How Tom McGowan started a media brand that reaches millions every week
25-year-old entrepreneur Tom McGowan is creating waves with his feel-good media company ‘All Things Good’. Tom, an MBA graduate, an expert in digital branding, has built a media company from 0 followers and customers to a brand that reaches millions of people every week. The best part? Tom uses his brand to spread smiles around the world.
All Things Good posts daily good news stories, acts of kindness, and much more. One of the first media companies of its genre, Tom expects the company to continue to grow and spread positivity. The media company has plans to go into tv production and documentaries, showcasing feel-good stories from non-profits, philanthropists, and more. In 2020, the company saw over 300% growth.
Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started your business?
I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur since I was really young. I first came up with the idea of All Things Good in college when I was thinking of a business to start. After researching each industry, I came across the media industry. Very powerful, very profitable industry.
It was also an industry that had little to no barriers to the advancement of social media. I noticed there was a hole in the media industry with no company that only focuses on good news, positivity, etc. I thought this was shocking because everyone loves to feel-good stories. So that’s when I decided there needed to be a good news company and All Things Good was born.
Where did the idea for “All Things Good” come from?
After I had decided the idea and industry I wanted to pursue, I came up with ‘All Things Good’. The name is straightforward for everything I wanted to do. Everything that is good – good news, good stories, good people, you name it.
I also wanted the brand to start with the letter A for branding purposes to be at the start of the alphabet. I had read years back that’s why Jeff Bezos named his company Amazon.
What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?
When it comes to building a digital brand it’s all about consistency. You need to be putting out meaningful content every day on all platforms. Engage with your audience, run advertising campaigns, and more to help build your brand.
It can sometimes feel like a long struggle building a digital brand because it’s almost the same thing every day, but then some days you get a wrench thrown in your routine… like Instagram always changing their algorithms. I try to be consistent as possible and continue to learn. There are always new platforms coming out so you want to stay on top of those while maintaining your presence on the platform you dominate.
As an entrepreneur, what is it that actually motivates and drives you?
I’ve always been a very driven and motivated person, especially when it comes to business and entrepreneurship. I’ve wanted to be a big-time entrepreneur my whole life. During this whole journey of building this brand, I’ve gotten fired from multiple desk jobs, some that didn’t want me to have a side business.
So for me, I feel like I’m starting to live out the dreams I always asked for and it continues to motivate me because I don’t ever want to go back to a desk job. It just wasn’t for me or my personality. You should do whatever makes you happy and I’ve known for quite some time that I won’t fulfill my full happiness unless I’m doing some sort of entrepreneurship work.
What social media platforms do you usually use to increase your brand’s awareness and why?
I use all the big platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, and now Clubhouse. My preference is Instagram if I had to pick. My brand is a media/news company so I like to mostly be on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter because those are the biggest source of news for consumers.
A study actually showed that Instagram has become the biggest source of where people get their news. I think Instagram is the best app for growing an audience and it has the widest range of demographics for active users. This is key for someone like me who is trying to get consumers of all ages to consume my news.
What is your main tactic when it comes to making more people aware of your brand and engaging your customers?
How did your business stand out I think every brand is different. What is going to make someone fall in love with your brand even more? For me, I’ve always thought the people and human connection is what makes your brand stand out. People want to see something they can relate to or have a connection with.
For my business, it was about showing more feel-good stories that people could relate to… or stories that would change someone’s perspective.
For instance, my biggest stories and engagements usually involve animals. Who doesn’t love a dog doing something cute? Find a way to connect with your customers through your brand, but don’t try to be something you’re not. People appreciate authenticity and it will only make your brand stronger if they trust your word.
What piece of advice do you wish someone had given you at the start of your career?
Enjoy the journey and give yourself a pat on the back when you deserve it. I’ve always been the type of person that is shooting for the next big thing, pushing myself to the limits. I’m guilty of accomplishing something big, but then already on to pursuing the next big thing.
We as entrepreneurs can sometimes get stuck in the future, always thinking about what our companies could be or the next moves. While I think this is important for entrepreneurs and their success because they’re innovating, I also think it’s important to enjoy the now.
What excites you most about your industry?
Where do you see it heading in the near future? The digital media industry excites me a lot.. I honestly think it’s only just begun. I think its a fascinating industry because anyone can do it if they work hard enough. There are no barriers to enter… you don’t have to be a millionaire or have insane connections to start, you just need to start.
All you need to do is create social media channels you want to target, a website, and boom… you now have a potential business to run with. That’s what is awesome about this industry, anyone can do it. The hard part comes with building the brand, but knowing you can at least get started presents opportunities for everyone.
If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?
There’s honestly not much I would change with my time building All Things Good. I think I’ve had a good strategy and managed to stick to that. However, I would probably change my approach in a sense. When I first started ATG, I didn’t really tell anyone besides my close friends. I was almost afraid of people judging it, not supporting, etc.
But what I’ve learned over time is the same people that support you at 0 followers are the ones that will support you at 1 million followers. Nothing is going to change depending on how big or successful your company is. Don’t worry about the people not supporting you at the beginning. Rep your brand and love it.
What’s your daily routine? How do you achieve work-life balance?
I’ve learned over the past few years how important work-life balance is. The most important asset to your life is your brain, so it doesn’t benefit you at all if you lose your mind from overworking yourself. It becomes a negative in terms of plus/minus. You need to work smarter and not harder.
I used to work 100+ hours a week between a day job and first starting ATG. That’s not something that is going to be sustainable at high efficiency. If I really focus I can get done in 2 hours what might usually take a whole day to do. I’m a big morning and night worker with my day being for myself and working here and there.
I like working my ass off in the morning getting everything done that I need to for the day, then focusing on myself in the late morning by exercising, maybe meditating, doing whatever I need to do for my mental health. Then by night time I’m feeling like getting after it again and work some more.
It all comes out to the same as someone else might work, but I break it up differently. I’m the type of person with ADHD qualities, so working 9-5 consistently just isn’t for me, I won’t get as much efficient work out of myself that way. Find whatever works for you. I’m also not the type of person that claims to wake up at 4am and conquer the day, and you don’t need to be either.
Just because it worked for a billionaire, doesn’t mean that’s the only way to achieve that type of success. It just happened to work for that person. Find the schedule that works for you and stick to it, but also be disciplined and accountable with yourself if you’re not working hard enough.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I’d love for ATG to be in LA with funding and a big diverse group of people working together to change media for the better. I believe within 5 years we will do just that. ATG will be the first big player in positive media in regards to production, apps, and more. We’ve created so much social change and we’re only just getting started. Once I get more funding, it’ll change everything. We want to produce feel-good tv series, documentaries, and other forms of filmmaking showing positivity and feel-good stories that need to be heard. We currently have a few in progress on our IGTV channel.
What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?
Be ready for failure and don’t take it personally. In 2019, 90 % of all startups failed. So, essentially 90% of entrepreneurs failed last year, at least if you were a new entrepreneur. This is normal. Entrepreneurship is the hardest job in the world. You are willingly going up against the beast yourself with no resources.
If you fail at first and keep innovating to try and stay alive, don’t beat yourself up. It doesn’t mean you are a bad entrepreneur or businessman, it’s just really hard and maybe you didn’t get all the breaks you deserved. A lot of people think the top entrepreneurs like Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos just happened overnight, but in reality, they failed at first just like everyone else.
Everyone fails at different stages in their life, but what matters is how you respond to that failure. Are you going to let it crumble you or make you who you were supposed to be?