John Jantsch: This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Zephyr CMS. It’s a modern cloud based CMS system that’s licensed only to agencies. You can find them at zephyrcms.com, more about this later in the show.
John Jantsch: Hello and welcome to another episode of The Duct Tape Marketing podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Bryan Wish. He’s the founder of BW Missions, and organization that helps clients globally build communities and develop their voices. So Brian, thanks for joining us.
Bryan Wish: Well John, thanks for having me. It’s been a long time in the making and it’s been great following your work over the last couple of years.
John Jantsch: So I’m very intrigued by what you’re doing with BW Missions. But before we really get into that, I guess I’d love to hear, I think a lot of people like to hear entrepreneur’s journey story. How did you get to here? What led you to here? Why did you decide to do what you’re doing?
Bryan Wish: Yeah, John, that’s a good question. I think understanding the roots of how someone came to be is very smart, very important. So I’ll take you back to my earliest memories as a kid. For me, I think I was the person who, I don’t think I was born an entrepreneur or born actually going out on my own to do this life. I think what happened for me is the more I tried to fit into very specific boxes, sports teams, colleges, programs or groups, the more I didn’t fit in and the more I was forced to stand out, whether I wasn’t good enough to make the cut line, whether I was bullied by the group cool kids. It was always the things I tried to fit into that said, okay, you’re a little different and you’re not meant to be here.
Bryan Wish: So when I got to college, I took all that weight and chip on my shoulder mentality and I said, I’m just going to figure out who I am. I’m going to go balls to the wall and I’m going to just do a bunch of things. The more I started applying myself to different groups, picking initiatives, starting things on my own with organizations, the more I started to realize, you know what, I can do anything I set my mind to. And it was this completely new perspective. It was the most liberating perspective for me as an individual where I started building confidence for the first time in my life. And from there I look at that as this pathfinding journey of self discovery, of who am I, and where do I fit in in the world. And as soon as I started taking charge and ownership of my own life, I started finding the people who are more like me.
Bryan Wish: Then I started getting involved in some very incredible projects with different brands where I led sports programs for the Hawks and the Braves. And then I started a digital media platform after college where I spent my entire savings and went bankrupt on it. But it’s okay, it was the most fulfilling thing ever. And then I spent two years really learning the craft and digital media with Allen Gannett, I built a global communities of investment fund for a year and a half, and kind of took all this experience in the last four or five years, and I said, I know two things, I love building and sharing voices. I love building communities. How do I do that for a group of people who’s already standing out with their own voice, or has a message. I’ve really doubled down on the same things I’ve been passionate about my whole life and things that have led me find my own path.
John Jantsch: So the word mission is actually in the name of your business. So help me and listeners understand why that’s part of the name of your company.
Bryan Wish: Yeah, absolutely, John, it’s a good question. So I think to be a fulfilled entrepreneur or someone who is aligned with the money they’re making and the way they’re making money, I think they really need to connect to what they’re doing. And so I’ve always looked at how we take on clients. If we’re pushing their message forward, if we’re building a community around their message and what they want to be known for, what’s the impact on other people if we do that really well? And how does our work with them scale to help other people in a very mission driven way?
Bryan Wish: So working with various clients who are doing really good work and have strong messages, I look at us, the more we amplify their voice and touch lives of other people, the more we transcend our own impact as a company. So it’s very in line with doing positive work, not just taking a six figure contract from our brand. I think that’s why we’ve really identified working with individuals in building those brands out because it’s a much more fulfilling and connective experience.
John Jantsch: So when, especially with the folks you’re mentioning, I’ve often said that I think entrepreneurship is one of the greatest self development programs ever created. You either you either evolve or you get run over and you go back and get a job somewhere. So how do you relate that idea of constantly working on yourself as actually personal branding?
Bryan Wish: Yeah, I think, hmm. So, let me start a little outwards and I’ll come back into the question. So one of the points I reached out to you on, I think six months ago, was when a client and very close mentor, in a way, actually their coach now, Mark Green, said, “You should check out John’s stuff.” And I said, “Oh, I’m already familiar with John’s stuff, but he’s great and I’m glad you were able to connect in San Diego or in California for an event.” And Mark always says, which I really love, he says, “To scale your business professionally, you have to scale yourself personally faster.” And he says that much more eloquently and punchier as he always does. So I think we get to a point in the business as we grow, if we haven’t developed personally at the level that can support that growth professionally, and we don’t have the right foundation for our own lives, we’re going to fall on our feet professionally. And I learned that actually the hard way with the first company. And so with this company now, at BW Missions, I have had to put very hard and clear boundaries and pieces in place from a foundational level to support the growth of the company, which has happened fast. So it’s for soft development to happen on a personal level to sustain the growth of the business professionally.
John Jantsch: So give us a little bit of a roadmap of how you actually work with people. What’s unique about your approach, and not just the mission driven component, but how does that actually play out from a tactical standpoint?
Bryan Wish: Yeah, that’s a good question. So typically somebody approaches us who wants to be known for a particular topic, that might be focused on productivity, that might be leadership in business coaching, that might be mindset, that could be e-sports and gaming. But they have something they want to say so they reach out to us. If we start working together, what that looks like is we do self-discovery work as part of the onboarding session. We have an a very intricate and deep onboarding process where we really get to know everything about them, from their childhood roots to who they are now and where they’re trying to go in their future. And we do a full process where we get all that information, and that’s ongoing throughout the entire process. That never stops. Then we start figuring out, okay, who is this person trying to connect to?
Bryan Wish: What does that person look like? How do we get in front of them? And why would their work be valuable to the people that we want to build that around? And then we take the channels in front of us, we take some of their vision for their own brand and we kind of put all the pieces together, developing regular posting, building out different digital assets, whatever it might be. It’s almost like a dressed up idea inspired marketing agency. But I think what we’re selling is pathfinding. We’re going to build them the best strategy and plan forward for them and we’re going to do it in an extremely tailor made way.
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John Jantsch: So obviously with all of the things online, the Facebook advertising, webinars, all the stuff that people are doing to kind of get that message out. I think people are getting really tired of the fact that people are just blasting stuff out because they can, showing up everywhere. I think we’re all exhausted really from what just feels very spammy. It started I supposed with email, but now it’s everywhere, because marketers always ruin everything.
John Jantsch: So, how do you bring … Ultimately what you’re saying is the best marketing is relationship building. I think we’ve all … But people have sort of bastardized what relationship building is even today. So how do we stay authentic? How do we just say, “Hey, here’s me. Take it or leave it,” but at the same time, realize that if we don’t get ourselves in front of enough people, we’re not going to be able to have the impact we want.
Bryan Wish: Yeah, absolutely. So let me answer this, before I talk about relationships in a way of self discovery. I shared an article this morning and there’s a graph in the article and it said, the better we know who we are as individuals, the deeper that we can connect with the people around us. And I think it’s a really powerful way to look at relationship building, because we need to know first like who we are so when we talk to people who like us or understand us, we know how to connect back to them, and as they’ve done that work themselves too, the connectivity of the relationship is going to be even stronger. With that said, when of understand that, you can be a little more vulnerable in those conversations, and being able to be vulnerable in a way that is tactful and not in your face, like, here’s my sob story, you can really build a emotional connection with someone and that will drive a longterm relationship.
Bryan Wish: Now to go back to, okay, how do we show up online, John, there is a lot of spam out there. There’s a ton of noise and it seems like everyone is doing it. The approach that we take with clients, that I take with my own branding or try to take is I really focus on the pillars of the storytelling aspect of really sharing a message that, yes, I might be able to promote something, but how do I 90% of the time share a story that’s going to be insightful to my audience, that might be able to get across a couple of different messages, that really encapsulate who I am as a person. And if that speaks for my business too, I think that means you’re doing it right because you don’t have to hardcore promote what you’re doing for people that want to work with you. I think those are the best, just show up authentically online as you would in person. I think that’s a really hard skill to master, and I think so few people understand, but I think what people do need to understand is it starts with understanding who you are within first so you can connect with people deeply and you then you can show up online and stand out with things that you really care about.
John Jantsch: So with all the various forms and platforms, I think that’s the thing a lot of people struggle with, is that are there very specific forms of content, very specific places in which that context for that content can happen that is more effective. If you’re that professional who is trying to create a personal brand, is there a roadmap to say, well, here’s how I’m going to get my message and my story in front of the right people?
Bryan Wish: Yeah, that’s a good question, John. I think it really comes down to the person that you’re talking to or who wants to build a brand. If it’s a 14 year old who is an epic scooter rider, they’re probably … Not that they’re thinking about their personal brand, but okay, probably tik-tok is going to be great for them. Because it’s going to entertain a bunch of teenagers across the world and why not. I like to think about, okay, what is the person trying to do? What message are they trying to tell and what platform best supports that message? To go a little deeper, I was speaking of the email founder of a certain company a year ago and we had a really big conversation around email. It’s the only place you can own your own distribution. So yes, there’s certain platforms business, if you’re a business CEO, you’re probably going to be on LinkedIn, you probably should have Twitter. But at the end of the day, if you’re trying to stand out and have a personal brand or if you’re on an author, I think having email distribution lists that you own and can build upon is the best long term strategy using these platforms as vehicles to continue to build that audience and make sure you have a centralized tone to bring everyone back to, which I know you understand in your work.
John Jantsch: A lot of authors have over the years taken the extension of their books and turned them into courses and things of that nature. I’m seeing a tremendous amount of burnout on things like that, because the Udemy’s of the world that you can go find out any course for $19. So how do particularly authors or personal brands, what’s the best way that you’ve seen for them to extend their work? It used to be just one-on-one. You’d write a book and then you’d create a course and then you’d do consulting. It was like the ladder was very natural. I think that that ladder has gotten very disrupted. So how does that model work today?
Bryan Wish: Sure. So yes, I do think courses are still relevant. I think you can go to Udemy to get your course out there. I think it, what kind of brand that you’re trying to build? How are you architecting the brand? Are you building a quality brand from the start? Because if you are, do you really need to go to a platform like Udemy is just providing an audience for you?
John Jantsch: I guess what I was saying is that it’s gotten harder just to build the $900 course because the $19 course seem to offer the same thing.
Bryan Wish: Totally. So I think again though it comes down to if you’re architecting a brand that’s perceived in a very high way, if you’re an author, you might be able to get away not going on Udemy and also offering an $800 course. Is that the right thing to do? It depends. What’s the value being given? Is there a model though where they can go on Udemy and maybe create a shorter course that can take you to a bigger course? I’ve seen that be done multiple times and then just to build on this concept, the digital is a great way to do it, but the way I’m seeing a lot of … Where we’re even transitioning as a company and evolving is, okay, the digital is great. How do we create a whole speaking side to the business? Because it’s one thing to have an in person message. How do we build a product line around being able to get people voices in front of real audiences in real time.
Bryan Wish: And I think that creates even deeper connection. So creating vehicles that extend the message for authors or CEOs to share something, it doesn’t always have to be to make money through a course or from book sales or consulting. I think there’s a whole speaking model and then there’s a whole content partnership model as well that are [inaudible 00:16:23] that can be done very tastefully. So it just depends on what are the end goals of the person and what fits to them as a brand.
John Jantsch: So give us your, if somebody came to you who feels like, hey, I want to take it up a notch and I just want you to tell me what would it be one thing I could do to actually do a better job of relationship building? I know that’s hard question.
Bryan Wish: No, I think that’s great. I would say go deeper with the ones right in front of you that you really value already. Because I think that we’re very lucky in this world to have very close relationships and if we have three, four or five really good relationships instead of just trying to add to the stockpile, why don’t you just go even deeper on the ones that are right in front of you? Because if you do, and that works really well, I’m sure they know other people just like you, and their friends become your friends and your network multiplies over and over again with people who are just like you. So your trial evolves and compounds because you’ve actually taken the time to invest really hard and in ones that feel just right to you, or that feel more like 100% as opposed to 70%.
John Jantsch: Awesome. So Brian, tell people where they can find out more about you and the work you’re doing at BW Missions.
Bryan Wish: Yes, absolutely. You can find me, my email is Bryan, B-R-Y-A-N, @bryanwish.com. My website is BWMissions.com and you can reach out to me on LinkedIn. I’m on Twitter and Instagram, but I think email, LinkedIn would be the best.
John Jantsch: Awesome. Well, thanks for taking time today, Bryan, and hopefully we’ll run into you soon someday out there on the road.
Bryan Wish: Thanks, John. Thanks for having me. I’m excited to see what you do next.