The Brand Doctor Henry Kaminski Jr. joins me to talk about how he leveled up his business and stopped competing on price. He also shares business breakthroughs about branding, focus and values. Find out why he says branding really is about subtraction.
Henry Kaminski Jr. is the founder of Unique Designz, a full-service design branding and digital marketing agency that is dedicated to helping personality brands, coaches, consultants, influencers, speakers and authors design and grow their brands scale their profits and increase their exposure online.
He is the author of the Amazon bestseller Refuse to Give Up. He’s also host of the popular Brand Doctor podcast, where he talks about strategies that help entrepreneurs design reputable and profitable personal brands.
As a self-taught graphic designer and brand consultant, he’s overcome all the odds to build a wildly successful multimillion dollar business over the past 12 years. He has worked with a diverse range of business owners and professionals including celebrities like Jon Bon Jovi and Fabio Viviani, as well as internet marketing expert Russell Brunson, who named Henry the million-dollar brander and recently has been inducted into to the Click Funnels Two Comma Club by generating over $1 million with one single sales funnel using the Click Funnels software.
Colleen Gratzer: Brand Doctor in the house—Henry Kaminski—and a fellow pitbull lover. Welcome to the podcast, Henry. It’s great to have you here.
Henry Kaminski Jr.: What is going on, Colleen?
Colleen: So I thought we’d start out with a couple of fun questions.
Colleen: Number 1 is, would you rather see the future or change the past?
Henry: Future all day.
Colleen: Really? Okay. Why is that?
Henry: Because the past is the past. It’s over. I can’t do anything with it anymore. So I’m just gonna let it be.
Colleen: Okay. And then number 2 is would you rather wrestle a lion or fight a shark?
Henry: Um, I think I could take the shark.
Henry: I’m not quite sure I could take the lion.
Colleen: Well, the shark has a bigger mouth.
Henry: But I think I can knock the shark out of his misery a lot faster than the lion. The lion’s got four paws to deal with. And the shark’s just got one mouth to try to figure out how to how to get me.
Colleen: You said in an early episode of your podcast that you made $248,000 in the first year. That is totally amazing. I wanted to ask you, what do you think contributed to that success?
Henry: Oh, man, straight hustle and focus. You know, back in the day, I was not a great designer. I will be honest with you, Colleen. My designs were frickin’ awful. They were gross. I look back and I’m like, oh, my God, people actually hired me.
But the one thing that I never ever gave up on was my ability to be self-aware and what I did see, the reason why people were hiring me is because I was really fast. It might not have been the best design. But at the time when I was working in the nightclub industry and all the club promoters were very adamant about getting things back fast, so they can get it out there and make more money. I dialed into that, and I just spoke to that.
I drummed up a lot of business very quickly. I just stayed focused on that. Then just, I worked 20 hour days, Colleen, it was awful.
Colleen: Oh, I get it.
Henry: Right? But that’s what I attribute it to—just focusing in on what my customers really valued and not focusing in on my deficiency. I was like, listen, if I do enough of these, I’m eventually going to get good. So just keep going, and 13 years later, here I am.
Colleen: Well, Henry, that kind of ties into something that you’ve said about people buy your level of caring, not your product or service.
Henry: Yeah, well, you know, I’m a firm believer in that. But also you have to have a good product or service too. Your product can’t suck. Your service can’t suck, because your personality is going to get you so far, right? You’ve still got to deliver quality service and a result for your customer.
But I will tell you, again, back when I was starting out, I was not very skilled in design. But I always had a full client roster because I really cared about my customers. The other thing was… actually, I take that back, okay.
As I got more mature in my entrepreneurial career, I realized that if you’re going to serve a higher-quality customer, meaning they’re going to pay you a lot more, right, they’re going to want to connect with you as a person first, than really care about the product or service deliverable first. I think that has helped me tremendously throughout my career is to put myself out there and be absolutely vulnerable. So…
Colleen: Like in what way?
Henry: Yeah, so, you know, 2017 was a very hard year for me. I lost… I went into $40,000 in debt. I had to refund $40,000 worth of client work because my processes and systems inside my business were not existent. I had two big projects go to hell in a handbasket.
I spoke publicly about how that all went down and left no rock unturned because I did not want anybody else to go through that mess that I went through. That built a lot of trust and rapport and credibility with my audience online.
I could share with you and another example that I literally recorded from one of my Brand Accelerator clients. I asked him when he came on board, I said, “Why? What made you decide to move forward with me?” And he said, “Well, it wasn’t just one thing.” He said, “One, you’re very savvy with Click Funnels. I’m not. I need your help. Two, you won the Two Comma Club Award.
Henry: …which is when you have a Click Funnel that has generated over a million dollars in revenue. He’s like, “But, lastly, I think what really put me over the top was one you’re a dad, and two, your videos are extremely vulnerable.”
Now here’s a former military guy who was trained to see through bullshit.
Henry: And he said, “I connected with your videos on a personal level, which really built up a lot of trust with me.” And he said, “Lastly, on your website, there are über amounts of success stories.”
That put me over the edge. So I would not be able to get all of that if I didn’t care about my customers. I do truly believe that the more you care, the more they will share.
Colleen: Yeah, that’s true. So what was your journey like when it comes to gaining deep knowledge of branding and marketing?
Henry: Yeah, that’s a good question. So the first eight years of my career, I did not do any study really. I just kind of learned throughout the way. If I got stuck, I would like YouTube it, right? It was all self-taught. I never went to formal art school or anything like that.
Then as I got more mature and I hit sort of a rough patch back in 2010 or 2011, where I just got sick of it. I just got sick of what I was doing. I wasn’t happy designing. I wasn’t happy with my clients. I just wasn’t happy with anything.
I realized that if I don’t level up the value that I am delivering to my customers, I will always have low-paying customers.
I was sick and tired of it because they were like bottom feeders.
Colleen: Yeah, ugh.
I was competing on price, and I was getting destroyed.
I finally said, enough’s enough. I need to level up my standards and go in on heavy education. So what I did was I paid to play. I didn’t have a lot of money back then. But I spent every nickel I had on coaching. I spent $10,000 with Russell Brunson for a year, then later on, once I made that money back, spent another $25,000 on his coaching and then eventually I started charging those those prices because I felt like I knew enough, and the value that I was delivering was way more than what I was charging.
Henry: And it all paid off at the end, so… But I studied the greats. I got around the greats. I paid to be in the same room as the greats. They started to rub off on me.
Colleen: Well, they say… What is it saying? You’re gonna be most like the five people that you hang around the most or something?
Henry: That is so true. It’s so true.
Colleen: Now you started a niche consultancy for sports brands, right?
Henry: I did. But we’re actually pausing that for now, because we want to focus on the 80% of clients that we typically serve on a regular basis. We do have some NFL clients, that play for the NFL. We’re helping them build their social media and helping them build out their charity foundations and things like that. But my sole purpose is not to focus on specific professional athletes any longer.
This was a very recent pivot to. We see another community that needs our help, and we’re going to go all in on that community.
Colleen: So how did you decide to target them as opposed to others?
Henry: Yeah, so the reason why we started targeting professional athletes was: 1) I aligned with their their values. I consider myself a professional athlete in the funnel architecture space, in the digital marketing space, so we align.
The way we see the world, these guys are go-getters. They’re not going to give up. They’re going to scrap that out until they make it to the top. They are going to do whatever it takes. That’s my philosophy.
And, I’m not sugarcoating anything here.
You need to target an audience that is willing and able to pay for your service.
Henry: Right? So they’re able to do both. That’s the reason why we chose them.
Now, why we pivoted so quickly was because we were like literally starting from scratch in that niche. No matter how much design background or branding background or digital marketing background I have… You start a new niche and you’re like starting from from zero.
Henry: I realized that professional athletes were not interested in branding services. They were not. They were interested in social media growth. That’s it. How do I get a million followers on Instagram? All I care about.
Colleen: Yeah, I guess that also supports like any sponsorships they get too, to grow their following.
Henry: Yeah, yeah. But what I realized was that’s not like… I’ve grown my social media accounts. I’ve grown a few of my other clients social media accounts, but it’s not a service that we offer.
We want to develop brands. We want to create funnels that convert visitors to paying customers. We want to help people get their vision, mission and message out to the right people. And we have a very systematic process in doing that.
I have countless case studies on my website to showcase that we’re successful at doing this.
So if I were to divert and start serving pro athletes on just helping them get more followers, it’s going to take away from what we do really, really well, and I’m not willing to do that.
Colleen: Yeah, that’s great because so many designers want to do whatever the client has available for them in terms of work instead of focusing on what they really want to do, and can really hone in on and then charge more for that.
Henry: Right. I mean, it’s a perfect… If you ever read the book Built to Sell…
Colleen: I love that book!
Colleen: Oh my god, it was life changing.
Henry: It’s fantastic. Now, you know, when I read it, I said to myself, I don’t know if I ever want to sell this business.
Henry: I honestly don’t know because I really love what I do, Colleen. Even when I am not in the mood, which we all get those days, I still am happy with what I do and the clients that I serve and the freedom that I have. I am not going to let anything divert me from doing what I love to do, right?
That goes for clients too, especially clients that pay really well. I don’t care about the money anymore. Honest to God, hands up. All right.
I’ve turned down multiple projects recently because they weren’t aligned with my values, and they weren’t what we do best.
Henry: I refuse to work with people with scarcity mindset. I refuse to work with people that don’t believe in their own product or service. I don’t want to work with people that are trying to make a fast buck. Those are not my people.
My people want to make an impact. They want to make this world a better place. They are committed to building a brand that they are proud of that is going to make a difference. Those are my people.
Colleen: And so when you talk to them, when you’re looking for new clients, what conversations are you having? Whether it’s like posts on social media or initial calls ,what is your process for that? What are you saying to them to…? Are they usually coming to you and they know what kind of a problem they have?
Henry: Yeah, so they’re all coming to me, and to sort of weed out the folks that aren’t truly committed, we’ve raised my introductory consultation fee by 50%. Well, we doubled it, and we actually get more consults now than we ever did. Go figure. That’s qualification process number 1.
Qualification process number 2 is taking them through a series of questions. They don’t call me the Brand Doctor for nothing, Colleen. I go through a very thorough diagnosis on that call to determine whether or not they’re going to be a good fit for us. Yeah, but also determined whether or not our services are going to help them.
They may be in the infancy stages, where they may not be able to afford us. They may not be ready for what we offer, and we have to send them on their way or point them in the right direction.
But we go through a very clear set of questions to help them get the clarity and focus they need to see whether or not we’re going to be a good fit for them. Then they either are or they’re not. And there’s, it’s not good or bad.
Henry: It doesn’t make a difference, right? I’d rather them go through a program that they’re confident in, they’re comfortable with and that’s going to get them the result that they’re looking for. Whether that’s mine or not.
Colleen: Right, and how do you see brand strategy and storytelling for brands evolving in the near future?
Henry: I think it’s an absolute must. I think the days of throwing shit against the wall and seeing if it sticks are over. We don’t have that runway anymore. We don’t have that room for error anymore.
Henry: So I would advise anybody that is in the process of rebranding or getting into business or has an existing business that they want to scale it online to never underestimate the power of planning and strategy.
I always say these silly stories like, are you gonna jump on a plane with a pilot that smells like booze that gets on the mic and says, “You know what, guys? I forgot to put it submit my plans today. We’re gonna get up there and we’re gonna wing it to LA. Hold on tight. Hopefully we get there in five hours.”
Colleen: Well, I’m not getting on the plane in the first place.
Henry: Colleen doesn’t fly. But you’re not getting on that plane. You’re not getting on that plane.
Henry: The other example is, and I use this one more often, is you walk into a doctor’s office. Before you can say two words, he rubs your shoulder and says, “You know what, we’re going into surgery tomorrow.” Are you going?
Henry: The third example is you’re going to war. Are you not going to sit down with the general and map out a plan prior to getting on the battlefield? You’re dead if you don’t do that.
Henry: So it’s the same thing for business. You know, I preach now, but I wish, I wish I had the service that I deliver when I was starting out. I would be doing this interview from my hundred-foot yacht if I did.
Then storytelling is very, very important because that’s how we as human beings digest information the best.
Colleen: Hmm, true.
If we can get really good at storytelling, you are going to captivate an audience and grab their attention like no other. And that’s what this game is all about these days, capturing people’s attention.
I hope that was a good answer.
Colleen: Yeah, that was great. That was great.
Henry: I hope that was helpful.
Colleen: So, Henry, did focusing help you scale your business.
Henry: Oh, yeah. Listen, that key for that phrase, or that cliche, quote, “The riches are in the niches are.” It’s so true, Colleen, it’s so true.
Henry: I had tons of digital products. I had about 11 digital products at one time.
Henry: I had a group coaching program, I had my course… Okay, so I had all of that, and then my Brand Accelerator program, which was my core offer, right? That’s the high-ticket offer. That’s the one-on-one and done-for-you stuff.
It was so hard to market all of that stuff to my ideal client, because my ideal client does not want a $30 ebook. They don’t want $150 Instagram training. They don’t want any of that shit.
So what I decided to do early this year in 2020, was to get rid of all of it. All of it. All I kept was my course and the Brand Accelerator program and the Brand Yourself course. Those are the only two offers that I sell now. And business is booming.
Colleen: Isn’t it funny how that works like that?
Henry: Right? So funny.
Branding really is about subtraction, not adding. If you aren’t going to add something, what are you going to subtract?
So I’ve gotten religious with that. But now I have a very simple offering, and we are closing more Brand Accelerator clients than ever before. I believe that it’s because I have eliminated the distractions. We simplified the site simplified my message, focus only on this one specific type of client that we like to serve. Everything’s getting so much easier.
Henry: So I wish I would have known that 13 years ago.
Colleen: I know. Me too!
Okay, so now you have a video series, right?
Henry: I put together a four-part video series. Let me break this down for you because I think your audience is going to appreciate why I did this.
I had this 26-minute video that was basically a webinar that showcased my backstory, and also showcased three really awesome case studies that I worked with in the past. One was Bon Jovi. One was Russell Brunson. One was an awesome dude by the name of Adam Wenning who’s like a phenomenal internet marketer who just goes on to crush everything that he sets out to do—young guy, really, really sharp guy. Then there was another client Brenda Shapiro out in Canada, who we helped literally double her business by working with half of the amount of people that she typically works with.
We put that in a case study video that was 26 minutes long. But as we watched the analytics, we saw that right after my seven-minute backstory 75% of people stopped watching the video.
Henry: They didn’t even get to the case studies. So I was like, well, how do we figure this out?
I thought of Netflix right away. People will binge watch a 30-minute show or a series. They’ll sit there for three hours if they can chew off little 30-minute episodes, right? I said, alright, how do we do this?
I went to my video editor, I said, here’s a 26-minute video, I want you to chop it up in four. I want you to leave cliffhangers at the end of every video with a call to action that points them to the next video.
We doubled the viewership.
Henry: We got more consultation calls than ever.
Henry: So there’s the story behind that. Now I just send people to the landing page that has the four videos on them and they can actually pick which ones they want to watch. You should watch it in order because it’ll make more sense, right? But they can they can watch the the Russell Brunson case study, they can watch the Bon Jovi case study and be out if they want, right?
We’ve been driving a lot of traffic to there and people are just getting to know, like, and trust me a lot more now that they’re watching all four videos, and our revenues are showing that this was a smart move.
Colleen: That’s amazing. So where can they find these videos?
Henry: So if you go to UniqueDesignz.net (with a Z at the end, not an S), and you scroll down, just right underneath the fold, you’ll see “How Henry Helps His Clients Scale Their Businesses.” You just put in your name and email and you’ll get access to this four-video series.
Colleen: All right, well, thanks, Henry, for being on the podcast. It’s really been a pleasure.
Henry: Colleen, thanks for having me.