Start a Personal Brand (The Modern Day 9-5 Escape Plan)Aug 02, 2023
If you hate your job and want to do something more meaningful, listen up, because for one…
hating your job leads to a lot more problems than you might even realize, and two…
you can switch to doing something more meaningful…
but there’s a specific formula for making that transition.
Many don’t know this formula and that’s why they get it wrong and stay stuck.
A global poll done by Gallup found that 85% of people are unhappy with their job.
That means 8 out of every 10 people you see are spending 40 hours a week doing something they don’t enjoy, just for a paycheck.
Hating what you do for 8 hours of every day leads to even bigger problems, like:
- Not feeling like you’re making a difference in the world
- Anxiety and depression and insomnia
- Not showing up for your kids or spouse like you could be
- That lingering feeling that there’s got to be more to life
- That you have creativity in you and potential to really help people…
I worked in corporate America for 3 years after college, and I felt that way every day.
I was so jealous of anyone who did something “cool” for their job (like a musician or artist or author)
I always thought: How are they getting away with that?
I felt depressed on a regular basis.
I’d wake up to my annoying ass alarm at 6:15 and stare at the ceiling fan spinning above me.
I really couldn’t believe I was about to fake my way through another day sitting in a cubicle.
My girlfriend then (now wife) even called me out on it.
“I think you could be happier”
I knew I had to do something, even though I had no idea what to do.
So I quit.
I did so without any plan of what I was going to do.
That landed me working at a grocery store, as the produce guy.
While I was there I started diving into books…
Talking to any entrepreneur that I could…
Trying to figure out how they were paying their bills without having a typical job (and a boss).
I also learned how to hydrate a mean head of lettuce 🙂
I found a local mentor who flipped houses and he took me under his wing.
I only made 8K my first year as a real estate investor, just getting finders fees for the properties I found for my mentor…
But I learned a ton and was ready to go out on my own after that year was up.
The next year I made 130K, over double what I had ever made before in a year.
3 years in, I was making more money flipping houses than the CEO of most companies…
I owned 35 rental properties.
I was 30 years old.
I was financially free.
There was a ton of trial and error in there - I lost 50K+ 3 separate times, on flips we did where we discovered foundation issues.
But looking back I can spot 3 things that I did have - which allowed me to see that success.
1 - A Willingness to Learn
Something snapped in me at that grocery store.
I just put my foot down and decided things had to be different.
I suddenly got the motivation to read books and talk to people.
To ask for help and mentorship.
I made myself vulnerable by admitting that I didn’t know shit, I needed help, and that my situation was dire.
This opening in me was key to receiving the knowledge and help I needed.
This allowed me to start turning the ship around.
2 - A Rising Market
I don’t have the Midas touch.
A big part of my success was stumbling into the real estate market at the perfect time. This was around 2011 and everything was on sale.
The portfolio I bought appreciated in the seven figure range, just because I bought at the right time.
So there was some luck in me getting to that point, for sure.
But if you can spot a rising market and get in early-ish, you will make things much easier on yourself.
Right now, the real estate market is not the area of highest opportunity. That time will come again.
In my eyes, right now is the best time to start a personal brand online.
This is the asset of the future.
3 - Choosing What You Are Passionate About
This is something I actually got wrong, and I could have been much more successful had I not screwed it up.
I’m going to share what I would do differently if I could do it all over again.
In order to do so, I need to go back to the story…
I achieved financial freedom around the age of 30…
I kept doing real estate for another few years after that..
But honestly I was getting tired of it.
I felt like I wasn’t really making much of a difference in the world.
This fatigue started to show itself in the business.
I wasn’t making the best decisions anymore.
Our profits started to dip.
Looking back, I think I was actually self-sabotaging the business…
Subconsciously trying to find a way out.
This led to me making the tough decision to shut down the business entirely.
I kept the rental properties and pivoted to becoming an online coach.
This hit the reset button on my income.
I made 90K in my first 12 months as a coach, which was still OK but a lot less than I was used to.
Fast forward 2 more years and I had things going again.
I had coached 250+ students on how to buy their first rental properties.
The coaching biz was making around 25K/month.
Again, everything seemed awesome from the outside…
But on the inside I had grown tired of coaching real estate…
If I had to run the #’s on another rental property one more time, I was going to go crazy.
At the same time, I absolutely loved the online coaching industry.
It was all I learned about, all I cared about.
I promoted a beta program to my real estate clients - a new offer that helped them start a coaching business.
I got 3 people to sign up and had the most awesome time delivering this program.
(One of those guys ended up being more successful than me, and he now does 50-100K every month in his coaching business AND he has 40 rental properties!)
So, I hit the reset button on my income again, shutting down the real estate coaching business and pivoting to helping coaches.
Now I get to wake up and go to the coffee shop and write stuff like this, script Youtube videos, write books, help my clients, and earn a good living, all in about 4 hours per day.
I have the lifestyle of those artists I used to be jealous of.
I finally feel like I’ve arrived at the career that will be what I do for the rest of my life.
It’s honestly a pretty cool feeling, and I want that for you, too.
But you can see it was a curvy road for me to get here, with a couple dead ends.
If I could go back in time and talk to myself in my mid-twenties, here’s what I would tell myself to do…
To try and get this right the first time…
1: I Would Tell Myself to Create a Personal Brand Online
Mr. Beast is a 25 year old making 50+ million per year.
He grew a huge audience through media.
Now he can do whatever he wants and it will work.
He started a restaurant (MrBeast Burger), which is a virtual brand that partners with local burger shops all over the U.S.
They absolutely sell out every time.
(They actually delivered burgers to a Youtube conference I was at in LA last year where Mr. Beast spoke, but they were all out of veggie burgers so I didn’t get to try one)
When you start creating content consistently on social media, you start establishing yourself as an authority figure.
In the past 3 weeks, I’ve received 3 offers:
- 2 of them were companies offering to pay me to make them a Youtube video
- 1 was offering to pay me to write emails for their company, at $200 per email
These opportunities came to me because I made videos and published books.
I don’t even have a big Youtube channel, but it’s exciting to think about what types of opportunities will come down the pipe when I do.
If I would have started my personal brand online around 2011 (when I started getting into entrepreneurship) imagine how much further along I would be.
Attention is the new oil. You control attention based upon how much distribution you have online (i.e. how big are your social media accounts and email list).
If I could talk to myself in 2011, I’d say “Fuck all this real estate stuff, just grow your brand online, starting today”.
2: I Would Tell Myself “Solve Your Own Problems, Then Teach the Solution”
If 26 year old Brian (in 2011) had received this advice, he would have said:
“Well, how am I going to make money doing this?”
To start answering this question, we need a fundamental understanding of how money is actually made.
This took me 10 years to learn:
You don’t actually “make money”.
You provide value, and then the money follows that.
Said another way, the money is the repayment for the value that has been provided.
The 2011 version of Brian would not have even known how to start a personal brand.
He wouldn’t know how to start a Youtube channel, film a video, or start a website, or write an ebook.
So, he would have to start figuring that shit out.
He would have to solve his own problems.
Then, when he fully solved it, he would be in position to help someone else who had the same problems.
For example, once he built his website, he could have then offered to help other people build a website for a fee.
The traffic from the personal brand - social media followers, email list - would be where he could find his clients…
Since he would have been posting consistently along the way and building that up.
3: I Would Teach 26 Year Old Me to “Productize Yourself “
One of my favorite books is Rich Dad, Poor Dad.
It’s what got me into real estate in the first place.
In the book he talks about how every dollar you invest is like a little soldier “out there working for you”…
So you make the gradual transition from…
Working for money, to…
Making your money work for you.
I realized that this is true - not only of money - but also of the different projects and endeavors we decide to take on in business.
For example, I’ve written two (almost three) books.
Those books now act as both a passive income stream for me and a machine that brings in new clients each month..
All without me having to do anything.
They are little soldiers out there working for me.
This mindset is popularly called “productizing yourself” and was made famous by Naval Ravikant...(see a video on it here)
So 2011 Brian could have written a book about how to build a website and tossed it on Amazon and on his own website, and it could continue to bring in sales and clients on autopilot.
Then, when Brian naturally moved on from websites to the next step in his evolution, the book could sit there and still help people, while he created the next thing.
That’s the essence of “productizing yourself”.
You leave something behind that gets people the outcome without you having to be there.
I didn’t write a real estate book, and that’s a big regret of mine. Today, I don’t have it in me to write that book anymore.
I did build a 30+ hour course on it, however, and this now lives on Udemy and has sold almost 1,000 copies since I put it on there last year.
That course - a product - is a digital representation of me that keeps helping people, long after I’ve moved onto the next thing.
I get a few messages every month about this course “Thank you for the course it has helped me so much” and I don’t even have to do anything.
I also makes ~$250/month.
It’s like a rental property, without any management.
The Perfect Solution
So, is there a “perfect” business model that brings all of this together?
In my opinion, there is.
It’s the online “knowledge business” or “coaching business”.
Russell Brunson calls this “the best startup in the world”.
The reason why it’s great is that it requires zero capital.
There’s no overhead.
No employees needed.
You just create content about topics you care about…
The business revolves around you (you are the brand)...
You keep learning and solving own problems…
Then create productized solutions to help people a couple steps behind you (courses, books, group coaching)...
The further you go, the better it gets.
If you want to get into this business, you will need to make some decisions around choosing your niche.
Choosing your niche is the first and most important step in succeeding in this industry.
I wrote an entire book on this that you can get for $5 (+audiobook and bonuses) here:
I’m rooting for you and I believe in you.
It won’t be easy.
It WILL be worth it.