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Meet Brian Wells of Happening In Group

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brian Wells.

Brian, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Back in 2014, I was still in school and I spent a lot of time commuting on public transit and walking everywhere. This gave me the unique opportunity to see various neighborhoods from the Detailed Street Level Perspective. I was walking home one day and realized that the majority of Shops, Restaurants, Event Venues Etc. had no way to communicate with locals in the area and let them know what they had going on. There were platforms like yelp and google but those mainly served as a means for businesses to be reviewed and share basic information regarding their Location, Hours of Operation Etc. So, I came up with the idea to create physical bulletin boards and place them along the main streets in various neighborhoods. They would be used for Businesses to leave coupons or deals, and people in the community to post about their Services or Events, or Meetup Groups etc. Essentially the idea was to help make the communities more connected and encourage locals to become more engaged with each other and their neighborhoods. Well, the physical Bulletin Boards or Info Cupboard turned out to be too expensive ($800 Each) and I decided to create a website instead. The first website was (Happening In Highland Park). After about 2 months of building, and promoting the site I realized that the growth was a little slow and I would continuously think about ways to increase site traffic; until one day it hit me. Literally. I was leaving one of my College Classes and realized that over the course of the day 3 separate people had almost run right into me because they were too busy staring down at their phone screen. I realized that the future of the platform would exist mainly in on the Mobile Device and turned to Social Media to reach out to the community. After 4 Months of uncertainty and hard work the traction started mounting and I knew I had something special.

That Was Spring 2014. And the rest is history.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Definitely Not. I started this business completely on my own with an investment of about $200. Over the course of three years the business has exploded and growth. Many outside observers would see this as something immensely positive and easy to work with however we struggle to this day with an ever mounting workload, and a constantly changing Digital media environment that challenges us day after day to create first class content and deliver it in a way that is easily understandable and above all else creates results. Facebook purchased Instagram a couple of years ago and the moment I read the news I knew that the acquisition would make things more difficult for us. Facebook is Notorious for “Killing” the thousands of pages that organizations spent years building tens and hundreds of thousands of followers for. It has hurt our business because now with the new algorithm and other technologies that Facebook has implemented only about 10% of our total audience is exposed to the content that we release every day. We now find ourselves receiving the same level of engagement that we did when the business was only six months old. Our audience have grown almost 20 fold and we have put a lot of sweat blood and tears into building a loyal and dedicated following. So yeah, it hurts when things like that happen. Other than that, we experience the basic ups and downs that every small business in Los Angeles has to deal with on a day-to-day basis. If I can bullet points some of the top struggles other than the Facebook acquisition of Instagram and their engagement butchering algorithm. They would be. +Growing A Business Without A Large Investment +Balancing Charging What Your Services are worth (V.S.) What Businesses Can Afford + Wearing 1 Million Hats as The Business Owner + The Mental & Spiritual Fatigue from the long hours and nonstop pace of the business.

Please tell us about Happening In Group.
The Happening In Group is a Digital Media Company that owns and operates a collection of Area specific websites, Mobile apps, social media accounts, and email newsletters.

We create these platforms for Major Cities and Neighborhoods across the country for Locals living in those areas to follow and stay updated on Events, News, Businesses, Entertainment and More. We serve as the eyes and ears for the Locals. We also serve as the voice for hundreds of businesses looking to reach out to the public about what they have to offer or going on at any particular time.

Our team consists of Content Creators, Copy Writers, Photographers, Social Media Experts, and Journalists who dedicate themselves to sharing the best content that their particular neighborhood has to offer.

What sets us apart? I don’t know any company big or small that shares as much wide ranging information as consistently as we do when it comes to hyper local: Events, News, Food, Entertainment Etc.

Our Model creates a TRULY dedicated following because it is above all else USEFUL.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would have focused on hiring employees earlier on in the business’ life. I now realize just how important it is for the owner to have only the key operations on their to-do list. Getting stuck in the day to day upkeep and maintenance can really rob the business and the owners of valuable “steam” that helps it more further into profitability and growth in general.

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