Amplify Podcast

Overview

You can learn a lot speaking to great business leaders. But here’s the thing - you’ll learn a lot more from speaking to the people who made them that way.

Behind every single great leader you’ll find a legion of coaches and mentors and on this week’s podcast episode I spent time speaking to Tara Newman. Tara works with some of the biggest names in U.S. business and she talks me through some of the common barriers to peak performance and how to overcome them.

Links and mentions

Thanks for listening!

It means a lot to me and to the guests. If you enjoyed listening then please do take a second to rate the show on iTunes.  Every podcaster will tell you that iTunes reviews drive listeners to our shows so please let me know what you thought and make sure you subscribe using your favourite player using the links below.

Overview

Get ready to rethink social media as Mark Schaefer redefines what drives success online. In this interview Mark goes deep into why consistency matters, why engagement is the emperor's new clothes and how he's built his business around the freedom to follow his interest and curiosity. 

Mark is a content marketing legend. Author of so many books I'd almost certainly get the number wrong if I wrote it down. 

He speaks on stages all over the world and frankly - he’s one of my hero's ( can you tell? ). 

Despite my less than subtle hero worship we dig deep into what makes Mark's business work, his revenue streams and how he makes time to still do the work.

Links and mentions

Thanks for listening!

It means a lot to me and to the guests. If you enjoyed listening then please do take a second to rate the show on iTunes.  Every podcaster will tell you that iTunes reviews drive listeners to our shows so please let me know what you thought and make sure you subscribe using your favourite player using the links below.

Automatic Audio Transcription

Get ready to rethink social media as Mark Schaefer redefines what drives success online. In this interview, Mark goes deep into why consistency matters, why engagement is the emperor's new clothes and how he's built his business around the freedom to follow his interests and curiosity. Mark Schaefer is a content marketing legend, author of so many books. I'd almost certainly get the number wrong if I wrote it down. He speaks on stages all over the world and frankly, he's one of my heroes and a mentor.

Can you tell? Despite my less than subtle hero worship, we dig into what makes Mark's business work, his revenue streams and how he makes time to do all that work. Hi there, and welcome back to Amplify the Digital Marketing Entrepreneur podcast. I'm Bob Gentle, and every Monday I'm joined by amazing people who share what makes their business work. If you're new to the show, take a second now to subscribe so you don't miss new episodes and you can grab some older ones once you're finished with this one.

Don't forget as well you can join our Facebook community, just visit, amplify me, form forward, slash inciters and you'll be right there. So welcome along. And let's meet Mark. So this week, I am thrilled to welcome Mark Schaefer to the show. Mark is one of my remote mentors. You have no idea of this, Mark, but I've read most of your books. They've had a big influence on me. And probably there are a large reason that we that there's even a podcast.

So thank you for your books. Thank you for coming. But for those people who don't know you, maybe just want to tell us tell us a little bit about who you are, where you are and what it is you do.

Well, first of all, thank you very much for your kind words and thank you for reading my books. I really I really appreciate that. I, I never take that for granted. You know, Bob, I remember the first time I ever got a comment on my blog. This would have been probably 11 or 12 years ago.

And it was just such a thrill to me that people would actually spend time with my content. And I never forgot that. And I still feel that excitement today. So I really appreciate anybody who spends time with me.

So I spent most of my career in the corporate world and I started my own business about I guess it's been 12 years ago now. And I started to consult, started to teach. I started a blog and the blog became popular and led to some interest from publishing companies. So the first couple of books I published through McGraw-Hill, then the last few books I've published on my own, because that's a lot more effective and efficient and flexible and all together have published eight books.

So I also am a public speaker. I speak all over the world and I get good marks for that. And I am a college educator as well at a big university in the New York City area called Rutgers University. And I've taught there for about 11 years, I guess.

So I do. I do a lot, so I've got to stay organized. But that's that's me in a nutshell, I guess.

I think what's interesting there is 11 or 12 years doesn't seem actually like a very long time for somebody. That's if you ask anybody who's the guy for content marketing, your name is going to be one of a very small list of answers. And to achieve that in 11 or 12 years, 11 or 12 years ago, a blog, everybody was blogging. I'm astonished that you were getting that thrill of a blog comment 11 years ago. And here we are today with the sprawling mess of social media.

Um, and if you go to a content marketing conference, you're probably going to be there.

Well, I think a lot of it comes down to consistency. I mean, you're right. You know, back 11 or 12 years ago, it was kind of the Wild West.

And if I think about most of the people who were regarded as the thought leaders, then they're all gone. Yeah.

And so there is something to be said for just, you know, sticking it out. And, you know, it's been fun for me, Bob, because it's endlessly fascinating. Marketing is endlessly fascinating. Social media and content is endlessly fascinating.

And so I never have a lack of enthusiasm for for writing about something or or addressing something. And I marvel at you know, I'm thinking about one of my favorite content creators who truly he was at the top of the game back when I started. That would be Chris Brogan. You know, in this same time frame, Chris is probably stopped and started 50 different projects. I'll bet he's had ten different podcasts in the same period where I've had one blog and one one podcast.

And, you know, he's just full of ideas. He's always pushing the edges.

But my style has been, look, I've created this content that's attracted an audience who, trust me, I'm not going to let them down. They expect something from me every day. And whenever they see a podcast episode, a book or a blog post, you know, I'm going to give my best. I'm never going to let them down. It's going to be interesting and relevant and maybe even a little entertaining, but it's definitely going to be worth your time.

And that's what's in my head every single day when I create content.

I think a lot of people don't appreciate the importance of consistency over a long period of time. Yeah. And when I read your book, I'm pretty sure it was known that was one of the standard things for sure, ordinary people doing consistent things over a long period of time. Exactly. And achieving incredible results, which is very motivating. That one book. I think I'm asked about it four times because I keep giving it to clients. Oh, that's very kind of you.

But I'm glad you picked up on that point because, you know, some people miss that. They get preoccupied with the idea that, you know, you've got to be entertaining or you have to be brilliant or you have to be insightful. And that is that's that's not true. It really isn't. And, you know, if you if you look at my book, I think the thing that's the most fun about the known book is that I have all these case studies of people who are really well known in their industries today, but they didn't start there.

Nobody starts out as an expert. Nobody starts out as being known. And one of my favorite stories is when I started to blog, I didn't know what I was doing. I really didn't. I was terrible. But I learned. I learned. And, you know, I wasn't trying to tell people what what to do because I wasn't an expert.

But I took people along on the journey and I told them what worked, what didn't work, what was frustrating, what made me happy, my successes, my failures. And then five years later, I wrote the best selling book I'm blogging now. You know, it took me five years to get there, but I didn't start out as an expert in blogging.

So, you know, that should not be an obstacle for for people. It really is. The long game is you just you put yourself out there, you take your best shot.

And I think, you know, for the known book, I interviewed 97 different people from all around the world in all different sorts of professions. And the last question I asked them was, if you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to do what you're doing, what would it be? And almost every single person said, be consistent. Don't you know? The biggest problem is people give up too soon. And certainly I see that in my career and with the people I work with as well.

So what piece of advice would you give? I think the reason I'm asking this is I work with lots of micro businesses that would consider themselves to be ordinary financial advisors, beautician's, ordinary, ordinary meat and potatoes, as we would say in this country. I'm sure you have it in your country. Yes. I mean, potatoes, businesses.

They have this mindset that they're ordinary. What would you say to them to unlock that? Well, the goal of any business today and certainly the big challenge in marketing is to stand out above the noise. It's harder than ever because there's so much content being created today. So you really only have one choice. You have to find out or find a way to be original and to be original. You have to share your voice, your stories, your experiences and connect them to your audience.

Now, you know, there's nobody that's really ordinary. Everybody's extraordinary in some way. I guarantee it. There's nobody like you. There is no competition. There's only one you. And so I don't think I really have any special, you know, talent, any special gift other than I'll just say I want to make a point about something going on in the world today. Here's a very good example. I have been trying to inspire people and lift people up during this pandemic and talk about how we can really connect with customers in an empathetic and genuine way that can build loyalty to our companies and our brands in this time when so many people are suffering.

And I thought about an example early in my career. You know, Bob, this is something that happened when I was in sales probably 30 years ago.

It's probably 30 years ago. But it's a story that really makes the point. And nobody else has that story. And it just occurred to me that this would really make the point. And and I told this story in my in a new talk that I'm doing, you know, for the pandemic age called fight to the other side. And that story has touched people so deeply. It's moved them so deeply. And it's something they could never hear anywhere else because it's coming from me.

Everybody has those experiences. Everybody has those stories.

And that's where true talent and insight come, I think is from connecting your experiences to something that's relevant today. And people love learning that way. They don't want to hear numbers. They don't want to hear statistics. Well, maybe sometimes they do, but most important, they want to they could remember stories. People will remember the stories I tell to make a point. That's how they learn. And so I think everybody is extraordinary in maybe the first point part of being a great content creator is just sort of, you know, admitting that that there's nobody like me.

And I want to tell my story to the world.

I think a lot of the time people are trying to that self identity is actually quite a challenging thing to really burrow into. And a lot of the time it triggers things like imposter syndrome and.

Yeah, and, you know, I hear I hear that a lot.

But I mean, one of the biggest lessons I learned in my journey and look, I struggled with all this stuff just like everybody else. And it was a lesson I learned, oh, probably maybe a year and a half or two years into my blogging career. You know, when I started out, I thought, I've got it.

My job is to show everybody how smart I am.

And every blog post I wrote and every talk I gave was nothing but a big data dump that was probably pretty useless and boring.

And then one day I went out to lunch.

I was going to I was mentoring this young person and I can't remember exactly what the conversation was.

But I remember I gave her some piece of advice that reflected really what was the truth about what was going on in the marketing world right now.

And I you know, I just thought, oh, if I just feel slimy for even, like, giving this piece of advice maybe was about SEO tricks or something.

And so I came back, I wrote a blog post in fifteen minutes and it was something like the title was something like I just turned myself into a social media slut and you know, the blog post was maybe four hundred words or five hundred words, and it was one of the most.

Popular posts I ever did, and it wasn't profound, it wasn't a PhD thesis, I just talked about a conversation I had with a young person over lunch.

And people love that. You know, they love seeing a little peek into you and into your life. And, you know, I'm not oversharing.

I'm not saying everything about my life, but I'm just, you know, connecting the dots between my experiences and ideas and observations and lessons that people can learn. And I mean, anybody can do that. It just takes a little practice, I think, to get the confidence to know, hey, you know, here's this dumb little blog post I put out there, and it worked just fine.

I think your most recent book, Marketing Rebellion, the subtext is the most human brand wins or how they got that right.

The most human company wins. That's right.

When I work with a lot of companies and I think a lot of people will relate to this, there's a certain size of business where they want somebody to come in and do the digital marketing to them. And it doesn't work very well because if you can't get the people in that business to engage and show up online, everything else is kind of is just checking a box.

Yeah. Yeah. What how do you turn that around? Do you turn that around or you just avoid working with those people?

Well, there's a there's a certain word that always sets off an alarm for me and that word is convince. Right.

So if I ever hear someone say, well, you know, I'm trying to convince my managers, try to convince my leaders, they're just you know, that's that's a troublesome sign to me.

I think great leaders, they want to know. They want to learn. They're they're humble. They acknowledge that the world is changing fast. And so I can certainly understand someone who isn't experienced with social media or in their own experience with content or they're uncomfortable with social media content.

But if you have your eyes open, if you're an active and open learner, then you should understand this is a place we need to be and we really don't have a choice. And I think, you know, you mentioned my book Marketing Rebellion. To me, that is the business case for how we need to operate in marketing today. And it's not my opinion of the world. There's a lot of research. There's a lot of data that says here where customers are today.

This is where the world is today and we really don't have a choice. This is the way we need to move. And I'll tell you something, Bob, when I wrote that book, I was fearful because the book is provocative and there are a lot of sort of sacred cows in that book that I say, look, these things that you might like them, you might love them, you might have been doing all these things your whole life, but they don't work anymore.

And I really thought I would get a backlash. And just the opposite has happened because people have read the book and they've been open learners and they're open to new ideas. And the response has basically been, you know, I could kind of see this happening. You just put a name to it. And I sort of feel liberated right now because I had a sense this is what we're supposed to be doing anyway. To me, that's real leadership.

I mean, you look at the data, you look at the business case, you say, all right, I understand it's it's compelling. It's overwhelming. We've got to make this change. And, you know, if if someone would read the book and still has to be convinced, then I'm walking away.

It was something really became conscious for me as you were talking there. And it was it was this whole idea of convincing people. Yeah. And I reflect back on my career. And what's interesting, and I hadn't really been aware of it until now, is that the more I've invested in my own content, the more my personal brand has grown, the less I've had to convince. And the more people are coming to me for me because they know what they want.

Right. Right. That's really interesting. A powerful insight, Bob. It really is.

And I think it sort of cuts right to the heart of the idea that, you know, my other book that I think is that a lot of impact on people is known and it's all about this idea of what is this process to to create a personal brand in the digital age and. Be known, and the whole idea is that great branding is about building an emotional connection between what you do and your customers, and that used to come through advertising.

So it could be cute ads and maybe we'd have polar bears in our ads and we feel a certain fuzziness toward the polar bears. So that means we love, you know, the Coca-Cola or whatever it is. But people don't see ads anymore. They don't they don't see ads like they used to work in a streaming content society. And it's it's just taking off even more. People don't want ads. They avoid ads. If they see ads, they don't believe them anyway.

And so the new connection is with people, is with humans. People want to know who are these people? What do they do? What do they stand for? So if you stand out with your personal brand that you'll eventually attract the right audience, they're going to you're going to attract people who who connect with you in an emotional way. And eventually, those are the people who are going to hire you and buy things from you.

I really like that. And I've certainly found that to be the case. I just hadn't been fully aware of it until that penny dropped.

That's one of the most amazing and unexpected things I've learned in my career is so there's a lot of attention paid to engagement, social media engagement, engaging with your audience and, you know, building a community.

And I would say that 98 percent of the people who hire me for consulting or for a speech I have never heard of before. Hmm. Now, that doesn't mean that they don't know me. It doesn't mean that we don't have that emotional connection. But the lesson here is that if you're not getting a lot of engagement, if you're not getting a lot of comments, that doesn't mean it's not working as long as there's an audience out there. And who's consuming your content, they're building this connection to you.

You know, I have this favorite example that I use in my college classes where this fellow started reading my blog in 2013. I didn't know he was out there. 2015, he learned about my book content code from my blog, bought the book midway through 2015, got an email from him. Just wanted to tell you, Mark, this is one of the best business books I've read in the last ten years. He was the chief marketing officer for GE Life Sciences.

Now, he had been he had been connected to me for two and a half years, and I didn't even know he was out there.

And then, like in twenty eighteen, he hired me to do a content marketing workshop for his staff.

Now, if you've been following along, that's five years. Yeah. And, you know, for the first two and a half or three years, I didn't even know he was there then. I never heard from him again. And then all of a sudden he's hired me to do this amazing workshop with one of the, you know, most valuable and interesting companies in the world. And that's sort of how it works, is creating content and marketing in that way.

It it it takes patience. It takes consistency.

It is, you know, for the long haul, that's for sure.

You're not going to be able to demonstrate a quarterly ROIC normally. But, you know, it does work. And I know with all authority that it works because hundreds and hundreds of people have read that known book and they've said, you know, this book has changed my life. This book has changed my business.

And I think a person would be very lucky if they hear those words one time in their whole life.

And I hear it every week because it it is working this idea of connecting, building that emotion, you know, being patient, you know, it pays off and it works.

I feel quite liberated by that because you're right, everybody does currently measure their success on engagement. It's the key metric.

Yeah. And actually, you know, maybe in the show notes or something, I actually wrote a very comprehensive blog post about the the actual measured business value of engagement.

And, you know, I kind of looked at all the current literature and all the current research and and the conclusion is there's not a lot of real business value to engagement. There are a few small exceptions, but in general, engagement is not necessarily a sign that you're being successful.

Well, I'm delighted to hear that, because on this, I'm going to address this to my podcast audience. You guys are super quiet. Yeah, I'm so relieved.

Well, look, Bob, I've I have a podcast. I've had a podcast for seven years. It's in the top one percent of our podcast on iTunes. We have thousands of listeners that are very loyal. I will be lucky if I get one comment a week anywhere on the Web about the show. And yet we know that people love it. They support it. We have people who it you know, if if something happens, you know, we'll hear about it.

But yeah, engagement is not especially with a podcast, you know, because there's no button to click. Yeah. You know, there's no. No button to click, so, you know, it is it is really quiet on on podcast and in a way this is going to sound weird.

I kind of like it because engagement can be exhausting.

I think it's well, what you have to remember with the podcast and again, sorry to the listener for geeking out on podcasts, but behind every number there's a super attentive person. Yeah. Where else do you get that?

Well, the research certainly supports that. That podcast listeners, they're more likely to to follow you as a brand. They're more likely to buy from you. They're open. It's one of the few places left on Earth where they're actually open to add to hearing advertisements because they're sort of conditioned to expect that from, you know, radio shows or something like that.

So there's a lot of advantages to podcasting, but engagement isn't one of them.

Hmm. I should run some ads. I don't run any ads. Get ready for this, guys. I'm curious to know, OK, you write books. You have the podcast. You have the blog. Mm hmm. But what does your day to day content marketing schedule look like?

Yeah, well, so first, let's take a step back and talk about my my business. I think that'll help explain my content strategy. So I wrote a blog post maybe two years ago and I updated it last year. And I believe that I have 22 different sources of income. Now, of this twenty two, there are only really, for that matter, you know, I get a lot of little dribs and drabs of stuff, but there are only, for that matter, maybe three.

So I, I have a nice I actually have a nice revenue stream from my books.

Now, I don't want to create any hope or optimism for your your listeners because the rule of thumb is, is that you cannot really make money off of a business book.

And I would say, you know, ninety nine point nine percent of the people out there would say that. However, I've written eight books over a period of 10 or 11 years. And, you know, they've they've become very popular. And and and I've also worked 10 or 11 years to build the audience. If you don't have the audience, then you can't really expect to sell the book. So let's put that one aside. But I do have some passive income from the books.

Now, can I ask is, are the books one of the top four? What are the top four books? Are are the books one of the top four revenue streams?

Yes, I would say for me, yeah. That books, you know, it kind of varies from year to year because maybe I'll get a big consulting client. That would be a very big contract or something. But basically I would say, um, you know, consulting, speaking and teaching. I teach at Rutgers, so I'll put those two together. But I say consulting, speaking and teaching books. And then I also have an event called The Uprising.

Now, the uprising is a is a retreat for marketers that I have. It's it's limited to 30 people. So it's a small group that gets together and just kind of thinks big thoughts. And we have facilitated discussions and we have this retreat in this forested lodge surrounded by, you know, hiking trails and gardens. And we have great food and music. And it's a great experience. But unfortunately, because of the pandemic, I've had to cancel it in May and now I've had to cancel it in May.

In October, I am having a smaller sort of online event.

But that has been a great joy for me. It's it's the thing I am probably most proud of in my career, because it's an event that's changed people people's lives.

So A, consulting B, you know, classes and speeches. And then I've got these these work, these events and of course, the books.

Now, there's a there's sort of a synergistic relationship between all of this. So, you know, whenever I teach college college classes at the grad level, I have got to stay on top of everything because these people are very sophisticated, they're very smart. And I've got to know what I'm doing. And their questions tend to turn into blog posts because they're really good questions and they're very interesting. Those blog posts start to like worked their way into my speeches.

The speeches sort of turn into my books. So there's kind of this synergistic relationship between everything. But at the center of it is really my blog. There was a period of time where I kind of did some reflect. About do I need to keep doing this block? You know, I put so much effort into this blog, I blog at least once a week, usually twice a week. I haven't missed a single week in 11 or 12 years.

And it is this should this still be my priority? And when you think about how everything connects and how I've built my brand, that has become, you know, I've become known and that's led to my business and my success, it really all starts with that consistent content. I can't come up with any other path that it all literally. Bob, it all starts with the blog. It all starts with the blog. It's that sort of like the sun that's radiating the energy into everything else that I do.

The blog connects me to an audience. It's probably the place where I'm most open and emotional and and vulnerable. It's an archive of my work and my history and what I think about the future, my blog posts there in my research and development lab. You know, I'm working on a new book now and I'm going to be writing some blog posts to test ideas. There have been a couple of my books have tested ideas on my blog, and I received a comment so good and so helpful that I included the readers comment in my book because they were right.

I mean, they added something that I hadn't even thought of before.

And so it's the emotion. It's the connection. It's the audience. It's clarifying my thoughts. It's researching my ideas. It's also a way to help respond to people. Sometimes I get the same question, you know, over and over again, hey, I've written a blog post on it. I just send them the link. So there's you know, it's the blog. The blog is The Sun at the Middle of the soul of the Mark Shafer solar system.

Yeah. And something that you hear a lot is you need to once you're busy, you need to delegate as much as possible. And one of the easiest place for you to delegate would be your content. And I'm curious to know, have you succumbed to temptation there?

Hasn't even crossed my mind. I'm so glad that's the answer. Yeah.

I mean, I just first of all, I enjoy it. You know, it's a great intellectual challenge. I've said a few times that my greatest achievement on my blog is that I haven't, like, embarrassed myself to the point where I've become a meme or something, you know?

I mean, I haven't really I haven't really screwed up. That's that's my biggest I think my biggest accomplishment. And that's not to say I haven't made mistakes or I haven't been controversial, you know, but I haven't become a silly mistake. I haven't become a meme.

And I think, you know, I heard this story one time that's always stuck with me.

There was a young woman who admired a certain business executive, and she was thrilled when this business executive followed her back on Twitter. And she was very humbled and honored when this when this fellow, you know, engaged with her and answered some of her questions. And so this guy, you know, became her hero and she had a chance to meet him in real life and introduced herself and explained, you know, where she came from.

And the guy just had a blank stare because someone else was doing his Twitter for him. And she realized that she had been engaging with an administrative assistant and was crestfallen. And this guy's reputation was really ruined. So, um, I just I can't see it, you know, and honestly, once you get into it and once you really get into a routine, it doesn't take that much time. One of the things that astounds me is if someone asked me a question or leaves me a nice comment on Twitter or LinkedIn or wherever, I try to respond to every one.

And and look, I've got a pretty big following.

I mean, I'm not Lady Gaga, but I've got a pretty good a pretty good following.

You know, if I had to add it all up, it might be 400 or 500 thousand people altogether.

And, you know, in fifteen or twenty minutes a day, I can kind of respond to everybody and I'm sure some things slip through the cracks. But I don't find it that difficult to to be just accessible and and and a human being, and one of the things that surprises me is a lot of times I get feedback and said, oh, Mark, what I love about you is that you're so accessible. You actually you ask people, you know, you answer people's questions now, you know, unless you're like some big movie star or something.

I just don't understand why that's a point of differentiation for me. Why isn't everybody nice? Why isn't everybody accessible? I, I don't understand why you wouldn't appreciate people who reach out to you.

You're absolutely right. And I think that 15 minutes a day, I don't a lot of people maybe don't appreciate how important it is, because something that I've experienced firsthand is when you do follow somebody and you engage in their content over a period of time. I as a consumer, I'm making quite a significant emotional investment. And I remember the first time I met somebody in person that I engaged in with on line for a long time. Yeah, I'd been I'd follow them on Instagram.

I watched their YouTube, I read their blog posts. I know their kids names. I know where they go to school. I know the wife's name. I meet this guy. He has no idea who I am. Yeah, but he respected that investment. He could tune into it and he twigged. And when you get comments, it's so easy to think it's just a comment not understand the emotional investment that might be carried with it.

Well, that's you know, that. And that's that's hard. I mean, I, I am right there and I appreciate that. But I'll give you an example that came to mind just as you were speaking. I was at social media marketing world last year, and this woman came up to me and she said hello. And I didn't know who she was. I didn't know who she was, didn't recognize her name. And she was from Scandinavia.

So she had a very I mean, she had a difficult name. It wouldn't be something that, you know, like Bob Gentil. That's a name that you could probably remember. You know, that's kind of a nice name.

But, you know, this lady, this is this this woman had a name that you could never pronounce or never remember.

And so I just I just kind of, I guess, had a blank look on my face. And she just couldn't believe that I didn't remember her because she had left a comment on my blog and I had left a comment back. And I think I've had seventy thousand comments on my blog. And but, you know, it did mean a lot to her.

She had invested that time. She invested that emotion.

And there's this there's this phenomenon called the para social relationship, which is very common now, especially with you tubers and podcasters, where people see your face just like you say, you know their kids names, you know where they go to school. You feel like they're your friend. But it's one way, right? I mean, the other people, they're they're not investing heavily in.

And you and I had this experience a few weeks ago. There was a young guy. He was like asking me all these big favors. And he said, well, my boss wants to be a public speaker. Could you get on the phone with him and teach him how to be a public speaker? So I'm racking my brain like, who is this guy?

So finally I said, do I know you from somewhere?

He said he said, no.

I said, Well, you're just asking me for some pretty big favors. He said, Well, Mark, I'll have to apologize. I listen to your podcast. I listen to your audio books. Your voice is in my head all the time. I feel like I know you. I feel like you're my friend. So you have to respect that. You have to appreciate that. You know, you have to, I think, just be gracious and patient and understanding.

And, you know, I'm very fortunate. I'm very blessed to be in the position that I am. And, you know, I want to support people. I want to be attentive to people is as much as I can. But, you know, sometimes that's hard when the audience gets really large.

Yeah. I think some people listening might find this conversation difficult to relate to, but I think we're all on different points of a continuum with that. So I would hope that most people could access what we were talking about. There is rather a strange idea. Yeah, but something I would like to ask you now is I know you as a very competent person. And one of the things with social media is that we all get to share what we're good at.

But I'd be curious to know, what does Mark Schaefer struggle with?

Oh, that's easy. First of all, it's a very long. But what's at the very top is sales. I don't like sales, I don't like self promotion, I don't like negotiating. I don't like, you know, pursuing. And I'll tell you, Bob, I'm so grateful that basically I'm well-known enough that I don't have to sell anything. I mean, people normally just come to me and the pipeline is always full.

But it was it was something I've known about myself for a long time.

But I actually had a start up around twenty fourteen or twenty fifteen and, you know, put a lot of time, put a lot of energy into it, put a lot of money into it, you know, had people had resources.

It was a great idea. It was a great business. But basically it just the B to B sales process just wore me out. I hated it and it's like someone says, yeah, we're going to do it. And then they leave the company. They said, oh, yeah, we're going to do it.

And then their boss gets fired and we've got to start all over. Yeah. And it just wore me down.

And there were so many other things going on in the world that were interesting to me that, you know, I just I gave up. I wasn't I just wasn't good at it. I didn't want to, you know, I could have stuck it out. And the irony is actually the the sort of the core software from that startup that I that I had is actually, you know, being incorporated into another business right now. So it is going to pay off.

But I'm not I'm not really good at sales because I don't I don't enjoy it at that.

Kind of leads me on to another question I'd always wanted to ask you, and that's if I pick up pretty much any business book on a shelf, there's a back end. There's always a OK, you've got the book. But if you click this link and come through to my website, you can do this, this and this. And that's never been there in your books. And on the one hand, I really appreciate that because, you know, everything's in the book.

But is that something you've done intentionally or is it because you again, you're so busy with other things you don't want to build those productize diko systems that would potentially allow you to make much more money?

Yeah, yeah. Well, I've I mean, it's definitely been an intentional decision. And in fact, I was just having this conversation with someone the other day about the initial advantage I had when I wrote my first book, Return on Influence. So this was the first book I'd influenced marketing in the world. It came out in 2012 before anybody was even using that word. And I predicted in the book that within the next two years this is going to become a mainstream marketing channel.

And I was right now, I could have been Mr. Influence Marketing. I was the first one there or one of the first ones. I could have had an agency. I could have built it up. I had no desire. I had absolutely no desire. I wrote the book because it was interesting. It was an intellectual exercise.

I thought, you know, I thought it was a fascinating topic. But, you know, I was at a point in my life, I don't want an agency. I don't want to hire people. So, you know, I've made, you know, most of the choices I've made, especially in the last ten years, have been lifestyle choices. You know, I'm I'm older than a lot of people on the scene. I didn't write my first blog post.

I was forty nine years old. And so, you know, I haven't had a mastermind group because they don't want that commitment. I and people have begged me to do online courses, but then you get on this treadmill where you have to make another you have to make another, you have to make another. You have to excel. You have to cross. So you need to, you know, be constantly advertising. Say, Hey, I'm Mark Schaefer.

Look what I have for you. That's just not me. That doesn't fit my personality. And so I've made lifestyle choices that if it's not consistent with my view of the world, if it's not something that's going to bring me joy, then I'm not going to do it. And I think probably one of the things I'm known for is that I'm honest, I don't have an agenda. I'm not trying to up sell you to something. If you read a book, you read the book, you know, there is no further obligation or even request, in fact, any of the links that I had in my book back to my site.

It gives you more free stuff for marketing rebellion. There's a. Free workbook that you can get. You don't have to give me your email, it's just free. I'm just I'm just giving it away.

Crazy, Marc. Crazy.

Well, but but that's but but, you know, my philosophy is, you know, if I ask people for their email, 95 percent of people wouldn't do it. So the better idea is to unleash that content and get it out into the world as much as you can, because that's how that's how you grow your brand. So. But, you know, I'm happy. I have fun every day. I enjoy what I do. I know I've left money on the table.

But, you know, I can go out on my boat when I want.

That's the trade off.

And I think that integrity and consistency that stood you in good stead and built that brand that's giving you the freedom you want to do what you want to do now, which is ultimately where we all want to get. But everybody seems to be working so hard, doing possibly the wrong things to get there. I think you're a fantastic role model.

I mean, I think it's important to to really stay centered. And it's hard, Bob. It's hard because there are so many people out there that are embracing the hustle culture and they make you feel like crap if you're not in the hustle culture and if you're not creating something, you know, every minute of the day and you're not working 18 hours a day. And so you really need to stay centered and sort of block that stuff out and stay focused on, you know, this is who I am.

This is the plan. I'm going to stick to it. I'm not going to sacrifice, you know, my time, my money time with my family or whatever that I you know, I'm going to do this my way. And, you know, I can remember times where there's a lot of slimy people in the digital marketing business. And sometimes it can be very disheartening, you know, to just stay the course and not do all these slimy things like everybody else is doing.

And and, you know, I've I've just stuck to the plan. I've just stuck to the vision, stuck to the plan. And just, you know, whenever you get content for me, it's it's the real deal. There's no agenda. I'm just being honest. I want to be helpful. I'm not selling you anything. But hopefully you'll fall in love with me.

Well, if they haven't already, I would encourage every listener to go at least and grab a copy of Known because it's one of my favorites. It's a handbook for content marketing. And obviously you should probably go and read all the rest. And I'm sure Mark would love them to read Marketing Rebellion as the newest book, which is amazing as well, because they will. Provide this roadmap for content marketing, which I don't see on the bookshelf anywhere else.

Yeah, yeah.

Mark, I am so grateful for your time. Very aware that we're heading towards an hour here. So I should probably ask you the question that I keep coming back to every week. And I'm getting really good at remembering what's one thing you do now that you wish you'd started five years ago?

I wish I would have invested in a company that made mask's what a good idea, because we're sure use it a lot of them in America right now.

Yeah, I think that's only going to go up for a while. Yeah.

Well, you know, to answer the question seriously, I mean, honestly, I'm on a constant path of continuous improvement. So, I mean, I, I change a little bit every week and every month. So I'm not I'm not too hard on myself for not seeing something or making a mistake because I know I'm on a continuous path. So, you know, if I if I had to give advice to myself five years ago, I would just say, you know, be brave, stay centered, keep on the path and you'll be OK.

Mike Schaffer, thank you so much for your time. You've been a fantastic, very generous guest. I'm delighted to finally meet you.

Thank you, Bob. We followed each other on social media for a long time, and this has been a lot of fun.

Hopefully I'll see you in social media marketing world soon. There you go. That's what I love about. One of the main takeaways from all Mark's work is that consistently showing up over time will get results where others come and go. Those who are consistent get consistent results. Before I go, just a quick reminder to subscribe. And if you haven't already, then join our Facebook group. You'll find a link in the show, notes or visit Amplify to have them forward slash insiders, inciters.

As always, I would love to connect with any listener on social media. Follow me wherever you hang out, you'll find me at Bob Gentle. And if you do message me, let me know and I'll follow you back. Also, just another reminder. I do have a YouTube channel where we have slightly different content, possibly more a little bit more How-To content. So if you enjoy this, you'll probably enjoy that. And if you did enjoy this, then I would love for you to review on iTunes.

It means a lot to me and it's the best way to help me reach more subscribers, which does matter to me. My name is Bob Gentle. Thank you to Mark for giving us his time this week and thank you for listening and I'll see you next week.

Overview

Have you ever wondered what writing a book can do for your career or your business? I've heard a lot of stories so I wanted to hear from the guy who makes that happen for people like Pat Flynn and Dana Malstaff. 

Azul Terronez is a writing coach and runs Authors Who Lead and in this episode he walks me through the process of writing the kind of book which underpins and powers so many incredible online businesses.

Links and mentions

Azul's Website : https://authorswholead.com/

Thanks for listening!

It means a lot to me and to the guests. If you enjoyed listening then please do take a second to rate the show on iTunes.  Every podcaster will tell you that iTunes reviews drive listeners to our shows so please let me know what you thought and make sure you subscribe using your favourite player using the links below.

Automatic Audio Transcription

Have you ever wondered why writing a book can do for your business or your career? I've heard a lot of stories, so I wanted to hear from the guy who makes that happen. Podcasters like Paatelainen and Dana Mustafah Azle Tranny's is a writing coach and runs leaders who sail. In this episode. He walked me through the process of writing the kind of book which underpins and powers many incredible online businesses. Hi there and welcome back to Amplify the Digital Marketing Entrepreneur podcast.

I'm Bob Gentle and every Monday I'm joined by amazing people who share what makes their business work. If you're new to the show, then take a second right now to subscribe so you don't miss new episodes and you can grab some older ones when you're done with this one. Don't forget as well, you can join our Facebook community, just visit, amplify me, dot form forward, slash insiders and you'll be taken right there. So welcome. Come along and let's meet as.

OK. This week, I am delighted to welcome Azul Trueness to the show as well. Why don't you start by just telling people who don't know who you are a little bit about who you are, where you are, and the kind of work you do? Great.

I think so much so. I must tyrannous. I am a co-founder of authors who lead and we help leaders write books that people love. And currently I'm in Austin, Texas, have been a nomad for quite some time as the world is. It's time to settle down a little more for a bit, and our company helps publish books and helps authors write their message. That makes an impact in the world through books, words and speeches.

And I have to say, I follow you on Instagram and I'm always jealous of where you are. Always that warm it usually where I live and where I live in the northeast of Scotland, it's almost like the opposite. It's always cold. Well, for one year we chased summer and we didn't have a winter.

That was a really cool year.

That sounds like my ideal year, but my wife would not enjoy the ride. It was a tough new a new thing for us, but it was really cool experience. It's a really good idea. So when you talk about authors who lead, you're not talking science fiction authors or romance is typically business authors, am I right?

Yes, typically, I would say a thought leader style book or book where you're building credibility authority that people come to us for. What they're trying to do is establish themselves, grow their their business or their platform because they want to get paid more for their speaking or they want to make a bigger impact. So that's what we say that we do, is we help those authors. We do have some people that write fiction in our world, but there tend to work with us when they're writing the non-fiction book because it's a different animal for them to tackle.

Hmm.

And when you say authors who lead, how important is the leadership element of that? But I'm curious, obviously, you give your name, your business that name for a reason. Yeah. So I'd quite like to see what that really means for you in terms of a mission. Yeah.

What was really interesting is that we used to work with just about anybody would walk through our doors. Of course, as you start a business, you want to kind of keep a broad perspective about what it could be.

What we noticed was that oftentimes people who weren't doing it for a bigger purpose wouldn't finish their book because the statistics around the people who want to write a book versus the people who actually publish are very small. So we found that in order to have better success, that we need to attract a more specific avatar specific ideal client.

And by just putting the word leader in there, people that see it and go, oh, I'm not a leader, they actually self-selecting out because if they don't perceive themselves as a leader or someone who's going to stand in this truth that they're writing about, then writing a book might be more of a hobby or a legacy for their children, which is not a bad thing. It just means I want that. I want to make sure they understand they don't have to be a leader to work with us.

But that's their aspiration. That's their goal is you're leading this movement, this thinking, this this way of understanding the world through this book. If you are, for example, Chris Dukkha or Flynn, you're leading a movement to get people to behave or act in a certain way. And that's a leadership style book. So that was an intentional decision for making that choice. We don't of course, we take people who who aren't leaders, but we want to make sure that it's clear that our company's job is to help leaders transform.

And the way we do that is with the book.

I think I the the mechanics or the positioning that a book can permit you is quite well known. And you see it everywhere. There are people, like you said, Pat Flynn, Chris Tucker, also people like Daniel Priestley, Mark Schaefer, Michael Hyatt, people like that. They've all positioned themselves through the books that they produce as experts in a particular space. How often is it the book that's delivering that? It's obviously the book isn't delivering it, it's simply announcing them.

How often are they already leaders on how much does the book propel them into into that potential, if you like? I think it propels them exponentially. A book is the platform on which you are able to launch. So if you are such a cynic and you have an amazing TED talk, that's great. But Simon Sinek with a book, for example, becomes infinitely more useful to the world. So what that means is people already make an assumption of credibility.

If you're an author, that being just a speaker or a podcast or a business owner doesn't. People for centuries have known what. Is and have known that it has been a position of status to be an author, so it gives people like the media a chance they may not interview you because you're a business owner, but they they might reconsider if you're an author because it says, I know a specific topic I can speak to.

I'm clear about that message. I've made the commitment to write this. And so authorities granted to you for being an author.

And I think even if you're new to an industry, in fact, we we often tell people who are like maybe they're still in their 9:00 to 5:00 or they're trying to pivot into a new industry. They're writing a book can really help them gain that leverage that they, you know, might have gained in the past and some other way. So I think they go hand in hand. And so I've seen people who were not known go to speak, and I'm one of them because getting a chance to do 10x is a great thing.

But I wouldn't have been invited just because I'm a teacher. I was a school teacher, a principal for 25 years, and just being a director or headmaster of a school doesn't necessarily make you as credible as it does to be an author so it can propel you into a space that you're aiming for.

I think there's definitely some interesting psychology there. And the phrase that I loved was this assumption of credibility that's that really illustrates it very, very nicely. One thing I've always wondered, and you would be a brilliant person to ask about this, is you have people like James Altantuya, for example, who writes on lots of different topics, and he's a genuine polymath. He's a very bright guy. And then you have others who consistently write on the same topic.

And it's always been a point of curiosity for me why James Altucher could pull that off, but I don't think everybody could pull it off or should pull it off. So my question really is, how can how important is it to be consistent as an author on the topics that you write about? And the reason I ask that question is if you want to be known as the guy who does the thing, consistency is quite important.

Great question. I think that James Outdraw Persona is he's a tinkerer and tries things and he's an expert in thinking. So what he shows you is that in his books he's trying to push the boundaries of thought and what you perceived as is important. So his his books do have a common theme, which is I'm going to most people think this, but the truth is really that.

So he's really pushing on that notion wherever he pokes his head into. But you can easily if you're not clear about that uniqueness and this is what makes it work for James and for anybody else, is he's using his unique ability to see the world differently as the way in which he positions himself in his books. If he decides to write in real estate or he decides to write on cryptocurrency, it's still going to be James perspective on those things. It's not the topic.

He's not writing about the content. He's writing about how he sees those things. It could easily happen that you write a book and it can pigeonholed you. For example, I've had a client who said, you know, I don't want to be known for the be the Kickstarter woman or the person who helps do go fund me campaigns anymore. But I can't seem to get away from it because my book still attracts people. And like that's because you wrote a book about a topic that's that's contextual to that thing, but you didn't write about how you see it as useful and so you can't ever pivot out of it.

So you've got to write about what makes you unique in the world if you're going to make an impact. It's not the content that people see. They're looking at you. So you have two ways to write a book, in my opinion. You can write a book that's transactional, which means, hey, I have 101 secrets to master to talk, for example. That makes you an expert in this information. Maybe, but it's very transactional. It's a very how-to.

And someone else can do the hundred and two things you can do easily. They could mimic you. Right. And that happens often. But if you write a book that's transactional and want a transformational experience, you're going to be let down. A transformational book is where the author goes through some epiphany about who they are in the world and what they stand for. And they start to see themselves differently and start to share those transformations with the audience. And let me explain, because this can be a little confusing.

Well, when I was a child, I had a a science kit and they have a magnifying glass in there, you know, the kind that they were plastic, but they were still you know, you could look at bugs and sex or whatever, and I would use that to do that occasionally.

But it also used to burn a leaf or like my friends lay gunfire or burn an ant. Unfortunately, I'm sad to say that I was doing things like that.

But what's amazing about a magnifying glass is the same sunshine that you hold your hand out and does nothing but warm it with a magnifying glass will burn it and. We're all experiencing the same sunshine in the world, meaning content is everywhere, the same content is everywhere. If you go to a YouTube channel or podcasts, we're all talking about the same stuff.

So sunshine isn't the thing that you're trying to sell. Even though people are selling sunshine and writing a unique book and getting a unique message out there, it's about the lens. The lens transforms the sunshine into a hyper focused light that ignites and most people disregard their uniqueness. They are the lens. You are the lens that makes the unique sunshine change and bend and transform. And that's what I think people do. That's what James Altvater does. He always puts his perspective so uniquely in there that he could be talking about anything and his followers will listen because they know that this is the way he is.

And some people make the mistake of thinking that content is the thing that they should focus on. And really, it's them if their uniqueness that they focus on and then produce the results on the other side. I love that you are.

The lens on that for me is an important thing, because one thing that comes up again and again with clients when I'm talking about content and content marketing is something that I've personally struggled with a lot. When I moved towards, for example, if I if I'm invited to speak, what am I going to speak about? All the things that I could speak about have been spoken about before. And this idea of you're the lens, it's your perspective that people are buying.

It's not the information per say, but it's the experience around that information that makes you think about it, think about the people that you would like spend more than anything. It's that that makes you drawn to them. Let's pick someone that's not an entrepreneur, because this might help what she is, but that's not what she's peddling. Entrepreneurship. That would be a burning brown, the the speaker who talks about shame and all different types. She's a researcher.

She's a researcher. The reason her TED talk caught fire wasn't because she was a researcher talking about her. Her work is because she got on stage and said, I'm a therapist who needs a therapist, that that moment of not just talking about vulnerability in her work, but becoming vulnerable in her work. That's what made people leave, leaving and go. Huh. Interesting, because we don't need more researchers to talk about the things that they have observed.

We need more people to say. And so that means this because I'm I'm showing you my way of thinking. And that's what makes that unique. And most people don't see their own uniqueness. And I think yeah, I think I heard this first from Ray Edwards. But it's a thing that's around, which is you can't read the label from inside of the bottle.

You you just can't see yourself that way. So that's why people come to work with us as a you don't notice how amazing you are because all this time you're thinking you're a bottle of of of a pop or soda and really your beautiful bottle of champagne. You just don't know it. You have no idea. You just assume that because you're swimming in there that that's what you are.

So one other challenge that I've come across is, for example, when I come towards the idea of, OK, I'm going to write a book and I'm sure this must be a common experience is in my head. It has to be the universal theory of everything. It has to be the Philosopher's Stone or the Tesseract. It it needs to be everything. And how do you work with people to move them away from the universal theory of everything towards that one idea that actually needs to be in the book?

Yeah, it's a great cause as well. Oftentimes what I notice is most books are born in pairs. They don't ever come. I book ideas don't come on their own. I notice what that means usually is that people overstuff a book. They put three or four books into one because they think they're the topics related. So I must cover all these topics. And when book babies happen, they come together, they start to multiply like rabbits. So if you have two ideas that you don't separate, they become four and then become five.

They become ten producing of this book that never ends. So I usually try to tell people we have to pull this apart and take just one of these little rabbits and work with them. Because what you're asking a reader to do is make a transformation, a shift, a belief. But they're not textbooks. You're not trying to tell people, learn all this stuff, memorize it, take a test. That's the academic way of using a book. It's not very useful for the rest of us.

Otherwise we would go storm the library trash bins and get textbooks and put them on our shows.

But we don't. And if we do, it's because we just paid so much we just can't seem to get rid of them. But for the most part, we don't use textbooks as a way to learn. It's unfortunate that academia hasn't figured this out, but what we usually go for is the hopes of seeing something different. And if you think about a book or an idea or concept in a book, more like a journey, that you get to be the person that leads them on, but you don't get to finish the journey with them, then you you feel a little more confident that I don't have to tell them all things.

And that's the example I give people like you for both sailing early sailors. You know, explorers leaving from Portugal or Spain headed on to ships that are parallel path, except for we have a three percent deviation on our rudder. So the first several, maybe miles, were sailing seemingly together until we start to move apart.

By the time we finish our journey, one of us will end up in the Caribbean and one of us will end up in Brazil with that small little difference. All you're asking your reader to do is say, hey, you're looking over there, turn your head and look here. You're not asking them to do a 180 degree turn because that's too much to ask of a reader. You're just asking them to pay attention differently than they were. Some small shift, some three percent shift, some small deviation so that now that they pay attention differently, their whole life will change over the course of the time that they're doing this thing.

And when they land, they should be in a different place because of you, because the rudder, the most powerful besides the sails, the most powerful thing in the ship without a rudder, it doesn't matter if you have sails, you won't go. But it sits beneath the water line. It's very quiet. It does very little movement. And that's what your book should do. Your book isn't this big fuss. It's shoving people in a direction and so don't overstuff it or overcomplicate it.

It's a simple tool that gets people to notice you differently than before.

I love that. I think right at the beginning you said you start the journey with someone. You go along with them for a while, but you don't finish the journey with them. And I think I imagine that a lot of people, when they're coming to the idea of a book, they do think it has to be everything tied up with a neat bow at the end. And that's not really going to work for the for the reader. That's not offering a personal transformation.

That's just offering almost a prescription, which isn't really going to be a form of universal benefit. Oh, yeah, I really like that. Yeah. Because the truth is, you're assuming they're going to be you. They're not you. There's somebody who is at least interested in this topic. Curious. It's the mistake. And I always when I speak this boldly about these topics as being an educator for so many years that we did so much wrong.

I did so much wrong in that I made assumptions that kids needed more information to change and transform their thinking, their beliefs, their values. And what I really need to do is point them in a direction where they think differently so that they can make a step forward about what they're learning not to tell them. This is what you should learn. This is what you should know. That's just a mistake. And learning. You never learn something until you choose to, so you can't teach anyone anything that they don't want to learn.

So in your book, you're just making a suggestion for them to pay attention differently. And if they do, then their whole life shifts. And it's the reason that we as humans doing something as simple as standing on one foot doesn't seem difficult until you close your eyes and then it's almost impossible at first because you're used to it this way. And when you close your eyes, your whole balance changes because your eyes are actually a bouncing tool for your body until your body starts to use some other mechanism to balance you.

So if you're if you're curious about how that shift works, do that stand on one foot. No problem. Close one eye and then close both or you don't do that. Just gently look up. It changes everything about your balance, but that's all you're doing with the book. Don't try to make them flip backwards and turn around and run a different direction. That's a that's a big expectation and spend more of your time convincing them of the same single thing over and over in multiple ways so that at the end they go, I get it, I get what you're saying.

So I'm not going to do that right now because it would probably make a big noise. And I break things up. Great. I'll do it.

Now, if you're driving, don't do it. Now, you mentioned that you were a principal school principal and now you're now you're very well known in the author space within the business world.

How did that happen? Because that is quite a transformation. And I don't imagine that something that happens overnight, it must have been done with a degree of intentionality or something happened. Happened, right.

Well, that's a great point. So I always had an inclination for being an entrepreneur. And the problem was I was really good at failing.

So I tried many things. It didn't work. But as a school teacher, you know, you're always thinking and processing. And at least I was and I thought, you know what? I can't figure out this online thing I kept trying to do, you know, these niche sites and create a website and try to drive traffic. And in the early 2000s, it was, you know, create a product or do affiliate marketing get a niche and drive traffic to it.

And you can get ad sense, you know, from Google. And I was trying those things and I I'd owned websites like cheap wedding ideas, dot com and recover from bankruptcy. I had all these ideas, but I couldn't get them to work. I didn't have that either to the. Nicole, savvy or maybe even the persistence to care enough, but I did try I tried lots of those things and I just, you know, I was working, but I knew I wanted to make my living online so that I could travel, see the world.

You know, my kids were getting closer to finishing school. And I wanted to I told them when they were young. Look, when when you're out of school, I'm hitting the road.

I'm going to go see the world. So they already knew it was coming. But how I was going to do I didn't know. But what I noticed is that if I could learn from somebody who was doing this, I had a better shot.

I learned really well in person with someone, you know, like working, connecting with them than I did from a book or course so I could get inspired by a book, of course. But really for me to get it really helped for me to be connected with humans.

And I wanted to write about this notion of the art of apprenticeship, this thing that I felt like was lost in that if you learn from somebody, you really become the master over time.

But apprenticeship is sort of lost as an idea. Everyone wants a mentor because mentors tell you what to do, help you there. But apprenticeships about servitude, like you're indentured, you're not there as a guest. You're there to sweep the floor, empty the trash. You take out the filings, you know, deliver things, get up early, stay late. And if you're lucky, the master will say, grab that old piece of crap and he'll let me show you this or you try a little bit here and there.

That's what apprenticeships about. And I think people have lost their way when they want to learn. So I wrote a book. I said, I'm going to write this book I've been thinking about for twenty four years and never wrote.

And I've been helping people, especially young people, publish books. I helped authors as little young as 13, 11 years old, write and publish books, but I had never done it myself.

And one of my students said, Where's your book? I said, Well, hmm.

And they looked at me like, oh, OK, well, why don't you write it?

They're like, and I had a moment that I was like, What if I lie? I just say, are I think of something? And I was like, because I'm afraid they're like, you don't need to be afraid. You'll do great. And then they walked off. So I wrote that book in thirty days, the one that had been on my mind for 24 years because I finally had a purpose.

I was like, I'm going to write a book about how you can get a mentor by serving them and becoming an apprentice of theirs. And that's what I'm going to do. And I'm going to prove this model works somehow. And I wrote that book and I signed up the thirty days before I did it. I signed up for Chris Tucker and Pat Flynn's one day business breakthrough in San Diego. They had twenty spots. They said if you come, you sit with us and we help you with your business.

So I ordered I paid it on my credit card. I didn't have the money. And then I realized that the details of the event was send us your website, send us your funnel, send us your revenue, send us, you know, all these things, landing pages, words I did barely even knew. And I was like, I don't even have a business. I don't have an idea for a business like like that's worse than like the one thing I have a bad business, but I don't even have one.

So I wrote that book in the thirty days before and the day before that event. I send it to the editor and I showed up and I just pitched my idea of why I was writing this book about serving an audience, becoming an apprentice of those who you want to serve. And my intention was to prove my point that if you become The Apprentice, you can actually rise and grow over time by serving. And so people, you know, you only have fifteen minutes.

And these people were seven, six and seven figure business already in the room. And here's this guy with none. But what was interesting is they were all impressed with the fact that I wrote a book in thirty days more than anything else and sparked the attention. I totally got the spark, the attention of people in the room who were entrepreneurs, who wanted to write a book. That's how I started this journey.

I think it brings you right back to that assumption of credibility. That's really interesting.

And that's that's where I became a book coach. We had to know what it was or that people needed help doing that. And when people would say, you helped me write a book, of course I can. I'm a teacher. I can help anybody. I have a belief of that. I always could help any young person. So why would it be any different for an adult? And that's the perspective I've held and I have confidence in that.

So if you're a professional athlete or you're our CEO or you're Pat Flynn, I know I can help you because that's the confidence I have a being a teacher. It's the gift of serving in that way for those years has given me.

Well, you have a great business doing exactly that. Now you run an annual event, which did happen this year.

It did it happen this year right before everything changed. Yeah. OK, congratulations. Thank you. Know, you're probably one of the very few people that managed to pull off an in-person event this year. And something again, this is I don't have very many questions, but this was one thing I really wanted to ask you, which was writing a book is one thing and there are many, but there are many ways to monetize a book. And most people, yes, they aspire after the positioning that.

Permits and yeah, I'm sure most authors would like the royalty checks, but one question I overhear authors asking each other on podcasts all the time is what does your backhand look like? Mm hmm. And you know what I'm talking about there? All right. It's OK. What business is this book underpinning? How important is it with the authors that you're working with that they actually have the business plan that this book is supporting mapped out in advance?

I think even before the plan is why are you writing it? What what do you want this book to do for you as the author? So many authors, mainly because they're selfless and focused on serving, which is a good thing. And I say, what do you want this book to do for you? They'll tell me everything about what I want this book to do. I want to help people grow. I want to help people do this or that.

And I say, that's wonderful. Now answer the question, what do you want this book to do for you? And if they are not clear, writing a book won't help them because it won't make the shift. So if they become clear, like I want to get more speaking gigs, I go, then make sure you leverage yourself in this book as the authority in that in that way, make sure it says call the action book, you know, book, Bob, for speaking by going here.

Make sure everything about your landing page where you send people to tells them, hey, I'm a I'm a speaker. When you pitch the media, make sure that that's what you're trying to do. Use your book as leverage to do the thing you're trying to do. If it's to grow my email list, then make sure the first page of the book says, hey, I'd love to get to know you or some intentional way to bring them out of the book onto your page, because it's much better to get a client or if somebody who's in your world for four nine dollars than it is to worry about making nine dollars.

Because if you're selling your product and you can get a new client from somebody reading your book, that's a huge shift. It's better than being distracted attention on a platform. So just be clear and then decide, OK, now that my book is being written, where do I want people to pay attention? How do I want to leverage this book to build authority, build credibility, create a course, a book to course. It's a lead magnet, all the things you want them to do.

Those are the things that help people position them. I knew I wanted to use that book to get a mentor. I said I would love to have.

Wouldn't it be great if I don't know who I besides listening to his podcast, I don't really know Doug Flynn. But wouldn't it be great if they were your mentors? I thought, well, that was my purpose of the book. I wasn't trying to sell anything. I was trying to make that connection and it achieved my goal. That was the only go ahead and it worked. So check the books. If my goal was to make money, I would position it differently.

Right. I've made infinitely more money with that connection than I would have made trying to sell books or sell a course from that book. Yeah.

So I am curious and I would imagine the listener is as well to know what is the experience of working with your company like for authors. So I have an idea for a book go.

Yeah, most of the time it starts with that. Why. Why? What do you want this book to do for you? What's the outcome you're hoping for? The second thing is, is that we we guide them through the process of discovery. Most people want clarity more than anything else. Clarity is the thing that's actually not in abundance. Ideas content is in abundance everywhere. Most successful people are trying to get clarity about how do I know which book is right for me?

What path should I be taking? And I say, that's the spot that's important. And let me give you an example how clarity can help make the difference in your book. So working with us should feel like this shift that's happening right from the very beginning. So we often tell people the book writing journey that most people take you on is not correct. They want to start with the book, outline the book premise in March. You through this system of writing the book, the book is really about finding that uniqueness that we talked about earlier and slowing the author down because your conscious mind will compete with your subconscious.

And the way it looks like is most of us. We're trained to be editors, right? We were given an assignment in school. Right. This assignment, turn it in and I'll market what the grade it deserves as a teacher. Give it back to you and you have a choice. Either you have a bad grade or you redo it or whatever the thing is. So we're constantly thinking, what grade do I want to achieve? All right.

So we become the editor first, so we don't worry about how good it is. We worry about what does this do to get the grade I want, what is this result? So all through school, whether it's middle school, high school, college, university, we are trying to say, I want to get the grade. We're not thinking how can this really help me as a person? What do I really want from this paper? What are the I'm hoping this does for me.

We don't think like this. So we're editors first, not writers, my my job is to transform your brain, to use the creative part of your brain, your left brain and your right brain can't be in conflict because the editor brain will win.

It will edit you out of your own book before you even start. So I slow people down. Our process looks like I'm getting you to pay attention to that uniqueness that you have that you're missing. Let me give an example. Dana Mustaf is a wonderful business leader. And she I met her at an event with Pat. And what happened was that she was a content strategist. She left corporate world to help small businesses expand their reach with their content.

And she had a podcast and a blog, Expand Your Reach. So when she found out I helped people write books, she said, well, you helped me write a book. I said, of course, made logical sense that she could grow her brand, get more attention and authority by writing a book. Well, I made her do a visualization process, which is show me your book. If it looked like pictures showing images of your book on one page, don't write an outline.

Just show me your book. And she drew drew it out.

And I said, now, let's walk through this. Tell me about this. Sort of like imagine looking at someone's family tree. Tell me about that person. Tell me about that person. Because until then, they're just names. They're just pictures of people. Right. So she's telling me about a book and this and that. And then she got this one image. It was a a bucket with a heart. I said, what's this bucket list?

Well, that's my love bucket. I said, OK, what's a love bucket? Why? Why I love bucket. And you're talking about content strategy. She. Well, that's the bucket I kind of kept for moms.

I thought about moms and she went on to tell me why she thinks moms have a bad rap, but they don't. They feel guilty for loving their business more than their children and they feel terrible and they feel like that's wrong. She goes, men don't feel that way. They might go play golf on a Thursday at at noon and they call that work and they don't feel bad at all. But women have this this thing, moms in particular. And she went on and on and it was 10 or 20 minutes where she was just going on about this topic of this this thing.

And she goes, and that's why women should be boss moms.

I said, boss moms, huh? That's interesting. I never heard of that. She's like, yeah, like they take charge. They do it their way. They don't worry about it. And then she she looked at me, she took a breath and she said, You're going to make me redo this whole map thing, aren't you?

I said, well, I'm just curious why you spent twenty minutes on a bucket of love when I had nothing to do with content strategy. And you seem very passionate about it seems to be a unique perspective that, you know, you said that women should love their business, sometimes more than their kids. That's a unique perspective. I'm just curious. She's like, yeah, love is infinite. You can't run out of love. So why would you worry about loving anything more than one another?

So she redid the map and she wrote the book, Boss, Mom, she started an incredible community, has like eighty thousand loyal followers. She speak all over the country alongside people like Amy Porterfield. And she's a very prominent figure going from someone who just step out of corporate with a chip on her child and her hip, another one on the way. And it created an entire brand based on her unique view of the world. That's what we do.

We help people see that that they can create this brand where the conversation that happens and it happens over time. So our program looks like this like we're not rushing into the things, but we're going to get clear. Writing the book is the hard part. Words on a page aren't the hard part. It's the discussion your brain has inside internally that we have to work with and kind of get clear so that the book becomes more effortless to produce.

I really like that. I think what I like is it's a much more natural process than, like you said, to start with an outline where you're you're you're bypassing a whole creative process just to get to a finished product. That unpacking, that divining. What is it that's that only you can bring to the topic is. Yeah, I love that.

Yeah. The thing that I noticed is that people they want to rush this because they don't think of it as a creative process. And if you remind yourself the writing is creativity first before it's an editing process, people try to edit as they write. And that's the biggest mistake they make, is they never allow themselves to be curious long enough to figure out what it could be because they set their intention, what it was before they even started. And the difference is, in my opinion, is if we were going to go to the garden, the back of the house and there was a tree and around the back of the tree is a beautiful prize rosebush that we wanted everybody to get to to see.

So we decided, let's make a path, because it's sometimes hard to get there, the rocks, the mud, whatever. And you decide you're going to lay out a little path around the right side of the tree. And you you put the little frame and pour the sand to the concrete. You start, you know, doing this process of laying concrete and halfway.

There you go. You know what? Actually, it's much better if we go in the right side or the left side. Because there's sunshine here and it's an easier way to get there. So let's start over. Well, if you've laid the path in concrete, you're not going to tear up. You're going to forget it.

It's too much work. Let's just keep going. It's not worth it. Well, that's what writing an outline can be like for authors in their mind is they've already created this concrete thing and they don't see a way out of it.

But if you create a pathway and say, you know, let's create a path around this tree to this rosebush, but let's use stones, beautiful stones, OK, we'll make sure we pick the right ones, a beautifully polished. They'll be unique.

And once we have the stones, we're going to gently sent them on through the garden to every stone we collect. And then when we're done with those beautiful stones, we're going to arrange it around the garden and we can change the order. We can move them around the space in between. But it still takes you to that beautiful spot. But it's just a different way of creating a path for the reader. Get there and for the author to create.

It's much more gentle. It's much more clear and flexible so that the creative process doesn't get inhibited by this thing. It should be before it's too you know, it still meets the intention, but it's not so concrete, literally. I really like that.

And it's a real contrast to an awful lot of the online self publishing. But I call them vehicles, if you like.

Yeah, I'm all for the path to the quick way to get done. But if getting done quickly doesn't bring your result, then you're you're just putting words in a page. Yeah. You're the thing that shifts the world, not the book and these creative conversations. And that's because that's what they have to be. It has to be a conversation. They can only really happen with people who are ready for those conversations. And it's to be part of part of the culture of that organization, which is why I can imagine you get great results and you work with great people.

Yeah, and we run cohorts were like a group of people start together and end together.

And what you're doing is creating a space to be vulnerable, to be honest, that you don't know what you're doing to to to try and fail. It's that it's an incubator for doing the work. It's it's like, hey, this is a safe place where we all don't know what we're doing, but we all know we want to change the world in some way. And to have those peers with you makes it feel more confident. Sometimes people just want to work one on one with me.

But for the most part, I encourage them if it works for you and you can do it in a group setting for this cohort of people who are sort of like teammates along the way helps because writing in schools is a lonely process. Don't look at anyone's paper, don't get help, don't communicate, just do it. And unfortunately, writing isn't a solo sport. It's a team sport. But we just weren't trained to actually experience that. So we have terror of of judgment about this.

And my job is to break that down so you can talk about these things and overcome them with with others as well.

I'm looking at the clock and I am aware you have a coaching call probably in about ten minutes. I don't want to hold you up from that. Right.

If people want to get in touch with you, if they want to connect with you in any way, how would you like them to do that?

Well, they're always welcome to come to visit me on my podcast authors who lead anywhere, they listen to a podcast. So that's always a great way to learn more and also go to authors who lead dotcom. We have some great resources. We have a we'll have a quiz that can take to find out what's their publishing path is right for their book. And also a great summit that they can join, where we interviewed 40 authors who talk about why fighting your uniqueness is so important in writing books as well.

I need to end with a question that normally I give people some warning about. And when I do my pre-flight briefing, it's normally in there. I forgot to do. I'm sorry, but you strike me as someone who will have no problem with this. So I generally always end the show with asking the question, what's one thing you do now that you wish you'd started five years ago?

I wish I would have been confident enough to know that my ability to share my truth, my my knowledge was way more valuable than I thought. I didn't think that what I had to share would help anyone. And I wish I would have just been more confident sooner about trying things differently because I don't do things the way other people do. And then I should have taken the risk earlier and realized that is the secret sauce to anyone's success is a unique path that they find rather than trying to imitate others, which is what I did for so long as well.

You've been a fantastic guest. That was a brilliant answer. Thank you so much for your time. And yeah, I look forward to seeing you again sometime soon, but thank you so much for having me. Writing a book doesn't have to be a massive undertaking. We all think our books can be anywhere from 15 to 40000 words, sometimes a bit more. And at the lower end, that's only 10 longer blog posts. So if you've got an idea bubbling away, take some action.

Who knows where it might lead. Before I go, just a quick reminder again to subscribe. And if you happen to join our Facebook community, you'll find a link in the show, notes or visit, amplify me tort from forward slash inciters. As always, I would love for you to connect with me on social media. You'll follow me wherever you hang out. You'll find me at pop gentle. And if you do message me, let me know and I can follow you back.

If you've enjoyed the show, I would love for you to review on iTunes or whatever player you listen on. It means a lot to me and it's the very best way to help me reach more subscribers. My name is Bob Gentil. Thanks again to us all for giving us his time this week and to you for listening. And I'll see you next week.

Overview

In his new book, the Age of Influence Neal Schaffer digs deep into what an influencer really is, how they're made, why they're currently a 4billion dollar industry and how you can leverage them for your business — but also how you can claim your own influence, in whatever shape that is.

Neal also shares what makes his own business work and exactly how he's shaped his business around his passion, his family and how he makes sure he's always doing his best work.

About Neal

Neal Schaffer is a leading authority on helping innovative businesses through their digital transformation of sales and marketing through consulting, training, and development and execution of social media marketing strategy, influencer marketing, and social selling initiatives. Founder of the digital marketing consultancy PDCA Social, Neal also teaches digital media to executives at Rutgers University, the Irish Management Institute (Ireland), and the University of Jyvaskyla (Finland). Fluent in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, Neal is a popular keynote speaker and has been invited to speak about digital media on four continents in more than a dozen countries.

He is also the author of 4 books on social media, including Maximize Your Social (Wiley) and the recently published The Age of Influence (HarperCollins Leadership), a ground-breaking book that is redefining digital influence and the variety of ways in which businesses of any industry or size can leverage influencer. Check out Neal’s Maximize Your Social Influence podcast for weekly marketing inspiration.

Links and mentions

Connect with Neal on Linkedin : https://www.linkedin.com/in/nealschaffer/
Neal's website : https://nealschaffer.com/

Thanks for listening!

It means a lot to me and to the guests. If you enjoyed listening then please do take a second to rate the show on iTunes.  Every podcaster will tell you that iTunes reviews drive listeners to our shows so please let me know what you thought and make sure you subscribe using your favourite player using the links below.

Automatic Audio Transcription

In his new book, Age of Influence, Neal Schaffer digs deep into what influence really is, how influencers are made and why there currently are four billion dollar industry and how you can leverage them for your own business, but also how you can claim your influence, whatever shape that is. Neal also shares what makes his own business work and exactly how he shaped his business around his passion, his family, and how he makes sure he's always doing his best work.

Hi there. And welcome back to Amplify the Digital Marketing Entrepreneur podcast. I'm Bob Gentle, and every Monday I'm joined by amazing people who share what makes their business work. If you're new to the show, then take a second right now to subscribe so you don't miss new episodes and you can grab some older ones when you're done with this one. Don't forget, you can join our Facebook community. Just visit, amplify me, dot form forward, slash inciters and you'll be taken right there.

So welcome along. And let's meet Neal. So this week, I am thrilled to welcome Neal Schaefer to the show. Neil, welcome to the show. Hey, thank you so much for having me. Bob, it's been a long time in the making, but glad we finally made it happen today.

I know you nearly came on the show a year ago and then life got in the way. So, yeah, I'm really excited to get a chance to finally meet you. I think I've been following you on social media probably for longer than I've been following most people. I've been following on Twitter for a long, long time and then latterly on Instagram. And I have to say, you are the king of the selfie. You've been self-heating for longer than it was a thing.

You know, I will say that I don't know if you've heard of Pam Moore. She's another one of us, sort of social digital marketing consultants. And I had a chance to meet her in her hometown of Orlando, Florida, when I spoke there many years ago. And we met at a Panera Bread, you know, a coffee shop. And I'm like, Pam, before we go, we need to do a selfie together. And I was doing it.

She goes, No, Neal, you got it all wrong. So she holds up the camera way above. And then we are like, you know, scrunching below. And so she takes it an angle from above looking down. And it was perfect. And she's like, Neal, this is how you take a selfie, so you know what we all learn from others in life and yes, ever since then, find the person with the longest arm and then they hold it and it's above and you look up and they shoot it down and it's perfect.

So what's your position on the selfie stick?

I have had a selfie stick. I think that they are a very convenient, but they can also be very obnoxious. So I would not take one with me wherever I go, but as a utilitarian tool, they can come in handy.

So before this descends into the ridiculous, which it's verging on right now, for the benefit of the listener who may not have heard of you, just a very positive history, sort of who are you? Where are you? What kind of work do you do? What does Neil Schaefers world look like?

Sure. So, you know, I suppose my world begins before social media, where for the first, you know, 17, 18 years of my career, I was a B2B technology sales business development marketing executive. I worked in Asia. So I speak Japanese and Chinese actually lived in Japan the first 15 years of my career. And I was in charge of really, you know, in charge of Asia sales or Western Japan sales or, you know, launching new sales offices in China.

So I had a very, very holistic business experience of having to wear a lot of different hats and being an entrepreneur within a bigger company for a few companies. When I came back to the United States after I got married, had a baby girl decided to raise her here. And it was in 2008 where I was in transition for the first time in my own native United States. And my network was either in Asia or, you know, I went to college in Massachusetts.

My friends from high school in Southern California went up to Northern California. So I really didn't have a network. And I had received an invite and joined LinkedIn. I was one of their first million members back in 2004. But I realized that, you know, maybe I'll use LinkedIn to try to create this network. And it was at that time where I got really it was, you know, January, February 2008, where I got really active.

And LinkedIn and LinkedIn used to actually be even more engaging than it is today. They had something called LinkedIn answers. So like a Q&A, like a Quora type thing that was brilliant. LinkedIn groups were a lot more organic and engaging. And I began to really you know, I was really active in that LinkedIn answers forum learning, but also starting to contribute my own answers and the same in LinkedIn groups. And I began to really proactively connect with a lot of people on LinkedIn.

I guess you could call me a LinkedIn open networker when when it still had a good name for it. But, you know, fast forward, I ended up finding a job. And the same day that I got an offer for the job actually launched my first blog, which was on LinkedIn, because they used to have an app platform. So I started a blog on WordPress Dotcom. It wasn't branded. It was sort of like expert answers to your LinkedIn question, something very general like that.

And then three and a half months later, the company that hired me decided that they you know, they wanted to sell the company. They they wanted to give up an international sales. And everything that I had invested just went out the window. This was also the time of the Lehman Brothers crash back in 2008 where jobs were, you know, sort of like today, I suppose new jobs are hard to come by. So that's when my wife had said, Neil, why don't you write a book?

And I never thought I would write one, but I kept blogging after that. And at some point in 2009, I realized that I already had a good quarter of my book already written. So I pursued that path. And in 2009, I began to I did a lot of, you know, networking locally. I began to get asked to do speeches. And as I released that book in September 2009, those speeches became paid speeches. And then just very quickly, in January 2010, I had a number of companies reach out to me wanting help with social media, and they didn't know what they didn't know.

So it was up for me to decide how to service them. And I decided then that I thought what companies needed wasn't necessarily me doing their social media, but really they needed education and they also needed strategy. So I started a I called it at the time a social media strategy consulting company. I now call it a digital marketing consultancy. And I've been doing that for ten years. And even though, you know, my my clients are on the corporate side, I still try to be very active and very social online.

So, you know, whether it's LinkedIn or Twitter or Instagram or Pinterest, Facebook, I'm actually not as active on as as I probably could be. But, you know, I try to stay active. And really what I've learned working with companies and speaking of what have you, I try to share that with my community online through blogging podcasts. What have you so so yeah, so thank you for being a loyal follower, that sort of explains sort of my philosophy as to why I'm I'm always sort of online and very active and sharing lots of things.

I I originally began connecting with a lot of people on LinkedIn and writing the book because I saw social media, especially LinkedIn, as a networking vehicle that with each connection, it gives me the opportunity to learn and to share and vice versa. So if I could connect with more and more people and reach more and more people, it's just going to be a good thing for everybody. And that's been a sort of a guiding philosophy of mine that I've had for some time.

So I'm always very, you know, either proactive in reaching out to people or when people reach out to me like, you know, in your case, I you know, I want to I want to become friends and spend time and get to know them and see how we might be able to help each other. So here we are today.

That was a great potted history. But I think I while you were speaking, I was reflecting on LinkedIn. I knew I joined LinkedIn early and I joined in 2007, but there was no one else there. It was a complete waste of time. You wrote a book about LinkedIn in 2009 when still nobody was there. And then again, your social media strategy book in 2013, the word early sums you up quite well. And that really brings us on to the new book, which is The Age of Influence.

Now, I'm going to ask you to talk about the book because there's so much in there. You were kind enough to give me a copy. I haven't gone too deep into it yet because I've had my own stuff going on. But once again, early, I thought that there must be lots of books about influencer marketing. I had to look, there are plenty on how to become an influencer, which I probably have dubious quality, but there were none about how to engage and leverage influencers, which was a real surprise.

So why this book? What led you to the point where you thought, yeah, influencer was going to write a book about that? Yeah. What's the story with the book now?

Yeah, there's actually another book that I wrote that, you know, I wrote that first book about LinkedIn because at the time there were you know, Jason Alba had a book out, um, I'm on LinkedIn now. What that was a you know, a leading book at the time about LinkedIn. Lewis Howl's, who's now very famous, had just published his first book, which was about LinkedIn. And then there was mine and I thought that those books didn't go into the detail and all the sort of tricks and hacks that I had found that I really wanted to expose for others to utilize.

So that was my gift to the world at the time.

Two years later, you know, a book like a podcast or blog becomes part of your Imbil marketing tool.

And I realized I wanted to write another book and I had half of a book about Twitter written at that time, believe it or not, back in 2011, which is probably it might have been earlier than Mark Schaefers toward Twitter, might have been about the same time. And I had just fallen in love with Twitter and found great business use from it. But I think a lot of people once again thought that was a waste of time. But I ended up writing a book.

I wanted to write a business book because now I was doing social media for a living. And therefore, in 2011, I wrote a book called Maximizing LinkedIn for sales and Social Media Marketing. So I was talking about things like employee advocacy and social selling before they were terms. But, you know, and I was doing obviously a lot of the speeches I was doing and consulting was related to LinkedIn, but not specifically LinkedIn. So when 2013 came around, it was actually 2012.

I got introduced to the acquisition editor at Wiley, this large publisher, and she was say, Neil, you know, what do you want to write for a book? So at the time, I actually had three book ideas. I could have gone back to that Twitter book. I was also because I do a lot of business in Japan scene that I speak it there. I was actually negotiating with a Japanese publisher to write a book on social media for executives.

And the third idea was, well, you know, now what I do for a living is social media strategy consulting. So I could write a book on how anybody can create a social media strategy. And immediately they said, that's the book. That's the book we want you to write. That's the book that we want you to create a platform out of. And that became Maximize Your Social, which is still my podcast, used to be called Máxima.

It's now called Maximize Your Social Influence, but that's very much become a big part of my brand.

So, you know, writing the book for me, you know, social media strategy, social media are way back in the day was was the number one question I would get asked, you know, how do you do it? And I think there was one other book out on the subject, but it had a very, very different perspective on it. Not not the way that I would present the subject. So so, yeah, I ended up writing that book.

And at the time it's like, wow, I'm giving away all my IP. Right. But for me, writing the book and pun intended, it was sort of like closing a chapter, sort of like getting closure so that I can move on to bigger and bigger fields. So by by writing that book, it allowed me to really, you know, showcase my my subject matter expertise and my authority in space. Right.

So fast forward two years later, you know, wanting to serve my community again as I do a lot of speaking. I was getting asked about a lot of social media tools and technology and automation. So I actually launched a social media conference called the Social Tools Summit. It was all around tools and technology. I think this was 2015 and 16. So instead of a book, I did that. And then, you know, 2017 came around and, you know, as a speaker, I realized that, you know, when when people look to hire speakers, they look for people with fresh new content.

And often that means they have a book out. I just came out with a new book, Let's Have Them Speak. And it's a thing that's very, very common in the industry. And really, when 2017 came around, I thought, you know, this is really a good time to think about what that book is going to be.

And at the same time, similar to how I got ask questions about social media strategy, social media, r.i, or tools, I was getting asked questions about influencers and it was really the first time. It was when I taught a I was a guest lecturer at an MBA class on digital marketing at USC here in Los Angeles. And at the end of my presentation it was a general social media marketing presentation. Almost all the questions were not just about influencer marketing and tapping into influencers, but also these marketers in the room were saying, how do I become more of an influencer?

Because they had friends that were that were monetizing their Instagram or what have you. So I thought that there might be something there. And I started to, you know, think about a book and then someone contacted me. Now, Bob, before we started this conversation, you mentioned how you get a lot of people asking to be on your podcast. And I'm the same way I get people asking for all sorts of things for me, as you can imagine.

But one guy, a guy named Lee Konstantine, reached out and he said, you know, I have this startup called Publicize Her. I come from the publishing world. And the idea about publishes her is if you have a book idea, you throw it out there and it's a Kickstarter and you can basically start to get money for your book, get preorders without even writing the book. And psycho, huh? He goes, Neil, just used to test market your idea, give it a try.

And I did. I test marketed an idea for this book about influencer marketing at the time. It was called The Age of Influence. And I ended it selling a few hundred copies without writing the book. So that was my test market. It was successful. And as I delve deeper into the subject, we're now into 2018 2019, where I wrote the book. I realized that marketers were completely misled and miseducated as to what really was influencer marketing and how it wasn't just about Instagram or Tic-Tac.

It was relevant to any social network. It wasn't just about influencing gen millennials. You could influence baby boomers and Gen X. It wasn't just about photo and video. It was also about blog. It was also about podcast.

So I you know, the more research I did in interviews I did and just more, you know, doing my best to be innovative because if I want to do something, I want to add value. I ended up writing what what ended up becoming the age of influence. And I was very close to working with a publisher from the Netherlands who was going to create a Dutch version before the English version, believe it or not. And right when that happened, I got serendipitously got introduced to HarperCollins Leadership, which is one of the biggest business book publishers.

They they work with Gary V and what have you. And I was able to secure a contract with them. And the rest is history. So in March of this year, the book came out. It was renamed, you know, the The Age of Influence from the Business of Influence, the original name. And so far I've gotten really, you know, great feedback. And, you know, since a lot of the book was written in 2019 because of the way the publishing world works, I knew the book would come out for a while.

So I really painstakingly worked hard to ensure that the concepts would be as evergreen as possible so that when this book comes out a year later, it would still have relevance and five years from now would still have relevance. And I think from the feedback I've gotten, I you know, I feel like I've been able to do that. But now, you know, similar to how I got closure before, I'm already thinking about my next book, Bob.

And I think this whole coronavirus pandemic has gotten a lot of us thinking. But, you know, I see influence. If I was to tell you what my next book is going to be like I said, I'm still conceptualizing. Influence, I think is one of the biggest things that most businesses just don't haven't figured out. They haven't leveraged only a very, very small percentage of maybe really aggressive B2C startups on Instagram, for instance, have have been really good at leveraging it.

But most brands, especially in B2B, have not. But it's not all about influencer marketing either, right? I always say social media replaces nothing. It compliments everything. So is one piece of the puzzle. I believe it can be really impactful because companies have such under utilized it. But you still need social media, you still need content. There's all these other ingredients that go into the mix to create that perfect recipe and not sort of this.

The next book that I'm thinking of, you know, more of this going back to maximize your social. But you know more broadly about digital and really bringing all these concepts together to help companies create their own unique digital recipes for their business. That's the this is the first time I've ever really talked about the book publicly, actually, Bob.

But but that's how far you know, I just you know, if I'm going to do something, I want to be innovative and I want to add value. So I appreciate the fact that, you know, getting back to the original question that you thought that I was first to market on some of this stuff, it really just comes down to the experiences that I've had with my customers. But it also goes back to something that really influenced me when Steve Jobs passed away, that Stanford University graduation speech where he talks about connecting the dots.

And it's that connecting the dots and going back into my own history, both as a professional and even further back into, you know, the music that I grew up with or experiences I had traveling when I was in university. It leads me to greater insight. It actually leads me to to innovation. Right. And from there, I try to you know, I try to create something unique that that no one's ever heard of. And I try to test it and see if it resonates to me.

Podcasting gives me the ability to do that.

I you know, my blog posts, which I try to blog weekly, are more I won't say they're for SEO, but they're more they're not necessarily the thought leadership type of content. My podcast is where I want to establish myself first as a thought leader. It's where I will speak future ideas and test out future ideas and see if they have a flow to them. So, yeah, you know, remaining creative in an ever changing world of social media is not easy, but I think we can all do that when we find our own sources for inspiration, which for me is really just working with clients, looking around at what I see, and then connecting those dots, as has been a really, really great formula for me.

So I don't know if there's a perfect formula for everybody, but.

That sort of explains a lot of, you know, what I've done, but I'd say the other part of that is serving my community, serving my customer, serving my readers, always having that in the back of my mind. So, you know, if people aren't going to ask me about ticktock and I don't see the immediate value because I don't think my clients are on tock, I'm not going to start blogging about tick tock because everybody else is talking about tick tock.

You know, if everybody's talking about Facebook Messenger marketing. Yes, I'll give it a look. But if I don't think it's more compelling than email marketing for a variety of reasons, I may not necessarily talk a lot about that because I want to keep balance. And if I just do what everybody else is doing and catch on every trend that everybody else is catching on to, there is no value in there's no value to my clients. There's no value that I'm providing as well.

So I tend to be selective as to, you know, what I talk about, what I recommend, and that so far has served me well. It's prevented me from wasting a lot of time that you could be wasting. So I'm sort of old school while everybody talks about Tic-Tac. I still stick to the tried and tested. You know, LinkedIn is still an amazing network for for business. Facebook, obviously. It's still amazing. Instagram is still amazing.

So, you know, you go over to tick tock. There's still a lot of business and a lot of, you know, people to be found that are still active on these other networks.

I think I do. When I do look at a lot of things like tech talk, I often feel I see a lot of people chasing a tactic without any real strategic direction behind. I think that's really almost what you were talking about. There is there is a strategy, there are universal principles of digital marketing and sometimes these faddy tools computer a bit of a bit of a distraction. They're not inherently wrong. They work. Don't don't get me wrong.

But your average business shouldn't be distracted by those to the detriment of solid strategy.

Absolutely. That the new shiny object syndrome right here, every marketer falls to. So, yeah, I agree with you. It does come down to that strategy and it does come down to really critical thinking. So who is on tech talk and are people leaving other networks to go on tech talk or is it an additional network?

And then even if I was to be on tech talk, what would that content look like for most businesses? It's obviously going to be a struggle. And, you know, I sort of putting my, you know, my social media history professor hat on, I would say that this is very similar to Snapchat. It's a it's a young generation. It's probably people that were using Snapchat that also used Instagram are also on tech talk.

And I don't know if it'll go like Snapchat really failed to go beyond a generation. I don't know how far tech talk is going to go. And therefore, you know, we don't know the future, but we can't control how much we invest in it now. And one day I like to say, Bob, is you're never too late. If you were to get on the LinkedIn now as a new user, as a new company, you can still get really impressive results.

It's not like you have to be there ten years. You know, being there early helps. Don't get me wrong. But I like to say you're never too late for any social network, so you can always jump back in a tick tock. A year from now. You may not be one of the early adopters, but for every early adopter that gets a big following. There's, you know, way more that never get that following that are going to do the same if they came in later.

So that's always been my philosophy on these things.

If it's all right with you, something I would like to speak about is obviously when you observe people on social media, you you see the effect, not the cause. And by that I mean you see the veneer of people's business, what they appear to be doing. And and when I watch you on social media, you're in Japan. One day you're you could be anywhere. I remember watching you in London and you had hired this really nice girl to take some pictures of you.

And I now follow her on Instagram. She's going to be working for me.

Oh, that's excellent. Oh, she's great. Yes.

I have a fantastic idea either. Why have I never thought of that? When you travel, hire a photographer, get some pictures taken.

But these were these were some of the secrets of influencers that I was doing research. I realized that, you know, the notion of hiring a photographer to do a photo shoot, get 100 hundred photos. I think from that photo shoot, I got maybe 120. And if you post once a day, you have three to four months of content. And that's what a lot of influencers will do. They'll hire a photographer every quarter to take those types of photos, not necessarily when they're on travel, could be in their home office or in, you know, the nearby environs where they live.

But, yeah, it's a great idea. Hmm.

However, a lot of the time, that's all you see of people. And when I have somebody like you, I would like to understand what's going on under the bonnet in your world or under the hood, as you would say in America. So I'm curious to know if you have climbed. Work going on, you have speaking come maybe just have a little walk through what is your day to day work sphere look like?

Will the works for every day is never the same. And I'd say now it's very different because of the coronavirus pandemic. So if we had connected a year ago where I was doing a lot of traveling, for instance, the beginning of March, I spoke at social media marketing world in San Diego. I then came home for a night, then went to Orlando, Florida to go to podcast, my first podcasting conference. And I got back home March 10th.

And then the whole pandemic, you know, came here in the United States. I was supposed to have spoken in Belgrad and Mexico City in May, which those events obviously got postponed. So right now, it's going to be very, very different. But I have I divide my work into two. I have client work and I have my work, and my goal has always been, how do I get the most money from my client work for the least amount of time so that I have the most amount of time to spend on my work.

So that's why and, you know, I started as a consultancy and one of my brothers is an entrepreneur. Sanyal Consultancies don't scale and he's right. I never wanted to do the agency. First of all, for me, philosophically, I was sort of opposed to it when it comes to social media. Now, I've grown up a bit since then and I realized that if companies don't have the resource I can provide, I would rather do it for them than have them hire someone that is not as well versed, you know, as I am.

So I've gotten over that. And in 2016, I did have a client that said Nikolov, love the strategy. Can we hire you to do this all for me? So I had already built it up. You know, I have a staff that supports me on various projects, my own, as well as my clients. And I have the tools, the processes. So I started doing that and it went really, really well. But, you know, I realized after doing that for a year or two that the time invested in the money that I got, while it is scalable.

Right. It still wasn't worth my idea of my value and how much I should be getting for every hour I work, I put in, you know, that's why I love to speak, because on average, for an hour work and yes, there's preparation and there's travel and everything, I tend to get paid the most. But what I've realized, Bob, now that you're asking me and it's you know, as we record this, it's about August of twenty twenty.

What I really enjoy doing, I'm getting back to my roots, right. Connecting those dots of I really enjoy the strategy and education. And I find the best way that I can do that is not as part of some project that a company outsources to me, but being part of their team. So it's more of a fractional CMO. And this is something that I have been actually a I've been ramping this up and I've gotten many new customers since the coronavirus pandemic hit me or hit the United States.

And companies just need more help with their digital right. I'm sure you've probably seen that in the UK as well. So that's a role where I'm getting deep experience working together with companies. I have deep impact because now I can guarantee that they're going to do what I teach them to do, which if I just did strategy consulting, I can't and I can get paid more by the hour. I can get paid, you know, enough money so that I could work three days a week in the very, very, very, very comfortably.

And that's always been my goal over the past six to 12 months once I realized this. So with working three days a week and because it is a time that is spent together with a client, there's no homework per day.

There's no overtime per say. Right. So it allows me to have a clean cut and have an off button, which is very critical when you work from home, especially over a 15 year old and a 13 year old. One of the reasons why I do what I do is to spend time with my family. Right. And watch my kids grow up. So it gives me the ability to do that. And it gives me, you know, two days a week.

If I'm not if I don't have a full schedule to pursue all these other things that I do.

So my blogging, my podcasting, you know, speaking opportunities that come up now, they're obviously virtual. So, you know, Bob, now with the pandemic, because I don't have that travel and even some of my my fractional CMO clients, I would travel to their offices locally. I don't need to do that. So I've had so much time. It's almost been like a renaissance in terms of me being able to develop content and ideas. But it also means for the first time, I've been able to properly promote my book because because as you said, if I'm one of the first to market, I sort of want to own the space.

So I just want to do what I can do to get the word out about my book. And, you know, it's my own exercise in influencer marketing of tapping into influencers like Bob Gentil has this great podcast or bloggers or what have you.

So I like to do things in sprints. You know, my first 90 day sprint was, you know, I had these ideas and and now I'm in my sort of second 30 day or 90 day sprint. And for me to get closure, I want to say, OK, you know, I want to get to a certain number of Amazon reviews or I want to appear in a certain number of podcasts or I want to make sure that everybody I mentioned in my book I interviewed, they all got sent a book.

It's little things like this, but they're KPIs that say, you know, if I can hit if I can hit these goals, then I know that I would have done my best.

I would have left no stone unturned. And then I can get closure and move on to the next avenue where I want to go, which is this next book and sort of a digital a digital product or digital mastermind or master class that goes together with it.

So so. Yeah, so. So now those extra two days and because as I mentioned before, we started recording, but I've gotten really into podcasting and it's really exciting because I started by finding. And podcast to listen to, and I found them on Apple podcast just doing searches as well as, you know, people who are listening to my show, what other podcasts might they be listening to? And for the first time, one of those 10 podcasts I'm going to be a guest on for the first time and one of the 10 podcasts, I actually had them as a guest on my iPad, my podcast.

It was just the most exciting thing, right? I mean, they're not like, you know, I think of like the social media marketing podcast, these iconic podcasts that, you know, Pat Flynn, they're like top five business podcast world. They're not like that at all. But to me, they're my heroes, you know, that that I've been listening to them. And with podcasts, you create such an intimate relationship with people. So so.

Yeah. So that's it's really, you know, as I tell people in crisis, there's opportunity in this pandemic has give me the opportunity to double down on promoting my book and writing more and more great content and obviously doing more podcasting, but also developing more relationships, whether it's, you know, recording this podcast with you, Bob, or with others out there in insulting me, other content creators. And you know, my definition, once you finish reading The Age of Influence, at the end of the day, every content creator is an influencer.

Some have more influence than others. But only one percent of of social media users are content creators. Right. So every content creator has, you know, influences through their content. And I want to meet as many of them and offer as much value as I can to all of them. So those that's sort of what what gets me through my day. But hopefully that gives you some idea as to how I work. And I do have a to do list, which I started doing this year or every day, you know, do X number of this.

Why of that these projects that don't appear in my email inbox, they don't appear on my Google calendar like writing the book. These are things that I put up, put down there as reminders of. I want to make this much progress on this week. And it's a very old school way of managing my calendar, but I seem to be very effective with it. So that that's sort of what my days look like.

That's a very good answer. And be the only area where there's no light been shown yet is who can you give me an idea of what your team looks like now? Is it a virtual team? Permanent fixed team?

So I've always worked virtually. And it's the same thing where when I launched my blog in 2008 and started to see that I was getting traffic all over the world, there were other people that were speaking on LinkedIn, but they stayed very local. They wanted to own the local Orange County, California market, which at three million people is quite a big market. But I always thought global. Once you published content on the Internet or podcast, you're global.

It can be consumed everywhere. So with that in mind, I've always wanted to tap into resources globally. So I have a team of specialists. Like I said, when they don't have client work, they work on my work.

So beginning with a podcast editor, which is one of the people I'm most indebted to.

You need a podcast editor? Yeah. And you know, it's funny because I use bug spray for my host and they have a fantastic Facebook community. And all these people, they just spent hours talking about all the audio edits they do. And I'm thinking, why don't you put that time into the content right into your podcast?

So, you know, it's about working, working more on your business rather than in your business. So I do have that sort of a critical resource. I do have someone that helps me with blogging where we're WordPress. Ciccio, more on sort of the content management side. I do have writers that I work with. There's one especially that I tend to work with more frequently than others. I also have, I guess you could call sort of a social media marketing assistant, slash graphics person that helps with a lot of the graphics that are created.

So it's always a team of, you know, four or five. And instead of hiring a general virtual assistant, like a lot of solar burners do or entrepreneurs, it's really about finding key people that have key skill sets that I can use for those skill sets.

So these are people that are not working for me full time, but they're they're freelancers, but they have the ability to ramp up when necessary, assuming they're not at full capacity.

And I found that that for me, works very, very well in doing what I doing. And then when there are client projects putting them in as necessary. So if people are listening, you know, that are interested in this, there's a whole world of qualified people out there that at especially if you lived in if you live in a developing developed economy, not everybody I work with is located outside the United States somewhere in the United States for quality reasons, but for other things that are just easily repeatable tasks that you can teach people, you know, things like Fiverr, things like up work.

I mean, between the two of them. And I know it's not easy to find the right person. You're going to make a lot of mistakes along the way. But once you find the right people, it really helps you scale. And that's the secret to how I've been able to. Even though my consultancy doesn't scale, I've been able to scale my work and be able to charge more and more and take on more clients because of that and because I'm very much into processes and very much in the tools as well, because obviously I ran a conference on the subject.

So processes, tools, people. Right. And it's the people that I think a lot of entrepreneurs and social partners are scared to hire. So you don't need to hire full time. You could start at five hours a week. You can start by project only when you have work. But if you're not doing that, you're not going to be able to grow and you're not going to be able to spend more time on your business. I'm always trying to find ways of of replicating what I do into a process and teaching someone to do that and giving me time to do something that has more impact.

That that's a really good answer. And I think anybody who wants to break that scale trap, I think you would call it, of thinking that you have to hire lots of prominent people and have an office. Chris Tucker is virtual freedom is a master work on how to escape that. It was a big day for me when I read that book.

Yeah. And I'd say that's it's funny because that's something that I think is missing in a lot of education that's out there as well. You know, to your question, exactly how how do you do all this? Who is your staff? What are they doing? Are they there's not a lot of people. Chris obviously talks a lot about this. So I when I work with clients, obviously, and this is part of this community I want to create, I really want to share this and help people do what I've been able to do and find those key people that can really help.

So. So, yeah, Chris, obviously it's funny because I didn't really know much about Chris until I started speaking with more UK podcasters and UK people in social media and listening to more podcasts where obviously his name comes up quite a bit. And it's just an example how and Flyn. I didn't really know either. I mean, I knew it was a podcast or I had no idea how influential he was. Just, you know, these are the influencers to us, like our kids who are watching YouTube and that we've never heard of.

It's a similar thing, right?

It just it falls in this concept of influence. But but, yeah, I you know, I've never read virtual freedom, but I'm I'm looking it up in the Internet as we speak. And so you recommend that over. I think you is also one that he's very well known for, right?

Yeah. There's virtual freedom and then there's resources you partner with right there. Quite different virtual freedoms about building virtual teams. Rise of the Ukraina is is very much about building marketing and monetizing your personal brand or influence. Gotcha. Perfect.

Which I think is quite interesting because you said consultancy doesn't really scale, yours doesn't scale. However, you have scaled it as much as you can because it scales in direct proportion to your personal brand or your influence. The more influential or brand capital you've got, the more people are willing to pay for your time.

Yeah, you use scale by your price. Mm. And if you think of it that way, yes, there is a limit. But I also have that speaking. I also teach at a few universities. I have, you know, revenue streams from books and I have brands that reach out to me as an influencer. Some of those, if I find it, serves my community, I'll do as well. So I also have that other sort of upside income on the side.

Um, so what's interesting is you have choices and I think a lot of people have very few choices because you built this personal brand, you built this influence. You have choices other people don't have.

Yes, you're absolutely right. And that is this gets back to obviously I'm in this for a business and I want to make it as as as profitable as possible. But there's also the lifestyle for me.

The lifestyle is being able to make that choice is being able to make the choice that no, I don't think that you're the right fit for my business, my consultancy, or being able to say I want to block out Fridays in my calendars because I want to have that time with family and only schedule all my client meetings Monday to Thursday. So it's yes, I believe being an entrepreneur gives you that luxury of choice in how to manage your time, which was really critical for me.

I think a lot of entrepreneurs forget about that and they think they just need to be on all the time. And I think you forget about the reason you became an entrepreneur. You know, I was a punk rocker growing up. So one of my first concerts was seeing the clash back in the day. And, you know, maybe I was a little bit anti authoritarian, which is why I never maybe fit in that corporate world. And where I fit was I had my own company within a company.

Right. Like my own entrepreneurial journey. So for me, you know, being an entrepreneur is being able to make those choices and having the freedom of time. And I think a lot of entrepreneurs start out with the same mindset. But somewhere along the line, they forget about that. And to me, just hiring an overarching staff and having, you know, lots of clients where if on any given day, at any given hour, if there's a mistake in a tweet or some crisis that's going to eat away at my freedom, I'm going to become a slave to the tweet, as I'd like to say.

I'd like to say, and I never wanted that to happen, I realized with my agency that some of that was sort of starting to happen. So, yeah, you know, there's a book by Marie Kondo who either you know of her, you don't. But it's all about like living the organized life. And and she teaches you how to clutter your home and your workspace. And it's very simple. You go through every single thing that you have and you look at it and you say, does it give me and my passion about this?

Does it make me feel good or not? Does it spark joy? I think. Does it spark joy?

Yes, thank you. Think I haven't read it in a while. Does it spark joy? And if not, you got to get rid of it. You got to keep things around you that only spark joy. So I like to apply that concept to my work. And and I think that's a that's a really, really good way to describe what I did and what I recommend everybody else listening to as well. Well, Neal, I think that's a brilliant place to wrap up.

I'm looking at the clock and I know you have appointments shortly, but it's been a delight to meet you. And I'd like to spend time with you. If people want to get in touch with you, if they want to connect with you, how would you like them to do that?

Well, my name is Neal Schaefer. I am the real Neal. So to any A-L I know and in that part of the world, there's a lot of any ill Neales or an IBL as the baristas at Starbucks in London would do. But anyhow and then it's Shaffir, there's a few Schaffer's of us. I don't know why, but, you know, there's a lot of us that work in sales and marketing. So it's S.H. AFA. So I'm Neal Schaefer, everyone.

Social media. Yes, I'm on talk. I may not get back to you quickly if you message me there, but I also have my website, Neil Shefford ICOM. I have a podcast. If you're interested in learning more about this perspective on influence and how it applies to digital and social media marketing, you can find that maximize your social influence. And then my new book is called The Age of Influence. I know a number of people bought it in the UK, so it's it's available at, you know, on Amazon and where and wherever.

And I'd love for you to read it and let me know what you think about links to all your things in the show notes. So if you're listening to scroll down to shows, there will be there. Neil, I always wrap up with one question and I didn't give you any warning. Haven't been very good at warning people recently. But what's one thing you do now that you wish you'd started five years ago?

I wish that I would have more intent in what I do. I think that once you once you put yourself out there in digital, whether it's a podcast, a blog, what have you, a lot of people contact you for a lot of different things. In some ways I've been blessed because I've never had to prospect for business. Bob, it's come my way. I've never had to apply to speak at events. They've always invited me to speak, for instance.

But a lot of good things have happened from that. But a lot of things that I've wasted time have happened as well as you can imagine. And although I try to become a better filter as to what I should and shouldn't do, I just wish earlier on in my career I had a little bit more intent, a little bit more. This is the direction I want to go, and this is going to define the things that I do or don't do.

I'm not going to do it on the spot based on the opportunity. And if I done that a little bit earlier, you know, I think I might be I might be in a slightly different place. I like to live a life of no regrets, Bob. I tell my kids the same thing. I don't regret any choice I've made. I've done my best. And yes, we all make mistakes and I'll continue to make mistakes. But a mistake and regret are two different things.

So even though, yes, I wish I would have done that, I have no regrets. That's a fantastic place to leave it. Neil Schaffer, thank you very much. You've been a fantastic guest of honor. Thank you so much for having me, Bob. But only one percent of social media users are actually creating content. It's very easy to stand out. Doing so consistently takes some discipline and willpower as well as a bit of creativity, but not as much as you might think.

Like Darren Hardy shows in his book, The Compound Effect, small, deliberate actions taken over time lead up to a disproportionately large effect. Before I go, just a quick reminder to subscribe. And if you haven't already join our Facebook group, you'll find a link in the show, notes or visit, amplify me from forward slash insiders. I would love for you to connect with me on social media. You can follow me wherever you hang out. You'll find me at Pob gentle.

And if you do message me, let me know and I can follow you back. If you've enjoyed the show, then as always, I would love for you to review it on iTunes. It means a lot and it's the best way to help me reach more subscribers. My name is Bob Gentil, thanks to Neil for giving us his time this week and to you for listening. And I'll see you next week.

Overview

Balancing a full-time role as an agency employee with being one of the best-known freelancers in the world is an incredible balancing act. I know from experience as an agency owner, how challenging it can be when team members also freelance, so this week I caught up with Tony Christiansen to ask him how he pulled it off.

Tony's area of focus is Facebook ads and while working for one of the U.S's most high profile agencies, he's also very well known in his own right. We talk about this as well as Facebook ad strategies, how small businesses can make money go further and about some simple tactics you can employ today to start winning big.

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Automatic Audio Transcription

Let's have a role as an agency employee with being one of the best known freelancers in the world is an incredible balancing act. I know from experience as an agency owner how challenging it can be when team members also freelance. So this week, I caught up with Tony Christensen to ask him how he pulled it off. Tony's area of focus is Facebook ads and while working for one of the US's most high profile agencies. He's also very well-known in his own right.

We talk about this as well as Facebook strategies, how small businesses can make money go further and some simple tactics you can employ today to start winning big, whether as a freelancer or as an agency owner. Welcome to Amplify the Digital Marketing Entrepreneur podcast. I'm Pop Gentle, and every Monday I'm joined by amazing people who share what makes their business work. If you're new to this show, then take a second right now to subscribe so you don't miss new episodes and you can grab some older ones when you're done with this one.

Don't forget, you can also join our Facebook community. Just visit, amplify me, dot FDM forward slash insiders and you'll be taken right there. Also, if you enjoy YouTube, then you can join me on YouTube. Just search POB gentle on YouTube and you'll find me easily. So welcome along. Let's make Tony. So this week, my guest is Tony Kristiansen from Tony Does. Which, again, is a slightly odd business name. But Tony wears many hats.

And Tony will explain this himself. So, Tony, welcome to the show.

Thank you so much for having me. It's great to be here, Bob. It's I'm really excited to speak to you because I've been following you online for quite a long time. We've never actually had an opportunity to engage with each other outside of possibly the odd little bit of nonsensical banter online. So it's really nice to actually spend some time with you. Do you maybe want to start just by telling the audience a little bit about who you are, where you are and the kind of work you do?

Yes. So I am Tony Kristiansen. I've sort of built up my personal brand, which goes by Tony does ads here. It's everywhere online. You can find me. And yeah, I specialize in primarily Facebook and Instagram advertising for different e-commerce companies. So I do kind of my own consulting and advising to various people that reach out to me as well as I work full time at a marketing agency called Now Marketing Group, which is kind of founded by Jessica Phillips, which is over in Ohio.

But I am in Phoenix, Arizona area. So working from home most of the time with that work at the agency, it's it's full time there, kind of a full service agency. So I'm doing that full time during the day and then kind of want to get off work. I focus on other needs and people that might reach out to me for various consulting endeavors that might be advertising related. It might be recently it's been more kind of conversion optimization for Web sites.

When it comes to the e-commerce side of things, as well as just helping people with copywriting and making sure their message kind of gets across in the right way.

So there are lots of ways we could go with you at any regular listeners will probably straightaway have the question. But Bob usually has business orders on the show. I have somebody that's full time employed in a business that belongs to somebody else. He's never done that before. And there's a very good reason for that, because, as you said, your personal brand is Tony's does ads. And to be honest, I know your name. Today's the first day I ever heard of the company you work for.

And that's quite unique. Was that something you've done quite consciously?

Yeah. Kind of. Well, coming to mind my name. Yes. It kind of was something that I was like I needed to build my own personal brand. It was kind of back two years ago when I went to my first social media marketing world and I really started to get into advertising. And I just knew, you know, personal brands were kind of the future. So that's kind of where I started. I was like, I need to get on, you know, Twitter.

I need to get on YouTube and all these different platforms and start getting people to know my name. And that's kind of how I created Tony does ads. And I started working at different advertising agencies. And even though the ones that I started with were basically emphasizing and helping people with personal brands. So they encourage it actually in a lot of ways, which was really cool. And yes, I started I ended up doing some contract work for now marketing group, which is that agency that I'm at now.

And things just kind of evolved. And they ended up being like, do you want to just run all of our ads for us and just come on full time? And I was like, of course. So I ended up kind of jumping over there and just haven't stopped since.

I think somebody's building a personal brand inside of another business. It is very unusual. And I'm somebody that I'm all in on personal brand. Today, I spent the whole day on a workshop with Chris Tucker. That's how invested I am on this idea. But I tell you, in all the people who were there, none of them were employees. They're all running their own business. And I know that as somebody who run a good sized agency, none of my team would have stepped up to build their own personal brand.

They were all very keen to sort of to take rather than actually give of themselves into it. So it is very unusual.

Yeah. It's kind of cool because I've I've just seen a lot of people that I talked to on Twitter as well, and a lot of the people I'm connected with or other advertisers or, you know, strategic marketers online. And what's really cool is it's almost like influencer marketing in a way where you build up your personal brand and people start to really love you for who you are. And then people get really excited when you announce, like, hey, I'm I'm going to this company now.

And I think a lot of companies now I'm starting to see now are starting to kind of get that idea of we can bring, you know, people that really have really good personal brands. And now we kind of bring their spotlight on our brand even more, which can kind of help the business in ways. But maybe we'll talk about that in the future, too. It also can detract, too.

So it it's an interesting fine line and a lot of ways with personal brands and working for an agency that you don't own.

You know, I think from an employer's perspective, it probably is a double edged sword. Yeah, but you would rather have. You saw sharp on both sides would be my opinion. Yeah. So, yeah, from an employee's perspective, lots of value from an employer's perspective. There should be lots of value there. So I think you're a fantastic role model for anybody listening in an agency, working in somebody else's business. I guess it doesn't have to be an all or nothing.

You're running your own private business alongside the agency business. And again, that's something that's quite unusual. Jim, maybe what you want to talk about, how you make that work.

Yeah. And I think the biggest key with that is being upfront about it from the get go, you know? And that's something where when I talk to Jessica about, you know, going to her agency, I was like, you know, she really knew I had my brand. And I told her that, you know, I have a brand. I have some clients you and then working with still. How is this going to work? And that's that's a conversation that you should have upfront.

There are other people out there that might not have that conversation and they might try to hide what they're doing. And I don't think that's ever really a good way to handle it, because it's you're probably going to get found out. So don't ever do that. There's there's a lot of risks in both in kind of both sides of doing that.

And even I've seen, you know, agency owners that have someone that might have a personal brand and then they they steal clients and that kind of stuff. So it is sort of a interesting territory to handle. I think as an agency owner and as you know, the other side of it, you just you really have to be upfront. You have to be transparent. And you have to make sure that you both trust each other. And a lot of ways, because it is a lot of responsibility, I think, for both sides to be in that kind of relationship.

How I handle it, I basically have my you know, my Tony does adds calendar. It starts pretty much when I get off work at Now marketing group. It's very segmented. So I get off work and then people can book calls with me after that. So basically I get off work at around 3:00 p.m. People can book me. Basically it's at nights, which some people don't like that because they reach out to me, you know, from the UK and other places too.

And I'm like, you know, it's not going to work if, you know, if I have to meet earlier. There are, you know, instances where I'll meet with people on Saturdays and things like that which which kind of, you know, isn't the best of times, but it's just kind of the nature of it. And there's things like this that might meld the two together, which is like I'm talking about my personal brand and I'm talking about now marketing group as well.

So I kind of, you know, I make sure that they know that I'm doing these sort of things and they're OK with it. And a lot of instances because a lot of times I'm promoting their brand in a lot of ways, too. But yeah, it's something where you just you have to be transparent, upfront. I think that's the best way to kind of handle it.

I think that's one of the things with the personal brand as well as the more you invest in your personal brand, the more you are invested in the integrity of that brand. So if you tarnish that integrity through breaches of trust, that doesn't go away, that sticks with you forever. You can't dodge that because you've built his personal brand.

Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And, you know, Jessica is a speaker, and that's I've heard of her from like she has a conference that she runs called Social Media Week, Laima, out in Ohio as well. So I've heard of her and her agency and things, and that's where I went to meet her, actually. Social media, marketing, rokas, people like, you know, you have to go to her conference. You have to meet her.

And when I met her, we just both had kind of the similar mindset where it's, you know, it sounds crazy, but it's like, you know, treat your clients really well. You know, I have good customer service and she's really big on relationship marketing and just focusing on that. And that's sort of the core of my personal brand is very much aligned with their agency as well. So it was a really good fit. And yeah, that that whole mindset of that is be transparent, you know, care for others and show up, you know, and really kind of go above and beyond for people that you are working for.

So absolutely, I think no marketing is a full service agency to all the traditional things and the digital things as well. Yes. But your focus is it's and particularly Facebook and Instagram. It's so let's focus in on a little bit. What does a typical client with Antone's doesn't look like for you? Because I guess it's different from a marketing client. So let's start with the Toni Christensen client.

Yeah, it's been something that's been evolving more lately. I'm someone that really follows my passion. So I've really been getting into kind of conversion rate optimization and copywriting. So when I learn more, I kind of share my ideas. And then people hear about like, oh, you're really good at writing copy or this or that. So for me, I've had people more recently reach out about copywriting. And just like, you know, I have an e-commerce Web site.

What can I do to help my conversion rates, some kind of doing things like that and auditing different Web sites? I help. Other agencies sometimes, too, that are getting into ads and they're wanting to figure out, you know, how do we start as well as other founders and people that, you know, they might have an agency running their stuff and they might need someone to just dip into their accountancy. Is this look good? Is there things that we can improve on?

So it's sort of it's sort of consulting in ways it's advising and then just doing certain projects that might pop up, you know, if it might be like recently. I'm helping a lady rewrite some of her Web site copy, too.

But, yeah, a lot of the advertising related things are I you know, my brain, Tony does ads. I really prefer to work with e-commerce only. It's just something that I've I'm really familiar with. I like sort of the bigger spends, you know. Like, if you're spending ten thousand dollars or more a month just because a lot of those businesses, they've they've figured out a lot of things already. Whereas if you're newer, you know, if you're a startup or something, you might still have to work on a lot of your messaging in that kind of particular client would be someone that's really well suited for now marketing group, because they do do a lot of the you know, let's figure out your brand voice.

Let's figure out what your customer personas are. And they they work a lot on organic content as well. So sort of those clients are really good for now, marketing group. But if someone just wants advertising help and insight, then that's something that's might be better for kind of my own.

Tony does ads brand and within the whole conversion space. Obviously, you work in your practice mainly with e-commerce businesses, but do you have much broader experience? I'm curious to know in terms of conversion, do you find that there are some areas you immediately, instinctively want to hone in on? Because, you know, there's probably a little pot of gold in the corner there.

Yeah, that's that's actually like one of the reasons why I really like now marketing group is I mean, you know, like I've said a few times, is they really focus on that kind of the start of figuring out what you're for and voices. And that's sort of when it comes to ads. If I have someone that reaches out to me and they're like, you know, I'm just launching this company, can you help me out? I really don't even want to touch it because I know they're going to need a lot of work figuring out kind of that brand voice, what works, what resonates with people, their messaging.

I can help with that. But it's just it's it's something that I'm not as passionate about. And Jessica now marketing group. Ah.

So that's kind of the difference in ways.

And I'm sorry, I don't know if I answer that question very well. I guess where I'm coming from is on most Web sites that there are conversion problems or opportunities that you can exploit.

And do you find that when you work with a new client that there are some obvious things that, you know, you can go and unpick and that will lead to a better conversion rate?

Yeah. Gotcha. Yeah, I think lately it's been looking at I've been looking at a lot of kind of Web site usability and figuring out how to make Web sites better. And there's this book I've been reading that's that's called Don't Make Me Think. And I think that's a really good mindset to have when you're looking at a Web site. Is your you have to have the mindset of kind of that first time Web site visitor. I think a lot of businesses don't have that.

You know, they want to talk about themselves. They want to have their logo nice and big. You know, they want to say, you know, we've been in business for this many years and we do this and we do that. And that's the main shift that I kind of like to tell people about and try to get their mindset more aligned with. So you have to think about someone that's basically going to your Web site and has this kind of mindset of like, OK, who cares?

You know, I don't care about your brand. Really. What can you do for me is kind of the person that you need to be talking to on your Web site. So a lot of it is realigning kind of what a business says about themselves to what a customer is actually looking for and how you can position yourself to be that you know, that solution for their problems. So showing that, you know, you've been there, you've you can empathize, empathize with them, and then showing that you are you know, you have social proof, you have credibility authority.

You've been there before us. You kind of have that solution that they don't have to worry about, you know, paying for. So it's sort of having that mindset shift, which can be it can be kind of an overhaul on copy and a lot of ways.

And then it's it's focusing on. Yeah. What is that conversion that you want. Right. Do you want people to call you? Do you want people to download your lead generation item? Do you want someone to buy and then making sure that that kind of stands out on your Web site. And it's very clear, you know, it's that it's that button that's you know, it pops from the Web site. There's an audit I did just last night.

And the you know, their main button was like a shop now button. And it was basically the same colors have everything else on the Web site, so you don't even really see it. And that's like it. Just a quick, easy thing. Like just make whatever you want them to do, be the apparent equip them to do. Right. So that's like the main thing. And if it is something that's like I would say another main thing that I see a lot, too, is when you're having blog posts and all the different pages on your Web site, think about what the call to action is, especially like on the bottom of pages.

So that's another thing I see where they might have a blog post about us or whatever it might be, and then you get to the bottom and there's nothing there. And that's kind of the thing that you want to help people with, too, is kind of what's next. What do what should I do now, now that I just have this information. So there's like some quick things that a lot of people can do fairly, fairly easily, just like add whatever might be related products.

Maybe if it's to the blog post, if it's about us, maybe redirect them back to whatever those services are and learning more about those, you know.

I love that. And I think that don't make me think was really important because most people browse instinctively. Yeah. And they don't think they're not in an active thought process. They're browsing. Browsing is an unconscious process. And I recently installed hot tar on my Web site and a few clients Web sites. And it's incredible actually, when you watch people moving through your Web site, how you have these big moments where you slap your forehead and think, obviously, why why would you design it like this?

And it does make me reflect on how a lot of Web sites get built. Yeah. If you imagine the situation and the average small Web site agency, they've struggled to get through a project with a client. The projects usually been built by a few hipster 20 year olds who don't understand the business. And by the time that project is signed off for the client, they're done, has washed. Thank you very much. Let's get going. They're not looking at the site from a conversion perspective.

We're looking at it from a get paid perspective.

Yeah, exactly. And that's it's crazy because I'm seeing a lot of similarities now with kind of how I how I've done ads with like working with videographers, because I don't necessarily create the creative I usually work with a, you know, a videographer or a creative team that can make the images and videos for what I need for ads. And it's very similar to me working with a Web site designer or Web development team with Web site. So, you know, with creative, I'm you know, there's people that are great at making videos and they might be great for, like, telling your brand story.

You know, they might be great for movies, but that doesn't work for ads, you know. And similarly with Web sites, there's people that make really beautiful looking Web sites, but they might not convert at all or make any sense to a user. So it's sort of the I'm seeing a lot of similarities and patterns in both of these things. I'm really just kind of diving into now. A lot more is where, like you have you can't have really skilled people at making videos, but they might not be very good at making videos that actually convert, you know, and sell your products.

A good kind of mindset. I like to talk about with videographers is, you know, a lot of people make in a lot of brands do this, too, and it's similar again to the Web site. Thing is, they want to have their logo show up first, you know, or on the Web site. They wanna have their logo nice and big where people don't really care about that. And when you're running ads, it's it's I compare it a lot of times to people that buy tickets to movies to basically like a billboard on the highway.

So a lot of businesses and videographers that I've worked with in the past are making these, you know, movies that they have seen before where people have paid money. They're sitting in the movie theater and you can't have your logo show up nice and slow.

You can have that slow intro, whereas the reality of it, people on social media don't want to see ads at all. So you have to kind of treat it like a you know, it's like a billboard where you're driving by at 60 miles per hour. They're not paying to see you at all. They're not invested in your brand at all. So you have to kind of show up in certain ways where you grab their attention really quick. You know, in like three seconds or less.

So you have to treat it a lot differently. Whereas with Web sites as well, it's kind of similar where you're your you know, your logo, nice and huge in the header, might distract from the actual call to action or the actual, you know, need and solution that someone's looking for. So you have to kind of, again, have that don't make me think attitude that any Web site, visitors and people that are looking at your ads kind of have.

I think there's something really interesting I saw with, you know, the thrive themes thrive people. They have thrive architect, which is their equivalent of things like Beever Builder and elementary or some sort of WordPress visual site builders. And they made a filmic philosophical stance that they weren't going to provide an unlimited hero module because they said it doesn't work. They don't convert, they just distract. And so lots of people don't use the thrive ecosystem for the purpose for that reason.

Yeah, but it was very interesting, the stand that they would make on such a strong conversion point.

Yeah, and that's. That's a crazy thing, too, because like a lot of the you know, a lot of the e-commerce people I work with, they are using Shopify themes.

And some of those Shopify themes aren't necessarily set up for conversions like they might have. You know, like one of the things I don't like to see, but a lot of Web sites have it is a slider at the top. That might have that call to action that then after a second or two, it slides again. And I hate that because it's it's kind of an Uninor and interruptive experience. You know, for some, it's going to a Web site.

They're trying to search around for their solution and then, boom, you you put something else on it. So it's just kind of like interruptive and it can kind of distract why someone's going to your Web site. So a lot of times those those can hurt conversion rates where a lot of a lot of the really good conversion rate experts are going to say, you know, have one image there and maybe it is your maybe, you know, instead of that slider, you maybe you stack those images kind of underneath each other and spaced them out more visually.

But you still have that main focus right there that says shop our latest collection or whatever it might be. And it's not something that's kind of sliding and changing people off, you know, making people kind of off guard with what they went to Web site for.

Yeah. I think something else I would like to ask you about is retargeting ads, because I work with clients on low level and stuff a little bit. But I find the the way I often describe it to them is if you're gonna pay a pound or a dollar to get someone to your Web site, why would you know the retargeting in and have them sort of roll around in your pinball machine for a while?

And it always seems to get great results, but that's sort of very small scale. I'm interested to understand, how can that work on a large scale? Does that scale up?

Yeah, I'm that's like one of the biggest plays I like to start is the remarketing. And that's where some of these really small. You know, I didn't say take out small brands. So these brands, you know, that are starting out or might have local budgets, I would say, or, you know, small, smaller businesses, the retargeting can be some of the most valuable ads that you can run. And it depends on a lot of things like how much traffic you're actually having on your Web site.

If you don't have any, you kind of want to build your brand and that's different. And you probably want those kind of top of funnel ads going that you're you know, you're putting out that value. But there's a few businesses that I'm helping right now that we're just doing remarketing ads because then you have smaller budgets and they don't want to spend a lot. But we are doing, you know, highly targeted ads, bring people back to the website.

And yeah, when it works with e-commerce, they're spending more money. It's it's similar in a lot of ways where you're you're really not spending very much money in remarketing retargeting ads. I typically do sort of three different tiers. So you have top of funnel, middle funnel, bottom a funnel. Just to break it down real quick, top of funnel is basically I'm targeting, you know, looking like audiences. So people that share characteristics of your most valuable audience that you might have, which might be like a purchasers list, recent purchasers or something, and I might do like interest based audience.

So, you know, if you're selling, I don't I can't even give you a great example right now, but interest based. So, like, if it's if it's fashion, maybe you're targeting Michael Cause or whatever might be as a random example. So that's at the top. You know, you're targeting these businesses. You're trying to people and you're trying to give them value and bring them down. And then the next level I typically do is engages.

So people that are going to your Web site, interacting with you online, watching your videos, that kind of thing, and then the bottom those main remarketing ads that I do are dynamic product ads. And they're just so valuable because it's basically the ones that are showing you the same product that you just looked at back on Facebook. And it's where some people are like, oh, Facebook is kind of creepy or whatever, but I mean, they work and they work really well.

But in terms of where the budget's split, you know, the top of funnel, I might be spending 70 percent of the budget there. And then I'm kind of trickling down maybe 20 percent at the middle and then 10 percent or so at the bottom. So you're not spending a lot at that bottom, but that is kind of the the ads that do clean up those sales of people that might have get distracted, you know, on their phones.

I just had like a great example, like, you know, you could be on your phone. You might have, like, your dog run into something and spill something over, you know? So then you're you're you're leaving the website or whatever it might be, you know, or someone shows up at your door or whatever it might be. So people get strapped in a lot, especially on, you know, on their mobile phones. It's just kind of the way people are now.

So it's great to have those kind of remarketing ads that kind of reminds them to come back and finish their order. And sometimes you might need to nudge them and give them like a discount free shipping or something, too. Sometimes that works as well. But a lot of times just reminding them again to come back and shop works looks right.

I think it's important for me to just put supposed button for a second here and encourage anybody listening to Guba. Listen to that again, because what you just heard, there was a masterclass in very, very crystallized form on how you should run arts, because what you said was that you're not spending. You're spending all the 70 percent of the money in the top of the funnel and the top. And that's where most businesses are spending 100 percent of their money by spending that additional 30 percent on building that remarketing mix.

That's where you're doing all the selling. Yeah, exact. So, yeah. The majority of businesses, in my opinion, that are dabbling in Facebook ads, they're not doing the remarketing element. Thirty percent more money, 100 percent of your sales. Yeah.

And if you have really good ads, like you can get pretty good sales numbers from the top of funnel, too. But yeah, that's that's the middle and bottom is where you really kind of clean up. And yeah, you don't have to spend as much because, you know, at the top you're you're basically funneling people down. Why call it a funnel. Right. So at the top, you know, you're hitting all of these people that are kind of, you know, that same interest group.

You're providing them value. You know, make them happy. You whatever you might be doing, make them start to like your brand. And then maybe the middle. It's more like here's what we offer now. Here's what makes us different, those kind of things. Reviews, testimonials. And then, yeah, at the bottom, it's just great to be like, here's that product that you did. Look at that you were shopping on our website for.

So because the audience at the top is this huge bucket of people you're targeting. And in the middle, it's just remarketing to those people that started it. And engage with your brand might have went to your Web site. That's why it's a smaller budget. And then again, at the very bottom, it's just those people that looked at specific products and then showing them ads for those. That's why, you know, if you split it up evenly, you'll be said you'll be showing those people the very bottom, like tons of ads and they will get too tired of them.

So that's kind of why you put it that way. And then you can focus a lot of the top on, you know, acquiring new customers, which can become really valuable for brands, you know.

So for any one client and there's not going to be a simple answer to it and to answer for this. But with a typical client, how many ads are you running at any one time? At each point of the funnel. That is a great question. So the bottom of the funnel will be the easiest one to explain, so I'll start there. Yeah, so bottom, since it's those dynamic product as what they're called, I typically might run to I might even run one depending on how well it performs.

So it depends.

Yeah. Like you said, it depends on budget. A lot of times too, because basically at the bottom, if your budget is bigger, I can basically say, you know, let's do a dynamic product. Add to people that have went to the website in the last three days and looked at products. Right. And then if it's still big, I can say now let's segment out. You know, the next people from like three to seven days and show them another ad and then from, you know, eight to 14 days, I'll show them another ad.

And maybe you're having like a. Sometimes you might taper off different discounts and things. So, you know, at first you're reminding them to buy your product and they don't buy. Then maybe the next time you like. Well, how about free shipping now and kind of try to reel them back in and the next time maybe it's like, how about, you know, buy one, get one free. You're 20 percent off now. So depending on the budget, I might have, you know, one to three ads, maybe a little bit more like like I said, it depends on so many things in the top.

Yeah, it can it can range really in a lot of ways.

So, for example, if you're spending, you know, 10 bucks a day or something, ideally you're running ads for what's called conversion.

So, you know, you're optimizing for someone to do something on your Web site and it might be purchased, it might be sign up for your lead generation offer, whatever it might be. So if you have, you know, a smaller budget at the top and you're running, you know, 10 ads, it can't. Facebook doesn't have a nice enough information per week to really optimize for the results. So if you have a smaller budget, you have to be running a lot less ads.

But I still like to test most of the time. So I might test audiences or I might test, you know, the same audience and have a few different ads in that. But it can really range in a lot of ways. So, I mean, I've done for a typical typical is like not even a term really, but for the smaller businesses, you know, it might be, let's say, five ads or so at the top of the funnel at the middle.

Maybe it's two ads at the bottom, maybe it's one or two for the bigger businesses that are spending, you know, ten thousand, twenty five thousand or more a month. It could be hundreds of ads that you're running. Facebook now, though, is changing to be more where they're optimizing a lot better for you.

So they're actually kind of preferring you to use less audiences that are slightly bigger than what they used to be like.

If it was one or two years ago, I'd be splitting up audiences a lot more out in second. Same at segmenting them more and having way more ads. But now they kind of want you to have bigger audiences so they can kind of really rely on their A.I. to optimize for the results.

So it's a very long answer to your question. But yeah, I would say anywhere from five to hundreds of ads per clients.

Typically, I think it wasn't actually a long answer compared to where you could've gone. It was as concise as you could sensibly be gold for anyone that cares.

So, yeah. That's a really good masterclass on Facebook. And I think an important lesson there is there's no right or wrong. It's important to experiment and try things out, but to not leave all that money on the table by not having the retargeting that's theirs.

It just makes me sad.

Yeah, I would say if you're going to do any ads at you like, it better be remarketing targeted ads like bare minimum just because. Then again, it does depend, though, if you don't have any traffic to your website whatsoever, if you don't have any sort of social media engagement, then OK, work on your top of funnel. But primarily, I would say focus on the remarketing ads, because those are that's the low hanging fruit, really.

Right. Those are the people that already know about you that you sort of have been looking at your Web site or interacting with you. So you've already built up that trust a little bit more with those people. So it's gonna be a lot easier to kind of get them to buy.

So for anybody that's listening, doesn't know what we're talking about, remarketing us a remarketing advertising to people who visited your website. And that's delivered through tracking through visitors to your website on Google, through the Google Tracking Code and on Facebook, through the Facebook tracking pixel. And the reason I go through that little ramble is to ask the question. I know on Google there's a minimum audience size that you have to accrue. Does that also apply on Facebook?

Yeah, kind of depends on what you're specifically asking, I guess. Yeah. If your let's say you want to remarket to like your email list, it has to be a minimum of one hundred people. So if you have a list of 50 people, that won't work at all. In terms of targeting actual audiences like say you're doing a cold audience that you're trying to target and you're, you know, saying, you know, within 10 miles of this business or whatever, it's better to have more people in that audience that you're targeting.

I'm not sure. I think Facebook does limit it. I'm not sure exactly what that number is, where I was from.

Like, let's say if you want to do where I was coming from specifically, was the Web site visitors retargeting them?

No. Yeah. They'll they'll run those ads pretty much with whatever number that you have. But yeah, you're going to I mean, the minimum spend you can do per day is going to be a dollar. So if you don't have you have 10 people, you know, a day going to your Web site, maybe your product is worth a lot of money. So it's OK to run those ads. But, yeah, I would I would recommend kind of doing them it once you kind of built up more visitors.

So, like, it kind of. Yeah, it depends on a lot of ways. But primarily they don't typically I don't I don't know, a number off top my head that they'll say, you know, we're not going to run these for you. If there's they're stupid, like on your Web site, they'll typically show them those ads. But if there are a smaller audience like that, like maybe it is 50 people or something that you're sending those ads to.

They're typically going to cost a lot more. It's just how they do it. The smaller the audience, the more the cost is just because it is more targeted. So that's something to keep in mind. So ideally, you have more people going to your Web site first. And that's where that kind of the top of funnel in the middle of funnel might help out more.

You know, to really start promoting getting traffic to your Web site, I think the reason they ask is obviously entirely selfish is I have some clients that have very, very specific sort of niche engineering businesses, and their Web sites are very quiet for very good reasons. Yeah, there's only a few people in the world who would be actually interested in their business, but there are very high value running remarketing ads for us. Google is a problem, whereas from what you're describing on Facebook, there could be perfectly valuable.

Yeah. And one of the things you might be able to do in that case, too, is just make that timeframe a little bit longer. So, you know, if it's a really busy Web site, I could do a marketing to like seven day visitors. Sometimes I've done like one day, three day if it is a smaller business. It might be more like 60 day, 90 day, 180 day visitors. So, you know, someone that's, you know, been to the Web site, you know, two months ago or something, for example, just know when you do do that that they might not recollect going to your sites.

That's one of the things that you have to keep in mind as well. But that can help kind of make that eight size a little bit bigger, which can help out.

So I guess one of the things we started talking about was the Tony Christensen, Tony. Those ads, personal brand and personal brands don't happen by accident. They need to be built intelligently and deliberately. So I'm curious to know, what does your personal brand, Eco-System look like? And how did you go about the. That is a great question. It's it's been a evolving work in progress. I would say as well, it kind of started with, I would say kind of started on more like YouTube.

And now I'm going a lot more at Twitter in terms of kind of products and services. It was helping people do kind of like routine or work where it is managing bigger client accounts. And now it's shifted more to doing more consulting, advising. So meeting with someone, there's a lot of people that reach out to me and they just want to figure out how to start as well as like how to set up their structure of that funnel that I kind of talked about, too.

That's another thing that I can do quite a bit. And then more recently, like I've said, I've been getting more into kind of the conversion rate optimization. So that's something that I've been kind of toying with a lot more at now, marketing group with some of those businesses that we're helping out. So making tweaks there. But then again, it kind of can bleed out into my, you know, my own personal brand. And now I'm, you know, talking with other people that have websites and e-commerce businesses that might I might be able to find, you know, your button here's a little a little weird or, you know, you're using too much brand lingo and people don't know what that means.

It kind of offering that as a as a consulting kind of service to people.

One of the things that we were speaking about before we came on air was Twitter. I was asking you, which was your favorite social media platform. You mentioned Facebook. You mentioned YouTube. I asked you what your favorite was and you said Twitter, which right now for a lot of people might sound like an unusual choice. Tell me.

Yeah. So Twitter, I'm finding it is the best to really quickly network with. For me, it's all sorts of, you know, media buyers out there. So I can find out what's working wherever those people are, what what they've tested and what's worked.

It's great to with media buyers as well, because I can find different bugs and issues that people are dealing with. And some of them might be able to reach out to a Facebook rep before I can so they can get information faster.

So it sort of keeps a really good pulse on the whole advertising industry and a lot of ways. There's some really interesting brands and personal brands out there that, you know, talk about research that they're doing, things that they're seeing kind of with the industry as a whole, which is really interesting, especially with all of the covered shutdowns that were happening.

You know, we could track in that businesses that, you know, a lot of these guys do surveys with a lot of us as well.

So you can get data on kind of how people are feeling about the industry and what's actually happening kind of with aggregated data, which is really cool, too.

So we could see, you know, our costs are really low or our costs are rising now steadily. So it's really interesting for that kind of stuff as well as the other side of it to the client side. There is a lot of the kind of direct to consumer business, e-commerce clients, owners out there that are on Twitter talking about getting funded or whatever it might be for their business, but then starting to want to learn more about ads. So they look for advertisers that are posting, you know, relevant information out there.

And then you can have people kind of reach out to you for consulting and different work opportunities.

So it's it's just really good for kind of the pulse for future work, as well as just the latest news and things that are that are going on in the advertising world.

I think I was off Twitter for a long, long time, and recently I started getting back into it because I called most of the people I was following. And that's called we see, you know, killed me. But it just made it a much more useful and enjoyable place to be because I'm not exposed to the level of noise that we used to be a real problem on Twitter.

Yeah, yeah. There's there's definitely a lot of noise in Twitter. And yeah, if you have a bigger list, I would you know, a big following are followers list. I would say, yeah. Take advantage of Twitter lists. I've just kind of done that recently. And the more that I'm kind of getting into conversion rate optimization, I'm starting to find people that, you know, really live in that world. And I can build lists of those people, you know, and then see what those people are talking about today and reach out to them.

And I've really been like my tactic lately has been seeing, like, really interesting things that people are writing really great mindsets to have or stats or whatever it might be, or some people just give feedback freely, you know. So I had one guy I found that was basically like post your website below. I'll give you feedback. That's how I really started to get into conversion rate optimization. I just read his whole thread and was like, wow, this is really good.

So I'm one of my tactics now is like finding those people that are like incredible and then being like, how did you learn? What book do you recommend? All that kind of stuff. And that's kind of how I really started to dive into it a lot more. Now, in terms of conversion, rate optimization is just finding. How did you learn this information and how can I learn it? Which Twitter has been just instrumental in. Help me figure that out.

I can see that and certainly I think I can see a whole new level of usefulness for it. Now, we've been running the podcast for a while in terms of the way that I can connect with people that you just can't on other platforms. Yeah. So anybody listening to this, that there are going to be two kinds of people. There are going to be those who are busy working in a day job, and they're going to be those who are running their own business.

And I think for many, you should be the poster boy for the employee that's running a side gig. And there's two questions I have to ask you and your I would fully expect you to. Answer diplomatically. That would be the word. So the first one is you've been running your site business for a while. You're very competent, you're very skilled.

You're in demand because you have a strong personal brand which pays you better to day job or the sidekick.

Currently, the the day job does. I think this a good gig. Could if I wanted to invest more time into it. But it kind of I don't know if I mentioned it here, but I'm kind of having a house built currently and I've just recently kind of moved down to Arizona. So just getting a lot of family time in right now. So it's it's been a balance of do I want to make more money on the side job and not have time?

You know, as much time with my family, you're going out and seeing not really going out, but going and seeing my house, you know, in the progress group, getting done there or investing more into the in kind of the side business and getting that going more. So, yeah, currently it's the it's the day job.

You kind of led me on to the other question, which was, I think, Jessica, no marketing. It sounds to me like you're aligned and connected to that business in a way that many employees aren't. So there's a lot going on on the side. So my question is. Would you ever want to run your own business or are you quite happy having this dual role?

Yeah, that's a good question. I've definitely, you know, thought about it in a lot of ways. The kind of the previous agency I was at, I wasn't happy. So that's where I started to get these other clients. And that was an agency, too, that they didn't really care as long as they, you know, don't take our clients kind of mindset, don't dabble in our Nishino, that kind of stuff. So I've played with it there.

It is something that I have thought about maybe in the future. But like I, I've really liked going go into now marketing group because they've just they've been a really solid brand for me to be able to go into, have. Have a nice impact. And they, you know, they work with great people. They're doing incredible work. So I'm I'm liking the job that I have now. I'm kind of content where I'm at now. Will it change in how many years?

It could very well. That's just kind of I'm taking it in stride right now.

You know, what I love about the answer is because you've invested in your personal brand. What it has allowed you to do is stand out and be attractive to those businesses that you're aligned with. You have options. You have choices which people who haven't built their personal brand probably wouldn't. The truth is, if you hadn't invested in Tony Tarzans, you probably wouldn't be no marketing. Is that fair to say?

Yeah. Yeah, Major. Yeah, I think that's kind of the beauty in it in a lot of ways, like the more that you can kind of show what you stand for and when you meet, you know, like someone like Jessica that has the exact same values, like they have the kind of brand manifesto that says, you know, this is the kind of people we are and what we do for our clients and how we go above and beyond.

And I was like, this is everything that I live for. So this is perfect. So, yeah, it really worked out.

And that's where I haven't thought about leaving at all, really, just because it seems like it's the place to be because it is in such alignment. You know, I've reached out to her recent like it's as recent as this week. And I was like, you know, I'm really getting into conversion rate optimization. Can I start doing it for our clients? And she's someone that says, yes, like, let's do it. So that's really cool, too.

If she was someone that was like, no, you know, just do ads, you know, just do this or, you know, do the stuff that you don't want to do that might be different, you know, and then I might want to go out on my own. But they are an agency that's really just really focused on helping people and then really just treating their employees. Right. So I haven't had that. You know, I need to get out of here now feeling it all, really.

It's just work that I'm passionate about. So I'm really enjoying it.

Well, I love the answer was brilliant answer. And I'm glad you brought. You've been really, really generous with your knowledge throughout everything, talking about building the personal brand and being this ambassador for the true entrepreneur on the one hand and employee on the other. He's really, really interesting. So, yeah, it's cool. Yeah. It's going to say it's it's it's an interesting thing to do because it's one of those things where now it's kind of neat because I can have stability with the daytime job and my, you know, side hustle.

Tony does ads now to can I can kind of position myself as not having as much time. And I can't be more picky. Right. Whereas if I was doing it all on my own, I might get into a situation where it's like I need money. I will get this client, you know, because it is money and it's not something that I might be aligned with or want to do. And that's one of the cool things with my situation now is I have a steady, reliable income from the day job and then I can kind of use my limited time and kind of my position to to be a little bit more picky and look for just the work that I want to do.

And kind of what I what I'd like to do, though, is still not say like I'm not going to help you, but try to find other people that might be better fits, you know, for that brand what they are in line with.

Tony, I'm looking at the time. You should probably bring things to a close soon. But I have one question left to ask you. It's the one I have been really good with remembering recently. And what's one thing you do know that you wish you'd started five years ago?

I think the main thing is, and I've mentioned a lot here, I think already is just following your your passion. You know, I think before, you know, five years ago, I don't I don't want to do the math, but I think I was. No, it was a while ago. Never mind. Yeah. I would say follow your passion.

You know, before I when I was going to say is I, you know, went to a college and wanted to get a job that had a, you know, a great title at a great company and that it's changed a lot where I don't care as much about income and in a lot of ways and it's more about let's wake up and be excited about who we're helping in the work that we're doing. So I really just would say I would tell myself back then.

Just do what you want to do and be passionate about it. And that's kind of what I've done now with sort of getting into conversion rate optimization with ads. I've just dove into it head on and really do like a deep rabbit hole and a lot of ways of just like learning everything I can and really learning out about it. And it helps you, you know, helps your personal brand, too, because people see that passion and it kind of leaks through and a lot of ways and it can help kind of position yourself to be that expert.

So just follow your passion and do it 100 percent. Really?

Absolutely. I'm waving a flag. That's an awesome answer that people want to take things further with you. I want to connect with you. How would you like them to do that?

Yes, my Web sites, Tony, does AdCom. That's a great place to reach out to me. I'm also just everywhere online, but primarily on Twitter at Tony does ads, but everywhere else at Tony does ads as well. Perfect.

Tony Christensen from Tony Danza. Thank you so much for your time. It's been a great guest. I can't wait, hopefully, to meet you in person if I can make it over to social media marketing world sometime soon.

Yeah. Bob, thanks so much for having me. And yeah, I know we covered so much here. So if anyone has questions, feel free to just reach out to me on any of those platforms and I'll be sure to answer them. Provide clarity there to. A lot of the time when I speak to my audience, I assume you're a business owner. Today I want to speak to employees and see this if you're freelancing. Talk to your business owner and ask them how you can make this a win win situation.

If you don't, then eventually the hammer will fall. If you do, then you might find you get to play much bigger, like Tony, as if you're the employer who resists or resents freelancing, then. I feel you. And I was you. But try this. Make it clear to your team you value loyalty over everything. But you also want to foster entrepreneurial skills, make it clear that competing is not allowed. But the carving out a niche claiming that as your own is raise your people up and they might raise you up with them before I go.

Just a quick reminder to subscribe. And if you haven't already, then join our Facebook group. You can find a link in the show notes or just hit Amplify Me Dot FDM forward slash insiders. I would love for you to connect with me on social media. Follow me wherever you hang out. You'll find me at Bob Gentle. And if you do, then message me. Let me know so I can follow you back. If you enjoyed the show that again.

I would love for you to review it on iTunes. It means a lot to me and I don't underestimate that. It really does mean a lot to me. And it's also the very best way to help me reach more subscribers. My name is Bob Gentle. Thanks again to Tony for giving us his time this week. And to you for listening. I'll see you next week.

Overview

Burnout is a something you hear about but would you know it if it hit you? Would you notice if you lost your way and didn't get fired up about what you're doing any more? Andrew Sillitoe has built his business around helping business owners scale without burnout.

Yes - scaling a business takes hard work and tenacity - but you can do it without embracing all the stereotypes we all know.

In this week's episode Andrew walks me through his business, how he built it and how he works with clients and unpacks the four keys to scaling without burnout. I loved this interview and I hope you will too.


About Andrew Sillitoe

Andrew Sillitoe is a business psychologist, performance coach, public
speaker and author from London, England. Blending 20 years’ experience as an elite international sportsman and coach along with three published books and an acclaimed TED talk, Andrew’s innovative and straight-talking views on leadership, teamwork and strategy has resulted in his advice and guidance being sought after by key figures at several FTSE 100 companies.


In 1997, Andrew made the move to Canada to pursue a professional
roller hockey career and develop his coaching skills. He succeeded in
both, becoming the first British player to play professionally while his
thriving coaching business was born. In 2004, he moved into the corporate world as a sales and marketing consultant for Yellow Pages.


In 2007, his unique and visionary approach in business saw him
headhunted by a consultancy to speak about a “winning mindset”. It
proved the spark that lit his future career path. Just a year later, he’d developed a new method to enable elite athletes and business leaders to fulfill their potential. This was the seed that eventually blossomed into his renowned 4 Keys Method

Links and mentions

Anderew's website : https://andrewsillitoe.com/

Thanks for listening!

It means a lot to me and to the guests. If you enjoyed listening then please do take a second to rate the show on iTunes.  Every podcaster will tell you that iTunes reviews drive listeners to our shows so please let me know what you thought and make sure you subscribe using your favourite player using the links below.

Automatic Audio Transcription

Burnout is something you hear about. But would you know it if it hit you? Would you notice if you lost your way and you didn't get fired up about what you were doing anymore? Andrew Sillittoe has built his business around helping business owners scale without burnout. Yes, scaling a business takes hard work and tenacity, but you can do it without embracing all the stereotypes we know. Hi there. And welcome back to Amplify the Digital Marketing Entrepreneur podcast. I'm Bob Gentle, and every week I'm joined by amazing people who share what makes their business work.

If you're new to the show, then take a second right now to subscribe so you don't miss new episodes. You can also grab some older ones when you're done with this one. Don't forget, you can also join a free Facebook community to visit, amplify, meet or F m forward slash insiders and you'll be taken right there. So welcome along. And let's meet Andrew. So this week, my guest on the podcast is Andrew Senator. Andrew, do you want to start by introducing who you are, where you are and the kind of work you do?

Sure. Yep.

My name is Andrew Sillitoe and the work I do. I guess we, you know, business owners and solar producers who are perhaps struggling to grow their businesses whilst balancing their personal relationships, staying fit and healthy and avoiding mental burnout. Well, that's essentially what I help business owners do.

So I work with business owners by showing them how they can devote equal time, you know, through sort of a method to their work, their body relationships and mindset and ultimately bring their life into balance.

I think burnout is something that may quite often be misunderstood and have one quite like it maybe before we go much further. Is what's your definition of burnout? What does what does that look like? Because a lot of the time I wonder if people are maybe there and don't even realize that they are there.

Mm hmm.

Yeah, I'm not sure if there's one definition for it, but I you know, I've I've not really met anybody who feels burnout, doing what they love.

Right. So they might have a level of stress, but even that they might be thriving on on that stress.

But I think you're right. It's probably burnout is the insidious nature of burnout.

So we get very excited about a business, get very excited about our products, and especially when it's doing well. And we're out there and we're, you know, meet the clients. And we also recognize that perhaps we got to be, you know, healthy. Suess crushin it in the gym and we're doing all that. We're trying to do all these different things and be there for our families. And I think the challenge with with burnout is, like you say, people perhaps are there and they don't realize it.

And it's because of that insidious nature of of burnout.

And and often it's too late that that's the biggest challenge. And unfortunately, majority of my clients less so now, actually.

But before we were coming to me, when they were burnt out, I now I'm finding that more people are aware of it.

Maybe they've experienced it before and they do want to happen again and they'd be far more proactive about it or they see the signs, you know, so there are kind of two different types of people I work with, everyday ones that are kind of recovering from burnout who are, you know, experiencing it and the others who are perhaps I've been close to it and don't want it to happen again.

I think I'm just sort of reflecting on on burnout and my own business career. And I think what I'm maybe recognizing a little bit is there was a period, for example, I used to run a reasonably good sized agency for most of the time I was doing that. I loved the idea of being burnt out. Doing it was ridiculous because it was just so much fun until it wasn't right. But you're so used to the fact, well, you've always loved doing this.

So you obviously you love doing it. But all the challenges start to build up, pile up, and it's just piling up and piling up and piling up. That, as you said, it is insidious. Once you've been there, you recognize it quite clearly. But for that person hasn't been there before. That catching that moment, I guess it's the other end is real obvious warning signs that people can look for.

Well, I think it's you know, there are some obvious signs around fatigue, being snappy, being a little bit more short tempered than the normal, putting some of the work ahead of other priorities.

So, you know, when you when you start doing that, when you start neglecting other parts of the life, the stuff that happens outside the office for me there actually tell tale signs because we've become too obsessed with the business.

So. So it's about, you know, finding time, building in time, being proactive to take a step back and and actually building that into the diary, essentially that that is the key to avoiding it and and managing it, because there's always gonna be an element of burnout, you know.

And I'm not talking about full full on burn yourself out where you feel completely crushed and you need to take time out.

But there's there's going to be elements of sprints that we need to do in work where we have to put more more time in.

Some people say to me, Andrea, there's this is no way, you know, we can achieve work life balance. And actually, I'm not talking about work life balance. I don't I don't talk about it. My work life balance perspective.

I'm not saying every day you've got to finish at five o'clock so you can go home and spend time with the children.

It just said it's going to be there are going to be times when you have to be more aggressive with work, more focused on work.

But it's it's recognising that, knowing that and then being proactive with things like whether you would meditate or decent mindfulness work or just. Go for a walk, whether it's booking a a a trip or some time away with your family, because when we're working all the time, we forget these things.

You know, we're so in it. Months pass and, you know.

You know, whether it's are our partners have been neglected or our children. And then that catches up with us. So it's more about being proactive, I think.

And, you know, exercise, you know, not doing exercise, you know. One of the challenges I have with with people that I work with is not so much getting them to exercise and actually to because I'm very ambitious.

So they're all in on everything. Right. So it's it wouldn't be the first person to say to me, Andrea, and I've taken some advice from you and I want to get fit and healthy and get strong. So. So great news is I've signed up for the London Marathon, you know, or, you know, I've thought about doing a triathlon. And I thought, well, I might go all the way, go all in, and I'll do an Iron Man.

You know, it's like, well, hang on a minute. Right. That's the kind of stuff that leads to burn. I mean, that's like a full time job in itself. And you tell me haven't got time. So. So and I was there, you know, that was me.

You know, I've got a sports background. You know, I love my soccer. I like going to the gym.

And it's it's it's about being able to be a little bit more modest in a way, with some of these things not to be as ambitious, but just to see it as part of a lifestyle.

And less is more, you know, and and my experience has been that the more we focus on our body and our relationships and our mindset, our mental health, that the business just takes care of itself. And that's very counterintuitive for an ambitious entrepreneur or business owner who is really put in the business at the forefront. He's got that three year plan. Who is saying to his family or her family, hey, look, just hang in there with me.

Maybe no holidays for a while whilst we build this thing out. But the reality is it never comes.

It comes when we put our own oxygen mask on first and take care of our health when we're we're present with our families and we don't get that kind of stress that catches up with us, you know, where we've been pulled in so many different directions that all of a sudden going back to the insidious nature, because it's not just the burnout is driven by stress at home, you know, where you're trying to now make things work at home or because it's been neglected or all of a sudden the health has become a problem where you've ever overtrained or undertrained, you know, whatever it is, you know, that that's that's the challenge.

And then we start playing catch up with it and then the business has to be put on hold and then that suffers. We end up in this kind of vicious cycle. So it's counterintuitive for business owners, entrepreneurs, business leaders to say, you know what, I'm not going to put the business at the forefront of my mind. I want to put my health and my relationships and my mental health at the very forefront, my mind knowing that I'll be the best version myself every day when I turn up to work.

And that's where they'll find the difference is the best version of themselves, the best version of yourself as a bit of a cliche. It's exactly feels like a cliche, but it's also a truism that there are many versions of ourselves and how we put ourselves together is really what dictates that. I'm sorry. I really, really like that. So in terms of the work that you do, who's who is it you most often find yourself working with?

That's a really good question, because it's actually changed quite a bit over the years. You know, my my background was moving from corporate into the performance coaching world where I was going into organizations and working with teams predominately because of my my sports background.

So bringing those parallels in and working with team leaders and running leadership programs.

And then I start to transition into small to medium sized businesses, mainly because I just enjoyed it more than rather than dealing with the big corporates and still do in leadership.

So working with their team leaders and senior directors and the more recently in the last two years, the businesses that transition now to working with what I would call them, silo planners and and business owners, but business owners who have accepted that it's not a failure to build a business around them and just them.

And and that's something I've learned is that and I think because of changes in technology and social media, it's so much easier to scale a business, you know, and not a social media, but automation and so on.

So it's it's easier for my clients now to to to scale a business to outsource once they get a head around the idea of outsourcing and actually to grow a decent sized business, which, you know, if they if the business doesn't depend on them and they can automate and create system, put systems in place that actually has some value that they could sell one day, but not necessarily the goal, you know.

But to me and I wouldn't even call it lifestyle business, I would. Call it something that they are. I mean, some of them are some, you know, wants a lifestyle business. But they're building virtual teams. You know, they're not in particular now.

Big lesson learned know as we navigate through Cavey 19 is that people that have resisted, you know, having meetings on Zoome and working with freelancers and, you know, this work from home or work from anywhere type scenario because they want to have the office.

They want to, you know, have the team around them.

And, you know, for the most part, their motivation wasn't necessarily to have the camaraderie, you know, of having people present, which is often, you know, what people think actually it was coming from place of control. You know, if I've got people near me, I can control them. I think also vanity sometimes. Yeah, I think vanity is hoping to have lots of parties ideas.

You know, I'm up now where there's bricks and mortar or something, you know, that's got some substance to it, isn't it? You know, if you invite people into your office and you've got a nice reception and you know, you've got this team and it looks great, but I think a lot of it is driven by vanity. And people put that before profit, before their lifestyle. So. So and that lack of stress and burnout.

You know, I mean, that's a big driver when you and there'll be people out there right now that are downsizing considerably because they've built a business on that vanity rather than, you know, the actual real reason for for building a sustainable business.

Yeah, I remember having Mike Morrison on the podcast and Mike, you know, and he runs a business called the Membership Guys. I do know, Mike. And I think for me, he's a brilliant role model because, I mean, I think one of the things he said in his interview was, I run a lifestyle business and I make no bones about it. And a lot of people who don't know what I'm doing. Look at me from the outside.

Very judgmentally thinking he's just playing at being in business. But you dig into his business. He's turning over with a very, very small team, more than most large organizations. His personal income is far greater than any CEO and he's quite happy to call it a lifestyle business. So it's often other people's ideas of what success are, what causes stress.

Yeah, absolutely. And in fact, I was I was having the same conversation with with Chris Tucker, you know, this idea because I asked him, I said, you know, there's these influences out there.

They've got massive following, you know, and we look at them and we put them, you know, on a on a pedestal as if that's the kind of what we should be aiming for.

But when you unpick it a little bit, you see that there's very little substance behind it. And I think you're right.

You know, when when someone's got a robust business with a good proposition, with a good offer, that solves a problem. So they can serve a community, that you can make it.

You can have a very profitable business rather than an ego getting get in the way of just wanting hundreds of thousands of followers, because that's the measure of success when actually behind that is very little profit to be had.

So one of the reasons I was particularly keen to have you on the podcast. I mean, obviously we've met and I haven't actually had any time to spend specifically with you to really get to know you. So that's obviously going on in the background. But I also follow you on social media, and there are a few people I turn to and I look at them when I go while they're really doing a great job. What I love about your social media content is that it isn't one dimensional.

Something you said earlier is about sort of being balanced across your business life, your relationships, your your health and wellness. And you bring all those to your game on social media, which is really, really impressive. Not many people do that. Well, I appreciate that.

And it's interesting to hear it from a different perspective, because when you're in it like I am, I'm like, am I just talking about loads of different things?

Is it is it is it, you know, useful? Because, you know, because I did talk about these four key areas, you know, the business I'm talking about scaling and how to build a business, how to lead a business. And I'm talking about body and health and now talk about relationships. And I'm talking about, you know, some of the mindset challenges we have. So.

So, yeah, it's it's good to hear that because, you know, like all of us are doing this type of work, you wonder, am I getting the balance right? You know, am I am I speaking to one audience when I'm losing this audience over here? Because, you know, one minute I'm talking about kettlebell training and the benefits of using the kettlebell on the next down, talking about, you know, leadership.

But I think once you get to know your avatar. And and that's the key thing, isn't it, when you kind of niche and you find who your audience is, you kind of your avatar is someone who is for me, you know, is someone who is running a business, who wants to stay fit and healthy, doesn't have very much time. So let's talk about the kettlebell, because you have one at home and you can do in 10 minutes.

And, you know, let's talk about relationships and some of the challenges that we faces as parents and partners to manage that side of life and as well as a business.

So.

So I suppose over time, with a bit of bravery, it it started to resonate with people.

And and it's also the bravery around speaking directly to that person and not worrying what what other people might think of my content, because it's not relevant for them.

And I experienced that a little bit this year with with LinkedIn because I went live every day for 100 days on on LinkedIn while and when I was very sick.

You know, I think that was pithy, you know, and direct and talk really talk to my avatar. And I noticed there was this different group of people actually that were starting to show up on the live show every day.

And I found myself starting to flex my content, thinking that's what they wanted. Right. Cause I made an assumption that that they were joining in.

And there are different profiles. What I was used to and what I forgot in my mind was that the reason why they were coming in is because they liked the stuff I was taking initially. Right. I hope I'm making sense. Yeah, but it's very easy when you start to see it as other audience sort of emerge that make an assumption that we're saying, oh, maybe I need to flex a little bit for them.

And I actually noticed it could have been in my head a little bit, but I noticed a bit of a drop off like I was losing some of the other people that actually were my avatar.

So that was an interesting kind of sort of shift, if you like, and sort of just a recognition and the importance of knowing who your audience is and being all in on that audience. And if other people come into that into your ecosystem, if you like, they're coming because they like the content.

Right. And not to make assumptions about what what they might want and changing it.

So I'm impressed with, you know, people that are able to do that and be all in on on their audience. And that's still still a lesson. Still something to catch myself doing.

Yeah, I think there's always improvement to be made, but I think it does take a lot of people make what you haven't made is thinking that you need to be all one thing. You need to be there's a gif and my head sort of maximum business. Right. Because nobody is there and people don't connect to that. And I think one of the things my clients often worry about in the beginning is that they're the hyperfocus on every single post. Thinking that there's one post is going to be the one that does everything.

But actually, it's the tapestry of these posts create over time as individual stitches to cause to create the impression. And I think that's what I like about your content, is there's lots of different color and texture in the stitches of your content, which go to create a really clear picture of who you are and what you're about and who you're for. And clearly everything you express to put your avatar. There's a lot of tick boxes on my list here.

So that's why it's working.

Yeah. Okay. Yeah. There you go. And that's that's great to hear. Appreciate it, Bob. Thanks.

But I imagine it wasn't always easy, so I'm quite keen to look at. Okay. Well, this is where you are now. But how did you get to this point where you are confident with all this content? I mean, I know you come from a sales background and leadership training background, but it doesn't necessarily mean you're happy putting a camera in front of your face or expressing personal things, either a written or picture or a video.

So as far as your content journey, like, you know, that's a that's a really good question to reflect on.

I I suppose, you know, if I if I go back to sort of started to put content out there, you know, you start with blogging like everybody does. You start blogging and then you hear of this. You know, there's people blogging. And I think, oh, probably should get on camera at some point to start doing that.

But right now, I mean, my conversations, I just keep posting, keep keep blogging and turning up. And I was I found that what worked for me was if I could turn up to a networking event and get a speaking opportunity, that that would generate leads and usually convert to business. Well, clearly, this year there are no speaking gigs.

So even my keynote, you know, paid gigs have all been cancelled. So says Bindert. So the only opportunity really has been to to get online and actually start to really take that seriously. So whilst I I've got online programs, I create one couple of years ago, I would say that that's probably been the hardest thing for me to do. You know, I always say to people, look, if if I was at a conference as an or an audio.

Member. Let's say it was the you know, you pronounce summit, right? And and Chris turned to me and said, hey, Andrew, one of our speakers has dropped out. I just wondered if you want to jump on the stage and do something.

Yeah, no, I'd love that.

Right. And you put that, you know, as soon as she put that camera in front of me and that red light goes on. I don't know what I'm going to say next. Like, I just I mean, I've got over it now. And I think doing live has helped with that because there's a well, there's a bit of structure. There's a little bit improvisation as well.

And I do a Q&A, so I don't know what questions are going to come. So that's helped flex the muscle around that. So I suppose I'm more natural now jumping on an Instagram story or doing something like that.

But I would say to you two to three years ago, I mean, it was so many times when I turn that camera on, looked at it and thought that.

Now I think we'll do to tomorrow. Let's let's leave it for another day. I actually ended up having to book somebody to fill me in. I've done it like Abers. I don't know Rob Balazs Abbas. I do.

Yes. Well, he's coming out of podcast. Is he a week's time? Yeah. He's such a great guy. Such a grand speaking tomorrow, actually.

But he's a good friend of his. As I say, I know him if he's listening. We hadn't ever met. We have never spoken. We have commented on each other's posts. That's as far as that's concerned. I don't know. But I will soon.

Yeah, well, I engaged with him actually for a while as my mentor and in the early days.

And he would say to me, just just get the camera. You know, you've got life linked in life. Just jump on just five minutes a day.

And I'm like, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, sure. And the accountability was going out the window.

So so what I ended up doing was just booking someone, which was quite an investment. But I knew that if I booked someone with the camera and the lights there, I had to do it. So I started doing that as a kind of starting point. And as I start to get more comfortable putting a content out, get some feedback, I've just found now that I can I've sort of developed the muscle.

So it's a message to anybody, anything really that, you know, get some of our comfort zone eventually starts to become comfortable. You know, there's still that little bit of fear, but the fear is more enjoyable rather than concerned about what people will think or if I say something stupid or whatever.

Yeah, I think that comfort zones are elastic. And I think you need to stretch them. But once you stretch them like elastic, once it's warmed up, it's actually much more flexible than you thought it was. Hundred percent. Yeah. Yeah. I use the analogy, my book actually. Yeah. The last line, if you hold it for stretch for a period of time, it's bigger when you let it go back to its comfort zone. So that's that's like us as human beings, we can go back to our comfort zone, but usually better than we were before.

So where are you finding your challenge now? Because obviously, you know, somebody who just sits around, they can hear this is easy. No, I can relax. Where are you finding your challenge at the moment?

Well, it's been a few challenges. I mean, again, I once had a challenge this year because of what's happened. But, you know, the majority of our work is face to face leadership programs. And, you know, that's just another business.

But that from a revenue perspective, you know, that that's a big part of my job. It's kind of my entrepreneurial side, if you like.

I've got I've scaled that and I've got people delivering those programs.

But this year, we just it's just been wiped out. So that that's been a challenge. And also, you know. Sort of knowing that we're quite vulnerable in that in that respect and to kind of think about how we can mitigate the risk of that, those sort of things happening in the future.

But the challenge right now.

It's a good question, I and I find it quite hard to to answer because we're in such a strange time reinventing, you know, reinventing and, you know, pits.

I would say probably the biggest challenge is.

You know, I still think I kept the imposter syndrome, you know, so more of a mindset challenge than a a physical problem, you know, around sales. Yes. You know, I've got a workshop and we we've got to get bums on seats. It's an online program. So there's a challenge around getting people into our sales funnel and get them on a phone call and, you know, talk them through the program, see if it's the right fit for them.

And and then hopefully them signing up. You know, that's a challenge in itself. But that's business. Right. But I think we all have that same challenge of.

Well, I feel it. Will I be able to do it?

You know, we'll people will enjoy it in all of those those kind of that inner voice that we all experience. And again, you know, I started life really when I moved into performance coaching as a sports psychologist. I was working with athletes as well. I still do work with athletes.

And that that voice is real. And it's just like and what I've learned, I suppose, over time is to to make sense of that voice, to try and see it as an ally rather than a villain, if you like.

Yeah. And so I it's it's still a challenge.

But I but I, I'm much quicker at being able to to turn things around and get refocused and and have that kind of positive view on things.

So one thing you mentioned earlier on was your book and you've sort of reference to four keys several times. Well, I haven't really nibbled into what that is at all. So I be quite keen for you to maybe explain in terms of burnout. What are the four keys? Tell me about the four keys. Well, I think how they come about and then and kind of how it started. So short short version is burnout is something that we've witnessed I've witnessed in my family.

So my father had a a good business. I come from a family of bakers. I was always be a baker. There's no doubt in my mind that I'd be a baker into my dad sold the business and he moved into construction. It was the eighties, as he did very well, built big houses. We lived in south east of England, Tommy Wells, so big houses in real time as wells, as we like to refer to it.

And my dad did very well. You know, we had very nice lifestyle.

But as quickly as he made his money, there was a crash in the 91 crash and he never really recovered from any.

Probably I'd let myself go a little bit and enjoyed the good life, you know, with the nice holidays, the rich dinners, you know, and all of that stuff. My dad was very he enjoyed that. And in 93, my dad said good night to me, ask me for a hug.

I declined, actually asked me three times. I was 16 at the time and he went off to bed now. Last time I saw. And he died of a heart attack aged 48. So.

So it's always been on my mind this this idea of being a business owner and entrepreneurism and how the effects it can have on the family, the health.

So I decided that I, I decide to be a business psychologist that point.

But I certainly decided I would go all in on my my hockey career and on life and live it sort of full and not do something that I didn't truly understand just to make money and die, which I think and sadly a lot people do.

So I spent 20 years with this on my mind. I actually worked at Yellow Pages for four years as a field sales consultant, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

That's an induction and a half. Exactly.

It was a I mean, I was selling induction into planning and and managing a day and and productivity. But the connection I made with a lot of these business owners, you know, I was dealing with bricklayers, plumbers, electricians, to some big businesses as well. And as I moved up the business, I got bigger accounts, but I would work with them for four years. We had that kind of continuity and sometimes you'd see this decline. I could see the brightest empathy for these business owners is natural empathy and probably because of my experience with my dad.

And so I really always felt like I wanted to be some sort of consultant rather than someone who's selling advertising, you know?

So that's kind of what I got this opportunity to be a performance coach which joined Blue Sky Performance Improvement. And and that's kind of where my career shifted.

By 2012, I'd. Well, actually, 2015 by this point, I'd written my first book, Managing the Mist. I was married with two children, Maya, my oldest daughter as well. From previous relationship, who now is 21.

So my wife was her stepmom. I was all in on the business growing the business.

I lost my business. 2012, I was travelling to the Middle East. America too. I was the head coach for Team GB for inline hockey. And so I did that for four years. We won a gold medal and I was, you know, just all in on all of that.

And, you know, I was like, look, it's my family said they must be so proud of me because I'm doing all these amazing things.

But in reality, I was I was putting more effort into the Jeab locker room than I was my own family. And I was pretty more offensive to my clients than I probably was my, you know, my relationship. And the long and short of it was, you know, ladies conversations, again, is kind of insidious.

You know, how it happened that my wife just turned around one day and said I didn't sign up for this. And in 2017, we separated and were just blindsided me.

I was like, well, hang on, wait, what are you leaving? We've been having this conversation two years. You know, you've just not been listening.

And and I was just so surprised that I kind of followed a similar pattern to my dad, really, although I wasn't drinking or anything like that. I, I was actually I was suffering with gout and my family joke about it. Because I might. My dad was tough. Like, he didn't complain about anything, anything he complained about when he got gout. And they joke about how the fact he didn't leave us any anything. You know, but you left Andrew out because it's something hereditary does.

And it does.

And I realize it just the more stressed I got in, I thought about diet and food and all these kind of things. But actually, it was just from stress and burnout and the inflammation in the body, which can lead to disease and so on. So that put me on a journey of kind of discovering nutrition and understanding nutrition.

And then coincide that with the relationship and so on. And I start talking to other business owners, you know, quite openly. And I said, hey, you know, this has happened. My wife left me, you know. And, you know, I know I'm a sportsman. I talk about leadership and how to create locker room spirit and all these kind of things. But my health is bad. Like I can even get in the gym, you know.

It was the most days where I can even put my feet down. I could get out of bed. I could, but I can put my feet on the floor not to phone clients up and say, look, I'm sorry, I'm just going to get a flu or something. I made something up. But, you know, it was embarrassing itself.

So I did want to say I'd got this inflammatory arthritis and gout and so on. So I realized something had to change.

And as I started to share it with other business owners, you know, as people were saying, yeah, this is really resonate with me. You know, my relationship is tough for, you know, I'm worried I'm not going to, you know, see my kids grow up because my I've just let my health go, you know, lost three years, been all in on a business. And what happened is through these conversations, I put a group of people together, about six business owners.

There was it was just a free sort of peer mentoring group, a mastermind, if you like.

And so I facilitated it, but it was all online and WhatsApp. And I just said, hey, look, let's me every morning at five a.m., right.

We'll wake up. Well, everyone they were up will try this meditation thing, you know, try and do the stuff that other people seem to be doing and it's helping them get some clarity. So we tried that. And because it was not fun, because, you know, people say, no, I meditate. I just fell asleep after five minutes or, you know, I mean to say. But I ended up worrying about my to do list or not.

So we just kind of playing with this thing and we got bit more mindfulness. And I saw Mark Divine, who an ex Navy SEAL took about box breathing. So introduce that so I don't box breathing in the morning.

We said we do a hip session everyday, you know, ten minutes we're not going to cross box and doing like an hour in the gym or like that. Just ten minutes, get a walk in and do something nice for our partner. So this time I was separate my wife and but I said, let's just put the kids at the center of it. Let's try and be a team around the kids as crept right environment for the kids. And I would just keep trying to do these.

I'd read books like The Love Languages and all this kind of stuff and acts of service and words of appreciation, which I understood with my my wife's motivations for getting into this territory that I'd never been in. I mean, this is this is all like woo woo stuff, right? I was a psychologist. You know, you just get processes in place, get some metrics in place, hit the numbers, you know, build good client relationships.

And now I'm bringing this whole thing together into kind of one salient thing. And and that's how the four keys was born. It's like, all right, we're going to do something in our business. Some can of body. You can do some relationships. We do some can I mindset.

I'm going to do it daily. And we create visions with vision boards.

And we did 90 day game plans and then looking at how we can win daily structure all day. And the guys which are it's like this is just amazing. You know, you've got to do some you know, write a book or something about this or so.

All the stuff that we talked about, the case studies, all in the book. And I talk about that group and how is born. And as part of my 90 day game plan, it was actually my year vision. I talked about how I wanted to get fitter and healthier, reduce inflammation. My body's like, that was a goal.

I'd I've talked about how I'd imagined as deludes it seemed at the time because I was like related with right off that we would have an apartment in Prague and we would, you know, be a happy family one day. And, you know, and if you ask my wife now, she's like, there's just no chance that happening. Right. That moment had gone right. And I had some goals with the business.

I wanted an online business. I wanted to write book.

I wanted to kind of scale the business.

And somehow these things just started to happen, you know, through doing this stuff daily. And it was just it was just an incredible experience. So by so that was tough. End of 2017, 2019. January 9th, I published the Four Keys.

And in on December twenty ninth, my wife and I and two children move to Prague. And we are probably happier than we've ever been in our life, you know.

So it's the emotional bank account was definitely in it in deficit over this time of being patient. And that's a big part of this program. It's you know, it's been patient, been patient with.

People around us and so on. I think that's a great story and I think it's a prime example of the compound effect over time. A lot of the time we try little things here and there. We push buttons and see what happens. But it's consistently showing up in the right places over time. Make any efforts in the right places over a period of time that they start to really have an effect.

So, yeah, you're playing the long game.

The compound effect is real like that. You know, when we first doing it, we were like, this is gonna be amazing.

If we do if we do for 90 day game plans a year, we are at it again. We are going to, like, blow it out. You know, I mean, it can be incredible, but actually it's impossible.

And that's the point about comfort and stretch. You know, you stretch yourself for 90 days. Go back to your comfort zone and you better, faster, fitter, healthier, related to stronger, et cetera. Businesses got a better pipeline or this kind of stuff. But actually, what we found is that we could just do one or two a year. And if we did one in January, for example, some really aggressive action for 90 days, then we would experience that compound effect for the following nine months.

I think it's something that something Daniel Priestley often talks about is having a campaign led business that you need to run several campaigns through the year. And the 90 day plan within the business context sounds brilliant as all these other contexts as well. Yeah, I mean, I think I read your book. He looked really good.

Yeah, well, I mean, that was the thing. I think once we realized that it wasn't just a 90 day target for the business, it was a 90 day target for our health and a 90 day target for our relationships and a 90 day target for our mindset. Now, we kind of got this thing in balance. So we I talk about devoting equal time, really. It's it's devoting equal attention. You know, it's not like splitting your day into quarters and saying, right, I've done my business bit.

Now I'm pulling on a family. But what I have found is that I seem to be working less hours, you know, than I was before. For sure. I mean, I've seen this, but last year, you know, when it was, you know, said that whilst I think the four hour work week is it is a bit ambitious, I get what Tim Ferriss is talking about, about this kind of outsourcing and scaling a business that way.

But I do believe there's a there's an opportunity for the solo opener, for the, you know, the business owner who is crying it what they might refer to as a lifestyle business, but actually a very robust business.

I think you can. I think you can generally do these things in less time. And there was more time. You have to put more hours in, you know, bits. But I think the opportunities there for for a different type of lifestyle now. And I really hope that this moment in time, as is, encourage people to think that way.

Well, I hope it has. And I hope anybody listening. Well, maybe sort of look at what they're doing and thinking, well, have I got things in balance? Have I. Are there balls? I'm regularly dropping and maybe have a bit of a think of a way that might be. And I think many of the answers will be found in his four keys. I think it's a very elegant way of bringing everything together. It's it's obviously a synergy of lots of different things that are out there.

But a lot of. But everything is. And you've put that into a framework that's very easy to understand. And that's actually the hardest thing.

It's it's not been easy, actually, to kind of shape it into what it is now, but it's evolved. And I think any business owner out there that's got a product, you know, to get it out there, you know, we I put it out there, put a mastermind together and thought there's something in this.

And and it's shaped and evolved. And I got feedback and like this don't like that, you know? And I think that it was a lesson in shipping your product, you know, using a Seth Godin analogy, you know, just get it out there and ship and then and then make sure you're giving yourself a chance to get some feedback. And I'm sure it will evolve even further.

So if people want to take things further with you, how can how would you like them to connect with you?

I would I would head over to the Web site. Andrew Sellitto dot com. Because on there you'll find the podcast. You'll find interviews that I've had. So like with Seth Godin, for example. And I got him to talk about stress and he gives a very, very nice definition of what he believes stresses.

So I it's just a place it's full of content. So whether it's blogs, podcasts, live shows, it's it's all there.

So Andrew set its own aside double l ITV dot com. And I would say that's the best place to go.

And you will find a link in the show notes. So just click on your player, click show notes. You'll find a link there. Click. It is a very, very vibrant, rich Web site full of great content. And I don't see that very often because many aren't as genuinely as. Thank you, Bob. So, Andrew, one question I try and ask everybody. Towards the end of the interview is what's one thing you do now that you wish you?

Started five years ago. It would have to be. I could look it in four different ways. But from a business perspective, it would have to be just getting on. Getting on the video. I mean, I had so much content, but then I had a book. The opportunity was right in front of me. And I could have been way ahead of the game if I'd perhaps believed in myself a bit more or believed in the idea.

So, yeah, I definitely got a head start on that.

So this is a very fresh answer for me because, well, it's pertinent for me right now. I'm making my first steps into video and I'm curious to know why you've given us. The answer, obviously is very fulfilling doing video. It's a big threshold to cross. So I'm curious to know what impact building muscle has had. Well, I think it's still still evolving for me.

And actually the strategic side of it, you know, so we're making sure that there is a content strategy in place. And perhaps that's what I didn't have. I just thought it was. And maybe that's why I did buy into it. Maybe that's what you're reading into, though, being a results orientated person. I just thought, why would I put video out? You know, I'm much better off having three meetings a day in London and and closing some deals, you know, that that's rather than kind of having to do a video, edit a video or someone edit, you know.

So I probably didn't see the value in it, whereas now I would probably experience more of that compound effect. So if I if I'd started started sooner and put some metrics around it.

So I'm quite excited about the next phase in that for me, because, you know, I blinked and is is my main playing ground and I've been putting video out, but I've never really had a strategy. So now I'm thinking, right. I've got a strategy for putting content out and I can measure it and I can see which ones work and which ones don't. And I can see how this how I'm getting people into my into a funnel and leading them to to a an offer.

So I suppose what you're hearing is that if I didn't see the value five years ago, whereas I see the value now in hindsight and if I had the right strategy and right metrics around it. No, that makes a lot of sense. And again, I resonate with a lot of a hundred who've been a fantastic guest. I'm so grateful for your time. Can't you even a fantastic host. You're the best kassner. Thanks for your time. I can't wait to meet you again.

Yeah, likewise, Bob. It's been a pleasure. When I say the phrase scaling a business, there are all kinds of cliches which bring to mind. Yes. We need to work hard, but we don't have to do that and sacrifice everything else. It's not all about self care either. Maybe it's about balancing the challenges across all four keys and growing ourselves as well as our business. Before I go, just a quick reminder to subscribe. And if you haven't, then join our Facebook group.

You'll find a link in the show, notes or visit, amplify me dot ffm forward slash insiders. I would love for you to connect with me on social media. You'll find me wherever you hang out. Just search at Bob Gentle. If you do, then message me. Let me know and I can follow you back. If you enjoyed the show, then I would love for you to review it. Whichever player you're using, whether it's I choose Stitcher, Google podcasts, whichever player you're using.

If you can drop a review on there, it helps that player understand. This is a podcast that matters to you and it really helps me a lot. My name's Paul Gentle. Thanks again to Andrew for giving us his time this week and to you for listening. I'll see you next week.

Overview

A lot of business owners find that they eventually hit a revenue ceiling. The actual amount or value of that ceiling varies. It can be a puzzle why some people break through and others bounce off it like birds off a window, failing to build revenue beyond a certain point. What got you there won't get you where you’re dreaming about. You need a new strategy and a lot of the time it's a sales strategy which is missing.

This week my podcast guest is Jessica Lorimer. Jess helps smart people sell into corporates and in this week's show she's going to share how she does this in some very actionable ways. She lifts the lid on her business and will show you exactly how she built it. Jess is a great case study in doing something seemingly simple, courageously and very well.

About Jessica

Jessica Lorimer is the UK's leading sales coach, teaching entrepreneurs how to sell their services to corporate organisations. Having been featured in Forbes, CityAM and We Are The City, Jessica runs two podcasts and is a well known speaker and author in the sales sphere.

Links and mentions

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Automatic Audio Transcription

Business owners find that they eventually hit a revenue ceiling. The actual amount of that ceiling varies and it can be a puzzle why some people break through that ceiling and others bounce off it like birds off a window. Failing to build revenue beyond a certain point. What got you there? Will get you where you're dreaming about. You need a new strategy. A lot of the time it's a sales strategy that's missing. This week, my guest is Jess Lorimar.

And Jess helps smart people sell into corporates. And in this week's show, she's going to share how she does this and some very actionable ways. She left the lid on her business. And we'll show you exactly how she built hers, too. Jess is a great case study and doing something seemingly simple courageously and very well. Hi there. And welcome back to Amplify the Digital Marketing Entrepreneurs podcast. I'm Bob Gentle. And every Monday I am joined by amazing people who share what makes their business work.

If you're new to the show, then take a second right now to subscribe a new player so you don't miss new episodes and you can grab some older ones when you're done with this one. Don't forget as well to join our Facebook community, just visit, Amplifyme.fm/insiders and you'd be taken right there. So welcome along. And let's meet Jess. So this week, I'm delighted to welcome Jessica Lorimer to the podcast. Jessica runs a business called Smart Meters Sale.

Jessica, why don't you tell us a little bit about who you are, where you are and the kind of work you do now.

Thank you for having me. I'm really excited to be here. So I am a sales coach. I am one of those awful people who spend all of their days teaching sales strategies to customers around the globe. I specifically focus on helping service based entrepreneurs sell their services into corporate organizations around the globe.

I was particularly keen to speak to you because to be honest, you could throw a tennis ball in some situations and hit a sales coach.

Yes, 100 percent. And there are a lot of us who are good and there are a lot of us who are terrible. So it really depends on who you hit on any given day.

But I know you're good because you've worked with lots of my friends. And the one thing you're really well known for is helping people sell into corporates, which is something I would like to unpack a little bit. But maybe if you tell me a little bit about what does your typical customer look like, how do you spend your days?

So I would give myself the definition of being the lazy entrepreneur. I think in sales, it's one of those aspects that we all try and look for as salespeople to find the easiest and quickest way to reach the goal. And that's how I've approached my business over the last six years, was the easiest and quickest way for me to do things. So my days primarily are spent either coaching clients or watching that flicks. I'll be honest, that's pretty much how I roll.

Occasionally I go to my Logemann. I've got an allotment now, so I'm spending more time outdoors, which I think has been good for me. But in all seriousness, I'm somebody who I like to make life easy for myself. So we've we're having this conversation today and I'm on my content creation week. I spend one week of every month, the first week creating all of my content, podcasts, newsletters, you know, any kind of email marketing or launch promotional material that I need.

And then I don't have to look at it for another five or six weeks. And that is an absolute joy for me.

And I can just spend that time on clients instead his time blocking to the max that it's the lazy way. But it works.

Yeah, I think there's so many dominoes falling in my head just from that. I think a lot of people come to that. Content creation in particular in a knee jerk fashion is not really very well planned. Then there are some people who manage time blocking. And then there's what you are doing, which is really just saying, OK, in one week we'll get it all done so that you can really have your head clear for other things. It's really quite nice.

It's really relaxing, actually, and it means that if I do need to create anything that's reactive. So, you know, we're in a time period where the world is changing on an almost daily basis right now. And so actually, a lot of people have had to move launches and things because they didn't have their content created. And then they spent a lot of time creating that knee jerk or reactive organic content to respond to current situations. Whereas with the way that I work, I'm lucky.

Everything is planned down and everything is done. So when something happens that I want to react to, I can. And it doesn't take a ton of time and energy out of my day. And it doesn't mean I have to let something else go in order to make that happen.

I can see her for things like Instagram stories does actually leave you free with the headspace to properly engage in 100 percent. Yeah, I really like. I'm gonna have to go and do some work.

It's really good. And the first month that you do it is horrible because that you spend one week creating content and it just feels like an absolute grind. But once you've done it and you experience an entire four weeks of not having to, you know, sit there on Wednesday and think, oh, God, what do I have to write my newsletter today? Actually, it's so much easier. So I'm about two months ahead now. And I say that with all the smugness, that is too bad.

It feels great. I'm just like, wow, I could sit here and technically take August off and, you know, and that would be wonderful.

So a lot of people listening to the show will obviously be sitting there scratching their head saying, but she's in sales and she's better than me at content marketing. That's fine. Guys, you're just gonna have to suck that up.

No, I'm just lazy. And I think guys like you will put lots of effort into it. And I'm just like, look, I just I just want to make it happen in the easiest way possible.

But what I'd like to understand is how you bring that to sales and sales training, because it's one thing being greater content marketing, but content marketing isn't inherently profitable. So how do you bring that same laziness into sales strategy?

So that's a question I've actually never been asked, and I love it. By the way, say thank you for asking me. Say. Inherently is not difficult. And, you know, for those of you who are listening who would consider yourselves marketers, I have to be clear that marketers are much more intelligent than salespeople. Okay. I think that there are very, very big differences in the way that salespeople operate to the way that marketers operate and the way that we think.

So I've been quite honest right from the start of this, that I always look for the easy and the simple way to hit my goal, whether that's revenue goal or a marketing goal or whatever that that looks like. The problem is that most business owners don't see sales as being something that is inherently comfortable, and that's where the problem lies.

So every human being will look at something that is simple. You know, you're riding a bike, driving a car, making a sale, whatever that happens to be. And if they don't find it comfortable, they will find ways to make it more complicated because that cave man part of our brain doesn't feel safe, you know, in it. And it still feels like we're about to run away from a dinosaur because it doesn't differentiate between dinosaurs and actually being in a quite safe environment, but feeling discomfort.

So when it comes to making sales easy and simple, what we have to do first is think about and acknowledge the fact that it's uncomfortable and that we're going to feel uncomfortable when we make sales. Simple, right? Does that make sense? So perfect sense will feel the discomfort and we'll do it anyway. That stops a lot of the later problems with over complication. Because if we accept from the beginning that this is going to be an uncomfortable process, we don't have to add in tons of extra steps to try and make it more palatable.

Right. So what I mean by that is lots of people, especially when the teaching sales online, will teach varying degrees of complexity when it comes to creating funnels and things, because funnel is inherently designed to make you, the salesperson, feel more comfortable making the sale and less likely to get rejected. And they are designed to allegedly make the buyer feel more comfortable and more palatable about the journey that they're taking.

Now, there are degrees of truth, obviously, to that, but I believe in making it really simple and sticking to the premise that actually all sales is is identifying a problem and offering a solution.

Now, at what point you offer the solution is up to you. So if you're somebody who is trying to avoid discomfort, you're probably going to wait a lot longer to offer a paid solution because you feel uncomfortable. And that in turn, you don't want to reflect onto your buyer. So you try and get these micro commitments, like getting them to download a freebie or getting them to buy a lower ticket or lower entry offer first and move from that to try and make the process more palatable.

Whereas as a sales person, we don't necessarily have you know, once you become a salesperson, you've done it for a number of years.

You don't worry so much about rejection and you accept that you may or may not feel comfortable and that you're going to have to at some point ask the sale. So you generally ask for a lot quicker. And that means that as soon as somebody asks me or they say, Jess, I've got a problem with this, if I have a solution rather than try and get them to jump through a bunch of hoops to find the solution, I'm just gonna tell them about it and I'm going to say, okay, cool.

Well, there are two ways you can fix your problem. You can either go ahead, you can Google, you can find all these resources. You can go through them and you can think about that and maybe implement it, maybe not, and then see what results you get and come back to me. Or I have this thing. It costs you this. These are the exact transformations you're going to get. And as an independent adult, it's totally your choice whether you want to buy that or not.

How do you feel? I think what I'm interested to find out, because two people can make the same offer. Mm hmm. And one person will succeed where the other will fail. And if everything else is equal, then the value perception is what will be the differentiator? And how do you work with people around that? There are actually inherent value. It's American tanks.

Yeah. Now, one hundred percent, you make sense. So value and perceived value is always going to be tricky because it's always on the buyer as to what their perception is. And really, when we talk about offers, it's not the offer that is inherently valuable. It's the pain that the current problem is causing them. So actually, it's not about your offer per say at all. It's actually about how well you do when it comes to qualifying.

Just how much pain that. Or how much they want to solve their problem in the first place. Does that make sense? Yes. So, for example, two people could have exactly the same offer. But because one of them has asked an extra question about, for example, like what timeframe would you like to solve that problem in or how much impact is this problem currently having on your life or your business? Because they've gone that extra step and they have that extra piece of information.

That buyer has already self identified the true impact of the problem that they're facing. They automatically want to solve it more. And so even if the offers are exactly the same, they're more predisposed to go with the person who they feel understands their pain more accurately and who they can then trust to provide a solution that they think is going to provide better experience. The office can be exactly the same. They could be exactly the same wording in the offers.

You can have the exact same transformations that you talk about, but it's that questioning piece that actually makes the difference.

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I guess another question that I think a lot of people might resonate with is if you're if you're accustomed to selling to corporates and I use the example of agencies because that's my background. But this will apply in any business. There are those agencies who just sell to corporates. That's just what they normally do because they've always done it. And they came from a company where that was what they did before. And you've got sort of generations of people who sell to corporates through as agencies.

And then you've got those who don't because they never did. They've never been trained. They don't know the language. They don't have the vocabulary. And so the barriers are probably mainly psychological, but they don't have the orientation around the tendering process, the pitching process and all the rest of it. How would you work with somebody to sort of move in to selling to corporate where they just never have before? I guess that's the question.

A lot of it's a good question. No, no, no, no. That's not what at all. It's always one that I get asked because a lot of people worry about it. Right. We we worry naturally when we don't know how to do something, where it's going to be harder or more complicated or more difficult. The reality is the selling to corporate is is obviously different than selling to individuals, but not for the reasons that people think.

So people can often get caught up in thinking, I can't sell to corporate organizations because I have to use a load of jargon that I don't know yet or, you know, I'll have to wear a suit and I don't want to do that, or I'm going to have to go in and work face to face and not have flexibility to, you know, work my own terms. And the reality is that organizations have shifted, I mean, drastically in the last four months alone.

But over the past 10 years, organizations have shifted and they're not necessarily looking for people that as suppliers who come from a corporate background.

Now, don't get me wrong, some companies will be some companies we like. Right. Especially if you're trying to target financial services organizations or particular industries that have specialist needs, particularly when it comes to like regulations and rules.

But for the most part, it's the same application of sales that we see when we're selling B2C business to consumer. People buy from people. So if you're talking to stakeholders in a company they're looking for, does this person understand my problem? Are they courteous when they talk to me? Are they polite? Are they genuinely interested and invested in the company that I work for and the problem that we have and the solution that we want? And do I like them?

You know, they somebody that I want to work with. I want to give business to that. I'm going to want to answer emails wrong.

We held an event last year converting corporate. And we had a hiring manager panel there. And one of our attendees actually asked the hiring manager panel this question and said, like, if I haven't come from a corporate background, how do I start? And one of them just looked at the participants, said, be human. And I thought that that was such a brilliant piece of advice. And we extrapolated on it and explained like selling to corporate is a lot about understanding who you are as a person and not being afraid to ask questions and say when you don't understand something and say, oh, actually, I'm not sure what KPI means.

For example, I'm not sure what PNL is or, you know, how does that work in your particular company? And it's also about being human when it comes to having a consultative sales approach and telling a stakeholder when that plan isn't necessarily correct. And. Being unafraid to say it's great that you're already making a start in this area. But I have to say that I don't necessarily think this is gonna provide you with the outcome that you're looking for.

Would you be okay if we explored different solutions? So, you know, don't don't worry about not having come from a corporate background. Instead, think about the skills that you do have and how you can apply them to the parts of the process that sellings corporate takes. So, you know, obviously with with every sale you make or every sales coach out there is going to tell you they've got some kind of foolproof system. And I'm no different.

I'm in sales. What can I say? But when you're selling, you know, when you're selling to corporates, the first thing you've got to understand is, are you clear?

Are you clear on what you're selling and who you're selling that to? So that's no different than when you're selling business to consumer. OK. Who are you? What are you selling? Who are you selling that to? The second part of selling to corporates. Is that we have to look at lead generation. So we have to look at. Okay, now that we understand what industry we're targeting. How do we actually find the right people to speak to, you know, how do we generate leads?

Now, I'm a big fan because I'm a sales person and we're quite direct of proactively generation. And, you know, I love, for example, cold calling, which I know makes 90 percent of the population cringe. But I just got a real kick from it. So, you know, that might be my method of lead generation, but somebody else might absolutely hate that. And they might want to spend time on LinkedIn or they want might want to spend time creating an email marketing campaign that's going to generate quality leads.

But again, how have you do it is up to you. And that isn't necessarily very different from business consumer either. The bit where it gets different is when we start talking about practical sales skills. Yeah. So when we start talking about business development course, for example, that's very different than selling B2C, because when you're on a business development call, what we're doing with a corporate stakeholder is walking them through situational fluency, gathering ideas and insights about the organization they work for and what kind of problems they have.

And then we're moving them into pain questions and impact questions. We're asking specific questions about specific pain points that they might have and ultimately defining the impact that that problem has on their team or their organization as a whole. What we do after that is use that information to co construct a solution that benefits that stakeholder. That organization according to budgets and timeframes and all of that kind of thing. And that's where it's different because actually what we what we get trained into doing in the business to consumer world is almost becoming an order taker.

Right. What can happen on sales calls with individuals or solo partners is getting into this conversation where the buyer thinks that they are controlling the conversation and they're looking for the salesperson to justify why should I spend my individual hard earned cash on X? What is it going to do for me? Why should I buy this from you instead of X from Y person? Whereas when we're talking to or when we're selling to corporate stakeholders, it's not their money. Right.

That's the first thing we get to identify is not their money. They're not personally attached to it. What they are personally attached to is the potential of solving that problem. From a practical perspective of if I solve the problem. My work pains might go away. But also from a glori perspective, if I solve this problem, I'm gonna look great at work.

So actually, the conversation that you have in a business development call is not about being an order taker. It's not about justification. It's actually all about questioning and demonstrating your expertise without having to say all the time. I'm an expert at this because I've got this amount of qualifications and I've written X amount of books or I've done eczema things. It's about the quality of the questions that you ask that make them realize and understand. This person knows what they're talking about.

And yes, I want to give them money to solve this problem.

I think that's a really beautifully put illustration. I think I've made a list of questions. I really struggling to know which one to go to next. But I do recall I've been on the receiving end of that kind of sales conversation in the past, and you definitely feel like you've been taken on a journey to help you understand your problem and that there are solutions out there. It's very, very different from somebody that somebody is simply trying to hustle you.

But do you ever get the accusations of you're just trying to manipulate me?

Yeah. Hundred percent. And I love that because isn't it great health where people are now and how much more cynical they are now? So actually, as a sales person, you get to hone your skills and you get to explain to somebody or show them in in a better way and demonstrate how good sales looks. You know, often I'll I'll cold call just for fun because I enjoy it and I like to keep my skills relevant. But I cold call sometimes and people will absolutely say, oh God, not another one.

And I always say to people when they say that I'm like, oh, how many of these calls have you had this week out of interest? And they're like, I don't know, like five, 10 maybe. And I always say, And how many people out of those 10 do you think are going to keep calling you back? And they always laugh because the answer is always very close to zero. And I always say that I'm like, well, guess what?

I'm gonna call you every four weeks for the next, like, twelve months. And by the end of it, I promise you that you going to know each of the really well. And B, you are definitely gonna have paid me some money and they always laugh. They're like, oh my goodness, this woman is either insane or supremely confident that she's actually going to do what she says she can do. And I think. People worry so much about being seen as the sleazy salesperson.

Yeah. Okay, it's not pleasant. But the reality is often people haven't experienced good sales processes. So why wouldn't you want to overcome their objections by simply showing up and by saying, OK, cool. Well, you might think right now because you don't know me that I'm never going to call you back or that actually, you know, it's not worth having a conversation with me because I'll never remember anything you say. And I'm just gonna try and pitch you a load of stuff that's irrelevant.

But tell you what, for the next three months, I'm going to show up once a month and I'm going to call you and I'm going to show you the act. I do care about your organization and actually I do care about the problems you are having. And actually, I do list and then I do I say I'm gonna do. And in doing that, you change their perception not only of you, but of salespeople as a whole.

And I think that's that's a really powerful thing.

It absolutely is. And I think from a business owners perspective, I remember I was not that long ago, I used to run a reasonably good sized company and it continuously frustrated me because despite what a lot of people might think about me, I'm quite introverted. I'm actually like you that I really enjoy cold calling and I enjoy selling. I love that.

It's all introverts. We love a cold.

A lot of my team would often think, how can you do that? It just but put in a lot of businesses. Many people don't understand the importance of selling if you can't connect your value with the people that need it. And create a clear path for that transaction to happen. You may as well not be in business. And if you can do it with a smile on your face in a way that brings joy to your customer from a human perspective, that does mastery.

And that's what you've described really clearly.

I think you have to find a way that you enjoy something like you've just said, if you don't have a clear sales process in your business. If you can't make money, you don't have a business. You have a very expensive hobby. And that can only last for so long. And while sales you might view is as being an evil, it's a necessary one. And so you might as well try and find a way to make it work for you or to make it fun or at least interesting so that you continue doing it, because otherwise you don't get to do the stuff that you actually like, which is, you know, for me, the bit of my business that is absolutely best is working with my clients.

You know, the other stuff is all fine and I'll do it know I'll do the content creation, I'll do the the inevitable hiring and firing and all that kind of thing of team members. But that's not the bit that I love. I love working with clients. I love the stuff that I get to strategize on. So in order to do more of that, I have to sell. That's how it works. And that's just the cycle.

So a lot of people, when they come to sales or they fall into a role where they have no choice. They understand the theory, the northern mechanics and making the call. They get to that point where somebody says, okay, how much is it? And that can be in writing. That can be in a pitch. That can be in a proposal. But there's this sort of gag reflex when you come to actually say the price. I think when you're working with corporates, as you said, it's not their money.

So once you actually get into that mindset with, you know, they're not having an emotional reaction to your price. So you probably don't need to anymore. How do you work people through that process?

So here's the thing. I want to be expensive. I've always wanted to be expensive. And so people often worry about naming a price because they think, what if I am too expensive or what if I'm not expensive enough? All these thoughts go through our heads.

The reality is, it's none of our business what somebody else's finances look like, whether that's a corporate stakeholder and whatever their budget happens to be, or whether that is an individual who is is thinking about what they want to pay out that month. So when we talk about getting okay with pricing, it's not actually them that ask. We're okay with it. It's just you getting used to saying it and developing a habit. And actually, when we look at it like that, instead of being emotionally attached to it, it becomes much easier.

So one of the first things I was get my clients to do is just stand in front of the mirror every morning, just five minutes every morning, and just say your prices as if you were saying them to a stakeholder. Because part of the reason we get so worked up about it is because we're saying it to somebody else and we're worried about what they might think. And so because we start worrying, we then get really awkward and then we start breathing much quicker.

We start talking much more rapidly when we say the price. We immediately jump in with her. But don't worry, because we've got 50 percent off this month. And that's all fine. And if you do it here, then we'll give you this extra bonus do. And we don't give them time to even think about the decision that they may. Because we are so worried about saying no, so this thing you can do is every morning stand in front the mirror and talk to yourself as if you were a stakeholder.

Bonus points. If you've got other people in your house you can do this with. I regularly do it with my dog. Right. Hey, Max, just sit there and look at me in a discerning way and get used to saying, okay, if you if you would like to take this solution, which gives you X, Y, Z in terms of transformation, then the investment for that is going to be ten thousand pounds, 20000 pounds, whatever the number is.

And then just practice looking at yourself whilst you are silent because it's really hard and it's really awkward and it's really uncomfortable. There is nothing worse than watching yourself be uncomfortable about talking about money. Yeah, but the more that you do it, the easier it becomes. And I'd rather everybody have to sit and look at themselves in the mirror thinking, oh, my goodness, what an idiot I look like. Then sitting on a sales call thinking, oh, God, this is so awkward.

And they can see it in my body language and in how I'm reacting, because that's the bit that's going to lose you the sale. Ultimately, you know what wins what wins sales conversations is not necessarily can we get everything that we want for the budget that is exact. It's the confidence with which you deliver the message. It's the confidence with which you talk about the translations that they're going to achieve, the belief that you put behind that, and then the confidence with which you deliver the price and the investment.

And the best way that you can do that is to just practice.

That makes so much sense. I think certainly it's the same. The price is one thing, but actually what happens next? That's some being prepared for that. Is everything that you don't automatically jump in to try and fill the silence in order to excuse the other person the embarrassment of having to react.

But that's the thing. Why are we all so oh, why do we always want everything to be so pleasant? Right. I think that's a really hard thing to say, isn't it? Because people worry about discomfort so much that we actively avoid all costs. But sometimes in avoiding it, we actually make it more uncomfortable, because if we give that person the space to just have a moment to think about the price that you've suggested, the value that they're going to get and how they feel about the rest of the solution.

Actually, that's not uncomfortable for them. That's just considerate. But if we start jumping down with price reductions and bonuses and, you know, not giving them space to think, we automatically program that person to assume that we'll worried about having this conversation, which means we are not confident in something, which means that maybe the price isn't right and maybe they shouldn't buy from us.

Yeah, that's that's what makes perfect sense.

I think when it comes to that piece, just to pick up there on that piece, after you've set the price, what do you do?

I think it's important a give give the person space to think about it, give the person space to understand exactly what it is you're saying, but also particularly for selling to corporates, know that negotiation isn't a bad thing. That is absolutely not an indication of your value. If they come back and they say, we'd really love this, but we want it to be this price or we only want to pay this margin. It's not a reflection of your value.

And it's actually something that's really, really useful to practice, like start putting your prices a little higher than you would normally because it gives you some wiggle room when it comes to negotiation. Negotiation is a way for a client, a sometimes to hit the budgets that they want and genuinely hit targets that they need to meet and be. It's a way for them to feel like they've won. And we often underestimate like how how little corporate stakeholders get to win in their jobs.

So sometimes it's worth factoring in just that extra couple of percent so that you can let them negotiate and feel like they've really worked hard to get a great deal. So they feel like they've not only gotten the best solution, but they've also gotten the best price and also to make sure that you actually keep the margin that you were looking for from that sale as well.

Time reminds me of a Japanese design trick. Oh, it's very cool that it's actually it's exactly the same principle that Japanese design is all about detail and intricacy. But what the and they've been doing this for a very long time. And one of is sort of traditional principles, as you always leave a mistake and obvious mistakes with a declining. And walk in and they can go home. We need to fix the mess. They fix it. And then the client can stand back and say, I know it's perfect.

I love that. And what you're doing it with your pricing there is very, very similar really need.

But it is you know, we have to remember that people like to feel good about sales processes. You know, we hate to be sold, too, but we love to buy type thing. I think it was exactly the said that, wasn't it? It might not be. By the way, don't quote me on that again. Salespeople, not particularly bright. So, you know, any quote I give, I'll try and credit all wrestling.

But. But it's true. You know, people love to buy things even if it's not stuff for them. They want to be involved. And the reason that people love to buy is not because we particularly all thrive off of materialism and getting stuff.

But sales as as a process and as an experience is something that is inherently human that we don't get to do all often. And that is why sales people are paid a lot of money in good sales people is because actually it requires a degree of emotional intelligence and knowing how to make somebody feel good. Every part of the process, whether that's letting them feel like they've won a certain part or whether it's making them feel hurt in a day where generally people just talk at them and want something from them and they you, while giving them an outlet to vent and to talk about things that are important to them, but they can't seem to communicate to other people.

Is sales is is this process where people get to feel heard? They get to feel valued as the customer. They get to feel for however long that sales process is that they are the top priority, that they getting attention. And that's something that we don't get very often in the world anymore, not in a world where, you know, social media has become very transactional to it to a certain degree. And, you know, there's this constant competition for attention to be given time dedicated specifically to you.

And your problem is something that is so valuable and that we just underestimate every day.

So something I'd like to look at. No. His most people do business comes home on one of three paths. It's either referrals, lots of people, referrals, all they get and they build their whole business around referrals. And then there are others where it's entirely inbound, either through Facebook cards or content marketing. And then there's the more traditional outbound selling. And I'm always intrigued to understand where people are on that spectrum or what that mix looks like.

And I'm imagining for you that that's probably different now to where it maybe was a few years ago. But maybe what did that mix look like for you and how has it changed over the last few years?

It's really interesting because I I switched my business last year, actually, literally two days ago. Last year, I set up my selling to corporate podcast to switch the business from being more about psychological sales skills to specifically teaching entrepreneurs, households, corporates. And that was because I've been doing it privately. My dog clearly doesn't think it's that interesting, but I've been doing it privately for a number of years for private clients and in my own business, and just hadn't talked about it publicly and decided that it was definitely the route I wanted to go down.

So six years ago when I started my business and I was very much about the online space and funnels and all of that kind of thing, a lot of my business came through that inbound marketing. You know, I was creating a lot of content. I was doing a lot with Facebook ads and things. And then obviously referrals. Now, my business is a lot about referrals and outbound marketing. You know, it's me proactively having discussions and having conversations and starting ways of generating those clients proactively.

And it's actually what I really enjoy. And for my clients, it's the same. They're proactively starting conversations, proactively generating leads, proactively targeting stakeholders that they want to talk to, because ultimately that leads to a much better, much more seamless sales experience. That feels really tailored for the buyer. And it is also easier to do, particularly when you're selling it to corporate organizations. So I'd say I do a lot of that and I have a lot of referrals.

I'm really, really fortunate that my clients are just great human beings. They end up doing really well and then they are always being asked, like, who taught you how to sell to corporates? And so they're always talking about me and always introduce. Two different people and sending referrals by way, which I massively appreciate. And so it's kind of shifted dramatically for me over the last probably 18 months.

It's very unusual, actually, because the transition that you've described is one that's usually the other way around.

Yes. But interestingly, I think because you you have to sales piece nailed down, it makes total sense because, you know, the clients you want, you know how to to bring them in. It's much quicker, much more effective for you to just build a relationship than it is to try and slowly woo somebody through Facebook. It's exciting. So it makes perfect sense.

And for me, I'm quite an impatient person. I don't want to have to wait for somebody to go through six different Facebook cards. And, you know, download a bunch of freebies before they decide if they want to work with me or not. I want people to know, hey, I genuinely think that what you're doing is really valuable. I genuinely think what you're doing is really interesting. And, you know, there could be an opportunity there for you to explore adding a corporate revenue stream to a business if you're open to that discussion.

Let me know if you're not. Also, let me know. That's totally fine. But having that ability to recognize people and again, make them feel valued, make them feel seen. Is it something that is powerful and it is useful to them and it highlights something that they might not have recognized in their own business? And equally, it's also a really good opportunity for people to exercise their boundaries if they want to and say, actually, just.

I'm just not interested in that. Or actually I am really interested in that.

Is it totally up to them? This is my super nosy question. But I guess what I'm wondering is obviously if this is a revenue portfolio related question, I'm not looking for numbers, but I'm curious to know, what do you have on the shelf for people to actually buy?

Oh, I will 100 percent give you numbers. That's the bonus being salesperson. We don't hide anything. So for me, it's really interesting. I came from having a really, really successful business up until I say up until I'm making out like I'm not successful now, but I'm sober 18 months ago when I switched everything over. I had really consistent income. And then one day I burned my business down. So I did something that you should never, ever do unless you're a salesperson and know how to sell effectively, because then it's a little bit less risky.

When I burnt my business down, I decided that I was only going to sell three things. And that comes from a woman who used to have 27 different funnels and one year created 63 different office. So I can tell you that there was a lot on the back end when I was working in sales generally. Now I only have three different office. So we offer a ticket to a two day workshop called Convecting Corporates, and the tickets for that are they range between EarlyBird or four nine seven and up to seven nine seven.

So four hundred ninety seven pounds. Seven hundred nine, seven pounds. We have the opportunity to join the C Suite, which is a program where I basically take everybody through how to sell to corporates and we do live. This is 10 days and hot seats and things. It's really very cool. That's six thousand pounds. So that's probably about as premium as as most people will go on what is effectively a great group program. And then we have the opportunity to work with me one to one.

And that's a lot rarer and generally a lot more expensive because, you know, you have to sit with me looking with my beady eyes on you all the time, which can be frustrating for some people. So, you know, that's where we are now. In terms of numbers, obviously, we're heading to we're at the 12 month mark since I moved everything over. And we have only been selling the C suite specifically. So the six thousand pound offer since January.

We launched at Convecting Corporates last year and we're aiming to have 100 people in the C suite by the end of the end of 2020 and this year will do about seven hundred and fifty thousand pounds in revenue. So it's not bad for first year.

And how is that comparing with the simple product line to where you were previously with a more complex product?

It's way more profit. So we're operating at a much higher profit margin, which is great. My team is actually really lean as well because we're not having to have as many people involved, a different stage of the process. So, you know, before when we had to have somebody always info like graphic design and things like that because were selling so many different things, now we don't have to have that. We have like a skeleton staff. There's the amazing kind of customer care people.

We have, Sara, who who deals with all of our customer care and she deals with all my inbox management as well, which must be horrific. So shout out to her. Amazing. We have one person he focuses specifically on are digital marketing, so deals with everything from active campaign to the Web site and stuff.

And let me just bring in freelancers to, you know, do the occasional piece of graphic design. We had a branding person recently see the rebrand of everything, which is cool. So profit margin has been a lot higher. The team is a lot lean now, which is great and great for Meeks. I'm not a massive people manager. I just don't enjoy it. And I'd say as well, it's much easier for customers. One of the biggest bits of feedback that we've had is from people who had never previously, you know, who'd come over from my previous audience.

They'd never previously thought about selling to corporate organizations who have come along and been like, okay, let's explore this and have ended up, you know, joining my programs and things. And they've said, you know, it's really interesting. It's so much easier to buy from you now because you can only do one of three things, which means that there's not so much choice. You don't have to worry about what I'm gonna bring out every week and whether or not that would have been better than the thing you originally bought.

If that makes sense and that's been really cool to see as well, I, I know my people really appreciate when they get to pick under the bonnet. You've been very, very generous with that.

So of. I think it's it's so valuable because nobody ever tells you and so we end up hedging around it. But the great thing about being in sales is that you do love talking about numbers. Numbers and metrics are kind of like a Bible things.

So speaking of numbers, I have an eye on the clock and you've been very generous with your time. If people want to engage with you, if they want to get in touch with you, how would you like them to do that?

The best place, honestly, to ever get in touch or just find out a little bit more about me and selling to corporates is the podcast. It's called Selling to Corporate. You can find it on ITN, Spotify, any other major podcast player? No, it doesn't have an interesting name because, I mean, I don't have time for that.

Also, Google, Google and I choose. Don't like. Interesting. I know.

I know. Like SCA run. It's killing me. Killing my creativity. But no, you can. You can have a look out for that. And it's honestly great. Like I would say, you know, for anybody who's interested in podcasting just as an f why I like I set up a year ago, we started with one episode a month for the first six months, and it generated over twenty three thousand pounds worth of ticket sales to the event in November last year.

So, you know, if you're thinking about getting a podcast, I'm not sure that they can be monetized. They absolutely can and doesn't have state forever either. And now we we deliver two episodes a month. It's all really practical about how to go and sell your services to corporates.

You can always check that out and get a few tips that, well, Czerski been super generous with your time and really generous with the face and insight into your business. I need to ask you one question. But I always have to remember to ask every because every cast and that's what's one thing you do know that you wish you'd started five years ago.

It's such a tough question for me. Honestly, I think the answer would be worry less about being perfect. And I think it's probably an answer that everybody gives you. But I think I see so many entrepreneurs who start the beginning of a journey. They want everything to be the five year finished result now. And I know I was very liked. I wanted a great website and I wanted all of the the picture perfect things. But the reality is that that stops you making money.

You know, it stops you making money for quite a long time because humans are never going to be happy. Like, we're never gonna be happy even when we think something is perfect. We always find something that isn't within it. So rather than chasing a constant stream of perfection. Actually look at production instead. Just go out, take some action. Do the thing and start getting results. And then you can improve upon it. That would be what I would do differently.

I would 100 percent start and not worry about what other people thought of my brand or my website. I would just go ahead and do the things and then change them as I went.

That's a brilliant answer and you'll be surprised. It is actually the first time we've heard that.

Oh, well, that's good. That's right. Great. Thank you very much for taking the rock. I look forward to seeing you once. All this coronavirus non signs.

I know. I can't wait here. Thank you so much, Hermione. It's genuinely brilliant. So insightful.

If the old adage of if you always do what you've always done, then you'll always get what you always get. Rings true to you, then I hope you've taken something from this episode. There are many ways to scale a business. There is no one right path. No matter what business you're in, you're in the relationships business and you will achieve more value if you can bring more value. And most importantly, to the people who need it the most.

And often that is corporates. Before I go, just a quick reminder to subscribe. And if you haven't already. Then join our Facebook group. You'll find a link in the show. Notes. Our visit. Amplify me on F.M. forward slash insiders. I would love for you to connect with me on social media. You'll find me wherever you hang out. Just search at Bob Gentle. And if you do connect with me, let me know so I can follow you back.

If you enjoyed the show and I would love for you to review on iTunes. It means a lot to me and it's the very best way to help me reach more subscribers. And that's not just my tunes. Also Spotify, Stitcher and Google podcasts, wherever you listen to podcast. My name is Bob Gentled, thanks to Gests for giving us a hard time this week and to you for listening. I'll see you next week.

Overview

For a lot of people, anxiety particularly around putting yourself out there and building your personal brand online, can lead to paralysis and a life of standing still. Letting and business life pass you by while you wait for the perfect time to take action is a powerful recipe for a future filled with regret. It's also exactly what life looks like for a lot of people.

But if you're reading and thinking that building online influence and a massive following is only for the alpha's then think again. Ian Paget joins me this week on the podast to tell me how he built logogeek while struggling with social anxiety. He's a fantastic role model and a great case study in how ordinary people can do extraordinary things online - if they just take the first steps and start.

About Ian

Ian Paget is a graphic designer, best known as Logo Geek. He designs logos and brand identities for clients, but also hosts a popular podcast, blog and community all under the name of Logo Geek. With over 15 years experience, he has been featured in publications including Logo Lounge, Photoshop Creative and Net Magazine. He's also a frequent member of the jury for design awards including; Transform Awards, Best Brand Awards and Logo Wave to name a few.

Links and mentions

Automatic Audio Transcription

For a lot of people, anxiety, particularly around putting yourself out there and building a personal brand online. Can lead to paralysis and a life of standing still, letting life pass you by, waiting for the perfect time to take action is a powerful recipe for a life of regret. It's also exactly what life looks like for a lot of people. But if you're listening, thinking that building your online influence on a massive following is only for the Alphas, then think again.

Ian Padgett joins me this week on the podcast to tell me how he built Logo Geek while struggling with social anxiety. He's a fantastic role model and a great case study in how ordinary people can do extraordinary things online if they just take the first steps and start. Hi there. And welcome back to Amplify the Digital Marketing Entrepreneur podcast. I'm Bob Gentle and every week I'm joined by amazing people who share what makes their business work. If you're new to the show, then take a second right now to subscribe so you don't miss new episodes and you can grab some older ones when you're done with this one.

Don't forget to join our Facebook community to visit Amplify Me, Dot F.M. private slash insiders and you'll be taken right there. So welcome along. And let's meet Ian. So this week, I'm delighted to welcome Ian Padgett to the show in. Runs a Web site called Local Geek Dot Com. Ian, welcome to the show. Hey, Bob, it's really great for being on here. Thanks for inviting me. It's my pleasure.

I think I've I've met you a couple of times and never really had the time to sit down and speak to you. So this is. Yeah.

Looking forward to it. Because, yeah, we've we've met quite a few times at events. But we we it's always been when there's been so much going on. So it's nice to actually stop and chat properly.

Yes. So your business is called local geek dot com. Why don't you tell us a little bit about. Usually I ask people to toss me a little bit about who they are, where they are and the kind of work you do. So let's start there.

Sure. Well, I mean, you can ask me to go into more detail, but as a high level point of view, locally, it started out originally as a hobby. But now it's my my full time business. And it's offering logo design and graphic design services to clients. But then there's another part of it where I, I work on a community and a podcast specifically for other designers, because I've always been really passionate about logo design, branding and so on, say.

Ironically, the name logo geek works for both sides of that. I can go into the whole detail of how I started it and everything if you wanted me to. But I'll let you steer the conversation. I want all of that.

So I think we're I guess to maybe expand on what you were talking about there. I work with lots of people in lots of different kinds of businesses, and a lot of the time I'm telling them to do what you've done. And it's often very difficult to paint a picture of the impact that can have. So I would like to really look at your story, because I think it's a brilliant case study of a creative person that could easily have just gone to work in an agency or set up his own agency and bumbled along the bottom.

Same as everyone else. But you haven't done the same thing as everyone else. You've done something actually quite courageous. So knowing you, you're quite an introverted person.

Yeah, I am. Yeah, very much so.

So to put yourself out there and the way that you've done is is very courageous. And I would probably having examined everything you've done, no use you as a case study when I'm talking to clients. So I would like you to tell your story. So if you maybe put before Facebook groups before. Yeah. Just what did your life look like then?

Okay. So, well, I've been a graphic designer for quite a length of time. I didn't actually study graphic design at university, but it was something that I really wanted to get into. So I think as a starting point in terms of the story of how I let where I am today, it's probably worth explaining how I got my first job as a graphic designer. They obviously went to school. I was really interested in art and design. I then moved on to college in the UK, which the game was focused on, on maybe art based topics, but none of it included graphic design.

I didn't have any knowledge at that point of all of the softwares like the A Day B suite, which is one at the industry standard tools. So in terms of leaving education, I didn't have any of the skills that's needed. And I do remember my careers advisor at college basically telling me that it's impossible to do what I want to do unless I do go on to further education. But I'm the youngest of quite a big family. I mean, split between two families.

I'm actually the youngest of 10 children. And my my daddy was. He is. He would be in his nineties now if he was still alive. But he always told me, you know, all my other kids, they didn't go to university. So you won't. So I never had any expectations going to university. I why plan today was finished college at 18, go out there and find a job. And I wasn't that motivated to get anything in particular.

I probably would've been happy working in a in a supermarket, but I did, you know, kind of persist looking for something that was creative. And I was quite lucky early on to get a print finished job. So rather than working on the graphic design side of it, it was within within a small company that would take the work that they was doing that they would print off. And then. Finish it off. So that was kind of like my my entry point into saying what other seen how graphic design work.

They had a couple of guys in in their team. And I realized quite early on and I would have been about 18 at that point that I didn't want to do the print finisher stuff. It was using scalpels, knives, carrying stuff. It was it was quite labor intensive. And it wasn't what I wanted to do. I wanted to do the other side effect. And I used to ride a moped to that job, had an accident on it.

And it meant that I just needed to find the first job that I could. And I don't actually believe in fate. I don't. But I mean, if I did believe in fate, that would be one moment in my life that kind of stared me in and the direction because what I needed to do was leave that job and get the first job I could. I still would live with my parents at that point and basically got the job at the first place I could.

So I asked my friend and I got a job as a warehouse in a warehouse, not why I wanted to do it. It was a job, you know. I got paid money. I was planning to stay there temporarily and look for something else. And because I was already working for someone else, I. I had my interview really late at that company. I think it was about six p.m. and rather than having it with the warehouse manager, it was with.

I can't remember what her title was, but the second down from CEO in in a big international company. And I believe I told her I would like to work in graphic design at some point, but at the moment I want to do this job so that I, I can improve my teamwork, building skills. You know, I, I made something up just to try and get the job. And I do remember her writing that down and. I was in that warehouse job for I can't remember how long it was, maybe six months, and I got invited to work in their office department in in.

It was called product support and education. And a very small percentage of what they did as a team was what could be deemed as graphic design. So I got I got moved into that team. Lots of it was admin type stuff like booking hotels, basically support in the international sales team. And I was not very good at that. Like like you said early on. I've always been quite an introverted person. Say to me, when the telephone used to ring, I felt sick and I was just I was just so nervous.

So I failed miserably at that. But what I was very good at, what they recognized I was good at was helping with the leaflets and the posters. At that point, what they did as a company was almost like stick stick drawings just to show you how these products would be laid out. But because it was something I really wanted to do and I was really excited about it. I'd never used any of the software before, but I was given a really old Mac and a reasonable P.C. and it had the software on it.

And what I would do is I'd I'd go home every evening and try and work out how to do these things, you know, and then I go back in the next day and show what I've learned. And I started to cobble together some basic knowledge of of graphic design. And after my three month, was it three months or three weeks, I had a trial period. I think it might've been three weeks. They saw potential in me and they gave me a full time position within that team.

And what I didn't realize that company, what they would do is that team would basically make stuff up and send a writer a freelancer. Now, I didn't know that. So when I got given a leaflet for print, I did the whole thing from start to finish and it was all print ready. And obviously, that saved the company a lot of money. I mean, bear in mind, I was I was a young guy. I was probably about 19 at that point.

I would have been on minimum wage. I would have been paid much at all. And I probably saved them thousands of pounds. So they were kind enough to do this collaboration with the local print company. So where they got all that brochures and stuff printed, I could go there every week for an hour, for a number of weeks and just go go there and ask questions. So I would just go there and be like a sponge. And I was in that company for about five years.

I, I developed scale. So by the end of that five year period, I went from knowing nothing about graphic design to being able to do product illustration, proper print, ready artwork for print. We had a photo studio. It developed from like I said, it was 10 percent graphic design team. But that team in a five year period went from being almost like a proper in-house graphic design team. And I was key to that development at that point.

But yeah. So I moved on from there. I went to as a web design agency, and I would deem that as a proper graphic design job, you know, working for lots of different companies. I was thrown in the deep end and it was actually at that company where the occasional project was a logo, but not enough that I could ever get really good.

So it was mostly web design.

But then like once a month or once every two months, you get a project come along. And I always enjoyed that. And in the at the medical company I mentioned, I used to really love the product illustration. That was my favorite thing. I would have happily had become a full on illustrator. So there was a number of skills I enjoyed and that that's kind of where the in terms of the skill set came from. But on the side of my job, what I've always done from from day one is create projects for myself to get really stuck and and to develop my skills.

Say when I was a college, I used to do a lot of like I wanted it to be a fantasy illustrator at that point. So I used to write stories and drawings. But that opened up a door to something else that I used to go to this club in the local town for children where they could make games and movies and stuff. So I used to volunteer there, but that all the work I was doing on the books and stuff just for fun.

I was showing that to the guys that run that. And at that point, they were animators. Now they're game developers. And, uh, I, I wanted to get involved with what they were doing.

They just started making apps. That was something that I was interested in it. It used a lot of the skills that was in my full time job. And I showed them some bits and we started building. I mean, I did a few game backgrounds, did a few menus and things for somebody apps. But they come back to me and said, Ian, we love working with you. If you ever have a good idea, come to us.

So I pitched this game to them. I came up with the whole concept. It had a whole plan of how it could work, and they thought it was a great idea. So all of us together in our own spare time kind of fun started working on this game. It was eventually pitch T to lingo, which is run by E.A. Games. So it's a huge company and we worked on that project for a long time. It was about over a four year period.

But what that got me into was the habit of going to work and then coming home working on something, working over the weekends. You know, any time I had some spare time, I'd I'd work on this huge project. So it was doing animations. It was doing character, characters, backgrounds, all sorts of stuff. It was great fun. I really I really enjoyed that. But yeah, I go into the routine of working. So when that project was done, I remember saying I never want to do any big project that, hey.

It was exhausting. It was it was tough because I at that point at the end of that four year period, I, I was in that web design job, I'd been promoted to director. So it was quite a demanding job. But then I was coming home and also working. So I was doing a lot. I felt really stretched. I felt quite burned out. So I did actually say I don't want any I don't want to do anymore projects.

But then a short period of pass pass by, I think it might have just been like two weeks or months, something like that. And I, I had that bug like I really wanted to work on something. I felt like I had a bit of a rest. Now I want something new. I just don't want a long term project. And a friend mentioned to me in your really to logo design because like I said, I did the occasional logo in my full time job.

I was I was really good at illustration and I thought, that sounds good. I like logo design. I've got a strong interest in it and I wanted to learn more about it. And at that time, I didn't want to turn into a business. This was just for fun. So I'd learn a bit of SCA knowledge. The agents they worked on, you need when you worked for Web Design Agency, you just pick up all this stuff from different teams.

So I wanted to have I wanted to set up a website where I could post what I was learning and chefs share some of the work I've done. And I remember writing down lists and lists the lists of domain names. Now there's loads of available domains. But at this point, there was only the dot coms and the dot credit you. You needed to choose from there. And I wanted logo or logo design and some way to be in the domain because at that point that was one of the ranking factors for SCA was not anymore.

I mean, that's all irrelevant now. But I write down hundreds of names, all sorts of different things. One of them was Logi. So I went through this list. Not available. Not available, not available. Not available. And I literally was expecting that one to be gone. But the doctor UK was available for like a gig. Katie KDKA. There wasn't any strategy behind it. It was just the domain was free. I've always been a big nerd.

I've always gone to Comic-Con. Uh, yeah. I just I am a big gay. Like shouter from Big Bang Theory, so I don't know. It kind of I thought, yeah, that could d r register. That is a good day. I mean, Dakoda, UK didn't cost much there, like I think it was like six pounds then for the whole year it was reasonably cheap and that's kind of how that that started. So I just started now and again working on this website.

It wasn't real, like a real focus, but I found once I built that website and and I was sharing with other people that I was doing this thing. I got a couple of friends for a couple of projects from friends. I didn't charge much at all. I think like 50 pounds or a hundred pounds back then, which is really cheap for a like a buy to take on these projects. I stick them on my website and then like old work colleagues, I don't really speak to anymore.

They started getting in touch and then I think it was the result of just posting things and sharing it on social media. Čunek I expect I unexpectedly got an email from someone I didn't know and that wasn't something I ever planned or ever expected. I didn't even think real people would look at my website. So I actually had spelling mistakes on it. There was parts, but that didn't work. It was just a website thrown together for fun in in in WordPress.

And yeah, I got I got that first client and that that was a big moment because that really opened up this thing and like, oh my God, I can actually make some extra money from this. I, I, I felt at that time I was paid reasonably well and my full time job. So doing this sort of thing, it's like I if I want that games console I can buy that games console. If I want to go on a holiday I can you know, it's opened up this.

I just saw the money, it was great. And say, yeah, that's when I started it. But with more focus on the website, I started to post frequently on Facebook at first. Then I mean you. David to Twitter, and then I started getting invited because of the work I was doing on Twitter in particular, I was posting daily and interacting with people. My audience started to grow on there. So I start to get invited on juries.

And because I was invited on juries, I was getting back links and it just kind of started a domino effect. I started to get more inquiries coming in, getting more calls. And it got to a point where this was probably about eight years ago when I first started it, but it got to a point where it just got ridiculous. I be at work and my full time job and my phone would be ringing, you know, clients or I.

I'd get loads of emails coming in. And I, I went over a long period of time not knowing which direction to go. I might. My goal as a as an individual was always to work for other people and to always claim the corporate ladder and, you know, to say so to improve my portfolio may be work for a London design agency and it may become like a proper creative director and, you know, go up the ranks and in the agency world.

But it just because of this whole Lego gig thing blowing up. I got to a point where I felt like I needed to choose between the two. I kept choosing work because it's like that's what I wanted to do. But then I couldn't give up the other thing. So I was always in this, like, debt, you know, like I can pecky that one. And it was it was horrendous. But what I ended up doing and it was for personal reasons why I ended up doing it, my, uh, my my mom, she died of vascular dementia.

So I saw the effects of dementia and and age. And I would go and see her in a care home. And I got to this point where I I didn't want to regret anything, you know, and I don't want a great regret anything in life. Say, that's why I decided, you know what? I'm gonna hand in my notice. Say I handed in my notice. They they offered part time. I accepted part time. That was a great deal.

So I did that for three years. Fast forward three years. Back in January this year, I decided, you know what? I'm I'm ready for this. I'm going full time. Say say now here today I'm full time doing this. I got my podcast, got my community working on all sorts of stuff for, like, a geek. And I'm I have absolutely no no regrets. I I've just got Cambridge, the University of Cambridge as a client on my own, which is phenomenal to work on a legacy project, which I never thought would happen.

And I'm making more money than what I yeasty, which is amazing. And I'm just at this point now where. I'm realizing that I can control my destiny completely, and I'm like, I want to do a magazine series, I want to do like books, I want to do a training course. I got loads of ideas, but that's that's pretty much the of how I got to that. And I'm happy to go into more detail in in any particular area, if you want me to hear.

I think to risk a Big Bang Theory quote, all of that from the effect effectively fun with flags.

Yeah. That's fine.

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I've literally said that before, like, oh dear God, I am basically like real life showered and I built fun with logos by ten interior business. I, I honestly feel like a geek as a company name would ever be taken seriously say. So to be able to work with serious clients now and, and to get so many inquiries and to be, you know, seen as someone who's influential as a graphic designer and to be taken seriously by so many people is just phenomenal.

I never expected I thought I would have to create a separate brand and but yeah, like a geek is. And it's doing well for me at the moment.

I think there's a couple of places I would like to explore with you. And the first one is the Facebook group, because you didn't mention that. But you have a massive Facebook group and everybody kind of assumes if you want to be big on social media, you have to be there extrovert, confident, constantly blowing your own trumpet. But that's just not you. So I'm curious to understand how the Facebook group came about, how you grew it or how it grew.

You show. Okay. Well, I think it needs a little bit of backstory because the Facebook group, it just didn't come out of nowhere, say, in terms of social media, bashed on it with Brushtail for my story.

But I originally started posting stuff on Facebook because I thought if I if I share things to do with logo design on Facebook, I get clients. But that didn't work. I just got followed by other graphic designers. But I actually liked posting stuff. It was great. You know, I'm into graphic design. I liked finding resources and and reading it and then sharing what I was learning. It was like keeping a backlog of things I found. So I kept doing that.

I enjoyed it, even though it wasn't actually bring in any and any clients. So I felt that that never really served its purpose. But in my day job, I always said to the CEO and the company director, we really need to do social media marketing. I was really pushing it like they did everything else. They do all the cold calls or they're really pushy sales tactics on the phone. But they never did any of the social media marketing.

And I was learning a lot of lot, a lot about social media in my own time and and seeing the power of it in terms of, uh. Interacting with people and and, uh, getting your business out there. From a research perspective. So I saw the value in it. But anyway, because I kept banging on about they did an interview with someone that came in to work in the online marketing team. But this person, their real strength was growing, social media numbers say they they had thousands of followers on on Twitter.

I think they had like 50000 followers. And they was they was one of these early influences that if they took a picture of their trainers, the people would go out by their trainers. So they hired this girl. They put me in charge of her, which was outside of that marketing team. And together we came up with all these strategies and she was sharing with me tactics that worked on Twitter. And I thought, that's interesting. I wonder if that tactic would work for Low Jakic.

And I mean, it's kind of spammy now. But what that tactic was, was basically finding accounts similar to yours, following the people that would follow them and then use these other apps to to one follow the people that didn't follow back. It was really spammy. But I tried it just out. I just out of curiosity, I'm I'm always open to trying these things. But early Twitter days, you can't do it now. But early two days, if he if you clicked on someone's profile and you clicked who was following them, it would literally show you who just followed them.

So if you if he was to follow these people every day, those people were literally just online. So I, I saw it worked really well. Really, really, really well. So I made a rule that every single morning the first thing I would do would be post something relevant to logo designers and then find a number of other accounts and follow. Like there was a rule, it had to be under a certain amount. Otherwise you'd break the rules.

But I think it was like between 50 and 200 people. So you do that every morning as a routine, no matter what. And probably about 50 percent of those people followed back say the numbers on Twitter grew really fast early on. And that opened doors to other opportunities because people started to see me as an influencer. I don't do that. And now that that tactic doesn't work. I mean, it partly does. But I can explain more in detail if you want me, Teper.

Yeah, that doesn't really work now. But what I did do is early on allow my Twitter following to really grow really fast.

Is that nearly one hundred thousand? Now, Twitter is not as big as what used to be say. I don't see it growing that much more. But. Yes, so that that's the par one. So I built I gained a lot of following on Twitter, say the Facebook group, say. I started joining a couple of Facebook groups that came up online, and there was one in particular that was just amazing. I, uh, I don't know when Facebook groups really exploded, but.

Three or four years ago, I think it was maybe about three years ago. I saw that they were coming and growing in popularity and I drew up on my board a plan for everything I would like to do for like a geek. And. And on that list. Aside from client projects, was writing a book crate and training courses, creating some kind of community, maybe doing events. I write down all these things, and the common thread between all of these things was an audience.

And I thought in preparation of launching these things. Oh, yeah, that was a podcast on that list as well. I hadn't yet done that podcast and I thought in preparation of launching this thing, what I could do is maybe create a Facebook group. And then in like two years time, when I'm ready to launch this thing, maybe there would be a few hundred people in there. That was my mentality. I literally thought I'd set up it would sit there, be dormant for years, but maybe a few years later there might be some people in there.

But I created that group I posted on Twitter. And I think like 300 people joined in like the first hours. Ridiculous. And all these conversations started happening. And. It just went nuts. It was uncontrollable. To be honest, and it people kept joining and it kept growing. And I mean, it's it's pretty much continue to grow ongoing. But when one of the most important things, I think, with a Facebook group that I learned is that you have to moderate a properly.

Otherwise, they go downhill so fast, especially with with logo design. You got a few people that posts really bad stuff. I don't mean media. I don't mean slightly bad. I mean really bad. Like you say that they have absolutely zero capability. Once you get some of those in there, all the good people leave and go elsewhere. So you have to keep it, well, moderate. And so I just put in a few rules in place for how I think it could work ongoing and in terms of graphic design is definitely fit for logo design.

In particular, I feel it's the best quality. Grieb online that's free on Facebook. And then there's a couple of good graphic design. Great. But in terms of logo design as a special reality, I fell because of the CAF moderation. And yes, it's primarily to do with moderation. I feel that is gained a lot of respect. It gets mentions on things. Well, Patison, he's got a big YouTube channel and he did a shout out about the group at one point and that that brought in a few extra hundred people.

But yes, it's almost 10000 people now. I've got three and a half thousand people pending so that I need to go three. But yes, it's a lot of work full for relatively little return.

But I'm learning so much from those people and it's a good platform to promote other stuff as well.

So, yeah, you probably have people with big Facebook groups on the podcast before. I think you probably are towards the higher end. If not the largest group owner I've spoken to and I'm a big group doesn't happen by accident. Usually there are some key ingredients in place and one of them has to be your contribution. So I'm what. What are you actually putting into the group in terms of value yourself?

Okay, so it's changed over the years. When when a group is new, say say you create the group, you can get people in. Great people assume that once someone is join the group, they're going to be active. Actually, Facebook has weird algorithms where if you don't engage with that group, that person never sees they pay. Say what you need to do is not just get people in, but get people in and engaging with that content.

So there's been a few things I've been doing over the years. So the groups about three years, three or four years I. It's not a massively old group, but it to kind of kick started. So so the way I say is that you kind of build an engine, but you need take in a you get that engine going because eventually it becomes user generated content and it's basically a machine that just runs itself. And that that's the point is that now the I rarely pastern at the post are in there every single day is like eight percent active.

And it other than just keeping an eye on it and moderating it. I just kind of. A comment now and again, but I don't dare as much as I used to say, to kick start at the beginning. What I would do is post. Like a question or something. Something that people would engage with and interact with or a word, something that you can do in Facebook groups is do a shout out to the to the last one hundred people that join.

So you can tag them in a paste. Facebook does it pretty much automatically. So you could do a shout out, greet those people and encourage them to post and interact. And once they posted, then they start seeing, you know, the algorithms like, oh, yeah, you're interested in this. They start sharing that pass and more stuff. So she if you can get that initial post or the initial interaction from the person, then they're quite likely to stay in.

So we've done a lot of things like that. But I think one of one of the key things that allowed it to grow is that because I moderate really carefully. So it is a closed group. And so there's questions that need to be answered in order for the person to come in. I'm not overly fussy with the people that come in. They just have to be capable of answering the question. And it's amazing how many people are incapable of that.

So if they if they can't do that, they don't get in. If they give a quiet if they answer the question and you know, their response makes sense, then I'll let them in. I don't have a proper filter. That's literally my my metric for lame people. But I think that as a starting point, that helps to keep some kind of quality. I've got rules in place. Say, with logo design in particular, there's always historically been so much nonsense where people would post a logo and go, what do you think of this?

And you get these comments like, yeah, it's great, you know, that that's literally all of Laker design groups are. But with logo design in particular, you're not creating a pretty picture. So, I mean, something can look nice and you can evaluate the aesthetics. But if if you're going to create a proper group for logo design, then if in order to give feedback, you need to provide context. Say, who is the company here?

Are they competing with? Who are you aiming to target?

You know, all this sort of stuff. Say. I have post approvals turned on. That was something I was kind of forced to turn on early on because five designers were spam the group. But they get booted straight away if any of that's in there. But doing that a post.com. And if there's no contact, it gets deleted. So I'm filtering the that are coming in to with the expectation that they should provide context. And as far as I'm aware, this is the first graphic design group that someone has been that harsh.

I was really firm about it. So if people kept posting stuff and they wouldn't provide it, I'd I'd beat them from the group. No, no, no questions asked. It's just, you know, I don't want not integrate by delete it. You paste enough times. You need to learn in in in some way. So I've been quite firm in terms of how it's been moderated. I've got one other moderator that helps me that that just happens to be based in New Zealand.

Say we got the 12 hour difference and he's just as firm on it as as me. But yeah, I think that filtering the people coming in in the first place and filtering the pace and and getting rid of people that cause any issues or anything like that and and being firm on it, I think that helps, too, to. House for people that are more experienced to recognize that the group is properly moderated. So it it it you get the good people comment and you get the good people helping.

You get the good people advising. And people recognize that and they see that and they talk about it. It gets shared. And I think there's been a domino effect. And in that sense, the people recognize that as a kookery. Baseball moderated. So that helps. And then I've got the podcast from my on the podcast. Any other prior to this call I mentioned, I pretty much say yes to every single podcast because I've suffered from social anxiety and it helps with that.

So I mentioned everywhere. So I just think it's a mixture for these things. And now it's grown. It could easily be over 10000 by probably. If I said yes to everyone that came in, I think it would be well over 20000, but I've really been firm on making sure that people that are in there are either good or willing to learn. And I think that makes a big difference. No, I had a look earlier and it is over 10000 now.

I think that moderation moderation is where the value is. Yes. I think, as you said, if you don't have the context of the landscape that a logo or a brand is existing and it's impossible to really discriminate and understand how effective it's going to. Yeah, yeah. The competitive landscape for the brand existing is everything. Yeah. Yeah.

Yeah. I mean, I'd love I'd love it if they would provide more information by phone. If you're too strict, no one pays salaries in terms of as a general rule of thumb, as long as there's a little bit a letter in and people can ask questions which they do by I think. Sorry. It's something that I didn't add. But you you need to create a culture within the group. So like I said pre previously, no one was asking for context in groups, but because I was really pushing on air and being very firm when I and explaining the reason why it started, I started to see other people saying, can you provide more context?

You know, they were they were recognizing that I was doing doing it, learning from it, doing that. And now I've since seen actually had other moderators of other groups saying, Ian, the way that you're managing this is really good. I'm gonna to copy it. And I've actually seen other groups copy it. I, I, I can see that they've copied stuff from from the group, like the rules are the same.

So on base, it's amazing how you can once you kind of stand up for something and say, you know, it should be this way, how it creates the domino effect. So most decent graphic design groups are using this same model now, which is a good thing. I'm happy that people have taken note. So let's look at your podcast.

Sure. I think that I had a look earlier and it looks like it's been running for a couple of years now. Yeah. So set about right.

Yeah. So I started that in 2017. So this is about two and a half years, nearly three years now actually. And when I first started there, what I planned to do was just 10 episodes. So I mean, that was totally new for me. And and like I said, I've I've had therapy for social anxiety. So sitting down, recording and interviewing someone is absolutely petrifying. I work through that as a skill set. So I picked out names of people that inspired me, say they included people like David Airey, who's the author of a blog and a book called Logo Design Love.

I really wanted to him on. He hadn't previously actually done any podcast prior to that. I was surprised that he said yes to me. Aron Draft Plan. Allena Wheeler. Her book was one of my favourites on branding. Yeah. I just decided I'm gonna reach out to these people and do this podcast. I mean, that podcast didn't just die and nowhere I was I was invited on another show cause side gig cause I was speaking with a friend of mine online.

He built this business called Millo and he thought my thing was full time. I thought his thing was full time when we both found out that what we were doing was building a side gig. So he thought it would be fun to do a podcast on that. He managed to get a sponsor for it. He told me it wasn't much money. And yes, say the three of us, we did a 10 part season and there was no planning to.

We just got together. We wrote down a topic and we just spoke for an hour, recorded it, edited it and put it out there. So we did that. I was absolutely petrified doing that. Like there was actually points in it where the guys are saying, Ian, are you okay? And I went, I just need to pull myself together this. And I'm like, my heart's just racing. And there were three of us. So I kept getting to this point where I listened to the two guys speaking.

They're both American. They both had these amazing accents. And I forget that I'm part of this podcast. I'm just listening to them speak and go. This is the. And what I'd start doing because I'd be because I was nervous, because I'd be I'd be sat there thinking the entire time I have not spoken in ages, I'd just say something. And it's total nonsense. So, yeah. So I did that and I got a little bit better, but I was still petrified doing it.

But what what really pushed me was I found out how much money they got paid for this thing. Bearing in mind that we just three of us just came together, we hit the record button, a spike, which is. Weird, but, yeah, we we got paid. I don't know if I'm allowed safe figures, I got to say anyway, I. I believe he got paid five hundred dollars an episode from a sponsor and most of that money they used to like he paid editors and and hosting and all sorts of stuff.

So there wasn't much left over. But we still each of us got a good few hundred pounds each for just chatting. You know, they had literally friends, was speaking for ten hours and we got paid. And weirdly, the sponsor of that, they'd actually contacted me in the past to maybe do some promotion through Twitter. And one of the other HAYSE at that show, he started doing the same thing. And I'm like, maybe I could do my own thing.

And yeah, I thought I'd pitch the idea to fresh books. Who kindly sponsored the podcast next. They've actually sponsored. About 70 of the 86 episodes they have released, so they've they've been an incredible sponsor for me. I reached out to them originally, hadn't released a single episode, didn't even think I was capable of doing it, but I decided. This was not long after my mum passed away. So I was in this weird mindset, well, like have to say yes to everything.

You know, I can't turn any opportunity down. So that's that's the reason why I said yes to that, being on that podcast as a co-host. And yeah, I thought, you know, I'm going to create my own thing and see how it goes. Like I said, I never planned it to be one season. I didn't really know why I was doing I had a had a microphone, but no proper care. But I did one season and it's one it was one of the best things I ever did personally.

And I learned a lot. I, I know, I know. I can talk a lot. But I've, I've never been that confident. I've never been very good at conversation. So from a personal development development point of view, I recognize I grew in confidence over that period of time. Anytime I made a mistake, would like my microphone set up, I, I used to be Yeti originally and I didn't realize. But you're supposed to speak into the side, the microphone, not the top.

So my first few episodes have spoken to the top. So the quality wasn't that great. I also didn't have a pop filter. So I had lots up and I spoke to Close. But every time I did an episode, I'd release it. I learned from it. I tweak something. I do another episode. See, I did the Tempah season I always wanted to do. I was lucky enough to speak to people I admired for years. You know, these are individuals that I pretty much grew up with admiring it.

And it was just phenomenal to me that I could reach out to individuals, invite them on, speak to them for an hour, and then share that with other people and get paid to do this. So it was great for pastor development and all sorts of stuff. So there was so many better benefits to do it that I decided I I'm going to take part Flins and cut my boy's cord. But the Smart podcast course that he did and I did that course and made a few tweaks to my setup and the software I was using and improved season two.

And I've. So I did a 10, part 10 part, season one. Then I did a 10 part season two. And then when I got to season six. That's when I spoke to fresh books about potentially sponsoring two seasons back to back. And they actually agreed to sponsor six months worth of content. So back in January, since since the 1st of January, I've I've been doing podcasts weekly and I've got a good routine and I'm very likely to continue doing a weekly show.

So it's been amazing. I think if you are doing a season with shows on a weekly show can seem quite intimidating, actually. Very quickly becomes routine. Yes, it does.

Yeah, it does. Because I found so I was doing seasons at first I think it was like season five. I finished season five and then I, I, I couldn't get fresh books as a sponsor right away, but I thought, you know, I just want to carry on. I'm enjoying this. And I started using affiliates. I carried on back to back and then I started to see actually there's just a routine to this providing you got a backlog of interviews.

You just need to set aside like a day, a week to edit the show and publisher. And it's just part of my week now. It's just part of my routine. I just put projects around and and push it and. Yeah. I think even before January, I think I think I did a, uh, maybe two seasons back to back. So probably been doing it consistently now for about eight months. And yeah, it's been one of the best things I've ever done and is.

Yeah, it's exciting. So I'm I'm so glad I started it. And if anyone was to listen to my podcast and go back to Episode one vast, it's like the more recent episodes. You can see my interview techniques improved. My confidence has improved. The audio has improved. Now, sounds like a proper podcast. Was that the beginning? It was not.

I think I think that's why you're such a good role model for a lot of people who want to get into the creative space in any way, because unless you're willing to give yourself permission to not be where you would like to be in the beginning, you'll never get good in your hand, especially in the creative sector. And designers in particular, perfectionism is a real issue. I worked with a lot of designers where they never put anything in their portfolio because by the time they're finished, a piece of work or they consider the flows.

Yeah. And that leads to complete paralysis. Yeah. So you've found ways around that? Yeah, I think I think you have to.

I mean, if we're just speaking about work, you know, like graphic design work and your portfolio, you have to show what you've done before. You have to even if you don't like it, but you have to confidently show it and and. Um, you know, if you if you want a job or you want clients, no one is gonna hire you, hire you unless they can see that you can do what they want you to do.

No, I. For me in my head, anything like presenting or speaking. I see that kind of in a different way. But it's not really, is it? I think for me, like I said early on, I've suffered from bad anxiety before. I've, um. I was the type of person I'd I'd go to some kind of event. And, uh, you know, when people do like a taste and they hold a glass of champagne, my hand would start shaking.

And if I was to drink that that glass of champagne, I would spill it all over the floor. You know, my hand was shaking that much. Um. So I had therapy to help with this. And, I mean, there were there was a couple of other things, including stuttering. So I've I've had, uh, uh, a stutter when, uh. I mean, it's it's not a stutter like some people where they can't physically say certain words.

Mine is triggered by anxiety. So for a long period of time, I had this problem where if I was nervous, Saler on the phone or whatever. I literally can get some words out my mouth, say a podcast has helped with the anxieties that come from doing public speaking. I still get quite nervous when I'm actually doing a alive thing on a stage. I have done that and I've got three by found podcasting helps with that is helped build confidence and it's helped with stuttering.

And these are things that that therapist actually said were very complicated and he might not be able to solve it, but he can give me the tools to help with that. And, um, in turn, hitting that record button, it recreate the sensations of standing in front of a crowd of people. To me, um, not so much now, but I mean, it did at the beginning say, uh, I have gone off your question slightly, but that that's one thing that, um, that's really pushed me is is more passino development.

And and, uh, I think something that's really stuck in my mind and it was because of my mom, um, I don't want to get to, like an 80 year old and look back at my life and think, what if or. Yeah, I don't want to regret that. And, um, the reality is that in a hundred years time, most people that are listening to this won't exist anymore. And I know that's a slightly more morbid way of looking at it, but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't really matter what other people think.

They're not gonna be around at that time. So for me, the the need to not regret is greater than the embarrassment of screwing up. And another thing related to that. When I did have therapy and we spoke about public speaking. They asked me the question of how would you feel if that was one of your friends on the stage? And they did mess up. What would you think of that person? And realizing that actually, I don't think anything less of them.

I just want to support them when I want to see them succeed. It's it's little things that have helped me, um, aim to develop and improve my skills. So it's not about I know we're not perfect, but I'm working to improve. But is it's that drive to not want to regret that kind of keeps me going really. I think that's a great attitude. I really like the so of all the things you've got going online, you've got Twitter massive following their Facebook group is huge.

You've got the podcast of all of those things. Is there any one thing you could put your finger on and say this has been the best thing I've done? Um, out of everything? I really I would say the podcast. Mm hmm. I mean, it's amazing to think that previously. Even now that there's not a dedicated, locally designed podcast. And I've read a lot of books on logo design, and there's not one central resource. And the one of the main reasons for that is that there isn't one single process.

So actually, to be able to interview graphic design is from the the the legends that pioneered graphic design is it's amazing. A lot of them are still alive. Graphic design is relatively young in terms of a career. So I'm able to interview some of the what who could be deemed as pioneers. And obviously, the young up, up, up and coming people. And to get everyone's perspective on that process and share that in some way, that's as.

Tourism, where hasn't been previously done in this way, and I feel like I've created something bigger than me with the community as well, I mean, it all kind of works together as one. But I actually feel like I'm making a long lasting impact on my life and other people's lives by correcting these things. Say, yeah, I'd have to be the podcast for sure.

I'm just looking at the time. We should probably bring things to a close quite soon if people want to get in touch with you, if you want to take things further with you. How would you like them to do that?

Well, I've been quite fortunate that I've got everything under the name of local geek. So in terms of social media, if you just search like a geek, you'll find me. But I have a website, I, I, I've got pretty much every single social channel say probably the best place to look is my Web site, which is like a geek dot com. Perfect. And to bring things to an end, I always must remember. What's one thing you do know you wish you'd started five years ago?

I would probably say the podcast because like I said, for so many reasons, it's really helped me improve and develop as a person.

And I feel it's elevated a lot of skills. Say definitely that. And if I'm allowed to cheat and say a second one, earlier in the conversation, I said that early this year I went full time. You know what? I should have done this ages ago. I was worried about it failing, but actually it wouldn't have failed because I've had leads come in consistently and they're still coming in now. And as is always been a passion and I do regret not doing that further because I can see now the amount when when you sit down or focus on something as an independent graphic designer, you can do a lot in a short period of time if you just sit down and get on with it.

So I'm looking forward to see what I would do within within the next couple years. I do regret not doing it a lot sooner.

I have to agree with and simply to supplement it. I think one thing that people who are not running their own businesses, often thinkers who look so risky. But actually, if you take a moment and think about how many people have to get annoyed with you in your job in order for you to not have a job, the answer is one. Whereas when you run your own business, an awful lot of people have to get very unhappy before you're out of a job.

So it's it's actually much safer.

Yeah, yeah. I mean, it is very daunting, is it, that it's all the anxieties that come with taking the leap and and being in the right place mentally and financially to be able to do it? I won one real benefit for me and the reason why I did choose to take that leap. I mentioned earlier in this podcast that fresh books agree to do six months worth of content and they basically, at the end of last year gave me a cheque for twelve thousand dollars that I wasn't expecting any other way.

And that gave me a a safety net. So it meant that when I did take the leap, I didn't need to stress about having to get clients right away. Like I if if I if I could see that and say like after four months, if after four months of getting full time, I wasn't getting any clients or nothing was coming in. I had a financial buffer that would keep me safe for that length of time. And now probably always keep that buffer to one side just just as a backup.

But because I don't have that financial pressure, it's allowed me to try things, experiment with things. But you know what? I've I've been amazed. Like, we've we've been at the world totally changed since March because a cave at nineteen. I've had friends that I've lost all of their clients. They've had to shut down their business and all that sort of stuff. But I've been really lucky that running my business over the last four months, it's been incredible.

I've been working with so many different clients and if the momentum keeps going as it is during a pandemic, then I don't see any reason why it won't succeed on getting. So I. I feel like I did it at the right time for me personally and the company that I worked with previously, they actually fell late or their staff not long afterwards. So I feel like it was the right time to do it and. Even though I say I wish I did it five years ago, actually, I did it at the right time for me.

I was ready save and budget from local geek. Don't come undercover. Thank you very much for your time. I can't wait to see you again in person. Thanks, Bob. It's really great to properly chat with you. And thank you to everyone that's. Listen. It's been really great fun. I hope you got as much out of that interview as I did. It is such a great example of an action taker. Success lives in action taken consistently, consistency and action taken over time.

Allow you to build and refine your skills, your knowledge and your confidence. And Ian Storey is a wonderful example of that. If you don't take those first blundering steps, get over your own ego and allow yourself to suck for a while. Success will always be out of reach. Take those steps and it can go way faster than you think. Before I go, just a quick reminder to subscribe. And if you haven't already join our Facebook group.

You can find a link in the show, notes or just visit, amplify, meet or FFM forward slash insiders. I would love for you to connect with me on social media. You can follow me wherever you hang out. You'll find me at POB gentle. And if you do, then message me. Let me know and I can follow you back more than anything. I would love for you to join me over on YouTube. I have a whole different bunch of content there.

And YouTube is very new for me. So every single subscriber is frankly golden and I would cherish every single one if you enjoyed the show. Then I'd love to have you on iTunes. It means a lot to me and it's the best way to help me reach more podcast subscribers. My name is Bob Gentile. Thanks again to Ian for giving us his time this week. And to you for listening. We'll see you next week.

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