Brian Schulman is the Founder and CEO of Voice Your Vibe™. He is a Forbes featured Entrepreneur and was ranked as one of Linkedin's Top Voice of 2018
He has 22 years of enterprise experience leading organizations and helping clients solve complex business problems, which included achieving goals with cutting edge digital marketing solutions.
Some of his clients include global organizations such as Allstate, Chrysler, AT&T/BellSouth, Research In Motion, Jockey International, Bare Necessities, SpaFinder and Crain Communications as well as domestic F500 corporations such as Sara Lee, Northern Trust, AON Corporation, Pulte Homes, Marshall & IIsley Corporation, Newell Rubbermaid, and Accenture.
Hello Brian. Thank you for participating in this Q&A session. Please give us an overview of your background and career influences?
Brian: I have been fortunate to have many great role models, who have given me the privilege of sharing their experience with me, as I built and grew start-ups for the last 20+ years, helping others achieve their goals. I have been influenced and learned from every person with whom I have ever interacted. There have been people who taught me what to do, what not to do, who reminded me what was important, who talked me off ledges, and people who pushed me when I needed it.
All that being said, it took me a fair amount of time to realize the influence and impact I had on my journey. It is not that I knew better or was smarter than anyone who had supported me along the way. Far from it! I would never have made it to the place I am today without their generosity, for which, I know I can never fully express my gratitude and appreciation.
I was the one who had to live with the consequences of every decision I made after considering the advice of others.
I have failed more than I have succeeded, but I have succeeded because I failed.
Too often, we do not give ourselves credit for our triumphs, intuition, insights, choices, failures, and how they give us the perspective we have. I have seen clients struggle after making decisions that they didn’t fully believe in or lacked belief in themselves. Once any of us take action and see the impact it has, we begin to wholy believe we can fly and have what it takes to succeed. LinkedIn was one of those steps for me and has shaped my journey.
LinkedIn has opened doors and ‘introduced’ me to some of the most incredible humans I have ever known, taking me around the world. Because of the impact I have had on the platform, I was named “The King of Community” by Forbes, an honor I don’t take lightly. I created the hashtag #LinkedinFam movement, which has and continues to connect millions of people around the world. There are other awards and accolades, but really, I am so humbled every time to be recognized for shining the light on others, creating communities, and radiating positive vibes.
Along my journey, I have been given the honor of being invited to the beta programs of LinkedIn Pulse (publishing articles on LinkedIn), LinkedInVideo, LinkedInLIVE and LinkedIn Stories, among others. Each time unbeknownst to me, I was instrumental in creating the continued growth of the platform I love, which has given me so much, and I have been a part of from almost day one of its existence, the magnitude of which is still hard for me to comprehend.
What key challenges have you faced in your entrepreneurial journey, and how have you navigated these?
Brian: I have failed way more than I have succeeded, and to me, success is every step you take in the journey, whether you are falling backwards or forwards.
Growing is in the struggle, in the discomfort of being in the unknown and navigating it with faith, grit, and the desire to succeed. The belief that every failure gifts you with a lesson learned - and therein lies the success.
In the second book in a 13 book collaborative series, “The 13 Steps To Riches”, based on Napoleon Hill’s classic, “Think And Grow Rich”, I recount how taking risks and having faith within the unknown was one of the most difficult things I have done, and one of the biggest keys to my success.
Never underestimate the power of others seeing in you, what you do not yet see in yourself. There is tremendous power in believing in yourself, what you are creating, the community surrounding you, supporting you, lifting you, and creating a safe space to be yourself.
Where did the idea for your company “Voice Your Vibe” come from?
Brian: Everyone has a voice and a story that matters, a voice and story that can, and will, positively affect and impact another human being’s life, by sharing you and your story. I came into this world, as a preemie, at 1.5 pounds that wasn’t supposed to live, quite literally without a voice. I grew up with a neurological disorder called Tourette’s Syndrome (uncontrollable tics and twitches that you are not aware you are doing).
I endured being made fun of and being bullied daily because people thought I was weird and different. In fact, I did not find my voice and fully claim it until years later in life.
Voice Your Vibe is literally my life story, which, once I realized it, hit me like a ton of bricks. I did not think I had a story, I did not think that my story was remarkable or important, but I realized by sharing that story, that I did have a voice, I did have a story, and that story was profoundly impactful to others.
Sharing your story is not about you and it is not about your story. It is about the impact your story has on others. You never know what someone is going through. Sharing your story can impact someone when they most need it. 99% of us do not think we have a story that is worth sharing, but we all do, and Voice Your Vibe is about bringing those stories to light, to where other people can benefit from them.
Linkedin has been my digital home everyday for almost 18 years. My purpose for choosing LinkedIn to grow ‘Voice Your Vibe’ is and has always been to inspire one person a day. I didn’t know how I was going to do that, but I knew that was what I was going to do. It is the place that I began my journey and found my voice and a family I never knew I had. My goal was never to promote myself but to shine the light on others, to inspire others to show up, be themselves, get comfortable with being uncomfortable, because that is where the growth and magic happens, which has never ceased to be the guiding principle.
Additionally, who is your target market, and what is its unique value proposition?
Brian: The value is inherent in all of us. To define the target market would be difficult because my desire is to reach the hearts of everyone. Everyone benefits from being seen, heard and knowing they matter.
How did you build a following of 52k on LinkedIn?
Brian: One person at a time by getting to know them and by creating relationships. It’s about truly being invested in them as human beings, their success, their worries, what lights them up inside, and what means most to them. Whether it be 52k, 5k, 5m or 5, each person matters. Each person is more than a number and, in my way of thinking, and my heart, it’s about creating a connected community. It’s the heart of it all that matters. There are people behind the numbers. Never lose sight that we are talking about a human with a heartbeat. People forget that it is always one human being affecting/impacting the life of another, and there is no greater gift to give; or greater gift to receive. It is easy to get lost in the pressure of metrics, because we like and crave data, but that is not what matters. What matters, is people and impact. One life impacting the life of another.
How would you describe the content you create on LinkedIn?
Brian: I have been on the platform every day for the last 18 years creating content ever since you could. My “WHY” has always been to inspire one person a day. It was never about business for me. Heart first. Human first. I only create a video (1500+), a post, an article, etc, when I have been inspired by something or someone, otherwise it’s not genuine, authentic and real, therefore not me. I remain committed to creating content that uplifts, inspires, motivates, reminds people that they matter and that they are amazing.
My goal is to create positive energy/vibes, remind people they matter and give them hope. My content reflects the spirit of Voice Your Vibe and the purpose of my live shows. Maya Angelou said it best, “people may forget what you say, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” Voice Your Vibe is all about the “feels”.
Together, #ShoutOutSaturday (SOS) and #WhatsGoodWednesday (WGW) have aired for more than 350 live consecutive episodes. All SOS and WGW guests come directly from the audience and everyone is invited to join live.
These shows and their associated special events have had a global impact. There are countless stories of people coming on, sharing their story and leaving feeling supported and more hopeful. Many people who have watched or participated live on SOS or WGW have described how their lives have been transformed, often after their first experience.
Their praise focuses on the shows' emotional impact. The shows are widely viewed and touch the hearts of millions around the world. This is not only true for those who watch the show live, but for those who support through comments, and are part of the Positive Vibe Tribe. As a community that goes beyond the show, people connect on and off platforms, attend one another's events and appearances, and are always there for one another.
What process do you go through to ensure that the content you post is ethically considerate?
Brian: It’s the heart of it all that matters. The message is universal. It’s about reaching people so that they feel seen and heard, and have a safe place to come together. If you stick to those things, you can’t help but be ethically considerate. I am mindful of all the situations, circumstances, etc of our LinkedinFam and take great pride in making everyone feel included, supported, safe and welcome.
My content is inspired by my tribe, all of which is meant to lift and unburden people’s hearts. The purpose is to boost their spirits, ease their minds, create connection, encourage collaboration and build a family. Heart first. Human first. The Positive Vibe Tribe is made up of people around the world from all cultures, religions, socioeconomic backgrounds, with a wide range of varying experiences.
We’re all humans with a heartbeat. We all are living through the human experience. The focus is on how we are so much more similar than we are different.
Before concluding this interview, what advice do you have for entrepreneurs and business leaders, on how to create engaging content on LinkedIn?
Brian: Start. Show up. Shine your light bright on others and support others. Heart first. Human first. It’s not about you. It’s about showing up as you, for others.
Thank you Brian for participating in this Q&A session, and we wish you all the best
Brian: Thank you