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Meet Ken Conklin of Gravel to Castle Accelerator

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ken Conklin.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
As a Brophy College Preparatory (a private high school in Phoenix) graduate planning on attending the University of Arizona in the fall of 2015, I had a pretty traditional path laid out in front of me: go to college, get a job, work the rest of my life at that job, then retire when I was old so that I could finally live my day-to-day however I wanted.

After really picturing that scenario becoming my reality, I started to realize that I wanted to do much more in my life. I did some pretty heavy reflecting which then led to me deciding to bet on myself and take a chance at following my dreams of running my own business. I withdrew from the University of Arizona just two days before classes started.

While I didn’t know what my next move would be, I at least knew that I was making the right choice by not making the wrong one. Unfortunately, the next few months would turn out to be the most difficult time period of my life, but after looking back, I am so blessed for experiencing the hardships that shaped me into a resilient man.

There ended up being a lot of drama with my father’s side of the family (who I primarily lived with) which led to me getting kicked out of the house and having nowhere to go other than moving into my grandparent’s loft. I only had a blowup air mattress to sleep on, but I really didn’t mind it too much.

I started working at a sandwich shop part-time so that I could start making some money while I was figuring out what to do with my life, but I was a bit embarrassed at the fact that my friends were all enjoying their college experience and working towards building their careers while I felt like I wasn’t really doing anything.

This then led to my girlfriend at the time thinking that I wasn’t going anywhere in life, so she broke up with me in a way that really tore me apart. She was my first love so I was completely heartbroken (like any 18 year old would be).

To top it off, my grandfather passed away that same month which put me into such a sad state of mind. I felt lost, my confidence was crushed, I was heartbroken, and I was fed up. I then decided that if I wanted something to change in my life, I had to be the one to do so. I decided to buy a camera, move to California, and see where life would take me.

I’m going to save you the hours of reading by just sharing the key moments of the crazy three years after moving to California. I somehow became the marketing director of a multi-million dollar student housing company in Santa Barbara at just the age of 19 (even though I didn’t have a degree in marketing), but after a few months at that job, I realized I could start a marketing business of my own.

On a completely random Friday, I decided to run home, pack two backpacks of clothes, book a one-way ticket to Hawaii (a place I knew nothing about other than the fact that it looked beautiful on Instagram), start my own marketing company, and finally pursue the life of freedom that I had envisioned at 18 years old.

I still had a lease of almost a thousand dollars a month in California for another seven months, I never gave a two weeks notice to my old employer, and I didn’t even have my first client yet for my new business, but I was an anxious and driven 19 year old. Flash forward to where I am now, a 21-year old who bases his company, Gravel to Castle Accelerator, in Phoenix, Arizona, I feel very proud of the life I’ve built for myself so far.

My company has served hundreds of clients in over 20 different industries, we’ve been featured on major publications such as Forbes, Influencive, and the same book as Richard Branson, and I frequently get to speak on stages to teach the latest marketing strategies.

As I am about to turn 22, it’s crazy to look back and remember that I used to just be an 18 year old who had an idea to pursue a dream of his. I’m so glad that I decided to bet on myself.

Has it been a smooth road?
I have had plenty of hiccups and failures over the past three years. There have been times where I lost great amounts of money simply because I was naive. I’ve wasted time working with certain clients who really weren’t people I wanted to work with, and I could have perfected certain areas of my business much sooner than I did, however, every experience has led me to where I am at now. Therefore, I am blessed for all the obstacles and challenges I’ve overcome.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Gravel to Castle Accelerator story. Tell us more about the business.
My company, Gravel to Castle Accelerator, helps entrepreneurs build predictable & scalable businesses by turning their “hustle” into a well-oiled marketing machine through implementing our proven growth framework.

We’ve worked with hundreds of clients in over 20 industries, and we pride ourselves on the incredible client success stories that we’ve created. Our main focus isn’t on making sales, for we focus on serving people more than anything else. That is why we are successful.

Tell us about your favorite and least favorites things about our city.
The heat is a bit much, for I miss California’s incredible ocean breeze, however, Arizona has its own beauties. I grew up here, so Arizona is my home. I feel I am obligated to leave my mark here.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Anthony Bertoncin

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