Personal Brand Case Study: The True Story of a Highly Paid Tinkerer


Looking for a personal brand case study? Thinking about launching your own personal brand? If so, then congrats! Take inventory of the most successful digital marketers and you will find a strong personal brand at the center of their operation. Your brand is the single most powerful asset you own and will allow you to grab attention, drive and convert traffic and live a fabulous life, true story.

My name is Brian G. Johnson, people call me B to the G to the J, Poodle Wrangler and that Trust Funnel guy. This is the story of how I accidentally built a brand and moved into the house on the hill (with the help of my awesome wife Amanda).

Trust Funnel Next: Stronger. Faster. Better

Star date, July 22, 2015. While this will not be the last time I update I know my attention will soon turn to a new branded “Trust Funnel” website of mine. If you’re interested in increasing your results online, then this blog post will be one not too miss. What defines the success of a website is its ability to convert visitors into subscribers and subscribers into buyers. While traffic is king, conversions are queen, you simply can not earn if you are unable to convert.

Simple as that.

In an ironic twist of fate, I went from sales newbie to rookie of the year when it comes to converting traffic into an action back in 2007. Back in the day conversions came easily, despite my amazing list of flaws when it came to being an online marketer. It’s ironic because I entered into this game of online marketing with no real sales skills or abilities. I had no prior training on public relations and the mere idea of trying to sell someone something was of no interest.

However, in 2007 I began to lay the foundations of what would ultimately become my Trust Funnel system (and my Brian G. Johnson brand). The very system that has allowed me generate millions of dollars online over the years without fail. Amazing how it happened back in 07, I went from zero to hero.

That is I began with:

  • No List
  • No JV Parters
  • No Authority
  • No Customer Base
  • No Traffic, Website And Or Book
  • No Expert Status
  • No Nothin'

Nobody knew who I was and my skills were seriously lacking. However, I was able to generate job ending results that so many are looking for. I believe this was due to my ability to simply share where I was and being my authentic, flawed self.

During the last few years, while writing my book Trust Funnel, I’ve had the chance to reflect upon why I was able to achieve these tremendous results out of the gate and how you can to. My intention with this post is to focus your attention to the most common traits amount highly successful digital marketers. The ones that are “crushing it” online and have established strong personal brands.

Tinker, Trainer & Teacher

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 10.03.11 AM

I’m a tinkerer and always have been. I began online with zero skills, however I had a desire to learn and earn. I knew that the internet would change how people would spend money forever. I knew many would make piles of money with simple websites and I figured, why not me? My desire began with wanting to earn. Soon after however, I feel in love with tinkering.

I really like the definition above, to work with something in an unskilled or experimental manner.

I started right where I was and I began building. My first sites were so incredibly ugly, actually scratch that. My first efforts actually produced ZERO results. It was back in 1997 and it was me, a pc, a large book, the internet and FrontPage 97. I really tried, however I found it impossible to make that crude FrontPage 97 produce anything. It was too complex and to much for me. However, the desire to launch a website and ultimately drive traffic remained.

However, the following year Microsoft released Frontpage 98 and I thought perhaps this will be the release that will make it happen. Sure enough within a matter of weeks I was publishing the most horrific websites with the help of another huge book and the updated ’98 version of FrontPage.

Mind you, my goal was not simply to launch a site. But rather to to publish articles on my site that targeted Google keywords. I practiced on phrases that were not too competitive, such as:

  • Shrimp Scampi
  • Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
  • BBQ Chicken Recipes
  • & More ... 

Couple of things I want to point out. My intention was too get the money, I knew that without the skills it would not happen and I put the money out of my mind. Thus, before I tried to cash in I tried to rank in Google. I thought, I will get the skills first and that was my focus. I launched a website based on something I knew and something that people were searching for. This made content creation easier. I was a tinker and still am today. I do stuff, sometimes horribly wrong, I tinker and I tweak. I spend time trying to figure out the how and why. In the end, I learned so much and within a year or so I was driving serious traffic, for free.

These early days of testing and tweaking, of try to build and failing and most importantly pressing on severed me incredibly well. One of the things I did to speed up the process was to get around other people who were trying to do the same thing as me. I was no subscribed to 50 marketers but rather showed up on Webmaster World asked questions, learned and soon began to share my ideas about the topic at hand. Here, you can see a post I made from 2002, that makes me like a dinosaur in internet years.

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 10.22.52 AM

I was not eight steps ahead of the others on the forum, rather I was a step or two ahead of them at the most. However, I shared my ideas and many followed in my footsteps. What I learned during this point is that you don’t have to be an expert for others to listen and follow you. By simply sharing your personal experience on a given topic you will form a tribe. Others, who are interested in the same topic will gravitate towards you.

Personal shared experiences bring people together and it’s the one thing people look for. Someone they can trust, someone living a similar experience.

Over time, as you continue on the path of tinkering, you will become more and more qualified and viewed as an expert. However, early on you do not have to have all the answers. You simply have to care and share.

By 2003, I had quit my day job. Was making great money and had released many websites targeting dozens and dozens of niche marketers. I drove crazy traffic and made great money. During this time I was always learning.

I began with Frontpage and moved to WordPress. I then studied WordPress SEO, plugins, themes, RSS feeds, new traffic generation ideas, new SEO ideas and I continued to win. While I also hit roadblocks from time to time. Sites would be deindexed, I would run into issues with various affiliate programs. However, I continued to get results and life was good.

By the time I got to 2007 I had solid results for sure. However, I was not making millions. Was not a trained professional, was not internet marketing expert, did not have all the fancy tech, a polished website an agent or fancy pants videos.

Case N’ Point, Check Out The Following Horrible
Videos From 2008

Don’t Read A Script, Talk To One Signal Person

Here’s Another Masterpiece

So Very Bad
Yet, This Video Has 8940 Views & 124 Likes
That’s 8,940 People That Watched That Video
In It’s Entirety, Crap Audio, Ugly Green Shirt And All

Shared Experience For The Win

Yet I was able to take my shared experiences and turn them into serious dollars. The one thing I had was authenticity, results that were two steps above those that followed me and a desire to share my ideas.

I showed up on YouTube and published the most horrible videos. However, very quickly the results came and soon I launched my own website that featured me. This was my very first Trust Funnel and I began to publish video, blog posts and more. I had now transitioned to building someone else’s brand to building my own.

Personal Brand Power Rules

Video was a big part of my early success, people got “to know, like and trust me”. In fact, years later when I would show up at marketing events people flocked to me and time and time again I heard.

“I feel like I know you.”

Video is the fastest path to trust, video allows others to listen and watch you. You don’t have to be increadibly good looking (zoolander). You do not have to have all the fancy software, tools and gadgets.

In fact, right now, list off some of your favorite marketers and note that many of them use very simple platforms to publish their message. Their operations are NOT fancy. They focus on the delivery of their message first and foremost.

Today all you need is a smart phone, or a simple camcorder, WordPress and to make use of the big sites including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and or Amazon Kindle to publish your messages and build a following & brand. The biggest players in our space focus on building their brands by publishing. Not by making use of this or that software.

Tinker 2.0 – It’s What I Do For A Living

Once I began launching my own products I began to continue to learn, study and research. My new subject “online conversions”. This is something that I did not do earlier, I simply linked people to a merchant site and the merchant did the selling and converting.

Selling came hard to me, today I am a good sales person. However, I am a far better tinker, teacher and trainer. Best of all, because I’ve built a Trust Funnel people trust and respect me, I don’t have to sell hard.

People want what I got, dig it.

By being brave enough to step into the spotlight and share my ideas (that again were only two steps in front of many of those that have followed me) I built a brand, the poodle wrangling, Brian G. Johnson brand.

Soon I began to dabble in conversions and how to improve them. That is how to build a list faster, how to drive more traffic and how to ultimately optimize the visitor experience allowing people to get to know and like me faster.

This is why you see me using humor often today, this is why you see me teaching and entertaining at the same time. It allows others to get to know the real me and is aligned with my message. Which is, you do not have to be serious, you don’t have to put up a front to impress others and you don’t have to be perfect or wait for the perfect time to get started.

You can be you and you is enough.

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In the coming months I will be launching a new personal branded "Trust Funnel" website. Similar to however, this new site will incorporate some new Trust Funnel elements.

Why build another site when I already have MarketingEasyStreet which is aged, trusted, drives hordes of Google traffic and more? Simple, I am a tinker and I want to continue on my path of learning and optimizing in a human Trust Funnel kind of way. This new site will reveal some new conversional elements that I'm excited to test. In closing, this is what I would like to leave you with.

Right now, you are right where you are suppose to be. You have enough to move forward to begin generating a lasting brand that will be a tremendous asset to you as you move forward online. Today, high level success is not hard. However, it takes lots of courage.

Do you have the courage needed to succeed?



Brian G. Johnson 
People DO NOT fail at internet marketing,
they simply GIVE UP before the magic happens.

Brian G. Johnson
I'm Social!

Brian G. Johnson

Is a serial entrepreneur, #1 best selling author, engaging speaker, product creator and poodle wrangler who enjoys coaching others to success.
Brian G. Johnson
I'm Social!

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About The Author

Brian G. Johnson

Is a serial entrepreneur, #1 best selling author, engaging speaker, product creator and poodle wrangler who enjoys coaching others to success.

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