Who are you and what business did you start?
My name is Brian Wallace, and I’m the founder of NowSourcing, a top rated content marketing agency that focuses on making the world’s ideas simple, visual, and influential through infographics.
What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
I come from a far away land called Brooklyn , but grew up in the leafy suburbs of Rockland County, NY.
My school and work background has everything from neuroscience to tech, dot-com, to the Fortune 500 suite. After receiving a bunch of degrees and a career in technology, I ultimately realized that most people care that the technology works, not how it works. This blossomed into a love for marketing, and I left my last post in technology, taking my employer on as a client. Before I left the W-2 world, I had a devastating life event that changed the entire trajectory of my life (trigger warning: https://bit.ly/cyol-brian).
We’ve had 3 iterations of the company so far – the first as a fractional CTO, then being a social media agency. Following social media, we quickly saw that everyone was trying to do this, so we doubled down on being more specific. When we started making infographics in 2008, there were only a few people in the world doing it and we thought we could help revolutionize the industry given our strengths in storytelling, visuals, and making things go viral / in the media.
Describe the process of launching the business.
Staring the business was pretty crazy – but well worth it in the end! We already had our first client in hand – my prior employer. But my wife and I were looking for a new way of life and wanted to leave the rat race that metro NYC does to you. We had the opportunity of visiting Louisville, Kentucky for the first time in 2001 2 weeks before the towers fell and we really thought it was a special place. So, year 1 of our fledgling business, we packed up everything we had and drove half way across the country to start a new life. Louisville was the perfect place to grow and be the underdog being relatively unnoticed, while keeping costs down but while still having an excellent quality of life. That was like a crucible to perfect our craft in social media strategy and later infographics and content marketing / PR / SEO.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
Above all, integrity and over delivering on value is your best bet. When you care about your customer and do the right thing, word gets around and you continue to build your reputation. I find that people are impressed by 2 patterns of things – having a client list featuring world famous companies and doing truly remarkable work, regardless of who the company is. Every once in a while you get to do something truly remarkable for a famous brand, celebrity or company – and that work is generally regarded as legendary. One such work of ours that fits in this category is the story of Philadelphia 76’ers Tobias Harris
We are blessed to keep and hold this great reputation, but every day we treat our next project as of great importance. When companies rest on their laurels, they get smug and complacent. Jeff Bezos has a great line that your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Great, and the future is bright! We attract some of the world’s largest brands through word of mouth, virality, repeat business, and reputation.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Telling the truth, integrity, and truly caring about who you work with are fundamental to your business success. Don’t treat people as a means to an end – you should instead think about long term partnerships and what you can all achieve together.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
We love Slack for internal communication. As of late, Airtable has been a game changer. Love using SEO tools such as ahrefs and PR/reporting tools such as Coveragebooks.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
Some of my favorites include:
The Go-Giver – by Bob Burg. I think that people all too often look for short term solutions that doom their future and don’t respect and honor those they work with for better long term relationships.
Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? – by Seth Godin. This is a useful way of understanding why 9-5 doesn’t work for everyone anymore and how the game has shifted. It teaches you how and why to be remarkable at your game.
Be Like Amazon: Even a Lemonade Stand Can Do It – by Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg with Roy G. Williams. Super fun read that is dialogue based that is helpful to understand what’s baked in the DNA of successful and enduring companies.
Get the Meeting! – by Stu Heinecke. Ok, maybe I’m a little biased as I’m in the book, but it shows creative and inventive ways of the cause of curiosity and attraction.
What are some of your favorite infographics?
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
I tell most not to start a business (laughs). If they still want to keep going, I tell them to pick something they’ll continue to be passionate about through the hard times, or they won’t have what it takes when things get too difficult. Also, don’t listen to your friends if they are perfectly happy with their 9-5 jobs. You’re asking the right questions, but to the wrong people.