Many of you have been reading these emails for some time and others are new to my weekly updates. I thought I would give everyone a little more information about my background than I’ve previously written about.
I’m Brian Hahn, the founder and CEO of Go Social Experts, the author of Fixing Facebook: Turning Your Fans and Followers Into Paying Customers, and the creator of Smart Facebook Marketing, an online training program for independent businesses who want to learn how to profitably use Facebook marketing. I have an innovative approach to growing your business using Facebook marketing, and I’ve developed it into the Go Social Experts Success System for Facebook.
My previous articles have described my system and how it works, as well as what it takes to be successful with it. What I want to tell you now is what has gone into the creation of the system.
You can learn Facebook marketing from many places, and I want to tell you a little bit about where my system came from and why it’s different from any other system you’ll find.
First, I have a unique background. I didn’t realize that until I was talking to a business associate who was amazed at my personal history. I didn’t think it was anything special, as I had lived it one step at a time. Here’s the short version of my background; it covers a span of over 37 years. It’s hard to believe that that much time has passed by.
I’ve been blessed to have a supportive family all my life—first my parents and then my wife. This advantage has let me try ventures that others may think a little risky or off the wall, but they seem to work out well.
My family has an entrepreneurial background. I’m a third-generation business owner. My grandma and grandpa sold their farm in 1955 and moved to town to open a grocery store. It was one of four stores in Grand Mound, Iowa—a town of about 600 people, plus the large population in the surrounding rural area.
The store was a success and it led to my grandfather building a larger store in town nine years later: a Piggly Wiggly, the latest and most modern concept in the 1960s. By then, theirs was the only store in town. My grandfather passed away a couple of years later, and my dad and grandma ran the store for ten more years until my grandma retired and the store was sold.
My dad worked for another company for a few years and then purchased his own store in Waverly, Iowa. That venture didn’t work out, so he went back to working for another company for a couple of years and then purchased another grocery store in 1978.
I grew up working in these stores. My first job in the grocery industry was hauling cardboard boxes out to be burned in the burning area: a cement structure that we packed full of cardboard and lit on fire every couple of days. Hey, it was the early ’70s in rural Iowa—everyone did it! After that, I was promoted to sorting pop bottles. Remember the 12 or 16-ounce bottles that had to be returned to the stores? They all had to be sorted by company. Yes, Tab was a Coke product, 7-Up was its own company, and RC Cola and Diet Rite went together. Next, I got to face shelves (most folks in the grocery industry know what that means). It’s the task of pulling all of the inventory on the shelves to the front in nice straight lines.
I’m telling you all this so you understand the environment I grew up in. It was not uncommon for us to talk about the business around our dinner table at night. The store was across the street and it dominated our life. We talked about the challenges of managing people (hiring and training them, maintaining a good relationship with them), dealing with vendors and salespeople (mostly men in those days), and inventory control. Do you know that fresh meat starts to go bad in a few days? Have you ever wondered where the meat goes that no one buys (at least when it comes to smaller stores)? I know where it goes: home to the family.
Years ago, I told a group from church that I was 14 before I knew that beef was supposed to be red. I had eaten many steaks and roasts, but they were never red when I laid eyes on them.
We also discussed profit margins, cost of goods sold, equipment maintenance, advertising, planning special events, and everything else that went on in a retail grocery store.
My Dad also had three side businesses going. He owned the car wash in town (in fact, it’s still operating there today), a storage shed for people’s stuff, and a wholesale cookie-distribution company.
This supplied more fodder for conversation around the table. Starting new businesses was an adventure, and the stories of what it took to make them work were what I grew up on.
I was blessed to have the background that I did. My father is one of the best businessmen I know, and my mother helped him to stay focused on what he needed to do to succeed. And yes, he is still active in business today. At 60, he chose to start another company in another industry with partners. Check out Metropolisresort.com to see what he’s moved on to.
I worked for my parents for many years in addition to running some businesses of my own. You can see where I got the knack from.
Before I started working for my parents, I did some of the traditional jobs that many boys in the 1970s did. I had a paper route in town for a year—I did odd jobs for neighbors and then various jobs to help my parents in their various businesses.
My own business ventures outside the family started when I was 14. My sister and I wanted a new pair of nice water skis. The folks had gotten us a cheap set and we were looking to upgrade, but mom and dad weren’t buying. We decided to sell gum at school to pay for them. We purchased the gum from Dad through the grocery store and sold it at retail in school for .25 a pack (or .10 a piece).
We got the skis in a few weeks of selling and only had a few issues with teachers who didn’t think it was a good idea (other teachers supported us). This was a lesson in working with the authorities.
In high school, it was candy bars to visit Spain in the summer. Again, I worked with Dad to get a supply and sold it at retail in school. I was selling up to 75 candy bars a day and paid for that trip, too.
I moved up to bigger ventures a few years later. In the early 80s, the video rental business was getting started and I moved into the rack-jobbing business. I provided everything a store needed to start a video section. I put a video section into one of dad’s grocery stores and was off and running in a new industry. While I continued to work with the family in the grocery business, I also developed my own video rental business. At its peak, we had 19 video sections in different stores in three states. I worked there on my days off, and later my wife came into the business to help me. I think she wanted me home on my days off. We got very good at opening new businesses at this time. We opened two or three every year. We have been in the video rental business for over 32 years and counting and, believe it or not, it is still going, albeit at a much smaller clip.
At the same time, I invested in real estate. We’ve owned several single-family homes and duplexes as rentals. My investing strategy is to buy and hold, so we rarely sell. This has been a good business and investment as well.
I find that I’m tenacious and patient. I develop a plan and then figure out how to make it work. Often it takes some time, but I stick with it. Once I start, I always finish and finish strong. I’m the kind of guy that goes all in. The idea of work-life balance is a struggle for me. I like my work and helping people succeed.
I do have to thank my wife Beth, and my family, for helping me keep my life a little more balanced. I’m blessed to have had her by my side for so many years, to remind me that there are more important things in life than work.
I’ve had good years and bad years. Many times, I’ve had to send in extra money to the IRS; other times I’ve gotten money back. And let me tell you: The years I had to send in extra were much more fun.
In 2005, my sister and I took over the family business when Dad left to start his new one. At the time, we had 120+ employees. I had been running it for several years previously, but now I was the owner.
For the next seven years, my focus was on the grocery business and the Dairy Queen business (yes, we had ventured into the quick service restaurant industry, too). I was responsible for making sure that everything worked, and we grew and thrived over the long term.
I handled marketing, as well as operations, for the grocery store. Over the years, I invested over $1,500,000 in marketing and advertising. Looking back, the number was much bigger than I realized at the time.
In 2012, my sister and I realized we either had to invest a large sum of money in the grocery store or close it, so the hard decision to close it was made. After 57 years, our family is no longer in the grocery business.
We had been using e-mail marketing and Facebook to promote the grocery store and it had been effective, so after leaving the grocery business, I moved into social media marketing. I focus my efforts on using paid Facebook marketing, which is a fast and efficient way to get results.
I invested in improving my knowledge of Facebook’s marketing and promotional potential, and I bought programs that taught me what I needed to know to get even better results. I hired coaches to help me develop and improve the skills I needed to have. I worked with a nationwide mastermind group that has helped me to grow.
While I was shoring up my social media skills, I looked at what was missing from Facebook marketing through a particular pair of eyes: the eyes of a business owner, not a career marketer. I was used to working in low-margin businesses that needed to have results quickly. How could I achieve those results using Facebook for others?
My experiences have given me a unique perspective on marketing and developing successful businesses. Click here to see what I believe about business and what it should and can be like.
Since 2012, I’ve worked with over 150 businesses and counting, either teaching Facebook marketing to a team member or handling it for them directly.
I’ve spent thousands of hours inside the Facebook platform, mostly in the ad manager or power editor. When I’m talking with you about it, I can picture in my head what the screen looks like and what the different options are. I know the platform well, although, given the speed with which the most innovative Internet companies change, what I know today could change the next time I log in.
I’ve worked with dentists, quick-service restaurants, national associations, RV dealers, spa owners, online membership programs, on-line businesses and local businesses and have successfully helped all of them.
Over this time, I’ve tested and perfected Go Social Expert’s Success System for Facebook. Implemented properly, it consistently yields a profit for businesses.
Click here for a link to a video giving you an overview of the entire system.
I look forward to working with you, through either my blog or one of my other programs.
As I said, I’ve been in business for over 37 years. One of the lessons I’ve learned is that what you’re doing now may work well for a year or two or five, but it will need to change—and in the social media industry, it needs to change faster still, because what works today may not work tomorrow. Click on the links below to connect with me and keep up with all the latest strategies to be profitable using Facebook marketing.
It’s my goal to help every business I work with to improve their social media marketing and their business results. It doesn’t matter if you read my emails or blog, connect with me on social media, or hire me to train you or do your Facebook marketing for you: I want you to be more successful for having found me.
Every business owner measures success in a different way, but the most common metric is profit, followed closely by freedom—in other words, not having to be the one doing the doing, day in and day out.
Whatever your definition of success is, I’m looking forward to helping you achieve it a little sooner than you planned.
Have a great day!