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Interview: Brian Johnson, Owner, LOUDESTink and Rock Your Resume

Brian Johnson
Owner of LOUDESTink and Rock Your Resume

Since graduating the Rhode Island School of Design with a degree in Graphic Design, Brian has been a serial entrepreneur, starting three design-related businesses.

CB: What fascinates you about the web?

BJ: How close humans are, and how they can be brought closer to each other.

I do take pride in my generations tag: the millennial, more accurately, a Cold-Y’er. I both remember when there wasn’t such a thing as the net. I was a 14 year old plugging in the modem into my G3 and singing along the call notes as it connected to “the web.” The name we give it defines why I find it so fascinating. If I were to physically tap one strand on a spiders masterpiece, the waves would carry itself through all the tendrils, effecting each part. As I sat there humming those notes, I felt larger than I was. I wasn’t just that nerdy kid with glasses who was rapt to find, dig, and explore more of what this new ‘world’ that was dawning, I was tapping into a Tron-like landscape where I could be the Beowulf of a digital age. Now, flash forward 10 years, that awe is still there, but what its shown me is that we are closer to each other than we ever could have imagined. I can reach friends in India that I went to high school with or just chat with my mother a state away via webcam. I’m also fascinated by friendship/networking websites that show how information can be shared

CB: What would you change about it?

BJ: I hate that we have to use it as an advertising tool. The fact so much whitespace/real estate is given to ads and pop ups, ugh, so irritating. Though, at the same time, I realize that those servers don’t pay for themselves for us to click all around. So its kind of like getting a flu shot; it stings and makes you groggy, but you have to deal with it.

CB: What technology has had the greatest impact on how you do your job?

BJ: I might have to come back and say its the internet. I need that ability to find my clients, talk to my clients, find other consultants, printers, manufacturers, etc… It also spreads my work. It shows the work I’ve accomplished for other clients, thus generating more visibility for LOUDESTink. The internet and a computer define my business career and life as a tool set I cannot part with.

CB: Who has influenced or helped you the most in your career?

BJ: Influence. This is a two fold response, an old/new matchup. It might sound cliché a bit, but I’ve been reading about Andrew Carnegie recently and have taken some true points from him. The biography by David Nasaw is a brick of 896 pages. There are some great points to be taken from a man turning in true American fashion from rags to riches. Even through the legality of pre insider trading, the man wasn’t just a businessman, there was intellect, ego, and compassion in that man. On the other side, honestly, Martha Stewart. I’ve been reading a lot about her and her small biography/small-business book she wrote while in prison. The woman is a maverick (does it still hurt to use that word now?) in how she blazed a trail for herself, other women, and other business persons. It honestly is, “A good thing.”

Help. Wouldn’t the easiest answer be my parents, telling me I’m brilliant and beautiful at every step? True they have been supportive, but in blunt honesty they tell me when my shit stinks and I respect and love them so much for that. They listen, the comment, they roll their eyes, but they also remind me of why I do what I do and why I wake up every morning when I need that sort of love.

CB: You divide your time between traveling for on-site photoshoots, doing design with LOUDEST ink LLC and managing and promoting Rock Your Resume. Do you have a short attention span or what? Do you give equal attention to each venture, or does one take priority over another at different times?

BJ: They tested me for ADD, but no. No luck there. I’m just a very focused and very varied person. I feel in the realm of design, we’re not just print designers, or makers, or painters. Its about vision and its about breadth of experience. Our brains can be such multi-faceted objects, why sit and let so many parts be defined by how you approach a project every day. I feel the photoshoots that I do give me time away from a desk. They allow me to show a perspective I take on for those clients, an eye that they want to see. Yet that also ties in with my graphic design work with LOUDEST ink. It gives me more energy to return to projects, but also, my eye becomes trained to physically “see” other things that I might miss or have missed if I looked at the same problem over and over. With that idea of always wanting something new, I launched Rock Your Resume. I took a talent of typography and type setting and used it to help others. Doing something that benefits individuals in-terms-of legibility and aesthetics, but also in self esteem and self worth, it gives you those good vibes when you work.

For timing it all, it ebbs and flows. Some seasons I’m out of control busy with photography and need more design hands, but thats why I made a part-time staff. I have an assistant who understands how I shoot, what my vision is and how to accomplish that. We balance that work, the shoots, and the editing process together. Same thing with LOUDEST ink and Rock Your Resume. I do have to rely on my other members of the design team when I physically can’t be there for everything. I make sure to over see every point and all work before it goes out the door. I guess that is micro managing, but I won’t have LOUDEST’s name just on anything for the payment. I’m hired for the strength of the work and for the LOUDEST voice. I refuse to have a client not get the volume and quality they came to me for.

CB: What makes you uniquely suited to your roles with LOUDEST ink LLC and Rock Your Resume?

BJ: My vision and my drive makes me uniquely suited for both of my ventures. Its what I see in design and in getting a clients need to another level. Its the want to make them stand out from the crowd, to diverge from the heard, to strengthen their goals, and achieve in ways they don’t know how to accomplish alone. My drive for them is what they want and what they need. Thats pushing the gas and using the loudspeaker.

CB: What are some new ways that youve been experimenting with marketing online, particularly with Rock Your Resume?

BJ: The usuals we all have tried. I started with Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and actually found those to be a complete waste of money. Nothing gave a kickback, and nothing actually led to a sale. Recently, Rock Your Resume has signed 100 new clients in 6 months through word of mouth only. My new strategy is all blog-oriented, both my own and others. Putting information out there and getting seen. Not just a posted ad, but asking people if what I did was helpful, having them to talk about it. Its more about dialogue, as all job searching and hunting is. The job is the end goal, but you have to converse before you get it, through the interview process, and after you get it with those talents. The goal isn’t just signing the contract for work, but strengthening what you have before and what you learn after its attained.

CB: If you had one sentence to pitch your latest and greatest idea, what would it be?

BJ: I’m not here to sell you anything new; I’m here to take what we have and make it better.

CB: I believe that everyone has a specific and unique talent that comes in handy at just the right time. It might be something most people know about you or something very few know. What is your super-power?

BJ: Blunt honesty.

CB: If the worlds technological and economic systems were to collapse and revert society to locally-focused, agrarian communities, what role would you assume?

BJ: I would become a cook. I love cooking. I do it all day when I’m home working. I’ll do some design work, start cooking something, and go back and forth. Who am I kidding, sometimes I’ll forget all about work and make something complicated and drop what I’m doing. If all technology would vanish I’d be happy as a clam figuring what to cook and selecting the ingredients. I love the physicality of making the food, tasting it all, cutting it up, mixing it all, and then sharing it. Being able to bring people together makes me happy enough as it is, so the cook I would be.

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