MDH 41 | Exit Strategy

MDH 41 | Exit Strategy

 

Part of the life cycle of a business is the founder’s inevitable exit from the company. To make sure that you are able to make the most of your business, you need to have an exit strategy. In this episode, Victoria Wieck talks about selling a company with the president of Provenance Hill Consulting, Martha Sullivan. Martha and Victoria discuss building systems and adding value to a company and how these make your business more attractive to buyers. Hear the best practices for crafting the right exit strategy from Martha. Tune in and learn more of the ins and outs of selling your company in this conversation.

Listen to the podcast here:

Watch the episode here:

Always Have An Exit Strategy: Building A Salable Business With Martha Sullivan

We have an amazing guest and her name is Martha Sullivan. I want to ask you if you have started your business and things are clicking, you’re finally getting some traction on your business. It’s growing and you wish you could grow more but it’s growing. You hope that maybe your children, some family members or whoever is going to go ahead and take your business. That’s what I dreamed of when I started my business or at least envisioned that.

If you’re in that category where you have started a business and want to grow it and scale, you’ve probably done all that, you want to look at an exit strategy, you haven’t thought about it or maybe you’re beginning to think about it, I’ve got the perfect person for you. Martha, what she does is helps you do just that. Basically, she will work with family-owned businesses. If you have a family-owned business, that’s great because you can enjoy the fruits of all these together or maybe you have a business that’s even bigger than that.

Either way, it’s important to have your business structured in such a way that you have the option to exit any time. Life is strange. Things could happen to you, voluntarily or involuntarily. Having those options is everything these days. Martha is the Founder and the President of Provenance Hill Consulting where she helps you accomplish all those. She’s written articles for Forbes, Authority Magazine, Forbes Financial Advisor Magazine, Milwaukee Business Journal and so much more. Without further ado, welcome Martha to the show.

Thank you so much. I’m thrilled to be here. I’ve been looking forward to our conversation.

It’s important that we have an exit strategy. Many people think, “I have an exit strategy,” but do you really have an exit strategy? Your strategy might be, “I’m going to grow this for twenty years or I’m going to grow this to $20 million and I’m going to sell it.” If you even think about that, you can never start your exit strategy. Meaning that you need to have a strategy and have your structure in place before anything could happen. Is that not correct?

That is so correct. It’s 100% spot on. A story brought that home, where our two-door down neighbor, a 34-year veteran of owning his business, decided not to wake up on Monday and he had no plans in place. You go from that perspective all the way to you have a great business, the market is going well that it’s like, “Maybe this is the peak and we should get out now.” You want to have a business where it will be attractive for somebody else to want to buy it or if it is a family business, you want your next generation to be able to look at it and say, “I want to be a part of this.”

You want to have a business that is attractive for somebody else to want to buy it.

As opposed to, “Mom and dad handed me a rock and I feel pressured into taking it.” Getting a company ready to sell, for example, as a transition strategy is not “I wake up now and do it tomorrow.” It takes time and thoughtful preparation from day one. Having a vision of where you want it to go and making sure that it’s always ready for sale. Even though it’s not on the market, it’s always ready for sale.

Martha, maybe about 35% of our readers are on the verge of starting their businesses or have started a side hustle. I would say that even your day one if you have a mindset of starting a business that you could sell someday, you’re going to be thinking about things like brand names that other people might want, all the different things that go with a sale of a business. Number one, we have to differentiate between a business that’s a profit and loss business versus building a brand, for example. What does your business stand? That makes it easier to sell it someday.

Even if, let’s say hypothetically, a family has three children. The mother and the father started the business. They now have to transition it to their kids. I know somebody who went through this. They had four kids. Two of them didn’t have anything to do with the business. One was a dentist and one was a professor. The other two wanted to have the business but one didn’t want to do any sales, all that but the four of them inherited it. How do you then value the two that don’t want to have to do with that? They’re entitled to something. The company that I was telling you about is a $25 million company. That’s a good size company.

Eventually, they did sell out to 51% ownership to an investment firm twenty years down the road but it came after huge family fights and several divorces. It went through all that stuff. It was ugly. This uptick is very important. I know you’ve been doing this for most of your adult life. You were in a consulting business, worked for a consulting company and then went out on your own and did this. What are some of the tips from the very beginning stages? If you are now thinking about selling, it might be almost late. You need to hustle at this point. What are the tips?

In terms of the tips at the outset, when you’re starting your business, you need to think about it from the perspective of setting up good systems that are helping your teammates learn and carry on the business, as well as setting up a management team. The number one thing that kills deals when you go to market and sell your companies is if the company is overly dependent on the owner. Meaning all the relationships are with the owner, all the institutional knowledge, all of that stuff.

You want to ideally get it to the point where the company can operate without you. I like to simplify it. Can you go on vacation? As a new business owner or entrepreneur, you probably don’t feel comfortable going on vacation. Your goal should be to get to the point where you could comfortably and confidently go on vacation, not just for a week. Any of us can shoehorn that in. Would you be comfortable going on a vacation for a month and know that the company is going to be able to function without you?

MDH 41 | Exit Strategy

Exit Strategy: It takes time and thoughtful preparation, having a vision of where you want it to go, and making sure that it’s always ready for sale. Even though it’s not on the market, it’s always ready for sale.

 

My advice to people that are further down the development path in their business and thinking about potentially selling, maybe that’s in 2, 5 or 10 years down the road, it’s important to start putting on the lens of a buyer and looking at it from the perspective of, “How it’s somebody independent look at your company, how would they look at your baby?” They may not say your baby’s ugly but they may look at it and say, “That is one ugly baby,” because there are no systems because it is dependent on the owner. There’s too much concentration on all the businesses with 1 or 2 customers and they’ll walk away.

They’re putting on the lens and saying, “Would I buy my company now? What risks would I see if I were walking in fresh?” That’s challenging to do but it’s vitally important. Think about it in terms of if you were going to go buy a house or if somebody was coming into your house and saying, “Would I buy this house?” The paint’s peeling and the roof is leaking or does it have fantastic curb appeal? It’s in tip-top shape. It’s not all that different when people are looking to buy your business or your kids are considering, “Do I want to take this on?”

Honestly, everything you said is something that you should do for your business whether you’re going to sell it or not every single day. Number one, for example, having your business so heavily dependent on 1 or 2 customers basically, they pretty much own you at that point. I would say that in my own consulting world, I tell small business owners not to take on a huge customer until you can be sure that no single customer is more than 15% of your business.

At that point, that single customer dictates your product development, services, hours of operations, what employees you hire. It’s changing the character of the company. That’s a no-no in the first place. In terms of making sure that you can go on vacation, I would argue that in order for you to scale your business, you have to depend on other people. There are going to be limitations on how many hours you can work.

I’m sure that you find this to be true. When you consult with a lot of entrepreneurs who are very passionate about what they do, they want to do everything. I don’t know about you but I find that to be true. They’re passionate. They love their customers and employees. They look forward to going to work every day.

Many people don’t realize that when you first went about owning a business and starting a business whether it was your mother or you did it, most people will say that the ability to work fewer hours is at least at the top or the second to the top reason why you start your business. It’s emotional, financial and freedom of time, yet they spend more time working in their business and oftentimes for less money.

You want to ideally get your business to the point where the company can operate without you.

What you’re advising to do now is even if you don’t ever think you’re going to sell it, this is something that’s good for you every day for your own sanity. If you’re doing everything, how are you ever going to nurture any employees to do more than you do? You’re going to need many employees who can do more than you do, who you can trust?

It’s who you can trust, help you scale up and grow that vision that you have into something that has traction, value and whatnot. It’s interesting you bring up the whole concept of freedom and what drives us entrepreneurs to become entrepreneurs. It backfires on you because it was like, “I have all this stuff I have to do. There are so many plates spinning.” If you can accept the concepts that as you build your team and a company that is always ready for sale, it does give you that freedom and flexibility.

If I have the confidence to go on vacation for a month, I also have the confidence to lean on my team and say, “I started this business because I love doing this but now I have to do this and this.” Now, I have a team and I can get rid of that, this and this. “I’m going to focus on what I love. I do my best. You focus on what you love and do best. We’ll all be much better.” Having the right focus on building that transferable company helps you get back to achieving that daydream that every entrepreneur shares of that freedom and fun to build a business.

I’m sure that many readers will agree with you on the concept of working less, building a team, building trust in your employees and to some degree to some customers as well. You know as entrepreneurs we are a very stubborn group of people. We don’t know how to do it. That’s what drives entrepreneurs. I come from a family of five kids. I’m the oldest of the five. A couple of my siblings will never, ever be an entrepreneur. They don’t want to be one. If you tangle them $1 million an hour, they wouldn’t do it because it’s not their life. I’ve got a brother who’s a lawyer. He refuses to go start his own little practice.

He wants to work as a General Counsel for a very large company. We’ve got a couple of other kids who will never be able to clock in a day at work because she can’t handle being told what to do, the routine every day, the grunt work. How would you advise an entrepreneur who understands it conceptually but can’t do it? They don’t have the basic trust in their employee. I’m not saying that they’re going to steal from you or anything like that.

“What happens if they screw up and my customer gets mad while I’m on vacation? What do I do?” They have this anxiety. What advice do you have for that entrepreneur who wants to follow your advice? Other than, Martha has a workshop series. If you go to ProvenanceHill.com/millions, she’s got the little workshop series. You can get a little coupon or other free things. Give us a couple of hints.

MDH 41 | Exit Strategy

Exit Strategy: When you’re starting your business, you need to think about it from the perspective of setting up good systems that are helping your teammates learn and carry on the business, as well as setting up a management team.

 

To piggyback on the Finding True Value Workshop Series, what I teach entrepreneurs and business owners is to understand and appreciate that to grow a valuable company, you need to be balancing the rewards like the revenues and the cashflow that you get from the business with the risks in the business. Take that buyer’s mindset again. Where are the risks? What you’re talking about with that anxiety is a risk. “Do I risk empowering my employee to do this stuff for me?” Appetite for risk, entrepreneurs tend to be more risk accepting because you don’t go into business for yourself without taking some risks.

We also have the tendency to do what I call in terms of white-knuckling the golden goose. We hold on to our control so tight that we choke it off. You start small with your employees in terms of the risks that you take with them. Are you going to hand over the management of your best customer to your employee? It’s probably not right away. We all hate to lose a customer but there are some customers frankly if my employees step their toes on, I either have a good enough relationship with the customer to prepare them and say, “I want you to have continuity in our relationships. I can’t always be here. I’m bringing Junior along. Will you work with me on it?”

You take smaller risks where the stakes aren’t as high. It gives you practice taking those risks and helps you build trust that your employee isn’t going to drop the ball. At the same time, it helps to build confidence and competence on the part of your employees. They can step into that larger customer relationship, for example.

What you’re saying is that trust your employees. You are saying, “You’re minimizing risks by minimizing managing the risk.” I’ve had employees for a very long time. I want to say my first employee ever hired in 1989 is still with me and a couple of them retired. Employees are not mistake-free. You’re not mistake-free. Customers are not mistake-free. Things will happen. When they happen on a very small scale like that where stakes are not so high, which is not life-threatening, where a customer didn’t blow up at something. You didn’t get your package at 4:00. Maybe you got it the next morning at 8:00. It’s not a life-threatening thing.

Letting your employees make those small mistakes and learn from them. You should hire them well but my employees have made some pretty big mistakes. I’ve had one that made like $150,000 mistake. I didn’t fire him. What I did was I looked and figured out how the mistakes happen. We changed the system. This was a case where I got a huge order from a TV network and they wanted an Emerald suite. They were an Emerald necklace, earrings and pendant.

When we placed our order with our manufacturer, 2 of them were in yellow gold and 1 of them didn’t have a designation for metal so it came in white gold. This was a matching suite. I ended up having Emerald earrings in white gold, a matching pendant in yellow gold, the ring in yellow gold and then the bracelet in white gold. The whole order was $300,000.

We learn more from our failures than we do from our successes.

I would imagine replace it out so it was all consistent.

This was bought for May, which was Mother’s Day and May’s gemstone was Emerald. She said she didn’t want to buy it because nobody wanted to have not matching suite, all that stuff. Basically, what we ended up doing was I contacted the buyer and I offered her to do this at Christmas time because by the time we had to redo the whole thing, it was several months. I gave her a discount. I also agreed to take back merchandise that she couldn’t sell because that was the best I could do.

What we ended up doing is that now our purchase order system, every single item has a WG for White Gold, YG for Yellow Gold or RG for Rose Gold. You cannot put anything into a system unless you put in that metal color. You learn these things. Since that incident, nobody has ever made that same mistake again because it’s impossible. What you and I are both saying is that employees can make mistakes. Unless it’s catastrophic and the decisions they’re making isn’t that the firm. It is things that aren’t going to make a huge difference other than maybe your ego, whatever. It is almost better to train those employees with those small mistakes.

We learn more from our failures sometimes than we do from our successes. What I like about the story that you shared there, Victoria, was that we’re developing your coworker through that mistake but you also built your system stronger. The hallmark of a great transferable company is that you have systems that allow you to grow faster, as well as they’re replicable. If there’s turnover, maybe there were other reasons and you had to let that individual go. You have systems where somebody else can helpfully come up to speed faster and do the work as well, if not better.

There are a lot of drivers in what makes a company valuable to a buyer, probably more than we have time to talk about now but we do talk about that in the workshops quite often. It changes or can change a business owner’s focus from the bottom line to understanding what it takes to have a healthy bottom line but also an asset that you’re growing over time so that it can pay dividends later. I like to say and it’s a quote from a dear friend of mine through the Exit Planning Institute, “If you’re focused only on income, you may not have value but if you’re focused on value, you can have both.”

Let’s get back to how do we now structure a business that’s saleable from day one. A lot of times in the jewelry business, it’s a very archaic business. I’m in the jewelry business and I’ll go to a trade show and there’s one coming up. We can go to these trade shows where millions of dollars are being traded and they’re still using those three-part carbon copy things. They’re not using any technology. They’re still writing scratch notes. I’m saying reporting systems, reporting your numbers, your sales, doing analysis, having great inventory if you’re selling physical inventory and recording your changes in inventory accounts receivable.

MDH 41 | Exit Strategy

Exit Strategy: It really is a matter of executing a good business strategy and having the systems in place to make that happen. Systems determine performance period.

 

These things are all things that need to be in place because that’s how they judge a business. This is the other thing. It’s like a chain reaction. If you don’t trust your employee’s ability to keep the house running, for example, and then you don’t have a system to record your sales or whatever. “How many did you sell?” “I can’t remember if I sold 15 or 16 of those pendants but let me check.” They’re going through the three-part thing. If you have a system of reporting that’s already computerized, your inventories are computerized, it keeps track of what you receive and what you take out.

Having these systems in place where any employee can come in and perform that day’s job, that’s absolutely critical. When you’re starting your business or maybe you just started your business, whenever you start your business, I know in my case I started my business in ‘89 and I’ve had to upgrade change systems over time because the whole world changes. When you do that, listen to someone like Martha who has gone through this.

I started my business as a small hobby. I wanted to only make $3,000 a month. I wanted to work twenty hours a week, $3,000 a month but $500 million later, I can tell you that each time I’ve upgraded my systems and I’ve done anything was because my systems crashed. It wouldn’t work anymore. I had computers crash on me. I had systems crash on me where we were down for a week at a time. Don’t wait for something like that to happen because as a company gets bigger, the stakes are higher.

What happens is when you hire somebody upfront, someone specialist like Martha, she’s not going to cost you millions of dollars. I’ve had times where it didn’t cost me several hundred thousand dollars to upgrade. Don’t wait until your systems crashed and you don’t have a choice. Not only do you not have a choice to buy companies but you also don’t have a choice on systems.

I’ve had times where I’ve had to take the one that I could hook up with as fast as we can. It’s important. A lot of the things that you’re preaching and advising are things that you really need in your own business anyway. Having employees that are competent and you have confidence in is one thing. It’s the same thing with having vendors that are competent and confident. All customers are not the same. Some customers are going to work and grow with you. They’re going to matter when you sell your company. Some other customers are a lot of trouble. I’ve had customers that I got because nobody else wanted them. You don’t want that either.

You don’t want the whole portfolio to be that. When we talked about companies that are salable, you want to look at all the pillars, your vendor system, your employee system, your customer system and then the marketplace overall. Everything that you’ve shared with me and our audience is very sound advice. I know that if you are smart and adventurous enough to start a business, grow it and scale it, you’re capable of doing anything,

If you’re focused only on income, you may not have value, but if you’re focused on value, you can have both.

Starting a company is akin to giving birth, you think about it, nurture it, you feed it, do everything 24/7. This is what entrepreneurs do. If you want to detox from the entrepreneurship, the pitfalls of entrepreneurship, find someone. If it’s not Martha, it’s somebody like her who will teach you. It’s a shame that we have to talk about this being an exit strategy because it’s also a growth strategy.

It is. An exit strategy ultimately comes down to its simply good business strategy. It’s doing the right thing for your business so that it is sustainable. The Exit Planning Institute shares a statistic that 1 in every 2 business owners will be forced from their ownership because of death, divorce, disability, disagreement and distress. That’s one of the reasons why I’m so passionate about having good systems in place.

Having your management team, financial statements that are current, accurate and a valuable management tool, all these different factors because from day one, we’re giving birth to that baby. We want it to be beautiful, attractive and go on to live a wonderful life. After they hit eighteen, checkout time has come and gone and it’s time for it to go someplace else for us to do something different. It’s not always retirement. It could be growing a business to flip it and then move on to your next adventure. All of these principles come into play. It is a matter of executing a good business strategy and having the systems in place to make that happen. Systems determine performance. I agree with you, Victoria.

An exit strategy ultimately comes down to good business strategy. It’s doing the right thing for your business so that it is sustainable.

Martha, how do people find you if they want to have a deeper conversation. This conversation is deep.

The easiest way to get in touch with me is to visit our website, www.ProvenanceHill.com. I also have a blog there and that will also link to In Business Magazine, IBMadison.com, where I have a blog, Exit Stage Right, is the name of it as well. Those would be ways to connect with me. If you’re interested in the Finding True Value workshops, check out www.provenancehill.com/millions. If you use the coupon, thank you code of VICTORIA, that will give you a 20% discount. It’s my way of saying thank you to you, Victoria and your audience. This has been a delightful conversation.

Remember, I always sign off by saying until next time, please stay healthy and happy. Happiness is a choice. I hope you make great choices. Until the next episode, thank you so much.

Thank you.

Important links:

About Martha Sullivan

This one-time information systems analyst turned her most brilliant act of rebellion into a career as a CPA, CFO, COO, business owner, and profit & value growth strategist, consulting to hundreds of clients and colleagues over the past (gulp) three-plus decades.

Martha Sullivan, President of Provenance Hill Consulting, LLC. founded her firm with one purpose: Help companies build strong, profitable businesses that are attractive enough for someone to want to buy it when the owner decides to chase their next adventure.

She recognizes that exit planning is a topic, like death, that most business owners avoid. Yet life’s realities have a tendency to catch up to even the best of us, so building and maintaining a kick-tail business that someone would be thrilled to buy or take over is the best “business life insurance” possible.

Martha’s work supports owners, and their next-generation leaders, as they take the company to the next stage of its life – be it continuing growth or navigating all exit options available to the owner and his or her family.

Together, through roll-up-your-sleeves workshops, business analysis, a good sense of humor, and tough love, business transformations begin.

MDH 40 | Innovation

MDH 40 | Innovation

There’s no limit to how much you can scale your business if you know how to innovate. In this episode, special guest West Stringfellow discusses the innovation process he found works for almost any business. West is the Founder and CEO of HowDo, a self-guided innovation training program. West has worked for and helped grow some of the biggest companies today, including Amazon, PayPal, Visa, and Target. With years of experience, he has unlocked the key to innovation which he now uses to help others find their way to business success. Want to know how? Tune into this episode and be motivated to unlock your own potential! Join him and host Victoria Wieck as they talk all about innovation and give helpful advice to keep you motivated.

Watch the episode here:

Listen to the podcast here:

How To Innovate To Scale Up Your Business With West Stringfellow

If you’ve always wanted to know how to improve your business, upscale it, all of that, it starts with you and you know that I’m a very big proponent of that. I’m a huge proponent of the one single thing you could do to change your life. Our guest is West Stringfellow. He is somebody who epitomizes everything that I’ve been saying on my show about all the things, little things and big things. The single thing you could do to start your journey to success. West comes to the show with years of impressive experience.

He has worked with companies like PayPal, Visa, Target, Amazon, Rosetta Stone and so many more. He’s made his impact with those kinds of companies but what impressed me the most about West and this is why he was invited to this show, is his ability to help every employee and person, no matter what you think your abilities are to help every person innovate and elevate. I’m so excited to have him here. I’m so thankful that he was able to make this time so that we can all share this amazing knowledge that he has acquired over many years.  Without further ado, I would like to welcome West Stringfellow. Welcome to the show.

MDH 40 | Innovation

Innovation: The purpose of business is simply to grow revenue, decrease operating costs, mitigate risks, empower employees, and delight customers. If you do those five things well, you’ll have a successful business.

 

I appreciate it.

I don’t want many of you to email me because I’m not trying to make a political statement of any kind. I do think that when we were growing up in the ‘70s, ‘80s, even the ‘90s, I felt like they were at the height of innovation. The ‘80s is when we got the internet, laptop, computers, cell phones and all of that.

When I hear the word innovation, the last person who innovated anything to me was Jeff Bezos with Amazon. Have you noticed that even music is being regurgitated? A lot of this stuff and movies are doing their 3rd, 4th and 5th rendition of whatever it is that came out in the ‘80s. When I saw what you do with your program called HowDo, I was impressed with that. Tell me a little bit about how you got to what you’re doing now and what it is that you do now to impact the world.

When I was a kid, I wanted to be an inventor more than anything. I entered all the Science competitions and Science fairs and they had one that was based on an invention. I came into second place making a better lunchbox but ever since then, I have always liked the idea of building things. Real early in my career, when I was an intern, I learned that if I solved problems that people didn’t know were problems. I could make more money than if they did the job they asked me to do. I kept scaling at that problem-solving in my job until, ultimately, I was recruited by Amazon. At Amazon, it was ten years intern after Amazon launched. It was still a very young company. There are a million things to get done and it was a great place to get stuff done.

Being an entrepreneur is about figuring out how something you’re passionate about connects with a customer’s problem. 

They gave me a lot of lessons about how to appropriately characterize problems and deeply understand what the problem is, put it in the language of the customer and then look at critically what competitors would do, could do or were doing in this space. Look at critically the commercial opportunity, how much money we could make from it and then make a solid pitch. That was what my job was at Amazon. I hopped around different teams and led the development of new products and fixed problems. When I left Amazon, I did that for Visa, Target, Rosetta Stone, PayPal and a bunch of startups.

What I learned along the way is that there’s a fairly generic process that can work for almost anyone in almost any context. If you’re a big company or you’re a small company, start with learning about the customer, the competition in the marketplace and then doing a pretty thoughtful analysis about what the real opportunities are that are present now and how you can take advantage of those opportunities using available technology and available tools. Business, in my opinion, is fairly simple.

There are only three tools, build, buy or partner. If you’re going to build something, it’s product management, service management or some sort of platform design. If you’re going to buy something, it’s mergers and acquisitions and corporate venture capital. If you’re going to partner with something, you use incubators, accelerators or other forms of partnership agreements but that’s business. When you understand the problem, the commercial opportunity and the tools that are associated with that opportunity, you need to find the team that can do that.

I think so many people get wrapped around the axle of their emotions, what they wanted for their business or their dreams for their business and they lose sight of the purpose of business. The purpose of business is simply to grow revenue, decrease operating costs, mitigate risks, empower employees and delight customers. If you do those five things, you’ll have a successful business but so many people get focused on what they want or what they hear their customers say they want and they lose sight of the overall holistic objective. I’ve designed a course that tries to help anyone and everyone learn first principles around business and teach themselves how to move from an idea to something that’s in a customer’s hands and making money.

That was a lot of information that was shared now. I want to share with the readers that one of the consistent feedback I get is that I don’t share enough of what I’ve gone through. The building my business from $0 to $500 million. When I listened to West described the five pillars of running a successful business, I have to say a lot of what he said resonates with me on I didn’t know then. I was too naive and simple and my business grew for many years. It’s not like I had a plan but looking back, a lot of the things that he said resonated with me.

Here is the one key thing that you all need to take away from his entire presentation, which is it all starts and ends with the customer. When you have a business, it could be that you are an artist or a musician where you’re expressing your feelings or desires, even then your customer, the end-user who absorbs your information, is who you have to cater your life around. Every product you build and every pitch you make, you almost have to think about how am I going to present this to my customer? How is she going to use it? I think that when you do that, you can work it backward. Sometimes, customers don’t even realize that they have a real problem or they need a product until they see it.

It’s not really about you but it’s more about the customer. I would even go simpler than that. Business comes down to solving problems for your customer. That’s number one. It may be a perceived or real problem, but it all comes down to that and how effectively you can solve their problem. I love the conversation we had. I’m with you on that. I share information freely with everybody. When I first launched my online course, everybody said like, “Do you have any testimonials?”

MDH 40 | Innovation

Innovation: The definition of innovation is really simple. It’s introducing a new good or service to the market.

 

I said, “I’ve got tons of testimonials. I just never got paid for it because I’ve always given free speeches, free webinars and free workshops to people because I’m so delighted at being able to share what works.” A lot of times, when you share that freely, you learn in the process of sharing because they will give you feedback. The other thing too is there’s such joy in sharing. I don’t have to get paid for every speech or every workshop that I do. I don’t think about how I am going to make the most money out of this thing. When you freely share, people come to you whether you are selling artistic cabinetry or coffee. Think about what Starbucks did with simple things like coffee.

They’ve almost made such a call that it’s cool to park your car, go to Starbucks, stand in line. There’s nothing else in life that I would want to stand in line for 30 minutes to overpay 500%. It’s crazy. This is what happens when you delight customers and have them love you and you attract legions of fanatic fans. To me, Starbucks coffee didn’t even taste that great. If you think about it, their coffee is so bitter that they have to add the whipped cream and all this other stuff. I was a pure coffee drinker before. I was a black coffee drinker before and now, they’ve converted me into drinking soy latte. I’m allergic to dairy so the next closest thing is soy dairy.

We digress but I think that what you’ve said about all the different pillars is not about you. I don’t want to sound harsh but when I say it’s not about you, of course, you do still have to honor your desires and your dreams. Your desires and dreams could be that you want to make it ultimately. If you have a product or service that serves your target market well, they’re going to either save time, money or hassles and they will then be able to contribute. When I look at your accomplishments, it’s all these big companies like Amazon and PayPal. These are all corporations that we have heard of.

Are there lessons that you’ve learned that you could maybe share with a small business person, a person that might have maybe one employee herself or under ten employees that are trying to innovate? When you hear the word innovate, it sounds like it costs money. Don’t you think that’s true? When you hear the word innovate, immediately, you think, “I can’t do that because I’m not an engineer. I’m not a scientist. I don’t have the megabucks so I can’t innovate.” What do you say to that?

The process of innovation is one of aggressive learning.

I think it’s a fair question and I totally understand why when people hear the word innovation, it’s a scary word. Candidly, that word has been so used and abused. It’s almost meaningless at this point. The reality and the definition of innovation really simple. It’s introducing a new good or service to the market. Do you know that the definition of an entrepreneur is a business person who takes on greater financial risk? It’s not like you have to be Elon Musk to be an entrepreneur. You could do something that’s moderately riskier than being an employee.

Elon didn’t take any risks with his own money.

A personal example would be I built and sold my own business. I was the sole employee and I’m not a great engineer. I’m a terrible engineer but I sold the business when it was on paper. I sold the patent in the concept. I think innovation takes many forms. Being an entrepreneur is about trying to figure out how something you’re passionate about connects with a customer’s problem. It may not be a direct connection or when you wake up out of bed, you have the right specific idea to solve that problem. The process of innovation, in my opinion, is aggressively learning. I don’t care if you’re a big company or a single individual sitting in your bedroom dreaming about what to do with the rest of your life.

Everyone has to learn from the customer. What I advocate for is a structured process of learning so that you don’t waste time and you maximize your potential for real knowledge gaining. The process that I’ve created for HowDo is based on best practices at big companies. I also founded and led a Techstars Accelerator, which I built and sold my own company as the only employee. I’ve done a lot of work with startups out of the years of my career, about seven years with startups. The process that I’ve created works for everyone. It starts with doing secondary research, which means Google. Ask Google a million questions. If you have an idea for a business, open up your laptop or your tablet and start typing phrases into Google.

You’ll see that there’s probably some information out there. If you want to build a bakery, open up Google maps and look at all the bakeries that are in your neighborhood. Get in your car and drive to all of them. Walk into the store and ask them how business is going. Look at what they’re selling and the price point. If you want to do any industry, look immediately around you and the folks who are in that industry. What I didn’t tend to do is specifically zero in on the people who are leading the businesses that are currently existing. I follow their social media accounts. I read their posts. I look at any of their blog posts or any podcasts they’re on that I listen to. Any YouTube videos they’ve made, I watch. I try to get as much information as I can about the marketplace so I understand what I’m talking about.

Let’s stay at the bakery example. I might know about all the bakeries in my neighborhood and then I try to meet some of the customers in the neighborhood. I’ll post a Craigslist ad and I’ll say, “I’ll give you a $25 Amazon gift certificate if you’ll sit down and have a cup of coffee with me. In these pandemic times, if it’s safer, you feel more comfortable with Zoom or on the phone.” Talk to customers. Now, some Google product managers wrote a great book called Sprint. Google is one of the best companies in the world in terms of using data to make product decisions. One of the things that blew me away about this book Sprint is they recommend that if you talk to five customers of an existing product, you’re going to get 80% of the feedback that you would get if you talk to 20, 30, 40 or 50.

Let’s say you want to make a bakery, find five customers of the existing bakeries and have some conversations with them like, “What do you think about the existing bakery? What do you like about it? What don’t you like about it? What would you like to see? How’s the price point?” Make sure you have these conversations. You have open conversations. Don’t go in there with your product and say, “I want you to buy my product. Tell me what you think.” Try to keep your mind open as much as possible. Try to listen to the words the customer says. The customer is going to speak in a different way than you think. Every time I talk to a customer, I’m constantly impressed with how they describe my product to me and words I would never use.

MDH 40 | Innovation

Innovation: Some of the world’s best innovations are taking something that worked in one end and doing it in an industry that hasn’t done it yet.

 

I’m also impressed that if I listen to the words they use, I can start learning more about what my product is. I can use those words to talk to my customer more effectively. I’ve been in the industry for many years. When I talk about stuff, it’s like, “Nerd.” It’s all about this technical crap. When I go talk to the customer, they don’t know all the technical stuff. They say to me in a much more colloquial, human and accessible way. If I learned that from my customer, I could ask them more specific questions, I get more insight, I know how to market and sell to them. It helps me long-term. Once I have a deep qualitative understanding and again, that can come five conversations. Not always but generally five conversations then I try to test it qualitatively.

I use something like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms. I try to get a statistically significant number of responses. Now, if you’re in a small market, 100 or 200 people, it might be enough. If you’re trying to do something nationally, you should try to get 1,000 people from the demographic that you’re targeting. Hopefully, through your initial research and conversations, you’ll start getting an idea of your demographic. All you want to do in that quantitative survey is take the information you learned from the conversation, the qualitative and validate that they’re true at scale. Once you’ve done that, you have a much better idea of your customer than most of your competitors will because no one does that work.

I think that’s interesting because I love what you shared. As I said, I am so customer-centric that I rarely talk about myself ever and that’s one of the biggest complaints I get from my show because not many people would turn to my show. I’ve sold over 10 million pieces of jewelry and they basically want to know how I did it and I never shared that. What you’re saying is exactly what I did before the digital age. I started my business in 1989 and I didn’t have any money. I had no idea what I was doing. I literally had no clue. I was so naive but I went to different department stores and asked the buyer or the jewelry department managers, “If you had this type of design, would you be able to sell it?” It was all sketches.

The amount of information they gave me, in fact, they were so excited about it. Many of them sold from me off of the sketches. That’s how my business started. I started my business with no money. I had $30. This is before computers and anything then I thought, “How real could that be?” The two stores that sold for me were Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue on Wilshire and Rodale. It’s a different store. In my mind, I was thinking to myself, “That can’t be the rest of America. I’m going to need more than those two stores.” As you said, you needed a bigger sample. The two people that I talked to, the stuff that they ordered for thousands of dollars, I personally didn’t know anybody that would buy it from me.

Everyone has to learn from the customer.

My personal circle of people couldn’t afford the stuff that they thought they were buying. When I went out to other stores all around Southern California, I got a pretty good view. Even then, I didn’t think that that was all of America. I thought that was Southern California. My first trip was to Dallas, which I thought was much more Middle America. Basically, in order for you to find out what your customers want, go find customers, even if it’s just five. I completely agree with those five. In my personal experience, when you’ve talked to people, they’re overjoyed that a real person is talking to you. You’re not a part of anything. You’re not hiking and showing off on social media telling everybody how great you are doing.

You’re asking their opinion, they will be brutally honest with you and then you’re getting some feedback from them. I also loved what you said about how you think about your product a certain way that the customer then sees it in a different way. I think that that’s a key important issue because a lot of times when you think customers see it one way and you think you’re giving it another way, there will be a disconnect in how you message them in the end. If you come up with a marketing ad and let’s say you’re advertising on Facebook, “I have this wonderful, beautiful jewelry for you to wear to work,” then the customer says, “That’s like a milestone jewelry heirloom. I will never wear it to work.”

There’s a huge disconnect between those two because you think they’re going to want to wear it to work into everything then the person says, “No. For me, that would be such an incredible thing that I would want to keep it in my jewelry box. I don’t want to lose it. I don’t want to ruin it.” You have to figure out how the customer uses it. Let’s go back to the word innovation one more time.

I think that a lot of people, when you say the word innovation especially coming from someone like yourself who has worked with Amazon, the innovation capital of the world, they think of inventions. They don’t think about improving things that are already out there. Innovating could mean the same product is delivered in different ways and products used in a different way.

It’s a similar product that elevates personal. Coffee is a great example. I wouldn’t say that Starbucks innovated coffee but the way we use it, the way we now view coffee, there are countries that used to only drink tea until Starbucks got there and now nobody drinks tea in those countries anymore. UK is one of them. I wish the bigger companies that you worked for did what you say. They don’t do it.

They don’t listen to us. It’s insane. I hate PayPal. I don’t like PayPal. They make it so convoluted and it’s not simple for me. I don’t understand why I have to put in my information and then you have to put in all your credit cards to go to their platform. It’s so stupid. I got my gripes with Target and even Amazon. Basically, what I’m saying is that if you’re a small company, you are in a better position to be nimble and surgically effective in the market that you’re in. You can make a lot of profits. You don’t need to make billions of dollars to make money if you got one employee and that employee is you.

I agree when you’re talking about PayPal being difficult. Having worked there for three years and I was the head of the platform there, it had to do a lot with a KYC, AML CTF, Know Your Customer, Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing. If anything is difficult on PayPal, it’s not PayPal’s fault. It’s generally regulations that come in and make it hard. PayPal rides this weird line between banks, etc. The challenge when you get big is the government starts to pay attention to you. When the government starts to pay attention to you, they want their piece of the pie. They want to make sure that you’re doing things the way they want the things to be done. The government has its agenda. Companies have their agendas. A lot of times, those agendas aren’t the same.

MDH 40 | Innovation

Innovation: People become the most successful when they have the endurance to just consistently learn about the customer and never get complacent.

 

When you’re small, most governments don’t care about you. Most competitors will ignore you. It gives you a lot of latitudes to take risks and experiment with your customers. I wanted to touch on one of the things that you said earlier, which is innovation doesn’t necessarily mean invention. In fact, I think some of the world’s best innovations are taking something that worked in one end and doing it in an industry that hasn’t done it yet. There are so many examples of technology specifically that were helpful for the military and is now used by everyone on Earth like using a cell phone, Velcro or zippers. All of those things were designed for specific activities. A lot of them had to do with the space and how we use them in our kitchen like the microwave.

There’s a lot of utility in technology out there that hasn’t been brought to the customer in a way that makes it accessible to the customer. I also think part of the work that I’m trying to do with HowDo is to help people with their inner monologue. I think the biggest barrier to innovation starts with the stories we tell ourselves. If we tell ourselves that we can’t innovate, it’s hard, I’m not this or I’m not that, we’re literally ending the story with that thought rather than giving ourselves permission to try and maybe fail. Failure is literally a failure and learning. If you failed but you learned, that’s not failure. That’s an iteration. That means you took a step, it didn’t work, you’re going to take the step again but you’re going to do it smarter.

If you keep taking the same step with the same process, that’s crazy. Doing the same thing twice and expecting different results, it’s sanity. If you learn every time and you use that learning to scale, that’s not failure. That’s iterating. Everyone iterates on the path to success. Amazon, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos all iterate. If you give yourself a more positive story like, “I can do this. I might have messed it up the first time but here’s why I messed it up. Here’s what I learned about it,” then go look at people who were successful, your role models and your aspirational innovators. Watched how they got there. There’s a ton of failure in that process. No one got up out of bed at eighteen and he’s like, “I’m going to be a billionaire,” and then the next day was a billionaire. There’s a huge 20 to 50-year journey for most of these people.

I believe that there’s a lot of power and capability in everyone but we often are held down by the narratives that we tell ourselves and potentially stories other people tell us but innovation is not scary. Invention is not scary. Invention is harder than innovation. That’s for sure because you have to do something not new but innovation is everywhere in so many things. There are many problems in the world and people will say, “How are we ever going to fix this?” I swear to God, it’s going to be innovation and it’s going to be someone who’s alive now that fixes it. It could be you. It could be anyone.

We started with customer-centric mindset and we’re going to end it with a customer-centric mindset. I think that whether you’re innovating or inventing, it becomes easier the clearer you have in your mind of who your customer is and what they want from you. For example, your customer now wants to save time and they want safe food and they want a new way to microwave something that whatever it is, it becomes a lot easier to innovate and invent once you figure out what your end goal is. You’re going to go back to the customer, see what they want, how they are going to use it and what problems you’re solving for them.

In terms of the obstacles along the way, I weigh with you on that too. When I first immigrated to America, my father told me, “America is the promised land where all dreams come true,” which was a lie. You didn’t know it at the time but you have to work for your dreams. When I came to America, the prevailing thought was that America is still the promised land. It’s the land of opportunity. All you need is the opportunity. As long as you are willing to work for it, you’re persistent and tenacious and you believe in yourself, you’re going to get there. Nowadays, that is not the prevailing thought. A lot of people who are almost nearing retirement age will tell you, “Unless you have something so unique, chic and something different, you’re better off in Corporate America. You’re not going to succeed because the world is complicated.”

What happens as a society is we condition our children. Our graduate schools are teaching business schools how to plug into a system, how to lead a team and how to report to your boss, organizational skills and all this stuff. I can see why you might be sitting there, reading this and wondering if any of this stuff applies to you. I would argue that if you look at all the companies that we’ve mentioned, we’re talking PayPal, including Jeff Bezos at Amazon, all of these people started their companies with very little money like $5,000 or below. Google, Apple or Facebook were all started by some little dreamer with a little idea of something. I would say stop doubting yourself because sometimes, you might be the only thing that’s in your way between you and your dream out there.

What have you got to lose? I believe there was no failure because when you fail but you get up, you learn something and how to do something better the next day. I would consider that our learning lesson. Now, if you choose to do something and you succeed on day one, let’s say you want to learn how to ride a bike. One of my kids learned how to ride a bike pretty quickly and the other one fell for about a year. The one that learned how to ride a bike pretty quickly was a success story but then the one that didn’t eventually learn. You learn a lot of things along the way. Everything that you want to have is worth trying, even if you fear that failure because that failure isn’t a failure. It’s a stepping stone.

West was saying to believe in yourself. Innovation isn’t scary. Even invention is not scary. It’s something that you’re going to have to get used to. Don’t you agree with all the companies you worked for in the past, West, like Target, Amazon and to some extent Visa? These companies have evolved every year. Do you remember when Target first opened? It was an undesirable store.

It was a grade above Walmart. Now, that’s the choice that the Millennials go to. Go figure. Target is shaking. It’s hip now. When I say we’re going to end this segment with customer­centric thing, again whether you innovate or not whether you evolve or not, your customers are evolving every day. You better stay in touch with the evolution, the innovation and all that stuff that’s happening around you. Do you want to add anything else to that as we end our segment?

I would say never get comfortable. A principle is always day one. I think that’s true for every business. Many businesses that I’ve worked for missed hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue because they were like, “Whatever that thing is, it’s not going to be popular.” In 2007, I was at one of the largest banks in Europe. I was talking to their head of innovation and they were like, “We think this Facebook thing is going to be done in two years.” They were very wrong.

The biggest barrier to innovation is the stories we tell ourselves.

I see that so often. I see that in startup founders and in big companies. It’s a basic human behavior. We like patterns and familiar. Talking about stuff that’s unknown or unfamiliar is very hard. For a lot of people, that’s deeply uncomfortable. The more that we can make ourselves comfortable, specifically for me, I’m surrounded by musical instruments, I am constantly learning new things. I constantly challenge myself to learn new things so that I never get tired of the sensation of being unaware and feeling like a newbie. That is where people become the most successful. It’s when they have the endurance to consistently learn about the customer. Never get complacent.

Thank you so much for spending all this time with us. If you want to know more about West, he can be reached at HowDo.com. He will be launching a video series of a lot of free information. I highly recommend that you check it out because he has found ways to apply a lot of the principles that the bigger companies use. Those bigger companies do research at a much different scale and West is giving you them in smaller bites where you can apply it to your small business. I appreciate you coming in and wish you all the luck in the world for your upcoming podcast, which is also called HowDo Podcast. Thank you.

Thank you so much for having me. This is awesome. I appreciate it.

Thank you.

Important Links:

About West Stringfellow

West Stringfellow leads product management and innovation at scale. Throughout his 20 year career, West honed his ability to quickly create a better strategic vision of a company’s future, motivate large groups of people to pursue that vision, and then lead teams through the operational, financial, organizational, and technical processes that bring strategic visions to life.

Currently, West is the Founder and CEO of HowDo where he is providing free universal innovation training. Prior to HowDo, West was Target’s first Entrepreneur in Residence, Target’s VP of Innovation, and the Founder of the Techstars Retail Accelerator, in partnership with Target. He was also Chief Product Officer for Bigcommerce and Rosetta Stone, led product innovation at PayPal and Visa, and was a senior product manager at Amazon. As a result, West led teams that built and rebuilt products and services used globally and daily by tens of millions of satisfied customers

Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share! https://milliondollarhobbies.com/

MDH 39 | Social Media Identity

MDH 39 | Social Media Identity

When it comes to social media marketing, entrepreneurs need to show their identities. They need to show their face, personality, and heart. When people connect to those things, they will connect to you. There are many more factors that play into the social media marketing game. Join your host, Victoria Wieck and her guest David Trotter as they discuss how to create a strong social media identity. David was a pastor who learned how to market and raise funds. He now runs a marketing agency called, Rise Up Creatives. He is also the host of the Inspiration Rising podcast, where he helps entrepreneurial women in their business journey. Learn all you need to know about social media marketing today.

Watch the episode here

Listen to the podcast here

Creating A Social Media Identity With Soul Inspired Entrepreneur David Trotter

You’re not going to believe this but I have an amazing guest. He’s an extremely well-rounded person, lot of compassion, tons of creativity, and has so much to offer. I had to figure out how we do our show. Without further ado, let me introduce you to Mr. David Trotter. He is the Founder of Rise Up Creatives and also the host of Inspiration Rising Podcast with 185 episodes, which is huge. A lot of podcasts are starting out with 10, 20, 30 episodes. The point I’m trying to make is that 185 episodes mean he has invested so much time and effort in educating people and bringing you content that’s relevant, something that his listeners subscribed to and embraced. Give that podcast a shout and also give it a listen because you’re going to find amazing wisdom, not just from him but all his guests and so forth. Check that out as well.

Lastly, I want to also explain that David was a pastor for over ten years. He then went on to create a social media marketing agency. I haven’t asked him this yet, but I’m assuming that all of the experience he’s had raising money for nonprofits and churches is a tough job. He is going to share a little bit about the social media aspect of this as well. We’re going to stumble onto his take on the mindset. The whole end goal for all of us is whatever we choose to do to make a living, whether it is raising money for churches or creating social media, we want to end up happy, wealthy and successful human beings that we want to be proud of and that our families could be proud of. Without further ado, welcome to the show, David.

Thank you so much, Victoria. It’s great to meet you and be with you.

Thank you. I don’t even know where to begin because I’m looking at your bio and it’s not a huge long bio but I have to tell you that there are a few things that pop out. One of them is that you’ve pretty much dedicated your professional career to helping women entrepreneurs. First of all, my hat is off to you because we all know that there has been a very thick glass ceiling for women, especially women entrepreneurs, for quite some time, not just here but globally.

I can remember when I was one of the first generations of women who worked in a managerial capacity. There were lots of men that we worked with side-by-side but they didn’t like that. They were vocal about that too. I wanted to point that out and we’re going to talk about that a little bit on how you dedicated your life to that. Secondly, we want to talk a little bit about helping small businesses cope with social media, the good and the bad. Tell us why do you think you were attracted to helping women entrepreneurs.

In late 2018, I had just finished my fourth film. I had fallen into filmmaking because I wanted to draw attention to certain social justice issues in the world. My first film was on orphans in India. It was on Netflix for two years. I then did a documentary that featured six female abolitionists who were aware of the issue of sex trafficking around the United States, and they opened up aftercare homes. I finished my fourth film in late 2018. I told my wife that I wanted to be making a difference on more of a day-to-day basis rather than a year-to-year basis through these films because they take so long to raise money, produce, direct, and get it out in the marketplace.

We talked about me moving more in the business consulting direction because of my entrepreneurial background. People don’t realize this but as a pastor, when you start a church with a dozen people and you’re trying to get it off the ground, it is extremely entrepreneurial. You have to use all of these resources and you don’t say marketing but it is marketing. You’re putting on a big event single Sunday. With HR, you’re recruiting people to be a part of it, volunteerism, money and all of it. I had spent over a dozen years having my own marketing business.

Make a difference on a day-to-day basis rather than a year-to-year basis.

I said to my wife, “I want to move more toward business consulting and podcasting.” She said, “Who would be the group of people that you would want to serve?” I’m looking back over 25 years of ministry, marketing and movies, the group that most resonated with my work and that I felt like I had the most connection with were primarily women in the 30 to 60 year age range. We started Inspiration Rising Podcast in early 2019. We have almost 220 episodes out. It features female entrepreneurs almost exclusively and me.

I have the privilege of showcasing their incredible talent and their work, and helping pull out their wisdom so that other people can be inspired by it, grow from it and take action from whatever they learn on the podcast. I have a business academy where I help soul-inspired coaches and entrepreneurs to get started in their businesses. It’s not just particularly women that I like working with and helping start their business, but it’s women who are soul-inspired. There’s something that’s heart-driven about them. They’re not just out to make a buck but they want to do something good through their business.

One of the reasons why I fell into this is I grew up in a rather conservative Christian environment where women couldn’t be leaders in the church at a certain level. Oftentimes, they were more defined by certain roles that they would play that were more helping roles. As I went through college and seminary, have a church on my own and hired female pastors, I started realizing I’m not the guy who’s going to be out championing, bringing attention to the #MeToo movement or something like that, but I do feel like I’m the person who’s going to come alongside people, cheer them on, bring out the best in them, and do whatever I can to help. It seems to be the thread that runs through my life and I enjoy it.

What I’m hearing from you also is why you resonate with women entrepreneurs. You’ve touched on two points that are close to my heart. One of them is that if you don’t have your heart in something, if you don’t give your all, if you don’t have a passion for it, and you’re just chasing money, it’s a matter of when your business goes bankrupt. It’s not if because you’re going to run out of steam. You have very long days. You don’t have anything to sustain you, especially for those people who don’t even have any faith in themselves or the community.

We know that life happens. What that means is you’re going to get into detours, landmines and unplanned things that happen to you and to your business. If you don’t have passion for something and you’re just chasing money, that is a disaster waiting to happen. You find that a lot of women won’t start a business unless they see something they can connect with. That’s what I find to be very different between men and women starting their businesses.

The other thing is this show isn’t about what’s wrong with men or why women are superior but when it comes to business, there are a lot of hidden facts about female business people. One of them is women are simply much more open-minded. If you tell them I’m going to do X, Y, Z and somebody comes and says, “Have you tried doing O, Q and L?” A lot of men would say, “No. We have a plan doing this. This has worked for all these other people and it’s worked for me in the last ten years so we’re going to do it this way.” Women might go, “I never heard of that O, Q and L. What’s that about?” They’re a little bit more open-minded. In many instances, they are.

Lastly, they’re much better at multitasking. Even in a traditional church role, I’ve been going to church regularly every Sunday that I’m home. Even when I’m not home, I’ll try to find one if it’s happening on a Sunday. If you look at how churches are organized, the people that are doing the grunt work, 80% of them are women. Those are twenty women that make the whole thing go around. You can count on them putting things together.

MDH 39 | Social Media Identity

Social Media Identity: When you start a church with a dozen people and you’re just trying to get it off the ground, that is extremely entrepreneurial.

 

Those are all key ingredients for successful entrepreneurship. They need to know and have a little bit more direction. I hear you on why women. I love men. I had a father who’s not with us anymore. I have a husband, a son and brothers. They are great people too, but there were some subtle differences on that and you picked up on that one.

When it comes to mindset, no matter your social status, education level or the type of business you’re in, you are going to run into obstacles. The most obvious one is funding. There’s always no enough money to do all your marketing and everything else or hiring top-notch talent, but also mindset in terms of running into roadblocks with your customers, the vendors and everyone else. Do you coach in your Rise Up Creatives or any of your programs about overcoming those types of mindset issues? If so, what are some of the top two tips that you would give?

In the Rise Up Business Academy, one of the very first things that we begin with is your identity because if someone doesn’t have a strong personal identity, those challenges that you’re talking about could knock them down. One of the things that we’ve started off with at the very beginning is that our identity isn’t based on all the externals of life. If we want to be strong business people, all those externals are beautiful. They’re fun, playful and enjoyable, but they also can be here today and gone tomorrow. That could be the case because of challenges in relationships. You could base your whole identity around being a mom or a wife, then it changes and that can be so painful.

We say, “What would it look like for you to create a strong identity around the fact that you’re inspired, enough and loved?” The Latin word for inspire means to be breathed into life by the divine. There’s this sense of being breathed into life. To be inspired isn’t a feeling. It’s a fact that you have been breathed into life by the divine. You have value in and of itself just as you have value as a human being. The second is that you’re enough, whole and complete. You don’t need to do or be anything else to be complete. The third is you’re loved. You’re loved by the divine, by God, your family and friends. They may not do it perfectly but they love and they love you.

What’s interesting about these three qualities is that if we are able to embrace these three things as our true identity, it takes care of three of the biggest challenges that most entrepreneurs face in terms of their mindset. Am I valuable? Is what I’m doing valuable? Am I valuable as a human being? We’re not talking about skills here. We’re differentiating between skills and identity because we can always be growing and learning in terms of skills. We can always be pivoting in terms of, “Is my product valuable to the marketplace? Am I valuable as an individual 100%? Am I enough?”

Many of my clients wrestle with, “I’m not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough and creative enough.” Let’s tease out the difference between your identity of being enough and your skills. We’re always learning and growing but you are enough. You don’t have to do or be anything else to be enough. You are whole and complete. That creates a sense of strength, shoulders back and head high. The third is you’re loved.

Those are the three things that most human beings struggle with. If I can help them embrace that as their true identity, all of a sudden there’s a mindset shift. It goes, “I can always be learning and growing but in terms of my identity, I put my identity in these things. My identity is not just in, “I’m a mom, a wife, an entrepreneur, or that I have a certain car or wear certain clothes.” All those things can change. All those things are good. I’m not saying they’re bad, but the foundation of your identity is you’re inspired, you’re enough and you’re loved.

If you don’t have a passion for something and you’re just chasing money, it’s only a matter of when your business goes bankrupt.

I come from a culture where your identity is very big into destiny like what you were born to accomplish in life, which I completely don’t agree with there either. How do you work with someone who has been conditioned for so long that they’re not good enough? They come to the world view in everything they tackle in life with the idea that I’m not good enough. I’m not loved unless I get a new car, do something, get something sleek, some niche or something that I have, that no matter what I do in my business world, I’m not going to succeed.

These currents, as you know, are very strong. If somebody comes into that, they’re very strong. What are the tips you would give to someone? Is there a daily exercise? Is there some framework that you give to help those people that have a problem even understanding what my identity is or how do I improve upon it? If you don’t even have a foundation or base, you don’t know. Some people have a tough time differentiating their identity without all the toys and everything else. How do you help with that?

The number one way that most people learn is not fun. It’s pain. I can teach you a technique in terms of helping you with your mindset, but the number one way that people learn, including me, is generally having some rock bottom experience. That rock bottom experience can come at all different ages. Maybe we have to hit that rock bottom experience multiple times but it could be a spouse, a partner or a kid looking you in the eye and saying, “You’re workaholic. I never see you. I’m not connected to your heart. You’re so focused on your business because you’re trying to prove yourself through your business and all these extra things.”

It could be a kid looking you in the eye and saying, “You’ve given me all the cars, all the clothes, all the vacations but you haven’t given me your heart. I’m not loved by you.” Those are rock bottom experiences where we have to come to grips with. It’s in that rock bottom experience where we have a breaking of our heart and the opportunity to look within and go, “What’s going on inside?” The only way that can truly be changed is by some transformational healing process. There has to be healing because what we’re talking about is deep woundedness. There’s some sort of wound that’s holding us back from seeing ourselves as valued, enough and loved. Most likely, that wound has come through a home of origin we have, our family, friends, culture or whatever it might be.

That’s part of the pain. A lot of people do self-destruct because they’re trying to find that identity. It usually can turn into overshopping, overeating, overworking out, over gambling, overdrinking, drugs, all those things. Those are all coping mechanisms when we don’t feel like we’re enough. Usually, that rock bottom experience is where we can have that opportunity to experience healing. In the process though, what I teach my clients to do is, first of all, listen and slow down your thinking because there are thoughts that are flowing through your head that are lies.

I call them lies. Some people call them limiting beliefs. They’re lies about you, other people, the divine, God, or the world in general that you believe. We think so fast that sometimes we don’t even realize they’re lies because we’ve heard them so often. It is not a lie anymore. It’s become a belief about our life. We justify it. If we slow down our thinking or if we have somebody else, a coach, a consultant or a therapist come alongside us and say, “Did you notice that you have a belief that you need to work seven days a week in order to be successful?” “No, I have to.”

“Yeah, but that’s a belief. Is it possible that that’s a lie that you’re believing and that’s causing you self-destruction?” The underlying why of working seven days a week could be, “I’ll never be enough.” If that’s the lie, what’s the truth that would move you toward more freedom, more health, more peace in your life? It’s not just that I am enough but it could be I’m whole and complete. I don’t have to do or be anything else in order to be enough because that’s the truth.

MDH 39 | Social Media Identity

Social Media Identity: To be inspired isn’t a feeling. It’s a fact that you have been breathed into life by the divine and you have value in and of itself.

 

One of the biggest lies and I’m not saying that people are intentionally lying, but it’s not the truth, which is the way I can be a great parent or a great spouse is to go out and make as much money as I can and provide for them. Because I’m doing that, I could work 7 days a week, 15-hour a day. Even when I’m present at home, I go to the yard where I’m emailing. I know people like this. That’s why they want me to put this out.

This is a perfect time for us to segment into social media. I have a love-hate relationship with social media. If you’re running a business, you can’t escape it. People expect you to be there with the right content for the right reasons for the right amount of time, but what I see in social media is a lot of lies about fancy cars, fancy restaurants, and having the $15 coffee. The destructive part of life becomes public in your social media. That’s why I don’t like it because if I’m a normal person and I posted that I love my dog and my dog is doing something cute, it doesn’t seem like it even fits anymore because that’s so normal, whereas it’s much more grandiose things. It’s like the compete and compare the game that’s on there.

I have a feeling that you are a social media expert. You did a social media marketing digital agency for twelve years. How do we balance the valuable content we need to offer to our customers, clients and potential clients because that has to do with your brand positioning, also making it fun and effective so you don’t have to be so overconsumed? It doesn’t have to be all time-consuming event when you’re trying to have a presence on social media. Do you have any wisdom with that?

First of all, we want to differentiate between your brand social media and maybe your personal brand like you as an individual. Sometimes those are collapsed. Those are the same individual. A lot of the clients that I work with only have one social media account and it’s there. You have to differentiate that. First of all, who is your ideal client? Who’s your dream client? What do they want to learn from you? What’s going to be the most helpful? If you are trying to go after a high-net-worth client, showing high-net-worth things would make sense. If that’s not your ideal client, then you have to ask yourself why you would be posting those types of things.

If you’re a high net-worth client and your ideal audience is the high net-worth client, do you think that they’re necessarily even on social media?

The high net-worth clients that I worked with tend to avoid it. For instance, I have a client who’s in Beverly Hills that just got a yacht. They’re not posting a picture of the yacht. They’re posting a picture of their dog and them. I can see the yacht and the water in the background but it’s not the yacht. They have no need to brag and put that out there.

They’re really wealthy. They’re almost like normal people. I work with a lot of people that are $500 million and up. Those people don’t want anyone to know where they live, what they have and how they live. When you’re a high net-worth person, they are not on social media. That is not where your conversion rates are coming from.

Your identity isn’t based on all the externals of life.

Most of the people, if they are trying to show off some sort of lifestyle, I would generally say that they are going after a dream client. It’s an aspirational lifestyle. They’re creating a mood where they’ve got the Gucci bag or the YSL. They’re trying to create that persona. Those are not the people that I work with. That feels emptier to me. That doesn’t resonate with me. I want to work more with people that are saying, “Who’s my dream client? How can I help and serve those people?” What would it look like that when I post something on social media, it is here to serve people?

A lot of the women that I work with will first say, “I don’t want to post on social media because it’s exactly what you described.” They would describe that. I would tell them, “It depends on who you’re following. If you’re following that type of person, that’s who you’re going to see.” I don’t personally see the thing that you described where people are showing off their cars because I don’t follow those types of people. You find what you’re looking for. All the people that I follow are very soul-inspired. They’re very much more spiritual. They’re looking to make a difference in the world. You can be that person. You can fully represent yourself online.

I did a podcast on the three things that people need to show on social media as they’re getting started in the business. I said, “You need to show your face, your personality and your heart.” That’s what people want to see. People love seeing other people’s faces. If you’re not willing to show your face, it’s putting a bag over your head and trying to get people to remember you. Your face is the best logo you could ever have in your business because people remember your face and are drawn to it.

How would you go about doing this in a very consistent manner and time-effective way? What I do with my social media is I have an editorial calendar and a routine. Every Monday, I post a motivational quote. I try to go for something that not a lot of people know about so that it will get their attention but it’s relevant to them. I do the Motivational Monday to get my week going. I don’t do anything on Tuesday. I’ll post something on Wednesday that has happened or is relevant. If I’m launching a new thing or I experienced something new in the relevant category, that’s what I would do.

Friday usually is the Fun Friday, anything goes. That’s where I would have my family and the dog. Saturday and Sunday, it’s not a routine where I’m posting but I have the Monday, Wednesday, Friday thing. At least that gives me a way to organize my content time-wise. Also, it gives my followers something to look forward to if they’re looking for inspiration like a Monday morning blues, and they want something that reminds them why that week should be exciting. They could check my Monday morning posts. They’re not looking for any cars or anything like that at that time. Do you think that that’s something that you recommend?

Our clients inside Rise Up Creatives, we provide them with a social media planning calendar every single month, both as a PDF that they can download and a digital Google document that they can fill out online. We train them on how to plan an entire month of social media ahead of time. We provide our clients with 31 customizable captions every single month and 31 lifestyle images. Oftentimes, our clients will post an image of them on one day, more of a lifestyle image that’s a stock image the next day, and then another image of them the next day.

All of our caption templates are fit into seven different categories. We have found that there are seven top categories that are converting well to build know, like and trust. Victoria, you know that if somebody is going to convert, they’re going to buy from you if they want to know, like and trust you. The seven categories are my life, my why, life and business learning, behind the scenes, your actual product and service, and then your benefits.

MDH 39 | Social Media Identity

Social Media Identity: In social media, there are only three things that you need to show. You need to show your face, your personality, and your heart.

 

I want to know something about your life if I’m going to know, like and trust you. I want to know something about your why. Why are you in business? What are you doing? I want to see something that’s behind the scenes in your business. I want to know life for business learning, something that’s going on that you’ve learned so that I could learn from you. I want to learn about your products and service. I want to learn about the benefits to you.

With these categories, we help people not just post them 1 through 7 days a week, but we strategically place them throughout the month. The first thing that we ask people to do and thinking about their month is, “When are you going to launch something? When are you launching a new lead magnet, a new product, a new podcast episode?” You’re going to want to put that on the calendar first. Everything revolves around when you’re launching a product or service, whether it’s free or something.

You can then put things that help build-up to that and are on a similar theme. If you were doing a new piece of jewelry that you’re launching, you could be talking about that piece of jewelry all the week before preparing for it. People are looking, watching, waiting and excited for that coming on Thursday or Friday. You’re building everything around your launch schedule.

What I took away from what you said is interesting. What you said is like, “Don’t just go and post because you have to post.” A lot of small business people are running out of time. They’re doing twenty things and wearing multiple hats. They’re the chief of everything in their company. They’re like, “Those social media. I need to post.” They’ll post something and they’re looking for content at that time, “Maybe I can take a picture of this.” What you’re saying is to have an editorial calendar and a plan of action. Only 3 or 4 things on your calendar are absolutely top priority and everything else supports it. It’s like when you’re producing a movie or a live TV show where you have your main storyline and everything else supports that.

That’s a good takeaway there because that organizes your thoughts. I agree with you that if you’re launching something, the pre-launch phase is more important than the actual launch day. The launch, you have to almost look at it as a process, not as an event that happens on one day and then you’re done. It’s like a job interview. You need to prepare for that, then show up, perform, follow up, and do all that. Using social media in that way is very smart.

Every 1 of the 7 most popular categories that they have talked about could be an hour show by itself, which we’re not going to go into. You can go check out RiseUpCreatives.com for more information on that. If you can get templates, editorial calendars, a proven system, thinking about your why, your lifestyle, those are not in dispute. Those categories work. If somebody can make that easier for you, I would go ahead and check that out.

Lastly, as we come to a close to this episode, I like the whole journey transformation of your own life and how that’s impacting other entrepreneurs. I work with a lot of entrepreneurs. I went from a penniless immigrant to a successful business owner. When I started my company, I just wanted to spend more time with my family. When my parents immigrated here, they each had two jobs at a minimum. Sometimes they had three jobs. They didn’t speak English, I had no friends and life was pretty tough. They left us alone to fend for ourselves. They trusted that we could somehow survive that time. I was only thirteen years old.

Your face is the best logo you could ever have in your business.

When I grew up and had jobs, I realized, “I’m going to do the same thing to my kids that my parents did on me.” I’m now chasing dollars of my choice. I chose to get higher and higher in the corporate hierarchy for more pay, which required more hours. I thought with this trajectory, I’m going to end up having nannies or other people take care of my kids while I’m out there chasing the dollars. It’s a different scale but I was doing that in my mind out of choice.

When I left the corporate world, I was willing to take a pay cut and work for $3,000 a month. The important thing for me at that time was I needed to work less than twenty hours a week so I could spend time with my family. I stuck to my life plan. I’m happy to say that going from 0 to $500 million in retail sales, all of my own brands, I am a better person now than when I first started my business because of all of the stuff that went wrong with my business.

I got screwed over by a manufacturer who took my samples and gave them to all my competitors. He thought that he would get more orders from them because they already had a pipeline, all kinds of stuff. I wrote a whole book about this. Each time something horrible happened where I was facing bankruptcy straight in front of my face after I’ve given my heart and soul, there were many times I sat there and thought to myself, “What happened?” Anything that happens to me now, my first question is, where is the gift in this?

All of those events ended up because of the way I handled them. I’m not saying I handled it any better than any other human being but I didn’t have choices to handle it. Sometimes the choices were yes or no. Yes is you have a slim chance and no is death. I survived that but now my question is, “Where’s the gift?” because I choose to see it as a gift. With your journey, you were a pastor. You were very good at that. You then go out and raising funds. I agree with you. Raising money for church is incredible because I’ve been involved in doing all kinds of stuff for my church.

The worst thing about churches is when you call, they already know you’re asking for money. They’re already looking at excuses. To be fair, we are asking the same congregation members for more and more money. Not too many pastors make that transition from pastorship clergy to a successful business owner, a filmmaker and everything else. You have evolved but you haven’t changed as a person.

The end goal for all of us is that as entrepreneurs, we want to gain that emotional freedom. We want to get financial freedom so that we can do great things for other people as well. It’s important to make sure that all of us who do make it in the end keep that original goal in mind. I’ve seen too many people that have made it financially but they paid the price. They got divorced four times. Their kids won’t even talk to them anymore. They don’t even know who they are. That’s sad and tragic. What words of wisdom do you have about achieving all of our ultimate goals in life, which is to be a better parent, spouse, partner, employee, employer, and just a great citizen of humanity?

I’ll oftentimes take clients through a meditation where we begin with their memorial service. When I was a pastor, I love doing funerals because you were there at the crux of this life moment where you want to avoid it but you can’t avoid it. It causes you to ask questions about what are my values and how do I want to live. I take them on a meditation to their own memorial service. We say who’s there, what are they saying about you, what’s written on your tombstone, and what’s the epitaph?

MDH 39 | Social Media Identity

Social Media Identity: Ask, who is your ideal client? Who’s your dream client? What do they want to learn from you? So if you go after a high net worth client, you have to appear high net worth too.

 

Sometimes people will say, “I wanted it to be this but in the meditation, it was this. I felt scared and sad.” I take them back in time to the week or the month before their memorial service. I have them lying on a bed. I go, “Who’s surrounding you on that bed in your last moments of life when your body is beginning to shut down? Who’s there? What are they saying to you at that last moment? Do you have any regrets about how you’ve lived? Is there anything that you would like to do differently?”

We then continue to take steps back in their life and go, “Based on what you saw, did you like that or did you not? What do you want your optimal end-of-life scenario to be? What do you want people to say at your memorial? How do you live your life to get to that point? What are the things that you would have to put in place? Not hoping that my kids will be able to figure it out and I’ll reconcile with them when I’m 60. They’ll be able to forgive me for never being around. I don’t count on that.

That’s very powerful. We should all think about our memorial service because that would deconstruct a lot of our actions. Thank you so much for coming by. How can people find you? I’m sure that most of my readers would want to follow up on this on both the social media part of it, as well as the memorial service that you want us to all go on. That’s important and everything else. How can they find you?

People can listen to the Inspiration Rising Podcast on any of the podcast apps. You can also go to our website, which is InspoRising.com. On that page, you can find out all about Rise Up Business Academy, Rise Up Creatives and all the things.

Thank you so much. That’s the end of our episode here. For all of you, if you haven’t subscribed, please go ahead and do so. If you can share, rate and review this show, I would be very grateful. Stay healthy and happy. Remember, happiness is a choice. Until next time.

Important links

About David Trotter


David Trotter is a business growth consultant dedicated to helping new business owners rise above their biggest barriers to reach their greatest goals. After consistently hearing from his clients about the challenges of creating content for social media, lead magnets, and webinar slide decks, he launched Rise Up Creatives, a membership platform to help business owners create beautiful, engaging social media content in just five minutes a day. David is also the host of the Inspiration Rising podcast with over 180 episodes featuring female entrepreneurs and leaders sharing their experience and wisdom, and his latest book is entitled “Empowered to Rise: The Secret to Embracing Your True Identity, Uncovering Your Super Powers, and Bringing Your Inspiration to the World.”

Previously, David was a pastor starting fast-growing churches for over 10 years, owned a six-figure marketing boutique for 12 years, produced and directed four award-winning feature films on social justice issues (www.imdb.com/name/nm5084689), and has written a dozen books (www.amazon.com/David-Trotter/e/B003O7G8B6)

David and his wife, Laura, have been married for over 26 years, and they live in Southern California with their two almost-grown kids who are both in college.

Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share! https://milliondollarhobbies.com/

MDH 38 | Build A Website

MDH 38 | Build A Website

 

Small businesses crash and burn every now and then. One of the reasons why they fail is their lack of a website. If your business doesn’t have a website, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Learn why a website is integral to your brand and how it can make more people aware of your services. Join your host, Victoria Wieck, as she talks to Nathan Bynum on the importance of a website. Nathan is a website builder, and he creates websites for his clients in two hours! He is also the best-selling author of the book, Goal Setting: Habits to Achieve Your Goals and Succeed in the Life You Want. Learn why having a fancy website doesn’t always mean better. Learn to understand your audience because SEO means everything. Listen in today, so you can make your best website.

Watch the episode here:

Listen to the podcast here:

How To Build A Website To Help Test Your Products With Nathan Bynum

I have the honor of introducing my youngest guest so far to date. He is very impressive. His name is Nathan Bynum. At the age of 24, he became a bestselling author. The book is titled Goal Setting: Habits to Achieve Your Goals. What we’re going to talk about is something that might be relevant to you and your business and something that we can all benefit from. Personally, a lot of my students have fallen into this trap of the websites. For a lot of you, the small business owners, the website thing is like a puzzle that we don’t understand all that well.

Let me give you stats on this too. Ninety percent of startups fail. That’s a staggering number. There was no excuse and no good reason for it. One of those things has to do with Nathan’s specialty, which is building a great website cost effectively and something that’s pretty flexible. You can track your ideal clients’ activities and attract them, as well as making it very friendly for them to shop with you, to get to know you, to fall in love with you. My husband always says to me that when it comes to internet SEO website or any kind of a tech person, the younger, the better. I found my youngest guy. His name is Nathan Bynum. Welcome to the show, Nathan.

Thanks for having me, Victoria. I’m excited to be here.

You look like a kid. For those of you who are reading, you might want to check us out on YouTube. He looks like one of these high school kids. There is this perception or maybe a misconception that Millennials are lazy as a generation than the Baby Boomers and everybody that can’t be for you. I find that not to be true. I’ve lately gone into a lot of Millennials who are super smart and very much a go-getter. They found their niche. In many ways, your generation corrupts with your cell phones on your hips probably by the time you were in middle school. There are some things that you do so much better than we do and one of those has to do with websites. Do you do believe that websites are necessary for every business?

After the whole pandemic thing and even before that, it’s critical to get your website out there. I don’t remember the exact numbers but I came across a stat. Somewhere over 50% of searches on Google are for local businesses. If you don’t have a website out there, then you’re going to be losing a lot of traffic.

I went out to do takeout Thai food. This Thai food place, we’ve been going there before the pandemic. It’s one of the big local hangouts out here. We wanted to have an easy night and my kids were over. We all wanted to eat different things. The first thing we did was we check out their website to see what the menu is, if they changed their hours and all that stuff. Lo and behold, they had their old menu. They were closing at 8:00 and we didn’t know. We called on the phone and ask them if they’re closing at 8:00. They said, “No, we’re up until 10:00.” We told them, “Your website says you’re open until 8:00.”

This is a simple example. This Thai restaurant was three miles down the road. The perception is people go to websites for special occasions but that’s not true. We Google all this stuff because it’s easier to do that than get on the phone. It’s the idea that the websites play a critical role, especially for small businesses. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

You can do it easily under a couple of hundred dollars to set it up.

Stop trying to attract everybody and focus on your ideal customer.

You help people build their websites in two hours, which is amazing. I can’t even navigate my own website sometimes in an hour or something. That’s a great service you do for small business people. I also want to ask you and maybe you can expand on this. I started my business in 1989. In ’89, if you wanted to have access to a computer, you have to go to a bank. They had those green screens with the green letters or you’d have to go to university. I went to UCLA. That’s very close to where I lived. I am an alumnus. I would go there. You have microfiche and all this stuff.

Now that’s not the case. Younger generation like you might think we do things backwards and we do a lot of times. There was this perception among older small business people that website is a website. They’re all the same. They’ve got a URL, an address and a contact. You have a menu of services. If you’re at hair salon, you have your hours and you got great looking pictures of whoever, especially small business women.

I’m not saying anything bad about women. People don’t like me talking about something but a lot of us women focus on the aesthetics like the colors, the main theme and the font. How does it make you feel? Those are all branding elements. I get that you do need that but I also know that I don’t know enough about this. All the words you choose to put in there has something to do with SEO, Search Engine Optimization. When you type in something like ice cream store or something, that pops up first because you get ranked. Explain a little bit to us about how that relates to website building.

One of the reasons that I tell people to go in this route and building it themselves is because whenever you type something into Google, you have a specific problem that you need to fill. In that case, you need ice cream. I would say that needing ice cream is a necessity. You type in what you’re looking for. What I see a lot of times is people go way too broad because they’re trying to attract everybody but whenever you start doing that, it starts not relating to anybody specifically and so they’re not going to feel those pain points and understand what you’re trying to do.

For this example, you could say something related but a little bit unrelated like, “Do you want a savory sweet?” If that was what popped up at the top of Google, in the tagline and all that, then you’re not going to be relating to the audience. How it relates to website building is you need to always be able to pivot, change, test and see what converts and what gets a higher bounce rate. A bounce rate is people clicking on your website and then clicking back because they didn’t find what they’re wanting.

It’s knowing the words that your audience uses, which I like to go in different Facebook groups or LinkedIn groups, become part of that community to provide value to people with questions but also to see what those questions are and what words they use specifically. That’s where your best website copy is going to come from. It’s going to come directly from people who are your ideal clients or people who are looking for that solution that you’re providing but using their words so that resonates with them.

Let’s go back to the ice cream example because we all love ice cream and it’s something we can relate to. Going back to your first part of the answer, which is if you were typing in ice cream very specifically, there’s going to be less people searching ice cream than sweets for example, because a lot of people are sweetaholic. You know if you’re a chocolate cake person or an ice cream person. When you say sweets, most likely that’s not going to get your search engine optimization to the max. You’re also saying that the customer who wants ice cream won’t type in sweets.

That makes complete sense. Understanding your target market, their pain points and the problems that your ideal target audience sees themselves having because they’ve got an ice cream attack and they wanted to have that. How you’re providing that solution that becomes a great copy material for your website, those copy materials then become better searched.

MDH 38 | Build A Website

Build A Website: Somewhere over 50% of Google is for local businesses, so if you don’t have a website, you’re going to lose a lot of traffic.

 

You hit on many of the pain points that small business owner has. A lot of times as a small business owner, if you’re selling ice cream, you’re thinking, “My rent is $14,000 a month. My employees are costing me $6,000 a month. I need to cover $10,000. How am I going to make money just selling ice cream?” The next thing they do is, “Maybe I’ll have the ice cream and the chocolate cake next to it because the sweet person is going to go do the other thing.” Then the next thing is, “Maybe I’ll do wedding cakes too.” That’s an extreme example but this is how we think we understand the ideal client.

You keep on expanding and then you lose your focus. That’s a common mistake that a lot of small business owners have or sometimes they start with the broad definition of their ideal client. The smaller the niche, the better off you’re going to be in terms of being able to build a website that’s targeted for that customer. When it comes to building a website, in your mind, what are the top three things that’s a key factor in generating traffic to you other than the one you explained about the ideal customer? Do fonts and all that stuff matter?

Consistency and fonts do matter because it’s a psychological thing that messes their minds when they see all these different fonts when people would try to get too fancy. As long as it’s just a more basic like pop-ins or something like that, then fonts don’t matter a whole lot. What matters are the words and the copy that you use and having trust.

You can find different sources of people who already have an audience that is particular to yours but they don’t have a competing service. They already have those audiences built up and that trust within. If you can find a way to provide value to their audience and to them, it’s like a show. I’m providing value for your readers and you providing that content.

The reason that is so important is that they already have that relationship with you. They understand that you’re a giver. They understand that, “This person that I trust already trusts you.” Even before they get to the website, they have that built up. It’s not going to matter as much what all the fancy little things that you do are going to do on that website.

Another thing I would say is super critical, especially that Google is releasing the vitals like the three different things that they’re going to be looking for in websites. One of those is how fast your website loads. That’s another reason that people get way too fancy with it and so that slows it down dramatically. The sacrifice that they make with making their website quick enough is not worth the fanciness of their widgets. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked up and searched for something, clicked on a website and it’s taking forever. I click away and go to the next one. It might have been a better website.

I agree with you on the speed because I don’t have time at anything that loads. My rule is four seconds. If it still got the little wheel thing, I move on because life is too short. Nothing I search is a life-threatening thing. I move on to the next guy who makes it a little bit easier for me to do. How do you feel about pop-ups on the website? Almost 50% of the companies I visited says, “Sign up for this thing and you get 15% off or some offer.” Do you think that’s necessary? Do they work?

There’s a more tactful way to do it. I don’t have pop-ups on my website. I never have. The reason that I do that is that I want to have that relationship with people that I’m going to be working with first before asking them for something. I have different places on the website that I offer different free things for their email, their name and everything but I don’t let that be the first thing.

A fancy website isn’t worth it if it won’t even load fast enough.

I don’t even have it in the top fold of my website, which a lot of people tell you to have it in the top fold but I don’t think that’s enough time to provide that value for other people. I have a video on the top of my page and then you have to scroll down to get to anything that you sign up for. For one, subscribers cost the company’s money because you can only send X number of emails and you can only have X number of subscribers before you have to start paying more. Why would you want people here just hopping on to get something, unless they know that they’re going to be getting that value?

Two, it can come off as spammy. A lot of times, I’ve clicked away from that. I’m not knocking anybody who does those things because we all have our different approaches. I like to look at it and I like other people to look at it more of a long-term relationship with those people that you’re going to be working with. I’m not a big proponent of the pop-ups.

I love what Nathan was saying about these two points. They both go hand-in-hand. One is about working with other people who don’t compete with you. What he’s saying is to collaborate with people that have a similar interest. For example, my daughter has a website and she specializes in Millennial bridal custom-made jewelry. She does high-end fine quality Millennials who are eco-conscious people.

She does bridal jewelry for Millennial customers who are looking to make the world better. She could collaborate with wedding dress designers, florists or wedding photographers because they don’t compete. They’re all going to meet in the same place. That would be a great example of how you can work with other people who’ve built up a trust level with their customers. You can, in return, do the same thing for them. This collaboration thing is great.

When it comes to pop-ups, what Nathan was saying was gain their trust and respect first before you offer them a free discount on something because you’re going to end up attracting people who only value that coupon. They’re going to leave you for another coupon. They’ll never come back and it will cost you money. I like those lessons there as well. My next question was on the all the signups too. Do you do think that having a newsletter or a blog is still relevant on your website or no?

I think so. Having a newsletter is another way to provide value to people because I know what my customers, my email subscribers, all of them are looking for. I do a newsletter a couple of times a month, providing them things that I’ve learned or resources that have benefited me. Finding all the different ways that you can find to add that value is critical. That’s why I have those signups, email address and all those things to provide that value. I have a rule set up for myself that 90% of the emails that I send are straight up good content value and not pitching anything. I do have that 10% where I’m like, “This is what I offer if you want it. If not, then jump to the next email and there’ll be some more content.”

What you’re advocating and your rules that you have set for yourself are how we’re used to old business before digital age. Before the internet, the digital and the cell phones, we would never go up to somebody and go, “My name is Victoria. You’re Nathan? Buy this.” We wouldn’t do that way. We would ask you, “How are you? How is your family?”

It’s building that relationship and some sort of a trust. Only then that coupon or anything will matter. I would assume the consistency of the newsletter is important. I’ve always had this itchy question about this and I still haven’t done it for this one reason. It’s because I’m not sure so I didn’t do it. When in doubt, don’t do it. That’s my role.

MDH 38 | Build A Website

Build A Website: When creating a website, you need to be able to pivot and see what changes and what gets a higher bounce rate.

 

Holiday times, I do fine jewelry when I’m not podcasting. My customers are very loyal. Jewelry is one of those categories that if you don’t have an emotional connection with your customer, you don’t sell it. We’re selling things like wedding rings, graduations, anniversaries, birthdays. I’ve always wanted to share what my family’s Christmas great recipe is that I still treasure and I only eat it once a year. Do you think that those add value at all or should I stay strictly business?

That would be a wonderful idea because it’s the relationship with people. You’re not just a name or a business. You’re building that relationship with them. Seeing that side of you, the family part, those connections that they also have in their lives and being able to relate to that, that builds that rapport. That would make them trust you more and value you more because you’re opening up to them and you’re sharing things from your family and personal things with them. That’s an awesome idea.

One of the emails that I send out each month is a personal story where I’ve learned lessons from and then how to apply those lessons to other people’s businesses. Just having that has a huge effect on building that relationship with them. You don’t walk up to somebody and do that but once you have been sending those emails, they’re obviously getting your emails because they’re on the list and so they know who you are. They can listen to your wonderful podcast. They can find you in all these different places. They do know you. Sharing those stories is natural.

I’ve always wondered if that is way too much me kind of thing. I have a lot of respect for my customers and their time. I have two questions. Number one, you’re a huge advocate of building a website that’s flexible enough. You are testing your product lines, your service, your pricing and all that. We’re constantly testing. My whole model for running a business is test it then once you figure out what’s working or what customers like most about it, you tweak it, you build it, then you accelerate, scale this up and then you do it over and over.

In order for you to do that, you would need to build 3 or 4 different websites in that whole process. You’re saying that number one, you can build on that website while you’re testing in less than 2 hours or up to 2 hours. I have a feeling that you probably could build a website in less than two hours but for most of us, we’re not that tech savvy. Is that practical? Do you have a reason to believe that? Remember, you have to take your hat off of yourself with tech savvy people.

One, you could build multiple websites. I can explain how it all works together but the theme that I use has different modules on it to where it’s the same website. I word things differently and 50% of the people see one thing, 50% of people see another thing. That way, I don’t have to build multiple websites to test different things.

Two, I’m always testing things on my website. The top does not have the menu on it. You have to scroll all the way down to the bottom. I have a video on the top and I’m seeing if that helps build that relationship more. I’m not saying that you have to build multiple websites to do it. You could do it that way but I find it easier to test different stats, look at them and do different AB testing on the websites to figure it out that way.

I do believe it is possible because I’ve had some people do it. I’ll put this stipulation on it. I’m not talking about writing all the copy and everything. I’m talking about getting the pages set up, getting them look how you want them like the aesthetics and all of that. Connecting that with the host and the domain name, getting it completely live and set up in two hours but then you’ll have to do the writing and all of that afterwards. I don’t know how long that would take. I can explain to you in a metaphor to explain how all that works.

Building a website is like building a house. The house is the website, and the land is the hosting service.

This is how I explain it to people whenever they first asked me how I do build a website. It’s like a puzzle. You don’t know how all the pieces go together until you know what the puzzle looks like. Say that you’re building a house. In order to have the house, you obviously have to have land. If the website is the house, in this case, it’d be technically a content management system. That’s how your website is able to be drag and drop and you’re not having to do any coding or anything. That house is sitting on the land and the land is the hosting service. The house is like the website on the internet to where people can get to it but at this point, they still can’t get to it because there’s not an address.

That’s where the domain name comes in or the web address. That’s your street address. How people type it in to get to there but not a lot of people are going to get there without a road. The roads are any kind of social media like Instagram, Facebook, podcasts or LinkedIn. Those are the roads that bring people to the house. They’re able to find that website because of the content management system.

You have the house but you don’t have it set up and you don’t even have different rooms in it. The different rooms here represent your homepage, services page, all the pages that you specifically need. Those are built with the theme. I always recommend Divi because it’s a one-time purchase. It also has the ability in which you literally click a button and you’re able to see what it looks like on a tablet or a phone.

You can see any type of phone. It even has them listed out. You’re able to change it based on how you want it to look on there. Divi also has the AB testing to where you can write one thing and write another thing and see what converts better. You have your house, the land and the hosting service. You have all the roads to get there. You have your address, your room set up and all the interior design. That’s how it all works together.

Next time you come on this show or anyone else’s show, you should have a little white board, draw the little house and all that. I love that. With everything you’ve said, I can completely relate to them because I am a huge proponent of building a relationship, gaining their trust and their respect. I also believe in getting your leads, your customers with generosity more than just take. We all have something to give and that’s precious.

I like your whole philosophy of driving and gaining traffic and how you can help people build a website if they want to. I’m not going to build my website because I’ve already built it a couple of times. It’s working pretty well but for those of you who are too busy to do it, the lessons that Nathan shared with us is very valuable, even when you’re hiring people. You know enough to know the type of things that need to go there like pop-ups.

I shop at Pottery Barn a lot. They have their pop-up within the first ten seconds and it annoys me. I’m like, “I’m already a customer. I’m not going to get the 15% anyway. I’m not going to sign up for the email.” They don’t even know that I’m an old customer for them.

I’ve spent probably upwards of $100,000 at Pottery Barn. I’ve done several rooms, houses and they still don’t know who I am because they’re asking me to sign up for the emails. That annoys me. I wrote to them. I said, “I should be a VIP customer for you.” Stores that somebody had told me about, I try to go and then the first thing that comes up is a pop-up. To me, I’ll go to a place where it’s 20 seconds or 30 seconds. I’ve had time to click on more than one but with the first ten seconds, to me I found that very offensive.

MDH 38 | Build A Website

Build A Website: A domain name is like a street address. People will have to find your address to go to your website. Social media acts like the roads leading up to your house. There are many different ways to reach your website.

 

I’ve never done that on my own. That answered a very big question on that as well. It’s the bigger reason why the pop-ups don’t work. Thank you so much for coming on. That was a great primer on SEO, on everything else, as well as identifying your target market, how people Google search your problems and the potential solutions as well. People who want to learn more about this, where would they go, Nathan?

To complement this, I made a PDF to where it could walk people step-by-step, how to set it up with pictures and everything with the hosting and all that. If they want to, they can go to ReachFuelPotential.com/2HourWebsite.

For those of you, who already had a business with no website, read this episode. Go through the checklist of all the things that Nathan had shown. I know there are quite a few of you out there that are hobbyist inventors who aspired to be an entrepreneur or maybe you have a side gig. I know that 30% of you have some side hustle because I did a little survey on you. Many of you start your businesses, you’re getting traction and you’re like, “I have a business. I should convert this because I’ve got eight people that want to learn more about this.”

I have a very good friend who’s gotten a lot of her old clothes that she was giving away and she thought, “These are so dated.” Nothing about these clothes were great but she loved these buttons. The buttons are old schooled and stuff. She’s had a business selling these old vintage buttons. It took her about 4, 5, 6 months until people figured out how to use them. She was teaching people. She went to mostly senior citizen places. It’s such an heirloom thing for the next generation. Her business is blooming and she’s like, “How do I build a website?”

You should think about doing your website before your business comes on because when that business happens, the last thing you want to do is worry about the technicalities of building a website at that point. You want to get that momentum after you start turning your businesses. With this friend of mine, her business is literally on fire. She’s getting small stores. She’s found great ways to do postcards and all that stuff.

She’s in 14 or 15 different stores. All of these are happening and she doesn’t have a website yet. When she finally found a website, she went for the cheapest guy like a $500 website, who’s going to teach you how to get this done on Shopify. It’s too late. That’s why I wanted to have Nathan here because you want to be proactive. If your business is not on fire yet and now that you have a little bit of time, give those two hours and your business a real chance at surviving. Ninety percent failure rate is not necessary and not justifiable if you follow those simple little steps.

One last thing I want to say about Nathan is he literally is a kid. My kids are 29 and 27 years old. You’re super bright and super polite. Your parents are going to be very proud of you. Thank you so much for coming by, being such a class act, a gentleman, knowledgeable and for educating us. For those of you who haven’t subscribed to the show, please subscribe to this.

If you have kids Nathan’s age, share it with them because there is a future for the Millennial generation. A lot of people in that generation believed that their American dream is moving farther and farther away from them, which is not true. Until next time. Stay healthy and happy. Remember, happiness is your choice. Thank you.

Important Links:

About Nathan Bynum

Traveling the world meeting successful entrepreneurs has given Nathan the insights and skills needed to become one of the youngest goal achievers you’ll ever meet. At 25 he has already become a best-selling author, a certified goal success coach, and is now teaching his audience of entrepreneurs how to systematically achieve their business goals by honing in on a niche at the intersection of their passions and profits, showing them how to create websites in less than 2 hours from scratch, without touching a single line of code, and attracting their ideal clients.

MDH 37 | Sales And Marketing Trends

MDH 37 | Sales And Marketing Trends

 

You don’t always need to follow today’s sales and marketing trends to make that first sale. Sometimes, you need to take a different approach to your business. In this episode, Victoria Wieck discusses trends in sales and marketing and why these trends don’t always apply. Victoria talks about building your brand and gives tips and strategies that help build customer trust. Listen in and learn more about working towards your first sale.

Watch the episode here:

Listen to the podcast here:

Going Against Sales And Marketing Trends While Working Towards Your First Sale

I am so excited to be talking about the next topic. It’s going to be talking about the counterpoint to the trends about sales and marketing, how to get your first sale, how do you market to people, your target market, all those. People are talking about this. There are tons of articles, mastermind classes on and on. I’m here to buck all those trends and all the myths. If you are brand new, starting out in a business or maybe you already own a small business and you’re learning about the sales funnels, getting approached by people telling you that they can build all these funnels. In fact, I even saw a book about do you know the difference between a website and a sales funnel.

Let me make sure that we all are under the same wavelength when we talk about sales, marketing and sales funnel, which is used to be one of the most favorite ways of people to get a lot of customers into literally a funnel. They’ll capture email somehow. They’ll buy your email list from someone or somehow, they get your email. Once they’ve captured your name and address and email, maybe they’ll even know a little bit more about you, your gender, income, they will put you in this funnel because they believe that you’re not going to buy it the first time they send it to you. They’ll send you a whole series of emails so they’re trying to turn your name into this funnel. When he shoots out at the other end, you typically will buy something from them. That is a sales funnel.

There were all these marketers who will do all the pre-marketing to get you into the funnel. There’s a whole business going around us. Think about when you’re marketing anything. When you’re starting a business that you’re marketing anything or maybe you already have a successful business, you have to understand you are a consumer-first before you’re the marketer. Think about how it feels to be bombarded with emails because that’s what a sales funnel does. A typical sales funnel will give you some little freebie or something and you will get this email from someone. Once they capture your email, they’ll typically give you a 5 to 7-day sequence of emails. “Nice meeting you. I don’t know if you know but I’m an expert in X,Y,Z and I have this wonderful product or something like that.” The next day, you get a little bit more of a cranked-up email and continues on until the fifth day.

Based on whether you click on any one of those or not, there’s a whole separate sequence. You might get up to 30 emails in 30 days. As you can see, that’s a lot of emails. I will tell you that people who do this for a living will tell you two things. The more leads you have, the more sales. The more emails you send out, the more sales. These are what I’m being told all the time. As a consumer, if somebody sends me five emails in five days, I delete them. By the time a third email comes in, I delete it. If they send me another series of 5 or 6 emails, I’ll delete their name completely because it’s ridiculous to get that many emails. If you can’t spit it out in the first 2 or 3 times, it’s not great.

I don’t believe in traditional sales funnels. Capturing some information about you and only if there’s a fit. If somebody bought your email list from a skincare company and now they’re selling you gym equipment, that’s about a 50%-60% match. If you bought a mailing list from a skincare company and now you’re selling baby clothes or something like that, that’s not a perfect fit. It might be a 20% fit.

Sales and marketing are two completely different things. Marketing is very different from sales.

If there’s a good fit and you think that you can transform somebody’s life, what does that mean? How do you get your first sale from anybody? If you already have an existing customer or existing business, maybe you’re getting your sales from your existing customers. If you have a new group of people that you want to target or you want to launch a new product, how do we then get your first sales? The first sale is to earn their trust. How do you earn their trust? I’m also being told you find the problem then you solve the problem and it creates a new problem. This is a great example.

How do you gain your trust? That’s a problem because first, you don’t have trust levels. You’ve got to build trust. The next problem is, “I understand. I need to build trust. How do I build trust?” You build trust by trying to engage with them. Try to understand what it is that they want from you. For example, if you don’t know anything about the person and say if somebody, you got this email list from a skincare company, you might want to ask if this person has problem skin. Does she also exercise? Is she a fitness guru? Is she into health and fitness on top of the skincare?

Let’s dial this back a little bit. If you go to a party, you wouldn’t go up to somebody and say, “I’m Victoria. Nice to meet you, Joe. Would you like to buy my mastermind?” I don’t think that would work. They’re going to think you’re crazy. If you walked up like, “My name’s Victoria. Nice to meet you, Elizabeth. Would you like to buy my haircare?” Same thing. You want to have a dialogue. You want to ask when you meet someone for the first time, “How are you?” “I’m great. How are you? What is it that you do? How’s the weather? How are the kids? How’s the family?” You find out a little bit about them. They might say, “As a matter of fact, I’m such a health guru. I’m having a hard time during COVID because the rest of my family loves eating junk food.” That’s a piece of information that you have if you happen to be selling nutritional foods, for example.

Get to know a lot about them. Take an interest in them. You can do this by offering a poll on your website or you could simply ask questions. Ask them to help you. That’s one way to gain their trust because as consumers, we want to know that whoever is selling something to me, that they’ve done their homework and at least want to know a little bit about me before they start to pitch me with a $5 product or $50,000 product. It doesn’t matter. You want them to know about you, to be interested in you and to be invested in your future. No one’s paying anymore for information. They’re all paying for transformation. You want to make sure that you convey that. If you get the opportunity, you can then talk about other people’s lives you’ve transformed or maybe even use an example.

When Kim Kardashian wanted to lose weight and did these exercises, she wore these hurdles and I have something similar, for example. That could be storytelling and also an interesting way to gain a little bit of understanding because you’re telling the person you’ve done all this research, you know what’s going on. The other way you also gain trust is by sharing your expertise. For example, I happen to know a lot about video. I happen to know quite a bit about video production, how to use lighting to your favor, how to put video makeup on, which is different from print makeup. In this day and age of everything going to video, even from your social media posts to your brand video on your website, even a podcast, when you have to do a video, that knowledge I have is important. It’s a knowledge a lot of people don’t know anything about, by the way. If I share that information freely with potentially your clients, you don’t tell them everything you know.

MDH 37 | Sales And Marketing Trends

Sales And Marketing Trends: Whatever you want to shine a light on, whether it’s strength, persistence, compassion, or kindness, all of those stories exist out there in the current world.

 

I’ve been doing live TV. I’ve done tens of thousands of hours of live TV under every condition. I’ve done them on location, on cruise ships, in the desert mountains to do it in countries like Japan, we can do some in the studio and quite a bit of it in my own home. I’m not going to share every single thing I know but I share enough things that are marketable, things that I could easily sell. If I did a video series about video presentations, how to talk, how to create content, how to get your hair and makeup done in 5 to 10 minutes, people will pay $200 to $300 for that. I know a lot of people who would. If I share that with potential clients, they’d be more likely to keep coming back to check and see what else is free. Leading with generosity, sharing your information as much as you can without charging them, it’s going to cause them to be much more interested in you so that all you would have to do then is offer them and give them a compelling message as to why this could be important to you.

If I shared with you five mini videos on how to look great on video, how to talk compellingly on video, how to not get nervous and how to pitch somebody on video, for example. I then had a mastermind, let’s say, about video presentations and how that could catapult your brand, explode your brand sales by doing a few things. You’re more likely to respond to that than if I only sent you a blank 31 emails in seven days. I don’t even want anybody who’s got that time on their hands to be in my mastermind. This person doesn’t have a lot of other time to do the right thing for their business when they’re reading that many emails. That’s sharing your knowledge.

Another way you can collapse time in terms of gaining trust is to learn the art of shining a light on other people. For example, if your social is full about me like, “I want this. I want that. I’m drinking my fancy coffee. I’m a brainiac. I’m a genius. I do whatever.” You can do that very effectively and establish your expert authority if you do them in small snippets. The more effective way to do it would be to shine a light on someone else. For example, I posted a little thing about my father, who immigrated here, sacrificed everything he possibly could. The poor man was so brave at that age. He came to a country and didn’t know a single soul. He didn’t speak English. He found out all the money was taken with five kids. He did all of this stuff and never complained one time. My father’s been gone. He passed away in 1999.

I posted something about my father. He never lost hope and energy. He never literally stopped learning. Over 50 years old, he got his doctorate here. He was a president of a university that specialized in oriental medicine to acupuncture oriental medicine, alternative medicine, it’s the same medical degree. He wanted to shine a light on Eastern Medicine in America. Well over age 50, he went to school with five kids and two jobs. He graduated at the top of his class. I’ve shown a light on him about his will to succeed and his commitment to the people he loved and his persistence. It got more likes than almost anything I posted over that whole weekend. That’s one example.

As consumers, we want to know that whoever is selling has done their homework and wants to know a little bit about us before pitching.

The other example could be that you could shine a light on maybe some of your clients. It could be an incredible story from the BBC or the Wall Street Journal or CNBC. I read one time this kid who had to walk something like 20 miles to go to work and back. He didn’t have a car and somehow still studied. He was like a janitor and did all his things. He got his high school degree and got accepted at Harvard. If you shine a light on something like that, this shows you the human side of you, the compassion and that you care, you’re a normal person, a likable person and you like similar things. Shining a light on other people, it could be newspaper stories, a nurse who went above and beyond. I’m dealing with that now. My mother-in-law, the people that used to take care of her when she was in a retirement home, on their day off there’s five of them. They come and see her as she’s going through the last phase of her life.

Shine a light on other people. It could be related to your brand or stuff you do or completely different from that. Whatever you want to shine a light on whether it’s strength, persistence, compassion, kindness, all of those stories exist out there in the current world. Shining a light on other people is great. Another way you can gain that trust is by having other people talk about you. That could be your community leaders if you do a lot of community volunteer work. It could be your past clients, your employees or anybody that talks about you in a different light. They could talk about you in a way that’s very different than the way you could talk about yourself.

You’re not going to go up to somebody and say, “I’m beautiful. I’m gorgeous. I’m successful.” You’re not going to do that. It’s tacky, let’s put it that way. Somebody else might say, “I met Joe when I was volunteering at the homeless shelter. This man was the most compassionate, the most organized human being I’ve ever known. The guy had a schedule. That was the only way we were going to be able to serve 400 people because he had the know-how.” If you are selling organizational skills, for example. Organizing closets or whatever would be the perfect testimonial even though they weren’t necessarily selling your product. Have other people talk about you.

MDH 37 | Sales And Marketing Trends

Sales And Marketing Trends: You are a consumer first before you’re a marketer. Think about how it feels to be bombarded with emails because that’s what a sales funnel does.

 

Lastly, repeat all of the above. You’ll find that sales will come naturally. You don’t have to send out these ugly emails every single day for 7, 8, 9, 10 days at a time. If you’re interested in learning a little bit more about this, check out my website. I do have a lot of information there. If you want to join one of my masterclasses, you can do that too. All of my masterclasses, by the way, are completely closed and they are by application only. I forgot to mention it in my previous shows. What I will do is share twenty minutes of my time. You can book a call if you have a quick issue to deal with. I cannot share more than that time freely all the time because I do have to work. I wanted to give that quick review on sales and marketing the best way.

Sales and marketing are two completely different things. Marketing is very different than sales. The best way to get sales and marketing, we’ll talk about how they’re different because there are promotions, advertising and all the different ways you could create sales and also market. They’re very different functions.

If you’ve enjoyed this session, please go ahead and review it on Apple. That’s how we are all judged on, how other people find you by reviews. I don’t need a great review. I just need an honest review. You can sign up for my upcoming book or upcoming webinars. I’m trying to do as much of that as freely as I can. Sign up for all of those. As we close now, please check out my YouTube channel, Million Dollar Hobbies. We hope that many of you will visit especially as I talk about video, how important the video is, the lighting and all of the equipment you have to have. Until next time. Please, stay healthy and happy. Remember, happiness is a choice. I hope you make great choices. Have a great week. Thank you for reading.

Important Links:

MDH 36 | Publish A Book

MDH 36 | Publish A Book

 

Do you have what it takes to author a book? The process doesn’t just end after you’ve written it. You still need to publish and market your book for your message to reach its intended reader or audience. How do you do that? Today’s guest, Mario Fachini, has all the answers you need. Mario is the Founder and CEO of IWDNow Marketing & Publishing. He is a speaker, author, and host of the Expert Authority Interviews Podcast. Joining host Victoria Wieck, Mario discusses the process of how you should think about writing, publishing, and marketing your next book. It all starts with your mentality and purpose. Learn more and get solid expert advice to guide you on your next publication.

Watch the episode here:

Listen to the podcast here:

Mario Fachini On What Makes A Good Book And How To Publish It

We all dream of becoming an author and most of us don’t write books. I’ve always wanted to do that and I did end up writing, which is a lot of work. If I thought that that was a lot of work, marketing the book and getting other people to read your book is an even bigger issue. As many of you know, every business owner should write their own books because that’s the easiest way to impact your circle of people that you serve, as well as increase your expert authority.

We’re in such a treat because I have the best person when it comes to marketing your book on the scene. He happens to be somebody who’s helped me with my book. It’s not launched yet but he’s helped me a lot and he’s going to help me through the whole process. His name is Mario Fachini. He’s a bestselling author himself and he’s also the host of a podcast that helps you create your personal branding, elevate and amplify your voice with his publishing expertise. Without further ado, I want to introduce you to my friend Mario. Welcome to the show, Mario.

Victoria, it’s great to be here. I can’t wait to share with your audience.

I was asked to write my story, my journey and a lot of my fans wanted to know how I did it and they want to read my books. Writing a book is scary if you think about it. How long does it take? If I write a book, is anyone going to read it? What do I write? Where do I start? These are all these questions that people have. I know that you have been serving many people. You’ve impacted many lives with your clients but also their clients as well. For those people who are wondering if it is worth all that time, what would you say?

It is worth all that time because you have your expertise. We all have it. Regardless of what it is, most people have years and years of expertise and they do a bunch of different appointments. They go to different meetings and all this manual stuff that’s time-intensive. When someone asks them a question, “What do you do?” they get lit up, “I get to explain what I do to everyone.” No one bats an eyelash at that point. They’ll go on for 20 minutes, 30 minutes, maybe an hour, “Here’s what I do.” They tell their whole life story but it’s very time-intensive.

If you want to talk to 10 people and get 100, 1,000 or 10,000 leads, you have to do that exact process 100 times or 1,000 times. This is where people go, “I don’t do that. I have my team do it.” The thing is now you have a watered-down version of whatever you’re trying to get them to say unless you can clone yourself or duplicate yourself. Even if you do and you do it in the wrong voice, it’s not you coming through. It’s some variation of what you’re trying to say. There’s nothing better than to be able to have your expertise packaged up professionally in a book and hand it to them.

You can print 1,000, 10,000, 100,000 copies. You don’t need to be the one there taking an hour of your time to explain yourself to someone. You have the positioning and it acts as a sales mechanism because, by the time they read your book, they go through all the stuff. Where do you think they are? I call it the Road to Profits. If you meet someone today, it’s going to take some time to get to know them before you want to buy from them.

You have written a bestselling book on that. You have a book about publishing, so you’re publishing a book about publishing. What was it like for you to write your first book? Why did you write your first book?

The book starts with your mentality and purpose. Who are you looking to serve?

To serve more people. I failed English seven times. I’m the last person on Earth who was like, “I want to be a writer, a publisher and do all these different things.” It scared the crap out of me but I knew all the people I could help. Once I thought about it through that lens, I was like, “This is a no-brainer.” That was always my goal.

I understand that you have this desire to help a lot of people, but how do you go from failing English seven times to writing a book, which then became a bestseller? What are the types of things that you had to answer yourself and overcome to start writing? When you start writing, how do you know what to write?

For me, it was more coming and getting past my own mindset because at the end of the day, I had my expertise. We could talk for hours. I was already speaking on it, doing training and helped hundreds of people. In my mind, I have this mountain to climb of “I’m not Hemingway.” I don’t have years and years of writing experience but that doesn’t matter. I had my expertise but in my mind, I’m not qualified because the reality has nothing to do with that, it has to do with my area of expertise.

When I reframe that to say, “This is a no-brainer,” I started thinking about the people I helped, the people I wanted to help, and the stuff I’ve always said. My first book is Video Marketing for Business Owners so I thought about who I helped and how I was helping them. What I love doing with people is the process. How do you create the chapters? There are people that I like having fun with because they’re nowhere near as bad off as I was but there’s still that hesitation.

You’re a jewelry expert. You have over 25 years and sold over $500 million in jewelry and all this stuff. I know you’re a good writer but if for example, you said, “I’m not sure what to write,” I’d say, “Don’t worry about what to write but talk to me about jewelry. How do you start? How do you pick out the design? How do you do this? How do you pick up the color, clarity and carat? What are these things you’re thinking about?”

I’m confident that within five minutes, I could get your wheels turning and get you so excited talking about it. It flows out of you. When you can capture that, your essence and your expertise, that’s all you need to do, truthfully. You need the cover, the title, the subtitle and all this other stuff. At the end of the day, we’ve gotten good at capturing entrepreneurs’ expertise and then we can take care of the rest. Once we have that, it’s a done deal.

What I heard you say is you failed English seven times. I asked that question repeatedly for a reason because many of us think that we’re not great writers. Many of us think that writing is a separate expertise. We think about ourselves as designers, engineers or health experts but we don’t think of ourselves as good enough writers to write, even if we wanted to write the book. What you were saying is that with your first book, what you were trying to do was to convey information. It wasn’t about flowery writing or beautiful language writing. It has to do with sharing valuable information and adding value to other people and their businesses.

I took a look at your book that hasn’t been released yet. What struck me was the 7 Ps. You’re going to have to go through the 7 Ps because I can’t remember all of it. I’m a couple of years older than you. The first P was the Purpose. I love that because when we start writing, a lot of us forget why we’re writing. You have all this but you forget why you’re writing. The purpose to me is important because when you start with that, then the rest of that stuff flows. Your purpose isn’t like, “I want to be a New York Times Bestseller,” so it’s going to be an ego booster. The purpose of your book in your first and second book is to help your audience. If you’re going to do that, then the book will be rich with that purpose like all the things that fulfill that purpose. Wouldn’t you say that’s true?

I harp on this a lot because I’m so adamant. Many people and other publishers say, “We can get your book on Amazon.” It’s frankly not that hard. They focus on the cover, the ISBN and what format it is, “Should I do Kindle or paperback?” These are questions you should ask but they’re not the right questions coming out of the gate. I take a different approach and always have. The book starts with your mentality, the purpose, who are you looking to serve. There’s a lot of vanity publishing out there. People can do whatever they want. I’m going to behave but I’ve always wanted to help people and that’s who I attract.

MDH 36 | Publish A Book

Publish A Book: There’s nothing better than to be able to have your expertise packaged up professionally in a book. You don’t need to be the one there taking an hour of your time just to explain yourself to someone.

 

The people who apply for my author program in the concierge level, if I get the littlest bit of sense that they don’t want to serve people, it’s definitely not a good fit and I’ve turned down a lot of people. If you don’t have your vision and your purpose clearly identified, what’s the point of doing the rest? If you’re looking for something to hand out to someone, you don’t need to do a professional book. You can do a lead magnet, which is the marketing term to create a 2 to 3 page, maybe a digital PDF. It can look nice, where you put it on your website, people download it and they give you an email opt-in. That’s a totally different purpose and it’s infinitely easier to do.

When you identify the purpose and you say, “I’ve been doing this for 5, 10, 20 years or maybe longer. I’m serving 1,000, 10,000, 100,000 people and I want to now serve 10,000, 100,000, 1 million-plus, maybe 10 million,” it gives you a different frame of doing this all through. To me, it’s the commitment level. How much do you want to invest in this? Just like cars, houses, businesses and everything, there are bad ones and good ones.

Getting it done is not rocket science, especially with me and my team but I always make sure we’re in alignment so that way we know, “You want to do this in a big way to serve more people, all we need to do is to answer some questions. Tell me about your business. What about this?” We go through a process of pulling that out of people and extracting the expertise. It’s an actual thing that you can use. It’s a business asset. The book we’re referring to, Video Marketing for Business Owners, was years ago. I still get royalties from that. I’m still able to give it to people and help them with video marketing.

We’re on video and I’m implementing some of this stuff at this moment that I’ve been teaching for years. When I was able to wrap my head around that I go, “I want to help more people. I want to do it in a bigger way and make it easier and profitable.” There we go with the best written, easier and profitable. The book says bestselling, not best written.

I pulled up the chapter headings here. I wasn’t playing with my phone but it’s easier to see it here. Your first chapter was Purpose and I love that. I’m going to go through the seven quickly here, Position, Plan, Publish, Publicity, Profit and Philanthropy. It’s simple. For those of you who are thinking about writing a book or maybe you haven’t thought about it but you’re seriously thinking about this as a result of the show, the framework is simple. You got the 7 Ps.

These are well thought out. I know this because I’ve written a book myself. It’s very easy to get involved in the idea that you want to do a bestselling. The whole world is full of people. I’ve run into a lot of people that guaranteed me Amazon Bestseller status. I then found out that in some categories, depending on how you categorize your thing, you may have to sell twenty books to get to the bestselling category for that day.

You might only need to sell 8 to 12, to be honest with you.

If the purpose of you writing a book is more ego-driven, even if you’re going to be marketing yourself and you say, “I want to be able to say it’s a bestselling book,” that was your purpose. Do you then enrich it with content that might serve a few thousand people? That’s why I said the purpose was very important. The second thing is positioning your book. That’s also important because there are so many books out there. There are millions of books. You may not know this but a typical Barnes & Noble store has 100,000 titles. If you think about that, that’s a lot of books. You want to be able to position that book in the minds of the people that you serve.

The root word of authority is author.

The other thing thats important is planning. You wouldn’t plan on going on a trip to Europe for three weeks. In my family, I’d planned out a year ahead. You wouldn’t plan on having a dinner party for twelve people. You wouldn’t just call people. You would plan. You would figure out what day, what are you going to serve, who’s going to be there, that kind of thing.

A book launch is something that needs to be planned out ahead of time. You don’t write a book and go, “I have the book. An agent or whoever, come and take a look at my book.” I’ve gone through this whole process and I can tell you that even if you’re going to go through a whole publishing route, they always want to know what your marketing plan is before they’ll entertain and talk to you at all.

Many people think everything is wrapped up in the book. I’ve said for years, the book is just the beginning and the book is not even the beginning. The beginning is telling people about it. I’m glad you brought that up because the 7 Ps are Purpose, Position, Plan, Publish, Publicity, Profit and Philanthropy. Purpose, you need to know why you’re doing it. If you just want to do something quick, dirty and have it out there for lead opt-in, so be it. I know other publishers that never have printed a book.

The whole benefit of doing it properly is to be able to hand it to someone and the authority that comes with that. Everyone has digital stuff. For Position, one of my other rules is you need to be at a certain level already. I’m not going to take someone who’s doing stuff wrong, who has two testimonials or brand new. Good for you for getting those two but get 5 or 10 more. Do it for a little bit. There are people who say, “We’re going to position you. Do a book with me and I’ll make you the expert.” Doing a book won’t make you an expert. It just means you have a book. I work with people who are already at a certain level of success and are already experts. I help them market and amplify that if that makes sense.

The Plan, when you’re going on a trip or somewhere, you got to plan this out. That’s why Publish is number four. I joke all the time. If you can do an email attachment, there are about 30 or 40 buttons on Amazon but you’re just uploading a file and then it goes through the spending process. You wait 24 to 72 hours. Voila, you’re published. That’s not publishing. That’s uploading a document.

With the Publicity and the Profit, you need to market it from day one. The first thing I tell everyone whether they go through our guided training where we’re working with them or the concierge level where we do it for them, they’re like, “What do I need to do? How many do I need to order?” I go, “You need to announce to everyone right now, today, as soon as you can that you’re publishing a book.” You can’t be doing that the day before. You have to do it from the time you commit to it and then fill in the gaps.

I want to go back a little bit about this whole process. It’s going to put everything in context for all of you who are reading. Many of you who are reading have small businesses. Mario, you do a lot of small to medium size and CEOs who are writing their books about their journey, their company or their product. I want to tell you that writing your story, why you do what you do, the purpose of your company, the genesis of what your products are, how they were born and what it does, all of that may be the most important asset that you have.

If you’re a small company, you can’t be competing with the IBMs, the Coca-Colas and all those big companies. Having that niche and having your story told is one of the best assets that you have. I say this to you because a lot of people have told me that my journey of going from a penniless immigrant to creating well over $500 million worth of business is extraordinary. I never believed that. I never believed that I’m an extraordinary person or my story was extraordinary and the struggles I went through were any more unique than any other immigrant coming here.

What happened to me at the end was during COVID, I thought, “Maybe I should write the book.” Everybody’s hurting. If the information that I share helped just one person, it will be worth it to me. If I don’t tell my story, I’m not making it convenient for people to help themselves. Many of you are sitting there thinking, “I don’t know if it’s something I might want to do later on.” If you truly have expertise in something that you are passionate about, then you almost owe it to your potential audience to write that book.

MDH 36 | Publish A Book

Publish A Book: You have this opportunity to help thousands of people, and you’re focused on the handful that you’re currently talking to. Step away from it and realize you can now spread your message faster and further.

 

You could say it’s a little controversial but I’ve done coaching in addition to speaking for so long. When I’m reading people, I can tell there’s something more going on. I’ve said this to many of my authors and they’re like, “What about this and that?” There are people who want to do a book. It’s called Vanity Publishing. They want to just, “Look at me.” It’s ego-driven. On the flip side of that, there are people who have the biggest hearts. They do have expertise but they’re so timid. It’s also ego-driven. Inevitably, at some point in the process, I have to say, “Why are you being so selfish?” It’s the worst thing for them. They’re like, “What do you mean?”

I go, “Every problem you’re telling me you’re having that you think you do and it’s all in your head is all based on caring so much about what other people are thinking. You have this opportunity to help thousands, tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands or more people, and you’re focused on the handful that you’re currently talking to. Step away from it. Realize that you can spread your message faster and further.” They’re like, “I never thought about that.”

I go, “What if you get sick? What if you’re not here? I don’t wish that on anyone but even the legacy piece. What do you do after you’re gone?” I’m so glad I have my show, my books and everything. There’s probably no one that if you watched, listened or read a certain amount, without ever meeting me, they could tell who I am. I’m very thankful for that because so many people go to their grave with the song inside of them and that’s the real travesty, regardless of what business you’re in.

I’ve modeled my book based on a story that somebody told me about his book. This guy was incredibly passionate about what he does for a living. He’s a jeweler. He did a lot of things. He’s got his little briefcase, did all the calls, knocked on the doors, worked with the tools, and did all this stuff. His kids decided that the last thing they wanted to do is get into their business. They’re all educated. They’re doctors, lawyers and dentists. He said, “What if I die tomorrow? What would happen to my business?”

He was hoping that at least one of those kids would want to follow in his footsteps and if they ever wanted to follow in his footsteps, what would he teach them because they weren’t listening to him? He wrote a little memo to his kids about anything and everything that he felt they needed to learn if anybody ever wanted to come into it. It’s almost like a manual. He wrote it and eventually, he published it. It became a good seller. One of his kids did inherit the business. He’s very happy.

This guy’s business is about $40 million business. It’s not a small business anymore. Even though the kid that took it over was a dentist, money-wise, it was better to do this business than his thing. You almost owe it to anybody and everybody around your circle to write and share if you’re privileged enough to have discovered something or have come up with a framework that works for a lot of people to share that information. As long as you’re going to share that information, you would then have the duty to write the best book you can, and then to reach out to as many people as you can.

My story was I had to talk into writing the book because I don’t like to talk about myself. I’m a pretty humble person. I’m not a braggadocious person so I truly didn’t believe that whatever I did was extraordinary. I then realized that you don’t have to be an extraordinary person to have an amazing story. Everybody’s stories are valuable. Everybody has a story and that story needs to be told and preserved because you could serve other people. We all have unique gifts that we come to this Earth with. When I started to write my book, I was thinking, “How do I market the book?”

When I went into looking for marketing the book, that’s when I went into some of the most fraudulent or misleading marketing tactics. The book marketing business is a huge business and there are a lot of people that guarantee everything in the world. Thank God, I have some common sense because what I know about life is there are no guarantees in life. When people start to guarantee things, I get a little gun shy about what do they know that I don’t know. Do they have expertise? How much is that guarantee worth?

If you don’t have your vision and your purpose clearly identified, what’s the point of doing the rest?

Anything worthwhile, you need to do it well and it takes some pain. The more I dug into that, the more I was careful. When I first ran into you was with my book. All of the advice that you have given me has been incredibly valuable. You were also brutally honest about what you will do, what you won’t do, what’s going to work and what’s not going to work. Ultimately, it saves time for people.

First of all, I encourage everyone to write your story because your story is worthwhile telling. Not only that, you want to tell your story but you want to tell it in a way that resonates with your target audience. When you do that, that becomes your big asset. It becomes your calling card. There’s a marketing belief system that most people in marketing would agree with. That is people have to like you, trust you, and respect you before they’ll buy anything from you.

When you write the book, you have so many opportunities there to build that trust and audience. If you’re writing a book and you’re writing with certain expertise and fact, that’s evergreen. You have to worry about things like, “Can I be sued for this? Is this information truly true?” You go through all of that stuff. When you write your story, you can write an interesting story, something that’s memorable that gains respect, and that will elevate and amplify your voice.

You have to do that only one time and you get to say it a million times. If you sold a million copies, you’re going to be able to say that exact thing a million times. It becomes your bestselling asset. Not only that, but it also crystallizes your branding a little bit. More than anything, what I love about the 7 Ps that you’ve given, at least the first 3 or 4 Ps is that it makes you the author and think about your business too. When you have to write it, it makes you think about, “Why am I not doing this? I should have been doing this. I didn’t realize this is why people come to my store or this is why people go to my business.”

It makes you think and makes you have a fresh look at your business as well, even though you’ve been doing it. That’s what happened to me. When I wrote my book, I realized that I saw a lot of benefits that people could get from me that I had not thought about before. When people started asking me, “You should have a chapter on negotiating.” I’m like, “Really?” It makes you think about that.

I’m glad that you brought that up because the other thing is I love authors. If you have a book that is published and you took the time to do right, it tells me you’re mentally at a different level. The root word of authority is author. There are people who think about doing it. They might do a LinkedIn post, a Facebook thing or a social media thing. That’s easy because there’s no priority given to it. There’s no elegance given to it necessarily. When you have to open yourself up and be vulnerable enough to say, “I’m putting this out to the world,” I can’t rebuke it. I can’t do a rebuttal in real-time like how we’re having a conversation. It’s one reason why a lot of people stay with the one-on-one and never get to a higher level.

You can easily go, “I didn’t mean it like that. What I meant was this.” You can clarify yourself seventeen different times in that conversation and still have it end up well. When you’re going, “Here’s me. Here’s the book. You can look through it. You can read it,” I might never get a chance to talk to you and I have to do the same persuasion, selling, sharing and making it cohesive, it freaks most people out. If you do it and you do it well, your confidence level goes through the roof. I booked a dozen or two speaking engagements before the book was even launched just from saying, “I’m doing the book.”

I showed some people the first one decades ago. I was bittersweet because I go, “This thing isn’t even out yet and my life’s already better because of it.” Moreover, I was also a little irritated because that’s what I had been speaking on for 6, 7, 8 years at that point and no one asked me to come to speak or do anything. It was the same info but now I have a book. I’m this author. I’m this guy. I went from the one attending the events to the one speaking at them. It was surreal when I was speaking next to the same people I looked up to not just a couple of years ago.

It gave me the confidence to go, “This is you. You can do it. Forget the past. Don’t worry about that, no matter where you’re at.” It changes everything. It’s more of an internal process. I’m not going to make jokes about covers and ISBN because you do need it and stuff, but that’s not what the publishing is. That’s not how I do it and what a book is. A book is an extension of you. If you’re a good person, you’ll love it and if you’re not, you’re probably going to back away from it.

MDH 36 | Publish A Book

Publish A Book: If you actually have a book that is published that you took the time to do, it tells that you’re mentally at a different level.

 

I’m glad that we went through the whole publishing system because I personally know a lot of people that should write a book that haven’t done it because of this whole maze of inflammation jungle when it comes to the publishing side of it. It is a jungle. I’m glad that you can help people clarify because there are seven simple steps. The other thing that I love too is the last one in your 7 Ps, which is Philanthropy. I like that because to me writing a book is already philanthropic. I’ll tell you why I believe this. The most important gift you can give anybody is your knowledge and your time.

I have a TV show. It’s a known fact that on TV, we have to perform on dollars per minute and it’s several thousand dollars a minute. I could easily make money by going on TV. If I wanted to make money and that was a reason why the purpose was to make more money publishing books, it’d be stupid for me to write a book that takes you a year to write and publish. It’s not a good ROI on your time or your expertise.

It’s by gifting your expertise and the amount of time it took to write the book, come through every Is and T’s, and verifying all the information you’re giving. If I’m quoting any stats, you have to cite sources, the date of publication and all that. That alone took me months to do all that. It’s already philanthropic to share your knowledge and if you’re selling your books for $9 or $10 apiece at a time. After that, if you are successful, your knowledge is a gift to somebody else. That to me is also important.

Lastly, my book is tied to different charities. Not all the proceeds but a lot of it is going to go to the charities that I support. It allows you to do all these things. It allows you to be a better person because you’re impacting other people. A lot of people, if you give them 2, 3, 4 pieces of information, they take it and they will come up with six other things that you didn’t know. This is truly a blessing to be helped and it’s also a blessing to help other people. I feel that if you do it right, you’re doing it for the right purpose, you plan it thoroughly and do all the right things, I can’t think of anything better that you could do for your business or yourself than authoring a book.

I get torn with that because we both have successful shows, businesses and stuff we can do. Admittedly, my first book is Video Marketing for Business Owners so the question I get is, “I want to start a podcast, do a book, a show, a video and do this.” There’s so much out there that you can do that everyone wants to do it. If you’re ambitious, why wouldn’t you? Straight up. When you look at the time, energy and investment, I can make a strong case because to your point, if you’re making thousands of dollars a minute and you’re making 6,7, 8 figures a year, what’s your time worth?

To take a year or two to extrapolate this out is why I never put my program to do it that way. We take you through much quicker because it’s business and I want that book in people’s hands so you can help those people. Think about that extra 1, 1.5, 2 years. What kind of reach can you gain in that time? To the point of the podcasting, video and all the other stuff, the podcasting, unless you do it as a season one of a TV show, 12, 16, 24 episodes and you’re done, which wouldn’t have any longevity but it might be a good show, you have to keep doing it.

Podcast gets a knockdown. I have a great show, EA Interviews. It’s a little surreal to say but even over the podcasting, once you’re done with the book, you can hit print thousands of times. Once it’s done, you’re done. In video, you also have to keep doing, even though they’re all great and you should do all three.

This is coming from somebody who has a successful podcast. The podcasting industry has a 90% or 95% failure rate within the first two years. Mario has a podcast called EA Interviews, which stands for Expert Authority Interviews. His podcast is a Top 100 business or entrepreneurship podcast. That’s amazing.

A book is an extension of you. If you’re a good person, you’ll love it. If you’re not, you’re probably going to back away from it.

The other thing I want to talk to our audience about too is your first book was about video marketing. That had to have been so far ahead of its time. Video marketing is the craze out there. There are mastermind classes everywhere about how to use video to influence people. Video influencing is coming into play and yet you’ve written a book, published it and became a bestselling author. All of this stuff with your first book already.

Imagine that if you bought his book when that was published and you implemented some of that stuff, you’re probably coaching that mastermind classes on the video marketing part of this, which is valuable. Thank you for coming on this show, Mario. Are you accepting pitches? If you’re accepting pitches, you could check out his podcast as well.

We always are.

Tell us how people get ahold of you.

The best place to learn more is at EAPublishingMethodBook.com.

His podcast is called EA interviews. It’s on YouTube. Check out his YouTube videos. His video setup is like CNBC Studios. It’s better than any newsroom. It looks like he’s got all this stuff happening. He pretty much visually shows you the quality of his video production and everything else that you can do pretty easily on your own. Thank you so much for coming. I wish you all the success. I purchased a bunch of several copies of your hardcopy books because I want to help do my part to pass that around to people that can impact the world as well.

I appreciate that, Victoria. It was an absolute pleasure. I’m happy to answer any other questions with your audience. I want them to realize they need to have their message out there too. It doesn’t help anyone in the world keeping your light hidden.

Thank you so much. I always say to all of you, happiness is your choice so I hope you make great choices. Until then, please stay healthy and happy. I’ll see you next time.

Important Links:

About Mario Fachini

MDH 36 | Publish A BookAs a high school educated, college dropout, never having a “real” job, Mario spent years as a dead-broke consultant wasting too much time chasing down (the wrong) clients, believing in my heart that the sky’s the limit, but waking up every day feeling like because of his background, for him, the limits the sky.

Until he refined & enhanced the publishing & promotion process of his 1st books to attract prospects to him, with little effort using the tools & knowledge that he already had in his business at his everyday disposal!

Now, He’s one of the most in-demand client acquisition strategists in the country, having clients now APPLY for his training, thank him for the opportunity to work with him, and sharing in the joy of creating the transformation in their business ***( which he consistently and continues to do in 59 days or less )*** having helped his clients in total generate over $1 million in new sales.

MDH 35 | Financial Literacy

 

No matter what happened to us in the past, we could always start all over again. If we want to be financially stable and start up a business, it’s still possible despite the tough circumstances we have gone through. Daniel Blue proves to us that it’s possible for anybody to follow his dreams regardless of the past he has dealt with. Victoria Wieck sits down for a conversation with him, and they delve into how businesses could create wealth and get creative with self-directed retirement accounts. Daniel is the owner of Quest Education, a company that provides financial solutions for individuals and business owners through education. Growing up with no entrepreneurs to guide him, he directed himself to be a successful business owner. Join Daniel in this episode, where he shares more powerful insights on financial literacy and wealth management to grow our businesses and attain success.

Watch the episode here:

Listen to the podcast here:

From Drug Addict To CEO: Financial Literacy And Retirement With Daniel Blue

Welcome to another episode. You’ve done all the right things, save money, put maximum contribution to your 401(k), IRA, all of that stuff and you wanted to know if you have any access to that money until you retire. Many of you have postponed retirement or you have retired but you didn’t need the money. Maybe you’re getting close to it you want to buy a house. Having a house is hard. If you wanted to know if anybody could have access to it, I’ve got an expert. His name is Daniel Blue. He’s not only an expert. He founded this company called Quest Education, which is a company that’s dedicated to helping you access your money sooner than the law says so. Completely legally, of course. It’s also tax-free. He’s found all the different ways you can get this done if you want it to.

He’s got a company called Quest Education. You can find that on YourQuest.com. He’s the author of the upcoming book Blueprint to Your Best Retirement as well. I want to tell you one thing that’s interesting about Daniel. He learned how to do all this because probably out of necessity. He has become a parent at age nineteen. He’s gone through some financial ups and downs. He is a very interesting, amazing human being on top of being an amazing expert and an amazing teacher. I wanted to help him tell you his story rather than me going through his bio. Welcome, Daniel, to the show.

Thank you so much for having me. What an introduction. I’m honored to be here.

I know there are more important things here but I got to tell you, I have to tell my audience here, you became a father at age nineteen to a beautiful daughter named Bella.

I did and I still remember that day like it was yesterday when I got the news.

I assume that has changed your life a lot in all the good ways. The first way that a child will educate you is you got to learn how to exist on no sleep. Other than that, they cost a lot of money and you, as a parent, want to provide for your child. Not just what they need like food, diapers, school education and all that but also for their future. The birth of your child, did that have anything to do with being financially super responsible or were you like that before?

You have to look at personal preferences and your goals.

I grew up middle class and lived in a cul-de-sac in California. I had a great life when I was 5 to 12. I stopped at twelve for a reason as my parents got divorced. My dad ended up moving to Mexico out of the blue. I was a teenager and now it’s just my mom. She’s working all day. I don’t get a lot of supervision. My dad moved to a different country and didn’t come back. I don’t know why he left. I’m going through all these different thoughts. When you’re 12, 13, 14 years old, you start getting hormones changing and all the fun stuff there. I didn’t have supervision. I’m ditching school. I’m experimenting with drugs and hanging with the wrong people.

I saw my mom struggle. She was a social worker. She worked her tail off. I got to a point where I wasn’t going to pass high school. I was going to flunk. My mom ended up shipping me from California to a small town called St. George, Utah. We knew one family there. My mom one day came to me and says, “I want you to finish school. If you stay here, you’re going to end up in jail or you’re going to flunk school. I need you to finish school.” She shipped me off to this family. I lived with them. I finished my senior year of high school in this new city, a new school in St. George, Utah. The readers are entrepreneurs or side hustle.

There are two types of entrepreneurs. You’ve got people like Gary Vee that were an entrepreneur since they came out the womb. They were trading sports cards and selling Pokémon cards. They were hustling at a young age. They knew they were going to be an entrepreneur. You got people that stumble into being an entrepreneur. That’s me. I didn’t grow up wanting to become an entrepreneur. I grew up not wanting to be in the same position I saw me and my mom in. Where we were struggling financially and money wasn’t in abundance. I wanted to be in a better position financially and ended up getting into sales at a young age but I wasn’t able to define who I was.

That’s a lot easier in life when you can have standards and core values and know who you stand for. I didn’t have that when I was 18, 19 years old, which led me to make some bad decisions included getting on the drugs. I was addicted to OxyContin. All of this time, I’m making good money selling but then I ended up getting a woman pregnant at eighteen years old and then I had my daughter at nineteen. That was a monumental moment in my life as far as I needed to change and wake up.

I found your story fascinating on multiple fronts. I am a mother of somebody who’s probably your age. I’ve got a couple of kids and they have a bunch of friends. I’ve seen a lot of my daughter’s friends get into similar problems that you were in. They felt abandoned and lost. They felt they don’t matter when parents go through a divorce and all that. I want to break this interview into two parts. The transformation story that you’ve gone through, I would say that’s a huge transformation story. You went from being a high school dropout, a drug addict, being irresponsible and borderline going to jail, according to your mother, to being a responsible father. You’re financially literate, founding a company and you’re helping a lot of other people find their footing.

Also, having gone through with this entrepreneurship in a way that’s you stumbled forward, I would say then you founded this. When other people wouldn’t have access to money or into their retirement funds, they know that they’ve got the money and they want to start a side hustle. You’re helping those people. I think that your transformation story is very inspirational. I have quite a few Millennials reading. You’ll find this interesting, Daniel. I wrote a book. It’s going through its second phase of edits. Editors are tough on me.

MDH 35 | Financial Literacy

Financial Literacy: There’s a risk everywhere. We make and lose money every day. You can’t create wealth without investing money. Be clear on your financial goals and what you’re looking to accomplish.

 

Basically, I wrote a good enough book to attract all these agents. They’ve told me that anything I say, I had to back it up. If I say, “According to the latest news XYZ,” they’re saying, “You have to cite the newspaper itself, what issue, which day.” I did all this research and you’ll find this interesting that you might want to go with this. UPS did a survey two years in a row. UPS Stores have those mailboxes at their stores. They say, “The majority of Americans who are now facing retirement would prefer to own a small business over retiring because they have more financial resources than when they were twenty years old.” They are at the height of their knowledge base where they know a lot more about their expertise or the area. Even if they work for somebody else for all their lives, they have the expertise that they had built.

They’re living longer and healthier. Something like a majority a 55% of Americans would prefer having a small business over retirement. I did all this research. I think this was a survey done by Vistaprint. They were saying that, “Three out of five Millennials, 63% of Millennials either already has a side hustle business or they dream of owning a business someday.” I started my business with $30. If you wanted to have $3,000 access to your 401(k) account and you don’t have that or the psychological, you think, “If I fail for the next six months and I need to have access to some of that. I don’t want to pay huge penalties. How do I go by getting that?”

I’ve heard that you can have access to your 401(k) but I’ve always heard that you have to pay some nasty penalties, which nobody wants to do. From what you were telling me, there’s always the workaround with this as well. Tell me, how does anyone have access to their retirement money without penalties? Secondly, would you ever advise somebody to take the money out before they need it?

This concept was first introduced to me when I was selling. When I was eighteen years old, I got into the sales industry. I was selling real estate coaching for a number of years. As I was talking to these real estate investors, they started talking about how they use their retirement account to buy a house and flip it. They used a retirement account to purchase a rental. That thought process, that concept was foreign to me because I always thought that retirement accounts were for stocks and mutual funds. I didn’t know that you could use your retirement account to make alternative investments like that. This is something that not a lot of people know about. It’s not some brand-new loophole that came out in 2020. This is a strategy that’s been around for decades and it’s IRS approved. If the readers can get one piece of information that they can write down, put in their notes on their iPhone, write down solo 401(k).

If you’re an entrepreneur, you have a side hustle, you want to start a business and you don’t have any W-2 employees other than you or a spouse. You can have 1099 Contractors. You can have VAs. If that fits you then the IRS says you qualify for a solo 401(k). You’re right, someone that has money in a 401(k) from an old job or an IRA and they want to take $10,000 out. They’re younger than 59 and a half years old. How much are they going to have to pay in penalties and taxes? At least 20% to 40%. There’s a 10% early withdrawal penalty. Plus, they have to claim the money as income. It could be 20% tax rate, who knows, 25%. Either way, it’s a lot of money. The way around it is someone can have that 401(k) from an old job or an IRA and convert it into a solo 401(k). From there, they can take money out penalty and tax-free. They could use that money however they want.

I was talking to a friend, a client. She lives in Las Vegas. We helped her access money from her retirement account penalty and tax-free. She took out $10,000, bought a bunch of products for her Amazon store. She’s been able to have a successful Amazon store for a few years now. She was able to quit her job. That’s the goal why younger people want to have more freedom with the business so they can call their own shots. We want to have more time freedom. There are a lot of options that people don’t know about and that’s why we exist.

Be the best you could be, no matter what position you are in the company.

I love that. I read those two, the Vistaprint and the UPS thing. This will be all be in my book Million Dollar Hobbies. To back that up even more, in 2020, the US Census Bureau had more applications for an employer ID number, EIN number, which is what you need to do to start a business than any other time in history. They’ve had something like a 20% increase year over year. The number is incredible. I also think during COVID, a lot of people probably had a shift in priorities. All of us, as human beings, now crave a little bit more about human interaction with people that you want to have interaction with.

I read a lot of other studies about ditching a lot of luxury stuff that is fluff now. From the whole Amazon thing that you were saying, it’s like you have a 401(k) from some other job. If you want to start your own business, you work for yourself. That’s a different job. Is that right? You convert your old 401(k) into the new solo 401(k). They still considered the solo 401(k) but you can invest that money to real estate or something else. That’s brilliant. What are some of the tips that you have? I have a lot of people who are 40 to 65 people year old people that want to start a side hustle. They’re sitting rich and have a 401(k) account. What are the top tips that you would give to someone who is considering doing that? I think that one thing is you’re working for a company now, then the decision one is, “Do I start my own business?” What happens if they go from a one job to another job? If they’ll go from working for UPS to FedEx, can they do similar things?

If that 401(k) from UPS, the original job, if they take that 401(k) from UPS and move it into their new company they’re working for as an employee to FedEx and they move 401(k)s, we can’t help them. The only type of accounts that can get moved over into a solo 401(k) is a 401(k) from an old job. Not a current job. Unless you’re over 59 and a half years of age, then if you have a 401(k) from a current job then we can help or an IRA. I do want to touch on a point you brought up earlier in terms of, should people access money from the retirement account penalty and tax-free? There’s that whole concept of, “That’s money for retirement. That’s money from when I’m 60. I don’t want to rob my future.”

You just have to look at personal preferences and your goals. Some people have the conclusion that they would rather have some of their money. Not all of their 401(k) or IRA money but some of their retirement money in their possession where they can invest where they want. They come to a conclusion, “Instead of having this $10,000 or $20,000 in the stock market where I don’t have control over these stocks, I can make more money. I have more control over this $20,000 if I put it into ABC business.” There’s risk everywhere. We lose money in the stock market every day, every other day, whatever it works out. We make money in the stock market, same with the business. You make money. You lose money. It comes down to your financial goals and what you’re looking to accomplish.

I know when I started my business, I was young. I was in my 20s. When you start your business, everybody tells you you’re going to fail. My rationale at that time was if I’m going to fail, I’d rather fail when I don’t have any kids or any other obligations so where I can start my life over. I went ahead and did it but most people don’t have money when they’re in their 20s. I didn’t have parents or anybody I can rely on. The jobs that I had before, I probably had a total of $10,000 in my 401(k) at that time. I wish I had had access to it because I had to start my company with little. I didn’t have money to even make a single sample, which sucked. I’m glad you answered that because you’re not advocating even when you transfer it over that you risk all that. You’re basically saying if you have a calculated risk situation and you need a little help, that money is there for you.

It’s a good option to have. Also, one thing to talk about is credit card debt. I can’t tell you how many people we’ve talked to over the years have $20,000 in credit card debt and they’re paying 15% interest on their credit card debt. Their retirement account is making them 8%. If they’re making 8% a year on their retirement account money and their credit card debt is costing them 15%, they’re losing money faster than they’re making money. When you take money out of a solo 401(k) penalty and tax-free, the IRS comes to you and says, “We don’t care what you use this money for. You do have to pay back if you’re going to utilize the loan feature.” The loan feature is on the solo 401(k) where you can take out up to 50% of the account value or $50,000, whichever number is less. As long as you pay your retirement account back your solo 401(k) back within five years, there are no penalties and no taxes.

MDH 35 | Financial Literacy

Financial Literacy: When you experience struggling financially, you have to remember to have standards, core values and know what you stand for.

 

The cool part about the loan feature is there’s an interest rate of prime plus two. The interest rate’s about 5.25%. That interest goes back to your solo 401(k). You’re not paying anyone else the interest but yourself. This strategy works out great where if you used the loan feature, let’s say you take out $20,000 and you invest it in your business, you’ve got five years to pay back that $20,000 plus the interest to avoid the penalties and taxes. You can take that $20,000 and pay off credit card debt that’s costing you 15%. Now your credit card payment is gone. You’re not bleeding the 15% and you’re paying yourself back.

You could pay off all your debts. Basically, anything with the interest rate that’s above the 5% and you’d be so much better off and having that one bill. Any interest that’s accrued is going back to your own accounts. I think that’s brilliant as well. In your book, The Blueprint to Your Best Retirement, is this primarily what you teach? Are there other tips on how to live your best retirement?

I think one thing I wish I would have done earlier in life and everyone reading this can extract value from the bullet point I’m willing to hammer home, is the power of a Roth retirement account. When you put money into an IRA or a solo 401(k), when you contribute new money, you have the option to make the contribution as a Roth contribution. To break it down to the simplicity term, the money you put into it, you pay taxes on it. You don’t get any tax breaks when you put the money in the account as a Roth IRA or a Roth solo 401(k).

However, let’s say you put in $10,000. If that $10,000 were to grow to $50,000 over a period of time, that’s 100% tax-free. I don’t care who you voted for the president. I try not to get into politics because, as an entrepreneur, I’m going to make money no matter who’s in office. We will need to have tax-free money because the taxes will eventually go up. We’re operating at a historic low from a tax standpoint. I’d rather pay taxes on my money now. That way, when I’m older, I have tax-free money. As entrepreneurs, we love hearing tax-free. That gets us excited.

The Roth solo 401(k) for you, high-income earners with your side hustle or your existing business, depending on how much money you make as a business. You can contribute up to $58,000 per year into a Roth solo 401(k). You compare that to a Roth IRA. You’re only able to put in $6,000 a year. Not a lot of people are familiar with the Roth solo 401(k). I touch on that subject or the chapter in my book about the power of the Roth solo 401(k) and having tax-free money.

When it comes to retirement, how to live your best retirement, a lot of that which you’re talking about it has to do with the financial part of this. Is that right? You’re not teaching people how to go on wonderful vacations and stuff.

If you want to start a business, remember the most important thing is your personal brand.

Yes, by proxy. Have some nice tax-free money set up and you’re chilling on the beach having peace of mind.

The other thing I want to talk about too is I wouldn’t want to deep dive into this but I think that what you’re teaching is not necessarily retirement money. It’s more or less you’re teaching financial literacy. A lot of Millennials, my whole house is sometimes full of Millennials. My kids are Millennials and all their friends are Millennials. I’ve got 2 or 3 teachers in my family. They’re professors of Millennial kids. They don’t seem to understand the concept or they don’t think that it’s important for them to understand financial literacy now because they’re so young. Would you advise that you basically become financial literate early on because of every penny you save? I don’t think a lot of people understand the concept of compounded interest coming back to you.

There are two ways. Either you educate yourself through YouTube University or you read books. You join masterminds. You surround yourself with people that are more successful and you learn from them and ask questions or you’re a knucklehead like me. When I was younger, you learn from your mistakes. When I was 18, 19, 20 years old, I was making six figures. I was living the dream. I didn’t care about my credit score because I thought, “Why do I need a credit card? I can pay in cash. I don’t need credit.” No one taught me the importance of a credit score, utilization rate and having access to the bank’s money.

Luckily, I was able to learn from some mistakes. As I turned 24, 25, 26, I worked on my credit. I had a great credit score. When I started Quest Education, I was able to get a bunch of 0% credit cards to invest in my business. If I didn’t have that, I don’t know where Quest Education would be now because you need money to make money. Whether it’s at the beginning or the middle, you have to have capital.

I talked about earlier at the beginning of my interview that I was going to get a little deep dive into you as an entrepreneur and what you do as an entrepreneur. You, as an entrepreneur, founded Quest Education, which is educating people about financial literacy, access to money, access to money that you already have. What would you say was the most pivotal thing that caused you to venture into entrepreneurship? Was that by necessity? I know that you said you stumbled onto this. At some point, you do have to make a decision. “I don’t want to work for anybody anymore. I’m going to work for myself and I believe in myself.” You have to have the confidence and the competence to start that entrepreneurship journey. What happened?

I know it’s a mindset. When I was a young kid, I saw my mom work as a social worker. She was one of the only ones in the office that did not have a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She didn’t have that degree to have that position but she was in it for a long enough time and outworked everyone. She was able to do what she did and was good at it. She had the mentality of, “I’m going to be the best social worker I can be.” That’s lost in society nowadays. My nephew, he works at McDonald’s. I tell him like, “Be the best fry cooker. Be the best in your position.”

MDH 35 | Financial Literacy

Financial Literacy: Start building your personal brand because people want to do business with people they know and trust.

 

The reason why I asked you that, Daniel, is that based on what you’ve said before about your background, your parents getting a divorce and growing up and everything, you didn’t grow up in a family full of entrepreneurs. That’s why somebody like you would need a pivotal moment or series of events that caused you to do that. Let’s say your father was a serial entrepreneur and he kept on failing at entrepreneurship but he kept doing it. You’d still have that model or something in you being an entrepreneur and failing, this is normal but you didn’t have that. You grew up with a mom who devoted her life to helping other people for very little money. The question is how did you end up there?

Enough period of time of always wanting to be the best at something, then eventually getting to the point because it started off when I bagged groceries at a grocery store. “I’m going to be the best grocery bagger I can be. I’m going to be the best grocery cart corral gatherer I could be.” When I got into sales like, “I’m going to be the best appointments setter I could be. I’ll be the best closer I can be. I’m going to be the best sales manager I can be.” I finally got to a point where I’m just like, “I like winning. I like competition. Why not get in the business?” That’s the next step.

I liked the idea of being able to lead a group of people. I played sports my whole life. I do think there’s a lot of parallels between competition, sports, whether it’s gymnastics, tennis, golf, basketball, soccer and business. There are a lot of parallels between those two. I think that had a lot to do with it as well. In terms of, “I’m 24, 25,26 years old, I want to be an entrepreneur. I’m ready for this.”

Even though you went through drug addiction, all the stuff that you went through. You still had core values, which were to always be in search of excellence. You must have had that discipline because when you play sports, you do have the discipline to show up on time, to be the best you could be, to give it your all. You have to face defeat and victory in a very similar fashion. I think that’s great. Your transformation story is fantastic in the sense that you go from literally in the worst-case scenario.

If somebody looked at just on paper when you were nineteen years old, “This guy’s a deadbeat.” You look at it on paper, they’d go, “He’s got a kid. He’s addicted to this and that. He dropped out of school. We don’t want to hire him. We don’t want to have him consult us or help us.” That’s how society judges you. Here you are. You are now a seven-figure entrepreneur at such a young age. You’ve got a secure business where you’re helping other people achieve their dreams. That’s fantastic. When I say fantastic, meaning it’s such an explosive story. I wanted to help other people. Some of them are on the verge of starting their own businesses. What does it take to start a business? You did it the hard way. You were a single father on top of that.

You created this seven-figure business. That’s not easy to do but it is not impossible to do. I like all of you who are reading to be inspired by someone like Daniel. Also, you could get financial advice from anybody. There are a lot of people who have a certified Financial degree, CPAs, wealth management. The whole world is full of people. When you look at someone like Daniel who’s gone through a lot in his young life, for me, I would trust someone like you who had some real-life experiences. You know what it’s like to be down and out and have no money.

Our goal in life is to have more time, peace of mind, and freedom with our businesses.

I commend you for having made that transformation and you’re paying it forward. Here’s another thing I’m going to tell you. If you were making seven figures, writing a book is the most stupid thing in the world when it comes to money. Isn’t it true? When I go on TV, I get paid in dollars per minute. Every minute you got to make so many thousand dollars of sales and you get a percentage of that. To devote 1 or 2 years of your life to writing a book that’s going to maybe sell for $10 a pop and if you’re lucky, as an author, you get a dollar out of every $10. Usually, authors make about 10% of the whole retail price. That is a poor use of your time if you think about it.

Not a great ROI. I wouldn’t recommend it to anybody. We are not crazy people. I think that authors who share this type of information do it because we love it. We do it because it is ingrained in us. For me, my success, I would say I’m not Oprah Winfrey or anything like that by going from $30 to $500 million, that is also a transformation story. I feel like so much of what happened to me, even though I worked my rear end off to get every penny that I have, everything that I have, there was a lot of luck involved. I would say that’s my way of paying it forward.

I’m sure, Daniel, you’re very similar in that when you write the book because you can reach people through your website, DanielBlue.me If you can, sign up for his book because us authors, we write books because we want to share. We are dying to share our information. It’s the best investment you’re going to have the $10, all the knowledge that we have put into this.

My editors, my publishers, they make me write. If I say, “I saw it a UPS survey,” what date was the survey was done and who published it? I had to write the guy who wrote the article to the paper like it was Wall Street Journal, whoever wrote the article, where it was published, all this stuff. Literally, it is a lot of work but we do it because we love it. We want you to have a piece of our legacy. Sign up for a Blueprint to Your Best Retirement by Daniel Blue. I have a lot of advisors to handle my money for me. I’ve never heard of the Roth solo 401(k). I never heard that before but I’m going to go check that out right after I get this show. Thank you, Daniel, for coming. How would you like people to get ahold of you to get more information from you?

The best place is DanielBlue.me. That’s my hub. I’ve got a link to my company’s website Quest Education. If you got a 401(k) from an old job or an IRA and you’d like to learn how to tap into that account penalty and tax-free, you can visit the website Quest Education on DanielBlue.me. There’s a link there. My team can assist you. If you’re interested, I do have a podcast. It’s called How Winners Win. I talk about how people can win in their personal, entrepreneurial and financial life. It’s something that I have fun doing. Also, a link to my book. I also have a course called The Quest Way: How to Make Money Tax-Free. I expand on some of the topics that you and I have discussed here on the show.

If you’d like to dive into the course, it does have a link to the course as well as my contact information, my social media handles. To the 30% of people that are thinking about starting a business or want to start a business, the biggest thing is a personal brand. The reason I can assume why you wrote your writing your books is it’s talking about branding. We’re not going to make money off this book but it’s all about our brand. That’s why we start a podcast, we have a book and we’re active on social media. You have to have a personal brand in the year 2021. Even if you don’t have a business concept or a business launched, start building your personal brand. People want to do business with people that they know, like and trust. You can start building your brand now, no matter what service or product you’re selling.

Thank you so much for coming by and sharing all your knowledge and information on yourself. For all of you readers, I always sign off by saying until next time. Please stay healthy and happy. Remember, happiness is a choice. I wish you lots of great choices. Thank you.

Important Links:

About Daniel Blue

Daniel is the owner of Quest Education, a company that provides financial solutions for individuals and business owners through education. He educates entrepreneurs on their finances so they can focus more on growing their businesses. Quest Education is a 7-figure company and has helped over a thousand customers throughout the country.

MDH 34 | Defining Success

MDH 34 | Defining Success

 

Our definition of success can make or break how we live our lives. Success is often associated with achievements, money, and fame. However, success is also found in failure. Marnie Swedberg is an author, speaker, mentor, and the Founder and Director of the Christian Women’s Speakers Directory. She joins Victoria Wieck to share her story of success and, in turn, her failures. Marnie’s journey was not a smooth one, but through her changed perspective and faith in God, she was, and is, able to find success in everyday life. Learn about her story and how you can achieve and redefine success your way in today’s episode.

Watch the episode here:

 

Listen to the podcast here:

On Failure And Faith: Redefining Success With Marnie Swedberg

If you’ve always wanted to know what it takes to have your big dreams come true and I hope you’ve got big dreams, in fact, if your dreams don’t scare you, probably not big enough, I’ve got the perfect person who can walk you through that. Marnie Swedberg is known as the mentor to people with big dreams. She’s also the host by way of a radio show called, Perspective Transformations with Marnie’s Friends. You might want to take a listen there as well. Marnie has amazing years of personal experience that will actually help you.

Some of her experiences are very fortunate, some of them are unfortunate including fires, floods, tornadoes, car wrecks, business setbacks, burglaries, lightning strikes, you name it. She’s been through all of that and more. Hopefully, when you go through a lot of that, you end up with some amazing wisdom. Marnie is here to share a lot of that with us so that we can be enlightened, inspired, and ready to take action. I’m so glad that she has chosen to spend some time with us this afternoon. Without further ado, I want to introduce you to Marnie.

Welcome, Marnie, to the show.

Victoria, it’s great to be here.

As I’ve said, you’ve been through a lot in your life. You amazingly managed to look absolutely fantastic. For those of us who don’t know everything about you, tell us a little bit of a backstory about how you became the mentor, a radio host, and all that.

Everybody has their own story. I’m just going to pick a couple of highlights from mine. I figured that I started mentoring younger people when I was about eleven years old and I started teaching four-year-old children in church. I always say, “Everybody’s mentoring somebody. There’s somebody looking at every life and a little behind you on the journey that you can help. They’re watching you, and you can help them move along.” I love your show because that’s what you’re doing here. You’re taking your expertise or the expertise of others and you’re helping those that are not quite that far along on the journey.

I feel like I’ve been a mentor almost my whole life from the time I was young. I owned my first business when I was eighteen years old. A fitness business went on and we’ve owned a restaurant at a retail store. I also own an online directory of Christian Women Speakers. That’s the largest of its kind in the world. I have done a lot of things with the business but as a leader, you’re put into this mentorship role automatically. If you have an entrepreneurship spirit, you’re going to do it by yourself, or else you’re going to become a good leader.

I think that’s really interesting because if you are young, 10, 12, 14 years old and you’re mentoring kids who are younger than you. At that age, you have to think that you are not only a mentor but you’re a giver. When you’re young teens, 8, 9 years old, you don’t think, “I’m a mentor or I’m going to make money doing this.” You just simply probably wanted to help somebody. When some little kid younger than you doesn’t know how to do something or does know how to process information or a situation, you’re out there giving and basically trying to lift that person up.

I think we can call that mentorship, but I would say that was probably the first clue that you are generous and you’re a giver. I say that now because to be an effective mentor, you do have to be generous, giver, and incredible listener when you think that those are all necessary ingredients of becoming an effective mentor.

I took training one time and there are twelve different ways that you can mentor somebody. When I took the training, I had 11 of the 12 that were already in place in my life. I just want to encourage you that you already got some real clear markers in your life of what you’re supposed to be doing. For me, it was clear from very young that I would be a mentor that I would help other people achieve their big goals and their big dreams.

MDH 34 | Defining Success

Defining Success: There’s somebody that’s a little behind you on the journey that you can help. They’re watching you and you can help them move along.

 

The other thing you said about your journey and the beginning. I’m always much more interested in why you do and what you do rather than what you actually do because what you do is important. I think why you do what you do is, to me, more important because that fuels the passion and the end result. When you are mentoring young kids the generosity, helping spirit, and all that is there as well as leadership qualities, especially at that age. It’s very easy for kids to go, “Someone’s got problems. It’s his problem or her problem, so-and-so is having a bad day, week, or year. I’m just not going to play with that person. I’m going to play with these other people that are much more cool.”

I think that’s already told you at that point or people around you that you had those leadership qualities and you were generous spirit, which will come into play about what you do now with those skills. I’m sure with skills, characters, or traits like that will compound over time, especially when you go through some of the obstacles you have gone through. On your entrepreneurship journey, you mentioned that your first business was at a pretty young age and you weren’t involved in more than one type of business. That tells me that you are not afraid of trying things and you didn’t give up because most people try a business that doesn’t work and you’re like, “Entrepreneurship is not for me. I’m going to go work for somebody. I’m just not cut off for this.”

You’ve done different types of things, even in the face of those things not working out properly. Lastly, based on those decisions that you’ve made, you must have had incredible faith in yourself or in an external being. That’s my biggest problem. A lot of entrepreneurs that I end up mentoring or helping out, they’ve given up and they come to me as a last resort. It’s really hard to change that mindset of someone who doesn’t believe in herself anymore and doubts every decision she makes. Some of the decisions are so small that almost have no consequences but they still doubt that. Tell me a little bit about what it took you to start a business, fail at that, start a new one, fail at that, and start another one.

I wouldn’t say that I failed at any of them. I would say that I moved to a different season in life. Some of them just were closed down like the retail store because mom and pop retail in this age are in good conscience to actually sell that business. We ran it as far as we could. We were able to sell the building, clear everything out and get funds out of it that way. We sold the restaurant too with other people to move on. When you’re looking at it, I think that you have to be willing to just redefine success and failure. For me, success is when I get in bed at night, I look up and I say to God, “How are we?” He says, “Well done,” and I go to sleep or some nights, it’s a couple of things to talk about here.

Success is a daily thing for me. One of the things that helped me with understanding success was being friends with a girl that’s a gold medal Olympian. She was born one month apart from my oldest son. Watching her grow up in her whole life invested into hockey and going for this gold medal, which she eventually got. I’m not saying that it wasn’t worth it for her to do that. That’s who she was. The challenge is that if all of our goals and dreams are way out there like a gold medal, what happens is that we spend our whole life hoping to be a success and then finally the day we get the gold medal if we get the gold medal, the moment we get it, we get up on the podium with her, we’re a success. What happens when we get off the podium? We have to start defending our title. You either are trying to be a success, you’re in the moment of success, or else you’re a former success trying to stay successful, so it’s no way to live.

In her case, if she didn’t get the gold medal but she got the silver medal, what happens to her?

The first time she went, she didn’t get the silver and that was hugely disappointing. She got back up, she went again, and she got the gold. My point here isn’t that you shouldn’t be going for the gold. I think we all have our own idea of what the gold medal is. If that’s what you’re living for is that thing way out in the future, it’s no way to live because you lose all your relationships and everything.

I like putting a newspaper right in front of your face, so you’re looking forward and completely blocking your view. All you can see is the newspaper but if you fold the newspaper down, the newspaper is still right in front of your face but now you can see everything to the right and to the left of it. That’s how goals should be right dead center in front of your face but not fully consuming you because otherwise, you’re giving up your whole life chasing this thing that you may or may not ever actually achieve.

Everybody is actually mentoring somebody.

You would argue that having goals that are very aspirational to you and you have to reach for it, but not so far out that it’s going to be all-consuming. I completely agree with you on that.

I use the analogy of a new baby. You’re pregnant for a while, you have a new baby, the baby gets weaned, the baby starts toddling, the baby starts walking, the baby is now old enough to take care of itself. You don’t stay in pregnancy with a new baby forever. If you stay in that stage with your hobby, business idea, or ministry, if you stay in that pregnancy, new baby stage forever and ever, you’re not getting sleep, and every thought is toward the care of this idea, something is wrong. There has to come to a point where you launch that baby.

I’m trying to break this information down so that people can apply it to their life now. I get young Millennials whose dreams are way too big for their abilities right now and they have no idea how they’re going to get there, but they’re like, “I’ll find a way.” They have no real business plan to follow and no framework, and yet, they have very big dreams. Then you have people who actually won’t set their dreams until they figure out what they can do. For those people, how would you say, “I completely agree with you?”

I wrote a book called Million Dollar Hobbies. That’s going to be released in 2022. In chapter one, I talk about the importance of defining your dream that you can live with that you actually have a really good chance of accomplishing. You have those checks and balances along the way so that you’re not going, “I want to be on the moon four years from now,” but you’re still on Earth. You haven’t gotten there yet. Is there a way to figure out if your dreams are so way out of whack? What do you tell people how you’d actually set your goals?

I think that the dreams that you are actually equipped to reach are going to resonate with you. I always say your body is electric. If I take a brick and I stick it up against a live wire, nothing’s going to happen but if I take you and I stick you up against the live wire, we’re going to have sparks because you are body electric. When God strung together your 3 billion base pair of DNA, there’s nobody else just like you. If you are thinking that you’re a bicycle but you’re a Ferrari, no matter how hard you paddle, how much you work, how early you start or how late you go, you will never perform like what you were built to be. The Ferrari is going to be able to go faster, farther, and have more fun but if you don’t know that’s what you’re here for, then you’re going to spend your time spinning your wheels. I think that the main thing is to keep coming back to a place inside of yourself where you’re at peace like, “I keep having this thought and it doesn’t go away. I had it when I was little, in high school, going to college for something else, and when I’m working now in this job. I keep having this one thought.” That’s because that’s important for you to pursue that dream that’s built right into your DNA. I just believe that.

That’s really interesting because I would call that passion. I’m an immigrant to this country. My parents came from South Korea. My grandmother was a very devoted Buddhist. I was never a real practicing Buddhist but it seems to me like she believed in the idea of destiny. For example, people are born to accomplish certain things in life while they’re on Earth. They would call that destiny what you just described. I would call it the fire within you that refuses to die. A lot of times, we think those people who don’t have the confidence to pursue or who have always been told, “You’re crazy and stupid because that fire isn’t going to make any money or whatever. Why can’t you be a doctor or a lawyer? Are you crazy?”

I’m just thinking that sometimes we are trained to think we have to live a certain life to be successful. We have realities to face, such as paying your bills and things like that, so we have to live the life we have to live in the meantime. The lesson here that you’re trying to teach is to listen to your body, the inside of you, your heart, and pursue. Would you believe that most of us are born with some fire inside of us that burns?

I believe that if you hold up your thumb and look at that thumbprint area, that one inch and that one inch of you is so unique compared to the rest of the population on planet Earth, it can convict you in a court of law. Now you think, “If my thumb is that unique, then how else could I possibly be unique compared to everybody else?” When we tried to do a cookie-cutter type of everybody needs to be this or that, it just doesn’t work. For me, I never thought that I would write a book. I couldn’t even read until I was an adult. When I was going through school, I had to sound out the words the whole way through.

MDH 34 | Defining Success

Defining Success: You’ve already got some real clear markers in your life of what you’re supposed to be doing.

 

It was until I was out of school and out from under the pressure of needing to read that I learned how to read for fun, then you couldn’t stop me. Now I’ve written thirteen books. Being a mentor includes writing books, having a mentorship program, a radio show, going and speaking, and all these things, but did I have that passion? Not really. I have this passion to help somebody who’s stuck at a certain level and make it to the next level.

Getting back to that, I think that your passion actually was helping people and still is. In order for you to do that effectively, you’ve learned to reach people through books and radio. When I first started my business, I had absolutely no money and no reason to think my business was going to be successful. I didn’t have mentors. I wouldn’t even speak English, we had no friends and family. It’s tough to make friends when you don’t speak the language, and you have to figure out what makes people think at that age. Would you say that having a profound faith, could be any religion or in anything, plays a real big factor or do you think that’s secondary?

I don’t think we can do a single thing without faith. I think that it takes courage and faith to get out of bed. It takes courage to get into a car. I remember right after a major accident, I could hardly get myself to get into the car because I’m too afraid that person will come across the line and take my space. A lot of that faith, because we’ve been doing it since we were little, we don’t call it faith anymore. We trust that when we sit on a chair, it’s not going to crash to the ground. We just trust that. It took faith to reach over and turn that light on because you don’t know if it’s going to blow up. When you have a new thing now, you have a new idea that’s coming around that you’re going to try this new thing, then you feel the fear acutely again as you develop a stronger faith to go forward.

Would you say then the fear and faith are actually at the opposite end of the spectrum where you can get overcome your fear if you have faith, but you don’t have faith, so you have fear?

In the Bible, there’s a verse that I say all the time because it’s very clear, “Perfect love cast out fear. There is no fear in perfect love.” You think about that, “What does that actually mean?” It means that if you have the confidence, the faith to believe that something is really for you and not against you, you are free to do just about anything.

That’s interesting too because without understanding the biblical history of this, even though I am quite practicing Christian, I’m guilty of not reading the Bible every day, which a lot of people don’t too. I always say, “As long as your actions and what you say to people and the actions you take are in good faith and in love, meaning that you’re doing out of the goodness of your heart and with great intentions, even when things don’t work outright, it will be okay.”

Sometimes, when you’re writing an email, somebody misinterprets at the other end and they have you for ten minutes, or they think you mean something else in a different context. I still always say that as long as everything was from my heart, I was being generous, being who I am, and I have no malice in me that, things will pan out okay. I think that you’re basically essentially saying that very similar thing in that context.

There are two things that are coming to mind. One is the Brooklyn Bridge and one is Chris Tomlin. Chris Tomlin is a musician who’s written songs and sold millions of records and music. He said one time, “Living for approval is no way to live.” I totally agree with that. If that’s going to be what you’re going to mark your success by is what everybody else thinks about you, that’s just no way to live. You’ll drive yourself crazy.

The dreams that you are equipped to reach are going to resonate with you.

The first book that I wrote was a kitchen shortcut book. I was so scared that people were going to mess up the recipes and blame me. You can get scared about anything. It might have been the golden gate. It was one of the big bridges that they were building. This is way back in time and the guys kept falling to their death because they were out over this big expanse. These guys kept dying, the work was moving at a snail’s pace, and they were never going to get it done.

What they did is they bought this big net to put under the men so that they could go and they could work. What happened is that the guys still fell but they got caught, so they didn’t die. They were free then to work hard, and they were able to get that bridge done. I feel like that’s the difference between fear and faith. Fear is feeling like you’re out on the edge of that precipice and if you fall, you’re going to die and the world is over, whereas faith is saying, “I very well may fall but if I do, I’m just going to get up again.”

Most people that I mentor and I’ve done a lot of that, and like you, since I was a little kid, I used to mentor a lot of people. When I first came to America, there wasn’t a Korean community here. They were four kids in our school that were Korean in Los Angeles. One of the oldest kids in our school that a Korean girl was about two years older than me took me by her side and showed me the ropes a little bit. Since then, I’ve mentored a lot of other Korean families that are coming in there. I think you do all those.

In the beginning, I used to think, “I would have helped them with the digital marketing, position their brand, come up with the product development portion of this, and get them better manufacturers.” What I found is that 90% of what I ended up doing is the mental part because they don’t have the confidence in things they do. If I sit and talk to them for weeks at a time, they’ll have confidence in one thing that they learned to do a little bit but then they still don’t have confidence in their overall being.

This mental preparation or mental health, I’m not saying anybody is mentally ill, is almost like a brain exercise until you have a systematic way of building that confidence in everything you do, building that self-worth, and having a safety net that things are going to be okay. All this other knowledge that I’m teaching doesn’t have the maximum impact. A lot of the things that you’re saying make complete sense, meaning that you define your goals. What you’re trying to coach is that you have a teed-up in such a way that they don’t have to fail.

Failure is feedback. That’s all it is. At the beginning of the program, you mentioned, “I’ve been in car wrecks, in a sinking boat, lightning strike, burglaries, ambulance rides, surgeries, death in the family, and cancer in the family, the list just goes on and on.” How do I not view all of this as the world ganging up on me? It comes from a position of safety again, where I have faith to believe that everything that comes into my life, God can use for something good. I love the analogy of the diving board. If you go to the pool and you’re going to jump off the diving board, you have two choices. You can timidly walk to the end and step off, and that’s one experience, or you can go to the end, you can jump down and go up, jump down again, go up, then you get a big nice leap and a big bang when you hit the water. It’s two very different experiences from the same diving board.

You’ve got two people. One of them says, “I know I’m going to be okay. If I fail, that’s just set me up for a big wind coming up here in a few minutes.” Every time that you have a setback and you learn from it, you’re ahead of someone who never had a setback. One of the stories I love about you is how you responded. You had an order that was a couple of hundred thousand. I never had a setback as big as that one. When I heard that one, I was like, “Oh my gosh,” because I’ve had some serious setbacks, but that one was financial. How did you even get your brain to work? How did you get past the fear to get your brain to come up with a solution because you did?

At that time, that incident was make-or-break. It was making more than what I’ve made in the entire year. The kid was my manager at that time and he should have known better, but he didn’t. You think to yourself, “It’s my fault because I should’ve had a system that’s foolproof. I thought it was pretty obvious,” but he was a guy who never actually went award jewelry, so he did his thing.

MDH 34 | Defining Success

Defining Success: If you have the confidence and the faith to believe that something is for you and not against you, you are free to do just about anything.

 

My father wasn’t all that faithful person. He wasn’t religious. If you had asked him at that time what holidays he celebrates and stuff like that, he might have said he was a Buddhist because his parents were both dead by the time. He was twelve, so I didn’t have any grandparents on my father’s side. Korea went through a couple of wars and all the young men were drafted up. The only reference you had was my grandmother on my mother’s side and she was a pretty devoted Buddhist. He might’ve identified himself as that.

We didn’t go to church. We went through temples. There were like 6,000 years old, so you go there for the beauty of it. When we landed in America and we ended up in East Los Angeles, which is a rough area, he was here. Kids used to come to school with guns, knives and stuff, he was really scared and he thought the best thing he could do was to drop us off at the church, which he had never known anything about. A couple of my siblings are Catholics and I have one sibling who’s a Buddhist and then I’m a Presbyterian. That’s how he got his comfort that this was his safety net.

From that point forward, when those things happen, I think to myself, “Where is the gift in this thing?” My father is not with us now but if he were alive and you were having to have a conversation with him, and if you asked him, “What’s the best thing that ever happened to you other than being married to your wife and kids?” He would probably say the fact that he had everything taken away and he was left with only $30, that way was a blessing because his dream was to bring his five children to America so that they could be whoever they wanted to be.

Because we didn’t have any money and he couldn’t provide anything for us, we all had to get jobs pretty early and we had to work. All of my siblings, all five of his kids, are extremely accomplished. They’re all hyper-educated and doing their thing. What both Marnie and I are saying is that this disguised as obstacles, problems, and major setbacks but they are gifts if you choose to see it that way if you choose to embrace it.

That kid, I never had a terse word with him. I just basically told him, “This was a huge mistake.” He felt so bad about it too. What are we going to learn from this so that you don’t ever have to make a mistake like this again, and no one else has to ever? Not only are we going to fix this problem, but we’re going to fix all problems that look like this. We fixed that problem for sure. Believe it or not, that’s the first time I realized I need a system.

I looked for systems wherever I could apply something systematically to everything I did. I had a checklist to everything we did. That contributed to growth next year and the year on. That’s how I was able to scale my business. A lot of times, the founder of the small businesses is doing almost everything and they’re afraid to delegate because they don’t have faith in their employees or their customers and they don’t have a system, so they don’t have safety net. The whole idea of you explaining that safety net with the Golden Gate Bridge was a powerful story.

The other analogy I want to bring in here is that you wouldn’t expect a toddler to be able to drive a car. You wouldn’t expect a third grader to be able to do Quantum Physics. You wouldn’t expect a sixteen-year-old to be able to lead a country. There’s there are stages and phases for everything, and if you’re thinking you should be way farther down the track than you are, that’s another really fast way to get discouraged. You’re going to have to learn it, especially in small businesses or in hobby businesses starting up, you’re going to have to learn it all and do it all.

My oldest son was involved in a startup and he had to learn every last thing. Now he’s passed off every last thing. At first, you just have to learn it all, so you know if they’re doing that right. When there’s a conversation about, we could do this better, you have some context to put that into. Even those beginning parts that everybody hates, even those, there’s so much payoff to just investing the time in the education part.

If you think of yourself as a bicycle but you’re a Ferrari, you will never perform like what you were built to be.

What we should have introduced you as should have been a mentor to people with big dreams but don’t know how to get there because big dreams require lots of action to do. I’m not talking about one flashy action. Consistency is important. What I say is, “If you’re a sixteen-year-old kid, you got big dreams, and want to drive from Arizona to New York, you could walk there, drive, get on a Greyhound Bus, take the train, fly and have all the detours.”

Let’s say you chose to drive. You’re driving from Arizona and around Grand Canyon, and you’re like, “Why didn’t I do this before? I lived here in Arizona and I never got to see this before, it was wonderful.” You get to New Mexico and you’re like, “This is wonderful,” then you get a little detour and you go, “I wonder what it’s like to go North. I’ve always lived in the South,” and you end up going up to my Wyoming. That’s a detour that was completely unnecessary that sets you back, so having a framework, a forward view as well as the backward view.

I say this because when you started out at the very beginning of this interview, you said that, “There was somebody always who walked a few miles before you and some people who walk just a few steps behind you.” Those people that walked before you, even if they didn’t succeed, even if they got off, if you can talk to them, they will still point out all the detours and all of the stuff that they expect. Why they got off? What were the beautiful parts of this and what were the real ugly parts you should watch out for? I think that this mentorship is really important.

When I look back at my journey and somebody asked me that, “What would you ask your younger self?” The first thing that came up to my mind was, “I would have asked for help early on.” I didn’t know who I could have reached out to because we didn’t know anybody and I didn’t know anybody to join the business. None of my family members were entrepreneurs. My father was a professor. I’m talking generations of people, so I didn’t even know who to go to.

I would say that in this world of a lot of transparency because you have the internet and everything else that one of the first things, I would have done was looked for help from somebody who’s gone before me. That’s a no brainer. I commend you for being there as a mentor to a lot of people. Sometimes, you get so specific. You’re like, “If that person hasn’t been in my business, they can’t help me,” but that’s not actually true because a lot of the principles of turning a wheel applies to most of us. It not just you communicate at one thing, so I would say that was great. I like your particular approach to mentorship because it allows the person whoever is walking that path to be themselves first.

The most important thing you can ever do is embrace who you are because you’re never going to be somebody else no matter how hard you try. I was thinking about, if somebody asked me what would I have told my younger self? I think I would have told my younger self, “Be yourself and be brave.”

This has been so inspiring. Marnie has written thirteen books. Do you know what that means, ladies? I’ve written only two and they’re both being published. I know a lot of people in the publishing business. When you buy thirteen books and you have a following, people want to read what she has to say, so go ahead and pick up one of her books and also listen to her radio show. All of us out here, I know a lot of you are younger than me but those of you who are in your 40s even, you went through decades of time when people, parents, and companies, all of us paid for information.

People who had information like information on the stock market, information on the data, or information on demographics. A lot of people made money doing that. A lot of that stuff now is free. Most of us do not pay for information anymore. What we pay for now is transformation. I think Marnie has a whole show dedicated to transformation and I love that, so take a listen there. Marnie, if people want to continue this conversation with you, where would you like them to?

It’s just my name, Marnie.com. If you go there, you can find a bunch of free resources, including all the shows. They’re divided into different categories. If you’re an author, a speaker, a business owner, or you need marketing skills, it’s all divided out there for you for free. There is a mentorship program and coaching available as well if you want to go a little bit deeper.

I love the fact that she has a lot of things that are free because that also shows you the generosity. I’m with you, Marnie. I don’t charge for a lot of information that are downloadable, I like to share, so I love that you are offering that as well. Thank you so much for coming here now and I also want to thank my audience for being patient because this episode is a little longer. If you have not subscribed to the show, please go ahead and do so. If you can share it with your friends so more people can enjoy these episodes and the wisdom from people like Marnie, I would appreciate that very much. Until next time, please stay healthy and happy. Remember, happiness is a choice. Thank you.

Important Links:

 About Marnie Swedberg

MDH 34 | Defining SuccessUsing riveting real-life stories, analogies and deep spiritual truths, Marnie has spoken at hundreds of events, conferences and summits for religious organizations, NGOs, Fortune 500s and governments. She has also trained, coached and mentored over 15,000 leaders from 35 countries.

Founder/Director of www.WomenSpeakers.com, the largest online directory of its kind in the world, author of 13 “how-to” books, and host of the #1 ranked Blog Talk Radio show, Perspective Transformation with Marnie’s Friends.

MDH 33 | Entrepreneurship Mistakes

MDH 33 | Entrepreneurship Mistakes

 

A lot of people want to give entrepreneurship a try, but sadly most of them do not even get a chance to take off. Many commit the same entrepreneurship mistakes repeatedly, blocking their path towards success. Victoria Wieck delves into the top five reasons why startup businesses fail, which she personally experienced and overcame. Knowing how to properly navigate the market, you can finally get out of the 90% failure rate and rise to the 10% of business-savvy entrepreneurs.

Watch the episode here:

Listen to the podcast here:

Top Entrepreneurship Mistakes You Should Avoid

I want to talk about the top five reasons why entrepreneurs fail or the top five reasons why startups fail, specifically. Startups fail at an alarming rate of 90%. To me, there is no good reason why 90% of startups fail so I decided to look into why they failed. There are a myriad of reasons but I’m going to focus on the big five reasons why they fail. I’m going to quickly go over them and then I will do a deep dive on each of the five.

The first one is unrealistic expectations. The second is failing to make a connection with their target audience. The third is trying to do too much. We all know what that feels like. The fourth is sacrificing quality for quantity. Lastly, the self-doubt that seeps into all of our lives, not just our business lives. Let’s get back to these five and I did a poll of a lot of the small businesses that are no longer with us. I’ve also done an analysis of published reports about small businesses that failed. I can relate to all five myself because I’ve been through all of that. I’m very blessed that I have survived these five things in the very beginning stages of my journey as an entrepreneur and as a businesswoman. Let’s go into this.

Unrealistic Expectations

First of all, the unrealistic expectations. This is very easy to do because if you are an entrepreneur and you’re so excited about something you’ve come up with. How many times have we heard people say something like, “There’s nothing else like it out there? Just wait until I opened my business or I get my patent. It’s going to sell by itself,” and all that. Those are unrealistic expectations because I have seen that in my 24-year career on TV as well. Ninety-nine pecent of the products that go on TV actually fail. The failure rate on TV is 99%.

MDH 33 | Entrepreneurship Mistakes

Entrepreneurship Mistakes: If something is so revolutionary, you have to educate people that it actually does all the things it promises.

 

A lot of them have great products, things that solve our problems, but they didn’t do a great job of marketing themselves. If something is revolutionary, you have to educate people that it does all the things that it does. Unrealistic expectations where you think that all you have to do is get enough money together, and you’re going to have to get your patent, and all that stuff. Once you open your business, everything is going to be smooth sailing. It’s one of the main reasons why a lot of businesses fail.

They haven’t worked out all the other aspects of educating your customer, how to find your customer, how to find the right price point, how to deliver that customer expectations and experience and continue to follow up. You’re going to need more than your family, friends, classmates or girlfriends at your country club to buy your things. You’re going to need hundreds, thousands or maybe millions of people buying your products if you’re going to be successful. Make sure that your expectations are measured with the market reality.

Failing To Make Audience Connection

The second reason is failing to make a connection with their target audience. This is a big one because the biggest problem is that a lot of small businesses identify their target market as much bigger than what they are. I suffered from this very thing in that when I first started my business, I thought my target market was all women because I designed beautiful jewelry. I thought I was a pretty talented designer. I knew that most women like jewelry. In fact, most men buy jewelry of some kind for their significant other, their mothers, sisters or the people who work for them.

Startups fail at an alarming rate of 90%.

I thought the market was everybody and that’s a huge mistake. I would say find your target market. In my case, I ended up designing a jewelry line specifically for professional women, to wear my jewelry as an expression of who they are, a little bit of their personality, but for the workplace during the day. It’s a little bit more casual. They’re a bit more professional and a little bit more toned-down version of the nighttime fancy jewelry.

Make a connection with your target audience. You’re going to need hundreds of thousands of people that are going to fall in love with you, your company, your team, your product and the customer experience that you deliver. Make sure that you understand us. It’s not like, “I love my products. Products that sell themselves and solve everybody’s problems. I’m going to put it out there and customers are going to flock to them.” That’s not true. You have to go out and get your customers.

You might not realize this but for example, jewelry. When I’m selling jewelry, you might think that I’m competing with a lot of other jewelers. I am but I’m also competing with a lot of other luxury goods. For example, you wanted to get a Mother’s Day present. You want to get your mother a heart diamond or something. The consumer has a choice of buying that or buying your mother a vacation or buying her a nice practical handbag. There are all these other things that are not even in your category that’s fighting for the same dollars.

MDH 33 | Entrepreneurship Mistakes

Entrepreneurship Mistakes: Putting something out there and waiting for people to flock it is not enough. You have to get out and get your customers.

 

Make sure that you make that incredible connection with your target audience because you want these people to love you so much. You want these people to be borderline fanatic about you so that they love the product. They tell about your product and about you to everybody else that they know, and that’s how you’re going to grow your business. That second one is a big one.

Trying To Do Too Much 

The third one is trying to do too much. What does that mean? All small business owners go through this at one point or another. You’re already doing too much on the backend. On your side of the business, you’re the CEO of your company, but you’re also the Chief Lawyer, Chief Finance Officer, Chief Customer Service Person, Chief Shipping Person. You’re in charge of all of that. Don’t try to do all of those things and lose sight of the fact that you need a great product line. You need to figure out how to get millions of people to fall in love with you.

On the customer side, you may want to please your customer so much that you are going to end up doing too much for her. For example, if you are a coach that teaches other coaches how to get and convert those leads, focus on that. Focus on generating leads, converting those leads, and that’s enough. If you start to say, “I do Facebook ads. I’m a marketing agency. I’ll teach you how to get leads, convert, close, do your products and do your marketing,” you are now getting into eighteen different areas of specialties that other people could do more.

99% of the businesses that go on TV actually fail.

If all you do is help people to generate leads and you have that emotional connection and understanding how to get those leads, then focus on that. If you are a hairdresser and you have a salon, you are specializing in hair care hair salon. You’re doing colors, cuts, blow-dry. Don’t go and sell like, “Our customers are this or that, so I’ve got a whole line of yoga clothes,” because that’s a whole different category of a service. Not all yoga people would go to a hair salon to buy stuff. It’s not their core thing.

Someone asked me what I thought. This is a young kid and he loves quirky books that the big bookstores like Barnes & Noble don’t carry. He also liked the idea of offering people a real book cover or something that they can hand. It was always going to be a small market anyway but he thought, “I want to offer people coffee when they’re shopping. A lot of the Barnes & Nobles have a Starbucks inside. While they’re there, if I offer them little mini finger sandwiches, yogurt or something like that, they might stay longer and buy more things.” You’re trying to do too much. Focus on what you do well and make sure that you do that better than anybody else. Trying to do too much and offering too many services that you are not an expert in is a quick path to destruction.

MDH 33 | Entrepreneurship Mistakes

Entrepreneurship Mistakes: You want people to be borderline fanatics so that they tell others about your product, and that’s how you grow your business.

 

Sacrificing Quality For Quantity

The fourth one is a big one too. That one is sacrificing quality for quantity. A lot of us do this. We go and buy things on sale. If you go to Victoria’s Secret, they’ll have five panties for a price of $25. Most of us will pick three and you’re like, “It’s cheaper to do the two other ones.” Even though you didn’t love the other two, you buy them. Would you be better off buying 1 or 2 that you love for $7 or $10 apiece? I don’t know, you’d be the judge of that. A lot of times, as business owners, we want to save money. We want to save our customers money.

Are they going to pay for a premium quality soap for $20? We don’t know. You don’t want to downgrade just for the price point. A lot of times, people can buy a Pril soap or a Dial soap for $2. If I have organic soaps that have no wax, no glycerin, no this or none of that, it’s all pure soap that’s going to last you a year, I’m just making this out off the top of my head, would they pay more? Would they pay $8? Would they pay $10? Probably.

Think about quality versus quantity. This also goes with everything like social media. People are buying bots so that they could have supposedly 5,000 followers when they only have 500. Having bots to make you look like you have more social media following doesn’t generate sales, none whatsoever. You’re better off having only 1,000 people who love things that are organic and earthy. You want to have a hardcore following of people that matter to you, your business, your main philosophy and your mission.

Make sure your expectations are measured with the market reality.

Whether that’s social media, prices, actual product, or even the quality of your customers. If you offer a 50% off coupon and you’re looking at these people who do nothing but coupon shopping from place to place, they come to your store because of a coupon and they will leave your store because of somebody else’s coupon. Make sure that you understand that quality always triumphs over quantity. In the long run, that’s the only thing that matters.

Self-Doubt

We come to the last point, which is self-doubt. A lot of times, as entrepreneurs, you have to go out and create wealth and paycheck for yourself, your employees, your vendors, and it’s scary. You’ve got to do that every single day. Many entrepreneurs put pretty much their heart and soul and everything on the line every day. It is a very scary thing and self-doubt can seep in at any point. Even when you’re at the high. You’re like, “How do I protect this success that I just have?” Sometimes when things are taking longer, you might go, “I wonder if this is the beginning of the end.”

I understand how that feels because I’ve been at both ends of the spectrum. That’s normal and it’s natural. Sometimes it’s healthy for you because it makes you think about things. It makes you go through it one more time but understand this. If you’re reading this right now and you already have a business, and any part of this has resonated with you, the top 1, 2, 3, 4,  I want to say that you are more than enough. You have everything you need to succeed. Just make sure that you’re not going to ever get rid of self-doubt because it is natural and it’s healthy. Understand that without making decisions that you can be confident about, you’re never going to have a great business.

MDH 33 | Entrepreneurship Mistakes

Entrepreneurship Mistakes: Without making decisions you can be confident about, you will never have a great business.

 

How do you then get the confidence? If you thought, “All I have to do is get a patent and put it out there, people are going to just flock to my thing.” People aren’t flocking because people aren’t supposed to flock to you just because you have a patent on you opened your store. Those types of things, when you have your expectation checked, for example, “No matter what I do, I’m going to have to build my following. I’m going to have to build my business. I’m going to have to build that trust. I’m going to have to build that respect. I’m willing to do so many hours a day to get that, to build respect, build a trust level with my customers. I’m willing to do these six things,” when those things trickle in, you’re not self-doubting because you’re following the plan.

The whole self-doubt thing is natural. It is manageable. This lesson wasn’t supposed to be about just fixing all of this, but I want you to be aware of that. Many of you who are reading, I understand that about 50% of you already own a business. Some of you are already quite successful and you want to get from 6 figures onto 7 figures. I have about 40% of you who are making money for your companies, your employees or you have some side hustle already, but you haven’t been able to take that into the main business.

Quality always triumphs over quantity. In the long run, that’s the only thing that matters.

You have 3 or 4 side hustles. You are still doubting whether or not you could take a leap of faith and have a reason to expect that you’re successful. Those of you who are considering right now to start your own and you’re looking at that 90% failure number. You’re like, “Should I or shouldn’t I?” I wanted to give you a glimpse of the top reasons why people fail. If you think that you can handle any of these top five reasons, you’re going to be at the top 10% of people that do succeed and stay on course.

I hope you enjoyed this episode. I hope to do more of these little mini-lessons that I’ve learned because I hope that this will help you in your journey at least make a decision or clarify something that you didn’t know. Thank you so much for reading this episode and all the other episodes as well. Also, thank you for being so loyal. If you can, please leave me a review because a lot of people don’t know how to write a review. Apple does make it difficult to write that review. You’ve got to go all the way down to the end after you read the episode. There was a five-star or you don’t have to give me a five-star, just be honest. Write how this episode could help someone else who is struggling with the same kind of thing. If you can do that, I would be very grateful. Please stay healthy and happy. Remember, happiness is a choice. I wish you all the best. Thank you.

MDH 32 | Generate Leads

MDH 32 | Generate Leads

 

This pandemic showed us that more than just surviving in business, we also need to thrive. However, this has proven to be easier said than done. But while it is so, it is nevertheless not impossible. Join Victoria Wieck and guest, Visionary Marketing Coach Leon Streete, as they share marketing strategies that can help generate leads and increase conversion rates in the business. He talks about the importance of maintaining good relationships, recognizing problems, and creating solutions for customers. To stand out from the competition, he also emphasizes the need for doing business differently. Leon then takes us across his professional experiences, lending lessons that helped him get to where he is today. Join him in this episode to learn insights into staying connected with customers and growing as entrepreneurs.

Watch the episode here:

Listen to the podcast here:

How To Generate More Leads And Increase Conversion Rates With Leon Streete

I love being here every week with you, reconnecting with amazing guests. Now is another exceptional guest by the name of Leon Streete. He is the host of the Business Owner Elevation Podcast. If you haven’t listened to it, you might want to give it a listen. Honestly, when I first listened to it, I was delighted and amazed. I learned a lot from that one episode. Go ahead and give it a listen. Leon is a visionary marketing coach who always offers a fresh perspective on where the market is going and how you, the entrepreneur can take opportunities of that. He’s very innovative in his approach and the man has the patience of a saint. What he is known for is helping entrepreneurs discover ways to generate more leads consistently and also to increase their conversion rates. If you’re interested in learning a lot more of this and walk away from this episode with actionable tips, stay tuned.

Welcome, Leon.

Victoria, thank you very much. I’m looking forward to this. You’re such a gracious lady and everything about you is perfect. Let’s go.

I didn’t mention that Leon’s Business Owner Elevation Podcast won the Best UK Business Podcast award. I’m sure it took you a lot of heart and soul to get to that point. Before we even go to that point, you’re a visionary marketing coach. When I say visionary marketing, in marketing, we do need to have a vision. You need to step out outside of the box, you can’t always follow leaders supposedly out there. You charted and carved out your own little niche within that very crowded market. Give me a little three-minute bio about how you got to this point, and I’m sure there was a lot of pain and gain involved.

I literally finish my degree here in the UK. If I take you back to 2004, I was already creating websites and into marketing, I was starting it in 1997. It was at that point, I thought, “I need to get real and get some clients now because education’s finished, so I need some cash.” Fortunately, I had a great relationship with my dissertation lecturer and he said to me, “Leon, there’s a contract going here at the university. I think you’d be great to take it up, six-month contract.” I said, “Perfect.” I took the contract on, it was a six-month contract and I finished within five months. I literally had a month’s holiday from getting paid because the contract ran for six months. You know how universities work. They’re very rigid and it’s six months so that’s how long it lasts but I finished it early.

What I realized at that early stage was relationships and my ability to think on my feet and create what I needed based on whatever the solution needed to be the type of thing. Whatever the problem was, I could come up with something. I was always creative and it was at that point, as I stepped forward, that I landed on my feet continuously all the way up until 2010. You mentioned pain. 2010, I got to a point where I would hedge my bets too far. I was about to get in for a big shock of cash gap. It was around about $75,000 if I do the conversion rates. I had no cash, we had money owed to us but it wasn’t coming in. We had two clients who also owed us money that went after the 2008 recession. They, in 2010 went out of business owing us money, I would use all of my resources. I learned a big lesson there about trading insolvent. The business was cash flowing so well up until the final three months, it was masking the problem.

If you go into hiding, you are going to face even bigger problems.

What I realized is when the chips are down, the greatest resource that you can have is to know that there are still options. I didn’t know that at the time. It was speaking to my business coach at the time and to people around me. Up until that failure, I didn’t speak to people where I was in areas of weakness where I needed to be stronger. I thought I was Superman, I would wear an S on my chest and somehow, I would figure it out. That was as far as my figure out Leon’s creative mind could go. To veteran business owners in me now, I can see it’s part of the learning curve in it. That’s what I needed because everybody’s journey is different.

What I realized is that I needed to focus on more of, “What’s the vision for Leon this time around? What am I going to create? What is it that I need to put in place? How do I need to do business differently this time?” It took me a few years. When I look back, I could see it was a few years of depression, not years of growth. We all come out of these things better off but at the time it didn’t feel like it. When I got to this point where we’re launching this new podcast, it was at that point, I was able to look back and think, “That’s what those few years were.” I looked back and I realized, “You’ve come a long way, Leon. You restarted, you got a team going again, you’ve got clients paying, you’re about to launch this new podcast.” It was at that point I realized that there needed to be a big shift. Steadily but surely since 2014, we launched the podcast in 2015 and a lot of things changed for the better. I’ll let you ask me the next question before we get up to speed.

If I heard you correctly, I’m going to paraphrase this in a simple way, which is you basically got an involuntary gift of a few years. You didn’t ask for it, but you got into a situation that you didn’t know you were getting into. People can say that 2008, 2009, 2010 were rough years for everybody, but everybody didn’t go bankrupt, somebody did benefit from that at that time. It seems to me you have learned more than you bargained for because of the situation.

The scenario you described the cash gap, I have an upcoming book called Million Dollar Hobbies and I have a chapter there that describes that exact thing. This is when you’re young, you’re an entrepreneur, and you’re lucky enough to seem to have been at the right place at the right time and doing all the right things, the money’s coming in and things are going good. You think you can conquer the world and you’re just scratching the surface of whatever and you don’t look at the potential landmines that are in front of you, it’s very easy to grow broke. You’re growing without a plan and you’re growing too fast.

You do have this cash gap. If you have 1 or 2 customers that go bankrupt on you or that are late, this is how a lot of companies grow broke. In that particular case in 2010, most people think that 2008 was the meltdown but I personally think 2010 was the bottom. It was like hit the bottom in 2008 but it continued to shift things out. You learned all these lessons and you launch this new podcast, which is amazing. When you’re talking about podcasting, the entrepreneurship category is number one, which means it’s very crowded. To win that top prize is amazing.

I’ve listened to several episodes quite regularly and you do offer things that are different than what’s out there. Some of the things that you do differently than other coaches, maybe not completely contrarian but if you’re going from point A to point B, there are many different ways to get there. You are specifically catering to the small business owner and also trying to help them from avoiding some of those kinds of mistakes that you walked into. What are the top three things that you’re focusing on now in terms of marketing?

Marketing, we both agree that marketing was shifting at a faster rate because we are now living in this constant barrage of instant gratification, instant messaging, whatever. Things were moving out of control up to the point we got hit with COVID. Things were already naturally shifting in a very dynamic way and COVID put its own twist to it. Tells us what was happening. How do we now cope with the result of COVID and what’s your advice for moving forward coming out of COVID?

MDH 32 | Generate Leads

Generate Leads: The market wasn’t so saturated before the pandemic. A lot of people who never thought they would really go a hundred percent online were now faced with the reality that if you want your business to continue, you have to go online.

 

Just before COVID, the difference was the market wasn’t so saturated because the market, the world globally as a society, we weren’t educated up to the technology. We’re doing this interview right now in Zoom, for me, I’ve been using it for 5 or 6 years. A lot of people had never come across Zoom in 2020, they never used it before. That’s been one of the main communication systems that I’ve used for many years to coach my clients in my group coaching programs. When I say the market wasn’t so saturated, a lot of people who never thought they would go 100% online we’re now faced with, “You now have to go online if you want your business to continue.”

We’re talking about big corporations right through to small business owners. Everybody had to educate up into this new technology arena. What that also meant is there’s a lot of online communities that I’m a part of. Basically, where the opportunities lie for people if you want to generate leads, traditionally, it would be business networking, business-to-business and so on. Whereas now, it went all online in 2020. The shift was basically how do we continue to run our business with the fact that we can’t get out and use the habits that we’re so used to. That was the challenge for a lot of people in those six months.

I picked up a lot of clients coming in because they didn’t know how to use Facebook and Instagram. Don’t get me wrong, they’re know how to load the app but they didn’t know how to use it to market themselves. It’s because of that, it created a lot of problems where some people went into hiding because they couldn’t face this online world technology. It sounds like how my mom would respond like, “I’m not good at technology, Leon, you know me.” A lot of business owners also realize that if they went into hiding, they were going to face even bigger problems because everything was locked down, there’s no cash coming in. What I was able to do is sift through that by being able to create new offers for the time. That was the choice that I made and that’s what I also taught my clients.

I’ll give you one quick example. I had this one client who is a leadership coach, she works at corporates C-Suite level. She helps people with confidence and was facing a £4,000 month which is about $6,000, so not particularly huge, but it was enough to keep her going. She was already pretty successful. She owned two properties here in the UK. We could say she was comfortable, it wasn’t like she needed to earn lots. I helped her to create a brand-new offer so that she could go out to a market and she turned that month from being £4,000 into £18,000, which is $24,000. That was in April 2020.

That’s what 2020 going into the beginning of this year, 2021 was all about. It was, “Can you pivot? Can you change? Can you adapt?” Now, the dynamics have changed, it isn’t “can you pivot?” It’s “can you stand out amongst the crowded noise there is?” That’s the biggest thing. What it’s forced is for people to dig into the emotions of your niche to stand out because most people don’t. What I mean by that is simply get into the point of what is the true psychological pain or desire of your audience, and that needs to be your message because that’s what’s going to help you to stand out. That’s where I believe we are now.

I agree with you 100% that in 2021, it is not simply a matter of survival anymore. This is time to figure out how you’re going to thrive. What you were saying is that I like to paraphrase because I want to make sure that we’re getting very clear messages and you made it very clear, that to clarify what you’re good at, clarify your strengths. Make sure that they will solve the problems of the pain that your audience is experiencing and going through and double down and make sure that you stand out. This is a time to stand out. Everybody else is pretty much contracting and trying to figure out what to do next but leaders don’t wait until everybody else determines what’s next. You’re going to determine what’s next.

Basically, you’ve answered all three of my questions. This time-tested question is, how do we generate more leads? The second part of that question is, how do you increase your conversion rates? This might be a great time to take a look at that because I do think that there is an opportunity to increase your rates of conversion because if you can connect to your customers on an emotional level. To me, that’s a pretty easy picking but you’re the expert.

All come out of challenging things better off. At the time, it won’t feel like it.

We’ve spoken about this before. I think the example you gave me is when you were talking about what jewelry does for a woman. I loved how you broke that down into woman doesn’t have to speak, it presents for her, it speaks for her. I’m not going to go into your answer much more. It was amazing. You’ll have to catch that episode on my podcast. What you raised here in terms of generating leads, to keep it simple, there are two ways that you can generate leads. The two specific ways are you can push an offer or you can generate a lead. There is a difference. An offer is, I’m going to put something in front of you that you combine now.

If you’ve ever come across Chet Holmes, the author of the Ultimate Sales Machine, I believe he was the guy who came up with the customer buying pyramid. If you’ve not come across that, it’s a cool diagram and it breaks down. What you find is that there is only ever 3% of your market who will buy now. However, if you create an offer that generates leads that educate, education-based marketing, you open up the doors to having an extra 67% of the market warm to your idea even if they had no clue as to whether or not they wanted to buy something or had a problem in the first place. With that in mind, the most powerful way to generate leads is to truly understand the fears, frustrations, the wants or aspirations of your audience. You’re either motivated by the stick or the carrot.

As human beings, that means that you have to put marketing messages out that appeal to both of those. People who want to get past the pain or people who want to get towards their desire. If you want to generate more leads, what I find is a lot of people tend to put their offers out. As I said, you’re only ever going to pick up 3% of your potential market or however far and wide-reaching your message goes. It’s only ever going to hit 3%. Don’t get me wrong, you may go 1% or 2% over there. The point is if you really want to attract people, you need to get them to raise their hands. The reason why you want people to raise their hand is if I feel like I don’t have to buy the thing that you’re offering me now, but I can learn more about it, there’s less of a barrier of risk for me.

A quick example would be, one of my coaching clients is a natural fertility mentor. She helps people who are having difficulties getting pregnant naturally. She created a guide on twenty recipes that women can take to help improve their ability to conceive naturally. Previously, she would just put, “Who wants to get pregnant? Are you looking to get pregnant?” We put these recipes out into specific places, into a Facebook group of professional women. Within three days, she has 700 leads. The reason for that is because what she’s doing is giving value. She’s providing something where the person doesn’t have to buy now, so the risk is low and the person can say, “Send me that thing.” Off the back of that, she’s now speaking to 700 women who are her target market.

This is what I’m talking about. If you educate your audience and you don’t push to put the offer in front of them straight away, what that does is open up the doors for you to put the offer in the backend. That’s exactly what happened. I think she got to about 800 by the time seven days had passed. For a lot of small business owners, that doesn’t happen in a year, never in quite two years for a lot of them. Off the back of that, she was able to book sales calls for people to join her mentoring program. You talk about conversions, for me, education-based marketing is how you generate leads.

The second part of your question, how do you increase your conversion rates? You increase your conversion rates through constant testing and what happens on the front tent? You can’t increase your conversion rates if you’re not generating more leads. What I’ve found that works really well is if you do more of what works. For instance, if you found a way to generate leads on the front end, you find a great topic, angle, whatever it is, that’s the place where you need to keep pushing those messages out, so you generate more leads on the front end.

Now, you’re going to get to the point, what’s the next step? Are you trying to convert those leads into prospects or straight to clients? That can also happen. I know you know about this, especially when it comes to eCommerce because you can jump a few steps. When it comes to conversion, I coach a lot of people who sell by Zoom these days, not so much phones. The biggest thing I would say to you is that you’ve got to have a system either for how you do your sales calls, a script. If you’re pushing people through to sell a funnel where somebody can end up on a checkout page and buy, what you have to do is remove distraction. That’s what the script does. If you’re speaking to somebody on the phone, “Let me remove distractions and ask them questions that will reveal, whether or not they’re a great prospect and whether I want to work with them or not, or sell to them.”

MDH 32 | Generate Leads

Generate Leads: Education-based marketing opens the doors to having an extra 67% of the market actually warm to your idea.

 

It’s the same thing for eCommerce. What I found with my e-commerce clients, which is if we remove the distraction, it allows them to get towards the desire of what they want when it comes to buying. It is more of how much of this stuff can you repeat the laborious stuff but get better at. I found this from a Keith Cunningham book. I’ll remember the title before the episodes are up but it’s a great book. He talks about, the entrepreneurs that win are the ones who can do the boring stuff over and over again to get better.

I’m going to write Keith Cunningham here. I’m so glad that we’re having this conversation together because the traditional way of lead generation is to create a slick marketing ad or create a quick brochure and make sure that you understand where to populate. You’re looking at the traditional rates of Facebook and all the different social media conversion rates. I’ve always had a problem with that because I just know when you’re not targeted when you’re not emotionally connecting with. You can’t emotionally connect with, for example, if you said something like, “I want to talk to women who might want to get pregnant.” For example, you’re talking.

That’s different than somebody who has gone through all the procedures and that they’re desperate to try almost anything at this point. You would have a very different marketing message there. The two-part questions were related because if you start with the right lead generation, you’re going to automatically increase your conversion rate to a certain number. The way you create the right kind of lead generation is by understanding your customer first, understanding who you’re talking to, what their problems are, and how you’re going to connect with them. The way you connect with them is by sharing your knowledge first.

What I love about that model you gave is that you share your knowledge with 5,000 people that are highly curated leads. In that lady’s case, women who have problems with trying artificial medical ways of getting pregnant. She wants to do it naturally and this woman’s got some expertise in this. I guess a large percentage of them are going to come in and say, “Help me.” You’ve got a percentage of those people who won’t buy anything right away but they’ll keep listening to you because they might have more time. They might want to try a couple of other different ways but down the line, they keep getting information so they’re going to buy anything. They’re going to go to somebody who has shared rather than a slick marketing ad. I feel like the kind of model that can keep paying the first 3 months, 6 months, maybe 5 years.

The longest I had somebody come back to me from the first communication was fourteen months. When you do it the right way, I think exactly, as you say, it pays dividends in the end. That’s the thing you’ve got to remember, not everybody’s in the market to buy now only have 3%. The 7% that are open to it, don’t take me for verbatim, this is from Chet Holmes’s Buyer’s Pyramid. From what I’ve tested as well, and what I’ve seen in the market, it holds pretty true. He had tested it with thousands of people that he’d done marketing to over the years. He worked with some great people. I think Warren Buffett’s business partner, I can’t remember his name off, it’s the top of my head, he works with Jay Abraham. Chet Holmes is not with us anymore but a very well-respected guy from America. The book came to me, The Road Less Stupid, Keith Cunningham, great book. The audiobook is great to listen to as well.

Where do you think the market now is going? I think you answered it partly. The overarching question now is as we know, human beings, some of this is going to be out of our control. Meaning that if the world economy, all of a sudden improves crazy, we’re going to be looking at a different mindset in terms of our customer base as well as how coaches respond. Where do you think we’re going? If you don’t want to answer the question, that’s okay, too.

In terms of where we’re going, this is 2019, where information is what people are paying for, now it’s transformation. Now, more than ever, that’s the thing that people are looking for because of the rapid ascension in up-leveling in technology and the approach to marketing and being online. There are so many different things. I think we mentioned one of the apps when we were speaking before the interview Clubhouse, there’s TikTok. I’ve got one client on there, he’s a driving instructor. I may have mentioned him to you before. He’s literally got millions of views on TikTok. He’s not just on his own, he’s got a fairly decent business that we’ve built up together but it sends hundreds of thousands of visitors to his YouTube channel, which is growing at an exponential rate.

The most powerful way to generate leads is to truly understand your market’s fears, frustrations, wants, or aspirations.

The biggest thing I genuinely believe 2022 is about is the journey of transformation that you help people within your marketing message. I truly believe gone are the days where you can simply say, “I’m a business coach, I’m a live coach, I’m a consultant,” and people want to speak to you. No. Tell them what you’ve done for your customers. That’s what people are interested in. We’re no longer interested in, “Can we exchange business cards, and perhaps, I’ll give you a call.” Do people want to know what’s the outcome you create? What difference do you make in this world?

That’s partly where the visionary marketing coach has developed and evolved from. What I found is that there was less substance with people with who I was working. When I started to dig into what their vision was, and we married up their offers compared to their vision, we were able to bring them from being a person who was selling on features and a basic story to, “Here’s the difference that this product is going to make and here’s why we do what we do.”

I think that’s it. It’s just people showing up more like you’re doing this show and you have such an amazing message and story. I shared your message to some of my group coaching clients after the interview, and they were like, “She sounds amazing.” That’s what people want. This is the funny thing. When you look at it, we’re going back to what we want and crave as human beings, which is to go into the fantasy of the story. What you’ve got to do is bring that into your marketing messages. I think that’s what 2022 is all about.

One thing about the digital age, the information age brought to us is that we went through two decades of time where people with information, didn’t do anything with that information. They simply gave us information and this is how they made their fortunes. Now, we have the same information, we have access to the information but some of us can turn that into magic. Some of us can help you dial in on your strengths, work on your weaknesses and how that applies to what you’re doing now. With the digital revolution, everybody’s got a mobile phone and everyone can check you out. That’s the thing you can’t get away with one word that’s wrong. I think twenty years ago, a business coach would never come on any show and say, “I made these six mistakes and they were painful.” You could never do that six years ago. You have to be perfect. Now, that’s not even believable anymore. When I first asked you the question, I prefaced it with, I’m sure there was pain and gain involved because without the pain there isn’t going to be any game.

It’s like anything. I always see the quote, “Even a diamond is created under pressure.” It’s the same thing. We go to the gym but if we want to grow our muscles, we can’t get away from the pain and the tension that our body has to go through in order to grow muscle. It’s the same as an entrepreneur business. If your business is going to grow, expect the pain that comes with you going for it. It’s quite interesting because we know we’re getting on something, you could see my energy lifted as well. When I’m speaking to my coaching clients, a lot of the time, even though we’re talking about marketing strategy, I probably spent 50% of my time talking about their mindset and their ability to see through their misbehaviors and their bad habits. The things that basically are their blind spots that they don’t see. The more we get past our blind spots in life, the more we end up with people like Victoria.

As we close, what are your couple of advice for entrepreneurs who are reading now, thinking about what they can do right away? You’ve already covered a lot of actionable tips. If you had to leave us with the one thing, I’m very big on doing the one thing you can do for yourself, what would that be?

The one thing in two parts. The one thing is, if you know what it is that you want to do for the next 5, 10 years, so you’ve got this feeling or even the next twelve months, start going onto places like YouTube and Amazon to find the books, the videos and get the information you need. Part two, if you’re at the stage where you could invest in a culture or a mentor, or you get to the point where you’ve grown your business enough to get a cultural mentor, that would be the advice that I would give everybody. Make sure that culture mentor is in an area where they’ve either helped somebody achieve that or they’ve done it for themselves. You don’t want to go for somebody who’s generic. That way, you’ll get to wherever your goals are set to or your vision much faster. That would be my advice. If there’s anything that I could have learned early in my career, it would have been to speak to somebody who’s in that place where I wanted to be.

MDH 32 | Generate Leads

Generate Leads: When you’ve grown your business enough, it’s best to get a cultural mentor, where they’ve either helped somebody achieve that business goal you desire, or they’ve done it for themselves.

 

Those were some great advice. When I started my business, Amazon and YouTube didn’t exist and coaches were not all that assessable at least in my area. I do agree with you that having gone through that journey, the one thing that I wish I had was a mentor or somebody. There were so many times I was this close to giving up and thinking to myself, “This was a stupid idea.” A great coach will collapse time. They will help you get results that are exponentially better with the same amount of effort.

Once again, ladies and gentlemen, Leon, he’s the host of a podcast called Small Business Elevation Podcast voted the number one business entrepreneurship podcast in the UK in 2015. As you heard, he’s so delightful and so polite and ever gentlemen. Thank you so much Leon for coming and I hope you enjoyed it. If you have not subscribed to my show yet, go ahead and do that, I would appreciate that very much and share it with everybody because the more the merrier. We want a community of successful entrepreneurs who are happy and people who will share as Leon has. Again, thank you so much.

I was going to say, Victoria, it’s been an absolute pleasure. I encourage everybody to read this show to make sure you leave a five-star review on whatever platform that you’re reading it on because of the guidance of what you bring as you articulate the answers, your presence, and obviously, your experience. People will learn and gain a lot of great results and transformation in life just from reading this. Thank you for having me on the show.

Thank you. That’s it for this episode. Until next time. Stay wealthy and happy. Remember, happiness is a choice.

Important links:

About Leon Streete

MDH 32 | Generate LeadsGrowing up as an 80’s baby and being from a mixed-race background (English & Jamaican), I had such a vibrant upbringing.

With a heavy influence from my father who was into the Reggae Sound System scene, I was destined to follow, especially with my love, for beats and heavy bassline, Bob Marley, John Holt and Freddy Macgregor plus more were part of the music I grew up listening too, so in 1994 I decided to become a DJ.

In 1997 I created my first website off the back of me being a DJ “Disc Jockey“. I wanted to reach out to new fans, listeners and make waves with promoters and record labels.

It worked! My passion for music drove my need to be heard and after dj’ing around the country whilst trying to finish up my A-Levels, the music career and Website work were going great, should have perhaps focused a little more on my A-Levels!