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30: Passion Brings Profits with Brian Burke

Brian Burke has a super niche company, SellYourMac, and because of that super niche and an early start online, he’s on target to do $20M in sales this year. With his passion for all things Apple, and a super positive can-do attitude, it’s easy to see why Brian is so successful- and not hard to see how he’s so profitable. The twist at the end of this episode will stay with you for a lifetime, showing you that when you pull back the curtain on any business there are major surprises.



My Guest: Brian Burke

Brian Burke is the President and CEO of (SYM), the world’s most trusted and highest independently Apple-rated company. SYM has paid out $20 million and helped over 100,000 customers. Brian is a dynamic and ultra- personal individual who strives to help his community through business and service. He is always on the cutting edge of technology and loves helping other companies and individuals stay up to date with their Apple products.
He is striving to reach new heights and educate himself on top of his interests. He has become a sommelier, Apple-certified math technician, notary public, ordained minister, certified scuba diver and has received his boating license. Brian truly loves learning and sharing his knowledge with others. He volunteers his time for the Professional Leadership Network and donates to local non-profits.


Pivotal Moments:

Re-sold electronics for friends during and after college, taking a commission on each one.
Started going down to the mall and buying phones from the kiosks there. Brian then re-sold them on E-bay (which was not as common as it is now).
Majored in Finance and Management with the intention of becoming a stock trader.
Applied to large New York firms, but didn’t get a job.
Came home and opened his business in 2006, focusing on selling phones.
Launched his website, in 2009, hiring classmates from school to join his team.
Since then, the business has grown organically, helped by SEO and the website’s name, to become the $20 million company it is today.


The Advice:

Find something that you are passionate about and niche down to focus on that.
Focusing on a small niche benefits all aspects of the company:
  1. Clarifies what you are selling and makes it easy for people who are passionate about the same things as you to buy into your niche.
  2. Allows you to recruit people who are passionate about your product and will love what they do. This means that they will be more motivated to work towards your goals (even without paying them more).
  3. Allows you to learn about your product and become a master of it.


Start your business with a product that you are passionate about, not with a business opportunity that is a good deal. Everyone has an internal battery of how long they can keep moving when the going gets rough, but your battery life depends on how passionate you are. If you are excited about your product and your business, your battery will last much longer and you’re much more likely to succeed, than if you go in for a good deal that you don’t really love and care for.


Brian has a super-positive emotional perspective and a way of making even large problems work out in the end. If you think it will work out, it probably will, but if you think you will fail, it almost definitely will.


The Struggle:

Although Brian’s company is profitable, his bank account is in the red, because of the high cost of his inventory. Brian has so much money tied up in Macs, that his business is cash starved.


The Breakthrough:

Instead of running the company as a business, should become a non-profit. The difference between a non-profit and a for-profit is that a non-profit brings in money to achieve a purpose, not just to make a profit. is so purpose driven, and so dedicated to improving people’s lives that Brian himself doesn’t even take a salary! In effect, the company is already operating like a non-profit. The tax breaks and easier access to cash available for non-profits will help to solve the cash flow problem and maybe Brian could even start taking a salary 🙂



“Seek out your passion and go crush your dreams.”
“Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice” – Steve Jobs.


Resources and Links:

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About the author, Estie Rand

I love turning ideas into money, and helping others do the same. I help small business owners with everything from marketing to fiscal management, business plans to staffing, database architecture to work/life balance coaching and I love it all! What do you need help with today?

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