Brandon is at a bit of a crossroads with what he wants to do with his life. He's twenty-five, delivering pizzas full-time, but he knows he wants to build a business to enable him to live the life he wants. He has two clear passions, and he's trying to figure out how to turn them into something that will build a following.
As someone who was able to lose over 100 pounds with the help of meal prep practices and a focus on nutrition, Brandon has the credibility and personal story to try and enter into the nutrition and wellness market. On the other hand, he has a passion for gaming and the burning desire to share his enthusiasm with others. The problem with both of these things, as I point out, is that they're both extremely saturated markets where your enthusiasm isn't necessarily enough to get the attention you need.
I love this conversation because Brandon is in a place that I think a lot of people find themselves in. He knows he wants to start a business and change his life from what he's doing, he has these things that he's passionate about, but can't figure out how to put that together and get started in a clear direction. What we eventually get to is how you need to just get over the fear of failure because, at the end of the day, you need to fail if you're going to learn what it takes to succeed.
There are tons of great lessons here about how to build a following, how to niche down and get into a crowded market, how to approach influencers, and why testing out your product on a small group of people benefits you as much as it does them. We get to a great place with Brandon, and I'm excited to see what he does next.
What You'll Learn:
How to turn your passions into a business you can get behind, why it's important to think further down the road when you're considering a career, and how working with influencers can also be a test of your ideas.
Pat Flynn: What's up everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to episode 1065 of AskPat 2.0. You're about to listen in on a coaching call from Brandon, who's delivering pizzas, and he's got some big ambitions, but a couple passions, and he's not quite sure exactly how to put them together, or which one to choose, and that's exactly what we're going to talk about today, so listen in. Make sure you subscribe if you haven't already.
I want to thank, really quick, today's sponsor, which is FreshBooks.com. It is a business accounting software to help you manage all the headache in and around the finances of your business. Of course, tax season had just happened, and perhaps you felt a little bit of pressure and wished things were more organized. Well, now's the time to get involved with something like FreshBooks, because it really is a super easy to use cloud accounting software to help you manage your expenses, your income, printing out all the reports that you need, and also invoicing. So make sure you check it out, and if you just want to see what it's like—I highly recommend doing that—they're giving all of us a thirty-day free trial, all access to all the little things that they offer you. If you go to Freshbooks.com/askpat and enter “Ask Pat” in the “How Did You Hear About Us” section. That'll hook you up with a free trial, and you'll see how great it is. That's all you've got to do. All right. Let's listen in to the conversation today with Brandon Olman. Here we go.
[Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.]
Hey, Brandon. Welcome to AskPat 2.0. Thanks so much for being here today.
Brandon Olman: Yeah, absolutely, Pat. Thanks so much for having me.
Pat: Stoked to learn more about what you do and what we can do to help you, but before that, why don't you introduce yourself to everybody listening and how you got here.
Brandon: Yeah, absolutely. So, I guess I'm twenty-five. Right now I just deliver pizzas full-time to kind of get by. I had attended community college to get my two-year degree, and kind of phased that out, because I wasn't sure what to follow through with. Didn't want to keep throwing money at the tuition without knowing, necessarily, what to pursue, and then now I'm kind of at a point where I don't want to follow it with a degree, because I want to more work for myself and be my own boss, so I'm trying to figure out exactly what I want to do in that regard.
Pat: Good for you. So what are you doing, or what are you planning on doing, or where's your direction at these days?
Brandon: So I guess my question to you, or why I was reaching out is because I'm not sure exactly what to do in that regard. I want to follow . . . I have two different passions that I'm looking to follow, and one—having dealt with nutrition and weight loss being a center of my life since I was pretty young—nutrition, cooking, healthy living has been a big part of that. But on the flip side, escaping through video gaming and all of that has been also another passion of mine, and so I'm trying to figure out . . . now with the internet, you can more or less monetize both and turn each into a business, and I'm just trying to figure out which one to follow through with, which one adds more value, etc.
Pat: Definitely. Well, we can unpack both of those. I am an avid gamer myself, by the way, and I do personally still play video games, and I use it as an escape, a break, just relaxation time, meditation time even, so that's kind of fun. And I've been pretty interested in the gaming industry with a lot of the related things that have been happening in the world, such as a lot of Fortnite streamers and their openness about how much that's paying the bills for them. From that to e-gaming, and joining teams, and that sort of thing. It's been really interesting. Then obviously on the other side, you have your nutrition and weight loss stuff, which is always something that's going to be top of mind for people. Both are very competitive, however, so I think a big part of this conversation is hopefully coming out of it with some unique understanding of sort of you, Brandon, and what makes you great, and your superpowers, and where you want to end up, and what we can do to get there. So, that's kind of where I want to guide the conversation. Will that be okay?
Brandon: Oh, absolutely.
Pat: Cool. So let me ask you, no matter which industry you end up getting into, what kinds of things do you feel like you would have to uniquely offer the people who would be following you, learning from you, being entertained by you or what not?
Brandon: Well, so I don't mean for this to be a weird humblebrag, but—
Pat: Do it.
Brandon: . . . since I was young, I had peaked at quite a heavy weight. So I think my highest was about two hundred eighty, so it was kind of up there. And now, having lost over a hundred pounds, I feel that that alone adds a little bit of . . . like gives me some credentials in terms of weight loss, and healthy living, good nutrition, et cetera, and so I kind of wanted to head into like a recipe site or like a food blog with a heavy emphasis on meal prep, because that was my big catalyst in losing weight.
Brandon: Whereas with gaming, just more or less having spent so much time with it, you know, ten thousand hours you become a master. Well, probably a little over that, so I feel that I can add good value in that regard as well in terms of . . . I guess that was my other question is I'm not sure necessarily where I would take the gaming side of the business. There's so many different avenues nowadays to be able to monetize that, but on the same note, it's so hard to gain a footing in such a saturated industry that I'm not quite sure where I'm going with that, because there are so many people that play at such an exceptional level, or review hardware, games, et cetera.
Pat: Yeah. Well, even on the nutrition front, not to scare you or anything. This isn't about that. This is validating that these are good ideas and industries to get in. On the nutrition and weight loss of side of things, there are also just as many people, probably, if not more, who are going through that in their life, and who have built brands around that, too. Either way, it's going to be important to—going back to what I said earlier—understanding kind of the unique things that you have to offer. I think that it was great that you started with the fact that you have you yourself lost a hundred pounds. Anybody else who's looking to lose weight would want to find somebody who is just a few steps ahead of them, who has gone through something themselves. The last thing I would want anybody to do as an entrepreneur is get into an industry where they either have no experience or no proof, and obviously, with either of these, you have both of those. On the gaming stuff, and we'll hone in on like a strategy eventually, but we're kind of just jamming and riffing together here, on the gaming stuff, just curious, what game or games are you sort of involved with right now?
Brandon: I've been playing a lot of Apex Legends, which is . . . if you're familiar, it's very similar to Fortnite in terms of it being a battle royale, but it's kind of peaked in interest recently—
Pat: Yes, I think it had—
Brandon: . . . so I've been putting a lot of hours into that.
Pat: It had ten million players on the first day, and it's from EA Sports, and it's kind of the first . . . they call it the first Fortnite killer, apparently, that is actually gaining some momentum. So that's really great, and there's a lot of streamers that I actually follow, as well, who do play Apex, and that's a great game, too. But the hard thing with those particular games is . . . It's funny. I remember when Fortnite was huge, and it still is, there were people monetizing Fortnite by being Fortnite coaches. I don't know if you've heard about that. Even parents hiring people to teach their kids how to play Fortnite. It's just very interesting, because that was nothing that existed when I was a kid playing Quake, and COD, and some of those kinds of games. I don't think with video games unless you are the top of the top, like a Ninja, or a Tfue, or one of those types, charging for coaching, it's going to be a little bit difficult.
So, in the entertainment space, with video games, there's a few ways that you could go about monetizing, and the truth is, whichever way it is, you kind of have to pick your lane and go all in with that. So, one way would be to amass a large audience, and gain a following, which would then attract, of course, sponsors, advertisers, those kinds of things. This is why a lot of those larger streamers like Ninja and those kinds of people are doing very well. It's because they have large audiences, super large audiences. The other way to go about it would be to pick a particular facet of gaming that would allow you to attract, not just Hot Pockets and other advertisers like that, but if you were to get into, like you said, hardware, and specifically gaming hardware, that could provide an interesting avenue for you for monetization based on your technical knowledge of gaming. And you can still game, and play, and stream, but you would become known as, for example, “Oh, you got to check out Brandon. He's got all the latest access to these cool things that are coming out for gamers who want to get the edge on their competition.” You could have, once you even start a little bit of an audience there, much like if you do camera tech reviews or phone reviews on YouTube, very similarly, those companies who own those products are looking for creators who have audiences of targeted followers who know you for a certain reason, because you review these kinds of things, and spread the word for them. I mean, you could probably get access to, if you commit to it, all the latest monitors, and all the latest game chips, and all the latest . . . all those kinds of things, the new mouse with like seventy buttons on it to help you with all the little shortcuts and stuff. That could be you.
I think a big part of this is once we start dissecting the options would be for you to eventually, and we don't have to do this on the call today, but at some point you'd have to make a decision. “I want to become known as that guy, or that person,” and just kind of own that space. Every decision you make will be about that. If it is a sort of gear review type thing, you can also find people who are doing the same thing, which, again, is not a bad thing. It's a good thing because that means there's a market out there for that kind of stuff, and you can actually find those, quote, “competitors,” and even connect with them. Find out where they're going to be, and hang out with them at events, or even just get on their radar a little bit. Find out what's working for them, and just create something better, and if that's the avenue you want to go down, that's kind of the direction you'd want to take. That would be a little easier, in my eyes, then amassing a large audience, because amassing a large audience is not just about gaming skills. It's about comfort behind the camera, comfort live, which you may, I don't know you very well, Brandon, but that may or may not be easy for you, so curious your thoughts on sort of all the things I'm saying so far.
Brandon: Oo, absolutely. So, I'd dabbled around with streaming for about a year, but basically, I'm at a point in my life where I want to be able to stray away from the standard 9 to 5, free up more time at home, and have it become a little bit more passive. So, I guess where I'd reached as . . . I wasn't sure if it's better to just sit down and follow . . . I guess, focus all my energy, all my free time on something like streaming with doing a blog on the side to focus on hardware reviews, stuff like that, or kind of flip the priorities and focus heavily on the blog with reviewing hardware, doing videos for it, perfecting the SEO, and then just doing streaming as more of a side gig.
Pat: Yeah, the streaming stuff, I mean, that stuff takes a long time to gain traction, building relationships with other streamers and YouTubers obviously can help. However, I know that, because I was actually pretty big into Fortnite for a while, and I was following those streamers, because I was just curious about how they've gone so big and how popular they got, I mean, they're streaming four to five hours a day, man, and it's just like that's a lot of time.
Brandon: Oh, it's nuts.
Pat: Whereas, opposed to, spending a few hours to create a few good videos about a particular topic, and have it continually be watched over and over and over again for people who find it in various places, that's, to me, more long term. I mean, imagine doing a five-hour stream. Four months from now that's going to be irrelevant, right?
Brandon: True. Yeah. I've been there, done that.
Pat: Yeah. Yeah. But streaming on top of the other things, I think is a good idea, because streaming, what the beauty of that is, you're interacting and building raving fans right then and there. And I think that's why these other guys are doing it so well, and attracting so many people is because they're there five to six hours a day streaming, and interacting, but I think even a little bit of that can go a long way on top of the sort of brand that you're building and what you want to become known for. So let me ask you, just as a little thought experiment, Brandon, and then we can move into thoughts about the weight loss thing, and then I have an idea that I want to purpose to you after, is two years from now, you have a YouTube channel, and it has seventy, a hundred, a hundred twenty videos that are ranking, and you're building a name for yourself, becoming known as the sort of gear guy in the gaming space. You're getting stuff sent to you because these companies know that you have an audience, you're getting people communicating with you and engaging with you in your comment section, you're getting emails from people asking you for tips or advice, and you're even building relationships with some of the maybe larger names out there, because they don't have time to research and experiment with these kinds of products. You're that guy. Would you want to be that person?
Brandon: Oh, absolutely. I think anything where . . . It sounds like a really mediocre goal, but I just want to be able to more or less work from home, and I know that that can entail, or usually does entail, much harder work than working under somebody else. But pretty much anything where I don't have to go to work and report to someone sounds ideal to me. Being able to do that from home would be incredible, to be able to add my own personality into stuff, and not have to worry, I mean, about what your boss thinks.
Pat: For sure.
Brandon: Albeit, with that kind of job, you have multiple bosses in a sense, because you don't want to ruin relationships, but.
Pat: Right, right. So, outside of the money, you would be fulfilled? That would get you up in the morning, and you'd be stoked on it?
Brandon: Oh, one hundred percent.
Pat: Okay. Cool. That's good to know. A lot of entrepreneurs have these great ideas, and we don't actually think ahead and go, “Wow, that's actually not the kind of life I want to live, or not the kind of content I want to create,” so that's great. In terms of monetization for that, it can happen sooner than later if you choose the sort of niched route versus the sort of streaming and just showing off how awesome you are on Apex and other games. Of course, the hard thing about that, too, is games change, right? Games are always changing. Apex, who knows how long it's going to be around. What's the next Battle Royale that's going to be taking over? Of course, you could jump ship to that one, too, but the gaming technologies are always going to be evolving and people are going to look for a person to learn from, and there's less noise there, of course, so that's good.
It'll take some time, though. It's not like tomorrow you put up a video and you're going to immediately make money. This stuff takes time, but with a little bit of relationships with others out there who already have audiences, with some hustle, and also some really good videos, you can start to make money sooner than later, and I think the first step would actually be to . . . just to give you yourself a little bit of a win, or feeling that this is going the right direction, I would aim for trying to build an audience such that you can attract the—and it won't happen automatically. You'll have to reach out to them. But see if you could even get a company to send you some stuff for free, even before any money's made. Again, like I said, it'll take time. Just the fact that a company's willing to give you either something for free, or let you try something before sending it back, that should feel really . . . I would work toward that moment, because that moment will be the first domino in this just entire domino stream of you sort of building your brand. I think that if that's your goal, then you kind of know what you have to do. You have to become known as that person and make it clear to brands, and also your audience that that's who you're going to become.
Brandon: Okay. Okay. I can definitely see the value in that for sure.
Brandon: Just get everything rolling.
Pat: Yeah, and then when it comes to the other one, nutrition and weight loss, obviously, that's very important to you, and it's something that definitely ties into a person's need and want to . . . A person doesn't wake up and go, “Oh, man. This keyboard that just came out's going to change my life.” Right? But, they do wake up and say, “Oh, man. If I could just shed a few pounds, I'd be so much more confident, and that would change my life.” Not to say or discount what we just talked about with the gaming stuff, but this definitely ties into a specific kind of person, and you have personal experience with that, as well. And I think that if you were to move forward with this, it would require you to see who's out there, who's talking about it, and likely you know some of those personalities already, but in terms of meal planning and meal prepping, the way to go about it, I think, would be to really niche down to a specific kind of person. Because there's all kinds of people who want to lose weight. There's all kinds of people who need that solution.
But similar to a story I told once, Brandon, it was about this guy who invented a bug spray, and it kind of killed all bugs. Right? It's like the universal bug spray, and it was awesome, so he packaged it as the universal bug spray, and he sold it at a store. But it didn't sell well because people who had a roach problem wanted the roach killer. People who had an ant problem wanted an ant killer. People who wanted the whatever, and so he re-packaged it into containers that were specific to that particular insect problem, and it just flew off the shelves, because those people knew that, well, that's the problem I have, and that's the solution. So what I'm getting at is nutrition, weight loss, meal prepping, but for who?
Pat: But for who exactly? And that way, because there's so much competition out there, this is how you succeed. You narrow down your focus. Even though it's like internally you're like, “Oh, but I'm not able to help as many people because I'm so narrowly focused. I'm pigeonholing myself,” they call it. What you're actually doing is you're able to better and more easily connect with people because if a person is a busy lawyer, and they see a program that helps busy lawyers lose weight, then they know that well, that company or that product probably understands the kind of lifestyle that that busy lawyer has. It's just like if you go to the mall and you need running shoes. I mean there's all kinds of shoe stores, but if you really want to run that half marathon, you're going to go to the specialty store, right, because you don't need the Crocs or all the other kinds of shoes. So, what I'm getting at is it might be wise to consider, well, okay, who are you going to help when it comes to the weight loss and nutrition. You've proven it. You're a perfect candidate for somebody who can teach this and share your recipes and whatnot, but how's a person going to know you're the one for them, and that's where connecting that target market would make sense. I don't know if you know or have ideas on one that . . . maybe it is millennials, for example, is an example, and my idea that I was going to share with you is maybe it is gamers.
Brandon: Okay. I could definitely see the connection there. I feel like that is a large market that could benefit from time-saving recipes that meal prep essentially is.
Brandon: Where everyone wants to maximize their time, whether it's on a console or computer between . . . maybe they go to school, or have to go to bed early, and so doing that would reduce the time that they have to cook their meals or prevent them from, say, going to a fast food restaurant.
Pat: There you go. That's a big one. A lot of gamers I know are sitting in a chair all day, and they're not the healthiest of people, and this is why a good brand to look at, Brandon, would be a guy named Steve Kamb, K-A-M-B. He has a site called NerdFitness.com. He decided that he was going to teach health, and he teaches all kinds of things, really. It's a health and nutrition . . . like weight loss, running, nutrition, all that stuff, and he's specifically targeted other nerds, right? So he inserts things from LEGO, and Star Wars, and old '80s movies that only nerds would understand, and he's able to connect with them, and it's because he's speaking their language. So if you had, for example, a brand that was specifically for gamers that also focused on keeping gamers healthy, and meal prepping, and you have that . . . it's basically a crossover of both those things you talked about, your passions, it could be a really interesting story, and a really interesting brand. And then, of course, other gamers, they talk to other gamers. “Oh my gosh. How did you lose 20 pounds? You play games all day. Oh, it's this guy Brandon. You should check out his website.” Whatever the website would be called, or check out his YouTube channel. I don't know if that's . . . I'm just kind of riffing here and sharing ideas. I'm curious to know what your thoughts are on all this, and sort of where your head is at now.
Brandon: No, that makes so much sense, actually, because you've always said the riches are in the niches, so being able to niche down from not only meal prep itself being more of a niche, but meal prep for a specific audience even furthers that, so that makes a lot of sense to me. And I feel that that is a route I could easily follow through with, and be able to add my own personal spin in such a heavily saturated market.
Pat: That's awesome.
Brandon: Yeah, no, I'm really thrilled we've had this conversation thus far. That's given me a lot of stuff to consider.
Pat: Cool. What do you feel your next steps might be after this call?
Brandon: I need sit down, figure out, not only . . . I guess figure out what kind of recipes or how to format recipes via I guess a brand, though I feel like the brand itself can come a little bit after. Figuring out different avenues to market myself, whether I want to go through . . . Would it be like affiliate marketing, approaching, say, streamers or Instagram influencers to drive traffic to a blog once the blog's established? Getting content out whether it's just recipes or maybe exercises that they can do in-home instead of having to require a gym membership for, stuff in that nature?
Pat: These are all great things. These are all great things. Here's what I would recommend, because my goal is to get you there as soon as possible, and I think a lot of that's going to result from having conversations with people who are in this target market. If you already have relationships with people who have audiences, that's where I would start. I don't know if you do. You said you streamed a little bit. You may have, and what . . . Here's a quick way to enter a new space—of course, again, it helps if you have relationships—and that is serving somebody, helping somebody who already has an audience, and offering your superpower to them. For you it'd be like . . . imagine there's a gamer, streamer out there who you're friends with, and you just go to that person, and you go, “Hey, Jim, I know you've been looking to get a little bit more healthy, and we've talked about this before, or it seems like something you might be interested in. Here's what I want to do for you. I'm building this brand to help gamers stay healthy, and I want to just, for free, give you a meal plan for the next week. Can I do that for you in exchange for you telling me how that went for you?”
That's it, because that's going to teach you a few things. That's going to A, help you muster up the courage to act begin asking people. B, if this person says yes, that's awesome, it's going to fire you up to actually create that meal plan for a real person instead of creating it for nobody and then hoping people will want to get a part of it. C, they're going to feel like they're getting special treatment, because you're doing it just for them. Maybe you do it for a few others as well to add on to that. D, if that person goes, “Ah, I don't know. What does that even mean?” Well then now that signals to you to better explain it, and to the next person, you'll have that ammunition. Then E, after it's done, if you've helped this person and they start getting results, I mean, in more cases than not, Jim is going to go to his audience, even after you ask, or even if you don't ask, they're going to go, “Guys, I don't know if you've noticed this, but I've been so much happier lately, and I feel great. I just got to tell you, this guy, my friend, Brandon, he hooked me up with this meal plan. He just did it for me. It's literally been life-changing. You guys should check him out. Here's his YouTube channel, if you're a gamer like me and you're just struggling for what to eat, and how to be healthy.” So, I would go as manual to start, and even just find one person. Because if you can't find that one person, it's going to be harder to find more, and it's going to teach so much about just what that person thinks, and how that process works. The other part of this, letter F, I guess, if you want to call it that, is it'll allow you to test to see if this is actually something you really want to do. That way, by doing it for one person, it's kind of like a micro test for both that person and for you, too.
Brandon: Okay. Yeah, that makes so much sense.
Pat: Cool, Brandon. So, I was going to ask you, what's the website, where could we go, but I think that's going to come later, so I'd love to, if you don't mind, we could follow up with you in a few months and just kind of see how things are progressing and see what actions you've taken. And maybe by then there'll be a website we could feed people to.
Brandon: Oh, I hope so. I definitely plan to get down and get some work done here soon.
Pat: Cool, Brandon, thank you so much, and just based on everything we talked about, any piece of advice you could give to everybody who's listening right now on maybe the biggest thing that you learned?
Brandon: Well, so I've always been told that no matter what you put your mind to, as long as you put effort out and do it, and it sounds ridiculous, but I'd always . . . I told you right before we recorded this, that I've always listened to your podcast. I never once dreamed I'd actually be on it, and I was like, “Eh, what happens if I just send an email out to talk to Pat, and kind of see if he can guide me through a problem I'm having,” and lo and behold, we're here. So even if something seems out of the reach, even if you just put yourself out there, even that can happen, so.
Pat: I love that, Brandon. That's perfect. Thank you for sending people off into the world to do things too. I appreciate that, and good luck on everything.
Brandon: Hey, thank you so much, Pat. I appreciate your time.
Pat: All right. I hope you enjoyed that episode with Brandon. Thank you so much, and Brandon, keep rocking it. I look forward to checking out what you got going on. After we finished the call, Brandon was like, “Hey, Pat, I know setting deadlines is really important. By the time this episode comes out, I want to try to get a website up and running to see if I can meet that deadline and actually encourage myself to take action on this.” So, at the time I'm recording this intro right now, I'm literally recording this outro right after we recorded that interview, so I'm not sure if he's going to do that yet. But, if you want to check it out, we'll have links on the show note's page. Just go to AskPat.com. You can see it all there, and if he has a website by the time this episode comes out, great. If not, no worries. I'm sure he'll be on it, because I told him I'm going to follow up with him, because I'm really excited about sort of combining his two passions there, and most of all, just having him try, having him try it and see if it works. That's the most important thing.
All of you. You need to just try. It's okay to fail. It's okay to make mistakes. It's not okay to take no action. So, Brandon, best of luck to you, and for all of you listening in, thank you so much. If you want to get coached today just like Brandon did, all you have to do is apply on AskPat.com. There's a big application button right there in the middle of the page. Fill out that app, and I may reach back out to you in the future. So, that's it. Thank you so much. Make sure you hit subscribe to the show if you haven't already, and Team Flynn for the win. Cheers.
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