MILLI MOGUL MOVES | Brandon E. Miller

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If you know how to play Chess, shout out to YOU!

Some people are taught how the pieces are moved and what the aim of the game is, then there are people who teach you how to achieve that aim so you're not left with your own devices to figure it out.

People like Brandon Miller—a Senior Information Technology Consultant, Co-Author of The Intersection Book, Entrepreneur, Branding Coach, and Philanthropist—understand the mechanics of the game along with the various strategic concepts and finds ways to apply them in real life scenarios.


My greatest value to others is that with everything I do (outside or within my 9-5), I always make sure it’s bigger than me.
— Brandon E. Miller

In these real-life scenarios, Brandon has been able to improve his mental abilities,  such as problem-solving, critical thinking, planning ahead, spiritual awareness, focus, and concentration, all while holding down his Be Great brand (Brand, an apparel and motivational branding collective that encourages others’ to be the greatest version of themselves), Too Fly Foundation (a non-profit whose vision is to creatively raise funds for passports, tools, and resources to aid in helping students in underserved communities to travel abroad), speaking engagements, The Black Burdell (a nonprofit focused on promoting, supporting, and cultivating African American entrepreneurs) creative campaigns and so much more! If you ever watch his Instagram stories, it doesn’t even make sense of how he’s been able to do such amazing work when every other slide is him catching a flight. Needless to say, we’ve been intrigued with Brandon for a minute. And during this dope TMB Milli Mogul interview, his humbleness and down to earth personality reassured we made the right choice! (Hey Cousin! Cause we’re all cool cool now lol)


What’s the most interesting thing about you we wouldn’t know from your online presence?

Brandon: I am a SUPER introvert and a plant person! My weekends are literally 80% me on my couch watching Netflix with my plants—chillin'. Everyone thinks I’m this extreme extrovert and always in the mix... and that’s not the case.

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?

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Brandon: I travel a lot and I get flight anxiety (yes, as much as I fly). So I always try to sit in an aisle seat. A woman on the plane thought I was an Actor/Entertainer and asked if I was in the movie Girls Trip? I just went with it and spent an hour acting like I was the actor Kofi!



Was there a significant moment in your life that changed your pathway leading you here today?

Brandon: Yes—There are two moments. I talk about the first one a lot; In college, I was a super overachiever, involved in everything. I was President of an organization leading all these different initiatives and I got to the point where I burnt myself out, had anxiety attacks, and couldn’t get out of bed. I then realized the importance of doing what you're truly passionate about—doing things you are interested in and not just for clout.

The second was while talking to my dad about work life. I developed a professional relationship with him. He taught me how to navigate the workplace as a Black man. He taught me how to play the game, look out for your own self-interest & and own your career. He helped me realize the importance of having people around that have been through what you went through and leveraging that mentorship.

Who would you say is your biggest influence or role model in life? … why?

Brandon: It would definitely be my dad. Just his ability to do it all. He taught me about defining your personal brand and owning your responsibilities as head of a household. It became even more palpable over the last few years. He traveled during the week and still coached my football team and always made my games. He set me up financially and supports me with everything I do. He has always donated or invested in some capacity.

Describe yourself as a leader? What makes you a great leader?

Brandon: Three adjectives that describe my leadership would be strategic, ideator, & empowerer.

On the strategic, I am always playing chess. Our generation is always looking for “microwave success”. Everything that I do I try to do in a strategic way. Like the way I use hashtags and imagery. I always try to use it in a way to set up plays for the future.

Ideator. If you’re on my team we are brainstorming and thinking of as many ideas as possible. I love throwing everything on a wall and seeing what sticks and what can be moved around.

Empowerer. I’m strong-willed. If I’m working with you I want to empower you to take leadership. I want to empower you to have that confidence and feel empowered.


 

Per TMB fashion, we wanted to know more on how Brandon conducts his businesses so YOU could get valuable insight within your own businesses!

 

Tell us a bit more about your Too Fly Foundation… it’s such an amazing concept! How was it birthed and why?

Brandon: It had periods of transition. Started off as a fun way to give back. Initiative for a lifestyle blog geared towards millennials right out of college. We traveled a lot, we partied and we were like, “we are doing all this traveling and partying... let’s do it for a cause.” That's how it was born.

As for me and my co-founders, Bola & Brian, and our passion for both travel and pouring back into the younger community, we learned the importance of what studying abroad and volunteering abroad has on education. We wanted to make sure we provided equal attention and resources to both fundraising and youth & enrichment, and the education side. So we do a lot of events and workshops in local schools teaching kids how to travel and study abroad.

Click Here to find out more about Too Fly Foundation!

 

What’s your value proposition? basically, Why should people spend money and time on your products or services?

Brandon: My greatest value to others is that with everything I do (outside or within my 9-5), I always make sure it’s bigger than me. To impact an audience bigger than me. Nothing self-serving.  I've rebranded myself and put the focus on as a change agent philanthropist & motivator. Whether it’s the Black Burdell or Too Fly Foundation, those are solely about giving back to our community, especially those in underserved communities and generations after. Also, everything that I do with the Be Great brand… always about telling our stories and highlighting different millennial minority communities and brands, and some way pouring back into someone else.


What do you do to connect with the right people to execute your vision?

Brandon: I've always found that if you're walking in your purpose and doing what's right, you’re doing what you are passionate about… the right people will connect with you. I am always moving in my passion and being authentic.

As an example: I was speaking on a panel at Microsoft and I wasn't talking about by non-profit or extracurriculars. I just mentioned that I started the Too Fly Foundation and 6 or 7 people came up to me afterwards because they could tell how passionate I was about it—They wanted to get involved. They asked me how they could donate, or if I needed help to write grants. I'm like, “I didn't ask for any of this.”

Tactical advice: Find communities that everyone isn't flocking to. I wanted to learn more about artificial intelligence and diversity inclusion so I went to Meetup.com and got into communities of people who didn't look and speak like me. Diversify where you're going and who you're talking to.


How well does your organization utilize it’s people as an asset to help it improve, stay competitive, and strategically meet goals?

Brandon: We spend too much time trying to compensate for or improve our weaknesses. For me, If I have a weakness I don't even try to work on it. I find people that can fit into those gaps for me. 80/20 rule - 20% of your time, 20% of your resources, 20% of your energy… focusing on the right 20% will yield an 80% profit, increase or improvement. I try to focus on my strength in that 20% bucket. I also have the mentality of we rise by lifting others.

If I'm working on a project, campaign or my personal brand. I want to work with other people and help them improve their craft and help them get on a platform to showcase their photography, videography, modeling or design capabilities. By doing that I know I’ll get their best work. If they do their best work that means my campaign will be all the better for it. So it's focusing on strategic collaboration, and working with authentic passionate people. By elevating them you'll elevate yourself w.e project or brand you are working on.


Regarding your consulting services: Based on your knowledge of current efforts to promote your services, what are the major internal barriers to selling your services to clients?

Brandon: I had to get over the perfectionist syndrome. I spent so much time and energy to make sure I was perfect before getting in front of a client or trying to be perfect before talking to a client, or the deliverables I’m giving to a client… I had to get over that.

The caveat is, perfectionism and quality are two different things. You should always deliver quality, but you do not have to be perfect. Once I took the perfectionist barrier down and was more of myself, comfortable, authentic, I could connect on a personal level. Your clients become trusted relationships--Now you're working for a friend/partner that is paying you. If you can transcend from a client relationship to a trusted advisor relationship then you have the client for the long haul.


Tell us about a time you used data to make a decision for your business:

Brandon: I’d say I use data all the time. I'm always collecting information. I look at who's viewing my stories, when they view it, what hashtags they are clicking on. What type of format of my stories resonates with people. I'm always informally collecting data looking at cause and effect with all of my business. From hard data perspectives, I'm shifting into that space. I'm a creative by passion, an engineer by education { I went to school for engineering} so I'm always at odds as to how deep in data do I go? I don't like digging into data but I see the value you in it. Brandon:

 
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BRANDON’S ADVICE

Towards the end of the interview we asked Brandon to provide some MILLI focus tips to help us all elevate our mindsets.

 

What are the most important skills or characteristics you believe needed to succeed?

Brandon: Empathy & emotional intelligence. Understanding how to resonate with people. How to read and understand the motives and the passion of people your working with. And who you're trying to influence.

The ability to bridge gaps/make connections with people unlike you (different generation, race or gender). We are so social media and technology focus we forget how to make connections with people.

The ability to be self-aware. We get so lost in the sauce trying to be the next influencer, mogul, the next Diddy, Jay-z or Beyonce. We get misaligned with who we really are.


What are the biggest challenges you think millennials are facing when they have a brand?

Brandon: Misalignment on what success looks like. We as generation a lot of people views success as a certain financial place. Usually when it comes to cash flow. How much cash does my business or I have… Some are starting to shift their thinking. But think as a generation we don't have measurements for success when it comes to our personal well being for emotional and connection to family, loved one and friends. So when it comes to true money the concept of wealth is not the cash definition. How to invest, how to participate in strategic investment or real estate—that will truly generate generational wealth. Few are starting to understand but as a generation, it's still a conversation that needs to be made.

Everyone hopes to leave behind a legacy after they pass on. So, what would you want your tombstone to say?

“Came great. Left GREATful.”

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This Milli Mogul remembers that even though you consider yourself a King or Queen, you have other pieces playing the game that will help you win in life. You don't have to rely on one single plan to make the right moves towards a win.

Brandon reminds us that we have to be the change we want to see in this world. We have to be proactive and unafraid to assert ourselves into the very depths that frustrate and allure us all together. He also reminds us—just like a plant (because he’s a #plantdad)—once you plant the seed, with proper care and maintenance, you will grow.

To learn more about Brandon Miller & to support his amazing efforts, please refer to the links below!

http://www.brandonemiller.com/

https://www.instagram.com/thatguybmills/

https://twitter.com/ThatGuyBMills

https://www.linkedin.com/in/brandonemiller/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCChu4YXe79Lq9FNFMG8vZCw