You’ve worked hard, day in and day out, for years. Your life has revolved around perfecting your strength, your speed your endurance. Now it paid off, you are a professional athlete with fans following you enthusiastically. Whether you know it or not, you have a personal brand.

Personal branding is a powerful way to spread your influence, and it can be vital in building a post-pro income.

Developing and managing your own personal brand can be daunting. So here are some steps for creating an engaging, unique, and inviting personal brand.

Turning Your Stardom into Money

In the digital space, attention is a currency. Few people are able to accomplish the level of excellence you’ve achieved as a professional athlete. Many people are influenced by professional athletes and companies know this. They tap pro athletes to endorse sports equipment, clothing, fast food and professional services. You have a personal brand already, which exactly what an endorsement uses to promote a product.

Taking control of your personal brand is the first step in turning your stardom into money. Your personal brand—your mission, values, and skills—sets you apart from others. It is your identity and if you’re not in charge of controlling your own brand, you’ll find that others will do it for you.

Social media offers endless opportunities to promote a unique personal brand and connect with fans. Platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are an instant way to share to an audience that truly cares about what you have to say. Your social media activity is also an excellent way to curate your public persona and ensure that you are perceived exactly the way you intend to be.

Once you have a following, you have a market to begin generating a revenue stream.

“An athlete brand is one that doesn’t revolve around sports,” says Danielle Berman, a sports philanthropy consultant. “Sports may be an athlete’s job, but an athlete brand that stands out among the rest involves more of their passions, interests and life outside of sports.”

Selling Sports and Health-Related Products Online

Many professional athletes go on to become entrepreneurs. One place to start generating revenue with your personal brand is by selling sports and health-related products through an online platform. After all, who knows about sports equipment or health products better than an athlete?

Endorsement deals are another way to break into sports or health product retail—especially if you already use the products you’re endorsing. There’s a huge market to tap into here, and online retailing has made it easier than ever before to start your own e-commerce business. Fan support is a commodity, and learning how to turn support into money is an important part of the personal branding process.

Social media is a great way to affiliate yourself with certain brands or products and make yourself the obvious choice for the next time they’re looking for a brand representative. If you’ve developed or helped to develop your own products, you can also use your personal brand to spread the word and promote your products.

Whether you’re selling your own products or have an endorsement deal, it’s important to be authentic and consistent with your audience. Communicate your brand values with every interaction, whether you want to connect your followers with high-quality products, educate them, or share your latest ventures.

Effective Personal Branding Starts Now

Many athletes, however, don’t think about fan attention as a precious or earned commodity. As a professional athlete, your active time is limited. The threat of an injury and age are inevitable. Early retirements can be stressful if you aren’t prepared.

That’s why the time to develop your brand is right now. You’re at the height of your career and you’re well-established as a public figure. Start using your fan support to grow your post-pro career while you’re still playing.

It can be easy to focus on your performance and ignore everything else. But sowing the seeds for an effective personal brand now can lead to a secure revenue stream in the future. Don’t have time to handle your personal branding strategy?

Hire the Right People to Build Your Brand

You build your personal brand with every post, whether you mean it or not. What makes a personal brand financially effective is strategy and a little expert knowledge. Marketers who specialize in personal branding have the skills, know-how, and experience to help you shape your personal brand.

Working with a team of personal branding experts can make a real difference and proliferate your influence. These professionals have an arsenal of methods to develop your brand, as well as the expertise to recognize and remain on top of trends. It’s their job to help your brand remain powerful and relevant.

Build Your Name and Your Post-Pro Income with Personal Branding

In the digital age, personal branding involves the ongoing act of publishing content that transparently (and strategically) shares details of an individual’s everyday life. While some athletes are less comfortable sharing these details, the good news is: Personal branding is content you control.

“Authenticity doesn’t mean sharing everything about yourself, to everyone, all of the time,” says Justin Bariso, author of the book EQ, Applied: The Real-World Guide to Emotional Intelligence. “

Your personal brand is more than just a retirement plan. Your personal identity, values, and mission should all contribute to your brand for an effective, authentic result. Learning to navigate the digital landscape is challenging, but the pay-off for taking the time to develop your personal brand can last long after you’ve retired.

Interested in learning more about how to build your personal brand and use it to increase your influence?

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