25 Personal and Professional Development Influencers to Follow

UPDATED: May 22, 2023
PUBLISHED: May 22, 2023
Brené Brown, a personal and professional development influencer to follow

Becoming the best version of yourself can be a lifelong journey—one that requires time, patience and a willingness to grow and change. And it can start on Instagram.

No, really: Many of the top minds in personal and professional development can be found on multiple social media platforms, where they share their hard-earned wisdom and experiences with their millions of followers. It’s like having a professional conference in your pocket every day, complete with keynote speakers, roundtable discussions and seminars from leading experts.

Want to know who to follow? We’ve rounded up 25 of the best personal and professional development influencers—some household names and some rising stars—so you can start scrolling and liking with a purpose.

1. Brené Brown

Instagram: @brenebrown (4.6M followers)

Twitter: @brenebrown (974K followers)

TikTok: @brenebrown (661K followers)

You might know Brené Brown from her viral 2010 TED Talk, “The power of vulnerability,” which is one of the most viewed TED Talks of all time. Brown is a researcher and storyteller “who’s spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame and empathy,” according to her website. She has shared her insights on two Spotify-original podcasts—Unlocking Us and Dare to Lead—aimed at helping listeners reach their potential and further develop parts of themselves they may not have known existed.

2. Simon Sinek

Instagram: @simonsinek (2.2M followers)

Twitter: @simonsinek (981K followers)

YouTube: @SimonSinek (1.68M followers)

Simon Sinek, an author and inspirational speaker whose books include Leaders Eat Last and Start With Why, is all about the impacts of optimism. He’s not talking about blind positivity or naïveté. What he means is that, by avoiding getting weighed down by and believing you can push through negative circumstances and mindsets, we are able to uplift ourselves. His social feeds are correspondingly positive and upbeat.

Simon Sinek, a personal and professional development influencer
Photo courtesy of Simon Sinek

3. Lori Greiner

Instagram: @lorigreinershark (1M followers)

Twitter: @LoriGreiner (1.7M followers)

Before she was an investor on Shark Tank, Lori Greiner was known as “The Queen of QVC” thanks to her long-running show, Clever & Unique Creations by Lori Greiner. Today, she’s known as “The Warm-Blooded Shark,” an investor whose sweet, bubbly personality is paired with a sharp eye for successful products.

4. Daymond John

Instagram: @thesharkdaymond (1.3M followers)

Twitter: @thesharkdaymond (698K followers)

TikTok: @thesharkdaymond (225K followers)

Speaking of sharks, “The People’s Shark” Daymond John famously came from humble beginnings, sewing shirts and hats for his brand FUBU (For Us, By Us) in the house he shared with his single mom. Now, he’s a highly recognizable entrepreneur. How’d he get here? He shares much of his wisdom with his followers and audiences.

Daymond John, professional and personal development influencer
Photo courtesy of Daymond John

5. Arianna Huffington 

Instagram: @ariannahuff (756K followers)

Twitter: @ariannahuff (2.7M followers)

She’s famously the co-founder of The Huffington Post, but Arianna Huffington also founded Thrive Global, which uses data to help employees avoid burnout. On Instagram, she shares quotes about patience, resilience, self-compassion and kindness (along with the occasional cute personal photo or animal picture).

6. Tim Ferriss

Instagram: @timferriss (1.1M followers)

Twitter: @tferriss (1.9M followers)

YouTube: @timferriss (1.8M subscribers)

Are you familiar with stoicism? Curious about the long-term impacts of meditation? Want to know more about psychedelic therapy? On his podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show, and across his various social channels, The 4-Hour Workweek lifestyle guru Tim Ferriss talks about all that and more, including depression, decision making and writing and thinking well.

Tim Ferriss, a personal and professional development influencer
Photo courtesy of Tim Ferriss

7. Bethenny Frankel

Instagram: @bethennyfrankel (3M followers)

Twitter: @Bethenny (1.5M followers)

TikTok: @bethennyfrankel (1.2M followers)

As founder and CEO of Skinnygirl, entrepreneur and former Real Housewife Bethenny Frankel shows she’s got business chops to match her on-camera charisma. You’ll get a bit of both on her TikTok and Instagram, along with parenting tips, beauty hacks, cooking content and the occasional hot take.

8. Saygin Yalcin

Instagram: @sayginyalcin (950K followers)

Twitter: @SayginYalcin (89.4K followers)

YouTube: @sayginyalcin (1.04M subscribers)

Saygin Yalcin, the Dubai-based founder and CEO of SellAnyCar.com, Carnab and Kayishha, is among the most influential entrepreneurs in the Middle East. His advice is always practical and levelheaded, and despite his success, he’s incredibly down to earth. Plus, he’s just so darn likable—it’s not uncommon to see his followers posting comments praising him.

9. Richard Branson

Instagram: @richardbranson (4.8M followers)

Twitter: @richardbranson (12.6M followers)

YouTube: @RichardBranson (126K subscribers)

Richard Branson, who founded Virgin Group in the 1970s, is a fun-loving, tie-loathing adventurer and entrepreneur who keeps his followers in the loop about topics including his work, his travels (including his space travels), his company’s employees and what he’s reading.

10. Grant Cardone

Instagram: @grantcardone (4.2M followers)

Twitter: @GrantCardone (937.8K followers)

YouTube: @GrantCardone (2.3M subscribers)

If you need someone to light a fire under you, then you need real estate mogul Grant Cardone’s tough-love approach to business. The internationally renowned entrepreneur, author and speaker founded 10X Growth Conference, which bills itself as “the largest annual business conference in the world,” and built his real estate portfolio—Cardone Capital has about $4 billion in assets under management—from scratch. (Plus, his disarming laugh and friendly demeanor make the tough love a little easier to take.)

11. Jay Shetty

Instagram: @jayshetty (12.6M followers)

Twitter: @jayshetty (366.5K followers)

YouTube: @jayshetty2758 (4.7M subscribers)

Jay Shetty’s journey from monk to bestselling author, award-winning podcaster and beloved purpose coach has captivated millions. Those three years as a monk in his twenties—waking up at 4 a.m. to take a cold shower, shaving his head and living out of a gym locker—gave him a radical kind of wisdom about personal growth, well-being and success. He builds on that wisdom in conversations with actors, athletes, authors and wellness experts and influencers on his popular podcast, On Purpose.

Jay Shetty
Photo by Josh Telles

12. Mel Robbins

Instagram: @melrobbins (3M followers)

YouTube: @melrobbins (1.68M subscribers)

The Mel Robbins Podcast is one of the top education podcasts in the world—and for good reason. Twice a week, the bestselling author of The High 5 Habit and Stop Saying You’re Fine takes a science-backed approach to any number of personal and professional development hurdles, including eliminating self-doubt, pushing through procrastination, setting goals and more.

Mel Robbins, a personal and professional development influencer
Photo courtesy of Mel Robbins

13. Steven Bartlett

Instagram: @steven (2.3M followers)

Twitter: @StevenBartlett (236.2K followers)

It’s a pretty baller move to have your first name alone as your Instagram handle. And @steven belongs to Steven Bartlett, a “Black, broke, lonely, insecure, university drop-out” (his words) turned former founder and CEO/co-CEO of Social Chain and current founder and co-founder of Flight Fund and Flight Story, respectively. Bartlett is certainly driven—in 2021, at 28, he became the youngest “Dragon” ever on the BBC One’s Dragons’ Den (think Shark Tank for Brits).

14. Jenna Kutcher

Instagram: @jennakutcher (1M followers)

Twitter: @jennakutcher (9,564 followers)

“How are you, really?” That’s the question digital marketer, speaker and educator Jenna Kutcher poses with her 2022 book of the same name, which, like her work more broadly, is meant to get you to achieve and take control of your dream life. On her podcast Goal Digger, Kutcher helps listeners figure out what success means to them and how they can achieve it; on her Instagram, she shares messages of positivity alongside candid moments with her family.

Jenna Kutcher
Photo courtesy of Jenna Kutcher

15. Robert Kiyosaki

Instagram: @therealkiyosaki (3.1M followers)

YouTube: @TheRichDadChannel (2.98M subscribers)

Rich Dad Poor Dad, which Robert Kiyosaki co-authored in 1997, is still one of the bestselling personal finance books of all time. Two and a half decades after it hit bookstore shelves, the bestseller remains a seminal work of financial literature—and these days, taking advantage of Kiyosaki’s insight can be as easy as following him online, where he shares his thoughts on current events and awakening your financial genius.

16. Tony Robbins

Instagram: @tonyrobbins (6.4M followers)

Twitter: @tonyrobbins (3.2M followers)

YouTube: @TonyRobbinsLive (1.59M subscribers)

Finance, mental health, productivity, personal growth—whatever you’re trying to improve, Tony Robbins has talked about it all for decades now. (He’s probably even written a New York Times bestseller about it.) Robbins’ coaching methods and shared knowledge have long been giving people the tools they need to change their lives. 

17. Stormy Wellington

Instagram: @coachstormy (1.4M followers)

Twitter: @coachstormy (12.2K followers)

YouTube: @coachstormy (89.5K subscribers)

The network marketing coach, fitness influencer, author, entrepreneur and self-made millionaire is all about “[using] her wealth and influence to fuel her purpose and help thousands of women embrace their authentic selves” through her Girl Hold My Hand community, according to her website.

18. Sheryl Sandberg

Instagram: @sherylsandberg (1M followers)

Former Meta (Facebook) COO Sheryl Sandberg, who made waves with her 2013 book Lean In, stepped down in 2022 to focus on philanthropy and her foundation, also called Lean In. Her social media is an extension of both, with frequent posts about women’s rights causes from the #MeToo movement to the Taliban’s ban on education for women and girls in Afghanistan.

Sheryl Sandberg
Photo courtesy of Sheryl Sandberg

19. Brendon Burchard

Instagram: @brendonburchard (1.1M followers)

Twitter: @BrendonBurchard (95.9K followers)

YouTube: @BrendonBurchard (949K subscribers)

As the bestselling author of High Performance Habits and founder and CEO of the personal development system GrowthDay, Brendon Burchard has become a top high-performance coach. If you want new tips for staying focused, ideas for identifying when it’s time to quit or even suggestions for creating stronger friendships, his online accounts are a great place to start.

20. Patrice Washington

Instagram: @seekwisdompcw (138K followers)

YouTube: @PatriceWashington (47.2K subscribers)

Wealth is about more than just your finances, which is why Patrice Washington is setting out to redefine it. Fitness, faith, friendships—it’s possible to be wealthy in all of these areas and more, and it can be just as impactful to your overall happiness and well-being. Washington is fond of saying, “Chase purpose, not money,” a mindset she helps followers and listeners achieve on The Redefining Wealth Podcast.

21. Emmanuel Acho

Instagram: @emmanuelacho (944K followers)

Twitter: @EmmanuelAcho (351.3K followers)

YouTube: @emmanuelacho (603K subscribers)

TikTok: @emmanuelacho (692.6K followers)

He’s the author of Illogical: Saying Yes to a Life Without Limits, the former host of the Emmy-winning podcast Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man and a former NFL linebacker turned FOX Sports commentator and co-host of Speak. He’s Emmanuel Acho, and he’s sharing his wisdom and hard-earned truths with hundreds of thousands of followers online.

22. Melanie Mitro

Instagram: @melaniemitro (93.3K followers)

Self-taught businessperson Melanie Mitro started her company when she had two young kids to take care of and little to no experience in social media or network marketing. Today, as the co-owner and co-founder of Chic Influencer and host of the podcast Women Inspiring Women, she helps other women achieve their goals, too.

23. Anthony O’Neal

Instagram: @anthonyoneal (335K followers)

YouTube: @anthonyoneal (563K subscribers)

Maybe you’re not starting from a place of wealth already—maybe, like some of Anthony O’Neal’s followers, you’re in the daunting position of trying to claw yourself out of debt. If you have student loan debt, credit card debt or are just looking to build your financial skills, his books, courses and workshops for budding entrepreneurs (along with his podcast, The Table) can be the building blocks for future financial prosperity. Getting to a debt-free place can feel impossible, but it can change your life, and O’Neal wants to help you get there.

Anthony O'Neal
Photo courtesy of Anthony O’Neal

24. Jessica Hawks

Instagram: @itsjessicahawks (125K followers)

TikTok: @itsjessicahawks (910.3K followers)

Entrepreneur Jessica Hawks’ stylish Instagram posts look like they could be featured on a vintage fashion account or in a Teen Vogue ad. Don’t be fooled: There’s lots of great advice about digital entrepreneurship and more nestled in there next to the aesthetic photos of Reebok sneakers and butterflies.

25. Marie Forleo

Instagram: @marieforleo (711K followers)

Twitter: @marieforleo (216.8K followers)

Oprah has called her a “thought leader for the next generation,” and if Marie Forleo’s growing media empire—which includes MarieTV and The Marie Forleo Podcast—is any indication, Oprah won’t be wrong. (Oprah is kind of never wrong, right?) Forleo is also the author of Everything is Figureoutable, an instant New York Times bestseller that’s been translated into 32 languages. 

Marie Forleo, a personal and professional development influencer
Photo by Eric Michael Pearson

Editor’s Note: Follower and subscriber counts are as of print press time.

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2023 issue of SUCCESS magazine. Photo by ©maile wilson.

Cassel is a Minneapolis-based writer and editor, a co-owner of Racket MN, and a VHS collector.