Brendan Hufford left teaching for growth marketing, what happened next was incredible

September 28, 2023
Sarah Stockdale

I couldn’t be more excited to introduct our newest Growclass mentor: Brendan Hufford.

Brendan is the Founder of Growth Sprints, an incredibly successful SEO consultant to high-growth SaaS companies like Navattic, SparkToro,, and AngelList. Oh, and he’s an influential content creator who’s work has been in Forbes, and INC.

But he didn’t start in marketing. 

His first career was as a first-grade teaching assistant.

“I went into teaching because we let 18 year olds decide what they want to do with their lives. I viscerally remember getting to school earlier than everyone else, sitting down with a thick blue phone-book of a course catalog, and I chose teaching.”

And when he graduated, there were, uh, no jobs for Social Studies teachers

“I hustled my face off. I had to start a school year teaching first grade as a classroom assistant. I loved it, I helped kids go from not being able to read to fully reading. That’s true impact.”

But 10 years later, the teaching career wasn’t working.

“I was an Assistant Principal. I had horrible anxiety every Sunday, and I had an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. 

All for the price of being the lowest paid assistant principal in the state of Indiana. 

That sounds hyperbolic, but it was true. I looked up the salaries. I was right at the bottom.

So he did what a lot of people do when they’re unhappy at work. He started a side hustle.

“I built a blog about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and I was vlogging before influencer marketing was a thing. Companies were using me as an influencer and I was making them a ton of money. I thought, why couldn’t I do what they’re doing?

So I did.

I figured out imports and exports. Back then, things like AliBaba were the wild west. You’d wire 40k to Pakistan and just cross your fingers. 

When I sold the company in 2016, I was still teaching but I’d backed out of leadership— I went from being a principal back to being a teacher. 

I loved being a teacher, and I was really good at it.

But I was making 50k, and I couldn’t make any more money.

I was venting to a friend and they said “Why don’t you just go work somewhere and do marketing?

This whole time I thought I had to quit my job to start my own business.

I had never considered that I could just… work somewhere else.

That day I applied for 50 marketing jobs. I used my side hustle experience, and finally I got an offer. The school year ended on a Friday and I started my new job at a marketing agency on Monday. I went from making 50k to 75k overnight.

If you’re someone who wants to make a change, let me tell you something important:

Everything that made you good at that, will make you good at this. You’re not throwing anything away. What I can do now is forged in the fire of looking at 30 kids every day. 

Trust me, it transfers. Growclass is the perfect way to figure it out.

Why are you excited to work with the Growclass community?

“Let me tell you something kinda amazing:

My wife is at the spa this weekend, so I’m taking care of our four kids. I get to be a great husband, I get to be a great dad, and I’m not sacrificing work. Instagram would say “don’t say I have to, say I get to”, but it’s true. I get to do this. And developing digital marketing skills is what got me here. 

The more people I can share that with the better. 

Is there a thing I could be more passionate about than helping people change their lives the way I did? 

No, there is nothing better than that.”

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