Wk4 (5k subs): How to Build a Brand & Start a Movement

Revealing how The Rock, Michael Jordan and Gucci made billions

How to Build a Brand & Start a Movement

Today on David to Goliath [14-minute read]:

  1. Sitting in The Pain

  2. Why Build a Brand

  3. Tinkering: The Key to Greatness

  4. Mindset: Voice of the Victim

  5. Stories and Starting Movements

We write these Newsletters from conversations on The David to Goliath Podcast. Just 2 friends in a free podcast studio daring to be great.

Right, are you ready? Let’s dive in.

Road to 100,000: Behind the Scenes

Sitting in The Pain:

Back when I was living in Portishead (Bristol, UK) and developing a relationship with this woman, I spent many an evening on the balcony staring up into the night sky. 

Thinking about the moment I’d finally be able to fly out and hold her in my arms. 

Life, as unpredictable as it is, took its course, and as I've already shared - it didn’t end as I’d imagined (if you want to learn more read the entire backstory here).

In the early hours of Wednesday morning last week those memories came flooding back as I stood in silence gazing out of my old bedroom window. 

Suddenly across the school field, a distant wisp of smoke, a delicate ember dancing in the night caught my eye. 

I think it comes from a nearby factory but who knows...

Upon returning to my laptop to update the daily journal (the precursor to our podcasts and Newsletter), a wave of reflection took hold. 

There's this heavy feeling lingering — the acknowledgement that it didn’t unfold with her as planned. 

Deep sadness fills my heart. The process of moving on and healing is ongoing. I’m still finding my way.

But much like that distant flicker, I was given the clarity that life goes on.

It doesn't merely continue; it evolves, presenting us with chances for rebirth and growth.

Aaron from Hush Blankets, who I recently interviewed, said it best: “Sometimes you just need to sit in the pain and realize it will end”. 

That Newsletter and podcast are set to be released this Thursday btw, and I can't wait to share his story (I think it might just be the best yet!).

I've always been a firm believer in the reciprocity of life. To find a worthy mate, you must first be a worthy mate. 

My relationship didn't unfold as expected although it brought forth profound self-realizations. 

It revealed to me my vulnerabilities and illuminated areas in need of personal growth.

I made mistakes and if I work on them I will become a better human.

Real strength is reserved for those who are willing to be brutally honest and not shift the blame to an external force. Growth happens from within.

Each challenge, each moment of pain, paves the way for a stronger, more resilient version of yourself.

Now, I’m back in the arena. That fire in the distance, that flicker - reminded me I’m enough. It reminded me of the flame within. Ready to roar again.

Scrolling back through my journal, I’m pleased to share that this week was definitely less chaotic than last.

Less frantic last-minute scrambling, and slowly but surely systems are falling into place.

I’ve batched up a few Thursday interviews and the aim is to surge ahead by planning 2 or 3 weeks in advance.

For the comeback posts (on Tuesdays), we are starting to document a week before.

In some circles, a less chaotic week might signal a cue to ease up, to reclaim stolen moments of rest.

Not for the 1%. Not for us.

This means we have the opportunity to take the Newsletters to the next level. 

Another step forward in our commitment to excellence. 

Conviction through insatiable preparation (god damn I love that line). 

Our measurement is simple but profound – when our readers (you) engage with our content, we aim for it to resonate so deeply that you share it with friends.

But for this to happen, we need to focus on the power of the brand. The unspoken force that sets the trailblazers apart.

Why Build a Brand: 

Imagine two companies, identical in production, sharing a manufacturing plant in Vietnam, crafting the same white T-shirts. 

1) Retails for a modest $5 under the banner of Primark

2) Bearing the prestigious Gucci label commands a staggering $70 for the identical garment

The difference? Brand. 

When people wear the Gucci T-shirt, it’s aligned with their values and it increases their status.

A brand is your currency, your legacy, and the bridge that connects you with your audience on a deeper level. But building it is an investment in trust that takes time to cultivate.

Consider The Rock, who spent 30-40 years meticulously crafting his personal brand through wrestling, public appearances and movies. 

When he started his Tequila brand, Teremana, they made $2 billion in a matter of years. 

People didn't just buy liquor; they invested in The Rock's legacy.

The same holds true for the iconic Michael Jordan. Air Jordans are not merely shoes; they are symbols of excellence, aspiration and winning - allowing people to align themselves with the legend himself.

And here lies the stark truth that eludes many self-proclaimed gurus in our space: without a brand, you can't command a premium. 

The ability to sell a T-shirt for $70 doesn't come from a course; it comes from a brand—a movement people believe in, aspire to be associated with, and are willing to invest in at a premium.

Invest the time, cultivate the trust, and let your brand do the talking. 

  • It’s not about being noticed. It’s about being remembered.

  • It’s not what you say. It’s how you make people feel.

  • It has to resonate, inspire, and endure.

That’s exactly what we’re aiming to do at David to Goliath. 

Provide value, and build a brand. 

But look, I know this will take time to win your trust.

So let us keep working and judge us on our actions, not just our words.

Last week, we also hosted the ‘Zero Pitch Webinar’ — where I shared every secret of my success scaling Alpha Inbound from $5,000 to $140,000 a month. 

No smoke and mirrors, just the unfiltered truth.

I provided this for free and it sparked an unexpected ripple effect.

Could it have been better? Yes, 100%. 

But as the feedback poured in, individuals began reaching out expressing that the value surpassed courses they had paid a pretty penny for. 

In a world of slimy sales pitches, our webinar stood out. 

While conventional advice urges me to sell agency courses for a quick financial win, I’m trying to resist temptation and pour everything into David to Goliath. 

It's a dedication to those with a true growth mindset, showing them that the long-term payoff from grinding in the trenches will be monumental.

That’s the standard. It’s only the first act.

A prelude to something bigger I hope - time will tell.

So stay authentic to your brand, always.

Because that’s when people roll the dice on your destiny. 

As the saying goes, ‘The last mile is the least crowded’.

But only the true brands have a place at the top of the mountain.

We’re going to keep climbing till the air wears thin.

I hope you join us.

Main Topic: Tinkering


Often overlooked, it’s the subtle magic that transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary. 

People massively underestimate this.

The devil truly is in the tiny details.

I’m sure you know the feeling: When you finish that piece of work, review it, and you know deep in your heart it could have been better.

Don’t ignore that intuition.

Because this is the arena where innovation thrives and boundaries fade. 

Venturing into the shadows with a purpose so strong that the world around you blurs into insignificance.


If you’re an artist, you know.

Those minuscule brush strokes that go unnoticed until they coalesce into a masterpiece. 

The journey from a 7 to a perfect 10, where the last steps demand colossal effort to transcend from good to great.

Relentless execution is the secret ingredient, an unwavering commitment to refining every line and element until they synchronize into pure perfection. 


It’s a perpetual state of learning. One that thrives on curiosity, on the willingness to dissect and analyze. 

Where every bit of feedback is an invitation to push the barriers of what is conceivable.

It mirrors the ethos of visionaries like Will Nitze, who tinkered every single day with ingredients to birth IQBAR, now a $30 million brand.

And my friend Dan who in the quiet midnight hours is shaping the narratives of these Newsletters bringing the comics to life as the world sleeps on. 

It’s about holding yourself to impeccable internal standards.

For us, we’re starting to see the impact. 

A lady who wrote in last week mentioned how even though one Newsletter was more than half the length of her entire undergraduate dissertation, she read every line without skipping a word (shout-out to you!).

It’s these gratitude-filled emails that serve as a reminder to us that it’s worth putting in those extra hours.

Whilst most settle for mediocrity, those committed to upholding internal standards refuse to compromise. 

Constantly elevating the bar, asking, "When I present this to the world, am I willing to stake my reputation on it?"

Remember: You only have one reputation. Protect it at all costs.

Success becomes a natural by-product when internal standards become non-negotiable.

In a world saturated with shortcuts and instant gratification, embracing the art of tinkering to uphold internal standards is in itself revolutionary.

It will set you apart. 

It's a pledge to go beyond what's expected, to craft not just for the audience but for the relentless goal of becoming great. 

When you next look in the mirror, ask yourself this:

“Am I ready to lose myself in the details, tinker in the dark, to the point that everything around me becomes irrelevant?”

Because that’s where true magic happens.

Don’t stop at 9.5/10.

Push yourself. Give everything.

The devil truly is in the details.

Keep tinkering.

Mindset: The Voice of The Victim

The insidious whispers of the victim are subtle but persuasive.

They speak limitations, fears, and the allure of staying within our comfort zone.

“It's too difficult, too risky." 

A seductive serenade, coaxing us to settle for the life of mediocrity. 

Few decisions carry as much weight as the one to rise with the sun on Monday morning.

Since starting David to Goliath, for me and Dan it’s the day we conquer.

But not this week.

As the alarm blared at 6am, I messaged Dan on WhatsApp, telling him I couldn’t make the run. 

“I’m absolutely and utterly exhausted man”.

How I regret that decision.

This small deviation set off a chain reaction. Tuesday and Wednesday saw us both sleeping in, and the struggle to get back on track was a steep ascent.

"It's just one day," the victim whispers. "You can make up for it later." 

Yet, as the week unfolds, the missed opportunity casts a shadow on subsequent choices. 

The victim's voice becomes louder, and the champion's roar is lost in a sea of excuses.

Despite being better rested, my productivity suffered because I had already lost the morning battles. 

It's all in the mind. Fragile, yet incredibly potent.

The victim mindset is a perilous hole that, for me, nearly claimed my life a few months ago. 

It's crucial to recognize that both the voice of the victim and the voice of the champion exist within us. 

The battle of the mind is not about eradicating the victim's whispers but about empowering the champion to drown them out.

Building a library of undeniable case studies. 

These case studies serve as evidence in moments of doubt, reminding us of past triumphs when pursuing our challenging goals.

This year, my top goals include:

  • 100,000 subscribers for David to Goliath

  • Becoming a world-class communicator

  • Cultivating a bulletproof mindset

It requires consistent effort – sleep, exercise, meditation, and planning.

Creating the right environment and mindset is equally vital. They must align with my ambitions. 

I’m currently facing visa issues, which means I’m paying for a flat in Austin Texas, despite living at my parents’ home in the UK.

The comfort of living here is great - home cooked meals, clothes always clean, “ahh the life”.

But I feel the voice of the champion getting weaker.

The need to break free, to spread my wings and face the unknown on my own terms.

I’m sure you can relate

At 32, I've learned to ignore the advice of most. I only listen to those who have walked the path I aspire to tread.

If you want to be exceptional, you’re going to be an exception.

I’ve always been the odd one out. I still remember playing FIFA back in the day (a soccer game for those who don’t know). Most of my friends started at the amateur level, gradually progressing to world-class. 

My approach was different – straight in at the deep end. Start at world class and just figure it out. 

Evolving my skills at a pace that outstrips those who opt for the gentle climb. 

The question at this point: How badly do you really want it?

I've chosen a path of sacrifice, determined to push myself to the limit. 

I don't seek an easy life. I aim to live the life I preach, inspiring others through my journey.

Remember, nothing worthwhile comes easy. Be honest with yourself, set high internal standards, and surround yourself with the right environment. 

Conquer Monday and empower the champion within. 

What happens at sunrise? You decide. 

But be responsible for your fate.

Don’t let that voice of the victim derail your destiny. 

David to Goliath: The Movement

The true essence of David to Goliath has now revealed itself. 

A few months ago, I went into a WeWork one Saturday and started thinking.

How can I leave this world in a better place than I found it?

The reason I believe in entrepreneurship so fundamentally is because through constraint and lack of resources, weird and whacky ways are found to solve problems.

Constraint drives true innovation. 

Think of the pioneers who, faced with insurmountable odds, birthed breakthroughs that reshaped the course of our lives today.

With their backs up against the wall. The ones they called crazy. Crazy until genius, eh?

It is in these moments of constraint the human mind refuses to capitulate; instead, it shoots its way into resourcefulness and resilience.

Leading to massive breakthroughs (why I disagree with back-up plans).

But then you draw it back. How can you get more people to be constrained to be able to take that risk in the first place?

Finding deep, purposeful work.

Life, at its core, is an intricate puzzle, and purpose is the elusive piece that completes the picture.

It roars from the crucible of risk. 

It’s a deliberate choice to step outside the conventional, to defy the ordinary, to thrive in the face of uncertainty. 

The path to purpose is not a straight line but a winding journey through uncharted territories.

It demands courage.

It might mean stepping away from your comfortable salary. 

And you may not crack it first time.

But life’s an adventure.

An adventure to figure out what your true calling is.

So I asked myself, how can I get more people to take those risks to discover their purpose?

I started looking at the most profound examples across all human history that have consistently inspired people to think, question and make crazy decisions.

My conclusion? 


As vessels of wisdom, imagination, and diverse human experiences, books hold a unique power to ignite the spark of courage and propel readers into another realm.

They kindle the flame of curiosity.

Books have been around for centuries. 

And what’s the best-selling book of all time?

You guessed it. The Bible.

More than 5 Billion copies sold. Shaping the moral and ethical compass of countless civilizations. 

Weaving its impact across the ages. 

The main communication method used?


Stories that speak to the deep recesses of the human soul, beckoning people to grapple with existential questions, confront moral dilemmas, and seek higher meaning.

Before you ask, no, I’m not here to give you religious guidance. There are experts out there far more knowledgeable than me in that realm. Believe what you believe. I celebrate diversity. 

At school, I don’t remember the Maths, Geography, or science lessons - but I remember how Jesus fed the 5000 (It was a Christian school).

How Moses parted the Red Sea, and who could forget Noah’s Ark?

These stories are etched deep into my subconscious and taught me lessons about life.

So then I started thinking if I can spread the message through stories of my journey and others I interview, I can then:

  1. Get more people to take risks

  2. Find out their purpose 

  3. Solve problems through constraint 

  4. Break through and innovate to…

  5. Ultimately leave the world in a better place

Now maybe all these comics and long winding articles make more sense?

A well told story is like holding a mirror to your soul, reflecting its deepest desires, fears, and most importantly, untapped potential. 

So if we (and you) have the best story, we will win.

One more defining example that I feel compelled to share is the cinematic ending of the movie 300 – as King Leonidas, portrayed by Gerard Butler, and his men sacrifice their lives for the freedom of their country's future.

On the eve of death, Leonidas imparts a powerful message that his injured general recounts:

“Remember us.

As simple an order as a king can give.

Remember why we died.

For he did not wish tribute or song.

No monuments, no poems of war and valor.

His wish was simple.

Remember us, he said to me.

That was his hope.

And so my king died.

And my brothers died.

Barely a year ago.

Long I pondered my king's cryptic talk of victory.

Yet time has proven him wise.

For from Greek to free Greek.

The word was spread.

That bold Leonidas and his 300 so far from home…

Laid down their lives not just for Sparta.

But for all Greece and the promise this country holds.

And here now on this ragged patch of earth called Platea...

Xerxes' hordes face obliteration!

Just there, the barbarians huddle.

Sheer terror gripping tight...

Their hearts with icy fingers.

Knowing full well what merciless horrors they suffered at the swords and spears of three hundred.

Yet they stare now, across the plain...

At 10,000 Spartans, commanding ...30,000 free Greeks.

The enemy outnumber us a paltry three to one!

Good odds for any Greek.

This day we rescue a world from mysticism and tyranny.

And usher in a future brighter that anything we can imagine.

Give thanks, men..

To Leonidas and the brave 300.

To victory!

That, my friends, is how a story so powerful starts a movement.

The mission at David to Goliath isn’t to build another Newsletter. It’s to build a movement that inspires others into action.

To sacrifice, to solve the biggest problems, to leave the world in a better place than we found it. 

Because the risk you take today may very well be the key that unlocks the door to a brighter tomorrow.

And that, in my humble opinion, is a cause worth fighting for.

Top 5 Lessons:

1) Sit in the Pain: Understand it will end. Don’t run away from pain - face it head on, be honest where you went wrong and become a better human. It’s an indicator of growth - only if you act.

2) Power of Brand: People won’t spend a premium unless it resonates on such a deep profound level that buying your product/service increases their status. This trust takes years. Stay consistent, and resist short-term cash grabs that aren’t aligned with your values. Long-term, you will win and it will be monumental.

3) Tinker Relentlessly: Only submit work when you can hand on heart say you’ve given everything. Keep refining, keep raising the bar, keep tinkering until it becomes a masterpiece. The devil truly is in those tiny intricate details. People will call you crazy then years down the line they’ll ask how you became an overnight success.

4) Control the Victim: Everyone hears that voice of the victim but if you let it in just once, it will consume you. Drown it out with the voice of the champion, build up those case studies by taking uncomfortable action and never, ever get complacent.

5) Your Story: Humans have communicated via stories for over 50,000 years. Take risks, and be willing to live the lives others would not. Document the journey and watch as thousands, if not millions tune in to watch your every step. This, just like King Leonidas in 300, is how movements begin.

That’s all for this week’s comeback email and on Thursday’s interview edition, as mentioned, we’re unleashing one of the best underdog stories I’ve ever come across.

How against all odds and with the drive to win back everything for his mother, Aaron Spivak and his co-founder Lior took Hush Blankets from nearly going bankrupt to a $50M exit.

Before you dash off…

A Quick Favour: We’re on a mission to bring together 100,000 individuals daring to be great by the end of 2024 on the David to Goliath Newsletter.

But we can’t do it alone - it’s going to take a village. If you’re enjoying the content please ask just one friend to subscribe using this link 

And we’ll keep working obsessively to bring you the best free content in the game.

Until then the message remains the same:

keep dreaming like a giant. But fight and believe in your dreams like a god damn underdog baby!

Yours truly,

-Nigel Thomas

P.S. If you enjoy this kind of content I post short tips and advice on LinkedIn every single day. Connect with me and share your story!