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I feel like I missed the boat in some ways while in college. Instead of partying and drinking… and studying of course… I should’ve taken more advantage of things.
Like down time without a mortgage, wife, and kids. Or cool lectures.
And, yeah, I should’ve started a business in my dorm. Like the subject of our featured story did (and Mark Zuckerberg too).
You need to check out how Alex from Beacon Brand Identity is flat out killing it. And he’s only a sophomore.
Originally from Brecksville, Ohio, I am a college sophomore at The Ohio State University studying marketing and design thinking. My passion is startups; I built my own consulting firm, Beacon Brand Identity, as a college freshman, and I serve as Vice President of Brand and Marketing at the Business Builders, Ohio State’s largest organization within its business school. In the fall of this year, I will be launching The Waypoint Podcast, in which the next industry leaders discuss life and the nitty gritty of becoming titans in their respective fields.
Generally speaking, I help people reach the next level in whatever it is that they are seeking to achieve. This comes through different means depending on whether I am working with Beacon, Business Builders, or The Waypoint. Through Beacon, I help business owners better define the story within their business and communicate that story to the world. In turn, this drives sales for the businesses. Within Business Builders, our team strives to inspire and educate college students that are self driven and interested in building something great for themselves. I hope to share those same ideas with a broader audience through The Waypoint. No matter whether one is trying to build a great business, career, or just an amazing life in general, my mission is to do everything I can to assist that individual on his or her journey.
Much of getting to where I am today (and continuing to grow into the future) comes from self belief and sacrifice. As an entrepreneur, especially one of my age, most people did not initially believe that I could build the business that I have. I believe that people react to most ambitious goals in that manner. Deep down, I had some doubts about my ability to be successful as well; had I allowed the voices of those who did not believe in me to affect my actions, those doubts would have grown, and I think I would have given up a long time ago. I’ve also had to sacrifice a lot, especially in the forms of sleep, studying for classes, and spending time with friends. No matter your age, there’s always a lot of pressure to do what everyone else is doing. My perspective is that you can never achieve one in a million results without putting in one in a million effort. This sometimes means working until 5 am when you have an 8 am class the next day, missing out on hanging out with friends, and otherwise prioritizing what you are trying to create for yourself. You have to be brave enough to overcome the pressure to conform to the status quo.
My experiences in elementary school had a major impact on who I am today for two reasons: I was never very good at school, and I was bullied pretty harshly for my allergy to nuts. The former probably stemmed from the latter. School helped me realize that I was not the kind of person that worked well in environments where there is little room for innovation. From a very young age, I had the self awareness to understand that I didn’t want to work for someone else and build their dreams; I’ve always wanted to go after my own. Being bullied as a little kid gave me a lot of perspective. There’s not much that I am afraid of today, because I’ve faced some of the worst that a human can experience. I’ve been to the edge. So, I don’t really get intimidated by the thought of failure or of things not working out because I’ve been through much worse. You can’t go lower than rock bottom.
Another experience was visiting my grandmother throughout the last decade and a half in her nursing home. She passed away last fall, but I’m very grateful for those trips; they instilled a sense of finality within me. Everyone “knows” that they will die one day, but we never really feel like its reality. Seeing people that were at the end of their lives inspired a lot of introspection for me. I began to think deeply about the goals I want to accomplish, relationships I want to foster, and impact I want to have on the world. Those trips made me determined to not regret failing to accomplish those things when my time comes.
Many business owners, especially small business owners and those just starting out, tend to put storytelling, branding, and design on the back-burner. You can have the best product, the most ambitious sales team, the most funding, etc. and still fail without properly investing in the story your brand tells through copy and visuals. At the end of the day, the process of buying is very instinctive. If your customers don’t subconsciously trust your business, you WILL fail every time. Proper storytelling and brand development is the only way to address this.
Simply put, we build a rapport between your business and your customers so that they trust you and genuinely care about what you do. We start by identifying what matters to your team, what you are trying to achieve, how you see the world, and how you want the world to be different after your product or service has made an impact. From there, we create a story that represents your business that becomes the basis for all future copy and design. Afterwards, it is simply a matter of consistently implementing those ideas into all of the elements that your customers interact with. As I said in my previous answer, this process is of vital importance to any business that wants to be successful in the long term.
I’m in love with Wave Accounting. As a service provider, having a solid system that manages estimates, invoices, bank transfers, and tax documentation is extremely important. Wave blows everything else out of the water.
Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss.
“Your story may not have such a happy beginning, but that does not make you who you are. It is the rest of the story– who you chose to be.” –Michelle Yeoh
I’ve come to learn that, in the B2B world, the best marketing you can do for yourself is building relationships. It isn’t about Google Ad dollars, cold calling, or anything else that you’ve been led to believe. It’s about trust and truly caring about those around you. No amount of money can buy those things. I wish that I would have spent more time developing relationships and purely thinking about helping others– without expectation of return– than I did devising overly detailed marketing plans that lacked the human element.
To elaborate on my last point, taking coffee meetings is super important to me, and I believe most people should do it more often. I’ve heard many people say, “You have to learn to say no more.” I disagree. I try to say yes to as much as possible. Even if the person I am meeting with has no correlation to my business, there is always a lot to be learned from the interaction. I’ve also had numerous random opportunities arise from simply reaching out and saying hi. Focusing on building my network and doing what I can to help those around me succeed has led me to a lot of success.
We are absolutely killing it in branding, web development, and UI/UX design at the moment.
Follow your heart. Be adaptable. Only do it because it makes you happy, not because you’re trying to prove something to another. Create your own story. Thanks for reading and I’d love to chat about what you’re working on/ passionate about! Send me an email and we’ll set up a call!
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Beacon specializes in developing brand strategies, implementing the strategy into tangible elements, and deploying the entire brand through strategic and stunning ad campaigns. Our tangible services include brand design, web development and hosting, UI/UX design for apps and other interfaces, animation, and nearly every other form of graphic design one can imagine.
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