( ENSPIRE Business ) Ari Squires Discusses Growing and Managing Multi-Million Dollar Brands
ENSPIRE Contributor: Daniel Garritson
There is a popular saying, “It is not where you start, but where you finish”–and if there is anyone who epitomizes that phrase, it is Ari Squires, of Profit Attraction Academy. The energetic business mogul, brand manager, author, and international speaker, has worked with many multi-million-dollar companies and influencers. However, her path to success began in a jail cell.
As a teen growing up in Sacramento, CA, Squires was attracted to fast money, street life, and what she perceived as power. “I was a straight-A student at the top of my class who lived in the suburbs,” she said. “My mom was a child psychologist and a community woman, but I was attracted to the streets because I saw how people took risks and created their own realities. I always had an entrepreneurial spirit, but I was immature and reckless.
The last time I was in jail, I noticed a lot of women were like, why are you here? The entire time I was empowering them and encouraging them to see their potential and change their lives. Everyone wanted to be around me. I finally sat back and said…maybe I should take my advice. My mom was done saving me, so I was homeless, sleeping on friends’ couches and in cars. But I finally figured it out. I wanted to inspire people to release their chains and live their dream life.”
From there, her life took an extraordinary turn. She created her own documentaries, “No More Chains” and “No More Chains 2”, which featured well-known actors Darrin Dewitt Henson and Isaiah Washington. She also wrote her first book, Release The Chains: A Woman’s Roadmap for Finding Strength to Reclaim her Destiny, and launched several successful businesses. That sparked a powerful movement, which has since inspired people all around the world.
Do you believe that if you never went to jail as you did, then this brand management company would have never existed?
I can’t exactly say that my brand management company would be here, but I knew I would own my own corporation one day. That I always knew. I had to uncover my purpose of empowering minds and changing lives. That’s what has brought me here.
Do you believe that going to jail was a major reason for the creation of this company?
“Going in and out of jail was definitely an inspiration for developing my brand management company because I saw so many great business minds being wasted while I was incarcerated. Since entrepreneurship was always a passion of mine and business strategy comes so easily to me, it was destined that I assist others in building, growing, and managing successful companies. But legally. In jail, I realized that criminals aren’t dumb, they were just uneducated in business, and some didn’t have access to certain networks and knowledge. I wanted to create something for them and anyone else needing proper guidance and support.”
Did anyone inspire you to pursue a career in business and brand management?
To be honest, I was inspired by the hustlers I knew on the streets. The ones who had plans, lots of money, extra free time, and credibility. Although I was doing what I was doing to land me in jail, I was simultaneously working as a merchant bank teller at Wells Fargo Bank for many years. During that time, the difference in mentality always intrigued me, and the energy I saw between the business owners I used to make substantially large deposits for and the employees who came in every two weeks to cash their checks. The entrepreneurs had a sense of pride, purpose, and confidence about them. At least this is what I saw.
“They usually had large amounts of money in their savings accounts, came in almost daily, and drove nice luxury cars. When I asked them what they did, they were so exuberant to explain. They would go into their brand stories about their business and smile during our entire conversation. Whereas the employees that I encountered were usually talking about how they were looking for a better job, how they weren’t appreciated by their company, and how hard they worked just to pay bills. They didn’t seem as happy to me. So, I found myself enlightened and inspired by the business owners who came into the bank and was pleased to serve them in the merchant line which I had been officially assigned.”
Was it a long journey to get to where you are now?
“Yes, absolutely. I have been an entrepreneur for over 20 years but didn’t have my first six-figure year until year 12, and my first seven-figure year until around year 17. There is no such thing as an overnight success. You must learn and grow through the process. You have to fail and bump your head against the wall a few times before you catch your rhythm. I also learned the power of getting assistance from coaches and mentors and educating myself on the right strategies, and systems, and building the right teams for my business. Now I’m able to partner with my clients more easily making sure they avoid mistakes to reach their goals much quicker than I did.”
What was your goal when you wrote your first, and then second documentary?
“My goal was to empower people to know that no matter what you have been through or what you are going through, you have the power within you to release your chains and change your life. I want people to realize their potential instead of getting caught up in victim mode. I knew stories are the most powerful way to capture the minds and hearts of people, so I knew I needed to share powerful stories of overcoming the odds that anyone could relate to. The same concept inspired my second documentary No More Chains. But with the second series, I wanted to give audiences more solutions they could use to begin taking their first steps toward releasing their chains.”
What is the most difficult challenge you faced when creating Profit Attraction Academy and building it up to where it is today?
“Access to capital was the most difficult challenge I’ve faced with creating Profit Attraction Academy. A business needs cash flow to grow and sustain itself. There would be many months in the beginning process when people wouldn’t pay their invoices on time. This would often put my business in the negative because of expenses that needed to be paid for the business to sustain itself. Having access to capital would have helped. My fix to that was to change my strategy on who my ideal client really was and change my marketing strategy to attract them, and to be more diligent with budgeting my business funds so I could have access to money to grow the business without only relying on paid invoices.”
What do you believe is the single most important thing to know for making a seven-figure business?
“The single most important thing for growing into a seven-figure business is investing in building a brand that has high value. All the best deals, referrals, partnerships, customers, and opportunities go to high-value brands. Brands that have high value can grow faster and sustain themselves over a long period. They make more money too because high-value brands can sell products and services at premium prices, no one ever tries to haggle with them, they have strong networks, their teams and employees stick beside them, people are always making high-value introductions to them, and their customers keep coming back. So I wrote my book, ‘Become a High-Value Brand…and Why You Should,’ so people have the right tools to build a high-income brand by leveraging their brand equity.”
Squires has delivered over 1000 presentations to corporations, conferences, colleges, and universities, including RE/MAX, the Boys & Girls Club, the Essence Festival, Largo Financial Services, Howard University, Old Dominion University, and many more here in the United States and South Africa. She has collaborated with individuals such as her mentor Stedman Graham and Shark Tank’s Kevin Harrington and mentored countless young women and girls through her non-profit, Lend-A-Hand, Uplift-A-Child Foundation, Inc. At Profit Attraction Academy, Squires and her team partner with business owners to grow six and seven-figure brands using her customized strategies that include her “silent money method.” That method allowed her to leverage a book that sold only 200 copies into over a million dollars in profits. “I create strategic offline and online marketing plans for my clients to follow step-by-step, which allows them to improve their brand equity and separate themselves from the competition,” Squires said. We show them how to build value which allows them to charge premium prices.
So far, her company has served 250 businesses, with 63 growing to six-figure earnings, and four of them generating over a million dollars in revenue. Her clients are people who do not want to spend substantial money on ads, waste precious time engaging people in Facebook groups, or go through the agonizing process of developing freebies and funnels. Squires says that isn’t for everybody. Her clients find value in taking their gifts offline to attain five and six-figure paydays while maintaining an attractive online presence.
I want to help as many people as possible to release the chains that are holding them back from the life they desire. Most people know things are possible, but there’s a story that we’ve been telling ourselves. Sometimes, we have to tell ourselves new stories.
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