Fear Kills Growth

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Ever the poignant producer of brevity, that quote from GaryVee on my LinkedIn timeline smacked me in the face as I sat down to try to do some work before my day gets started and my kids wake up. Everywhere you look right now, Fear is the number one topic. Fear of Covid, Fear of economic collapse, Fear of losing people, Fear of losing business – and you know what is NOT happening? Growth.

Think back to a time when you had a huge decision in your life or business. Maybe it was moving to a new city for a job, maybe it was offering a new service or product at your company, maybe it was deciding on a new hire, maybe it was making the leap from employed to self-employed, maybe it was getting married or having kids – anything. Picture that moment in your mind. You know the moment, the moment you can see yourself standing at the edge of the cliff. Looking down through a haze of possibilities and swirling whiteness. You remember the fear? Gripping your heart, taking your breath away, “How far down is the bottom?” you think to yourself, “How many things can go wrong?”

You worked up the courage and – you jumped. Some of you stepped off that edge only to find a step directly beneath your feet, leading up a shiny staircase to success. Some of your fell. And when you hit, it sucked, but you learned. I’ve had both. One is obviously better than the other but you know what is an even worse feeling? Staying standing on that cliff. I’ve been that guy before. That one is the absolute worst. Telling people your plans, telling people how much you are going to do, this new big awesome thing you’re going to do…and you never do it. You have no guarantee for growth if you don’t jump, but you are GUARANTEED not to grow if you don’t.

We have a lot of uncertainty right now. No one knows for sure what’s going to happen in the future for business, for people, for the economy, for the world – what a perfect time to jump. Remake your company image, launch a new company, make a new product, go back to school for a new trade or career – as GaryVee always says it is never too late, no matter your age or life situations. You don’t know what tomorrow is going to look like if you stay where you are anyway, why not try something different. You are guaranteed growth if you face your fears.

Joel Mann is owner & designer at ThunderstruckMG . TMG does graphics, web, and marketing as well as a slew of various media types. If you want to connect with Joel for your business or just networking, well it’s me so just hit me up here on LinkedIn, @ThunderstruckMG on twitter & insta or jmann@thunderstruckmg.com. No Fear, People!

Project Files: NMC Magazine – A Pale Blue Dot

This past spring, I was asked to be the Design Editor for the 40th edition (Issue 2) of the NMC Magazine at our local community college here in Traverse City, MI – Northwestern Michigan College (NMC). The title/theme of the magazine this issue was ‘A Pale Blue Dot,’ after Carl Sagan’s well-known speech (Youtube) about planet earth and the scope of our time and reality in comparison to the size of the cosmos. I had never been a design editor for a large publication before, but I had worked with plenty of magazines in the past, so I agreed.


It was certainly a new experience, and it was a struggle at times, but the finished product was incredibly rewarding. If you ever get a chance to work with a magazine or newspaper behind the scenes, I recommend you take it. My horizons were definitely broadened, and it was quite a difference working with multiple designers & staff all on one project, versus working on something by myself. What we were able to get done in such a short period of time far surpassed my expectations.

I want to give kudos to all the wonderfully talented designers and writers that I got to work with on this project. I have worked with some incredible creatives in the past, but the work created by the students and staff at NMC was just amazing in it’s creativity, range, and style. I hope to get to work with some of them on future outside projects, should I find myself so lucky.

If you want to see the full issue of the NMC Magazine in person, you can find them (for free) at most bookstores and coffee shops in Traverse City, MI, at the NMC campuses, or follow this link: ‘NMC Magazine – A Pale Blue Dot’, to see the digital version. We really put together a great issue, and I’m proud of all the time and effort everyone put in.


Joel Mann is owner and operator of ThunderstruckMG, a darn good designer, and well known for his rugged good looks.
For more info on ThunderstruckMG, to inquire about their services, or to view some of their previous work, go to ThunderstruckMG.com.

Change the conversation.

“If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.” – Don Draper, Mad Men


   There are two worlds we live in. These worlds have become almost entirely separate from each other, while each of them are very clearly grounded in each other – to some degree. On the one you have the very physical world, a world with air and sky and people – flesh and blood. This world has brick and mortar buildings, cold hard cash, smiles and handshakes, and face to face meetings over coffee.

The second world is also a very real world, but more metaphysical than the other. In the first world who you are and what you do defines virtually your entire reality. In the second world, your perception and other’s perception of you can be shaped by a whole different set of rules.

In the first world when a customer does not like your service, they yell at you, or politely ask you to change it, maybe ask you to give them a coupon, ease their mind. In the first world when a customer likes you work, loves your product, lives by your brand, all they come in contact with hear of it.

In the second world, when a customer does not like your service, they write a review on one website, which is seen by literally hundreds of people. That one review could be picked up by other websites, until your company is literally known by one review. News channels could run with it, if it’s juicy enough. It could become a meme ridiculing you on Reddit & 4Chan, slowly making it’s way to Facebook & Twitter. People can debate on the merrits of your lack of service or customer care on public websites & forums for thousands more to see.

In the second world when someone loves your product or service, they can rave about it on social media, blogs, websites. Others who have never met this person, nor have any idea who they are, try your business for themselves. You can gain hundreds, thousands, your whole town as potential customers over one simple rave review. You can also lose your whole market over one bad review.

As an example, consider the first world – the physical world – to be a stone. A small stone, smooth, much like the one that David would have thrown at Goliath. Now in this same example, imagine the second world is a very still pond. One simple act in the physical world, usually unless massive circumstances mount, has relatively little consequence. One simple act in the digital world can ripple continuously until the whole world has seen it’s wake.

I have been baffled, in my local town, but even nationally and internationally, knowing how much power this can yield, and wields of their liveliness; I have been baffled how little time or attention so many businesses pay to the online world. In 2011 The Pew Research Center released a poll on where people went for information. Of the Americans under 40, those polled stated that their top source of information on local businesses was the internet.

There is a conversation going online. They are talking about your business. Do you know what they are saying? Can you afford to not have a voice in the conversation?


Perpetual Dreamers & One Hit Wonders


   I have a friend, let’s call him Bob. Bob is a mechanic, he’s a good ole’ boy, and he’s very good with his hands. Bob knows cars and man can he fix them. Bob is also a business owner, he owns his own garage in my local town.

   Now Bob has no logo, no website, no social media – not even a Facebook page. He has no online presence at all. He has virtually no marketing presence. Bob has one sign, on the little side road off the main road that his garage is on, that says ‘Bob’s Garage’. He stays busy by working on friend’s cars, and through word of mouth about his services he’ll sometimes get a friend of a friend as a new customer. Bob has had the same shop, in the same location, same size, with (roughly) the same amount of employees and a small, but steady stream of business for quite some time. Bob is living the American dream, he’s got his own kingdom with his family business and that’s all Bob wants – trust me, I’ve asked him.

   Bob is an entrepreneur. Bob is one of two main groups of entrepreneurs who essentially are the backbone of America. Bob is apart of the group I like to call ‘One Hit Wonders.’ These are people who have a dream to work for themselves. They save their money, they start a business, but then they stop there. They lack the desire or motivation to dream past their initial vision. They cut themselves short of what they really could achieve. They are already more ambitious than a majority of people in this world, and they have braved the storm that is starting a small business – but that’s where they stop.

   The second group, like the first group, have a dream to work for themselves. Just like the first, they take the plunge into entrepreneurship and strike out for themselves. Where the second group varies from the ‘One Hit Wonders’ is the next step. They get to the top of their mountain, and what do they see? They see another mountain to be climbed, way off in the distance. It excites them, it invigorates them, the thrill of building, the chance to do something great. While others around them may mock them, or put down their constant forward thinking, they always see a bigger giant to slay in front of them. I call this group, “The Perpetual Dreamers.” These people, whether continually growing their one business, or starting many, constantly keep building on their success.

What some may not realize is that without Perpetual Dreamers we would not have light or electricity from PD’s like Nikolai Tesla & Thomas Edison. No cars without Henry Ford. No planes without the Wright Brothers. No computers without Steve Jobs or Bill Gates (it’s in that order intentionally). Without the Perpetual Dreamers of the world we would have no great music, (except of course from the other One Hit Wonders) no technology, no America without the slew of Perpetual Dreams like Christopher Columbus and other explorers. We wouldn’t have the Freedom & Structure of America without the Perpetual Dreamers like Washington, Adams, Jefferson, or Franklin. Everything we know, everything that we have, we have because of the Perpetual Dreamers throughout history.

Success one time is great. People fear the risks, but just starting a business is a risk.  Don’t limit your dreams, play them out, take the risks, and you will reap the rewards. You can make that dream a reality, and we can help. Contact us at ThunderstruckMG if you want to be a Perpetual Dreamer and push your vision to the next step. We can help you better brand your business so you can make your business known. We can help you launch an advertising campaign to push your products and services to another level in your market. We can make you a beacon on the internet for those you want to reach with our Search Engine Optimization Algorithms. With social media, your customers can get direct customer service and instant updates on your products, and you can have happy clients – and many of them. Let’s leave the One Hit Wonders behind, and follow our dreams to their fullest potential.



If It Ain’t Broke

The great thing and the terrible thing about change is that’s different. Customers tend to love change (if done in the right way), but employees & employers alike have a love/hate relationship with it.

In the business world, small changes are normal, but the main reason to make major changes is to gain new customers, to be exposed to new markets. The ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ saying is true, but if your business is all maintenance and no growth – it’s broke.


Depending on your industry there are many ways you can make a change, but one easy change that can attract customers, especially the highly coveted young professional/young family market is to change up your marketing. An intuitive website & active social media can go a long way to reaching a new demographic. Getting a new logo & branding is a very easy way to project a fresh new image with minimal work on your part. Print up handouts, banners & discount coupons and place them in locations where your desired customers frequent to get your face in front of potential new customers.

With the help of a good graphic/web/marketing company (ThunderstruckMG maybe?) and a little elbow grease you can suddenly find yourself with a brand new flow of customers that may never have even knew you existed.

Don’t be afraid of change – with a good guide, it could be the best thing you’ve ever done.

Did we peak your interest? Find your guide or more info at ThunderstruckMG.com

In A Rut

So you’re driving down this road. You hit an ice patch and slip and slide into a ditch. You start to pull out by accelerating, mid acceleration you hit a point where you can’t seem to go forwards or backwards.

This is called a rut. Many of you are in one right now. Whether you are a business owner marketing yourself, an amateur marketing or media person working for yourself or a professional in a fully-dedicated department, many many many of you are in these things called ruts.


How do I know this, you ask? Well for one thing, a good portion of you create things that look alike, no matter what you do. Everyone can fall into a rut of course, even I have been at one point or another. I’ll watch companies go years and never change any advertising strategies, never change the look of any signs and never change the style of how they present themselves. If you live on planet earth, you probably know by now that the public’s interests change – so your persona must change with it. The fact is, everyone falls into a rut – but if you don’t realize you’re there, you’ll stay there for a very long time.

WAKE UP CALL! YOU’RE IN A RUT! So what are you reading? What are you watching? What are you drawing inspiration from? WHO are you drawing inspiration from? There’s a million different sources out there, and if you don’t wander out of your small bubble of influences neither will your designs.

Another great way to get out of rut – contact us. Sorry, shameless self-promotion, but the fact exists, you need out of that rut, whether by calling us (recommended) or someone else – just for pete’s sake, don’t stay there

Visit ThunderstruckMG.com For More Info Or To Contact Us To Help.