Jesse Alex

Break Out of Your Creative Rut & Flourish

Break Out of Your Creative Rut & Flourish 900 900 BrandFiend

Let’s face it, we’re all human. I know I know, sometimes as creatives people tend to think we’re super heroes & while we may possess some magical capabilities we all fall victim to a creative rut from time to time. But don’t worry, being stuck isn’t a bad thing, staying stuck is. Here at Brand Fiend we juggle tons of projects at a time, and when you’re paid to deliver these amazing ideas in a short time frame, getting overwhelmed is bound to happen. I’m not going to lie, sometimes I sit in front of my computer, getting absolutely nothing done. Not because I don’t want to, but because I haven’t found that rhythm that’ll help me produce the best work. So if you’re anything like me, you want to get out of these ruts as soon as possible. Below are some tips to break free from your creative rut & FLOURISH:

TAKE A VACATION

Sometimes it takes a total change of pace and scenery to reset the mind. Whether you can afford to take a few days off or simply enjoy the weekend, make a point to surround yourself with a culture different from your own. I recently visited Philadelphia, New York, then home to St. Louis to see family all in the month of September. Getting out of your normal surroundings can help spark ideas you didn’t know existed.

STEP OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE

A lot of time ruts come when we’re most comfortable. Look at it as a sign, and as a time to challenge yourself to something new. Force yourself to do something outside of the norm in order to help keep you on your toes. As creatives, we need to stay sharp in whatever it is we’re trying to accomplish. So creating a challenging task for yourself then actually completing it might just do the trick.

MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF

Being an entrepreneur/business owner is time consuming. People are literally pulling for your attention and expertise at all times. While it’s always great to do your best to help everyone else, sometimes it’s good to make time for yourself. Make time to do those things you love and help boost your confidence. Don’t lose yourself while putting others before your own personal care/needs.

LAUGH

Sounds pretty simple, right? Well, it is, at least for me. Creative ruts can bring on a lot of stress & stress can drain you. There’s nothing like a good laugh at the right time. So whether it’s watching one of your favorite TV shows, hanging out with friends/family, etc. Whatever the case may be, be sure to loosen up and allow some room for laughter. Sometimes, it’s the little things that count and those little things can help you get back on track.

INSPIRATIONAL MUSIC

As you all may already know, #FiendVibes is definitely a thing here at Brand Fiend. Music has always been one of my biggest forms of inspiration. It’s always been one of the most effective story tellers in my life, since I was a kid. I’ve gained a lot of knowledge from lyrics from those on this journey towards greatness, like myself. So when I’m in a rut, I’ll put on an album or a song that speaks to me, in order to help get me back focused. There’s nothing like putting on some good music to get you back in the groove.

SWEAT IT OUT

Sometimes the best thing to do is to just hit the gym, and sweat it out. Especially if you haven’t gotten much physical activity lately, you’ll feel great once you do! Look at it as the sweat releasing all the bad vibes from your life and giving you a fresh start, a chance to reestablish your creativity!

WRITE IT DOWN

Redefine your goals be writing them down. & I mean the old school way, with pen and paper. Sometimes seeing these things will help remind you of what you set out to do and help you get back to where you need to be.

Why Branding Comes Before Marketing

Why Branding Comes Before Marketing 2000 1000 BrandFiend

It’s been two years since I started Brand Fiend and since then, I’ve learned a lot. One common thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of people mistake what we do for just “marketing”. Now while marketing is a small piece of what we do here at Brand Fiend, it only scratches the surface. I want people to understand that there’s a difference between branding and marketing and that your brand should always come first. The terms are increasingly used interchangeably, which only adds to the confusion. But that’s what we’re here for, to educate!

First things first! Your marketing may be your brand’s vehicle to carry your message, but without a brand foundation driving that vehicle, you can’t go anywhere. It’s like a car with no gas. Your brand is what touches hearts and builds trust within your potential customers. It’s what they think when they hear or see your name. From your logo to your website to your social media presence, brand culture, and more, these things play a major part in establishing what your brand is. The most successful brands, no matter what size, focus on both branding and marketing. The combination is powerful. But in order to successfully market, you must first develop your brand.

Branding builds trust and loyalty. Marketing helps inspire buyers.

It’s tempting to jump right into marketing. After all, your ultimate goal is to sale your product, we get it. But if your strategy is based only on selling your product and service, you are at a serious disadvantage. If you have not taken the time to develop your brand, you will be forced to compete on price. That is rarely a viable long-term strategy. It’s best to establish a culture people trust and figure out how to connect with your consumer. The sooner you can figure that out, the more effective your marketing strategies will be, and the sooner the cash flows.

Need help developing your brand identity? We’d love to take a look at what you’ve been doing thus far to see if there’s room for improvement. Got a project? Let’s chat!

Owner, Jesse Alex Reflects on his 10 Years Since Graduating High School

Owner, Jesse Alex Reflects on his 10 Years Since Graduating High School 2000 1000 BrandFiend

One minute you’re graduating High School then you blink your eyes and you’re almost 30. Sometimes life happens so fast that we forget to slow down to see what’s really going on. Since starting Brand Fiend in March of 2015 I’ve learned that self awareness is key. Knowing what your strengths are is essential and most importantly, knowing what you’re not so good at is very important, too. What I’ve realized is that if you pay attention to small details throughout your life, you’ll really start to understand who you are and why you’re in the position you’re in this very moment. These days people on the internet tend to only tell you about the good things going on in their life. But I’ve realized that it was mainly the things I thought were bad at the time, that have shaped me into the person who started Brand Fiend. I decided to give a ten year breakdown of the good, and not so good to show just how important it is to never give up:

2006: Graduated High School at Jennings Senior High in St. Louis MO.
2006: Accepted basketball scholarship from a Junior College in Missouri.
2007: Quit the basketball team after not seeing eye to eye with the coach.
2007: Got my first job working at a gas station, continued going to school for Business Management.

2007: Ran off the road in winter storm, crashed into a pole.
2008: Got fired from the gas station.
2008: Worked as Domino’s Pizza delivery driver.
2008: Realized I didn’t like driving that often, quit Domino’s.
2008: Moved to Atlanta GA with two childhood friends to attend the Art Institute for Graphic/Web Design.
2009: Moved into my first apartment then had to break my lease because I was in over my head.
2010: Gave the modeling/acting thing a shot.

2010: Fired from Warehouse temp job.

2010: Started online magazine called Popular Mag Online, featuring upcoming artist and talent.

2010: Interviewed Cory Hardict for a feature on Popular Mag Online.

2011: Appeared as an extra in BET’s The Game and VH1s Single Ladies.

2011: Dropped out of school.
2011: Jumped from temp job to temp job.
2011: Appeared in small role in BET’s Reed Between The Lines as Tracee Ellis Ross patient.

2011: Worked as a Social Media Manager for a Digital Communications company.
2011: Got a call for a featured role on a Disney made for TV movie “Let it Shine”. But while contemplating on how I would take off from work, I waited too long & they booked somebody else.
2012: Fired from 3 temp jobs as I tried balancing work and chasing my dreams.

2012: Apartment lights get cut off.
2012: Moved back home to St. Louis to get back on my feet mentally and financially.

2012: Stopped running Popular Mag Online after being discouraged about the move back home.

2012: 20k in student loan debt.
2012: Hired at YP.com aka The Yellow Pages in Marketing & Advertising.
2013: Started a digital hip hop brand called Music Villain.
2014: Top 10 in Advertising Sales at YP.
2014: Moved to Dallas Texas
2015: Started Brand Fiend
2015: Shut down Music Villain. Decided to put all my energy in Brand Fiend.
2015: Hired at The Dallas Morning News in Marketing & Advertising.
2016: (I’ll talk about what happened at The Dallas Morning News at a later date, which will explain what led me to entrepreneurship)
2016: Became full time entrepreneur with Brand Fiend.
2016: Interviewed by AT&T for their small business/entrepreneur section.
Currently: I’m still nowhere near where I want to be. But I’m working 12-16 hours a day to make Brand Fiend what it’s meant to be, which is bigger than me.

FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS.

 

 

3 Things That Will Lead To Lasting Fulfillment

3 Things That Will Lead To Lasting Fulfillment 3000 3000 BrandFiend

Everybody is walking through life at this very moment, trying to come up with a magic formula for finding and sustaining happiness. I don’t know about you, but I need to keep things simple and in perspective at all times. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have it all figured out, nobody does. But what I will tell you is that on this road called life, I’ve found some constant things that result in having sustained happiness. So I listed 3 important practices below which you can integrate immediately in your life, whether it be on a business or personal level. Thank us later 🙂

Focus on the positives – You’ve probably had a rough time or a long road for where you are at now but we often forget to stop for a minute and think and write about our small wins so far. List a few things you are proud of in your life. Feel the connection with them. Feel the fulfillment.

Learn to say no – A lot of our frustrations come because we are over committing ourselves, we take too much on our plate etc. Just because we don’t have the guts to say “NO” at that moment. It is okay to say No. Allow yourself to not feel obligated to please everyone in the world. Don’t do busy work, do life’s work :).

Follow your passion(s) – Do more things that you’re passionate about. Think about your passions and ask yourself what do I like to do? and then do more of them. Even if you have to challenge yourself or put things aside. You will feel more energized and become more happy and fulfilled. I have no doubt!

Owner, Jesse Alex Talks Brand Fiend & More with The Culture Supplier

Owner, Jesse Alex Talks Brand Fiend & More with The Culture Supplier 500 500 BrandFiend

I had the opportunity to sit down with Marcus Gilmore, Publisher at The Culture Supplier as we discussed Brand Fiend, lessons I’ve learned as a business owner, and much more. The Culture Supplier is a Dallas based brand that highlights the latest news, tech, entrepreneurship, and more. Below is a link to the full interview, much thanks to Marcus & The Culture Supplier for taking the time to sit down with me! Wishing you much success.

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Meet Jesse Alex of Brand Fiend

5 Ways to Help Better Communicate Via Email

5 Ways to Help Better Communicate Via Email 2000 1000 BrandFiend

Email is our biggest form of communication here at Brand Fiend. Correspondence sometimes is not as straightforward as it seems. Although it can be a helpful and effective way to communicate with colleagues and clients,  it can also be unhelpful and pretty nerve racking. Below are 5 tips we found to be effective for email communications.

Be clear and specific! Most of us have way too many emails and too little time in the day to read and respond to them. Keeping them short and to the point will help maximize the chance they are read (to the end of the message) and minimize the reader pressing “delete” before reading it.

Be prompt and respond to important emails. By responding a day or two after an email is sent shows you care about the message and the sender. Even if you are not able to attend to something right away,  telling the person you received it and when you will attend to is shows professionalism and attentiveness.

Use a clear subject line to name/clarify what your email is about. Since most of us receive a huge amount of email,  we need an easy way to know whether to open an email. The subject line is a helpful tool for this.

Include one topic per email. Although you may have numerous things to ask/say,  it is best to limit your requests or important news to one per email. In this way your subject line can reflect your message and your reader will know where to file it and how to address it (at a glance).

If you need to clarify or resolve a conflict or a misunderstanding,  pick up the phone. Although an automatic reaction,  especially if someone has misunderstood something in your email,  may be to send a quick email back,,  this is not advisable. Email is the worst type of conflict resolution and can exacerbate it.