Henry Kaminski on Branding And Designing Your Client’s Experience | #028
Brand is probably one of the most important components of a business. It is what people associate with and it is what your business stands for. Finding your brand is not as easy as sticking up a logo in front of your products. According to Henry Kaminski, it is much deeper than that. As a brand expert and founder of Unique Designz, he explains the value of finding your brand from the very core of the business, highlighting honesty and knowing the message that you want to send. With years of experience, he tells the story of how he got into the path of being a successful entrepreneur, from working with big names like Bon Jovi to overcoming struggles and calamities. He shares his thoughts about ideal clients as well as give some advice on budgeting and how to evolve when the market undercuts. Henry believes that building a successful business and brand needs to stem from your passions.
Henry Kaminski on Branding And Designing Your Client’s Experience
This interview is with Henry Kaminski. Henry and I go back quite a few years. In my other business, The Webinar Agency, he’s the guy who designed all of my branding and my logos for that when I launched that company. I wanted to have Henry on the show because he has an incredible story of perseverance and how he’s been able to leverage his expertise to work with major clients like Bon Jovi and even big internet marketing legends. The reason why Henry’s story is incredible is in the field of design and branding in which he plays in, he has had to make some major pivots throughout his life, mainly when the market dictates he has to. The title of this episode is How to Evolve When Your Market Drastically Undercuts You.
Henry has such an incredible story from when the market is dictating $5 jobs and he’s charging four and five figures. It’s important for us to realize that there are some things that are outside of our control and we have to learn how to evolve. How to develop our passion and how to spot opportunities when they come up. Henry goes deep into his story. He’s an incredible human being. I’ve got a ton of value out of it and I know that you will too.
Our guest is Henry Kaminski from Unique Designz. Henry, welcome to Experts Unleashed.
Thank you for having me. It’s such a pleasure and blessing to get back and be reconnected with you.
You reached out because you had been seeing what I was doing on my podcasts. It’s like, “Let’s get him on the show. You’d be a perfect guest for this.” For my audience, who is Henry? What is Unique Designz? What is your special superpower?
My name is Henry Kaminski and I own a branding agency called Unique Designz. It started off as a little one-man band, graphic design business, which then ten and a half years later has matured into a boutique branding agency. We help entrepreneurs develop their brand’s messaging and their brand’s identity. We help them connect with their target audience. We help them understand their culture, their community, their impact, their X-factor, their differentiating point between them and their competition. When we get all done, we have the team to execute all of that. That’s my expertise. That’s what my differentiating factor is.
After we do all the strategy with the client, we have the team to build it all out for them. They don’t have to go and figure all that out. We’ve spent countless hours with them prior to all the strategy. We can build it all out for them and have a pretty seamless done-for-you system on the backend. That’s what I’ve been doing for the past ten and a half years. It’s been a wild ride. I’ve been truly blessed to meet folks like you, to work with clients like Russell Brunson, Bon Jovi and Fabio Viviani.
I didn’t know you worked with Bon Jovi.
I thought we talked about that in one of our inner circle meetings.
It was one that I wasn’t in with you, but I definitely did not know that you worked with Bon Jovi.
It was two of his world tours. It was the Runaway Tour and the Because We Can Tour. Those are the two tours that I helped him do all of his marketing materials. I worked with his brother primarily, but what they did was they hired me to do all of the marketing materials for all of his nonprofits and his fan clubs. This guy is a serialpreneur. He’s got so much stuff going on. He’s got a wine business. The guy’s on fire. What we would do is we would design and print all of that collateral and we would drop-ship it to all the stadiums prior to him arriving. He was opening up MetLife Stadium. He had gotten us tickets. We were all fired up. At the time I didn’t have a drop-ship service. I had an Escalade at the time. I put 50 boxes of flyers in this truck. We drive it down to MetLife Stadium. I pull in the back. Matt is there waiting for me. He gives me my tickets. I drop everything off. We go to the show that night. That was the time he opened up MetLife Stadium. MetLife Stadium was brand new. We go. We watched the show. I was with my wife and my mother-in-law.
It was about the end of the show and I see big Vinnie Rizzo coming up. Vinnie Rizzo is Jon’s brother’s best friend, business partner, he does a lot of things, a.k.a. bodyguard sometimes. Vinnie’s this big Italian guy, but he’s the biggest teddy bear in the world. I see Vinnie walking up the steps. I see him looking. I was like, “Vin.” He looks at me and he’s like, “Yes.” He walks over and he’s like, “You, you and you. Let’s go.” I was with my cousin and his wife, but they had separate tickets. They were on the other side of the stadium. Vinnie takes us down underneath, walks us through, we open up, and it was this massive after party. It didn’t start yet. They were setting up. You had to see the ice sculptures and the food. It was insanity.
He throws three lanyards over our necks and he was like, “Enjoy.” I was like, “You’re kidding me, right?” I was like, “Vin, you’ve got two extra lanyards?” He says, “Absolutely not.” He was like, “We only give these out and we only have X amount. We only give them out to certain people.” My cousin was the one that drove us to the event. How could I leave him? I’m down in the dungeon of MetLife Stadium in this beautiful after party. I go to text my cousin and it doesn’t work. I get no service. He’s trying to find us. I had to leave. I texted Vinnie and I text Matt and I was like, “Thank you so much for thinking of me and including me in this, but my cousin, I can’t leave him behind.” When I got to my cousin, I could have wrung his neck because he said, “You could have just taken an Uber. I wouldn’t have been mad.” I was like, “Oh my God.” That’s the funny story. He did a private event at the Starland Ballroom. He asked me to do a CD cover design, cover to cover. He asked me to design that whole thing for him. That was an awesome project that we worked on for a couple of weeks. It’s been a blessing. That’s my claim to fame or a big, real highlight of my career was working with that guy.
I want to talk where you are right now. You have been doing this for ten years, you are in it for the long haul. That is the pinnacle of what experts are and entrepreneurs are, sticking with it, finding your voice, finding your own brand. How do you brand a branding agency or a branding company?
I look at the world of psychology. All psychiatrists go to psychiatrists. I am the same way. I have a mentor who has worked with Chris Martin and Coldplay and Gnarls Barkley who won a Grammy Award. He was the one that produced the video. Some of you may remember this song, “I remember when, I remember when,” he produced a video of that song. When the song got accolades, he got accolades. I hired him as my coach and consultant. He has helped me brand my branding agency and helped me take things to a tremendous level. Here’s a guy that does logos for $10,000. He does branding identities. Just to sit down and have a strategy session with him is $30,000. When you learn from folks like that, it levels up your game. When I started to sit down with him and design my brand, I learned his mindset, the way he approaches clients, the way he approaches strategy. I started to infuse some of that into my business. That has helped my clients get such tremendous result as an outcome of me investing back in myself, my brand and taking it to where it’s at now. That’s the answer.
Who do you think is your ideal client? I’m coming from the bootstrapped entrepreneur side. They’re maybe getting some sales. I talked to a lot of people that identify when you should focus on branding. We’re talking to an audience of experts and entrepreneurs, mostly solopreneurs and people that are growing. They’re not in the startup phase, but they are in a growth mode. When is it that they should start to focus on branding?
Immediately, that’s what I always say. You have one to three seconds to catch someone’s attention, make an impact, and create a perception in their eyes. What I see over and over again is I see an expert. I see someone who delivers tremendous value with his or her product or service, but they are not representing that value in their messaging, in their branding and in their identity. It’s a sin. I had a client call and I said, “You’re the next Jordan, my friend. The problem is that you have a terrible agent representing you. Until you fire that agent and get a better agent, you could be the next Jordan. You’ll never be the next Jordan if you’re not represented properly.” The same thing goes for your branding. Tremendous product, tremendous service, stellar person, but for whatever reason, they’re bootstrapped or they don’t see the value in branding. Whatever the case may be that’s holding them back, they will only get to X level until they break that ceiling and get to the next level by investing in themselves, creating that polished brand, and creating that consistent brand. I’m not just talking about identity.
I have to clear this up. When people think of branding, they think the logo, website and Facebook ads. They think design right away. It’s not. It’s the experience that you give your clients or your audience. It’s the gut feeling that they get when they connect with you and what it is that you offer. It’s that promise you make to your audience and it’s how you deliver that promise. That’s branding. Folks come to me and they come to me for the identity side of things, which I’m a super expert at. It’s the legwork that we must do prior that will make that identity that much more powerful.
It makes total sense in separating brand versus identity. Are they separate or it’s like brand the umbrella and then identity is a piece of it?
Correct. You have the brand as the umbrella and then you have culture, community, impact, value, voice, and then you have your X factor. What I would ask your audience are three questions. Who are you? Who do you serve? What’s your differentiating point? What is your X-factor? What makes you different from everything else? That third one is what trips everybody up. I could be at a prospect’s office and there are twelve people in the room. When I ask those three questions, if I get twelve different answers, I get hired. When I get twelve of the same answer, I basically tell them, “You don’t need me. You’ve got this stuff down the path.”
I had a podcast guest, Frank Vuono. He represents top talent. He represents Phil Simms, Boomer Esiason, Harry Carson, Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon. He manages all of their careers. He said the same thing. I had the same exact experience. We talked about brand reputation and management with him because how do you handle that caliber of the client? He worked for the NFL for seven and a half years and exploded that organization. It was a blessing to have him on the show, to pick his brain and to hear that wisdom. It’s just incredible. Anyway, that’s the answer. The brand name is the umbrella and then you have all your verticals underneath it.
You’ve got this down the path. You’ve got a brand. That is your expertise. You’re sticking to it and you’re still doing it well, working with nine-figure companies and Bon Jovi. Let’s go back to when you decided to venture out on your own. As an expert, we all have developing stories. My developing story is when I went into the world of webinars and that was never my primary goal. When did you decide that entrepreneurship was for you and you were going to start your own thing?
I’ve been hustling since I was thirteen years old. My father had me mowing lawns and helping him on side projects. My father had four jobs raising me by himself. That hustle and that work ethic were instilled at a young age. Did I ever think it was going to turn into an entrepreneurial career? I honestly didn’t know back then. All I know was I was put on this Earth for a reason. I was sick when I was born, and I almost died when I was two. Prior to that, my parents couldn’t get pregnant. It took them sixteen years to finally have a child, which turned out to be me. When you hear these stories as you’re growing up, you say to yourself, “Why am I here?” I knew I was here to make an impact. I knew I was here to do something with my life to impact people, to make people feel good about themselves somehow, some way. I had some blessings in my life as I was growing up. It wasn’t easy. My parents went through a terrible divorce. It’s traumatizing to a kid at ten years old. Some of the things that were going on between them, that stuff gets instilled. I came out because I finally felt comfortable and confident about talking about it. When you’re ten years old and you get sexually abused by your mom’s friend’s son, that plays a huge role. That skeleton had to come out of the closet because it was holding me back both professionally and personally.
When I was able to talk about that freely and connect with a charity organization, A Voice For The Innocent, who I back up financially and with all my design and branding skills, we do a lot for them over there. When I met an organization like that, it gave me permission to forgive myself for holding that in for all this time and also forgiving the person that did it to me and moving on with my life. That helped tremendously unleash me. I have an eight-month-old son and my whole life changed. I said, “What legacy am I going to leave behind for him? How am I going to set him up for success?” There’s a whole different purpose behind what you’re doing. The long and short of it is I got out of college, and I got into corporate. I was working for a big hospital. I didn’t like what I was doing over there. I was cleaning coffee pots. I always thought to myself, “There’s something bigger coming up. This is temporary.”
I hustled my butt off in that organization. I was there for eight years. I got into fundraising, got into the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Center of New Jersey, which is a great organization to work for. It was part of the hospital. I was able to create fundraising events for families that had a baby die of SIDS in the State of New Jersey. I would be able to take that money and create events for them to all come to three, four times a year. The one day I was looking for my next big event to host and I cold turkey emailed Z100, the biggest radio station in the country. I connected with Danielle Monaro from the Morning Show and I said, “Here’s what I’m doing. Here’s what I work for. Would you be a sponsor?” Danielle wrote me back and was like, “Tell me what you want me to do,” and I was floored. That was an experience in itself. She brought me to the station. We got to meet everybody. She did this whole, big marketing thing for us. She came to the event.
Was there a reason why you chose Z100 aside from them being the biggest? Was there any other connection?
Danielle just had her first child. The baby was small, a couple of months old. It was a coincidence that I reached out to her and she connected with the organization because she was a new mom. That was it. It was literally luck of the draw. We did that event and created all this marketing material. My buddy was a graphic designer at the time. He created all this beautiful design work for me and I was like, “I need to learn that.” I didn’t even know what design was. I was like, “That’s something that I need to learn.” The event went off. It was a great success. I convinced my boss to pay for the Photoshop program. I started doing all the in-house design for all the events. I started to build up a book of business outside of work.
Interdepartmental, I had departments financed. They would be doing these little tricky trays and stuff. They’d be like, “Henry, can you create the invite for me?” I would do all of this stuff. Eventually, the hospital goes down. All this crazy stuff I won’t get into, but they started letting people go like crazy. The economy didn’t help them either. They start laying people off left and right. They came to me and they said, “We’re not going to let you lay off, but if you stay here, we’re going to take your job and we’re going to make it an Administrative Assistant position. You’ll be somebody’s secretary.”
I had built this business up for about two years. I was still scared shitless to go fulltime. I said, “This is my leap. This is the entrepreneurial leap that I must take and never look back,” and I did. That first year after working twenty-hour days, not seeing the light of day, I woke up to $248,000 in revenue. I went to see my accountant and he was like, “This is what you did this year.” I was like, “You’re joking.” That gave me a ton of confidence so I just ran. It wasn’t sweet as pie after that. Fiverr came out. The design industry changed. I was getting older. My bread and butter clients were all in the nightlife industry. After you get married, you’re not clubbing it up like you used to anymore. The connections started to dwindle. That became a rat race. People were doing design work for $5 a pop. It was a joke.
Hurricane Sandy comes through our neighborhood and destroys the State of New Jersey. It wipes out two of my biggest clients. They were two big liquor companies. I was doing work for Grey Goose, Absolut, Belvedere, and Corona. I was doing all this work through these distributors. When they got wiped out, they came back. When they restructured they were like, “We’re bringing it in-house. Sorry, goodbye.” That was $500,000 worth of revenue between the two of them. This brings me to how we met. The bank accounts start dwindling. The lifestyle doesn’t change because I’m scared to tell my wife. I don’t want to look like a failure in front of my parents, my father, my friends and family. I continue to spend like a monkey.
Now, there’s no money in the bank. I’ll never forget the day we were at a barbecue at my in-laws. Everybody was having a great time. I was miserable because I was like, “I can’t be happy now. I can’t be happy forever because I ran this business into the ground.” It was my entire fault. I came home. I told my wife. We were watching Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. The episode was that husband who went bankrupt and had to tell his wife at lunch that he went bankrupt. I turned the TV off at that moment and I said, “We’ve got to talk.” I sat her down, told her and she jumps off the bed. Runs into the office grab the laptop. She comes back and I’m like, “Are we looking for divorce attorneys? What are we doing here?” She says, “Let’s get to work.”
She helped me for a couple of weeks to put together some offers and promos. She comes from a marketing background too. It’s a big, happy marketing and branding family over here. She helped me get out there more and get back on my feet. I bumped into Russell Brunson through DigitalMarketer.com. I saw ClickFunnels and I was like “With my design skill set, I could do some damage with this software.” I went in. I started playing with the software. I started to get to know Russell a little bit better through his podcast. He started talking about this Inner Circle Program all the time. Your name came up half a dozen times. I was like, “Who are these cats?” I started to do some prying around. I said, “I’m going to join this Inner Circle Program. This sounds right up my alley.” I get on the phone and there’s $25,000 to get involved in it. I’m like, “I don’t have a pot to piss in. How’s this going to work?” I get on the phone. At the time there was this Ignite Program which was a little cheaper, still $10,000. I had no money. I had some cash lying around but that wasn’t going to get me anywhere. I had to live off of it. I said, “I’ve got to do this. If I don’t, tomorrow I’ll be still stuck.”
I jumped and I got in that program. I remember the first day they call Russell. I’m sitting on the phone with him. I had this whole thing mapped out. I practiced it 87 times. You had to see me, I was a mess. At the end of that call, he and I were both hysterical crying. He kids about it to this day. That day he hired me on the spot. He paid me $5,000 or $6,000 to help him with his book launch, with all design work for his book launch. Within a day, I’d made half of that $10,000 back. Within six weeks I made the other $4,000. I was like a new person. I ran and ran.
I became this ClickFunnel designer that nobody could touch. I stayed there for quite some time. That started to become a red ocean. I said, “I’ve got to get out of here too. This isn’t where I’m supposed to end up either. This is just a pit stop.” I started to get involved in things outside of the ClickFunnels world. I love Russell. He’s helped me so much to understand who I was as a person. He pulled out a lot of the blind spots. That’s the great thing about experts. If you’re a great expert and you’re a great leader, you will watch people supersede you and you will be clapping as they do it. That’s Russell. God bless that guy. I owe a lot of my success to him. I knew that there was more. I continued to push.
What I realized was it is time to scale this puppy. It’s time to reinvest. It’s time to build this brand because design is now a commodity. You could get a monkey to design your logo, website and a funnel. Who’s going to help you build a brand? That’s me. I take the design side of things. I take my ten years of experience in building my own brand and building other people’s brands. I say, “How do we do this for other people at scale?” I invested in somebody to help me build out my team. It wasn’t cheap, but he built out my team. He built out my systems. I did it. He just didn’t walk in one day and do it for me. There were countless hours. There are twelve of us at Unique Designz, all virtual. I have clients from New York City to Australia. It’s been an amazing ride.
We had a lot of ups and downs. Before my processes and systems were in place, it was a big headache. You were one of my first Designs on Demand Program members. At the time I didn’t have a process like I do now. You were emailing me projects, “Get this done for me.” It was a big disaster. I rolled that program out and I’ve got 40 people in it. I didn’t know what to do with them. I was blessed that you stuck around because you had the faith in me. I lost a lot of clients after a short month because they were like, “You’re a killer designer, but your process sucks and your experience blows. This is not what I signed up for. I’m out.” That was a big kick in the face. That’s when I realized the processes, strategy and brand experience are huge. You better get straightened out before you scale. Otherwise, you’re pouring money into a leaky bucket. It’s a joke.
Let’s dissect that a little bit. I want to pull out the major pivot points. You said you were working for two years as a side hustle when you were at the hospital. You had discovered this art of design. You’ve got your boss to pay for Photoshop. You started to see that was your passion. That was something that you enjoyed. Who were those first side clients you’ve got? What was that like?
What happened was there was this guy by the name of Brian Clancy. Myspace was still around at the time. He reached out to me on Myspace and he was like, “I am the manager for one of the most popular cover bands at the time.” They were called The Benjamins. He was like, “I’m the manager for them. They need a designer to help them with their marketing.” I did a couple jobs for free. They liked it. They started to hire me. The Benjamins were like The Beatles of cover bands back in the day. I thought I was hot. I’m the designer for The Benjamins.
I never had a lot of money growing up as a kid. I didn’t have it worse. I didn’t have it bad. My father, he always had shoes on my feet and we ate, but we never had nice stuff. He still has the ‘74 Chevy pickup that he used to take me to dates on. I tell him to drop me off down the street because I was embarrassed. He still has the damn thing sitting in the front of his house. I laugh because it reminds me of where it all started. I never grew up with a lot of money. I had a wealthy uncle and he was a successful entrepreneur. He owns a construction company. I saw both sides. This was something that to this day when you think that your life is in this small little container because you don’t know any better. That’s exactly how I felt. As I got older, I started to visit Uncle Joe. I started to see the things that he had and how he hustled off. I was like, “There’s a whole another world out there.” Between my dad’s work ethic and my uncle’s success, those two beacons were my driving force when I was a kid.
What happened was when I did get ahold of some money, I didn’t know what to do with it. It was like those rock stars or those movie stars that fall into a whole bunch of money all at once and they don’t know what to do with it. You start to do bad things. Spending it, get involved with the wrong people who are very questionable. The ego takes over. You’re in the nightlife industry where it’s all flash. I always had to have the hottest car. I always had to have the watch. I always had to have the clothes and everything. I always had to be VIP. It was this entire ego and it caught up to me. My family on my mother’s side completely disowned me, except for a couple of cousins. I had my father looking at me like, “Who do you think you are? I’m proud of you, but I don’t know where this money’s coming from.”
Was this when you were still working full-time or was this during your side gig?
This wasn’t a side gig. This was after side gig became full hustle. I became one of the biggest pricks you ever met. My wife reminds me of this quite often. She says, “I still have the first business card you gave me the day I met you.” She says, “I remember you when you had nothing.” As she saw the success and all of that, God bless her for staying with me. It wasn’t until I lost everything that I started to realize, started to look back and say, “You really were a jerk.” I’m my worst critic. I’m pretty tough on myself. I said, “I’ve got to change. I’ve got to do something or else my wife will be gone. The family’s already gone.” I got my stuff together and got the mindset right. I left the ego. I got rid of the ego. I was still holding on to this materialistic stuff. It wasn’t until I had my son. For all you folks out there that have children for the first time, everything changed. I still was always into the stuff. You probably hear me in past episodes or recent episodes talk about stuff I liked. Something happened that made me think, “Your priorities need to shift here. It’s not about you anymore. It’s about your son.” I can tear up just talking about it.
I had a conversation with my father about it. My father is my rock. He’s my world. He said, “You get this baby looking at you in the eyes every day. What are you going to do one day? If one day you don’t have money, you can’t buy him a pair of shoes or you can’t put him in through college. I worked four jobs.” He said, “I didn’t do that to you.” That conversation hit me like a ton of bricks. The next weekend I sold two of my watches. I put one of my cars on Swapalease. I was like, “Get this out of here. Get rid of this weight, this nonsense.” I said, “It doesn’t matter. Nobody cares if you have that watch. Nobody cares if you have that car. If you get rid of it, nobody cares.” I said to myself, “What if I take all that money and reinvest it into the machine that can 50X what you have and help hundreds, if not thousands, of people in the future? It will sustain a beautiful future for your son. What if you do that?”
I did. I have to share with your audience I thought it was going to sting like hell, like walking back to the jeweler with the two Rolexes like, “This sucks,” with the tail between my legs. That’s not even the case. I walked in there with those two boxes, I said, “What have you got for me? What’s the best deal you could give me? I’m taking that money and that’s going back into the business tomorrow.” He gave me a great deal because he’s like, “I know you’ll be back,” and I said, “I’ll be back, but not anytime soon because I’ve got a business to build.” I took that money, reinvested it in coaching, infrastructure, staff. Now, I have an awesome Facebook Ads team. As you get older, you get excited over the funny things. Things you would never think you’d be excited about. I invested back into people, invested back into myself and my business. I said, “This was a wakeup call. You’re lucky that it happened when your son was eight months and not eighteen years old. Now, it’s your turn.”
My mindset helped me get through that because I had the devil and the angel on both sides of my head. The angel was like, “Do it.” The devil was like, “You only live once. Keep everything. Don’t bother. You’ll make it back. Work harder.” It’s not about working harder because now you know how valuable your time is when you have an eight-month-old that’s dying to see you. I said, “No, I want to work smarter. I want more time with my family. I want more time to do things that I truly love to do, that will allow me to impact thousands of people between now when I die.” That’s where I’m putting my money. It didn’t sting one bit. Do you ever wear those weight suits when you scuba-dive? It was like taking all your gear off after a scuba event and walking around for the first time. It was like, “This is how it feels to be nimble, agile, lean and mean.”
It’s the saying that, “Less is more.” The less that you have, there’s more freedom. We did something similar in our business where we shed a lot of monthly expenses and it sucked. We took a big hit in the business for a month or two and it was hard. After that passed, we still had money in the bank account. Our monthly expenses were a tenth of what they used to be. I was like, “That is much better.”
You can’t explain it. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of this app called Mint. I didn’t know what Mint was. I have a bookkeeper. They’re supposed to be taking care of my books so I can focus on everything else. When we hooked up Mint and I saw what I was spending my money on, some of the stuff was stupid. When you shed all that out, when you remove all of that, you’ve got room to breathe. You’re like, “Look at what you could do now.” If this investment will not help this business grow, it’s out. How will this investment help this business grow? If you can’t answer that question, the answer’s no. You’ve got to show proof. I’ve been able to budget a lot better when you see what you’re spending your money on. I’ve never been good with the budget. That’s why we hired somebody to get good at the budget. I get my butt kicked if I go out and try to spend my money on something stupid. I’ve got somebody that says, “You don’t need that. It’s dumb. Is it going to help you build your business?” “No.” “You don’t need it.” It’s that simple, but we get caught up.
As you grow and as you get into your expert status or folks that are already experts, it’s important to maintain a strong mindset. I do a lot of meditation. I do a lot of grounding because I hear horror stories. I’ve been through it already where you get a tremendous amount of revenues coming in and profits. You don’t know what to do with the money. Either you blow it all or you get involved in the wrong things. Money’s not going to make you happy. It’s not. It’s going to get you to your problems faster, maybe more in style, but it’s not going to make you happy.
You’ve got to dig deep and ask yourself, “What makes me tick? What makes me happy deep down? Seven, eight, twelve layers deep down.” If that’s creating great experiences with your family or significant other, brother, sister, do it because of that. Don’t do it for a stupid car. This was not the Henry weeks ago but now I’m preaching it because I felt it. You realize that it’s not those things. Those things have a short shelf life. My cousin said this. He’s such a wealth of information. He took his wife to Italy. We were talking about he had this beautiful experience in Naples and Capri. He traveled all over Italy. He said, “If I want to go back to that moment or that experience, I could go back to that moment and experience right now. I can relive all of that happiness. I can’t do that with a car. I can’t do that with a watch. That’s what I learned.” This guy’s a corporate guy. He’s not a business owner or anything like that. He’s good with money. He’s got a good piece of mind. That hit me because my wife and I were blessed to travel all over the world before we had Dante. I remember those moments like it was yesterday being in Arezzo, Italy during the Euro Cup, going into that place and watching all those championship games and the freaking fun we had. I can go back to that, relive that in my mind, and have the best time as long as I want to stay there. Creating more moments and experiences like that, that’s what life’s about. That’s what I believe is what’s going to drive us to do what we want to do.
We all go through different levels of experience. Hopefully, we all end up with this realization of what matters to us. A lot of times it takes us getting kicked in the nuts, getting kicked in the face 100 times for anyone to feel this. It’s one of the things I love about the Expert Community. A lot of us are solopreneurs. We might not want a big team. We might not be growing a big team. I had a podcast with Elaine Pofeldt. She’s in the New York City area, but she wrote this book called The Million‑Dollar, One‑Person Business. She’s a journalist. She interviewed all different types of people whose businesses got to $1 million with no employees. Just either subcontracting, any help out or doing it yourself.
She knew these numbers. I’ve got to interview her because she had all this research, which is apparent. 22 million businesses that exist have no employees in America. I had no idea that the number was big. She said 36,000 of the 22 million reach the $1 million mark with no employees. That’s 0.16%. I talked to her about that. We started to evolve that conversation like we’re doing here. She goes, “There’s this movement of lifestyle entrepreneurs essentially.” Where I’m trying to connect that conversation with this one is finding what matters. She goes, “This lifestyle entrepreneur, a movement, these people are just building a business to bring in revenue so they can live. They don’t want to grow a huge business. They don’t want to hire any employees.”
What’s ironic about that is those folks are incredible because those folks are distilled. When I think distilled, I think pure, refined. They’ve created a business that does not revolve around money per se. I can bet you a gazillion dollars that those folks did not create that business to buy a Lamborghini, to buy a watch, to buy luxurious things. They built that business because they were passionate about it. They wanted to solve a big freaking problem. They wanted to do something that they love to do and they didn’t let money dictate what it is or how far they go. They just did it. They woke up one day and there was $1 million in their bank account. I’ve got to read this book. That’s a brilliant name. There’s a perfect branding example there. Stop complicating. Write a freaking title like that, deliver that promise and you’ll be a bestseller. I guarantee it.
Frank Kern had a program called One Man Millions. It was similar to it. She was awesome. She’s a journalist so she just interviewed a whole bunch of other people.
She’s probably so fulfilled because she’s getting to do what she loves to do, which is be a journalist. Unique Designz had some rough times along the way. When you go through these rough times, I want to reiterate the fact how important it is to keep that strong mindset. The one thing that I always kept thinking about and always kept pressing in my mind was, “This is temporary. This isn’t forever.” Where people get stuck is they go down that deep, dark rabbit hole and they give up. They get scared. They throw in the towel. They don’t have that mindset that it’s temporary.
When you think it’s temporary, it is temporary. What got me through that is that exact mindset, telling myself that every day. Eventually, the bigger clients started to come around. Next thing you know, you’re doing great revenues per month and you’re like, “Let’s scale this puppy.” It sounds crazy, but it’s mindset. You have to have the right structures and strategies. One of my clients talks about this a lot. If you have the right strategy, if you have the right people, you have the right process, you’re good. You’re going to be good, but you’ve got to continue to rock and roll. You can’t let these little bumps in the road get the best of you. You’ve got to keep it moving. Failure is not an option. You figure out what’s broke, you fix it, you move on.
I want to focus on something else that’s important because you had some other pivot points that happened in your story that was business-oriented, your market changed. You said Fiverr came up, which completely had to change the way that you approached getting business. You said you evolved out of the internet marketing community, the ClickFunnels community. I want to focus on that. Let’s start with when Hurricane Sandy hit and wiped out $400,000 or $500,000 in revenue from Grey Goose. You were doing work for these liquor distributors and they brought it all in-house. That revenue’s gone. How did you recover from that? When did that point hit?
Just to throw salt on the wound, Sandy hits and Fiverr came out a week later.
Fiverr is basically an outsourcing gig where you can hire people from all over the world to do jobs for $5, gigs for $5. You get a logo design for $5.
The first reaction was, “What is this going to do to my business? I’m screwed.” The second reaction was to become a Fiverr designer. If I can’t beat them, join them. That’s what I did. I became a Fiverr designer. It took me a day to set up the account and I started designing. I would design ten, twelve hours a day. I would see the revenue come in and it would be $40, $90. I did that for a month or two. This woman hired me for a business card design, $5. It took me six hours to complete the job to her liking. You’re a numbers guy, do the math. $0.30 an hour I was getting paid. I said, “I’m done. I’m broke. She broke me.” I look back and I say, “Great lesson there. You know who not to ever work with again.” I could smell that type of client out from miles away. I ask pertinent questions. If I get the answers that I don’t want to hear, I don’t even take them on as clients. I always look at the positive. It hurt and it stung. She beat the hell out of me but it’s never going to happen again. I joined them. I was like, “I can’t do this for the rest of my life. This isn’t sustainable.” Looking for opportunities, we talk about this online. What are some opportunities? What can I do?
ClickFunnels was a great opportunity at the time. There’s a need. There’s still a need. I still get people at least once a day that reach out to me on one of the platforms that say, “Help me build this funnel.” I go, “No, I can’t because you’re trying to sell a widget that makes no sense. You’re trying to build this mansion on stilts and sand when you have no strategy. You have no idea what you want to do. You just found ClickFunnels. You think it’s the best thing since sliced bread and you want to sell something. You have no intentions of building a brand here.” That’s not something that I’m interested in. I want to work with people that want to build a brand, something that will outlive them potentially. That’s where I’m going to get my juices flowing. I’m not going to bash everybody in that community. I’ve met and worked with some incredible people out of that community that are doing amazing things.
The thing that I want to explore here is you went into Fiverr and realized that wasn’t it. How could you get back to charging a higher price and making a living?
Here’s the answer, specialize. Why are you such a stud in the webinar world? That’s all you do, Joel. When people ask me webinar, I say Joel Erway. They’re simultaneous. I specialized in branding. I specialized in identity design. If you want to go, refine. That’s what I do. The question that my mentor asked me was, “What makes you the most money? What are you passionate about? What makes you happy? What makes you physically happy?” I said, “Working with people.” I said, “I love design. My hands will always be a designer’s hands, however, I get the most out of people.” When I do my strategy call, when I see their eyes light up with the a-ha moments I give them, when they are like, “There’s a process to this. There’s a blueprint that he’s making for me, that’s custom-tailored to me.”
It’s like building a custom home. You would never build that home without a blueprint or an architect. You’re in the engineering space, so you get that. That’s your gospel there. Why do you think it’s okay to go out and try to build a funnel, a website, or a business without the proper architecture or blueprint? That’s the answer. That’s the big problem. Architects and engineers, they get paid a ton of money to build that stuff out. That’s why I was able to specialize in that and put the horse blinders on. When somebody asks me for a logo design out of left field, it depends. Nine times out of ten I don’t take it because taking all those little jobs is going to veer me off to stay focused on those big jobs that I enjoy doing.
I’m very selective with who I work with and I’ve specialized. When I get on these sales calls and I’m on the call, talking these people out of working with me more than I’m talking to them to get them to work with me, they’re like, “How are you in business?” The folks that do come on board, they get it because we’re going to spend a lot of time together. If I don’t like you and you don’t like me, that isn’t going to work and it’s going to suck. One, I want to know who you are as a person. Two, does the business have a chance to succeed?
By the questions that I ask, I’ll know exactly by that person’s mindset. I dig a lot deeper. When you fill out a $100 intro consult call with me and you get to the questionnaire section, I don’t ask you questions like, “What color do you like?” I’m asking questions like, “What are the top three objections from your customers? Why don’t your customers buy more from you? A year from now, if we’re sitting around a coffee shop, what’s going to have to happen for you to be happy both in your business and in your personal life?” I want to go deep and get you to think. “Why do customers buy from you? Why don’t they buy more?” “I never thought of that.” “We’ve got a problem, Houston. That’s why you’re stuck.” This is the strategy that I’ve developed and that’s a fraction of what we go into when we do our strategy.
We have a process that we take our clients through. I’ve rebranded it. I’m going to call it the Unique Truth because that every client that I take on is extremely unique, but we have one core value in common. They are not allowed to work with me and I’m not allowed to work with them if they don’t tell the truth to their audience, to themselves and to me. They love it because when we get deep into the strategy, they’re like, “I wish I had this five, six years ago. God knows where my business would be.” I say the same thing. Russell helped me the best he could at the level that he could. To get somebody to sit down next to you and help you tailor this out yourself, that’s the X-factor.
They’ve got to be able to extract your message that gets down to your deep why, your deep purpose so you can explain it to your customers. It’s the expert’s curse. I say it all the time. You’re way too close to your own stuff that you need somebody else to come in and say, “This is what you sound like when I look at your stuff.”
That outside perspective is worth millions. That’s why any great expert will have some coach or mentor by their side their whole entire career. You don’t need to get fancy with it. My mentor has a mentor that he paid $2,000 a month for ten years. This guy is a beast. I get excited when I get on those calls with him every month because I pay him $1,000 and on average it returns me $10,000. You triple down on that. There’s that Shiny Object Syndrome with entrepreneurs, the next app, the next software, the next this, the next that.
Enough is enough already. Just hunker down, focus and specialize. If you want to charge top dollar for your product or service because it’s that valuable, stop trying to be a generalist. There was this theory if you had two entrepreneurs. You asked one entrepreneur to take a broad focus and build a business. Take another entrepreneur and go with a narrow focus with a business and build those too. They each had a month to build those businesses out. What business do you think is going to succeed? I’ve got to say this too. Everyone’s out there looking for answers. Let’s remember the movie, The Wizard of Oz. You had the Scarecrow, you had the Lion and you had the Tin Man. One needed a brain, one needed a heart, and one needed courage. Here’s my point. The Scarecrow had the brain, the Lion had the courage and the Tin Man had what he needed all inside of him already.
All of us are preprogrammed or been programmed to try to find the answer outside when the answer lies inside of all of us. You don’t have to go far at all to find the answer. What does this have to do with branding? What does this have to do with any of that? A lot because it all starts with the inside. The inside of your business, the inside of your brand, the inside of your mind. What do you keep inside of your mind? The answers are all there. You just got to ask the question. What happened to that result? How did that happen? Ask it because the answer is right there. You have to learn from that and move. Don’t sit idle. Don’t sit there and continue to, “That’s terrible.” That sucks. Go. How’s that going to help you by dwelling on it? You rock and roll. That’s how you win this game. Do you win this game ever at the end of the day? It helps you to get going. It helps you to keep going. That’s how you win the day.
Somebody told me that the end goal that you’re fighting for is the process of building a business. That’s what you’re fighting for. What you’re trying to build are that process and the system. The end result is always going to change with the money. It’s always going to change or whatever the end goal is. It’s always how to build that process. That’s the real goal. How can you build this system and keep that system running?
That’s what it comes down to.
Henry, we talked about a ton. We went way deep on lots of different things. To hear your journey throughout, discovering your design ability, knowing if that’s your expertise and starting your side hustle. When you were working at the hospital and getting those side gigs. Working for your liquor distributor in Grey Goose, Bon Jovi, and all these other things you did and seeing the pivots with all these opportunities that came up that could have crippled you like Fiverr. How did you pivot from that? You saw this new opportunity of building funnels, figuring out something that was going to be valuable, taking those design skills and selling that as something as a valuable package. You’ve evolved from that industry into big branding and designing legacy packages for very influential people. It’s an incredible story of getting down to your deep why. Where can people connect with you? Talk about your show.
I have everything hubbed out of my website, which is UniqueDesignz.net. You’ll find my YouTube channel there, my Instagram channel there, my podcast, my blog, everything hubs out of my website. If you want to check out The Brand Doctor Podcast on iTunes, you can go over there and check that out. You’ll see episodes on my site as well. UniqueDesignz.net, you’ll find me there. There’s a tremendous amount of value sitting there waiting for you if you’re looking to take your business and brand to the next level.
I want you to go connect with Henry and follow what he’s doing. Follow his podcast and go connect with him. Let him know that you heard him on Experts Unleashed. Henry, I appreciate you. This was an amazing episode, an amazing conversation. It’s always good to connect with you.
Thank you so much for the opportunity. It was a pleasure.
For everyone, go connect with Henry and we’ll see you on the next episode. Take care.
- Henry Kaminski
- The Webinar Agency
- Unique Designz
- Frank Vuono on Unique Designz podcast
- A Voice For The Innocent
- Inner Circle Program
- The Million‑Dollar, One‑Person Business
- Unique Designz on YouTube
- Henry Kaminski on Instagram
- Unique Designz podcast
- Unique Designz blog
- The Brand Doctor Podcast on iTunes
About Henry Kaminski Jr.
Henry Kaminski Jr. is the founder of Unique Designz by the HMK Group, a full-service graphic design, branding, and marketing agency. He is author of the Amazon best seller “Refuse To Give Up.” He’s also the host of the popular “Brand Doctor’s Podcast” where he talks about strategies that help entrepreneurs design reputable and profitable personal brands. As a self-taught graphic designer and brand consultant, he’s overcome all the odds to build a wildly successful multi-million-dollar business over the past decade. He has worked with a diverse range of business owners and professionals, including Jon Bon Jovi and Internet marketing expert Russell Brunson who has named Henry the “Million Dollar Designer.” Ultimately, Henry is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs that need help with converting their expertise and personal brands into scalable business models.