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Ken is a highly requested speaker that has shared the stage with many of today’s thought leaders. He’s helped build the brands for some of the biggest names in the influencer / entrepreneurial world and have been seen in dozens of publications and magazines including recently Forbes. He helps coaches, consultants & service providers build premium brands that showcase their true worth and acquire high paying clients. He does this through: crafting the message in a way that communicates high end value, strategically positioning the client and creating a brand identity (website, social media, digital content, etc.) which is followed by launching a brand and creating a predictable and repeatable process that acquires high paying clients.
How did you get started ?
It’s a long story but I’ll give you the rundown from 18-21. When I graduated high school, I knew I didn’t want to follow the traditional path of going to college and working a job till I am in a coffin- I knew I was destined for more. I was working at a Subway in the middle of nowhere while my friends were attending some of the top Ivy League Schools. I felt like I was at a such a low point in my life because I really wasn’t progressing in any shape or form.
So after saving up $1,000 (which took longer than I’d like it to have) I decided to move out to California. I then bought a camera and started taking pictures and posting them on Instagram. A company was impressed with the work I was doing and hired me to be their Marketing Director. I became the marketing director of a multi-million-dollar company at just the age of 19. I learned a holistic approach to marketing from the creative, to running ads, funnels and the strategy behind campaigns.
However, even though I was learning so much- I knew I didn’t want to work a 9-5 job, plus the company hired another Manager who I didn’t enjoy working with. I decided to take a spontaneous flight from LAX to Hawaii at 6 AM and once I landed I quickly went on Craigslist to find a place to live and was planning my next move. A few months later I moved to San Diego because there was a vibrant entrepreneurship community and I needed to surround myself with the right people- plus, the beaches here are absolutely gorgeous.
I’m now the founder of Gravel to Castle, a company based in San Diego, CA, that helps entrepreneurs build premium brands and acquire high paying clients.
What was your biggest challenge when starting your business ?
Not knowing anyone- when you move to a new state and a new environment, you are starting your life all over again so getting familiar with the people and environment was crucial for me to build my business. Second, I immersed myself in self-improvement : from taking cold showers to attending Toastmaster events and attending seminars, I knew certain actions would help me improve and it was important that I continue to do them.
What are your 3 Golden Rules for aspiring entrepreneurs ?
1. You set the tone for your worth- you dictate through your actions, presence, content how you want to be seen and perceived. This aligns with the concept- if you want to charge more, make sure your brand positioning, results and confidence allow you to do that. People need to be charging more because it takes the same amount of effort to make a $1 and a $10,000 sale, you just have to decide how much money you want to make.
2. The more you do, the less you wait- Here’s an example, if it takes 10 hours to get a specific task done- you could do it in 1 day or spread it out over a period of 5 days and do it for 2 hours each day. The more you get done in a day, you will have time to accomplish other productive tasks so after 2 years when you are reflecting on your life- you will see an exponential increase in your personal and professional growth.
3. Work/Life Balance- when you set the foundation for your business and you are in a good position in your business/career, it is important to take a step back and enjoy those moments. The truth is too much hustle will eventually lead to burn out. I definitely take the time to enjoy the beach and other activities because it clears my mind so when I am working on my business- I am more creative and energized to accomplish whatever lies ahead.
When you are on your death bed, you are not going to wish that you worked more or made an extra million dollars or even wish you were the COO instead of an SVP- you will think to yourself- “I wish I spent more time with my friends and family, I wish I had taken that vacation” but the truth is at the point you are all out of time.
What has been a hard failure for you in business ?
The truth is we can’t serve every business and that’s why it’s important to serve only your ideal clients because at the end of the day if you can’t help them- they’ll be disappointed in your work as much as you are and may negatively impact your business through negative reviews. Only take on a client if you know you can truly help them and deliver.
What’s next for you in your business ? What does the next 5-10 years look like for you ?
As much as it’s about building Gravel and Castle to build more premium brands and scale more companies and personalities, I want to set the tone and be a role model for the next generation of entrepreneurs, professionals and people. In addition, I want to start hosting large scale events and inspire others to go after their dreams because interacting with people online is one thing but the offline experience and meeting people face to face is an experience that has no words.
Also, I am filming a documentary chronicling the journey of building a business and filming video content to educate people on entrepreneurship, premium branding and inspire others.