Lead with heart and vulnerability. Everyone thinks that the hard-charging, type A person who roars like a lion is the leader. True leadership is sharing power and influence and leading by example.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Brian Wallace. Brian is the Founder and President of NowSourcing.
Thank you so much for joining us Brian! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
My background in tech reached a point where I didn’t like working in an industry that is often underappreciated and the people within it aren’t effective communicators. I felt that I had more to communicate with the world. Having taken neuroscience and psychology in college, I wanted to expand my work ability to marketing. I quit my day job to start a social media agency, and pretty quickly discovered a need for well done, thoroughly research infographics online. We pivoted and became one of the first infographic design agencies out there in 2008. We’ve been evolving an end-to-end strategy of infographics that get companies acquired, funded, and major press ever since.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began at your company?
With our range of clients, we have a lot of interesting stories. At one point we redesigned Cap’n Crunch and gave him a late night talk show, which he hosted in a bowl of cereal.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
One of the biggest mistakes I made was being an idiot when putting together contracts. Early on, someone changed one of my terms to ½ up front and ½ on “satisfactory” delivery. Still waiting for that 2nd payment.
How did you scale your business to profitability? How long did it take? Please share the steps you took.
We’re in a pretty unique position to be able to scale up whenever we need to. Since we use a lot of cloud-based collaborative tools, finding the right person for the job isn’t limited by geography. We do have two physical offices where most of our employees work, but when it comes to finding the specialized talent we can draw from anywhere. The biggest stumbling block is finding the right person for the job because so much of what we do is so highly specialized.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
We cover a pretty wide range of topics, which always keeps things interesting. Right now we are wrapping up an infographic about how climate change may affect nutrition, while at the same time working on a deep dive into the Monsanto/RoundUp legal battle. Our more typical projects right now include a look at how technology will change the future of healthcare jobs and how GenZ is facing its financial fears.
Based on your personal experience, what advice would you give to young people considering a career in PR?
Don’t follow the crowd. Technology is changing, yes, but you must master the art and science of both the old and new school to be effective. LinkedIn is huge for this and always make sure to network with folks you work with at the start of your career — they will grow with you.
You are known as a master networker. Can you share some tips on great networking?
LinkedIn is so important. Most people underestimate how important. And don’t limit yourself to people you know — social media is a great way to expand your network far beyond your geographic region.
Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to that really helped you in your career? Can you explain?
I’m a huge fan of Good to Great by Jim Collins. In short:
- Get the wrong people off your bus
- Put the right people on the bus
- Put the right people on the right seats
- Only then do you all figure out where you are going.
Because of the role you play, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
Intentionality. Most people go through life doing things and not understanding why or how that plays into the bigger picture. When you learn to do things with intentionality you can open up new and better possibilities for yourself and for your future. Don’t just mindlessly do what everyone else is doing — ask yourself why and how and what it means.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
1 — Nobody has a map of greatness. I’m a big fan of Seth Godin’s book, Linchpin. Be remarkable.
2 — Lead with heart and vulnerability. Everyone thinks that the hard-charging, type A person who roars like a lion is the leader. True leadership is sharing power and influence and leading by example.
3 — Hustle and grind doesn’t equal success. You might do more harm and good. In the beginning, yes you have to work a lot, but the goal should eventually be to work smarter vs bragging on how many hours / how little sleep you get.
4 — Inspiration is basically meaningless entertainment. You might as well watch a movie if you aren’t going to take action.
5 — There’s nothing wrong with watching movies and relaxing. All these insane productivity gurus don’t understand that there is nothing wrong with unwinding once in a while. It’s healthy!