Founder Stories: Dean Bokhari On Building DeanBokhari.com

In today’s Founder Story, we feature Dean Bokhari, Founder of DeanBokhari.com!

Read on for lessons he has learned from launching and marketing his personal development training business.

1. Please introduce your business and share your role.

Hi! My name is Dean Bokhari, and I’m the founder of DeanBokhari.com – a membership platform focused on inspiring people to improve their lives and achieve their goals.

Members of our platform get exclusive access to summaries of best-selling self-improvement books, as well as articles, members-only podcast episodes, and audio-training programs on a variety of personal development topics to help them get ahead in life. Some of the topics we cover in the membership area include goal-setting, building better habits, productivity, meaningful work, leadership, creativity, and more.

In addition to our subscription business, we also sell professional + personal development courses

These days, about half a million people read or listen to my work every month. It’s both fun and fulfilling to help others grow. And it’s financially rewarding, too—our revenues are over $100,000 per month.

My mission is to inspire, educate, and empower people everywhere to improve their lives + achieve their goals. 

2. What’s your backstory, what kind of challenges did you face, and how did you come up with your business idea?

After graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in Political Science, I took a job in southern California as a marketer for one of the largest tobacco companies in the world.

After a few years working for Big Tobacco, the moral implications of punching the clock for an organization that contributes to the death of over 29 million people a year led to an emotional breakdown—which led to me asking myself some hard and serious questions about what I really wanted to do with my life…

Did I really want to be part of a company that sells products that kill people? The answer was No.

So I quit and decided to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life.

One of the greatest realizations for me was that everything in our lives comes down to our decisions.

I used to do purpose-less work that didn’t matter to me or make a positive impact on the world until I decided to find my purpose and start doing meaningful work.

I used to be shy and afraid to speak up or share my ideas until I learned how to communicate with impact, which led to me becoming a professional speaker. I used to be overweight and unhealthy until I transformed my body and mind.

The point I’m trying to make is this: I used to be a lot of things until I decided not to be anymore. And that decision—the decision to stop settling for less than what I was capable of—sent me on a life-changing journey… Over the course of a few years, I read hundreds of books and began taking action on what I was learning.

I learned about health, which helped me transform myself physically. I learned about financial success, which helped me become a millionaire by the age of 30. I learned about emotions, which helped me deepen my relationships and develop new and meaningful ones. I learned about cultivating a strong mindset, which helped me think big and achieve my goals. I learned about everything related to success, self-improvement, and leadership that I possibly could—and most importantly, I actually applied what I was learning to see if it actually worked. And it did.

My aha-moment came when I decided to start sharing all of these things I was learning with other people: I started writing. I started a podcast. I built courses. I started getting invited to speak to groups and organizations. This is what eventually led me to start DeanBokhari.com.

3. How did you prepare for, and go about your launch? 

I started with a simple WordPress website and built from there, adding membership functionalities.

It took 1-2 years of consistently working and publishing for free before I saw real growth and financial profits.

My initial purpose was two-fold: 

  1. to share what I was learning about personal development in hopes of inspiring others. 
  2. To write/record/publish content often enough and consistently enough such that I could find my own unique voice and style
4. Since launching, what types of marketing campaigns and designs have worked best to attract and retain customers?
  • Guest blogging and contributing to major publications and platforms within or related to my niche. If you’re able to find a contact form on a publication’s website, pitch to them there. If you can’t find it, google “website.com + ‘contribute to’” and something should pop up. If there are guidelines for contributing, FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES. Tailor your pitch to the specific publication. Another tip: you can also use an extension like Email Hunter to find the email addresses of key people within a website.
  • SEO, keyword-focused high-quality content.
  • Quora is a platform that allows you to ask and answer questions. If you do it in a non-spammy way, it can be a great source of the traffic to your site. Here’s an example of a popular post/answer within my niche.
  • Facebook ads. You can get super-specific with Facebook ads because of how much data they collect on people. Define your audience, and tailor your ads to them. Drive them to a funnel. Collect emails. Or create a landing page and sell straight from there. I’ve done it all—each of them works depending on your goals
5. What have been the most influential brands for your business? Whose branding and marketing do you aspire to and why?

I don’t aspire to any other brands aside from my own. 

6. What are your favorite marketing platforms/tools?

Email marketing, and my personal development blog

7. Who or what inspires and motivates you?
  • Stephen Covey
  • Oprah
8. What are some lessons you’ve learned along the way that you would share with entrepreneurs hoping to launch or who have just launched? 
  • Avoid perfectionism. It’s your greatest enemy. Don’t try to perfect every detail before you share your work.
  • Launch and learn. Focus on creating and shipping/publishing. Then, tweak based on what you learn.
  • Be patient. Most people try something (especially online) and give-up before they see any results. But you’ve got to give things time. It’s like planting a seed and watering it consistently. Eventually, you’ll see something growing. That will motivate you to do more.
9. What do you believe are the qualities of a good entrepreneur? And what makes a team successful?

What do you believe are the qualities of a good entrepreneur? 

  • Consistency, action, and being willing to fail as many times as it takes until you succeed.

And what makes a team successful?

  • Having a shared mission and vision. 
10. Let us know where we can go to learn more!