A lot of people claim that they know the secrets to success, but Justin Breen, the founder and CEO of BrEpic Communications LLC has experienced it firsthand and used these secrets to create an epic business. Now, he wants to share what he learned with the world and help you create your own epic business. In this episode, he talks with Patrick Veroneau about what it really takes to achieve the American Dream. He emphasizes the need for a healthy and strong mindset in the entrepreneurial world, not only to succeed but to be able to survive the industry. He goes back to the basics and explains why you need to build a network of peers with an abundant mentality. Listen in and understand the reality of the entrepreneurial industry as Justin talks about what most people don’t want to hear.
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Justin Breen’s New Book Reveals The Secrets That Provided Him With An Epic Business
My guest is Justin Breen. He published a new book called Epic Business: 30 Secrets to Build Your Business Exponentially and Give You the Freedom to Live the Life You Want! To me, what is important in this book is that it’s not a get rich quick book. That said, if you follow what he discusses in this book, it is a book that can make you rich. As it relates to some of the behaviors that I talk about quite often in the work that I do, two that stood out for me. One was around clear expectations and the other was around being for others. He talks about both of these as secrets that should be employed when growing your own business. One is around being clear on the type of client that you want to take on and not straying from that. Secondly, around being for others that it’s about helping other people, that if we wait for this more to the side of giving more than what we are receiving, then we end up with much more than we need. There is an abundance mentality here. Let’s get into it.
Justin, I want to thank you for taking the time to be on the show. I’ve been looking forward to this, especially after going on your site and looking at the book that you have that’s going to be published. It is about as you phrase it, your 30 secrets that you uncovered as you were developing your own successful business that you’ve had. As I was thinking about that and the environment we’re in, I thought maybe we could start off with what got you to the point of writing this book, the success of your company, and then go into how this could probably help a lot of people in this environment.
I appreciate you having me on the show. I’m passionate about entrepreneurship and then connecting to people on a global, high level. I could talk about this stuff all day. I wrote this book in 43 days because it came flying out of me. There was no intention to write a book originally. I have about 40,000 followers on social media so one day I’m like, “I’m going to post the 30 things that I’ve learned from some of the top entrepreneurs in the world, those things that I’ve implemented into my company and why it’s been an instant global success in less than three years.” I posted that and what happened was, everybody is like, “You have to write a book on this.” People were printing out the list and bringing it to meetings and stuff.
The way I am is when enough high-level people tell me to do something, I do it. I sign with one of the top micro publishers in the United States, she’s out in California, Rebecca Grider, and then signed with her in late November and wrote the book. In 43 days, it’s out and I’m excited about it. Chris Voss, who wrote Never Split the Difference. One of the top business books, he’s doing forward. It’s not just a book, it’s going to help thousands and thousands of people not only potentially start their own businesses, but figure out the right way of running their businesses if they don’t know how to make revenue or do what they love to do. It’s good timing in a way, all of that’s happening because a lot of businesses are going to wind up being more like the one I created.
Justin, there are a lot of people out there thinking, “If Justin can do it, I can’t do it.” What would be nice is for you to go back to 2017 and your decision to start your own business and what was that like? My guess is, were there ever point whereas you were doing this, you were saying to yourself like, “Can I do this?”
A quick background, February 10th, 2017, I was working full-time as a journalist in Chicago. I had my job salary cut in half due to cutbacks. There was nothing I had done. The next couple of weeks I looked for a full-time job and I couldn’t find it. I started doing freelancing on the side while I was working full-time. On April 16th, 2017, I decided to incorporate while I still working full-time so no one knew I had a company yet. For the next six weeks, I reached out to 5,000 people to get my first five clients. One in a thousand, 999 noes for each yes. I’ve got my fifth client and I resigned from my full-time job the next day. A couple of days later, Robert Feder’s one of the top media columnist in the Midwest wrote that I had started my own business. That’s the long way of saying to your point most people won’t be able to do this.
They’re not meant to be entrepreneurs and that’s fine. The ones who are meant to be entrepreneurs if I can do this, then you can do it for sure. If you are willing to accept overwhelming amounts of failure and learn from it to focus on only the positive things never to give up, then you are capable of doing this. I’m living the American dream working with only the best businesses and brands in the world. I only work with visionaries, I make as much money as I want to and I have almost no overhead costs. It’s possible and honestly what’s in my book is tens of millions, if not billions of dollars worth of advice, it’s a blueprint of how I did this.
Justin, you bring up a great point and it’s important, especially now, the buzz word is being an entrepreneur and that’s the thing that you’re supposed to do. If you don’t, you suck. That’s not the case, not everybody has to do that to be happy. You can work for an organization and be happy. That’s important for people to recognize if you work for somebody else. Some people that are not their appetite. They don’t want those things.
To be an entrepreneur, you have to have a certain mindset that is rare. To be an entrepreneur like me, I’m an oddball even for entrepreneurs. I’ll go into a room and talk like this to twenty people or business owners and eighteen of them will look at me like I’m crazy an alien. Those people aren’t my focus, the focus is the 1 and 2 people that are smiling ear to ear and they get it. Because of that, I have 40,000 of those people in my network all over the world. These are the best people ever. They’re total visionaries. They have an abundance mentality, they invest heavily.When you start a business, it takes two full years to really figure it out. Click To Tweet
They never asked what do you charge or what do you cost because those people immediately go away. In my network, that’s an immediate bond, they’re not going to be my clients if someone asks me that. Being intentional and strategic in terms of the types of people I want to work with that’s what led to the company doing well. To your point, as long as you do what you love to do and what you’re good at, that’s the main secret. That’s the key. I don’t think it can be in anything. You could be doing anything and as long as you love to do it and you’re good at it that’s what important to me.
Fast-forwarding, we’re in this crazy vortex, it seems. I’m dealing with people either that I’ve worked within the past that have called to say, “I lost my job. I’m trying to figure out what to do next.” Do you have other people that have lost their job that say, “I don’t want to go back into a corporate environment. I’d like to try and fund something on my own?” There’s a larger percentage to that we know from engagement numbers that are probably thinking with everything that’s going on, is this what I want to be doing with the rest of my life? I’m wondering, can we start to weave in the 30 secrets? What do you say to people that are in this space that are saying, “I want to be an entrepreneur or I want to try and start my own thing?”
There are three main things. One, I talked about already, but do what you love to do and what you’re good at. My entire business model, which is based on me being a journalist for twenty years and being annoyed by PR firms, super simple, I love to do it and I never get tired of it. My firm writes stories that are interesting and pitching it to media and then I connect with people 95% of my day on a global level. That’s my unique ability. I never get tired of it. It’s endlessly invigorating for me so it never works. Two is when you start a business and this is important, especially now is that, in my opinion, and based on what I’ve seen and then the elite level people that I work with it’s not an overnight type of thing.
It doesn’t take two months, not six months, not a year, but two full years to figure the thing out in terms of processes, right networking groups, your style, price point, all that stuff. Number three is, only work with people that look at things as investments, not costs. I said it, if someone asks, what do you cost or what do you charge? They’re gone. They’re immediately eliminated from being clients. Those people are toxic for two reasons. One, they’ll make terrible clients based on my experience and of others, because they’re always going to be looking at things isn’t enough, financial transactional way. Second, they’re going to introduce you to the people in their network and those people are also scarcity mentality, cost mentality, and not good fits at least from my brain and then the type of business that I’m running.
I know from my own business when I think of your second point there, it’s more about patients and that can be difficult. We’re an environment where all we see is the flash at times. If you go on to Instagram, it’s the Lambos, the mansions and people don’t recognize the work that goes in behind this stuff.
For my first five clients to reach out to 5,000 people, and I say those numbers because it’s easy 5 and 5,000, but I’m sure it was more than 5,000 people. I reached out to everyone on my social media network, which was well over 10,000 people. If you can’t accept incredible ups and downs, severe depression, I don’t know one entrepreneur who has been severely depressed at one time or another. This is not a path to go down in my opinion. It’s not healthy at first for sure. It’s an immense roller coaster way of emotion.
If you think the corporate world is hard, it’s nothing. The worst day of my corporate life was even close to the worst day of being an entrepreneur. The beauty of that is, as an entrepreneur, you can learn from those failures and then learn how your brain works when you fail and then realizing that you’ll get through it and that you’ll be a way better person on the other side of things. In situations like this, where 97% of the US or the world is shutting down and in panic mode, for me, and then the people in my network, it’s business as usual.
This is life as an entrepreneur and it’s pivoting and capitalizing on this, not only financially, but then figuring out ways to help people. My business has never been busier. I’ve signed eight clients because when you only work with visionaries and people that look at things in an abundant mentality, then this is what happens. They’re not nervous about any of this. They’re realizing this is a great abundant opportunity that they can capitalize on and then help people in a profound way in that process. It’s all endless and excitement from here on out. It’s only beginning in terms of this network that my company has built on a crazy high level.
A couple of things here is that I’m thinking you start out 5,000 then you get 5. To somebody that’s coming into this that is thinking, “I could use maybe 1 of those 6 that are on the fringe because I need a little bit of runway here to get going. Maybe it’s not my ideal client but I need some runway. I’ll get rid of them later.”
That’s what I did for sure. I agree. At first, to think you’re only going to work with visionaries and the best brands in the world, that could happen. I’ve been pretty lucky, Allstate was one of my first big clients with other than a couple of months of starting. It’s good in a way, you’ll figure out the right types of people that you want to interact with, the right types of businesses, and then, more importantly, the ones that you don’t want to deal with. You can’t figure that out until you learn from that in terms of the right and the wrong things that fit for you and then don’t fit for you. It’s okay to have the wrong clients at first. In fact, I encourage that so you learn who your tribe is.
For me, and my business has taken a hit based on a lot of my work that I do from a leadership standpoint because a lot of it was in person and it’s created an environment where I’ve had to pivot myself. Looking at this and saying, “Where is this going to go? How can I take the problems that are out there and now create models, online, and coaching that’s virtual that will address the real challenges that are coming up?” We talked about this before in regards to reentry and how challenging that is going to be. It is about pivoting of saying, “What’s the opportunity to serve in this crisis?” That’s what you have to do.
If you don’t, then you’re going to be left behind. If people aren’t going to change after this type of situation then, they’re not going to change. The only reason I started a company is because of my job salary was cut in half and I couldn’t find a job. I look at these types of things and the recession, where many people started amazing businesses or pivoted or came up with great ideas. The same thing is already happening here. It’s going to be amazing even a couple of weeks or months from now. All these great companies that start because of it and the people that reenter into their regular jobs or what they’ve been doing before, I imagine there’s going to be drastic differences in good ways in terms of how those jobs look.
The businesses that don’t pivot or react to this in a productive way, those businesses will go away. That’s how life works. Now is the time to capitalize that and look at this in a positive way. Change, it’s okay. A lot of these businesses that are been stuck in the mud forever, higher education, and I can consider religion a business in this case because you can’t go to church or temple anymore, it’d be better to figure it out. Law and all these other things, look at how our healthcare is already pivoting. I have a ton of healthcare clients and it’s exciting to see what they’re doing and sign with the big online education company because they have all these courses that every college in the country could use. It’s those types of things that excite me. It’s cool.
You mentioned something you’re talking about mindset when you talk about this.
That’s the most important thing.
I’d be curious from your perspective, dial it back, when can you look to your own past and say that’s when you recognized that it was about mindset.
When you start a business, it takes two full years. At the two year point, I had weeded out all the nickel and dime networking groups. I had started to join groups, there’s ProVisors Group, which is a national organization. I had joined a group called Strategic Coach, which is an international entrepreneurial organization. It’s around $10,000 a year to be a part of it. It’s only entrepreneurs. I meet quarterly in Chicago. I’m the only one from Illinois in my group, everybody else flies in. Strategic Coach has been such a blessing because it’s changed my mindset in terms of understanding my value and my unique ability, which again is doing what you love to do and what you’re good at and then having a minimum check.
If someone won’t meet my minimum check requirements, then they won’t become my client. Having constant, daily abundant mentality and reinforcing that every single day does lead to you attracting those type of people. Ninety-five percent of my conversations and 95% of my day is with all these global visionaries everywhere about all these great things that they’re doing. When you constantly talk to people like that, you rise up with them. These are people running 8, 9, 10 figure businesses. They’re the nicest people ever. While my goal is not having a 9, 10 figure business, it is creating this network on an insanely high level where it keeps growing and growing and that’s already happened, but it’s the beginning of it.If you can't accept incredible ups and downs and severe depression, this is not a path to go down. Click To Tweet
You talk about staying in a place of abundance. Most that I talked to that are successful have some type of routine that they start out with, what does that look like for you?
For the past years, I’ve been running outside, six days a week, no matter the weather conditions, blizzard, negative twenty degrees or monsoon, and 100 degrees I will run no matter what. That’s well before I started a business. That’s a key part of my routine. A good friend of mine who’s also a client his name is Joe Martin. He’d be a great guest for this. He names his years. I started doing that. I’ve been calling it global growth well before COVID started happening. I tell myself every day, “Global growth.” Two of my clients are in Toronto and Guatemala and more than half of my conversations are with people outside of the US. When you keep reinforcing that and say it every day, and then you’re part of organizations. I’m in EO, which is Entrepreneurs Organization, that network is insane. People who are serious about growing their network on a global level, EO is amazing. It weeds out all the nonsense, companies have to make between $250,000 and $1 million, the groups that I’m in and most of these companies are way over $1 million.
When you keep reinforcing that and saying it over and over again, it’s what happens. When I started business few had said this stuff, I would have thought you were insane, but it’s legit. Another one that’s important is building relationships is a lot like farming which planting seeds, watching, and waiting for those seeds to grow. I don’t look at any meeting as a direct business opportunity and I barely ever talk about business when I meet with people unless they directly ask. It’s more about seeing if our brains smash. I have this weird, unique ability where I could be talking to someone in Australia and they’ll say something obscure and I’ll know someone in British Columbia, Canada, who’s similar to them and I’ll introduce them. I don’t know how that works. It does. I don’t write anything down. If you asked me to build anything with my hands, I’ll have a nervous breakdown. I can’t do that, but this stuff, it’s easy for me.
When you plant these seeds, what I’ve seen is the relationships I built a few years ago when I started the business. Those people who I hadn’t heard from in years, they’re reaching out to me now, or they’re connecting me with somebody who could potentially change my life. If you look at things like that, where all these conversations that you have will be beneficial to you 1, 2, 3 years, even longer, then that’s the way of approaching it as opposed to, “I’m talking to this person trying to sell them something.” That’s complete nonsense. When I first started, that’s what I was doing and the success rate was way lower because it had come off the wrong way. It’s more about building a real relationship as opposed to a transaction, a real partnership.
LinkedIn has become this crappy environment for that, where you get people will reach out about connecting with you, and then a day later, I get some follow-up from them asking me to buy something. I said, “You haven’t done anything. There’s no value there that you’ve provided.”
It’s all BS. I have about 20,000 followers on LinkedIn and I use LinkedIn as a commercial for other people. Of those 20,000, 15,000 are CEOs, founders, like not the shysters that you’re talking about. What I’ll do with LinkedIn is, I’ll talk to an amazing CEO who’s doing this awesome program or whatever. I’ll be like, “I had a great talk with so and so.” I tagged them in it and then put a link to their program or whatever. It has nothing to do with me. I like to showcase other people. My firm’s clients are in the Chicago Tribune or The Boston Globe I’ll posts, “Thanks, Boston Globe for picking up this story.” I’ll tag my clients in it. That gives first mentality it’s an anecdotal led to hundreds of thousands of dollars in contracts for my firm. Also, all these amazing relationships that have been created by tagging people in posts and then all these amazing people get to see all the great things that these other people are doing, and then they want to reach out. The most important thing is when you surround yourself with the people that have this forward-thinking mentality and not the people that are trying to sell you something, then it’s endless joy and connectivity.
That’s a great lesson, whether it’s a secret or a lesson in regards to what you’ve talked about in your own success. When you’re being for others, it has a way from the universe standpoint of coming back around and that’s not necessarily why we do it, but it’s like a law that it happens. I am a firm believer in that.
I’ve met two people since I’ve started this that have almost the exact same brain as me where it’s a weird brain and they’re able to connect dots in an insane, it was crazy. One of the guys I met and he’s the former CEO of a giant insurance company. Crain’s Chicago named him one of the most connected people in Chicago and they were able to quantify that by like, “Here’s what his company was worth.” He’s on 30 boards across the world. That’s how they quantified how much those boards are or how much those companies are worth so it wasn’t like, “Here’s someone who’s connected.” They’re like, “This is someone who’s connected to $50 billion in whatever it is.”
Suddenly, I was sitting at his house and listening to him. He introduced me to someone who winds up being a client because he was listening to what I was saying and I could see his head spinning and he’s like, “I will stop the conversation.” He called this guy in Canada and then 2 or 3 weeks later they were my client. He said something that was brilliant. He’s like, “I give 60 to get 40.” I’m like, “That summed it up, you give 60 to get 40.” That’s unfortunately not in the book because I met him after I wrote the thing. When I write another book that’ll be in that because it makes perfect sense, you give 60 to get 40.
Especially now, we need more 60 to 40s. That’s how we get through this.
I’m more of 90 to 10, which is fun. It doesn’t matter to me.
When you go from an abundance mentality, you know that there’s enough for everybody. I don’t need to afford it.
Here’s how to dovetail that, people ask me all the time like, “Do you look at other PR firms as is your competition, or who’s your competition?” I go, “I have no competition. I’m only looking for certain amounts of brains and if they have the right brain or mentality, then there’ll be my clients or my network and if not, then they won’t be. There’s no competition.” Not only is there no competition, but there’s collaboration because my firm’s model is specific. I don’t deviate from it. If you want to do this then great, I have enough people that business is exploding. If you don’t want to do it, I’ll introduce you to somebody else. I don’t care. When you’re in these lower level, groups or dealing with lower-level mindsets and that’s what it is. It’s a lower level of mindset. That’s what it is, it’s competition. I’m trying to get everything for myself and that’s complete nonsense. There’s business opportunity even now. It’s insane how much opportunity is out there if you have the right mindset.
Of the hundreds, thousands of people that are reading, this will sink in with maybe 5% at the most of people but the ones that it does, they’ll either reach out to me or reach out to you or they’ll be like, “This is a 100% right. This is what I should be doing. These people will start their businesses or enhance their own other businesses.” I was doing another interview and the guy’s like, “Are you’re trying to help everybody?” I go, “Absolutely not.” Ninety-five percent of people cannot be helped by the stuff that I’m saying because they don’t have that mindset and they’re never going to, which is fine. I’m concerned about the 3% to 5% of people who are visionaries or have that in them and they either have it now or they’re looking for the right push to get to that level. That’s my target and it’s less than 3%. It’s more like 1% or 2%.
I will tell you personally, I’m looking forward to the book coming out because I promise you, I will be reading this because in terms of you telling your story and me reading online, what you’ve done there are lessons that I know that I’ll pick up.
I appreciate that. Here’s my point, one, I don’t think we ever even mentioned the name of the book, which is Epic Business, because that’s what happens. My PR firm is BrEpic. I only mentioned it because people might want to know what I do. This happens all the time, I talked to people and it never gets said what the actual name is because it’s not about that. It’s about way bigger things than that. When you get me talking about anything besides us, I’ll sit in the corner of me bored out of my mind, but these things are important. They can help many people I’m endlessly passionate about this. It’s funny because every time it never comes up. It’s not a shameless plug. It’s bigger people who want to know what it’s called.
I’m looking forward to reading it myself. Justin talking, you’re right. There is a percentage of individuals that will take this and find a way to apply it and the rest won’t either purchase it in the first place or we’ll say, “That’s not me. I can’t do that.”
That’s right and that’s fine. I’m not trying to help everybody. I don’t see the point of that because the number one reason why my company is successful is I’m focused on doing what I love to do and what I’m good at and then working with only people who understand that. If you don’t, then that’s fine. There are other things out there to do. The ones that do get it, those people are like a drug for me. It’s intoxicating hanging out with those people and then watching that network grow and grow.Building relationships is a lot like farming. It's planting seeds, watching, and waiting for those seeds to grow. Click To Tweet
I want to thank you for taking the time to speak with me and talk about your book and the 30 secrets. That will be out for everybody to be able to go to that link. I’m looking forward to reading it myself. It’s going to be a great read.
I’m excited and thanks for having me on. I know this book is going to change people’s lives for sure.
I’m looking forward to reading Justin’s book. I picked it up on Kindle as it went out. I know that there are things that I will be able to take away from this and you will too. If you know somebody that would benefit from this episode, I’d ask you to afford it onto them. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please go ahead and subscribe to the show. It would mean the world to me if you would leave a rating or a comment because that’s how this message continues to spread. We are focused on reimagining what it means to lead because the world needs leaders. Until the next episode, I hope you’re able to go out there and rise above your best.
- Justin Breen
- Epic Business: 30 Secrets to Build Your Business Exponentially and Give You the Freedom to Live the Life You Want!
- Never Split the Difference
- ProVisors Group
- Strategic Coach