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#14: Branding, Design and Online Coaching with Just Creative Founder Jacob Cass

Welcome to The Creator's Adventure where we interview creators from around the world, hearing their stories about growing a business.

My name is Bryan McAnulty, I'm the founder of Heights Platform and today I'm talking with Jacob Cass about branding, traveling the world, and growing an online coaching business.

Learn more about Jacob: https://justcreative.com/



Transcript

Bryan McAnulty: Welcome to the Creator's Adventure, where we interview Creator's around the world, hearing their stories about growing a business. My name is Bryan McAnulty. I'm the founder of Heights Platform. And today I'm talking with Jacob Cass about branding, traveling the world and growing a coaching business.

Hey everyone. Today, we are here with Jacob Cass. He is a brand designer, strategist, educator, podcaster business coach, community builder, and the founder of just creative and award-winning branding and the design consultancy that doubles as an industry leading. Jacob helps grow brands strategically and has worked with clients such as Disney, Nintendo, and Jerry Seinfeld.

And now he's focusing on bringing his global brand experience to smaller businesses. And while growing his online business, Jacob and his wife have traveled around the world and visited more than 85 countries. So Jacob, welcome to the Show.

Jacob Cass: Thank you. Pleasure being here, Bryan. And, you know, you just shared with me that you we'd met over a decade ago, so that was crazy.

Thank you for reminding me, but that was you know, little tidbit of back story. Yeah. I

Bryan McAnulty: was really glad to see when my team booked this interview because I saw it pop up and I was like, oh, Jacob Cass. I know him. And yeah, it was like, I feel like over 10 years now ago that we met in New York quick.

And we've talked before that. And I know at the time you've you, you had traveled some and I was traveling a real lot, but now it looks like you've traveled way more than I have. So I'm interested in talking with you about that a little bit later, but to start out. So you're a brand design expert and the founder of just creative.

So tell us how you got started in your design career and what made you decide to found just.

Jacob Cass: Good question. I I'll try to keep it short cuz you we're condensed in 20 years into, you know, short conversation, but you know, we, you rattle off a couple of titles there in my intro and it's, you know, we all, we all have a title, but it's sometimes it's hard to just like.

Get down to something pure and simple for me at, at my heart. I'm a designer, right? My studies who is, you know, based on graphic design, visual communication, I've always been attracted to art and you know, those creative subjects versus, you know, science and maths and so forth. So it's in, in my bones, the creative gene, and, you know, have been a designer for a, a long time.

So. The simplest way to put put it down who I am, it would be a designer. But that kind of led me into creating just creative, which is my brand design studio. My brand strategy, I do brand strategy. I'll do logos. I do, you know, bunch of stuff as part of that agency. And it also doubles as the platform for our community and the blog and a bunch of other stuff, which I, I won't get into too much.

Yeah, I started you know, my journey back in, you know, high school is when I was just dabbling in Photoshop and web design and, you know, I was just doing creative stuff and I was morphing. My friends' faces together as a hobby, you know, with like a pirated version of Photoshop, you know, many years ago.

And that kind of just led me into doing, you know, creative things. And I started to teach myself web design and then a friend asked me, oh, I need a logo. I need a website. I'm starting a new business. And I was like, well, I didn't know if you, I don't know, but I'll try, try it out. So I did that and I didn't really know about graphic design as a career.

It was just something I was attracted to. And then I saw a careers advisor at my high school and they're like, yeah, you can do graphic design as a career. And I was like, okay, well this is the path I can follow. So I went kind of in that direction, I studied more design and tech and that sort of I.

In that arena, I had studied more and that led me to university where I studied visual communication for a number of years. And then I got headhunted by a agency in New York city where I student still a design student. And that was because I was running a blog at the time that was documenting my design studies.

And sharing my work and, you know, just putting myself out there. So I was getting into social media, Twitter had just started and I was getting big on Twitter and some of the other social media platforms, this was very early days. It was called blogging back then not content marketing and. I was very attracted to the internet and the web and all of that.

And that got the attention of a social media slash digital agency in New York who was, you know, they were on the money in terms of, you know, this is the direction where the industry is going. All the big agencies were scrambling and they were just much more nimble. And that's how my career got started.

So I went from being a design student to working for Disney off the bat. So I was like, wow, this is awesome. It was like a catapult, I literally catapulted from Sydney. To New York like, and it was a totally total shift. Right? I didn't know. Anyone didn't know a thing new to the industry fresh off the plane.

And I found a place to live the day before I got there. It was, it was a big leap that's but it. You know, started my career. So I stayed in New York for five years. I worked for a number of different agencies and got, I cut my teeth into the world of advertising design. I was working as an interactive design back then.

So it was more I was doing more websites for like Nintendo and user experience for these sorts of brands. At that agency, they, it was a full service agency. So although I was in the digital department, I was exposed to the ad agency and I was involved with all the pitches and cut got, just learned about the processes and the, the act of pitching and how teams work together.

And you just got access to greater minds. Right in the agency. So, you know, creative directors and art directors and copywriters, and like working together to create something brilliant, which I literally would not have been able to do if I was working for myself, like I, I do now, but that's because I've had that experience.

And that's really For where I cut my teeth. And then after that I left New York and went traveling. So when you're asking about when you saw all those traveling, those more, more countries, that's when it happened. So the goal was to travel for a year. That year turned into three years, just cause it was awesome.

And you know, we're actually realized we were making more money on the road then working in New York and paying rent and like, you know, the expenses of New York. So the, it actually became easier. We reduced our hours, we were working like four hours a day versus, you know, It's a 50, 50 hour work week or more in New York.

So it was like, sure, sure. Total lifestyle shift, you got to see country different countries. You could run the agency like on the road. And you know, the four hour work week was a, you know, a big help in this, you know, a book by Tim Ferris and just getting into that mindset of like that it is possible.

You don't have to work four 40 hours or more to be successful. And successful is really about what your definition is. So for me back. Mid twenties. You know, I, it wasn't about growth. It was about experiencing life and experiencing new things and being curious and traveling new places, experiencing different cultures, but while having a, you know a business that could fuel that.

Right? Yeah. So we had. We had clients that could, you know, found us through the web. It had, I definitely had a platform already, so we didn't just go off the bat. Right. It didn't, we didn't just like leave and didn't have a business. Like we had a runway and we had an online presence, you know, we didn't do any marketing external.

Cold out retails, everything was inbound and, you know, people found us. Sure. And that allowed us to travel for, you know, that amount of time and, you know, work while we're on the road. So it was a digital nomad lifestyle, which was awesome. So that was three years now. I'm back in Sydney, Australia. We have a family, we have roots.

We have a home, we have a car. Now. We literally went from like a 20 kilo backpack for three years to. Like a full house. I had to buy everything. So it was like another major shift. It was like move to New York, travel the world, and now we've got roots. And now, and throughout this whole time I've been running just creative, which is the agency, the platform.

And that's what you know, is the backbone of our business. And you know, you rather awful lot of things at the start of like in my intro, and course we do do a lot of things. And that's kind of where it is today. You know, we do brand consultancy. So we do, you know, strategy. We do design that's like the consultancy arm of our business, and then we have a community arm, so I help Creator's and entrepreneurs.

They're business. So we have a group coaching program. We also have a paid membership community called exponential creatives. And we have a podcast. We have a blog which has thousands of articles to help designers and creatives and whatnot level up. And that's really, it that's style the story. That's

Bryan McAnulty: great.

I mean, I think you covered a real lot there. Yeah, I wanna talk a little bit more about the traveling, but before I get into that, I wanna backtrack a little bit about so there's all these big clients that you've worked with both through, I guess, the agency that you worked at at the time and maybe with yourself as well.

So like Disney Nintendo, Jerry Seinfeld, and even the city of San Francisco. So I'm sure that people just starting out more in their journey as a creative. Especially those who are designers, maybe like yourself are wondering, well, what is the pathway to get a big client like that? So can you share a little bit more detail about what's something you think that you did that helped you to land that big agency job or to get those big clients?

Jacob Cass: Yeah. So to be clear, getting these big clients, right. I'm working as part of a team within an agency. It's not like the client of coming direct to me that is possible, you know, for, you know, certain. Job. So like illustration or art direction, for example, that is possible, but I was part of a larger team within agency.

So just Disney was their client. Jerry Seinfeld was their client and they, we worked together. Right. Just to be clear on that. So listeners understand, so yes. The agency where I worked at, they had them, those clients on their board and I was part of the digital team. So I worked on, you know, the digital you know, the online presence for these digital, these brands.

So that's how I was exposed to 'em. So I did a ton, a ton of websites for Nintendo and Disney was another one. And you know, there's tons more and that's really how that happened. More recently, I did the logo design for the city of San Francisco and that particular client, they they had San Francisco had hired another agency and they, they subcontracted out to me as it for a logo design and some of the brand identity elements.

So. They're just to be clear here. They're not coming directly to me always it's, you know, an agency could subcontract or you could be working within an agency or they could contact you directly if you're positioned in that way. So it really depends. And how you get these jobs. Well, number one is, you know, if you work, if you're looking for an agency job, right, you have to have a portfolio obviously, and a presence and you have to, you know, have good work and you know, you wanna work there and you know, it's a classic, well, how do you get a job?

You know, that's a whole other topic. Yeah. But for me it was, I got headhunted because of my presence and being ahead of the curve in terms of you know, social media being active in social media and sharing very openly you know, Consistently. And that's the key, right. Being consistent and just being open and vulnerable and sharing your journey right back then, like, I look back on it.

It's like, my work was terrible, but it got the attention of other people because of my passion and interest in, you know, just being ahead of the curve. So talk about today, right? What's ahead of the curve now, you know, it's VR, it's web three, it's, you know, 3d printing. It's like the NFTs. It's like, that's the edge.

Like if you want to stand. That's where you have to go, you know, to get, you know, to be at the forefront or the frontier of, you know, design and tech and like that world. I'm not saying you have to be in that world to out, but you know, for me back then it was social media. But if you wanting to get into VR design, for example, What would you do?

You'd post or your thoughts on VR? You'd dabble in VR you'd experiment. You'd share openly. You'd talk about

Bryan McAnulty: just really getting involved with the whole community that currently exists. Because, I mean, I remember way back then, I guess it was at least 10 years ago that like we saw your blog. We saw you posting all the time.

We saw you on Twitter posting all the time and I'm sure like so many other designers, design agencies, everyone would say like, oh yeah, we know Jacob cath he's he's always talking about. And, and as you said, even if you didn't feel like you were so good at it yet, like you were always talking about it and sharing your passion about it and people knew who you

Jacob Cass: were.

Yeah, exactly. And the, the more exposed you have more awareness you have, then you become top of mind for that person. And you know, if you're talking about VR and you are like the VR guy and, you know, someone suddenly started a VR. And like that connection's already made, right? It's like, let's go to this VR guy.

He he's got an interest in, it he'll want work with us. Right. He's got a ton of value. So that's how people could get a job is just, you know, being open, being consistent, sharing the journey, no matter what stage of the journey you're at, because you're always gonna, there's always gonna be someone better than you and someone worse off than you.

You just have to own where you. Looking back at my career. That's exactly what I've done. I've transition from, you know, blog to logo design, to brand identity, to now brand strategy, and now coaching and community, just the evolution. And throughout this time, just, you know, learning, sharing, posting, being consistent.

So it's like, that's, that's the secret. It is. It's hard work, but you know, that's how. These this is how luck happens, right? It's it's, it's not, it's not luck actually. It's, you know, it's hard work and, you know, we can call it luck, but it's because of all these things they compound and then the magic happens.

So in hindsight that's yeah. How my journeys happen.

Bryan McAnulty: I think like a good takeaway from that is that. Even if you feel that you're not really too experienced yet or you're, you could get so much better. You're always gonna feel like you can get better. You're always gonna feel like something you did maybe years and years ago.

Isn't as good as what you could do now. Six months ago.

Jacob Cass: Yeah, yeah, exactly. I've done. And then you look at it and like, oh, wasn't that good? Yeah.

Bryan McAnulty: So you don't have to wait to get involved with whatever community there is about the

Jacob Cass: topic that you're interested. No. What, what are you waiting for? Alright,

Bryan McAnulty: cool.

So I wanna ask you one more question about your design. Of all the clients and the projects that you've done, what would you say is the favorite thing

Jacob Cass: that you've worked on? It's always something that I'm actively working on. It's always fresh and it's like just something it's more energy, right, right.

At the start of the project, it's a new problem. And you're just like exploring, that's always the funest part. Actually, it's kind of like a roller coaster's like, I hate this project and it's, it's so hard and wow, don't wanna do this. And then it's like, you have this Eureka moment and it's like, oh, that's awesome.

Then you come back the next day. It's like, oh, that wasn't that great. And you like, you go back into it. And it's just a process. Right? I love, I love that kind of ebb and flow and that rollercoaster Bryan. But to nail it down to one project, like the, the San Francisco logo was a cool project. That was like a couple years ago.

And now, you know, The process was, you know, they hired a number of different designers to design lots of different San Francisco logos. I probably. I don't know, 20 or 30 different logos and submitted, I don't know a handful of them to the, the agency. And then they dwindled the, you know, all the logos from all the designers down into a shortlist and then presented to the San Francisco.

And then they selected some of those logos from that shortlist and then put it into user testing across the world and across different states to see what worked in the real. Right. So that was a really cool project to, to see your work, just getting, you know, shortlist, shortlist, shortlist, and then finally, like they actually came out on top of the focus groups and, you know, became the final logo.

So that was really awesome to see. And now, you know, it's an nice little feather in the cap to say you've designed the logo for the city of San Francisco. Yeah, that's awesome. But the process we can get into, I'm not sure if you want to, I can geek out on that, but it really depends.

Bryan McAnulty: I think we got a lot of questions to cover here, but yeah, I would love to talk about it, but I wanna make sure we get some through some of these other questions as well.

So I actually wanna shift gears a little bit and talk about some of your travels now. So in addition to your business, you created a travel blog. You talked all about these adventures where. You and your wife visited more than 85 countries and even having a newborn didn't stop you. So I really wanna talk a little bit about this because I've traveled a real lot myself.

I think around 2010 is when I started traveling and it sounds like we, we shared some similar thoughts about how we wanted to approach it. I also read the four hour work. For me, it was like, before I even finished the book, I was like, okay, I get it. So that is, that is possible. So, okay. I'm gonna do that too.

And then I figured I'm gonna start traveling after I went to the first country it was actually I had the opportunity that a friend invited me to a Dole through this like English camp thing in Italy because some of his family was Italian and I went there. We stayed for a. I already had my design studio at the time.

And so I had a team working with me and we had to deal with the whole issue of like, well, we had this big deadline actually at the time, but the trip had to be then. So I had to travel then and I was so nervous about like, is this gonna work? But it worked out and I enjoyed that trip so much that like within a month after that, I was like, I'm gonna travel again.

And I don't know when I'm gonna come home. and I just, I set out and I think I was gone for about 13 months before even coming back to the us. But I've been through about 30 countries some of them, because I wanna keep going back to rather than going to new ones, but you've been to 85 countries. So that's really crazy.

And especially you have a newborn on the way. I'm also curious to hear about this cuz my wife and I actually are expecting a baby girl about a month from now. And I would love to be able to still travel with her as well. So can you tell me a little bit more about your stories with

Jacob Cass: your travels?

Of course, well, first off, congratulations. And thank you. Welcome to the club. It's another journey in itself, and it is possible to travel with, with kids. And you know, if it depends on your experience with travel, but it just depend what you're wanting to get outta travel, where you wanna go and the experience, right?

It does change things with like, you know, sleep schedules and where you stay and how long you stay, you know, just to paint the picture, you know, when you. When you don't have a kid, you know, you have ultimate freedom. You can pack up, you can literally pack your bag in five minutes and like get out the door and go to the next place.

Can't do that as a you know, with a newborn, especially they, they sleep a lot. So this style of holiday changes. And I U use the word holiday loosely there, cuz when we kind of, when we with had a baby, right, it was more of like a holiday experience. We would stay in one location for a week. You know, we go to an island where it's like, okay, you have the pool and you can explore the island, but it's very, you could ride back to your house.

Right. You could explore the island, but you're in a close vicinity. And you're not doing anything. You know, like long term, like long travel, you know, distances, for example, you stay in one spot and then you could maybe go the next spot you know, a day travel and then go and stay there for another week.

Whereas, you know, when you're in Europe as a, a solar backpacker, it's like, it's expensive, right? Like the, even the hostels can be expensive. You know, accommodation is the biggest cost is like where you stay. And you want to, you know, get the most out of each city and you want to keep things fast paced.

You probably hung over and , it's it's totally different. It's a totally different experience. But, you know, we went to six different countries with a newborn and it was, it was fine, totally different. Now with our second born with COVID hit, she has seen the suburb of where we live and that's about it.

She's gonna the grocery store and back. So it's just been different with COVID, but, you know, travel. For the listeners. I, I, if people are wanting to become a digital nomad, I always say to, to start somewhere, afford somewhere affordable. That is within your means and where you wanna travel a good hub. You know, it could be Southeast Asia, you know, somewhere in Asia where it, you can live very cheaply in terms of accommodation and use it as a base to travel around.

Right. So if you let's say you stayed in Bangkok, you know, it's a city, you have all the. You know, facilities, but then you could, you know, travel to Paquette or, you know, Vietnam or wherever it is very easily short distances and you can, you know, have a hub or you could do more of a well, if you're working on the same time at the same time, you could go somewhere where it's like known as a, you know, digital nomad hub, you know, Bali, for example, affordable, awesome food, friendly people, you know, a lot of nomads, a lot of expats and you'll feel very welcome.

And that's a good stepping stone to get into the travel world where it's like, well, what, what is your view on travel work and your lifestyle, I guess, is what I'm getting at is like, what do you wanna be doing? How many places do you wanna see? Do you wanna stay like, say some of very deeply, right? As you said, you go back to some places and we've definitely gone back to some of our favorites.

When you know, you go there, it's like, oh, this is awesome. We need to come back and do this in more depth. Right. And I think that's what travel is bad. It's like, well, what, what interests us or me? Right. To, you know, to go back.

Bryan McAnulty: Everybody has a different reason for why they wanna travel somewhere.

Jacob Cass: Yeah. You know, some people just wanna sit on the beach.

Other people wanna get in the culture and you know, after a couple of months in Europe, I didn't wanna see another church again. I was like, so, but then, then you go to another, like, you know, you go to Greece and it's like, well, I'm scorched, I'm burnt. I don't wanna see another beach again. So it's like, you mix things up and it's like, it's.

Keep thing, it keeps things interesting. So yeah, I guess the point of all this is understand when you wanna get out of it and go somewhere within your means and, you know, learn from that experience and then grow and, you know, can expand that experience further and you just see more and more places as you go.

Yeah.

Bryan McAnulty: Yeah. I think that's great. I think the point you mentioned about the, the hub idea for somebody, if it's, if it's new to them, but they want to become a digital Mo nomad. And they're really into that to treat something like that, where. Like the way I used to look at it is like, well, once you're in Europe, like the flight to get to Europe, if you are in the us or Australia, like that might be expensive, but once you're there, then it's relatively affordable or, or quick to get between countries in Europe.

And the same thing goes for Asia. So like, if you fly to Bangkok, for instance, like you mentioned, then like you can get a cheap flight to like Singapore or Malaysia or something from there. And then go back to Bangkok later. And then that way you can also don't have to worry about like things like visas and stuff like that.

I guess. I think, I think that's something that people tend to assume if before they start researching that, like, oh, it's gonna be so difficult for all the different visas and requirements and things like that. And depending on that kind of passport you hold, I guess it can be more difficult. I'm, I'm fortunate the us passport you, there's not too many places you need visas for.

But yeah, in general, almost for anyone it's not as difficult as it might first.

Jacob Cass: No, and that's the thing, it's just, it's just going and taking that leap, right. It's you can just, you could book a place for a couple of weeks and see if it's right. You may get homesick in the first few weeks if it's new to you, but if you book a place for a and just stay there, you'll get used to it and you can adapt.

And that's when you, you know, you just, you're doing it right. You're living it. And you're like, okay, well, it wasn't actually that difficult. It's just, I'm living someone new now. And yes, there'll be sacrifices. There'll be sacrifices, but it, you know, What are the benefits of it, right. So new country, new culture, new experiences, you know, new friends, like you don't know what's over, over the other side.

So if you're sick of, you know, where you are, you want to change and you want a new experience. I'm all about that, then, you know, think about it. That's I guess my point.

Bryan McAnulty: Yeah. Yeah. That's great. Yeah. I think for me, my style was I would, I really tried to stay everywhere at least a month that I would go that way.

You could really get to know it. You don't have to like rush through the. And I got to the point that I would ignore, like even researching about a place. And I would just think, well, where's somewhere that I haven't gone yet. And then we would just go there and then figure out from there. And I remember one of the places I felt like that worked out the best for me was Budapest that, um we'd been a lot of places in Europe and we're thinking, well, where should we go?

And we arrive. And I think we booked it for a month, but within like the first week we already asked, like the Airbnb host and said like, can we extend this another month? Because we just loved, we loved it. Absolutely. And I, I had no idea what to expect. Going there before that for you, if you, if you could name a favorite place that you've traveled to, what would that

Jacob Cass: be?

Yeah, there's a few South Africa, you know, top of mind, the reason why is because, you know, there's some similarities to Australia, but not, that's not really the reason. It's the Cape town in particular. I love as a city. Uh it's you know, the scenery. It's on the water it's in, it has mountains. It has amazing food.

It has really friendly people. Yes. There's crime. That's only downfall of this place, but there there's safari game drives. There's the animals, there's new experiences, you know you know, there's bris or barbecues. There's, you know, the lifestyle as an Australian, it, it really speaks to me. And you. The African people are just so friendly and, you know, there's a mix of cultures there and, you know, it's just like a big mixing pot and there's a lot of cool experiences and fun experiences that you don't get anywhere else in the world.

And that, that speaks to me as you know, as a country. So South Africa is one, Barcelona is another favorite city. I, I love that it's on the beach and, you know, lifestyle that. Eating and drinking and the clubs and the, the late nights. And that, that sort of thing was kind of an era gone by, but, you know, back, back then it was you know, it really spoke to me and that was, we've stayed there for a lot, a number of times.

And you know, they, they're my two top two, I guess. Cool.

Bryan McAnulty: That's great. I actually, I haven't been to either of those places, so I Barcelona's been on my list South Africa as well, but I don't know. I feel like maybe you're a little bit more outdoorsy than I am. But I still would definitely like to to check it out.

Jacob Cass: Yeah, well, there's, there's op there's, there's a lot of outdoor stuff, but there's also, you know, a lot of you know, other things you can. We do, I guess, I guess it is outdoors. I think it's like, everything I'm gonna name is outdoors. So it's like hiking and safari and you know, it's like Adventure.

It's like a little lot of Adventure, I guess. So. Yeah.

Bryan McAnulty: Yeah. Yeah. If like, For when you're ready or when you want to go on a more adventurous trip. That sounds like a great place to go for

Jacob Cass: that. Yeah, for sure. Cool.

Bryan McAnulty: So aside from your brand design business, just creative, you're also offering coaching services to other designers in what you call the inner triangle and a community called the exponential creatives.

So why did you decide to get into this coaching and community offer? How does that work?

Jacob Cass: Exactly. Yes. So this, this started back when COVID hit, you know, everyone was becoming isolated and we needed to have some connection. And I got into the world of coaching because I saw a lot of creatives struggling with, you know, creating a business and just making the mistakes that I made earlier in the career.

And I wanted to share that experience with others and, you know, I just, I started. Learning about coaching. I was taking courses and reading books and just how to, how to actually help others and empower them and not just give them answers. Right. It's, it's really about showing them the way not, you know, you know actually taking them the whole way and that, that really spoke to me and I started it and I've kind of just.

I sent an email out to my list and the, I just saw, I asked if people would be interested in, and there was a lot of feedback, right. There was a lot of interest and, you know, the idea was validated from the get go. So I'm like, well, this, this sounds like a great opportunity can give back. And you know, it, it, you know, straight off the bat, it was, it was very successful.

And I learned a lot in that process, learned how to coach and like, I was terrible in the beginning. I literally. I had a group of like, I dunno, 15, it was a group coaching experience. And I was like writing pages of answers down, like what everyone said. So I didn't miss anything and like writing it all down.

And like, in hindsight, like that was a terrible idea. You know, you weren't listening properly, you were distracted by writing and you know, it, it's better just to listen. And the more I learn about coaching and you know how to do, how to do it better. I realized that it's more about listening, asking better questions and when necessary then, you know, showing them a way to actually help help them.

So that was the coaching side of it. According to the inner triangle. And it is a group coaching program like a mastermind. And we meet every couple of weeks. Every two weeks we meet up in a group and we like, it's there for accountability. We talk about any problems that come up. We have guest experts coming in.

We have focus sessions, you know, if you wanna learn about pricing or positioning or nation or our productivity, we'll have a session on that. So it's a really great way to learn and, you know, connect with other creatives. And that group coaching program kind of stemmed into a bigger community. So the inner triangle is like, you know, a niche group of people that meet every two weeks.

Whereas the second offering the exponential Creator's is like a, a larger community, right? It's it's a paid membership community. So you have to pay to get in there. It's not a free membership, a free community like Facebook. And the reason I started exponential creatives was because. There's no shortage of communities online, but they they're all about the numbers.

Right. And there's no meaningful connection. And the reason exponential CR I wanted to start exponential Creator's was to have a closer knit group of people that really wanted to be there without the noise of Facebook and the ads. And you know, just, like so many notifications and everything thinking at you, thinking at you.

So this is, this platform is hosted on a platform circle and it's very, it's a very beautiful platform and it's everything's in that world. So it's like a forum. We have events, we have you know, live workshops. We have trainings, we have a book club, we have accountability partners to keep each other accountable.

We have meetups. We have Chat topics. We have a forum where you can, you know, ask questions and connect with others. And the, the best thing about it is that community and the it's a mixed bag of creatives. So it's not just designers or brand designers or web designers. It's a mixed bag. So you'll, you'll have those sorts of people in there.

You'll have photographers. You'll have, you know, business owners, agency owners, and you'll have start like freelancers. You can learn from one another. It's not just a silo of, you know, just strategists or just designers. It's you can learn from one another. And that is what I have seen is, you know, really powerful because of that cross section.

So, and it's a ton of value, right? I mean, the, the membership is only 29 bucks a month. It will go up. As the value you know, time goes on, but it's price. So there's a barrier of entry, but it's not like a, you know you know, there's over overvalued, like mastermind courses where you like 4, 9, 9, 9 value and like slashed out to whatever it's like, no, I just wanna provide, you know, a ton of value at a very minimum cost, just so there's small barrier to entry and people don't have a burden of.

It's huge mastermind courses. So it's just a closer knit community and that's really why you know, I'm growing that I'm focusing on growing that even more this year. So yeah, if there's any creatives out there that, you know, that sounds interesting to you. You can sign up or you can apply. I screen every single application to ensure that you're a good fit.

And yeah, it's just 29 bucks a month. You get access to the vault of workshop replays and there's ton a ton of value in there. You know, that is so under price. It's not funny, but I think

Bryan McAnulty: it's definitely true because everybody wants to find like this community of people that are interested in or doing a similar thing to what they're doing.

And like, as you mentioned, Some people try to find that on Facebook, but it's like at best a poor like replacement for what the ideal community really would be. You know, because first you're bombarded by these notifications. And then second is like, you're getting some people in there. You might make a great connection with somebody.

But as you said, like having like some kind of vetting and some kind of price point is really helping to ensure the quality of the community and the members.

Jacob Cass: Yeah. Yeah. And it takes a lot of nurturing. Like we, it, it is about the connection and we, we understand what people's goals are. And it's like really focusing on the people in there, not just the numbers and you know that when you focus on the people and their goals and why they're there.

It makes for a much better community and a close knit community and they actually grow faster. Right. There's meaningful connection. It's not just another number. And that's, you know, coming from someone that has a Facebook group of like a group to over a hundred thousand and like, what is that? It's just a number.

There's no connections happening. And now have there's about 120 members in this paid membership community and it's thriving. It's incredible, you know, just because you care. And you're making these like, and you vetted people that want to be there. It's so much more powerful than, you know, a hundred thousand community, which doesn't mean Jack.

And, you know, that's become someone that built that up. So, you know, that's a great

Bryan McAnulty: point that, so is this this community and this coaching, is that more of your focus now than the brand? Or is it still kinda like 50, 50?

Jacob Cass: I have three focuses three arms in my business, so I have consulting and I have the community.

And then my blog, the blog and community are kind of interrelated, but the community I call it like in my coaching and the community. And that's my focus this year, but I definitely have client work that kind of is a huge focus. I don't know what percentage is time wise, but consulting is more, you know, there's more work.

You have to do strategy and design and calls and everything. So it's definitely more than the community. And then I have another third arm, which is the blog, and I have a team of five rider five riders and two editors. I have a podcast and video editor, audio editor, and a virtual assistant as well.

That runs the the blog and the it's kind like my affiliate passive income with the business that takes. My time as well. You know, probably I'm trying to give you some numbers, but it's probably like, I don't know, 40 for the consult consulting 30 for community and 20 for the I don't even adds up to a hundred.

Bryan McAnulty: There's always all the other things in business that you have to do. That's gonna that's gonna bring you to at least to a hundred month. Yeah,

Jacob Cass: maybe 110, like at the podcast in there, and then this, you know, interviews in social media. So its definitely 110 somewhere. Cool.

Bryan McAnulty: All right. So with like this coaching program, the memberships, the blog, the consulting I'm curious, what new trends do you see developing in the space of brand design?

Is there anything you could point to as like what you think the future of brand design will be?

Jacob Cass: Yeah, so it's, well, the com the commoditization of design is happening. Now, if you have not already seen it, you must be living under rock, but, you know, fiber Canva you know, marketplaces online where you can download things in stock and like design is it's being commoditized in a way.

But that's not to say that, you know, the thinking and the strategy behind it is not. So that's really where the trends are going. If you wanted to thrive and survive as a creative especially as a, a brand designer brand is very wide and very deep. Brand a lot of designers, especially early career.

They may not necessarily know this at this time. They just focus on the visuals, which is okay in the beginning, cuz you're learning your skills and the, the technic, the technical skills, when it comes to your craft, that's the bare minimum that you have to know. But once you get into this, a lot of brand you'll realize it's so much more and brand design.

It doesn't mean just graphic design design is also a. And wide word. So when you say brand design, it can mean much more than just the, you know, the identity or the logo. So that's important, an important thing to consider. So the trends are definitely you know, design as well, graph design, and the accessibility of these tools has mean that is more accessible for business owners.

And they're, they're becoming more savvy when it comes to. Social media and the graphics and, you know, creating, you know, the assets that they need to market themselves. They are realizing that they can do some of it their own on their own and save money that way. So that's why it's going in that direction.

What they don't have these business owners is access to, you know, the, the creative mind and the strategic thinking and the bigger ideas and the knowledge when it comes. Brand design and the inter cross section of design marketing business and how all that works together to grow a business and to get customers so that if you're a brand designer having that breadth of skill.

Business marketing brand is gonna be so much more powerful than just having technical skills, you know? So that's oh, my camera turned off. Interesting. Sorry about that. I do have, I think it must our batteries, but it's plugged in. So yeah, having a cross section of those skills would be very useful and that's really where the things are going right now.

All

Bryan McAnulty: right. Great. So we got the camera back. So Jacob, I have one more question for you. Whenever we have a guest on, I always want them to ask a question to the audience. So if there's anything you could ask our audience, what would that

Jacob Cass: be? Where would you like to travel to and why? That would be my question.

Bryan McAnulty: All right. That's a great question. That's a, I think a fun one to think about. Definitely. Cool. All right. Well, Jacob, that is all the questions I had for you today, but before we get going, where can people find you online?

Jacob Cass: Thank you. Just thecreatorsadventure.com is you'll, you'll find all my social media profiles on there, but pretty much all my handles are just creative and you can, you know, find the links on there to the communities.

So the, the coaching that we spoke about, so yeah, just creative. That's the, the easiest.

Bryan McAnulty: Cool. All right. Well, Jacob, thank you so much for coming on the show.

Jacob Cass: Thank you. Great questions had a lot of fun. Thank you for listening guys. And yeah, love it.

Bryan McAnulty: If you enjoyed this interview and won the chance to ask questions to our guests live tune in on Tuesdays when new episodes premiere on the Heights Platform, Facebook page, to learn more about the show and get notified when new episodes release, check out the Creator's Adventure dot com until then keep learning and I'll see you in the next episode.

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About the Host

Bryan McAnulty is the founder of Heights Platform: all-in-one online course creation software that allows creators to monetize their knowledge.

His entrepreneurial journey began in 2009, when he founded Velora, a digital product design studio, developing products and websites used by millions worldwide. Stemming from an early obsession with Legos and graphic design programs, Bryan is a designer, developer, musician, and truly a creator at heart. With a passion for discovery, Bryan has traveled to more than 30 countries and 100+ cities meeting creators along the way.

As the founder of Heights Platform, Bryan is in constant contact with creators from all over the world and has learned to recognize their unique needs and goals.

Creating a business from scratch as a solopreneur is not an easy task, and it can feel quite lonely without appropriate support and mentorship.

The show The Creator’s Adventure was born to address this need: to build an online community of creative minds and assist new entrepreneurs with strategies to create a successful online business from their passions.

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