In 2010, Leonard Kim unplugged his microwave, picked it up, walked out of his apartment, down the hallway, and plugged it into the outlet at the end of the hallway usually used only by maintenance staff. He couldn’t pay his electric bill and it was the only way he could heat his $3 dinner. Soon after he was unable to pay the rent and homeless.
Three months ago he was named by Inc. Magazine as one of the top youth marketers in the country. He doesn’t have to worry about that electric bill so much anymore. Now the managing partner of InfluenceTree, a personal branding accelerator based in Southern California, he’s one of the most prolific voices of his generation. A content beast, Kim has penned thousands of articles over the last few years, including an astonishing 1000+ in 2015 alone.
His writing drew a devout following, pushing him from an unknown on social media to more than 200,000 Twitter followers.
He spends his days as the social media specialist for the Keck School Of Medicine at the University of Southern California . He runs weekly course lessons on personal branding that have attracted students from across the globe. His readers enjoy his honest, raw conversations of family issues, depression, failure after failure, and how he ultimately picked himself up from homelessness in just a couple years ago to being one of the most followed and read writers of the Millennial generation.
It changed, he says, because he “was sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
Meet Leonard Kim: Personal Branding Expert
I first met Kim when he jumped on my weekly financial #WinnieSun tweet chat and his blunt responses caught my attention. I asked him to visit the office where I recently interviewed him for my podcast. I was stunned. At 31, he’s learned so much about himself, and is tremendously humble for being so.. well, popular.
After working for several startups, helping build them up, generate healthy revenue, and then watching somewhat helplessly as they were unable to remain sustainable and eventually failed. All that work, all that time, and there was nothing to show for it. Instead, he decided to focus his energy on what he could control. His brand, his personal brand, and reputation.