Brooke Mason, Founder of Brooke Mason Creative
To help your business succeed, a timely reminder that mindset is key along with detailed systems, and a trustworthy team. Brooke Mason, a former model, photographer, and founder of Brooke Mason Creative boasts clients such as Bentley and Rolls Royce. Brooke explains the necessity of creating a level-headed mindset through mentorship, following people on social media, and always getting feedback. She shares her amazing insights into bootstrapping a business and harnessing her creativity in order to establish herself as an expert in her field.
Find Brooke Mason and Brooke Mason Creative
- Brooke Mason’s Creative Agency
- Brooke Mason’s Photography
- Brooke Mason on LinkedIn
- Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
Mimi: Hi, welcome back to The Badass CEO. This is Mimi, and today we have Brooke Mason, and she is the founder and CEO of Brooke Mason Creative. This creative agency was a natural expansion of her already fast paced career as a celebrity photographer. Brooke Mason Creative helps high-end clientele with their brand and creative strategy.
Brooke, thank you so much for coming on today. I’m so excited to hear about your business and your journey. I would love to start out just by your story and how you got started and how you became an entrepreneur.
Table of Contents
- Reflections on Being an Entrepreneur
- The Importance of Team
- Transitioning to a Creative Agency
- Mindset is Key Amidst So Much Uncertainty
- Reciprocity in Relationships
- Creating a Culture
- Advice for New Entrepreneurs
- Social Media Plays a Big Role in Brands
Reflections on Being an Entrepreneur
Brooke: Do you know what’s so funny is because this word entrepreneur, by the way, thank you. Thank you for having me. Thank you, [inaudible 00:01:41] enjoy. The word entrepreneur is just going around and flying around the place the last couple of years, it’s a very popular word.
Brooke: I never really thought of myself as an entrepreneur until finally I said, oh, I better change that status on Instagram or put entrepreneur there shall we? I think it’s time. I never really thought of myself that way. I just thought, well, I haven’t really worked for other people that often and I tend to just get ideas and business ideas and run with them. Then I am fortunate and dedicated enough for them to be successful. But I didn’t really think of myself that way.
I think perhaps it’s good for people maybe not to think of themselves that way, and just focus in on the business and the thing that you love to do and do that really, really well. Whether it’s networking and getting more clients and things like that, and all of a sudden one day you’re like, wow, I think I’m an entrepreneur. I think it’s a nice, go backwards on it and calling yourself an entrepreneur after the fact, I think it’s always a good idea.
Mimi: No, it’s totally true. Especially because now I feel like the word entrepreneur has become so, I don’t know, trendy. When I went to business school, I actually studied entrepreneurship and nobody was doing entrepreneur, but I just knew I wanted to run my own business someday. And I just love the idea of being your own boss and being in control of your own destiny. And that’s why I focused in on it. But I do like how you said, it’s about building your business first, what you love and what you’re creative, or good at, or what you’re exposed to. Can you just tell us a little bit about your background and what got you to where you are?
Building on those early talents
Brooke: I started as a photographer at a really young age. I was 12 years old. I was really obsessed with the dark room and photography. Obviously coming from a professional family, I never thought that, that was going to be a career. Never thought that was a job where I could actually make money doing that. I went on to do university and then I was talented and I was getting paid to do modeling gigs and acting gigs and things. Well, that’s fine, that’s easy, I said. Then I started a desert business and actually got in whole foods and I had eight stores. I was doing all that, all the meanwhile, working on my photography. Soon I started booking bigger jobs and then let everything else go and focused on the photography. The photography turned into more of a business than art directing and curating and really doing it for friends and things like that. The creative agency spawned from that five years ago.
Now I have an amazing team and I know you had talked about teamwork, especially on your page, everything. Teamwork is everything to me and I teach courses in photography and I talk about that. As a photographer, a lot of photographers think it’s just one person, but without your team in like any business, without your team, you can’t create the results that are going to make your end product fabulous, successful. Those people hire you back over and over.
The Importance of Team
Mimi: I love the fact that you brought up teamwork and how important a team is. I think that’s also one of the biggest struggles for people who run their own business is finding the right team. What process do you do? How do you find these people? And when you interview them, do you have a way that you interview them or set questions? How do you find the right people?
Brooke: It is such a good question because let me tell you. You don’t hire the right people, you will not succeed. You have to have those right people. And it is a skill that I think I’m still getting better at. I’m still developing those skills. I would say if anyone, and don’t take this for granted, interviewing people, take your time with it. Be very precise with it. I feel like when I’m interviewing someone and I’m thinking of bringing them in, I’m bringing them into our close knit little circle. We have laughter in the office. We have fun. We have our Boba days, our Macho days. Sometimes Fridays we get lunch in and we have this little community in our office and I’m going to bring someone in, into our community, so that’s a big deal.
Finding team players
Brooke: I really take it seriously. There’s a few things I look for. I look for a team player. Yes, we are all in our office leaders of those jobs we’re doing. And I do want a little bit of leadership skills in terms of taking initiative and things like that. But in the end, even for myself, even as a leader, I feel like I’m part of this team. So teamwork is everything. No job is too small. Everyone takes out the trash. Everyone does it a little bit. They put the dishwasher on whatever it is. So there’s no job too small or too menial that I feel.
I’m looking for qualities like, I’m looking for a little bit of sense of humor. I know that sounds like a weird thing to look for, but I’m looking for that because there’s stressful times in the office and sometimes clients aren’t the sweetest to us. Sometimes it happens, they’re in a bad mood and we need to be able to laugh about it. We’ll say, did you hear this or whatever? You’ll have this little gossip moment or, don’t worry clients, we’re not going to speak about you all the time.
My point is, you need to have it light. You need to be able to have this trust factor. It does take a while. And what I tend to do is, so I narrow down my choices and I look for, I don’t look for the most skilled person. Don’t always look for the person that has the best resumé or the best skills. There’s skills that can be learnt. My star employee right now, who’s literally my rock, she is so incredible. Probably her resumé was the weakest out of all the graphic designers and animating people that I had interviewed. But when she sat across the table from me, there was so much warmth and I just wanted to hug her. You could just see so much care and love and warmth in her, that I could see potential. And the last few years she’s just incredible and she’s grown.
Look for potential
Brooke: These skills you can learn. You need to see potential. Look for potential in people. Look for warmth, look for care, look for people who are, need I say humble. I look for these qualities because that will make someone one, want to grow, two, be part of a team and be excited at the little things, the little accomplishments that we’re going to have along the way. Because it’s not always going to be a major accomplishment, like we get the biggest client or we get major advertising gig.
Sometimes it’s the little things that we’re going to do that we’re going to be excited about, like just the posting for social media for people, or just the little mini photo shoot or the product photo shoot, where it’s not some big fancy brand. I definitely look for someone who’s not starstruck because I don’t want them to think that every day we’re working with a celebrity, which we do, but I don’t want people to get that, that’s our every day. I want them to be more excited if the little things.
I’m looking for those qualities. I think that, that is something that everyone should look for and take your time and do a trial day or at least a trial a week. I’ll have multiple people where I’ll do a paid trial day and then I’ll sit with my staff and I’ll say okay, let’s be real. What’d you think of this person? What did you like about them? What did you not like about them? And so my team also helps decide of a new team member because again, I may not be in the office and I may be with clients and I may be in and out, they’re going to be with that person day to day.
That would be my take home for this is that, think about this as a group and a community effort to hire that next person. Mainly I had the final say, but I do want input because I’m seeing, that person may be on their best behavior to me and my team is seeing other things. One thing that I’ve noticed, and I wouldn’t even consider someone, where someone is not nice to my team, but super, super nice to me. And I want to know if there were a little abrupt on an email with my team.
Mimi: Which is amazing that they would do that as they’re interviewing, so be abrupt to your other teammates.
Brooke: And email etiquette. If you’re going for a job, be not awkwardly formal in an email. Be friendly and warm, but have formalities in the email. I’ve noticed so many emails from people trying to apply for jobs that don’t even say hello, at the top of the email and they just start writing. Make sure even if you’re applying for a job, be very respectful and very polite.
Mimi: I liked that you brought up the point, because someone else I interviewed also said the thing, [inaudible 00:09:48] does trials with them. And I never had experienced that before, but it is a really good idea, hey, just come on, work for a week, a couple of days just to see their work ethic. Because do you know as soon as you hire somebody, you know within two days, oh my gosh, she’s going to be a rock star, he’s going to be a rockstar. This is bad news, I hired the wrong person.
Brooke: Be really clear with the person that you’re going to do multiple trial days with different people. So that they also don’t feel like this is the be all, end all like they’ve got the job, so that the expectations are there, that we’re feeling this out and there’s other people here. We’re just going to feel out what the best fit is. I tell them too, when we do the trial days, it also has to be the right fit for you. It has to be the right fit for the person that’s doing the trial as well as our team.
Mimi: No, it’s definitely true.
Transitioning to a Creative Agency
Mimi: Can you tell us a little bit about what a creative agency does, like how you took your skills from being a photographer and then how you transitioned it to your agency now.
Brooke: It’s so funny because a lot of people find it a very strange word, creative agency. They say, what is that? And I just think, think about everything that you see, any consumer touchpoint, it could be a website, it could be social media, it could be your brand, it could be the voice. It’s almost like we create branding decks and all that. We create the foundation, so let’s say your marketing team, but we do a little marketing.
I often work with companies where we do this foundation base. We create the brand, perhaps. We create the logo, the color palette, the look and feel. Perhaps the next step is the website, the photography, the advertising images, so that the marketing works. So that all the creative and all the visual and all that foundation is laid out. So that now when you market yourself, people are interested. They understand who you are, what you’re about, what your look and feel is, your professionalism and all that and then there’s a trust factor.
Some people say to me, I’m not a marketing agency where I can say, here’s your ROI. I can do these ads for you and your return on investment will be this and this and this. My ROI is not, there’s not a direct return on investment, but what I give to my clients is the trust and validity for the consumer or their customer. So they feel that this is a legit business, that it’s either luxury, because that’s the look and feel we do or it’s affordable or whatever. We create that image so that whoever’s looking at it or going to it or somehow engaging in that brand, that it feels on point with the brand, right across the board. Even an email newsletter, anything that could be visually seen by your potential people.
Coming from the directing, photography, art directing world, to going, this was almost like a seamless transition. And it wasn’t like I decided I’m opening a creative agency, it was just that I had certain clients that said things, could you do this? Could you do that? And as a creative person, myself, I’ve coded websites way back in the day. And I’ve done all these things myself too.
As creative individuals, we will put our fingers and hands in all kinds of different pots. So I already knew these things and I thought, well, let’s bring a team together. I art direct the projects, which is what I’ve been doing for the last, almost coming up to 18 years and my team execute. We do videos. We do ads. We do obviously commercial photo shoots and things.
I know through this time I always feel guilty to say, but I have had a good year because I’ve still been able to work for some really big companies. And we did a rolls Royce campaign this year. I did Bentley and McLaren. That was towards the beginning of the year. They said, [crosstalk 00:13:28] we still need the work. And I said, no, we’re willing. Let’s keep working. There were so many uncertain times at the beginning of the year that I was just going to take whatever was going to come my way. I said, I’m not going to be fearful. Honestly, as a photographer or doing video [inaudible 00:13:43], we’re not close to anyone, you’re 20 feet from your subject, so there were no issues.
Mimi: That’s great.
Mindset is Key Amidst So Much Uncertainty
Mimi: Since you’ve started the business, which was five years ago, and then you also had the other business that you talked about, which you were into, whole foods, what have you found is the biggest challenge for you as you’ve been building these companies?
Brooke: Mindset, having the right mindset. Mindset is key. t’s so easy to get swayed and feel despondent, and you have to keep the energy up. And so whatever it is, is a great book by Carol Dweck called Mindset, actually and I’ve read that. Sometimes I go hiking and put it on a audio book just to give myself an extra pump, to keep going. There’s going to be so many knocks in the road and I’m lucky now we’re very stable and we’re doing very well in the agency.
But the first couple of years, it was a lot of bootlegging and I was funding a lot of things myself. Let me tell you, when you have to buy an editing station for another team member because you know it’s the chicken and the egg and you’re spending $18,000, and you’re like, oh my gosh, how can I afford this? And because you need another team member to be able to do more work and you need the editing pad and the backup drives and the big color calibrated monitors, and you need all that gear – actually prices gone down a little bit now thank goodness. It’s not easy. I encourage people to have a mentor, multiple mentors. I encourage people to listen to, book on tape, though we don’t call it book on tape anymore. I was told the other day
Mimi: I love audible. That’s where I always [crosstalk 00:15:20] people. Audible is my favorite thing because there’s all the books on tape, or whatever you call it, that’s what I love to listen to.
The value of networking
Brooke: I’m a really big component of whatever it is, it’s going to get that fire up your butt to get going, because keeping the right mindset when there’s so much uncertainty in the creative world, I hear a lot of my peers. It’s been tough. It’s been a rough year and you don’t know what’s coming around the door next, which now I’m so grateful that I do know what’s coming around the door next is more clients because I’ve built this reputation and that’s something we should talk about is networking.
The more good feedback you get from people and the better jobs you do. And the more you keep just, it’s like a nice Domino’s effect and they will refer back to you. So networking is a huge thing. And telling your clients, if you have any other friends and isn’t that like, giving freebies to your clients for something, hey, if you did have anyone that wanted to work with me, I’d be happy to throw in another photo shoot for you, or I would happy to do this for you. So really encouraging referrals, especially early on. Give away free things or whatever it is to encourage referrals and testimonials is going to be your biggest friend.
Mimi: That’s very true. And in the beginning, were I assume, your initial clients were your photography clients?
Brooke: Right, so they needed more things like, could you handle our social media? We need a new website, oh yeah, we can do that. It was a slow transition. There wasn’t a moment where I don’t even really know how it all happened because it was just a transition. And I think the [inaudible 00:16:58] is in the end, or is natural formation where, so I’ll have to say, there’s one thing that isn’t a natural formation in terms of my work, we are very rigid and structured.
The necessity of planning, structure and systems
Even though I’m saying that the business itself naturally transformed, say for instance, a photo-shoot, I’m a very, very detailed person when it comes to the work. Like a photo shoot or even an Instagram page, we come up, we’re so detailed. We come up with the look and feel, the color palettes, photo shoots. We have mood boards for clothing. We have references for makeup, for hair, for posers, for everything. We have a very, it could be 15 pages of mood board just for a photo shoot.
I’ve talked about this on some of my interviews for lessons for photographers and the thing is that they really, really, really over-planned. And then you get in, you get the shots you need in the can and then have fun, and then get creative. But it’s really important to be very structured. Even though I’m talking about not being structured, going into this business, at the same time, be very, very structured and detailed about the work that you’re about to put out. And before you do the work, do the planning and have all the references ready to go.
Mimi: I love that you bring that up because I do think that systems are super important for businesses because that’s where you going to maximize your efficiency and increase your gross profit and margins and make more money, when you have these systems in place. Then there’s not as many mistakes that your team can do, because if they’re left to make their own decisions without having proper systems in place, it’s going to be different than your expectations.
Brooke: And guidelines, like for instance, you’re talking about time. Say there’s a photo shoot, we didn’t have all that structure. We might take a whole day. Whereas, if I have a lot of structure, I’ll be done in two, three hours on that photo shoot. That’s a huge cost right there.
Mimi: You have pretty much your whole business I would assume, on systems. If it’s from booking your calendar to internally and everything, I would assume. Was that hard to create?
Brooke: It is difficult for creative people to switch brain mindsets, (and we know mindset is key) to be more structured. It doesn’t come naturally for me and I know it doesn’t come naturally from my team, but we see the benefit in it. And I think it’s probably not natural for a lot of people. Actually, I don’t think it’s natural for entrepreneurs because we tend to be, we jump before we walk.
Mimi: We got a lot of different things, the balls in the air, so it’s hard to focus and do that. Is there any kind of system that you’d use, do you use Trello or is there any kind of system that you use to keep your whole team on the same page?
Brooke: I mean different. I know that some people use Teams, some people use Slack. One of my clients uses Slack. We pretty much do a lot of Google docs and we share that. I don’t know if there’s one particular way.
Reciprocity in Relationships
Mimi: And then the other, I would love to go back for a second because I think you brought up another really good point that I love talking about is mentors and mentorship. Because looking back on my experience in my career is I never went and sought an actual mentor to really help me. And I think that definitely hurt me and I really suggest that for people. Do you formalize that process? How one, do you find those mentors? And two, do you formalize that and be like, hey, will you be my mentor? Or is it more like just a casual, hey, you want to go to dinner or you just call them and you just make it more casual?
Brooke: Definitely casual. I’ve had mentors that, it’s very popular in the Asian culture. I had an amazing mentor who’s Korean and we just developed a friendship. And I think that’s really the key there. Develop friendships with people that you would like to be your mentor. And he ended up being an amazing mentor for me just through friendship and just we would go for dinner and we would talk and we would just have fun chatting about all kinds of things and just finding like minded people that like similar things. Being Korean I think he’s very used to the mentor program situation and helping people. I also had another mentor that was really important in my life. There’s been different ones.
My parents have been amazing in terms of that. My mom’s an amazing entrepreneur. My father is a CPA, so they helped me in different ways too. I suggest developing friendships with people and offer something back to that person in some way. Giving back to them, I would love to just tag along one time or with you, or would I be able to help in your work some way or intern, or giving time or giving something that you can. I know when you’re starting out, it’s not like you can give anything to the level of those people would be used to, but you could give time and you could give some internship or time or something like that. So I would suggest that.
Brooke: Interns learn so much more than you could learn at school. I’ve done quite a few intern programs, inner city kids, they have an extern program. And so I’ve had multiple people and it’s so good, especially for young people around 16, 17, 18 years old, and they’re in school and they just tag along and help, however they can, that’s going to be a huge benefit.
Mimi: That’s a great advice. I like that. The other thing I have, as women, we all try to do too much. We’re multitaskers and trying to get everything in. Do you have a morning routine, like a specific morning routine? And is there anything that you do that you could share from your morning routine that helps you to be more efficient, more productive? If there’s anything you could share from that.
Creating a Culture
Brooke: Well, I’m not naturally a morning person, but I’ve trained myself to get up between 6:00 and 6:30 every morning. I think that makes a huge impact as an entrepreneur. You have to be up. The early bird gets the worm. It has to happen. Those people out there who think, I’m not a morning person, I can’t do that. You could just train your body to make it happen. I try to get some workout in before I start my day, because otherwise it’s never going to happen. I try to get a hike in and on that hike I’ll listen to some audible book. I usually hike around 6:00 AM or so. I’m back by seven, ready at my desk by 7:30, we open our office at 8:00. I decided to make our office hours longer and have a half day on Friday for everyone, so we finish at 2:00 on Fridays.
Brooke: It’s just a really nice work culture. Everyone gets a really good weekend, so they get to really relax. I don’t necessarily get a weekend, being the owner. But I think it’s really nice for the staff to feel so refreshed Monday morning, because it makes a big difference. For me it’s about getting up early, getting that fire lit and going forward in the day and being at my desk before anyone else comes in there, getting the office ready, taking those moments for yourself, checking the emails, making a list. I love writing lists on paper, so I tend to have lots of lists [inaudible 00:24:03] by desk on paper. And so I’ll write all the lists and often the night before to get junk out of your head so you can sleep better, is I’ll write lists to my staff.
Tomorrow we want to focus on this, don’t let me forget this, this and this. I’ll do those things while I think of them, so I can try to shut off before 10:00 PM. And then, the next day I’ll be at my desk again, writing some lists and then the staff come in. They get their coffee or whatever, and then around 8:30, we might have a morning meeting and just check in where everyone’s at, what they’re doing, what the plan is for the week, if it was the beginning of week. What the plan is for the remainder of that day. What’s happening this week. Do we have photo shoots? Do we have this? When I’m going to be in the office, when I’m going to be out so they know where they can rely on me or not be there or whatever. There’s all those things and then we just go off with our day and get all the creative stuff done.
Working on the business Vs working in the business
Mimi: That’s great. It made me think of something while you were talking because you’re super creative, but now you’re the owner of the business, how much of the time do you spend actually on creative stuff versus having to spend on building your business, finding clients, more of the overseeing and the big picture stuff?
Brooke: This is one of the biggest challenges I have because I really need to be networking and out there, and getting more clients and bringing them in and all that. But at the same time, there is a lot of creative things and I micromanage a lot of things. I don’t like other people to process. I only do the retouching all the pictures. Obviously a lot of the time, I’m the photographer. Depends on what the pitch is for but I just had a staff member put a picture out and they sent it to the client without approval. That’s another thing I don’t let happen.
Nothing goes out without approval because I need to see and make sure the quality control’s there. She sent a picture and the retouching was not where it needed to be. I wasn’t happy about it. So I said to the client, please disregard this picture. I’ll take care of this today. I went in and retouched that picture and made sure that it was [inaudible 00:26:02]
Mimi: Well, then that’s a lot of work for you. Because your hand is still in the pot and it’s hard to do both right?
Brooke: It is hard, but that’s why you got to get up early.
Mimi: Yes, and be very efficient and have lots of lists.
Advice for New Entrepreneurs
Mimi: Is there any advice that you would give an entrepreneur that’s either just starting out or thinking about starting out? Any last minute, especially as a female.
Brooke: There’s a few things. I know that some people think, should I get an investor? Do I bootstrap this myself? What’s the way to do it? I’m a believer in bootstrapping. I think if you get an investor, it’s almost like you’re working. You’re not really an entrepreneur anymore, so you’re really working for someone else. It’s a different way to look at it. And I do have entrepreneur friends who get investors. But I think my advice is don’t do it right at the beginning. Have a proven recipe first.
I do say get up. I know this sounds like so menial, but get up early, write lists, be as structured as you can, be as diligent as you can. Try not to leave anything unturned. It doesn’t matter what the business is, but try to be as detailed as possible and stop… It’s so much easier now to follow people on Instagram, follow what they’re doing, stories, YouTube, podcasts, listening to podcasts like this, getting ideas, whatever it is that can give you some extra ideas and things like that, and mentorship, interning somewhere. Even if it’s just one day a week somewhere. Give up one of your days or give up two of your days a week and intern somewhere while you’re growing your business with someone that, or a business that you want to be in of course.
Mimi: That was very good advice. And there’s so much out there. You’re right, it’s almost too much as far as the information overload when you want to continue learning, especially in the social media world, but I appreciate all that advice. I think for people who are thinking about starting a business, it’s hard work. You’re taking a lot of risk and that’s what people don’t realize.
Risks we take
Mimi: As an entrepreneur, as a CEO of a company, you are taking the risk of buying that $18,000 computer and making sure you find the clients that can pay for that. That is good advice. You are working for yourself, but you also have to take a lot of risks. And I like your idea about the financing. I had a venture capitalists on and I loved her quote. She said, think of giving money as a cutting off your big toe, because that’s what it’s like. To get money I guess it’s very sexy to say that you have investors. But there’s a lot of accountability and then you’ve also watched your evaluation. And if it’s early on, like you said, then your valuation is much lower than if you wait and your higher revenue. I do agree. I assume you’ve personally financed this and have…
Brooke: I’ve done it the long road. It doesn’t happen overnight. It’s the long road, but I’ve done it that way. And there was a quote that you put on your Instagram, which I absolutely loved. It was about what if, and it was crossed out and you said, why the F not, that’s a great way to live because that’s so my humor too, it’s like, just do it. Don’t risk your house. Don’t mortgage your house, don’t do things unrealistic. But go for it, really just go for it. It was interesting you said one other thing about being distracted by all the different social media, this and that. Keep laser focus. That would be my key. Just keep [inaudible 00:29:28] putting in the hours and time and network.
Mimi: And I think you just brought up another good point too, about how especially after going through COVID right now and quarantining, and so many people, especially creative people that you know, probably in Hollywood, still don’t have their jobs back. And so I tell anybody now, if you don’t have a dual income, if you don’t have another source of income, if you’re working for one person and you don’t have somebody else, something else on the side, you’re crazy. Definitely, if you have a normal job and an employer then find a passion. If it’s sewing sweaters, start sewing and start building that business on the side. Whatever it is. Because in this world, you see now that you can’t rely on that one stream of income, if you have an employer. And I think that, that’s super important just to be, we all should be entrepreneurial in some way, even if we have a nine to five job.
Brooke: Definitely. It’s very scary for people. I’ve had friends who say, I don’t know how you do it. I have to go to the job every day and have that regular paycheck. I don’t know, I do it. I think as an entrepreneur and in this position, there is a natural inclining that you’re built that way, So there is that. If it is really scary to you, like you say, do it as a side job. If it is terrifying, the idea of giving up your main job, well, don’t give up your main job, but do this as well until the thing you’re doing that you’re passionate about, ends up being bigger than your main job and let that go.
Loving what you do
Mimi: And I think you and I, we both like to work, I would assume. And I think that’s one thing about entrepreneurs is they like to work. They look at work as not work. They look at work as fun. I think that’s another thing, entrepreneurs have to enjoy what they’re doing and you have to really like to work. And that’s the difference I think between somebody who wants a nine to five job, who’s looking forward to 5:00, go home, watch TV, hang out, do what they like. And most entrepreneurs don’t know how to turn it off.
Brooke: Yes, that’s true. I think turning it off is the biggest challenge for me. I’m just actually saying, okay, no work right now. It takes me about half an hour or even an hour to decompress after a day. I’m still thinking about things. I’m still thinking of things for my clients. To me, I feel like I’m doing charity and I’m getting paid for it. It’s just so amazing that I can make everyone look good and be more successful. That makes me so happy. And actually, this is one great thing I have about my team. My team are excited when my clients are successful because of the work we did.
Mimi: Because you have a direct impact and then you so high profile that people see it. It’s directly in the media and so it is right there and it’s impressive.
Brooke: I do feel like I’m still the face behind the brand. There’s that introvert part of me that still likes to be the face behind the brand.
Mimi: Yes, but you are definitely a strong presence of the brand because the people are hiring you. And you did an amazing job and you have a great presence on social media and on Instagram and your website is brookemason.com. And so anybody can check it out. And if they’re looking to have some great creative talent put into their brand, so to reach out to you. Any other last minute tips or anything else that we missed?
Social Media Plays a Big Role in Brands
Brooke: Just talking about social media in general. Definitely, major for my clients now. And that’s the major thing that happened during COVID is that everyone understands the digital arena more than ever before. It’s an amazing freeway for you to get out there that we didn’t have as such a big access to, as we did before.
Mimi: Now that you brought that up, that’s a good point. Does it depend on the client or do you have a personal preference to a platform?
Brooke: It depends on the client, but mostly at this stage it’s Instagram, that’s the biggest platform right now. Facebook, some clients, but still Instagram is the strongest.
Mimi: Have you done TikTok at all?
Brooke: We have a little bit, but it does cost the client a lot more money. There’s a lot more time involved and it’s weighing up the options. Is it really worth it? And now look, Instagram has all the IGTV, so they’re really trying to compete with that. And they have all these cute little videos and things you can do, so they’re trying to take over the TikTok arena.
Mimi: Well, it’s true. And this is perfect for you for COVID. As far as I hate to say it, but anybody that’s helping a company get online digitally is where it’s at. Because if a company has not figured out how to move over and have more of a digital presence, they’re going to become a dinosaur and be lost. Everyone has to figure that out now and they have to embrace it, even if they weren’t willing to before.
Brooke: And now people are understanding they have to spend money in it. Before it was very hard for people to want to do that, so it’s a good thing. I did not watch the Social Dilemma on Netflix because I actually am a really big advocate of social media because of what I do.
Mimi: I think I watched it. I think it’s more relevant for kids and teenagers, and I think with that movie, it was more about these two, especially teenage girls, making their self identity based on that, who liked them, who didn’t like them, what they look like in a post, just put down the phones and go interact like you and I did when we were teenagers. You see teenagers now go out to dinner and they’re all out to dinner, but they’re all on the phones. And you’re like put the phone away and talk to each other. I think that’s what my takeaway was from my teens is that social media is not the world. They’re purposely manipulating you guys to be that way. I think for your company, it’s not as pressing. It’s more for teens and how it just manipulates them in minds.
Brooke: It is manipulative because this is what I do. We want to put a brand out there and a certain message, we’re not going to put out a bad message.
Mimi: Yes, no, it’s totally true. But this has been amazing, Brooke, thank you for reminding us that mindset is key. I’ve learned so much and I love your feed and everything that you’re doing and your photography is just unbelievable. Thank you. I really appreciate it.
Brooke: Thank you so much for having me. This is really fun.
Mimi: Thank you for joining us today on The Badass CEO podcast, Also, please join us at The Badass CEO community Facebook page, where all entrepreneurs come together to share their journey. You can also email me at Mimi@hebadassceo.com, I would love to hear from you. And if you can leave a review for the podcast, I would be so appreciative as it helps others find us. Until next week, go follow your dreams.