Carl had a fun chat with Dan Blank, CEO of WeGrowMedia this week. Although Dan isn’t retiring any time soon, the focus of his work is helping people in their (un)retirement to achieve their goals. Before founding WeGrowMedia, Dan worked in publishing and digital content development, and was in the perfect spot when those worlds collided. Just as he became even more successful, Dan took the bold step into launching his own business—during 2010! “I felt the recession was a great time to start a company, there were no expectations. I sort of wanted to see who wanted to hire me.” Over a decade later, Dan's company has helped thousands of writers and other creatives to launch their own successful projects.
“I was the art kid growing up,” Dan tells us. Always the entrepreneurial family, Dan, his older brother and parents started a baseball card collector business on weekends, traveling the tri-state area, meeting people, sharing stories about their favorite players and cards. “I think my family's values of working hard, pursuing the creative and encouraging entrepreneurship had a big influence on me.”
In college, Dan had many ideas but wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. He always had side gigs however. He was a DJ and a cartoonist for the college newspaper, then went on to publish a music "zine" in the 1990’s. “I did it for the love of doing it,” Dan says. He profiled new CD’s in the zine and eventually had the opportunity to interview the members of Oasis and other bands he idolized.
After college, Dan began his career in publishing and eventually ran digital content for over 40 magazines. He started an internal newsletter for co-workers—the beginning of a weekly practice he has done for over 15 years now. “I have so many ideas, I can’t imagine not sending it (the newsletter) out!” In 2009-2010, his company diversified and his division was sold off. Dan was one of the last employees. He figured he had a network of his own because of his blog and newsletter and decided to leave the corporate life and launch his company, WeGrowMedia, using his knowledge and experience to help others achieve their goals.
If you are in (un)retirement and working on your memoir, Dan can help you create a website, develop your marketing strategy and even plan the book launch. "For writers, I encourage people to listen intently to two things: 1) Your inner voice and taking action on those things you feel compelled to create, and 2) Learning about your readership, the folks you hope will be moved by your words. Both of these actions require a lot of empathy, and listening more than talking---like any good marriage!"
Dan Blank’s advice for starting a new Second Act in (Un)Retirement:
Communication: “What do you want your day to look like? What’s your purpose? Be really aligned with what you want it to be. If you have a partner, make sure that’s aligned too."
Collaboration: “As we get older, we get more and more fearful of failure. If you have a new idea for a venture/novel/project, talk to other people about it. Talk with your friends and colleagues and spitball ideas.
Clarity: “Keep doing what you love. Everything I do is because of who inspires me.”
Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the “I Used to Be Somebody” weekly blog.