With an emphasis on personal branding and relationship building, Brett Knutson has made a name for himself scaling several companies to multi-million dollar success. However, things weren’t always so easy for the serial entrepreneur.
“I failed my first business and it was a very public failure,” Brett explains. “I had a lot of “I told you so” moments from loved ones. I almost gave up trying to be an entrepreneur after that. My decision to keep going anyway, despite the fact that almost no one believed in me, was critical.”
For Brett, the fear of judgment after facing backlash from friends and family has driven him to create even stronger relationships in the industry. He believes that building the right relationships is the key to long-lasting success and this has been evident throughout his career.
Speaking alongside business icons like Steve Wozniak, working with professional athletes and celebrities, and even connecting with high school students at speaking engagements, Brett has repeatedly shown that he values relationships above all else.
“In business especially, your relationships are everything,” he says. “Seek to add value first and add it repeatedly without expecting anything in return. Be a connector and don’t compromise your reputation. You only have one.”
Today, Brett is a founding partner of Monopolize, a marketing agency that offers brand promotion, paid media, creative strategy, e-commerce, and production. Some of his past ventures include Mediphone, Hive which was last valued at $22M, and Amare whose products are sold in stores nationwide.
Brett notes, “Fear can either work for you or against you, depending on whether or not you are using it to drive you or letting it prevent you from taking the risks necessary for success. Use fear as a tool.”
With this mindset, Brett has had the opportunity to work with many of the world’s most notable brands and investors, as well as many celebrities, professional athletes, and influencers. Nevertheless, he doesn’t look to these relationships as indicators of success.
He explains, “Success is different for everyone, but I would determine success as freedom: freedom from the stress of too little money, freedom to do what you wish with your time, freedom to be around only the people you want to be around.”
“A lot of people say success is happiness, but I disagree because happiness is a temporary emotion. You will never be happy all the time. Instead, you should focus on being grateful all the time. It’s pretty hard to be miserable and grateful at the same time.”