Taryn Larock: How She Went from Model to Creating a Sustainable Fashion Business

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The fashion industry has a lot of bad practices that need to course correct, but where you do even start?

Taryn Larock went from a model to a sustainable fashion business owner. In this discussion, she explains why she made the change and the steps she had to take to make the business happen.

About Taryn:

Taryn Larock is the founder of the sustainable brand Sage Larock, who previously worked as a model until launching the brand in 2015. Taryn Launched the brand specifically to offer women a sustainable & ethical alternative to traditionally made apparel. Taryn previously apprenticed under eco-fashion pioneer Linda Loudermilk in Los Angeles. SAGE LAROCK was recently awarded ‘Best Made in California Brand’ by the Los Angeles Business Journal (PETA Nominated), and has been featured in the Zoe Report, Modern Luxury Magazine & Angeleno Magazine.

Learn more about Taryn and her work at > http://www.sagelarock.com

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Transcription of Interview

(Transcribed by Otter.ai, there may be errors)

Adam G. Force 00:03

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 life to go big, visit us at Change Creator comm forward slash go big to grab awesome resources that will help drive your business forward. Hey, what’s going on everybody? Welcome back to the Change Creator podcast show. This is your host, Adam force, excited to jump into this next conversation because fashion is such a big industry. And there’s a lot of bad practices, let’s just say. And so every time I anytime I see an entrepreneur tackling those issues, I’m excited to talk more about it. You know, we had Rachel Fowler on here and some other people in the fashion space, like Jake orok, and they’re doing a lot of great things. And so today we’re going to be talking with her name is Taryn Lorac. All right. And she was actually previously a model until she launched her business in 2015, which is a sustainable brand called Sage Lorac. And it is obviously a fashion brand. And they specifically offer women a sustainable and ethical alternative to traditionally made apparel. So she’s gonna dive into what that’s all about and what she’s trying to accomplish Exactly, and how she’s doing it and things like that. So this will be a fun conversation. Now, if you missed the last episode, it was with way, and way you know what I’m gonna remember executives pronounce the last name, I think home. And you know, he’s a super smart dude. I bet him back in January 2020. Before COVID kind of took off, we were out in California at a summit for a mastermind we were both part of, and he did a great talk out there. And he talked about money mindset, that is his specialty. And so this is a topic I’m always interested in. And if you missed that, you’ll want to go back, check it out. There’s a lot of good nuggets of information in there that will help you. And guys, if you’re not following us on Facebook yet, be sure to stop by Follow us on Facebook. We share a lot of information and updates there. We’ll be doing some more lives and videos and things like that. And from there, you can also find the button to go to our Facebook group be a Change Creator. Alright. And that group will have a little more in depth conversation about different topics in business and things like that. Alright guys, that’s it. For now, we’re going to kick this off. Don’t forget to stop by Change creator.com forward slash go big get your goodies. We’ll be actually making some updates to that very soon. Um, I think that’s it. Let’s jump into this conversation about the fashion world.Okay, show me the heat.

Adam G. Force 03:09

Hey, Taryn, welcome to the Change Creator podcast show how you doing today?

Taryn Larock 03:13

Good.

Adam G. Force 03:14

Awesome. I, as I mentioned, before, we jumped on here, I’m excited to talk about the fashion industry. There’s just such a big matzah ball out there when it comes to fashion. And the cost of you know, we’ve all heard probably by now fast fashion or having supply chains that are, you know, not fair trade, or there’s children involved, you know, under age workers and things like that. So, so much. And then, of course, the pollution factor, right. So I’m excited to hear more about, you know, your journey of why you started a fashion company and made that decision, and kind of like where you are today and what’s going on. So we’ll dig into that stuff. Maybe you can just give us a little background to kick us off of kind of like, why, why you’re where you’re at now.

Taryn Larock 04:04

Yeah, absolutely. So, um, for years, I worked in the fashion industry in a different way. I did some modeling work in the US and Europe. And so I came out of that and I, I knew I wanted to be able to leverage the knowledge that I had gained from the industry. And I wanted to do something entrepreneurial, but also something that was sustainable. And so at that point, I was looking into different avenues whether I want to do textile design or, or work for a brand and I just, I found it very challenging to to find something that was in alignment with my principles of sustainability, and also from a human rights perspective. And I think what you said is it’s it’s a big matzo ball is the best way to put it because, and it’s getting the industry is getting better, but going back to about 2012 13 when I was I was just working with this as a concept central rock as a concept and a sustainable brand, that, that had that deeply embedded into our brand ethos. There just there was an awful lot out there at that point. So that’s that’s how I kind of got started because I was having difficulty finding a job that was in alignment with my own principles. And it would that I found would be interesting. And could could go in a direction where sustainability and and ethical production would be at the forefront. I just had, well, I’m not finding it. So I should just launch it. So here we are.

Adam G. Force 05:45

And what were some of the major, I guess, as you were figuring this out, and we all go through this discovery phase of figuring things out, you know, you know, what was standing out to you about the industry that you wanted to make sure if I do this, I’m going to do it differently. I’m going to do X, Y, and Z, like what were the I know, there’s a lot of different things about the fashion industry, but what really important to you and stood out, that’s a major issue that we’re tackling here that you want to do differently.

Taryn Larock 06:16

So I there were a couple things that struck me is really important, from the get go. And one of them was using fabrics that are either organic, or upcycled. And then also ethical production. And there’s a lot of greenwashing in the industry. I think specifically now with with the industry, it’s kind of trendy or cool to to be sustainable or have a sustainability initiative embedded into a brand. But I wanted to be transparent and have integrity in that rather than just say, Oh, well, we do one one piece that’s kind of sustainable, or that I can pass off is sustainable. I didn’t want anything to do that. Because having been in the industry in a different way, I saw that. I saw that. Women and now unfortunately, this is this is happening to men, we’ve all been kind of sold a bill of goods where we need to consume different things every season. And that has to be very trend driven. And it’s like we’re all kind of women. And as I said, Now men were locked into the cycle of consumption. And I thought that’s, that’s not really the way it should be. I understand that that drives more profits, but it’s it’s not in alignment with in my opinion of running an ethical brand to to constantly be in this loop of buy and do away with what you had. I think that that’s probably one of the least sustainable things we can do also. So I wanted to really drive a product that we lead with style and quality and wearability season after season and year after year, something that wasn’t going to fall apart in the washing machine, which happens with a lot of swimwear. Unfortunately, after you know you wear it for summers done, it looks trashed. But I’m yeah, I’m proud to say with the materials that we use in the in the manufacturing process that we use, but that isn’t the case. Just to test this, I kept the very first suit that we that we cut and sewed for myself, and I wear the heck out of it. And it’s still it’s still going so I wanted to lead with that. And then also, you know, I I’ve seen sweatshops when I was interviewing garment production here in Los Angeles, and I previously thought they only existed, you know, in mainland China or, or Sub Saharan Africa, but they are they’re underground parking. Lots here in Los Angeles in the financial district I’ve seen so it’s just and they’re quite sad places and a lot of brands use them because it you know, can double or triple your your profit margin. But yeah, I didn’t want anything to do with that. So, you know, just really Those were the key factors that I really wanted to consider in in even coming up with a prototype. And if we couldn’t meet, if we couldn’t meet those standards, I was going to step back and revisit how to do things in a better way. Yeah, I definitely believe that the fashion industry is operating is kind of an old dinosaur crawling around from ethical and sustainable standpoints. And it’s it’s changing, but it needs to change more quickly and catch up with consumer demand and doing things in the right way is my opinion.

Adam G. Force 09:35

Yeah, I mean, you brought up washing and and you brought up you know, a couple of key things that were important to you. And I think there is there’s just you know what it’s like not that greenwashing has come up when when the sustainability movement got traction. And I realized that it’s greenwashing it’s for everything. You know, it’s really just everybody wants to pretend To be something in order to get the reap the benefits, but not actually follow through and act, you know, walk the walk. And we see it so much. So I am… Now, if you look so as you explore this and you figure out like how you’re going to set up your business? Were you talking to like, were you looking at manufacturers overseas or just in the US?

Taryn Larock 10:25

So initially, we were just looking in the US just because I’m launching the brand, it was just myself and one other woman. And we we just really wanted to make sure we had full visibility on on what was going on. We didn’t want someone to say, Oh, yeah, we’re going to make this but we’re we’re going to send pieces over to Xyz factory, and we don’t have visibility on that. And then we’re calling ourselves an ethical and sustainable brand. But yeah, we really wanted to make sure that was the case, and also support the local garment industry here. A lot of it post 2008 went overseas, and there’s just so many talented people here we wanted to support.

Adam G. Force 11:06

Sure. Yeah, I mean, I’m always curious about that, because, you know, we’re not ecommerce on our end, and I have explored those ideas. And I’m looking at things like Ali Baba, and I’m just like, wow, yeah, a million different things, and then travel all over the place and look at these places. And it just got overwhelming to me. I mean, keeping in the states is nice. I mean, in my mind, more importantly, I like what you said is like it’s easier to manage, if it’s in the States, because you can get it and things like that. That’s smart. I guess the most important thing would be getting the quality of the product as in sustainable or whatever materials and all those things. Sometimes that stuff can get really expensive in state, and did you notice big differences at all? Or are not really?

Taryn Larock 11:55

You’re quite right. It definitely is more expensive. I think just because the sustainable market is kind of a niche market. So it’s, it’s definitely gonna be what I’ve seen about double or triple the cost. But on the flip side of that coin is the, it matches the quality with that, too, for what I’ve seen. So I mean, I just think from the perspective of building a better product, it makes sense, because our customers being interested in sustainability, they don’t want to just buy something and throw it away. After after one season. So yeah, it is more expensive, though. And it’s unfortunately unavoidable. We get all our materials from Italy, so it’s even more expensive. But worth it.

Adam G. Force 12:46

Yeah, I mean, listen, listen, that is the differentiating selling point just has to be clear. And you’re right, people will pay for better quality, meaning I don’t want to buy 10 bathing suits, I wanna, I wanna, you know, and my wife and I, like I literally was just buying, we were looking because we bought our first house a while ago. And we’re like buying a lawn mower. And I’m like, I could use the exercise anyway. So we’re paying someone to cut the lawn right now. It’s like, I can do it once in a while too. And as soon as we go to buy anything, I’m like, you know, I could get this like longmore for like 200 bucks, but then I’m gonna end up buying another one a year later. So it’s like, yeah, piece of crap is gonna play out. Same idea with any product, right? Like you always want to buy, it’s more expensive to buy cheap than it is to just get quality right out of the gate. Right. So true. Yeah, that makes a big difference makes a big difference. So I think that’s worthwhile. I think that’s good. And one thing that’s challenging in this marketplaces, and I don’t know, if you’ve seen this is like, Well, everyone will quickly fill out a survey or tell people that they support sustainable products. And that’s what that they’re going to spend more on organic, sustainable, whatever it might be. But it’s odd, because the survey data says, Whoa, look at this, look at these behaviors and attitudes are all in line with this, I’m gonna I’m gonna create this sustainable product, we’re gonna be rich. But then, when push comes to shove, and they get to put money down, and they see a really cool bathing suit from like, h&m for $50 versus another one for 75 at like scotch and soda or something, you know, they’re like, yeah, okay, I’m gonna get the one for 20 bucks. And this is what’s happening. It’s a very interesting disconnect about what they what they want to feel and say and do with what they actually act on.

Taryn Larock 14:35

It’s so true. And and I think it’s, you know, just to give everyone a brief little history lesson, it’s the fashion industry in 2008. When we we had the economic crisis, a lot of a lot of our production was sent offshore and in order to compensate for for and kind of correct consumers not purchasing and looking for discount goods or Not purchasing at all. The market was flooded if everyone remembers back with a lot of fast fashion. Yeah. And so I think, you know, it’s the $5 t shirt or the $20 jeans, and he said, the $15 bathing suit or swim trunks, and it’s just, you know, or five pairs of socks for like 10 bucks. And there’s a cost associated with that. Like, he doesn’t want to buy something in Payless. Everyone does, of course, but at the same time, there is a cost associated with that. And a lot of those costs are you know, we’re we’re destroying waterways by dumping toxic chemicals from carcinogenic dyes into waterways. And guess what those dyes go into your bloodstream via the largest organ, we all have our skin. Yeah, and you know, and that’s, that’s probably a whole nother discussion. There’s a human cost associated, which is there’s an estimated I think it’s 20 million people in modern slavery, which are in the fashion industry, garment production industry. And that’s just below tech and animal agriculture. So the fashion industry isn’t really doing well with with rankings on human rights, labor laws being upheld, because a lot of it is done in in third world economies, whether those regulations are in place, or as I mentioned, like underground kind of secret places in just under our noses, and in other global cities and first world countries. So it’s like, yeah, I want that $15 bikini, but what is it? What is the cost associated with it, and you’re right, it is like, it’s like your lawnmower, you’re just gonna end up buying another one. So it’s kind of like, we all have to be retrained. And unfortunately, the garment industry, like the market isn’t gonna do it. For us, we have to, I think it’s a reprioritization of our values. It’s like, if we look at our parents, closet, or grandparents closets, they had like, four or five really nice suits. You know, my grandmother had like four or five really nice dresses, some suits and then some things to wear to like a wedding or a cocktail party. And she wasn’t she might add a thing or two a year. Same with my grandfather, but it wasn’t this constant consumption of crap. Right? And so it’s, it’s like, what are we buying? And like, we’re throwing it away, it’s going in a landfill, I would say about 80% of the clothing being made is polyester or acrylic, which is plastic. So yeah, and it’s, you know, we’re pumping, I believe we’re pumping about 70 million barrels annually of crude oil to produce virgin polyester. So it’s like, you know, and that contributes to oil spills and fracking. So it’s just what is the cost for that $15. swimsuit. And I think that it’s a lot to ask consumers to sit and break that all down, it’s taken me years to research and I’m a little, I’m obsessed with it. So for me, it’s fun. But it’s it’s a lot to ask as someone who just wanted to go out and get a T shirt. So I think brands need to be remote responsible. And unfortunately, it’s like going in a grocery store. Just because something’s on the shelf doesn’t mean it’s good for you to put in your body. You know, you know, we kind of have to empower ourselves and take that back and be like, No, I don’t want to wear something made by a slave that has a carcinogenic aizome dye in it. It’s just gross. So I’m gonna pay 30 bucks more.

Adam G. Force 18:31

I mean, it’s a tough, you’re right, yeah. Tough shift for people. And I think, you know, the more I learn about human behavior and understanding how environment triggers behavior, it’s like, I struggle. You know, how do I want to say this? So for example, can we really rely on people to make the decisions like that, right? Because they’re in a position where they have all these considerations? And it’s like, Well, sure, I can’t afford this right now. Or it’s in like, they have this intention, where it’s like, it’s an honorable intention. That’s what they want to do. But when push comes to shove, and they have to, they’re scraping by check to check. It’s like, well, I’ve I just can’t afford to do that. And so I think it’s challenging because in capitalism, we have to build businesses. And there’s always gonna be somebody out there cutting the corners to be higher profits, to be higher profits to have higher profits. And that means to do these things that maybe no one else is doing, right. It could be child labor, it could be polluting, could, someone’s always going to be doing that. And we have to rely on the consumer to make the smart choice. When in reality, the way it would work best is if the environment itself didn’t rely on the consumer, just any choice they had the status quo was these these operations were done in a proper way like you’re doing

Taryn Larock 19:58

Yeah, and and You’re so right. I mean, it’s just all things being considered and when the market is offering you, you know, from let’s use h&m as an example. Like they they position themselves as a conscious brand. They’re conscientious of their production. Well, not to knock h&m but yes and no, if you look at the data, so I think that there’s a lot of misinformation out there. And you’re right, it should people should be able to, to make that decision. But what I found even from a consumer standpoint, being a consumer of sustainable fashion, as much as possible, myself, there aren’t that many alternatives out there. And the ones that are, yeah, you have to retain yourself, say, Yeah, I want a sweater. Well, that one’s $90. But it’s organic. And it’s the price I think we need to meet in the middle, like, there needs to be more accessibility for manufacturers and brands to to make things that have a profit margins that are acceptable to do business, and support, support production economies that the consumer can consider accessible. We just make sustainability and ethic you know, ethical fashion, a luxury option. It’s like organic food, like organic food. Now you go into some like dollar stores, there’s organic lettuce, like it has to be accessible.

Adam G. Force 21:22

I know and that that is the biggest challenge, I see a lot of these brands and if someone’s going to tell me that the quality, not only is it organic and sustainable, but the quality of it is going to last me like oh, you can put this in the wash 1000 times and you can wear it you know roughhousing with the kids outside, you know, for three years. And look, it’s still the same high quality shirt or pants I that sells me because I’m buying the quality. So it all of a sudden, like the sustainable part of it is nice, because you’re making a conscious decision. But as far as making sure you’re getting your money’s worth that I think that quality over time factor comes in pretty big.

Taryn Larock 22:04

Yeah, then you’re like sold, I’ll take it there’s a there’s a value add beyond my just feeling good about it. Ladies, I’m actually going to get my money’s worth. It’s like a little return on your investment for your being able to wear it for a few years. She said yeah roughhousing with your kids and your dog, it’s it’s going to pay off. But so I think manufacturers just what you said, Adam, they need to take that into account as well. Because that will be a value add for customers. So for those who are considering a sustainable or an ethical brand, right, like, yeah, embed that in the product, and then it becomes interesting to people. And then also like things that aren’t so trend driven. Because that’s a little trick that the fashion industry is done on us to keep profits, right. I mean, but it’s not necessary. It’s it’s just the way it’s been done. It doesn’t need to be the way it continues to operate. No, no, you’re right. And then that’s where the higher price comes into. We’re not gonna keep selling you a bunch of random things. It’s its own style. Yeah, you’ll be good new year or two

Adam G. Force 23:09

Man, smart people were a lot of the same thing all the time. Remember that?

Taryn Larock 23:13

Yeah, it’s true. It’s more efficient.

Adam G. Force 23:16

It is like a uniform, but where’s my black t shirt and jeans? That’s my outfit.

Taryn Larock 23:21

Uniform dressing. I’m a huge fan

Adam G. Force 23:24

Yeah. So tell me a little bit. What were some of the most actually before even ask that… Does the higher costs necessarily come from the manufacturer or from the materials that need to be accessed?

Taryn Larock 23:41

So it’s, it’s kind of twofold. So I mean, in an ideal world, the savings would be passed on to the customer, right? Like, I’m not going to create some some, you know, arbitrarily high profit margin for myself. To to qualify, the fact that I bought some fabric that was more expensive. With what we use specifically, the matter of fact is even though it shouldn’t be the case, like organic cotton farming, or like hemp farming, because it uses, like, bugs don’t like hemp, they’re just not going to touch it with a 10 foot pole, so you don’t even need insecticides on it. So it’s nice. It’s it’s just yeah, it’s not something they have an appetite for. So you would think that would be less expensive, because it’s less. It’s more efficient to produce, you know, it’s less like ours tending the plant, right. But that’s not the case because it’s still kind of a niche product. They’re producing less of it so it’s more expensive. And with this swimwear fabric we use they’re actually teams of divers. And then recently, we worked with the marine conservation group, Sea Shepherd, and they’re pulling out like plastic poachers, nets. That it’s crazy, like some of them are miles long each. So there’s not a cost associated with getting like besides the crews pulling them up, but it’s like the product is already there and you just there’s a process to like grind it up and turn it into fabric. So, you know it, it is, I think it’s more expensive because less of it is being done. Yeah. And then also, you know, we just live in a world where, like, if something doesn’t have all the chemical compounds and whatnot going into it, it’s, it’s going to take more time potentially to produce because again, less of it is just there’s less demand for it. And so I think once that demand grows, then things will become more accessible. So when more brands, you know, companies get on the bandwagon of utilizing these materials, it’s going to be better for all of us.

Adam G. Force 25:54

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. It’s like going Costco versus the family owned little corner store.

Taryn Larock 26:00

Totally. It get support, but it may be double the price. So yeah,

Adam G. Force 26:05

Yeah. Oh, my God. It’s tough man. But I yeah, I guess yeah, I then I’m, it kind of leads me into my question I wanted to ask before is just what have been some of the challenges for you personally, not just with, you know, I guess just anything in the scope of getting your business off the ground that you’ve had to overcome, you know, during your process, since you started?

Taryn Larock 26:35

Yeah, and it’s, it’s interesting, um, I think some of the some of the things that we roadblocks that we ran up against initially have what I’ve been proudest of having kind of is our brand ID later on, and really what is made, I believe the brand worthwhile and special. Like, when when I was starting out, and trying to source some, some organic or upcycled fabrics, people would be like, Well, I have no idea why you want this, this is not the way it’s done. And I got so much pushback, you know, and and now this is what is the differentiating factor of what we do and why we do it. So there was a lot of that and just, I mean, finding things that are a reasonable price. And, and that it’s still in the fashion industry, a lot of the organic stuff. It’s like, I mean, I you know Whole Foods has like a little clothing section in some of their stores. And it’s nice, it’s like Fairtrade cotton, the manual, like the quality is not always it’s not always like a lot of longevity built into the product. Because it’s, it’s, it’s not supposed to be a luxury product. But it’s like finding things that will last it’s like using some of those organic fabrics. It’s nice that it supports Fairtrade. And it supports, you know, organic farming. But then I think, I think looking at things and being like, well, I can’t use that because I bought those before they fall apart after being washed four times. So shrink. And so it’s like finding something that is going to be functional, stylish, and have some longevity, longevity and then be have quality production. And like when I was trying to put all those pieces together again, I kept getting pushback of why would you want to do that? Why would I want? Why would I want that when I can go to Whole Foods and get you know, the organic underwear for like 15 $18 Why would I want to pay more? Why are you making this like show us where the demand is. And again, I feel like the pushback that we got is what has made us special. So I’m glad we stuck through it. But it’s still it’s still a process that is consistently being worked out. So I don’t want to say that that’s totally in the rear view.

Adam G. Force 29:03

Gotcha. Gotcha. Makes sense. And what what do you I guess, what’s the vision now for you over let’s say in 12 months, like, what does your brand look like?

Taryn Larock 29:19

Um, so we’re continuing to grow our our swimwear line, I mentioned that we recently worked with the marine conservation group, Sea Shepherd. So they had pulled out 40 tons of nets out of a marine reserve. These were poachers nets from Chinese fishing boats that their shark fishing net. So it’s for shark finning. And some of these are worth like 10 grand each. You know, they’re they’re not supposed to be there and they kind of have to sneak in and be very stealth and drop these nets that are pretty much unbreakable. So we’re very proud to be able to work with the different nonprofits to, to kind of highlight what they’re doing and then show how the fashion industry, I think it’s interesting that the fashion industry has a lot of power, because it’s got a lot of visibility. And it’s like, you know, people pay attention to fashion. So one of the things we like to do is, is partner with nonprofits or causes that are tied to the fashion industry or tie them in different ways. Like canopy planet we also work with as a nonprofit, they, they work to protect global forest areas from the fashion industry. And it’s like a lot of people don’t know that millions of trees, old growth trees even are logged every year to produce cheap fabric rayon and viscose. So it’s, I think we’d like to continue to raise awareness about protecting key conservation areas by which can be actually done through fashion consuming, which I think is kind of cool. So we’d like to continue on in that vein. And then also, we’re rolling out a couple new product lines, and one is going to be lingerie for women. And so we’re going to be doing all organic fabrics dyed with botanical, totally non toxic natural dyes, because I saw that there’s a lot of organic, like underwear socks out there. And those are the things that are closest to our lymphatic system where we absorb like a lot of what we put on our body, which is kind of scary that most of it is pretty toxic. So and then there’s a lot of organic stuff out there, but it’s dyed with chemical dyes. That kind of negates the fact it was organic to begin with another greenwashing issue. So we’re gonna do like, totally clean, we’re excited about that. So just, you know, I would really like to grow the brand and offer more to consumers, and more diverse product range with diverse partnerships to just really highlight that sustainable fashion can be functional and stylish.

Adam G. Force 31:55

Hmm, that’s awesome. Yeah. And it’s interesting that you’re partnering with lots of different nonprofits and I guess, what about like, how is it been from an e commerce standpoint in fashion? You know, marketing, like getting set up with an e commerce shop like or, you know, or is your site on Shopify you doing your own thing? I think some of those little details might be helpful for people just to see like what you kind of worked through and where you landed?

Taryn Larock 32:23

Yeah, absolutely. So yeah, we’re on Shopify, which is, which has definitely helped. I think that’s important for product base, e commerce platforms. And also, we’ve just started exploring doing some, some different partnerships, and some digital marketing. And then we have also partnered with some influencers that are aligned with the brands. So from a marketing perspective, when we started out, it was just kind of organic word of mouth. But now is, as we’ve which is amazing that we got a lot of brand ambassadors that way, just aligning with with some people’s principles and what they were interested in, and they’re being excited to take part in, we were really honored and blessed to have from day one. But now growing, we’ve partnered with a really amazing app, I don’t know if you’re a lot of your listeners or your community of check this out. But it’s called good on you. And it’s a they’re out of Australia. And they’re an app that ranks on pretty much every brand out there in terms of sustainability, ethical production. So it’s a really nice resource for consumers to be able to just have on their phone or check out online, and you’re like, Oh, I really like this brand. What are they up to? Is this sustainable or not? They, they kind of do all the research for you. And then tell you why it is good or not based upon their rather thorough rating system. So we’ve partnered with them to to promote our brand, digitally as well. So So yeah, we’re just exploring a few different options. And we’re looking into getting into some I know it’s a funny time for a lot of businesses right now. But we’re looking to expand it to Australia, southern hemisphere, but more as well.

Adam G. Force 34:18

Interesting. Okay. Yeah. Very cool. Well, listen, I want to make sure you get a chance to give a shout out. So anybody interested in checking out your shop and what you offer and all that good stuff, the products? Where do they go?

Taryn Larock 34:33

Totally. So online, check us out at Sage la rock dot com and then feel free to message us on Instagram. If you have any questions. And it’s Sage underscore laroc. And, and and yeah, we’re happy to answer any questions about sustainability. We love to chat about that. So yeah. And look forward to connecting with people.

Adam G. Force 34:54

Cool. All right. Well, thank you so much for being here. Sharing all your insights and doing What you do appreciate it. Thank you Adam. Thanks for tuning into the Change Creator podcast visit us at Change creator.com forward slash go big to get access to free downloads and other great resources that will drive your business forward.

Wei Houng: Creating The Right Money Mindset

Listen to our exclusive interview with Wei Houng:

Subscribe to this show on Spotify  |  iTunes  |  Stitcher  |  Soundcloud

What if your money mindset is limiting your financial results as an entrepreneur? What can you do to change that? We connect with an expert on that topic, Wei Houng, who is the founder of the 6 Figure Academy and host of the podcast, Money Lab.

About Wei:

Founding Member and 6 Figure Breakthrough Coach, Wei Houng, has made it his passion, purpose, and goal to help people eliminate anxiety around money to achieve financial success and live a 6 Figure Lifestyle.

And it wasn’t because he was always a 6 Figure success.

Despite having his first 6 Figure business at the age of 22, he struggled for years to consistently make 6 Figures AND keep it. When he finally figured it out (along with going broke several times), he vowed to make it his mission to help others avoid as many of the pitfalls as possible to 6 Figure success.

And over the last decade and a half, his desire to help others achieve financial enlightenment has evolved into a symbiotic adventure for both him and his clients. He has worked with celebrities, industry thought leaders, and countless entrepreneurs to re-define the role that money plays in their lives. The results have been life changing.

Success Starts From Within, is his personal mantra. It came as an “ah-ha” moment while working with one of his own mentors. The “ah-ha” was that most of his failures were due to him looking outwards for success instead of within. Soon after, he discovered that to help his clients achieve the results THEY were looking for in money, it was more than just about helping them solely in the area of financial success.

“It is about creating success in ALL areas of life to reach your financial goals. Every one of these areas have an impact on each other: finance, health & fitness, mental & emotional, and spiritual.”

The 6 Figure Academy is literally a physical manifestation of Wei’s life experiences. Its philosophies guide all the life coaches and business coaches in the company. By coaching and guiding individuals to reach a high level of clarity in their lives, all the coaches at the The 6 Figure Academy live by the mantra to educate, empower, and inspire others to what their next steps should be, and how to make it happen.

With a background in Computer Science & Engineering and a cohesive minor in Business Management from UCLA, Wei has infused the rapid problem-solving engineering approach in a holistic way to the strategies at The 6 Figure Academy. The holistic side comes from him being a Certified Life Coach, Master Practitioner and Trainer of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Master Practitioner of Hypnotherapy, and Master Practitioner of Mental and Emotional Release® Techniques. He is also an ordained minister in spirituality.

Learn more about Wei Houng and his work at > 6figureacademy.com

We also recommend:

Transcription of Interview

(Transcribed by Otter.ai, there may be errors)

Adam G. Force 00:03

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 force 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 life to go big, visit us at Change Creator comm forward slash go big to grab awesome resources that will help drive your business forward. All right, what’s going on everybody? Welcome back to the Change Creator podcast show, this is your host Devon force. I’m excited today to talk about money. But not just money, specifically, the money mindset. This is a big, big part of not only the entrepreneurial life, but just in life in general, because it’s something that we all have to accumulate and use to get the things we need and all that kind of stuff. And we have a lot of stressors around it from, you know, historical blueprints and all that. So we’re gonna dive into all that stuff and start breaking those things down, which is going to be really helpful for for you guys as entrepreneurs. So we’re gonna be talking with whey, he is the founder of the six figure Academy. And he is all about the money mindset. So we’re gonna, we’re gonna break this stuff down through that conversation, so just hang tight in a minute. We’re gonna get into that stuff. If you missed the last episode, it was with me and Amy. So Amy and I, we spoke about taking a stand with your brand, which is what we’re all about here at Change Creator, and not losing sales. There’s a lot of fear around, you know, the values we have as people and having the same values as a company, expressing them through the business and things like that. So we want to have a conversation about that. Now, this was a Facebook Live that we did last in that episode, and we put it up on the podcast, because it was a great conversation we want to share with you. So yeah, you could check that out. If you missed the last episode. Guys, follow us on Facebook. That’s our primary platform at the moment, we share a lot of content out there and have a lot of conversations on the Facebook platform. You can also from our Facebook page, find our Facebook group, be a Change Creator. And join us there for more in depth conversations around taking a stand with your brand and the businesses that we run. Alright guys, I’m not gonna drag this out any further. Without further ado, we’re just gonna dive into this conversation with Wei and start talking about the money mindset. Hey, Wei, welcome to the Change Creator podcast show how you doing today, man?

Wei Houng 02:38

I’m good. I’m good. Adam, thanks for having me on looking forward to it.

Adam G. Force 02:41

Yeah, absolutely. I’m excited because I always like to talk about money, and especially the mindset around it. So yeah, listen, for anybody that doesn’t know you know, my story a little bit Wei and I connected back in January, when we were able to travel out in California at a summit that we were at together. And He is an expert, he did a great talk on money mindset. So Wei maybe you can jump in and tell us just a little bit about how you got involved in this topic and why it’s so important to you.

03:14

Yeah, that’s a great question, Adam. I didn’t actually choose this niche to be in my, my audience actually chose it. Okay, for me, which was always the best way to do it, I guess. Because that way it takes the kind of the guesswork out of like, what should I do? What’s my purpose? What am I here? How am I going to help my audience, right. And one of the things that came up with the work that I do prior to be too special, you know, to me specializing in, you know, the this money mindset piece was, you know, I was always working on people’s potential and working on helping them achieve the lifestyle that they want. And because of the capitalistic world that we live in, inevitably, we were we would always work around something around money, you know, there’s some kind of a blog around money or challenge around money. And mostly it showed up as anxiety and stress and worry around money. And for me because of my own journey around that. I mean, it I just basically said, You know what, let me show you what I did. Let me show you what my teachers teach me or taught me. And over the years, I developed a systematic approach because of my engineering background, from college, to reengineer, bad money stories to the deep core reasons why we create the challenges anxiety and stress that we have around money. And so one day, a few of my clients said, You know what, as they were giving me their testimonials and reviews, they said, you know, you changed my life, there’s a whole whole a whole set of things that you were able to do but one of the most important things one of the most significant things was to was that you helped me eliminate anxiety and stress I had around money which opened up the doors to all that was possible. me as an entrepreneur to make my impact on this planet. And I said, Oh, that’s interesting and not even see it. It took my coach to tell me like, hey, by the way, do you see a trend here? And I said, No. It says, they are talking about your ability to help them to remove their attachment or improve their relationship or limit their anxiety and stress and work around money. I said, Oh, okay. Well, maybe I’ll do that. And ever since then, I haven’t looked back because I realized it was they were right. It was like the keys to the kingdom, that if I help an entrepreneur who is really focused and wanting to make an impact on this planet, and wanting to make a difference, the last thing we want to do is to occupy our days and times, constantly worrying and stressing about money. Once we get that out of the way, what can you do then?

Adam G. Force 05:54

Yeah, I mean, so that that’s, that is a major force of anxiety and doubt. I mean, what’s the scenario, right? You’re, you’re working a job, but you want to become an entrepreneur, you start a business. But now you know, you’re not making enough money. You got got to put food on the table, you got a mortgage, you got these things going on. in there, of course, is anxiety. So there’s some of it is like, so how much do we attribute Wei to… well, some of this is just like, do you have a good product and any business acumen whatsoever? And some of it is going to be business mindset? Or does business mindset trump wall? I mean, money mindset trump all

Wei Houng 06:36

right, money business mindset could kind of go hand in hand. So they’re both are correct. I would say because we live in an era where you can make money literally doing anything. And there’s a part in one of my courses where I talk about shifting the mindset of your internal narrative or rhetoric that your niche won’t work or your product isn’t good enough. And I list out all these ridiculous products out there and are making millions in the world today. Did you know for example, that there is a a plastic wishbone company, that all they’re doing is making these plastic wishbone you know, the wishbones that we did, and we pull it apart and make a wish? Yeah, there’s literally boxes of it. You can buy with like hundreds of wishbones in it that you can just open up and start making wishes on your own. And it’s a multimillion dollar company selling plastic wishbones. Yeah.

Adam G. Force 07:33

So not only are they selling some Bs, but they’re polluting the world with it too.

Wei Houng 07:41

I don’t think they’re eco friendly plastic wishbones. Right. So that’s one of the things that, you know, kind of shift the perspective and again, it becomes a mindset type of a hack, it’s a way so if you have this intention, and in this desire to make a difference with your idea with your product with your service, there is always a way for you to monetize what’s keeping, you know, entrepreneurs with their purpose, or as you like to call social entrepreneurs, from becoming successful is not that their product or service isn’t good enough. I’ve seen enough of that over the last couple of decades of doing this work, that it’s more about the what your mindset is, what your relationship with money is that will allow you to think of the different avenues and channels of monetization, that can happen for your product or service. And also, it lends to that ability for you to truly own the value of what it is that you provide for your audience. So I absolutely think it’s completely a mindset. I mean, it’s the full embodiment of owning that piece. And it’s, it’s it’s almost less about the strategy or I mean, obviously, if you had terrible copying and terrible marketing strategies, and you terrible packaging and stuff like that, then yeah, that might contribute to that. But what then led to you making those decisions to have terrible copy, to have terrible packaging?

Adam G. Force 09:09

Agreed. I was just gonna say, if you have a poor money mindset, then you won’t invest in good copy.

Wei Houng 09:15

Right? Exactly. Or you will unconsciously make decisions that will maintain and validate a bad money mindset.

Adam G. Force 09:26

Yes, I love that. So I’m gonna even write it down. So you unconsciously, this is so important, anybody this thing that because we all do this, and I’m gonna have Wei explain why this happens in a second. But we unconsciously make decisions to undermine what our success could be because of what we’re telling ourselves all the time. Is that do I have that right?

Wei Houng 09:49

Exactly. That’s exactly right.

Adam G. Force 09:51

Yes. It’s like you’re making yourself fit the mold. So if you’re constantly in your mind, like saying things about yourself or How hard it is to make money or that it’s like it’s it takes a lot of time and a lot of effort. And then that’s exactly what you’re going to start creating as your reality. Right?

Wei Houng 10:10

Exactly. That’s exactly right. I mean, prior to me picking this niche, what I specialize in was working with the most powerful part of the human consciousness, which is the unconscious of the consciousness. So many of us focus on the conscious mind, because that’s what we’re aware of. We’re conscious of it. Yeah. However, most of our emotions, our decision making process, everything that runs and governs our entire existence is powered by the unconscious mind, in other words, is done autonomously. Yeah, which includes a lot of the programming and the stories around money that we grew up with. And what happens is, the unconscious mind spends its entire lifetime of you, looking for events and circumstances and truths, so to speak, to validate the existence, or the purpose of keeping those stories alive, because we use those stories to survive when we were younger. But then when even if we outgrow it, we forget to expire those stories. And we keep looking for ways or doing things, to validate its existence to validate as a truth and maintain it as a truth even though they may not be serving you anymore as a appropriate truth.

Adam G. Force 11:25

Yeah. So you’re validating a truth that does not serve you and, and I mean, you know, I’ve noticed this too, and I’ve read a few books with guys like t harv, eker, and things like that. And it’s like, he’ll tell you, like, don’t say bad things about other people who make money. Because even if you’re saying bad things about other people, just the fact that you’re saying it, you’re kind of just programming that into your own mind. Like, it doesn’t matter if it’s about someone else or not, it’s still gonna affect you, it’s like you programming yourself with the same thing. Right?

Wei Houng 11:53

Right. And let’s go even deeper with that and see what t harv. eker is talking about is how to condition yourself out of that, what I what I deal with is, well, how did you know how to use that to begin with? Yeah, because what you’re trying to kind of re hearse yourself out of by doing the affirmations is a deeper programming of learning that you had at a very, very young age, and a much quicker ways to get to well, how did you eat? How do you even know to vilify rich people? How do you even know to make it a bad thing, because that wasn’t something that you were born with. It was something that was trained into you to nurture it was nurtured into you, by a teacher, such as a parent, such as a relatives such as society, such as culture, yeah. And until we get to that route, we can rehearse and sometimes this is what’s so frustrating a lot of people because I believe in t harv, eker. stuff, the millionaire mindset, what people don’t realize is that if you don’t get to the root cause, you may get a little frustrated as to why things are taking so long to work. But if you want it to work faster with those affirmations, you want to get to the root cause you want to get to what, where you learn that to begin with, unpack it there, deconstruct it, let it go. run some forgiveness around it. Then when you run the affirmations, you’ll be running it on an empty canvas. You’re not trying to paint over something that’s already there.

Adam G. Force 13:22

Yeah, I love that you made me Yeah. So it’s, it’s much nicer when you put a tattoo on a blank piece of skin, not when you’re trying to do a cover up.

Wei Houng 13:30

That’s exactly right. Because you have a tattoo, so you get it right. Yeah.

Adam G. Force 13:36

made me think of that. It’s very powerful, very powerful. Now, I’m, I am someone who read the books, and I’ve done affirmations. But for me, I mean, honestly, I get on to a kick for a little bit, but then you like fade back into old habits. And you’re like, oh, why did I stop doing that? And it’s like, you do it and it feels good for a little bit. And as soon as you feel any, like, goodness from it, you’re like, all of a sudden, it’s like you got somewhere with it. And now you just fade back into old habits. Do you see that a lot with people?

Wei Houng 14:09

Yeah. And that’s a function of our culture, educating us or teaching us that the way to success is willpower and your ability to will yourself to success and that is such an arduous process I found over the years because I went through it myself as well. You know, I always talk about look at the salmon and they swim upstream. But we forget that salmon only do that right before they die. They don’t do it all their life. Most of the time they’re swimming with the current they’re not going against it. They’re going against it just so they can reproduce and then they die.

Adam G. Force 14:41

Yeah, it’s true

Wei Houng 14:42

And so what what I you know, through my my journey of understanding why is this so hard, I realized something is that we’ve been trained to use the part of our mind to achieve results. That is the least powerful out of the two aspects there. There are essentially two complete ponents of our mind, there’s the conscious mind and the unconscious mind. And there have been clinical trials done to test the power or the processing capability of each component, the conscious mind processes information, and they say about 7 million bits per second, which sounds like a lot, because that’s 7 million bits. As you’re scanning around looking at the room seeing what’s going on, what we don’t realize is the unconscious mind processes at 70 million bits per second, which is 10 times more powerful, which is why the unconscious mind is capable of continuously running our bodies, our endocrine system, our sweat glands, our ability to breathe, and blink and beat are heart that’s all governed by the unconscious mind because it has the processing power to do that. What we are doing is we’re not allowing the unkind word basically over tasking our conscious mind, we’re willing it to get to a certain point, and then we get burned out. And then we start to slip back into what we let the unconscious mind take over, because it’s more powerful. But the unconscious mind is still running those old programs. And that’s why we will ourselves to somebody Yes. And also, why is this happening again, is because the unconscious mind has yet to buy in to that new teaching that new learning because it’s still trying to run that old operating system, those old bad money stories of how money supposed to be.

Adam G. Force 16:17

Yeah, so tell me, I mean, and that’s, I think everybody right, so like, we all have certain blueprints that are, you know, created as we grow up. And as we get older, some people start to recognize them and others don’t, you know, like others just continue to keep on keepin on. And, you know, as as if you become an entrepreneur, there’s gonna be a point where you’re, you are trying to figure out well, how do I, you know, mature as an entrepreneur, and how do I take myself to that next step? And I think it always finds its way back to a mindset. Because it’s like you said, you have an operating system that’s kind of outdated. It’s kind of served its purpose, but it’s like you need to, you need to download the latest updates.

Wei Houng 17:02

Exactly.

Adam G. Force 17:04

Right? So I just want to ask, though, but tell me a little bit about because you got into that blueprint conversation, the root causes? I mean, how does someone start acknowledging and figuring out what those are? I know, you obviously have supported a lot of people to do this. Maybe you could take me through just a high level of what that looks like.

Wei Houng 17:24

Yeah, absolutely. Great question. Because, you know, here’s the thing. Why I love working with entrepreneurs is because, you know, one of the things as an entrepreneur, entrepreneur, entrepreneurs who have made it will figure out that in order for your business to grow as an entrepreneur, you have to grow. And this is why I love about working with truly dedicated entrepreneurs, because they know that in order for them to grow their business, to scale their business, to take their business to the next level, they have to invest not just in their business, that the highly invest in themselves as well into their own personal growth, because their business, their passion, is going to be an extension of themselves. And so one of the ways to uncover that is to be constantly in the inquiry of, to understanding yourself to Know thyself, as a Greek philosophers would often often say, since the beginning of Greek philosophy times, they would talk about Know thyself. And the reason is, because every human being that I found in the work that I’ve, that I’ve been doing thus far, it has a unique success, and money blueprint, no to humans, will make money the exact same way. Because the way you make money and create money flow, I would often say you have your own unique frequency of money flow. And to understand how to get to the root cause of bad you need to pull the veil back of what you came into this world with, as your unique what I like to call unique money vehicle. What are the behavior patterns that are naturally authentic to you? What are the things that drive you? What are the things that affect your communication style on how you learn and how you communicate with others? What is your alchemy of refinement, right, because if you buy into someone who has a high refinement, and you’re not designed that way, you’re more earthy, more organic, than trying to get those fancy toys and the fancy materialistic gains is not going to drive you however, there are those who can be motivated and driven that way. It’s different for every human being. And that’s why we use this patented human assessment technology that we have to help kind of disconnect people from the matrix so they can finally see themselves get the operating manual for themselves, to understand what it’s going to take to create the unique flow of success and money and prosperity and purpose in their lives. And if they don’t connect to that core part of them that came that they came into the world with. It’s always going to be a struggle because you’re trying to be like somebody else or you’re trying to make money like somebody else. But the thing is, everybody makes money. differently. And they may seem similar, but there’s very unique drivers in place that will distinguish one person from another even though they’re doing this employing the same strategies and tactics.

Adam G. Force 20:13

Yeah, I think that’s interesting, because they’re, it’s very common. And we see this a lot that entrepreneurs look to other companies that are doing well and want to copy them. Obviously, there’s a number of reasons why that’s not the best idea, because you don’t know really what the success is behind what they’re doing. And also, like you said, there’s, it’s like a certain fit for certain people. Right. And so it may not work the same for you. And there’s so many other factors as well. But I, I agree, I mean, that just, I see that happen a lot. And I’ve been down that road where you see and aspire to certain things. And you realize, wait a minute, why is that? So working so well for them? But but not me?

20:52

Right? Exactly. Exactly. And a lot of entrepreneurs, especially if they’re investing heavily in their business, will come to a certain point where they say, wait a minute, I think I need to and and this is part of the growth, you know, you, you realize, wait a minute, that my greatest investment and where I should invest most of my time, energy and even money is on myself. Yeah, that is what’s going to grow your business faster than anything else. That is what’s going to make your business more sustainable. And that is what’s going to help you make the greatest unique impact that is in alignment with your passion in alignment with your purpose more than anything else. Because if you just do a paint by numbers, ABC XYZ strategy that someone else did that worked for them. Yeah, what they’re not going to realize is Remember, we talked about most of its unconscious, so what most of what made it work for them worked on an unconscious level. And unless they invested heavily to elicit that from their unconscious mind, you’re only going to get a part of the equation. And the other part requires you to figure out how does that then fit with my unique model with the stories that run underneath? That’s things that are driving me on an unconscious level, both emotionally energetically and mentally. Across the board. Yeah, that’s what’s going to make the difference. That’s why I always tell people yeah, great model, the model, the strategy, model, the tactic, and then when you get a basic fundamental idea of how it works, start to lose your unique essence all over it, because all you got was the sticks and bricks in that moment. Now it’s time to make it yours. And when you do that, that’s when you make a difference in terms of utilizing what anybody else teaches you to take it to the next level.

Adam G. Force 22:33

Yeah, I love that. And that, and that is you get a model. But it’s like any sales funnel or tool or anything. What matters is like what you put in it, right? Like the message is the content and how you use it and stuff like that. So it’s just like, right, you know, it’s like having a car, we can all drive the car very differently. Now. You know, someone’s a wild man’s and then there’s a lady that goes 10 miles an hour.

Wei Houng 22:56

Yeah, totally. My cousin and I, both years ago, bought a Ducati, the same Ducati motorcycle each. And we were the same model, just different color. And then of course, I understood like, you know, these handmade Italian bikes, you’ve got to really drive them because they’re meant to drive hard and drive on a track. And so I did my cousin other hand, he kind of drove it very, like a civilian would drive it. Right. Right. One day, we decided to switch bikes, just to kind of see if there was a difference. And he goes, why is your bike so much faster? And I said, Why is your bike so sluggish? And I realized it was how he was driving it, versus how I was driving my motorcycle. And it created a created this custom experience that was uniquely my signature. And that’s I think what a lot of people are missing when you’re learning something new from you, or from me or from anybody else, is that at some point, you’re going to have to allow the tone, the frequency, the unconscious, unique, beautiful configuration of programs and stories that exist within you to then kind of like imprint it on to the sticks and bricks of what you’ve learned from somebody else.

Adam G. Force 24:06

Right. Right. Yeah, that’s a great little analogy. I liked I should use that a lot. It’s a good one. Yeah, so So tell me I guess what? I’m curious. Like, if someone works with you, what do they expect?

Wei Houng 24:29

It’s it’s pretty straightforward. Over the years, I’ve refined the process. So it’s very, you didn’t used to be that clear, used to be like, just show up and we’ll talk about things and have a breakthrough.

Adam G. Force 24:39

We all start their Wei. So anybody listening, your first iteration of anything, it should and will most likely not be ideal, but it just gets it gets to where Wei is now with starting there first.

Wei Houng 24:53

Right? Well, one of the first things we do is we I make sure every every student every client gets an offer. portunity to finally see themselves for what they are not who we use the word what. So that we could distinguish between what was nurtured into you that may or may not be working for you, versus what you are uniquely designed for. So we utilize our patented human assessment technology. And we basically give them a, an operating manual for themselves so they can see how they authentically are and what feeds them, what helps them thrive in this lifetime. From there we go deeper into really understanding what each of those components are, because it’s, it’s like a whole new language. If you met, if you remember from the movie matrix, when Neil was first disconnected, there was a, there was a little bit of like, what the heck is going on? Right? Yeah, it’s kind of like that. And so we take it step by step, then from there, we go into in the more one on one more intimate type of coaching, we then dive into what we like to call a breakthrough session, which is, I like to call it we take a sledgehammer to all the old programs inside you that no longer serve you get that out of the way, clear the debris, clear the floss and clear the roadway. So that when we take the speed limiter off your vehicle of success, you can go as fast as you want without running into something on the road, or worse yet and running into a wall. Right? Yeah. And then as soon as that’s done, then we then we go through the support of making sure if you’ve never driven 200 miles an hour before, and you’ve only driven by 80 miles per hour, well, there’s a little bit of learning that needs to happen is how do I drive at 200 miles an hour without killing myself? Yeah, and so we would go into the, you know, the ongoing coaching that way. And plus, as we continue to help you understand the intimate details of how to use your operating manual itself, to help you, you know, create success in what it is that you’re trying to do in this lifetime. And so that’s, that’s, that’s the core, you know, steps of the process so that, you know, that we’ve kind of whittled down kind of whittled down over the years as one of the most effective ways to get results. You know, you’re you’re increasing your money flow and optimizing a mindset, but more importantly, what’s happened, what’s, what’s that underlying secret mission is to unlock your unique code of happiness and success in this lifetime. Life Mastery.

Adam G. Force 27:24

Yeah, I mean, I love that. And I think that it’s, it’s, it is such an important part, as we’ve been talking about. So, you know, as you guys listen to two ways, you know, talking about I mean, this is, this is the kind of thing that I’ve been fussing around with for a long time. And I see over and over going, you know, into these like summits we were at in January, or you know, Caitlin’s mastermind program and stuff and right. Everybody’s, this is just something every entrepreneur goes through, because to your point, it’s just how we are historically programmed, we’re not really unless you grow up in an entrepreneurial family, and just like Rich Dad, Poor Dad, you grew up in the family with the Rich Dad, you’re just not programmed this way. And it’s gonna if you want to live your life a certain way, you’re going to have to figure out how to get oriented to where you are now and then figure out how to make the adjustments, right.

Wei Houng 28:17

Yeah, and it’s such an irony, because America was essentially built on entrepreneurship. Yeah, you know, and for some reason, it’s never taught to us really, as children growing up that that would be the way to as a as an adult, you know, as an option or as a venue to create a life for yourself. Now, for a long time, my parents really didn’t understand why I wouldn’t go work for somebody else. Yeah, I know. Yeah. That’s, and if we think about what all the pioneers of, of our country is in us anyway, because I’m sure your podcast reaches people all over the world. But if you think about it, everybody started off. I mean, all the pioneers were had their own business. Nobody, Wednesday, I’m going to go work for you. Right, we brought on help. But for the most part, every human being trying to make their way in the world chose entrepreneurship as a default, because what else were you gonna do?

Adam G. Force 29:15

Yeah, pretty much. And it’s true. And when you said that, we’re not taught that it you know, it made me think about Sir Ken Robinson, who recently passed away it was a big speaker on education, and he’s got the number one TED talk about how schools kill creativity. And you’re right, like he gets very clear on the fact of the matter is, schools were created during a certain time where we needed workers for industry and that is what school is based on. You know,

Wei Houng 29:42

It’s the Rockefellers

Adam G. Force 29:46

The Rockefellers, man. Yeah, I mean, it’s time for change. I mean, are there things like social entrepreneurship classes and entrepreneurial things? Yes, of course, like you can do those things and 90 and 90% of the time you just have professors who’ve never, ever done business before in their life trying to teach you something of a book.

Wei Houng 30:03

Right? Exactly. Theoretical entrepreneurship, right?

Adam G. Force 30:05

Yeah, great. But, you know, even guys like James Wedmore talk about how there’s a total 180 flip from the employee mindset to the entrepreneur mindset. And, you know, I, we had our conversation you and I, for your show. And, you know, we talked about my own issues, and we all go through this guy’s so as you’re listening to this, this is such an, I wanna, I just want everyone to take it very seriously. Because we get so excited right way about, you know, running the business, building the business, seeing it come to life, which gets into very tactical thinking, and like, I got to just build all this stuff. And, you know, like, we we will say, I’ll invest in programs about like myself development and things like that, when I’m successful. And I always look at someone saying, tisk, tisk, tisk, you got the horse? You got the cart before the horse, you know what I mean? Exactly.

Wei Houng 30:58

Yeah. Because the reality is right now, with social media, the way it is, you can literally Google some of the most amazing business tactics and strategies, and piece together everything you need to create a six figure or even seven figure business, what you won’t find in that journey, in a piecemeal format is a way to effectively and consistently get get you to grow on a personal level, which is what your business needs more than anything else, right to create sustainable, long term success and the ability to put your purpose out there and help as many people as possible. That’s it,

Adam G. Force 31:38

man, that’s 100% it, you get the right mindset, you tell the right stories, you’re off to a pretty good start.

Wei Houng 31:45

Yeah, yeah. And though it may not immediately give you that instant gratification, I think that’s the big thing is people are looking for that instant gratification. But that’s where we create the roller coaster effect of results. You know, I think we have to let make sure people understand that when you’re investing in yourself, you’ve got years and layers of stuff to kind of suss through, to reshape and just kind of like get out of the way. And so it may not be kind of an immediate thing. But in the long run, it’s an exponential growth opportunity that you’ll have by investing in yourself first, or maybe concurrently with everything else that you’re doing. Agreed.

Adam G. Force 32:23

I mean, well, that’s that the instant gratification is a factor to consider. Because people get so jacked up on Well, I had to pay the bills next month. And I get that that is like, I just hope people don’t quit their jobs before they are successful with a revenue channel in their business.

Wei Houng 32:40

Exactly. I mean, unless you’ve invested, I mean, we’ve had we’ve had that happen, but they but these are students who have really kind of committed themselves to understanding what it means to shift their but their money stories in a way where just simply allows money to flow in without attachment to how it comes in. And we see a lot of that happening. And they are making able to make that leap because they did that deep internal work around their bad monasteries, reengineering, eliminating the stress and worry so that money has an easier time just to come in. You know, most human beings when they struggle with money flow, it’s not the economy. It’s not politics, it’s not media, it’s literally themselves. They’re literally putting a block and dictating how money should come in. So that actually keeps money from wanting to come in, because money doesn’t care how it comes into your life. It just wants to come in. Yeah. But if we had these mental blocks around it, we’re not gonna let it in.

Adam G. Force 33:35

I still got mental blocks, I got to work out.

Wei Houng 33:38

We all do. I mean, well, as long as you were raised in a capitalistic world, you’re gonna have layers of blocks. Every level of growth, financial growth, but it’s so worth it when you finally get those blocks out of the way. Because when you do it, right, they don’t come back. And then you don’t have this roller coaster effect. And you can enjoy continuous growth every single time you do.

Adam G. Force 34:00

Right, exactly. It’s true. And it’s just and and the other thing and then we’ll wrap up here. It’s like, everything takes time. Like we have to stop thinking and even Gary Vee is out there saying it now he’s like, give it 1011 years and you might have a nice little business. He’s like, stop saying, I’m gonna be a millionaire before I’m 30. And all this other bullcrap. You know, it’s like, everybody wants it right away and breaking down your money mindset and really getting into more of an abundance mindset with money. It’s gonna take time, building a business, trying new ideas, different revenue channels, it all takes time. Like, you know, months go by when you’re testing these things out and doing all this work. And so if people would just give themselves a break, and realize, like, if you think it’s going to take a year, it’s probably going to take two years. I mean, just right, but like, like, I love Alan Watts, and one of my favorite quotes and I’m gonna just abbreviate this, but he talks about how The point of a song is not to get to the end, it’s to dance during the song. This is the dance. So enjoy the journey, right?

Wei Houng 35:07

Exactly. Enjoy the journey, enjoy the dance and just recognize the fact that so what if it takes one or two or three years if you’re doing the work that we’re talking about? that literally translates to 20 to 30? Maybe even a lifetime of struggle? eliminated in just what a handful of years?

Adam G. Force 35:24

Exactly

Wei Houng 35:26

It’s the perspective that needs to be put in place there. So that way, you know, people don’t really think oh, it’s taking so long. It’s like, really, you just, I have one client, he’s a teenager kid that his mom said I need to work. And he is constantly in a rush because he’s His eyes are open now. He’s been disconnected from the matrix. And he’s getting frustrated five, six months in I said, Dude, you just you just shaved 20 years of guessing and seeking out of your life and you’re only 18 have a little patience with yourself

Adam G. Force 36:01

that’s a man, you see people do it all the time. Like oh, man, just it’s I get it. I do get where they’re coming from, but right.

Wei Houng 36:08

And they’re not dancing, and they’re not realize they’re in the song. The dance is there. I mean, they can dance now. Right? They can enjoy it now. But they’re so hell bent on this results driven society without realizing the results lie within every step of the way.

Adam G. Force 36:22

That’s it, man. You’re right. All right Wei, listen, how do people connect with you? What if they want to work with you and and take that next step in their own life? What do they do?

Wei Houng 36:32

Yeah, there’s a because of the depth of what we do, I always encourage people to there’s so much free content out there, like with my podcasts, or with the YouTube channel with hundreds of videos on there. But one of the best ways to go to the six figure academy.com and or you can go to go dot the six figure academy.com. And there’s an E book that talks about from money anxiety to six figure mastery. And when you go in there, it starts to introduce you into the world as a little e course that comes up, it’s all free to kind of introduce you to how profound this work can be. Because it’s not for everybody. And I’m not for everybody. Because I can get a little intense because I want to help people get results without with a minimal amount of time. And so I think one of the best ways to engage in the free resources and contents out there, there’s a ton of it. I think I even have a free masterclass that gets introduced as soon as you get the E book. So there’s so many different ways. I think that’s one of the best ways to kind of understand what it is that we do to help people not only increase your money flow, but completely change the paradigm of existence of happiness and success and create sustainable lifetime success.

Adam G. Force 37:40

Yeah, sounds amazing. So everybody listening, it’s the and then the number six, figure academy.com. So the six figure academy.com. And you can grab all kinds of good stuff in here. Get Wei’s masterclass is free download stuff like that, just to take those first steps, get acclimated, learn a little bit more about what was doing. And you could basically take it from there right away.

Wei Houng 38:06

Yep, absolutely. There’s so many different ways and all roads lead to me. And, you know, I’m not, I don’t not pay attention to emails and private messages or direct messages. So if you want to just reach out, I’m there I’m really easy to find you just do a google on me. I’m everywhere.

Adam G. Force 38:25

Awesome. Listen, I appreciate your time today and just sharing your insights and your stories. So we will stay connected man have a great rest of your day.

Wei Houng 38:34

Yeah, thank you so much. I appreciate you letting me kind of help you, you know with your purpose and your audience. Really good stuff that you’re doing here. Really appreciate it. Thanks. Appreciate it, man. Take care.

Adam G. Force 38:45

Thanks for tuning into the Change Creator podcast. Visit us at Change creator.com forward slash go big to get access to free downloads and other great resources that will drive your business forward.

Lisa McLeod: How to Start Selling with Noble Purpose to Drive More Revenue

Listen to our exclusive interview with Lisa:

Subscribe to this show on Spotify  |  iTunes  |  Stitcher  |  Soundcloud

Why are so many big companies now jumping on the “good business” bandwagon? Because that’s what the market wants! But how do you do it? We spoke with an expert, Lisa McLeod about her work helping big companies make the transition and why it’s so important to their sustainable success.

Lisa McLeod is the global expert on purpose-driven business and the bestselling author of Selling with Noble Purpose: How to Drive Revenue and Do Work That Makes You Proud. Lisa has spent two decades helping leaders increase competitive differentiation and emotional engagement. Her work debunks the myth that money is the primary motivation for most employees. She developed the Noble Purpose philosophy after her research revealed, salespeople who sell with Noble Purpose, who truly want to make a difference to their customers, outsell salespeople who focus on their own targets and quotas Lisa is a former Procter & Gamble Sales Leader who founded her own firm, McLeod & More, Inc. in 2001. She helps leaders at organizations like Cisco, Roche, Volvo, and Dave & Busters drive exponential revenue growth. Lisa has keynoted in 25 countries and authored over 2,000 articles. She has made appearances on the Today show and the NBC Nightly News, and her firm’s work has been featured in Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and NPR.

Learn more about Lisa and her work at > https://www.mcleodandmore.com

We also recommend:

Transcription of Interview

(Transcribed by Otter.ai, there may be errors)

Adam G. Force 00:03

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 force 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 life to go big, visit us at Change Creator comm forward slash go big to grab awesome resources that will help drive your business forward. All right, what’s going on everybody? Welcome back to the show, I hope that you’re doing amazing we have some good stuff today. I’m excited because we’re going to be talking with Lisa McLeod, okay. She is a, an expert in something that we love, purpose driven business and selling. Okay. So she’s she is known around the world as an expert in purpose driven business. And she’s actually the best selling author of a book she wrote called selling with noble purpose, how to drive revenue, and do work that makes you proud. Now, she spent a few decades working with leaders to increase their competitive differentiation. And here’s what’s really important emotional engagement as well, all right. And she kind of breaks down this whole process for these big companies and how to put more purpose into their business, get them on the right track, not only just for the field goodness, and protecting the planet, protecting people doing the right things, but because doing that is actually more profitable. And there’s evidence out there, we’re going to talk about these things today. So you can really kind of get your head wrapped around like the direction business is going from the top down. I mean, it’s started with like this whole transition to social entrepreneurship and small businesses. But now it’s just kind of starting to boom, and it’s starting to vibrate through all size organizations. And so this is an exciting conversation and how she broke in and started actually consulting on this is pretty cool. So lots to learn through this conversation. Now, if you missed the last episode, Amy and I spoke about how marketing is not just about numbers and big audiences. Alright, so this is an important conversation, because we kind of get wrapped up in the wrong things, especially when we’re running a solo business or just with a founder. And we’re kind of like, in our own world. And we’re so wrapped up about numbers and big audiences, it leads to bad decision making bad decision making leads us to being stuck, because it’s usually based on asking bad questions. Okay. So definitely an episode, go back, check it out. If you haven’t yet, I think you got a lot of little gold nuggets out of that. Um, so lots of exciting stuff going on here at Change Creator, we’re going to be having kind of like a big revamp across our general network. And we’re still running a lot of content on Change creator.com. So guys, don’t forget to visit there, you can just go to Change creator.com forward slash, go big, and grab some of the free assets that we have to help you out. But also, that’ll lead you to the rest of our website, we do lots of good reviews of tools, guys. I mean, we are all about brand stories, okay, so we help people get very clear on their brands and their identities and the stories that they’re telling. Because this is so important. It’s the backbone of your business. And we have to be able to deliver those messages, right. So this is where the tactics come in. But first, we got to know what those stories are. All the tools and things we’re doing. This is your presence. This is your world to deliver your stories. Alright, so we get deep on those things to help you guys make good decisions on that. Alright guys, let’s dive into this conversation with Lisa. There’s just so much good stuff here. We’re going to cover so let’s do it. Okay, show me the heat. Coming to the Change Creator, podcast show, how are you doing today?

Lisa McLeod 03:52

I am awesome. Despite social unrest and a pandemic, I’m still awesome.

Adam G. Force 03:58

Yeah, the pandemic that’s a we can go off on a tangent on that one. But let’s not do that. So we are here to talk about you know, meaningful business right, you know, selling with a noble purpose as your your latest book is titled, and we’ll get into that more. So before we do, just tell everybody a little bit about what is going on in your world today and your business like what’s the latest and you know, a little bit of background on how you got there.

Lisa McLeod 04:28

So, as you said, I’m the author of a book called selling with noble purpose and like a lot of people my story to get there had a lot of twists and turns. And so I’ll say the thing about my backstory is what selling one noble purpose did was it brought together my super hyper competitiveness about wanting to sell and help companies sell along with wanting to make a difference in the world. And it relates actually to the pandemic and all this social unrest because the thing works. Seeing in our business right now, I work as a consultant that I do a lot of training for sales organizations. And we’re seeing this fundamental question that people are starting to ask, which is, you know, who am I? Why am I here? And why does this job even matter? And so what’s happening is that is coming at the same time that customers are saying, Why are you here? Are you just trying to close me? Or are you trying to actually help me? And so you have customers that are starting to question intent? And then you have people in sales jobs that are starting to say, does this even matter? And if you can’t answer those two questions, you’re going to be out of luck.

Adam G. Force 05:39

Yes, I love that. And I love that you brought up the intent because one thing I’ve been saying for a while, and now I got some backup I hear from you is like, I’m always saying, guys, yeah, the customer, you they want to know, we call it with them, what’s in it for them? Right? And but I go, it’s much more than that today. Now, they’re gonna look at you and say, well, what’s in it for you? Why are you doing this? Yeah, I think we’re seeing that more. But a lot of people aren’t really taking notice of that, because you still see a lot of promotion of marketing, like, Oh, it’s all about the customer. And what’s in it for them, forget everything else, focus on the benefits for them and all that stuff. I’m like, it’s going beyond that. Now, don’t you know, and that sounds like you’re feeling the same way.

Lisa McLeod 06:18

I am. And it’s more than just you and I feeling that way, there’s actually hard data that tells us this, I want to go back to what you were saying about the wiffen what’s in it for them. That’s sort of sales 101, you know, to get away from here’s my product, and just the spray and pray. And I’m old, I’ve been in sales like a really long time, I’m not going to give a number but a lot older than you. And that old sort of wisdom thing was based on this, if I could show you a way to save money and do this really preachy inauthentic model, and so now, customers are reading your true intent. And what the data tells us is sales people whose true intent is to improve life for customers, not just toss out some with them. So Cz, here’s your little benefit, but whose true and noble intent was to improve life for customers do a couple things. They outsell salespeople whose internal talk track is focused on their own targets. They also this is really important for this time, put for more effort. And they have more tenacity. Because if you’re just in it for yourself, I mean, you just mentioned to me in the warm up that you have a five month old, so you have definitely experienced this. If you’re just living life for yourself. At a certain point. You’re not going to make the extra effort. But if you know someone else is counting on you, that’s when we go the extra mile. It’s part of our DNA or hardware that way. And so the sales people that felt like their customers were really counting on them. And they were doing something valuable, put forth more effort over time, and they could rebound in the face of setbacks.

Adam G. Force 07:56

Yeah, I love that. And I would actually love to know where this hard data comes from. Can I get my hands on it?

Lisa McLeod 08:05

Absolutely. So the best place is in our book selling with noble purpose. And I’ll tell you, it comes from a couple of places. One, there was a real breakthrough study out of Michigan State University by Dr. Valerie Goode, who this was actually her PhD dissertation that she did this across multiple industries. And she was able to through interviews, discern what the mental talk track was of the salespeople, whether they were thinking I’ve got to hit my number, I’ve got to close this deal, versus whether they’re thinking how could I improve life for the customer. And so she was able to discern that those who had that second talk track were the top performers and have more tenacity. There’s also organizational research, there was a huge article in Harvard Business Review. And a former I used to work for Procter and Gamble, a former p&g colleague of mine, Jim Stengel, also study this, that organizationally, when you have a purpose bigger than money, you outperform the competition. Stangl study said by 350%, by the HBr study said you also outperform the competition on not just sales, but also employee engagement, and customer retention.

Adam G. Force 09:18

Yeah, that’s great. And I you know, so hearing those types of things it makes me think of, we call it money breath when you go as a sales rep, right? Yeah, you get money breath because you are concerned about hitting a number getting the sale, and not as concerned about helping that person which, you know, we have those mirror neurons that start firing and they people pick up on that, whether it’s whether they realize it or not, they’re picking up on that body language, facial expressions, whatever it might be, that’s sharing that kind of feeling that person has, right.

Lisa McLeod 09:53

That’s exactly it. I love I’ve heard it called money breath and quota breath and it’s kind of like onion breath. Yeah, yeah, if I ate for lunch, I might not have onions in my teeth. But if I’m breathing them on you, you know I hadn’t? Yes. And so the here’s the important thing to recognize is, we uncovered this several years ago that this different mindset was the difference between average performance and top performance. But here’s what organizations unknowingly do. They are literally doing the equivalent of feeding their employees onions at lunch, because if you think about the average way an organization communicates with their sales people, they don’t say, how can we make a difference to customers? unless there are top performing organization? Most organizations say hit the number, hit the number hit the number. So then that person is out there breathing, as you call it, money breath on the customer? That’s because that’s what their company fed them for lunch.

Adam G. Force 10:50

Yeah. Yeah. Hundred percent. I mean, it’s, it’s it’s a symptom of the model.

Lisa McLeod 10:55

Right? Is the model. Yeah, it’s the ecosystem around the seller.

Adam G. Force 10:59

Yeah. And it’s a product of desperation. Sometimes.

Lisa McLeod 11:03

It can be. And I really understand that. And so when I say this, this is what they fed them for lunch. I say it with great empathy. Because I have run a business where we were worried about money during the recession. And it’s horrible. You lie awake at night thinking, How can I pay my people? You know, can we make payroll Friday, it’s a terrible feeling. And so what we wanted to do in the book, Simon noble purpose is actually the second edition, because we’ve learned a lot since the first edition, is we wanted to show well intended people, how you can create an ecosystem in your organization, and how you can create the mental tenacity in yourself to always be focused on improving life for the customer, because it’s easier said than done. Because everything in a traditional business model points you the other way

Adam G. Force 11:52

It does and it is easier said than done. And I can see so many roadblocks for that. Because, like we said product of that ecosystem, or just system in general, because people are always stressed about money if they’re not making enough one way or the other. And because we live in that kind of a system, you’re you’re kind of stressing about, you put all your energy on that. And so now you get into a mode of just, I gotta get this money, I got it. And that’s all you’re focused on. So it’s hard to flip the script, because you have, you have like, and you’ve been indoctrinated to feel and believe certain things based on everything that’s happening around you.

Lisa McLeod 12:29

That’s right. And it something monumental happened last summer, that was not noticed by a lot of people outside the corporate world. But the CEO Roundtable, which is several hundred of America’s top CEOs put a stake in the ground, and they renamed the purpose of a business because up until that point, we had been in what folks refer to as a shareholder primacy model, which is, the purpose of a business is to make money. And what these CEOs saw was, if that’s your Northstar, not only do you run the risk of unethical behavior, hello, Wells Fargo. But for most people, most people aren’t going to be unethical. But what happens is, you don’t create competitive differentiation. Because all you’re thinking about the money, you’re not thinking about customers, you don’t create emotional engagement. And so the CEO said, the purpose of a business is to provide a return to stakeholders at the top of the list is customers. And so it was an important thing. But what we made it our practice to do is particularly for organizations that are sales driven organizations, is we identified 10 places within the ecosystem where you can flip the switch, to make it easier for people to focus on making a difference to customers.

Adam G. Force 13:48

Interesting. And so this is the consulting that you offer, right? You go in and you kind of have a blueprint have areas that are pivotal to look at, diagnose and optimize in order to get new results.

Lisa McLeod 14:02

That’s right. And one of them is so simple

Adam G. Force 14:06

Give us an example, you guys have to read the book or whatever to get the details. But let’s let’s get a little taste of what you got going on.

Lisa McLeod 14:13

So I’ll give you a very specific example. So one of the things that we know is the way you run your sales meetings, is again, you got to run your sales meetings differently than traditional. So we were working with a client and this is all public. It’s in the book. It’s on our website. It was a bank, out of Atlanta, a commercial bank called Atlantic capital bank, great bank, nice people, several hundred people, profitable bank, but they said we want to up our game. We want to be differentiated. We want to stand out in our space, and we want to become a best place to work. So one of the things we did a number of things, but one thing we did was we changed the way they ran their sales meetings. And so instead of starting the sales meeting the way we usually do, here’s the numbers. Here’s what the pipeline looks like. Here’s what we need. Close, all important things. Sure. Instead, what we taught them how to do, and every single person the bank knows how to do this is they start their meetings with a customer impact story, a story about how they made a difference to a customer. And it can be as simple as, here’s this customer we loaned money to, for their chain of dry cleaners, there are now 15 people employed there. This is what they do, this is how they do it. Here’s a photo of the owner, we’re making a difference. This wasn’t just money that went out the door, what we’re doing is we’re fueling their prosperity. What that does, when you start your Start your meetings like this, you fire up a totally different section of people’s brains. There’s neuroscience on this, because now everybody’s frontal lobes are fired up, empathy and compassion are fired up. They’re saying, Wow, we make a difference, we have this higher purpose, you can literally make your team more confident and more authentic by telling these stories in every meeting. And that’s one thing that we did, and you can like anyone listening to this podcast, you can start doing this, like in a half hour from now

Adam G. Force 16:04

Yeah, I mean, it’s a very simple adjustment. But you might need to really, it might first mean that the team has to actually focus on those things to get those stories because they might not even be paying attention to that yet.

Lisa McLeod 16:18

Well, that’s the part telling the stories isn’t challenging, finding the stories can be challenging. And so that’s a lot of the work that we do with companies is finding their stories, because in organizations, we tend to have two kinds of stories, we have the wind story, we closed a million bucks, we’re awesome, whoo, this bomb, yay, or I guess elbow bump now. Or we have the product story. Here’s what we make and how cool it is. What we do is we put the impact that you have on customers at the center is very different than a lot of companies will say we want to be customer focused, but that tends to be nonspecific. And so selling with noble purpose goes beyond pleasing customers. It’s about improving customers. And that seems nuanced. But you can probably hear the difference in it.

Adam G. Force 17:09

Oh, yeah, of course. And you made me think of Danny Meyer’s, I don’t know if you know who that is. He’s a wrestler. He’s like a world famous restaurant owner. And he has some of the most ridiculous restaurants in New York, like multiple Michelin stars, all that fun stuff.

Lisa McLeod 17:26

I know who he is. He has not cooked for me though…yet

Adam G. Force 17:29

Yeah, we I took my wife to 11 Madison for a lunch and it was like $1,000. So you know…

Lisa McLeod 17:35

Hope it was a good lunch.

Adam G. Force 17:36

It was a very good lunch. You know, he wrote a book called setting the table. And I was like, why would I read a book from a restaurant guy. But it was all about business. And his whole thing was going above and beyond for the customer. Like, for example, he had a call from somebody that he knew a potential like someone that comes to the restaurant. He’s like, Listen, can I have a big thing going on? And I want to know if you can open up the restaurant for this important business thing I have happening. And it’s like midnight or something. He’s like, Are you kidding me? But instead of like resisting and saying No way, he was like, Sure, I’ll do it. Not only did he do that, he found out information about the people that he was bringing, and what was going on. And he went above and beyond. And he made it an events that they would never forget, right. And he did this on a regular basis. He literally would Google people who made reservations. And he would sit them next to each other so they can start sparking conversation, like these types of things.

Lisa McLeod 18:35

And you’re giving evidence to how effective that is. Because you’ve eaten his restaurant now I can’t wait to eat as restaurant now we’re spending our precious air time talking about the guy and were enamored of him. And that’s what we find is when you have this clarity about what your noble purpose is, which is not making money, it’s beyond making money in that bet particular bank, it was we fuel prosperity, when you have clarity about what your noble purpose is, then you can get everybody in your organization lined up. Because the challenge is so often, especially if you’re an entrepreneur, you usually do have clarity. And you didn’t go into business, just because you thought it would be you know, a whim, you usually have clarity about how you want to make a difference. The challenge is cascading that down to customers, and to employees so they can cascade it to customers. Because what usually happens is, somebody has this great idea, oh, I’m gonna, you know, do this great restaurant, I’m going to make it this way and have this great customer experience. Then when it goes down to levels and that person isn’t in the room. You find yourself saying things like focus on the customer. Yeah, but that’s not exactly what he meant. What he What if I was to work with him and come up with his noble purpose. It would probably be something like we make memories that last a lifetime or something like that. If I tell the server, you’re making a memory, it’s gonna last last a lifetime. Well, that’s totally different. Totally different.

Adam G. Force 20:03

Yeah, totally different than focus on the customer. Exactly. Take care of the customer customer first, like that doesn’t really? Yeah. What does that mean?

Lisa McLeod 20:12

It doesn’t, it doesn’t provide you with the disk with a lens for decision making. And that’s what we’ve seen with our clients is, the noble purpose does three things. It seeds, your culture, it gives you something to stand for. The second thing it does is it provides a lens versus Dziedzic decision making. So if your purpose is make memories that last a lifetime, or fuel prosperity, or whatever it is, helps you figure out what to say yes to and what to say no to. And then the third thing is it drives sales behavior. And that’s where you get the huge economic win.

Adam G. Force 20:45

Yeah, I think that’s great. I mean, I love that distinction. Because the clarity is so important, especially when you’re trying to grow a team, and you want to stay true to the original intention.

Lisa McLeod 20:56

That’s right, it takes what we’ve done, we’ve worked with a lot of smaller and midsize organization, and it takes what is implicit in your business, and makes it absolutely explicit. So with that, with that bank, and they’re on our website, you can see the CEO talking, it’s what he and the other founders had in their heart. But yet, as they grew to several hundred people, it was starting to erode. So what we did was we put that stake in the ground. And I’ll give you another thing that you can do, that we talked about, we coach a lot of sales managers. And one of the things that we do is we anyone can do this is we insert what we call the game changing question. Okay. So the game changing question is, after you ask your salesperson, when are we going to close it? How much is it going to be? Who’s the competition? And when we get the money? You ask one single question, how will the customer be different as a result of doing business with us? And that one question will point your seller towards the customer, it will also tell you what your likelihood is of closing the business.

Adam G. Force 22:06

Yeah, I like that. I mean, you’re it makes you very focused on the result. Right, right. So it’s not? Yeah, I mean, it really puts the attention there to make sure that you’re walking away with the result that you intended.

Lisa McLeod 22:20

That’s right. Because if I ask a salesperson, how will the customer be different as a result of doing business with us? And they can’t tell me? They’re not going to be able to tell the customer? No. And so, yeah, so every product you make, every presentation you do, every coaching session, you have, should be aligned around answering that single question. That’s why we call it the game changer, because it totally, it shifts your focus from you to the customer. And it shifts your focus from trying to do something it’s nice to try and do some actually makes a difference.

Adam G. Force 22:55

Absolutely. Yeah. I love that. Now, tell me a little bit of just about you, you know, you’re you start working with these clients. I’m curious on, for example, let’s go back to when you decided, you know, you’re not working at PNG, you’re doing your own thing, and you’re getting clients based on the idea of this. What were some of the challenges you faced on locking in a partnership?

Lisa McLeod 23:22

So I’ll tell you, I left p&g many years ago, and I went to work for a small consulting firm. So I was very fortunate in that I could work for someone who already had some established thought leadership, we were in the sales and leadership space. And I could learn a lot there. And I started my own firm, I’ve started to be really honest about this. I know a lot of people start their own firm because they’ve got some big sexy idea or something like that. I started my own firm, because I was a VP of sales, who worked a 70 hour travel week, and I had a baby. And that was not gonna work. So it was really I loved what I did. But that was back in the days when you didn’t go to your boss and say, Hey, I’d like to work 20 hours a week. So I decided to do that on my own. But my biggest challenge in getting clients in the early days, especially around this idea of noble purpose, because I don’t have it quite as as clear as I do. Now. The biggest challenge was helping people connect the idea of belief and seemingly soft things with hard revenue. Because when I first started doing this, we know how to study for Michigan State. We didn’t have a front page of the HBr Harvard Business Review. It was. And so what we ended up with in the beginning was this handful of clients that said, yeah, we believe that will work and we didn’t have a lot of evidence. We had some psychological studies, but not any real hard business evidence. So for example, one of our early clients was Hootsuite. Yeah. And we started to work with them in early days. And then chief revenue officer Steve Johnson is pretty well known guy in sales, you know, heard me speak and said that thing, that noble purpose thing we got to younger on Salesforce, we need that. And it took off like lightning around the globe, they own their space. They grew revenue by 2,000% during the time that we worked with them. So after we started getting some hits like that, from people who instinctively knew that this was right, then we had the evidence.

Adam G. Force 25:30

Yeah, I mean, that makes a lot of difference. And I want to make a point of clarity for people listening is like, when you have these ideas, the fact that you weren’t as clear as you are now about really, you know how you were going to do this thing? Yeah, what it actually looks like you were kind of like working through it that didn’t stop you from reaching out and selling the idea, right?

Lisa McLeod 25:53

No, it didn’t. And I want to clarify, it didn’t stop me the lack of clarity didn’t stop me from reaching out and trying to sell the idea. I wasn’t always successful in selling it.

Adam G. Force 26:03

But that’s okay.

Lisa McLeod 26:04

But that’s okay. And that’s how you learn. And so what happens is, the essence of your idea will attract those early adopters, those people who were already thinking about this, so we had Hootsuite was an early client, company advocate, another company out of Canada, g adventures was an early client, we had a company called shelf Genie that makes glide outs for your shelving, you know, so so it’s easy to get to. And all of those, there were individual leaders who said, This is what I’ve been thinking, you’re naming what I’ve been thinking. And so it wasn’t new to them, but I had a little more clarity than they did. And so the the me that you’re interviewing now, is 10 years later, we’ve done this with, you know, over two dozen firms, we have hard numbers, but the me in the early days was there’s something bigger than money here. And if we can tap into it, I think we can do big things. And the lease and people listening probably have an idea like that stated that way. And don’t try to convince the skeptics go with the people who go, yeah, that’s sort of what I was thinking tooo. those are your people

Adam G. Force 27:15

Exactly. Yeah, it makes so much sense. And, you know, you got to let you got to go out there, get the feedback, see what people are responding to that data is just priceless. And I mean, how are you getting in touch with Hootsuite? How are you like, you know, getting leads for an idea like this just emailing out and pitching the idea? Like, how do you get someone’s valuable time to say, Hey, I have this idea, I can get you more sales. What was your strategy?

Lisa McLeod 27:41

It was content marketing. It was putting it out there and seeing what people responded to. And for, in my case, because I do consulting and training and speaking, it was speaking at a lot of conferences. And so when we traced back, all of those early sales, every single one can be traced back to something I put in writing, even if it was speaking at a conference which sign that Hootsuite even if it was that I was at that conference, because something I wrote.

Adam G. Force 28:11

Okay, so your content is people took notice, it was of interest and it got you recognized got it,

Lisa McLeod 28:18

right, one of our biggest clients read an article, founder of a global adventure travel company, read an article, he sent it to his VP of sales and said, This is what we need to start doing. And the VP of sales, read it and thought, well, I’ll just call her.

Adam G. Force 28:32

Exactly.

Lisa McLeod 28:33

And so that’s that’s the important thing. And most folks know this now, as it’s hard to resist the temptation to do marketing, early in your content, if you know what I mean. And it’s hard to resist temptation. Talk about yourself is not interesting to people. That’s not interesting. What is interesting, is your point of view your take on things, and also how you’ve helped people.

Adam G. Force 29:01

Yeah, yeah, I mean, something that we like to emphasize is, you know, we teach storytelling for marketing. And we talk about telling the right stories to the right people at the right time. There’s a time and a place for you to use your personal stories to demonstrate different lessons or experiences. And you’re right, you the timing factor, if they’re coming in, for the first time to read an article like what is that article going to be about isn’t going to make sense for them based on you know, where you are in that journey?

Lisa McLeod 29:29

Right. Because back to what we were talking about with sellers and with customers, people are starting to gauge intent in a much more skilled way. And there’s a couple of reasons for that. One, we have a whole generation of people who grew up as digital natives, you know, I’m old. So when I watched the news, I was like, well, it’s the news. It must be true. You know, and I had a hard time on learning that but you have a lot of people that are like your age, like My daughter’s age. She’s a first year school teacher. And they are looking for intent in everything that comes at them. Yeah. Yeah, completely different. So you have all these young people who are looking for intent. And then the other thing you have, and I don’t talk about differences between men and women very often. But in this one instance, it does apply. You have more and more women buyers, and women have centuries of learning how to gauge intent. And we can spot it.

Adam G. Force 30:32

Yeah, it’s interesting. Good, for good reason. for good

Lisa McLeod 30:39

reasons. Our lives depended on being able to assess intent. And those skills have been handed down to us for a long time. And I had I had one VP of Sales say to me, you know, about half our buyers now are women. And if I get one more complaint about my salespeople going on and on about themselves, I’m gonna scream.

Adam G. Force 31:01

Yeah, of course

Lisa McLeod 31:02

because they’re reading that intent. That aside, all customers are in a heightened phase right now. And and now that all sales are being done virtually, and we don’t have the come on in and shake my hand have a cup of coffee, all those necessities, people reading your intent in the first 30 seconds. 100%.

Adam G. Force 31:21

Yeah, I mean, and it’s, yeah, it’s, it’s a different dynamic, for sure. And I think a lot of people are struggling to adapt, but it’s gonna be interesting to see, you know, what happens over the next 12 months.

Lisa McLeod 31:34

Yeah. And it’s from where I sit, and what we’re seeing with our clients, that companies whose sales people can go out, and be clearly there to help customers and be excited and be compelling, are the ones who are going to win. And you create those sales people. You can’t create passionate, compelling sales people unless you have a passionate compelling story, inside the company, and desperate to hit our numbers is not a compassionate, compelling story. So organizations that really create that customer impact story, that noble purpose, and they infuse it into every phase of their sales process and their daily cadence. Those are the ones who are going to win. And they’ll be still standing a year from now.

Adam G. Force 32:19

And that’s the thing. And then you also create a loyal client or customer, whatever you want to call it. And so your your, the lifetime value of that client will probably go up as well. And the person with the best lifetime customer value is going to have the biggest marketing budget.

Lisa McLeod 32:38

That’s exactly right. That’s exactly right. And the things that we’ve seen with our clients that have embraced this idea of selling the normal purpose is they have increased customer retention dramatically. The bank I mentioned to you, their earnings were up 40%, that is a lot of money. They won a Best Place to Work award two years in a row voted on by their employees because their employees are on fire. And they were voted two years ago best bank in America, the CEOs on the cover of American banker. And it’s because once we get beyond food and shelter, human beings have two fundamental needs. We want belonging and we want significance, we want to be part of something bigger than ourselves. And if you can capture that, as an employer, you don’t have to be curing cancer. I mean, if you are good for you, but I mean, we’ve had, you know, Hootsuite, they’re empowering human connection, this bank, they’re fueling prosperity, the people that make the glide out shelving are putting more joy and love into the home, because you’re not going to bang, throw your cabinets to get out your cookie sheet. I mean, it doesn’t have to be world peace. But if you have clarity that your work makes a difference. That’s how you create what we call the tribe of true believers.

Adam G. Force 33:53

Hundred percent. I love that. And you know, it’s interesting, because we’ve had like, similar pivots and people’s mindsets where we’ve literally had people join, like one of our programs, and they’ll go through and be like, after they go through this process, because we’re all about this intention as well. Right? Like, yeah, they meaningful and when they go through certain processes, and they start thinking about why they’re really doing things and who they are, are they aligned to their truth, all these things? It’s like, they’re like, wait a minute, I think I need to change my business. Like, yeah, well happens all the time. You know,

Lisa McLeod 34:25

It happens all the time. The thing that makes me so sad about that, is in a lot of cases, they might not have needed to change their business, because a lot of companies do really make a difference to their customers. But that’s not what they give voice to. Instead, the positioning, right. It’s not the positioning, it’s not the voice. Everything in business, pulls us too, talking about the KPIs talking about the numbers, and that then becomes the story. And those are important, but they’re not the story. They’re the result of the story. And so I see a lot of people discouraged with They’re companies. And oh, my work doesn’t matter. I had one guy Tell me after I gave a big speech, he came up afterwards. And he said, Well, this noble purpose stuff, it really resonates with me. But my wife is the one who has the real noble purpose. And I said, What does she do? He said, Well, she’s a preschool teacher. And I’m like, What do you do? And he says, I manage logistics for this huge company had 250 people working for him. I’m like, she has a noble purpose. I mean, I love toddlers. But come on, buddy. Like you’re managing 250 people, your words are affecting how they experience their life every single day. I think you need some noble purpose, my friend. If you’ve ever been in logistics, you know, getting your shit done on time kind of matters to a lot of people

Adam G. Force 35:45

Yeah, so many things come down to this perspective, and it drives our decision making. And you know, people always used to ask me when we first started, Change Creator magazine, what’s the difference between an economic entrepreneur and a social entrepreneur? And I was just like, honestly, the decisions that we make, that’s really what it comes down to.

Lisa McLeod 36:02

Yeah. Well, and I will tell you that our work has revealed the social and the economic are linked. And yeah, oh, yeah. They are absolutely linked. And if you’re driving forces to make money, chances are, you’re gonna make less of it.

Adam G. Force 36:19

That’s the thing. And you might make money like, yeah, sure you got wolf on Wall Street, he wasn’t out to help anybody made money. But there’s other downsides and cost to that one may not be sustainable to you may not be later on down the road feeling good or fulfilled with your life. And three, it may be short lived, you know?

Lisa McLeod 36:38

Yeah, it is usually short lived. And if you look at I use Wells Fargo, and as an example, there are a lot of really good people that work for Wells Fargo. But what happened in that organization is the CEO said, Our purpose is to cross sell. Our purpose is to increase the share of wallet, our purpose is to hit these metrics. And when the CEO says it, it amplifies down to then everybody every day is having a report on these metrics. Had he said, as our friends at Atlantic capital set, our purpose is to fuel the prosperity of our clients. Right? Right, they would have cascaded as we did with Atlanta capital, we cascaded down an entirely different set of metrics. That’s why they’re on the cover of American banker, not in front of Congress.

Adam G. Force 37:24

On 100%, you know, one last thing that came to mind that I didn’t get to pick your brain on before was what really intrigued me is like your early days of like getting this thing going, because I know a lot of people in our who are listening here, they’re, they’re figuring things out, right, and you got the you got the ball rolling with an idea that you had. But when you brought on early stage clients, I’m curious around the idea, like so you, you’re actually doing something very significant. Like you’re working with some pretty decent sized teams, you know, seven figure companies, they have sales teams, all these things set up already. And you have to go in, and as a consultant adjust what they’re doing. So at one point, this was just an idea with that you had no personal data, or evidence from besides like literature and research and things like that. So was it hard for you like, with your confidence to go in there and be like, Oh, my God, I’m gonna go in there. I hope this works. You know?

Lisa McLeod 38:26

The short answer is yes. The short answer is yes. Having said that, we had done enough research. So the the idea actually came out of some of the research that we had done early days, that wasn’t our idea. It was a client’s idea. They had a study their sales team, and identify what differentiated the top performers. And that’s how we actually landed on selling with noble purpose, because I thought I was just doing a project for a client. And what ended up happening was, we were able to through these interviews that we did with folks, we watched himself, he looks at product knowledge, all these things. But I’m really interested in what goes on in people’s brains. And it wasn’t even really part of the assignment. But I thought, well, I’m gonna be out with these people. I’m gonna have to have dinner with him every night. I want to figure out what’s what here. And so when we studied the sales team, what I realized was there was a certain percentage of people that had this completely different mindset. And so we went back to the company, and we had done this study, it was a blind study. And they said, Who do you think our top people are? And I said, I think these five are the top people. And I was right. And I realized it was because they had this sense of purpose. And so when you ask, how confident was I, I knew that what I had spotted was real. In the early days, what I wasn’t as confident on was the way that I would bring that to life with people who didn’t have it. That took only a solid decade. So I knew that I could I’d seen it. I knew this thing was real. And so the the way That I managed that, you know, as an imperfect human was, when I went in and tried to act, all bravado and I got this, that actually didn’t work as well, right as when I went in, and we decided early on that our company purpose was to help leaders drive revenue, and do work that makes you proud. And so what we decided those two parallels is we would go in and just start asking questions about Where’s your revenue? Now? Where are the opportunities? Where do you think it could be? What areas do we want to increase? What’s employee engagement? Like how well do your sales people tell a story, and so instead of acting like we had the script for everything, we started to co develop this with our clients. And the more we did that, the more confidence we built, the more we went in and tried to act like we knew anything, everything, the more people would poke holes in it and erode our confidence. So it’s kind of ironic. Yeah.

Adam G. Force 41:00

Yeah, I mean, going in and just being honest and genuine. And yeah, I guess putting on that front. It never ends up going, Well, people can, you’re right, they poke holes in it, and they’re gonna break it down.

Lisa McLeod 41:11

And it also kind of tends to be confrontational. And that was the thing. You know, once you have a new thing, you think it’s a bigger departure from what people are already doing than perhaps it is. And that’s natural. When you have a new idea, you want to be distinct, you want to be different. What I came to realize over the years of doing this is what we’re doing is taking what people are already doing, and taking it up a level.

Adam G. Force 41:35

Yeah, yeah.

Lisa McLeod 41:37

And those are going to be our best clients and people that say, yeah, we already are pretty customer focus. Yeah, we do have a good business. We hope those kinds of people take it up a level. And you know, now when I go in, I can confidently say, There’s 10 things we look at, let’s do this, let’s do this. But it’s still a collaboration with the client.

Adam G. Force 41:54

Yeah, yeah. Great. I love it. Thank you, Lisa. This is a lot of good information. So hope everybody listening, sees all the gold nuggets that I’m seeing, and I appreciate you sharing it and the work that you’re doing, just sharing it in the book and kind of helping these clients and that you have, do things the right way and think about business in the right way. I mean, that is the key. For us, too. It’s really how we think and approach business. So dictates the decisions that we make. Right?

Lisa McLeod 42:22

That’s exactly it. And they’re the thing for us that we’re working on now is scale of when we, when we look at what’s happening in the world, you know, there’s some areas we can affect, there’s others that we can’t. But one thing we know to be true, is that business crosses, the lines that divide us business crosses international lines, it crosses a lot of socio economic lines. And the way we are at work becomes the way we are everywhere. And if we can get people thinking in this noble purpose way, and out of their own head and the ability to see the other, whether it’s a customer or whoever it is, is not just a means to your own end. But as someone that you can help when you flip that switch. Your Business changes, but so does your life.

Adam G. Force 43:13

Yeah, 100%. That’s a good note to end on here. We’ll wrap up and let’s make sure people know where do they learn more, and you know, find your book and stuff.

Lisa McLeod 43:23

Google selling with noble purpose, you will find our website go on Amazon. It’s available. The new version is available right now. And I really hope I want people to take away we work as a consulting firm with a lot of big organizations. If that’s what you’re interested in, we’d love to work with you. But if you were an entrepreneur, we made this book so that you could implement it on your own because I was founded a small startup and I know you can’t hire people. So we made this book with scripts and task lists and lots of small actions that you can take so that you can do it. Absolutely on your own. Beautiful.

Adam G. Force 44:03

Thank you so much, Lisa. We appreciate your time.

Lisa McLeod 44:06

It was so great to be with you Adam. Take care.

Adam G. Force 44:10

Thanks for tuning in to the Change Creator podcast visit us at Change creator.com forward slash go big to get access to free downloads and other great resources that will drive your business forward.

Adam And Amy: Marketing is Not Just About Numbers and Big Audiences

Subscribe to this show on Spotify  |  iTunes  |  Stitcher  |  Soundcloud

Many of us believe that if we have a website, numerous social media accounts, and learn a few marketing ‘tactics’ our business will suddenly take off.

We spend so much time on tactics and distribution (should I start a podcast? what about Pinterest? What about Instagram?) that we MISS OUT on the #1 ingredient in your marketing…

Today, Adam and Amy will talk about what the # 1 missing ingredient is in your marketing.

We’ll cover:

— The counterintuitive way you need to look at your marketing strategy
— How do you know you are ‘missing’ the number 1 ingredient
— Why we tend to focus on the wrong things, at the wrong time in our business

Need a little help to get started, download our Storytelling Roadmap (FREE) today: changecreator.com/storytellingroadmap/

We also recommend:

Transcription of Interview

(Transcribed by Otter.ai, there may be errors)

Adam G. Force 00:03

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 life to go big, visit us at Change Creator comm forward slash go big to grab awesome resources that will help drive your business forward. Hey, what’s going on everybody? Welcome back to the Change Creator podcast show This is your host, Adam force, we have an interesting discussion that we’re going to have today, this is going to be with me and Amy, we’re going to be talking about the fact that marketing is not just about big numbers and big audiences, this is something that so many of us get stuck on, just because of the way that marketing has shifted over the years, as we went digital, the perspectives of marketing and how we communicate, and what we’re trying to achieve has changed, right. And it causes a different objective in the minds of marketers, we had another discussion called stop thinking like a marketer, right? So, you know, a lot of us feel that when we have our websites, and social media accounts and all these things. You know, we want to learn these tactics, and probably heard before, like, stop focusing on tactics only, and all that kind of stuff. But we feel that those are things we can accomplish the things we can figure out. And that’s what’s going to make the difference in our business and help it take off. So we spend all of our time on these these ideas like Pinterest, and Instagram. And they’re important, and they play their part. But what we’re saying is, it’s not just about numbers and big audiences. So we want to get into that in more detail in just a few minutes. Um, guys, if you missed the last episode, it was a fun conversation with Corey Ames. And it was about carving out your own path and getting traction with smart marketing. He’s somebody that was a CEO of an agency and did he has a lot of digital marketing experience, kind of like me and Amy and our backgrounds. And he made the transition. And he started his own company grow ensemble, and he’s had some successes. And he so he shares that stuff. It’s inspiring to hear, we want to make sure we have people on the front lines here, kind of giving their aha moments and how they’re getting started and how they’re getting traction, right. It’s always helpful to hear from people’s experiences. So we’re going to get into that stuff. We have some exciting stuff going on here. We’ll be making some updates here at Change Creator, we’ve had just so much evolve in the business, and you guys will start seeing some of that come down the pipeline. Just as far as our, you know, branding and things we’re focusing on, you know, we’re really, our backgrounds are really in the branding and storytelling space. So kind of like how do we identify with clarity? Like, what the heck, we are all about who we are and how do we communicate our stories with the world and get attention, but not only get the attention, we are actually understood. And we get loyal customers, right? This this is all has to work together. And we’re going to be talking a lot about that stuff. So if you guys haven’t stopped by Change, Creator calm, go over there. We have a lot of our show notes from the podcast and other articles that are going up. That will continue to to get that stuff populated there. And if you want to learn more about storytelling, right, getting clarity that you need for your brand story, and then your sales stories, get on the waitlist for the captivate method. Alright, you’ll find that on the homepage, over at Change creator.com Alright guys, that is it. For now I’m gonna shut up and we’re gonna dive into this conversation with Amy and Mike. Okay, show me the heat. All right, we made it What’s up, everybody? Adam and Amy here. hope everybody’s having an awesome day. We just wanted to talk a little bit about you know, marketing and what it really is, right? Because we get so excited about having big audiences and reaching tons of people and all that stuff. So we’re going to tap into what is actually the truth behind marketing what that missing ingredient is today. So Amy, and I’ve been talking about this quite a bit. And so marketing is not just about big audiences and how many people we reach and distribution, right. That’s a small part of it. Do we need to get traffic? Yes. So we’re going to tell you a quick story about a friend of ours who has a killer program. It’s a it’s a course based program. And how they went almost a full year with no results, just sales trickling in. And then all of a sudden, in the 11th hour, they blew up. All right. So what happened? This is interesting. And Amy, you could chime in with any details here on this as we go. But you know you get set up and you’re running all these operations and they were they were kind of like fixing Their program and trying to really get it to connect with people. And they were getting as much traffic as possible into this program. But the sales weren’t coming in. And so they had to really kind of just sit back and figure out, well, what’s going on? And they would try all kinds of different things and different audiences that you would go after to get different types of traffic, right? Well, maybe we need to go after this audience or these people with these interests and things like that. And it just wasn’t making the connection. And so they started figuring out well, we may not have the right story, right. So what was the missing ingredient here, that really started to turn things around, and after about, I think it was 10 out of 12, like months right out of the year. They were we had a comment from them. And they were like, we’re so close to having the right story. And we were like, Oh, my God, I love that story. Here, right. And so on the front end, when people think about marketing, Amy, right, we say, all of a sudden, it’s like, oh, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook ads, like, that’s what people automatically associate with marketing

Amy Aitman 06:06

Perfect. E-mail list, all that stuff all the tactical things…

Adam G. Force 06:10

And why is that? Because, you know, we’ve all believe that the more traffic and people we get in front of the more our businesses will thrive. And so our friends, you know, they were getting in front of all the people, but why weren’t they thriving yet? Over time, they kept refining their story, which is when we say that we’re saying their marketing message, right? storytelling is your marketing. And that’s what we teach in the captivate method is really, that’s the most important part of the marketing strategy. So we say marketing, instead of thinking, distribution, and connecting a big audience and all that kind of stuff, and ads, we should be thinking, messaging stories in Italy, right? Like, we want to connect. And guess what, they finally got the right story, their their strategy aligned, and in that 11th month and 12 month, that 11th month alone, they had 70 sales. Now you multiply that by I think it was a 1500 dollar program. That’s a good chunk of change.

Amy Aitman 07:09

It’s a higher ticket offer.

Adam G. Force 07:11

Sure, it literally happened in that one month,

Amy Aitman 07:14

from like one or two sales to 70 in a month.

Adam G. Force 07:18

Exactly. And all of a sudden, I was like, Whoa, so the power, like you can have all the reach and big audience. And it doesn’t matter if you don’t take the time to create a really smart marketing strategy. So understanding how to use storytelling to connect with people, get them on board with what you’re doing. That is the key, and obviously why we put so much emphasis in it in the captivate method program. And it’s kind of counterintuitive, right, Amy? People don’t, it’s not something people feel like, Oh, I don’t have time to do that. I got to work on, you know, running my ads. And I got to work on getting Pinterest set up

Amy Aitman 07:57

I think if I asked a lot of people, a lot of entrepreneurs, like, what is your marketing strategy, I’d say nine out of 10 of them do not say storytelling, they do not say anything about storytelling, they feel like storytelling is a great add on. Or I can fix my messaging when or I can hire someone to fix my messaging. You know, that’s just a copywriting job. But really, I’ve seen it so many times, if your sales aren’t coming in, if your marketing is not effective, most nine or 10 out of 10 times, it’s your messaging, which is your storytelling. You know, sometimes there’s a there’s a problem with these, the automations are whatever, but nine out of 10 times or 10 times it’s your messaging, that’s not working. Because a lot of people get, you know, get really good at the distribution side of things, they get really good at, you know, creating a funnel or having their website or doing social media. But just because you get attention doesn’t mean you’re getting sales and doesn’t mean your marketing is actually working.

Adam G. Force 08:58

Exactly. I mean, I mean, and we see it a lot, too. I mean, you get on to Instagram, Pinterest, and all these sites, and you get so excited about like, Oh, I’m gonna create a killer Instagram strategy and all these things, and you spend so much time see this over and over again, whether it’s a social media platform, or maybe a podcast, right? I’m going to create a podcast, I’m gonna get in front of all these people. And, you know, we have a podcast, and we had a magazine, all this stuff. And we started a very complicated business at Change Creator. And I’ll tell you right now, every time I hear someone say, depending on where they are in the business, right, that I’m going to start a podcast. I want to be supportive and say, Yes, get your story out there and get in front of people. But I also know that it’s going to be a massive distraction, and it’s going to be very difficult to monetize. So this idea of this distribution on the podcast is so sexy and fun. I’m going to interview people and do all this stuff. Yeah, we can enjoy it and we want to do the things we enjoy and that we’re excited about. And all of a sudden, a year goes by and we look back and realize I was just solving the wrong problems. I wasn’t doing what I needed to do, I needed to understand, let’s say, three key things right aiming, it’s, well, how do I create the right marketing strategy based on who I am as a person and the business that I want to run? Right? How do I get clear on how to talk to my perfect customer? Right, how to connect with them and get them to understand my business? And then how do I create a system to automate my sales, so I can free up my time, like, these are your factors. And none of that you can’t create the system and automate sales to have the right message. Right? The right story

Amy Aitman 10:40

It’s a step that you can’t ignore, I see a lot of people coming to us in the captivate method. And they spent years, not just a year, they spent years and years and years on their marketing, and focusing on the wrong things at the wrong time. And really missing this key ingredient. And like kind of hoping to skip over it. Because I feel like this, this is something that may or may not come naturally to everyone, but it’s something that you can learn and you can develop, and it can become a practice that you that is really energizes your entire business. Yeah. And I feel like a lot of entrepreneurs, a lot of digital entrepreneurs, especially like, we just focus on the wrong things. And it’s usually things that we like to do. Yeah, so for me, I would say, early days, I mean, I love writing. So blogging was like writing blogging, content strategy, I could spend all day doing that, you know, but it’s like, actually getting out and doing the things that I need to do and tapping into my core story into into the stories for our marketing. Well, at first those a little uncomfortable, wasn’t it? Adam?

Adam G. Force 11:43

It always is. I think a lot of people avoid this work because one, they think they’re above it, they think they’re above digging into this, but to they also get very uncomfortable, right? It’s uncomfortable to dig into what is necessary to really create the marketing strategies that we need today to connect with the right audience. It takes real work to get this stuff done. And that’s why we have such a powerful methodology to help people get through that process. And once you do, you like you don’t ever want to outsource your marketing strategy and your sales in the first several years of your business. Like you need to master that craft yourself.

Amy Aitman 12:22

Yeah, messaging, you’d never want to outsource that messaging her and you really can’t, it’s almost impossible. Because I’ve hired a lot of copywriters over the year, I’ve been a writer for years. And the first thing any great advertising team is going to do and any copywriting team is going to do is they’re going to ask you for your story. That’s right. I mean, really are they’re gonna ask you about your story. They’re gonna ask you about your customers, they’re going to ask you for the things you need to know for your messaging. And if you let them guess,

Adam G. Force 12:53

You’re screwed.

Amy Aitman 12:54

You’re screwed.

Adam G. Force 12:54

They’ll take your money, they’ll take your money.

Amy Aitman 12:56

They will, they’ll take your money, and they’ll guess,

Adam G. Force 12:59

and they’ll guess. And we’ve done that we’ve hired expensive PR teams, marketing people, because we were thinking, hey, they know this better than us, or we just don’t have the time for it, or, you know, like, we have all these doubts in our brain. And then we start doing that, and we spent tons of money guys sent tons of money. And it was a huge waste of time and energy. Because now like, for example, we have all this stuff, obviously very solidified tons of stories. This is what we teach and we thrive on. And so we have a Facebook ads team. And guess what one of the first things like Amy said, we gave them a folder of like 3040 stories that were essential. We gave we know exactly who we’re talking to. So they could set up everything based on who we are as a brand, based on the stories that we have in order to accomplish certain things. It depends where someone is on that buyers journey, right? Yeah, what story do I tell? When do I tell it? What, like, there’s so much to this. But the more you focus and practice and get into these flows, then when you put effort into your distribution and reaching many people, it’s going to be effective, right?

Amy Aitman 14:05

Yes, it is. And you’re not going to spend waste time and money. putting things out at the wrong time. wrong message the wrong people. So how do you know how would you know, Adam? I have an answer for this one, that you’re missing this number one ingredient that you’re missing storytelling in your marketing. How do you know? What are the signs?

Adam G. Force 14:25

Yeah, well, I guess one major sign is that you’re not you’re not selling consistently. I mean, that’s number one, right?

Amy Aitman 14:32

That’s a big sign.

Adam G. Force 14:34

And people will start to say, ah, these Facebook ads stink, man. They don’t work, right. I can’t, I can never get sales. I’m like, Yeah, dude, because your messaging is completely off course. Not. Not only is it the wrong message, but it’s not being done in a way that’s compelling and thought provoking. It doesn’t it doesn’t connect with people. Marketing goes deep on how you actually connect with someone. And you should know Do they say in traffic every day, are they drinking a glass of wine having a, you know, drowning their sorrows every night like who is this person? And there’s lots of, there’s lots of ways to get to that. And that’s obviously stuff that we go through and teach in our program, because it’s so important. And did you have other thoughts Amy about…

Amy Aitman 15:23

I was gonna say the same thing, you know that you’re missing this when parts or all of your marketing is not working for you. So if you invest, say so much time into an Instagram strategy, and it’s just not connecting, it’s not getting to sales. This is where I like to look. And I like to say, okay, what’s missing? And it’s usually this messaging, if you find yourself getting a lot of people that like, love what you do, but are buying from you, then it’s, you’re missing this key ingredient, right? Um, that’s those are the two like, those are two key indicators that I’d say, look at your marketing. And I look at if you if you feel like everyone that you’re bringing into your world is not the right audience. This, again, is probably the the missing ingredient for that too

Adam G. Force 16:14

And you know what? There’s a major distraction that causes some of this for people. When we think marketing, remember we said earlier, we think marketing, we think social media advertising, you know, the distribution side of it, we don’t think that the connection, the communication side of it, but when we think about that distribution, think social media, well, we’re gonna say, we have a fear about what people think about us. Right? Yes, trade. For starters, people were afraid to put ourselves out there. And then when we do well, what are people going to think when I only have 20 people on my Facebook page? No one’s gonna trust my business. No one’s gonna buy from me, right? And guess what? That is the furthest thing from the truth ever. Okay. It’s about what you’re saying. It’s about who those 20 people are. What if each of those people was spending $1,000 a month of reoccurring revenue with you? Because they’re your perfect customer. So you got to Facebook people making $20,000 a month, okay?

Amy Aitman 17:10

This is a big mistake that we see so many people making, especially when it comes to story is they we they confuse trust with big numbers and they say if I had a million followers, and everyone would trust me, and I want when I when people tell me that I always ask them, okay, I have a product here, and I’m going to send out an influencer with the million followers, and it’s going to try to sell you or I’m going to send your best friend in the world that says, You got to try this product. Dude. This is the best product ever have I love this product? Someone that is that close to you? Who do you trust more? The Kylie Jenner’s of the world, or your best friend, or your best friend?

Adam G. Force 17:54

What about that story there is that girl on Instagram where they’re like, hey, she has like a couple million people or something following her. Like, she tried to sell a T shirt that someone was like sponsored to pay her to, like sell or something. And she was only able to sell like four t shirts to like millions of followers. And, you know, again, no connection. It was fake. Like, we just making the point about vanity metrics, this stuff just doesn’t matter. So that will hold you back. Yeah, it’s a leaf, right, or a false belief. And it’s based on that fear, the fear of what will people think? Right?

Amy Aitman 18:28

Yeah, because really, in today’s digital marketing, especially for mission driven entrepreneurs, it’s about connection. It’s about building trust, it’s about business connection. And it’s about finding the right people that our products can serve. That’s what it’s really about. It’s really not about how many people we have, you know, on our Instagram accounts or honor, you know, Facebook accounts. And I can tell you from being in the business and in the digital marketing space for quite some time, there’s a lot of ways to fake food, fugazi these numbers, and people know that… People totally know that as well. And so I feel like Nowadays, people really want that connection. And it’s more and more important than ever before, to have to build that connection with our audience to get that trust.

Adam G. Force 19:16

Absolutely. It makes a big difference to what you’re doing. So, you know, just to recap, the lesson here, guys is to where you’re putting your energy. I mean, we have to understand storytelling. Again, storytelling is your marketing. It’s how you’re communicating how you’re getting people on board with what you do, how you’re connecting with them. It’s also grounds your business and what kind of business you are and what you stand. There’s so much behind it. Storytelling is where you should be putting most of your energy any any company that has a great story to add is great, what storytelling will be a great company. Right? I think that covers that topic. I mean, it’s such an important one. So anything final words here. Any questions from anybody that is listening? We are happy…

Amy Aitman 20:03

No, Krista just said thank you, Adam. It’s so important only understand what you’re talking about connecting with your ideal customer. That’s true. Yeah, you see that a lot as well. I mean, it’s so important to have these connections and to build that trust.

Adam G. Force 20:19

Yeah. So think about your messaging. And connecting with people don’t worry about the big numbers and the distribution. Everything has its time in place. So we can always do the right things at the wrong time and averaging. So we really want to be take putting our priorities in the right order here. So marketing is not just about your distribution, it’s about what you’re saying, who you’re saying it to, and why you’re saying it.

Amy Aitman 20:46

Definitely. And like our friends that finally got the 70 sales on month 11 that we finally got the right story. And I can tell you from from knowing their story, they spent a lot of time and energy building traffic and doing that. Yeah, that wasn’t that that’s not what works.

Adam G. Force 21:05

Awesome. All right, guys. We’re gonna wrap this up and we will catch you on the next episode. Thanks for tuning into the Change Creator podcast, visit us at Change creator.com forward slash go big to get access to free downloads and other great resources that will drive your business forward.

Cory Ames: Carving Out Your Own Path and Getting Traction with Smart Marketing

Listen to our exclusive interview with Cory Ames:

Subscribe to this show on Spotify  |  iTunes  |  Stitcher  |  Soundcloud

What does it take to start making a real difference in the world? Do you have the confidence and belief in yourself to pursue your dream? We decided to speak with the co-founder of Grow Ensemble, Cory Ames, about his transition from CEO of a marketing agency to pursuing his own business driven by smart marketing.

Having figured out early on that a traditional path didn’t appeal to me, I left college early and joined a mutli-million dollar marketing agency where I ultimately became CEO. I enjoyed the work and learned a lot, but there was something I wasn’t getting from that work: fulfillment of what I saw as my social responsibility as a business person. I decided to combine what I’m good at (marketing, with an expertise in SEO) with what I’m most passionate about––improving the world through social impact. I started Grow Ensemble in 2018, a digital marketing, training & consulting company that helps nonprofits, social enterprises & social entrepreneurs market their mission online.

Learn more about Cory and his work at > https://coryames.com/ 

We also recommend:

Transcription of Interview

(Transcribed by Otter.ai, there may be errors)

SPEAKERS

Adam G. Force, Cory Ames

Adam G. Force 00:03

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 life to go big, visit us at Change Creator comm forward slash go big to grab awesome resources that will help drive your business forward. What’s up, everybody? Welcome back to the Change Creator podcast show. This is your host enforce excited to dive into today’s conversation. But before we do so, if you missed the last episode, Danielle and I jumped on and we spoke about what the backbone of a great marketing strategy actually is. This is such an important topic, so many entrepreneurs Mr. Mark, we don’t get done. We don’t get our marketing done right in the market. And guess what happens? We don’t get sales. And it makes everything stressful, difficult and overwhelming. So we want to really dive into that topic. And so if you missed it, definitely go back, check it out. This week, we’re gonna be talking with Corey Ames. So Corey Ames is one of these entrepreneurs that was not happy about the cookie cutter path. Right. So he actually left college early, and he joined a multimillion dollar marketing agency where he actually became CEO, you know, but it just wasn’t exactly what he was looking to do with the rest of his life, the idea of having more fulfillment was attractive. And so he ended up starting his own business, he wanted to make a difference in the world in his own way. And now that company is called grow ensemble. And that started in 2018. So not too long ago. But he has a lot of digital marketing background experience and insights that are going to be exciting to discuss with Corey and share with you guys. So you know, grow ensemble is itself is a training and consulting company that actually helps nonprofits, social enterprises, social entrepreneurs, all really get their missions out there online, right. So this is driven by marketing, expertise and things like that. So we’re gonna dive into some cool stuff with Corey and see what he has to say. And if you guys are not already, follow us on Facebook, make sure you join our Facebook group, the profitable digital impact entrepreneur, we love to connect with people there and share all kinds of goodies, step by Change Creator calm, lots of fresh content, show notes, from the podcast, interviews and all that good stuff. And you can get on the waitlist for the captivate method, where people are crushing it. We’re literally getting posts from people in our private group. They’re saying this was the best decision I made in my life. You know, what we love helping people align not this is for entrepreneurs who want to go from offline to online. This is for entrepreneurs that want to really get their marketing strategies moving forward. By using the power of story story is a lot more than a format we use for a social media post or things like that. story goes beyond that. And it is an art and every great business masters this art and it will help you align who you are with what you do very closely so that you do have a life of fulfillment. It’s very powerful stuff and it is the key to a great marketing strategy. Alright guys, so we’re gonna get into some marketing conversation here with Corey right now. Okay, show me the heat. No, you go. Hey, Cory, welcome to the Change Creator podcast. How you doing today?

Cory Ames 03:51

I’m doing good, Adam. Thanks for having me. How you doing?

Adam G. Force 03:53

I’m doing great. You know, we are getting through all kinds of work here on this new house. And it’s been exciting to get it done, getting our lives back. So I know you’re on the house hunts as well. So I wish you luck with that, my friend.

Cory Ames 04:06

Yeah, entering the world of homeownership. So taking your example, it seems like I might be a project manager sometime soon for some construction

Adam G. Force 04:16

It’s, it’s fun. Okay. Yeah. So listen, tell me just a little bit. So I like to start at a point of action. So like, what is exciting and what do you got going on? You know, these days? what’s the latest? What’s the greatest let’s start there.

Cory Ames 04:36

All right. Well, at the moment, you know, we we grow ensemble, we invest so much of our time in our own sort of content production and content marketing efforts, because it’s really been the absolute number one way in which we’ve been able to build a community around our own brand. Our own business is since we’ve been around about two years now. And so you know, I’m myself. I have have a background in search engine optimization, SEO. And so I’m always kind of tinkering and stuff like that it’s kind of what’s the next evolution of our strategy and our process. And so one thing we’re working through right now, which kind of has me pretty excited, and enthusiastic is the way in which we’re able to make the most out of all this existing content that we’ve created. So I think a lot of people, you know, think that they publish a blog post a podcast, whatever it might be, and they just kind of set it and forget it, forget it, and kind of, you know, set themselves on this endless hamster wheel of content creation, always meaning to produce something new. Yeah. And well, you know, putting out new stuff is really great, of course, and you want to kind of continue with that contextually relevant content, content, timely content, you know, in responding to your community, there’s just always a wealth of content you’ve produced historically, that can be repurposed, reutilized, and reorganized. So we took a look at our site the last few years, you know, we have 100 plus 150, plus almost 175, you know, different pieces of content from our podcasts or blog posts. And, you know, what we start to find, as you kind of evolve a content marketing strategy in SEO strategy is that the more content you create, there is the potential that there actually becomes some issues on your site. So the more content you create, the more strategic you have to be with how you organize it. So what we’ve just done, you know, previously, we’ve had just a long extensive blog feed along feed attached to our podcast, but now we’re starting to organize things, you know, thematically based off of topics, you know, whether we’re talking about issues in, you know, zero waste, or we’re talking about the topic of, you know, composting, the benefits of that for the economy, communities, etc, or social entrepreneurship, you know, digital marketing, we’re starting to group and batch all these things together. And I’m really excited about it, we’ve created all these different kinds of content hubs, as we call it, these landing pages for different topics, themes, you know, and, you know, subjects that we cover. And now we’ve made it a lot easier for searchers. And then ultimately, Google to access all this content, we spent so much time in creating, and are really starting to see a good spike in our traffic, and you know, must start to see that kind of stuff overnight. Because Google kind of allows you a bandwidth or, you know, amount of kind of a cut, I think they call it a you know, crawl breadth, the amount of time that Google is going to spend on your site trying to capture all your resources. And so making it easier for searchers, and visitors to find your resources ultimately, is something that Google likes. And as a product of that, you know, we’re seeing a really great spike in the amount of people that are circulating around girl ensemble today. So that’s, that’s where I’d start. That’s where my brains at in the world of SEO right now.

Adam G. Force 07:49

No, that’s good. It sounds like you’re on the right track. We’ve definitely, you know, as a media company, but down those roads and been lucky because Amy’s a total SEO nerd, and she thrives in that where we go. And, you know, we have reorganized our site several times. And it’s definitely gets tricky as the algorithms change and shift and just kind of leaning into the latest, you know, what Google is looking for? and all that. But yeah, I mean, setting up the hubs and organizing, there’s so many different ways to slice it, then you do have to make it easy for people. And there’s certain ways to group those things that make it really impactful. But yeah, sounds like you’re going down the right track. And similar because we’ve had those experiences. So that’s cool. Now tell me like, Where did you get experience in SEO? What’s some of your background that led you to, you know, one starting grow ensemble? And just your knowledge around SEO and things like that?

Cory Ames 08:45

Sure. Well, you know, my, my experience in digital marketing touches back all the way to, like the start of college for me. So I went to Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, where I’m originally from, and I, I’ve always kind of considered myself generalists, like I’m good at, and pretty good at getting good at, you know, enough things, but I’ve never been like the top 1% in any particular skill, you know, I’m above average, slightly at, you know, above average, in a lot of different things. And I never really knew exactly what it was that I wanted to do. And so originally, entrepreneurship and in building online businesses, specifically in digital marketing appealed to me because I, you know, I thought it would be a vehicle to create a lot of freedom and autonomy in my life to be able to pursue, you know, whatever it is that I wanted to do after, you know, so I thought that that digital marketing in building an online business would kind of be the gateway for that. So starting as like a freshman in college, I started tinkering around with websites. And you know, being a college student, you have no money. So, you know, I couldn’t I have these websites up, you know, what I’m trying to build some sort of kind of micro side business with it and figure out how to drive traffic to it and monetize. But the thing about being a college student with no, you know, extra cash on hand is that I couldn’t pay for any paid advertising. Yeah. So I learned first and foremost about SEO that, you know, well, obviously, you know, people, you know, pay SEO consultants and teams and all that kind of stuff, you know, it could be something that was driven off of labor, you know, if I figured out how to do it, you know, spent the time and put in the effort. And I ultimately, you know, could get thousands, if not 10s of thousands people coming in these websites that I was building, to come to the site for, you know, I’m putting in quotations here free. And so college student who’s, you know, money poor, but time rich, I spent a lot of time tinkering around with websites. And after a few failed projects, I ultimately had one that gained some traction, you know, build a pretty high traffic blog, a little kind of side business attached to it. And so I remember that first month with that site, and I made like, 170 or so dollars. Now, I really thought that I had made it as an entrepreneur, it was like that moment, like, Oh, my God, real money. Yeah, well, $170 for a college student is that’s a good amount of cash. So, you know, it’s from that moment that it was important, you know, and it kind of validated for me that I can learn this skill set, you know, and I became a bit more obsessive about it. And so, my pursuit initially was to try and make that something that would, you know, actually go from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand and sustain a living, you know, for a young kind of new entrepreneur, but luckily, and kind of serendipitously I ended up connecting with, who would then be my boss, and, you know, a mentor I’ve had for a few years. And he was running a digital marketing agency. And, you know, we got connected and hit it off and asked about the projects I was working on. And clearly from that, you know, what they did for their clients, I had a lot of relevant experience. And so I never ended up making that site, like what would be in my business, I ended up getting a full time job with this, this digital marketing agency. And so the the promise there from him, you know, I was like, the fourth employee was fast growing. Yeah, you know, they had 30 or so clients at the time, you know, by the time I was finished, there, we had over 100. And his promise was, you know, come, you know, hustle work for me, and I’ll teach you everything I know about digital marketing. So, you know, it was there, I learned so many the ins and outs of all things, PPC, SEO, you know, conversion rate optimization, all that good stuff. But it was that digital marketing agency experience that, that really, you know, set the stage for what would become great ensemble today.

Adam G. Force 12:27

Okay. And so what is the intention behind Grow Ensemble right now?

Cory Ames 12:33

Well, for us, you know, we have kind of two very, very basic aims in a lot of the resources that we create and share. And as well, the the work that we do for our clients in our community. So first and foremost, you know, we want to create really valuable resources around you know, all the topics that surrounds, you know, what we say, of building a better world, leaving the world and more just equitable and habitable place than we found it for all of us, not just some of us eating. And so what we’re doing is both, you know, my, my fiance, and I actually, we co founded gr ensemble together, and so we’re, we’re both so happens to be, we’re both generalists, and we love to learn, you know, and so the the first kind of selfish pursuit and creating all this content, having all these interviews with experts in this space is just to learn as much as we can about the space of sustainable business, social enterprise, social entrepreneurship, and in as well, you know, General sustainable living. And so we’re creating and sharing these resources, you know, really with the second aim of to bring more people into that community, from, you know, what we see as maybe as accessible of a point as possible, you know, we think that even by making some small, you know, more incremental daily changes, that you can make a significant impact over time, by being a little bit more cognizant and conscious with what companies you support, you know, in, in how you, you know, quote, unquote, vote with your dollar. Yeah, or as well, you know, how it is that start to spend your hours at work, you know, maybe you kind of more critically analyze the practices of the business that you work for, you know, or run, to see how it can be more impactful to, you know, so we kind of believe you don’t really have to everyone doesn’t have to be Mother Teresa, you know, dedicate their entire life to service. But, you know, maybe that’s a progression, and you ultimately get there, you know, but we want to invite people into the community from, you know, as accessible as possible. So it’s those two really kind of broad aims for us. And through those processes of creating content, what we’re learning what we’re developing in our own skill set, you know, we then help kind of train and support social enterprises, nonprofits and purpose driven businesses in the space that we feel hold on to those values and ethics that we still respect in this business space. You know, we help them get the word out about the good work that they do.

Adam G. Force 14:47

Hmm. And so I’m curious just on some of the challenges you’ve had in, you know, trying to get Grow Ensemble off the ground and, you know, really make it the business that you’re envisioning.

Cory Ames 15:01

Sure, so I think the thing that is, I mean, you know, with all these different business models, service, you know, in consulting and more kind of information based businesses are a little bit tricky because the model can kind of change overnight, you know, you can all of a sudden say, like, Hey, you know, we’re offering this now, we didn’t, we didn’t offer that yesterday, but now we offer this service, you know, it’s SEO services, or whatever it might be, right. As opposed to like a product based business. You know, where you’re very, like, you’re very tangibly attached to that product, obviously, you can launch new ones or whatever, but what you sell is very tangible and clear. You know, okay, here’s this, this widget, this is what it does, you know, do you want it or not? Obviously, you know, I know you’re a storytelling guy can get more a little bit elaborate than that. But, you know, for us, I think it’s been figuring out and, you know, what exactly is the model for us, you know, and how we, we shape and mold this thing around? What are our strengths, our skill sets, you know, where we feel best positioned to, to serve, and connect with this community of social enterprise leaders, purpose driven business leaders, and we’ve been kind of redefining that over the last years, which I think is, you know, very common amongst young companies. And so we’ve had the patience to really focus on that kind of audience building, you know, community building, so that we really immerse ourselves in the folks around the folks that we want to serve, you know, and then kind of having the patience to swap slowly tweak, you know, refine and adjust. What is this exact, you know, kind of business model, so to speak?

Adam G. Force 16:31

Yeah. Yeah. So, I guess, you know, as far as gras ensemble goes, and some of the stuff that you’re talking about? What has been so those are some of the difficulties or challenges and stuff like that, but you must have had some wins, remind me how long have you guys been in active now?

Cory Ames 16:53

Just about two full years, so we’re coming up on maybe a year and 10 months or so. Okay.

Adam G. Force 16:59

Yes, yeah, pretty young. So what has been some of the wins that you’ve had now to, to during those during that time?

Cory Ames 17:09

Certainly, so, you know, I feel that a lot of our wins come around come from the community that we’ve been able to build around girl ensemble. So, you know, for us that that really started with the podcast first and foremost, you know, is when we officially launched girl ensemble, that was really what was running in parallel was the podcast, that got us connected with so many different, you know, really exceptional, prolific, and as well as generous, very generous leaders in this this space of sustainable business. Yeah, you know, and so I would recommend that for folks, you know, maybe with the resources or the know how, and that podcasting is such a great way to build, you know, really key essential relationships early on, in your business as well multifaceted with being a wonderful opportunity to just kind of be, you know, almost a member of the media or like a journalist in your industry, learning so much about what’s going on, you know, who who’s involved, you know, what, what’s important to them, it’s such a great place to start, you know, and then soon after the podcast, we launched the written publication over at our blog, you know, really kind of leaning into our expertise of SEO and content marketing. And then it was in about six, seven months from then, you know, we were able to see our first 25,000 visitors in a single month around the site. So bootstrapping a blog, versus kind of hiring, and, you know, utilizing resources on a whole writing team is a different, different effort, my fiance and I have written maybe 60 to 70% of the content that’s attached to the blog. But, you know, with that kind of sweat equity, we’ve been able to build a pretty solid audience around it, and it’s continuing to grow, you know, maybe 10 to 30%, every single month. So, we’re excited about that, you know, that community and that’s allowed us to, you know, we have all sort of little mechanisms to kind of trigger conversations in our business with who’s engaging with the site, who’s, you know, subscribing to our email list, reading our newsletter, responding to those newsletters, we want to learn, you know, who’s who’s behind those, you know, email addresses on that, or so it’s, it’s been wonderful to see, you know, the, I always get kind of struck, struck with the absolute depth and insanity of the internet when, you know, it’s people in rural Africa, you know, replying to emails, you know, Vancouver, British Columbia, you know, overseas in Europe, wherever it is all working on these different social impact related nonprofits, you know, a social enterprises, whatever it might be, I’m always just kind of struck with Yeah. Now how the internet, you know, gives you access to all corners of the globe.

Adam G. Force 19:53

Mm hmm. I know that feeling. So, you know, and I think it’s important for people to realize that you know, and they are earlier days that the sweat equity is important, I mean, so, you know, when you’re putting in that time, I’m curious, like you’re creating this content, what has been your way, as you know, SEO takes a while to pick up. Especially if you don’t have a newer site, you don’t have the authority recognized by Google yet. So you may not, you know, you may not rank right away, and then let alone get traction from an article for another nine months, or whatever it is. So how else are you trying to or successfully getting your content in front of people?

Cory Ames 20:33

Sure, so yeah, obviously, SEO is more of a game of patience. So long term game. But I would say that, you know, outside of that organic search, that we’ve been able to accumulate, it’s predominantly partnerships, you know, so really, if you categorize traffic into three different buckets, you know, it’s that organic, traffic, paid content, or paid traffic, and then it’s referral based traffic predominantly. And so for us, you know, we’ve, as I mentioned, you know, now some hundred plus episodes into the podcast, we’ve been able to build a lot of really good relationships. And so, of course, you know, in the podcast exchange, you might, one of my number one goals with that, and hosting folks on the podcast is to, you know, have them feel like it’s a, it’s a special experience, you know, because I’m very grateful for the time that they’ve, they’ve taken to spend with us, you know, share their expertise, share their story. And so we really want to do our best, you know, to make it meaningful, not just something that’s transactional, you know, every other podcast that you’ve been on. So as a product of that, you know, we really kind of set the stage for what we feel are pretty good relationships. And we’ve had a lot of partners, communities that were attached to promote our content, things as a product to that. So you know, every single podcast episode, for the most part gets shared by our guests, you know, and that’s not always something you can count on. But now, that’s been a wonderful way for us to get plugged in to audiences that we wouldn’t otherwise you know, and when you’re bootstrapping, and budgets are tight, it’s going to be predominantly organic, and then maybe sharing from you know, referral partners that you’ll be able to get that sustainable traffic early on, especially when you’re, you know, really trying to refine and articulate your business model. You can’t just really throw paid traffic onto a funnel that’s super unproven. You know, it kind of depends on where, where your bandwidth is for, you know, experimentation and testing. And so it’s been predominantly those those partner sources that we’ve been grateful to get more exposure to places that we otherwise wouldn’t have.

Adam G. Force 22:29

Yeah, and you’re right, you can’t always rely on people to share those things. Yeah. It’s like we do the magazine. And we, you know, we’re, oh, man, we’re getting all these famous people, and they’re gonna share it to their massive networks. The only real big share was guys like Gerard Adams, and Jay Shetty and stuff like that. But most of the time, these guys did not put it in the circulation of their strategies.

Cory Ames 22:52

Oh, no, yeah, it’s that’s something that I’ve learned from the podcast in reading a lot on podcasting, and how to grow a podcast, everybody usually set like, there’s two things I see most commonly said, it’s like, oh, build out your show notes for SEO purposes, like just have a good set of show notes for SEO, and then to, you know, get guests to share your show. And those have been probably the greatest kind of misconceptions, I think, that I’ve seen in growing a podcast, that one, you know, with SEO, like, it doesn’t do you very good normally, to, you know, receive traffic off of like, the guests name or the guest company, you know, people who are searching for that probably aren’t searching for, you know, what your, your business is about, or even, you know, what, what kind of topic is being discussed on the show. And so, you know, we’ve seen, we’ve created really great show notes over the last year, and so many of those get such little ongoing traffic after the fact that we’ve published them, unless we, you know, really manually promote it, but no organic search, right? So we try to construct our show notes instead, kind of like blog posts, you know, because people, most shows aren’t interviewing celebrities of any kind, right? You know, we like to think that they are in our space, but, you know, name ID is not as big in this space of, you know, social enterprise or social entrepreneurship as it might be in film, you know, or something like that. And so, you know, we build them around the topics that people might be interested in. And then on the other end of that with, with partners, you know, you don’t want to be off putting in any sort of way, you know, you want to give them the option to promote it, obviously. And, but not force it upon them. Because people don’t like that. No, don’t like that. No. And and so what we’ve got to see is by really just prioritizing the experience, you know, more often than not, we can get those episodes in circulation, but by all means, it’s you know, we’re never pushing that we’re never leading with that. It’s always Hey, at your discretion, if you so choose, you know, whether you feel comfortable or not, you know, totally up to you. We just like to, you know, focus on did they enjoy their experience, you know, being a guest on our show.

Adam G. Force 24:57

Yeah, I mean, that that’s really what the focus needs to be it’s, you can’t, you can’t have the expectation of that kind of distribution and support and all that stuff. But a lot of times, you know, it depends on who you’re interviewing or working with. And I guess, you know, when it comes down, and one thing I have found is that they’re usually willing to do like a review for a podcast. But as far as sharing to their audiences, networks can’t always rely on that. But I found that at the end of a show, you usually would ask someone to do like a review, because that’s valuable, like on iTunes, and for the algorithm and all that kind of stuffs. And, and they usually will do stuff like that. So that that that tends to work. And, you know, I didn’t always do that for Change Creator podcast, and then even just like, the past year, I just kind of started doing that. And I was surprised that people were following through with that, you know, and I think it’s because you have a good conversation, you connect, and there’s value there. And they’re like, you know, they you have them on the line, it’s different when you’re just emailing someone cold, versus we just smoked for and a half hour, and now you’re asking for a little help, you know, what I mean? Makes me

Cory Ames 26:05

Absolutely, yeah, that’s, that’s why I’ve loved the podcast has been just a door opener, you know, for so many different relationships that are, you know, directly or indirectly relevant to our business, you know, it’s just been such a, a source of enrichment and fulfillment. In doing so, over the last two years, I highly recommend it, you know, if if people think that they might have the aptitude or interest in sustaining one

Adam G. Force 26:31

Yeah, well, that’s the thing too, I, you know, we get a lot of people that want to jump into a podcast. And it is, it can be tough and, and I want to touch on SEO in a minute. But, you know, starting a podcast, there’s a lot to it, especially if you’re not technically savvy, or you don’t, and you don’t, and then you have to do the editing, the marketing, the distribution, all this stuff. You know, it’s a bit of an operation, you got to get the recruitment down, and you got to, you know, do the interviews and all that stuff. So a lot of people tend to get distracted, or they think they’re gonna monetize it, you know, real quick and make a good chunk of change off like advertising monetization. And right, you know, that’s a lot more difficult than you might think you need some big numbers to do that stuff. The relationship building is great. And I agree with you like building that network and connecting with people having great conversations, all that stuff is super valuable. But I, I have found that like, when people are trying to sell an offer, and they have a product, whether it’s service or tangible, but they’re doing the podcast, and their early days, there’s a there’s a bit of it can be a bit of a distraction at the same time. So it’s kind of like, it’s it’s, I think, for your company is like more media focus, it makes a lot of sense. Same for me, we started with the podcast, but I think if I had to do it all over again, I might rethink that and start with a product that I sell immediately. And I’m curious on your thoughts just on the workload, the effort behind the podcast, based on the ROI that comes out of it, like, what would you advise now that you’ve done over 100 episodes, and you started this thing?

Cory Ames 28:11

Sure. So yeah, I mean, just to reiterate what you mentioned on maybe more traditional advertising or sponsorship models, yeah, you kind of have to throw out throw that away. Yeah, if you seriously think that that’s gonna sustain it, I think it’s like, you know, 1000 downloads is equivalent to maybe $20, maybe, or something, you know, for, right. And so, you know, that’s not a good, good approach to take. And so you do have to, you know, consider a few things. You know, for us, first and foremost, you might my priority was to install some good systems and processes around it, because I knew, you know, if more than the the effort of, you know, preparing for the interviews, hosting the interviews, recording them, you know, and kind of strategically thinking about the content, if more of the process involved me than that, you know, we’re we’re not going to, we wouldn’t hit 100 shows like we have, you know, yeah, consistently publishing twice weekly. Right. And so with that in mind, obviously, there’s more expenses that we accrue on, you know, what it costs to produce an individual show. Yeah. And so, you know, you have to be prepared that it will require some resources. And I think if you’re going to be serious about podcasting, you should invest the resources. But exactly like you said, You know, I think you have to know what you’re getting yourself into, as to how you can sustain it on the other end. So, yeah, for us, you know, we did a lot more consulting and service, you know, in the first year of our business than we do now. And so, the, it just so happened, that the guests that we’re reaching out to were potential clients for us, you know, and so I talked about, you know, cold email outreach versus inviting someone on for an interview, you know, you’re gonna get a lot more conversations and it’s a great door opener, you know, to see if, you know, validate some of your assumptions or hypotheses at this person in there. company might might be in need of your services or could could benefit from your services. So, for us, you know, we were able to turn around and again, with service based contracts, especially when they’re, you know, kind of five figure six figure contracts over a year. It’s a long sales cycle. And it takes a lot of time to build trust. Yep, you know, but we were able to see a positive ROI on on the podcast from, you know, pretty early on because of that,

Adam G. Force 30:25

That’s a good strategy. And that’s why I brought it up. Because I think it’s an important point, because you hear it a lot, like, oh, start a podcast, build the audience. And people have a misconception, that that’s how they’re gonna make money. Right, and that that’s gonna be like their bread and butter. But it’s a lot of work. And you need to know what you’re getting into. And you need to have a plan on how to actually monetize now, your monetization strategy of building partnerships, doing consulting, I think this is a powerful approach, especially for early stage businesses, is to really connect with clients work with clients on as part of your revenue channel while you’re building up the business. Right. So having that as an approach to build these partnerships is great. So to me, that’s the missing piece that a lot of people may not catch, or understand that you have in your pocket. Up, you know, we did something similar to like, I would connect with people on podcast, and they big Hey, I’m going to be in Miami, and we’d go get breakfast. And then we talk about their business. And we do some work. And, you know, early days, even to this day, depending on the client, like we still take some clients, and we will do a do it for you service, right, we have our membership and our program that we teach all this stuff. But we also do do it for you services, and we have some some other stuff we leveraged with our SEO strategies on our site with clients, and you know that the b2b stuff is valuable. So I think there’s, there’s always big money there. So if you do have some intellectual property to share with people, I think that you nailed it with the podcast as a great way for a lead generation tool.

Cory Ames 31:58

Absolutely, I mean, you just have to know what like be more more familiar with the medium that you’re getting yourself into, you know, just purely as a volume based lead in traffic strategy, podcasting is not that great. Because I think growing a podcast is a little bit more unless you have an existing kind of built in audience email is a lot of traffic around your site. You know, in social media platforms, that makes it a lot easier, obviously, but growing one from scratch, as we did, you know, with no existing traffic around our site, it’s a long, it’s a hustle to get it to, you know, what would seem kind of any, you know, me coming from the SEO space, I’m seeing 10s of thousands, you know, 50,000 hundred thousand visitors to the month in a site. And then I start growing a podcast, I’m like, Damn, this is hard. And like, I’m not seeing the same numbers that I normally would. And so you know, it’s it’s great for for nurturing relationships with an audience. It’s a much more committed committed medium than people scanning blog posts, consuming blog content like that, or email newsletters. You know, podcasting is great for for nurturing and cultivating relationships. And then, you know, for early podcasters, if you are looking for that, that source of monetization or sustainability, you know, the most valuable relationships you’re going to get out of the podcast are not necessarily listeners to start, but it’s probably the people that you’re going to have on the show, you know, whether that’s some sort of, you know, joint joint venture partnerships you can craft up, or if you can serve them, you know, specifically, of course, you do have to be, you know, delicate with how you have those Converse, you don’t want it to seem like it’s explicitly a mechanism for, you know, creating sales conversations for you. So you do have to be, you know, Cognizant and authentic, about how you do that, but it’s probably going to be the guest relationships. Yeah, that that will be the most important for you in the first year, honestly. You know, we we focus there.

Adam G. Force 33:56

Yeah, I think that’s, that’s good advice. So let’s touch on SEO, we’re kind of hitting our time here, but I want to just kind of talk a little bit about it, because it’s so important. And it’s really valuable. I think that you know, I’m a big fan of it. And because it’s sustainable. Now, there’s lots of little tricks and things like, you know, to stay on top of as far as like Google, you know, algorithms and all that stuff. But, you know, you have a, I’ve seen a lot of companies, Cory where they get investment media companies, you know, and they will pump out content, and then they promote the hell out of Facebook and other things. And you’ll see, like we will, we’ll go into h refs, or whatever tools we use, and we’ll look at their traffic patterns, right? And we will kind of investigate and diagnose a bit, and we see the massive spikes for the next like six months after or a year after those investments. And then all of a sudden, it’s like it falls off a cliff. And we’re like, Hmm, I wonder what happened and what we what Amy and I would talk about, you know this maybe two years ago, we’d be looking deep into this stuff. We’d be like, okay, so they got that investment. They spent all the money, but they didn’t have real content strategy or SEO strategy in place. Whereas those short lives bikes that they paid for, once the money’s gone, boom, like that’s it, it falls off a cliff. But with if you have smart SEO, why I love it, and I’m sure why you love it is because once you start building it up, it’s like a snowball, and it becomes reliable, reoccurring traffic over time.

Cory Ames 35:28

Definitely, yeah, no, I, I totally agree. I you know, and I think that SEO can kind of seem a little bit like a dark art or something. As people think about it, like, I’ve been asked, like, how much do you pay Google, you know, to get to the top spot, maybe a little less so now than a few years ago, but you know, what, there’s, there’s a few principles or components for me that it seemed to be most important. You know, while SEO can be complex, you know, that’s kind of why I’ve had the job that I’ve had in the last few years. You know, it really boils down to a few things, you know, to kind of break it down as simply as we can, you know, you in at the end of the day, what Google wants to do is provide the searchers with the absolute best potential possible result, you know, for whatever it is that they’re searching for, what question that they had, what problem they’re trying to solve, you know, what topic they’re wanting to research more or learn more about. Google wants them to be as satisfied with their result as possible when they click on the second search for search or what have you. And so what I always tell people is to think about when you’re creating, you know, your blog posts or content for your site, you know, think about how you can orient to that experience, you know, what would provide the most comprehensive, engaging blog post for what I’m imagining is my, my potential reader, you know, or potential site visitor as possible, you know, and, of course, that’s a horizon line, it’s, it’s tough to get that you work to it over time. But reverse engineering, everything that you do in this sense of, you know, thinking about how your site technically can perform. So like, if your site’s, you know, taking 10 seconds to load that’s going to be distracting to the user experience, right, and they’ll bounce off and leave, you know, if you think about the content itself, if it’s actually unique, you know, telling maybe an interesting story, or sharing, maybe relevant or interesting facts and data, things that people are really going to hang on to, that’s going to provide, you know, a much more positive experience than maybe what I see a lot of SEO companies produce, which is just, you know, some sort of kind of me to content or Mirage content, where it looks like everything else, you know, that is on the internet. You know, you want want to take that top line of what’s going to be the absolute best resource I can create and reverse engineer everything from there from the technical to the content, you know, to everything in between.

Adam G. Force 37:51

Yeah, yeah. And it’s a deep topic. I mean, we can go on for hours talking about SEO, obviously, and, you know, the hierarchy and the structure of the sites. I mean, it’s amazing how many times we have like, had to think through just how, because you can slice and dice the organization of your site in many ways. And you want to have certain things linked to your homepage for SEO purposes versus other pages and things like that. And it’s interesting, you know, like we, we have certain articles that do very, very well consistently for SEO. And I think one of the things I love is, if you have the right strategy in place, you are attracting the right people, right. So then when you have products, and you have your sales funnel set up, it’s going to be relevant. So like, if you have people coming into SEO, and then you have a lead generation mechanism set up to give them a first step towards you know, your, your journey to be a buyer. The conversion rates go up, right when they’re coming through the right stuff, because you’re attracting the right people. So there’s a nice, a nice flow and sequence, if you’re thinking it through on from head to toe, right. So, you know, we have an article about 21, like the top, or I think it’s 21 of the top leadership podcast. So people are interested in a leadership podcast, that’s a great start for us to get the right kind of person to our site, who’s going to be interested in what we’re offering. So thinking I like to make sure people are thinking like, what kind of content we’re putting out there not just to get eyeballs, but to attract the right customers for my products, right?

Cory Ames 39:20

Absolutely. And you know, when you can get into the nitty gritty of like keyword research and all this kind of stuff, but you know, I like to start from, you know, suggesting to people like what what questions are your customers currently asking or have historically asked you, you know, like in the sales process, business development process, you know, what sort of things are they interested in, you know, attempt to deconstruct what those you know, needs are those pain points and those challenges are in construct your content around that, because if you’ve been asked those questions before, there is a possibility that other people are as well interested in it, which is essentially what keyword research you know, this component of SEO is doing is providing For you, you know this, this data as to what people on the internet are searching for what people on the internet are actually interested in. So start with real people, you know, and see what questions you’re getting asked and build your content ideas around that.

Adam G. Force 40:14

100%. And, you know, I think we’ll wrap up here, but I think that that one of the beautiful parts of really locking that in is you got to be out there talking to your customers, if you’re not having those conversations, it’s everything is then a hypothesis when it comes to the, you know, the questions like you start in the right point, what questions have you already heard, and a lot of people if you’re not having conversations with your clients, or potential customers, or you know, all that stuff, you have a hard time really knowing them well, and if you don’t know them, well, it’s really hard to create content that they’re going to be looking for. Right.

Cory Ames 40:49

Definitely, yeah, no, that is certainly the first place to start. And I know we’ve we’ve touched a bit on podcasting, but this is one of the reasons I loved it, you know, because it was it was constantly triggering good conversations with people in my space. So just another plug for podcasting. Yeah,

Adam G. Force 41:04

yeah. Awesome, man. So I think that should wrap us up here I appreciate you just kind of sharing your experience building up grow ensemble, you guys are still young brand and it’s nice to kind of have conversations as you guys are on the front lines doing something cool and supporting the social impact space and all that kind of stuff. So appreciate that. And let’s tell people how do they learn more about grow ensemble get in touch with your podcast, all that good stuff? Where do they go?

41:35

Sure. So we host the twice weekly show The Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation Podcast so available anywhere you listen to your podcasts, of course, but you can go to Growensemble.com where you can easily find that our whole you know, 100 plus episode feed and then as well Adam, you know, as it relates to SEO and some digital marketing specific stuff, we put together a little resource for the audience here at Change Creator, you go to grow ensemble.com backslash creator, and you can find a 10 point SEO checklist for mission driven entrepreneurs. So we’ll get folks started with a few of the basic components of SEO technical content in building your authority in the eyes of Google.

Adam G. Force 42:15

Let me just write that down. So grow ensembl.com forward slash creator Yep. Got it. All right. Yeah. So guys, we’ll have that just in the show notes when that gets live on Change Creator calm and you’ll be able to grab that stuff. And we’ll take it from there. So Cory again, thanks for your time keep doing what you’re doing appreciate all the work and the the push towards better businessman.

Cory Ames 42:44

Thanks a lot, Adam. Thanks for

Adam G. Force 42:46

giving me the time. Got it. All right. Thanks for tuning into the Change Creator podcast visit us at Change creator.com forward slash go big to get access to free downloads and other great resources that will drive your business forward.

Adam & Danielle: What is the Backbone of a Great Marketing Strategy?

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What is the backbone of a great marketing strategy? Adam and Danielle discuss what every business MUST have to position their business right, create smart content, build relationships and ultimately win the hearts and wallets of the people they serve!

We also recommend:

Transcription of Interview

(Transcribed by Otter.ai, there may be errors)

Adam G. Force 00:03

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 life to go big visit us at Change Creator comm forward slash go big to grab awesome resources that will help drive your business forward. What’s up everybody? Welcome to the show. This is your host Adam Perforce excited to have you here today we have another great conversation with my good friend Danielle Sutton, who is also co creator of the captivate method. We’re going to be talking about, you know, what really is the backbone of a great marketing strategy. We see so many big companies, small companies, they miss the mark when it comes to this. You know why? Because it’s not easy, right? It’s not easy, but it’s So important, like I said, it’s the backbone. So hang in there. We’re going to have that conversation today. Now, if you missed the last episode, it was with Greg shepherd. The last episode was all about, should you be thinking about your exit from the start? And of course, so much more, right? Greg is a super smart guy, he sold over 14 businesses. Really cool, dude. So you’re gonna love that conversation. Don’t miss out on it. He shares a lot of gold nuggets about his processes and ideas and how he takes companies from idea to getting through the process growing them and exiting, okay. He runs like boss capital, Boss Academy. He has multiple brands under his belt still to this day. So take a few minutes. Check that out. And guys, don’t forget to stop by Facebook. We hang out there a lot. Get some inspiration. also join the Facebook group, the profitable digital impact entrepreneur. We’re always talking about good stuff in there and you want to be part of a good community of people out there making a difference with their businesses. Right, that’s what this is all about. So let’s talk marketing with Danielle and get into it today. Okay, show me the heat. No, you go. What’s up everybody, Adam and Danielle here. Change Creator Danielle.

Danielle Sutton 02:16

I’m co creator of the captivate method and hang out with Adam and Amy and do all kinds of fun things together.

Adam G. Force 02:23

Yeah, we are here to talk a little bit about, you know, what the backbone of a great marketing strategy actually is. And you know what it isn’t. It’s really important. I mean, it’s funny how many companies big and small, really miss this. So if you don’t have a really great marketing strategy, which is the backbone of your business, what happens? There’s a couple of pitfalls. Well, people get confused. And a confused person never really buys. So you’re probably seeing that with your business. And you become your content becomes kind of all over the place and inconsistent. Right, because you don’t, you don’t have something that is kind of clearing the path of where you should take that content. Any other thoughts there? Danielle?

Danielle Sutton 03:09

Yeah, I mean, I think the, if you don’t have this backbone for your marketing, two things happen, right? You, you say too many things all over the place. And you’re just rambling. You’re kind of throwing spaghetti at the wall, especially on for media, right? Because it’s easy to just throw a post up here. And you, you know, you have all these internet marketing folks saying you have to post every day four times. It’s like, you have the tactics in the back of your mind and you’re just kind of throwing things out there without the strategy, or the opposite thing can happen is you just go quiet. And you just don’t say anything because you’re not necessarily sure what to say. Right? So those are two of the issues or you waffle back and forth. And then people are just really confused about what what are you doing?

Adam G. Force 03:55

You know why this happens too? It happens to all of us, right? In business….because we get to a point where when we ask tactical questions, we get tactical answers. And those answers lead us on a path that really isn’t serving the business that in the way that it should. And it all starts with asking the wrong question and say, No, and you have to think about I mean, should a business really be just a product or a service provider? Or should it be a vision that an audience can actually subscribe to and believe in and get excited about being part of Now think about that, think about the companies you love. There’s so many big ones out there that we get excited about. If you look at Tesla and Apple as the big ones, everybody knows, they created a vision that people want to be part of. And I think a key takeaway is really something you said earlier, Danielle, right, is that you can’t really separate your story from your business, right?

Danielle Sutton 04:56

Yeah, and that’s why that’s really the backbone of it. That. One thing about marketing is, like you said, the tactics. You I think, if you’re asking those tactical questions, you’re asking yourself, What? How often should I post on Facebook? Okay? So that’s technically a marketing strategy if you sit down and figure that out, but and you could do that on Facebook, and you could do that for your email. And you could even do that for your website. So you’ve maybe thought through your strategies for each of these different places or even you know if your brick and mortar, okay, but what is the backbone? What are they all connected to? And really, marketing is not separate from the ethos and the vision of your business. So, like what you said Adam, about the businesses that we get really excited to be part of and to purchase from and be fans of and advocates for, whether they’re apple or you know, the corner coffee shop, it’s because they have a vision that you subscribe to, and that vision doesn’t come from an isolated Facebook page. It comes From that marketing brand story, being baked into everything you do in your business, everything you share across all the channels, and how do you know how to keep that consistent? It’s your brand story is the narrative that you share. And it’s something that’s always consistent.

Adam G. Force 06:19

It becomes the North Star, right? I mean, so. So the answer of what the backbone of a great marketing strategy is a clearly communicated story that is the backbone of a strong marketing strategy. And I think people misunderstand what story is in business because it’s not just the stories we put on social media and that we say on stage and things like that. There is something outside of that that’s much bigger. And that is that brand story. It’s the ethos it is what you are all about in a very punchy statement, right? Like you should be very clear because this becomes the theme. Everything you do the content and all the stuff that we said, you know, that becomes like a pitfall for people. tactically, it now has a North Star, right? So a lot of a lot of big brands have like AI big ideas and visions and dreams and all these things that they want to share. And they know what they stand for in their minds. But when it comes down to actually communicating the story, throughout the online ecosystem, like Daniel said, their content gets very confusing and ambiguous. And like we said, it becomes inconsistent, because they’re not clear. Now everyone might say, Well, I have a story and I’m gonna put together but the clarity on really what that brand story is so important, in order to have very good marketing that follows, right?

Danielle Sutton 07:42

Yeah, absolutely. And this actually came up in a coaching call a few weeks ago. One of our captivators has this great product, and there’s actually so many big vision benefits to it like she’s been able to combine the environmental sustainability and sustainable employment and like a really kick ass actual product to solve the need itself. And so we were talking about well, each of these could be a story. But actually what’s like that bigger story? What’s the five word statement that brings it all together? And then those individual stories can reinforce that bigger message. Right? So I think that’s kind of the trap that you were mentioning, that people fall into is, yeah, I tell stories here, there and everywhere, like my newsletters, really fun to read. Okay, great. But is it serving that bigger vision? And is it communicating something that your audience can remember and share?

Adam G. Force 08:41

And actually, I love that you just said that what your audience remembers and shares them that is more important than ever today? Because with the rise of social media and digital, there is more emphasis today on the fact that it’s not just the brand who’s curating the story. The story which becomes the marketing right? is also now being facilitated by the customers more than ever. So you can have them telling a bad story about you. Or a very good story, which is what you really represent and what you’re about. So you have to be clear, like some of this is out of your hands, but what you’re putting out there is what they’re gonna feed off of, and it’s the story they tell about you as well. So that’s, that’s a big part of this. I mean, you look at like, you know, I’ve seen interesting debates around guys like Russell Brunson, who we’ve interviewed a couple times and you know, he’s always been a super cool guy and we put them in the magazine and stuff like that. But this is a guy who got out there. You know, he started this he we all know he loves junk mail as a kid, if you read his books, and he’s had a potato gun business. He’s gone ahead and created this hundred million dollar business. And it was something that is not just because he has software Click Funnels. It was because he got out there and he created a culture, whether you like the culture or not, that’s that that’s, you know, aside the story here, but he created a culture that people are excited to be part of. If you look at his funnel, hacking live conferences and stuff, it is just like an insane club, you know, and people go nuts for this. He has certain values and ideas and the way he does things which are part of his brand story that people now really thrive off of and they understand clearly what he’s about and they want to be part of that vision that he’s building It’s really impressive on what he’s done and I think there’s a million stories we can tell about it you know, change craters vision to is we want you to be a change crater. We want to use business to change the world. We want you to live your truth and make a difference that way because only when we live our truth, do we make the biggest contribution back to the world, right? So realigning ourselves and, and taking those steps that’s what Change Creator is all about. Collaboration is a major value for us. I’m sure you have stories too, Danielle, anything come to mind of entrepreneurs that stand out to you?

Danielle Sutton 11:09

Well, yeah, I mean…

Adam G. Force 11:12

I’ll put you on the spot.

Danielle Sutton 11:14

Yeah, well, I think I mean, it’s easy to go to the examples that get shared often like Steve Jobs, and they are so memorable, right. And so there’s so much passion there that’s shared from not just the product, but what that person has been through and what they stand for, like, you know, if you think of Steve Jobs in his famous speeches about introducing his new products, did any of us ever need any of those products when they were launched? Absolutely not. It’s not about problem solving at this point in the world. I mean, of course, the products and services that we consume, do solve kind of surface level problems, but it’s more than that. It’s about You know, tapping into the aspirational vision of ourselves. Yeah. And as a consumer, no matter whether it’s you know, hiring a coach or buying a pair of shoes, or buying a house, you know, or whatever it is going to a certain hairdresser, all of these things, give ourselves our identity as as a as a person. And so we’re kind of connecting to the identity of the people we consume from.

Adam G. Force 12:27

Well hey… Let’s talk about socap. As an identity story, we met with Jake ORAC, right? So Jake Orac, we were hanging out with him. He was somebody that was on the first cover of change care magazine. And he built this incredible business right where he’s keeping culture alive. That’s a tagline for Jake that’s part of his brand story, keeping culture alive. And he sells bags that use these artists and designs from around the world to support their cultures that were being overtaken by industry. And so when we were there, what happened Danielle, we Go someone comes up and they know oh my god. So ethno tech bags. So cool what he has his story out there, how he built this company why he’s doing it? In a glance, people know what he’s about. And when they buy a bag, what is Jake say? He says, Welcome to the tribe and people are excited. Oh, man, I’m so excited to be part of this. And guess what else happens when he’s positioned this way with a powerful story is he has a bag that cost twice as much as a regular bag, but are excited to buy it.

Danielle Sutton 13:30

And yeah, it makes you feel good, right? Like Amy and I both bought bags from him and we’ve carried them around for the rest of the conference. And we were happy as clams you know? It doesn’t matter that it was twice as much. We wanted to be part of that story. And that I mean, meeting the founder is actually a really interesting example. Right? Because we buy from people and not from companies and so that’s why you actually have a much higher affinity for any products or services where you know, the Founder you know, that they This is their business, their passion, right? Like if you think of a corner coffee shop, would you rather go support someone who you’ve met the owner and they know your name and they give you your favorite coffee every time when you walk in versus, you know, a Starbucks modle. It makes a big difference.

Adam G. Force 14:18

We invest in humans more than anything. And the more we get that story out there, the better and, you know, I look at Crystal Earle, like we were at a conference with her. And Amy and I were talking and a girl comes up to her and she’s like, she was…People would go up to Crystal, I can’t talk right now. And they’d be like, telling her story back to her. Right? And Chris was like, Man, this happens all the time. People come up to me, and they tell my story back to me. And because her story is just so riveting and powerful, it’s incredible. And so when you hear that, it’s like man, this really works and people are because here’s the thing, you can have all the products, all the features. All the stuff in the world It doesn’t matter if you don’t have the right brand story and you don’t know how to create an emotional connection. If you can create the emotional connection, none of the other stuff matters, the traffic the visitors, all the followers, it doesn’t matter when you have someone coming up to you saying your story back to you and they emotionally are tied to what you stand for. And not just the item. The items cool, but they’re actually buying into the vision. This is game changer.

Danielle Sutton 15:29

And we have a really funny example of when this just falls flat and doesn’t work, don’t we, Adam?

Adam G. Force 15:36

Yeah, we were talking before this or like, what’s a great story of a company that really didn’t um, you know, have their their brand story on lockdown and not a position themselves. Is that more like, I don’t know, because we don’t know their story. Yeah,

Danielle Sutton 15:50

They’re not on our radar. They’ve fallen off…

Adam G. Force 15:54

I would have to work too hard to dig that up.

Danielle Sutton 16:01

An example is like you’d be memorable and shareable. And the way you do that with marketing is to weave it into the full vision of your business and have a cohesive brand story that is authentically everywhere in your business.

Adam G. Force 16:18

Let’s reiterate that. Alearly communicated story is the backbone of a strong marketing strategy. All right. That is key. Ladies and gentlemen. Um, I think we’re gonna wrap up I think that’s it right? Otherwise, I’ll just start babbling and repeating myself.

Danielle Sutton 16:34

Yeah, no, you ended that’s what we want to remember…

Adam G. Force 16:37

I mean, this is so important. And I know a lot of people misunderstand storytelling, but there’s this these different layers that I hope we create clarity for you about. Alright, that wraps it up. We’ll catch you on the next episode. Thanks for tuning into the Change Creator podcast, visit us at Change creator.com forward slash go big to get access to free downloads and other great resources that will drive you Your business forward

Greg Shepard: Should You Be Thinking About Your Exit From the Start?

Listen to our exclusive interview with Greg Shepard:

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Should you be thinking about your companies exit from the start? What does that do for your business? We spoke with the founder of Boss Capital and serious entrepreneur (14 companies sold!) to find out the strategies you need to know!

GREG SHEPARD is the CEO and founder of BOSS Capital Partners. He is a Serial Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker and Angel Venture Capital Investor with a legacy of building and running sustainable growth businesses. Driven by a transformational leadership style, Greg has spearheaded multiple company exits in the BioTech, TransitTech, AdTech and MarTech space. Two of his former companies were acquired by eBay Enterprise Marketing Solutions in January 2016 as a part of a cross-brand deal totaling largely over $900M. The transaction comprised the purchase and sale of numerous companies, two of which were Greg’s.

He has won: Tech Deal of the Year Over $250 million, Private Equity Deal of the Year Over $500 million to $1 billion and Cross Border Deal of the Year Over $500 million to $1 billion to name a few. Most recently, he has been authoring a book titled: ‘Meet the BOSS – The Agile Playbook for Startups’ slated to publish soon. Alongside the book will be a TEDx talk.

Learn more about Greg and his work at > https://www.gregoryshepard.com

We also recommend:

Transcription of Interview

(Transcribed by Otter.ai, there may be errors)

Adam G. Force 00:03

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 life to go big, visit us at Change Creator comm forward slash go big to grab awesome resources that will help drive your business forward. All right, what’s going on everybody? Welcome back to the show. This is your host enforce. Yeah, I’m excited that you’re here along with a really great conversation. Before we get into that though. If you missed the last episode, Danielle and I jumped on. And we talked about, you know, it was actually a trigger. It was triggered from a coaching call he had in the captivate methods. So if somebody came up like, I have the story, I was thinking about sharing because it’s related to what’s going on with my customers, but I feel a little bit like, you know, ashamed or like I’m uncertain if I should share it. So when is it too much? When is it too much to share something, right? And we kind of get into that conversation because it is really important. There is a major role that storytelling of your own self like your micro stories and everything that plays in your business. So when are you crossing the line and when you’re not and what are the benefits there? So we’ll get into that. I think you’ll get a lot of good insights out of it. So check that out when you get a chance. Today we’re going to be talking with Greg shepherd. He’s a bit of a rock star he he’s the CEO and founder of boss Capital Partners. So yes, he is an investor. Yes, the investor mindset, but he’s also a serial entrepreneur. He’s built like 14 businesses and sold them. So he’s like selling more businesses and some startups are selling products. It’s crazy. Just having a little fun there. And so he’s got a lot to offer. He knows how to build sustainable growth right for a business and he He understands the leadership style, it takes the decision making and perspectives that are required in order to build a business and sell it. Alright, so we’re gonna get into a lot of interesting stuff. He’s got quite a background is one all kinds of, you know, I guess he’s one of these things called the tech deal of the year, which is a 200 and $50 million price point, meaning he made a deal for 250 million or more, he did the private equity deal of the Year for over 500 million to 1 billion and cross border deal with the air for over 500 million to a billion so I mean, he’s just like a business selling monster. So anyway, we’re gonna dive into this with Greg and see what he has to say Don’t forget to stop by our Facebook group, our Facebook page, get involved and Change creator.com forward slash go big. Alright guys, let’s see what Greg has to say. Okay, show me the heat. Hey, Greg, welcome to the Change Creator podcast show how you doing today, man?

Greg Shepard 03:00

Fantastic, thank you.

Adam G. Force 03:01

Yeah, I appreciate you being here. You have such an incredible background. I’m excited to dive in everybody listening, you know, Greg has done so much it’s but I had to have a very serious prep talk in order to figure out where we need to put our attention. So there’s a lot of good stuff that we’re going to get into. And I’m excited that you focus on helping entrepreneurs today. It’s such an pivotal part of addressing some of the biggest problems around the world. So, Greg, if you could just give a little background about like, what’s going on in your world today and how you got there with boss and the direction you’re taking?

Greg Shepard 03:33

Yeah, so I started out with nothing. And I started building companies and I did 12 of my own startups, actually. 13 another one just sold a couple weeks ago. But I did a ton of these different startups. And in that process, what I was trying to figure out is how to get this down. You know, get it down to the point where I could understand everything. So I did a lot of planning ahead of times and a lot of retrospectives. And then I looked at all the things I call operating systems. So that’s like, you know, a lot of people don’t even know about a lot of them. But Six Sigma, everybody knows about agile, lean con Bonn, you know, so on and so forth. And during that period of time, I would test these different operating systems at different stages of the lifecycle of business, the maturity of a business, and in different companies. And I was able to figure out a way to align these things. So they aligned with the five levels of a business, and the five levels of funding and so on. And so there’s always five for some reason, but there’s these different five levels of things. And so what I did is I figured out how to do it, and then I would test things and then I would see what worked, what didn’t work, and I got it down to a science. So basically, instead of it being, you know, this, you know, the fog of war kind of walking in and never knowing what’s going to happen the day you walk into the startup, you know, it’s more of a science and so it’s more proactive than reactive. Yeah. And then I turned it into something where I decided to share with everybody to try to increase the the success rate of entrepreneurs and startups. Why is that important to you? I started with nothing myself. You know, my mom was a nun, my dad was a priest, they left the church and got married, and then, you know, adopted and foster children. And so I was born into this, this world of altruism. And I found it very, very difficult to get off the ground. Because I didn’t know anything. And I was like, Well, you know, these entrepreneurs, they are the future, right? So every time an entrepreneur succeeds, you see that money move from this big giant block. You know, that 1% that everybody talks about down to these entrepreneurs who have not only worked hard, but usually don’t have much and then it changes their life and because they’re different people, because they’ve had, you know, they’ve had to go through some grit to get where they are. They’re very altruistic. So see a lot of them giving money to charities and you know, you see them paying off student loans and their employees or stock options and all this stuff happens. And I was like, I can actually help with wealth distribution by helping more entrepreneurs succeed. And that’s what I decided to focus on. And this is the angle I decided to do it with boss.

Adam G. Force 06:18

Yeah. Interesting. And so what is boss specifically do that is so beneficial for the entrepreneur?

Greg Shepard 06:26

So it’s the it’s an acronym, its business operating support system. So the concept is, is that it’s an operating system like you would have on your computer to support your business. And so it has five stages. And these five stages were developed after years of doing I did like 1200 interviews with entrepreneurs that succeeded those that failed investors, accelerators, just all kinds of people. At the same time, I also tried to figure out you know, in the in the world of operating systems, what else was out there? So I entered The Navy SEALs in the first fighting, we have Air Force manufacturing fire departments, please spawn anybody that has a process or has to have a process to be efficient. Yeah. And then I applied all that stuff. And when I learned about the five areas that businesses fail, I created five areas to prevent that failure from happening starting at the beginning.

Adam G. Force 07:23

Interesting. I love that. And so how does someone even like this is very new to me. I’ve never heard of someone creating, like now, is this an operating system that would replace like, how does that work? I mean, you have to install this instead of like your iOS operating system?

Greg Shepard 07:39

No. Oh, sorry. Yeah. Okay. I call it an operating system, but it’s not software yet. Anyway, it’s not software it is. You think of it in terms of an operating system, but it’s more of a methodology and a set of tools.

Adam G. Force 07:50

Got it. Got it. Okay. So, these are some key principles from your experience and a strategic methodology that will help guide people through a process That is designed to help them take the right steps with their business towards an exit, right?

Greg Shepard 08:09

Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So it starts out with keeping the end in mind at the very beginning, right? So one of the biggest problem I see and this is riddled all throughout all of the five different areas that they fail, is they don’t start with the end in mind. They don’t start by, okay, who’s going to buy my business? So it think about it this way. If you are if you’re an entrepreneur and you’re building a company, you’re building a company to solve a problem most of the time. I mean, there’s only two types of companies those that are creating taking advantage of an opportunity or those that are solving a problem in either scenario, you have a customer and a profile of the customer, you know who your customer is, you’d never build a product and then go figure out who your customer is. You know, you don’t want to be a solution looking for a problem. So, if that’s the case, and your business is only a product to your acquire, remember Remember that acquire who’s buying your business, they’ve already invested a ton of money in acquiring their customers that money is spent and invested. Yeah, what they want to do now is they want to grow the the lifetime value. So you have the customer acquisition cost the CAC to the lifetime value ratio, the only way for them to make money more money on the investment they already made in their current customers is to either buy or build a new product, and they always buy, they don’t build. So that new product has to match their current ICP ideal customer profile. So if you don’t start at the very beginning, thinking about who the customer is, of you’re the buyer of your business, then you could build your business and then go to try to sell it and say up Nope, not wrong but wrong profile, and then they’re not interested in buying it or your multiples going to be really low, because there’s no match. And that’s what synergies are.

Adam G. Force 09:53

So yeah, and I love that thought process. I don’t think you know anybody listening I just don’t think enough entrepreneurs are thinking About exits, you know, it’s Oh, no, I’m not gonna exit. It’s gonna, you know, be long time forever. This is my passion. I’m never gonna get rid of it and all that kind of stuff. But there is a certain perspective that comes when you are preparing and operating the business with the perspective of exiting, would you agree?

Greg Shepard 10:17

Oh, for sure. And if you’re raising money, the only way the investor gets their money back is when you sell. Yeah. So if you’re not thinking about an exit, when you’re talking to investors, and when you’re, you know, building your business, then you right there at that moment, you’re already off. Yeah, you’re dead, because you’re literally going to investor and saying, Hey, give me a million dollars and all this deck and all the stuff you put together to build this business. I don’t know when I’m gonna return your money. I have no idea. In fact, I’m not even planning for it. Right? I mean, you know, that’s insane.

Adam G. Force 10:47

Yeah, no, it is and you know, we’ve had those conversations and you definitely want to know the exit and I like the decision making that occurs because if you are going to sell it, that means that you really do need to create systems within that. business that someone could take over and start operating when you hand it off, right?

Greg Shepard 11:04

That is so smart. Nobody ever thinks that’s exactly right. So it’s like, think a business is a hell of a lot more complicated than IKEA furniture. And IKEA furniture comes with directions. Yeah, right. So when you go to try to sell your business, there’s that’s where another big point of failure is, they can’t sell it because the buyer can’t figure out how to operate your business. And therefore they can’t figure out how to take advantage of your product being sold to their customers.

Adam G. Force 11:30

Yeah.

Greg Shepard 11:30

So when you build a technology business, and you write code inside of the code, there are comments, things that explain what that line of code does. If you don’t have that, when somebody is evaluating your code, they’re going to be like, my engineers don’t even know what these things do. So we have no idea where to even start. Yeah. Now, you would never do that. Right. I mean, you know, you always, every programmer knows any engineer that’s out there knows that you have to put those comments in there so that, you know, people know oh, this does that. This does that. And this is that. So that’s like what you do. Right. And so the five stages of bas are first the Northstar, which is understanding where you’re going and when you’re going to get there, and who’s going to buy your business. So think of that as like a GPS. So if you’re going from one place to another, you need to have two localities, right, you have, do you know where you are? And you need to know where you’re going. Right? Yeah, otherwise, you’re never gonna get that.

Adam G. Force 12:25

True.

Greg Shepard 12:25

Yeah, you know. And then after that, you have to have a plan strategy. So that’s like turn by turn directions, including things like oh, there’s traffic or a detour or you’re going this fast. So that means that you’re going to arrive at this destination at this time. And then after that, you have to have the ability to execute on it. That means literally getting in the car and driving to that, you know, destination. And then after that, you have to have the ability to standardize it so other people can go the same route that you went, which is standardization that’s accountabilities, best practices. And that allows you to Figure out where you’re going to go and how you get there. So accountability is what is being done in who’s supposed to do it, which functional areas supposed to do it, best practices, how it’s supposed to be done and triggers or when it’s supposed to be done. And now you have literally, this is how the business runs. But there’s a lot more benefits than than just that huge number of benefits as you grow and scale. And then, after you get standardization, you go through the Kaizen loop, and Kaizen. And Japanese just means continuous improvement, which I got from the Toyota Production System back when Toyota went from being nothing to a monster, and having huge quality and retention rates on their revenue. Right. And so, you know, that part allows you to go back through the best practices, figure out where you can optimize to eliminate waste using the lean methodology, and then put it back into the plan. And that’s why it’s a loop.

Adam G. Force 13:53

Mm hmm. Yeah, that feedback loop. I love the lean methodology and yeah, The stuff you’re talking about is so important. And I think that, yeah, the the exit strategy and the decisions that people are making, creating those processes. You know, we coach a lot of different entrepreneurs also. And we have found that these are, these are major gaps for people. So when it comes to marketing, and you’re right, it’s like, where do we put our attention? How do we find focus what’s important? And if you have the right, I guess, if you have the right frame of mind and where you’re going, you can make smarter decisions. We always tell people, you come in here, I’m like, well, you guys want to join this program, but tell me where you want to be in 12 months, and if they can’t do it, I’m like, well, then I can’t help you. I’m like, you have no idea where you want to go. How am I going to get you there?

Greg Shepard 14:44

Yeah, exactly. So in the North Star, there’s a few different stages. So I actually broke down each one of these higher broader phases, yeah, into what I call gates, okay, so that the entrepreneur can walk through and sort of slice this up into smaller pieces, so that they I can get through one of these phases until they understand the whole system. And it’s, you know, it’s it’s really actually there’s going to be a, it caught the attention of UCSD, the University here, which only number two in technology to MIT to use it in their business program, and they’re doing a TV show, actually YouTube show on it, which is pretty cool. Yeah. Which is awesome. But

Adam G. Force 15:30

I love that. So that’s interesting how these things kind of pop up like that. And I’m wondering, you know, you’ve sold a lot of businesses now. So let’s just talk a little bit more about the exit strategies. So when we go through the boss system, you’re you’re setting people up through the stages, but what are some of the critical lessons that you’ve learned? Like you’ve obviously replicated the process by selling multiple companies? I mean, you you are identifying, you know, the key customers profile for buying the business, you know, people do that for their products. And I can almost see at the volume you’re at, you’re looking at businesses just as your widget that you’re selling. So it’s like you’re looking for that ideal customer? And what are just what are some of the things you’ve uncovered with regards to exit strategies? And and actually, making sure you understand who that that right customer for buying the business is ahead of time?

Greg Shepard 16:25

Yeah, so, you know, I look at probably, I don’t know, between 100 and 200 deals a month. And when I look at these deals I look at, I go through pitch after pitch after pitch, because you know, we invest in companies through boss Capital Partners. And in that process, I swear, probably one 10th of a percent of the time, do they even have two things that I think are really important one is a go to market strategy. And the other one is your exit strategy. Yeah, right. Like, how are you going to actually go to market and how are you going to exit and when they do, they don’t understand what that actually means. an exit strategy isn’t sitting there and going, Oh, I’m gonna sell to Google. I mean, Google is that’s like saying, I’m gonna travel, where are you gonna go? The United States? You know, what state what city? What, you know, I mean, it’s like, really, you know, so. So that’s one of the things. The other thing is that they don’t actually back into the acquisition like, why is this company going to buy? What is their ideal customer? And do those things align? What is the behavior of the buyer of your company in the past? Like, do they have a pattern of buying can’t do they have the money to buy? You know, how many companies have they bought, like all this sort of research that you do when you develop the ideal acquire profile, you know, the, so those two profiles are critical. And an exit strategy is a plan, which includes, you know, data around, you know, who’s going to buy and all the reasons why and how to build your company for that. The thing that people don’t understand is, it’s not like you can work on your company for three years and on the third year, go Okay, I’m going to sell it Then just do that, that that is not how it happened. You know, so you’re the whole three years you’re planning the entire three years, you’re planning for an exit. So everything that you’re doing in your business is moving it towards being acquired by somebody else. And I’m not saying build a shitty business and sell it quick, right? Really, really good business, but you have to do it in the direction. So it’s directionally correct to the end destination that you’re that you’re shooting for.

Adam G. Force 18:27

I think people get so overwhelmed, Greg with you know, just getting a product to sell and just getting off the ground and all the decisions they have to make. And, you know, there’s a ton of information out there that takes everybody in different directions and we see it happen all the time with different entrepreneurs, you know, before they come into our our own program, and I’m curious, like if they’re struggling just to sell the products and get all stuff. I mean, is it I feel like a lot of people will come to me and say, well, it’s really hard for me to focus on trying to sell the company when I’m just trying to sell the product…. What do you think about that?

Greg Shepard 19:04

You’re not trying to sell the company the whole time, you’re just building a company that is easy to buy.

Adam G. Force 19:11

Yes.

Greg Shepard 19:12

You know, so, there, you know that when you sell a business, there are certain, you know, sort of, you know, Crossroads that you have to go through. So, there’s a process to that, for example, you know, your customer and their customer being the same, as I’ve explained before, but also things like, how do they know that the technology is going to integrate? How do they know that the financial numbers will integrate and benefit them? How do they know that the culture is going to fit? Yep. You know, there are integrations that you know, so in that process, you know, there’s there’s a few different targets like big benchmarks that you’re shooting for. And typically, you know, in the exits that that I do and the way that boss functions is you sell to people that you already have started a relationship with over many years. Yeah. So yeah, you can’t just on that If you want to sell in three years, which is my business is usually selling three years, if you want to sell a business in three, even five years, you can’t start that process at three years, because you have to realize that just the acquisition itself, if it’s a 50 hundred million dollar deal, just that one process is going to take at least six months. And then before that even starts, you have to have a courting period. Right? That’s like another six months. So you’re a year out right there. Yeah. So you can’t start that process that you know, when you want to sell and then before that, usually, there’s some sort of a small investment that they make. And before that, usually there’s some sort of a partnership and before that, there’s some sort of integration and you know, so it’s like, you know, you can’t be like, okay, now I’m ready to sell and then start that period because you just added two extra years or three extra years onto your, your exit strategy. If you had thinking thought about that the whole time. You would be doing things that benefit your company company at the same time setting up an acquisition in the future. Which is something that a lot of people don’t think about.

Adam G. Force 21:02

Yeah, that makes sense. And I think, you know, you’d be having certain conversations, connecting with people that you think might be the right, you know, buyer. And I think through those conversations, correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re going to be learning more, it’s kind of like consulting, like getting on a strategy call with a client to find out well, what are you guys up to? What are you looking for what’s important to you, and really kind of get that data so that maybe you can take your assumptions and turn them into real insights that you’re operating your business around? Right. So how do you know what the key milestones stones are that you want to hit in order to sell to that company? That probably doesn’t come without a lot of conversation with that company? Right?

Greg Shepard 21:43

Right, yeah. I mean, it’s a lot. So the analogy I give to entrepreneurs a lot of time to make it really understandable. As I say, listen, so it’s not like you meet a girl and you go, Let’s get married. It doesn’t work that way. Right? It’s like Okay, let’s go have coffee. Let’s have dinner. Let’s have dinner again. And again and again, you know, and then after a period of time, you’re like, I trust you, I care about you, all these things happen. And then you say, Okay, let’s get married. Yeah, when somebody buys your business, it’s like that there is a lot of courting that happens before that. And you can’t just start that you can’t just say, Okay, I want to sell now and then just do it. Yeah, it just doesn’t work that way. You know, and if it does, a lot of times, the transactions will fall apart in that process. And when they fall apart in that process, usually the entrepreneurs in a very bad place because the process of selling a business is a massive distraction. Yeah. So, you know, they’re working through this process, and they’re working through this and they’re distracted by it. So they’re not paying attention to their business. And then all of a sudden, now, the deal falls through and now they’re, it’s like, it’s devastating. Yeah, so two things happen. Either the deal falls through completely or they lower the price and change the terms and then they end up you know, which is a lot of times the strategy of the acquirer. Yeah is to, you know, kind of just, you know, they have a Yeah, there’s a term right treat him like mushrooms, keep him in the dark and feed him shit. You know? And, you know, so you know, there’s there’s terms for these things because they’re real, right? So if you’re not newer, and you’re, you’re planning this whole thing the whole time and that happens, you’re like, it doesn’t matter because it’s just the flow of your normal business.

Adam G. Force 23:19

Yes, that is so important. And it’s easy. I mean, we only have so much time and energy to invest, right? And that’s a valuable resource those things and so, you’re right. I mean, what the if you’re going to distract yourself with these things, you want to make sure you’re doing it the right way. So easy. It’s so easy to get distracted for all kinds of different things. And everybody has all these ideas. So…

Greg Shepard 23:44

BOSS keeps people focused and on the rails, right, because I call it squirrel syndrome. You know, when you walk your dog and it’s like squirrel, it just bolts off. Yeah, exactly. That’s what entrepreneurs are live. It’s in their nature. Yeah, and it’s a positive thing. But you got to have a you know, one of those leashes that goes out that runs out and then comes back.

Adam G. Force 24:04

Yeah. A little stretchy.

Greg Shepard 24:07

Shiny syndrome. Yeah, exactly. Cuz, you know, shiny syndrome is you know, shiny thing syndrome is is real for entrepreneurs. Oh yeah.

Adam G. Force 24:15

Oh, everyone’s got new ideas all the time as like people come on to our coaching calls and it’s like, Oh, I got it. I’m gonna do this new podcast, I’m gonna do this, it’s gonna be paying it. I’m like what happened to the primary focus of like your offer, like all the sudden you’re like off on another tangent? Yeah.

Greg Shepard 24:33

huge problem, huge problem. So boss keeps that focus, right? Because when you use boss correctly, what happens is your board deck, you know, what you’re telling your investors is your boss system. And you literally show them. You know what you planned and you want to show predictability and also for your buyer. Nobody wants to buy a company that’s unpredictable. So if you create a path of predictability, it keeps you focused. And it shows you in the retrospective what happened. Yeah, but it also shows you that you’re predictable, right? Which is key. No investor wants to make an investment into a business that’s unpredictable. Or the people are unpredictable, and no buyer wants to buy a business that’s unpredictable because they’re betting on that being predictable. Right?

Adam G. Force 25:15

Yeah, predictability I can imagine is super important. Now we have zero focus primarily, primarily been tech, different variations of tech companies.

Greg Shepard 25:26

Yeah, I mean, I’ve done I did a, a lender in my when I was younger, and I did a biotech plant environmental biotechnology company, but ever since the internet came out. I’ve been Yeah, I mean, this software is just, you can make anything it’s a it’s a literal, you know, you know, self manifesting playground.

Adam G. Force 25:53

Yeah, but how does one even think about that? I mean, how like, in other words, when I think of software, yeah, I can get a million ideas, but the actual putting it together processes where you get lost, like if you don’t know how to code or you know, any of that kind of stuff.

Greg Shepard 26:08

Yeah, but you don’t need to now, you know, there’s a lot of really good development houses, and they have really good product people. So if you have a concept and you are through ideation, you can go to one of these development houses. And you can actually, you know, ask them and they’ll supply you with a product person, which is key. A lot of people think, Oh, I just go into engineering and then I, you know, and a lot of engineers think they don’t need a product person, a product person is very critical. Okay. I always tell people, I’m like, do you have a product person know who’s doing product? Oh, I’m just doing it. No, man. No, that’s not that you can’t do, that’s a special…

Adam G. Force 26:46

Define that for people, define the product person.

Greg Shepard 26:49

So you know, basically the product person is not only the voice of the customer, but they’re also watching what’s going on in the marketplace with competitors and they take all of this data that comes in Including, you know, feedback that comes from the current customers, and the fantasies of the entrepreneur. And then they distill those down into requirements and the requirements boil down exactly what this thing looks like. And then the requirements are coded. So you can’t go from if you have an entrepreneur, acting as a product person, this is very, very, very big happens all the time. You have an entrepreneur who already has squirrel, you know, shiny thing syndrome, and they’re trying to manage the engineers, it’s going to cost 100 times more. So a lot of people go I can’t afford a product person, but you can because if you don’t, it’s going to cost more money. Because you’re going to be going all over the place. And the engineers their mindset in the way that they operate is off of like blueprints. So basically, not having a product person is like building a house without blueprints. It’s like a contractor just going for it.

Adam G. Force 27:51

Yeah

Greg Shepard 27:51

And you’re just walking over there every day and going No, no, no, no, no, sorry. I want to window here, not there. And the contractor is like, dude, I got to put a beam in there. I got to rip this hole. Fallout I got it, you know, and that is the issues, right? So if you have a product person, it’s like having an architect, draw out exactly the plans and what they’re supposed to do giving that to the contractor and having the contractor build exactly what’s on the plans. And then you do iterations you do, you know, you improve later on, after you get a proof of concept and validation, which are extremely crude critical. Yeah.

Adam G. Force 28:24

Yeah. And I mean, what kind of money is required up front to you know, get a get a tech product like this, you know, put together as beta work with a product person that isn’t that,

Greg Shepard 28:35

I mean, I’ve done I’ve done, you know, proof of concepts for 50 grand, you know, so you don’t, you know, I mean, it sounds like a lot to a lot of people. But to get a round of financing for 50 grand, even an ideation is pretty easy. But, you know, I’ve done him for that. And then you do iterations because you have to come to the table with something you can’t just come to the table with a stack of you know, PowerPoints And go, Okay, this is just, this is what I want to do. Now I want to raise a million dollars. Yeah. You know, they’re like, no, look, how about you start by showing me something, you know. So I’ll give you 25 grand. And then you can see what you can put together. And then you do a minimum what’s called an MVP, a minimal viable product. Yeah. And that’s the minimal the minimal stuff you need. That’s viable, meaning it works. So at that point, you’re not trying to at that, that stage of an MVP, there’s a lot of MVPs. But at that stage of an MVP, you’re just trying to get to the point that you can demo something to an investor, you get the money to create something, then that can be demo to a customer.

Adam G. Force 29:41

Yeah, I mean, and that’s interesting, because you’re saying to get an investment to get that first 50 grand, so someone’s just got to believe in the idea and say, Okay, I’ll give you 50 grand.

Greg Shepard 29:50

Yeah, but or you just do it yourself. I did it myself. I mean, I worked for jobs. And, you know, that’s how I did it. I just, I just put every dime I had into Um, in the beginning before I, you know, started making exits, I put everything I had into it worked a bunch of jobs, and you know, paid for myself literally, they would send an invoice. And you know, I’d be hustling, and I don’t I dealt with it sort of like paying your rent. Yeah, I was like, Okay, I know I’m gonna get a $5,000 invoice, I need to go make five grand. So I would go work make five grand and pay their invoice.

Adam G. Force 30:26

I mean, I love that because that’s the kind of stuff people have to do. I mean, sometimes you’re straddling two worlds, right? You got to do the work and then you got to push your push down the path where you have that vision right? So if you don’t just make money with your business right out of the gate, sometimes you have to actually make money doing things that maybe it’s not your ideal dream.

Greg Shepard 30:45

Yeah, and you know, it’s like if you’re, if you’re doing that strategy, even if you’re not doing your…

Adam G. Force 30:53

Greg I think I lost you.

Greg Shepard 30:56

Wait, can you hear me up?

Adam G. Force 30:57

There you go.

Greg Shepard 30:58

Okay. So you’re doing strategy on a diet, right means that you’re, you’re paying a, you have a finite amount of money to use for your, you know, to get to the point where you can get something that has a proof of concept. In those scenarios, who is doing the product and the technology engineering for you, is very critical. Because you can spend that money screwing around or you can spend that money getting something done. And furthermore, the way that the things are done are really incredible. Like you know, if you do a monolith, which is like one big piece of software versus micro services, which is individual pieces that interchange, when you later on and you build your software, if it’s on my monolith, you know, when you’re trying to do iterations, it’s like playing whack a mole. Every time you do something, something else breaks and you know, it’s a nightmare. Versus in microservices, only that one thing breaks instead of everything. Yeah. So there’s like a lot of stuff you have to think through when you’re doing that, that you don’t know that in a good engineering group does know because they built this thing 100 times. Yeah, you know, so they’ve learned those lessons, you go to them and you’re like, Look, all I want is this one, like, give me any right now on building software for boss to run boss. And because it’s all in spreadsheet right now. Got it. And you know, with these guys, I went to them and I was like, Listen, all I want is an MVP on the North Star, not the rest, just the North Star. I just want to get to that point. And I want to make sure it’s right. And I went to a group that I had used several times for other businesses. And that is the the correct way to go. You don’t want to you don’t you know, build a house by slapping the whole thing together immediately. You know what, Mike, I’ll give you a good analogy. When I was younger. I had this mentor named Jim Eubanks, this guy was so cool. I was just young and I was just fighting to try to make a living and I was on a mission. And every afternoon on Wednesdays, he would send me drive me out to this bus bench. And across the street from this bus and this is an LA in the summer and I’m wearing a suit It was awful, right and I’m on commission so I’m sitting there not making money and he dropped On this bus bench and across the street was a cyclone, fence and dirt lot. And sign said coming soon. And I was like, What the hell, I’m like sitting here, you know. And then for you know, for a long time, it just said coming soon and then a really long time they dug that deep hole that a building has to have. And then they laid all the foundation stuff. And then the thing just blew up. And after the building was done, he goes, Hey, what did you learn? And I was like, well, I sat there for a long time. And I basically said the same thing. And he was like, so what you learned is that planning is more important than building.

Adam G. Force 33:33

Yes, I love that.

Greg Shepard 33:35

Footings took forever, the planting took forever and the rest of the building was you know, flew up. And you know, and that was like something that stuck with me and I was like man and so boss itself is that.

Adam G. Force 33:47

I love that. I love that. Yeah, and it’s so critical. I mean, you see it all the time and we we talk about that when it comes to course development online courses and stuff. It’s like you can spend you know three times as long planned. Adding the outline of the course and doing that correctly, and then putting in the actual program together, boom, you’re done in a heartbeat. And that’s, you know, so you spend most your time, like you said in the planning phase. So whether it’s your business or any other thing, I think it’s, it’s, it’s universally applicable when you’re putting something like this together.

Greg Shepard 34:19

Yeah. Yeah, it’s, it’s, you know, pencil progress. Perfection.

Adam G. Force 34:25

Yeah, like that. So what kind of companies have you been investing in now?

Greg Shepard 34:30

They’re all software companies. So, you know, the market is now you know, there are bear markets and their bull market. So bull markets, you know, like I said, there are companies that sell things that are solving problems and there are companies that sell things that take advantage of opportunities. And in a bull market, you can invest in things that are taking advantage of opportunities. And in a bear market, you sell things that are solving problems, because in a bear market, people are trying to save money in a bull market, people are trying to make money. So because the market is shift now into more of a bear market, you know, because of COVID and a lot of other factors, you know, you have the ability now to sort of say, Okay, well now I need to change my investment strategy. I need to look for things that are recession resistant, not proof resistant. And these are businesses that are saving businesses money, because that’s what happens when you’re in a bear market. So the investment investments that we make now are not opportunity type businesses, they’re, you know, problem type businesses.

Adam G. Force 35:29

Hmm, interesting. Interesting. Awesome. Well, listen, we’re hitting the end of our time here. So I want to make sure we give you a chance to just give yourself a shout out. Where do people find more about you? What’s the best place to get more info?

Greg Shepard 35:44

Gregory shepherd.com. So it’s just my name.

Adam G. Force 35:48

Simple as that Gregory shepherd.com. We will have that in the show notes on the website when this goes live. Greg really appreciate it. I mean, obviously you got a ton of experience. You know, by creating and selling companies so appreciate you just kind of diving into some of that and the ideas behind the boss methodology. So yeah. Thanks again for being on the show man. Appreciate it.

Greg Shepard 36:13

Thank you.

Adam G. Force 36:17

Thanks for tuning into the Change Creator podcast visit us at Change creator.com forward slash go big to get access to free downloads and other great resources that will drive your business forward.

Adam And Danielle: When is Sharing Your Story Too Much (And What’s The Real Benefit?)

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Do we really need to tell personal stories in our business? Should we? And when is it too much?

This is a question that comes up a lot with students in Captivate. So, Danielle and Adam tackle it head on to share some important considerations.

We also recommend:

Transcription of Interview

(Transcribed by Otter.ai, there may be errors)

Adam G. Force 00:03

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 life to go big visit us at Change Creator comm forward slash go big to grab awesome resources that will help drive your business forward. Hey, what’s going on everybody? Welcome back to the show, Adam force here. excited for today’s conversation. So you know we do a bunch of Facebook Lives and sometimes we bring these conversations to the podcast so you guys can check it out here. So Danielle, Danielle, and I spoke about you know, when is it when in sharing your story too much like when like what stories do we tell what do we hold back and what’s really the benefit here of taking these steps? It’s something that we hear a lot. And we had recently in one of our coaching sessions, Danielle is one of the CO creators of the calculate method. So we were in there with some of the people there. And they were, you know, they had some stories and questions like, when is it going too far, because certain things you might feel ashamed is too personal. Why do we even need to share these things? And when do we hold back? So we’re going to talk about that today. And if you missed last week’s episodes with Blair Shepherd, where Shepherd is the head of global strategy and leadership at Price Waterhouse Coopers massive company around the world, and he’s done some incredible work, and he’s identified these four global crises and the solutions, which is where you guys come into play. So big picture conversation, really deep topics, you’ll get a lot out of it, it’ll really get the wheels turning in your brains. So guys, check that out if you haven’t already. And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, join the Facebook group, you know, go to Change creator.com forward slash go big, lots of goodies there. And without further ado, guys, we’re in To jump into this conversation with Daniel, okay, show me the heat. No, you go dude. What’s up everybody, Adam here co founder, Change Creator and Danielle, what up?

Danielle Sutton 02:20

Hello. Hello, everybody.

Adam G. Force 02:23

So, you know, we were just on a coaching call together Danielle is one of the CO creators of the captivate method. And we were inspired to come on here and just share an idea about sharing your story, right? We’ve seen through our experience coaching lots of entrepreneurs that sometimes not only do they wonder, Well, why would I share my story? But what is really the benefit? And an interesting question came up today about a very personalized story and is it oversharing? Like, when is it too much? Right? So that’s, that was a really interesting question, Danny, I’m gonna let you Just kind of if you don’t mind, we can TSF a little bit with kind of where where we were taking this idea of oversharing and why it’s so important.

Danielle Sutton 03:10

Yeah, for sure. So I mean, I think it is a question that’s come up a lot with different people in our program and that I’ve had just personal conversations like, okay, so you’re talking about storytelling, but why do I share my own story? And really, ultimately, it’s about building trust. Right. And I think we’ve talked about that before. But let’s get into the details of how that happens when you’re talking about your own experience, or even sharing the more vulnerable pieces, because the thing is, with surface level stories, they don’t necessarily they might teach a lesson. They’re kind of like the moral of the story is this, but does it create connection in the same way that going deeper or sharing something a little more vulnerable, a little more? You know, something you wouldn’t share with everybody. So then the question of the What is that point? Because you don’t want to overshare but also how do you get under the surface so that you can create more connection and more trust. So I was telling Adam, before we jumped on about this memory I have when I was really little, and I was maybe 10 or so. And I had met a new person I don’t know, at school or at a summer camp or something. And I remember her saying, she leaned over, she’s like, do you know how you make really good friends, you know, picture 10 year old girls, right? She’s like leaning and you tell them a secret that only you shared with them. And and that creates a bond instantly. And then you can go off on your merry way and have a bunch of fun, right? So I thought it was an interesting insight, especially for a 10 year old, but it relates to exactly what we’re talking about. Because, yeah, so jump in Adam

Adam G. Force 04:49

Sure. So, you know, when we’re running businesses, and we decide, okay, I know I have a story to tell my story. And sometimes entrepreneurs will tell us like, Well, why don’t I have to share my Story, all they care about is the business, the product and what we’re doing. And the stories behind that. Yes, those things are important. But today, people are raising red flags when it comes to marketing. And they’re going to say, I don’t only just want to know what’s in it for me, but what’s in it for you, as the CEO of that business, right. And so when we’re in, especially that zero to $10,000, a month range, we’re connecting with people, we have to have more intimate relationships to build a foundation of clients or our audience. And that is a relationship building process. And so part of that is, you know, you’re sharing value to these people, which means you might have tough lessons, you’ve learned big failures or things that make you feel a little bit uncomfortable. You kind of put them in the back of your subconscious don’t really want to think about it anymore. But it’s a powerful lesson that you’ve learned. And maybe if you share it with people, not only does it tie into what your business is all about, but they benefit and they Learn that same lesson. So the reason we’re really sharing these stories is not just to have fun and talk about the business, it’s to actually help people and to build more intimate bonds with people. So now you’re getting a loyal customer. And like I love Daniella, your example of the little girl who tells the secret because now you’re sharing something. Have you ever had someone say to you like, wow, I really appreciate you like sharing that with me, because I know maybe it was tough and you’re sharing something that is just a little bit more vulnerable. And it goes a long way in building relationships, right?

Danielle Sutton 06:37

Yeah, for sure. And it it like we said, creates that trust because why would you tell you know, if you’re putting yourself out there and sharing something that’s a little bit uncomfortable, potentially. You have you know, that recognition that this was really tough for me or hard on me in a certain way, or it was embarrassing or I’m ashamed of it or I wish I did things differently and by sharing it Not only is it a little tough for you, but you’re doing it because you’re helping the other person. And so they recognize that they will know from the story that that must have been hard to share. Because that you As humans, we put ourselves in each other’s shoes and you imagine yourself in that story, and you think, Oh my gosh, like that sucks, or that must have been really hard, or I can’t believe they went through that. And so instantly, you have that connection, because you’ve both one of you has been there and one of you is imagined being there. And it brings up all the emotions, and that’s how you can relate to each other. And also, you know, the person listening can realize like, that took some some courage or it took something they wouldn’t have done that unless it mattered, right? unless it was important to share. So I appreciate that and then it builds the trust that way.

Adam G. Force 07:49

It goes a long way. I remember I was writing for this. What’s his name? Brian Cameron was last name. He has a really great website. You know, he I forget, what’s the name of that was an odd name. It was not a real word. And that’s why, and I haven’t read it. So anyway, I wrote for and he gets when you put an article out on his media platform, you’ll get you know, we have had over 1500 shares, let alone views, right. And so one time, I decided that I was going to be a little more vulnerable and a story that I told, and I told the story about when I was younger, and I was in wrestling. And what was really vulnerable was, the story was about how, how our results can change from one day to the next, just based on how we’re thinking. And really interesting. And the vulnerable part was I put a picture of me when I was a young kid, and I was on the little podium with my little trophy and wow, I mean, it’s an embarrassing photo. I’m in my little thing singlet I put it out there to all those people, right because The lesson that I was trying to share from an entrepreneurs perspective to other entrepreneurs, to me was really important. And yeah, I have to share that story sometime. But it’s like, it was. It was the strangest thing. I’m tempted to share it, but I don’t want to take up…

Danielle Sutton 09:17

The thing already…You’re blushing even now and you already shared it 1500 times. Already shared it 1500 times. Yeah, but I mean, that’s a picture is worth 1000 words word sometimes. So it’s interesting that you mentioned the picture there because again, people will see it in a flash and they can put themselves, they can imagine Oh, imagine being like a little wrestler kid. And what the story is about you were fighting or wrestling a guy who was way bigger

Adam G. Force 09:44

I’ll tell the story in under three minutes. You ready? So by the time I completely freaked out and I had to do a doubleheader in wrestling. All right, so I was at a wrestling tournament. And there was this kid I was actually a really a pretty good one. wrestler and I was in the finals. So I was watching the semifinal match right to see who I would be wrestling. And there’s this kid named his name was Luke. And so he goes out there and he’s like this crazy nutty, like, full of energy kid. And he goes out there and within a minute he, he throws the other kid and broke his a collarbone. I was like, Whoa, dude, like, this kid’s an animal. Like, I gotta go out here and wrestle him. He’s gonna break my arm. And it freaked me out. So I go out there and within a minute, he pins me I’m embarrassed. I’m like, oh my god. So my father talks to me. And he’s like, Adam, you’re just as good as him gave me the whole pep talk. Right? And so here’s where it gets interesting. The next day, I had to wrestle that kid again at the the one on one team meet. Right. So that was a tournament which was just more random. And so I had to go back the next day, get on a bus and so that night, I was like saying to myself what my dad says like you’re just as good as him. Do this and really trying to get my head. I mean, again, I’m young kid, I think I was 1011 years old. We get there. And then you know, they’re playing the national anthem. And I’m like, we’re all lined up on the edges of a mat. And my heart is like racing out of my chest. And then finally, I’m the first match because I’m a small guy, I was the lightest So first, as soon as that national anthem was done, I had to go out there and face my biggest fear. And I ended up we had one of the best matches in my life. So ended up winning like for for 16 points to 14 points. And I won the match. I mean, so nothing changed from the day before to the next day where I got pinned in less than a minute. It was just getting myself time to think the right way and believing in myself right from a little some words of encouragement from pops, right. So to me, it’s just a really great example of how your mindset can really dictate your behavior because you’re acting through fear and reservation and all that stuff. So that was my story about that.

Danielle Sutton 12:01

That’s good. I like that. You know what that actually reminds me of an embarrassing story I can share that’s related

Adam G. Force 12:07

Fire it up.

Danielle Sutton 12:08

I don’t think I’ve ever told this to anyone. So you guys know that really famous TED talk about I should know the name but I but I don’t, but it’s in one of the top 10 about using your power poses, right to get, like physical stance can help you get in, get confidence and present yourself better. So I went to a startup pitch competition in Brazil about seven years ago

Adam G. Force 12:34

Cool.

Danielle Sutton 12:34

And we were living in Chile at the time, building my business for… I had no idea what I was doing. But applying to different startup competitions was something I had done and happened to get chosen to go to Brazil, Sao Paulo and the way it was structured it was for social impact organizations. So that part was really great because often I was sharing about my work with other startups. had nothing to do with social impact. So, I mean, I was excited to be there. But you had to present to two talks, two pitches. One was a one minute pitch in your category. And then if you saw, I think there was eight startups in the education category. And if you were one of the top two, then you had a chance to do a five minute pitch after that. So on the way there I had to basically prepare and memorize a one minute pitch and a five minute pitch had no idea if I was going to do the five minute pitch, like in Brazil did not speak Portuguese and it was like a whole adventure. But I can vividly remember standing in the washroom, doing the power bombs before one of the pitches I forget if it was the before the one minute I think it was before the one minute pitch. I was like, I gotta psych myself up. I went there by myself, you know, I I didn’t have any kind of friends or support people there and anyways, they join us He did tell me that I need to get sick too. And so I was like fighting a fever and I’m in the wash. Okay, I got to do the power pose. And I actually I nailed the one minute pitch and I was shocked when they said, you’re gonna do that you’re in the top two. You’re gonna do the five minute pitch. I was like, Oh, crap. Now guys. Remember what I prepared for that? And it’s all you know, in the same day. Anyways, it’s so I’ve done….

Adam G. Force 14:25

I need a picture of that power pose, okay?

Danielle Sutton 14:26

Yeah, I can’t demonstrate now because I haven’t like holding my computer. I don’t have a table in front of me. But you know what I mean, TED talk. I love that.. Oh, yeah. Mindset is everything. We talk about that a lot in that debate, as well.

Adam G. Force 14:41

And keeping just in mind as we talk about sharing our vulnerabilities like when you’re in especially it goes for any time in business, but especially in those early zero $10,000 a month. Like we’re building relationships, this is the focus so, you know, connect with people share your life lessons and make sure they’re aligned with your business. It’s not just random stuff, but like, don’t be shy to put yourself out there because you know, when you own your past and you like become confident with it and you’re willing to share with other people, you grow as a person to write.

Danielle Sutton 15:12

True, yep, it’s win win for sure. And, but like we said, at the top, the point is not just, like you said, share random things. It’s really to, hey, I’ve been there, I understand where you’re at. And guess what I learned something that might be helpful for you and help you avoid this pitfall, or at least not fall as deep or at least, you know, do the exact same thing right after you heard my story. At least, you know, we both been there and that feels magnetically right. So it goes a long way.

Adam G. Force 15:44

You know, we just shared on a coaching call to like, I don’t know if anybody listening knows Russell Brunson and some people love them. Some people hate them. That’s the way these things go. You know, he’s a great marketing mind. And he went on stage for two hours and told every failure story that he’s had. I mean, just the deepest of darkest like failure. And afterwards a woman, he told me this, and we interviewed him. And he told me this. He was like, you know, this woman came up to me afterwards. And she was like, thank you so much for sharing all that. Because I realized now that I’m not the only one, I’m not alone. And I was about to give up, throw in the towel, and you really have re inspired me to say, Yes, I can do this. Like, if you went through all that, and you still succeeded, I can do it too. So that relatability the lessons that were learned and just feeling like you’re not alone. I mean, these are powerful things. You know, she’s probably loyal now, as a customer to you know, his business just because there’s this connection. It’s like, hey, let me tell you a secret kind of thing that we talked about, right. So it’s a beautiful thing. All right, listen, I guess we’ll wrap up. But I think that those are some really important takeaway. So you might look at this lightly, but I would take it very seriously when it comes to creating your network, right building an audience like really creating like actual relationships with people and It’s not just about throwing up ads and trying to sell, sell, sell it’s connect with people build a really strong foundation for your business.

Danielle Sutton 17:07

Yeah, love it. And if you’re watching, let us know if you have a story about this inaction or you know if you’re inspired to share vulnerable post or a failure story and let us know what happens because it’s always Yeah, it’s always surprising and yet not surprising, you know, like, it helps you connect with people for sure.

Adam G. Force 17:26

Yeah, we will see you on the next live. All right, guys. Take care.

Danielle Sutton 17:32

Bye.

Adam G. Force 17:34

Thanks for tuning into the Change Creator podcast. Visit us at Change creator.com forward slash go big to get access to free downloads and other great resources that will drive your business forward.

Cory Lee: Going From Idea to Selling Several Companies!

Listen to our exclusive interview with Cory Lee:

Subscribe to this show on Spotify  |  iTunes  |  Stitcher  |  Soundcloud

What if you have an idea to do something HUGE, like start your own gym but don’t know how to make sure it works? Well, Cory Lee and his wife built 4 gyms and 2 health clinics in 5 years and sold them, so we decided to talk to them about how it all worked.

Cory Lee is an entrepreneur, business builder, and leader developer. He was trained and mentored by the world-renowned leadership expert John Maxwell and is now an executive director with The John Maxwell Team. In 2012 Cory and his wife opened their first business, a physical therapy clinic located in a town of only 1,100 people, Within 5 years they were billing over $2 million per year from that one location and had opened and successfully sold 2 physical therapy clinics and 4 gyms. Cory is an accomplished speaker and is often invited to speak and train employees at companies looking to develop a culture of leadership. He also provides individual leaders with opportunities to maximize their own growth through one-on-one coaching and mastermind groups. Cory is most passionate about helping entrepreneurs navigate business growth but not at the expense of their faith, family, and fitness. When he isn’t helping companies and individuals grow, Cory can be found spending time with his family. Cory and his wife of 14 years Kimberly reside in Mississippi and have 3 children: Colton (9), Kendall (6), and Brady (4).

Learn more about Cory and his work at > https://www.coryleeleadership.com/legacybuilders

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Transcription of Interview

(Transcribed by Otter.ai, there may be errors)

Adam G. Force 00:03

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 growbig to grab awesome resources that will help drive your business forward. What’s going on everybody? Welcome back to the Change Creator podcast show. Happy to have you here. If you guys missed the last episode, you can check it out. Damian, not Amy. Nope. Danielle and I talked about what digital conversations are and what they mean to your business. This is just an important marketing perspective to understand. So if you missed that one, check it out. There’s a lot of gold nuggets in there from Danielle and I. Okay, so For this episode we’re gonna be talking with his name is Corey Lee. All right, so he’s got a quite a background in 2012 him and his wife actually they opened up their first business and he’s going to talk about how all that stuff happened. But it’s interesting and you know, it was a physical therapy clinic and they also had some gyms, they started a gym. But within five years, they were billing over $2 million a year from just one location, and then they opened up a bunch of others, but they ended up selling two physical therapy clinics and four gyms. All right, so massive build ups and sell exit strategies, which is really cool. So he’s learned a lot over this time and how he actually kind of tested the waters got things off the ground, all that good stuff, and we’re gonna I’m gonna dive into that with Corey so you guys can really get some insights on how that all worked and how he made it happen. All right, so you know, he does a lot of talks. Now around company culture and leadership, and supports people on their own growth paths, right with coaching and mastermind groups, and he’s going to talk about some of that stuff here today as well. You know, outside of that Corey is a family man. He’s got three kids and all that good stuff. And I think you guys are gonna really enjoy this conversation. So lots to learn here. So stay tuned. Latest and greatest, you know, it’s interesting, because we had a, I had a conversation with somebody that sold 14 businesses now just the other day. So that is Greg shepherd. So that interview is going to be coming up soon and a few weeks. But something that was really interesting that he brought up about, we always say you got to slow down to speed up. And one of the things he mentioned was, it was he said, you know, you have to put more time into planning than you do in development. Not that you want to get stuck in the planning phase forever. But you know, we really do want to like build a strong foundation. That is the point he gives a really good story that demonstrates that So you’re building a strong foundation and taking your time on the key fundamentals, so that when you’re ready with that, the rest is going to go. It goes quick, right? The build is the easy part. It’s getting the right strategy and making sure that you know what you’re doing and you’re testing and you’re ready to rock and roll with a strong foundation that makes all the difference in the world. That creates fast growth. Right. So another exciting thing that happened recently that I haven’t really mentioned here on the show is I got this email the other day from I saw from Shark Tank on ABC. And I thought it was gonna be some like trick or spam. But no, it was actually their clearance department where they get legal clearance because they want to they want to show Change Creator magazine on Shark Tank. So How exciting is that? We were pretty jazzed up and pumped about it. So yes, Change Creator is going to be getting their appearance one way or the other on Shark Tank. That’s going to be the Blake Mycoskie, magazine cover because Blake is going to be a shark. So we interviewed Blake, there’s a video interview, you can check out that we did. And we put them on the cover of the magazine. And so he’s going to be a shark on there and he’s going to tell a story and part of his story and his road to success. He’s including Change Creator, so they’re going to be putting the magazine up on the show and people will get to check it out. Anyway, I thought that was exciting. And this is what good storytelling and Marketing Leads to and attracts people to and these bigger things then take place and that’s why we teach what we teach in the captivate method, guys. Okay, so let’s dive into this conversation with Corey. Okay, show me the heat. Hey, Cory, welcome to the Change Creator podcast. What’s going on, man? And how are you doing?

Cory Lee 04:46

Adam, thanks for having me on. Man. I’m excited about our conversation and really just talk about what’s going on. It’s just an exciting time. We were talking before we came on. We have three kids and they are all back to school. So maybe a little bit of sense of normalcy kind of coming on as well. So excited about that.

Adam G. Force 05:06

Yeah, was that that’s it. Where are you located? Again? I forgot.

Cory Lee 05:10

We are actually in Mississippi, um, people will hear the here the southern slang and they say you from Texas, right? I tried to cover it up, but I can’t but I’m from Mississippi.

Adam G. Force 05:20

Okay, Mississippi. Alright, so kids back in school that gives a little takes a little pressure off. I know, I’ve been talking to a lot of other my friends in my network in the entrepreneurship space. And it’s tough because they’re becoming the teachers, you know, as well. And it’s just adding this layer of complexity. Kids are getting bored. And, man, it’s just a big mess.

Cory Lee 05:40

Yeah, yeah. So here, they had an option of going back or doing online stuff and our son, he said to me, so you’re not gonna have me behind technology all day, are you? Yeah, they love people just as much as I do. And they want to go back. So yeah, it’s good stuff.

Adam G. Force 05:55

Good, good, good. Alright, so why don’t you give her us all just a little bit background. I know you’ve had an interesting past when it comes to building businesses selling them, stuff like that. So I think we want to dig into some of that today, because there’s just a lot of questions around how all that works. And so if you can just kind of tee us up a little bit with like the background in a nutshell.

Cory Lee 06:20

Yeah, so in a nutshell, so my background is actually in the physical therapy space. I’m a physical therapist assistant. And, you know, my wife, she is a physical therapist, and while she was in school, you know, like many entrepreneurs, we would be driving around town, and I’d have this idea of like, you know, wouldn’t it be cool? Like, wouldn’t it be really cool if we had our own business? Like our own physical therapy clinic and Ooh, you know, wouldn’t it be cool if this physical therapy clinic if we also had a gym along with it were yesterday physical therapy, but, you know, maybe we’re making an impact on the community. Well, wouldn’t that be cool? And you know, she graduated we we were actually out in Phoenix, Arizona for a time we moved back to Mississippi And about that time is when we transitioned into business. We opened up that business and we opened up. Adam, we opened up a physical therapy clinic in a town of 1100. People, man 1100 people, right. And, you know, and it was awesome. It was great. And our our focus was to make an impact on the community. In a five year period of time we, we actually had started four gyms, to physical therapy clinics, and in 2017, we sold pretty much all of that in a five year period of time in that one physical therapy clinic that we opened up in the town of 1100 people when we sold we were billing out over $2 million a year. And in 2017, we transitioned out and I now do business coaching and speaking and training, just love, you know, help an entrepreneur newars and really leaders step into their vision and their dream of owning a business or leading a team as well. So that that’s, you know, super quick super brief, kind of where I am today and what we’re doing now.

Adam G. Force 08:14

Yeah, I mean, I love that and I you know, I have been that person my wife and I were you know, we we got super serious about our health and we were going to that we were when we were living in Philly for six years we were going to the gym you know, four or five days a week sometimes he was definitely dragging me there but we made it and you know, like we kind of were like, man, it would be really fun because we always go to these gyms are like, this is cool, but man, I wish it was like this like that. And I know like there’s a market for this or that don’t make it be cool to really open up this kind of a gym. Right? So I’m curious as you had these thoughts. How did you decide on the like a type of gym to open? Like, what was the market? Who was it for exactly what was the style like? So how did you come to conclusions on what would make sense and Was there any preliminary testing to figure out this would work for you or not before you went all in?

Cory Lee 09:05

Yeah, that’s, that’s funny. So, you know, when we started I have zero business knowledge or business experience, right. But I had a ton of enthusiasm. And let me say we opened up in a small town, right? Like, if you would have went to a business school, they that’s probably not very smart, right? And what we did though, was kind of as you’re talking about what kind of jam and those kind of things I just did what I enjoyed to do, right like I was thinking about the gym, what what would I love in a gym? What what kind of classes or fitness or what kind of equipment would I like, and what people what you find is people are attracted to passion, right? And people saw the passion that we had and that that attracts people, the passion that you have for your business is very attractive, you know, yeah. And, and, and not They people with passion, they stand out. And people take notice. And a lot of people will get caught up in that way. So for us, it was just really what we were personally passionate about. And people were attracted to that, you know?

Adam G. Force 10:14

Yeah. I mean, I like hearing that kind of commentary. And I’m wondering, you know, so people say they’re attracted to Pat, and I think they are. I mean, I think there’s more like, when I worked in corporate years ago, they would say, what’s the width of them the what’s in it for them, and always thinking about the customer? And they’re gonna say, well, what’s in it for me? And they think more today we’re hearing will, what’s in it for you from the customer? Like, why are you doing this business and why would I work with you and they want to know a little bit more so having that passion and a real intention behind it, such as, you know, you had, I think translates like you’re saying, Yeah?

Cory Lee 10:55

yeah, you know, and, and as you’re talking there, what I found too, is when you You are passionate about, you know, you hear people talk about what’s your purple cow or I know you say the golden calf right? What makes you stand out? Well, what, what helps you exceed expectations? Well, I think it becomes easy to exceed expectations when you’re doing something you’re passionate about. So you you serve your clients or your customers, or however you define them to a higher level when you are passionate about what you’re doing. And that’s what I found for us anyway. Yeah.

Adam G. Force 11:28

Yeah, it’s true. It’s true. Um, you know, so let’s say you got this passion, you decided to do a gym that, you know, kind of reflects who you are. And you know, there’s other people out there like you that are interested in the same thing, right? And that kind of starts defining this differentiation. It’s, it’s based on yourself and your story and all that kind of stuff. But there’s got to be a point where we’re making some real business decisions, right? We got to put the CEO hat on, and we’re going to have to make decisions because you know, while the passion takes us to a certain point, there’s a A lot of mistakes to be made that money can go flying out the window or you hire the wrong PR and marketing teams too early or who knows what you buy the wrong equipment? Or you get a lawsuit? I don’t know. You know, so you got the CEO decisions to make. So we got to have a combination of passion and business smarts. So what were some of the steps like, let’s just let’s just stay with the gym idea for now. Because I’m super interested in that. And you know, this is obviously a physical store, but like, what were some of the early decisions in getting that set up from a business standpoint on Well, how do we get members? How do we get equipment? Like how do we get the money to do all this? Yeah,

Cory Lee 12:41

Yeah, yeah. So from the gym standpoint, I’ll tell you. We just started doing exercise classes out in a field and in a park, you know, and we would do that and we charge people $5 a class. And, you know, as that bill, we kind of, I guess, I guess you could say we kind of tested it that way. Yeah, yeah. And kind of built slow. And even then the physical therapy side, we built slow, right? We didn’t go all out from the get go, we, we built slow and developed relationships. And then from there, as the money did start coming in, then we started to invest in our business. But, you know, you talk about some of the decisions that we made when we started out slow, and we developed relationships, and we went from there. But, you know, as, as we grew, what I also realized was john Maxwell talks about being the lid on your business, you know, as the leader or as a business owner, you are the lid on your business, that your business will never exceed your ability to lead it. Yep. Well, I inherently kind of realized that that I was the lid on my business that I couldn’t do everything and I shouldn’t be doing everything and that we had a big dream. And if we needed if we had this big dream, then we needed a big team and that’s when we really kind of once we got it. Going saw the need to bring your own team members. And I’ll be honest with you, that was probably one of the scariest moments of our business is when we hired somebody else, right? You know, scary, leaving my job and my wife leaving her job. But when we hired that first team member, that that was probably even scarier, because now somebody else, you know, the decisions I made didn’t just affect me and my family now they affect to somebody else’s family. Right? And, and really, that drove me to become a better leader and to learn. So when we just started out slow and then also realized that we didn’t need to be doing anything and shouldn’t be doing everything. I mean, find other people that that kind of could fill in the gaps where my weaknesses are, and there’s many of them and where somebody can fill those gaps and you know,

Adam G. Force 14:49

Yeah, no, it’s important, and I think timing is important for when you do that stuff, right. So yeah, I’m sure you got a taste of that. And I think like you You answered one of my questions already, which was, you know, how are we testing these big ideas before we’re dumping, you know, all this money into it to find out that it doesn’t work. And there you go, everybody. I mean, here, you know, Cory, when they went to a park, they had people pay a few bucks, were they interested, but they’re also now just getting attention kind of building an audience, if you will, right, getting people familiar. And, you know, here you are, like, testing out the idea. And it’s like, if you’re getting people to sign up, and they’re taking the classes and they’re doing the thing, you might have a little something there. You can also have an audience to get some feedback from and learn from and connect with and all that kind of stuff. And they can become little word of mouth marketers for you. Hey, oh, this new gym is opening, right?

Cory Lee 15:40

Yeah, exactly. And that’s, that’s exactly what we did. You know, and I remember one night, we had just a real small area, but we had 41 people show up one night for one class. Oh, that’s great. And that that was kind of at the point that we realized, you know, we needed to do something we needed to take this. I think we have something here, you know, Yeah, yeah, it started out just doing a little bootcamp class at a park you know, for $5 a class but but but but also starting out small. It didn’t overextend ourselves, but it also helped us get good at first, right?

Adam G. Force 16:15

Yes, yes. Yes at the flow.

Cory Lee 16:18

Exactly. It helped me to. It really helped me to learn how to not only structure class but manage a class. And not only do that but pay attention to each person, too because it can and we’re talking about Jim stuff, but you know, it’s very easy to get going with all your hats that you’re wearing as a entrepreneur trying to get going you’ve got a market you got to do all these things, but Miss kind of the needs of the people that are coming to you, it’s very easy to do that. So it helped us get good first and grow, grow at a good pace as well.

Adam G. Force 16:54

Yeah, I like the idea of get good first, like, learn the flow. Get familiar. You know, you don’t have the overhead of a ton of equipment and a storefront and all that kind of stuff. So you got a lot more flexibility, less like stress and weight on your shoulders to figure this out. And so you got it. Now I am assuming when you started, you must have started somewhere where there’s like, you know, almost like maybe you had a class and nobody signed up, or then you had two people and then five people, and there must have been a little bit of progress there. Is that true?

Cory Lee 17:23

Oh, yeah, definitely. You know, and, and that could easily be dis discouraging. But then also found, you know, two people showed up, you know, and if two people I very much value time, I very much value my time. So I try to value other people’s time as well, right? They made a decision to get in their car, to drive to wherever we were, they made the decision to get out of the car. And if it’s just those two people, then I need to show up for them. Right. And because behind each one of them, there’s a behind that tree. There’s a forest Other trees, right? And they need to take care of them for the fact that they showed up, but then the the secondary part of that, too is, you know, if they’re served at a high level, when it’s just them, you know, they become raving fans too. And that’s what we love to create, right?

Adam G. Force 18:17

Yeah. I’m curious, can you tell me a little bit about when you started getting the word out to invite people to this concept that you have to see if they would come and join? How did you get the word out? But more importantly, what was your story that you were telling them of why you’re doing this and what this is all about?

Cory Lee 18:37

Hmm, that’s good. That’s good. So you know, you do the all those social media type things. And what we did at the time, was just post pictures, put it on social media, we tagged them, and you know, they love seeing that and they would comment and, you know, that does something to the Facebook algorithm and those kind of things but we’re also very intentional to not This is where we had failed in other parts and sometimes fail in the business now is being intentional about hey, you know, we’re having class Thursday, invite a friend, right? specifically asking for that referral, if you would say, right in and really getting going that way. Kind of getting that marketing out really helped that way too. And in our story, too, you know, like I said, we wanted to do something that was impactful for the community, we did not want to just be another business that was part of the community. So we want to impact the community and one of our visions was, Mississippi is constantly one of the most obese states in the country where the whole country has obesity epidemic, right? Well, Mississippi has the number one is always you know, one of the worst and could Not stand that right, we wanted to change that. And that was kind of our vision for it. And, and one of the visions I had was to make this town, this town of 1100 people, one of the healthiest small towns in the state of Mississippi. And that was kind of my vision for it. And you kind of cast that now, making making this town, one of the healthiest towns in the state of Mississippi. I never really said that to anybody other than myself. But But the other part was the vision that I was trying to cast where we’re doing this kind of community type thing. We’re wanting to be a part of the community. And, you know, when there were community events, we tried to show up, Ryan and we tried to show up and kind of unique and different ways you know, and just being a part of the community and real quick own that that was kind of my vision for it was to make this town one of the small, healthiest small towns in the state of Mississippi will. The year we transition out they were awarded a Blue Cross Blue Shield award for being one of the healthiest small towns and The state of Mississippi which was really cool to kind of see the community do that and to be a very small part of helping them do that too. So that was kind of cool.

Adam G. Force 21:10

That is kind of cool. I like that. So okay, so we got through this process of kind of getting your story out there change is having an impact on the community and you know, kind of doing doing something special and from the heart right talks about you know, you were talking earlier about how important it is to have passion in the business. And so you got that out there as your marketing and spread it on social media invited people to the parks, no overhead, great, great way to test this type of thing. Now you’re ready to buy a place it did. I mean, I find it daunting. I go into a gym and I don’t know how big the gym is or what kind of gym you have. Exactly, but you know, it’s like you got to get all the equipment, you got to get a location and buy the property and all that stuff. How do you handle those types of things like what Are some of the steps just high level that you had to consider in order to make that happen?

Cory Lee 22:07

Yeah, so that that is funny you say that because a lot of I’ll be honest with you, Adam, a lot of my stuff is out of ignorance. Right? So. So, you know, like I said, we had 41 people show up for one class one night, and our physical therapy clinic was, was really busted now the same. So I remember telling my wife, I said, You know what, we’ve got to do something, it’s time to do something. We were renting the space for the physical therapy clinic, and we were just meeting at the park for the gym stuff. And I said, You know what, I think we need to build something, let’s buy some land. And let’s build something. And I said, you know, I’ve seen some signs on the way into the clinic. I want to call them tomorrow. So Adam, I get get to work and as lunchtime and I’m about to get in my truck to go Look at the signs and I see this lady from the bank walking over. And I know she’s coming to talk to me, I was like, ah, and I know she’s gonna talk and I love her, you know, she’s super nice. But man, I really want to look at these land this land, right? And she comes up to me says, Hey, I see what you guys are doing in the community. And I just want to let you know, my husband and I have some land. And we’ve kind of just like to give it to you for a very small fee. And I, you know, we want to give it to somebody who’s gonna make an impact in the community, and, you know, I just want to listen about it. And I was like, Okay, well, I mean, that’s cool. You know, it’s probably not gonna be very good land, but I’ll go look at it. I go look at this, and it is prime location for this community. Right. And, as I’m spot on, right, so we do that and we ended up building a 1600 Square, 6800 square foot building that had our physical therapy clinic and actually today in there, in this, this was kind of, you know, you think about up until this point we were charging people $5 a class, right? Yeah. Well, now we’re moving into a building that we’re building. And we’re about to go up to $75 per month. Okay? So we’re asking people to make a commitment now, you know, $5 per class, you’re not really committed too much, right? I’m a contract class here, there. But now I’m committed and most gyms in that area are going, you know, 30 $35 per month, but we’re kind of doing CrossFit. Right.

Adam G. Force 24:37

Yeah.

Cory Lee 24:38

Yeah. So that’s a commitment. And, you know, it’s kind of just a leap of faith and, you know, kind of personal faith and I really felt like it was it was God ordained, I guess you would say and it you know, it was awesome. Right, but a lot of it was acting out of ignorance. I’ll be honest with you. He just gone for it. Yeah, just going for I remember sitting down with him. The contractor and tell him everything I wanted to have. I said I want to have 20 foot ceilings, you know, in the CrossFit gym, I want to be this big and he kind of dropped his pin and looked at me said you want this here? How’s that? Yeah. And I remember through this whole process talking to the bank and the bank is like, you know, they were kind of surprised that the loan went through and the contractor surprised the city approved. I was like, What are you talking about? Surprise, like, why are you surprised and you know, I can see it in my mind I see it anyway. But yeah, so…

Adam G. Force 25:36

Aw, man that’s pretty awesome dude, because you know, you’re not you’re you were not being bound by you know, I guess stigmas of like thoughts of what should be like this contractor had right he’s like this here because he just is you know, his preconceived notions. Yeah, that’s pretty cool. So you talk about having leaning into ignorance. Well, I guess there’s there is a benefit sometimes when ignorance can kind of lead you to just do what you think you got to do and kind of break new boundaries.

Cory Lee 26:09

Yeah, and, and along with that, you know, my wife, she is a very wise woman, too. And, you know, she balances out some of that. And she’s almost my measuring stick to if it’s a good idea, and if we get her blessing, she’s thought through it and prayed through it as well. And it’s Let’s go, Ryan. And if we’re both on land, and we’re all in, and I think that’s a lesson as well is, you know, once we made that decision, we were committed to the decision. And there are other decisions in the past that I’ve made where I was not fully committed, and working with entrepreneurs as well. I see them say, Well, I’m gonna try this but kind of in the back of my mind, if this doesn’t work out, I can go back to my job or I can go back and try this and I’ve found that that does not always work. Because when you make the commitment up front, that you’re all in, you have to mentally make the commitment up front, that then you’ll do everything that’s necessary to bring that that business or that goal into actual reality, you know?

Adam G. Force 27:15

Yeah, hundred percent. You know, we always say to, you know, people in our community that if you’re not willing, if you’re waiting to go all in for your business to be successful, like if you’re waiting to be successful to go all in on your business, you’re gonna be waiting for a very long time.

Cory Lee 27:30

Yeah, yeah.

Adam G. Force 27:33

People say that all the time. They’re like, Well, when I get more sales, when I am more successful, I do this, then I will invest in myself, then I’ll invest more in my idea. Hey, you know what I mean? It’s backwards chicken in the egg kinda.

Cory Lee 27:45

That’s wrong. That’s right. I know. We’re not transitioned out of the, the therapy in the gym stuff and doing kind of what I do now with the leadership training, those kind of things. Or remember early on, you know, in the back of my mind, I was doing the same exact thing as well. You know, more give this a try. But if if it doesn’t work out, I can always go back. You know, I can find a job as a physical therapy assistant, I could open up another PT clinic, but I’ll give it a try. And I had indeed.com pulled up on my phone a lot, right. And I realized that I wasn’t fully committed to the jury. And I had, you know, I had bet, you know, burn the ship to the nba.com. Right, I had to throw that out. And when I did when I made that commitment, something kind of magical happened. I don’t know what it was, but the business started to grow itself, right. And making that commitment up front is key for us.

Adam G. Force 28:38

Yeah, it’s tough when you got your mind in multiple places, trying to be good at multiple things, right. So it’s like, if you can find the focus, you got it, you only have so much time and energy, so you got to put it all in there and try to make it happen. Now. Some people need to make money on the side here and there, but the more the more of that percentage of the pie of your time and energy you can put towards your Your primary focus the better.

Cory Lee 29:02

Yes, sir. That’s right.

Adam G. Force 29:03

Yeah. Now tell me a little bit about like, what’s going on today. So I think you were in business for five years, but you sold everything. How much did you sell it for? And what are you working on? Exactly. Now? How are you helping entrepreneurs?

Cory Lee 29:15

Yeah, so I’m gonna say we had the physical therapy clinic. And in that five year period of time, we sold off the gyms kind of individually. Okay. We sold the physical therapy clinic and we sold it for over a million dollars. Yep. And one thing that I noticed, Adam, that this was a key lesson for me was that I knew I had made a mistake, right? And the mistake that I had made was a leadership mistake. Our business was growing. We were doing great. But I had developed a bunch of followers, right, people who went above and beyond, we talked about five levels of leadership. Well, I hadn’t developed any leaders who could step in once I stepped out When that happened, the business kind of went down. Right? This kind of back is back up now. But But that was a mistake that I made I you know, one of the things that we talked about is, as leaders, the power isn’t within us the power is in empowering other people. And I did a poor job of that. But that was a lesson for me. So we later on sold the two physical arms or the two gems, the 24 hour gym and the CrossFit gym, to a friend of mine, and was a little bit more intentional about that. So he started out actually as a member, and he has some great leadership qualities, some great leadership traits. So kind of in that he became one of our coaches. And then over time, he continued to develop and he became our head coach. So then he kind of took on more, more roles and responsibilities, and when it came time to sail, he was the obvious choice to sell it because he was the leader of that group. And now you He’s taken it on to, you know, even better than what we had it but, but that was a lesson for me that, you know, to develop other people to see the talent and potential within other people and extract that talent and potential and put them in the positions to succeed and that’s how your business grows. That’s how it actually multiplies is by developing leaders within your business. So,

Adam G. Force 31:24

Yeah, no, that makes that makes a lot of sense. And you know, you guys got to that point. I’m curious were like, Did you always have the exit strategy in mind? Like within five years, we want to sell this. Was that always the plan? No, not one bit.

Cory Lee 31:41

It wasn’t right. It never was. Right. So again, I am a person of faith and, man, I loved it right. I love the business. I loved every aspect of it. I love the business side, the marketing side, the the leading and all that stuff, right. And I remember, you know, God told me I said, hey, you’ve got you’ve got this out of the realm priority order. And I tried to negotiate with God. Right? Well, hold on, you know, I’ll put it back in its place. Right? And, you know, it’s like, you know, you gotta you gotta let it go. And the best decision we’ve ever made right to do that, because it’s allowed us. I have grown personally, and professionally, I would say, almost need to telescope to see how far I’ve come since then. Right. And and I don’t think I would be from the personal growth standpoint where I am today, if we hadn’t made that decision. And one of the things that really helped make that decision as well as you know, I loved it. But we had small kids too. In that five year period of time we had the four gyms and two PT clinics. We also had three kids during that five year period. And I can remember one night I had been at the gym early in the morning at five then I was at a physical therapy clinic all day and I was about to leave again is about Four o’clock in the afternoon to go coach all the CrossFit classes that night. And I was telling her older son Good night, and that I would see him in the morning. And this is at four o’clock in the afternoon, right? And he says that he, you go into your house. And it hit me that I had been spending way too much time away from our family. And that had gotten out of the wrong priority order. Right. So it was never intentionally planned that way. But But also, I’ve realized in this growth to some of my gifts and talents or to encourage and motivate other people, but also to get things going to get things off the ground and get people excited about something and find someone else to hand that off off to and we could probably do a whole podcast on on that as well. But that’s been a real growth that has helped me to see some of my where my giftedness lies.

Adam G. Force 33:54

Yeah, I mean, that’s awesome. And now you’re doing some speaking Are you mentoring anybody? What’s going I like that stuff.

Cory Lee 34:01

Yeah, so I do speaking and do one on one coaching. I also do some leadership training where go into businesses and work with their leadership teams and call it developing a leadership culture. But one of the things we’re really excited about and passionate about right now is helping male entrepreneurs kind of get their businesses up and going. And really, if they’ve been going for a little bit how to get it to the next level, one of the things we found is, again, had zero business knowledge or business experience, but we had a ton of enthusiasm, right? And we realized if our business is going to grow that like we’ve talked about, and as you probably know, Adam to is that we’ve got the grown right as the leader, we’ve got to grow. So we read the books, we went to the courses, the seminars, the webinars, all those kind of things, but we had people who can mentor us from a distance through their courses and material but I didn’t have that individual or that group of other guys that I could go to to share some ideas with and say, Hey, what do you think about this who could up level my idea who can also relate to what I was going through in business, or even served as guardrails as I wanted to grow that business, but not at the expense of my faith, my family and my fitness. So, as entrepreneurs, we created that right. So we’ve created a mastermind group specifically for male entrepreneurs. And, man, that’s been fun. That’s been exciting. And I love seeing what’s happening with their men that are in that group. And I know you have a community as well, I would just want to encourage anybody that’s listening to really fully take advantage of the group that Adam is offering there, because there’s some power in community there.

Adam G. Force 35:37

It’s true. I mean, I like that you started the mastermind, and you can support people that way, because you’re right. I mean, the idea of surrounding herself and getting that real time feedback, asking questions, getting coaching, like, I can just imagine in my mind right now a car that’s racing down the highway and when you mentioned the guardrails, it’s like, they keep you from going off in a million different directions off the road. You know, he You get to this point of no return, because we have so many ideas and decisions that it’s so easy to go off on a tangent. And so you know, a year goes by and it’s like, oh my god, like what have I’ve even been doing?

Cory Lee 36:12

Exactly right.

Adam G. Force 36:13

Yeah. Happens all the time. All the time. Yes, sir. Good stuff. Yeah, it is good stuff. I mean, that’s the challenge of entrepreneurship. And, you know, every great entrepreneur has a mentor or coach or community. It’s just inevitable. And I hate like when people talk about being a self made entrepreneur, because there’s no such thing. There is no self made entrepreneur, everybody has what they have because of the help of other people. That’s right. Listen, record. I really appreciate you sharing your story and your insights and some really great key lessons. These are all applicable. These types of lessons, whether you’re online or offline business, just the idea of testing taking these steps and you know, hiring at the right time, you can definitely hire too early. So a lot of people will say you got to delegate the things that You’re not an expert in. And Cory, I agree with that too. But I want to make a clear point for people that timing is important there too. Because, you know, if you’re starting a business and you don’t know who your audience is, you don’t know how to sell to them. You don’t have to share your story and connect and get people on board. Hiring that out is going to be a challenge, right? Because you’re just kind of like saying, Here, create that strategy for me take take something I love, and you figure it out for me. And I feel like you went through those early stages. And then when you were ready to grow and really get the gyms you hired out to take the next steps, but you kind of had the strategy in place, right?

Cory Lee 37:35

Yeah, yes. 100% I’m glad you clarified that because you definitely can and, and I found that people, you know, when you hire team members, people fail as being a team members when they don’t get proper training, or when they don’t know what winning looks like. And then the other one is the attitude which hopefully you’ll catch that in the interview process, but they fail when there’s not proper training. And if you haven’t figured out how to do so, So with those things to properly train them, you know, then that’s that sets them up for failure and it sets your business up for failure as well. And, and you know, and when they don’t know what winning looks like, that was a another big lesson for me is Hey, can you do this? Right? But but not telling them what winning looks like so

Adam G. Force 38:18

yeah, exactly, exactly. No, it’s just it’s one of these little things that gets kind of like missed. So I want to just kind of point that out. It was important. Thank you so much. I really appreciate we’re at the end of our time here. I think it was a really great conversation. I’m excited to hear more about how you guys continue to make progress. How can people just you know learn more about your mentorship and everything that you got going on?

Cory Lee 38:41

Yeah, I don’t appreciate man. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. And I hope this has added value to your listener. So Adam, I’m a I’m a I’m a cookies on the bottom shelf kind of guy, right? You got to keep it simple. So I’ve created a page for your listeners specific to your listeners. I got them two free gifts to write but but on their own this page I’m going to give to you it has, you know some information about our legacy builders mastermind group. And you know, it’s got the icons on how you can follow us on social media too. But I’ve got two free gifts one is a, a personal assessment where you can kind of ask yourself these questions, see how balanced you are in life. But add on the other one is a spousal survey, right? So you get this and you hand it to your spouse and they answer questions from their perspective about you. And and, you know, it sounds tough, but I promise you, it opens up great communication if you’re going to have a great relationship with your spouse, and I believe this world needs a mommy and daddy who are united, right? And anyway, anyway, it opens up great communication. So those can be found at www Cory Lee leadership.com slash Change Creator and that’s just for you and your listeners there, Adam. I appreciate you guys.

Adam G. Force 39:56

Awesome. I appreciate that. Cory that’s pretty cool, man. So guys, You could check that out we’ll put it when we get this published formally on the website. We’ll have that there for everybody to grab. And I’ll make mention of it in the intro and all that stuff. So, Corey, Thanks again so much for your time appreciate it man and let’s stay in touch. Awesome man. Um, I thoroughly enjoyed it man. Thanks for tuning into the Change Creator podcast. Visit us at Change creator.com forward slash go big to get access to free downloads and other great resources that will drive your business forward.

Adam & Danielle: How Digital Conversations Drive Your Business

Subscribe to this show on Spotify  |  iTunes  |  Stitcher  |  Soundcloud

What are digital conversations and why is it so important for you to become an expert in them? Co-creators of The Captivate Method share everything you need to know.

This talk will cover…

— Digital marketing and vacuum sales
— The role stories play in our online business
— How we navigate the Story Map

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Transcription of Interview

(Transcribed by Otter.ai, there may be errors)

Adam G. Force 00:03

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 at 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 life to go big visit us at Change Creator comm forward slash growbig to grab awesome resources that will help drive your business forward. Hey, welcome back to the show, everybody. This is your host, Adam force. Hope you all had a good kick off for the week on Monday and are starting to rock and roll here on Tuesday. And this show is going to give you some inspiration around your marketing. So you know we do a lot of Facebook Lives but if you’re not following us on Facebook, that’s fine. We’re going to thread some of these conversations into the podcast as usual. And in one very interesting conversation that we have had. It was between myself and Daniel Sutton, who is one of our partners as a co creator of the captivate method, which is a signature program here at Change Creator. So what we talk about is digital conversations. What the heck is a digital conversation? Why is it so important for you to become an expert in them? And we cover a couple key things, you know, digital marketing and vacuum sales. Why are we talking about game sales, see the role that stories play in our online business and how we can start navigating? You know, the buyer journeys and what we call a story map. So stay tuned. We’re gonna dive into that conversation in just a bit. Now. If you missed the last show, it was it was an expert discussion with john Tobin. Now john is a he’s a legal attorney, a legal attorney. He’s an attorney. And we talk about all the legal stuff that entrepreneurs need to know to run their businesses more effectively, all right. And he has a lot of great insights that he shares there. Because the legal stuff, as we all know, is kind of like the expensive stuff that we always put off. Because you know, especially if we’re in the first few years of our business, and we kind of put that aside as something to do later, and that’s okay. But there comes a time where we do need to get serious about those things. And it’s good to be aware of what that stuff is. So we wanted to have this conversation with john in order to start sharing some of those insights with you guys. Let’s dive into this conversation about what digital conversations are and why they’re so important. Okay, show me that heat. I hope everybody’s doing amazing today and you have better weather than we do here in Miami. It’s pretty miserable.

Danielle Sutton 02:43

I got all the good weather. Really, it looks nice.

Adam G. Force 02:46

We got the rain out here over the ocean. And we’re we’re looking today to talk about a digital conversations you know what is a digital conversation and why it is essential for your business now. It’s something that really came to mind for us, actually in the past year. And it’s a way of framing something up because we are storytellers here, right, Daniel. And we look at marketing a little bit differently because we’re trying to come at it from a very authentic place. And this is just what has worked for us. So Danielle, and I were talking just a little bit before and I’ll let tell you a little story about how he came up with this and what it actually means to you and your business. You know, we were running paid ads for a while and putting a good chunk of change in there. And so when we were doing that we kind of gotten absorbed into the world of these funnels. Right now everyone’s talking about funnels for years now or like, you know, it’s part of the sales process and nurturing someone to become a buyer and connecting with them and things like that. But it’s very the way people talk about marketing right now and they talk about funnels. It became very got, like absorbed in it and a little bit lost in it. And it became very cold as this process, right? So we have all these different pieces of the puzzle online. And we would be putting them together and mapping them out, oh, we gotta say this, we got to do that. And, you know, it was all about the transactions and getting the buyers and all these things and you kind of get lost in this marketing thought process. And it’s kind of like what we talked about in the first Facebook Live just past Monday about, you know, stop thinking like a marketer. Because at the same time, when we were not getting the sales we were looking for, we would follow up with people, we get on the phone and what happened. We, they we would get on the phone for just market research to find out Well, why didn’t you buy and get that feedback? But what happened was, we would actually end up getting questions from them and they would then join our program and become a buyer right? So there’s someone that we can help and we started scratching our head saying Okay, so it didn’t work going through through our funnel, right and then when we get on the phone we’re able to make this happen. And we were like, Well, how do we I literally remember this at night, one night text messaging Amy and Danielle, and I was like, I think we need to just shift the way we’re thinking about these funnels and look at it as a digital conversation. How do we take those types of phone call conversations, and start applying it to all the pieces of real estate online and make it effective and warm. And remember that these are people we’re talking to, right? They’re not widgets that we’re just trying to get across the finish line. And it kind of changes how you think about each piece of real estate online. And everybody that we spoke to on the phone is unique and had and we had to tailor that conversation and it’s really no different that’s what really kind of led us to being more personalized and leaning into like behavioral marketing and things like that. So the digital conversation is the is replacing this idea of funnels to remind us that we are having a conversation right Daniel, it’s like we always talk about knocking on the door. When people go door to door selling vacuums. And they get an hour of somebody’s time. And they sit down. And as that person’s talking, I don’t need the vacuum because or, you know, I have, I’m skeptical because of this, and you get to give a tailored response. And we like to use stories. So we’re storytellers, and we have our stories that we tell to help people get around those barriers. But in the digital space, you don’t get to sit down and in real time, tailor the conversation. So you’ve got to think of how do I take that conversation and put it in the digital space? So that’s sort of that’s, that’s,

Danielle Sutton 06:34

I think that… No, no, that was a perfect intro. And it’s true, like the digital conversation is just bringing the whole experience for both the person providing a solution and the person seeking a solution. Back to the human way of doing things. I think people can get really tripped up when they are trying to build an online business by Yeah, the minutiae of the tactics and the like, what’s the click through rate. And what’s the CTA the call to action? And what’s the ABC c d step? Right and, and of course, every bro marketer and their cousin is teaching all of these strategies. And if you don’t do it exactly the way you’re supposed to, then it’s not going to work, right? And, and so it’s really easy to get sucked into this vortex of like digital marketing, best practice. But the reality is, if we strip away the digital veil, we’re just humans getting to know each other, and providing, you know, a puzzle piece fit where I have what you need, and you need what I have. It’s as simple as that. That’s business, right? So we need to kind of get back to the basics. And that’s why this whole philosophy of the digital conversation has worked so well for us because we’re not thinking of a funnel in a linear step by step. approach. Of course, you know, there’s things we might be trying to improve and iterate and there’s always kind of those details. But at the fundamental level, how are we thinking about the relationship we build with the people are in our world, like in our realm, right? And it’s about that two way street, it’s having that conversation. So one example I shared with Adam was, you know, if you have two people at a ping pong table, and one person is shooting the ping pong across the table, if you don’t give the other person a chance to reply, or like being part of the game, then the game is gonna be very, very short. Right?

Adam G. Force 08:25

It’s such an important part of the process. It’s really a perspective shift. And when you have that perspective, shift, you start, you don’t look at it and say, I need to have these really clever benefits outlined on my landing page. It’s, it’s you’re thinking about it differently. And you’re thinking about, well, at this point in the conversation, what needs to be said where are they it really forces you to think about where they are and their own journey. So you can say, Oh, I understand where you’re at. Let me let me give you information that’s going to help you understand this better, right. Will this work for you? What’s it going to do for you? Like, what do you need to hear based on where you are in that journey? That’s a really important point, we’re adding warmth based on the perspective we have with this digital conversation format.

Danielle Sutton 09:07

Yeah, it makes a big difference really. And like you said, with the, the door to door salesperson, even like a more modern example might be thinking of going for coffee with somebody who you met at an event and they said, Oh, like I’m really interested in what you do. I’d love to learn more. You know, let’s meet for coffee. We might have aligned interests. I’m sure this has happened to you. It happens a lot. Right? And and then when you’re there in the coffee shop with your lattes, you actually can ask these questions like Adam said, and you can address misconceptions, which is another big piece early in the process, you know, to help someone understand more what what your what you are offering and how it can help them. All of these little touch points, you know, can go really quickly in a one hour coffee chat, but online, they’re gonna be very in pieces. And so like Adam said, how do we think about where we tell each other stories so that the person on the other end gets the full picture. Even if it didn’t happen in a one hour Sit down. Right? Yeah.

Adam G. Force 10:08

And that that is the key. I mean, and this is like a big shift when it comes to marketing and everything that we’re kind of talking about. So, you know, we, we go through this a lot. And this is something that we’ve now adopted into the captivate method teaching as we go through it, because we, we get into this thing called a story map in there. And so I know nobody knows what that is, because it’s something that we just made up, it’s proprietary. I’m gonna tell you about it. So basically, what happens is, you know, you learn how to connect with people, you learn how to set yourself up, but the story map is going to be kind of like a compass for you, right? And the way we look at it is, well, where is somebody in the conversation? And so we have this map concept, and it’s like, well, maybe they’re not even aware of you as a company. So that’s like you’re at the intro phase of the conversation with the buyer. And then you think about well, what’s the next step of the conversation? Like, how would it develop? If you bumped into someone like the vacuum cleaner? It’s like, Who are you? What are you about? And you get, that’s the beginning. But if as they get warmed up, they know who you are and things are changing. They’re gonna move down the line on the story map, right? So we’re mapping out where they are. And then based on where they are, well, what stories do they need to know at this point. So now we’re aligning which sales stories and things they need to understand. This is not a way to manipulate anybody. This is a way to be relevant and personalized and make sure that they have the right information. And we use stories because you don’t just tell people things because that’s not going to be effective in the sense that they understand it in a way that you want them to with a lot of clarity. Clarity is a big word around what we do. And so stories are better because they demonstrate and people get aha moments and they go oh, I see how that could save me time? Oh, I see how that could apply to my life, right? So it becomes very clear. And so that story map goes through every phase of that buyer journey and all the stories that are most relevant at each stage to be very effective in in our marketing. So that’s a big piece of like, what has a kind of like, come to life, if you will, based on the idea of this digital conversation? So yeah, I mean, that was I just wanted to share that. And I don’t think we’ve ever really talked about the story map outside of the program.

Danielle Sutton 12:33

No, we haven’t. But it’s one of my favorite tools. Because again, so we’re not it’s still there’s still a strategy with these digital conversations. It’s not like we’re throwing all the best practice out the window, but we’re shifting the lens that we look at it through, right. So with a story map where things like Adam said, are they even aware of of your business? So there’s certain places online, where it makes the most sense to share those stories about you and why your origin story? Why you started your business, what your values are, and how you got there. And those stories go really, really well in certain places online. And then in other places, you know, because of how we logically, you know how someone moves through this digital conversation later on, we need to tell different stories, so that they can, like Adam said, see themselves in your examples. So it’s relevant to them, and they’re able to understand if it’s a good fit for them, again, it’s not manipulation at all. It’s like, let’s give them the information so they can make a decision. And if you only have part of the information, you’re not going to make a decision. And that’s like as you and you shouldn’t be like you. It’s our job as the communicators of the value that we provide to give our listeners enough information to make a good decision for them. And that’s how it’s Win Win and that’s how your impact grows. And that’s how people can really benefit from what you have to offer.

Adam G. Force 13:58

Yeah, hundred percent. And it makes me think about something that I learned over the years. And it’s not something I’m making up. It’s something that our mentors have taught us and helped us mature as entrepreneurs. And so I’m going to share this little pro tip with you is funnels don’t really matter. They will optimize your financials, in some regards, I totally get it. But you can say, Oh, look at this formula, this this funnel flow, or this webinar model or framework, whatever it might be. And those things don’t actually matter. They work for certain people, and they accomplish certain things based on all the trial and error that particular entrepreneur might have had. But what really ends up mattering is, do you know exactly who you’re talking to? And what stories are you filling the funnel with? So now when we call it a digital conversation, we’re saying, we’re here to build a relationship. And yeah, we have stories to tell you so you can get to know us you can get to know why, what we stand for what our product will do for you. And now we’re having this conversation and warm them up, it doesn’t you can put them through all kinds of different funnels, you just need to have the them filled with the right messages and the right stories. And that’s why we focus on that so much in captivate, because it’s all about the storytelling that’s like the fuel for the car. I don’t care how you build the car, but

Danielle Sutton 15:19

It could have all it could be top line car, right Ferrari level components.

Adam G. Force 15:25

Exactly. I mean, you can get Russell Brunson webinar script or his funnels, and if you put crap in it, it’s just not gonna matter. It just will not work. Okay, so this is how a lot of people also get hung up, because they’re like, Oh, I put all this stuff together. And I’m gonna now run this ads and you know, $5,000 later, it’s like, oh, my God, like, I don’t have sales, what’s going on? It always comes down to how we’re communicating with people. So storytelling is what has created movements. This is what has created all social change. And if you’re not harnessing this as the CEO of your company, It’s gonna be a long road, I think. Yeah, yeah.

Danielle Sutton 16:03

Yeah, I agree. I think Adam Let’s leave everybody with a little challenge because we didn’t talk about this before. But I think now that we have shared this idea of the digital conversation, I want you to listen like pay attention to somebody new a new business or a new person that pops up into your perspective and if they interest you, like pay attention to why you want to keep learning from them or why you don’t and if you decide to take the next step with them and like kind of go meta on on somebody new in your world and just notice you know, how they do the digital conversation well or not well, I think he that some, some experiences from the receiver and can feel very, you know, flat or dull or just plain annoying, right? And some are such a gift and you think like I can’t wait to hear from this person again. So just notice that as a as a receiver of the messages.

Adam G. Force 17:02

Yeah, absolutely. I think that covers everything. I mean, the the primary takeaway really just comes down to, you know, how we think about is I had a note here. Yeah. So I mean, the primary takeaway is really just how we’re thinking about our marketing. If we step away, remember that we’re talking to human beings, that we’re building relationships. And these are conversations, just because we’re online, let’s not lose touch with the fact that these are conversations with people. We’re not just filling online widgets and hoping for sales like we’re actually talking to people. It’s just that we’re doing it in a different way. So you know, we focus a lot on how to how to use each piece of real estate, what stories to tell, I mean, there’s a lot of moving parts. But when you become a master storyteller, this stuff is fun, right?

Danielle Sutton 17:51

Really fun because it’s just as fun as getting to know someone new at the coffee shop or at the bar or meeting a friend of a friend. You know, that’s the feeling we want. Be able to have so.

Adam G. Force 18:01

Exactly exactly and listen, one of the things that I love about storytelling and these marketing principles that we’re teaching is they are not a fad they’re not come in and go in and like gonna get oversaturated or die out and they don’t work for some people but not others know, this is tried and true. It’s proven throughout all our history. It’s just a matter of really getting to know how it works for your business and putting it into practice. It will work for you and it’ll work for the remainder of your years as an entrepreneur

Danielle Sutton 18:28

Yeah, I’ll back to clarity right you get that clarity and you can rock and roll.

Adam G. Force 18:34

Coming here from Change Creator, we are all about making the world a better place. We are all about helping people. So when we talk about selling and getting rich, we mean Yeah, get rich and money get rich and fulfillment help people make the big difference in the world. All that good stuff.

Danielle Sutton 18:50

Awesome, thanks Adam

Adam G. Force 18:50

Thanks for tuning in to the Change Creator podcast visit us at Change creator.com forward slash go big to get access to free downloads and other things great resources that will drive your business forward.

Jon Macdonald: Get More Sales Through Smart Optimization of Your Existing Website Traffic

Listen to our exclusive interview with Jon Macdonald:

Subscribe to this show on Spotify  |  iTunes  |  Stitcher  |  Soundcloud

What if you could increase you monthly revenues without spending more on ads? What if you could just optimize what you already have and jump your sales up monthly? We decided to talk with Jon MacDonald, who is the founder of The Good, which specifically helps brands optimize their conversion rates to get more sales from existing website traffic.

Jon MacDonald is founder and President of The Good a conversion rate optimization firm that helps brands convert more of their existing website traffic into buyers. The Good has unlocked results for some of the largest online brands including Adobe, Nike, Xerox, The Economist, and more. Jon regularly contributes content on conversion optimization to publications like Entrepreneur and Inc. He knows how to get visitors to take action. As President, Jon has helped lead The Good to become one of Oregon’s top 20 fastest growing private companies. The team at The Good have made a practice of advising brands on how to see e-commerce sales double or more. In recent years, brands that have worked with The Good have seen an average revenue increase in revenue of over 100%. Jon volunteers for several causes throughout the Pacific Northwest and is an active committee member of industry associations and peer groups such as Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO).

Learn more about Jon and his work at > https://thegood.com & https://jonmacdonald.com

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Transcription of Interview

SPEAKERS

Adam G. Force, Jon Macdonald

Adam G. Force 00:03

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 growbig to grab awesome resources that will help drive your business forward. What’s going on everybody? Welcome back to the show your host here at force. If you missed last episode, we had a killer conversation with Gino wickman. If you don’t know Gino, he is the author of a famous book called traction. He also runs a company that has over 400 employees based on the Eos program. So we tap into all that stuff in that conversation. A lot of great insights about what it really takes to be an entrepreneur. Now Gino says not everybody’s cut out. So do you fit the mold and what does he mean by that? So really important conversation, and the guy knows his stuff. So dive into that. That was the last episode again, it was Gino wickman. Today we’re going to be talking with john McDonald. So john McDonald’s founder and president of a company called the good. And he’s all about conversion rate optimization, right? To help brands really convert more of their existing website traffic into buyers. I mean, something that we all want, right? So we want to get the most out of the dollars that we spend, we, at some point in our businesses, we have to actually put money into our marketing, right, the organic stuff is beautiful, and it should always be ongoing. But sooner or later, sales will plateau and we have to expand our reach and do paid marketing. And that means bringing more traffic to our website. And then the key is to get the most out of it. So the more people we can actually get into our sales process and have them become customers, the better the and the healthier the our business will be. So we’re going to talk a lot about converting And sales, optimization, all that kind of stuff today with john. So I think you’ll get a lot of value out of that. And just a heads up. So if you’re catching this today, today is what July 14. So starting next week, this will not be a timeless point here that I’m making. But if you are catching this at the right time, on the week of the 20th, we will be doing a live series on Facebook. And we’re calling it the mid year boost because it’s all about kind of what we’ve learned from this first half of this year and all the chaos with the pandemic and the civil rights movement and everything that’s happening. You know, we’ve all kind of have to take on different ways of thinking about our businesses and all that stuff. So we want to give people a mid year boost kind of reactivate and energize our businesses for the second half of the year. So we’re going to be doing a number of topics on that specifically, and to help out the different entrepreneurs and that’ll be going Live, I think it’s gonna be every day at noon next week. So the week of the 20th every day at noon, you can catch us on our Facebook page or group, okay? Now if you have a particular issue or challenge or something you’re facing in your business, and it’s a topic that you want us to think about covering, you can go ahead and email me directly. I’m happy to take your email Adam at Change Creator mag, comm email me, let me know what you’re thinking. And we will weave it in there. And then you’ll if you’re on our email list, we’ll we’ll put notices out and stuff about when we’re going to talk about different things. So, guys, yes, so live series next week, it’s probably something we’re gonna do more and more of, but we want it to do this mid year boost, because it’s just been chaos in twine in the first half of 2020. But a lot of entrepreneurs are having the best month of their lives. So let’s get into it so that you can start having the best month of your life on the second half of 2020. All right, guys, we’re gonna jump into this conversation with john McDonald. Don’t forget to visit us at Change creator.com forward slash go be okay. Show me the heat. No, you go. Hey, john, welcome to the Change Creator, podcast show. How’s everything going, man?

Jon Macdonald 04:11

Great. Thanks for having me today.

Adam G. Force 04:13

Yeah, you’re welcome. You know, like I’ve mentioned to you before this call, I’d love conversions and sales, and we need lots and lots of them. So I can’t wait to dig into it. So just tell us a little bit about, you know, where you are now with your business and how you got there just so we can get a sense, you know,

Jon Macdonald 04:35

of course, so the good we are, as you mentioned, a conversion rate optimization firm, so we help brands to convert more of their ecommerce visitors into buyers or customers. And we’ve been doing this we just had our 11th anniversary a couple weeks ago. So it’s been over 11 years now. And you know, we started out as a development shop ecommerce development shop. We were helping brands to Get online. And pretty quickly what we found was that was one commodity, right? So there were tons of development shops out there. And all of e commerce was moving over to software as a service like Shopify, etc. So they didn’t need that custom development, that high level development that we were able to do. And so I saw that trend coming down the line. And our mission at the good is to remove all of the bad online experiences until only the good ones remain like that. Yeah. And that’s how we got our name. And so I kind of went back to the roots and said, Okay, what are we what can we do that’s going to have the biggest effect in our mission? And how are we going to affect change online? Knowing that, quite frankly, shopping online is a pain in the butt, right? It can be can be, and it’s come a long way over the past 10 years, but you know, I went around the country and I interviewed all of our best clients and asked them why they hired us and said, You know, I’m just going to show up at your door, can you give me 1520 minutes, I’ll bring a coffee, whatever it takes. Everybody was willing to have a conversation, believe it or not, which was amazing. And they I heard kept hearing a common theme between all of them. And that’s that they didn’t hire us because we could build them the best website that hired us because we knew that one when we launched the site, it wasn’t going to be perfect. And to that, perfect perfection is not obtainable. But an continual iteration of improvement on the site, to make the consumer experience better to remove all of those bad experiences, was really the the methodology that they fell in love with and why they decided to work with us. And lo and behold, that’s basically what conversion rate optimization is today. Back then it really wasn’t a term. So that’s how we ended up where we are today.

Adam G. Force 06:59

Yeah, I love that. It’s it is it is an interesting art to really go through that iterative process. And I think, especially with a lot of people in who are probably listening right now I, we’ve been down this road ourselves, Amy and I and our team and stuff and many others that we’ve coached and things. So it’s people who like when things aren’t working, we can get into like this panic. And instead of really diagnosing the problem and making very simple updates and testing, we start changing everything and then we just get lost in this world of changes and we don’t know what’s working and then it just leads to this stress. That never really gets you to your your mark. Right, your goal. Have you seen a lot of that happen?

Jon Macdonald 07:46

Yeah, you know, in the best way to eliminate that stress because it is super common is is to use data, right? So don’t don’t guess and instead, don’t, don’t follow your competition blindly. Right, because you don’t know if something’s actually working for them and so many brands that are starting out, look at their competition. And they say, What are they doing? I need to do that too. Well, that creates a sea of sameness, right? And if you’re not going to be a little bit different than how you’re going to stand out and when, when that customer, yeah. And second, you really don’t know if it’s working for them or be if they were running a test that you got opted into, and you’re just seeing the test. And they were just trying to figure out if it’s working. Yeah,

Adam G. Force 08:30

yeah. I mean, what’s under the hood, you have no idea. Like, you see the surface of the model. And you’re like, and we see that too, like, Yeah, that’s a great point to make. Because people tend to look at their competitors and model them without really knowing like, what the magic sauce is underneath, like, based on circumstances you mentioned, or just all the workings that are happening that you don’t know about.

Jon Macdonald 08:51

Right? That’s exactly it.

Adam G. Force 08:52

dangerous, very dangerous, and it does happen a lot. We’ve been we’ve been down roads like that, you know, several years ago where we were, we thought we were being smart. And I always got to a point now, that was my first business with the second business Change Creator, I was. People will say, well, let’s do you have you done any competitor research? I said, No, I don’t care about my competitors. I’m not even paying attention to them anymore.

Jon Macdonald 09:14

And it’s interesting, but best econ businesses that we run into, say that exact same thing. They’re not concerned about their competitors, they’re concerned about providing the best experience for their consumers. Right. So, you know, if you track every click and movement on your site, and you can do this in aggregate, I’m not talking about individually identifiable information here. I’m talking about you know, looking at analytics, understanding where people are dropping off in the funnel, where they’re exiting your site, perhaps even where they’re spending a lot of time on an individual page, which is contrary to most marketers, most marketers will say you want a high time on site. I always say you want the slowest time on site possible because you want people to be able to get in accomplish the task they showed up to your site to do and then leave, because they’re not there to hang out. Right? They’re there for two reasons. One is to something or somebody told them that your product or service can help them solve a pain or need that they have. Yeah. Right. So they’re there to do that research. That’s the first thing. And then the second thing is if they determined that your product or service can help solve that pain or need, they want to convert as quickly and easily as possible. So anything you do to get in the way of that research or tech conversion, and it just makes people frustrated, and they have to spend too much time looking. So just tracking every click and movement can really help you understand what people are doing on your site, what content they’re engaging with, and there’s a lot of different types of data that are readily accessible are all within privacy regulations, and all can help you to just have a better experience online.

Adam G. Force 10:58

Yeah. I think that It makes a lot of sense. And I think a people where people get tripped up, and they’re a little bit afraid, is understanding how to not only read the data, but to even track it. Right? This is, this is not easy for a lot of people, especially when you’re in your first few years of business or you’re running solo, and you don’t have someone familiar with Google Analytics or whatever, you don’t know who to hire. If you hire them, you don’t know if they’re, you’re doing the right things. So like, you start having to figure out this foundational strategy at the beginning. And then you could really start tracking these things. And I think, you know, hiring obviously, a team like yours, who knows how to read the data to track these things is valuable. But what tips might you have for somebody to start thinking about their e commerce shop right now? And what kind of you know, analytics would be valuable for them to look at? And is it just as simple as using Google Analytics to do it?

Jon Macdonald 11:58

The short answer that Yes, it is. And here’s the thing. A lot of people do overcomplicate this and they get concerned that they they’re jumping into a tide pool that they can’t, they can’t swim in. The problem here is that Google Analytics in itself is out of the box is, you know, not that complicated. Now, you can add layers on top of it to get more rich information and have a better understanding. But don’t stress out about any of that. Now, all you really need to do is just set up two things on your site, Google Analytics, and hotjar hbot. That’s going to give you heat maps of where people cursors are on your screen and where they’re touching on mobile. It’s going to give you scroll maps how far down the page or people scrolling on desktop and mobile, and it’s going to give you session recordings. So this is going to be where they’re going to show you a user who and how they clicked or several users and how on average, they click around your page where their mouse flies around their page that kind of gives you an understanding of where they’re looking on a screen because yeah, on desktop, your cursor is generally followed by your eyes locked. So now, these pieces of data are not as overwhelming as people might make them out to be. And the best way to just get over that hump is set your expectations low, and just say, I’m not going to become a master at this right away. And that’s okay. All you really need to do is dive in and take a look at that data on a regular basis. So maybe every other day, spend 15 minutes look into the data. Right? All you need to do is just spend a few minutes a week. You know, if you’re spending more than an hour a week, I’d say you’re even probably spending more time than you should be looking at this data. Here’s what you’re looking for. You’re looking for an AB banalities. So what are the days or the things that are happening on your site that spiked or dropped and then trying to just look real quick and say okay, what did I do that day and that caused the spiker that drop. Did we send out an email and some message was really, you know, provoking and got people in? We did we make a change on the website that people really liked. You know, just all you have to do is look back on that. And it’s really about the rhythm. Right, you’ll start to see

Adam G. Force 14:17

the signing process. Like, when you say rhythm, it makes me think, like, get into a process that’s consistent and gives you the feedback loop that you need, basically.

Jon Macdonald 14:28

Yeah, that’s exactly it. And the only way to truly have that perspective that would come with a feedback loop is to be looking at it on a regular basis, so that you know what, something that is abnormal looks like, right? Otherwise, you don’t have that baseline. You don’t know the trend. And that’s really what you’re looking for here is just if you can pay attention to one thing, it’s just what’s the trend over the last week, over the last month, year over year, and then you can start doing you know, more advanced things, you know, and they’re not Given that advanced, you should use something in Google Analytics called annotations, you can google how to do that. It’s pretty quick and easy. But that’s just like, Hey, we sent a marketing email this day here is the topic. And you just start logging those things into Google Analytics with the date and time that you did them. And that really can help you just have some idea of what you did each day to your site, or your marketing activities that can really help you notice why those trends were changing.

Adam G. Force 15:28

Yeah, yeah. And, you know, I think, you know, as people are measuring these things, and this is in our program, the cat’s away method, we hone in on on making tracking important and simple part of the process because there is no growth without tracking, right, like you just, you’re just throwing darts without a dartboard, basically. And it makes a huge difference in one of the things that we have found personally with Change Creator too. I mean, right now we’re running conversions. You know, you know, lead magnets, opt ins and things like that are Around 70%, right. And I think you know that a big change occurred for us, not just on, you know, optimizing what’s on the landing page and things like that as far as like button copy and things. But it was as our story got more cohesive, and it aligned to the audience we attracted so they were the right audience, right from Facebook ads or wherever the traffic might be coming from, that holistically all work together more cohesively. So now the story was clear, the audience was attracted and related to it. And the conversion rates went way up, because it used to be closer to like, you know, 25 to 35%. And now, it’s going higher and higher and higher as we get more dialed in to that that internal narrative that the customer has.

Jon Macdonald 16:46

Well, I think you’re you make a really great point there, Adam, which is that a vast majority of folks run ads, and there’s no real connection to the landing page. You’re sending people to Yeah, in that connection, that context, the When somebody comes to a landing page, I get calls every day, we’re talking to people who want us to help just optimize landing pages, and they call up and they say, Hey, you know, we just want to touch our landing pages. And it’s like, Whoa, you know, that’s like telling me that you need new tires and only changing one tire. Right? It’s, you’re going to leave so many more problems there. Because that could really be solved. So don’t fix just a part of the problem, right? You need to fix the entire problem. And we don’t do anything at the good with driving traffic. It’s not where we play, we play on site. Once somebody reaches the site, we help make sure they convert as quickly and easily as possible. But understanding the context at which people are arriving at the site and what messaging was sent to them is a very integral part of then optimizing a landing page to resonate with that same audience and with a similar message so they know they’re in the right place. You know, obviously that message got them to click on the ad so then don’t He’ll he won’t ignore that message once they get to your site. But then a lot of people, it’s really, really common to bounce off of a landing page, but do something like just type into the browser, URL bar, the the the base URL for the site, because, you know, most landing pages get rid of navigation, things of that sort. So people look at, you know, if you’re not paying attention to the trends of data, you would just think two things really quickly, you would think somebody bounced off your landing page, and it was the ads weren’t working. Because when they come into your site, it’s going to be a organic or direct visit, because they just typed in the URL or deleted everything else out of the URL, just to get to your base site, right, your homepage. And so, you know, if you’re not paying attention in the data, you would miss that connection. And instead, you would just think, well, I’m getting a lot of direct visits. My ads aren’t working because people are bouncing off of the page, so I don’t need the ads anymore. Yeah. So it’s really easy if you’re not paying attention to data, too. To make assumptions like that, as opposed to data back decisions about what has been effective, what is actually working?

Adam G. Force 19:06

Yeah, no, it’s a great point. And you do have to look at the holistic experience, right? Not just a part of the funnel, you had to look at the entire funnel. And, you know, the steps in the tech are great, but to your point, just keeping things cohesive, having that story, really aligned just throughout the whole process is so important. And another thing that we have found valuable and I’d be curious to hear your thoughts is really thinking about where the traffic is actually coming from, because they are going to be in a different mindset, as far as the buyer journey. So if you get in front of someone on Facebook, that’s very passive, in sense of, they’re just kind of stumbling across something they weren’t actually looking for it versus, you know, a search platform like Google where they’re looking for something specifically, and you might offer it so that you already know they want that and the expectation is there versus on face. It could be a little bit different. So like we started adding certain things on the page, like, here’s what to expect with this. And we tell a little about who we are build up our credentials if they don’t know our brand, and, and we have seen stuff like that help the conversions. When we put the right information, it could be about us, it could be expectations, or whatever the offer is, and things like that. It seems to help a little bit. I’m wondering if you have any similar experiences?

Jon Macdonald 20:26

Well, again, I think it’s all about, you know, making sure you have more than one landing page. Yeah, a lot of a lot of brands that are smaller that we start working with, what they’ll do is just have one landing page and say, I don’t understand why this isn’t working. The challenges you know, you if you’re hitting on different pain points, again, remember people only clicking on that ad coming to your site because they have a pain or a need they’re trying to solve and they think that you know, you can help them do that. So you need to that needs to resonate and every audience might Have a slightly different pain, or a slightly different reason for clicking on that ad. So tailoring different landing pages to different markets and different ads you’re running can be really, really valuable. And I think it’s really important, you know, as you get into Google and people are searching around certain pain points in terms that you have a landing page that matches up with that, and is optimized for that. To address that concern.

Adam G. Force 21:26

Yeah, yeah, no, that’s such a good point. I love the idea of having multiple pages for to tailor it based on who that audience set might be. Another interesting thing that we learned was to separate your experiences between paid and organic. So we have it’s the same product, same sales funnel, but we have one for organic and one for paid and they could be tweaked accordingly. But you can also see the variations in the results and stuff to see what what’s doing better.

Jon Macdonald 21:57

Yeah, and again, it’s all about having to the right data tracking, right? I mean, this seems to always come back to that point. But it’s true like, otherwise you don’t know what’s effective. And you don’t know what’s actually being engaged with your consumers. So you really need to have that data to both, you know, the qualitative and quantitative side. And that means go and just ask people to take a look at your site and give you thoughts on it. So this is something that gets missed quite a bit. We, we do more advanced user testing, but this is again, something that a lot of people hear user testing, and they’re like, I’m gonna just run the other direction because I think it’s really complicated. You can make it very simple, especially right now while people are, you know, in their homes have more time because they’re not commuting, etc. Offer to get somebody on zoom, and just do or Google Hangouts or any of those and just say you know what, I want you I’m going to give you a 15% off coupon or gift card, for my Store whatever it is, I just want 1015 minutes of your time. And what I’m going to do is, we’re going to load up the website, you’re going to show your screen, your camera and your audio, and you’re just going to answer a couple of quick questions, you know, and speak out loud as you’re going through that process. So what do I what I mean? Well, first of all, let’s say you’re selling t shirts, just high level example here. You could tell people find the right t shirt and right size for you. Then just be quiet. And ask them to talk about what they’re thinking as they go through that. And there’s, you know, okay, well, I’m trying to find where the T shirts are on this site. Now I want to browse what category I like in these t shirts. Now I’m going to try to figure out what size is the best fit for me, and how do they go through all these decision points, right, really is eye opening. And you can learn so much just by watching somebody and observing somebody do that on your site.

Adam G. Force 23:52

Yeah, I mean, that is a classic UX, you know, way of doing things and seeing and I mean, that’s what hot jar is. helping with too. It’s it’s a little different experience. But I do love hotjar and the tools that you mentioned, because they are super powerful. And getting that kind of like, especially when it comes to e commerce, I think it is really powerful to see people and how they navigate your website. So you can see where are they getting hung up? And I guess it would be a little bit different when you see it in person versus you know, the hot jar approach. I they both serve a similar, I guess purpose, but you can definitely get some interesting different points, I guess.

Jon Macdonald 24:31

Yeah. And that’s exactly it. I mean, it’s having a full full picture of not only what people are doing, which is one hot jar will tell you, but also why they’re doing that. And that’s what you would do user testing for.

Adam G. Force 24:43

Yeah, that makes sense. And I feel like a lot of people, especially early stage entrepreneurs, will feel like oh, like I just need to get this up. And they kind of don’t take these types of things seriously. Like it’s not, they’re not there yet. Or you know what I mean? And they skip these types of steps. And then you know, a year goes by, and they realize they’re just kind of treading water. And they’re not really making progress. And they wonder why.

Jon Macdonald 25:11

And this is, you know, again, if even if you don’t have any traffic to your site, you could do user testing. Yeah. And I highly recommend you do that before you would you’d go live with any new new site, you will have a harder time until you start getting more traffic to really see trends and data. But the traffic level doesn’t need to be that high. Right? I mean, you could have, you know, a couple hundred visitors a week and you’ll start seeing trends. It’s just a matter of, you know, making sure that you’re getting that more qualitative data early in the process.

Adam G. Force 25:45

Yeah, I mean, exactly. And that that becomes a big thing for people. I think you hit the nail on the head when it comes to the traffic. It’s like, well, I don’t have that much traffic. So why would I go through all this effort to set up this tracking and everything else? I I started When people say that, because you’re gonna have to get traffic for your business one way or the other, and like you said, even if you’re getting 100 people a week, that is data that you want to be tracking, you just hope I guess the key thing too. And maybe this is a big point that when you work with your clients, it’s like, well, let’s say they’re getting 1000 people a week. But I guess my first gut check is well, are they the right people? Right, like, because if we have people that are totally irrelevant, you know, like, sometimes people will want to cut corners and be like, Oh, I’m gonna do Facebook ads, and I can get tons of traffic, and they’re just doing these countries that really have cheap ads and traffic, but they’re not necessarily their target audience. So is that even relevant data now? And it kind of like voids the whole thing?

Jon Macdonald 26:44

Right? Yeah. And you think that it’s really, really important to, you know, focus on converting your core audience before you would expand out?

Adam G. Force 26:55

Yes, yes. Yeah. 100% Yeah. You know, as as early entrepreneurs, a lot of times people have a very deep fear of, we call it a niche FOMO of actually going Nish, like looking for that perfect customer because it’s they always have a rationalization. Well, you know, I can I can help these people in these people and I want to make sure you know, it’s like, No, dude, you’re just hurt in your marketing. When you do that. I see it all the time.

Jon Macdonald 27:23

Yeah, no reason to waste your valuable money early on in the process. Really just focus on who your target is. and get those folks to convert. Once you do that you can expand out and start driving traffic. But the, you know, this is the problem with with paid traffic in general is eventually that paid traffic. In order to get more and more and more of it, you do have to expand the breath a little bit and you get less qualified traffic, you start going after keywords that are less and less relevant, right? But early on, you can really tailor that to just the folks that are Going to be most relevant for you. And that’s where you’re going to do a lot of learning. So if you don’t pay attention to the data early, you’re losing a ton of valuable information that is going to get more watered down, the bigger you get. So not having that tracking in place. As soon as you launch is a huge mistake, you really need to set that up immediately. And even if you don’t touch it, and you just have the data flowing in, you know, fine, you know, you got to set your priorities, I get that. But if you don’t set that up immediately, then you’re not going to have that historical data over the long term to even go back and study. So it’s really important.

Adam G. Force 28:38

Yeah, makes sense. Awesome, man. Well, I think this is all really valuable. And I guess the last thing I just want to cover and then we’ll jump I when it comes to e commerce, is there anything else that stands out to you for early phase entrepreneurs, that you see regularly with with clients and things like that, that they might want to be aware of when it comes to conversion? Specifically in the e commerce world, right, not just in general, but in e commerce?

Jon Macdonald 29:05

Well, I think that the first thing you should do, as I mentioned, is make sure you have the right data tracking, and you’re actually talking to consumers when brands don’t have that. It’s a huge issue later on. But beyond that, I think that the biggest concern I see is that a lot of these small brands are looking for quick wins, and they end up falling for gimmicks. And what I mean by that is they’ll put the latest Shopify app on their site that they feel like is supposed to somehow magically increase conversions. And the reality is they just don’t. There’s no quick win when it comes to conversions. I know that probably crushes a lot of people when they hear that. Here’s the reality though, it’s it is relatively simple to get conversion rates up if you start making data back decisions, but that means you have to have the right tracking and pay attention to it. And if you’re willing to make that commitment for even an hour a week, you will See your conversions go up and your return on adspend go up and all the other metrics that make you make an entrepreneur and e commerce smile, they will help be there. So I highly recommend that you really start giving that some thought immediately.

Adam G. Force 30:17

Love it. Thank you so much, john. Appreciate it. Let’s give a shout out where people can learn more about your business. Maybe they need your support. How do they How do they get in touch and learn more?

Jon Macdonald 30:28

Yes, so the good is just at th e, g, o d calm, so the good calm. And, you know, we’ve got a variety of optimization services that we can deploy for brands large and small. You know, we’ve been doing this 11 years. So we work with brands like Xerox, Nike, Adobe, the economist, but we also work with with hundreds of smaller brands as well. So I highly recommend checking out our conversion growth assessment. This is where we can help tear down your site and provide some really actionable feedback and it’s, it’s at a price point that is great for every brand large and small. Awesome.

Adam G. Force 31:09

All right man, thank you so much for all your insights and taking the time to share with us today.

Jon Macdonald 31:13

Of course, thanks for having me.

Adam G. Force 31:15

Thanks for tuning into the Change Creator podcast visit us at Change creator.com forward slash go big to get access to free downloads and other great resources that will drive your business forward.

Gino Wickman: Do You Really Have What it Takes to be an Entrepreneur

Listen to our exclusive interview with Gino Wickman:

Subscribe to this show on Spotify  |  iTunes  |  Stitcher  |  Soundcloud

How do we know if we really have what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur? Can anyone do it? In this interview, we talk with entrepreneur and author of the legendary book Traction, Gino Wickman, to find out who should take the leap!

An entrepreneur since the age of 21, Gino has had an obsession for learning what makes businesses and entrepreneurs thrive. At 25 he took over the family business, which was deeply in debt and in need of help. After turning the company around and running it for seven years, he and his partners successfully sold the company. Gino then set out to help entrepreneurs and leaders get what they want from their businesses. Based on his years of real-world experience, he created the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), a practical method for helping companies achieve greatness. He has personally delivered more than 1,900 full-day sessions for more than 135 companies, helping them implement EOS. He is also the author of the award-winning, best-selling book Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business, as well as Get a Grip, Rocket Fuel, How to Be a Great Boss and What the Heck is EOS?. Gino is the founder of EOS Worldwide, an organization that helps thousands of businesses implement EOS with the aid of an international team of over 350 professional and certified EOS Implementers and online support. There are almost 100,000 companies using the EOS tools Worldwide. Gino is now devoting time and energy toward helping entrepreneurs-in-the-making get a huge jump-start on taking their entrepreneurial leap, which is why he created Entrepreneurial Leap.

Learn more about Gino and his work at >  https://www.e-leap.com/

We also recommend:

Transcription of Interview

(Transcribed by Otter.ai, there may be errors)

Adam G. Force 00:03

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 growbig to grab awesome resources that will help drive your business forward. What’s up what’s up everybody? This is Adam here. Welcome back to the show. If you missed the last episode, we had the one and only Bob Berry. He is a user experience master working with some of the most established companies around the world. User Experience is so important this is how people interact with your business and your products and how to actually get the most out of it. This translates to sales. This is a call that you don’t want to miss. I would jump in there and check that out. Again, that is with Bob Berry. It’s called mastering user experience to grow your biz. Today we have a legend on our hands. So Bob, not Bob Berry, who I just spoke about No, we’re talking about Gino wickman. So he started as an entrepreneur at the age of 21. And I learned about Gino because I read his book, which is a best selling book that most every entrepreneur I think should should read and it’s called traction Get a grip on your business is all about getting traction. So, you know, as early stage entrepreneurs, or anybody honestly, there’s just great perspective and ideas about getting that traction that we’re all looking for. Now Gino, he created what we call EOS, the entrepreneurial operating system. And this is a solution that helps companies achieve greatness, right. So he’s actually delivered the strategies methodology to over 1900 through over 1900 full day sessions right to over 135 companies and now he is the founder of EOS worldwide, which is an organization that’s helping thousands of businesses implement the same strategies. And it has a team of over 350 professionals who are certified in that methodology. And there’s almost, I guess, 100,000 companies using the tools, the EOS tools around the world. So he’s devoted all his time and energy towards helping entrepreneurs make a big difference in jumpstart their businesses. And he created this book called entrepreneurial leap. This is his next big thing. And we’re going to talk about what that’s all about today and why it’s important and really pick his brain on some of the strategies based on all these years of experience and working with all these companies and implementing all these, this methodology that he has called Eos. Alright guys, let’s dive into this conversation with Gino.

Gino Wickman 02:44

Okay, show me the heat.

Adam G. Force 02:48

Hey Gino, welcome to the Change Creator podcast show. How’s everything going, man?

Gino Wickman 02:53

It is going great. Happy to be with you Adam.

Adam G. Force 02:56

Yeah, appreciate appreciate you taking the time. I know you’re busy guy and You know, I did. I’m one of the avid readers of that book traction that you have. And I’m excited about your new book, the entrepreneurial leap, I think this could be really a good one for our listeners to dig into. So thanks for being here to talk about it and kind of sharing some of those insights and stuff like that. If you could just share maybe a little bit of background like, just let people give that give you that bird’s eye view of your background for those that don’t know, traction and EOS like really, in a nutshell, and then how you got to transition into this new book.

Gino Wickman 03:32

Yeah, happy to so the quick entrepreneurial journey is that I’ve been an entrepreneur since 2001, took over a family business at 25, did a big turn around, grew it, sold it and then set off to pursue what I really discovered is my calling and that’s helping entrepreneurs and so I created a system called Eos. I’ve written five books around it traction being the kind of epicenter of all the books that explains Eos. Those books have sold over a million copies. We have over 100,000 companies running on that system using that system. And I built an organization with my partner Don tinny called EOS worldwide that now has 375 EOS implementers. All over the world, helping companies with that system sold that business two years ago, still on 12 and a half percent still the EOS guy still on the books, still doing talks, still have clients, all that good stuff. But taking us to where we are in for this podcast. It was about 12 years ago when I was 40 years old. And I said when I turned 50, I’m going to shift my energy. And I’m going to go to the front end of the entrepreneurial journey, and I’m going to help entrepreneurs in the making, get a huge jump on taking their entrepreneurial leap. And so after almost three decades of helping entrepreneurs, you know, I feel like I’ve dialed in the genetic code in and what this book is all about entrepreneurial leap is doing exactly that what I’m actually doing is teaching and helping my 18 year old self and so there’s an old saying That says we teach what we needed the most. And I’m basically teaching my 18 year old self. Because if I knew what I put in this book and what I’m teaching the world now, when I was 18, I would have literally had an 11 year jumpstart, because it was around age 29, that I really realized that I was an entrepreneur, and then capitalized on that. So that’s the fastest version of the story.

Adam G. Force 05:23

I love it. Thank you. And I’m curious, just that last part, what what made you realize that you were an entrepreneur when you’re 29, what happened?

Gino Wickman 05:33

It was an intersection of a whole bunch of data points. And so I had done the family turnaround. I was getting a little bored with that, because that was running and growing it. I was in a program called the Strategic Coach with Dan Sullivan. I was in an organization called ye oh now known as EO the entrepreneurs organization. And, and it was all of those intersecting points being surrounded by entrepreneurs, and I really realize, you know that there was a light bulb moment that just, you know, helped me see that I am a wild and crazy entrepreneur. And, and then I also really realized my calling, which is this gift that I have for helping entrepreneurs. And so I took an entrepreneurial leap, we sold the business, I then took an entrepreneurial leap and built a business around what I really realized that I was here to do. Hmm.

Adam G. Force 06:25

It’s interesting, cuz I noticed in you know, the early part of your new book, he talks about how you either are or you are not born with it and saying entrepreneurship is nature, not nurture. And I kind of want to just talk about that a little bit, because I’ve had, I’ve had mixed perspectives around that meaning Some people say everyone’s an entrepreneur, and you’re saying something a little different. So I would love to hear your perspective on that.

Gino Wickman 06:52

Yeah, for sure. And it’s a great debate. So I really urge you to, you know, voice your strong opinions, because we may not agree and I think that’s the best thing we can do for your audience is for them to hear the contrast, of course, and I’m really excited about your audience because you know, you and I were talking to, you know, entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs in the makings, and so they’ll totally get this. And they’ll form their own opinion. But you know, very directly very strongly. I believe a true entrepreneur has six essential traits. And we can talk about those if you want to get into that next but but I believe they have six essential traits. And this is 30 years of history working with thousands of entrepreneurs. And not only that, I believe you are born with them. I don’t believe these traits can be taught you can’t teach a trait you can teach skills, but I believe you’re born with them. And so it’s truly nature over nurture. And so assuming all that is true, I want to I’d love to hear your response to that. But I want to create a context for your audience because this will really help them see in their mind, exactly what we’re talking about. Because if you picture an arc, I teach something called the entre General range. And what the entrepreneurial ranges is, this is where all self employed people reside. This is where all people that own their own business reside in. So if you picture the far right side of the range, picture the words true entrepreneur, and if you picture the far left side of the range picture, self employed people. And so on the right side, true entrepreneurs, the far right side are the greatest entrepreneurs of all time, Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Sara Blakely, on the far left side, are all of the one person shows people with a side hustle consultants, things like that. And so with every self employed person, everyone with a business falls somewhere on that spectrum on that range. And when I say true entrepreneur, the people with these six essential traits, I’m talking about the people on the right half of the rain, the people that go out and build organizations with people and so you know, everyone Listening is somewhere on that range if they’re all self employed entrepreneurs. And then the last little point is that I really feel like I’m doing a service to the world because right now everyone wants to be an entrepreneur. Just like in the 70s. Everyone wanted to be a rock star. And with all due love and respect, not everyone was cut out to be a rock star. And not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. And listen, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be true entrepreneurs are borderline crazy in some really freakin hard and get your ass kicked on a daily basis. And it’s not, you know, all it’s cracked up to be. So there’s my jumping off point for you.

Adam G. Force 09:39

Yeah, I love it. I mean, no, I totally get where you’re coming from. And maybe for some people, it would start with defining exactly what we mean by entrepreneur, right? Because I think some people might have different definitions of that as well. And you know, you’re talking about some of the greats and the largest organizations in the world and then the self employed person Who is, you know, making a living on their own, but they’re not building large teams at scale. So I like the idea of this range. And I think you know, for me, I guess in my perspective, you know, I had a conversation with Muhammad Yunus. I don’t know if you know who he is, he’s like, I see that. Okay, so he’s a Nobel Peace Prize winner in the space of social entrepreneurship. And he started Grameen Bank and all this stuff. And I had a conversation with him and he believed that you know, everybody’s an entrepreneur. And I think it comes down to these definitions and how we’re looking at it. And when you talk about some of these essential traits, you know, being a risk taker a problem solver. I start to wonder well, what how did somebody grow up? What did they learn and it does this become a a effect of human behavior and conditioning? To make them the kind of person they are right so they’re not skills but they are? subject subconscious behaviors, right. So can those things be changed? If somebody actually wants to change it, right?

Gino Wickman 11:03

Yeah, love it. And so like, I’ll give you another couple thoughts and then indirectly answer your question because, you know, I know a lot of your audience out there, you know, they consider themselves entrepreneurs, but they’re one person shows and the first point I want to make is that is absolutely admirable, respectable, you’re still taking a risk. And I just consider you to be a business owner, I consider you to be self employed in that case. And so to hold that thought for a minute, I always use a just a really kind of raw example. And that is, you know, somebody with handy skills can become a handyman or a handy woman charge 60 bucks an hour, make 100 grand a year and go do what they love. And if they’re good at it, and they do a good job, they’ll get referred and they will be busy for the next 25 years of their life making 100 grand a year and that is so admirable, and then you and I could give 1000 examples Have a business one person could go into and do and obviously, your audience has a lot of that. The point I’m making is, I just don’t consider that to be a true entrepreneur. And you’re right. It’s definitional. This is just my definition. So yeah, don’t get don’t get pissed off at me. I’m talking to your audience. But, but that’s just my definition. The point I’m making now is someone with these six essential traits, they can’t help themselves. But to turn that into a business. It turned that into an organization, grow it and start bringing on people and so that handyman that has the six essential traits is going to spend a year doing that work and then realize, holy cow, if I hire someone else, you know, I can elevate myself and someone else and someone else and all the sudden they’ve got a construction company, the person that cuts a lawn cuts 20 lawns, 30 lawns realizes, wow, I hire somebody to cut those 30 lawns and go cut 30 more. They can’t help themselves but to build an organization This is a cautionary tale because so many people I’ve talked to, you have people in your audience right now, they just need to remain a one person show and make their hundred 200 300 400 grand a year and that is admirable. And there’s actually there’s a piece that will come over them once they realize they probably don’t have all of these traits. But for the ones that do, the idea is now that you know this after reading the first part of the book, which I call confirm, now you clearly know what you are. And I’m going to show you a path in a way that’s going to make your journey much more seamless. you’ll avoid half the mistakes you’re about to make, I can help you get there faster. And I I’m just trying to save the person that goes out and tries to build an organization and they go through 10 years of hell and fail because they really didn’t have what it takes to become a true entrepreneur and be on the far right side of that entrepreneurial range. We talked about God

Adam G. Force 13:56

Yeah, I see where you’re going with it. And it is in that that that realm of growing an organization having, you know, 100 people on your team, I guess, and you’re far more. Right.

Gino Wickman 14:09

Exactly. And then to that same point, having 100 employees is not all it’s cracked up to be, you know, yes, worldwide is over 400 people in that organization. And it is daunting, it’s complex. It requires, you know, a whole different set of skills. And then it prompts another thought, and that is just using me as an example, when I sold the family business, took my entrepreneurial leap. I was actually that one person show for the first five years I was out there as a coach working with entrepreneurs, but again, I couldn’t help myself, but to turn it into an organization again, that now has over 400 people in it. I just couldn’t stop myself and it was a pretty damn good, peaceful life, those five years in the work I was doing, but I was just compelled to keep growing and growing and driving and driving. So anyway,

Adam G. Force 15:00

Yeah, no, I mean, I think that all makes sense. And it sounds like you know, for a lot of people, you have to really be honest with yourself and what you want, right? So, you know, some do you want to have 400 employees and all the complexities and everything that comes with it, right? Because there comes a different responsibility and different pressures and stresses and things like that. And if you have a team of one to five people, but you’re making a million dollars a year, that’s a very different dynamic as well. So I guess it comes down to what somebody really wants out of their life.

Gino Wickman 15:32

Yeah. And that you know, and so you just perfectly teed up part two of the book because once you finish with part one, there’s an assessment you take, you ultimately get a score. That assessment is available on the website, free and downloadable E dash leap calm but once you confirm that you have the six essential traits, and you’re a true entrepreneur. The next part of the book is called glimpse and then I spent the next third of the book showing that potential entrepreneur a glimpse of what as possible in the world for an entrepreneur and more importantly, what all the options are. And so to your exact point, I created this tool called my biz match. And what I’m teaching in this part and leading to this tool is to help that entrepreneur out there listening to understand all of your options, because there are so many more options to being an entrepreneur than just a billion dollar tech, unicorn entrepreneur. I mean that that’s one in a million, and it’s not for everyone. And so what I teach and talk about are all of the industries available out there. And then I talk about the types of companies because there’s three factors when it comes to type of company. It’s Are you a product service or a business service? Are you a product business or a service business? Are you b2b or b2c? And are you high price, low volume, low price, high volume, when you start to weigh all of those factors, I believe every entrepreneur is drawn to something and then the third thing you get into is size. Just like what you’re talking about there, because, again, 10,000 employees is not for every entrepreneur, there is no shame in having a $3 million heating and cooling company throwing off a 20% profit with 40 people. In other words there that is respectable, admirable. And so there’s no shame in that. And so with my biz match, you literally just click on a bunch of buttons, answer some questions, and out pops the perfect business for you. And so we’re all built. They’re our product people in this world. They’re our service people in this world, and they rarely meet. And so it’s just trying to learn and understand what you’re drawn to. That’s going to greatly increase your odds of success and keep you doing something you’re totally passionate about.

Adam G. Force 17:42

I love that. Now that sounds pretty cool. And and I think it’s such an important part of the process that a lot of people skip is, you know, simply becoming clear about what you want and what’s going to make sense for you. Because, you know, the way we’ve always looked at it too is if you write down your in your notes or you take a process like yours, Going through here and you see, well, here’s what I want. You may not know what that looks like, or the person that you actually need to become to get there, right? So I always looked at it as a way to start getting clear on something. And if you have a book like this, and you’ve been down this road, then like, it’s really hard for an entrepreneur to say, Well, I do have that drive and vision and I want to have, you know, 400 employees also, but they don’t know what that business looks like. And it’s really hard to create something when you don’t know what it looks like.

Gino Wickman 18:32

Yeah, and it’s exactly what I do and why I wrote this second part of the book is to create that glimpse, because in my mind, you know, I picture this word entrepreneurship, and that potential entrepreneur listening as this big block of marble and and in there is the sculpture in there is that person so I always I describe it as helping them to see the light and then see their light and so the light is understated. This whole context of being an entrepreneur, their light is then seeing where they fit in that entrepreneurial world. And so I’m quite proud of how powerful it is. Because by the end of glimpse, you had this vivid picture of what the perfect business is for you what the life looks like both Heaven and Hell, how to avoid the eight mistakes that every entrepreneur makes when they take their leap. And I also give countless stories of entrepreneurs who were right where you are, and and what they did to grow to what they grew to. And then from there, we go to the third part of the book, which is path and then I show a clear path for how to greatly increase your odds and eliminate half the mistakes you still will make the other half it’s part of the journey and they’re unavoidable. Hmm,

Adam G. Force 19:49

interesting. So let’s touch a little bit on the three parts in a little more detail. So we did kind of cover off on the range concept and things like that. Let’s just quickly If you don’t mind touch on the some of the essential traits and and why they’re important.

Gino Wickman 20:05

Yeah, you bet. And so at a very high level, I’ll give you all six. It’s visionary, passionate, problem solver, driven, risk taker, and responsible. And so those are the six, you know, in terms of why they’re important. They’re kind of self explanatory, but I can do a really quick, you know, one or two minute riff that paints a vivid color of all six if you’d like me to, but at a high level, those are the six and they’re all vital. And so I get asked, Well, what if you don’t have one or two? Well, here’s the answer. If you don’t have one or two, you’re probably not a true entrepreneur. And it’s a great awareness, but they’re all vital. Mm hmm.

Adam G. Force 20:47

Interesting. And I like the responsible one because you see a lot of leaders today that blame everyone but themselves so to see a leader who can blame no one and you know, really Look in the mirror and and be that kind of a leader I think is really important in the kind of leadership it takes to build these big companies, right?

Gino Wickman 21:08

Yeah, here, here. And I’ll do a little 32nd riff on that one, because that’s one of my favorites. So people are always shocked when they’re hearing this list, and I get through the first five. And those all make sense. And all of a sudden they hear response, I’m gonna go, Whoa, how is that on the list? It is so vital. And, and so here’s how I know that you’re born with it. Here’s how I know that it’s nature over nurture. And that is, you can put the entire world in one of two categories. There are people that take responsibility when something bad happens. And there are people that blame everyone else. When something happens, they take no responsibility. And the reality of it is you will have a household with four kids, four siblings in the same household and as you’re listening out there, you’re putting all the people in your life and these two categories because it’s so obvious, but if you think about a family with four siblings, you literally will put those siblings in one of two play one of those two buckets? Because how on earth is it possible that those four kids because you out there listening Think of your brothers and your sisters, it’s very obvious how could they grew up in the same household by the same parents same raising same teaching same everything. And yet, half of them end up taking responsibility half don’t you’re born with it its nature over nurture. And responsible means this it means that you blame no one. It means that when something goes wrong, you default to looking in the mirror. You don’t look at who to point to. You take total responsibility for the outcome. You don’t believe in entitlement. And I had a friend that said it so well in a sentence that he said somebody who’s truly responsible when they’re building gets hit by a meteor, they believe it’s their fault. In other words, you chose the building, you built the building you chose to be there and so that’s the essence of responsible and I would also say you know, both are a psychology disorder, there are people that take too much responsibility. People don’t take enough. Both are psychological disorders. I’m not saying it’s healthy for those of us that take responsibility for everything because we carry such a burden. All I’m saying is, it is a trait of a true entrepreneur. And if you don’t have it, you’re just not going to be a successful entrepreneur.

Adam G. Force 23:20

Yeah, I love that. That’s, that’s one of my favorites on the list there too. And I think let’s just jump over to a glimpse, he talked about some of the critical mistakes. I think people listening would like to hear, you know, what are some of these critical mistakes that you’ve come across? Working with a lot of different clients and all the different experiences that you’ve had that really stand out here that might be interesting to talk about?

Gino Wickman 23:42

Yeah, I would love to. And so contextually the point here as I go into these eight is, I paint a vivid picture for that potential entrepreneur of what a day in the life of an entrepreneur looks like. And so you shoot out 10 years from now and picture one of these two scenarios. And so I paint both the dream And the nightmare. And the point and that is I’m showing them how to live the dream. I’m also showing them how they create their own nightmare. And there are eight mistakes that almost every entrepreneur makes when they take their entrepreneurial leap that put them in the nightmare. And so I’m going to go through each of them very quickly. And I would love it you know, you know your audience better than I do. If you’ll just kind of pick the top two to you that you think they would like we can drill down on that, but here are the eight very quickly, number one, not having a vision. Number two, hiring the wrong people. Number three, not spending time with your people. Number four, not knowing who your customer is. Number five, not charging enough. Number six, not staying true to your core. Number seven, not knowing your numbers. And number eight not crystallizing roles and responsibilities.

Adam G. Force 24:50

Yeah, it’s great list. There’s two that I can pull out for our listeners. And I think the two would be actually there’s three but I’m going to call So let’s do not knowing who your customer is, and not knowing your numbers, I think those are two major mistakes that whether they realize it or not, those are the mistakes that are happening.

Gino Wickman 25:10

You’re here. And so the classic mistake here is and for what this is worth, you know, in everything that I write, there’s not one ounce of theory, this comes from the real world. This comes from my three decades. And so this is based on the hundreds, if not thousands, of clients that have come to me and us. And these are the issues they’re facing with us, when they’re at 10 to 250 employees, and these are the mistakes they made. And we’re basically fixing all of those mistakes. And so not knowing who your customer is. The issue there is, is you’re taking this buckshot approach to the world, you know, you’re selling your wares, you’re selling your service, you’re selling your product, and you’re just kind of selling it to everyone. And it’s diluted and it’s murky. And so the idea the way that you saw that is you take a big step back and you get clear on the demographic geographic psychographic of your ideal customer. Who are they? Where are they? What are their? What are they? And to the degree you can get abundantly clear, that’s going to really focus your marketing energy, resources, dollars to greatly increase your sales because now you know who your ideal customer is. You’re speaking their language, you’re using their colors, you’re using their verbiage, and you’re attracting more customers. And so typically when that entrepreneur takes that leap, again, they’re just casting this wide net and and selling very little.

Adam G. Force 26:30

Yeah, yeah, love to hear it and keep reinforcing that for everybody.

Gino Wickman 26:34

Yeah, and then going to not knowing your numbers, that the downside of having the six essential traits almost always is true entrepreneurs, wild and crazy visionary entrepreneurs typically are not good with the numbers. I can still barely read a p&l, quite frankly. But they’re just not great with numbers. And so with that, they’re unfortunately flying blind. They’re always going with their gut. It’s chaotic, and they Not maximizing the profits, they’re not maximizing the growth. And so three simple solutions here, implement a weekly system where you’re looking at the five to 15 most important weekly activity based numbers. Number two, implement a monthly p&l look at a monthly p&l and number three, manage a monthly budget. Even if you don’t know what the heck those three things are, and you just do them by default, you will be forced to learn it in the next two months, you’ll become an expert. So implement those weekly numbers. Look at a monthly p&l manage a monthly budget, and you’ll be an expert within two months, if not a year.

Adam G. Force 27:39

Yeah, it’s so important and it’s a hard lesson that we’ve learned because I’m not somebody that I mean, I like the numbers but I’m not one that’s pulling it together and organized around it. I get like I just want to keep doing other things in the business and growing and stuff. And, you know, I’ve learned the hard way that what you don’t measure doesn’t grow. So keeping an eye on Those things and the most important things is going to be key to growth. Otherwise, you’re just kind of like, you know, floundering a bit

Gino Wickman 28:07

here here and I, you know, one last little point on so I call it a scorecard five to 15 numbers. I learned it from my business mentor when I was 25 years old. He taught me the concept of scorecard. I ran my first business on 14 weekly numbers, ran my second business on 14 weekly numbers. And what it does for you is it literally helps you predict the future because you what you do is you’re looking at those weekly numbers, you want to look at 13 weeks at a glance. So you’re able to see patterns and trends and you can literally predict outcomes three months from now, if you’ll work from a weekly scorecard. So I urge each and every one of your listeners listeners that implement that this week.

Adam G. Force 28:43

Yeah, absolutely. Really good advice. I love that. And why don’t we wrap up on one last part here in the path because I think this is important for people. I mean, everybody in our audience is acting based on their passion, they want to do something meaningful. So what I want to touch on here as you talk about the importance of having a mentor, you know, we have our program, the captivate method where we put storytelling at the heart of their marketing. It’s very authentic, we get consistent sales. And so this is like a group coaching experience. And, you know, a lot of times I feel like people will say, you know, I’m not ready for this or that, and they have this fear that holds them back, right, or perfectionism and things like that. So I would love to hear your thoughts on why it’s so important to have a mentor.

Gino Wickman 29:25

Yeah, that’s a great question. And I’ll share a couple things there. First is I’m going to talk through the pure mentor relationship and the process for finding one and then I’ll go to the second point, but the idea here is for you to find someone out there who is where you want to be. And, and rule of thumb, you’re going to need five to 10 names because you’re going to hear a lot of nose but you reach out to those people and meet with them for an hour. Ask them what you’re looking for. They share their stories and their insights. You share your story and at the end of that if it feels right, you decide to move forward. You agree on a structure. And so I met with my business mentor every month, hour and a half for literally five years. And he taught me so much. And so that’s the mentoring relationship and about 60% of all of the entrepreneurs that I’ve worked with my research, the ones I’ve talked to have had a mentor. And so the point here is if you don’t have a mentor, it’s not a death sentence, you’re going to be fine. But having a mentor is like a speed pass, you really can jump ahead with a mentor. Yeah. Second point, however, is the world is different now. You know, when I was 25, almost 30 years ago and was I was with my business mentor mentoring the last 2030 4050 years was a one on one relationship. And and it there was no money exchanging hands while the world has changed today, with coaching and masterminds and these organizations, there’s a lot of paid mentoring going on, you know, frankly, I’m a paid mentor for my clients. Yeah. And so, so it’s a little different. Now. The reality of it is you can still very much Find a free mentor and I would urge you to do that but but through the incredible amount of education and wisdom and how easy it is to access and in the the kinds of things that you offer entrepreneurs, you know, I’ve had my paid mentor has been Dan Sullivan for 23 years, I’ve been flying to Chicago every 90 days, I pay a lot of money to be around that man because I learned so much. So I’ve had free mentors, paid mentors, you just ultimately have to find someone who’s where you want to be and attach yourself to them some way shape or form. Love it.

Adam G. Force 31:36

Alright, Gina, I really appreciate your time today. We’re gonna close out here. Let’s make sure people know where do they reach you to learn more, find the book, maybe your website, wherever you want to point them here.

Gino Wickman 31:47

You bet. So the epicenter for all things entrepreneurial leap and everything we’ve been talking about is eat, sleep calm. The book is available entrepreneurial leap is the book. It’s available through all major Retailers but you can get to it through the website again E dash leap calm and then you’re also going to find a ton of free resources. There are nine free tools all intended to help you confirm that you’re an entrepreneur in the making and take a much better successful leap. Love it.

Adam G. Force 32:17

Thank you so much for your time today Gino,

Gino Wickman 32:20

my pleasure Adam had a blast.

Adam G. Force 32:22

Thanks for tuning into the Change Creator podcast visit us at Change Creator comm forward slash go big to get access to free downloads and other great resources that will drive your business forward.

Tom Kulzer: Email Marketing Trends and Strategies Learned From 20 Years of Experience

Listen to our exclusive interview with Tom Kulzer:

Subscribe to this show on Spotify  |  iTunes  |  Stitcher  |  Soundcloud

What can you do to increase trust and engagement with your email strategies? Tom Kulzer is the founder of Aweber which started 20 years ago and he has some key insights for entrepreneurs.

We also recommend:

Transcription of Interview

(Transcribed by Otter.ai, there may be errors)

Adam G. Force 00:11

Hey, what’s going on everybody? Welcome back to the Change Creator podcast show Adam foreseer. Your host. If you missed our last show, it was with Angela Henderson. Angela is super cool and she is out in Australia. She’s done some great work. So we talked about building an e commerce business and adapt identifying new opportunities. Angela is somebody that we actually met in one of our coaching programs that we’re both in she travels around the world spending, you know, 4050 grand a year doing masterminds and programs and we linked up in one of them. And so she was kind enough to be on our show and share some of her wisdom that she has from all her expertise and success in the e commerce space. So don’t miss that one. So this week, we are going to be talking to somebody who’s been In the digital marketing space for quite some time, and his name is Tom Colter, he’s actually the founder of a Weber. So if you’re a betting entrepreneur for a little while, you probably heard the name a Weber before, they are a staple in the email marketing world. So, Tom’s gonna have a lot to talk about when it comes to different strategies, insights, lessons and learnings in email marketing, and just digital marketing, you know, in general, so this will be a really great conversation, because I know we’re all looking to get more engagement, more attraction, which ultimately leads to a better functioning business, right. So that’s why we’re talking to Tom. And we’re going to see, you know, all these 20 years, what are some of the trends and things that he is seeing? Don’t forget to stop by Change creator.com we always have lots of fresh content going up there that you guys can check out and you can get in on the magazine Change Creator magazine right now for 99 cents, okay, so it’s $10 for the year, 99 cents a month, and you get access to our entire library of content. So Guys, we updated the app, make sure you go to the app store and you get the latest version. So download the update, and you’re gonna see some really cool stuff. So one, you’re gonna have all 28 magazines we’ve done so far in the app. And then on another tab, there’s articles, these articles run through an RSS feed. So you get quick, easy access. So every week articles are coming in from the Change creator.com website. So you don’t have to go to the website, just pop the app. And you can go check out conferences, you can check out magazines, you can flip to the tab, read the latest articles, all that good stuff is now in the app. And it’s just 99 cents a month, or $10 for the entire year for full access. I was actually reminded today about a memory from a few years ago, several years ago, when Amy, the co founder, Change Creator and I were in San Francisco, and we were there for a conference but all of a sudden we were running around the city trying to get some things done. And we heard that Muhammad Yunus was in town promoting a new book that he had coming out And he was at the Commonwealth center. So we were gonna go there and say, Hey, we got to go meet Muhammad Yunus. You know, he’s like the godfather of social business. And so we find out tickets are $200 a pop. And we’re like, I don’t know about that, but didn’t matter because they were sold out. He sold out the entire place. And we couldn’t get in which was a huge disappointment. And you know, Funny enough, guess what happened? Well, we decided to get clever. We figured out what what’s the story, we’re gonna tell the story of Change Creator, we’re gonna get in touch with these guys and share all their info. And we got in as media for free. And not only do we get in there, we made connections with his team. We ended up having a killer interview. If you haven’t heard yet, definitely go back to listen to the Muhammad Yunus interview we did. And he was also featured on the cover of Change Creator magazine, such a great addition and it was such an honor to have that conversation at 7am in the morning with Dr. Yunus. Okay, guys, I won’t hold you up any longer. Don’t forget to leave us a review. We very much appreciate it. We’re gonna die. into this conversation with the founder of AWeber. Tom calls okay show me that he Hey, Tom, what’s up, man? How you doing today? Welcome to the Change Creator podcast Show.

Tom Kulzer 04:12

I’m doing excellent. Thanks for having me on today. I got

Adam G. Force 04:15

it, man. So, you know AWeber has been kind of like a staple in the email marketing world for for quite some time. You guys been around for what? 20 years now or something?

Tom Kulzer 04:26

Yeah, 21

Adam G. Force 04:30

was crazy. I mean, I honestly remember 10 years ago learning about AWeber from some of these some of these online marketers when this stuff was all really picking up and they’re calling Yeah, AWeber is the best guy to get on AWeber and as a guy and that’s how I learned about you guys just from other entrepreneurs. Actually, they were probably doing affiliate marketing for you. So yeah, really, really great brand. I appreciate you jumping on here. And I’m curious actually what you were doing before AWeber like what what led you to the email marketing world

Tom Kulzer 05:00

It was kind of a bit of a twisty road to some extent I was actually in school at the time, studying mechanical engineering, managed to then switch to finance, you know, totally related fields. And just kind of on the side, I was selling wireless modems. So this is back in the dial up days, you know, where that was still a predominant method of connecting. So we didn’t all have iPhones and, you know, high speed internet connections in our pocket everywhere. So I was selling these wireless modems and in the process developed a sequence of emails to automate the people that had inquired about the product at the time. And I just wrote a little script that would send these emails out over the course of several weeks. And it worked really well as far as actually like educating people on and ultimately closing sales on those. And that ultimately turned into the initial versions of AWeber was making it something that other people could use for their own business. So I had people that came to me and said, Hey, I want to That email thing that you’re doing nothing like this exists out there. Can you do that? You know, can you do that for my own business? And I said, Well, you know, it doesn’t exist, but let me see what I can do. So, you know, so there was a need, and I filled it at the time. So and the rest is kind of history. And it’s grown from there.

Adam G. Force 06:16

Yeah. You know, it’s funny, because he started off saying you had a certain you’re going to school for engineering and stuff. What was this? an engineering that you went to learn?

Tom Kulzer 06:25

It was mechanical engineering, not computer science. Nothing like that, you know, make sense with my dad. Now. I like to say I’m a jack of all trades, master of none. So I’m sure people would argue with me about that. But uh, yeah, I like to know a little bit about a lot of different things and be able to piece them together in ways to create value.

Adam G. Force 06:46

Yeah, yeah. No, it’s always funny because I always argue with my wife luann about you know, college and stuff like that, you know, for kids and everything. Like, I’m not a fan. Oh my god. They don’t need that. They just gotta learn how to make money in this world. One way Are the other doing something that they just like, you know, and she’s a real big Well, I went to Cornell and it’s been the most valuable thing in my life and all this stuff. So when I hear people like, the guy went to school for this, and then they become an entrepreneur, but it’s totally just doing something totally different. When I heard you say that, I was like, it’s a pretty good example. You know,

Tom Kulzer 07:19

I have, I have little kids as well. And I’ve definitely had this conversation with my wife and friends and and I really think that school even though I never finished, and I don’t have an official degree, I think school is immensely valuable, in that it gives you perspective, and it creates relationships that you wouldn’t otherwise have. So I would always, you know, I would definitely encourage my own kids to go to school. You know, if they take a path that moves differently than that, I’m certainly going to be supportive of it, but I think it’s a good it’s a good direction to at least start in until you have a different direction that you might think might ultimately be better.

Adam G. Force 07:52

Yeah, that’s usually where the conversation ends up. There’s definitely perks for it for sure. So there’s there’s a place you know, and I just, you know, you see a story with, you know, the school debt and everything and people can’t get jobs. So it’s a, you know, it’s funny because you buy a program today, you know, you’re in the digital marketing world and people want to buy something, and they always want to see that 30 day, you know, money back guarantee. And you know, then it’s like, well, you know, you pay all this money for a college, there’s no guarantee that you’re getting a job and getting that money back either. You know, it’s very, yeah. Anyway, so I don’t want to go too far off on a tangent, but I can get sucked into this all day. But I want to hear a little bit more just about the development of AWeber. Because obviously, since you’ve been around for a couple decades now, take us a little bit through the evolution in a nutshell, just kind of like where you started and where you are today. Cuz, you know, we’ll get into like the future of AWeber as well.

Tom Kulzer 08:47

Yeah, I think you know, initially it started out as very, very simple. It was simply a series of seven email messages that were all plain text, no graphics, no fonts or bold or anything like that. because, frankly, email clients back then didn’t support it, you know, eventually that evolved into, you know, being able to support sending email newsletters and that sort of thing. And, you know, to where today you know, now it’s it’s really a full suite, you know, marketing automation platform that allows people to, you know, create really beautiful designs and things that match their, their brand. And, you know, really be able to communicate in ways that are engaging with their subscribers in as much automation as you possibly can to make that not only time saving for end users, but also more engaging for your subscribers to receive content that is relevant to them. Yeah, so it’s really evolved significantly over the years, you know, we have 100, you know, 10 or so people in our office here that are working every day to continually improve the platform. It’s not a you know, design once and be done and continue to sell it forever. It’s very much an ongoing thing and that’s, you know, a big part of the benefit. have, you know why we exist? And why? Having a cloud solution for that is so valuable?

Adam G. Force 10:06

Yeah. Yeah. No curious because, you know, there’s many different email platforms, obviously, that people get, you know, lost doing their research, trying to figure out what’s best for them, and everybody has their own needs, right, that that’s suitable. So who are who does this really suit? Right now? Like, are you geared towards a specific type of, you know, entrepreneur or business owner? Who do you look at as a primary customer right now?

10:30

You know, most of our I wouldn’t say there’s a specific single industry that we target there, it’s more about company size and and how they’re engaging with folks online. So typically, you know, small business customer, whether it’s an entrepreneur just getting started out of their kitchen, you know, upwards of, you know, companies of 100 Plus, you know, we also have big enterprise customers that use us for different parts of their site. So, um, you know, different enterprise class like blogs. Use us for disseminating They’re blog content in an automated way. So that people are able to see their news updates and that sort of stuff. And it’s fully automated. And it’s something that their enterprise email service provider solutions don’t actually support, whereas we do and we automate all of that. So… it really ranges a spectrum. But predominantly, it’s that small business, you know, solo entrepreneur to small teams in the, you know, 10s 20s and 30. Team Member kind of kind of categories.

Adam G. Force 11:29

Interesting. Yeah, I, you know, I, that’s helpful and makes a lot of sense. I just want to ground the people listening here. And, you know, I’d like to hear your thoughts just on, you know, the evolution of digital marketing. Do you have any just I’m just curious, because you’re in obviously, the digital marketing space. You’ve been doing email marketing specifically for for quite some time. How are you’re seeing, you know, this space evolve? Is there anything that really stands out to you these days?

Tom Kulzer 11:57

Yeah, I think when you step back from email, and look at kind of the Bigger marketing digital marketing ecosystem. You know, we started out back in the days of like AOL being giant, you know, and you getting the, you’re getting a little floppy disks, and eventually the CDs. You know, and that’s really when AOL was was a heyday in AOL to a lot of users was internet back then. They didn’t know that there was an internet outside of, of AOL. And I think it’s interesting that over the years as social networks have built up, like many people think that Facebook is the internet. And there is a repetition in these trends of you know, kind of as as different businesses gain kind of that market share. They create kind of these walled gardens that try to keep everybody in and everything else out and they make it really hard to communicate and interact with anything outside of that guard, which is why businesses today, you know, are often told like you need to be on Facebook, you need to be on Twitter, you need to be on Instagram, you need to be on all these different things. And it’s hard for I think a lot of businesses to figure out where where they can have the most impact and how they can connect with their, with their users in the most genuine way. And I think the the biggest kind of trend throughout all of that is email has really remained very relevant. And if anything, the center to a lot of those communications, like Facebook’s one of the biggest email centers on the planet. Yeah, and it’s, and most people say like, social media is gonna kill email. It’s like, no, no social media relies on email to exist. Yeah. And I think it’s something that a lot of people kind of overlook. It’s one of the few mediums where you can actually, not that you own a relationship but that you can own the ability to communicate with with those users, but you don’t own some of your subscribers email inbox, and you have to respect that. That permission that someone has given you to to enter their inbox But, you know, whereas Facebook, you might have 100 people that are following you or that have liked your page, but when you post something on Facebook, that doesn’t mean all hundred are gonna see your stuff it you know, and not even 90 or 80 likes these days, it’s, you know, 10 20% if you’re lucky, whereas email, like if you got a 10 or 20% on, you know, open rate or like a delivery rate and all the other 80% were on deliverable never even saw your message, like, people be like banging down our door with pitchforks. Like, it’s a very different kind of, you know, ecosystem where when you send an email, like 99% of those emails are getting delivered to the people that requested them, and they’re going to be able to see them and it’s not some algorithm that’s deciding that whether you’re going to see it or not see it. If you’ve given permission and you’ve been actively engaging with it, you’re going to see it every single time. Yeah, that’s, that’s that’s probably like the biggest kind of big picture view of the whole digital marketing that I’ve seen overall on the trends as it’s kind of come and gone over the years.

Adam G. Force 14:58

Ya know, it’s it’s a great Point and you’re right. I mean, you get 100% deliverability. Unless you have a junk email that’s, that’s on, you know, you know, but at the end of the day, you guys get it out there and Facebook is getting less and less. I mean, you get I don’t even know if it’s 10% anymore. So yeah, we got like 30,000 people following us and only, you know, 80 people see a post, you know, like, what is that about?

Tom Kulzer 15:23

Yeah, it’s definitely has changed

Adam G. Force 15:25

the other thing too, that is interesting is I think that over time, you’re right, like, it’s a staple for any entrepreneur, like, email hasn’t gone anywhere. It’s only gotten better and smarter. And if Facebook crashes, your email list is still there. It’s not going anywhere, right? Your business doesn’t get disturbed.

15:44

Right for Facebook shut you down, poof, all your 30,000 followers are gone like you don’t have any way of recouping them and nor do you have any way of communicating with them other than to potentially open another Facebook account, which you know is going to be hard pressed to do to begin less if you Got yourself shut down that way where, you know, you know, it’s different. Yeah, I will caveat all that was saying like email marketing should be permission based, you know, you don’t want to send spam. You know, you don’t, you don’t want to, to, to, you know, violate people’s trust by sending them emails that they haven’t requested, you know, you don’t want to get it yourself. One that’s sending it to other people. And I think that that’s something that especially as an entrepreneur can be very enticing. You know, I’ve listened to you actually, I was listening to one of your, one of your guests that you had on not too many podcast episodes ago, where they were basically encouraging people to spend just shaking my head I was like, No, no, no, no. Like, you want to make sure I’m not gonna name names, but uh, you know, it’s, it’s one of those, you know, you want to make sure that people are requesting the information that you’re sending, and that’s overall the best way to have a successful email program and have successful and get influence and relationships that come out of email is to start on the basis of permission. Yeah, so

Adam G. Force 17:06

I agree. And you know, one of the things that, you know, my co founder, Amy and I talk a lot about is, you know, as business is changing today, more and more people have their guards up ad blockers are popping up. And people don’t they don’t trust the information that’s out there. Think about if there’s more videos, you don’t know, if it’s real, there’s more images that you don’t know if it’s real, or articles that are misleading. Like, there’s a lot of factors out there today that are causing people to lose trust. And so trust is becoming the most valuable resource you can have, especially when you’re trying to start a business and build up, you know, advocates for your business. So I think you’re right, if you’re just throwing things out there, people don’t know who you are, and you’re just trying to pitch, you know, spam and sell things. Today, that’s going to be more and more difficult. It’s not like the wild wild west, maybe in the early 90s, or whatever it was, right. So I think the trust factor that you mentioned, and being permission based is going to be really important to developing a relationship that’s sustainable. Your business?

Tom Kulzer 18:01

Absolutely.

Adam G. Force 18:02

So, so, yeah. And I’m curious then, you know, as as this stuff is evolving what what are you guys thinking about? Is there like, what’s next for for a Weber and development? Like, what’s the vision for the next year or so?

Tom Kulzer 18:20

Um, you know, we we don’t get into a whole lot of specific, you know, down and dirty product plans internally, we definitely have a roadmap for those. I think the biggest thing that you’re seeing is, you know, for us is is the amount of information that businesses are putting out there in the amount of different platforms that they need to be on the the ability for them to communicate with their users in the most time efficient manner possible is, is I think one of the most important things like actually today. We just had a big release called Smart designer. And basically what it does is it allows us an end user to come to our site, enter their website address themselves. And we are able to pull out their logo, pull out their images, pull out their color themes and those sort of stuff that they have on their website and create some really beautiful templates as a result of that, without the end user having to do anything like where are our basically, our algorithms are able to put together a bunch of templates that they can pick from that are already branded already look like them, and they can get started with and send right away to their subscribers. And I think it’s those kind of automations that whereas in the past, you might have had to have a designer, you might have had to take, you know, a stock template and tweak it to the way that you like, like most of us, myself included, you know, are not brilliant designers that can make ourselves you know, make our stuff look really beautiful. And while our templates make that a lot easier, I think you know, this sort of automated mechanism for building templates that are fully branded right out of the box is a really cool and innovative way to save people time, but also make them look better. Like make their stuff more engaging with their end users and make it more identifiable when it’s so when it shows up in your inbox is like, Oh, yeah, that’s that website, I was on last week that I gave my email address. And I didn’t want to get these updates. Whereas when you get something that like, you know, has a different color theme, or maybe he’s missing a logo or something, because the site owner didn’t get around to putting it in their template, you know, it, it hampers that instant recognition that I think is needed to help with the overall engagement of the emails that are being sent out to PDF. Yeah. So that continuing of the trend of using machines and using, you know, the the programs and stuff that we have on the back end to be able to aggregate that content and do things that are smarter with it. and sending it to people that are more engaged, I think is going to be kind of a continued theme that you’re going to see from us in the in the years to come.

Adam G. Force 20:50

Interesting. Yeah, that consistency definitely will help you know, it’s like going from an ad or seeing a brand on one platform and then you click through and you’re told it’s totally different, you know, title and color scheme, you’re like, Am I in the right place? Okay, yeah.

Tom Kulzer 21:04

You know, I’m not saying anything about a particular brand or anything, but like, just look at, like, target as an example. Like, I’m sure we’ve all seen the ads, like their commercials on TV. And it’s like, you know, before they ever say the word target or the company name target, you know, you’re watching a target ad, just by like, the way that it feels. And and that I think is, you know, that’s a branding that obviously, you can spend 10s of millions of dollars to get that, but like, you know, the i think it’s it’s subtle things like that of just seeing a consistent color scheme, a consistent theme throughout all the different channels that you’re communicating with users is what helps build that over time. So I’m build that record.

Adam G. Force 21:44

And have you guys had any focus on I don’t know what your internal, like data collection is like, but what do you guys do too? I was going to get into like, you know, the idea of open rates and what you’re saying Seeing is working for people like have you do you collect that kind of data to see like, what kind of emails are working well? Or what are getting good clicks and all that kind of stuff? Is there any kind of data collection like that?

Tom Kulzer 22:11

Oh, yeah, absolutely. That’s the, you know, a big part of the value of our platform is the open rates and your click through rates and your unsubscribe rates, all of that sort of metrics that we roll up for each individual customer, but then we also roll up, you know, across the aggregate and across different industries and verticals. So yeah, now we see you know, 10s of millions of of email send every day and, you know, millions of opens and clicks throughout the platform every single day. So there’s, there’s a tremendous amount of learning there. I think, you know, overall from an email landscape when you’re talking to in it, you know, an individual and business owner, you know, email these days is all about engagement much, much like they talked about on social platforms. It’s also similar to, you know, an email the I think the bar is different in Email than it is on social platforms. But it really comes down to sending engaging emails, there really is, you know, the definition of spam these days from from a mailbox provider. So think like Gmail or hotmail or Yahoo, one of those, you know, the definition of spam to them is really, Does somebody want it? Or do they not want it? And they might have wanted it in the past, but no longer want it? In which case, they’re gonna they’re gonna potentially throw that email in the spam folder. Yeah. And and at the end of the day, how are they judging whether or not you want that email or not, you know, obviously, there’s the spam button that you can click in an email client to say, like, Hey, I don’t want this anymore. But there’s also what you do with the email every time you get it. You know, when you get that email, do you open it? Do you read it? Do you click on links in it? Do you reply to it? All of those sorts of things feed into their algorithms to determine whether or not you and others like you are going to want to receive emails from that sender. So it’s really important that when you’re sending emails out, that you’re keeping your engagement off, meaning you’re keeping people opening them, you’re keeping them clicking them, you know, and even replying and forwarding them off to other people is a really good signal. You know, there’s a reason that all of your personal communications back and forth with like myself or others, you know, are always in your inbox is because you’re replying to one another, you’re having conversations, you’re engaged in interacting, whereas a lot of emails that a lot of businesses send out, you know, they’ll send them with like, a no reply email address. And, you know, it might be a little like Kurt, but like, I always describe that as like giving all your customers the middle finger. You know, it’s basically like your buy my stuff. Don’t talk to me,

Adam G. Force 24:43

essentially, right? Yeah, I see that alot

24:45

And it’s like, absolutely, I see that all too often. And it’s like, absolutely, like the most terrible thing that you can do. Like you want to engage with people like you want to help them and while you know you need to figure out the you know, economies of scale and how you can help people As your audience grows, I think those kind of one to one personal relationships and those personal engagements are really what makes the difference between a brand that thrives and a brand that dies. Yeah. Yeah.

Adam G. Force 25:14

So have you seen? Or do you have anything off the top of your head? That would be a helpful insight for people when it comes to, you know, engagement in the email space?

25:28

Um, you know, I think, you know, obviously, starting with sending content that’s relevant, you know, what are people signing up for? What are what are you telling them they’re signing up for? You know, are you sending emails? You know, when somebody signs up, Hey, get updates from my blog, you know, 10 tips about whatever it’s like, okay, but are you then going to send them an email every day? Are you going to send them an email once a month? How are you setting expectations with them on the content that you’re going to send, like, I often see like people that send really frequently, you know, they’ll have a signup form on their site and they don’t tell people Hey, I’m going to send you three emails a day. I don’t know about you. But when I sign up for something, I don’t generally expect to get three emails a day from that sender. And I’m probably going to either unsubscribe or complain pretty heavily, as soon as they start doing that, unless the expectation was set up front. You know, I think, you know, as far as ways of engaging, I think surveys are a really good way of, you know, just asking different little questions. And having people kind of partition those users off to different parts of your site that speak to and engage with them more directly than maybe like a, you know, a broader sense. And the cool thing is, is once you do that, you can also like in our platform, you can actually tag users. So if you click on this particular link, I can say I was I was using like a, like a catalyst as like an example. So like, if you click on the dollar articles, you know, I can tag you as dog and if you click on the cat articles, I can tag you as cat. And that way in the future, I can send the cat people, all cats. stuff and I can send the dog people dog stuff because I’ve learned what they’re most interested in. And I can now mark it to them in a more relevant way. I think it’s, it’s kind of a hokey example. But like, it’s, I think it’s something that most people can like instantly grasp as how that would be more relevant, and why you’d be more likely to engage with that content than if you know, half of this stuff that I send is completely irrelevant to you because you’re just not into cats.

Adam G. Force 27:24

Right? Yeah, that’s perfect answer. I mean, at the end of the day, it does come in it sounds so obvious, like, oh, send relevant stuff, which means, but if you took it a step further, before that, which is set the right expectations up front, you know, we collect emails where someone’s like, oh, get this free guide. Next thing you know, you’re on the weekly newsletter, you know what I mean? It’s like, Well, wait a minute. This has nothing to do what I signed up

Tom Kulzer 27:49

I didn’t get told that I was gonna do it that either.

Adam G. Force 27:51

Exactly.

Tom Kulzer 27:53

Yeah. You’re gonna ultimately hurt yourself in the long run by doing that so Exactly,

Adam G. Force 27:57

exactly. And the tagging is a great tech to really help start tracking who’s showing interest where and I love the idea of that segmentation to really again just become more relevant. And it’s almost like just personalizing the conversation over email.

Tom Kulzer 28:14

Absolutely. I think another thing that’s really interesting, like, you know, in, in the marketing sphere, you’ll often hear like, Oh, I’m gonna send an email blast and like, every time I hear somebody say that, like, I just cringe a little part of the die. Yeah, because it’s like, again, it’s kind of that like middle finger to your your audience. It’s like what you want to blast all your all your all your subscribers, like, that doesn’t sound like a really nice thing to do. And I think the best way to reframe it, and what I tell folks is like, don’t write your email to 100 people or 1000 people or 100,000 people or however many subscribers you have, you’re not writing an email to a huge group of people. You’re writing it to one person, that one person that’s, you know, pulling out their phone from their pocket and reading your email or sitting at their desktop and reading Getting your email in a laptop or whatever. It’s, you’re, you’re talking to one person at a time. Yeah. And and I think the best way to kind of get that voice there and to think about that one person is like, when you’re writing your emails, think about like writing an email to your mom, like, you know, your dad, your grandparents or your sister or whatever it happens to be like, write it to one person and make it relevant to them. And it’s much more likely to be relevant to a lot of other people at the same time, because you’re writing you’re writing to the person and not just like this huge anonymous group, which makes your message I think, more personable, and more identifiable. So like, you’re just you’re more likely connect and an actual human level than than just like, Oh, I send an email to my list. Like, I hate when people refer their, their subscribers as as like a list. They’re people. You know.

Adam G. Force 29:54

I know it’s funny because I just had this we just did a discussion. My co founder, Amy and I were talking about how The digital world of marketing is not like when you go door to door and you sit down, you had a full conversation with someone face to face. It’s like taking that conversation and spreading it around digitally. And now when people think of marketing and targeting and all this stuff, it’s become so cold. So to your point, you know, it’s now a person is a click or an impression. They’re no longer like we’re having a conversation. We’re talking to people. It’s like this cold marketing jargon.

Tom Kulzer 30:25

Yep. Yeah, absolutely. So the clicks and the opens and the lists that they’re all people and they’re all somewhere on the planet. There’s maybe a couple floating around in outer space at any given time, but I doubt they’re reading your email. They’re all here. And and I think that it helps to talk to them as people and not as this inanimate object.

Adam G. Force 30:47

Exactly. And and just, you know, it shapes your perspective of what you’re doing. So the step the actions you take can be different just because of the way you frame up the way you think about it. Absolutely, um, you know, one of the things they just wanted to ask Real quick was that came to mind is just when you when you got off the ground with AWeber you know, you’ve done this entrepreneurial hustle. I’m sure you’ve had your ups and your downs and things like that. I’m just curious of any advice you have, you’ve been now, you know, sustained your business for over 20 years. So just any general advice for people who are in their first five years and you know, we all go through our ups and downs like that. So I’m just curious what your thoughts might be to based on your decades of work.

Tom Kulzer 31:29

I would say everybody’s an overnight success 10 years in

Adam G. Force 31:33

exactly.

Tom Kulzer 31:34

Like, like, I think that the news media like Star obviously portray, like these in this this persona that like every business is an instant instant, overnight success. Very, very few are, you know, we’ve seen hundreds of thousands of businesses, you know, come many are successful, many, many are not and I think that as an option For an area kind of have to have a thick skin and a determination to like kind of, you know, walk the, you know, the trodden path and keep moving things forward. It can often feel like a million miles. But I think eventually, you know, eventually with the determination and the right kind of, you know, the right thing that has value to to, you know, people that you’re putting it out there to, I think you will see success, it’s just, it’s just a matter of getting there and very, very few businesses are like instantaneously successful. You know, everyone starts with one subscriber, you know, the biggest trick is like, just starting, you know, I hear a lot of the like, I don’t know what to write and it’s like, just write something because something is better than nothing. Yeah, and and just just that, like, just keep, just keep moving forward. And, and I think that eventually, you know, more more often than not, those that persevere are eventually successful and I think that down that road can often be long and arduous. But I think in the long run it can can be really, really beneficial and really pay off.

Adam G. Force 33:11

Yeah, hundred percent. I love that. Thanks for sharing that. And then, you know, the last thing I’m going to ask you is just kind of this closing question that we’ve been asking people just to kind of give you a chance just to speak from your experience. And you know, if you had this opportunity, you had the world’s ear to share in a message that’s important. You know, what would that message be to everybody?

Tom Kulzer 33:34

You know, I I really gave this some thought in it. And it’s kind of weird because the first thing that popped into my mind that kind of like blanked out on on like the name of your site and whatnot, and the first thing that came into my head was like, be your own agent for change. And then I connected back to two and I was like, oh, that totally sounds like pandering. Like, there was like, with like, being completely honest. It was a first thing that just popped into my head when, when you asked me the question. You know, if you don’t like something, you know, don’t wait for somebody else to make it better. You know, we really have to be our own agent for change, whether it’s stuff in your life, whether it’s your personal life, your business, whether it’s your employer where you’re working, like, you know, it’s stepping over, we, I often use this example in our business here, it’s like if you see if you trap a piece of trash on the ground, like don’t step over it and wait for somebody else to pick it up, like you pick it up. Because if somebody else sees you picking it up, they’re more likely to pick it up the next time they see a piece of trash and I think that being that agent for change can be so so powerful both you know personally and professionally and being the the solution and not part of the problem. You know, we talked about this, this concept called pairing here in our office where like, you know, you might go and you’re, I think a lot of people’s natural reaction is to like add, there’s something negative like I’m gonna To go tell somebody else about this negative thing. Whereas like, really the healthy thing to do is be like, Hey, I see a problem here. And like I see these two or three different solutions to making that problem better, like, and I think everyone’s life is so much more enriched, when you’re really the solution for that change. And the solution for those problems, rather than just like perpetuating the problem consistently, you know, over and over again. And I think a lot of people get really hung up on all the reasons they can’t do things. And not all the reasons that they can do things. And I think that, you know, being that agent for change can be really scary for a lot of people. But I think if you’re not doing something that’s a little bit scary every day, you’re not changing and growing. And if you want different results in your life, you have to be doing things that you haven’t done before, because if you’ve done them before, you would already have seen that success in your life. So you really have to kind of step out of the comfort zone over and over and over again in order to really create Create that change and to create the, you know, the the ultimate, you know, outcome that you’re looking for. So that’s kind of my that’s, that’s my pulpit.

Adam G. Force 36:11

There. It’s so important I like just appreciate you saying those things and, you know, just helps it leave people in an inspired mindset, you know, so I really appreciate your time today, Tom, this is great.

Tom Kulzer 36:22

Hey, thanks for having me on. It’s been fun. Awesome. We’ll be in touch. 

Adam G. Force 36:25

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Adam & Amy: The Hard Truth About Delegating For Your Startup

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Delegating work is important for any business but what if you delegate the wrong things at the wrong time?

Change Creator co-founders, Adam and Amy, have been there and learned hard lessons that they share in this talk about delegation.

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Transcription of Interview

(Transcribed by Otter.ai, there may be errors)

Adam G. Force 00:11

Hey, what’s up, everybody? Welcome back to the Change Creator podcast show. This is your host, Adam fours. Hope you had an amazing New Year celebration, holiday break, spend time with family, all that good stuff, maybe a little time off to recoup and get ready for the 2020 year. Amy and I want to kick it off this year, having our first conversation to talk about delegating for the year because, you know, we had a conversation about this before in our community, people were not necessarily as concerned about finding the right people. I mean, that’s very important. But also, are you delegating the right things at the right time? Are you doing more harm than good? Because we’ve been down that road with Change Creator, where we did bring on teams for PR and marketing and other things that we delegated. And we made some big mistakes and so you know, we recouped since then, thankfully, and we want to share some of those experiences. With you have so you can have a solid 2020 as you guys are trying to scale your impact businesses. If you did miss our last episode it was before the holidays here it was with Jessie whose last name I will not try to pronounce because it’s a tough one. But we did talk about selling and tech and things like that. And it’s a really good one because he has a lot of sales experience. And so if you missed it, swing back through, you’ll get some good sales nugget nuggets out of that. We’ve made some good updates on the website, we just put some fresh content out there for you to check out. There’s a really great in feature story we put together with prime roots. They just raised $4 million, and they’re in the superfood space. So we talk about climate change. We talk about healthy foods and that industry, investors are chomping at the bit guys to get in on that space when it comes to vegan foods and that type of stuff. So you might want to check that out. Last but not least, don’t forget to stop by Facebook. That’s where we’re hanging out a lot. So check us out on the Facebook page follow us and if you want to take your conversation to the next level. Talking about your business and learning about, you know, really making it profitable. Well, that’s where we want to stop. Have you stopped by our group it is for the profitable digital impact entrepreneur so you could check us out over there. All right, guys, I’m not gonna hold you up any longer. We’re gonna dive right into this conversation with Amy and I and kick this off. Okay, show me the heat. Hello, guys. We are going to talk a little bit about delegating today. Because you know, when you’re in the first several years of your business, you start thinking about, you know, where are my weaknesses? What do I delegate? So you know, delegating for your business is important. But what if you’re delegating the wrong things, and you’re actually hurting your startup? So what would those things be and why we want to get into some of that today?

Amy Aitman 02:46

Oh, that’s great. Yeah, we’re gonna get into that. But first, I want to ask you guys who loves watching Netflix? I mean, I think everyone, right? Yeah, look, I’m a love Netflix and there’s a show that I’ve done. discovered recently, it’s called million pound restaurant. It’s a fun one. And the premise is, these new restaurant owners get to pitch their business to investors. And then they get to open their own restaurants and see if they get the million pound investment, which is really exciting. And one of the things that restaurants do is what’s called a soft launch. So they opening night, they have their new concept. Some of them have started like street vendors, and then they go into their own restaurants. So it’s their first chance to really sell to this bigger audience in this new location. And imagine that you have this or you have started your own vegan, sustainable restaurant, you really care about the environment. You are an amazing vegan chef to make vegan food tastes like amazing food that even there’s a lot of and it’s soft launch night and there’s so much on the line and a soft launch night so Instead of, but instead of cooking your signature dishes and mingling with the crowd and working your dream, this is your night to shine. You hand the keys over to Gordon Ramsay. And you say to Gordon, now Gordon Ramsay is an amazing chef, and I’m sorry, Turner. I’m sure he’s, I mean, I know he’s really great at running his restaurants. But he comes in with, it doesn’t take the time to get to know what you’re doing. He looks out and he says, I think I’m going to make the steak a steak restaurant because he’s like, I’m going to start to serve steak. So we go then he changed the menu. He changed the stuffing. He does whatever he wants, because he says I’m going to make this a success. And so your vegan your sustainable restaurant becomes the Steakhouse and your customers that came in looking for the best vegan dishes are suddenly getting this menu with hunks of meat with steak on it because Gordon Ramsay is running a restaurant But you’ve been told that you need to outsource this and Gordon Ramsay to the best. So then your soft launch is a disaster. People aren’t really happy even though he’s an amazing chef. And then you get Gordon Ramsay’s bill. So now not only are you broke, you’re not selling the product that you wanted to, you’re not selling your vision. You’re and Gordon says, I’ve set you up for success and he leaves so your business is like that restaurant is like you. A lot of us do this. We have this really strong vision for our company for our brand. But when it comes to actually opening night soft launch trying to make the sale time to get to know the customers we hand the keys over to Gordon Ramsay because we think he could do it better. Yeah, but he can’t always do it better.

Adam G. Force 05:53

Well, and it may not be it see you know, you have a certain intention behind that business right like something that’s meaning To you, so if you are doing a vegan restaurant, you probably care about the environmental, you know, correlation to that kind of, you know, meat consumption, all that stuff. So you know that intention can change and nobody’s going to have that passion and intention, like, like the founder does, right? And so for, you know, it’s a great fun example with Gordon Ramsay coming in and changing things up because his mindset would be, well, we’re here to sell, make money and get it done. So we got to do what works, right? I, you know, he’s not gonna feel and appreciate the intention that you have, you know, when you’re the as the founder writes, it’s just not the same. So handing the keys over at the wrong time to somebody like that could really in reality, like throw your business in a direction that you may not be happy with? You know, like we most of us had heard the advice. I mean, I would say anybody in the entrepreneurship space, you know, you know, if you aren’t good at certain things like we don’t we all were we’re like a jack of all trades in the beginning. We try to do everything and but at some point We got to start delegating the things that are our weaknesses, right? Mm hmm. And so you know, you hear both sides of the story. And the question becomes, well, what do you delegate? And you know, what if you hire somebody that is going to hurt your business more than actually helps your business. So that advice can be misleading for those reasons. And it can make you end up actually delegating the most important part of the business that really you need to own. Okay? And we really want in business today more than ever, with the way that the digital environment is evolving. We really want to build authentic relationships with our audience. I mean, that trust is so important. And it starts with the founder and the core team of like, why they even started this business. And again, no one’s going to be able to speak to those intentions, which really do differentiate your business, the way you can write as a founder. I mean, you can consider somebody like Tom’s And I think, you know, he started this with an intention of helping children that don’t have shoes because there’s so many issues that stem from that. And it was kind of like an overwhelming, you know, sensory overload for him when he came across this situation in Argentina. And you can imagine from the get go him switching it up with them and they go, you know, he actually a great point is like when I interviewed him he was he told me as a response to my question, which was, what would you do differently if you started today? Tom’s and the one thing he said is I, you know, when I brought in the executive team, I was I would take a very different approach, because what he learned is that people come with habits that may not serve the original intention of the business. Okay, not that they’re bad people or, you know, they have malicious intentions themselves, but they have different beliefs, different habits of what it looks like success. So all of a sudden, they changing the business intention, start changing the way things have to happen because they’re going after a bottom line. It’s kind Like you have this social impact business but you’re going to bring in like somebody on Wall Street character

Amy Aitman 09:04

who’s going to go right and could you imagine if he had led that vision go or hadn’t kept driving that vision throughout his so even he’s saying like I might have hired my executive team differently, but even when he did hire people, he had such a strong vision for his company that he could keep pushing that so that’s when when you know, we would never imagine a Tom’s without Blake but it’s because it’s not because he’s the face of the brand because he’s the driving force of his sales of his vision of those intentions that he’s always had the company that’s a really good example.

Adam G. Force 09:40

Yeah, and that’s what’s going to earn a lot more trust is there to see Well, this is the guy that started it, this is why he started it. It also makes him different than other people. So you know, he’s not necessarily competing on price and all these other things. So same thing with Ivanova Patagonia amazing products. Their intention is just threaded throughout everything they do. They do additional programs they do charities, every piece of clothing is, you know, with intention for the environment and all this stuff. So, you know, he is that driving force, and he is he is the face of his brand as well. You know, so staying true to that intention is really important. And we don’t want to delegate it to somebody that might start shifting us away from that, and it might happen slowly to might not be a dramatic thing. And then all of a sudden, a year or two goes by and you’re gonna look back and say Holy crap, like, Where is this gone? You know, like, what are we doing?

Amy Aitman 10:29

So true. And as business owners, we are the one like we have to not only you know, work on our the passionate part of our business and things that we love doing our business, but we have to run our business to Yeah, and we have to be we have to be the driving force of our sales of our marketing. It’s just you can’t you can’t, you can’t pick and choose you have to do both, and to be success. You really do.

Adam G. Force 10:52

I agree. I and in the earlier years and Listen, I’ve done over, I don’t know, hundred 200 150 200 interviews and I asked I started asking people I feel I’m like, you know, you need to be like the sales of your business is what gives you control options, the ability to be a contributor in life, you know, to do good things like this is you need that money to do these things. And you need to actually, this is so important to the business, you don’t want to just delegate that out of the gate, like you need to become the number one salesperson for your business. And that means learning and talking to who your customers like learning who they are by talking to them intimately learning like, can you get on the phone and actually sell a product? Right? I mean, if you can’t do that, you know, you’re going to struggle digitally, especially when you want to go at scale. You know, so these things are really important to consider and you’ve got to build that strong foundation. Now that’s not to say that we never delegate there’s a time right you can do the wrong things at the at the at the right time or the right things at the wrong time. And so you know, if you don’t become the number One salesperson, there’s a couple things that come to mind of what happens. So like what happened? No, firm this up yourself and learn how to talk and sell these products. Yeah, aside from missing out on really getting to know your audience, and really what makes the business tick, yeah, you’re gonna miss out on sustainable growth and sales, right? Yeah. And you’re going to burn out at some point because you’re going to be competing on price and features and those types of things, versus that intention that’s very attractive to people, and that differentiates your business. And then you’re going to have maybe people saying

Amy Aitman 12:34

that happened so many times before, too, especially with social impact companies, it’s like when they’re creating their product, they’re taking all those sustainable things really into consideration, their cost per acquisition or their their price points are really are higher, so they have to charge higher, but as soon as they take a step back and say hire a PR team, hire marketing team, get something on e commerce, like You said they missed out on sustainable growth in sales because all of a sudden, the little few little sales they’re getting aren’t coming in. And we’ve seen this with a lot of examples before. And then some expert says we need to lower your price because your if because your, your cost for this T shirt is $35 and every other t shirts $20 but the whole intention of our company was not to sell a $20 t shirt that you know with tons of water waste and by splashing out into landfills your entire company. And so you get stuck between these two realms when really you need to think about what why you started this company in the first place. And you’re gonna get sustainable growth and sales. So you’re gonna have to, you’re gonna need to sell less and not compete on price. If you are the one that’s driving this intention. It’s really important. We have so many times it’s so easy to get caught into that competing on patients temptation. Yeah

Adam G. Force 14:00

For you, there’s so many crossroads, right? And ultimately, honestly, like, if you lose sight of your intention, you start straying. You are you’re gonna have all this competition on price and features, but you’re gonna start lacking fulfillment in what you do. Right? So part of having this intention and a meaningful business is there’s a sense of fulfillment you’re doing something you are excited to wake up for, that you believe in that does something for the people in the world and all that kind of stuff. So, I mean, you don’t want to end up just doing going through motions that feel like a job, you want to live a life right in harmony with, like who you really are. So this makes a big difference in the business. So it’s a major differentiator, those those things differentiate far more than price points and all that stuff that stuff it will it’s gonna be extremely hard road and you’re gonna go broke.

Amy Aitman 14:48

let other people compete on price, exactly what other people do to play those games because that’s not going to work for your business. Exactly.

Adam G. Force 14:56

So I think it’s really important to state that you don’t have Hire a sales team. When your sales are lacking, you hire a sales team when your sales are thriving. That’s when when you’ve already figured out all those things, and you’ve got it pinpoint. And it’s like a well oiled machine. And you know your audience better than anyone, you’ve built the foundation. Now you can get other people trained in everything that you learned from all those conversations and all those sales right?

Amy Aitman 15:25

Now, that’s the best time to hire a sales team, and then a PR team and a marketing team.

Adam G. Force 15:32

Yet there is always a time and a place and you know, you know, will tell the story we did go down this road to but before we get into that, I know Amy, you were mentioning a couple of these like questions that people might be asking themselves and I think they really tee up.

Amy Aitman 15:48

Yeah, I mean, after talking to so many people, they come to us at this point when they don’t know how to implement marketing and they don’t really want to put themselves out there. So if you’re in place right now where you’ve considered outsourcing that’s which is what we’re talking about today. You might be telling yourself, I don’t even have the skill to sell my products, right? Like, I don’t have the skills I’m fabulous like you. I mean, I totally understand that, that could that could be holding you back. And but these are skill sets that you can everyone can not only learn to do and that you can learn to do, but that you have to do, you have to learn these these skill sets. And I know personally with me and with our time here at Change Creator, there was a time that I really loved to be back behind the scenes and to be in the background, not think about sales copy or questions or talking to the audience because digital digitally you could easily do that you can easily take take a step back and it’s really a mindset block that we have, that we don’t have the skills so there’s ways to learn to get those skills and a lot of questions we get from people in our lives. And when they come to us is why would anyone listen to me? I’m not an authority in this space. And I always like to say, you know, when, like started Tom’s he wasn’t an authority in the space either he was a Blake Mycoskie, we all feel like that, especially in the beginning, and we all feel like, you know, we don’t have the authority, nobody knows who you are. But we’re never going to build that authority. And we’re never people aren’t going to find out who we are, or get the intent or hear about our vision for our company unless we put ourselves out there. And we make this such an important driving force of our business.

Adam G. Force 17:35

Yeah, and I think that’s a fair point. Just to add one little comment there too, is, you know, if you know something that someone else doesn’t know, you’re an authority you can help them you know, if you have something that they need, like you could talk about that you can help them so you don’t need to be over a PhD that has all this need to help people that don’t know what you know.

Amy Aitman 17:56

You’re authoritarian to right now. If you’re at the point where you considering hiring any kind of marketing team, that you’re already an authority in something because you’ve created a product, you’ve thought about sustainability, you probably put your got your website together, you’ve probably done a lot of stuff. You have your own sphere of authority. And you can build upon that once you’ve already if you’ve already got to that point, and a lot of people that come when they’re thinking about considering hiring a marketing or PR team, this is the point that they’re at. They’re really such great authorities in you know, sustainable fashion company. And they know their fashion. They know the numbers, they know water waste, but then they’re like, I’m on an authority in my space. I can’t get I can’t do my own work. I can’t get myself out there. So yeah, I just kind of like that’s a really great point, Adam, because it’s true. We get this question a lot too. What if I’m an introvert, or I’m shy? should I hire someone who’s a people person to do this and I really feel like this is such an antiquated thing for brands. You hire like somebody else to be the voice of your brand and you hire some celebrity or you hire some influencer? Yeah, I feel like the tides have shift with that. I feel like people do not want some fake person that represents your values and your brand. I really feel it that’s to send and the funny thing is 70% of entrepreneurs say that would say that they’re introverted. So there was a lot of really successful, really successful introverts and people that are because I find to the people that are call themselves shy and introverted, when it comes to talking about their passions and what they’re really their vision. They light up. Yeah, because it’s really mean something to them. So if you’re introverted or shy, I’d say that’s even more reason for you to, you know, get yourself out there and to not hire someone who you think is a people person. We all have people we can offer people person. Yeah.

Adam G. Force 20:02

These are all fear blocks. You know, it’s kind of like how if you’re saying these things, these questions your mind and you’re having these thoughts, you will start finding ways then to avoid coming the salesperson because it’s uncomfortable for you. And all of a sudden that’s where these ideas of delegating sound nice. So you hear the Tim Ferriss and all the other start saying, well, you got to delegate and you go, yep, you’re right, because I’m super uncomfortable doing this important part of the business next time, you know, you’re gonna do what we did. And we’ve been down this road where we were busy, we’re building a complicated business, and we thought to expedite our process of promotions and sales. We would delegate we got a PR team was that a couple thousand a month we got a marketing team a couple thousand dollars a month. And you know, we

Amy Aitman 20:49

we hired a salesperson to even hired we did hire a salesperson, yeah, we

Adam G. Force 20:55

this is where we not only not only do we know from other conversations, And other entrepreneurs experiences and stuff about these challenges we’re talking about, but we’ve experienced them firsthand. And we were like, whoa, wait a minute, we’re spending all this money, the ROI is not there. Whereas the gaps, and one of the major gaps was we need to take a step back and get in a grassroots mindset and start talking to our audience and really learning the sales narrative through these conversations.

Amy Aitman 21:23

Yeah, I can tell you we got zero sales from all of the thousands of dollars. And, I mean, we hired amazing salesperson, but if we don’t know how to sell, we can’t tell him how to sell. And so we really just had to take that step back, like Adam said, and really talk to our customers. And, you know, figure out like, what are the objections were what if we had to do the sales conversations and it is uncomfortable. I mean, it can be really uncomfortable, especially. It’s really tempting to just throw money at the problem is sometimes I say, it’s so tempting to to say Make it rain take care of this for me, it is so tempting to do that and i know i there and I and part of me really wishes that would have worked because like, in the early days and we’d be rolling in dough dough right away because you know if we could just throw money at this hiring somebody else that we would that I would have worked for us

Adam G. Force 22:24

and it didn’t know they have different intentions, they have different agendas. They have different passions than you like it’s just not going to translate the way you want to when you got to build that real core audience up front right it’s just you got to do it and you know, now we have over what 100 videos of sales conversations that we’ve had, you know, some of them in the beginning they’re awful we suck and we listened back right oh my god, I was like, This is terrible. Like No wonder they didn’t want to buy anything, you know? Yeah. And that’s gonna that’s okay. You get out there you know, I read a book so like craziest guy has Like $400 million a year agency, and he’s even in this book, he’s like, you’re the number one sales rep. You cannot delegate this and we’re like, yeah, we learned that. Thanks for now the book comes out.

Amy Aitman 23:13

Yeah, you learn the hard way. And we want to make it you guys the easy way cuz trust me, you know?

Adam G. Force 23:18

Yeah. All right. Listen, let’s wrap this up. I think this is a fun conversation. Hope you guys had a couple lightbulb moments. Leave us a comment. Let us know what you’re thinking about this conversation. Have you experienced anything similar? Do you have any thoughts? love to hear from you? And we’ll catch you on the next side on the next video.

Amy Aitman 23:33

Yeah, we’ll continue this conversation on our private Facebook group. So if you haven’t joined by now, come that’s where we get into the nitty gritty of all this stuff. Yeah. Thanks, guys. Bye.

Adam G. Force 23:48

That’s all for this episode. Your next step is to join the Change Creator revolution by downloading our interactive digital magazine app for premium content, exclusive interviews and more ways to stay on top of your game. Available now on iTunes and Google Play or visit Change Creator mag Comm. We’ll see you next time where money and meaning intersect right here at the Change Creator podcast.

Brian Robinson: Becoming a Selling Jedi Master For Your Startup

Listen to our exclusive interview with Brian Robinson:

Subscribe to this show on Spotify  |  iTunes  |  Stitcher  |  Soundcloud

One skill every entrepreneur needs is to know how to sell! And that’s what we are talking about with author and sales expert, Brian Robinson.

Brian Robinson is a sales and marketing expert, best-selling author, and coach. He has worked for some of the best-known companies in the world, including Coca-Cola USA and Johnson & Johnson.

Upon leaving his corporate career, he helped launch a successful startup where he was the first person in the history of the industry to sell more than one million dollars in business in twelve months—entirely by phone. He has over two-decades of in-the-trenches, battle-tested, face-to-face and phone-presentation experience that can benefit virtually anyone, from Fortune 500 companies to entrepreneurial ventures.

Brian is the author of the Amazon #1 Best-Seller, THE SELLING FORMULA: 5 Steps for Instant Sales Improvement. Brian and his wife Cindy reside in the Oklahoma City area and have eight children – which could be the topic of an an entire podcast in and of itself!

Learn more about Brian and his work at > http://brianrobinson.me

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Transcription of Interview

(Transcribed by Otter.ai, there may be errors)

Adam G. Force 00:01

Hey, what’s going on everybody? Welcome back to the change critter podcast show. This is your host, Adam force. If you missed the last episode, it’s with Mark Agnew. He runs this eyeglass companies challenging the famous one for one model that was started by Blake Mycoskie. And it’s great to see people continuing to innovate, how they can contribute and tweak their business models for different types of social impact. If you missed that one, I highly recommend going back to check it out. There’s lots of good little golden nuggets in there for you. This week, we’ll be talking to Brian Robinson. And I’m excited because, you know, we’re really focusing in on the sales and marketing stuff and it’s just such a critical part of business and a lot of people in the social impact space are you know, They have a fear of selling, you know, there’s just it’s so tainted from years of sleazy sales. But, you know, we’re changing that. And that’s, that’s a big focus for us, and how do we approach people as human beings today. And so anyway, Brian Robinson is a sales and marketing expert. And he’s also an author and a coach. He wrote a best selling book called The selling formula. He’s done a lot of work with big companies that you’ve probably heard of like Coca Cola, and Johnson and Johnson. So he has a lot of good insights in so we’re excited to see what he has to say about the sales process and and what he’s learned in his experience. And it’s interesting, because just recently, Amy and I, Amy, the co founder, Change Creator here, we were talking and one of the things that we brought up was, you know, how we start delegating things, especially when it comes to sales because we feel like maybe that’s just not our sweet spot. And it’s so important that as founders of companies, we become the number one salesperson because we really, there’s a lot there’s a lot that comes out of that experience and being called close to that process when it comes to understand the narrative identifying opportunities or problems in the, in that process. So we were talking and one of the things that came up was this statement that just kind of came out of nowhere. And it was a nice quote, but it’s important. And we’ve seen it happen a lot, which is you don’t hire a sales team. When sales are lacking. You hire a sales team when sales are thriving. So think about that. Because you know, what we’re trying to say is that if your sales are lacking, lacking, then your systems are not set up, right? It’s not working yet. So you can bring on a sales team spend a lot of money, and they’re gonna have a hard time selling. But if you are able to establish that sale system, then you bring on a sales team and you train them in it, you’re going to be able to really scale the business so it makes a very big difference. People we’ve interviewed have chimed in on that saying yes, been there. It was a very painful lesson. So remember that that’s a good it’s a good little tip and it’ll come in handy down the road. If you’re not following us on Facebook guys, check us out there. We do lots of good content, and we flow everything through there. And then our group is tied to that. So you can take it a step further and the group is the profitable digital impact entrepreneur. So check us out over there. Lots of good content coming down the pipeline. All right, well, let’s see what Brian has to say and get into this. Okay, show me the heat. Hey, what’s up, Brian, how you doing today? Welcome to the Change Creator, podcast show.

Brian Robinson 03:28

Thanks, Adam. doing awesome. Doing great.

Adam G. Force 03:31

Great, great, good to have you. I’m excited because we’re gonna talk about selling today. And you have an awesome book, the selling formula five steps, for instance, instant sales improvement, which is pretty cool. And you know, being transparent, I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I’d love to just hear your expertise since this is a big focus for us at Change Creator and helping our audience you know, sell more with their social good businesses. So yeah, I mean, I if you can Just like what what do you? What do you have going on these days? I like to just get like the latest of what you have going on.

Brian Robinson 04:06

Yeah, so very exciting. Our company, little less than two weeks ago just released out of beta. We’re, by the way, we’re a digital marketing company. We provide in lobby digital signage for a lot of businesses around the country. And we’re the first company to release that service on the Apple TV platform. So you can just navigate to it now find our app works 24. And we offer that service via that app. And there’s some incredible capabilities there. So our whole company’s stoked about it.

Adam G. Force 04:40

So you guys decided to make an app I think, you know, there’s it’s one of these bridges that people are scared to cross sometimes and I’m wondering what what led you to to commit to that.

Brian Robinson 04:53

We provide equipment to play the video content in our clients locations. We work with a lot of banks, credit unions, medical facilities, and the cost of obtaining that equipment, maintaining it. And all that goes with that, plus our whole force of service technicians. It became a reality that if we could provide an off the shelf hardware piece of hardware and it was integrated with the Apple device, then would be a game changer. And just out of the gate, it is absolutely a game changer. It’s changing everything about the way we think our clients think about the service the way they view us. Was it easy? No. It was a challenging road. And we had a good year and a half of development in it with our partner. And but it worked. And we just had to work through the the different components and pieces of making that happen. It was well worth it though. And it should be

Adam G. Force 05:54

I can I can definitely appreciate that. And I know what goes into creating these things. So kudos to you Guys, we’re getting that done and kind of pushing through.

Brian Robinson 06:03

Thank you. Thank you. Good team, we got a great team.

Adam G. Force 06:06

Awesome. So before I get into just the topic of selling and trying to get all the little nuggets I can from you just give us a little overview of the book, like why did you write it? And what are people supposed to take away from the selling formula?

Brian Robinson 06:23

Sure. My background was corporate sales with Johnson and Johnson and Coca Cola USA for a total of about 20 years. And I was in four different divisions. And Johnson and Johnson and I journal quite a bit. So I was sitting outside journaling, and I started to write down what what was it that I did consistently in my selling. And I kept bumping up against these five steps. And I recognized that, gosh, if I could help decrease the learning curve for somebody that’s challenged with sales or as in sales. And kind of questions in their gut, what am I missing? That’s why I wrote the book. And it’s, it’s kind of we talked about prior to the show, it’s kind of a velvet glove approach to interacting with your clientele.

Adam G. Force 07:14

Yeah. Okay. Got it. Got it. So I guess where I get curious is, you know, we are, you know, we’re helping people who are in the let’s just say the first five years of business. This is most common for our audience. And I’m wondering if in your mind, you have any thoughts on the difference in selling during that time? I mean, here we are in startup world, versus you know, we got the Johnson and Johnson’s, what are the differences in similarities? Any thoughts on that?

Brian Robinson 07:44

Yeah, great question. I discovered because I’m, I was involved in the startup several years ago, that I’m now with, and I compare that to what I do with Johnson and Johnson. The difference is With the entrepreneurial approach, truly, if you don’t sell you don’t eat. So you better have some response, you better close some deals. And so in the j&j world, at the end of the day, if you didn’t close a deal, it wasn’t live or die. It might hurt your numbers a little bit. So that’s the dramatic shift that occurred in my world when I went to straight commission sales and start in the startup. So what I found is the five steps if I can share those with you real quick, fire away. Yeah, the first step is to connect with your prospect and set the agenda. And what I found to be fascinating is after a full year of high level sales coaching, my number one takeaway is in this step, and that setting the agenda with your prospect, and that simply sounds like this. Hey, Adam, with your permission, I’d like to go ahead and set the agenda for our conversation today. Is that okay? Yeah, well Who wouldn’t say that’s okay? And you just tell them it’s three steps. And then I go into the in the book I talk about what you should potentially say. And what it does is it brings everything to attention right away in the prospects mind because they know you have a plan. And most people just show up. And you know, I’m gonna say, throw up. And that’s not a good plan, right? The second step is to interview the prospect. And this is critical. I discovered that questions really are the key to life. And if you take the time to craft clear, cogent questions, and literally have a sheet of questions with you pull it out when you’re having the conversation with your prospect. They respect that you’ve taken the time to do that. And it also takes the pressure off you to think about what you might have to say, yeah, and so that works really well. And then third is present your solution after you’ve Of course diagnosed the challenge. you present the solution based upon the answers you received. And then you give your pricing and your guarantees, and close the deal.

Adam G. Force 10:07

So I’m going to just jump in on this and kind of unpack a couple things going through my brain. And you know, you kind of started with this conversation with the with the potential client. But this is in a particular world, where you’re sitting down with somebody and having this conversation, whether it’s, you know, over the phone or in person or whatever it might be. What about people in the e commerce world who are trying to sell these products, you know, in ethical fashion? And, you know, how am I thinking, how is my thought process around selling today, different than if I’m not going and having quiet conversations like that?

Brian Robinson 10:44

So you referring to a more of an email approach or some of the social media approach?

Adam G. Force 10:49

Yeah, I mean, I’m getting there. That’s kind of where I’m going because you have to look at it. And because in our world, we got to say, well, not everybody has that kind of business, right, where I’m gonna go and say, Hey, client, let’s do some work and I want to close this deal. So now there has to be a conversation, I think, kind of translated from that in person, but now done digitally. So we have a different product. It’s a different dynamic. So if I have an e commerce store, and I’m trying to sell these things, how do we get the same conversations going and starting to flow? And this is kind of like what we talked about a lot. And it’s just these, I think there are core fundamentals to selling like you mentioned. So we’re just kind of starting to translate this stuff into like a digital environment, if you will. Mm hmm.

Brian Robinson 11:32

I really think the best way to frame that answer is with one key word and that’s curiosity. If you can convey a sincere, authentic sense of curiosity, with the questions, you ask that open, potentially open the dialogue with your prospect, that’s the key, instead of coming off as I know the answer to your problem. How about do you have a challenge like this? Is this something that you face What’s your 2am issue?

Adam G. Force 12:01

Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And that’s kind of like starting the conversation with them. So they can start feeling like you there’s something to relate to, like you understand you kind of get in their head a little bit, right? And you’re talking to them out. You know, you’re you’re asking these questions, but you can frame them up in ways where they’re like, yeah, that is me. And in a kind of start saying they start seeing themselves in this conversation.

Brian Robinson 12:24

Right on. Yeah, I totally agree.

Adam G. Force 12:26

Awesome. And so I guess I’m, I’m curious, have you had some interesting feedback and stuff on this book that you had?

Brian Robinson 12:35

Yeah, as a matter of fact, I just had a conversation last week, gentlemen, and I spoke and he said, he bought the book for his entire sales team. He’s with a medical startup. And he had them read it. And they’re actually going to apply these steps. Yeah. In their sales conversations. And so well, that that felt great. ,

Adam G. Force 12:57

Yeah, that’s pretty awesome. Yeah. And you Got a sorry, go ahead. You had something Oh, that’s

Brian Robinson 13:01

okay. When one of the one of the other things that I keep getting feedback on is the pre call preparation, the pre call mindset or mindfulness. Yeah. And that’s something that tends, in my view to be overlooked. And that’s simply taking some time to think about your prospect before you ever pick up the phone, send them an email, or get get in person with them. And it’s just taking some time to like and care and be grateful for them. And really kind of throw that picture in your mind that this is somebody you really want to serve. Yeah, and it changes the whole dynamic.

Adam G. Force 13:37

Right? Yeah, I can see that I can see that. And I think you know, today I one thing that stood out was I was I learned about the the guy that founded Costco a little while ago, and he mentioned that so many people suppliers want to distribute their product through Costco, right. And one of the things he mentioned was he said, you know, let’s say you have a laundry detergent. It’s a saturated market. There’s all these different people who are, you know, have different laundry detergent. So how does he decide which ones to work with? And he said, it’s not always about, you know, the price differentiation and all those things, because there’s a lot of common ground. So that differentiate it differentiation only goes so far when it’s saturated. It’s a saturated market. And he said, so the number one I know number one determinant about it is, I go with the person who I like and trust the most. Mm hmm. Yeah. Does that resonate with you?

Brian Robinson 14:33

Totally. Yeah, totally. It’s, at the end of the day, it’s a like, and trust world with selling. Yeah, yeah. You know, some people are just strictly transactional. I don’t think that’s the vast majority of people though. Now, because we really want to connect with others.

Adam G. Force 14:49

Yeah, there may be circumstances and you can win like that here and there. There’s these transaction things. It’s just a great deal. But in the long run, I don’t know that those methods are sustainable. And there’s gonna be some kind of burnout through trying to compete on things like price like that. I think you start to fall apart after a while.

Brian Robinson 15:06

Totally agree. I’ve seen it happen in multiple industries, too. Yeah, if the old the old adage is if you live by price, you’re gonna die by price.

Adam G. Force 15:15

Exactly. I mean, you just can’t you cannot continue to compete that way. It’s just it just wears out. It can be difficult and then you can you don’t really have differentiation at that point. You just have a momentary blip of differentiation.

Brian Robinson 15:31

That’s right. That’s right. It is momentary.

Adam G. Force 15:33

It is momentary.

Brian Robinson 15:35

Yeah, well said.

Adam G. Force 15:36

Interesting. Interesting. So tell me a little bit more about the formula. I like to hear the way you’re approaching things and I guess teaching and I started in my mind everything we do is digital, right. So like, one thing that we’ve done, I’ll just share this before you get into some details is you know, I Change Creator we talked about how important it is to before you Sell digitally, to get on the phone with people who are who you think are your correct customers. And even if it’s zoom over zoom or Skype and you do like a video call, and and talk to them and sell your product to them on the spot. Mm hmm. And then, you know, the fascinating part of that is, through those conversations we were because you know, everyone that everyone knows do market research to get to know your audience, but it’s super different when you actually try to start selling to them. Because the conversation dynamic changes, all of a sudden you have a sales narrative being built for your digital environment. Mm hmm. Yeah, I’m just curious, like, just to share that because, you know, we’re talking about learning to sell in person in order to sell digitally. And I’m curious on your thoughts of just how important it is to be able to do that as a founder.

Brian Robinson 16:51

Oh, it’s critical. And then it really brings me to a point in the book about the questions you ask. And I’ve discovered a very powerful way to build your questions. And it’s very simple. Just take a sheet of paper or an Excel spreadsheet and make three columns. And then put in your first column, the key feature, right out next to that in the second column, the benefits related to that feature, there’s going to be multiple benefits. And then in the third column, write the key questions that would elicit those benefits. And you’re going to wind up having this fanning out from features all the way to questions of bullet points, and then take the 20% most important benefits and use those questions in your narrative. And here’s an example of that. This is this is in the book, but I’m just gonna read this. I think it’s very helpful, perhaps for your listeners. Yeah. So imagine that you’re selling pre made home cooked meals for two to six people. And what you do is you simply have the first benefit is it saves up to 16 minutes per meal, including for food purchase prep and cooking time. Another benefit is just pull it out of the freezer and put it in the oven. So there’s two benefits you’ve written down for that. Yeah, so three questions. Number one. And the third question is most critical. Number one, on a weekly basis, how many dinners Do you cook for your family? You could see asking that right. Yeah. Question two, how much time does it typically take you to make a dinner for your family? Yes. Okay. That’s a fair question. But the critical question gets down to the emotional piece. If you could just pull your dinner out of the freezer already prepared and put it into the oven without having to think about it. How would that affect the frequency of your family meals?

Adam G. Force 18:39

Yeah, yeah. Right. How does it affect you in general, like your time you free up time, there’s more time with maybe the family. So there’s, I think that’s a powerful point.

Brian Robinson 18:49

And that’s where you want to ultimately go as you craft your questions is into that space where it really affects the individual and could affect their life, their family. And so on.

Adam G. Force 19:02

I love that. Yeah, I like the three column approach that’s kind of organizing your thought process a bit for these conversations. And, you know, I’m one of the things that we’ve gotten really into is, you know, telling stories to people to help them like when they have an objection, you might say, well, we don’t, we don’t like frozen food. And that in that example, you gave, right. And so this, that and the other because of certain reasons, so would you do you find yourself in these conversations with clients to say, Yeah, well, you know, my friend Susie, it’s amazing, Chris, she felt the same way. And but here’s what she found out, and then you tell a story that demonstrates something that kind of like, overcomes the objection that they just had.

Brian Robinson 19:45

That is a brilliant approach. Adam, I referenced that in the book. And you’re absolutely right. What you’ve done in that case is you’ve pre created social proof. It’s third party and it’s not you telling them it’s the story, selling them Really what it boils down to, let me give an example of this a live example. Our car company sells, in addition to digital signage on hold messages for the phone system. So somebody put on hold, though, hear those messages, etc. And they’re custom. I had a client call me he’d been with us six years, and he wanted to cancel our service. And my knee jerk response was, Oh, my gosh, what do we do wrong? And he said, Nothing. I really think people listen to on hold messages, Brian. And I said, Well, let me try something. And Adam, we are involved in conferences all over the country, and we provide a driver for giveaway, it’s worth about $300 in a drawing, and we do this everywhere. I had an extra driver in my office and I said to my client, well, let me try something. I’m gonna go ahead and write five messages. And let’s see if anybody even responds. We’re going to give away a driver on hold. So an example of one of the messages was, we don’t even know if you’re listening to this, but if you are, please tell the receptionist you heard this message when you come off hold and wait. into a drawing for a free $300 driver in 17 days 97 people signed up to win that driver Wow. He kept the service that story I just shared is that is to your point it’s a story I share with people that that think nobody listens to on hold messages and nobody can argue with that because it’s a true experience.

Adam G. Force 21:23

Yeah I love it and that is the key don’t tell demonstrate and that demonstration provides such clarity around the idea it’s powerful and then you’re not just like telling someone something you know where they have no context almost right.

Brian Robinson 21:39

Exactly.

Adam G. Force 21:41

Now the context is there. I love that and it gives value to what you say. I was I was I heard a story about there is a couple of days in Coney Island. This guy’s like I brought my wife to to Coney Island to see this art or no was she brought him to an art display. And there was this guy that did this famous picture of a pig swimming in the ocean. And she’s like, Well, what do you see here? She’s like, well, I see a pig swimming in the ocean. Right? no context. And then the artist, or photographer came over. And essentially this guy started this company for meat purposes on this island, but he didn’t think far enough ahead. And he, you know, didn’t plan on how to feed these pigs. And so long story short, I’m really kind of rushing through it. But long story short, what happens is the he had to a restaurant on another island. So anytime they had all the food scraps, they’d get in a boat, go over to pig Island, and out in the water, they dump all this food and the pigs learned over generation after generation, they’d have to swim out to get the food. So now when they see boats coming, they say, hey, it’s feeding time. And that’s how the photographer was also able to get such close up photos with the pigs and everything else in pig Island. And so at the end his story now the guys like Here’s I want this picture. It’s a great talking piece. It’s a great, you know, like all this stuff, so he added so much value to it. But without that story, there was not a not value where he would want to buy it.

Brian Robinson 23:11

Guess what, Adam? Yeah, I have fed those pigs in the Bahamas get to hell. I’m not kidding. And the weird thing about it, we fed them hot dogs.

Adam G. Force 23:21

There. Yeah. That’s pretty messed up, man.

Brian Robinson 23:27

But it was hilarious. You jump out of the boat and they are they’re just swimming out. It’s so funny. And so fun.

Adam G. Force 23:32

That is cool. That is after hearing that myself. Like, I want to go experience that and it is a cool conversation. Yeah, man. That’s good. That’s good. So um, yeah, so I guess, I guess Tell me a little bit more. I’m curious. One thing that people forget is okay, great. You learned how to talk the talk and walk the walk and you’re able to get clients great. You made the sale. But what about the big, important part of your business, which is post sale and renewals? Mm hmm. I think people forget that part of it.

Brian Robinson 24:11

Well, we’re, you’re right. And we’re fortunate in our industry, we have clients, service representatives, that they’re tasked with reaching out to our clients every 30 days. And so they’re constantly getting touched. So to your point, when renewal time happens, it’s not like I showed up and then come back a year or two or three later and say, hey, guess what, it’s time to renew. And they’re like, Who the heck are you? Yeah. They’ve said, Oh, I’m sorry. I haven’t been changing our content as much as I should. But Kelly always reaches out to me and there’s She’s so good about that. And, wow, I don’t have to work as hard nearly as hard as if I showed up once every x number of months or years, right?

Adam G. Force 24:51

Yes. Yeah. And so I’m gonna just put that into context for people listening is you have a system that works for you. Meaning like, you You don’t have to work as hard because of those very simple light touch points every 30 days. Mm hmm.

Brian Robinson 25:07

And it’s all part it’s automated as well, but we escalate it to a personal contact. If after six days from that automated response, we don’t get anything. Yeah.

Adam G. Force 25:16

And that’s it. I just that’s just a piece

Adam Force & Amy Aitman: How We’re Navigating Covid-19 as Digital Impact Entrepreneurs

Subscribe to this show on Spotify  |  iTunes  |  Stitcher  |  Soundcloud

It’s not business as usual right now but this is a good thing for us as leaders and entrepreneurs.

Change Creator cofounders, Adam and Amy, talk about how we’re navigating these changing times and how you can really lean into your business right now as well.

This is the time when our actions are going to change the trajectory of our businesses and our clients for the next six months.

We also recommend:

Transcription of Interview

(Transcribed by Otter.ai, there may be errors)

Adam G. Force 00:11

Hey, what’s up everybody? Welcome back to the Change Creator podcast show hope everybody is doing amazing. If you missed the last episode was with Allie ball, she is crushing it, turning her intellectual property into a thriving business. So it’s a great interview for you guys to check out lots of good nuggets in there. She’s in the food, retail space, but she’s talking about how she developed her business online from consulting to actual you know, evergreen digital, so lots of good nuggets in there for you guys. So go back and check that out when you get a chance. You know, today we’re going to do something special, and I hope everybody is staying safe. I know we’re going through some very unique, unprecedented times with this virus that is going around. So I hope you’re practicing your social distancing, saying inside and staying safe with your families. This is so important right now for people. And it’s also a great opportunity. Right? So it depends on how we look at everything. And all throughout history, whether it was Einstein or Nikola Tesla, you know, the idea of isolation and solitude is also, you know, the times that you have the most creativity, those epiphanies and aha moments, giving your brain it kind of like gets into this focus. And when you’re alone, these great ideas can surface Okay, so take advantage of that. What can we do to serve more people? How can we pivot our business to adjust to what’s going on today and help others who are struggling, right. So there’s a lot to consider and a lot to think about. So Amy, and I actually did a Facebook Live not too long ago. And we’ll be doing some more. It’s been a little bit crazy here. So we’re trying to pop on as often as we can. And we talked about some of these things. Because we noticed in our Facebook group, the profitable digital impact entrepreneur, how people are feeling. And I know that people’s businesses are taking a hit, or they’re nervous, or they are, you know, faced with some fear and anxiety around the circumstance. And so we wanted to talk about that a little bit. How do we, how should we be thinking about this situation today, and start adapting? And so this is actually a Facebook Live, I wanted to bring it here to the podcast, because I thought it was a good conversation, and that you all would get something out of it. Okay, so we’re gonna dive into this conversation. And Amy and I are going to talk about, you know, how we’re navigating everything with what’s going on today. Right? Like, what does it mean to your business? How should we be thinking, and it’s just, you know, it’s not business as usual, right? So this is the time to step up as a leader. We are entrepreneurs, we are problem solvers. And this is the time when our actions are really going to start shifting the trajectory of our business and our clients over the next six months. So we’re gonna dive into that chat. And this is again the Facebook Live that we did recently. And I wanted to bring it to you guys here on the podcast. I hope you guys enjoy this and you get something out of it. We’ll be doing more live. So join us in our Facebook group, the profitable digital impact entrepreneur and guys, as always stop by change crater comm we have lots of good stuff being published over there for content that you guys will probably find very valuable. Without further ado, let’s jump into this disc. Okay, show me that hey. Hey, everybody. So pretty interesting times. I think these are unprecedented and a lot going on. So Amy and I have been talking a lot amongst ourselves and our team but also with other teams and people in our network. And we wanted to just bring this conversation to you. So I don’t know if you saw our notes in the group yesterday, but there’s a lot that we Want to support you with when it comes to kind of managing how things are changing? And what it means to us as entrepreneurs, especially as entrepreneurs in the social impact space, right? Mm hmm. So there’s a few things we were going to cover off today that we think would be helpful just to kind of like, start things with you. And so, you know, Amy, we had a couple topics that are really important. And I think there’s Miss misconceptions here. And this is kind of a time where we really want to be empathizing and supporting each other. But, you know, we’re looking at what it means to people and their business right now. Right, like we have this virus taking place. And how is it changing your clients lives? How is it changing the customers you have and their lives? I mean, how many of you are hearing comments from clients? You know, we’ve heard about clients wanting to pull ad dollars out. We were part of a summit in May and our Are the person that was running that are one of our coaches had to rejigged the entire thing to become virtual right to support what’s going on in these circumstances? You know, people are, they have brick and mortar style businesses, and they have to figure out how to digitize them and what that means. So we want to talk about a couple key things. What was the first thing on on our lists, Amy that we wanted to cover?

Amy Aitman 05:24

Yeah, before we get through our proper gonna cover I just wanted to say like, many of you out there, you’re probably self isolating right now. We’re here we’re with our families. I just want like one to say that when our if you see our post yesterday, our like, our businesses, and our lives are so intertwined. And right now like I’m home here with my little guy, he might be home off of school for quite a while and I’m just so thankful and grateful. And Adam, Adam has a little one on the way soon.

Adam G. Force 05:57

Yeah, we’re, you know,

Amy Aitman 05:58

we’re dealing with not just are businesses here but our lives and that’s why we really wanted to come and speak to you guys more, we’re going to be coming on live more, we’re going to be speaking to you guys so much more because we really want to support you during this time. And this is why this our first talk. And you can hear my little guide. So it’s gonna happen. And so these are the comp we’ve been having a lot of conversations with our students with our clients with, like Adam said with other entrepreneurs in the space. And one of these is topics that are coming up the most, the most for people and we really want to talk about so today we’re going to talk about is it unethical to sell your products and services during this time right now? I know there’s a lot of things going on. And this is a question that we’ve actually gotten quite a bit so we’re going to talk about that.

Adam G. Force 06:52

Yeah, which is a good question because we all feel just put Coronavirus aside. You know, a lot of times you say Selling and people give you the face like, Oh, yeah, I don’t want to do that right because that’s kind of a gross thing. It’s not like they feel dirty a little bit. And there is some stigma around it. But what happens when you have a situation like today, right the Coronavirus, like should you be out there selling? And the short answer is as entrepreneurs, we are wired to be problem solvers. Right. And when we are solving a problem, we are trying to transform someone’s life. And that means we look for ways to support them and transform their life, which means we’re selling. And so you know, an example of this would just be having a brick and mortar store and having a service that is offline. But then you have a program that can help someone Bring It Online, right, because during this time, they’re not able to run their business, the way they normally Would. So if they’re losing money month over month or right now week over week, and you can help them kind of get set up to get that money back into their pockets for their family, then it’s okay for you to sell a program that will support them and doing that, you know, we still have to run our businesses and we’re lucky right? Me because you have digital businesses now. Put a comment here if you’re if you hear this talk right now, and you know, maybe you’re somebody that is trying to get digital and you need support for being digital. You know, maybe you’re one of those guys because this is happening a lot. And so really understanding Well, what are your your audience and your clients going through? And if there are creative ways as a problem solver for you to help them. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do everything for free is there communities and discussions about things that are free? Yes, but you can definitely be selling and should be selling Because if you are selling, it means you’re out there transforming someone’s life. You’re helping someone solve what they have, and you’re putting money back in their pocket. Right? So that’s our initial instinct as leaders and as entrepreneurs. I don’t know if you have other thoughts around that, Amy,

Amy Aitman 09:15

no, this is the time that we really need to be helping people and we need to be selling. And I think a lot of us, especially as ethical entrepreneurs, we want to we have such empathy for our customers or for clients. But really, all of you that are sitting out there are good people, you we’re not talking about somebody selling, you know, hoards of toilet paper and selling them on the block. Not doing that, like that’s not what we do, the businesses that you guys have and the businesses that like that we have here. I know that we help people in our program, we help our clients build their businesses, we help our clients, you know, supercharge their marketing, and so that’s something that people really need, especially in these times. And I really believe that this is the time that what the decisions that we’re making now as problem solvers, as leaders, as entrepreneurs, that’s going to change the not just the trajectory of our businesses and of our customers lives, but of our communities and the people that we can really help and we’ve been given such privileged to have online like right now, the internet’s not down. The digital space is not here, there is a lot of ways to help people. And so if you are struggling with thinking about like discounting your your service or not selling your service or taking it offline, I really want to encourage you to say, No, you’re helping, you’re helping people and if you don’t have a digital offer, or you don’t have a digital product, there’s so many ways to get creative. I have seen so many of my friends and people come out of the come into the digital space and a new way and show up and be like how do I use zoom and how do I build my community and how can I start a Facebook group tonight I have at seven o’clock I have a digital zoom book class now is simple. Really? Yes, right. I thought it was amazing that she really wants to that my zoom instructor really wants to lean into her community and say, Hey, I know that you guys are all home. And that you’re all we’re all self isolating right now. So why don’t we do zuba one of our colleagues has his has a lot of events and events space. So he brings entrepreneurs, digital entrepreneurs together six, seven figure digital entrepreneurs together. And guess what, a lot of us in those spaces and depends if you’re an e commerce right now, or if you have depends on what niche you are, if you’re in the travel niche, some of us are really struggling with certain digital aspects. So he’s like, how can I build my community around now on Friday mornings, we’re going to have these talks and we’re going to bring that together. And that’s just really what I’m saying. So if you you guys are good people. You have products, you have services you have offers. That are really helping people lean into that. How can you help more people, I would say, lean away from discounting your service or from taking your offer off the table or from not doing your marketing right now. And guess what, there’s more that you can do. You can offer bonus workshops, you can offer bonus lives, you can offer both bonus things to really lean in, if that’s what you want to do and bring more value. That’s what Adam and I are doing. And that’s why we released a statement yesterday, we are offering more help to our current students and helping them say, Hey, are you guys struggling right now? Are you worried about, you know, creating your digital offer and you want to you want to do that a little bit faster. We’re here to help. This is what we live and what we breathe. Right, Adam?

Adam G. Force 12:45

Yeah, absolutely. And it’s been pretty impressive. You know, there’s just been such an incredible amount of community kind of uprising in a sense. I’ve been invited to digital coffee meetups. To meet while we’re all social distancing, right? We can’t get in person. So great conversations happening about these things brainstorming what’s going on. What have you heard from clients? What have you heard from clients? How can you help them? What are the big challenges they’re facing? Because if they’re losing money, you want to help them, figure out how they can solve that. Right? So, you know, seeing all these big conferences and summits go virtual, I mean, this is leadership, right? They’re not just shutting it down. They’re figuring out a way to continue to serve their audiences and their clients one way or the other just like zoombak continue to serve their audience. I think it’s really impressive and you know, we’re just hammering off like a couple you know, scenarios here. But there’s a lot of scenarios out there for different clients when it comes to advertising when it comes to marketing when it comes from brick and mortar to digital, like all these different things have to be taken into account. There may be a little piece of that equation that you have expertise around and that you could support. Let’s say you have a course or something, it might be part of that program that supports it, and you create a workshop out of it. And now you have that for $100 versus your original $500 program, right? So there’s pieces and things that may not even require you to do a ton more work. It’s just a very focused offering, that will help someone with a very new and unique problem that they have because of this global, you know, challenge we’re facing right now.

Amy Aitman 14:36

And as entrepreneurs, I think it’s really exciting for us to have these challenges and to set our businesses up and to be into really help people and get them said, How are we leaning into our customers and saying, Okay, what is your challenges right now? Where are your pain points? What are you guys struggling with right now? And what can I create to really help you write up

Adam G. Force 15:05

And part of that is get involved in the communities. I mean, we had someone in our mastermind group, start a Facebook community and you know, having some of these discussions. I mean, people are hungry for the support. How do you get involved? Learn More. This is about empathizing. This is about connecting with people online, having these conversations. And it’s not just going in there and thinking, selling selling, it’s, it’s how do I help you? And that doesn’t mean you have to give every all your time, energy and expertise away for free. You just help you solve problems. Put the Coronavirus aside, you’re always solving someone’s problem. You’re not taking advantage of them but you’re giving them a solution that transforms their life. So, you know, that’s that’s the entrepreneurial mindset it is how do we solve these problems? And you know, I agree with Amy, you know, we’re not here to just like discount and Do all these kind of crazy offers because of it, it’s a problem. You’re supporting people. It’s no different than any other way. You want to be sensitive and empathetic to their situation and be authentic and genuine in trying to help right?

Amy Aitman 16:14

I mean, make a really good point and honestly like with or without the Coronavirus, these are the things that we need to lean into. We are problem solvers. We need to think about who we’re helping. And one of the things we talk about a lot around here is digital conversations, and building communities. This is not new to us. This is what we do all the time. This is what we help people do. And so if you’re sitting there right now and you’re worried about your business and you’re thinking about I need to solve some new problems, this is something that you need to be doing with or without staying at home for three weeks or these big downturns in the economy. Like we want you to set up your business for a lifetime. We want you to have these systems set up for a lifetime. Yeah, that’s what we’re, I mean, this is what we can help you, you guys do. And I love that. One of the things that we’ve said we’re talking about today is how to really lean in and build stronger communities. And that’s why we’re here today. Right? We’re, you know, we’re leaning into you guys. And we really want you guys to build these strong communities. But I want you guys to think about what you’re doing today to set your business up for the next six months, the next 12 months because guess what this Coronavirus thing Yes, it’s probably going to get a little worse, we’re probably going to have a lot more shutdowns a lot more things, a downturn in the economy, but it’s going to get better before it will get better things are going to get back to normal and for the for us problem solvers. For us leaders here we can this is a really a time that we can really dig in deep now. I’ve talked to a lot of conversations recently with people about how they shut down their businesses to be honest with you, and what and they asked me what was your what’s your Advice like you have your, your setup. Amy, you have a digital online presence. Yeah. I said, Yeah. Because I’ve always been working on this. This is what I’ve done to recession proof my business, resend Yes. You know, so I said, What can you What can you do right now? And my answer to this was like lean into your marketing lean into your customers, you might not have something to actually sell them right now you have a we might have a brick and mortar store that is that’s where they have to come to get your services. But there’s so many things that you can do set up your online systems, you know, talk to people, email your audience, build your audience, this, these things come down in the next three weeks, four weeks, you know, three months. So then long term thinking, which is where we should be thinking as entrepreneurs, we’re set up. So the decisions that we’re making now and that you guys are making now in your businesses, that’s where they’re really going to pay off for us long term and I want you guys 16 I have taught I know many of you personally that are that are out there. And I’ve talked about your businesses and you guys are doing some amazing things. We really want your businesses to succeed, because you guys are here to make a better world. And so that’s why we’re here today.

Adam G. Force 19:17

Yeah, listen, it taught me to go on and on about it. And I think it’s important to recognize there was a great insight. And this is just part of the entrepreneurial mindset, especially during these times that one of our coaches shared, and that is, you know, this is not a time to respond out of a place of fear and anxiety. Right, because as things around us are changing, hey, I have a baby on the way and my wife works in hospital hospitals here in Miami out right? Yeah, like this is not a good situation for us. My wife was at the hospital until midnight last night doing were coming home like it’s chaos and So that makes me nervous. And this is a difference in my life now. Right? So this is how my life has changed. And I’m lucky I work out of the house. And I think Amy made a great point about being recession proof, you know, we have learned to create digital systems online that work for us. And we, it’s it is kind of recession proof, you know, unless the there’s people, if people out there right now can’t get involved with what you offer, that might be a new dynamic of how you need to support them. And that’s kind of what we’ve been talking about here. But you know, there’s a lot that’s to be said for getting set up digitally. Not even just because of this situation, I would look at this situation to say, this is actually giving me the kick in the butt to back it up. So in the future, I am recession proof, right. And this is what we’re so passionate about in the captivate method program because we are that’s what we help with it as well. about building up your brand story, understanding how to set up digital systems, how to get people to love what you do. And once you have those systems running, you’re in good shape during these times, right? So, you know, these are just some of the key points that we wanted to bring up today. And, you know, don’t come at this from a place of fear and reservation, right? You’re not being unethical. You’re a problem solver. You’re here to help people. That’s why you’re an entrepreneur. So get creative, lean in and figure out what communities you can be part of, and help people, right.

Amy Aitman 21:35

Yeah, that’s, I love that, Adam. And you know what, we’re here to help you guys as well. And there’s a lot of topics that are going to better coming up. I mean, like setting up your digital systems, what tools you can use, how to have build digital communities, how do you build a community around your mission, we’re here to help you and give you guys some ideas and inspire that as well. So if there’s any topics or you guys are having a struggle by Want you to leave a comment? Ask a comment, this is the time that you guys can really dig in. I really feel like this situation in the world is actually a really great opportunity for us as entrepreneurs to really lean into our businesses to focus on the things that are going to set us up to build stronger communities digitally. Like it’s really exciting. I feel like this virus is not political. It’s bringing the whole world has to come together. There are some really positive things about it. So I feel like that’s why we’re given this opportunity right now. This is a good

Adam G. Force 22:32

time. Yeah. Active matters. And while it is a terrible thing that’s going on, and it’s kind of like disrupting things. That’s what we are about as entrepreneurs, we disrupt, right? And so we just look at this and we say, all right, what’s going on? How do we solve these problems? How do I help people get through these tough times? Guys, ask questions. If you’re stuck with your business, you’re not sure how to manage it. Like we’re here. Like we’re leaning in. We’re opening up this conversation. And so that you can ask questions. So if you have questions, or you need support with something, we can set up a digital coffee date, we could do group talks, you can jump on live again and cover certain topics. If there’s something you want us to talk about, that you have questions on, you know, just put it out there. You know, we’re here to help in any way. So, I mean, I think me that’s, that’s, I think, covers most of what we want to

Amy Aitman 23:23

Yeah , I think so.

Adam G. Force 23:24

We’ll be back. We have some other things to dig in. But this was just to kick this off, because we’ve noticed some of the fears people have, but also the automatic response of holding back. Right? Well, mine can’t sell, I can’t sell now, like, I don’t want to be the guy profiting off of this. And you know, that’s not the case. So you’re not selling toilet paper and flipping it.

Amy Aitman 23:48

hand sanitizers and I mean,

Adam G. Force 23:50

like Gary Vee came on, he’s like, I don’t want to see anybody out there, you know, buying up all the Purrel and then flipping it that’s shit. You know? Don’t be those guys. But I think there’s a lot of

Amy Aitman 24:04

I don’t think anyone sitting here are those guys right Adam?

Adam G. Force 24:08

no, no, no, this is all about impact entrepreneurs, guys, we’re here to be honest, authentic, genuine, really help people. There’s people out there that need your help. You might have expertise, tools, insights. So just get involved, talk to people set up a virtual coffee group, you know, whatever it is come up with creative ideas. There’s a lot that can be done to help people get through this time.

Amy Aitman 24:32

Yeah, you guys have unique, unique skills and abilities and great ways to help people. So that’s what I would encourage you guys to do and share your comments. Ask your questions. We’ll be back. Awesome. We’re gonna be here. Alright guys, see you later. Okay, Bye, guys.

Adam G. Force 24:50

That’s all for this episode. Your next step is to join the Change Creator revolution by downloading our interactive digital magazine app for premium content exclusive interview. And more ways to stay on top of your game available now on iTunes and Google Play or visit Change Creator mag Comm. We’ll see you next time where money and meaning intersect right here at the Change Creator podcast.

Shane Foss: Disrupting the Healthcare Industry To Help Underserved People

Listen to our exclusive interview with Shane Foss:

Subscribe to this show on Spotify  |  iTunes  |  Stitcher  |  Soundcloud

The healthcare industry has not changed much over the decades and is ready for disruption! But how? We talk to Shane foss who is taking it head-on. He shares his strategy but also other areas in healthcare that could be lucrative for entrepreneurs.

About Shane

With over 20 years of tenure as an executive in the medical industry, Shane Foss became frustrated with how under-served Americans were with the current healthcare options. He set out to make a change and in 2018 achieved this goal through launching Hooray Health, an unconventional health insurance company dedicated to providing affordable basic and urgent health care alternatives to high-deductible health plans. Through Hooray Health, Foss and his team focus on offering peace of mind to lower-income individuals and families who face medical challenges, while also providing business owners with an affordable way to reward and retain employees. Partnering with companies like Sedera, Ameritas, and Aflac, they have be able to add critical services and supplemental plans giving immense value to employers and individuals. Throughout his professional experience, Foss has negotiated complex, multi-million-dollar contracts, worked in device sales management, created business strategies, and optimized P&L. He holds an MBA from Rice University’s, Jone’s School of Business, a BS from the University of the Incarnate Word, and a Surgical Technologist Certificate from the United States Air Force.

Learn more about Shane and his work at > https://hoorayhealthcare.com

We also recommend:

Transcription of Interview

(Transcribed by Otter.ai, there may be errors)

Adam G. Force 00:11

What’s going on everybody? Welcome back to the Change Creator podcast show. This is your host, Adam force. If you missed last week’s episode, it was with one of the founding partners of a company called lime. If you’ve seen all the scooters running around, if you live in the city that they’re doing one of their tests and they’re all over the world now. They are really transforming urban living with this thing called the micro mobility movement. So we talked about that industry, the trend for disrupting transportation and how it impacts climate change, and all that kind of stuff. So it’s a really great conversation. If you missed it, I would highly recommend you check that out. There’s lots of golden nuggets in there from Andrew. This week, we’re gonna be talking to Shane fosse. He’s the CEO of a company called hooray health. So Shane has over 20 years of experience as an executive in the medical industry and he became frustrated Did as all entrepreneurs do with a problem, the problem was that they’re the Americans were underserved. So this is us base. They’re underserved with the current healthcare options. And this is an area I wanted to discuss as healthcare. It’s a very important area. And it’s been like a long standing industry that hasn’t really changed much. So to see somebody disrupting it and learn how they’re doing that, I thought it’d be a really great discussion, and it’s an area that we need a lot more entrepreneurs in. So he set out to make a change. And in 2018, he changed the goal by setting up and launching hooray health and they describe it as an unconventional health insurance company dedicated to providing affordable basic and urgent health care alternatives to high deductible health plans. Alright, so we’re going to talk about the industry how and Andrew. Shane will also help kind of we’re going to get into maybe some areas that entrepreneurs can get involved to disrupt the healthcare industry and then talk more about what they’re doing and stuff like that. So this is really relevant for business owners and for individuals who are looking for health care options and want to understand the industry. Okay? Step by Change Creator comm lots of fresh content going up there, guys, we just keep it flowing. And we love to make sure you get your hands on it. Tons of good, good stuff. You can also get on the waitlist for the captivate method right off our homepage. Don’t miss out on that opportunity. It is a powerful, powerful community. And we’re having a lot of fun with people that are already involved. And hopefully this is something that can help grow and sustain your business. Right? So it is all about getting it set up, right, how to tell your story to the world and put it at the heart of your marketing, right? This is how we connect with people. And then you got to actually set the business up to scale, get more leads, get more customers, and we got to do these things, right. There’s a million different options out there. And what our team is going to help with is giving clarity about the messaging clarity about yourself. And clarity about the execution. So check that out when you get a chance Change Creator calm. And I think we’re gonna dive right into this conversation with Shane right now. Okay, show me the heat. Hey Shane, welcome to the Change Creator podcast show how you doing today?

Shane Foss 03:18

I’m doing wonderful. Thanks, Adam.

Adam G. Force 03:20

Awesome. Where are you located from? I forget.

Shane Foss 03:23

Oh, Dallas, Texas,

Adam G. Force 03:25

Dallas, Texas. You know, my sister lived in Texas for, I don’t know, 15 years. She was in Denton, which I think is just outside of. Yeah, just north of us.

Shane Foss 03:33

Yeah, just north

Adam G. Force 03:34

of Boston. Now. I have been to the Lonesome Dove and I know that is a very, very good spot for dinner. So that’s definitely yes. There’s a couple spots in Texas that I do love.

Shane Foss 03:43

Yeah, yeah, it’s great state. I moved out here from Minnesota. She’s 20 plus years ago now.

Adam G. Force 03:50

So Oh, wow. That’s a big change. cold cold cold to pretty hot.

Shane Foss 03:55

Yes. Exactly.

Adam G. Force 03:56

Exactly. Awesome. So you No, you are CEO of hooray health, lots of stuff going on here. And I love to talk about the healthcare industry. I think it’s such an important topic and it needs a lot of love these days. So we’ll dive into that in just a minute. But maybe you could tell everybody just what’s going on in your world these days with hooray health, like, what’s the latest and greatest?

Shane Foss 04:20

So, we’re really excited. We We just finished our Series B funding. We closed that up, actually last week. So that was a big milestone for us. We are we’re a startup. We’re, you know, almost three years into it. And we have just gotten to that hockey stick of growth. And so we’re a we’re a product that basically addresses basic medical healthcare coverage for hourly employees, part time employees. And it’s a it’s a product that really is there to serve a purpose. For somebody that cannot afford major medical, and a lot of people don’t realize that when you’re when you’re actually, you know, buying a, you know, $1,000 a month or 1500 dollar a month family plan, that, you know, you’re not going to spend all of that money, right, you’re not going to spend anywhere near that money, you’re gonna have all these deductibles and out of pockets and, and so you’re spending all this money that you can afford. And a lot of people just say forget it, and then they end up with no health coverage. And that’s where we come in. And so, you know, we were really focused on addressing those needs for the people that need it the most.

Adam G. Force 05:41

So, I mean, I like to just know a little bit about how you got there because I in my personal opinion, when I think about the healthcare, industry and insurance of any kind, and you call you say, assurance, which I think is cool spin and I just think of it as such a it’s an old system that has been around for a while done a certain way and how like, I’m curious how you got to the point of actually thinking about tackling this thing and doing something different.

Shane Foss 06:11

So, my background, really, I wasn’t in health insurance. I was from a been in health care in medical device. So as worked with a large, large medical device, orthopedic metal, medical device manufacturers running sales organizations for them. And I’ve always loved healthcare. My wife’s an anesthesiologist. We volunteer every year for medical mission work down in Guatemala, and so it’s, I love healthcare. I was introduced to health insurance after I joined a startup, I guess it was probably about six years ago now five or six years ago, and I just fell in love with the health insurance space because I saw all of this opportunity and I think as an entrepreneur, you you see the process problem, then you’re wondering why people aren’t addressing it. And then so you come up with a solution. And then you build your, your product based on that. And so I’m the founder or co founder of ways I listened to him talk a couple months ago, and we were in this meeting together. And, and he said something that was very profound, it said, Love the problem, not the solution. And so, you know, so what that means is, you know, you got to have a problem that makes sense that needs to get addressed, right? And then you got to fall in love with the problem, not your solution, right? Because that solution, just like for us, you know, it evolves it’s an evolution, right, the, the product you start with, is not what you’re gonna end up with, and it may not be what’s successful. And so, you know, it’s really interesting. I think that being an entrepreneur is, is a huge blessing in the sense that you get To get to go to work today every day and not know what it looks like, right? I mean, there’s something new that happens every day that you didn’t know was going to happen. And so, you know, in preparation for that I, you know, I worked for some great companies, you know, one of them was Stryker orthopedics that really, really gave me the foundation in a business standpoint, to do what I’m doing today. And, and so it gave me the confidence to do what I’m doing today. And so, you know, as other entrepreneurs are out there, getting ready to identify that that problem and build a solution, you know, it’s it’s a daunting task, but if you’ve got the foundation, it’s great.

Adam G. Force 08:41

Yeah. And so is this problem that you’re solving? Do you see it as something that’s just always been around? Or is it something that’s really starting to blossom more now?

Shane Foss 08:56

Well, it’s definitely blossoming I think it’s been exasperated by Obamacare, the ACA, the implementation, you know, that really, you know, I know that the idea was sincere and it was a good, good intention. But the problem is, and anytime you rush to a solution, you know, of course, you’re never going to have all of the angles figured out. But when you rush to a solution like that, that’s this complicated and massive. You’re, you know, you’re going to have follow, you’re going to have huge issues. And one of the things that’s come out of this is our uninsured rate continues to grow dramatically. But it’s really, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s prevented our hourly rate to really grow that middle class, we’re destroying the middle class with the cost of health care. Healthcare now has become, you know, if you’re a part time or hourly wage employee, you pretty much don’t have health insurance. You Don’t have any options. You know, when you’re working for these large corporations, they’re covering the employee. But the family now is 1500 1900. You know, we just saw a renewal for 20 $700 for a family, right with a $6,000 deductible. You know, 20 $700 a month is not sustainable when 75% of America still makes less than $50,000 a year. So, so the problem continues to grow. And so what we’re really trying to address is that population that can’t afford any type of coverage, and we’re giving employers especially large employers the opportunity to offer a product that is that is an affordable kind of basic solution for these hourly employees that are typically younger, right? Most of our population is under 45. And so it just gets them to a doctor with no balance. bills, and you know, you’ve got to fix payment, you’ve got access to telemedicine, you know, 24 hour medical concierge. And then we have a mobile app. Right. Imagine that. I mean, the healthcare industry is so behind in the times, right. But you know, it just so we just do the basic things for this population. And you know, what, our plan starts at $99. Right. So a month, I mean, so it’s very affordable. Yeah.

Adam G. Force 11:29

That’s interesting. And I’m, I’m curious, just, you know, over time that has passed, you know, 10 years or so as you know, coverage costs go up, more people are uninsured. I mean, how have you seen the dynamics of the health care, industry evolving? This could include things like technology and things like that, so that we can start seeing a shift in how it’s provided to people like like you’re doing like what are some of the the changes we see Make some new opportunities possible.

Shane Foss 12:03

So I think really the, the willingness as the, as the millennial generation, which is really our first technological generation, right, they’re born with a, you know, with technology in their hand. I think that they’re more willing to implement, you know, telemedicine, I think some of the things that they’re they’re doing with virtually are is really important, you know, especially mental health, there’s a shortage of mental health professionals today. And, and actually, funny fact is the millennial generation is the highest utilizers of mental health services. So that poses a problem. So I think that that video, face to face technology, I think is great. I think the ability to even talk to a physician on the phone is important. But you know, it’s interesting because healthcare in general There’s, there’s innovation, but it’s very incremental. Right. There’s not a lot of leaps and bounds. Right. So, you know, when you go from, you know, if you look at the iPhone from in, for instance, right, from the, you know, the the razor flip phone, I mean, that’s a dramatic leap, right? I mean, that’s a, that’s a huge jump. Well, when you look at medicine, everything is incremental, because it needs to be clinically tested and proven. And, and it’s a it’s a generation or a generation Excuse me. It’s a it’s a system that is very ingrained in what it’s done historically. So, so new, new innovation in healthcare is really challenging, and the incumbents are so strong. When you look at you know, Blue Cross Blue Shield and anthem, you look at Cigna, Aetna, United Healthcare. They are They are really incentivized really to keep it more of the status quo. hospital systems. Yep. Right. Yeah. And so it’s really, so it’s, it’s hard for innovators in this space. Because, you know, there’s, there’s a lot of money there. That’s, you know, it’s better off not to do something, right.

Adam G. Force 14:24

Yeah, I mean, I see, like, you know, there it is, like, you know, it’s a for profit system. And I think to your point, they’re incentivized to keep things like the status quo so um, so that you know, as we have this conversation about the industry and why I’m asking you how it’s evolving and you know, your thoughts on those things because as we have people here listening, you know, I’m gonna want to get into what what your offer means to business owners and you know, people in general, but I also wanted to give people some insight just about maybe some of the The major issues and I know we’ve kind of glossed over a couple of these things. But I just want to get clear on some of the things that do need help now in the medical industry, so you’re solving a big problem with your business Hooray, health. And I’m curious if you have other thoughts or things that you’re seeing that really do need to break status quo and change, just to give people a little bit of thought, who are listening about? Oh, you know, like, maybe these are areas that they can see themselves contributing as well.

Shane Foss 15:30

Yeah, I think the organization of data and the transparency of that data I think, is really important. You know, if, when you look at healthcare, the crazy thing is, you know, if you want to break it down to the most basic scenario, if I walked into Walmart, and I bought a gallon of milk and I pay $4, for that gallon of milk, I go home, I drink it and you know, A week later, I get a bill from Walmart that says, well, actually $4 was just the initial cost now now you owe us another $10. Yeah. And oh, by the way, I can send you the collections for that. $10. And I will send you the and there’s no negotiating. Right, you know, is it’s so crazy, because what’s happened is there’s this bifurcation in the sense that or dis Association, if you will, of the actual consumer, which is the patient, and then the payer. So the hospitals and the providers are actually you’re not their customer as the patient. The insurance company is the payer, right? They pay the bills. So there’s that disconnect. So I think, you know, in the future, I think that there’s a lot of opportunity in this pricing, transparency, and this ability to go and shop for care because as more and more people be Come uninsured is not going to be just the people that are making less than $50,000 a year, we’re talking people that are making 100 to 200,000 that can justify a 20 $700 a month payment. Yeah. Right. So what they’re going to do is they’re going to take that 20 $700 a month, they’re gonna put it in savings, right? And then if something comes up, they’re gonna need to go get care. And so they may, they may have a crazy catastrophic plan that’ll cover you know, cancer or something big. But, you know, if I if they need to go in for a simple surgery, and even a rotator cuff surgery, you know, I can go in, I can get everything with Anastasia surgeon facility, implants, everything, I can get that done for $15,000 cash. Well, that’s less than what I paid for a full year of health insurance. So I think that this consumerism is really on the rise. It’s not there yet, but we’re at We’ve been at this tipping point for a while on the cost of health insurance. And so you’ve got a lot more people willing to look at that, and, and just say, Look, I’m just paying cash. So when I walk into a doctor’s office, I’m paying cash, what is it? And so if you’re able to, or not organize that data, and you actually get providers, you know, on board with that, I think that, you know, that’s a huge opportunity in the future. So all those entrepreneurs out there, they’re looking for some, there’s a there’s a great opportunity.

Adam G. Force 18:32

Yeah, sounds like there’s a number of gaps, and they can probably be broken down into an another, like, even more niche little areas, which is pretty cool. So that’s helpful. I appreciate you sharing those insights. And I’m curious then, you know, based on where you are now with hooray health, like, just let’s get just clear on how you are different than other insurance providers.

Shane Foss 18:56

Sure. So the biggest difference with us We created our own provider network with fixed pricing. And what’s very unique about that is we, we built a national network of retail clinics. So CVS, Walmart, Walgreens, they’re all our partners. And then you have, we have 14 of the top 20 urgent care of businesses nationally as well. But we’ve got, you know, just under 4000 locations in 47 states, but we have fixed pricing, and so we have a $25 copay, and then there’s no balance bill for our member. And the big deal about that is $25 is a very, you know, predictable and affordable way to get care, okay, because you need to have some skin in the game. But what’s nice is they don’t have they can go in and anything done under the roof of that provider, any of the services. So if they, they had IV, they had asthma breathing treatment, they got an X ray, the guy stitches, everything’s covered under our contract, so they don’t have to worry about about Knoxville. And so that’s our biggest competitive advantage. You know, the other thing is our mobile app, you know, obviously the mobile app with the full integration with. We’ve got telemedicine there, we’ve got our provider network, obviously, we own all of the code, we own the databases, you know, it’s our network. So it’s, so it’s really, it’s really a, all in one centrally located service for our members where they just go to the mobile app, and they can find everything. The other thing that we’ve done is we have on with that fixed pricing, we have fixed price contracting on labs and radiology as well, where, you know, you don’t have to worry about that balance bill. And I think that’s where, you know, it’s pricing transparency, but more importantly, it’s really contracted. You don’t even have to negotiate, right, you just, you literally go in and you know, it’s gonna cost $450 for an MRI, and that’s okay. Yeah. So not 4000 like, you know, I was quoted, so, but so I think that when you look at really key differentiators, it’s, you know, our provider network and our ability to really protect members from that balance bill. And why that’s important is one in five Americans are sent to collections for an unpaid medical bill every year, and the average is less than $600. So the problem is not the surgery, the cancer, all these crazy things. It’s literally the Hey, I went in to see my provider because I was sick. And I got a balanced bill for $600 that I can’t pay. Yeah. And when that when they would have accepted $100 for it, right. So that’s a huge competitive advantage for us. And then the and then the other part of it is that mobile app, that mobile app, really, you know, if you’ve ever tried to find a provider, it’s incredibly difficult, right? And in network provider, it’s very simple with us, you know, you just click search a govt nccn just shows you a right. And then and then the next step is the drugs. So we have our discount program right on the mobile app. So while you’re in the office, you can type in, you know, systemized, and if you had a sinus infection, and it’ll give you the lowest price right there, you can call pharmacist, but it tells you exactly where to tell the provider. Hey, would you just send the script over here? So it’s, it’s really a it’s a nice workflow. It’s a simple process for a very complicated industry. It

Adam G. Force 22:32

Yeah. And that is that’s what I was saying is so daunting. So it’s interesting to hear the steps you’re taking to solve these problems. And are you working with employers like business owners as well?

Shane Foss 22:44

Yes. So we, we work with small and large business owners, we we really focus on their hourly or part time contingent workforce. So a lot of times They have very low participation with that hourly workforce. So we’re able to go in and provide a more cost effective product for them. To make sure that they’re they’re covered. got it

Adam G. Force 23:15

got it. Interesting. And so um, so for entrepreneurs say you’re you’re getting to the point where you’re scaling up your team, you’re looking for charts now, we work with a lot of, they would have to be people who are directly employed. Right, but because you mentioned hourly and part time and things like that as the primary focus. A lot of times I find that those are people that are contractors, but you are talking about people who are fully employed, or are you able to offer insurance to as an incentive to those others other people as well?

Shane Foss 23:45

Yes, absolutely. We can sell it to them as well. So we we can, we can offer our plan through an employer to 1099 right. Contract labor, part time, hourly, yeah, so It’s, it’s a very flexible, we can actually sell it to individuals in certain states. We actually, we can. If you’re a freelancer, right, and you you’re looking for just some basic coverage, you can actually work with us. And if you’re in one of the approved states, then you can, you can buy or plan as an individual.

Adam G. Force 24:24

That’s pretty interesting, because I can imagine some of these startup teams today in the name of flexibility that you might have sales teams and stuff like that, that are, you know, contractors, they’re not necessarily full time employees, but you can still potentially incentivize them with these types of perks.

24:41

Yeah, absolutely. It’s a very inexpensive way. Right? Yeah. I think that with if you look at the market today, the market today is so competitive. It’s the it’s the most competitive it’s been since the tightest labor market since World War Two, right. So being able to offer A differentiated product like us, you know, the other part is, you know, hooray health, the insurance company the assurances are promised, right? We believe health care coverage. It’s too expensive. It’s complicated, it’s untrustworthy. And our goal is to change it. We, you know, we stand for something where our marketing is really, you know, it’s a true product. So our, the feedback we get from employees is they really like the product. They like, who who we are what we stand for, you know, we’re not just another, you know, carrier that, you know, plain Jane, black, white, you know, documents. I mean, we’ve got a little color to us. And so it’s, uh, yeah, so I think that it’s a really it’s a really good opportunity.

Adam G. Force 25:47

Yeah. I mean, so it sounds like you’re really trying to reduce the number of uninsured people and lower standard coverage costs that I mean, those are two key things, right.

Shane Foss 25:58

Yes, absolutely. We, we we always say we don’t compete against major medical, you know, if you have major medical health insurance, yeah, we’ll either supplement that, or we really compete against as not having health insurance. So when we show employers examples of, you know, in a different scenarios, it’s always against not having health insurance. Yeah. Because, you know, you look at these large national, you know, retailers, for instance, some of these national retailers have hundreds of thousands of part time employees, right, it’s 80% of their population, their employer, employee population, and they don’t offer anything today. So the bulk of those people are uninsured. And so it poses a huge quandary for them because people call in sick they can’t afford to go see a doctor. So you know, it’s and then things turn into more, you know, into worse things, right. You know, you end up getting bronchitis, then you get pneumonia, because you know, you Didn’t go in to see a physician to get the antibiotic. So I think that, when you look at the employers in general, employers in general are very maternal to their employees, they want to do the right thing, the offered, the opportunity just hasn’t been there to offer a product that really is effective. And that’s, that’s where, you know, for us, we really have a great competitive advantage, because our network is we match up really well with these national employers, because traditionally, you know, they could take care of their group in Texas, but then the rest of the, you know, 49 states are out well with us. You know, we’re we can have a contracted provider within 90% of all their locations today within 20 miles, which is a home run.

Adam G. Force 27:52

And it’s yours is there like a annual commitment or how is how flexible is the term that you’re someone works with you on

Shane Foss 28:00

Yeah, so if Well, there’s some legalities around it. So if they’re doing a pre tax, then they have to offer the plan for a full year. But if if they’re doing a post tax, then then it’s the flexibility is they can cancel it at any time. So it doesn’t matter. So those are just kind of the legalities of it. But we, we usually sign a contract with the employer to offer and it goes year to year. And so that’s, that’s, yeah, that’s what we do. Hmm.

Adam G. Force 28:34

Yeah. No, it’s interesting. And I mean, I just I, I’m curious and how I have two things. One, I’m curious how you a company like Ray health would be impacted. If you know somebody like Bernie Sanders becomes president and we do you know, single payer health care system are Medicare for all and all those things. Does that impact you in a good way or bad way? Curious

Shane Foss 29:01

Well, you really never know for sure until all the details are worked out. But, but I will, I will say this the, you know, if you look at Canada, if you look in, you know, in Europe and England, yeah, you know, where they have, you know, a single payer system. There really are two pairs, you’re you always have private insurance, employers still offer those benefits because, you know, as a competitive advantage. You know, it’s interesting because where I grew up in Duluth, Minnesota, one of our top revenue generators for the city was actually our Canadians coming down for surgery in in Duluth, because, you know, we’re only a couple hours from Canada. And the reason is, you know, once you once the budget runs out, there are no more total knees. There are more, no more, you know, hard casts and you know, a so I think that it’s it’ll be to be determined, but we’ll I think we’ll have a place no matter what. Just, there’s, there’s, there’s a good chance that even even with whomever gets in the White House that, that they’re still gonna, you know, Medicare for All is still not very popular with everybody because it’s, you know, 38 trillion the first five years I think it is on the budget. So, yeah,

Adam G. Force 30:33

yeah. Well, and it seems to me in these situations, right, you know, it’s like I always talk about not having a Kodak moment if we know the story of Kodak right. So it’s like someone coming up to you saying, we’re gonna have this whole digital world we don’t need your model anymore. Well, you could say, Oh, crap, I’m out of business. Or it’s kind of like Well, how do we just like you said the, the solutions always evolving, right. So the solution, how does it adapt to the to the marketplace and what’s going on? So

Shane Foss 30:57

Exactly.

Adam G. Force 30:58

Yeah, no, this is, this is Interesting stuff and you guys raised money. It sounds like you’re on your series. Be curious how much you guys have raised so far.

Shane Foss 31:07

So we’ve raised a total of just over $7 million. Total. Congrats. That’s awesome.

Adam G. Force 31:13

Yeah, very cool. So what kind of steps did you have to take to get your first round locked in?

Shane Foss 31:19

Really, it was friends and family. It was Yeah, I just went to went to a few of my friends and my family and, and everybody, everybody kicked in the first, the first amount. And then, and then once we kind of had the proof of concept worked out, we went out and professionally raised the Series B, and we’re very happy with our partners. We were very strategic about who we who we partnered with. And so we’re really excited, really excited. We got a lot of good things going

Adam G. Force 31:51

sounds like a chain sounds like I appreciate you sharing your insights about the industry and how you guys are solving some of these major problems and I look forward to seeing where you guys Take it so let’s stay in touch and let’s give a shout out. How do people find where do they find you the best place to find you and learn more?

Shane Foss 32:07

Sure is a hurry healthcare.com h o ra y healthcare.com. That’s the best place to start. Awesome, man. Well, thank you so much for your time today. Thank you, Adam. I really appreciate your time.

Adam G. Force 32:20

Yeah, that’s all for this episode. Your next step is to join the Change Creator revolution by downloading our interactive digital magazine app for premium content, exclusive interviews, and more ways to stay on top of your game available now on iTunes and Google Play or visit Change Creator mag comm we’ll see you next time where money and meaning intersect right here at the Change Creator podcast.

Rod Yapp: Next Level Business with High-Performance Leadership

Listen to our exclusive interview with Rod Yapp:

Subscribe to this show on Spotify  |  iTunes  |  Stitcher  |  Soundcloud

What makes a great leader in today’s world? Has leadership changed over time? Rod Yap is a high-performance leadership expert who answers those questions for us in this discussion.

Rod Yapp is a former Royal Marine Officer and the founder of Leadership Forces, a program that takes the high-performance principles of the Royal Marines and applies it to leadership development. Rod has exemplified leadership on the front lines (literally) in Afghanistan and Libya and now uses that experience in order to develop leaders within organizations such as Land Rover, HSBC, and NATO.

Learn more about Rod and his work at > https://www.leadershipforces.com

We also recommend:

Transcription of Interview

(Transcribed by Otter.ai, there may be errors)

Adam G. Force 00:11

Hey, what’s up, everybody? Welcome back to the Change Creator podcast show hope y’all are doing well. This is your host, Adam force. Today we’re going to be talking to somebody about leadership. But before I get into that intro, just a reminder, if you missed the last episode that was posted about a week ago, Amy and I spoke about the hard truth around delegating for your startup. This can be a tough one man, you can really get yourself into a financial pickle if you’re bringing in the wrong people at the wrong time. So this is something that we’ve been through ourselves and was kind of like a growing pain, if you will. So some really valuable input there just from our experience that we kind of kick around and share some insights that you may or may not be aware of. So I think it’s it’s a really healthy conversation. And as you’re looking to grow your business, you’ll find some good nuggets in there. So go back, check that If you haven’t already, this week, we’re going to be speaking with somebody by the name of Roderick Yap, calm rod. He’s the CEO of leadership forces. So he’s got a lot of experience as a speaker, a leadership coach, and all that kind of stuff. And he was actually in the, he’s a former Royal Marines officer. All right. And so he led the Marines, all different operations all around the world, whether it was in Somalia, Afghanistan, Libya, and all these different places. And then in 2012, he joined a group called the, your Renko group, and he was actually responsible for developing leaders using an operational excellence model. And then as of 2015, he decided to found found the leadership forces business which focused on developing leaders within organizations and he’s worked with clients such as HSBC, Deloitte, Jaguar Land Rover, Rolls Royce and NATO and all kinds have other great organizations. So he’s really stepped up into this leadership role, and he has a lot of great experience to share. Because it’s so important for our businesses. I mean, great leadership can be a game changer for long term differentiation and success. So we’re gonna dive into this conversation with rod in just a minute. Just a reminder, we always have lots of fresh content coming out on Change, Creator calm, so swing by get all the new goodies. And if you haven’t already signed up for the captivate method, there is a waitlist there, you can jump on our site on the homepage, you’ll find that you can sign up. This is all about how do we how do we communicate effectively with storytelling? And how do we apply that to our business? We call this a digital conversation. really powerful stuff. And we’ve seen some great success from our current students and members. It’s a really fun community. So check that out, and we’ll send you some information. All right, guys, I’m gonna dive into it. Don’t forget to stop by iTunes and other places that we are like Spotify leave us reviews, ratings, all that good stuff. It helps us a lot and we really appreciate your support and ongoing, you know, listenership so thanks again and we’re gonna dive into this conversation with rod. Okay, show me that he Hey rod, welcome to the Change Creator podcast show how you doing today man?

Rod Yap 03:25

Good thanks very, very pleased to be here.

Adam G. Force 03:27

Yeah, well Awesome. Thanks for being here. So, you know, I’m just I leadership is something that as we go into 2020 I’m putting more emphasis on just because it’s such an important part of operating a business that becomes you know, profitable successful. And I think leadership especially when it comes to building a team is really important. So tell me just a little bit about like, what’s going on in your life right now. Like what’s, what’s the latest, the greatest just to kind of tell us where you are

Rod Yap 04:01

So I’m continuing to develop my business I started in July 2015, how they felt that there was sort of something that I could add to this industry. I sort of looked at the kind of market and felt that most leadership development professionals tend to tell us a lot of ex HR, or organizational psychology backgrounds, and I had different, you know, I was more of a sort of practitioner. So I felt I could sort of take that experience, and, and sort of build a business around that. And when I sort of think about, you know, my background is, is obviously, as an officer in the Royal Marines, I think about my career in the military. You know, it really was developing people it was helping my Marines to get better at their jobs to become more effective to comply performance. That was what I enjoyed most about the whole my, my sort of seven years in the Corps. So I wanted to see if I could replicate something similar to that in the commercial world.

Adam G. Force 04:56

Yeah, I love that and what led you to the Marines

Rod Yap 05:00

Really, it was just a desire to do sort of something completely different. I believe in the concept of service. Certainly serving my country, but sort of serving other people. And I sort of thought about it much in the way as many people might think of sort of a graduate scheme. But then I was like, well hang on a sec, what are the graduate scheme puts you through 15 months of pretty demanding leadership and management training, and then your first job is line managing 30 people? Nothing like it right? And no one gives you that sort of that level of responsibility, that level of training, you know, that development as it gets, and I guess in a nutshell, that’s probably what took me in that direction.

Adam G. Force 05:41

Hmm. Interesting. So it sounds like you’ve been are all around the world. And just before we get into some of this, you know, a deeper conversation around leadership. I’m curious. Just about some of your experiences Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, I mean, anything stand out to you experience wise that kind of maybe hits you

Rod Yap 06:01

I mean, a lot of them were unique in their sort of own way. Afghanistan was a very kinetic war fighting environment. What What that means is that people were shooting at us an awful lot. And Libya was one of those environments where we really didn’t have a clue what was going on. Are you really making up as we went along, and then working sort of off the coast of Somalia was, was actually sort of quite quite a lot of fun. I quite enjoyed it, you know, working with small boats in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Yeah. And when I think about some of the lessons that I take from all of those experiences, I think really, serving in the military, like, a bit like travel, gives you a much sort of broader perspective. I served in Afghanistan in 2007. And, you know, when I look back on my sort of time there, we had no real grasp of how that country or how those people lived and operated. Did we approach that that world in that environment with our own sort of set of values and our own ways of thinking about a world? And it just didn’t? It just, it just didn’t compute, if that makes sense? Yeah. And, you know, I remember being there. And sort of one one story from my time there was that when I was based in San Diego, the district district center in the heart of Helmand Province, you know, we would get firefights from time to time with the Taliban. And if we accidentally sort of, you know, hurt some civilians who got sort of caught in the crossfire, what we do is we sort of patch them up, and we would bring them into a bring them into the base and sort of give them some compensation. There’s a fairly, fairly blah, sort of method of reparations, if you like, yeah. And what we started to notice was that, you know, certainly some groups this was kind of incentivizing that behavior. So there’s one tribe or one family that would that would actually grow In members of their family of their group with gunshot wounds, because we were paying to fix these people, you know, despite the fact that this had nothing to do with us that we haven’t been involved two or three days, I just remember thinking, you know, like, if that’s, you know, if that’s how people live here, I just, you know, I don’t have the, you know, the values or that sort of language to really compute how people can do that to each other in order to get paid. So, it just made me realize that, you know, it’s incredibly lucky to be born in the West and, you know, just by pure accident of being born in the UK, you know, I kind of won the lottery that he respects

Adam G. Force 08:40

Hey, now, it’s funny, as you were saying that I was thinking in my head, that birth is a lottery.

Rod Yap 08:47

And you know, it’s a total accident that we were born, you know, in, in the sort of developed world. Yeah, we just have things like you know, eating clean running water, easy access. So those things because they’re things that, you know, a lot of people don’t have.

Adam G. Force 09:03

Yeah, which is it’s an eye opener, it makes you grateful, that’s for sure. And, you know, it’s that I’ve noticed with about at least 80% of the people that I interview, especially when it’s, you know, different social entrepreneurs and such that their inspiration to start something really powerful as a business and change the trajectory of their of their life is from a travel experience. That’s usually what jolts them, it’s like a sensory overload.

Rod Yap 09:29

Hmm. Yeah, I think I think certainly with this sort of social entrepreneurs that that I’ve come across, they really kind of get this concept of, you know, making a contribution towards making a better place somehow. Yeah. And I think whilst a lot of veterans or a lot of people serving the military wouldn’t necessarily Connect as strongly as a social entrepreneur that certainly some absolutely would, you know, some of them join the military or, you know, join the police of the army. Fiber graded because they want to have a positive impact because they want to splice. And I completely see that I get it.

Adam G. Force 10:06

Yeah, I mean, there’s many ways that we can all contribute and you know, so not everybody is the same. And, you know, I can appreciate all the different formats and lifestyles that people have that, that make a difference and contribute and stuff like that. And I think, you know, as business is really transforming quite a bit over the past couple decades, you know, being a great leader, like redefining what a great leader is and how they think and what they accomplished, like, I think is really important, because there’s that trickle down, right, the leader of a different company or organization, when you have values in place that are important to not only the company, but the people that the company serves and all that stuff. It starts kind of like pushing good business. Right. Do you agree?

Rod Yap 10:53

Yeah. You know, I think you know, how you behave sort of sets the tone, certainly if you’re in leadership positions. For the organization, so, you know, I, I contract with a number of organizations that will often say to me, you know, we’ve got a cultural problem. You know, we’ve got an issue that our culture is not quite right. You know, I’m actually Well, you know, I might often say this in the kind of first in a pitch presentation, but actually the problem, they have a problem with the way in which they leaders are behaving as a leader, you need to need to pull off. You know, understanding the culture simply is a reflection of leadership, positive or negative. Yeah, it’s kind of really, really important. And that fundamentally comes down to the behavior of the leaders in your organization. It’s what they do, every single day. It’s the impact that has on the people around them. That’s what sets the tone for the culture of your organization. And I think when you’re relatively small, that’s something you’ve really got to focus on. Because if you’re only a sort of team of nine people and you may you hire someone in who’s potentially toxic as your 10th employee. Now 10% of your organization is going to cultural issue. But 100,000 people that that’s not so much of an issue, but, you know, when you’re small those you know, you need those kind of people that can muck in and help out are willing to roll their sleeves up and do work outside of their job description. And, you know, lots of people aren’t willing to do that. So you know, then certainly right for your your organization.

Adam G. Force 12:23

Yeah. 100%. And I’ve heard a couple, you know, interesting lessons that I’ve learned, which are one great leaders hire great leaders. So you definitely want people that are the right fit for your company culturally and have the mindset that will push the company in the right direction. But also I was interviewing the founder of Tom’s Blake Mycoskie and he said that, you know, one thing he would do differently if he started over would was his hiring because I guess as they got more established, when they were hiring the executive team, you can find people that have great resumes, but what happens is they have this experience As leaders in their particular space and their history, and they bring all that baggage with them, which may not jive with the current culture that you’re trying to create?

Rod Yap 13:09

Yeah, absolutely. And I think it’s really easy, you know, check yourself and consider, you know, the impact of the things the brand names have on you, and all the assumptions that you bring with them. Because if you, for example, work in a FinTech business, for example, you know, off top my head and you hire people from sort of larger banking organizations, you know, often their experience, you know, if even if they’re particularly senior can be very, very specialized, and they understand how one area, you know, to go and work on what much smaller team will require them to have a far broader remit for the things that are going on. And frankly, to to kind of get involved with actually doing stuff. Well, maybe just to wrap up is I think the hiring was a really interesting one because again, you know, a lot of sticks or a lot of people that want to build a high performing team. Yeah, really thought about that hiring process. is still very much a kind of, you know, couple of interviews, you get off of the job kind of thing and my view that you know, anyone can be good for a couple of hours down the route or you know, give give people some work or give people a kind of case study and see what questions they ask to their, how they approach something that is relevant to the job they’re going to be doing. Because as you know, when you’re a small team, right, that those jobs are going to evolve, the responsibilities are going to change rapidly. So you don’t need people that can do something, you know, very neatly fixing with into into a job description. You need people that are flexible and malleable and can roll with the changes that the company is going to go through. And I realize you know, his family is giving people some work and see how they handle it will give them some things to think about in a sort of scenario based scenario based process.

Adam G. Force 14:52

Yeah, hundred percent. I mean, I think that’s a really important point for anybody listening is that especially when you have a smaller team you in the first couple years I mean, people start out as solo entrepreneurs often and and i would definitely encourage having co founders, but as you start building a smaller team to get extra hands on deck, you, you really do want to think about people that are not just good at a particular job, but that can kind of face challenges and pivot with the needs of the market or the business as you see what’s going on. And you can kind of like you said, Go with roll with the punches. Yeah, that’s powerful.

Rod Yap 15:29

Yeah, absolutely. You need those people that have that agility, flexibility and worked around you. That’s not my job description.

Adam G. Force 15:39

Yeah, yeah. I will tell me a little bit about just from your experience, then around leadership, you know, have you seen an evolution in leadership over the years? Has has the mindset of leadership changed?

Rod Yap 15:56

I’d like to think so. I like to think Leadership is moving away from something that is, you know, is really reserved for the kind of C suite executives and something that people, you know, do or responsibility that comes with a position of authority. I think it’s moving away from that. And I think it’s moving away from that kind of, you know, I’m a leader, I come up with a plan, I tell you what to do. I’m not convinced that approach has ever worked particularly well, but having spoken to, you know, people in the generation above me That said, I get a sense that that’s how businesses and organizations used to operate. And I think nowadays, there’s an expectation that, you know, if you were a leader in a position of, you know, in a position of authority, you know, you asked your team, you know, right, this is the end state that we’re working towards, you know, how do you think we should approach that, you know, you might have a challenge, you invite the feedback, you invite their ideas, and then your job is effectively to cherry pick the best things and, and to sort of build it into some kind of plan because I don’t buy into this nonsense that, you know, Millennials don’t work hard. I think that’s absolutely rubbish. I think that they will work hard, they will absolutely work their nuts off, but they have to be involved in that process, they have to be made to feel like, you know, they were part of the planning. And you know, I that I want to be fit, I want to feel like that as well. So, so that’s where I kind of see things going. I think that people have a different expectation about what their what their bosses are going to do and how they will involve them going forward. But some lasting change.

Adam G. Force 17:39

Yeah, no, I think that’s a great point. And and, you know, organizations are flattening out, you know, from the height, the traditional, like hierarchy structure. I mean, I think there’s always like decision makers, like you said, but the teams are more involved and everybody becomes a leader in their own right, in a sense that, you know, we have to be able to trust and rely that they’re going to get the job done. Based on what the end game is about, right, so if everybody’s on the same page, we can work towards those same goals. And I think that that’s, that’s powerful. That’s a powerful change in mindset. And, you know, interesting, I just did a quick talk about how there’s some new data out that I think 50% of millennials, and 75% of Gen Z are leaving their jobs for mental health reasons. And I was kind of blown away and alarmed by those numbers. And you know, everyone gives them the bad rap. They don’t want to work hard. And so you know, when you have like stagnant low wages, or you’re being overworked for those low wages, like there’s some burnout there, but I also think there’s a lot of misalignment of people trying to get jobs that one they’re overqualified for or two, they’re just not meaningful to them. So they’re kind of like just miserable, waking up every day and doing it so they might be in these bad, you know, job environments.

Rod Yap 18:55

Yeah, I mean, I think that’s a that’s a really concerning issue. But then when you sort of think about it, you know, certainly when my father came home, you know, if the office call, it’s because the building was broken down. Right. But you know, there was a real emergency. Yeah. Now, as companies are more global, you know, you could be working across quite a few different time zones. Yeah. Therefore, your emails and phone calls never really switched off. There’s not that many people or not that many bosses that will will, you know, advise you or sort of say to you that you need to put in boundaries, you need to push back when people are asking for you, you to deliver stuff for tomorrow. And, you know, it’s five o’clock here. And you haven’t, frankly, got any more working hours to give. I think, I think that is a contributing factor. But also, I think, again, I think some of this comes down to leadership, because most of us have worked in a team, right where, you know, let’s say you’ve got sort of six people in that team. Two or three of them are really sort of strong performers and maybe some others kind of, you know, coasting, perhaps a little bit of that generally tends to be a bit of a bell curve distribution around to the performance. And one of the leaders tend to do with the people that deliver all the time, they tend to give them more work. Because it’s a lot easier to do that than it is a performance management conversation with someone else and go, hey, maybe you’re putting your weight here. I need you. I need you to deliver in accordance with my expectations, because frankly, I’m not going to keep giving more stuff to those people who always deliver for me. I think I definitely think that’s part of it as well, that sort of inability to handle those difficult conversations.

Adam G. Force 20:33

Hmm. Yeah, I think that that makes a lot of sense. That’s important. And it is tough. I know a lot of people are uncomfortable with that. And, but I mean, there’s ways to approach it that I guess are it’s more beneficial because you can help somebody else kind of make progress in their own life by giving them that feedback and helping them move forward. And I’m, I’m curious, so you know, you do a lot of leadership training and development to help you know, create a High Performance cultures, I’m just kind of checking out your website here. And you know, I’m curious in some of the things that are important to your process that you see with a lot of the organizations you work with then some of the maybe some key takeaways that might be valuable for our audience to understand when it comes to this leadership. Dynamic.

Rod Yap 21:22

Sure. So I mean, I think the first thing is be really cautious of people that give you a nice sort of type, by definition of what leadership is. Leadership, by definition is about judgment. It’s about making good decisions that get the best out of a situation. So, you know, when people sort of say, you know, leadership is all about empowering people. Yeah, I agree with that. 99% of the time, you are absolutely right. But you know, if you only walk across the road and we see someone get hit by a car, the last thing you would necessarily want me to do in that situation is empower you to call the ambulance you know, you think it’s the right thing to do to Just call the police or the ambulance come and help this individual, you know, that’s an environment where sort of tight command and control and sort of, you know, taking, taking control and gripping that chaotic situation is sort of really, really important. I think some of the things that, you know, I work with with people on are, you know, creating that sort of clarity by having that aligned goal, you know, it’s a really, really simple and sort of common theme. There’s loads of other people that sort of talk about this. But I think it’s really important to have a unifying goal of the team are working towards because then once you’ve got that clarity in the how you can ask them for support on and you can, you know, you can say right, how do we how do we achieve this as a group of people who’s going to do what in everything becomes much easier. Once you’ve got that clearly aligned picture of what you’re working towards. I tend to use and sort of, you know, NASA version man on the moon by the end of the decade is a really good vision with a nice set of time boundary to as well. Once you’ve got that happen You know, it’s one of those things that you you over communicate, so you cannot afford to communicate what it is you’re working towards as a group of people so that people know instinctively right? How do I how does my workstream fit in with the achievement of that vision? You know, unless you’ve got that vision, you can’t really answer that question. You know, holding people to account is really, really important. And accountability is a sort of two way process for me. So accountability involves, you know, turning around to a leader saying, hey, look, you’ve been distracted by the new shiny thing. You said that that’s the vision, we’re working on that don’t change that unless there is a reason to change it. And then we should all get together and discuss it and make a decision based on the facts rather than following your instinct on what needs to be sort of worked on. So lastly, I mean, I’m sort of trying to, you know, try to keep this short. So I’m trying to be concise. You know, laugh, you know, the ability to build strong relationships. You know, how well do you know your people? How well do you know you’re doing I want to ask you that question. And I’m sure there’ll be a lot of people sort of nodding down. Yeah. Oh my people. Okay, would you know? Do you know the names of their spouse? Do you know the names of their children? How old? Are they? Where do they go to college? when they grow up? What do they do with their spare time? What are their interests? What do they want to have a career within your organization? Do they want to stay here? Do they want to be you know, or do they do they want to take this experience and start their own business? The answers to all this stuff, frankly, are less important than the fact that you answer them because you started you ask people that because right what you’re demonstrating by that is demonstrating that you care about them and that you’re interested. And fundamentally, people aren’t gonna follow you because you’ve told them to, they’re going to follow you because they believe they have their best interests at heart. So the sort of clarity that vision, relationships and accountability if I can be really succinct, those are probably the three areas to work on more than anything else as a star. Beautiful.

Adam G. Force 24:59

Yeah. Ain’t no I, when you teach these types of things, I’m always thinking in my head, like, I hear that stuff I’ll make, you know, it’s just a matter of caring. It’s like, you know, who are these people, like you should care enough to ask about how they’re doing, who their spouses meet them. And like, these are people you’re going to spend a lot of time with as well. Right? So I spend I talk every day to my co founder. So these are people that you really want to get to know and you gotta, you gotta like them. You know? Yeah.

Rod Yap 25:29

Social Enterprise why, you know, that that’s confused about this. Because that, you know, if they share that enthusiasm for the problem that you are trying to solve for the people that you are trying to help, and they will walk through because to achieve your vision, and that’s a that’s a great thing.

Adam G. Force 25:47

Yeah, yeah, they need to believe in what the mission is. So you know, people overlook the missions in their company, especially early on like, yeah, yeah, I gotta have this mission statement. It’s just like, boilerplate crap. But it’s not like that clarity of like, where you’re going and why you’re doing what you’re doing, especially the why you’re doing it because people want to get behind something and not everyone’s going to start their own business to get behind something they believe, but they can certainly join something else that they believe in and be excited about waking up every day.

Rod Yap 26:17

Yeah, absolutely. And that’s kind of the key thing. I mean, that would be question number one for me, in a relatively small organization, a social enterprise. Why do you care about

Adam G. Force 26:26

Yes, yes. Love it.

Rod Yap 26:29

Like, you can’t convince me of that, then. Frankly, may I’m not sure there’s a but you know, I’m not looking for someone that just wants another job. Because the reality is, the job description I’ve just shared with you is probably going to change in six months. So I need someone that is kind of willing to be flexible, but enthusiastic and passionate about this purpose or the purpose of this organization.

Adam G. Force 26:49

Yeah, early on. I mean, that’s, that’s probably most important. I think that’s, that’s a beautiful, we’ll wrap it up there. And I want to just let people know where they can learn more about what you’re doing and your programs and stuff. So why don’t you give a shout out to where they can learn more and connect with you?

Rod Yap 27:05

Sure. So my name is Roderick. Yeah. The beauty of having a unique name is that I can pretty much be found on the internet. So hit me up on LinkedIn. I’m an open connector. So you know just assembling changing the text. just invite disconnects are always accept. And my website is leadership forces calm and I blog there about articles relating to leadership, human performance, taking the principles of what I’ve learned in the military, in the nuclear industry in the sporting world, into the corporate world. That’s that’s what I have to do. That’s my, that’s my mission in life anyway. Beautiful.

Adam G. Force 27:41

I really appreciate your time today and sharing your experiences and expertise.

Rod Yap 27:47

Thanks very much.

Adam G. Force 27:48

Great to speak to you. That’s all for this episode. Your next step is to join the Change Creator revolution by downloading our interactive digital magazine app for premium content, exclusive interviews and more ways to Stay on top of your game available now on iTunes and Google Play or visit Change Creator mag comm we’ll see you next time where money and meaning intersect right here at the Change Creator podcast.

Peter Montoya: Becoming a Transformational Leader For a Better Future

Listen to our exclusive interview with Peter Montoya:

Subscribe to this show on Spotify  |  iTunes  |  Stitcher  |  Soundcloud

What is transformational leadership and why does it matter to your business today? Find out with expert Peter Montoya who has been an entrepreneur for over 30 years, a best-selling author and keynote speaker.

Most Speakers who teach have not done it for themselves…and most Entrepreneurs don’t know how to speak… Peter is the rare exception.

He’s a thought-leader who has also accomplished big things. Peter bootstrapped his successful software company from an idea in 2008 to a multi-million dollar exit in 2018… without capital, investors or partners.

Peter knows how to inspire people by tapping into their unique purposes. Peter is a truly fascinating and multi-faceted guy, with decades of experience in speaking to audiences about his business knowledge, inspirational journey, and human behavioral insight. Though Peter struggled through school with undiagnosed ADHD, he was admitted to and graduated from the University of California Irvine in Political Science. Post-college he became a traveling speaker and salesman, chalking up over 3000 presentations and living in over 22 major cities.

Peter went on to found a successful advertising agency and software platform, dedicated to financial service professionals. He quickly became the industry guru, writing numerous books, including one of his best selling works “The Brand Called You”, “The Personal Branding Phenomenon” and his newest book “Leadership Power”.

He now pursues his passion for humanity and the planet – he sincerely believes that all people and organizations have a special role in perpetuating the survival of our species, our civilization and our planet. He speaks thoughtfully and passionately about the need for Transformational Leadership in today’s world.

Learn more about Peter and his work at > https://www.petermontoya.com

We also recommend:

Transcription of Interview

(Transcribed by Otter.ai, there may be errors)

Adam G. Force 00:11

Hey, what’s going on everybody? Welcome back to the Change Creator podcast show. This is your host, Adam force. I hope that you’re doing amazing. And if you missed last week’s episode, you might want to go back and check that out. We spoke with rod Yap. He’s got a ton of great experience, and we cover off on high performance leadership. Now leadership has been a very big topic. I mean, today we are talking about how businesses evolution, how businesses evolution, how business is evolving, and what kind of leadership is evolving with it, right? How do we lean into leadership for today’s world? And what does that look like? And it’s really important because great leaders create trust, they inspire people, and they do good in the world. And that’s what we’re all about here. So we’re going to be talking to Peter Montoya. Now. Peter Montoya has a lot of experience That we want to learn from. So he’s a leadership strategist. Now. He is a keynote speaker. He’s done a ton of talks over 3000 talks in, I think 20 over 20 major cities. And he’s also a best selling author. So he’s a best selling author for a book called The brand called you the personal branding phenomenon, and his latest book leadership power. Now he started his own company as well. He bootstrapped the software company in 2008. And he had a multi million dollar exit in 2018. So he’s been down the startup road. He’s been traveler, he has been a storyteller. He knows what it takes. And he seen what it takes to be a transformational leader. And that’s what we’re going to touch on is, you know, what is the the what are organizations roles in the future of humanity? What is transformational leadership? And what do you need to know about leaning in to be a great leader for your startup right now, we have some great stuff that has been released on Change Creator calm so before we get into that conversation, I just want to give you a heads Up to a check that out. Just a quick reminder. And guys, you can find our Facebook group, if you go to our website, you can join us on our Facebook group and get involved over there. It’s the profitable digital impact entrepreneur, we’d love to see you over there, we have a little bit more of a tight knit focused conversation around business and startups. So if you have a business idea, or you already have a business, that might be a great place for you to get into that community. One other thing I want to mention is if you are a Shopify user, we recently did a review on a company called Shogun. And the so Shogun offers so much flexibility. They are a page builder for Shopify. So I know Shopify has some like limitations around how the functionality and the analytics, so they not only give you deep analytics, but they give you the ability to really customize every page the way you want on Shopify, so you can increase conversions and do different types of testing and all that good marketing stuff. Go to change. calm. So if you have a Shopify store, search for Shogun, you’ll find our full review, I think you’ll really like it. We were We were pretty blown away by the software and the capabilities, one of our writers had a chance to really dig into it and get like an account to explore it. And they did the review based on that really cool stuff. So I just wanted to throw it out there, I think you can benefit from it, and help drive your business forward. So without further ado, guys, we’re gonna jump into this conversation with Peter and really dive in deeper into the leadership role. Hey, Peter, welcome to the Change Creator podcast show how you doing today?

Peter Montoya 03:38

I’m doing phenomenal. I’m so excited to be here.

Adam G. Force 03:42

Yeah, I appreciate you taking the time. I know you’re a busy guy and yet lots of stuff going on. But I think you do have a lot of great experience to share. So we’re gonna dig into that over the next 20 to 30 minutes and see where it goes. So I always like to just kick it off. Just tell us like what’s going on in your world today. what’s the latest? What’s the greatest? I’m going through another pivot.

Peter Montoya 04:03

So I have been an entrepreneur for 30 years. And as an entrepreneur, you kind of when you start your first business, you’d like to think this one business is going to be my lifelong business. That is not the case. So I probably have started and either closed and or folded in or sold 10 businesses, and I’m probably on my 11th incarnation. Now, I’m going back and rebranding myself as a leadership speaker and high performance teams expert. I have been a speaker for the better part of 30 years, but never in the leadership space.

Adam G. Force 04:37

Yeah, and some of the information I got it sounds like you’ve only done about 3000 presentations. Tell me about your first business that you bootstrapped and had a multi million dollar exit. I think we all like to hear about those, those life, lines of business going from start to finish. Got it.

Peter Montoya 04:57

So I’ve only had one more section. than failure in my life, I’ve had, you know, seven businesses that failed and one business that had a really fantastic exit. I started my first business as an advertising agency back in 1998. I was 29 years old, I thought I knew at all. I was an advertising agency specializing in financial service professionals. And I did that for about 10 years, I became the go to guy. If you were a financial advisor, and you wanted to help marketing or branding yourself, and then I evolved that business in 2007 or so.

Adam G. Force 05:33

Pretty cool. Pretty cool. Now, I guess so once you sold that one, why did you decide to exit and what did you do next?

Peter Montoya 05:42

Well, that business, which was the advertising agency, I basically kind of collapsed it and then started a software business. So the advertising agency was a model where I only ate what I killed every single month. Yeah, and every single month I had to generate between 200 and $400,000 a month in sales, which I was doing myself Using using stages so you know, speaking in front of audiences and selling audiences on our advertising services, and I realized I was really sick and tired of being on a hamster wheel. Yeah, constantly having to eat what I kill. And I wanted a recurring revenue business. So I started a software company called Marketing Pro, which provided automated marketing content for financial service professionals. And we charged subscriptions of 25 to $75 a month, in between 2008 and 2018. When I sold it, we amassed 11,000 subscribers, and we sold it to a much bigger company. The reason I sold it was it was I had all my equity in the company. I mean, I had no debt, but I also had no assets, except for maybe a couple investment properties, a couple cars. So it was up my whole entire nest egg, and I wasn’t passionate about it anymore. I’m an entrepreneur and so I fall in that kind of quickstart category of where you’re always having new ideas and you want to go in new directions. I kind of built it gotten over the hump and lost the passion for growing the business.

Adam G. Force 07:06

Yeah, yeah, you know, I see that happen a lot. And I guess you got to be willing to kind of let go, what you what was the past and be willing to just kind of move forward with new ideas. And I know as entrepreneurs, it’s pretty common that you’re like, top level big picture thinker and you want to try all kinds of different things that focus can be tough sometimes.

Peter Montoya 07:25

Yeah, exactly. So once the problem is solved once you’ve got a workable model, okay, what’s next?

Adam G. Force 07:31

I, you know, my, my co founder, Amy and I were always saying is, you know, it’s really important to us that our business can run without us, because to your point, you want it to be an asset. And as we have the investor mindset, you really want it to be able to operate without you. And, you know, I think that kind of leads you to certain types of decision making. greed. Yeah. So you’re really getting into the leadership stuff. Tell me a little bit about that focus and what you’re thinking there.

Peter Montoya 07:58

So I still think the world is suffering from a dearth in really good leadership? I think there is collectively a large elephant in the room that we as a society aren’t talking about. So here’s what I mean by that. And here’s the question I’ve got for you, Adam, in 50 years from now, if we went forward to 2070, do you think the world and society will be better than it is right now or worse off than it is right now, based on the trajectory we’re headed on?

Adam G. Force 08:27

I want to say that it’ll be better but the problem is I had to actually think about it. be negative.

Peter Montoya 08:37

So that’s kind of how I am too. So based on our current trajectory, it is going to be worst. While you’re talking about climate change, overpopulation, pollution at the lot loss of biodiversity. We are headed 180 million miles an hour in the wrong direction. As a civilization Yeah, so the most important question the most people Dialogue we should be having right now as a species is how can we work together to solve our collective problems better? And on the other side right now, the large the conversation right now is, is how can I make the other side more wrong than we are? So we get our way that is the conversation we’re having right now in this country. And that is a profound lack of leadership.

Adam G. Force 09:25

What do you think is the barrier here? So I mean, I love that you’re focused on leadership because we do need more heart led leadership, we need people that think holistically about not just their companies and businesses and assets, but actually how they impact people in the environment in the world. And you know, we haven’t done that for a long time, which is why we are where we are. However, I don’t know how familiar you are with things like Cambridge analytic and the power of you know, our technology today and data, and just the disinformation and the the campaigns going on. It’s I mean, I see a huge challenge in getting people, I guess clear on like what’s right and what’s wrong because everybody can find a study or report or something that that supports their own agenda

Peter Montoya 10:14

That’s a really, really great point. So what social media is now doing to our society is the same thing the printing press did to the world about 400 years ago. So when the printing press was first invented, there, all of a sudden you thought, Oh, my gosh, I start spreading information and the world’s become more informed. And actually, what happened was a huge proliferation of conspiracy theories about 400 years ago, and actually led to the Christian crusades where they killed hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people. For about 30 years. It took 30 years to figure out how to publish information that was actually accurate. We’re going through the same kind of tectonic train change, change right now with social media. Yeah. And we are only 10 years into it. We may have 30 more years to go until we figure out the platform’s technology, the policy among those platforms to actually start telling the truth. So we can agree on a common set of facts so we can actually solve problems.

Adam G. Force 11:15

Yeah, I mean, that sounds amazing. And I would love to see that I know, I was listening to somebody talk, and they were like, Listen, fossil fuels are no longer the most valuable currency today. It’s its data. And when she said that, I was like, You know what, I actually don’t think that’s true. I think that today, it’s trust. Because you know, especially from a business mindset, like based on what we’re talking about here with disinformation and poor leadership and personal agendas, you can’t trust anything anymore. So if you can earn someone’s trust, you’re gonna get a lot further.

Peter Montoya 11:47

I like that. Well said.

Adam G. Force 11:48

Oh man. So what kind of steps now have you been taking to kind of pursue a shift in leadership?

Peter Montoya 11:57

You know, the biggest thing is one thing I could impose upon your audience is for them to consider what their moral compass is. And so most people have never even really thought about the definition, their moral compass, and it probably is the most important decision they’ll make in their life. So the truth to me is, is that morality is subjective. Those are the objective that your morality is subjective, which means each human being is decide what is the goal of their lives, and to some degree with the goal of people’s lives are around them. And some people go well, you know, it’s easy, it’s God whenever God tells me to do what God says is moral. That is my moral compass, okay? Other people might say it’s the Constitution. So the US Constitution instead of federal laws, if it’s legal that it’s good, if it’s illegal, then it’s bad. Other people have I think the default moral compass for most Americans is personal enrichment. So as long as it makes me money and doesn’t hurt somebody else too badly, then it’s okay. So you know, I want a big house big car. I want to consume a lot. I want a reasonable enough We will listen to me. And then you know, I want to be left alone, and they more or less are living the morality of personal enrichment. Now what I think what I’ve chosen for my life, and I would like more people to choose for their life, and I can’t make them do this is that of human well being? I think everyone’s moral compass should be set to maximizing their own human well being and everyone else’s well being as well. And as soon as you make a decision, the calculus of how you make decisions and what you value changes radically.

Adam G. Force 13:32

Yeah, yeah, I agree with that. And I think, you know, I think there’s a, I guess, an educational gap. Would you agree that over time, there’s an educational gap that could be preventing people from actually understanding that in another word, another way to put it is, you know, people don’t see as clearly that the a shift or transition from an individual or an organism will impact the whole, and they don’t see it that way. Cuz if you did, you’d realize that all these things of thinking for yourself, I have enough money, I don’t want to hurt someone too bad. You know, that’s the wrong way to think about how we operate as a global community.

Peter Montoya 14:16

That’s absolutely right. And you got to look at the culture of the United States and the culture of the United States all moves toward radical individualism, radical individualism, and I want to win as long as I don’t hurt you, or someone else too bad. So as all of our society, I mean, we basically have been indoctrinated for the last hundred and 20 years with what’s called a prosperity doctrine. And the prosperity doctrine basically says, success equals happiness. As soon as I make enough money that I can buy my house in the woods, be completely and totally isolated, live off, you know, live off the grid where the government’s not bothering me. I have succeeded and I will be happy. And what’s amazing about that is those people are the least happy people on the planet. So the Whole aim of our society is going in the wrong direction. And that happens both in religion, it happens in personal development, almost all personal development is geared around the prosperity doctrine. What happens in our educational system? All everything is moving toward How can I be alone? How can I make a lot of money? How can I do this all by myself, it’s all geared the wrong way, which is the opposite of how we thrive. If you look at the schools of positive psychology, look at the studies in longevity, everything’s about having a purpose, which is usually greater than yourself, making the world a better place. And number two, having a lot of interconnected relationships 100%

Adam G. Force 15:39

So, you know, a lot of times you’ll hear like, there’s been massive progress with technology, and people associate that with just overall progress, but we haven’t had you know, I think what we’re kind of getting at is educational and spiritual progress around you know, how we live. I mean, you can hear these guys like Bernie Sanders and stuff, talk about About how they want to help more people, and it’s going to cost taxes and all this stuff. And so people will say, Well, I’m not gonna pay for someone else’s kid to go to school or get health care. And I’m just like, I can just see such a huge disconnect and how we actually are thinking about things.

Peter Montoya 16:14

I would agree with you. So I would say that humanity right now if you look at humanity in terms of a human life lifespan, we are in our college years, and your college years are about is how do you adapt? How do you use unlimited adult vices. So when you first go to college at 18 or 19 years old, all of a sudden, you don’t have anyone telling you and putting restraints on what you can do anymore. And you can drink smoke sacks gamble, what drugs, you have unlimited access to all of the human biases and most people in their first couple years of adulthood adulting they over indulge? And they realize there are prices to pay for doing whatever you want when you want to do it. And we as a society are exactly the same place right now. We are realizing Yes, we can As much carbon as we want as cheaply as we want, we can have as much technology in our hands we want, we can be staring at our screens as we want. However, those things as indulgent and as good as they might feel as easy as they might be, there are huge societal repercussions or societal individual repercussions from that. So we are as a society right now, as a species right now, in those 1819 year old years going, just because we can doesn’t mean we should. And we’ve actually got to restrict ourselves based on what is in the best long term interests of our species.

Adam G. Force 17:33

That’s the that’s the tough one right there is really getting people to I guess, it’s like a reeducation process almost how do we get people to detach from those you know, historical conditioning conditioned beliefs and start thinking in a new direction with you know, I just, it’s a very difficult thing. So I guess that’s why you’re focused on leadership and trying to have a top down effect.

Peter Montoya 17:59

Noticed some degree, I mean leadership and really changed, you know, the military was the prototypical takedown style. You know, I’m the leader, you do what I say. And today, it’s really an inside out job, which means we’re really trying to empower people. So they make better decisions for themselves and for the organization as a whole. We want thinking self leading, empowered people making decisions, so no longer isn’t necessarily a top down. We’re trying to really imbue them with the right tools that make better moral decisions for themselves and the people around them. Yeah, and

Adam G. Force 18:34

I think, you know, so. So basically, getting because I, you know, it made me think of this film the family, I don’t know if you’ve seen it, or saw it. It’s like, they’re like, these are the leaders that have the most impact. And when I say top down, forget traditional corporate hierarchy or anything like that, but people that have been influenced in a sense, it’s like, if they’re out there, spreading the Bs, like, it just makes it that much harder and to Your point we want people to start understanding what this I guess modern day leadership is and not even just what it should be, but what it needs to become and why, right?

Peter Montoya 19:11

Yeah, absolutely. Right. So we’re really focused on self leadership and self leadership really is empowerment. empowerment is one of those terms to a lot of people where they go, it’s kind of a fuzzy word, but they really, empowerment really is very well defined. So here’s what empowerment is. First of all, empowerment is authority, plus confidence, plus competence. So when As for me, as a leader of an organization, I want to give my people maximum authority to make as many decisions within alignment of the organization. So the organization is really clear, the objective is really clear or head is really clear. And we’ll give each one maximum authority to help us achieve that goal. Next, I want to give them the competence and the skills and I’ll ask them questions and training to constantly give them more and more comps, make better decisions, and then with that usually comes down competence. So when they’re sitting there in a decision making situation, they are empowered to make the best decision for them in the organization. I love that.

Adam G. Force 20:09

And so and what are you offering and doing right now that’s that is supporting people to become a transformational leader, if you will.

Peter Montoya 20:18

Great question. So I’m an infopreneur. These days, I’ve got a great YouTube channel which is youtube.com, slash thrive, e union. And on there, we’ve got 54 different videos that basically teach different life skills and leadership. So that’s one thing we do are putting the final touches on a book right now called the 10. Secrets of leadership power, self testable for self leadership and leadership of others want to really kind of break down and get pragmatic steps for people to actually be able to know how to build up their leadership skills. And then also I’ve got a great online coaching community, which is on Facebook and it’s currently free. So that would be Peter Montoya leadership coaching inside of Facebook, go to Facebook search for Peter Montoya leadership coaching, and join our free leadership coaching community.

Adam G. Force 21:09

So thanks for sharing that. And just curious then, as leadership is evolving, and where do you see it? Do you see these leadership styles changing? Obviously, it has changed over time. And do you see it happening more in certain areas? It could be small companies, large corporations, government, whatever it might be. Do you see it evolving in certain places first?

Peter Montoya 21:34

Yeah, it certainly is happening. And I don’t know if you saw it. In the last couple months, the American Chamber of Commerce actually kind of changed what they thought was the objective American business now, whereas the objective of American business was either by default or stated to maximize shareholder value, right. The Chamber of Commerce, more or less said, I think the US Chamber Congress more or less said, we now have five stakeholders and we get to consider all five stakeholders. Clients are one shareholders be another, their vendors, their employees and the communities they serve. That actually is a holistic solution. Now we’ve got American businesses saying making money alone is not it.

Adam G. Force 22:21

Yeah, yeah. No, it’s it’s powerful. And I do recall seeing that and I’m curious at what impact the you know, I think it was Chamber of Commerce, but them setting the tone, if you will, curious on what kind of impact that’s really happening because I feel like you know, there’s probably a lot of old blood out there and a lot of new blood coming. I think the new blood is gonna lean into those ideas, while the old blood is gonna have their mindset on maximizing profit, because that’s just their mentality.

Peter Montoya 22:51

Yeah, I mean, you also understand that money is you know, highly, highly addictive. So human beings have two potential Reasons for living. The default reason for living is your basic survival and this goes back to our homosapien origins and more or less how we survive if human beings is to eat, don’t get eaten and procreate. That’s how we prepare. keeps giving you some of the survival of the species going forward. And making money is nothing more than an extension of that basic core programming. So you say well, how is making money I mean, buying more houses and more cars, just an extension of eat, don’t get eaten and procreate. reproduce. And when more or less people buy cars, have houses have boats have more vacation as a way of attracting mates? If you think Oh no, I’m evolved. I live in a big giant huge house and I’m beyond my core programming. Basically basis rival No, you’re still caught on the hedonic treadmill of that and it takes a level of comfort. consciousness to go, you know what, I’m going to transcend my basic core programming of survival and move on to human flourishing or thriving. And that’s basically when you make the choice that you want to live for human well being. And once you figure it out that maximizing human well being is what you’re going living for. Then you start living for things like purpose, relationships, calm, and you actually reorganize your life in a much more holistic way. But it takes some intelligence to do and discipline to do that in our society.

Adam G. Force 24:30

Yeah, definitely. Now, do you do you think or would you agree that there that we’re actually living through a major transition in in business overall, globally?

Peter Montoya 24:45

But yeah, I certainly hope so. You’re getting more and more Gen Xers like me into the executive ranks, and we have a much more holistic way of looking at the world so I’m really hoping so. Gen Xers have been the biggest disappointment. Is this most not the biggest non generation in history? We haven’t even had a president yet. So we’ve had baby boomer presidents, and they’re looking we might skip right over Gen x’s and just get all millennial if they elect Pete Budaj edge. Yeah, there hasn’t been I don’t think any of the candidates right now for president are Gen Xers were worthless generation.

Adam G. Force 25:20

You know, you don’t hear too much about Gen X. That’s, that’s no, it’s it’s, it’s now millennials and Gen Z. And for some reason, yeah, Gen X gets skipped.

Peter Montoya 25:30

You did.

Adam G. Force 25:32

Man. So yeah, I think you know, there is a big transition. And you know, one of the things I always like to say is that, and I’m curious on your thoughts is you know, as more people as the internet grows and grows, and we have this, all these new opportunities, it’s there’s never been a better time for opportunity for someone to say, I’m gonna I’m gonna escape the nine to five like what we were taught and programmed to do basically, and I I’m going to do something of my own, like, I’m just gonna figure out my own. And what I always want to see people do is like, find harmony, like there is no work life balance, there’s just your life. So you just start creating this harmonious, you know, duality like comes together, right? And it’s like, I’m just gonna shape whatever I want. And now with the internet, you can do that the opportunity is there.

Peter Montoya 26:23

So yeah, it certainly is. I mean, there’s so much technology now that allow you to actually, you know, work from home from home and basically look like a big business. So there is a lot of opportunity in that one regard. And then in another regard, the number of new businesses starting in America right now is less than during the Carter administration. The large businesses on this planet, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Tesla, you know, they are gobbling up a whole lot of mindshare right now. So in some regards, it is easier and in some regards, it’s harder because of the climate right now.

Adam G. Force 26:58

Yeah, that’s an interesting point. I’m always looking for statistics on the number of companies started or you know, failing, like, and I don’t know, like where you get your numbers. Any any ideas on that?

Peter Montoya 27:11

Good question. I would have to google it again. Yeah, I know. I googled it not too long ago and saw those numbers, but it’s, it’s out there. I’m guessing it is. The Department of Commerce is where those numbers are. Yeah. Neil Patel recently posts something around about a 500,000 or so companies start but only about 30. Some thousand make it? Right. Right. And those numbers are pretty powerful. You know, but what’s interesting is I see more people, and you don’t need to be a Tesla to live. So live, what you might define as success, right? So you can grab your small part of the pie and help a small part of the global community in your own way with the skills that you have. And we would call that living your truth. I was at a conference in Toronto and I interviewed a girl by the name of Nasseri Sheikh who is on our magazine cover and when I spoke to her she was a child slave went through all the stuff she got out started two businesses. And I asked her in the end, if you had one opportunity to give a message to the world, what would it be? And she said, I would ask that people dig deep live their truth, because that’s the biggest contribution you can make to the world. Did I lose you? Sorry, I had muted the microphone to sneeze. failed, unmuted. Yes, in my vernacular, that is living your purpose and purpose is the intersection of five of five things. Number one, what you’re passionate about. Number two, what you’re good at what you’re skilled out. And number three, something that benefits humanity. And once you find the intersection of those three things, yes, you are maximizing contribution to our species. And so I really hope that your listeners here are not just doing jobs that they like, and that make them money. But actually, they’d like to Really good at that are helping society beautiful.

Adam G. Force 29:04

I love that. And I and I that’s where I want to see this overall transition go, you know, we have more transparency now with the internet, we could see what’s going on in the world. And hopefully we can find trusted information. And as people get, you know, inspired more than they want to contribute back to help solve some of these problems. And that’s what we’re all about here at Change Creator. So we see a lot of people who do have their hearts in the right place.

Peter Montoya 29:26

Oh, I love what you’re doing here. Adam is fantastic.

Adam G. Force 29:28

Thank you so much. Appreciate that. And I really appreciate your focus on leadership. And you did define it, but I just want to do a final definition and we’ll wrap up. So I have a note here that you know, like we talked about transformational leadership. Let’s just give everybody a very clear definition on what that really means. today.

Peter Montoya 29:49

A transformational leader is someone who changes the fundamentals, fundamental understanding of what something is. So our founding fathers This country 200 years ago, created a fundamental change in understanding what a country could be. Up until that time, most of the countries in the world were all monarchies basically, in powered by God more or less. And the United States of America was the very first democracy and no one thought that model would work. Here we are 200 and some 70 years later, and a half the countries in the world are now democracies, they created a fundamental change understanding of what something is. Steve Jobs is another one. I mean, Steve Jobs probably was a transformational leader at least twice, if not three times. First with what a computer was a computer up until that time filled a room. It was only for governments and research institutions and colleges and things like that. And he basically said, No, a computer is what you put on your desk. It’s more functional. That was probably number one. Number two is probably iTunes. We changed how we got listened to music versus CDs. It was now digital. And the third one was what is a pocket computer Caught a fall, but really it’s a handheld computer. And that was the probably the third time he created a fundamental change understanding was something is, so what in every single time but those fundamental transformation leaders, not only they change the understanding what it is, but they also unlock hundreds, thousands or millions of other leaders. So if you think about it, how many businesses have come evolve because of the iPhone? Well, there’s thousands of or hundreds of thousands of businesses that are created doing software and hardware for the iPhone. And then you also got to think about all the businesses that were started because people could run their whole entire lives off of a handheld computer. So he trance he created other leaders based on his own transformation.

Adam G. Force 31:47

Yeah, I love that. I love the fact that has, you know, Britney bring up a great point about how just creating these transformations such as the iPhone, it just opens up a world of whole a whole other world of opportunity, which is been the case and it’s been pretty amazing. So I couldn’t agree more. Yeah. Well, Peter, listen, I appreciate your time. We’re gonna wrap up here. And I want to give you a chance. I know you gave some shout outs earlier, but let’s just what’s the best place for people to learn more about you and your leadership? approach

Peter Montoya 32:16

our website, which is Peter Montoya calm that should be easy enough to remember. And then I would also go to facebook and join my free leadership community, which is the Peter Montoya leadership coaching in Facebook.

Adam G. Force 32:29

Awesome. Perfect. Alright guys, you heard it, check it out. This sounds like exactly the kind of leadership we need. So really appreciate you sharing all your insights. Peter.

Peter Montoya 32:39

I love that you have this channel and thank you for having giving this gift to the world and having me on it. I really love this episode.

Adam G. Force 32:45

And your next step is to change create a revolution by downloading our interactive digital magazine app for premium content, exclusive interviews, and more ways to stay on top of your game available now on iTunes and Google Play or visit change. Raider mag comm we’ll see you next time where money and meaning intersect right here at the Change Creator podcast.

Maddy Martin: Increase Sales and Impact With Messenger AI Strategies

Listen to our exclusive interview with Maddy Martin:

Subscribe to this show on Spotify  |  iTunes  |  Stitcher  |  Soundcloud

Are you leaning into modern marketing solutions that will allow you to help more people and scale impact? We spoke to the head of growth and education at Smith.ai.

Maddy Martin is the head of growth and education at Smith.ai, which provides integrated phone and web chat services for solo and small businesses, including their virtual receptionist & intake service, live website chat, and Keypad cloud phone system.

She has spent the last decade growing tech startups from New York to California and has expertise in digital marketing, small business communications, lead conversion, email marketing, SEO, and event marketing.

Learn more about Maddy and her work at > https://smith.ai

We also recommend:

Transcription of Interview

(Transcribed by Otter.ai, there may be errors)

Adam G. Force 00:11

What’s going on everybody welcome back to the Change Creator podcast show. This is your host Adam force. hope everybody’s doing well today. If you missed the last episode, it was with Travis chambers. He’s the founder of chamber media they’re doing some really amazing stuff with video and so we talked about video marketing and development and all that good stuff. So a lot of good gold nuggets in there and as you know, video is hot today. So you want to check that out. And today we are going to be talking with somebody in the AI space and her name is Maddy, Martin. She’s head of growth and education at Smith AI. And they’re all about integrating you know, web and phone chats right so automating these processes to help increase your sales connect with leads validate the leads right. This can lead to calls the can lead to whatever your funnel or process is. And you know, there’s a lot of money left on the table today, when we don’t have these types of resources in place. And even, you know, like Facebook Messenger is super powerful with really unique strategies behind it. And you know, programs like this for your website can really help you increase your monthly revenue for your business. So we wanted to talk to her about how businesses are using this stuff, why it’s so important and get a sense of what they’re doing that’s different, and bring that to you guys. So you can get some insights and maybe fresh ideas for you know, pulling in some more leads, pulling in some more sales and upping your business, right, the more we can do that the more impact we can have in the world, with our companies. And that’s always a good thing. So the other announcement I want to make is, we have a very special offer and it is a it’s new. We haven’t we haven’t shared this with anybody just yet. And it is our storytelling roadmap for impact on Entrepreneurs now we run a program called the captivate method. And we help supercharge your brand with storytelling right to turn more leads into sales and automate your business and really set things up and integrate storytelling as a powerful marketing force. And this is a first step. So we want to share this storytelling roadmap as a first step to get acclimated understand story a little bit better and what’s going on with it some of the mistakes that people make when they’re in their early years of startup. And so you could check that out now this again, this is a fresh document we’d love your feedback on it as well. So you can go to the URL change crater comm slash forward slash storytelling roadmap. All right, just all one word. So Change Creator comm slash storytelling roadmap, and you can grab your free copy of the storytelling roadmap for impact entrepreneurs. Now check it out, let us know what you think we’d love to get some feedback on it. And we hope you really enjoy it and it’s helpful for you. There’s lots of good nuggets in Alright, so this will be a good first step. Alright guys, I think that’s about it, you can check out our website, check us out on Facebook, you know where we’re at, you know, get on Facebook, this is where we put a lot of content and then get into the Facebook group, the, the profitable digital impact entrepreneur. All right, we have a really healthy community in there that you can connect with lots of good insights. And we hope to see you over there. Alright, let’s jump into this conversation about messenger and AI with Maddie. Hey, Maddie, welcome to the Change Creator podcast show. How’s everything going today?

Maddy Martin 03:38

Oh, it’s great. Thanks, Adam. Thanks for having me.

Adam G. Force 03:40

Yep. Thanks for being here. I think you’re in an exciting space and you know, just over the past couple years, there’s just so much talk around this type of technology and messenger support and I think, you know, for even for our business as we get into this stuff, it’s I always look at it as like another thing to learn, but I think So look at it as like, Man, you better start leaning into it, because that’s money that you’re leaving on the table for sure. And I’ve seen just incredible results for people. So maybe just give a little bit of background on what’s going on with, you know, with you today, what you’re working on and just kind of a little summary there.

Maddy Martin 04:18

Yeah, sure. Absolutely. So I’m the head of growth and education for Smith AI, which is a Virtual Receptionist and web chat service that’s now offering also texts answering for small businesses primarily. So we operate now really globally, but we’re based in Silicon Valley and we have the majority of our receptionists are in the US and Canada, English and Spanish support for really a professional services, businesses and solopreneurs to small business owners who are you know, the first few years of business to more mature and advanced where they understand the opportunity cost of their time, which for me is a long time ago. Economy Major really resonates with the with the business and our clients because we know that yes, you know, you could take out a loan and spend more money you can leverage friends and family and you know, venture capital. But what you can’t get more of no matter how hard you try is time. And it’s precious in terms of how quickly your business gets adopted in the market, how quickly you make sales and in are able to find the right product market fit. And what we find is that if business owners are spending all their time on admin tasks and chores and answering the phone, or neglecting those and not finding replacements to pick up the phone and answer emails and chats, then what happens is that there is a huge lag and missed opportunity in business growth, and that can significantly affect the sort of opportunities and viability of the business.

Adam G. Force 05:53

Yeah, I think that was well said. And it’s a tough lesson to learn because, you know, there’s a I would say that as As soon as you’re when you have an established revenue stream, let’s say I just have one product as a start up and you’re starting to get sales, you know, that’s when I would really start looking at this technology to help kind of capitalize on that. And I think you made a good point just about the time we put in because I’ve seen it over and over again, where people put in a lot of time in the weeds with this type of stuff, rather than spending their time you know, they talk about working on the business versus in the business and there is definitely some truth to to that and how you spend your time is important. So once you just have those sales like I think technology like this is is essential, actually, you know

Maddy Martin 06:39

Yeah, and I think you know, there’s such like a chicken and egg sort of mentality with services like this even think about like, are you using a CRM? Are you using online calendaring? Have you outsourced like the chore of bookkeeping and accounting like we’re approaching tax season, right? So maybe, I mean, to be honest, maybe we’re in tax season if we like it or not. And what ends up happening is that we get so bogged down by the day to day and the chores. But we don’t take an eye on the things that actually really move the needle, which is responsiveness. That’s the most important thing. And if we don’t invest in the tools that allow us to be responsive, then we end up shooting ourselves in the foot. So like, there’s often this analysis paralysis that happens, where you think, Oh my gosh, there’s so many CRMs on the market, like which one do I choose? How important is it that it connects to all my other tools? Should I have a you know, email account hosted by Gmail or Outlook or how does it play well with my other systems, and what we find now that’s really honestly a huge advantage to small business owners is that there are not as many like long term commitments and contracts that are required by software. You can use most software and services month to month, so there isn’t so much of an initial investment. And, and cost if you don’t like the software, so what I recommend is that you just get started using something that’s like free or low cost, like think about calendly. I mean, they offer a free online calendaring solution, there, even CRMs that start free. There’s email marketing tools that start free until you hit, you know, a total number of contacts. And then you know, like, this is something I like to use, it works for my business functions. It’s something that I can understand. But you don’t know unless you start actually using these systems and not just reading you know, your peers posts in a Facebook group, like how they’re going to actually work for you. Because like, if you agonize, you will never end up choosing a software and frankly, nothing is perfect, but you won’t know what actually you even want or like to use unless you just get started. And that’s one of the biggest struggles that we see small businesses. face.

Adam G. Force 08:58

Yeah, it’s true. And I think you see a lot of the software companies, they do offer, you know, a free access opportunity, you know, until you can get your business to a certain point, but that by that point, you either love it and you’re integrated with them. So you continue, or you don’t and you can try something else. So there’s really no reason to not get started with some of these things. And, you know, we’ve done it with calendly and drift and just simple things like that. And we’re behind on the messenger game and you know, this type of support at the level that you guys are, are doing. So that’s led me to be super curious to talk to you more about it. And if you could share maybe a little insight around, you know, the uses of this technology for small businesses and, and some of the things that might stand out as just someone maybe top two or three items that stand out that could be valuable, that someone should be thinking about that maybe they’re not.

Maddy Martin 09:55

Yeah, um, I think there there are three sort of core things to think about. About one and we started actually with our website chat having a self service sort of platform like you know, an intercom or drift or something. But what we found is that small business owners don’t need to answer their own chats. The two options that we now offer are live website chat, which is staffed by us, and also staffs, your texts answering and messages. Then the other product is the chat bot, which is automatically responding with programmatic answers that you know, respond to common questions and steer leads in the right direction towards scheduling a consultation or or buying products online. And those are the tools that are really hands off either there is someone handling it without your involvement or there is AI handling it without your involvement. But when we first sort of launched the website chat, and giving that self service platform, we realize like hey, hang on a second, like our core, you know, business Owner clients are not available. That’s why we exist to sort of deliver this service either through live humans or AI to respond on their behalf. And that’s what we do with phone calls. And and now doing that across, as we say, omni channel platform, so phone, text, website chat and expanding from there into other things like Facebook and other messenger apps. But what we know is that business owners always want to be in the loop. So when you’re looking at the system, they should notify you and anyone else who is scheduled or who is, you know, purchase a product, the notification should not only be to the business owner, but also to the buyer or to the lead. And then also see how you can sort of get the most out of the system. So like, a lot of people probably know that there are call answering services. But what a lot of people don’t know is that you can actually mask a business number. And I’m not speaking about spoofing and spam can actually move Ask a business number and we can call using your business number so that it shows on caller ID, your leads and clients to follow up on maybe they completed a website form or they left their cart abandoned and they didn’t end up buying the product, whatever the case may be, they have indicated an interest in buying something from you a product or service, we follow up on those great leads on the people who may be you know, indicated an interest or had a consultation with your service and didn’t buy. And then you have that entire workflow sort of both inbound and outbound with us answering, you know, screening, scheduling, answering questions and getting that, that revenue in or following up on people outbound to call them and to get that sale proactively. So I think that that proactiveness and the level of depth that we provide is really the thing that moves the needle, not a glorified voicemail right now. Just like leave a message. I mean, how annoying is that? When you go to a website, and you see that little like chat widget, and then you click on it thinking, I’m going to get live help right now either like through AI or a human being. And then it says, okay, enter your information. All right, I’ve done that name and email and then it says, things were away right now leave your message. And you’re like, what, you know, a bunch of baloney, like you just like made me fill out a form basically, and I’m not going to get live help. That’s such a disappointing experience. So I think that there is the expectation unfortunately, that like we live in the Uber Amazon instacart world where people are getting instant gratification and unbelievably great, fast service for any questions that they have about buying something or or just like, you know, contacting a business. And what ends up happening is that like, those are the same clients or the same consumers who are Going to be interacting with you. So if you don’t have business texting, if you don’t have a Facebook page with messenger, if you don’t have a website that has anything more than a form and instead, like, you know, a chat widget for real time interaction, then you’re missing out on potential business. Like, for example, what we see is that you can expect one chat for every four calls you get for a net new lead for your business. So we know that there is money being left on the table.

Adam G. Force 14:29

Yeah, and I think that’s huge. I think that, you know, I literally was just having this conversation with my co founder, Amy about just abandoned cart stuff, or you know, people that are hitting that page and you know, there’s retargeting solutions and, you know, ways to follow up with people. But I think that this type of support and follow up is really important. I was gonna say powerful, but I just think it’s really important because there is a ton of money left on the table, and it might be something very simple. With these follow ups that you find out that were just holding someone back from that sale, and not only do you get the information, but you will get the sale also. So, like, if you’re not following up in these different, there’s different ways to have these follow ups. I feel like and you know, you want to be covering your bases and in the ways that are going to be most effective and immediate.

Maddy Martin 15:19

Yeah, I mean, one other thing that I’ll emphasize, honestly, in terms of tools, because there is a little bit of hesitancy still here with text messaging, that, you know, chat is great. But it does require sort of someone coming to your website or prompting that engagement, right? But texting is really nice because it can be less, less less inbound, right? And it can be two way and we know that unlike email, which many of us are still leveraging, but it’s you know, lower and lower open rates and more noise and less effective text messages, get an astronomically higher ROI. Right so what ends up happening is that for those who are most likely to respond to a text message and who are most clearly indicating that they want to hear from you, they want to engage with your business or they have already engaged with your business and I’ll get to an example of that in a second. You can text them and get a much higher interaction engagement rate and and you know when to sale rate so that you can you know, really make the sale happen especially if you have a mobile friendly website. Or if you have purchases available for product on other sites, you can direct through link them to make a purchase and it can even be something that is a personalized link so it gets them right back to where they were started, you know, with cookies, etc. So So to me, like I’ve got chrome on my desktop on my browser. If someone texts me a link on my phone, then I’m using Chrome no matter which device I’m in my Chrome knows where I am. So I can pick up right where I left off. Again, leveraging technology that’s not costing you anything extra. But it allows you to help facilitate that sale. Now with existing clients. What’s really interesting is that you can even use texting to help them write reviews for you, what we see is that reviews or referrals are still incredibly important and have a ton of weight on the attraction and the sort of search ranking of your business, the visibility, everyone is checking, you know, online reviews and referrals. Even if they have a friend who tells them you know, go check out this business, they’re still going to look at it and what you want to do is systematically be asking for and getting fresh reviews and from your happiest clients of course, so if you use texting and you say thanks so much for you know, your recent purchase and we’re leaving us you know, five stars, when you automatically email them about you know, thanks for making this purchase. You You made a purchase in your cart. And then here’s the automatic email. If you text them and you say, Would you please write a review on our Facebook page or Google My Business or wherever it is that you have a listing, then you can help facilitate that actually coming to fruition, whereas in the email, you know, someone’s gonna snooze it, maybe they want to do it, maybe the open rate is lower, if you just direct them to that link right there. And then and you can even if you’ve captured, you know, comments from them, praise in the past, you can include that to make it even easier for them to write the review. One of the things that we even do is we can call, you know, recent clients back who left a positive review and say, you know, what, you know, let me just, you know, have a little mini interview with you, and we will send this to you, you can approve it, and then I’ll send you the link to post it online, like really facilitating that online reputation management.

Adam G. Force 18:55

Yeah. Which I love and I and I think a lot of people have a gap there with getting those reviews and stuff like that for their products, and it can be a real pain in the butt. And sometimes people do need that little, like, make it as easy as possible for them. So they need a little nudge.

Maddy Martin 19:10

Yeah, and I think they don’t want to they don’t have time, right. So you have to facilitate that.

Adam G. Force 19:16

Well, we’ve learned, you know, like on iTunes and stuff, like people find it to be a real pain in the butt to like, they want to leave a review, but it becomes like a hassle. And so if it’s not really simple for them, you lose that and I know like on iTunes, it can be a little bit if you’re not familiar with the process, it’s a little bit clunky. So that kind of like hand holding could be really valuable to getting those additional reviews and stuff. So have you noticed anything? I’m curious on just some of the companies that might be using this type of technology and support at the level you’re talking about. And if you’ve heard any kind of results stories that have shown an uptick in their sales or Just overall business revenues and things like that.

Maddy Martin 20:03

Oh my gosh, so many okay like a few things well, first of all one like sort of PSA. I travel around the country Adam and like I talked to a lot of small business owners, and many of them are using voice phone systems cloud phone systems and they don’t sort of Secret Shop them. So after you listen to this, one thing that I would recommend that you do if you’re running a small business is to have someone call your business phone number and count the rings and then pick up when you hear the you know, first or second ring. So count the rings on your end because what we’re seeing is a lot of latency. So sometimes if your phone system is not set up properly, or if you have a lot of delays, then you could be missing calls for the very simple and very fixable reason of like there’s eight rings and I kid you not this actually happens before you hear it ring once on your end, and people are hanging up then before they even reach you. So that is really an easy fix. The other thing that I recommend is that if you don’t have business texting enabled for your phone number that you get that immediately a lot of our clients say, you know, these are lawyers, financial advisors, e commerce, you know, they say they didn’t realize that people were trying to text their number until they enabled it or until they switch their phone system. And the really nice thing is that that typically is rolled into like any cloud phone system plan, it shouldn’t really cost you anything extra. If so, it’s extremely small potatoes right in the grand scheme of your costs, and you know, 510 bucks a month or something that have basic business texting enabled. And if you have a landline, you can even use zip whip, or you can use Smith AI to provision sort of a business texting solution for you. So that’s something that I would absolutely recommend and then I would definitely also recommend looking into you know, having sort of automation setup, so that if you have a webform filled For example, from a new potential client or from someone who says, Yes, I want more information or you do product demos, or whatever the case may be, you have a really good system of follow up. So that if someone, even if they’re chatting on your website, that you always have the opportunity to sort of like have that conversation with them. One of the things that we see is that business owners shoot themselves in the foot sometimes by saying, play by my rules, rather than trying to be in tune with the clients and say, okay, you’re contacting me, on my website. Here you are, you’re chatting, or you’re filling out these forms. If you’re just filling out forms, you should definitely have website chat if you get a lot of form fills and e commerce requests. If you have website chat, then what happens? You’ve got someone who’s live on the line, and you’ve got this fish on the line and then they say, you know what, I need to step away like can I can I turn this into a call or this is getting a little bit more complicated, you know, I want to learn more about extra Z, you know, can I schedule time to speak with someone, you want to be able to make that available to them. So either they’re able to schedule a call for someone on your team, maybe it’s even you the business owner. Or if you’re using an omni channel solution where for example, we know your business, and we’re using chat and phone to communicate on your behalf, we can actually even have our receptionist, take that phone call and continue the conversation so you don’t have the interruption. But the main thing is that don’t get interrupted until it actually has to be you who brings in that final sale, who does that demo or consultation are much more sort of advanced conversation that only you or your team can do before that point. If you are doing all of that triage and handling yourself, then you’re spending a lot of time with people who are probably not all converting to clients. or customers? And that doesn’t need to be you who’s on the front lines? Yeah,

Adam G. Force 24:07

yeah, I mean, the time saving is huge and I agree that was gonna be a question is that converting from the the automated chat because you know sometimes there does it does require a personal touch so you might have a trigger point that would turn it into something that you can handle personally to close a deal or whatever it might be but the whole setup process and the initial conversation getting there sounds like it can be automated and then you can have a trigger point to set up a call as needed.

Maddy Martin 24:35

Absolutely. And the nice thing with online calendaring is that if it is you know, you or your staff who has to have the you know, consultation or demo or discussion, then we will book that based on your calendar settings. So you can say you know, I only open up you know, my public calendar for you know, three demos a day or phone calls in the afternoons and I need 15 minutes of buffer time in between Each appointment to take notes and follow through. All of those things are completely customizable. And when we’re booking appointments for you, it’s not like we’re seeing into your calendar or we’re logging in or you need to buy another license. It really is just a link that we use based on your directions. But the important thing is that it’s not just anyone having a link and they’re just booking appointments with you willy nilly. They’re screened first to determine if they’re a good potential client or customer or even partner. You know, are there people who you’re doing work with? Maybe it’s b2b and not see to see, you know, b2c? There may be different vetting steps based on who is on the phone and how you plan to work with them.

Adam G. Force 25:46

Yeah, and I think I would make the point that it’s nice to be able to screen people because you want to get a sense of who is coming in who is chatting because you can look at that and say great, these are the right people. For my My business or you’re going to find out these are not the right people for my business. So now you want to look at well, then why are we attracting the wrong people? Do we have the wrong SEO content? Are we doing the wrong targeting in our ads or whatever it might be. So I think it’s great to be able to screen people and make those types of decisions because you’re starting a sales conversation or a funnel, whatever you want to call it. And if you’re seeing a lot of the wrong people, it kind of leads you to determine there’s probably other issues with your traffic to begin with. So I love that I love that screening opportunity. And I like the automation. I mean, not that we don’t want to have personal touches, but you know, once you get to a certain number, more and more people coming, it’s like you just can’t, right. So it’s it is nice to be able to manage some of the primary conversation to like, vet somebody depending on what they need. And then if they are a buyer, then you have that conversation.

Maddy Martin 26:53

Yeah, I mean, I think that you also just go back to that SEO point that you made that is a really important In one, and it’s sort of this like unknown secret benefit to having something like website chat that allows you to get the exact language that people are using to search. So what do we know, we know that like Google doesn’t really give you the keyword so much anymore that people are using to search and find your business. It’s really hard to determine all the entire questions that the entire keyword set that’s driving business to your pages. So what we know, though, is that in a chat, they’re using the exact same language that they were searching for in Google, right? Because like, maybe they got to the right page, or maybe they got your homepage, or maybe they search for something and now they’re actually going to search their exact query on your website. A lot of small business websites don’t have search or very robust search. So chat actually can be a search portal for the rest of your site. If it’s connected to live agents, they can facilitate you know, getting the right answer to you or providing it directly. But the really nice thing is that you can read into all of the chat transcripts that you see. And you can pull out the best blog posts the best FAQ the best, like, you know, questions that people are asking and then answer them proactively on Facebook or Twitter and say, we just got, you know, three of the same question this week about, you know, product A, wanting to, you know, share with everyone the answer because we didn’t realize it was something that wasn’t, you know, well known. You know, you as a business owner, you have deep expertise. And sometimes it’s easy to have those blinders on where, where you don’t keep in touch with like, those basic questions that maybe you take for granted. And we see this really often. Or maybe you have used a digital marketing agency that isn’t totally familiar with the exact language that’s used, like a really good example of that would be, you know, with attorneys who do personal injury, like let’s consider the phrases like car wreck, or car accident, right? Like if you’re Just saying car accident all over your website, but you’re in a region in the US where people say car wreck, then you’re going to be missing out on some of that search traffic. And if everyone in your chat widget is saying, Oh, do you handle, you know, injuries from car wrecks, you’re like, Oh my gosh, it’s so simple. Like, I should be using that keyword too. So something like that can be a big unlock to organic search traffic growth, as you were alluding to,

Adam G. Force 29:29

yeah, yeah. No, I love that. That’s all really good information. And I just think that there’s such an important place for this type of technology. And there’s a lot of ways we can use it. I get a little sensitive around the text messaging. I think it’s super powerful. And obviously it gets high exposure and opens. I guess we all just have to be a little bit more intimate, right, it gets Yeah, email is like at one level of intimacy and trust. And then you get to the text messaging. It’s like you’re really in the Inside world with somebody

Maddy Martin 30:03

And so you need to be careful and not invasive, right? Like, you know, consider how interested the person is and then be Be careful. You know, it’s like how I teach writers who I’ve worked with, you know how to use an exclamation point you know, it’s like a jalapeno like you only need one and you know any block of text any recipe right? Right. Um, too many is overload. You want to be careful with like how much you’re you’re out bound communicating, whether that’s email or text message, but you really don’t want to ever feel spammy and have clear indicators of when you send that prompt follow up and on what channel

Adam G. Force 30:42

love it. Yeah, makes sense. Well, it sounds like there’s a lot of to explore here for people. So you know, if you got your business you’re you’re up and running. This type of support could not only just takes give you some time back, but it could also improve your sales and conversion rates, not just the number of sales, but those conversion rates can go up based on the volume of traffic, you have come to your site. So definitely something really great to look into. So thanks for sharing, you know, your expertise on the topic and some of the ways that people are using it to grow their businesses that you’ve seen and stuff like that. So, Maddie, let’s give her a shout out to where people can learn more about it and kind of check out what you guys are all about.

Maddy Martin 31:27

Yeah, thanks, Adam. So if you are interested in having us help you accelerate growth with phone calls, chats, texts. We are available to speak with you live@smith.ai our website. We also have a phone number traditionally 6507 to 76484, or you can email us at hello@smith.ai. And as a listener of this podcast, we have created a special promo code so it is Change Creator 100 that’s 100. And if you put that in, you’ll get not only a free trial for calls and chats, but also $100 off your first month. And if you don’t want to spend a dime, you can use our free AI chat bot that has unlimited conversations available to you for your website.

Adam G. Force 32:20

Awesome. That’s, that’s great. Appreciate that. Alright guys, so take advantage. I thought this was gonna be you know, a great call. And it was because I really wanted to dig into more of this chat stuff as our team is even looking into it and kind of share this with everybody that’s listening in. So it’s a really good opportunity to start automating your business more taking that time back and capitalizing on those sales that you’re leaving on the table. So thanks again Maddy, appreciate your time this episode. Your next step is to join the Change Creator revolution by downloading our interactive digital magazine app for premium content, exclusive interviews, and more ways to stay on top of your game available now on iTunes and Google Play or visit Change Creator mag calm We’ll see you next time where money and meaning intersect right here at the Change Creator podcast.

Jennifer Priest: Grow Your Startup With Organic Traffic on Pinterest

Listen to our exclusive interview with Jennifer Priest:

Subscribe to this show on Spotify  |  iTunes  |  Stitcher  |  Soundcloud

Need more traffic? Maybe Pinterest is a place for you to start exploring? We speak to the founder of Smart Creative Social, Jennifer Priest to learn more about organic traffic on Pinterest.

As a digital entrepreneur for over 17 years, Jennifer intimately understands what it means to run a successful online business and manage your online marketing needs in-house … or yourself.

With over a decade of digital marketing experience for large corporations to handmade artists (and everyone in between), she knows what it takes to make content that gets traffic, to navigate the algorithms of popular platforms, and to interpret data in meaningful ways business owners can understand and use to make successful decisions.

Learn more about Jennifer and her work at > https://www.smartcreativesocial.com

We also recommend:

Transcription of Interview

(Transcribed by Otter.ai, there may be errors)

Adam G. Force 00:11

Hey, what’s going on everybody? Welcome back to the Change Creator podcast show where we help entrepreneurs earn a living doing what they were born to do. And if you missed last week’s episode is with Emily Hirsch. She is a Facebook marketing Rockstar. She’s built up her agency, her marketing to 25 people now and I think they have like, they’ve done about a $23 million ad spend so far, and they’ve had over 90 million in return. She’s done talks at like Russell Bronson’s inner circle and Ryan deiss has conferences and stuff like that. So she’s been really growing like wildfire over the past couple years. And so we picked her brain and we’re gonna and we shared all kinds of good secrets in there for you guys to pick up on. So swing back and check that out. If you haven’t already. You don’t want to miss that one. So this week, we’re gonna be talking with Jennifer priest. She’s an expert. She’s actually in a mastermind with me and Amy We were just out in California and we were talking and stuff and she is a, she’s a rockstar when it comes to Pinterest. This is like there’s untapped traffic here, everybody. So we wanted to just kind of see Hey, what are we missing out on? How do we get started in Pinterest and kind of get into the nuts and bolts of that stuff and she also just has an incredible story of transformation. So, you know, not becoming an entrepreneur is not always an easy thing. It’s it’s a push for people, and it becomes this lifestyle. So Jennifer has had incredible changes in her life that have been, you know, really inspiring and she’s been very successful with her business because she’s been working so hard. So we’re gonna tap into those Pinterest secrets and her story in just a few minutes. So last but not least, guys, swing by Change Creator calm, lots of fresh content coming out over there and you could check out the latest and greatest can also get on the waitlist for the captivate method. We are helping people supercharge their marketing with storytelling so They can build trust and actually attract more customers, right? So you could check that out, we’d love to see you in that community can see if it’s a good fit for you. And last but not least, don’t forget to leave us a review. We very much appreciate your support on iTunes and other platforms. It goes a long way guys, and we appreciate you being here. And hopefully you guys are getting value out of this. So Oh, one thing I did forget, if you guys want our storytelling roadmap, you cannot get it from our website. But if you go to Change Creator comm forward slash, storytelling, roadmap, all one word Change, creator.com forward slash and then all one word is storytelling roadmap, you’ll be able to sign up and get a free copy of the storytelling roadmap. There’s a lot of good tips and insights in there and some key information about mistakes that people are making when it comes to their marketing. When we talk about story, storytelling, we’re really getting into the depth of real marketing. That’s what that is all about. So you don’t want to miss that kind of It’s it’s really designed to energize your your business. Alright guys, we’re gonna jump into this conversation with Jennifer about Pinterest and see what we can learn from her. Okay, show me the heat. Hey, Jennifer, welcome to the Change Creator podcast. How are you doing today?

Jennifer Priest 03:19

Awesome. I’m really glad to be here.

Adam G. Force 03:21

Yeah. Thanks for joining us. I’m excited to have this chat because I know you’re all about organic traffic over on Pinterest. And that’s an area that our team is always talking about. So I love to just learn a little bit more about it and share those insights with our audience. So I guess for starters, just tell me a little bit about what’s going on in your world today and how you got into Pinterest.

Jennifer Priest 03:44

So right now what I’m doing is I have an online program called Smart pin Pro, where I help businesses drive massive traffic to their site with Pinterest in just a couple hours a month. And so we use the power of automation. We work with SEO because Pinterest is a search engine. The way that I figured all of this out and started kind of down this path is that all starts with a DIY blog. So I was teaching craft classes all over, I was doing Etsy, eBay craft fairs. I was running myself ragged and on the verge of burnout. And one of my friends was like, Jennifer, you have a blog to promote your business, why aren’t you using that to make more money that way? Instead of just, you know, having do all this stuff where, you know, packing like $2 orders from Etsy and stuff like that. That’s just not a huge ROI. And so in order to work with sponsors, and to get money from ads and affiliate, you need a lot of traffic. And so I started really digging into Pinterest. I felt like I was doing everything that I could. And then I was trying to do everything right, and it wasn’t getting any results. And so I really dug in and started figuring it out for myself. And at the same time, I had some social media management clients that I was running their social media, so I started doing things for them and people were getting word, and they were like, wait, wait, wait, what are you doing? Can you You tell us, can you teach us Can you show us and so that’s why I started this online program a couple years ago, is to help other people drive that massive traffic, so that they’re not having to be on Pinterest all the time, and they can be in their business doing the thing they’re passionate about

Adam G. Force 05:16

Yeah, I think that’s super important. And yeah, I just had a conversation with somebody in our Facebook group. And, you know, they were talking about how, you know, they get great word of mouth and organic in that sense, but they’re having a hard time with using social media and getting people on board with fresh traffic that cold traffic and turning them into to buyers. So how does your process help? You know, is it is it like through developing warm leads? Is it going out to pulling in cold traffic? Can you tell us just a little bit about the approach?

Jennifer Priest 05:48

Really on Pinterest, it’s very much an SEO type of activity. So you know, Pinterest is kind of this strange animal where it’s like, it’s like Google and Instagram had a baby So it’s a very visual, but it’s really based on search. But it has some of those those social elements like you can follow people, you can message. And so we kind of lump it in with Facebook and all of that. But it’s it’s really much different. If you really focus on SEO, like what are people looking for on Pinterest? And then where does that intersect with what you have to offer? A lot of times people will come in and they have this whole Bank of content. And then they’re trying to like shove it and make it like fit into some kind of shoe. That’s the wrong size. Yeah. And so what we do is we actually say, Okay, before you even create the content, let’s do some research on Pinterest, let’s find out what people are looking for. And then we position your content or, you know, we teach you how to position your content, so that it’s going to be found by the right kind of audience that you want. And then it’s pretty easy, right? You’re you’re offering them some information, you’re offering them some kind of solution to a problem they have. And then they’re going to click over and come to your site. And so from there, that’s where it’s really dependent on how Your sales funnel is set up. Right? Do you have a way to capture those leads? We see a lot of people come into

Adam G. Force 07:06

Jennifer, are you there? Is your is your connection ok?

Jennifer Priest 07:10

Yeah, well, I thought it was.

Adam G. Force 07:12

Yeah, you’re back. You’re back. All right. We got some post editing to do.

Jennifer Priest 07:17

No sorry Adam. I’ve never had this happen ever

Adam G. Force 07:23

So I forget exactly where you left off. But you were just talking about some of the ins and outs on Pinterest. But so I guess I’m curious comparatively like you work probably on other social media platforms as well. What’s the major differentiator is the major differentiator for Pinterest the the power of that SEO feature that you’re that you’re leveraging?

Jennifer Priest 07:46

Well, the major differentiator is that Pinterest is actually part of their mission. They’re in the business of sending traffic away from their platform, even though they are monetized with ads just like Facebook and Instagram, and YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Want to keep people on their platform, they don’t want you to leave. Whereas Pinterest is like, we want you to discover new ideas go off platform, go try them and come back. And so what that means is that referral traffic from Pinterest to other sites year over year is on an increase. Whereas referral traffic from like Facebook, and we’ve all experienced this is on a decline. And so Pinterest, since it’s it’s engineered to send people off platform, it’s just made for exactly what we want to do send traffic to our sites which I love and that’s that’s one challenge with Facebook. I mean, I love Facebook,

Adam G. Force 08:33

They are a powerful marketing engine for sure. But I love that on Pinterest you can they kind of are, you know, pushing you to to let people go from their platform to another platform and maybe you can give us what’s an example. And you know, we don’t you don’t need to teach all your secrets. But just maybe one little secret or tip for people that might be interesting on how you are using that that fact that you can drive traffic Pinterest, other places like what’s one way that someone might take advantage of that?

Jennifer Priest 09:04

Well, I think one thing is on Pinterest to have a really clear call to action of what you want people to do. So ideally, yes, we want them to click over but things like okay, let’s say that you have a podcast, right? have something on the pin itself that says, Listen now, so that they know what they’re getting when they go to the destination. We don’t want them to have a surprise, right? Nobody likes that. They want to know they’re going to a podcast. But we also want to tell them like, Hey, you can listen to this right now. This is available for you right now. So things like an arrow or a text and or a text overlay that says, hey, this is this is what we want you to do subscribe now go download it now. Those things that that tell people what action we want them to take to be very clear because people people are busy, and they’re just not paying that much attention. And so we can really utilize that on Pinterest. We don’t have any kind of penalty for text overlays, like you know, on Facebook, there was a 20% rule and all that. There’s nothing like that. on Pinterest

Adam G. Force 10:01

So I mean, you don’t so you’re not like if you let’s just use the podcast example. So for people listening, I mean, you might have audio clips on Facebook, you might have them on Soundcloud on your website, it just depends where it is for that podcast, we’ll just use that example. And you can use the Pinterest boards and and their space, that environment to kind of find people using your SEO, and then lead them to these other platforms where you have that stuff hosted. Is that right

Jennifer Priest 10:29

Yeah, definitely. You know, a lot of people think Pinterest is just for bloggers, but we actually have a lot of YouTubers in our program, who only have a YouTube channel and they’re using Pinterest to send traffic there. So really Pinterest is a place where you can send traffic from there to whatever destination you want. The key is really making it clear like you’re going to you’re going to search engine, optimize all of it with keywords, etc. But making it clear to the pinner. Hey, where are you going to end up? Am I ending up on a video a blog post or recipe? What do I get?

Adam G. Force 10:57

And do you find I guess people are used to that then but Pinterest, right? Because I know I always I’ve been on there a few times myself when I was looking actually for food recipes, I find that to be a good place to find some ideas. And you have to click into the pin. And then you usually have to click one more time, which will take you then I guess, to the off site location where it’s hosted.

Jennifer Priest 11:18

Yeah, so that’s how regular static image pins work. Video pins are a little bit different. If you click on it, it’ll pause it. And so they’ll have to click the link in the description. So that’s a little bit tricky to get clicks with that. But you could use both like I would say use both in your strategy, especially if you’re doing something like a podcast. You may not want to put an audio clip on Pinterest because people aren’t aren’t watching the videos with audio on but you can have some engaging imagery and then that goes to your podcast.

Adam G. Force 11:47

I just love the idea that you also have a lot of YouTube influencers and stuff or you know, people whose businesses are on YouTube in your program who are leveraging Pinterest and it’s just I guess, I guess kind of breaking into just a freshman source of eyeballs and traffic? And have you noticed certain categories? For you know, because you have to always look at these platforms and say is my audience there? Is this where they’re hanging out? And have you noticed certain categories really popular and flourishing on Pinterest versus others?

Jennifer Priest 12:18

You know, there’s, there’s, of course like food, right? That’s super saturated, and very popular DIY crafts, handmade, that kind of thing, fashion makeup. Of course, those are on there. But that’s not all that’s on there. You know, what I tell people is it’s kind of like if we look at Google and say, Oh, well, you know, news is popular on Google. So there’s no reason for me to try to do SEO because I won’t show up and search. People are still searching for things. So just the same as searching on Google and YouTube for for topics they’re searching on Pinterest. One of the things that I think people should do or actually there’s two things I think they should do if they’re if they’re a little wary and wondering Oh, geez, I don’t know if my my people are on Pinterest. One is go on Pinterest and do a search. Do a search for your topic. And see what comes up. You can learn a lot from that process. And then the second thing is go into your Google Analytics and see if you’re getting any referral traffic from Pinterest. Because just because you’re not pinning something doesn’t mean that your people can’t pin something. So if your people are pinning your stuff, that means they want to save it, and they’re putting it on Pinterest and that can get your traffic. So go see if any, any of that activity is happening. That’s also a good indicator that you should actually be on Pinterest.

Adam G. Force 13:27

Yeah, I love that. So I mean, you just do some basic market research go in there do some searches it does it show you. So you’ll see a bunch of pins. Does it show you how like what the volume is kind of like Google search. It’s like Oh, he had this many results does it show you that?

Jennifer Priest 13:42

It does not show you the volume. It doesn’t show you search volume either. But there are some in some things that you can look at as far as indicators. So when you do a search underneath the search bar, there will be some bubbles that come up with additional keyword matches like the keyword combination. And if those are happening, that’s a good indicator that there’s a significant search volume on Pinterest for that topic. You can also go into the Pinterest trends tool, which is brand new, and it’s only in beta in the US as of the time of this recording. But you can go in there and you can see some comparative analysis for search volume. So it doesn’t show you overall volume, but you can compare different keyword terms to see what is more popular and when it’s most popular.

Adam G. Force 14:27

I see I see. Interesting, and I guess, how long did it take you to start? I guess finding your methodology that worked for Pinterest. So can you take me through that process a little it.

Jennifer Priest 14:40

So it took me a few months to really start to understand Pinterest and how it works. And that was in 2015 and 2016. So you can imagine that a lot has changed since then. So with Pinterest, really my approach starts with their mission statement. You know, what are they What are they here to do? They want to help you To discover and try new ideas, they use the language in their marketing that they are a planning tool, right? They help people plan weddings plan, travel plan purchases. So they’re a tool for people to plan their lives. And so when you think about that, and then you kind of drill down a little bit lower and you say, Okay, well, what, how does Pinterest make money, they make money from display ads. So they need people to have a good experience. They need people to come back over and over. They need, you know, lots of opportunities to show those ads. So they want to have the best user experience possible. A lot like Google, right? If Google showed you like horrible results in the in the top of the feed that had like belly fat ads and pop ups all over, you would not go to Google anymore. You’d be like, Oh, no, I’m not going there. Because that’s a bad experience. Yeah, yeah, same with Pinterest. So if you keep that top of mind, and that drives everything that you’re doing, and I mean, we get way way more granular when we talk about strategy, but that’s, that’s kind of the basis like don’t spam Do things that you think are going to create a good experience, do do things that are going to give that pinner all the information they need in order to click over and get what they need from you. You know, make sure that that pin delivers on whatever it promises they’re going to get by clicking. You know, that’s, that’s really where it comes down to. And then you know that it’s all the tactical things, right? Like how many times you should pin and that kind of stuff, but yeah, you know, really, it’s, it’s letting that mission drive you and say, Okay, what is it that that is? How is the Pinterest ecosystem set up? And then how do I function within that in the most quality way? That’s gonna give me the best ROI?

Adam G. Force 16:38

Yeah, I mean, and that’s the key is really like attracting the right people. Because I think people get so us today, they get obsessed with numbers, and they become these vanity metrics, like we’ve heard and, you know, it’s like how many followers and you end up focusing on getting as many followers as possible, when really that’s not what matters, right? So, the SEO factor I love because I think with SEO, you really can start attracting the right people. And then if you have the right story, like your brand and personality and what you offer, they will stick around and follow you. So then you really do attract the right people. Now, I know a little bit about Google SEO, and my co founder, Amy is an expert in SEO on Google and stuff like that. And I’m curious, when you consider SEO for Pinterest, like when you’re putting stuff up? Does it take time to start coming up in searches? Like, is there any kind of delay in that like there is in Google like to be ranked or anything?

Jennifer Priest 17:35

Yeah, so the first 24 hours that a pin is up. Pinterest is essentially that’s when it’s crawling your site, and is trying to figure out okay, what is this pin about? And so there’s lots of data points that it looks at from the pin, the board, you know, the URL, the destination, URL, etc, for it to determine, okay, who do we show this to? What’s this about? Right? And is this a quality experience that we can then you know, push this higher up into feed. So the first 24 hours is pretty important. And where you upload it to is pretty important because that all that data is, is used for that. And then there’s, there’s a drop off after that point, right, you might hit peak for about 30 days. And then there’s a drop off in performance. Typically, that’s what we see, depending on how you’ve optimized that pin. Whether you’ve used hashtags or not which keywords you used, you know what board you pinned it to how frequently you’ve pinned it, all those factors, those can determine the length of time that that pin is still functional and working. And, you know, so so sometimes we’ll see we use a lot of UTM codes to track stuff. Sometimes we’ll see that pins with hashtags perform better right in the beginning, but then they taper off and pins without hashtags don’t perform as well in the beginning, but then the performance picks up a few months in. So there’s some some different, you know, things that you can do for mixing up how you’re going to how you’re optimizing each pin like we talked about. Every single pin exactly the same way, there’s no one formula that we’re using, because we’re trying to get that even traffic over time. So that, you know, we may have something that spikes pretty early on because Pinterest, you know, it scans it in the first 24 hours. Or you may have something that takes a while or it may have something that’s three years old, that’s picking up traffic because Pinterest, every pin is evergreen. So Pinterest will always pull old stuff and serve it back up as long as it is very, very relevant to those search search results into the interests of the people that are looking for that topic.

Adam G. Force 19:35

Yeah. Okay, that makes sense. Interesting. So, um, one thing that as you were talking I’m curious about is you said you started this in 2015. This process what were you doing before this?

Jennifer Priest 19:50

Oh, I was trying all kinds of stuff. I was doing Facebook, I was reading Facebook groups. I was watching YouTube videos and going on blogs and just getting caught up you know, even going to conference isn’t getting caught up in all of the tactics that people are using. And they’d be like, okay, follow this step, this step, this step this, and then like rainbows are going to shoot out of the sky. Yeah. And so, you know, and I felt like, Okay, I’m doing all the things that everyone told me to. I’m jumping through every single hoop. And I’m not getting any results. And what I, what I realized was actually a lesson I learned back in college when I was struggling to learn math. And I was I was like struggling my college algebra class. And I learned that once you understand the why of what you’re doing, then you can solve any problem, right? It’s not the steps. It’s not the process. That’s important. It’s understanding why why do we cross multiply? What is that right in math. So the same thing with Pinterest, it’s like people are telling you do these steps, these steps, these steps, these steps, but as you’re doing the steps, and you’re not getting the same result, because you’re a totally different business than that other person’s business. There’s so many factors involved in that she can’t just like cookie cutter it as you’re applying those things and things aren’t working out, right? Because you don’t know why you can’t adjust. You don’t know what to adjust, because you don’t even know why you’re doing the steps other than like so and so told you these steps worked for them. Exactly.

Adam G. Force 21:17

You have no Northstar. Yeah, it’s so true. It’s true. Yeah. And so I mean, did you ever have Were you always pursuing entrepreneurship? Or did you ever have jobs that you just were doing the good old nine to five?

Jennifer Priest 21:32

Yeah, so I I wanted to be a music journalist. When I was in high school, I had a Xen, I work with record labels. It was amazing. And kind of things fell apart when I was getting ready to go to college, and that had some family stuff going on. And so I went in the military. And then I got married and had a kid and I was like, Oh, I can’t do this crazy, entrepreneurial travel writer, musician life, I have to be responsible and so I went to school and I became a substitute teacher. And then from there I became a grant writer and contracts manager and analyst and I worked in the government for a few years, doing the nine to five grind. And it was absolutely soul sucking. And I, I lost my job. And it was the best thing that was traumatic, but it was the best thing that could have happened to me. Because that night I was getting my master’s I went to class and my professors like you can’t be here like it was snowing and you know, bus like beside myself. So then I go to the scrapbook store because I had been teaching classes there on the weekends, and the owner of the scrapbook store is like Good, I’m glad you lost your job because now you can teach scrapbook classes full time and I was like, I’m never gonna make that much money doing this and it just kind of all worked out and then look at I mean, I still scrapbook I just came back from a scrapbook retreat. But I do all this other stuff, you know

Adam G. Force 22:55

A scrapbook retreat. Is that a real thing?

Jennifer Priest 22:58

Yeah, totally. I’ve been to 45 ladies rented out a full bed and breakfast and we sit there and scrapbook and, you know, laugh and have a great time

Adam G. Force 23:08

Like creating a scrapbook of like memor

Jennifer Priest 23:11

Yeah, yeah. Our photos of our family. J

Adam G. Force 23:14

ennifer now you’re really nerding out on me.

Jennifer Priest 23:18

I mean, I am I’ve been in the craft arts and crafts industry for 17 years. So,

Adam G. Force 23:22

Wow. Interesting. Interesting. Okay, and so how has entrepreneurship changed your life?

Jennifer Priest 23:30

Oh my gosh, like, the whole thing of lifestyle design and, and all of that it just always seemed kind of foreign and, and I just didn’t really understand it. And this last year has been one of the best years in my entire life as far as really embracing entrepreneurship. And the the possibilities. You know, last summer I my son and I were looking at this thing on Facebook, it was you guys might have seen it. It’s like this 30 day road trip to see everything in the US and we’re like, we should totally do that. And we did it like I got in the car. We drove for 31 days, we saw tons of people, we drove all over the country. We didn’t see everything but it was amazing. And then so having the time to do that, the freedom, the location, freedom to do that, you know, and I did a launch. Wow, I was I was at The Ohio State Fair in the middle of a launch. It was so awesome. alive. Yeah, it was a live launch. And I made a ton of money while I was at the fair with my son. I mean, who doesn’t love that? You know, and then now I’m actually sitting here I’m looking out my window and looking at Palm trees and I am four blocks from the beach. And just like knowing that like with, with entrepreneurship, you can scale things you are in control of where you live. And I was living in the desert like six months ago miserable and sold my house and now I live by the beach like it’s is incredible, what it allows you to do the people it allows you to meet. I mean, if you’re going to talk about lifestyle design, this is ultimately lifestyle design. And really the only way you can do it is as an entrepreneur.

Adam G. Force 25:13

It’s true. You know, it’s interesting. It’s hard. You know, once you’re in a nine to five, and you start working on your own projects and making money and doing things, it’s you can almost never go back. It’s just, it’s just, you get so used to designing your own life and doing things the way that you want to do them. It’s a whole other sense of freedom. And I find it to be so motivating. So yeah, you know, and I’m curious though, like, a lot of times as we’re building our businesses, and say, from 2015 till now, I’m curious of what some of your biggest challenges have been to scale your courses and the programs that you’ve now been operating

Jennifer Priest 25:59

Well, I was doing launches for a long time. And that was really draining. And I did this launch in December of 2018. And I worked really, really hard on it. And, and I did like a five day challenge, you know, kind of like a PLF style thing. And I had all these people asking me for tons of help, and I was running myself ragged. And I look at the people that signed up, I only had five sales, which was definitely not my target. And none of the people that signed up were the people in the challenge who were sucking me dry of like, all my time and knowledge. And I realized I am I am like burning myself out now with this new thing. serving people that are never going to pay me like some of them had been through my challenge five times already. And I changed everything and I joined a program to help me evergreen my mind launches. And so now I’m on the Evergreen model and I absolutely love it because it really does free me up so that I can show up for my people that are paying, you know, I can show up in my group and I’m fresh and yeah rested. And, you know, I’m not like running myself ragged trying to help all the people with freebies.

Adam G. Force 27:19

Yeah, that’s the challenge too, because we have done challenges in the past as well. And we noticed the same thing. You know, I guess it comes down to really just trying to really attract the right people, but the freebies can, it can be a great starting point, but I’ve noticed to your point, people go through them the saint like over and over and they’re just looking for free information and they never become a buyer. And that is that’s exhausting. After a while

Jennifer Priest 27:46

It is and you know, learning that lesson because I was of the school of thought of like, give your best stuff for free, and, you know, help everyone and then people will just come and pay and you know, and I i really had to come by I don’t know, I had like a come to Jesus moment in that December 2018. And I was just like, this does not work. And I really had to relearn how to market because, honestly, the easiest thing for you to do is just tell people how to do it. That’s so easy, right. But you’re handicapping them. Because now you told them how to do it. They don’t didn’t learn why they didn’t learn how to do it themselves. So now, the next time that that doesn’t work, because if we’re talking stuff with algorithms, it’s not going to work right, you know, just a matter of time. Now, they don’t know what to do. So you give them enough that they feel like they know enough to move forward when you know, they don’t know enough because you just gave them a little tidbit for free. And then they don’t even know how to adjust or they didn’t learn the methodology or any of that stuff they really need to know to understand. And so you just handicap them for a little bit longer. Yeah, it’s, yeah, it’s a it’s actually so much more compassionate, to not teach for free

Adam G. Force 28:57

Now, I mean, we found the same thing like you don’t want to teach people to how because there’s so much behind it and they have to understand other things first, so you can really teach them the, like you said, the whys and the what’s and then they gotta, you know, the deeper education is the how cuz I agree that the order of that I mean, you do a disservice to people when you just give them quick how to use and then they try it it doesn’t work and they just don’t know the full picture right? They get like a little tiny piece of the puzzle.

Jennifer Priest 29:27

Yeah, exactly. And I mean, I’ve seen this where, you know, years of helping people and they’re still in my free group, trying to cobble stuff together on the free plan. And they’re like, I’m not getting results. I’m not getting results. Okay, we’ll pay for printing. I don’t have money to pay for a program. Oh, yeah. Yeah. And you’re just like, okay, but this is why you’re gonna stay in this place like, and it’s heartbreaking. But at the same time, it’s like, you know, I’m not helping them if I just give it to them.

Adam G. Force 29:56

It doesn’t work like that. And you know, it’s a hard lesson to learn especially early stage. entrepreneurships we found it, we find that there, it’s it’s interesting because I have seen people who just start a business or a course or whatever it might be, and they will be the people that will sign up for a $20,000 program right out of the gate. And I’d be like, Oh my god, like, I wish I had the courage to step right into it. But nine times out of 10 people are trying to Jerry rig all the freebie information and tried to pull stuff together and figure things out, because they’re afraid to invest in themselves, right? Like, what if I lose the money? What if it doesn’t happen? Like all those different doubts and stuff? And we’ve noticed that a lot and they end up a year goes by and they look back and they they end up quitting or scratching their head going What happened? How come I’m still stuck, you know? Yeah, happens alot.

Jennifer Priest 30:46

Yeah, it’s like, I call it like adulting in business, right? So I had lunch with a blogger, a DIY blogger yesterday, and she was telling me how she’s really concerned about her her sight because she does stuff with power tools. And she’s like, Oh my gosh, I don’t know, like if somebody got hurt, I don’t know about my liability and blah, blah, blah. And I’m like, well, don’t you have liability insurance. And it’s funny that I even say that to her because I didn’t have liability insurance for a long, long time. And it’s like, we’re kind of just kind of just limping along, hoping to get by with like, the least amount of stuff that we can do in our business. And then we’re wondering, why are we not successful? And a lot of us is mindset shift of saying, This is not just my business. This is my life. Yeah. And how am I going to proceed? That’s going to give me the best success. Like, I need to be serious about this, like, we can have a lot of fun, but I need to be serious about this, like, you know, do all those adulting things in my business and one of those things is investing in yourself to get the training you need instead of just kind of hacking it together

Adam G. Force 31:45

Absolutely. You know, and it’s, we, I’ve had conversations with people and they’d be like, I just can’t afford to do that right now. I’m like, can you afford to not do that right now? You know, it’s like people just like, I just see the pain. I can hear the pain I literally have people who would write to like Amy and I in our groups and stuff to make a man and I just, you know, I’m about to give up. I’ve been trying to do this, and they just never had the courage to really invest in themselves. And it is like you said, It is sad to see and you can only help so much. But sooner or later, they have to figure out and take, I guess that that leap of faith and believe in themselves, right?

Jennifer Priest 32:22

Yeah, there’s an example I love to give one of my dear friends, he’s been in business for 10 years. He just hit a million dollars this year, which is amazing. I’m so proud of him. Right? But he refused to take any classes to invest in any coaching. He only would consume free content. And he’s amazing. Imagine how much sooner he would have hit a million dollars. It took him a decade. Imagine how much sooner he would have hit that if he would have just invested a little bit in learning and that would have accelerated it so much. But instead he spent a decade trying to get to a million.

Adam G. Force 32:56

That’s that’s that’s what I see. I agree. I mean, that is That is a painful, so I mean, kudos for making it. But like, Why spend 10 years of ups and downs and struggle when you can accelerate? I mean, if you’re just willing to give it a shot, and you know, even even if we have like a $20,000 investment, or whatever it might be, we look at it and say, it’s not I don’t worry about how expensive or how big that number is, I just say, well, what’s the ROI? Right? Like, is this gonna get us where we need to go? Because if that’s what you need to do, you just that’s just what you need to do, you know

Jennifer Priest 33:29

And you can play a game to make that money. You know, it’s kind of interesting how we look at money as something that’s finite money is energy energy is infinite. And so we can manifest that we can do something like Okay, great. I want to invest in this program. That’s 20 grand. How many of my widgets Do I need to sell to make that? Yep, you know, and it’s very simple, but we’re like, oh, no, no, no, no, I can’t invest. I can’t do that like, and you can make the money you can bring it in like In fact, there’s a car. I’m looking at buying right now. And my co Just challenged me He’s like, play a game make the money. And I was like, I have the money. He goes, No, no, play a game, make the money and to buy the car even though you already have the money, why not challenge yourself? Because I want But you know, it’s it’s that thing of like, yeah, I can make the money like so we we tend to look at it like oh, I don’t have the money right now then go make it, go make it, you can totally do it.

Adam G. Force 34:24

You just got to figure it out. And you know, it’s interesting because I in my first business, I had a record label and we would be struggling with things. This is very new to us. And this is also like 10 years ago. And I would be like we weren’t focused on making money. We were focused on getting artists on the record label, you know, doing record release parties, all these things. And it wasn’t until we said, Wait a minute, like, we’ve got to focus our energy on actually making money and it just changes your decision making. And all of a sudden, because people are like, well, I don’t know how to do that. Well then you need to become financially literate. You need to start figuring out how money works and how to make Make money and get creative. But if you’re not even thinking about it that way, it’ll never come to you. You know?

Jennifer Priest 35:06

What I think one of the big challenges with that is that a lot of the things that we see people doing in their business and that we’re told to do in our business, are not things that actually produce revenue. Like I love social media, but social media typically does not produce revenue in one to two steps, right? So that’s a business building type activity. And what you need to do is be like okay, if I got to make money right now, what is it I’m gonna use my time for? That’s gonna get me only there’s only one or two steps from money. And just like you were saying with signing, signing artists, not one to two steps away from money, right sales is one of those way for money. So that’s the thing like bloggers tend to focus on, you know, oh, let me go on social media. Let me write a bajillion blog posts, right. I see people that are like, course creators, they’re like, let me start a podcast. Let me Yeah, we’re that’s so far away from money right

Adam G. Force 36:00

It’s true. We see it all the time, I had another media partner that runs another media company sake. And I’m just not making enough money. And we would do a little brainstorms, like once a quarter and stuff and share what’s working, what’s not. And he’s like, I think I’m gonna start this podcast and then I’m gonna do this and do that. I’m like, dude, like, you’re putting all your energy into things like a podcast, which may give you some fresh eyeballs, but it’s so much work. And there’s really not big revenue behind it, and especially not anytime soon. So I totally hear you dude, when you put energy into these things, so part of it is just taking the right steps at the right time. Right. It’s kind of like prioritizing your efforts.

Jennifer Priest 36:39

Yeah, just being really discerning and and kind of taking the emotion out of it. You know, we get so married to our business and we’re like, oh my god, it’s my baby. And, you know, we we get so tied up in it and instead of taking a step back and going well, what actually is going to move my business forward? And I mean, to go back to Pinterest, I see this on Pinterest all the time, people Like, well, I’m going to blog about, you know, my five favorite ways to style my dog’s hair. And it’s like, okay, but that, like, no one’s looking for that. Right? So it’s like making business decisions about like, what content Am I going to create to promote my course or promote my site or whatever you’re you’re promoting, is that content people are looking for. And a lot of times, people are so married to this? Well, I’m passionate about it. And so other people must want it instead of doing the research.

Adam G. Force 37:26

Yeah. And I kind of think it comes it goes back to what you were talking about earlier about understanding why you’re doing certain things. Because if you don’t have that grounding, like a foundation of your house is not solid, you’re gonna start doing content and programs that just don’t really make sense for the end goal because you don’t have that foundation. So you get kind of I’ve been messy before as an entrepreneur doing things all over the place, you know, shiny object syndrome, and all that stuff. And you’re like, wait a minute, why am I doing this? Did I look at the data What’s happening here? So anyway, yeah, on the same page with that, but to listen, I want to be respectful of your time, and we’re Definitely a little bit over and I appreciate you sharing all your insights on Pinterest and all the great success that you’ve had since you’re started your journey. So let’s make sure we give you a chance just to give a shout out anybody out there looking to learn some Pinterest strategies from an expert like Jennifer, where do they find you?

Jennifer Priest 38:19

So you can just go to smart pin, pin dot pro slash free, and there’s a masterclass that you can take and learn how to actually create a Pinterest strategy in five steps. So it’s pretty cool.

Adam G. Force 38:33

Awesome. Thank you so much, Jennifer. Appreciate your time today. Thank you. That’s all for this episode. Your next step is to join the Change Creator revolution by downloading our interactive digital magazine app for premium content, exclusive interviews, and more ways to stay on top of your game available now on iTunes and Google Play or visit Change Creator mag comm we’ll see you next time where money and meaning intersect right here at the Change Creator Po

Charlie Hartwell: What Investors in the Social Impact Space Look For in a Startup

Listen to our exclusive interview with Charlie Hartwell:

Subscribe to this show on Spotify  |  iTunes  |  Stitcher  |  Soundcloud

If you’re looking for investment, what do you need to know today? We asked the managing partner of Bridge Builders Collaborative to find out from his perspective as an investor.

About Charlie:

Charlie Hartwell is the Managing Partner of Bridge Builders Collaborative, a group of highly successful investors who have been investing in start-up companies in the space of mental wellness, consciousness, and spirituality. A Harvard Business School graduate, Charlie has served and led organizations in 14 different industries, including starting a non- profit in the slums of Kenya in 1986 that has now served health care to several million patients. He also founded the first for-profit expedition company in US History to promote the Bancroft Arnesen Expedition – a historical 1,7000 mile crossing of Antarctica by two women who became the first to cross the continent on foot. Now Charlie and his company are passionate about supporting the growth of a new movement around mental fitness, heart-centered connection, consciousness evolution, and improved health care. Bridge Builders has invested in such companies as Pear Therapeutics, Insight Timer, Headspace, Happify, and others.

Learn more about Charlie and his work at > https://shiftit.com

We also recommend:

Transcription of Interview

(Transcribed by Otter.ai, there may be errors)

Adam G. Force 00:11

Hey, what’s going on everybody? Welcome back to the chase credit podcast show. This is your host, Adam force. I hope you all are doing well and staying safe. Now if you missed the last episode is with Mandy Barbie. And we talked about overcoming stressors so that you can thrive in your business and your life. This is such a fun conversation, but also really impactful, great insights about mental blocks and really stepping up your game as a business owner, a CEO of your company, and taking your life really to that next level. And we all have these blocks and challenges and have to deal with stress and anxiety and things as we go through these processes. So really great conversation. So if you missed that swing by check it out. Today we’re gonna be talking with Charlie Hartwell. He is one of the managing partners over at a company called bridge builders collaborative. And basically, there are a bunch of successful investors, right and unconscious companies. He has served and led organizations in 14 different industries, including starting a nonprofit that was actually in a struggling area of Kenya, and is now serving healthcare to over several million patients. So he has a lot of interest in experience. And we wanted to talk with Charlie because he has the investor perspective. And I know a lot of you listening might be looking for investments. So we wanted to just see what he had to say about the space and what you need to be looking out for. So hang tight here, and we’re gonna get into that conversation with Charlie in just a minute. Guys, if you are, I know as you know, with this pandemic going on, there’s a lot happening. And more and more people are coming to us and looking to get into the digital space, which makes sense, right? It’s a little bit more recession proof. And so, you know, our program that we have is called the captivate method and this is one Where we’ve been supporting people this program is, it’s not just another course or anything like that this is, you know, getting on calls Live Twice a month getting real coaching one on one to support you, and get you from point A to point B as fast as possible in the digital space. It’s about creating a digital system that has the application of really powerful storytelling so you can connect with your audience, right, build trust, and really get consistent sales. That’s the idea you want to get attract the right leads and get consistency. So if this is something you need help on and you’re looking to, you know, ramp up, then this is definitely a good opportunity for you, and you can get on our waitlist right now. So you go to Change Creator calm, and you’ll see in the menu or on the homepage, a waitlist that you can join for the captivate method, and you’ll just start getting some emails. We’re going to give you some information and then you’ll get an invitation to our master class. That master class will be an opportunity For you to see how this program can really help you so that you can make an informed decision and and we hope to see you in that community. Such a great group of people. So this could really be your tribe if you’re looking to make a difference in the world, and you really want to scale your digital marketing and business really, okay. So guys, we’re not gonna, we’re not gonna hold off much longer here. We’re gonna get right into this conversation with Charlie and see what he has to say about the investor space right now. Okay, show me that heat Right so we should be rocking and rolling. I’m just gonna double check settings because I haven’t done a zoom interview in a while. Make sure we’re good. Audio Yes, video. Okay, cool. I think we’re good to go here.

Charlie Hartwell 03:53

Alright.

Adam G. Force 03:55

All right, Charles. Now do you like Charlie Charles? What’s your woody

Charlie Hartwell 03:59

Charlie? Charlie, okay, sure.

Adam G. Force 04:02

All right, here we go. Three, two and one. Hey, Charlie, welcome to the Change Creator, podcast show. How’s everything going today?

Charlie Hartwell 04:09

Good Adams, good to talk to you.

Adam G. Force 04:11

Awesome. Yeah, I appreciate you being here and taking the time. Sounds like you got a lot of interesting stuff going on. And we always love to hear from the investors perspective. So, you know, I know you have some current events and shifts going on. So tell us just a little bit about what’s going on, you know, lately, like, what’s the latest? What’s the greatest and what’s happening in your world?

Charlie Hartwell 04:32

Yeah, so I’ve been working for this group called the bridge builders collaborative. It’s a group of high net worth individuals have been investing together over the last eight years in the space we used to call mine training. We, you know, we’ve invested in several things that are going to scale in that space and our partners got together a year ago and sort of said, How can we best use our capital to inspire and invest in tools For inner well being that bridges sort of the human energy to make social change possible. And we’ve shifted to kind of saying how do we invest in things that go deeper into the human experience? And you know how to create paradigm shifts.

Adam G. Force 05:18

I love that. And so, can you tell me a little bit about when you say create a paradigm shift? What does that mean to you?

Charlie Hartwell 05:28

I think a paradigm shift is about sort of changing our stories changing. It like living more authentically, it’s authentically creating shifts in society so that we get we become more focused on our mental and you know, in our inner well being as opposed to just our physical well being, which we spent a lot of time focusing on as a society. How do we create a paradigm shift to looking at Who are we? How do we live to be our authentic show that our authentic selves? How do we sort of get through and get past trauma the toll on us back from living the life that we’re meant to live?

Adam G. Force 06:16

Yeah, yeah, I like I like when you said changing our stories. You know, we all have stories and internal narratives that are built from years and years of just living life and the people were around and things we do so kind of starting to acknowledge what those stories are and seeing which ones serve you and which ones you need to unlearn and which ones need to now start learning. Right. It’s powerful stuff. So I love to hear that and I think we are in an age where authenticity is more important than ever I was, I was actually reading the latest Edelman truth barometer special report for 2019. And right now, less than 50 bucks. percent of the general population are trusting businesses. And, you know, when you hear a number like that, you just start to think, man, there’s just a lot of phony baloney out there. And people have their guards up over years of just bad marketing, right, and deception and false claims and so that authenticity is something people crave. Do you agree?

Charlie Hartwell 07:21

I agree, you know, my wife who’s a what the one that that got me into this space, you know, talks to us a lot about about human conditioning. So as we grow up in, you know, in societies, whether it be our family systems, the schools, we went to the churches we might have gone to or whatever religious institutions, we get conditioned, and a lot of times that means getting conditioned out of whom our authentic selves is. And you know, for a lot of people that I talked to, there’s kind of a journey back in their 20s or 30s, maybe their 40s of like, how do I reconnect with my authentic self and then how do I want to use my authentic gifts to Create whatever the life is that I want to create for myself, that also hopefully improves our society.

Adam G. Force 08:08

Exactly, exactly. I mean, that is why that is why Change Creator actually started because I was I was working at Web MD for 10 years as director of strategic marketing. And I had an experience where I had my own epiphany. And I started realizing that I wasn’t burnt out and from overworking or travel and long hours, it was because I was doing something that was misaligned, it was doing something that wasn’t meaningful to me. And that’s boom, it just hit me right there. And that’s when everything changed. And this whole mission started.

Charlie Hartwell 08:39

Yeah, took me a lot more suffering than it seems like it took you in order to get to that same moment,

Adam G. Force 08:46

That was a very abbreviated version. But, you know, we all have our own path, right? So we all will will find our way and hopefully, you know, like, it’s funny because when you finally get there and you’re waking up every day, and you’re actually now live Being this new trajectory of your life, you start to look back and be like, man, like, what was I thinking before I was I sleepwalking? Like where was I? You ever have that feeling?

Charlie Hartwell 09:11

Oh, yeah. No, I mean, for me, it was not waking up every morning it was just waking up as a human being and sort of saying, Wow, I was living, I was programmed to be as opposed to life I was meant to be and how do I uncover? You know, once I had that sort of wake up epiphany, it’s kind of like, how do I uncover what’s ever getting in my way from living to what, you know, my authentic self wants to live and, you know, it took some work and some years to kind of get through some of that and and there’s a lot in for me, there was a lot of letting go. People have stories, beliefs, in you know, that I needed to let go of in order to kind of live a more authentic life.

Adam G. Force 09:58

Yeah, and that’s the hard thing. I think for a lot of people, and it’s something that’s probably an ongoing life journey to be able to actually acknowledge what is serving you and what’s not, but then actually being willing to let them go, right? Whether it’s friends or certain narratives in your mind, or even, you know, just the people who are around you and you move, but you know, we always rationalize things to say, Well, I’m a little different. So for me, it’s this or for me, it’s that and we don’t want to accept things always find a way around it, to convince ourselves otherwise, you know,

Charlie Hartwell 10:34

yes, and my wife, you know, again, as I was going through this, you know, my own experience, she talks about how when we decide to make these dangers to become our authentic self, those who love us the most are the most resistance, or those who say they love us the most are the most resistant to that because they’re used to us, is you know, being in a certain box might have been created, and so is You know, you break free of that. It can be hard to kind of, to there’s an adjustment that happens, whether it’s family systems or friend communities or people, you know, can either go along with you on that ride or you need to let them go.

Adam G. Force 11:15

Yeah, yeah, makes sense. Definitely. Now, tell me a little bit about the companies. You’ve been investing in what what you’ve been looking for. And then, you know, I know you’re, you’re, you’re leading into this health space, and just where you’re going with the investments now.

Charlie Hartwell 11:33

Yeah, so over the last, you know, over the last eight years, we’ve made 12 investments. We’ve made a couple investments in the digital therapeutics space. So we were one of the first investors in a company called para therapeutics. Sort of the first FDA approved software for addiction recovery. We invested we’re an early investor in a company called headspace, which sort of helped bring Meditation to the masses. We invested in a company called Muse brain sensing headband helps people to meditate. Oh, yeah, you know, you can read your brainwaves. We have, you know, invested in a company called hapa phi, which really is it was a mental behavioral health, sort of gamified the science of mindfulness, positive psychology and cognitive behavioral therapy. And now, you know, is is itself becoming a digital therapeutic. So a lot of investments in kind of the space of, you know, helping to bring mindfulness into the mainstream. And, you know, with the shift that we’re now making, you know, we want to go deeper than that, and sort of deeper into some of the things you and I were talking about earlier about, you know, how do we invest in people’s social wellness and then in their, their, their relational well being Or their spiritual well being? How do we go from getting people sort of on the map, you know, to meditate to getting off the map to creating the social change that it resonates with their purpose? How do we training the mental well being

Adam G. Force 13:16

etc? Sure, yeah. And so, when when you do find, I guess I’m curious and how you guys discover companies and organizations that you’re interested in. So are they reaching out to you? Do you guys have a process for what you’re, you know, where where do you find them? And how do you discover these companies?

Charlie Hartwell 13:37

I’m just curious how that plays out. We have a really good network and and over the last eight years because of our because of the way that we invest the value that we add, and sort of our social mission combined with, you know, our desire to create abundance you know, through you know, finance And social returns. A lot of people naturally, you know, come to us. There are conferences that I attend. And you know, as well, where I find new entrepreneurs, but a lot of it just comes through sort of the reputation that we’ve developed, if people are in this space, they tend to know who we are. And, and for us, I’d say deal flow is, you know, it’s not the problem. I think I’ve probably looked at, you know, 1000 companies over the wall. And that’s kind of exciting, actually. Because, you know, before that time, there really were very few investments in the space. So the great thing is, the space is expanding. There’s a lot of entrepreneurs who have, you know, interesting ways that they want to bring these kind of solutions to the marketplace. But, but, you know, people find us through various ways

Adam G. Force 14:58

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And so I guess just to piggyback off that, when you do decide that something might be up your alley, what do you look for to say, you know, like, you know, everyone’s always wondering and they come up to our audience will come to us and ask and say, Well, what what goes in a pitch deck? Like, what what do investors look for? And I think there’s some commonality and interests for things like that of what an investor might look for. But there’s probably also differences in preference and what’s important to different investors. So I’m curious if there’s some key things off the top of your head that are important for you to see from potential company that you invest in?

Charlie Hartwell 15:41

Yeah, that’s a really good question. So the first thing, I’ll just say there’s green. The first green is kind of a social game. So I imagine if we were to invest in this company, what would be the positive impact to humanity? And, you know, if I can’t see that, if I can’t see that, that’s, there’s a really big change that can happen, then, you know, I kind of screen that out, then then we look for if there are assignable validation for the product or platform, the next you know, barely really key pieces, you know, who is the entrepreneur? And when we look at it, you know, for entrepreneurs, what we look for are people. Number one who have managed egos. Number two, who have integrated, whatever they’re trying to bring out to the world. Number three, are they good team leader, do they listen, and and, you know, do they have some experience, you know, as an entrepreneur, then you know, we kind of look for stage where we’re normally around the series A. We’ve made exceptions in the past to that, but that’s kind of that’s Kind of normally where we play. And then, you know, the last thing I look at is if we were, you know, to make this investment, Can I, can I see a return on investment for our

Adam G. Force 17:11

investors? Yeah. And are you usually looking for return on investment over long term or

Charlie Hartwell 17:18

hort term, we tend to be patient investors. And, and at the same time, if there are opportunities, you know, to get a return on investment sooner, that’s fine. But we have tended to be both patient and follow on investors. So if I look at the, you know, 12 investments that we’ve made, our partners have tended to invest, you know, in almost every round of every company, once we make an initial investment, we tend to be very committed and in it for the long you know, for the long term and if the long term turns out to be short term Guess that’s okay too. But we really want to support the entrepreneurs. And, and I think one of the other things that I look at Adam, is whether or not we can add value because we’re not in. We’re not in in these investments to just, you know, make money from them. We want we have a lot of value add that we can offer companies. And we’re, it’s, it’s, you know, it’s one of our passions to be a value added investor. So I look and say, Look, can this company utilize the value add th t we have? As another one of o

Adam G. Force 18:35

r screens? Yeah, I mean, I think you just answered a question that I had kind of percolating, which was, you know, are you a strategic partner or just a, you know, financing and investing and it sounds like you guys help out with maybe your networks and Intel intellectual property and stuff

Charlie Hartwell 18:51

like that? Yeah, I kind of look at it. We have a model that’s, you know, sort of like a four c model. You know, caches The least important thing that we’ve been to the table, we bring people in the space, we bring a tremendous, you know, amount of connections, we, you know, our partners have run some very large companies and enterprises. And so they have a lot of counsel, you know, for the entrepreneurs if the entrepreneurs needed at various times. We also bring credibility, you know, in the in the space, we’re a really well known investor, and oh, you know, that’s one of our season then at the end of the day cash is as I said, that’s, that’s the least value added thi

Adam G. Force 19:36

g we burn. Gotcha, interesting. So let’s just take a little bit into what what how we’re defining or you guys are defining living the that healthy lifestyle that you’re now trying to promote where people are, you know, meditating and doing certain things for self care living authentically. You know, I recently read something that, you know, like we all we all seem to be chasing happiness. And I read something where it said, happiness is not the primary thing that people are yearning for. It’s actually meaning. What do you think abou

Charlie Hartwell 20:16

that? I’m totally in resonance. Yeah, a lot of happiness chasing, and actually, you know, living life, like, I would say, you know, you can observe, you know, you can observe a difficult situation or with your angry or something, and you can still be in a very, you know, in a very good state, you it’s not about being happy every more moment. And I absolutely agree. When we just chase that, I don’t think I don’t think people are very fulfilled doing that, and, and I don’t get necessarily leads, it actually probably leads to more stress. I rather, I’d much rather live a life It’s authentic than a life that’s just happy. Yeah, way The more I do that the happier I am, but happiness isn’t about chasing something. It’s about a plac

Adam G. Force 21:10

of being. Yeah, yeah, I like that it’s true. You know, I one of my favorite philosophers is Alan Watts and He always talks about abbreviate this is, you know, when we play music, we’re the point is not to get to the end, right? The point is to realize that it’s not a journey. It’s it’s music so you’re there to just dance. And that’s kind of like how we look at life is like what are we racing towards? There is no end that you’re racing towards you should be enjoying the music. Yeah. Well, yeah, yeah, he’s interesting character. So you know, I you know, I Change Creator. Obviously, we are all about the social entrepreneurship approach. We don’t have a specific focus in health, but we do believe that people are going to live happier lives. When they wake up, and they are doing something that’s meaningful to them, right, and I, you know, I interviewed Nasri Sheikh and she was like she was a child slave for for many years. And I spoke to her because she started to she got out of that somehow in Nepal. And she started two businesses. And my last question, I was at a conference in Toronto, and I was interviewing her and I asked her, if there was one message you could share with the world, what would it be? And she said, to dig deep and live your truth, because that’s the biggest contribution you can make to the world. And I thought that that really resonated with me and I think that, you know, get helping people not only, you know, come to grips with, you know, who they are or, you know, become comfortable, like through a process of meditation and stuff like that, but to actually figure out how to proceed in life and because right now, like, Don’t you feel like or you probably see a lot of people where they’re kind of hooked into a pattern, and I think you said it really nicely before. way that you are programmed versus waking up and doing what you really should be doing with your life. It’s hard sometimes to to figure out how to approach that new that new lifest

Charlie Hartwell 23:10

le, right? Okay, so we’re going to change topics a little bit if it’s okay with you. So let my last name is Hartwell. And when you figure it out, that’s a very head driven exercise. For me, when you’re living in your heart, you know, then you don’t have to figure it out. You just have this knowing and the sensing and you from from where I said, you know, you can sort of if you understand who you are, and what your purpose is, and sort of what your energy is all about, then you can be in resonance and you actually don’t have to figure things out. You can sort of set you can live an intentional life, and then watch things unfold in front of you, and just enjoy the pure Folding and like, enjoy the maybe it’s not the right that the tapestry of what’s created when you set an intention, a life sort of from

Adam G. Force 24:10

the heart. I think a key word there is intention, you know, doing things in your life with intention, I guess should always be the case and is really valuable, I guess where I would struggle and we’re we see a lot of entrepreneurs who are trying to live, you know, their best life is that, well, they still have to, you know, we live in a capitalist system, which means we have to have money in order to pay for food and housing and kids to go to school and obviously, you know, things are getting more and more expensive. So, you know, they end up starting these businesses, which is like their dream and what they’re all about, but they can’t figure out how to create progress with it in this system, so they ended up going back to old patterns of jobs and stuff that they don’t like, which is that, to me is hea

Charlie Hartwell 25:02

tbreaking. Yeah, I agre

Adam G. Force 25:04

with you. So you see a lot of that. And, and I guess, so you got to find that balance a little bit. And I think there’s so many people out there too, they have this passion, and they just don’t have certain technical business sense. Just because that’s just not where their experience

Charlie Hartwell 25:19

you know. Yeah, I know, I hear that because I, you know, I speak to a lot of entrepreneurs and I, my, my, some that I speak to, like, really are like, they have great intentions. And they’re, you know, they’re real visionaries. But but but they’re not always grounded in this third dimensional reality that you’re talking about, which is which is very much about like, how does this system work? It is it is a system that you know, energy is driven a lot by by money. Distribution is about how do you get your ideas out there. Sometimes, you know, sometimes if you’re not grounded you know, and understanding that it can be even, you know, it can be challenging. I know some of the most brilliant people that have these ideas, but they can’t like bring them down here to the planet. Does

Adam G. Force 26:16

that make? Oh, yeah. Oh, no, it definitely makes sense. Or they either can’t figure out how to bring them down to earth or they’re afraid to, they’re afraid to to try because it’s so unknown. So they could have a beautiful idea. And they could have all the willpower in the world to figure it out and operate it, but they just need to understand how to make that happen. You know w

Charlie Hartwell 26:39

at I mean? If they need it, yeah, there’s a there’s a both and they’re from my perspective, they need to understand how to make it happen, and they need to understand that they’re not if you let go like you’re not in charge of how it’s going

Adam G. Force 26:53

to happen. Right, right. Yeah, I mean, I noticed that a lot of social entrepreneurs. They want to To do so much to give to the world and contribute that they actually don’t, I mean a lot of people don’t like money because they see it as you know, the root of all evil we’ve heard all those those sayings and things like that and I get that because there’s obviously some some really negative behavior that is triggered from money and stuff like that. But when they have that mindset, I noticed that specifically social entrepreneurs, they tend to almost have a fear block when it comes to actually making money so it holds back growth, no matter what their intention is. So it’s like there is like a skill set around that part of it right? So you have like living your truth doing what’s right you know, like taking care of being authentic, all those things. And then to actually understand well, business making money, like those are skills themselves, I think and really something that people will have to start to learn to kind of, you know, turn their life and work into like one harmonous thing.

Charlie Hartwell 27:57

Yes, and or to find a team Were those where they can be the visionary self or whatever their self is. But yeah. And collaborating with other people that have the gifts that they don’t have and yeah, hundred percent that when you find a team where somebody says, You know, I know this, but I don’t know that and I trust so and so, you know, wit

Adam G. Force 28:20

the money Oh, I’m not great at that, but I trust this person. I think when you you know, find those kind of teams that are, you know, that are in resonance with a mission but all understand and appreciate each other’s gifts and skills. Those are stronger teams. I love that. I think the key thing right there you said is that they’re in resonance with the mission you find people that have the passion that you have, and you know, maybe they have a skill set around the finances or the marketing or whatever it might be. As long as you have validated your your business and product then you get those guys on board and having them Mission aligned is realy the key.

Charlie Hartwell 29:02

Yeah. And maybe, you know, can I maybe provide an example of one of our companies

Adam G. Force 29:07

Of course. Yeah, yeah , dive in

Charlie Hartwell 29:09

So so a couple years ago, we invested in a company called insight timer. Insight timer is company based in Sydney, which probably is the largest library of sort of meditation or conscious, you know, audio in the world. They have 5000 teachers globally the teach, you know, that have meditations or music or talks. And there’s, you know, 12 million people on the platform. And when we invested, you know, yeah, I look at the return, but I look at the abundance that’s created, we invested when they had a community of probably, maybe, you know, 6 million people, and they wanted to take a free community and begin to create more abundance recharging subscription, It’s still free for anybody that wants it around the world, there are 30,000 free meditations. But at the same time for people that want, they can buy individual courses, or they can buy a subscription as you know, sort of special features. And as I look at that, from an energetic exchange, and from a place of abundance, when you provide all of that you have the abundance of the free for those who want to be free, you have the abundance of, you know, 5000 teachers who are getting paid 50% of what comes into the platform. When people do pay, and, you know, look at the abundance for you know, as they’re able to charge, you know, actual money for value, then they can hire people, and at the end of the day, then investors do better so everyone wins in an energetic exchange. And, And to me, that’s a really cool model of Yeah, money’s involved, but money is actually just about creating abundance.

Adam G. Force 30:59

Yeah, that sounds Amazing. It’s and it says, you know, these meditation apps seem to do really well. It sounds like they have a pretty big base.

Charlie Hartwell 31:08

Yeah, they have a big base. And what I like about you know about it is they have that big base and they’ve never spent any money on marketing because it’s all sort of organic versus You know, a lot of the other meditation apps are really all about marketing and acquisition and, you know, paid and this is just about natural growth of a community. That kind of all wants to grow together.

Adam G. Force 31:29

6 million people organically? 12 million. Yeah. Get out of here. So how are people finding out about them?

Charlie Hartwell 31:40

Well, they have 5000 teachers on the platform. I mean, through word of mouth through teachers recommending it through I mean, basically, that’s it. It’s been it’s been word of mouth because and, you know, people like the experience so much They can find the teachers that they want that resonate with them or the music that they want that it’s just very natural. It’s very natural, and people recommend it to ot

Adam G. Force 32:13

er people. Pretty cool. Pretty cool. Wow. That’s amazing. That’s a big base for for organic for sure. So and what was the name of that program? Inside timer and say timer, we’ll check it out. So anybody listening, you guys can check that out. I’m a big fan of meditation. I’ve been doing that for years. And I just find a ton of value in the process. You know, I like to run exercise, you know, shower in the morning and then meditate and it really just kind of sets you up for the day to be very focused an

Charlie Hartwell 32:43

creative. That’s g

Adam G. Force 32:46

eat. Yeah. Well, listen, we’re going to wrap up here in a minute and I want to give you a chance to let people know where they can learn more about, you know, you and connect and what you have going on and check

Charlie Hartwell 32:57

hings out. Yeah, I mean, so our website is brittle. builders collaborative or BBC, or sorry, bb collaborative.com. You know, I’m on LinkedIn and Twitter under Charlie Hartwell, my wife and I have a business that I do this work from a business called the shifted Institute, which is about igniting consciousness inspiring him at potential and creating a paradigm shift. And that’s it shifted

Adam G. Force 33:26

All right, guys, I’m just taking notes there, Charlie. Awesome. We’ll try I really appreciate your time and walking us through some of your thoughts around the investments and where you’re taking everything and enjoyed the conversation just around you know, living an authentic life and living your truth

Charlie Hartwell 33:43

Right. Yeah, Adam, really fun to hear a little bit about your story. And I appreciate that you’re having these conversations. I’m I appreciate that. More people are interested in them and I thank you for your time today.

Adam G. Force 34:00

That’s all for this episode. Your next step is to join the Change Creator revolution by downloading our interactive digital magazine app for premium content, exclusive interviews, and more ways to stay on top of your game available now on iTunes and Google Play or visit Change Creator mag Comm. We’ll see you next time where money and meaning intersect right here at the Change Creat

Russel Brunson: How to Get Tons of Traffic to Your Funnel

Listen to our exclusive interview with Russel Brunson:

Subscribe to this show on Spotify  |  iTunes  |  Stitcher  |  Soundcloud

Online traffic is a must today if you want to scale your impact! So, what does it take to get A LOT of traffic to any website or funnel?

To answer that question, Clickfunnels founder, Russell Brunson released the book Traffic Secrets: The Underground Playbook. And it’s GREAT!

Of course, Change Creator co-founder, Adam Force, had to talk to him about it and ask some burning questions! 
You don’t want to miss this interview.

“It’s always an honor to talk with Russell, he’s a rockstar and just a genuinely good guy. His new book, Traffic Secrets, is some of the best marketing insights you can find. It’s the real deal.” ~Adam Force

Oh and guess what?

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We also recommend:

Transcription of Interview

(Transcribed by Otter.ai, there may be errors)

Adam G. Force 00:00

Hey Russell, what’s going on, man? Welcome to the Change Creator podcast show how you doing today?

Russel Brunson 00:04

I’m doing amazing. Thank you so much for having me, man. I’m super excited.

Adam G. Force 00:07

Yeah, you know, I’m excited to have you here and excited about your book. You know, I did. I ordered that bad boy, I haven’t gotten my copy yet, but I’m waiting very impatiently, with this whole pandemic, you know, everything’s backed up and slowed down. So we’ll hopefully get that soon. Listen, man, tell us just a little bit, just to kick this off and get everybody acclimated. Um, you know, why did you decide to even create Traffic Secrets on top of everything else that you’re already doing?

Russel Brunson 00:32

Yeah, um, that’s a really good question. Sometimes I think I love punishment or something. writing books is really hard. No, but the real reason is, you know, it’s, I think, a unique spot, like being one of the cofounders of clickfunnels. We have a chance to see so many people’s businesses and what they’re doing what’s happening behind the scenes, what’s actually working, what’s not, I get an email every single day, which is like Christmas where it’s like, here’s all the top 20 funnels from in all Click Funnels based on sales and based on leads every day see 40 new funnels are like working in real time and like we get chance to see all these these fascinating things and then I see also the the frustrations of people that are cancelling and people that are you know are just like I’m ads account shut down, right? I have a funnel of my products way better than my competitors but nobody sees my their binaries and like, all this stuff. And it’s like, Man, it’s so for me, I’m always thinking like, what, what’s the thing I can do to help the community the most right now? And I tell you what, I did not want to write another book because there’s so much pain associated. Right? Like the biggest The biggest problem we have right now is traffic. I think the biggest problem is that they they’ll look at it from from a lens of like, like how to run Facebook ads, or how do i do Google? I do get from these lenses or the people that are talking about traffic. They’re always like, we found this loophole. And here’s that exploit this loophole that we just found and like, by definition, a loophole closes like it’s, it’s only there for a little bit. And, and I just, I’ve been nervous. I think there’s, you know, obviously we’ve been blessed over the last year. Seven or eight years where Facebook has made traffic so easy for people. But I see it shifting right now. And, and I was like I need to help my entrepreneurs that follow us to like understand traffic more strategically different so that when Facebook shuts down or when Zuckerberg gets closed down by the government, hopefully. But whatever happens, like there’s that we’re ready for it, because it’s going to happen. And in fact, it’s funny that the introduction says introduction, and it says there’s a storm coming. And I didn’t realize we’d be launching the book in the middle of the economic storm, but but it’s happening, I think that people like need these skill sets right now because it has happened for you yet. And ad account is going to get shut down. Like the way you rely on traffic right now is going to shift or change or disappear. If you’re not prepared, your business will be gone. And I’ve seen so many people who had amazing businesses who are out of business now because of that. And so it’s really to help people to have a more holistic, good way to you know, long term way to drive traffic to their business.

Adam G. Force 02:54

Yeah. And so what is I mean, are you saying to diversify to have paid and organic strategies in play, so can you just go a little deeper on what you mean, in preparation for that?

Russel Brunson 03:05

Yeah. So to answer that question, like, I want to go back in time, like 15 years, because I got started before Facebook before there was MySpace, and there was like Friendster, and then before that there were no social networks. And that’s how I got started on this game. When I was in college, I was trying to figure it out. And there weren’t like a ton of people teaching internet marketing back then. So it’s like, it was kind of harder to figure things out in the word. Anyway. And so I remember joining this, this group with these old school like direct response dudes, like Dan Kennedy and Bill Glazer. And I remember joining the group I went the very first day and I was the only internet nerd in the group. And they always made fun of me and I think they bring it in a sales like a direct mail piece that we’re working on like Russell, this is an envelope inside of it to let people actually hold these when they open them a year. You know, they totally make fun of Yeah. And I remember one of the one of the meetings. I can’t remember who it was but they said something that I stuck in my head they said the problem is most of you internet guys, you think that the internet is a business. That’s why All like that’s why you guys are all so wishy washy. Like. He’s like, the internet’s not a business. The internet’s a media channel, just like direct mail or radio or TV or news. It’s, they’re all the same. And he’s like, you look at you look at the Internet as a media channel, it follows the same rules as all these other media channels. And so that’s how I learned marketing is like, Okay, well, let me do direct mail. So we did direct mail, we ran radios, I started learning these principles, and that was able to go over here like, oh, now they understand these things. This is actually really easy. It doesn’t matter if it’s Facebook or tik tok, or twitch or Mike, like, the principles are all the same. And so this book has really helped people understand the core principles of a media chant, how they work. And so that way, they’re evergreen. So like when Facebook gets shut down, or changes, like, like, okay, we’ll just work where do we shift where we shift you will still the same?

Adam G. Force 04:45

Yeah, I get it. So just getting to that real core, not getting so tactical about the actual little bits and pieces, but understanding how to look at the marketing strategy, not the just the execution on these different platforms and things like that. I love that. Yeah, that’s super helpful. Um, next To get this book I mean, you know, I traffic always is a big struggle for people and just really getting that foundation of how to see it. I guess it shifts the perspective a little bit, which can just be a game changer, right?

Russel Brunson 05:12

Yeah, it opens up, it opens up so many more. You mentioned earlier, I go down rabbit holes, these rabbit holes of traffic where it’s like when you get the book, like chapter one, I geek out a lot. Like, in fact, if you look at all my books, like the first section of all my books is like understanding your dream customers. Most people like just running and like, yeah, understanding, I understand your dream customer like a deep, intimate level, you know, their fears, their thoughts, like just really understanding him. So step one is that in step two, the second question then is like, how do I buy Facebook ads to these people? It’s like, I know, these people are where are they hanging out online? And where are they congregating? And when you ask that question, it also shifts because like, Well, my dream customer say they’re into health and fitness or couponing or whatever it is, right? Where are they hanging out? It’s like, Well, here are the 30 blogs that they all read. Here are the 200 podcasts they listen to here are different. Facebook groups they’re part of here’s the email list they subscribe to you here are Austin’s like, Oh my gosh, like there’s this whole world of, of these little like gold mines, these little pockets of traffic. I think right now everyone’s like focus on like, one, you know, again, Facebook and one thing that traffic’s like there’s so many other traffic sources that nobody’s tapping into. In fact, I did this experiment someone the other day, who was like what could afford ads, Russell, so I was like, Okay, I had my way, grab your phone out. So as you’re listening, you will be able to see it. But if you’re watching, play along here, you go. Like there’s there’s the podcast app, right? It’s free and click on the podcast app. And you’re like, Okay, and then you go through here, and if you scroll down, there’s a section says the top shows. Yeah, so it shows you what are the best shows today. So you click on top shows, you can see all and there’s categories so it shows. There’s news, comedy, sports, history, art business, like there’s all these categories, right? And then let’s say I give a product for kids and family, right kids and family. And right there pops up 200 the top 200 bit rank on the most listens. The top 200 podcasts in the world for for, for family kids. So because the family and kids like, it was crazy as like some of these podcasts, I don’t think people understand this. Like I have people all the time like, well, if I could be on The Ellen Show, I’d be rich. It’s like people aren’t watching TV anymore. Some of these podcasts, get more downloads per episode than Ellen’s ever dreamt up. And say, and these people like there’s not at levels of producers and all these things. It’s like you can you can mess up. I love your podcast, I actually have a really cool product and a story. Hey, come on, and tell him like sure, and you can get on a show and get free traffic. Yeah, or most of these, most of these podcasts also happen to sell ads. And then because there’s not like some easy ad network, like like Facebook, you can buy ads, like most people don’t buy ads there because it’s you have to like actually email the person like how do I buy ads exact so there’s so much opportunity to add costs are so much cheaper. And so it’s like there’s a way when you start shifting your thinking like that’s like, Who’s my dream customer, where are they at? And it’s like, how do I how do I get my message in front of Okay, can I get on podcasting you can buy ads cuz I can Write guest blog blog posts Can I get them to blog about me? Can I buy a pop up on their blog? There’s, it opens up a whole new world of possibilities that most people are just completely ignoring right now.

Adam G. Force 08:08

Yeah, it’s true. And I think that a lot of these bloggers and stuff who still get lots of traction and things like they’re on there under us, they’re they’re overlooked quite a bit, right. And,

Russel Brunson 08:19

you know, you’re tapping into these mommy blogs who like it’s funny that they blog and they get paid like, five cents for somebody quick to clip a coupon or something. It sounds like you pay five cents a click and then like, I was like, I figured bucket clicked to give it away. Yeah. Yeah, 2000 bucks later. I’m like, that was one boy that nobody else has ever. Right? All right, let’s do this again.

Adam G. Force 08:40

I love that man. It’s true. You just got to open your eyes and we tend to get fun. What do you call tunnel vision sometimes, right? And we we’ve had a major focus on organic and Facebook. And I love like what you’re doing too. We’re always all about getting out on the podcasts and those types of things. And there’s just a lot of creative thinking and untapped resources. So I’m sure you’re book will cover a lot of those cool

Russel Brunson 09:02

areas exploring differently. What I was like, because he was he was talking about SEO right. Like, and I talked about the book I’m like, let me show you my shortcut because like, I remember when we first started learning SEO, I was like, so frustrated cuz I’m so much like, I want like when you guys want to win, you want to be ranked number one for this keyword like today. Like it frustrates like, I remember the first time like that we had a campaign trying to rake us for set of keywords. I remember being so frustrated, like a week or two, I went directly to Google and type in keywords, I found the top 10, the top 10 listings on every page, and I realized that most of those pages like blogs and things like that, where someone’s looking at ranking stuff, and they don’t want to sell anything. And so I start emailing people directly. I’m like, dude, you’re a number one for work at home. Can I and there’s a big banner ad, can I just buy that banner ad from you? Okay, can I pay you to put a pop up on your site? Yeah, like sure. And so within like, within five seconds, you know, if you searched by dream keyword, which we’re hopefully someday going to rank for and someone clicked on it, click on a page and they went Like my ad was there and instantly like that fast I was getting all this SEO traffic from other people with SEO for me. And like, again, it’s like so simple, but these little things that is shifting your mindset that people don’t think about that hopefully this book will just be like, I have control my own destiny once again, like it’s simple, it’s easy, we start looking at through different lenses.

Adam G. Force 10:16

And I love that that’s a simple perspective shift. That’s a great example. So anybody watching or listening right now, I mean, just the idea, like we do a lot of SEO for organic traffic. We have b2b clients who want to tap into that traffic, but flip the script. And it’s like, well, I’m not gonna rank for everything based on let’s say, our membership that we sell, but we could tap into other people who already have it, and they’re probably not capitalizing on it. Anyway, you get a pretty good deal from them, probably.

Russel Brunson 10:40

Definitely, for sure. I love that man.

Adam G. Force 10:42

Listen, I was curious. One thing just because you did two other books. Did you change your process at all, like based on the experience?

Russel Brunson 10:50

Yeah, I did this one for sure. One thing nice is that I never use Google Docs in the past because I always hated Google Docs and it’s a book I found out about him and now like, I’m obsessed with

Adam G. Force 11:00

Cool. It’s awesome

Russel Brunson 11:01

I don’t know how I wrote them. I read it in like Word and then I send it to people to edit, send it back and like eight different edits. I’m trying to like sync it was a nightmare. So what’s fun about this I did is like, I started Google Docs. I wish I was like, a ways down. And then I invited some people close to me, I was like, hey, I want you guys to go behind and read it not like editing, editing, like, grammar, bowing, editing, like constantly making sense. Is it confusing? Like, yeah, the story have context enough to actually you know, and so like, I had five people reading behind me and like leaving comments and stuff. And so as I was doing the book, they were falling behind me by the time I got to the bottom was really fun. So I got to talk. And it was like, I was I was rewriting but with like, 10 people’s ideas. Oh, like, Oh, that’s so good. Like, it was a it just made the process more collaborative. and way more. I like that will turn out better because of i

Adam G. Force 11:44

too. How long did it take to get this one put together

Russel Brunson 11:47

Ah, this was a pain. It was a good day. Yes, I’ll benefit from the pain. So if it were my first started was about 18 months, but was like, I mean, obviously I’m doing a lot of things as well. I’d say like the hard way crunch time of like, like, I have to finish a chapter every like three days or whatever. Like the thing was, you know, the first 18 months has tons of research and fighting stuff in outlining and trying to structure and a lot of Dude, I’m a doodler. So a lot of doodles, like head to paper was probably a good three to four months of just like, everything else is blocked off.

Adam G. Force 12:18

just like, yeah, that’s not too bad though. I you met the way. You mentioned having other people read through it. We I spoke with Guy Kawasaki not long while ago now but he was like, Yeah, when I write a new book, I take the manuscript draft and I’ll send it out to my Twitter audience and let everybody just share feedback. I was like, really?

Russel Brunson 12:36

e’s a I would dare to do that

Adam G. Force 12:38

I thought it was pretty brave to he’s like listen, if someone else can steal it and do it better than me then shame on me.

Russel Brunson 12:46

I think for me it’s like I have this fear because it’s funny. I any creative person like you create in private so it’s like your words your thoughts. You’re loving it and the CGI Yeah, you give it like first time someone read it. I outside my few close people for some like I shipped a couple copies of people and like I was I was so scared. I remember the first person who messaged me back was Garrett. Garrett J. White, he messaged back, he’s like, dude, that’s what he said. I’m like, Oh, crap. He’s like, this is actually better than the first two books. I was like… Oh, I don’t want like, this is actually like..That’s like, it’s so scary. Like to put out a tweet. I can’t even imagine that I would have had a heart attack, I would have melted down. I don’t know.

Adam G. Force 13:23

Yeah. Well, listen, I like to just get your thoughts on, you know, I know you have teams running ads, and all that kind of stuff. But when it comes to I just want to talk about paid traffic for a minute. And I’m sure you obviously cover a lot of this in the book. But I guess we’re so what are some of the shortcomings people have with paid traffic? Meaning like, you know, we work with a lot of solopreneurs people in the first five years, let’s say, and I’m curious, because what happens is they have this fear factor of actually spending money. So they’re not getting enough data, right? And they’re, they’re not willing to pay for data. So what are your thoughts about like, you know, proving out a new funnel, like we don’t nail it up the offer on the first try, right? It’s like, any thoughts on just how to lean into that. Pay traffic world a littl

Russel Brunson 14:01

bit. That’s the hardest thing. It’s like, I’m gonna gamble. So go to Vegas, they throw a quarter and the first time they win, like, they’re like stuck on gambling, whereas like, yeah, eight ads, it’s the opposite. It’s like you don’t, you know, and I thought, we talked about that here where it’s like, if you’ll get the initial advertising efforts are going out there, you’re trying to like, you’re finding people, you’re bringing them into your world. It’s like, you spend 80% of the money there and you’ll get 20% results. It’s like, oh, it sucks for rocks. You have to like get people get data, get things in there. It’s just like, this annoying, frustrating experiment. That’s just no good. And then what happens then you bring them in. Now they’re dumped into retargeting buckets, where now you’re spending 20% of money. If you make 80% of your results, it becomes easier, but it’s like, you have to get through the grind of this first. I think if if it was nice, you know, and I was kind of the first time I would look at this almost like, if you’re hiring a coach or a consultant or you’re buying a course then people like they’re less scared of buying a course or higher than they are by ads, but just like okay, I’m buying A coach or you know, whatever is gonna help me go find my dream customers and buy, you’re gonna buy a bunch of data and they’re gonna dump it to me. And then this date I’m going to use and like look at it from that lens. And then like, give it to whoever drive the ads for you, whatever. And and just know, like, I’m spending and it could be, you know, whatever you’re comfortable 1000 bucks, 5000, whatever, like, but just to like, write it off as like, this is money that I’m hiring a consultant to find the data who’s gonna buy my offer in the future. They look at that lens and it’s like, they got their money’s bad. I’m not expecting any return on investment or even one I’m just getting data back. And then now you got these buckets where you’re targeting stuff happened and then that’s where that’s where that’s like you get your head of like, this is so easy to get people are buying like crazy, but it is definitely scary when you don’t look at it that way. It’s just like…

Adam G. Force 15:42

yeah, it’s true. Well, and organic for a lot of people can be pretty slow. So they’re like, it’s been three months and I haven’t had any new sales for my course. And it’s like, well, how many people have actually watched your that been through your funnel? Oh, well, yeah, yeah. I’m curious if you have thoughts. I know you because you’ve done some transactions. type stuff with load lower ticket items and scale all the way up to super high ticket items. You know, when it comes to thinking about traffic, does that change is the strategy change between transactional versus high ticket? Right like the entering that thought process?

Russel Brunson 16:19

Yeah. That’s interesting. I and you know, people always ask me, well, should I just do it low tickets are just too high and I feel like a good business has has all of them like there’s there’s purposes for them, right? Like when I launched Click Funnels, I was going initially after a warm audience. And so we had $1,000 offer. We did two webinars and like we just we like I was doing funny in experts secret until I tell people do a webinar a week and they’re always like, complaining. So you know, the first 12 months of clickfunnels, I was doing three to five webinars a week. Some days, I would do three webinars in a day. Like it was just like, like pedal, the metal would go 200% we’re buying ads, we were buying emails, we were like as many things we can do, just to get things and that’s how we grew from zero to 10 million in the first year like just like I killed myself and I wanted to die. I get it right. But then it got point where like, there’s so much saturation. So people seen it, we got harder and harder to, like, possibly keep buying stuff to it. And that sounds like okay, now we need, like a lower ticket thing to step down to, to kind of be like this Trojan horse to get people in, and then we can send them to webinars. That’s when we did the.com secrets, but it came I think six months, six, eight months after clickfunnels this book came out Yeah, that would grab people in they come in that’s where they buy the book. They go to the book funnel and then from there, we push them to a webinar funnel. And then they’re like, that was that became the model, you know, and like Traffic Secrets book is the same thing like it actually if you look at like my business like.com secrets was like, you got all the people who are internet marketers who are like, they may have understood funnels me Not yet, but like, that was the group we were going after. And after I got that group into the world, I was like, how do we go beyond that world? Let’s find people who are experts and influencers and help them to understand how funnels work for them. So the second book came out, which may cast a wider net to people that who who weren’t marketers yesterday, you know, but like we turn that we grab them and turn to help them understand how funnels work and brought those people into our world and traffic. versus like the wider net? Like anybody who’s got a website or business or anything you need traffic, right? So he can go to places that like nothing else can, right? I’m working on a radio campaign like I’m running this on radio as it’ll penetrate spots that I can’t penetrate with other offers. Yeah. So we’ll take a step has the ability to penetrate different segments and things like we have a book for for network marketers, specifically on network marketers can use funnels, and that’ll penetrate into that market and grab people in and then help them bridge the gap between, you know, network marketing funnels, and then we put them into our same webinars and moving from there. So that’s kind of how I look at it. And then the high end, obviously, is just super profitable. You take all

Adam G. Force 18:38

that? Yeah. Yeah. So you know, you got your value ladder that you talked about the other books, you’re really working people through that process, and they serve different purposes, I guess. Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah, man, I mean, I’m curious to know just also, when you’re when you’re going through, you mentioned doing like a webinar a week and I think a lot of people do roll their eyes at that because it’s like doing a live webinar. I think what a lot of people make get nervous about getting out there and going live and things like that. And two, it’s pretty time consuming, right? If you have an hour 90 Minute Webinar, and you’re doing that multiple times, but it’s nice when you’re getting sales, right?

Russel Brunson 19:10

Yeah. So like, it’s like all the things I could be doing in the business is the most valuable thing I could possibly be doing. So why don’t I do it? And the only thing it forces you to do because people like Wait, so I do a new webinar every week to my list. I’m like, No, no, this is the same webinar word for word the same every single time, which then it forces you because because if you just say webinar to your list twice, it’s gonna stop working, right. So it’s like, that means I have to get new people in every transaction, because I was like, I’m not gonna jump on a webinar unless we got at least I can’t remember I had a number back then and get at least 3000 register. I was into the webinar. It’s my traffic, five days to get these like, so they’re like they’re freaking out like they’re focusing on traffic. So we got everyone our company focusing right things like our traffic, he was no longer like sitting on their hunches. Like, I have to get X amount people registered routes. This whole business model falls apart. I got to deliver my presentation. I just got everybody. It got everybody doing the right thing. When we started focusing on

Adam G. Force 20:01

that, okay and doing it like why not have it evergreen and recorded like versus the live this is so you can get real time feedback. Like what was the purpose behind

Russel Brunson 20:10

that? Yeah, I think eventually real time or evergreen is good eventually, but not first. And I think most people miss that. Like I the first time I did the webinar, the launch clickfunnels I was at an event I wrote it on the plane right over I did it. I did it and it worked. I was like, This is the man I forgot the messaging but I remember that next morning. I was like, leaving the hotel with my with my bag. And some lady in the lobby grabbed me. She’s like, Oh, your presentation is so fun. She’s like, I I just feel bad. I didn’t buy it because I’m a coach. And so I can’t use I can’t use clickfunnels. What? Yeah, well, because I in the in the presentation I showed like my supplement funnel, I show Drew Canole. As I showed you say I don’t have a supplement. So I can’t use Click Funnels. I was like, What? I was like, I’m a coach, like I sell books in college. So like, She’s like, no, I this is you rent, she runs back to her room. She grabs three other women, they come down all three of my grab order forms they fill in handed to me, and they’re like we had no idea that we could use As a coach or consultant, yeah, yeah, some jumping in the plane. I was like, Oh my gosh, like I missed it. So I went through it. I tweaked the presentation add those things in. I got back to Boise. That was like a Saturday I think and then it was like next Monday. I on the flight texting everyone I know like I had a webinars converting like, can you promote it? So we had webinars lined up for the next week I did the very first webinar. I’m invited to that day, the first one had, they both have like, I don’t know, 800 ish people that were on it and the first webinar that morning, and I did like $30,000 in sales. I was like, I thought it’d be a little better. Remember, I went through it. I looked at all the questions people submitted during the webinar, and I was looking at like, Oh my gosh, like they’re used, Hear, hear, hear their views about the offer here. Here’s all the list of wherever they were stuck. So I took that went back to my slides. And I like I just added slides, tweak things, change things to address all those concerns. And like four hours later, I did the same webinar to the same size audience. And that time we did $120,000 in sales. And so then I went through and I export all the questions again, okay, where they get stuck down, and we keep this habit of every single time we would do that we would do presentation, export it tweak the slide sweet slides. And I did that for weeks and weeks until I had this thing where it’s just so polished. Like Tuesday I can do it by I can do it from memory word for word. And that’s what it’s like now I like go for Go Go evergreen it. The problem is most people evergreen the first version, because it’s like, I’m gonna do it once they do it once and then they’re missing all. Like, they used to live every day for a month or every, you know, four times a week, every week for a month, they would they would probably two or three extra conversions. And just like someone knows, like the difference, like if you’re if you’re, if you’re like 5% of people are buying a webinar, it’s like a six figure your webinar, you get 10% that’s like a seven figure webinar, you get 8%. That’s a $10 million, your webinar. It’s like the getting 5% conversion to 15 is in between six figures and eight figures. So like, Is it worth making those tweaks in those

Adam G. Force 22:47

ests? Big time, big time and you’re seeing where you need to make tweaks based on just where people are asking questions. So are you pausing to be like, Hey, does anybody have questions or they just firin

Russel Brunson 22:55

There’s fired about… Yeah, I do. A lot of trial closes throughout my presentation. Like you Give this up quickly. But I don’t look around during the presentation because it throws me off as a person. You export it look through all like the kind of stuck here stuck here stuck here

Adam G. Force 23:08

Yep. Yep. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense, because there’s just so many little points of, we’ve had things where people are, well, I wasn’t sure if that was for me or not, because you said solopreneurs, right. And I thought that was for this. And we’re like, Ah, man, you know, and it’s like, they’re all these little nuances. And you can get stuck in a world of changing things for no reason if you don’t have that data, right. Yeah. Listen, Russell. I know we’re about on our time. So I’m going to wrap up here. Let’s just give a shout out. Actually, one last thing is just to point like, where can people learn more about the book? Do you have a specific URL that you want to shout out?

Russel Brunson 23:38

Yeah, for sure. Right now we’re doing a promotion or pre launch where you can get free copies of the book, silver Traffic Secrets calm. You got a 995 shipping handling for the hardbound copy. We got a whole bunch of amazing bonuses. There’s like five or six full full length training videos that come with us from like Prince EA, for example, got 3 billion views on, on on Facebook. You He made a whole video showing how he goes viral videos, which is insane. Like it’s so good like, Ross Yossi wrote the foreword for the book he, he would have we were very competitive me and him and we had to challenge him to sell the most books. He was selling four times more books than I was. And we could not for the life of me figure out what he was doing different. So I flew out to Arizona spent a day with him, we figured out was like this one stupid thing that completely missed, went back made the tweak. And same thing we have our book sells for x of where they were before. And he’s spoken for like you live as like shows the audience, the whole presentation, sharing it, and breaking it down and showing everybody that video is in there. And there’s a whole bunch of cool stuff you get for free with the other three books. So that’s kind of what it is. And I hope you guys love the book. Yeah, man. Awesome. Well, thank you for your time such an important topic and we love that you sharing all your expertise and good luck with the sales man, everybody grab your copy of traffic secrets, you know, it’s gonna be killer if it’s anything like the other two books, right. Awesome. Thanks, man. I appreciate it’s a lot of fun.

Adam G. Force 24:51

Take care, buddy.

Steve Cockram: Become a Leader People Want to Follow

Listen to our exclusive interview with Steve Cockram:

Subscribe to this show on Spotify  |  iTunes  |  Stitcher  |  Soundcloud

We all have an inner leader waiting to take on the world, but how do we make that come to life? We spoke with expert and author, Steve Cockram to find out.

Steve Cockram (UK) and his business partner Jeremie Kubicek (USA), have recently released their 3rd book on leadership – The 100X Leader: How to Become Someone Worth Following. This has been coupled with the release of our new digital GiANT platform, which scales healthy leadership development throughout organizations. Think Netflix meets Peloton with a leadership twist! The platform is disrupting the digital space and our organization GiANT is currently the fastest growing tech business in the USA.

Learn more about Steve and his work at: stevecockram.com/ and giantworldwide.com

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Transcription of Interview

(Transcribed by Otter.ai, there may be errors)

Adam G. Force 00:11

Hey, what’s going on everybody? Welcome back to the Change Creator podcast show. This is your host, Adam force. Excited to be here today we’re gonna be talking with Steve cockrum. He is a author of the book 100 ex leader. That’s third book he released with his business partner, Jeremy Kubitschek. So they are they talk about how to how to become somebody who’s worth following, right. And this has been alongside has released this new platform called giant. And that’s designed to help create healthy leadership development through organizations, right. So this is all he’s all focused on leadership. And that’s a big topic I think, especially for today as we’re navigating these uncharted waters. You know, the more we can undertake In the leadership space, the more we can step into our role to become who we need to become with our businesses as entrepreneurs. So he’s looking at really disrupt the space with this platform giant. Sounds pretty interesting. And I was very interested in his thoughts as he is so dialed into leadership space with his books and things like that. So I want to share it with Steve and see what he has to say. If you missed the last episode, it was with the one and only Russell Brunson. He’s the founder of Click Funnels. It’s 100 million dollar company and he has that new book Traffic Secrets. If you missed that, definitely go back and check it out. It was a really energized conversation. It’s on all the the main platforms here for the podcast, but it’s also a live video feed on our Facebook page. So you can catch the video version on the Change Creator Facebook page, you guys can just swing over there and check that out. Guys, we have some updates on the website. There’s always fresh content so don’t forget to check that out. If you haven’t already, you know, we have Change Creator magazine has over 30 Premium additions, but also now the updated app has a flow of articles coming in weekly. So as that’s happening, you guys can get constant content. And the model is changes $10 for the year. So for 10 bucks, you’re getting access to tons and tons of premium content interviews with Richard Branson, Jay Shetty, Seth Godin regular flow of content. We made it as accessible as possible because there’s just so much great content there. So you can just go to Change Creator comm check out the digital magazine, and you’ll find lots of goodies. Alright, guys, we’re gonna get into this conversation with Steve. I hope everybody’s staying safe practicing their social distancing. And we’ll get through this all together. And we’ll keep talking about some of these things on our Facebook page and in the group, the profitable digital impact entrepreneur join us over there. Amy and I are doing conversations and lots of content around Stepping up your marketing with storytelling, but also becoming a leader right now during this pandemic, okay. All right, let’s jump into this conversation with Steve and see what he says. Hey, Steve, welcome to the Change Creator podcast show how you doing today.

Steve Cockram 03:19

I’m doing incredibly well out from across the pond. Lovely to be with you.

Adam G. Force 03:22

And thank you for taking the time. Appreciate it. Leadership is a topic I love. It’s so important in our lives and our businesses. So I’m excited to kind of dive into your wealth of experience on the topic. So maybe you could just kick us off a little bit and tell us what what are you working on these days what’s happening in your world and just give us a little little update?

Steve Cockram 03:46

That’s great. So I lead a company called giant and the best way to describe it is seven years ago, my business partner good friend of mine, Jeremy Kiba track. Basically we both really ended up Our old worlds together. And we started a new consulting group together. And we really did a lot of research and asked our clients, what were the five major challenges they were facing as we move from the late industrial to the digital world? And they said, summary would be is how do I survive and thrive in a world that’s now? 365 24? Seven, it doesn’t turn off. How do I lead through influence more than positional power? How do I communicate and connect in a world that now learns visually interactive media application? How do I build agile collaborative teams, rather than recruit talented individuals, and particularly poignant for right now, Adam, how do I lead in a world which is increasingly digitally connected, but geographically dispersed? So for seven years, we basically built the tools that would work for the new world. That’s what we did well, two years ago, we realized that if we didn’t have a platform solution, then in the end, consulting in and of its own, couldn’t get there. So we now are what we call it. SAS plus business. So we are software as a service people pay monthly for our services. But we still have a fair number of consultants and coaches about 250 around the world who can go in as it were, and deliver the more traditional side of things. But everyone is learning to do remote right now. So that’s a giant and giant.tv is where you can find all that, huh,

Adam G. Force 05:21

pretty cool. So let me just dig into that for a minute. So if you go on to giant, it’s a resource for leadership insights, but like what is what is actually behind the gate? I see there’s a login on the page there. So what are you actually getting as the product?

Steve Cockram 05:39

So I think what we’d say Adam is that the new world requires different intelligence. And so therefore, there is ways in which you can develop self awareness as a leader, emotional intelligence leader and ultimately then how do you connect your IQ competence skill sets, credentials product To the world. So what most leaders are asking is, how do I lead other people because they don’t do what I would want them to do. And whenever I do for them what I would most want done for me, it doesn’t seem to work. So what we’re building really is a resource that anybody who leads any team whether you’re leading to people, one person or whether you’re leading 30,000, there is the issue, which is how do we create the leaders that know how to function and thrive in the world I’ve just described. So there are, you know, and also realizing that everyone is far too busy, no one’s got time. So little and often we found is a much more effective way of developing leaders than the traditional put them in a room for three hours and hope that does it. So there are all kinds of ways that that people are able to learn and engage and bring their team with them. Okay, so we used to do a lot of executive coaching. We Do some but what we found was that team has become the most important unit of productivity more than the talented individual. So that’s really I would say the focus will that platform does, it creates a way that teams can perform at a level they’ve never thought of. And if you think really a, as a larger organization is only a collection of teams. So it doesn’t really have one thing or 50 teams or you know, thousands of teams, we say the sub leaders define the subcultures and it mostly the development only touches the people who are well paid, whereas the reality is on the ground, the most important people are those who interact with your employees and the closer to the frontline they are, the more important they are but they often get less investment than others. So trying to make that affordable and quality and interactive that they can do it. You know, as they travel as they kind of fly as they go about their daily life and really just trying to Say, because his some tools that will help you lead your life and lead your people and lead your family better.

Adam G. Force 08:09

Yeah, no, I mean that accessibility is so important today as everybody’s on the move and opens up the doors for scalability. And I’m curious, you know, you’ve done a lot of studies in the space of leadership and what I guess two things. The first question is, now that we are the dynamic, obviously is always changing. We’re getting more digital, we’re leading teams, different dynamics and all kinds of stuff. So how have you seen leadership evolve between, you know, historical, you know, precedents versus what’s happening now due to this different stimulus of digital?

Steve Cockram 08:46

I say, I mean, gosh, it’s like pulling that from a selection. But I think one of the biggest ones out and that I think maybe interesting for your audience is the move away from positional authority to influence how become more and more important. So as a believes if you’re having to use positional power to get your way or force your opinion through, you’re already undermining your influence, because actually the new world expects you to be prepared and skilled to actually lead others through the influence II have. Yeah, so. So actually, you know, it doesn’t really matter whether you’re leading one or two people or laws fundamentally, as more and more millennials and Gen Z’s enter the workforce, what they’re looking for is a coach, not a boss. And what they’re expecting is they’re expecting collaboration, they’re expressing their opinions of matter. And for a lot of leaders, it’s quite hard to understand. Why Why do you think you can just, you know, have an opinion you’ve been here three weeks. So I would say I would say for a lot of leaders, one of the biggest challenges is realizing people won’t just follow you now, because they have to. They will stay with you because they choose to And all the statistics show that people leave leaders more than they leave companies. So recruitment and retention is pivotal in the talent race right now, because people have more choice than they used to. In the old days, you know where you were born, you might have had three or four options of a job. But in the digital world, those who have those skill sets are incredibly valuable and in demand. And I would say that for most leaders now, influence is largely emotional intelligence more than IQ. Yeah, you’re, you have to have IQ, you have to have skills that people want to buy and credentials to even get a ticket to the game. But emotional intelligence and the ability to establish, maintain and develop long term relationships, inside and outside your business, I reckon is the primary currency of wealth and influence in the digital world. And that’s a very different mindset. A lot of people who were born, let’s just say after 1982 or before 1982

Adam G. Force 11:06

Yeah, yeah, that makes that makes a lot of sense. I, I mean, I, I worked at web D for 10 years, you know, a while back, and I saw just as we were getting into like, oh, responsive website development, and you know, any kind of calls online, all these things like, as these dynamics shift and the mentalities are shifting, I started to see that kind of shift in how teams were approached. And actually, I managed a small team. And I got really into, like, making sure the team all had an opinion and share a voice in what we were doing, making them feel like you know, it wasn’t like a hierarchy. And I guess a big thing is interesting. I took him out to lunch one time, I think you’ll get a kick out of this. And I went around the table and I was like, I was asking people like, what was the reason that you left your last job, and I think I had about maybe eight or nine people around the table. And like 95% of them said, lack of appreciation. Yeah, but that doesn’t surprise you, right?

Steve Cockram 12:10

They don’t. So I mean, we took a lot of work with Google and Google have done a huge amount of research that’s basically authenticated everything we’ve said, for which I’ll always be grateful. And the two things they tried to do a study called Aristotle, they did a subtle called Aristotle, which you may have heard of, where they try to understand what was the common common allergies of the highest performing teams in Google, Google measure everything. Google Analytics is everywhere. And they spent nearly two years of trying to find out what what they nearly gave up. And, you know, they came to the conclusion there were only two things that all of their highest performing teams had in common. One was there was psychological safety, that actually, everybody could challenge the opinion of anyone else in the team, including the leader, without fearing it would jeopardize their career. The second one was in the average team across an average year, each person’s vote roughly equally, in terms of time. Now, that was a salutary challenge to charismatic entrepreneurs like me, he usually liked the sound of their own voice. And most entrepreneurs usually are very opinionated. That was a massive one for us realizing that actually, the ability to listen and draw out the expertise skill sets of the people in those teams was was huge. You know, I’m a German, I ended up having an interview with the HR director again, before we push this any further, we want to know whether you’re googly enough. That was the phrase they use, they actually said nothing has ever changed our culture in the way that your giant resources have. But before we go any further with it, we actually want to meet the guys who founded it to check that you. We resonate with the values and who you are. I was I was blown away. It was luckily we passed and we’re doing other things with them at the moment, but it was almost like They will they were so protective of their culture for leadership, that actually they wanted to make sure not just the tools work, but the people behind it aligned with the same heart and be some of the things I know you guys care deeply about. Yeah, yeah,

Adam G. Force 14:13

no, you’re hitting the right buttons for our for us and our audience. And you know, what we believe in and things like that. I think, really, just more and more people have access to starting businesses on their own. Just like they have more opportunity to get jobs at different places that they might really align to. And as you pursue these things, you become your own CEO and a leader, right, what we’re talking about here. And one of the most important parts of where your marketing comes from is really digging into who you are as a person. So those values become this Northstar for decision making, not just in the first year, but throughout the life of the business.

Steve Cockram 14:47

I always say I agree entirely and by the way, and I say to most startup entrepreneurs, I love them. I’ve been one I continue to be one and go back and do it again, is people always ask me what you know. You’ll be You’d be very successful at doing this. What’s the one thing that you would say to an entrepreneur and I go, guys, or girls, the most important thing is you have to know yourself to lead yourself first. Because always say to me, what do you know what it’s like to be on the other side of you, in the different in the different orbits of your life. So what’s it like to be on the other side of you as a supplier, as a customer, as a client, as a friend, as a father as a, as a boss, so few people have ever really been prepared to look in the mirror and see what we call the broccoli and our teeth because we all we all have broccoli in our teeth, and you’d be amazed how many leaders undermine their influence every single day, and they have no idea they’re doing it. So giants talk is really a catalogue of mine and Jeremy’s failures, and the broccoli in our teeth and we always say, look, if we can identify what the problem is, and I’ll get Give me an example of one in a moment sure, if we can then codify it in a visual tool that an educated 30 year old can understand us and teach their friends, then we can multiply into a world, which is overwhelmed with information and saturated and however good the content is. If they can’t use it immediately, it disappears. The moment you leave the room or start listening to the podcast, or whatever it is book you happen to be skimming through. So I’ll give you an example of one that has changed my life. And and so it’s the simple thing where most entrepreneurs think out loud. So I’m a very external processor. I’m ID ating. All the time, I hypothesize about how things could be. And I almost argue as if I believe it, hoping that you will tell me why you don’t. So here’s the here’s the tool that emerged out of that because you can imagine a lot of people would come to me and go and say, What are you up to the last two weeks they go, we’ll be working on this. So why are you working on that? Last week, you told us that this is what we need to be doing. And I’m like, No, no, no, no, I was thinking out loud. I was spitballing. I was like dreaming, I was inviting you to collaborate with me. You’re telling me that you spent the last few weeks working on that. So we developed a tool, Adam called provisional plan, promise three words that will change your life as an entrepreneur, because what I meant was we created a vocabulary, where now when I start dreaming out loud, what somebody says to me if I forget, they say, hey, see, before we really start to move on this is this provisional, which means you’re just talking out loud, dreaming, getting opinions, or is it a plan? Have we actually together decided, this is what we’re going to do based on the evidence that is available to us and we’ve committed as a team to it, or a promise is something that says this will never change? Right? So basically, there are plans in business, the act Sometimes has to change. Now we’re going through a moment in our world where a lot of the planning of a lot of businesses is changing because of something called COVID-19. Do you see the difference so I’m plan is something we’re committed to, and we’re all aligned with. But it still could get knocked off course, a promise is something that I will never change. These are values that we will live as a community or these will be what we define ourselves as those giant we have like four values. You know, we have self awareness, love engineers, ie heroic goals. If you ask any giant world over, they can tell you those. They are a promise they don’t change. But strategy is usually a plan. And what we found was as entrepreneurs, we were often being provisional, but people were hearing it as a plan bordering on promise and the amount of entrepreneurs that are like that, who actually end up undermining their influence with the people who have the capacity usually to deliver on the dreams. And in the end, people start to go I’m not sure whether I trust you I don’t know whether you’re talking out loud or whether things going on so when I say to you, there’s there’s one that I guarantee you can use them and I guarantee everyone listening can use biggest place that made a difference to me was in my marriage. Why? Why? Yeah, you know, my wife is an introverted detail, very, very organized person. She only speaks when it’s a plan. And the number of times she’s got really frustrated because I was dreaming about something I said, Hey, we might need to get back to America. I’m getting exhausted flying everywhere. Speaking. Good night, darling. She wakes up in the morning, Helens in tears with a spreadsheet, trying to work out how we can tell the kids the grandparents, how are we going to move? Where are we going to live? And when I say Helen, I was only being I was only thinking out loud. Now she just says to me, Steve is this provisional plan or deployment. So there you go. There’s an example out of it. And it’s visual is colorful, but it’s simple enough that the child can understand that even the kids use it on me now. So, hope that helps. We’ve got about 57 of those.

Adam G. Force 20:14

That’s pretty funny. Imagine scenarios with my wife and she’d be, she’d be like, Hell, no, we’re not good night. Your plan is over. That’s a great point, though. It’s a great point on a clarity of context. I mean, you know, one of the things that makes me think of is clarity, and you’re kind of breaking it down into a thought process that provides clarity. And, you know, if there’s one, I always, you know, one thing I would say, and it sounds so simple, and everyone thinks that they’re clear, but if there was one thing that makes or breaks a business, and as a leader, it is clarity in all aspects of your business. So this is your what I see hear from you and correct me if I’m wrong is you have ways of breaking down these thought processes in order to create that clarity.

Steve Cockram 21:00

Yes. So for example, if if it’s all remember I said the new world for learning and communication, this is a bigger change than people realize. The industrial world was about words, books, memorization and data. The new world is visual. It’s interactive, and it has to have a media application. So what we realized was if you couldn’t capture it in a visual tool, that was simple, it would not scale. And so therefore, what we’re doing here is, we’re actually saying, guys, ladies, leaders, you all have tendencies. You all have wired into the way you’ve been made. So while we do a lot of stuff on self awareness, and kind of that, really knowing who you are, I’m a Jedi Master in personality in wiring. That’s one of my other sort of day jobs at it. But once he realized, you can show people what the mirror looks like on the other side of them, they can then begin to make a choice. So I always say that the difference between a good entrepreneur and a great entrepreneur is yes, you got to have a great idea. Yes, you got to do this. But fundamentally, you have to know what you’re great at and where your weaknesses are, where your blind spots are. And you have to make a choice with your actions. So if your tendencies just become your actions, you’ll get it right about most of the time, but when you get it wrong, it goes horribly wrong. The real skill set is self awareness is the foundation of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is what allows you to build your business and connect the product and the skills and the expertise you have to a marketplace which is saturated. And actually how you differentiate long term in a world which basically has almost limitless choice is that relational interaction with your client base, that’s the thing which is gold And it’s more valuable than people would ever really realize in the beginning.

Adam G. Force 23:05

Yeah, yeah. I love that. And I think I was just writing it down. I’d like the the notes there. The self awareness is the foundation of emotional intelligence and emotional intelligence is a key to building a successful business. And I think it makes me ask you the question, you know, we have to know ourselves, and we have to know where we fall short and where we don’t and all those types of things. But have you found that people resist the truth in the sense of they’re not always honest with themselves?

Steve Cockram 23:35

So here’s what I would say I found out is that most leaders are unconsciously incompetent. Right? And you can’t blame somebody for being unconsciously incompetent. It’s they’re not aware of it. Yeah. And the reality is, I don’t know Americans are slightly better at challenging each other. Brits over here. We specialize in hinting and really just just looking down on people without telling them what’s going on. So a lot of what a lot of What john is doing is we’re holding up a mirror and go, Hey, Adam, do you know what it’s like to be outside of you and you go, I get this, I had no idea. We make you consciously incompetent, which is usually a deeply unpleasant experience when it happens. But mostly it is I mean, Adam wants to grow, they want to get better. The reality is, a lot of them just don’t know how. And so therefore, I can’t afford to go on an MBA program. I mean, I’m like going get enrolled in a course it’s going to take, you know, years of my life, and it’s like, No, no, I need some tools right now. Yeah. And I don’t mind if it’s one or two tools that give me something I can work on. And, you know, German, I spent a long time developing something called the five voices, which, if the listeners do anything, for those of you a Myers Briggs experts, he came at it twinned with Myers Briggs, but nobody could ever remember their letters when we went away. So we worked incredibly hard to create something called the five voices of a team. So if he goes to the Giant platform, as I said, you get a free month, if what you do is take the voice assessment on there, there is actually a personalized coaching Development Series for I think it was 15 videos per personality combination, that if you walk through that, that would make an amazing difference to who you are and how you understand what’s there. So, you know, again, join.tv backslash BB will get you a free month on on my, on my account. So that’s another one where self awareness is so, so important, because it’s very hard to be emotionally intelligent without being self aware. And sadly, a lot of entrepreneurs are, are more task orientated than relationship orientated. They do relationship, they do relationship because they, they need it to make the business work. I would say that in some ways that this, the primary skill set of the entrepreneur has to be has to be that relational connectivity and that ability To build long term trusting relationships, because that’s where people come back to. And that’s where you have a chance to be magical almost. And people remember, people remember that people who’ve chosen to serve people, not just transact with people. So it’s so easy when you’re under pressure and thinking, Oh, my goodness, how do I make payroll? How do I do this than the other, you often treat clients as a transaction. And that’s still a compliment that they want to buy something from you. But you’re leaving influence on the table. So many people try maximize the first deal. And they leave long term relational influence on the table. I’m always keen to go. I’m looking for something that I can build over an extended period of time. And therefore I’m prepared to invest financial capital sometimes in the beginning, because I’m trading it for long term relational capital, not because I’m trying to be manipulative, but because What I know is when I can establish a trusted relational partnership with somebody, actually, not only am I able to serve them, but they’re actually able to serve me as well. So, you know, that’s just giving you some of the things that I’ve learned through getting it wrong out. And Robin around. I was the negotiation King, I used to love winning and negotiations, until somebody held the mirror up to me. And I realized that actually, nobody liked dealing with me because they always knew if I was happy about the deal, it probably meant that six months from now they were going to be disappointed. That wasn’t a great reputation now. Now I’m almost the other way of going responsible generosity is a valley that I choose to live by. Because I found it’s a lot better when people think that you are generous as a, as a culture than when, in some ways, it’s primarily about you.

Adam G. Force 27:51

Yeah. And I think that empathy comes into play and that ties into the emotional intelligence factor that you spoke about to really, you know, be understanding And I think tying that into this idea of stop shooting for the short term, you know, game, the short term thinking where it’s like, I need an extra thousand I need to do this deal now. And, you know, we, you know, that was a lesson that we had to learn to and that is to think long term. It’s a different dynamic when you’re doing that, because everybody has this need to for immediacy, so we get panicked and we’re worried we need to make more money, we need their business, you know, so it’s like that panic results in like fear based decision making and then you start making decisions with short term thinking. So, you know, like, we would always take on clients where it’s like, all right, we won’t even offer them anything except a trial period of three months because we just start small and we build the relationship we prove ourselves and it may take more time, but then you get all the renewal business they like you they trust you and all that relationship building that you’re talking about. It does take time and it takes care right.

Steve Cockram 28:56

usually takes seven years to be an overnight success. Adam So no, nobody is nobody has done it faster. I mean, it’s really interesting looking, looking back at the moment, if you think of the financial crisis in 2008 2009, when you look at the companies that were formed in the midst of that storm that we now know as household names, so it’s fascinating to me to realize that there is always the opportunity for entrepreneurial innovation. And sometimes the darkest times the most difficult times are actually one of the most powerful actually forcing innovation and forcing new ideas. I mean, you know, right now, I will guarantee that every single person listening to this podcast is having to go cold turkey on a high touch business model. So a lot of us used to pride ourselves in getting in front of our customers face to face, events, visits, dinners, lunches, I’m losing weight the left you know, I’m not eating a business lunch for about three weeks has been great. my waistline, Adam. But I look at it and go, we’ve had to go cold turkey because right now, we’re in lockdown over here in London, there is no touch. We’re not allowed out. Right. So what’s happening is businesses are having to go digital in the space of two weeks. I mean, we’ve gone from high touch low tech to no touch high tech in the space of two weeks. Right. And I think it’s just a really interesting thing that in the end the businesses that come out of this, and will win in the next season beyond this, I think of those who will learn the lessons again, how do I leverage high tech, and therefore what is the premium high touch that I can put back in again, because I think we will probably get away with doing less touch, and more tech, in that balance of the feature. I’m personally hugely excited by, in many ways. The learning for me again, What does my world look like, in the new world that is coming the other side of the world won’t be the same again, this is not a small thing. I mean, you canonically it will be a huge challenge. But a lot of people are asking, Well, why do I have offices? Or, you know, why am I putting together an event for thousand people to come? When actually we’re doing it online? digitally? Yeah. And actually, people have enjoyed it just as much and it didn’t cost me 250 grand to put on. So there’s so much innovation, but I have sympathy in the sense that, you know, this is what I call that the luxury of self actualization. And when you’re in Maslow’s hierarchy of need, which is I need some money to pay the bills or just to keep the lights on, then in some ways, the reality is you may well have to leverage some of that relational capital is the difference. If you’re a transactional person, people will only transact with you, and they will any do it if it’s advantageous to both parties, right? If you’ve established long relational trust and influence somebody, you can actually go to them right now and go. How are you doing? And they’ll go, we’re doing right. Okay. I could really do with you buying some of these right now. Is there any way you could do something because I’m struggling in relationship, you will be amazed at what is possible when you’ve actually been relationship significant in someone’s life. Is anybody isn’t there? If if it’s just been transactional, because they’re doing something that only occurs in relationship, not in transaction? Yeah.

Adam G. Force 32:33

Yeah. I love it. Yeah, well, it’s it is I think these are a lot of great points. And, you know, as we continue to evolve, yeah, this is a major shift. And we talked earlier just about how it’s kind of, you know, pushing people out of their comfort zones, and it’s kind of accelerating change, you know, which is I always find to be fascinating, and I see it as a positive thing at the same time. While Yes, the virus that we’re going through is a bad thing, but the change That we are all embracing is I think, exciting.

Steve Cockram 33:04

There. I think that’s the reason why we’re entrepreneurs that we always see, we usually go through that, like we need, we probably had a moment of fear about two or three weeks ago when we weren’t Okay, how are we going to what’s going to happen? Yeah. And very quickly, you pivot and go, yes, we need a survive strategy. But what’s our thrive strategy in the midst of the storm? And that’s the kind of, that’s the thing, which I think entrepreneurs are so adaptable, they’re agile, they kind of turn quite quickly. And as always, cash is king. And you need a certain amount of liquidity to work, but the agility of the small is often an advantage in times like this so true.

Adam G. Force 33:44

Yeah, yeah. No, it’s and you’re right. I mean, we’re problem solvers. And that’s the way you got to look at it. It’s just another problem like solving any other problem for people. Right? So it’s really no different at this point. You just gotta be willing to adapt to it and understand it.

Steve Cockram 33:59

Yes, indeed

Adam G. Force 34:01

Listen, let’s give a shout out. I know you also had a really great book I want to make sure people are aware of in case you want to check that out as a first touch for learning more about what you have to say and digging deeper. So this is your third book. I don’t know I can’t remember who it was that you partnered with looked like he had a partner off there but yeah, hundred army.

Steve Cockram 34:20

That’s right, Jeremy and I, we basically co authored everything we do within giant and this was really our manifesto on leadership academy. And when I talked about the thing about the influence is more valuable than positional power. How do you grow influence? How do you be somebody that people want to follow not have to follow? And a lot of the practical visual tools I talked about, I think there might be 20 of them in the book. So that’s for those who love to read, but there aren’t many you love to read by the way and then you will books are really marketing. And they’re really credibility. The fact that you know, we’re a tight we’re a best selling book. Wiley as a New York publisher took our content. That’s usually a credibility, I would say it’s more likely that the people listening I’d love it if they weren’t read the book, because that would get there, the deepest thing we have. But as I said, there are ways in which you can, you can have fun playing with what we’ve created. And in some ways at a time when people are stuck at home, having a having a platform where you can work on who you are, and really develop that self awareness piece. So if you go to giant.tv, backslash BB, and put in your information, that gives you a free month. And what I’d encourage you to do is if you know your land, it’ll guide you, but I would encourage you if you want to the one thing that I say is go to the assessments app and take the five voices assessment that will give you a personality read. And as I said, if you click on the link there, there’s actually a coaching series designed for each individual, the way they’re wired by people who are wired like they are and so seeing different videos talking about what do you bring your best? How do you lead a vasectomy? What’s the things that you undermine your influence with? How do you do work life balance. So basically everything we thought the 15 key issues that we wanted all leaders to address are there. And they’re there for all 16 of the different personality voice combinations. So that’s the thing, which if that’s free, if you want to buy a book, then that’s wonderful, because that feeds my family. But honestly, the free on giant is probably the best place to go. And there’s a whole whole ream of resources that we filmed in the last few weeks about remote teams. How do you how do you lead from home? You know, even that was just created because it was live or what people needed. So join.tv backslash BB gets you a free month on the platform with us. So there we go.

Adam G. Force 36:48

Great. All right. Well, there you have it, guys. You could check that out for free for a month and explore you can check out the book if you’re a reader. Lots of valuable information come from a lot of experience and you know, good conversation. Steve, I appreciate your time today. Oh,

Steve Cockram 37:02

Adam. Thank you. Pleasure. Thank you for being a great

Adam G. Force 37:04

interview. That’s all for this episode. Your next step is to join the Change Creator revolution by downloading our interactive digital magazine app for premium content, exclusive interviews, and more ways to stay on top of your game available now on iTunes and Google Play, or visit Change Creator mag. com. We’ll see you next time where money and meaning intersect right here at the Change Creator podcast.

Dan Hill: How to Read Facial Expressions for Business Success

Listen to our exclusive interview with Dan Hill:

What if you could get more information beyond what a potential customer was saying to you, to better understand how to navigate the conversation for a sale? Well, expert Dan Hill, talks to us today about reading facial expressions to do just that!!

Dan Hill, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized expert on the role of emotions in politics, business, sports, and popular culture, and has spoken to audiences in over 25 countries. To capture and quantify emotions, Dan pioneered the use of facial coding (the analysis of facial expressions) in market research starting in 1998 and his company, Sensory Logic, Inc., has done work for over half of the world’s top 100 consumer-oriented, B2C companies. Dan has received seven U.S. patents related to facial coding and is also a certified Facial Action Coding System (FACS) practitioner.

Dan’s latest books consist of Famous Faces Decoded: A Guidebook for Reading Others; Two Cheers for Democracy: How Emotions Drive Leadership Style; and First Blush: People’s Intuitive Reactions to Famous Art. His earlier, business books include: About Face: The Secrets of Emotionally Effective Advertising; and Emotionomics: Leveraging Emotions for Business Success, which was chosen by Advertising Age as one of the top ten must-read books of 2009 and features a foreword by Sam Simon, co-creator of The Simpsons.

In 2014, Dan received front-page coverage in The New York Times for his work with professional and NCAA Division 1 sports teams. Other media coverage has ranged from TV appearances on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Bloomberg TV, CNBC, CNN, C-Span, ESPN, Fox, MSNBC, NBC’s “The Today Show,” PBS, and The Tennis Channel, to print and digital coverage in Allure, China Forbes, Cosmopolitan, Fast Company, The Financial Times, The Los Angeles Times, Politico, Time, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal. Dan was educated at St. Olaf College, Oxford University, Brown University, and Rutgers University. Along with his wife, Karen Bernthal, he nowadays splits his time between St. Paul, Minnesota and Palm Desert, California.

Ready to supercharge your marketing?

Learn more about Dan and his work at > https://emotionswizard.com/

We also recommend:

Transcription of Interview

(Transcribed by Otter.ai, there may be errors)

Adam G. Force 00:11

Hey, what’s going on everybody? Welcome back to the Change Creator podcast show. This is your host, Adam force. If you missed the last episode, it was with Steve Cochran, who is a rock star in the field of leadership. And the episode is about becoming a leader that people want to follow. This is a great episode with a ton of insights. You guys want to swing back and check that out if you haven’t already caught it. And the one before that guys don’t miss it was with Russell Brunson, the founder of clickfunnels. We brought him back on the show for a second interview. And we talked about his new book, Traffic Secrets and how to get tons of traffic to your funnel, right? We all need traffic for our businesses. So great episode, great insights. Don’t miss that one either. Today we’re going to be talking with Dan Hill. Dan Hill is a Specialized expert when it comes to facial recognition, right. So, essentially, he’s pioneered this business use the use of facial deep like coding to capture and quantify these emotional dynamics, such a powerful and interesting skill set, right. So, I mean, he is basically challenged most conventional marketing research completely. He has landed over 50% of the world’s top 100 b2b companies as clients. And he’s going to go through some really cool, just insights that will be helpful for you. And he’s an author of this book. It’s called famous faces decoded. And he goes through all these really cool examples of what what what information you get from the facial expressions of different people. And you can imagine how powerful that is Because so much is said through body language and facial recognition versus just the words that we use. And this is pretty powerful when it comes to marketing and different things like that sales calls and stuff. So very valuable skill set. And we highly recommend checking that out. So stay tuned for that conversation. He’s going to share some of those secrets and tips and all that good stuff. If you guys haven’t been by Change Creator calm in a while, check it out. We have lots of fresh content up there and you can get on the waitlist for the captivate method program. We’ve been having such an amazing time in that program with everybody. There’s a ton of coaching live calls our program that you go through, and it’s all about using storytelling to really supercharge your marketing and apply it to your business right so you can really start building trust but get consistent sales right you are building a sales system. If that sounds like something that you need or looking for right now just go to Change Creator calm and from the homepage, you’ll be able to get on the waitlist and check out the next masterclass that will teach you about what this is all about lots of good insights, and it’ll show you how the captivate method can help you so you can decide if you want to become part of this program or not. Alright guys, we’re going to jump into this conversation with Dan and just see what he has to say about decoding different facial expressions. Okay, show me the heat. Hey, Dan, welcome to the Change Creator podcast show. How you doing today, buddy?

Dan Hill 03:29

I am doing good. Thanks, Adam.

Adam G. Force 03:31

Yeah, thanks for being here. And you have such a unique background always. I think it’s unique and I think it’s kind of special. So I’m excited to dig into it. Because you know, as entrepreneurs here in the social impact world, you know, we really put a lot into the stories that we tell and to demonstrate, you know, things going on with our missions and our business and our products and all that good stuff, and kind of applying what you have from the visual stuff. endpoint, you know, facial expressions and emotions and things like that. I think it’s such a great layer today, especially as we do more and more visual communication and things on the digital front. So if you can just give us a little bit of background about kind of like where you are today. And then just a little background on how you got there. In a nutshell, that would be helpful just so we can ground everybody.

Dan Hill 04:21

Sure. So I run a company called sensory logic. We were the pioneers on bringing facial coding into the business space. But my mission was to frankly humanize business. There’s a wonderful quote that says that our two currencies, dollars and emotions, and I was interested in the intersection of the two. Over the 20 years we’ve managed to do work for more than half the world’s top 100 b2c companies. Yeah, so that’s cool, but I just continued like to push it out and figure out new ways and new applications. So I veered into being a political pundit. I’ve used it in professional sports, as well as business so great things emotions, just apply around Yeah,

Adam G. Force 05:01

that’s interesting. And so I guess what are some of the ways you’ve seen the Can you give us some an example or two, this in action, right? Is there any story you could tell that might demonstrate this kind of like facial recognition? application?

Dan Hill 05:19

Sure, I’ll do a really kind of unusual one from the world of politics. So in 2012, I worked on the Mexican presidential race. They only have one debate. I watched 25 people in a room live, and then I coded additional rooms. All the time I ever did a client presentation at four in the morning, when I got done and ran all the stats, they threw me in a limo that took me to party headquarters. I gave them the presentation, I said, the socialist who, by the way is Obrador, who’s now the president of Mexico. I said, that guy’s gonna search the person you’re concentrating on isn’t gonna go anywhere. I got done. The guy said, you’re wrong, Mr. Hill. In fact, he dead wrong. He said, You don’t know the country. You don’t know the issues. You Don’t even know Spanish. And I said yes. But I know what I saw in the voters face, and they lit up when he was speaking. And that’s the person should go after. In the end, I was off by less than one percentage point on the voting results. ad was dead right? Not dead wrong.

Adam G. Force 06:18

And that was based on reading the audience’s

Dan Hill 06:23

reactions. Yeah, their facial expressions while watching the one and only presidential debate that was held.

Adam G. Force 06:29

So how do we start thinking about this as entrepreneurs who are trying to you know, share stories get people to join us on our mission, right to be part of what we’re doing as a customer and how have you seen this come into play? Obviously, there’s all kinds of facial recognition technology and things happening but I mean, is there a sales calls like we’re like face to face over video right now and any just thoughts on how a young entrepreneur today can start thinking about this and applying or understanding it better?

Dan Hill 07:02

Sure. It’s absolutely vital. And it’s a very useful skill in doing sales. Yeah, I mean, it could be to, you know, venture capitalists that you’re pitching, but ultimately is gonna be day in day out to your customers. And it could be in person, it could be via zoom or Skype or Facebook, live chat. There’s all sorts of possibilities how this could apply. So facial coding essentially is seven core emotions revealed through 23 expressions. So let’s put it in a strictly business context. The emotion you absolutely do not want to see during your presentation and pitch in conversation with a VC or the sales prospect is contempt. contempt is the corner of the mouth. Excuse me, the corner of the mouth lifts up and out in a smirk. They give snidely whiplash the old cartoon character. Yeah, that that is contempt personified. It means I don’t trust you. I don’t respect you. I find you beneath me. This is the most reliable in the case that our marriage will fail. So guess what, it doesn’t work so well, in business either. If trust is the emotion of business contempt as its opposite, so that’s, that’s one emotion. Absolutely. But it’s a fairly rare emotion. Fortunately enough in business as in life. A really common emotion, on the other hand is anger. Now, it could be that you’re trying to sell them too hard. You’re trying to sell them too fast. If it’s too fast, you might confuse them actually, if you get a vertical wrinkle between the eyebrows, they’re pulling down together. Yeah, that could be concentrating. But then again, it could be like, I feel like I’m drinking through a firehose, and they’re just they’re just not liking it. You could be selling the wrong way. I remember one time I was up in Canada in Toronto, yeah. And I was trying to basically dislodge the incumbent solution so that I could get some of the money I guess, out of their budget. Yeah. And at one point, I saw that his lips pressed together and they press together so hard, there was a bolt below the middle of the lower lip. Which is a pretty intense version of anger. And I thought I went oh my god, that was a misstep. And I tried to you know, I do it come from a different angle, kind of semi apologize without, you know, overtly apologizing. He had it worked. I said to myself, this is over. And it was he did not take the follow up call did not now, I will it was over an hour. So you don’t really want to get there the lives press together a little bit, but without the Bulge. You can probably recover from that, but not the one I saw. Well, those are those are two key emotions, but I can certainly go through others.

Adam G. Force 09:33

Yeah, I mean, it’s interesting, because you know, we have people here who are in our audience that are coaches or they have high ticket offers. So sometimes the sales funnel does have that phone call touchpoint. Right. Oh, let’s have a strategy session, we’ll kick off our relationship, we’ll have a call and and then you’re going to try to sell them on the high ticket offer. And I think this stuff comes into play. And even I think even in marker research that we’re Doing right like getting feedback hearing from people, you can start getting a sense, right and a read about, like how they really felt about something. Because I feel like sometimes people don’t want to share honest feedback because they’re like, Oh, I don’t want to I don’t want to be a jerk or I don’t want to like hurt their feelings. So they say things and it’s a guy. They give me the real truth here, you know?

Dan Hill 10:21

Oh, absolutely. There’s a wonderful story. Many years ago in New York Magazine, this guy was paying his rent in Manhattan, going to focus groups raise his hand, saying positive stuff. And finally, one time he offered a negative comment, and he got disinvited to all the future focus groups. But yes, they are way too given to just giving you the happy talk, and the high five and all of that, and it doesn’t correlate to what actually happens eventually. I mean, if you’ve never been lied to in life, Adam, you are either really lucky or you’re not paying attention. And market research as it’s historically done doesn’t really work all that well because of the lip service factor. So it’s a great chance to know whether your customers are on board. And another one that applies here besides the smirking contempt, and the anger is fear, like, that offers a little too weird. You’re advertisings off base, I don’t really buy into that message. People go to fear because they’re not comfortable. You can’t really sell the people who are afraid because they freeze and freeze means are not going to embrace your offer, they’re not going to step forward and make it happen.

Adam G. Force 11:30

So what a great sales person be able to see okay, cuz like you get on a call, and they’re gonna be like, okay, and if they have that fear, they might say, you might be able to see it in their face or the way that they’re like, oh, maybe I don’t know, like doing their their body posture and facial expressions. And they might say, Well, I don’t know, I gotta go talk to my wife or my husband before I do anything or I gotta go. And it’s like, is the great salesperson able to help them kind of overcome that fear in the moment there?

Dan Hill 12:01

Well, you have to try and I, and I think a really great thing is happiness. You just had this big smile, which people can see if not, you know, other than on the audio. But happiness is not a trivial emotion. Because happiness, the studies show means you embrace, you open up your code into consideration. So it can be a joke, something to lighten the mood to keep them with you, for most people love to be entertained. So if you can keep the connection rather than I’ll be back to you because back to you means I’m out of here. I’m out of here more times than not. So. And another thing about happiness is it there are studies to show that a happy person brainstorm superior solutions more quickly. Okay, so keep them in the conversation. Make them come back. Emotions are contagious. If they’re laughing and you’re laughing that’s a much better place to be so don’t give up Don’t get you know, frozen in fear yourself. Yeah, I would say Try have some ready made jokes or personal anecdotes. People also enjoy hearing them, you know, hearing your speaker put themselves down a little bit, you know, a little bit of self depreciation never as bad because they’re so used to the salesperson to say, it’s great. It’s great. It’s great. Yeah, say, well, it’s pretty great. Here’s a wrinkle, we’re still working out, could create a lot more trust than just glad handing something.

Adam G. Force 13:23

You know, I’ve noticed that too, because I’m usually pretty honest with people. And I’ll say, you know, certain things like that, and I have noticed that the conversation will get stronger as those types of comments are made, or stories are told about relatable failures, right? So they feel like oh, like, it’s not just me, like you’ve been there too. Right? And that tends to kind of create a bond of trust, like you mentioned, that’s a little bit stronger. So I’ve definitely noticed that,

Dan Hill 13:53

ya know, you want commonalities. They’re really going to a segment go talk to my wife about it. I might want to say, Well, why don’t you meet each other Just anything to keep them talking and then maybe you’re gonna have some little tidbit that comes out that you can relate to and create a story. And now people have connected over the stories. I mean, they’re not dumb in Hollywood, how do you pitch something they say, but what’s the story?

Adam G. Force 14:14

Man? That’s Yeah,

Dan Hill 14:15

and and stories work, and they bond and we have a narrative and we have narrative suspense. We want to know how it turns out. So stories are a good place to go off when I pitched I shouldn’t have started my company and I didn’t have the track record and the clients and all those sweet things. I just told them the mission of why I was doing this, where I came to how I discovered it, what were the aha moments? Again, they could sense my excitement. It gave me you know, some veracity that I was, you know, daring to make that step out into this new world. Yeah,

Adam G. Force 14:45

yeah. That makes a big difference. I mean, I’ve seen people like Maggie join, she runs this company called blink now and she was telling me her story over an interview like this and she helps all these children in Uganda. I think it was Uganda and Maybe it was Nepal. I can’t remember now it’s been a while. But long story short, she, you know, when visited, she wanted to help these kids out there she was still in high school all she had was like babysitting money and a couple bucks. And so she wanted to help this one girl get placed in a home and like all this stuff, so she needed about $5,000 or something. Anyway, she spoke to a woman who was like, man, I don’t know if you’re gonna be able to pull off what you’re saying. But I really like love what you’re saying in the passion and your eyes and that like, but she’s like, I’m gonna, whatever money you put into this business, I will match that and she got her first round of funding that way. So if she had 5000 this person put 5000 and now she’s a mom to like, 50 children out there. She’s building schools. She’s putting them in homes like it’s just blown up. But it started with her just saying I don’t have anything. I have this passion. I have a vision. Here’s why. Here’s what it is. And the story is what got her that first step of funding.

Dan Hill 16:00

Sure, well, passion cells that your emotions you express on your face reveals that you care that you’re involved. There’s a wonderful line from the poet, William Blake who said, still waters breed pestilence. People, people want to see something happening moving going on. Yeah, we don’t like to talk to a brick wall. So another application, quite honestly, a facial coding is also your employees, your first hires, if you’re an entrepreneur, your partner, that’s vital because you don’t have the spare access of a big corporation where half the workforce is disengaged, right? You know, they might be able to keep going. Every hire matters. You really want an esprit de corps, you need to talk to them, you need to figure out who they are you want to hire, right? So all of these emotions matter. So let’s go to another one. sadness. Yeah, sadness has a sense of disappointment, or a sense of loneliness or feeling for Lorne or it’s hopeless. So you don’t want your staff feeling hopeless. You got to get them to a different space. They may not tell you, they’re just engaged, they may not tell you that they doubt this is gonna work. But if you see the corners of their mouth go down, you know, kind of like a rodeo clown was taped. That’s a good sign. Even more reliable is with the cheeks kind of pull up and out. It’s a wince. They give Charlie Chaplin and all the old silent movies when he’s the tramp. Yeah, that Charlie Chaplin, wincing smile, it’s much more sadness that it is a smile. If you see either one of those two from somebody, or the inner eyebrows, in this case, pull up and up, together and upward. That is also a sign of sadness. So that’s not what you want. So now in your customer, but you really don’t want an employee because sadness tends to slow us down. And as an entrepreneur, what do you need? Faster, faster?

Adam G. Force 17:48

Yeah. So I mean, it sounds like these are emotions that we’re all aware of, and it becomes important in these conversations, especially with high ticket sales and things To start consciously paying attention to facial expressions that will express those emotions without them saying it right. So you’re giving cues like the eyebrows, the cheeks. And so these are all the things to be aware of like, if you’re not aware of them, then you won’t be able to read people.

Dan Hill 18:19

Yeah, now there’s, ya know, there’s there’s a key study at UCLA. Yeah, we’re looking at what it calls ambiguous moments, including sales pitches. And what they find in those situations that only about 8% of the true communication comes from the words 55% comes from the face and 38% from the voice. So you’re spending all your time picking out your talking points, and your verbal rebuttals. And what you should really be doing is worrying about the feeling points, because the feeling points are much more likely to loot lead to the sale or the lack of a sale. I think of them as the speed bumps. So you pick up the signal. This is the emotion, what does it mean? What are the likely triggers and then how am I going to pivot Do you deal with it either directly or indirectly as the case may be?

Adam G. Force 19:04

Hmm, that’s interesting. And and you know, and that’s beautiful thing, because if you can read the cues, but then you also understand you have certain sales like stories, things to help people, like it’s not to manipulate and get a sale it is to help demonstrate the points that you have. So people can be clear, right? It’s like effective communication. So you read them, pick up the cues, and then you can share the appropriate information that will help them overcome a fear, overcome an objection, whatever it might be, right?

Dan Hill 19:34

Yeah, as an entrepreneur, I mean, I’ve been one so you have to be adept. You have to be flexible and adjust in the moment. The face is the only place in the body where the muscles attach right to the skin. Yeah, it is quick, real time data, which is really cool. It’s that instantaneous feedback way beyond what everyone’s gonna be prepared to tell you because they’re being polite or they don’t care and so forth. Think back to Jackie Robbins. Somebody came in with the Dodgers. Yeah. I mean, they knew given the situation and the racism and all that, that he had to be super prepared. So they took them through scenario after scenario scenario. So when I started my company exactly what you’re suggesting, what are my rebuttals? What is the story? I’m going to bring in the example I’m going to bring in the joke I’m going to us, you know, you have to be, you know, fly in the moment, but it doesn’t hurt to have some preparation going into it.

Adam G. Force 20:25

Yeah, absolutely. That’s pretty interesting. I love these connections. It’s like just another layer of knowledge that you can use to better understand the person that you’re talking to. I mean, it seems like a more authentic base of knowledge than the words coming out of their mouth,

Dan Hill 20:43

saying, Oh, absolutely. And people aren’t always very articulate, or they fall silent and just let you kind of walk the plank, you know, they’re not going to invest. I remember one time I was pitching for a project for Toyota. And I do who is the key person in their corner of the room? Yeah. He started he started not paying attention. So I just left my schpeel go and I was kind of doing it but racking my brain I came up with something that I thought we hid his attention. I don’t remember what it was. But instantly he stopped looking at his iPad and back to me he came and I got the sale I got the project. Yeah, I love that.

Adam G. Force 21:18

This is good. I like this. So what are now what are what are the cues that you look for when you know maybe someone is starting to be a believer and they’re like excited about what you’re doing? But you know, like so what are the positive cues?

Dan Hill 21:36

Sure, well, the first one is surprised because surprise is also not a trivial emotion. Your eyes go wider. Your eyebrows lift your it’s literally allow you to expand your field of vision. It’s amazing how simple and basic you know, organic, a lot of these signals are surprises great because what do you need people’s attention. So they are metaphorically seeing more taking in more. Now you’ve really got them and you have a chance to, you know, loop them in. What you want to follow with the course is happiness because surprise is almost like a pre emotion. I can get a new car for Christmas, or I can have a new car accident, you know which one is going to be? Well, I’d like to sell on the first one. So that means that you want to get some smile to go along either simultaneously or immediately after that bout of surprise. Now there are different levels of happiness quite honestly, in my business, I report on four of them. A true smile is when the twinkle in the eye happens the muscle around the eye tightens, and that’s a true smile. You can take that one to the bank, a really weak smile that’s unilateral. It’s kind of like that’s the worst joke I’ve ever heard. At least you tried to humor me. So you kind of like you got a toehold you you’ve landed at Norma de but you’re still on the beach. The Germans are still shooting. You are not likely to go to the bank. When I call it accepted smile, you need to move it up to the higher level.

Adam G. Force 23:04

Yeah, yeah. I love that. So I mean, now I know you’ve written several books. And are they I did not get a chance to look up all the different books you have. But what’s the most recent? And are they going deeper on these topics?

Dan Hill 23:19

Yeah, the most important book for this purpose would be called famous faces to coded a guidebook for reading others. What I did is I offered up the secret sauce. I told you what the 23 expressions are. I told you what kind of triggers happen, how you can address them. So I gave all of this but I also gave it in the context of celebrities because we we know their stories, and it’s fun to look at their photographs. Sometimes you think you know these people, they’re rock stars or movie stars, media moguls, CEOs, politicians. You think you know them and in many cases you don’t. Part of the book is I gave people a chance I said, What do you think is the seat signature emotion of this elaborate. And they were right 35% of the time, what do you show

Adam G. Force 24:03

you show pictures?

Dan Hill 24:05

I show pictures to people. I said, What do you think is going on? And then I, you know, figured out it from my analysis, what was really the true signature emotion of people. As George Orwell said, By the age of 50, a man has the face he deserves. We do have muscle memory, we do have ADD patterns, and they give away how we react. Before I could get there, Microsoft actually submitted a patent based on the fact that emotions are contagious. And if you can show someone back an emotion that they relate to that they show a lot, they’ll buy in the relate to it really easily. So frankly, one of the great things you can do in a business meeting is get them to talk about the problem they have. Yeah, and then you can empathize with their problem. And their problem is going to invoke negative emotions. So you can talk about how you were frustrated about something that didn’t work, or how you sold a bill of goods on something at some point in your life. Now you’re on the same side of the fence. You Both had our problems, but now you’re gonna bring them over to your side of the fence. And yeah,

Adam G. Force 25:03

here’s the opportunity now so I relate to the pain I know what you’re going through. When you feel this way, I know that these things happen, right, these symptoms of that challenge, and then you can share the opportunity to to alleviate that pain. Right? Yeah,

Dan Hill 25:17

take them from pain to game. But I I think that book is the key one if they want a background on the role of emotions in business, I wrote something called emotion omics, which actually features a foreword by Sam Simon, the CO creator of The Simpsons. There are a lot of business books with a foreword by somebody who helped create the Simpsons, because I was taking a more humane or more emotional and frankly, I wasn’t, you know, averse to putting in a few jokes in the book as well. Sure.

Adam G. Force 25:46

Yeah. I love that. Now, tell me what was that first book that you mentioned that you had all the examples and stuff?

Dan Hill 25:53

Sure, fake. Famous faces decoded. A guidebook for reading others 173 celebrities in the course of the book.

Adam G. Force 26:02

There you go, guys. So as you’re listening here, you could check that out I think Dan’s book on that it’s gonna be super fun, but also powerful. So combining that with our storytelling strategies for marketing and understanding how to read people, this is going to give you cues to use the stories and help people get clear. So you can really address people appropriately based on their, their authentic feelings, and not what they tell you.

Dan Hill 26:29

Exactly.

Adam G. Force 26:30

I love it, Dan, appreciate it. I want to give a shout out to like how do people learn more about what you’re doing? Where do they go and all that good stuff.

Dan Hill 26:40

Probably the easiest thing is is the old website, the three W’s and then Dan Hill dot sensory logic.com. Sensory as in your five senses as in, you should lift your visual IQ and pay more attention to the townspeople. People are giving away

Adam G. Force 26:58

Yeah, love it. Awesome, this is really valuable information. And I appreciate you sharing it. It’s it’s kind of like it’s actually sparked a whole fresh perspective for me. Like you, you don’t necessarily consciously think about these things on calls and, you know, we get into these different scenarios with prospects, right clients who, and you just, you know, you’re thinking about how to talk to them. But these cues they think can just give such a, an additional layer of clarity to help you be to say the right things, you know,

Dan Hill 27:33

Oh, absolutely. I remember when I was in corporate life, we had someone come in and pitch us. They spent the first 25 minutes non stop telling us about their offer and how great they were. They never asked us what our problems were. They didn’t even remember to ask us why we hit invited them. In my case, they completely lost sight of that they made no personal connection whatsoever. I mean, there are so many meetings where honestly, it’s probably over on based on the first five minutes, which has nothing to do with the formal pitch, it’s all about making a connection and related to the person. Yeah, you know, Where are they from? Where did they grow up? Just you’re trying to find some avenue to commonality

Adam G. Force 28:12

love that. It’s so smart. You gotta you gotta walk before you run and build the rapport right?

Dan Hill 28:18

Yeah, I mean, we bought Yeah, we buy from someone we like we do not tend to buy from people we dislike. Other there are other options and very rarely does someone have a entirely or truly differentiated offer. You need the combination of a good offer that you’re going to stand behind that they believe in you. Yeah. And and that you get who they are and what their problem is. You got to learn to squat. You got to personalize it.

Adam G. Force 28:41

Yeah. My co founder, Amy and I call it like, we are on the same page. Dare we say it’s the know like trust factor. You guys, it’s the What’s his name? Geez, I can’t remember he’s one of the merchandising, the heads of merchandising over at Costco, Mike perot, I think his name is and he was In a book, and he was telling people like, when he gets all these companies, let’s say it’s laundry detergent, there’s 100 companies with laundry detergent, I want to distribute it through Costco, he can’t do them all, he has to make a decision. And he goes, it’s not I don’t make a decision based on price or like, you know, certain features or whatever. It’s who I know, like and trust the most. And so that’s who he goes with, right? And so these things that you’re talking about, it’s so important for these sales situations. And that’s where storytelling comes in. And now our facial cues.

Dan Hill 29:30

Yeah, no and but believe the story and that was what’s going to hook us in the facts. Everyone knows you can manipulate the facts and work the statistic and put it out there. And then that’s not personal. Yeah, I mean, you’re not going to trust a fact nearly as much as you’re going to trust the story. And the storyteller.

Adam G. Force 29:49

I love it. I think that’s a good one for us to wrap up on Dan. I appreciate your time today. You guys got the website. We’ll have it in the show notes and all that good stuff and you can check out Books, especially the one famous facing faces decoded, right?

Dan Hill 30:05

famous faces decoded. Yes, indeed.

Adam G. Force 30:07

Yes. Perfect. All right, Dan, thank you so much for your time today. We really appreciate it.

Dan Hill 30:11

I had a good time. Thank you, Adam.

Adam G. Force 30:13

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Jim Lawless: Overcoming Fear and Operating With Risk

Listen to our exclusive interview with Jim Lawless:

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What if you could start doing things that you never thought you could do? How would your life and business change? In this episode, we speak with a top-ranking expert about overcoming fear and operating with risk so you can break new boundaries.

Jim Lawless is the elite team coach of choice for many senior leadership teams around the world. He has been the architect of high performance and change in global organizations, governments, and Olympic teams for two decades. Ranked #6 globally, #1 outside of the USA, by Global Gurus in their 2020 ranking of motivational speakers, Jim has inspired and educated over half a million people on five continents through his mindset-shifting keynotes and workshops and many more through his bestselling book, ‘Taming Tigers’ (Penguin Random House). He delivers in business but also tests his frameworks personally and in extreme settings, giving him unparalleled credibility with his audience. Jim used ‘Taming Tigers’ to become a televised jockey within a year of starting to ride and to become Britain’s deepest Freediver in just 8 months of training. Both whilst delivering his day job (a key element of change). Jim was elected a fellow of the UK’s Royal Society for the Arts in recognition of his writing on culture and change.

Learn more about Jim and his work