Derek Stroh: How to Build Ads That Actually Grow Your eCommerce Business

Derek Stroh

Paid ads work wonders for businesses, especially in the eCommerce industry. And while we’ve seen many eCommerce businesses being hesitant about running paid ad campaigns – there’ll come a time in your business when you realize that you need to run paid ad campaigns to scale.

In today’s episode, we’ve with us the brilliant mastermind – the founder of Horizons Digital Marketing, an eCommerce growth marketing agency – none other than Derek Stroh.

Throughout this episode, both Adam and Derek dive talk about running ads across different platforms and share key insights that will help you succeed.

Key Highlights:

  1. Derek’s background – How he kickstarted his digital marketing venture and how he has evolved over the course of the last few years?
  2. Why did Derek choose to focus on eCommerce businesses?
  3. How to overcome different challenges while running paid ads, including small margins?
  4. How important it is to build marketing funnels and implement the right set of strategies to have a profitable eCommerce business – it’s not as simple as it used to be 10 or 15 years ago.
  5. The importance of making a great impression and building trust to grow your eCommerce business.
  6. How important it is to focus on just a single platform in the initial stages and strategically expand rather than just trying to juggle between different platforms at once – how important it is to understand where your target audience hangs out and their intent on a particular platform.
  7. Is Facebook good to run ads? Facebook advertising patterns.
  8. Derek & Adam have a technical discussion related to their experience with advertising across different platforms.
  9. Derek shares insights into Sandbox Testing.
  10. Derek shares his five-step advertising framework.
  11. What mistakes do most business owners make when it comes to advertising?
  12. Derek touches down on the budgeting side of thing when it comes to paid ads – what’s the minimum budget Derek proposes and why?
  13. Once you start generating sales after running ads and implementing a certain strategy, what’s the right way to scale?
  14. How to rightly scale your advertising efforts
  15. Derek shares his experience helping a client scale from scaling to the growth pattern.

Conclusion

The world of eCommerce is saturated. You can’t expect the same level of growth today by applying the same set of strategies that worked for eCommerce businesses years ago. It’s really important to be strategic with your efforts.

Derek shared a lot of actionable insights – which you can implement to run successful paid ad campaigns. And if you’d like him and his expert team to help you out, you can reach out to him by clicking HERE.

And if you want to build long-lasting relationships and build a rock-solid brand, contact Adam today.

Book a call to chat with Adam at:  https://studio.changecreator.com

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Episode Transcript (unedited, will likely have typos):

Adam G. Force  0:00 

How do social entrepreneurs and small businesses create an authentic brand people love so they can get the edge they need to stand out, create Predictable Revenue and compete against the big guys. That’s what we’re here to discuss. I’m Adam forest, the founder of change creator and this is the authentic brand mastery podcast.

DEREK STROH  3:38 

Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for the intro. And again, Thanks for Thanks for having me, man. The so so kind of taking a step back. Both five years ago, I got started in this space, digital marketing got started in really just like posting organically. Back when organic posting was actually a thing on Facebook and Instagram, you’d actually get some reach there. And I started dabbling a little bit in the paid side of things and the paid side of things really caught my interest after we sold one boat. We sold one boat and that just got me hooked right away. It was a $300,000 boat, we spent $300 in ad spend. And I was just like, This is an incredible thing. These Facebook ads really work. This is awesome.

Adam G. Force  0:34 

What’s up everybody, welcome back to the show. excited to have you here today I got a really special guest who I met in a mastermind group. And he actually runs a company called horizons digital marketing, which is an E commerce growth agency. And they’re based out of Vancouver. So they’re media buyers, and they get you traffic, right. And they are niched down focus only on supporting e commerce brands. So we’ve been talking and I wanted to bring them on, because he has a lot of insights when it comes to driving traffic and, you know, running on different ad platforms and stuff. I think this is an area where people struggle, so you could be in between where maybe you’re looking to, to kind of do some things yourself, you’re not ready to hire someone. And so we want to bring those insights to the table. So that’s gonna be what we talked about here today with Derek. And if you missed the last episode is a very, very powerful episode with the one and only April Dunford. She specialises in positioning. So really, how do we position our product or our brand in the marketplace, this is such a critical part of successfully selling. And so that is something that you don’t want to miss. So if you missed it, go back, check out that conversation with April Dunford really going to get a lot out of that one. Okay. So if you guys have been enjoying some of the show shows that we’ve been putting out there, I hope you have been getting some good insights out of it, we’d appreciate your support. If you want to give some love. Just leave a review on iTunes. Just pop into your app and go to our show and scroll down. It’s right there. That goes a long way and we appreciate your support. And guys, don’t forget to stop by change creator.com You can check out our services there. We are currently taking on some new clients, we have a pretty full roster, but we brought on some new people and we’re doing some really amazing work right now. So we’d love to connect with you if you’re running an E commerce brand. We’re really dialled into working with E commerce brands at this point in time. So yeah, just go to our services page, book a call and we’ll see if we can help you out. All right, we’re gonna get into this conversation with Derek let’s do it. Okay, show me the heat. No, you gotta do. What’s up there. Welcome to the show, man. How you doing?

DEREK STROH  2:59 

I’m doing great man doing great. Thanks for having me.

Adam G. Force  3:01 

I’m excited to have you here. You know, just full disclosure like Derek and I, we met in a mastermind group. That’s what we’ll call that. And, you know, we’ve been doing a little work together because his world and my world really kind of jive. So it’s been kind of cool. And I wanted to bring him on the show, because I know he has a tonne of knowledge and experience that is going to be extremely valuable for you guys and your businesses. Derek just give people that beautiful little snapshot of kind of like where you’re at with things today in your world and how you got there, just so we know.

DEREK STROH  4:23 

And since then, it’s been kind of just growing ever since we’ve got a you know, 14 person team at this point. And we’ve really really niched down into EECOM and this is where you know you and I have some synergies to where our clients are all selling physical products and we’re just looking to to help them grow, help them scale and do everything we can to do that for them. So

Adam G. Force  4:44 

I love them. And why did you dial into EECOM?

DEREK STROH  4:49 

Honestly, the the ability to control things a lot more. And that was the biggest thing for me. What I found with candidly, what I found with lead gen is you generate these leads, and you didn’t have control after you generate the leads, it was up to the salesperson, right? To a certain degree, it was just up to them to close the deal, right. And sometimes they wouldn’t follow up. Sometimes they wouldn’t follow up for two weeks, three weeks, it’s like, well, those people don’t know you exist now, right? So more So diving into a space where we have a lot more control, where we can help and give guidance on Hey, these are the things we need to do on the website. This is the creative we need. This is the and we can control the narrative in terms of the ads as well, that was a huge thing, right? Putting in $1, seeing three, four or 510 Come out was really, really rewarding. Right? You know,

Adam G. Force  5:44 

it’s interesting, because a lot of players in the media buying space, they’re afraid of E commerce in some regards, because the margins are can be slim, so it’s harder to be profitable. So they go after the service companies and stuff who are selling, you know, things that are a few $1,000, which gives him a lot more to work with, right. So, I guess, what are your thoughts on, you know, dealing with, like, the products that, you know, if it’s a $50 product, and you know, you gotta run ads, it’s like, is there a challenge or a strategy that helps you overcome, like the small margins and stuff like that?

DEREK STROH  6:24 

Yeah, great question, man. I think the biggest thing that we do starting off with clients, it’s just understanding what that profitability looks like. Yeah, understanding where their breakeven point is understanding where they’re profitable, where they’re happy, where we can actually scale like, that’s the biggest thing to figure it out on our end first, before we even start. Once we figure that out, once we have a good idea about their ARV, their breakeven point, we can kind of reverse engineer, excuse me, reverse engineer what we need to hit in in terms of Facebook’s aufsatz Tick Tock Google soft stats to make things actually work for them. So once we have that, if we’re working with a product that, you know, for the most part, well, we’ll recommend people, you know, if they have a $30 product to make sure they typically will contact you first, right? We need to we need to build out something for you, we need to build out something that increases your AOP increases your LTV, and ultimately makes this a game that you can play, right? Because Gone are the days of 30 cent cost per clicks on Facebook, Instagram, like that. We’ve seen the odd one, but for the most part, like, that’s not gonna happen anymore, right. So at that point, you just need to start looking at how can you improve ARB and prove out LTV,

Adam G. Force  7:44 

I agree. So people just listening and making sure you understand improving ao V today is your average order value. So you’re getting more on the upfront sale with your ad spend, right? And then lifetime value is what’s going on on the back end. So I have found Derek and about you but like, a lot of E commerce folks are not thinking about the email lead generation as much. It’s just get the sale, I want to run ads to my product page, get a sale. And that singular step sales process is very difficult to be profitable sometimes. Right? So we this is where you know, Derek and I have kind of started Joining Forces where he’s on the front end, bringing all the right people at like great price points and getting high engagement. And then on the back end, we’re doing the sale setups for increasing ARV and conversions and all that kind of stuff. And so it’s been kind of exciting. But that is the game day like I was, you know, just talking to someone I was, I was telling her I was like, nobody in e Commerce today is doing seven or eight figures without these like funnel strategies and things like that. It’s very difficult without that.

DEREK STROH  8:56 

Yeah, yeah, exactly. And I think, like to that point there, there was a time where you could build a seven, eight figure brand on just the backs of Facebook, Instagram. Yeah. And it was those were the main platforms, right, like, throw Google into the mix there too. But yeah, yeah. Oh, there’s so much volatility. And I just, I just wouldn’t be relying on one platform, right. It’s really an omni channel approach and how we can get your ARV up how we can increase your LTV, how we can make sure that once a customer buys you have a high repeat customer, right so they’re buying again and again and again. You know, if you’re selling dresses, they think of you when they want to buy their next dress if they’re selling you know shoes, they think of you the next time you want to buy shoes, right? Yep, those types of things and focusing more on I would say like branding versus the marketing side of things to write. Hmm,

Adam G. Force  9:51 

that’s interesting just to make that impression, build trust, that kind of stuff. Yeah. And I think the omni channel is so valuable Um, that’s something that you bring to the table. Because, you know, I had a conversation with Aaron Parkinson on the show here just a little while ago. And he made a great point saying, because I was like, Yeah, you can be successful, you should be able to sell on any platform. If the product is good, your positioning is good, like you could sell anywhere, but your money might go further on, you know, a tick tock or whatever, so you can get more for your money. That’s, that’s true. His main point was, you have to be able to understand that they take different approaches on every platform, you can’t just take the same ads on Facebook and put them on tick tock, right. And I think that’s where, you know, a team like yours comes in, that’s so valuable, because it’s a lot to wrap your head around and deal with and like, as an owner, I do one platform Facebook, right. So because I can’t even I was like, I can’t even get into it. I have to hire people like you to do other platforms, you know, because it’s too much. So I think that that’s, that’s a key point, though, to conversions too, because you need to bring in different traffic from different places that have different intentions.

DEREK STROH  11:12 

Exactly. It’s just like understanding the intention of the platform and understanding how people are consuming content on the platform, right? people consume content way differently on Tik Tok versus Facebook versus Instagram, versus Google. Right? Yeah. Like, all of those are different. And the approach needs to be different. The typically the language will it can be similar, but the content you’re making should be different to reflect whatever intent level people have at a certain step of the funnel. Right? Yeah. So you’re on Google, and they’re searching for a very specific product, or they’re searching for your brand. That’s very high intent. Right? You can’t get much more high intent than someone specifically seeking out your brand. Right? But right, you know, if someone’s on their Tik Tok feed, they’re on that platform for entertainment through videos, right? At the end of the day, creating some entertainment or educational type content on Tik Tok. I mean, that’s what we’ve done, right? We actually different to you, like we, we used to generate almost all of our leads through Facebook, Instagram, for our business, we have shifted almost all of that to tick tock, we still do some Facebook, Instagram, but in tiktoks, I would say it’s more to manage, because of the content side of things. But that’s how their algorithm works, too. Right? It’s its content base, as opposed to more the social graph. So it’s like content graph versus social graph. Yeah, really interesting.

Adam G. Force  12:39 

I just don’t even have the brainpower to try to wrap my head around another platform. You know, but I do see Facebook and like, you know, it has its challenges. It’s still a great platform, but it’s a little more expensive and saturated. And it’s very up and down. I noticed like, I run ads on a Monday, I like start on Monday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday could be great. But then like, Thursday, Friday, it starts like cost just get crazy. I don’t know what it is. But I see that do you? Are you seeing patterns like that?

DEREK STROH  13:09 

I, I look, I try to look at data on like more of a weekly on a weekly basis, because there’s got to be those fluctuations throughout. And that’s like what we kind of tell our clients to like there’s going to be daily fluctuations, there’s going to be even weekly fluctuations. And sometimes those things can impact like overall numbers for the month, but what we look at is like, hey, are things growing overall? Are things improving overall? Like if our cost per lead goes from 50 bucks to 200? It stays at 200 for like, a week? Or five days, I’d start to be concerned.

Adam G. Force  13:42 

I’d be concerned and 20 Yeah, but if

DEREK STROH  13:45 

it’s like one day or two days, it’s like, hey, you know what? Like, because to be honest, we’ll have some days where we get like 12 leads, and then we’ll have other days when we get like two. Right? Yeah, okay. Yeah,

Adam G. Force  13:57 

I mean, it all is just about the average costs, averages, averages is just in that conversation, too. It’s like, we got to look at them. At the most the minimum is like weekly, like because you gotta give it time to average out to see where you are. If you look at the daily, you might just drive yourself insane.

DEREK STROH  14:14 

Yeah, yeah, that’s like, I mean, there used there was a time in place where like, you could go into Facebook, like tick tock, for example, tick tock doesn’t react, well, their algorithm just doesn’t react well, when you’re making changes every single day, right? Just launched tick tock ads, leaving for a little bit, leaving for five to seven days, and then go back in figure out okay, what’s working, what’s not Facebook, Instagram, there used to be a time well, now there’s like a delayed attribution, right? So it’s at least three days, right before you really want to change anything. So if you’re changing everything on daily basis, what you might end up doing because we did this early on with with iOS, we’d like turn something off and then have a clock in sales. Right? Yeah, yeah, delay and we’re like, Oh, shit.

Adam G. Force  14:57 

Yeah. 72 hours. Whereas you have to give it 72 hours to, to really get the data sometimes for the data to actually populate, right? And I, that was a heart, I didn’t realise that too. So I always give everything at least four days, right? If I’m just testing, right. And one thing that I didn’t realise is you have to, because it always goes in that learning phase. So I know there’s a bunch of you listening that are trying to run Facebook ads, so I’m gonna share this with you, you know, that learning phase, you got to get 30 to 50 pixel triggers. So if it’s for leads or sales, you got to hit that like 50 sales in a seven day window for that to stabilise. And I didn’t realise that for the longest time, because until you do that, you could just be doing small budgets, and all of a sudden, you’re just drifting along for a month or two, and it never stabilises you’re just all over the place wondering what the hell is going on. So that is that was a thing for me. And it changed the way I thought about my budget. I’m like, Well, if I have to get there, how much am I willing to spend for our customer boom, and that’s my budget for the week, you know?

DEREK STROH  16:07 

Yeah. Yeah, that’s exactly it right. Like with, that’s the optimal level, what we’ve noticed is like, sometimes it doesn’t make sense, right? Sometimes it’s like, well, our cost per conversion is 100 bucks or something along those lines, right. And if a client doesn’t have that budget to work with, sometimes it’s a little tricky. So we’ve actually we’ve seen to your point, I think there’s like some stabilisation issues. Sometimes it just doesn’t quite stabilise if it’s in learning limited, but it’s still it’ll still work. So typically, the it’s funny because Facebook to fix that there’s two solutions, right? One is changed the optimization event. So instead of optimise like, if you’re selling a product, instead of optimising for purchase, change to add to cart 99% of the time, that doesn’t work very well for you. works great for Facebook. The other solution? What a surprise is to increase budget. Yeah, exactly. For as well. Probably Facebook, right. Yeah. Budget, you know, so it’s like, yeah, it’s a it’s an interesting, I tend to ignore a lot of the the warnings that Facebook gives sometimes

Adam G. Force  17:17 

Yeah, oh, I never pay attention to the war no errands Oh is like not after that, that’s that’s just trying to mess with you to spend your money, don’t worry about it.

DEREK STROH  17:25 

The amount of calls, you’ll get to like, you know, we’re managing a tonne of client campaigns now, like, I probably get seven calls a day, just from random marketing experts, quote unquote.

Adam G. Force  17:41 

So tell me a little bit about I know we I always talk big picture when it comes to these strategies and stuff. And I kind of did that with Aaron. And I want to dig a little deeper here. So as people are listening, you know, there’s two different worlds in my mind when it comes to ads. And it’s, you know, the sandbox testing. And then, once we know, like, what creatives and audiences like we really want to start leaning into, it’s like moving those forward, right? And scaling them. Can you tell me, can you talk a little bit about sandbox testing. So like, maybe a few tips just on how to think about it, you know, budget, especially ecommerce worlds, because you’re the E commerce guy. So I think that would be helpful for people just to, because not everybody may be ready for your kind of service just yet. So they gotta like, get their feet wet. And then they can be ready for that, you know?

DEREK STROH  18:37 

Yeah, no, no, absolutely. I think, um, our process, we have like kind of a five step framework, the first thing we start with is just identifying the goals, identifying goals, identifying kind of your profitability, your breakeven point, where things actually make sense, because without that, you kind of just run in blind, and a lot of business owners, like, candidly. And I know I did this when I was first starting, I was like, I don’t really know, like, I know, we’re profitable. But I don’t know exactly what I don’t know exactly where we’re spending money. And I’m just kind of going, right, yeah, because that’s the thing that you need to do at the beginning is just go, right. But at a certain point, it starts to become very important to really understand those numbers. So that’s step one. Step two is just understanding where where the bottleneck is. So if you could change one thing in your business that would improve things the most, what would that one thing be? So we use kind of a top down approach, and we try to figure out, okay, is it you know, your average order value, or is it your CPA? Yeah, because those are the two primary drivers of rulez. Right? If it’s your CPA, is it your conversion rate? Or is it your cost per click? So is it like how many people are converting or is your cost of traffic, right? Just like walking through that sequentially. I can go you know, into a lot of detail on that. But that would be that next step is just really analysing and understanding where you should be putting your efforts because if you put your efforts in an area where you’re good have marginal returns, not as much of a point to it, right? If you’re putting your efforts into like something where, hey, you know what our conversion rate right now is? Point five and industry standard is three. Okay, we should probably fix that. Right? Yeah. So just understanding that first. And then what we want to do is kind of start a testing phase. Right? So the first thing we start with is like building out an avatar. Right? Who are you actually targeting? Right? I was I was just on a call with a with a prospect the other day, and we were talking about who they’re targeting. And they were talking about, hey, we’re targeting teens, because they’re selling teen skincare. Right? So I was like, well, are the teens the one actually buying it? No. And we had this like he had this like revelation on the call where it’s like, well, actually, we’re not we’re not even targeting the teens, where we should actually be targeting the parents. I’m like, well, there you go. That’s step number one, if you if you’ve got a great message if you’ve got a great product, but you’re targeting on people. Yeah, kind of an issue. Right. So that’s kind of where we start is just avatar testing. Yeah. That gives you a very long answer to the question. The first one is that avatar testing and then we start testing out hooks and offers, and then we start testing creatives and content. Ad copy those types of things. Yeah. Depends on the platform. Right? Because tick tock, you’re not going to test ad copy. Right now? No, like, there’s like four words that you can actually see. It’s gonna have the least impact. Google, you’re not gonna test creative? Because you can’t. Yeah, right. So we amend things depending on which platform we’re on. But right, typically, we kind of take that top down approach, start with the biggest thing start with like, Who are you actually selling to really understand that? Yeah.

Adam G. Force  21:54 

How many like audiences? I’m, you know, on the Facebook world, because that’s just all I know. So, you know, somebody’s getting out there? Are they testing? Like, I always like to go and find out what creatives are, are, like engaging? Which audience the best, right? So I’m curious and like, because everybody has different approaches, in you know, just how many different creatives do you actually test out? How many audiences do you actually go after? You know, are you i, this is not, you know, for me like to understand it in the in the E commerce world and kind of get some insight around it? Because, you know, is it? I think budgets are different there too. So I like to help people understand, like, you don’t need to spend $1,000 A day when you’re testing out audiences and creatives. So trying to get a scope, I guess, is what I’m trying to give people a picture of here.

DEREK STROH  22:48 

For sure. Yeah. So I’ll touch on the budget side of things first, this is gonna vary, right? Like, some of you guys listening might might have been on calls with, you know, agencies, or freelancers or anything, everyone’s gonna have their own quote, unquote, minimum budgets. And typically, that’s probably because they have some degree of a testing framework. So all of my budget recommendations would be on our testing framework, based on like, what has worked really well for us. But I would say in terms of budget, you don’t need to be spending 1000 bucks a day, you don’t even need to be spending 500 bucks a day, what we usually want is at least 100. And the reason for that is kind of the answer to your first question, is because if you’re spending less than that, typically you won’t be able to get much meaningful data on any number of audiences. Right? So what we want to make sure we’re doing is testing out. Typically, it least I mean, if we’re starting with a very low budget, it’ll be like three audiences, right? Just start dividing the audience.

Adam G. Force  23:51 

Each each one would be like $37, then each on Yeah,

DEREK STROH  23:55 

and it depends on the store too, right? Like if if a store is brand new, you might allocate more to top of funnel, cold traffic versus retargeting. But if a store is really well established, and they don’t have any ads going, you might allocate more to retargeting and then also push some into cold traffic, you know, that that could vary anyways, anywhere from like a, you know, a 70 to 90% Focus on cold traffic, depending on how much traffic you already have. Now, beyond that, in terms of the actual kind of breakdowns, I’d say usually about three audiences. Maybe two, depending on you know, if you’re right on that $100 mark, you know, then I’d have probably about three creatives initially, cash too much. Exactly. Because if Well, here’s the thing too, right? If you throw in 20 creatives, what’s going to happen? You’re gonna have 20 creatives, and you’re gonna be spending if you do you know, call it $90. De divided by three audiences, so you have 30 audiences. And then if you have 20 creatives that’s like, what, $1.30 per day,

Adam G. Force  25:08 

you’d be there forever.

DEREK STROH  25:09 

Unless you’re selling like Q tips or something like, buy the 10 pack, like you’re not, you’re not going to be making it very far right? You’re not gonna get into a lot of kind of measurable data in there. So

Adam G. Force  25:21 

while let me point out, one, that just hold your thought, if you can, sorry, I don’t mean to interrupt, but it’s just one of the things that has come up. And I want to make this clarification. So running that test. Now, again, this is your methodology, right? And everyone’s different. One of the things I have learned from guys like Aaron, is, you know, you could let’s say you do the 20 creatives. And the only thing you’re going for is to see which audience in which creative is most engaged. So you might say, How much am I willing to spend on a click? Right? And if you’re saying, I’m willing to spend $2 on a click, so Aaron’s philosophy is, if you want to move fast, you can do a lot of creatives, a lot of audiences, and then if it gets to $2, on that ad, that individual ad, and it doesn’t have a click yet shut it off. You know, and it’s like, so now you’re just saying, Hey, here’s my, it may later get a click. But typically, you’re kind of getting an early read sign. And so you could just be testing a lot of different things up front, where you don’t need the single ad to get to a sale, per se, if you just want to know, am I getting a click? And what’s my click through rate or whatever you might be looking at, right? Just to see the engagement. Is that like, do you guys, is that part of like your philosophies as well as, as you guys move forward with these things?

DEREK STROH  26:42 

I would say yes, yes. And no. The reason being is because our for the most part, what we’re looking at is, what’s our cost per acquisition? What’s our cost per sale? Right, like, how are we looking there? Yeah, right. So for the most part, I would say, We’re most moreso focusing on that, versus the cost per click side of things. And the reason we wouldn’t necessarily have 20 in there, at the same time is because typically two or three of them are gonna get all the budget anyways, hey, yeah. So it’s not like it’s not, it’s not useful for us to throw in 20 ads, and then be like, well, 17 of these are losers, because they only spent 53 cents, and they didn’t get a purchase, right? Because it’s just yeah, at that point, it’s like, well, it’s not really like accurate data, because if we remove the three top spenders, we’d have 17 other ads, and maybe it would be three different ones. Sure. Sure. The ones that Facebook allocates budget to isn’t like they are always the ones that are the best. Through Yeah, right. Yeah, they they know pretty well. But we like we kind of prefer a little bit more of a manual approach. It’s a little bit more work to do. But it is it typically pays off. Yeah. Right. Yeah. Like, that’s my two cents on like the

Adam G. Force  28:05 

cost. I like looking big picture to cost per acquisition, you know, like the big numbers, because you can get really lost in the weeds. So I’ve kind of taken a twofold approach with everybody’s insights, kind of like you’re like what I’m hearing from you, like, I’ve heard these things, and then from other guys like Jason Horner, and era and all those guys. And it’s like, I’ll do a testing phase for creatives, like at where I’m shutting them off, and we’re not getting the clicks, the ones that are winners, then I move into larger budget campaigns, and I will only really be looking at my cost per lead and my cost per sale. That’s it. Yeah. Right. Because then everything else, I just don’t want to be lost in the weeds anymore. It drives me nuts.

DEREK STROH  28:47 

You know, sure. No, I feel that man.

Adam G. Force  28:50 

What point like, How does somebody know? So to your point, guys, you got to know your numbers, like what what are your numbers? How much are you willing to spend? What’s your breakeven point? You know, like all the things you’re considering? So, I mean, you mentioned all that upfront thinking before you actually run the ads, because you got to know what you’re aiming at. Because that’s going to tell you what the winner is and what the loser is, right? Because you can’t really move something forward to scale. So let’s say you’re running sandbox, and you find a couple of winners who, you know, how do people start thinking about growing those?

DEREK STROH  29:25 

Yeah, great question. So the I mean, there’s a couple of different things that we would look at one, if it’s profitable, right? How much margin do we have on that? Like, how profitable is it? Is that something that yeah, we’re, we’re shooting for a two times row and we’re at a five because that indicates like a high degree of scalability. Right? I’d look at that and be like, okay, cool. We can we can scale this to the moon, right? We can scale this for quite a long time, depending on what our budget is, right? So that would be the first thing and then once we determine Yeah, okay, this is something that we can scale? There’s different scaling approaches. It depends on how it depends on your goals, ultimately, right? It circles back to that. Number one, it’s like, well, what do you really want to do? Are you trying to maximise enterprise value? Or are you trying to maximise profitability? Right, right? Are you trying to just pump as many sales as humanly possible? Do you have the inventory for that? Like, can you do that? Sure. Yeah. Like, is that your goal? Yeah. Okay. Like you want to garner more investor interest or whatever, great focus on that. But if you’re focusing on profitability, then okay, how, how can we scale efficiently, but also not break the system? Right. So like, how, you know, maybe maybe that looks like a 25 30% budget increase every two to three days? Right. And we’ve done way more aggressive scaling, like we scaled one brand from in six days, we scaled them from $200 a day to about $8,000 a day. That’s insane. Yeah, that would not recommend that. Right? It was like very, it was very, very high touch and very, like we were scaling three times a day. Pretty much. Yeah. Wow. Right? It gets intense.

Adam G. Force  31:11 

Yeah. And things can go

DEREK STROH  31:12 

very wrong very quickly.

Adam G. Force  31:14 

Well, that’s the thing. And you know, you duplicate a campaign or an ad set, and you can what, I’m just gonna make this up double the budget on it. Right. And then I guess you’re looking at and saying, is it going to hold? You right?

DEREK STROH  31:25 

Yeah, yeah. And everyone’s got their own, like scaling approach to right. Some people do perfect. We, when we were doing that scale, we did, we were just doing budget increases. So we were doing CBO, big CBO campaigns, we were scaling up, you know, for example, we’d have a campaign that’s doing 100 bucks, we’d scale 100 to 200. At the beginning of the day, if numbers were looking good from yesterday, halfway through the day, we’d scale from 200 400. Halfway through the day, again, we’d scale from 400 800. Or sorry, just beyond that, like five o’clock, five, four or five o’clock, we’d scale again to like 800. And then we’d see how it was going in the morning. If it was just kind of level in the morning, we’d leave it if it was starting to increase bump that 800 to 1600. Right, so

Adam G. Force  32:10 

Oh, my God. Yeah. Easy. Wow. Yeah. Yeah, that’s moving pretty quick. Right there. I had a thought I wanted to ask you about when it came to that, but I lost it. But okay. So that’s, that’s scaling pretty quick. And you’re actually updating budgets? And yeah, so I guess tell me, that was one interesting case study any, any others just, you know, that stand out to that might have any kind of interesting insights on scaling, you know, from sandbox to to a growth pattern, basically. Any, any stories that come to mind from your client experience?

DEREK STROH  32:53 

Yeah, well, I mean, I mean, there’s a tonne, right, it depends on the situation. There’s, there’s so many, I mean, we had a couple situations where we, a bunch of brands, actually, we scaled them very, very quickly. And then they ran out of inventory. Right. That’s it. And we have to do pre orders, or we have to do something else. So it’s like, being adaptable to it. Yeah, I meant, like being adaptable to the things that are happening, things like that, right? Where if we’re scaling, we’ve had to like pull back adspend or hold off on the ad spend, or we can’t increase because of inventory issues. Yeah. Whether that’s like that was pre pandemic, even right now post pandemic, or, you know, as we’re still not even post pandemic and like the supply chain and everything, right. It’s, it’s terrible, right? So even pre pandemic, we were having those types of issues with scaling. And now it’s just a little bit more exacerbated. So it’s just a matter of looking at K. Are we actually in a position where we can scale incredibly quickly? Yeah. If If not, then how quickly can we scale? What can we do? How long are people going to wait? Like, are people going to wait a year for a pre order? or eight months for pre order? Some people will we have one client who we did like, I think it was like a week or two we did 200k or something in in just preorder sales, just preorder sales? And it was six months out? Oh, my Yeah. Right. Wow, what? So like, six months? That’s how people are willing to wait.

Adam G. Force  34:29 

Interesting, interesting. And how long do you like run a test before you say, Hey, these are winners? Is it four days, seven days? What’s your model?

DEREK STROH  34:40 

Typically, we kind of look, look more so at the results that they’re generating and consistency of results that the generating versus a timeframe necessarily. So an example of that would be like, like we at least want six data points, right? And six data points would look like Like, six purchases are consistently getting X amount of purchases per day, we look at those six data points, because that makes it statistically significant. And then basically just saying, Hey, okay, this is this is on the right track, or that we’re getting, excuse me, we’re getting consistent sales. Yeah. Right. If we’re if we launch an ad campaign, and they’re starting to get 10 sales 20 sales per day, and that happens for a week or two. Yeah, we might call that stability. But again, it does depend on like, what the goal is, right? Yeah. Yeah. Like if the because it’s not, it’s not super high risk to change the budget by 25%. Right. Increase the budget by 25%. Can it break? Yeah, Facebook loves to break things.

Adam G. Force  35:46 

Does Don’t touch it. Yeah, exactly.

DEREK STROH  35:49 

But it’s also not like, incredibly high risk to do that. It’s not like you’re going in there. You’re increasing from 100 to 1000. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Right. The odds of someone breaking there are exceptionally high.

Adam G. Force  36:03 

Yeah, I mean, I liked the idea of kind of just making it statistically relevant getting, you know, you consistently getting the cost per click, you want purchases. I like the idea of getting multiple, like several purchases to really show that it’s kind of consistent. And you’ll see that once Facebook, kind of like latches on. You start seeing this like consistency. Yeah, I noticed that too. And the last thing I want to just kind of touch on and we’ll wrap up here is helping people understand maybe AV over CBO. Like, are you? You know, everyone has different philosophies and ideas about it. I see people they do all their testing and scaling and CBO. And some people do testing and abo. And then scale and CBO. What’s What are your thoughts on that stuff?

DEREK STROH  36:51 

Yeah, so it’s a great question. I would say it depends on the platform. Typically, what we do, though, is we test in abo. And then scale and CBO. The reason behind that methodology for us just because we like having a little bit more control and abo for testing, because sometimes I know with, I mean, Facebook’s a little bit better at this, but sometimes with tick tock, you throw things into a CBO campaign, and you know, 80% of the budget is going to one ad set. Yeah, right. Yeah. So that becomes like a, hey, is this actually real test kind of issue? Right? It’s not? Exactly right. So it’s like, well, if you’re spending 80% of the budget here, and then 10% on these other two audiences, that’s not really fair. So typically, we do our testing and ABO and then we scale and CBO.

Adam G. Force  37:41 

That makes sense. That makes sense. Awesome, man. Well, lots of helpful information. Appreciate it. Yeah, you guys are doing awesome work. Why don’t you give a shout out? Where do people find you and learn more? If you guys need support with your media, like everything we talked about in the E commerce space, Derek and team are rockstars and a preferred partner for us. So definitely recommend. Fire it up.

DEREK STROH  38:04 

Ya know, appreciate it man. You can find us just on our website horizons digital marketing.com You can check us out on Instagram or on Tik Tok or on Facebook. Also at at horizons digital marketing are not.com at horizons digital marketing there so yeah, hit us up on any of those platforms. websites usually the best there. Yeah, thanks. Thanks for having me, man. I appreciate it.

Adam G. Force  38:30 

Yeah, just mentioned my name. He’ll give you the first year free just kidding.

Brother, I appreciate you. We’ll catch you next time.

Thanks for tuning into the authentic brand mastery podcast. Don’t forget to stop by change creator.com For more information, fresh articles content and our services if you’re looking to build a brand that people love, and please stop by iTunes, leave us a five star review. We appreciate your support.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Scott Turman: Building a Rock-Solid Personal Brand By Publishing a Book

Scott Turman

In today’s ever-competitive world, building a rock-solid personal brand is a must. That’s the only way to build trust and make a great impression. And while there are many ways to do it, publishing your own book is one of the most powerful ones.

But the question is –

“When is the right time to consider something like a book?”

Scott Turman, the founder and CEO at BrightRay Publishing, in today’s episode, talks about all the nitty-gritty details of what it takes to publish a book.

More About Scott:

Scott Turman is an entrepreneur, technologist, and author who’s been looking forward to making book writing accessible.  He started his career writing code as well as cryptographic systems for organizations, including:

  1. NASA
  2. The US Department of Defense
  3. Disney
  4. Other Fortune 500s. 

Also, he’s the founder & CEO of BrightRay Publishing – a popular company offering writing as well as publishing services for CEOs, founders, politicians, and other professionals.

Scott has co-written two books –

  1. Stop Getting Fu*ked by Technical Recruiters: A Nerd’s Guide to Negotiating Salary and Benefits  – This book reached Amazon’s Top 10 rank for its category
  2. How to Build Your Brand with a Book: Establishing Yourself as a Published Expert.

Throughout This Episode, Adam & Scott Discuss:

  1. Scott gives insights into his background and how he started his own publishing company.
  2. What inspired Scott to make his jump from his technology venture to publishing one.
  3. Scott shares the key milestones he has achieved with his publishing venture – BrightRay
  4. Should you publish your own book? Who is this for and what’s the value behind it?
  5. Why is personal branding important?
  6. Can publishing your own book along with other personal branding aspects help you close more clients and build better business relationships? How?
  7. What types of businesses or professionals does it make sense to publish their own book? Does it make sense for everyone or in all scenarios?
  8. Not always will publishing a book help you increase revenue or acquire or retain more clients. But it’ll help you get your story out, connect with your audience, trigger emotions and build long-lasting relationships.
  9. What exactly is a personal brand – Scott explains.
  10. What are some of the main pain points people struggle with when it comes to putting a book together?
  11. How long does it take to put a book together?
  12. How important is showcasing your expertise based on someone’s personal experience with something that’s what’s going to make it credible?
  13. Can you use content from your book(s) and share it across different platforms in different formats?
  14. Who’s Scott’s perfect customer? Who should get a book published, in Scott’s opinion?
  15. How is publishing a book a long-term investment?

Conclusion

Book publishing requires you to spend time and money. The upfront costs may seem high. But if you really want to build a rock-solid personal brand, it’s a powerful way to do so – will help you win the long game.

Want to Get a Book Published?

Find Scott at https://brightray.com/

Need Help with Branding?

Chat with Adam at:  https://studio.changecreator.com

Subscribe HERE:

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Episode Transcript (unedited, will likely have typos):

Adam G. Force  0:00 

How do social entrepreneurs and small businesses create an authentic brand people love so they can get the edge they need to stand out, create Predictable Revenue and compete against the big guys. That’s what we’re here to discuss. I’m Adam forest, the founder of change creator, and this is the authentic brand mastery podcast.

What’s up everybody, welcome back to the show. Lots of exciting stuff going on over here at change creator, I think, you know, we’re strategizing some ideas to really help organize our thoughts around the podcast. And I think we might be putting together some seasons on some key topics and going a little deeper with some of the key people that we talk to, to help kind of give a better look under the hood for you guys who are building different kinds of businesses in the E commerce space. And just really understanding the sales and lead generation processes and things like that. So hopefully, that will be helpful. We’re going to roll that out soon. You know, in the meantime, today, if you have missed the last episode, it was with Derrick straw, so he’s actually an expert in advertising. So he’s a media buyer, and he runs the agency, agency horizon digital, we actually partner with him on a number of projects, and he’s got a lot of great insights to share. So if you missed that episode, you want to go back and check that out. Their focus is specifically running media for supporting and scaling ecommerce brands. So today, we’re going to be talking with someone by the name of Scott Terman. So he’s got a lot of incredible experience. And so Scott is actually somebody that is a technologists entrepreneur, he’s also an author as a book, all that kind of stuff. And he started his career back in the day, like with NASA, and the US Department of Defense, Disney, and all kinds of crazy work in the past. And he’s now the founder and CEO of bright Ray publishing. And so they actually offer writing and publishing services for founders. So really building your personal brand and profile online, which is a really valuable asset to any company and brand and founder. So we want to just dive into that. Alright, guys, so you know, if you’re looking for support in the E commerce space, want to scale your business, reach out to us just go visit change creator.com, you can fill out the form on our services page. Don’t forget to leave us a review. It goes a long way. And we appreciate your ongoing support. Let’s get into this conversation. Okay, show me the heat. No, you go to the show today. How you doing, man? You’re pretty good. Thanks for having me. Yeah, absolutely. You know, I just found you know, the work that you’re doing to be really interesting. And you have a pretty extensive background of experience that I wanted to bring to the table for this conversation. But let’s just kind of get people acclimated, like, what do you got going on today? How’d you get there, just give us a little bit of background.

Scott Turman  3:18 

I may start from the beginning. And I’ll move all the way forward. And I’ll do it in less than two minutes. So the border might have been 2528 years ago, I was I was at NASA for a couple of years, just building software doing really pretty cool stuff. And I made my way through that kind of a fortune 500 Consulting here in Florida for the last view of 20 years. About two years ago, I Well, 12 years ago, I started a technology company, we got up to 2025 employees. Two years ago, I realized I’m sick to death of technology. And, and we started this publishing company. And, and it’s been going amazing ever since. And I’m in a really good spot

Adam G. Force  4:01 

technology to publishing what made you what inspired you to make that jump?

Scott Turman  4:05 

Ah, so two years ago, I was trying to write a book. And what it was about was I was trying to teach, so I had the need to hire a ton of software developers. So it occurred to me that you know, writing a book that actually help software developers may help them trust me and my company a little bit more. So I wrote her negotiations book on how to how to negotiate your salary, nerds and I’m included in that nerd column. We’re not very good at negotiating salary or talking to anything about anybody. And I felt like we needed a book to kind of go down that road along the way wrote the I couldn’t write it. So I’m a terrible writer, I partner with with someone I’ve known for quite a time. She she had published you know, several books by the time she was in her 20s. And then she kind of worked this process out to try to you know, try to pull the book out of my head ever since. It was a hybrid COVID We worked the process out. And then we haven’t looked back and started doing it for other people. And and here we are.

Adam G. Force  5:07 

Interesting. And so what have been some of the key, I guess, milestones at this point with bright Ray, the publishing company, anything exciting to throw out there?

Scott Turman  5:18 

Well, yeah, you know, it’s the milestones are one employee, right that that, you know, over my, my 12 years, well, 15 years of entrepreneurship, but I’ve really only, you know, been doing pretty well with it in the last seven to nine years, it’s that first employ, the very first employee is that is when it becomes real, when you actually have to run a payroll, in my opinion, right, you’re duplicating yourself, right? For the first time ever, you have a process, you don’t want to do anymore, or you need to scale. So go hire someone. So that’s the very first step. You know, and I, we’re on our 13th 13th or 14th, employ, you know, as of as of today, actually. And I guess the milestones are first employ first 100,001st 10 employees first million dollars, so that

Adam G. Force  6:04 

just goes, yeah, yeah, that’s definitely exciting to see the progress. So tell me just a little bit about, you know, why people should consider this as part of a marketing strategy, the publishing side of things, because it is like an overwhelming and daunting commitment, I feel like so talk a little bit about it. Now, you know, we’re talking to entrepreneurs, you know, they can be service ecommerce, whatever, typically, you know, they’re there a few years in is like, who is this for? And what’s the real value behind it?

Scott Turman  6:40 

So ultimately, someone is going to have to buy something from somebody, right? You know, whether it’s Adam force, or Adam G force, which by the way, is a rad name. If it’s an unfortunate Scott terminal, or whoever, there’s typically a name assigned to that business. And you know, unless you’re selling T shirts, or widgets, or maybe not right, but ultimately, someone’s going to look you up, and what are they gonna find? Right? How trustworthy Are you? how trustworthy are your projects, your site, it’s all comes down to kind of personal branding. I believe that the books are kind of that foundational to that branding. If you do, like, for instance, if you do a Google search, or my name’s Scott Turman TRMM, you’ll see that I get to have this knowledge panel that pops up Google presents me kind of in as not so much as an expert, but presents me as Oh, I know this person, they’ve done some stuff. You know, here’s more information on when people go to do business with me, at the very minimum, they’ve got they’ve got the, they’ve got the I’m kind of passing the smell test, so to speak, right? very minimum, you know, have they done something? I mean, just something warranted, enough for me to do business with them. And no matter what you do service or not, it comes down to who was that person? And can they be trusted? And that kind of personal brand? Is that trust?

Adam G. Force  7:51 

Right? Yeah. Now, the trust factor is pretty big. You know, and I worked with a company once where they were in the, I won’t get into details, but they’re in the market, right? For investing and stuff like that. And I when I first looked at what they were trying to push, I was like, Yeah, how’s it going, people gonna find this like sketchy. And then I saw that they were actually like, talked about on Forbes, and, you know, Business Insider, and I was like, Oh, I was like, okay, like this, this seems more legit. Now, there’s that immediate, like, justification, or credibility factor. And so when you’re looking someone up, and you see certain results, like you’re talking about, it does put the mind at ease, right to earn that trust and credibility. So and then obviously, if they read the literature, that that can go a long way to building more business and better relationships with your audience, right?

Scott Turman  8:46 

It’s funny, it’s funny, you mentioned the Forbes, Business Insider, etc. I couldn’t get any reporters to take me seriously, let alone quote me or write a story on me before I went, right.

Adam G. Force  8:57 

Until you wrote about it, because now it’s something to talk about. That’s right.

Scott Turman  9:01 

It’s all kind of it’s all foundational, right? You write a book, you know, you’re kind of raising your when people look you up to kind of see more information on you. You have a knowledge panel, or what are going to Wikipedia or whatever, right? So now when you start submitting these kind of requests for quotes from reporters, they look you up and go, Oh, okay, author, Oh, okay. Had this business, that business did this happen the other, and then it all kind of kind of builds, right? If you if you kind of look up my name in Google News, you’ll see I’m in Forbes, I’m in Business Insider, I’m in Wall Street. I mean, a bunch of places, but none of that was possible until I wrote a book. Right? And that’s, it’s, it’s kind of foundational to well, it makes it a lot easier than trying to get a Wikipedia page as that requires. That requires you being kind of well known to begin with. Certain circumventing that or at least getting there a little quicker.

Adam G. Force  9:48 

Yeah, yeah, no, that’s interesting. And I can see that about platforms like Forbes and things like that. Yeah, they need something to talk about, you know what I mean? And so having a book gives that little bit of stuff. One thing and

Scott Turman  10:02 

it’s worse than that, because because the writer has to go to their editor and go look, at the very minimum, this person did this, that and the other, right? It’s just it’s just, it’s the ability for them to, at the very minimum, how to go back to the writer and go this the reason that I chose them or this the reason I quoted them is at the very minimum, they have this expertise.

Adam G. Force  10:21 

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that’s interesting. And, you know, like we in the beginning, when we started change creator magazine. There’s a cachet, just like having a book has cachet. A magazine has cachet. It’s related to what you’re saying, which is, you could go out and be like, Hey, Tony Robbins, can we interview you? And he’d be like, for like a podcast, he’d be like, probably not right now. Hey, you want to be on the cover of this magazine? Oh, talk to my team. Right. All of a sudden, you got the interview? You got them? Just because you say you got a magazine, right? I mean, it was Arianna Huffington. Richard Brandt, all these guys. And without the magazine, though, they never would if it was just a podcast probably never happened, right. And I see the cachet behind the book kind of giving a stepping stone of power towards more access to these types of things. You know what I mean? So as far as it goes to personal branding, is this more relevant? Like if I’m running an E commerce shop? Right? And I think you said you did in the past as well. Does it make sense for me? Like, I’m not running a service business where I’m an influencer of some kind? I mean, I guess ecommerce, you could still be influencer. But is it as relevant?

Scott Turman  11:30 

It depends, right? That’s what are you selling? Exactly? If you’re selling something that’s a commodity, probably not something that has no differential differentiation? Probably not. But if you’re selling something that requires trust, if you’re selling something that’s more than $1,000, if you’re selling something that requires the demonstration of expertise, that the reason you’re selling it, yeah, makes a big difference. And that’s the thing is that I mean, how many people have hung a shingle out and frequent. For instance, when I first started, check for lead, right? So my son was, was born, my mother gave him a present, there was a fire truck. And with the fire truck, it came out that had a lead in it right, my son didn’t get poison lead poisoning from it, but it still had lead in it. I was thinking, Man, I wish there was a way to test these toys for it. So I found that I found someone who had a patent for lead testing, global star check for live.com started selling I think, the first month, I think we made $11. This next month, we made $7, and on and on and on, right. And then the law got changed. It says you’ve got to test your lead, if you do any renovations to your house that was built in 1978. That Monday, we made $30,000. On Tuesday, we wait. And it just went on and on and on and on. And I had to become the face of the company, an expert in this area, or no one would have trusted me.

Adam G. Force  12:48 

Yeah, I can see that. And I mean, let’s say you have a product, that is kind of making a difference. So say you’re helping with plastic pollution or something significant, like you have a bigger mission. It’s not just a commodity, where it’s like a $5 transactional Packard Gump, that no one cares about, right. And so even if it does cost less, but you have a bigger purpose and mission and intent behind it, I could see having your story be very attractive of the movement, you’re trying to create the change you’re trying to make. And then when people read about that, then it’s like, oh, you believe and have all this expertise, weaving these things. And you’ve started this business to help push that idea that I can see making a big difference in the success of a company.

Scott Turman  13:37 

Well, that’s the thing a company can’t speak for itself. speaks for the company. If you’re not going down that road, you’re probably you’re missing all the opportunities in the world to to kind of promote your company magazines, because no one’s talking to a company, or the CEO or the founder. It’s just how it is. And and so you kind of have to build that that brand of believability of this person knows what they’re talking about. And that’s just what it that’s just kind of what it boils down to.

Adam G. Force  14:08 

And you’ve worked with a lot of you know, CEOs and even I think celebrities, athletes, all that kind of stuff. And I think there’s a role in these positions. So you know, anybody listening, it’s, it’s kinda like, I think there’s a hesitation for some people like, well, if I ever wanted to sell this company, I don’t want it to rely on me being like the face of the brand, right? But I don’t think that’s what’s happening here. Right? So it’s kind of like I look at Blake Mycoskie. We interviewed him for TOMS Shoes. He has multiple books, but that business is still thriving and he didn’t become the face of the brand, but he did get the story out there that pulled a lot of people into the emotional side of why he does what he does, right.

Scott Turman  14:47 

Yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s funny. So if you’re a contractor if you’re someone who just kind of goes from from project to project, you know, you know what follows you around as your brand, no matter where even if you’re at a place with Three years, your 15,000 LinkedIn followers follow you to the next gig, right? That personal brand is forever that project you’re on, it’s probably not forever. So whether you’re doing it just as an employee or as a contractor, or you have the business itself, you know, being able to speak to that and kind of building that because so it’s why it’s my belief that personal brand is not what people find about you. Personal Brand is a verb in my opinion, it’s the act of shaping what people find about you. Right? And and ultimately, the vast majority a lot of these decisions, whether it’s a project base, ecommerce, or whatever, they’re making that decision and what they find about you. That’s, that’s the brand. That’s that’s the verb go create, go construct, go stand down, and go and go make your brand.

Adam G. Force  15:46 

Yeah, I can understand that. What are some of the main pain points you see people struggle with when it comes to putting a book together?

Scott Turman  15:54 

Oh, wait, writing it. That’s what we do. We have a bunch of writers on staff that kind of coax the book out of their head, all they have to do is talk, we meet once a week for an hour, and then we just pull the book out of their head thesis, you know, the rise and fall of everything. But the biggest mistake I see people make when they’re writing a book is writing a book for everybody. If you write a book for everybody, you’ve written a book for nobody, you should be writing a book for like five or 6000 people who have the exact problem that you’re pitching that you have a solution for that you’re the expert in. If you write a book for 10 million people, you’ve written nothing you’ve gotten, it’s got no value. Mostly, the vast majority of these books don’t sell more than a couple 1000 copies. Anyway, that said, you might also target the people who can you know, help build your business or your target customer?

Adam G. Force  16:39 

Yeah, yeah, I can see that. And once like, how long does it take someone to put something like this together? Because I think in my mind, and in a lot of others, there could be, it could be a reality, or it could be a total misconception where it’s like, oh, man, I’d love to have a book. But one, I’m not good enough. I don’t have a interesting enough background or story. And two, it’s just way too much work.

Scott Turman  17:06 

It is a lot of work. And that’s why companies like mine exist. I mean, we write the book for you, you just talk but ultimately, even when I hear people say, Well, do I have the information? Or do I have the interesting background to write a book? I think you just have to niche down. I mean, if you’re if you’re, if your expertise is ecommerce, you can niched down to the exact area of E commerce that a lot of people have problems with. Is it payment systems? Is it paying taxes? Is it you know, holding that stupid inventory? Right? The inventory crushes typically most ecommerce companies is because you got a million dollars in inventory you got to sit on you’re not gonna make a dime and all your money’s there all your profits are all sitting in a warehouse somewhere. Yeah, well, how do you manage that? That’s a great book doesn’t have to be 5000? No. Okay, just know, can be 100 pages. niched, down to exactly your expertise. And I believe that most people have a very minimal excuse to write a book.

Adam G. Force  17:57 

Yeah, I mean, there’s definitely, I mean, how important though, is, because when you get into expertise on things, it’s obviously based on someone’s personal experience with something that’s what’s going to make it credible. Right.

Scott Turman  18:12 

Right. So, so every business book, the formula goes something like this. So it’s the IRS backstory, how did you how did you build these conclusions? What stories led you to certain conclusions? three chapters in what problems are you’ve been facing? And what have you been solving? You know, with that with that with that hero’s journey, and then the last four chapters is, well, here’s how you solve the damn problems. Right? Here’s why you should trust me, here’s the issues. Let’s go solve them. That’s the rise and fall of 90% of all business books. And you’ll also find that it’s also the rise and fall of most, you know, most movies too, right? That’s a here has a problem. I hear a meets some type of some type of guide, that guy shows them how to overcome the problem. And then they go they go kill Darth Vader, are they are they? I mean, Yoda same thing just goes on and on.

Adam G. Force  19:00 

Yeah. Yeah, I mean, that is the classic. What is it fray tags, storytelling arc, right? It’s built the tension hit the climax, what’s the resolution?

Scott Turman  19:14 

You’ll notice, you’ll notice that there’s a guide, almost 80 or 90% of all the stories you can think of that probe that person who had the issue, right, met someone who helped them overcome the issue. And then when people write these books, the problem is they put themselves as the hero, no one gives a crap about that. They want to hear about their own problems and solve their own problems. You’re the guide, you’re the person writing the book, you’re still be the guide, the reader is the hero and that’s the other biggest mistake. I see him making.

Adam G. Force  19:42 

Yeah, I can see that too. I can see that too. It’s interesting. And I wonder like, by going through the book process, you know, let’s say working with your company and they’re pulling all this out of your brain with like interview questions or whatever. All of a sudden, as like, I feel like a lot of have content, ideas like things you could talk about on short videos and all that. All of a sudden, all these things start coming to life even more with clarity for you. Because now Yes, you are creating this book. But I think there’s like byproducts of like, oh, you know what, that really is a great story. I’m going to use that in my next video on YouTube as well, or whatever on Facebook and it’s Facebook Live, and I’ll talk about it. And so you have all these these things coming to life. And you see that happen a lot.

Scott Turman  20:27 

Yeah, it’s years have gone to it’s years of posts. I mean, a book represents hundreds, if not 1000s, of little snippets and stories and tweets and blog posts that are that are now there for you to choose into in post as you as you see fit. You know, the my two books. Well, Zoe Rosen has two books, you know, we pull the content on there all the time to create these these either tweets and or LinkedIn kind of stories or whatever it’s it’s, it’s, it’s a very, very deep well of content.

Adam G. Force  21:00 

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I see that happen. You know, like, just as what made me think of that is like, even just like putting together like a 90 minute webinar, you’re like, oh, I need my story. I need a story from my background about this, this this and all of a sudden, it forces you to dial into all these great stories that you just don’t think of otherwise. But they’re there in the back corner of a dark corner. And then all of a sudden, you’re on a podcast being interviewed, and you’re sharing them because you’re like, oh, yeah, now that’s top of mine. And I can just imagine when you go through this process with your team of writing a book like this, that you just get tons of things that even if it doesn’t go into the book, you probably surface a lot of a lot of content, like you said, a whole lifetime of content. That takes

Scott Turman  21:39 

you to really, really, really weird places. Just so we published No, our second book, you know, last year, how to build a brand with a book. And, and that triggered several, a couple of podcasts that triggered a couple of quotes in some odd places, insider magazine, and Forbes. And then at a middle where I get a call from the national television of Turkey. Right now I’m being interviewed on live TV in front of 6.2 million people about Elon Musk. I mean, I’m a technologist. That’s kind of what I do. Right. But how how I got there, it’s just got that book was just the tipping point. Because all these other things that kind of fall over?

Adam G. Force  22:20 

Yeah, that’s interesting. It’s a lot of work. So I mean, is this is this offer that you have? I mean, it sounds great. Like, yes, I would love someone to interview me put the book together and do it all professionally Great. Is this for? Like, I guess, like, who’s your primary? Who’s your like, perfect customer, I guess, to give people a sense of like, who does this really make sense for? Because someone who’s just starting a business like they’re not, they’re not gonna be ready to pony up and do something like this? You know what I mean? So I’m just kind of grounding that a little.

Scott Turman  22:53 

Yeah, typically, it’s someone trying to trying to build enough notoriety for people to care. Right? It’s the it’s the x, c, c, suite of Disney. Next on, it’s the, it’s the entrepreneur, who has a marketing company, who needs people to take him or her seriously. And a book helps do that. It’s, you know, it’s it’s kind of, it’s a submarine commander for us this Indianapolis who he wrote a book, you know, about, you know, it just his transition into basically from I think it was called, from some commanding officer to CEO, right, this guy has entrepreneurship journey, right? All those things are all, you know, it all depends on what they want to do the book, the book is simply a vector. In other things, the book is simply a way to convince your prospective customer that you’re the right person. And that’s the books are for right there. They’re there for building that kind of personal brand. But for people to kind of instantly trust you, the way you get in front of a podium in front of 1000 people to talk on Turkish national TV in our case, or how whatever you’re trying to look to do to kind of build your brand up a little bit. Yeah. But ultimately, you’re selling more of what you do your services, your product, whatever it is that you did.

Adam G. Force  24:02 

Yeah. Yeah, that makes sense. And I think, you know, it also gives you a great, just like we talked about Forbes and stuff, where it’s like you’re giving them something to go on, write a story to tell. So if you have you can align something like this to new product launches and things going on with the business and do. It’s a great reason to get on other interviews. So if you have a really nice topic that bites into, like you said, a niche that big, I love to talk about that for my audience. And then you have a road show on interviews, and you’re talking about this book. And now I mean, there’s this nice, I think, domino effect. So there is an investment upfront of time and money, but the long term play there and what you can get out of it, I think is tenfold bigger, you know what I mean?

Scott Turman  24:46 

Yeah, I mean, ultimately, you’re flapping your arms, you’re making a bunch of noise, right? Yeah. And then in a book is a reason to flap your arms I’m book is, is a reason to scream for the highest mountain tops of your expertise. Otherwise, you sound like an egomaniac, right? Yeah. ser Raisa, it just this is bottom line, there’s no reason no one has any reason to talk about themselves. They’re just they just don’t. They’re not I mean, the vast majority of humans don’t have either the accomplishment or whatever it takes to do that, you know, a book kind of highlights those, that the framework of those things right that you’re expert in, gives you a reason to talk but it also gives you the credibility to talk. And, and is that that kind of fear of do I know enough to do the interview or, or whatever that’s, you know, that’s, that’s also what the editors thinking too is like, Jesus person credible enough for me to put in a book helped to do that, you know, I mean, I’ve done 22 podcasts in the last seven months, six months, I’ve been on multiple news stations, multiple kind of, you know, different different different places. But that all started with the credibility of a book. I mean, it’s just it’s just kind of just kind of blows up from there if you do it, right.

Adam G. Force  25:50 

Got it? Yeah, I love that. All right, let’s wrap this up. Where do people kind of find you if they’re interested in this book stuff don’t have the time to write it themselves. So when I look into this, where can they get more information and check that out?

Scott Turman  26:03 

So years ago, I I filed for the trademark, bright Ray be your IG HT ra y. So everything I’ve ever owned the last couple of years is bright Ray something whether it’s consulting or public. So if you go to bright ray.com is where we’re republishing resides, just just do a Google search and you will be the first thing to pop up for the word bright red or bright Ray publishing.

Adam G. Force  26:28 

Okay, awesome. Appreciate your time to this guy just kind of walking through these ideas and what the benefits are of kind of really thinking about this type of commitment. You know what, what am I do for somebody?

Thanks for tuning into the authentic brand mastery podcast. Don’t forget to stop by change creator.com For more information, fresh articles, content and our services if you’re looking to build a brand that people love, and please stop by iTunes, leave us a five star review. We appreciate your support

April Dunford: The Smart Way to Position Your Products and Brand for Increased Sales

April Dunford Brand Positioning

“In every crowded market, there’s an underserved segment. And if you can figure out how to be valuable to that segment, then you can make a lot of money.”
– April Dunford

Wondering whether positioning is for your products or brand? Looking forward to positioning your products and brands such that you are subject to an ever-increasing number of sales?

Look no further!

Adam Force, in his latest jam, had a brief discussion with a leading expert in the space – none other than April Dunford.

More About April:

April spent the first 25 years of her career as a startup executive – and used to run marketing, sales, and product teams. She led numerous teams across seven successful and well-recognized B2B technology startups, of which most were acquired by industry giants. And if you dive a bit deeper, you’ll find the total acquisition value to stand at more than $2 billion. Throughout her journey, she has positioned, re-positioned, and launched over 16 successful products.

She currently resides in the beautiful city of Toronto, Canada, with her kids and a small and lovely dog. She’s at that stage of her career where she’s trying to give back as much as she can. She acts as a mentor and advisor to dozens of startups and professionals that work in them.

Key Takeaways:

  1. April gives a sneak peek into her background and expertise.
  2. April defines what positioning actually is and clears the misconceptions.
  3. Positioning the company vs. positioning their product(s), especially when you’re selling multiple products.
  4. What does April’s working methodology look like?
  5. For how long has April been going through her process and developing the methodology?
  6. How important positioning is for a company, and how can it actually help a company with its marketing efforts?
  7. How positioning helps align every single person in a company by helping them gain clarity and alignment around the five questions:
    • Who do we compete with?
    • How are we different?
    • What’s the value?
    • Who cares about the value?
    • What’s the market we’re going to be entering?
  8. How storytelling is a big part of positioning?
  9. The importance of identifying the undeserved segment of a market and figuring out how to add value to it.
  10. If your customers are extremely happy with your product, yet your prospects aren’t really able to figure out the value in it, then that’s a positioning problem.
  11. How to identify weak positioning
  12. How does the sales story around positioning tie into the brand story?

Learn more about April Dunford at www.aprildunford.com/

Conclusion

Most people and businesses have got the definition of positioning wrong. At the same time, they don’t realize how important it really is. Only if you do it right you’ll be unburdening your sales and marketing departments.

April shared serious valuable insights throughout this episode. And you should definitely check it out.

Need Help with Branding?

Book a call to chat with Adam at:  https://studio.changecreator.com

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Episode Transcript (unedited, will likely have typos):

Adam G. Force  0:00 

How do social entrepreneurs and small businesses create an authentic brand people love so they can get the edge they need to stand out, create Predictable Revenue and compete against the big guys. That’s what we’re here to discuss. I’m Adam forest, the founder of change creator, and this is the authentic brand mastery podcast.

What’s up everybody. Welcome back to the show. This is your host Adam before us. I’m very excited for today because we have an incredible conversation with somebody I’ve been very eager to talk to. And her name is April Dunford, and she wrote the book, obviously awesome. So her master, you know, skill is not branding, you know, not design, not marketing. It’s dialled into one very specific skill, and that is positioning. She specialises in positioning products and brands in the marketplace. And she goes against the grain of what has historically been taught, and explains why that is, and why it works so much better for today’s you know, way of thinking about business online. Now, we’re gonna dive into that conversation with April. And she works with tonnes of companies and just like teams from, you know, really massive brands, and, you know, she has just dialled in this process. So we’re gonna break it down in this conversation, because if you’re not aware, positioning is something that is the the keys, one of the keys to the kingdom, for selling and converting at high rates. And that’s something that we work with our clients with very, very seriously and diligently. So we’re gonna get into that. All right. Now, if you missed last week’s discussion, was another killer discussion. And it was with one of my mentors, you know, he is a guy that is a Facebook ads expert. His name is Aaron Parkinson, he’s the CEO of seven mile media, they’ve, you know, had over a billion dollars in return from their ads. Just incredible, incredible insights from Aaron. So we got into a lot of the strategic thinking that makes ads work, right. So it really will help you unlock the success with that stuff. So if you missed that one, I would definitely go back and check it out. That was a really fun conversation with just a tonne of good insights. Okay. Don’t forget to leave us a review guys really appreciate it. If you want to show some love and give us support. If you’re liking the show. You know, we’ll get a little bit more momentum with your help. And that always goes a long way. And we appreciate you tuning in. Yeah, last but not least, guys, check us out at change creator.com. If you got an econ business right now, we would love to hear from you. We’re doing amazing work to help you scale those sales and convert more customers. So reach out, let’s have a call. We would love to see where you’re at. And if we can help you out. That’s it guys. We’re gonna dive into this conversation with April. Hey, show me the heat on. Hey, April, welcome to the show today. How you doing?

April Dunford  3:15 

I’m good. How are you?

Adam G. Force  3:17 

I’m doing fantastic. Glad to have you. Yeah, I’m pretty excited. Yeah, I you know, after reading your book, like I just mentioned before we jumped on live. It was really refreshing. So anybody listening her book, obviously awesome. We’re going to talk a little bit about that. But more importantly, the contents of it and why it’s so important to, you know, your more modern business thinking today. April, just before you really get into it all, if you could just give people that introduction in a nutshell about what you got going on today and how you got there.

April Dunford  3:49 

Yeah, well, okay. So I’m April, my background is I spent 25 years as a repeat Vice President of Marketing at a series of startups, I think I did seven, six of those got acquired. But more recently, in the last five, six years, I switch to consulting. And what I focus on is positioning work. I work mainly with tech companies, mainly on the b2b side. And, yeah, my focus, my focus is really just on positioning. I don’t do branding, I don’t do messaging, there’s a very long list of things that I don’t do. And the list of things that I do do contains one thing, and that’s positioning. So that’s my jam.

Adam G. Force  4:26 

Love it special, you’re a specialist. So one thing that comes up a lot, and I’d like to hear your perspective. And I should probably help actually probably define positioning for people real quick. Let’s do that. First. Let’s do that. Before I get to my real questions. Why don’t you just give people the context of positioning? I think a lot of people listening, you know, they skip the strategic planning a lot, or they do the basics that they’ve heard, like, I know who my audience is, and I know you know, the basic stuff, right. So I think they get very deep in these things. Can you define positioning and your terms?

April Dunford  5:04 

Yeah, so so much like you said, like positioning is kind of a misunderstood concept, which is pretty surprising, given it’s not a new concept has been around since the 80s. Like since pre internet, we’ve known about positioning. But it’s pretty misunderstood. So most of the time, when I talk about positioning, I end up having to talk about what positioning is not. So I’ll say, you know, it’s not messaging, it’s not the same thing as messaging. Effective positioning is an input to messaging. People talk a lot about brand positioning. And those two things are connected, obviously. But I do think positioning is an input to branding. And branding is something very separate. So positioning, kind of like you can think of it this way, if everything we do in marketing, and sales is the house positioning is the foundation upon which the house is built. So my definition of it goes like this positioning defines how your product is the best in the world at delivering some value that a well defined set of customers cares a lot about. That’s my definition of it.

Adam G. Force  6:09  

Yeah, and it’s interesting, because I used to go through conversations with clients, and we would really be discussing the full brand strategy. And you could talk about this perfect customer profile, and then you get into positioning in your methodology. Right. And there’s, there’s some overlap there. And I’m starting to go wait a minute, maybe we need to start with the positioning conversation first and edit some of this perfect customer. Because now these two worlds, I mean, those are out when it comes to selling converting sales online, I’m really seeing, you know, these two worlds are the most important to resonate, right, that customer is positioning. And so a question that comes up a lot that I’d like to hear your perspective on is positioning the company versus positioning the product, right. We work with a lot of E commerce brands, and, you know, they have many products. What’s the top seller? Which one’s biggest profit margin? What are we talking about here? My positioning the company? So what are your thoughts on that?

April Dunford  7:09 

Yeah, so that’s a good question. It’s one that I get a lot. So. So sometimes we just have one product. And then we don’t have to worry too much about positioning the product versus positioning the company. It’s just one thing like from slack, right? My slack not anymore. It’s it’s had been acquired. But I’m slacking, I’m slack. There’s no difference between the positioning of the company position of the product and one product company. But then you get situations where you do have multiple products. And then it’s like, well, you know, do I position each product individually? And then what happens with the company? And so typically, the way this works, is there’s kind of a hierarchy to it. So there’s positioning for the company, which answers the question, why do business with us? So you know, and if I’m a big company, like, let’s say, IBM, or Salesforce, I’ve got positioning that covers all the products underneath that, that basically answers the question, why do you want to be in business with IBM? And that’s it. And that’s where IBM at a macro level will say, Well, you know, we have hardware, software and services. And this is why you want to get all three of those things from one company. If I’m Salesforce, I’m going to talk about platform and cloud and all the things I can do across CRM, and sales and marketing and customer success and all that stuff coming together. Underneath that you’ve got individual products, or you know, and usually if you’re really big, you’ve got divisions, and then you’ve got products underneath that. And these things tend to cascade. So what I’ve got so for example, when I worked at IBM, we had IBM positioning, and then we had positioning for Software Group, like, why would you want to buy software from IBM? And then it was like, and then I was in the database division. So then it was like, why would you want to buy a database from IBM? And then you know, I sold the thing that was not a database, but in the database divisions, that information integration tool, why would you want to buy my information integration tool? And so generally, these things cascade, most of the time, what you’ve got is kind of two, maximum three levels of this. So why do you want to do business with us a company and that positioning takes into account the capabilities of the of all the products together? Like why are we a good partner for you, for certain kinds of companies, but then the individual products kind of tuck in underneath that and say, like, this is why we’re a good partner for you overall. But here we are today to talk about this particular thing. And here’s why this particular product is the right product for you right now. So they tend to kind of, you know, hierarchically align with each other.

Adam G. Force  9:38 

Yeah, it’s kind of like parent positioning. And how much time are you spending when you go through this process with clients? You’re still working with clients today, right? Yeah. Yeah. I mean, is this like you’re sitting down for two hours and going through positioning and it doesn’t matter how big the company is and how much time is spent here? How many people in the room I’m just curious and some of the variables that come into play for you?

April Dunford  10:06 

Yeah. So you know, when I started doing this, the engagements were longer so and it was mainly because of inexperience in my part. I think like I started out with these very long drawn out engagements. But the one of the things I learned quickly from working with companies is that if we can get the right people together in the room from a company, we can actually move fairly quickly. So typically, what we want in a positioning exercise is we want representation for marketing, sales, product, customer success, and the co founders, whoever on the executive team. The reason we want that is because each group sees customers in a particular part of their purchase and using journey. And they have a different understanding of what customers care about and what they don’t care about. I actually want to get all those people in the room so I can pull that information out of them. Typically the way I work with clients, and again, this is most of my clients are b2b. And even more specifically, a lot of them have salespeople involved in the motion. So if I can get the right people in the room, we can generally work through positioning in a week. So we do that through a series of group sessions, with me facilitating, and we’re working through my methodology, which is kind of a step by step way of getting through the components of positioning.

Adam G. Force  11:32 

Right. Okay. Interesting. And so, I guess, and how long now, have you been going through this process and developing the methodology? Well, the

April Dunford  11:41 

methodology, I started using it for myself when I was a VP marketing. And you know, I think I first cooked this thing out, maybe, Gosh, 15 years ago, maybe. And so I used it myself internally. And I’m probably positioned a dozen or so products using that methodology after I, after I came up with it. And then since I’ve been consulting, I would say, I’ve probably done maybe 200 companies ish in the last five, six years. So I feel like this thing has been pretty proven out at this point,

Adam G. Force  12:16 

I would say so I think he had a lot on things.

April Dunford  12:20 

I don’t know this, for sure. But I feel like maybe I’ve positioned more things than any other person on. I don’t know, for sure. But I suspect maybe

Adam G. Force  12:30 

sounds like it sounds like it. So in your terms, help people understand, you know, why, what role positioning is actually playing? And because I want them to understand its importance and what it actually does for their marketing.

April Dunford  12:50 

Yeah. So here’s one way to think about it. So positioning is a bit like, context setting for products or company if we’re trying to position the company. And what I mean by that is like context is kind of how we figure stuff out, particularly things that we’ve never encountered before. So we encounter encounter some new thing we never encountered before. We look for clues in the context. But what that’s all about, it’s a bit like, it’s a bit like the opening scene of a movie, like you walk into the movie theatre, you sit down, you know a little bit about the movie, because you know, you bought a ticket, you know, maybe you saw the trailer. But when the opening scene comes up, the job of the opening scene is to orient you in the story, right? Like, and you got all these big questions. Where am I? What timeframe is this? Where are these people? You know, why should I care? How should I be feeling right now? Is this funny or sad? Like? And so the opening scene answers that question, if you go to the movies, and you see basically, any American movie starts with a panning shot of the city skyline. And it’s like, where am i What’s going on? Oh, Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco, or it’s like, oh, you know, like the, you know, some landmark, oh, I know where I am. And then and then it’ll zoom down in a neighbourhood. And you’ll see cars and clothing. And so I’ll know whether this is present day or the past. And then there’ll be some sad piece with the first character. And you’ll be like, oh, you know, this is funny or sad, or whatever. And now now I’m all oriented. And I can settle in and pay attention attention to the details. So the story positioning is a bit like that. If I show up and I say, Hey, I’m a CRM, that triggers a whole bunch of assumptions in your mind, you’re like, Oh, your CRM, you must compete with Salesforce. And you must have with a set of features like tracking deals through a pipeline, a whole bunch of other things. But if I show up and say, no, no, I’m not a CRM. I’m team collaboration. Oh, that’s different. Now you’re competing with Slack and everything else. So positioning kind of helps customers orient themselves. It’s a bit like you’re taking a customer you’re picking them up, and you’re placing them on a road that leads to your value and more importantly, is not pleasing them on the road that lead eat somewhere else. So if your positioning is bad, what happens is customers show up and they go, Oh, I get what you are. You’re You’re, you’re just like Salesforce, and you go, no, actually, we’re nothing like them, you know? And then and then sales and marketing has to kind of get you. No, no, we’re not that we’re not that we’re over here. So that’s really what we’re trying to do in positioning. If we think about it, we can take positioning, we break it down into component pieces. So positioning kind of the big answers to these questions like so the first one is competitive alternatives. Like if you didn’t exist, what will customers? Do? I got a position against that in order to win a deal. Next thing is, what do you got that they don’t have? This is differentiated capabilities. But more importantly, we can translate those capabilities to value which is like I have these capabilities that my competitors don’t. So what for your business. So meaning, what for the customers are differentiated value, and then it’s like, well, I’m not actually trying to sell to everybody here. I’m trying to sell the people that are really good fit for my value. So who are those good fit customers? And then the last one is market category, which is a little bit like the answer the question like, What are you, you know, are you email or chat or team collaboration? Or what is it? And that’s the context I positioned the product in such that this differentiated value is obvious to these customers I’m trying to sell to.

Adam G. Force  16:21 

Yeah, I mean, I love that. And I think the context example, is really helpful for people. And, you know, when you get into that stuff, and you start finding where you fit in, right, like you mentioned, what makes us different? What’s the value of, well, who cares? Why does that value mean anything? Do you find that when people are getting clarity working with you, and going through that process, this feeds, then a lot of their messaging and other narratives, so now they have an angle around everything that they’re talking about?

April Dunford  16:52 

That’s exactly it. So, in the work that I do with clients, there’s actually two pieces that we work on together. So the first one is, I want to get clarity and alignment across the team on these five component pieces. Most of the mushy positioning you see out there is, it comes from the team not quite being in alignment around who our best fit customer is or what our value is, and you got sales saying one thing, and marketing thinks something else, and CEO thinks something else. And this misalignment results in the stories a little bit changing all the time, and it’s a little bit mushy. So the first thing we’ll do is we’ll all get clarity, alignment around the five things, what do we compete with? What are we got this different? What’s the value? Who cares a lot about that value? What’s the market we’re gonna go in? Well, once we have that, we got to kind of develop a narrative around that to communicate it so that everybody really understands it. So the second piece that we work in, in the workshops that I do with clients is, we’ll work on kind of like, you can think of it as like the story of your point of view on the market. So you know, the reason you built the thing, the way you built it is because you woke up in the morning, and you said, You know what, CRM suck, I’m gonna make a button better CRM, or, you know, email sucks, I’m gonna make a better email, and you built it for a specific set of customers who achieve a specific kind of value. Once we get our arms around that, then we can build this story, which you can think of as almost like a sales narrative, like if I was sitting across from a person that doesn’t know too much about my stuff. How do I tell the story of look, you know, here’s a problem you’re trying to solve, or this is the situation, you have choices in how you go about solving that problem. Here’s the pluses and minuses to other choices. But holy cow, look, there’s a big gap in the market here. And we are built to fill that gap. And if you can fill it, here’s the value to your business. And that’s why you should pick us. So real work this story or this narrative that then gets used, you know, if you have a sales team that gets turned into a sales pitch, if you’re doing this all through marketing, that’s our point of view on the market. And so now we got to figure out how to communicate that point of view across all the marketing stuff that we’re doing out there to communicate, hey, this is us. And this is why you should

Adam G. Force  19:05 

care. Yeah, that’s interesting. And I love the story. I mean, storytelling is such a big part of, you know, great marketing. And I had somebody recently who was one of my advertising mentors, and he did the ads for Ezra Firestone, who’s, you know, created, simplified, and he also made this cream for women. And he’s like, Who the hell wants more cream? We have all the cream in the world. We don’t need any more hands. All right. So how you going to sell this thing? And so as her came up with a story about society’s point of view on women over 50 And he started marketing and positioning against that whole like emotional trigger, and not even selling the product market and market margin positioning positioning, and then when he went to sell the product, they made like 70 million in three months. So when you

April Dunford  19:58 

like you have these markets that aren’t Surface have them look really crowded. And you’ll say, oh my god, like, how can we, you know, we look just like everybody else is is so crowded. But the reality is in every crowded market, there’s an underserved segment. Yeah. And if you can figure out how to be valuable to that underserved segment, like in this case, you know what, you know, the, the over 50, women or whatever, if I can figure out how to be valuable to that segment, then I can make a lot of money. Even if I’m not trying to sell to everybody, I’m just trying to sell this piece of it. And I

Adam G. Force  20:31 

think that’s an interesting mentality, because you don’t have to own 100% of the mark grant, you need to just get your piece and you’re good.

April Dunford  20:39 

If markets, if the markets big you don’t, and even even if even if you start by just serving one segment of market, that doesn’t mean that you’re not going to grow in to eventually be in the market leader across the board. Most successful small startups, how they get started is, they’re very successful in a beachhead market, like a small market, underserved by the market leader. That’s what gets them established. And then they start pushing the boundaries of the market where they can win until eventually they become number two, and then you’re going to challenge the market leader.

Adam G. Force  21:13 

Yeah, yeah. So how often are you do companies? Or should if ever, I mean, I look at these types of documents that we use to guide our thinking, right, as living breathing assets? How often do we revisit these things?

April Dunford  21:28 

Yeah, so here’s the thing, like, you know, on the one hand, we don’t want to be changing our positioning every week, because then our messaging needs to change every week. And I’ll just have a note that the customers are just getting used to your positioning, and then you’re flipping it around in the work that I do with companies or even when back when I was a VP marketing, we would get the gang together, we would work on the positioning, and then we would have a standing call. And in my case, it was usually every six months, where we would get the whole team back together again. And we’d run through the exercise and say, okay, competitive alternatives, has anything changed. And we see in different competitors in the market. Now, differentiated capabilities, maybe we had something that was differentiating, but the competitors have caught up to us now. So it’s not differentiate, or maybe we put out a new release, we got something that’s new, that’s contributing all different set of value than we considered the last time. If nothing’s changed, then we don’t change it. Right? If it’s working, we’re not going to fix it. But if something biggest change there, we want to go back through the exercise and see, maybe we need to tune the positioning, or maybe we need to change it outright. The only exception to this, like every six months thing is if something big happens in your market, that is, you know, potentially going to impact your positioning, you want to call the emergency positioning meeting. So this would be something like, you know, big competitor of yours makes an acquisition really changes your positioning, we got to go back and think about that. I worked for a company once where we, we were, we had a strategic partner, and we had positioning that really aligned with this particular strategic partner, but then our strategic partner got acquired. And so we had an emergency meeting, like, Whoa, hang on, how does that change things, and then we had to do our adjustment. And so and then, you know, and then we had this positioning, and it worked really well for another six months. And then the company that acquired our strategic company, they got acquired, and then we had to go back and redo the positioning again, and make a big change there. A lot of companies that I’ve worked with the last two years, they reposition when COVID hit, and then they repositioned again a year later when we started coming out of COVID. Because COVID had such a big impact on their business. So when something big like that happens, you need to go back and check in on the positioning. Otherwise, you really don’t you know, you you should have a standing meeting to check in on it. Regardless, and I used to do this once every six months, I know companies that deal with whoever every quarter, and what you’re looking for is Has anything changed that would require us to do an adjustment in the positioning.

Adam G. Force  24:01 

Okay, so that’s interesting, right? And you don’t want to do it too often. That’ll make sense big market changes. Okay. I would be curious to hear your thoughts on sales because if you are positioning something now you can have your position and you’re just like you’re talking about you have a story on how you’re kind of expressing this position and there may be many angles that you can go with within that positioning right for a sales story. But can a quarter go by six months go by and we’re saying our sales suck like maybe we need to reposition this Yeah, your positioning right I guess it’s coming down to is this this wrench?

April Dunford  24:44 

Like the trick is how do you know the positioning is working or not working is the question and sales I think is the best way to take the temperature of that like when I got hired as a brand new VP marketing people will be like okay, April new VP marketing like your job is to get those leads flowing, chop, chop, get the campaign’s been up. And I’d be like, well, let’s just check in on the positioning first, because what I don’t want to do is spin up a bunch of campaigns on top of this weak positioning. So what I would do is I would go in and sit with sales and listen in on sales calls. And what you hear if the positioning was weak, you’d hear a handful of telltale signs. So one would be customers would come in, I get a sales rep does an excellent pitch, you know what to say? Like, this is what we are, this is what we do whatever. And then, you know, you get about halfway through the pitch and the customers like backup, we pitch it to me again. What it is, like they’ll say, oh, yeah, like it usually takes two or three calls before the light goes on. And then they, and then and this epiphany, oh, this is what you are. The other one you’ll get. People will think you’re a thing that you’re not. So they’ll say, Oh, you’re you know, you’re exactly like HubSpot, you’d be like, Oh my god, we’re nothing like HubSpot. Nothing. Right? It’d be like No, no backup. So that’s another sign. The other sign you’ll get is people will say, Oh, I get it, I get it. I just don’t know why anybody paid for that. Right? So it’s like, I get I get, I think I get what you are, but I don’t get the value at all. Yeah. So you’ll hear this in the sales team. And so if you hear that in a bunch of calls, usually and and at the same time, you’ve got happy customers that if I go talk to them, they’re like, you will pry this thing from my cold dead fingers. I love it so much, then there’s a gap here between what your super happy customers understand about your product, and what’s happening in marketing and sales, for some reason that light is not coming on. And so that’s typically a positioning problem, and you’re trying to close that gap. I need you to understand what these happy customers know. But I need you to understand it before you get to my sales team, ideally, or at least when you get to my sales team, I need to have a pitch that makes that crystal clear. So there it goes. Yeah, yeah, I get it. And when what you hear when the positioning is really good, is the customers come in, and the marketing is so good, and the positioning so good, they don’t even call you unless they’re a good fit. And then they come in and they’re just like, Dude, don’t give me a sales pitch. Just tell me what it costs.

Adam G. Force  27:20 

Add Phone call sale, goodbye. Right? You know, if you have it down, right, and you know, your audience, you shouldn’t be able to do that. I always I always believe in having a short sequence. If you can’t do it in one to three, then the long sequence and going to work either.

April Dunford  27:36 

Well, this is it like you’ll see it we positioning shows up in these long, long sales cycles, where and again, like the most common thing I’ll hear when the positioning weak is weak, is the sales team will be like, Yeah, you know, it takes us two or three calls before they get it. But once they get it, it’s good. It’s like, why is that taking two, three calls? Like why? You know, why is that not even happening before it reaches sales? Like what are we missing? Yeah, marketing, that people don’t get it. And then they get all the way to sales. And then even when they get to sales, the first pitch doesn’t do it. So that’s usually a sign we got some tightening up

Adam G. Force  28:09 

to do that’s a problem. That is definitely interesting. Man, so yeah, it sounds like to me, there’s just some things to take a pulse on. So you know, take notes, you know, anybody listening? These are, I feel like these are so important. And when you get the positioning, right, I mean, you mentioned your book that you should, that if you don’t, if you haven’t had a number of sales, and you don’t know, like the person who actually understood your product very quickly, right, or your company. And they were like the ones that already believe in what you’re doing and see the value. Like, I literally, you know, after I kind of expanded my perspective, reading your book, I wrote down my top five customers, and I just word vomit, everything I knew about them. Oh, yeah, they’re doing wholesale, but they felt this way. And they did that. And I had a whole page of this right. And then I went through the exercise based on those people. And when I made my next ad sets, it was it was, you know, much, much better. So what about the people early on? Yeah, you talk about how there could be, you know, maybe it’s a hypothesis at first, right? So yes, exactly.

April Dunford  29:20 

That’s the best way to describe it. Like at the beginning. Like you’re not making a product out of nothing, right? Like so you’ve gone and done customer interviews or prospect interviews and you’ve done your research and all this stuff. Yeah, well, what you’ve got is a positioning hypothesis. And you’re saying, Here’s my best guess you know, I compete with these folks. Here’s how I different this is the value I can deliver no one else can these are the people that are gonna love it. This is the market I’m gonna win, but it’s just a hypothesis. Yeah. And so then you’re gonna take it into the market and my experience is we’re never 100% right on that hypothesis. Like usually we’re partly right sometimes we’re completely wrong, like completely, I mean a couple of times, but usually what it is is is like some of these Right, and some of it’s not. So my advice, actually to folks, when they’re in that situation is, you can actually keep the positioning a little loose at the beginning, like later on, you want it to be as tight as it possibly can. But when you’re just launching, like, what you want to do is have it kind of loose and feel a little bit where the markets pulling you. So and you don’t want to cut anybody off, that might be a good prospect, but you just don’t really understand it yet. So here’s my bad analogy that I always use. And I’m going to use it because I don’t have a better one. So you it’s like pretend you invented a fishing net. And your hypothesis is there’s a fishing net for tuna is the world’s greatest tuna fishing net. Now, I can launch it into the market and say there’s a tuna fishing net, and I’m only gonna sell the tuna fisherman, maybe it works. Maybe it doesn’t. What if I got it wrong, right? So instead, I think you can launch it and say bissonnet for fish, like all kinds of all kinds of big fish. And then let’s get it out there because you’re gonna have to do some heavy lifting to get the first few customers anyway, let’s get it out there. And let’s see what the fishermen pull up. And you know, what you might find is like, oh, gosh, turns out he’s amazing with grouper. And I wasn’t even thinking about grouper because I didn’t know about grouper. And now I see like everybody’s fishing the heck out of grouper. At this point, I start seeing that pattern, I can tighten it up, and then go be the world’s greatest group of fishing net. And I’ll get the tuna guys later. Yeah, so it makes sense. Kind of like that. So, you know, even though I’m the positioning gal, and I’m on for really tight positioning in the early days of a product, it’s okay for it to be loose, it’s gonna feel bad because the pitch is gonna be loose, and everything’s gonna be loose. And every like, this sounds really mushy, because it is. But I think it’s better to do that and wait till you know where to tighten it up and to artificially tighten it up somewhere, and you’ve actually closed the door that should have stayed open.

Adam G. Force  31:52 

Yeah, that’s interesting. Yeah. And I, I feel like when you go through it, even in that stage, would you agree that, you know, understanding where you fit in? Like, because if you know who you are, if you have a hypothesis on the customer, and you’re looking at, well, what what makes us different, though, we got to really where do we like fit in to make this really a sellable company? Like why would anyone care about us, you need some way some angle there. So how you’re different and the value, I think those two steps that you have in your listing are like really key no matter where you are in your business, right? Like,

April Dunford  32:28 

totally. And we don’t like technical founders in particular, right? We tend to think about features. And we assume that customers can do the translation between features and value on their own. And often they can’t, like we have to really think about that, like, we’ve got this feature. So what So what, what is this actually enabled for my customers, because that’s really the nut of good marketing and sales is deeply understanding, this is my value that no one else can deliver. No one else can do this for your business. And the twin side of that is who gives a shit like that for that because not everybody cares about that value the same. And so if you can figure that out, I’m really tight on this is the value I can deliver no one else can. And these companies really care a lot about this. Because XYZ, if I can figure out the those two things, then I got a business.

Adam G. Force  33:22 

Yeah, I like that. The one thing I made a note on, I just want to and we’ll wrap up in a second. When we were talking about creating the sales story around the positioning, yeah, I’m curious, how often do you see the brand story tied into that, like, why we exist, kind of like the bigger brand story? Well,

April Dunford  33:43 

like, sometimes it’s super important, and the brand story is actually differentiating. You know, it’s a reason why people buy you in those cases, it’s really important, we bring it in, sometimes less. So to be honest, like, like, sometimes it’s the brand story just isn’t all that important people, it’s a utilitarian product, they just want the thing because it does a thing and it’s awesome. And I don’t need you know, and I you know, in the branding stuff is kind of maybe some icing on the cake or whatever. You know, so it really depends on how valuable that brand story is. Yeah. So, you know, ideally, your brand story is reflective of your value. And it’s all together in one thing. Sometimes people have something with their brand, you know, like there’s a, you know, it’s something that’s deeply important as part of their brand, right? And that’s part of the reason why people pick you, then I think that becomes front and centre, say you know, and that’s that’s key to your value. Sometimes it’s just the thing you’re doing because you’re a good company and you’re good people, but your customers don’t actually care and the real value is something intrinsic to the product, then that’s okay if the you know, you keep doing the good thing. It just doesn’t become the centrepiece of your sales and marketing. Yeah, yeah. Customers just don’t care that much. Right. So it’s really did not care. I don’t care. We’re all glad you’re doing it.

Adam G. Force  35:03 

Well, then you flip flop but you make the brand story. And by the way, did you know this? Oh, even that’s icing on the cake. Right?

April Dunford  35:09 

Icing on the cake. Right? It’s icing on the cake, but it ain’t the cake.

Adam G. Force  35:13 

The cake Exactly, yeah. And I love that. So well, we’ll wrap up there. So April. Appreciate it. Everybody. April is the author of obviously awesome. It’s a great book on positioning if you haven’t read it yet. Super easy read. I actually didn’t read it. I listened to it in the car.

April Dunford  35:29 

I narrated it too. So you get like, you know, four solid hours of my accent.

Adam G. Force  35:35 

Yeah, it was good. It was good. It was fun. So yeah, where can people learn more about you? And I know you got a site for the book and stuff before I throw that out there, please. Yeah, I’m

April Dunford  35:45 

April dunford.com. So you can go there if you’re interested in find out stuff. But the book is called obviously awesome. And that’s on Amazon or anywhere else where you buy books, and I don’t really do social media, except, you know, occasionally Twitter and I’m at April Dunford on Twitter, too. So if you Google April Dunford is pretty hard to miss me.

Adam G. Force  36:01 

Yeah, you’ll come up. You’ll come up. April. Appreciate your time today. Really fun chat.

April Dunford  36:06 

Okay, thanks so much.

Adam G. Force  36:10 

Thanks for tuning into the authentic brand mastery podcast. Don’t forget to stop by change creator.com For more information, fresh articles content and our services if you’re looking to build a brand that people love, and please stop by iTunes, leave us a five star review. We appreciate your support.

Aaron Parkinson: Lessons From a Digital Marketing Pioneer with Billion Dollars in Sales Running Ads

Despite spending thousands of dollars on Facebook or Google Ads, not many businesses achieve the best possible results.

Some struggle with their creative part.

Whereas, others are victims of technical errors.

And if you are spending thousands of dollars each month on paid advertising, you may as well do it right.

This brings us to our BIG question:

“What really makes online ads work for your business?”

Throughout this episode, Adam talks with one of the pioneers of the digital marketing industry – Aaron Parkinson who has generated over $1B in sales for his own businesses as well as his clients since 2004.

Aaron’s currently the CEO of 7 Mile Media and lives in the Cayman Islands with his lovely wife and three kids.

Throughout this Episode, Adam & Aaron Discussed:

  1. Aaron shares:
    1. His professional experience
    2. What his company Seven Miles Media Does
    3. His background in paid advertising and how they have evolved over the years.
  2. How is it important to build dedicated paid ad campaigns suitable for different platforms you’re running paid ads on? But most importantly, how important it is to make sure that you’re building the best creatives and the best copy for your paid ads that actually catch your prospects’ attention and engages them to the point that they click through and take the desired action?
  3. The three basic elements of marketing and advertising:
    1. Get paid
    2. Get laid
    3. Live forever
  4. How to position your product in the market? And it doesn’t matter who your target audience is or what stage of life they’re in, why is it important to consider the three basic elements?
  5. Aaron explains how important it is to understand the stage of life your target audience is in, their motivations and conversations. How gaining insights into these things can help write a copy and create visuals for your ads that convert?
  6. When something’s working, how important it is to repeat the process.
  7. Aaron shares how important it is to build dedicated processes and systems rather than randomly implementing tactics.
  8. Aaron shares his experience with legends in the digital marketing industry.
  9. How important it is to spend time thinking about who you’re serving, what they really want, where they’re at in their journey, what’s most important to them, who they like, who they don’t like, who they want to be like, who they don’t want to be like, and based on that create a plan?
  10. Aaron shares insights into latest trends in today’s advertising industry – how important it is to slow down the process and break down your campaign into at least four different parts? If you don’t, you’ll miss out on 98% of your target audience and will face a hard time scaling your business.
  11. The importance of storytelling in marketing and advertising. How important it is to put storytelling at the heart of all your marketing and advertising operations?
  12. How can you assure that your product is any good?
  13. How brands are mocking other brands in their space and achieving great results – advertising taken to a whole new level.
  14. Adam shares a lesson from Ryan Holiday’s book “The Perennial Seller.”

Conclusion

Advertising is not complicated. The one reason why people and businesses struggle with their advertising efforts and end up wasting their top dollars is a lack of strategic planning and implementation.

Aaron shared some valuable insights – which have personally helped me level up my advertising efforts.

We hope you loved the episode.

And if you did love it, tune in to our podcast each week where we share valuable insights to help business owners and professionals take their marketing and advertising efforts to the next level.

Want to Generate High-Quality Leads?

Book a call to chat with Adam at:  https://studio.changecreator.com

Subscribe HERE:

READ MORE:

Episode Transcript (unedited, will likely have typos):

Adam G. Force  0:00 

How do social entrepreneurs and small businesses create an authentic brand people love so they can get the edge they need to stand out, create Predictable Revenue and compete against the big guys. That’s what we’re here to discuss. I’m Adam forest, the founder of change creator, and this is the authentic brand mastery podcast.

What’s going on everybody, welcome back to the show. This is your host, Adam force. Very excited this week, because I’m bringing on somebody who’s been really helpful in my, my world, when it comes to change creator. And he will be hopefully helpful in your world as well. He’s one of my mentors, and has been kind of guiding me on the advertising path helped me understand some really key things, especially in the Facebook space. He’s CEO of seven mile media, they manage, I think, and he’ll explain this when we get going on the chat. But I think it’s like $10 million a month in ad spend, and have had incredible results working with a lot of incredible people. So his name is Aaron Parkinson, and he’s just got this wealth of knowledge, you know, just how are we? What do we need to be thinking about? Like, what are the real nuts and bolts of actually making ads work? Right, so we’re gonna get into all that today. And I think it’s gonna be a really helpful conversation for you guys. If you guys are, you know, right now we are taking on some more ecommerce brands, I actually made a new hire. And we’re expanding because we we filled our roster. And so what’s been happening is, we’re kind of slowly like, we like to make sure our quality, we get the right people, the right team, all that kind of stuff. So we’re slowly kind of dipping, tipping or dipping our toe in the water, if you will, with some bringing on some extra clients more than we usually would. So if you have a brand in the E commerce space, and maybe you’re running ads, but you’re struggling, they’re not converting the big bottleneck is usually what happens after they actually the ads are successful, they’re getting traffic, but now we have to actually make sales. Right? So you want to really elevate your game in, you know, adopting a lot of emails, selling more on the back end selling more on the front end, we need to fine tune the website, we need to create sales funnels, those types of things. And that’s where we help you master your brand, we help you really tie in how to position your products in the market, how to talk to the right customers, and actually get conversions we do everything for you that done for you. So sales, copy, development, design all of that and bring your brand to life. But we really are backing the whole development process with the through the lens of a a marketer, right? Because that’s what we are over here at change creator, we are marketers, and we want to get your results. So yeah, just go to change creator.com You guys can go ahead and book a call, we’ll chat if you are looking for support in that space. That’s it for now, guys, if you are loving the show, and you want to give us a little bit of love, it goes a long way to just leave a review on iTunes. And with that being said, we’re gonna dive into this conversation with Aaron and hopefully you guys love Hey, show me the heat on the Aaron What’s up, buddy? Welcome to the authentic brand mastery podcast. How you doing today?

Aaron Parkinson  3:21 

I’m doing amazing. Thanks for having me

Adam G. Force  3:22 

on the show. Yeah, man, awesome to have you and talk a little bit more in depth because you are a man full of knowledge and experience. And I know because everybody listening if you didn’t catch the show the description notes and everything. Aaron is somebody that helped mentor me on Facebook ads, and I just found his insights so valuable that I wanted to bring him on here to share the love, if you will. Aaron why you just tell everybody a little bit in a nutshell, kind of like, you know what you got going on today? Like what’s what’s in the present moment and how you got there? Like what what’s the deal?

Aaron Parkinson  3:56 

Sure, yeah, well, I’m currently the CEO of seven mile media. We’re primarily a digital marketing agency, we will occasionally take E commerce if it’s what I call a holy shit product, which is something that stops me right in my tracks. You know, but primarily, we’re a digital marketing info marketing company. We handle, you know, 50 of the world’s largest authority brands. And I live down in the Cayman Islands. My team is spread out all over the world. Everybody’s completely remote. I started as a one man show five years ago and kept adding team members now we’re a team of 50 You know, full stack tech team, creative team, copywriters, media buyers, account managers, the whole shebang. And I actually got started the digital marketing space in 2004. Before there was even Google Pay Per Click so I’ve actually been doing, you know, pay per click marketing longer than Google, which my kids think is pretty funny. And, you know, in that timeframe, I’ve I’ve built an exited three of my own brands. And that’s, you know, what kind of brought me to this place is one of my friends said what you should do is help all your friends with their stuff and just do what you did with yours for them. And I said that sounds fun. Right? So started the agency as it was a one man consultant. And now, it’s like a real business, which is real. It’s a real business, or at least other people think it’s a real business. Some days, I’d debate that, but

Adam G. Force  5:24 

yeah, yeah, it’s interesting. And I, I love hearing that. And I want to get into some of your thoughts on just trends. Sure. And I hear, I’ve had people, there’s like, to two modes of thought that have come to me when it comes to advertising one. You know, people are afraid to advertise, obviously, because you’re spending money and all that stuff. But I feel like if you have a validated offer, you know, there’s a pretty good chance you can figure it out. But I feel like when you’re running ads, people will say, well, it’s not working on Facebook, but I’m gonna go to tick tock, and I’m like, that’s not really gonna matter. And so to me, it’s, and Cole hit this too. It’s another person in our circle, Aaron, and I know. And he was like, it doesn’t matter. He’s like, if you can’t sell it on Facebook, then there’s something wrong with the offer, most likely, and it’s not gonna matter. If you put it on tick tock or YouTube, it’s still not gonna sell, you might just get more reach at a lower cost, right? Sure, your money will work harder for you. But if you’re not selling in one place, so is that is that where your head is that too, when it comes to these different platforms? Because you’re across the scope?

Aaron Parkinson  6:31 

Yeah, I mean, we mark it on Facebook, Instagram, tick tock, YouTube, Google ad, roll all the Pay Per Click search engines, right. And what I will say is, I would say that it’s the majority of what you’re saying is true. What I will say is that you can’t take the same style of how you sell your thing. Yep. And expect it to work on all the other channels the same way. Because they’re almost like going to different countries, right? Like, yeah, you know, you’re not going to have Greek food and in the United States is not Greek food. In Greece, right? Same with Italian food, right? So when you try to go these different places, and you think it’s just going to work, it’s not, you know, tick tock is much shorter, much snappier. It’s a whole, it’s a whole community of people, I feel like add, like, you have to be like, super fast, and like super quick cuts. And like all over the place where like YouTube is, is more of an older audiences. And they’re there to consume and learn. So you can go into sort of longer explanations of things. And Facebook and Instagram are disruptive. So you kind of got to grab their attention quick, and then bring them through this education piece. And so they’re different in how you have to display what you have. But if what you have sucks, you’re still not going to make it. Right? And so when people ask me, like, how, how do I market my stuff, like, I Oh, marketing is very basic, because humans are very basic. What we want is in this hierarchy, that goes down in levels of priority, right? And the hierarchy starts with basically like three basic elements, which are get paid, get laid, leave live forever, right? Those are the three things at the top of the chain that everybody wants, at like a genetically wired in level, I want to get paid when to get laid, and I want to live forever, okay, and then everything else kind of falls below those in like, subcategories, right? So like live forever, is like when I start getting into like the nutrition, the health, the exercise, the fitness, the philosophy, the insurance, the like, all of these things, right? Get Paid is like, Well, is it the careers? Right? Is it education, traditional education, non traditional education, career job search, entrepreneurialism? And then there’s like sub tiers below each one, right? And the closer you can gravitate your marketing up towards the top tier elements, the easier it is to sell them on something, right? And I would say there’s like, there isn’t no people say, Well, what about status? Like there’s so many status products, right? People want status, because they feel like it’s going to get them paid for leads. So status is like, below both of those, right? So they all tend to just fall under those top three tiers and the closer you can get to them, the easier it is to sell in the wider audience you’re gonna have

Adam G. Force  9:45 

all right, I think we’re gonna have a lot of people running ads want to get laid.

Aaron Parkinson  9:52 

And it’s funny like you don’t want to say that but the reality is like why is Why is fashion so Like so important, right? It’s status, what status gonna give me? Well, it’s gonna get me paid, or it’s gonna get me laid, right? Like, it all ends up back going to the same stuff, right? So when you’re doing your marketing, you’ve got to weave that psychology, yes, from those three top tiers into what you’re talking about.

Adam G. Force  10:18 

And that’s the thing like I, for years, I’ve been doing the business thing for 20 years now. And it’s always like, I, before I matured as an entrepreneur, at least to where I am now still have a long way to go. I have always found that no matter what product I was trying to position in the market, it always came down to the same kind of psychology, it’s about the money, it’s about, you know, it’s always because I’m in business. So it always it’s just about the money. And you know, it’s like, you can’t really escape that. So what you’re saying is spot on, but it’s, how are you positioning your product to get people to understand that that’s where it’s going, right? So that it actually resonates with a key? Well, what part of where they are in their life. You know, I mean, I mean, the two things like we’re doing sales funnels over here for people, and I’m like, my deepest conversations are about who exactly we’re talking to what their life is like, and then what the product is, and how it’s actually being positioned in the market and to them, right, like, where do you fit in into their world? And the better we can get those two pieces connected. I mean, it just clicks, you know what I mean? And money comes in,

Aaron Parkinson  11:26 

right? And people want those sort of core three things in different ways for different times for different reasons. Right? So what what you’re talking about, you know, is understanding your avatar, right, because I’m talking to, you know, a 55 year old, you know, male, right? His primary focus really isn’t at that point about, get paid, get laid, it’s about live forever, right? And then underneath that, it’s like live forever, happily. Right. So that’s where you can kind of get into the light makes you happy, right? What makes you happy. And then you can keep going in, like, look, not just live forever, but be happy. And then it’s like, well, what makes you happy? Well fit well, a good relationship with my family, well, you know, the ability to travel the like, they all just keep going down in sub tears. So so these are like the big tears. And then you have to understand your audience to see where and why they want that thing that’s underneath those elements. And once you can connect those together, and you can get inside that the conversation that’s already happening in their own head. Yeah. Now you win.

Adam G. Force  12:37 

That’s the key. And that’s where we go from red ocean to blue ocean, right? So you’re starting with the big red ocean, but you got to know that’s where you’re at. So maybe it’s live forever, because you got the older Gen. And you dial it into that blue ocean like that. And that’s where like, I literally will go through and create stories for people, oh, well, you got this guy, John, he’s a husband, he’s got kids, he’s pretty stressed out already. Because we already got the stress factor. You know, every morning that ended and, you know, I’m talking to a client. Now this one’s for you Giovanni, where we’re selling like motorcycle parts and accessories. And we’re really dying, and like, I just can’t get, I want my weekends back. You know, I want to get out on the road, I want a little solo time. And if that doesn’t happen, well, what’s the stress factor behind that what happens? You know, like, you start and you feel it slipping away, that’s stressful when your passion hobby, like slips away, you know? So you really get into that psychology. So when someone is scrolling through mindlessly on Facebook, it catches their attention and it clicks, right?

Aaron Parkinson  13:37 

Well, and we can say like, you go through those tears, not that I want to focus on that the entire time, right. But your ideal client in that space is somebody, somebody between the get laid live forever, categories, right? They’re like, I used to be this guy. And when I was this guy, that’s what that’s what got me late, right. And so that was my cool guy character. And then I had to go through the evolution of most males, right to like, become responsible, I had to make money, settle down, I had to have kids, I had to raise them, do them right, become responsible, etc, etc, etc. And now I’m kind of exiting that phase. And I want the like, the old me back, right? How do I get the old meat back? How do I get back to like the rebel, the whatever, and have my weekends back and ride my motorcycle and be free because now I’m going into the live forever stage. But I want to live forever, like, the way that makes me happy with the vision that I have of who I am or who I was in my own head. Today, right? So when you understand that, that psychology of where are they at right now? And what are their what are their passions and their motivations and maybe what they feel they’ve lost or what they want to gain back or like, once you really get into that conversation, you can start to write, copy or create visuals or serve them a product. But if you took that same product to a 30 One year old female, right? Living in LA, she’d be like, What the hell are you telling me doesn’t fit at all in the narrative? where she’s at right now?

Adam G. Force  15:10 

That’s right. And that I find that that’s one of the hardest business processes for people to master. Really understanding the positioning and the customer and getting into that story, because, you know, you hear it all the time got to know your customer. And everyone’s like, yeah, no, of course, I don’t know my customer. And they just have this generic understanding of it. But they’re not really, it’s because I have you ever had those moments? Aaron, where it’s like, you’re like reading or you hear someone talk about it, and you’re like, Oh, I get it, I understand. But then like a year goes by and someone explains it again, like the same thing, but differently. And you’re like, I knew that. But wait a minute. Now I see what you’re saying even more clearly, it’s like, you have evolutionary thought processes on the same idea that get more and more clarity. And I’ve seen that for me just as a strategist, and branding and stuff like that, because I’ve gone through so many conversations with clients, where you just get better at like, understanding what works. And the more you run the ads, and the more you make sales and get on the phone and sell deals, you start learning what’s actually making that stuff work, you know, and I’m just literally,

Aaron Parkinson  16:17 

it’s not just, it’s not just the deeper understanding of the principle, it’s also the repetition, yes, of doing it, hearing it or seeing it, you got to do it multiple times. And for those people that that and I’m sure you’ve watched it before, there was a guy I worked with for about a year, his name is Simon Sinek, he wrote a book called start with y, which is one of the best TED talks I’ve ever seen. And for those people that don’t understand what we’re talking about, you know, he’s got this, go watch it. First off, but he’s got this quote in there, where he says Your goal is not to do business with everybody. Your goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe. Yeah. And when you can understand that, then you win. That’s knowing your customer, right? Who believe what you believe. Right? Because not everybody believes what you believe. And if you actually keep it too broad. Yeah, then it lands with nobody and it resonates with nobody. Yeah, right. And a lot of people are like too afraid to niche down and only market to people who believe what they believe and polarise everybody else. Yeah. But that’s the difference between building a raving tribal customer base. Right? Yeah. We’re not having any success at all,

Adam G. Force  17:32 

not having any success at all. I mean, that’s exactly it. I had someone recently on my team that helped me out with the podcast and stuff he’s like, I understand the idea of nurturing leads, but how do you get leads, and honestly, so I did a solo talk, like on the podcast, and I was just like talking about ideas like this. Because whenever I think about that, there’s lots of tactical ways to get leads, where you’re trading value for an email or whatever. But it really my mind always comes back to this conversation we’re having you want to get leads, you got to know this information, the better you know, this, then the better the carrot you can make. So people want to skip all this strategy stuff and just get into the what ebook do I make? And do I? Am I going into Facebook groups and DMing people? Like do I run ads? Like, you’re not quite there yet? Right?

Aaron Parkinson  18:18 

Those are just tactics. Right? So that’s just tactics. That’s not strategies, right. And, you know, I have two different companies where we put both of our clients through onboarding situations. One is the agency and another one is a software I have where we have some done for you services that, you know, we’ll build them funnels and integrations and back ends and all that stuff, but I’m sure you have something similar. Yeah. Right. And the very first module they have to go through is a deep dive in understanding the core things that motivate their customers a, who are your customers, what motivates them, what keeps them up at night? What, what concerns they have about the future, like all these things, and people go through and they like, cause so much work? Why do I have to do all of this, right? This took me like five hours, and so many of them I’ve talked to and then when we’re done, they’re like, bro, that was the single most powerful thing I’ve ever done. Because honestly, I didn’t have any idea who I was actually trying to serve. Just trying to sell to who anybody who wants to buy.

Adam G. Force  19:14 

That’s it. Yeah, exactly. Happens all the time happened.

Aaron Parkinson  19:17 

Yeah, it’s crazy. And the more that you can get zoned in and understand that process, the easier it comes like the the return on adspend. And all those things. Just become a joke. The more you get that down, then

Adam G. Force  19:30 

it gets better. Yeah, no, and that’s I forget who said this to me. They’re like, I don’t know if it was you. Maybe I don’t even remember, but they’re like 95% Maybe it was Sam ovens. Actually, it’s like 95% of your success on Facebook. With your strategy is off. Is preparation off Facebook.

Aaron Parkinson  19:50 

He is 100% Correct. In that assumption. I’ve never actually met Sam. I bought an agency and merged it with me. That was owned by a guy named Jason Hornung. I don’t know if you know, Jay So,

Adam G. Force  20:00 

I know I mean, I don’t know Jason, but I know Jason because I know through Facebook ads he I think he did like Dillards ads. Maybe

Aaron Parkinson  20:07 

Mike’s he did Neil Patel’s. Yeah. Sam ovens, Sam still has them in the course. He did. Dan locks, he did a whole bunch of people, traffic and funnels? Yeah. Yeah, he’s a phenomenal, phenomenal Facebook marketer, and he wanted to go more into the courses area again, and courses and consulting. So we worked together for a while, and then I bought this team and merged in with mine, okay, and so on and so forth. And he’s an absolute, like ruthless believer in that, which is probably maybe why Sam reiterates it, because Jason really is the one who helped push them through the,

Adam G. Force  20:45 

that’s saying that, yeah, he’s like, this guy, Jason is just like, one of the best like, ever. And

Aaron Parkinson  20:50 

yeah, he really is. And, and he, and he will not, he spends 90% of that will settle conversation, like, you sharpen the axe, you know, for 90% of the time before you cut the tree down. Right. And so many people, like kids sort of put my credit card in and set up my campaign, and my rails and thing, and I’m gonna put an image in there, and like, money’s gonna fall from the sky, right? Like, it’s just gonna happen, right? And you’ve spent no time thinking about who you’re serving, what they really want, where they’re at, in their journey, what’s most important to them, you know, who they like, who they don’t like, who they want to be like, who they don’t want to be like, and then you start to craft that together and create your plan. And then all of a sudden, all the dominoes fall.

Adam G. Force  21:33 

That’s it, man. That’s it. So yeah, I think this is powerful stuff. I hope everybody listening is really just, we’re hammering this, because it’s so important, right? Like, you know, it’s just becomes the conversation. And as you get more success, you’re going to turn around and when you have it, it’s gonna be because you finally got really clear on these ideas, you know what I mean? And then it becomes the conversation, you’re like, Oh, my God, well, I made, you know, 50 grand this month, but and it’s all everybody I tell now, it’s gonna be this conversation, this is what’s going to come up is how we prepare and strategize and know our customers and all that stuff. So, but let’s give people well, let’s change the the angle here a little bit. And talk, you know, Okay, everyone, we’ve mastered our customers now. And we know how to position in the market great. Where I mean, when we think about leads versus sales. I, you know, when people ask me questions around that, I have a hard time separating the two, honestly, you know what I mean? So, because I never want to generate a lead without the sale in mind. Right? It’s just like, it’s just, you’re just getting people at an earlier point in the purchasing timeline. Right. Sure. So what are some of the things that you’re seeing today? Let’s talk I don’t want to, I don’t want to make this put a time on this conversation. But just for shits and giggles, like, what are we seeing today that’s working? Let’s just use Facebook tick tock for lead generation that is actually meaningful to the bottom line, like you work with a lot of clients are doing a lot of things. So what what anything stand out to you, Aaron today? Trend wise?

Aaron Parkinson  23:16 

I think that that what we’re really trying to get through our clients heads right now. Is that let’s talk about Facebook, for example. Right? Yeah. Five to seven years ago, the costs were so low. Yeah, in Facebook and Instagram. They were like, what tick tock is today. Right. Right. So you could almost just throw anything up. And it was going to be successful? Yeah, right. And there was far less competitors. There was far less noise. You know, like I said, everything was cheaper. So now, it kind of circles back around into a what we were just talking about, and be slowing down your process. So you know, when it’s that expensive, and I’m going to sort of reference back to the Start With Why think you’ve seen the law of diffusion of innovation, right? Yeah. Right. So in the law of diffusion of innovation, it shows that there’s certain percentages of the population that will buy your stuff. So let’s imagine that here’s your 100% of people that will buy your stuff, right. But they’re carved into segments, the early adopters, late adopters, early majority, late majority, laggards, etc. And each one of these sectors won’t buy until they see the sector before them buy. They’re all like lemmings to the the one before, right? Yeah. And what most marketers do in any channel, but it’s very common in Facebook and Instagram as well, is they just go in for the kill on day one. And that works, but it only works for one and a half to two and a half percent of the total 100% Yeah, that you could sell to, right? So the end result of that is that guys will come in, they’ll go right for the kill, they’ll make some sales. And then they’ll try to scale. And they tap out the one and a half and two half percent very, very quickly. Yeah. And then all their costs go up, they start freaking out, right? They start trying to adjust to and they’re like, how come I can’t scale? And it’s because they were only speaking to the people who just got it that day. Right. So what I mean about slowing down the process is, you can still go for the kill, right? Audience right message, right? pain point, right? Solution? Bang, no problem. You’ll make sales, one and a half to two half percent. Right. But you got to be thinking about, when am I going to start servicing the other 98%? Yeah. The other 98% need to see a lot of stuff over and over and over again, to break down the resistance, including that other people have done it before them. Yeah. Which is why we’re constantly encouraging our clients to think about basically breaking down their campaigns into, you know, no less than four areas, right? One is your awareness, where you’re literally saturating the audience with who you are, what you do, why you exist, who you serve, value, value value, right? And then the second section is like people who are aware and bonding with them at a at a closer level, right? Like, what is your origin story? What are your philosophies on business in life, like, and it could be you or it could be your company, right? Yeah, getting getting to see case studies and testimonials and stuff from customers in the past again, because other people have to see it happen first, right, and then having a section for the people who just get it, which is like the offer, right? And then making sure that you’ve got really robust retargeting happening for those people that got distracted in their buying process, or they need more from you and getting into the minds of getting into the minds of those people of why they didn’t move forward, like, what is their big objection? What big benefit did they not catch in your presentation that we need to reiterate. And I’ll give you an example of the retargeting side, we had this very famous weight loss expert that worked for with us for two plus years. And we grew up from about 300,000, a year to 10 million a year. And she had this challenge she was running every 30 days. Right? So weight loss challenge, you know, pretty basic stuff. And we made her survey her customer list and ask them, What was the number one fear that you had about moving forward? Yeah. And the biggest response we got was that people thought they were going to have to eat rabbit food. Right? So we looked back at the funnel, and we were like, That’s pretty clear that we don’t have to do that. But it’s still stuck in their head. So we just got her to shoot a video that said something along the lines of, hey, like, I see, you’re on my side. And you didn’t join the challenge. Let me tell you about the number one thing people are worried about changing. When they get in my friend, they’re worried that I’m gonna make them eat this. And she showed like a big thing of kale, right? What we’re actually going to change and she got a piece of paper and like this, boom, and it said, zero, she’s like, I don’t focus on food, I focus on your fitness, I focus on your hydration, I focus on your hormones, I focus on this, this this this. So if you didn’t get started, because you’re worried about this, it’s not an issue, jump on and get started, we’d have 14 to one return on adspend on that. Nice, right. But most people won’t break down their campaigns, and talk to people who are unaware. Talk to people who are aware, talk to people who are hot and bothered and ready to buy and talk to people who say they were interested in buying, but you didn’t answer a question. Yeah, for them. They just come in, in that straight offer bucket like bone by it.

And like I said, it works. I like that. But it only it only goes to 2% of your total. potential audience. Yeah. Right. It’s expensive. You’re leaving 98% on the table?

Adam G. Force  29:30 

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I mean, that makes total sense. So I mean, that that’s the perfect explanation and example of understanding, you know, the lead generation process so you can have that direct to sale right. And the lead gen is really expanding your to different audience segments who aren’t quite there yet, but you do need your strategy with your content and your ads to align to their needs. So It’s a totally different strategy in most cases, right?

Aaron Parkinson  30:02 

You gotta meet them where they’re at, got, you know, they’re not in that buying motion yet.

Adam G. Force  30:08 

Now they’re curious, you know, interested, they might even be considering something like you have absolutely they need more from you. And you know, the colder, the further away they are from consideration if they’re not even problem aware, then you have a lot more work you have a lot a lot that could be months before they buy, you know what I mean, especially still have a tonne

Aaron Parkinson  30:28 

more work. But I’ll give you an example. We have a client that we started working with four years ago, that was doing about 2 million a year. And he flew down to came in and met with me and I walked him through this process and said, This is what we’re going to do, we’re going to build you as the authority in the space, which is we got to do all of these things consistently over time. And in the first six months, you’re probably not going to see much out of it. Right? And he was like, It’s okay, like, I want to play the big game. So okay, if you wanna play the big game, this is how we’re going to do it. And a year later, things really started to pop for him. And now we’re four years in, and he’s doing four and a half million dollars a month in revenue, by just duplicating the same stuff over and over and over again, right. But the first six months were painful, because it didn’t, it didn’t have that immediate, like instant gratification attached to it, he was still making the 2% sales, which was good. And they were kind of creeping up got some cash flow, at least there’s some cash flow, but like talking to the unaware, talking to the aware, chipping away at their resistance over time, and allowing the natural progression to happen. Have lots of customers coming in, and then people seeing him and then people seeing other customers and all those other things that compounds over time, like a bank account, but most people don’t have the time, the patience, the money, the desire to do it the right way. I mean, look at look at Jeffree Star, you know, Jeffree Star is? Thanks so not so Jeffree Star is a I don’t know if he’s transgender or not, but he’s a he’s a guy that used to do makeup tutorials on YouTube, on himself. So he’s a really, really talented makeup artist. And he was doing makeup tutorials on himself and trends and basically transitioning himself from a male to a female, like in before and after pictures. absolutely unbelievable. Artists, like if he’s looking to stuff, you’d be like, Whoa, right. Okay, he did YouTube tutorials, I think for somewhere between three and four years to build his following, right? Pretty much sold nothing for three to four years. And he built his following. And then he launched Jeffree Star Cosmetics about four years ago. And he literally broke Shopify, I know, because I was doing about 70,000 a day in sales on Shopify, and my stuff stopped working like didn’t, they just weren’t working, nothing was working. Right. And it was because he did his launch. And he did something like $40 million in the first three weeks on his launch. And then he sold to some parent company like L’Oreal or something like that for like 200 million or 300 million, like six months later, yeah, retirement. He like he just he paid his dues, of feeding the audience, creating the audience, nurturing the audience. And I’m not saying you have to start. And wait four years before you sell something like Gary Vaynerchuk, who did that for five years before he sold his book and became an instant bestseller. You don’t have to do that. But you can’t just be all in on the one and a half percent of your offer. Here’s my product, you like it, buy it? Right, you can just be all in at least you have to be thinking I’m going to do these things in the background to create the longevity.

Adam G. Force  33:58 

Yeah, I mean, and do you see it this way for service businesses? And for E commerce? Absolutely. So, you know, like we do certain sales funnels and stuff in E commerce. And normally somebody has some pretty good brand awareness out there already. They’re making sales, we know like what’s hot and stuff like that. And, you know, we make really great offer data that you know, I never I don’t get much into the extra marketing, you know, around it, you know, if you will, a lot of companies will maybe have that going on, but some of the smaller teams don’t. So as far as ecommerce goes, you know, you guys are running then ads that are going to be kind of just raising the awareness, the education about the products problems that solves and not always the direct sale. Right,

Aaron Parkinson  34:51 

then I’ll give you a great example. Like, let me give you great example. Yeah, find out where you’re going. Like tell me like, show me something right. So Ezra Firestone is a friend of mine, you know, as Firestone yeah zipper fi. Yeah, he also owns a brand called Boom by Cindy Joseph, do you know this brand? No. Okay, so he launched this brand, I want to say, it might have been 10 years ago, but I think it kind of only really took off about seven years ago. And it’s a, it’s a skin cream line. Right? Okay. And who the hell cares about another skin cream? Nobody is zero, right? I just met with a client the other day. They’re like, Oh, we did these like, these tests. And we’ve got like, these, these patents, and we’ve got these clinicals. And like, nobody cares. Nobody, because there’s a million skin creams on the planet, right? And so he said, What’s the story we’re going to tell that’s going to break into this, right. And so the story that they told was that women over 50 are told by society that they’re no longer beautiful, they’re ugly. And we don’t believe that we believe that women over the age of 50 are beautiful in their experience. And they’re stunning, and they’re a different phase of their life, and so on and so forth. And he had lead magnets that were tied to this, like five tips, five makeup tips for women over 50. Right, where he was just giving to these, to these, this community and sharing his story inside of that, and giving value and building trust, and then eventually introducing him to the fact that he has this product, but he wasn’t just coming out and being like, here’s my skin cream for women over 50. Like, it lands flat, it doesn’t have anything, right. And then he ended up partnering with Cindy Joseph, which was the world’s or the supermodel at the time. And she was telling, like, they were always publishing, like her stories, like, this is my morning routine. And, you know, this is what I do. These are the types of clothes I wear for my body style this time. And this is, you know, these are the types of foods I eat. And like, all this kind of building this story that got people to, to resonate with the story so that they would feel this, this sense of need of reciprocity to buy the products, right. And so these are the types of things that you have to put in play, to make yourself stand out from really competitive marketplaces.

Adam G. Force  37:12 

Yeah, yeah. I love that. And I’m a huge, you know, believer and advocate for storytelling and marketing storytelling is so powerful. I mean, our literally our course Captivate was to learn how to put storytelling at the heart of your marketing. And so you nailed it right there. I mean, you know, Ezras, kind of a mastermind with that stuff. And, you know, I think a big thing that holds people back is is the, the time and the money, right? Because that stuff does take a lot of time and money to build up. You could spend, you know, 50 grand and a blink of an eye trying to build up that awareness, and you know, all that stuff. So, when you’re working with smaller clients, I always take the approach of Yes, like, I, we got to get the story out there, you got to do all that stuff across all these touchpoints. But we also need cash flow. Cash flow system,

Aaron Parkinson  38:01 

you either cash flow, or you need somebody to be banking, when you add a whole bunch of cash flow, you can be really patient, right? Yeah.

Adam G. Force  38:08 

I mean, I have found that there is like, if you can imagine a tree, there are sales at the bottom of the tree that we can grab now. Yep. Right. And then there’s sales. Yeah, that’s those guys. Right? And then what we’re talking about to have a sustainable and compounding future is getting the ones at the top of the tree, right? Kind of nurturing that and growing and stuff like that. So I always like to dial in to what’s that easy sale, let’s get the cash flow, use that cash flow to build out these other things. Right. So I’ve learned the hard way, dude, because I like was I built change creator six years ago. And it was all about supporting social entrepreneurship, putting a spotlight on entrepreneurs who are doing good things for the world, right environment, people I was in I started a digital magazine. I had people like Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington, Tony Robbins, all cover stories, interviews, like everything that we did. It’s amazing. We were spotlighting people around the world who were doing amazing things. But it didn’t bring us the money we needed. Okay, I thought we were gonna blow up the spot here with all these guys that no one gave? I mean, yes, we got more attention, right. And, you know, we got brand equity is what we got with. And so over time that did develop our brand equity, our brand trust, our story got out there. But what I realised was that kind of overhead, that kind of stuff, you could do the right things at the wrong time. And I was like, the first thing really should have been doing is something that has a lucrative cash flow, like you need the cash flow unless someone else is funding you. Right? So that’s like a real tough place. I see a lot of people who want to just scale and run ads and I’m like, there you may not be there yet. You know what I mean? Like you got to figure out how to actually make money. Like write my message,

Aaron Parkinson  39:57 

and that’s a big thing like right there is even validating that anybody wants your thing, right? And maybe you didn’t validate that anybody wanted your thing. You were doing an amazing job at the top part of the equation. Yep. Right. But you didn’t do any validation at the bottom of the validation

Adam G. Force  40:15 

was what’s the data say out there? And the data is all bullshit. The data all day long, oh, I’ll spend people 90% of people will spend more for sustainable products. Oh, people care about this with the environment care about that. And then you give them all this stuff? And when it comes down to check out? Oh, well, I’m not gonna spend my money on that.

Aaron Parkinson  40:36 

Right? Yeah. My personal needs, all of a sudden just got put way above the environment, or this or that, or whatever. Right? That, you know, you were building something really, really cool. But you were building a really long term play in the same way that Gary Vaynerchuk with his social media, he went almost five years building this massive audience before he launched Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. And the difference is that he had his wine store. Yeah, right. Funding his life. I don’t know when he started VaynerMedia in that whole process, but he had the time, and the patience and the resources to invest long term in building the audience without needing anything in return, which is what you were doing. But you probably were running out of capital,

Adam G. Force  41:24 

running out of capital and to be able to do that about running ads for a fucking $15 A year magazine subscription. Right?

Aaron Parkinson  41:31 

Exactly. I mean, that one, Mike Dillard is a really good friend of mine. And Mike built this amazing show called self made man. I don’t know if you ever watched it. I have. Yeah. But you know, we were talking you know, we were I was in Austin one time. And I said, How much like, are you? Are you spending on each episode is everything looked amazing? Everything is in studio and this and that? He’s like, Oh, yeah, by the time I do one episode, like 15 grand or something like that. I was like, okay, so you’re dropping 15 grand and episode, like, what are you? What are you getting out of this? Like, where are you retargeting people into some sales and like how, and it was really like this brand play, like he was just building he just wanted to build this brand. And it’s never gonna over time, he might have had enough subscriptions and enough eyeballs and and not like subscribers and enough of those things that somebody might have wanted to absorb that network because there was value in the eyeballs. But that’s a lot of money to sink for a long time to build a Huff Post to build these other things that then you can have advertisers come and give money to you. And there’s you can do those same things in much less expensive ways and sell some stuff along the way. Right?

Adam G. Force  42:39 

Awesome stuff along the way. Please, everybody sell some stuff along the way, please sell

Aaron Parkinson  42:44 

some stuff along the way. And if you don’t know, and if you don’t know if your stuffs any good, here’s the single best thing you can do. Develop your product, call your 20 closest friends and say to them, Look, I’m thinking about launching this product. I want to give you my pitch and I want your honest opinion if you think the pitch is any good. Right? You give them the pitch. Your friends are all brutally honest. Right? Let me most people are right, they’re gonna tell you math. And when you’re done asking them, then ask them the next question, regardless of what they tell you. Yeah, they would you buy it right now and tell them the price. Yep. And if nobody wants to buy it, you know, your stuff sucks.

Adam G. Force  43:25 

Yeah, if people won’t put the money down, you know, and friends and family, sometimes you got to push them to be honest. Because they’ve Oh, no, it’s cool. I like the idea. And you’re I can’t see they liked the idea. So you got to be careful with friends and family. Friends.

Aaron Parkinson  43:38 

Will you buy it right now? And if they’re like, no, like, no, it’s no good. Like my, a friend of mine, Ryan Mackenzie. He owns an econ business called wildsnow. Econ business now in regular stores as well. It’s called True Earth. Right? I don’t know if you’ve heard of true earth or not one of the fastest growing companies in Canada right now. And they basically have these disposable laundry strips, you know, like dryer strips, you know, like tide has, like dryer strips that you put in your clothes when? Yeah, right. He did the same thing but with laundry. Okay, because he’s like, look, these bottles are 90% water and they’re clogging up the environment. These big plastic bottles. They’re stupid. Just put this strip in the washing machine like you do over here. And environment saved. Oh, by the way, it’s cheaper than buying that big jug. Yep. Right? There’s less garbage that you have to take out. It’s better for the environment. See, now we’re hitting all the key elements. Because if you just come in and said it’s better for the environment, but it’s five times more. Right? It takes up less space. It’s you get to feel good about yourself. Oh, and guess what? It’s also cheaper. You went from like zero to something like 4 million a month in recurring subscription buyers on this thing and like two and a half years.

Adam G. Force  44:57 

loves that subscription model a lot. I mean people are coming in and breaking these things just like Dollar Shave Club came in and one of my favourite recipe razors, but they sold it differently than Gillette, right and made fun of Gillette. And they and they made that video he spent $4,500 on that one video, we all know the video.

Aaron Parkinson  45:17 

It was 15 it was 15 You spent on it on that production of that video. 15,000 15,000

Adam G. Force  45:24 

I heard in the book I ran they said 40 I could be wrong.

Aaron Parkinson  45:27 

I thought it was 15,000. But what’s funny is my buddy is my buddy Brian for one because it makes the story cooler. It makes the story better. Okay, we’ll say you’re right, I’m wrong. But still even 15 grand what are we talking about? If 40 515 Guys just shook up the whole market that shook up the Mark went nuts. And my buddy Ryan did the same thing. Because that’s a Harmon brothers style commercial. Yes. Right. My buddy Ryan did the same thing with true earth he did A a Harmon brothers style commercial. Mocking, you know, the the traditional laundry players. Yeah. And that just like, it went crazy.

Adam G. Force  46:03 

It’s it’s, it works. And you don’t even have to directly hit people, you just say the things about how expensive is how it hurts environment. And it’s implied, you know, who I’m talking about out there? Right? You know, and I seeing the intelligence behind that. And you know what, he spent months preparing word for word what that script needs to be, I have no doubt preparation. Preparation, again, was months of just this little two minute, whatever it was video. That’s it. And it took a month to do the script. And then they nailed it down. And that was that took them off to the races. So I think sounds like your buddy did a very similar approach. But every word or statement had a very intentional psychology behind it.

Aaron Parkinson  46:50 

100% Yeah. And so many people are in a rush. because either they’re financially pressured, or they’re impatient, or something like they’re in a rush, right. And there’s so many examples of things. I do remember the first Matrix movie, of course, do you remember the scene with Morpheus when they first fight in the dojo? Yeah. Right. And that was like a, like a, like, when that came out. People were like, watch, like freezing in the air and spinning around and that whole thing, and I looked, I was doing some research in one day, and I found it took them 31 days to shoot that one scene. Yeah. Like, think about the investment of time, people. You know, Director staff, whatever we put in iconic though, but it was like, iconic, right? That movie did 1,000,000,005 or something like that? Like, yep, how less power less successful? Is it? If they rush that seat? And they have facet? I don’t know. But my guess is,

Adam G. Force  47:50 

it could have not only it would have changed the game because think about the word of mouth that creates and all the the copycats it has created as well. And if you haven’t read the book, I love Ryan holidays books and and if you know Ryan Holiday, amazing. Oh my god, you gotta read the Daily stoic. Stillness is the key. The obstacle is

Aaron Parkinson  48:10 

the way really obstacle is the way I feel like I’ve read that one. Absolutely. It’s

Adam G. Force  48:15 

all about wisdom from the stoics you know, a long time ago, and it’s just incredible. Basically, the obstacle is way, it’s like the obstacle in the path becomes the path philosophy, right? How to see opportunity and the challenge. But he wrote a book called the perennial seller. Okay, the perennial seller, it is about people who make timeless works of art, based on who they are and what they’re all about. So, when it comes to writing a book, does it go on for 100 years after you die and still stay like a top seller? Right? Like, he wanted to dial into Whoa, what, what how does that happened for people? Like what is it that creates that art, and his way of digging up the research and connecting the dots for you is just brilliant. You know, nothing short of brilliant. So I’m gonna highly recommend the perennial seller.

Aaron Parkinson  49:10 

I’m going to read that one for it’s like this one right now. Somebody just my financial manager just started making me read it. And it’s called the psychology of money by Morgan Housel.

Adam G. Force  49:19 

It’s in my queue. Dude,

Aaron Parkinson  49:21 

it’s so good. I’m like, halfway through. It’s like the best book I’ve read. And like, really? Yeah, in like a year and I’ve got a bunch of stuff I’m always reading and, and that is so good around, like how we are so screwed up about our psychology and our understandings about money and investing and like how it’s all actually behaviour based and not math based. And like, it’s so yeah, it’s so like, it’s sort of it’s sort of like 2 million copies or something like that. And I could see people reading this thing for the next 100 years.

Adam G. Force  49:51 

That could be a perennial seller right there. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I mean, and that’s, that’s the kind of stuff I love, man. I mean, and that actually That kind of thought process has slowed me down in business to take my time to be more prepared to put in the thought the strategy because there’s no real race, you know, you want to make money. But to your point, I’ve heard you say several times in this call, you have to have patience, right? And when you get into the perennial seller and you get into the psychology of money and start understanding, it’s really how you think and you know, what is actually driving your thought process. I’ll throw another little book out at you because this has been probably one of the biggest game changers for my money psychology. And I’ve probably read it at least 30 to 40 times. I actually listened to it in the book. I listened to it in the car. It’s called oh my god, the name now that I need to say you’ve built

Aaron Parkinson  50:43 

it all up.

Adam G. Force  50:45 

Really fallen flat here. Oh, yeah, here it is. He’s price. The Science of Getting Rich

Aaron Parkinson  50:56 

Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles.

Adam G. Force  50:58 

Lousy you I mean, I love that book. Dude.

Aaron Parkinson  51:01 

It’s such a it’s such a good book. I’m gonna leave people with one.

Adam G. Force  51:05 

Tip. Yeah,

Aaron Parkinson  51:06 

let’s wrap it up today. Yeah. Is this changed a lot of stuff for me in the late 2000s. Because I’ve been doing this a long, long time. And for like, the whole, like, the whole 2000s. I was just like, how do I sell more stuff? Like, here? I don’t know if it’s good or not good. Because that’s that we’re talking about the phases again, right? Like I was a kid, it doesn’t have any kid, right? I’m just trying to get paid. Right? Like I don’t I don’t care about legacy and any of that stuff, right? Is that is that the end of the 2000s? Somebody said was looking at my stuff. And they asked me, they said, Would you be proud to show this to your mom? And I was like, Oh, well that I heard a little bit. Right? And they said, anytime you put something into the marketplace, ask yourself if you’d be proud to show this to your mom. Now, that could be your product. That could be your marketing. That could be your creative. That can if you show it to her she can be like, son, I am so proud of you. Right. If you can’t answer yes. Yeah. Don’t put it into the marketplace.

Adam G. Force  52:19 

Yeah. Yeah, that’s definitely a good way to look at it. My the way I’ve had it positioned is would you want that on the front page of the newspaper?

Aaron Parkinson  52:31 

I think that’s that’s almost equally as powerful. Except, like, It’s my mom. Like, I don’t want my son. I’m so unimpressed.

Adam G. Force  52:42 

Awesome. Well, it’s been a lot of fun chatting, Aaron, as usual. Appreciate just kind of all the insights and stuff like that. Not getting into all the technicalities of advertising, obviously. But where can people learn more about you, you putting out content? You know, if you’re listening here and you’re making some good money with your your business, I mean, Aaron might be a guy you want to bring on board if you want to look into inchcock Well, I’m

Aaron Parkinson  53:07 

really fortunate because I was doing this for so long. So you punch in Aaron Parkinson and Google and I’m like the firsthand I got I got all the URLs I got everything right so I’m really easy to

Adam G. Force  53:17 

find him. You will find him. All right. Seven Mile media, Aaron Parkinson. Want to learn more. He’s got all kinds of good stuff out there. Aaron, appreciate your time today, buddy.

Aaron Parkinson  53:27 

Thanks for having me on the show and great job and all the work you guys are doing. Appreciate it.

Adam G. Force  53:34 

Thanks for tuning into the authentic brand mastery podcast. Don’t forget to stop by change creator.com For more information, fresh articles content and our services if you’re looking to build a brand that people love, and please stop by iTunes, leave us a five star review. We appreciate your support

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Adam Force: How to Get Leads That Matter to Your Bottom Line

How to Get Leads That Matter to Your Bottom Line

Over 61% of marketers have reported lead generation to be their #1 challenge. In fact, nearly 53% of marketers spend more than half of their marketing budget on their lead generation efforts.

These days, people talk about so many gimmicks to generate leads. However, most times they bring leads that don’t really do anything for their bottom line.

Throughout this episode, our founder – Adam Force, who has been down this road for more than 20 years – gives you the straight talk on what actually matters. And this doesn’t just go for a specific kind of business – instead is applicable to almost every business, from consultants to eCommerce businesses and more.

So, brace yourselves and show us the heat.

Throughout this Episode, Adam Sheds Light On:

  1. How difficult it is to generate leads, especially with a pretty limited budget?
  2. The importance of brand strategy in lead generation
  3. The importance of positioning in lead generation
  4. How to figure out a strong brand positioning that helps you position yourself as unique and different?
  5. Lead generation isn’t about focusing on the right platform completely- instead it’s about understanding your audience, focusing on their pain points, and building something that actually helps them solve their problems.
  6. How important it is to understand the end-to-end customer journey and be patient with the entire process rather than asking your customers/service to book a call or purchase your products?
  7. Lead magnets help target people who’re in the early stages of their customer journey – people who are not ready to make a purchase yet.
  8. How does strategic planning help save top dollars?
  9. Even when you’re offering something, it’s important to consider what format you should be focusing on.
  10. And when you finally have a strategy that actually delivers results, how important it is to consistently use it to generate high-quality leads?

Conclusion

Generating leads is hard, and if you want to don’t really want to spend thousands of dollars on lead generation, it’s important to take into consideration the entire customer journey.

Rather than pitching your offer directly or asking your clients to book a strategy call with you via paid ads, we’d advise you to offer them something they can’t resist. At the same time, we’d advise you to take into consideration whether something you’re offering is worth the time and effort it requires you to invest.

Adam has shared some brilliant insights throughout this episode and I’d suggest you tune in – it’s a complete game-changer.

Want to Generate High-Quality Leads?

Book a call to chat with Adam at:  https://studio.changecreator.com

Subscribe HERE:

Read More:

Episode Transcript (unedited, will likely have typos):

Adam G. Force  0:00 

How do social entrepreneurs and small businesses create an authentic brand people love so they can get the edge they need to stand out, create Predictable Revenue and compete against the big guys. That’s what we’re here to discuss. I’m Adam forest, the founder of change creator and this is the authentic brand mastery podcast.

What’s up everybody. Welcome back to the authentic brand mastery podcast brought to you by change creator. This is your host out of force. And if you missed the last episode is with Deb coviello. We talk about all kinds of great leadership insights, what a big category, big topic, but she has a very unique background and experience where she shares insights that she supports entrepreneurs, CEOs, C suite executives with that can really help you on your journey. So if you missed that episode, definitely worth going back and hearing what she has to say to help you as a leader of your business. So right now, we, you know, I talked about our Brand Studio. And we’ve been, it’s been a real wild ride. So we are at full capacity, if no more spots available right now. And it’s been a lot of fun. So we’re kind of diving into a bunch of projects, but we are going to open our doors, I’m literally in the interview process bringing on some new people. So you know, we’ll be able to expand for a few more clients. And we’ll see maybe in the next month or so, but I do have a baby girl being born in May. So we’re gonna slow down just a little bit. And hopefully keep things moving, but won’t be able to take on too too many clients, because I am a part of that process and a lot of cases, and I’ll be taken some leave for for that whole thing. And that’s going to be exciting. Anyway, enough about me. What I want to talk about today is a question that came up from somebody that I work with on my team. You know, we people tend to understand, well, I understand how to nurture a client, you know how to how to get a lead and nurture a lead, sorry, not a client. You know, there’s different ways to do that, whether it’s emails and all that kind of stuff, conversations content, but how do we get leads? That becomes the question, you know, so how do we get leads? And so I will talk about that. Today, I’m going to talk about how we get leads, whether you’re a agency service company, you know, you’re doing stuff like we do here, with web design, branding and all that. Because that’s a very different sales dynamic, but then also ecommerce, right? So I’m going off the cuff here today, I don’t have like a content plan where I’m going through bullet points, I haven’t thought through the content, I just know, that’s the question we want to answer. So I’m going to dive in, and I’m going to answer that question, how do we get leads for our business? And I know some people are in a place where they have the money to really go after it. And others are saying, How do I do it? You know, for very little or no money? So we’ll get into some of that. And we’re gonna break it down in this episode. Okay, show me the heat. On no, you’re gonna do. All right, let’s get into how we get leads.

Yeah, I think, you know, one thing that people miss out on when it comes to getting leads is the part that they don’t like, there is a planning process to getting leads, it’s really hard. And I’m going to use a paid approach, just as an example right now, but it’s very difficult to get leads. When you’re, you know, let’s say you’re spending money on ads, you could spend a fortune burning money, trying to get leads that are qualified, meaning the right people, right, because you can probably get a bunch of people that just don’t make sense. And it’s frustrating that happens to especially in the service sector. You know, you get MLM marketers, and all that kind of stuff. And it’s because you’re missing a couple key things. One, you don’t understand your brand strategy. When I talk about brand strategy. There’s components to a brand strategy and part of it is who your customer really is, what their day in the life story actually is. And the positioning is another element of that, which applies to your marketing right? So when someone like I read somebody the other day on Instagram, they’re like, oh, brand strategy is not what we sell and how we sell it on and like that’s just such baloney is bullshit. It’s not what we sell. But it contributes to how we approach those things to make the sales possible. That’s why we have a brand strategy. It’s not just the foo foo, like stuff on the soul of the brand, which is very important. But it does, it’s because of these elements that make up a brand strategy that we actually can sell. So let’s just talk about the customer and positioning because this is really important. When you know your customer, and you know, your positioning, the marketing starts to work, and you bring in qualified leads, okay, I’m using paid marketing approach, because it’s just a simple thing you pay for ads. And when you have these things, right, you know, the right audience, you have the right positioning, all of a sudden, they’re gonna connect, and you’re gonna bring in the people that you are actually looking for. So, positioning is really, how are we talking about the product in the marketplace, that’s going to make sense for the customer that we want to attract. And we need to know who that customer is, you know, so they need to know what makes us different. And positioning can be defined by going through a pretty heavy process. In the past, they’ve had things like positioning statements. But I have found those to be less and less effective.

You know, you can’t just make up a statement, and suddenly have your positioning worked out, it just doesn’t work that way. There are questions to ask. And you, you when you are early on in the process for anybody that doesn’t have a lot of sales, let’s say you’re under $10,000 a month? Well, you probably have loose positioning in the sense that if you don’t have enough customers where you know, well, who is the customer that understood your product quickly and bought it right? If you have enough of those. And when I say enough, let’s just say you maybe changed my $10,000 a month, maybe just let’s just say, if you had at least five customers, 10 customers or 20. And you have a certain group of them, let’s say three or four that really just got it quick became fast adopters, you would look at them. And you would say, Well, what do I understand about them? Right? And you want to write down everything you know, so like you you start understanding, here’s their situation, right? So for me, if I had a customer in E commerce, I might say, well, they do really well in wholesale. They’re not really into the tech stuff. They bought things like you know, quick funnels, but they never really built something out or figured out how to really get it to work for them. And so I’m like writing all this stuff down. And then we say, well, what are the alternatives that they have, if they don’t work with you? What are the alternatives, and this goes for ecommerce products or services, you’re positioning for the product, or the offer that you have, right? And you start kind of mapping those things out. And as you really start figuring out the positioning, that makes you different, you start figuring out how to talk about this to that person, right, all of a sudden, it starts getting synergistic. And so if you’re going to get out in the marketplace with anything, I’ll go into different avenues right now, let’s say you do paid advertising, I know paid advertising on Facebook very well. And you can literally get in front of the right people, you test your messages, different variations and stuff. And but you know how you’re positioning your offer or your product, right, and you will be able to connect and make the sales. And it informs how you approach the ads to get those leads. Now let’s say I just want to build my email list, I’m trying to get those leads. So I can nurture them through my email series, all that kind of stuff. And I don’t have a tonne of money. But I want to do like a lead magnet, alright. But the more we have that positioning and the audience to find and those types of things, we’re going to be able to create a lead magnet that is more appropriate to actually attract the right customers, right? So you don’t just make stuff up that you think would be great. So you know, there’s a lot of different approaches to these things. But when it comes to getting leads, I’m a big fan of paid advertising because I don’t like to run around different Facebook groups and you know, DMing people and like all that kind of stuff. That’s just, I have I have tested like cold outreach, using Sales Navigator, and Apollo and things like that to build a lead list, but honestly haven’t done enough of it. Where the success factor was worth the time. I could fill my roster just running ads, and I like I like to focus on one way to do something and figure it out period, right. I don’t like having a lot of distractions. And so I decided that was the way I wanted to do it. And I know that if I have the right offer, and I know how to position it and I know whom I owe audience should be that I, it doesn’t matter what platform or approach that I take, I am able to go anywhere and make it work, right. The platform is just the medium to make the connection with the people. So if it’s not working on Facebook, it doesn’t mean it’s going to work on tick tock, right. So if you’re, if your offer is not right, or you’re not positioning it right, and you’re not talking to the right audience, it doesn’t matter what platform you’re on, it’s not going to work. Right. So don’t get confused thinking that one is better the other what, what you could say today is that Facebook may cost you more to reach 1000 people, that’s a CPM, right and get a lead. And it may cost you more to get acquired. And then you could go to tick tock and say, Well, my offer sells on Facebook, it works, right, I get leads, I get sales, but then I go over to tick tock and I can do the same thing. But it’s cheaper, because it’s a little more wild wild west over there right now. So you can get more reach for your money, more leads, potentially at a lower cost and stuff like that. But if you don’t have something that’s working, it doesn’t matter what platform you’re on, it’s going to be a challenge. So I like to get leads in a couple of ways. One, I offer value use value for somebody in exchange for an email, email is the currency in this situation, right. So there’s the difference here, though, versus getting somebody to just put money down. Okay, there. So let me break this down. So like, let’s say I’m thinking of services agencies and things like that right now. So if you have a lead magnet, this could also go for E commerce, you can have a lead magnet an E commerce to to build an email list, we do email stuff for ecommerce using a offer as well write a high high value offer. And we have up to a 90% conversion rate for emails in E commerce space. Okay, so I know it can be done because we do it all the time for clients. All right. And so you can make an offer of use value that they’re interested in that’s related to your product. And for services, it could be a lead magnet, like a checklist or a report, whatever is related to your your ultimate result that you offer people. And instead of trading for money right out of the gate, the currency here is the email.

But you always want it to be in part of a process that gets to the sale. So it becomes a stepping stone. Because when you’re offering like a lead magnet, that’s very different when you say, Hey, here’s a free training. Here’s a free report, here’s a webinar that is bringing in a different dynamic of customer meaning where they are in the purchasing timeline. So they’re earlier on, if I run a promotion and say, here’s the training, that’s different than saying, we offer done for you services, learn how it works for you, and book a call, that’s a direct to sale. So you could still get leads there because they’re going to opt in to learn how it works for them, whether it’s video or whatever. But you’re also bringing someone in in the frame of mind that is like, I know, this is a service, I know they’re going to sell me something I’m just seeing now if it’s for me, when you say here’s a free training, here’s a lead magnet, you’re bringing in a customer who’s not in the position who’s ready to buy, meaning they’re not they don’t have that pain point yet, right? Let’s say maybe 2% out of the whole bunch that you bring in like two out of 100 might be there. But mostly you’re gonna bring people who are curious. They’re like, oh, a free training a free report. Let me check it out. And you’re not framing them framing up their mindset up front as a lead who is ready to buy, they are curious, and it will take longer for them to become ready to buy. So you still because they’re earlier in that consideration phase they might they might not even be problem aware. They see that your free report resonates with them because you positioned it right you got the right customer or audience, but then they’re gonna say okay, this is interesting. Let me check it out. They read it and it’s okay, cool, cool. Now they start getting your emails and they see maybe some follow up retargeting, ads on Facebook and stuff like that. And then after a couple of weeks, they become that person, you help them get there to become further down the purchasing timeline where they’re ready to buy, right, a smoke the more the hotter someone is meaning the further along that timeline to become a buyer in that ready to buy position. That percentage and pool of people is smaller, so smaller and smaller and smaller. So when you’re running ads when you do a lead magnet or training so you can have a lead magnet as a Facebook funnel so like your home profile While I have it right on the top banner, you can go to my Facebook personal page, Adam force. And you’ll see I have three bullet proof strategies to double your ecommerce revenue, I have it right there on the top banner, and then they can go to the website and I have a lead magnet there, right? So the lead magnet is across these touchpoints to capture the earlier bigger pool of people earlier in the purchasing funnel, and also a bigger pool of people. And they get into my network into my world where I could talk to them more, right, and they could see what we’re all about. But they’re not ready to buy yet, right? Maybe some of them but not all of them. Then I also run ads to get leads where I’m saying, hey directly, here’s the services, learn how it works for you check it out, you opt in with the email, you learn how the services work, they may not book a call, but I still got the lead. However, with a lead magnet, like a PDF, I could spend less than $10 to get that email could be five could be $3, if you really nail it down. And my ecommerce clients were paying $1 To get an email lead, right. So it just depends on category and all that stuff. And how great the offer is. Now, for my def why business, we pay a lot more just to get an email, I could pay 70 to $100. Right, and you’re gonna add them That’s insanity. Alright, you don’t want to pay more than $20 for an email like that. But that’s not true. Because I could spend $70 to $100 all day long, if I’m bringing in clients that want to spend 15, or $20,000, right, because these are, it’s going to cost you more to get somebody who is in that ready to buy pool, because that’s a smaller pool of people, it’s not necessarily low hanging fruit. So you’re gonna end up spending more upfront, but the quality of that customer is very different. So you have to understand the different stages of the customer that you’re going after, it’s good to have both. So getting leads, there’s different kinds of leads, I have leads coming in for that direct to sale, which are very high high value leads, because they’re like ready to buy, they’re looking, they’re interested, they know I’m selling something, and then I have people who aren’t ready yet there’s a bigger pool of people who are curious or interested, they’re in the E commerce space. And so they are grabbing the free report learning what we’re all about how we do things and what’s in that report is related to the services that we provide. So they can get their feet wet, get acclimated, learn how this works for them. And then we nurture them with emails and different touch points and content to bring them on board when they are ready. Right. So two different areas of people. And you know, without getting too deep on everything, I’ll I’ll stop there. But when it comes to leads, it really is just about offering something for that email currency. Later, they could become a customer. But there is that earlier stage buyer that’s curious, interested, maybe not even problem aware yet. And so you’re going to help them understand the problem they have. And then they learn, learn learn become a customer could be six months down the road. And then you have also leads that are very hot, because you’re tapping into a pool of people that are ready to buy, they have a pain that is so itchy. They’re just looking for someone to help them out. Right. Okay, so it’s like, those are two different worlds of leads, and you treat them they’re different conversations, different approaches and things like that. So yeah, you could set up those lead magnets, webinars, training, all that stuff, you could run a summit, like I don’t care how much everything has a cost. Alright, so the cost to do a lead magnet is two hours of my time to put it together another two hours to set up a couple emails and a way for people to opt in. I could take that lead magnet, put it all over my social media networks, banners everywhere people go, and that brings them into my world with a focus on what I offer. Done. That’s a low cost. The high cost is like people are going to get so many emails when you run a summit. It takes a huge effort to put together a summit. Okay? So just because it may not cost you a lot of money, it costs you a lot of time and energy. So what if you get all these emails but that stuff doesn’t really turn out to convert or they’re not all the right people and all that kind of stuff. So really be considerate of your time and energy and how you’re you’re using it because you only have 100% time and energy and every time you put it towards one thing it takes away from another thing. So decide on what’s important to you. I always tell people focus on cashflow period. So, for me, I tap into the early stage stuff with the lead magnets and I go direct for that sale. If my offer is good, and I have a position Write to the right audience. I know it will sell. If I’m not selling, I need to revisit how I position it, maybe revisit what the offer is. Once you have services or a product or an offer that sells like three to five times, I think you have a repeating pattern and you can continue to sell it. You can continue to sell that. Alright, so anyway, those are my thoughts. I

hope that’s helpful for you. If you have questions, you can just reach out to Adam at change creator.com And if you’re an E commerce brand looking for help to really drive the business revenues up and get those emails in and get that those dollar signs clicking yeah reach out to us we’ll we can get you on a waitlist at least at this point and get you set up. Alright guys catch on the next episode. Thanks for tuning into the authentic brand mastery podcast. Don’t forget to stop by change creator.com For more information, fresh articles content and our services if you’re looking to build a brand that people love, and please stop by iTunes, leave us a five star review. We appreciate your support

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Deborah Coviello: Leadership Skills to Navigate Challenges With Confidence

More than 582 million entrepreneurs exist worldwide. In today’s crowded market, if you want to put your best foot forward and take your business to unbelievable heights, you need to suit up and tackle any/every challenge that comes your way.

As founders and CEOs, we face gazillions of challenges every single day. The secret to success isn’t to avoid these challenges; but to identify core problems and master your leadership skills, allowing you to not only smoothly tackle them but also to put your business in hyper-growth mode.

In today’s episode, Adam Force, the founder of Change Creator, spoke with Deb Coviello, founder of Illumination Partners, with over 25 years of experience supporting entrepreneurs and CEOs – helping them identify core problems and master their leadership skills.

More About Deb:

Deb Caviello is the founder of Illumination Partners, a consulting agency for CEOs navigating change. At the same time, she is a trusted advisor, podcast host, and author. Deb brings along with herself about 25 years of experience in Quality & Operational Excellence roles + 20 years in the Flavors & Fragrance Industry. Throughout her career, she has worked together with her clients to help them identify, assess and solve problems that are preventing them from taking their business to the next level.

Throughout the Episode, Adam & Deborah Discussed:

  • Deborah shares her experience and the services she offers.
  • Who is Deborah’s target audience? Where does Deborah’s true expertise lie?
  • Deborah shares her skillset.
  • Where and how did Deborah expand her skill set, allowing her to help entrepreneurs and CEOs become better leaders?
  • How important it is for entrepreneurs and CEOs to be confident wherever they go and in front of whoever they meet – whether they enter a room or head over to an event?
  • How important it is to be consistent in terms of how you look, what you speak, and how you act? How can it impact your business and help you leave an impression?
  • The importance of visual branding – whether it’s online or offline.
  • The importance of building relationships and presence.
  • How important is planning and how much time should you allocate towards planning?
  • There’s no point in spending thousands of dollars on ads or any other strategy without having a strategic plan in place. How important it is to laser-focus on planning?
  • The shift from the traditional business model to corporate
  • The importance of having the right documents in place, SOPs, and almost everything in place to ensure that your business keeps going.
  • The importance of discipline in business.
  • The importance of building your own platform – hosting your own podcast, having your own website, and more.
  • Any common pain point Deborah observed across multiple demographics?
  • How important it is to have the right processes and systems in place?
  • Focus on culture and people development

Conclusion

“As we look ahead into the next century,
leaders will be the ones that empower others.”
Bill Gates

From having the right processes to consistency in terms of appearance, looks, and behavior, business owners and CEOs should laser-focus on putting their best foot forward. It’s a lot of hard work and obviously, you’ll come across many challenges.

But with discipline, consistency, and hard as well as smart work, you’ll be subject to outstanding results.

Schedule a strategy call with Adam at  https://studio.changecreator.com

Subscribe HERE:

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Episode Transcript (unedited, will likely have typos):

Adam G. Force  0:00 

How do social entrepreneurs and small businesses create an authentic brand people love so they can get the edge they need to stand out create Predictable Revenue and compete against the big guys that’s what we’re here to discuss. I’m Adam forest the founder of change creator and this is the authentic brand mastery Podcast?

Unknown Speaker  3:44 

Okay show

Adam G. Force  3:45 

me the heat. No. Hey, Deb, welcome to the authentic Grandmaster podcast. How are we doing today?

Deborah Coviello  3:54 

Am I am doing amazing, the sun is shining, my dog here will hopefully be quiet and cooperate for us. I’m ready to dive right in and have an amazing conversation. So thank you again.

Adam G. Force  4:04 

Perfect, perfect, let’s do it. Yeah, I’m excited to have you here and glad to get some good weather over there and you’re feeling good. It’s a little earlier in the morning than we usually do our interviews. So appreciate that. Um, so you know, we’re gonna get into the topic of leadership. We’re gonna get into navigating, you know, the business in the right mindset and things like that. So let’s just give people a little bit of background. I know you have an entire book written around these things. And we’re gonna get into some of these like takeaways and lessons and all that stuff. So just give a little bit of background in the nutshell about who you are and what you have going on today.

Deborah Coviello  4:40 

So I’m a work in progress. But again, thank you for that. But right now where I am at is that yeah, I have a lot of experience just like you you’ve got marketing and branding experience. I happen to be an operations and quality excellence leader. I have been in manufacturing and operations for over 30 years. So along the way we use our tech nickel skills to help solve business problems. And so that is primarily the work that I do, I consult and I drop in to organisations that are going through some kind of business transformation. And they’re looking right and they’re looking left, they don’t have enough capacity or capability to do it. And they’re, I don’t know, raise their hand and finally, say, I need help. So those are the perfect leaders and CEOs that I can help them get unstuck and get back on track. But there is another demographic that I’ve come to love because it’s not just helping the business thrive, right? Sometimes entrepreneurs like the ones that you serve, as well as aspiring leaders, they’re rock stars, they’re so good at what they do. And then something happens either their mindset, the environment, a new boss, a difficult client, something changes for which, oh, my God, they lose their confidence. And I have found that over time, even though I elevated in my career to higher and higher roles in the corporate world, there’s a lot more smarter people than me. And I realised that my true gift was to be able to elevate them, remove the barriers, help them to message a little bit better for influence. And so I’ve developed a lot of these skills through the school of hard knocks, to be able to also help the aspiring C suite leader help the person who’s starting out on their business be able to for themselves to get back on track, because sometimes it’s just a little bit that’s getting in their way. And that’s also why I wrote the book, because I see common thread, amazing people

Adam G. Force  6:32 

that get stuck. Interesting. Yeah. And what Where did you learn these skills that allow you to actually help people become better leaders?

Deborah Coviello  6:43 

So I actually wrote the book, because it was basically a lot of stories about how did I figure it out, because I don’t know what it was. But either I had a can do attitude, I am going to muscle through and figure out why my boss isn’t giving me a raise, or when I give that presentation i.my I’s and cross my T’s, but it’s crickets at the end. So where’s the conversation? Did you buy what I was telling you? Yeah, or, you know, hey, here’s the data. And people are saying, let’s talk about it another time, and you go away, so frustrated. So it is a lot of these lessons along the way for which I didn’t have a mentor. And I didn’t have a coach. And so now all my I see the value of having such people in your life to guide you. So I decided to write the book again, I had a lot to say, hey, you can do this yourself, you’ve got the confidence. Let’s help you articulate your messages. I wrote the book because I wanted others to struggle less. And through my experience in my podcast, the drop in CEO, I bring forward those lessons and insights to help the next generation leader or entrepreneur, you don’t need to struggle, you can do this with a guide, or listen to these great resources.

And through your experience. So it sounds like great leaders aren’t just born they can be made is that I absolutely and again, I’m so jealous of those leaders that just kind of walk into a room and they exude confidence. I used to think that was the person I want it to be I’ve got a picture of a person in my mind to say I want to look and sound and be like them where people just walk up to them and shake their hand. Well, it doesn’t have to be that way. I think what’s more important is you showing up who you are, you’ve got your zone of genius, but being able to connect with people, whether it’s how you look, how you message, how your website, how everything shows up, because I learned it has to be in sync with each other. I remember a story somebody told me and I was a little embarrassed. I love bright colours. I love dressing up when I went to work. But somebody ultimately told me it’s you’re confusing people, you are trying to be a professional at a major organisation with strong messages to impact the direction of the business. And then you come in with all of these loud colours. It’s a little confusing, they don’t know who you are. Now you can still be your authentic self, have a little bling, have a little bit of flash guys wear colourful socks, you can still have your creative self when you show up at work that makes sure that whatever comes out of your mouth, and whatever you look like as well is consistent because people may not necessarily remember what you say. But it’s that consistency and that trust. How did I learn this? Oh, I did not learn it in corporate. But when I had to go out and be an entrepreneur, and be that sales and marketing for myself, I gently learned all of that matters, not just the service we provide, but how we show up so people can trust you. So learn through practice. I mean, that’s it a powerful I think little commentary that you made that a lot of people miss and you know Yes, being your authentic self and you know is really important and also understanding human behaviour to a point where you are

Adam G. Force  10:00 

Understand, what’s the impact of the things you say, you know, you have verbal, and then the visual representation and those first impressions, and what is it? What’s the domino effect? Right? Are we are we bringing a a welcoming and trusting presence or a powerful presence? I mean, why do presidents wear the red tie and important presentations, right? It’s like, there is psychological reasoning behind these things. And I think the you’re talking about visual branding, in a sense, and imagery, and that’s something I love and I, I do as well with websites and digital properties. And so it’s very similar thought processes and and that stuff comes to life through kind of like thing, you have to at least stop and think about these things a little bit. Absolutely.

Deborah Coviello  10:47 

You know, and it was interesting. And I, along the way, before we had the opportunity to meet each other, I found somebody that asked me a lot of questions, you know, who is your client? What is the demographics? What positions are they in? What do you want to be known for. And ultimately, like, on my website, you know, I was very clear, like my demographics could be in some areas from the consulting side, 60 to 70%. Now, because that just happens to be the demographics. It’s not about fairness, or diversity, that is what it is. And then, and then on the other side, a lot of my consulting or coaching can be female. And so the dichotomy of those tipheret different graphics, he has strong, bold colours, which my website eventually landed on that, because you want to build trust, and calm and things like that, and then decide where do you want to be a little bit more personable you want people to relate to you. And so I put out video that is makes it very personal, that could be more attractive to maybe a female audience, I never would have thought about this stuff. But as I was building my business, after corporate, it all mattered and made sense. And it works. It’s so work. So again, kudos to the work that you do, but also just whether you’re in corporate, or in your own business, it all adds up to building those relationships and that presence,

Adam G. Force  12:07 

it does, it does, and you got to dig in. And I always say it’s 95% planning guys, like, take the time, like, even like when, when I was being mentored on, like just Facebook advertising something that’s simple, right? There, like 95% of your success in that space is off of Facebook, it’s it’s the planning and strategy where understanding the customers and the deep rooted, you know, mindsets of like how to really, you know, connect with them, and, and then all of a sudden, all your content, all your visuals, all the experiences you create, they stem from that data, right from that learning. And now your brand is really starting to take shape, which it sounds like exactly what you’re talking about, and some of the evolutions that you’re going through.

Deborah Coviello  12:51 

I mean, I can so relate to this, I just got done with a client, we were talking to them about, you know, they’re a can do culture. But so often they run and do without thinking about is this the right work to solve a customer issue. You know, the training, we were doing problem solving training, it’s a plan do and then check it and make sure it has the right impact. And if not, you better change it up a little bit. And I say 60 to 70% of your time should be in the planning phase, what are you trying to achieve? What is the problem that you’re solving, and make sure you get everybody in a room to say we are now going to do this, and only do you act and run and respond and put up those ads? Maybe 20 or 10% of the time because you could be putting the wrong thing out there and your message just doesn’t connect. So I’m a strong advocate for spend a little bit more time and planning, you’ll save time in the end of what if it’s not working and money? Love what you do? Oh, yeah, money. When it’s your own money as an entrepreneur, it’s especially important to make the right decisions and plan for what you’re going to do.

Adam G. Force  13:52 

Yeah, I mean, when you’re spending 1000s of dollars a day or week on ads and stuff and they’re not connecting, you start, you really start saying I better go back and start paying attention to those steps that everyone keeps telling me about,

Deborah Coviello  14:05 

you know, and the same thing goes for business. So again, two audiences, we have similar but different audiences. If you’re in business, and you’re coming up through the ranks, I mean, I love aspiring C suite leaders, I’ve got my C suite Leadership Academy, they don’t talk about brand and image and presence presence can be the corporate side brand and imaging is on the marketing side. You have to show up, and when you speak, it has to convey a message you need to say here’s the issue. Is it good or bad? How do I how big is it if we don’t act on this thing? And how is it going to hit you in your pocket? Again, C suite leaders are so good at what they do. It could be operations, sales planning, purchasing, but whoever teaches them how to message. Yeah, so

Adam G. Force  14:49 

am I fine now? Yeah, let’s define that for people just, you know, we have a range of people here, whether they’re running seven figure companies to you know, five and six For your companies, just so they’re clear, because I think there’s a lot of people who maybe are running businesses, but they haven’t been as much in the corporate world. So C suite may not mean much to them. So if you could just define that because they may be a C suite themselves, and not even know it. So if you could define that for people, that’d be good.

Deborah Coviello  15:22 

So let’s put this in context C suite leader, the buck stops with you, your neck is wrong. If you can’t make the business goals, or honey, are we going to see a paycheck this week? Yeah, that’s where the buck stops. So you do have the burden of all that decision making. But what where it makes sense is that also you have the burden or the pleasure of setting the purpose of the work that you’re going to do, because I hope for every one of you, when you get beyond employee or contractor, one, two, or three, when you start getting into the four, or five and six people in your organisation, and businesses good, a leader has to set the purpose of the organisation and you as a leader need to be able to develop the people and say, here’s the purpose of why we’re doing. And then ask yourself the question when you bring in these apparently talented people, what if they can’t develop a strategy and you need somebody that can do strategy, you need to as a leader start saying, Well, how do I get the performance of my people to the level that I need. So I can go from that six to seven figure company, on the CEOs compass, my book, Your Guide to get back on track, close to the northernmost compass point, which is peace of mind, you, as business owner, want to have peace of mind, get your purpose out there, that should be easy. But then the people you have on your staff, to they have the skills and capability to perform one of the compass points, to be able to help you reach your goal. They may be wonderful people, wonderful, wonderful people, but you, as a C suite leader, have to make sure the aspiring C suites, the up and coming in your organisation have the skills to be able to impact what you’re trying to achieve. That’s how it translates from a business owner to corporate?

Adam G. Force  17:02 

And how do how do they? What are some thoughts on how they can start thinking about that? Because the reality is a lot of teams like I know guys, like John Lee Dumas, they run, you know, a multi seven figure company, but they just have a team of like, I don’t know, six, seven VAs that do different things and operate this thing. So it’s not like traditional businesses all the time where we have, you know, full time hires and stuff like that. So I think that what you’re saying is still, it’s still the same philosophy that applies, right? Like they need to have the skills they need to be, and you have to look at them as part of the team. So how, how do people start thinking about this? And identifying if someone is is like, how do they execute what you’re saying?

Deborah Coviello  17:52 

So before I actually answer with a solution, we flip this around, what if one of those VAs left? What if to it’ll be a slap because somebody next door has got the next greatest thing, and they want to be part of that team? Yeah, I’ve seen in the VA world, one of the critical things to do to make sure you get the same repeatable process over and over again, is to have work standards, or job aids, or a video of here’s how you always reach out to a client, or get that social media post out there. It’s job standards, it’s work standards, because you’re out there the face of the business, you don’t have time to look over their shoulder. And if a VA is out, and they insert another one in, in business, you need work standards, I had a client, amazingly talented product, sustainable second generation, they were amazing. However, everybody had been there forever. And if one person left the business, they wouldn’t be able to sustain it because they have all that knowledge. You want to be repeatable, reliable. And so I found with this client, we got in there, we wrote all the procedures, we said, Do you have cross training? No, we don’t have that either. Everybody just knows their job. I said, you need cross training, because you as a business owner need to think about risk. If one person leaves, they could disrupt the future, your business. So job standards, job aids, checklists, wherever you need post it notes, make sure whoever is on your staff as you grow, can produce the same result. That’s

Adam G. Force  19:14 

business, no systems in place, meaning and a lot of times, you know, I feel like when you’re running the business from the start, these are systems that as a founder or with your co founder that you start establishing, but people don’t tend to document them to your point, right. And it takes a lot of time and effort to build out that kind of those SOPs, standard operating procedures, everybody, and really get these things set up in a way that they can run like a well oiled machine, right.

Deborah Coviello  19:45 

Well, I’ll respond it that can be the reality. But if you set your timer, you get up at six, you put the dog out, you go to the gym, you come back, you check your email, you start doing your writing in the morning, because that’s when you do and it’s all laid out on your calendar. You are disciplined yourself? Because it’s just you. Why can’t you do that for yourself on a continual basis? Why can’t you set up a schedule on Monday you send out the social to you check this here, Wednesday is outreach, you can extend the discipline in yourself of being a successful six figure entrepreneur solopreneur. And extend that same thing to others. So you have it in you, it’s a matter of discipline to be able, if you’re serious about growing your business, then set up that same schedule for other people on your team. It doesn’t have to be difficult.

Adam G. Force  20:31 

Yeah, I’m with you on that. I mean, I think the golden word there, everybody needs to latch on to is discipline. You know, without discipline, you’re just never going to get very far, because I think a lot of people will try to thrive off being motivated. But motivation will only take you so far without discipline.

Deborah Coviello  20:49 

Oh, my gosh, I’m passionate about what I do when I have an opportunity to share my story with you. I am in my element. But do I have time to be posting all of my social media? Do I have time to write all of my copy? No, I have to depend on others. I have to structure my day. So I every day we month, reach my goals, whether it’s financial, it’s brand recognition, it is a lot of discipline. Again, I’m a work in progress, still trying to figure it out. But you know, it does start with you have the vision, be passionate, do the work you love. But you’ve got to have systems and standards to keep yourself going otherwise, somebody else is going to take away your business because they are a little bit more disciplined. Absolutely.

Adam G. Force  21:33 

And I mean, you know, it’s interesting, you brought up like pumping out the content and guide. It’s such a big part of everybody’s process today. And it’s interesting, because there’s always a few out there that do things very differently, right. Like, there’s a guy, one of my mentors, he’s like, if I he does, I don’t know, maybe 40 $50 million a year. So pretty good chunk of change. And if you go to his Facebook or any other platform, it’s there’s nothing there. It’s just that he doesn’t he doesn’t put out any content.

Deborah Coviello  22:02 

Tell me more, tell me more. Because literally just his profile picture

Adam G. Force  22:05 

and he has like 100,000 followers with not never posting one thing like nothing on the page. It’s just a page so that he can actually run ads. All he does is he knows his customers so well. And he just runs ads, and that’s it and sells his products. But

Deborah Coviello  22:21 

was it always that way?

Adam G. Force  22:23 

Where did he start? That’s That’s what made him stand out in the market. So this I’m talking about Sam ovens, you can look them up. So Sam ovens. I used to see him all the time, like, who was this guy doing these really janky looking like programmes and stuff he’d never put time. He’s like, if you’re the founder that’s putting all your time into making things pretty yourself, then you’re not spending time learning how to sell to your customer. And that’s the only thing that really matters. And I was like, ah, like, and he’s walked the walk right? I’m like I he’s like, look at my stuff, even his website. Now here’s the guy that’s doing that kind of money. And you go to his website, it’s just a white page with two little buttons for his courses. And that’s it.

Deborah Coviello  23:05 

Like, so there’s, there’s such power in that because again, yes, read, listen, look at what the gurus or people that apparently look like they’re what they’re doing hire consultants, or coaches or support staff. And yes, but ultimately, you got to figure out what works for yourself a story about me and my I would ever forget about the pronunciation of growing my business. I own the outcome. And I don’t want to be able to play well, I followed their course their three step process, I started putting ads, and it didn’t work, because then that’s destructive. What you have to do is look at what’s out there. Think about your customer, one thing I learned, I was doing all kinds of networking, looking for the ideal client, lots of social media, which I do believe in, because when I show up as the brand, I’m building trust, when people I meet say, Hey, I’m watching your stuff. It’s like, okay, good. I hope I looked okay. But here’s the thing. But here’s the thing, build your own platform. So rather than me trying to chase other people to go into their networking groups, and be in their communities, and pay for their course, and what have you, and mind you, those do help along the way. Of course, I built my own podcast. Now I get to pull people into my world, I get to interview people. And I’m telling you that by creating my own community, finding interesting people, it takes a while, but I’m now building those relationships that are starting to manifest in business development and sales. And so ultimately, as a business owner, leverage everybody’s input, but find a lane that works for you, your friend just run ads. For me. It’s that relationship, bringing people on the podcast, building a conversation, see what we can do together.

Adam G. Force  24:42 

And that’s the thing everybody has their own way and that like and the way you brand yourself versus someone else is always going to be different and the way that you find your leads or actually create clients is going to be different, you know? So I think I appreciate what you’re saying. In the sense of, you know, you don’t just copycat somebody. And that kind of like point of simplicity from like Sam and stuff like that, that is his brand style. So that’s what he has become known for. It doesn’t mean it’s gonna work for you, you know what I mean? So it’s, it’s really taking, like the underlying educational principles that any coach or mentor can provide and doing it in your own way, reshaping it, you know,

Deborah Coviello  25:26 

and, and I speak to that in the CEOs compass. Now, there are many, many books out there that talk about putting the right operating systems in your company, if you got nothing, you got it in place. But so many of the people that I speak to have already been talented, they’ve gone into organisation, setup companies and what have you, and they’ve already been successful. So who am I to come in and blow them up and say, No, follow my approach? No, you’ve already know how to run a business. But mine does. It’s almost like pick your own adventure. Where do you see yourself off track where you’re not seeing the results, and you’re constantly spending wasteful time in that area, maybe coaching or mentoring your people, you want to do more, you’ve got great talent, right? Whatever you pick and choose from the compass, you know what you might need to spend a little bit more in mentoring your people, mentoring the interactions between your team’s versus working in silos, work on those two. And as they start working towards your purpose, and their skills get better? You start feeling that business starting to run on all eight cylinders. Yeah, pick your own thing, fix a couple things. That may be all you need to get yourself back on track.

Adam G. Force  26:28 

Yeah, and I mean, I guess to your point there, I’m curious if you know, as you work with more and more people, you kind of said, choose your own adventure, meaning everybody has a different pain point that they’re solving for. Have you have you found a common, a more common pain point that stands out to you that, like, is there a situation or a type of leader that’s like, and you start seeing, it’s this situation, again, like this pain point, like anything stand out to you,

Deborah Coviello  27:01 

across multiple demographics, whether they’re a 25 person company, or a 6000 person company that I’ve had the pleasure of working with. When you start out, you have a close knit team, you care about people, you send them flowers, when maybe something happens bad in their personal life, you have that connection with people, you put your arm around them and help them through difficult times. The challenge I see as you grow as a business is losing the connectivity of the people, one to make sure the culture and the brand permeate everybody. So brand, and the culture and the values that can be diluted as you grow. So keeping that purpose and culture in place, that’s a common thread. The other thing is to have the capability and capacity to further develop your people. You’re developing as a leader as you’re showing up, but who’s doing that for your people. And so right now, I’ve got a client right now an amazing company, I love them. And they people they have are starting to be the businesses outgrowing them, and they don’t want to lose the people. So they’re asking me to come in and help develop their leadership skills, so they can continue to influence help make the impact are supposed to do. I’m seeing this as you grow, and you get more successful, that pain point is going to pull you down, you need to focus on it.

Adam G. Force  28:19 

Yeah, I mean, that’s a really great example. And it’s tough because I work a lot with either six figure or early, like seven figure teams, on brand strategies and stuff like that. And to your point, there is a point, especially for the six figure entrepreneurs where we’re going through their brand strategy, and part of that is what I call an operating system. So it is going to be culture values and things like that. And I don’t know that they see the value of that yet, right? Because they don’t have the team, the culture and all that stuff. And it’s like, yeah, that’s cool. Yeah, this is how we’re gonna operate. But to your what now hearing what you’re saying, I’m like, oh, it’s like when you start to grow, if you don’t have that pin down, like, and it’s not really already threaded from the ground up. It’s a lot harder to act to implement later, when you’re already a thriving large business than if you started from the ground up. And it’s been part of your process the whole time. But you’re saying maybe they had it and it just kind of like disconnects over time.

Deborah Coviello  29:21 

Yeah, when you go from like that 10 to 25. And then to 50, it starts breaking apart when the owner of the company starts saying, you know, I don’t know everybody’s name. Oh, no, I used to be able to do it. You know, I used to be able to get a Christmas gift for everybody, because then I’d know it. But now I’m not sure what their interests are. And then the silos start happening unless you bring everybody together. So that’s where I have the performance. compass point is that you need to know everybody and their ability to achieve your purpose. And if there’s a gap, they may be really really great at brainstorming ideas and bring creative ideas to you, but they don’t know how to put it in a mess. that they can share with the team and influence them. So yeah, let’s jump on that, let’s go, that’s a gap and that gap is going to get bigger and bigger. So a leader needs to say, what are the gaps for them to be now, they, if they’re a junior designer to be that senior designer, they need some skills, and it’s on you or to leverage a resource to help build that. Otherwise, it’s gonna keep you up at night later, and you might wind up firing amazing people, because you never develop their skills.

Adam G. Force  30:24 

Hmm, that’s a great point, too, right? If you don’t have the right processes in place, and the right leaders, then employees may look bad, but it’s mostly because of the poor leadership and not because of them, and not

Deborah Coviello  30:36 

setting you up for success or having conversation say, what do you need? You know, they might say, oh, yeah, I can do that thing in Canva? or what have you. And really, they’re still trying to figure it out, go out to YouTube videos, which is a great resource. But did you ever ask the question, how’s that going? How would he feel? I mean, yeah, and again, because we’re so pumped up, hey, how’s that client job going? You know, we just into the weeds and the results, because we’re passionate about it. And we run over the people, you got to stop a little bit and just say, yeah, how you doing? How you feel?

Adam G. Force  31:06 

I can see that. Yeah, I mean, I’ve worked in corporate for a long time and did all that stuff. And I can see as you get to be larger, a larger company, that easily happens. And you really do need part of the culture to be about how are you making sure you’re giving people like caring for the team and giving them the tools to succeed, and that that is baked into a cultural mindset as well. So it’s like, because that’s your operate, that’s how you operate, right? So it’s either there, it’s not. So that’s a great point, I can see firing good people in those types of situations. So a really good example of how important strong culture is and how it and I guess a warning sign, right, as you’re growing, to make sure that it doesn’t start to disintegrate and get diluted over time, right? Because Absolutely, you’ll look back and next thing, you know, it’s like, oh, what’s going on right now, it’s not the same anymore.

Deborah Coviello  31:59 

So again, the truly aware leader is always looking ahead, they’re always thinking ahead. But one of those things on your roadmap is the culture and or the people development.

Adam G. Force  32:09 

Very important. I love it. So we’re about out of time, but I think we hit some pretty good key points for people just to, and it’s interesting, because you hear certain things, and I always tell people, I’m like, I like learning the same thing. Like there’s a lot of fresh perspective hear coming from you, which I appreciate. And you can learn the same core topics, we talk about business. So you’re going to talk about culture, leadership, right? But you can learn the same thing with a new perspective. 20 different times. And every time you’re you have you walk away with seeing it differently, you know, any mean? Meaning you improve the way you see it? How many times have you like learned something you go, I knew that but the way you just explained it now the light bulb really goes off, right?

Deborah Coviello  32:52 

And having the opportunity to talk to you, I can count on it. I’ve never actually told this, these stories and these examples in exactly this way. So your platform has given me the opportunity to put out fresh content into the world.

Adam G. Force  33:04 

There you go. I love it. So we have a lot of, you know, exciting entrepreneurs are listening in if they want to. And maybe they have a small team, and they’re looking for ways to make sure that their leadership is strong so they can grow effectively. How do they learn more about you or get more information from you? Like where do they go? What’s the easiest thing?

Deborah Coviello  33:26 

So simplicity is king or queen at drop in ceo.com dropinc.com. One stop shopping for either my consulting services to strategically help in growing your business, especially in the manufacturing well, but also my coaching services developed to develop you or your leadership. I have my blog there, the CEOs compass, my book, my podcast, the drop in SEO, and launching again very soon the C suite Academy so I would love for somebody to drop in there. And let’s connect.

Adam G. Force  34:02 

I appreciate your time. Thank you so much. Thank you again. Thanks for tuning in to the authentic brand mastery podcast. Don’t forget to stop by change creator.com For more information, fresh articles content and our services if you’re looking to build a brand that people love, and please stop by iTunes, leave us a five star review. We appreciate your support

Rachel Faller: Navigating The Realm of Waste FREE Fashion E-Comm Biz

Rachel Faller: Navigating The Realm of Waste FREE Fashion E-Comm Biz

The world is changing. And in today’s ever-changing world, it can turn out to be extremely hard for business owners to stay true to their business mission and stick to their values. 

We understand. That’s because we’ve been there.

That’s the reason we’ve brought back the founder of a revolutionary waste-free fashion brand to our podcast – Tonle. 

Her name’s Rachel Faller and she’s been running Tonle for about 15 years – and throughout the course of her venture, she has seen the world change right in front of her eyes and faced many ups and downs. Despite that, she has never compromised her values and has been true to her brand – which is something most entrepreneurs should know about.

More About Rachel:

Rachel is a brilliant entrepreneur by day and an extremely talented individual at heart. While she allocates most of her time towards growing her eCommerce business, she believes in implementing a systematic approach – where she encourages people to identify and solve the root of a problem rather than just sticking to the symptoms.

She’s the co-creator of Tonle – it’s a zero-waste, sustainable and ethical fashion line that’s both a manufacturer and brand. At the same time, she’s the co-founder of Reclaim Collaborative and at the same time writes at Just Fashion.

We have Rachel with us on today’s episode and we’d love nothing more than to dive deep with her into the fashion eComm world.

Throughout the Episode, Adam & Rachel Discuss:

  • Rachel shares details about her brand and explains how they are a zero-waste brand.
  • How does Rachel ensure that everyone that works on her products and with her brand is paid fairly? Why is low wage in her industry still a BIG problem?
  • How hard it is for a small business like Tonle to start a sustainable packaging or grow their business when compared with giants like Target, Amazon, Walmart?
  • What kind of impact do folks at Tonle want to make? Rachel sheds light on their real mission.
  • Rachel shares Tonle’s history 
  • Rachel shares challenges faced by folks at Tonle while trying to sell their products. 
  • How hard it is for Rachel & team to sell their sustainable products at a higher price when compared with their competitors?
  • Rachel shares that they heavily rely on word of mouth marketing to promote her brand.
  • Is there a point where Rachel & team loosen up their boundaries just to give a tough fight to their competitors?
  • Adam asks Rachel whether her company is product-first or material-first.
  • Rachel shares more about her working environment
  • Is it possible for Rachel and team to be market-first with their already-existing model?
  • Rachel’s discusses how their focus is on building sustainable clothes that their customers are proud to wear. 
  • What happens when their customers get past the emotional phase and get to the logical part – how do Rachel & team tackle that?
  • Rachel’s focus on building a community
  • Rachel sheds light on whether they can continue making their top-sellers.
  • Rachel’s discusses her plans for the future 

Conclusion

Rachel’s 15-years journey has been thrilling. And despite facing numerous challenges, she has always made sure to stick to her values and mission. And at Change Creator, we appreciate that!

Kudos to you, Rachel! 

One of the core reasons Rachel has helped Tonle reach where it is today is by laser-focusing on branding – which is what most brands struggle with these days.

And at Change Creator, we’d love nothing more than to help you out.

Ready to Grow Your Brand Authority and Revenues?

Book a call to chat with Adam at:  https://studio.changecreator.com

Subscribe HERE:

Read More Exciting Stories:

Episode Transcript (unedited, will likely have typos):

Adam G. Force  0:00  

How do social entrepreneurs and small businesses create an authentic brand people love so they can get the edge they need to stand out create Predictable Revenue and compete against the big guys that’s what we’re here to discuss. I’m Adam forest the founder of change creator and this is the authentic brand mastery Podcast?

Okay, shall we me the heat on no you,

Rachel, welcome to the authentic brand mastery podcast. How you doing today?

Rachel Faller  4:04  

Nice to see you. And thanks for having me. I’m doing pretty well.

Adam G. Force  4:08  

Yeah, it’s good to see you for anybody listening. Rachel is on the show. And in our magazine a few years ago, actually. So this is kind of like a follow up. You know, check in we like to bring some people back that were fun to have the first time and see what’s going on in their world. Rachel just got back from Cambodia. So that was the first time we were able to get there in a while. So tell us just a little bit about what your trip was about and what’s going on right now. With the brand.

Rachel Faller  4:38  

Yeah, sure. Um, so we are a zero waste and sustainable fashion line for anybody who

hasn’t known about us before to lay. We take scraps and material that come from come to us as waste from larger manufacturers primarily in Cambodia, and we transform those into new garments. And we use every single scrap In the process, so not only is each individual product a zero waste product, but they’re also made in an entirely zero waste processing facility, we also make an effort to reduce our climate footprint in other ways, reducing packaging waste and shipping waste. And also, you know, endeavor to make sure that everybody who works on our products is paid fairly and, you know, makes a living wage while they’re working at home, which should be the norm, but is unfortunately, not

Adam G. Force  5:33  

with a lot of why do you think it’s not? Why do you think it’s not the norm?

Rachel Faller  5:37  

I think, Oh, it’s a lot of lot of complicated history, I think, going back to going back to the history of global trade, and how it originated out of really colonialism. And so I think trade policy across the world is is still set up in such a way that does not, is not equitable. And as a result of that, I think, you know, in the United States, as wages began to rise, and workers got more protections in the US, a lot of brands realized they could outsource their production overseas, and also separate the production from the brand, so that they didn’t have to take on the risk and responsibility of providing for their workers. So it’s not only about being able to access lower wages or conditions that are less, you know, that are, that are more favorable to companies that are bad for workers. But it’s also about the fact that they don’t have to take on the risk of having, you know, hundreds of 1000s of garment factory workers on their payroll on their books. And if anything goes wrong in those factories, the factories, owners, and the factory managers are the ones who take on that risk, not not the brand, right? So we now see a lot of brands going back and saying, Oh, well, this or this bad thing happened in the factory, but it’s not our fault, because we had a policy and, you know, they were supposed to do this, and they didn’t do it? Well, they want to acknowledge that because you know, they benefit from those conditions being in place, right. So it’s quite complicated. But I think that at the end of the day, American corporate law protects American companies and American workers, but not people who are working on products for those corporations, and other countries. And, and because of these various loopholes that companies have created alongside the government, you know, they can essentially get away with these things legally, that they would never be able to get away with in the US. So it’s, you know, has to change, I think there is an element of people needing to, you know, vote with their dollars and support companies that are trying to do things differently, especially small businesses who are trying new things, it really, but I think on a policy level, and even as on a cultural level, I think this America first mentality that only American workers and only American corporations are important, is something that that has an impact, you know, and in how these businesses can operate in other parts of the world.

Adam G. Force  8:12  

It’s interesting, yes. So the cultural factor, and the policy factor, I think, are pretty big in Yes. Because, you know, relying on the people, as you probably, I mean, back me up, if I’m there, let me know if I’m wrong, but like, you know, we’ve restarted change creator to support, you know, businesses that are doing the right things. But what we have found is that even like when you read the data, and everyone’s like, Oh, I support sustainable brands, or I would pay more for this kind of product, or that kind of product, that the data says one thing, but people’s actions say another right meaning yet the purchasing trends are not the reality of what their what makes them feel good when they fill out a survey.

Rachel Faller  9:00  

Right. And I think at the end of the day Q it’s like, and I’m really suggesting for you no systemic chip shifts, because at the end of the day, it would not be hard for target to pay a few cents more per item to have recycle, like fully recycled packaging, right? But if if a customer goes into Target and there’s no packaging that is recycled, well, then they don’t have a choice, okay, like the customer has a choice to go and do research and so forth. But that that’s really hard for a customer. It’s actually not that hard for target to change, right, but they are the ones who are choosing not to change that. On the other hand, for a small business like us, it’s really hard to start a sustainable packaging because it’s not accessible to small brands. Right? And that’s what’s so disappointing about it that brands like us, they’ll jump through hoops to try to make our production and our process of everything really like aboveboard and sustainable and ethical. And yet you have these huge corporations who could literally make the These changes in a drop of a hat if they wanted to, because they have the skill to do so. But they don’t have the will. Right. And so I think at the end of the day, there does have to be pressure on a corporate, like on a corporate and policy level to change because it and I think where like brands like us do come in as we kind of set that standard and say, hey, look, if we’re doing it, and it’s so much more of an uphill battle for us, and it’s so much more work to source the sustainable materials and all this stuff, because we can’t we’re not at scale, right. So it just makes it so much harder to access. If we’re doing it, then target should be able to Amazon should be able to Walmart should be able to write and they don’t even need to charge that much more for their products. Yeah, um, so yeah,

Adam G. Force  10:43  

I find that and the sad part is though, like, and this is just now the past six years doing going knee deep into these businesses and stuff to myself is like, and I’ve worked with target, I’ve worked on projects with, you know, Microsoft and other big Walgreens, whatever it’s like, all great brands. But you know, we all know that at the end of the day, the bottom line is what puts food on everybody’s table and lines, the pockets, right? So if if it’s not a policy, like you said, and that policy would probably be shifted and created based on shifting the cultural perspective. So they kind of work together. But if it’s not a policy, it’s probably not going to happen, they’re not going to do it out of the goodness of their heart, unless there’s some value in it, because it’s just, I guess, the, you know, the way that a corporation is set up, the sole job is to earn money. And so yeah, it’s a really tough one to try to shift unless there’s a policy saying, This is how it has to be, right. There’s

Rachel Faller  11:45  

a policy or if there’s enough pressure from customers, but that has to be It can’t just be individual people being like, well, I’ll just buy the slightly greener looking thing from the shelf, like, that’s not going to do it. But if there has been, you know, instances in the past, where mass boycotts and so forth have worked, but it has to be very collective action, right. And it’s taught me like, and again, that takes that cultural shift that we’re talking about. And that’s why I think that brands like us, you know, our impact is like, yes, we do reduce waste. And yes, we do reduce the carbon footprint, and we are, you know, employing people at higher wages, and all those things are valuable, but our real impact is helping to change the story and change the narrative. And show that there’s a different way of doing things. And if that gets customers thinking about it, and learning about it, right, and then turning around and putting that pressure on. But not even just putting pressure on but also just living by their values when you’re living in a values aligned way. And you’re let’s say you’re bringing your, you know, your recyclable, you know, silverware everywhere you go and not using the plastic fork, like that alone doesn’t make a big difference. But other people see that. And it normalizes it, right? And it makes it like, that’s where it starts to make that cultural shift. So I’m a really big proponent of both, you know, systemic change and culture. And that cultural shift needs to happen, but also, you know, supporting the brands that you want to see exist in the world, because the truth is, every single purchase does make a difference to totally right. And so it’s also equally important to do that. And but with your dollar, neither of those things can happen in a vacuum.

Adam G. Force  13:23  

Yeah, and I do see more cultural shifts, it’s a very slow process, like, Oh, now we have paper straws, because of the whole straw movement, and not everybody, but some people, especially in more progressive areas. And as far as buying products and voting with the dollar, I think they’re kind of like goes back, you know, coming, you know, whether you’re ecommerce or anything and say well, I guess Yeah, ecommerce, basically, tangible products, it’s like, you can not like if there’s one thing I’ve learned about human behavior, relying on people to make these decisions versus making it a natural, like, this is just how we make products, period. That’s the only way you know, like, it just it makes it so much more difficult. Because when anyone gets to that register, and they’re in a pinch, it’s gonna be like, Wow, whatever, what’s my one purchase matter? Anyway, I’m going I got it, I can’t afford this today. Right. And that, that makes it so difficult. And I just see that uphill battle. You know, so to me, it’s almost like having a four way intersection where you say, well, we got to just make sure people make the right decision to slow down and stop instead of just putting a stoplight where we make them stop, right?

Rachel Faller  14:33  

And that’s where it’s kind of like, okay, why not? Why can’t like XYZ Corporation instead of having like, a customer have to make that choice, like just put all the candy bars in sandable wrappers, you know, and then at the end of the day, like if they’re gonna buy a candy bars, they’re gonna get candy bars.

Adam G. Force  14:50  

I know. I mean, and that could be top down policy where those changes could be made, but man, that’s tough. And I’m curious like Coming from your business perspective, I know, there’s been some major shifts to adapt to that we discussed just around like COVID and everything else. But let’s just put that aside for a second. As far as building your brand, you know, you’ve been doing it how many years you’ve been running tonight now?

Rachel Faller  15:17  

I’m 15. So, yeah, yeah. Okay, well, the first iteration of the brand started in 2008. And that actually got rebranded in 2014 as online or at the end of 2013. Actually, yeah, yeah. So yeah, altogether at the end of this year, it’ll be 15 years. But yeah,

Adam G. Force  15:38  

so I’m sure you’ve gone through some shifts and pivots. Oh, yeah. The evolution of the brand, if you will. So based on the stuff we’re talking about, which is all just really important consideration, because I think a lot of brands get into the markets today. And they’re like, Oh, we’re gonna do something good in the world, which is great. But they’re leveraging that as like, their selling point, which is great. It’s part of their brand story. And it could create brand loyalty, I think, because people really respect when brands like take a stand. I mean, they they do the right things. But when no one’s looking, and they have to make a purchase? Um, how have you have you seen an impact? Like, if you compare it to competitors, who are not doing, you know, waste free, and they don’t have the same obligations? That you hold yourself up to? Right? to do? Right? Do you find like, there’s, it’s, it’s, it’s more difficult to? Or is it a sales point for you? Like, I’m trying to, I want understand your perspective on this. Because here, we got to make money, otherwise, we’re not helping anybody. Right. So like, because you you go out of business? Like, what’s your perspective on the challenges for actually selling?

Rachel Faller  16:54  

I would say that, you know, I, we started this business, you know, with an intention to be as sustainable and as ethical as possible from the get go. Yeah. And so that’s really different than a lot of, really, for me, it really started with the people behind it and saying, Hey, we, you know, I was living in Cambodia, I was doing research on sustainable and ethical fashion and working with a number of makers. And, you know, I identified an opportunity to start a business with people I met there. And the goal was, we have this group of people, and we want to figure out what’s, you know, what’s a way to build a business around them and their needs, right? And then how do we then create products that are also as sustainable as possible? And also are what we what our customers want? And then how do we sell those products, which is the complete opposite way of the way most people think about starting a business? Right? They think about their customers first, and they think about, okay, what do my customers want, and how, or maybe they’re a designer, and they’re like, I like making this kind of product. So I’m gonna, you know, make this thing. And then I’m gonna go find someone to make it and the people who are making it are kind of secondary. In some ways, I see our core product as actually being the business itself and the work that we’re doing, and the kind of recreating an environment, a new kind of workplace, in the fashion industry, where people are motivated and excited, and where, you know, they’re excited to come work and make things right. It’s an made maker centric brand that starts with the makers, and then goes to how do we take this amazing group of people this amazing workplace and create a product that also is going to help us facilitate that. So it’s really opposite way of thinking to most brands, and not something that although we’ve gone through a lot of shifts, that’s always been core to our business is the people. And so how that affects us. And how that makes us quite different is that we then our design process is also very different, because we’re basically saying, These are the materials we have. This is the waste that’s literally been thrown away by garment factories this week. And, you know, this is the capacity of our team, and how do we then create a collection out of that, that like, acknowledges all those limitations and all those capacities, and then also suits the needs of our customers? Oh, yeah. Yeah, it’s a different, it’s a different way of going about it. Um, I guess to answer your question, you know, we didn’t set out to say, how can we use sustainability as a selling point, we set out to say sustainability is a core value of our team, how do we most live out our values, and also make something that’s gonna sell to support those values, which is a really different way of a really different way of thinking than, like, how do I create a sustainable product that will sell? Yeah, so that so over time, we’ve seen shifts in terms of how the customers have reacted to that. Um, I think early days, you know, we were very early in this kind of sustainable zero waste movement. We were one of the first you know, zero waste brands out there. Um, and so, you know, also like social media and Google and all that has changed a lot. So we you see Get like incredible organic traffic for those search terms. And we would also get really good press, because we were one of the few brands who was kind of really doing those things on like a deeper level and not just marketing it. And so as more brands have come into the space and have tried to become more sustainable, or who are who are using sustainability as a marketing tactic to some level, it is kind of drowning our voice out in those organic channels. Yeah. And that’s the only reason I find that a bit frustrating is because I know a lot of them are not doing it to the level that we’re doing it. You know, if it was really like, hey, look, all these brands are actually getting more sustainable, that would be great. But the problem is that it’s typically more of the people who have just realized they need to start forming a sustainability strategy. And now they’re going to put all their marketing dollars into telling you how they’re being sustainable, and how they’re, instead of what they’re actually doing. Yeah. So you know, it’s kind of a blessing and a curse, I would say, because I think we have more integrity. And because we’ve always been aligned in that way. We do have much better loyalty from customers. But nowadays, it’s like I think it’s for new customers who are wanting to shop sustainably. The market is so flooded with like greenwashing effectively. Yeah, that it’s hard for people to find, you know, the brands, like us, I believe, who are real? Yeah.

Adam G. Force  21:22  

Yeah. And for anybody listening that doesn’t know, greenwashing that is using sustainability or otherwise, you know, to make money and create, you know, customer trust, but not actually backing away the back end. Yeah. Yeah. You know,

Rachel Faller  21:42  

getting into a lot of difficult I mean, that’s a lot of, you know, point. And that’s that’s a lot of challenging topics. But

Adam G. Force  21:49  

oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. No,

Rachel Faller  21:52  

I think I think what sustainability does for us, or what, what I think living, operating our company in a way that’s aligned with our values as a team, what it does for us from a marketing perspective, is it draws the people to us who really want to find people who are doing it. And because we have that integrity, and we had that long track record, and we are very transparent, we’re very open. I think the people who really get it, really get it and they’re really bought in. So it does really create a lot of loyalty. But in the day, that’s not why we’re doing it. It’s just, we’re doing it, because it’s the right thing to do. And the people who also want that are gonna find us.

Adam G. Force  22:30  

Yeah, and you know, but I guess, as you say,

Unknown Speaker  22:34  

as you say that, it’s tricky. Yeah, it is tricky.

Adam G. Force  22:37  

It is tricky, because you do want to stand by your principles and values and run a business the right way. And you know, getting those loyal loyalists on board is good, because today, every screen is a word of mouth machine, right? So that word of mouth, like even Apple and big players like that. Steve Jobs focus wasn’t mass marketing, it was finding people who just were like insanely obsessed with what they do at Apple loving that product, because they become these word of mouth like machines. So, you know, that’s a really powerful marketing channel, probably the most powerful because it’s a referral, basically, from one person to another, which is going to reduce the trust barrier, it’s gonna, it’s gonna create a bond faster of trust for two words, a brand from a new person, right. So I think it’s great to go after those loyalists. That definitely is helpful. So I, you know, yeah, there’s I was thinking of that picture of like, I don’t drink dairy milk, but they see the pictures of like a cow and a green pasture on the carton. And you’re like, Yeah, right. It’s like these. That’s like the just, that was the greenwashing example. It’s like, you see these pictures as if it’s some beautiful dairy farm at some family owns, but it’s really this awful like a faux factory?

Rachel Faller  23:58  

Yeah, definitely. I don’t I don’t drink milk either. And I haven’t even thought about one of those. Those in a long time. But that’s such a good example. Because it is so it is so like, overt, and people don’t question it. They don’t want to believe the story, right? And that’s exactly what it is. It’s like, you want to believe that there’s like these happy cows or feel just like living in the mountains with the sun shining down on them. And that’s what they are selling to you. They’re selling to you this story that you can drink milk and believe that these animals are happy. That’s

Adam G. Force  24:31  

and people believe is a good example. People believe it, you know? And, you know, I think that like what point though, for a business like yours, like it’s kind of like, you know, you got everybody out there who is playing a certain game, right? And, you know, we may not agree with how they play it, but they’re playing within very loose, loose rules, right? Like New polls, different things, or they’re just doing this where it’s like, I’m gonna get products that sell, I don’t care about the environmental care, I’m just selling and you know, so yeah, to compete there like at what point for you? Do you have to back off on because like you came into it with a lot of new boundaries almost in a sense like this is how we’re playing the game based on we want to we want to live run the business according to these values which you know, I’m all about to I love it. But do you feel that there’s ever a point where you have to loosen that up in order to? Because we want business owners like you to continue? Right? So it’s like, when do we loosen that up in order to make sure you can continue forward? And then you can always reel it back in? Or you know what I’m saying? Like? Is there a point where you think like that sometimes?

Rachel Faller  25:53  

I would say I used to think like that. And I also I think that there’s an idea to that businesses should continue at all costs. And for me, and a business, just continuing for the sake of continuing is not necessarily good if it can’t retain its principles. So in terms of loosening, I would say rather than loosening, I would say changing. And I think there is adapting right. And there is changing your mind about things like there are definitely things that I did early days in my business that I have now, like looked back and been like, oh, we could have done that differently. Or we could have done that. Yeah. So there’s definitely those kinds of things. And there were things that it was like maybe I didn’t have the capacity or the access to you know, certain things, or certain tools or certain ways of thinking and ways of doing things better. And now I’m like, I don’t blame myself for that. But I do think oh, there would have been things I could have done differently. But now I’m learning and I’m growing, I’m changing. So there’s that. But then there’s also, um, I think there are times when, you know, there are like, over the last few years, right? There have been these all these unforeseen factors in the world. And yeah, and there are things that like we’re running a business, it’s really hard to run ads in a normal time, right, because we’re essentially paying like way higher rates for our products, we’re doing things in a much slower, more conscientious manner. And it’s gonna cost a lot more to do that our profit margins are smaller, we have way less cushion. That’s the reality, right, and our product prices are still higher than what you could get from, you know, a traditional factory or, or whatnot. Right? So it is harder to run a business like that already. And then if you throw on a global pandemic, supply chain disruptions and shipping disruptions and a climate crisis, and, you know, wars and all kinds of other stuff, right, like, authoritarian, yeah. Rulers. Fantasy. You know, all of that, right? Like, how, if you’re trying to run a business, and also increasing monopolies? Like, I think that’s a real, like increasing monopolies of like, large corporations is a real threat. Yeah, you know, and that has only gotten worse over the pandemic, and especially in the fashion industry, as well, there’s massive consolidation going on, which is making it even harder for smaller businesses to compete. So given all that, right, like, if, if, if I had to decide to do something that was incredibly against my values in order to keep this business alive, I wouldn’t do it. Because for me, like the success of Tony, is what we’ve been able to accomplish, while we’re still keeping true to our values. If I didn’t, if someone said, Hey, you have to, you can keep your business alive, but you have to pay your workers half as much for example, like, to me, that would not be a success, right? So it’s a little bit about changing our definition of success. If a business like ours cannot, cannot succeed, because we tried to stay true to our principles, that is more a reflection of society failing than it is us failing, right. And I would rather I would rather shut down, then like massively compromise on my principles. And I’ve seen, you know, people take investment money, for example, and radically change and really become diluted on their values and so forth. And I’ve had to pass up money from investors because I again, I would rather be smaller or grow slower than take capital from an investor who’s going to pressure me to change in a way, because the beauty of tonight is our values. Yeah, right. Yeah. So without that, like, we aren’t successful. Um, so I guess that’s my perspective on it. I think I think as a society, part of it is, is about Yes, I want businesses like us to survive and thrive as well. But if society creates an empire MIT in which we cannot thrive. That is society that is politics that is people failing us. Not us failing.

Adam G. Force  30:09  

That’s interesting. Yeah. And I mean, compromising on values. Yeah. I mean, I think that there’s, there’s always it’s like the temptation of the devil on your shoulder, right? Like, man. We can cut some costs over here. All you got to do is this right? And, but I mean, companies, like there’s companies have what was this company to a billion dollar company. I remember I was back. This is several years ago, I was reading a book. And he’s like, they had to get people to work for him for the first like year with no pay. And then, you know, once they really got a foothold, it’s now became this massive company, but they had to believe in that person, and also take that hit. The only reason I thought about that is because he talked about cutting pay and stuff, but like, sometimes there could be short term hits in order to get back on track for long term wins. Right. So now you gotta Yeah,

Rachel Faller  31:05  

I mean, I think that’s somewhat true. But I think it also really depends on okay. So like, if you have investors, or people who are massively privileged, who can take a whole year and not get paid, then sure that sounds great. But like that, what that also says to me is this company is obviously either serving or working with a demographic of people who are very privileged, who can afford to literally take a year off work, like I can’t do that. No, no, no. You know, to me, that says a lot about and you know, there of course, there are startups, right? Where if the founders say, Okay, we’re going to invest our time in exchange for equity, that’s very different to me then using an entire year of somebody’s labor without compensating them. I know, I know. So that that sounds really, I don’t know that I don’t know what the specific

Adam G. Force  31:54  

sound was. It might have been six months, I don’t remember. But it was pretty, pretty crazy. Because the reason I was reading about it, because when I first started change creator, I was the guy trying to run this magazine and stuff, which had crazy overhead. And I was trying to get writers and designers and people I was like, Oh, well, here’s the deal, we’ll do that. I was wheeling and dealing. And I was seeing how these other people dance things in the beginning to get going, you know, and that stood out to me. So yeah, it’s interesting, people come up with all kinds of crazy creative ideas. But I kind of have knowing in the back of my brain, something you mentioned, about your reverse model, almost like, you know, normally it’s market first, right? Not like a product first, meaning you’re not product first, but you’re kind of like materials first. Right?

Rachel Faller  32:41  

That was first and I would say it’s about the product, in a way is the work environment and the company culture that we want to create. And creating this environment for our team, like our customer is actually kind of our team, right? We’re trying to create a work environment in the garment space that actually honors and uphold these people. To do so we need to make clothes and we need to say, yeah,

Adam G. Force  33:04  

yeah, right. Well, in the clothes, I mean, hey, that’s yes. Okay. But the clothes are a product that you produce to provide living wages to all these amazing people that design them. So we do need to, we do need to sell them and close. Yep, yeah. Otherwise, nobody does. Nobody gets paid. If not, right. So you know. Now the interesting thing, though, is, there must be like, I still feel like even with that model, you could be market first meaning Hey, what are the trends? What’s really hot? Like? What’s different? What’s unique? And then, can we back into it with the materials we have? No? Well,

Rachel Faller  33:47  

it’s a little bit of both. Like, I would say that, of course, like to succeed in the fashion industry, like you have to design products that people want to buy. And, you know, and going back to your question about how much does sustainability motivate people, you know, what I’ve seen is that the sustainability and the ethics and all of that is what gets people to your brand. But once they’ve landed on your website, and however, they came to your website, and they’re seeing all your beautiful products, what’s gonna actually make them buy is whether or not they bought that product? Do they need that product? Does it fit them? Is it their style? And is the price right for them? Right? So at the end of the day, it’s like the sustainability isn’t what’s going to make that final sale, it might help create loyal customers, it might help bring people to you through PR and marketing and so forth. But ultimately, clothing is a very personal thing. And it’s ultimately comes down to like comfort style fit. Price. And that’s the end of it. Right? And so if you don’t watch

Adam G. Force  34:45  

television making, right Right, yeah. Which is all such a cool, brand sustainable ways for you. But then once they get past that emotional, it’s like alright, now let me do my logical checklist as a fit. Is it my style that right

Rachel Faller  34:59  

And even that is emotional to because for a lot of people, especially women, where it’s like, it’s about how clearly makes them feel, and, you know, fit is a very emotional thing as well, you know, and it’s also tied up so much in how we view, gender and bodies and ability to, you know, class and all of this stuff. Right? So it’s, it’s actually way more emotional and self. You know, it’s a process that could create self reflection, but typically doesn’t. So it is it’s a complicated, it’s a complicated thing. But yeah, it’s, at the end of the day, you know, navigating all of that and figuring out how to produce a product that is also going to make our customers. For us, it’s not so much about looking good, but it’s, it’s actually how does this garment make you feel? Is it something that you want to put on your body? does it align with who you want to be as a person? And so there’s this kind of customer satisfaction, I think that comes from not just like, it’s cute, it makes me look good. But it actually makes me feel like I put this on and I feel like aligned with who I want to be in the

Adam G. Force  36:09  

world. Yeah, and I love that. Yeah. So it’s

Rachel Faller  36:13  

something that does serve our customers as well, right. It’s not just that they’re, they’re helping us, but we’re also helping them because we’re providing them a product or a service that allows them to live out their values.

Adam G. Force  36:24  

That’s That’s exactly it. I mean, it feels good to buy something that, you know, comes from a good place. Right, right. I mean, every time someone buys one of Jake’s bags, because it’s sourced, and they’re like, so excited about it, I mean, literally, the bag is twice as much as anything on the market. But when they buy it, they’re like, This is amazing. And I’m so excited to be part of this thing.

Rachel Faller  36:47  

And you’re proud to wear it and you tell your friends about it. And it’s like, and that’s where kind of that loyalty comes in, as repeat customers. But it’s like, you’re making people, you’re creating your community. And I know that’s kind of marketing buzzwords or whatever. But like people are part of making that work possible. And they’re part of that community and supporting that, like, yeah, and people buy these clothes, like, not only does it feel good for them, but they like they can feel like they’re supporting this, you know, different vision.

Adam G. Force  37:14  

Yeah, I like that. Now, if you’re creating things from materials that you have, are you if you have a top seller, are you able to continue making that top seller or does it fade away?

Rachel Faller  37:28  

Well, sometimes it really depends, because a lot of the materials so we go to these, like secondhand markets, where there’s just like, piles and piles of scrap fabrics that are leftover from the factories. And a lot of the fabrics that we see, it’ll be the similar types of fabrics, like you know, the gap is always going to be making black T shirts, and navy blue T shirts and gray T shirts. So there’s always going to be those fabrics, right. But then there’s also some more unique colors. And you know, it also is very seasonal. Like a lot of times we’ll see, like last season’s trend colors will be like in the piles of waste. So it’s and there’s some stuff that I mean, there’s a lot of stuff that we wouldn’t use. So we can kind of select, like what we want out of these, and then we buy it by the kilogram. And so um, you know, we pull out all these cracks and these bolts of fabric and then they wait for us and so forth. And they’re like kind of these remnant dealers who go through what the garment factories are throwing away and select what they think they can resolve. Interesting. Yeah, so if there’s a fabric that, so So certain certain times we design products around fabrics that we know, we’re always gonna find, that’s why we use a lot of Jersey, like T shirts, fabric, because that a lot of clothes are now made out of those types of fabrics. And then we also sometimes will have limited edition fabrics where we’re like, Okay, this style, we’re gonna make this fabric when it’s gone, it’s gone. And then maybe, you know, if it was really popular, we might rerun it in another color, or fabric. Right? Okay. Yeah. Yeah,

Adam G. Force  39:02  

I mean, because yeah, I mean, that just came to mind because as I think like when we work with people, I’m like, What’s your top seller? What’s your, you know, I can ask certain questions about things. And I was like, geez, I wonder if you could have that consistently for people or not. So it sounds like there are certain things that could be consistent, right? In some cases, colors could change and stuff like

Rachel Faller  39:24  

that. Right. Exactly. Okay.

Adam G. Force  39:28  

That’s, that’s interesting. Okay. So I guess, you know, we’ll, we’ll wrap up here and I’m curious, just where, I mean, what’s the I know we talked about some stuff like and I know like, there’s a lot going on in the world and everything. So where are you? Where’s your head at now? With tone lay as far as just getting through 2020? Well, you know, next steps like how are we adapting to everything thing like, we’re What do you think in at this point?

Rachel Faller  40:03  

Oh, gosh. Um, so there’s a lot of different ideas. I mean, the thing, that’s, I think the thing that’s been hard over the last few years is like, everything has changed so much in the world. And even like business modes and structures. And, you know, like, I’ve said this a few times, but if you pick up a business textbook from before, 2020, basically, you throw it out the window, because it’s completely irrelevant, like everything is like completely different, no advice that anyone can give you, it’s gonna help you. So it’s really kind of taking it day by day, like, a big part of it is just really, like, we can’t forecast like a year in advance, we can’t even work we can’t forecast five years in advance, let alone like, you know, six months in advance, right. So really building a lot of I think on a bigger picture is building a lot of flexibility into our business and building more space for things to go wrong, essentially. And, um, you know, part of an, you know, we’ve been hit with a supply chain issues, and we’ve been hit with closures of our workshops, and, you know, having to be really flexible with people taking off work, and all of that affects our production capacity. And then when we can’t produce we don’t have enough price. So we’re still paying the same rates, you know, I’m the cost of shipping went up. And there’s and then you know, with every, there’s, there’s so much uncertainty. So I think the biggest thing for me right now is really thinking about, like, how do we structure this business in a way that there is a lot of flexibility, not only as a business, not only financially, but also for all the people that work at Tony, who also need flexibility, because there’s just a lot of stress going on in the world. And then, you know, I’d say on a, on another level, like, we have a couple of like, you know, we’re just exploring a lot of different options for new ways to pivot and new strategies to test and there’s a couple of like, exciting potential projects coming up, but I can’t quite say what they are right now. But there are like things in the works. But it’s just like, at the moment, I’m also just like, you know, what, we’re humans, we’re trying to all do the best we can, things are gonna keep going wrong, because that is how the world is right now. And we kind of have to be okay with that, and just kind of ride with it and just do our best. So that’s, that’s kind of where my head’s at. I’m, I’m really proud of what we’ve accomplished as a business. And regardless of, you know, if, like, we can’t sustain in the, in this future world, because it’s a really hard world to operate in, I’m still gonna be really proud of what we’ve accomplished.

Adam G. Force  42:30  

So you guys will you guys will sustain very well, because you’ll find ways to adapt with the the changes and stuff. And you know, honestly, marketing is nothing more than a game of perception. So when you can just kind of position this thing the right way and find the right hook, you’ll, you’ll get back on track, after all the crazy COVID and everything else we talked about that’s going on in the world. But you know, if you made it 15 years so far with all the other ups and downs, I’m sure you guys will navigate your way.

Rachel Faller  43:05  

I started my business in 2008. And everybody was like, why are you crazy? Yeah, right. But, you know, at that point, I was like, it couldn’t. It could only go up from here, right? I guess we’re going through another round of that. But yeah.

Adam G. Force  43:24  

Oh, no, no, the pendulum always swings both ways. So just hang

Rachel Faller  43:28  

tight. Yeah. Thank you so much. Well, great chatting with you.

Adam G. Force  43:32  

It’s great chatting with you, too. I appreciate you coming back on and kind of just talking about everything that you have going on today. And I just like sharing your I love your strong stance on, you know, your beliefs and values. You know, so I’ve always found it a struggle in the social entrepreneurship world of sticking to your values and being money minded and things like that and trying to find that balance. You know what I mean? Because you do need both right, and one way shape or form. So, I appreciate you sharing today. And yeah, it was just good to see

Rachel Faller  44:05  

you too. Thank you so much.

Adam G. Force  44:07  

Thanks for tuning in to the authentic brand mastery podcast. Don’t forget to stop by change creator.com For more information, fresh articles, content, and our services if you’re looking to build a brand that people love, and please stop by iTunes, leave us a five star review. We appreciate your support.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

David McKnight: Here’s How You Can Build Your Personal Brand & Image with Intention

David McKnight: Here’s How You Can Build Your Personal Brand & Image with Intention

Building your own personal brand from the ground up is no piece of cake. A rock-solid personal brand isn’t something that you can build overnight. 

Not only will it take years to put your best foot forward but you’ll have to spend your valuable time and efforts on it.

And while you’re trying to build your personal brand, some critical questions you need to consider are:

  • How are you showing up in the world? 
  • What messages and signals are you firing off? 
  • Are they good or bad? 

And these are the questions that our expert guest David McKnight can answer.

For more than 20 years now, David has helped many entrepreneurs, as well as executives, develop their personal brands as well as their image.

More about David:

David, the founder of McKnight Image Lab, has been helping high-achievers leverage their personal brand and professional image, allowing them to get higher salaries as well better opportunities.

With over two decades of experience as an image consultant, some of the top executives David has worked with include the executives from American Express, Goldman Sachs, and PwC.

Interesting Key Points from Discussion Between Adam & David:

  • David shares his background and experience in the branding space.
  • David explains what personal branding and a personal brand means to him.
  • David shares his insights on why professionals should prioritize their personal branding efforts – how can it help them grow their business?
  • What does a luxury brand mean in David’s opinion?
  • Adam asks David what are the kind of clients he works with?
  • David shares his six-step personal branding framework 
  • David shares his thought on alignment between personal brand and company brand. Are there any alignments and considerations on how to represent company brand versus personal brand?
  • For people looking forward to building a rock-solid personal brand, David shares some key insights and tips that they can personally use to build their own process.
  • How important is it to be authentic and should you be changing who you are to build a strong personal brand?
  • How can people learn more about David and his processes?

Want to chat with David? You can find him at https://www.mcknightimagelab.com

Conclusion

In today’s ever-competitive world, you need to build a strong personal brand – doesn’t matter which profession or field you belong to. And we can’t stress this one enough. And that’s coming from two branding experts with years of experience in the field.

And if you are trying to build one yet are finding yourself stuck, allow Adam to help you out. 

Schedule a strategy call with Adam at  https://studio.changecreator.com

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Episode Transcript (unedited, will likely have typos):

Adam G. Force  0:00  

How do social entrepreneurs and small businesses create an authentic brand people love so they can get the edge they need to stand out, create Predictable Revenue and compete against the big guys. That’s what we’re here to discuss. I’m Adam forest, the founder of change creator and this is the authentic brand mastery podcast

What’s up everybody, welcome back to the show. This is the authentic brand mastery podcast brought to you by change creator. I love branding, it is a meaty, meaty topic, okay, you know, how are we communicating our brands, this is visual, this is through experience, this is through the messages that we have on screen or coming out of our mouths. Branding is just a very powerful and overlooked part of most people’s businesses. You know, we don’t most people I talk to they don’t have brand strategies, they don’t have their real depth of their positioning mapped out. You know, positioning is a game changer, because marketing is all about perception, and how you package up what you are, is going to be a huge, huge part of your success. So that’s such an critical part of the planning. And today, you know, we’re gonna get into some of the visual concepts, but it goes deeper than that. We’re gonna be talking to somebody by the name of David McKnight. Okay, so he is the founder of big night image lab where they have they do a lot of work with high achievers, alright, so this could be entrepreneurs, C suite executives, and the you know, they leverage their professional image and personal brands. So we’re talking about personal branding. And in order, this helps them drive higher, whether it’s if they’re working in a company, they drive higher salaries, move up the corporate ladder. And if you’re an entrepreneur, you’re building that personal brand, to bring yourself to the table, that next version of yourself right now, David’s been doing stuff for over two decades as an image consultant, and his clients include people from executives from like American Express, Goldman Sachs, you know, brands like that. And so I wanted to just kind of hear his perspective on these things and bring that to the table for you. Because we need to intentionally think about our personal brands. All right, so we’re gonna get into it in just a minute, guys, don’t forget to leave us a review on iTunes. Are you getting any helpful insights? Is this show been helpful for you on your journey, right, we want to hear from you, it supports us. And that’s one way you can give back. And so show us some love. Also, we have right now, two spots open. So we have one spot for E commerce open, right? If you are an E commerce brand, and you’re in the social impact space, particularly, I love CPG brands, and we’re doing some really incredible stuff, we have 94% conversion rates with new leads that turn into buyers. It’s incredible. And we want to work with you. So we have a very unique sales strategy to implement. And we can be up and running in less than 30 days, we also are opening a spot now, if you are a coach or a service business, and you’re building your personal brand, and you really need to elevate your presentation online and you want to set up a sale system will talk to you as well. We’re looking to fill that spots, but act quickly. They do go pretty fast. So I’m throwing it out there guys, just you can reach out at Adam at change creator.com Or just go to change creator.com and go to our services and fill out the application. Alright guys, let’s get into this conversation. I hope to hear from you. Thanks. Hey, show me the heat. No. Hey, David, welcome to the authentic grand mastery podcast. How are we doing today?

David Knight  4:05  

Adam, I’m doing really well. Thank you so much for having me.

Adam G. Force  4:10  

Yeah, now we reschedule a couple of times I knew we I knew we’d find our way.

David Knight  4:17  

Time is always a charm. And I’m

Adam G. Force  4:18  

excited to chat with you. Because, you know, as a branding guy, I like to talk about personal branding as well. We’ve been doing a lot with, you know, ecommerce businesses and things like that. And I have also worked with a lot of people who are creating their personal brand, so coaches and things like that. So give us just a little bit of background and your experience in that space so we can understand where you’re coming from.

David Knight  4:41  

Sure, absolutely. Well, as you said, my name is David McKnight. I’m a certified image consultant, as well as a certified executive coach. And I actually started my business in 2006. At the time, I was working full time as a consultant. I was working for a company called Accenture. In short, and I started like business really as a way of fulfilling my passion and my love of style and presentation. And I worked in corporate for 20 years, 15 years as a management consultant, and also five years on Wall Street. I’ve been full time in my practice my coaching and image consulting practice for the past five years, I’ve also written a book called The Zen of executive presence. And so I’m really known for three things I’m help, I’m known for helping people with their executive presence, their professional image, so their style, their periods, but also their personal brand. And I think that personal brand is so important. And I’m excited to dig into some details and share with your audience some practical tips about how they can really elevate and really leverage their personal brand more effectively.

Adam G. Force  6:03  

Yeah. So to get people off on the right foot, how do you personally, I think there’s people throw around different definitions. So let’s define in your world, what a personal brand means to you.

David Knight  6:15  

Sure, absolutely. Well, fundamentally, a personal brand is really the collection of images that people receive, or people collect about you over time. So those images could be the way that you dress or just the way that you act and things of that nature. So it’s really everything that you are projecting to the world. I think our personal brand is also comprised of things that we can’t see. So those invisible things. So it’s our attitude, our behavior, how we treat people. So in short, it’s really everything about you. And it’s important to think about our personal grant intentionally, because something that I always say, to my audiences, or to my clients is that we all have a personal brand, whether we think so or not. However, it’s either by design or by defaults. And so I think we both know that for a lot of people, they have a personal brand, that’s by defaults. And so my mission, my goal is to help people to think intentionally about their brand, so that they can truly design the brand that they want.

Adam G. Force  7:35  

Yeah, I mean, we give off lots of signals. Right. And I’m glad you mentioned that there are a good amount that we don’t see. Right. And yeah, I think that goes a long way in capturing just the whole gamut of branding. And I. So I think, you know, when you’re talking about building this personal brand, I’d like to kind of get your thoughts on. Whoa, what like, what what, what does that mean to my work? Right? So you mentioned professionals, now we’re talking to entrepreneurs. And so they have personal brands, you might be a coach, you can be a service business, you might be the face of that brand, or you’re just the CEO, but you’re taking meetings, you’re talking on stage. So what is a personal brand? But by developing a personal brand, what does that do for you, right, as far as the business?

David Knight  8:29  

Yeah, absolutely. Great question. Well, really, by having a very clear, strong, and I’ll even throw in the word premium, personal brand, what you can actually do is you can increase your rates, you can charge higher prices, if that’s the world that we’re living in, where it’s about increasing your income, which for a lot of people, I’m sure they would want to so. So when you focus on your brand, and you develop this premium brand, like I said, you can actually charge much more for services. It’s also important to think about as we just stick with the concept of a premium brand. It’s important to know what’s important to your market or to your audience. And so for example, let’s say FedEx, I don’t consider FedEx to be a luxury brand. However, the employees are not dressed in suits or ties. They’re dressed like delivery men and women. But in terms of what’s important to their audience, it’s about making sure that that package is delivered overnight within 24 hours, and it’s something that they do better than a lot of their competitors. So I think it’s important to also understand what’s important to your audience and making sure that your brand is Be consistent and cohesive to their expectations and to their perception of what they’re looking for.

Adam G. Force  10:07  

And why would you categorize something like FedEx as a luxury brand? What does that? I guess? I’m not?

David Knight  10:13  

Yeah, because it’s a premium service. So for example, if you think about the United States Postal Office or postal service, I would not consider that to be a premium service. And so therefore, FedEx is able to charge probably two to three times the amount that we would pay to have a package delivered at the United States Postal Service.

Adam G. Force  10:38  

Gotcha, gotcha. Okay. So premium. Yeah, that’s, that’s a good word for it. Okay, and so tell me, I guess have you know, who do you most commonly work with at this point?

David Knight  10:53  

Yeah, I’ve worked with a lot of executives, CEOs, C suite professionals. And for them, given the role that they are in the visibility of their role, a lot of them are starting to think more about their personal brand, because it’s not just from an internal perspective, but also the brand that they’re projecting externally as a representative of the organization. So last year, or actually, maybe it was the end of 2020, I had someone come out, reach out to me, he was recently promoted as the chief medical officer of a large healthcare organization. And he’s a medical doctor is that David, you know, I’m reaching out to you because I feel like I need to elevate my image, my personal brand and be perceived as a leader, this is a huge promotion for me. And he said, I’m really good at what I do. But I also acknowledge and know what I’m not good at. And so he said, I’m reaching out to you to help me in this area. So long story short, we worked on his personal brand, we worked on his wardrobe, we worked on some coaching around leadership style. And he actually came back to me a year later. And he said, David, I wanted to thank you for everything that you’ve done. Because as a result, I’ve been promoted to president of the organization. So if he did not click back step, if he was not intentional, about the brand about the image that he was projecting, chances are, he may not have received that promotion. And so that’s just one little quick story about the importance of controlling, and really being intentional and strategic about the brand that it is you’re putting out there.

Adam G. Force  12:52  

So tell me a little bit about the process. Maybe we could stick with that story for a minute. So what does it look like? Like? What’s the conversation that kicks off that relationship? And how do we like what kind of, you know? What kind of insights do you need? And then what kind of changes does that lead to? For somebody? Curious, I can, obviously, I can make the obvious a point of like, well, we may talk about how we dress and how we present ourselves. What’s What’s the impetus for driving those decisions? And is there a behavioral change as well, like, well, maybe like the way you’re carrying yourself? Is their body language? I can you get into some of these ideas? And and tell us a little bit about that process?

David Knight  13:39  

Yeah, absolutely. So I do have a six step process or framework that I’ve used to walk my clients through in terms of elevating and kind of creating that more premium personal brand. So step number one is to assess where they currently are. Because in order for us to make improvements, we need to know where we currently are, how are we currently perceived? Where are the gaps, the deficiencies until we spend some time really understanding where they are and where they want to go? What are their goals? The next step is that we get really intentional about designing their personal brand. So how do they want to be perceived? What are some of their core content pillars because if you think about a personal brand, usually we want to be perceived as an expert, or our ability to solve a problem or deliver service. So really thinking about it from a core content perspective. A lot of times I work with people and they’re not able to succinctly communicate their value or what their personal brand is. So, in this step, the second step, we really get very crystal clear on how to be able to communicate and articulate that. Then the third step is, it’s important to design what I call your digital dossier. So it’s looking at the LinkedIn profile, it’s looking at the website, it’s looking at your online photos, your online bio, and making sure that it’s all aligned. And it’s harmonious to the image that you want to project. So those first three steps, I really call them the clarity steps are getting really clear about what you want to present to the work. Yeah, yeah. Then the second phase is all focused on visibility. So we’re really clear. Now we need to make sure that we’re showing up and what people see is really aligned to the, to our messaging. So one of the things I do is I do a visual audit, I audit their wardrobe, I audit their background, I audit the things that sometimes we don’t think about, we don’t think that there has important as our service or qualifications. And those things are very important. But we also need to think about the visual communication. Because Adam, you can walk into a room and not say a word, and people will form opinions about who this guy is just based on what they see. And so I think it’s so important to remember that to remember the visual communication. And then the last two steps is to leverage the network. And then to make sure that we are promoting the brand, in the right spaces, the right places to the right audiences, because a lot of my clients have this fear of self promotion, they don’t want to be seen as bragging or showing off. And so how have you really kind of balanced that line between promoting, but not coming across as braggadocious. So those are really the the high level steps that we

Adam G. Force  17:04  

get, yeah. And how long as that process take for you to get through.

David Knight  17:09  

That process can typically take, I would say, anywhere from three months to six months, depending on the client’s goals and how fast they want to move. Some clients are okay with moving slower, the example that I shared with you earlier, but doctor who was promoted, that was a three month process. And so we were actually very aggressive because we wanted to be able to get it done within 90 days. I like to help my clients think about a 90 day Transition Plan, especially when it’s a new big promotion. Or if they’re entering a new company, you want to really hit the ground, very kind of you want to be strong when you hit the ground. And so that’s really the plan that we came up with the timeline that we used,

Adam G. Force  18:02  

okay. Now, let’s say you know, even doctors, like I’ve worked in the medical space for 10 years, WebMD did all kinds of stuff. And we worked with a lot of doctors, so they might be doing video shoots as a thought leader, they might be on stage for an event or, and same with entrepreneurs, right? Videos, events, like all the stuff they’re doing which creates publicity, gets attention from people. And so you’re always you’re putting yourself out there when those things are captured digitally, they’re spread around the internet. And that’s kind of like touch points, right. And so having a consistent personal brand that is at each of those touch points is important. So it sounds like to me, you’re helping people get clear just on, you know, what is that visual representation? What is that message? Because that will trickle down into all these assets? Right? Yeah, and yes. And so, no, you’re good, you’re good. I’m just kind of thinking through your thought process here. And so how does that now do a lot of times these companies, you know, I’m thinking about the entrepreneurship space, and you may be working with some of these executives, but you work on personal brand. So, to me, you know, there could be a brand that’s already developed for a business, right? And then you have that CEO who is kind of developing the personal brand. So are there alignment and considerations, I guess, how are we representing the company brand versus the personal because now you’re saying personal brand, it seems like you’re aligning that more to the person. Right. And so is there synergies there? Is that like, considered through the process?

David Knight  19:53  

Yes, absolutely. I think it’s really important to think about the company’s culture. their values, their mission, their vision. I’ve worked with some clients who didn’t necessarily align with the organization that they were working. They go, yeah. And and so we actually discussed, okay, what are the options, while one option is we can stay there, and really create ways for us to try to feel as if we belong. However, if that really isn’t gelling, then we look at the alternative, which is to really create an exit strategy. But I think creating the exit strategy is a bit extreme for most people. But it can be really important, and it definitely is a viable option. However, it’s important to also make sure that your brand is somewhat aligned to the industry or the organization that you’re working with, if it is, if there is a good fit. Some people don’t think about this, they think that so a lot of especially some of the more junior audiences that I’ve spoken to, it’s really about being authentic. And yes, I will say, authenticity, authenticity is extremely important. And we should always be authentic. But being authentic doesn’t mean that you have the right to just show up at a meeting and a T shirt. If you’re working for a financial services company. That’s a little more formal. And so I think it’s really important to be able to read the room, but also read the organization read the culture, and not really we need to remove these blind spots around what the organization’s values are, what they stand for, and what we stand for, and seeing, how can we create that synergy? How can we create that alignment, that harmony? Knowing that if that just doesn’t exist? Then it could be time for us to maybe make a move?

Adam G. Force  22:19  

Yeah, I mean, but so a lot of people I’ve seen, they could be, let’s say, you’re a coach, and you’re running, you could be running a multi seven figure business, right? And you’re the CEO, but you as your brand, as the as like the coach who started that company, is the company, right? So they’re like, have you seen that? Like, have you worked with people in that situation much where it’s one in the same the company and the the person is one in the same? Which can make their life a lot easier? That’s for sure. And I’m curious if you have experience with with working with that?

David Knight  22:55  

Yeah, I mean, I’ll take myself as a perfect example. Everything that I do everything that I say everything that I put out, it represents my company, but it also represents me personally. And so I need to think about what am I putting out on social media? What am I putting out on my website, and thinking back to does this really represent what I want to communicate to my audience, or not. And so I think it is important to be intentional about those messages that we talked about. But at the same time, I think it’s also important to show up authentically and show up as yourself and not feel as if you have to wear a mask when you are presenting and be someone else at home, I understand that we want to make adjustments. Again, it’s that term Reading Room. So when I’m, let’s say giving a presentation, I might be a little more formal, versus if I’m hanging out at happy hour with friends. But I’m still fundamentally at my core, the same person. And I think it’s really important to get clear on our values. In fact, there’s an exercise that I do with my clients, I’ve created what I call a personal brand canvas. And on this canvas, we identify what are your core values? What are your passions? What is your purpose? These are all things that really should not change no matter who you’re dealing with, what setting you’re in what you’re wearing. So it’s really important to understand the core elements that really make up who we are our identity, but the brand in terms of like just the visual messaging that can kind of flow and be adjusted according to the audience that we’re working with.

Adam G. Force  24:59  

Huh, yeah. Okay. And, um, you know, as people are developing these processes, I’m curious, just on some of the most significant types of changes that are happening that maybe are pretty common across the board. So any, I’m guessing I’m looking for some insights or tips for people on? What are some just main considerations that they can walk away from this discussion and say, let me let me think about these three things, right, that are really important to my personal brand, that just kind of might help shift their perspective a little bit. So, you know, you’ve worked with a bunch of clients, and I’m sure there’s some commonalities that you might be seeing. And so are there any real big pieces to the puzzle that you could share? That could kind of get our audience thinking a little bit about their personal brand?

David Knight  25:59  

Yeah, absolutely. Well, step one, I think is to really just pause and be honest with yourself and do almost like a self evaluation or self assessment. And to ask yourself, Am I happy with my personal brand? Are there opportunities for improvement that I see for myself? Something else that you can do along these lines is to identify three friends. And these may be colleagues, they could be social friends, but depending on kind of the audience that you’re looking to serve, identify maybe perhaps a cross section. But as these three individuals, how would you describe my personal brand? What are three words that you would use to describe my Yeah, and a lot of times this feedback is really helpful, because it really understood helps us to understand how we’re perceived, right? I think that in some cases, there’s a misalignment between our eye and our perception. And so we want to make sure that we are aligned with how we’re perceived and what we’re intending our message and our brand to be. So I think that’s something that’s very, very simple, it’s very easy and practical for people to under to be able to do and implement. So that’s one thing, I would also encourage people to really identify their strengths, I believe in taking a strength based approach to developing and refining one’s personal brand. Again, as I mentioned, some people come to me and they’re not able to articulate what their brand is, what they’re good at what their strength is. And so something that I encourage some of my audiences to do, when I’m, let’s say, speaking, and I don’t have the opportunity to coach everyone is I send them to a website called gallup.com. And I encourage them to take an assessment, it’s probably a 15 minute assessment, because 1999 is the Strength Finders assessment, Clifton jump binders. And that’s a great, great starting point to just identify what are your top five strengths? And then based on that, see how you can incorporate them or leave them and integrate them into your personal brand more intentionally? Yeah, because if you have a personal brand that’s based on your strengths based on your gifts, then that’s when it will come come across as as something that is authentic. And that’s when you’re most likely to resonate with your audience and develop a rapport when you’re leaving from a place of strength and natural strength that is, so those are two simple things that people can do. And then the last thing I’ll say is to realize that we’re living in a 2d world these days, many of us are still are, although a lot of the a lot of the mandates are being removed. Thank God, I think we’re starting to get out and striving to interact with people but still there are many of us who are working from home and many of us who have chosen to stay working from home. So I want us to think about what is showing up in this small little frame on our laptops or our computers and be intentional about what we are projecting because when you are online as you and I are and where looking at each other through zoom, versus being in a room, there’s something that’s lost. And so you want to make sure that you are really optimizing what people can see, and what they hear. Because they can’t really feel your energy through the screen. And so just thinking about these three areas that I just mentioned, I think that it will give people a better sense of what they can do to actually start to improve and own and design the brand that they want to have.

Adam G. Force  30:42  

Yeah, no, that’s helpful. And I wonder if people might start thinking, you know, through hearing some of these things, it’s like, am I am? Am I trying to change who I am? So how do you respond to that? When someone’s like, Well, I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna change who I am and be something I’m not right. So you talked about authenticity. But we do like, I guess, before you answer that question. You know, when people are thinking about running a business, for example, and stepping into a new role, like the doctor who got that job, they are stepping into a new role, so they need to kind of become that version of themselves. Right. So that’s how I see it. I’m curious on your perspective of how this is related to changing who you are.

David Knight  31:35  

Yeah. I love this question. And I get this question. Occasionally, in terms of people feeling as if they have to change who they are. Yeah. And it’s not about changing who they are. It’s about really teaching them to be able to adjust and adapt. So one of the things that I do with my clients is, depending on the client, depending on their role, is we might get into a session or two about their leadership style. And very simply, there’s an article that I really enjoy it, I refer to a lot of my clients. There’s a woman who wrote an article about leadership style. And fundamentally, she defines leadership style as really across two dimensions or two ends of the spectrum, one is leaning more powerfully. And the other is leaning more, what’s called attractive. So people who lean more powerful tend to be they can sometimes be the loudest person in the room, they tend to be fast talkers, they tend to talk more than they listen, they tend to be very bold, and somewhat aggressive. So these are all kind of traits of what’s called the powerful style. The people who tend to lean more attractive, they tend to be quieter, they tend to be more thoughtful, they tend to ask more questions, they tend to be a little more kind of strategic in terms of their thinking, analytical. And so which style is right, neither one, there’s no right or wrong answer. And guess what, just because you lean more powerful doesn’t mean that you’re always going to be successful. And just because you will be more attractive doesn’t mean that you won’t be successful, or you will be, it’s all about being self aware, and being able to adapt and adjust according to our audience. I call it having the ability to self modulate. And so without this ability, without this understanding of self, and this self consciousness, right, and I don’t mean self consciousness in a negative way. But just being self aware, then, I mean, it really impacts and impedes your ability to be a successful leader. And so there’s, again, nothing wrong with either style. It’s if you are someone who leans more attractive, what are the situations and the circumstances when you need to lead more powerfully? Yeah. And vice versa. So to me, that’s what it’s all about. It’s not about changing your personality. It’s not about changing your values. It’s about understanding who you are, but being able to adapt.

Adam G. Force  34:48  

Yeah, I think that makes sense. And it made me think about like if you were in a room with three to five year olds, You’re probably going to change how you’re speaking to them and how you’re behaving with them. Because you are adapting to your audience in the sense of these are younger children. So I’m still add on, I’m still the same person, and a nice guy, but I am going to kind of change my tone a little bit and be a little bit more patience and understanding with their chaos. You know? And so kind of understanding the role that you’re in and becoming more aware of how to lean into being a better leader or, you know, whatever it might be. I think that makes sense, you know, so, and you use the word intentional, a lot that that stood out to me today. So I think whether you know, it being intentional, in general, to me is super important. So for your business, and for your own personal branding. And when you have intention, it means you thought about it. You’re honest about what the situation looks like. And now you can actually approach different scenarios effectively, because you’ve thought about it, you’re not just winging it. Right. So I think attentional is a powerful, powerful way to do things effectively.

David Knight  36:11  

Yeah, absolutely. And I’m so glad that the example that I shared made sense, because I just want your audience to know that I am not here saying that you have to wear the suit all the time. Or when you do your podcast interviews, you need to show up in the top No, absolutely not. So two more really, really quick examples. Sure. Mark Zuckerberg, he’s known for wearing his hoodies. He has. I mean, that’s his trademark. But when he was testifying in front of Congress, he wasn’t in a hoodie. He, I guess his team encouraged to, to wear a suit and a tie. And it’s very appropriate. It doesn’t mean that he’s not the same person. Right? It doesn’t mean that he still doesn’t enjoy his hobbies. It’s just all about really aligning to the audience. Because a lot of times we don’t align, when you don’t have that ability to be able to decipher and determine when it’s important to adjust and adapt, then a lot, a lot of times our messages will be lost. Yeah. Yeah. Because we’re so focused on like, I don’t know, maybe what this person is wearing, or how they’re behaving or their hand gestures, or what have you. And it could be an area that they’re completely unaware of. Yeah, so I do think that it has, it serves a purpose, and it can be helpful. And just knowing that it’s a tool, it’s a tool that you can choose to use when you need to go. Yeah, in terms of, I think we’re right now talking a lot about the visual piece. And so just knowing that it’s a tool, and that’s something that I I communicate to my clients, I believe that our clothing are just a form of non visual nonverbal communication.

Adam G. Force  38:13  

It is I spoke to somebody who does analysis on like facial expressions and body language, and he said that facial expressions and how we carry ourselves body language, so non non verbal communications, you communicate way more than the words that come out of your mouth. So, all these things play a role in the impact and perception. And hey, entrepreneurs, guess what, when it comes to marketing, Perception is everything. So this is all part of this equation for you know, getting to your goals. So, yeah, that perception game is big. The funny thing we’ll wrap up here, I remember, I was watching American Idol, I don’t know, this could be 10 years ago. Now, I have never watched that show forever. But it was guy, this kid Phil Phillips, or something like that. And he won the show, he ended up winning this whole show. But during the process they brought in designers, so this is totally just physical, you know, aesthetics that we’re talking about. So how they dressed fashionably, and they were telling because he was the guy that would go out and like jeans and just like a gray rundown t shirt, and he was just, that’s what he wore. And they are, we’re gonna get you some color because it’s going to be better with you’re going to appeal to the audience more and all this stuff. And so they set him up, did this whole like session with like Armani or something, and they call him out on stage. And he came out in the gray t shirt. And I was like, man just stuck to his guns on that. And for some reason that always stood out to me. And he ended up winning that show. Now that’s just one small example of visual appeal and I’m a branding guy. So I know that the data says a lot about you know, the impact for first impression wins and trust, right? Trust is a big factor. And it really can make a significant difference in your business. So anyway, I thought that was a fun little story. So we’ll wrap up here. How do people learn more about, you know, your processes what you’re doing? And if they want to connect with you, where do they go?

David Knight  40:21  

Yeah, absolutely. Well, first of all, Adam, let me just say again, thank you so much for having me on your podcast. I really enjoyed the conversation. It was a lot of fun. And I actually remember that guy from Yes, I thought I was like an American Idol fanatic. Yeah, of course, after like 10 years, you, we kind of get tired of it. So I haven’t watched it in a while. But that was a great example and great story, in terms of how people can get in touch with me and where they can find me or reach me a couple of ways. Number one, my website is a great place and I have resources, excuse me that your audience can download and kind of access free information. So it’s McKnight image lab.com. They can also find me on Instagram at McKnight image and also LinkedIn. i They can search for David McKnight. I’m pretty high in terms of the rankings if you search for David, I think I’m like the first one. So yeah, those are a few ways. And I would love to see how I can support your audience or what have you. So

Adam G. Force  41:39  

cool. Well, I appreciate it. It was fun chatting with you and appreciate sharing your insights and what you’re doing and helping give some perspective to people listening. So thanks again, David, talk to you later.

Thanks for tuning in to the authentic brand mastery podcast. Don’t forget to stop by change creator calm for more information, fresh articles, content, and our services if you’re looking to build a brand that people love, and please stop by iTunes, leave us a five star review. We appreciate your support.

Wesley Mathews: Marketing Insights For Your Brand From a $20M/Year Agency Owner

Marketing Insights For Your Brand From a $20M/Year Agency Owner

With the Covid-19 pandemic having had changed the world forever, we’re witnessing an ever-increasing number of businesses adopting digital transformation to put themselves in front of their audience. 

Marketing has tried and true core principles and trending strategies that change over time. 

At one point in time, using third-party cookies was one of the hottest trends in the advertising industry. But fast forward a few years, with companies like Google, Apple, and many more rolling out their privacy-focused features, advertisers have no other option to ditch the use of third-party data.

We connected with the marketing agency owner, Wesley Mathews, to get some insights about what he sees working today and what’s not.

More about Wesley:

Wesley is the founder and CEO of High-Level Marketing, a marketing agency focused on optimizing websites for B2C companies.

Numbers-wise, they have been featured on the Inc. 5000 list 3 different times (2016, 2018, and 2019) and in 2021, are planning to reach $21M in revenue. They currently have 100+ employees as well.

Throughout Their Conversation, Adam & Wesley Discussed:

  • Wesley shares his backstory and how they stepped into the realm of marketing.
  • What kind of companies Wesley & team prefer working with?
  • Wesley shares his insights on SEO and how they plan to approach it strategically to deliver instant results.
  • Wesley shares his valuable insights on how businesses can leverage Local SEO to achieve great results.
  • Wesley and Adam talk about how to approach lead generation. How does team at High-Level Marketing help businesses generate high-quality leads in a strategic manner?
  •  How does Wesley & team approach PPC? What platforms do they hold expertise in?
  • Redirecting traffic to homepage vs landing page – what has worked for Wesley & team?
  • How much do small businesses need to spend to set up their remarketing processes and actually get results?
  • The importance of tracking the right metrics 
  • How important it is to focus on Google reviews?
  • Do Wesley & team like to work with service-based businesses or eCommerce ones?
  • How tricky is it to market eCommerce businesses when compared with service-based ones?
  • Wesley’s plan for the next two years.
  • What are some of the key things that create quality customer attraction and loyalty that people can be thinking about for their businesses?
  • How can people reach out to Wesley & team?

Conclusion

The marketing world is ever-changing. And it’s really important to make sure that you are applying the right set of tactics and hacks to put yourself in front of your audience at the right time in the right manner.

And as important as focusing on your marketing efforts is, you can level them up by building a rock-solid brand from the ground up. 

Adam and team have rolled out a really insightful article revolving around branding – which you can check out HERE.

Learn How to Strategically Build a Rock-Solid Brand:

Schedule a strategy call with us today.

Subscribe HERE:

Powerful Recommendations for Awesome Readers Just Like You:

Episode Transcript (unedited, will likely have typos):

Adam G. Force  0:00  

How do social entrepreneurs and small businesses create an authentic brand people love so they can get the edge they need to stand out, create Predictable Revenue and compete against the big guys. That’s what we’re here to discuss. I’m Adam forest, the founder of change creator and this is the authentic brand mastery podcast.

What’s up everybody. Welcome back to the authentic brand mastery podcast. This is your host, Adam fourths. So listen, guys, if you missed the last episode, I talked about the enhance and then advance strategy. This is such a powerful strategy to I mean, you could to extract your revenues pretty quick, with these types of steps. And I want to talk about the principles behind it what it means and kind of get your perspective in that place. So if you missed that episode, definitely go back and check it out. Today, we’re gonna be talking with Wesley Matthews, who he’s the founder and CEO of a company called the high level marketing. They had a really great year, and I wanted to kind of chat with him about some things because he works. His company is a marketing agency that’s focused on optimizing websites and things like that. And so numbers wise, they’ve been featured, you know, in the inc 5000, list three different times. And in 2021, they are looking to reach about 21 million in revenue. And so they’re doing really great stuff and lots of good insights we’ll, we’re gonna uncover with Wesley, as we kind of dig into it. And these are all part of just kind of building out your brand and some good marketing strategies that I think will help you guys along your journey. If you’re enjoying the show, and you want to show us a little support, just stop by iTunes and leave us a five star review. That always goes a long way. And we appreciate it. Last but not least, if you’re looking to kind of step up your branding, get your website developed or you are an E commerce brand, you want your sales system to actually be profitable when you’re running ads, right? We run ads, and we struggle to convert that traffic profitably. That is where we come in for E commerce sales systems. And if that’s you, you know, give us a book a call, we’ll talk with you and see if you’re a good fit. We got to make sure we can get you those results. But we’re working with a number of clients and we’re just having incredible results. And I think we could do the same for you this this system definitely can 2x 3x and in some cases 5x your monthly revenues, and definitely increase your average order value. So just stop by book a call. We’ll chat. Alright guys, that’s it. We’re gonna jump into this conversation. Okay, show me the heat. On No, you go. Hey, Wesley, welcome to the authentic brand mastery podcast. How’re you doing today, man?

Wesley Mathews  2:45  

Good, Adam. Thanks for having me.

Adam G. Force  2:47  

Yeah, thanks. Appreciate you taking the time. Looks like you guys have been doing some really great stuff. And just from what you’re telling me, it looks like you had a pretty good year. So why don’t you just give everybody the rundown? I like to know, kind of like, what’s exciting right now and what’s going on? That’s kind of cool and top of mind, and then then just give us a little bit of that backstory of how you got there.

Wesley Mathews  3:09  

Yeah, for sure. So started high level marketing in 2009. And really, the idea was, at the time, there wasn’t a lot of like web companies that were effective or really providing value. And the one thing about me is I love meeting other like minded entrepreneurs and business owners and I saw this big challenge of like a really good web company that delivers on what they say they’re going to do in terms of SEO, SEO just kind of started to come up. So we really spent the time building a transparent digital marketing company. So I want to really show the customer like you’re paying this, this is what you’re getting. And we built a model off of that, that was really successful. So if I if I can reflect back on that time, I didn’t think we’d have a five year run with that I thought the market was gonna get flooded, it was gonna change. But honestly, you know, 2022, looking back, that fundamental foundation is still effective today. I mean, the idea around that, you know, local businesses need a good digital marketing company that can provide value. Every customer we pick up. They’ve had a bad experience with a digital marketing, whether they were lied to expectation. So really, it’s it’s been a great ride, because there’s 1000s and 1000s of these types of customers that are still out there today. So we stay very current in terms of, you know, making sure that we’re relevant, making sure our local customers are being ranked on Google and getting leads so we tailor fit our product and services to each customer we work with. For example, if you’re a local plumber in Wichita, Kansas versus Detroit, Michigan, you might have 10 trucks on the road, you might have one truck on the road. We just tried to understand the customers challenges and problems and then come back with a customized solution around that. It’s very, very effective. So we have over 2000 customers that we deal with on an ongoing basis once a month now.

Adam G. Force  5:02  

Okay, wow, that’s exciting. And I mean, are you it sounds like you work with a range of different kinds of companies. So any is there? I guess Can you describe the types of customers that you typically? Yeah, so

Wesley Mathews  5:16  

like our sweetspot, b2c home services and healthcare. Again, just because Home Services, plumbers, roofers, electricians. I mean, b2c is heavily searched on Google, b2b business to business, like IT services or you know, that’s a different animal when it comes to digital marketing and how people search, but b2c, right? I mean, if you have water damage, or you have a, you know, shingles coming off your roof, what are you doing your roofing companies in my area, you know, we know how important that is for like a 10 mile coverage area for a business to make sure that they have relevancy and rank, not to mention when somebody finds that customer, when they go to the website, what how, you know, what do we what do we do with that customer when they went on the website? So that’s a whole nother journey that we take with that customer?

Adam G. Force  6:02  

Yeah, yeah. And so I guess I’m curious, let’s talk a little bit. Now, you, you you do SEO, I know you have a lot of different services. And I have a focus on just like SEO, you know, good website performance, you know, sales funnels, things like that lead generation. So I’d like to kind of dive into some of those things. And I’m curious, like, what, when you when you’re working with people, who is the SEO thing more? I guess, prominent, I will say, for the low people who are look doing local businesses that like, big, does that become a priority for them versus some of the other companies that are more global?

Wesley Mathews  6:42  

Yeah, in my experience? Yes. Because again, if you take a plumber in your local market, and you look at dollars are like, how are we going to get how are we going to get customers and prospects? You know, for me investing organically with a little bit of paid and having a whole strategy. I mean, that’s the quickest path of least resistance for that customer to see results. And, you know, you you know, as well, as everybody listening knows that, you know, customers don’t, you know, it’s instant gratification they want, they want to spend money, and they want results now, so yeah, I always get a hybrid solution around paid search, with organic, because obviously, organic is more of a ramp up. And output, honestly, I mean, most of the customers we take on, you know, some are good, some not so good. But we have to re you know, kind of rebuild from scratch, it’s like having a home, you know, if you’re if you’re searching for a new home, and on the outside, you’re looking at it, you know, new windows and the house looks great. But then you open the door, and there’s like a big hole on the foundation. That’s a really good analogy in terms of like, who we deal with, it’s like, well, my website looks great. And I spent all this money on it, we have to be the company to come in and say yeah, but here’s like the laundry list of things that that are wrong, and we can’t, you know, we’re not going to like reshingle the roof when the foundation is about to fall apart. So what we’ve been able to accomplish as an organization, because look, I mean, how do you how do we know this as an organization, or if you’re a sales individual, and you’re talking to that plumber, how the hell do you know if it’s gonna work, like, unless you’re a salesperson who’s really educated in SEO, so what we’ve been able to do is develop some technology over the course of 11 years that could take a customer’s URL, scan it against their competition, scan it against Google, literally run a bunch of AI, I’m just doing the short version, we could probably have another several hour conversation about what it really is. But what it does, it gives the customer a comprehensive report of everything that’s wrong, and everything that we can do, and then what that outcome can potentially be, which gives us a guide in terms of delivering that back to the customer to say, Hey, I work with high level marketing, this is exactly what we’re going to do and the timeframe. So it takes all the ambiguity out of it. Because if you talk to people that invest in digital marketing, or paid search or whatever, they’re like, yeah, it didn’t work. Well, what does that mean? What did they do? Why don’t know, do you get reports? Why don’t I don’t know what that means? You actually put documentation and support against that. So when we onboard a customer, we go through the process, you know, we have a dedicated customer service management team, who then also manages to that priority. So as they’re discussing with customers and doing their, you know, the relationship side of it, they have something that everybody’s looking at rowing in the same direction, saying, This is our goal. You know, this is what we’re trying to accomplish together. So it’s not hodgepodge pie in the sky, which I feel a lot of digital marketing companies, that’s how they operate. They just take a fee, and cross our fingers and hope for the best and hope the customer is not going to combine.

Adam G. Force  9:34  

Yeah, yeah, I mean, and I’m seeing more and more, you know, it seems like the market is creating more and more big promises these days, you know, we’ll do this or your money back and all these kind of big guarantees and things like that. So it’s interesting to see the evolution of the space and I’m curious. Two things. I guess the first thing is, I’d like to talk about a scenario for a local company and I’ll be honest, like I I do branding and things like that. And I have a, one of my companies that I worked with is a Armenia, this one’s for you, is a local food company, right? And they do things without preservatives. So shipping all around is very tough because you have a shorter lifespan. So local becomes really important. So when you’re starting up local, any just kind of tips for a company people listening who have ecommerce companies do local stuff like that? Like, what are some things that might help them that you guys do? Obviously, they can’t run the full gambit all over the crazy work that you do. But what are some jumpstart tips that might be good for local SEO that they can consider and think about?

Wesley Mathews  10:45  

Yeah, so I think the big, you know, from, from the, my personal opinion, is, if you have local brick and mortar, that’s a lot different than being a plumbing company in an industrial Parkway, that’s going out to service customers. So for me, if I had a retail store, or if I was involved in this business, as one of the owners, you know, your your best asset in brand value, I would be all over social media, you know, friends, family running campaigns on social media. Again, I think from a, you know, from a search standpoint, you know, I would invest in the foundation, like we offer a foundational package, which gets, you know, that local business on every citation, I’m sure you’re familiar with it, just making sure that the directories are sound, I would start at the foundational level. But again, just starting up, I mean, I would be as the owner, just getting out there and doing everything I can for word of mouth referrals, because educating the market on who you are, you know, the digital marketing is a nice supplement to what you’re doing. But I feel like it’s gonna take a couple years for that business to really see the value of that investment. So instead of the owner, like, you know, doing the food or doing that, like they got to get out in the world and start to develop their name before they can start to, you know, meaningfully invest in digital because, you know, again, not knowing too much, or getting into the weeds, I don’t like to see customers throw money at things that aren’t going to provide a return, I’m always going to give you $1 educate me on a clear path of TEDx, even 3x. In this case, it might be too early on to make that big capital investment. Yeah, that’s just like my knee jerk reaction. And I feel as an organization, we’re really good at that across 100 Plus individuals, because our goal is to not take on every client, we want to educate them. And if we can provide the solution, that’s going to be a win win. It makes sense, you know, and that’s why like, we really, you know, b2b is a different animal. And we just try to be as transparent as clear as possible, to make the customer’s life easy. And make sure it aligns with our, you know, vision and strategy, how we do digital marketing.

Adam G. Force  12:47  

Yeah, yeah. And are you guys running? So let’s say you’re doing lead generation? What kinds of lead generation are you? Are you doing? Yeah, so

Wesley Mathews  12:57  

mainly, I mean, a lot of our customers are, look, they’re small local businesses, we do deal with some large franchises with several 100 franchisees below that. But look, most of them, they don’t have sales process. They don’t have Salesforce, they don’t have HubSpot. So we ultimately, look at the website, you know, we have our own proprietary technology that we call mice that you know, allows a customer to log in, manage their website, pretty much do everything you can think of customer can do that themselves, or they call their account manager and all of our account managers can go under the hood and make any modification. You know, the second thing is sorry, for I kind of lost where I was going with that.

Adam G. Force  13:38  

Yeah. So much lead generation, that’s

Wesley Mathews  13:42  

what was going through my head. So what happens is, I mean, every customer has an email address, right? Yeah, we look to see if they have Salesforce or any type of sales funnel, running in the background, most of them don’t. So it goes down email address, so like, our system will load and save every lead, and then it sends it to their email address. So the nice thing about that is when the account manager is having discussions with the customer, they can see all the leads that are happening, and that we have technology on the background that shows customers investment, how many leads are coming through. We also offer call tracking, and all these other things that you can manage right from the dashboard. So what we try to do as the evolution of the customer is try to educate them on the technology, and then start to suggest things over the year like hey, how are you following up on the leads that are coming in? Because we run into a lot of customers that might say, you know, last month was terrible. I didn’t get any leads? Yeah, and the manager might say there’s 10 leads in the backend. Like what happened? Well, one of the challenges is some of these entrepreneurs are, you know, let’s say we’re dealing with a tree tree cutting company. This is a real example. You know, the gentleman’s in the tree cutting the tree and like missing the call. Sometimes he answers the calls while he’s up in the tree. And like how do you follow up, you know, you’re working all day leads get missed, you know, we’ll play the call tracking for them. And then also listened to like how the sales team or whomever is answering the phone on their end are working existing leads, which creates like, oh my gosh, like that was scary, I don’t want to listen to another one. So that’s where we try to start with them is, you know, we can document and show all of our efforts and what we’re doing on where everything’s coming in from, I mean, even to the point of dynamically changing the phone number, like if you google search the local, you know, tree cutting company, and you came in through, you know, this avenue, we can say, hey, like, you got 10 leads from here, you got five leads from here, like, it’s very, very specific. And, you know, again, going back 2009, I would have thought every business would have had all its sophistication, and, you know, be ready for business. Companies don’t have any of this setup. So, you know, we try to come in and again, understand where they’re at how savvy they are, do they have a marketing person? Do they have a team to help them? Are they running solo? So, you know, we just try to go in and help them as best we can. And that’s part of our process. It’s not, you know, sign up, and then, you know, set it and forget it, you know, we’re having monthly conversations with all of our customers diving deep quarterly. I mean, I have customers that are still on board that came on board when I started in 2009, you know, guys that had one barely running truck that now have fleets, and we’ve been able to grow with them. So that’s really cool. I mean, we are an entrepreneurial driven company. And, you know, the the Protect, you know, their prospects and customers that we work with, they have to have an entrepreneurial spirit for us to really kind of integrate together. We don’t work with Fortune 500 companies. I mean, if Apple called today and said, We need this, they would it would hurt. But I would have we would have to pass on that opportunity. On the entrepreneurial ran company.

Adam G. Force  16:45  

Yeah, yeah. And are you guys running, you know, Google ads, or YouTube ads, Facebook ads, stuff like that?

Wesley Mathews  16:53  

Yes, we are. So we’re big in PPC. So sort of like our suite of product offerings. It always starts at the website, I mean, everything goes back to the websites, we have to make sure that that’s sound, organic search, paid search, mainly through Google. And then kind of below that we have like, the geo fencing, we have the YouTube, we have social media, which is more I feel like brand stuff, you know, I’ve kind of been brought up with, like, I’m a big ROI guy, like, you know, like I mentioned a minute ago, like 10, to want, you know, 10 to one. So the YouTube videos and the social media, I think is like good brand awareness. And I might be cooked into a little bit of the budget. But you know, mainly we’re working with the home services, healthcare that want to drive leads and opportunities, and we search for the path of least resistance. And to me those kind of come down the priority order, if that makes sense.

Adam G. Force  17:44  

Yeah. And so let’s say you’re working with one of these small service companies, and you said that you’d like to bring everybody back to the website, I guess, as the the primary hub. In what’s your, I guess, where have you found the most success? I mean, people aren’t driving traffic to the homepage. Are you doing dedicated landing pages and setting up those processes for them and things like that?

Wesley Mathews  18:08  

Yeah. So from a, from an organic standpoint, you know, it’s the website, the, you know, just the service pages and the great content for PPC, the fastest way to lose and the fastest way to burn through your budget is to send them to the homepage, everything we do is we understand the target audience. And we make specific landing pages around the specific service offerings in the areas we’re going after. So every campaign we do, sometimes it might be five different can’t be like five different services. I mean, we make a unique landing page, you know, again, you can’t you really can’t click around that website going clicking you can do is submitting your information. Yeah, I love remarketing, right? Because if somebody goes to your website, and they don’t buy or they leave, and then that follows them around. I know there’s a lot going on with that right now. But that’s one of my really favorite brand building things. I mean, one of our one of the things we used to do in my office, you know, if we’d have a customer meeting, or even over the phone, and I’d say, Hey, Adam, got a website real quick. Just Just so you type it into your computer, and then we’d have a conversation the next day or whatever you’re like, and ever since we talk like you’re everywhere, like, you know, because if somebody goes to the Wall Street Journal, or they go to Amazon, like they’re seeing high level marketing everywhere they go. And I think like that’s a simple, inexpensive form to market that’s really effective that quite frankly, not a lot of people understand or know even exists. So yeah,

Adam G. Force  19:35  

I mean, you’re talking about just remarketing anybody that visits the website in the past, you know, whatever 90 days, 180 days, how much do How much does a small business really need to spend Wesley to to set that up and how much traffic do you need for that to even be possible? Really, because I know on Facebook, sometimes you have too much. We have a really small volume of traffic. It’s just not going to do anything, you know?

Wesley Mathews  19:58  

Yeah, I’m all about quality. Do you over quantity? I know a lot of digital marketing companies say, Well, you know, we can get you, you know, 10,000 clicks or this, that and the other. It’s like, that’s fantastic. You know, I want quality clicks, you know. So for us, you know, most of our clients are coming in ranging anywhere from like, we have a core basic package at like 350 a month, I would say, on average, over the 2000 Plus customers, we have 15 to $2,000 a month are typically where our customers are landing, from an organic standpoint, from a paid standpoint. And what’s cool about paid is, you know, once you figure out the mathematics around, what is your lead cost? I mean, the question I asked customers that I asked everybody, even employees, wave a magic wand, where do you want to be in one year? If we work together? define success? And I’ll tell you that question is really hard for a small business to answer because nobody asked them that stuff. What they say is, we can get you 10,000 clicks, we can do this, we, we challenge them in a different level. And sometimes it blows up, it doesn’t work. They’re like, this is too hard. I don’t want to work with you. But again, I want this to be a long term relationship, and I want to be effective. If we’re not on the same page. It’s not gonna work. So we’ll talk to some customers and say, well, we want 10% increase on XYZ. Okay, well, how are we going to do that? Because the conversation we just had, you want to go in these five directions. And that has nothing to do with what you just said. And they’re like, oh, so I feel like, you know, having those conversations, flushing that out in the beginning is really, really important. Yeah. And then we come back with that clear deliverable and saying, Hey, here’s how we’re going to get there. So again, at the end of the day, I’ll challenge a customer and say, do you care? If you get 100 clicks versus 10,000? Like, does that really mean anything to you get after and say, you know, if we develop a lead cost for every customer, which I encourage everybody runs an agency, be direct with the customer and understand what that is, because then you can look at the monthly spend, relative to what’s coming in. Yeah, and know if it’s a success, putting a stake in the ground. And that’s where I often feel a lot of agencies missed the mark. And customers, they just don’t, they don’t know where they’re at, they’re spending money. You know, it’s not things are, that’s where we again, like we’re not perfect, you know, but when we strive to all row in that direction, good things,

Adam G. Force  22:18  

I mean, you got to have some clarity, it’s hard to, if you don’t know, your KPIs, for anybody listening and key performance indicators, you don’t know those numbers throughout your process, like I use, there’s no way to get there. So for you to come in and give that clarity. And it’s shocking how many people don’t really know their numbers or how all that works. And they’re just like, go, go go. And it’s a churning process. You know, it’s crazy. It’s crazy. So um, yeah, I mean, I had a question. I just lost my thought to what I had to piggyback off of that me a second. What was it? We were just talking what

Wesley Mathews  22:55  

while you’re thinking about going back to that, one example, Google reviews, right? I mean, the individual you’re talking about, about the food company probably has a high level of people buying food, you’re developing that process. And I mean, honestly, like, nobody can tell me that they don’t buy a bunch of stuff on Amazon, I won’t buy anything that has less than four stars, I don’t even look at it. So I think the next evolution of where we’re going, and that’s even Google reviews, I mean, I, if I’m going to invest a meaningful amount of money in something, I’m going to do my due diligence, I had my basement finished in my home. And I read every single review, because one of my biggest fears of hiring this company to finish my basement, the crew has to come through my garage, walk through my kitchen to go to my basement. And I’m like, you know, sorry in advance. But I don’t want to see you for four months. I have four young kids, my wife, I don’t want you guys trashing my house. As I and I literally had two objections, I was crystal clear with this organization. And when I read those, of course, when I when I asked them, they’re like, We are the most professional and data that sounded great, right? But who doesn’t say that? Everybody’s great, right? But when I read the reviews of individuals, there was like about 100, I could really understand that these were real people. And they were just they gave some details that like resonated with me. And I was like, they delivered on it, I trusted them. But then the customer review verified that and doing that. And I’ll tell you, I hired them. They were amazing. They delivered on it. And then I wrote a review for them that went even more detail. And they keep calling me back then dude, like, we’ve picked up so many pieces of business, because you basically said what everybody’s feeling. So I feel a lot of customers like, that’s an easy way. I mean, it takes time, right takes time. And you got to figure out a process which we can help we help with those strategies. Because it’s so much more for us than just digital marketing and web and SEO. It’s we want to see entrepreneurs succeed. Yeah. Yeah.

Adam G. Force  24:53  

I mean, do you guys mostly work with service businesses and things like that or E commerce as well?

Wesley Mathews  24:59  

Not really e commerce First, I mean, we will, if we have to. I know that sounds terrible, but I mean, again, home services and health care, non ecommerce.

Adam G. Force  25:08  

Yeah. Yeah, I mean, ecommerce I see, you know, a lot of that you see a lot today oh, we work with coaches, and we work with service companies, because they have high ticket price points. So you can run the marketing and do all that stuff where ecommerce can be a little, a little bit trickier for people when they’re running ads and things like that.

Wesley Mathews  25:25  

Yeah, I mean, I feel like, you know, I’m from Detroit, Michigan suburb, you know, so big motor city, right. And I’ve always kind of felt like, you have GM, you have Ford, like, let’s just use Ford, for example, they have the Ford F 150, they have a chassis, they have a platform, they know what works. So again, you can buy a Ford truck, you can get the finest leather in that thing, you can get the most basic cloth seats, you can either spend 300 on that, or 3000. But when we stay within the home services and healthcare, from an engineering perspective, from is this thing gonna, like fall apart at 70 miles? Like we’re not prototyping things. So you know, Shopify has come a long way. All these other entities, it’s so easy to use, where quite frankly, like well help advise and consult clients. But you know, that’s not our sweet spot. We like to stay on that kind of, you know, we speak home services and healthcare, we just know that space. So well. That’s why Ford isn’t selling a Lamborghini. Right?

Adam G. Force  26:26  

Yeah. Yeah, I mean, everybody that’s in that’s important, right? As a company, you got to know your sweet spot, or have some kind of focus, not just kind of, do, you know, work with anybody and everything, right? For

Wesley Mathews  26:36  

example, like, you know, look, we run across this all the time, customers will call us. And there’s these opportunities where we’re like, Hmm, maybe we should go, maybe we should try this, maybe we should help this customer, December of 2021. But but we did over a million dollars in new business in December. So for us, we’re already at like the capacity for our team, we have about 109 team members. So like, we see the market, it’s there, there’s still so many opportunities within a home services and health care, that were just so bullish, and we want to just be the experts, and continuing to just sharpen our, you know, sharpen our tools and just get better and stay in that lane and just be as effective as we can. Ecommerce has a lot of support. You know, it’s a lot of a lot of stuff can go wrong, a lot of stuff will go wrong. And it’s a completely different animal.

Adam G. Force  27:26  

It is a different animal. Yeah, a lot of those companies though, they’re just like, to your point, they throw up Shopify sites, and they like, Oh, here’s the Shop Now button, and they’re like, hey, hopefully people buy stuff. And it’s like, okay, so there’s a, there’s an interesting gap there for people that and that’s kind of where we’ve been focused is I was working with service companies and, and E commerce. And it was a new division this year. And I actually found some really interesting wins in the E commerce space. And I’m like, no one’s really tackling that as much. I mean, people are but not quite the way we work. So that’s why I like to see people Yeah, you focus on those services. And we’re gonna

Wesley Mathews  28:07  

It’s scary, right? I mean, it’s just, it. There’s a lot of troubleshooting. So I want to know, when your customer has a problem, it could be a million things going wrong. The customer calls and says, Hey, this is happening. You know, we had it’s like, okay, we know what it is, or that’s, you know, it’s simple.

Adam G. Force  28:24  

Yeah, that’s your Yeah, exactly. No, it’s it’s interesting, all these processes, and been quite a learning experience. But so what’s the, I guess, plan for the next few years? Anything interesting going on?

Wesley Mathews  28:37  

Yeah, for sure. So, you know, we had a great year 2021, did about 21 million in revenue, we have about 119 members in the organization. So I feel like high level marketing today. You know, we’re not the the new kid on the block. We’re not a large behemoth agency, but we’re right in the middle. So we have a lot of opportunity to grow. So our focus is again, servicing our customers grow through organic growth and just our natural growth of about 15 20%. But then we’re also going to be growing by acquisition. So we are looking to, you know, look at potential one to two agencies in 2022. Again, I think that, you know, we just went through a transition in March, we took two agencies and put them together, we are now nine months from that time, and we’ve done a great job. If you think about it from an agency perspective, like there’s so many costs, if you’re running a $5 million agency, there’s, there’s all these costs. Well now, you know, we can work with some of these digital agencies and just roll them into our fold. We have leadership, I mean, I think if I can reflect back as I was growing high level marketing in the beginning, you know, it’s, you know, team members are expensive and growth and I mean, we have this infrastructure and model now where if there’s agency owners that look that built a good business, great clientele, but they’re like man, for me to get to the next level, is going to take a ton of cash. I don’t have it in Mi or whatever the case may be. That’s sort of what we’re looking for. And we have some good opportunities in front of us now, because we are just, you know, full steam ahead. We’re looking to grow the organization to 100 million in revenue. And you know, we have no plans on slowing down.

Adam G. Force  30:12  

That sounds exciting. Cool. Yeah. And I guess I’d be curious, as just to wrap up here, for people listening, you know, running their marketing and stuff. What what has been some of the keys that you have seen maybe some consistent factors, as you are working with companies, you know, whether it’s, it’s just anything around, you know, having? Because you mentioned quality over quantity? What are some of the key things that create quality customer attraction and loyalty that maybe people can be thinking about for their, their, their businesses? Yeah, I

Wesley Mathews  30:50  

think it just goes back to really understanding what the customer wants. And then how, how do you as an organization deliver on that? I remember early on when I was in elementary school, we played this game where we all sat in a circle. And the teacher whispered something in the first person’s ear, and they’re supposed to go through all the individuals. And by the time it got to me, I heard some stuff that I wasn’t prepared as a kid to hear. And I think that’s probably one of the biggest challenges in an agency or growing a business is clearly articulating what the customer wants, and what we’re doing and how we’re going to get there. Because the more specific and intentional you can be, again, that creates the quality because you can just slap plumbing content off and you can just do whatever right and put something out in the web and, you know, develop a little bit of traction. But if you’re intentional, and you get specific, and you find the right team members to help you, you know, really put quality work into that project. You’re going to get quality and I mean, honestly, it sounds kind of basic, but I mean, look, I’ve been in this space now for 15 years and I’ve seen a lot of that oh, that’s that right there has always stood the test of time versus anything else.

Adam G. Force  32:03  

Yeah, yeah. I mean, that’s the core of it right? The foundation and bad foundations. You won’t you won’t get very far. I Wesley Thanks. Where do people find you if they want to learn more?

Wesley Mathews  32:15  

You can always go to our website, high level marketing comm HGH, you can find me Wesley Matthews with one T on LinkedIn. I love when entrepreneurs reach out and ask questions and if there’s anything I can help with, you know, for me, I love meeting and speaking with other entrepreneurs, I’m an entrepreneur. Through and Through, there’s been certain things that have really helped me through my journey. You know, just like everybody else. I’ve read a lot of books, I’ve done a lot of things I’ve made investments, bad investment, but there’s about three or four things that have really been transformational for my life. And I love sharing those things. So yeah, reach out I’m happy to

Adam G. Force  32:51  

share that man. Thanks for tuning into the authentic brand mastery podcast. Don’t forget to stop by change creator calm for more information, fresh articles, content, and our services if you’re looking to build a brand that people love, and please stop by iTunes, leave us a five star review. We appreciate your support.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Adam G. Force: One Thing Every Entrepreneur Needs to Break Through – Discipline

Adam sheds light on importance of discipline

“It doesn’t matter whether you are pursuing success in business, sports, arts, or life in general. The bridge between accomplishing and wishing is discipline.”
– Harvey Mackay

Successful entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs didn’t achieve overnight success. And they surely didn’t luck out. 

If you’re wondering why some entrepreneurs are successful and others are not, you need to tune in to this podcast episode. 

In this episode, Change Creator Founder, Adam G. Force, talks about his experience with discipline and how it held him back for years, and what it took to breakthrough. 

More About Adam

As a father and entrepreneur with 20 years of professional business experience, Adam is an expert in branding, storytelling, and online sales. 

After working 10 years at WebMD as Director of Strategic Marketing Adam started his second business, Change Creator, supporting social entrepreneurs with premium branding & high-converting websites, the Change Creator Podcast with 230+ expert interviews, and 30+ editions of Change Creator Magazine reaching over 140+ countries including exclusive interviews from the most impactful entrepreneurs on the planet such as Seth Godin, Arianna Huffington, and Richard Branson.

Throughout This Episode, Adam Explains:

  • Why is discipline a critical aspect in any entrepreneur’s journey?
  • Adam shares his experience with David Goggins’ book “Can’t Hurt Me” book.
  • How important it is to keep doing things that you hate to do to achieve success?
  • Living the life that we actually truly want to live and the life that we’re willing to put up with boils down to discipline. 
  • Adam recommends James Clear’s book “Atomic Habits.”
    • Difference between non-disciplined and disciplined people. 
    • How important it is to start slow and go big – but at the same time be disciplined and consistent?
  • Adam’s non-negotiable part of his daily habit – helps him focus on things that actually matter.
  • How have disciplined systems and methodologies led Adam to help his clients achieve the desired results?

Conclusion

Whether you want to achieve success in your personal or professional life – just about any area, discipline is of utmost importance. And we can’t stress this enough.

So – if you have been struggling to get your business up and running or to new heights, maybe you lack discipline. And if that’s the case, we strongly advice you to tune in to the podcast episode.

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Episode Transcript (unedited, will likely have typos):

Adam G. Force  0:00  

How do social entrepreneurs and small businesses create an authentic brand people love so they can get the edge they need to stand out, create Predictable Revenue and compete against the big guys. That’s what we’re here to discuss. I’m Adam forest, the founder of change creator, and this is the authentic brand mastery podcast.

What’s going on everybody, welcome back to the authentic brand mastery podcast brought to you by change creator. This is your host force. So you know, the last episode we talked with Wesley Matthews, kind of talked about some of the stuff he’s doing with his company, and you know, they’re doing a good amount of money each year. So it’s always interesting to hear what’s working for people and some of the ideas they have on market trends and things like that. So lots of marketing inputs, whether it’s from SEO or other website optimizations that we went through, to help develop your brand. So, you know, for those that have been listening, you know, we’ve been, you’ll know that we’ve been focused on supporting some e commerce brands. So it’s been an interesting process, kind of building out these sales funnels, call them sales systems. And really, you know, bringing in just, we’re getting 95% conversion rates, which is what kind of spiked our interest to lean into the E commerce space, because we’re doing branding and marketing. And that was really, we want to continue to see how that played out for different brands. So right now our E commerce roster is full, however, we do have, we’re gonna open up two spots for coaches and service businesses. So if you’re looking to kind of elevate your brand, I refresh, rebrand, reshape the brand, make it look more polished, and set yourself up to get a lot of new leads, right? We focus on automation and things like that, too. So if you want to have a conversation about how, like what that might look like for you, and if you’re the right fit, stop by change creator.com, go to services, and just book a call, and I’ll talk with you. Today, I’m going to do a quick conversation, it’s gonna be a shorter podcast, I’m going to talk about discipline, and what that means to your business when you’re building your brand. Okay, this is really important. And I’ve had a lot of good feedback on these talking points. So I wanted to share it here today. Let’s do it. Okay, show me the heat. No, you go. Hey, what’s up Adam, here, founder at change creator, and I want to talk to you about something that is a sticking point for pretty much anybody whether you’re an entrepreneur or not, right. And that thing is discipline. One day, I looked in the mirror, and I finally admitted that I didn’t have the discipline that I needed, right to reach the next stage of my journey as an entrepreneur. And that was a really tough truth to actually face. And it’s something that I hid for a long time. Now, I wrestled for 10 years in my life all year round. And I actually competed at the national level representing Team New Jersey. That’s where I was raised. And I learned what it takes to break through to new stages of life. Right? That was part of that process. But years ago, I somehow got soft, I guess. And I needed to change that. Right. So I picked up a book by a guy you might have heard of David Goggins, and the book is called, can’t hurt me. Now, he said, quote, If you have any mental toughness, any fraction of self discipline, the ability to not want to do it, but still do it, if you can get through to doing things that you hate to do on the other side, is actually greatness. So let that sink in. The ability to do what you need to do, even when you don’t feel like doing it. That’s huge. The emotional mind is really powerful. And it’s the biological side of us that makes us feel right. So for example, it’s five o’clock in the morning, the alarm goes off, you have to get some things done, but you no longer feel like getting up in the morning, right? But the day before you decided it had to be done because you needed that extra time in the day. It’s perfect, logical sense. But emotions can easily break logic when we don’t have discipline. And that’s that mental toughness that David Goggins was talking about. So the difference between living the life that we actually truly want to live and the life that we’re willing to put up with, can easily boil down to discipline. These are hard truths. Are there other factors, of course. But without discipline, you got nothing.

Here’s a quote that I thought was interesting. James clear, wrote a book called atomic habits. And it’s a great read. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it. Quote, when scientists analyze people who appear to have tremendous self control, it turns out that those individuals aren’t all that different from those who are struggling instead, disciplined people are better at structuring their lives in a way that does not require heroic willpower and self control. So in other words, they spend less time in tempting situations, professionals stick to the schedule, and amateurs let life get in the way. Right. So we making decisions about how we want our life to be. Now he talks about habits and how to start with the least amount of friction. This is a really important point. And that is so that you can create new flows in your life and not bail out on them because it’s too much. So starting small, one pushup a day, two pushups a day, just as an example, right, we don’t have to say I’m going to do 100 a day out of the gate, we got to make it possible and just get into the routine first, right? So a simple example that I have in you know, from the business world as a daily planner, and I share this with entrepreneurs that I work with in our brand accelerator and stuff like that. So I made this for myself, for two reasons I share and I share it, because it has had a huge shift in my own life results, right? So for example, one, there’s too many more, there were too many mornings, where I would sit down at like five o’clock in the morning with my coffee, and I start working. And I would either feel like I wasn’t sure what I wanted to work on and just started picking away at things. Oh, yeah, to do this got to do this got my to do list. You know, or I just hammered away stuff that I thought was needed. Very important that I thought was needed, right. But at the end of the day, I crossed off everything on my to do list. And I felt like I got a lot done, right. But when I looked back at the end of the month, I would realize that all the tasks I did didn’t really add up to real progress. I did a bunch of shit and painfully learned what not to do. So the second thing is that it’s a simple one page document, right? Make it easy, less friction, right? Just like James clear talks about. And you can use it every morning. So I needed something I can actually do daily and not toss it away because it became too cumbersome. And this is what I call a non negotiable part of my daily habit. It forces me to work on things that actually matter, meaning they’re on the critical path. Right. So since using this, my business revenue as monthly revenue has quadrupled. And if you just sit down and start working, you can either feel lost or unsure. Or you just do things that you like, but you don’t but don’t really matter to the critical path of your business. And that’s what we want to avoid. Right? Because we’re wasting time and energy and money. I know for a fact that some of you who are hearing this right now will say Well, not me, Adam, I always know exactly what I need to do. Trust me, I said that too. It doesn’t work. Not if you’re going to build a real business. These are fundamentals that we have to really kind of pin down, right. And the reality is that success in business life, it’s all pragmatic as a formula, right? It’s a pragmatic formula, based on what I like to call universal laws. This is not theory or philosophy. It’s like I always use math as an example, right? It’s like two plus two always equals four. It’s a mathematical law. So when you do things a certain way in your life, you will get certain results. The timeline might be different for everybody. We all have to overcome different challenges. But discipline is a very important part of the equation to actually get the results and make everything work.

Now this is how we get all of our clients results today to we’re always And it never stops. We’re always improving and working on methodologies, how do we make things more systematic? How do we make them more repeatable? What are the disciplined actions we need to take? Right? That’s how we elevate our brands today, and start converting traffic and to customers. We can’t panic and get emotional. And when we have these systems, and we have disciplined processes and methodologies, we don’t panic and get emotional, because we’re going through a process that we know has been proven. So this makes all the difference. So don’t justify your emotional responses with the stories in your mind. I want to say that one more time, don’t justify your emotional responses, with stories that you’re telling yourself in your mind. Alright, nothing can ever improve in your life. If you are not willing to be brutally honest about where you are now, and why. And that is huge. And that’s where all this started for me several years ago is the ability to finally sit there look in the mirror and be brutally honest about what was actually causing me the biggest problems so if you can be brutally honest about where you are now, and get really clear where why you could start overcoming that challenge. So hopefully this this inspires you to really think about discipline, study discipline, understand the power of it, and start building it into your life and you’re gonna see a difference in your business thanks for tuning in to the authentic brand mastery podcast. Don’t forget to stop by change creator calm for more information, fresh articles, content, and our services if you’re looking to build a brand that people love, and please stop by iTunes, leave us a five star review. We appreciate your support.

Adam Force: Boost Your Brand’s Revenue With The Enhance Then Advance Strategy

Boost Your Brand's Revenue With The Enhance Then Advance Strategy

There are hard ways to make money with your business, and there are smart ways. Most companies struggle, not because they can’t get any new customers, but because they don’t focus enough on the customers they already have.

“Love your new customers. However, do not forget to appreciate your already existing ones. That’s 7x more expensive to gain a new customer than to retain an already-existing one.”
– Bill Quiseng

You’re more likely to get your existing customers to purchase your products and services than convert your prospects into new customers.

In this episode, Change Creator founder, Adam Force, will discuss the Enhance Then Advance strategy that will help your brand boost revenue NOW and in the long term.

Without further ado, let’s dive straight into the summary.

Throughout this Episode, Adam Force Sheds Light On:

  • The power of storytelling for your brand
  • How does storytelling tie in with your customers’ journeys?
  • How did Albert (Adam’s Mentor) use storytelling to close high-ticket deals and clients?
  • Why does storytelling matter? Despite building countless slide decks and spending hours on research, finding stats, and numbers, you’ll fail if there’s no storytelling involved.
  • The art of storytelling. Why is it important to convey your message in the form of a story?
  • Despite adding relevant stats and facts, none of your marketing collaterals will be memorable if you don’t present it in the form of a story.
  • How has Adam used storytelling to close high-ticket clients and at the same time deliver value to them?
  • As important as attracting new customers is, why is it important to focus on your already existing ones?
  • Attracting new customers vs. old customers.
  • What is the Enhance Then Advance Strategy all about?
  • Why is it important to enhance your already existing operations and then switch to advancing?
  • Adam’s personal experience with the Enhance Then Advance strategy – think of the long term game
  • How is the Enhance Then Advance strategy a game-changer for eCommerce businesses? Why?
  • How did Rob Walker, an eCommerce store owner, use storytelling to generate a staggering 6,300% ROI?
  • How is your brand story related to all your customer touchpoints?
  • The power of storytelling for your eCommerce brand.

Conclusion

Storytelling is an art. And if you really want to ace your marketing and advertising efforts, you need to master it. If you are getting a 200% ROI without a story – trust me, by conveying your story and putting it in front of your customers, you’ll be taking it to 2,000% and even more, especially if you run an eCommerce business.

People love stories. They connect to stories. And they would love nothing more than to hear yours.

If you run an eCommerce business and would like to double or triple your revenue, we’ve put together a value-adding report titled “3 Bulletproof Strategies to Double Your eCommerce Biz Revenue.”

Download it today!

Learn How to Strategically 2x, 3x or 5x Your eCommerce Business

Schedule a strategy call with us today.

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Episode Transcript (unedited, will likely have typos):

Adam G. Force  0:00 

How do social entrepreneurs and small businesses create an authentic brand people love so they can get the edge they need to stand out, create Predictable Revenue and compete against the big guys. That’s what we’re here to discuss. I’m Adam forest, the founder of change creator, and this is the authentic brand mastery podcast.

What’s going on everybody, welcome back to the authentic brand mastery podcast. We love branding, we love design, we love connecting with customers and making a difference in the world. And we have to be good at marketing. In order to get that done, we have to actually have brands that can connect and speak to the world. But then we have to have actual sales systems that turn visitors into customers, okay. And last week, we talked with Rick Wilson, we cover off on some marketing strategies for long term wins. If you’re not thinking about long term, you don’t understand how to think about long term for your marketing, then you won’t get the most out of your ad spend, you won’t get the most out of your upfront marketing. Alright, so this is how we really capitalize and optimize. And that’s something that I want to share today. And I’m going to be talking to you about a strategy I like to call enhanced in advance. This is like a mantra here. Okay, really helpful, and has been instrumental in revenue generation, okay for change creator, and how we actually operate and think about business. And I think this is going to plant some seeds for your brand’s development. When it comes to revenue generation, and plugging holes, right, you can imagine picking up a bucket full of water, and there’s holes, that means these are all the customers that you’re missing out on, you need to start plugging some of those holes. And so today’s conversation is going to help you do that. Alright, guys, last but not least, we are still interested in working with some more ecommerce entrepreneurs, guys, we will set up the your sales system, make it profitable, alright. And if it’s not profitable, we will keep working with you until it is at no cost. That’s how confident we are. We’ve had some incredible results. And we can help you crush it and get this done. Right. So guys, if you’re looking for a little support, just go to change creator.com, you can book a call through our services. And we’ll chat we’ll see if you’re a good fit outside of that, guys. So let’s get into this strategy. Let’s talk about enhance and then advance for your brand. Okay, show me the heat No, you go. Hey, what’s going on everybody, Adam force here, founder at change creator. And today I want to talk about storytelling for your brand. Specifically, what it means to your sales. You know, the power of story for your brand is something we’ve been talking about for a while we ran a course called Captivate it was about putting storytelling at the heart of your marketing. So what does that actually mean? You know, storytelling is something that throughout all history, all progress has been made because of storytelling. This is how human beings Connect. This is how we communicate and understand each other, right? Because it creates an emotional spark. Right? And that emotion drives our actions. Without it, we can’t get people on board with our ideas. This is important to understand. So when you put it creates a value for people. And that’s that’s going to be part of what we want to kind of what I want to touch on today. And you know, the when I was working back at WebMD, this was a while ago now. But I was there for 10 years, I was Director of Strategic Marketing. And when I started there, my mentor was able to sell, you know, deals that were over a million dollars. And I always wondered, well, how the heck is he doing that? And I wanted to know the secrets, right? I mean, this is literally somebody who I think we were at a company like Merck at the time or something. We actually were there in front of a room of maybe 30 to 40 C suite executives pitching a really large deal. Now my mentor, his name is Albert was a master at selling these deals. He actually went in front of the room. He he pitched everything went through the slides, all the stuff that we put together. And this is a strategy that I helped put together. And at the end this is what’s interesting. One of the team leads the top executives from the other company came over to Albert and asked him right there on the spot to come and work for him. He tried to literally poach him from our team to his right in front of everybody, I’ve never seen that happen before. So that was really shocking. But it is a testament to the skills he had, they were so taken back by the presentation, that they wanted to just get him on board because they saw dollar signs in their eyes, if they can get him on their team. And so I would always say, Albert, you know, like, what, like, what

is the secret here? You know, he’s a very personable person, which always helps, but there is a skill in how we actually present ideas. And we can create slide decks and spend a month putting things together and preparing numbers, research, statistics, whatever it might be about the market, the customers and all this data. But if we can’t wrap the data, in a way, in stories that people can remember, it’s not compelling, and they don’t talk about it with their teams, they don’t have something to share, because it doesn’t stick in their minds. Now, he would always tell me, you know, planning and preparation is a key factor, which means, hey, it’s like a, you know, a 3040 minute pitch. But it’s a couple months of planning and strategy work. But then the golden ticket was his ability to tell stories. So he took these ideas and wrap them in stories. And what he always taught me was, even when we’re putting together pitch decks and other things like that, web pages, you name it, any asset, we were always telling a story, right? You’re not just putting things on a page, there’s a there’s a cohesive story to tell. And he was always able to get the room laughing. And, and because of his way of wrapping things, and stories and examples and metaphors, people were were impacted deeply. And in what happens is, you’re able to actually demonstrate what the idea actually means. So it’s more significant, right? You know, you could tell somebody, here’s this data point, XYZ. But when you tell a story about a person or a potential customer and what their day looks like, and then how that plays out, you get a different level of clarity about the point you’re trying to make. And when the meaning of that data, a data point means almost nothing, it’s not memorable enough. But when you put it into a circumstance that’s relatable, and has an emotional pull to it, it hits you in a way that now you can remember the story that hey, remember that remember when Albert was talking about this, right? So it stands out a lot more. So this is very powerful. And that emotional side is really important. So you know, there was a quote from Joshua Glen, and it says, stories are such a powerful driver of emotional value that effect on objects subjective value can actually be measured. objectively. Right. Then there’s another one I wrote down here from Edward Gorey, who says, when people are finding meaning and things be were, right, and that’s what we’re doing, we’re giving things meaning and context and emotional value. Okay, so the so Okay, so that’s my background in storytelling. And what I did there is I worked on any deal that was $500,000. And up, and my job was to create marketing strategies that would get clients like Microsoft target, you know, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, whatever it is a return on their investment. So I had to come up with strategies that would really connect with the customers create great user experiences, you know, we were creating web properties, explainer videos, whatever the tools were that I recommended, and then how they need to feel look and the theme, right, we I always had to come up with a theme that we were wrapping the strategy around. Alright, so that was a really important part of the expression of the strategy. I can’t remember. I think I did one for Cigna, I had it in one of my webinars. And I think the theme was something like this, I might butcher this but healthy hearts, more memories. Okay. And you can just see like a story can be told in just a few words. But the theme there was about heart health, because when we have healthy hearts, we have more time with our families, more memories. There’s a lot of emotion tied to a statement like that. So now the entire theme is built around that for a marketing strategy. So this is part of what I call the and I just put together something that I talk about this and I’ll tell you about it as we get towards the end of this conversation, but this is important. So it’s part When we’re trying to enhance and grow revenue in our business, something that happens is we are always looking for new business. But if we’ve been in business, we’re making some sales, one of the most neglected areas is the business we already have, right? And that the high hanging fruit, the more difficult and expensive part of marketing is the new business. It’s more cost.

Heavy and time consuming and difficult, man. But when we have customers already in our database on our email list, and our invisible lists on Facebook, or whatever it might be, we, we have access to people that are more what we call low hanging fruit, right? And that’s because they know us, they like us, and they’ve worked with us, and selling to them meaning like, if we care about them, we get reoccurring revenue, we get loyalty. And remember, word of mouth is not just people talking at a conference in person, word of mouth is every screen in someone’s hand. Right? And they are going to tell a story about you. Okay, whether it’s the one you want or not. Alright, so the strategy I like to call is the advance then enhance strategy. All right, this means that we are actually looking at the resources we have what we already are doing, and all that kind of stuff. And we’re optimizing them in a way that helps us enhance our revenues, right? Without having to go after new business. But then when we do go after new business, everything is optimized. So we can let’s say we’re running ads, then our ad spend goes a lot further. Right. So that optimization, you should always enhance what you have first before you advance. And, you know, I like So years ago, a couple years ago, not too long. We were running a webinar to sell a $2,000 course. And you know, that was our storytelling course Captivate. So we were, we were, we were new to the webinar game. And we were we were testing out some things. We ran some live webinars, and we sold like 30% on on these live webinars. And that was awesome. A lower price point, we always started lower around $500. And then we bumped it to 2000. Once we proved out everything bah bah, bah. So what happened was we joined a $20,000 mastermind program. And we this was specific to Evergreen webinar marketing, we didn’t want to do live launches every like, you know, half year quarter or whatever it is not interested in living that that model, okay. And so what we learned, though, in that $20,000 mastermind was how to think about our long term strategy, which allowed us to look at the sales system and the customers we already had, and optimize them in a way to get the most out of the ad spend and things we were doing, right. And so we were actually able to for XR revenues. And and with sales to the people we already had on our email list. Right? So looking at the people we already had, meaning we’re not paying for new leads, we had free marketing there to our list, but how do you engage them? How do you do that? So we were able to force revenues to the to the people already on the email list, which case it gave us a cash injection. And then that’s a strategy that was replicated over and over, right. So it is not just a one time thing, it’s as we get new people now they would be optimized with that same strategy. So that that’s compounding revenue. It also allowed us to three XR results with that same ad spend. So I talked about optimizing ad spend. So when we think long term, we are able to get more out of the ad spend. Alright, and here’s the sexy part for new leads. Right? Once we were really dialing into all this stuff, we had a 50 to 70% conversion rate, which is really powerful as we get into things like our path to purchase, which is another conversation for another day. But that that revenue optimization that that experience is something that really got us into the mindset of the enhanced in advance, right? We want to keep the customers who fall in love with the customers we have. And there’s a couple questions I’ve talked about in this report that I put together and I’ll tell you what that is and all that stuff in a minute. So for example, things to reflect on it’s important to journal and reflect take some time away from just sitting at your screen and trying to go go go and think okay, This is how we become more effective with our time. So one question would be, how would you run your business? If 100% of your future business was based on referral and repeat business only? Alright, I’ll give you one more example question. And there’s a third one which you can get on your own. How can I double my income with the current customer base I have now?

Right? How can I double with the current customer base I have right now. And when you start journaling and writing about these things, you’re looking at ways to plug leaks, I always call it leaks when we have gaps and people that could be buying from us or become reoccurring revenue or new offers like that low hanging fruit. And we want to optimize that as much as possible. And you have to remember, when we start thinking about the entire sales process, from head to toe, from marketing, to reoccurring revenue, we make small changes through these out these touch points and small changes to together will compound over time, and create big impact, right. And now the only limitation of how we enhance and tweak and do things for our own business is just our own creativity, right. So that that would really be the only limiting factor. So you do have to get creative. And I have some other examples and thoughts in the document the report that I put together, and again, I’ll tell you about that in a second. So and it’s it’s so you know, the the next thing that’s really powerful where I want to dial into E commerce is well, how does this what is the storytelling factor. So part of the Enhance advanced than enhanced strategy is what for E commerce is products. Right? Now, if you’re a coaching company or something else, or you have courses, storytelling is an important part of it, too. Because you have to really understand the how to express your story to connect with customers. And also use storytelling to sell your services and stuff like that. But as far as E commerce goes, this is really powerful. Because stories are told in three ways visual, contextual, and through experience. And E commerce is a very visual game. Okay, the products have to look sexy. This is one way that we express the kind of company we are. And it’s a it’s a visual expression of our story, right? So the, the products, I want to share a story about products and how story has that impact, because they can create a substantial difference in your sales. So if you don’t know, there was a guy, his name was what was his name? So he Robert Rob Walker. And he was in his he worked with the New York Times Magazine. Alright, so he did a project that always stood out to me. When I learned this, I was like, This is amazing, great example, for EECOM. And this was back in the day, I think, or maybe around 2006. So he ran a test, okay to just to see just how powerful storytelling was when it comes to selling products. And so what did he do? He got 200 thrift projects, the average cost of these products was $1.25. And he specifically made sure there was really nothing special about them. I mean, I mean, I wrote down a couple of these examples in this report, which is, you know, it’s like a plastic banana, wooden mallet, just things right. It’s, it’s, it’s what most people would see is pretty much garbage. Okay. And so, what he did was he had a bunch of authors, professional authors, write a story for each object that he had. Alright, a few paragraphs, you know, stories can be short, but you know, we’re talking about a few paragraphs that really gave some context about this object. And so in total, he spent $197 for all 200 products. Okay, now, he ended up selling these products. Now in your head, guess how much did he get an ROI on these products? All right, I’m gonna tell you right now, he sold them for about $8,000. That’s a 6,300% markup. And that’s all because the stories transformed boring objects, right? Which really weren’t worth anything. They’re garbage

into something that people felt an emotional kind of touch. too, it gave it context, it gave it value made it interesting. And he was able to sell these products. Right. And this is what this is just an example of how powerful storytelling can be. I spoke to Bernard Schroeder, he’s the guy that launched Amazon, Pura Vita, Yahoo, different brands like that. He’s on the podcast, you can listen to it, okay. And he told me that when he worked for pure Aveda, you know, they were struggling, bah, bah, bah, bah. And they learned to master their brand story. Right, this is something that we’re really dialed into here at change creator. So I love hearing this. And when they did, and it’s not just here’s my brand story, I put it on about page, it’s when you have your branding, and you understand your brand story. It is part of everything you do at all touchpoints. Right? Remember visual, contextual and experience. But their story, built them up to become $100 million brand. This is a company that sells bracelets. And it was a really cool story about how that all started and why and all that kind of stuff. And so that is just another example of the power of storytelling for business. You just can’t, you can’t you just can’t make this stuff up. And so I I talk about this stuff, and more in what I put together, and it was a report. And I called it three bullet proof strategies to double your E commerce business revenue. Alright. And these are three core strategies that work together. And all great brands do it. They’re these are time tested strategies, right? They’re not, here’s a new fad that’s going to work on Facebook for six months, it’s it’s none of that stuff. These aren’t gimmicks. I mean, there’s there’s a place for all these little tactics and stuff, no doubt about it, you know, a whim on tick tock that gets you whatever views and sales, all that stuff. But these are business strategies that are powerful for any kind of company. But we dial into E commerce here with some of the key points that are made, because we’ve been working with a range of companies over the past year. And we’ve had lots of good success, building up brand identities, strategies, all these things that are really important. But when we worked with the E commerce brands, we ran some sales systems, what I call a path to purchase system. And it was unique, a little bit weird. And it worked really well. And so we’re seeing phenomenal results, like adding 1000, email, emails to your list and getting paid for it. Right. So you can really turn up the dial, it could be 5000 10,000, whatever you want to do, right. But this requires, you know, getting traffic to the sales system. And they had an 86% opt in rate. Now that’s important. I always go high volume on the front end, because and I talked about this in the free report, you can download it, you can hear about it, read about it. We had an 87% opt in rate, I said 86 is 87. Which means we get a lot of people up front. That’s how you know we hit that 1000 people we’re getting paid for it. This is building the business at a very, very rapid rate. I mean, John already reached out to me, and he’s like, dude, let’s scale this thing to seven figures this year. And that was just our sandbox test at the end of 2021. So, you know, we’ve also helped other ecommerce brands that we worked with, you know, increase their cart values by 100% more.

And that’s even with them not even running ads yet. But I’m a big fan of running ads, I think, you know, what happens is we have a lot of commerce, they get into wholesale, which is a great channel, you want to be making money on wholesale, but then the websites are, you know, templates on Shopify, or whatever it might be, and all this stuff that really isn’t set up to get results. or They did it themselves or a designer put it together who’s just a designer, they don’t know anything about marketing. They don’t know anything about conversions and sales and systems and all these things. And so we’re really interested in helping ecommerce brands who are doing something special, right? Something good we like social enterprise, get their products out to people, right? So we want to sell more we want to put get them out there good products for good people. So you can get the free report. If you go to change creator.com It will just pop up when the when the site loads, you’ll get a little pop up for the new free report, three Bulletproof Bulletproof strategies to double your E commerce. It’s totally free. You can download it. It’s your typical drop me an email and get the free report. You could check it out. Alright. Lots of good stuff in there. But the power of storytelling for your business is critical and I hope those stories about enhance the enhanced in advance and how part of that enhance events is looking at your business and powering it up with your stories right this is going to help drive sales and then when you do your marketing to the current customer base all these things this it’s just low hanging fruit guys all right so you know really get that stuff optimized before you start spending all your time, energy and resources on new business thanks for tuning into the authentic brand mastery podcast don’t forget to stop by change creator calm for more information, fresh articles content and our services if you’re looking to build a brand that people love, and please stop by iTunes us a five star review. We appreciate your support

Rick Wilson: Level Up Your Brand’s Marketing Strategy For Long-Term Wins

Next Level Your Brand's Marketing Strategy For Long Term Wins

Over 50% of businesses, including eCommerce businesses, don’t have a marketing strategy in place.

And while we’re witnessing an ever-increasing number of eCommerce businesses pouring in thousands of dollars in their marketing and advertising efforts each day, not many of them are achieving the best possible results and hitting their KPIs.

Is it the fierce competition?

Or maybe they just don’t have the right systems and processes in place.

Most eCommerce store owners and marketing executives often wonder:

How can I 2x, 3x, or even 5x my company’s marketing success?
How can I run ads in eCommerce and not lose my shirt?

Recently, Adam, the founder of Change Creator and branding veteran, spoke with the author and 20-year business veteran who is the CEO of Miva, Rick Wilson, to get insights on some core ideas that will help businesses upgrade their brand’s marketing strategy for long-term success.

More about Rick Wilson

Rick Wilson, CEO of Miva (an eCommerce software and solution for enterprise merchants) has seen first-hand the evolution of the economy, starting in the late ‘90s when businesses went digital, the “mobile revolution” when Amazon became a dragon, and now today’s influencer-driven economy. He is invested in the future of eCommerce and tackles industry topics and trends in his podcast and book to adapt to changing demands.

Throughout The Podcast Episode, Adam & Rick Wilson Discussed:

  • How did Rick get into the eCommerce space? How was his experience back in 1999?
  • eCommerce in 1999 vs Now.
  • Hot eCommerce Trends at a Macro Level
  • What does future hold for both Amazon and independent retail store owner in Rick’s opinion? Is the future bright?
  • The pain points of selling on retail marketplaces like Amazon – how does it restrict third-party sellers from building their own brand?
  • The importance of customer data in the eCommerce space.
  • The importance of branding in the eCommerce space.
  • Why is it important to build a conversion-focused marketing funnel and not just focus on one aspect of marketing?
  • What motivated Rick to kickstart his venture – the backstory.
  • Miva’s USP – what helps it stand out from the competition?
  • Miva’s experience with complex inventory.
  • Why is it important to build a well-thought-out project management plan, irrespective of whether you are using Miva, Shopify, WooCommerce or any other platform?
  • How important it is to hire eCommerce consultants to set the right processes and systems in place?
  • The importance of building customer loyalty and how you can do it in eCommerce space?

Conclusion

More than 24 million eCommerce stores exist on today’s world wide web. And we haven’t yet included the Amazon storefronts or ones from other retail marketplaces

Growing your eCommerce store from scratch is a strategic process. From building the much-required systems and processes to focusing on customer experience and building a rock-solid brand that people can’t resist but fall in love with, it’s important for eCommerce store owners to approach the overall process strategically.

Learn more about Rick & Miva – https://miva.com/

Learn How to Set Your eCommerce Brand Up For Success!

Ecommerce Brands:

We will bring your unique story to life and not only increase your average order size but set you up with a profitable sales system that works for you 24/7 on autopilot in the next 30 days – or we keep working at no cost until you do. Book a Call Here

Subscribe HERE:

Powerful Recommendations for Awesome Readers Just Like You:

Episode Transcript (unedited, will likely have typos):

Adam G. Force  0:00 

How do social entrepreneurs and small businesses create an authentic brand people love so they can get the edge they need to stand out, create Predictable Revenue and compete against the big guys. That’s what we’re here to discuss. I’m Adam forest, the founder of change creator and this is the authentic brand mastery podcast.

All right, what’s going on everybody? Welcome back to the authentic brand mastery podcast. Now, if you missed the last episode, it is with Robin Johnson, we talked about getting your brand’s products, you know, to kick some ass on Amazon, right? You know, this is a great revenue channel. So if you miss that, you want to go back and check it out, she has a ton of experience there. And so today, we’re gonna be chatting with Rick Wilson. So Rick Wilson is the CEO of a company called Miva. They’re in the E commerce software, kind of SAS space, and they do all kinds of cool stuff there. So lots of expertise in that area, 20 years of expertise in retail, tech, e commerce, and they’re really investing in the future of E commerce, right. And we’re gonna get into some of the trends and things like that, you know, he’s an author as well runs, podcasts, all that good stuff. And so he seen firsthand the evolution of the economy is, you know, starting way back since the 90s. And so we’re gonna get into some really interesting conversation about marketing trends and E commerce strategies and things like that. So hang tight, we’re gonna get into that stuff with Rick. Okay, so what is going on with the Brand Studio, we have some fun stuff, guys. We’ve been real. We’re actually, you know, it’s been interesting, because one of my clients, John, we had a really great campaign at the end of the year of 2021. And so, you know, he reached out to me, he’s like, oh, man, we got to scale this thing to seven figures. So we’re, we’re working on that currently. And, you know, we just had these incredible, we did a unique kind of a weird strategy, that worked out really well. And we had this 86% opt in rate, and we’re kicking butt. So we’re offering any e commerce brands, we want to work with you and really run these strategies to take your brand to new heights, basically. And we will make a profitable sales funnel for you. And we’ll guarantee that just by saying, well, if it’s not, we’ll keep working for free until we do, right. We want to make it a no brainer for you because we know it will help you so you can reach out we got we actually have two spots open now. So if you guys are looking for that we have two spots open, they won’t last forever. Change creator.com You’ll find us reach out book a call. Okay, show me the heat. A Rick, welcome to the authentic brand mastery podcast. How are we doing today?

Rick Wilson  2:57 

I’m doing awesome, Adam. Thanks for having me.

Adam G. Force  2:59 

Yeah, no, I appreciate taking the time to pop in. You know, I noticed you’re in the E commerce space. And we’re kind of dialing in, as I mentioned, our little pregame conversation into that space more. And so yeah, I’m excited to chat since you got that experience. And I’d like to hear a little bit more about some of the trends you’re seeing and how you’re, you know, helping customers in that space. So all that good stuff, but maybe kick kick kick us off with a little bit of, you know, background on what’s going on with in your world.

Rick Wilson  3:30 

Sure. So I’ve been around. I don’t feel like an old man. And I guess technically I’m not. But I’ve been around e commerce for a long time I got involved in E commerce in 1999. Back then, Software as a Service didn’t exist. Salesforce was just a dream, right? Shopify didn’t exist, etc. And so we were one of the first e commerce platforms on the market back then. And we sold the web hosting companies. So I started out from the angle of selling to you No, but you wouldn’t buy software this way for the most part today. But we would sell to like the GoDaddy or the Bluehost. So the HostGator is the world right? Yeah, yeah. And then we sold the company in 2003. The people we sold it to it didn’t work out super well. And then in 2007, myself and four other people bought it back, we morphed it into a SASS company bootstrapped it for the first decade turn it into more mid market. So we focused on a little bit larger merchants people doing 1,000,200 million online, but it’s given me a really unique view of the world. And so you know, our customers do a couple billion a year in sales with a B, and and I’ve written a couple books. And so the I, what I’m passionate about personally is what entrepreneurs are doing, which is what this podcast is entrusting me right? Like when I was a kid growing up, I always knew I wanted to be a business person. I knew I wanted to run my own business. And I think that’s a special kind of person out there and I like talking to them.

Adam G. Force  4:51 

Nice. Yeah, I am, you know, I know that feeling and it is nice to kind of lead your own path and all that good stuff. And also just kind of come up with ideas help people. When you have that perspective, it can be a lot of fun. And so I’m curious, like, you know, just over the years now that you’ve been in the space for a while, you know, what are some of the things that you’re seeing, let’s think big picture for now, before we dial in, and just sure some of the trends, you know, in E commerce that may be a little less obvious for people, right? That might be helpful as we’re

Rick Wilson  5:29 

sure. So at a macro level, one of the trends I think that’s going on in E commerce is I’m gonna make a prediction right now that Amazon at least as the percentage of E commerce in North America has peaked. So Amazon’s always the Juggernaut there’s this sort of sense that a few years ago, the sense was really out there, that you know, why even having an independent store, just sell on Amazon. But Amazon has lost trust, right? So people, people worry about getting counterfeits. Now people worry about getting broken stuff, they worry about dealing with returns, consumer trust has eroded a bit in Amazon. And so I think I don’t think Amazon’s going anywhere, don’t hear me incorrectly. But they’re currently at like 40% or so of North American online retail. And I think that’s where they’re going to stay for the foreseeable future, as opposed to get bigger. And I think the rise of independent sellers, whether you’re selling T shirts via Instagram, on Shopify, or whether you’re selling auto parts via a platform like ours, I think that world has a lot of growth opportunity in front of it. And there’s still a huge, huge market. I wouldn’t call it you know, blue sky blue sky Greenfield. But there’s a huge market still, for digitizing businesses. And I think, especially if you’re younger entrepreneur, you might take for granted that E commerce is ubiquitous, because you’ve kind of grown up with it being everywhere. But it’s not as ubiquitous as you think there’s still an amazing amount of commerce happening the old fashioned way that needs to be disrupted. Yeah, I

Adam G. Force  6:57 

mean, that that’s fair. And it’s an it has been an interesting evolution, you know, things like Amazon, because you brought it up. I had just had several conversations with people and other interviews and stuff. And the thing I mean, I think it’s a good revenue channel that can complement your your primary hub, right your website. And but the thing about it is you’re not getting email addresses, and you’re not getting that data to really build your customer base, because they obviously they found people reselling that information, which is cannibalizing their business, which makes sense, you know, I can get that. But that’s a downside to me, which is big, because I’m a big I’m big fan of back end sales, which is, you know,

Rick Wilson  7:38 

pulling money out. And that’s where all the profit is, right? That’s the building or, you know, if that’s the whole point of building a brand, right? If I’m buying, if I’m buying an iPhone charger, right, I’m buying a little one of those little bricks to plug into. And I could buy one for five bucks at a gas station. There’s the that’s truly a commodity, right? And it’s it’s kind of meaningless, as long as it doesn’t blow my phone up or me up. But But Belkin if you take an alternative that sells the same thing for like 30 bucks. And the reason is, Belkin is built a brand, right, and they’re selling more than just a little brick, I trust their bricks not gonna blow up on me. Right, they’re gonna send me marketing emails with a bunch of other products, now they have magnetic charges that are, so you build a brand to get those long term repeat sales. And that’s, that’s the big difference.

Adam G. Force  8:21 

It’s a huge difference. I mean, I, you know, one of the things you know, we we build these Excel systems out, we’ve been testing some interesting creative concepts with people and, and we have found, like, when you really look at the KPIs, just for people listening, the key performing indicators, you can like break even, or even lose a little bit on the front end steps, you know, and in the sales process, but then you if you have that really smart back end and brand you build the brand loyalty and equity, it can just like 345 x the return. Absolutely just amazing.

Rick Wilson  9:01 

You know, I’m not even I mean, that’s probably more your space than mine. I’m not a performance marketer per se. But I know a lot of people in that industry. And that’s always been the rule of thumb I’ve been taught Celebrex where you can basically breakeven and get the customer data and then turn around and sell them seven times one product that’s profitable.

Adam G. Force  9:18 

That’s the golden ticket man because ecommerce is tough when you want to run ads because you can sure if you have a very low ticket item most likely so you have to get really creative on the front end and set certain expectations and if you don’t have that full strategy in place, you’re not making money on just selling a single product like if I see people who are like they have these you know, I have a Shopify template that says shop now button and I’m going to drive someone to a product page with my Facebook ad and you’re just burning cash.

Rick Wilson  9:46 

Absolutely. gets back to what you’re saying about brand. Right? So why do people you know, I always like to ask people why do you want Why should someone buy from you? Right and like, you know, so So my fiance and I have four rescue chihuahuas So we have a Brady Bunch of dogs I had to she had to we got together we have four and so we buy doggie bandanas from this company in San Francisco called the foggy dog and I don’t know them I have no affiliation with them but if you’re into if you’re into that kind of stuff go to the foggy dog and don’t even a customer they have a Shopify store I wish they were a customer and and they they’ve built a brand so they can seasonally send us emails with the latest bit you know, the Easter bandana and the Fourth of July bandana and the fall bandana. And it wasn’t long ago that my fiance likes me was how many dog bandanas can we own. But the fact of the matter is we buy about 20 a year for every three months every two months right? Because we get we’ve they’ve built a brand. Now, dog bandanas themselves just a piece of cloth and a triangle. That’s the size your dog’s neck is not a particularly that’s whatever. But they’ve they’ve hired designers, they’ve built brand marketing, they’ve built an experience about buying their products. And so you might think well, how do I build a brand around whatever my widget is? And the truth is, if you can do it around a dog bandana, you can do it around just about anything, if you really think it through and from

Adam G. Force  11:06 

Australia. Oh, yeah, you get the right, you know, we call brand brand blueprint for our purposes, but a brand strategy. And, you know, you really think through these steps, then yeah, the identity and everything else for the brand starts coming to life. Yep. It’s kind of shocking, because I see web designers who I’ll design whatever you want, but they don’t know anything about online sales marketing strategy, and they don’t even do a branch. I like to spend three to five grand for someone to just whip up a design that is almost pointless.

Rick Wilson  11:34 

We see that routinely in our world to where, you know, sometimes the stuffs visually gorgeous, right? You’ll see someone who however, they got it someone’s a very attractive looking thing. But there’s no UI thought no brand thought, right? And then they don’t understand why conversions dropped weight, you know, SEO? And they’re like, Yep, it doesn’t lead to buying.

Adam G. Force  11:55 

It’s a tough message to get across the people. And I will I you know, as a design like fanatic myself, I like pretty things. I like design, but I will tell people and I put it in my marketing. I’m like, I don’t really it doesn’t matter how pretty it is good design in my world is it’s converting

Rick Wilson  12:14 

absolutely 100% Yeah, I always used to, you know, this, this mindset changed, especially in the age of mobile and apps. But yeah, a decade ago, when I used to do speeches or presentations on this exact subject, I would, I would tell people think that you’re having a housewarming party, and you’re setting your whole house up in your mind for people to come through your front door. Yeah. So you’ve put all of your effort into presenting your front door and your walkway and people coming in. And I said, but what you don’t understand in the world of the web is 40% of your customers are crawling the bathroom window. And they don’t understand how they’re getting to their site, right? There’s clicking on a random link they found in a Google search that doesn’t lead to the entryway. Right. And if you haven’t mastered your conversion path, it starts by understanding how people find your website. Right. So how do p or or your app? But how do people find you? Like, how does someone know who you are. And if you can’t put your mind if you can’t put yourself in the mind of the consumer and walk through getting to know you as as a consumer does, then it’s very hard to optimize those conversions.

Adam G. Force  13:13 

That’s That’s very true. Very true. And so what what motivated you, I mean, we got the Shopify, we got the WooCommerce. I mean, there’s others that I don’t even play with. But you know, your platform is new to me, which I was just curious about. And I as an entrepreneur, I’m always like, Oh, that’s really cool. And it’s, I find it to be a very bold, you know, step in production and stuff. Because there’s obviously big players in the space. I’m a big believer that, you know, there’s room for everybody kind of thing, right. So what motivated you to take on? What seems to be a pretty damn big project?

Rick Wilson  13:54 

Well, yeah, and I don’t want to bore your audience too much the backstory. But this this project, actually, like I said, a little bit, we were one of the first e commerce platforms ever. So the the actual first iteration of our product came out in 1997. So probably most of your listeners were children. Okay. And we were, we were arguably, Shopify and WooCommerce, before Shopify and WooCommerce existed. So the backstory was during the.com, boom, we had about 250,000 active stores. So we were the most commonly used e commerce platform for small businesses back then, okay, that’s the good part of the story, the bad and I wasn’t the owner of the business then I was just here as a salesperson. I see I see that version of the business didn’t have any recurring revenue. So people would pay us 50 bucks, and they would own their their license. And that was it. So even with all those stores, we were never getting more than a couple million a year in sales, which we couldn’t you just couldn’t the two things didn’t match. Right. Okay, which is what led to sell on the platform. By the time I bought it back. Shopify was not a juggernaut. Shopify was a tight you know, Toby I Toby was a just an entrepreneur like me, and, and so and WooCommerce was As a budding little plugin, but they were neither, you know, is Magento at that time had taken off. And so, but the answer to your question is I wouldn’t go I wouldn’t necessarily today start from scratch to take on Shopify or WooCommerce. head on. I don’t know, that’s a wise move. But I am, and this is probably relevant to your audience. I’m a huge believer in this idea of have a specialty grow rich in a niche. Right. Yeah. So. So what we did was we knew we had a great e commerce platform. And we had, you know, people doing billions and sales who’s who loved our product. And I said, Well, what is it we’re good at? Why would someone choose us over Magento Shopify WooCommerce. And we’re good at specific things. We’re good at people doing business to business and direct to consumer on the same site. We’re good at huge SKU counts, right? You don’t normally see a Shopify store with 20,000 skews, right. And so so those are the things we’re good at. And we’ve we’ve really just focused on those things. You know, if something’s, I will sometimes joke that if my mom was going to sell T shirts, she should do Shopify, right, because that’s just not my platform is not designed for that. Yeah. But if you want to sell 20,000 auto products that are down to not just the model and year, but the sub year, you’re not doing well on Shopify. And that’s where a platform like meevo

Adam G. Force  16:16 

comes. I see. So that’s that’s a point of differentiation there. Yeah. So you do cater to certain kinds of businesses that have maybe more complex inventory. Is that what I’m hearing?

Rick Wilson  16:29 

Yeah, it’s well, it’s actually kind of complexity on anything. So it’s inventory. Inventory is the easiest one to describe. Right. But it could be shipping rules, right. So maybe you’re selling me and lobsters and they have to arrive just in time because you don’t want to dead lobster. So So shipping rules, payment rules, business to business and direct to consumer on the same site. Those are all the things we specialize in. So you know, if you want to do you know, and I’m not here to knock Shopify, but like, let’s say you owned 20 retail stores, and you wanted and you’re a regional, you’re not some huge brand, but you’re a regional brand, that people say in Kansas City know who you are. And you want to do buy online, pick up and store doing that on a Shopify store is near impossible because their API limits those kinds of things. Right in our wheelhouse.

Adam G. Force  17:13 

I see. I see. That’s interesting. Yeah, you know, and there is interesting. Like I worked with some I talked about this with the last person I spoke with about e commerce because I’m always curious, one interesting challenge I came across and I don’t think it maybe this is not actually applicable for you, but you might have some thoughts or insights just from people in our audience who might be similar, which is an e commerce Store that is doing local only. And they have food products that are perishable, meaning no preservatives. Yep. You know, and I, that was an interesting challenge that I kind of came across. So you know, local SEO, obviously, is an obvious thing. And and then local delivery and things like that. And have you dealt with companies like that with those kinds of constraints? And what kind of do you have any thoughts on strategies that might be helpful for for businesses that are small and local, and trying to have, you know, healthy foods that no preservatives, right?

Rick Wilson  18:11 

Sure. So um, Miva itself definitely handles clients like that. I mean, that’s when you talk about complexity, that that’s the kind of complexity, okay, don’t specialize. And I don’t know that I personally have any strategies around that subject, just because I know, we have, we do have this unique niche and specialty foods. So that kind of stuff our team deals with all the time. But I can tell you normally that kind of stuff, the complexities there and the things you’re trying to solve for our, you need to know. Because it’s perishable, you need to know real time inventory count, you need to know how exactly what time deliveries are being picked up, you need to know when deliveries are being delivered. Yeah, so it could be hyperlocal, like you’re delivering via Postmates. Or it could be just, it’s got to be there in two days. And you got to know that orders that come in by 2pm, mountain time go out via FedEx specialty, and they’re going to arrive, you know, two days more later by 10am. And so, yeah, those are the kinds of things that where you’re going to need a more specialized platform to help you saw,

Adam G. Force  19:08 

yeah, and that’s the kind of thing it’s, you know, kind of like you only have two days to deliver, because it’s a seven or eight day life span for the product. And when you do that shipping costs get really expensive, right? So you kind of hit these barriers, and you got to get pretty creative on you know, getting traffic and all that kind of stuff. So that was an interesting little roadblock that we ran into that we’re solving for, so I just wanted to pick the brain on it. But yeah, I’d be also curious as far as So, let’s talk a little bit about you know, somebody is coming to me but now this is I’m thinking of it as specialized ecommerce almost right. So complex inventory, but also could be restrictive shipping and very, you know, niche focused types of constraints. Some things to deal with. Um, and so do you have any maybe examples on? What’s the process, like when someone signs up on that platform versus building it out on? You know, we do a lot on WooCommerce, and things like that. So what’s the can you give a little explanation between them?

Rick Wilson  20:20 

Sure. And I don’t know how different it’s gonna be per se, from platform to platform, meaning there’ll be small differences. But the real trick, the secret to success, whether you’re on Miva, Shopify WooCommerce, yeah, big commerce, the secret to success is having a well thought out project management plan. So, you know, let’s use your specialty, for example. So let’s say I have a product that I make I make it five days, let’s say I make fresh cookies, and make these fresh cookies five days a week, and they’re good for eight days. Right? Yep. And let’s say I have a combination of regional delivery. So people and some people who are far away are willing to pay a bunch of shipping, but mostly I’m going to ship to where Priority Mail can get to in in 48 hours, right. And, but I also have some distributors who want to buy the stuff, right, so you’re going to start with a project plan, okay, so the distributors, they’re going to buy in bulk, maybe they’re only going to ship to distributors on Monday for the stuff you cooked on Friday, because then you’re going to charge their shipping account. So you need to lay out your whole business, your business needs to be in a Gantt chart. And if your business is all AI not to not to, not to geek out. But if your business is truly laid out in steps and systematized, then laying those systems into an E commerce platform is I’m not gonna say it’s easy. Nothing technologically is actually all that easy. But it’s doable, and you can succeed. And what you’ll find is and what I find, and it can be, you know, it can be on our platform or any other platform is if someone if someone doesn’t have their steps laid out, especially when there’s a complexity, right, it’s going back to selling more commodity items. If I’m selling a if I have a small clothing line, then I’m using a three PL or an eight Fulfillment by Amazon to fill. Yeah, right. And there’s no particular rush on the item getting there, it can get there in 257 days. You know, the hardest part there is getting a client. But in these other industries, where maybe you already have a built in demand for clients, the hardest part is getting them the product on time, while still fresh, you’re selling flowers would be a good example of that. Yeah, in a lot of that comes down to having your business process ties, and then working with an E commerce consultant, who knows how to actually get that process going. And I think my experience is the people I’ve seen who succeed are the ones who either are masters at that or are willing to hire the experts to get those systems in place for them.

Adam G. Force  22:37 

Yeah, I mean, I have to agree that having one just the thought process and thinking about all that, and then systematizing, I do love the idea of getting a combination of a strategy to run paid ads, but also a strategy for distribution. So even if you’re local, there could be local outlets that already have traffic and people that you can now borrow. Yeah. And every week, you can do fresh deliveries that they sell and do those types of things. So yeah, there’s there’s a lot of coordination, I guess. And it comes down to the hustle on the team to get it all set up to

Rick Wilson  23:10 

and you know, that’s, you know, if you have people like let’s say you have a, let’s say you’re a budding brand of a specialty food item, right? Yeah, that’s got a short shelf life. Using local distribution to get your brand out there is great, but also you need to pair that going back to your the original thing we start with, you do want to pair that with having a website where people who have now become loyalty to your fresh foods calm, because you know why your margin when you sell to them direct is going to be three times what you’re getting from the distributor. So the distributor becomes sort of your your inverted advertising costs, right? Yeah. And you build your relationship with this customer. And then now the customer coming back to buy the goods, you know, let’s you know, more traditional concept of we say nutritional supplements, right? Maybe you buy it the first time at your gym as a model in your mind. But then you go sign up for a subscription on the website, right, they might have broke even by selling it to the gym. But if they get a subscription of it from the website, they’re making a killing. And that’s the kind of thinking and entrepreneurs should be doing about how to get more business.

Adam G. Force  24:07 

I love that. And I love having E commerce with built in continuity programs. So those scription models and things like that. I think that they’re really smart. And that can be great to just like you mentioned, if you start getting the loyalty, that’s the back end right on through the emails, you get them into the subscriptions, which are

Rick Wilson  24:25 

impactful, you know, I know it sounds almost cheesy, but game theory works. Points work. Loyalty. Yeah, bonds work. Yeah, people want to be rewarded for their loyalty

Adam G. Force  24:36 

rewards. Yeah, that’s classic. I mean, it’s still I think there’s still something to be said for it. As long as it seems like a good deal. Everybody wants a deal.

Rick Wilson  24:43 

That’s what everyone wants. I mean, yes, you can boil all marketing down to that everyone wants a good deal. Everyone be the guy who knows someone.

Adam G. Force  24:50 

Man. Awesome. Well, it’s been fun chat and I gotta wrap up here and get into the next meeting. But let’s make sure we give a shout out. Anybody that is looking to explore What Rick has gone on over at Neva? What’s the the best URL and place to check out?

Rick Wilson  25:05 

Sure the two best places to find me are Miva which is m like, Mary M i va.com. So miva.com And then my podcast and book you can find a dragon proof got us out it was awesome being on here. Thanks for having me.

Adam G. Force  25:18 

Yeah, I appreciate it man. Thanks for tuning in to the authentic brand mastery podcast. Don’t forget to stop by change creator calm for more information, fresh articles, content and our services if you’re looking to build a brand that people love, and please stop by iTunes, leave us a five star review. We appreciate your support.

Robyn Johnson:  How to Rank Your Brand’s Product(s) on Page 1 of Amazon?

Robyn Johnson: How to Get Your Brand's Product on Page 1 of Amazon

Amazon is a $1.7 trillion company. What initially started off as an online bookstore is now one of the largest American multinational organizations that focuses on eCommerce, digital streaming, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and various other sectors.

Talking about eCommerce, Amazon is an entire eCommerce ecosystem of its own. And if you’re looking forward to launching your own Amazon storefront, the question is – “Should You?”

If so, when is the right time, and how does it work?

Robyn Johnson is the co-founder of Marketplace Blueprint, and she has over 10 years of experience marketing products on Amazon. Recently, Adam caught up with Robyn to get answers to some of the most burning questions related to eCommerce on Amazon.

More About Robyn:

Robyn Johnson has been heralded as one of the country’s foremost leaders on the topic of selling and marketing products on Amazon.com. Robyn has been a guest on shows like Entrepreneur on Fire, Confessions of A Marketer, and School for Start Ups Radio.

Robyn, the co-founder of Marketplace Blueprint, runs a digital agency that specializes in marketing products on Amazon. Robyn has over a decade of experience selling online on Amazon, eBay, and other eCommerce venues. Starting with only $100 taken from their emergency fund, she built a seven-figure business selling on Amazon and eBay in just a few short years.

Throughout This Podcast, Adam & Robyn Discussed:

  • What are the common challenges Amazon third-party sellers face while trying to gain traction on Amazon?
  • The way Amazon algorithm processes search intent and keywords.
  • How to find the right set of keywords that’ll actually help you rank at the top of Amazon SERPs?
  • What’s the best time to start thinking about scaling your Amazon business and revenue?
  • Robyn’s three personal favorite Amazon tools
  • How to make your way to the top of the Amazon SERPs strategically?
  • Why does product positioning matter?
  • The importance of focusing on long-tail niche keywords on Amazon.
  • How competitive is the Amazon ecosystem? How can you apply the right set of tactics to grow your Amazon business in this ever-competitive market?
  • The importance of building a rock-solid Amazon brand.
  • How can off-Amazon marketing help you build brand affinity and recognition, which can further help you grow your Amazon business at a budget-friendly price?
  • A few points Amazon third-party sellers should keep in mind to avoid getting their accounts banned.
  • If you’ve recently launched a new product listing or your Amazon venture, how can you ramp up the reviews?
  • Robyn shares more information about her Amazon Consulting Services – https://marketplaceblueprint.com/

Final Thoughts:

Data fetched from a report indicates that at any given point in time, there are roughly two million third-party sellers actively selling on Amazon. We’re living in an extremely competitive landscape. Investing thousands of dollars in randomly crafted ads won’t do you any good.

To thrive in this ever-competitive world, strategic planning and implementation are crucial. What’s the most important part is – building a rock-solid brand – a brand that people can trust and put their faith in.

And we’d love nothing more than to help you out with that.

Ecommerce Brands:

We will bring your unique story to life and not only increase your average order size but set you up with a profitable sales system that works for you 24/7 on autopilot in the next 30 days – or we keep working at no cost until you do. Book a Call Here

Subscribe HERE:

Powerful Recommendations for Awesome Readers & Podcast Listeners Just Like You:

Episode Transcript (unedited, will likely have typos):

Adam G. Force  0:00  

How do social entrepreneurs and small businesses create an authentic brand people love so they can get the edge they need to stand out, create Predictable Revenue and compete against the big guys. That’s what we’re here to discuss. I’m Adam forest, the founder of change creator, and this is the authentic brand mastery podcast.

All right, what’s going on everybody? Welcome back to the authentic brand mastery podcast, we are ready for the next discussion here today. So if you missed the last episodes with Josh finger, he is part of the group and team who created work the system. So really, I mean, this is a really great conversation, I think there’s gonna be a lot that stimulates you and how you think about your business. And it is, when we talk about working the system, it’s kind of like taking the ability to step out of your business and see the bird’s eye view, and really start creating systems and processes that will create more efficiency and free you up a little bit. So powerful conversation there. I know, we all want more freedom in our business. So if you missed that one, go back, check it out. Today, we’re gonna be talking with Robin Johnson, she is a leader in the topic of selling and marketing products on amazon.com. This is a big part of the E commerce strategy. Just think of it as a revenue channel. But you know, there’s a lot to learn. It’s a whole environment to understand. So Robin, you know, she’s been on shows like entrepreneurs on fire as well, and stuff like that. And she is the co founder of marketplace blueprint, which is basically an agency that’s just specializes in marketing products on Amazon. That’s what they do. Yeah, so she’s got over a decade, decades of experience selling on Amazon, and they help all kinds of different brands, and she has tons of good insights. So if you’re an E commerce brand, or you’re thinking about e commerce, this can be a great conversation for you to understand that environment a little bit more and what really makes it tick. So if you’re an E commerce company, we’ve been working with a lot of brands in that space. And if you could add, what would it mean to your business to add 1000 new leads every month and get paid to do it. That’s what we’re doing right now. And when we build your sales system, if we’re not getting the results, and you’re not profitable, we keep working with you at no cost until you are that’s how confident we are guys. We have one spot oh, maybe too soon. If you just stop by book a call if you want to chat and see if this is a good fit for you. We’d love to learn more about your business and potentially partner up. Just visit us at change. creator.com Okay, show me the heat. Hey, Robin, welcome to the authentic brand mastery podcast How you doing today,

Robyn Johnson  2:59 

I am doing great. I’m so excited to be here and to be able to share what I’ve learned over the last decade or so.

Adam G. Force  3:06 

Decade nice. You guys are doing some cool stuff. I thought it’d be a really good complementary strategy and conversation for us to have that will help all the E commerce entrepreneurs in our world here at change creator. So just so they know what you’re all about, why don’t you just give us that rundown in a nutshell a little bit about your background and what you’re kind of working on these days to help these guys well,

Robyn Johnson  3:28 

about like 1112 years ago, I kind of lost track, I started just buying things. I started with $100. And I started buying things garage sales. And from there, I moved from to eBay and to Amazon I built that kind of bootstrapped it to about a million dollars in business and just a couple of years. Just you know a little bit by little bit after that I started coaching high volume people who are reselling on Amazon. So you know, people who you even today are going into, you know, Nike stores and TJ Maxx is in Walmart, and they’re buying things and reselling them on Amazon and doing multiple seven figures sometimes. And you know, as we started to expand, we started to do work more directly with brands buying wholesale. And I saw what a huge problem. Amazon can be for brands, it can be incredibly frustrating. It can take you away from your goals if you’re not careful. And it can be a place where it just seems like everything defies logic and is just really, really difficult and takes a lot of time and energy to understand. So we have kind of spent the last five years or so building up an agency that works specifically on Amazon. We do Walmart and eBay too for some brands. But we really focus on Amazon because it is such a weird ecosystem, but it has so much power for brands, especially emerging brands if done right. Okay. Yeah,

Adam G. Force  4:45 

I mean, I love that and I love that you’re it’s kind of like I guess you define it as a wholesale approach, right? It’s it’s really like getting on the shelf somewhere in a store, but you’re on the Amazon shelf, if you will. And you know, I like that because I was I talked to him and worked with a lot of entrepreneurs and in who are in the E commerce space, and a lot of times they come to us saying, Well, we’re making money through wholesale, but my website’s not really doing anything. So we are the comp we complement each other nicely. So, tell me a little bit about what are the common challenges you’re seeing with entrepreneurs who are trying to actually get some traction on Amazon.

Robyn Johnson  5:29 

So it works differently. So the way the search algorithm was works, the way the ads play with the algorithm for search, it’s very Search Driven, so it’s very bottom of funnel. So it can be very difficult, if you have a new category, you have something revolutionary, then Amazon can be a difficult place to launch not impossible, but difficult, you have to have a lot of strategy in the way that you do it. If you if you come in, you just got you know, let’s say you’ve got a really great garlic press, then you know, you’ve got something that’s, you know, standard, people are already searching for it, Amazon can be a great place, but it can be very competitive. And so one of the big things that I you know, when we see is that whoever is in charge of that, whether it’s a multi million dollar company that’s got somebody you know, Joe’s running their e commerce side, or it’s, you know, I’m a shark tank size kind of company, and I’m trying to expand right now, that is that Amazon takes so much time to learn that it can be easy to feel like you’ve tried Amazon, or to feel like I you know, I gave it a good go and not get the results. So we had a publicly traded company that came to us, and they just were having horrible results, we actually were able to grow their sales so much. And they already had an agency. So it’s not like we went from zero Amazon presence to to, you know, some Amazon presence, they were able to get a $40 million investor round, because of the increased revenue that we drove just on Amazon and here. So you know, it can be really, really powerful.

Adam G. Force  6:53 

Hmm, that’s interesting. And so I guess now, you mentioned it’s very bottom of funnel. And are there. I mean, if you do marketing, for example, on YouTube, like you can literally kind of get a real gist of what some of the key words are just like when you do Google, is there a game like that being played on Amazon?

Robyn Johnson  7:15 

Very much. So there are several tools out there that can help you kind of look at it. So you, let’s say, you look at your competitor that you saw on the trade show floor that you see kind of on shelves next to you, and you look at their page on Amazon, there’s actually tools that will tell you what keywords, they’re ranking for what they’re ranking for. And you can use that to kind of identify, and that’s even what we do within our agency is is a starting places, we look at those competitors and say, Alright, these, these are the keywords that are ranking well, for this product, and here’s how much search volume and you know, let’s look at the kind of customer that’s going to come in through that keyword phrase. And that can kind of identify how much we’re going to attract what we’re going to be able to use. And on Amazon, we can even target specifically those product detail pages on advertising. So, you know, not only can we target by keywords, kind of like search ads, but Amazon starting to roll out more advanced targeting that is more demographic based, more action based. So a little bit more like Facebook, it’s still early and so they’re still figuring that product out. But it’s pretty exciting.

Adam G. Force  8:22 

Okay, well that’s interesting. And I mean, at what stage is it I always think that timing is important in life whether you know in anything business life, like just timing can matter to the results that we get help so can you help people listening understand when is the the best time to start thinking about this as an approach to you know, expand on their revenue.

Robyn Johnson  8:48 

So if you have a new to category product, so something we feel you have to I had this lady who came to me she was actually a really close friend of a mentor of mine so I really felt like I needed to help her because you know, this was somebody that was important to somebody that was important to me and it was the seatbelt person so it was designed with a little seatbelt for your purse so that when you stopped your purse wouldn’t tip over and I was like well this is a great add she thing is selling retail stores and I was like well you know I want to help you. But Amazon is really about what people are typing in so clickety click what are people typing in the search there is no

sir, you’ve been using your product or your man, how would they search and you’ve there’s tools out there. The same tools that I mentioned before, I’m gonna name three that I really liked. Helium 10 cell zone and merchant words all great tools. They all they all have like they’re super strengths in different areas. We actually use all three in our agency even though there’s a lot of overlap overlap. But you can actually look and see you know kind of about how that how that is working like how much structure Following there is, so if there’s if you if you’re like, Okay, people are going to be looking for left handed underwater basket weaving kit. And you you can say okay, well there’s like four people searching for that a month. That’s not going to get me. But if you look and you say okay, okay, there’s, there’s 3000 or 10,000 people a month searching for our brand because they saw us on Entrepreneur on Fire, they saw something, right? Yeah, yeah. And now’s a great time to go on Amazon, if you have a traditional product that people are already searching for. So you have a new tennis grip, that’s the best tennis grip ever, then you can start on Amazon right away. But you have to look at how many. So we what we do when we’re looking at, like when we do an audit for a brand to see if they’re a good fit for the agency is we look at, alright, so this is the ad budget that you think you have. Or sometimes we don’t have that information, but we might say are your primary competitors are selling like $300 300 units a month. This is you know, this is about how much we need an ad spend. Because on Amazon, which makes it unique from Google. Amazon is like the Do you remember, just the most greedy search engine out there. So Amazon’s searching is going to capitalize on whatever input to the top, whatever Amazon thinks is going to get the best sales for that product. Yeah. So if you when you run ads, you generate those conversions to show Amazon, your product is a good fit for that search. And so you kind of have to It’s a chicken in the egg have to have sales in order to get sales on Amazon. So we use those advertising the advertising and maybe some clippable coupons, to generate enough sales. But in order for to really be successful, you do need to have enough ad budget to push yourself above where those competitors are to be on page one, because we all know Page Two is the best place to hide a dead body.

Adam G. Force  11:46 

Yeah, I mean, it’s very rare that you really are flipping through page two and three to find. And what has I mean, I have to imagine that the competition to get on page one has, you know, continues to grow, and there’s more saturation. So even you know, just like, you know, biz op, you know, marketing on Facebook, you know, you’re gonna pay more to get your CPA good. CPMs. Right. So I’m assuming that the similar, I guess approaches are taken here, right? You’re gonna run into some of that as well.

Robyn Johnson  12:22 

Yes. So let’s say I have a PBX phone system, you know, those office multi line phone systems to try to get to the top of phone is going to be very expensive, and it’s not going to convert very well. So just like traditional search marketing, we’re going to go to the longer tail, more relevant keywords, and that’s going to have really good conversion. And then as we get conversion, we start to rank on those pages. And then, you know, as we get conversions, then we can slowly work our way to the top, where I feel a lot of places a lot of young companies fail as they say, Okay, well, I’m a phone system. And they just focus on phone system, when there was actually another keyword phrase, that would have been easy for them to win at, and that their competitors are really focused on. And then utilizing lots of different types of ads. So most people on Amazon are using sponsored products, which is the easiest entry. But especially if you have a trademark, you have access through brand registry to add products that other people don’t have. So you can use video ads, which takes up four pieces of the search takes like a whole bar. You can use sponsored brands, which is kind of like the headline search ads at the top. And you can use that to end even product targeting on your competitors, depending on the right circumstances that depending on how much brand affinity your your competitors have. Yeah, that may or may not be effective. So if you’re competing against Amazon Basics, that’s probably a winning strategy. If you’re competing against Lego, it doesn’t matter how great your plastic bricks are. Lego fans only want Lego. So you know, it’s going to depend on the product positioning for your brand.

Adam G. Force  13:53 

Okay, yeah, got that loyalty positioning. I mean, so there’s a lot of considerations there. I mean, it’s it’s a whole business ecosystem itself. So you know, and it seems to operate in similar ways to, you know, marketing on Facebook or YouTube and things like that. You got different keywords, different audiences, longtail all that kind of stuff. So, and what kind of budgets? I mean, I guess every category is probably different, right? So yes, you know, from going after socks, and, you know, obviously, just like in any Google search, like you’re not going to own the category socks, but you could get socks for men with two left feet. There’s your long tail niche keyword, right? So you now you’re, you’re going to be more cost effective, though, with that kind of long tail search. So do you own is it like your own? Can you own multiple, small like long tail searches so that you can get a comment like a, you know, a combined effort basically, that’s usually where

Robyn Johnson  14:52 

we’re gonna start with young brands. So, brands just kind of emerging and we have like a, you know, finite budget cap, you know, some of that, you know, There are some smaller, you know, add some smaller products that we work with that they’re like, as long as we’re getting, you know, as long as we’re getting a five or six row as you spend as much as you want. And then we also have, you know, brands that are like you have $3,222.25 Don’t go, you know, you know, we have some companies that have a smallest, like a $500 a month ad budget. So it depends on how niche you are. And if you’re like, Well, how would I know? Without, you know, downloading everything that’s in my brain, do a search for your product. So you know, you’re gonna say, okay, so left cannon, let the left Kenneth Sachs, left footed socks retrieval two left feet, and then you look at the ads that are on there, if you see ads for left handed scissors, and for, you know, for regular socks, you know, that aren’t exact match, then those CPCs are going to be lower. Or if there’s no ads at all, that’s great. If you go like, but if you look at like blue iPhone case, you’ll see there’s a they’re all exactly match. They’re all iPhone cases, they’re all exactly that there’s no Android cases, the closer Titan type those ads are in and the more placements you see, the more competitive it’s going to be. So if you’re trying to like well, I don’t even want to bother talking to an agency or something along those lines, before I feel realized how much this is going to cost us. And that’s a good place to kind of start to see is, you know, starting at, you know, the brand branded search. If you have if there’s people already typing in your brand name, then usually, then that’s going to be a quick, easy way for us to get you sales on Amazon, and keep your competitors from stealing your market share.

Adam G. Force  16:32 

I mean, our brand, are people searching brand specific is it usually like topically like searched? You know?

Robyn Johnson  16:41 

So it there if you have brand affinity. So we have a couple of brands that were non digitally native that when we started with our brand, almost, you know, we were really focused on getting as many sales from their branded search as possible, because they had a very small ad budget. So there are people who type in, you know, so in general, Amazon customers are looking for they want what they want. So they’re going to type in Barbie Malibu, Dreamhouse, not doll house. So they’re, you know, because they know that the more specific they get, the better the results they get, intuitively, okay, so if you have people who are already if you’re already in brick and mortar, if you were already on Shark Tank, if you know you have a great influencer marketing program, and people are searching for you, that’s going to be the lowest hanging fruit, fruit, low hanging fruit. I don’t know what a low hanging fruit would be, but low hanging fruit for you to get to sales on Amazon. From there, you can expand out. I don’t know if that answers your question. But, it sounds like you have stages to go through depending on where you are in your brand. Right? So you gotta start getting some kind of traction and, and you do an audit basically, to see where are you at? Like, where would it make sense for you? So we know our starting point. And then you’ll kind of grow through stages. Yeah, I mean, and Amazon? You know, it is? I always found it to be like, do you when you’re running business on there? Are the people that you work with? Like, do they get the email addresses and build their email list and customer like, do they get that data as from the customers?

Robyn Johnson  18:13 

No, because So Amazon is very Amazon, the best way to get kicked off Amazon is to try to remark it outside of Amazon, the Amazon for a while we used to get email addresses and address email addresses and physical addresses, then they realized marketers were using that uploading it to Facebook takes away their dollar because now you’re not advertising on Amazon. So they’ve kind of cut that out. There are still some sneaky ways to get it here and there. But usually, I’m not going to recommend those two brands. So wherever your is running your strategy, especially if you have a successful DTC, or if you have brick and mortar presence, you need to be having a strategy that takes that into account. And make sure that when you’re not cannibalizing your ecommerce sales, because there are customers who will go to Amazon first. And there’s a subset of those who will not if it’s not on Amazon, it just doesn’t exist. Yeah, there’s also a subset that will also check your website. So we want to make sure we’re not cannibalizing our website sales, we want to make sure we’re if you especially if you’re in small specialty brick and brick and retail, brick and mortar retail, you’re not making them mad by having a prices below the MSRP. And if you bid box, you’re going to have complications from resellers being on the listing, which can sometimes stop you from being able to run ads or sell through the way that you wanted to. So whoever is kind of helping you navigate this should really look at your existing distribution strategy and what you have in the future that’s planned, and building that strategy proactively around that not reactively.

Adam G. Force  19:37 

Yeah, I mean, I feel like there’s a lot of work to be done. So doing yourself is a little bit daunting, because, you know, great, you can come up with a keyword strategy. Let’s say someone you know, figures that out and they get on page one, but if you’re a smaller brand that no one really knows you don’t have a lot of brand loyalty or awareness. There’s still going to be several others that are competing with you on different variables, including the reviews, and I know, people just put a lot of leverage on those reviews. So are there strategies to help the smaller unrecognized brands? You know, ramp up reviews and things like that? That?

Robyn Johnson  20:19 

Yeah, so there’s a there’s a there’s a tool that Amazon has provided called the requested Review button. So you can be pushed Matt to make sure that you’re getting as many reviews as possible. There, there are, there are things I’m going to Blackhat tactic called review clubs, where you get a bunch of people in a Facebook group, and you say, hey, I want you gonna buy this product. Nope, he pay you the money back. That’s a bad idea, no matter who’s telling you, that’s a bad idea. Like they’re like, you know, that little tick tock like, how would they know they’re gonna know, to be suspended forever? Don’t do that. So yeah, if you’re looking to make a quick buck, or somebody who’s coming in as a serial entrepreneur, you’re just looking at, you know, maybe you could get away with it. But if you have a brand that you really feel, you want to have a long lasting relationship with Amazon, stay away from anything where people feel like they have to whisper to tell you, Amazon it because of the culture of Amazon, they look very poorly on that kind of behavior, and it can make it so it’s harder for you if you were to get suspended or flagged for suspension in the future.

Adam G. Force  21:18 

Yeah, no, that makes sense. And I remember several years ago, there was a company called zon blast or something. Yes. And they would help and are they still around? They I think they

Robyn Johnson  21:29 

rebranded or something I don’t know, I haven’t heard about them, like lately, but that people can come in that space. And that’s the other thing is, you know, you want to make sure. So I see you know, a lot of so a lot of times people will hire a ghostwriter to write articles for them. But that ghost writer just looks at the other article. So if those articles are wrong or out of date, then you’re getting. So make sure you’re looking at where the sources of information, if you’re looking want to know more about Amazon advertising, Amazon has a free certification program, kind of like the Facebook, Facebook does, walks you through if you if you Google Amazon learning console, there’s some modules in there that will walk you through some of the pieces of ads. And it will walk you through some of the things where people from a Google background usually get a little wonky, because like the definition for broad match is a little bit different than it has been in the past. For Google, there’s some things that are that look, they are labeled the same, but behave differently. So it kind of will walk you through those.

Adam G. Force  22:25 

Okay. Yeah, that makes sense. Awesome. Well, Robin, I mean, so let’s say people listening are feeling like, hey, you know, this is a place I’ve been wanting to get into, I need help. Where do they? Where do they learn more about you guys and find you to chat and see if it’s a good fit? Yeah, so

Robyn Johnson  22:43 

our website is marketplace blueprint.com. If you go to marketplace, blueprint.com Ford slash show, then I have some resources there that you know, you all have my like the social handles, so you can follow me on Twitter, or Facebook, I also have a Facebook group. So if you’re already on Amazon, and you’re struggling, you can go in there and ask questions. And then I also have like a 20 page like listing optimization guide that gets you started. And then we’ll do like a free mini audit where we’ll take a look at your listing and say you’re really far off or you’re really close like change a couple things. You know, just a quick count of five minute video review that I’ll do on on your on a listing or two of yours. Just because I know Amazon is very, very difficult to manage and we want to make sure that everybody who comes to the platform has the best shot of actually

Adam G. Force  23:30 

love it. Awesome. Thanks again for being here today. Appreciate all your insights.

Robyn Johnson  23:35 

Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.

Adam G. Force  23:39 

Thanks for tuning in to the authentic brand mastery podcast. Don’t forget to stop by change creator calm for more information, fresh articles, content and our services if you’re looking to build a brand that people love, and please stop by iTunes, leave us a five star review. We appreciate your support

Josh Fonger: How Can Business Systems Help Your Brand Achieve More Freedom & Generate High Revenue?

Josh Fonger: Create More Freedom and Revenue With Business Systems For Your Brand

There’s no doubt that entrepreneurship is exciting. But amidst all the chaos and thrill, it’s easy to get lost – and before you even know it, you’re just working FOR your business instead of having your business work for YOU!

And while your business may be your own baby, you may find yourself investing 60+ hours each week towards your business growth – which may not only have an impact on your health but will also result in you not being able to spend quality time with your loved ones.

But – that’s not a healthy way to operate.

Recently, Adam caught up with an expert, Josh Fonger, who is a business-performance architect and cofounder of “Work The System.”

Throughout their discussion, Josh shared valuable insights on how to start thinking about building your brand from a systems standpoint to detach, run more efficiently and grow over the long term.

About Josh:

Josh is a Business Performance Architect and the co-founder of Work the System. He is an international business consultant, coach, and speaker. He has the unique experience of personally helping hundreds of businesses grow simply, using the WTS Method.

His specialty is taking stressed-out entrepreneurs from working “in” their business to working “on” their business using systems so that profit and freedom can become a consistent mechanical reality.

Podcast Summary

  • Josh shares his story.
    • Josh’s background as a business consultant.
    • The problem Josh discovered with his existing system – the missing piece.
    • Josh shares his experience with the “Work the System” book authored by Sam Carpenter.
    • How did Josh partner with Sam Carpenter to help companies incorporate the system documentation methodology explained in the book?
    • How did Josh fix his own business after going through a 15-years nightmare?
  • Josh and team’s experience with three businesses they helped scale with their methodology
    • Client I – Medical Clinic
    • Client II – Karate Studio
    • Client III – Commercial Appraisal Office
  • What do large companies do better that helps them scale and grow – that small companies fail to?
  • How important is it for entrepreneurs to separate themselves from their business and align different business processes and systems?
  • Focus on general operating principles – being able to trust people, treat the project and treat the technologists the same way you would.
  • The importance of building your business infrastructure and documenting the systems and processes.
  • Josh shares how to strategically grow your business – without having to worry about spending too much time in.
  • When can small business owners see themselves working from the outside rather than inside after documenting their processes and strategies for efficient scale and growth?
  • What are the biggest fears that people Josh works with have to get over to actually do what they do?
  • Can businesses use Josh and team’s methodology during the early stages to elevate their revenue?

Conclusion

You may be generating sales – you may be earning profits. But if you don’t have documented systems and processes in place, you may find it extremely hard to scale and grow your business. In fact, you may be finding yourself investing 60+ hours towards your business operations – which isn’t healthy.

Remember – smart entrepreneurs don’t work for their business; instead, their business works for them.

And by documenting your systems and processes using Josh’s and Sam’s methodology, you can not only save a huge chunk of your time but also efficiently scale and grow your business.

To learn more, don’t forget to tune in to the Create More Freedom and Revenue With Business Systems For Your Brand episode today.

Learn more about Josh and Work The System: https://www.workthesystem.com/

Learn How to Systematically Grow Your Brand!

Schedule a strategy call with us today.

Subscribe HERE

Powerful Recommendations for Awesome Readers Just Like You

Episode Transcript (unedited, will likely have typos)

Adam G. Force  0:00 

How do social entrepreneurs and small businesses create an authentic brand people love so they can get the edge they need to stand out, create Predictable Revenue, and compete against the big guys. That’s what we’re here to discuss. I’m Adam forest, the founder of change creator, and this is the authentic brand mastery podcast.

What’s up everybody. Welcome back to the authentic brand mastery podcast brought to you by change creator. This is your host, Adam force and happy new year. This is our first episode since we’ve come into 2022. Now, we left you off before, we took a little hiatus and break. And I hope you did too. At the end of the year, we left you off with a thought that has been kind of pivotal for me in building two businesses. And, you know, that was a philosophy I discussed in the last episode. And I kind of dig into it in depth there. So if you missed it, I would definitely go back, I think you’ll find some inspiration, they’re kind of my goal there was to really create a perspective shift that helps you just understand just some of the human behaviors and how to think about yourself and how others may see you as well. And this is going to make a difference in in how you kind of execute on your business with all the decisions that you’re making. Alright, so this week, we’re gonna be talking to Josh founder, and this is such an important conversation as you guys build your brands. You know, when we’re doing these things, we have to be organized, we have to have systems and a lot of times we get sucked into being the person that wears all the hats and this is inevitable, especially when we are just starting or we’re you know, we’re running solo, we don’t have teams, I get that 100%. But we do need to start thinking from a systems approach. And that’s what Josh is all about. So we’re gonna talk to him about the consulting that they do and how it helps create better productivity and detaches you from your business. You can see it from that 30,000 foot view. Remember, you don’t want to work for your business, you want the business to work for you. And that’s what this conversation is all about. Don’t forget to leave us a five star review on iTunes and check out the latest at change creator.com. If you have an E commerce business, we have one spot currently open for our brand accelerator, guys, we will get you over 1000 leads per month and have you get paid for it. And if we don’t, we’ll keep working with you until we do. Check us out. Sign up for a strategy call. Let’s talk about your business. Okay, show me the heat.

Hey, Josh, welcome to the authentic brand mastery podcast. How are we doing today, buddy? Doing great. Got a beer. I appreciate it. And you mentioned you were calling him from Hawaii. How’s the weather?

Josh Fonger  3:03 

It’s the same as it always is. Yeah. So probably heading to the beach today, actually. So that’s good.

Adam G. Force  3:08 

I love it. Are you a surfer? Not a surfer.

Josh Fonger  3:11 

You know, we’ve been here six months now. And so we’re getting there. Right now. My goal is to teach my three boys to surf. And then once they’re good, then they’re old man. We’ll give it a try. So that’s

Adam G. Force  3:22 

that’s cool. That’s cool. All right. You said how many kids did you say you had?

Josh Fonger  3:27 

Three boys. Then we got a little girl. So for for right now. The house is getting Wow,

Adam G. Force  3:31 

he had a full house. Yeah, I have one child. And we have a second on the way. I’m already going, man. We’re crazy just for having to

Josh Fonger  3:41 

get busy on your toes.

Adam G. Force  3:42 

Yeah, yeah, that changes your dynamic as an entrepreneur. So you better start as we’re going to talk about working more on your business than in your business. When you have

Josh Fonger  3:53 

like it opened up, you can actually have them start working in your business for you is doing that now. So that’s a good transition.

Adam G. Force  4:00 

Ah, that’s pretty cool. I like it, I can learn a little something. And that’s how they can get real education. Right.

Josh Fonger  4:06 

That’s what we’re trying to do. Actually practical. Yeah, definitely.

Adam G. Force  4:09 

I love it. I love it. So just to get everybody grounded, once you tell a little bit of your story. You know, just I like to know a little bit about what’s exciting in your world right now, you know, today, like the most current events, but then we’ll get into just a little bit of backstory and what kind of got you there?

Josh Fonger  4:26 

Sure. Yeah. Well, what I’m most excited about. And, you know, it’s this book, you know, work the system, which we’ve been excited about for over 10 years now. But as opposed to me being the coach and consultant, the guy who actually flies around and helps companies is certifying consultants around the world and getting them the tools or resources so they can actually do what I do, which is go out and help companies scale and grow with this methodology.

Adam G. Force  4:53 

Cool. Cool. And so how did you learn these processes? What’s the background there?

Josh Fonger  4:57 

Well, I’ll tell you the story. Short story I, I was a business consultant flying around helping companies. And what I realized was that after I left, give it six months or a year, the same problems would come back, and then come back again and again and again. And I realized there’s a piece I was missing. And that was the documentation piece. And Sam Carpenter wrote this book called work the system and, you know, providentially, we met in Bend, Oregon, had some coffee together, and he’s in his 70s. And so he didn’t need to grow up coaching consulting business, he was doing fine on his own. And but I did, right, we, we partner together at the time, and I basically took his book, and use it help companies using this, this methodology with with documenting companies systems. And so every company’s owner has their secret sauce in their brain. And maybe a few people kind of know it through osmosis. But they had the hardest time scaling, and growing efficiently and effectively, ultimately building an asset they can sell one day. And that’s, that’s where I got engaged to working with, with Sam. And still he and I chat every week about the business growth. And we’re just trying to help as many people as we can with with what he learned. And for those of you don’t know that this book, details how he fixed his own business. And he went through a nightmare for 15 years. And then he finally had an epiphany about how he could organize his company to scale. And that’s what I do I help companies take that same process.

Adam G. Force  6:32 

That’s interesting. So I’d like to get a better sense of one, what are the types of companies that you’re primarily supporting? And is the model that you’re talking about? More specific for them? Or is it more universal?

Josh Fonger  6:51 

Yeah, it’s universal. Yeah, we didn’t know that at first, you know, the book details and answering service, taking this methodology, and then using it. But what we realized was that as we got out to market, you know, the medical first three clients, one was a medical clinic that had, you know, three locations, and that that worked out great. Another one was a karate studio. And then that worked out awesome. Another one was a appraisal, office, commercial appraisals, okay, you know, and then it was, you know, then it was big bakers. And then it was online marketers, very different podcasts. And, you know, right now, I’ve got a client who sells car washes and maintains them. So it’s really, it’s it’s very high level. And it’s more of a mindset shift, a strategic shift, a company culture shift, and then you then infuse that into the various systems of your business. And so that’s what allows us to walk into a lot of different enterprises, and help them put this strategy on top of what they’re already doing. And maybe they’re already doing something that works already making money. And we just, you know, add this layer on top to make it more efficient, more scalable, more effective. And, you know, it’s basically what, what any large company does, the small companies don’t is large companies, document their systems, so that they can, you know, build their teams and scale and grow. And small companies don’t, they just never, they never do that. They always keep it in their head. And therefore, they call them Gillio. Businesses, they kind of, they have, you know, six months or a year, that’s good. And then they go back down, they got to cut some employees, because sales good, and then they go back up and down and back, and they they hit a plateau. That plateaus, either, you know, half million, 1 million, quarter million, whatever that sales plateau is for the business. And they just stay there, they stay there for a number of years until the owner gets burned out, or, you know, they have a series of bad luck. And then they got a business. But that’s the common small business. That’s, that’s 97% of companies out there are kind of in that stage. And we let them know that they’re, you know, if they shift something in their head, I call it the system’s mindset, there really is a potential where they can grow their business, it doesn’t have to be harder, it can actually can get easier as they grow. Not harder. And that’s what we tried to show them that path.

Adam G. Force  9:17 

It’s interesting, and I, I can really see the truth, just from my own experience in what you’re saying about the yo yo, you know, metaphor and stuff like that. And you’re right, those processes. I think I talked to because I work with a lot of earlier stage entrepreneurs, you’re probably I think working with some more established people that are making closer to a million dollars a year maybe is and they do not have I mean, they have you know an idea of things, but to have real processes in place that is far and few between for sure. So I think And so tell me like do you see because you talked about the book, and how there is a mental like power Time Shift, if you will, for people in order to start taking actions a little bit differently that will allow them to scale further, right? So now is that kind of getting more comfortable with like, Hey, I’m setting up these systems and then more comfortable with how we’re actually I guess hiring or running, running advertising and marketing to let the company actually scale to the next stage, which is something they probably haven’t actually done before. What what is the can you give us a little taste of what some of the the ideas are behind it? Yeah, sure,

Josh Fonger  10:33 

I’ll kind of walk you through step by step. And you’re right, the first thing is, mindset shift. So you don’t have you need to get any more sales or any growth person that’s versus just to, you know, kind of get outside your business be slightly elevated, look down, and then just realize that instead of saying your business is, let’s say, bakery, where you were, you just jump in there, and you you bake the cake to take the orders. It’s, it’s a composed of these separate discrete systems that happen day to day, week to week, month to month, and you can actually isolate them into the, let’s just say, 200, separate things that happen on a regular basis in the bakery. And, as the first thing is to is to separate yourself, so you and your business are not the same thing, that they’re different things, right. And that’s the first shift a lot of entrepreneurs have a hard time with because they become their business. And then you have to start thinking about your strategy. And we document in what’s called a strategic objective. But you know, is the actual core offering the you’re, you’re giving line up with what your customers actually want, which lines up with your pricing, which lines up with your technology, which lines up with your team, which lines up with how you pay them, which so it needs to be alignment, across the board, in your business. And again, a lot of companies, everything’s misaligned. And the reason being is that the entrepreneur, as learned how to make money, which means they, they cater to each customer type, they cater to each situation, they think on the fly, they’re willing to, you know, go above and beyond what a normal person would do in all sorts of circumstances. And so they’ve kind of created this, you know, Frankenstein business, that has taken them to a point and we say, you know, you’ve you’ve tested out all these different dead ends. Now, it’s about setting some boundaries, you know, you know, kind of greasing the wheels and setting setting a straight line, a straight course, realizing that you can’t do this thing over here anymore, and you can’t do that thing over there anymore. You need to make everything aligned. And that’s, that’s a really important step that, that really small entrepreneurs need to take that step. And this methodology, and you mentioned it, you know, it’s for big companies. And it is, but for small companies, it’s really important work because they can stay stuck because of the entrepreneurs ability to be so creative and problem solving, that they can’t come up with a repeatable system. And then once we do that, then it’s the principles. So as you bring people on board become general operating principles, you want them all to be making decisions the same way, consistently, so that you feel like you can trust the people around you to hold the ball for you. Knowing that they would treat the customer the same way you would, they would treat the project the same way you would, they would treat the technologists and what you would. And so these are all just infrastructure that you want to put in your business. And it doesn’t cost like the things I’m talking about right now. They cost a lot of time and thinking but they don’t actually cost any money. You don’t have to go out and you know, go buy a warehouse or you know, buy a new machine to do it. And then it’s the incremental steps of building the infrastructure of your business. It’s the system’s. Now, the system’s already happening. Right? The way you make sales is already happening. Use a bakery example, the way you bake the cake is already happening, the way you buy your products. It’s already happening. But you haven’t ever taken the time likely to think, you know, is this the best way to do it? How am I doing it? And let me write down the way it is being done so that I don’t need to do it anymore. And then you start to slowly piece by piece, system by system, find others who can can do that work and in some cases do better than you in fashion you and it’s a it’s about taking the next step towards that end point, which is a fully systemized documented business and I think like, they say, Wow, that’s gonna be too hard. It’s too much work. But you already working hard anyways, it’s just about working on the right things. And realizing that, you know, if you put one brick on a day, you know, give it a couple years and you’re gonna have this you know, you have a fortress, and but you do have to put that, that brick up each day.

Adam G. Force  14:43 

Yeah, no, I love it. I think that’s really great because you know, if you’re, now if you’re earlier in your process, right? Let’s say you’re making $100,000 a year, okay. 200,000 Whatever. To your point. There’s a good chance you’re bringing in a few clients a month, maybe if you’re a service or consultant, and you’re doing okay, but it’s a lot of work, you don’t have the systems in place. So now you introduce this idea and your book. And you know, this process, basically, which has helped a lot of companies. You mentioned, like we’re gonna look at, we can isolate from a big picture point of view, the systems that make up the business, ultimately, as an asset right. Now as a smaller company with less resources, what’s the suggestion to people who are listening and thinking like, yeah, I love this concept of Systemising. I’m going to read this book, I’m not sure. How do they, because there might, if they don’t have a big team, maybe they have one VA, let’s set let’s set a boundary, I think about, I got a founder, I got a VA, we’re doing some work. But I got all these systems, my podcasts, I gotta get articles up on the site, and I missed you miss things like all the time, and I’m working and you know, you think to yourself, so it’s like, you want the consistency, but it’s too much. So how do you start? Do you trim the fat at some point and say, Hey, we got to have to look at what the critical path is, and get rid of some stuff? Like, how do you approach managing the workload?

Josh Fonger  16:08 

Yeah, that’s a that’s a great question. And it depends. It depends on the situation. Yes, yeah. Right. So people that do have, they do have access to money. And so they, the idea would be to, you know, build out a team to take out those pieces, some people don’t, and their time is already stretched. So it is it is removing or reducing some of the things that you’re doing so that you can focus on the core elements that actually make you money. And oftentimes, as we’re doing this with companies, we are increasing their price, especially if anything that actually involves their personal time. So that just say, if they have 10 customers, and those customers are each paying them $1,000 A month, we might raise it to $2,000 a month. And yeah, they might go to say five customers, or six or seven customers, so they lost some customers, but they’re actually making more money. And they have more time, that’s usually a part of the shift that needs to happen is that anything that’s going to be custom solution that you personally are going to yourself, you’re going to have to increase the value of what you perceive your time to be and what you charge for it. But that’s, that’s one of the techniques. The other technique is to make what you’re already doing better or faster. So that means yourself personally. So be more systematic with the way you run your personal life. That’s what exercises we do with all entrepreneurs, we find that there’s a ton of waste in your, your day and your week where you’d be way more effective and efficient personally. And yeah, your VA you want to you want to maximize them. And, and if you are using part time labor like that, there’s likely pieces of what you do, once you’ve isolated them, that you could you can hand off, and they could start doing more and more of those pieces. And that’s a pretty common way to, for people to to start off as they know it. I’ve been doing this video editing for you know, whatever your podcast is, I want to probably do this now that I figured out the best way to do it, I’m going to hand this off, or maybe you’ve been doing your transcript yourself. And then you could hand that off. Maybe you’re doing your bookkeeping yourself, but you can hand that off. And so some of those things are easy wins to hand off to experts. But then eventually, you’re gonna get to the point where even the the service delivery that you do, once you figured out what is your service delivery, like in my case, you know, doing the coach and consulting was my service delivery. I’ve packaged that up. So now I can train consultants, and they can do the service delivery. Right. So that, but that didn’t happen today. That happened with the intention of I think is the other big thing that I want to make sure the audience gets is, when you have your own business at first, it typically has to do with, I want to just make enough money to pay for myself and take care of my own bills, and be able to do it on my own terms. But there reaches a point where you realize your customers need more the world needs more, you could do a lot more good in the world. And it’s not just about you anymore, it’s about expanding to to make that impact. And that’s when you realize you have to start taking treat your business like a business as opposed to treating it like, well, I work hard enough to pay my bills and go on vacation. But I’m not going to ever go beyond that. I think that’s kind of shortchanging what you can do in in the world. Because you’re thinking about your business in terms of, you know, just yourself as opposed to the impact you can make. I think for most people, if they did have more time, and if they did have more money, they did have more mental bandwidth. There’s a lot of really cool, good things. And I’m looking your website right now that people you’ve worked with where they could do a lot of really amazing things. But they’re going to have to step out of the day to day to make those things happen. And this is this is kind of the tool, or the method that can pick up make that a reality.

Adam G. Force  19:55 

That’s yeah, I love that. And I liked what you said. It’s like you have this moral obligation. If you can help people, you know, if somebody comes up to you, and they’re like, man, it’s because of you right, Josh and your help that our company was able to give, create more jobs and help more people, and you know, give us a better life. If you didn’t do what you do, then that person, you know, would be unaffected, right? And so it makes a big difference that has a trickle down effect as well. So I love that you kind of have that mindset around it. Yeah, so yeah, I mean, the idea of looking at it as an asset now, do you? Do you actually talk through it that way with people to look at your business as an asset that becomes sellable. So that, does that create a sort of frame of mind or something?

Josh Fonger  20:41 

Yeah, that that’s one of the focuses for us. And again, we try to say high level, so that attracts kind of a pretty, pretty wide dead, but there is a certain demographic that that really wants to build a company to sell, ultimately, you know, maybe in 10 years, maybe five years, maybe one year, and this is a clear path to do that. Some of them like this guy you’re talking to yesterday, he’s a plumbing, business services business in California, he wants to open up another location in Vegas and Phoenix. So it’s about duplication, it’s not about selling it, they want to keep it a failing business, but they want to actually expand it. So that’s some people that want to expand. Other ones. They’re just, they are literally stuck in a day to day, they’d have, you know, one VA, and I talked to someone yesterday that that just had one VA, but he knows he can do so much more if he finally got things systemized. And so it’s about going from that, you know, quarter million dollar business a year to making the million dollar mark. And they just know, they have to make some shifts to do it. And so it attracts different people at different at different seasons. Yeah, we know, we’ve worked with some companies that are doing $500 million a year, even even larger. And for them. I mean, the owners have as much time and money as they need. It’s about just efficiency, impact scalability, and they realize if they can make a 3% efficiency improvement, it’s gonna be a ton of money. And so, yeah, well, I should do it. And so they have a different motivation, but usually work with smaller companies.

Adam G. Force  22:11 

Yeah. Excuse me, I’m about to sneeze. Okay. Nevermind. Got it. Okay. Yeah, and I like the idea of creating the ability to create efficiency. And I guess, you know, when you’re thinking about a smaller company, I have you seen, so when you implement your process? What’s the timeline to really start feeling like, Okay, we got this thing systematized. And I can actually see myself kind of working from the outside of it more so than the inside.

Josh Fonger  22:56 

Yeah, well, I don’t want to say it depends. But it really does. Some people, they jump right in. And then within a few months, their company is totally revolutionized that appraisal company, what our first clients that we’re still we’re still testing out the theory on these people. And within three months, he says, Josh, now what I do with my time, my employees don’t need me anymore. I’m not going to the office, what should I do? And so you know, it took up cycling, you know, he joined the band. And then eventually, he got bored, and then went back and then grew his business. Yeah, at first, it’s like, well, now I don’t need to be here. So that that can happen pretty quickly. Depending on the maturity of your business and the maturity of your of your team. The standard that we say is four months. So we say, if you dedicate four months to intentionally focusing in on your business with this methodology, it’s going to give you the chance to actually infuse strategy in all aspects of your business as to give your team a chance to try this out to test other procedures to measure them to actually build some consistency in using them and working in this way. And you’re going to have kind of a four month lifecycle to actually work in this way, so that it sticks. And then you just have to carry it carry it through. And that’s kind of our plan. We’ve tried doing it in a weekend workshop that didn’t work. We tried doing it in 60 days, that was too fast. We tried doing in six months, and we had to prove it for six months long, and people are like six months, that’s too long. I don’t want to commit that much time. So eventually, you know, we’ve got a standard, you know, 120 day transformational group coaching program, and that’s kind of our, our bread and butter is that, you know, four months of your stay committed that long. It’s going to transform the way you operate, and then you can just carry it through from there.

Adam G. Force  24:47 

Yeah, I think that makes sense. And I think curious, what are some of the biggest fears that the people you work with? Have to get over to actually do what they do?

Josh Fonger  25:02 

Yeah, well, the biggest fear is that, that they know they’re not going to like it, I think that’s probably the, you know, there’s a lot of things you can do, you know, a lot of programs and products and services that that seem more sexy, more fun, you know, a new logo, new brand, you know, new advertising campaign website, there’s a lot of things that are just more visually appealing, and then more outward facing and people are going to notice them immediately, you might even get an immediate impact, where this is, this is the kind of the behind the scenes, boring stuff that people are like, I kind of want to say a little more fun with my time. And that’s, that’s probably the hardest thing is the fact that no, this is not always gonna be fun. They know it’s gonna be hard work. And they know that the results that they get, though it might be 10x, or 100x their business, it’s not going to do that in the first couple of months. Like the first few months, it’s going to be invest in infrastructure to be investing in your systems going to be investing in. And that kind of that’s hard thinking hard work. But the payoff is going to be massive. And so it’s getting them over a, I need to make sales next week, or I need to do this next month is to a, I need to build this for the next five years for my kids, my grandkids for the world. It’s it’s a it’s a totally different perspective. And so that’s, that’s probably the hardest thing is they know, it’s gonna take some time. And if they’re already, you know, living hand to mouth, and they’re, they’re in that phase, it’s hard for them to think differently about business.

Adam G. Force  26:41 

Yeah, yeah. And it sounds like you work with both service and consulting businesses, but also ecommerce as well.

Josh Fonger  26:49 

Yeah. Yeah. We’ve had e commerce businesses work with us. It’s, it’s really all over the map. I mean, we’ve had people who, you know, design websites, we’ve had podcasts to build, you know, a nuclear power plant repair companies. Yeah. Chiropractors, podiatrists, law firms. Gotcha.

Adam G. Force  27:08 

Yeah. It’s interesting. And I’d be curious, is there a quick win in the process in the beginning, meaning like, for example, you mentioned some of the price considerations for the pricing model, is that a early on tweak that can kind of elevate some revenues while you work on all the other boring stuff?

Josh Fonger  27:29 

Yeah, that’s definitely a way to have a little more cash in the door. But I think it’s another way is, if you and we do this with our owners is pretty tedious as we write down every single thing that they do for a couple days. And then if you can isolate a couple things that you’re doing every single day, and document that system and hand it off, that’s going to help you become a true believer of what this can do. And it’s also going to free up let’s just say, half hour a day or two hours a week of your time. And that’s when it really starts to become interesting, when you realize, Wow, I took this thing that I did every single day, every single week. And now I’ve handed it off. And now I immediately have time back. And I can reinvest that time. And so yeah, I try to get them a quick win in terms of time back. And ideally, any customer comes to us, we asked them what their biggest problem is. And we try to figure out a systematic, sustainable solution that’s going to prevent that problem from happening again. And the quicker we can make that happen, the better and the more the rest of the company can buy into it because they saw the results.

Adam G. Force  28:31 

Yeah, I love that. Cool. Well, and where can people do a quick search to find you and maybe even get the book and learn more? Sure.

Josh Fonger  28:41 

Yeah. So Sam Carpenter and I, we just split off the two sites, we just had too much going on on our Bulsara or both our sites and so WT s enterprises.com is where I do the coaching and consulting the training. The book is there soon we’re gonna have the book summary sort of like downloading it and actually getting getting the book and I podcast is there and then Sam Carpenter actually has his own site where he likes to blog and write about systems thinking nothing to nothing to buy there. Just just Sam the author and that’s at the website work the system.com

Adam G. Force  29:13 

Cool, awesome. Hey, listen, I appreciate your time. This was a great conversation. I hope that people listening got a lot out of it. It’s important really important stuff.

Thanks for tuning in to the authentic brand mastery podcast. Don’t forget to stop by change creator calm for more information, fresh articles, content and our services if you’re looking to build a brand that people love, and please stop by iTunes, leave us a five star review. We appreciate your support.

The One Philosophy That Will Create Habits of Success For Any Entrepreneur

The One Philosophy That Will Create Habits of Success For Any Entrepreneur

50% of businesses fail within the first five years. And while numerous factors contribute to a business’s failure, it’s important to note that an entrepreneur’s mindset can literally make or break his/her business. Life of an entrepreneur – it’s never easy. They have lots of thoughts crawling in their heads.

And even if you’re a smart person and know a lot, that doesn’t mean much if you’re not acting on the information right in front of you. Being attached to who you are now and saying, “that’s how I’ve always been” is a path to nowhere.

In this episode, Adam talks about one core philosophy that has changed his life as an entrepreneur and shares a story about Bill Gates and Warren Buffet that will open your eyes to the power of this idea.  Embrace this for a successful 2022.

As a father and entrepreneur with 20 years of professional business experience, Adam is an expert in branding, storytelling, and online sales. After working 10 years at WebMD as Director of Strategic Marketing Adam started his second business, Change Creator, supporting social entrepreneurs with premium branding & high-converting websites, the Change Creator Podcast with 230+ expert interviews, and 30+ editions of Change Creator Magazine reaching over 140+ countries including exclusive interviews from the most impactful entrepreneurs on the planet such as Seth Godin, Arianna Huffington, and Richard Branson.

Throughout this Episode, Adam:

  • Shares a Brilliant Yet Inspiring Story About Warren Buffett & Bill Gates
    • Why did Warren decline Bill’s $20,000 Offer?
    • How does Warren treat every money-making opportunity?
    • The moral of the story.
  • Adam conveys his Philosophy via the story.
  • How did this philosophy change Adam’s life?
  • Adam shares that most entrepreneurs kickstart their journey yet quit early.
  • How do our small everyday life habits or style shape who we are as an entrepreneur?
  • What impact do smaller things have on the big ones?
  • How should you apply this philosophy while building your own personal brand?

Final Thoughts:

This brilliant philosophy has literally changed Adam’s life for good. And maybe – what if it’s the only thing that you need know of to help you climb the ladder of success.

Don’t forget to tune in to the “The One Philosophy that will Create Habits of Success for Any Entrepreneur” episode today.

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Episode Transcript (unedited, will likely have typos):

Adam G. Force  0:00 

How do social entrepreneurs and small businesses create an authentic brand people love so they can get the edge they need to stand out, create Predictable Revenue and compete against the big guys. That’s what we’re here to discuss. I’m Adam forest, the founder of change creator and this is the authentic brand mastery podcast.

Hey, what’s going on everybody, welcome back to the authentic brand mastery show brought to you by change creator. This is your host, Adam force. And if you missed the last episode, I spoke to my buddy Sean, he runs two different brands, entrepreneurial chef and pastry arts chef. And it’s not, it’s a discussion about, you know, how he built those brands and why pace yard chef became so much more successful, like what the difference was between the two, what worked and really kind of drove the results. So really valuable insights just for any entrepreneur in general, right from that discussion. You don’t need to be in the food space or anything like that. So definitely go back, I’ve got some really great feedback on that discussion, I think you guys will get a lot out of it. So I would definitely go back and check it out if you missed it. And for this episode, I’m going to be just kind of talking about a mantra, or let’s say core philosophy that has been really significant in, you know, my six years change creator

building this brand. And I think it’s going to help you with 2022. So wanted to share a story about Warren Buffett and, and Bill Gates as an example and talk about a few other little insights there. So let’s kind of use this as an opportunity to just kind of shape our perspective and really get our thinking in line for how we set ourselves up and show up in 2022. Our guys, let’s get into it. Okay, show me the heat. On No, you go. Hey, what’s up everybody, I hope you’re all excited about the holidays. So I am coming on here as we reach the New Year.

And you’re we’re always all thinking about what’s next for us? And what am I what are my goals for the next year and all that kind of stuff.

And I want to talk about how we show up in the world, you know, as entrepreneurs, and as we run our businesses, and we help people, you know, so one of the keys that I always consider, which is such an important statement, because it goes for everything, right? That is how you do anything, is how you do everything. Maybe you’ve heard that before, maybe not. It’s kind of become a mantra since I first heard it in how I show up in life. And so let it sink in for a minute. If you haven’t heard that before, how you do anything is how you do everything. And I want to share a quick story that has floated around the internet. Now I read this in a book. And I forget because I read it a while ago what book but I do remember the story. And I may butcher this a little bit, but I’m gonna get the point across okay. It’s actually about Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. Alright, so now they were there. And I’m a golf person, I was actually just hitting golf balls the other day played golf in college and stuff like that.

So, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett were playing golf, and they were on a par three. And if for those that aren’t golf savvy, that just means you should get the ball from the tee box into the hole within three strokes. That’s three times hitting the ball. Now, so that is a shorter hole. And, you know, before Warren Buffett hit the ball, Bill Gates made him an offer. Alright. And he said, Hey, Warren, let’s have a little fun.

If you hit a hole in one, I’ll give you $20,000. That means he’s gonna hit the ball right out of the gate off the tee box and it goes in the hole. Okay, again, so shorter hole. So Warren turned and asked, well, what happens if I miss? And so Bill said, Well, if you miss you pay me $20. So just 20 bucks. Now remember, we’re talking to Warren Buffett here.

Warren said, Well, what are the odds? Bill said how about 1000 to one odds?

Alright, well, Warren immediately said no deal.

He said, these are bad odds. So definitely no deal. Now the chance of

Hitting of me hitting this ball in the hole in just one shot is less than one to 1000. So the, the odds are bad, right?

So Bill laughed and said, Warren, I think you can afford the $20. Right? And you know why reply Byron and reply was actually profound. He said, stupid in small, stupid in big.

Okay, think about that stupid and small, stupid and big. So to a smart guy like Warren Buffett he treats the smallest deals, no different than the biggest deals? Why? Why would he do that? Well, the reason is that the way you do anything is the way you do everything. All right. And that statement right there, as I mentioned, has become a mantra has changed my life, and it can change your life too. Because think about everything you’re doing.

How you do things in your life translates into your business. Are you healthy? Are you organized, are you You know, like I, here’s an example, I’ll come off top my head, it’s such a silly thing to, I used to always leave the last bite of food on my plate and not finish.

I have no idea why. And I did this all time. So it was a, this was common in my work as well. Right? doing enough, but not 100% completing something before moving on.

Right, getting excited in the beginning, building out the idea being this label yourself. I’m an idea guy, I’m a creator, you do all these things. But then you don’t actually finish it, and complete it in a way to see it through, right. So instead of tossing another example, tossing clothing on the chair, or jamming it back in the drawers is a mess, like, you know, I did the laundry, I’m putting just gonna put all this stuff in there. You know, I used to do that too. But now, I fold everything. And I put it away nicely. And I’m more organized in my business than ever before, which is profoundly helpful when you’re really trying to grow if you’re taking your business seriously.

Right. So all the little things we do the little behaviors, the way we show up and do things is going to be consistent throughout the business as well. Right? These are, these are basically like little examples of who you are and how you carry yourself. So you’ve probably heard we have to change the way we do things if we want to get different results in our life.

And these little micro changes, we can call micro changes, you know, eat the last bite on your plate, meaning it’s a metaphor for actually finishing things like seeing it through, right. So, you know, as we change these small things, bigger changes happen on the outputs, we can’t, we can’t actually make more money or help more people or have our business scale, if we’re just going to behave in the same paradigm that we always have, right? It just doesn’t work. That’s not how that’s why everybody always says you have to get uncomfortable to grow. And when we’re building a brand, we’re not just throwing something up and trying to make a couple bucks. We want something that is memorable, it’s trustworthy, you’re building a legacy, honestly, you want something that stands the test of time. So you know, think about

journaling on this topic. I always when I work with clients, I talk about journaling a lot. We taught this in our Captivate course as well.

You know, these areas of reflection, to think on what you’re doing, asking smart questions, translates into everything that we do, you know, what can we do differently to improve? And, you know, is your business being treated as a hobby? How do you treat your business right now? Right? Do you have a professional brand or just something to hold you over? I can’t tell you how many times people have come to me and they said, Well, I put something up on like Wix or whatever it is. And I used a template but at least I have something there. I just wanted to make sure I had some presence online. That’s not showing up in a professional way. That’s not that’s that’s the remember how we do anything is how we do everything. And you have to think about it in a way that when customers find you and they look you up and they learn about you. If we’re not looking good with the first impression and how you are representing yourself and the way that you do things on the front end that they see. What does that say about how you do things on the back end and when they work with you or try your product or service, right. So people will associate that

And so it’s a very, it’s a very limiting approach, like you’re not making the most out of this online real estate, right? And so we don’t want to have this trickle down effect where we’re just doing enough to have a placeholder, right? We’re just kind of like, limping along. You know, this is I call people when they have their websites, you know, forget the idea of a traditional website, right? I try to reinforce this, like it’s online real estate, you can rent some space, you can own space, right? Whether so like WordPress, you’re owning the space. If you’re creating a sales funnel on another software platform like quick funnels, you are renting that space. Both are great. I do like to own it. I do both, right, we do both. And, you know, if you’re, if you’re just throwing something up as a website, you’re not worried about how you show up with people. You’re leaving a lot of money on the table, you’re making a bad first impression, and you’re not earning customer trust, especially when you’re trying to grow a business that stands the test of time, you want a brand that stands out, it competes, it rises above all the noise out there, right. And you know, that is what I call a digital paperweight. It’s just a digital paperweight. And you’re not using the the online real estate to actually earn income in an effective way for you. So now you’re just going to continue hustling to work for your business, instead of your business working for you. Right, we got to really create systems and use these these tools. You know, somebody said, Well, I don’t really need a website. And I always, you know, of course, no, you nobody needs really anything. Right? I could actually cut the lawn with a pair of scissors. And it may take me a long time and a lot of hard work. But I can get by without a lawn mower. I don’t need to spend money on a lawn mower, I have scissors, and I can just go out there and start. Maybe you’ve seen those memes, where the wife’s like, hey, I want to go shopping after you’re done cutting the lawn. So they show the guy like cutting on with the scissors. Because yeah, you’re just you’re never getting it done, right. But I could also do two other things, I could get a lawn mower, right, like a push mower. And that’s going to save me time. So now I’m using this thing people said you don’t need this, you could still get the job done, which was true, I got the scissors. But I could be smarter. And I could use technology to my advantage, right? Good strategy, which is I’m going to get this lawnmower, push it around the yard. And I’m going to do this, I’m going to finish cutting lawn in a fraction of time with half of the effort, right, you just saved yourself more time. So you could spend time doing other things, right. And you’re going to get done faster, as well. So less effort, less time, all good things, especially as busy entrepreneurs. But there’s one other thing you can consider. They actually have bots now that cut the lawn automatically for you just like a Roomba cleans the house. So now you can completely detach, automate the process get the result of cutting the lawn while you do other things. And this is how we think about websites, let’s set them up as a sales system that actually can predictably earn income, generate leads 24/7 while you run the business doing other things, right? You don’t need to actually build it out and do all this stuff yourself. Just like a car. I don’t I don’t create, I don’t build my own car. Why would I do that? I have someone else build the car, set up the systems, I just need to learn how to use it. And that’s it. And we’re rocking and rolling. And it works for me get me from point A to point B, right.

Alright, so you know, remember, as we’re thinking about how we run our businesses, we do things in our life, how we do anything, is how we do everything. So just like Warren Buffett, you know, at, at different scales of how we operate. It’s all related and has a trickle down effect. Okay? So when we’re thinking about how we’re setting up our business, and how we take care of our clients, how we set up systems, how we present ourselves and show up online, we set up our websites, how we do anything is how we do everything. And this is this is just an important lesson to thread through your business and your life all together. Right? Always be thinking about it. And I would I would reflect in journal on this for the for 2022. And, you know, what kind of business do you really want? And how do you want to show up to the world? What are your goals? And are you currently you know, operating in a way that will get you there? Right? So just think about that and do a self assessment of of yourself, like start getting honest and clear about how you function and where you might have areas of improvement and things like that. So You know, think about the things you’re doing in your life and how they relate to your business. Right? Just like some of the examples I gave. Look at Warren Buffett, he says a little offer for $20 cost I’m golf course but he treats it no differently, right? And all these little decisions about your websites and your marketing and your sales funnels, all these things, they’re very important and they should not be treated any differently than how you treat a customer or how you treat your you know, spouse or whatever it is like you you you go in, you do it right, you get it done, you set yourself up. So, you know, these are just things to consider as we reach 2022. And you know, that statement that mantra has been just significant for for me and has changed a lot and the past six years of running change creator. So I thought it would be valuable and I just want to share that story with Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. So yeah, guys, I wish you all the very very, very best for the new year. Enjoy the holidays, spend time with your family, take some time to think about things get honest with yourself do that journaling, I think it will go a long way for you. It always does every time I do a brain dump. I’m like ah man, I needed that. Putting your ideas and thoughts on paper is pretty powerful. So yeah, don’t don’t skip out on it. Don’t skip out. Alright guys, listen, enjoy the holidays and have a really great new year we will pick up the show again this will be the last episode until the new year so the first week of January we’ll get back in the swing of things and until then, yeah, we’ll catch you on the flip side go enjoy some holiday stuff and thanks for tuning into the authentic brand mastery podcast. Don’t forget to stop by change creator calm for more information, fresh articles content and our services if you’re looking to build a brand that people love, and please stop by iTunes us a five star review. We appreciate your support.

Shawn Wenner: The Key Marketing Strategies That Grew The Pastry Arts Brand Rapidly

Shawn Wenner: The Key Marketing Strategies That Grew The Pastry Arts Brand Rapidly

As entrepreneurs, we have a lot of crossroads to face and decisions to make. It’s hard.

Despite investing thousands of dollars in sales and marketing, we often find ourselves struggling to move ahead – stuck in one place.

What are some of the critical path items that can really make things click for your success?

Shawn Wenner is a media company founder and has built 2 brands. After a decade in culinary education, it became apparent to him that more resources were needed for foodservice professionals, so alongside some incredible people, Shawn took it upon himself to build them.

His second brand, Pastry Arts, took off. Pastry Arts Magazine inspires, educates, and connects pastry and baking professionals as an informational conduit for the trade.

In this brief and informative discussion with Adam, Shawn sheds light on the reasons that helped him grow the pastry arts brand rapidly and shares some of his secrets to help you on your journey towards building a great brand.

Check Out Shawn’s Pastry Arts Magazine:

www.pastryartsmag.com

Throughout His Discussion with Adam, Shawn Sheds Reveals:

  • What is his brand – “Pastry Arts Magazine” all about?
  • Shawn’s entrepreneurial spirit – A sneak peek into Shawn’s past business ventures, rollercoaster ride and what prepped him to launch Entrepreneurial Chef Magazine followed by Pastry Arts Magazine.
  • How did Adam & Shawn connect?
  • The shift from corporate to entrepreneurship – a journey filled with hurdles, failures and life lessons
  • Shawn’s transition from Entrepreneurial Chef to Pastry Arts Magazine – why he made the changes?
  • Shawn shares his secret to building a rock-solid foundation:
    • How to catch people’s attention?
    • What to do with it?
  • The difference between Entrepreneurial Chef and Pastry Arts Magazine.
  • What makes baking more complicated than cooking and how did the focus on consistent learning help Pastry Arts Magazine took off?
  • The importance of narrowing your focus – when it comes to your niche and your target audience – how it helped Pastry Arts Magazine appear in the “Trending” section?
  • The journey from tiny little niche magazine to a popular multimedia platform
  • The importance of matching your brand’s visibility with the back end experience.
  • How has Shawn and his team mapped out different flow points to deliver an outstanding customer experience? And how does it tie back to consistent branding efforts?
  • Shawn’s advice for people struggling with their entrepreneurial journey and how they can gain clarity and focus on their next steps?

Conclusion:

The road to success is never an easy one. It’s filled with hurdles and to level you not only do you need to focus on your brand’s product or services but you also need to focus on narrowing your focus, delivering a great customer experience and mapping different flow points to gain insights into the steps you should be taking next.

Throughout this episode, Shawn has shared some actual meaningful insights – and it doesn’t matter if you run a media company or a retail shop, these insights will definitely help you build a clear roadmap to success.

Every single week, I love e-meeting with marketing experts or amazing business professionals like Augie to help you guys dive deep into stories and gain relevant insights that could, maybe, help you throughout your journey.

And I really hope you guys loved today’s video. And if you did, do support me and my show by leaving a 5-star review on iTunes. Every single review matters.

Subscribe Here:

Boost Your Website Results:

If you’re serious about your business and ready to turn your website into a conversion machine that positions your brand as a trusted authority then we have your back. Learn more here.

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Episode Transcript (unedited, will likely have typos):

Adam G. Force  0:00 

How do social entrepreneurs and small businesses create an authentic brand people love so they can get the edge they need to stand out, create Predictable Revenue and compete against the big guys. That’s what we’re here to discuss. I’m Adam forest, the founder of change creator, and this is the authentic brand mastery podcast.

All right, what’s up, everybody? Welcome back to the authentic brand mastery podcast brought to you by change creator, this is your host enforce. So the last episode that we put out if you missed it, I did a conversation where I talked about what 88% of people said that they need in order to make a purchase. So it’s a big conversation on trust. And I talk about some of the data and some of the things that we can actually do a build that into our business, right. So if you missed that, go back, check it out, I think you guys will get a lot of value out of that discussion. And this week, we are going to be talking with my good buddy Sean, who is the founder of actually two brands. One is the entrepreneurial chef and the other is Pastry Arts. And he has a really interesting story where about building these brands. And I think there’s a lot for you guys to pick up on. So we’re gonna get into that and talk about how he’s developed. And you know, one of the last summits he ran, I don’t know he had 20,000 people show up just on the first attempt, right. So now this is becoming an annual thing. So what’s really making that kind of stuff work. And we want to dig into this because it’s going to help you guys build your brands, right. So some really important stuff that we’re going to get into here. Guys, we have as we reached the end of December here, at the time of this recording, we have one spot left open, okay, in our Brand Studio, and I’m really looking for actually an E commerce brand to work with. We’ve had some incredible success, I have some one of my ecommerce brands is actually converting new leads at a conversion rate of 82% right now, and they’re getting paid for it right. So we want to replicate that system, we want to build your leads your sales system, and really step up your brand. So if that’s you if you have an E commerce brand, and you’re looking to really kind of take it to the next step with your online presence and your sales system, I want to work with you closely to make that happen. And I will continue working with you until we are profitable with that process. So reach out to me just go to change creator.com And you’ll find our services, you can book a strategy call. Let’s just have a quick chat. And we’ll figure out if it’s a good fit. Alright guys, let’s dive into this episode. Okay, show me the heat. No. Hey, Sean, welcome to the authentic brand mastery podcast. I don’t today, buddy.

Shawn Menner  3:00 

I am doing excellent. And I am so excited to be here with you. It’s an absolute honor my friend.

Adam G. Force  3:06 

Yeah, yeah. So full transparency. Sean and I met a few years ago. And, you know, we’re both kind of just stayed connected, because we were in the media space with our businesses. And, you know, we build our networks, right. So Sean’s a super cool guy. And he has a hell of a journey, lots of big successes and wins, building his brand, multiple brands, to be honest. And we’re gonna get into that stuff today. Cuz there’s a lot of really important insights that I think we can all take away from Sean’s experience that will demonstrate basically real life examples of some of these key things about building your brand. So, Shawn, why don’t you first just give everybody that little bit of a nutshell. I always like to know, like the point of drama first, because I’m a storyteller. So I always say, what’s really exciting right now, and then back us into how we got there.

Shawn Menner  3:56 

There we go. Yeah. So So today, I own pastry arts magazine, which is a multimedia platform in the food space, also another one called entrepreneurial chef, working on a third entity for launch next year. So it is it’s fast moving, it’s fun, it’s exciting. I wake up every day enjoying what I do, you know, that thirst for life. And I’m blurring the lines between work and personal life. To be honest, it’s a it’s a very interesting place to be in because what I do for work, I enjoy it personally, and some of my hobbies of what I enjoy doing are now turning into my profession. So it’s a very, very, very cool space to be in.

Adam G. Force  4:41 

I love it and tell me just a little bit before now, entrepreneurial shop. Was that your first that’s the first business or did you do anything before that? I don’t remember

Shawn Menner  4:50 

a couple failures, for sure. So basically, I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, and I worked at a culinary school. I won’t Way back. But let’s just start with the culinary school. I started there in 2005. And I worked there until 2016, I actually bounced to another place for about two years, and then back over to that one. So all in all about eight, nine years, but I worked in the education space. So even when I bounced away from the culinary schools and educational space, yeah, so about 10 years, almost 11 years total on education, and I got the bug for education, but then I was laid off. Now prior to being laid off, as I mentioned, I had entrepreneurial spirit. And I started a couple of like side hustles, if you will, so I won’t even name them. It’s not even important. But I want to say there was 123, probably in total, two big ones, but then three in total. And they had a little bit of success here and there, but it was really nothing. And then I was laid off in 2016. And I kind of had one of those back against them all well, moments where I said, I can either try and find a job get into another place, or I can use this as an opportunity to start something. So so that’s that’s what I did. Now, here’s where the drama comes in, I had, I want to say was close to a full blown identity crisis, about 90 days after I was laid off. And the reason was because I had worked in the education industry for so long that that became a part of my identity. And so I kind of had one of those moments where I realized that if I was not in education, then who am I? It was it was a tough pill to swallow. And, and from a drama standpoint, I was married in September of 2015. I was notified that I was laid off by December 2015, I was going to be laid off by January 2016. I was laid off by February my wife became pregnant with our first child. So in six months I went from married top of the world have this career to I’m laid off to now we’re pregnant. Oh my gosh, what am I going to do? So to be honest with you that that was the catalyst right there. And I feel like the entrepreneurial spirit coupled with some of the side hustles was what really prepped me and the the kind of real world experience I got working in the education industry that all prepped me for what would have come starting 2016 When I decided to launch entrepreneurial chef and then taking through all the way till now.

Adam G. Force  7:29 

Yeah, yeah. Wow. And I think a lot of people have that moment of identity crisis, because we have a story that we create about ourselves that we believe. And once that story is like shooken up and like your life changes like well, if I’m if I don’t identify myself as this now, and I’m not this story, then what am I? And it’s kind of hard to kind of see yourself in a new perspective, right. But yeah, we kind of plow through and, you know, so Shawn started entrepreneur shaft, which was an app, which was a magazine app on Google, and you know, iTunes, and that’s where we connected to because we had change creator magazine, which was Google iTunes. So we were like, actually, that’s what it was, it was we were on the same platform, right? We use the same service.

Shawn Menner  8:14 

And the service provider asked us to connect and some of the top customers and asked us to give them feedback, and then we got connected that

Adam G. Force  8:23 

way. Yeah, that was it. That was it. So from that point on, yeah, it’s been a lot of fun. So tell me I know, there’s been some big changes, obviously, over the years, and we’ve had had those conversations, I want to share some of that, because, you know, just like you mentioned, there were some failures up front. You know, I did too. I was like, I had a hemp water bottle. I had the blue dot post media company. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, right? And that’s funny, because you’re a super smart dude, you came out of corporate like John’s a master like salesman, and like, he knows his shit when it comes to business. But when you’re shifting from corporate to entrepreneurial, and you have a clean slate, it’s a totally different ballgame.

Shawn Menner  9:03 

It is. You think you’re prepared for it? Like I remember thinking when I worked in, like that kind of corporate position, as you said, I remember feeling so confident that I could step out at any time and do my own thing. In the problem. It’s funny, I was thinking about this this morning, there was something that came up and it was I started thinking about how when things change, that a lot of times we don’t adapt to what is now and we think about how it should be right so and there’s some people that caught it get caught up into this frame of mind on you know, something may happen and they and they reject what happens the reality and they think about what should have happened, what could have happened, all these different things and so and so I feel like I feel like, you know, when I stepped out, I didn’t accept the reality. right away, but I was so confident brought prior to stepping out on my own that I could do this. But wow is it’s a totally different ballgame when you step out on your own and in the realities that you and then the emotions hit you. And, you know, it’s very, you know what I’ve been able to do. And I’ve totally redesigned my life, right, completely redesigned my life. When you look at the steps on paper, it’s relatively easy. Right? I’m going to say that it’s relatively easy when you look at the steps on pay. Yeah, the problem is executing against the emotions that hit you day in and day out week in and week out emotions, about money, emotions, about family, like all of the different life things and navigating it. It’s exactly right. And in in working towards something that is so uncertain. That’s the other thing working towards something that is so uncertain. Yeah. And that that’s the hardest part is what when do you fish? When do you cut bait? When do you push forward? When do you stop? Like, so? Anyway? I won’t go on a tangent there. But yeah, it’s very difficult. So for anybody that that is in that in that path right now. Just yeah, I feel for you, I understand it. But but in a lot of ways, oh, just

Adam G. Force  11:20 

right. It’s kind of like, unfortunately, you there is a lot of uncertainty. So you can get mentorship. That’s why people do push that it’s not just about getting a sale. It’s like, the mentorship is valuable. Like because you can save a lot of trial and error, which, you know, I’ve spent in my first couple years $100,000 My wife’s like, Where’d all our money go? Like, that’s stress, dude, like, I was like, not in a good place, you know? Because now you’re using your own money, and you have a lot of other responsibilities to worry about. So you’re right, the emotions really spike. And they can dictate your decision making and emotional decision making in your entrepreneurial journey. Not good.

Shawn Menner  12:04 

stuff. So but I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to take your tracks back. They’re saying entrepreneurship essential, right?

Adam G. Force  12:09 

No, I think that’s also helpful. Like, that’s kind of like, you know, there’s a lot of people, whether you’re earlier that you’re even in your third or fourth year of business, you may still be struggling. That’s not it, you see a lot of people like, Oh, I just started my business. And in the first year, I made six figures, like, that’s not the normal thing guys like, so don’t feel bad, just kind of like, stay the course, like you may change the the approach, but you don’t need to change the destination, you know, this stuff can take time, and don’t put so much pressure on yourself, just be smart and try to reduce your risk. And you’ll figure it out. Right. So let’s get into more of the brand development stuff now that we got that part of the conversation out. I, you had a big transition. And I know you are a guy that also likes to like when we’re building magazines, they have to have a good experience for people, right? Are they not going to want to use it or you’re not going to get good engagement and you know, all that stuff, right? No word of mouth, whatever. And we also have to have like an impact make a good impression with the visuals and stuff. So I’m curious because Shawn made a transition from entrepreneurial chef to pastry arts magazine. And the intention was not to stop producing entrepreneurship in the beginning, right. So can you just talk about that transition? And what points of clarity came to mind for you? And like, why you made the changes you made? So just kind of walk us through that a little bit?

Shawn Menner  13:32 

Yeah, absolutely. And I’ll say this holistically for everybody. Because what we will talk about now is a multimedia platform or a magazine business, right? And someone may think, Well, how is that applicable to me? That’s not what I’m doing. But but so I’ll say this, before I jump into that, at the end of the day, what I thought about was, how do I get attention? What am I going to do with that attention when that attention comes? Right? So again, that is the foundation of from from like a business, right? So whether you have a product that you’re selling a widget, whether you’ve got a media company like myself, or you know, magazine, like how do you get people’s attention? And what are you going to do with their attention, right? How are you going to keep it? Are you going to sell them, whatever that’s going to be? So that said, when it came to entrepreneurial chef, you know, I came out of a culinary school in the thing that I knew was that Collin Ariens people that know how to cook or bake, they are very entrepreneurial. They want to have their own restaurant, they want to have their own catering company, they want to have their own business of some sorts. So that’s where the idea of entrepreneurial chef came in. It’s basically it was it was a platform to help food entrepreneurs become successful build and grow business and become successful. Alright, so once once I got into that and kind of built that up. I then connected with a couple of individuals who then explored To me that the pastry niche professional pastry and baking niche, but I’ll just sum it up and say the pastry niche was lacking with a multimedia platform similar to entrepreneurial chef. And this is where the idea of pastry arts came into play was going to be a multimedia platform that’s specific to pastry and baking professionals, or serious enthusiasts now. Now, I had a couple of I had a really big insight between those two platforms. And that was Pastry Arts took off like a rocket entrepreneurial chef was very much pushing a ball uphill, right? We pulled out all the stops. Yep. And it wasn’t until I had both until I was managing Ryan, both that I look back and remember my culinary days, and that was this. in culinary school. Typically, the pastry students were the ones that were more studious. They read more, they paid a little bit more attention in class at times, but they were more mathematically inclined, they read more, they were just better with their academics as an average, right? So the pastry students typically their grades, your GPA average was typically higher than the other like culinary, we’ll say savory students. Now this is this was big for me because it was a you got to know your customer moment, because I started entrepreneurial chef, which was a magazine for more of the savory type individuals. Yeah, not really remembering that they were not the types of interval individuals that enjoyed reading. They did not enjoy reading, right? They didn’t have to when you’re when you’re cooking food, not baking, you don’t have to it’s not an exact science, you can taste on the fly, you can adjust on the fly. With baking and pastry work, it is more of a science you have to read you have to understand things they are these individuals are accustomed to reading word for word, they are accustomed to memorizing, learning having formulas. So this was the difference in why one did so much better than the other coming out of the gates, right? Because the costumer it was a perfect fit for the customer. Whereas entrepreneurial chef, a magazine is not you know, for the savory chef’s was not really I’m not going to capture the mass market that way. Right. Right. It’s more of a subset. So it was a very big no your customer moment for me that I had to think okay, then I’ve heard you’ve heard this before you the last thing you want to do is build something that doesn’t you don’t have a market for right. Yep. And you spent all that time. That’s exactly right. And that that was a very big lesson. So what was going through my mind initially was just to be honest with you, as it was when I was starting paste yard. So with these individuals, I thought, wow, this is fun, I get to build something. And I’m a creator, I like to build I like to get my hands in. And I wasn’t even thinking about that insight, that insight came afterwards, which now moving forward, that’s on the forefront of my mind before I start building and creating

Adam G. Force  18:11 

Yeah. Because you started diagnosing, saying, Why is this like crushing it? I remember we had patients when you’re like, dude, this thing is taking off. Like, it’s just going nuts. I was like, Oh, that’s amazing. And you’re like, but I haven’t figured out exactly what the the reason is like, yeah, why is it doing so much better? And so this is, you know, time that Shawn put in to diagnose and figure out well, what was the real the game changer, and that was that product market fit was better. But you know, as we talk about brand, blueprints, brand strategy, whatever you want to call it, you know, getting the identification of your perfect customer, but also the positioning, how do we position in the market for that perfect customer. That’s what starts making that gives clarity on exactly what Shawn is talking about. So we’re really differentiating, getting that product market fit and knowing who we’re talking to. So you could just see and that’s, that’s one thing I love about Shawn stories, you could see the results of that actually, the stars aligning right there, you know, Oh, yeah. Tell us about the success of your pastry arts just to give like a summit and some of the early success of your subscriptions. And also, the other beautiful thing that Shawn did as a smart sales guy is he set it up so that even before he launched pastry arts magazine, he had advertisers lined up.

Shawn Menner  19:31 

Yeah, you know, one of the one of the big moments for me was when when Pastry Arts was a top 25 app. I think it was number 18 is the screenshot that I took in the app store. Yeah, this little niche, tiny little specific niche magazine was trending that high and we you know, we just just 1000s and 1000s of downloads that we were getting, so it was very cool, but the reasons because we narrowed, we narrowed our focus We had our customer really dialed in, right? We just had the customer really dialed in. And that that was a very, that was another pivotal point. And in a lesson for me and anyone else is that, you know, you may have heard people say, your customer avatar and who are they and in till you actually put paper to pen and kind of just, you put out some thoughts as it relates to who your customers that titles that they have, where they work, what they like, you know, in some of it is a guessing game that can be refined over time, but you just have to start somewhere. And that’s what we did we started with, what are their titles? What are associations that they’re involved with? What other magazines do they read? What products do they buy, right? And that’s how we were able to back in to having such good success is because we were able to find either companies, organizations, associations, things that fit with our customers and just really attack the market as a whole. In what I mean by that in which you would asked is that we we started a summit, right, so we did a pastry Summit. And so this is where we have professionals and organizations record instructional videos. So now that the first summit we did was in the pandemic we had, we had over 20,000 people that attended that thing. You know, over the course of about six to eight months, it was an evergreen Summit. So it didn’t just have a particular set time. We ran it for several several months. And to come out of the gate as our first summit in our email list wasn’t even that big at that point. It just absolutely blew up, right. So yeah, we’ve been able to grow it to where we’ve got a podcast, we’ve got the magazine, the site of social media is pretty strong. We got about 230 240,000 people that follow us there. And then the summit, now we do the summit every year, it’s gonna be an ongoing thing. We’re planning for the 2020 to one. So we kind of grew from this tiny little niche magazine to now this multimedia platform. That’s a bit of a dominance in our small niche

Adam G. Force  22:03 

niche. Yeah, that’s the key, right? Because now you are more visible, you become more visible when you do dial into the group like that. And you stand out to those people. And I bet you if you were doing a brand strategy discussion, and you’re identifying your market with somebody, and you’re like, hey, you’re going into you’re doing this entrepreneurial chef, so you’re already a niche, it’s entrepreneurship for chefs, and you’re like, oh, that’s narrow enough. But if we proposed, like Pastry Arts, you’d be like, oh, there’s just that’s not going to be big enough, right? But look at Shawn ran this summit, and he had two out of the first 120 1000 relevant customers that now have built up this business. I mean, that’s a gigantic number for such a niche, right, so and now every year that will probably grow, grow, grow, and you’re gonna have word of mouth, you’re gonna have more revenue, it’s just gonna be something that snowball. So that’s just proof in the pudding of how impactful that stuff is, right?

Shawn Menner  22:59 

Mm hmm. Absolutely. Yeah. 100% Yeah. 100%. And, you know, back to that customer experience that the thing that we’re always thinking about is, what is the experience going to be like, what is that? What is that flow, right? Because the visibility of your brand is one thing. But then the back end experience has to match that initial, like visibility, that initial impression. So you may have an incredible, y’all use a US storefront, right? You’ve got an incredible storefront on a store a brick and mortar store and you walk in and it’s complete garbage, right? It’s a mixed match. Right? Yeah. And that’s kind of people are gonna look at your brand and perceive it one way. And it’s just, it’s so prudent to think about that experience all the way through, you know, having those consistencies all the way through. And that’s what we do. I mean, we literally map out what is the customer experience of x, right? So the podcast has its own flowchart of customer experience, the out summit has its own flowchart of customer experience, the magazine, and then we have a master diagram that talks about or not talks, but it shows how they’re all interconnected, right. From an email standpoint, from a social media standpoint, from a Facebook group standpoint, how is it all connected together? What’s the total experience? Where are the Logos is all the consistent messaging there. It’s just so important, even when you have a small you know, we’re not a multi multi national corporation or anything like that. We got a nice couple of nice publications, but that are doing really well. And a lot of it has to do with that consistency in that branding, that experience that they get.

Adam G. Force  24:44 

Yeah, a company called lithium did research and they found that when you have brand consistency across all touchpoints online, that alone can increase revenues by 30%. Right, because the experience is consistent. It’s not confusing, and so you just get more out of it, especially when you’re when you’re doing summits and you have 20,000 people and people are looking you up and going around online and stuff like that. So there’s a lot of value in that consistency. But the other part of it is, and I’m always going to be tying this back to your branding, because the experience is also a way you communicate well, what what kind of company is this? Right? It’s it’s also telling your story of who you are your values and all that stuff, which is where we really dig in on that brand strategy. So to Shawn’s point. I mean, guys, look at what he’s done. He’s mapped out all the different flows to make sure he understands the touch points, how are they interconnected? And there’s consistency, which is going to be really valuable for that experience. And what does that do? Shawn gets reoccurring revenue, he gets word of mouth, and then that just elevates the business like substantially, right. Yeah. And

Shawn Menner  25:50 

like I said, it’s so important. It on paper, it’s easy. Remember when I say that it’s easy on Pei steps that I’ve taken? Yeah, it’s you can you can map it out. The hard part, is that executing, it’s executing against emotions, it’s executing against stress, it’s executing against the highs and the lows and all of those different things. But yeah, it’s not rocket science, for sure.

Adam G. Force  26:16 

No, yeah. Well, you feel that way, probably more now than you did five years ago. Tell me, like, based on now, where you are, and having, you know, learned a lot through trial and error, failures, successes, all that stuff? What is something that, you know, let’s say somebody is, you know, still under $100,000 a year, or they’re struggling a bit? Just from your experience, I think people, you know, people get overwhelmed. And they’re not sure where, like, with the decisions they’re making, right? It’s kind of like, yeah, there’s a million things I could do. And you feel like a little bit like in the stock lost in the startup wild, if you owe any advice on, you know, how to just kind of find some comfort and clarity and just getting focus and focusing on next steps or, you know, stuff like that anything you would share with somebody?

Shawn Menner  27:09 

Yeah, so I’m going to go out on a limb and say, most people do not create at least some type of business plan for the idea that they have. I’m gonna say that confidently, and people can prove me they want to, but most people do not do that. Right. I did not do that I was one of those people as well. Right. And this is not one of those biases that I have that now I’m projecting because I didn’t do it. Now. I believe everyone else doesn’t do it. No, I really think that this is the case. Right? And I think there are stats out there that could prove this. That said, the reason why I did it, and I’ll get to answering your questions, because I had a mentor, who told me that I was like a butterfly flying around from idea to idea, right. And, and that really stuck with me, right? It was kind of like an ego. You know, it was like a punch in the gut. And I took the SBA free the Small Business Administration, their free business plan, and I sat my butt down, and I worked and I worked and I worked and I created an official business plan right. Now there’s variations of this to this day, and one of them is the lean, lean startup planner, the lean canvas, I think is what it is. And so I’ve also done one of those now I’ve got like a Asana board where we’ve got that so whatever it is that you do there is there’s so much value in doing that right. Now one of the things that I thought about that held me back from doing that is that I just don’t know for sure how to answer certain questions I don’t know how to answer projections and financials you know what’s going to happen or whatever but it least you can take an educated guess and get it out of your head yeah TypeId right was the biggest problem for me is that I had idea after idea after ideas swirling around in my head and I was like this butterfly that was just going around from idea to IDM thought to thought and I would feel overwhelmed and the reason why I feel overwhelmed is because I’m trying to mentally keep track of all of these things in my head. Yeah, and it is effing exhausting to do that. Right. So the most valuable thing that I did like I said as I put it down and then I created an

Adam G. Force  29:33 

official plan made a freakin plan and that

Shawn Menner  29:35 

and that is simple as it sounds that that’s what did it for me. And that was really how it ignited me. That second step was that I got this from someone I forget who it was maybe it was like the guy that did his name’s Dave something but he did the the productivity and it’s not coming to me they did this whole productivity system. But anyway, regardless is that I do a week The brain dump, right. So what I do is I literally right on top of my paper, brain dump, and everything that’s in my head, I just write it down, I don’t try and organize it, I don’t try and catalogue it, I don’t put it in a hierarchy, I just do a brain dump. And I can’t tell you how freeing that feels. Because every idea, everything that’s circling in my head, every meeting that I need to make sure that I’m there for every proposal that I need to get, I just get it all down every single week. And I don’t care if yesterday, I had, like, gonna create a list that already have most of this stuff on there. It’s a habit thing. It’s a habit thing that I stick to every single week. And what I can tell you is that it’s so freeing to put all of those things down there, and then you can organize it and then you can build your week around it, and then you can execute against it. And and those were the things that really were in hindsight, that have helped me keep going faster and faster and refining and executing against us, because I just articulate those things out. Yeah, I built this habit around getting things out of my head, over leaving my mental energy. And the last thing, what was the one other thing that I say about mental energy? You don’t realize how exhausting little decisions are in your life. Right? And, and, and I didn’t realize this until I got older, I’m turning 40. And like, you know, nine days, which freaks me out, but it all of the little decisions that you make throughout a day, they just eat away at this like willpower that you have, right? Yeah. And so when I started reducing the amount of brain power that I have in certain areas, that also helped me. So once I got to a certain point, I hired experts in whatever issue I was having. I was quick to hire somebody to get immediate answers, as opposed to researching for an hour or two and figuring out could I do it? Yes. Could I save money? Yes. But what is the opportunity cost? Right? Yeah. And at some points, you couldn’t do that. Like, I couldn’t do that when I was starting out, because I didn’t have you know, the amount of money that I have now to be able to allocate resources like that. So sometimes you have to do that flow once you can kind of get over that point, right? Yeah, I encourage whether it’s a coach, like, I have a personal training certification. I grew up in martial arts, right? I know how to train people, and I know how to train myself. But do I have a trainer? Absolutely. Why? Because I don’t want to think about it. I want to think about right. I don’t want to spend any ounce of energy that I don’t have to on things other than what are my most important priorities, whether it’s my kids, my family, building my business. And so that’s the other thing that was a game changer for me when I realized, wow, stop using your brain power. And it’s okay, right and find answers faster, a mentor or coach or expert in a certain area, whatever it’s going to be. So if I were to look back now, those are the things that really, really helped me out, at least on a macro scale.

Adam G. Force  33:05 

Yeah, I love that. And I love that you did the planning. And, you know, don’t get tied up on like, there’s many ways to do it. Like Sean said, you can have the canvas, you know, he went to SBA, you can know what your goal is, and say, what is the critical path, that’s what I call it, like, we want to make sure we’re doing things on the critical path to the outcome that we’re trying to produce, right. So it’s like, you can map out like, here’s my plan for the next whatever, 12 months, and my plan to get to this outcome is these things, anything else is irrelevant, right? So it’s like, you really want to map that out. And then you know, every decision you’re making has to be part of this plan and this critical path. So it kind of like reduces overwhelm you do weekly, I do like daily, a daily planner every day where it’s like, I know what I’m doing. Because you’re to your point, I’m only making a couple decisions each day. That’s it. I mean, and and you’re like, Oh, I got this list of to do’s, I only could do like one, two, maybe three things in a day. And it just depends. So you start learning these processes. And I do love that you mentioned kind of like this journaling process, because that kind of like brain dump and reflection, you really can think through things. And the only layer I’ll add to that is ask smart questions. So you’re thinking about the business, like, you know, instead of just being like, how do I do X? It’s like, why would I do X? And how do I get there and you kind of like get a little more specific in the question. So smart questions always lead to much better results. So and writing that stuff down, Shawn, I think you hit the nail on the head that that brain dumping exercises. Super cool. So we’ll wrap up on that, man, I appreciate it. So where do people learn more about paste your eyes? Let’s give him some insights and directions. They could check you out.

Shawn Menner  34:48 

Sure, yeah. You know that there may be a couple people that are in the audience that enjoy you know, high level pastry or banking. If that’s the case, we’re just we’re Pastry Arts mag COMM The pastry summit technically it’s a free summit for four days. And then we’ve got an extended pass. But you can see everything for free. That’s pastry summit.com. So just pastry summit calm, or Pastry Arts mag on Instagram or Facebook so they can learn a little bit more. They’re a little bit more for professionals, but serious enthusiast, but we have a little bit more elevated pastry stuff. Me personally, I’m not really big on social media, I haven’t really kind of put myself out there. I’m on LinkedIn. So people tend to kind of connect with me on LinkedIn, but admittedly, I’m not even really active on LinkedIn to it and then I’ve got a I’ve got a secret Twitter account that I don’t really tell anybody just so I can kind of, you know, look and see what’s going on. So, but, you know, you can always email through paste yards if you have any questions to me about, about this stuff

Adam G. Force  35:45 

here. Awesome. Appreciate you being here today. Shawn. Always good to chat with you, man. Absolutely. Likewise, I appreciate it. Thank you so much. Thanks for tuning into the authentic brand mastery podcast. Don’t forget to stop by change creator calm for more information, fresh articles, content, and our services if you’re looking to build a brand that people love, and please stop by iTunes, leave us a five star review. We appreciate your support.

The Truth About Why 88% of People Buy From Brands Today

The Truth About Why 88% of People Buy From Brands Today

Data fetched from a research piece indicates that our attention span has exponentially decreased in the past fifteen years. Back in 2000, it was just 12 seconds. But – now, it’s around 8.25 seconds.

You have only a few seconds to catch your consumers’ attention.

And while there’s truth to these types of insights, attention, in Adam’s opinion, isn’t the most valuable resource. Most businesses out there are already spending thousands of dollars running strategic Facebook ad campaigns to attract people to their website or landing page.

And while anyone out there can do that, if you want to grow your business in an efficient manner – you need to build trust. The world is continuing to change quickly and that includes how people feel about businesses the experience they have with them. Over 88% of consumers have claimed that trust is the one major deciding factor when it comes to making a purchase.

As a father and entrepreneur with 20 years of professional business experience, Adam Force is an expert in branding, storytelling, and online sales. After working 10 years at WebMD as Director of Strategic Marketing Adam started his second business, Change Creator, supporting social entrepreneurs with premium branding & high-converting websites, the Change Creator Podcast with 230+ expert interviews, and 30+ editions of Change Creator Magazine reaching over 140+ countries including exclusive interviews from the most impactful entrepreneurs on the planet such as Seth Godin, Arianna Huffington, and Richard Branson.

Throughout This Episode, Adam Will Be Sharing His Thoughts On:

  • Why is brand building a critical aspect of business growth?
  • Why is catching people’s attention not as important as people claim it to be?
  • If not attention, what’s the one big factor that lot of businesses are ignoring yet needs to be focused on the most?
  • In today’s ever-competitive digital world, businesses have been so blinded by the need to run ads, attract traffic and catch people’s attention that they have forgot how important building trust really is.
  • Why do I tune in to Edelman Trust Barometer’s annual report each year? What makes their yearly report so special?
  • Brand trust for low-ticket items vs brand trust for high-ticket items – What’s the difference?
  • Why is trust even more important than brand love?
  • How can businesses earn trust?
  • The three components of brand trust.
  • The importance of HUMANIZING marketing and advertising
  • What the top marketing and advertising gurus don’t want you to know to help them keep their business running?
  • The three-step framework for building trust
    • Step I – Have a good visual identity
    • Step II –  Deliver an outstanding experience
    • Step III – Put the right message at the right time in front of the right people – the power of storytelling.

Final Thoughts:

Once you earn trust and connect with your audience, you get more engagement. Brands cannot buy trust but they can buy attention. This means – trust, these days, is scarce and that’s the one thing you need to be focusing on the most.

Schedule a strategy call with us today.

Read 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer report.

Subscribe HERE:

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Episode Transcript (unedited, will likely have typos):

Adam G. Force  0:00 

How do social entrepreneurs and small businesses create an authentic brand people love so they can get the edge they need to stand out, create Predictable Revenue, and compete against the big guys. That’s what we’re here to discuss. I’m Adam forest, the founder of change creator, and this is the authentic brand mastery podcast.

Hey, what’s going on everybody, welcome back to the authentic brand mastery podcast. This is your host, Adam force. I’m excited to be back here, we took a little time off for the holidays. So if you were celebrating, I hope you had some time with your family, enjoy some good food, maybe we were able to lay up the fireplace for the first time in a long time. I do live in Miami after all, so we don’t need it too much. But it’s still fun ambience, right. So something really important, I want to kind of level set on for your brand as you’re building your brand, right. So hopefully, you’re at a place and you’re listening to this show. And you are understanding now at at this point that building a brand is a really important part of the process. So if you’re not thinking about that, and taking those steps, and you’re just working the that’s that’s not a good long term strategy to create loyal customers, which help you thrive in the long run, right? So it depends what kind of business you want to run. But brands will always win in the end over great products, right, great brands will dominate the market. Now, a lot of experts out there who are in the marketing space running agencies, whatever it might be, especially people that run ads, they’re gonna say, the most valuable resource out in the market today for your business is attention. And at a glance of hearing that, you’re kind of like, oh, yeah, it is. Because we have the our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, shorter. So it’s harder to get someone’s attention, right? It’s harder to get them to listen to a 15 minute video, whatever it might be. Or they land on my website, and I only get three seconds of attention before they bail on me. Right. And so while there is truth to those types of insights, I don’t believe that attention is the most valuable resource. It certainly isn’t a scarce resource, right? So why do I say that this is going to be important. So anybody, I was just putting together a presentation, for example. And I don’t know why this metaphor came up. But imagine a massive highway from like a, what do you call a drone view? Okay, you’re a pie in the sky. And it’s nighttime, right? Yeah, eight lanes, four on one side, four on the other. And they’re just full of cars, you could see the red lights in the white lights just full, like a river of lights just going think of like Facebook. Facebook has over 2.9 billion. That’s a be 4 billion active users. Right? That’s like 40% of the world population on planet Earth. Which is kind of mind blowing. Like, how is that even possible? Well, that’s the data point. Okay. And if you’re running a business, let’s say you sell a $5,000 product, we’ll start with high ticket. Well, I mean, what do you need 50 clicks a day, you can’t get 50 people, all you have to do is say, here’s this river of people constantly flowing through Facebook. And of course, there’s Pinterest, LinkedIn, or whatever you choose. But Facebook is always my choice because of a number of reasons. You just need to tap into it. So it’s not a matter of attention being the most valuable resource. Is it valuable? Yes. But there’s something more valuable. All right. And you can very easily like the the main thing about the attention factor because people stress traffic, because we are afraid to you know, run ads or, but you can go and chase people down in groups get active and spend your time doing that there’s a cost involved, right? The cost is your time. Right? Where you could pay for traffic, and then there’s a financial cost, right? You choose what kind of business you want to run, but one way or the other, you can get in front of people, right? So whether you’re paying for attention, or you are earning it is up to you. So but but getting attention, anybody can buy it. Anybody can buy attention, but you know what they can’t buy and is one of the more important and more valuable, valuable things in marketing today, trust. Adam, what are you talking about?

Listen, I’m a brand strategist, and a developer. So my job, you know, part of the services we run at change creator is not just about creating branding, like a visual identity. And, you know, sales funnels and websites, I don’t I, we talk about it that way. So people understand what the heck we’re talking about. But the way I see it, as a brand strategist, is I’m creating experiences like we are developing online real estate, right? I don’t care if it’s a website page, or a sales funnel page, or social media, whatever the page is, it’s just digital real estate. Right? And we are, we are setting that up and developing that real estate in order to share stories connect with customers, right? And earn their trust through relationship building. And this is how we get loyal customers, right? And so here’s some interesting information. So for the past, who knows how many years I’ve been following a lot of different data like I love comScore and all that stuff. But I also love Edelman. Alright, so if you’re not familiar, Edelman is a company that every year does a Trust Barometer special report. And I always have my eye on this, because it’s like, what is it when I work with clients? And even when I worked at WebMD? Right, I was Director of Strategic Marketing at WebMD. I had to understand what the real linchpins or, you know, key elements were in connecting with people and turning them into a customer. That was my job. Like, I had to figure that out, right? Like, what, what do we have? What stories are we telling? Where are we connecting with them? Where are they on the buyers journey in this process? And what do they need to know what’s the best way to distribute? Like, there’s this a lot that goes into it. And part of the understanding I needed was their feelings about things. And when we don’t if we don’t understand that trust, is the most important and valuable component. Right now, we’re not going to build it into our marketing. So the Edelman Trust Barometer has been going on for a while. And in just for an example, now, they have this really great little timeline, they share in this report for 2021. And in 2017, they had the rise of belief driven buying, all right, buying things I believe in, okay, great. 2018 Bran democracy, which means voting with the wallet, you ever hear someone say that oh, vote with your wallet, everything you buy, you’re voting for that company, which then also determines like, you know, are they destroying the planet? Are they helping the planet? You know, we, we’ve started change creator 566 years ago now, to support social entrepreneurs to use business as a resource tool, or force for good, whatever you want to call it. Because social entrepreneurship is important. Businesses have a major impact in the world. We need them to be ethical, we need them to be conscious of people and environment, right. So that’s where this voting for the wallet thing comes 2019 brand trust becomes a top buying criteria. Like we got to be aware of this stuff, right? And 2020 brands are expected to solve pandemic problems 2020. And then in 2021, trust becomes the new brand equity. Now, here’s what’s really interesting. So just to give you an example of the flow, in 2019, brand trust was at 81%, meaning 81% of people said they needed to trust the brand to buy from it. That’s 81% 2021, that same stat is up to 88%. I mean, we’re getting closer and closer to just 100%. But these numbers are staggering, like 88% of people say they have to trust a brand. Obviously, if it’s a $2 item brand trust is probably less significant, right? It’s transactional. But when we go high ticket, the higher the price point, the more trust has to be built in. But let me go back to that ecommerce transactional price point because when we are doing let’s just even say, a $5 item. Let me think of grocery store item, something I know I don’t buy, which is dairy milk. Okay. So maybe someone’s buying dairy milk, right? And it’s just $5 a week that they’re spending on milk maybe every two weeks. I don’t know what it is.

And then they find out that the company that is producing the milk is like this evil monster, right, the way they treat the animals or the employees, whatever it might be the environment, maybe they’re dumping waste, and all this bad stuff. All of a sudden, you don’t trust that brand, because they don’t behave ethically. So what happens is, they say one thing in their marketing and do another on the back end. And so all of a sudden, the the people us, right, the buyers are becoming smarter and smarter that these red flags have been going up for years, I did a whole lesson, a whole presentation on the evolution of marketing, all the way from disruption advertising, until, you know, ad blockers were born and all this other stuff. There’s a reason like, it’s just people, the red flags are up, folks. And now we’re in this, this evolutionary period where people are demanding things of brands, they can literally change the way brands behave, right, we have more transparency. It’s pretty powerful stuff. And so those transactional items even require trust, especially when you’re buying them on a regular basis, you’ll say, I no longer want to support this company, I’m gonna buy that product from someone else, you lose the trust, right? Trust is actually becoming more important than brand love. You can love a brand. But if they lose your trust, you’re going to lose that customer. That’s interesting. So attention, we can anybody can buy the attention, right? But we can’t buy the trust, we have to earn the trust. So we have to build that into the experience as we are running our businesses as founders, CEOs. And so you might think, Well, how do we do that? I’ll give you just a couple examples of trust. So you can kind of think about them today, right? Because I think this is so important. Like, this is Top trend right now. And the feelings of consumers and people are out there. And this report is pretty powerful. So you know, one of the things, there’s three components, I have a framework that I follow for my business. And that framework is about, you know, building trust. So for example, if you want to build trust into the business, a couple things have to actually happen. For starters, we want to be really clear that there are three ways that we actually communicate our brand to people we send these signals online, right? Verbal or contextual, right? written and verbal. Words, messages, right. And we also have visual, right? a picture’s worth 1000 words, kind of visual thing, right? And we also have actions and experience, right? What’s the experience someone has, what are the actions the company takes, right? Those are really important signals. Alright, so what happens is we we call this framework, the digital conversation, why? I remember we were we were really hung up on like marketing formulas for a while earlier on in, in the business about maybe five years ago. And, you know, different tactics, and they weren’t working for us, especially for change creator magazine. We were always able to connect with people, right, especially larger clients that we’re paying for services. We did, we did some other kinds of SEO services back years ago. And we were able to connect with people and build relationships that lead to sales when we were on the phone or in person. And, but when we were doing it digitally, without that personal touch, there was like disconnects and struggle, right? And it and we were kind of like jamming our it was different in how we approached it, right? You don’t think of marketing formulas, right? Copywriting formulas, headline formulas, or, you know, the flow of content as you’re in a natural conversation.

Right? It’s different if you don’t think that way. And so, one night, I remember literally, I was in Brickell, key in our Miami high rise, and I’m sitting on the couch and I’m like, why can’t we just do the same thing? Using our digital real estate? Right? And so we we I sent a text to someone on my team, I was like, we have to step back and humanize our marketing again. It got like too formulaic and tactical and just a lot of bullshit, right? And not that those things don’t have proven value they do headline formulas, whatever, there are things that like that they help, right. But sometimes we get so over obsessive about meeting the criteria of a formula, that we lose the natural feel and flow of our content, right. And what we’re really would say, like if I was, you know, like those live conversations. And so, you know, by thinking of these conversations and applying them to the digital space, we were able to skyrocket our engagement. We were, we were more in sync with people and sharing the right stories at the right time, to the right people, depending on where they were in their journey, right. And we call this the digital conversation. So that’s the framework to build, start building more trust into the company that has helped a lot through our processes. And so the framework is, is three steps. For starters, we have a lot of people, I’m going to get into the first step in just a second. But I want to just share a little point, that’s very important. You know, we do have this culture of immediacy, and it leads, entrepreneurs are always like, we’ve been there too. Like we look for shortcuts, right? We look for shortcuts, I want something quick, I want something fast. So the immediacy can leave lead you to overwhelm and stress because you’re doing things that just don’t really pan out. It’s all this this kind of BS stuff, when we know what needs to be done. But instead, we keep chasing, like shortcuts. And I know this for a fact bit one, because we’ve done it ourselves. But too, because people come to me all the time after they’ve been burned over and over by agencies lost 30,000 here, 20,000 there. I had somebody come to me saying they hired a Facebook ads team. They spent 30 grand and a couple months and they didn’t get one sale. No one and this was ecommerce, it was more transactional right fashion company. You know, you can get burned by these PPC agencies, and you know how else you get burned. There’s always someone with an agenda, right? And you could say, Adam, you have an agenda, maybe. So I have I come from good intentions. But what gurus will tell you like, for example, if I’m teaching people how to sell in Facebook groups, they’re gonna say, you don’t need a website. You don’t need a website, I’ll show you how to get clients. By chasing them all around the internet. And dem spamming, I get the spams all time. So I’m hating on it a little bit. So it drives me nuts. Just don’t think it’s a great way to do business. And everybody’s doing it now. So you’re just bombarded with garbage. Nobody’s genuine and authentically reaching out? You know, people go, I think you’re the founder and owner of change creator, right? Mike? Dude, can you take five seconds to to look like I would never work with somebody like that. Okay. And so these people will tell you that. And what happens is when they say you don’t need a website, you just do this, this and this. We hate working on websites, most entrepreneurs, right? Not people like me, but other people do. And so when they hear that they go, Oh, thank God, I will now justify that belief, right, or feeling to not do the work that I know needs to be done, right. And so what happens is you burn a ton of cash jumping from one fad to another, and you leave a ton of cash on the table by not doing the things that are on the critical path of success. And it depends how you want to run your company. All right. And you know, you don’t need anything I’ve said this before, where like, a great example is, you know, you don’t need a lawn mower to cut the grass, right? I can constantly spend all my waking hours using a pair of scissors, I’m sure you’ve seen some of those videos, where it’s like, Oh, your wife, you said you’ll help your wife, you know, do whatever, when you’re done cutting the lawn, and they show someone cutting it with the scissors, right?

So I can constantly spend a ton of my time cutting the grass with the scissors because I don’t want to spend the money up front in a lawn mower or anything like that. So I’m gonna, it’s too complicated, too expensive and scary. So I hide from it, I do what I know. But it’s going to cost me in different ways is going to cost me my time. And it’s going to cost me whatever else. It’s, it’s stopping me from working on that’s more important on the critical path of business. But hey, I would much rather use a lawn mower to get the job done in less time and make it a lot easier right now that might be like a push mower. But even better yet, they have mowers now where you don’t need to do it. It’s automatic, like a Roomba, right? So we can do these things and we can be smarter. So these are tools that create effective work to build a house with just a hammer and a manual screwdriver. But if you have all the electric tools and sure as hell gonna be a lot easier, a lot faster and more effective, which means better for your business. So, you know, the reality is that If you a website that says, Well, as soon as they’re all, it’s all the same stuff. So we got to build this experience online. And we build trust through this experience. All right? If you’re not taking advantage of all this incredible online real estate, these digital pages, website sales from all these things, you’re it’s a huge loss. They’re so valuable to bring in customers in connecting with people building relationships, you want to work effectively and smart, and not using this real estate to me is complete insanity. Right? So you know, just something to think about. Now, let’s get into the three step framework for building trust. Okay. So step one is the visual identity, right? Like, nobody’s gonna roll up to a restaurant and be like, Hey, look at all the cockroaches, rats and other disgusting things, looks like this place hasn’t, you know, done any cleaning or upkeep in a long time, or it looks like a two year old, you know, put it together, you probably not going to feel very confident in eating at that restaurant. But you go to the restaurant that actually looks like it’s cleaned, it’s polished and has a great presentation, the lawn care has kept up, they must be doing well. Right, that first impression is stronger, which means now you’ll at least go over there and check out the menu and see if you want the food. The other one, you’re just gonna walk by, like you’re gonna see it and say I’m out. Right? You don’t trust them based on the first impression. Now, if you haven’t read the book by Robert Cal Dini, about the psychology of influence, I think the title was, I haven’t read that now, in a few years. You know, he talks about how the difference between like how sales reps who are good looking automatically earn trust, and people believe that they’re smart, right. So these things are just embedded in the psychology of people for all kinds of, you know, reasons that developed through evolution. So that first impression is important as a first step, and, you know, that’s when your relationship starts, when they first visit your website or see your logo or hear your name, boom. And usability.gov found that having a credible website that was well designed was given a rating of four out of five in the relative importance scale. And what that meant was that people rated the design of the website as the most important trust factor because it enhanced the credibility of the company, and therefore made them more likely to become a customer. Now, I’ll be the first one to tell you that. That doesn’t mean it has to be the most ridiculously designed thing in the world, because you can over design, I hate seeing the over design that can hurt you more than it helps you when it comes to results. Right? Again, we’re trying to connect with people and earn their business and help them and serve them, right. So over designing just for bells and whistles is garbage. And we want it to just look clean, sharp, and it has to be structured in a way that creates the right experience. Right? Okay, so that’s really important. The other part of it is designing in a way that aligns authentically to the business brand strategy, right? Who’s the founder? What are the what is the moral compass and the feelings of this brand? Right? One of my current clients was, I was on the phone, and when you presented her site, and she almost she was like, oh my god, I’m almost in tears and like, wow, what’s going on? She’s like, I

just, you know, laying my eyes on this you like, you brought my vision to life, and it was just so aligned to what she was hoping for and what she had in her mind. You know, it made her emotional, which was just, I mean, that kind of stuff just makes our team so happy, right? Like, because that’s, that’s, that makes a big difference to people and their their livelihoods and what they’re trying to do. Now, the second step in framer, so that was visual identity. Step one, have a good visual identity. Step two, building trust. Remember, we’re talking about building trust here. Experience. Alright. So experience is the second step in the framework for the digital conversation. I love the quote from Steve Jobs. I’m looking at it right now on the screen. Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. It’s not just what it looks like, and feels like. It’s how it works. Right? And, like I was just saying a visual, visually pretty design doesn’t mean shit. If you’re not getting results, right. So it’s ridiculous to see people who design websites that don’t have direct response or digital marketing experience or backgrounds. Right? Who cares if you can create a pretty design that doesn’t mean anything. Do you know how to sell You know the buyer psychology, right? This is very important to the experience. And when we talk about experience we are, we have to break down and cut out at each touch point through the digital experience this this conversation online, the friction, the confusion, the distractions, and we got to have a critical path identified, right? And offer people use value. This is key. Why? Because a confused person never buys. So how people are experience, how they experienced one, your web pages, your content, your emails, your sales process, your products, your services, that is all part of this experience that we’re shaping online, that builds trust, generates these leads, generates the sales and creates loyalty for the long term. And the more loyalty you have means you’re keeping customers. And when we keep customers, guess what, we have way more revenue, way more. We don’t always want to just chase new clients or new sales. We want to make sure we’re nurturing what we already have. Right? It that’s the low hanging fruit. All right. A study by lithium showed that 55% of adults admit they place more value on a positive experience with a brand than the product itself. That’s pretty awesome. i The third thing I have a Kyle is going to tell another story. But I don’t want to belabor the point. So the third part of this process. In the digital conversation framework is messaging. The big storyteller, we ran a course called Captivate and storytelling is just like the oldest and most powerful form of communication without stories, we wouldn’t have any progress. So all all progress or history was made possible because of storytelling. And so you know, here we say stories, we have ice use the terminology messaging, just makes a little more sense because people have a certain connotation, or a certain way of thinking when they hear the word story. And we have to know the customer journey. I mean, I literally, when I worked at WebMD, I’d map out the journey of that someone go through like a day in the life of this perfect customer. And I would explain to clients like where, where their head was at where they were as a buyer and the experience because different stories had to be shared, depending on where they were in that journey. Right? Somebody that is further along, like, Okay, actually, let’s go earlier in the process, if you’re not even kind of if you are having symptoms that are causing you problems, but you don’t know what the source of the problem is, and someone’s already talking to you about your solution and jamming that down your throat, it’s not gonna make any sense. And they’re certainly not ready to buy. It’s only like three to 5% of people who are actually ready to buy the rest are either just becoming aware of a problem, or they’re trying to figure out like what the best solution is to a problem. So there’s different sleep stages. And then they have experiences of how they find that information. Which means what am I saying? What stories am I sharing? And what medium? am I sharing them in? Right? These are the touch points we talked about. Right?

And when we’re sharing messaging, it goes into different forms. Remember I said you want to share use value? Well, we have different ways of doing that. There’s you’ve probably downloaded a free PDF or watched a webinar. And depending on where someone is, this is how we create an experience that’s valuable to people and how we earn what trust, right? We give people wins. And that’s how we start building up our brand equity and our brand trust. How do you think I got Arianna Huffington in like the first year of change creator when we had no real brand equity, I made a good first impression I set us up in a way that she didn’t think we were going to disappear in a year and she would look like you know a ding dong for being part of this little no name brand. You know, creating these impressions sharing value, like there’s different ways to communicate these things. So this those are the three major steps. And just to go just to share an example of like it, how it how this digital conversation process has helped us map things out where we get better retention and engagement. We had videos here that I pulled for our story mastery workshop. Like here’s one for example, I did a call to addictions entrepreneurs need while there was at 1000 views at 1.7 1000 views. And the video was a minute and 30 seconds. And guess what 79% 79% of 81,000.7 views, watch the whole thing in full. That’s that’s like really powerful. I had another one here 88.4 1000 views, and it’s called Live the right life. And it had a 56% Watching full So retention rate, you know you normally you people are dropping off at 15 seconds, like they’re scrolling through Facebook, they’re not interested, they’re just looking for the next dog and cat video, whatever. So to get 79% Watching full or 56% You have to have alignment. So the more you know your customer, the more you understand the messaging factor. One you earn trust, and you connect, right, and you get more engagement. Right. So those are the things I want to talk about today. So remember, you cannot buy trust, you have to earn it, but you can buy attention. So trust today is really important. I’m almost done with this new presentation I put together I’m going to dive into a lot more of this about how to create a trustworthy brand. And actually set it up to get leads and sales on autopilot, right? How do we we connect with people and shape the online experience in a way that you free yourself up. So you’re not cutting the grass with scissors. And you actually have these tools online that are working for you, right? So I’m going to you know, once that’s available, email the list. So if you guys are on the list, great. If not, you can always just email me guys, if you want to, if you want to get in on that, Adam at change, creator.com just hit me up. And we can talk. So I’ll send you that stuff, or I’ll add you to the email list, you just let me know. And if you want to work with us, we have just had one, so finger looking Dutch just went live. And we have that one spot open and I have a couple other clients going live. We had a full roster for a while. If you guys want to work, I would love I don’t work with everybody, right? You got to, I want to make sure I can get your results. I know you hear that before Oh yeah, we will guarantee certain things for sure. Like we’re gonna work with you and to you, you get certain results. But you need to be in a certain place like far enough along or, you know, actively selling at least and it depends on where you are in your business. So I like to have a strategy call where where you and I can connect, see how we’re vibing, right, and where you are in your business. And then not only will you get a ton of valuable insights from the call, whether we work together or not. But if it’s a good connection, we can do some really great work together. So you can always reach me through the application. That’s the best way on the website, change creator.com You can just apply. And this way I get some insights that kind of know where you’re at. And we can set up a formal call for that. And we’ll do a strategy session. I’ll talk to you directly. I hope this was helpful insights today. So I’d love for you guys to support us. And if you’d like to support the show, just leave us a five star review on iTunes. And if you have questions about these topics, don’t hesitate to let me know again just email me I make myself available as much as possible. Okay, because I want to connect with you guys. I want to know what kind of questions or challenges you’re facing. And I’m going to do more of these solo talks on key topics to help kind of expose you to some of these key insights that will help your brand and that’s it guys. Hope you have an amazing day and I will catch you next episode.

Thanks for tuning in to the authentic brand mastery podcast. Don’t forget to stop by change creator calm for more information, fresh articles content and our services if you’re looking to build a brand that people love, and please stop by iTunes, leave us a five star review. We appreciate your support

Augie Johnston: How to Make Video an Easy and Effective Tool to Grow Your Brand?

People watch over 16 hours of online video content, on average, each week. And if the numbers are to be believed, videos are 1200% more successful than any other content format on the internet.

And as rewarding as video content is, the editing, uploading, and setup process can turn out to be quite daunting. It’s tiring. But, video is a very good tool for building your brand and connecting with people. Almost 93% of brands have reportedly attracted new customers by posting videos across different social media channels. At the same time, 84% of customers have claimed that videos have spiked their interest in a brand’s product or service and turned them into buying customers.

So, in this discussion, Adam talks with Augie Johnston who not only shares powerful tips for making videos and having them edited for YouTube or other channels so easily that anyone can do it BUT also how you can leverage a channel like YouTube to build your email list.

More About Augie Johnston

Augie Johnston is a 33-year-old native to the central coast of California and a former professional Basketball player. He is currently making waves in the Video Editing Industry as a result of his promising start-up called Vidchops. Vidchops, the brainchild of Augie, aims to assist video creators and digital marketers by doing the heavy lifting of editing their videos. This allows them to focus more on the “content” side of their productions to therefore create more engaging videos that their fans will love. Augie works with full-time YouTubers, online personalities, thought leaders, and anyone that creates online videos for their businesses.

Visit Videochops – Our Favorite Video Editing Hub on the Internet:

vidchops.com

Checkout Augie’s Channel (Baller Boot Camp) on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/c/BallerBootCamp/videos

Throughout Our Conversation, We Discussed:

From a professional basketball player to a YouTuber with 200,000 subscribers and 500,000 views a month, Augie Johnston has been a part of a thrilling journey – and is now on a mission to help brands elevate their content marketing efforts and skyrocket their progress with premier video editing services. In fact, he has helped his clients garner over 2 million monthly views – which is a huge milestone. Throughout our conversation, Augie, the founder of Vidchops shared some mind-blowing insights. During this episode, we discussed:

  • What made Augie Johnston launch his YouTube channel?
  • What is YouTube burnout and what causes it?
  • How exactly did Augie Johnston realize YouTube burnout to be a common pain point of video creators?
  • Why did Augie launch his own video editing agency – Vidchops?
  • How does Vidchops help YouTubers build and launch premier videos in an efficient manner?
  • Vidchops’ target audience
  • How did Augie Johnston & his brilliant team help one of their clients grow from 50,000 views to 2 million a month? Before & After.
  • What kind of services Vidchops offers? Is it just limited to video editing? Or do they help their clients with the setup and upload process?
  • Augie Johnston’s branding process: How did Augie team share his message and start building momentum around his YouTube channel?
  • How did Augie build a 50,000 email list during the early stages of his YouTube venture?
  • Why is it important to build a series of videos revolving around a certain subject over random videos?
  • How is “YouTube Shorts” helping video creators garner millions of views each month?
  • Do you really need to come up with a click-generating text hook and an eye-catching thumbnail image for your YouTube videos?
  • Augie Johnston’s future plans
  • Vidchops’ marketing strategy: How and where does the company’s target audience learn about or discover them?

Final Thoughts:

Augie has achieved a tremendous amount of success in the video world. And with an ever-increasing number of people watching different forms of video (long-form, short-form, horizontal, vertical), the future is only looking bright.

YouTube is a platform of over 2 billion. There hasn’t ever been a time, as far as I can remember, when I didn’t watch YouTube within an hour or two of waking up. That’s how powerful the platform really is. And it’s not just the platform. That’s how powerful video content is.

Every single week, I love e-meeting with marketing experts or amazing business professionals like Augie to help you guys dive deep into stories and gain relevant insights that could, maybe, help you throughout your journey.

And I really hope you guys loved today’s video. And if you did, do support me and my show by leaving a 5-star review on iTunes. Every single review matters.

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Episode Transcript (unedited, will likely have typos):

Adam G. Force  0:00 

How do social entrepreneurs and small businesses create an authentic brand people love so they can get the edge they need to stand out, create Predictable Revenue, and compete against the big guys. That’s what we’re here to discuss. I’m Adam forest, the founder of change creator and this is the authentic brand mastery podcast.

Hey, what’s going on everybody, welcome back to the authentic brand mastery show. Got a really great conversation for you guys today. I know we’re always trying to get our brands developed by sharing our messages, getting our story out there to the world. And one great way to do it is YouTube. So we’re gonna be talking with Augie Johnston, he is the founder of a company called Video chops. And they do some really cool stuff with helping create a lot of efficiency in your process. Because, you know, making those videos posting on YouTube, all that stuff is, you know, it’s cumbersome, right. So it holds a lot of us back. So he’s kind of addressing that key pain point. And one of the great things is he built up his own channel, he was a professional basketball player before this business and in Europe, and he built a channel up to over 200,000 subscribers 500,000 views a month and email list over 50,000 people. And you might be wondering, how do we do that? So he has a ton of insights on how he leveraged that channel as a marketing tool to develop the brand. And how are his clients doing it? He has some clients getting over 2 million views a month and they skyrocketed their their progress because of the efficiencies there. And you know, how do we how do we approach creating videos and make it a little easier on ourselves to plan these things right? So we get into all that stuff. So a lot of good value in in this discussion with Auggie. Now one other thing is we just launched the site, finger licking gutsche with John and John is a super cool dude. And you know him and his girlfriend have this incredible company for stroke waffles authentic shrimp waffles out in the Netherlands. They’re made in the Netherlands and they have a recipe from the Netherlands, a can’t taste any more authentic. They are so good because they sent me some samples and I became an addict. So we launched that site, which means we had a full roster. But now we have one spot open in the Brand Studio. Guys, if you want to develop your brand, turn it into a trusted brand, right? Take your business turn into a trusted brand and start getting more leads and sales on autopilot. That is our goal, right? We want to really create a sales system give you a powerful online presence that really reflects who you are. If that’s you, we would love to talk to you. I’ll jump on the phone and have a quick strategy call with you. So just visit change creator.com And you can book a call from there. Awesome. So guys, last but not least leave us a five star review on iTunes. It goes a long way to support the show and keep us moving forward. And if you missed last week’s episode, I spoke about the one most powerful, unique problem that keeps entrepreneurs stuck so you might want to check that out. That’s it guys. Let’s jump into this conversation with Augie. Okay, show me the heat. No. Hey Auggie? Welcome to the authentic brand mastery podcast How you doing today?

Augie Johnston  3:18 

I’m doing good. Thanks for having me on. I’m ready to talk a little bit right now.

Adam G. Force  3:21 

Let’s do it. Let’s do it. Yeah, I was excited to connect with you because you know obviously video is important in any kind of content strategy today but I also think it’s probably one of the bigger pain points for people as a marketing tool. Just kind of feeling overwhelmed about editing and doing all those things. So you know running a live video people are afraid to go live but then when it comes to like editing and actually running maybe a YouTube channel for your marketing it can be really overwhelming so while you’re just give us a little bit of background about you know why you started vid chops and kind of like how you learned it, if you will, and where you’re where it was born from? So we know.

Augie Johnston  4:08 

Yeah, so I back in about 2009 I was living in Europe, I was playing basketball over there. And while I was over there, I was looking for ways to make more money and I did that Google search that so many of us have done where you type in how to make money online and that took me down a rabbit hole man that was you know over 10 years ago and at that time you know I learned how to make an offer and I built a website and I released a basically a course at that time and in the problem was I had this website up I thought I was gonna make a million dollars but I didn’t make a single sale because I had what no traffic right? I had my offer I had no traffic so then I just you know it was diving deeper and deeper and deeper into the Google world and figuring out how to do this and you know, something popped up said hey, you know, you can create a YouTube channel, grow an audience, and then you know sell your product to that audience. So that’s what I did. So I started a channel, you know, it was kind of like one of those up and down things like most most people go through, I started it, I released a couple videos, I stopped, I started it, I stopped. And then eventually, through like a little bit of mentorship and stuff, I was like, Okay, I’m going all in on this. So, you know, I used to wake up in the summers, I’d come home in the summer, so I played basketball for about seven years over there. And in the summers, I would come home and my wife and I would go to the gym at like six in the morning when no one was in there. Because these are I created a basketball training YouTube channel, where I taught people how to shoot jump shots, and do all that. So we’d go out there, and my wife would shoot all these videos would shoot like, I don’t know, 50 to 100 videos in the summer. And then I’d go back to Europe, and I’d start releasing them, you know, one at a time, every week. And I grew that channel. And I grew it to about 200,000 subscribers over 20 million views. And the great thing about it is, I started with the end in mind, meaning that, you know, since I launched it and stopped launched and stopped by time, I was like, Okay, I’m really gonna do this. I already had a product created or a couple products created. Yeah, I already had what we would call like a lead magnet or, you know, website where people could come and enter their email to get a free offer. Yeah. So with that, you know, I launched my YouTube channel, as the views grew that the email list grew. And it grew to about 50,000 email subscribers. And at some point, I was guy a little burnt out. And it’s a typical thing. They call it YouTube burnout. A lot of people Yeah, it’s it. Yeah. And, and I experienced it. And the problem was like, I would go home in the summer, I would, you know, shoot all these YouTube videos, I would shoot all these other videos for maybe a product and a new course. And then I would never find the time to edit them. And I would, they would just sit on my hard drive and stuff. And so yeah, so eventually, I was like, You know what, let me solve this problem. I was like, I’m not the only one that’s burnt out right here. Everyone’s talking about it. And so that’s where the idea of Vid chops really originally came from is I was like, Hey, how come no one’s out here with a, you know, a video editing service for YouTubers that allows me just to, you know, upload my footage and kind of forget about it. And in a day or two, you get the edited video back. And so I launched we launched it chops about four and a half five years ago. And it’s it’s done good. It’s got some traction. And that was basically the end of that YouTube channel. And unfortunately, and yeah, I switch gears. Honestly, I was burnt out. Pivot. Yeah. Yeah, I just like, hey, I’m gonna go focus on on vid chops, which I’m glad I did. Because in the end, I do enjoy helping, you know, other people with theirs with their YouTube channels and that kind of stuff. But that’s where the idea came from. So basically, we edit for YouTubers.

Adam G. Force  7:50 

Okay, cool. Cool. Yeah, um, that’s interesting. Now, you edit for YouTubers. And I’m wondering, can we get a little more focused in on? Is there a certain type of YouTuber, in the sense of you typically are working with people that are, you know, all in and doing like daily videos? Or is it the YouTuber that’s kind of in the early stage where they might be on and often struggling with the editing? Or it’s because they have so much volume? They can’t keep up with the editing? I’m curious. Maybe maybe you don’t segment that way. I’m just curious on if there is a particular focus on the audience there.

Augie Johnston  8:32 

Yeah. Our clients, they range all across the board, but I would say the majority of them are our thought leaders are experts. You know, maybe, you know, one of our clients. She is a dermatologist. You know, she she’s the skincare, I guess. Yeah. And so she does that as her day job. You know, she does skincare, and she’s a dermatologist. And then, you know, she’s an expert in wanting to kind of grow her brand. And she created a YouTube channel. And when she first joined us, she was getting about 50,000 views a month, and you know, releasing maybe one video a week. But with us, you know, she’s been able to release over 20 videos a month now. And her views have gone to like over 2 million a month now. So that’s kind of the power. Yeah, that’s kind of the power. So just to kind of answer your questions. You know, our clients are really all across the board, but most of them are our experts giving advice on there. Yeah.

Adam G. Force  9:30 

Yeah, that makes sense. That makes sense. I mean, that’s a good focus, too. I mean, I think going out to people that have an expertise and they have something to say and obviously what their their skill set is not spending time trying to figure out how to edit the damn video and kind of take care of all that. So does the process you go through does it help with the uploading and setup process or is it just the editing?

Augie Johnston  9:59 

So we do have like an add on service that takes care of everything for you. So imagine that you go, you record four videos in two hours, right? Your two hours on the camera record for this, you can upload those to us. We’ll edit them, you can review them mark them as done, we’ll create a thumbnail image a title tags descriptions, and we’ll get it uploaded on YouTube and everything scheduled it out for you. So it is a done for you service. Yeah,

Adam G. Force  10:23 

yeah, I mean that that sweetens the deal a bit because it’s like it, I feel like you know, you got the upload time, I can’t wait for the video upload. And just those little things in your daily process can be very cumbersome or tedious that that friction will stop you from doing it, right. So when you take that friction out, I can see the power of that because you want to go to be like I’m uploading those and I know, now it’s good, like it’s going to be edited, it’s going to be put up on the channel and Google boom, you’re done. So I think it’s pretty sweet. So tell me, let’s let’s talk about building the brand. Because you kind of went through the exercise with your basketball channel. And you’re also building a brand for bid shots. But I want to give people a little insight from your experience of actually building a channel that got a fair amount of subscribers build the email list, because now we’re talking about actually getting in front of people with a message, and actually building an email list, which in most cases, for people listening to this show, is going to be really valuable, because now you own the traffic, and you can have this conversation with them over email and sell more, you know, down the line. So let’s talk about that process. What was it that you were How are you sharing your message and about what you were doing, that you feel kind of created actual momentum and got subscribers? What was it like anything stand out to you?

Augie Johnston  11:50 

Well, I think, you know, the biggest thing for me was that I was my target audience, you know, so when it came to getting good shops, so I really had an inside look to the pain points, and Yelp and all that kind of stuff. So when it came down to building the brand, I could really look inwards. And and you know, and really identify my avatar, or my dream customer or whatever. So I don’t think that was actually as challenging as it is for most people starting a brand because you’re really you know, trying to spend time with in the avatar stage the customer avatar and, and figure that out when I was already kind of past that when I launched it. So, you know, as far as you know, messaging and stuff like that there is different ways that we’ve tried to, you know, brand our company in one way is, you know, the pain point of editing, right, that’s a big one. That’s the one that’s the one we stick with, because I that’s the one I feel best about. But you know, there’s other there’s other ways that we’ve tested, where we could say, hey, you know, instead of the pain point of editing the pain point of not making enough money, oh, will fit shops will help you make you know more money, like as far as the messaging goes, because you can grow your channel quicker, you don’t have to worry about editing. So there’s that message that we mess around with a lot a little bit more almost like the make money online niche, right, where every headline is, how to earn $10,000 a month without, you know, spending four hours a day or whatever, you know.

Adam G. Force  13:20 

Yeah. It always comes down to the money.

Augie Johnston  13:24 

Yeah, right. Right. Because I mean, that’s the ultimate goal for anybody in this. You know, not maybe not the ultimate goal, but that is part of it. Right? We have to be we need we need revenue to operate

Adam G. Force  13:33 

revenue to work to make it work. Yeah. So I mean, for me, I think about like, so you’re when you’re like I don’t have a significant YouTube channel, and I just started putting some of the podcasts like promo clips and like some other stuff up there and just just kind of gently trying to find like a flow every week and doing things like that. And I do find it cumbersome and like, like, you know, like, and I have a VA but I haven’t trained the VA to like manage YouTube right so I’m like I don’t have a process like outline there. Sure. And you know, that also is not their expertise so to me when I think about a process like this like it money is always an end game. And it’s interesting because I have a little outside perspective right and I always ask people about my own business like outside perspective because I get so close and why the money is the end game honestly if you take just taking away that pain of like editing it and knowing it’s going up there and if I know someone who actually understands YouTube like if you’re going to be helping like you know my business he took the time upfront to know my business and you’re going to help me like make sure that the titles and the descriptions are like consistent SEO driven and like whatever else like that may I’m i I’m like super sold like on those points. You know what I mean? Because I know that if if those things All right, then yeah, I get more followers, I can generate more leads, which means more money and stuff like that. So I love the I love the idea. So that kind of I think it’s a great service that you got into and I can you tell us a little bit about how you were generated? How did you generate the 50,000 emails when you initially were doing the basketball stuff? Where that how did that funnel kind of work?

Augie Johnston  15:24 

Yeah, so, um, like I said, I, I relaunched my channel, I’d started, I stopped and by the time I started up again, and really want to take a serious when I recorded those 50 videos, I, I had the end in mind. So what I did is I had a call to action at the end of every single video that said, Hey, guys, if you guys liked this video, if you want more, if you want the, you know, a complete training workout, not just you know, a one drill or a little bit of shooting form, we got a complete workout for you click the link on the screen, or click the link in the description, head over there. Enter your email, and we’ll ship that right over to you. So, you know, that works great. I mean, we were getting over 100 leads a day, the channel channel was about 500,000 views a month for four years. And you know that that was another thing that kind of led to the burnout is I never was able to make that huge breakthrough, right? And get those 2 million views a month, three, 5 million views. And so, you know, but we had we had slow growth over you know, I was doing it for about four years, maybe five, uploading once a week on to YouTube. Okay. But, you know, with that, you know, it was I was a solopreneur doing it all myself. So I was building all the websites graphic design, all the sales pages in the courses, right. I mean, like, my, the courses that I released, I released about probably like seven or eight courses, some physical products as well. And, and those courses, you know, would have like over 50 videos in them. So like, that was a huge endeavor, anytime I wanted to release a course.

Adam G. Force  16:56 

Brutal. Yeah, it’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of work. And I mean, even just setting up the lead magnet, right? Hey, if you like this, and you want to go a little deeper on it, I mean, that’s a whole like setup in and of itself, right? Here’s more videos, here’s this landing page, and they get to set it all up. And, and a lot of entrepreneurs, I feel like you know, they don’t have all the skill sets. So you were able to figure that stuff out. And a lot of times, you know, people just that overwhelms and and so what it what are you seeing now, now that you’ve done it yourself? Right, you’re doing once a week, you did get to the burnout. So you did pretty good, right? You’re doing 500,000 This month, but you didn’t hit the breakthrough, but you just spoke about the dermatologists who like is kind of who did hit the breakthrough? What’s the difference in what she now obviously different audience I get those variables, right different audience and but if she let’s look at what we what you do know, which is like, is there a difference in her frequency of like delivering videos and like anything that might stand out to you that might be different that allowed her to push a little further?

Augie Johnston  17:59 

Yeah, definitely. So just as quick background info on YouTube and the algorithm basically, you want people to first of all click your video. So CTR is called click through rate. And that’s the rate that people click your thumbnail when that when it pops up. So that’s the first thing you need a good thumbnail good title, good topic. To help help you in the YouTube algorithm, believe it or not, and I’ve heard some creators say that they spend more time on their thumbnail than they do actually editing their video, which is crazy to think but that’s how much detail they put like that. Yeah, so anyways, there’s that aspect clicking and then it kind of the second aspect is you want people to watch your video all the way through or as much as it of your video as possible. And that’s called view duration or watch time, you might have heard that those terms. So so if somebody watches your video that tells the YouTube our YouTube algorithm Hey, this is a great video for this niche this topic let’s promote it out whether that’s in the search rankings or through suggesting that video to other people who are interested in the same topic. And, and kind of like the last factor would be like if someone watched her video and then subscribed clicked on your channel went and binge watched a bunch of your videos that would also tell you to pay this person’s creating great content. So with that in mind, comparing my channel to the skincare channel she’s uploading about 20 videos a month, so the frequency is a lot more so people are probably coming back on a daily basis to her channel watching videos. Maybe Maybe her watch time I don’t know her watch time and all that but I’m sure it’s pretty good. And in kind of the last thing a mistake I was making and I’ve already mentioned it before was I was going home in the summer and I was recording videos for the whole year like 52 videos. Right? Right, right. So first of all, that was a great strategy for me as far as getting it done. I got it done every I never missed a week. I never had to even record when I was in Europe playing basketball because I was pretty busy doing that. But, you know, every video, I was not working hard to make sure that we had good watch time, right? I was hitting record. I was I had a ball in my hand. I had, you know, I was a basketball coach and player I was saying, Hey, this is my favorite dribbling drill. Here it is. And I was getting it done. And my videos, you know, we’re five minutes long, eight minutes long. Okay. Yeah, two minutes long. So they’re kind of short. And in a way you want to kind of be at that 10 minute mark on YouTube. Yeah, yeah. So. So you know, for somebody that is doing this, I would recommend that you do batch record for the ease, right batch record, but you got a batch record and like, for like four videos spent two hours, three hours, maybe one? Yeah. Yeah, create four videos, that’s for the month, right? If you’re doing if you’re a weekly upload, or once a week, you can do it in one day, three hours in one day, for the month. But and then and then you can really, maybe put a little bit more effort towards your videos. And keep in mind that watch time. You can also just maybe be more up to date more relevant, right? With trending topics, right? If you if, like for this time, right? If you are a I don’t know a financial channel talking about finances. Well, Your videos should be about you know, life in COVID. Finances during COVID, you know, finances during I don’t know what month is this? November how to, you know, stay ahead of your budget during Thanksgiving, right? Like that should be your dad’s. But when you’re recording all your stuff in the summer, and it’s just all it’s a one hit. You know? Yeah, yeah. So anyways, that just to answer your question, I think that that was the difference. Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Adam G. Force  21:40 

And have you noticed, do people like that do well, I’m like, one of the things I kind of I don’t like about podcasts, and I’m even looking at kind of changing it up a little bit on my show. Is I go somewhere. I like it when there’s almost like a sequential development like a series like, like, each topic kind of makes sense. So I can make Oh, let me go back to like 10 episodes, they’re talking about this. And I can see how we got to this point of the conversation. Have you noticed to people, is it? Is it one off, like random topics most times? Or do you feel like they are putting out thoughts that are kind of more sequential? You know what I’m saying? Like, basically,

Augie Johnston  22:22 

yeah, no, I definitely know what you’re saying. And that’s a great strategy on YouTube, because I already mentioned binge watching. Right? So yes, yes. So imagine, imagine you you are searching for, I don’t know, some some topic and you find part one? Well, and it’s 10 parts. Well, imagine if you watch all the way through on each one of those videos, that’s huge for the algorithm. So yeah, great strategy.

Adam G. Force  22:45 

Oh, see. And then and that’s where I see like, doing seasons or series and being a little more thoughtful about, like, having a conversation, basically, but breaking it up, like book chapters, almost, you know, and I mean, and then, so to your point, you can sit down for a day, and be like, I want to talk about this big topic, and I’m gonna break it down into like, 15 minute discussions, and I make like five videos, and you could put those up for the month and be like, each month could be like, series, you know, that can be pretty cool. I like

Augie Johnston  23:18 

that. Yeah, I really do like that actually, as well. And, and also to there’s a lot of opportunities on YouTube right now for what’s called YouTube shorts. So these are short videos, and it’s crazy man, I’m seeing these channels now. talked to a guy the other day, who’s getting about his 3 million subscribers now came over how many views he’s getting, I want to say it’s like, in the 10s of million views a month. But all he does is released these little short videos, and it’s almost like little tick tock videos or like Instagram real type videos. Yeah, that’s the only kind of video he has on his channel. And he’s crushing it, he’s getting a ton of views. And yeah, it’s just like a new kind of like a new feature on YouTube. So that’s a good way to just to kind of close out the idea to you can repurpose your content and I’m seeing pod video podcast going taking the best little snippets and then making YouTube shorts and then also making a whole channel out of out of that

Adam G. Force  24:10 

is that of a function when you’re uploading you go to YouTube shorts versus just a regular upload.

Augie Johnston  24:18 

Yeah, so you do it is just a regular, it’s not a regular upload, but it’s kind of the same way that you would upload any video on YouTube.

Adam G. Force  24:25 

Okay, okay. Yeah, take a look at that haven’t noticed and uploading but the other interesting thing that you mentioned is the the thumbnail image because like for example, I would have us like say your this video I’ll take a promo clip here from our interview and put take something that you said that’s interesting and make like a three minute clip, right? And I’ll have like, on top like a curiosity headline that’s kind of like, you know, but is that that’s just on the video and I see people put like separate thumbnail images with like big text or pictures and stuff. So I mean, how how in depth Do we really need to go there? Is it just having a text hook? Or is it like, you know, really blowing up the image and putting some more sounds like you want to put more time into that? Yeah, definitely the so another damn step for development. Yeah, that’s

Augie Johnston  25:14 

another thing, right? And the thing about all this stuff is like, you have to have a little bit of marketing chops. You know, like you like you mentioned, a curiosity headline, like, a lot of people wouldn’t know that, you know, you didn’t want to create curiosity. And that is the main thing, right? When it comes to create a thumbnail, or a banner ad, or a Facebook ad or anything like that the curiosity gets the clicks. So, um, so yeah, I think you’d definitely want to spend a little bit more time on that normally, kind of, like, the best practices for creating thumbnails is to have a big face on there. Because with for whatever reason, eyes get drawn to, you know, faces and connect with faces. So normally a big face and you’ve seen it a million times on YouTube, right? Like the whole face. And yeah, yeah, and then the, the big text and some people say don’t put text some people say do put text, I’m the type that says, you should put like text maybe like three to five words that do create a little bit of curiosity that kind of play off that the title of your video. And then bright colors in the background. emotion in the face. Yeah. And if you can’t do a face, then you know if you’re doing a product review or something you can do, you know, a big product there, but you need a hero shot what people call me here.

Adam G. Force  26:25 

Yeah, just put a cute cat on it. You’ll

Augie Johnston  26:27 

be Oh, those are the good old days, man. Not anymore.

Adam G. Force  26:31 

Yeah, we can’t get by with that. But we are competing with some of those though. I mean, you want to be authentic, you want to build your curiosity. So it sounds like you know, you know, batch your video shots, which would be nice, because you could sit down create maybe a series so people can binge watch the binge factor can create more engagement and watch time. And then they can pass videos off to a team like yours to edit and even set them up. I mean, I because I because as you get more involved in your business, if you’re a thought leader, which is why I think you have a lot of thought leaders like they realize like, I don’t have time for this, like, I’m not sitting here trying to like dilly dally and upload videos or like to have someone say, I can hand this off. And I’m an expert. I know YouTube, I’ll set you up. I can already feel like a relief like, oh, yeah, please take that off my plate like Hell yeah, you know, and then you know, it’s getting done and that it’s getting done, right? You’re not? Because when you do it yourself, you’re like, I don’t know, is this? Am I doing this? Right? Like, I don’t have any SEO, you know, YouTube, SEO knowledge or anything like that? I don’t fucking know. So I like it, man. And I think you know, everyone has these skill sets where like, they’re the master of their craft, as I always say, like the dermatologist, but they, but like making money. That’s a skill in itself, you know, selling and editing and doing the marketing. Like, that’s a skill in itself, right. So like, we all kind of like help each other. So um, yeah, cool, man. So tell me what’s what’s in the plan for bid shops at this point. So it sounds like How long have you been in business now? Over four years? Okay, so you’ve been doing for four years, you get in a lot of thought leaders and clients, people getting over 2 million views a month, which is awesome. I mean, I love the the jump in success, because now they have more efficiency. Right? That efficiency is just a game changer for their results. And you know, what’s interesting to Ashley, before you even tell me your answer of where things are going. It’s like you mentioned you got the 50,000 emails, which I think is really attractive. I’m on like, like taking that expertise. A guy asked you the question, right? I’m a marketing guy. And I’m still like, I’m always asking, like, Well, what exactly did you do to make that work? What you shared your answer of how you did that? That’s good. You have intimate knowledge that some people they aren’t thinking that way. So like, even sharing that expertise, like, that’s pretty sweet for your business. You know, we’ll help you build your list like, well, that that’s that’s where the money is, you know what I mean? I can see that anyway. Sorry. I get all kinds of random ideas. But yes, tell you where where you see it going? Because it sounds like you’re off to a pretty cool start with something interesting here.

Augie Johnston  29:18 

Yeah, thanks. You know, our mission is to help serve Video Creators, right people that are creating videos. So the future I think, is is continuing on that path and finding new ways to help video creators come up with video ideas, whether it’s through software, or helping people with video scripts, right in their video scripts. I think that’s something that that is kind of a missing missing thing in the market right now. And with AI and stuff, I don’t know if you’re familiar with Jarvis,

Adam G. Force  29:51 

or stop seeing this guy promoted.

Augie Johnston  29:55 

I know everyone, everyone’s talking about it. And I actually am a customer there and it’s increased Man, like I would like it. Well, it works. It works as well as it can, right? It’s impressive is what I’ll say I’ve never used it to write a whole blog post or anything like that. But it impresses me for the opportunity that for our clients to be able to help them come up with, you know, headlines. YouTube descriptions, yeah, um, you know, even even scripts, you know, in a way, like a starting script, where they can go in there and punch in some more code and write a teleprompter and record their videos.

Adam G. Force  30:33 

Yeah, okay. Yeah, I love that. And yeah, keep seeing that Jarvis, then free plug for them. I mean, the idea of having content written for you is great. It’s, it’s interesting. I was curious on how well that was working. I saw some mixed reviews. And obviously, it’s probably early stage kind of concept, but I could see where it’s going. I’m sure it’s gonna get better and better. And then we’re all really screwed, because now nobody has to think they’re just gonna have some AI. Right, and all. But, you know, I think that people probably like, what I see is like, people struggle with their content plan. Yeah, what the hell should I even be talking about on YouTube? You know, so like, stuff like that is pretty cool, too. So, and it sounds like you have a lot of that knowledge and now that you’ve been working with all these clients, geez, you have like a wealth of knowledge on what’s working for people what’s not and all that kind of stuff. So awesome, dude, it sounds like a good future for vid chops. So where do people find out more about you and learn about how? How to work with you?

Augie Johnston  31:39 

Yeah, so our website is just vid chops.com You can check it out. And you can see the branding I was talking about we’ve really switched it up a little bit. I think our headline now just says add an extra video editor to your team and just a few clicks. So we got away from that make money online world you guys it’s you know, and but yeah, VID chops calm. And if you want to follow any socials, we’re most active on Instagram, avid shops, and feel free to shoot me a DM there. And we can you know, talk more.

Adam G. Force  32:07 

Yeah, and I’m curious is your focus on it is YouTube are you doing video editing? Whether it’s YouTube or not?

Augie Johnston  32:17 

Yeah, yeah, totally. I’m a huge advocate of just online video in general. Okay. So we’re talking about Facebook ad videos, right? We’re talking Yeah. video sales letters.

Adam G. Force  32:29 

Yeah. Oh, yeah. Yeah, Horse Videos. So gotcha. Gotcha. Okay, that makes sense. That makes sense. And I think for people listening, you know, like, we’re really talking about mastering our brands here. This is a communication channel. This is a vehicle right using video to share your messages. And part of your branding really is the message that we’re sharing to the people that we serve. So this helps kind of create the story that not only you’re trying to share, but what’s even more important today is that what are people saying about you when you’re not in the room, right? And so these messages are powerful and you want them to be aligned to the right people and shared across these different vehicles. So all you appreciate your time just kind of sharing your experience on these different channels and just video editing and the service that you provide. So really cool stuff. I appreciate the insights and the expertise that you dropped on us today. Thanks for having me on. And thanks for tuning into the authentic brand mastery podcast. Don’t forget to stop by change creator calm for more information, fresh articles, content, and our services if you’re looking to build a brand that people love, and please stop by iTunes, leave us a five-star review. We appreciate your support.

Adam G. Force: The One Most Powerful Reason Entrepreneurs Get Stuck

Adam G. Force: 1 Powerful Reason Entrepreneurs Get Stuck

“Growth can be painful. Change can be as well. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck.”
– Anonymous

Life of an entrepreneur – it’s never easy. The road to success is filled with hurdles. Entrepreneurs are captains of their own ships. And to achieve the best possible results, they need to steer it right and head in the right direction.

Sometimes, you may find yourself without a clear roadmap – stuck in one place. And while such periods are a part of an entrepreneur’s journey, you need to make sure that they don’t drag on too long. It’s critical to build a fool-proof plan that not only helps you steer in the right direction but also move forward.

No matter what stage of business someone is in, they get stuck. And there are 3 core reasons that entrepreneurs get stuck. In this episode, Adam lists down these three reasons and laser-focuses on the one most powerful one to help you on your journey forward.

As a father and entrepreneur with 20 years of professional business experience, Adam is an expert in branding, storytelling, and online sales. After working 10 years at WebMD as Director of Strategic Marketing Adam started his second business, Change Creator, supporting social entrepreneurs with premium branding & high-converting websites, the Change Creator Podcast with 230+ expert interviews, and 30+ editions of Change Creator Magazine reaching over 140+ countries including exclusive interviews from the most impactful entrepreneurs on the planet such as Seth Godin, Arianna Huffington, and Richard Branson.

Throughout This Episode, Adam Sheds Light On:

  • The 3 core areas that are the driving forces behind entrepreneurs finding themselves stuck
    • Area I – Belief
    • Area II – Missing character trait
    • Area III – Lack of focus on mastering a certain skill
  • Belief – The 1 most powerful reason why most entrepreneurs find themselves stuck
  • Why it’s important to believe in yourself and your journey?
  • How can your beliefs shape your entrepreneurial journey?
  • Adam shares his childhood story revolving around positive and negative beliefs.
    • Adam’s background as a wrestler
    • Adam’s final match against Luke during one of his wrestling tournaments.
    • How Adam’s negative belief cost him his match against Luke?
    • Adam’s journey to redemption
    • Adam vs Luke Part II – How Adam’s positive mindset and positive beliefs helped him conquer victory over Luke?
    • The difference in Adam’s belief during his first and second match
  • Why having a positive mindset is important?

Final Thoughts:

Throughout your entrepreneurial journey, the one thing you should never stop doing is believing in yourself. Most businesses fail within the first five years of kickstarting their operations. And while various factors contribute to the failure, it’s the lack of belief that drives the final nail in the coffin.

It’s really important to believe in yourself and your journey. And when you do that, you’ll see yourself driving in the right direction and steering forward.

Grow Your Brand Today!

We are the branding experts. At Change Creator, we’re passionate about helping brands achieve the best possible results with our premier strategic branding services.

Schedule a strategy call with us today.

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Episode Transcript (unedited, will likely have typos):

Adam G. Force  0:00 
How do social entrepreneurs and small businesses create an authentic brand people love so they can get the edge they need to stand out, create Predictable Revenue and compete against the big guys. That’s what we’re here to discuss. I’m Adam forest, the founder of change creator, and this is the authentic brand mastery podcast.

Hey, what’s going on everybody? Welcome back to the authentic brand mastery, podcast by change creator, this is your host enforce. Last week, I did a solo conversation, just talking about how branding really ties into earning revenue. I think there’s lots of misconceptions, because it seems a little less tangible, sometimes as like lead generation and converting sales and how does that actually impact our business? And why is it so important? So, you know, we put a lot of emphasis on brand strategy and just your brand in general, which is the culmination of many things. So without going into too much detail, you could check out that episode and and learn more. And I’m going to, I’m going to be talking a little bit more this week, just about, I work with a lot of entrepreneurs. And I’ve heard many instances where like, you know, we all get stuck, right, we get stuck in one way, or shape or form in our business. And there tends to be three core reasons why we get stuck. And I wanted to address what those three reasons are. But then also, I wanted to really dial into one of them. And I’m going to share a story just to kind of share how powerful that one reason is. And these three reasons are applicable to you. If you’re making, you know, 5000 a month, or you’re making a million dollars a month, either way, as as entrepreneurs going through these different stages, we, we have different kinds of situations where we get stuck. And it’s always one of these three things. So we have to acknowledge these things in order to address them. And so I want to make some really key points with the story that I’m going to share in today’s discussion. So this will be a shorter little discussion, where we bring you in on some guests, but we are we’ve had some good feedback, I think people are for what I’m hearing they enjoy kind of just when I do a deep dive on certain topics. So I’m going to be doing some more solo discussions. And we will be bringing in expert guests as well. So we’re lining up some new expert guests, we have a couple that’ll be coming up soon. And then we’ll be bringing on some more clients so you can hear perspectives of people in the process and what they’re doing, working with us at the brand studio here at change creator, just give you a real hands on look, right? So we’re gonna dive into this conversation, we’re gonna talk about three reasons with one powerful reason that we get stuck as entrepreneurs, Hey, show me that he know, you go, Hey, what’s going on everybody? I’m foreseer, founder at change creator. You know, I feel like a lot of the entrepreneurs I work with, you know, we, I think any entrepreneur, really, we come to a place in our journey where we feel stuck, right? It’s a very uncomfortable feeling. And especially when we don’t know what might be holding us back. And we have to figure out how we can actually diagnose that situation and kind of figure out where where the problem is. But there is some clarity I want to share that I think will be helpful for you. And that’s what I want to talk about today, there’s three areas, I believe that tend to be the primary causes that will make you feel stuck. So those areas are you have a belief, that is not right. It’s it’s not correct. Alright. So some belief you have is false, okay. Or you are missing a character trait about yourself, like the way you carry yourself. And the last but not least of the three is you don’t have a certain skill or you have a skill that’s very weak that you need. This could be some kind of business skill, like, you know, maybe your master of your craft, but you don’t really have business skills around the area of marketing and promotions and things like that. One of the things I really want to dive into is more along the lines of the first one, which is the belief.

This is such a powerful one. And it’s actually one of the primary ones I see as a struggle for people. I mean, I literally was in one of our quarterly masterminds recently. And you know, this is what we do, we do hot seats, we have a two hour meeting and you know, I will be talking about something around money, okay. And the clients I work with in our Brand Studio, and, you know, I get a response St. Adam, do you have that validate? Is there evidence of what you’re saying about your audience? And you know, the finances and things like that? Or is it something you made up? Right? And we always need a little outside perspective, because we get so close to our businesses. So having that outside perspective can be very valuable. So people can like, kind of get you in check. So you might know of this stuff, I guess, I know, beliefs hold us back and things like that. But we still get close. And we think that we know, and then we don’t know, right, we have someone step in and say, Well, no, no, that’s not how I’m seeing your situation. And that was, and since that conversation, you know, I’ve, I’ve tripled my revenues because of that support, right? Just kind of getting me in check, right? Getting myself when that belief was knocked out, down. It opened the doors for me to to progress. So I wanted to share a story about belief, because it’s such a powerful story that has stuck with me forever. And I think it will help you and give you some perspective. Okay, so this dates me, you know, this is back in 1991. I literally have a picture of myself.

back then. And I was a wrestler, I wrestled for 10 years in my life. And I remember being extremely nervous, I was at a wrestling tour. And I was extremely nervous. I literally wanted the I wanted to disappear. Whenever I got really nervous. I was like, I just, I’m gonna go take a nap. And I’m gonna go hide. I was doing these tournaments every week. And I never will forget this moment, because I had all these thoughts racing through my mind and a lot of adrenaline, a lot of fear. Because I just watched, you know, I was in the semi finals, right, that’s the match before the finals, I won my semi finals, and I was going to the finals. And then I saw the kid I was going to wrestle, I was watching the semifinal match to see who it was going to be. And within that first period of wrestling, he broke the kid’s collarbone by throwing him right. And, you know, at a young age, that scared the shit out of me. Okay. And so, you know, my mind was going 100 miles an hour, and I really got in my head. And now I was just waiting for the announcers to say, okay, you know, we’re getting to that final match. It’s a big gymnasium, Adam force, and Luke, you know, please meet at Matt, whatever. And then, you know, you run out to the center of the mat, you’re ready to rock and roll. And finally, here we are, we shake hands, and he blows the whistle. And in less than 60 seconds, I was on my back, I was pinned and the match was over. That was it. All the worry, all the fear, just all of that pain. I was in, was over. And I was I was not at that age, I was not a wrestler that lost very much, I was actually pretty good at what I was doing. And so it was kind of a heartbreaking moment. For me, I was very disappointed in myself and you know, got the pep talk from pops and stuff like that. But this is not where the story ends. Okay, so where is the big mental flip. So the big mental flip is, the very next day. I had to go to a team meet. So that was a tournament, and then we do a team match, right? And the very next day, guess what team? It was the same kid. I had to go and wrestle that same kid the very next day. Now again, I’m young. And this has a high impact on who I on how I felt, right? I was that made me extremely nervous. And so to me. And so I went home that night, and I had to I was like, oh my god, I gotta wake up tomorrow, get on a bus and go wrestle this kid again. After what just happened? You know, not only did I see him break a kid’s collarbone, he pinned me in less than a minute I got my butt kicked. So you can only imagine the the whirlwind of thoughts going through my brain. So what did I do? I actually, you know, I had no idea what a mantra was, obviously. But I you know, the very next day showed up and that night I was just saying to myself, I was like, and I don’t remember exactly what I was saying. But I know I sat there on repeating your your justice, you’re better than this kid, you’re just as good. You could do this and I was just kind of like amping myself up. Right like getting trying to distract myself from all the worries some stuff and keep reminding myself like dude like you are a good wrestler like you can you can beat this kid you can do it. I’m just like saying these things because it made me feel better, right? It kind of got my mind feeling made me feel more confident. Right. So the next thing you know, the big day arrives here’s the next morning and you know I’m standing at the edge of the mat we stand there we do the Pledge of Allegiance. And you that the one to each team is on each edge and you look at each other. And so my heart is like pounding out of my chest that it’s like the moment you know I was a small kid so I was the very first mash as soon as that national anthem was over, it was go time. And of course, I was terrified of this moment. And I’m still just saying, just don’t stop. He’s a kid like you, you could do this. And I would just go over and over and over. So next thing, you know, we run out to the mat. And we shake hands, and we’re ready for the second match. Okay, so I, you know, the whistle blows off, and boom, it was just like one of the best now, I’ve done that was early in my career as a wrestler. But it was one of the best matches of my life. And it was significant, not just because I scored 16 points, that’s a lot of points in a wrestling match, I scored 16 points, and I won the match, I won the match. So the day before he pinned me in less than 60 seconds, the very next day, I won the match. And it was one of the best matches in my life. So this was obviously a great feeling. There’s nothing better than that in the world, because you kind of overcome a fear in your life, you break through a new barrier, which is exciting, right? And so what changed that what changed from one day to the next, nothing changed, except what I believed, right I, I started recognizing, like, I do believe I can beat this person, I believe in myself, you can do this. And that was kind of like I was amping myself up. And so nothing really changed. I didn’t learn a new skill I didn’t learn, like in business, a new tactic that’s gonna get me across the finish line, it was really just a matter of me, getting out of my head and getting my head in the right place to believe in myself. That was the belief. Do you believe in yourself? Do you believe that you can do this? And I guess I did enough convincing myself in that situation. So, you know, that stands out to me as a really important lesson in my life. I mean, it just couldn’t be any more blatant about how powerful it is that what we believe will dictate the outcome, right? What we believe did dictate him. So it does shape the world that is around us. And by becoming more self aware about the beliefs that we have that are incorrect, right? We what, where if you see yourself saying, Oh, I’m making a million dollars a month, and I nobody in my space can make more than that I’m stuck. I mean, that’s like that kind of thing is a belief, right? There’s so many ways to break that down. And you have to start acknowledging these things, you tell yourself these internal stories and narratives, that are beliefs, and a lot of mine are around money, too, like I mentioned in my quarterly mastermind, how they kind of called me out.

And when you can become more self aware of these beliefs, or get help from, you know, a mastermind group that you put together that people on the same level as you, you know, you can start acknowledging them. So if you can’t figure them out yourself, maybe you need someone else, like a coach or someone to, to kind of tap into that and help identify these things. Because then and only then can you make the shifts, you need to unlock that next version of yourself to move forward, go bigger, go better, and all that kind of stuff, right? So the doors open, every time we acknowledge one of these beliefs that are incorrect, remove it, flip it on its head, whatever, and then we can move forward. And that’s how we grow and we grow and we grow. So I hope that’s helpful. And it’s just been a very impactful lesson for me in my life. And I thought it was a good example to share with you guys. And yeah, little wrestler Adam, big, big message for future Adam. Catch you on the next one. Thanks for tuning into the authentic brand mastery podcast. Don’t forget to stop by change creator calm for more information, fresh articles, content and our services if you’re looking to build a brand that people love, and please stop by iTunes, leave us a five star review. We appreciate your support.

 

Adam Force: How Has Branding Helped Millions of Businesses Skyrocket Their Revenue?

adam brand strategy

43% of consumers have reported that they would love nothing more than to spend their top dollars on brands that they feel connected to. In today’s crowded market, if there’s one thing that consumers desire the most – it’s a brand that they can feel emotionally connected to.

Upon implementing the right set of tactics and strategies, you can not only build an emotional connection with your audience but also skyrocket your revenue and profit margins efficiently.

However, the big problem is – most businesses misunderstand branding and don’t have a rock-solid brand strategy in place. Eventually, they end up leaving a ton of money on the table. In this episode, the Change Creator founder, Adam G. Force, explains what branding really is and how it actually generates revenue for businesses.

As a father and entrepreneur with 20 years of professional business experience, Adam is an expert in branding, storytelling, and online sales. After working 10 years at WebMD as Director of Strategic Marketing Adam started his second business, Change Creator, supporting social entrepreneurs with premium branding & high-converting websites, the Change Creator Podcast with 230+ expert interviews, and 30+ editions of Change Creator Magazine reaching over 140+ countries including exclusive interviews from the most impactful entrepreneurs on the planet such as Seth Godin, Arianna Huffington, and Richard Branson.

During This Episode, Adam Shared His Thoughts On:

  • Brand Studio – How to turn your website into a conversion machine?
  • Branding – The Misconceptions
  • What Branding actually is?
  • Lucidpress’ Report on Branding – How consistent branding helps businesses increase their revenue by 33%?
  • Brand strategy – What it is and why it’s super-important to create a blueprint prior to kickstarting your branding efforts?
  • The different elements you should consider while building your brand strategy
  • Why do you need to be cautious in today’s saturated market?
  • The importance of building a great first impression
  • Attention vs. trust – What matters the most?
  • The Butterfly Effect
  • How can a brand strategy help you build a rock-solid foundation for your brand?
  • How important it is to build a brand strategy and conduct a brand audit prior to building your website?

Final Thoughts:

We live in a saturated market – where marketers and agencies are simply trying to upsell their marketing and advertising services. Businesses are so rock-focused on catching their audience’s attention that they are neglecting the importance of building long-lasting relationships.

From creating a great first impression to building an emotional connection, you can increase your revenue and profit margins upon building and systematically implementing a fool-proof brand strategy.

Grow Your Brand Today!

We are the branding experts. And we can help you turn your website into a heavy-loaded conversion machine. Most importantly, we’ll have your back at each step of the way and help you build real connections. 

Schedule a strategy call with us today.

Subscribe HERE:

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Episode Transcript (unedited, will likely have typos):

Adam G. Force  0:00 

How do social entrepreneurs and small businesses create an authentic brand people love so they can get the edge they need to stand out, create Predictable Revenue and compete against the big guys. That’s what we’re here to discuss. I’m Adam forest, the founder of change creator and this is the authentic brand mastery podcast.

All right, what’s going on everybody? Welcome back to the authentic brand mastery podcast brought to you by change creator, this is your host, Adam force. You know, if you missed the last episode, it was with Chris Nealon. He’s the founder of a company called Colt, we get into all kinds of good stuff. It’s all about creating engaging audiences. Alright, a lot of good perspective shifts there, I’ve had some really interesting feedback from people. So if you missed that one, I would definitely go back and check it out, I think you’re gonna love it. Um, so right now we have some, we have a number of projects getting ready to get off the ground. So that’s really exciting. And it’s been really fun working through these projects with some of our clients. For those of you who are not up to speed that our Brand Studio is a new division of the company that we started this year. And we’ve been really excited because people were knocking on our door from our course and asking for, you know, support with developing their brands, and really like turning their website into a sales tool that stuck tells a story and stuff like that. So it’s, it’s an approach that we take is very authentic, and creates an emotional connection with customers, right. But most importantly, we want to get results, which means leads sales, things like that. This is a valuable piece of real estate. So we have, I think three client projects coming to an end. And we’re going to be opening the doors for some new people. And right now, we have two spots opening up. So if you’re in that place where you’re ready to, you know, reimagine your brand or upgrade your brand, and you know, bring the identity to life and set up your website to really, you know, get results for you. You know, reach out, you can go to studio dot change creator.com. Again, that’s studio dot change creator.com. And you can book a call, and you’ll learn a little bit more on that page, see some testimonials, all that good stuff, of course. And then just blue calling, you’ll talk with me, and we’ll dive into a conversation to kind of figure out where you’re at. And if it makes sense. It’s really a process of applying, and we got to see if you’re a good fit. Alright, so yeah, you guys could do that. And don’t forget to stop by iTunes, leave us a review, we always appreciate it. And you know what we’re going to dive right in, I got no other announcements that I’m going to share this morning was dive right into one month of that, that we might bring some people on to do a workshop on your brand voice, I think that’ll be a lot of fun, too. So that could be really cool. So keep an eye out for that we’re gonna we’re gonna test the waters and see if everybody’s into it. Alright, and today, I want to take some time to talk about how you can increase your monthly revenues, predictably, by setting up your branding and the role that branding plays in driving revenue. Okay, show me the heat on No, you go.

Alright, let’s talk branding, and how that actually contributes to our monthly revenues. This is so important. And people do have a misconception of branding, guys. I mean, it happens all the time, I talked to hundreds of entrepreneurs. And you know, we quickly assume it’s just the identity, the visual aspect, that’s your branding, it’s the colors, the logos. This happens more and more in the online entrepreneur world today as that continues to boom. And and it’s a very big mistake to make, because what branding really is let’s just set the stage before we get into money and all that kind of stuff. Branding is about how we make people feel and I think that a John Sox he made a really great testimonial. Let me just pull that up. So what he said was your corporate or personal brand is a story unfolding across all customer touchpoints. That’s exactly right. Because it’s it’s and that across all customer touchpoints is a very important part of that. And the story unfolding, the story unfolds, not just contextually meaning the words that we use the messages, but also the visual. The visual is part of the story, right? We’ve heard, we’ve heard people say a picture is worth 1000 words. So having visual as part of the expression of your brand branding is your story right? And now as far as it goes as far as Across all customer touchpoints, we need that consistency. Let me give you a quick stat from Lucidpress. So Lucidpress did a report on branding. And what they found is that when all of this stuff is done right, right, brand consistency is appreciated by customers so much that it’s consistent presentation across all those touch points has been seen to increase revenue by 33%. Alone, right? So when companies got their shit together, and they had in a consistent presentation of good branding, that was seen to increase revenue by 33%. Right? I mean that that right, there is just a mind blowing statistic, right? I have other statistics, too, that are really cool about how a brand story will increase sales. One of the number one factors from usa.gov, that people said was most important to trust a brand and buy from them was good design. Now, early in the early 2000s, and when the internet started booming, ugly design converted, and I gotta be honest, I will tell you now ugly design can still convert. But it’s not about that. It’s because they have a very good message. And now, as we get into branding, and how we make people feel you have to start wondering, well, what how does that make me more money? So I have this, like, what is how do we make feeling? Okay, so let me explain, you have to understand that there are components that we have to get really good at, and that is your brand strategy. A brand strategy is made up of different things, right? So I’ll break it into sections, because there’s lots of little things from promise, vision, all these different things, right. So the first thing is the soul of the business, I like to call it and that is going to be you know, why are we here? What’s the promise we’re making? What’s the vision and mission? Where are we going with all this and that kind of starts creating the soul of like, what you stand for. And that’s really important, right? We have to really pin that down. And all of a sudden, when you do that, right, you get some like directional clarity. So that’s part of it. And I And remember this, this brand strategy, just so you’re, you’re clear with like, maybe a quick little metaphor here, it’s kind of like you, you wouldn’t build a house without a blueprint, right? This is your blueprint or a North Star for everything you’re doing to make your marketing marketing successful. So when you’re creating a consistent presentation, and you want to have create a feeling that attracts the right customers and resonates with them, we have to first go through this brand strategy process to to really, like think through it and create our blueprint, right? So that first section was the soul of the business. And now the the other another section that’s really important is going to be the operating system. It’s like, well, what is the culture, the values and all these things that we have to get really clear on? So that we know as that as we operate as a business, right? Think of it as like a person, right? Your brand is like a person? What is that? How do they function, what kind of a person are they what and so when you create culture and values, it starts determining how you actually do things, like the operating system of a computer, the computer will function a certain way, according to however, that operating system is set up, right. And, you know, the next thing that’s going to be really important is understanding the, what I call the perfect customer. I mean, we really this is this is like, beyond important. And I’m gonna get into why and I’m gonna tie this into how this is making you money. And you probably start getting an inkling here, but we have to go through really important steps to understand not only who the customer is, like where they’re from, and how old and all that basic stuff, but you know, dreams, hopes, fears, frustrations, language, they use, you know, pains that they have in their lives, like, and it’s it’s funny, because I get ecommerce clients and it’s like, selling, you know, some kind of snack food or something. And we’re talking about hopes and dreams for people. Right? And yeah, it’s, it’s actually really important because this plays a role in our marketing messages, right? And it makes them very, very powerful. So really getting clear on that. And you know, a lot of times we can dig into a lot of different areas to kind of map that stuff out whether it’s From past clients, and there’s ways to think through it, like, where to put your energy, because a lot of times people will say, Well, I can my product is good for many, many people I can I can help different segments of people. And that’s great. So I always refine that when I work with people. And I’m like, But who do you help the most that we add those two words on the most, and you start prioritizing. A great example was a you know, with pure Aveda, I think it was a pure pure Vita, and no vitamin water pure Vita, I think

vitamin water will be a good example. So I was talking to Bernard Schroeder. He’s like a brand brand branding legacy this guy. And so he did like Amazon, and Yahoo, and vitamin water, all that stuff. And so essentially, they were first, when they came out, it was kind of this unique concept. And they’re like, oh, shit, like, you know, nobody. Everyone’s like, What the hell is vitamin water? Like, right now it sounds normal, because we’ve been normalized, it’s the thing that we’re familiar with. But in the beginning, it’s like, what the heck is that, but they they could have, it’s, it’s relevant for moms, kids, anybody that wants to drink, right, a soft drink. But their first segment, they could help the most were people who were more in the health conscious category, right. So they didn’t waste their time, energy, money, resources, trying to create marketing strategies, and messages, and all that stuff for all these other segments. Because you have to realize your whole message, everything changes for each segment. So you don’t have the resources, most likely for several different segments. And I’m not saying you can’t cast a wider net, you can. And that’s a whole other conversation about where people are on the journey to buy, but you do want to know who you’re helping the most, right? So that’s a very important part of this process to pin down. And then you got to really understand your positioning in the marketplace, like how are we being different. And as you start building all of this information out, there’s one more section, there’s also our identity. So it’s like, the personality, the feel, and all these things, you know, you you would you would hear someone talk about, like, you can take a couple approaches, like it’s like, well, if you were going to describe a celebrity person who has a personality, like your brand, what would it be or an animal and people do all kinds of wacky ways of getting their minds wrapped around this stuff. But that is going to start being the the visual identity. And you know, when we talk about feel, and tone and all that stuff, it is creating the personality of this, this brand, right? It’s the personality and how they, how it interacts with people and what it feels like with people. So now we’re mapping out all this stuff in the brand strategy, which becomes this blueprint for your business. And once you have it, you’re like, Oh, God, it’s like, it’s like a Bible. And does it ever change? Yeah, like, you know, you know, businesses have to adapt to the market, what’s going on, and we and so that stuff you revisit every so often, and you can refine and modify. But that gives you a lot of clarity. And when you have that in your brand book, we usually give people a brand book, you know, you hand that to third parties and things like that. So where does the money come in Adam? Okay, so now that we understand that, let me just talk about the money. You know, you have, you know, people will say things like, I don’t need a website. No, you don’t need a website, I don’t need a brand strategy. Note, you don’t need a brand strategy. I agree with you. 100%.

Right. And that’s fine, you don’t need it need is a very specific word that says you don’t, you know, like, you can go without it, it doesn’t mean that running your business will be better or easier, it’s actually going to be a lot harder. But no, you don’t need it. If I had to go cut down 100 trees, I don’t need a chainsaw, I can use an axe and I can fumble my way through for months trying to do that while I rip my hands apart. Or I can get the chainsaw and I can cut down all the trees, right? So no, we don’t need these things. And we have to be very careful about where we’re getting our information. Because if we have doubts, desperation, we start listening to all these gurus you have, I literally was just reading an ad I save ads all the time. I love them. I’m reading somebody like, you should never do paid advertising until you reach 30,000 or $50,000 a month in organic. Oh, by the way, we can show you organic strategies and how to do that and Facebook groups. So you know, it’s like everyone’s setting up these rules and laws and all these things. And then I have other people who make like $40 million, one of my mentors and you know, they will say after you have three to five customers, you know, you can replicate the process and if you know there if you know the customer really well from your brand strategy. Yeah, start running ads and scale Alright, so you got very different perspectives, both can probably bring you some kind of success. But there’s a lot of garbage tactics out there people are trying to sell and the market is pretty saturated. So you got to be careful with that stuff. Now, if you are, if you are going to be smart, you realize that all a website is his real estate online. Right? So if you’re like, if you’re like, looking at it as Whoa, I have this domain, all this stuff. No, it’s just pages of real estate that are very valuable because you own them, you’re not renting it out, like on Wix or anything else. That’s why I don’t like I’m not a fan of things like Wix and Squarespace and all that crap. Okay. I like to have full ownership, I like to have control, flexibility, customization, and I want to be able to grow into something the way I want to, without requiring a lot of custom development to work around a platform that is closed.

It is not a it’s closed, like where you know, it’s not open and open source. So, you know, things like WordPress are very flexible, powerful platform, you can pretty much customize it until you’re blue in the face. And if you realize that, hey, this real estate is super valuable. It’s a sales opportunity. This is sales, real estate, it is foolish to make your life more difficult in trying to operate your business. Without it today, when someone learns about your business, what’s the first thing they’re going to do, they’re going to look you up, and they do a spot check. Like if you drove up to if you’re like, Hey, I heard about this dentist, and we have this guy go work on my teeth, and you go and you drive up and you’re like, oh, and you pull up to this building that’s like, you know, falling apart and stuff. And it’s like terrible, you know, you’re gonna run away. So that’s like the first impression. If you don’t even have a website, and you just have some like Instagram channel or something. I’m not saying you can’t get customers, I’m just saying it doesn’t help you. Okay, you know, people have expectations today that if you are doing well, not only are you online, but you are going to be presented in a way that feels good. It’s professional, it’s clear, you really resonate with them, right. The more you hammer, those connections, the more trust you build, which means the more customers you get, the more loyalty and long term reoccurring sales you get. Now, the brand strategy because we get so clear about everything, especially our perfect customer, we understand what we call hot buttons, right? We understand the hot buttons, and we start creating this online identity that represents who we are, it’s authentic, it’s genuine, it tells our story we have our story is unfolding, like we talked about in the beginning. And it makes connections with people emotionally. And so when we’re making those connections, we need the information to hit the hot buttons. And so like an example for me would be I was looking for pool vacuums. Because I live in South Florida, and my pool is surrounded by like a rainforest. And you know, they had in there was a pullback and company who I went to their website, some of them are just God awful, and I will I leave websites if they’re terrible, like I can’t even deal with this terrible company. And I don’t trust that the rest of the business is actually going to be functioning in a way that I want to do business with them. Like if they can’t even get the website right. What does that say about the rest of their operations and, and how successful whatever solution or product I’m going to buy is going to be right. There’s no care right? And but I found a company that actually did really well and they specifically said everything I needed to hear picks up sand and dirt small things picks up large leaves and other things and everything that was a pain point for me. It hammered it it was like they were they were here interviewing me in South Florida and they made this pool vacuum for people with pools in South Florida because it was very specific. And that is what captured me. But I would never have gotten to reading all that and getting that far if they didn’t make a good first impression. So, that trust factor is huge. Remember what I said about that stat from us.gov? They their usability.gov. They they people prioritize design as one of the most important factors when making a buying decision. And that is because of trust. Everyone will say oh attention is a scarce resource today. And I completely disagree. I think attention anyone can buy attention. That’s called advertising, no big deal. But you know, and yeah, they say people have three second attention spans. However, the people that are most interested in buying, they read long form sales letters, they watch to our webinars, right. So attention is not a problem. But trust is. And if we’re not building trust into our marketing, we have an even bigger issue. So you know, when we have the brand strategy pin down, all of a sudden, we can start creating the building our real estate online in a way that is like, magnetic to our perfect customer. Because it visually appeals to them, it builds the trust, and then our messages, resignate, they hit the hot buttons, they sign up, they get to know you personally, I love like watching shows like the voice because it’s a great example of two things. One, you have an example of when people hear the backstories of the artist, and they have relatable, live instances, like if someone’s like, Oh, I’ve this is just I don’t know why always comes to my booth, like, Oh, if I had cancer, and I overcame it, and then everyone in the audience is like, Oh, my God, like, I’ve been there, or I had a hard childhood doing X, Y, and Z. And then they get all these letters of people saying I know exactly how you feel. And so they fall in love with that person. And they have a deeper connection, beyond just liking their music. So now they really like that person, which makes them love their music. And this is how we start building super fans, right? All these touch points to our brand of great experience good products, how we speak to them, how we do things, it all starts coming together and all these touch points. And this is how we start building super fans. All right. And the other interesting part about the voice, I call this the butterfly effect, okay, so in the butterfly effect, you know, people start at the voice and they’re gonna be like trying out. And if, if the judges see potential, they are invited to come back. And they’re going to be on the show and get this whole process started. But in the in the first you know, run, you have people who are coming in, and they are, you know, they’ve been gigging around town they barely getting by financially and all this stuff. As the show goes on. They have a coach who’s saying, Oh, you put more emotion here emphasize this, do that. And as the show goes on, they start evolving, which is really fun to watch, right? Not only are they getting better as singers and becoming more refined, but they are even finding their identity. And by the end of the show, they’re dressed way differently than they ever were in the beginning. And you’ll hear coaches say things like, I feel like you’re really finding like yourself, like the kind of artists you are not only how you sing, and the type of music you sing, but in how you present yourself visually, right. And that is no different than what you’re doing with your business as we grow, right. And that’s why most companies who are rebranding and upgrading their brands and doing these things, updating their websites properly, it’s because they want to grow and they’re being refined, and it’s, it’s the same thing. So people on the voice, they start changing, they start, they step into the role, right, they become that next version of themselves. And it’s a it’s a beautiful thing to watch, right. And so all of a sudden, they’re their rep, they’re kind of like they’re showing up differently, I should say. And so if there’s one thing I’ve learned in business is my second business, and I was director of strategic marketing over at WebMD. For many years, I have found that, you know, if you want more clients, you need clarity on what that looks like. And you have to be able to show up ready for that, that’s when the universe will throw it back at you. But if you’re not taking these steps, if you’re not willing to put in the work to have a professional brand strategy to set up your website correctly to to have sales funnels and all the proper language and identity and all these things. You’re not setting yourself up to do what you need to do. You’re just making you know what I mean? Like you’re holding yourself back with limiting beliefs saying, I don’t need this, I don’t need that. I’m gonna do it this way. Because why do we do that? Because we’re uncomfortable with the idea of investing in ourselves and pushing forward to new boundaries and the uncertainty of it all right. You know, I’ve been there we all have that’s part of being an entrepreneur. But at some point, it’s so at some point, we have to start to evolve to grow, and we got to step into that role. So I hope that gives a better sense and, you know, as far as that money goes, it’s we’re building trust. We are going to have more successful sales funnels because we can really pull customers in, we can create more lead generation. And then we also are set up in a way to nurture them and close deals. Right? So closing deals is really big. And and whether it’s ecommerce or it’s a service company like coaches, course creators, whatever it might be, there are sales funnels and brand strategies that you have to kind of think through and, and that’s what I love to do. And I’ve been doing it for a long time, and I’m passionate about it. So that’s a process that I go through with people is really setting up the brand strategies. And then because I know there’s a lot of designers out there, they won’t tell you this. It’s like, why would you ever hand off such an important piece of your business,

this real estate, that’s a Sales Machine, you hand it off to a designer that’s going to design a site, and they’re like, Yeah, I’ll design your site for $2,000 Bing, and they put up a site, they’re not, they have no growth marketing experience, they don’t know how to do high ROI return on investment strategies, they don’t know how to get leads and sales because they haven’t done it. They’re just designers. You know, so you want someone that this is what I am excited to bring to the table is because I have tons of experience as a growth marketer and digital strategist creating, you know, strategies for big brands and small brands. And I bring that to the table to set up your business the right way. That that is you got to approach this stuff with the right skill sets and things like that. So it’s a really fun process, it shocks me that designers will create a website without doing a brand strategy first. Even if someone has a brand strategy now I have worked with clients who make good money, and we will go through and we do an audit, it’s I call it an audit because Sure, you might have a brand strategy, but I need to make sure I understand it. And I need to make sure that it’s airtight, right to do what we need to do. And so we do an audit and we can go through and refine those things. And that’s important. So you know, it can’t just shocking people are building websites without going through these steps and it’s part of the whole process and you have to do it so that’s that I hope that gives you guys some clarity on what branding is really about and how it plays a role in driving revenue. So when you start putting all these pieces together your business gets exciting and it starts to you’re setting yourself up with the right tools to scale business and I think that’s something that we all want so yeah guys if you have any feedback let me know you can always reach me at Adam at change creator.com I hope this was helpful. And you know what if you do reach out let me know if you want to hear about the brand boys that workshop as well that I mentioned before we got into this conversation and if you have questions just fire them off. And yeah guys, we’ll catch you on the next one. Thanks for tuning into the authentic brand mastery podcast. Don’t forget to stop by change creator calm for more information, fresh articles, content, and our services if you’re looking to build a brand that people love, and please stop by iTunes us a five-star review. We appreciate your support

Chris Kneeland: Mastering Meaningful Audience Engagement

What’s the one thing some of the most successful brands like Apple, Nike, Coca-Cola, Amazon have in common? 

That’s brand loyalty. 

Loyal customers are the driving force behind the multi-million or billion-dollar value of these brands. Businesses or brands looking forward to making their way to the top need to focus on not only attracting new customers but also building long-lasting and healthy relationships with their already engaging ones. 

And the best way to do that is by building an emotional connection with your audience. From building a customer-centric strategy to delivering outstanding customer experiences, you need to engage your audience at each step of the way to make them feel emotionally invested.

We connected with brand expert Chris Kneeland who is the founder of the agency, Cult – where they focus on creating organic brand engagement that turns everyday customers into brand advocates.

Chris Kneeland is the CEO of Cult Collective, one of North America’s premier engagement marketing firms. His overriding professional passion is helping brands accelerate growth by reimagining how they engage consumers and employees.

He’s committed to helping courageous brand leaders embrace proven marketing principles he’s discovered while working with the most iconic, “cult-like” brands on the planet.

Chris held marketing roles at the world headquarters of John Deere and The Home Depot. He was also formerly the Head of Retail Marketing at RAPP, Omnicom’s preeminent relationship marketing agency.

He co-founded Cult in 2010 and has consulted with Harley Davidson, Canadian Tire, Mark’s, Zappos, Best Buy, HEB Grocery Stores, Carter’s, Keurig, United Way, and dozens of other brands. Throughout his career, he has lobbied for customer advocacy over acquisition, and brand engagement over entertainment. He helps clients by getting customers to buy more by buying in.

Visit Cult Collective to learn more about their audience engagement process:

www.cultideas.com 

During This Episode, We Discussed:

  • Chris shares some information about his business “Cult” and shares what they have going on.
  • The reality of the digital marketing and advertising landscape
  • The importance of having the right strategy and connecting with your audience
  • How businesses are losing sight of their actual goal while trying to get their product and services out there?
  • The importance of improving customer experience, brand value proposition, and the product offering
  • Chris’ background – what made him switch from advertising to helping brands accelerate their growth via customer engagement
  • Chris talks about Red Bull and what helped the brand make their way to the top – how they focused on their marketing efforts.
  • How do Chris & team measure brand success with metrics like brand attachment and brand engagement? 
  • Discussion about brand positioning
  • Difference between successful and mediocre brands – and how successful brands approach their marketing efforts versus how mediocre brands do it?
  • Tesla’s marketing department’s focus on being 200% better
  • Yeti’s core competency and how their marketing efforts are different from others?
  • The problem with today’s marketing and advertising departments – why are they more focused on measurement over trying to understand their audience’s behaviors? 
  • Customer segmentation
  • What makes brands like Starbucks and Porsche such beloved? 
  • Chris’ experience with one of their clients 
  • What creates strong audience engagement?

Final Thoughts:

These days, most marketing agencies and businesses are directionless. Rather than trying to gain insights into what their audience feel connected to or what they love, they are laser-focused on promoting one of their products via PPC or trying to rank their page on Google. 

The harsh reality is most brands are leveling up their venture by 20% yet marketing it as 200%. That’s not how it works. Listen to our podcast to understand how you can separate yourselves from all-talk, no-action mediocre brands and build healthy and long-lasting relationships with your audience via brand engagement.

Chris shared a lot of valuable insights throughout the podcast. And I really hope you guys enjoyed today’s episode. And if you did, don’t forget to share your love and support the show by leaving a 5-Star review on iTunes. Every single review matters.

Subscribe HERE:

Grow Your Brand Today!

We are the branding experts. And we can help you turn your website into a heavy-loaded conversion machine. Most importantly, we’ll have your back at each step of the way and help you build real connections. 

Schedule a strategy call with us today.

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Episode Transcript (unedited, will likely have typos):

Adam G. Force  0:00  

How do social entrepreneurs and small businesses create an authentic brand people love so they can get the edge they need to stand out, create Predictable Revenue and compete against the big guys. That’s what we’re here to discuss. I’m Adam forest, the founder of change crater and this is the authentic brand mastery podcast.

Hey, what’s up everybody? Welcome back to the authentic brand mastery podcast by Change Creator, this is your host, Dan force. If you missed the last episode, it was with somebody by the name of Sam Adams and we talked about building a media brand, they are doing some really amazing work just raised $4 million. So definitely want to check that out. It is a great conversation for anybody. But even especially if you’re kind of playing that media space a little bit, there’s a lot to, to know about building a media brand. And we should know from our own experience here at Change Creator. And this week, we’re going to be talking with somebody by the name of Chris nealon. Now he is the founder of a company called cult, right. And he’s the senior advisor to CMOS at Zappos, Harley Davidson Best Buy GoDaddy and dozens of other brands. And before he actually started the company, Colt, he was the marketing leader at john deere and Home Depot. So he has a really great perspective on branding and how we’re attracting audiences. And what what is the right way to really approach that as a brand. Okay, so we get into a really great conversation here. Now, one of the updates I wanted to share is we have a couple spots opening up in our brand studio. So I just want to throw that out there that, you know, if you are ready to develop your brand authority, and start setting your site up to scale, we love to just kind of see where you’re at with your business and have that conversation. So you would talk directly with me just go to it’s it’s studio dot Change creator.com you just visit there and you can learn more about what we do, but also book a strategy call. And we’ll just have that conversation to see if you’re a good fit. We don’t take everybody. And we have we’ve had a full roster for a while. So we just have a couple spots opening up and we’re ready to take on some some new accounts. So if you’re ready for that step and your business, we know there’s a lot we will do to support you to really create a online presence that you’re really proud of that creates a really good first impression builds trust all these important things, but it’s also set up on the back end to scale. Meaning as traffic comes in, you’re selling you’re scaling. We also get into supporting you with your path to purchase which is your sales funnel systems. So takes a lot of the headache away for you. And we love doing that stuff. And so we’d love to hear from you. So just stop by Studio Change. creator.com Alright, let’s get into this conversation with Chris. Okay, show me the heat on No, you got to do this. Hey, Chris, welcome to the show today. How’s everything going?

Chris Kneeland  3:19  

I’m doing really great Adam, and doing even better getting to chat with you for a little bit.

Adam G. Force  3:24  

I appreciate it. Yeah, it looks like you guys are doing some cool stuff. Interesting name. Cool. Tell me about that.

Chris Kneeland  3:30  

Well, cool. It was intentionally provocative, and it was designed to change the goalposts about what businesses we’re really trying to do. Most businesses, we’re trying to get customers. And frankly, we’re just not that interested. We caught last fall, or it was so much more interesting was like a customer on steroids. And yet not many businesses were pursuing that level of fandom. And so we decided, let’s help them and let’s inspire them for what’s truly possible.

Adam G. Force  4:05  

Gotcha. Interesting. So I’m curious what’s exciting today? Like what, what is going on in your world that Colton, with the business that has been exciting, and then we’ll kind of get a little backstory on how you got there?

Chris Kneeland  4:22  

Well, I mean, I think what’s exciting is the, the daunting pneus of the challenge, which is we’re trying to reverse, I think society’s over dependence on mass media and markdowns in order to grow their businesses. The paid media landscape in particular has grown by over $100 billion since we started our business, which is a glaring reminder of how woefully we’re failing and helping people understand that these little quick fix elixirs that the Facebook’s or the the television or the media buyers of the world are trying to sell are not actually as substantive or as effective as as we’re led to believe.

Adam G. Force  5:06  

Yeah, I mean, that’s a really great point. Um, and because I, I do work with a lot of entrepreneurs in our brand accelerator and things like that, and there’s an eagerness to throw money at areas where there they have may have a weakness, right. So if we’re looking for traffic, and we need eyeballs, but that’s not their expertise, it’s just I’m gonna run Pay Per Click ads, I’m gonna run Facebook ads. And as I’m sure you know, when you don’t do the legwork have the right strategy, not only just burning that money, but you haven’t developed an organic, like real system where you’re really connecting with people and nurturing a core group of people, right?

Chris Kneeland  5:55  

Yeah, 100%, it’s, it’s nobody needs most of what we’re chasing, nobody needs a Facebook page, nobody needs a website, nobody needs a commercial, nobody needs a coupon. We create those as solutions to get to what we really need, which is profit, and traction, right. And, and I get, I get discouraged that we seem to lose sight of the goal, like the number of clients that we’ve chatted with, or work with, that are doing chasing profit through the lens of 50% off sales. And it’s like, well, that’s doing the exact opposite of what you’re trying to do. What we love about coke brands is cold brands, not only sell a disproportionate merchandise at full price, they typically sell at a premium price point, which that’s what marketing should be doing. Marketing should be maximizing your margin, not minimizing your margin. And some of the things that minimize margin are not only discounts, but excessive GMA expenses that go into paid media. So I think if we just ask smarter questions, we’ll get to better more substitute answers. And and frankly, more rewarding thing, improving the customer experience improving the brand value proposition improving the product offering is more enjoyable anyway, right? Once you get over the ego of seeing your, your brand on television for the first time, or some superbowl commercial, or some video that goes viral, you realize that that’s pretty superficial and oftentimes completely uncorrelated with the actual performance of your business.

Adam G. Force  7:35  

Yeah, yeah. I mean, there’s, I love what you’re saying. And I’m curious where, so how did you get into this category of work and supporting brands in this way? Can you just give us a little bit of background on that?

Chris Kneeland  7:51  

I mean, the controversial answer is I say that I grew a conscience. Basically, I was, I was in the advertising industry for many, many years. And I was frustrated at the ways that clients would throw money at things that we sold with, we knowing full well, it wasn’t going to solve the problem. It just made the client happy, because it felt like they were doing something, right. They were being busy. But they weren’t being productive. And it just got to the point that we were tired of taking the client’s money to do a solution that wasn’t going to work. And we were tired of not even being asked the right question, because most of the time in the ad agency business clients solve the problem. And then they ask the agency to make it go sound good or look pretty right? That you’re in the storytelling business. You’re not in the problem solving business. And we didn’t even have really a

Adam G. Force  8:54  

Chris, I lost you there. Oh, you’re back

Chris Kneeland  8:56  

waiting for me. No, I’m sorry. I was saying we didn’t even have a seat at the big kid table. As an ad agency. We were just waiting for the client to figure out what they wanted to do. Turn it into a creative brief so that we can go make a media message plan to go solve it and I wanted to be more at the table we were debating whether we even needed an ad campaign or not. Yeah, I’m gonna stop my video ad and just to help with our internet bandwidth here.

Adam G. Force  9:26  

Oh, this is B. Okay. So we use video and audio. We can go in the audience. Okay.

Chris Kneeland  9:31  

Well, you tell me if it if we have to repeat something. Okay. No

Adam G. Force  9:35  

worries. No worries. Yeah, I’ll shout out if it gets too dodgy. I’m just gonna write down a quick timestamp there. Just edit that problem. Yeah. So, I mean, I like the thinking here. So I like to talk a little bit more deeply on the process. I know you have a Top Level process outlined on your site. So in the spirit of, you know, you know I like I forget who said if they said Why be liked when you can be loved and the guy that worked with Red Bull and monster and all those guys with their marketing and branding, they were really focused not on big brand awareness, they were focused on creating really strong relationships to a point where the few people would tattoo monster on their skin because they loved the brand, so much. So it’s like, they were really cool, like nurturing a small circle of people that became marketing power for them. And I’m curious on your process for kind of leaning into this direction that that you’re talking about, what does that look like to as a shift from just throwing money at the problem?

Chris Kneeland  10:49  

Two things first, one of the things that I love about Red Bull, Well, two things I love about Red Bull First, we know their cmo, I guess we don’t know their current cmo, we honored Red Bull in our year one of an event that we do every year called the gathering, which hopefully we’ll be able to talk about. But as we got to know Red Bull in order to give them this recognition as being one of America North America’s most beloved coke brands, we really learned that the marketing department was never once asked by the finance department. If we spend this money, how many more cans of Red Bull Are we going to sell. They didn’t use marketing as a can selling device. They viewed retail distribution, as it can selling a tactic they views they viewed marketing as a creator of brand demand. And that brands sometimes manifested itself in the sale of more product. And other times it manifested itself in the nurturing of this tribe or community. And what it’s done most recently, which is what I really love about them, it’s resulted in alternative revenue streams, where Red Bulls marketing is not a call center, red, Red Bulls marketing is a revenue generated. And these events that they produce in the social media content they produce, generates income in an above sales of caffeinated beverages. And that to me is like how many marketing departments actually have a p&l? Right? Very few. Most of them are just spin, spin spin, they don’t earn, earn earn, other than the things that they’re promoting. So that just shows you the league that Red Bulls in it’s a head and shoulders above everybody else. You know, to answer your other question, you know, we didn’t, all we really did was observe and document, the playbooks of the world’s most cult like brands. We had read a book years ago from Jim Collins called good degrade It was kind of like the MBA book of the early 2000s. And we were just impressed. And we identified highly desirable businesses as evidence through exceptional stock performance. And then tried to pattern match just tried to reverse engineer, what were these businesses doing the businesses that didn’t enjoy exponential stock growth, what what they weren’t doing so we did that exact same exercise, we just didn’t use stock performance as our indicator we use the metric called brand attachment, or brand engagement, sometimes it’s referred to and that was done by a different group out of New York. That was studying brand engagement. for 30 years, they had hundreds and hundreds of businesses that were ranked by categories, ie what’s the most engaging, streaming service was the most engaging car was the most. It’s called brand keys, you can look up it’s called their consumer loyalty and engagement index, the CL II II study. So when we found that we simply said, well, that’s the scorecard. brands are doing at the top of the list. So we just started calling them. We start doing the research of asking and evaluating and observing, what were these brands doing that their mediocre competition wasn’t doing? And we documented it all. So we wrote that first down in a book we then started talking about at this event every year called The Gathering. And then we built a whole consultancy around it at our agency now called collective to just teach people what those principles are.

Adam G. Force  14:24  

Yeah, that’s interesting. And I’m a big fan of Red Bull too. And they are a brand that really has leaned into like living their story, everything they do is pretty powerful through the extreme sports and all that kind of stuff. So every touchpoint is very consistent and well done so. So I guess, can you can you share, like when you’re going through your process, he talked about positioning and things like that. Can we talk a little bit about positioning in the marketplace and I’m trying I’d like to give people listening a little ittle bit of a sense of what role these pieces of the puzzle play in actually creating your, your loyal fans, right, your cult following, if you will, using your name and how that works. Can you make a connection for us on on that?

Chris Kneeland  15:19  

Yeah, I think positioning is the articulation of what is the most distinct and desirable part of your business. That positioning is synonymous with like, enviable differentiation, Why us? Right? What I think is, and positioning statements oftentimes become copywriting exercises when they should be. They should be business strategy exercises. Yeah, because there’s two parts of that equation distinct and desirable, right? So distinct means. This is why I’m different than all the other choices. And very few businesses are not overwhelmed with viable choices, right? I mean, you just think take hamburgers as an example and pick any hamburger chain. Any one of them could go out of business. And it’s not like people would stop eating hamburgers, they would go find a decent substitute, right? Because they’re just all really pretty good, right? There’s very, it’s very rare to find, you know, the one that’s so exceptional or the one that’s so horrible, right, right. So that commoditization, particularly in North America makes the distinctiveness part very difficult. And the reality is, there’s not a lot of distinction. It’s why 95% of new products fail within the first 36 months is it come out with the new ranch dressing with a hint more peppercorn? It’s like really, there’s already 19 choices on the aisle right now for ranch dressing. I didn’t need that one, right. And then the second part is desirability, because you can be different. But it doesn’t mean that you’re better, right? Yeah, you might, you might lean into something that’s distinctly different, but that’s distinctly different on purpose. like nobody wanted that. And so you providing it, it’s not actually solving a legitimate need, right. So I remember Ilan Musk, with you know, Tesla’s one of our favorite quote brands, and has built just this remarkable, you know, sort of challenger brand, not just to any brand, but to all traditional automotive companies. And he talked a lot about the entrepreneurial challenge is that there’s too much mediocre advantage, like too many things, or 20%. Better. Like if Tesla was a 20%, better Prius, Tesla would fail. Tesla had to be a 200%, better Prius in order to do what it’s doing, and that marketing’s job is to create things that are 200% better, not 20% better with advertising that makes it seem like it’s 200% better. And that’s what most mediocre brands are. They’re like we’re mediocre. So let’s create other distractions to feel people into thinking that we’re actually better and we’re just like, Why Why don’t we stand the reality is it’s because most marketers don’t even have the skill sets to do it anymore. most marketers are advertisers. And most advertisers are storytellers and designers and writers and so they’re not really getting into the customer journey and getting into the product experience and getting into the brand purpose. And some of the things that they’re not getting into even just managing tribes of consumers. One of my favorite brands is Yeti, Yeti, you know, they don’t have channel managers they’re not trying to maximize their email or their website convert I shouldn’t say they’re not of course they are. But they’re their core competency is a business is managing a segment of people. So they have you know, customer segment managers who understand rodeo or surfing or snowboarding and they try to add value into those communities if necessary, evil or maybe some outsource service. Yeah, now we got to, you know, do some SEO work or we got to do some email work or we got to buy some print ads, right? But that’s the opposite, right? Most most companies spend all their time perfecting their channel management and neglecting the customer segments that they serve.

Adam G. Force  19:18  

Yeah, I think that’s a great point. I mean, the channel management becomes the obsession for winning versus and that’s really the accelerator so throwing gasoline on the fire versus you know, after you have mastered managing your customer base, like you’re saying, right? So if we neglect that part of it, and then all of a sudden it becomes really hard to win in the marketing space because you’re just trying to find the right story, find the right you know, colors and all these different things to make people convert sales and it becomes this big headache that’s like an ongoing frustration and a lot of money gets spent trying to figure it all out. And maybe you get lucky with a sales funnel that works out really well. For you, but to what you’re saying, the core competency should be, how are you building relationships with the right people knowing the customer journey? How are you positioning the market? So there’s like the, the, the iceberg underneath the water, right? That big strategic part. But everybody’s so focused on the superficial stuff. That’s really just the accelerants, right?

Chris Kneeland  20:20  

Well, what’s worse, I think, I mean accelerant is an interesting metaphor, but the biggest problem is, there’s still piss poor attribution. So we’re using flawed data to optimize these channels. And we’re giving credit to the SEO team for an online conversion, when in reality, it was something else that the consumer experience that caused them to type in the keyword in the first place that resulted in the conversion, right. And so we it gives us this false positive where because we think we can measure something, we can optimize it, and I’m not against measurement. I just think we need to be a little bit more candid about what the actual influencers of behavior are, and and in understanding those audiences and understand the insights into what those audiences need, is where it means to start and not not enough businesses start there and honestly determine if we’re the best position to satisfy that or not. Yeah. And so that’s why we get so many mediocre things today.

Adam G. Force  21:24  

Yeah, I mean, that makes sense. And I’m curious on what your thought process is for identifying the right customers for a specific product. So I’m sure you get clients where they come in, I’m sure they’re actively selling already. If not, I don’t think you’re working with people who are just starting. So they’re actively selling, and maybe they have decent marketing, right? The channel management, so they’re getting some sales, but you then get a look under the hood. And you’re like, Well, I think we could do a lot better with our, our customer base. And you should actually be like, do you ever have to tweak and pivot the customer strategy? to

Chris Kneeland  22:07  

that? I mean that yeah, that’s where we’ll start. We’ll start there before we’ll start optimizing a channel. I mean, I’ll give your listeners a little hack. Yeah. If any part of your customer segmentation is demographic based, you’re screwed. We invented demographic based segmentation, because that’s how media was selling itself. Yeah. Right. And so this TV show friends attract 18 to 25 year olds. And so we want to say, Well, if I want to be on friends, I better find out if my audience is 18 to 25, like the tail wagging the dog. We don’t create segmentation to buy media. We should be buying media to serve the audience’s that we’re looking to cater to and media sucks and doing anything more psychopathic, you know, things like print or whatnot, get into at least some lifestyle preferences, I cycle where I love dogs, or like bodybuilders start to take, you know, cater to some sort of an interest. But no, the best segmentation studies are there. They’re almost more like personality tests. You don’t you don’t ask people do you like this? Or do you like that? You know, do you want to read? Or do you want to ping customers don’t know, you have to triangulate it, you have to infer their preferences based on their values, based on the things that they’re aspiring towards, based on you know, you’re looking at something like Starbucks, if Starbucks had started asking people Hey, instead of that dollar cup of coffee, you’re getting from dunkin donuts. Do you want to pay $6? For my coffee? Nobody is going to say yes, right? But when you start to understand what people were missing, which was I need in Starbucks, you know, people walk around that Starbucks cup, it’s a badge, it’s a it’s a it’s a treat, it’s it’s an indicator that I can afford a little indulgence in my life, right? And that’s what it’s satisfying. It’s making them feel special about themselves in a way that MC cafe never makes them feel sad. So and we got to understand that we’re dealing with emotionally irrational situations. You know, nobody buys a Porsche because they did something on a spreadsheet that made it make sense to Porsche because you want one right? Then you’ll rationalize it to your wife however you want to but that’s not what got you into the dealership. And so you got to until you’re playing at that level of truly what the motivators are, which requires that you ask different kinds of questions, and that you speak to values, not your value that we like to tell brands, and you talk more about what you stand for, than what you sell. What you sell is what’s commoditize that’s transaction, what you stand for, is how people are making their decisions. For most things, you know, not not for everything, you know, maybe not your home electricity, maybe not your toilet paper, maybe not the copier at the office. Yeah, but but over 70% of the buying decisions. We make are made emotionally first and justify rationally after the fact.

Adam G. Force  25:05  

Yeah, and I think that’s such a great point. You know, it’s funny how people get hung up on demographics and stuff. And you know, I literally just had a call with a client this morning. And the whole, you know, perfect customer persona was more about I was like, these are human beings and like, we need to know beyond what their interest is in your product, like, Who are they? How do they feel about things? What are their ambitions in life, like what’s important to them, and we go really, really deep to your point, too, because this is what I think, you know, to your point, we’re trying to align to beliefs and understand what people are looking for. Right? That’s important to them. I like the Starbucks example, I think that’s a really good way to put it, and there was something missing in their life. So I guess that leads me to my next question, which is, have you ever worked with a client where it’s like, well, these are the people that are really interested in this category that you kind of own right? And what if their product really isn’t filling the need, as it should, once you really identify that customer?

Chris Kneeland  26:08  

Yeah, a client comes to mind that’s in the premium pet food category. And they, over the course of the years, let the retailer determine part of their portfolio, and they ended up creating a bit of a dog’s breakfast, pun intended, have too many brands and too many subcategories. And they in some of them had conflict with each others. If you are going for a certain type of pet diet, then you wouldn’t have to choose you know which one of these were the existed because they had private label strategies. They had wholesale strategies, they had direct to consumer strategies, they had retail strategies. And so it was almost like the operations of the business created unnecessary confusion in the marketplace for consumers, who, frankly, their mindset was not this is food for my dog. It was this is how I care for the equivalent of my child like these were doting pet parents who were spending more calories thinking about the well being of your my dog eats his own vomit, I never really thought that much about what I’m feeding him because he just never seemed that picky. He just eats whatever he can get his hand here, right? So I’ve always been like the 20 on the 50 pound bag at the cheapest possible price, kind of sure. But in working with this client, I realized that there are people who treat this animal You know, they’re they’re serving them raw steak at night. Like there’s like the way that this animal is eating is better than how I’m eating. Yeah, right. And so that that requires like you’re doing your brand a huge disservice if you aren’t exploiting that level of care and nurture that certain people want to have for their animal partly because the animal needs it. And partly because that’s gonna make them feel much better about themselves. Yeah, right for the way that they’re able to demonstrate this love in these people that buy $14 treats when they come home from work, just because of the guilt. They feel that their dog’s been, you know, trapped inside all day. Yeah, yeah, exploit that you can make a lot of money on people that are living with that sort of guilt. Right? And so unless you don’t know that those are the motivators, you’re leaving a lot of margin on the table.

Adam G. Force  28:26  

Yeah. So So based on that kind of discovery, I’ll call it. clients that you’ve worked at such as especially they will start rethinking some of that, does that make them rethink the product or just how they’re positioning the product,

Chris Kneeland  28:44  

it makes them rethink at who their customer truly is? Both in terms of the type of end user, but also who’s going to be making the decisions? Is it going to be their retailers, even their franchisee? Is it going to be the end user? Because you can have marketing departments that cater to all those different groups, and they may end up fighting for resources and everybody’s kind of at war with each other as opposed to working towards a common good? Yeah, yeah. Absolutely, yes, absolutely. worms are fully Americain case they needed to discontinue some brands and they needed to simplify and streamline I’m reminded that famous quote was Steve Jobs talking with the head of Nike back in the day. And Steve said, Listen, you make a lot of good stuff, but you make a lot of bad stuff, too. I need to stop making the bad stuff and only focus on the Nike was like well, you know, that’s a problem for them because they kind of had this good, better best distribution play and, but that’s what Steve did when he came back to Apple the second time as he’s often said, his greatest strength as a CEO was the things he said no to. Yeah, not the invention of the iPhone, but all the other cool things they could have done, but they wouldn’t have been uniquely distinct and desirable. And so they just got out

Adam G. Force  29:54  

of Yeah, yeah. So in summary, I’d like to just give people like we kind of dug into some really important stuff on how to think about your brand. As far as audience engagement goes, I mean, right here on your homepage, we are audience engagement experts. How would you summarize what creates strong audience engagement,

Chris Kneeland  30:19  

strong audience engagement will, the easiest way to think about the definition is to think about the symptoms of a strongly engaged audience is that is going to buy more product more often at higher margin, right. So we spend all of our energy just going getting more customers. And that’s, that’s appropriate to get more customers, it’s inappropriate to spend most of your time trying to do that, because getting existing customers to buy more product more often at higher margin is an equally profitable proposition, it is easier to do. And if you do it, well, they will go get more customers for you. And what we’re really trying to create is that word of mouth and that advocacy, as well, as they’re going to just make you better, they’re going to give you ratings and reviews, and they’re going to give you feedback, they’re going to answer your surveys, they’re going to complain. And that’s great, because that’s gonna make you better if you’re listening. If your culture is such that those are nuisances, I was calling pods just to give them a shout out here at the moving company thing. And the call center experience was delightful. In contrast to the airlines, and my credit card company, and people that make it seem like calling me is inconveniencing them, pods made it seem like we are set up to receive this phone call, because we want to hear from you. Something that simple, has made me now talk about pods on a podcast with you, right? It’s like it’s a shame that it’s the exception, not the rule, that now having good feedback loops is a critical part of the customer experience. So I think that most people would admit that having sort of this non commissioned sales force of customers that are out there raving about you to others is desirable. But then you’re also going to have to confess you’re probably not spending enough calories thinking about or you’re not spending enough money generating that sort of word of mouth, you’re kind of just hoping that it happens, as opposed to engineering into your business experience.

Adam G. Force  32:19  

Yeah, yeah. No, I mean, and I think, you know, that really comes down to you know, as you’re going through your brand strategist, what is that company culture and I think those people who have the coop throw you through a loop on those automated phones and stuff like that, that That, to me is a sign of poor company, culture and leadership in the company, because if you really cared, it would be more like pods who now you’re talking about, right? So that customer experiences is so important, and they’re neglecting that so Chris, I appreciate it. Man, where can people learn more about what you’re doing and connect?

Chris Kneeland  32:52  

No, probably the easiest thing is to just visit Colt ideas.com. On that web page, you can get a bunch of free content, you can take a score an assessment where you get a scorecard of how coke capable your businesses you can find tickets for the gathering, which is an annual celebration, where you don’t have to listen to me you just listen to the heads of like Marvel the Dallas Cowboys or Levi’s talk about the things that they did to become exceptional as well as you can get a copy of our book there. So we tried to we’re doing our best to shout from the rooftops that we have seen a better way and we want more people to kind of discover what we have.

Adam G. Force  33:32  

Awesome and really appreciate your time talking about it today and sharing all your ideas and thoughts in the work that you’re doing.

Thanks for tuning into the authentic brand mastery podcast. Don’t forget to stop by Change Creator calm for more information fresh and articles content and our services if you’re looking to build a brand that people love, and please stop by iTunes, leave us a five star review. We appreciate your support.

Sam Adams – What It Takes to Build a Successful Media Brand Today & How They Raised $4M

sam-adams

Building a successful media brand like dot.LA from scratch is no piece of cake. Not only does it take strategic planning and implementation, but it also requires one to invest top dollars. 

However, in the last few years, we witnessed Sam Adams (Former Financial Journalist for Bloomberg & Reuters) and Spencer Rascoff (Co-Founder of Zillow) team up to launch dot.LA – one of the most popular media brands today – shedding light on innovative projects within National & L.A. specific tech and start-up space.   

Sam Adams serves as chief executive of dot.LA. A former financial journalist for Bloomberg and Reuters, Adams moved to the business side of media as a strategy consultant at Activate, helping legacy companies develop new digital strategies. Adams holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College and an MBA from the University of Southern California. A Santa Monica native, he can most often be found at Bay Cities deli with a Godmother sub or at McCabe’s with a 12-string guitar. His favorite colors are Dodger blue and Lakers gold.

We’re so excited to have Sam here with us. Throughout this podcast, we’ll be talking about their journey so far and learn how they are growing the brand but also what they did to raise a funding of $4 million.

Visit dot.LA to gain more insights into their Media Brand:

https://dot.la/

During This Episode, We Discussed:

Trust me on this one – it was a great pleasure interacting with the Chief Executive of dot.LA. Building a successful media brand from scratch is one of the hardest tasks in the world. And the team at dot.LA nailed it. This conversation with Sam will help you gain insights into their strategic planning and their mindset throughout their journey. During this episode, we discussed: 

  • What Sam & team have going on at dot.LA
  • The Reason behind Sam & Spencer launching dot.LA
  • Sam & Spencer’s focus on building a brilliant product and mind-blowing team to help them turn their venture into a grand success.
  • Getting back to in-person events
  • Sam & Spencer’s strategic planning and their mindset before launching dot.LA
  • Sam & Spencer’s mission and why they weren’t big fans of the subscription-based model.
  • What dot.LA team has in the pipeline and how they’re moving at a lightning pace.
  • How Sam & Spencer kickstarted dot.LA – Money invested, trademarking, launch, and more.
  • Sam & Spencer’s approach during the early days of kickstarting their venture and raising a $4 million funding.
  • dot.LA’s experience with the Covid-19 pandemic
  • How does team at dot.LA operate – remotely or in person?
  • dot.LA’s approach to building their culture, values, customer experience, mission, and more.
  • What makes dot.LA different from other media brands and what makes readers tune in to their content each week?

Final Thoughts:

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic wreaking havoc all across the globe, the team at dot.LA strategically skyrocketed their search engine rankings and raised $4 million in funding. It’s so inspiring to see Sam & team climb up at a lightning pace and position themselves as reliable and trustworthy innovation and tech-focused media brand.

Every other week, you’ll find me interacting with marketing gurus and successful entrepreneurs – helping you gain insights into their business model and how they strategically conquered their goals. 

It was really exciting to interact with Sam. And I really hope you guys loved today’s episode. And if you did, don’t forget to share your love and support the show by leaving a 5-Star review on iTunes. Every single review matters.

Subscribe HERE:

Grow Your Brand Today!

Want to grow your brand and turn your website into a conversion machine? We have your back.

Schedule a strategy call with us today.

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Episode Transcript (unedited, will likely have typos):

Adam G. Force  0:00  

How do social entrepreneurs and small businesses create an authentic brand people love so they can get the edge they need to stand out, create Predictable Revenue and compete against the big guys. That’s what we’re here to discuss. I’m Adam forest, the founder of change crater. And this is the authentic brand mastery podcast.

Hey, what’s going on everybody, welcome back to the authentic brand mastery podcast. Appreciate you being here. This is your host Adam forest. Don’t forget to stop by iTunes and leave us a five star review guys, that stuff goes really far and we appreciate it and supporting the show. Today, we’re gonna be talking to somebody in the media space, or they’re building a media brand. And that is not an easy task. So he is the founder, co-founder and CEO of.la. The other co-founder was somebody who was the co-founder for Zillow, actually, you probably heard of that app, I use it all the time looking at real estate.

So essentially.la is a news and events company focused on shining a light on innovative projects within the national la startup space. Alright, so the tech startup space to be specific. So he Sam is actually a former financial journalist for Bloomberg and Reuters. And he has a, you know, degree from Harvard and all that fun stuff. So they what’s really interesting is, as they launched this thing in 2020, they had to deal with COVID, to as they’re building this brand up. And in spite of that, they did close a $4 million seed round. And they have investors, including like, upfront and gray Croft, you might have heard of gray Croft, pretty popular investment team, even the LA Dodgers and a few other really cool investors. So that’s not you know, that is not easy, but that is what it takes. And honestly, $4 million is just like a drop in the bucket when it comes to building a media company. So we’re gonna get into a lot of cool stuff that they’ve been going through and sorting out and if you missed the last episode, it was with Jake orok, that now that we brought Jake back that we talked about e commerce because he’s been evolving and building an e commerce brand. And he’s definitely breached the seven figure mark, and he’s doing a lot of great things. So tons of good insights about

you know, how he’s optimizing his website, you know, analytics, imagery videos, we talked about all that stuff. really valuable for you guys in the e commerce space. And I got to say, like, the image conversation is important. And when we work with clients in the brand studio, it’s a major focal point, you’ve got to have an e commerce, the proper

imagery, and sometimes you weren’t really authentic and raw, and sometimes you weren’t really polished, right? So we talked about that stuff and when, when to do what, but that’s a major focus when we’re building websites, for conversions, building trust, and, you know, trying to really drive those sales, like the pink bakery was had over 40% increase in average cart value, which is exciting. Alright, guys, let’s get into this conversation. And we’ll talk to Sam. Okay, show me the heat.

Hey, Sam, welcome to the show today. How you doing, man? I’m doing great. Thanks for having me, man. Yeah, you’re welcome. I’m glad that you made it. I’m excited to kind of learn about some of the steps you’ve been taken. Because you’re when we first started Change Creator, we did start a little bit more as a media company, but not a very traditional media company. And it seems like you’ve taken some really cool steps, raising some funding and things like that. So it looks like you’re building a cool brand. So tell me a little bit about what you have going on. You know, what’s, what’s going on in your world today. And it’s exciting. And then a little background on how you got there? Yeah, for sure. So, so I’m the co founder and CEO of a company called Data Lake, which is a media company, that that provides news events and community for the Los Angeles tech startup ecosystem. You know, the idea is, you know, la specifically, but there’s a number of really great, you know, tech hubs outside of Silicon Valley that are just completely exploding right now. And so much cool stuff happening, but really flies under the radar because the current media ecosystem around tech, you know, is very much focused on Bay Area, or, you know, maybe New York and, you know, it’s not really kind of ready to, you know, accommodate all of these new hubs that are that are that have been rising over the past couple of years. And so, that’s the opportunity that we saw to create something that would shine the light on all this amazing stuff that’s happening in our

Sam Adams  5:00  

And, you know, help catalyze the growth of the community and make it you know, be the best that it can possibly be So,

so I co founded it a little over two years ago now, my co founders and our executive chairman, this guy named Spencer rascoff, who was the co founder and longtime CEO of Zillow. And before that was, had done hotwire, and he had just moved back to LA, after a decade up in Seattle, which for Zillow is based. Yeah, he’s from LA, originally, as am I.

And, you know, saw the screen set that was happening, I was like, why isn’t there something that’s covering all of this great stuff. And so

so he and I, you know, linked up and decided to start what’s now about to, to fill that gap, and to shine a light on all this great stuff that’s happening. And so, so we spent the rest of the year you know, building the product, building the team, we have a bunch of great journalists and, you know, event staff and you know, all that kind of stuff. And we raised a, we raised a seed round, $4 million seed round from basically all of the major venture capitalists and angels in LA, you know, who wanted to see the community here thrive. And so we then launched, we launched the site in the end of January of last year. So definitely an interesting year, one, two,

predicates predicated on like events largely like that. And then six weeks later, the world that’s right.

So that was a lot of fun. But you know, now we’ve been getting back to doing these in person events, we have our huge summit coming up at the end of October that we’re super psyched about. And we’re actually like, looking at, you know, places like, you know, about, you know, expanding and like taking this model that we built about, you know, really shining a light on and having a positive influence on, you know, non Silicon Valley emerging tech hubs. And, you know, potentially, you know, taking the show on the road, and there’s like so many other places that that,

you know, fill fit the same profile of LA is just like a really exciting hub of innovation that that has so much room to grow. So we’ve been having a great time, the past, you know, couple years and just just getting started. Cool. Yeah, I

Adam G. Force  7:24  

mean, that’s a big year one. And I’m always curious, so you know, it always it’s nice that I guess you started with, I forget his name is Spencer, your partner? So yeah, it was just the two of you out of the gate. So yeah, I like you know, for something like this, I always find media so fascinating. Because it’s not I’m just selling coaching services and making 10 grand a month, it’s like you don’t, you don’t have an out of the gate sellable product, necessarily. What was and so you know, raising revenue becomes important, because it’s such a heavy content game, right? So the overhead is pretty massive. And I’m always curious, what was the starting conversations and starting point, like, because I’m sure you guys were thinking, will we need revenue channels? So where does that start for a media company? Because it looks like you have a vision to be a pretty substantial size kind of media company, not just like a few articles here and there.

Sam Adams  8:22  

Totally. Yeah. I mean, we’re, you know, we’re trying to start from first principles on, you know, how to really, how to build a media company that is focused on, you know, reaching as many people as possible and shining a light on, you know, as many companies to as wide an audience as possible, you know, in 2021. And so, you know, we we decided pretty early on not to do kind of the standard paywall, you know, subscription model, I think that, you know, a lot, a lot of companies that have a lot of publications have been finding success with that model. And that’s really, that’s really awesome. But, you know, we’ve decided that that wasn’t what, that wasn’t gonna work for us. I mean, you know, because you’re, you’re limiting your audience so much, because as soon as someone has to get the credit card out, you know, you’re, you’re really, really kind of narrowing the number of people that you’re trying to reach, especially

Adam G. Force  9:14  

if you don’t have brand equity yet, right? It’s

Sam Adams  9:16  

right. And, and in, in media, this stuff takes time, right? It just, you know, you can’t just come out of the gate and immediately get the you do have to incrementally build the brand. And actually, the funny thing about that is more and more of these days, I like will have conversations with people and then there’ll be like, you know, like, they’ll have thought that we’ve been around for like, you know, 510 years or something like that. And it’s like, no, we’re like a year old and it’s been, it’s been funny, it’s like so we did take that kind of like we want to build the brand organically. And it’s funny the amount of progress that we’ve been able to make in a comparatively short amount of time to you know, not only have awareness but People think that they’ve just like always been aware of us, which is, which has been kind of funny. But as far as revenue goes, so we decided that that, you know, we weren’t going to chase, you know, $5 a month, you know, subscription fees, all of the readers that was just, it didn’t serve the mission, and it was just going to be to, you know, it was just going to be difficult for the kind of thing that we’re trying to do. So instead, we focus on, you know, events were always a big part of the concept of both the mission and the model. Got up. And, yeah, like I said, you know, by forces outside of our control, had been migrated to, you know, virtual events and may have, you know, 2026 weeks after we had launched, but, you know, really lean super hard into those and, you know, got onto a great cadence of them, you know, we’re doing about one a week, and really bringing, bringing people together, which, especially in those early days of the pandemic, I mean, you know, by now we’ve stopped doing virtual events, because just everyone is, like, everybody, everyone’s been exhausted them for a long time, for a while, that was actually really meaningful, you know, service that we can provide. And so we get to work with, you know, really fantastic, you know, partners of, like service providers for the, for the tech startup industry. So we, we get to work with a lot of really amazing way, you know, law firms of banks, accountants, and, you know, all of that good stuff, where we have these kind of integrated relationships with them, you know, whether it’s on the site, or through the newsletters, or the podcast videos, things like that, that we’re doing on the content side, and also presence at, you know, our events, and, you know, being able to, you know, touch the current and future decision makers in, you know, this exploding ecosystem. And so, so, we’ve been finding a lot of, you know, you know, really great success and mutually beneficial relationships for that. And that has definitely been, you know, the, the, at least be one of what we’re focused on, for revenue. And so, you know, we’re pretty, you know, we’re getting pretty close to break even on that alone. And in the meantime, we’re, you know, focusing on building out other ancillary ancillary revenue streams, like so for example, probably by the time that that this podcast comes out, we’ll have you know, launched we have our first jobs product called the interchange la that is going to be, you know, focused on, you know, connecting great talent with great companies, both both internally within LA, but also, you know, great, great talent in LA, reaching global companies, you know, remote companies, similarly, you know, la based companies reaching global talent, so finding that balance between the local ecosystem while obviously we live in a globalized remote, everyone’s kind of just living in zoom recruiting ecosystem. And so we’re really we’re really excited about that as being you know, a win win win driver, like a great little business unit that leverage is kind of the relationships that we’ve built in the reach that we’ve built. And we’ve got, you know, a few other things like that in the works. And then like I said, Yeah, we have our first summit coming up at the end of October that we’re really jazzed about and you know, yeah, it’s been it’s been really fun and kind of cobbling together these you know, great revenue streams while you know the first and foremost focus being what’s the kind of relationship that we can be having How can we best be serving the audience because everything else is downstream from there really?

Adam G. Force  13:53  

Yeah, yeah. Yeah it’s it’s it’s I mean there’s so much going on especially in media you know, really so it sounds like you brought on some partners sponsors and things like that. And and I’m curious because you know, a lot of that requires getting some content building some kind of audience and stuff like that. So did you have to take some of your own money you and your co founder put it in there to kind of build the team and start getting content out there start actually getting you know, SEO building like so you have to say, Hey, this is what we have to offer. And when you start bringing people on and stuff like that, just you don’t have to go into too much depth, but just curious on how that looked.

Sam Adams  14:34  

Yeah, no, for sure. So we so so when, when my co founder and I first co founded the company, you know, he put in the kind of original like pre pre seed money basically just to just to really, you know, get off the ground like jumps Incorporated, start getting trademarks, things like that. And then we we did raise around, as I mentioned earlier, and and that was Yeah, that was a really fun experience. Because, you know, we were, were pre launched at that point, we were pre product, we weren’t quite preteen. But it was very bare bones. But and so then in what q4, of 2019, we basically went around to, to the major players in the LA tech and investment and startup ecosystem, and basically made that pitch of saying like, you know, consumer media is not traditionally compatible with venture economics in this day and age, for a number of reasons that you you just kind of outlined, right, yeah, pretty capital intensive, it takes a long time to build a relationship with the audience to build the audience. And so it’s very, very difficult to, you know, hit that traditional venture rocket ship of like, hey, look, there’s a 95% chance that this is going to fall apart in the next 18 months, but there’s a 5% chance that this is going to be a $2 billion company in right, you know, 18 months, right? It just doesn’t, it doesn’t square that way for this, this industry or this type of play. That said, specifically, the sort of stuff that we’re doing is a, you know, it creates a rising tide, that lifts all ships. And so if you’re invested in this market, and this ecosystem, you want this to exist, because it will have all kinds of, yeah, second order effects, positive effects for yourselves, your profile, your port, their profile, and all of that, and so, so you want this to exist. And that said, it is significantly higher, likely, even if it’s not going to be a, you know, $2 billion company in 18 months. You know, there is a big hole here, right? And, you know, you can do the TAM and all of that of like, you know, you have these, like zombie business journals, just stumbling around, because no one has that no one has thought to go and disrupt that. And, and also, it’s, you know, as I was kind of alluding to, you prove the model in LA, and then you can start to scale up and, you know, yeah, there’s a very clear path to a scale, great media company. Yeah. But, you know, we want it to be really straight up where it’s like, it’s not, we’re, we’re not going to operate this on traditional venture fund ability, you know, timelines and trajectories? Because that’s not going to work for what we’re trying to do. Yeah. So we went around, and we basically, you know, convinced a lot of the key players here to, you know, write checks that were well significant, you know, to us, or to most normal people, you know, are a fraction of the typical types of checks that they write, right. So it’s not going to be you know, that they’re not going to lose sleep bit, you know, if we’re not, you know, a $2 billion company, six months on that trajectory, six months from that. And, but we did that, you know, since we did that to everyone, and once you get a couple of people, then you start getting FOMO effect and all Yeah, yeah. And so we were so we were able to piece together, you know, this this round from a number of comparatively small checks, but such that the the types of players that we wanted to be invested in our success in both literal and like, you know, hey, if we call you to speak at our summit or something, we want you to answer the phone kind of level, we were able to kind of piece that together. And then the other thing is, because we’re a news organization and a media company, you know, we wanted to have everyone involved because then that kind of that eliminates any kind of accusations of, you know, bias of like, Oh, you know, x VC is the main funder of this company, and so that they always, yeah, it easy on them or something like that, where it’s like, Look, we can’t be biased to everyone. So if everyone’s involved

so so that was our approach on the kind of early days of the funding of it. And in terms of like future financing rounds, I can’t totally get into that too much. But I think we would want to, we would want to take kind of a similar approach of it and like maybe have a an anchor investor to you know, really because this would be you know, moving to other markets. But we would want to do the same thing of like in any market that we come into, we want to find like the right partners and have the you know, have the incentives aligned. So So yeah, it’s an it’s an interesting model. But it’s one that was has been really good for us so far. Yeah.

Adam G. Force  20:16  

I mean, it makes total sense because, you know, we, I have just a little taste of experience. You know, we ran a digital magazine, we re interviewed Arianna Huffington, Tony Robbins, Richard Branson, all these guys were doing all this stuff. And but we were in the social entrepreneurship space. And it was, we had, you know, investor conversations. Yeah. And it was a little difficult, you know, we got to close on a couple rounds. And, you know, hearing you know, the tech side, which is super popular, especially with all the big players in Silicon Valley, I can see the synergy there on how you can really make a strong case because they’re gonna say, yeah, a dedicated channel that we can kind of be part of growing. And then if you can prove out this process like you’re already doing, then expanding into other areas will probably snowball pretty good for you. So I can imagine some big rounds up and coming. Because I know like, when I followed Arianna with like, thrive global and stuff like that, you know, she got, I forget what the first round was like, but let’s just make it up and say it’s 5 million, but then the second round, like 20 million, then it’s like another 30 million, and you’re like, Damn, like, and you know, because these, these these, these media companies, man, they are super cool and exciting, but they do take a lot of fuel to get it going. But it sounds like you guys are on a really great track. So I’m curious on how you, and you really position the brand, I think in a good way to the investors, which made it enticing, you know, so I’m curious on some of the maybe challenges in the first year that you found, you know, building the brand, cuz I’m sure you had some challenges. And you know, this, this makes all the listeners feel a little bit like, Man, you guys are crushing it. But, guys, we all go through roadblocks. Yes.

Sam Adams  22:05  

Yeah, no, no, absolutely. And, you know, I think that I mean, this, this is a bit of a cop out answer. But I think that the pandemic, six weeks into our launch was a bit of a curveball. I mean, I came into it. So I’m a first time founder. And so I came into, you know, 2020, we knew we were launching January 27. And I came into it knowing like, Okay, this year is gonna be I’m just gonna have to be agile and flexible, because, you know, anything happens in startup world. And so, you know, we’re just gonna have to roll with the punches and, you know, pivot, and, you know, and all that. And so, so I was ready for that mentality coming into it. I don’t think anyone could have expected. Oh, wow. Yeah. So your, you know, your company that is one of the two major pillars of it was, you know, hosting large scale in person events. That’s not going to be possible for 18 months or whatever. You know, it was definitely that was definitely a big curveball and involved a lot of, you know, scrambling. I mean, the fun thing about that was, you know, because we were in that state, and it wasn’t just me, it was the whole team was like, okay, like, Let’s go, we don’t know, you know, we’re going live, we don’t know what’s going to happen, but we’re ready for anything. Yeah. And so. So yeah, I remember, you know, when things were first, you know, it turning into it when things were getting serious, and it went from Oh, yeah, this is where there’s some weird stuff happening in China to like, Oh, you know, like, we’re gonna be covering this conference in you know, early March, but I Is it like, is it sketchy? I remember I had like, I was like, I was like, I was like, Oh, I mean, someone just invited me to stop by Southwest in two weeks. But like, I don’t know, I that might that seems a little dangerous. And then all of a sudden, like us remember, Kenny and everything just cascading down? Yeah. And so you know, the nice thing about that was because we were so add dial was we were able to pin it super quickly. And I remember it was, you know, March like ninth or 10th or something, right? When it was just starting to become clear that things were going to get bad. And so we were like, Oh, you know, we thought we were novel at the time. We’re like, oh, why don’t we do like a virtual event right? instead? And so we did our first one of them. I think it was on like March 15. Like 2020 of like, you know, it was even before zoom was like the clear category definers. So we did it on like, go to go to a webinar or something like that, like 1999 just to give a sense of like, hey, if you guys remember a time before zoom, it was not it’s not a hobbyist. We did. So we did our first one of those. And it was really just like a, what the hell is what, you know, what is going on with this, this pandemic? And so we had, you know, like, epidemiology professor and like an investor and, you know, some, like, we just convened, you know, this roundtable of it. And obviously extremely primitive that that within like a month everyone in their mother was doing that sort of stuff. But it does go to show just like the, yeah, there are many, many, there are always going to be challenges when you’re trying to build something new, I think that I mean, just the fundamental, universal force of inertia, guarantees that right, if you’re going to try to change something, you’re going to get resistance to it. So sometimes, sometimes in expected ways, sometimes in unexpectable ways like that. But yeah, we’ve definitely, we’ve definitely picked up our share of war stories in the it was 1819 months that we’ve been launched, but still, it’s still standing and, and no worse for the wear.

Adam G. Force  26:10  

That’s right. And, you know, my over the years doing this stuff, my philosophy is, I’ve learned is that the obstacle in the path becomes the path. So you just got to lean in and see the positive side.

Sam Adams  26:22  

Exactly, yeah. Yeah, just honestly, it’s like flowing with it more than right, you know, you just you turn into the skid row

Adam G. Force  26:32  

that says, Don’t fight it, just relax.

Sam Adams  26:37  

Yeah, good mentality to have,

Adam G. Force  26:39  

it really is valuable. And I think the more for the longer someone’s an entrepreneur, the more they start to realize this, if they want to see progress. You know, so, I’m curious, um, you know, you have an office, and I think that makes more sense, because you’re in the media space, probably, you know, you got writers and things all kind of, did you start out the gate with an office? Or did you do virtual team for a while?

Sam Adams  27:03  

So yeah, I mean, a little of both. So we were already semi remote or at least remote friendly. And it we did have, we had we had an office, we actually had two spaces in a co working space chain in LA, one that was like Central, and then one, the smaller satellite one that was in downtown. And, and then we got rid of that very early on in the pandemic. And then we got our current place. I’m in when was that that was probably like, June, it was it was pre Delta variant, if that dates when this interview was happening, but I still stand by it. So the idea behind getting getting an office, again, post pandemic was that I really do think that there are benefits to seeing each other on some kind of regular basis, it’s not five days a week, I don’t think I’m certainly not going to be working out of an office five days a week for the rest of my career, that no company that I have control over will, will be doing it either. But I do think that it’s, it’s good to have, it’s good to offer a space certainly because different people have different, you know, desires and thresholds. And I do think that you have a responsibility as an employer to if possible offer you know, somewhere to go that’s not your, you know, your work from home arrangement because you know, like, I certainly was starting to go insane you know, not not in my best self just like always in you know, my spot and so in other fields now doing that a couple days a week as opposed to all of the time is a much for me healthier balance. And, and that, you know, so there are some of our folks like that. I don’t think I’ve ever been into the office, which is fine. I mean, there are some we have some folks who are not in LA at all. And I know that that’s a really common thing. Now with companies Ours is a little bit different, because we are, you know, specifically focused on on geography. And, you know, there are some folks who are in almost every day to the office. Yeah. So I think it’s, I think it’s important to, I found it important to at least offer that for those who want it. And, you know, try to aim to get people, especially with people who are working directly in teams together, if they’re comfortable with it, and if it’s safe, in person together, every now and then just because I think that that pays a lot of dividends in terms of like morale creativity, you know, giving each other the benefit of the doubt, frankly, I think that there’s a tendency to, you know, if you don’t know someone super well, or you’re not seeing them on a regular basis, to, you know, you see something on slack and you know, it’s, there’s no cause, you know, there’s no tone in there. And so you can sometimes like, not give them the benefit of the doubt or something. And yeah, I think that for sure, just for cohesion and culture building, I think that having a space, at least for us, having access to a space was important. But I know that that, uh, that that wise minds can have different philosophies.

Adam G. Force  30:42  

Yeah, for sure. No, I mean, I think it makes sense. And there is something to, you know, being able to have everybody get together, at least once in a while, like you said, I’ve always enjoyed that, too. It’s something that I’ve missed since I left corporate worlds, since, you know, doing that stuff, I’ve been working with virtual teams around the world and stuff. And it’s like this evolutionary new pattern of what entrepreneurship has become, and how teams are being built. And, you know, it leads me to my next question, which is really around company culture. And, you know, that’s part of your brand, and the expression of how you guys operate like an operating system. And so I’m curious on how you guys distill a company culture with people, because you do have virtual, but you also have, you know, some people coming in the office, and you guys are growing kind of quick, right? So most people don’t have offices in teams, and you’re one they’re kind of just like getting their feet, right. So have you guys gone through strategically and thought about really like, what is this culture? Like? What are the values? Like, what do we look like, you know, customer experience, like all that stuff? Yeah, absolutely.

Sam Adams  31:52  

I mean, I think that, that he, I think that that overlaps really heavily with like the external brand, right? I mean, that’s not a I don’t think that’s some kind of revelation or something that, you know, that that the way that you operate internally is intensely related to the way that you operate and are perceived externally. And so. So I think that it’s, you know, I think that that has, honestly, to go back to your earlier question, that has been one of my biggest challenges of figuring out how to build a build and promote a, you know, positive, you know, collegial passionate culture, in a virtual world, especially one that, you know, not only are you not seeing each other, but also like, the world is just super scary. And like, you know, I think it’s a lot better now than it was, you know, this time last year, certainly. But I think that that has been, that was a real uphill battle. And it was really hard to, you know, do like, our holiday party, we did like a virtual escape room over zoom. Right. And that was a lot of fun, but it is, there are just like, fundamental limitations, Joe, yeah. How much you can do when everyone is just kind of behind a computer screen and like, in their own context, and in their own home all the time, and it’s hard to you know, create something that is really going to you know, reinforce that and, and encourage everyone to be at their best and, and, you know, most aligned and, you know, comfortable taking risks and all of that kind of stuff. And so, yeah, I mean, that that is one of the main reasons that we got the office so that we could, you know, at least for those who want to and are comfortable, you know, coming in regularly and even beyond that, I think cascades you know, being able to whether it’s like doing small outings, or just kind of chance communications or, you know, spitballing ideas and things like that, that has been, you know, something that we really work on and, and trying to be intentional about, like promoting a culture of, you know, positive reinforcement, and, you know, like, giving, you know, giving feedback, but making sure that it’s, you know, respectful and productive and you know, all of that kind of stuff that is you know, I like to think pretty universal in terms of the kind of cultures that that we want to be working in. And so, you know, that’s ultimately that is a responsibility that rolls up to me and it’s one that like, I try to take very seriously. Oh, yeah, but yeah, I will not I will not deny That that has been a difficult thing to to try to promote reinforce. Yeah. When you six weeks after we assembled the team didn’t see each other for like, over a year. Yeah.

Adam G. Force  35:13  

Yeah. I mean, I had an interesting conversation with somebody who is a specialist and you know, company culture and HR and all that kind of stuff. And, you know, I asked, like, what do you do when you’re mostly virtual, and you’re not, you know, in person and kind of, you get that vibe. And just knowing it, she’s like, Well, basically today, a lot of people, like if you have a brand book, or you have it on paper somewhere, like, you know, what are the values of the company, she’s like, you have to make sure people are just aware and kind of re reinforce those things. And people believe in what you’re doing as a company, right? So you mentioned respect and respect. And that’s actually one of our, our company values as well. And it’s like, we know that means showing up on time, if you’re going to be late, let somebody know like, you know, don’t throw people under the bus. Right? It’s like all those little things that make the team kind of work well together. Right? So one of the last things I just wanted to get into was um, what is really the promise behind your content? Like what are we trying to accomplish as a company here? And like why should people be reading this content?

Sam Adams  36:19  

Absolutely. So I mean our goal Our mission is to you know, shine a light on all of the amazing things that are happening in the LA tech and startup ecosystem and you know, we hope that by doing that it will you know, create a virtuous cycle where you know on one level maybe like these companies get it you know, seen by the right you know, customers at the right time or right potential investors at the right time and it creates this this flywheel effect where you know, the that they you know, get to their next investment round or hit their benchmarks or things like that and so you know, we’re and so we think that by shining a light on all of this great stuff that’s happening and you know, as well as different trends and things like that and helping the LA tech and startup community like grow into the best version of itself that it can be and we do that by you know, writing you know, engaging stories you know, making engaging videos doing engaging podcast things that that people will want to seek out that they can’t get elsewhere. And you know by and if by doing so we can you know fuel innovation both within LA or within the cities that we’re operating in but also like around the world right and giving a different perspective on you know, tech than than what you’re currently getting from you know, kind of the dinosaurs in the tech media like the you know, tech crunches or wired or whatever and that you know, local media is like not able to do like the you know, the newspapers or business journals or anything like that. And so we’re really trying to you know, reinvent the way that people learn about like, what’s going on whether it’s in their city or a different city or something like that and you know, create a new model for this in a way that you know, we we’ve seen already is is resonating with folks and you know, we’re just going to keep trying to do better and, you know, have this effect to the greatest degree that we possibly can

Adam G. Force  38:32  

on it. Awesome. Well, listen, man, I appreciate you just taking the time to jump on here today, Sam. So let’s just let people know where they can dig into your content and learn more about what you guys have going on.

Sam Adams  38:44  

Yeah, awesome. Yeah. so.la that’s our URL do t period la you know, you’ll see you’ll see the latest you know, see what we’ve got going on. Definitely sign up for the newsletter, you know, subscribe to the podcast, things like that. The social channels they’re pretty much all at do TLA and you know, I think that I think that your audience will really enjoy this. And you know, we’re really excited to to keep growing and keep trying to have great effect. And so really appreciate you having me on and this is great, great time

Adam G. Force  39:20  

to shoot a man. All right, we’ll catch you next time.

Sam Adams  39:23  

And thanks.

Adam G. Force  39:27  

Thanks for tuning into the authentic brand mastery podcast. Don’t forget to stop by Change Creator calm For more information, fresh articles, content, and our services if you’re looking to build a brand that people love, and please stop by iTunes, leave us a five star review. We appreciate your support.

Jake Orak: Skyrocketing Your eCommerce Brand From Zero to 7-Figures

More than 24 million eCommerce stores exist on the internet. You’ll be shocked to know that the global eCommerce retail sales crossed the $4.28 trillion mark last year. And with an ever-increasing number of entrepreneurs kickstarting their online ventures, the number has been predicted to reach $6.39 trillion by 2024.

I’m really excited to be bringing an old friend – he was on the first cover of the Change Creator Magazine. His name is Jake Orak, and he’s the founder of an incredible 7-figure eCommerce brand called Ethnotek Bags where each product sold helps preserve cultures around the world.

One minute Jake was rubbing shoulders with chemists, thermodynamic experts, and mechanical engineers in the bustling metropolis of Minnesota (USA), and the next, he was discussing business terms with the Hmong people up in the northern highlands of Vietnam. It’s not quite a tale of rags to riches, but Jake is on a mission to make the world a better place, one handmade textile at a time.

The team at Ethnotek Bags is laser-focused on celebrating culture by producing premier laptop and travel bags featuring ethically sourced traditional handmade textiles.

Ethnotek is more than just a bag brand. They’re on a mission to preserve cultures all across the globe.

Rapid technological advancements have resulted in weavers and artisans being replaced by machines and factory labor. Year-over-year, we’re witnessing a rapid decrease in local demand for traditional handmade products due to low yield and long lead times.

As stated by Jake, their primary aim at Ethnotek Bags is to keep the traditional culture alive – which is why they’ve partnered with artisans across different villages in Ghana, India, Guatemala, Indonesia & Vietnam.

Visit Ethnotek Bags and check out their amazing gear:

https://ethnotek.com/

During This Episode, We Discussed:

Jake’s a long-time friend. And it was a pleasure interacting with him again. While he has achieved incredible success with his eCommerce venture, one of the things that have helped him reach the 7-figure mark is his dedication and will to keep the traditional handmade products industry from dying. Throughout this episode, we discussed:

  • Jake’s story in a nutshell
  • Jake’s experience with Shopify
  • Why hasn’t Jake ever made the decision to change/update his eCommerce store’s logo?
  • The evolution of Ethnotek Bags – What has worked and what hasn’t
  • How rolling out user-generated content and being authentic helped Jake turn his eCommerce venture into a 7-figure business
  • How does the team at Ethnotek Bags actually define their target audience?
  • Identifying your target audience and buyer personas based on what problems your product and brand can help solve.
  • Ethnotek team’s focus on delivering a stellar user and learning experience on their website to not only create a great first impression but also build trust and credibility.
  • The actual meaning of branding – and how has this knowledge helped Jake build a 7-figure business
  • Jake’s focus on high-quality visuals – how can top-quality images and videos contribute towards your brand’s overall success?
  • Why one of Ethnotek Bags’ cinematography videos didn’t deliver the desired results?
  • How important it is to try to gain insights into why your past campaigns didn’t work out?
  • What kind of data do Jake & the team look at to make strategic decisions?
  • How Jake built a world-class team comprising talented like-minded individuals from scratch
  • Jake reveals how and why he plans to expand his business across Europe.
  • Why it’s important to build a customer-centric legacy brand?
  • Insights into Jake’s personal and professional challenges

Final Thoughts

Interacting with Jake is always a pleasure. And it has been so exciting to see him break through the noise and conquer his goals. Also, one of the things that I really love about Ethnotek Bags is their focus on preserving the traditional handmade products and make a gigantic-sized impact.

Every week, I e-meet with marketing experts, industry gurus, and entrepreneurs and share their inspiring success stories to help my audience (amazing folks like you) understand how they can conquer their goals the right way.

I hope you loved today’s episode. And if you did – don’t forget to support the show and leave a 5-Star review on iTunes. Every review matters 

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Episode Transcript (unedited, will likely have typos):

Adam G. Force  0:00 

How do social entrepreneurs and small businesses create an authentic brand people love so they can get the edge they need to stand out, create Predictable Revenue, and compete against the big guys. That’s what we’re here to discuss. I’m Adam forest, the founder of change crater, and this is the authentic brand mastery podcast.

Adam G. Force  1:21 

Hey, what’s up everybody welcome back to the authentic brand mastery Show. I’m really excited today because we’re bringing back an old friend but before I announce who that is, the last episode was with Tom Schwab. He’s the founder of interview valet and we kind of get into the the ins and outs of being a guest on podcast right this is a great way to bring attention to your business. This is organic and it just takes a little hustle on your end to get out on those shows. Or you hire somebody like Tom’s team and they will do it for you. So whatever works but it is a valuable way to bring in clients to bring in attention and all that good stuff so check it out if you didn’t get a chance yet it’s really valuable for building your brand

Adam G. Force  2:07 

so today we are going to be bringing back a guest that we’ve had before so he was actually on the first cover of Change Creator magazine when we were running that magazine and he is the founder of ethno tech bags where they are keeping culture alive with each bag that they produce His name is Jake or rack and he’s just a super cool guy and after we met that first after we had him on the magazine I interviewed him and stuff on the show this was years ago now and then we met out in California at a conference to have some dinners and got to know everybody really cool dude and just doing a great job developing his brand so he is an artist he’s not a branding guy but they have developed the brand they gonna talk about some of the ways that evolve what’s been working what hasn’t How do they use analytics to grow the brand and why they have some things as a really polished look why some things are wrong and really just authentic and it’s just a great conversation so I’m excited to have Jake back here and I think it’s gonna bring a lot of value to you guys from a branding perspective also an e commerce perspective as well I know we get a lot of e commerce clients so alright guys leave us a review on iTunes we appreciate your support and don’t forget to stop by Change Creator Check us out for our brand studio. Okay, show me the heat on no you go. Hey Jake, welcome back to the show. How you doing brother? Good it’s pleasure. Thanks for having me. Yeah, so for anybody that doesn’t know we’ve had Jake on back in the early days and then we did a revisit and we’re having him back again because he’s an awesome dude and he’s a buddy of mine and he’s just doing incredible things with his e commerce business so we want to talk a little bit more about the evolution of his brand I think that a lot of you guys listening will just get a lot of value from that so Jake, for people that don’t know you just give them the like, I like to do a little like where what’s going on and ethno tech world today that’s exciting and then just back into give them background on kind of like how you got there. Yeah, sure. So what’s exciting is that we turned 10 years old just last month so we’re been in business for 10 years. I have been steady it’s been quite a roller coaster but that was that was really cool. I just did an exercise I wrote an article basically thanking every single human that’s contributed along the way and that was like a trip down memory lane and yeah, so good. You know, it’s it’s all about the people and super grateful for everyone that contributed along the way. And it’s it’s been fun. It’s been fun, for sure. And yeah, so that was the highlight of the year so far. And so athletic is a social enterprise. And we collaborate with artisans in Ghana, Guatemala, India, Indonesia and Vietnam. And we combine their traditional handmade textiles into our high tech laptop travel bags. So I’m a designer and got a degree in Industrial Design works at three

Jake Orak  5:00 

to college and design bags for a few other brands before starting ethno tech. Yeah, and there it is, in a nutshell, I think

Adam G. Force  5:08 

I love the nutshell. Okay, perfect, perfect. And, guys, if you want to really go deep on some of that backstory like his motorcycle ride, his epiphany and all this stuff for the business, that is all in our first interview so you can backtrack and we will link to that interview when we put this one up on the website as well. And we’ll be you can check that out. So, Jake, I kind of want to get into now that you’re like further along because every time we talk, it’s been like another year. And like I mentioned before, last time you saw me I had hair. You know, tell me a little bit about like, I know you were you started your site on Shopify, right? Yeah. And you have like, way more products now than you did when you started, like your photography bag, like, and that came from, you know, client requests and stuff like that, right? So I like to just give people a little taste of where the brand started. So we can get a sense of the evolution of the brand. Yeah. So tell me a little bit about like when you started up on Shopify, are you still on Shopify now? Or

Adam G. Force  6:16 

did you go on Shopify? Yep.

Adam G. Force  6:18 

Okay, did you know you must be doing some some decent custom work up on that platform?

Jake Orak  6:23 

Pretty much mostly custom. Still, I still I love Shopify, I know it’s really intuitive work. Once our theme designer is done with it, I can populate most of it myself, or, you know, it’s

Adam G. Force  6:34 

exactly for that. Okay, cool. Cool. And so has your Tell me a little bit about where you started? Because I want to know, like, has your brand, like, for example, a simple layup is like, has your logo evolved since day one?

Jake Orak  6:49 

No, it hasn’t evolved at all. Despite my designer perfectionism wanting to it’s just, you know, people talk about all the time that they love it, and it they get it, you know, like it says, what the brand is about? And so

Adam G. Force  7:04 

like, Yeah, no, I mean, I totally agree. I mean, sometimes people like, they don’t totally change it, but they’ll just start like, you know, shaping it or polishing it a little differently as the company evolves. And I’m always curious, you know, like, like, do we go through sometimes rebranding So would you say that since you started and things have you’ve gone from you know, I’ve making no money and I’m just starting to making, you know, seven figures plus with the platform? Can you give me like a description of how do you feel like the brand has started evolving over time, whether it started like, totally ugly, or, you know, we all have our beta versions, but then it evolves and gets more polished. Can you talk to me a little bit about some of the evolution there?

Jake Orak  7:49 

Yeah, I would say honestly, like, not much has changed over time, I think that if anything like that, the focus goes on to improving the product over time and improving the customer experience over time, through e commerce and our b2b channels and things like that. So like our, our imagery, and our videography, has always kind of had a user generated feel and people tend to really connect with that you have experimented recently with more professional cinema cinematography, quality videos, and those actually performed less well than me on a gimbal with my iPhone and I don’t know like, for some reason, it is that way and so like since the beginning we’ve loved highlighting and promoting our customers with their bags and venturing out in the world and being like really transparent and approachable and human, rather than really polished and so that has worked really well for us and it you know, translates really well with the mission you know, it’s like handmade textiles, it’s there to elevate traditional handmade art and, and fabrics and, and culture and so, to have an overly polished vibe gloss on the brand doesn’t seem like it would fit it would feel a little bit synthetic, I think in a way

Adam G. Force  9:13 

it’s interesting and I hear that a lot too, you know, when especially when it comes to video, like the authentic like I’m in the car in Vietnam and we’re driving down a bumpy road like I know some of those videos I’ve seen back in the day from you guys and I do enjoy that also. And you know, the polished look, I think immediately says like, oh, advertising or and there’s this like stigma or something about I mean, I guess there’s a place for Polish videos, but I mean, as far as visual identity goes, like I see a couple things happening here. Like your, your customer experience, and I think the authentic visuals of your videos, that is part of your brand identity, right? That’s kind of like how you see yourself being excited. To the world, and that’s what’s working for you, obviously, with your audience and stuff like that. And how do you guys actually define your audience these days? Like who’s really your buyer at this point?

Jake Orak  10:10 

It’s, it’s pretty, pretty wide in terms of the demographic but it is it does skew primarily female. Okay. And it’s, you know, it’s usually between like, 25 and 55. It’s a it’s a wide, wide range.

Adam G. Force  10:25 

Yeah.

Jake Orak  10:26 

But, you know, that’s not to put things in a gender box, you know, like, we have a really big, like, LGBTQ plus community. And it’s Yeah, I would probably say it’s like, you know, what, 7030? Male, female and but, yeah, it’s usually urban suburban dwellers that either have a passion for travel, or actually do travel a lot for work, or pleasure, or both. Yeah. And so it’s a people that, you know, probably don’t have a huge income, but value quality and products with meaning, you know, people who actually take care and the food they eat the things they put on their skin, and wanting to know where it’s made, what it’s made of, conscious consumers, so people willing to pay more for something that has meaning to it. And so, like we’re in, we’re in bags, you know, high quality tech, like, like, our tea bags. And that seems to be a pretty, pretty easy commitment for people to make, you know, because it’s, you know, long lasting, and you can use it for both work and for travel. And it’s kind of a multi tool of a type of product. So yeah, so it’s for people looking for variety and expression, and something that actually stands for something. Yeah, yeah. And I

Adam G. Force  11:47 

mean, just going back to that, that brand identity, and I think you know, it’s nice to know who the audience is, because we can see who you’re kind of representing yourself to, as we talk here. And I like that you made the point because people get really pigeonholed on who they’re trying to talk to with their company. And I like that you made the point about they care about what they put on their skin, and they care about what they eat because we’re really getting into you know, the type of person right it’s really and there’s other because I feel like when people get into marketing they really dial in on reaching I want people who want bags, and it’s like, you know, yeah, no, I mean you can go like they might be they might be following a blog about vegan food and that’s who you retargeting for ads and things like that because that’s part of their world right? And so I think it’s a great point that you made to expand your thinking that people you’re going after they have lots of things in their world that they’re interested in that make them who they are right so it sounds like you guys have really kind of dug into that quite a bit which is good and you know, just go back to them go ahead.

Jake Orak  12:53 

Yeah, just just to touch on that one more time like that. That’s actually like a post mortem observation to be honest because we’ve never we all let’s say we stopped getting hyper specific on what type of customer to target because in the beginning we’re like this is who our customer is going to be here’s what we’re going to sell the bags were completely wrong. And so like so i think i think the key for us I mean, at least for our brand anyway is to just like really know what what it is your product and service is meant to do. Like what is it what problem is it solving and does it do that well, and is it different? And that’s always been my key focus because if it ticks both those boxes then then you should find a group of human beings that will buy it so yeah,

Adam G. Force  13:45 

yeah, it’s true and you know, it’s because it’s right and the reason I bring that up is you know, we it’s really good to know like the story of who you’re trying to talk to and that’s what I always look at it I call it a digital conversation I mean you’re using the technology or you’re talking to them say I got this bag I know that you probably you’re interested because this is your lifestyle and you probably are looking for something not generic like jansport you’re looking for something that has more meaning behind it a story right and you know, I have found that marketing does better when to your point you can broaden it up a little bit like trying to pigeonhole too much is actually bad knowing the customer is important. But actually when you go to market like I could go after people who like the Food Network because I know my audience like I find data that they’re if they like Tony Robbins the same people like the Food Network, they’re obsessed with it right so now I go after people in the food category, you’d think I’m crazy selling branding services, but that’s where they are right? So I think that’s a really great point for people to to think about. And it’s that diversity is important because you never know where you might find the right fit for for that kind of thing. For your identity now you say okay, we keep it authentic. We haven’t changed much, but I have And I follow you guys and I do see an evolution of your identity, right? So the branding that goes deeper, right? It’s it’s positioning taglines, all that stuff and the audience that we’re talking about, but the actual identity, it builds trust and credibility, right? So like, you want people to have a good first impression and things like that. And, and so I have seen an evolution on like, your site is polished, it’s very nicely done, right? It is professional, like, you know, it’s not like you’re in your your Batcave putting something together on

Unknown Speaker  15:36 

things together.

Adam G. Force  15:39 

I’m still like, I doubt that was the first iteration of your site, like, you definitely must have evolved, like you got developer guys, you know. And so when I talk about that evolution, as you make money, and you’re, you’re saying, Hey, we’re selling these products, like, Alright, let me get a developer in here. Let’s take this thing. Let’s kind of polish it up a little bit more. So you have gone through those phases, right?

Jake Orak  16:01 

Yeah, yeah. Oh, for sure. For sure. No, definitely. Like I want like, like, I’m really big on first impressions, because you really only get one, right? So website is perfect for that. And I want like every image to just like, wow, you and I want that I want things to be easy. Like the shopping experience of browsing experience, the learning experience should be as seamless as possible and intuitive, as impossible. And so that website, man, we’ve been working on it, we work on it every day. And we have been since we started like it’s just a constant testing and optimizing and improving and re uploading and all that. And that’s that’s probably the evolution mostly and probably, like incrementally image like the content as well as the quality of the content, probably I think I might be too close to it. But to me, it feels like the spirit of it hasn’t changed much. But yeah, I

Adam G. Force  16:56 

think that makes sense. And this thing, people misunderstand what branding really is. And it’s how we make people feel right. And so the spirit of your brand is there, because that’s like the core of who you are, where this thing was born from. And I do love seeing the evolution of the identity to become crisper, because you’re seeing what works. And I think you made a very important point for people, which is you’re testing and iterating from, like, what’s working, what’s not, you’re looking at the data, right? Yeah. And I feel like and I get people, you know, sometimes I talk to or coach and it’s like, well, it’s been a month and this hasn’t happened. And I’m like, Well, how many people have been on your website? Oh, yeah. This is what happens when we associate time with the success, not the data. So like, you guys are really looking at the data and you’re drunk. And I love the fact that you put so much attention to the visuals. I just got off a call with somebody and the last two people we’re working with in the brand studio it’s you need a professional photo shoot, you know for your products and things like that, because that first impression, but also you want your products look sexy as hell for people. Totally that that to me, like the videos I see the authenticity thing, the pictures, I think they need to be sharp. Right? So and I feel like you’re going down. Yeah. And so how do you I guess you know, that feel and you found that that feel has an impact through your testing cuz I see you run Facebook ads and things like that. So you’ve tested and maybe I don’t know how close you are to it. Or if you have like a ads team or something that may know this, but just tell me if you’re not sure. Like, are you finding that like, you’re putting up these nice images do they perform for you just as well as like the authentic video so like, you know what I mean, I’m trying to see like, the pictures can be polished with the videos, you might want more authentic,

Jake Orak  18:59 

right? Yeah, yeah. I mean, I mean, a lot of times they do and a lot of times it surprises us. You know, like, like I said, like, we tested this new cinematography, cinematography style video, and it just didn’t perform whereas the one that we you know, I filmed with my gimbal and a smartphone, yeah, in Bali, we’ve been just running that non stop for the last three years just because people just latch on to it. And so it’s like, oh, wow, so we invested like whatever six grand in this video six hours of my time, and it’s completely opposite revenue. But uh, but at the same time, you know, there’s there’s a lot of inverse of that. So it depends on what like, first of all who the audience is, because sometimes you’re targeting the wrong people or a lot of times you don’t have control on Facebook just like feeds you an audience that’s just not the right fit. Yeah, so it does depend on who’s seeing it and interacting with it. That’s, that’s a big one. But also like the Like the quality of the imagery for sure, like you said, and I that’s one thing I tell to a lot of like, you know, startup owners that are just getting going is that those product images do make a huge difference. And even though I don’t do the studio photography of all of our products anymore, like I kind of delegated that, like three or four years ago, I’m still involved in directing it. And every time we get a new photographer, they’re way more qualified than me. But they get like, annoyed with me, because I’m just like, no, the tripod angle really, really makes a huge difference. Like you got to crouch way below, it kind of looks slightly up at the product to make it look like a hero. And it was like that angle makes it look less mundane. If you’re like looking at it from eye level. And they’re like, what, okay, yeah, good call, it looks better that way.

Adam G. Force  20:45 

That’s this experience, then with your own products and stuff, like, Yeah, I love that. I mean, that’s such good insight, too. And, you know, I’m a big fan. I’m like, you, man, I love design, I love like making things look the way it should like to me like, there’s polished design, but people get hung up. Like, when we talk about good design, good design, to me is what sells, it doesn’t have to be

Jake Orak  21:10 

with their dollars, right, they find a use for the thing that they just bought, or they wanted to like either connects with their identity, or just improves their life a little bit out of the convenience in the way they use it. So for sure.

Adam G. Force  21:21 

That’s branding, that is just what sells,

Unknown Speaker  21:25 

sells. Junk Don’t do that.

Adam G. Force  21:28 

Don’t spend six grand on a cinematography video. I’m surprised Did you find out why that? Like, did you get any kind of insight as maybe why that didn’t perform so well? Yeah,

Jake Orak  21:41 

we don’t think it’s that we don’t wouldn’t really think it’s the video quality. I think it was the timing and timing more than anything, because it was for a backpack. And it was during COVID at the tail end of COVID guide like a few months ago, and it was during a period when just people weren’t buying backpacks. And it’s when we’re approaching summer and so we had high competition for adspace. So it’s most likely that, um, and our bags are expensive, and coming out of COVID you know, people’s wallets are tighter, and people’s budgets are tighter. And so it’s I think it’s just like seasonality, and just the just the climate of the market, more than just the cinematography, I think cinematography, at the right timing probably would have amplified it, you know, you know, 10 acts in the opposite direction. So

Adam G. Force  22:35 

yeah, yeah, I think that makes sense. So there’s a number of variables that come into play and and that’s, that’s the other part of it is to, you know, for anyone listening, it’s like, you really, you don’t want to jump the gun get emotional, like, Oh, I spent all this money and it didn’t work? Well. There’s probably a number of reasons, if you just take the time to investigate logically, yeah. And it sounds like you’ve thought through it. And there’s probably a number of variables that contribute to that. But to your point, I always talk about timing, like, you can do the wrong the right things at the wrong time. And, you know, that’s, that’s catastrophic, for a number of reasons. But when you do things, and you consider the timing and you get the timing, right, you know, things can really blow up and be amplified. So that video is probably not a waste, it’s probably something you can roll out at another time where that’s gonna work out really well. Yep. Yeah.

Jake Orak  23:26 

And it’s a tool we have, we just have it now forever. And it’s it’s great to have on the website, it’s great to have and various other channels, you know, just just because it doesn’t work on one channel or one platform doesn’t mean it doesn’t work for all does find a new home for it.

Adam G. Force  23:40 

Exactly, exactly. I’m also curious, just as you are really putting energy into the site’s evolution to optimize, optimize, optimize, I mean, that’s a part of it. That’s like, I always people, like oh, I don’t need a website. I’m like, Yeah, okay, you know, like you this is, this is like real estate that you own versus rent. And you don’t buy real estate and let it just sit there and do nothing and burn a hole in your pocket, you know, you build something on it, that creates revenue for you. And then you optimize it and make it better, better, better. And so what kind of data do you and your team look for to make decisions?

Jake Orak  24:21 

Well, it changes but so we have a small but awesome team of people to help with Google ads, Facebook ads, email marketing, and just analytics in general. Yeah, so so our analytics manager, he and I kind of worked really closely together to like AB test a lot of things on the website in terms of, you know, button color button placement, and we work with UI UX designer who custom designed a Shopify theme for us. Based on the advice of a CRL conversion rate optimisation manager. We did an audit of our old site and said, if you want to increase conversion rate Then you have, you should redo these things, you know, you have a sticky button on mobile and all these little tiny, tiny tweaks, they weren’t a lot of big changes. But when you add them all up, it was a lot. Yeah. So we work with basically smart website designers who understand that the core goal is to sell product. And to eliminate the weird experience that people have with your internet or with your, with your website. make them want to leave or confounds them or bore them friction points, right? Totally. Yeah, so So we do a lot with hot jar. So we do a lot of like screen recordings to actual people what they do on the website, and to see what what are the hot spots in the cold spots of the website? Yeah, um, so we look at return on adspend. So our row as is was is a big one, but it’s less than less these days after the iOS 14 update. So we’re looking at more at CTR click through rate and CPM cost per marketing or cost per impression, traffic volume, and it’s a bit more of a black box these days. So we’re looking, we kind of have some benchmarks around adspend percentage versus overall revenue, because what our what our old 3x realizes probably now that like the 1.5 to one point is like the new three point roll as which is like, very unsettling to just say, um, okay, let’s just assume that. But yeah, so we’re having to, like, reinvent the metrics that are most important to us. And so with email marketing, like we look at open rate, click rate, and then always conversion rate, and then just kind of so every everyone, every platform kind of has its own benchmarks, and then we, we all meet monthly, and we compare notes, and we compare metrics, and we make some assumptions. And then we make some goals for what what to change to improve things over time. And so I hope our team after they listen to this, don’t think I’m just like, mashing up these these data points that we all care so much about, um, but ultimately, they’re they’re definitely the experts. And that’s why we brought them in, you know, and that’s how was the game changer for us is that like, I know my role, like, I’m good at high level strategy and vision and does a product design. And when we’ve found people to help with all of the marketing channels that are experts in that domain, know how to report on it, know how to tweak it, and they watch it and test it, and they test everything. And so we we hypothesize together, but they’re the ones who go away and just work their magic. And the common misconception is, I don’t know how to do that, I don’t have the budget for that. And that was my mindset going into it too. But like, you can find really good people on a budget, if you a treat them well and have like, you know, passion and enthusiasm and a cool brand or cool product. And so like eventually, you can bring in good talent on a small budget. And you all grow it together. If you have the same goals and kind of make them a part of it and get paid them on a commission then they’re incentivized to just perform and do what do well, and then you know, just have an internal culture where you don’t treat them like a contractor on their own island, they should be a part of your own team, your own family, and then that is the incentive enough to to do good work. And you can find people like we love Upwork Fiverr. Yeah, yeah, just co working spaces, word of mouth, connecting with people that specialize in those those areas. So if you just have, you don’t have to be an expert on web design, e commerce, digital marketing, but you know, just know what you want, and try to find the right people.

Adam G. Force  28:48 

Yeah, yeah. Now those platforms are really helpful. And I think just being patient to find the right people, because you can put up a job post and make sure you have qualifying questions. And you get a lot of people, man. So sometimes I like to go and reach out to specific people that I seek out on those platforms, and then have them kind of fill out the application proposal. But you can find a lot of talent and you know, again, timing, it’s like, I feel like when you’re in the earlier stages, there’s probably some really key data that you’ll be tracking on your site to optimize because you’re not going to have as much going on as you do. Right? You’re You’re the seven figure plus and somebody who is just trying to work their way up to six figures, they’re not going to be doing the same thing you know, any mean so that’s always a mistake. I see. And I like to just point that out to anybody listening is yes, Jake has ads and all these things and videos and all this stuff, but like you’re not there yet. That’s another version of the business if you’re not in the seven figure space, and you will have less going on, which means you can hone in like a smaller portion of data to track to just get done what you need to get done in that moment at that time, right. So yeah, like and I always I’m a fan of like, understanding how these things work at some high level and then hiring so you don’t get screwed over by fire. Yes. Right. I mean, I, I don’t need to be a Facebook ads expert, but I run some ads. I know I kind of know like, what I’m looking for and what the benchmarks like you’re mentioning, I know. And for people that don’t know ro as that’s return on adspend when you’re when you’re running Facebook ads and things like that. So yeah, there’s a lot of value there. And it sounds like do you do a lot of internal hiring or mostly like external teams that you just kind of grow close with?

Jake Orak  30:33 

Yeah, just external, like independent contractors and freelancers that we find either through our own network, word of mouth, or through Upwork. And I’m trying to think of a few other hiring platforms, we found some part time peeps on indeed, and I think I can’t remember it’s escaping me. But there’s there’s a few, I think Nomad list. But yeah, just essentially, just entrepreneurs out there doing their thing. And a lot of them specialize in just one thing. I’m a bit we’ve tried to work with, like people who do say they do everything. And that hasn’t worked out ever guys. Well. Yeah, I’m leery of like a one stop shop. All digital marketing full stack person. Usually they have a lot of VHS that they delegate everything to and then they’re not really, really in on what’s going on. Yeah, but yeah, so that’s, that’s kind of what we’ve done.

Adam G. Force  31:31 

Yeah, yeah. No, that’s a good point. You got to be careful that I’ve always been wary of whether it’s a person or like even a business platform, like, Oh, we do everything your email marketing, your website, your data, I’m like, Oh, that’s just like, it’s just, it sounds so appealing. But it ends up being a recipe for disaster because they’re a generalist, and they don’t specialize in anything, right? So like when hiring I agree, man, like you want people like you specialize in SEO. Okay, great. I do need to make sure that our content writers know what kind of content we’re focusing on. And like, so everybody’s got their own specialty. I think that’s a good approach to take. So tell me what’s next for for your brand. What’s going on?

Jake Orak  32:13 

Yeah, what’s next for us is that we’re, we’re branching out and expanding into Europe now. So nine distributors there for quite a while. And you sell

Adam G. Force  32:25 

products online to anywhere in the world right now. Right? So no distribution centers there.

Jake Orak  32:30 

Yeah, just to make it more affordable to the customer, you have all the barriers of having to pay so much for VAT and have to wait forever for things to ship from the US. And so we have, we have an operation, we have a warehouse in Indiana in the US. And then we have one in Australia for Asia Pacific. And now we’ll have one in Europe. And that should be all we need to you know, make our products accessible to everyone our key key places that we’re that people are into our bags. So that’s more of an operational not so sexy thing to be moving on. But it’s all foundational. It’ll help us you know, continue building.

Adam G. Force  33:09 

Yeah, I mean, I think it’s sexy, like, that’s very Jeff bass, those of you that I mean, listen, there’s one thing I like about the guy. And that is that like, since day one, he was not selling products, he was selling customer experience, and they obsess over customer experience, right? So he would be like, Well, I have over 4 million square feet of what do you call it fulfillment warehouse space in the US because I want to be as close as possible to make the shipping, a better experience for people faster, cheaper, all those things. And, you know, part of your brand is really it sounds like you obsess over customer experience, right? Take out the friction in the website, make it more appealing, open up the distribution center in Europe to make it better for the customer. So, I mean, it’s operational, but it’s sexy at the same time, because you’re thinking of the customer, I guess is my point. You know,

Jake Orak  34:06 

thinking of the customer and thinking long term, you know, like we the goal isn’t to build this and sell this thing. It’s like we want to build a legacy brand that’s around for forever. And so like the foundational side of things needs to be tended to, and, you know, this is like kind of our one one last big move operationally. So then we can just you know, again, refocus on storytelling. And once you know and that’s that’s, that’s for full global e commerce focus, you know, we’ll be we’ve been stepping back stepping back from b2b for quite a long time very slowly, so that we just have full brand control. And you know, we’re not beholden to strict, you know, outdoor industry or fashion industry lead times, which kind of puts pressure on the artist and supply chain and that sort of thing. And so when we can fulfill all of the globe Through through our online channels then we have total freedom and we can launch like hyper limited edition collections in just Germany or or the Netherlands and the US or Japan like we have total freedom to do whatever we want and because we have those kind of operational hubs so that we can really be efficient with it and so that’s when it gets really fun for me is because it like once that’s all set we go like okay now we get to just like play around a bit more and and then just really really hype it up so

Adam G. Force  35:35 

so what I’m curious what is most stressful for you right now?

Jake Orak  35:42 

most stressful probably living back in the US We’ve been living in Southeast Asia for like 15 years and now that we’re back here everything’s so expensive

Adam G. Force  35:56 

no doubt about that. So why did you move back anyway What happened?

Jake Orak  35:59 

Well we we want to be close to friends and family and we had some some deaths in the family and that kind of shake the tree for us and we want to be close for that and the celebration of life and you know, we’ve been over there for a long time and we’ll always keep going back to Southeast Asia to visit the artisans and the factory team and and for product development and all that will probably be going back you know still like 234 times a year so ready for a change of scenery want to test the waters back here so we’re from Minnesota so this is our soft landing and by no means our permanent landing so my wife and I are very nomadic and so it might be mountains Mountain State next or America who knows. But yeah, so it’s just we need to change it up I find that I kind of stagnate creatively when I’m in the same place for so long. Yeah and even though this is like a an uncomfortable, strange move like reverse culture shock for me I see that it has a good effect on my psyche and it’s just pushing me and challenging me And so yeah, I just kind of always put myself through that kind of pain process to kind of regenerate and it works and so so though there’s all this kind of like New Adjustment happening I see it as a good thing so yeah,

Adam G. Force  37:25 

I think that’s awesome man. I mean those challenges you know, sometimes people get emotionally kind of dragged down from it. And I just read a great book from Ryan Holiday called the obstacle is the way so the obstacle in the path becomes the path right? Now the whole concept and your mindset was already there you’re already like well I see it as a good thing for my psyche and how it’s gonna jolting me and so you know, it does jolt the creativity when you’re out and about and changing up scenery and stuff like that. Yeah, so listen, you know you’re ever out in Miami trying to warm up from those Minnesota winters. You let me know cuz we got a nice little out here. Man, I appreciate the invite. Absolutely. Always door’s always open man goes

Jake Orak  38:06 

for if you ever in Minneapolis.

Adam G. Force  38:09 

I won’t be

Jake Orak  38:11 

Yeah, especially in the winter. I

Adam G. Force  38:13 

just can’t you never know where you land man. You never know I don’t have any family or anything out there. But if I’m out in Minneapolis, I would definitely connect for sure. Yeah. Listen, man, I want to be respectful of your time. I know you’re a busy guy. Let’s just remind people of where they connect and check out all your awesome stuff that you’ve been building for the past 10 years man Yeah, thank you.

Jake Orak  38:33 

Well, everything flows through ethno tech.com eth and otk.com we have social channels we’re mostly active on Instagram so at fo tech bags on Instagram and those are our two favorite shopping points

Adam G. Force  38:50 

you know yeah you know it’s nice to keep it simple man you go to the website you can find everything you need there lots of good stuff so anybody checking it out looking for some new gear? I still have you know it’s in my drawer here maybe you’re somewhere but the passport travel Yeah, I use that every time I go out I love that thing and I know Danielle and Amy have their bags that they fell in love with and just for people listening like we were hanging out at a conference in California and you know people come up to buy Jake stuff and you know Jake has a premium price but there’s there’s there’s a story behind it that’s powerful and that is attractive because you’re supporting artisans and things like that. And when people trade the bag for money they’re you’re like Welcome to the tribe or you know whatever your monster might be at that point but people were excited like oh man, it feels good I love like just knowing like I’m part of this now and they they’re excited to buy the product. You just said you’re gonna get back into storytelling and I just you know that brand story is kind of like the you know, contextual essence of of who you are and all that stuff. So as I mentioned, you guys can check out one of the first interviews and even the second one because there’s some interesting evolutionary conversation we had there. But you can see where Jake all started and get more insights. This was a great conversation. I appreciate you just sharing some of these details about the evolution of your brand identity and your brand strategy focus on customers and pictures and all these things. That’s really, really great. So great to see you again, man. And I appreciate it.

Jake Orak  40:23 

Thanks until next time,

Adam G. Force  40:24 

until next time. Thanks for tuning into the authentic brand mastery podcast. Don’t forget to stop by Change Creator calm for more information fresh and articles content and our services if you’re looking to build a brand that people love, and please stop by iTunes, leave us a five star review. We appreciate your support.

Brandon Manusov: How to Find Clarity And Skyrocket Your Returns by Rebranding

Summary

Thousands of businesses waste their precious marketing and advertising dollars by hiring those all-talk, no-action digital agencies – with little-to-no experience that fail to help businesses stand out and build an emotional connection with their audience.

We’re doing something different for this episode. Brandon, the founder of My Product Developer, is a Change Creator Brand Studio client. We worked on his brand strategy, rebranded his site and he’s now in our Brand Accelerator.

My Product Developer is a product development firm that focuses on mechanically engineered devices. Brandon and his team focus on rapid prototyping, building highly functional products, followed by shifting their focus on the aesthetics of the product.

Now, you get to hear firsthand about the challenges he was facing, why he took these steps with us and had his first $30,000 month.

Brandon comes from a family of rocket scientists and has a service business that creates incredible market-ready prototypes. It was a really interesting journey working through the brand strategy, identity, and site development.

Brandon joined the Air Force as a mechanic and holds a massive eight years of experience working on engines, hydraulics, diesel’s electric system, AC, and more.

Despite being a part of the family of rocket scientists, Brandon didn’t take the normal route – he didn’t study as an engineer – however, his deep expertise and years of experience allow him to build exceptional, highly functional, and aesthetically pleasing prototypes.

During This Episode, We Discussed:

It was a great experience chatting with Brandon and some of the points we discussed throughout the episode are:

  • What is Brandon’s “My Product Developer” firm all about?
  • Brandon’s backstory – diving deep into his experience and rise to entrepreneurship
  • Brandon’s rise to entrepreneurship
  • Impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Brandon’s business
  • Marketing and advertising challenges faced by Brandon
  • Brandon’s poor experience with PPC and marketing agencies
  • How Brandon landed his two high-ticket biggest clients after a month or two of collaborating with Adam Force?
  • Why is it critically important to find a marketing and branding executive that not only knows how to get the job done but also is someone who you vibe with?
  • How can investing in branding turn out to be a revolutionary move for your business? 
  • Brandon’s client’s experience with prototyping
  • Brandon’s focus on not only building a prototype but building an actual end-to-end product that delivers value.
  • Brandon’s three pillars to building a profitable product
  • The importance of marketing
  • From idea to a profitable end-product: What Brandon’s End-to-End process looks like?

Final Thoughts

Sitting down with Brandon was truly epic. Brandon’s rise to entrepreneurship is an incredible story and I loved every single second of our conversation. 

Every week I virtually sit down with a marketing expert, entrepreneurs with incredible stories like Brandon, and social entrepreneurs to deliver valuable insights to every single one of you. 

I hope you enjoyed today’s episode and if you did – don’t forget to tune in to next week’s compelling discussion with our surprise guest. 

Also, your love is what helps me keep up.

Subscribe Here

Support the show and leave us a FIVE STAR review on iTunes!

See you next Thursday!

We Also Recommend:

Episode Transcript

(unedited, will likely have typos)

Adam G. Force 0:00
How do social entrepreneurs and small businesses create an authentic brand people love so they can get the edge they need to stand out, create Predictable Revenue and compete against the big guys. That’s what we’re here to discuss. I’m Adam forest, the founder of change crater. And this is the authentic brand mastery podcast.

Adam G. Force 0:33
All right, what’s going on everybody? Welcome back to the show. This is your host, Adam forest. So listen, we’re gonna be doing something a little bit different today. And I’m excited about it. So we’re going to test the waters here, we might do more and more of these types of episodes. Before I let you know what that is. Just a reminder that last week, we talked about really taking some steps to kind of blow up your e commerce sales, we get a lot of we’ve been getting more and more ecommerce brands coming to us to help build their brands to rebrand to really set up their websites more professionally, with a focus on really building trust into their their strategy and increasing sales. So one of our clients had up to a 70% increase in their average cart. So value, so really good stuff. So we’re all about support in the e commerce world. And so today, we’re going to do something a little different, as I mentioned, and we’re bringing on one of the brand studios, our brand studios clients. Alright, so his name is Brandon. And he is the founder of my product developer. He comes from a family of rocket scientists, and he does incredible prototyping, okay, now we’re going to talk to his talk to him about his experience, why he was doing what he was doing, why he started working with us why he wanted to develop his brand. The idea here is to give you some relatable insights from people who are building their brands up in the same way as you might be as you listen to this. And so you can hear from them and their experience and all that kind of stuff. So I think there could be a lot of value there. That’s very relatable. And so that’s why we’re going to start bringing on some of these clients so that you can hear from them firsthand. Now one of the things that I don’t talk about much up front, for our brand studio, and we have one spot open right now. So if you’re looking to really lean into some of your next steps, they’re making a call with us. But one of the things they don’t talk about much and we just added to our services page is the brand accelerator. So what we’ve done now is that when you do work with us, and we’ll talk about this on the strategy call, you’re automatically enrolled into a brand accelerator. Alright. And there’s a small group of entrepreneurs, you know, we keep it very small. And you we have regular discussions on different strategies, you get to ask a lot of questions. And people work together, we have some of these guys in the group, they work together and they do different things. And there’s just a ton of value that we’re seeing. So we’re kind of pushing that a little bit more, because the results and the value that come out of it, right. So this was something we did beta test on, and it worked out really well. So I’m excited about the brand accelerator, we’ll see where we take that next. But right now, that is part of this process. So something that you guys can get a lot of value out of let’s dive into this conversation with Brandon, don’t forget to stop by the iTunes Store, leave us a five star review, guys, we appreciate that sport. And it goes a real long way to help push the show forward. So just take two minutes in the app there. And you can just scroll down and you just leave a review. And we appreciate you. So thank you so much. And we’re gonna dive into it right now let’s do this. Okay, show me the heat. Brandon, What’s up, buddy? Welcome to the show today. How are you doing?

Brandon Manusov 3:37
I’m doing great. I’m happy to be here.

Adam G. Force 3:39
I’m excited to have you here too. This is a little bit of a new approach here. I’m excited to kind of chat a little more in depth and kind of share with people your experiences and building your brand and go what the prototyping world looks like and how things have been progressing. So what I like to do in the beginning of these discussions is give people a little bit of background. So in a nutshell, tell us a little bit about what’s exciting, you know, with my product developer today, what’s going on, like the big, big stuff. And then how did you get there? Like, why are we doing this little backstory?

Brandon Manusov 4:14
Yeah, so we are a product development firm that focuses on mechanically engineered devices. We focus on the rapid prototyping and making things really functional first, and then aesthetically pleasing. So our main thing is making really unique designs, the medical field and consumer hand tools, stuff like that real specialized stuff. how we got started was I’ve been just a tinkerer my whole life, since I remember literally like five years old, playing in the garage with my dad. He was an engineer for NASA. So basically just just read an engineer, you know goal isn’t one of the leading engineers in the country was what I want to hit engineers aerospace for the last 4050 years. One of the entre actually did the first four satellites as part of that program for the Air Force, mean engine on the F 16. And from there, they just got bigger and crazier last time, he does his top secret. So I can’t really I don’t really know what he does now, or what he did in the last few years of his life. But starting out, he really killed it. So

Adam G. Force 5:31
yeah.

Brandon Manusov 5:33
Yeah. And then. So I joined the Air Force, I was a mechanic in the Air Force for eight years work on everything current engines, hydraulics, diesel’s electric system, AC. So I’ve got a really good understanding of how everything works in that in the real world practical applications. And that’s just textbook. Yeah, so that was I think that kind of sets me apart. Then went to school, when I got out and say, entrepreneurship, as well as prototyping, Human Centered Design, how to design things that work for people. So I’m not like I don’t I didn’t take the normal route. I didn’t study as an engineer, but I was, I just always been doing it. And when I work, I mean, I’ve worked with some of the leading engineers in the world, I want to be one of them. Another guy that was the head engineer on the F 22. project. And I never felt or never feel that I’m like, behind the curve here. And it’s just like, a weird thing to like, jump into that kind of scenario and be like, yeah, like, this is cool. We can just we can go designers, and when you’re on a jet is fine. And it works. You know, and you know, it’s just like, it’s just cool. That’s, I really enjoy it. It’s just been really exciting. My biggest challenge has been the marketing though, like, you know, having a conversation with somebody, it’s easy to show my excitement, it’s easy to say, you know, show them how to solve the problem, but trying to get across in a few seconds. Or the brand has been a real struggle over the last several years. So I’m really glad we got a chance to work together on that.

Adam G. Force 7:09
Yeah, no, I mean, you have an incredible background. And when you told me that you had a family of like rocket scientists, that’s like one of those things that people say, but you don’t really meet too many people who have family members who actually were so you know, it looks like engineering is in your blood, right? You kind of grew up, you’re surrounded by it, which means you learn a lot about it. And I can see why. You know, it’s such an exciting craft, right to make something from nothing, take new ideas and bring them to life. But, you know, like, as we work together, one of the things that was really fascinating is just kind of digging into, you know, where are we really putting our attention? And what’s the big picture look like, of why we’re doing this. And there’s so much impact on the world of you know, when we are improving someone’s life because of this new prototype that becomes market ready. And it actually helps people, right. So especially in the medical space, like we talked about, and in the conch contractor space, because of the work that they do. So I guess I’m curious on a little bit of like, when you started, when you came out of the Air Force, that’s when you started the business, right?

Brandon Manusov 8:20
No, I started when I was in college, and I was getting a minor in this prototyping thing. I really, I really grew myself as an entrepreneur before one right at college and started a few other companies. And when I was there, they started recommending for these, like really big projects in the medical field, the universities are recommending it as like their leading expert on 3d printing and some other things. And I was like, wow, that’s like, there’s a first time i was really referred to as an expert, anything. And my professors were asking me, like, how do you know this stuff? You know, like, I don’t know how you’re doing this, you know, I’m like, I just experienced, you know, I’ve been doing it my whole life. And I, just the last few years when I’m in college, but literally, like, my whole life. So it’s really interesting when the professors start asking me questions like what, you know, and then we’re getting referred to work with some leading researchers around the world. So I liked that point. I was like, Okay, I should probably probably see where this goes. And I just started profile online and started getting contacted and got more and more projects. And when started becoming a side, just some extra side cash involved into the business that is today and we changed names and some other things and changed focus as we grew from partners. But yeah, that’s how I got started.

Adam G. Force 9:44
School. Yeah, and I know like a lot of people listening will find themselves in a predicament where they want to pursue this world of entrepreneurship, but they don’t really know what they want to do. But just looking at your path, and we’ll we’ll get into present day in a second. You kind of like leaned into what you were, what was kind of like part of who you are. It’s kind of your truth, right? Like you grew up as this engineer, you did it in the Air Force you were you saw people like talking to your professors talking to you about it and recognizing a talent in college. And then you tested the water. So you kind of like, I always talk to people, right? When we before we ever work together about getting proof of concept. And so you were getting proof of concept, whether you would call it that or not. At that time, it was still showing you that there’s money to be made. And it’s actually helping people, right. So there’s something there, which kind of says, Hey, well, what can we do to do more of this? And I know, COVID was a factor for you before you reached out to me. And so maybe you could tell people just a little bit about that experience. And, you know, I know sometimes people like they get stuck thinking like, well, is it the right time for me to take a step and invest in my business like this? And what does it actually mean to my business? And I liked him to get a sense of like, where you were, and what inspired you?

Brandon Manusov 11:11
Yeah, so it’s actually really interesting, again, and COVID was actually really beneficial for me, because everyone was freaking out wanting new products co related. So at the beginning, I actually had a big spike, and then it just dropped off because the economy started to sink and slow down on their spending, and they’re just harder and harder to get clients. I actually started traveling to South America during that time, or like, near the end, just because while I already planned on doing this, but also, lower cost of living helped me kind of have some extra cash to reinvest back into the company. And I knew like, it’s something I needed to do, because it was going from like, making maybe like 85 8000 a month, down to two $3,000 a month. You know, and, of course, bigger amounts and smaller amounts, but right. So yeah, it was like pre us, like, you know, my savings are starting to dwindle. And I was like I gotta figure out another process. Because at first my thought was, I’ll just wait this out, it’s going to bounce back. But, you know, seven, eight months into it nine months a year.

Adam G. Force 12:27
Looking back on okay. With that feeling, dude.

Brandon Manusov 12:32
So following. So I, you are not the first person I worked with a couple years ago, I worked with a company, they were top rated top 3% rating from Google. I don’t know where how that comes about. But their PPC company, you know, well, we got this downward, your pay per click for anyone that doesn’t know. And they guarantee three times return or money back. They didn’t do anything. I didn’t get my money back. Yeah. I mean, literally got two leads, neither of them answered the landing page. It just looked terrible. I didn’t say much. Because my thought is, these guys are the experts. I have no idea what works. So right, I’m just gonna let him do the thing. And they I don’t know, which is really not a great experience. It has always kind of burned. I didn’t do any for two years with hiring people just like that was such a bad experience. And I never had like a lot of extra cash. And so like when I invest cash, I need to feel confidence

Brandon Manusov 13:30
to come back to me. And then I was like, Well, okay, I tried to maybe coming up with super cheap, just because you have low risk.

Brandon Manusov 13:46
I just started going through these guys. So I find something again, I don’t even I didn’t have really Yeah, I just didn’t see anything coming out of it. Maybe they’re doing some on the back end, I don’t understand and feel Tony’s more time. But just talking to him. I just didn’t get a feel they really understood what I was looking for. And they didn’t understand my company and our positioning at all. And like trying to have that conversation with them just didn’t exist. Went to a cheaper company in the US. Again, same kind of thing. They were gonna ask me on my website, they have the phone number in the corner and a copyright and they’re like, we optimize it for you and let’s do it. I’m like, did you so then I was like, I need to finish the month out with them. I was just like, again, I didn’t feel like they were understanding what the direction or the image I wanted the company to portray. Right, right. Um, I think that’s when I found you. Yeah, I think I was still actually working with this other company. And that’s why I didn’t even finish it. I was like, I just wanted to do something that’s gonna work and I don’t want to waste my time just testing the waters. I have a bad feeling already. And again, maybe those things would have worked out I stuck around but I just didn’t get a good feeling and I just Yeah, those initial feelings. You is totally different, you just like, started talking about the why and the how, and you know who my ideal clientele is and what I wanted to portray and what I wanted and like, Okay, this is what I want. And when I was looking for you, I don’t know exactly how I found you. But I stopped looking for like a PPC or marketing guy just was like testing to find strategy, because obviously the guys aren’t doing it. So that changed, like my focus. And I don’t know, we just had conversation, I felt super comfortable. I don’t even remember what the conversation was, I just remember being like, this guy gets what I’m trying to do, maybe even more, kind of almost more than what I understand. But I need, I felt really good about it. It was a little over what I was expecting to pay, or what I was looking to pay, but I’m glad I did it. So very happy with where we ended up. And then why we’re working. I don’t know, like, I can’t say like it was one thing or the other. But just having a clear image and direction, I landed my next two biggest clients that first month. So I did like $30,000 within I don’t know, a month or two of starting with you. So that was a pretty cool,

Adam G. Force 16:14
but this is I love I love hearing that kind of stuff. And yeah, there’s a lot of variables that can come into play. But it’s interesting, because you know, when you’re going through stressful times in business, like the COVID year for you, right? The eight, nine months, 10 months go by, and you’re like trying to ride it out or try some cheaper, you know, teams that might support you, and it’s like, you burn money. When you don’t, then all of a sudden you don’t have the income. And it’s like even more. It’s even scarier to then invest in yourself, because now you’re holding back saying, I’ll wait till I’m more successful, meaning make more money, then I’ll invest myself. But to become more successful, we have to sometimes step up and like break through. And the thing that I’ve seen happen with multiple people now who have done that, is they finally realize all right, I got to take this step into your point, though, it’s like you kind of find the right person that you vibe with. And that makes sense. Otherwise, yeah, it’s, you know, it’s, it may not work out. But when you do you, you open yourself up to have perspective shifts, see your business differently, manage your conversations on sales calls differently, and you your confidence starts shifting. And it’s not just about the technical work that we do, but it’s about how you’re now clearly seeing the business. And you can position yourself and make those sales and things like that. So I, you know, whatever the cause may be, you opened yourself up to by investing and you know, the universe basically responds, right,

Brandon Manusov 17:47
I think that’s related. And again, I can’t say it was one thing or the other, but I definitely think those two things probably wouldn’t have happened. Like, I might have landed this client, but I probably would have brought them in as much smaller projects, you know?

Adam G. Force 18:01
Yeah, yeah. Exactly.

Brandon Manusov 18:04
The whole thing together, like really? Yeah, she’s like, oh, here’s my value here, like this is exactly charges for those.

Adam G. Force 18:11
Absolutely. And it’s gonna keep going up. I mean, I had people too, who joined our program, captivate, you know, last year or whatever. And, you know, within a week, like they were so stressed out, they’re like, well, I can’t invest this, you know, few $1,000 to do this right now. And then he’s like, I remember this story from India where his mentor was because he’s a meditation coach and stuff. And he’s like, he used to teach me that I have to let go, when you let go of things, you can make room for more to come back to you. And so he’s like, I decided to just invest. And then a week and a half to two weeks after he made, he closed seven deals in a row and doubled his prices. And that was just because of a couple conversations where it’s like, hey, let’s set the record straight. Like, how should you be pricing? Can you do this? And you know, just all of a sudden, those little nudges can make significant changes, you know what I mean? Yeah, so it’s pretty, pretty cool to see that stuff happen. So, um, so you decided to you know, rebrand, and now you’re up and you’re live. And so what are you working on now? Like, what’s next for you that you’re, you’re up and running, and you kind of got this new vision.

Brandon Manusov 19:18
So now the next thing is, I’ve been buying my leads since I started this company. I’ve never really had, yeah, I’ve never really been successful with these PVC like I was talking about in the past. So now I need to work on finding a partner to drive traffic to my site. Or we’re like currently talking about moving forward on something of that nature. But yeah, that’s kind of where I’m at now. After closing outflows projects. I didn’t take about a week off this last week. So kind of regather myself. I was working pretty hard, awesome vacation photos. I think yeah. So last week is pretty chill. But yeah, I have a few other products I’m also working on, I always have multiple products ran at a time. But yeah, my next thing is really a focus on finding the right partner to drive traffic to my sight. And there’s a lot of different ways to do that. Yeah, yeah. So

Adam G. Force 20:22
okay. And tell me a little bit about, you know, so I guess I’m curious about maybe a client experience and that you’ve had with prototyping anything cool that you can share just from past or precedent or whatever?

Brandon Manusov 20:37
Yeah, so one of my favorite stories happened a few months ago, it was this girl in college, she wanted to make these frames, they should call them flex frames. And she wanted a frame that was universal for different lenses. Okay, she spoke to several different engineers and firms, and they all just told her it was impossible. I and I was just like, Whoa, like, I don’t think we’re in the office when I first try. But I just have so you know, we can we can, you know, play around, find some that will work.

So we made, essentially was a silicone rubber ish elastic band that would fit around each each lens, but it also use utilize the lens as the frame. So when you put the lens in, it gets like a structure. And our first go, where it’s not perfect, but it’s pretty close to Margaret ready. So I was like, really cool turn of events. We did it relatively quick. It took us like a week to build a prototype. Actually, we did another three hour session, I believe. I’ll quit go. And then we had the prototype made. So yeah, within like two weeks, she has a prototype in her hands, feeling it out, testing it, giving me feedback. Now she’s going to raise some more capital. So we can we can finish the restaurants to be more investors in for for manufacturing, so Okay, that’s where she’s at. But yeah, it’s like she has something that she can go and show investors now. And she has something that she can, you know, look at and say, Okay, well, maybe we can tweak this and that, but now she has a really strong song, part, this point to start, and you know, she can make improvements. I don’t ever think that anything you do, whether it’s marketing, or design or like is ever, like really perfect or done. But at some point, you say, Okay, this is a minimal viable product, MVP, and it’s good enough to go to market. And she’s really close, which is the one go at this. So that’s part

Adam G. Force 22:49
of what you do, though, like you’ve defined part of how you operate as trying to bring things together market ready, right? Like you always have the end game in mind. Which means that you really refine things even right out of the gate.

Brandon Manusov 23:04
Sure. So when I design something we’re looking at, okay, why are we doing this? Who are we doing this for? What are they going to need? But then we also are looking at? How are you going to manufacture it? How are you going to package it? How is it going to get to the consumer? You know, do you have a marketing plan, like having partners like you that I can refer people out to, you know, to help create that marketing plan and marketing strategy. You have attorneys on hand, domain legal entities, so a lot of other services as well. But we try to, we try to build relationships with all the people that my clients are going to need. So that we never just say, okay, you get to figure the rest out. Good luck, right. And I focus it around these three pillars. So you have the product or service for us, we’re pretty much building products. Then you have the logistics, which is kind of a catch all essence. But then you have the audience. So logistics is how you’re getting things, hire the mechanics behind everything, essentially. And then the audience is going to consist of your, your marketing, your, your branding, your marketing, your sales and any other communication image that you have with that client.

Adam G. Force 24:18
Okay, yeah, I love it. Yeah, I mean, that’s a pretty cool story, too. I think it’s relatable for people here. And they might be wondering, well, when is it appropriate to consider a prototype? And, you know, maybe she got these flex frames put together for eyeglasses, and if she got the prototype, she can I mean, that’s actually really great for getting consumer feedback as well right. So yes, investors, but now you have a tangible thing. You can show people you can get feedback, you can even run Kickstarter campaigns and things like that to really highlight it and see Do I have something because Kickstarter has become a way to almost do product market validation in a sense, so like, are probably validation, because you can see is are people excited about this or not?

Brandon Manusov 25:04
Yeah, we recommend people do Kickstarters as well as build full websites and sell the product. And then we basically do pre sales, but we encourage them to, well, you can either do pre sales, or you can do, hey, we’re out of stock, you know, willy nilly. So as soon as people are clicking to the credit card page, that’s what we say, you can define that as a sale. So someone looks at it. But now when they say, okay, purchase, and then you give them the messaging, click that with their email notifying when you’re actually raised. So that’s a really good way to prove it out before you some of these molds can be 10 to over 100k. Sam go to quarter million. So, you know, you want to before you start investing that kind of money, even if you have that money, like why just throw it out there, you want to have a proof of concept?

Adam G. Force 25:59
Of course, yeah. And that just goes for anything digital tangible, we always need to make sure that we actually have something that’s sellable. And you know, it goes to the classic, minimum viable product. So people they put Minimum Viable in front of everything now, minimum viable courses, minimum viable product, minimum viable service. You know, but, you know, I what I appreciate about how you approach things is the the strategic experience that you bring to the table to make something market ready, but also not just money grabbing in the sense of Yeah, let’s spend, you know, 20k, when maybe you might say, well, you’re not ready for that yet. Let’s do something for 5k. And make sure it’s, there’s a fit in the market. Right, right. So that saves people a lot of headaches, and then you can work with him through each step of the way. So entrepreneurs out there when you have a unique idea, I mean, a lot of times we tried to go to China or Alibaba, find a product, sell it, that’s great. But there’s scenarios where you’re bringing something very unique and to disrupt a market, right? So if you’re going to disrupt the market, you don’t just go to Alibaba?

Brandon Manusov 27:08
No, it’s two totally different things. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with like the Amazon FBA model, I think it’s a great way. But we do, it’s very different. We’re looking for people that typically have thought of an idea for an extended period of time, they thoroughly understand their problem, if nothing else, a lot of people come to me, and they’re like, hey, I’ve been thinking about creating a new whatever for the past decade.

And I really know exactly, and they really thought it through. Typically, even people like engineers I worked with that have 1020 years of experience, when you start to build it together, we’ll find other things that you know, are just hard to see when you have it on your head. So we start to lay it out. And then we can tweak and improve on those ideas. But we like to have people that have like a well thought out either problem or idea.

Recently, I had a medical surgeon come to me, again, I can’t go into too much detail. But same kind of thing. He had a really defined problem with the medical equipment that he has to work with, and how it’s impacting negatively on the client or on the patient’s lifestyle. And he knows he wants to make it better. But he doesn’t actually know what the solution is yet. And that’s something that I really, I think that’s the most important part of the product design is really understanding the strategy upfront of like, how we’re going to solve the problem. Yeah, once you know, like, okay, we need to make a wheel, any engineer can design a will, right? You know, he’s a spin, but maybe there’s a better way, maybe like a paddle or something’s gonna work better, or a piston or something in that place. So really having the strategy of the function, and we can just do tests like we do, we work with people as little as three hours at a time to do like, hey, let’s just design this component, see if it’s gonna work, just isolate that one part that we’re not sure about before we invest in the whole design and build on anything else around it.

Adam G. Force 29:08
Right? Yeah. And I think that’s important. So, you know, for anybody that is, you know, listening, and you’re like, Oh, I have this great idea. I want to prototype but you’ve been afraid because, oh, it’s such a big process, or it’s expensive. How do you work with certain people? You know, on the smaller budget, I know you have the rapid prototyping and maybe there’s some lighter touch points, like you’re talking about to kind of test the waters a little bit. How does that play out? Yeah, so

Brandon Manusov 29:36
I like to. We like to work with like, least or like a minimum of like 600 bucks. That gives you three hours of us to work together in Russia designed together digitally, like through a virtual meeting. At the end of it, you can take that file, we can have a 3d printed typically or we have machines that I work with Depends on what the application is. And that gives you something that you can work with now, I mean, it’s not going to solve, you know, we’re not going to build an airplane in three hours. But if there’s a component, or there’s something that we’re trying to figure out how it works, I have one client, he, he’s aware of the challenge, but he is wants to make a patch duration motion machine, which, for any of you that have, say, physics, it’s considered impossible. And you know, it, like he wants me to build certain geometries. And we work together on that, and we do it in small chunks. And that’s, it’s just a fun project for him to play with. So I have all kinds of products that we do, but I really like to stay on things that we’re working on the function and how it’s going to relate. And, you know, if you have another type of product, I have other professionals that we can refer you to to help if you’re trying to make like a sculpture or something like that. I’m not your guy, but I know lots of people that can do those things. Yeah, so sorry, back to the question. Yeah, we can start in bite sized chunks of development and proof of concept, so that you’re not investing, you know, in the entire development of a project at once. can be quite a

Adam G. Force 31:22
lot. Right? Right. Okay, so you build confidence as you go, because you’re validating steps each way. So, you know, it’s worth just having that strategy call and seeing where you land and stuff like that. So, um, I think so I want to be respectful of your time and everybody listening. So I think we’ll wrap up and I appreciate you sharing your story about you know, just kind of where you’re coming from how you worked with me and stuff like that. And kind of how you work as a prototyping professional. So anybody listening if that’s in your space, then Brandon’s definitely a go to guy and knows what he’s doing. So Brandon, where can people find you to learn more and check out the rebrand of your new website and everything that you got going on?

Brandon Manusov 32:06
Yeah, the best way to reach out to me is on my product developer calm it’s my product singular developer calm and go ahead and book a 15 minute strategy call with me we’ll we’ll get an introduction I’ll you know I want to really understand and try to get a it’s an information about you and and your problem. And we’ll give you some feedback even if you don’t work on us on how we can you know, maybe improve that a little bit or you know, give me some direction to where to go if we’re not a good fit.

Adam G. Force 32:39
Perfect. Appreciate your time today Brandon. Lot of fun. Thanks for tuning into the authentic brand mastery podcast. Don’t forget to stop by Change Creator calm for more information fresh and articles content and our services if you’re looking to build a brand that people love, and please stop by iTunes, leave us a five star review. We appreciate your support.

Uyi Abraham: From $100 In Your Pocket to an 8 Figure Company

uyi abraham

Why do some people make it and some people don’t? Not only did Uyi Abraham go from having $100 in his pocket to building an 8 figure company, but he built a company that helps other entrepreneurs create their dreams. In this interview, he shares what made it possible for him and offers critical strategies that you can adopt today.

 More about Uyi:

Uyi Abraham is an award-winning business coach, serial entrepreneur, investor, strategist and best-selling author.

He is an African immigrant who relocated to America with only $100 in his pocket and a suitcase of clothes.

He has been educating people on business and success principles for over 20 years. Despite his humble beginnings, he has attained entrepreneurial success and is devoted to helping others become successful entrepreneurs.

He is the founder of Vonza.com – a SaaS company that makes it easy for entrepreneurs to start and grow a profitable online business, Higher Place Christian University, and Uplevel Enterprises – a marketing and consulting service firm.

His passion is to help people break the limits and fulfill their life and business dreams.

You might also like:

Mickie Kennedy: Get More Visibility And Traffic Using Affordable Press Releases The Right Way

Michael Unbroken: Starting And Growing A Coaching Business That Saves Lives

Full Transcript

Adam G. Force 0:03
Welcome to the Change Creator podcast where entrepreneurs come to learn how to live their truth, get rich and make a massive difference in the world. I’m your host, Adam forest co founder, Change Creator and co creator of the captivate method. Each week we talk to experts about leadership, digital marketing and sales strategies that you can implement in your business and like to go big, visit us at Change Creator comm forward slash go big to grab awesome resources that will help drive your business forward.

Adam G. Force 0:44
What’s up, everybody? Welcome back to the change credit podcast, this is your host, Adam force. So listen, if you missed the last episode, we spoke with Mickey Kennedy. And for over 20 years has been in the PR game.

So it’s interesting, because PR is not really a marketing channel, we talk about too much. And so we wanted to just, you know, kind of explore that a little bit and what it means to entrepreneurs, you know, in their first five years, and when is the right time? And why would we use PR, so we kind of get into all that stuff.

And what Mickey does, he actually has, you know, a lot of good, valuable insights on his website, but it’s also a very affordable form of PR, and he has some really great partnerships in the in the space. So it’s definitely worth considering and exploring.

But remember, timing matters, we need to do things at the right time. So you really need to ask yourself the right questions and understand is this does this make sense for me in my business right now, and how I’m using my resources and things like that.

So definitely a great conversation with a lot of valuable inputs about getting visible out in the market, and when PR might make sense for you. So today, we’re gonna be talking with UI Abraham, okay. And, you know, he, so he’s, he was actually referred to me from someone in my network. And he’s doing some really great stuff. And he’s been down a very long journey.

So his story is powerful, you’re gonna want to hear this. And, you know, he’s an entrepreneur, he’s the founder of a company called bonds. So, you know, they were able to get some investment, and it is a platform that offers an all in one solution type thing, all right, and they try to make it very accessible for entrepreneurs.

So it addresses all kinds of things with various tools that you need to run a business and they’ve had over if I remember correctly, 10,000 signups in less than in less than two years or so. And, you know, so he, he did, but this was not his first company. Alright, so they are a I’m trying to remember seven or eight figure company at this point, he’ll he’ll clarify in our conversation.

And, you know, the the point and one of the really powerful points that I found interesting was he started several companies. So he’s gone down this journey, and it’s only because of the journey that he was able to uncover valenza as finally his his like, sweet spot, like something that’s really clicking and really working. And now like, you know, he’s earning a lot of money, but he’s also doing something meaningful, using the skills that he’s adopted over the years.

So really powerful story, lots to learn from him. So we’re gonna get into a really great conversation in just a minute there. So hang tight. Okay, so just a quick update on our brand studio. We have one spot left, we just brought on two amazing people. And then we have a few others that are still on the roster that we’re working with. And it’s been really exciting because we’re getting some more and more sites live we as you guys probably recall, we put the pink bakery live, we just went live also with smart, creative social, we just went live with my product developer so smart, creative social is from Jennifer and she is a Pinterest expert, you want massive traffic from Pinterest organically. She’s the person to talk to she’s a content marketing wizard and she’s doing some amazing things.

If you’re looking for physical products, I prototyping that’s Brandon that is my product developer you can check that kind of stuff out so lots of really good stuff going on there. Alright so guys, if you are interested you just go to Change Creator calm and if you are looking to take your brand to the next stage, right really polish it so you can build trust, you know, earn credibility and then really set up this really the online real estate, your web pages your website to sell more, right?

This is key. Let’s talk like this is who we like to work with. We only have one spot. So we’re always very selective. We’ve turned down people before, even just recently, and So reach out. We’ll have a strategic conversation about your business and see if we’re a good fit.

All right. All right, guys. I think that covers it for now. So We will dive into this conversation. Okay, show me the heat. Hey, Lee, welcome to the Change Creator podcast. How you doing today, man?

Uyi Abraham 5:10
Doing great, man. So good to be here with you. I’ve heard awesome things about you. I heard your demand. And I’ve been looking forward to being on the show with you today.

Adam G. Force 5:21
Awesome. I appreciate that. I appreciate that, you know, seems we got some common ground in our networks, which is always cool. It just shows the power of having the people that surround you. Right?

Uyi Abraham 5:31
Go, right, that’s true.

Adam G. Force 5:32
Yeah. So I always like to kind of hear what you have going on right now like these, like, present day, and how you got there. So if you could just give a little bit of that kind of like, here’s where I’m at. And here’s how it happened kind of in a nutshell.

Uyi Abraham 5:49
That’s a great, thank you so much for having me. So, of course, you can tell from my accent, or the listeners can tell. I was born and raised. I was born in Nigeria, I came to America a few years ago with just $100 and a suitcase of clothes, that call me initially to go to school to become a medical doctor. But things didn’t quite work out that way. So I can have, you know, at some difficult times as well. And I found myself in the path of enterpreneurship, an online business, you know, so I went from $100 to my name and a suitcase of clothes, and now leading a successful eight figure, online business software platform called vonda.com. So I know what it takes to go from nothing to becoming a successful enterpreneur.

Adam G. Force 6:39
Wow. So there, that’s a great story and a lot to unpack. So let’s let’s, you know, we’re talking to an audience of entrepreneurs, they’re all trying to make their journey. And I know you support entrepreneurs, I support entrepreneurs, and there’s lots of support out there. And I’d like to hear and I think they would like to hear some of the steps you had to take to start, you know, manifesting and making this a reality for you. So where did it start that you had first started making money? having your own business? Like, where did Where did that all begin?

Uyi Abraham 7:10
Yeah, so, you know, entrepreneurship is always a journey. And for me, you know, going through those difficult times, I was homeless, you know, very short was to be my car, and just trying to pursue my vision. So there are three things that really helped me, and I think will help anybody to go from wherever they are to where they want to be in the intrapreneurship journey. One is mindset, right? So when I was poor, and things was really, really bad, and I was not able to achieve my dreams, when I look back. Now, I could say that one of the things that was really, really wrong was the wrong mindset. Because when you grew up in Africa, where there’s a lot of luck, a lot of, you know, things not working out, well, it kind of other way of conditioning you for a certain lifestyle, you know, well corrosive environments, environments matter, right. So working on your mindset, you know, getting out those garbage thinking, loads, thinking, thinking, and you know, I’m not good enough, nobody’s gonna help me, my ideas are not good enough, I’m not gonna get customers and sometimes we are self defeating, will defeat our own selves, right? So I’ll just say the very first one is working on your mindset, get rid of the stinking thinking, right, um, but you know, think successful. Think like you are, you know, you can get it done, think that you are somebody important begin to work on your confidence and your self esteem, because we attract who we are. So if you think poor and broke and luck, you’re gonna attract the same type of people into your life and the same type of customers too. But if you just change your thinking a little bit, and just kind of think possibility, Think positive, you also be to attract the right type of clients, which is necessary for any type of entrepreneur. So number one, gotta work on your mindset. That’s what I did.

The number two was mantle, you got to understand what you are put on this earth to do. Right. You know, like, I love and what we have a little chat earlier on about social entrepreneurship, right? Well, some of us, we wanted to become intrapreneurs not just so we can have a fat back bank account or so that we can have big houses, but so that we can also give back as well.

So I wanted to be an intrapreneur because I tasted poverty, firsthand, growing up in Africa, and coming to America to win just $100. Right. So I know what it feels like to not have three square meals. So either when I was growing up, you know, things were so bad. My grandma was raising about maybe 14 children and she couldn’t afford to take care of all of them, right?

So she just has anybody that had a problem raised in a church black, bring them bring about Grandma, you can’t afford to take up all these people, right.

So these were so bad that I got used to them in one boy Imagine a boiled egg, the only meat, the only protein in the food is one boiled egg split into six places. And the only part you get is the meat of the protein for the day, I never ate, I don’t remember really eating like for chicken leg or chicken pie, except Christmas, Easter, or when I came to America. So I want to become an entrepreneur and be successful so that I can give back.

And that’s what we’ve been doing with Vanga. In fact, I don’t know when this episode is going to be live.

But in August, I’ll be going again, on a medical mission trip to Africa, this time around taking wheelchairs over there.

So we have hundreds of people we take care of over there, we feed them, clothe them get young women out of the street, or do prostitution.

In Africa, when people are disabled or have disabilities, their family not able to care for them, usually just abandon them to the streets.

So what I’m going to do in the next couple of weeks, is to take some wheelchair shapes on wishes wheelchairs over there, and people that have disability, walking problem, you know, get them off the street and give them our way of mobility.

So, mantra is very, very important. So mantle is why do you really want to be successful? Why do you really want to be an intrapreneur? Is it just so you can brag and say I’m a successful entrepreneur, or for you to give back? Right? I like the most successful companies are those on give back. So understand your mantra, right? And the third thing is mentorship. Right? I think it was Isaac Newton that said, I’ve gone further by standing on the shoulders of giants, you got to find a mentor, find somebody always doing or has done what you’re trying to do, and learn from them. You know, there’s one or two things that they could teach you that will help you go for the faster, you know, don’t try to be a one hit wonder I’ve lost so much money in my life in my intrapreneurship journey. By trying to be no weed or so now I’ve learned to get a mentor. So three M’s to quick success in life. Entrepreneurship, number one mindset gotta work on that mindset. Gotta surround yourself with like minded people, people that think the way you want to leave people that are thinking people that live in, you know, in a way that is similar to what you want to live in your dream life. then number two, you got to understand your mantra Was Your Man towards your purpose on earth? Was your calling, right? Why do you really want to be successful, so bad? then number three, you got to find a mentor that can help you navigate through the entrepreneurship journey?

Adam G. Force 12:46
Yeah, those are three great pillars that you can hear, you know, often enough. And I think, you know, in my experience, the mindset. I don’t think enough people take that seriously, because it’s not tangible. Yeah, gotcha. It’s not a tactic. It’s not like a strategy. But it really makes a big difference in the behaviors that you have. Right, and and how you do things. And I’m curious if there were any particular steps that you took to help actually be more disciplined about having a good mindset?

Uyi Abraham 13:28
Very good question. I don’t Wow, you have great questions. So there a couple of things that I did one, you got to be intentional, it doesn’t happen by accident, or by chance, you got to be intentional. So that’s some of the steps I did one. I’m married. So I had to have a good partner, that will help reinforce the right mindset. because growing up poor broke, I had a lot of rejections built up inside of me. I felt like people hold me something. And that was a negative thinking negative mindset.

So my wife always reinforce positive mindset to me and say, Hey, nobody owes you nothing. Be grateful. Even somebody don’t support you today, doesn’t mean they will not support you tomorrow. So what am I saying? Step number one, find somebody who can help reinforce or help provoke you towards positive or the right mindset could be a spouse, a friend, a brother, anybody, right? A mentor, whatever, right? then number two was environment, yada, stop hanging around the wrong type of people that think wrong, that talk wrong, that move around, you know, and they’re not they don’t inspire the best in you, right?

If people keep talking about everything is so hard, nobody’s gonna make the economy negative, right? You know, you know, you got to call them out. associate yourself with the people that look like your future. I gotta say that one more time. associate yourself with the people that look like Your future, right. So that’s another good step.

Then three is physical environment. I mean, I live in Atlanta. And you know, we live on the south side, we just kind of, you know, the rough part of the south side where, you know, kind of crazy stuff, harpoon and stuff. And you know what I didn’t know, I thought, Adam, I thought I was saving because it was the cheapest part of town, like me how much I’m saving money compared to people live on the north side, which is more affluent people that think differently, you know, but really, for several years, I was stuck. Because, again, well, product of AI environment, right? if everybody’s making 40,000 a year, that’s the most they can make. And you’re right there with them. Guess what you got to make just about 40.

Though, I literally physically moved to a different type of environment. Because what you see would eventually inspire you to become better, or to become better, right? So, so gotta move the environment. And another quick step, I can also say that we help to ease books, read the right books, listen to podcasts, like this pattern as a great podcast, right? Subscribe to this podcast, listen to it over and over, over again, right? Because what you hear in the scripture that says Faith comes by hearing or hearing, right? So what you hear eventually becomes who you are. So those are some quick steps that will, you know, will help anybody to develop the right mindset.

Adam G. Force 16:32
Yeah, you did mention something that really stuck out to me and I, I do a weekly coaching call for our brand accelerator that we run. And we talked about, you know, people set weekly, monthly, quarterly annual goals, you know, and I, I sit down every day, and I look at my daily plan, like, and I start off and I was like, now this is everybody goes, Yeah, and I’m just not gonna do that right now. I’m busy, I get it, I get it. But the first thing on that daily plan is three things I’m grateful for.

Yeah. And I don’t think people realize the power of just thinking about that every day. And you mentioned, like, your wife was, like, be grateful for it have, you know, stop thinking that?

Oh, you know, like the negative side of something. It’s kind of like the glass half full, half empty, right. And, you know, when you start thinking about what you’re grateful for, you start attracting more of that in your life. And I think everything that you’re saying is just kind of like hitting the nail on the head.

And you’re right, you know, you can have mentors, you don’t have to spend 30 grand on a mentor. I mean, it’s nice when you can work one on one with somebody, but there are books, there are courses, there’s bonza, there’s programs out there that share and surround you with this information. Do you agree?

Uyi Abraham 17:48
I agree. Absolutely. You know, I mean, there’s YouTube, there’s your show, right? There’s books, everything that can help, right? So there’s really no excuse for anybody to say, Well, I cannot afford a coach one on one or mentor, right? There’s a lot of free information out there that will help anybody to begin to not just only grow their mind, but really anything that you want to learn or become. You can easily find it right now.

Adam G. Force 18:18
Yeah. And so was bonza your first business or?

Uyi Abraham 18:23
No, I failed in about 13 businesses before I found success online. Let me just say real quick to the audience listening as well. Never ever give up. The first business you start is not always going to may not be the last may not be the only business you have. Right. So I’ve had multiple businesses before my very first business was a web design company.

I was building web design for for people. Web Design, I look online Christian University. I did photography, videography, professionally, coaching, consulting course creator, SAP did all of these things, and I filled in some businesses to along the way.

But why don’t the secret of success is just to never ever give up? Right? But when you’re creative person, your Creator, he has got to keep creating until you find your magic.

So I feel like Vonda was my magic. And the reason I started Vonda was because you know, as a creato