#52: Leonard Kim, cofounder of Influence Tree, on the power of vulnerability and storytelling

Leonard was going nowhere. He started writing about all his problems, and the world started paying attention. Leonard built his personal brand through storytelling. In today’s episode, get his four keys to writing success.

Listen to this episode on iTunes

What was your biggest insight from this week’s episode? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @influencer_inc.


An influencer is not a ‘brand ambassador’ so much as being a leader who sets the pace that others follow.

Background: In 2013, Leonard got sick and tired of being sick and tired, so he tried to get a job. That didn’t work. Then he went back to college, but that didn’t solve his problems quickly. So he started writing about everything that had gone wrong in his life up to that point, and, little by little, he became a writer for magazines and websites.

Influence Tree is two parts. One is a course that teaches how to build your brand, step by step. One-on-one, hands-on help and consulting is also available.

Leonard started by writing a post on Quora that didn’t do much for a month, but then after a reader shared a post with 1000 people, his gained traction. He saw the potential and began writing five to six posts a day.

Some of the keys to writing success:

  • Share a personal story
  • Be humble
  • Show curiosity and enthusiasm
  • Be vulnerable

Never feed the trolls.

Reasons people fail: they haven’t been able to connect with their audience.

If he had to start over today, Leonard would write on a platform like Quora or Medium.

The problem with trying to build a company from scratch is that you’re likely to build up failures in your name.

Favorite Five

  • Book: The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
  • Influencer: Simon Sinek, James Altucher, Neil Patel
  • Conference, group, or event: Going out with friends
  • Preferred social network: Twitter
  • Tool that you can’t live without: Gmail