications globally, over the course of twenty years. More about him can be found at DaveGordonWrites.com
Dave Gordon

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