Justin Breen | Building Connections and Networks to Fuel a Business and Land Media Coverage

Justin Breen is the CEO of the public relations firm, BrEpic Communications. He is also the author of the best selling book Epic Business: 30 Secrets to Build Your Business Exponentially and Give You the Freedom to Live the Life You Want

Justin is hardwired to seek out and create viral thought-provoking stories that the media craves. He is an amazing consummate networker who believes in the power of introductions. He has a degree in News – Editorial Journalism from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

In this episode of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast, John Corcoran talks with  Justin Breen, CEO of BrEpic Communications, about the value of building business connections and networks. They discuss Justin’s background in journalism, his reason for writing his best selling book, and why it’s beneficial for entrepreneurs to be a part of business networking groups.

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Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:

  • Justin Breen talks about his background in journalism and why he started his own PR firm
  • How Justin’s network has changed from the time he was a journalist to now that he is an entrepreneur
  • The kind of clients Justin works with and his advice how to do introductions
  • Why Justin decided to join EO and Strategic Coach and how they have helped his business
  • What Justin does when he meets interesting people with amazing stories who aren’t his clients
  • Why Justin decided to write his book and the most valuable thing people get out of his book
  • The Gallup StrengthsFinder Personality test and the benefits of learning about yourself
  • The people Justin acknowledges for his achievements and why it’s important for people to have mentors
  • Where to learn more and connect with Justin Breen

Resources Mentioned:

Sponsor: Rise25

Today’s episode is sponsored by Rise25 Media, where our mission is to connect you with your best referral partners, clients, and strategic partners. We do this through our done for you business podcast solution and content marketing. 

Along with my business partner Dr. Jeremy Weisz, we have over 18 years of experience with B2B podcasting, which is one of the best things you can do for your business and you personally. 

If you do it right, a podcast is like a “Swiss Army Knife” – it is a tool that accomplishes many things at once. It can and will lead to great ROI, great clients, referrals, strategic partnerships, and more. It is networking and business development; and it is personal and professional development which doubles as content marketing

A podcast is the highest and best use of your time and will save you time by connecting you to higher caliber people to uplevel your network. 

To learn more, go to Rise25.com or email us at [email protected]

To learn more, book a call with us here

Check out Rise25 to learn more about our done-for-you lead generation and done-for-you podcast services. 

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Episode Transcript

Intro  0:14  

Welcome to the Revolution, the Smart Business Revolution podcast where we ask today’s most successful entrepreneurs to share the tools and strategies they use to build relationships and connections to grow their revenue. Now, your host for the revolution, John Corcoran.

 

John Corcoran  0:40  

All right. Welcome everyone. John Corcoran here, the host of the Smart Business Revolution podcast where I talk with CEOs, founders and entrepreneurs of all kinds of companies and organizations like YPO, EO, Activision Blizzard, Lending Tree, OpenTable, X software and many more. I’m also the  co-founder of Rise25, where we help connect b2b business owners to their ideal prospects. First, before we get started, I want to give a shout out to Fran Biderman-Gross who introduced me to our guests, Justin Breen. She’s the host of the Drive Profit with Purpose podcast and definitely go check it out on iTunes. You’ll enjoy it. 

 

And I’m excited to talk to Justin. Justin is a consummate connector. He’s someone that I connected with originally through the EO and EO Accelerator program, which we’re both involved in. He’s the CEO of the PR firm, BrEpic Communications, and author of the best selling book Epic Business: 30 Secrets to Build Your Business Exponentially and Give You the Freedom to Live the Life You Want. He’s hardwired to seek out and create viral thought provoking stories that the media craves he actually started his background in journalism, and now has a PR firm. So we’re going to talk about that transition. And as I mentioned, an amazing consummate networker who like me believes in the power of introductions, so we’ll get into his philosophy around that. 

But first before we get started, you know if you’ve been listening for a while you know how passionate we are about podcasting and content marketing that up levels your network, and I am a podcasting evangelist, the last 10 years have been saying everyone should start a podcast, even because even if no one’s listening, you will derive it tremendous benefits to your life. It’s like a Swiss Army knife, a tool that accomplishes so much at once. It can, it will lead to great clients, referrals, strategic partnerships, it is networking, business development, its personal professional development, which doubles as content marketing, and we can personally help everyone to start running podcast but I can try and inspire everyone to get involved in this medium in one way or the other. Whether you’re a guest, whether you’re behind the mic on either side of the mic, I highly recommend it. So to learn more, go to rise25media.com or you can also email us at [email protected] 

 

Alright Justin. So I’m excited to talk to you. And you know, first of all, let’s start right here. You are going out of the journalism path. You know, my father was a journalist. I You know, studied journalism in high school as editor of my high school newspaper, and you made kind of a right turn at some point, round to the 2017. decide to go from one side to the other side. What inspired that?

 

Justin Breen  3:16  

So, John, I really appreciate you having me on this awesome podcast, I feel like you and I have very similar brains and I’m really excited to talk to you. I was a journalist for 20 years, I created my entire business model based on how PR firms annoyed me for 20 years. So everybody lasted that, especially folks at your level. But that’s why I built a global successful company in three years, but

 

John Corcoran  3:41  

because you knew how annoying it is to be on the other side, when you get these pitches that are just completely not attuned to what you write about what you focus on. I’m sure you got plenty of them.

 

Justin Breen  3:54  

That’s 100% correct. So as a journalist, you had hundreds of these press releases. Every single day from people you don’t know that are totally useless. And so my friend creates actual stories similar to what I did as a journalist. It becomes a link on the client’s website under news or blog. So look like a story you see in the San Francisco Chronicle or the LA Times The Chicago Tribune in the New York Times, then I take that link and pitch it to the media, locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. If the media is interested, I put them in touch with the client context. So we’re straining, business size, any location, any vertical, it’s just the person in charge of the contact has to be a visionary who looks at things as investments, not costs. Someone says What do you charge? It’s an automatic disqualifier. Those people go away pretty much immediately. And what’s left is giant, international global incubators, geniuses and constantly introducing each other for mutual gain. And the byproduct is constantly getting interested companies around the world that want to hire my firm. So business is booming, and it just keeps getting better and better and better because my network keeps growing and growing and growing every single day.

 

John Corcoran  4:58  

And were you doing this kind of networking when you were a journalist?

 

Justin Breen  5:04  

It’s a good question. So I had a giant network as a journalist, you know, in the range of 25 to 30,000 followers in social media, but it was other journalists or sources for stories, right? Since starting a business that has changed from, you know, sources or media contacts, which I still have, but it’s more of like, entrepreneurs or CEOs or founders or, you know, communications coordinator, or, you know, marketing heads. And most of my days talking to people like you on a global level, it’s really fun. And I just, you know, it has nothing to do with business, but everything to do with business, and then someone will say something obscure, and then I’ll be like, Oh, I know someone in Australia or Guatemala that thinks exactly the same way and then I’ll just connect them. I don’t write anything down. It’s just all in my head. And it’s kind of interesting to see That’s actually what my number one superpower is with PR being one. And then I just keep doubling down on those and, and enjoying my life. It’s a lot of fun.

 

John Corcoran  6:11  

I’m always curious about people who have to change their network. And partially I think because I moved around a lot as a kid, you know, my father was a journalist and and journalism, then and now can be a fickle business you move from place to place as you move your way up. And so you know, we moved to New cities, new towns, and I always had to rebuild my network and in my elementary school in a sense, and you know, for you, you had different sports beads here with different papers. So as different local communities that you were covering, was it hard when you started the business to completely build your network over from scratch?

 

Justin Breen  6:51  

part is an understatement. And just as background, how and why I started the company and I’ll say this as quickly as possible, so February 10 2017, I was working full time as a journalist, just due to cutbacks, my job salary got cut in half to other people got fired that day. And I was very fortunate that I wasn’t terminating my salaries cut in half. So the next couple weeks trying to find a full time job couldn’t find a job because you know, finding jobs is a nightmare. On April 16 2017, I incorporated while I was still working full time at a reduced salary. And then no one knew that I had started this business. So for the next six weeks, I’ve reached out to 5000 people to get my first five clients. So one out of 1999 nose for every Yes, got the fifth client around June 1 2017. resigned from my full time job the next day. And then a couple days later, Robert Peter was the top media columnist in the Midwest at a story that I had started my own firm So, so hard is an understatement to find five clients based on you know, reaching out to 5000 people it was probably more than 5000 people but Just sounds better 5000 per five.

 

John Corcoran  8:04  

But things over 5000 sounds got desperate but you know 505

 

Justin Breen  8:09  

but I mean, again, we thought I had a giant network and still do. I’ll just keep growing. But yeah, I just reached out to everyone in my network where it was like, it wouldn’t be a conflict of interest like, Oh, this person’s still working full time and, and just starting a company. So

 

John Corcoran  8:23  

was weird going to suddenly become an entrepreneur after having been a journalist for so many years. Did you feel like a part of your identity chain? Right? Of course.

 

Justin Breen  8:32  

Yeah. And I think so I helped a lot of journalists who are on your way out, or have left. I’ve helped so many start their own businesses, whether it’s PR or something else, because journalists, I identify with being a journalist. They don’t really mean, this is based on my experience of talking to, you know, hundreds of journalists they don’t really know how to do anything else. So yes, weird, scary. Stress filled, not sleeping. So everybody’s like, oh, you’re doing so well now and your business is thriving. You know, it’s incredible, but like you didn’t see me, two in the morning have zero clients, zero revenue, or I’m like, I don’t know what I’m going to do in my life. We live in the North Shore of Chicago, you can see from my backyard, it’s a pretty, pretty nice backyard. So it’s not cheap to live here. It’s like, Well, you know, so I had to make this work. And you know, it’s an entrepreneur’s life. If you can’t accept overwhelming failure, horrible ups and downs, the worst things I’ve ever felt and this is not life for you. But once you get through all that, and you get through the bottom and the rock bottom, you get to this place for you know, you just find this incredible freedom of time, freedom, money, freedom, relationships. It was just an incredible life. And I’m so fortunate that I’ve gone through all those ups and downs to get to this place where I’m at now.

 

John Corcoran  9:57  

Now it’s a big shift to go from being pitched to having to pitch others, you know, to convince others to write about your clients because your clients are gonna stick around not gonna stick around for too long. If they’re not getting stories written about them. What was that like having to go out and you know, sing for your supper, so to speak, go out and, you know, talk to journalists and get them to write the story that you want them to write? Did it take a while to figure out the process that you use now?

 

Justin Breen  10:27  

Yeah, so when I first started, I was basically doing anything I could get a client. Anything you would think of a PR firm doing a traditional PR firm doing? But I figured out pretty quickly within the first couple months that what I really like to do is write stories and then pitch them to the media. And so I just dumped everything else and just started focusing on this simple process to find redefining it, refining it, raising rates, weeding out all the nonsense and in terms of Why companies hire my firm from a journalistic perspective? There’s two reasons. One, I know what a good story is. As a journalist, I wrote two to three stories on deadline every single day. So I can talk to someone for an hour, 55 minutes will be totally useless to what anyone cares about. But five minutes ago, there’s a story and I just leave everything around that and then add what’s called a news peg meaning wise story now. So like you wrote a book, which I did and or you’re running across the United States, or you have a new company that launched or you created this new technology? That’s one reason. And then the other reason is because I have all these amazing media contexts. To our point, your question before I had this giant network, and I’m not going to send the media context that I have a bad story. So for me, because I was a journalist for 20 years, and the media for the most part, our high Fact Finder. So if I do send them something and they don’t know who I am, they’re going to look up and be like, Oh, this guy worked at DNA info, which is a very highly reputable news site in Chicagoland You’re not gonna be like, Oh, this guy actually knows what he’s doing, as opposed to like a PR flack that has never been a journalist and just clearly just doing something to help the client as opposed to help the journalist and the client.

 

John Corcoran  12:11  

Right, right. So talk a little bit about some of the like, tell us a story about some of the clients or one of the clients that you’ve worked with and what that process was like from especially if it was like kind of a at at first blush, seemed like maybe a less interesting, more boring type of client. How did you find that story and tell us a story about, you know, interviewing one of your clients and under covering the story, so to speak, what’s newsworthy? What’s the gem that you buy gut instinct, know that other journalists are going to care about and want to write about?

 

Justin Breen  12:56  

So a direct answer is that I don’t work with anyone who is not an interesting client. I’m so direct and intentional with how I talk to people that a nickel and dime, boring type person’s never going to be my client. My clients are 100% exceptional visionary investment mindset, folks who are up to some incredible things. So I guess when I first started, it was a little bit different. But, you know, again, like, as a journalist, like I wrote two to three stories on deadline every day and was constantly finding, you know, boom, boom, boom, boom, cool story. Cool story. Cool story. Cool story. I mean, that’s like a superpower. For me. It’s super easy. So, I mean, like, it’s hard to explain my brain in terms of how that works. I just know what a good story is, like, I’m very in tune with things that are not only newsworthy, but things that are clicky and things that the general public will actually care about, just because like that’s all I’ve ever done in my whole life. So like, you know, we were talking about like, the difference between, you know, writing stories and pitching them, or like writing in a journalistic way for what I do now, there’s really no difference at all other than there’s a little bit of client information blended into stories, but I only work with people that are involved with similar cool things that I wrote about as a journalist. Like, I’m very intentional about that. So, and that’s the beauty of being an entrepreneur, like we talked about before. It’s just, I get to choose who I want to work with. I say no, all the time. So

 

John Corcoran  14:32  

So pick one of them. No, tell me, tell me one of them. And like what you found was an interesting story that you got after asking probing questions. Maybe it was 30 minutes in the conversation. You’re like, aha,

 

Justin Breen  14:43  

yes, not 30 usually, so. I always ask people about their parents. I never I never come in with like, there’s never like questions written down. So it’s like I just, I have I like it, I can talk to you and then something will just ping in my head. So you’re a high Fact Finder and you’re just you’re, I can see how you’re a journalist, you’re just gonna keep asking me the same question if I don’t answer it the way that you want me to. So I will try and do that.

 

So there’s a guy and there’s a guy in Chicago, and he runs like a giant scaling coaching business, which is fine. But I talked to him like Oh, so Where’d you come from? You came from Decatur and his father’s an entrepreneur and he he you know, how did you become an entrepreneur and he ran like a, like a painting business like a selling painting business and he failed like he had like, no, he was basically about to declare bankruptcy. And and I’m like, ah, There you go, that’s your story that’s the story that people will be interested in and then instead of declaring bankruptcy He created you know, he became like the number one salesperson with the you know the pain selling business. And then that foundation led to him starting a coaching business which is now scaling. I think there is 4 million revenue now. So that’s that’s a typical entrepreneurial story. I know there’s another woman Danielle Pierce, she’s in the Fort Worth area. She knows a single mom of three kids and she doesn’t come from money at all. She’s a caddy on the south side of Chicago, the South suburbs of Chicago and, and get a lot of getting a full with the Evans scholarship for caddies, the University of Illinois and, and that gave her the foundation to create her entrepreneurial dreams and then she also was terminated from her job and and then she wound up running a creating A real estate company that uses three quarters of a million dollars last year, it’s well over a million this year. So that’s, that’s an entrepreneurial story. I can just figure that out, like, what’s inspirational, what’s emotional? What do people actually care about? And, and the rule I go by is like, people don’t really care about what you do. They care about who you are. But if they care about who you are, they will care about what you do. So people very rarely actually asked me about what I do PR wise, I’m really interested about like, how did you start this company? And then they’re like, Oh, you reached out to 5000 people to get five clients or like, you don’t write anything down. You’re able to connect people on a global level. And you’re constantly creating these life changing intros for people. And it’s like, that’s what, that’s what life and business are really about. And then the byproduct of that is that in all these great intros in my business has exploded. 

 

John Corcoran  17:51  

So since we’re on the topic, I wanted to ask you about those introductions. I’m as much of a fan of introductions as you are, you know, you introduced to people they hit it off. They’re gonna remember you forever. But for those who don’t make introductions that often, what advice do you have for them? And do you have any hacks or tips for how to integrate it into making it a habit? Why should people do it?

 

Justin Breen  18:14  

You know habits are the right word. I love how you just asked me that in that way. So minimum everyday I make 10 life changing intros. And again, most of my days talking to people like you, they’ll say something they’ll be like, Oh, I know someone who thinks the exact same way or, or they’re involved in businesses that could be you know, create great synergies or, or, or like I have a client in Utah she homeschools her four kids. And then I was on this call with this, with this three time gold medalist softball player you at Team USA softball, and she also homeschools her four kids. I just introduced them, and now they’re good friends and, you know, potentially doing business together. So like folks that are like Strictly in it for transactional purposes, that’s the opposite of my business model and my life model, frankly. My company is really on a higher level thinking is this giant incubator of geniuses and around the world and constantly introducing each other for mutual gain. And by practice, I’m constantly getting interested companies around the world that want to hire my firm. So on average, like I said, minimum 10 intros a day that I make and then I’ve received three or four minimum really good, high quality warm intros, and I don’t, you know, cold calling and direct reaching out to people I don’t do any of that. I haven’t done that in years. And it’s really fun to see how it’s just the beginning of this like the company’s a little over three years old, and my next thing has nothing to do with revenue. Because my company’s essentially all profit, revenue, optimism, numbers driven by ego. It’s meaningless to me like you’re making two 300 In a revenue and your profits 10,000, like, okay, congratulations. So, but my TEDx is network on a global level. So as the network just grows and grows and grows, the opportunities for my network grows and grows and grows and the opportunities for my company and myself grow, grow, grow.

 

John Corcoran  20:18  

Hopping back into the topic of journalism again, you know, journalism has changed dramatically over the last 20 years. You know, a lot of people blamed Craigslist for hitting classifieds, which was newspapers, revenue source for many years. And then you have social media and things you know, today what’s newsworthy, has changed and evolved. So talk a little bit about, you know, your perception of the news landscape today. There’s been in recent years, there’s been, you know, pushback against journalists. From the top on down. I think that’s unfortunate having been the son of a journal. list I was raised with a tremendous amount of respect for journalists as a profession. But, you know, what are your thoughts on the state of the profession and social media and you know, where it’s going in the future?

 

Justin Breen  21:15  

Um, so in terms of background, like, I have a very, very high abundance mindset, always. And it’s never been a more exciting time, certainly for a business owner like me and on the journalism level, and you hit it on the head. I’m starting this podcast, as Tribune on mainstream traditional media has started to, you know, go down in certain ways. And there’s never been more media to pitch nice client stories or myself and podcasts like this. They’re unbelievable. They’re not only unbelievable for my business and branded and I do a good job on these interviews and also Lego. We’d love to have your clients on there because they’re all visionary. wackadoodles like I am. And these are the

 

John Corcoran  22:03  

these official term visionary wackadoo

 

Justin Breen  22:05  

Oh yeah, I said that all the time people love it like that’s, you know, I’m a visionary wackadoo and like, visionary, you know, these visionaries with abundance mindset, they’re the ones that are running, you know, the best companies in the world because they’re just, you know, I’m just coming off the biggest quarter my company’s ever had, because there’s no, these people that don’t look at things as cost, they look at things as investment, and they’re just, there’s no panic. They’re just pivoting and creating new things. 

 

John Corcoran  22:34  

And it’s great when you find the right clients for you on the right tribe. Yeah. And you find the right tribe. Talk about that, you know, you’re active in EO you’re also active in Strategic Coach, when did you make the decision to get involved in those two organizations or any other similar types of organizations and, and what role has that played for your business,

 

Justin Breen  22:52  

life changing multiple ways. Again, the company’s a little over three years old, I was in much lower levels. Local mind numbing super annoying groups for me. I’m the highest in the disc. I like the best day you can imagine. Boredom to me is worth worse than death. And I was in these lower level groups. I’m like What the hell’s wrong with me? I’m like, oh

 

John Corcoran  23:20  

God, yeah. Oh, yeah, we don’t need to name them. But I have an idea. You know, right. So I mean, when I was practicing law I did it so I know exactly. Yeah, right.

 

Justin Breen  23:29  

You’re an entrepreneur who happens to be a lawyer, but yeah, exactly. No, I mean, that’s like, I know, there’s a difference between the lawyers, the lawyer and the entrepreneur who happens to be a lawyer. Yeah, there’s some now you’re about the ninth or 10th entrepreneur, who happens to be a lawyer I know on a national level, but yeah, so I’m like, What the hell’s wrong them like I don’t get along with any of these people. That’s super annoying. Like I don’t need a painter. And so I have a lot of mentors. One of my first mentors, Kristen Barnett McCarthy, she’s an amazing attorney. She was, you know, the president of like the Illinois women’s women’s Attorneys Association. I don’t know the exact language. She’s a great attorney. And I’m like, I can’t do any more of these nonsensical networking groups, what’s a good group? And she mentioned a group called pro advisors, which is a national organization. So they have groups like LA and San Francisco and Chicago and Boston, and they just open up in places like Atlanta and New York and Seattle. And so, I’ve been in that for two years, and I and I was like, oh, okay, there’s people that think like me, in here. Not everybody does, maybe, you know, 10 15% but there’s enough visionary folks in the room, like I get it. And, and so I was, I’ve been in that 40 or 50 X, my investment in that and then that being in that led me to be in groups like Strategic Coach and Neil and getting in Strategic Coach a year and a half ago. That’s what really, really changed my brain from a business mindset and focusing only on my unique ability, which is what I’m really good at. And what I like to do, I don’t do anything else, a little bit of admin, but basically I just do what I like to do and what I’m good at. And then that led me to, which is the greatest global network organization ever. I think there’s 14,000 members in the manial program, average revenue for companies, 5 million. And so most of my conversations now are outside the US. Oh, I’ll talk to someone and do Cape Town Are you Australia, US Singapore to Malaysia, yo, Tokyo, yo, you know, Middle East, whatever it is, and yo Toronto, and I am like, I’m fascinated by the brands and the folks in these organizations. They’re so incredibly smart and they put their families first and they’re just, they’re just running. They have all these, you know, you asked me before about Like, you know, how do I make a boring story cool, like, none of these people are boring, or super fascinating people. So it’s like, and my brain is just like, all the time and it just never gets boring for me ever. I never get tired of it. So it’s really fun.

 

John Corcoran  26:16  

So then I guess a related question. So I asked you, how do you ask if you know you have boring people? How do you create an interesting story out of it? I guess the flip of that is you’re talking to interesting people all the time, but they’re not your paying clients. Right? I’m sure you’re like, yeah, this is an amazing story. I wanted to tell this story. So what do you do with that itch? How do you scratch it? Or is it just you know, you get to appreciate it at face value. But you know, you’re not going to be writing that story that day. Much like as a journalist, I imagine. You came across stories all the time. Your editor was like, I need you to write this story. Not that one.

 

Justin Breen  26:55  

I love the way you ask questions because you think differently than than most

 

John Corcoran  27:00  

Soldiers lives in background

 

Justin Breen  27:01  

yet so you ask you to ask things in a journalistic, different organic way, like you listen to the guests, and then you really analyze it, and then you come up with a creative way of. So that’s my journalistic way of responding to your journalists the way a man asked me a question. Um, so yeah, like, if someone’s not a paying client, I’m not going to write their story. So I just put it off to the side or whatever. But still, like, for me, just listening, are planting seeds, and then finding out what people are up to. I sign a lot of MBAs with folks. And I’m like us and then I have all this incredible knowledge wandering around in my head. It’s really fascinating and pulled onto the fan and novel. Yeah. I mean, so that’s interesting. That’s like, somebody will say something and about Oh, that’s a good idea. That’s pretty interesting. I was the one thing I do write down. So I have like, my book is like 30 things I learned in the company. First 30 months there was never any intent to write a book. But now I’ve started another list of like, someone says something cool. Oh my god. That’s pretty cool. That’ll be another chapter in the next book. But yeah, I’d like to believe I’m plenty busy and, and, and focused on like, the clients who are paying, they’re up to unbelievable things. And by the way, my brain never gets tired of hearing fascinating, cool things in the world. Like, I’m like, my brain is like a, like a sponge. It’s just a sponge. And, and so I’ll go into a room of 20 people, even entrepreneurs, and I’ll talk like this and like, most of them will think I’m crazy or an alien. And then those people just go away. And then the one or two or three they get it, they’ll be like, Oh, I love this guy. And I’m so they’ll introduce me to a million great people, and then they’ll become part of my amazing network that grows every day.

 

John Corcoran  28:51  

It’s actually great that you were able to channel some of that energy or that attention or those conversations with interesting people who, you know, weren’t clients, but it was an interesting story and the right channel it into the book. But what’s interesting about the book is that, you know, you do have a PR firm, but the book isn’t about PR. It’s about lessons that you learn. So why the decision to write that book about that topic?

 

Justin Breen  29:21  

So, October 16 2019, was the 30 month anniversary of my company. And at the time, I think I had 37 followers, 37,000 followers on social media. So I posted this list of 30 things that I had learned in the company’s first 30 months from some of the top entrepreneurs in the world. And again, there was no intent to write a book. So everybody saw the list and they’re like, Oh, you got to write a book on that. I’m like, okay, so I signed with one of the top micro publishers in the United States. Her name’s Rebecca Hall. grider. She’s based out in the Bay Area, San Francisco and San with her in late November, wrote the book in 43 days and just came out and And international bestseller in six countries number one for entrepreneurship and in the US and and it’s just been, it’s just, it’s just so much fun because it’s helped so many people. And it’s going to continue to help so many people and, and the interesting surprises that I initially thought are still do. It’s intended for entrepreneurs or people who are starting businesses, like, here’s how you can spend as much time with your family and do whatever you want and work with only the people you want to make as much money as you want you. So the interesting byproduct of that is that business owners CEOs have actually bought the book for their employees to help them think on a global networking level and to your point earlier, because like, I, I process things, I think the same way you do like, it helps them make habits of creating these intros for people and think like an entrepreneur or an intrapreneur, an employee, an entrepreneurial type employee. Inside a company, and that’s been an interesting byproduct that it’s actually really good for employees as well.

 

John Corcoran  31:07  

Hmm. Do you want to highlight any of the particular lessons out of the 30? What are your favorites?

 

Unknown Speaker  31:14  

So

 

Justin Breen  31:17  

instead of that, and that’s a really good question, I will respond with what folks have told me the most value they’ve gotten out of it. There’s a chapter in there that only works with people who look at things as investments, not costs. And that’s the number one thing people said, Oh, man, that’s really changed my life because anyone who likes what I say before anyone who asks What do you cost or what do you charge? Certainly within the first five minutes, those people are gone, like they immediately disqualified from being clients or being in my network. Those folks are toxic for two reasons. One, they’re going to nickel and dime you. With every single negotiation. They’re gonna be horrible clients, because they’re all I’m going to be thinking about in a transactional way as opposed to a relationship way. And then those folks in their network, they usually only hang out with other people like that. So it’s double toxic. So someone asked you what an investment is and what an investment with your firm looks like? It’s like the greatest question ever, because you know, there’s one there. One, they don’t look at things as a cost. And they realize that they’ve invested in their own businesses and brands. And that’s why their companies are so great because they don’t look at everything as an investment. And so that’s what entrepreneurs and other folks have told me, it’s been the number one lesson that they’ve learned from the book. The number one thing that I’ve that has really helped me is that I realized what my company actually is from writing the book. It’s not a PR firm. It’s this incubator geniuses on a global level that keeps growing every single day and we’re always introducing each other for mutual gain.

 

John Corcoran  32:54  

That’s great. I love that. I wanted to ask you about something I’ve found that I’ve had to sometimes stop myself from pursuing certain things that I enjoy. Because it isn’t necessarily what I need to do for the business. And so I’m wondering if there if you’ve ever found that for yourself, like, for example, you mentioned you love connecting with other entrepreneurs love talking to other actors, hearing their stories, stuff like that. I do too. But I also know sometimes, like, instead of doing that I needed to do this other thing. So have you had to temper that inclination? Or have you found that just, you know, pursuing those instincts? Hasn’t he treated you wrong or hasn’t you haven’t run into trouble with it?

 

Justin Breen  33:41  

No, in fact, it’s the opposite. Because when you spend most of your day having these types of conversations, that’s where the, again the byproduct is, that’s where you get all these amazing intros. And that’s, that’s how businesses develop. So it’s actually the opposite type of thing. I do know reaching out. To anyone, I haven’t done that in a long time. And because I’m only talking to these awesome people that are introduced to me, then they get it. And so yes, some of them become clients, but just as important as I create real relationships with them, and then make really good interest for them, and then they make really good interest for me. And it’s just like I said, it just never stops growing. And so, because of strategic coaching, focusing on my unique ability, what I like to do and what I’m good at, it’s never worked for me if I didn’t have to sleep or be a parent, which I love being a dad and a husband. But I didn’t have to sleep or do that. I could literally do this 24 seven and never get tired of it. It fuels my entrepreneurial brain, it fills my journalism brain, fills my curiosity brain, fills my business brain and fills my relationship brain. So it’s really the opposite of what you think in that regard because it actually creates endless business. Doing these types of conversations? Um,

 

John Corcoran  35:02  

you know, I don’t know if you’ve done this through EO yet but did you do gallup strengthsfinder at any point? I noticed that you are on your LinkedIn, you’ve got your boldness or cola score up there. Yeah.

 

Justin Breen  35:15  

Yep. So I haven’t done the Gallup strength thing, but I’ve done a lot of those self tests. One of them says boredom to me is worse than death. And again, the highest D you could imagine. And

 

Unknown Speaker  35:29  

so my Colby score is really good.

 

John Corcoran  35:31  

You’ll have to do that one, the Strengthsfinder one, because I did it recently. And the funny thing was they thought about the results beforehand, but I didn’t realize that they hadn’t seen it or something. And then in the group, everyone who knew me was there and there was like, 30 people or something, and the trainer said, and john, you’re a Woo. And I didn’t know what that meant. But it turns out it means you really like meeting new people and hearing their stories. And he explained it and the whole group, the whole group was just like, Oh, yes. That makes perfect sense. And I was pretty much like, yeah, that pretty much nails it. Yeah. And so I think you might be a woo as well.

 

Justin Breen  36:06  

No, no 100% of will. Yeah, I’m a Whoo. booted 1,000,003. And,

 

but that’s great. But see when you learn about yourself, I’m fascinated by those. And I always tell people about coldy. And that’s like, a Strategic Coach. It’s Yeah, and so and so there are two things when someone when someone puts their Colby on all their social media platforms, I’m like, Oh, this person’s definitely a visionary and they definitely get it. It’s pretty rare to see that but they’re, that means they’re like, really into learning about themselves. So, Colby taught me that. I’m really rare for an entrepreneur like most entrepreneurs have any cuz people don’t know about Colby. It’s four scores. factfinder Quick Start, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, and then follow through which that’s obvious and then implemented. I like working with my hands. So I’m the really, really, really, really rare entrepreneur based on talking to thousands of people. And only three of them had similar Colby scores to me that I’m high in the first three. So I’m high factfinder, high, Quick Start, and also high follow through. And I’d be zero for implementer. If you asked me to like, like build something, I have a nervous breakdown. So most entrepreneurs again, based on my experience, talking to people all day is they have very high quickstart Boom, boom, boom and no follow through. That’s why they hire a bunch of people because they have to hire people to follow through on their visionary wackadoo. In this, I can actually follow through on my own quickstart so I don’t need to hire anyone. And that’s really rare for an entrepreneur, because I was a journalist for 20 years. I think I had to have a high follow through. It’s just part of being a good journalist asking questions following through on a deadline or you know, getting stuff done and keeping track of topics like people and you know, editing things so very rare for an entrepreneur though. Very, very, very rare. Yeah,

 

John Corcoran  38:09  

yeah. Well, this has been great. Justin, really enjoyed talking to you. And we’ll wrap things up with the question I always ask, which is let’s pretend we’re at an awards banquet, much like the Oscars or the Emmys. you’re receiving an award for lifetime achievement for everything you’ve done up until this point. What we all want to know is who do you think in addition to family, friends, of course, who are the mentors? Were the friends the peers who were the editors? Who are the publishers, who are the people that you would acknowledge in your remarks?

 

Justin Breen  38:34  

Well, there’s so many but Kristen Barnett, for sure. She was one of my original mentors. Colin Corbett, he’s much younger than me runs one of the largest political consulting firms in Illinois. He’s been a longtime mentor. And Greg Reed runs an amazing group called secret NOK based in San Diego but has clients all over the world, in Cary klavan. He’s a coach within Strategic Coach. And I’ve been, I had been meeting quarterly for lunch with him before COVID. And he’s just a tremendous guy. And there’s just so many people. And I’m just so thankful because I mean, starting business without having a mentor. Most folks don’t have mentors when they start businesses like over 80%. And it’s like, forget, that’s one of the chapters in my book, like, please wait, you start a business, have some mentors, like, you’re gonna need help. It’s like, you can’t just magically make this happen.

 

John Corcoran  39:34  

So, yeah, well, that’s a skill in itself to get someone to be a mentor. Because oftentimes, the worst thing you can ask is, Will you be my mentor? But, you know, getting people to provide mentorship. If people enjoy providing mentorship, I think just these days, a lot of times people are wary of the commitment maybe.

 

Justin Breen  39:54  

I think you’re 100% right. And people ask me to be a mentor all the time. I’m happy To provide advice in terms of a full scale mentorship thing. I mean, that’s just not that’s not in the cards. But yeah, but providing advice. I do that every single day.

 

John Corcoran  40:12  

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Justin, this has been great. Where can people go to learn more about you and connect with you?

 

Justin Breen  40:20  

Sure. So more than 40,000 followers on social media, LinkedIn is a good place. There are more than 21,000 followers there. I use that as basically a commercial for other people. And it’s led to endless connectivity and awesomeness for folks there. So Justin Breen there and then my company’s site is www.brepicllc.com and you can find out how to get the book as well.

 

John Corcoran  40:54  

Alright, thanks so much, Justin.

 

Outro  40:56  

Thank you. Thank you for listening to the Smart Business Revolution podcast with John Corcoran. Find out more at smartbusinessrevolution.com. And while you’re there, sign up for our email list and join the Revolution. And be listening for the next episode of the Smart Business Revolution podcast.