Setting the Rhythm
A few weeks ago, Chalene and Bret Johnson got a 6 a.m. text from their son about a very important piece of news: He had just been verified on Instagram.
For most college students, having an account with a blue checkmark — denoting a public figure, brand or celebrity — would be exciting, but for Brock Johnson it could mean big things for his business.
Brock Johnson is a senior at UC Davis majoring in communication who plays quarterback, but said his true passion is the venture he created teaching business owners (mostly female Gen Xers, he said) how to use social media.
“I’ve grown up with social media,” he said. “It excites me.”
In a regular year, he spends about two hours a day working when he’s not in class or at practice. But now, he’s spending each day holed up in his parents’ San Clemente, California, beachfront home. And he’s spending a lot of time thinking about business — and not just his.
His parents jointly run several businesses, chief of which is an online academy to teach others to start a business and build a presence online.
“I’ve been in almost every business plan meeting because most of them have been taking place around the dinner table at home,” Brock Johnson said.
He’s been involved with their enterprise before, speaking at an annual conference for the last four years. He and his mother also host the Build Your Tribe podcast focused on business and social media tips.
Brock said his parents inspired him to be his own boss, adding he doubts he’ll try to get a job working for someone else after he graduates this fall. His sister, Cierra O’Day, is studying fashion and dabbles in entrepreneurialism.
“From the time they were really young we taught them ‘You’ll be buying your own car,’” Chalene Johnson said. “We taught them a variety of ways to make money from [age] 6 until now. Kids should be kids, but everyone can figure out in an afternoon how to buy a domain name and make income online from your phone.”
The lessons came in other ways, too: Despite the distance, Bret Johnson, a former Canadian Football League and NFL player, always attended Brock’s football games — even when they were across the country at Georgetown University, where Brock played as a freshman. And Chalene Johnson, who holds the Guinness World Record for the most fitness videos produced by an individual, turned down several lucrative TV deals because they would have meant too much time away from her family.
“They saw freedom owning your own business gave you and gravitated toward that,” Bret Johnson said.
Brock Johnson has used the freedom to explore social media. A few years ago he created an online course for parents who wanted to ensure their kids were being safe on Snapchat, and he has since turned his attention to the video platform TikTok after one of his first videos, a handshake dance with a teammate, racked up nearly 4 million views.
He describes his time on the app as “goofing off,” but said he also uses it to direct new followers to his Instagram account, which has grown by 10,000 followers in the time he’s been making short dance videos.
“My focus is to have fun on it [while asking] ‘How can I make sure this doesn’t go to waste?’” he said.
He even gets his mom in on the fun, filming videos in which they compete to see who has the better dance moves.
“Those two are the biggest hams in the world,” Bret Johnson said. “Chalene and Brock would do TikToks all day if they could.”
The coronavirus pandemic has given them more chances — the total number of people packed into their Orange County house during the stay-at-home orders numbers six including significant others, and just about every family member has made a cameo in Brock Johnson’s recent videos. A recent hit: He and his girlfriend perform a choreographed dance while his mother works out on a spin bike in the background, ignoring the couple. Current views: 149,000.
@brock11johnsonI asked her to be my quarantine after this video 🥺👉🏼👈🏼♬ Blinding Lights – The Weeknd