Meet Bryan Wish - founder of media company Wish Dish, which brings creatives together in authentic relationships. His advice for high school and college students hoping to start a company is exceptional!
Tell us about Wish Dish. How did the personal inspiration for it come about?
I started Wish Dish on the foundational idea that vulnerable expression builds authentic relationships. As entrepreneurs and creatives, we sometimes feel so alone on this journey, but to be able to confide openly with others helps us build the essential community we need to not only belong, but to keep going. The same can be said for people with depression, athletes who stop after their collegiate career, or students who haven’t discovered themselves yet.
While the brand is under construction right now, we built a platform attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors, 800+ contributors, and live events called Showing Up Naked.
Why did you pause your company? What has been the value of learning under other entrepreneurs?
A year and a half after college, I was still running Wish Dish full time, sharing a room with my friend in my college town, and only had a few hundred dollars left of runway. I started to humbly realize that I didn’t have the necessary skills or experience to scale my vision into the global force I always believed it could become.
For the past two years, I’ve taken a step back to gain the skill sets I felt I were missing; global community building, digital marketing, and branding. During the Fall of 2016- 2017, I had the unique opportunity to help build the global community for the Kairos Society spanning to 40+ countries after they raised their fund. From there, I springboarded into running marketing for a book campaign coming out called The Creative Curve by a very successful tech entrepreneur in Washington, D.C. Allen Gannett. After Kairos, I desired to work under someone I would want to emulate as an entrepreneur myself.
While Wish Dish gave me foundational knowledge of every pillar to build a successful startup, the benefit of these two experiences is the specialization of the skillsets I’ve had to learn in order to succeed in those roles. Without them, I wouldn’t feel as equipped as I do today.
Any advice for a high school/college student looking to start a business?
Knowing what I know now, here are four changes I would have my starting my first company.
1. Build a focused brand: With Wish Dish, it was hard to build a message that resonated very deeply with one subset and build a scalable community without a clear focus of WHO we were marketing towards. As the quote goes, “the riches are in the niches”.
2. Developed a monetary model from Day 1: I was naive in the beginning thinking, the more users and stories we share, the investment money would fall from the sky. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case. I really wished I broke things down a step at a time before I dove head first and understood how to monetize in an authentic way.
Pro tip: Use google OKR’s to strategically plan 3,6,9,12 months at a time.
3. I was looking at the WALL, instead of learning to lay the first BRICK: We were running content, events, and developing a book without building a sustainable system for each pillar and then moving on to the next.. Reflecting, I would have figured how to scale one channel first.
Will Smith quote:
"You don't set out to build a wall. You don't say 'I'm going to build the biggest, baddest, greatest wall that's ever been built.' You don't start there. You say, 'I'm going to lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid. You do that every single day. And soon you have a wall."
4. Put your health first: As a young entrepreneur, it’s so easy to burn yourself out and think your time is limited to be successful. If you are not sleeping 7-8 hours, keeping a good diet, exercising, your mental, physical, and emotional health take a huge toll on you. Here is a podcast I recently did on this topic.
To contact Bryan, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.