EP 394 – The Brand Doctor with Henry Kaminski, Jr.

NCS 394 | Branding Mistakes

NCS 394 | Branding Mistakes


On this episode of the Note Closers Show podcast, we’ve got my friend, Henry Kaminski, Jr. on to talk about branding mistakes business owners make. He is a best-selling author, podcast host, and the founder of Unique Designz by the HMK Group. Henry shares his expertise as “The Brand Doctor” by discussing why it is important to be yourself while giving value to people. Touching on social proof, mastering your niche, and sharing your story, he explains why authenticity is a word that never goes out of style in the branding space. Learn how to understand your audience as well as working with optimal confidence to triple down on everything else.

Listen to the podcast here:

The Brand Doctor with Henry Kaminski, Jr.

We’ve got a little bit of branding going on and I can’t think of a better guest to have on than our good friend and known as The Brand Doctor, Henry Kaminski, Jr.

I appreciate you having me on the show. We had you on The Brand Doctor Podcast. You ripped it up over there. I’m excited to share some value with your audience and do the best I can.

For those that may have watched us during the National Social Media Day, Henry was a guest on there. It got a ton of rave reviews. One of the big reasons it helped us get over 150,000 views on all those videos. I want you to tell everybody who you are and your expertise.

My name is Henry Kaminski, Jr. I own a company called Unique Designz and I specialize in personal branding. I’ve been in business for several years. I’ve spent the last several years designing my personal brand and I’ve helped many entrepreneurs design theirs. We’ve gotten very niched and we help people come to market from a brand identity standpoint to a messaging standpoint. Branding is not just a logo, it’s not just a website and it’s not how you look. It’s how you make your audience feel and how they perceive you as a subject matter expert. If they don’t, we have a major problem. I’ve spent the last many years mastering my craft and I have created some beautiful brands. I’ve worked with Bon Jovi, Russell Brunson, Fabio Viviani, and some awesome individuals and inspiring as well. I’m here to provide value in any which way I can in regard to positioning yourself as a subject matter expert, building your personal brand, scaling your expertise and helping you live a better life and run a better business.

Let’s talk about that because a lot of people especially as we get to the end of the year, there’s a certain thing about the New Year’s resolutions. In our line work, we get a lot of people that come over that want to leave their job to pursue their passion or become an entrepreneur. They come from a 40-hour work week where they’ve been dictated what to wear. What that job or boss mentality of what that culture is to try to do something on their own or starting to do some things on their own. They started to chase their own dreams. What are some of the biggest mistakes you see people doing when they’re right out of the gate?

They’re trying to be something they’re not. One of the biggest mistakes people make is trying to front or trying to be something that they haven’t had any experience in yet. Just because you’ve got click funnels then it makes it easy to create landing pages, it doesn’t mean that you’re an expert in it. It doesn’t mean you understand marketing. What I like to tell people is make sure that you have achieved some success up front and then showcase that success. People are going to hire you because you are where they want to be. There’s nothing more inauthentic as trying to fake it until you make it. I know people jump on that bandwagon, but I’m here to tell you that eventually you’ll be found out. Let me give you an example.

I’m not here to point fingers. I’ve done that and got the t-shirt where all I wanted to do was impress my family, impress my friends and impress my colleagues. What all that got me was nothing but a bunch of resentment. They were like, “Henry, this isn’t you. Who are you trying to kid? Who are you trying to fool? You’re not fooling us. Why do all of this? Do it for you.” It took me many years for me to realize that. It took some big fall outs from friends and family, my wife almost had it up to here one year and she was like, “I didn’t sign up for this. Either you’re going to fix it or we’re going to do something different here.” That woke me up and I said, “I need to come authentically.” I knew who I was as a person and the way I was being perceived was completely different. I had to fix that quick, otherwise, I was going to be out of business. I was attracting all the wrong clients.

Especially in the entrepreneur space, a lot of people are attracted to the Gary Vaynerchuks, the Grant Cardones out there because they’re running videos online and people are like, “I want to be the Gary Vee of this.” I’m like, “Don’t be the Gary Vee, be you.” You don’t want to drop F-bombs. Gary Vee can get away with it because he’s got experience. Be yourself. While we’re all bragging, we’re all looking for success or deals to close so we can provide some things, go out and share some of that success. That social proof first off versus trying to be a big bad boy with a rented Lamborghini.

When I was a kid growing up, I was one of 50 white kids in my whole school. I had two educations. I got one on the street and I got one in school. One of the things that our friends always used to tease each other on was if we were going to call BS on somebody. If somebody was coming at us with some nonsense, we would say, “Show them proof.” They would either do it and we’d be like, “Fist bump, you’re good,” or we’d be like, “You’re full of you know what.” It made me realize that social proof is everything. People are going to buy results, they’re going to buy solutions and they’re going to buy your game plan. They’re going to buy your expertise, your value because we don’t get paid for our time. We get paid for our value. I see a lot of people out there putting this nonsense out there.

I saw some guy talking to a big audience and he said, “You shouldn’t be putting out any content on social media. That’s nonsense.” Here’s this woman going, “I won’t put anything out there,” like zombies. I’m going to myself, “Make sure that you take action on the things that feel right.” Does that sound right to you if want to build an audience, build a following, build your subject matter expertise and serve an audience? Does that sound right to not put any content out there that people can resonate and connect with and find relevant? There’s a lot of nonsense out there. I always say consider the source. If they’re not out there doing it, ask them why. I did a podcast on this and I said, “If there’s anything that ever comes out of my mouth that you would like to challenge, bring it. I would love to get your perspective. I would love to hear your side of it because it’ll give me a different angle to look at. It all comes down to it’s got to feel right in order to be executed.

A lot of people don’t believe it’s going to come across as they’re faking it or they’re not into it. That’s one of the easiest things. We’re all salesmen and salesladies out there. If we don’t believe in what we’re talking about, it shines through definitely in the message. It shines through in how we act or roll with it, no matter what it is.

NCS 394 | Branding Mistakes

Branding Mistakes: If you don’t believe in yourself, then what makes you think other people are going to believe in you?


If you wouldn’t buy her own product, what makes somebody else want to buy it? If you don’t believe in yourself, what makes you think other people are going to believe in you? It has to come from within. I did a lot of personal development stuff that has changed my life. I’m a big PD junkie. I start and end my day with Jim Rohn, the OG of personal development. I realized that it all starts there. The second piece is you got to master your craft. You got to niche. One of the second biggest mistakes I see people make is that they’re not focused on a specific audience. They don’t even know who they’re serving. They are frustrated because they don’t know what content to put out there. They want to know why they’re suffering from obscurity. They have no clue what to offer. They’re putting out products and service that they think are cool but not what their audience is willing and able to buy. It all comes down to knowing who you want to serve.

When my mentor said to me, “Henry, where do you see yourself in the next few years and what brings you the most joy?” I said, “Honestly, helping people similar to me. Personal brands that have an established business, they’re doing well, but they feel a little bit embarrassed by the brand that they have out there because their cousin put their website together. They started bootstrapping it, but now they’re doing decent and they want to take things up a notch.” That’s my journey. If you saw my brand several years ago, you’d laugh.

It took a while to get to where I’m at now and I’m saying to myself, “Here’s what it looks like. Here’s the new opportunity when you level everything up. You get better clients. You work with fewer people and make more money. You create a lifestyle. You create a business that can run on its own. You don’t have to be everything.” My goal for 2019 is to have my name synonymous with personal branding for influencers. If you’re an influencer, a coach, consultant, speaker, author, those folks that want to make an impact in this world, make it a better place, inspire people, motivate them and create a better version of them, then that’s a qualification that you must have in order for me to work with you.

That’s good because you’ve narrowed it down. We see this in the real estate side of things too a lot of times. They’re running from one workshop to another workshop that they never take the time to implement what they’ve learned in the first one or to give it time to get those lessons or that marketing or those phone calls or those letters to work. They’re constantly running around like a chicken with their head cut off. They’re trying to be a jack of all trades and as I like to say, totally a master of none.

I did a presentation down in Fort Lauderdale to a bunch of agency owners. I put up a slide and there were about a gazillion people sitting in a piazza. I said, “Do you think it would be much easier to try to get a message across to all of these people? Would you find it easier to get a message across to a woman sitting at a desk, by herself, looking over her shoulder basically with the look on her face like, ‘I need your help.’” It’s a lot easier to speak to one person than it is to hundreds of thousands of people that have all different types of issues. When I realized that I like influencers because they’re on a mission. I’m on a mission. I know that I can take them to where they want to be. They need that vehicle and I’m that vehicle. My team and my expertise and my insight are that vehicle. I’ve been able to focus in on that and my clients are amazing individuals. These people are going to change the world one client at a time. It has this ripple effect because now they’re influencers. I’m influencing them and now they’re influencing their audience. That’s how I’m going to take over the world.

When you were talking about how we often bootstrap things initially as entrepreneurs, I looked back and think what my website was like many years ago versus what it is now. The thing is the hustle and the social proof that I was providing online overshadowed the crappy website that I had. They could see that I could do it and then as I added things slowly but surely, as I had profits and invested back into the business, I got a nicer website. I invested $16,000 rebranding with the logo and things like that. Let’s talk a little about that stuff because it’s different now than it was many years ago. What are some of the most important things that entrepreneurs can look at doing to help themselves out with that branding? I know that you’ve involved and got family member at bootstrapping. What are some of the biggest things that when you initially see, whether it’s an influencer or somebody you have to shake your head and say, “What were you thinking?”

Simplicity is king. Everybody wants to put as much as possible on their website and too much is bad. It’s like trying to force feed somebody a Big Mac when they’re not hungry. You don’t want to do that. Simplification is key. You want to first and foremost start off with the how, what and why framework. What I do, how I do it and why I do it. People want to know why you’re doing what you’re doing more than anything else and that goes a long way. Video is key. People love to consume video. They love the story. If you go to my website, UniqueDesignz.net, you’ll see part one of my story and part two of my story and people resonate with that. I’ve had grown men come to me before an introductory consult call and say, “You had me in tears. That’s why I booked a call with you.”

When you share your story and you share that authenticity, people overplay that word. In the branding space, it is a word that will never go out of style for me. As an expert in the field, you have to always go back to it. The people are going to see right through your nonsense. You got to have some social proof. There’s a whole case study section on my website with five different case studies. I designed them strategically to bring them through the process. If anybody who’s considering trying to work with me, they see what I’ve done for other people and the process that I take them through. It’s not cookie-cutter, it’s custom-tailored to the person that I’m working with because we all have different goals. We all have different things that we want to accomplish. That is all tremendous value for somebody that’s coming to your website.

You’ve got to put your best foot forward. If people come to your website and it looks outdated, it looks like somebody slapped it together with toothpaste and gum. They’re probably going to subconsciously say to themselves, “I wonder if this is what their product or service looks like.” I have a different eye for this stuff when I go to people’s websites because I’m in the space every day. It’s like walking into a restaurant with a dirty bathroom. Imagine what their kitchen looks like. I’m scratching my head going, “They touched my steak.” It’s very important you got to put your best foot forward when you’re talking to your audience, especially if you want to get to the next level. Nobody is going to hire somebody that they think they’re already better than.

We definitely see that here on the real estate side as we’re dealing with investors, identifying the who, what and why, “Why are we doing what we do? Who am I? Whether I’m Laura Blunk in Wimberley, Texas or Phil Jacobs in Detroit or Scott Carson in Austin, Texas. What am I doing? What’s my why behind this? Is it my family? Is it that I love helping to make America great one mortgage at a time? Is it helping others stay in their houses but make money?” Those things are all relevant. The biggest thing is identifying the individuals that you’re working with and asking the questions that they would be thinking.

That’s another thing that I see a lot of people taking the wrong step is they’re not taking the time to understand their audience and ask them questions. Every week, there’s a post that I do not deviate from and I put it out on my Instagram page. I say, “How can I help you build and grow your personal brand this week?” That post gets the most engagement out of all the posts all week long. They gave me the fuel and content that I need to put out there for that upcoming week. Now, I’m able to create a video, create a blog and create content that speaks to exactly what their pain points are. When people start to feel you are inside of their heads, it’s a game changer. That’s all brand. That’s all how you make them feel. All the little things matter.

NCS 394 | Branding Mistakes

Branding Mistakes: In the branding space, authenticity is a word that will never go out of style.


They totally do. A lot of us run around thinking that what we think is best when it’s not. That’s the biggest mistake I see a lot of people make. When you’re talking to yourself, if you’re out trying to raise capital from someone who’s 35 to 65, a homeowner, college-educated, who likes real estate who is worried about retirement. If you can figure out what the biggest fears of your clients are and going out and solve those fears. How can I help you each week on your Instagram account? People are going to tell you what they need if you ask and then importantly listen.

That’s why we’ve got two ears and one mouth. It’s the key to success. I had the sales process all backward back in the day. I was the guy that everybody made fun of because I was the one that talked me right out of the sale. I was the one that talked about himself the whole time. I cringe thinking back to how I used to present myself on prospect calls and sales calls. If I do 10% of the talking, that’s a lot. They call me The Brand Doctor because of the way I work with my clients. I diagnose, I prescribe and then I apply. I used to try to prescribe without getting to the bottom of it. You know right away when somebody is like, “Enough,” because they don’t feel heard. All I do is bring them through a series of specific questions. Questions they probably never thought of before. At the end of that call, they have a decision to make, “Do I move forward or do I not move forward? I either signed up for this or I didn’t sign up for this.”

I always tell them at the end of the call like, “You have a decision to make.” What typically happens is I have challenged their thought process so much on that call. They’re like, “This is a no-brainer. Where have you been?” That’s typically the response that I get. Sometimes it’s out of people’s budgets because I’m one of the most expensive in the market because I know the results that I deliver. I’m upfront with those folks. I tell them up front, “You could find cheaper options, but what are you looking for? Are you looking for a cheap price or are you looking for results? That’s what it comes down to. When you challenge people’s thinking, they’re like, “This guy or gal is valuable. I need to get them on the team.”

You definitely get what you pay for. I have made plenty of mistakes in the past to go and save a nickel when I should have gone ahead and made the whole dollar to begin with.

I was listening to Jim and he said something along the lines of, “If you want cheap things, the result will be a cheap life, a cheap business, and a cheap personal brand.” What do you want? It’s completely up to you. You have a choice. I’ve always been a premium guy. I grew up fortunate. My father raised me by himself and he worked four freaking jobs to do it. He showed me what work ethic looks like. I would go to Canal Street to get my clothes and Canal Street is Chinatown in New York City. That’s where I’ve got my school clothes. I would help my dad snow plow on the side. I would shovel. I would do all these things. We didn’t have fancy things. When he would pick me up from a date, he had a ‘74 booger-green Chevy pickup truck. He still has it to this day. I would have him pick me up around the corner because I was embarrassed by it. I made this pact to myself one day when I was sixteen years old. I was about to get my license. I said, “When I have the money, I will never drive a crappy car.” To this day, I don’t. My wife thinks I’m crazy because of the cars in my garage, but it is what it is. I said, “Level up. You deserve it.” Jim talks about this a lot. You don’t get what you want. You don’t get what you need. You get what you deserve. You want to work hard, you can play hard.

For those that have been in business longer, they’re starting to make some money. They’re starting to have some success. What are some of the things that they can be doing or should they be doing? The nice watch, the nice car, what are we talking about?

Don’t get caught up on the material things. I want you to reinvest in your business. The watches and the cars that you see come after the fact. The difference between rich people and poor people is that rich people invest first, buy later. Poor people buy first and invest what’s left. That’s the big problem. That was me. I raised my hand again. I had to learn financial intelligence. That didn’t come easy for me. My father still has the first quarter he made. It was extreme, I went the other way and I spent every nickel I had. What Russell Brunson calls cycling, I cycled twice. I made a whole bunch of money and lost it. I said, “That’s not good for my son. That’s not good for my wife. It’s not good for my health either and I hate when I’m in that valley of death during those times.”

I leveled out at 30,000 feet and continuing to scale. I’ve learned to invest my money first and then buy the nice things later. This was my end of year present because I was able to work with eight clients and make more money than 48 clients that I worked with last year. I was proud of myself. There were no refunds. There were no chargebacks. There was none of that. People walked away with a quality product. People walked away confident, happy, raving reviews. I said then, “I deserve something like this.” You’ve got to remember to celebrate your wins.

Congratulations too, you won a little award.

I was speaking at an event called Agency Influence 2018. It was a roomful of agency owners, digital marketers and people that run marketing agencies online, offline. I was awarded the $50,000 Recurring Revenue Award. I didn’t think that I was going to get something like that. They gave me this questionnaire when I was registering. They needed all my information as a speaker. I had no idea that award was coming. They called it the Agency Emmy’s. They called me up and they gave me this little award. I thought to myself, I had to pinch myself because I was like, “It wasn’t too long ago where I was negative in the bank account and my biggest dream was to make $50,000 a year, never mind per month.” What I realized is I want to make sure that your audience gets this. One of the biggest shifts I made this year and you see a lot of the bigger influencers like Russell and Tony and all those guys talking about it. I shift my focus off of the money and I focused my attention on my client’s results. Why are we doing what we’re doing? I made a pact to myself when I started to get my act together this year and I said, “What are you working for?”

It’s twofold. One is I want to make my father, my wife and my son proud. I’m also working for the testimonial. I want my client at the end of the project or the end of the whole Brand Accelerator Program to say, “You changed my life. You changed the way that I thought. You changed my business. You changed the people that I work with. What can I do to serve you now?” That’s what I realized. When you focus on helping them get the results that they’re looking for and you don’t worry about, “I’m on the clock or I’m coming up on my 60-minute mark. It’s time to go,” and you slam the door in their face. That’s all gone. I won’t let a client off a Zoom call until I know that it’s embedded in their DNA that they know what to do next. That’s changed my entire game.

NCS 394 | Branding Mistakes

Branding Mistakes: When you are working with optimal confidence, that’s when you triple and quadruple down on everything.


Sometimes it’s better to work with fewer than being for the masses because you can do a deep dive and add more influence to that aspect.

That’s the thing. It’s influence and it’s impact and you’re changing people’s lives. I always ask my clients, “What business are you in?” They have a hard time answering that. To give you an example, people ask me, “What business are you in?” I say, “I’m in the time compression business. I’m going to get you where you want to be a lot faster than you trying to do it yourself with my processes and my systems and my efficiencies. I’m in the confidence-building business too.” What I realized was when you are working with optimal confidence, that’s when you triple and quadruple down on everything. A lot of people have these superpowers. How many people do you know, Scott, that have a tremendous product or service, but they’re getting killed by the competition because they’re getting out-marketed?

A bunch of people.

I want to demolish that. One of my old clients said this to me, “Henry, you’re an amazing designer. You’re an amazing person. You deserve amazing clients.” When I see that from influencers and personal brands that have great product or service, but they’re not positioned properly. It goes through me like a bolt of lightning and I want to do everything I possibly can to help them get those amazing clients that they deserve. I can’t just give that to you because you won’t appreciate it. People that pay, pay attention. A lot of people are undervaluing their expertise. I had a client, Brenley Shapiro. She has been in the game for many years as a coach. She’s getting paid $200 an hour and I said, “You deserve $2,000 an hour. Why aren’t you paying that?” When I gave her that confidence, she’s charging $2,000 an hour and she’s getting it because she’s that good. She’s working with NHL teams. We take it for granted because it’s our superpower.

Everybody’s got a superpower and everybody has to realize what their hour is worth. It’s one of the things that I always say, “Know what your hours are worth. If you want to be up here making this money, you can’t be doing that by doing $15 an hour jobs. You’ve got to know what you’re worth. You’ve got to know and value it and then value your time first because nobody’s going to value your time until you start doing it first and foremost.”

If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody’s going to believe in you. I used to do those little silly things and I tell my clients to do it to this day. My wife thought I was gone. She was ready to put me in the loony bin. I was sitting in front of my mirror and I would repeat to me, “This is a $10,000 investment.” It got to $15,000, then at $20,000 and then it’s $90,000. I closed my first $105,000 client. One client, six figures. If I didn’t practice, prepare and feel comfortable with those numbers and know that I could deliver that with confidence, I’d still be doing logos for $50. The game has changed. You get what you tolerate and I’m done tolerating the nonsense.

What’s the best way for people to find out more information about you?

The best way is to go to my website, Unique Designz. You could check out The Brand Doctor Podcast on iTunes. I am most visible on Instagram at this point. I’ve got 106,000 followers there and very active. You could go to @TheBrandDr and check me out there. Scott, thanks for having me on the show. Hopefully, I provided some value for your folks.

I’m glad to have you. Henry, thank you so much for such great nuggets. Congratulations on all your success. We’ll look forward to hanging with you and picking your brain in the future. To our audience, go out, be impactful. Go out and be an influencer. Go out and know who you are and who you’re working with, who you’re trying to help and it will help you not only stay the course but spend more valuable time and be able to maximize your hourly rate as well. Whether you’re raising capital, closing deals, raising more money and trying to make more money. Focus on your brand. The Brand Doctor knows what he’s talking about. We’ll see you all at the top.

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About Henry Kaminski, Jr.

NCS 394 | Branding Mistakes

Henry Kaminski Jr. is the founder of Unique Designz by the HMK Group, a full-service graphic design, branding, and marketing agency. He is the author of the Amazon bestseller “Refuse To Give Up.” He’s also the host of the popular “Brand Doctor’s Podcast” where he talks about strategies that help entrepreneurs design reputable and profitable personal brands. As a self-taught graphic designer and brand consultant, he’s overcome all the odds to build a wildly successful multi-million-dollar business over the past decade. He has worked with a diverse range of business owners and professionals, including Jon Bon Jovi and Internet marketing expert Russell Brunson who has named Henry the “Million Dollar Designer.” Ultimately, Henry is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs that need help with converting their expertise and personal brands into scalable business models.


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