Becoming An Entrepreneur: 5 Quotes From Brent Colmer That Will Help You Succeed
Becoming an entrepreneur is something you can learn to do on the 28th episode of The Homework Help Show Student Influencers Podcast. Brent Colmer, a Durham-native, took up a business management program at Durham College and shares his knowledge. He knew this path wasn’t going to be easy, but no one else had his determination and made sure he did whatever it took to follow his dream of becoming a talent manager.
Brent On Being An Entrepreneur
Brent was a director of projects and accounts for a creative agency for three years before he started to become an entrepreneur. While he’s always had his own agency on the side, he never had the right time to focus on it completely and work on its full legitimacy. It wasn’t until he left his stable job that he had time to get a master business license for his own firm.
One of his current brands is called Boys Who Blog and it offers creative services. He has focused on these services like marketing tips for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and creators. He helps with brand strategies, marketing, and digital PR. It’s also a form of social media marketing since he is in the influencer sphere and creators are mostly on social media platforms. These marketing services also mean that the brand helps with their clients’ photos, videos, websites, and email marketing strategies.
How To Become An Entrepreneur With No Money
When you’re thinking of becoming an entrepreneur, it’s not as easy as just having an idea. There are a lot of things to consider when starting a business. The most important of which is capital. Even at a young age, Brent was already “addicted” with the online community. The money he would get from his mom after completing chores were spent on his early blogging days.
His favorite platforms that started his digital business career were MySpace, Piczo, Tumblr, and even Habbo Hotel. His blogging platforms reached so much notoriety and about 30,000 views a month, that a representative for celebrity Courtney Cox reached out to him to take a “slanderous” post down.
It’s because he’s made a brand out of himself that people came to trust him when it came to entrepreneurial advice and social media marketing tips. Brent says, “they’re not necessarily buying into, like creator services as an agency. They’re usually coming to work with me.”
Being in the social media sphere, most of your business capital just comes from having a laptop or a cellphone, documenting your journey, and putting yourself out there. Becoming an entrepreneur was possible since Brent started young, he was able to build that legitimacy for his own brand by accumulating loyal followers which then translated into clients.
How To Be Your Own Boss On Social Media
A lot of people want to learn the ins and outs of becoming an entrepreneur through online platforms. What sets content creators apart from other professionals is that they have to share parts of their lives online in order to grow their following. Having a massive follower base isn’t exactly a common prerequisite for most jobs like it is a college degree. Successful entrepreneurs that have made it on social media, whether as content creators or online sellers, have their followers to partially thank for making it.
Brent’s advice for those who are considering becoming an entrepreneur and navigating the social media realm is to not be afraid. Everyone who’s thought of it has felt some sort of hesitation for putting themselves out there. After all, becoming an entrepreneur and a social media influencer is not really for everyone. He says when you get older, you start to gain more confidence. If you build your brand early on, you’ll eventually find out your niche and the people and brands you want to work with find themselves aligning with you. It just takes a little courage to start and share.
You also need to be careful because anything you put online stays there. So you have to be wary of the posts you make especially if you’re a public figure. Brent says, “remember that wherever you are showing up online, like, people remember and ultimately the way you show up is going to be a reflection of your brand, even if you don’t really realize that right now.”
Learn more about How To Become An Influencer from Nathalee Pauline who was the guest for episode 18 of The Homework Help Show Students Influencer Podcast to learn more about being your own boss on social media.
The Perks Of Being Your Own Boss
Because of Brent’s entrepreneurial skills and savviness in learning how to monetize his online platforms, he now doesn’t have to answer to anyone else. Being your own boss means having more autonomy in other areas of your life. For Brent, this also meant his student life.
Brent shared on the podcast, when you’re your own boss, especially on social media, there’s a lot more leeway. He says even if he doesn’t make a post one day, it’s okay. In his college days, volunteering was a big part of his life. His main goal in doing so was to gain experience in the music industry. In his college, there was an organization called the Student Association, who organized concerts and festivals which he became a part of. He became acquainted with roles like public relations and being a middleman for the organization and media outlets. This was definitely one of his high points as a college student since he really loved music.
How To Become An Entrepreneur
Brent’s volunteering work in his college days eventually made way for him to gain a lot of entrepreneur experience. When a company organized one of Canada’s largest festivals, Brent made sure to work with them. Working for a company like that made sense as a career move for Brent given his talent management goals and he was a music student then.
Part of his education at Durham College was an internship that he pursued with this company. He eventually received a job offer with them and worked with them for three years before becoming an entrepreneur. The experience he gained working at this company surely gave him business ideas and entrepreneur tips and strategies. By the end of his time with them, he had worked closely with the founder of the festival. He also learned a lot about PR from them which helped him with how to start a business in marketing. Because Brent volunteered in college, he went on to start a career with a company that worked closely with influencers, celebrities, and athletes.
What we can take away from Brent’s experience is to volunteer in the industry you want to build a business in. You can learn a lot about how to be an entrepreneur from business heads who have actually built successful businesses. Because Brent also was able to network his way to be close to the founder, he got a lot of entrepreneurial ideas.
If you’re trying to start a business, check out our Entrepreneurship Coursework Writing Services and take us with you on your journey to success!
5 Quotes From Brent On How To Become A Successful Entrepreneur
When we asked Brent if he had any advice for those who are thinking of becoming an entrepreneur, here’s what he had to say.
1. “I value education.”
One of the first things Brent shared is how much he values education. He says there’s just a lot that you can take out of pursuing higher education. This is especially true for people who want to pursue very knowledge-specific careers.
We know that a lot of students these days balance a job on the side as well. That’s why we at Homework Help Global pride ourselves in helping students however we can. Our expert services include essay writing on various topics like finance, economics, philosophy, and more. Making use of essay writing services can be helpful if you’re starting your own business with no money and need all the time you can to focus on your budding business.
Another tip Brent had especially if you’re thinking about starting a business with no money is that Canada has a great initiative for students who need financial assistance. The Ontario Student Assistance Program helps students with their education and training needed to build their careers after high school.
2. “Putting yourself out there.”
The second thing Brent shared as a tip for those trying out becoming an entrepreneur is “putting yourself out there.” He emphasizes that while education is important, there are also other things that you just won’t learn in school. Similar to his experience that started out with volunteering, he advises young entrepreneurs to not be afraid to network and branch out.
To put yourself out there is not the easiest feat for some people. Social skills can be tricky and if you’re one of those people, maybe you can learn some tips on communication from one of our past blogs on How To Learn Communication Skills For School and At The Workplace. Being an entrepreneur means having to work alongside other people and it’s important to elevate your communication skills so you can confidently put yourself out there.
3. “Find a mentor.”
The third tip that Brent shared on the podcast, is to “find a mentor that is, like, amazing.” True enough, there’s nothing like learning from a really good mentor. They’re a more experienced person that you can trust when you are just starting out. They also help “put you in check.” Young entrepreneurs are bound to fail at some point which will also teach them a lot, and it’s helpful to have a mentor that will continue to push and inspire you despite your failures.
4. “You can self teach.”
Another great piece of insight from Brent is the availability of resources out there that can help young entrepreneurs gain more knowledge. Google is a great tool if used properly. He says this is really important for those who are pursuing social media and digital marketing. Google has really good certifications and they have a great educational platform. There are also certifications available on Facebook.
Brent Colmer was absolutely right when he said that you can always self teach. The Homework Help Global Blogs teach you so many things that will come in handy either in school, at work, or out in the real life so read up when you can.
5. “Get your feet wet, get your hands dirty, and don’t, like, hold yourself back.”
The last bit of advice, and probably one of the most important that Brent shared is to not hold yourself back. A lot of people have really great ideas that they never end up pursuing because of self-doubt or the fear of failure. Most of the time, all these fears just live in people’s heads. Ultimately, you’ll never know what’s on the opposite side of fear if you never make the leap of faith. So just like Brent said, get out there and get your feet wet, your hands dirty, and don’t hold yourself back.
Listen In To Brent Colmer’s Full Interview On The Homework Help Show Student Influencers Podcast
There are so many tips and tricks you can learn if you need entrepreneur help from Brent Colmer yourself. You can listen to the 28th episode of The Homework Help Show Students Influencer Podcast on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Anchor FM, Google Podcasts, and more. Alternatively, you can also watch a video version of the episode on YouTube.
And if you’re a student who’s trying to make it as an entrepreneur and are having difficulty balancing the two, you can always lean on Homework Help Global and avail one of our many services. Whether it’s coursework writing, research papers, presentations, research essays, and other academic work, we’re always willing to assist budding entrepreneurs.
FULL TRANSCRIPT FROM OUR PODCAST INTERVIEW WITH BRENT COLMER BELOW
Brent [00:00:01] Be nice to one another, because it is a very small world and people like to work with nice people.
Lesley [00:00:07] Hi, everyone. Welcome back to The Homework Help Show Student Influencers Podcast. Today, we’re here with Brent. So thank you so much for joining us today.
Brent [00:00:17] Yeah, thanks so much for reaching out and thinking of me.
Lesley [00:00:20] Let’s- to start off, we do a couple kind of get to know you questions. So can we start off with where were you born and raised and then where are you now?
Brent [00:00:30] Yeah, so through and through I am a Durham region guy. So I was born in Oshawa. I grew up in Bowmanville, but I’ve had my own place here in Newcastle for about five to six years now.
Lesley [00:00:41] And I have more to get to know you questions. But you did tell me that you live in a mobile home. So I am a little- just a little curious about that as well. What’s that like?
Brent [00:00:53] Yes. So it’s super cool. I won’t lie. We when we bought it, we bought it about five or six years ago. And when I say we, I mean me and my dad, mostly my dad. So we were in a spot where we were able to buy it with- mobile homes, without getting into finances, you can’t get a mortgage for it. So you ultimately are buying it outright. And we rent the land, but we own the actual trailer. And then we can probably talk about this a little bit more. But I, of course, am a blogger, so I’ve been able to sort of flip it, redo the kitchen, redo the bathroom with a lot of brand partners. And I always joke that, like, as you can probably see, it really is just like a studio. There’s lots of lights everywhere. I have that window closed, but I’ve ultimately created a place where I can create content that’s on brand without necessarily needing to go to a studio. So it kind of works, too, for me, but I love it. It’s bigger than an average sized condo downtown. We have a yard for the dog and we have parking for two. So it’s really great.
Lesley [00:01:49] That’s actually a good point because I guess in Toronto, the average apartment you can get in Toronto is probably the same size. And now you have land.
Brent [00:02:00] Yeah, it’s so we have the washer, we have the dryer, everything’s here. We have the full bathroom. There’s like what is kind of like the bedroom area, which is where I’m in right now, obviously my bed’s behind me and then I have sort of like a desk set up, a TV there. We’ve got another sort of kitchen area, a dining space, and then the bathroom, the sort of washer dryer area. And then we have a back room that we use as a living room with another TV. So, yeah, we love it. Honestly, it is so different and I think there’s a big stigma around it. When I tell people I live in a mobile home, they often think of like camping trailer and then once they see it, they’re like, what? Like this is like quote unquote bougie! And I’m like, yeah! I joke that the cost is probably worth more than the actual trailer itself. So yeah, it’s honestly really great. And I’m happy to be able to have this spot because there’s not a lot of inventory for these places either. So I don’t know. I’m grateful for that, I guess.
Lesley [00:02:57] Yeah, I really like that. You’re you’re kind of like flipping that narrative on what people think of when they think of mobile homes, because a lot of people probably just think like trailer park or something. But yeah, that sounds really nice.
Brent [00:03:09] And it is in a trailer park and I’m surrounded by, I’ll call them senior citizens. Most of them are a lot older 60s. My neighbor has been here for over twenty years and he always jokes his motorcycle is older than I am, but he’s been here for a while. And I think the big thing when I started to make the inquiry is they thought that I was going to be like a partier or that I would be super loud. And I definitely am not doing that. Well, not here anyways. So I’ve been super respectful of that. And I get along with my neighbors great. So it is a trailer park, but it’s definitely more older people, whether they’re retired or still working.
Lesley [00:03:44] That’s amazing. I mean, not a lot of people could do that, too, because I feel like a lot of people want to be somewhere with so much space. Like, it’s like they’re the size of it. So, I mean, that’s that’s pretty awesome. And I was super- as you said, that I was so curious. I was like, I need to ask him about this.
Brent [00:04:03] Yeah, I’m happy you brought it up. A lot of people in my community online, they- I think that’s something that also helps you with pitches. When I’m like pitching to brand partners is I don’t have this, like, cookie cutter sort of suburban place. So it does create really a unique opportunity and a unique story. And I’m so young. I think I’m pretty young. I’m only twenty seven. So to hit that demographic and to kind of like tell my story is definitely cool for a brand that wants to step outside of the box a bit.
Lesley [00:04:31] Yeah, definitely. That definitely gives you a unique edge that not a lot of people can say so, awesome. Getting back to- I got off track there, but where did you go to college? I know you- on your website you talked about college a bit, but so where did you go to college and what did you study?
Brent [00:04:52] So I was at Durham College, which is sort of the local community college to Durham region, and I took the music business management program. So with that program, it was really the only business oriented program that related to the entertainment and music industry. So it was super competitive to get into, I won’t lie. I think a lot of that comes like who you know, how you stand out. So I used to be a dancer and one of the artists that I worked with, his manager knew the program coordinator. My aunt’s a teacher- or was, she’s retired now, but in the media design. And then I put myself out there, I emailed administrations and I was like, please, I want in this program. Like it was- I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. But I also- and this is something I’m excited to talk about, too, as we go deeper in the conversation, was like when you’re in high school knowing, like applied versus academic and whether you’re going to go to university or college, I always thought I was going to go to university until I found this program. And I took some applied classes in my final year and I graduated with a 93. So I was pretty confident that I had a good chance. But it was such a competitive program. Being the only accredited, I guess like Ontario College compared to if you would go to a private school or private college.
Lesley [00:06:06] Right. I think that’s definitely something that a lot of people kind of get caught up in in high school, like the applied and academic stuff, because a lot of people- like you don’t- there are certain programs, especially if you’re taking like a college program or something like that. There’s a lot of people that kind of think like, oh, I need to take all academic because I need to do this and this and this. But then you kind of get stuck because sometimes, like I’m talking a little bit from experience here, because I- when I was in school, I was- I was terrible at math, like, horrible at math. And I was an English person. And so my marks in math were really low. But my English marks were like 90s and my math marks were like 60s. And I wanted so badly just to take applied math courses. But my parents would never let me because they were like, you need all academics to get into university. Even though I went to- I took journalism so I didn’t need math. And it was just this big struggle. And I think that there’s a lot of people that think like that, oh, you need to have this and this and this and it- and- it’s- they put all this emphasis on that. And I don’t- like I don’t think people kind of understand that concept.
Brent [00:07:17] Yeah, and for me, I felt like there was almost like- it may be too touchy, but there was like social circles and I definitely was surrounded by people that went the university route. And like my partner, he’s still in university right now doing his masters. So, like, there’s certain programs, where, like, yeah, you- like if you want to do what he’s doing, which is like a physiotherapist, you have to go to university. Whereas for me and I think we’ll talk about this a little bit more, I always just wanted a fun job and I’ve always been an internet kid. So you can pick up on a lot of those things. Yeah.
Lesley [00:07:49] Yeah, definitely. So kind of what- I was going to ask how you- kind of a question about what you’re doing now, but where- how- when you were applying to that program, was that kind of something that you were wanting to do, like working in the music industry?
Brent [00:08:11] So I always wanted to be a talent manager and I didn’t- there was no such thing as like- really we didn’t have this term of influencers. So I really kind of pursued the music industry and working with artists because that is something that I’m interested in. My father is a musician as well. And I just always thought, like, I don’t want to do what he did, which was like the stable factory job that pays really well but doesn’t give you that quality of life. So I knew I wanted to do something fun in entertainment. And I think in my yearbook I put like a dream job was like to be an artist manager. And then as I kind of went through different experiences and I was exposed to like quote unquote influencers, I was like, oh that’s kind of cool. That’s kind of what I’ve been doing since I was like super young. And now I have this experience from the music industry and working with artists, I feel like I have sort of a whole perspective of like a brand versus a talent manager versus being a creator myself. And that allows me to kind of play like a very even middle man type role.
Lesley [00:09:07] Yeah. So you’re still kind of in that creative industry area and but it’s a little more well-rounded. So you can kind of- you’re not limiting yourself to just working with one specific thing.
Brent [00:09:18] I really have always constantly been exposed to these different areas, but I really started to carve out a space in like I guess like more entertainment marketing and then really focusing and sort of like driving a career in social media. And I- I’ll be honest, I didn’t really know how much I knew until other people around me were like, you just run it off like it’s second nature. But for me, I’ve always been fully immersed. I’ve always been building this little brand on the side. So when I run off like strategies and stuff for marketing, I always take a step back and like, OK, well, yeah, people don’t know that. Just like you probably don’t want me to build your wall in your house or you don’t want me to file your trademark, because that’s not my area of expertise. But I definitely found an opportunity, especially as like- and I do think the industry and influencer marketing is blowing up and just continue to grow. But 10 years ago, I was just working with YouTubers, wanting them to promote our products and seeing the kickback and seeing it worked.
Lesley [00:10:11] Right. Yeah, that makes sense. So speaking about that, can you kind of talk about a little bit about what you do now in terms of like your company and the kind of work that you do?
Brent [00:10:22] Yeah, so right now, in November, I just left a full time job, which was super steady. I was there for three years as the director of projects and accounts for a creative agency. So I took a lot of that experience and a lot of that knowledge. And I’ve always sort of had my own agency on the side. But it was never, let’s say, like legitimate. Like I didn’t have a master business license until I decided to move on from that role. And so back in November is when I really started things, got the business banking, got the license and really started to put myself out there and to put my faith in my Boy Who Blogs brand and associating that with creative services. Because a lot of people come to the Boy Who Blogs brand asking for marketing tips and all that. But then I kind of need to filter that over to creative services. So right now, essentially what creative services does is acts as sort of that one point of contact for small businesses, entrepreneurs and creators that are looking to create synergy across their brand strategy, their marketing and their digital PR. So I- I quickly learned the branding and the different things and marketing. So I kind of just make it a little bit more approachable by saying social media marketing. And then that can evolve into photography, video, websites, email marketing from there. But it was a little intimidating for clients to reach out and think that maybe the scope would be too large, but ultimately able to offer services that could be perfect for somebody that has a really small budget, just wants to get their feet wet or ultimately managing budget better, tapping into radio, print, TV, social, etc..
Lesley [00:11:50] Right, and that makes sense, and you kind of focus on the influencer aspect, too, because, I mean, you know yourself that you are an influencer so that- would you kind of- like did you kind of set yourself as an influencer first and then this kind of followed or was it kind of all just at once?
Brent [00:12:10] So, yeah, I guess- it’s weird to say, like influencer, but honestly, I’ve been doing that online sort of presence thing since I was so young and it really started, I think it even started on like Habbo Hotel, if you knew what that was.
Lesley [00:12:23] Yeah.
Brent [00:12:23] I was so addicted to this online community where you interact with people. I probably shouldn’t have been. I was super young, but I would do my chores and my mom would give me like money to go buy, which would ultimately turn into like digital currency on this platform. And then I went into more like MySpace, Piczo, Tumblr was really good for me. I remember doing like celebrity gossip type content on Tumblr and was averaging on thirty thousand views a month to the point where I actually got a letter from Courtney Cox’s representing or someone who represented her telling me to remove something that might have been considered slander. So I was like, oh no, I needed to go back and kind of figure that out. So ultimately, I’ve just always sort of been online and people have found me. And I did run my brand very anonymously for years. And it wasn’t until- I couldn’t even tell you when I actually put a face behind the brand, but that is when it really blew up. That’s at the end of the day, like it’s always sort of been brewing there, but it was kind of like following the journey and me putting out those tips where people were like, OK, he knows what he’s talking about. He seems different, whether that’s good or bad. And then they’re really being attracted to me as a person, but kind of getting tips of like marketing, being a little bit more about like my personal life, and ultimately, that’s what builds community. And people want to work with me. They always- they’re buying into like Brent, which sounds super weird. They’re not necessarily buying into, like creator services as an agency. They’re usually coming to work with me.
Lesley [00:13:51] Right. And that kind of like that does give you that extra selling point again, too. But I was laughing because that Habbo Hotel really takes me back. It’s like really brings back some nostalgia for me because I remember that. But yeah, I think I mean, a lot of people- like there’s a lot of students out there that are kind of establishing themselves as student influencers, whether it’s for career purposes or just to make some extra cash or anything like that. And I think that- that’s a- putting yourself out there and actually putting a face behind your brand is a really big step because a lot of people like that’s very intimidating to a lot of people. And I could see why it would be a little- someone would be a little hesitant to do that right off the onset when no one really knows who you are.
Brent [00:14:48] Yeah, and I think the thing there, like- like you’re not alone is the first thing I’d say to anybody that’s hesitant there. Because we’re always sort of like, we’re nervous. And I guess for me, a lot of it was I didn’t want to fail, I think was a big thing. I didn’t want to be like, oh, I’m a content creator and then never monetize, not grow a following. But you- I think as you age, honestly, you kind of get more confident in yourself. You kind of like figure out your area of expertise in your lane and then you start to build community and people reach out to you. So I totally agree with you there. The only thing that I would say is remember that what you’re doing online is always going to be online. So even if you’re gaming and you’re in that community, like e-sports is such a big world and obviously you can monetize a lot if you wanted to go that route. So just remember that wherever you are showing up online like people remember and ultimately the way you show up is going to be a reflection of your brand, even if you don’t really realize that right now.
Lesley [00:15:42] Right. Yeah. Do you have any kind of extra tips for anyone who’s kind of trying to establish themselves either as an influencer or even just starting their own kind of side hustle side business?
Brent [00:15:57] So I guess the big thing is like showing up and showing up authentically, I think is a big thing. We really do look for authenticity and genuine connections. And what better way to build that through audio and through video? So I really suggest, like carving out a platform that makes sense for you. Like it doesn’t necessarily make sense for me to do the whole TikTok thing where some people have a lot of success there and I can totally see the potential. But for me, I’m much more comfortable in written form, even if it’s more laid back, not super professional on my blog. And then, of course, Instagram stories is a really good way. And then I’ll talk to you about something else, because I know it’s a question that I think we’re going to get to later, but there’s a huge wave of audio and I’m really excited to see how that evolves, especially this year.
Lesley [00:16:42] Yeah, like the podcasting and stuff, you mean?
Brent [00:16:45] So even beyond podcasting, there’s something called Clubhouse, and it’s kind of like focusing on audio only. So it’s kind of almost like- I don’t want to say it’s rivaling podcasts, but it’s very different in the sense that it’s live. Whereas people are going to be able to go and watch this if and when they choose to, for however long they want to until it’s removed. Whereas Clubhouse is this new social platform that I’ve sort of got into and I’ve really been loving that it’s all in live time. You can’t save it. You shouldn’t record it unless you have permission, but it’s gone. But it’s interactive. Whereas if someone wanted to stop me and say, wait, what did you say about that question? No one can do that. They’ll have to connect with me later. Whereas on Clubhouse, you can just sort of raise your hand or interject and say, wait, wait, wait. I want you to elaborate on that more.
Lesley [00:17:29] Yeah, I’ve actually- I’ve heard Clubhouse a few times, like in the last few weeks, but never really kind of looked into what it was. But I’ve heard people starting to mention it a little more often. So it definitely must be like on the rise. Is it kind of like- so you said it’s live audio based. Is it kind of like- what kind of format is that? Is it? I’m just curious.
Brent [00:17:54] Yeah. So it’s a little different. So basically right now it’s invite only. It’s pretty exclusive, but it’s not as exclusive as it seems. So what I did was my own rooms where I talk about marketing, social media, influencer stuff, and it’s just an open book. So I also set my rooms up in sort of a format where anyone can can ask a question and anyone can come and contribute to the discussion. So people will be like, hey, give me a marketing tip to improve my organic reach, then I can respond to that. And then maybe somebody else can add to that discussion as well. But you can do it in a closed room or you can do it in an open room and you don’t know who’s in the room. Like there’s people as like the director of partnerships for massive brands. They’re super small businesses. And it’s super interesting because I don’t think we’d have that opportunity if it wasn’t for COVID and sort of the situation that we’re in, because a lot of people might have been at work and not able to sort of do that multitask or they didn’t have the time in their day to do it. So mark my words, it’s going to be very, very valuable. And I’m super excited that I’ve already sort of created that community there that shows up every day for me to host a room and kind of chat with them.
Lesley [00:19:01] Yeah, it sounds really interesting. And like obviously right now, obviously, if it’s invite only not everyone’s using it, but it really sounds like there’s kind of a unique offering there that’s a little different from a lot of the other social media platforms that have gotten really popular. Like I know that they’ve released new ones, but they kind of all have a similar feel. Like even Twitter and Instagram are kind of similar because it’s just like posting things in a news feed kind of thing. So it definitely sounds like something that will get more popular because it does have that unique advantage.
Brent [00:19:44] Yeah, and I’m always excited to see how things roll out, because I would say, like primarily Instagram’s my one of my favorite platforms, but as you probably pick up on, it’s always good to study the competition, so we look at stories which kind of came from Snapchat, the save in the collections, which kind of comes from the inspiration of Pinterest being able to create those boards. And then the other thing, of course, Reels is huge that they rolled out in Canada, which is kind of offering the same level of experience that TikTok has and then with the rise of Clubhouse, there’s sort of discussions around what they’re going to call Rooms. So having rooms on Instagram that give you the audio experience and is a little different than something like IGTV or going live too. So, yeah, I like to just kind of like, I go on the platforms early, check it out.
Lesley [00:20:34] Yeah, definitely. Sounds- it sounds like something to keep an eye out. So you kind of said before that you started off with all of this by starting a blog in high school and then you kind of kept working on that while you were in college?
Brent [00:20:55] Yeah, so it went through like different little like phases, I guess. So at the first time, it was really just like BrentColmer.Tumblr.com and that’s where I kind of was like riding that wave. That was fine. Then I put that to rest and then I kind of had to do a lot going on like anonymously on the side. And then once we kind of like grew up, my roommates went to other places and sort of Ontario. We obviously weren’t living together. So and they I honestly don’t think they love doing it. I think they’re like, oh yeah, it’s cool, we’ll do it with you. But that wasn’t what they wanted to do. They just kind of thought. And one of my roommates at the time, we worked together in e-commerce and in a subscription box and we were working with quote unquote influencers. So I know she saw the potential of, like, the way you can monetize and all of that stuff. But needless to say, I just started poking at it on the side and then eventually decided, you know what, I need to practice what I preach. So I sort of put myself out there is when kind of the universe was like, all right, this is where we’re going to start giving you brand partnerships and giving you more opportunities.
Lesley [00:21:52] Yeah, that makes sense. Was it kind of hard to balance the work that you put into that while you were in college? Like when you had- like did you have any other responsibilities that you had to balance with all that while you were studying?
Brent [00:22:07] So I think the good side of it is that, like, I never- I was never in the position where I necessarily needed to do something for anybody else. And I guess that’s the great thing of like being your own boss, is that, like, if I didn’t post that week, that’s OK. In college, I was definitely busy being involved in volunteering, but I really wanted a hands on experience in the music industry. So this was always just kind of something on the side. And honestly, even today like it it is a larger part, especially now that I’ve left my job and have focused on the agency. But really where the bread and butter is is like having the agency. And this is still just something that is, I guess, more of a creative outlet that has a lot of potential. But I really- I don’t- I wouldn’t consider myself a full time creator. It’s just a way to kind of have fun and like, honestly connect specifically during, like, any interaction and of just kind of chat back and forth. So.
Lesley [00:22:57] Yeah, that makes sense. Where did you volunteer when you when you were in college?
Brent [00:23:03] So a lot of what I was doing was on campus, so they had at the time it was called the Student Association, so it was basically a branch within it that wasn’t owned by the college, but they put on all of the concerts and the festivals that were there. So I really just put myself out there and was doing volunteer work, whether it was like media relations. So kind of the middleman between the media outlets that would come in and out accreditation. And then I think my favorite part was like positioning things to look pretty and like making sure that the riders were filled or if they couldn’t be filled, that there was some sort of thing to swap it out and then other things that kind of come along with it, like helping with load in and load out. I didn’t have to do too much of that because I don’t have the muscles, but definitely more like the hospitality. And really great just to kind of see what goes on behind the scenes of a concert, because I’ve always loved live music.
Lesley [00:23:51] Yeah, me too. I go to a lot of concerts, so I’ve always actually kind of been curious about what it is like behind the scenes, but I’ve never actually gotten to see it. But.
Brent [00:24:02] And I think a big part- so I started when I think I was 16. And if you’re familiar, there was this big, big music festival that took- we- essentially this company came in and did Canada’s biggest music festival and it was right in my backyard. And I was going to school for music at the time. So, again, put myself out there, wanted to see how I could get involved, started to volunteer with them. And ultimately I did my internship, which was part of my three years of the program at Durham College, and then received a job offer and continued to work with them up until I decided to kind of move on. But by the end of it, I was really working very closely with the founder of the festival and kind of helping with everything from admin stuff to a little bit of PR, integrating influencers, coordinating with some of our special guests, whether they were celebrities or athletes. But it all started volunteering.
Lesley [00:24:48] Right. And that’s kind of volunteer- because we talk- we do talk about like the value of volunteering as a student a lot. But that is kind of like if you can find volunteer experience, like in a field that you want to be working in, I think that is extra valuable because you get that double benefit of the volunteer experience and that relevant experience that you can use to build specific skills and put that on your resume. So I think that’s- I mean, obviously, it really helped you a lot, but I think that that’s something that a lot of students, I think should consider looking for.
Brent [00:25:32] Yeah, and ultimately, we’re really just creating our own network. Because I remember when I was in high school, part of the sort of, I guess, qualifications or what you needed to graduate was volunteer hours. So I had a hard time like kind of getting volunteer hours. But luckily my mom works at Canada Post, so I was able to help with the Santa letters, which was super fun.
Lesley [00:25:52] That must have been so fun. Like, I feel like that’s like reading all these.
Brent [00:25:56] I loved that. I still love it.
Lesley [00:25:59] Yeah, I would totally do that just to see like what kind of state- like kids come up with the funniest things. So I can’t even imagine like the kind of things that you came across in those letters.
Brent [00:26:12] They’re fun.
Lesley [00:26:13] Yeah, definitely. So with all of that stuff that you were doing, did you kind of have a system that you used to kind of keep yourself on track when you were balancing all of that stuff, like volunteering or doing your blog or school or anything else like that?
Brent [00:26:32] So I guess I kind of now that I think of it, I didn’t- like, in the moment, I didn’t really realize that I was doing anything time management, but I was really just like prioritizing what needed to be done. Obviously, I had to show up to get to do the responsible thing and, you know, make that sort of earning. So I always sort of had my priorities in place and did a lot of time blocking and a lot of work back schedules, which is honestly something I still do to this day, is like I’ll meet with a client and I’ll figure out sort of like the timeline or the duration of the project and kind of create a work back schedule that has like milestones throughout. So I did something similar to that. But I think as a high school student, I honestly didn’t know I wasn’t aware that well, but I was very, very big on the pen and paper and color coding thing. And I know in high school I was the type that used my agenda. So yeah, I actually didn’t do things that digital when I was in high school and into college, I was definitely more like color coded, written down, and that definitely helped me.
Lesley [00:27:30] Yeah. Sometimes I find that writing things down and using like the pen and paper method is more effective because you’re not just relying on putting something in your calendar on your phone and then waiting for a notification to remind you of something. Like when you can put everything down on paper and you can actually see it, I feel like for me, anyway, that makes a huge difference. And it’s easier to stay on track when I can just see it.
Brent [00:27:56] It all comes down to person. Like the way that you learn and the way that you remember things. I always like, even like in like whatever grade or whatever sort of level of education, writing it out was super helpful for me. And I find that now, even like professionally, I did like a demo with a software company. He was just showing me things all over. And I’m like, I need to, like, immerse myself in there. So it’s different because, like, my partner is the complete opposite. He’ll listen to like a three hour lecture and retain everything. And I’m like, no, I need to be, like, immersed in that discussion. So I think kind of like identifying what’s best for you. And that’s not always easy. But it worked.
Lesley [00:28:33] Yeah. And it really comes down to your own learning style, too, because, like, I know some people can listen to like a podcast or something and then like, remember, like you said, retain everything. But that- like, for me that doesn’t work because I have ADD so I can’t just, like, sit there and listen to something. I need to- I need to see it. I need to touch it. I need to like interact with it and then maybe like write it down and like do like five different things to to drill that whatever I’m listening to in my head. But some people and I always admire people who can do that, but some people can just like see something once and then remember it. And it’s- it’s actually mind blowing that to me that some people can do that.
Brent [00:29:17] And I think it’s so funny because I still have this struggle today. We were just chatting about it like the other week. Is that like I’ve never been good at, like watching a movie and then, like, telling you certain things in school. Like I- and I always felt like so like that’s so easy. Like you’re watching a movie and they’re asking you like, what’s the name of the second character? But for whatever reason, that was just not my strong suit. And to this day, it still is not. Like if you’re like, ask me what happened in the movie watched it’s like- know what you’re good at and run with that is the best thing I can say there.
Lesley [00:29:48] Yeah. I mean, I do the same thing. Like sometimes I’ll watch a movie and sometimes I have to actually like rewind certain parts of the movie because I catch myself, like just not paying attention anymore. And I’m like, wait, what just happened? Why is- and then someone will ask me, oh how was that movie? And I’m like, I can’t remember one thing about it, so I can’t really tell you.
Brent [00:30:08] Yeah, yeah. Guilty. Guilty.
Lesley [00:30:10] Yeah, definitely. So yeah that’s- that’s a really good time management system that- I mean I hear- I actually hear that more often than you’d think, like from people I talk to about writing things down and stuff. So like I feel like that’s- it’s just like a classic method that really just makes it work and goes with your own learning style. So, yeah, I think that’s a really good idea anyway.
Brent [00:30:39] Yeah. And a lot of it is just managing expectations, I find. Whether it’s self expectations or client expectations or other relationships that you have and really prioritizing the things that make sense to prioritize.
Lesley [00:30:51] Right. And saying OK- and being realistic I think is another thing too. Like I have five different tasks to do. Realistically, how long are these going to take me? And instead of going, OK, I’m going to do all of these right now and I’m going to get them all done and putting those kind of unrealistic expectations on something I think it really, really can damage that entire system because you you’re not being honest with yourself that something’s going to take longer than you planned and maybe you won’t get all of those things done in that one day or whatever it is.
Brent [00:31:25] Yeah, and I always love buffer zones. Like if anyone needs a secret, I always write like little buffers in, especially when I’m working with other people, because for me, I’ve always had the challenge of, like holding high expectations and having a hard time delegating. And I know and especially as I get really sort of like more projects and more clients and bigger teams, is that like someone might tell me that it’s going to take them five days and then I tell the client it’s going to take 5 days, but it’s good to factor in a couple of times because you can always over deliver. Right? If I send it to you early, you’re probably not going to be upset about it. So I always just try to add a little bit of buffer just to kind of I guess maintain my personal brand, too, because when you do rely on other people, there’s a little bit room for error, I’ll say, or conflict. So I just try to like really oversee things and have like a general idea of where projects are at. And follow up is a good tip, too.
Lesley [00:32:18] Yeah, I think- I think putting a buffer zone is important too. And I mean, because there’s always going to be something that might come up or something that especially like you said, if you’re relying on other people or like a team of people, you need to have a little bit of that wiggle room just to kind of be proactive and kind of like cover yourself in case there is a problem. So do you have any kind of other pieces of advice or anything for any students that might be taking like digital marketing programs or even like entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship programs or anything like that?
Brent [00:32:53] Yeah, I think that the big thing there is definitely I value education. I see so much that comes of it. But you can learn so much by just like doing it, putting yourself out there. Like you- there’s so many things that you just can’t learn in school, I’ll be honest, and there are so many great things that I have learned if you are an entrepreneur, what you do can bend somebody else’s experience. So I just say there’s no better time than just to do it. And if you can find a mentor that is like amazing just to find someone that can kind of just like keep you in line, keep you in check, how you what maybe you should avoid because they tried that and it didn’t work out for them. So I would say if you can find someone that is like open to like even if you don’t even interact with them, but you just like soak up information from them, that is amazing. But I say to just do it because you’re probably going to have areas where you’re less than happy of it or it didn’t go the way you wanted. But at the end of the day, it’s the people that push for it and the people that make that leap, I guess, that succeed. But there’s no right way to be completely honest. So like, you do whatever you want. It’s literally I know it sounds cliche, but it’s true.
Lesley [00:34:01] No, I get it. And I mean that that mentor- like find- the mentorship aspect. I think that’s- that’s something I hear a lot in almost every single industry or field or program, because I think it’s just important for anything you’re studying to just have that mentorship, because there’s always going to be like- like you said, real world experience is just as valuable, if not more than what you learn in school. And a mentor can kind of give you that connection between the two to kind of bridge them. And then you do have that real world person you can either shadow or who can just give you their lived experience and share that with you. So I think that’s really important.
Brent [00:34:48] Yeah, and like specifically to like social media and digital marketing, like there’s so many resources that are made available through the platforms themselves. So if I were to talk about like Facebook or even Google, like if you want to become like a Google ad specialist, do it because you can make good money, but you can self teach yourself all through Google, sort of like certifications in their education portal and same with Facebook, they have their own certification. So I would say the value that you learn from that experience is so you can just learn by trial and error and things are going to be different depending on the project, depending on the offering, like there’s a lot of variables. So I say, just get your feet wet, get your hands dirty and don’t, like, hold yourself back. I think at the end of the day, that’s what’s holding a lot of people back is like, self doubt, imposter syndrome, whatever. But it always is rooted on us. It’s not like- well, I’m sure there are some people that might have outside factors, but personally it was a lot of like my own stuff in my own head games that I just needed to, like, realize.
Lesley [00:35:47] Yeah, that imposter syndrome can really be a huge setback if you don’t kind of- like if you let it really get into your head, it can really put a lot of limits on what you think about your own capacities, too. And that’s something- that’s a word I hear a lot, too.
Brent [00:36:06] Yeah. And you mentioned like challenges. And I think one thing for me, which you can maybe even, like, pick up on still is I am really short and I have always looked young and I can’t grow facial hair. And there’s kids in grade 11 that look a lot older than me. So that has been a real challenge, it’s just like getting people to respect me and like give me a seat at the table. And then as soon as I open my mouth and sort of like share my knowledge, they’re like OK. I build that trust and unfortunately that’s just human because like, I do look young, so it would be hard to be like here’s a huge budget, go spend my money. Whereas if I maybe- also the way I present myself, I’m never going to wear a blazer, right? And I think that’s something that my generation and younger generations are OK with, whereas traditionally you would expect someone that’s like a marketing professional to show up in a blazer or however else. And that’s just not who I am. And that allows me to attract like an ideal client that I like to work with.
Lesley [00:37:06] I was laughing because when you’re saying how you were short, so everyone thinks you’re younger, I have the exact same problem because I am just under five feet tall, like I am very short and I’m almost 30. But people think that I’m like 21 half the time and it’s really hard to sometimes be taken seriously, especially sometimes like if I’m trying to like actually say a point and it’s something- or if I’m like angry about something and I’m trying to try to get a point across, people are just like, oh, that’s OK. Or they like do like the little head pat thing? And like so I know exactly exactly what that struggle is like.
Brent [00:37:51] But I think that I almost balance out a little of that even when someone’s listening it’s like straightforward and I like I’m very respectable, but I think this has helped me with my career a lot, is that there’s certain people or you might think, oh, they’re the owner or they’re that whatever their title is, and then you treat them differently. And I’ve never done that. And I think a lot of that comes from working with celebrities and talent. It’s like they’re literally just people and just like myself, someone will be like, oh, you’re an influencer. Like, I’m really like, sure. You can say I have some sort of influence, some sort of voice, but like, I’m literally just a person. And I quickly learned that as I slowly ages, there’s corrupt people that are traditionally we wouldn’t think that. And a lot of people value that, like people respect that, and they definitely do- I would give a lot of praise and I would give a lot of like, I guess, acknowledgment to that personality trait. And how that helped me specifically in the music industry, too, was like not being afraid of people that other people might have treated differently based off of their their status. And those people were drawn to me because they loved how real I was, but still respectable. No one likes working with someone who’s not. So that would be my little cliff note there. But definitely like if someone says like, oh, how’s my hair look? And like they have a fly away, like let them know because they genuinely want to hear that and you’re going to gain their respect.
Lesley [00:39:12] Yeah, I think that’s a good thing to remember, like with networking in general, too, because like just talking to people as people and not based on their position somewhere. And because another thing, too, because nowadays kind of like how we’re talking about, like people in our bracket don’t really do the whole suit and blazer thing to work anymore. And along the same lines, someone might look like they run the company. They might not be the person that runs the company. And the person that actually runs the company might not even like you might not give off that vibe. So, I mean, it’s kind of goes along with those things that you never really- you never really know who you’re talking to and what that person’s kind of position is. So if you treat everybody equally, it gives you that better shot of, OK, well, now I’m treating everyone with respect and it doesn’t matter who you are now or it doesn’t matter if that person is actually secretly the CEO or whatever.
Brent [00:40:14] Yeah, and I think my experience is so great with that, because, like for the longest time I was an assistant, so there were certain people who would just like think that, like, oh, he’s just the assistant. But they didn’t realize how much pull I actually did have and how respected my boss treated me. So if I told her something and I did do like the actual work too like, I won’t sugarcoat that one. I did a lot of the work. So it’s yeah. Titles are one of those things that I quickly grew to realize that, like, you can do whatever you want. I could call myself the CEO, where it’s like the CEO of what? Like you could you could throw a title up and be it and put that in your Instagram bio. And it’s really just kind of showing up where you are. But I loved what you said about not necessarily knowing who’s around you, because that’s a big part, too, especially who’s around you right now and how are you treating them. Because in 10 years, they could be the H.R. manager or they could become, I don’t know, for me, like friends of mine from high school are now police officers. So if they pull me over and I’m speeding, do I get away or no? So it’s like so real. And it’s something that I don’t know people necessarily think of when they’re going through whatever it is with school or sort of like finding yourself is a big part of like, I don’t know, that age group. I’d say high school. Early college.
Lesley [00:41:30] Yeah. I think that’s a thing like it’s kind of one of those, you know how they kind of have those TV tropes where they just kind of joke when they have all the stereotypes like the nerds and the jocks. And you better be nice to the nerds because one day the nerds are going to be your boss. And I know that’s very stereotypical. Not really. But it’s kind of that same concept of like, well, you never know what person might end up being your boss one day or what person, you know, if you make the wrong person mad and then they they become a cop and pull you over, well, guess who’s not getting away with getting out of that speeding ticket anymore?
Brent [00:42:05] Yeah. And then how we talked, like earlier in the conversation about like let’s say like the streams like applied versus academic. There’s people that in school might not have been the best at school, but now they have an amazing job and they probably make way more money than I do. But in school, they didn’t show up or whatever. So not to go down that rabbit hole, but you really have no idea where people are going to be in two years, 10 years, 15 years.
Lesley [00:42:33] And I think that’s kind of yeah. I think that’s kind of a mindset that changes once you leave high school, because in high school, it’s very, very- that mindset is very much like, OK, well, you’re you’re stupid or you’re not very smart or you’re- I don’t know. And then all of a sudden, everyone- like high school isn’t really a reflection of who anyone truly is, but people in high school don’t really give each other that chance. So that’s why- like, that going to university or college or any post-secondary for that matter, kind of, that’s where you really shape yourself as a person. But I feel like there’s- there is definitely a transition with mindset thinking that has to happen when you leave high school for a lot of those reasons.
Brent [00:43:18] Yeah. And on the flip side, I think there’s also the complete opposite of like there is one girl who I went to school who was so smart, like I kid you not just like so book smart. And then after school, she actually didn’t end up going to university or college. And to this day, I’m still like, what did she do with her life? Like, I still think of her. So, yeah, she was so smart, so, so smart, but for whatever reason, didn’t pursue any secondary. And I’m like, what did you do? Or like our valedictorian in high school. What are you doing right now? Because I lost valedictorian to you.
Lesley [00:43:57] It’s like hmmm. Which one of us really deserved that?
Brent [00:44:03] No, I was- I was a well-rounded person where I may have had- like I was very good with the books, but I- I definitely played both like the good student and was super chatty and probably annoying. And the one where they would move your desk up to the teachers. But I think the teachers kind of liked me because I kept things fun for them, but I was probably disruptive.
Lesley [00:44:24] Yeah. And I- but I think it kind of was like- I was going to say something. Kind of based on the whole, there’s a difference between having book smarts and having, like I call it street smarts, but it’s more like just like a practical- not common sense, but along those same lines, like there’s different types of smart, and just because someone does really good and gets A pluses on all of their tests doesn’t mean that they’re like skilled in a lot of other areas. And I think people overlook that kind of value as well too.
Brent [00:45:10] Yeah. I think there’s got to be a mix, and I’ve seen it with even like some of my really good friends who are amazing and then maybe not so amazing in like I’ll say everyday decisions maybe? Is that fair?
Lesley [00:45:22] Yeah, that’s probably- that’s probably the way. I always just say street smarts. But then it’s kind of sounds like I’m thinking everyone’s just like living in, like the rough corners of the street. It’s not really accurate, but more so, just like survival skills, maybe.
Brent [00:45:40] Yeah, no, I completely agree.
Lesley [00:45:42] Definitely. So what we usually kind of ask, I know we kind of already jumped to that a little bit where we- I was going to ask what kind of struggles and challenges you faced, but I think we did kind of already talk about that. So on the flip side, what is one of your favorite memories from college or from starting a business?
Brent [00:46:08] In college, I’d say that I have a lot. And I think where I really saw the potential of brand partnerships was I was- it was a volunteer role and it was for credit in college. And I my title was director of sponsorships for the music festival that they still to this day put on. So I was basically just a student that was willing to do a little bit more of the leadership role. And I actually secured a brand partnership with TD and I think it was TD Waterhouse and then implement something to get out of it and what they were going to get of it, but really had a great experience like seeing like, okay, this logo needs to be positioned like this. You can’t match this with this like really just like corporate brand standards. That was really interesting. And then in college, I also booked my first band. So that was fun, like negotiating the contract, the pay, even like their rider, like they wanted X amount of whiskey and it’s like, no, we can’t give you that. So I think those are my two favorite things in college with securing a TD sponsorship and then booking my first band.
Lesley [00:47:07] Yeah, that sounds super exciting. I’m not going to lie. Yeah. And I think that’s kind of like I think that’s really interesting because a lot of the times, like when we ask people what their favorite memories are from college, a lot of it’s kind of like, oh, I want to like my friends and I did this really fun thing and- or there was a party or something along those lines or it was like a sports team or something. But I think it really shows a lot when people answer that question. And it’s their favorite memories were a lot of stuff that ties into their careers or what they’re doing now or anything like that. Like, I really think that it just shows a lot about people who are passionate about what they do. Is when that like-.
Brent [00:47:52] Your experience. I think I am super transparent that I didn’t have that, like I’ll say, like Hollywood experience in college, like I went to the college that was like 20 minutes from my house. I lived at home for the majority of it. I didn’t get to do the whole dorm experience like all of that. I honestly feel like I had my college experience in my high school and then in college I was really just like, I want to work. And I’ve always- I feel like I’ve always been kind of almost like ahead of that curve and almost like pushing myself to be like, wait, like, why don’t you just sit back and enjoy high school and enjoy college? So if anyone is listening, stop aging yourself, because eventually you’re going to be like, oh, I’m turning 30. And you didn’t have those experiences. Where I- like my friends, they went away to university or went away to college and they did the dorm thing and they did like all of that fun stuff. Like, I got to do that. I would definitely say in college my mindset was like, how do I get experience? This is a tough industry to crack and I want to get a job as soon as I graduate. And hey, it worked out, but I definitely compromised on like the partying and like the super social stuff. I still got to do that. But at the end of the day, it was like sleeping over at my friend from college’s house. And I was like, I didn’t live in a rental property with like five other students and like have that experience, which I kind of regret. I think that would be super fun. But at the end of the day, like, it is what it is and you’ve got to move beyond that, right?
Lesley [00:49:16] Yeah, I think- I mean, I think that’s a good point, because a lot of people- I mean, there is something to be said about that experience of living in a huge student house with a bunch of people and going- or going and living in the dorms and having like all of this, like, movie type of experience. And some people don’t do that and some people do. And a lot of people who do it will tell you, oh, you missed out on this amazing thing. And- and all of that kind of stuff. Or like, you missed out on this- this experience. But I think that that experience is not really for everyone because, like, I know I had that experience, but I know a lot of people who actually hated that kind of experience. And I think it really depends on a lot of factors, too. Like I had my fair share of roommate drama and I would never live in a house with all those people again.
Brent [00:50:13] So I think the other thing, too, is like like the financial side, right? That’s a huge part. And like we are lucky in Canada that there’s OSAP and there’s grants and we have those sort of things. But like, quite frankly, I probably couldn’t have afforded to go and like done the whole dorm thing, especially with like a meal plan. Like my friends that had like seven dollars on their meal card. I’m like totally different than sort of like my upbringing. But I think, like, there’s another thing to think of is I had a friend who did like probably two college programs and then took the program that we were in together and had so much debt because they lived off campus for all of their college experiences where, again, if you’re coming out of school and you don’t want to have that huge debt, like, is that something that you can compromise on? For me, it was ideally like not with like the shared room stuff, but yeah, I just I don’t think I would have probably been able to financially do that, to be completely honest. And that’s OK, because the program was only- it just happened to be the one that was local to me is what I wanted. So I lucked out.
Lesley [00:51:18] That’s a big factor as well. Definitely. Like not everybody can afford to go away and have that experience and like, yeah, we do have OSAP and stuff like that. But like that covers a chunk of the expenses that you’re going to face as a student. But there are still going to be so many other things involved. And I even know, like I live in a university town as well. And I know a lot of people that I graduated high school with and their parents basically gave them the option of either we’ll help you if you want to go away to school, but if you stay here and go to school here we’ll buy you a car. And I know a lot of people who had that happen because, like, it’s one or the other and it’s expensive. And I feel like a lot of times people- like those people who say, oh, you’re missing out if you don’t have that university experience, like, I think that’s kind of- can be a little negative mindset because not everyone has that opportunity. And you can’t really judge somebody just because they aren’t fortunate enough to be able to be in a financial position to go away to university.
Brent [00:52:26] Yeah, and I think that is like- there’s just so much to unpack on that one for sure. But at the end of the day, I’m just happy that it worked out for me and I’ve worked ever since I was in grade 11, but it’s because I was like, if I lived downtown Toronto, I wouldn’t necessarily need a car. Like out here in Durham, like, I don’t even know if the public transit is still, like doing as much volume as it once was. Right. So you kind of needed the car, especially for me to get to campus. And then I actually lucked out because my family, they owned a lot of property that was around Durham College, like years and years ago. So my grandma actually had a house that she was living at and I could just park on her driveway and we had the free bus pass so I could go on. And then within like five stops, I was at the campus, so I was saving on parking and I got to see my grandma more. So it really worked out just happening to have a property that was so close that I was able to park at for free and then hop on the free bus and be there.
Lesley [00:53:23] Yeah, that’s pretty resourceful.
Brent [00:53:26] Yeah.
Lesley [00:53:27] And convenient because you get to see your grandma and save on parking. Parking is very expensive. I’ve come to realize, like at first- I didn’t- I had a car when I was in university, but it was because I was playing sports and I didn’t need it to get to class. But I remember like a lot of people- and I remember I never even realized how much parking was until, like, I had friends who were off campus and driving to campus and they would tell me how much money they were spending on parking. And I was like, are you serious?
Brent [00:53:59] Yeah. It’s something to factor into your experience is like, how are you getting to school? Where are you staying? Like so there are definitely huge factors. And going back even to high school, I was really wanting to do a placement at Rogers TV Durham and they offered me and I had my interview all lined up, but I could not get to Rogers TV Durham to do my placement. So I couldn’t even take that opportunity, which who knows where would have my career went if I would have done that. High school co-op, I think was the term, but I just couldn’t take it because of where they were located. There was no public transit. My family worked, I couldn’t get a ride there. So again, just like that access, I didn’t have access to get that placement. And then there was other people that did it and they obviously had great experiences. But for me, I’m like, oh, I’ll try the food or the food nutrition classes. Like the older student that helped the grade 9s and 10s and now I’m a great cook. So, thanks.
Lesley [00:54:51] I mean, that’s that’s a valuable skill I’ve learned because I have no cooking skills. So it is something- like those skills are important. But yeah, I think there is something to be said about that. Like I mean, it could be a whole- that’s a whole separate conversation about how those institutions are kind of structured where financial limitations are a big deal, so I’m not going to get into that, but yeah, that’s a- that’s a valid point to think about as well, especially if you’re a student and you’re thinking about even if you’re just thinking about bringing a car to school in the first place, there’s a lot of pros and cons.
Brent [00:55:31] Yeah, for sure.
Lesley [00:55:33] Mm hmm. So right now, what are your kind of long and short term goals? Like I know, obviously, like right now it’s a little kind of hard to plan that kind of stuff out because we’re- our situation with the pandemic kind of changes every single day. But what kind of- like what are your kind of things you’re working on right now?
Brent [00:56:00] Yeah, so, so much. Honestly, I see it like it didn’t really start to pick up until recently my agency, because I was a lot more like just like I got vocal on social media telling people what I’m up to. So now I’m seeing like a lot of people reaching out and they’re kind of cluing in that I’ve left my old job and finding me there. So I’m actually starting to build out my team a little bit further because I have more work than really resources to do it, which is obviously a great problem. Like, oh, so sorry that you’re in that situation. So for me, I’m trying to think of, like you said, like short term and long term and long term, I don’t necessarily want to be necessarily like there every single day, doing everything. So right now to build up the agency and build up the brand clients. I’ve got to do that. But I’m always thinking about in the future, where do I see myself in five to 10 years? And my partner and I, we’ve always talked about, like launching another business together that would be more specific to his industry and how I can support him while still having this and then seeing more and more interest as I slowly start to build the Boy Who Blogs community. Like this has been going on for years, but I subtract everything we call brand partnerships. So I have to say that I have like a huge plan. But ultimately I want to build this agency up, get more passive income and kind of just see where things go. I don’t want to set perimeters because I think sometimes when you set those parameters, but I’m definitely a goal setter. I have goals somewhere around here. And one of them- you’re going to laugh at this one. I really wanted a fried chicken brand deal through Boy Who Blogs. So I spoke out loud. I told people I wanted this. I implemented some strategy to get on their radar and guess what? A fried chicken company reached out to me last week. And we’re looking at partnership opportunities for this spread. So anything is possible. I thought- really- I really do like short term goals, Q1 I want to do this. Q2 I want to do that. But long term, I’m just like most of us. I don’t know where this is headed. I’m just here for the ride. Yeah, I think that’s the best part is not necessarily setting too much in place and that’s just kind of my vibe, which is like laid back a little hippie.
Lesley [00:58:05] Is there any particular reason why you wanted fried chicken specifically?
Brent [00:58:11] Oh, it’s just on brand. Like I love fried chicken. It’s just- it’s- it so fits. Like people that know me, they know that I genuinely really love fried chicken. And it was just something that I think would be fun and quirky. And how do I love my brand and how do I have fun with it? It’s kind of like by doing different partnerships that like you may or may not expect, but anyone that knows me in real life is like that is so up your alley. And they’re usually going to be the ones that rally behind me when I do that sponsored post, because it’s so much more genuine than if I were to promote, say, I don’t know, something that like I’m not really into, which would be maybe like fish.
Lesley [00:58:48] I’m not into fish either. But I mean, everybody- everybody who’s a business person or a marketing person always wants to have clients of things they’re really interested in or they really like. I mean, that’s kind of the dream. So, I mean, I don’t really blame you on that one. Makes you actually want to work twice as hard to to get them a lot of wins too.
Brent [00:59:10] Yeah, and it’s like a brand that I genuinely do like their stuff, which, of course, that’s who I’m aligning myself with. But I think the weird thing there is it was so specific, right? Like who’s manifesting that? They want a fried chicken brand deal. That’s a little out there. But that’s honestly the best thing I can say is like don’t necessarily set these massive things. Like some people will put, like, yeah, I have like numbers that I want to hit. But at the end of the day, like, what are you doing to continually push forward is what I look at. So I don’t know if that’s the best answer, but I am a big believer in, like, setting those goals and like checking in on them. But I don’t- I think we just need to like- like let our shoulders down, release our jobs and like not have so much pressure on ourselves as like I think that society almost like wants us to have. So I don’t know, probably an unpopular answer on that one.
Lesley [00:59:59] No, I think that makes sense because like I- it’s- it’s important to keep setting goals and always have something to work towards that keeps you kind of motivated. But at the same time, like if you don’t hit that goal, when you want it, when you plan to, like, it’s OK. And like there’s a lot of people who are like, I know even with my own friends, like I have some people who had this kind of like five year plan and then it didn’t really happen. And they were like beating themselves up about it. And I- I think like just use- if you don’t reach those goals, I think- don’t let that define your outlook on anything and you can use that as kind of motivation to work a little harder for something else.
Brent [01:00:42] Yeah. And for me, I think like- like I am, and I’m sure you are. And I think we all are. Like, what I wanted in grade 11 was to be a paramedic. What? Like, no, I could not see myself being in this day and age, like, are you kidding me? I’m like, terrified of, like, seeing any sort of like open wound or blood or anything. So like for me, to like- if you were to ask me in five years if what I wanted five years ago was the same, I don’t know if it really would be. And I think that I’m still carving out that space. I’m still figuring it out. Did I ever think I would live in a mobile home? Definitely not. I remember saying that I, at 23, when I was 23, I wanted to be married with kids. No. Like, that’s so not realistic. So I’m like a really big believer in like these are some sort of long terms I’d like to do. I created a bucket list when I was 14. I’m still checking things off of it which is great. But like I don’t know, I’m a pretty laid back person and I just don’t know if it’s healthy to necessarily set something that might not come soon and that you might beat yourself up over it. So I don’t know. I like having goals, but I don’t like necessarily like having those as something that necessarily I need to then like feel maybe a little bit of like not even shame, but just like it’s more so accelerated. No one else is gonna be like you didn’t get that fried chicken campaign you said you wanted, whereas for me, when I get it I’m like, yeah I vocalized that one.
Lesley [01:02:08] Yeah. I mean, I feel like if it’s if it’s something that’s like it’s taken you a couple of tries and trial and error to actually get, it’s so much more satisfying when you do finally get it because you’re like, man, I worked to secure this deal and then I wasn’t sure if I was going to happen and then it happened. And it’s just like that much more fulfilling I feel like.
Brent [01:02:27] I can tell you like a goal that I have in mind, which is kind of like vanity is like I really want to have 10 K followers so I can get the swipe up, which like I’ll be honest, it’s kind of selfish because I want to monetize that. That’s something that I can then be like, OK, well, I can give you a swipe up. But I honestly think the user experience is if I am sharing something, people will be like, oh, do you have the link for that? So if I can add a swipe up, that’s great. But those are things that are like, OK, that’s probably going to come whether it’s in- who knows. It could be a month, I could go for it tonight, or it could be like fifty years. So like yeah it’s a cool goal to have and I’m not going to beat myself up over it.
Lesley [01:03:04] Yeah. I mean the swipe up feature is definitely… We use it all the time and it’s convenient so I totally get that. Why you’d do that, so.
Brent [01:03:13] Yeah. So there’s like a small little thing that I’d love for sure.
Lesley [01:03:16] Definitely. One of the other questions we kind of ask everyone is if you could go back and talk to your fifteen year old self, what would you say?
Brent [01:03:28] So this might be like deep, but I think that, like, I always knew that I was gay, but I never vocalized it because everybody around me kind of knew. But I never really, like, came out and, like, shared that or like actively like, like rallied behind the community. It was kind of like, yeah, he probably is. And like I never- and it was just like I never really had to. Like I did dance, I did drama, all of my best friends since I was in grade one were girls. Like no one really bullied me, which was like, amazing. I never got bullied, like, thank so much for that. But I never did anything actively to, like, make that awareness or be like I can like, look like this or present myself like this and maybe I don’t conform into that. And then after high school, I was like, holy crap, there’s so many people that were like closeted that- that- I wouldn’t say I was closeted, but I wasn’t like waving the Pride flag around and like supporting other people so that they could feel that. So I think, like, luckily, I think people nowadays are a little bit more open to it, especially those Gen Zers. They’re definitely making some strides in the right direction. But for me, I just think there was a lost opportunity because there were people that watched me. I was very involved with all areas of like leadership. And I knew the nerds, I knew like different communities. And I was always sort of like one foot in with everybody, but I never was really, like, promoting that. So I think for me, it would have been like to harness that because that’s something that’s unique. And I think I could have given a lot more value to people that now I’m like, yeah, I could have been sort of like a figure to you. Even if it’s like a kid that was the grade younger than me or the grade nine when I was in grade twelve. So I really wish that I had like rallied a little bit more behind that. Got more involved with it.
Lesley [01:05:09] Yeah. Or like helping people feel more comfortable, like maybe they’re not in the same situation where they might have a little more difficulty. Like I have a couple of friends who went through that and didn’t- like when they came out in high school, they didn’t have a pleasant experience with it. And I know that’s still- even now, I mean, that was also like 10 years ago too, so I don’t know what it would be like right now, but I remember watching, like close friends of mine really struggle with that. And in a lot of that- their particular environments, there weren’t really anybody- there wasn’t really anybody there that they could- that could kind of help them or they could- that had that shared experience. So I get what you mean.
Brent [01:05:57] We had like I guess it’s like they call it and I feel like this term is so outdated, but it was like the gay straight alliance. But it was like all straight people or people that were presenting straight at that time in their life. So it was so interesting and such a lost opportunity. And I feel like that if I could be- and the reason why that’s coming up is because, like, at the end of the day, I think, like authentically being yourself attracts like the best clients. Like I don’t want to have to, like, suppress who I am or feel like I need to wear a blazer. Like people already know that this is what they’re getting and that’s why they choose to work with me and hire me. And that’s exactly what I strive to do. Whereas there was maybe pieces where I could have been a little bit more transparent with who I am, that could have helped other people out, because I have always been an extrovert and I’ve always been kind of like, I don’t want to say a social life. I like a little bit more social. So, yeah, I think for me there was- I had a missed opportunity that if I would have been a little bit more, maybe even like confident in my skin with it, that I probably could have like touched on people earlier than maybe waiting to now to bring that through and to kind of communicate that and to use my brand to kind of elevate diversity and inclusion more than just sexual orientation. It’s something I’m really passionate about. So.
Lesley [01:07:09] Yeah. And like, that’s- I mean, it’s still valuable to- like to- to focus on now too, because even even if you’re like… I mean, we always kind of wish we could have done more, but it’s never too late to do more now.
Brent [01:07:25] Yes.
Lesley [01:07:25] So there’s always that opportunity there. And that’s really interesting. So, yeah, I mean, that’s- actually, I really appreciate that you shared that, because a lot of this time- that’s a- a unique kind of perspective that- for our show specifically because normally when we ask that, people are like, oh, well, I wish I told myself to have more confidence or this and that. So, like, I really appreciate that more. That’s a more diverse perspective to that answer. So.
Brent [01:07:59] Yeah, I think- and like, people probably might not even have known that, like I had this perspective, right? Like there is probably like people that were like hmm, is he gay? Like they didn’t really like to do that. And it’s still happened. Like my partner is in university right now. And someone said, well, there’s no one here that’s gay. And he’s like umm? As a society, we’re pushing towards that a little bit more. But it does take, not only the personality, and I wouldn’t even say like the courage, but sometimes people- and this is like something that maybe you will include or not is the whole pronoun thing. I love that we do that. But as somebody that may have been a little bit worried to like wear that on my sleeve, is that especially in academia and in corporate by putting your pronouns, what if I was- I’m not, but what if I was wanting to identify as something other than what I’m confidently doing right now, and I almost felt the pressure to put that pronoun in my email signature, but I wasn’t quite ready for that? So I think there’s a lot of like- and that whole subject is super all over the place. But that’s a great example of like, yes, we are going in the right direction. But what if someone is not quite ready to put in their email signature that they are maybe not what they would identify as or what other people assume they are? So there’s so many moving parts there and I love that. And I think the only thing we can do is have like open discussions on it and respect one another. But you do need to talk about it. Otherwise there’s never going to be any change.
Lesley [01:09:21] Yeah, I- that is a really interesting point because I never really thought about that before and like- because I’ve always been like when I see people and they’re including their pronouns and things and I’m like, oh that’s really nice or whatever. But like you don’t actually think about like it’s kind of forcing people to out themselves when before they’re ready. I never even thought about that. So.
Brent [01:09:49] Most people don’t. Like- like being like with my partner, being like the whole like academia, university research papers, like that’s something that the universities like all I think the universities really try to encourage people to like, include that and include it. And I know a lot of the corporate companies, when they set you up with their work email, that’s something they want to do. But I’m like, hey, does anyone realize that, like, you could actually be doing that? And it’s not intentional. I would- I would definitely say it’s likely not intentional, but it’s a different perspective that some people could maybe consider. It’s almost like on a document where they say, like your gender, but they just leave it open and let them self identify, you know, but we won’t go down that rabbit hole.
Lesley [01:10:31] I know that’s a whole other conversation that we don’t have time for. But yeah, no, I didn’t think about that. But I will now. And I mean, I don’t know what a solution for that would be, but yeah, definitely something to think about.
Brent [01:10:49] For sure.
Lesley [01:10:49] So I just have like two more questions, the one is another thing that we kind of ask everybody on our show, and that is what is your favorite social media platform?
Brent [01:10:59] So I would definitely say that for me, my social media platforms give me different things, right? So ultimately, end of the day, my biggest community is on Instagram. So I love Instagram and I love that as my primary platform. To expand on that, Pinterest does give me the web traffic. So I love Pinterest for that reason, but I monetize more on Instagram. But this app Clubhouse that I told you about is my current favorite. Just because it’s so fresh, because I’m on there, because I’ve cultivated this community, I have regular programing. I’m seeing clients come through it. So as of this moment, Clubhouse. In general, Instagram. But I love every social platform, whether I’m just using it as a consumer or I’m actually creating content there. I even- like I don’t make TikToks, but I thinkTikTok is hilarious. And I highly consume that content.
Lesley [01:11:51] I love TikTok. TikTok is something that I started and I was like, I’m too old for this. Like, I’m turning 30, like, why am I- but then I started actually using TikTok and I was like, this is addicting. This is so much fun. Like I don’t make TkToks, but like I love watching them.
Brent [01:12:08] And the thing I think there is that you touched on and I talk about this a lot, is like social media is always adapted typically by like younger generations, right? And then the older generation follows and then the brand follows. So it’s the same things like Snapchat, Facebook was more university. But now a lot of parents are on Facebook where the younger generation is not really going there. So it always happens in that sort of order. But like even for me, I was on TikTok back when it was on Musical.ly. And if anyone wants a little giggle, I would post topless selfies of me lip synching because that’s what everyone did. And I got like close to two thousand followers there. So now I’ve gone and I’ve hidden them all so no one can see them. But then TikTok bought Musical.ly. So now I’m on this massive platform. And again, just be aware of what you’re posting.
Lesley [01:12:58] Yeah, definitely. Like just remember, like when you post something, it’s there on the Internet forever.
Brent [01:13:07] Like they’re not bad. It’s just I don’t know if that’s really in line with my brand right now and how positioning myself as not like a team that does dancing. Although yeah, I have some experience dancing, I probably could do some cool choreography. That’s just not the type of content that we’re sharing with our audience yet or ever. We’ll see.
Lesley [01:13:27] Yeah, I mean, it has to- there’s nothing wrong with doing any of that. It’s just like if you want to build a brand that’s doesn’t have that values, maybe don’t.
Brent [01:13:37] Yeah. So be aware, be aware of like a sustainable brand is a great answer. Yeah.
Lesley [01:13:41] Do you want to drop your Instagram handle now so that people can follow you?
Brent [01:13:47] Yeah. So it’s Boy Who Blogs. That’s my Instagram handle.
Lesley [01:13:52] Perfect. We will link that for you as well in the description so then people can check out your page.
Brent [01:13:58] Oh thank you.
Lesley [01:14:00] So my last question is another one we kind of ask everyone and that is if you have a favorite motivational quote that you would like to share.
Brent [01:14:09] A quote I might say, like, again, this might be a little deep, but what you think you become and what you feel you attract, and that’s actually, I think, like a quote from Buddha. But ultimately, I think that kind of ties back into like motivation and mindset.
Lesley [01:14:26] Yeah, just kind of putting out what you want to get back.
Brent [01:14:29] Yeah, and like, honestly, like the world is your oyster and I really do believe that. It’s like, there’s no reason why you can’t be the next prime minister or you can’t be the next CEO of X, Y, Z company. There’s really no reason why you can’t. And the only thing that’s going to prevent you from doing that is honestly yourself. So a little deep, but it’s serious.
Lesley [01:14:51] No, it’s- it’s relevant. And it even just like thinking that getting in that mindset makes a huge difference. So definitely super important. Yes, so just before we- do you have any other insights that you want that you wanted to share before we wrap up? Or I know we kind of talked about a lot of stuff.
Brent [01:15:14] So, yeah, the only thing that I think we touched on, it was just like always be kind. Like at the end of the day, especially when I work with, like, content creators and they get a brand deal or a brand that reaches out to them and wants to give them free product before they respond like, you don’t know my work. You don’t know this. Remember, they might actually have no clue because they have never worked in that space. So always just treat people with the utmost respect and be nice to one another because it is a very small world and people like to work with nice people. So that would be my final insight is like don’t be mean to people.
Lesley [01:15:50] I think that’s a wonderful place to leave off because that’s something we should all be doing no matter what we do or who we are, especially right now. So, yeah, I appreciate that. And just want to say thank you so much for taking your time out of your day to talk to us today or talk to me today, because a lot- you’ve shared a lot of really, really insightful and important things. And I know that it’s really going to hit home for a lot of people. So we really appreciate you talking to us today.
Brent [01:16:22] Yeah, and I appreciate you reaching out and for thinking for me to be a part of it. This is my first Zoom interview thing. So I’m really happy that you thought of me. And I’m excited to see the final edit.
Lesley [01:16:35] Awesome. I’m- I’ll probably send you a follow up email shortly anyway. But again, thank you. And we’ll keep in touch with you and have a wonderful rest of your day.
Brent [01:16:46] Yeah. Bye. Thank you.
Lesley [01:16:48] Bye.Share: