Meet The Man Behind The Cover Of The November 2020 Issue Of MoneyCentral Magazine: Dylan Ogline

Dylan Ogline Lives the Vagabond Lifestyle of a Laptop Entrepreneur … And He Wants You to Join the Club, Fast!

Dylan Ogline is used to being underestimated. It’s laughable, considering he built Ogline Digital into a 7-figure business by offering only one service—direct response digital marketing—and doing it very well.

But among his fellow entrepreneurs, he is something of an oddity. There’s definitely an “Old Guard”—usually overweight, undertanned, and light on passport stamps—that doesn’t understand what he does.

When networking at business conferences, he sometimes describes Agency 2.0, his training program to teach aspiring entrepreneurs to do what he did—build a lean, niched-down solopreneur digital agency offering high-ticket services.

The “Old Guard” Boomers and post-Boomers at those conferences like to tell him he is a fool. How could he leave so much money on the table?

He should (they explain) offer a full suite of digital marketing services. Ogline Digital shouldn’t let its clients shop anywhere else! He should hire a team of graphic designers, and a team of coders, a team of SEO specialists, and get a shiny downtown office for them all to commute to—five hours in traffic to break their spirits good and proper.

For a mere $1,000,000 in extra expenses, he could be making $1,000,500 more in revenue! Five hundred extra dollars in profit to brag about on the ambulance ride to the cardiac ward!

Dylan doesn’t feel like a fool. He recently returned from nearly two months in Southeast Asia. Spending most of his time in Thailand, living in a highrise condo, and losing himself on the streets of Bangkok or the forest trails of Chiang Mai. It was his first “mini-retirement,” inspired by Tim Ferriss’ The Four-Hour Workweek and Ferriss’ own favorite book, Vagabonding by Rolf Potts. He followed that trip up with nearly another month in Europe with his longtime girlfriend.

During his travels, he ran Ogline Digital from his laptop. An avid hockey player, he’s in amazing shape, looking barely 21 of his 31 years. And he knows he’s onto something that touches the dreams of Millenial and Gen Z entrepreneurs, who measure success, not in the size of the bank account, but the size of the adventure.

Dylan was never going to wind up in a cubicle. A high-school dropout and self-described “unemployable entrepreneur,” he started his first business as a teenager in rural Pennsylvania. Inspired by reading Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad, he was able to arrange an importer deal with a supplier of sophisticated European cell phones, which were rare in the pre-smartphone and iPhone era. The European supplier had no idea that he was doing business with a 14-year-old.

When the shipments arrived, Dylan flipped the phones on eBay for a profit. It was all going swimmingly until his payment processor discovered his age and shut him down.

A different family might have exhorted their errant son to get his head out of the clouds and get a “real job.” But Dylan actually comes from a family of business owners.

But the youngest Ogline is still the black sheep. His father and brother belong to that Old Guard, valuing hard work instead of smart work, revenue growth instead of a lifestyle. As a result, Dylan’s father worked himself into three heart attacks. Dylan fears that his older brother, who loaned him Rich Dad, Poor Dad in the first place, is headed to a stress-induced heart attack as well.

But that doesn’t stop them from scoffing at their globe-trotting family member, as if his million-dollar agency is somehow a fluke … like he needs to “grow up” and open a business he hates, like “working men” do.

Agency 2.0, which trains first-time business founders to build a laptop lifestyle from the ground up, is Dylan’s long bet that a younger generation wants to skip the heart attacks and do it the Dylan way. “2.0” doesn’t refer to the version of his program—in fact, the current version of the training program is the third iteration.

Rather, “Agency 2.0” is meant to imply a new way of thinking about a digital marketing agency—lean, automated, bare-bones, micro-niche. Dylan teaches students to offer so much value that they can retire their day jobs and become digital nomads after closing just a few clients.

To learn more, MoneyCentral Magazine caught up with Dylan, fresh off a mountain trail in his Denver Airbnb—far from his adopted home base of Orlando, but closer to home than Bangkok. Here’s what went down:

So, your training program is called “Agency 2.0,” and not because it’s your second version, but because it outlines a new approach to agencies. With that in mind, what is “Agency 1.0?”

The “1.0” way of thinking is a bloated agency with a ton of expenses, salaried employees … you have an office, you’re doing one-off projects for your clients, these huge, massive creative projects for your clients. Reinventing the wheel all the time.

“Agency 2.0” is pretty much the exact opposite—a slim, sleek, scrappy business model. Very little expenses, no office, independent contractors-if any team members. And you’re doing retainer-type work. The beauty of it all is-if your client is spending $5,000 on ads per month and you start to get things rolling for them and they increase spend to say… $50,000/month, the amount of work actually becomes less. So the higher your income is off an individual client, the less work you’re typically putting into it.

Is there any danger of students getting into the business and finding that they’re competing with each other—too many people offering the same service?

The truth is that if you do everything for everybody, we’ve already hit market saturation on that.

Here is the key – if you’re managing ads for a plumbing and heating company, and a car dealership, and a doctor, and also building websites for restaurants, and then you’re also doing SEO, you don’t really become good at anything. It is incredibly difficult to become the best in the world at everything.

It is damn near impossible to become the best person in the world at “digital marketing.” It is relatively easy to become the best person in the world at “digital marketing for plastic surgeons in the southeast”.

There’s a million different niches, and a million different ways you can slice them up. People naturally have a scarcity mindset, and if you are an agency doing everything for everyone, you should have a scarcity mindset! Because it’s going to be really difficult.

But if you are specifically helping plastic surgeons on the east coast—or whatever, that’s a random niche I just came up with—the truth is that you probably couldn’t handle more than five clients. And if you have five clients and you get them going, you can have a six-figure agency, no problem.

I have a seven-figure agency off of less than ten clients. So the concept of scarcity is backward thinking. We could easily add another 10,000 niched-down agencies, and there’s no way we would reach market saturation. Not even close. There are over 30 million small businesses in the United States alone and growing. Sure not all of them are going to be looking to add on the services of a digital agency but they are ALL looking to grow.

What drove you to be an entrepreneur and start businesses from such a young age?

For me, when I got into business, it wasn’t because I wanted to have a Lamborghini and a few Rolexes. Those were not the things that drove me. What drove me was that I didn’t want to be poor. I didn’t want to worry about how I’m going to pay the water bill or the electric bill.

I grew up in Pennsylvania, in an older house with what felt like zero insulation. I remember freezing my ass off at night in the middle of winter because it was an old house, it was expensive to heat, and my parents, justifiably so, didn’t want to spend the money. So all I cared about was f*cking heat!

Why did you decide to offer a training program? What was the journey there?

I had a lot of teachers that influenced me, a lot of coaches, a lot of mentors. I don’t believe anybody is self-made. That is a ridiculous concept. Sure I have worked hard. Sure I have made a few smart plays. But if it weren’t for those people teaching me things, or my brother just having that book laying around, I wouldn’t be where I am. So at a younger age, I knew I wanted to do some kind of coaching or teaching.

With [Ogline Digital], if a client is doing half a million in sales a year, and we onboard them, get their marketing working, and they make a million in sales next year … that’s really cool. But that didn’t change the business owner’s life. They’re just making more money.

I had a student who joined my training program last year or the beginning of this year. She joined the program in like, December or January. At the time I charged something like $500 to get on board. A month later, I talked to her on one of the group calls. You could hear the tears in her voice, where … that was, like, her last $500. Her and her husband were struggling. But within a few weeks of joining the program, she got her first client, and with the money she got from that first client, she was able to buy her kids’ birthday presents. Then she went on to build a successful agency. That changed her life. It changed everything about her life.

So to say that I am slightly more passionate about this training program and helping people is putting it lightly. The personal fulfillment I get is just … it’s hard to put into words.

What mistakes do you think business owners make that you try to correct in Agency 2.0?

Even if you’re not building an agency—even if you have some kind of product that you’re going to dropship to people or whatever … something they get wrong is that, as fast as possible, you need to focus on getting the cash register to ring. That is, making sales.

I see people who, outside of starting a digital agency, they have some kind of product that they’re going to ship and sell … they’ll spend two years, like, a long time, getting their Facebook page started. Getting public relations going. Getting nice business cards. Getting a fancy logo. All these unnecessary things. When they actually try to get customers and try to get sales, it flops, because they don’t have product/market fit.

Getting the cash register to ring as fast as possible is what any digital entrepreneur needs to focus on. That’s the only way to prove product-market fit, by someone actually give you money for your product or service. You don’t want to waste a lot of time on unnecessary things because the truth is that you’re probably going to fail the first time.

You have to move fast and remain flexible. I probably say “move fast” about a hundred times in the first week of my program!

Is the Digital Nomad life everything you thought it would be?

This is an incredibly good question! I was mentoring this younger guy recently … probably a year or so ago. He’s, like, 19 or so, maybe an 18-year-old kid. And he works a dead-end job, fast food or Dunkin’ Donuts or something similar. This is in the small town in Pennsylvania. And he’s like “I can’t do this. I can’t spend the rest of my life in this small town. I want to ‘see the world.’”

So he basically asked me the same thing—he’s like “Is it everything I think it will be?”

And I was like, “The vision that you have of how cool it will be, wherein your head you’re imagining standing on the balcony of your condo in some random city in Asia and looking at this city that you have a month, two months to explore … an infinite amount of time to explore, and you don’t have to go to work tomorrow … you still have to work, but you can do what you want, whenever you want, as long as you keep your business going …”

“You have absolutely no idea just how awesome it is. What your expectations are, they are wrong. It’s so far beyond what you could possibly imagine. Having that freedom is beyond what money can buy. Words cannot describe how amazing it is.”

Inside The Mind Of Lisa Wise: The CEO Of Flock DC

Lisa Wise is the CEO of Flock DC (Chief Flockster), a family of service companies with an innovative approach to real estate management and preservation.

Over the last 25 years, her professional experiences have all been anchored in empowering individuals as consumers, building stronger communities, and creating forward-thinking businesses. Growing up surrounded by love but short on resources, she sought security by building businesses from a young age, starting with her first enterprise, The Sherlock Holmes Detective Agency in her parents’ backyard shed.

In 2008 Lisa made a radical career change from the non-profit world to running a small boutique property management company. Today she owns a family of companies, employs over 50 people and her company manages 1.5 billion in residential real estate in Washington, DC. They do all of this while being a great place to work for and having a valuable role to play in contributing to the community. Her leadership style is about empathy, humility, and a fierce passion for justice. With her country amid a global pandemic, an economic crisis, and widespread protests for racial justice, she’s trying to step into this moment with bold and unapologetic leadership, personal sacrifices, and a commitment to caring for her team members and her community.

MoneyCentral Magazine recently caught up with Lisa to discuss her journey as an entrepreneur and here’s what went down:

What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?

We are doing all we can to stay relevant, valued, and visible. We provide a residential rental management service. If a client or prospective client is looking for ways to trim monthly expenses – we’re low hanging fruit. But during COVID, we fine-tuned our systems, added new services, offered wellness checks for residents and virtual inspections, and maintenance. We’ve held town halls on the state of the industry, the economy, and the community every quarter. We’ve quadrupled our social media content, hosted fundraisers for front line workers, and volunteered our offices to be a “rest and recharge stop” during Black Lives Matter protests. We also launched a more aggressive ad campaign targeting clients that might want to switch management companies. This new business requires no physical interactions and people have more flexibility and bandwidth to make overdue changes to their management company.

What social media platforms do you usually use to increase your brand’s awareness?

We use all the channels but we use each one a bit differently. Our Insta presence is all about the gorgeous homes we’re marketing. Facebook is anchored in neighborhood and city news, politics, and more. It’s conversational but informational. And it’s NEVER about our industry. Because let’s face it – property management sounds dull as hell.

What is your experience with paid advertising, like PPC or sponsored content campaigns? Does it work?

Paid advertising is easier to track in real-time with Facebook/Insta or Twitter. When we run ads on popular blogs, it can take weeks to get performance metrics. I suspect we break even when doing a cost-benefit analysis – but we’re also building more visibility for our brands which can’t be quantified as easily. Typically – the advertising spend for us is less attractive than supporting organizations that can fall in love with our values and become clients or residents down the line.

What is your main tactic when it comes to making more people aware of your brand and engaging your customers? How did your business stand out?

We want everything about our brand to be attractive. From stylish language to stylish intriguing logos to stylish spaces. We’re compelling people to tie themselves to our family of companies. It’s a stretch goal for a property management company to act like and deliver a lifestyle experience, but that’s just what we’ve managed to do. From sponsoring large-scale public murals with the iconic Ruth Bader Ginsberg – to hosting fundraising events for grassroots non-profits – we do everything with purpose and authenticity. It keeps our clients engaged and our residents anchored.

What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?

We find the most impactful marketing dollar we spend isn’t marketing spend at all. Instead, we’ve built a philanthropy division that supports local organizations, artists, and endeavors that add value to our community. We’ll sponsor events, promote programs, volunteer time, space and resources as early and as often as we can. These philanthropic partnerships and activities increase our visibility and underscore the value of our purpose-driven mission as a company.

What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?

Furloughs. To keep my field team safe, honor public health, and stay solvent, we needed to furlough seven team members. Even though we offered each a soft and supportive landing, it was a heartbreaking decision.

What money mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from (or something you’d do differently)?

We needed a larger reserve. We’ve prioritized profit sharing and investments in capital assets over building a substantial cash reserve. The contractual nature of the business insulates us from starvation – but not from the hunger that COVID generated. We’ve made massive spending/expense adjustments and we’re trending toward the safety net any future coronacoaster might lean on.

What new business would you love to start?

I dream of bringing skilled tradespeople into urban areas without necessitating people move or adjust to the higher cost of living in cities like DC. We can host exceptional co-living spaces and offer rotating schedules for in-residence technicians. They can work 3 weeks on 2 weeks off or other novel rotations that give them DC salaries without DC cost of living and lifestyle. I would also like to pair this program with an apprentice opportunity for returning citizens, young people eager to learn trades, and more. Not everyone is college-bound, but that shouldn’t limit opportunities and the chance to build wealth.

If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?

I don’t think I made any mistake that wasn’t worth it in the long run.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

I had a mentor who reminded me that you can have 100 conversations that seem fruitless. Then, over time, each of those connections will start to blossom somehow. I’ve gotten calls back from folks I met with a decade ago. When pitching or promoting anything you are passionate about, there is never a wasted moment.

What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?

Enjoy the early adrenaline rush. Don’t throw others under the bus. Don’t be afraid to say no. Wear your values on your sleeve.

Meet Jennifer Kem: The Shepreneur Who Lost It All & Then Bounced Back & Built 3 Million-Dollar Brand-Building Businesses

Jennifer “Jen” Kem is a San Francisco Bay Area-based branding and marketing expert who gets entrepreneurs seen, heard, and paid – for being themselves.

She’s the creator of the Master Brand Method: a framework to develop powerful brand archetypes that win customers’ hearts, leveraging Jennifer’s 17 years of corporate experience and her launching of multiple companies.

She uses the Master Brand method in digital strategy coaching for emerging entrepreneurs, celebrity brands like Oprah Winfrey Network and Steve Harvey, and major corporations including Verizon, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Bank of Hawaii.

Jennifer serves up straight talk wrapped in love because she understands entrepreneurs’ challenges: She built a retail business and became a millionaire at 32, only to lose it all in the recession two years later. She is now the successful owner of three million-dollar brand-building businesses and the mother of three children.

MoneyCentral Magazine recently caught up with Jennifer to discuss her journey to entrepreneurship and here’s what went down:

Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself?

I grew up in the sugar plantations of Hawaii watching my grandmother transition from sowing seeds in the fields to becoming our family’s first entrepreneur when starting her own in-home elderly care business. Inspired by her example, I launched Hawaii’s first brick and mortar lingerie store in 2006, becoming a self-made millionaire at 32 years old. Then, disaster struck as the 2008-2009 financial crisis swept me clean of all financial reserves. I lost my store, my staff, and my beloved grandmother all at once.

After wrestling with grief and depression, both natural consequences to all I had experienced, I began to understand that I had a choice: I was given the opportunity to rebuild and could do so with more power, more wisdom, and more resources than the first time around. I decided to start a service-based, recession-proof brand consulting business. Within a few years, I developed my own marketing process called the Master Brand Method: a framework to develop powerful brand archetypes that win customers’ hearts and encourage them to open their wallets, and opened the Master Brand Institute.

Today, I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and share tools and resources to serve small business leaders in this time of economic crisis. I’m proud that I can utilize all of my past experiences to serve other leaders and continue to contribute to the stability and growth of the economy.

Can you describe your journey to success?  

As a little girl, I always had big dreams inspired by my grandmother’s mentorship. When I grew older, I began to notice that I had sort of a sixth sense: I could smell money in opportunities. This served me well as I began my career in B2B branding and marketing for technology companies, winning them large, lucrative contracts. When I decided to fly solo and redirect my natural business instincts and corporate experience to entrepreneurship, I naturally felt both the rush of possibility as well as the shakiness of risk. My success grew just as quickly as it failed, with both the realization of wealth filling me up and the plummeting into pennilessness draining me once more.

But I had babies to feed and big dreams to fulfill, so I began again. With the support of family, friends, and mentors, I was able to leverage my past as a successful brand expert in corporate settings and an entrepreneur to build yet another business venture. I used my sixth sense, smelling the money in opportunities to find quick, and this time, lasting success.

What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am focusing on serving the small business community. This means I am gathering resources to keep them in the market, promoting branding strategies to help them sustain their clientele during the crisis, and foreshadowing how they can thrive faster post-quarantine. Additionally, I am creating a community for small business leaders so that they have competent and compassionate support that will fuel them so that they can stay true to themselves, their families, their businesses, and their brands during this stressful stage in history.

What is your main tactic when it comes to making more people aware of your brand and engaging your customers?  

At Master Brand Institute, we have developed a tried and true way to ensure businesses will be successful from their marketing campaigns. One, they must understand their brand archetype, which will define their essence, vision, and communication style. Two, they must invest in a deep knowledge of the understanding and motivation of their ideal audience. Three, they can integrate visual aesthetics that promote the brand’s values to attract customers. Four, they can practice an activation process of testing, iterating, and launching successful products. Five, they commit to amplifying their brand, their products/services, and successful campaigns to a variety of platforms and audiences, with confidence and an ownership mindset.

What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?

I believe in the power of brand archetypes, which is a term coined by Carl Jung, a renowned Swiss social psychologist. Archetypes can be defined as recurring stories or characteristics that make up human behavior. Understanding your own archetypes can help you to assess what talents come naturally to you and where you might need support in the development of your brand and business. There are 12 primary archetypes: the Maverick, Ruler, Sage, Explorer, Ruler, Lover, Alchemist, Creator, Provocateur, Healer, Hero, Muse, and Advocate. Each person is a conglomeration of three archetypes: Dominant, Intrinsic, and Intuitive. Your dominant archetype defines brand visibility and values. Your intrinsic archetype, or your secondary, helps decide your brand identity. Lastly, your intuitive archetype supports you in all decision making. Each archetype has a light side and a shadow side. Understanding where you will shine and where you need help shining will set you up for brand success. Using the dominant archetypes in your messaging, email and social media campaigns help create authentic resonance and make people trust your brand more.

How did your brand stand out from the rest of the other brands out there that is similar to your niche?

Besides the brand archetypes methodology that we use, we use a values-driven framework called the Master Brand Method and Brand Authority Map that specifically lines up what the brand stands for and how it helps its audience. Ultimately people buy things because they are clear on how a product/service helps them in their lives, and our Method and Map allow our clients to market more effectively because of how clear they are in what they deliver.

We also emphasize storytelling – because, in any niche, the only thing that truly sets you apart is your stories, both your authority and your approachability stories. When your brand tells a better story that connects with your audience, you enroll clients on demand.

What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?

Canceling all of our live conference events and shifting them to online conferences for the rest of the year. In-person platform events are one of the biggest ways we make revenue not just for our company, but for our clients we consult with too. So adapting and pivoting to a purely online delivery took a lot of choreography, modified marketing, and increased fulfillment. It also takes different types of people resources to create an online experience in the same realm as an in-person experience, so there were additional training and sales expectations to be modified.

What money mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from?

During the 2008-2009 recession, I believed that I could continue to expand my lingerie business in a failing economy against the recommendation of my financial advisor. I expanded without increasing cash flow and went deep into debt. At the time, I thought that in order to have integrity as a business owner that I needed to pay off all of my debts even when I had no money coming in. This was a huge mistake. I ended up paying thousands of dollars in debt only to go bankrupt anyway a year later.

Today, I coach entrepreneurs to focus on gathering cash reserves to utilize in times of crisis. I encourage them to find trusted financial advisors who can accompany them honestly and safely throughout their business cycles. I also counsel business owners to consider bankruptcy if they get stuck financially, without holding the societal shame. Bankruptcy was created so that business owners could start again and utilizing the system is very much in alignment with being a person of integrity.

What have you learned in the process of becoming wealthy that others can learn from?

I came from a family that immigrated to the United States because we had so little and dreamed of so much. I am grateful for the privilege that my family passed down to me in their hard work and have continued that diligence to bring more wealth into my family. I enjoy the wealth I have while recognizing that so many other families are on different stages of their wealth journey. I always hope to empower people into more wealth through sharing my insights in personal and professional contexts, as well as gifting portions of my abundance to those in need.

What new business would you love to start?

I am currently building two platforms to help women acquire affluence and influence that I’m super excited about! One, Femmefluence, is a podcast that sheprenuers can listen to in order to be guided in topics from soul research, to tribe building, to brand mastery. Additionally, The HerQ is a women-focused co-working collaborative space in Walnut Creek, California that will open as soon as the Coronavirus Pandemic has passed and we’re all safe to inspire each other through collaboration in common places again!

If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?

I would have hired a mentor sooner than I chose to – both in the business world and in supporting my personal development. Coaches, therapists, and consultants have been critical partners in my growth as an entrepreneur, and I believe in investing in them before you “need” them and especially before you think you can afford one. The goal of hiring experts to help you is not to make you better at what you’re already good at – the goal is to hire them to help fill the gaps and navigate the blind spots, which we all have. And, create a wealth-building strategy early by paying myself forward with an IRA, life insurance, and estate plan. I have one now but would have definitely liked to have started one earlier.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

My first mentor at work was a woman named Maria who had the life I wanted. I asked her, “If I want to have what you have in the next 10 years, what do I have to do?”. She said: “If you take the jobs (projects/tasks/things) that no one wants to do, you’ll get seen, heard, and paid more than anyone else in your field.” She was right.

What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?

Build a network of support internally and externally! Understand your inner voices and motivations. Listen to the ones on your side and learn to reframe the ones who challenge or limit you. Hire a coach or therapist if you need support in this work. Otherwise, find peers to normalize what you’re going through, mentors to lead you to where they are, and mentees who you can coach to remind you of how far you’ve come. This support network will carry you past obstacles and into a sustainable success!

Introducing Mimi G: The World’s #1 Influencer/Expert In The DIY Sewing Revolution

With over 2.1 million social media followers and 12 million website views annually, DIY Fashion Expert/Girlboss Mimi G has defied all odds to emerge as the most influential woman in DIY fashion, propelling herself into the ranks of Martha Stewart, Lauren Conrad, and Chrissy Teigen.

MimiGStyle.com began as a hobby, and has blossomed into the world’s leading DIY fashion/sewing online destination, where Mimi G models her original designs/patterns ranging from business wear to swimsuits that fit the everyday girl, create free tutorials of her on-trend sewing patterns (Turn Your Jeans into a Skirt, Refashioned Sweatshirt into Dress, Men’s Shirt Into Off Shoulder Button Up), personally answers every DIY sewing question (i.e. what fabrics to buy, what projects to start with, etc.), and so much more. She also created the world’s #1 online sewing school SewItAcademy that works for everyone from the first-time sewing novice to the expert seamstress. SewItAcademy helps fashionistas of all levels master the fundamentals of sewing, work at a pace that allows time to practice, learn the importance of specific techniques, break free from mundane methods, and create trendsetting clothing and accessories.

Mimi G has worked with celebrities like Gwen Stefani and Jennifer Aniston, companies like Target, Revlon, and Google, and has been featured in People Magazine, Parade Magazine, POPSUGAR (to name a few) for making sewing hip and accessible.

MoneyCentral Magazine recently caught up with Mimi G to talk about her journey to entrepreneurship and here’s what went down:

Could you please provide a background about yourself’?

Well, I am a mother of four and a serial entrepreneur who took her love of sewing and shared it with the world. I overcame sexual abuse as a child, domestic violence, homelessness, teen pregnancy and came out at the other end of with a clear vision for my life. I spent many years struggling to make ends meet and working 16 hour days in a field I liked but knew wasn’t my calling. I did the best I could to feed my kids and keep a roof over their heads like many of us do until I started this thing called a blog back in 2008. I didn’t know what a blog really was so those first few years were really just a time of discovery. It wasn’t until 2012 when I decided to blog consistently and launched Mimi G Style, Inc. that I started to focus my energy on teaching and providing tutorials. It was fun to teach people how to make their own clothes when they had never even considered it. My blog grew rather quickly and after that first year I was averaging about a million page views, I quit my job a year and a half in and now 8 years later we reach nearly 12 million people a year and have over 12,000 students in Sew It Academy. It’s amazing. I don’t know that I was “discovered” because there has been so much that has happened in the last eight years that people didn’t see. Growth, planning, strategies, luck, lol but I owe my success to the people who follow and support and share me with friends and family. Starting a business is not something that happens overnight and I feel like I am just getting started.

What do you like most about blogging?

I like having the ability to reach millions of people by sharing my love of style and sewing. It serves as a great journal of sorts to look back and see all that I have done and it’s the way I market new products to my followers so it keeps everything in one place and consistent. Blogging is different now, we like fast information which is why social media is so powerful so you have to really understand the benefits of having a blog and how to use it even with the ever-changing social media climate.

Can you tell us about your Style & Sew It Academy?

I think my style is always changing, I have moods and I dress according to how I feel. I like simple, easy to put on looks that require little to no fuss. I am a jeans and tee kind of girl but will throw on a cool jacket or cool shoes to take the look up a notch or two. I love clothes and I love shopping but to be honest, shopping can be a little stressful if you are not a sample size or, if like me, have a 10” difference from my waist to hips. That is the reason I started sewing again in my 20’s, I wanted my clothes to fit right. It is also the reason I started Sew It Academy.

I launched Sew It Academy in May of 2016. I founded Sew It Academy to help people who wanted to learn sewing and fashion design but couldn’t afford to go to a traditional design school. I set it up so that you didn’t need any experience to start and just about anyone could afford it. The first course is me showing you what a sewing machine is! (laughs) For the price of two lattes a month we teach you everything you need to know to make your own clothes, fix clothes that don’t fit off the rack, work and design your own collections or work in the fashion industry. There is a ton of free info on YouTube but not all of it is good. I wanted somewhere that had structure and really taught people fundamentals that they could build on. There is no online sewing and design school that offers the variety that we do. We teach sewing, pattern making, draping, fashion illustration for both menswear and womenswear and above all it’s affordable.

What’s the biggest challenge of running an online business?

There are a lot of challenges when running a business in general and a lot of what I do happens online but the overall challenge is creating content on a regular basis. You have to be visible and stay visible in order to reach people and make an impact among so many other people. My focus is always around creating engaging and visually appealing content. It can get a little difficult when you feel like your whole life is an opportunity for content but that is the world we live in and certainly the way you need to approach an online business if you want to have continuous success.

Have you always wanted to be in the fashion industry?

No, not really. I have always loved to sew and design but I didn’t know how that was going to transpire in my life. It wasn’t until I was in my late 20’s that I decided I wanted to be a “fashion designer” I went through the process of creating a collection in between my full-time job and even put it on the runway here in LA but after that experience, I knew that although I felt accomplished I didn’t want to spend my time trying to sell a collection. There is a lot more to being a fashion designer that people realize, you have to market and sell your line and very little time is spent doing the actual designing. I love the process of creating garments so after starting my first DIY blog and sharing how-to videos that what I really enjoyed was teaching. I won’t say that I don’t want to do retail at some point because I think I do and will but I can now choose how I want to do it.

What’s your personal mission in life?

I have many, but my main personal mission is to be a great mother, I want to be an example to my kids and have a lasting impact on people I know and those that I don’t. I have worked hard to show my kids that you are more than your circumstances and that the power to be great is found within. I want them to see that despite my struggles I am able to make a positive impact on the world. I have a million friends in my head, all of whom follow me and support me and although I don’t know them all personally I want them to feel empowered and inspired by what I have to offer. My mission in life is to be the best person I can be.

What has been the most memorable experience of your career so far?

I have had so many! but at the end of the day, the most memorable moments have been when someone recognizes me not the street, and wants to share their story with me or take a pic. Every time I meet a follower I am reminded at how amazing my life is and how fortunate I am. I have one story that stays with me always. I got an anonymous email from a woman who shared that she had just gotten out of rehab and was in sober living housing. She told me that she had once been a professional engineer with a great career, her own home, a nice car, and a little girl who she loved. She met a man, fell involve and that was the beginning of a very difficult road. The man she had met and was now sharing a home with was addicted to drugs and had introduced her to them. She became an addict, lost her job, her house, and eventually her daughter. She said it took her a long time to get her life together but she did. When she graduated into sober living she was not he computer looking something up and came across my blog. She shared that she spent hours looking through my blog posts and that I seemed to jump off the page, she said she felt like she knew me. She started learning to sew with my videos and that new hobby she was learning from me helped keep her sober. She is now a coupler and travels sharing her story. She ended her letter to me by sharing that now when she speaks to groups she talks about a DIY blogger that helped save her life and she has no idea who I am. I still don’t know who she is but I think of her often and wish her well. My blog started as a place to make cool things and learn but over time it has become a safe place for people to find themselves and many times heal.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

I have had the pleasure of sitting with celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, Gwen Stefani, and Tim Gunn but the most interesting people I have met so far are fans who have had amazing journeys since learning to sew. So many of them have started small businesses, created additional revenue for their families and have even changed careers. I am forever amazed at the stories I hear and how many exceptional people have been brave enough to share their lives with me.

What are your future plans? 

I have so many plans! I am looking to continue growing my business podcast where I get to share all the business advice I wish someone would have shared with me before I became an entrepreneur. It is geared toward people looking to start a business from a hobby or passion. Business SHET (solve, help, earn, trust) has had over 190,000 downloads in less than a year and I am hoping to continue providing resources. I am also finishing my long-overdue book. I also have a few surprises up my sleeves that I can’t share just yet but it will be really exciting.