If you are good at or love doing something, there’s nothing better than to start making money out of it. Chasing your passions and integrating them with the most effective marketing strategies is a straight path towards success. Mediapreneur David Simons shares what it really takes to discover your gift, get out of a position that you don’t enjoy, and find what can be considered your “dream job.” He talks about his inspiring journey on sticking with his deep love for digital marketing that allowed him to get out of Corporate America and start his own business venture. David also dissects what must be done to achieve such a fantastic result, from the right way of building a successful entrepreneurial mindset, discovering the why behind your career, and learning how to elevate yourself using affirmative thoughts.
Listen to the podcast here:
Discovering Your Gift With David Simons, Mediapreneur
Your Path To Entrepreneurship
I have the pleasure and honor of talking to David Simons. He tags himself as a Mediapreneur. He has helped personality-based businesses like speakers, coaches and consultants by delivering result-oriented online marketing solutions to drive sales, increase brand awareness and stand out from their competitors. He has worked with Fortune 500 companies like PepsiCo, Frito-Lay, Kraft, Staples and many more. He has also worked with world-renowned speakers like Delatorro McNeal and Daniel Ally. His work in the digital space has been featured in Hootsuite, Yahoo!, Dell, Entrepreneur and many other publications. He is the Founder of Kingdom Social Media and Kingdom Business Solutions. As Founder and operator of these two companies, he’s always improving and enhancing entrepreneurs’ brands and media presence. I’ve had the pleasure of attending at least one of his webinars and have had a couple of one-on-one sessions with him. I found them both beneficial and vital to improving the focus of my own business. Welcome to my show, David.
Thank you so much for having me on. I’m honored to be here and share something that could help the readers to take their business, enterprise and finances to the next level.
You also have a podcast. We’ll talk about that a little later on. What’s the name of the company? I know it’s called Kingdom Social Media. I know it’s about digital marketing. What is the primary focus of your company?
I started with Kingdom Social Media in 2015. The genesis for me started when I heard a phrase. You’re probably very well familiar with Dr. Myles Munroe. He made a statement that said, “The church is 40 years behind when it comes to technology.” That resonated with me. I said, “What can I do to bridge the gap in that realm?” It started from a place of wanting to take the knowledge that most people don’t know and bring it to people who don’t know these things so they can advance forward. I’ve been doing that since 2015. What we primarily do are three things. The first thing we do is coaching. We coach people one-on-one and group coaching in a variety of ways on how to leverage digital marketing, use online courses and create online courses.
We also do the courses itself. We teach new online courses where people can learn different things and strategies. I am a teacher at heart. I’ve always been a corporate trainer. I teach business owners how to leverage social media for their enterprise, from a standpoint of getting leads and sales, building your grant and all of those components. The last thing we do is consulting where we come in, take over and help a company or an organization to do all the required things. We’re building out what we call their sales funnel process and ad campaigns through Facebook or various platforms. We’re doing the work for them so that they can flourish and do what they do best.
What motivated you to begin your journey of entrepreneurship and starting your own company?
Starting from a young age, I grew up in a very strict house. My parents are from Ghana, West Africa. There’s a push for four main things. You need to be a lawyer, a doctor, an engineer or an accountant. That’s all that’s respected. I was supposed to be the engineer. My brother was supposed to be the doctor. Both of us got out of that path. He’s an actor in LA. I run a digital marketing company. What I took from my childhood though was this natural hunger to transact and help people. My first business as a child was a lemonade stand.
Through high school, it got a little more serious. I’m into music and media. I started producing beats and selling music and zone beats. I started a record label. When everybody used to listen to the CDs, you can copy CDs and then put music on there, make mixes and record it. I used to sell that in high school. Everybody would come to me for albums and the latest songs. It then got serious. The more I got into it, the more I realized, “This is the path for me.” I’ve always had some type of entrepreneurial endeavor. Even when I worked in Corporate America and I had a job, I always had some type that I was doing. I had a media company, doing video, DJ or something. I knew down the line, I would always be an entrepreneur full-time.
You always had a side hustle as they call them now?
Let’s go back. You said you were in Corporate America for a while. How long were you on a regular 9:00 to 5:00?
I was in Corporate America for about 4.5 years. One of the people you mentioned in my intro was Delatorro McNeal who’s now been a long-time client. He’s a motivational speaker. One day, I was reading through his material online. I saw his book and I bought it. It’s called Caught Between a Dream and a Job. It talks about how to transition. At the time when I started reading the book, I was working for the Department of Education in Sacramento, California. My dream job had always been to be a digital marketing manager and run social media for corporations. That book talks about transitioning from a job you don’t like to a job that is your dream job. It’s not directly all the way into your dream 100%, but it’s a doorway in.Many people don't obtain success in life because they have not presented to enough people. Click To Tweet
Becoming a digital media manager for this company was my dream job, and to obtain that, I moved from California to New Jersey to work for this company called TerraCycle, which is the leader in recycling non-recyclable items. They take things like chip bags and wrappers and turned them into backpacks, and M&M’s turned it into a journal here. It was creative. I got a chance to work with all these different Fortune 500 companies like Kraft, Frito-Lay, Huggies, and hone my craft.
Going through that, I had a plan before I even got the job because I read the book. I said, “I’m going to give myself 2.5 years. I’m going to build the business on the side and I’m going to leave in 2.5 years.” It didn’t happen quite that way. It took about 4.5 years. On top of that, I was let-go in my fourth year. There was no real reason for it because I generated millions of dollars through marketing and campaigns. What ended up happening was I was already building the business on the side because I was preparing. The business was making about 60% of my salary at the time. I felt confident. I was getting ready to leave.
This is good for my readers to know because people struggle with this issue that you’re talking about.
I had this business that I’m building. I believe in investing in coaching, getting a coach or an advisor, and talking to someone that can help you do your process. I hired a business coach. We were going through the process. He was asking me what I want and what I want to achieve. I said, “I would love to operate my business full-time.” He challenged me. He said, “You’re too big for your business and you’re too big for your job. You should leave your job right now.” I got very angry at what he said. I was not prepared. I felt in my mind to leave. I wanted to fire him right after that.
He said, “David, talk to your wife. Ask her what she thinks.” I didn’t want to do that because initially when we got married, she didn’t see that entrepreneurial structure in me. She would think that I would pan out. I didn’t want to have that conversation. I already know what she thinks. She’s not going to support me leaving. He said, “Just ask and see what happens.” I asked my wife and said, “I’m thinking of leaving Corporate America and going into this business full-time.” She was like, “As long as God is giving you the go-ahead, I support you.” I was shocked. I did not expect that answer. That is important that I had the support from her. What happened next was ironic.
Shortly after this conversation, I was terminated. I was let go. They pulled me into the office and said, “David, we had to terminate you.” I was on a long train ride home and I told my wife, “Sweetie, I got let go.” She was like, “It’s okay. We’ll figure it out. It’s going to be all right.” It’s important to share this story because this is the highs and lows of entrepreneurship as well. Two weeks later, I lost my biggest client, which was about 50% of my revenue at the time. In two weeks, my world changed. I was let go and lost my biggest client. I was panicking a little bit. I went into prayer and asked God to help me through this process.
This is what I learned in this process. I knew how to trust God in a job setting, which was a lot easier because there are stability, direct deposit and there’s this. I knew how to trust God with that. He said, “You need to trust me just as much as you trusted me when you had a job, you’re tied and you do the things that you know how to do when you had a job. Now, you need to trust me with your business.” It was hard for me to understand that because I’m the one doing the work. He was like, “You’ve got to trust me with your business.” I did and I said, “I surrender my business to you.”
Two weeks later, I reached out to past contacts, clients and things of that nature. A client said, “Perfect timing. I’m glad you reached out. We need a campaign.” That client ended up being five times as much as the client that I lost per month. That was my journey. I never turned back after that. I never went back to Corporate America. I’ve been running the business ever since. I’m grateful and excited to do this every day and help people.
What kind of college degree did you have to do what you do?
I have a degree in Digital Media. What’s interesting is it was such an emerging field. As I was going through school, Facebook was for college students and then it transitioned to everyone else. Myspace was there and then it disappeared. It was emerging as we were going along. I was learning about podcasting in college. Digital media has always been my passion. My Bachelor is in Digital Media and my Master’s is in Entertainment Business.
Was there a time that you were discouraged or maybe you didn’t think that being an entrepreneur was a good fit for you?
Yes, very much. There was that situation from the beginning. There were times where it got tight and it got tough in business. I’ll never forget, October 2016, I was owed about $16,000 in invoices from clients. I didn’t know how I was going to push through and get through it. I was very discouraged. There were times where I thought, “I could easily be a director somewhere. Maybe even a VP in social media marketing, digital marketing agency or somewhere. I could easily do that.” I was tempted at times. This is where I believe you’ve got to have a support system, whether from family, friends, loved ones, anybody that is going to be your cheerleader.
Entrepreneurship is going to demand everything out of you. You’re going to need some support around to get through those tough moments. I was thankful for my wife who encouraged me. When I told her that I was thinking about looking into opportunities and working for another corporation, she said, “What did you get in this for? What was your aim? You’ve got to complete that. You’ve got to aim for that.” She told me, “No, don’t get a job.” Even when times are tight, bills and mortgages are due, all these things, she said no. That support, I can’t even express how valuable that was.
Everyone needs a support system to how to get them through those questionable times. What motivated you to keep moving forward and not come back? As you said, it was her support. Were there any other things or ideas that made you think, “This can work if I just stick with it. I know this is my passion. This is my thing that God wanted me to do?”We are not in control of the business harvest directly, but the sowing of the seeds and watering. Click To Tweet
I believe that my purpose is to help people discover whatever their gifting, and help them to understand the process of purpose. I believe the process of purpose is discovering, developing and distributing. Distributing is the last part which is marketing your gift. I believe that sometimes people don’t obtain the success or goals that they have in life merely for the fact that they have not presented it to enough people. They had not positioned themselves in the marketplace for people to experience their gift, talent, product or service.
What drives me is to see someone take something, an idea, a course, a business, a product, whatever it is, and take it into the marketplace and transform other people’s lives. Transformation is the major driver for me. Seeing someone who maybe didn’t even believe in what they had or didn’t know the magnitude of what they had. Me and my company is able to show them, “There are people who want this. There’s a market for this. There’s a draw for what you have.” That’s what motivated and kept me on track with the business. It’s seeing the transformation of lives.
It is good and rewarding to see some people who don’t even realize they have the gift or they have something to offer to go from, “I don’t know if I can do this,” to being seen and heard by a whole lot of other people. You’ve helped thousands of entrepreneurs and helped them build and expand their businesses. What do you think is the number one thing that you’ve given all of them that has helped them? Is there one piece of advice that is your standard advice? No matter what industry, it just transcends in any industry.
The advice I’ve always given relates back to marketing, but it also relates back to a principle that I believe governs the Earth. If you learn the principle, it doesn’t matter what industry, product or category you’re in, the principle will work. The principle is this, and I was giving this advice and now I pass it onto every entrepreneur that I can I get a chance to talk to about it. I was told in my first year of business that, “Business is farming.” When you understand that business has seasons as has farming, for example, January, February and March. A business works and does what they needed to do. They’re prospecting, getting their products out there and doing whatever they need to do to bring on clients and customers from January, February and March.
The results aren’t seen in January, February and March. They’re seen in April, May and June just like in a season. If I plant a tomato seed now, I’m not going to get a tomato tomorrow. I’m going to water it and then harvest it down the line. Sometimes for entrepreneurs, this will happen. January, February and March, they work hard. April, May and June, they start to see some results and then they slack a little bit. They slack April, May and June, you don’t feel it right there in April, May and June. You might even have July, August and September look good. After that, then there’s a slump.
What I’ve learned is our job is to sow seed. Sowing seed means conversations, emails, consultations, reading. The seed can be any type of marketing endeavor and act. It’s adding value to other people’s lives. Whatever thing you can do to sow seed in your business every day will allow you to produce a harvest. If I’m a farmer and I sow a seed every day, I know I’m going to have a harvest. I don’t know when exactly that harvest is going to come, but I know it’s going to come. If I water and nurture those seeds, I’m going to increase the opportunity for the harvest.
I always tell entrepreneurs, “We are not in control of the harvest directly. We are in control of the seed sowing and the watering.” If I manage my seeds well, put seeds in the ground, water and nurture those relationships, nurture those through email or advertising, those are ways you can do it. There are all types of ways to nurture. As I do that, then a harvest is guaranteed though I don’t know when it will come.
I never heard that analogy before, but that’s a great analogy. I know you’re a big promoter of mindset. What would you say to someone who is either already in business as an entrepreneur or considering starting their own business? What would you tell them about the mindset piece to their business?
Mindset is so vital. I would tell them that mindset is everything. It’s input, output. You don’t change from outside to inside. You change from inside to outside. The idea of creating this glass, it started in the mind first. The person didn’t produce it. They had to think of the concept and idea. That’s always the process. Sometimes people will try to fix internal things with external things, but it never works that way. You’ve got to start inside. As John Maxwell said, “It’s an inside job.” You start with the mindset of what you want to achieve. The truth is this. We all have past failures, challenges and things that have happened to us. Those things can be a block. They can be mental blocks or what we call limiting beliefs.
What I believe that has been essential for me are affirmations. I use words to control my mind. My mind is going to think some things, “David, you failed in this. David, you messed up in that,” but I’m going to combat my mind with, “I’m always learning and growing. I’m constantly getting better. I’m successful.” I personally have affirmations that I say every day, over 100 affirmations. The affirmation is I believe that God gave us a mouth to control our mind. When you speak, you can combat those thoughts. For example, one of the things I didn’t share about my story is that I put my mom through a lot growing up. I got expelled from high school. I’m not proud of it. I cracked into the system and changed my grades.
You used your expertise in the wrong way.
I had a lot of thoughts like, “David, you’re a failure. You’re not a smart guy.” I didn’t realize that I was smart, but I wasn’t using it the right way like you said. I had to combat the thoughts of feeling dumb or incapable. One of the things I kept saying to myself is, “I am intelligent and wise.” I would speak this over myself. For a long time and still now, I didn’t believe a lot of things. Even from the standpoint of my youth, I was always looking for how to crack into the system. I was always looking for a shortcut, not because I was lazy but I was efficient. I wanted to find the best route. I’ve learned that you’ve got to use it the right way, but I always want to find the shortcut, the way that I could do it more effectively and efficiently in less time.
I was always told I was lazy, but I realized I wasn’t lazy. I just hadn’t found what I was passionate about. When I found the passion, I don’t do it as much now, but 14, 16-hour days are common. It was nothing for me when I’m working because I’m so in the grasp of what I’m doing. All I have to say for the mindset part is you may not even have the belief yet in your business idea, yourself, confidence, all those things. I want to tell you that I didn’t have a lot of those beliefs in myself. I spoke them over myself and those beliefs transferred. That’s why it’s so important to surround yourself with people who are going to reaffirm you and encourage those positive traits in you as well.
That’s a great thing right there, especially to see how you transformed from that kid to a young man who’s now a professional in the digital marketing space. On the personal side, tell us about your family. Do you have children? You already spoke about your wife. I know she’s been a great part of your growth and development with your business. How about your family?
Family is everything to me. I’m blessed with my wife. No children yet. We’re working on that. That’s the next step. We are so ready for kids. I’m looking forward to that.
I’ll let you know that’s the hardest job I’ve ever had.
That’s what I hear. Everybody says that.
It’s never-ending. I think you’ll do a great job, especially when you tell them stories that you just told us about being that kid who gave your mom a hard time, changing your grades. I love that story. That’s a good one. I know you are a product of the digital marketing space. What do you say to those people who are not so tech-savvy? How do they navigate the digital marketing space?You don't change from outside to inside. You change from inside to outside. Click To Tweet
I always say, start with your why. Why do you want to learn the digital market space? Why do you want to become proficient? For some people, it’s maybe for business purposes. Some people just want to be able to communicate with family and friends. Ask yourself, “What is your reason for that?” You must have something compelling that’s going to drive you to learn. I believe that is a key to anything that you want to learn that looks difficult or seems difficult. I always use this example. I have an online academy. This gentleman at the time when he started was over 70. He wasn’t tech-savvy. He’s new to the whole social media marketing and all of the things that are entailed. It was quite intimidating to him.
Unfortunately, his wife had passed. In the same year that his wife had passed, a little later his daughter passed away. His daughter left behind a daughter. It’s his grandchild and granddaughter. His granddaughter, all she has is her grandpa. He became so proficient. He’s one of my top students. He’s excellent in social media marketing, funnels, ads, all of these things, not because he head-start or understood the concepts. He had a strong enough reason to compel him to learn and that motivated him. I always believe that if you have a strong enough why, you’ll figure out anyhow or any what. That will come.
If they don’t comprehend, they’ll use somebody like you to do it for them. Hindsight is always 20/20 vision. What have you done and learned through this experience that maybe you would do differently now that you’ve had some experience? Would there be anything that you might change or think about changing of your paths from where you are now?
I wouldn’t change a thing.
There are no regrets.
I believe there are only two ways. You either win or learn. There are no losses. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had plenty of failures and mistakes. I’ll make plenty more, but I learned from them. For example, one that I’ve learned since we’re talking about finance as well. This is a lesson I would pass on to every young person. Your financial credibility follows you throughout your life. Just like you protect your reputation, do everything you can to restore it. I’ve learned that some of those foolish decisions I made with money with student loans in college when I got extra money and just wasted it, and not realizing those decisions affected me later in life. Sometimes we don’t see the impact of decisions that we do. We’ve got to monitor those decisions daily. What are those decisions we’re making? Think about the long-term effects, not just the short. I always say, “Don’t exchange short-term gain for long-term loss.” I don’t have any regrets, but the thing I would say is to think about the decisions you’re making and the long-term effects of them.
What are some of the steps that our readers can take to either accelerate or maximize their growth in their finances now?
The first thing is to find what you’re unconsciously or consciously amazing at. What are you so good at that everybody knows it? Whether it’s teaching or you have a knack for numbers, networking, find that thing. Find that core gifting that you have. I believe that tied to every gift are the resources and opportunities. Many things are tied to your gift. It’s what opens the door. The first thing is to find your gift. The second thing is to take knowledge, get knowledge, enhance that gift, become the best you possibly can. Study, improve, take courses, whatever you have to do to enhance your gift. If a person has a gift for teaching, go to Udemy online and learn how you can teach better. Look for opportunities where you could teach. Maybe you can teach at a local community college or you can teach at a place where you can fine-tune your gift.
I believe this. The best way to start to increase your income from whatever your gift is, is to start for free. I started a lot of things. I started helping businesses and people with my gifts in digital marketing and teaching training for free. From there, I got proficient enough to charge. The last step is distribution. You’ve discovered and developed that gift. Now, market that gift and tell people about it. Present yourself. Putting it out there for free will help you to market it. Don’t be afraid to put advertising dollars behind it. Don’t be afraid to market your gift and not being ashamed about it. Tell people about what you can do and how you can help them.
If they don’t have the finances or resources to do the advertising, you suggest that they do something and put it out there for free. When you say for free, do you mean something like maybe Facebook or Instagram, because that will get them recognized? That will not cost them a lot of money.
Posting on all the different social networks. Here’s the other thing. Leverage the power of connections. If someone has a connection in a group, say, “I will offer this thing to your audience. Anybody who purchases from this, I will give a percentage back to you.” Even if you don’t have the audience size that you would like, you can leverage the power of other people’s audience as well and exchange value. As you said, posting it out there on social media, putting it on your platforms, using all the things we have available to us, Facebook Live. There’s now Clubhouse. There are all these different resources that you can tap into.
What are three takeaways that you can give my audience that they can walk away from and say, “I learned these three things,” or “I’ll do these three things going forward in my business?”
The first thing I would say is whatever you want to do, if you want to get there faster, you’ve got to find a mentor. Whether your mentor is Vera, maybe she can help you in real estate and all the different endeavors. Whatever it is, you’ve got to find a mentor. There are two ways to learn, mistakes and mentors. Mentors is the fastest route. The biggest takeaway I would say is to find a mentor. That’s going to shortcut everything for you. You’re going to still need to learn and develop yourself, but you’re going to be able to avoid some pitfalls and different ditches because you have someone who can guide you to the right place.
The second thing, after you found a mentor, is to find your unique voice. A lot of people are copying other people and being inauthentic. Be who you are. Be unashamed of who you are. In sharing who you are, I believe you have to build a personal brand now. We need personal brands more than ever before because people are connecting. We’re headed towards an entrepreneur economy. People like to do business with those who they know, like and trust. That personal brand and your voice building that out there is very essential and will translate into businesses. The better you build your personal brand, the better your business will do.Whatever you want to do, if you're going to get there faster, you have to find a mentor. Click To Tweet
I’ll give a quick example, Kylie Jenner. She’s one of the youngest female billionaires. Most people don’t even know the name of her company at all. That’s very rare. Most of the billionaires before, you know the company and then maybe you know the billionaire after. Her company is called Kylie Cosmetics. She’s able to do $1 billion in value and the company name is not even known. She built it off of her personal brand. I want to encourage readers to invest the time into your personal brand. You’re building a personal brand, whether you want to or not. You might as well make it profitable.
The third thing, and we forget to do this, is have fun. Remember that the reason you created a business or the life that you want is to create your business around your life, not your life around your business. I believe in having a business and lifestyle that tailors to your life. There are people who want to work twenty hours. Don’t get me wrong. There are seasons you’re going to need to do that for some time to build it up. You’ve got to ask yourself, “Why do we create businesses in the first place?” It’s to have time freedom, spend more time with our family, go fishing and boating, and enjoying the beauty of life. I’m reminding everyone to have fun and remember why you want financial freedom in the first place.
How can we get in touch with you, David? Please let my audience know so they can reach out to you and help you increase your sales and visibility. What do you have going on? I know you have a podcast. Let’s start with that.
You can find my podcast on all platforms all over the place. It’s called How I Discovered My Gift. I go into deep detail on gift discovery. I interview people about the gifts and how they discovered them. You can check that out on multiple platforms. The best way to work with me and find me is KingdomSocialMedia.com. That’s where you can get a free consultation, learn about what our services are and how we serve people. I’m Kingdom Social Media on all the platforms. I’m also David D. Simons on all the platforms, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter. I’m very humbled and honored for having me on the show, Vera.
I appreciate it so much. I will hopefully be able to not only listen to your podcast but maybe be on your podcast as well. I’m looking forward to that. It will be an honor for me as well. I hope you have a great day. Do what you would do. I hope to see you and talk to you again soon. I’m looking forward to it. One other thing, I know that you also do courses. Are those available at Kingdom Social Media? Are those available for people to sign up for?
They can just reach out and we do an application process for that. Inquire through the website. If you are looking for course creation or course development, we can serve and help you in that regard too.
Thank you so much. Have a great day.
Thank you, Vera. You too.
- Kingdom Social Media
- Caught Between a Dream and a Job
- How I Discovered My Gift on Apple Podcasts
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About David Simons
David Simons has helped personality-based businesses like speakers, coaches, and consultants by delivering result-oriented online marketing solutions to drive sales, increase brand awareness, and stand out from their competitors.
He has worked with Fortune 500 companies like Pepsico, Frito Lay, Kraft, Staples & many more. He’s also worked with world-renowned speakers like Delatorro McNeal and Daniel Ally. His work in the digital space has been featured in Hootsuite, Yahoo, Dell, Entrepreneur, and many other publications.
He is the founder of Kingdom Social Media and Kingdom Business Solutions. As founder and operator of these two companies, he’s always busy improving and enhancing entrepreneurs’ brands and media presence.
Just so my listeners know, I’ve had the pleasure of attending one of your webinars and have had a couple of one-on-one sessions with you and found them both beneficial and vital to improving the focus of my business.
General Inquiries: 1-916-692-9175