Braden Wallake isn’t your average guy. His passion and congeniality shines through in every email, every Facebook Live, and in everything he touches.
And when you speak with him, even via Skype (his communication of choice while he’s off in remote locations traveling the world), you can’t help but smile, a delightful effect of his infectiously sunny vibes.
He’s a really happy guy.
And he has every right to be. You’d never think you were speaking with someone who, only a year ago, was miserable and homeless.
But it’s true. Braden dropped out of college on four separate occasions and between 18 and 23 years old, had too many jobs to count. It was after several episodes of excruciating back pain – remnants of an old injury – bringing him to tears after being forced to stand while he worked as a bank teller, that he realized he could never have a boss ever again. He was done with living and working at the mercy of a middle manager. So he took the leap. He had dreams – big dreams – of living by his own rules, creating value, and making an impact outside of the bounds of the traditional 9 to 5.
So leap, he did. But his landing was by no means a soft one.
Soon, resorting to occasional landscaping work and flipping electronics from Craigslist, he watched his bank account circle the drain as he bounced from business opportunity to business opportunity, in an increasingly daunting search for his entrepreneurial calling. Soon he was no longer able to pay his rent. On and off for years, Braden would be couch-surfing from friend to friend, sleeping on floors, and stopping by his parents’ home whenever possible to get the only actual meal he might have that day just to stave off starvation.
His nights would soon turn into sleepless, anxiety-ridden stretches of solitude and despair, his shoulders wracked with sobs and his mind wracked with doubts, wondering if this journey he was on was really worth it. Wondering how he’d be able to afford to put enough gas in his car just to get to the next place. With every day that went by, it became increasingly harder to wake up with a smile on his face as his optimism and resolve began to falter and crumble. Soon every day that awaited him felt like one of unrelenting struggle and pain.
Nonetheless, Braden was lucky. He had a network that didn’t quite understand his hustle - constantly pushing him to get a job, any job - but held his happiness in the highest of regard and respected his dream regardless. He fondly recalls, “Just a year ago my friends were still giving me rides to our soccer games together. While they’ve never understood why I wouldn’t just get a job, they were ALWAYS willing to go out of their way to make sure I could hang out, or that I had a place to stay. My family pushed me to get a job on a weekly basis… but they loved me for me and let me eat their food.”
His trusty pup could always be counted on to be there too, to lift his spirits during increasingly dismal times. “I can still feel the starvation of not eating,” Braden recalls. “I can still feel the pain of those sleepless nights cuddled up with my Roscoe, thankful for a dog who didn't care about where we lived, what we did, he just wanted to be next to me.”
You could say his network’s love and support had a significant impact on what would happen next. But when his beloved Audi was repossessed on top of it all, his heart broke just enough to give him the last push he needed.
And that’s when something magical happened.
While he was in the middle of yet another new venture with some friends, Braden began to toy around with Instagram in the hopes that somehow they could use it promote their latest project. The group did so much cross-promotion of one another’s accounts that people dubbed them “#thecompassmovement”. Soon it caught on like wildfire. “We had our own hashtag and people were always looking forward to our next posts, what was coming next, what we were working on. That is when we were just like, damn, this is THE platform.” Braden was hooked. And HyperSoc1al, a company specializing in sales generation for companies, was born.
Braden and his co-founders – who he says he’s still never actually met in person – each put $50 and thousands of hours or research, experimentation, and strategy into what would be at least the 20th business venture (he lost count after 20) Braden would have. It would also be his last, filling an increasing demand for Instagram account growth services and skyrocketing to success.
And for good reason. According to Hootsuite, 75% of Instagram users take action, such as visiting a website, after looking at an Instagram advertising post. Because the design of its user interface allows for easier, faster engagement with brands – Instagram videos get 2 times the engagement than photos on any other social platform, for instance – individuals and companies alike are drawing on the increasing demand for a more authentic approach to marketing and are using Instagram’s technology to humanize their brands by pulling back the curtain and showing revealing parts of their day-to-day that inspires a real connection with consumers. People buy from those they know, like, and trust. And Instagram is unrivaled in its ability to empower businesses to “storysell” quickly to become known, liked, and trusted.
11 months later, HyperSoc1al is a six-figure company with a powerful sales network of individuals all over the world, and Braden has swapped couches and floors for stays in hotels and villas in exotic locations all over the globe as a digital nomad. The company is at the forefront of Instagram growth, with no office, no meeting space – only a cell phone and a computer. You don’t always need a chunk of money to launch a successful business, Braden says. “We got our LLC and rented someone else's software until we could make our own.” And still, they get results.
According to the company, a swimwear client recently contacted Braden to ask him to pull back the reigns on their powerful lead-gen process. She was getting more orders on Instagram than she could possibly fill. Some of his clients didn’t even know what Instagram really was 6 months ago. Now they have over 15,000 followers.
Braden’s story is a reminder to us all that with perseverance and determination, you can make magic happen, even in the most dire of circumstances. That sometimes, in order to live the life you’ve always dreamed of, the pain of your struggle must outweigh the depths of your fear. And that it isn’t about what you have or where you are that will determine your success, but how fiercely you want it.
Therein lies the magic.
Be sure to check out Braden’s company, HyperSoc1al, at www.hypersoc1al.co to learn more about how you can channel your very own magic to explode your business’ growth using the power of Instagram.