Today We had the pleasure with speaking with Drayden Dunn, Founder of Envision Media & Marketing.
In this episode of EntreNetwork we cover several key topics including:
· From Banker to Business Man: You learn something from Everything (2:55)
· Being yourself in a Corporate World (9:00)
· What, really, does success look like? (22:24)
· Starting a Business: The Ups and Downs (34:05)
· When should I buy a building? (37:14)
Connect with Drayden!
· Connect with him on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/drayden-dunn-2939573b/
· Visit the Envision Website: https://www.envisionmediateam.com/
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· Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/3BOCLtcgUmpIbPjDZsg1IM
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Interested in joining us on EntreNetwork?
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Team RMG 00:00
Welcome to entre network brought to you by revisione marketing group. This podcast is meant to serve as an entrepreneurial knowledge base of wisdom and practical tips in marketing, branding and technology to help grow your business effectively.
Sidney Jackson 00:17
So we’ll, we’ll kind of get started. As far as like the podcast, this is the entre network. So it’s a podcast dedicated to helping small businesses through wisdom, knowledge and on practical tips. So we’ll just kind of go ahead and get started. So great for having me. Of course, man, so great. And Dan, welcome to the entre network. Super excited to have you on man. So, of course, drayden done 32 year old husband, father of two, business owner, man of God. So all of these things, tell me who are you? individually, you
Drayden Dunn 00:56
just said it, um, you know, I’m a creative. I like to create, I like to like, go get things. Huge, huge imagination, that I try to manifest a lot. And sometimes you’re successful, and sometimes you’re not. But I’m, I’m a product of my parents in my environment, which I got great parents and a great family. So a lot of my mom and my dad is embedded within me. And as I get older, I started to see more and more and learn like Dang, okay, I adopted this, and I adopted that. So, but that’s, that’s really a hard question to some of them want to be honest with you, indeed.
Sidney Jackson 01:36
So with that, how did you get into entrepreneurship?
Drayden Dunn 01:41
So, so entrepreneurship, for me, it’s always kind of been in my family. My dad took interest in path like he actually worked for ups for like 39 years, I believe 3730 nights around it just a ridiculous amount of time to stay committed to one company. But during that time, he started autom Auto, Scott Auto Expo, but it was a car business, as well as stepped into real estate life, a rental property. So when I was in high school, he he wanted me to start selling things because I had this gift for gab. And so he comes home and he throws me a brochure of Nikes Jordans. Air Force ones not sure if they were fake or real, okay, I’m sure they weren’t real. And I started selling those and selling candy and just hustling and at the time, I did a lot of music, a lot of rap poetry, Christian Rap, and me and my high school buddies, we did music and once we kept recording music, we took that opportunity to monetize it, and start recording music, writing music, mixing, mastering and producing just for like local artists around Shreveport.
Sidney Jackson 02:56
Indeed, man so so you’re the owner of envision media marketing, why specifically a media marketing company?
Drayden Dunn 03:04
Yeah, kind of found me. Because I’ve always been like a salesman. And I’ve always been interested in business, like the operations, the logistics, on the growth of a business, the sustainability. And I think I really fell in love with like, the business sector. And when I became a banker, I was a banker for about seven years. And during that time, I was like a small business specialist. So every day all day, I just talked to business owners, that’s, that’s all I did. And not just how to I was in their accounts, I was doing loans for them. I was being nosy that was part of being a banker. So when you’re doing that your subconscious is just being filled with so many gems and wisdom. And I was like, okay, so business wise, okay, how can I do what I love to do, which was really media production, it was like entertainment, music, videos, you know, things of that nature, how can I monetize it, and I think having this twofold life which was like suit and tie during the day at the bank, and getting off and going to a studio and producing music and meeting different artists and stuff, it just kind of morphed into like monetization and how to pivot outside of music and really grow it so I like to think that marketing kind of found me it’s a way to show my business activity but still be creative
Sidney Jackson 04:23
indeed with that how have How has your background on in banking and then the food industry and then wrap and then why p e? How did all of this kind of shaped you as a business owner and prepare you for the path ahead?
Drayden Dunn 04:38
That’s a great question. I number one for like, I’m 100% on God’s path. Like I feel like the life that I have right now is ordained by guy like, it’s just a crazy how the opportunities and things mesh together that are not supposed to mesh together, right? Like very, very well. But you learn something from everything from every one, every experience, every person has something for you to learn, for you to be taught. And I think if you go into situations, we open minds and understanding that things are malleable, you can change things, you can form things. You can learn things, you can share things. That really fills you up. And I remember, right before I started, like, working at the bank, I was serving tables, it shatters. And when I was serving tables and chairs, I didn’t feel like I was like a server. I was just draining working chairs, and I still will get off, I still will do music, I still will do video. Like, no job is beneath anything. And I learned from that job, customer service. I learned from that job humility, right. But then on the flip side, from banking, corporate world white collar, meet, meet it meeting meeting, meet the goals, stretch goals, you know, I learned how to carry myself in front of the business people, I saw a million dollar check, you know, as a banker, so I got out of me at 21. So as you move up, and you start seeing some opportunities, experiences, there, they’re not to, you know, you’re not going to be intimidated by it as much, because you’ve seen so many things that have so many experiences. So now, when I hope to grow my business or to do bigger things, I’m comfortable being uncomfortable. And I think that’s what I learned being comfortable with. Because I mean, when you I was uncomfortable in a lot of areas, even rather, it was a white collar. Rather, it was like starting a business from scratch and not knowing if it’s gonna succeed or not losing it, business, I lost businesses, I took a huge loss and I went into debt. But I also was able to understand how like office was ran successfully. You know, how human resources is important. At the end of the day, you’re dealing with people and people matter and how they feel matter. And you have to galvanize them and motivate them. I learned all those things. And I think it was perfect. I think it was perfect. And I just kind of like take things for what they are. If God gives me opportunity and it falls in my lap, I go get in, I manifest it. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you guys. If it doesn’t fall, Thank You, Jesus, thank you God because losses add up to wins. You know, some experiences are gonna cause some experiences are gonna hurt, some experiences are going to teach more than others, you know, you just take them as they come how the chips fall. And that’s what I learned. I’ve been fired, I’ve been rehired, I’ve been promoted, I’ve been demoted. I mean I’ve done those things and I think they all have really helped me to have resilience you know and be persistent and really just trying to expand my business and create a better opportunity for my family and for my staff.
Sidney Jackson 08:10
Indeed man so within these last couple of couple of years it’s been a lot of growth at envision. So your media marketing company I remember quite a while ago when we went after this contract and we was at the office downstairs in the conference room so there was I was in the room when we was just kind of working through different work on workflows and processes and it was a lot of late nights before you even got the contract right um so that just kind of speaks to the commitment that you have and then once you got it you shared and you brought additional people in sort of power of collaboration is always there with you and I’m definitely appreciate it because as you grew we grew as a company as well revision media marketing well revision meeting I love you is similar but yeah, man it is it’s just a lot of growth that I have seen you go through and then you see me go through and some of the stuff like when you get into meetings and you’re with all of these quote unquote important people, you always just kind of bring it down and you be yourself and I can definitely respect that. Um, so how have you been able to maintain who you are as an individual while also growing as a company
Drayden Dunn 09:28
that’s good, um, for so for so long. And for for a lot of times in the corporate world, I was not able to be myself. And I remember like saying when I when I pivoted into my own business like 100% ownership, I want to bring me out more because people know drayden is like crazy dry, funny, dry. By a noxious I like I have fun. A lot of times, no filter to but To turn it on and off. And I think, for so long, I have so many people question my capabilities, and certifications and credibility, particularly in the corporate world, and white collar, that when I got an opportunity, and I got into an environment, that people allow me to be myself, and they wanted that, and they rewarded that, and they bought into that, that moment changed my life completely as an entrepreneur. I was, I can be myself, and y’all can accept that. And a lot of people are walking around on eggshells, and a lot of people are scared, especially in our canceled culture right now. And everything being posted in social media, you know, everything so judgmental, you have to be very careful. So if you get into an environment that people like, except you, and let you be who you are, and you are able to perform and deliver, which is the most important thing, you have struggled lightning, you have it in a bottle, and I had to allow people to show their confidence in me, I have stellar confidence. But I think when I was a young adult, a young professional in my early 20s, people were not just pouring into me. And the people that I surrounded myself with, we kind of was just out there shooting just in the gym, like, I don’t care, because you just you have you’re missing some things upstairs anyway, as far as like, you’re a little naive. So which gives you more courage, so you don’t care, you just you just go go, go. But looking back, we had a lot of people not pour into us. So as I grew in our circle, people started pouring in back into me for being drayden. I was like, This is dope. I don’t ever want to leave this. And it took me having to start my own company, right? And kind of create my own culture and create my own mission and create my own environment. And I got that from like Ava DuVernay who I love one of my favorite directors, at Eva talks about creating her own environment, if you create your own environment, and then you enter the environment that you create, you have more satisfaction, freedom, confidence, and you’ve set an expectation. And when people like meet that expectation that you said, it allows you to perform comfortably, you know, and I think that’s, that’s that’s my goal. Or at least one of them,
Sidney Jackson 12:33
man, with that I’m talking about setting the environment. I remember, I’m super bad with dates. But it was probably like a year ago, when I walked into envision. It was like, he was talking to me about just the overall concepts on design and room on font font sway or something like that. And he was like, hey, the sound, it matters. Because it sets sets the atmosphere, and then how the light bounces off the wall and stuff like that. So you were extremely strategic in terms of setting up the room, and making sure that everything felt right. And that experience was good. So can you talk to me a little bit about that
Drayden Dunn 13:12
just traveling exposure, like you see some real cool stuff. When you go on exploration, I got challenged everyone to be curious and explore. And sometimes you see things that stick with you. And you say well, that’s cool. I’ve never saw this before, is given me a vibration, and then now you’re chasing that nostalgia or just that same feeling. And I’m you know, I just believe there’s not a lot of rules when it comes to like, I’m creating a space that complements you. And I wanted to see myself in what everything I did. So yeah, that’s why my furniture matters. And this aesthetic matters. And having breakfast club on, you know, some days when I walk in. I think that’s cool, you know, there’s this different. Other people do it in bigger cities. And there’s just so much lacking, you know, Environment Matters. And I really care about like, what my team feels and what they think and what they want to see, you know, because they have to work in that environment. And I’m more of a like energy person. So I prefer to work in person I prefer, you know, tag towel, I prefer us getting in a room and sharing the space and filling the energy. Because you see, you know, expressions, you know, it’s more focus, you know, so why everyone’s moving to digital, I might put a mask on and get in the same room. So like, not as cool as this. creative outlets. You know, very important. You know, think about it like, you know, we’re we’re creators because of our Creator. So we haven’t, we have to be creative. All of us are creators. All of us are creative. And I think for when you’re creative, you get creative blocks. So you have to be real intentional about being diverse in what you’re creating, you just can’t create the same thing, you know, create something new that you haven’t tried before. I’m not a good like, draw, I can’t draw too well. But I still draw. I do because I’m creating something. And while you’re drawing you, you start you just your mind goes, and I’m just I got a bunch of ideas, Sydney, all the time. And now I just like, I like going for him. And I like creating them in Toronto, man, that is so fulfilling. Yeah, yeah. So that’s what the whole like office space kind of thing was, it’s like creating an environment. Something that talks to you something that absorbs and gives off energy. And that is something that I just want to continue to move into, as a serial entrepreneur is really development and creating spaces for other people to really thrive.
Sidney Jackson 16:00
So creating spaces and creating businesses Why? Why the big jump into 100% ownership? Because you you started a business with YP back in 2007.
Drayden Dunn 16:13
Yeah, to senior year of high school, and then we incorporated 2008.
Sidney Jackson 16:18
Yeah. So how much freedom? Well, why the big jump, and then how much freedom has that allowed for you to really have that creative freedom.
Drayden Dunn 16:28
So why the big jump is because bread, one of my best friends, the majority owner of young pros, has his vision. And I respect his vision. And he has to be married to that vision. And I needed to give him space and give myself space to carry out my vision. And their compliment, it is complimentary. Because the manifestations and the fruit of envision comes from hallward that I deal with young pros entertainment, and us spending nights there and not sleeping and doing groundwork, which is pro bono free stuff. Or taking the string pay cuts and things of that nature, we learned so much together, we push one another. And then you get to a point to where you like, Well, God has given me a separate vision, not a better vision, not a not a lesser vision, it’s just a different vision. And it’s so much we need more we needed that he needed that I needed that. Come on, Tony, we all need it. Because there’s so much for all of us to give. And there’s so much out there to be taken. So that’s what it did now freeing it up. For me, what they did was, you kind of have no you have to get in a room and battle everything out for the decisions that you made for the business, I made the decision and I carried out brothers win, lose or draw. So with that, you move more expeditiously which ideas and sometimes you get more fulfillment because it is your sole idea. And you get to manifest that idea. So it allowed me just to kind of go into this different type of niche marketing and communications that focuses more on a lower quantity of clients with more upside. And that’s kind of what where I want to be I want to be married to my clients for a long time. And I want to see their initiatives and their businesses grow. And with that, that keeps us sustainable. It also like gives me an opportunity to be fulfilled with their growth. So yeah.
Sidney Jackson 18:41
With that, Brandon, so he’s one of your late friends and he has a really incredible influence on you. How in the building that you’re purchasing or that you closed on and you’re renovating is named after him. So how much influence has he had on you?
Drayden Dunn 18:59
Yeah, Loris is so my best friend is boom comb. Brandon Alexander lost them two years ago plus, and literally just put that out there imagine you talk to someone every day. And out of that you get stronger, and you make them stronger. And then you just abruptly take that loss. Um, you know, that was a still is a difficult time for me. But in that season, it was crazy because it was a season opportunity and it was a season of a loss for me. Um, and for me, it really hurt it hurt me creatively, because that was my creative go to. Brandon wasn’t about business. He was about living in the moment creating, let’s go for it. Like period. We balanced each other because I was the business acumen to our relationship. So if I lost a portion of my balance board, because I still have great friends and colleagues that are balanced creative ideas, but I lost a creative bounce board and they made me go dormant creatively. So now they forced me to be more intentional about looking for ways to create again, you know, because we used to create music together and film together and write scripts together, you know, and that kind of went dormant a little bit. But it also gave me an opportunity to stand on my own. And he gave me a why, you know, do this for him, you know, Do this in remembrance of him, do this, in spite of the lost his show, like don’t let this stop, like, keep moving forward. So it was crazy how we kind of, to the building that we purchased how we acquired that, which was, again, nothing but God, like people don’t understand how attainable that actually was, you know, because he aligned it, it literally was aligned by him. Hi, when, and I remember when I when I viewed the building and start thinking of what we can do for it. And I wanted to make it a industrial, modern creative space, that you can have social lives and going on, you know, creativity going on, but also business. And I was like, man, like, Brandon will go crazy because we both love downtown. And when I walked outside, and I don’t know why I didn’t notice it. But when I when I made the decision that I wanted to somehow bring him into it in some way I looked up and the building name was Percy Alexander, which is brand his last name to because of the former CPA, his family that owned it that we bought it for from so I was like, how is Alexander repetitions here? It has to be, you know, has this is a fate, right? That the building was owned by Alexander named at the Alexander and I wanted to name it after it just happened and is perfect. So now I can pay homage to both. Percy who owned the building was a CPA who invested in Shreveport, Louisiana, as well as my best friend Brandon. So not it’s gonna be dope. He’s gonna somehow find his way Brandon will find his way once we renovate the building because he loves kitchen Pokemon downtown. And we probably got some dope Pokemon at our building.
Sidney Jackson 22:22
Yeah. I don’t catch them. All right. So for you drayden at 32 Yeah, what’s your definition of success? Because I’ll tell you a story. As far as like my entrepreneurial journey. It’s been fun, stressful, and extremely rewarding. So back in 2014, I was still in high school, I was graduating high school. And success for me was money. Yeah, I’m so super young, super broke, or just realizing that we’re the family, our family wasn’t well off, right. Um, I realized that senior year of high school, and it was like, Oh, and I picked up a camera and I started doing photography and video, and all of these things and started doing music videos funny enough. And it was like, Okay, I need to make more money, people pay for this service. So money is success. And then fast forward. 2017 when I started the business for time for time, success was kind of defined by more so understanding business. So I was green, super fresh, new into business. And working downstairs, it was like, hey, I need to understand how business kind of works. Because it’s, it’s tough. And I found out that relationship building was a critical component of business. And then fast forward to 2019. father, husband, Success to me at that point, was more so getting more sleep. So it was a lot of stuff that I had to go through as far as like, becoming a new dad and then being a husband. So success was always kind of changing. And then 2021. Currently, success is defined by personal happiness, and sustainability on a personal side and on the business side. So that’s how success has kind of been defined throughout my journey. kind of tell me about your success and how you define it
Drayden Dunn 24:30
may sound like an echo chamber, you did a great job. I think you just define what success is on the tail end of the soliloquy, but success. It’s interesting. Um, it’s gonna be different for everyone. Let me put that out there because it’s tied to goals and expectations and everyone has different goals. Now sometimes you achieve a goal and you think you have success and just nice I wasn’t it’s not what I thought it would be. But particularly for me, it’s about lifestyle. uncomfortability and family, putting them in positions to thrive to be healthy, to do things that they love. People are not doing things that they love everyday man, they just not. I go ask somebody that’s at work and say, Do you love what you do? No, I have to be here I have bills, you know. So if you can find that happy spot to do what you love to do, whatever that is, that is success, if you can sustain and maintain that, you have to by monetizing it, right. So for me is waking up doing what I want to do what I want to do, I want to like direct film, I want to galvanize and motivate individuals, I want to inspire them, I want to learn, I want to be challenged. You know, like these are things that I look for I chase curiosity, you know, if I can do that everyday, that’s fine. And then guess what go travel. And traveling is linked more to exposure, right? We have a lot of great people that came before us, it created great things, you know, infrastructure architecture, you know, in in the number one person who created the most beautiful things this guy, so nature, I, we have to go see those things. They take resources. So there’s going to be sacrifice, you got to sacrifice some things that you’re uncomfortable doing and don’t want to do. But that’s part of obtaining success. But of course, it’s about being uncomfortable and loving what you do every single day. Dad is in family, right? And the reason I can say families because family will always be your family. And sometimes we find friends that are more family than our family and their family too. But I learned is like of course I got Kayden who’s a six month baby right now six months. All right, call me from a hard day, or I’m frustrated or just wasn’t great. He sent us Malin. And that moment right there, of going in and seeing this mountain and Sam, my wife and seeing Christian and you know, being able to see her parents, my parents, and they be proud of us like dad. That puts things in perspective.
Team RMG 27:08
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Drayden Dunn 27:40
Because social media is like killing the definition of success by comparison facades, you know about pressure in the society. So you have to unplug because you can’t allow anyone to define success for you. Or happiness. And success is happiness. That’s pretty much what it is. So we’re talking about two interchangeable things. And you have to make a decision of what that is for you. And that’s important. And only way you can do that. It’s really about unplugging, shredding everything off and saying like, what really makes me happy. You know? And how can I do this every day? How can I do that? What makes me happy every day? And is this sustainable? Okay, it cannot leave cannot leave something. And the leaving part is important because everyone left something for us. So God blesses you with some things, and people invest into your life. And all the stars align, you have a responsibility to leave something behind. And to teach, reach one teach one. So for me, you know, that is all of that combined is success. And it needs to be goal oriented. You need to set new goals all the time. And that sense of accomplishment kind of helps you really measure the success that you obtain.
Sidney Jackson 29:02
Success is always resetting. Yeah, yeah, indeed. So definitely. So from business, a business standpoint. It’s always a roller roller coaster ride. So you have these high points and these low points. For you personally, what has been one of the highest points in your business? And then what are the lowest points and how you were kind of able to overcome that?
Yeah, the highest point of my business. Honestly, I used to be able to employ the people that work with me every day. And they’re phenomenal. They’re great. They have families, they’re making money, they’re learning, they’re being challenged, trustworthy. And, I mean, I think I take pride that I have all of my African American staff, I really do. That’s super dope to me, because in this marketing world, as well as serial entrepreneurship, that is a very difficult thing to do and to have, you know, so the highest point is saying, I have a company that has employees, they get paid. And that, to me is dope, because we’re creating a resource and giving back. So that’s the high point, I want to continue to grow that and, you know, Share, share and things of that nature. And this moment right here, just this moment, I don’t, I’m not a regretful person. So like, this is the, this is the, the, I guess, the apex right now until tomorrow, I, you know, I take it all in stride, you know, I’m the lowest of the low, let’s see.
Drayden Dunn 30:44
I mean, I had this company one time, in transportation, and we had a bunch of trucks. And like in a month span, two of them was stolen and one completely sold out. Yeah, we lost a lot of money. So that was a low point. And I had to start all the way over, I built a nest egg, when we bring in the business partner, and they didn’t go too well. That was a long time. But I don’t even I don’t even know if it was low, because it just like, hit a reset. And I pivoted into something else. And I learned so much from that and gave me an Acer strategy to force me to exit the industry. So I mean, I don’t know, it’s really hard to say low points, because it’s like,
Sidney Jackson 31:34
it is a learning experience. Yeah, high points to really allow for you to push toward a path.
Drayden Dunn 31:42
But just because it’s for business people as well, I want to stay true to that for envision it was when I did have a staff, and I didn’t have money. Because what happens is like you get into a cash flow. Cash Flow is very important indeed. And when you’re talking about performance services, and then having like a net 15 or net 30, or a pay when paid clause in your contract, that you also have a biweekly pay schedule, we have payroll taxes, with expenses that are not really thought about. And with aggressive, like equipment acquisition to make things happen, that was difficult for me. And I really don’t know how I got through I think we just skin and bones is cut, I had to cut my salary temporarily, and just not pay myself and just get by until the cash flow caught up. Because like the margins is hard to like, sometimes be profitable. And get an understanding your profit when you have so much in accounts receivable. And then you have your your reserve cash reserves, that you have your debt, that you have your expenses, and then you have like unforeseen liabilities as pop up. So like getting my footing for all of that, at first was extremely difficult. But I knew it was going to take around six months to turn it and it happened. And so that was that was a low point for envision. But for me, there are no low points I put out, I just want to put this out there because I think this is important I shoot a lot of shots, I shoot a lot of shots, I go after a lot of clients, I go out to a lot of like opportunities and knock on a lot of doors, I do a lot of proposals. And the majority, the majority of them fail 95% fail, maybe a higher percentage than that. So like some people may look at it, you know, people get discouraged or like I don’t, I don’t just keep shooting, you know, and um, because at the end of the day, the quality upside of it going in and happening. It just out is no downside to attempting to market your business and to promote your business and to take an opportunity and to take a chance. So when it doesn’t happen, you get up the next day and you try again like it’s not that bad. So like, um, I went through a period of time to where I was shooting a lot of shots and they were breaking, breaking, breaking, breaking, breaking, breaking, breaking. And I went through another period of time when I started envision when I started and when I quit my job at the bank. And I started envision number one my wife did not want me to quit. She told me to go ask for my job back. I didn’t get we talked about everything. I didn’t get her blessing for it. Okay, I did not blast off my company. After I quit the bank. We lost money. I asked her to sell some personal things. Um, my credit score dropped tremendously. I got behind on all of my bills, I had a 505 credit score. I had a negative net worth. Like all of that happened when I quit the bank. And I started my own business envision and that was a very troublesome season. For me and my family, I lost trust in my wife, I lost trust in my parents. I just kept pushing. And I took work as it came. And it was extremely difficult. But even during that time, just like I mentioned at the beginning, like when I was a server, I was drayden. When I was losing, I was draining. And draining is someone who’s gonna keep pushing I’m, I’m just gonna keep pushing and try and like, I know what has been promised to me. I’ve seen it go up, I’ve seen it go down, I seem to go up or go down, like we can go get it again. And persistency cane, kept pushing, and then a few shots went in, and then you build momentum off of that. And the perfect time to win is right after you won. So yeah,
Sidney Jackson 35:47
geez, that’s a good one, the perfect time to win is right after you won. So funny story I had back in, I think 2017 2018. When I went full time, it was like a period of a lot of stress. But at the same time, I was young, right? So I didn’t have a lot of responsibilities. My girlfriend, my wife at the time, well, wife now girlfriend at the time. We didn’t have a lot of personal expenses, of course, you have student loans, but who’s going to pay that right? But realistically, it’ll get paid. But I had an opportunity come after three months. And it was like, Okay, this is some pretty good money. Um, so I’m focused on sustainability for this contract. I mean, it lasted probably three months. So no money, negative cash flow within a business wife, my wife, I’m paying all of the bills, the little bills that we had, and I’m just like, Okay, how do I get more revenue? Because I had the space downstairs and it’s like, you have to go ah