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INTRO Optimistic, Personable Millennial Entrepreneur Looking for Growth

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ajmassaro

New Contributor
Jan 30, 2018
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New Haven, CT
Greetings to all!

My name is AJ Massaro, founder and CEO of Positivity, Lifestyle brand Manifest Millennial, where our goal is to sell high quality clothing and merchandise to Millennials experiencing anxiety and depression, encouraging their quest for authentic happiness and support their struggles along the way.

I have been working full-time at a very prestigious University here in the U.S. for two years now and have been growing the brand in my spare time since November of 2015.

We recently signed a lease on a shared office space here in our city and as excited as we are, we are equal bits anxious (go figure!). Happy to grind and do the work itself but with such a versatile set of skills, the next step we take will hopefully be more service based than merely pushing merchandise. We are thinking of a bi-weekly podcast series to get us started for the first year and continue to grow from there.

We do need to revise our business plan, especially incorporating the new officespace (also great movie).

My professional background spans from managing a Recreation Center to Acting, from Health Care to Education, and even Professional Sports Event Management. We are excited for the future and where you will all play a role as mentors, and advisors.

Thanks for the welcome!
 

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Van Halen

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Not sure if Im being a prick here, but what is it with these Millennial "Entrepreneurs" and their high quality clothing brands? Does the world need another motivational t-shirt clothing brand?

I see this shit all time, and its the kind of person that religiously watches garyvee and is a proud University Graduate,

All about showing off on Instagram and getting their HUSTLE on. Its all about the GRIND!!!!

woo

It just seems like another, I want to get rich because I was told I was special when I was younger and deserve it, type of business where the core motive is MONEY
 
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ajmassaro

ajmassaro

New Contributor
Jan 30, 2018
18
11
14
New Haven, CT
Not sure if Im being a prick here, but what is it with these Millennial "Entrepreneurs" and their high quality clothing brands? Does the world need another motivational t-shirt clothing brand?

I see this sh*t all time, and its the kind of person that religiously watches garyvee and is a proud University Graduate,

All about showing off on Instagram and getting their HUSTLE on. Its all about the GRIND!!!!

woo

It just seems like another, I want to get rich because I was told I was special when I was younger and deserve it, type of business where the core motive is MONEY
No offense taken my man, love to hear honest feedback (it's quite refreshing to be quite frank).

Just curious, did you happen to read the Our story on the website before making that observation? Let me know!

Thanks,
AJ
 

Duane

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Welcome to the forum.

I think anxiety and depression is a pretty big issue with the up and coming generation, and how the health care industry is handling it is just making things worse via prescribing everyone a bunch of Xanax thinking it is actually helping them when it's just making it worse.


I'm curious what made you get into this area though. Your story is a pretty important part in building this kind of brand and also a driving force in whether you will succeed or fail. If you've never struggled with this issue before and haven't truly helped people overcome these issues, you'll come off like the typical guru that's selling a 'how to start a successful business' book when they've never owned a business themselves before making that book.


The forum will read your post and see it as a get rich quick scheme because that's how it comes off. Your focused on grinding, offices, and how you're going to monetize the business over somebody that's truly trying to solve people's problems. Selling somebody a shirt isn't going to solve their anxiety, yeah maybe it might make them feel good for a little bit, but it isn't going to truly solve their problems at their core.

So I feel you're going about this backwards, you should have started with podcasts and free e-books before 'pushing merchandise'.

Solve people's problems first, then sell the t-shirt they can wear to support the person that helped them overcome their anxiety.

edit: I just seen your above comment, I did not read the "Our Story" in your website, I didn't even click on the link. I don't like it when people post links to their websites in their intro post.
 
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ajmassaro

ajmassaro

New Contributor
Jan 30, 2018
18
11
14
New Haven, CT
Welcome to the forum.

I think anxiety and depression is a pretty big issue with the up and coming generation, and how the health care industry is handling it is just making things worse via prescribing everyone a bunch of Xanax thinking it is actually helping them when it's just making it worse.


I'm curious what made you get into this area though. Your story is a pretty important part in building this kind of brand and also a driving force in whether you will succeed or fail. If you've never struggled with this issue before and haven't truly helped people overcome these issues, you'll come off like the typical guru that's selling a 'how to start a successful business' book when they've never owned a business themselves before making that book.


The forum will read your post and see it as a get rich quick scheme because that's how it comes off. Your focused on grinding, offices, and how you're going to monetize the business over somebody that's truly trying to solve people's problems. Selling somebody a shirt isn't going to solve their anxiety, yeah maybe it might make them feel good for a little bit, but it isn't going to truly solve their problems at their core.

So I feel you're going about this backwards, you should have started with podcasts and free e-books before 'pushing merchandise'.

Solve people's problems first, then sell the t-shirt they can wear to support the person that helped them overcome their anxiety.

edit: I just seen your above comment, I did not read the "Our Story" in your website, I didn't even click on the link. I don't like it when people post links to their websites in their intro post.
Duane thanks a lot for your feedback - I can see how my terminology may be very suggestive of an inexperienced self-proclaimed Guru. I guess there are some holes in my story that may be misleading - more or less, this "pushing merchandise" is my strategy to combat my outlet to channel my nervous energy that is caused by my Generalized Anxiety. Since high school I've struggled with anxiety, was on a brief stint of medication and decided that I'd rather use my energy in a more positive manner.

I guess my indecisiveness is because I love helping people and as you mentioned, that is the ultimate goal - but I also love business and would like to succeed at successfully building one - I had originally set my goal to become ICF certified and become a Life-coach but still unsure the direction that I am going to take.

I originally founded the company while working in a closet (cue BJ Novak/Ryan Howard from the Office) doing data entry where I would listen to podcasts (and read Gary Vee's Crush it! book - Sorry @VanHalen - I'm heavily influenced by Gary Vee-actually have a brief interview with him) of all these up and coming entrepreneurs that had achieved big things.

I do appreciate all the positive feedback! Keep them coming!!
 
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ajmassaro

ajmassaro

New Contributor
Jan 30, 2018
18
11
14
New Haven, CT
edit: I just seen your above comment, I did not read the "Our Story" in your website, I didn't even click on the link. I don't like it when people post links to their websites in their intro post.
Thanks a lot, I just figured that to keep it as short-winded as possible, I would leave the information there for reference, just didn't know whether your reaction was from reading more into it or just taking it at face value.

Solve people's problems first, then sell the t-shirt they can wear to support the person that helped them overcome their anxiety.
I really like this idea, I appreciate you giving me this feedback- what would be your suggestion about doing this? Would this be a formal, go back to school for psycho-analysis suggestion? I have in the past done calls with some interested parties that I would lend an ear and try to help them set their own goals to get through these issues, but I worry about the fact that I am not a trained professional to do so (I believe that mental health is a very delicate subject, and during these conversations I would give full-disclosure in regards to this)
 

Duane

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I really like this idea, I appreciate you giving me this feedback- what would be your suggestion about doing this? Would this be a formal, go back to school for psycho-analysis suggestion? I have in the past done calls with some interested parties that I would lend an ear and try to help them set their own goals to get through these issues, but I worry about the fact that I am not a trained professional to do so (I believe that mental health is a very delicate subject, and during these conversations I would give full-disclosure in regards to this)
The biggest thing before even trying to help other people is to overcome the problem yourself.

I think everybody has something that gives them anxiety. Someone told me to do something I'm afraid of every chance I can and I will grow so much as a person. For me to overcome it is just to not think about it and just do it, an example would be giving speeches. I hate giving speeches, and I've given several at this point, and I still get nervous, but I just get up there and get it over with. And the more I do, the easier it gets.

Some people are a lot more severe than me. I have a cousin that has such extreme anxiety, they can't even talk to strangers without freaking out, or even drive down to the grocery store. How do you help them? I've no clue, that's not my area of expertise.

If I wanted to get into that area, the first thing is I would look at my competitors and see how they are doing it. There's a lot to learn from current successful business models and you can also find the flaws.

Improve on those flaws and find a way to give an even better service and you have a solid business model to act on.

If every single one of my competitors have Phd's in pyschology, which is what qualifys them as a trained professional to help people in that area, then the barrier to entry is very high.

Is it worth it to put myself $200k in debt, spend 7 years to be qualified to start my company? Absolutely not. There are a lot of other businesses that I can get into that make a lot more sense .

Now if I was 5 years into a PhD in psychology and had helped several people overcome their anxiety and it changed their lives and I loved doing it, I can finish the degree and get into an area with a high barrier to entry that I have almost already overcame.
 
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ajmassaro

ajmassaro

New Contributor
Jan 30, 2018
18
11
14
New Haven, CT
If I wanted to get into that area, the first thing is I would look at my competitors and see how they are doing it. There's a lot to learn from current successful business models and you can also find the flaws.
Thanks a lot for the response Duane, I really appreciate you investing tom to help me out. That is a great point, I definitely value the industry standard and will research successful business models to give me a better idea of how to handle these things.

The biggest thing before even trying to help other people is to overcome the problem yourself.
I appreciate your suggestions, I agree that there are some things that give everyone Anxiety, I guess I need to talk more about my Generalized Anxiety/ Panic Attacks- this is really the proof in the pudding.
 

Bdenner64

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I think using clothing as a way to spread your message is great. But clothing won't actually contribute to "their quest for authentic happiness and support their struggles along the way" as you said it.

So you've identified this potential pain point and problem to solve of "millennials experiencing anxiety and depression", great. Now how can you actually go and solve it?
 
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ajmassaro

ajmassaro

New Contributor
Jan 30, 2018
18
11
14
New Haven, CT
I think using clothing as a way to spread your message is great. But clothing won't actually contribute to "their quest for authentic happiness and support their struggles along the way" as you said it.

So you've identified this a potential pain point and problem to solve of "millennials experiencing anxiety and depression", great. Now how can you actually go and solve it?
Wholeheartedly agree Bdenner, thanks for your response.

In the past, I had been posting a weekly blog entitled "Make Mondays NOT Suck", a series that was posted every Monday with a small positive strategy to help those experiencing "Sunday Scaries" and the "Monday Blues" to have something to look forward to - after about 60 weeks, I'm running out of steam and feel like I need to transition to a different medium (adding a podcast element to this).
 

Bdenner64

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Wholeheartedly agree Bdenner, thanks for your response.

In the past, I had been posting a weekly blog entitled "Make Mondays NOT Suck", a series that was posted every Monday with a small positive strategy to help those experiencing "Sunday Scaries" and the "Monday Blues" to have something to look forward to - after about 60 weeks, I'm running out of steam and feel like I need to transition to a different medium (adding a podcast element to this).
I would think about what you want this to look like 5, maybe 10 years out. Ultimately where do you want to go, then reverse engineer the process. Find someone who is already where you want to be then learn from what they did to get there.
 

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