We had the good fortune of connecting with Brock McGoff and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brock, why did you pursue a creative career?
I grew up playing classical piano, then I switched to drums in high school. I would spend hours in my parents’ basement with an old PC and a MIDI keyboard making hip hop beats.
I didn’t do anything with these tracks. There was no plan or business model. I didn’t want fame; I didn’t care if anything listened to my work.
I just made them.
This drive is just in me. I was born with it. These days, it’s manifesting as writing articles and making YouTube videos, but I’m sure that’ll change.
I think everyone is creative and has something only they can (and should) produce. The key is figuring out what it is, then making time to actually do it.
Business can be creative. Building is creative. Art and music is creative. Writing is creative.
Everyone is creative in their own way. If you can build a career that leverages your creativity, I think that can lead to an unusually fulfilling life.
What should our readers know about your business?
I always knew I wanted a non-traditional “job” that gave me more freedom and flexibility than the standard 9-to-5 arrangement.
My dad was an entrepreneur. I watched him build his business over many years – most of my childhood – and ultimately achieve a level of independence most people never reach.
He always encouraged my (and my five siblings’) creative ideas and hustle. I remember making $600 shoveling snow during a blizzard in the 90s. My brother and I put $400 of it toward our family dog’s leg surgery. It felt amazing to contribute money that we earned ourselves.
After graduating college, I didn’t know what to do, so I got a regular job. Then I quit and tried my hand in the music industry but didn’t make any money.
Then I got another regular job, just for the paycheck. I quit that one too and went to South America for a few months.
By the time I got back, I was committed to building an online business that gave me control over my time and location. I was intrigued by digital media because of its low barrier to entry and startup cost.
When I first started blogging about menswear on The Modest Man, my mission was to help guys like me dress well and ultimately feel more confident.
At 5’6” it was always hard to find clothes that fit. Being a shorter guy can be tough for a lot of reasons. When an entire industry (apparel) ignores you, it doesn’t make life any easier.
My clothes were working against me. I knew my style wasn’t helping with my career, dating or self-image.
So I learned everything I could about how to dress well, and I wanted to help other men solve this pain point too.
TMM started as a side project. It didn’t generate meaningful revenue for over two years. Eventually, I started working on it full time.
Over time, I expanded my media portfolio to include more websites, including theslenderwrist.com (which I purchased from its original founder), social media and a YouTube channel.
I was successful in this business because I learned everything I could about SEO. People are Googling things all day, everyday. If you can be the answer that shows up at the top of Google, you can build an audience and monetize it.
I also put in the time. I wrote hundreds of articles, produced hundreds of videos and took thousands of photos. Your early content isn’t going to be great; the key is to get it out as quickly as possible and improve along the way.
Also, I made an effort to connect with other people in the industry. Back then, this was mostly other bloggers. I reached out everyone I could find who was writing or making videos about men’s style, and I formed genuine friendships with these people.
Many of them are some of my closest friends to this day.
These relationships resulted in backlinks, referral traffic, shout outs and collaborations.
These days, my mission it to publish high quality, helpful content. There’s a lot of garbage on the internet, a lot of people chasing money. I want to add actual value to the world. If you do that, money will chase you.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My parents, for encouraging me to be my own boss and supporting my passions