It all started while working a software sales job in Austin, TX.
“This can’t be my future…can it?”
“There’s gotta be something else.”
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always felt like I wasn’t really meant for the “corporate world.”
I’m annoyed just reading that sentence, but it’s true.
And I don’t mean that in a braggadocious way, I think I just don’t give a sh*t unless I really believe in it or enjoy it.
I’m lazy. Unless it excites me. Is everyone else like that? Are you?
This led me to start googling ways to make money (back in 2015).
You can imagine where this led me.
Webinars, courses, digital products, email lists, sales pages, affiliate marketing, programs, clickfunnels, masterminds, blah blah blah…
I went head first into the bro marketing deep end.
I met some of the bro-iest bros on the planet. The best of the best. The copywriting celebs that everyone at the mastermind wanted to talk to. The advertising geniuses and clickfunnels masters.
It was fun.
I was motivated to be rich and drive a ferrari.
Haha oh man. Good times.
Here’s what happened next.
A high-level timeline of the last 8 years.
- I learned to build websites.
- Launched OnwardFit (online fitness coaching)
- Got a marketing job at an Engineering firm.
- Rebranded to Hustle Healthy (Fitness for Entrepreneurs)
- Started writing about my Brain Fog journey on Quora
- Got some serious traction with that
- Rebranded / changed it to BrainThrive (From Foggy to Fit)
- Created a course on how to clear brain fog (ended up just giving it away for free)
- 400+ people signed up
- Launched a content marketing agency with a friend (fizzled)
- Got my first client from that agency, worked with him on and off for a year or so
- Launched a community with another friend called 12 Month Rise (each month had a theme / challenge) – Lasted about 5 months before fizzling.
- Tried being a marketing coach
- Traveled the world and did freelance marketing + web design
- Pandemic happened
- Came back to the states, started HeartFunnels (Heart-centered marketing funnel agency)
- Got some clients, but it never really got organized.
- Created 5+ offerings under that brand
- Launched a podcast with my friend Bill
- Started working with a coach
- Realized I loved branding
- Launched The Box (community)
- Finally rebranded to BrandThrive
- Honed in on brand strategy, identity, and web design
- Started doing Brand Architecture.
What a mess!! Hahaha
There were so many little things in between that were too irrelevant to mention.
In hindsight, I probably should have just spent more of my time getting clients and doing “the work,” but because I came from the bro-marketing arena, I thought I had to coach, create a course, or build a funnel around something and scale it.
I think the following is a general rule of thumb for someone who wants to build a business and brand around their expertise.
- Figure out what you’re good at and what you like (messy)
- Avoid information overload (especially conflicting information)
- Do that thing a lot and create your own process that feels sustainable (getting organized)
- Carve out time to get better at your craft (progress over perfection)
- Get better and faster at that thing (organized and clear)
- Build a portfolio + testimonials that demonstrate your value and ideal client (confident)
- Hire a great coach to keep you on track (focused)
- Join a community so you’re not stuck in your own head (energized)
- Consider hiring a team (if that fits your vision)
- Teach others
The last one is of course optional. And I think it should only be done if you’re planning on building a long-term brand (because it takes serious focus and time).
I tried for so long to build a brand before I even knew what the hell I was doing. Then I learned that a brand isn’t something you decide to create one day, it’s something that is earned over time.
The brand isn’t what YOU say it is, it’s what THEY say it is. But it’s up to you to give them something to stand on.
Branding is the art of shaping that perception.
I realize now that the skill that was trying to crawl out of me was just that, brand “architecture.”
But not for myself…for others.
That messy journey full of wrong directions was all part of the process.
Because today, I’m not just a copywriter or graphic designer, I’m not just a web developer or marketer, I’m not just a marketer or consultant… Instead, I’m a brand architect who gets paid to tie it all together and bridge the gap between the owner and their brand vision.
I’m a jack of all trades, master of none, except for brand architecture, which requires a lot of trades.
I share all this in case you too have a similar blind spot. If you feel like you’ve wasted years of your life.
Keep it simple and trust the process.
“Strive for progress, not perfection; it’s the journey of improvement that brings the most satisfaction.”