This is an article where I dive deep into the decisions that I am making when it comes to my business and personal brand.
I’ve been sitting in my bed, next to my girlfriend, watching the cursor on my computer blink for about an hour. Not really sure what to write – ya know? This is a newsletter that dives deep into the decisions that I’m making for my business, brand/s, community, etc. And lately it feels like things are moving so much slower than they used to. I don’t have a personal videographer anymore. I don’t have the team that I used to anymore. I don’t have the people around me that I used to anymore. COVID-19 changed a lot for me personally and for my business. This edition of the newsletter was supposed to go out on the 27th of April… it’s been about a month. Granted, I moved apartments during a pandemic (yay!) and didn’t have wifi for three weeks. But I had multiple opportunities to write this and I just let it sit. Pushing it back a week, multiple weeks in a row.
I’ve found myself spending more time in the business because I have to. But at the same time so much down time to just think. And a newsletter about my thinking wouldn’t really be worth reading, would it? It’s not that I don’t have anything going on… I do. It’s just I’ve been so deep in thought for the past 60 days that it feels like anything that I could/would share wouldn’t be good enough. I haven’t felt this way since I was 22 and starting this whole content journey. But alas — here I am typing away anyway.
Izzy and I were interviewing Daniel Navetta, on our Strange on Purpose podcast. We got around to talking about Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant after the show. Someone said something in one of the episodes that stuck with me...
"Michael knew that there was someone in that arena that never heard of Michael Jordan before. He made sure they walked out knowing exactly who MJ was."
Here's why I'm mentioning that right now: there was a time in my career where I would step on stage and expect my brand to do the work for me. I would expect the work I've done to speak for itself. And I thought like this until I bombed one of my speeches. I remember it vividly. I had only practiced for about an hour beforehand. I didn't have time to do my normal routine because I was traveling. I stepped up on stage. Lights so bright you couldn't make out anyone in the crowd. I start speaking. Pause... and then everything I planned on saying was gone.
That was a turning point for me. I disappointed people that day. But more than anything I disappointed myself. For those that know me personally, I am obsessive and some would say a little too competitive. And I wasn't bringing that mindset to my speaking engagements. I had trouble putting this to words until I watched the last dance.
Here's what it solidified for me...
What you did yesterday will only matter for so long. People don't care. Yesterday won't carry you through tomorrow or the next day. You have to show up everyday. And you have to show up with a force. Give people a reason to remember you. And then keep doing it.
Three weeks ago I was sitting on the couch, next to my girlfriend, in our new apartment. There was no wifi yet and we were exhausted from the move. She turns to me and says, “you need to hear this.”
She then starts reading a blog to me... the “Dan Plan.” Basically this 30 year old guy decided that he was going to drop everything and become a pro golfer. Here’s the kicker — he had never golfed a day in his life. He went on to document the entire process and came pretty close to achieving it. He ultimately stopped because of an injury.
*mini pause* My girlfriend is amazing and hit her first hole in one this past weekend! *resume newsletter*
I’ve talked to my girlfriend about doing a similar experiment with gaming. It wasn’t until she read that to me that everything clicked. I’ve been streaming for over a month, testing some of my personal branding theories, and the thing that I have been missing the most is the story. Which is sad when you consider what I do for a living [lol].
If you’ve followed my content, or career, you know that I have always been into esports and video games. The business end interests me more than the gaming side long term, but I have a deep love for gaming as well. I’m the type of person that does things just to see if I can do them.
I mentioned earlier that COVID changed a lot for me — on the business end and personally. It's shown me that what I thought I wanted isn't really something I want at all. My business is fine... we've made a substantial pivot (I will talk about this in future editions of this newsletter). But it's been a long time since I dedicated myself to a passion project outside of my business.
So here it is... I'm investing 10,000 hours into becoming a professional level FPS (first person shooter) player. An average dude. I want to have fun. I miss fun. But also show people that it's not so much about talent, but putting in the work... the right work. At least that's my theory anyway.
You can follow my experiment here.
I'll also be documenting the growth on YouTube and talking about it here and there on my gaming podcast, Humans that Game.
I found this old diary entry...
May 26, 2018 — Diary Entry
It’s crazy how quickly things change sometimes emotionally. We had a great shoot for Bublr bikes. Got an email from a podcast host saying that she listened back to the podcast audio and she felt there were things in there that would hurt my brand so she isn’t going to post it. Totally down to record again.. But she is probably right… but still … for the first time in a long time I just feel depressed. Like I am starving and can’t buy myself food. I don’t know when money is coming in next. A client still owes me $1500. Student loans. I’m still in debt from my past relationship. My power is off. It’s hot as balls outside. And I have all these people obsessed with my content. . . . but I can’t even buy a damn cup of coffee. It’s hitting me right now. I’m tired. I’m hungry. My mind isn’t right. How the **** could it be. I have nothing. I don’t even fricking have power in my own home. I promised myself I would never get to that point. And all this could be avoided if I was just a friggin’ normal human being that held a job like everyone else. I don’t know why I put myself through all of this. Maybe it’s paying off. Maybe it will. I’m just so so so exhausted. I had to shoot that podcast on my phone because my f*cking power is out. My brain. My mind. They are just gone. I need a break. Good night.
June 16th 2018
My power is back on. VidCon coming up and we don’t have our tickets booked yet. Flights may be packed… Spirit is all that is left and I’m not sure how long that will be there. We need to move. Hosting a paid event in our new office Monday and I’m terrified that no one will show up. I’m terrified that I won’t be able to get our team there. I’m terrified this business is going to fail and I’m going to ruin everyone’s livelihood.
That’s where I’m at. I am scared like I’ve never been afraid before. Sitting in my office at 10pm. The only one here. I need to make this happen. I need to. And I will. We will.
That was my life. Every day. While I was on the edge of success I was afraid to share any of that: sleeping on my office floor, power being out, not being able to afford plane tickets, etc. Because I didn’t think that was why people followed me. Turns out that was precisely why people followed me. Because the struggle and the dream was relatable.
I started doing some freelance personal brand/LinkedIn work for one of the biggest podcasters in the world — before working with me, his best post may have reached a few thousand people. His first post with me went viral. Here's the thing though... it wasn't anything that I did differently than he wasn't already doing. All I did was pinpoint his relate-ability factor. Everyone has "it." And everyone is relatable to someone. It doesn't matter how rich or famous you are; it doesn't matter how broke or infamous you are. We all have it. It's why you're still reading this weeks "subpar" newsletter. Because somewhere along the lines you & I (even if you're reading this for the first time) established a connection. And I am so thankful for that.
Everything in my business world feels like it's changing (I'll get into all of that in a few weeks). One of the major changes is with the community that we have fostered over the past few years, "House of Misfits." If you're new to my page, or my content... I built everything that I have to date on this idea of being a misfit. I was LinkedIn's misfit when video was released. I didn't look like anyone else. I didn't talk like anyone else. I didn't edit like anyone else. And I did it on purpose. It was why I found so much success initially. I've talked about it in past articles if you're interested in that story.
I think there comes a time though where everything"different" becomes normal. I'm moving away from the whole "misfits" story arch. That part of my life is over. With this will come a lot of changes:
We are unveiling the new direction of our community (Facebook Group) today. I won't spoil anything, but it's going to be epic. It's aligned with everything that I believe in and I'm so excited to continue to help people get closer to their dreams. This time I will be much more involved. So if you're not a member, definitely join because we have some exciting things coming (and a bunch of free stuff *wink* wink*).
I'm a month late on this newsletter because of the move. That being said I had a list of a handful of people that I planned on promoting each week individually. They're awesome and I need you all to give them a follow if you're not following them already.
I co-founded Urban Misfit Ventures. We are a small startup, team of 8, based out of Milwaukee. We own two companies. 1). A video agency. Our team helps people, companies, and brands tell their story, build influence and make more money through video storytelling. And 2). an events company focused on creating signature experiences for our community.
I was also one of the first video creators to use LinkedIn. Collectively my videos, thoughts, podcasts, and writing have been viewed over 10 million times across platforms. I spend most of my time (outside of my company) speaking, creating, running experiments, learning about everything video games/esports, and petting way too many dogs.
That's me. And this is the 'Dear Strange People' newsletter. For those that have already subscribed, welcome to the madness. I'm looking forward to taking this journey with all of you. Smash the subscribe button to keep up with this experiment.
Be sure to join our community!
Quentin is a Marketing Lead at Greatness Media. He is a TEDx speaker, podcaster, writer and esports geek. He owns IEEG, a storytelling company, and MKE Misfits a community & events company based out of Milwaukee. His team creates compelling visual stories, partner with brands to reach their target audience, consult on storytelling/branding, and host events around the globe. He was one of the first LinkedIn video storytellers & have since used the platform to accumulate millions of views and travel the world for speaking engagements. Quentin holds a Bachelor degree in Sociology from the Cardinal Stritch University.