Life Balance Outweighs Ownership
Brandon Bogan, 23, born and raised in Charlotte, NC has been selling custom clothing for Tom James as a Personal Clothier, since May 2014. I have been a customer with Tom James for four years and have had the pleasure working with Brandon for the past two.
Through a phone interview, last week, I asked him what his future looks like with Tom James and what his long term career goals are.
“Tom James has allowed me to have the ability to run my own business without putting up the Capital behind starting a new business”. Bogan stated when asked if he would be interested in starting his own business. “This experience has allowed me to put the time and energy towards creating a brand for myself.”
Trash Isn’t Sexy
Before choosing a career with Tom James, Brandon looked into owning a Valet Trash Service in Charlotte, NC. It is a doorstep trash and recycling collection service. Sunday through Thursday trash is picked up from your apartment doorstep for $25.00 a month.
Serious about pursuing the new business, Brandon purchased a business license, created a website, and came up with a name. He decided after calculating the startup cost it was too expensive.
“I was not sure if I wanted to be a trash man. Trash is not Sexy.” Jokingly he added, ” It would be a lot of long hours and no time for a social life.”
The only investment that Brandon has with Tom James is the mandatory $2000 Promissory Note that he had to sign to cover the cost of the custom clothing worn by the consultants. ” It prevents an employee of Tom James receiving custom-made clothing then walking out the door.”
“Working for Tom James I have the ability to receive an extraordinary income without the stress of business ownership”. Benefits of owning my own business do not outweigh working for Tom James at this point in my career.
Know When to Walk Away
Tom James is expanding as a company. Hiring new sales representatives can be challenging. Brandon uses his own experience as a way to show new employees how to create their own path to success. Sharing “War Stories” alleviates the candidate’s stress.
It does not always work out. No matter how much instruction and training Brandon provides some new candidates are not committed enough to become successful. “It is not worth my time focusing on their personal development if they are not at a place where it is receptive.”
Putting a Spin on Selling to Customers
Graduating from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a BS in Finance and Marketing, Brandon started his career at Tom James with no prior sales experience. “I understood the concept of selling but zero experience and skill”.
There are several different selling techniques that he had to learn. “Spin Selling” was the first style that was introduced to him during his training.
“Approaching a sale as a consultant to help alleviate a problem for a customer rather than pushing a product”
Personally, this was the reason why I became a customer of Tom James. I hated shopping for clothing. Nothing seemed to fit and the entire experience was stressful to me. Tom James would come to me, on my terms, at a place I felt comfortable.
Looking towards the future Brandon has made a 7-year commitment to Tom James. He will be 30 years old at the completion of that commitment, which at that time he will reevaluate his position with the company. In the next 3-4 years, there are plans for Brandon to go to a city that Tom James does not currently have offices and open a hub and train 10-15 people to manage the new store.
Speak Up I Am Not Paying Attention
Personal Branding is how people market themselves and their careers as a brand. Brandon has turned his passion of being a successful consultant with Tom James into a way of branding himself.
Speaking engagements at local colleges is a way for Brandon to take his experience and knowledge and share it with his audience.
He enjoys speaking in front of large audiences because of the engagement and interaction between the students and himself.
The key is to keep them focused on what I am saying by asking questions and creating a dialogue, instead of talking to them I start a conversation.
Five Steps to Personal Improvement.
Brandon believes in order to be successful one must:
- Expand Your Mind – take a minimum of 30 minutes each day to read a book, listen to a podcast, or watch a documentary on a topic you know nothing about. Increase your capacity to learn.
- Health & Wellness – Make time to exercise daily and get at least 8 hours of rest.
- Limit Time to Complete a Task – Set time parameters to keep organized. Quantify tasks.
- Be Yourself – Do not focus on what people think or expect of you. It will come across as being insincere and impersonal.
Snooze You Lose
The motivation for Brandon is summed up in one word. Vision. He has a plan that has been set in motion and everything he has done up to now is working towards that future goal. In the past, that focus has wavered due to being unhappy with certain areas of his personal life. To find the financial freedom he wants, and the life he dreams of, hitting the snooze button on his alarm clock is not an option.