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Using Your Past to Build Your Future

Picture this: You’re in your 40s or 50s with a successful career behind you. You have financial stability, decades of experience, and more free time than ever before. Now, you want to go in a new direction: helping others by sharing your expertise and knowledge. After doing some research, you learn that you need to build a platform, a social presence, and a way to connect all of the projects, companies, and endeavors you’ve had in the last 20 or 30 years. You think to yourself, “How can I ever manage to contain decades of experience in a single brand?” 

Even though my career isn’t decades-long (yet), I found myself asking this same question a few years ago. A few years ago, I wanted to start a new product. But I struggled to capture all the work I had previously done. How could I connect the work I did for the Atlanta Hawks, the Atlanta Braves, the Kairos Society, Wish Dish, and Allen Gannett? I needed to find the common thread between these vastly different roles to see how they would inform my next move. 

These questions flooded in: How do you take a life’s experience and put it in a single place where others can learn about your past, see your future, and connect with you? How do you take an entire history and weave it into a grander picture? How do you create a business that incorporates the totality of a person’s life?

There wasn’t a place where CEOs, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders could get help figuring this all out, so I built BW Missions. With the answers to all of the above questions, we help people shift how they think about building their brand. We operate by working from the inside out: Using your personal history, values, and goals, we help foster a community of authenticity and engagement. Here’s how… 

Finding the Common Thread

To determine where you’re going, you have to know where you’ve been. When someone has worked on dozens of projects and roles throughout their life, it’s not always easy to find the common thread. Our job is to ask, “How does everything this person has done add up to the big picture?” We’re experts in seeing the commonalities between the steps along a person’s work journey. By distilling your ambitions, values, and purpose into a single idea, we develop an overarching message that serves as the foundation for your brand. 

Maximizing Your Network

At BW Missions, we know that people are an essential component of any personal brand launch. Over the years, we each connect with hundreds, maybe thousands, of people. Each of these connections presents an opportunity to learn something new and connect with even more individuals. It’s a daunting task to catalog all of the relationships you’ve built over the decades and transform your network into a community. We can help you figure out how you want to use the network you’ve created. You could build a recipient list for your newsletter, use your network for new leads, or just spread the word. Whichever route you choose, we’ve got your back.

Supporting Your Knowledge-Sharing

Only you can tell your story. The greatest joy of our work is getting a glimpse of the expertise people have amassed over the years. Experienced CEOs and entrepreneurs come to us knowing that they have a wealth of knowledge to share, but they’re unsure how to deliver it effectively. We tell people this simple truth: The best content comes from reflecting on the past. “Everyone loves a good story. No matter what topic you’re sharing expertise on or who your audience is, the best way to relate to and engage with a reader is to share a personal story that exemplifies the point you’re making,” says Marjie Shrimpton, Director of Content & Communications. “It makes you trustworthy—and more than that, it makes you human, grounding your expertise instead of setting it high on an unreachable pedestal.”

Essentially, audiences crave vulnerability and openness from the creators they follow. They want to know you’re real. As Ashley Merdinger, VP of Client Strategy & Success, describes it, “Your brand is your story. Open the door and let people in. We’re seeing the greatest success with thought leaders who care to share. The CEOs and entrepreneurs who push fear aside to speak from the heart, not from the business, are the ones who are building loyal communities and scalable brands.”

You can deliver this to them by reflecting on and retelling stories of failure, success, and hardships. Each experience is a lesson to be shared. Our team of writers, editors, and content experts will help spread your unique story.

Monetizing Your Product

After you build your brand, maximize your network, and share your knowledge, you have to bring all of these components together to create a monetizable product that your audience values. Deciding what you’re going to make and how you’re going to monetize it can feel daunting. That’s why having a team of seasoned experts supporting and guiding you through this process is critical. You could have a speaker series, newsletter, book, consultancy, coaching, and much more. The possibilities are limitless.

If you’re looking to transition into your second act but don’t know where to start, look no further. BW Missions is here to guide you on every step of the journey into this new phase of your life: from distilling your career history into a single core value, optimizing the network you’ve built over the years, assisting in content creation, and helping you monetize your product. What are you waiting for?

For Thought Leaders
Bryan Wish

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