This week’s guest on The Digital Entrepreneur is determined. His goal is to help five billion people with their efforts to grow a business. How?
He’s doing so by sharing as much content as he possibly can, and by providing valuable services to purpose-driven companies.
He strives to be wealthy, not just in material things, but also with connections to make the world a better place …
In this 46-minute episode, Brandon Lewin and I discuss:
- The biggest benefit he derives from being a digital entrepreneur
- Why he finds it imperative to “give away” all the information he possibly can
- His story on how he got the taste for entrepreneurship at a young age
- What led him to the realization that he never wanted to work for anybody else
- The milestone that he’s most proud of as a digital entrepreneur
- How he consciously chooses the right people to work with to create his “A-Team”
- How marketing automation has benefited his business
And much more.
Plus, Brandon answers my patented rapid fire questions at the end of the episode, which unveiled a couple common interests that we share. Don’t miss it.
The Show Notes
- This episode is brought to you by Digital Commerce Summit
- Email Brandon
- Brandon Lewin on Twitter
- Jerod Morris
- Kopywriting Kourse
The Upside of Setting Outrageous Goals
Jerod Morris: Hey, Jerod Morris here. If you know anything about Rainmaker Digital and Copyblogger, you may know that we produce incredible live events. Well, some would say that we produce incredible live events as an excuse to throw great parties, but that’s another story. We’ve got another one coming up this October in Denver. It’s called Digital Commerce Summit, and it is entirely focused on giving you the smartest ways to create and sell digital products and services. You can find out more at Rainmaker.FM/Summit.
We’ll be talking about Digital Commerce Summit in more detail as it gets closer, but for now, I’d like to let a few attendees from our past events speak for us.
Attendee 1: For me, it’s just hearing from the experts. This is my first industry event, so it’s awesome to learn new stuff and also get confirmation that we’re not doing it completely wrong where I work.
Attendee 2: The best part of the conference for me is being able to mingle with people and realize that you have connections with everyone here. It feels like LinkedIn Live. I also love the parties after each day, being able to talk to the speakers, talk to other people who are here for the first time, people who have been here before.
Attendee 3: I think the best part of the conference for me is understanding how I can service my customers a little more easily. Seeing all the different facets and components of various enterprises then helps me pick the best tools.
Jerod Morris: Hey, we agree — one of the biggest reasons we host a conference every year is so that we can learn how to service our customers, people like you, more easily. Here are just a few more words from folks who have come to our past live events.
Attendee 4: It’s really fun. I think it’s a great mix of beginner information and advanced information. I’m really learning a lot and having a lot of fun.
Attendee 5: The conference is great, especially because it’s a single-track conference where you don’t get distracted by, “Which session should I go to? and, “Am I missing something?”
Attendee 6: The training and everything, the speakers have been awesome, but I think the coolest aspect for me has been connecting with both people who are putting it on and then the other attendees.
Jerod Morris: That’s it for now. There’s a lot more to come on Digital Commerce Summit, and I really hope to see you there in October. Again, to get all the details and the very best deal on tickets, head over to Rainmaker.FM/Summit.
All righty. Hey there, everybody. Welcome back to The Digital Entrepreneur. I am your host, Jerod Morris, the VP of marketing for Rainmaker Digital, and you are listening to episode No. 27.
On this week’s episode, I am joined by a man who says that hard work and helping people was instilled in his DNA. Sounds like our kind of guy. This man started two businesses at the age of 21 and two more after that, and currently, he is a digital marketing consultant for purposeful companies and the host of the podcast, Sell More, a show for entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, marketers, and aspiring entrepreneurs who want to sell more online.
And get this, he says that his goal for the next five years is to help five billion people — that’s billion with a B — with their efforts to grow a business. Whoa, right? Clearly, this is not someone who needs help setting bold goals.
Who is this man helping people by the billions? He is Brandon Lewin, and he is a digital entrepreneur and our guest on this week’s episode.
Get the Inside Scoop on RainMail — The Rainmaker Platform’s Integrated Email
Jerod Morris: Now, real quick before I bring you my discussion with Brandon, I want to let you know about a webinar that I hosted recently with Brian Clark and Chris Garrett. It was about the Rainmaker Platform. Specifically, it was about RainMail, the new email marketing feature built right into the Rainmaker Platform.
You’ve heard us talk on the show before about how much having email marketing baked right into the Rainmaker Platform would be a game changer. Now it’s here — with plenty of updates and new RainMail features on the way, too.
I actually just switched my site, AssemblyCall.com, over to RainMail, and I’ve already seen a big difference in the growth of both my email subscribers and my site members, as well as their engagement once they subscribe or sign up, which is really the goal, right? I’ve gotten this increased engagement by having my email marketing, my landing pages, my content pages, my marketing automation all able to work together in a fully integrated way.
We took some time a few weeks back with Rainmaker Platform customers to answer some frequently asked questions and provide some use-case examples of the difference that RainMail can make. The live event, when we held it, was just for customers because we really wanted to hone in on the questions that customers had who had used RainMail, get some of their experience so that we could talk about it.
But we’re happy to share the replay with you so that you can learn more about what RainMail is, what it could do, and why it takes the Rainmaker Platform to the next level as a true all-in-one solution for digital marketing and sales. In other words, the perfect solution built by digital entrepreneurs for digital entrepreneurs.
If you want to watch the webinar replay, totally free. You don’t have to sign up for anything. Just go to Rainmaker.FM/RainMail, and you’ll be redirected to the replay page. I just posted it a little while ago on the Rainmaker Platform blog, but go to Rainmaker.FM/RainMail. That URL will redirect you there. If you have questions, just know, as I hope you do already, that you can always reach me on Twitter at @JerodMorris. I will be happy to answer. Once again, that URL is Rainmaker.FM/RainMail.
Jerod Morris: All righty. Now let’s get to this week’s discussion with the man who won’t stop working until he’s impacted five billion people, Brandon Lewin. Here it is right now on The Digital Entrepreneur.
All righty, Mr. Lewin, welcome to The Digital Entrepreneur. It’s a pleasure to have you on the show.
Brandon Lewin: It’s a pleasure to be here. Thanks for having me. I’m super excited. I can’t wait to share a little bit about my story and see if we can help some people, inspire them, and do all that good stuff as entrepreneurs as we do.
Jerod Morris: If only we were in person sharing a Community Mosaic right now. That would make this even better.
Brandon Lewin: Especially at 10:00 in the morning.
Jerod Morris: Exactly.
Brandon Lewin: Nothing better than a good cold brew at 10:00 in the morning.
Jerod Morris: That’s right.
Brandon Lewin: It makes for a sane rest of the day, let me tell you.
Jerod Morris: Brandon, I’ve got to start off by asking you this because I found this quote on your LinkedIn profile, and it kind of blew my hair back. Here’s the quote. You say, “My goal for the next five years is to help five billion people with their efforts to grow a business.” That is one heck of a goal.
Brandon Lewin: Yes.
Jerod Morris: How are you going to do that?
Why Brandon Finds It Imperative to ‘Give Away’ All the Information He Possibly Can
Brandon Lewin: How am I going to do that? That’s a very good question. I haven’t quite figured that out. No, I’m just joking. There’s a lot of things that I’m doing in a concerted effort to do that. One is, just for the last year, I have been doing as much as I possibly can from sharing content.
When I say five billion, it doesn’t mean I’m necessarily getting paid by five billion people to help them out, but it’s just about sharing content. I think that comes down to some of this you can actually track some of the numbers. Some of it is not trackable. Really simply, what I do is I share as much content as I possibly can. I’ve always been a big believer of just giving away the farm. There are some people who share that mentality. A lot of people do, but there’s still a lot of people that want to keep stuff close to their chest and want to make people pay for it.
My thing is just really, first and foremost, sharing as much content as I possibly can, getting on platforms that have large audiences to be able to share that. I track those numbers. Not everything is trackable, but I track as much as I possibly can.
In the last year, I have hit over 10,000 plus people. I don’t have the specific numbers, but we’re moving in that direction. Obviously, those numbers need to jump if I’m really going to five billion, but it’s sharing content, doing it through podcasts, videos, anything I possibly can. Then I also am doing online training programs. I’m speaking in various cities. Like I said, I’m trying to hit the numbers as much as I possibly can. Yeah, and just the services that I provide.
That’s right now the efforts. I do have bigger plans as far as creating services and products that are going to hit the millions. That’s where it comes down to even getting into other aspects of service-based businesses. I shouldn’t say service-based business because that’s what I’m doing right now. It’s SaaS businesses because that number can really jump once you start providing those type of services. Those are all in the works, but from the basic stuff right now, it’s just sharing content, man.
Jerod Morris: Yeah, I love it. I love the big, bold goal. It’s one of those, even if you don’t reach the five billion, say you reach one billion or two, that’s still pretty impressive.
Brandon Lewin: Absolutely. I don’t know if you read the book Bold, but that’s where it came from. It said if you can help one billion — and I hear this all the time now — but if you can reach one billion people, you’re going to be very, very wealthy in a lot of different fronts. I want to be wealthy.
That’s always been a huge goal of mine, not just so much about having materialistic-type things, but as you get a little bit older and wiser and you start having kids and a family and all that stuff, you start to realize how much wealth and money really can affect the world.
It’s always been something that’s been close to me, giving back to charity, but I’ve been getting more and more involved in it as of recently. There are just so many people that want to really, and are currently really doing big things in the world. By me being able to hit that billion, five billion people, and create a wealth of money, but also just connections and everything that comes with that, I can do so much more for the world. That’s always been a huge goal of mine.
Jerod Morris: Well, being able to reach a lot of people, being able to chart your own course, those are all really great benefits of digital entrepreneurship. I’ve always felt that the number one benefit of digital entrepreneurship is freedom — the freedom to choose your projects, the freedom to chart your course, and ultimately, the freedom to change your life and your family’s life for the better. Besides freedom, what benefit of digital entrepreneurship do you appreciate the most?
The Biggest Benefit Brandon Derives From Being a Digital Entrepreneur
Brandon Lewin: Freedom comes down to everything really. My big thing is teaching people, giving away stuff. Besides the freedom, just having the flexibility to give away and do what I want to do. I guess that still comes back to freedom. I have a hard time thinking of anything outside of that, but it’s the flexibility. What really sparked me to go back on my own … my story goes up and down. There are a lot of different twists and turns, but I started off as an entrepreneur in college. Then I ventured off and was doing my own businesses.
Then I actually started my family and went to work for some people. I quickly learned that working for somebody else doesn’t work well when you’re an entrepreneur at heart. When I went back on my own, it was really about … something that I learned working for other people, and it was still in the agency world of doing digital marketing, was that those people didn’t see the value in giving away information.
Like I said, there’s still a lot of people that carry that kind of philosophy of not giving away and want to hold stuff close. To me, it’s never worked. I always give things away. My philosophy is, you give things away, and if people are going to take it, they’re going to run with it, and they’re not going to pay you for your services, that’s fine — because they never were in the first place.
Then being able to just give it away and having that flexibility and saying, “I can wake up today, and if I feel like I want to give away my secrets to how to do this, I can do that.” I guess that really does come back down to freedom. That’s really, to me, what’s sparked getting back in the world of digital entrepreneurship.
Jerod Morris: On that thought — you kind of started to do this — but take me back to before you became a digital entrepreneur. Tell us what you were doing and what was missing that led you to want to make a change.
Brandon’s Story on How He Got the Taste for Entrepreneurship at a Young Age
Brandon Lewin: Do you want to go all the way back? Do we have enough time with all that?
Jerod Morris: Yeah, go all the way back. You can shorten it if you need to, but go all the way back.
Brandon Lewin: All right. I’ll try to keep it as abbreviated as possible because it can get kind of lengthy. In college, I went to school in DePaul in Chicago, and it was at that time that I really just always had an entrepreneurial mind. When I was younger, my dad made me … it was the first taste I got as an entrepreneur. He told that if I wanted a toy — I forgot what it was, I think it was like a Transformer or something like that — he was like, “Yeah, right, you’re 10 years old. If you want this, you need to earn it.”
I went out. It was the dead of winter in Chicago. I got a buddy of mine. We got a shovel. We went around the houses. We charged people $5 for a driveway and sidewalk, and we started shoveling driveways. I think in the first couple days we made about $200 apiece.
Jerod Morris: Wow.
Brandon Lewin: That’s really where I got the taste for entrepreneurship. It was great because I liked just helping people. That’s something that I got right away, that sense. My dad’s an entrepreneur. My mom’s an entrepreneur. It’s just something that runs in our blood line.
Then I went off to college. My dad always told me this. He said, “All right. If you’re not playing sports and you’re not in school, you’re going to be working.” Actually, there was a summer when I was 13 years old, and at the time, legally, you weren’t supposed to work. You couldn’t get your permit until you were 14. He got me to work for one of his clients in a warehouse. I did that, and I had to travel about an hour each way just to get there.
At that moment on, every time I wasn’t playing a sport, I had a job. I worked my way through high school, through college, up until this year. My hard work came from my dad, who taught me all of that. Not only did he teach me and made me do it, but he also showed me how it worked because he’s an accountant. Especially during tax season, he’s working 16-hour days. That really just instilled it in me.
What Led Brandon to the Realization That He Never Wanted to Work for Anybody Else
Brandon Lewin: When I went into college, I have always been a social person and very outgoing. I had a really large network, and I even would talk with my dad and his friends and his clients. I always reached out to them. I might have been far younger than them, but we had a relationship. I developed this online ticket brokerage with a friend of mine back in 2003, I believe it was, and it didn’t last very long. It only lasted eight months, but it was my first taste of starting an online business. We created a website. I had a templated kind of website that actually allowed you to bring in tickets from other ticket brokers and stuff like that.
Jerod Morris: Wow.
Brandon Lewin: This was in the era where StubHub was just starting. I put all this together, and I was reaching out and building networks. I was selling it, and I was delivering tickets. I was doing everything. It was amazing. I got my first taste of networking and speaking in front of people during that period of time. I just fell in love with that whole process. I was like, “I never want to work for anybody else. This is what I want to do.”
I continued to develop from that point on. Although it didn’t work out, I actually really liked the sales part of it. I made a concerted effort at that point to say, “All right. I understand that sales works in everything. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing in business.” To have the skillset of being able to sell, even if you’re not in that sales role, is extremely important. I had focused on actually developing that skillset.
I went to work as an outside sales rep for a construction company. I was horrible at it the first three months I did it. I almost got fired a bunch of times because I was just not producing the numbers, but something clicked. I was reading books. I was doing as much as I could, and it clicked. I did really well, exceeded. I was the top four, top five producer for two years straight within the company, and then transitioned and went back on my own.
That’s when I went into the world of financial services because my dad’s an accountant, so it was an easy transition. That’s where I got the taste of social media. This was back in 2009 when Facebook opened up. I started actually putting friends and people that I hadn’t talked to in a while from high school and stuff into a group on Facebook.
Then I started giving them information about what’s going on in the market, why they should save up, all this stuff that I was helping people do. It was just informational articles. It was a gray area at the time. We weren’t really regulated, although I got a few warnings from my higher-ups. I was just using social media, and I was just using LinkedIn to connect with people that had networks to potential clients. I developed this process that really worked well and business boomed.
I was making so much money at the age of 24, I didn’t even know what to do with it. I put it aside, and I actually started investing in another company, which was supposed to be an online business. It was going to compete with LinkedIn because I saw some holes at the time — and luckily, I didn’t do that — but it transitioned into an actual digital marketing shop. We actually were just a small agency. We helped other businesses do the social media stuff.
This is where I got really involved in email marketing. I was sending out newsletters all the time. I was doing webinars. I remember, now that you see everybody doing webinars, that was a big part of my business back then. It just shows sometimes when you do things before everyone catches up, you just got to keep with it, and I did. It did really well for me, and it still does. It was something that I used a lot.
Fast forward, I grew that business into a small little agency. I had about six people working underneath me, and then that’s when I transitioned to going to work for somebody else. I did that for three years, learned a lot, and then I went back on my own. That’s been about … actually two years was my anniversary a couple of days ago.
Jerod Morris: Wow. Congratulations.
Brandon Lewin: Thank you. It’s been an amazing journey. I’ve learned a lot. There’s been a lot of ups and downs. I think, as any entrepreneur, you learn a ton as you go through this. That’s the best thing. I can’t say that I feel like I’ve been super successful, although a lot of people have given me praises for that, but I just feel like there’s so much more to be accomplished. I’m looking forward to what the future holds.
Jerod Morris: All right. Tell me about a milestone or a moment in your career as a digital entrepreneur, since you’ve been back out on your own, that you are the most proud of.
The Milestone That Brandon’s Most Proud of As a Digital Entrepreneur
Brandon Lewin: A milestone. Being on your show is a big one.
Jerod Morris: Thank you.
Brandon Lewin: No problem. I think really a milestone for me is putting up my podcast. I have a podcast called Sell More. I hope you don’t mind if I shamelessly plug it.
Jerod Morris: We already talked about it in the intro, so you’re good.
Brandon Lewin: Awesome. My podcast, it’s been a dream of mine for three years. Even when I was back working for somebody else, I wanted to really dive into it. I’ve always been a big, big fan of podcasts. I believe that you have to take advantage of the downtime that you have. It might not be the most productive time, but whatever you can put in between your head and in your earbuds really makes the difference, so I’ve always been a big fan of podcasts.
When I got that launched, it was a big milestone for me. Then what was even a bigger milestone after that was being recognized, having people like yourself and others reach out and ask me to be on their podcasts. To me, having that ability to be, and having people recognize me for that, that is a big, big accomplishment for me.
Jerod Morris: All right. Now let’s go to the flip side. Tell me about the most humbling moment in your career as a digital entrepreneur and what you learned from it.
The Epiphany That Led to Brandon Changing His Approach with Clients
Brandon Lewin: Oh, man, I have those every single day. I have to say, you deal with a lot of customers, and not every customer is satisfied. I’ve had a few that weren’t. Luckily, we’ve been able to work through those trials and tribulations and bumps and bruises. There was this one moment I think was the most humbling was that I worked with a client.
Both him and I worked endlessly for about a month, just trying to come up with this plan. We came up with a plan to go out and reach out to partners — bloggers, other people — and do an outreach established through relationships to sell these products that he has. He sells leather journals. They do beautiful work. It’s all handmade. It’s all done in New Mexico, and so it’s US-based. People love it.
He’s been doing it forever, but he just didn’t have a big enough following. We thought that partners were the way to go. It was one of these things where I was beating my head against the wall. We were reaching out, and people just weren’t responding — or weren’t responding the way we wanted them to. Everyone seems to charge for guest posts nowadays, and we were looking for a real strong strategic partnership, and that didn’t come to fruition. The goal was really just to grow the email list and to leverage other people’s opportunity.
One day, I just went back, and I said, “Hey, have you ever actually used your current email list,” which was about 12,000 at the time. He’s like, “What do you mean?” I said, “Well, have you ever asked them to make a referral to maybe their friends and family?” He’s like, “No. I’ve actually never thought about that.” We wrote up this real quick email, sent it out, just basically asking people. We were giving away this free little leather journal. It was like a retail value about $9, $10, but it was free. You just had to pay for shipping and handling. We sent it out, and in the first two weeks, we had about 5,000 people sign up or so.
Jerod Morris: Wow.
Brandon Lewin: It wasn’t super viral, but it got put up on Reddit. Reddit just blew up from there. A huge amount of traffic and conversions were coming from Reddit. That was a very humbling moment, just thinking that I knew the way to go, and we worked so hard on doing that when it just simply came back to just to re-evaluate it. It was both a success but also very humbling. It’s helped me tremendously, though.
That happened about two years ago when I first started, when I went back on my own. Ever since then, I take a much different approach with clients and just suggestions with people. That was a big humbling moment for me.
Jerod Morris: Boy, it’s always great when those humbling moments can turn into successes and teach us great lessons that we can then use in the future.
Brandon Lewin: Exactly.
Jerod Morris: That’s what you want to happen, so that’s great.
Brandon Lewin: Absolutely.
Jerod Morris: Let’s fast forward to now. What is one word that you would use to sum up the status of your business as it stands today? One word.
Why Brandon Sees Limitless Possibilities for His Business
Brandon Lewin: One word. I would say ‘limitless.’
Jerod Morris: Limitless.
Brandon Lewin: Yeah.
Jerod Morris: I would say, when you’re trying to reach five billion people, that’s a good word for it to be.
Brandon Lewin: Absolutely.
Jerod Morris: Why limitless? Why is that the word that came to mind?
Brandon Lewin: I think what I’ve done and how I’ve positioned the business and what we’re doing, as far as giving away information and the direction that we’re going, we’ve removed the ceiling — and not just from the business perspective, but from a mental perspective. I think, as human beings, we’re naturally programmed to think negatively.
Typically — and I know I personally have gone through this a lot, where I’ve done some self-sabotaging efforts — the mental part of it is a big part, which I don’t think enough entrepreneurs work on it, but it’s a big part of it. I’ve done a lot of work into removing that from both the business perspective, but also from my own mental perspective.
As soon as I started doing that, things have just skyrocketed. That’s why I would describe it as limitless. It starts off with the head, the person running and everything and how their mentality is, and then what they preach to everyone else that’s working within the organization. Then that also transitions into the business and how the business is taking off, too. That’s why I would describe it as limitless.
Jerod Morris: Can you give us a brief description of the business, exactly what kind of clients you’re serving, and what your main revenue streams are?
A Quick Breakdown of Brandon’s Business
Brandon Lewin: In a nutshell, really what we do is we help businesses achieve the goals that they’re looking to achieve by doing unconventional, strategic, scientific, and a lot of times, just bold moves in digital marketing. What we’re really good at is being generalists and being able to piece together content, marketing automation, emails, sales funnels, pulling all these together to produce results.
We work with anywhere from one-person shops to mid-sized companies. I really don’t go beyond that because what I like to focus in on is these up-and-coming purposeful businesses, businesses that are focused on making a difference more so than making a profit. What I find is that typically the small- to mid-sized companies, those are the ones that have that type of focus. There are Fortune 500 companies that like to take that approach, at least from the outside, but from my own experience, I’ve never really met one quite yet that has really practiced that internally.
That’s what we’re doing. We do a couple different things. We’ll either consult, come in, help them, work with their team to put together different processes and systems and making sure things are actually working and moving in the direction that they want to go, or we’ll actually train them. Then there’s online digital programs that we offer as well that allows people to understand how these different processes work.
Then we have a do-it-for-you service as well. We’ll come on, and we’ll actually handle all these different services. Sometimes it’s all of them, and we’re almost like an outsourced marketing department. Then in some cases, it’s one specific piece of the puzzle that we’ll actually do for people. Something that we’re really focusing heavily right now is sales funnels, but also marketing automation. That’s a big piece where a lot of small businesses aren’t taking advantage of that quite yet, but it’s moving in that direction.
Jerod Morris: It sounds like sales funnels, marketing automation is kind of at the top of your priority list. What specifically are you doing right now to incorporate those more, both in what you’re doing and what your clients are doing?
Why Brandon’s Embracing Marketing Automation and Lead-Nurturing Programs
Brandon Lewin: It’s amazing. Some of the companies and clients that we work with is that it’s just about incorporating the software and then building out these lead-nurturing programs. The age-old saying has always been it takes, on average, seven, eight times to touch somebody to actually convert into a sale. That actually can be a lot more, especially in the online world. In some cases, it can be a lot less, but you really need to get them to know who you are and build that trust, get them to like you, provide value. Then you can go ahead and ask.
We’re just developing these processes that basically takes whatever company … if they have an offline process, we help them transition to an online process, building out different sequences, and then helping them draw people in, doing ebooks, webinars, or evergreen webinars, which are becoming more and more popular — and more and more effective, too. People just like to have the on-demand focus instead of being able to be nailed down to one time.
We’re building out these processes and just helping them convert, and then analyzing the results from it and segmenting audiences out to give them more specific topics. I would say it’s anything that isn’t being done already by a lot of people, but there’s a certain market of customers that are just not taking advantage of it quite yet because they’re not educated about it. We’re finding a lot of B2B companies are like that, but then there’s coaches and all these types of different industries that are up-and-coming that need help with this process.
Jerod Morris: Yeah. Tell me a little bit about the biggest challenge that you’re facing right now in your business.
How Brandon Consciously Chooses the Right People to Work With to Create His ‘A-Team’
Brandon Lewin: The growing pains, man. That’s always been a challenge of mine — finding the right type of help. Bringing on people that buy into the vision, but also have a specific skillset and are willing to stay focused. It’s hard because a lot of times those rock stars, though, are the ones that are off on their own or really want to just stay on as a freelancer or a contractor.
What I’m finding, though, is actually just teaming up with those people instead of trying to hire employees or getting people just to focus on just my business. It’s just finding the people that are best suited for that specific project, so building up almost like a rock star or what I call an ‘A-team of contractors’ to work on these different projects. Whatever it entails and whatever skillset is necessary, it’s just bringing in the right people to take care of that.
Jerod Morris: Yeah. Let’s open up your tool box, if you’ll allow us to. What is one technology tool that contributes the most to your success as a digital entrepreneur?
How Marketing Automation Has Benefited Brandon’s Business
Brandon Lewin: I would say the marketing automation. To me, I use ActiveCampaign personally, and it’s been one of the better tools I’ve found, just from a price-point standpoint. Marketing automation, man, I constantly just come back to my dashboard and look, and there’s a new subscriber and another new subscriber.
I have it set up where it’s almost like a 72-day nurturing sequence. They just get content after content, and podcasting is a big part of it. They just get that, and then there’s a few asks in there. Then there’s some segments that go. In my mind, what marketing automation is, is that it’s just like having another employee, actually a couple of employees, because you can use it for different points of the business. It can help with the nurturing, the marketing, and the transition to sales.
In the world of sales, nothing beats a conversation, but what I’m finding is a lot of people don’t want to have conversations anymore. They’re comfortable with just making that decision, as long as they’re getting the right information, but doing that. Then once they do become a customer, how are they getting customer service? So following up with them and having that automated.
The key, I find, is that you have to make it not seem like it’s automated. You have it a very personal approach. That takes some finesse. That’s something that I’ve been working on and have worked on for a very long time. It works tremendously once you figure it out. Marketing automation I would say is definitely the tool that we’ve been using more and more often.
Jerod Morris: Yeah. And when you do it well, your content can almost serve as your sales force.
Brandon Lewin: Yup.
Jerod Morris: Then as your service team. Obviously, at a certain point, people may need a little bit more than that, but like you said, if you can finesse it, it can really work out well. That’s a good one. What about a non-technology tool that contributes the most to your success?
The Value of Relationship Building
Brandon Lewin: Relationship building. It’s so funny. I’ve been following Gary Vaynerchuk for a very long time ever since he came out with Crush It. I remember I read that book, and it just completely changed my philosophy on things, just more so about not what he was doing, because I was doing a lot of what he was doing as well — obviously, not on such a large scale as he was — but just being the person that you are and just being comfortable with who you are. I think he’s the best at just not giving a sh*t at what other people think about him, but at the same time, still giving a crap. I apologize. I don’t know if you’re allowed to swear on this.
Jerod Morris: It’s all right.
Brandon Lewin: Luckily, this was only the first time that I did that. That relationship, he talks about EQ, emotional intelligence. That’s what I have really always been good at. It’s just something that I’ve picked up. I’m a child of divorce. I went through that when I was 11. Ever since that I was in therapy. Because of that, I think I really have been well-trained in how to pick up different people’s emotions and figuring out what’s wrong, even when they won’t tell you something is wrong. I can pick that up from clients and be able to bring that up and avoid bigger blow-ups and have a conversation about that, and then be civilized and just work through those problems.
Even if it comes down to partners and people that you’re working with, and people who are employees, it comes to all parts of it, but being able to really find out what makes them tick. I think that’s really important, especially with clients, too. The clients, you got to find out what’s below that surface. It’s not just the tip of the iceberg, but it’s really what is that driving motivation for them to do these things that they want to do and then also transitions to the people that are working with you, underneath you, for you, however you want to describe it. See what their motivations are, and identify what their strengths and weaknesses are as well.
They might tell you one thing, but a lot of times, what I find is, especially with weaknesses, you got to find out what it is and quickly nip that in the butt and gear it more towards their strengths, so they can just work better for everybody. The faster you can set them up for success, the better off the entire organization is going to be.
Jerod Morris: Absolutely. Earlier, I asked you for one word that you would use to sum up your business as it stands today, and you said limitless. If we talk again in a year, what would you want that one word to be?
Why Brandon Is Doubling-Down on Limitless Possibilities for the Future of His Business
Brandon Lewin: Oh man. Describe my business in one word in a year from now. Honestly, I wouldn’t want it to be anything but ‘limitless’ because, if I’m going to hit that five billion mark, Jerod, it’d better be limitless for a very long time.
Jerod Morris: That’s right. That is right.
Brandon Lewin: I’m going to stick with that answer. That’s my final answer.
Jerod Morris: Okay. Because of the special circumstances, we’re going to allow it.
Brandon Lewin: All right.
Jerod Morris: No one else comes on here claiming they want to impact five billion people, but when you do, then we’re going to allow you to use a word like limitless twice.
Brandon Lewin: Awesome. I appreciate that.
Jerod Morris: Yeah. You are the exception.
Brandon Lewin: Nice.
Jerod Morris: Do you have time for a few rapid-fire questions here?
Brandon Lewin: Yeah. Let’s do it.
The One Book Brandon Would Insist You Read
Jerod Morris: Okay. If you could have every person who will ever work with you or for you, or as part of your A-team of contractors that you mentioned earlier, if you could have all of those people read one book, what would it be?
Brandon Lewin: Wow, one book. Man, you make it hard with this one thing. I don’t know. I’m going to take it to one of the more recent ones that I’ve read, Chop Wood Carry Water.
Jerod Morris: Ooh. I like that title.
Brandon Lewin: Yeah. It’s a newer book. I wouldn’t say it’s on any New York Times Best Seller lists yet, but if you go check it out, it’s Chop Wood Carry Water by Joshua Medcalf. It is awesome. It’s all about enjoying the process of being great and achieving greatness. It is a process. I think a lot of people get caught up, especially as entrepreneurs, we don’t have patience.
We want everything immediately. Sometimes we’ll shoot ourselves in the foot by thinking too short term instead of understanding that this is an entire process. It really just opens your eyes and appreciates everything that’s happening, and all you can do is learn from it and grow and continue to move forward and appreciate that process.
Jerod Morris: That’s a great one. That book sounds wonderful.
Brandon’s Ideal 30-Minute Skype Call to Discuss His Business
Jerod Morris: If you could have a 30-minute Skype call to discuss your business tomorrow with anyone, who would it be? Anybody.
Brandon Lewin: To discuss my business.
Jerod Morris: Yup, 30 minutes.
Brandon Lewin: Thirty minutes. Brian Clark.
Jerod Morris: Ooh, okay.
Brandon Lewin: I follow everything that you guys have done. He’s done a beautiful thing of just transitioning from one business to another. He’s grown this empire that I see, at least from the online perspective, and I would love to just be able to, for 30 minutes, pick his brain and see how everything has gone through that entire process — how it started, what were some trials and tribulations, now what he’s doing with his life, and the business side of it. That would be definitely one person that I’ve always wanted to have a conversation with.
Jerod Morris: That would be a value-packed 30 minutes. No question.
Brandon Lewin: Absolutely.
Jerod Morris: No question.
The One Email Newsletter Brandon Can’t Do Without
Jerod Morris: Okay. What is the one email newsletter that you can’t do without?
Brandon Lewin: I think it’s Neville Medhora. I don’t know if you know him. He’s at Kopywriter Kourse. It’s with a K. I just got one from him this morning. He’s actually a local guy here in Austin. His claim to fame was that he was the copywriter for AppSumo and does SumoMe.
His writing, though, is just beautiful. If you ever talk to him in person, it’s the same thing. It just transitions beautifully. He just talks about things that are relevant to my business and what I’m doing and what I’m trying to do. Copywriting is also always a skillset of mine that I’m always trying to develop. Whether it’s reading his, or Copyblogger is a big one, too, that I enjoy. So yeah, his I would definitely say I can’t live without it.
Jerod Morris: Okay, Neville Medhora, you said?
Brandon Lewin: Yeah. Yup.
The Non-Book Piece of Art That’s Had the Biggest Influence on Brandon as a Digital Entrepreneur
Jerod Morris: Okay. What non-book piece of art has had the biggest influence on you as a digital entrepreneur?
Brandon Lewin: I am a big fan of Michael Jordan.
Jerod Morris: Ooh, okay. We share that.
Brandon Lewin: Yup. Awesome. I grew up in Chicago, Midwest guy like yourself. I was about nine, 10 years old, when the six championships happened. I grew up watching it, stayed up late. I remember the first championship when they were tipping over cars. I have a poster of Michael when he’s doing it from the free throw line, the slam dunk contest, his famous dunk. Anything from him inspires me, even that piece. It’s just a poster. It’s black and white. His jersey’s red. I would call it art. That just inspires me.
I had these little different posters in my office of people like that. Some of them have quotes on them. Some of them don’t. His definitely inspires me because he’s the epitome of greatness and also failure, too. He’s failed, and that’s a big part of his story. I love everything that he talks about when he talks about his drive to success and his journey. I would say that’s the biggest one. That’s been the most influential to me.
Jerod Morris: I would say that Michael Jordan playing basketball definitely qualifies as art.
Brandon Lewin: Yes.
Jerod Morris: Number two, one of the greatest commercials he ever had was the commercial where he talked about how he succeeded because he has failed. He goes over all of his different failures and says that’s why he succeeded. Oh man, is there anybody who grew up around the time we did and in the Midwest that didn’t just love Michael Jordan? You didn’t have to be in the Midwest.
Brandon Lewin: No.
Jerod Morris: He was the man.
Brandon Lewin: He was the man.
Brandon’s Biggest Productivity Hack for Doing Meaningful Work
Jerod Morris: Okay. What productivity hack has had the biggest impact on your ability to get more meaningful work done?
Brandon Lewin: Health in general. This has been something that I’ve really focused a lot in the last year, but really, really heavily in the last three to four months that has completely turned things around. I have never been so productive in my entire life.
There’s other things of course, like scheduling and all that, but just having the right type of energy and being in a right state of mind helps you tremendously into achieving so much during the day. It’s not always about how much you do. It’s not about working 16 hours in a day, but it’s about how much you can get done in that 16 hours — or even if it’s just eight hours. How much can you get done?
A lot of people can get a lot done in eight hours, nine hours, and not have to work those grueling 16-hour days, although sometimes they’re necessary. I’ve just been taking care of my body, eating clean, exercising regularly, taking nutritional supplements that have helped tremendously, a combination of those three, and then sprinkle in some meditation in the morning and affirmations, and that really has been the recipe of success for me.
Jerod Morris: That’s huge. I have found that in my own life as well. That’s a really good one. I echo that.
Brandon Lewin: Thank you.
How to Get in Touch with Brandon
Jerod Morris: Finally, what is the single best way for someone inspired by today’s discussion to get in touch with you?
Brandon Lewin: Single best way? Email. Email is always the easiest way. It’s Brandon@BrandonMLewin.com. I respond the quickest outside of text messages, but as of right now, I don’t want random people texting me.
Jerod Morris: These are not random people. These are Digital Entrepreneur listeners.
Brandon Lewin: Of course, I would love that. Don’t get me wrong.
Jerod Morris: But you still probably shouldn’t give out your phone number over the podcast.
Brandon Lewin: Yeah. When someone texts me, I’m like, “Hey.” They’re like, “Hey.” I’m like, “Hey. Who the hell is this?”
Jerod Morris: Yes.
Brandon Lewin: Yeah, email would be great for right now. Then whenever we need to transition into it, that would be awesome, or transition to a text message or phone call. Yeah, email is the best way.
Jerod Morris: Cool, so Brandon@BrandonMLewin.com.
Brandon Lewin: Yup.
Jerod Morris: Excellent. Well, Brandon, that brings us to the end of this episode. It has been a pleasure. Thank you so much for your time.
Brandon Lewin: Jerod, thank you, man. This has been an absolute pleasure and a lot of fun. I hope everyone gets something out of this.
Jerod Morris: Yup. I look forward to someday sharing that Mosaic with you, and we can reminisce about Michael Jordan and the Bulls.
Brandon Lewin: Absolutely, man.
Jerod Morris: All right, man. Take care.
Brandon Lewin: You too.
Jerod Morris: All righty. Thank you very much for being here, for listening to this episode of The Digital Entrepreneur. My thanks to our guest this week, Brandon Lewin. Really appreciate his time, his insight, and his candor.
My thanks also to the production team here at The Digital Entrepreneur, everybody at Rainmaker.FM, Toby Lyles, editing, Caroline Early and Will DeWitt, who helped me produce the show, really appreciate the help there. Thanks to you, as always, for being here.
Again, if you want to see the webinar we did about RainMail, maybe you have questions about RainMail, maybe you’re just hearing me say RainMail for the first time and you’re like, “What is this? Email marketing baked into a platform? This sounds kind of cool. I want to learn more,” go to Rainmaker.FM/RainMail. It will redirect you to the webinar replay page.
The nice thing is, Will actually went through and created a table of contents. It’s a two-hour webinar. You don’t have to go through the whole two hours looking for what question you may have. You can actually look at the table of contents, and see if there’s a specific question that maybe you have or a topic that you want to see if we covered. Look, see if it’s there, and you can actually skip ahead in the video to watch it. Again, Rainmaker.FM/RainMail.
All righty. We will back next week with another brand-new episode of The Digital Entrepreneur. Until then, take care, and we will talk to you soon.