Raj Jana started Java Presse Coffee Company in September 2015 while being a full time petroleum engineer. He realized that he was destined for a much different path and began to explore and educate himself in building an online business.
Raj’s story of how his personal journey and his brand are deeply intertwined provide some incredible insights on how to create a very special brand that is in full alignment with your passion and higher calling. That might sound a bit “out there”, but this episode dives into how to apply the process of practically applying your calling and your passion into building a massive business.
After scaling a lot of the problems his business had along with his revenue, he found himself in a new hamster wheel of working his hands to the bone every single day, and knew he needed to connect with a new vision or else he was on the way to the same burnout that the corporate world seemed to provide. Yanik Silver’s book Evolved Enterprise changed everything for Raj, and he went back to the drawing board.
He began to create a vision for his life and what he wanted it to be, and also what that meant for his company and what he wanted it to be. He started taking inventory of all the people he looked up to, and all the companies he admired that were doing great things with their brand.
From this new place of clarity, he came out with the brand “Stay Grounded” which is now synonymous with Raj and with JavaPresse alike. He started sharing the vision with his customers and telling the story of how he and the brand were evolving, sharing it with his team members and getting everyone aligned towards a common goal.
Raj was able to start growing faster than ever (800% growth that year) because he simply cared much more about what he and the business were doing, and so did all of his team. He had connected with a message and mission and vision that everyone could get behind, and all of the right opportunities and pathways started to line up. The Stay Grounded brand realization represented everything that Raj hoped to accomplish with his brand – offering customers a chance to take a minute for themselves in the present moment and be grateful for their journey.
In order to create this profound realization for your own brand to bring everything into alignment, Raj recommends pulling inspiration from the brands and people you admire that are doing amazing things. They can show you new ideas and pathways to create a brand message and vision that can take the world by storm.
Most importantly though, he recommends starting with you. You have to connect with what you really want from your life, and what you love doing most. You can then start to craft a brand message and vision that will help you accomplish this mission, and a set of core values that you can live by and create a powerful brand message from.
One question has to stand out above all else: Why? Why are you building this business and what are you hoping will come from that? Once you get clear on the kind of person and the kind of life you want to build, and connect with WHY it is that you want that, the questions around how you are going to apply that to your brand become self evident as each day goes by.
You begin a process of being so connected to a purpose that your brand can assume that it will start to come into place with very little effort. Building a brand take a lot of creativity, and when you are connected with WHY you are building it, the creativity just flows through you.
Start listing out all the reasons “why” in your business. Why do you want to sell what you sell, why do you want to help these customers, why do you want to be an entrepreneur. Having an inventory of all these answers will help you put together all the pieces into a brand story and connected reason to why you’re doing what you’re doing…when you do this, you can connect any product to it.
Raj says that when you are telling your truth and what you believe at the highest level, you are allowing customers to see themselves in you at the highest level of self actualization. This is what iconic brands that really stand out do extremely well: making you feel like it is a part of your story.
When you are connected with WHY you are doing what you are doing, you can start to identify what it is you want your customer to experience, or to avoid experiencing (some sort of pain). Then you can start to roll out the personality and feelings into your content and your messaging and testing out how it resonates with your customers and your audience the best. As you continue to share it again and again, the right people will get in place and feel like a part of your brand.
Raj has built an incredible community with his customers, and says that it all started with product, and a commitment to a really great customer experience. You have to have a story that aligns with the product, and a product that aligns with the story.
Your customers have to be able to connect that product with a much deeper meaning, and from there you can use any medium to build your community (emails, messenger, facebook groups). Raj loves to focus on referrals as a metric, because it’s a great measure of how well the brand is TRULY received.
Opening up a great feedback loop is really important when asking the 3 main questions about your brand: Why do you exist, Who are you helping, and what are you helping them with. Going deeper into each of these questions provides a lot of additional clarity on the others, and you begin to understand how related they all are in creating a great brand.
This also allows you to connect with your customers and your audience in a variety of ways that are most meaningful to them. This creates a roadmap of all the pillars of what your brand can really mean, and then start to create content around those brand pillars.
A lot of eCommerce entrepreneurs forget the actual impact that they can have, and the massive ripple effects that they can create with their products and their brand. When you combine your story and mission with a physical product experience, you can influence people more than you ever thought possible. This isn’t something to take lightly. You can create a massive impact with your brand, and the brands that create massive impact are the ones that are the most sought after.
Beyond simply the products that you sell and the values you are sharing with them, the way that your business operates can have a massive effect on the world. The Evolved Enterprise models for business encourage you to look at all sides of your product and supply chain for opportunities to give back to the community. It isn’t always about giving a percentage of your profits to charity to make an impact, you can have a massive impact on the world at every step of the process.
When integrating a higher impact model and image and experience for your brand, want to start connecting with how you want your customers to feel. It is important that you take all of the low hanging fruit opportunities to connect with this feeling through your supply chain first.
You can look at sourcing products or manufacturing in ways that align with your values and your purpose. After making an impact with your supply chain, then you look at giving back with profits (or similar models). This way you don’t need to think you need to be making massive profits in order to start giving back.
Being authentic and connected to the feeling you are looking to create for your customers is the best way to integrate the impact into your brand and your content. If you are simply looking to donate a % of your profits to create a story you can tout to your customers, it is a very superficial transaction that people will see right through as a marketing ploy.
Raj said something amazing when I asked him why he started doing stand up comedy even though he was pretty scared to try it: “you are the biggest horse you can bet on”. You can only be the best version of yourself if you are able to move past fear.
Entrepreneurs ride rollercoasters all the time and are faced with a lot of tough times. Fear plays a massive part in the rollercoaster, so without pushing your boundaries and doing things that you are afraid of its harder to navigate it. The more effectively you can manage fear, the more effective you can be when it shows up in your rollercoaster ride.