His approach to life is always head-on and his passion for helping others, a recurring theme. At the age of 17, in an effort to work full-time, he made the decision to homeschool—cue slinging lattes and customer service. Life as a barista helped his once shy demeanor fade into the background. By the age of 19, he received his nursing license; unfortunately, this is where we would like to think his hard work paid off, but in reality his dreams took a sudden detour. A close family member misused his name to commit fraud and embezzlement and as a result, he was stripped of his license by age 22.
Those moments were dark, but he prevailed.
Sleeping on a broken down futon and determined to better himself and his mother’s life, he took every odd job you could imagine. From painting houses and cleaning toilets to renting The Rug Doctor and knocking door to door there wasn’t a job he was above getting done. As shit would have it, quite literally, one of those toilets lead to meeting a very influential friend who was a professional poker player. Not only did this new hand he was dealt create a more comfortable standard of living, but it skilled him in two important keys to business success:
PATIENCE + WELL-TIMED AGGRESSION.
His friend would eventually make him a life-altering bet: Mikhail had to make enough in winnings to live comfortable for 3 months within 30 days or he would have to choose between getting a job or going back to school. Just shy of a few hundred dollars, Mikhail missed the mark and chose to find a job--always preferring to apply himself in real life than at a school desk. Enter a sales position at a boutique, SEO marketing firm where, within 3 months, he excelled as Top Sales Rep and within 2 years, grew a small sales team of 11 to 120 employees strong. There was just one constant frustration: his work ethic and, quite frankly, his morals did not align with his employer’s questionable business practice. It was time to go back to the drawing board. With his sales and marketing knowledge in one pocket and a great vision in the other, he formed his first company in 2014.
MATTHEW 7:12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.
Taking the leap into entrepreneurship was the solution that not only allowed him to build a company on his terms, but it would serve as the gateway to helping others materialize their dreams of success too. He channeled this passion through Matthew 7:12 "do to others as you would have them do to you", and the mantra of his first digital agency was born, a digital and social media marketing agency. Like most ventures, it was not without hiccups. Shortly after establishing the company, he was fired from his job and faced an an inexplicable amount of pushback from his former colleagues. This setback, however, only built character, Mikhail’s lead with love philosophy conquered-- and he continued to move onward with razor sharp focus.
RIDING THE WAVE OF REINVENTION
The modern definition of success is no longer arriving at your so-called destination but understanding how important it is to enjoy your journey to this goal—whatever it may be. In the summer of 2017, Mikhail made the strategic decision to exit his company due to an unhealthy partnership. He describes this as one of the most difficult decisions of his career thus far but if anyone understands turning lemons into lemonades it’s him. Sticking to his guns and following his intuition, he knew this would be the best decision for his clients and himself. Losing no time or gratitude, he constructed a team of inspired creatives to continue marketing and innovating.
When consulting a sales team or public speaking, sugarcoating the realities he faces in work and life are not in his interest, he talks openly about challenging times past and present. He teaches two things to anyone who listens:
Gratitude met with Perspective is a foolproof recipe for a winning attitude and to choose collaboration over competition.
Today, Mikhail is the President of ANSWRD, Inc., operating under Blue Light Media. He and his all-star team of marketers and creators are based in Orange County, CA. He is a featured writer on Enterepeur.com and gives regular personal brand talks at college campuses around the West Coast. Otherwise you can find him every Tuesday on Facebook on the Tuesday Show where he talks about everything from marketing to the latest social media tools.
Mikhail attributes his success to those who continually push him to be the best version of himself.