Updated: Sep 27, 2021
Brian Burke is the Founder and CEO of SellYourMac.com, a privately owned re-Commerce and IT Asset Transition Service company, which is committed to reusing, repurposing and recycling used Apple products.
Brian is not just a Business leader, he is an innovative brand tactician, who has organically grown his company using social media and Search Engine Optimisation. His brand's affinity for blue is a great example of how to create brand awareness by making yourself stand out from the crowd.
In our interview with Brian, we explore his entrepreneurial journey and his strategies for attracting and engaging followers on social media.
Hello Brian. Thank you for participating in this Q&A session. We would like to start by exploring your origin story. Please give us an overview of your background and career?
Brian: I am the Chief Mac Man of SellYourMac.com (SYM), the world’s most trusted and highest rated Apple trade-in company. SYM has paid out $44M+ and has helped over 100,000 customers. I loves helping individuals and organizations stay up to date on their Apple products. As a lifelong learner, I am a Sommelier, an Apple Certified Mac Technician, a Notary Public, an Ordained Minister, and a Certified Scuba Diver.
I am passionate about empowering underprivileged students through gifting Apple technology. I believe gifting them a Mac can truly change their lives, their outlook on the world, and their future job prospects.
What key challenges have you faced in your entrepreneurial journey, and how have you navigated these?
Brian: The tipping point for SYM was when we were a victim of fraud at multiple points for significant amounts. One time we were frauded buying new Apple products from a reseller in the amount of $100k. We wired the money and the order simply didn’t arrive. Later, I found out the seller tried to kill himself and was in the mental hospital. I had to work my butt off to make back the money and keep the business going. Fortunately I had saved enough money to continue operations and pay my team.
Another time we wired $200k to someone we thought was a trusted supplier for down payment on a large iPhone purchase. Turns out that he rewired the funds and was scammed from the person selling to him. We filed a lawsuit and won in Australia, but the seller fled the country and ended up in Egypt. We decided it wasn’t worth spending money to track him down and recapture these funds.
These large write offs significantly hurt cash flow and I had to borrow debt to continue the business after the fraud. It took 4 years to pay back the loan for the $250k from the second fraud and legal fees. I learned to only pay for deals from non long time clients with my AMEX or PayPal to be protected from fraud. Anyone legitimate will let you pay with a credit card if you pay the fees. If not, it is likely a scam.
What’s the origin story behind your company SellYourMac.com?
Brian: Upon college graduation, I returned home to Cincinnati and started doing sales on Ebay from peoples junk. That quickly morphed into a focus on cell phones after I landed a 70 phone deal from a car dealership. I sold those for a healthy profit. Then I started making contacts with local Verizon resellers to purchase the old phones people would trade in. I began ibuycells.com as another inbound product funnel. I sold all the phones on Ebay and continued to build my eBay acumen as a Top Rated Seller.
As the phone market started to become less lucrative, I pivoted into buying and selling Apple products. My true love and passion had always been Apple products, and this quickly proved to be a good business. I was doing arbitrage sales on eBay, buying a Mac and reselling it on the same channel with better photos, better description, and a warranty garnering a healthy margin. When I realized I was consistently staying up until late into the AM to search for the best “buy it now” deals on Macs, I knew there had to be a better way.
This was when I envisioned SellYourMac.com (SYM) as my new inbound lead generation for Apple products. I built the site and turned it into the #1 most organic website on google when people search for “sell Mac” and similar terms. SYM is now the World’s highest rated Apple Buyback service.
What makes SellYourMac’s value propositions unique when compared to its competitors?
Brian: SYM will continuously improve the Apple trade-in process, making it faster, safer and easier for our customers. We do this by offering honest and genuine support to our customers, earning us #1 ranking for world’s most trusted and highest independently rated Apple trade-in company.
What originally attracted you to the Influencer Industry and why?
Brian: I love inspiring others, and being a trusted influencer is a great way to do that! I feel empowered to help more people!
How did you build a following of 37k on LinkedIn?
Brian: Consistent organic growth. Been posting daily on LinkedIn for 2 years now, and being unique with my blue suit and personality helps a lot.
How would you describe the content you create on LinkedIn?
Brian: I post inspiring content, Apple related content, LinkedIn tips, and family posts. Always authentic and trying to break the stigma around sharing family/kid content. My kids love making videos with me!
What process do you go through to ensure that the content you post is ethically considerate?
Brian: I review my content from the audience perspective to always try to make it more inclusive.
Before concluding this interview, what advice do you have for entrepreneurs and business leaders, on how to create engaging content on LinkedIn?
Brian: The Law of Reciprocity. Give to others and show them value without expecting it immediately in return. Build relationships. Engage with others. Show kindness and support. Post authentic content, and don't be afraid to be unique!
Thank you Brian for participating in this Q&A session, and we wish you all the best. Thank you!