The hardest part in your journey to success is deciding to take the first step.

One of the first things you need to focus on when building your brand is your bio.  There are a few different length bios you need, but for this example I’ll be helping you with the layout of your long bio.  The long bio is perfect for your personal website.  It gives a brief explanation of who you are and what you do.  I’m sharing this with you so you can 1) See my story and realize that you’re not the only one who’s struggled at one point or another, and 2) Use it as a guideline to build your bio!

There is one thing in this world you know better than anyone else – YOU.  Start crafting your story today! 🙂

public-speaking

The Move

After graduating college in 4 years from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a marketing degree, I was ready to take a leap of faith.  I had just watched Steve Harvey’s video jump and knew it was time.  So I packed up what I could fit in my car and with $300 to my name and $30,000 in student loan debt I drove 23 hours from Darlington, Wisconsin to my new home in Santa Rosa, California.  I had landed a job with a winery equipment company and I was ready to take the world by storm.

First Job

I came in to work and was excited to get rolling.  I was going to be starting an in-house marketing department.  What I wasn’t aware of is that I would not be provided with any resources, and no formal training.  It was an absolute train wreck.  I had just moved across the country to take a job for a boss who didn’t want me there.  After the first month I was called in to her office and we had a discussion about why there wasn’t an increase in business.  I shared my thoughts and was then called an overpaid intern.  Mind you, I was making $40,000/year to run a marketing department in wine country (one of the highest cost of living areas in the U.S.).  After 3 months I was relieved of my duties… Do I go home, or do I stick it out?

Start-up

Between my first and second jobs I had about a month of down-time.  I decided to fill that space with attempting to bootstrap 2 different startups.  One that was a clothing brand – RevoPro – that never caught on.  And one that was a motivational brand called – Zenvironment – the goal was to “help people find their zen in any environment.”  My first product was a vacuum sealed water bottle just like the Swell bottles. The difference was that mine came with a chalk-ink marker to write notes and motivational messages on your bottle to push you through your day.  It was good in theory, but because of the minimal inventory I was able to afford the break-even point was unrealistic.  It wasn’t long until that got pushed to the side because of my desperate need for money.

Second Job

I decided to stick it out and give it another shot.  This time I was going to be selling fundraising to schools.  Alright, fresh start.  I was comfortable in the school setting because my dad was actually my high school principal (I only had a few run-ins with him ;)) and my mom was a 1 on 1 teacher’s assistant for 16 years.  This was a remote sales position in a very affluent area.  For me, that meant unwelcoming secretaries and no results.  I was deflated.  It wasn’t long after starting that things got very dark for me.  I had no friends (besides my girlfriend that I met out here) and I was a 23-hour drive or $350 plane ticket away from my family.  I went into depression and was having panic attacks on a daily basis.  I wasn’t making enough to pay the rent and I was miserable.  Again, it was time to find a new gig.

Re-evaluate

Since moving to California seven months earlier I had failed miserably at two careers and two start-up companies.  I couldn’t stand the idea of another 9-5 so I started brainstorming what options I had.  I discovered that my two options were to:

  • Move home, cut my losses, leave my girlfriend, and get a job where my dad works.

-OR-

  • Stay in California, keep fighting, find a gig to pay the bills and develop useful skills and try to connect with people I wanted to be like some day.

Well, I’m already out here, why the hell not give it one more shot.

Substitute Teaching

As I had mentioned before, my parents were both educators.  They suggested I look for a substitute teaching position.  Back in Wisconsin, my mom started substitute teaching a bit after she decided to quit her job and she was able to start working the same week she applied.  I figured that would be a great gig.  I’ll have the opportunity to work on my public speaking skills a bit every day, pay my bills, and carry on with my life.  Well, California’s teaching laws are incredibly strict.  Rather than being able to start subbing that same week, I ended up having to wait 5 weeks to complete all of the training courses and wait for my paperwork to go through before I was able to accept my first job.  During all of this, I was reaching out to marketing influencers that I was interested in.  Two names that caught my eye were Leonard Kim and Ryan Foland.  After reading Leonard’s back story, I knew he was a great person for me to connect with, but how would I get in contact with him?

zach-ryan-leonard

InfluenceTree

“Hey Leonard,

I’m a 23-year-old recent college grad just trying to find my way in this crazy world!  Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you out either personally or professionally in the upcoming year.  Have a great New Year! 🍻🍾🎉

Thank you,
Zach McArthur”

Who would have thought this email would lead me to not only now consider Leonard a friend, but to also be part of his and Ryan’s team at InfluenceTree.  Since joining them I have:

  • Started a blog that accumulated nearly 2,000 views in the first month.
  • Grown my organic Twitter following by more than 20%
  • Refined my personal brand
  • Attended the InfluenceTree launch party at UC-Irvine as InfluenceTree’s sales specialist

The Rest Is Still Loading….

 

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Mobile: 608-482-4430

Email: Zach@InfluenceTree.com

 

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