Negative Brand: how to build your Brand without all the answers

There’s only 3 reasons you don’t stand out online

  • You don’t have a clear goal
  • You don’t have aligned content
  • You don’t have a clear brand strategy

You can go on researching to find what you can do as a creator but here’s the deal… it’s gonna take time to figure out what you want to be doing.

If you don’t have general brand clarity, read “The Octagram Framework for Brand Clarity.

That said…

in this article, I’ll show you a way to close in on the brand or the position you wanna get to.

Feel free to skip around if it helps you save time, but if you can hold your horses let me tell you how I landed on this.

let’s get into it ↓

John’s Dilemma

At the start of my freelancing journey,

I had a client who didn’t know what he wanted to build his brand upon but wanted to escape his corporate hell that year.

Let’s say he is called “John”.

John was an employee who was a data analyst but wanted to leave his company behind and build a brand for himself.

The only problem…

John was clueless about what he wanted to build his brand on.

I took him through my framework and strategy questions but even after 80 questions and 3 calls he was still stuck.

To make things worse, the lack of answers and the uncertainty were pushing him things were taking a dark turn because he was losing time and getting affected with

  • Anxiety
  • Low self-perception
  • lowering confidence

It was starting a negative feedback loop that was getting hard to deal with

He almost gave up

But all wasn’t lost yet

I told him to give me a week to figure something out

& that following week, while surfing through YOUTUBE I heard it

A quote from Steve Harvey that struck a chord

“Sometimes knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing what to do.”

The next week we got on a call again

I could see the frustrated look on this man’s face because the answers just did not magically appear in front of him.

So I flipped the script and asked him

I asked him, What he didn’t want to be.

And his eyes lit up, it was almost like the Angels were singing in his ears because he had a very clear opinion on the outcome he wished to avoid.

In his case, it was building a brand as

  • A ghostwriter
  • A business coach
  • A personal brand builder

In the next 3 months, he had a working brand as a sales consultant for Agencies leveraging his skills as a data analyst and the next year he quit his job.

But why did this work?

I did some digging and found that it works because of one simple philosophical concept that has deep roots in science itself.

What is it?

Negative Questioning

More often than not, we don’t know the right answer to a question we haven’t solved before.

I know I’ve faced this choice a bunch of times in my short life. But unless you’ve dealt with the same problem in your personal history, you’ll be in a serious pickle.

But there are things you want to seriously avoid or know not to be true. Start focusing on those and the answer is close by

What I mean is…instead of searching for the needle in a haystack, separate the haystack from the needle.

This is Negative Questioning

So instead of asking “What to do?” ask

  1. What type content of content is NOT useful for your business progression?
  2. What sort of people should I NOT be involved with to become high-value individuals?
  3. What brand position DON’T I want to stand out in the market and get build a good audience?

Truth be told, you may not know what you want, but you have some ideas for the things you don’t want or should not do.

Here’s a simple framework: What (thing) is not responsible for directly impacting (circumstance)?

Your Game Plan:

Long story short: If you don’t know what to build your brand around.


Ask yourself

Step 1: What is it that I don’t do as a business?

More often than not, we are riddled with options and possibilities. It becomes equally important to know what not to do?

For me, it was

  • I don’t work for you
  • I don’t ghostwrite
  • I don’t write content for you
  • I don’t help you go from 0 to 1
  • I don’t optimize your social profiles
  • I don’t do graphic design
  • I don’t make brand identity

Step 2: What outcome am I trying to avoid?

Sometimes wrong efforts lead to wrong outcomes. This is exactly what happens when you follow someone’s strategy blindly, without ever questioning the outcome it may lead to?

For me, it was

  • To get beginner clients
  • To be perceived as a service provider
  • To be perceived as an agency
  • To spend hours at work
  • To be too serious
  • To work with lazy clients

Step 3: What are the things that I don’t want to be known for?

You wanna know this for the service or brand you are building. If you wanted to be a ghostwriter, you’d show the stats that mattered. Right? it’s the same logic.

If you know what you don’t wanna be known for, you’d have a clear focus.

For me, it was

  • Graphic Design
  • Content Writing
  • Health & Fitness
  • Beauty – Gaming
  • Travel
  • Web-design
  • IT
  • Relationships
  • Entertainment
  • Finance
  • Language
  • Parenting
  • Photography
  • Entertainment
  • Startups

Step 4: Who are not my Customers?

This is pretty self-explanatory, it’s who you don’t wanna work with.

For me, it was

  • Beginner Creators
  • Freelancers

Step 5: What is not a metric of my success?

So much of social media business is run on empty metrics. And it’s sorry to see that… people still chase them for the cheap dopamine metrics.

There are metrics beyond what you see on the analytics board.

For me, it was:

  • Followers
  • Impressions

Step 6: What is the type of content I don’t wanna make?

A huge part of the creator business relies on creating content. But the majority of what you see online isn’t created content at all.

It’s just generated and repackaged content. Although it works, it becomes quite stale with everyone generating the same stuff

  • X tips from Y
  • X books worth reading
  • X people to follow

Step 7: Who are the people you don’t want to build a brand like?

It’s one thing saying, I want to build a brand as powerful as Justin Welsh. But it’s another thing saying you want to build a brand like Justin Welsh.

You don’t wanna be an imitation of anyone while holding them as your inspiration.


There will be times in your life when you won’t know the first step it can be about your brand, your business or your strategy.

Just ask yourself, What don’t you wanna be or do?

It is more important to know what not to do or be

then it is to know what you should be.