In Ep. 027, Tim talks with Brendan Hufford about the importance of building a brand. Brendan started out working as a teacher, to then also running his own e-commerce site, podcasting, blogging, making videos, to now working for an SEO company while ALSO having his own SEO consulting firm as well. They talk about the importance of picking the right platform for you, and making sure entrepreneurship is in your DNA.
Brendan Hufford – Building a Brand – Transcript
Tim Mullooly: Welcome back to Living With Money. This is Tim Mullooly. On today’s episode I’m joined by Brendan Hufford. Brendan now owns his own SEO consulting agency, but has done a lot of things in the past. So, Brendan, thanks for coming on the podcast and do you want to just give a background on yourself? The early years of your career and how you kind of worked up to where you are today.
Brendan Hufford: Totally. First off, Tim, thanks so much for having me on. I’m pretty stoked to chat. I went to college for a teacher because apparently people feel that letting 18 years olds decide, despite not being able to drink, we should be able to decide what we’re going to do for the rest of our lives. I went to college for teaching, became a teacher. After a couple years I was like, “I don’t think this is the thing for me.” I love teaching, I just couldn’t live my whole life making forty-five thousand a year. There are cool parts to teaching, but I just didn’t think that it was something I wanted to do for the next 40 years of my life, and I think a lot of people should consider that with their careers.
So I started a side business. I started a little website, grew that website into a local kind of community website around a martial art that I love, called Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Ended up starting an apparel review company because somebody sent me some free stuff and I’m like, “Well, I guess that’s a thing. Where you send me things and I write about them.” So I started my own review website. I found Pat Flynn and he had interviewed somebody who is a camera … Making a full time living off of reviewing cameras. I’m like, “Well, duh, let me be the jiu-jitsu gi review guy.” Then I found out that I was making these gi companies tens of thousands of dollars with my review, and all I was getting was a free uniform.
So I started my own gi company and figured out manufacturing in China and Pakistan, because there’s only one place in the United States that you can get them made anymore, and they’re a company that makes their own stuff, so they’re not going to make it for anybody else. But they had to import the machinery back from China and Pakistan. So I figured out imports, exports, made this company, looked at the writing on the wall, and the writing on the wall was I’m going to have to send six figure checks to a factory in Pakistan I’ve never been to, and I didn’t want that. So I was, “I’m out.” Sold the company, sold the gi review website. It still exists in the world, that makes me really happy that I’ve created something that other people took over and are running with it.
But then I just had a couple of friends that were photographers they said, “We need help with marketing. You’re kind of a marketing guy.” That was my unfair advantage in my jiu-jitsu company is most people were just were in love with the martial art, I loved the business. I love business first. I helped them with SEO. I was still teaching this whole time. So I was in education for 10 years, and then I decided why not just align my life? I’m doing these SEO client work, why not see if I can get a job doing SEO? I looked very specifically at opportunities, I didn’t need to quit teaching, I didn’t need to do it full-time. I was making good money teaching, I got my summers off, I got little kids, I have a two year old and a five year old, it was just decent life. But I was like, “I wonder what happens if I can just focus on one thing? Not have to pretend that I care about lesson plans, but really I care about getting links for my clients.”
I took a position as the SEO director at a agency here in Chicago called Clique Studios, that I absolutely love. And I still get to do consulting on the side, kind of more smaller scale stuff. Getting to work with people that maybe can’t afford, not even afford, but they’re just a little bit smaller scale businesses than the ones that I work with in my day job. And I get to work with amazing big clients in my day job. So I get this full scope of what works with really small websites in terms of SEO. But then how are going to tackle this big complicated SEO problem with this global brand that has all of these, like really unique problem solving.
So that’s where I’m at today, and I love it, because I still get to be me. I still get to be a personal brand and Clique loves that, because the more I build myself up, the better we get at Clique together. They really believe in that, so we’re really aligned ethically. Yeah, I still get to kind of do my own thing, which is super fun.
Tim Mullooly: That’s great, finding a way to align your passions with making money, and having a successful career. On your website, and you mentioned him before you talked about Pat Flynn, I also read Gary Vaynerchuk who I follow extensively as well. Can you talk a little bit about what each of those guys did for you, and how they might be able to help other people as well?
Brendan Hufford: Pat and Gary are like my Obi-Wan, and my Yoda, I guess.
Tim Mullooly: Right.
Brendan Hufford: Right, I get to be Luke Skywalker apparently. So I found Pat Flynn, I wish I had some sort of romantic story about like oh I discovered him in YouTube, and here’s what I was looking for, and blah, blah, blah. I have no idea how I discovered Pat Flynn. I think I was Googling how to set up a word press website, or how to build an email list, and I found Smart Passive Income. And I do work with Pat now, I’m on his team, I do work with him on content, and in his community. So that’s a lot of fun, I’ve got to know him really well. I was one of the first fifty people on his really popular Smart Passive Income podcast. I’ve gotten to know him really well. He’s wonderful, because he went from being laid off as an architect, to building a couple small websites, to kind of documenting that process, and teaching people how to do it. And now he does all sorts of cool things, and he makes some really good resources for people kind of just starting.
Gary Vaynerchuk’s great too, just because he doesn’t … The number one person in your life usually that’s trying to tell you to quit your job, and build a business, is also selling you a course, or some sort of product to help you do that. And Gary is just like, “Nah, man. I just write these books, and just put out it.” He’s just really prolific, he’s everywhere, he dominates the conversation. And I think the meta is the best thing he’s selling, is like watch what he’s doing. What platform is he going on? How is he communicating there? How does he do this, how does he do that? And Gary was great.
I found Gary in the early days when he had seven YouTube videos, and they were all wine library, and him giving a talk at a real estate conference. I just would stay up late watching these, and that’s when I was watching them I was like, “Ah.” He just kept saying it’s in my DNA, it’s in my DNA, and I was like, “This is in my DNA too.” And I thought like my mom started a non-profit, my dad owns his own business, martial arts business. I look back at stories growing up of how I sold baseball cards, and how I would create these little mini businesses, things like you look back and you’re like, “Oh, this is in my DNA, this is who I’ve always been.” No wonder I feel so unsatisfied just teaching. Now, running a business, I feel so much more satisfied.
Tim Mullooly: I found Pat through the Power-Up podcast course. So, like you were saying he has a lot of great resources out there for people looking to get started in podcasting, and other things online as well. And one of the first books I read coming out of college was “Crush It” by Gary V. Another great book as well.
Brendan Hufford: I think first, my clarification with Gary specifically is I looked at my chapter one, and I looked at his chapter one. Gary didn’t make any content about Gary for years. He just made content for his business, and I think that’s what a lot of people miss. They’re trying to be Gary V before they started a business, they’re trying to vlog, and write blogs, and podcast about the process, when they’re not even doing it.
Tim Mullooly: They haven’t even done the process yet.
Brendan Hufford: Right, I didn’t start my podcast until a couple years into running my jiu-jitsu company, because then I was like, “Alright, I have something to say now. I have this thing in me that I like. And telling my friends, and they’re looking at me like I’m crazy because they don’t care. I need to tell the world this. I listen to a lot of podcasts, I’m going to make one.” And I think a lot of people try to skip, they try to make their chapter one, Gary’s chapter twenty-two, and that’s not going to work because he has a team. I don’t remember the recent count, but I remember hearing twenty people on his team, or fifteen people now work full-time on his personal brand. People on his level, should be watching what he’s doing, and just copying it. Just wholesale copy it, get a team.
There’s a guy named Ryan Serhant, he’s a real estate agent and broker in New York I think, and he just started vlogging, and just is straight up just copying the model of Gary, and they’re great vlogs. I love watching them, and I think more people on his level should copy him. But other people should just take a step back and be like what did he do for ten years, I should do that for ten years.
Tim Mullooly: So you talked about the jiu-jitsu apparel website a little bit. Do you have any tips for someone who is starting their own e-commerce store? Were there any sort of challenges, rough times along the way when getting that started?
Brendan Hufford: Yeah man. So I think a couple things, number one, everybody wants to hack it, right? They’re like, “Ah, I’m going to set up Shopify, I’m going to set up the thing where they get card abandonment emails, and put a messenger bot on my Facebook.” They try to just do all, they want to play business, and not actually do business. You’re setting up, essentially they set up the business, and the marketing, and ignore the product. Yeah, is your product solving a problem? We think about this with digital products a lot, we’re solving a need, and a problem that people have. We think about this in terms of content.
For some reason people are like, “Yeah, I’m going to start a T-shirt company.” Bro, does the world need more T-shirts? “Well it’s going to be motivational.” Bro, does the world need more motivational, like what are you doing? Cool, you went from every T-shirt company, you’re like every T-shirt company, millions of them. Down to motivational T-shirt company, there’s probably thousands of those. How are you going to play in a, it’s this idea of blue ocean, right?
Tim Mullooly: Right.
Brendan Hufford: There’s this really cool book called “Blue Ocean Strategy” that I recommend people check out. Just figure out what are you actually attacking in your industry. So I didn’t just start a jiu-jitsu apparel company, I started jiu-jitsu apparel company that was kids first, because I figured that jiu-jitsu’s going to go the way of Taekwondo, well it becomes a youth focus martial art. There’s not a lot of thirty-four year olds doing Taekwondo anymore. But there’s a billion twelve year olds, and I was like I think jiu-jitsu’s will be this way too. If you’re looking to start your own e-commerce store, don’t believe the hype. Consider, is the person telling me to start this e-commerce store somebody selling me a product on how to do it, or how to make it on easy street, or whatever. The fast track product. If they are, stop listening to what they’re saying. Look at people who’ve done it successfully, and reverse engineer what they’ve done, and then go from there.
People try to buy the product, and they’re not looking at what people are actually doing, and that’s been, I think that’s kind of recurring theme for me. Is just the tips is to look at whose successful in e-commerce, and then study what they’re doing.
Tim Mullooly: Gary talks about how he thinks entrepreneurship is in fashion right now, it’s the cool thing to do. So would you recommend that people really think twice before they start their own e-commerce store, or define whether or not they are an entrepreneur before they start doing something entrepreneurial?
Brendan Hufford: I mean, of course, right?
Tim Mullooly: It seems kind of common sense. But for some people-
Brendan Hufford: Nah man, you get into this ecosystem, and this echo chamber of everybody should-ing me, I really should, you should do it, you should. And you end up seeing their life, and you don’t see their real life, you see the life they project on Instagram, and the life that they sound like they live on their podcast, or their blog, or whatever. And you don’t see the hard stuff, right? I think a lot of people see me, and this is something I’ve started talking about really recently on my blog, and on my personal newsletter is I’ve rewired, this is only in retrospect that I can see this. I’ve rewired my brain for business success. People think I make a lot of money, and I do make way more than I’ve ever made, like I’m making more now than I’ve ever made in my whole life.
But what if I told you to get there, I had to rewire my brain to only be happy under three circumstances. When I start a new project, when I get a new client, or when I make new money. I’m on retainer, that’s what SEO is, I get paid every single month. But once I get a new client, I’m fire up, I’m like, “Yeah, landed a new client. They’re going to pay me this much every single month, and we have a six month contract.” But what you don’t know is that months two through six, I’m not happy anymore. So I have this hedonic treadmill of constantly pursuing happiness, and new, and new, and new. I’m just freaking sad all the time.
Tim Mullooly: Yeah.
Brendan Hufford: If I’m not getting a new client, starting a new project, or getting some sort of public acclaim, I’m sad, and I don’t know why. Nobody talks about that stuff, and they just see like, “Whoa, he’s in Spain, and he’s talking on a stage.” And they don’t realize that dude might’ve gone back to his hotel room and just sobbed all night, because he’s not happy. And he’s not going to tell anybody that, because than nobody’s going to buy his products.
There’s a really great podcast called Zen Founder, Sherry Walling has lost a bunch of friends to suicide, she’s also I think a clinical therapist. And she interviews entrepreneurs, and talks through all of these mental health issues, and things like that. People who are usually wired, you know you talked about are you really wired for this, is this in your DNA? If it is, you’re probably kind of screwed up on some other levels, right? There’s a quote from Jamie Foxx where he talks about, “If God is going to give you all these abilities, he’s going to hold you back in some other areas, and you’re going to have to figure out how to navigate that.”
So I think that if you’re really considering this life, realize that there’s costs. There a cost to play this game.
Tim Mullooly: You’ve got to be able to understand that there are the glamorous parts that mostly everyone sees. But there might be some things under the surface that you’re not expecting, or you might not be able to handle, and it might not be for everyone.
Brendan Hufford: So I don’t talk about this a lot, but I missed my grandmother’s funeral because I was an idiot and I went to a conference. I thought it was going to be a life changing conference, I thought I was going to meet people there that would radically change my life, and I couldn’t miss it. And I’m like, “I’m not flying back across the country for my grandmother’s funeral.” And I missed that, and I’ll never get that back.
Tim Mullooly: Right.
Brendan Hufford: That’s terrible, what a horrible person. What horrible person does that. My grandmothers really important to me, and in my life. But I can only see that looking backwards. So I think that … I know we went on a very, we got real dark for some reason. But I think it’s honest, and I think it’s really important to understand the context of all of it, right?
Tim Mullooly: Right, you know that what I was asking. There are some truths in there that people who only see the fashionable, glamorous side of entrepreneurship, and starting your own business, they don’t see that kind of stuff. So I think it is, well you’re saying dark sometimes. But yeah, I think it’s important to kind of shed light on some of the other aspects that people might not expect when getting started in this type of business.
Brendan Hufford: Absolutely, and I think kind of to your point to bring it back. I’m doing this because I can’t not do this. My parents-in-law were jokingly group texted our whole family, so my wife’s parents. They were like, “We bought the power ball ticket, here we go. If we win nobody has to work again.” And immediately my brain was like, I would still do this. I wouldn’t just not work. I love where I work, and I love my clients, and I love talking to you. I would still do this, I think when you all of a sudden are like, ah, if money is not the goal, and freedom is not the goal, would I still do this even if I had money and freedom. Then you’re getting a little bit closer to like your north star.
Tim Mullooly: For you, podcasting, and blogging has helped build a brand. What are some of the best ways for people to experiment, in terms of building a brand, different platforms like blogging, podcasting? What do you think works well for people?
Brendan Hufford: So let’s start out, the thing that doesn’t work well is trying to start a blog, a podcast, and a YouTube channel all at once.
Tim Mullooly: Right.
Brendan Hufford: Pick one. Pick the one that you would look forward to, not doing the cool, like we want the results, but not the work. Being YouTube famous, or Instagram famous, or having a popular blog with a lot of subscribers, or a popular podcast with a lot of downloads. We want that thing. But, look at the work of it. So blogging is writing and editing. Podcasting is recording and editing, and YouTube is filming and editing. If that’s the work, which work do I like most? If I like editing video the most, or editing audio, or editing text. In your brain, one of those is going to be preferred, do that one first.
Tim Mullooly: Right.
Brendan Hufford: Get that momentum, because you can always bring a blog audience to a podcast, or a podcast audience to YouTube. A lot of times people focus on the shares, and the downloads, and the views, and the comments; and they don’t choose based on the work. They choose based on the result they want, and that’s a really big mistake because in the end all you’re promised is the work, and you’re going to have to do … If you’re just starting, you’re going to do a lot of bad work, and nobody’s going to see it. That’s good, you don’t want an audience right away. It’s too much pressure, and most of your early stuff sucks.
You’re going to have to put in a lot of time, and a lot of work to find your voice, and again, it’s all good things. You’re working out some stuff at the beginning. Focus more on the work. As far as building a brand, and other things, really which way do you have to share what you have to say. I know there’s a lot of YouTubers that sound really great on YouTube, but I’ve seen them try to go to Twitch, and livestream, and it bombs. It just tanks because they’re not funny live. They’re funny with jump cuts, and hey, how, POW, ring.
Tim Mullooly: Exactly.
Brendan Hufford: Star wipes and everything, and they seem really funny, and interesting. But you actually have to listen to them talk for five minutes straight, and you’re like oh, well. So figure out what way you can best express. Are you better with blogging, where you want to write, and then revise, and revise, and get an editor to look at it, and they’ll give you some thoughts. Consistency is super important. But again, don’t let anybody should you into well you should do it weekly. No, figure out a cadence that you can you your best work.
So I love this analogy from CrossFit of, “Do I want it with perfect form, or do I want it as fast as possible.” Yes, yes, I want both. There’s probably a good chance you can do both at 80%. 80% at top speed, and 80% will keep you safe in terms of form. So if you think about your content, if you’re blogging set a cadence where it can be 80% of the best work you can make at 80% of max speed, and that gives you a good cadence for you. As you get better, maybe you’ll get to the point where you can do daily, or twice a week. But at first, just try to do one a month. But yeah, I think consistency is key, but you have to set that cadence for yourself.
Tim Mullooly: Yeah, I totally agree 100% of what you just said. So how can your current SEO consulting business help other entrepreneurs?
Brendan Hufford: So I think SEO is really important because you’re optimizing for search. You are answering questions. You’re not a billboard, you’re not an advertisement, you’re not interrupting somebody who’s trying to consume one piece. I’m not on YouTube trying to watch a video about how to edit my podcast, and here comes this jerk with six pack abs. I don’t want to see that right now, that’s ridiculous. If I’m making content around six pack abs, it’s people looking for that. You’re not making anybody an irritated, or annoyed trying to force it on them. It’s people searching for what you do, it’s people searching for your knowledge. Search primarily is focused on written content. I’m sure at some point Google is going to get to the point where they’re going to be, I’ll be able to upload a picture, and they’ll be like oh cool, that’s that red barn on 8th street in Reading, Pennsylvania. It’ll just know. But for now, it’s just this is a picture, it doesn’t even really know what it is unless I put text with it.
So Google primarily indexes words. So we’re talking about written content. First of all, I always think of content as if you care about search traffic, and you care about humans, you owe it to them and to search, the humans using search, which is all of us, right? You should make the best possible content on a given topic. Don’t write a two hundred word blog post about how to pick the career for you. Be Tim Urban from a website called Wait, But Why, who wrote a twelve thousand word article about how to pick the right career for you that included the most insane graphics and analogies I’ve ever heard in my whole life. He had this octopus of self-actualization, and each of the tentacles was different, “I need to feel fulfilled in my faith, but also in giving back. But I also want money.” You should link it in the show notes, it’s the most insane thing I’ve ever seen, and it’s easily the best piece of content on the internet about finding a career that fits you.
What’s cool is that now people looking for that information are going to find him, and he will radically change their life. And I think if you have expertise, if you don’t feel like you’re an expert in anything, get to be, right? I didn’t go to college for SEO, I just learned it. You can learn anything on the internet now. Take a couple months, become a real expert in something, apply it to some things, learn, get some in the trenches’ knowledge, and then create really good, long form written differentiate content around it. And people who are looking for your help will just start showing up at your door, it’s the best. I love the model.
Tim Mullooly: So how has that model kind of shifted over the years though? Google is constantly changing their requirements, and stuff like that. How have you seen the world of SEO change over the years?
Brendan Hufford: It’s gotten so much less scammy, and spammy, and Google’s getting ever closer to figuring out ways to give you the best results for humans. So people say, “You just make the best content, and it’ll rank.” It won’t, there’s still other factors. One of the primary factor is the content on the page. The second biggest factor I would argue is links, it’s how Google tells whether you’re an authority or not. We don’t know if it’s causation, or correlation, but we know that the things that rank highest tend to have more links than the things that rank below them. We also know that only 6% of content will rank on the first page of Google for any, for even one key word, within the first year. It’s not that it’s going to take a year, it’s just that only 6% of content deserves to be ranked on the first page of Google, right?
Most of the content out there is terrible, and you have to make the best thing on the internet, and then get people to link to it. Either through guest posting, or outreach, or just building relationships, right? Getting people to link to your content is really hard, because it’s a very small set of people that have a website, and are willing to let you write for them, or link to you in an article, and things like that. Most people, most humans on the earth do not own a website. Back in the day, you could just buy some subscriptions to some software, and they would churn up a bunch of scammy blog posts, and put them on random weird websites.
And Google was like, “You guys are manipulating the system, these are terrible. Here’s an update that destroys everybody whose been doing that.” And we’ve seen that again, and again, and again.
And what I’ve found with client work, I push back really hard against the SEO blogs where all they talk about is SEO on their SEO blog about SEO, and they love to say, “Well, I rank first for back links, and obviously SEO is the hardest niche to rank in.” False, if you say that you’ve never tried to rank a website in pharmaceuticals, or medical, or legal. And there’s so much money trading, way more than people who want to learn SEO. Ranking for back links is infinitely easier than ranking for divorce attorney, New York City. I think what’s changed over the years is Google’s just delivering better results, and what we see, because I have so many clients from a global cycling company, down to a local interior designer. I see the same thing works for all of them, and that’s really high quality definitive content. Every time there’s an update, I hear about people whining, “Oh, I got hammered by this update, or that update.”
Well why weren’t you just doing good honest work. It takes longer, but every update my clients get better, and better rankings and more, and more traffic. So every time Google puts out an update, I’m like, “Sweet, things are about to get a lot better for me and my clients.” So it’s just, it’s getting closer to the best results for people. Google’s even starting to figure out ways to use UX, user experience. When you get to the website, how good is the experience there, and that’ll increase rankings. Just keep making yourself better for people, and you’ll do really well.
Tim Mullooly: Yeah, I feel like getting rid of all those scammy things is ultimately the best thing for people searching. So it sounds like all good updates coming, and helping people determine what’s the best content out there. You were talking before about how you were teaching primarily, and then doing the eCommerce store, and things on the side. For you, they’re only so many hours in the day. How have you learned to manage your time properly, and become as productive as possible?
Brendan Hufford: I’ll try not to talk too long on this. I had to get really good at it, right? I had a little kid. So my son was born in 2013, my first son. We’re going to have another baby, so we’ll have three boys in September. So my first son was born in May of 2013, I finished out the school year, summer break with the baby, loved it, the best. Started the next school year, and the first Wednesday of school the assistant principal was, we had a meeting she was like, “Hey, have your lesson plans done. I checked your curriculum apps, they look great, and today’s my last day.” And I was like, “We’re three days into the school year.” She’s like, “Yeah, but I got another job, and the school board at my new district couldn’t meet to confirm me until the year started. I’ve had the job, but I had to get it signed contract.” And I’m like, “Well that’s terrible that they screwed us over by taking you and not letting us know earlier.”
But it also opened up an assistant principal position, and I was like, “Oh, well I’m an overachiever, I’ll do this.” And I became an assistant principal with a newborn son, and that was monumentally stupid. I love the idea, I think it was a, I could be telling the story wrong. But Albert Einstein was a patent clerk, because he could sit at his desk and get all of his work done in an hour, and then the rest of the day he could work on his other stuff, and I should have kept doing that with teaching. Now granted, it was a little bit more money. I’m pretty sure I was the lowest paid assistant principal in the state of Indiana. Not as a joke, but I actually looked at the numbers because its public information and I’m pretty sure I was.
Tim Mullooly: Oh wow.
Brendan Hufford: But it was still a little bit more money, but a lot more time. So I had to, I wanted to say all that to set the context of like oh, he’s trying to build a thing. But he’s got a newborn baby, and a spouse who just had a baby, and he’s also an assistant principal now, which is insane. So I had to get really good at two things. Number one, figuring out time management. That was extremely important. There’s a lot of people that are like, “Ah, I don’t have time to do this, I only have an hour a day.” I’m like, “You’re a liar,” number one. A, how many hours do you sleep. “Well I got to get my eight hours.” Cool, then don’t complain. If you got to get eight hours and that’s more fulfilling to get eight hours for the next thirty years, then getting six hours, and living a life with more freedom, or whatever, whatever you’re trying to get out of this thing you’re building. Cool, but just don’t whine about it.
Tim Mullooly: Right.
Brendan Hufford: And I think a big thing is I just first, decided to sleep less. I woke up earlier, I started getting up at 4 AM, that became 3 AM for a while. I was just a maniac, I got more time out of my day. I also audited, and scheduled everything. So is this serving, is this making the boat go faster is a great analogy that I like. So I really kind of focused, and I just audited my time. You say you don’t have time for this, but you watched all of season two of Glow last week.
Tim Mullooly: Right.
Brendan Hufford: What do you want? I say that because I watched all of season two of Glow last week. I’m just not going to whine about not having enough time. I know what I’m doing with my time.
Tim Mullooly: Right, you have to own those choices.
Brendan Hufford: So cool, I did that. But now A, it’s a funny story I guess because I just said it out loud and you chuckled. Also, I just decided it was worth it.
Tim Mullooly: I chuckled because I also watched it last week as well.
Brendan Hufford: So good.
Tim Mullooly: We’re in the same boat there.
Brendan Hufford: Nice. But yeah, I think auditing your time, and then getting up early. You can get more time, that’s time management. I have one pivotal one I’ll touch on that last. I think in terms of productivity, there’s a lot of little hacks. Batch processing, and cutting out your information intake, just stop reading blog posts if you’re afraid that you’re going to lose them, or like, “What if I need this later?” I think the biggest thing though, the one that everybody forgets, and skips. They’re thinking alright, I hear you man, I’m going to wake up early, I’m going to batch process, I’m going to four hour work weeks and only answer email twice a day, whatever. They’re hearing all this stuff.
But they haven’t sat down with their partner, or their spouse and gotten them on board. This is something I’ve heard echoed from Pat Flynn, to Gary Vaynerchuk, to Ryan Holiday another person that I think the absolute world of. They all say the number one thing they did was they made sure their spouse was a 100% on board with what they’re doing. And if your spouse is not on board with what you’re doing, reverse engineer what will get them on board. Not in a manipulative way. But how can you sell, they’re your first customer, sell them on this.
Tim Mullooly: Right.
Brendan Hufford: Sell them on what you’re doing, and it’s going to take a lot of time. I remember my wife asked me my first website, “How’s this going to make money?” And I’m like, “Shoot, I don’t know. We’ll figure it out.” I don’t know, and she asked me all the time. I told her we’re doing podcasts, I had a couple podcast interview scheduled today, and she’s like, “Well is that really meeting your business goals?” And I’m like, “Ah, I hate that you’re better at business now than I am. But no, but I want to do them.” The fact that she’s on board, she’s like, “Cool, then do them,” and the thing is having your spouse on board makes everything else easier. If you’re constantly fighting with them, it’s not worth selling your company for a billion dollars if your kids hate you, and you’re on your third divorce, right?
Tim Mullooly: Right.
Brendan Hufford: So getting them on board is my number one. All the thing’s productivity, happiness. People are like, “What’s the best way to lose weight?” Get your spouse on board with it first. It’s the best hack for everything you want to accomplish in your life is making sure you and your spouse are a 100% aligned, and on the same page. And if that means you need to wait a year to start a business because you need to figure out your relationship with them first, do that.
Tim Mullooly: Right, yeah I feel like having some sort of support system behind you is only going to make it easier going forward. That spouse is the first person there to support you when things get tough, or when something great happens for you. I feel like getting your spouse on board though is a pretty good test of how good you are at selling what you’re about to do.
Brendan Hufford: A 100%. Looking at them as your first, and most important ever customer, and you have to keep reselling them. Oh I’m thinking of doing webinars, sell them. Sell them on why that’s going to be effective.
Tim Mullooly: Yep.
Brendan Hufford: If you can’t articulate it to them because you’ve just been listening to a lot of podcasts that are telling you should do webinars, but you can’t even explain to your spouse why, probably pause. Give yourself pause. Not telling you you’re wrong, but just that should click in your brain of oh, maybe I don’t know, maybe I should rethink this.
Tim Mullooly: You were talking about your podcast a little bit before. Can you tell the listeners a little bit more about the podcast, and the episodes that are out there now, and what listeners can expect to get from listening to the podcast?
Brendan Hufford: I’ve done a bunch of different things. I blog, I focus on each one kind of one at a time. The podcast is called Entrepreneurs and Coffee, it was based on, this is before Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee came out, which is one of my favorite shows also on Netflix. But I found a cool graphic for a meetup that was called Cars and Coffee, and my logo if you ever Google Cars and Coffee, and you see their meetup logo. You’ll see my logo, it’s like a light bulb for entrepreneurship, and then half a coffee cup. Looks very similar to that. I also made the logo look very similar, it had a big green circle around the outside so it looked very similar to Starbucks.
My favorite episode is the one where I played the recording from the Starbucks attorney that called me to tell me to change my logo. That was terrifying, that was horrendous. I’m a principal at a school, and I see a missed number from Seattle, and I saw they left a message. So I played it, and it’s like, “Hey, this is Robert I’m an attorney for Starbucks corporation. Just want to discuss your podcast logo, legal action.” But at that point it was just like brr, I didn’t hear the rest of the message. I was just like, “Oh, I’m dying. I’m going to get sued by Starbucks,” I didn’t, right? His solution, make it orange. I’m like, “That’s not how branding works. I can’t just make it orange.”
Anyways, we ended up changing it. It still looks similar, if you find it, it’s called Entrepreneurs and Coffee. If you want to go to a shortcut website it’s the letter Eandcoffee.com will take you there in iTunes, or Apple Podcasts, whatever. I wanted an excuse to talk to people who inspired me and influenced me. I wanted to talk to them about taking action, and making moves in their business. Over time, it morphed to more of a Tim Ferriss, and Joe Rogan style podcast where I’m just going to research the heck out of you, and I just want to hear the journey, and I want to hear the journey. And I want to hear what your inflection points were, and then the in between. Some episodes are me actually doing, answering peoples questions.
So they called in with voicemails, we used the thing called SpeakPipe. They can leave messages, I answer their questions on the air. That was super fun, we build some community around it. I loved it, still good friends with a lot of people who asked questions on there today, and a lot of the other ones were just me talking about my business. Things that I had learned, sharing knowledge like teaching, right? I’m a teacher at heart, so I always want to teach. Even now as I’m talking, I want to teach, I want to share. I want people to take action on the stuff their hearing, not just passively listen.
So the whole goal of the podcast was that, and then just again, to connect people with a lot of people that they might not have already connected with. I didn’t want to talk to Tim Ferriss, and Tony Robins, or whoever, Richard Branson, I didn’t want to talk to them. I wanted to talk to people who founded Esports startups, that they maybe have never heard of. I wanted to talk to a guy who started the most amazing non-profit around trash collection in Detroit, and how he build this whole community around their trash issue in Detroit. Things like that, where it’s like I want to take you outside of our usual echo chamber, and get to hear something from somebody totally new.
Tim Mullooly: Well that’s awesome, and I’m definitely going to link to it in the show notes for anyone listening out there. Definitely go out and check out that podcast. So between podcasting, blogging, teaching, SEO, you’ve done so much already. Are there any new things on the horizon for you in the next couple of years that you haven’t done yet?
Brendan Hufford: Yeah, when I left my teaching position I made a bunch of, I started vlogging. I probably put out ten, or eleven vlogs, and I was like, I know SEO with Google, organic search in Goggle. I should learn YouTube SEO. It’s the second biggest search engine, I should learn this. So I went back in, I tool my vlogs, which you can’t change the videos once they’re up. And I just looked at how could I change this in terms of uploading a transcript, changing what’s in the descriptions, the tags, the titles. What I found was by optimizing … YouTube does two things, they look at all that metadata. But their biggest metric is are people going to watch this? What’s the watch time? How long, if they watch this are they going to watch another video, or leave YouTube?
So they want to keep people on the platform. What I realized my vlogging style really was way better than a lot of the other talking head videos that were out there on the topics that I was talking about, like quitting my teaching career. I think the video about quitting, my last day of teaching is somewhere at twenty-nine thousand views.
Tim Mullooly: Wow.
Brendan Hufford: I have three hundred and fifty subscribers, I haven’t put out a video about anything significant in over a year, and it just keeps growing, and more comments, and all these other things. So I want to do more on YouTube, I love video editing. I want to just learn the platform better, right? It makes me a better marketer, and better at search if I can speak to YouTube, and organic Google search. So I want to learn that, do it, but learn it by doing it.
Tim Mullooly: Awesome, look forward to seeing those videos coming in the future. Brendan, that’s all the questions I had for today. Thanks so much for coming on the podcast, I really appreciate you taking the time to answer some of my questions.
Brendan Hufford: Yeah, absolutely. Tim, to be honest with you I have nothing but gratitude for being on a podcast. All of the work is on you, the podcaster. It’s your audience, it’s you editing, it’s you doing all of this work, and I just get to show up, and do my thing, and be the best that I can be. I’m super grateful for the opportunity to chat with you, and support the work that you’re doing, and yeah. So thank you to you, thank you for having me on.
Tim Mullooly: It’s much appreciated. That’s going to wrap up this episode of Living With Money. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you on the next one.
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