Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
Hey, a huge thank you to Starter Story for inviting me back for a follow-up interview! My name is Isaac Mashman and I run the public relations firm, Mashman Ventures. I specialize in helping people create and maintain their brands and since my interview, last year so much has happened. Personally and professionally, it’s incomparable. From launching two new businesses, celebrating 100 episodes of my podcast, and being featured in over 2-dozen other articles, I am truly grateful.
For clarity, your brand is you. It is who you are and what people know you as. It’s not something that you create, but have had since birth. People buy from people, which is just one of the many reasons why I always recommend that you take and make a dedicated effort towards building your own.
I began to consciously build my brand in 2017, and since then have gotten it down to a system and a philosophy. When I started nothing would pop up online about my name. I was a digital nobody. Mashman Ventures was also not my first business venture. As a matter of fact, I went through at least six businesses, if not more. From network marketing to managing musical talent and wanting to start a record label, it was through these different endeavors and experiences that I began to gather my education on reputation management and how to grow the buzz around one’s name. I remember charging not even $30 for an hour of consultation and today am grateful to be able to say that has grown to as much as $1,500+ or more per consult.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
At the time of our last conversation, I was just at the one-year mark of being in business. That first year in business sucked because I had no clue what I was doing. It wasn’t about my ability to offer services, rather I launched my company backward. I started Mashman Ventures without even knowing that it was a public relations firm. It wasn’t until six months after its launch, that I defined it as a PR firm. Once I did that, the rest began to flow.
Now, at the time of doing the interview, we're three days away from the second anniversary of being in business. By the time this interview comes out, it’ll be past that point. Between years one and two, we’ve expanded the Mashman Ventures team, and the streams of revenue, and I even published my very first book Personal Branding: A Manifesto on Fame and Influence which came out on November 1st, 2021. I’m proud to say that it actually became the #1 New Release and a Top 10 Best-Seller in Public Relations on Amazon. Clients who work with my firm receive a signed copy for free.
Interestingly, this conversation is occurring right now because the largest segment of growth has happened in the last month for the company. One such catalyst is our encouragement of referrals. We don’t like running paid ads, and as a matter of fact, haven’t run one since inception. For any previous client or person who refers us business, they get 10% of the first deal done together. Let’s say they refer a retainer client who hires Mashman Ventures as their public relations firm, the referrer could receive $2,400 as a bonus. If they help us, we want to help them in return.
Previously, our business model was based around consultations, however, we’ve recently evolved our packages into a public relations retainer model. We’re still going to be offering consultations on a client-by-client basis, however, our new focus will be on working with people every single month to maintain their reputations and grow their brands. We’re doing what we were doing before but to an infinitely larger degree.
Within the last month, we hosted our first-ever webinar which had 30 people in attendance and dozens of viewers after the fact. We’re getting ready to announce a group training package and a series of digital products are currently in development. Expanding into these new areas and taking on these new tasks have opened all of our eyes to the possibilities that exist and to what’s next.
I can’t help but think about one of the influencers we worked with over the last year. I’m not at liberty to mention his name, but before our guidance, he wasn’t receiving the respect he deserved as a professional. Much of his audience was following him for the sex appeal as he’s a model. The Google searches that were popping up were… Suggestive. I personally worked with him to launch his personal training business and within 3 months he had over a 5-figure month. and is still thriving months later.
Another client, Author, Kristina M. Holle was able to get featured in a press article within a week or so after one of our training together and there are at least a dozen other clients for whom I helped named companies as well as worked with, to generate more organic views, search results, and authority.
Last summer I personally trained our Chief Consultant, Eric Chow, and beginning in quarter four he began closing clients of his own for the firm. This is another aspect of our business today. By the end of the year, we’re looking to expand our team of consultants to over a dozen people who are capable and well-versed in personal branding and also to begin working with clients.
This will provide an additional layer of support for our customer base and allows us to tap into previously untouched markets.
Sure, there have been plenty of challenges over the past year, but part of growing my brand as the founder and the company‘s brand is to work to eliminate any dry months and keep revenue flowing. There will always be a first time for everything, but it’s not so much about the challenges that happen, but how you handle the challenge when you’re put into it.
I have come to view these different situations as opportunities that lead to growth, better enabling me to teach others and make better decisions in the future.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
Put your legal red tape in place. This is something that I avoided when I first started simply because I didn’t want to do it. What I mean by this is, make sure you have contracts, NDAs, non-competes, refund policies, and anything else that you need in your business to protect yourself as the owner and to protect the house you are building.
Although there were never any situations that were overly complicated with Mashman Ventures, there were other situations where solutions could have been clearer.
Something else that I have learned and am continuing to improve upon is prioritization. Today especially, I’ve stopped several times and thought to myself “Oh my god I have so much to freaking do” which is why now I am saying “Hey let me prioritize XYZ thing”.
With time you will learn what you need to do and when it takes the number one spot on your list.
A business has so many different moving parts, and Mashman Ventures has developed into this machine or watch if you will. I like to think of a well-crafted, well-designed watch. If you have ever looked inside of a classic, time-telling device, and no I’m not talking about a SmartWatch, you’ll see all of these small little screws and gears that intricately work together to produce the final result which is on your wrist today. A business needs to behave like a watch. A Rolex glides and doesn’t tick, which means that at no point does it stop. Your business should be like a Rolex.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
Let me try not to write my second book answering this question because we have so many different things in the works.
Over the next 5 years, we will be either at or close to a $100-million dollar company. This may be ambitious to proclaim publicly but the foundation is laid and now it is up to us to execute. With the addition of the new streams of revenue I mentioned earlier, there will be a variety of ways to help people create and maintain an unrivaled personal brand.
Our emphasis is on becoming the premier public relations firm for business people, celebrities, talent, and other public figures. There is a ton of growth potential in this area thanks to new technologies and social media which means there is room for us to move in and claim our spot as an industry leader. I have personally seen people go from obscurity to famous in a matter of months, and to audiences of over 20 million in less than 3 years. I’ve witnessed businesses scale to remarkable degrees and from observation have a cemented knowledge of what we need to do.
Although our retainer fees won’t be for everyone, we are ensuring that there will still be education and information within reasonable access for the majority of people who are interested in personal branding and reputation management.
Have you listened to any good podcasts in the last year?
Barbara Corcoran has a phenomenal show called Business Unusual that I have been listening to quite a bit lately. As a male founder, I have always tended to seek out male mentors, but I came to realize that a strong, successful woman in business presents an entirely alternative way of thinking. I’ve come to appreciate this. Barbara’s show features some great conversations where she answers direct questions from her viewers, ranging to quite personable monologues on struggles from her own life.
One such catalyst for our growth is our encouragement of referrals.
It’s also wonderful to listen to because she was once in a situation that somewhat resembled where I was when I started out. Finding people who came from nothing, to me, make a much better person to learn from than the person who for lack of a better example, had the silver spoon in their mouth growing up. Given, that the point of making money and building a successful business in my mind is to put a diamond spoon in my own child’s mouth, I digress.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
I want to cover two separate things. Number one, begin to build out your brand as the founder of your establishment. Your brand and company brand work synergistically. By building out your reputation, you have attention and credibility that can be directed towards your business. Instead of paying for advertisements imagine making one post and getting in front of potentially millions of people for free. Conversely, by having a strong business brand you will now be able to build credibility as the founder of said establishment and have another boost in conversations.
You should prioritize both. Don’t only rely on your company and don’t only rely on yourself.
This is how you can build something that extends past you!
Second, look for ways to increase your business value proposition. If you are running a product-based business, what about the unveiling experience can be improved? What can be added? If you have a service-based business are there materials or things that you could do to provide additional value to your paying client?
Over the last year, we have created over 2 dozen different resources for our clients and are continuing to add more. By being in this mindset you will subconsciously begin to come up with new ideas that make your offers all the more attractive to a prospect and will result in previous clients coming back.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
As I mentioned earlier, we’re looking to expand the consulting side of the business. If there is anybody who has an interest in building their brand to a high degree and is exceptional at communicating with others, I would love to have a conversation. This is a commission structure with a tremendous amount of upside in the future as the firm scales and our retainer increases and products are added.
We’re also always looking for new media partners and connections with media outlets, podcasters, journalists, etc.
Where can we go to learn more?
Thank you again for inviting me back for another interview and I look forward to connecting with all of the amazing readers of Starter Story! Mashman Ventures can be found at any of the links below and my personal socials are all @isaacmashman.
Cheers and remember that at the center of all achievement is personal growth.
P.S. for a quick and awareness-raising read, pick up my book on Amazon.
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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