Brian Robben runs the fast-growing digital ad agency, Robben Media, and he also founded BrianRobben.com–a top website on starting and scaling an online business. Prior to running two businesses, Brian wrote 3 Amazon bestselling books and his work has been featured on The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, AOL, and other major publications.
“[Freedom is] having the power and self-sufficiency to go on your own when your voice is silenced.”Brian Robben
For our first edition of Freedom Friday, we got to pick the brain of Brian Robben, who is no stranger to building a life on his own terms. From the age of 8, Brian knew he wanted to do things differently and displayed his talents as a disruptive entrepreneur, re-selling Mountain Dew cans to his 3rd-grade classmates at lunch. His quest for freedom led him from running a successful, high-entry fee Fantasy Football League as a 12-year old to eventually developing a blog and best-selling books around the idea of gaming college success and automating income for young adults to become rich.
Driven to succeed, he taught himself marketing to grow his Instagram following and promote his books to best-selling status, which eventually led him to share his expertise with companies. In 2018, he founded Robben Media, the fast-growing digital ad agency. We asked him to tell us his thoughts on Freedom.
What does freedom look like for you?
“Freedom means the ability to do, talk, think as you please. It’s being able to work because you want to, not because you have to. It’s talking with freedom of speech—and having the power and self-sufficiency to go on your own when your voice is silenced. It’s being able to think independently and shun groupthink because you’re the master of your thoughts. Freedom is the greatest blessing next to life itself.”
When did you realize freedom was important to you?
“At age 18 when I didn’t get into the colleges I wanted to. And then again at age 19 when I tried to transfer to Harvard using my perfect freshman year grades, but my SAT scores back in high school caught up to me for the second time. Before then, I had the mentality that I could and should be able to do whatever I pleased. Then I learned the real-world doesn’t operate that way. I couldn’t finesse and talk my way into colleges and scholarships—I either had the scores they were looking for or I didn’t. That lesson sucked. But it taught me to never be in a situation where my freedom is limited, in this case my freedom of where I was going to spend the next four years was limited, by outworking everyone else. That’s been my mindset since.”
What one piece of advice would you give to people that are in pursuit of their own freedom?
“My first advice is to get your money right. Too often I see people who want to become an entrepreneur immediately quit their 9-5 job. Now not only do they have the pressure of starting a business, on top of that their food and shelter depends on it. It’s better to make progress on your business in the mornings before work, during lunch, and nights and weekends until it’s producing enough income for you to fully quit your job. I’d wait until you have 3-6 months of living expenses saved and you have secured at least three paying customers for proof your business is solving people’s problems, before going full-time.”
As leaders in their space, they are always learning – what have you changed your mind/perspective on?
“I used to believe that saving is how people reached financial freedom. While that’s partially true, I’ve made 95% of my net worth not my saving but by investing money. Investing money into my self, business courses, books, stocks, Bitcoin, real estate, you name it, you’ll reach freedom quicker when you’re cool spending money to make more money. Being cheap doesn’t produce a big payday. Spending money has always pushed me to become more skilled and knowledgeable than I was before I invested.”
Most influential book?
The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder