Brian Brown has been a reporter, sales rep. & manager, videographer & editor. He’s an entertainment and marketing manager as well as a writer, performer and a global shaper founding curator. Currently Brian is focused on developing and growing his two businesses one of which is a marketing consultancy and entertainment services portal and the other an apparel brand. Brian has been a full-time entrepreneur for nearly two years now, come September 2013.
Tell us more about what you do
LivewireACT started out of formalizing what I used to do for a living in the corporate world; entertainment management, promotions and marketing. I developed a marketing consultancy company catering to small and medium-sized businesses that have a marketing & promotions deficit. It is now developing into an entertainment portal for persons wishing to locate the best, verified entertainment service providers.
Bee Line Brand was conceptualized in 2005 while working as a marketing manager in the corporate world. Launched online in April 2015 and will be launched this summer in stores in Jamaica, it is family oriented apparel line starting with t-shirts and branching into full apparel wear, customized solutions for clubs and sports companies including screen printing and eventually actually bee farming and honey production.
What has influenced you the most to choose this career or start this business?
Mostly necessity and the realization that I could enjoy a better overall quality of life and generate more income (eventually) than I was doing in the corporate world. I also wanted to create something uniquely mine that could provide for my family and leave a lasting legacy. The opportunity to show my daughter and other youngsters that they too can do for self is another important driving factor.
Since they are both in fields I have hands on experience in, I felt confident that I had the requisite skill-set to excel in them.
What’s the best part about your career or business? and What’s been the most challenging part?
The freedom to create something original and useful is very motivating to me. Also the scalability of both ventures is very encouraging. The most challenging bit is balancing my energy and time and staying focused on the plan. There are many distractions and one of the hardest things is to develop key habits that support my business and personal life.
What tips do you have for someone who wants to start a business or find a career that aligns with their passion.
For me the number one thing is to face the reality of the idea vs the viable business. By being dispassionate about the market, demand and scalability of the idea, you stand a good chance assessing the idea on its merit than just the emotions involved.
Outside of that, making sure you have some experience and/or knowledge in the particular sector or industry is critical as well. Having said that, it’s important to know that it will take a lot of time and more effort than a day job to get an idea to the stage of a viable business, which is essentially one that can operate profitably without you in the day-to-day operations. It’s very important to budget for at least a year of subsistence income while trying to generate revenue; and that is after setting up the fundamentals while still being employed full-time. Also, it may be more prudent to phase from full-time to part-time then into entrepreneurship. That way you can manage the energy and resources associated with the transition better.
What is your biggest challenge when it comes to work & life?
Really, it’s managing my energy and schedule. Since I can’t control time, I struggle daily to balance all the different projects and responsibilities I have with personal and family time. As someone who is routinely committed to five or six things at the same time, setting up and sticking to a daily, weekly and monthly schedule is critical to achieving most of my goals. This requires a lot of discipline and as a procrastinator it’s a daily task to stay on course. But when a day or time goes mostly to plan, it is indeed a fulfilling and beautiful thing.
What tips do you have that help you to carve out time for family life and personal time?
I mentioned it just before, really it’s trying to get work done when I’m alone, early mornings, late nights and working with a set schedule for each of my different commitments. This allows me time to ‘schedule’ down time with my daughter in particular and do more of the things I like doing without the pressure of time constraints a regular day job presents.
What is one technology tool or app you can’t do without?
Tools: my BlackBerry Passport – need it, my laptop and iMac.
Apps, Google (Gmail) and Facebook (mostly for networking and marketing though)
How do you manage technology distractions?
I try to schedule access to me via my devices and set specific time periods to check emails and social media/IM so that I don’t respond to everything that comes in to me. I’m mostly always connected but I tune out when I’m doing something that requires all my attention. After a certain hour at nights, I’m not readily accessible and I go on silent when I go to sleep. Tomorrow’s another day 🙂
What’s your favorite thing to do outside of work?
I used to play but not it’s mostly watching football, sports in general, swimming, writing and just chilling. I never get bored with my own company so doing nothing is something I look forward to. Driving long distances is another favorite of mine. Mostly I turn off the radio and use it as time to think, reflect and come up with new ideas.
What is your favorite book/TV show/movie/Vacation spot?
I don’t have a favorite book but I most recently read 48 Laws of Power and Measure of a Man. My favorite movies are Malcolm X, V for Vendetta, The Godfather I & II. And my favorite vacation spot is anywhere my family is.
How do you define success?
Being free to do what makes you happiest in life.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about success and failure?
That most times both are a matter of perspective. Failure often precedes learning, useful experience and some amount of personal or external success. The key for me is to see everything as integral to your journey.
Share one of your personal habits that contributes to your success?
My indomitable spirit. Nothing keeps me down or saps my spirit. This was instilled in me early by my grandmother and serves me still everyday.
Define FRIENDS by identifying someone who fits the types listed below in your circle of friends. Think of it as part of your acceptance speech at an awards ceremony.
F is for Fearless Allies = Regrets
R is for Raving Fans = My Family
I is for Informed Readers = My Social Network
E is for Empowering Partners = Kerry, Audrey, Mom, Erica, Ayjha, Neeco, Pops – family
N is for Networked Mentors = My Branson Centre family, my Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce colleagues
D is for Dedicated Teachers = My Branson Centre coaches
S is for Supportive Competitors = My clients and their competitors, Ministry of Entertainment