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This week I had the pleasure of sitting down to chat with Self-Taught Designer & Instagram Expert Brandon Groce.
Brandon has worked with Fortune 500 companies such as Disney, Dannon, and LG on projects ranging from Social Media Campaigns to Web Design. He is also the founder of GroceMedia, a Social Media Agency focused on Fitness & Lifestyle brands.
What makes me an expert in my field is that I am able to pull from other areas of my expertise (Social Media, PPC, Conversion Optimization) to help me and my team "design businesses." Not many designers have the skill sets that enable them to create a wholesome revenue-generating ecosystem.
What I mean by that is being able to understand what needs to happen on the Digital Traffic side of things, as well being able to create a Conversion-Optimized website to optimally convert the leads you bring into it. I specialize in both areas of expertise, digital traffic & conversion optimization. I know how to bring people to a site and give them what they came for, in a way that benefits my clients and their customers.
I am a self-taught designer that worked his way up from sleeping on the floor in a very small apartment in Dallas Texas, working my ass off on many Start-Up projects, to working with Fortune 500 Companies and starting my own Social Media Agency, GroceMedia.
I've always wanted to work for myself. I have been a hustler since the age of 9, selling drawing lessons to kids as we all waited in the classroom for our buses to arrive. Then just upgraded at the age of 16 selling design services on the internet... Now here we are 8 years later, doing the same thing just on a different scale... This is the type of thing I live for.
Make sure you set yourself up for success... NEVER kill a fuel source if you don't have to. I wouldn't say hop all at once unless you've covered all your bases in order to account for a nosedive in your plans. I'm not talking about a "plan B", I'm talking about a strategic plan you have to keep yourself afloat while you craft your business. Building a stable foundation for your business is KEY. Set yourself up the best way you can from the beginning. Set up your own rigged game.
I work with Fortune 500 companies and more specifically Fitness & Lifestyle brands on projects ranging from Social Media Campaigns to Web Design.
If you are already proficient in one skill set, start to touch/investigate other skill sets that are parallel to your own. Start to branch out and see how your newly mastered parallel skills can help advance your primary skill set.
Figure out WHAT your business is. Figure out your brand, your offerings, services, target audience, etc. From there, all your answers to who will buy what your selling, what you need to build, etc will be answered for you and you can make action plans on how to get/make those things happen.
I got my first client from someone coming across my work on the internet. The came across my portfolio, loved what I did and was about and It went from there. My best client was also a referral, work I had done for a fitness model was within the social circles of my best client. The fitness model referred me and my team to work for my "best client". My best clients tend to come from referrals mainly because there is already a level of trust in my team's abilities. Also, people tend to find me and my work primarily via Instagram. So, for those who don't have a large of a network as mine. I would prioritize these things:
Instagram is where most of my clientele come from. I would say pick ONE platform or strategy when you are first starting out... Going in 20 different directions at once will drain the hell out of you. Pick on direction, learn and master the hell out of it and scale your efforts from there. For you designers out there though, YOU NEED to be taking advantage of Instagram, the platform favors our type of work. Get in there and kill it if you aren't already.
One way I deal with stress is working out. It does so much for me. It is like a cleanse of my physical tension and acts as an emotional flush. So, if you're having an "ass" day... just change your environment, step outside, take a walk, lift some weights... or even go sit outside, and admire the scenery or things you've never noticed before, an appreciate those new sightings.
I have multiple skill sets compared to my competition. I understand and utilize my design, conversion optimization, and understanding of traffic to "design businesses".
In my personal opinion... DON'T QUIT your day job just yet! What I mean by that is, unless you have resources at your disposal to keep you afloat as you are building your business, don't just kill a fuel source. That income is FUEL for your business. Use that income (fuel source) for advertising, buying resources to learn, software/VA to help take care of some of your tasks, etc. Building a business is stressful, and will 100% take longer than you think. It will be 100%+ more stressful if you ALSO have to worry about $$ in addition to your family if you have one. Having additional stress is NOT what you want for yourself when you need to be out of your emotions to make the proper business decisions. All I'm saying here is just know what resources you need to set yourself up for success. Always play rigged games, and set yourself up for the best outcome.
I love the Youtube channel The Futur. It's great for designers looking to make their own path and gives the steps to do so.
I could NOT live without Instagram. It is my #1 Lead generator as of now.
I love how much I get to learn from the challenges that I am faced with every day. They help me grow leaps and bounds.
This next year we will be seeing where in our processes we can save time in order to use that time to go out and chase even more of the clientele we are looking to work with.
Don't be afraid to feel "stupid". We all look a little funny when we start something new. We just have to embrace that feeling and know in our heart that we will continue and that we WILL get better over time.
Brandon Groce is a self-taught designer whose had the pleasure of working with Fortune 500 companies such as Disney, Dannon, and LG on projects ranging from Social Media Campaigns to Web Design. He is also the founder of GroceMedia, a Social Media Agency focused on Fitness & Lifestyle brands. Follow Brandon on Instagram: www.instagram.com/brand0ngr0ce
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