When the Universe sends you a signal, in business and in life, it either hits you and you pivot, or you miss it and the door closes. For Aaron Zuniga, when the Universe presented an opportunity for him to play music full-time, he not only heard it, he went head first into the thing he did in all of his free time. If this sounds like the entrepreneurial spirit we talk about all the time, that's because it is. And music can be a brand. Let's discuss.

Top Shelf Shake is a 3-piece reggae rock band from Chino, California with an explosive sound that combines Reggae, Rock, Ska and Punk into a distinctly different style that they call their own. With thought-provoking lyrics and catchy melodies, their songs are a fresh yet familiar take on the quintessential "California sound." Since their inception in the Spring of 2014, they've set out to create music that encourages independent, positive thinking and a healthy ability to question authority, or as they put it : "The Power of Love against the powers that be."

That Essential Brand Statement

I referred to Aaron as an entrepreneurial musician because, first of all, read that brand statement. He has put thought into every single detail when it comes to the brand, the music, how they present themselves, and what they focus on. This embodies so many things I tell entrepreneurs everyday.

Here are the things Aaron does as an entrepreneur, that you should too:

  • Records his successes. People set goals and celebrate their achievement for a reason. It's important to your ability to continue moving forward, to recognize the success you are achieving along the way. Aaron marks every gig on his wall calendar to see both his accomplishments and his next opportunity for success.

  • Goes all in. As discussed above, whether you're all in or not, will decide the response and success you see.

  • Brings personality to his "pitches". Aaron credits his success in booking gigs is because he injects his passion and personality into his pitches.

  • Prefers in person and phone. This allows more of a connection. Don't be afraid to get yourself out there and talk to people so they get a taste of who you are and how well you represent your brand.

  • Embodies the professional aspect. If you treat your brand like a side-hustle, it will only ever be a side-hustle. If you treat it like the business that will feed your family, guess what? It will. What you put in is what you will get out. Aaron shows up on time, carries himself like he owns this brand, follows-up, and follows through. These same steps apply regardless of what type of entrepreneur you are.

  • Treats the band like a brand... complete with brand integrity. This really goes along with the points mentioned above. You read the brand statement. Their image is controlled, the language matches, and because of that, it authentically matches their professionalism, which is necessary, especially for startups.

  • Shows tremendous passion and gratitude for their gifts. Top Shelf Shake lives up to their mission - "The Power of Love against the powers that be." They embody this brand statement, they are this brand through and through, and the power in gratitude along always amazes me.

When my sister survived the terrible tragedy in Las Vegas and decided to hold a tribute concert to bring people back to the music. Aaron was the first to call back and commit to showing up to perform for the OC victims/survivors of Route 91. Passion, gratitude, the power of love... this is all so good, and proof that when you live your brand, your brand gets to live.

Published on: Dec 8, 2017