Jeff Finley Of Go Media On Being Remembered In Business

Be Remembered

Those words are surely prominent in the minds and hearts of most people in regards to passion, and a driving force by which we base our actions and decisions. They permeate through business, art, science, and (for the most part) every other facet of society or life.

I assume that’s why Go Media decided to make those two seemingly simple words the largest and most pronounced words on their website’s main page.

Go Go Media, Go!

Go Media is a graphic design firm that hails form Cleveland, OH. They create branding, organize art direction, illustrate, and undertake web developing for small and large businesses alike.

We kind of got our start in the rock music scene doing band ‘merch’, t-shirts, and websites for music and film-oriented work; entertainment industry stuff,

says Jeff Finley, one of three partners at Go Media and also drummer in the indie/folk/pop punk band Parachute Journalists (check out there song ’24th of January’ – it’s a lot of fun).

“Typical graphic design firms aren’t doing so much their own internal products like we put out. What separates us a lot from other design firms is that we have ‘The Arsenal‘ (a side project that took off for us). ‘The Arsenal’ is a place where we sell our stock art. When we do illustration for clients, if it doesn’t get approved, we’ve got these graphics leftover that we bundle up into packs. We put it together and sell the artwork to other designers at an affordable price. That took off and got us a lot of popularity in the design community. And also as a result we’ve been blogging on our site called ‘GoMediaZine‘, which has about 23,000 subscribers. We write tutorials; we give back a lot to the design community, and ultimately we try to teach and be inspirations to other designers. I think that’s one of the major reasons people remember us more than other design firms out there.”

The Graduate ‘Mylkhead’ Goes Media

“I was in school for animation because I wanted to make video games. I really thought I wanted to be an animator or work on movies. When I graduated I just didn’t really feel it as much. I kind of got out of gaming and I fell more in love with illustration and web development.”

Jeff embarked on the freelancing gig as a designer under the alias/brand of ‘mylkhead’, amassing a portfolio that would hopefully land him a job. As he was building up a brand for himself designing band merchandise, and business began picking up, the endgame job with a studio just didn’t seem to be happening.

“I wasn’t going to rely on somebody else to give me a job; rather, I was just going to continue to get my own work.  Eventually I met a couple other entrepreneurs who were running a company called Go Media here in Cleveland. At the time they were running it here out of their apartment. We connected and really hit it off and decided to merge companies, partner up, collaborate and combine our efforts. That’s where we got started in 2006. It was basically an extension of what I was already doing except I took a few years experience leap. They were incorporated; they were getting health insurance; and they were officially a business where I was still running an underground freelance gig. It definitely helped me hone some of those skills that I was lacking as a freelancer.”

Success By Design

With clients like Tune Track (an audio software company), Coca-Cola, Pepsi; and bands like Metallica, The Killers, and Kings of Leon – Go Media has come into their own since their humble apartment beginnings. No more apartment though. They purchased an office building two years ago. All across the board, big and small, they work with a wide range of clients. They make video tutorials for aspiring designers, and Jeff is even teaching some classes at the local university art school Virginia Marti College of Art and Design (VMCAD). In addition to all that, Jeff is also responsible for putting together a two-day arts festival in Cleveland called ‘Weapons of Mass Creation‘ that is going to feature a bunch of designers and bands collaborating and coming together.

“We’re really getting Go Media’s name out there and establishing ourselves as an authority on design and art. I think by doing that, writing books and articles, doing tutorials and guest blogging on established design blogs – they’re all great ways to get your name out there and promote. And it’s all free! It’s not really advertising where you’re dumping money in and hoping people find you.”

“The most challenging part is to know how to simplify and knowing how to focus on a couple things. Having that entrepreneurial mindset you’re constantly thinking of new ideas. Being an entrepreneur and also being a designer, I have the ability to execute those ideas rather than just think of them. Instead of spreading ourselves too thin we’re working on, and trying to focus on our bestselling products by eliminating some of our ideas that we thought were cool but are taking up too much time or not bringing in enough money. We have to break up with them so to speak.”

The freedom to go in whatever direction you please is the biggest benefit; being able to change direction when you need to and having control over where you’re going.

The New Design

“We’re going to keep on improving as designers, improving our sales process, and getting more streamlined as far as how we write proposals. The big thing we have coming up is ‘Prooflab,’ which is the project management application we’ve built from the ground up for ourselves. Now, for the first time, we’re releasing it as a software; as a service. We’re going to open it up to the public. Other designers, freelancers, and design firms can use our project and client management software. For all those people who use Basecamp and Google apps to manage their projects, this thing is going to be so much cooler because its built by a design firm to help you run your design firm – whether you’re a freelancer or you have 30 people.”

After sharing his story with us, as always, we asked for advice, or words of wisdom, based on Jeff’s personal experiences that we could share with our readers.

Taking risks is not all bad.

“Fail fast (as my business partner likes to say). Figure it out, get in there and if you fall on your face you know exactly how to improve the next time. Just go do it. As far as marketing is concerned, which is my area of expertise, definitely be human. Don’t take advantage of social media because you feel like you have to. There’s definitely a movement towards personal and face to face relationships. Anytime you get a chance to meet face-to-face or on the phone with your best customers/your biggest fans, try building a movement around those people. Maybe they could be ambassadors for your brand or they can help you promote. Try and recruit them. Don’t just think of them as customers. They could be people ready to work for you right away.”

“Try to build a lasting and sustainable something that is good for the community.”

To learn more about Jeff Finley & Go Media, please visit:


Jeff’s Personal Website:




About the Author: Daniel Ballard

Daniel is a Writer and Entrepreneur. He is Co-Founder/Main Author/Editor of BossStart and Co-Editor/Featured Author for BossStart's sister site, PauseStart, launching early 2012

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6 Comments + Add Comment

  • Jeff’s a fantastic guy, and one heck of a good designer and illustrator. I’ve had the privilege to work with him on a few projects, and look forward to working with him again. -Geoff

    • Geoff, I agree, he’s definetly talented. Thanks for reading 🙂

  • “fail fast” thank you for the inspiration. ;]

    • Yea, good advice. Love his work

  • Slick interview and great site just read a few interviews love the different kind of creatives.Keep it up.

    • Thanks for reading. Glad you like it 🙂

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