How It All Started...

 

I’m Ben and I am think outside. I want to share with you how this adventure all started and my reasons and inspirations for starting my one-person digital agency. 

About me

Born in Morocco, I grew up speaking french and was surrounded by a beautiful and colorful culture. I caught the travel bug at a young age and started traveling solo at the age of 16. Also born with an entrepreneurial spirit, I started my first business at 19, buying, restoring, and reselling classic cars. Today, I can say that I’ve traveled to over 20 countries in Europe, Africa, and North & South America and have done freelance work for international organizations. I am motivated and drawn to exploring the world and its expansive outdoors, documenting my journey along the way.

After earning my bachelor’s in marketing from the University of Quebec, I launched my freelance strategist career in 2005, working with agencies, startups, and big corporations from Europe, Canada, and the US. While freelancing, I completed my master's in digital marketing and ecommerce from the University of Sherbrooke in Sherbrooke, QC.

I took a 5,000 KM road trip through 11 provinces and states, from Montreal to Vancouver. It was an incredible way to explore the countryside and it is how I discovered my perfect home with abundant adventure, Vancouver. I was so inspired and enamored with the beauty of the Pacific Northwest’s landscapes that I moved there in 2011. After getting settled, in 2012, I tried my hand at a couple full-time jobs with agencies in Vancouver. The first being cossette where I worked as their search marketing & digital strategist for two years, and then in 2014, I moved on to work as invoke’s digital strategist until 2016. I gained immense experience and met incredibly talented people in those full time positions for about four years. However, my desires to explore and discover new places got the best of me and in 2016, I quit my full time and launched think outside.

About think outside

Mission statement: to engage with the outdoors as much as possible in order to create and deliver purpose-driven work.

This is an example of how I do my work: camping in Madeley Lake in Whistler, BC in a hammock while connected to wifi from my smartphone and a signal booster.

This is an example of how I do my work: camping in Madeley Lake in Whistler, BC in a hammock while connected to wifi from my smartphone and a signal booster.

think outside embodies everything that matters to me: my family, friends, connection to the Earth, exploration and discovering new places and cultures, to constantly grow and thrive, to have a positive impact on my entourage, to inspire others everywhere to unplug from the distractions of modern life and explore the world around them, and to create long lasting and meaningful memories.

The guidelines are very simple at think outside. They call for unplugging, exploring, and creating. think outside does not believe in the monday-friday 9-5pm schedule and hierarchical structure of the corporate world. Staying aligned and working with self-selected brands and organizations that share the same mission is the goal. think outside strives to think and do things differently, always taking a chance on the unknown and never swimming with the current. Malcolm Muggeridge once said, “never forget that only dead fish swim with the stream.”

think outside can accelerate a brand’s or organization’s success and calls for partners who are willing and ready to make things happen. think outside loves working alongside brands involved with the outdoors, adventure travel experiences, destinations, health & well being, and adventure non-profits (giving back by helping people experience the outdoors).

Through think outside, I strive to work with brands and organizations that value the same things I do and establish effective long-term partnerships built on trust. I want my partners to succeed no matter their budget and resources. All things considered, think outside’s projects are strategic and constantly measured to track effectiveness, efficiency, and performance.

It’s possible to work & think outside!

Off-road trip in Squamish Valley, BC.

Off-road trip in Squamish Valley, BC.

After my full-time job experience, I wanted think outside to give me control over my schedule again. I desired to have the ability to select my partners and projects I wanted to work on, and also have the freedom to say NO. Most importantly, I wanted to have more time to spend traveling and exploring the world with my daughter and wife. 

I eliminated my operation costs by doing most of my work outside office walls, while camping, in a hammock beside a lake, on the peak of mountains, by the ocean … Wherever there is LTE signal! I believe the more time I spend outside, the more focused, creative, mission-aligned, and purposeful my work is. 

I also enjoy working from my partners’ offices to help me learn more about their culture and products. I believe the industry as a whole can do better, so I believe in working extremely efficiently and really involving myself in the work. I stay connected with the outdoors as much as possible, and use the power of nature as inspiration to bring my client’s best-thinking and ideas to life as efficiently and cost effective as possible.

I want my work to speak for me and to stay humble, remembering how I got to where I am today. Without the unconditional support of my wife, friends, and work connections, I could not have made the move to start think outside.

This crazy adventure of life thus far has showed me that it’s possible to think outside. I hope my story inspires you to think differently and stay true to what you really want from this life. Don’t be that dead fish that swims with the stream! Fight the current and reap the rewards of an extremely fulfilling life.  

Have you ever taken a risk to reap a greater reward? Do you have a similar story to share of taking a bold step forward to pursue your dreams? Share it in the comment section below!