123: Setup Websites, Get Clients, and Create Funnels That Convert for Any Business with Damir Butkovic
Damir Butkovic tells us the amazing story of how he brought in 4 new recurring clients in 14 days just by sending a simple four sentence email to 20 prospects. He is an implementer for small business, quickly creating websites with WordPress, email marketing campaigns with Aweber and ActiveCampaign, payment solutions with PayPal and Stripe, as well as landing pages using ClickFunnels.
Damir Butkovic: Thank you. I'm glad to be here and of course thank you for the opportunity.
Robert Plank: Awesome. I think we're going to talk about a lot of fun stuff, have a good old time on the show. Could you tell us what it is that you do and what makes you special and different than everyone else out there?
Damir Butkovic: I realized kind of some years ago that I have this rare ability which I thought it's kind of a downfall. I have kind of, call it an analytical mind but what I can see when I talk to someone like the big picture, you know like people say oh I want to, I don't know sell stuff online, so I can see what they want, but I can also see all the moving parts and that's the part where people get confused so I can see, you know, I don't know from Facebook or I don't know website or landing page, or whatever, I can see all those parts which is usually, I can put them together and it makes sense to me. How to connect it all together while most people are too analytical they can't see, we call it, the big idea or they have the idea and they don't know how, it doesn't really exist and it's very complex for them.
For me it's just normal and logical and this is why I love internet marketing of course, is, you know, already it's a lot of moving parts. I say they're not hard but there is a lot of little things. If you go on, for example, and create a Facebook ad, you've got to worry about targeting, you've got to worry about headline, about copy, got to worry about images, and it can be I don't know 20 percent text and the image so little things like that, not hard, for some other people, for them it's already a problem so I can see that part in the targeting and there is PR blasts and partners and SEO and all these things so I can see it all together, put it all together and obviously make it work.
Basically from that part I can see the whole strategy and I can implement the strategy. A lot of people I guess have seen that. They see the strategy and their good at it but they don't even know how to implement it so I kind of have the tech background. I'm not the best quality in tech but I'm very good at it so I'll even know the best tools, which tools to use, to make it all work, or the budget or the easiest, I call it the easiest, and the simplest way so I kind of combine two things together so I would say that's the rare thing that a lot of guys and gals don't really have.
Robert Plank: Cool. I like that way of thinking and that's kind of the way that I think as well where it's frustrating to see, kind of like you said, a lot of people they'll have a lot of ideas or they'll be really philosophical about the marketing but it's one thing to say well you should have some Facebook ads, you should have a high converting landing page, and I'm thinking okay it's great that you said that but wouldn't it be more helpful if you showed it to me. Wouldn't it be helpful if you broke down the pieces and why things are in a certain way. Wouldn't it be more helpful to see someone go from scratch to creating something that's fully working and how it's all the pieces put together? Would you say, Damir, do you have any products or software or are you only a service provider?
Damir Butkovic: In terms of products I have my couple of products that I've done. One is called magic counter partnership program, where I actually teach people about online marketing. Actually give a free funnel with it which of course you've got to go in and do your own branding, put your own copy, but funnel is done. That's one product. I must say like that one a lot because it's kind of from A to Z. Everything's done for them, you know research marketing, copy, funnel tech part, and I do basic stuff on Facebook.
I have that program and the latest one I have is called how to get consulting clients in 14 days or less by sending out one call e-mail and that came out purely from experience. I was in a situation where I had no consulting clients and I need to get them fast and there was no advertising budget so I went, got educated, and I figured out one simple e-mail that you can send out and got a lot of response and I still have those consulting clients that I got. The best part is I learned the strategy from people who actually make millions of dollars. I have that.
I have these two things online but I do provide a service where we do websites, funnels, and all that stuff for other people online but I think maybe you were asking do I have something proprietary, unique software or something like that. No I don't. We actually like to use other people's knowledge. Like for example we would use the tools that are simple to use but done by other people simply because I don't think it's worth it to do my own thing because there are teams, for example, that's support let's say a webber, and there's a whole team that have the support there and their really good at it. So I use a tool that has really good 24-hour, whatever, support, and then plug it into whatever I'm doing so not everything depends on me. It shouldn't. When I'm not around any of my clients can get support. It's one of the things I don't like to do, well we don't like to do, me and my partner, that everything depends on us then I don't have a life.
Robert Plank: Right.
Damir Butkovic: If we depend on others. For example a lot of, call it web designers out there, they'll do the website and they'll complicate the whole thing while we would do it on the WordPress and say look if you want to change the date, change the date, it's not a big problem or whatever, put a blog post. While a lot people will put in a contract oh it's all coded and now you have to pay me $170 just to change your date and all that. That's exactly the thing that we don't do.
We'll actually use simple tools because obviously we share. If you like. That's not a problem. To make it work and that basically 99 percent of people, even without technology, can quickly learn and do themselves or outsource because even if they don't want to learn because of millions of other people know, for example, how to use WordPress, it's easy to outsource. It's not a big problem. You don't need a senior web developer, coder, which are hard to get and expensive. It's very easy to hire someone for a few bucks an hour to maintain your site, for example. If they have WordPress, it's not that hard to do little updates and all that.
I hope that answers your question.
Robert Plank: Yeah, Yeah it does. What you're saying is that a lot of other people who either set up websites or maintain websites or do these things like for traffic to help other businesses, a lot of other people will, maybe, complicate the process either on accident or on purpose and the client will end up getting locked into something that maybe is not as good as a webber or is not as good as WordPress and what you do is, you instead just make it simple. You just say well there's already this infrastructure in place, I'm not going to use some weird otter responder, I'm not going to build my own otter responder, I'll just use the one that I know works.
Damir Butkovic: Yeah. You said it perfectly. For example, we have a client, my partner, let's say my client, she was locked into a deal where her domain reseller was buying her domain and charging her $200 a year for her domain name and we took it off and said basically it should cost you $10, so we transferred the domain name, right? I don't want to, for example, I consider myself a marketer, so yes please call me for strategy for funnels, for making complex stuff simple. For example, I don't see a value in putting people in such a contract and resell them something that's cheap and make money there and then they call me for minuscule things, that's not my thing and I've learned that a lot of people in this business, that I don't like, just simply overcharge clients for the things that shouldn't be overcharged.
I would say, for example, to anyone who's building a website, build it on WordPress, use active campaign as in e-mail marketing, which is I think by far the best out right now and most affordable for what it can do or a Webber, or I don't care, use Mail Chimp, use anything you like, right? Use the services that are already easy. Use a PayPal or Stripe for your payments. Use clip funnels for landing pages and funnels and whatever. Use the systems that are already there. They're all free or very cheap and very easy to use and everyone's happy. That's what my advice would always be. Use something that's already been built and has much better support. As I said, this is not my core business. I'll support them, that's why I don't like to complicate.
Also, we figure out where we fit in this business. We are not the cheapest, but we are also not the agency, right? We don't do websites that need to be coded from scratch and they cost $35,000 or something and they are very complex. I don't want that. You depend too much on the client or to bare a headache. We fit just in between where we can charge $1,000 to $5,000 or maybe $10,000 but still use all those systems and they are very simple. I would say whatever you're doing, simplified because you don't want to be spending time, losing time, while you can be making money. You don't want to be spending time on minuscule things like let's change an image and God knows what and then that takes two days just to contact your webmaster or something. I'd say take something simple you can do or a lot of other people can do for you.
Robert Plank: I like that and I like that way of thinking. Like you said, it's almost like you found the gap in the marketplace, right? A lot of people are priced too low where you're like I don't know why we'd price that low because it wouldn't be worth my while and other people are priced so high, which you said gets kind of scary or becomes very hands on if it's almost a full-time job or a team of programmers trying to make all this stuff, so you're just kind of somewhere in the middle where you use all these tools and you have somewhat of a machine where you can just kind of really quickly set up a site, like you said, plug them into the active campaign, plug them into Stripe, you just kind of have your process and I guess there's a little bit of thinking but not so much where you have to go back and forth with the client for a year or something.
Damir Butkovic: Exactly. Our, for example, we have a lot of clients now in fashion industry and we always offer two choices. We say look we'll build the whole thing for you, build a system, we can teach you how to maintain it or we can do it for you. That said. That's exactly how I want it. You know what I'm saying? I really don't want them to be calling me for little things, you know what I'm saying?
Robert Plank: Oh yeah.
Damir Butkovic: So, I'll simplify the whole thing and make it easy. It's just based on the end of day, the logic conduit, do it we'll find you someone and I'll help you with that. I'll find you the right person to maintain the system. That's how we like to do it. I think it's easy, well for us, it's easy of course. Not for everyone. As I said, I'm not that techy for some techy people other stuff is probably easier and things like that.
For example, I had a client who said I'll actually use infusion soft or should I use active campaign? I said, I had infusion soft for three years and it's called confusion soft for a reason. It's a great system but I said you'll need a person 24/7 to work on it. People who know how to use it are very expensive and the whole system is actually complex. It's not user friendly, like I lost my mind with it and it was either myself, really good with tech, and then move to active campaign and it's the best decision I've done recently. I'm saying, so why complicate. If you don't have to complicate that's always my rule.
Robert Plank: Right. I mean, if one effective campaign gets you a website online or gets the system that your client wants in place and infusion soft my have more features but it's such a mess that you can't even get a site in that same amount of time then what's the point? I'd rather have the one that gets the site in place, right?
Damir Butkovic: Yeah. At the end of the day most clients, if you look at it, and I believe you know that they just want actually their newsletter to go out. Infuse of these, for example, an awesome system, you can have a whole bunch of clients and complex funnels and sales people and all that, it's really great. You don't do it justice if you just send out a newsletter and it costs a lot of money. So I said well go with active campaign, it's much easier to do anything with it and it's much easier to maintain it, like it actually teach whoever you want real quickly, how to do that. Again, why spend money?
Active campaign so far, to be quite honest, I don't know what's happening. I think someone from infusion soft went to active campaign or that's their other thing because they have a lot of similar functions but much simpler. Things like tagging, right? What you can do right now, what we do for our clients, you can put a piece of code on the website and then that code it does a thing called side track, so anyone from, let's say Robert from your list, goes to your site, then the system will tell you hey this person was on product A 10 times and it will slap a tag, very interested, right?
You can go to system everyday or every week, or once a month and say hey who's very interested in this product and then call them up and say hey I've seen you've been interested in this how can I help you make the decision? Or you can actually automate a campaign automatically to go and ask them that. Or, for example, we can send out an e-mail, a newsletter call it, so called newsletter and put your product there and put the piece of content which it says get it at 20 percent discount for the next 48 hours and it's called a conditional content. It will only be shown to people who have very interested tag. It's a perfect automation that you can set up and you don't really have to think. All that, for example, I don't know if it was a little bit too complex or not, but all that you can do with the active campaign, which of course you can do in infusion soft, but it's much easier to do it in active campaign and it costs you like I don't know $9 a month or $50 if you have extra advanced features there.
For very little money you can automate so much of your marketing and it's easy to use, it's really easy to comprehend, which I haven't found yet, e-mail marketing provider that have it. Actually they do, but they don't slap tags, they do the go themes and whatever. I found it a little bit more complex to use.
Robert Plank: You're saying that this tool use active campaign it has all, or maybe most, of the features that you want but it's also simple enough where you can actually get it done?
Damir Butkovic: Yes. Yes. Very simple. Where a lot of people, just to tell you and your peeps, why infusion soft was really popular was this tag, right? If people click on a link you get a tag, clicked on a link, or you do whatever action, you get a tag, right? So when you go to your item, 8,000 people you know at least you click whatever tag you want and you can filter the people and then you can do with them whatever you want. That's exactly what active campaign does, right? Active campaign even has leads corning, meaning if you send out four newsletters out, you can give I don't know anyone that clicks on the link a score of either a 10. Anyone who scores a 40 will be considered as your fan, anyone who's your fan you can send them specific special offers and you know they'll buy your stuff.
Instead of inventing the offers and sending people out to 8,000 people and pray to God that someone will buy, with this you'll filter out and maybe get 150 super warm people and you know they'll be warm because the system just told you where you can send a better campaign out. That's why, for example, well me personally, I love the system active campaign because of little things like that. They're kind of little but they're mega and I can talk about some results but when it comes to, I can give you a real example, when it comes to fashion sites or any retail store online if you have let's say 200 products, when you set up a system which is not that hard if you can wrap your head around it then the system will automatically start to do all these up-sells which will result in a lot more sales because it's sending all these special offers to people that are hot. That's why I love it and it's simple enough to setup.
Robert Plank: That's cool. I like little things like that where it's like it's one of those things where before they found you, I mean, there were probably a lot of things missing in their business, right? Like, maybe they probably weren't doing e-mail marketing at all but now because of what you set up and what you connect for them, now they can send out e-mails but not just blind e-mails to the whole list but super targeted things because you use the right tool for the job it sounds like.
Damir Butkovic: Yeah. Like one client we have and I always say to my friend, he's a marketer also, I said yo these guys are not segmenting the list, and then the list and then he's like that's why they have you. They wouldn't need you. Anyway, it took me like four months. They would send the same e-mail to people on a newsletter list and buyers and I was like guys you can't, I mean you can do that, but I said you got to separate buyers. For example, if you look at open rates with buyers are 30, 35 percent. With non-buyers it's like 20, not bad but hey a lot more.
Anyway, so I was begging them, basically guys segment the list, segment the list, segment the list. Just to put it in perspective, before we started working, their good month would be I don't know $3,000, right? Then obviously they start to work with us then it went to $16,000, $18,000, $20,000, then last month was $30,000. Now, first 12 days they made $30,000, right? Just to give you some perspective from where they started to where they are now.
Anyway, point being is when they did one segmentation to just say hello guys, are you still with us on the list? We were kind of like reactivating people who are not that active. They saw, with one e-mail, $3,400. So with one e-mail they made $3,400 in one day that usually they do in a month. To make only because they segmented the list. I'm like guys do this every week.
Robert Plank: Right but now that you showed them the result, now that you showed them the little boost from doing it one time, now their going to repeat it because you showed them the way to do it. You didn't just talk some theory, you actually proved it.
Damir Butkovic: Yeah, exactly and you know how it is with clients is that it's mumble jumble for them and they don't believe it and some things take time but yeah, exactly, you said now it's easier. When you show someone the money everyone is listening like yeah yeah no problems. Now every suggestion I say is like yeah no problems, no problems, whatever, we'll do it.
Robert Plank: Right. If you say this is an extra $3,400 everyone understand more money. They might not understand segmenting or deliverability but more money, everyone in the world understands that.
Damir Butkovic: Yeah, of course, and there is, I don't know if you do any Facebook ads or any ads you'll have your dashboard and you can actually see the money you put in and get back out.
Let's scale this thing. Obviously you're in profits and the other thing where I teach obviously is like do not care about first sales, like 7 out of 10 people, and that's research done by Shoppingfly, right, and their a billion dollar company, so I take this advise seriously. 7 out of 10 people will buy again when they buy with you so I always say make a first sale, do not worry even if you lost money because 7 out of 10 of them will buy again and that's free money because their only a list. You'll spend no money to market to them. Just send them e-mails on a regular basis. Keep the relationship going. If we are breaking even and making a profit in start, that's great, of course awesome, but I'm more worried keeping contact because that's your real money.
It actually happened with this client. I said you'll get a critical mass and you'll start to sell more, which actually it happened in the last five months, it did happen.
Robert Plank: So, playing the long game, right?
Damir Butkovic: Yeah. Like you I guess, you constantly learn marketing and you probably got educated but you know the heavy weights, they can tell you any results they want but it didn't happen overnight. Maybe their latest campaign happened overnight but it's slowly scaling up because you want to be careful. If you put $20 you earn $40, then you put $40 you earn $80, and it takes time to get to the whatever, a million or I don't know how much they make, it doesn't really matter. There is no overnight call it. I mean, yes there are some campaigns that made really a lot of money real quickly but let's say in the normal world you want to take it slower.
Robert Plank: Right. Along those lines, I don't want to keep you too long.
Damir Butkovic: Oh, that's all right.
Robert Plank: Along the lines of starting a business from zero, I understand, and you mentioned this pretty early on in our discussion but you mentioned that in order to get your coaching clients or to get a bunch of coaching clients in a short amount of time, you send out this four-sentence e-mail to get all your coaching clients. Can you tell us about that?
Damir Butkovic: Yeah. I'll tell you the back story so you get how it all happened. I moved to Bali recently, well a year ago, and then things were well and I hired a guy and he said oh I'll do your campaign for whatever websites and all that, don't worry, I'll do it legit and I was like great I can pay him and all that. I said I'll do my stuff and that was a mistake because I came here three months after, I found myself no clients, he did nothing and what not so I was like okay great, how do I get new clients? I went and listened to some people. I listened to Dan Meredith and then he also mentioned the book from Chet Holmes, it's called the ultimate sales machine and he said what I do, he said I send out, of course you pick who you want to work with, right?
Let's say I want to work with John from I don't know veterinarian or some from whatever, you profile the person, you learn a little bit about them, and you send them something like this. It's a very simple e-mail, right, you said hey, hi John, I was poking around your website so I thought I'd drop you a line and then you put in some kind of a flattery or a compliment. You said I really love your site or I really love what you do, hey I've seen you've been to Hong Kong, I've been there too, something, find some commonality, and then I would actually see hey me and my partner, we specialize in online marketing and developing strategy that builds our clients brand awareness and helps them to sell more stuff online. Very simple, I call this non pitch. Keep it simple. I didn't say hey we specialize in strategy and brought our clients $37,000 while in less than $3,000, no, very simple introduction. Then I said this is the takeaway and I'll tell you why it works, the strategy. Then I say if you'll need anything in this particular niche please give me a shout out, I'll be happy to help. Cheers, Damir.
That's what I would send out. Actually, that's what I did send out and I got four paying clients in two weeks and $5,000 in my bank account. Not a lot of money but that was easily scalable but we had other stuff so I was like we can't have that many consulting clients but point being is it's just an e-mail, you don't need a website, you don't need a business card, you don't need to go out and talking, you don't need advertising budgets, you don't need funnels, you don't need world class call people, you don't need anything as long as you can deliver whatever you are selling.
Now, just to tell you this strategy, why it works, normal e-mail, which you probably get everyday, we all do, hey my name is Damir and I'm a marketer, online marketer, how about we do some work together and I'll do your campaign and let's do some business and make money, you know what I'm saying? You don't know me already, you're pitching to me, there's no connection, it sounds like bull shit. Sorry.
Robert Plank: That's okay.
Damir Butkovic: Yeah. It sounds too much. You want to do business, you don't really want to do business right now, so it's too pitchy I would say. With this e-mail it's literally, it's the opposite, it's like hey I was around, thought I'd introduce myself. You keep it cool and then you say a little bit of what you do and then you take it away. You said hey you tell me if you want help with it. I'm happy to help. Usually when people say hey let's meet, my name is Damir I help people make money online, let's meet next Tuesday, let's talk, let's go on skype, so I'm chasing them, right?
If we got back thousands of years we are actually used to chase food so naturally we will chase what's running away from us. With this e-mail then you say if you need something in this particular niche, it can be literally anything, please give me a shout out, I'll be happy to help. You move away so their human instinct will want to chase you. How can this? So this is what's happening in their mind, strike their ego, like I'm such a big business person and everyone pitches to me and who the hell is this guy, comes, introduces himself and just goes. It bothers them. How can he be so cool? Doesn't he know who I am, right? Then they realize this was actually so cool. This is the first person in a week that didn't really want anything from me or pitched anything to me, let's work. It was just a simple introduction and that's where you get, this is where you say hey why not or what do you got or let's have coffee or meet? Does this make sense?
Robert Plank: Yeah, it does. There's a lot of cool things about that strategy that you just mentioned and that technique there because first of all I like that ... Okay, how about this, you said you got four clients. How many e-mails did you send to get those four clients?
Damir Butkovic: I've sent around 20 e-mails.
Robert Plank: Even less than I thought. That's a pretty good close rate.
Damir Butkovic: Yeah.
Robert Plank: I was almost imaging that maybe he had to send 50, had to send 100, so wow, so only 20 e-mails and that probably took, what an hour, maybe two at the most?
Damir Butkovic: Two, three hours. I have no idea, I forgot.
Robert Plank: Cool, so not even an afternoon, but I what I like about what you mentioned about that is you didn't have to cold call, you didn't have to show up at their business, you just sent out one e-mail after another and what I like about that is, well first of all, aside from the fact that it was an e-mail, but you personalized it to the person, like in the stage where you kind of complimented them and stuff like that and found some common ground, and it didn't even take that long. You just customize one sentence out of the four sentences, just kind of making it where okay like I am writing this to this person, it's not just some spam e-mail going out to a hundred thousand people.
Then I liked also the part where you positioned it as I want to help you, right? You didn't say here's my site, here's where you can buy from me, here's all these packages, you just said where are you stuck and I want to help you so talk to me and then I'll customize what I can do for you. Lots of good stuff there and I'm blown away that it only took 20 e-mails to get those four clients. About that, how did you know who to contact? Did you just look up?
Damir Butkovic: I'll give you the full strategy. What I didn't do because I was such a lazy bum, before strategy would be that you actually follow back with actually letter, the same letter saying look I wrote you an e-mail a couple weeks ago and I don't know if you got it. People get very few letters these days so I didn't even do that. What I'm saying is for anyone who is listening this show, if you follow this strategy, send out the letter, you don't have full practice real quick, and also to mention I tried a couple niches and some niches didn't work out. Okay, I'm an internet marketing so you obviously can work with a lot of people but if it doesn't work out I found out two things. Ordination is not ready or good or I'm pitching too hard. If I don't get the response it's a pitch.
Just to give you an example, for example I was attacking speakers industry in Australia, what e-mail does, why I love it, even if people say no, they still replied, so I've sent out 10 e-mails and I got four responses no thanks we are good at it, which means I've started that relationship somehow. Anyway, remember that. So how it works, I would sit online and let's say you're a copywriter or whatever, pick a name, it doesn't really matter. Let's say you're a copywriter and you need copy writing clients so I would pick, again, some kind of a niche, let's say a copywriter in a weight loss nation, the easiest I could think of, then I would say who would be my ideal client? Who would I like to work for and always reach higher.
I always say if you think you're not good enough, give yourself that. Don't pitch to small business owners, mostly they won't have cash. Go higher, for someone you think they will never give you an answer, they probably will. I would find a company, or a person, or whatever online so I would check their website, I would check their Instagram, I would check their Facebook, and all I'm doing, LinkedIn, and all I'm doing there is two things. I'm looking for an e-mail.
Like if I would be checking you Robert, I would be looking where is an e-mail that it's not an info@ I don't know RobertPlank.com. I would look where is the e-mail of Robert@, you know what I'm saying? I would look to get an e-mail that's personalized if I can. The other thing I would look, what do I really love about them? What do I like? Where is that similarity that I can put in an e-mail that's genuine. You want to put something genuine otherwise it's just energetic, not good. So I would look just for two things and many times if you don't find an e-mail on a website, you go on Facebook, or some social media there will be that e-mail. Sometimes it won't be. Doesn't really matter, right, but if that happens I would even say attention to the business owner or attention to marketing manager, or something, you know? Please forward to person who can make decisions online and then I would just literally take that e-mail, save it perfectly, I would just change that complimentary sentence, and I would shoot off an e-mail. That's the only thing I would do.
If you're I don't know looking for clients, if you're business to business I would definitely attack LinkedIn and what not. I think there are even tools that will give you people's e-mails and what not. I didn't even go that deep into some tools and what not. I really took it easily with internet and everyone has one simple e-mail and it worked, and it still works. For example, I have a guy I know who, he's running Craigsbook ads, like automation, Facebook ads, I said bro you would kill it. If I were you I would just be doing that. I would go to companies, I would say hey man this is what I do, I run traffic through Facebook ads, you know if you need any help with it, which everyone basically does, give me a shout out, happy to help. I think people like that with some kind of services that you know you can do or whatever product, you can kill it real quick and it does matter.
Look, I did this Australian, Indonesia based, the guy I learned it from, he's in the UK. The guy he learned it from that's making gazillions of dollars, is in states. It doesn't really matter where you live. My English is shabby, as you can hear, I make grammar mistakes all the time, and it worked.
Robert Plank: Yes.
Damir Butkovic: You know, whatever you do, just follow the strategy and the strategy's simple. Give them a reason where sending an e-mail always get away with the sentence, I was poking around your website, or I was poking around your page, or I was poking your shop, it doesn't really matter, compliment them, introduce what you do, do not hard pitch, like man I help people sell more stuff online. I help people lose weight. Not I help people lose weight in 30 days and all that. No, no, no. I help people live healthy, something like that and then the take away's, if you need help with it please let me know, happy to help. Cheers, bye.
That's what I would do and that's what anyone can do is listening and I guarantee you you'll get some kind of a result. I say if you sent out 20 e-mails, you don't get the response, you're pitching too hard or the niche is not good, just move away to another niche. You don't have to send 50 e-mails, send 20. Tweak something. It's very easy. It's free, you know?
Robert Plank: Right.
Damir Butkovic: That's what I would do. Simple as that. You can literally in the next half an hour, an hour, if you follow that, you can send out some stuff and I would say you'll get the response, right? Then of course you've got to meet with people, whether it's in person or online, you got to sell them your stuff, obviously.
Robert Plank: Right.
Damir Butkovic: That's the selling part. This is the lead generation part. Yeah, that's how it works and anyone that's listening I urge you go and try it out. It works. I actually did not believe it when I heard. I said it can't be that simple. You got to put more. You got to put my USB and God was not, that's exactly what you don't put. Simple as that.
Robert Plank: That's pretty interesting. I like that not only does it work no matter who you are but it also works no matter where you are in the world and it works no matter what kind of service you provide. Like you said, it might be that you provide a certain service and it's not a good fit for some businesses but then change the kind of business that you're going at, right?
Damir Butkovic: Exactly. Look, it's really good I must say for people who are offering services, it's really good business to business. Where I got questions hey but I'm like I don't know a health coach, how do I do it? If I would be a health coach I would not be targeting, let's say you Robert, directly because it's just simply too many people. I would be targeting people who ... If I was targeting you I would be targeting you to say hey I've seen, I know you're an entrepreneur, I can see entrepreneurial, you probably have a group of people that are working hard and I'm a health coach or whatever, I'm happy to help, happy to share some tips, how to work from home and still stay healthy and not drink gallons of coffee and eating McDonald's or whatever, so if you need any help with that, please let me know, I'd be happy to help.
What I'm doing there I would target leaders in their own niches or industries because they have my group of people, right? Don't get stuck. What I'm trying to say oh I'm doing one to one or whatever, yeah target those people, like target entrepreneurs or someone who has a group of people you want. It works both ways. Business to business or I would say one to one, you just have to not go after each person individually, you go after someone who has a group of those people.
Robert Plank: Right. So they can plug into their network.
Damir Butkovic: Exactly.
Robert Plank: That's pretty cool and I like all the stuff that you've shared with us so far today. I would like to send people your way and if they like what they heard about all of your adventures and your thinking and your advise, where can people go to find out all about Damir and all about the things you do and your websites and all that good stuff?
Damir Butkovic: Yeah. Very simple. I'll spell out my name. I have a Facebook page. I wasn't there for awhile but you can contact me through Facebook or I have a website. Website is DamirButkovic.com.au. It's simple to shoot me an e-mail or whatever. There's something that's not working. I was actually making it look better yesterday and then I made some mistakes, it doesn't look that good anymore. Anyway, you can contact me there or just search me on Facebook or like my page, something, anyway you want to connect and I'm happy to share, answer questions and things like that. It's all there basically.
Robert Plank: Awesome. Well I'm really glad that you were on the show today and I mean, heck I got a lot of really cool stuff out of that and I'm glad that you were able to share all of your stories and your adventures and all the little tid bits that have helped you to get to where you are now. Thanks so much for that.
Damir Butkovic: Thanks. Glad to help. Please use this. I went to one boot camp, paid $10,000 and the guy said on the end of it, Todd Brown, he's awesome. Awesome, brilliant, marketer, he said looks it's worthless if you don't apply it. So it's like great advice. Go and apply it and you'll see how awesome it is.
122: Use the Internet to Get More Customers, Leads, and Sales, No Matter What Your Business Is! with Charles Manuel
Charles Manuel from Berkshire SEO tells us the story of how we went from selling a speed reading course, to helping online businesses make money. Charles uses SEO, PPC, influencer marketing, and social media tactics to generate lots of new leads (and keep existing customers) for local businesses. He shares not only lots of common sense advice, but tells us about some creative ways he's used the internet to boost sales.
Charles Manuel: Robert, thanks for having me.
Robert Plank: Awesome. Right before we started recording, you were telling me about how, I guess in college, you discovered The 4-Hour Work Week, and this whole internet marketing thing.
Charles Manuel: That's exactly right, yeah. I picked up a copy of the book. I always like to study different business methods, because I did go to college for accounting, and wanted to be a financial advisor. I actually was for a few years. In college, I started playing around with starting small online businesses, and doing them primarily online in my spare time. The first thing I did was a speed reading course, and I developed the course myself by kind of taking the best parts of a bunch of courses I had taken, and decided to make one for college students. It sold horribly. I realized, "Oh, there's a lot more to online marketing than just looking up some keywords that you think will do well, throwing $1,000 at paper click advertising, and hoping it all works out." It takes a lot of planning, and research, and everything.
I started digging into it little by little over the years, and I made another business, and had some success, and made another one. Eventually, I realized I could make a lot of money just helping out small business owners to do the same thing. To just use the internet to help them market themselves. I know so many plumbers, and contractors, and restaurateurs, and folks like that just in my area that still put an ad in the newspaper, and yet don't use their Facebook page. It just seemed really strange to me that they'd rather spend $300 or $400 a month instead of use something that's free. That's what I do. I help folks leverage a lot of stuff that's generally free, and oftentimes better than conventional methods.
Robert Plank: Interesting. I'm glad that you brought up and you started with the SEO, the search engine optimization kind of stuff, because I think that a lot of people kind of try to tell you, "Well, just build it and they will come," or, "Just put up a website, and just get some keywords, and put up some meta tags, and people will just magically find you." It seems like that's a good place to start I guess, but that's not all the traffic methods, and then I guess as you found from your early adventure with the speed reading courses, that even if you do have traffic, that doesn't necessarily mean that they will buy it. Do you know of a marketer named Onyx Singal?
Charles Manuel: Not familiar with the name.
Robert Plank: I forget what his website is, but early on, I think his first product was something about how to get better grades. In the same kind of vein as what you were selling. What's always stuck with me, years and years later, is that he did the same thing, put out a website, tried to get some buyers, and he noticed that, number one, that college kids and high school kids don't have any money and aren't willing to put money into buying this course, and the majority of his customers were the parents of kids. There would be, like, a parent of a kid with bad grades. They would buy this book as a last ditch kind of effort. It still wouldn't work, but I think there definitely is something to that. There definitely is something to getting to a finishing point with whatever project you have, put it out there, make those mistakes early, do those experiments. I'm glad that you started with that.
You started with the speed reading course, and now what you do is you help small businesses get online. Could you share with us an example or a case study of some business that maybe they were missing a few things, they were doing a few things wrong, and then you went in there and you worked your magic, and just made it work awesomely?
Charles Manuel: Yeah, absolutely. I think one of my favorite ones is a local real estate developer that I actually did some work for him when I was a younger guy. Cleaning up some lots that he would develop later, and everything else. We already had a rapport, and he called me up one day and said, "Charlie, I really want a rank for these five keywords." I said, "Okay. Let me take a look at them." He was adamant about having me rank for these five keywords. I see something like this all the time, where a client will want something very specific that doesn't get them to their end goal of sales. For this client, they were five words that literally had zero monthly searches when I looked them up in the keyword tool. The majority of my time, I spent redirecting his goals towards, "Well, how about we just make sure that your website ranks for homes being built in your area, so that you're actually getting people looking at your site. If we spend all this time ranking for words that don't get any searches, you aren't going to get any traffic."
That's really what I do first, is search for the goal. What I did with him is, I helped him develop an entirely new website from the ground up, based around log homes in Vermont, because what he does specifically is he builds log homes. We developed a website that had very nice picture galleries. They showed recent builds, and we keyword optimized it for a long list of keywords which weren't used very often, because not many log home developers in Vermont have SEO optimized websites. We found him an opportunity. I put in, you know, a good amount of work on my part, but far less than it would have taken to create traffic from nothing with his list of keywords. Because of that, he was able to bring in a bunch more business the coming year.
Robert Plank: That's pretty cool. What you're saying is that a lot of these small business owners, they've heard about Google ranking, and maybe they looked at what rankings there are, and what you're saying is that they'll choose completely the wrong thing to rank for, and it's like, like you said, not only are there no searches for this keyword, but even if there were searches, or even if they were able to rank for that, it's completely the wrong kind of key phrase. What you're saying is, this person, he builds log homes in Vermont, and so what he would be looking for is, instead of ranking for something like "luxury homes" or "cheap homes" he would be ranking for "log homes in name of city Vermont" or "log cabin homes in name of city Vermont"? Just by tweaking the goal a little bit, or not even the goal, but the goal is to rank highly for these keywords that are searched on, and to get the right leads into his business, so that's the goal, but then you change the methods from, "Well, let me just rank for this two word phrase," into these more long-term phrases with some search volume that actual buyers that he's looking for would be putting in a search engine.
Charles Manuel: Yeah, and that's really what it is nowadays, because as I'm sure you know, there's plenty of software out there that will search engine optimize for you. There's plenty of stuff you can upload to a WordPress page to make these things search engine optimized. That's not really where the work lies anymore, for a guy like me. What I spend a lot more time doing is, since the market is so saturated with these search engine optimized sites, I spend a lot of time looking for opportunities out there in the search engines, and sometimes there won't be some, so we'll look at other methods, because I do everything from SEO, to paper click marketing, to content creation, to influencer marketing. With SEOs specifically, a lot of the time, you're just looking for some keywords that some big companies haven't started to latch onto yet, or haven't ranked for yet. You're using those to help people out.
Also, with small businesses, since many of them work in a localized area like my contractors, my plumbers, my restaurateurs, those folks, you get the added benefit of doing the localized search engine optimization, where you're able to create Google business pages for them, which is kind of a new thing. I'm sure that some of the folks that listen to your podcast have them. Basically, you create a storefront for your website that then helps Google to list it, and if you ever, for instance, are looking for a restaurant when you're walking around town, Robert, I'm sure you've been, like, "Find me some Mexican food," or whatever. You'll find that you get four or five local listings in a little box before you get search engine terms. Those come from using a Google storefront page. It's the easiest way to start to get ranked. You do that, you do a little bit of meta tagging on your site, you link them together, and you're already starting to see real results.
Robert Plank: It sounds like what you do is you go to these local businesses, and you kind of look at their situation, and I guess it's some kind of combination of, like you said, search engine optimization, paper click, and combined with, I guess, the latest and greatest, for lack of a better term, like, ways to be compliant, right? How to get listed in Yelp, Facebook, Google business pages, all this kind of cool stuff.
Charles Manuel: That's exactly it.
Robert Plank: I would kind of like to go into sort of weird, cutting edge territory, because one thing that kind of- and I don't know how well-versed in this are you- I've heard just lately that there's this thing called Pokemon Go, that I guess some business owners have been using to bring people to their business, and I've also heard of something, and I don't know what the term is, where I guess Google is trying some new kind of program where, I guess if you're out and about near a business, some kind of thing will pop up on your phone. Have you heard of this?
Charles Manuel: Yes, absolutely. The second one I've heard of. The first one, I haven't played around with at all, I have to admit. I've been busy on other projects, but I have heard lightly about the Pokemon Go thing, how you can kind of set up your storefront as a Pokemon arena.
Robert Plank: A gym I guess, right? Where I guess people come together.
Charles Manuel: A gym. That's what it is. I don't know how to work with that specifically. The second item is actually really, really interesting. It's more on the consumer level, because that's really what makes Google so good, is it focuses on its consumers, even though the businesses kind of pay it. As just a guy walking down the street, you can be at a restaurant, at a gas station, and Google will pop up an indication on your phone, and it will say, "Oh, hey, have you been to this restaurant before? Can you take two minutes to tell us about it?" It's kind of helping to validate some of the information that the business owner may have put on their page, and it helps to give it a little bit more of a solid back-link. Not a back-link, but a solid ranking, as far as Google is concerned.
Robert Plank: It seems like every couple of days, there's some new sort of fad or service that either Google or Facebook or someone is trying out, some way to plug it in there. It seems like, especially with Google, where everything's connected, I guess the more you're listed, or the more you help Google, the better, right?
Charles Manuel: That's exactly it. When you're thinking about search engine optimization, you want to think of Google as just someone who's trying to learn a little bit more about what you're teaching online. A good way to think of it is if you're a construction company, and someone searches for "contractors in my area," you don't want to just show off as a business page, where it's like, "Call me here. Get a free quote." Et cetera, et cetera. The person probably also wants some information. Google has done a very good job using its spiders, which are the things that track your site and get a good idea of what's on there, to find out if your website also has a blog, and on that blog if you have information that's pertinent to that person when they're searching for a contractor. Maybe you have a how-to for finding a contractor. Maybe it's even more specific because you're localized, and it's about finding a contractor in the northeast, because that person would be more suited to help you if you own a home in the northeast.
If you're a restauranteur, then you might want to be linking to reviews to your restaurant. It goes on and on like that. You want to be sure that when Google looks at your website, you're not just giving a sales pitch, because the second Google sees you do that, it's going to hurt you on page rank. You want to be sure that you're also giving information to the people that are searching for your site, because that's really what they're there for.
Robert Plank: That's kind of cool, and I think back to ... We've all been in that situation where we have to find a doctor for blank. Where we had to get some kind of service provider for blank. I think back to the times that either if I've researched things like a plumber, or I've researched things like an accountant, every now and then I would find a collection of maybe five or ten YouTube videos from a plumber, on, "Here's how to these common things." "Here's how to turn the water main for your house off and on," or, from a tax accountant, "What's one way to minimize your taxes?" Just little tips and little bits of advice there, and it's kind of interesting, because I guess that, well, on one hand, if someone's looking, for example, for an accountant, but they're not in the area, well, fine. They still get their problem solved, and I guess Google will, to my understanding, will reward you a little bit with that.
Then, as a person looking to pay someone money, if I find, for example, a plumber, it's one thing if they have a business in my area, and if they have a couple of reviews, or a couple of good star ratings. If they also have even a short little blog, or a couple of videos, I'm thinking, "They must really know their stuff, if they're teaching it as well."
Charles Manuel: Exactly. It adds a comfort level, especially now when you look at just, on a very broad scale, the demographics of people now. Everybody still likes to believe that the baby boomers are the largest demographic and they don't use technology. Well, baby boomers actually do use technology, and the Gen Yers, the folks that are about our age, from mid 20s up to late 30s, that's actually now the largest population demographic in America, and they're all online. Those people now, when they're searching for a plumber, when they're searching for a restaurant, just like you said, they want to see that ten minute video of the guy working. Maybe not even because they want to learn how to do it, but because they want to see how the guy's going to work on their house. It might be posted as a how-to video, but more importantly, you're going to be like, "Oh, look at this guy. He's very competent. I can see that in this YouTube video."
It creates this whole new area where you can generate credibility for prospective clients before you're even shaking hands with them and starting work.
Robert Plank: That's kind of cool. I hadn't even thought of it in that way. That's like a soft selling, sort of.
Charles Manuel: Absolutely. That's really one of the best parts about, quote, "selling like this." I came from financial advice. I wanted to be a financial advisor since I was like 17 years old. Went to college for six years. Got all the degrees, got all the certifications, and I hated it, because it's hard selling, all the time. When you're doing stuff like this, all you're ever thinking about is, "How can I add value for the people that are coming to my site?" That's what you're trying to do all the time. You just want to give them more information, and you want to help them make a better decision. Obviously, ideally, you want the decision to be your company, but if you're doing your job and you're giving them good information, you more than likely will be.
Robert Plank: That's a pretty cool insight. I guess I'm looking for, like, do you have kind of a cool story where maybe you combined some of these techniques, or you just had some kind of clever way of boosting someone's business, aside from just the usual? Like, ranking for keywords or something? For example, one thing that kind of comes to mind is, years and years ago, I had heard of a consultant like yourself, and he went to some local mom and pop diner that was losing business because of Chilis and Applebees and all of the chains moved into their town. They did some kind of interesting stuff where they, the restaurant was like a Foursquare spot. Someone could come in and use this app to check in. They did something kind of crazy where, like, if you had become the mayor of that Foursquare location, like if you checked in the most number of times, then they would give you your own parking spot at the restaurant, and they would give you, like, one free drink, or 20% off your bill, or something crazy like that.
Do you have anything kind of interesting like that, where you went to some kind of local business, and used the power of the internet, maybe in not your usual way, to give them some extra customers and money and stuff like that?
Charles Manuel: I actually did something kind of like that, with a barbecue restaurant that I worked for. There was a very, very popular spot just up the road that did something called a beer card, and so this place that was a competitor had, like, 300 beers that you could choose from. If you drank 50 different beers inside of a 12 month period, you got to have a beer stein that was engraved. I told them, this barbecue joint I was working for, "You guys have 70 different types of bourbon. Why don't we do a bourbon card? Then all the folks who had fun doing the beer card at the place up the street, they're going to love doing the bourbon card down here."
We promoted that online with a mixture of Foursquare, because people would check in and say that they were using their card, and if they did that, they would get a free bourbon. When they finished their bourbon card, they would get a special spot on the blog. There was a whole long list of folks on the blog who had finished the bourbon card. I don't remember what we did. I think we gave everybody, like, an engraved shot glass or something when they finished it. That generated a lot of interest, and a lot of traffic, simply because I was riding on the coattails of a very simple idea that a place up the street had used, and I leveraged it a little bit more with some online marketing for it as well.
Oftentimes, Robert, you can do stuff just like that, where it's not like I'm trying to break the mold and do something crazy. I'm just like, "That's very simple. What if we just leveraged it a little bit more, just using the internet?"
Robert Plank: The trend that I'm hearing when I talk to guys like yourself, who are helping out these small businesses, is that it seems almost like a lot of these small business owners, they don't know what to do, or they've given up, or they think that the only thing that can be done is doing a discount, or dropping their price, or having a coupon or something. I just love those kinds of stories where you're actually using real marketing and plugging into some combination of these tried and true business techniques that have always been around, but then because of all this new technology and these new apps and things like that, that there's just new ways to plug in all of that.
Charles Manuel: That's exactly it. There's an internet equivalent for just about any marketing method that a small business has ever used. I did a really long write-up on it on my site, so I won't wax and wane about it now. That's probably one of the funnest things about working at this level, as opposed to working for, like, a Coca Cola or something. You get to be super creative and really do these little experiments, and it's really fun.
Robert Plank: It's always nice when the thing you do to make money is also a lot of fun, right?
Charles Manuel: Absolutely. That's the best part.
Robert Plank: As we're winding down today's call, out of all of the local businesses you've worked with, and the clients and things like that, what's the number one mistake you've seen them all making?
Charles Manuel: The number one mistake that every business that I've worked with makes, is they all just seem to not understand that the goal of online marketing is to get more customers. They all think that you want to stop at, like, the mid-level goal of, "I want to have 5,000 site views a month." Or, "I want to have 10,000 likes on my Facebook page," or whatever it is. I almost always hear that when I do my initial call with my clients, and I'll go, "Okay. Why do you want that?" They say, "Well, it's because if I have that many people, then that many more people will see my storefront, or come and call me for contracting services, whatever." I was like, "Oh, so you want more business. That's what you want. Let's not pigeonhole ourselves down into just site traffic, or just Facebook likes, or what have you."
A lot of the time, I spend a good amount of the initial setup with my clients just reminding them, "Hey, we're here to get you more business. Let's make sure that we're focusing on things that get people who want to buy to your site, and then buying." You can spend a lot of time getting your 100,000 Facebook likes, or your 5,000 page views a month, but if you're getting 4,950 people to your site that aren't a targeted market segment for you, then you're only getting 50 people there that even want to buy. It's costing you a ton of money, and it doesn't make a lot of sense.
Robert Plank: It sounds like a pretty expensive way to feel good. There are cheaper ways.
Charles Manuel: Exactly. Go buy yourself a beer. It's much easier.
Robert Plank: That's funny. Do you think that these businesses, they kind of fall into this trap of thinking in too technical terms, or in the jargon terms? Do you think that they end up doing it to themselves just by researching, or do you think that there are other SEO companies maybe that are kind of getting them off track?
Charles Manuel: Probably a mixture of the two. As all SEO companies do, you write blog posts to help potential clients, and these blog posts are necessarily stuffed with that jargon. "Get this many page views. You want to convert at this percentage. You want to get this many impressions on your paper click ads." Et cetera, et cetera, on and and on, forever. You can get really overwhelmed by it, or what more often happens is, like, a few of those trigger words kind of stick in your head, and then when I'm talking with a client, they'll say, "Oh. Well, I read this thing on MAS, and it says unless I'm getting 5,000 page views a month, I'll never rank on Google." It's like, "Well, why do you think that? Why do you need to rank on Google? Is that really what your company needs?" It really depends upon so many different factors, that I could have clients who will only get 1,000 page views a month, but those 1,000 page views convert at 10%, so they're getting 100 leads per month, and then 50% of them close. For a contractor, that's out of control.
When you look at things like that, you're like, "Oh, that guy is not working very hard getting a little bit of traffic, but he's getting pointed traffic that makes him money." That's really what's important, and what a lot of people miss out on. I think it really does come from a mixture of information overload, and probably just trying to make sure that I'm not going to pull the wool over their eyes, so they want to talk with some type of experience as well.
Robert Plank: I guess that's what you're there for. Like you said, if they're fixated on some kind of arbitrary goal just because maybe they found some kind of blanket statement like that, or they found a blog post that was talking about a small step, or the mechanism, and what they're really after for is the goal or the big picture. I guess that's what you're there for, to say, "Well, even though you've heard of this, but here's the corrected version of that," I guess.
Charles Manuel: "Here's some other things that we can look at, that might be easier, might work better." Sometimes, they're right, and I say, "Yeah, that is a good thing to look at." That happens all the time.
Robert Plank: If someone, like one of these small businesses, if they're looking to hire someone like you to either enhance their SEO or get more leads, or even just make more money from what they're doing, where can they find out about you, and hire you, and find out everything that it is that you do?
Charles Manuel: You can just head right over to my company's website, which is BerkshireSEO.com, and right now I'm actually doing a free three-month marketing plan for ... Well, depending upon how popular this gets, anyone that's interested, I'll try and fit you all in. That's just kind of my way of showing folks exactly what it's going to look like when you work with me, from soup to nuts.
Robert Plank: Awesome. BerkshireSEO. I almost said, "Berkshire CEO." That's something completely different I guess, right? Charles, thanks for being on the show, and thanks for sharing your wisdom, and everything you know about SEO and online marketing, and all that fun stuff.
Charles Manuel: Absolutely. Thanks a lot, Robert.
Robert Plank: Thank you.
121: Twenty-First Century Publishing: Hook Into Social Media, Get Targeted Traffic, and Monetize a Podcast with Naresh Vissa
Naresh Vissa from Krish Media Marketing, a 21st century publisher who's fluent in web design, web development, and marketing -- author of "Fifty Shades of Marketing: Whip Your Business Into Shape & Dominate Your Competition" and "Podcastnomics: The Book of Podcasting... To Make You Millions" -- shares his best and craziest marketing techniques with us. He tells us about three ways to monetize a podcast (ads, existing products, and premium content), how to make money with porn sites, LinkedIn, Yelp, and more.
Naresh Vissa: Thanks so much. It's a pleasure to be on.
Robert Plank: Could you tell us what it is that you do and what makes you different and special.
Naresh Vissa: I am a publisher by background, and a lot of people Robert don't really quite understand what that means when I tell them I'm a financial publisher. It's like, what is that? Really what I do is I use the online and digital world to sell information, whether it's investment information, financial information, personal financial information, or even books. I have a book publishing division. That's what I do, so my skillset is very, very strong in the online and digital marketplace. My company, Krish Media & Marketing, it's one of the companies that I have. We provide an array of online and digital marketing, and just general digital services for small businesses.
This is what I call Robert the 21st century economy, because what I do, I'm a publisher, and as an online business person, this job wasn't around 15 years ago, or 20 years ago. It's a 21st century job.
Robert Plank: Okay, and what you do exactly. You said you have your books and you have products and things. Is that right? What exactly is it that you've been putting out recently?
Naresh Vissa: Yeah, so the the Krish Media Marketing side, we help existing businesses improve their bottom lines through the online and digital world. That could be we offer services as simple as web design, web development. Some more complex things like Google AdWords, pay per click, affiliate marketing, copyrighting, etc.
Now on the publishing side, I said I'm a publisher. What we do is we sell investment research to individuals, so let's say Robert, for example, you don't want to put your money with a financial advisor, or a money manager, who's going to manage all your money. Instead, you can subscribe to our services, and we'll tell you exactly what to do with your money. We'll tell you what companies to buy, when to buy, what to sell, when to sell, what to short, when to go long. We provide economic analysis, and other insights so that our subscribers have a very firm grasp, and also total control over their money. These are subscription products that we sell.
Two of my companies that do this, one is called Money Ball Economics, and the other one is called Normandy Investment Research. Normandy Investment Research focuses on options trading, and Money Ball Economics, is more for beginners, so beginner and intermediate type of traders and investors. Those are subscription products that we sell, and again, my skillset in the online and digital world helps me sell these products. It helps me find leads, market to them, and funnel them through our processes.
Robert Plank: Well cool, so you said that this is a job that didn't exist 20 years ago, so can you tell us how you came across this, and how you developed the skills? I mean, how your even discovered the need for this kind of thing?
Naresh Vissa: It happened completely by chance, Robert. I didn't grow up telling people I want to grow up to become a financial publisher. It kind of just fell in my lap, while I was in graduate school, actually, the leading financial publishing company in the world, at the time, contacted me because they found me on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is one social media platform that I've been, I don't want to say very active, but I've had a presence for almost 10 years now, and even though I'm not super active on it, LinkedIn is very similar to Yelp, where if people type in a few key words, they can find you, and find out all about you.
In the case of LinkedIn, I had a full profile, and this company was looking for someone who had a very similar skillset. That skillset happened to be someone with a media background, and someone with a financial background, all in one. They typed in a few key words, they found me, they contacted me, and they asked if I could consult to start a new project for them. This was while I was still in graduate school, and when I was a consultant to help launch a new project for them. Keep a long story short, the project went well. They wanted me to take over the project after I graduated which I did, and that was my entry into the financial publishing space, because of this company that recruited me. If that did not happen, then there's a very, very good chance I wouldn't be talking to you today, and I would be working in a corporate function.
Robert Plank: Interesting, and so it all happened because they made that one connection. They found you in that one place on LinkedIn from the key word search.
Naresh Vissa: Exactly.
Robert Plank: That's crazy, and that's one of those things, I mean even like five years ago, or so, I was trying to get a house sold over in Nevada, about a five hour drive away, and the realtor was doing all listings, like putting a video of the home on YouTube, and posts on Facebook, and there were four cash offers for the house, and one of the offers came from just posting on Facebook. Even though that was pretty recent, five years ago, I was pretty blown away, like with your story, just having something online, not even having it very well marketed, or having a lot of traffic, or even very well refined, but just having something online. It seems like if you just make this one connection, it can lead to all these extra things.
Naresh Vissa: Yes, absolutely. I tell people all the time some of my friends who are still trying to find their way in the corporate world, or trying to develop a career, they refuse to get on LinkedIn, because they say, oh it's not going to help me. But you can't look at it that way. You have to look at is it going to hurt you. You might think that it's not going to help you, but it's not going to hurt, either. I only see platforms like LinkedIn or Yelp if you're a small business, a brick and mortar type of retail business. Those only start to help you. They're really platforms for people to find you, and to give you business, or to give you opportunities. I lay out actually in my book Fifty Shades of Marketing, I lay out why LinkedIn, and Yelp and a few other platforms, why it's so important to have a presence on them.
Robert Plank: Let's unpack that a little bit. Could you tell us about your Fifty Shades of Marketing book.
Naresh Vissa: My book, it's called Fifty Shades of Marketing: Whip Your Business Into Shape and Dominate Your Competition. It was an Amazon number one best selling book. Sales have been pretty good. It's really a primer on 21st century online and digital marketing. The feedback has been really awesome, because it covers everything you need to know about marketing, step-by-step. Again, concepts as simple as what direct marketing is, what direct response marketing is, why email marketing is the most effective type of marketing, the importance of an email list. It also walks you through the basics, like how to build a simple website, how to set up an email list. What is affiliate marketing? How do you calculate customer lifetime value? How does mobile tie into 21st century marketing, and then social media? It covers anything and everything. I even have a chapter on advertising on porn sites is a cost effective ROI driven endeavor.
Robert Plank: We can't just mention that and just leave that hanging, so could you unpack that a little bit? Can you tell us, I'm really curious, I'm no sure how far we can go with it, but how the heck do you make money, get traffic from porn sites. I got to hear this one.
Naresh Vissa: All right, so this has actually been a very, very popular chapter, because people are like, whoa. Let's face it, porn is a very, very popular niche, and to give you a statistic, 30% of all internet traffic goes to pornography, or other sexual material, so to put that number into context. Okay, 30%, what does that mean? It was actually the Huffington Post that reported that more people visit porn sites than they do Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter combined, so combined. That means there's a lot of traffic going to pron sites.
Now, what's the opportunity here? The opportunity is advertising on a porn site is 1/10th the cost, even though the traffic is a lot higher, it's still 1/10th the cost of advertising on mainstream channel, or mainstream online channels such as Google AdWords or Facebook, so this is a pretty good opportunity. You've got very high traffic, low cost. Now why don't people do this more? Because it's boring, and there's a stigma attached to advertising on porn sites. That's the gist of the chapter. In the book, I include a case sturdy of the a food delivery company, so again, this was not a company that had anything to do with sex or porn, but they found creative ways to tie their advertising campaigns, and give it a sexual twist. They were selling sandwiches, but they were able to be creative and advertise on porn sites, and it grew their business tremendously, and I lay out that case study in the book.
Robert Plank: That's pretty crazy, so are you talking about banners ads, or free rule ads, or all of the above?
Naresh Vissa: Yes, so to give you an idea, banners on individual video pages on porn sites, or sorry on individual video pages rather than the home page of a porn site, performed remarkably better than the home page, and that's largely because when people go to porn sites, they're not there to look up the home page, they're there to watch videos. The big take away is that banners on these sites have worked extremely well, even better than email marketing. Most cases email marketing is most effective, but in the case of porn, you have to remember people are there for a reason. They're there to essentially watch videos, and they're not going to waste their time reading any emails or grow in through the home page. People are strict business there.
Robert Plank: I mean, that's pretty crazy, but I always like stuff like that. I always like stuff that's a little different than the tired old traffic methods people are using. I like that, that's real, because how many times have we heard stuff like, well just make a website, just optimize for SCO, and that's pretty cool, and I like that it wasn't even anything sex related. They connected it like you said, but just a simple sandwich company getting traffic from that interesting new method that you have there.
Naresh Vissa: Right, exactly. And again, to talk about qualification, porn sites have very engaging users. They're not visiting them by accident, whereas you might accidentally click a Google ad, or a Facebook ad, and then you'll immediately bounce off the page. Instead, the people who visit porn sites, they're visiting there for a reason, and so the quality of the traffic is relatively high. Actually, probably higher than any other type of site on the internet. Bounce rates are low, and session lengths are a little over 15 minutes, so you know that when you advertise on such a medium, you know what you're getting. You're going to get a very attentives probably male, who's going to stick around for about 15 minutes, which is unheard of on the internet.
Robert Plank: Right, that's silly by also crazy. I really like that technique there, so you have that book. You have Firth Shades of Marketing, and then I understand you have another book about podcasting. Is that right?
Naresh Vissa: Yeah, so that was my first book that I came out with, called Podcastnomics: The Book Of Podcasting To Make You Millions, and it is again, another primer, this time on all about podcasting, from its history, what it is, how to start a podcast. The necessary software you need to start it, and most importantly, this is what most training courses and sessions don't do, but what my book does do, and that's how to monetize a podcast. How to actually make money from it.
Robert Plank: Can you walk us through that really quickly. What are the steps, or what are the ways that you listen in this book about how to monetize a podcast?
Naresh Vissa: There are three primary revenue drivers for monetizing a podcast, and to give people a background on why am I qualified to write a book on this or to talk about this. I mentioned earlier about the company that found me on LinkedIn, and asked me to start a new division for them. That division was actually an online radio podcasting network, and it consisted of just a bunch of business and financial shows. Now what we were able to accomplish there by the time it was all said and done, that station was called the Santeria Radio Network, and out of the sense of all to be called the Choose Yourself network. James Altuchera, if your listeners, are familiar with him, he's now running it.
Anyway, there are three primary revenue drivers in properly monetizing a podcast, and this is what I learned while I was starting up this division. The first revenue driver is the old school, 20th century advertising model. This is something that I don't recommend because advertising has changed so much. In the 20th century, you workday was very difficult to track the return that you were getting on advertising, but now you can track exactly how many times someone listens to an ad, or clicks or visits a website. You have all this data available to you and as a result, advertising has been going down, or advertising dollars have been going down. This is evidenced by mainstream media, and how much they're struggling, newspapers, and television stations, trust real radio, all struggling because they're ad based models.
When it comes to podcasting, you can certainly make money off advertising, and I'd say go for it, but that shouldn't be your primary source of revenue. You're going to be sadly disappointed if that's the case.
The second revenue driver is selling an existing product, so that means using the podcast as a lead generator to sell an existing product. In our case back when we got started, we were selling financial research, so we knew that okay, we're going to funnel people in, and our end goal is to sell them our research. We funneled people in by being on all the major podcast distributors, iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, our website. You name it, we grew our listenership. We ran campaigns. We ran discounted offers to our listeners so that they could subscribe to our research, and that ended up being the primary source of revenue, so it's just really another lead generating tactic.
The third way to monetize a podcast is through premium content, so that means creating a pay wall to offer your free stuff, which is available on iTunes, and your website, and all those other places, but coming out with a paid product, where people pay, in our case, they were paying something like $5 to $10 a month. It wasn't expensive at all. Again, because it's recurring, that comes out to about $60 to $120 a year, so let's just say $100 a year, which was more expensive than some or our products that we were offering for $39 a year, or $49 a year. Anyway, we came out with this premium content that people subscribed to, and what they got in return was special type of content that they could share with the listeners. It has to be worthwhile for the listener to get them to subscribe.
We have three different revenue drivers, and now when I consult with the various clients, and podcasts to get them started or to turn things around, those are the tree revenue drivers that I tell them to keep in mind, advertising, selling an existing product, and premium content.
Robert Plank: Awesome, and what I like about what you've shared with us today, is it seems like it's all based on your own experiences, and your own case studies, and you deleted the things that didn't work out of all the noise, and just taught just the proven methods that you know, whether you're talking about, like you said, LinkedIn, Yelp, podcasting, advertising on porn sites, just a whole family of different things. As we're winding this down, could you tell us, as far as the clients you've helped and businesses you've grown, and things like that, when people are trying to grow their business, get some traffic, get some eyeballs, what's the number one mistake you see these businesses making?
Naresh Vissa: The biggest mistake, biggest, biggest one, without a doubt, Robert, is failing to capture traffic, failing to capture traffic. They might get a good amount of traffic on their website, or podcast, or whatever it is, they might get lots of listeners, or hits, and all that. The problem is they're not capturing that traffic you need to capture it so that you can continue that dialog. You can continue that relationship moving forward, and it's not just a first date. It's not just a one and done thing, and the way to capture that traffic, there's no better way to do that, than by collecting their email address. That's a huge problem I've noticed. The podcasters, the media companies, the newspapers. People like their stuff, but they're not capturing that traffic. It's so, so important to do that because that opens up a world of endless possibilities, and opportunities.
Robert Plank: Everyone has an email address, right. I mean, as much as Facebook and Twitter, and all those social platforms are gaining all this traction, there's still more people with an email address, than people with a Facebook account, right?
Naresh Vissa: Yes, absolutely email, everyone has an email address. People say that email is dying. Right now it's still very prevalent. A lot of businesses don't do email. People don't like to be called anymore, so don't call them, instead you can email them. Ten years from now, things could be completely different, and my prediction is things will be completely different, just like ten years ago, there was no Facebook. There was but it wasn't as ubiquitous as it is today. There was not Uber. There weren't so many things around that are so prevalent today, but right now, email is still king.
Robert Plank: Cool, I mean the old tried and true stuff works, but there's still lots of exciting things coming up ahead in marketing, for sure. Could you share with us about where people can go and buy your books, and which websites of you're they can go to to find out more about you and buy a bunch of stuff from you hopefully.
Naresh Vissa: My name is Naresh Vissa, website, NareshVissa.com. People can subscribe to my free newsletter, there where I send out tips an tricks on online and digital business, the marketplace. You can also check out KrishMediaMarketing.com. That's my online business consultancy, and agency. We work with a variety of businesses, to help them with any online or digital need, and if you want to contact me, you can visit those sites, and get my email address or contact me through the pages there.
I thank you for your time Robert. It's been a great, great interview.
Robert Plank: Awesome, it's been an entertaining, and an educational conversation, so I'm really glad that you were able to drop some knowledge bumps with us. Thanks for doing that.
Naresh Vissa: No problem Robert, it was a pleasure.
Dr. Mary Wingo is here to talk about stress and her new book, The Impact of the Human Stress Response: The Biological Origins and Solutions to Human Stress. She answers the tough questions, and explains how to understand stress (adaptation to people or an environment). Dr. Mary discusses the major causes of stress, as well as how we can all live happier and more fulfilled lives with purpose.
Lots of cool stuff. Welcome to the show Mary.
Mary Wingo: Thank you. Thank you for having me Robert.
Robert Plank: I understand that you talk about stress and stuff like that.
Mary Wingo: Yes. Absolutely. That is what I'm about.
Robert Plank: Cool. I work from home. I don't know about you but I get stressed about stuff all the time and I think it might feel like as I'm getting older either the stress is more, or maybe I'm just more aware of it. What's the answer? Is stress of thing that we need to manage, or minimize, or ignore, or can we direct it into something good? What's the answer to this whole stress problem?
Mary Wingo: First off is understanding the actual definition of stress Robert. The definition of stress, and it took a very long time to actually come up with a workable definition, but the definition is this. It's the rate of adjustment that you undergo in order to adapt to whatever an environment that you happen to find yourself in. The key is here, is that there's 2 aspects. There's 2 sides of stress. There's the actual, since we're talking about people, the human being, and the second component is the environment. It can actually be a matter of personal will or it can actually be something that's out of your reach, and that's a problem with the environment, and you just have to alter or change your environment.
Robert Plank: Okay. For example, if someone transitions from a day job to being a full-time entrepreneur, or they had a big life change or something like that. That is, I guess what stress is, so if someone goes through that stress and overcomes it versus the stress kind of hangs around or gets worse, what's happening there versus someone who's actually dealing with it?
Mary Wingo: Okay. You've touched on a really important point. Yes. Ultimately organisms, you are only supposed to be subjected to stress periodically, sporadically, but the way that modernized society is structured, a lot of us have, not necessarily horrible life-threatening stressors, it's not like a bear is chasing us every second of the day, but for most of us these nagging somewhat smaller stress, well there are some large stresses too, but that just go on day after day after day, and it's relentless.
Stress mechanisms are just that. They are how we adapt. They are our adaptive mechanisms. It's not just the adrenaline. It's not just cortisol. It is a whole cascade of physical responses. The key is to be able to do what you can call to try to resolve the stress and not keep a nagging, incessant exposure day after day after day to it because when that happens that is when we get stress related mental illness and physical disease. In fact it's an exploding phenomenon in our society.
Robert Plank: Could you walk us through an example or a case study of someone who you dealt with who had just a really bad problem with stress and you changed their ways and it fixed it up a little bit?
Mary Wingo: Oh, I can use myself.
Robert Plank: Perfect.
Mary Wingo: I'll use myself because ultimately, when I was researching, this was decades in the making. This isn't a book that I just came up with. This is something that I have cultivated over 20 years and because there's really not a lot of hardcore really good stuff out there I had to practice on myself a little and see how that worked just for me, and see if this was in relation to human beings in general.
For me it was all about simplicity. It was following probably the greatest American philosopher of our time, Henry David Thoreau, who was the guy who actually coined simplicity, or simple living., literally eliminating details and complications from one's life one, by one, by one, by one, by one. Ultimately, out of trial and error I found myself, especially when I left the US because I realized that my country, my culture, was causing me a lot of stress personally. I'm a very sensitive person. A lot of thinking nerdy types are.
I couldn't have finished this book living in the US, in the environment in the US. I had to get to a less stressful environment and that's here in Ecuador. Basically it was like another person wrote it. It just literally flowed out.
Robert Plank: Why Ecuador? Was this the kind of situation where, I'm just kind of wondering, you're from the US. You were in Texas. You're saying that moving to Ecuador was a result of your stress, you just didn't like the environment here and the environment there was better?
Mary Wingo: Yes. This is like 10, 12 years ago. I knew as a scientist back then that the structure of our environment was killing a lot of people early, and causing a lot of disability, taking a lot of breadwinners from families, causing a lot of family impoverishment. I saw this and I couldn't really put my finger on it. Like I said, this is been many, many years in the cultivation of this meta-analytic concept, but I realized that my country, for my particular sensitive constitution, was very, very toxic for me. I realized that it was stunting my growth.
10, 12 years ago I had ultimately made the decision to leave. I didn't know how or where but I had basically changed my life up to facilitate an easy transition. When a friend of mine retired down here, she's an older lady, about 3 years ago, I asked if I could come visit her over Christmas and I stayed for a month, and I realized that it was a very, very different place and I packed up, left Texas, came back 3 months later.
Robert Plank: Cool. It sounds like an exciting adventure. You have this book and I understand that you have a way of defining the type of stress. I guess there are 5 major causes of stress you say?
Mary Wingo: Yes. Absolutely. When you're talking about stress for yourself, you had mentioned that as you get older you felt like you were experiencing more and more stress. Basically our modernized society, and you don't see this to near the extent here in Ecuador, and this is where I was able to really formulate and crystalize some of my concepts, but there are 5 major causes of stress that come from living in a westernized society.
Number 1, and this is probably what affects you and your listeners a lot, it is simply complexity. Let me elaborate. It's undue pressure and taxation on our executive mental functioning, on our frontal lobes, on our ability to plan. It's called working memory and it's our frontal lobes, which is the part of the brain behind your forehead and your eyeballs, it's the newest part of our cortex, and it's very fragile, but it is our primary stress response organ believe it or not. How that's so is that it allows us to plan,strategize, and attenuate and eliminate stressors and our environment. It also allows us to alter our environment.
For instance, if we are cold and we have a cold stressor, we're in freezing temperatures, we don't sit there and freeze. We've created clothing. We've created fires. We've created elaborate shelters, stuff that other animals, to an extent, are limited in doing. With that, it's a very, very precious resource we have as people but unfortunately as we subject ourselves to increased levels of stressor over long periods of time, so high cortisol levels, a different set of receptors get activated in our frontal lobes, and basically it starts to shut everything down.
This is why stress, when we subject ourselves to stress, it's very, very bad for our emotional and mental regulation, our problem-solving ability. It's very important to take very good care of our cognitive resources because this is how all mental illness starts. This is how it all begins, when our frontal lobes start crapping out.
Robert Plank: In this case would this be like if, for example, if I'm so overwhelmed with putting out all the fires, have so many things going on, spread so thin that I can't even think, is that with this is describing?
Mary Wingo: Yes, and we Americans especially wear this type of overburden as a badge of honor, and honestly the thing is, ultimately what happens, and if you just want to look at it from an economic standpoint, this type of habit, which of course I was a typical overachiever, I got my PhD very young so I know all this, it ultimately costs you more. It's ultimately going to put a huge financial strain, well, other types of strains as well, on you, as well as on your health. This is not a good way to approach problem solving and adaptation.
Robert Plank: What is the good way? Is there a way to have my cake and eat it too? Is there a way to be a productivity machine, be an over achiever, but still be relaxed and not be overwhelmed all the time?
Mary Wingo: Let me tell you what has worked for me. Again, this is all extremely new developments that a plethora of stress researchers, scientists, investigators, social scientists, have come up collectively over the last 50, 60 years, but really over the last maybe, 5 or 10 years. For me, what works is if you're going to be an over achiever, if you're going to consume yourself with an activity like I do, like you do, of high-performance, you've got to treat yourself as an athlete preparing for the Olympics or a marathon.
Ultimately sports, we exercise stress on the body, and this has been very, very well studied and looked at. If you want to maintain high performance you've got to simplify other parts of your life, so you've got to watch what you eat like an athlete would. You've got to watch your sleeping. If you've got various toxic relationships you've got to do whatever you can to attenuate this.
The book that I wrote is basically, it's a meta-analysis of around 100 years of work. When I wrote this I knew it was going to take a big chunk out of me. I knew it was going to be a pound of flesh, so to speak, so yes, I had to be very, very immaculate in my habits in my other parts of my life in order to subsidize the adaptation of the very big demanding part.
Does that sound clear?
Robert Plank: Yeah. It does, and I like the whole analogy of the athlete and the marathon. I haven't been able to run for a few months because I broke my ankle a few months ago, but every morning I'd wake up and I'd go for a run, and I was almost like looking forward to it. I think back to, I only played sports for a few years as a kid but it was always the next game that we were leading up to and practicing for an stuff, it was this stressful event coming up, but it was good stress. There was always that element of nervousness and anticipation, but it was the good kind and not the dread kind, not like something that I was like, "Oh no. Only 4 days left, only 3 days left." It was almost like Christmas morning coming up. It was like it's a few days away, I wish it was right now.
Mary Wingo: Actually surprising, and this is something that I don't know, kind of flies in the face of what we've all been told about stress for the last 20, 30 years, is that stress is just adaptation. It's just a mechanism, just like breathing is a mechanism, or heart rate is a mechanism. It is a set of mechanisms that help us adapt, period. The difference is that often times good stressors are, like I said before, limited in scope. They're not chronic. It's not a grinding activity that you do all the time. It is sporadic so yes, okay, you're looking forward to getting a real good workout this Saturday, and you look forward to it, and it's good, and it ends. You're able to read the benefits of adaptation hopefully without the wear and tear of overuse from your mind and from the rest of your physiology.
Robert Plank: Would you say the secret is to do these things in short bursts? It's not like we're working out all day long. It's not a constant thing. It's like I'm looking forward to this little thing, now it comes up, now it's over, and then, I guess, the next event or the next milestone, I guess is what you're saying.
Mary Wingo: Yes, and like I said before, for me it was writing basically the benchmark book of medicine and physiology. That's ultimately what this book is. For me, it was again, treating it like a marathon, treating it like you're an elite athlete and really doing immaculate self-care, self-care that an athlete would do, and then just doing it periodically. With that you develop adaptation. You become stronger. It's like a muscle.
Robert Plank: Are you seeing a universal way that this is going wrong, or are you seeing a mistake that just everyone you come across who doesn't have your techniques, is there just a big mistake everyone's making as far as dealing with stress?
Mary Wingo: Yes, and we haven't gone over the other 4. I'm not sure if we have time in this episode. I might have to come back again.
Robert Plank: Might have to. You may come back one time per item, 5 times coming back.
Mary Wingo: Yes. Okay. This is the reason I ended up writing the book. I actually quit science 10 years ago. I mean I was still an academic. I fully kept up with every single major development, and this is a huge field. There's probably at minimum 100,000 refereed papers that have been published over the last 50, 75 years. This is a very, very well studied topic but it's not well understood.
I actually didn't want to write it but the way things are getting in our society, in westernized society, modernized society in general, with how we are in this point in history and basically are watching many, many folks in our culture die premature deaths, become disabled from preventable stress related diseases, become bankrupt from dealing with stress related diseases, nobody else was doing this and I figured, "God, is no one else going to, fine. Okay. I'll just do it."
That's what sort of propelled me to do this but yes, people don't have the vocabulary and with these 5 major causes of stress in modernized society, what it is, I wanted to nail down in a very easy to understand way that almost anybody in the world can understand. You don't have to have formal education. You don't have to be a medical professional. You don't even have to be all that's literate to be able to understand what stress actually is, and then when you understand what it is, and what the major classifications of stress that kill people, and make people sick and bankrupt people are, then you can actually make an itemized list and pick out, just like you would a food diary or a money spending diary if you're on a budget, and then just one by one pluck them out, just pick them out. That's the only way to do it. That's the only way to do it.
Robert Plank: What you're saying is instead of trying to conquer this huge giant problem of stress you instead break down the problem and then attack the little pieces that are left.
Mary Wingo: Yes, and for the average person living in modernized society this might be several hundred items. It might take several weeks. If you're really serious about this you might need to have help from your close family and friends because you may not even be fully aware of what you're doing.
Robert Plank: Interesting.
Mary Wingo: Yeah.
Robert Plank: We're starting to wind down. We're starting to run out of time but I want to make sure that we get the 5 major causes listed. I know that we don't have a lot of time to unpack them but I would feel bad if we left before you were able to explain all 5 of these really quick.
Mary Wingo: Okay. I'm going to try to run to these as fast as I can Robert.
Robert Plank: Awesome.
Mary Wingo: Okay, so number 1 is overloading our cognitive resources, overtaxing of working of memory. We already went over that one. Number 2 is living in an unequal society, the very, very strong correlation between living in a society that is unequal, and the proliferation of stress related diseases, especially in men. Again, where we have the .1% grabbing up all the resources and the rest of us are literally scrambling for breadcrumbs, in history this is basically the recipe for revolution. I mean this is just how human beings are put together socially.
Number 3 is loss of social capital, which that's social support. Actually since the industrial revolution our participation in social groups, whether it's religious, social, political, or just hanging out, family and friends, the actual time spent doing that has basically shriveled down to nothing, and because we are meant to be social creatures, and because when we deal in packs and herds, and in groups, we are less vulnerable individually to the ravages of society, so that's a very big one as well.
Changing gears a little bit, 4 is the derangement or loss of the human biome, which are all those little critters, little micro organisms of many, many different sorts that exist in our gut, on our skin, and in our orifices. What they do, they're actually extensions, functional extensions of our organ systems. They helped create vitamins. They function in cellular growth, in endocrine, in immune signaling, and they're implicated in many, many types of disease when these critters get deranged and they're not able to do their job. Basically you lose some of your functioning bodily systems when the biome gets deranged and a lot of us have this problem.
Then number 5, in general, is chemical stressors. 4 kind of segues into 5, so understand that a lot of just the chemicals that we have in our household, at our work, the processed food that we eat, the pharmaceuticals we take, a lot of these didn't exist 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 years ago, so we don't have the metabolic machinery, especially in our liver, to be able to break these things down efficiently. What happens is we're exposed to it and we go into a stress response to try to deal with it. We have that and then the other part of the chemical stress aspect is actual exposure to pollution, to the air, soil, and water. That's a very, very potent stressor as well and results in many, many deaths.
Those are the major 5 and a lot of people don't think of these. They may think of reason 1 as stress, but reasons 2, 3, 4, and 5, a lot of people, they just don't know. They don't have the vocabulary, and so that's one thing I'm really trying to set out to do is be able to give people some real actionable vocabulary to work with.
Robert Plank: Dang. It sounds like there's all these different sources of stress that I had no idea that they were coming from. I like the idea of your book and the things you have to say in it so could you tell everyone about your book, what it is, where to get it, and any other websites where people can find out about you?
Mary Wingo: Absolutely. Your listeners can go to my website, MaryWingo.com. They can download some actionable steps for free with the training video to just get started. They don't have to buy anything, and then there's tons of free learning materials and information. My book is the first book, basically, I guess in modern history, that is a meta-analysis, it's an analysis of the biological, psychological, sociological, and political, and economic aspects regarding the human stress experience.
If people want to pick up a copy, and it's a very inexpensive book, I've priced it to where all most anybody in the world can afford this, so this isn't something that if someone doesn't have a lot that they're going to be cut off from. They can get lots of information from me. They can pick it up off my website, MaryWingo.com, or from Amazon.com.
Robert Plank: One more time, what is the title of the book so everyone knows to get it?
Mary Wingo: The Impact of the Human Stress Response.
Robert Plank: Awesome. This whole subject of stress, I think at least for me, it's one of those things where I forget it's there, and the times that I forget it's there, then I end up having problems. I think this is a really important subject. I think you have a lot of good things to say and I'm really glad that you came on the show today Mary.
Mary Wingo: Totally my pleasure. I look forward to talking to you again Robert.
Dr. Chris Friesen, Ph.D from Friesen Performance, and author of the book, ACHIEVE: Find Out Who You Are, What You Really Want, And How To Make It Happen, tells us how to find our life's purpose with small changes and a number of easy techniques. He talks about the 5 minute rule to instantly overcome procrastination, the 10 minute rule to stop bad habits, the structure of your environment (great for finishing that "big" task you've been avoiding) and why it's so important to have your "why" (values, purpose, and mission).
Chris Friesen: They're very good. Thanks for having me on your show.
Robert Plank: Cool. I'm glad to have you here. Tell me about yourself and tell me about this book and what you do and about all the cool things you can do to help people here.
Chris Friesen: Sure, sure. I'm a psychologist. I'm trained as a clinical, forensic, and neuropsychological. These are fancy ways of saying trained to diagnose and assess people with emotional problems, criminal problems (of course that's forensic), and neuropsychological is brain problems like Azheimers, brain injury, stroke. That kind of thing. A lot of my work these days is really focused on what I call high achievers. These are just people a lot of them are athletes, professional. Some Olympic, but also entrepreneurs, writers, academics. People who just want to take their game, their life, to the next level.
I do work with people and long story short I wrote this book you just described which is the first part of the High Achievement handbook. There's going to be three actual books in the series. This one is really about exactly what you said, finding out who you are, what's really important to you, what you really want, and to make sure that what you do with your life on the day to day basis is actually the right thing for you. Then, how to make it happen on a day to day basis in terms of being productive, efficient, that kind of thing.
Robert Plank: That's cool. I think the people that we're making this show for are online entrepreneurs and I keep thinking back to when I had the day job mindset and now I have the entrepreneur mindset and it seems like, let me know your thoughts on this, but it feels like to me there's a lot of people who haven't quite woken up, yet. A lot of people are at their day job doing the nine to five kind of stuff and it seems like a lot of us have so many things holding us back, but we're not yet really awake.
I think that a few years ago when I made the jump from the day job lifestyle to the entrepreneur lifestyle I had to almost relearn everything and the big thing that all these things that have previously been holding me back, they were still there, but I didn't realize they were there and it seems almost like making the jump and quitting the day job and starting a business and taking bigger risks brought all these little things in hiding to light. Does that makes sense?
Chris Friesen: Yeah. For sure. When we have day jobs, and I'm actually just like you in a lot of ways. I worked in a hospital settings. I worked in a prison. That kind of thing. When I broke off and have been working on my own for about six years, now just completely on my own as a consultant I guess you would call it. It's just like an entrepreneur in the professional psychology coaching or sports psychology realm. When we're working for companies, their very structured. We have to be there at a particular time. We have very set duties to complete and tasks to do, but when we work for ourselves it's really us having to motivate ourselves, having to stay on task and to be efficient and productive.
As much as we often daydream when we're at our old jobs, when we were at our day jobs, about how great we could be if we worked on our own there's a whole bunch of challenges that come up because one of the main issues is self motivation. Also self doubt. There's anxiety over sometimes money comes in a lot. You get lots of work and sometimes you're not getting a lot of work so your income kind of goes up and down as well. There's a whole bunch of challenges associated with that and a whole bunch of things you can do as well to help yourself cope with those sorts of things.
Robert Plank: Like what?
Chris Friesen: One thing is... I'll give you one quick example of a strategy you can do. One thing that happens when you work from home, this has to do with everything. This has to do with the Olympic athletes I work with. This has to do with the... It doesn't matter. This applies across the board. Basically, when you have a hard time getting yourself to do something you know you should be doing, in other words you're procrastinating, you're getting up and you're looking at email and you're never really getting down to the project you wanted to work on. It's call the five minute rule. What you do is this.
You tell yourself, you make a deal. You say, "Listen. I'm going to do the activity or the project or whatever. I'm going to work on my website, whatever it may be for five minutes and then I'm going to decide if I really want to do it because we tend to have it backwards when it comes to writing. People who are writing books, for example. People who have to exercise. People who have to work on a project from home, for example. We often have these negative predictions about how annoying it's going to be when you actually start doing it, or that you have to be in the zone. You have to be in the right mindset to start working. It's actually the opposite.
You want to start doing something and then decide because our predictions of how difficult something is going to be are often way off base. The trick is simply this, you start the activity, put your timer on for five or ten minutes. Whatever you want to do. In the book I say five minutes. Then, you decide, "Is it as bad as I thought?" If it's anywhere near as bad as you thought, give yourself 100% permission to stop. The research shows that when you do this 98% of the time you basically continue and it's never as bad as you predicted. That's the hardest thing to do is to get started. That hump to get yourself to the desk to start working. That's one real quick example of one strategy you can do that will help you be more productive.
Robert Plank: I love that. What that reminds me of when my sister was in college, she would always procrastinate writing term papers. At one point I would see her sit at the computer and just start typing and open up a word document and she would literally just start typing anything, even like "I'm typing on the computer. I don't feel like writing my term paper, but I'm typing, typing, typing" and stream of consciousness out and then after about a minute or two, she would kind of get bored of it and start writing the actual term paper. Then minutes in, guess what? Now, she feels like doing it once she actually picked up that speed I guess.
Chris Friesen: Yes. That's exactly true. There's an interesting thing. There's something in my next book I might call it the ten minute rule, but it's the opposite problem when people have a hard time stopping themselves from doing things they know they shouldn't do. This could be like when I work with athletes trying to make weight for a sports competition. You have to stay to a strict diet. For example they'll see some sort of food that's off the list and they want to eat it. When there's something like that, what you do is you put your timer on for ten minutes. You don't indulge in the activity.
Wait five to ten minutes and then decide whether really need to eat that donut, or for example, you feel the urge to check your email and you say, "I'm going to put my timer on for ten minutes because I have this urge right now to check. I'm going to wait ten minutes to see if I really need to check email or check Facebook or something like that. These are very good strategies; there's research to back them up, that are really effective to helping you stay on task. In other words accomplish your actual goals because often we'll go at the end of the day and you'll feel like I didn't really do a lot of the things I thought I would do. I had the entire day to work and I was not as productive as I thought and strategies like this can be really helpful to keep you on track.
Robert Plank: I like a couple of things about that. I like that first of all it almost seems like you switched the usual behavior pattern. Usually the thing that I should be doing I keep putting off ten minutes, putting it off ten minutes. Things like that. Then, the thing that I shouldn't be doing, I end up just doing it on impulse, like a lot of these bad decisions. Eating the wrong thing or I'm just going to check my phone really quick. I'm just going to check my email really quick, but like you said if you waited ten minutes to do that bad thing, now you're properly configured, I guess.
Chris Friesen: Yeah. Yeah that's the biggest hurdle especially for people who work from home like writers and a lot of entrepreneurs, is just that productivity issue. A lot of it has to do with structuring our environment as well. There's examples of famous writers who basically disconnect their computer from the internet altogether or they may have a different computer in a different room, that the only thing they do actually work on their book. If you're doing an online business, you can't be disconnected from the internet, but having things open in your browser; having quick buttons for Facebook, Twitter, or your favorite newsfeed easily accessible is going to spell disaster when it comes to your productivity.
You want to actually have those things removed. Alerts on your smartphone or your tablets from social media or things that are not pertaining to work should be turned off. I know with myself the iPhone has a do not disturb function. I'm not sure if it's been there the whole time, but I only discovered it relatively recently. When I get down to work, for example I'm working on the second book of this series, I turn that thing off. If someone texts me, it'll still show the text, but it won't buzz. Even though it's on just vibrate because it doesn't matter if you can hear it or it's vibrating, it doesn't make any difference. If it vibrates, you're going to look over at it. We know from research that every time you get distracted from the task you're working on; let's say you're working on content of your website, you're productivity goes way down.
Any distractions whether it's your home phone ringing, your cell phone ringing, text alerts, anything popping up on your computer, they all distract you and as we all know, now there are just hundreds of possible things that will distract you. You've got to really get to know your phone and computer settings and turn all those alerts off. They are not helping you. They feel really good. In the brain, what happens, we have a dopamine response which makes you want to seek out rewards and basically you want to check it because it feels good. It feels like the right thing to do. That's why people have discovered that having these alerts and everything like that are really helpful for their products because it does distract you. It makes you think about their products and about Facebook or whatever it may be, but they're actually destroying your potential. They're actually holding you back. If people start to do these things, you're going to start to perform much closer to your real potential.
Robert Plank: It's so funny you bring that up about notifications and things like that because it's one of those things where at least with me it seems like it creeps in. With the phone, I for sure turn off the pop ups for email, but then sometimes I noticed everyday I'll just happen to have the Facebook tab left open and I think it might just be because I've slowly become addicted, not to drugs, but to Facebook. Is there a trick or a secret to that. I know that you mentioned a lot of people who work on their websites and things like that and I just noticed that it seems harmless until I see other people I know have a million tabs on or they can't even seem to hold a conversation or put together a complete sentence because halfway through the sentence, something else pops up. Is there a secret to just getting unaddicted to all the notifications or is it just a matter of having those rules and just sticking with it for a few days? What's the secret there?
Chris Friesen: Yeah, a couple of things. One thing is to control your environment. In other words use the do not disturb. Like you said you want to have rules. For example, I am going to be working from nine to noon, I'm making it up, and the rule is I am not checking my email. I am not checking Facebook. I'm putting the do not disturb on. You want to make it a rule. Once you make it a rule in your head, you're more likely to follow it. You want to have something pretty solid. It's not like, "I'm going to try not to look so much." That's not going to work. You have to get in touch, also with your values. What's your purpose? What's your mission? What's really important to you?
Is it really just to be entertained with Facebook and that kind of thing or is it to do the best work you can do? I'm not like a Luddite. I'm not suggesting you get rid of technology. I have all the gadgets and everything and I love it, but you want to control it because the reality is technology is now controlling us, but we need to control the technology. What we want to do is say, "Look. I love checking Facebook. I feel good. It's fun. It's interesting. I want to know what's going on," but use it as a reward. You say, "Actually, at noon I'm going to actually check Facebook, but I'm not allowed to check Facebook or any of these things until I've done a certain amount of work; one hour, two hours, three hours." You want to have that pretty solid as a rule in your mind.
It is definitely hurting our abilities. Lots of research how distractions hurt our ability to stay focused and be productive and how much we can achieve in a particular amount of time. There's some research. I'm forgetting all the details now, but basically just a quick little distraction takes you basically five minutes to get back to where you were in terms of the mindset or whatever you were working on. That on its own is just slowing you down. You're just wasting time. You can always check those things later. You want to control that. There's actually a strategy that can help you be better able to resist distractions.
It's actually mindfulness meditation. It sounds kind of strange. There's no religious connotations. This is really just a form of brain training. What you do is very simple. Between five and thirty minutes, so you start off low, per day. Five to thirty minutes per day you sit in a chair. Turn off all your gadgets. No distractions. You close your eyes and you focus all of your attention on your breathing. As soon as your mind wanders, "Oh. I've got to call Joe later today" or "This is so boring." You'll have these thoughts. You allow yourself to have these thoughts, but you do something called you diffuse from these thoughts. What you do is you say, "I'm having the thought that this is boring. I am not my thoughts. I have all kinds of thoughts." Then you return your attention back to your breathing. You don't control your breathing. You're just focusing on it.
For example, how it's a bit colder when it goes in your nose and a bit warmer when it comes out. How your stomach moves or your chest moves a little bit as you breathe. Your mind's going to constantly go all over the place, but there is FMRI research, which is a fancy imaging thing for your brain, research that shows the pre-frontal cortex (a part of the frontal lobe) actually thickens, measurably thickens after a few weeks of doing this and that part of the brain controls your ability to stay focused, to not get overwhelmed with negative emotions, and to stay on task and stay focused on whatever goal you're focusing on at the moment. That's an exercise you can do that'll improve your life in many different ways. There's a lot of research on that, now to help you be better able to resist distractions when you're trying to work. Those are a couple of examples. I have more, of course, but those are a couple of examples.
Robert Plank: Cool. I really like that. Out of all these things that there are to do to fix distractions, for example, like you said don't check email in the morning or do these things to train your brain to be better or do this mindful meditation. I keep thinking back to when I was a lot younger and I wrote a lot of that stuff off as hippie sort of stuff. Voodoo almost. Now, it's become... People who teach the self help or the mindset kind of stuff or from the little techniques that I do, it seems it's more scientifically accepted and even a lot of the examples that you gave there are not just made up stuff, but actually scientifically backed from studies and things like that.
What I like about the call so far and the things that you've shared with us so far is that there's lots of little exercises, so it seems like people who are only sort of off track or their whole time management or their whole life, their whole mindset is a disaster either way, they don't have to make any of these huge drastic changes if they don't want to. They can just apply some of your little exercises. So far what I like is you said that the five minute rule is great for procrastination. Instead of having to decide if you're in the moment or in the zone or whatever because you're not yet, just do it for five minutes and then after that five minute period decide if the thing that you imagined you were about to do if it was actually as bad as doing it and then the other thing.
The ten minute rule where if there's a bad habit you do that you shouldn't do then wait ten minutes and then decide when you actually are in a better mindset. It sounds like having a good structure for the things that you do is good. If you just have some sort of project you need to do where you're unplugged then have a special room or special computer or special area or something where you can just do it, and I liked also when you were talking about especially when people are just getting distracted in general, they're getting away from their purpose and their why and their mission and their values and stuff like that. So far lots of cool little helpful exercises that you can just plug in. Can we talk about something big and huge. Out of all the people you see that you're helping with your training and stuff, what do you see the number one mistake everyone's making that you can help them with?
Chris Friesen: If there is one tip or one thing that I've noticed and research supports this. There's one thing that differentiates the most successful people from the least successful people, whatever that means; in athletics, entrepreneurship, or whatever it is. The most successful people live their lives and make their day to day and moment to moment decisions based on their values, their purpose and goals, not based on their moods. Not based on their immediate circumstances. Not based on their energy levels. Obviously you can tell this is a summary statement of what we just talked about. That is the global thing. A lot of people get caught up in the moment with negative emotions and that kind of thing and they get thrown off. They start to live their lives in a reactionary mode as opposed to a proactive mode.
Once you figure out, and my book is all about figuring out your personality, your why, and your values. As you can tell I like to give tips and exercises that'll help people do this easily. Then, you basically plan your life around those things. One of the worst things people do is to make their to do list on the day of. The morning of they'll write down, "What have I got to do today?" You're actually better off making your to do list the night before. Of course, this is all informed. Your to do list is all informed by you're going to come up with your long term goals. In other words I call them retirement or old age goals, all the way down to your ten year goals, your five year goals, your one year goal. I have all these sheets in my book to fill these out.
You want to live your life based on trying to achieve those big goals. These are often, not necessarily making a million dollars, that could be a goal. It could also be a value based goal like being a good person. I want people to think I was a helpful, caring person and not a selfish person. There's a whole structure to do this in the book, but one thing you do is you make your to do list for tomorrow. First of all, you make a weekly thing. Every Sunday you think what is the goal for this week and you kind of figure out what can I focus on because you're going to have a better idea of what's happening in the week. On Tuesday I have a doctors appointment or I have to call my web designer on Wednesday.
You have those sort of things on your schedule. You have them planned in. They can't really be moved. You plan around that the stuff that actually... Steven Covey in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People talks about this. He calls them quadrant two activities. These are activities or things you need to do that are not urgent, but they're very important. For example, exercising is not urgent, but it's important. It's going to make you better at what you do. It's going to make you smarter. It's going to actually increase blood flow to the brain and all sorts of good things. It improves mood.
Let's say working on a new product that maybe you have an existing product that needs to be cared for, but the new product is not urgent, necessarily, but it is important. You've got to fit those not urgent, but important tasks into the week. Then, for example you don't make a to do list the morning of. You make it the night before. After you've done all of your work and you're about to close down for the day, you basically go and make your to do list for tomorrow and you use that to guide you. What happens is if you make a to do list in the morning after you've checked email all sorts of stuff is going to come and distract you from all sorts of emails that seem urgent, but they're not really important. Other things that are just going to pop up.
You want to have a little bit of perspective by making the to do list the night before. The feeling, there's a neurological response, there's a closure feeling when you check off things on your to do list. It makes you feel actually competent and productive. That helps you keep going because you feel like you've accomplished things. In my book I have a section called Is the To Do List Dead? I say it's not dead. It's actually really important. You want to still have to do lists. Having your global why always in perspective; knowing what you're bigger, longer term goals are and reviewing them regularly.
It's going to help you keep on track with what's important to you, what you should be working on, and not get distracted by the minutiae of the world. We've never had this problem to this extent in human history with like we said earlier, from text to people call you. Anyone can contact anyone at any point. We get hundreds of emails a day, now. It's complete distraction and it's making people unbelievable unproductive and not feeling fulfilled because they don't feel in control. Your life is being dictated by everyone else it seems.
Robert Plank: Right. It sounds like from everything you have to say it's nothing super crazy; nothing super ridiculous. It sounds like a new slant on a lot of things that people know they should be doing, but it maybe haven't been doing, but because you have all these tips and exercises it takes this thing that people know they should have a to do list. They should make better decisions as opposed to just making things impulsively. It's cool that everything you've talked to us about, today is that it's just a new slant on things that should work a certain way, but now because you have these little tidbits, now they're actually working the way they should. You're mentioning your book and there's some cool exercises and things like that in your Achieve Book. Could you tell us a little bit about that?
Chris Friesen: Yeah. A lot of the stuff I've talked about is in the book. Pretty much everything except the ten minute rule. That's going to go in the next book. I kind of discovered this after the fact; after I wrote the first book. It should have gone in the first book. Another thing that the book really focuses on that makes it different from a lot of other self help books is getting to know your personality. I have a big affinity to personality because my undergrad thesis, my masters thesis, my PhD thesis were all based about normal personality, what it predicts and that kind of thing. Long story short, personality psychologists from around the world have basically determined that there are five global personality dimensions that we all differ on and I can go through all of them, but I'll go through a key one that may be relevant to a lot of listeners.
They'll be familiar with this. One is extroversion versus introversion. We hear this. There's books about introversion. Unfortunately a lot of the books out there on introversion are actually mixing up a number of these global fiver personality dimensions into introversion which is not really in line with research. People who are extroverted are just like we think. They're more outgoing. They're more into exciting things. They're attracted to excitement. Let's see what else I can say about that. They tend to have higher levels of energy. They experience a lot more positive and enthusiastic emotions. People who are introverted tend to be a bit more reserved, a bit more serious. T
they're not as highly energetic. They're not too fond of focusing on a lot more excitement and stimulation. They like working alone or one one. Knowing where you fall on this dimension of extroversion versus introversion is very useful. For example, people who are introverted from a brain perspective, it really has to do with your tolerance for external stimulation. It's not just a social thing. People who are introverted, their brains are actually revving a little bit higher. EEG studies show this. Their brains are revving a little bit faster. It's not anxiety. It's just their brains rev faster. What this means is they hit their red line a bit more quickly than an extrovert who's brains are revving a lot slower.
What this means is when you have external stimulation and you're introverted, you're going to only be able to tolerate so much stimulation whether it's social, whether it's being in Las Vegas. It could be sounds or music. It could be working in an open concept office environment with all the noise and distractions. Think of like a newsroom environment. People who are introverted are going to get overstimulated very quickly and if you know that about yourself, what it means is you can still handle those, but you can only do it in short spurts and you have to have recovery times where you're alone or you're relaxing and are not being stimulated. People who are extroverted are they opposite.
They actually feed of all that stimulation and they feel really abnormal, which manifests in being bored when they're working alone. They need to seek out lots of stimulation whether it's social or otherwise. A lot of people work from home. It doesn't mean everyone who works from home is introverted. If you tend to be on the higher side of what I described, in other words you're extroverted, you're going to just have to make sure that you seek out experiences that are exciting or socially stimulating whether it's you do some hardcore rock climbing after work or during your lunch hour or you spend times with friends and talk to people and do that.
You have to think of this as a need and if you don't get that extroverted needs met, you're going to actually feel uncomfortable, unfulfilled, unhappy. Vice versa, if you're really introverted, working from home is usually ideal and you realize that you're going to need... If you have to do stuff where you have to meet lots of people and do lots of meeting, you're going to get really exhausted really quickly and knowing that about yourself is going to be helpful to be able to predict what you can handle and how to perform at your peak.
Robert Plank: That's kind of interesting because as opposed to just the natural tendency of people is to think in this situation I act this way or I tend to be more like this, but it sounds like once they figure out where do they actually fall in these tests and things like that, then they can actually make logic based decisions. They can say, "I need an exciting break. I need to go rock climbing, " or "I'm fine being in this environment." It's almost kind of spooky. It's almost like pulling under the hood and figuring out what type of engine you have or something.
Chris Friesen: Yeah. When I talk about these, this is the very first section I talk about when it comes to achieving your main goals for you. You've really got to know yourself. This is the hardware. Your personality is your hardware. Fifty percent, so 5-0 percent is genetically inherited. It's inherited from obviously your parents and the other 50% due to your environment or experiences you've had in life. More so in early life and the first twenty years of your life and less so as an adult. Your personality can still change. Something to keep in mind is you don't want to label yourself too much and say, "Well, I'm an introvert. I can't do those sorts of things," or "I'm an extrovert. I can't work alone or do those sorts of things."
The research doesn't really support that. It's really about how much you can handle of each of those things. People who are naturally, biologically introverted can still act extroverted and they still can have lots of good social skills. It's just that they can only handle it for certain amounts of time before they just feel over stimulated and it's just not fun. We do live in an extrovertedly biased world where extroverts are considered to be the ideal personality. The part where you fall on that personality dimension is supposed to be ideal, but of course the introvert books out there, which are not perfectly accurate unfortunately, but I do agree with the idea that introverts do have a lot to offer, but just knowing where you stand you can help predict where you're going to succeed and where you're going to potentially fail.
A lot of people learn this through work. They'll be like, "I worked in a library and I loved it," or "I worked in sales at a Best Buy where I had to talk to customers all day and it was loud and I loved that or I hated that." Often these have to do with our brain's hardware in terms of introversion and extroversion. Just knowing that about yourself is really important, but don't take it as suggesting that you can't do the opposite. You can do the opposite like an introvert can act like an extrovert for example. It's just that you can do it only for a limited amount of time before you start to feel burnt out. You want to live your life congruent with your natural personality and you've got to know that about yourself to be able to perform at your peak, basically perform at your best and be as productive as you can and just be happy and satisfied with what you're doing.
Robert Plank: That's what we all want, right?
Chris Friesen: Yeah.
Robert Plank: I think that's a really good message and I like everything you have to say. Could you tell everyone one more time what the name of the book is, where they can get the book, and where they can find out anything else you have for sale or anything else more about you?
Chris Friesen: The book is on Amazon in paperback. It's on Kindle and it's on Audible as well. The Audible came out relatively recently and I've gotten lots of good feedback on that. I didn't narrate it myself. I got a professional narrator, voice actor guy who does Fox commercials. He's really great. His name's Chris A. Bell. The book is called Achieve. The subtitle is Find out who you are, what you really want, and how to make it happen. My website is FriesenPerformance.com. I have a newsletter and I give tips.
One of my podcasts for example, I send it out. I'm on Twitter, @friesonperform and I'm on Facebook. Look up Frieson Sport and Performance Psychology. I believe you can find my Facebook page. I post a lot of articles either written by myself or podcasts I've been on or a lot of articles on things like I've talked about. Tips for being more productive, to be more successful. Stuff about personality. Stuff about the brain that are really applicable, that have an applied message, not just hardcore research science. It's more about articles about how to maximize your potential. Those are the best ways to get in contact with me. Yeah.
Robert Plank: Awesome. You shared a lot of good tips and I like a lot of it and I think that I'm going to be using the five minute rule and the ten minute rule in my own life. Lots of good stuff. Thanks for being on the show, Chris.
Chris Friesen: Yeah. Thanks for having me.
118: Focus Until You Succeed: Perseverance, Forward Motion, Relationships, and The Invisible Organization with Mitch Russo
Mitch Russo, former President of Chet Holmes, co-creator of Business Breakthroughs with Tony Robbins, and author of the book The Invisible Organization: How Ingenious CEOs Are Creating Thriving, Virtual Companies, talks with us about what mindsets, skills, and actions you must take to become an entrepreneur who perseveres and succeeds.
Mitch Russo: Thank you, Robert. Great to be here.
Robert Plank: I'm glad to have you. Could you tell us about yourself and what it is that you do?
Mitch Russo: Sure. I'll give you a little bit of background first so you know who I am. I was born in Brooklyn, New York. I had a rock band up until the age of 17, and I probably learned more about business in my rock band than any other single thing as a kid. We booked gigs all over New York City. We probably were the highest paid bands under 18 years old in the entire state for a little while. Back in 1977, we were getting $500 a gig, which, in today's dollars, is actually ridiculous.
Robert Plank: Especially for an 18-year-old, yeah.
Mitch Russo: Exactly. We were so young, we weren't even able to drive our own van. We had to hire somebody to help us get to a gig because we were too young to drive, but I learned so much about marketing, about sales, about positioning, even about quality. It was really an incredible experience. Then I went on to... I moved to Massachusetts to take a job with a computer company, and I ended up in sales. I did a lot of cool stuff when I got to Massachusetts, but probably one of the most memorable things I did was I started a software company. I started it. Literally, as they say, it was a garage operation. I started it, literally, above my garage in the one room that nobody knew what to do with in my house.
My neighbor and I got together and we built a company out of an idea that I had, and that grew to 100 people, and we had moved the company 5 times over the course of the 9 years, until we eventually sold it for 8 figures to Sage Plc in the UK. Man, what an incredible experience that was. Again, there's no better way to learn than to make all of the mistakes that we made and have to fix them or die. It's correct your mistakes or die, so you've just got to step up and make it happen. There were nights that we would be looking at the payroll and thinking... My partner and I would look at each other and go, "You know, we don't have enough money in the account to cover payroll." The two of us go into our wallet, and we started making the rounds at cash machines and taking money off of our credit cards to make payroll. I mean, it was that bad at one point, but later, everything went right and we were able to finally make things happen.
You know the story of The Hero's Journey, Robert?
Robert Plank: Joseph Campbell.
Mitch Russo: Exactly. There were so many points in time when we were on the brink of failure, and we didn't quite know what to do, and then we just persevered. We just kept going, and then boom. It just happened, and it worked. That was a great experience, and I finished up with that. After I sold the company, I then went and worked for the people who bought us, Sage, and I ended up running the entire U.S. division for Sage, and I was actually completely done, at the age of 44, with millions of dollars in my pocket and theoretically able to retire if I wanted to, but I couldn't. I absolutely would be bored out of my mind, so I started investing in other people's startups. I started working with the venture capital community, and I started building a portfolio of companies that I invested in and friends that I made throughout the entire process.
That went on until I got a call from a buddy of mine, Chet Holmes. Now, Chet and I had been friends since my Timeslips days, and he said to me, "Mitch, I need some help. It's time for you to get back into the business game," and I said, "Hmm, okay. What do you need?" Next thing I know, I'm building a sales force for him, and over the course of 6 weeks, I tripled the sales force, and we were now doubling revenue. After about 3 months, he said, "Look, I've got to have you as my president," and so I said, "Okay," and I joined the company. Within 90 days of becoming president of Chet's company, we began negotiation with Tony Robbins.
This was an ongoing process. We were on a late-night phone call every week for 4 or 5 months planning what the company was going to look like, planning how we were going to roll out into the marketplace, planning exactly what we were going to sell, and then going through a legal agreement and negotiating all the points of a legal agreement, until, finally, everything came to a head in Las Vegas in November of 2008. That was the Ultimate Business Mastery Success Event, The UBMS, and that's where we recorded over 50 hours of content, packaged it up, and that single event ended up generating over $20 million in revenue by selling the packaged videos with workbooks and coaching.
That was quite an experience, and we were growing at quite a pace. I mean, we had started at a relatively... just about as a startup, but we were generating over $25 million a year at the point when Chet, my partner in the business, got sick. Unfortunately, he passed away several months later. When Chet died, the family, of course, didn't know what to do. They thought maybe they should just sell the company. Really, I didn't fit there any longer. I mean, my friend was gone. I asked Tony what he thought, and Tony told me to do what I needed to do, which is what I would have expected of Tony, and so I decided to leave. The first thing I did when I left the company is I called a couple of friends and said, "Hey. I just want to let you know I'm going to be leaving BBI, and I'm going to be on my own. I just want you to know where I am. If you have anything interesting you want to talk to me about or want to show me or get me involved in, let me know."
I called Jay Abraham, and Jay and I had known each other for many years. We worked together on several projects together. I said to Jay, I said, "Jay, I just want to let you know I'm out of here," and he said to me, "Mitch, you cannot let what you know go to waste. You have to find a way to take what you know, and you've got to teach it to others." Tony used to say the same thing to me all the time. I said, "Okay. All right, Jay, I'm going to do something. I don't know what I'm going to do yet, but I'm going to do something," and that became the beginning of me writing my book, The Invisible Organization.
Robert Plank: Cool. I mean, lots of stuff to get from where you were to where you are now, and I'm hearing a lot of repeat lessons. There was the perseverance part of it, like when you and your business partner went to all of the ATM machines just to get to that point, get to the breakthrough point. There is the forward motion, where you could have quit, and you kept going. Then what I'm hearing a lot of, too, were all these relationships you built, like Tony Robbins and Chet Holmes and Jay Abraham, where it started a long time ago, but then, after a while, kind of paid off. With all of that, is there a big secret to all this? Do you have a big secret from having all these successes? Is there something, aside from those 3 things, that's just been responsible for getting you where you are?
Mitch Russo: You know, I wish I had something super profound to tell you, but it's very simple. You never actually fail until you stop doing what you're doing. Until you give up, you never actually fail. In my life, the lesson that I've learned is that it's best to focus on something until you succeed, and I generally don't stop until I do. Does that help?
Robert Plank: Yeah, and it's like... What is that quote? There's something, words like, "If it's not working, change your methods, not the goal," or something like that.
Mitch Russo: Yeah. Yeah, we ended up pivoting time after time, but we never lost sight of what the end goal was, and we never stopped pursing it. No matter what, I never do, because there's just... I mean, unless the world changes in such a dramatic way, and it never does. Business is business. People still have the same motivation everyday, and that's why your products are always out there doing so well, because people want to be in business.
Now, when I work with private clients, I see that in their eyes. I see that when I work with them. I hear it in their voice. They're discouraged, and they want to stop, and I don't let that happen with my clients. We push through, and we make it so that they end up getting what they want, because success comes not in a flash and not by luck. It comes from a lot of hard work, and you know this from your own experience. It takes a long time to be successful, but it looks easy. You can look at me now and go, "Oh, wow. Look at all the stuff he did," but it's taken me a long time to get here, and you know that.
Robert Plank: Oh, yeah. It only takes 20 years to become an overnight success. Is there a trick or is there a secret to knowing the difference between, like you said, having to push forward versus an idea that just won't work? If a company invented cell phones at the wrong period in time, it just wouldn't work, no matter how good of an idea. If someone had invented tablets at the wrong time, no matter what, it wouldn't have worked. How do you know the difference between you're just kind of hitting your head against the wall and this thing that's never going to happen versus you just need to get through the rough patch? How do you know the difference?
Mitch Russo: Okay. I have a story about an entrepreneur who went through this. I have a friend who, at a young age, achieved notoriety because he invented a cable drive mechanism for bicycles, and he was featured on news programs all over the country. This cable system was quite innovative. It didn't require gears and sprockets. All he did was use friction and a special shape of a hub, and he was able to create this very simple power transport system using cables. He went to try and market it to bicycle companies, and nobody wanted it. The bicycle companies, at first, thought it was a cool idea, but they realized that it would really make no impact to the end product. Sure, it might be cable-driven instead of gear-driven, but it didn't seem to change the end result of riding a bike.
Continued to do this, and he didn't stop. Finally, he said, "Well, they don't want it. Maybe I'll just start my own company, and maybe I'll just build a bicycle company," so he went and he spent all of his life savings and poured it into building this company. He built a manufacturing plant, and he sold like 60 bicycles total and shut the company down. He never recovered from that. Here's the way I look at it, I think, at some point, when the market tells you distinctly, "No. This is not good," then you don't necessarily have to give up, but you do have to at least pivot. You do have to find another way.
Here's a pivot he could have tried. He could have tried to figure out where else his patented cable drive system could have an application in another industry, but he never did this. He just accepted the fact, then he just persevered to death, if you will. It's hard to know, but you've got to get feedback from the market, and you've got to keep trying things, and that's when you finally know, "Hey. If it's not going to work, you just keep trying it and trying something else."
Robert Plank: I like that way of thinking, and especially how there was a little piece in there, near the beginning of that story, how it didn't catch on because, even though it was a really cool invention, it didn't actually help anyone, right? If only that invention had made it where you could ride the bike twice as fast, or it cost way less, or something like that, that would have been an improvement in someone's experience of using a bike, but it seems like it was on the right track, but not quite there, I guess, right?
Mitch Russo: Yeah, it was a solution looking for a problem. It was cool, and it was innovative and clever, but to build a life around a solution without solving a problem is just going to lead you down that path. By the way, lots of people start that way and ended up that way, but they don't get to the point of realizing, "Hey. You know something? I've created something of which there is no need for in the marketplace." There are some people who create stuff that's too advanced for the current marketplace. If you would have invented the internet in 1985, no one would have gotten it. There wasn't the systems in place to support it. Yeah, it might have been a great idea, but the time of it was completely wrong.
Robert Plank: I like that. I like that way of thinking. Yeah, the things going through my head when you mention that are stuff like Twitter, where it's super goofy, took a while to catch on, and so we pushed through a while and saw people were using it. I think Twitter, in fact, only kind of caught on because they started hooking it up with all the mobile apps and stuff like that. If cell phones had taken a little longer to develop, maybe Twitter wouldn't have caught on. On the other hand, you had to push through those tough years to actually give it a chance and see if people were using it, but if 5 more years had gone on, if 10 more years had gone on, and it was just not picking up, then I guess that's time to quit then.
Mitch Russo: Sure. Let's talk about Twitter just for a second because I think it's educational, at least, to take a look and... Now, Twitter is considered kind of a failure, when it comes to the market, because it doesn't really have... I mean, it's not Facebook, so anything that's not Facebook is kind of a failure. The problem with Twitter is that it just hasn't been adding a lot of new users. It hasn't been getting a lot more usage. What is the problem with Twitter? Well, the problem with Twitter is that they haven't found their pivot yet. They will. They're not giving up. I mean, they might be sold before they can, but they need to find their pivot.
Now, I wrote the CEO of Twitter and I said, "Here is what I think you should do. I think you should stream live events, and I think because people love to interact with each other during live events, why don't you stream concerts? Why don't you let people tweet throughout the entire process of watching that concert streaming through your network, and let them pay $1 for that, or something?" Of course, I never got a response from my suggestion, but that's the kind of pivots that you've got to keep thinking about when things are failing.
Robert Plank: Even recently, they've kind of tied into Periscope. They're definitely trying new things and seeing what will catch on.
Mitch Russo: Right, exactly.
Robert Plank: Even like you mentioned to me, I put out a WordPress plugin, and that's the same kind of thought process. I'll put out a backup plugin and membership plugin, stuff like that, and I'll put it out as, first of all, a thing that I need and a thing that other people need, but mostly just something that I need that does not exist. That way, even if it's a failure, I still get something out of it, but then also, I'll see these projects through the number of years they have to go through, but I'm not just putting all my eggs in one basket. I have this plugin and that plugin because I know that there's things I need, and people might end up picking them up, and they'll get traction, and then I can go back later and connect the dots and say, "Okay. Now I can combine all these things, and now you get this plugin. You're going to want these other plugins, or you get them all in a package together."
I think there's just something to that. When we're mentioning all these examples, there's something to just having these experiments, I guess is what we're talking about, these experiments, and just see what people use, how people use them, and then, like you said, get to the point where maybe you pivot, and then there's the real money from there.
Mitch Russo: Well, exactly. The other thing that you're doing is you're building a portfolio of products. One product... and I'm just going to use just make-believe numbers. If one product generates $10,000 or $20,000 a year and you say, "Well, that's fine. I mean, it was worth doing it, even if it's not a retirement fortune. We can generate another one, and then another one," and before you know it, you have 6 products generating $20K a year, and then maybe the seventh one will be a bit hit, you see? You never stop because something isn't working, but you find a way to pivot within that, and that simply means if that doesn't work, something like it will work. What was the brilliance of that first idea? What problem were you trying to solve that you found the solution to? Who else has that problem?
When we first created Timeslips, it was a popup time-tracking tool that we thought, "Oh, everybody's going to need this. Everybody needs to keep track of time." Like idiots, we advertised in PC Magazine and spent an entire... All of our savings for marketing went into 2 ads in PC Magazine, and we got 6 orders for $100 an order. I mean, clearly, not everybody needed it, but here was the cool thing about that. I was able to take the 500 bingo leads... which I don't know if you've ever heard that term before.
Robert Plank: No.
Mitch Russo: You know the cards that used to sit inside of magazines where you could circle the number of the ads that you were interested in? Have you ever seen those before?
Robert Plank: I think a long time ago, but yeah.
Mitch Russo: Right. What they would do is people would read the magazine, and instead of sending away for information from everyone, they would take it, and they would just circle the number of the ad. Most of those leads were worthless, but I got 500 of those leads, and I called every single one on the phone. I said, "Why did you circle that ad? What interested you about the product?" I found out that a third of the people who had circled my ad were lawyers. I said, "Hmm, lawyers seem to be attracted to this. Maybe I should market directly to lawyers."
That's how my product eventually took off. I found my market. I didn't know what it was at first. I thought it was everybody, which, clearly, I was inexperienced, but that's what I thought, but then I finally honed in on what would eventually become my true target market. Over the course of 18 months, I went from being completely unknown to being the number 1 selling product for lawyers, when it came to keeping track of their time.
Robert Plank: That's really cool. In that case, it was almost like the market found you.
Mitch Russo: Well, you might say that, but we uncovered a need. We had a cool solution to a problem, but we didn't quite know who needed the solution. We knew it was a problem that people had. We didn't know exactly who needed it. Even though I say it was a mistake to have run that ad in PC Magazine, if I hadn't have done it, I would have never found my true calling, my true market. Sometimes you do need... Screwing up is what gets you to learn how you get onto the right path.
Robert Plank: Oh, yeah. It's almost like if you're too lucky or if everything you do works out right away, it's almost a bad thing because the one time that something goes wrong, you're not going to know how to react. It's almost like, as entrepreneurs, we kind of have to get toughened up or something.
Mitch Russo: That's right. Since we're on this topic, I want to lead this into what I'm doing now, because I think it's important.
Robert Plank: Okay.
Mitch Russo: One of the things that happened to me at Timeslips Corporation is that we sold a lot of software, and we used to give away 30 days of free support with every copy of the software we sold. What ended up happening is that when we first got into the retail stores, our products sold like crazy. Now, our phone lines for support were getting overwhelmed, and I was struggling to keep up, in terms of hiring enough tech support people, of building the internal systems to make sure that those calls can get answered. With all of that, now I had customers, clients, who were asking for individual attention where we had to visit their office. I mean, when you deal with lawyers, sometimes you've got to go overboard in support because, you know, you don't want to get sued, and they're certainly litigious, as you know.
In this one situation, I had a woman who was the vice president of the technology division of the California Bar Association, and she was having a problem with my software. I said, "Geez, I've got to get out there somehow," so I did something unexpected. I called another client who happened to live in the area and I said, "Would you do me a favor and run over to this office and see if you could help this woman? She's having some difficulty," and she said, "Oh, yeah, sure. I'd love to," and I knew she was an expert at our software. I said, "Well, whatever it is, don't worry. I'll take care of you," and she goes, "Oh, no, no. For you, Mitch, it's a favor. I'd be happy to."
She goes over there, and I'm like on pins and needles now. I don't know if I did the right thing. Maybe that could explode in my face, but about 4 hours later, she called me back and she said, "Oh, yeah. She's all set, and I've got to tell you, something super happened to me." I said, "What was it?" She said, "She gave me a $100 bill." All of a sudden, the light bulb went off in my head, and then she said to me, "By the way, if anybody else you know needs help, let me know, because I'm happy to help them." Then I realized, "Well, maybe I could build a network of people that I could send to other people's offices as consultants and get them to help my clients. Maybe these people calling themselves certified consultants would be interested in even building a profession around supporting my software." That's how I designed and built the Timeslips Certified Consultant Network.
Now, the reason I disconnected to our earlier conversation is because I totally screwed it up. I did it simply by selling a test, and if you pass the test, you were certified, but at that point, I had about 60 of these people running around wreaking havoc with my clients. I had to actually call every client that had a problem with one of my certified consultants and figure out how to make them happy while literally shutting down the entire program and then reengineering it from scratch to make sure that the mistakes I uncovered would never happen again. When I did that, and it took me like 5 or 6 months to do it, and I relaunched the program, it was an incredible success, and it grew to 350 people paying us every year to be our third largest sales channel, to support all of our customers. My tech support dropped by 20%. My sales went up by $1 million, and the program generated another $1 million for me that same year.
Robert Plank: Freaking amazing.
Mitch Russo: Isn't that amazing? By the way, and the reason I say it is that's what I do now for clients. I build what I call power tribes for my clients, which are mobilizing their best clients as certified coaches, or certified consultants, and with that, we were able to generate 6 and 7 figures almost out of thin air.
Robert Plank: That's cool, and let's talk about that. Let's talk about what it is that you're doing now and this whole new idea you have about The Invisible Organization.
Mitch Russo: Sure. Well, like I said, it started from having solved the problem on my own. I wrote about it on my blog post, and someone came to me and said, "Would you do this for me?" I said, "Sure. I'd be happy to," and I didn't even really remember... I mean, I remembered having done it, of course, and I remembered all the stuff that went wrong and all the mistakes I made, but we didn't have the internet back then, so I literally was flying blind on this, but we did it together, my client and I. Amazingly, it worked perfectly. I mean, they were blown away. We launched that program from absolutely nothing. 10 weeks later, we launched that program, and it immediately generated 6 figures on their first launch. Now we're redoing the launch every quarter, and it's going to be generating between $300,000 and $500,000 per launch, and we're going to be now doing this ad infinitum every single quarter.
The way I do this is it's very much a "done with you/done for you" program. It's like I'm a business consultant, and I work with my clients side-by-side, and together we craft all the tools required to get people certified. I have a lot of the tools that I give my clients in advance. One of the things I do, and this is the most fun of the whole process, is we design a new business model around their company as to how they will use these multiple streams of income and generate them from their certified consultants, and more importantly, how the certified consultants will generate income from the services that we provide.
Unlike standard certification where you buy a certificate... like a digital marketer's program. Are you familiar with them?
Robert Plank: Yeah, a little bit.
Mitch Russo: Yeah. What happens is if you qualify, you can buy a program to become certified in one of their disciplines. The only thing you need to qualify is a credit card. I mean, anybody can become, quote-unquote, certified. Well, with my clients, we don't do that. We only work with people we already know have an intimate working knowledge of the fields, of the fields of business, and their product. At that point, we do very intensive training. We bring them to 100% competency through the guidance of building these courses that I had learned how to do.
I built Tony Robbins' virtual training environment with Tony. He taught me so much about what it takes to build a virtual training environment. We build those now for our clients, and these are amazing, because once someone goes through the program, they totally know what they're doing, and then we put them into an apprenticeship to make sure that they can totally do what they just learned, and then we work out a way so that they can make money right out of the gate. When they're making money, they will renew next year, they will attend our programs, and that's how we build multiple reoccurring streams of revenue.
Robert Plank: That's cool, and I think what I've been hearing a lot from you, Mitch, as far as the stories that you're telling, is that there's a lot of the little details and little bit of course correction, right? As opposed to just saying, like you said... Some people offer their certification, and it's like when you send in to buy a doctorate for like $500 or something.
Mitch Russo: Yeah.
Robert Plank: It's like, "Okay. Here's the money." "Thanks, you're certified," and that would be great for just a little one-off sale, but then that's not a real long-term business. It sounds like, with everything you do, you make sure that you understand... When someone buys from you, there's a clear reason why they're buying from you, what they're going to get from you, and then what that will lead to afterwards, so now they get certified, go through the apprenticeship to make sure that they're 100% there, but then now they have their own kind of business. I think that's pretty cool.
Mitch Russo: Yeah. If you think of everything as a progression... and by the way, you do a great job of this. I really love the way you guys do this, but you've got to think of business as, "Okay. Well, you could sell somebody something, and you can make some money, but what will they need next, and where should they go next, if they're successful with the last thing you sold them?" As long as you keep that in mind as you begin this path of product creation and of leading people through how to create something of value that you know how to do, then you're going to be successful, and you can have a sustained income from helping others all the time. That's how I see it.
Robert Plank: What will they need next? That's pretty good advice, just in general.
Mitch Russo: Exactly, exactly. In my case, when I enter a business contract with a client, I don't just sell them some consulting services, "Pay me some money, and I'll talk to you or work with you for 3 months until your program launches." When you sign a contract with me, we are together for a minimum of 3 years, and the reason I want it to be long-term is because there is going to be a series of changes as your tribe grows and develops. There will be problems and questions that come up that I know I can answer for you, that if I left you alone, you might choose the wrong path and destroy what we've just spent so much time and money to build.
My goal is to guide my clients to the point so that this isn't just a little itty-bitty 7-figure program at the end of 3 years. It's generating $3 to $5 million consistently year after year, and it does, so-
My end goal here is not to build a one-shot sale. It's to build lifetime relationships with everyone I come in contact with.
Robert Plank: Cool. Along those lines of what you were just mentioning about how some of these companies, they're at a certain point, and then as they mature or their size changes, they have a different set of needs. I understand that you have a book called The Invisible Organization, which is all about getting companies to go virtual. Is that right?
Mitch Russo: Yes. Yes, and the book that I wrote is really... At the time I wrote it, I poured everything that I learned about building Tony Robbins' and Chet Holmes' business breakthroughs. As a virtual company, we had 300 people attached to the company, and I ran the whole thing from my spare bedroom, and I traveled all over the world. I'm an award winning photographer as well, so I would sneak away, and I'd be in Iceland or Jordan or Morocco or any of the places that I do travel to all over the world, and I could still run the company from a laptop, which is just so thrilling to me, but not just a little solo company. I'm talking about a full-blown $25 million in sales a year company with 300 people.
Robert Plank: Crazy. How is it done from just you in your spare bedroom?
Mitch Russo: Well, first of all, like anything else, it takes some planning. I work with my maps. I love my mapping, and so I tend to do a bit of overplanning every single thing that I do. When I work with a client, the first thing I do is I start building mind maps of the entire business model and process that shows every step of the way, what's supposed to happen, and what should happen if what we expect doesn't happen. We're prepared with contingency plans across the board.
When you start with good plans and great thinking, the next thing you need are good people to execute. I surround myself with the best people that I can, and that's one of the great secrets of building a virtual organization, because I know other really smart people who want the same lifestyle as I do, who want great money, who want to be able to work from home or from wherever they tend to be. My VP of sales spent 2 months a year in Hawaii and ran the entire sales division and didn't miss a beat, because we were a virtual organization. She showed up for her sales meetings everyday, did her training everyday. Nothing was lost by the process.
In fact, Stanford University did a study, a landmark study, called Does Working from Home Work, and in that study, it showed that 13% productivity increases across the board were possible for people who would be working from home. If you interview these people, whether they're low-end telephone sales people or high-end executives, what we really find out is that they're even more productive working from home than working at a company. They save hours driving a car, burning gasoline, and wearing out an automobile, and they save frustration, that like-sucking commute that most people hate. You don't have that commute. I certainly don't. Why should half the world have to get into a car every morning and battle traffic in rain and sleet and snow and have accidents and spend money on gas and eat out for lunches that are unhealthy when you could have a life building a virtual company? That's what the book is about.
Robert Plank: That's cool. Yeah, in this day and age, with the Wi-Fi and the internet being so fast, there's no reason for anyone to deal with that commute. My mother used to wake up at 4:00 in the morning everyday just to get on the road by 5:00 or 6:00, just to drive 2 sometimes 3, 4 hours in traffic just to start the day at 8:00 or 9:00, once she got to work. I mean, ridiculous. Yeah, just to save that amount of time everyday, that's the dream, and especially that particular person that you mentioned, living in Hawaii. I mean, that's the life right there, right? You have your passion. You do what you love. You do the work stuff. You earn the money, but you're also living on the beach everyday. It's pretty cool.
Mitch Russo: Exactly. By the way, without disclosing names or numbers, that person made over $500,000 that particular year that they were in Hawaii. Their productivity actually went up. They were happier people, and they did a better job. Let's take it down to the base level. Next time you get on the phone to make an airline reservation, I know that you don't get on the phone a lot, you do it over the web, but if you ever call Southwest Airlines or JetBlue, ask the person on the other end of the phone how they like working from home, because their entire call center is home-based.
Robert Plank: Nice.
Mitch Russo: Thousands and thousands of people that could have been dragged into the city to sit in a miserable call center everyday are now working from home where they could eat the food that they like, walk the dog when they will like. One woman I interviewed got rid of a second car. They didn't need it anymore, and now she's there to make dinner for her husband, and then after dinner, she goes back into the den and gets on the phone with customers and helps them with reservations. She loved it.
Robert Plank: That's cool. It sounds like all these people who are working virtually, they don't have to give up anything. If anything, they're gaining something, and that's always the thing you always think, "Oh, if they're working from home, they must not be motivated," or, "They must be getting paid less," but it seems like why would you pay someone less? If you're a company and you're paying someone to work from home, why would you pay them less if you're saving money on their office space, on their parking spot, on all that stuff? It sounds like it's win-win for everybody.
This book is for people who want to transform their company into a virtual company, or who is this for exactly?
Mitch Russo: That is exactly who it's for. If you go to InvisibleOrganization.com, it's the book site, and it will say exactly who it's for. It's for CEOs who are running companies and who understand that saving money on things like real estate insurance, heat, air conditioning, telephone lines, internet service contracts, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. If you're a CEO and you want to save that money, buy this book and see exactly how it's done.
Robert Plank: Cool. Well, I like the idea for that book. I think that's a pretty good message. Are there any other websites where people should go, other than InvisibleOrganization.com, to find out more about you, Mitch?
Mitch Russo: Yeah. Actually, the main website for me is simply mitchrusso.com. All my stuff is there. All my other training programs and business stuff is there.
Mitch Russo: My pleasure, Robert.
Damon "DaRil" Nailer, New Orleans native and author of "A Greater Taste of Success" talks mindset, passion, consistency, balance, and consistency. His message will help anyone who's looking for that combination of finding something you're good at, something you're passionate about, an activity or service where others receive satisfaction, and something you can do for free. Check it out right now!
Damon Nailer: Everything is going well Robert I can't complain, just enduring some hot weather but besides that everything is dandy, I can't complain.
Robert Plank: I see you're in Louisiana, we have some hot weather here in California but I prefer the hot.
Damon Nailer: Well here it is extremely hot we have been having triple digit temperatures so its been pretty hot but like you said you prefer the hot out there but here, with the humidity, its just awful sometimes.
Robert Plank: It just kills you, so all the more reason to stay inside and make some money. Tell me about yourself, tell me what it is that you do, and how you got started and your story and all of that.
Damon Nailer: Well I do so much but most importantly I'm a music producer, a speaker, and an author and a business owner. I own a janitorial service and I do that as well. But I've just released an inspirational E-Book entitled "A Greater Taste of Success" and it's the second addition in my inspirational books. The first one was "The Great Taste of Success" and so this is the second edition. I've also just released a non-fictional book, that's actually a book about Revelation in the bible and we kind of talk about that, analyze and interpret and teach the content found in that book. I'm also a speaker so I do different motivational speeches, I do seminars, I do workshops, ministry opportunities for us to talk in religious institutions. I just speak in a variety of settings and like I said last but not least; I also own a janitorial service. We clean different buildings here in my city and so I just do all of those things.
Robert Plank: It sounds like a lot of fun, but how do you keep all of that straight? How do you do the authoring and the speaking and janitorial stuff and then the motivation and the music? How do you do all of that?
Damon Nailer: I always tell people to balance it out, I just consider myself part time in all of those things besides being a father, husband, and christian, those things are full time. But everything else is part time, and I I'm able to juggle my schedule and make the time to do it. I know with the writing and with the music, I basically do it as I'm inspired, as the inspiration comes and I'm able to write down a lot of information and i basically keep everything as I do my research and as I'm feeling inspired. Then when its time to create a project or do a book, I've already complied all the information and that's why it makes it easier for me to do different projects and to put together different books because I'm always studying, always compiling information, always being inspired and I just gather everything, and when its time we just put it all together. That's basically how I do it, just being part time with everything, and whatever it slowing the most, that's the direction I go in.
Robert Plank: That's cool and would you say that just the fact that you have so many things happening at once and you kind of have to go at a super fast pace or else you fall behind. Would you say that, that helps your creative process a lot?
Damon Nailer: Yes it does, it does because I experience so much on a day to day basis. I'm constantly meeting people and connecting with a variety of people, such as yourself, with a variety of great people. I love it, I just love the fact that its spontaneous, you never know, its unpredictable. It goes from day to day its exciting and its an interesting journey, and as a result I love it, its so flexible, and you never know what's going to happen, and I love it.
Robert Plank: I like it too and that's an awesome way of looking at it, just any day, that anything could happen, depending on what strikes, right?
Damon Nailer: Yes, exactly.
Robert Plank: Cool so, about your motivation and your mindset and everything, a lot of people talk about those kinds of subjects, what makes you special in that area?
Damon Nailer: What makes me special is my variety of experiences and also I'm a former educator and I have an advantage there because one of the things that they taught us in college, in preparing us to become teachers is that; you have to motivate your students and in each lesson you have to literally create what was called a motivation. That's what would lead an inspire the students to get them prepared and opened to learning and because of my experience in a variety of settings, I know how to motivate, I've had to motivate myself in each of the settings, and basically one advantage I have as well is that I started each of the things that I'm doing. I didn't just buy from someone else or walk into something that someone else started, I had to start it and when you are the trend setting and the originator; you have to be motivated and because I'm motivated, its easy for me to inspire and motivate others because I'm already motivated.
One thing that I've realized that a lot of people did not is that motivation is internal and if its already in you, all you have to do is release it and with me having that understanding, its just a pleasant gift and its consistent and I just love motivating and inspiring people and because of my various experiences I'm able to do it and I believe I have that edge and that advantage, opposed to many others.
Robert Plank: I like that, so what you're saying is; if you're completely lacking in the motivation, it cannot be taught but most of us have it within us, it just needs to be unlocked.
Damon Nailer: Yes, we all have it within us and that's what I try to help people to understand; the key to finding your motivation is actually finding your passion. You say " well how do I find my passion?" You find your purpose. Once you find that, then you will automatically be motivated and that is what has happened to me, I've discovered what I call my " Diamond to give things" and I actually teach a workshop to help people find their diamond or their gift or gifts, if they have more than one, they're multi talented, multi faceted. Once you find that, and you tap into that, you begin to operate in it, then motivation is just automatic. For instance, if you look at athletes, you look at recording artists or whomever, once they find that that is their gift, it doesn't take a whole lot of motivation.
Can you imagine it doesn't take LeBron James much motivation to go play basketball, it doesn't take the recording artist, Katy Perry, it doesn't take much motivation to go into the studio and record. Why? It is because they have found their passion, they have found what they were created and purposed to do, and with it automatically comes that energy and inspiration and that desire and passion to do it.
Robert Plank: I like it, it just flows.
Damon Nailer: Yes, it does, it really does. I mean it becomes first nature, I know that other people say that is is second nature but for me its first nature. Especially doing this, I love to do this, I could do this all day and just knowing I'm on a talk show and I'm talking to someone, I'm sharing and inspiring people, that in itself motivates me. I could have all kinds of things going on in my life and I have had all sorts of things going on in my life, but you give me the opportunity to share and inspire and educate people, all of those things are pushed to the back burner and people's inspiration and motivation becomes the priority and I'm able to do it.
Robert Plank: I love it, so you're saying that we all have, that thing and that its different for every person, but we all have that thing that not only were we born to do it but we probably do it for free.
Damon Nailer: Exactly, you're just leading right into some great things, my philosophy is that; all men are created with a skill and a mission to fulfill. What I do with my gift seminar or gift workshop, I'm just going to give some examples here, some free information, its really powerful though. I have four questions that I tell people that "if you can ask yourself four things then you can find something that fits each of these categories, then you will find your diamond and gift". The first question is "What are you good at doing?" You have to be brutally honest, you have to be objective, the more objective you are, the more accurate you'll be at finding your gift. The second question is "What are you passionate about doing?" Some people are passionate about things, but they're not really good at them. For instance, American Idol, that's a prime example. A lot of those people are passionate about singing, but they're not good at it, somebody has deceived them and didn't want to hurt their feelings and so here we are; passionate but not skilled.
The third question is "What do you do that affects others" or "What do you do that others receive satisfaction and fulfillment as you do it?" That deals with effectiveness. The last question is "What can you do for free and still receive full satisfaction from it? What can you do as a volunteer and still receive full satisfaction?" If you can find something that fits all four of those categories, then you will find your diamond and gift, because I've done some other things that I haven't mentioned, but in most cases, I couldn't do the volunteerism as far as doing it for free, and then I lacked the passion for it, somewhere along the line. As a result I had to get rid of those things out of my life, and now I'm only really doing the things that fit those four categories, and that's what you want to do. Once you find that, I'm telling you, you will be automatically motivated.
Robert Plank: I like it, so what you're good at, what you're passionate about, something where others receive satisfaction, and then something that you would do for free. I like how that last little bit at the end you said that you can always go back and reassess, I think that helps so much because I think that a lot of us will look at two out of the four or three out of the four and say "All right well, I'm good at this I enjoy doing that, people get value from it, I'm just going to go and start off in this direction" Then sometimes five or ten years later we end up way down a path and we just ended up compromising one thing after another, maybe it was for family reasons or for money reasons, we end up in a place that we don't want to go. The way that I like that you laid that out is; even if you think that maybe you've gotten off track, or maybe you need to course correct, you can just run it through those four questions and get the instant answer.
Damon Nailer: That's it, now what happens sometimes, I'm glad you mentioned that, sometimes for income you may have to start something or create something possibly where you can employ others to do it and just be able to have the income to invest in your passion and if you're not able to start something where you can employ others and you have to employ yourself, then I always say "Just pursue your passion to some capacity. You may have to do it as supplemental income or you might have to do it as volunteering, as long as you are making enough income to sustain yourself, to sustain your family and to sustain whatever it is that you're trying to do." My thing is that I always like to inspire and emphasize to people to pursue their passion in some capacity, if you just have to do it for thirty minutes, a week or a few hours a week, just do it to some capacity because its therapeutic. It literally helps you with what you're going through in life, its just that gift that keeps on giving and that's why we're created.
We have to just find that and in some kind of way use it, because in blessing others, it also is going to bless you.
Robert Plank: I like that, even if you only have three minutes to do it, just a little bit of that everyday, its so simple but so powerful.
Damon Nailer: Yes, I mean that little bit of time, it makes the difference because Robert, what would happen is that so many people on a day to day basis is that they're going and putting in eight, ten, twelve, or sometimes even sixteen hours in a career and even in gifts that they have but its not their diamond and gift things and so because of it they're not fulfilled still. There's something inside of them, tugging at them, pulling at them, to go into another direction, but like you stated earlier because of their financial situation they bite the bullet, they suck it up and they go put in those grievous and long and boring hours just to make the money at the cost of their passion. That's what I'm saying, find some kind of way to pursue that passion and it will help you to get through with your normal job.
That is what would happen to me when I was teaching, like I said that was one of my gift things, but at the end I began to lose that passion and what kept me stimulated and kept me with the ability to endure it until I was able to leave it was the fact that I was still pursuing my passion, which at that time was the music. I was still recording and doing music while I was teaching and that's what really helped is that I stayed motivated and I stayed positive because I was able to pursue my passion to some capacity.
Robert Plank: I mean lets talk about that, lets talk a little bit about your teaching days when you had to balance the teaching part of it and then the musical side, does this all come naturally to you, like did you have all this multitasking and such, did you have it all figured out, or were there some obstacles you had to overcome to get to this point?
Damon Nailer: Well I think the multi tasking actually came automatically with me being multi faceted, some kind of guide just helped me to figure it out and be able to prioritize and multi task effectively but no it really wasn't a big strain. A big strain as I was saying earlier, is I'm inspired, I just write and I just started to produce the music and it kind of made me work ahead and so at those times I would just find some kind of time to devote to the music and it really wasn't too bad. It wasn't hard, I even taught year around several times, I did summer school as well as the regular school sessions and so still in all I made the time to dedicate myself to the music and I was able to sacrifice, sometimes it might mean sacrificing sleep, sometimes it might mean sacrificing some fun things and whatever it takes to pursue that passion to some capacity.
I just tried to encourage people to do so but yes it wasn't really that hard, it wasn't a contradictory where it was going into another direction and spreading me thin, I was able to do both effectively and even now with the additional titles, I'm able to do it all effectively.
Robert Plank: I like that, you made the time to make it happen and I mean I'm sure you hear that cheesy stuff all the time about how "everyone only has twenty four hours in a day" or "if you need something done ask a busy person" and I have friends where that's happened over and over again where they were spread too thin and they couldn't get a lot done but as soon as their life got busy, they had an unexpected child or they got laid off from their job. Some big dramatic event kind of forced them to be this kind of person that they always could have been but because maybe their life was kind of safe or kind of cushioned, there were no real stakes, they didn't have a reason to excel and once these things happened, which a lot of people would have looked at as a bad thing, they would say "oh my gosh I have this new kid, I have all these expenses, all this time is locked up." But I think that all of us entrepreneurs see all that adversity as kind of fuel to do better.
Damon Nailer: Yes and that's what actually happens, sometimes to push a person out of that nest like the eagle does its eaglets, that's what has to happen. As you said its something traumatic, something dramatic that really pushes you because to be an entrepreneur it takes faith and you have to walk and believe in something that sometimes has not yet materialized and you have to go in that direction believing that, that is going to happen. Sometimes, as you were saying, because people are stuck in a rut and just that comfort zone, that predictability knowing that "okay I get paid here, I get paid this much every month or every two weeks" however often they're paid, and its a security but once that is upset or is shifted or is compromised, all of a sudden now you have to make moves.
You have to do things that you wouldn't normally do, now you're literally flowing on adrenaline and adrenaline really gives you superhuman strength and that's what happens to some people but there are others who it doesn't take just all the opposition and they're able to launch out and do it, I guess people consider that risky, but at the same time those people have the fate where their back is not up against the wall but they're just going to step out and do it anyway. Either way it goes, as long as it gets done.
Robert Plank: Whatever gets you there right?
Damon Nailer: That's it.
Robert Plank: Well cool so as we're winding down today's call, do you see a number one mistake or a common repeat thing that people are making over and over when it comes to any area of improving their lives, what's the mistake that keeps creeping up over and over again?
Damon Nailer: I think its consistency, I would say that is the greatest issue, the greatest stumbling block, the greatest hindrance, is consistency. Many people are great at starting, but they don't get the ability or the mindset of being able to consistently do it on a day to day or weekly or monthly basis and that's really what makes the difference between the average, the good, and the great. You have to be able to do it consistently, you have to be able to do it on a whim and just all the time and that's where people fall off. Many people start businesses, they continue for a year or a few years, but to be consistent in what you're doing, that's very important and I believe that is the greatest obstacle to some people. It comes with the motivation again, being able to motivate yourself on a day to day, month to month, weekly basis, to do what you need to do and that's what it boils down to, being consistent.
Robert Plank: I like it, be a finisher not a dabbler.
Damon Nailer: Yes, that's it.
Robert Plank: Well cool, I don't want to keep you too long Damon, and I like everything you've had to say here and I mean I'm looking at your website, looking at all you have here; your Cds, and your books. Where should people go to find out more about you and what it is that you do?
Damon Nailer: They can go to daril.org that's my most comprehensive site and it has all of my information concerning the books, them music, my speaking engagements, the web seminars. Its all there, www.daril.org.
Robert Plank: And could you restate one more time the name of that new book that just came out of yours?
Damon Nailer: "The Greater Taste of Success" and that's available at my website daril.org and then the other one is Revelation; write and reveal, that's available on Amazon and Barns and Nobles and any major book sites there.
Robert Plank: Awesome, everywhere on the internet. Well cool I really appreciate having you here, I like your message, I liked all the knowledge bombs that you dropped so I'm really glad you came here, I think everyone should check out Daril.org and get all your books because you're an awesome guy.
Damon Nailer: Thanks so much Robert, you're an awesome guy and we appreciate what you're doing, really having a platform to help entrepreneurs and help aspiring entrepreneurs and so keep on keeping on and we just appreciate the opportunity thank you so much.
116: Profitable Popularity: Be Interesting, Build Popularity and Use Social Media to Make Money with Rachna Jain
Dr. Rachna Jain from Profitable Popularity talks to us about social media marketing, traffic, and results. She's noticed that many online business owners simply use social media to "chase a number" instead of making their efforts profitable. She talks about her M6 model, how to get noticed, and shares with us lots of helpful mini-breakthroughs and tips on how to overcome common issues you might be facing with your marketing.
Rachna Jain: Oh thank you so much. I'm glad to be here.
Robert Plank: We were just talking before the show that we've both spoken at the same event and I know that you've used Backup Creator and Webinar Crusher. That's all about me, but I'm more curious about you and what you do. Where's your website and what is it that you do that makes you different and special?
Rachna Jain: Yes, my website is profitablepopularity.com. Really that website and my whole business model grew out of the idea that a lot of people were building these huge followings in social media or trying to, but they didn't actually have a business model that they could make money from or be profitable. My whole goal is to really help people to become more well-known, but also to help them become more profitable and build a sustainable business at the same time. I tend to work with people who you consider to be thought leaders or visionary entrepreneurs, people who have a message and a purpose, and they are needing some help creating the business structures to be able to build an online business and gain attention and be able to make money from it.
Robert Plank: I like that, and I think that what I see a lot happen with a lot of these people with social media is they either get too far down the rabbit hole or it ends up taking up all kinds of time, or they end up doing all these little tasks that seem like they're just a waste just to get a number appearing. Wasn't there like a service a few years where you could get your Twitter score or something like that?
Rachna Jain: Yeah, there absolutely were and they still are services like Cloud and Empire Cred. They're always ranking you on on how much engagement you could get, and you get points for it. I don't know if you can redeem the points for anything, but yeah-
Robert Plank: It feels good.
Rachna Jain: Exactly, it feels good. I think that there's still a lot of focus. I think people have the false assumption that just because they're very visible, they'll automatically become very profitable. That is a mistake. I've had people come to me and they say things like, "Well I want to have 10,000 Facebook fans." I'll say, "Okay, so what are you going to do with 10,000 Facebook fans?" They really have no idea. They really are pursuing the number more than actually what the meaning of that could be for their business. I think that there's still a lot of desire to be seen and recognized and lauded and applauded and all those things without people really understanding that that's not all it takes to build a business.
Robert Plank: What do they have to do? How do they get from being the person who chases the number to someone whose social media activity actually pays off?
Rachna Jain: Absolutely. I use a model that I've developed. It's called the M6 model. It really relies on the idea of having an understanding of a very specific market, building a very strong message, and then building a business model that can support getting that message out. There's more steps to it, but those are the first three steps. I've been working online since 1998 and social media didn't even exist then. When social media began to become a force that it is today, you begin to see a lot of people using social media as a way to talk to everyone at the same time. What I began to observe about 2008 and that's continuing even today is this concept of microfragmentation where people are selecting into smaller and smaller groups. At first, we were all excited that we could even find each other online. Now, you find that the groups are becoming more and more targeted and more and more specific. Our messaging has to change too where we're not really looking to talk to everyone; we're looking to talk to just one person in a very specific group.
There's a lot of work that has to be done around that because again, people get seduced or they get swayed by the idea that because they can talk to 10,000 people at once that they really ought to try to do that. That tends to be the least effective way.
Robert Plank: I've seen along with you the way that the social media stuff has evolved. Maybe you can clear up what's the right way to go about it as far as talking to everyone or talking to a few, or maybe there's a right way or maybe everyone has their own unique way. When you mentioned the things that you're mentioning, I'm thinking about Old Spice or Dollar Shaving Club. A lot of people, it seems like they want to replicate that. They want to repeat the magic. Then on the other extreme of that what I've noticed a lot of is, I can't remember if it was Coca-Cola or Head & Shoulders but there's been some companies and I've seen them do things like, for example, on Facebook they'll post the same message but in different languages and target it to each of their audiences. They'll post the English message and then post it in Spanish but only to the Spanish-speaking crowd. I thought that was interesting segmentation.
Rachna Jain: Ot absolutely really is interesting. The thing about it though, for a big brand like Coke or any of the large brands, they do it as a way of constantly raising awareness. My guess is they don't need to tie it to income-earned or result obtained as tightly as us small business owners do. I really think that when you're looking to build an audience online, I think that the idea is to really be as targeted as you can, as specific as possible. You want to definitely talk about what is interesting to that group or those people. If you're building it on your personal profile, you obviously want to also be a real person. You don't just want to be constantly talking about work all the time, but you want to share about what's important to you. I think that the key in really getting noticed at this point, and examples you gave about Dollar Shave Club and all the people like that, they're really really good at telling stories and they're really good at telling stories that interrupt and gather attention.
Anyone can build a powerful story out of their life and business if they know how. Being able to interrupt attention and stop the mindless Facebook scrolling by grabbing someone's attention and being able to tell a good story that's compelling. I think that that sort of skillset is within the reach of entrepreneurs of all sizes.
Robert Plank: That's cool. By you breaking it down even in just those two terms, have a story and have an interrupt. That way, it can help people make sense of the things that they're seeing on social media that are getting them to pay attention and then figuring out a way to replicate it for themselves. Could you walk us through a little bit about that? Could just tell us about maybe a client you've had or something like that where their social media just maybe wasn't very effective and then you went in and added in their own story and their own pattern interrupt to make it better?
Rachna Jain: I work a lot with people who are coming onto the internet from professional services. I have a background in psychology so it's not surprising that I get a lot of psychologists and therapists who want to work with me and they're looking to build an online following for some of their clinical expertise, but they're looking to bring it to a larger audience. They're a perfect example. They come online and they talk about a lot of things in very jargon-y ways, things that only other therapists would actually know or understand. There's one client that I'm actually working with now who is seeking to develop an online training course and some coaching. We're still working out what she's going to offer, but what she's really looking to is she's really looking to help women have more self-esteem. The way that she had began talking about it online, doing Facebook Live videos for example, is she was just starting with, "Hi, I'm a therapist and I've worked with women. Are you very depressed? Do you have any confidence?" She would go on and on about without even finding a way to engage people originally.
Then as we began to look at her videos, and we're still working on some of the messaging in her story, but we began to talk about, "You starting off with an introduction about yourself is not what's going to grab people. What's going to grab people is something that is like a feeling that you've taken a slice or a cut out of their daily life. It would be something like, 'Oh, did you look in the mirror this morning and absolutely hate how you looked? Did you get sick of feeling that way, or are you sick of feeling that way?' Then being able to go into some story about how she can help." Really direct language, something that really lets you put yourself in the conversation that your potential client is already having, and being able to build a story about that and how you can help.
Robert Plank: There's some cool things in there. Aside from just posting the content you post with the intent of solving a problem, the whole thing of stopping them and asking a question. That seems like an easy way to uncover that interrupting question without having to spend all day or all month trying to figure out, "Are you ___________ almost? Do you hate your appearance in the mirror? Are you tired? Are you stressed out?" It seems like just right there alone saying, "Are you ____________?" just seems like an easy way to create some social content.
Rachna Jain: I think it absolutely does. Of course there's different things you can do like in Facebook Live versus an ad on Facebook. You just have to be aware of what your message is and the content is based on the mechanism that you're using to get people to watch or take action. I think asking a question is a really good interrupt. I think also using surprise or things that people don't think go together, something like, "What I learned about sleep from staying up all night," or, "What I learned about being a good mother even though I don't have kids." Just things that people would feel interested in like, "Wow, what does somebody who doesn't have kids know about being a mother?" Or, "What can you learn about sleep from not sleeping?" Anything that creates some interest or some intrigue I think is another really easy way, and a good way to do it is to take opposites and say, "If I tie these two opposites together, do I come up with anything that's worth talking about?"
Robert Plank: That's pretty cool. It just gets that curiosity going. As you were explaining, something that I think I've noticed just in the last couple of months ago and I'm not sure if it was always there or not, but it seems like what I've noticed very recently is that a lot of people are posting on Twitter and they're posting on Facebook with the intent of impressing their peers not their customers. You mentioned doctors and psychologists. A lot of people like you said, they'll mention the jargon or they'll mention their credentials. I look at it and I'm not really sure why some of these things are being posted. Are you seeing that? Maybe like psychologists might be posting things to impress other psychologists as opposed to actually help people?
Rachna Jain: I think it's actually less conscious than that. I think what everyone's trying to do when they do that is they're trying to build credibility which is actually a very positive and useful thing. I think it's just the difference between the way that you get credibility in the offline world has historically been "Where did you go to school?" "What kind of education do you have? "What kind of job do you have?" "How much money do you make?" "What kind of car do you drive?" All those kinds of things that are status symbols or could be credibility symbols. I think online for all of us, it's just our picture and whatever we say about ourselves. Nobody necessarily is going to see the car that you drive or where you live or anything like that. I think that people use some of those same mechanisms that they would use offline. They try to bring them online, and the challenge becomes exactly what you raised. People feel like, "Well why is relevant or why do I care?" I really care more about your information than I care that you graduated in x, y, z, year with this degree.
Robert Plank: The question is, "Why do I care?" I like that because one thing that I've been thinking about when I try my own social media or I have a couple coaching clients who are starting to get into this kind of stuff, one thing that comes to mind is one of our favorite people is a doctor. Being a doctor, there's that paradox there where like you said, if he gets too much about the credentials then he's out of touch in the Ivory Tower but then he sometimes tries to do some kind of aggressive marketing. This doctor has a procedure where it involves taking the blood and reinjecting it and stuff like that, so he branded himself as the Vampire Doctor but then he gets to the point where it's almost like a little too shady. It's this doctor who's doing important stuff. Is the answer just to put it through the filter of "why do I care?", or do you have any other insights about that? Like how to avoid either being too out of touch or too much like the convenience store or the shady back alley?
Rachna Jain: Exactly. I think that in that case, what you're really looking at is you're looking for subtle ways to credentialize yourself. You obviously can say that, "I'm a doctor of such-and-such," or, "I've studied here." You don't need to spend 20 minutes talking about that, but then I think through the course of your presentation, the way that you present yourself speaks volumes about who you are and how you are. Then I think any time you can use real life examples, like you asked me at the beginning if I could talk about a client. I'm not sure if that's exactly what you meant, but it was a way to credentialize me also because just the fact that I have clients who pay me makes me more of an expert. If I were a physician and I was going to talk about what I did, I'd really focus a lot more on the outcomes and the benefits. If I were doing this blood reinjection thing, I might shy away from that a little bit and save that for a little bit later in the process. I definitely would credentialize myself.
This is something that these celebrities use, this is something that the top athletes use. It's the same mechanism that helps so-and-so place in the Olympics or anything like that. Any time you can credentialize yourself, you can use these subtle ways of saying "other people trust me and you should too," like social proof. Any time you can tie it to some kind of news story or current event, it gives people a hook that they can tap into and they can immediately understand, and they're more likely to pay attention because that's something that's equally relevant going on.
Robert Plank: I like the real world case study stuff anyway because that's more interesting as opposed to just talking about some abstract concepts. Hooking me into a story is a lot more fun for me.
Rachna Jain: Yeah, absolutely. Stories are our oldest form of oral communication. There's a long history that we're all oriented to pay attention to stories.
Robert Plank: Oh yeah. That makes a lot of sense to me, and that resonates a lot with me too. As we're winding this down in the last five minutes or so of this, aside from everything that we've covered already what's the number one mistake you're seeing people making on social media? Like you see all kinds of people going wrong with this.
Rachna Jain: I think again, that sense of gathering people who are just numbers rather than interested fans or followers. I think talking too much about themselves, using their social media as a broadcast platform rather than a dialoguing or connecting platform. I think that as a business, you also just want to be really careful at how you present yourself around topics that are really charged. This whole election thing that's going on, there's people who are feeling the need to express their distinct opinions politically one way or the other and it's causing them some challenges within their community. It's not that they shouldn't have their opinions, but I use Facebook as a hybrid. I use it for social and for business, so I'm always aware of how what I say personally is going to have impact on my brand or my business also.
I think that there's times where people who run business, they forget that people are paying attention to everything and whatever you say or do as an individual person, it does have impact on how people perceive your brand. To have an awareness of that, like if you're just using it for social interaction that's completely fine but if you're thinking it's going to become a platform by which you build your business brand and make contacts and get clients and things like that as well, you just need to be aware of how some of your personal opinions may be taken. In the normal course of my work, I never talk to be about their politics. It wouldn't be something that I would lead with on social media either, for example.
Robert Plank: It seems like especially with the political stuff, it's easy to get attention that way but maybe it's the wrong kind of attention.
Rachna Jain: Yeah, and you just have to think. I'm certain that there's clients that I have and we have different political views, but it's not relevant to the work we do so it never comes up. I would hate that I have a really good relationship with a client of mine, they see something that I posted on Facebook that they disagree with, and it creates a rupture in our working relationship just because I was so passionate about something. I'm not saying that's right for everyone. I'm just saying that that's how I navigate the line for myself.
Robert Plank: Yeah, that gets kind of scary because every now and then, there's always some celebrity like Gilbert Godfrey or someone who just says one little remark and then loses all kinds of business and clients.
Rachna Jain: Absolutely, and loses all kinds of credibility. It's like one small action, people lose big endorsements, they lose status, they lose all kinds of things. It's just something that I think that is important to consider if you're planning to use a social media for business.
Robert Plank: Double-edged sword sounds like.
Rachna Jain: Yeah, I think so.
Robert Plank: Cool. As we're winding this down, social media stuff's always changing. Do you have a really cool, cutting edge strategy or tool or website that you're using to do all this social marketing?
Rachna Jain: Actually, I really do things the old-fashioned way because I'm really about strategy and not tools. The tools come and go, but if you really are clear on what your strategy is you can find the tools to make that happen. One thing though I think is a really big deal that most people want to pay attention to right now is the huge rise in visual marketing. Even if you have blog posts, find ways to turn them into images and memes and infographics. I've been actually recently just putting a lot of stuff up on Slideshare again. Really looking at ways to turn your message into multiple formats and get it in front of people who can consume it easily. Look at how you can turn written content into visuals and be able to put them on Instagram and Pinterest and Slideshare, and a bunch of other sites like that.
Robert Plank: As opposed to just that boring old text.
Rachna Jain: Correct, as opposed to just that.
Robert Plank: With the Twitter stuff, I've been having fun with Giphy with the animated GIFs but maybe a little too much fun.
Rachna Jain: Exactly. Again, moderation in all things but yes, things like Giphy also can work really really well.
Robert Plank: It gets attention. If most people are not using that attention-getting tool, then I'm fine using it.
Rachna Jain: Absolutely.
Robert Plank: I like everything you have to say and I like your message, and you had lots of really good advice. Could you tell everyone where to go and find you and your blog and your coaching and your books and all that good stuff?
Rachna Jain: Sure. You can visit me online at my website which is ProfitablePopularity.com.
Robert Plank: Awesome. Nice and simple, gets you there. Profitable Popularity, and then it looks like everything is available from there. Awesome. ProfitablePopularity.com. Dr. Rachna Jain, I'm super glad that you came here and you shared a lot of stuff. The number one thing I like about what you shared with us is just that you didn't say, "Okay, it all relies on this one super fancy tool that's cutting edge, just came out." It's just the strategy and just little things that you notice. For example, if the trend now is visual marketing and images, instead of relying on some fancy-schmancy tool to do it just do it yourself and model what's working.
Rachna Jain: Yes.
Robert Plank: Thanks for being on the show and sharing your insights on social media. It was a pleasure having you.
Rachna Jain: Thanks so much, Robert.
115: Unlock the Gates to Unlimited Success By Finding the Right Business Coach with Kory Livingstone
Accomplished pianist, composer, songwriter, and entrepreneur Kory Livingstone, author of the book Quiet Determination drops by and tells us what separates good business coaches from bad coaches, as well as what you should look for in a good coach.
Kory Livingstone: Thank you for having me, nice to be here.
Robert Plank: I'm glad to have you here. I really like when people put some or a lot of their personality into the things they have to say as opposed to just people saying I'm a business coach, I'm a turnaround coach and they don't really have much to say. I really like how the things that you have to say you've mixed them and combined them with your musician and the other business stuff you have to say as well.
Kory Livingstone: Yeah, my core is a musician, but don't be fooled, oh, he's only a musician. My book which is Quiet Determination: Unlocking the Gates to Unlimited Success is based on the lessons that I learned while studying music. In order to be successful in music there's a mindset, there's things you have to do in order to be successful in music. Successful in music, successful in life is the theme of the book. These are the lessons that I learned while I was studying music and I apply them to everything I do in life. It's like a hammer. You can use a hammer to hammer in this type of nail, that type of nail, a screwdriver for this, that, all these things. These are the tools that are used in different situations. Whether you're building a house or a swimming pool or a garage or a wall or an addition, they all use the same hammer, the same tool.
Just because you're a musician it doesn't mean the tools you use to be successful to become a musician are not applicable to tools you have to use to be a successful lawyer, a doctor, a mechanic, a maintenance man, it doesn't matter. You have to have certain tools or I should say a mindset to be successful in life, period. What I have discovered when I wrote my book all these tools... Actually, it's a mindset and you've got to have a certain mindset to be successful. Coaching you have to have a mindset to be coached, to be coachable.
All the big businesses, all the big businesses right around the world they work on developing the talent within their own ranks either through seminars, conferences, take a course. This is coaching. It may come across as a seminar, whatever word you want to use, but the bottom-line is that it's coaching. They're trying to promote within their ranks, so they can really do... Everybody has talent. It's potential. Some of us use some of our talent, some of us use a lot of our talent, some of us use very little of our potential talent. It's there, so it's just
a matter of getting it out of you and that's what a coach does.
Robert Plank: That's cool. It seems like there's a lot of parallels and a lot of lessons that you learn from this area of being a musician that you now apply it in other areas is what you're saying.
Kory Livingstone: Exactly, just as I had a music teacher, but really a music coach. Athletes, professional athletes have coaches. That's where a lot of people go wrong and think oh, gee, I'm not an athlete, so how can I have a coach, I don't need a coach. No, coaching goes right across, right across all walks of life, financial, even leadership. There's certain... Coaching is just an amalgamation of a whole bunch of different things; consulting, psychology, leadership, management, training, counseling. Now you don't have... This sounds like gee, in order to be a coach I should be a psychologist or something like that. No. Yes, psychologists are coaches, but you don't have to be a certified psychologist to be a good coach.
Just look at any professional sports team. None of those coaches are what you would say qualified psychiatrists. They have grown up in the game, they've worked in the game, they know how to communicate with other people. They know how to get the best out of you that they can provided that you're coachable. You probably heard that particularly in professional sports. You've heard the phrase oh, so and so's not coachable. He's come in here, he thinks he knows it all. You know what the coach does? He lets so and so ride the bench for a game or two. This is a team sport, we're doing it my way, not your way and if you don't want to learn our system I don't care how... Great, you became number one draft choice and all that stuff, but you're not fitting in, you're going to ride the pine for awhile and then you'll gradually ...
Robert Plank: Put him in his place, take him down a peg or two.
Kory Livingstone: Yeah, down a peg or two. If you're not coachable... You're good, but you're only probably half as good as you're going to be by the time you hit your peak of your career. Young guys come in what 19, 20. They're still wet behind the ears. They've got 5 years of learning to do before they even start getting much better than they are. The time they become veterans... That's why they're veterans because they've been there for awhile and they know their stuff.
Robert Plank: Oh, yeah, and all that reminds me, when I was a kid I played baseball for about three years and then I was in school band for about five years. Year to year if we had a good music instructor that made a huge difference. That wasn't all the difference, but if we had an instructor who just half-assed it and didn't really take things too seriously then that would tank that whole music group for the whole year. If we had someone who knew how to challenge us and who knew how to manage us and who to arrange who where and knew how to get those
diamonds in the rough to come out that made a huge difference.
The other thing that that reminds me of is that on one extreme there were the other kids who the music talent came naturally. The other extreme a lot of them just didn't even care and didn't even try. I think most of us including me were in the middle where we weren't naturally gifted musicians. Just because we put aside, for example, an hour a day to practice because the music coach knew what areas to focus on that helped us all. I see a lot of parallels to what you're saying. Some people just don't try or some people come in with the attitude that they know everything, they've got the whole world figured out. That hurts them as well, so there's the two pieces of it. There's the instructor side, the coach side, and then there's whatever it is that they unlock within you.
Kory Livingstone: Exactly, and you bring up that about having the proper music instructor. There's two types. There's the kind of coach who will say do this, do that, practice page one, practice page two, page three, so on and so forth. They don't really take the time to go in and look at what your strengths are and what they are not and help you develop what your strengths are.
They've got to sit down, look at your strengths, look at your weaknesses and say let's look at... This is what you probably found with a good band teacher. They probably took the time to try and get to know you to see what your strengths were and what your weaknesses... Let's work on this, Robert. I think you should probably try working on that. You're doing this fine. It's just that little bit of communication because you have to connect with people. I'm sure you saw from the people who you've learned from, you learn more so from the people who made or at least tried to make a personal connection with you.
Robert Plank: Oh, yeah, instead of just giving you the same old cookie cutter, boring stuff everyone else does. What you're saying is as it relates to either being a business coach or getting a business coach that if you can find that coach who instead of just giving you the same steps they give to 10 other coaching clients they actually look at your business. They look at what you've done and haven't done and look at your strengths and weaknesses and from all that figure out the best course of action for you to take.
Kory Livingstone: Yeah, a good coach will ask you a lot of questions which again may surprise many of your listeners. I'm supposed to be getting information, aren't I? He's just asking me questions. Yeah, no, he's asking you questions for a purpose because in the end you really have the answers. They're all within you. If you need to find out a certain formula, let's say whatever it is. Obviously, he couldn't... You don't know what the formula is. Let's just say... I'm going to be very, very simple. I need to formulate how to make this certain type of glue let's say. Now the coach just may happen to have that formula. Oh, yeah, I work in glue, I can give you that. That may just be a certain thing or you may ask where I can I find this type of person. The coach may know, but it'd be better for you and even if the coach doesn't have to he'll say where do you think we could go to find this formula for glue, so he's again asking ...
It's all about accountability. You as the coachee must be 110% accountable which means yes, the coach will guide you. Okay, I think you can find that information on this glue recipe on the Internet. Have a look on there and see if you can find it, it should be there. Or they might say I have a contact, you can phone this guy and he might give you some information, but that's going to be a very small portion, 1 or 2%. The job of a coach is to guide you, to ask questions, to find out where you're going, so you'll by answering these questions you will give yourself your own answers. That's what a coach is going to do.
People are surprised that they... You may not have the answers in your own head, but you will know where to go to find the answers. The coach will show you or guide you where to go to find the answers. When all is said and done and you and your coach finally part ways you will have all these abilities. You'll have this awareness of how to solve particular problems, so that's the basic concept or the basic structure of good coaching.
Basically, a coach needs to find out as much as they can about the client in order to coach them, asking questions. They have to maintain communication. They should build a rapport that they really are interested in you. They will help you clarify your own statements maybe about your goal. By this time next year I want to be rich, that's your goal. A coach will ask what do you mean by rich? Lots of money in the bank. What's lots of money in the bank? Give me a figure, $10,000, $1 million. They help you take away these generalities that a lot of people have and get you specific, specific goals. A year from now I'm going to have $1 million in the bank, so that's clarifying that goal and then you go a little bit further.
Each question that the coach asks it helps the coach understand what your real problem is because you may think you have a problem which we're going to call problem A, but after asking a lot of questions the coach will make it clear to you that it's not problem A you have, it's problem B, just giving it another name. It's problem B and C. Problem A, what you think is a problem number A that is not a problem. Because of the questions he's asked he's been able to clarify more.
Then a coach will help you understand exactly what you're doing much better
and encourage you to think much deeper than what you're going because most people when they go to a coach they have a general idea or I would like, I want to, but they haven't got it down in black and white. It's not down in writing. The biggest thing that a coach will do is keep you focused on what you're doing. A coach will again ask you questions that came out of leftfield. A good coach will get a feel where you're going and where your weaknesses, where your strengths are, but he'll ask questions just out of leftfield. It all pertained to what you're doing, of course. You may have an answer for it and you may not. If you do that's great, if you don't there's another area where you have to explore.
The bottom-line of a coach, he keeps you accountable, you are accountable for your success. The coach is going to guide you. It's not going to be done for you. I don't know about you, but, Robert, I've gone to many seminars because we're always learning. It could be... Let's say I've gone to a seminar about giving speech... I'll say keynote speaking, but how to deliver a great keynote speech. They take you... They'll tell you about this and they tell you you have to do this. Let's say there's 25 steps to do a keynote speech and they tell you exactly what they are. Oh, yeah, I can do that, I can do that, I can do that, I can do that. You feel confident in your ability, but what they end up with is this. It's going to take you... This is how they try and scare you. Yeah, it'll take probably you 6 or 7 months to get it done just how we laid it out.
On the other hand, you can get it done for you for a big amount of money. It'll be done in 2 or 3 weeks and there you are, there's your keynote speech. What accountability have you done? You've taken no accountability for that speech. Do you know that speech? No, you're going to memorize it. Do you understand that speech? No, because someone else has written it for you and you've memorized it. Are you living that speech? No, you're just reciting that speech.
Bottom-line, you've taken no accountability and you may or may not believe half the things that are in that talk because it was done for you. Even though it follows the 25 points, but had you taken the time and been accountable and gone through each of the 25 points and built it up you would know exactly what you are talking about. That's what a coach does. You have to do this. A coach is not going to sit down and say here's the template. There you go, off you go. You are still not accountable. This is why a lot of people who have failed dreams... That's why there's a lot of people with failed dreams because they've tried to take the easy way out.
Robert Plank: I like that analogy a lot because it's like you said, there's all kinds of similarities you could connect to, to music, or in business, or in school, or anything. What you're describing there, the wrong way for coaches to go about it is almost like having you memorize just the facts and figures or just how to read music or just know how to hit the right notes and play the right times and things like that. There's no personalization, there's no repetition, there's no course correcting, stuff like that.
Kory Livingstone: Exactly, exactly. You have no skin in the game, no skin in the game whatsoever. Well ...
Robert Plank: Go ahead.
Kory Livingstone: No, go ahead, sorry.
Robert Plank: I was just going to say that makes me think about different mentors I had. I think about one of the favorite mentors I had, I came to him and like you described, I had a lot of big areas where I'm stuck, where I just didn't know what I didn't know, or I didn't know what strategy, or I didn't know if I should keep doing something or stop doing something. There were the little areas I was stuck where he could answer it in a minute or he could answer it by saying go look for this term. I think about when I first got a coach he told me to do just only a handful of things. He told me, for example, to raise my prices. That's one of those things where on my own I never would have knew to do that. It might have even taken me 10 years of just learning new things, doing some trial and error before I came to the person who had the big picture and looked at my business from the outside and just shortcut those 10 years for me.
Kory Livingstone: Yeah, yeah, that's really valuable. As adults see coaches... Adults learn different from children. Adult education... As adults we need to know why, why are we learning this? As kids you go to school and they tell you what you're going to learn. You're going to learn this, this, this, and this. I don't know about you, but the further I got along in school, in high school, I started asking myself what the hell do I need to study Latin for or what do I need to study this for. I want to be this, I want to be this. How does that relate to that? Now it may relate and it may not relate, but no one told me the reason for it. No one told me the reason.
As far as I could see it made no sense, so as an adult you have to know... When a coach is coaching you they'll explain or you'll ask... The coach had realized that you'll need to know why I'm doing this. A coach may say you need a business plan for the next... You need a business plan for the next year. You have to know this, you have to plan out every week, what you're going to do every single week and you may say... They will tell you so that you will not waste your time every day saying what will I do today. Your plan will be there, so it's already been planned. Today it says I must do this, therefore, you've not wasted a lot of time thinking about what can I do because you've already spent that time and you thought about it and it's right there, so you can get right to work and start getting results right away.
That's one example. Now also adults want to learn... They don't want to memorize. We've done our memorizing, we want to do. Task-orientated, give me a task to do. As your coach today I'm telling you to go out and find all of the suppliers that you can for this type of thing or this is what I want you to do. Whatever it happens to be, this is what I want you to do. That's a task. I don't want you to memorize where all of the people live that may be your target market. I don't want you to memorize where they live. I want you to go out and actually make a list, just make it a task. You have to do something. Now as adults... That's why we call ourselves adults because we make our own decisions, don't we?
Robert Plank: Yes.
Kory Livingstone: We like to plan. We don't want somebody telling us what to do. Do this, do that, like bossing. We want to be involved. Let's work on what I have to do, let's be involved, so the coach will get you involved in making decisions. That's why a good coach will not say do this, do that, do the other. Let's say what about you doing this, or have you tried looking at that, or what do you think of this, give me your opinion about this. The coach is guiding you, but expecting you... See this is where the coach is not giving you the answers and guiding you. I like this one here, this looks very good. Good, let's settle on that. The coach has guided you and you've made the decision, you've made the final decision. When we go to school as kids the teacher says do this, do that. You ask why and they say shut up and do it. Because I said, right. This is all part of the adult personality.
Now also another thing about adults when you're coaching them they have to be like I mentioned before coachable which means they're ready, interested in learning. If you're looking for a coach and you're a know it all don't waste your money. Keep going on like you're going and the results you had yesterday or the results you have today will be the results you have tomorrow which usually results again in a failed dream.
Adults also, they like to... This goes back to memorization. They don't want to learn, they want to solve problems. Things that keep us... We have a coach to solve a problem, we have a problem we need solved, so again that's a result. We'd rather solve... That's what we're paid for. Whatever job you do you are paid to solve problems. I'm an accountant, my job is to make sure that the money is accounted for. The boss says I need someone to account for the money. I'm a dentist, there's something wrong with my tooth, solve my problem. I'm a lawyer, I have a problem with... I need somebody sued. I'm a musician. Somebody feels stress, we try and make them feel happy with our music. Every job, the basis of every job is solving a problem and that's what adults like to do. Again ...
Robert Plank: I like that, so that way you're not just overloading someone with a bunch of facts and figures or overloading with the possibilities of all the things that they could do. You're not doing a bunch of stuff for them. Like you said you're the guide, but I think that that just now really hit home with me pretty hard that you're there to solve problems, the big problems, the small problems. Some problems need to be taken care of before the others, but I think that that right there is huge. You're not just there to learn or to teach something, you're knocking out those problems.
Kory Livingstone: You've got it. Garbage in, garbage out, regurgitate. Exactly right, hands on, roll up the sleeves, I got stuff to do. Yeah, you're so right. That's probably the most powerful thing a coach will do. Of course, again the coach is there if you go off track, pull you back on again.
Robert Plank: We're talking about all these things that bad coaches do and good coaches do. Can we relate that as we're winding this down to what it is you do and what makes you special and different?
Kory Livingstone: This is what... I love to direct people. You could call a coach... A coach is a teacher, but I try to change people's mindsets from what they do, what they normally do. My saying is how long are you going to keep doing what you're presently doing and putting off what you're really capable of doing. I like to draw people out and make them what they really can be, all that they can be. I like to look at their dreams because everybody has dreams and that's where I focus on, say tell me your dream and let's talk about your dream. Let's help make that dream... Let me help you make that dream a reality. That's what I drive at. It's great for a lot of young entrepreneurs because I wish I had someone like me in my corner when I was just starting out in business. It makes a lot of difference. It makes so much difference. I've experienced it one time in my life. That was in my music career. You probably don't know them, but they were called The Platters back in the ‘50s, Only You, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, things like that. They were ...
Robert Plank: I've heard Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, but I don't know that band exactly.
Kory Livingstone: They were a vocal group, four guys and one girl, The Platters. Look them up on the Internet, you'll see. One of them was called Ray Carroll and he moved up here to Canada for awhile and he had an agency here, a talent agency, and I met him. I went into his office and asked him if the agency can get me some work, blah, blah, blah. I was a young musician starting out. He hemmed and hawed and he said, okay... He took me out one night and we visited certain entertainment establishments around town. He showed me people... see people that he knew. We're going to go see this guy now and watch what he does. We're going to see this guy.
I learned so much, not about music, but about entertaining from him in a six-hour evening. It blew me away, the things that he pointed out, to see all these different people and what I should do, just that type of thing. He didn't say do this, do that. He just said you see this, you see that, you see that. Then your mind gets to working. I spent about 2 or 3 nights with him and the difference that made. I felt like a pro and I had only been in the business for about 10 months. I know that feeling and I want to pass that along to other people, so that's what I do. With my book, Quiet Determination: Unlocking the Gates to Unlimited Success, I share my mindset, I share the tools that I work with that have made me successful with other people. That's really what I'm all about.
Robert Plank: The way that you described that story it's almost like your friend, he had a lifetime of all these little insights and knowledge that took him however many decades to accumulate. Then he just distilled them down to a few... In any given situation, like you said he just pointed out things he was looking at, things that he was noticing and there's no amount of fact learning that can duplicate that.
Kory Livingstone: A hundred percent.
Robert Plank: Cool.
Kory Livingstone: A hundred percent, a hundred percent. I'll tell you a story, how I got to write this book, the title of this book, Quiet Determination. About 10 years ago I was getting ready for a concert and a venue. It was a do it yourself venue. You had to bring in all your own lights and equipment. All they rented to you was the space. The concert was a Saturday night and I went in there Saturday morning. I set up the PA, I set up the lights, up and down on the ladder hanging curtains and I had a piano coming in and tuned. I had to get refreshments ready to sell at halftime, the CD, all that stuff ready. I gave the concert, it was a great concert and so on and so forth. About 2 weeks later I get this letter in the mail. Actually it was on a post-it, 3 by 3 yellow post- it note and it said, "Dear Kory, I've admired your persistent, quiet determination and attention to details. It's more than talent. It's a mature determination. I could do well to apply the same to my life. May God bless all of your efforts." You know who it was from?
Robert Plank: Who?
Kory Livingstone: The maintenance man of the venue, the custodian.
Robert Plank: That's awesome.
Kory Livingstone: It blew me away, it blew me away. Do well to apply the same to my... How astute is this guy, how astute. I didn't realize that I was doing this. This is what I did normally. I didn't go up and do all this work and then say look at all the work I did. It was a matter of fact like breathing. I breathe in, I breathe out. I don't think about it. If you stop doing it you're not going to breathe any longer, but you don't even think about that. All these things that I had to do were natural to me and that's with a quiet determination. He gave it to me. This guy was... He was a custodian, but he was a genius.
Robert Plank: I like that because... There's a lot of little insights with that and I think that the big one and the big common thread I'm hearing from you today is that there's all these skills that you've developed as a musician or as someone who sets up these performances and things like that. There's some amount of... The work ethic is a little bit of it. The mastery is a little bit of it. Getting so good at something where it almost becomes unconscious is a little bit of it. There's all these little things combined. What's really cool about this that I keep hearing over and over here is that the skills that you develop in one area such as music or presenting or things like that they always bleed out. They always can be applied into other areas as well.
Kory Livingstone: You got it, exactly, exactly. That's exactly what it is.
Robert Plank: The book is Quiet Determination and where can people find that and buy it?
Kory Livingstone: They can get it at Amazon.com, of course. They can get a digital copy or a hardback copy. If they want an autographed copy they can contact me by email. It's very simple, Kory@KoryLivingstone.com and I'll arrange to get a hardcopy sent to them and I'll autograph it for them. Now for the listeners of your show I got a special gift for them. I'm just in the process of doing it now. I'm doing an audio version of the book.
If they write me when it gets done I'll send them a free copy on an mp3 of Quiet Determination. I'll send that to them free just for the listeners, a special gift for the listeners of your show. It'll be ready probably in 2 or 3 months, but write me anytime. I put you on the list. When it's ready I'll send it out. If anybody... My website, it's just like my name. KoryLivingstone.com. Just type that in and I'll come up. My website will come up, my email will come up. You'll get it somehow. Just type in my name in the Internet and I will come
Robert Plank: Awesome.
Kory Livingstone: It'll be easy to remember.
Robert Plank: Cool, so KoryLivingstone.com and the book is Quiet Determination.
Kory Livingstone: Yes.
Robert Plank: Awesome, thanks so much for being on the show, friend.
Kory Livingstone: It's been a pleasure. Thank you so much for having me, Robert. It's been great.
Everyone has great ideas, but what matters is taking action! Mayer Dahan from Prime Five Homes and The Dream Builder's Project tells us how he's innovated in the real estate space to create luxury, eco-friendly homes while also championing a great cause in the Los Angeles County area.
More recently, Mayer was acknowledged as a 40 under 40 residential builder to watch by professional builder magazine in 2016. Lots of cool subjects to talk about. Mayer, welcome to the show.
Mayer Dahan: Awesome. Thank you for having me on, Robert. It's an honor. I'm excited.
Robert Plank: Well, cool. It's an honor right back at you. What is it that you do and what makes you different and special?
Mayer Dahan: I think that's probably the hardest question to answer for me. What I do is very difficult to be categorized as one thing or another. Through my experience of growing up in this century with all the difficulties and the new economy and recessions and what not, I've come to the understanding that each person must have many hats and must cover many responsibilities, so in essence, what I see in my own private development firm, where we come up with the most innovative, beautiful, sustainable, Eco-friendly, luxury homes we can come up with and try to raise the bar as best as possible to try to merge people who are looking for the finer things in life with the concepts and ideas that are relatable to taking care of our environment, to giving our children a better, healthier world, to not ruining the gift we're given.
Subsequently, our company has a foundation that I founded four years ago, back in 2013, that ... our premise is a charity for charity. We use our profits from our houses to go out in the world, support charities, have children's events, feed the homeless events, back to school, galas for children's hospital, and we try to cover the gambit. We're trying to help the world economically, from a for profit side, and we're trying to help the world from a non-profit side, which may seem like it's a lot of things that are going on, but in my opinion, that's the most balanced and healthy approach that we can take to secure that we'll have success and purpose in our future.
Robert Plank: I like all of that. The thing that I've been ... the pattern I've been seeing with a lot of business owners I've been talking to lately is that, like you said, you can't just do one thing, especially in this day and age. A lot of us have maybe a scattered attention span. Some of us have multiple businesses, and it seems like the people who have been doing really well are the ones where the businesses they have either interrelate, or one relates to the other, right? This way, you don't have to switch gears so much. You don't see people who maybe own a dry cleaning business and a truck driving business. It's like in your case, where you have your real estate business, but then also the non-profit. Is that right, one connects to the other?
Mayer Dahan: Yeah, absolutely. There was this very consistent idea that I had many years ago where ... to explain it to you in simple terms, everybody has great ideas, but if you have a great idea, and you just pull it out of the sky, sometimes that standalone idea might not do so well. I think if you have a company, there are elevated statuses, there are other parts of the market, whether that be PR, marketing, social media. Whether that be the non-profit element of it. There's so many turns and bends that a company, if it wants to be successful, it must have other avenues and other things it does. If those things work together, that would be the best, but I think it doesn't mean it's easy.
I think you still have to change gears, and even though the companies interconnect, I think for young entrepreneurs and young leaders out there, we all struggle with first you have to come into certain meetings with a smile and a hug, and then you have to come in with a strong fist and a strong tongue, as they say. It requires a different hat for every different situation. It can be very taxing, but ironically, I think you said it. For people whose minds are all over the place, I think we thrive off of that chaos. You can find some of the most success in that versatile set up, where you can flow and move where you need to so your company, your team, and your customers can all grow together.
Robert Plank: That makes a lot of sense. Instead of trying to fight the entrepreneurial spirit, or to fight the temptation to be spread thing, instead of doing the opposite of what comes naturally to you, you embrace that a little bit, and say, "No matter what I try or what I do, I'm always going to have multiple irons in the fire. Let me roll with that."
Mayer Dahan: Precisely. I think for many years, I used to complain openly about how hard my job was, but then, given the opportunity not work that hard, I wasn't amused by my own life. I think a great entrepreneur loves to be pushed and loves to be under the fire. That's where we can produce the most. That's where we're the most activated or the most aware of our surroundings. It is emotionally very hard, though, so it's kind of cool to realize that you're expecting yourself to go through a little bit of pain and suffering, because that's the process to get to the best solution is to go through that process. Maybe it doesn't feel all roses and all great the whole time, but from that suffering comes some of the greatest innovations and changes the 21st century has seen.
Robert Plank: Oh yeah, I agree. Let's unpack that a little bit. I'm looking a little bit at your prime five homes, so if I heard you right, this is a company that you have where you build the homes and the thing about these homes, like you said, is they're really cool looking, they're luxury homes, they're modern homes, but they're also, I guess you said, they're Eco-friendly, and they're also pretty low price. Is that right?
Mayer Dahan: The low price part, unfortunately, we haven't been able to build low price houses, primarily because building in L.A. County, the land can somewhat be over a million dollars alone. The prices of homes can be very costly up here. While where the part is exciting is we're able to build luxury homes, even more beautiful than some of the uneco-friendly ones and make them sustainable without having it be a hassle, a nuisance, or even visible to the customer. We can utilize solar power without anybody seeing it. We can use water capture without it visible anywhere to anybody. It uses a passive system that won't even break down.
We use recyclable materials inside and outside the house that are beautiful and long lasting but have been recycled to create a lower carbon footprint. Then, we utilize everything inside of the house, from lighting to plumbing to make sure that this house has low waste in water and in power. All of these amenities are given to the customer at no additional cost or fee. Our dream is to create champions of this cause without necessarily having to have them be a champion in the first place. Once they move in, they see how ahead of the times their home is. They end up becoming enthralled in it. We don't ... when you see our houses, you don't think Eco-friendly, but that's the point. The point is to teach people you can save the environment and be cool at the same time. It doesn't have to negate the other.
Robert Plank: That's awesome. I've been to people's houses where they have the whole solar set up. I think it just looks ugly if you have some kind of add ons where the beauty or design is not factored into them. They have those ugly pipes, or the things coming down from the solar panel to these huge things tacked on the side. Even in my own neighborhood, there were a couple of homes where they advertised them based on how Eco-friendly they were. I went in and walked through an open house kind of thing, and they had these weird octagon shaped rooms. In some rooms, the ceilings were high, and some were low. I'm thinking, "Of course it's Eco-friendly, because the air moves around super weird." I see what you're saying, how a lot of these homes ... I kind of am curious, because I check them out. It's like, "Oh cool. Eco-friendly, maybe the electricity bill will be super low or it's good for the environment," so I have a better conscious there.
Then, the house just looks weird, but not in a good way, not in the cool modern art creative way. I like how you mentioned that. I like how that's an important factor for you where not only is it Eco-friendly, but it's also, like you said, a think that it's passive. You don't necessarily notice it.
Mayer Dahan: Absolutely. There's been a lot of history behind this movement. I think in people's hearts and minds, when they hear or see Eco-friendly, I think they think something completely inappropriate. They think a house made of straw or mud, solar panels everywhere, compost and all these other things. While those things are beautiful and they're healthy, we're trying to create a new concept in people's mind, where being good to the environment is cool and it's impressive, and it's your duty, not just a bonus. It doesn't have to ... the main thing people are worried about is they think an Eco-friendly sustainable future means less for them. It doesn't. It doesn't mean less of anything.
It just means more consideration not to be wasteful of the sunlight that's free that comes down, not to waste more water than you have to. Not to have huge landscaping that need to be watered daily. Very intellectual thought processes that at the end make these homes better so they'll last 100 years, and the environment can deal with it, but also create a new idea in people's minds where no longer is Eco-friendly this, not in a bad way, but I think it's been related to the hippy movement a lot. It's been related to this free love and this free way of thinking. It's not. It's an economical and a realist thing. If you're a human being, and you care about your world, you would do it out of an intellectual realist side.
You would understand that the air you breathe in, the water you drink, must be protected for your own well being. It should be the world's movement to make sure that as we grow, as we expand and build more cities, that we do it intellectually so we can have something to hand off in the future instead of just consuming everything and not trying to think about what's going to come next.
Robert Plank: I like that. It reminds me a lot of when the Priuses first came out. Those first couple of years, like early 2000s, if someone had a Prius, or you saw a Prius, you'd like, "Man, what a nerd." Now, if you have a hybrid, that's a cool car, or Tesla is, "Look, this is an all luxury car. This is a cool race car almost." What you're saying is that up until now, there's been the same stigma but with homes instead of cars. There's all this negative stuff associated, so it's your mission to re-brand the Eco-friendly into all these positives.
Mayer Dahan: Exactly. I mean, I think you gave the perfect example with the Tesla, because it's the re-branding of a concept to make it cool, to make it the future. The same movement ... I'm just one small builder, and even though I feel like, in many circles, I'm the leader of this movement, because I'm the one who cares the most and is willing to put the most up and talk about it the most, if the world doesn't get behind this, it's just going to hurt us, you know what I mean?
Robert Plank: Oh yeah.
Mayer Dahan: We can already see the effects of what we do to our planet. I never was an environmentalist. It was only when I started to build homes did I see the real power that I had in my hands. The first example I love to give is when we demolish homes, we just demolish them and we throw them into a bin or bins. Then, we ship them to a dump. If we were more intelligent, we would take the homes apart piece by piece and recycle everything, which is what we've been doing for an excess of six years. It takes more time, it costs a little bit of more money, but it's the way to give us an opportunity to grow and expand and do it in a healthy way instead of in a way that might scare us and might not leave any natural resources for us to enjoy anymore.
Yeah, this is ... I think there's so many people out there who want to do it for the right reasons, and they just need their voice heard. We're excited to make a company that's out there doing houses in a big neighborhood that are Eco-friendly, making it our standard. We just started building in Venice too, and bringing our concepts there. In Venice, California, there's a huge Eco-friendly movement, and you can see the benefits it has to the environment, and to the people. We're just excited to see this grow nationwide and see everybody engulf and envelope their lives in a more sustainable way and a more conscious way.
Robert Plank: How did you come up with this technology or the design of these homes or some of these processes you have? Is this all you? Did you learn this and architect this yourself, or did you hire a team? How did that happen?
Mayer Dahan: You know, the way I always look at it is I'm no genius. I'm not reinventing the wheel. We live in a world where, in my opinion, there are amazing ideas everywhere. Then, there are people doing things everywhere. The connecting between those amazing ideas and what we actually do is what's lacking. People have known how to recycle a home since the 1900s. We've had solar power available for an excess of 50 years. The technology's been out there. My part was to figure out a way and create an idea of why it must be a standard, even though you don't always make money on being Eco-friendly. I created a brand around that being the standard, so it's not about making money. It's not about being more profitable, which is taboo in our society, but it's not.
While making a profit is important, and we have to pay our bills, and people need money, we should be able to accomplish those goals while being intellectual about what we built. While being thoughtful and loving about how we build it, so I feel like I wasn't really, or I shall not take credit for coming with almost anything, I just like to take credit for seeing all the genius ideas that were out there and having the confidence to implement them when other people were just hesitating because they were possibly scared of change. I'm a bit more reckless. I never felt like I knew what I was doing anyway, so I always had to take chances. I was just happy to be able to be behind a company that believed in my ideals and I was very lucky that as we progress this brand, our houses were breaking records. They were selling for more than all the other homes. We were selling faster than any other developer in the nation.
Most of our homes never even reached the market in the first place. We were doing something very powerful. We basically feel like we have a huge head start, because we've been putting these homes together for about 10 years or so. As of right now, there is little, if any, competition in the market, meaning that there are very few developers developing high end, Eco-friendly homes, if any.
Robert Plank: There's a lot of cool stuff in there. One thing that you mentioned as far as building on the things that have already been invented, there's some kind of quote. I can't remember it exactly. I think it might be a Ben Franklin thing that's like, "Creativity is where you connect things that are seemingly unconnected." Like you said, we've known how to recycle a home. We've known about solar power. It gets a little bit better every few years, but you just combined these things together. The second thing that I really liked about your business model and the things you're doing is you're really niched down.
Who knows how many home building companies out there, and what do they do? They say, "Here's a neighborhood, get some lands, put things together, build some homes on some land." Well, who cares? You can go to any neighborhood and just go and move into a place where all your neighbors have the exact same set up as you. Sounds boring, so what you've done is you've combined, not just the Eco-friendly and the good design of it, but also made it into a nice neighborhood and made it where it combines everything. How can you be against a good looking home? How can you be against helping the environment?
Mayer Dahan: Correct. I appreciate that. I completely agree. It always cracks me up when I think back, because everything that should have been done has always been out there and available. I think I realized very early on, before I was ever a business leader, that there were no visionaries left in my industry. There were lots of people, but very few people with passion or willing to put forth a dream or take a chance. There's a lot of regurgitation of other people's blueprints and a lot of copycatting, a lot of people just trying to do the simplest thing and get money and get out.
That's always baffled me. If you have the power and the responsibility to build homes, which are extremely important, why not, if you're going to do it anyways, why not just put the extra effort in and do it the right way? Why not leave a resounding message of your legacy of what you've accomplished? Why not try to aspire to make money and do good at the same time? It seems very obvious. It seems very easy. It's the part that cracks me up why I don't ... I've always invited people to copy my system, to copy my business method, but I think people still don't realize that the future of human evolution is one where humans understand that it's about sacrifice. It's about more than just your days on this Earth and the things you do on those days.
It's about whatever legacy and impact you leave and that your name will live way beyond you if you can learn how to give a bit of yourself to others. I feel like we're lacking that in the business world. If I can go out there, and I can talk like this, and I can make money at the same time and be successful, then the young ones, which we get interns from all over the world come to work for us and learn from us ... I think the young ones will learn from this sort of system and hopefully will have a lot of young philanthropic developers out there building beautiful homes, because it's the right thing to do.
Robert Plank: I think that's a pretty powerful message. As we're winding down to this call, I want to make sure we bring it back full circle around to the marketing. I really like how a lot of your message revolves around, not even the easy way, but the lazy way, or the non-thinkers way out is to just be looking to copy and repeat and be greedy and just think about the money. You've kind of linked what it is that you do, not just with your passion, but connected it to a really cool social cause. Were all those, like you said, the younger, or newer, up and coming business owners out there, out of all the things you see ... the mistakes they're making are all things they could be doing but not ... what do you see is the number one mistake all these up and comers are making?
Mayer Dahan: I think ... I'm very lucky through my company, I get to interview and meet hundreds and thousands of young interns and college graduates yearly. It seems as though the younger, more start up generation, is possibly lacking that self-criticism, and self-deprecation, or what not, that it takes to get to the finish line.
Robert Plank: You're saying they're overconfident, and they should be more looking into oneself.
Mayer Dahan: Exactly. As you navigate through the world, and as you start a company, there are so many things you have to do. Pretty much the only thing you can do that will assure you continued success is to continue looking in the mirror, look at your weaknesses, look at the weak links in who you are as a human being, and then address those, because regardless of your intelligence or your experience, this is a world where it's about human to human connection. It's about what you make people feel when you talk to them and when you talk about what you're doing. If we're going to become successful, we're going to have to become very emotionally connected human beings. I think for most entrepreneurs and most young leaders, it's very hard to be critical and put yourself down and try to grow and stay on top of yourself.
If you're ever going to become a big person in this world, it requires being your biggest critic first.
Robert Plank: That's one of those things where it's so dang simple, but so few people do it. Out of all of the steps, it sounds like you've taken in your journey, and of all the cool tidbits of advice you shared throughout this call, it seems like that's what I'm hearing over and over. There's all these simple things, and yet a lot of people just ... they're just not taking action on doing these simple steps or just combining these simple steps or doing the right thing.
Mayer Dahan: Yeah. Agreed.
Robert Plank: Cool, so before I let you go, I want to make sure that everyone knows about you and goes to your website and checks out these homes and just gets all the information that they need to know about Mayer Dahan. Where can they go on the internet to find out more about you?
Mayer Dahan: All right. There's actually a lot of different avenues we have. Our main company is called Dahan Properties, which is the marketing and brains behind everything we do. You can go to Dahanproperties.com and then, you can also visit prime, p-r-I-m-e, five, f-I-v-e spelled out, homes, h-o-m-e-s, .com, where you can check out our homes, our styles, architecture, all the interiors and exteriors. If you want to get involved with our non-profit, the dream builder's project, visit our website. Www.dbpla.com or the dreambuildersproject.com. We're also on Facebook and Instagram, so feel free to reach out to us. We love to communicate with anybody.
Robert Plank: Awesome. Lots of cool companies, lots of great ideas. Lots of cool causes. I really appreciate all of the wisdom you had to share with us. Thanks being on the show, Mayer.
Mayer Dahan: Thank you, buddy. Have a good day. Appreciate you having me on.
Robert Plank: You too.