Patrick King – A Life of Making Something Out of Nothing

In February 1995, Patrick King woke up in the rain behind a gas station, 17 and homeless. Picking himself up from that point, Patrick has developed a legacy of creating opportunities instead of waiting for them, while becoming a completely self-taught branding, marketing and design authority. His entrepreneurial drive led him to create ImagineDesign, a full-service branding and research agency, with no clients, no connections, no funding and $14. Since founding the firm in 2005, he has weathered the worst recession in decades while acquiring clients from Jim Beam Brands Worldwide to Nestle and Rubbermaid. His next attempt is to focus his firm’s services solely on the commercial building industry – a group that requires full-time research, and one that he feels that he can do a great deal of good for. At the moment, the public knows very little about these companies. Patrick wants that to change.

Outside of work, Patrick is a husband and father, and an avid musician with a basement recording studio. With eight albums of original music to his credit, he spends his Sundays playing guitar for his church rock band.

What are you working on right now?

Right now, I’m trying to get as informed as possible on the state of the commercial and residential building industries. It’s no secret that they haven’t done well over the past couple years, but I see signs of hope. Developers are starting to get back to work, and they need builders. Those builders need to compete or get ignored. That’s where I want to help with a combination of marketing research (white papers, custom reports, webinars) and brand strategy (creation and implementation of logos, websites, proposals, brochures, etc.) and public relations support.

3 Trends that excite you?

There are a lot of trends that I’m psyched about. One is the myriad of opportunities created by social media, which can do a lot for builders that just need to be shown how. The conventional methods of getting market share aren’t enough anymore; they need to know how to make the best use of every tool they have.

I’m also excited about the importance that builders now recognize about their brand. The fact that they understand that it’s not just their logo – but the entire customer experience – gives me a great deal of hope for the future. I can now work to help them make the most of that experience.

Finally, I’m excited about our economic recovery. It’s been a rough couple years for everyone, not just executives and entrepreneurs. I’m hopeful that this trend continues so that our global economy can get back to work.

How do you bring ideas to life?

The combination of persistence and the humility to accept when the idea needs to be re-worked are the two things that will have the greatest impact on whether or not that idea will bear fruit. For instance, when I meet with a client that wants to start a new business, the idea is usually all they have. The process of diligent, forced evolution of that idea is the one thing that – above any amount of funding – will determine a strong future for that business. That process is how we bring ideas to life.

What is one mistake that you’ve made that our readers can learn from?

Don’t focus on growth for growth’s sake. I know it sounds awesome – in your business or personal life – for you to have a tangible result of your success, whether it’s a nice, big office or a big house or a shiny new car. It’s incredibly tempting, but can be just as crushing if it’s acquired prematurely.

What is one idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Instead of handing over a specific piece of business advice, there’s one thing I’ve learned that should have far more impact. It can be applied to anything – personal, spiritual, financial, entrepreneurial or otherwise – and does not fail. If you have this one thing, you can go anywhere in life and know no boundaries. It’s called passion. 

Whether you want to make the perfect quiche or start a billion-dollar empire, passion is the way to get there. Start with something you’re passionate about and, no matter how ridiculous others may make you feel for pursuing it, put all that you are into it. It’s the catalyst that has built every noteworthy accomplishment in human history, and we all have equal access to it.

The question that I’m asked most often is how I stumbled upon this as a career. The short answer is “at first, I didn’t realize it was a career”. The long answer is a two-part series on my blog at and .

A personal question of your choice?

I’m most often asked about the series of events that got me from February 2005 to the present. That involves a bit more explanation than I probably have room for, so I’ll just say that I’m working on a book for it.


I can be reached at [email protected], my blog is at and I spend a good deal of time on Facebook. You can find the link on my blog.