Meet Brandyn Campbell, founder of Brandyn Campbell Communications! Brandyn is a freelance sports writer and digital media expert living in Philadelphia. With over ten years of blogging experience, Brandyn turned her love for writing into a full-time career just over a year ago. Read her interview to see what inspired her to start her own business, how she handles setbacks, and so much more!
Name: Brandyn Campbell
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Business Name: Brandyn Campbell Communications
WHAT IS YOUR BUSINESS?
As a freelance writer, blogger, and social media addict, Brandyn Campbell Communications provides clients with blog and social media content.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
My reason is twofold. The easy answer is my kids. I decided to go full steam ahead with this business after having my second child and seeing how unsupportive my last workplace was. Having the ability and flexibility to spend time with my son and daughter remains the driving force of why I started this, and how I structure my time.
That said, I was recently urged to think beyond that. “My kids” is an easy answer. The other motivation is a desire for continual growth and a fear of stagnation. I began my blogging career almost ten years ago because I felt unfulfilled in my career and wanted to return to something that fueled me. I feared being unchallenged in my work and not getting any further in my work.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR INDUSTRY OR NICHE?
Part of why I turned to sports writing was because of the motivational aspect of sports. You constantly have to train and work hard to achieve. That’s exactly the sort of hunger and passion I wanted to be a part of in my day-to-day life.
As for my company, digital marketing moves at a fast pace, and it requires me to constantly up my game professionally. I’m always reading, watching webinars, and attending events to learn more about what I do so I can constantly deliver bigger and better things to my clients. I have a hunger for knowledge and growth that ultimately motivates me in every area of life.
DO YOU DO THIS FULL TIME? IF YES, WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE THIS? IF NO, WHAT ELSE DO YOU DO?
Yes, I’m almost a year into running my business full-time.
While I’ve been doing freelance writing steadily for the past several years, previously I worked at internationally-focused nonprofits and prior to that, in higher education.
DID YOU GO TO COLLEGE? IF SO, WHAT DID YOU STUDY?
I did, and I also have a Master’s degree. I joke that I have two worthless degrees, but I love what I studied and learning to write and synthesize information effectively was an outcome of both programs that directly impacts what I do today. I am a big believer in the importance of a liberal arts education. I have a B.A in Political Science with a concentration in International Studies from Rowan University in New Jersey and an M.A. in Central and Eastern European Studies from La Salle University in Philadelphia.
HAVE YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO BE AN ENTREPRENEUR? WHY OR WHY NOT?
No. In fact, I fought against it quite hard. I saw myself as a writer, not a business owner. I finally made the mental shift and embraced the fact that I am indeed an entrepreneur when I decided to go full-time with my business a year ago.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BIGGEST LESSONS YOU’VE LEARNED SINCE STARTING YOUR BUSINESS?
I’ve learned that there is a significant difference between being a writer and running a business. There is a shift in mindset that’s needed in making the change from taking your work from a casual or part-time basis to it being your livelihood.
You have to step into areas of discomfort to grow and protect yourself. I’ve learned that I can do so much more than I realized as a creative, entrepreneur, and mom.
Place boundaries on other people and yourself. Know what you need from your clients to help you succeed and remember that you pick who you work with.
Be deliberate. Spend time thinking and getting clear on your success means to you–and what it looks like.
WHAT HAS SURPRISED YOU THE MOST ABOUT ENTREPRENEURSHIP?
How much I enjoy it, and for that reason, how much I need to limit my time doing it. Earlier this year I was working all of the time. I loved what I was doing, so it didn’t feel like work. But it still was, and my body started telling me that I needed to let up. On top of that, I wasn’t getting the amount of time I wanted with my kids.
So now I’m working on setting limits on how much I work each week and have a goal for what I want that number to be down the line. I didn’t anticipate growing as quickly as I did. It’s an absolute blessing and I literally could not imagine being in this place, but I need to ensure that I create some structure and boundaries around that.
WHAT IS ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’D GIVE TO ASPIRING ENTREPRENEURS?
Find your support systems. Entrepreneurship is a lonely, challenging road. Know which friends can help support you on this journey. Join some in-person and online groups to connect with others who know exactly what you’re going through, and can help you brainstorm through your challenges. Outside perspectives and feedback can be so helpful in getting us out of our own minds.
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH SETBACKS AND IMPOSTER SYNDROME?
I keep a weekly log of my business successes to look back on when I have those moments where I feel like I am constantly spinning my wheels and not achieving anything. Absolutely everything about running a business is an opportunity to learn. Feel your feelings, and then reflect on what you learned and how you’ll respond differently in a similar situation.
When I feel Imposter Syndrome trying to sneak up on me, I remind myself that I’m not a fake. I’m actually doing this thing, no matter how messy or imperfect it may seem at times. Messy beats perfect and immobile every single time.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT BEING A CREATIVE ENTREPRENEUR AND DOING WHAT YOU DO?
I adore everything about it. I love doing what I love for a living and being able to decide how I do it. I adore being able to pick who I work with and brainstorm what will come next. The ability to explore new collaborations and connections is invigorating. This isn’t easy, and entrepreneurship entails significant challenges, but at the same time, it’s a dream.
IMAGINE IT’S A YEAR FROM NOW AND YOU’RE CELEBRATING WHAT A GREAT YEAR IT WAS FOR YOUR BUSINESS. WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE ACHIEVED?
I always love a celebration! My year would look something like this: I successfully learned from the unanticipated challenges of rapid growth and implemented a more sustainable structure for my work. I’ve expanded my suite of offerings to help more clients and include other aspects of my skills. I have a small team of two or three people whose talents complement mine and who help propel the Brandyn Campbell Communications vision to more people in a shorter amount of time.
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL/WHO DO YOU LOOK TO FOR INSPIRATION AND WHY?
There are so many people, women, in particular, I look up to in my life.
My admiration for my mom and all she accomplished raising two girls on her own grows by the day as I endure the challenges of raising two young kids with a partner. My innate sense of confidence and worthiness came from her. I never saw anything but an example of a woman setting goals for herself and achieving them. Want to travel around the world to teach? Check. Want to get one, two, then three Master’s degrees? Done. Ready to go back to get that Ph.D.? All over it.
Talk about a role model.
I admire Michelle Obama so, so much–who she is as a person, a mom, and a force of love in this world. She is beautiful, graceful, and her gentleness and compassion know no bounds. I have her book in hard copy and on audiobook. Her honesty and vulnerability in sharing challenges about her marriage reinforce how much openness is a strength. She is definitely an inspiration for me.
To totally switch gears, Madonna is actually a big part of how I get over Imposter Syndrome. Every time I feel scared out of my mind and outmatched, I channel her. I have loved her since I was a child and love her unapologetic confidence and boldness. I have literally told myself as I’ve walked into NFL locker rooms that Madonna wouldn’t bat an eye, so I won’t either.
WHO HAVE BEEN THREE OF THE BIGGEST SUPPORTERS ON YOUR BUSINESS JOURNEY?
My husband Rod has hands-down been my biggest supporter from the beginning. He has been a sounding board and unwavering support in every iteration of my business. He’s my CTO and cheerleader. He patiently listens to my never-ending stream of ideas and gives feedback. He encourages in my moments of doubt and celebrates with me in my victories.
My sister Paige is also an entrepreneur and having our relationship grow even closer as we support and advise each other has been an amazing gift and byproduct of this journey. She is always there to listen to me, love me, and encourage me. She is a creative force who is my favorite brainstorming partner. I know that she has been proud of me at every stage of my life, and knowing you are supported by that kind of love is powerful and affirming.
I am blessed to have a few close friends who I call upon when happy, sad, or feel lost in my work. I’m going to name them as a collective because I can’t bear to name some and not others. We love each other, are vulnerable with each other, and inspire each other. I am in awe of the amazing women who form the core of my support system.
WHEN YOU’RE NOT WORKING, WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO?
I love to laugh, listen to music, podcasts, and audiobooks, and have fun with my family. I love to travel and go to the beach. Once upon a time, I watched TV shows like Project Runway and Better Call Saul. I hope to get back to those sometime soon but right now, sleep is more important!
WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS AN INTROVERT OR AN EXTROVERT? HOW DO YOU THINK THAT IMPACTS YOUR BUSINESS?
I am an extrovert, which is very interesting as someone who works from home on something on work that is inherently isolated. That’s certainly presented its challenges, but it’s lead me to find some amazing networking groups.
It’s also lead me to pursue more opportunities to conduct workshops and seminars so that I can connect with business owners in-person. The teaching element of my work is something that I love, so I’m looking forward to the sessions I have lined up to talk about blogging, content, and marketing in the same room as folks rather than via Zoom calls.
WHEN DO YOU FEEL THE MOST PRODUCTIVE? ARE YOU AN EARLY BIRD OR A NIGHT OWL?
I am most productive in the quiet early morning hours. I wake up early so that I can get in a few hours of uninterrupted writing time before the world wakes up. This has always been my thing, even in college. I start the day off strong and try to have calls in the afternoon so that I can maximize my prime thinking time.
DO YOU HAVE TIPS FOR STAYING PRODUCTIVE WHILE WORKING FROM HOME?
Create boundaries in your space to help create them with your time. Don’t work where you sleep and create some designated office space in your home, only if it’s only a desk–that will help you mentally clock in and click out.
A FEW OF YOUR FAVORITE THINGS
WHAT IS A BUSINESS TOOL YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?
Canva. Life changing. It’s amazing what you can do with limited skills when you find the right tools.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE OR AFFIRMATION?
“Ask for what you want, and be prepared to get it.” -Maya Angelou
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE PODCAST?
The Read. I’m obsessed. I look forward to every Thursday because that’s when new episodes come out.
It’s not for everyone, which is a good lesson to all business owners. They know their audience and that is their only concern. It’s real. It’s smart and honest and profane. And it’s hilarious.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE BLOG?
I have a couple. I love Tom and Lorenzo for my fix of snark, fashion, and celebrity (I have no idea who most of these people are anymore, but I love looking at what they’re wearing).
Very Smart Brothas is my go-to for my fix of brilliant writing and whip-smart commentary on the (many) ills of our society. I get giddy each time there is a new post.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BUSINESS OR PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT BOOK?
I feel like I’m going through a bit of an evolution at the moment, so I’ll have to get back to you on this. I have a strong feeling that my new favorite is one of my next queued up audiobooks. I will say that Michelle Obama’s “Becoming” was a revelation in so many ways. I can’t wait to dive into Brene Brown’s “Daring Greatly.”