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February 23, 2023

Creating Content and Scaling DTC Brands with Ari Murray — EP 014

Episode 14
Ari Murray

Ten Years In The Making is a weekly podcast on how to effectively grow a startup.     

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Adam Robinson: So, Ari Murray, VP of Growth, Sharma Brands, Go-to-Millions Creator at Workweek, the thing that when I was sort of doing my research, I knew that I just have put up a smile on my face. Is that on your LinkedIn? It says Shopify Plus is my middle name.

Ari Murray: Thank you. I like that too.

Adam Robinson: I love that. I love that you’re female. I love that you’re making this identity for yourself. So, I’m going to stop talking a second because this interview is about you. But I’m new into this Shopify Plus ecosystem. So, we were selling to everybody who wanted to sign up on a self-serve product until five months ago.

And then we realized that our power users were all Shopify Plus stores, but we only had 50 of them, and there’s like 15,000. And they were paying us tens of thousands of dollars a month. They were telling all their friends about it and we just needed to go headfirst into this market.

And then I had this guy from Yotpo who’s joining us full time on February 1st consulting for me to try to navigate this agency ecosystem because a lot of plus brands use agencies to execute and they have the keys to the kingdom, and if a good solution, it’ll spread super fast. And all of the brands I’ve met, all of the agencies I’ve met, all of the other vendors I have met are f*cking awesome, like if you’ve made it that far as a DTC brand, you are an unbelievably special person. DTC is so hard, and if you’re like, whatever, $5, $10, $20, $100 million in DTC revenue, you are a top point 1% person in the world.

Ari Murray: 100%.

Adam Robinson: I mean, agencies that serve them, same deal, they’re killing it too, like it’s amazing. So, now, turning it over to you, what inspired you to write that beautiful sentence, Shopify Plus is my middle name?

Ari Murray: I actually wrote it before. So, I used to be under an NDA, my whole entire career, because I’ve worked for big celebrity brands or just stealth brands that had a lot of funding. And so, I wrote that before I was ever trying to do my LinkedIn profile or trying to post on Twitter or have a newsletter or anything. I think I wrote that in 2019 or something, and I kind of forgot I wrote that. And I only remember I wrote that because when salespeople will write me cold emails, they’re really like, Ari, my middle name is their tech. And then I’m like, oh, like I remember it.

So, I mean, I’ve only ever, at least when I wrote that, and even still, I’d say 95% of the brands I’ve ever worked on are on Shopify Plus and I’ve only ever been in e-comm. And so, I didn’t really understand or come from small-scale e-comm or little stakes. Like whenever I’ve ever had to turn on a new product or even change my whole page, there’s been 30,000 site visitors at the same time. So, that’s just like a different level. And I’m still really only working with brands that are at that level but just a lot more of them.

Adam Robinson: Right. Yeah, I mean, that’s the only people that our product works for because it’s kind of like we resolve traffic and we expand abandonment revenue. And if you don’t have abandonment revenue...

Ari Murray: Or traffic.

Adam Robinson: It doesn’t work. So, I just love it and it’s such a sweet ecosystem to sell into because you don’t need to fill out vendor forms, like there’s not really in-house counsel most of the– if you can show them something they can plug in and it will make them money, they’re like, “Dude, you are my favorite person that I’ve met in the last 12 months.”

Ari Murray: Right. And it’s like those brands have the budget for something that works because if it works, it’ll make up for itself in a week. So, it’s definitely the right place to be.

Adam Robinson: It’s awesome. I just love that being like an identity because it’s such a sweet market. And by the way, when I was researching, I saw you interviewing the– I guess it was VP CS for Feastables.

Ari Murray: Yes, Jess.

Adam Robinson: Yeah, they just onboarded a product right now. And I love that because like MrBeast has been doing this podcast tour and I knew nothing about this guy. And I find his words to be so inspirational. This man sat there for 10 years understanding everything about virality. I literally just made a short about it, like the four things I learned from MrBeast or whatever, it’s like success is not an accident. He has this other thing that I love. He’s basically, like if you’re not getting traction because your content sucks, and if your content sucks, you need better friends. You need people who are more honest with you about why it sucks. And there’s just so much truth in all of that and it’s like basic stuff, but I just love– it’s like I think he’s emblematic of what it takes to be successful.

Ari Murray: So, I worked on that launch, or Sharma Brands did. And so, we were there before and like in the stealth mode of it all. And you could just tell from the first meeting with the first person that this wasn’t just like a celebrity brand. This was the level of care for the end customer and then the level of involvement from the creator. It’s not like anything I’ve ever worked on before and the mission behind it all, which is so different because always before or for most brands, the mission is like, we want to succeed, we want to get rich. We want to, obviously, make an impact, but those other things normally come before.

But this is just like I think there’s a void in the market and I think we could do something fun here. We should do this. And that’s crazy. Like just the level of effort and the core where I think MrBeast, especially because he doesn’t want to be fancy and rich, he just wants to have more money to make more videos for more people to see each, like spread joy. Like what? Like it’s crazy.

Adam Robinson: It’s incredible.

Ari Murray: It’s crazy.

Adam Robinson: So, I’m working with a woman right now who– I thought my founder brand content lacked overall cohesion to it, if that made sense. I feel like I’m missing two things right now. One, with the path that I’m on, which is like, we’re going to bootstrap a billion-dollar company in 12 months. It’s so audacious, right? I just feel like somebody could guide the content to where as you sprinkle it out, it would kind of drag people along like a miniseries and it wouldn’t be that much incremental effort.

The other thing is editing. I feel like you need to hit the certain platforms in a certain way that I’m doing right now. But this girl was talking to me about MrBeast, she’s like, “You’ve been talking to me about like, what do you like about him? That he’s at the top?” I’m like, “No, not at all. I listen to him because he’s at the top. I respect how he got there, what he’s doing now, and the fact that he literally could not be playing bigger.”

Ari Murray: Or couldn’t have a more altruistic motive. Like it’s so freaky. It’s so freaky.

Adam Robinson: It’s amazing.

Ari Murray: It’s the most famous, the most successful, and the nicest, all in one. I hope he’s a trillionaire.

Adam Robinson: I mean, he’s just incre– and he has Crohn’s disease. So, he’s to deal with this like debilitating chronic fatigue all the time.

Ari Murray: And that’s the reason for few schools is because it’s made with ingredients that work for him.

Adam Robinson: God bless him.

Ari Murray: Yeah, for real and fast.

Adam Robinson: We’re going to crush it for those guys. I’m going to make sure of it. Okay, let’s rewind a little bit. I can relate to the question I’m about to ask you because I was a credit default swap trader for 10 years and I always wanted to be an entrepreneur. Tell me about your journey from, like, let’s say, college to now.

Ari Murray: Perfect. So, I’ve always been a bit intense, I’m sure anyone can tell from talking to me for three minutes. But I was a straight-A student, and I’m from a whole family of lawyers, so every man in my family, except for me and my sisters, are lawyers. So, I always wanted to be a lawyer, too, like my dad. Then I had to get straight A’s because you have to get straight A’s to be a lawyer. Then I got straight A’s in college, and then I went to law school for one semester because I’ve never been more miserable or more, like I had a full identity crisis that, wow, this is very dry. This is not going to be a good life for me.

And so, I dropped out of law school after one semester, and I needed a job, and I was humiliated because I had put my whole identity into being this perfect student who was going to be a lawyer. And I took a job at Snark Nation, which is a B2B company that was spinning up e-comm. It’s like healthy snack subscription. And I wanted to be a customer service manager there because I had no skills because I was a religious studies major who wanted to be a lawyer, and then I couldn’t get the job as a customer service manager because I had no experience. So then they had a role for an e-commerce customer service support agent, and I didn’t know what e-commerce was, but I thought, oh, if I do that, I’ll get promoted to be a customer service manager, and then my dreams will come true.

And then I quickly just started to take over and run their Shopify and I was crushing my tickets and then also like merchandizing the whole creations for the entire company and helping with all of the operations and helping with all of our campaigns. And it just quickly spiraled into, well, I definitely don’t want to be a CX agent. That is hard, hard work, and I can’t type that fast, but I would love to stay on the Shopify side of life. And it’s just been a right from there.

Adam Robinson: So, it sounds like by how you’re talking about it, it’s just you’re getting an intrinsic reward from doing the work that you do now.

Ari Murray: I love it.

Adam Robinson: And it was just like not– this is something that I like or love pulling out of people because I just find what I do to be so riveting.

Ari Murray: Yes, it’s fascinating.

Adam Robinson: Then, like, it’s a bummer to me that people are spending their lives doing stuff. My last job, you just went there to make money. And everybody, if you gave people enough money, they would, without question, stop going to the office. I don’t think you could pay me to not do this. It would be great to have more money. It always is or whatever, but I’m coming in tomorrow to do this.

Ari Murray: At night, when I watch TV, I just will go on a random website and I’ll add things to my cart just so I can see the flow. And every night, I look at 100 websites, and often, I’ll trip and I’ll buy something, but I fully, like this is my whole passion in life. I get to online shop for a whole living. So, it’s a good life.

Adam Robinson: That’s great. Helen would be very jealous of you when you say that to her tonight. She’ll be like, “Wait, what do you do again?”

Ari Murray: Online shopping.

Adam Robinson: Yeah. So, what inspired you to start the Go-to-Millions newsletter?

Ari Murray: I admittedly don’t like this stuff, so I never post it on Twitter, I never post it on LinkedIn. And I was very much behind the scenes and very happy with it because I find a lot of the content, at least in my space, to be a bit the same or a bit of it like I did this. No, I did that. And I don’t find that interesting and I don’t think I’ve ever learned. I learn on the job, so I don’t really learn from ingesting this type of content.

So, I think that there might have been a gap in content that’s actually interesting to read and a bit cheeky and fun that is actually talked about from someone who is literally behind the scenes doing it versus on the stage talking about it because when I started this, I was a director of Growth, which is a job I’ve worked really hard to get to, but I certainly wasn’t invited to speak as a keynote at the biggest conference. And so, I’m actually all day long talking to clients, I’m literally in Shopify, and I know what I’m doing. And so, I think I can tell other people how to do what I do but not make it so dry. So, that’s the whole vibe of Go-to-Millions.

Adam Robinson: I love that. Did you know that I’m sponsoring your newsletter?

Ari Murray: I knew you might. That’s why I’m being so nice, so good.

Adam Robinson: Yeah, I got sent a contract last night.

Ari Murray: Oh, thanks. Thanks so much.

Adam Robinson: So, how do you even start a newsletter?

Ari Murray: So, I started mine– luckily, I use Workweek as my barstool sports, and then I call her daddy. So, I get to kind of rock up and focus on what I’m writing and focus on who I want this brand to be. And then I don’t have to do any of the like, wow, we should switch ESPs or I don’t have to do any of that, which would be really hard, and I get to just...

Adam Robinson: Like, why is this guy Adam being such a d*ck?

Ari Murray: No, no, I love it. I think you got to hustle, but no, I think I get to focus just on what I’m writing. And so, for me, I got to think of like, okay, if I was going to name a newsletter, what would I name it? And then you got to think about just what it should be versus how to make it come to life. So, that’s how I started, just literally writing it, and then it launched.

Adam Robinson: But I guess my question is like, did you have an email list when you started? Did you just get pulled it? So, like was it your relationship with Daniel and Nik? Like how did the Workweek people be like, oh yeah, are you little crush this, like...

Ari Murray: It’s a funny story. So, I work for Nik, who’s Nik Sharma. He’s very famous, The DTC Guy. Everyone loves him. And then Nik and Daniel are friends independently but then also close friends because Nik and Daniel are two of my closest people in life, and Daniel’s my husband.

And then Daniel has The Marketing Millennials, which is a very big B2B marketing community. And I was telling Nik about it one day, just randomly, like, “Oh wow, it’s grown to 400,000 people or whatever.” And Nik’s like, “Oh, you got to meet this guy, Adam, who is the founder of Workweek because Nik works for Workweek too.” And so, then Daniel did a deal with Workweek. So, then we have Nik and Daniel at Workweek.

And then Workweek was telling Daniel that they should have a go-to-market newsletter. And then, I was like, “I know.” And then I talked to them and then I signed with them one meeting later. I think I got it because I talked to them and they’re like, “Oh, if you ever have any ideas of what this should look like.” And it was a Friday at 5 p.m., and then at 6:15, I sent them my first welcome one email that I would write. And they were like, “Oh, sh*t, she really did it.” And they’re like, “Oh, she can write. Oh, she’s kind of quick. She could probably handle this and her job.” And so, then...

Adam Robinson: She knows what she’s talking about.

Ari Murray: Yeah.

Adam Robinson: That’s what people want.

Ari Murray: And then I just signed from there. So, it happened because of the circumstances of the people in my life.

Adam Robinson: Great. So, that is the moment that it became real. It was like it went from...

Ari Murray: Yeah.

Adam Robinson: So, were you not posting on social before that? You were like totally behind the scenes. Then there’s this newsletter. Then there’s like, well, I should create a personal brand to go along this newsletter and fuel it into my own audience.

Ari Murray: Yeah, I was posting on LinkedIn casually for a couple of months but only really to have my account help The Marketing Millennials. So, I just wanted to be a face, like good help for Marketing Millennials, but I had never been a person who tweeted. It was very much against my core of a person. But now, it’s a thing.

Adam Robinson: Yeah, totally. I hear you, I mean, same boat. How do you think about the bar for content quality that you put out? So, just background, I interviewed Ron Shah yesterday. And he’s like, “My bar is I will spend up to an hour on a tweet. I want somebody to look at it and immediately say, I learned something.”

Ari Murray: Cool.

Adam Robinson: So, do you have any quality? Or is it just like your standards are so high internally that it’s self-governing or whatever?

Ari Murray: So, it’s a little self-governing. I don’t spend any time really on my Twitter or any time on my LinkedIn. I’ll kind of just post whatever, like it’s not as thought out, but my newsletter, which is my core most important piece of the whole thing, I will only write it if I’m in a perfect mood, if that makes sense. I procrastinate it to the point where I’m like, “Oh, I’m a little hungry. I shouldn’t write this.” Or “Oh,” like I could use an app or whatever and not only write it when I’m feeling juiced up. And then I’ll only write it when I have enough time to write it from subject line to scheduling it because I think that I want it to sound like I’m talking about what I’m talking about versus writing this newsletter with eight sections or whatever it’s going to be.

And so, I just write it exactly in that order and I’ll write it only in the template. So, in the actual ESP I send it from because I want to see how it looks, see like if it feels long, see if it feels like, oh, that was important to say versus like, oh, there’s these character counts or lines. So, it’s not really a gut check of showing other people. I also don’t show anything to anyone before I send it, so I’m not really looking for anyone else’s opinion. I’m just if I feel good about it and if I wrote it and if I feel like it has something to say, then it’s good by me.

Adam Robinson: Love that. How long does it take you to write it?

Ari Murray: It depends on if I like my idea. So, between 40 minutes to two hours, probably.

Adam Robinson: And then another interesting thing about MrBeast was he was like a good– email’s different, but with the way YouTube algorithm works, a good idea versus a great idea. Like an idea that’s four times as good is a good idea, will get 40 times a distribution because that’s the way it works. So, he spends a huge amount of time on idea generation. How do you treat idea generation? Do you have a backlog of ideas? Like...

Ari Murray: So, I have three newsletters a week. So, I send on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. So, when I am sending, like I have a Friday newsletter that’s going out tomorrow that I wrote yesterday, but ever since I wrote the one before it, I’ve been thinking about what I should write on Friday. I just think about it. I don’t write it down. I don’t have a log of like, oh, these are the 45 things I want to talk about this year. I’ll just be in a client meeting and someone will bring something up, but they don’t understand or we’ll have an idea that works. And I’ll be like, oh, sh*t, that drove an extra 220k this month or whatever it’s going to be. And then I’ll think about it or it’ll come up and then it will go down to paper. So, I always sit down once I have the idea, which is why it takes me so long to sit down to.

Adam Robinson: One of the reasons that I didn’t want to get into this hustle was, I was like, you can never stop feeding the machine. And I don’t like that. I decided that the risk/reward for me was wildly in favor of doing it, at least for several years while I was building this brand because social media is the only way you can advertise pretty much, trade shows and social media. As Tony Clark says, they’re on social media to connect with people. They’re not going to connect to my page whether I wanted to or not unless it’s a person. You know what I mean? Tony’s like I treat Triple L like my account, which is why it’s growing. So, my question is to you, do you feel trapped by this at all?

Ari Murray: No, I feel inspired by it. And I think it’s really cool to be able to say the things that I’ve always just said in a very small group to the whole world or to whoever cares to read it. I think it’s the highlight of my career.

Adam Robinson: Really?

Ari Murray: Yeah. I genuinely think it, like if people stopped sponsoring it and if people stopped reading it, I like to think I would still write it, but I don’t know if I would because then I would just feel like no one cares and I would find something else, hopefully, that people would care about or that I would care about. But I literally don’t think I have another creative outlet in my day. And it’s really cool to be able to say something at the end of the day or...

Adam Robinson: That’s how I’m feeling about all of this also.

Ari Murray: Yeah, good.

Adam Robinson: Like people talk about the muscle of creating content. I’m just feeling like it’s exactly like you described. So, I’m doing a few different things, one of them are like I do five three-minute videos a week where I’m holding up, like this is for the Ron Shah one, like MentorPass, talking about him networking, right? Like send opportunities for free, jam freely with your time with people. You got to post regularly, work in public. So, I’ll do five of those and I’m getting the point where I can write them in an hour and then film them in another hour, hour and a half.

But then for the show, the woman’s trying to capture the emotional journey of being in the middle of all of this change. And the only way I can describe what’s happening to me right now, this is a bit hyperbolic, but Kanye had that documentary made about him when he was a producer and not a rapper yet.

Ari Murray: Right.

Adam Robinson: Like it’s so clear to me what’s going to happen. An example is like every day, I learn about a new brand that I love that’s using our product. This morning, I learned that Baby Brezza was. And it’s a machine that makes formula at the perfect temperature, like an espresso machine on the touch of a button. It’s life-changing if you have an infant.

And sometimes, people send checks to my house because there’s a billing mess-up or whatever. And Kelly, the finance girl, she’s like, “Oh, that’s Baby Brezza. They’re meaning to pay by ACH, whatever.” I’m just like, “So, this woman’s encouraging me, every time I experience emotion to just like selfie it real quick.” I’m like, “I’m holding my kid.” I’m like, “One thing that keeps happening to me, which I love is like this Baby Brezza thing.” And then we found out Dr. Squatch made 50x ROI in November with our product. 50x. Not only that, they’re willing to do a case study, and he’s willing to sit next to me, on stage, it grows the family.

Ari Murray: Dr. Squatch is North Star of Life, so that is so you’ve made it, you’ve done it.

Adam Robinson: So, like, another thing, I’m just like, I can’t believe this is happening to me, Dr. Squatch. And then this other thing happened last week where I met this guy Arthur through a contact. He’s got this company called, which sells into the big Shopify vendors, kind of like a headless website in 30 seconds improved speed, and then they have personalization. And he says, “It works great. I want to get some people trying it. And we’re doing this crazy ambitious stuff. I hired so many people and I’ve got this plan that seems so clear.” And he’s like, “Do you do any advising for companies?” And I’m like, “Dude, like four months ago, nobody would have ever asked me that.” So, like, no, but it’s like the circumstances and the personal brand, everything is like– so that was another thing. I whipped out the phone. I’m like, another thing I’ve been thinking about, like this really emblematic of the type of change that’s occurring in my life right now. I have this guy who, four months ago, I would have not been any kind of a role model or a couple of steps ahead. And now, all of a sudden, he wants to give me equity in his company to just update him on what I’m doing.

Ari Murray: Right. It gets crazy.

Adam Robinson: Yeah, it’s totally crazy. And maybe that’s not because of the founder brand, it’s because of other stuff, but it’s just wild, like all of the stuff at once. And all of this is sort of like once you start expressing yourself in this way, there is this kind of creative relief that comes from it. I don’t even know how to describe it, but it’s like...

Ari Murray: It’s very cathartic and it feels nice to be participating versus either on the sidelines or deciding like, oh, that’s not for me. I don’t do that. And then you turn in like a blind eye to it because there’s a lot of important work or important relationships or whatever you get from it or whatever comes from it. That happened because you decided just to participate in something that you have been given the opportunity to do versus saying no or being scared of it.

Adam Robinson: Yeah. Love it. So, your husband, Daniel, how has your relationship with him influenced your path as a creator?

Ari Murray: Well, we met at work at SnackNation when I was 23 and he was 24. So, we’ve only ever known each other as the dynamic of coworkers. And so, it’s always been like in our day, we always talk about work, we always talk about marketing. And so, I actually have been helping him with The Marketing Millennials since before anyone listened to the podcast or anyone followed our LinkedIn. I’ve been his little secret editor and helping him with ideas, like the logo. Every little thing that he’s touched, I help him with, and the same for everything that I do, he helps me with. And so, we’re sort of these uncredited founders for each other’s work because that’s just what we do. He doesn’t turn on an ad that I haven’t helped to write or help to see. And I don’t ask a podcast question that he didn’t help to write or help to see. That’s just how we are.

So, he’s been the most important actually at Workweek where we both work. I have to tell him to stop. If I hit a certain subscriber number, he puts it in my Slack group and I’m like, “This is embarrassing. Leave it alone. You can’t do this.” So, he’s just the most important and the most helpful in it. It’s really cool to see someone who’s doing it at a much bigger scale, but it’s like when he wins, we all win, so it’s a really good vibe.

Adam Robinson: Totally. Yeah, in that LinkedIn Live podcast, I just saw him peppering with questions and stuff.

Ari Murray: Oh, yeah. He can control stuff.

Adam Robinson: Like from both accounts, he’s like, “Well, what do you think about it?”

Ari Murray: I’m like, literally, get out of here, you’re embarrassing. He’s so sweet.

Adam Robinson: That is amazing. So, what’s the most valuable lesson that you’ve learned from him?

Ari Murray: I think he put himself out there before he made a dollar from it. And he did it for a long time. And he met and talked to a lot of cool people. And when he did it, I was a little nervous about it all. I was like, “Well, won’t your day job get mad? You’re kind of doing this. This is distracting. What if people think it’s embarrassing?” And he’s like, “I don’t care. I’m learning. I get to talk to cool people. It’s none if nothing is going to stop me.”

And it’s so impressive to me because I’ve become less shy and he has become less shy too, like he’s really grown into himself. And this is what he was supposed to be doing. So, it’s really cool to just see someone doing it and who did it without abandon, like before it was cool and before it benefited him.

Adam Robinson: Totally. I heard Alex Hormozi described this one time, he’s like, “Your free stuff, it’s better than your paid stuff. It’s amazing. And then the longer you wait to ask, the bigger the ask it can be.”

Ari Murray: Exactly.

Adam Robinson: I love that. And it just came into my mind when we were talking about that. So, have you learned any different lessons from Nik, who’s the absolute when you talk about North Stars? Like he is the personal brain guy in e-comm, I feel like. Any different lessons from him on doing this than Daniel?

Ari Murray: I think the thing that you can learn from Nik or just study from Nik is he knows every single person in the entire ecosystem that is e-commerce. And he also puts deep energy and time into those dynamics. His birthday, he had a Sharman night, which is like a networking dinner that he throws on his birthday. He purposely put it on his birthday. And it’s like because those are his friends and this is what he enjoys to do.

So, if you talk about loving your craft or no separation between, like, I don’t think he dreads Sunday night for Monday morning. I think he’s very happy with this life and it’s very cool to see someone who still works out every day, still sleeps nine hours a night, still really f*cking nice, and then knows everyone because that’s who he socializes with. So, there’s no separation.

Adam Robinson: Yeah, I love that, I mean, and I see why, like I said before like. So, this is the comparison that I like to make when I’m talking about how great I think the Shopify Plus ecosystem is. The first company I started was poaching customers from constant contact. I love them, but it was a very hard customer base to build software for. It was like baby boomer, non-e-commerce flower shops, one newsletter a month. You can’t build features that make the email work better than they will value and pay more for them. Like you’d send a survey out and you’d be like, “Are you a not-for-profit?” And they’d be like, “Not by choice.”

Ari Murray: Gosh.

Adam Robinson: And I just feel like Nik might feel the same way. He wouldn’t be throwing Sharma nights on his birthday if that was what he was like, the ecosystem he was dealing in. And I totally get it. It’s like these people are inspirational and it’s life-giving to me to spend time with someone in this hustle in any meaningful way.

Ari Murray: And it’s actually like my entire friend group, which is it’s so weird because just through Daniel and all of his friends and when I think about who I hang out with, it’s the people who have a similar life and it’s just because we have so much in common.

Adam Robinson: Yeah, I get it. Awesome. Okay, for someone if people are listening to us talk about this personal brand stuff, and by the way, I have been at it, no joke. Like, I started it October 1st. And I think my LinkedIn has gone from 1,500 followers to 13,000 or 14,000, which is not what Daniel’s is, but it’s working. It’s really like our company page has gone from 20 followers to 4,000, and the benefits are what we’re talking about. It’s soft on unquantifiable benefits. I do these daily videos between 500 and 1,500 people watch every single one of them.

Ari Murray: There we go.

Adam Robinson: One of my coworkers is like think about how hard it would be to talk to 500 people. It would be impossible. It’s organic and people are– he’s like, they’re getting to know you, just slowly over time. So, you know what you did, I know what I did. Mine was kind of expensive because it needed a lot of help to get started and was like in sort of a different place than you. But someone who has zero personal brand to end up in the journey that you’re on, like where would you start?

Ari Murray: I would start by knowing what you’re about to talk about extremely well. So, I think there’s no better media training than knowing your stuff and there’s no better content than past experience or current lived experience. So, if you’re going to go talk about a subject, make sure you (a) know it really well and (b) you enjoy it enough to talk about it and to go do it every day because that’s then a lot of your waking hours, and then you just have to do it. You have to either decide, okay, I’m going to post on every channel or I’m going to post on one channel or I’m going to write something or whatever you do, but you have to do it and you can’t be embarrassed or shy about it because if you think that it’s not embarrassing, it is super embarrassing sometimes, but you still have to go do it and you have to not be scared of it because the participation is the building level of entry is what’s blocked from. Like if you don’t participate, then you don’t know if it could be a good thing for you. So, you have to try it, but you have to know yourself.

Adam Robinson: Yeah. Have you made any mistakes that people could learn from in your pursuit of this?

Ari Murray: I wouldn’t call it a mistake, but I think because this kind of happened very quickly for me. I started my newsletter. The first issue went out May 30th, let’s call it, and the branding was finalized on May 29th, and I really did not like it. But what am I going to do? You got to show it. But it’s really important and a lot of what I talk about is like, oh, logos or brand or consistency. And that’s what I speak about.

And then I’m looking in my email and the masthead, it’s like a pink X I cannot handle. And it’s just one of those things where when you’re working quickly, could I have stopped my newsletter from going out for four months while we played with the logo? Yes. Did we? No. So, we just redid it. And now, it’s perfect and I love it. But I redid it in January when it was convenient. So, I think the mistake is when you sometimes start something quickly, it’s a bit rough around the edges sometimes, but it shouldn’t stop it.

Adam Robinson: I think that’s a good thing. Santos says, who’s a reference to Scott all the time, he’s transitioning to COO. He’s built five unicorn data companies. He’s like my everything. This guy is like a mentor figure. He’s building this whole thing for us. He’s like, man, in this position we’re in, which you’re kind of in a similar position in a different way. He’s like, good is good enough, or like, okay is good enough. He’s like, we’re doing a rebound right now. It’s like, do it fast. We’ll probably rebrand again before the end of the year, just get it done, get it out there, doesn’t need to be perfect. It will work. Like anything is better than nothing and anything is better than what we have right now, also. So, yeah, I can sort of relate to that philosophy. So, where do you see yourself in five years? In 20 years? Two questions. So, let’s do a five-year first, and then way down the line.

Ari Murray: Five years, I see myself hanging out with the go-to millionaires in a hopeful similar way. I see myself living in Austin, maybe with a little baby. That would be cute. Yes, I see myself working at Sharma Brands even in five years and still working every day with brands, and then writing about it every night. So, I see the same life, just maybe with a few additions.

Adam Robinson: I mean, you are f*cking winning.

Ari Murray: Yeah, that would be a good life.

Adam Robinson: That’s my opinion.

Ari Murray: That would be a good life.

Adam Robinson: If you’re just like, all I want is a kid, I’m not changing anything else, you are winning. And then 20 years, any change? Or do you just want to just be in the hustle, like just wanting to make sense?

Ari Murray: Twenty years? The problem with my life now, because in five years, my baby will be a baby, so that’s okay. But in 20 years, hopefully, I’ll have more time and more hours to give to my life that isn’t my work life. So, 20 years, maybe I’ll have to change one of those things that I work on. So, something’s going to have to give because there’s not going to be time for all of it. So, more balance, but hopefully, the same pieces and still working in e-comm, still helping people make millions of dollars, and then just more focus on the rewards of the life that is working hard.

Adam Robinson: Totally. Do you have a personal financial goal for yourself? Or is it just kind of like if I can sort of...

Ari Murray: I want a Birkin.

Adam Robinson: A Birkin?

Ari Murray: Yeah. It’s this purse.

Adam Robinson: Was that like 80k or something?

Ari Murray: It depends which one.

Adam Robinson: 120?

Ari Murray: It can be like 30, but I really want a Birkin. And that’s pretty vain, but that’s what I think about. Like, people want boats or houses or cars. I would love a really expensive purse. That’s my financial goal.

Adam Robinson: Are you hearing that, Daniel? Are you listening right now?

Ari Murray: Oh, he knows. No, no, no, he knows. There’s a number attached to the Birkin, so I know what I got to do. And then, he knows what he’s going to have to do. That’s okay.

Adam Robinson: I absolutely love that. So, if you could put one thing on a billboard, what would it be?

Ari Murray: I would probably put a QR code that leads to my newsletter and like no words next to it so that people scan it.

Adam Robinson: Yeah, nice. I didn’t ask you this. How are you collecting emails? What different ways?

Ari Murray: So, every time I post on LinkedIn, I put a link to subscribe. I have a button right after the intro of our newsletter that says like, “Are you subscribed? Sign up here.” That leads to a lot of subs. Twitter, every time I have a thread, I put a link to subscribe, and then it’s just a lot of word of mouth. I don’t text my friends. A lot of my family or a lot of my friends, they don’t even know we do this because I feel like if they’re supposed to find it, they’ll find it. Yeah, it’s basically just from social and then just word of mouth.

Adam Robinson: Got it. And then the final five, we touch some of the stuff, but where do you live?

Ari Murray: I live in Austin, Texas.

Adam Robinson: Me too.

Ari Murray: Same.

Adam Robinson: Looking forward to dinner tonight.

Ari Murray: Me too.

Adam Robinson: I’m taking Daniel and Ari to a restaurant.

Ari Murray: Well, it’s not sure you’re taking us. We are going to dinner.

Adam Robinson: I’m treating.

Ari Murray: It’s not decided.

Adam Robinson: Relationship status?

Ari Murray: I’m married.

Adam Robinson: Favorite person you’re following right now?

Ari Murray: Daniel Murray.

Adam Robinson: Daniel Murray. Love that. What’s your favorite book?

Ari Murray: Ooh, I would say East of Eden.

Adam Robinson: Nice.

Ari Murray: Religious studies major in me. I read a lot. I like deep lit.

Adam Robinson: Right. Awesome. Awesome, I love it. And your favorite vacation you’ve ever been on?

Ari Murray: Ooh. I would say New Zealand at New Year’s in 2019. Yeah, good.

Adam Robinson: Love that. My sister spent a couple of years in New Zealand. I never made it over. I really want to go. Hear it’s the most beautiful place ever.

Ari Murray: The time change, you can still work. It’s like the next day but same hours.

Adam Robinson: It just keeps doing that loop.

Ari Murray: Keep working, yeah.

Adam Robinson: Man, what is fantastic conversation? Ari Murray, thank you for enlightening us on everything that it is to be amazing. Nik didn’t lie, neither did Daniel. You actually are a genius. I’ll certify you. Boom.

Ari Murray: Well, thank you. Thank you.

Adam Robinson: And yeah, thanks for coming on.

Ari Murray: Thank you for having me. Thanks, guys.


As the concept of personal branding continues to explode, many creators have the same question: Where do I start?

Today, I’m sitting down with Ari Murray, the VP of Growth at Sharma Brands and creator of Go-to-Millions at Workweek, a marketing and founder-focused newsletter with more than 25,000 subscribers.

Ari goes over all things content creation — from idea generation to evaluating quality to not letting perfection get in the way of creating strong content.

You’ll also hear how Ari collects emails for her newsletter, the importance of knowing your content inside and out, and how she made her way into the media industry after dropping out of law school.

Key Takeaways with Ari Murray

  • What content creators can learn from Mr. Beast.
  • Prioritizing altruism over profit as a growth strategy.
  • Pivoting into a new field after your initial career intentions don't align with your happiness.
  • How learning on the job inspired Ari to launch the Go-to-Millions newsletter.
  • How can you start a newsletter?
  • Where should you set the bar for quality on content creation?
  • Tips for content idea generation.
  • Wrestling with the constant demand of content creation.
  •  The unexpected benefits that come from seizing opportunities that come across your radar.
  •  The dynamics of working in the same industry as your spouse.
  • If you have no current personal brand, where should you start?
  • Dealing with elements on your content that may not be perfect — but pushing forward anyway.
  • How Ari collects emails for her newsletter.

Ari Murray | Done is Better than Perfect

Ari Murray Inspiring Quotes

  • “Anything is better than nothing.” – Adam Robinson
  • “When you start something quickly, it’s a bit rough around the edges sometimes, but that shouldn’t stop it.” – Ari Murray
  • “There’s no better media training than knowing your stuff and there’s no better content than past experience or current lived experience.” – Ari Murray
  • “I also don’t show anything to anyone before I send it, so I’m not really looking for anyone else’s opinion. If I feel good about it and if I wrote it and if I feel like it has something to say, then it’s good by me.” – Ari Murray


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