Episode 39

Do What You Love with Brian Clark of Copyblogger

September 29, 2015

Online marketing genius, Brian Clark of Rainmaker Digital (formerly CopyBlogger Media) and host of the Unemployable podcast, joins us today to talk about online marketing and what it truly takes to grow a wildly successful business.

Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
This Episode Brought to You By:
"It's the human connection that allows us to serve people. That's what also drives them to choose you."
- Brian Clark

Discussed in this Episode

  • Online marking and how to sell yourself without feeling icky about it
  • Reframing the idea of marketing and selling
  • Maintaining your vision when your business is growing
  • Making the leap to freelance or building you dream job while working a day job
  • Sustaining happiness in a work-life balance


More from Brian Clark

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Braid Creative

More from Emily

Almanac Supply Co.


Brian Clark 5:00
The people I really like, because that's exactly where I started. And a lot of times I think people, you know, they'll look at where you are, oh, you know, he's a CEO of a company that'll do 12 million in sales this year. And they're like, Oh, that's just I can't do that, or that's not me. But you got to go back, you got to go back to the beginning, when I was absolutely clueless. And I was a liberal arts major went to law school, pretty much knew by my third year of law school that I didn't want to practice law, but did for four years had bills to pay and whatnot. But I really didn't enjoy it. I found out later, I don't like having a job at all, hence the title of my podcast. But yeah, I kind of just took a leap because I let myself get too miserable in the job. So I decided I was going to quit. And I was going to make a living writing somehow. And if that didn't work out, I'd be a bartender in Austin. And I just said, Okay, that's better than practicing law. So that's a pretty drastic thing to tell your mother

Emily Thompson 6:10
can only imagine.

Brian Clark 6:11
So but instead of writing, you know, novels or screenplays or something, I was just fascinated with the young internet. And I was like, You reach all these people, there's got to be a way to make a modest living doing this. And I saw people publishing easy things, pre blogs, these were email newsletters, where you would actually distribute all the content to subscribers by email, which is still pretty smart today, actually. But yeah, so I floundered around, I was, you know, back then we didn't have all these courses and conferences and free content telling you everything It was really make it up as you go along, or watch what other people do, or some combination of that. But long and short of it, I was trying to make money with advertising, because that's what you did with content, right. And then finally, I read a book called permission marketing by Seth Godin, you may have heard of that guy who assess brilliance there was to recognize that the internet is a direct marketing medium in the sense that you can sell things directly to people not in the scummy direct marketing, when in fact, that was the gist of permission marketing, which is, you can't buy lists, like you do with mailing list, you have to earn, you have to get permission, you have to have the right to contact people. And if you do that correctly, with content, then you can build an audience that builds a business. So that was my lightbulb moment that I needed something to sell. And what did I have to sell? Well, all I had was a law license. So it was better than starving, or bartending. So I set up shop with another email newsletter, and it worked. I was getting clients left and right more than I wanted, because at that time, the first business hadn't gone under yet. So I was just trying to get enough clients. Like That was my side hustle, or the other company was the side hustle, I don't know. But it was one thing where I was trying to just keep afloat. And the the dynamic I faced was I could have started and built a fairly good sized law firm out of the deal flow that I was getting. But I knew that's not ultimately what I wanted. So I stuck to my guns. And you know, I just kind of picked and choose among the clients that came in, I got retainer gigs, I got the sweetest deals I could get for the most amount of money for the littlest amount of time so I could continue building the other business long and short the.com implosion happened, the first business died. And that was a good thing. From there, I took what I learned about online marketing and content, and built two virtual real estate brokerages, just not that I had a passion for real estate, but I I knew I could do it. And I needed to prove to myself that I could do something entrepreneurial. That wasn't law, right. That was, you know, the next step in my journey, right. So I did that from 2002 to 2005 made a lot of money, more money than if I would have stayed practicing law. Mom was happy about that. She still didn't understand what I did, though. And then that all led up to me starting hobby blogger in 2006, explaining what I did to build those businesses without investment, totally bootstrapped totally virtual. And two years later, that became known as content marketing. We adopted the term for what I've been doing, I guess since 99. And that's really what led to Rainmaker digital. I launched many companies offer copyblogger in 2010. we merged several them together to build something bigger. And that thing was is the Rainmaker platform, which is our all on one website and marketing suite. And that really led to the rebranding of the company from like you said, from copyblogger media to Rainmaker, digital. And here we are.

Kathleen Shannon 10:09
I'm curious with all the brand equity. This is, you know, geeking out here with all the brand equity that you had in copyblogger. Were you nervous about that rebrand?

Unknown Speaker 10:19

Brian Clark 10:21
yes and no. On one hand, there still copyblogger.com, that didn't change. And that is the brand for that publication that started at all. But as we've grown in past eight figures last year, and have to have conversations in financial circles and other bigger opportunities, it was clear the name was holding us back, right? It just gave an impression that wasn't accurate to people who don't understand the industry that we're all kind of in, right, so. So hopefully, people still realize that we're still copyblogger. But I think from a growth perspective, to become the company we want to grow into, I think it was, it was important to do,

Kathleen Shannon 11:07
I would love to talk a little bit more about online marketing. A lot of creatives feel super achy, whenever it comes to selling, especially whenever they're first starting out, like we get into this job, because we want to be creative, right? But to be successful online, you have to sell yourself, I think we need a new word for selling. But let's talk about that a little bit. Let's talk about selling without feeling icky about it. And maybe how content marketing feeds into that.

Brian Clark 11:37
Yeah. So first of all, I should point out that, at the very beginning, what drew me to the internet is that I'm an introvert, and couldn't sell anything to anyone in the traditional sense that we think of it, there was no way I was going to cold call, or knock on doors or whatever the stuff that, you know, young brokers do when they start a real estate business. So everyone was like, it's gonna take you four years, you're not gonna make any money, you're gonna star but pay your dues, and it'll work out four months later, you know, it's a very, very profitable company, because they just didn't understand the way I was viewing the attraction of buyers. And it was, it was not silly at all, it was all about education, it was teaching them. So first thing I did was specialize, I only worked with buyers. So in one sense, people are like, well, you just cut off half the market. Maybe even the better half. It doesn't matter though. I need to get more people to work with me. And you actually do that by by laser focusing. So I knew who I was talking to. And I knew their problems and desires. And that's what it all comes down to. And this is what should make everyone feel better about, quote unquote selling. It's just empathy is just understanding their perspective, putting yourself in their shoes and walking the path in their shoes for a little bit. And then you're like, Oh, I know how to talk to them. I know what's right. I know how to serve them. You think of yourself as an empathetic servant. You will write great copy. Your people will love you. And you'll never feel like a sleazeball.

Emily Thompson 13:16
Amen to that. That I think is such a such the missing point with what our people struggle with, in this idea where they feel like they should be selling or marketing, like they use those big scary business terms for just sharing and empathizing. And I think I think that sort of reconnection to what it is that we all want to do. Because we're not necessarily here to build businesses. We're here to help people and we're here to be creative. So like, that bridge of that gap. Hopefully, all you bosses out there, like get that, that that's the that's the mindset shift that makes content marketing, the most effective way for selling and you just being you who you are, like, selling what you do for you.

Brian Clark 14:02
Yeah, my business partner, Sonia Simone, it cracks me up, she'll go, look, I know you don't want to do marketing. So let's do this. instead. We're just going to figure out who we're talking to, what they want, and how we can help them and then we're going to tell them Oh, wait, that's marketing.

Kathleen Shannon 14:19
They still have conversations like that today. Even you know this many years later into it where you're, you know, all about content marketing and online marketing. Do you still feel like oh, about it? Is this partner is telling you like, hey, let's Oh, no, no, no, that's

Brian Clark 14:35
how he explains it to marketing. Oh, I see. Yeah, this. She teaches her her tribe. You know, that's and she actually positioned an entire training course she used to do years ago that way. And of course, people are like, Oh, yeah, I can do that. Oh, yeah. Okay. It's just it's reframing because everyone has this Glengarry Glen Ross idea of selling that. I mean, I know that still exist in some quarters. let's not kid ourselves. But it's less and less effective. because more and more even at the the hardcore b2b level, the prospect is, you know, they're 60% down the road before you even know they're looking. And that's why content is so crucial to actually even be in the conversation.

Kathleen Shannon 15:18
One of the ways that I like to talk about that that kind of empathy is being psychic for your client. And it's just knowing what they need, because you've been there. It's exactly what you said. But I also want to add in that, using your own voice, and explaining things, the way that you would talk in real life is a really great way to be empathetic as well.

Brian Clark 15:40
Yeah, it's a human connection. I mean, if you truly do your homework, or you know, you're a member of the tribe you're trying to serve, which has always been helpful to me. You still have to come across like a human being, you can understand them all day long. But if you come across like a, you know, a spammer, or very robotic corporate speak, who wants that, I mean, it's the human connection, that allows us actually to serve people. But it's that that's what's also driving them to choose you. It's that know, like, and trust. That's who we do business with.

Kathleen Shannon 16:21
Totally, I want to rewind a little bit, one of the things that you said when we first started chatting was that you're kind of fumbling around and figuring it all out as you went. And there weren't as many resources available, like conferences, and online e courses and podcasts, all sorts of free content that helps you figure it out. So I want to talk about this because there's still a certain amount of fumbling it fumbling around, I think that allows creative entrepreneurs to be authentic or innovative, how much? How much fumbling around do you think is still necessary?

Brian Clark 16:59
Well, now it's the complete opposite problem. There's so much out there. And there's so many people effectively saying the same thing in their own way, which is just positioning, which is an aspect of marketing, but it confuses people. And also, there's new and shiny syndrome. So I tell people, every day go read permission marketing right now, it's probably 90% of what you need. And they're like, no, that's a 15 year old books. 16. You know, I'm like, fundamentals don't change. That's why they're called that. And that's the problem. So for years, people weren't building email lists, because some social media pundit who, you know, racked up a bunch of Twitter followers and became a guru said that emails dead. Well, that's not true. That's inaccurate, you know, email converts 40 times greater than social media, the thing that was supposed to kill it. So it's just, there's a lot of information, there's a lot of noise. And sometimes I think people get bad information from maybe well meaning people who might not have the experience that you want to listen to.

Emily Thompson 18:09
I love how you just said that Twitter followers make gurus now. It is because it's kind of true in its own weird way.

Unknown Speaker 18:20
I'm pausing in case in Lee, you have a question.

Unknown Speaker 18:24
I do always like

Kathleen Shannon 18:27
railroading. Um, alright, Brian, I want to ask you, because you've been around for a little while. What are some common patterns that you've seen amongst some successful creative entrepreneurs who are just starting out? Or maybe creatives who have been around for a while? What are some common patterns there that you see,

Brian Clark 18:47
I think the first stage is learning to tread water. You know, being out on your own, for the first time, it's been a long time for me. So I try to revisit the anxiety of those days. So I don't forget, you know, when you're just like, slapping people around going, just do this, this and this, come on now, you know, but it's not like that. Because it's more complicated. But once you kind of get, you know, you get you realize you're gonna make it and mean that you may not be making all the money in the world. But you know, you're making it. That's the biggest transition step that I think we all go through. And my you know, my growth over time, certainly took its sweet time, I guess. But along the way, there were always these epiphanies, this change in thinking it was more of a change in my mind than it was a change of circumstances. And I went with it each time. And I always made that same Val, which was i, this is what I should do, because this is what I'm passionate about. And this is how I want to grow as a person and a business person. And even if I make less money, I'm going to do this and Every time I've done that, I've made exponentially more money. Because, you know, it just makes sense, you've got to be in this for process more than profit. But ironically, the profit comes when you're really into whatever it is you're building. So I think there are a lot of creative entrepreneurs and freelancers who would like to build something bigger than themselves. But it's scary, and I get that, but I would highly recommend that that you try, if that's actually your ambition.

Emily Thompson 20:31
I think that's a really good point, I think whenever whenever we talk about business building, which is what we're all in essence here to do, you know, it is like, profit, like, go where the money is, or follow the money or whatever it is. And I think that, I think, you just giving people permission to, you know, screw money for a second, and think about what it what process it is that you want to take, to get to whatever end place you want to be, is more important, because that is the place where Money Follows what's true,

Brian Clark 21:03
I mean, you have to, you have to be in a field, you know, where money is exchanged, right. But other than that, how you operate within that field should be up to your, the thing that makes you happy, right? So some designers want to do nothing but design. And yet they're doing everything else, you know, in the their small freelance business, or whatever the case may be. There's nothing wrong with that. But I encourage those people to go, okay, you do that? Now? What if you partnered with, you know, a content or marketing type person, so you never have to deal with getting new work? And then how about, maybe once that marketing person starts bringing in more than you can handle, have someone take the less interesting, you know, projects, you know, that's how growth happens, it's still completely centered around what you actually want to do. You just allow yourself to think bigger.

Kathleen Shannon 22:03
I think that that's a great point. And one of the things that I always tell creatives who are growing, is that the one thing that you can't delegate out is your vision. And you have to maintain control of where you want to drive your ship, or else someone else that you hire might might take over. So I think it's really important to maintain your vision of what you want, even as you're delegating and growing.

Brian Clark 22:28
Yeah, that's the only reason I still have a job.

Kathleen Shannon 22:33
I want to talk a little bit about growth, I feel like I'm in one of those transitional places that you describe where I'm going from, you know, the hustle and surviving to really being in a good place of growing my business. And two things like one the adjustment of, of being able to kind of sit back and say, Hey, like I've made it, I'm so used to the hustle that I just want to keep hustling. But to like I want to talk a little bit about I'm really curious. And I ask a lot of the guests that come on our show about kind of growing your capacity for success, or, or having like a deeper container for that capacity, like how do you how do you handle, you know, eight figures, there's got to be some stress. And I know it sounds like oh, boohoo, but but there's got to be a different kind of stress that comes with growing a business that big.

Brian Clark 23:28
Yeah, that's interesting. That's a great question. And that's kind of what I was referring to in mind shifts, you know, for example, when I left the two real estate businesses that I was working really too hard, I was great at marketing bad at processes. So I compensated by working harder. And I was really burnout. I had some other things happen in my life. But again, I kind of got to this point where I realized that I was staying in those businesses because they were profitable. And I had, you know, a little girl and boy, you know, just born and there was a lot of should going on in my head, you know, I'd like to do I'd rather do this, but I should do this. And then Okay, I'll tell you the actual story. I had a snowboarding accident and developed a subdural hematoma long story short, I had to have emergency brain surgery. And when I woke up from it, all those shoulds were gone. You know, just like any enlightenment story you've ever heard, it was the same thing. I don't know if it was the operation or, or something else. But I just realized I was a prisoner in my own mind. And I just said, Nope, no more. And that was, again, one of those decisions where I'm like, What I like to do is, is right, create content, do marketing, come up with businesses. And that's all I'm going to do. I'm going to figure out a way to get You know, to finally build a real organization. And that's exactly what happened. So is there more, it's a different kind of scenario. Now, when I have 62 plus families that I feel, you know, before I had an obligation to my family without realizing that I had an obligation to be a happy daddy first right to be to not come home upset. You know, I mean, can you imagine? So that's

Kathleen Shannon 25:30
I very much can imagine. Yeah, as a new mom myself.

Brian Clark 25:34
So now I have more obligation, if you think of it that way. And yeah, totally, I have it in the context of the role of that I'm good at. So and I've got really good people who are good at what they do. And that's why it's okay.

Kathleen Shannon 25:49
I love that. So it kind of comes down to, in a way thinking more about being of service, rather than how can I grow this thing?

Brian Clark 25:59
Yeah, I, again, number one, I don't know any really successful entrepreneur who does it for the money after a certain point. I mean, money is great, we love money, right? But, you know, it can't be the thing that drives you or you're going to be a very unhappy person. It has to be about doing the thing, and then doing it better the next year, or doing it grander, or more ambitious, or whatever the case may be whatever drives you, I tell people all the time, pre merging the companies in 2010, I had a great life. And I made a lot of money, pretty much the same amount of money I make now. But I wanted to do it not for money, I wanted to do it because I wanted to build something bigger than I could do otherwise. And that's what's driven this whole thing. I never had this aspiration one day where I sat there and said, You know what, I want to run a virtual company with employees all over the world makes eight figures in revenue that was never, never entered my mind. And I just never even imagined that. If I could be happy, and support my family, that's all I ever asked for it just every year it gets a little better, though.

Kathleen Shannon 27:11
I love that. And so I'm curious about talking to you the creatives who are still working a day job, and they want to make the leap to freelance or build their own dream job. And I know it's been a while, how long 17 years that you've been in the game for yourself, but maybe just from the work that you're sharing? What advice would you give to a creative entrepreneur who is still working that day job but hustling on this side? And they're, they're really wanting to build their own thing and go out on their own?

Brian Clark 27:46
Yeah, if your day job is, effectively the skill set that you'd like to start freelancing with? I think it's easier than ever. I mean, do you guys agree with that, in the sense that the way technology is shifting and, and companies have to be more agile and on demand work is is is kind of valued, if you if you have the right person? So it seems to me that working remotely is more traditional now and freelancing. I mean, the economic downturn, create a lot of freelancers, maybe not voluntarily, but if that's what you're aiming to do, I think it's easier to get some stable gigs, maybe even with your own current employer than it's ever been. But I really want to hear what you to think about this, because you've really got your finger on this. You know, it has been a while for me.

Kathleen Shannon 28:38
Yeah, I mean, I recently saw, I'm always quoting statistics, and they're always wrong or bad, but I'm pretty sure that a freelancer union,

Brian Clark 28:48
let me write this down,

Kathleen Shannon 28:49
right. I'm pretty sure that Freelancer union recently put out an article or quoted the statistic that I think 50% of the workforce now is freelance. And so I just think it's really interesting, I think that there's more flexibility than ever, I also, you know, I never tell anyone to quit their job. And I feel like a lot of people come to Emily and myself, because we have a podcast called being boss with needing permission to quit their job, and I'm never going to give it to them. Because I think one, it's a decision that you have to really want and really make for yourself, because sometimes working for yourself, and alone is not enough to sustain the dream, right? You end up having to wear a lot more hats than you thought that you might have had to. And so I mean, this is just to say that I think that people who are in a dream or in a day job one, like start working in a day job that does help you build the skill set that you want. So then basically it's training someone is paying you to learn how to do what you need. To do on your own. But second, I think that the best part about having a day job is it allows you to be really selective and build your dream portfolio on the side, whatever it is that you're doing. only work on this stuff. Don't take on side hustle gigs, just to prove that you can make some money take on the side hustle gigs that allow you to really do the creative work that you really want to be doing. Really proud of. So that's kind of my

Brian Clark 30:25
advice, because that yeah, it's the same thing, side hustle to get some extra cash. Because you know, you want to buy nice gifts for Christmas. Okay, I get it. That's very, you know, reward oriented. But psychology studies show that that type of behavior isn't what makes you happy. It's doing stuff that you would do whether there was money involved or not, that makes you happy. And if you can marry those two together, then that's the perfect recipe.

Emily Thompson 30:54
Oh, that's good. Yeah, I think I think that now more than ever, it's just easier to do it. And it's easier because there are tools that allow you to do it really easily. I mean, Squarespace right now is, is ridiculously easy for people to set up websites. And you know, with online marketing, which is, you know, something with content marketing, specifically like sharing your expertise. And in something like Twitter or Instagram or whatever, like you can find your drive really easily. Lots of people are doing it without officially, you know, being a full time freelancer, whatever we had. Scott and Elise Grice from Hey, sweet be on the podcast a couple of months ago, and she started her branding business whenever she was working at Sony hanging out on Twitter all day. Like she didn't have anything to do at her at her main job. So she spent her days on Twitter, like cultivating this. Sony's and

Kathleen Shannon 31:53
listening to this,

Emily Thompson 31:55
or that one? I mean, I think it's, I think it's so possible to do it. And I think, I don't know, with our tribe of people, I think they come to being boss for that inspiration, that they can be their own boss, and to like, help feed them to, to, I guess, talking themselves into it more than anything. So I guess at that point, it's not the tools and it's not the ease with which we can do things because of all the available information and, and platforms and all that stuff out there. It's it's that permission piece that they have to give themselves to actually take the leap and do it and do not feel guilty that they're like cheating on their main hustle. With this. I

Brian Clark 32:37
know, it's, it's interesting. So you know, we're, we've always been completely bootstrapped all of my businesses have, and it's not that different, really, you know, all. For example, in the early days of copyblogger, I didn't have any products or services, I was still figuring that out. So I launched a video site that was kind of back in 2006, YouTube was all the rage but hadn't been acquired by Google yet. We knew it was going to. So we started a video tutorial site. Knowing that there was a lot of mania going on six months later, we sold it for low six figures, and I use that money, I split with a partner to make it and and quit doing my own side projects to just make money and I could focus 100% on copyblogger. Then we created our first product went from zero to you know, six figures in a week, seven figures in a year. And it was all beginning but you do even serial entrepreneurs or portfolio entrepreneur entrepreneurs, which means you run more than one company at a time. We're always doing something in order to do something else. So on the way to building the Rainmaker platform because we didn't have a boatload of VC money to rely on. We built all the parts such as hosting and, and design and plugins and all of this kind of stuff. And we sold them separately. So we fed a market in the WordPress space with all our cart pieces. While and that gave us the money we needed to continue development on the bigger thing. So it's not really that different. It's just a different context. We're all doing a side hustle for one thing or another unless you go get in bed with Satan. I mean these which I shouldn't say because one day I may you know, who knows but for now, I can say that.

Kathleen Shannon 34:23
You say that though? Emily and I even did a podcast on running a debt free business because that's something that we definitely value. And and it's funny because we both have our main gigs being braid creative and indicia biography, but we even consider this podcast, our side hustle. So you are always doing something. Hopefully, that fuels your passion and makes you happy and I want to talk about happiness a little bit because that's a theme that keeps coming up a little bit and I was really inspired by Stefan sagmeister whenever he he always takes a look One year sabbatical every seven years, which is bearing in itself. And he has a TED talk on that. And but he did this happiness project where, even though he was his own boss, he was becoming increasingly unhappy doing his work. And I find that this happens with a lot of creative entrepreneurs, sometimes even within the first year, of quitting their day job and building their dream job just because it's a lot more work than they expected. And, you know, maybe it's just different than they expected. So anyway, I want to talk a little bit about happiness. And I'm not really sure what question to ask other than it seems like you value happiness a lot, what are some things that you do to sustain happiness, and maybe even in like a work life balance, even though that's a myth, as we all know, but like, tell us a little bit more about happiness. So it's interesting.

Brian Clark 35:57
So for the last, I don't know, 42 weeks, I've written an email newsletter called further. And that is just a side project. It doesn't make money. I don't care really, if it does. But that word further came to me kind of out of thinking, I was messed up, that I couldn't, I was never happy with in the way I thought I was supposed to be happy. I was only happy. I only felt intense joy outside of my wife and children and things like that. But when I was starting something new, or when I had a new idea, and I was sitting there, my mind is working out, how can I do this? I'm like, you messed up. I mean, you are perpetually dissatisfied. You know, and this is the curse of human nature. So I was a psychology major in college. So I've always, you know, obviously, over the years, it's been more marketing focus lately. But I really went back into into the psychology of happiness. And I found out that Believe it or not, I'm kind of well adjusted at this, you know, I mean, if you read the book drive by Dan pink, that the context of that was employment and what you know, motivates people, but it's really what motivates people in general, it's self determinism, or intrinsic motivation, which is what we talked about earlier, doing things that you would do, if there were no money, or no reward, you just like to do it. Right. And it's these personal projects that we do. Chris guillebeau calls him quest, you know, his quest was to visit every country on the planet, he did it, it took him 11 years, I think, you don't do that for money, or you just do that to do that. And those are the type of things that make us happy. So my only concern about people who are eyeing the entrepreneurial world, based on you know, the perceived status. I mean, we face it, we really celebrate entrepreneurs right now, almost to a fault. Because as you said, it's not for everyone. So why are you doing it? Are you doing it for status? Are you doing it for money? Or is there something that brings you joy just in the doing because when it gets tough, you know, the dreams of the status and the money aren't going to keep you going? I mean, certain people have that kind of willpower. I don't think I do, I have to really be into it to do it. And that is the thing. Happiness is not a destination. It's a way of travel.

Kathleen Shannon 38:29
I could not agree more. One of the things I've recently found about happiness, is that doing the things that generate energy are what makes me happy. So like Happy is the byproduct of doing the work that energizes me.

Brian Clark 38:49
Yes, that's absolutely dead.

Emily Thompson 38:51
Oh, I want to get that leg tattooed on my arm. Okay, we're

Kathleen Shannon 38:58
gonna wait to see it a little bit more eloquently if you get it tattooed on your

Emily Thompson 39:03
will copy at it. That one. All right.

Kathleen Shannon 39:08
All right, Brian. Um, I'm curious if you have any cautionary tales that you'd like to share? I mean, we've been kind of chatting back and forth about some of it. But is there anything that maybe I hate the word failure because I feel like a lot of us have the mindset where it's learning experiences versus failure, but any cautionary tales or failures that you would like to share that we can learn from as we're going from a phase of Emily and I myself specifically going from a phase of just starting out to really starting to settle into our work and grow it?

Brian Clark 39:51
Yeah, I think success is more dangerous than failure. You learn quite a bit and you grow quite As a person by trying something, and maybe it not working out, but when you succeed, you're elated and you start living a certain lifestyle based on a certain income. Now that could have trapped me at being an attorney. And that's generally how they trap young attorneys. They're like, Oh, wait, are you engaged? Awesome is your wife pregnant? Awesome. You know, I mean, because I know you're not going anywhere. I was lucky that I left before any of that happened. But it happened again, with the two real estate companies. I mean, I had a very nice life, I had a family that depended on me. And I could have let that material aspect of it, paint me into a corner. And trust me, I would be miserable. And I wouldn't have the relationship I have with my children. Just don't paint yourself in a corner. Because what you consider to be success right now, you know, it could be exponentially bigger than that. But you're not doing it for the monetary reward, necessarily, what you're trying to do, as you grow your business is become the person you're meant to be. I know that sounds a little philosophical, but it's true. This is, this is how it works. Especially if you're at the beginning of your journey. And I just had the benefit of hindsight, looking back over 17 years, and I kind of, you know, I even miss the early me, because I looked back and saw the hopes and dreams and fears and anxiety. And it's easy to kind of chuckle at that. But at the same time, you have to realize that that journey is you know, you become what you do, right. So choose carefully.

Kathleen Shannon 41:44
So good, so much wisdom here. And that's really a lesson that I feel like I'm going through right now, because I'm at a place where my business is making good money. And even being boss is doing really well. And it can become easy to get addicted to the metrics, and not even just money, but sometimes Instagram likes, and you start to place a certain amount of I don't know if it's worth but it almost feels like an addiction. You're like, Okay, how can I get more and then you forget what you you start serving money versus serving your your tribe trying?

Brian Clark 42:26
Yeah, that's another that's another issue that happens, you know, you could paint yourself into a corner where you're not growing anymore. But I've also seen people, this is much more common, take their eye off the ball, and then all of a sudden, they're not doing all that well at this thing anymore. Not to mention the fact that perhaps they missed the next phase that they were supposed to go to

Kathleen Shannon 42:47
totally. Um, Emily, do you have any other questions for Brian?

Emily Thompson 42:53
I, we always end with a fun question about how or any advice you have for people who, who just want to be balls?

Brian Clark 43:04
Well, as I think both of you mentioned, so when I started copyblogger, it's interesting, I was naive in that I was a person who could write who became an entrepreneur. So I wanted to turn all writers into entrepreneurs. And that was pretty myopic of me. It's a very different personality type, I mean, and that's why I've been fortunate enough to be able to hire and work with so many talented writers because they like the environment that I've provided. So that was one of those instances where you are part of a tribe, and yet you're different and you don't see it, and then you try to impress upon others, or you get frustrated with other people because they won't act like you do. So now with unemployable, I make it quite clear that I don't mind if you listen if you're if you haven't quit yet, but you'll never hear me tell you to, because that is not up to me. And that is not my decision. And frankly, if you're going to do it, if you are unemployable you that there's no way that job will keep you, right. That's my philosophy. So I don't want to discourage anyone, but I love talking to people who are out there. You know, whether they're treading water or swimming laps, they're doing it on their own Dewar's I love, you know, so, nothing wrong with dreaming. But if you're really meant to do it, you're gonna do it.

Kathleen Shannon 44:31
I love it. Thank you so much for coming onto the show.

Brian Clark 44:36
Thank you for having me. This is fun. And I still enjoyed our conversation on branding. That episode did really well. So good.

Kathleen Shannon 44:44
Good. Well, thanks. Yeah. And our listeners can find that over at unemployable and we'll include all the links in the show notes. Where else can we find more from you, Brian?

Brian Clark 44:55
So of course there is copyblogger. If you're interested in learning Or getting better at what we call content marketing, you know, providing valuable content that also builds your business. We have a bunch of free ebooks that you can find over there and register for which is a really good starter education. We have a podcast network now called rainmaker.fm. So if you're more of the audio audio type, which I would suspect a lot of people are listening to this are you may want to check that out. It covers a lot of the same stuff. But if you're if you're kind of a total newbie to content marketing, I would go get the ebooks and and build off of that foundation. And then come over there and listen in. But yeah, those are our two main content platforms. We obviously sell a bunch of stuff as well. But we love to educate first see if it goes anywhere from there.

Emily Thompson 45:52
Hey, bosses. I'm going to take a second to interrupt this episode to tell you that if you're liking being boss, and you're ready to level up your game, we've got something just for you. Check out the being boss bundle. It's Kathleen's DIY coaching for creatives and my Get your shit together series bundled together at one low price just for you bosses. You can find that at love being boss comm slash bundle.

Kathleen Shannon 46:19
If you like being boss, be sure to sign up for our newsletter at love being boss calm, where you'll get episode worksheets, secret content, and other goodies delivered straight to your inbox every week. Again, that's love being boss calm. Do the work. The boss and we'll see you next week.