Category Archives: PODCASTS

031: Taylor Treese – MediaTrax.com

taylor-treese
Taylor is the Cofounder and CEO of Mediatrax.com
a one stop shop for wholesale online marketing
solutions.

They offer an end to end product suite consisting of:
• Pay-per-call platform with call tracking
• Search engine marketing management
• Business profile management and syndication
• Online reputation management
• Landing page content management systems (CMS)
• Website and domain hosting
• Website analytics and conversion tracking
• As well as customized engineering solutions
• They really do it all at mediatrax.com

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Have a listen to my chat with Taylor Treese.

See highlights and links from of our chat below…
ENJOY!

Entrepreneur From the Start
So I grew up in the northeast, originally from Connecticut and I grew up in a very entrepreneurial family. So I’ve always just been around that. Ever since I was a kid, my father has always owned his own business and naturally my mom did the exact same thing. They were both in and around the publishing sector and me being in my mid 40s, there was no digital back then so it was all really the print world that I was immersed in. But needless to say my father was an entrepreneur and they both had separate businesses that kind of played off one another. So I got to see that a lot growing up. Got to see risk taking, thinking outside of the box, all of the things really were just natural to me growing up.

Experiencing Conventional Education & Employment
Went off to college, my father thought it was important that after school I worked for a big corporation and kind of see what working at a big company was all about before joining the family business per se. And I did that for a number of years, worked for a number of groups, some of the bigger companies were like Ericsson, Telecom. And I was very much always in the tech or telecom space.

“It’s important, it’s important to know how both sides work. As you know, big companies just operate completely opposite from what an entrepreneur would do. So I think it really is important to see how both sides do what they do everyday.”

True Calling:
I got very itchy after being there for quite some time and that zone. Didn’t like the red tape, didn’t like the politics, it all kind of ultimately boiled back down to me starting something. And my father and I started MediaTrax together. He had a consulting practice at the time and I came up with the product idea and he helped me fund it. And before you know it, here we are basically ten years later just doing a ton of different things.

Building Media Trax:
Our first product was called “Tracking Product” and I had just come out of the telecom sector so being very familiar with all that technology and linking up with my dad’s consulting practice in the publishing sector. I took whatever funds I could gather and we built (the) competing technology. And we immediately just started approaching all the clients that my dad already knew and we understood the feature set that they wanted. So we were very nimble and we just built what they wanted immediately and just jumped into the market, undercut everybody else and that’s kind of what got us going. And we chose the name MediaTrax cause we were naturally tracking their media for them and helping improve value to their customers.

Ala’ Carte Services:
Yeah it’s very much that new world mentality that I think Google kind of helped spark. Whereby you can just dip your toe in the water and if the service works for you then great, pay it. And it’s performance based and you pay for what you use you know? There was a great book I read years ago called What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis. And I swear you could pretty much apply most of those concepts to just about any business nowadays and help yourself be successful.

Networking – Mastermind – Philanthropy:
I belong to a group here in south Florida but it’s actually a global organization called:
EO or Entrepreneurs Organization: www.eonetwork.org
We have a south Florida chapter I think that’s about 250-300 entrepreneurs strong. And then the 300 or so of us are broken up into smaller groups called forums of about 7-8 guys. There are women involved as well they’re just kind of few and far between. But my forum will meet once a month and they almost act as kind of a board of directors for my company and I would likewise act as a board of directors for their company. And we just discuss general business you know the group that I’m in is quite diverse. There’s people in high-tech, there’s people in construction, there’s people in the law/legal industry. So it’s very diverse but it really helps to be able to talk to a fellow entrepreneur about things like meeting payroll or a legal issue you’re battling because a lot of my other just day-to-day friends just work for big companies and they have no concept of what some of those things are that I face.

Business Resources – Keeping Up-to-Date:
I do like to do is stay in very close contact with the VC community (Venture Capital).
And so I kind of like to just touch face with a bunch of different groups and see where their heads are. They tend to be pretty smart people, I don’t necessarily really like the way VC’s operate. We’re not VC backed, we do have funding but not from a traditional VC. But you know they can really tell the temperature of a sector. They have put together things that they like and dislike and I really enjoy understanding why they like something or they don’t like something. They also tend to be on the forefront of news. News travel fast, they tend to get it first. They know what deals are closing, what deals are going south. So that really helps to stay in close contact with them. Even if you aren’t getting money from them.

New Product:
We’re on the cusp of actually releasing a new product line that we refer to as DMM or the Digital Marketing Management system. And we’re just going into beta right now with Time Inc. on that system. So we’re really excited about it. It looks like it’s going to be tying us into other groups that we weren’t previously tied into like the real-time bidding organizations, the DSPs that exist. So we’re really looking forward to the launch of that. Should be next month. (Sept-2014)

On The BookShelf;
– Malcom Gladwell: ANYTHING he has written
– The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
– What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis

Contact Taylor Treese – Media Trax:
Biz = MediaTrax.com
Twitter = @Media_Trax

Have a listen to my chat with Taylor Treese:

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Taylor Treese
MediaTrax.comTranscript

James: All right welcome back my friends to yet another edition of the Big Value, Big Business podcast. I am your host, James Lynch. I am really big, big, big-time super excited about my very special guest today. His name is Taylor Treese. Taylor is the co-founder and CEO of MediaTrax.com. MediaTrax is a one-stop shop for wholesale online marketing solutions. They offer an end-to-end product suite consisting of and it’s way too many for me to name them all but they have pay-per-call, they have call tracking, search engine marketing and all that goes with that. Business profile management, syndication, online reputation management, landing pages, websites, hosting, analytics conversion, as well as customized engineering solutions that I hear they do a hell of a job with that.

Anyway you can find that all at MediaTrax.com and without further ado, it’s my pleasure to introduce Mr. Taylor Treese to the Big Value, Big Business podcast. Hello Taylor, how are you?

Taylor: Hello, hello! Thanks for having me.

James: Hey awesome, awesome. Good to finally connect and how are things—I believe you’re in sunny southern Florida?

Taylor: We are. It’s in the depths of our summer at the moment so I always call this our winter because it’s brutally hot outside and you don’t want to go outside at this time of year.

James: All right, so we’ll come it inside keep the air conditioner cranked. But we’re doing pretty well ourselves up here in the northeast. It’s kind of warm but I digress. Listen, thanks for coming on I’m really looking forward to having you share some of your knowledge and insights on how we can successfully leverage our online marketing tools which you have a full toolbox of. You know to successfully and economically bring our content and our messaging to the masses. So does that sound like a plan sir?

Taylor: Absolutely.

James: Cool, cool. So just to jump right in, can we get started like with Taylor’s backstory maybe—obviously you’re an entrepreneur and just kind of get to know a little bit about you and the journey that brought you here to where you are today.

Taylor: Sure, sure. So I grew up in the northeast, originally from Connecticut and I grew up in a very entrepreneurial family. So I’ve always just been around that. Ever since I was a kid, my father has always owned his own business and naturally my mom did the exact same thing. They were both in and around the publishing sector and me being in my mid 40s, there was no digital back then so it was all really the print world that I was immersed in. But needless to say my father was an entrepreneur and they both had separate businesses that kind of played off one another. So I got to see that a lot growing up. Got to see risk taking, thinking outside of the box, all of the things really were just natural to me growing up.

Went off to college, my father thought it was important that after school I worked for a big corporation and kind of see what working at a big company was all about before joining the family business per se. And I did that for a number of years, worked for a number of groups, some of the bigger companies were like Ericsson, Telecom. And I was very much always in the tech or telecom space.

I got very itchy after being there for quite some time and that zone. Didn’t like the red tape, didn’t like the politics, it all kind of ultimately boiled back down to me starting something. And my father and I started MediaTrax together. He had a consulting practice at the time and I came up with the product idea and he helped me fund it. And before you know it, here we are basically ten years later just doing a ton of different things. So that’s my story.

James: And you’re sticking to it?

Taylor: Absolutely.

James: All right sounds good. Yeah I had the pleasure to know your dad, Roger, as well. He’s a cool guy and that is so great. What a great up and coming, I mean you’re exposed to all those things. I love that you put the risk taking, working out of the box. It just like so sets the stage for everything that you do not get in a conventional education. So hat’s off man. And then you got the boot and said get out there and see what the other guys are doing and come back in a little while and then we’ll get this thing going you know what I mean? That’s awesome.

Taylor: It’s important, it’s important to know how both sides work. As you know, big companies just operate completely opposite from what an entrepreneur would do. So I think it really is important to see how both sides do what they do everyday.

James: Absolutely, I know that all too well myself. So yeah ten years, I was going to ask, so started with a seed project. Do you care to let us know what that was and how things kind of progressed? I mean I rattled off here probably just touched on, or scratched the surface of, your product suite. But where did it start and how did it get to where it is to this big—I love that end-to-end analogy, you can just soup to nuts—everything to do with online marketing. But you know where did it start and how did it quickly evolve into what it is now?

Taylor: Yeah so the name kind of speaks for itself, MediaTrax. Our first product was called “Tracking Product” and I had just come out of the telecom sector so being very familiar with all that technology and linking up with my dad’s consulting practice in the publishing sector. He began to describe to me one of his clients who’s a call tracking vendor. They were looking to tap my dad as a sales resource to enter the newspaper and yellow page sector. And I kind of got involved with them and starting lending my knowledge to the telecom sector to my dad. And the more I got to understanding what they were doing, it seemed like just very straight forward and easy to me to build the exact same solution.

And long story short the consulting retainer expired and that client went away and I took whatever funds I could gather and we built a competing technology. And we immediately just started approaching all the clients that my dad already knew and we understood the feature set that they wanted. So we were very nimble and we just built what they wanted immediately and just jumped into the market, undercut everybody else and that’s kind of what got us going. And we chose the name MediaTrax cause we were naturally tracking their media for them and helping improve value to their customers.

James: That’s awesome. Yeah you took a business model and totally reinvented, innovated it and I like that you listened to the people that you were doing business with and you evolved and created your business towards their goals and what they needed. So that’s perfect. That’s so important to know and to listen to your customers especially for the entrepreneur to be able to do outpace and innovate over and above the existing solutions. Awesome, awesome, awesome.

So tell us about a day in the life at MediaTrax. What do you guys do from day-to-day? Is it a whole bunch of different things? Is it mostly agency-centered? Do you deal with small mom and pop or is it mostly larger clients?

Taylor: We really run the gambit. It’s funny we probably, I’m just guessing, 20-40 small agencies. And I lose track of who’s kind of with us nowadays from that side of the fence because they tend to come and go based on what their needs are. And we’re very much an a la carte type shop. We don’t believe in holding your feet to the fire, making you sign some big, long, crazy contract. So we do have a lot of agencies that maybe only sell two, three thousands dollars a month in search or sometimes agencies that only want three call tracking lines. And so I never really know who’s on board and still using us from a day-to-day perspective unless I’m looking at the invoicing at the beginning of each month.

But then we—it’s kind of crazy but I think that model works really well. But then we have huge, huge customers. We have Time Inc. and Conde’ Nast Digital and groups like that with big brand name customers like Andersen Windows and various universities. So it really does span from the small mom and pop advertiser on up to a really huge corporation that’s doing display advertising.

James: Awesome, now the reason I ask is the majority of my listeners are small mom and pop business consultants, entrepreneurs but you never know they could be an agency executive out there that’s looking for a solution. And we hope to bring this podcast and your message and my message to everybody out there. But it’s good to know that you don’t discriminate and I really like that idea of—too many companies make it very difficult for you to disconnect from them. They get every hook imaginable and they just pile it on and pile it on to make it difficult for them to disconnect. But you offering an a la carte services makes it really easy. Give people what they want, what they need, as much of it and when it’s served its purpose then you part friends instead of being aggravated I guess.

Taylor: Yeah it’s very much that new world mentality that I think Google kind of helped spark. Whereby you can just dip your toe in the water and if the service works for you then great, pay it. And it’s performance based and you pay for what you use you know? There was a great book I read years ago called What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis. And I swear you could pretty much apply most of those concepts to just about any business nowadays and help yourself be successful.

James: What Would Google Do? We’ll definitely put that in the show notes and you’ll find the show notes at BigValueBigBusiness.com/episode31. Talking about books, What Would Google Do?, what are some of your most favorite authors inspiring—you know what’s on the bed stand today even or what really struck you back as you were coming up?

Taylor: Yeah I love probably more broader in spectrum type books like anything that Malcolm Gladwell has written. I think I’ve read all of those. Just love his approach to business and the greater world around us as well.

I do a little bit of reading on the drier side, there’s an author by the name of Nassim Taleb. He wrote The Black Swan and it deals with the concepts of—there’s always going to be a black swan. In other words, most swans are white, that’s what you expect. Maybe the better analogy is Thanksgiving. The turkey always thinks he’s happy and he’s well-fed and his life is great but there’s one day out of the year where it’s not so great to be a turkey. And Nassim Taleb uses that analogy for investing. Most people try to bet on who they believe the winners are going to be and they put tons of money on who they think the winner is or will become. Whereas if you kind of flip that table around and maybe put tons and tons of smaller bets out there and know that something is going to happen. And he used to talk, in the book The Black Swan, he talks about September 11. Nobody ever saw that coming but that completely changed our lives and the financial markets. So it’s a really interesting read. It opens your mind up to some different concepts.

James: So diversifying, maybe contrary to all your eggs in one basket kind of thing in everything?

Taylor: Yeah.

James: That’s very cool. Very interesting, I love Malcolm Gladwell. He’s kind of an enigma from The Tipping Point on back to—yeah he’s got a really interesting worldview. Awesome, awesome. I want to just go back a little bit, we were talking about my audience and I kind of was a little up front with you the size of audience. So talking about search, and you’ve obviously seen it in your ten years plus probably before that, kind of evolve in search. And myself, I’m thinking everything’s content driven. I kind of push folks to get quality content out there to get customers, to educate. How do you see search marketing evolving now—less and less direct response and more content from your side. Are you seeing a decline or are you seeing—is direct response as strong as ever? Or you seeing more a content marketing branding, getting to know us, getting to know our product suite, do you see that kind of coming into? I’m interested to know your perspective because you do have a lot of clients at scale so you do have a pretty macro view.

Taylor: Yeah absolutely it’s been a real rollercoaster with search marketing. We were present in the early days before Google really had a handle on it and the yellow page sector was truly the king of direct response and the newspapers. And they really dropped the ball as digital emerged and obviously we saw Google take over and really win that whole sector. I think what we’ve seen happen lately is that obviously it’s not as inexpensive as it used to be. In the good old days, you could pay 20 cents a click and they were legitimate leads and people were happy to do that all day long and those were obviously the early adopters.

And now we’ve even seen crazy click prices upwards of $100 for something very niche, legal, or an expensive product. So I think Google is going to definitely go through a bit of an evolution and I think they know that. I think that’s why they’ve been looking to diversify. I think it’s obvious when they invest in groups like HubSpot which is pretty much all about content. So we’re trying to figure out how that evolves from here. We have not really seen a decline in search marketing but we have seen prices go up. And anytime you see prices go up, obviously that spells a difference in the market and it’s going to be more and more difficult I think for the smaller guys to really play in that space and get a ton of leads.

Do I think they’re going to go away? No. No time soon. That’s like saying the yellow pages will go away. Everyone predicted that they would be gone and they’re still here and they’re still making billions of dollars a year. So I think we’ve got a long, long, long time to go but we’re definitely approaching some kind of a maturity phase I think and I just don’t know where exactly we are.

James: Yeah so you speak about Google’s interest in HubSpot and we all know that HubSpot is all about in-bound content marketing. And I’ve got this thing in the back of my head cause you know I’m on the forefront of a very diverse portfolio of businesses so I see the variation in click prices and it’s out of sight right now compared to what it was. But what do you think about these Outbrain versus Taboola, the content marketing platforms? I see Google, cause they’re smart, I see them kind of getting from their display network and meeting somewhere in the middle between the Outbrain and the current display network. I just see a good quality content distribution network with pretty low cost of entry that the small business owner could—I don’t know maybe I should start it. I don’t know I just described a perfect world but I’d like to see the small business owner still be able to play you know what I mean?

Taylor: Yeah and I think that it’s something that they have to do now. Content marketing has just become so important mainly because the search engines’ algorithms rely on all that content that’s being driven, the backlinks that are being created. So that’s obviously the new frontier. The difficult part is that it’s really hard to measure, it’s really difficult for the channel to sell because it’s pretty much just hiring bodies and that doesn’t scale well and it’s not super profitable for the channel.

So we’re definitely in a really weird quandary right now because you’re seeing a lot of agencies begin to weigght what they’re doing for people into the social and content marketing realms. And a little bit less, they’re pulling back from the paid advertising aspect. But I think right now it’s crucial to have a good balance between all of those.

James: Yeah absolutely and you put it succinctly in a way that I couldn’t. Totally. But I do see you, we are on a cusp of a kind of an evolution. So great I appreciate your insight on that.

How about Taylor and what gets him going? I mean you’re obviously an entrepreneur, you’re well read. Do you have any business resources, mastermind groups, guys you hang out with? Do you have a particular mentor? Reason I ask, a lot of the entrepreneurs, most of the entrepreneurs I talk to, have a mentor or a peer group or a mastermind group or something that they check in with for accountability, moving forward. I don’t know that could even be your dad for all I know. But what do you have going on?

Taylor: Yeah I definitely have several things. I belong to a group here in south Florida but it’s actually a global organization called EO or entrepreneurs organization. We have a south Florida chapter I think that’s about 250-300 entrepreneurs strong. And then the 300 or so of us are broken up into smaller groups called forums of about 7-8 guys. There are women involved as well they’re just kind of few and far between. But my forum will meet once a month and they almost act as kind of a board of directors for my company and I would likewise act as a board of directors for their company. And we just discuss general business you know the group that I’m in is quite diverse. There’s people in high-tech, there’s people in construction, there’s people in the law/legal industry. So it’s very diverse but it really helps to be able to talk to a fellow entrepreneur about things like meeting payroll or a legal issue you’re battling because a lot of my other just day-to-day friends just work for big companies and they have no concept of what some of those things are that I face.

Yeah so that’s a business group that I belong to and I get a lot out of that and we’re also very philanthropic. We do a lot of things in and around the community. As far as you know a mentor, I wouldn’t necessarily say I have a mentor. But you know what I do like to do is stay in very close contact with the VC community. And so I kind of like to just touch base with a bunch of different groups and see where their heads are. They tend to be pretty smart people, I don’t necessarily really like the way VC’s operate. We’re not VC backed, we do have funding but not from a traditional VC. But you know they can really tell the temperature of a sector. They have put together things that they like and dislike and I really enjoy understanding why they like something or they don’t like something. They also tend to be on the forefront of news. News travel fast, they tend to get it first. They know what deals are closing, what deals are going south. So that really helps to stay in close contact with them. Even if you aren’t getting money from them.

James: Those two resources in themselves are invaluable. I have guys that want to join a mastermind group and they just don’t know where to start. And you know some have high barrier to entry and they don’t know where to go and this sounds perfect. If it’s a nationwide or global organization, your entrepreneurs organization, I totally would recommend folks to go out there and check that out. The other, the VC community, I just kept thinking you know how you check in with them and I was trying to put together a sailing analogy in my head because I know you love to sail. And it was like the VC guys always know which way the wind is blowing you know what I mean?

Taylor: Always, always.

James: Yeah, that’s cool, that’s cool. Hey man this had been great. So as we wind it on down tell me what MediaTrax has going on, what you got in the pipe, anything that we don’t have to sign a non-disclosure agreement for. And just let us know what’s happening and how we can find you. URL, Twitter, Facebook, what’s going on?

Taylor: Yeah sure MediaTrax has got a little bit of a bizarre spelling to it. It’s M-E-D-I-A-T-R-A-X.com. We thought it was kitschy and interesting and relatively easy to type. So it was a good domain that actually took me years to purchase. I think there was a teenager that owned it and he was under the impression that he was going to make millions off of it. But over the years he realized that wasn’t the case and we eventually bought it from him. You know we don’t do a lot, we really should do more. We don’t do a lot of outbound blogging or tweeting. We do have a blog, we do post some relevant content usually once a month and I think I’m going to try and beef that up for the remaining part of this year and next year. But that’s the easiest way to find us, our URL really spells out what we do.

Some of the things that I think we’re probably going to be leaning towards is much more overall management of digital marketing. There are just so many aspects to digital marketing and I think what we’re trying to do, it sort of feels like hurting cats, where we’ve got just so many of these little solutions that you were mentioning when this first kicked off you know between tracking calls, tracking what’s happening on a website, getting ads up on Google, Yahoo!, or Bing, creating landing pages.

There are just so many aspects and so what we’re trying to do next is wrangle all of that together into one nice suite that you can enter, order, manage, report on, bill for. And so we’re on the cusp of actually releasing a new product line that we refer to as DMM or the Digital Marketing Management system. And we’re just going into beta right now with Time Inc. on that system. So we’re really excited about it. It looks like it’s going to be tying us into other groups that we weren’t previously tied into like the real-time bidding organizations, the DSPs that exist. So we’re really looking forward to the launch of that. Should be next month.

James: So DMM, Digital Marketing Management system, it’s in beta I guess with your customer Time?

Taylor: Yes.

James: So I’m thinking from a consultant standpoint, even entrepreneur, someone that’s digitally savvy. If they wanted to approach local businesses with this product and be able to manage all the needs of a local business, would that be applicable? Could that work for him?

Taylor: It would be applicable for the channel. So if there is a small agency per se that is just having a tough time managing all the aspects of digital marketing. Anything from creating a proposal for the customer estimating what the customer would get out of a search campaign and handling assets. You know a constant outreach to the customer, “Hey we need that logo or your display ad because we’re going to begin running a campaign for you,” the back and forth that’s involved in checking that that asset is the proper size or if it’s some kind of an action oriented display campaign where they’re using a SWF type file. There’s so much that goes into the back and forth of digital marketing. So it’s more about helping the channel reign in all those loose ends. And to stop them from using things like Outlook and Excel to manage the day-to-day process.

James: So accommodation CRM, maybe CRM digital marketing suite?

Taylor: Yes that’s a very good way of putting it. We’ve been writing up you know the literature to describe it and we’re pretty close to having a landing page up for it. And we ourselves are struggling how to describe it but it very much is like an ERP system for digital marketing.

James: Awesome, I like that and I look forward to hearing more about it. So after a month or two in the beta we should have something good to report and hopefully I can throw it on my blog.

Taylor: Great, we will keep you up to date.

James: I have enjoyed this very much. I thank you so much for your time, I’d love to have you back to catch up. And that’s it, we’re going to wrap it up and again I appreciate it. Taylor Treese from MediaTrax.com. We’ll talk to you soon?

Taylor: Thank you for having me, this was great.

James: Awesome, awesome. Thank you sir, take care now.

Taylor: All right, take care.

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030: Kris Reid – Killer Content is King – ArdorMediaFactory.com

Kris-Reid
Kris is the Founder of ArdorMediaFactory.com
The premier content marketing company based in Davao City, in the Philippines; They offer businesses world wide …exceptional content marketing and search engine optimization services.

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Have a listen to my chat with Kris Reid.

See highlights and links from of our chat below…
ENJOY!

Background
Kris Reid:
I am originally a country boy from a little town just south of Brisbane Australia. For university I moved to the big smoke and studied Software Engineer which was really one of the best decisions I ever made. It’s given me so much freedom and enabled me to do some pretty cool stuff.

Like, pretty much as soon as I finished my studies, I packed my bags and headed to London. When I arrived as a rather junior developer, I may or not have embellished a little on my CV and ended up with some pretty awesome contacts for some rather large financial institutes like Visa Europe.
After a bunch of years though, I was pretty sick of working for the man. I quit my job and went backpacking around the globe.

As a Software Engineer, I really do love building software. So during my travels I started mucking about building an online multiplayer game. And, as the game neared completion, I realised that I am going to have to promote it if anyone is going to play it. So I started learning about SEO.
I worked out that SEO is a decent way to make a quid so I that’s what I focused on and I used it to finance my vangabonding for about two years.

I went right through Europe, Russia, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, North America and the Caribbean. Life was pretty nice. I eventually needed to setup an office. Most of my online staff were from the Philippines so I figured that would be the best place to go and here I am.

Bumps in the Road
Probably my biggest challenge was scalability. Though my business had grown and I had a handful of staff, I was still the corner stone of the business. Every day I wore so many different hats. I did marketing, customer service, product development, software development, team management the works. One thing I learnt is that you have to let go. You have to trust other people for your business to really grow. I first got a manager to handle our writing team. Now she does all the hiring, assigns all the jobs coming in and I have next to nothing to with it at all. I then did the same with our Content Marketing team which lead to an even better result.

It freed up so much of my time. I don’t waste energy on day to day tasks that my managers are more than capable of handling and I can focus on the really critical things like Customer Satisfaction and Product Development.

AHA Moment

Around this time last year we had pretty explosive growth. I think in June we had 4 fulltime staff in the office and around 3 times that working online. By December we had outgrown our office, moved to a much bigger location, had more than 20 fulltime staff in the office and countless more working online.

It felt bloody fantastic! I felt secure that I had solidly established my business.
I had built a great team and together we can do some really cool stuff.

A Day in the Life
I still work too many hours. My Wife is a really great support. She’s used to me coming home well after 7 most nights and heading back to the office at 7 again. My first goal is to get a better family / life balance. When you first start your business you have to work harder than everyone else to get started. Then once you’re started you have to work smarter than everyone else to really grow. I feel that’s the stage I am at, and I am trying to learn, experiment and be brave to reach that next level. And hopefully that’ll be fewer hours in the office and more hours on the beach with my family.

Providing Big Value

Being in the business of, basically promoting other businesses, it makes it rather easy, well at least in concept. The key really is to help customers measure their return on investment. If they can see that they spend $1 with us and get $10 back, they’ll spend money all day long. But helping measure that ROI is something that we have to get better at.

One Big Take Away
Be personal. Until you are a global brand name, you can’t act like a global brand. There is an old saying that people buy from people they know and trust. So get your face out there and let as many people as possible get to know you, trust you and hopefully buy from you

Productivity – Accountability
Everyone in our company has tasks and is accountable for them. They get the credit and reward when it goes great and they have to clean it up if it becomes a mess. I find that if you trust people and give them responsibility and complete ownership of their tasks they will generally flourish.

Understanding is key. Everyone on the team needs to understand what the company is aiming for short term and big picture. How we manage this is through daily stand up meetings. Every morning at 9am the whole office stands up in a circle for a super quick meeting. Everyone says what they did yesterday, what went well and any problems they had. Then what they will be doing today. It generally takes less than 5 minutes and every person on the team knows what everyone else is doing


Resources and Motivation

We are based in Davao in the southern Philippines. It certainly does not have the ex-pat community of Manila but it also doesn’t have the traffic & pollution either. So I don’t have that many people locally to throw ideas around with, but I have some great friends on similar paths and we skype regularly.

I’m always reading and trying to learn new skills. I’ve been going through a few of Seth Godin’s books at the moment. I especially loved his book Poke The Box. It’s a short book that you can easily read in a day. And the main theme of the book is to keep on trying new thing and experimenting. And don’t let the fear of failure or rejection hold you back. I liked it so much I got a copy for all of my staff.

What’s Happening and Where

Our service revolves around off-site promotion through Content Marketing and it generally gets amazing results. But if the client’s website has terrible on-page SEO, it’s like we’re fighting with our hands tied. I’ve been in the web promotion game for quite some time now and it astounds me just how many sites are out there with terrible on-page SEO that generally has some pretty simple solutions that people with even very limited technical knowledge can fix themselves.

So I have written a step by step, easy to follow, do-it-yourself guide to on-page SEO called the Ultimate SEO Cheat Sheet. It’s a 100% free and will significantly boost your rankings. And you download it now, directly from our website at
ArdorMediaFactory.com

Contact Kris

Twitter = @ArdorFactory
Biz = ArdorMediaFactory.com

Have a listen to my chat with Kris Reid:

Download the Transcript - Enter Your Email

Kris Reid
ArdorMediaFactory.com
Transcript

James: All right welcome back my friends to yet another edition of the Big Value, Big Business podcast, I am your host James Lynch. I am really, big, big, big-time super excited about my very special guest today. His name is Kris Reid. Kris is the founder of the ArdorMediaFactory, that’s ArdorMediaFactory.com, the premier content marketing company based in Davao City, Philippines offering businesses worldwide exceptional content marketing and search engine optimization services. It is my pleasure to welcome Kris to the Big Value, Big Business podcast today. Hello Kris! How are you today sir?

Kris: I’m fantastic, James. Thank you very much for having me.

James: The pleasure is mine sir and I thank you. ArdorMediaFactory, that is your new baby eh?

Kris: It sure is, we’re just launching as we speak.

James: That’s awesome. And I did a little research on Ardor, I knew that the term sounded familiar but a short definition would be passion, fervor, zeal, intensity, verve, fire, emotion! Does that represent the ArdorMediaFactory?

Kris: That’s actually what we’re trying to portray. It’s the sort of content that we try and put forward for our customers.

James: I love it, I love it. Hey well again I want to thank you for coming out and we’re really looking forward to having you share with us just how we can best use content marketing to our advantage and to promote our businesses online and develop at the same time favorable search engine rankings in the process. Does that sound like a plan?

Kris: Yeah, sure. Fire away!

James: All right, so let’s start with a little history about you and your company and just maybe get to know you a little bit like where you came from, a little bit about the journey that brought you here to where you are today.

Kris: Yeah well starting back at the beginning, I’m a country boy from a little town just south of Brisbane in Australia. I studied software engineering in Australia and pretty much as soon as I finished my studies, I moved to London and I might have embellished on my CV a little bit as a junior software developer. But it worked out pretty well, I got some nice contracts working for some rather large financial institutions like Visa Europe and Euroclear.

Ended up staying there for a bunch of years until the financial crisis hit and I kind of quit—got pushed out of my job and went back to the other side of the world. But, I’m a software engineer at heart and I do love building software and during my travels, I started macking around building an online game. And as the game came close to complete, I realized that I better work out how to promote it and get people to come and play it. So I started reading and learning a lot about SEO and then I figured out that SEO’s a pretty decent way to make some money. So I ended up focused on that and I actually used it to finance my travels for the next couple years as I vagabonded around the world.

But I eventually needed to set up an office to keep up with building my company and I really had a lot of online staff in the Philippines. So I figured yeah that’s the best place to go and here I am now.

James: Cool, yeah I was going to ask you, I see you’ve been all over Europe and Russia, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, you’ve even come visit us over here in North America. But, I wondered why you chose the Philippines. Did you have a staff there to begin with?

Kris: Yeah I mean I really had two main staff working for me for two or three years. And so I really trusted their opinion and both of them said Davao is the best place to go. I’d never been to the Philippines before. And I came straight here with a young family and I saw it’s a nice town, it’s quiet, it’s safe, it’s got beautiful beaches, it’s got no pollution, decent schools. Me and my wife loved it straight away so I set up shop and it was only after I’d already got a house here that I realized that they weren’t actually in Davao.

James: Who? Your staff?

Kris: My two online staff, they were my managers. They lived up north further but yeah now they work at my office.

James: That’s funny, “Don’t live here, live over there.” NO that’s cool, that’s a great story. Awesome. So listen so it’s been a twisty windy road for you and obviously you feel like you’ve landed with your new company. And so along the way—you’re getting off the ground now—but you know as an entrepreneur and just coming up, how about any of the biggest challenges or maybe one of the biggest challenges that you’ve had coming up that you’ve had to face and overcome?

Kris: I mean it certainly has not been an easy ride. It’s been a whole lot of work and ups and downs and you’ve think you’ve gone great and you know something else comes and clobbers you. So it’s hard to stay on top of everything. The one thing that I really have learnt is that you need to trust in your people. You know like you can’t do everything, you need to hire good staff, you need to train them, you need to invest in them and you need to give them ownership. So you know they need to control the projects they’re working on and be their own boss really. You can’t do every job in your company so you need to trust in your team.

James: Yeah that’s very well said. That’s true and I find some of the most successful entrepreneurs that I speak to, do know when to delegate. And there is a rule, when you want to move things forward I mean 80% of time has got to be creating and promoting your business where the other 20% is administration and the back end stuff that we can easily, if we organize, we can easily find and delegate and find the right people to do it, and to quote you, and to trust them to do it. That’s very, very important. Awesome, awesome. I love it.

Kris: I mean there’s a saying that I’ve heard to work on your business or to work in your business and you know it’s hard to know the balance.

James: No that’s cool. So you’ve had your struggles and you’ve kind of learned to trust your staff and to delegate when you’ve needed to so tell me when you kind of figured out you were on the right path with Ardor and just moving forward. And what was your a-ha moment say, “Yeah I’m doing this thing and things are moving in the right direction.”

Kris: Well it’s kind of funny cause about this time last year, about June, things were kind of getting pretty rocky and I was feeling pretty unsure about how things were. And then we just have explosive growth. Like in June, I think we had four staff in the office and around three times that working online. But by December, we’d outgrown that office, moved to bigger location, had more than 20 staff in the office and I can’t even tell you how many online cause I have managers that deal with that. It was a really great end to last year and yeah it’s felt fantastic.

James: So you’re able to sit back and say, “Yup, I’m going in the right direction and things are finally on track.”

Kris: Yeah well you can really feel secure that it’s not going anywhere. I’ve got a young family that I have to provide for and people count on me. It’s nice to know that you can pay them at the end of the month.

James: That’s cool, cool. Yeah, so tell me about a day in the life at the ArdorMediaFactory. What do you guys do like putting it all together from acquiring a customer to nurturing them through their needs and designing their content, flow, and how it ties into the SEO. Just run us through a day in life.

Kris: Well I mean it can be very different depending on the customer you get. We had a brand new customer join today and he was a referral from another customer. I gave him a call, he’s a tradesman in Sydney, Australia and he already knew quite a lot about SEO and backlinks. He’d already worked with some other companies and he wasn’t happy with the results. So I signed him up, he knew how to do everything himself. He knew what keywords he wanted to target so in the system it went and you know job done.

Other people, they don’t know where their website ranks, they don’t know what their customers are really searching for to get them. I mean I don’t know really why they have a website to start with. But every business solves a problem so we try and work out what the problem is they’re searching for and how we can put their website in front of their customers. And so they’re the customers we have to nurture a lot more and I mean it’s part of the job, I quite like the customer direction.

James: Yeah so it goes from one end to the other. You have someone, like the first, that would know where he’s going, knows the keywords he wants to go for, and has a straight line to where his business goals are. And then you have the others where you have to kind of nurture and consult and kind of point them in the right direction. So that’s cool.

Kris: Yeah certainly you know cause it’s their business. Sometimes they’ll even ask me which keyword’s better and at the end of the day, I don’t know I don’t sell their product. You might have one keyword that has a thousand people searching it but you might have one keyword that has 10 people but they’re the people that will buy your product. Each business is different you know and so you really need to know your customers and what they’re searching for to find your best products and your best sellers.

James: Absolutely and let’s just take that concept for a minute and just expand that a little bit caused I’d like to ask with the entrepreneurs and especially the professionals like you—like you’re in the content marketing world. So a lot of my listeners they’re consultants, they’re small business owners, kind of help us out to maybe step back, take a look at our business and see how we can better serve our content needs and our search engine optimization. If you were to tell our listeners like one tip or trick or best practice, what would that be?

Kris: Well one thing that I recommend is that people add to their website constantly. I mean you don’t have to be doing it daily but at least once a month. Make a little blog post about what your company’s been up to. If you’ve got any new products or services, write something interesting about your theme. Keep it fresh, keep your website dynamic you know? Not every business—okay if you’re a concrete cleaner you might not be that interesting, people don’t want to follow you on Facebook. But you can still update—what’s the latest jobs you’ve been working on? Show more examples of you know here’s the last job we did and here’s a testimonial by that customer. Build your website and build your brand and let people know you.

James: Yeah and how does that benefit us as far as I mean goes Google see, or the search engines in general, do they see that dynamic content creation? Do they see that as positive and favor you in the rankings?

Kris: Yeah they certainly see the websites that are dynamic that are added to—well they get looked at more often. Google has a spider that scurries around the Internet and reads every page. It goes to websites that update themselves more often. If it goes to your website and you haven’t changed since the last time it was here, it won’t come back for a lot longer because it thinks that nothing’s going to change again. So yeah it does help your rankings in the search engine but adding content is also good for your customers too. Like you know if there’s a reason for me to come back to your website and I can see something new, I can learn something about you. And essentially it builds out your website and makes it bigger. I mean if you’re a new company you’re only going to have a few pages of a little bit of content. But if you just add one page every month you know what’s the latest job you’ve been working on. Eventually you’ll have a big website with heaps of content and people can really know about your business.

James: Yeah it’s kind of like building your platform out and growing and giving them eventually something to look at and spend time on.

Kris: For sure.

James: Yeah cool, cool. So let’s talk about Kris Reid for a minute. You mentioned you have a small family. I’d like to get into the heads of a lot of the entrepreneurs I speak to and kind of find out what makes them tick and how they came upon realizing they had the entrepreneurial spirit and what drives you, what keeps you going, any productivity or any kind of hacks that you have that keep you moving in the right direction. So what drives you as a businessman, Kris?

Kris: Oh that’s a tough question, essentially I want to provide the best life I can for my family but that’s not really it. I’m a software engineer, I love building software and a big part of what we do is software. We have software managing all of our content and with building more and more to try and measure our results. You know I like the ownership of having my own business, having a freedom to do what I want to do. Like I got a small software team now, we’ll have meetings of just ideas and whatnot and you know I get to pick which direction the company goes cause it’s my company and that’s a great feeling. You know they’re smart guys so I like to take into consideration what they have to say but I like to sort of do what I want to do. It’s fun and I work a bunch of hours a week you know, sometimes I have trouble sleeping at night because I’d rather be jumping up and working. I work too much on the weekends, I really need to spend time with my family.

James: Yeah, that’s a good and a bad problem. It keeps us moving as entrepreneurs and keeps us growing our business but if your wife’s anything like mine she’s probably wondering why I’m up at five in the morning right now instead of in bed. But she doesn’t understand that I’m talking to somebody 12 hours away in a different time zone! Yeah we do jump out of bed especially when we have that big idea so yeah that’s awesome. That’s awesome. It’s good to hear that you’re growing not only a content marketing team but you’re also have a good little software team growing there which is kind of where you got your start. So you’re staying with your roots and expanding on that.

Kris: Yeah for sure and you know that’s what I’m good at. All of the marketing and promotional stuff like I’m learning that and it’s fun too but I’m a software engineer and I creep back into my little dark cave every now and then and really that’s what I enjoy doing the most.

James: Yeah totally understood, totally understood. So listen so tell us what you have going on with the company. This is basically where I would ask you to promote your business, what you do, what you can do for our folks, where they can find you be it your website and the social media platforms, the easiest way to get in touch with you. What do you got going on?

Kris: Yeah well at the moment, as you mentioned before, we’re launching [15:13] and one of the cornerstones we’ve put out there is a free [15:18] SEO called the ultimate SEO cheat sheet. We deal with so many different websites and sometimes it astounds me just how terrible their on-page SEO is. It’s generally really simple things that people don’t even have that much technological knowledge can fix themselves. So we’ve got a complete, free, ultimate SEO cheat sheet available at our website which is ArdorMediaFactory.com. Just go to the website, you’ll see at the top just click on the button and download it now.

James: Cool, cool. Yeah I see that, I’m heading over there myself because I need a little bit of SEO love on Big ValueBig Business.com. Awesome, awesome. So any other parting shots you have for us? I’d like to just kind of get maybe any inspirations you have or what’s on the bookshelf or do you belong to any mastermind groups? Where do you get your online marketing info, your motivation business, and motivation know-how?

Kris: Unfortunately, being in Davao it’s pretty isolated. There’s not too many expats down here so I don’t really get too many masterminds or anything like that. But I certainly read a lot. You know I’m reading Seth Godin at the moment, he’s a fabulous man, giant brain. I’ve really loved his last book, Poke the Box, it’s essentially about trying new things, poking the box, seeing what’s going to happen. Don’t be afraid of failure or rejection you know it’s poking that box and seeing what it’s going to do that teaches you. So even if it doesn’t get you a great result, just don’t stop. And one thing he recommends in the book is you should pass it around so I ended up buying a couple of copies for every one of my staff. I really highly recommend reading it.

James: Yeah I love Seth Godin, I actually subscribe to his blog. He’s one of the guys that’s in my inbox every morning right about 6:30 in the morning. Yeah he’s totally awesome.

Kris: Yeah, for sure, for sure. Giant brain.

James: Yeah, all right good stuff. Well listen I appreciate you coming on today. I know it’s evening over there, it’s early morning here but we managed to get this thing together. It’s been a real pleasure talking to you and one more time give us that website URL and maybe Twitter or Facebook handle that we can find you.

Kris: It’s Ardor—A-R-D-O-R—ArdorMediaFactory.com and the same for our Facebook.

James: Awesome, awesome. Well listen Kris you have yourself a great rest of the day and I look forward to talking to you maybe checking in and seeing how the business is going in short time. So you take care and we’ll talk to you again?

Kris: Thanks very much James, talk to you soon.

James: You’re welcome sir. Bye-bye now.

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029: Alex Smale – Emotion Over Promotion – TribeMix.com

Alex Smale
Alex is a social media and technology consultant, specializing in strategy, development and content marketing.

He is the managing director at TribeMix.com: a creative social media and content marketing agency; developing and delivering cutting edge marketing strategies for a wide range of clients across multiple sectors.

At the time of this podcast Alex was #19 in the
Top 500 Social Media Agencies in the UK today.

DOWNLOAD TRANSCRIPT

Have a listen to my chat with Alex Smale.

See highlights and links from of our chat below…
ENJOY!

Riches to Rags
Well there’s definitely been some bumps and bruises. My life has been very diverse and sometimes quite strange. And when we very young, my family was quite wealthy and my dad ran a big car company in London that used to repair the cars of the rich and the famous. But then unfortunately he went bankrupt, the business was closed down and we went from being quite well off to actually being homeless living in a squat in Plymouth and in Devon.

We went very much from riches to rags. But you know we built ourselves back up and yeah so eventually my first career was in computer game development.

I was a 3-D artist developing computer games for Playstations and Sega Saturns and Xboxes and things like that. And I did that for about 10 years working with Sega, Sony, Codemasters, BMG, a variety of companies all around the UK and also spent a little while living in France working for a French company over there. Yeah so that was really where my career started in technology. I learned a lot about marketing and PR in that time as well.

Bumps and Bruises
But with all good things, you eventually become in need of looking to do something different, something new. So I always wanted to be a pub manager so I moved back to the UK to run a big pub, which is definitely a bit career change—very different. And definitely a lot of bumps and bruises then I can tell you.

But then I spent about five years doing that before eventually starting my own photography business. I’ve been a photographer for a long time as a hobby and I decided that that was the right time for me to actually begin a company doing it. And that was when

Early Adopter of Social Media
I began my journey with social media marketing. So that was back in 2007 and without any real marketing budget, social media straight away provided a great opportunity for me to market my company. I already had content as a photographer so as an image-based platform, Facebook was a great way to start.

I’ve been doing social media marketing ever since then. And during that time I’ve worked quite a lot in the leisure industry working at zoos and attractions, which has been a really kind of fun journey. Had some great fun with lots of different places and you know doing some cool things with animals and things.

Taking the Chair
I was chairman of the marketing committee for Biaza, which is the national zoo organization and which was quite a prestigious role. I was very flattered to be able to be chosen for that.

TribeMix.com is Born
I’ve just started my own agency, TribeMix, I kind of got to the point where a lot of people were asking me with help for their social media and I realized that now might be the right time to go it alone and start my own agency

With TribeMix we’ve not been going long and our first clients are in the leisure industry. We’re doing some really exciting stuff with them. It’s an industry I know very well having worked in the zoo industry for a long time. So it’s great for us because we immediately understand their business and we immediately understand their customers as well.

I know for a fact that it’s really good fun and that’s kind of a guiding line for TribeMix, and this comes from my girlfriend, Jo, you know she’s very strict with me. If it’s not a client we’re going to enjoy working with and have fun and it’s going to make our lives fun then I’m just not allowed to work with them.

It’s got to be interesting and we’ve got to have the right fit. And that makes the whole process that much better because when you’re really enthusiastic about a brand, that really shines through and companies really appreciate that and you know it makes for a great working relationship.

Emotion Rather Than Promotion
The emotion not promotion thing comes because I absolutely hate adverts and advertising and I just think it’s the scourge of society. I think it’s so meaningless. I know why it’s there, I know that company’s need to get themselves out there and they have to kind of put themselves in front of people’s eyes. But I think it’s just such a bad way of doing that.

I think there’s a much better way by actually being valuable and interesting to your customers and them coming to you. I mean this is a classic thought, the in-bound marketing thing, but done to almost like the next level. Almost to a point forgetting about your own brand and just entertaining and offering value to people and then people will really come and bond with your company.

Augmented Reality
Augmented reality is very kind of early in its development even though it’s been around for many years. I remember first learning about it on a science TV show here in the UK called Tomorrow’s World back in the 80s. And it’s just really not going anywhere—I think it’s just been waiting for the technology to catch up and now it really is starting to catch up.

There’s kind of three I guess main areas of augmented reality. You’ve got marker-based and GPS-based and within the marker based you’ve got 2-D and 3-D augmented realities.

GPS-based stuff there’s been an app around called “About Me” for quite a few years now where you basically look around your phone and you can see restaurants nearby and that kind of stuff like basically GPS map data. And then you’ve got marker-based augmented reality where you have a fixed image in space, which might be a magazine cover or could be a sign post or anything like that, and then you can scan that marker with an app like “Augment” for example or “Blippar” and that image then becomes the reference point in 3-D space.

If you go onto my blog on AlexSmale.com, there’s a blog post about the dinosaur trail that we did at Paradise Wildlife Park in the UK. And all the instructions there—you can download the “Augment” app and there’s a couple of markers you can scan. The Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton’s quite a good example and that will just give you a flavor for what it’s about. Those models aren’t animated but you can animate them as well. And once you’ve got the “Augment” app there’s a load of library models on there that you can try, which are really good so yeah give it a go.

Starting the Day Learning
I think getting up early in the morning is a great way to start the day. I start the day by learning and like everyone else, it takes a little while for my brain to start going so I quite often start the day with learning. So I quite often spent the first hour of the day reading.

There’s so much to learn in this industry, it’s in its infancy so I’m always mindful that my knowledge is miniscule compared to what it could be so yeah learning is a big part of that for me. And yeah I think it’s about having a strong belief that you’re going to make a big difference to the clients you work with.

The thing that really motivates me and keeps me going everyday is hearing back from my clients—just even the little things, the little tips that I’ve given them that’s made such a huge difference to their leads and how much reach they’ve got with their posts and what differences made to their business and how they can’t wait to do more and more of it.

Networking & Learning

Well there’s so many. I think now rather than any one blog or one person, these days we’ve things like Google+ communities, Twitter lists, and you know groups. And there’s just so many different areas around now where you can tailor the kind of content you get rather than coming from particular sources.

On the Bookshelf:

Groundswell, Expanded and Revised Edition:
Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies
by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff

Becoming THE Expert:
Enhancing Your Business Reputation through Thought Leadership Marketing
by John W. Hayes

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff:

Simple Ways To Keep The Little Things From Taking Over Your Life
by Richard Carlson

Utility
by Jay Baer

Epic Content Marketing
by Joe Pulizzi

Contact Alex

Twitter = @Alex_Smale
Biz = TribeMix.com
Personal = AlexSmale.com

Have a listen to my chat with Alex Smale.

Download the Transcript - Enter Your Email

Alex Smale
Tribemix.com

Transcript

James: All right welcome back my friends to yet another edition of the Big Value, Big Business podcast. I am your host James Lynch. I am really big, big, big, big-time super excited about my very special guest today. His name is Mr. Alex Smale. Alex comes to us from TribeMix.com, he’s a social media and technology consultant. He specializes in strategy development and content marketing. He is also the managing director over at TribeMix.com, which is a creative social media and content marketing agency developing and delivering strategies for a wide range of clients across multiple sectors. It’s my pleasure to welcome Alex to the Big Value, Big Business podcast today.
Hello Alex over in Great Britain, how are you today sir?

Alex: Hello James! I’m good thank you, thank you very much for having me on.

James: Awesome, awesome pleasure is all mine sir. You know I want to thank you for coming on and I’m really looking forward to having you share some of your in-depth knowledge and expertise in the area of quality communication in social media and content marketing. Does that sound like a plan?

Alex: That sounds like a great plan as long as you enjoy what I say and I hopefully the listeners will get something out of it.

James: I certainly hope so and know they will. Hey listen I think congratulations are in order, I was browsing about the Twitter-sphere and I see you have entered into position number 19 of the top 500 social media agencies in the UK. Congratulations.

Alex: Thanks very much. Yeah it’s really great to see that ascent that high in the chart. It’s certainly very competitive so out of 500 to be #19 on our entry to the chart is really encouraging so yeah thank you.

James: That’s awesome, that’s awesome again congrats it’s good to see. Yeah so listen I’d like to start out with most of my guests—just start out with a little bit of history. Where you came from you know, what kind of led you to where you are today to starting your agency and maybe any little bumps and bruises and challenges that you had along the way. So tell us what brought you to this point in time, Alex.

Alex: Well there’s definitely been some bumps and bruises. My life has been very diverse and sometimes quite strange. And when we very young, my family was quite wealthy and my dad ran a big car company in London that used to repair the cars of the rich and the famous. But then unfortunately he went bankrupt, the business was closed down and we went from being quite well off to actually being homeless living in a squat in Plymouth and in Devon. So yeah we went very much from riches to rags. But you know we built ourselves back up and yeah so eventually my first career was in computer game development. So I was a 3-D artist developing computer games for Playstations and Sega Saturns and Xboxes and things like that. And I did that for about 10 years working with Sega, Sony, Codemasters, BMG, a variety of companies all around the UK and also spent a little while living in France working for a French company over there. Yeah so that was really where my career started in technology. I learned a lot about marketing and PR in that time as well.

But with all good things, you eventually become in need of looking to do something different, something new. So I always wanted to be a pub manager so I moved back to the UK to run a big pub, which is definitely a bit career change—very different. And definitely a lot of bumps and bruises then I can tell you. But then yeah I spent about five years doing that before eventually starting my own photography business. I’ve been a photographer for a long time as a hobby and I decided that that was the right time for me to actually begin a company doing it. And that was when I began my journey with social media marketing. So that was back in 2007 and without any real marketing budget, social media straight away provided a great opportunity for me to market my company. I already had content as a photographer so as an image-based platform, Facebook was a great way to start.

So yeah I’ve been doing social media marketing ever since then. And during that time I’ve worked quite a lot in the leisure industry working at zoos and attractions, which has been a really kind of fun journey. Had some great fun with lots of different places and you know doing some cool things with animals and things. And also yeah I was the chairman of the marketing committee for Biaza, which is the national zoo organization and which was quite a prestigious role. I was very flattered to be able to be chosen for that. And yeah and now I’ve just started my own agency, TribeMix, I kind of got to the point where a lot of people were asking me with help for their social media and I realized that now might be the right time to go it alone and start my own agency. So yeah it’s going great so far. So that’s a bit of background, hope that was interesting.

James: Absolutely and quite colorful and your resume kind of looks a little bit like mine in the pub industry and there and around. And also this is—I don’t know if it’s funny but it’s kind of a coincidence—quite a few people that I’ve talked to, business owners, entrepreneurs, social media folk, they have had their start or still are involved in photography. It seems to be a natural segue once you start promoting yourself in the photography world—and you were doing it in 2007—the things you learn and folks automatically seem to gravitate towards you to have you help them with their efforts. That’s pretty cool.

Alex: Yeah photography’s been by far the most useful tool throughout my working life. It has so many useful applications everywhere and anywhere especially obviously with social media. It means that as an agency being able to go and create photographic content for a company without having to bring in external resources and rely on other people to kind of understand what we’re trying to achieve. Yeah and it’s you know, creative so I think having creative people in this industry is obviously going to come from sources such as photography or artists or writers and things like that. So yeah that works. I can see why that would be the case.

James: Yeah it’s just ironic. I talked to Oli Gardner, he’s from Unbounce.com, and he photographs large wildlife and just a couple other people, Own Your Hill, Bethany Gillberg—actually a young lady from South Africa too, Mimika Cooney. All photographers! You’re in good company my friend.

Alex: Yeah I’ll have to get their contacts and stuff.

James: Yeah sure absolutely! Absolutely.

Alex: Reach out to them.

James: Yeah, yeah. So tell me about your present day—your agency—really the first thing that spoke to me when I first ran into you was your message with emotion rather than promotion. And I love that it speaks right to the Big Value, Big Business concept. You know what I’m trying to bring out there is quality in our communication in the marketplace. So tell me about maybe a daily in the life of your agency with clients and how you show them how to communicate to humans rather than just pushing the message out there.

Alex: Sure, I mean the emotion not promotion thing comes because I absolutely hate adverts and advertising and I just think it’s the scourge of society. I think it’s so meaningless. I know why it’s there, I know that company’s need to get themselves out there and they have to kind of put themselves in front of people’s eyes. But I think it’s just such a bad way of doing that. I think there’s a much better way by actually being valuable and interesting to your customers and them coming to you. I mean this is a classic thought, the in-bound marketing thing, but done to almost like the next level. Almost to a point forgetting about your own brand and just entertaining and offering value to people and then people will really come and bond with your company.

There’s been some great examples of it recently. GoPro for example, they don’t really market per se they just put out great content and interesting content that their own people have created. And look at them, their IPO went really well and a week later they were up 60%. This stuff really does work because we’re so bombarded with content these days. Advertising is just another almost bad form of content when there’s much more interesting and entertaining content out there. That’s the sort of stuff we can engage with. So yeah I think as long as companies are kind of putting their customers first and giving them value then I think will succeed far beyond those companies that are still just advertising to their client base.

So yeah with TribeMix we’ve not been going long and our first clients are in the leisure industry. We’re doing some really exciting stuff with them. It’s an industry I know very well having worked in the zoo industry for a long time. So it’s great for us because we immediately understand their business and we immediately understand their customers as well. So I know for a fact that it’s really good fun and that’s kind of a guiding line for TribeMix, and this comes from my girlfriend, Jo, you know she’s very strict with me. If it’s not a client we’re going to enjoy working with and have fun and it’s going to make our lives fun then I’m just not allowed to work with them. It’s got to be interesting and we’ve got to have the right fit. And that makes the whole process that much better because when you’re really enthusiastic about a brand, that really shines through and companies really appreciate that and you know it makes for a great working relationship.

So yeah at the moment we’ve been pretty busy straight away. I haven’t even had a chance to fully finish our own website or anything like that cause we’ve been straight into helping clients which is great. And yeah it’s just been an interesting journey and people are coming to us from all different sectors and asking us to help them with their social media and their content marketing and also augmented reality which is probably the most exciting part of all I think.

James: Tell us a little bit about the offline kind of augmented reality and how you can wrap that up into—I saw some of these adverts for the images of dinosaurs and how you kind of use augmented reality to make some very interesting images and just tell us a little bit more about that and how it applies. You know where you learned about it and how you use it and the future of using that in advertising and marketing.

Alex: So augmented reality is very kind of early in its development even though it’s been around for many years. I remember first learning about it on a science TV show here in the UK called Tomorrow’s World back in the 80s. And it’s just really not going anywhere—I think it’s just been waiting for the technology to catch up and now it really is starting to catch up. Everyone’s got a powerful enough device in their hands and the next generation of those wearable devices—well not Google Glass Mach I but potentially Google Glass Mach II and beyond will mean that augmented reality will go into an explosion in everyone’s lives. And all of a sudden it’ll be everywhere but at the moment it’s not really anywhere. So yeah it’s an exciting time and it fits perfectly with what we do because of our—you know my personal heritage with computer game development, 3-D graphics, and those kinds of things. And so it’s one of those areas where because of that I’ve always had my eye on waiting for the time when that kind of industry was starting to mature. And we’re quite early in it still but really in the next two or three years it’s going to be a big part of everyone’s lives.

So we’re starting early with that and we’re starting to put augmented reality into leisure attractions as part of the visual experience. Which is proving successful, people are finding it interesting and you know having a lot of fun with it. And we’re constantly looking at new ways of developing that. I can’t quite tell you what areas and what things we’re doing with it at the moment because our clients are quite keen to keep it a secret because it’ll ruin the surprise which is tricky but—

James: Okay.. for our listeners, just explain—say I have a lot of entrepreneurs, more consultant creators, advertisers, small business folk, how would they use augmented reality to maybe enhance their advertisement? Like what platform are they using? Would it be a social media platform? Is it strictly applicable to images? How do you think that would tie in without violating any non-disclosure agreement you have? How could that apply—how could we apply to modern day marketing?

Alex: Oh no this area’s fine I mean the technologies and how it works and those kinds of things I can talk about quite a bit. So there’s kind of three I guess main areas of augmented reality. You’ve got marker-based and GPS-based and within the marker based you’ve got 2-D and 3-D augmented realities.

So GPS-based stuff there’s been an app around called “About Me” for quite a few years now where you basically look around your phone and you can see restaurants nearby and that kind of stuff like basically GPS map data. And then you’ve got marker-based augmented reality where you have a fixed image in space, which might be a magazine cover or could be a sign post or anything like that, and then you can scan that marker with an app like “Augment” for example or “Blippar” and that image then becomes the reference point in 3-D space.

So it would be the app knows the angle of that image and therefore as you move around the image, it can calculate the different angle and so it’ll give the illusion that an image is actually there fixed in space that isn’t actually there. And then you’re just limited by your imagination so you can either have 2-D videos or images that float in 3-D space. We’re seeing a lot of that in supermarkets and things like that where people can hold up a DVD case and watch a trailer of a movie, that kind of stuff. Or with the 3-D content, you can animate it, you can make it fun, scary, interactive to a point at least. You can stand next to it, have your photo taken with it, share it onto social media channels. It’s really just limited by your imagination beyond there but it’s really exciting and you can basically overlay a layer of entertainment in a space with limited space and very small budget instead of having to build something big in the real world.

James: Neat, neat. So if we were to—do you have a specific place we could go to get a start (to learn about) what is augmented reality, would that bring us to where we need to be?

Alex: Sure I mean if you go onto my blog on AlexSmale.com, there’s a blog post about the dinosaur trail that we did at Paradise Wildlife Park in the UK. And all the instructions there—you can download the “Augment” app and there’s a couple of markers you can scan. The Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton’s quite a good example and that will just give you a flavor for what it’s about. Those models aren’t animated but you can animate them as well. And once you’ve got the “Augment” app there’s a load of library models on there that you can try, which are really good so yeah give it a go.

James: Yeah and I’ll put this information in the show notes after we wrap it, it’ll show up with the podcast and that will be at BigValueBigBusiness.com/episode29. For anyone that’s listening and wants to check that out, it’s really cool. We could do a whole episode. We could talk an hour or so on augmented reality, that’s awesome. But I wanted to go back to something you said and I love that and tell your girlfriend she’s right on. I’m a big proponent of you’ve got to like who you’re working with man. You know there’s something to be said, if you can get to a point where you can pick your clients and you like each other and it’s so much easier to work with and I also see—you become for the leisure industry and for the zoology industry, you become almost an evangelist for their brand, for their websites, for their properties. You know and a brand ambassador—you’re still an agency or you’re still a consultant for them but you become a part of their family and I think that’s so intricate. And that kind of ties to the emotion versus promotion because you have emotions vested in your presentation of the product.

Alex: Absolutely and especially in the leisure industry. They’re very passionate people in zoos—I mean these industries especially the zoo industry, it’s not an area to get rich at all. These guys are doing it purely for the love of doing it. And if you’re not in tune with that passion then you’re never going to resonate with that audience so yeah. It’s absolutely imperative for me that I enjoy everyday that we work you know? Life is too short not to I think.

James: That’s awesome and kudos to you for carving that niche out for yourself and doing what you love and being passionate about it. That’s awesome. So on that note of a personal note—not to get too personal—but I’d like to delve into folks like yourself, it takes a lot of be an entrepreneur and agency owner to start up. It takes a lot of discipline, a lot of internal knowledge and you really have to have your stuff together. Tell me about maybe any particular mindset, rituals, productivity, accountability, sounds like your girlfriend is a partner in the agency so there could be accountability there where you guys kind of play off each other. But as far as growing the business and keeping it moving forward, accountability, productivity, how do you keep all that together?

Alex: Well I think getting up early in the morning is a great way to start the day. I start the day by learning and like everyone else, it takes a little while for my brain to start going so I quite often start the day with learning. So I quite often spent the first hour of the day reading. There’s so much to learn in this industry, it’s in its infancy so I’m always mindful that my knowledge is miniscule compared to what it could be so yeah learning is a big part of that for me. And yeah I think it’s about having a strong belief that you’re going to make a big difference to the clients you work with. The thing that really motivates me and keeps me going everyday is hearing back from my clients—just even the little things, the little tips that I’ve given them that’s made such a huge difference to their leads and how much reach they’ve got with their posts and what differences made to their business and how they can’t wait to do more and more of it.

Sometimes it’s more fun rather than providing the whole service for a client but actually just perhaps having a one-day session with them and just going through some things they can try themselves and watching them go through a similar journey to me. They’re learning and developing themselves and going on to do it on their own. I think that’s really exciting. So yeah that’s the real kind of motivation for me.

James: Feeding off the positive feedback you get from showing folks how to get results.

Alex: Absolutely yeah.

James: Love that, love that. That’s fantastic. Yeah I totally agree. How about a business resource—a lot of folks I speak to tend to gravitate towards a mentor or two or belong to a mastermind. You sound like you kind of do your own research in the morning. I mean experts are expert students because we’re always learning. But do you have a mastermind or any particular blog that you look at regularly that you kind of rely on to keep you up to date to keep you on your toes?

Alex: Well there’s so many. I think now rather than any one blog or one person, these days we’ve things like Google+ communities, Twitter lists, and you know groups. And there’s just so many different areas around now where you can tailor the kind of content you get rather than coming from particular sources. You know that’s kind of where I feed off and I just have quite a few of those and that actually forms a big part of my day is actually going through a lot of that stuff, curating the best stuff, putting that back out for my own following thereby creating a funnel of my own for people to come and check out the really good content. And also books as well, there’s some fantastic books, which really still go to much greater depth than any articles or videos or anything like that. So particular ones for me, Groundswell by Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li, Utility by Jay Baer, Epic Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi.

James: I love Joe! I’ve had Joe, he’s one of my first guests he’s a great guy.

Alex: Yeah I saw that on your website. So it’s real honor to kind of share the stage with Joe there.

James: Yeah he’s a great guy. Godfather of content marketing. Yeah I have all of those books my friend! That’s awesome. Tell me more, tell me more.

Alex: Okay so there’s another really good one, which is written by a guy called John Hayes, written here in the UK, Becoming THE Expert. And this book I actually buy for quite a few people, I just bought it for my dad this week. And it’s basically all about getting people to start blogging, why they should and just about becoming a thought leader in your field and how important that is to do. So yeah Becoming THE Expert by John Hayes, that’s an excellent one. And another one, this is my favorite book of all time and it’s not a particularly social media book or anything like that at all. But again a book—I must have bought this book 40 times for various people I’ve met—and it’s called, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff by Richard Carlson. And it’s just one of those books that everyone should read because it totally keeps your life in perspective and stops you literally worrying about the small stuff. And it’s definitely helped me to enjoy my life and become much more relaxed about everything I do and yeah I think I’ve become more successful because of it.

James: Awesome. Great books, all classics. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff I put that—that’s right up there with the Chicken Soup’s and the Seven Habits and Think and Grow Rich that’s definitely one. ?? another I always great minds ?? That’s awesome, awesome, awesome.

So listen as we wrap, just let us know what you have going on, where we can find you, if you have any particular promotions. This is a time for you to tell our listeners what projects you’re working and where we can find you.

Alex: Well we’re working on a range of projects from various clients with their social media, augmented reality, and content marketing. Largely in the leisure industry and also in industries that would really surprise you and you’ll hear about those as they come to fruition. Please forgive my secrecy it’s important to me that we protect our client’s integrity. But yeah so follow us and follow me, Alex_Smale, on Twitter or @TribeMix as well. And check out our website at TribeMix.com and yeah join our tribe. Just be a part of what we do.

James: Appreciate for being so generous with your time and we’ll catch up with you again very soon. Looking forward to some of these really hush, hush projects you’ve piqued our interest so we’re going to have to circle back with you and find out what you’ve got going on.

Alex: Yeah of course, I’d love to.

James: All right Alex, thank you so much and you take care okay?

Alex: No thanks very much James. I really appreciate you having us on, thank you.

James: Thank you, take care. Bye-bye.

Alex: Take care.

James: Bye.

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028: Kent Julian – Show Up and Shine – LiveItForward.com

Kent-Julian
Kent is a family man, an author, an entrepreneur and the Founder and President of…LiveItForward.com
A personal and professional development company devoted to equipping people to show up and shine in their life and in their career.

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Have a listen to my chat with Kent Julian.

See highlights and links from of our chat below…
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Podcast Highlights:

High Energy
That is one of the fringe benefits of working with students for as long as I have.
I do a lot with adults as well but I just can’t let go of that student-market especially for the high-level, high-achieving students and they really do keep you young. In fact, not only the students but some of the other people in that industry, some of the other speakers, most of them are easily 10, 15 years younger than me. And so you got to stay up with them, so I work hard.

Humble Beginnings
I started out as a Youth pastor. I was at a very, very small church, very humble beginnings. If you just look at it as far as a career, I was pretty successful and real quickly went from a small church to one of the largest churches in the US at the time. And then by the time I was in my very early 30’s, I was in the National Youth Director of a couple of thousand churches. So great, just a great experience, loved it. But the longer I was in it, the more I was realizing while it was a great opportunity to serve and I did well at it. I really didn’t fit it super well especially kind of the corporate structure of being involved in church, and then once I got to a larger setting, the national setting, the corporate structure for that.

Building/Moving/Living It Forward

So I took a number of years just to try to figure some things out while I was working. I finally decided I wanted to start my own business, had no idea what I was doing, ended up getting a lot of coaching, going to a lot of conferences. And long story short, nine years ago, I launched Live It Forward totally as a bootstrapping company, bootstrapped it for three years while I had a fulltime job, was able and it started primarily as a career coaching company, was able to grow it to the point where I could quit my fulltime job and then over the last six years, I have been doing that. And now, it has evolved into where I speak a lot in a particular market, a student market that works with students that are pursuing something. They’re really trying to figure out what they want to do in their lives. So that fit very well with the career aspect. And then on top of that, I started adding things… conferences and shaping the coaching I did for people who specifically want to earn money as speakers and writers. So I’ve been doing that and the brand just continues to grow but it’s been a great journey, have learned an absolute ton, love getting up every day and I love what I do.

The Long Runway
And when I’m working with speakers or writers and we’re trying to help them launch, I really tried to help them understand how important it is to have a long runway and that’s what bootstrapping allows you to do it. It allows you to have a long runway because most people drop out before they have enough speed to really take off. And they think, oh, I’m going to be able to do this in 6 months or 12 months. And occasionally, you can do that. But I have rarely ever met an entrepreneur who bootstrapped, who was able to get their business off the ground, really less than 18 or 24 months. And I’m often held up as an example of, hey, this is the guy who did a good job at it, and it took me three years. So no matter how you do it, you have to have a runway. You have to have enough time to launch this thing. And if you give up on it too soon, you’re not going to be able to take off.

Finding The Right System

I think the biggest thing that I do and even the way that we host when we put on a conference, the way we host conference and then the way we do all of our coaching and mastermind is teach the systems that work. Systems and step by step by step by step by step, so that really, I always tell people when we’re going to the coaching, if they have found people that can teach them the system that they did and teach it to them in detail, if you work a good system that good system will end up working for you. So to me, that’s the difference. I’ve worked with a lot of people. Some of them, they’re just never willing to work the systems.

Some of them are, I would call them conference junkies. They’re just going and getting their next fix at a conference but some of them, a good percentage of them had really come in to learn the system that exactly what I do, have worked it on their industry, and they’re the ones that end up getting booked. And if you look at it, same kind schedule, it’s usually 18 months to 3-year journey that they have in front of them.

Inspiration
And so what I mean by that is there are certain things that have just been high priority. I read Seven Habits very early on, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Besides the Bible, the most powerful book in my life and really as a young 20-year-old, really went about to trying to live that kind of life. And so now, in my late 40’s, you look at that. That’s been 25 years that I’ve really been trying to live those principles. So I spent every morning, I do a thing that I call, leading my life from quiet where again, I like variety. So I do a lot of different things, No two mornings are alike but I block out about an hour to where I’m just starting my day from quiet and trying to lead my life from that.

At The Core
I exercise very regularly in doing things that I enjoy on exercise.
I have amazing relationship with my wife, absolutely amazing. We work at that very hard.
My faith in Christ is… that’s who I’m living my life for and so I’m trying to honor him on all that I do and trying to follow him.

Influence
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”, Jim Rohn
And then I’m a big believer on Jim Rohn called, ‘you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.’ So I spend a lot of time with my wife. I spend time with people like Dan Miller.

There’s another principle that I’d say, I paid a play or in other words, when I know people are paying to be in part of mastermind groups that I lead, that as far as speaking. But for instance right now, I’m in a 3-year mastermind program where it’s a very significant investment to be a part of it. But it gets me around other high achievers and people are trying to maximize their impact in their income at the same time. And so those are the type of people I’m trying to spend time with.
And so I try to take on that attitude of every year, I want to pay for something whether it’s for coaching, for conferences, for mastermind groups, I want to pay something to play with bigger fish.

On The Book Shelf
The Bible
Seven Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey
Zero to OneMillion – Ryan Allis

What’s Happening with Kent
LiveitForward.com
Coming Soon: Live it Forward podcast, How to Show Up and Shine Everyday in Every Way.
Speak it Forward Boot Camp – Visit LiveitForward.com for direct links

Contact Kent
Twitter: @kentjulian
Instagram: kent_julian.

Have a listen to my chat with Kent Julian.

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Kent Julian
LiveItForward.com

Transcript

James: All right, welcome back my friends to yet another edition of the Big Value Big Business podcast. I am your host, James Lynch. I am really big, big, big time super excited about my very special guest today. His name is Mr. Kent Julian. Kent comes to us from liveitforward.com. Kent is a family man, an author, an entrepreneur and the founder and president of liveitforward.com LLC. It’s a personal and professional development company devoted to equipping people to show up and shine in their life and in their career. I like Kent’s tagline. He says “There are two basic choices in life check out and whine or show up and shine. I love it. It is my pleasure to welcome Kent to the Big Value Big Business podcast. Hello, Kent! How are you?

Kent: Man, it is great to be here. I love your energy, buddy.

James: Thank you very much, thank you. I sense you a pretty high energy yourself, you would have to be to keep up with your schedule, you’re travelling speaking around the globe and based in with the Youth that you work with. I imagined, you got to stay in shape to keep up with the youngins.

Kent: Yeah, it’s great. That is one of the fringe benefits of working with students for as long as I have.
I do a lot with adults as well but I just can’t let go of that student-market especially for the high-level, high-achieving students and they really do keep you young. In fact, not only the students but some of the other people in that industry, some of the other speakers, most of them are easily 10, 15 years younger than me. And so you got to stay up with them, so I work hard.

James: Good for you. That’s awesome. Yeah, I know the feeling. I want to hang out with my kids but they don’t want any part of me so I digress, not totally true. But yeah, hey, I want to thank you again. I know you’re a busy we can make the move to the work in the life that we truly love. I think that may sound familiar. And does that sound like a plan, sir?

Kent: It sounds great. We love to talk about that, one of my favorite subjects.

James: Awesome, awesome. I’m going through some transitions, myself. A lot of my folks that are listening are authors, speakers, consultants, small business folk and we want to get back to doing the things we love and to get paid for it. There’s nothing wrong with that. If we could start, maybe get a little history from you sir. Find out where you came up from and a little bit about the journey that’s brought you here to where you are today.

Kent: Well, I’ll give you the clip note version. And then, you can ask any questions you want.

James: Sure, sounds good.

Kent: I started out as a Youth pastor. I was at a very, very small church, very humble beginnings. If you just look at it as far as a career, I was pretty successful and real quickly went from a small church to one of the largest churches in the US at the time. And then by the time I was in my very early 30’s, I was in the National Youth Director of a couple of thousand churches. So great, just a great experience, loved it. But the longer I was in it, the more I was realizing while it was a great opportunity to serve and I did well at it. I really didn’t fit it super well especially kind of the corporate structure of being involved in church, and then once I got to a larger setting, the national setting, the corporate structure for that.

So I took a number of years just to try to figure some things out while I was working. I finally decided I wanted to start my own business, had no idea what I was doing, ended up getting a lot of coaching, going to a lot of conferences. And long story short, nine years ago, I launched Live It Forward totally as a bootstrapping company, bootstrapped it for three years while I had a fulltime job, was able and it started primarily as a career coaching company, was able to grow it to the point where I could quit my fulltime job and then over the last six years, I have been doing that. And now, it has evolved into where I speak a lot in a particular market, a student market that works with students that or pursuing something.

They were all pursuing professional. They’re really trying to figure out what they want to do in their lives. So that fit very well with the career aspect. And then on top of that, I started adding things… conferences and shaping the coaching I did for people who specifically want to earn money as speakers and writers. So I’ve been doing that and the brand just continues to grow but it’s been a great journey, have learned an absolute ton, love getting up every day and I love what I do.

James: That’s fantastic. So yeah, just to fill in. It seems like you started… first of all, just to go all the way back to corporate structure/within the youth pastor, one wouldn’t equate that much corporate structure with that type of position. But I guess I have the wrong perception.

Kent: Yeah. It’s really interesting in that when you think about how a lot of nonprofits and so I’m going to put a church in a nonprofit. When you start, if you’re in a smaller setting, it’s a little bit more entrepreneurial and Youth minister, the great thing about being a Youth pastor is that’s one aspect of the church that’s very open to kind of free agent entrepreneurial type of concept. They really want you to get out there. So that’s great. But when you’re in a church, you’re dealing with boards. You’re dealing with, the second church I worked at, the staff was always probably 50 on staff. There are, I think, 20+ pastors. And you’re dealing with boards, and then once you get into a national level, and you are working with 2000 churches, there are all kinds of different committees and boards.

And it’s just very structured, corporate might not be the right word, but just very, very structured. And to get anything done, you have to jump through multiple loops to accomplish anything. And the more that I had to do that, it’s not that it’s bad. The more that I had to do that though, the more I realized, boy, this is not the way that I’m wired.

James: Yeah, and I want to agree because, just in the business I’m in, agency work, but being a hands on kind of guy and successful in what I did and then becoming management and in getting in, trenched in that, it’s different. You’re doing more managing, people in process or in your case maybe, was navigating the processes rather than doing boots on the ground kind of thing. It takes a way from your true calling, do you agree?

Kent: Yeah, and here’s what is really interesting. I did super well because I had so many good people around me. And what really woke me up that said, I need to get out of this and go do something else was when I made a transition to a team. And it was still a good team but instead of being a team of leaders, it was more of a team of people I had to manage. And that’s where I real… I had a career crisis when I hit that. And I didn’t even realize it. I was pretty young so I didn’t realized it was almost by luck that I had hired so well at one place and the key hires, all of them, I hired highly capable leaders who could pick up the ball and run with it. And then I moved into another situation, and the other situation I had to walk into a staff that was already there, and the staff that were there, very good people but definitely more people that had to be managed.

And I realized real quickly. Man, I do not like managing people. I don’t mind running with leaders. In fact, that’s what you do as an entrepreneurial. If you’re going to connect with other people and you’re networking and you set up affiliate business opportunities with other people. You’re working with other high potential leaders that are going a hundred miles per hour along with you. And so that’s one of the reasons I moved in to entrepreneurship because I felt like I was going to be around people that are wired like me. And I definitely don’t have the management wiring at me.

James: Agreed, agreed. I can totally relate to that. So back in 2005’ish, that we decided to build on in bootstrap, Live it Forward. So you were some three years in the making before you were able to fly fulltime with that. Is that correct?

Kent: Yeah. So it was and it was a real interesting journey. I share this in other places but…

James: Sure, please do.

Kent: The first year of my total revenue bootstrapping, and this is working probably, well not probably it was minimum of 15 hours a week, sometimes as many as 20 hours a week bootstrapping. My total revenue first year, not income, not money in my pocket, revenue was 4 grand. My second year, it was 24 grand but what’s really interesting is the first six months was only 6 grand. So if you look at the first 18 months I worked, the total amount of revenue I produced was $10,000. But the next six months was $18,000. So I doubled my income in a third of a time, and then the next year was $68,000. And that’s what I really had enough momentum going on and I knew what I was doing to launch.

And when I’m working with speakers or writers and we’re trying to help them launch, I really tried to help them understand how important it is to have a long runway and that’s what bootstrapping allows you to do it. It allows you to have a long runway because most people drop out before they have enough speed to really take off. And they think, oh, I’m going to be able to do this in 6 months or 12 months. And occasionally, you can do that. But I have rarely ever met an entrepreneur who bootstrapped, who was able to get their business off the ground, really less than 18 or 24 months. And I’m often held up as an example of, hey, this is the guy who did a good job at it, and it took me three years.

James: I loved that because again, I spoke to who my audience is. It’s so applicable, myself with this podcast, six months and bootstrapping like crazy. Yes, so what is the, might be just a little off but what would you say the opposite would be investors of people investing in a project rather than the bootstrapping because I see our bootstrapping going hand in hand with kind of finding what your doing or refining your process, your products, your services, how you’re going to serve your audience and defining that audience. So I’m trying to picture in my head if these several questions I just threw out there. But the opposite of bootstrapping was obviously you had a solid project with a business plan and you present and you get veture capital and that gets invested. And you could get going with revenue maybe sometime before you’re in the block. But the bootstrapping, I guess what am I asking is fair to say, you, while you’re traveling down that runway, you’re honing your offering so to speak?

Kent: Absolutely. I did not know what I was doing. I knew, I compare it to a, you’re on a… you’re following a treasure map. So unlike following a map, quest map, you have your X marks the spot and you kind of know what’s there. You know it’s valuable. You know what kind of money you want to make. You know what activities you want to be doing to make that money. You know probably the theme that you want your business to revolve around but that’s it. So bootstrapping a lot of it, especially at first during the journey is figuring out what the heck am I doing. And additionally, this is something that’s really interesting.

I used to do a lot more just pure career coaching when I first started. And I actually had, when I was working with someone who wanted to start their own business, I was able to talk about this runway with them because I bootstrapped with, I just had no money. So I had to bootstrap with my time and effort. I had a buddy who started his business that had saved up enough money that he could quit his job and he had about two years of living expenses put away so he could quit his job. But what’s funny is that, so he… I was doing a part time, he was bootstrapping fulltime, and while his money, the amount of revenue he produced, his was, his first year is about 25, the second year, I think was about 75 and his third year was a 150. If you look at those percentages, they’re the exact percentages in growth as mine was, just bigger.

I then, had to add one more thing. There’s a great book. I’m looking on my bookshelf right now. It’s called ‘From Zero to One million.’ And it’s about the guy who started eye contact which is very similar to Mail Chimp – Constant Contact. And he did the investment route to where he was able to start with enough money, enough investors. He had a staff of six and he, it’s a… what makes the book so great is that he really shares a lot of the details including the finances. And again, his numbers are much bigger. We’re talking the first year is like $900,000 the next year. But if you look at the percentages, it’s the exact same kind of growth that just, instead of one person part time or one person full time, now, he was starting with five or six people full time but the exact same percentages.

So no matter how you do it, you have to have a runway. You have to have enough time to launch this thing. And if you give up on it too soon, you’re not going to be able to take off.

James: All right. So that brings perfect segue into… you coach a lot of the folks. How do you… I’m saying as a statement. You do coach a lot of folks and a lot of folks, the best intentions, the best circumstances, the hardest work ethic. But how do you help them stay in the game?

Kent: That’s a great question. I do coach a lot of folks. Primarily now, people who are looking to add speaking and writing either doing that kind of fulltime or doing that as a major revenue stream. And I would say two things. One is I tried to provide a lot of inspiration not inspiration as RA RA!, all right. But…

James: You give real life examples. I can tell.

Kent: Exactly. But then on top of that, I think the biggest thing that I do and even the way that we host when we put on a conference, the way we host conference and then the way we do all of our coaching and mastermind is teach the systems that work. So in other words, it’s not just, I love two types of conferences. One type is when I go and it’s just about coming up with ideas and trying to figure out, oh, I could do this. I could do this. I could do that. But once I know what I want to do, then – this is how I am, I pay money to teach me, here’s the system that I’ve used to, if I find a speaker that I want to follow I want to find out what that person has done, how have they marketed their services, how did they figure out who were they’re going to go after and speak.

James: Yes, it is strategies.

Kent: It’s not just strategies, even systems.

James: Systems, yeah, yeah, correct. I’m sorry.(crosstalk)

Kent: Systems and step by step by step by step by step, so that really, I always tell people when we’re going to the coaching, if they have found people that can teach them the system that they did and teach it to them in detail, if you work a good system that good system will end up working for you. So to me, that’s the difference. I’ve worked with a lot of people. Some of them, they’re just never willing to work the systems. Some of them are, I would call them conference junkies. They’re just going and getting their next fix at a conference but some of them, a good percentage of them had really come in to learn the system that exactly what I do, have worked it on their industry, and they’re the ones that end up getting booked. And if you look at it, same kind schedule, it’s usually 18 months to 3-year journey that they have in front of them.

James: Interesting. Well, that’s a yeah. Tell me about a day in the life, present day. Now, you’re speaking around or you holding conferences? Do you one-on-one? Do people come to see you? Just kind of get a glimpse at what your business is like?

Kent: An easy answer to that is yes, of all that you just said. I actually love variety, love it, love it, love it. But I like variety within my sweet spots, the things that I really like to do. And the other thing is, I know a lot of contemporaries of mine who are speakers especially those who started out in the speaking business. I was fortunate to start out as a Youth pastor that had a lot of speaking with it. But I had a full time job and kind of learn that, because I started with my business in my later 30’s versus somebody who came out and was an entrepreneur and especially a speaker and started speaking in their 20’s. Some of my contemporaries, 70% of their revenue will come from key-note presentations and then 20% from back of the room sales, and then maybe 10% from other things. But what that means is in order to make a great living as a speaker, they’re doing 60, 70 engagements a year

I shoot for about 40 engagements a year. And so when you look if… the best way to look at just what, The Day in the Life, that’s not really a good way to look at it. It’s more of a Month in the Life of Kent..

James: Taking the average.

Kent: Yeah, I would say and then just look at the revenue, I would say that 40% of my revenue took 40 to 45% of my revenue comes from speaking in back of the room sales. 20% of my revenue comes from live event things that I do in my hometown that I’m totally in control of 20 to 25% and then another 25 to 30% or so comes from coaching in mastermind programs that I put on. And so those are the primary ways. And then I have other things. I do some affiliate things. And I have every once a while, take one-on-one clients. So I have other ways to make money but that’s the vast majority of it. So I speak a lot.
I do some live events. I do coaching and mastermind. And then to market my services, I do a lot of writing, blogging. I’m about ready to start my podcast myself. So those are some things that I do that I just… I absolutely love that you’re constantly doing that help your market and just serve people. I’m a big believer that the best way to market is to actually serve and give. And if you do that, you’re able to really market your services well.

James: Absolutely. The rest takes care of itself. Absolutely, I love that. A couple things popped out of me. You’re a really big percentages of allocation and it’s great because you get the high level view and when that starts to get skewed, you know. And like you said, your reference is your sweet spots and that is… I’m looking on your KentJulian.com, and how you invest your time. It’s broken down by percentages.

Kent: Absolutely.

James: I love that.

Kent: Well, what’s really cool is I don’t have to hit the road, I can actually take a month or two off from speaking when I want to do that. There’s a lot of variety in two days are the like when I’m tired of, hey, I haven’t been out on the road. I’ve been kind of hold off in my office for the last 3 weeks. I usually got two or three gigs coming up. Excuse me, I don’t like to call them gigs. Engagements coming up…

James: I get it.

Kent: And so it just brings a lot of variety, all of those things. It’s a different fleshing out of… it’s all on the topics that I’m passionate about. But it’s using different gifts and fleshing out. So when you’re keynoting on stage, it does very different than when you’re writing a blog and that’s very different than when you’re doing coaching in mastermind. And I love all of those activities. But they’re all around the topics and themes that I absolutely love.

James: Yeah, that’s great. And interesting how you made the comparison between some of your contemporaries in yourself where they’re out 70% of the time out beating the bushes, and I keep thinking about Michael Hyatt. And he used to be of that ilk when he was 70-80% out on the road. And he’s turned that around considerably using online systems and digital delivery. And I think that is becoming more and more, more prevalent Would you agree?

Kent: Yeah, I would. I would say the difference between a Michael Hyatt and there’s a couple of other people who have made that transition is I absolutely love keynoting. So I have… a good buddy of mine is Dan Miller…

James: Oh, I love Dan Miller. He’s great.

Kent: Yeah, he is a great buddy of mine and we actu1ally do some work together and some business together. But he would almost be like, yeah, you don’t want to do that at all. I don’t know why anybody would want to go out and keynote. And I’m — that’s my absolute favorite thing to do is to keynote the audiences that I get to keynote in front of. Right now, my primary audience are again, high-achieving, really focused high school students that are focused on going somewhere. And most of my… a small audience for me is around 500. Typically, I’m working… I’m in front of 1500 to 4000, 5000 students. Oh, it’s just a rush.

James: Being like a rock star! You’re like a rock star. I love it.

Kent: And they’re just so motivated. And I mean, I come back just energized from those kind of things. So doing 35 to 40 of those engagements a year, I absolutely love that. But if it was 60 or 70, now, you’re talking about being on the road 125, 150 nights a year, you’re away from your family that much. So unlike Michael where I think he’s okay with maybe doing 6 to 10 a year. (He has really cut back)Yeah, he really has. And I really, really enjoy that part of my business and can never see me not doing 35, 40 engagements a year.

James: Well, see the whole theme of this, the whole analogy is if you set it up right, if you have somebody like Kent Julian that’s helping you put your act together, you can speak 10%, 20%, 50% of your time on the road. However you set it up.

Kent: That’s it. That’s the key. That’s figuring out the life you want and then try to figure out how to make work fit into that life.

James: Absolutely. That’s fantastic. Personal note, you sound, dude, you have it totally together. I’ve seen some of your videos, energy plus some… passionate. Where do you go to the well, Kent? Where do you go for your inspiration, be it mentors, your faith, your family? What comprises this enthusiasm that you have?

Kent: The easy answer to that is, yes as well. That’s all those things.

James: I usually ask, who is your favorite author? Do you work with a mastermind? But you’ve taken another level, and I did a little research on you and I know that you’ll draw all your juice from all of those sources plus… I imagine.

Kent: Yeah, I would say there’s a number of things and which really interesting, my wife and I were talking about this just yesterday. I’ve listened to some podcasts, I’ve listened to a lot of podcasts. I ‘ve listened some podcasts about living balance and things like that, and it always amazes me that sometimes some of the people who are sharing those podcasts are so out of balance and I don’t know if they’re doing it as a way to try to get in balance. But I would say that in some ways, I’m out of balance but on purpose. And so what I mean by that is there are certain things that have just been high priority. I read Seven Habits very early on, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Besides the Bible, the most powerful book in my life and really as a young 20-year-old, really went about to trying to live that kind of life. And so now, in my late 40’s, you look at that. That’s been 25 years that I’ve really been trying to live those principles. So I spent every morning, I do a thing that I call, leading my life from quiet where again, I like variety. So I do a lot of different things, No two mornings are alike but I black out about an hour to where I’m just starting my day from quiet and trying to lead my life from that.

I exercise very regularly in doing things that I enjoy on exercise. I have amazing relationship with my wife, absolutely amazing. We work at that very hard. We, my faith in Christ is… that’s who I’m living my life for and so I’m trying to honor him on all that I do and trying to follow him. And then I’m a big believer on Jim Rohn called, ‘you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.’ So I spent a lot of time with my wife. I spent time with people like Dan Miller. I, there’s another principle that I’d say, I paid a place or in other words, when I know people are paying to be in part of mastermind groups that I lead, that as far as speaking. But for instance right now, I’m in a 3-year mastermind program where it’s a very significant investment to be a part of it. But it gets me around other high achievers and people are trying to maximize their impact in their income at the same time. And so those are the type of people I’m trying to spend time with.

James: Absolutely, the Jim Rohn experiment. Not even experiment, the Jim Rohn lifestyle. But tell me about that pay to play. Could you expand upon that a little bit, just positioning yourself to be within these groups then whatever the cost is?

Kent: Yeah, that’s basically it. What always cracks me up is people are looking for the cheap way to get into stuff. So hey, can I sell books in the back of your room so I can come to your…

James: Shortcuts.

Kent: Yeah, and here I was, a Youth pastor, the first… just in case that you don’t know what a Youth pastor is, I know you do James. But just in case your audience doesn’t know, it’s not a highly paid position. So I’m a Youth pastor. I’m actually the National Youth director at time, and I… the first speaking conference that I went to learn, I didn’t need to learn how to speak. I needed to learn how in the world you do a business based on speaking. So this is not eight years ago, I guess. I’m dropping 3 grand to go to it. But I had done my research and said, I know this person knows what they’re talking about and so I’ve always had this idea that that they are worth it. I’m going to pay to play. And so I tried to take on that attitude of every year, I want to pay something whether it’s for coaching, for conferences, for mastermind groups, I want to pay something to play with bigger fish.

And I don’t know if you ever feel this way, but whenever I feel like I’m becoming… I understand that when I’m doing coaching in mastermind for speakers that I’m suppose to be the smartest guy in the room with that. So I understand that. But whenever I look at all of the rooms that I’m in and I go, holy, cow! I’m becoming the smartest guy in the room in all these rooms, I feel really like, I’m in trouble. So paid play helps you put yourself in a position to where you, you are not the smartest person in the room. And you put yourself around other really smart people that are going to push you and make you achieve.

James: That’s so, invaluable to be able to recognize and see and realize, yeah, I’m kind of maxing out this so I got to raise the bar a little bit and keeps stretching.

Kent: Yes, absolutely.

James: I love that. So tell us, as just we wind down. I usually do 30, 40 minutes and I value your time. I just want to kind of wrap with what you have going on present day with… what do you have available for my folks and feel free to tell us about mastermind groups programs you have, some information where we can go and download it. And let’s hear a little bit about what you have going on, Kent.

Kent: Well, LiveitForward.com is the place to really find out kind of everything about what I’m doing, and we’re in the midst of pretty major website overhaul. So, that will maybe even by the time this comes out. But probably, by the fall, that is going to look very different. From there, we’ll be starting podcast, Live it Forward podcast, How to show up and shine everyday in every way. So we’re going to do that. And then I would say that the… if there’s people out there that are really interested in being a speaker or especially adding revenue to either your business or just even your life, in something you want to do on the side. We do a Speak it Forward boot camp. And if you got liveitforward.com, we always link to the Speak it Forward site when it’s time to start promoting that.

But that’s going to be November 6 to 8 of 2014. That’s the next one coming up so it gives people plenty of time. That is a boot camp. That is not just random ideas. It is really how do you maximize your impact and income as a speaker. And we teach systems of how do you figure out what you want to speak about, how do you put that together, how do you set up your platform for that. And then how do you market it. And it is really step by step by step, and the thing that I love about it, that I get compliments because there’s a lot of those conferences out there. And I think there are probably most of them, I haven’t been to all of them, but I’ve been to a lot myself. And most of them are good. The one thing I would say that makes ours really unique is we talk about, not just talk about, but show you how to go from an unknown to a 6-figure speaker within two to five years.

And that’s exactly in the market that I’m in, and it’s called the Career and Technology Student Organization. I was a nobody and had never presented, they have never heard about me. I didn’t have a presence. I didn’t have a website. And within three years, I was booking 35-40 engagements a year in that market.

James: Wow. So is this obviously, a live event and it’s in there in Georgia?

Kent: It is. It’s a live event in North Georgia, the North, it’s actually the North Atlanta area. We usually have anywhere from 35 to 60 people so it’s kind of intimate that way but it’s a really strong event.
II absolutely love doing it. Besides keynoting, that’s my favorite thing to do.

James: I love it and you love it. Okay, so we’ve got Live it Forward. And you will be linking off to speakitforward.com for the boot camp shortly. Speak it Forward, we can go there now, correct?

Kent: Yeah. Right now, it’s just a blog that we try to encourage people through occasionally by sharing some different things. But speaking is one of those things you can get a lot of really quick fixes and until you really learn how do you do the business out of this, it’s really hard to launch. So we share a lot of information there but we also realize in order to… if you really want to do this, you got to get serious and figure out some way to get trained in the business of being a speaker.

James: Sure, sure. No, I totally agree. All right and where we can find you hanging out? I see you on Google+ a lot. Do you do Twitter or Facebook?

Kent: Yeah, Twitter, big time. Twitter and yeah, Facebook too. A little bit more personal there but I connect with anybody. But I would say, the two places I enjoy the most are Twitter and Instagram. And it’s @kentjulian on Twitter and then instagram, some other guy got Kent Julian before me. So I’m kent_julian.

James: Oh, well. Darn it!

Kent: I know, I know, man. I’ve always got Kent Julian before anybody else but this time, I wasn’t quick enough.

James: That’s okay. That’s okay. Well, listen sir. I appreciate everything. I wish we could just talk all day. I’m going to check you out. I want to maybe get into one of your groups or see some, see what I can see for my self-improvement, self-enrichment there. Inspiring, great upcoming story, I thank you so much for your time. I look forward to talk to you again, I hope.

Kent: Yeah, man. Let’s stay connected. This is great. I really enjoyed my time with you, James.

James: Awesome, awesome, and I do too, sir. And I thank you very much. We’ll talk soon.

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027: Lynn Serafinn – How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell

Lynn-Serafinn
Lynn comes to us from
The7GracesofMarketing.com
Lynn is a certified, award winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller:
The 7 Graces of Marketing: How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell

DOWNLOAD TRANSCRIPT

Have a listen to my chat with Lynn-Serafinn.

See highlights and links from of our chat below…
ENJOY!
Podcast Highlights:

About Lynn Serafinn:
Originally I’m from New York, I spent the first 40 something years in my life in the States and then moved to England in 1999.

From the music industry originally; I was a professional musician for many years, everything from classical to electronic dance and I ran my own studio and a small record label for a long time.

I have an MA in Adult Education and Distance Learning.

Left corporate in 2007s & started as life coach and did coaching for while but then what I was doing also is coming back to one of my first love which was writing.

I published a book (2008) that did very well. Because that book did well and I was self published, that’s when peoples started of asking me about marketing. Now it occurred to me at that point that I had been marketing myself for most of life.

Now suddenly immersed in these whole new world, called Web 2.0, and dealing with blogging and social media which wasn’t there when I had gone into, with the day job, none of the stuff was there. I suddenly, I’ve realized that was developing my own style of marketing.

Sign of the Times
There was a lot of really schmoozy formula in marketers out online then and they still are but they we’re really, really and full force around toward the end of the, what we call in Britain, the naughty sooner that the 2007, 2008 and 2009.

They were very aggressive, very manipulative, a lot of what I call is scarcity marketing, a lot of persuasive marketing, a lot of invasive marketing and it’s still there today. I had a different style and it seems to work and but I didn’t sit down to analyze what it was.

May be on to Something
As people started coming to me and they said, hey, you’re doing really well with your book. Can you help me to do this with mine, can you help me launch my book, can you help me build platform, all of these kinds of things. It made me sit down and have to analyze, what was it that I was doing that worked, what was it that I was doing that was different…

That’s really were The 7 Graces of Marketing came in because I started to realize that they was a heck of lot of stuff about marketing that I could not stand. And furthermore, I kept hearing most of my clients coming to me saying I can’t stand marketing. I think it’s evil, I think it’s the devil, you know, that kind of, I mean not really not their words but basically they hated it. They thought it was manipulative, they thought they’d be dis-ingenuous if they engaged in it and as result they didn’t do it and or if they tried it, they did it in a inauthentic way that did not feel good to them.

Exploring the History of Marketing
But marketing actually, as I started to explore it, I realized that it was really founded upon a conscious system of psychological manipulation. Now a lot of people would say, well yeah, I know… duh, but when I really examined it historically back from around the earlier century and its beginnings we’d say, Edward Bernays who was considered the father of modern marketing.

When we get into mass production…and suddenly what happened was, you had a world where we were capable of producing things faster than we could use them.
That was the critical turning point in history …it’s not just that we were capable of now producing things faster than we could use them, we were also capable of producing things faster than we could dispose off them.

And how the early marketers used psychological manipulation to convince people that they needed more things than they actually needed at the rate, more rapid consumption rate than they actually needed is really what manipulative and destructive marketing is all about.

New Marketing
I believe marketing is very important and I re-frame the concept of marketing in the book,
The 7 Grace of Marketing in this way. I say that marketing is simply the communication that we, marketing is the act of communicating that we have something of value to share.

There are three different paradigms in the book. One is these seven key relationships which we have to be mindful of whenever we’re dealing the different layers of marketing or business or indeed anything, anything in life but especially in business. One is what I called the seven deadly sins of marketing which are things to be mindful of so that you just become self-aware, am I doing this, am I using this as manipulative tools? And then the seven ways which is basically just a paradigm of guide posts.

This is a social awareness book. And so, The 7 Graces, the preferred model, I’ll just list the seven of them, they are connection, inspiration, invitation, directness, transparency, abundance and collaboration.

In The 7 Graces to do ethical marketing, you first and foremost have to look at where am I feeling connected? Where am I not feeling connected?

Most Recent Book:
Tweep-e-licious = 158 Twitter tips and strategies for writers, social entrepreneurs and change makers who want to market their business as like leaders and handbook for you.
Tweep-e-licious is a practical guide as such it took me whereas seven graces took me two years to research and write, this book took me about seven weeks. People can find that either from my website, there’s a link, there’s actually free Twitter class that they can taste and see what kind of ideas I have about it. And then if they want the book, they can get the book.

New Book Due Out This Fall
I’m writing a blogging book called The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging.
It’s about sharing really every strategy that I use with my clients. I give as much technical information as I can, you know, plug-ins and this and that. However, I have to offer a caveat no sooner than I offer technical things which is for people seem to want, all the technology changes.

Creating a Valuable Business
If you want to create a viable business, through blogging and social media… You have to constantly ask, what does my reader, what does my visitor, what does my potential client want right now? What is it that they’re looking right now? So you’re always having to put yourself in their shoes and see through their eyes and really understanding it and get your ego out of the way, either and, either your vanity or your hesitance to step up, get both of those extremes out of the way and simply serves the customer.

Gut Check
If marketing a certain way feels really horrible then it’s not right for you and it’s probably not right for anybody. But I do think it is a matter of relearning, reframing what marketing is.
When I’d say to people it’s the act of communicating that you have something of value to share, they just go, wow. And it just gives them so much space to then reinvent it the way that makes it work for them and to their clients because if we are interested in sharing value, as you know your company has the name, has that word in it.

If we are interested in sharing value, then it’s really your chance to sit down and think well what is it that I have that’s valuable and really diving into all of the wonderful assets that you have. I think people grossly undervalue a lot of their personal assets and the experience.
Come back to yourself. Do a really good internal investigation of yourself. Read what is and isn’t working and don’t give up on marketing because you need it, you need it to make your business work.

If you use marketing that feels yuck to you, it will feel yuck to your audience and down the line even if the other one — one more thing, aggressive marketing might make quick sales but it doesn’t win the long term race of this.

Brand Building
If you want to grow a really strong brand online, it’s like planting seeds in your back garden. If you water them every single day and say grow, grow, grow, they’re not going to grow any faster than they’re going to grow. You just have to, you know, if you put them on a hot house and give all kinds of artificial fertilizers, they’ll grow really fast and they’ll have really tough skins and they won’t taste very good. You know what I mean? You have to let a business grow organically. And it doesn’t mean you have to be lazy about it.
It’s is about cultivating and nurturing it. And allowing people to really understand what your brand is, what it stands for and who you are as a human being?

Contact Lynn

Websites
The7GracesofMarketing.com
SpiritAuthors.com

Twitter
@LynnSerafinn
@7GracesMarketng
@SpiritAuthors

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/LynnSerafinn
http://facebook.com/groups/7GracesGlobalGarden

Have a listen to my chat with Lynn Serafinn.

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BigValueBigBusiness.com

Lynn Serafinn
The7GracesofMarketing.com

Transcript

James Lynch: All right, Welcome back my friends to yet another edition of the Big Value Big Business podcast. I am your host James Lynch. Today I am really, really big time super excited about my very special guest, her name is Lynn Serafinn. Lynn it comes to us from of The7GracesOfMarketing.com that is with the number seven. Lynn it is certified award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number best seller The Seven Graces Marketing, How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell. It is pleasure to welcome Lynn to the Big Value Big Business podcast. Lynn, hello and how are you today?

Lynn Serafinn: I’m doing well. I am calling you today from Britain. If you’re going to hear a very kind of mid Atlantic accent because I’m originally from the States but I’ve lived in Britain until last 15 years. So that’s just to explain next to people half of the time. I always have to get that that out of the way because half of the time people say, where is she from? So I just wanted to say that first.

James Lynch: Great Britain and it’s the afternoon here. We’re just closing out the morning here in the East Coast but it’s the afternoon there where you are.

Lynn Serafinn: Yeah, it’s afternoon here.

James Lynch: So, yeah. Well listen, I’m glad you decided to come on and thank you very much. And, you know, I’m really excited to learn more about how we can help heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell as your tagline says and, you know, your movement to create both an ethical and the community focused business kind of like Big Value Big Business, coming just leading with value and doing the right thing. So, shall we march on, does that sound like a plan?

Lynn Serafinn: Yeah, I’ll follow your lead James. Be the leader —

James Lynch: All right.

Lynn Serafinn: And I follow where will you take me.

James Lynch: I like it, it sounds good. Well, I usually start with a little history. We just want to go find out a little bit about Lynn Serafinn and a little bit about where you came from. And, you know, just how you came to be where you are today?

Lynn Serafinn: Well, originally I’m from New York, so and I —

James Lynch: Cool.

Lynn Serafinn: I spent the first 40 something years in my life in the States and then moved to England in 1999. And I came from the music industry originally. I was a professional musician for many years, everything from classical to electronic trance and I ran my own studio and a small record label for a long time.

And then decided I wanted a day job for a little while, of course it didn’t last because when you’re used to being kind of a free spirit it doesn’t last forever. So, I went into teaching because I did like teaching and I had a teaching background. So I went back into it and when I moved to Britain taught within the college system here. And I was teaching music tech and training teachers in using technology for educational purposes. I have an MA in Adult Education and Distance Learning. So, that gave me kind of technological edge. It’s quite specific. So I was developing online courses but it’s also sharing teachers how to utilize technology to, not just training but to give more ways for students to learn and to learned at a distance or to learn at home or to increase their learning or to help students that might have special needs and things like that. So I very, very interested in education or I was interested in communication, I was interested in technology and media and all those kinds of things.

I climbed the educational corporate ladder and then burnt out which in 2007, I just said I can’t deal with it anymore. And left and then went back into having my own business. And so at that time, I started as life coach because I had a qualification and that I was actually finishing a qualification in that as well. And however it took a kind of curved ball. I did coaching for while but then what I was doing also is coming back to one of my first love which was writing.

So I started publishing and I published a book that did very well. Because that book did well and I was self published, that’s when peoples started of asking me about marketing. Now it occurred to me at that point that I had been marketing myself for most of life. I mean I was a freelance musician. All you do is, you know, flaunt your stuff and try to get people, to try to get people to hire for a gig, try to sell your record not just in the public but to distributors. You know, I always having to prepare promotional kits and liaise with magazines and record labels and distribute it on shops. So I was always engaged in marketing and I was also, I always attend a lot of event to organizing for guest speakers because I was very interested in philosophy. So I brought in a lot of speakers from India and I did a lot of that as well.

So I have a lot of experience kind of marketing things that I was doing but what I haven’t done to that point was sit down and strategically analyze what it was that I was doing so that I can help other people. But when I launched a book that I wrote back in 2008 and it did very well on Amazon because I was now suddenly immersed in these whole new world, called Web 2.0, you know, and dealing with all of a sudden blogging and social media which wasn’t there when I had left, when I had gone into, with the day job, none of the stuff was there. I suddenly, I’ve realized that was developing my own style of marketing. There was a lot of and probably some of your listeners if they’ve been in business for a while, they probably realize there were a lot of really schmoozy formula in marketers out online than they still are but we’re really, really and full force around toward the end of the, what we call in Britain, the naughty sooner that the 2007, 2008 and 2009. They were really a full force and they were very aggressive, very manipulative, a lot of what I call is scarcity marketing, a lot of persuasive marketing, a lot of invasive marketing and it’s still there today. But I didn’t like that and so I developed, I had a different style and it seems to work and but I didn’t sit down to analyze what it was. As people started coming to me and they said, hey, you’re doing really well with your book. Can you help me to do this with mine, can you help me launch my book, can you help me build platform, all of these kinds of things. It made me sit down and have to analyze, what was it that I was doing that worked, what was it that I was doing that was different because that’s why they said they were coming to me, it’s because I was not the same as what they saw. And it was interesting, it was an interesting period of time around 2009, ‘10 in there because I had to sit down and actually be very reflective on what I liked to that marketing as an activity and what I really hated about marketing, as you know, in terms of on a wider social scale.

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: And that’s really were The 7 Graces of Marketing came in because I started to realize that they was a heck of lot of stuff about marketing that I could not stand. And furthermore, I kept hearing most of my clients coming to me saying I can’t stand marketing. I think it’s evil, I think it’s the devil, you know, that kind of, I mean not really not their words but basically they hated it. They thought it was manipulative, they thought they’d be dis-ingenuous if they engaged in it and as result they didn’t do it and or if they tried it, they did it in a inauthentic way that did not feel good to them.

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: And because of that there was a mismatch between who they were and how they were speaking to the public and the results they were getting. And after a while if they didn’t do it all, they’ve got a business. And if they do it dis-ingenuously, they either felt it, you know, they didn’t like it themselves or people didn’t trust them or something didn’t quite work. So obviously there was problem in here. And I started looking into what were the mechanisms that what actually not working? And that was, that led me to really, James, two years of research to discover a lot about the history of marketing that I never knew because I didn’t, I had my degrees in social sciences, I have a, you know, I did entered the music college in social anthropology and then education. I had no degree in marketing. I didn’t know anything about the history of it.

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: And in fact the students today, I’ve found out since doing a lot of talks at campuses and all, a lot of them don’t know the history of it either.

James Lynch: Right.

Lynn Serafinn: But marketing actually, as I started to explore it, I realized that it was really founded upon a conscious system of psychological manipulation. Now a lot of people would say, well yeah, I know… duh, but I’m like when I really examined it historically back from around the earlier century and its beginnings we’d say, Edward Bernays who was considered the father of modern marketing. When I’ve really started exploring that in early marketing campaigns with the companies who where into mass production, you know, all the whole, that whole period of time with the big golden age of capitalism, you know, when the Ford and the American Tobacco Company, all of these things. When they were starting —

James Lynch: Oh, Industrial Revolution.

Lynn Serafinn: Well, it’s going to post Industrial Revolution but it’s when capitalism combined with it and really shot it forward.

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: When we get into mass production.

James Lynch: You Madison Avenue was born.

Lynn Serafinn: Exactly, well, Madison Avenue came because it’s, once mass production came in suddenly what happened was, you had a world where we were capable of producing things faster than we could use them.

James Lynch: Yes.

Lynn Serafinn: And that was the critical turning point in history because and here is the thing too, it’s not just that we were capable of now producing things faster than we could use them, we were also capable of producing things faster than we could dispose off them.

James Lynch: Yeah.

Lynn Serafinn: And that’s the thing that we are very experiencing today. This is, we are actually now as a planet, as the society suffering the results of or experiencing the results of that hundred years of kind of really linear, sell it, used it and throw it out. And this is where, you know, recycling has come in, we have to recycle goods in this but I don’t think people actually really see that, yeah sure we can recycle all the plastics and everything we want or metals or whatever.

The actual issue starts with consumerism and so the real is you has to do with the fact that we are producing more than we can use. And how the early marketers used psychological manipulation to convince people that they needed more things than they actually needed at the rate, more rapid consumption rate than they actually needed is really what manipulative and destructive marketing is all about. I believe marketing is very important and I reframe the concept of marketing in the book, The 7 Grace of Marketing in this way. I say that marketing is simply the communication that we, marketing is the act of communication that we have something of value to share.

James Lynch: Touche’ – I love it.

Lynn Serafinn: And if you look at it this way you say, okay, there’s nothing to do with selling, it must be of value and that it’s simply an act of communication. It has nothing to do with making sales, it has nothing to do with convincing people and it has to have value. If your manipulating, lying, deceiving, using tricks to make people fearful and you are trying to get them to get something that they don’t actually need or too many of something that, you know, more than they actually need.

James Lynch: Sure, sure.

Lynn Serafinn: Then that’s what I — that’s unethical marketing as far as I’m concern. And so that’s really the premise of the book is what are the things that people did that have put us into not just environmental distress but also economic distress, James, people, James, because obviously if you have a whole society that’s been convinced to consume more than they need, what do you end up with? You end up with the society that’s depended upon credit? And then therefore in debt and so not just in individuals end up in this unworkable economic situation. You end up with governments in this unworkable situation and then eventually businesses as well which is why we’ve seen so many businesses go out of business in the last decade. So, the system, capitalism with great idea before mass production and modern marketing, it was a great idea. It worked because we were consuming at a rate that the planet could absorb and that the economy could accommodate. But once you get into mass production, mass transit, you know their travel or whatever and in credit then capitalism collapses. And this is what we’ve been experiencing but if you weave the thread back to the beginning, it has to do with the psychological manipulation of unethical marketing that has programmed us to think that we need to consume at that level. So that’s the premises of it. I know it’s a big mouthful and it may seem very scary or deep or depressing but that’s the premise of the work that I do. That’s my observation and my belief and why I do opposite and help people on see the bad stuff so we can turn it around and to the good stuff, so to speak and try to heal that situation.

James Lynch: Yeah. So, define marketing for me in your own terms as an exchange. Do you have a definition that you often referred to?

Lynn Serafinn: Oh, look what I just said.

James Lynch: Well, how you percieve it now? I’m sorry, the preferred healing type of marketing really exchange.

Lynn Serafinn: Well, the way at least in the book, the way I defined it, there are three different paradigms in the book. One is these seven key relationships which we have to be mindful of whenever we’re dealing the different layers of marketing or business or indeed anything, anything in life but especially in business. One is what I called the seven deadly sins of marketing which are things to be mindful of so that you just become self-aware, am I doing this, am I using this as manipulative tools? And then the seven ways which is basically just a paradigm of guide posts. The book I have to say, somebody said to me the other day, it was the first time that I have read it but the book has been out for three years, more than three years now, they say, you know, you should put all these practical stuffs. I said no, I’ve actually written books since then with the practical stuff. That book is not a practical guide. It’s simply a social awareness book. It is not a — this is how you’re going to make money on Facebook kind of book. It’s not that kind of book. This is a social awareness book. And so, The 7 Graces, the preferred model, I’ll just list the seven of them, they are connection, inspiration, invitation, directness, transparency, abundance and collaboration. Now, connection is the foundation of all of the others. Connection means that you feel not just connect, you feel connected to your business. You feel connected to yourself, you feel connected to the cause for what you do best, this deserving, you feel connected to your audience, to your clients, to your customers, you also feel connected to the flow of money within your business. And all of these things work together to make a cohesive vision upon which everything else sits. Now, if you have it all in planet, source if one of the seven key relationships as well. So, if you feel connected to source, you’re going to operate your business very differently from somebody who sees sources, i.e. planet resources, earth, water metals, who knows what, money, people. If you feel disconnected from those things, you’re going to see the most separate from you. If you see the most separate from you, then you will exploit them. That’s a point. I mean that’s not a point but an effect. If you — you cannot exploit something you feel connected to. If you feel really, really unconditionally connected and you identify and empathize with someone else or something else, you’re not going to exploit it or him or her. You just won’t do it. If you disconnected, you always will. And that’s a fundamental principle of I think almost any philosophy on the planet. And it’s on unpins everything in The 7 Graces. So, to do ethical marketing, you first and foremost have to look at where am I feeling connected? Where am I not feeling connected? And then from that, the other graces can spring. So, the second one is inspiration and inspiration, the literal meaning of the word is to breathe life into. So marketing should, ethical marketing or any marketing should breathe life into the public. Meaning, not — it shouldn’t give them a candy or a sugar rush of, you know, sugar coated, this makes you feel good kind of thing. I feel warm and fussy.

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: That is not inspiration. Inspiration means actually feeding the public with something that breathes life into them that could be good information, it could be any number of things. For me, I deal mainly with people who offer services. They’re rather non-fiction authors, the people who do service industry. So, my way of training them to be inspiring is to let’s look at the information you have that can help people and let’s work out, blogging strategies for instance where you are giving that information to the public in digestible doses so they can actually do something with it. And that’s inspiration; inspiration doesn’t mean writing lots of pretty words and coating Maya Anjalou I should do bluster. But that is not inspiring. It maybe a one shot but like I say, it’s like a sugar rush. Real inspiration means that you are consciously feeding the public something useful and you have, you know what it is that breathes life into your audience so you have to be very aware of what it is that you have to give and you do have to breathe that into your audience so that’s why that’s the second grace. The opposite of inspiration is persuasion. Now persuasion sucks the life out of people. How often do you get somebody in a shopping mall for instance or in a cold call who will, if you say no thank you, they try to use every trick in the book to get you to change your mind. It’s disempowering, it’s disrespectful, it’s not feeding the world, it is not breathing life into, it is sucking, it’s just vampirism. And so, you know, persuasion, that’s why that’s the second of the deadly sins. So I can stop now and take a breather but that’s how they go, they go like, that it’s really just, it’s that simple. How you do it is something that I work with people either it’s consultant or we have training courses and I’m also writing books about the how to like I wrote Twitter book that shows the how to, writing a blog and book that it’s coming out later this year, all of those things. Just loads of ways to apply The 7 Graces. I didn’t want to tell people how to do it in the original book. It was more about, let’s think about this, this is to see how can we use this paradigm to indent ways to change, to turn marketing around.

James Lynch: Yeah. So it’s your philosophy on and a better way to do it, obviously The 7 Graces and I love that now you’re bringing it in to more of a strategic how to improve —

Lynn Serafinn: Yeah, very much so.

James Lynch: Awesome! And what do you have so far? You say you have Twitter, you’re working on a blogging?

Lynn Serafinn: Well, I have a Twitter book out, it came out actually a year and a half ago already.

James Lynch: Okay.

Lynn Serafinn: So it’s called Tweep-e-licious. And it’s — subtitle is 158 Twitter tips and strategies for writers, social entrepreneurs and change makers who want to market their business as like leaders and handbook for you.

James Lynch: Sweet!

Lynn Serafinn: It’s actually, I made the title that because it’s actually 140 characters long. Just little —

James Lynch: Nice, very clever.

Lynn Serafinn: Geek humor, little geek humor. But is a handbook. Tweep-e-licious is a practical guide as such it took me whereas seven graces took me two years to research and write, this book took me about seven weeks.

James Lynch: Nice.

Lynn Serafinn: I was like, because I knew it inside out I have the —

James Lynch: Well, you have the foundation already. You know, you just —

Lynn Serafinn: Yeah.

James Lynch: How do you apply it to the platform?

Lynn Serafinn: Exactly. And that book is done very well and so you know, people can find that either from my website, there’s a link, there’s actually free Twitter class that they can taste and see what kind of ideas I have about it. And then if they want the book, they can get the book.

James Lynch: Right.

Lynn Serafinn: But, so they can do that if they want the 90-minutes class on my site. So there is that and then yes I’m writing a blogging book called The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging. And that, if I ever get a breathing, anything breathing space this summer, I intend to finish it this summer and have it out some time in maybe October of 2014. And that book is again, it’s sharing really every strategy that I use with my clients. I give as much technical information as I can, you know, plug-ins and this and that. However, I have to offer a caveat no sooner than I offer technical things which is for people seem to want. all the technology changes.

James Lynch: Absolutely, absolutely.

Lynn Serafinn: So I want to make sure that it has strategic import that doesn’t go out of date, that doesn’t become obsolete. And because really blogging to me, I see blogging as probably the proto and podcasting of, like what you’re doing, which is just an audio blogging, it’s the same thing, just audio.

James Lynch: Absolutely. Yeah.

Lynn Serafinn: I see it as the prototypal new paradigm form of marketing because what you do through blogging or vlogging or audio or podcasting, is you’re offering value to the public. You’re breathing life into the public with good information, good content. You’re supporting the public and in the mean time they are learning about you, they are developing a relationship with you, they are trusting you, they see that you’re not going to disappear, they can get to know who you are, what you’re about and that’s the best way to market. I mean, if you think of in the old days when, I mean, think back 150 years or something, before all of this happen and you’d think of somebody living in a village and if you wanted to go get a hat or something, you know, or get a tailor or a blacksmith or what. Who would you go to? You would go to the person that everybody knew, you would go to the person who was the most reliable, the most experienced, the nicest and the one that everybody said, that they have used because they think their work is really, really good. You wouldn’t necessary go the cheapest person but you definitely go to the one that is all of those things.

James Lynch: Yeah.

Lynn Serafinn: Now, how do you that in a virtual environment? In really weird new paradigm marketing is simply going back to the best of who were —

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: — in the past —

James Lynch: Yeah.

Lynn Serafinn: And bringing it into a technological setting.

James Lynch: The tribes.

Lynn Serafinn: It’s all it is. The tribes.

James Lynch: The tribes, Seth Godin said it best, I mean we are going back to the communities of village mindset where —

Lynn Serafinn: Absolutely.

James Lynch: It’s word of mouth.

Lynn Serafinn: Absolutely, and in the book, in Social Entrepreneurs Guide to Successful Blogging, the book that’s coming later this year.

James Lynch: Yes.

Lynn Serafinn: I really talk about getting into that. It’s not just about — I think one of the biggest challenges, my clients — because I work as a consultant. I help people build their platforms as well. So I don’t just write, you know, I work one to one and I also teach courses in this in groups. So one of the biggest challenges are students or my clients, our clients have is really, really understanding who their audience actually is and how to speak to them in a way that is giving them something. And learning how to market without actually selling is — there’s a lot of them learning, there’s a lot of them learning to do.

James Lynch: Yeah.

Lynn Serafinn: And what’s interesting also is that a lot of people do the opposite. They don’t bother to think what does there audience actually looking for and what can I give them? And where do I take them from there? Because let’s say, okay, let’s say I’m researching something. Let’s say like for instance of, you know, weight loss people really big into weight loss da-di-duh. So let’s say somebody is researching something about, I have a client right now who does — well, I won’t say weight loss, this is health. I have a client who does all gluten-free stuff, whatever.

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: Okay, so let’s say somebody goes to her site and they found her somehow I just tweet or Google about gluten-free. And so that’s great. So they go and they find this wonderful and but then they’re going to, okay now what do I do? They’re going to ask themselves, if they’re really serious, if they were just looking up something and they wanted to find out a fact then they’d probably, that’s it. But if they’re very serious a lifestyle change and if the article inspired them about a lifestyle change, they are going to say what do I do next? Now, what a lot of people miss in their blogging is the, what do I do next? They have to, if you do not tell your audience, give your audience and not tell but if you do that give your audience some choices like, if you’re looking for a product, here is a link and go find one or if you want to get in touch with me, somebody drop me a line on my contact page.

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: I mean it’s something as simple as that, something as simple as that. If you can’t help them take the next step, then you’re not helping them progress. Now not everybody is going click those links but some of them are.

Lynn Serafinn: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: And if you want to create a viable business, a viable business through blogging and social media, those are the kind of things you have to think of. You have to constantly ask, what does my reader, what does my visitor, what does my potential client want right now? What is it that they’re looking right now? So you’re always having to put yourself in their shoes and see through their eyes and really understanding it and get your ego out of the way, either and, either your vanity or your hesitance to step up, get both of those extremes out of the way and simply serves the custumer.

James Lynch: I love it. I love it. And I was going to, that’s funny. I did go to your site and I did go the press portion. And you have several topics that you speak to about marketing and about the 7 Deadly Sins, 7 Graces. And I was keying in on the relationship with our audience and that was and you naturally segued and flowed right in to that because that is so important.

Lynn Serafinn: It’s huge?

James Lynch: Is knowing and understanding and taking them by the hand, should they choose to be led?

Lynn Serafinn: Yeah and give them the choice.

James Lynch: Yes.

Lynn Serafinn: Well, they don’t want to be led in that way. They want to be shown the choices. I mean I believe in respecting our audience and say, okay well here are the options that I have or you can look here, you know.

James Lynch: Well, that’s what I mean by leading. I don’t mean persuading or I don’t mean directing, I don’t mean to herding them, I mean if they’re looking for information, give that to them, take them down the path where they can find. If they’re looking for products —

Lynn Serafinn: Exactly.

James Lynch: — take them down, avail, avail all the choices to them and that comes with, again totally understanding the audience.

Lynn Serafinn: Exactly.

James Lynch: Yeah, perfect. I really look forward to this book coming out. Now I can find some —

Lynn Serafinn: I can’t wait to try to finish them now.

James Lynch: I really do.

Lynn Serafinn: I’m just, I’ve been working so much with clients this past couple of months that I haven’t had the chance to — .I have all the whole content is done. It’s just to bring it all together. So July and August, they’re going to be with exception of a holiday period I’m taking. Those are going to be some months that I’m finishing it, I’m sure I’m going to sell. Wish me luck.

James Lynch: I do wish you luck and I’d like to have you back on too, so we can talk about and I’d like to help you distribute it and get it out there and because it sounds like, this is the way it’s going. The whole — your whole process and your whole thought process to this and you come from a very, very educated, very, you’re constantly learning and you’ve really thought long and hard about the basis of this. And I’m inspired and I’m excited and I’d like to ask you before we wrap, I don’t want to take up too much more of your time but if I, again my audience is more or less similar to yours. I have consultants, small business owners, Big Value Big Business, although now I wanted to kind of change it, the name to Big Value Good Business but I’ll stick with Big Business for now. But it’s still the Big Value, it’s leading with value and you speak so eloquently to that but I want ask you for a takeaway for my guys, for folks that are listening. Where do we start, how do we — without from the baby out with the bath water, there are so much spammy-scammy stuffs still out there, so where do we start to unlearn and baby steps get back to a tribal more ethical way of marketing?

Lynn Serafinn: I think one of the first things we have to do is come back to our own intuition and instincts. Basically if it feels yuck it probably is.

James Lynch: Is that a technical term?

Lynn Serafinn: Yeah.

James Lynch: I love it.

Lynn Serafinn: Because people say like I can’t stand doing that, it feels yuck.

James Lynch: Yeah.

Lynn Serafinn: And I said, well then don’t do it.

James Lynch: Then don’t do it.

Lynn Serafinn: You know.

James Lynch: There’s probably something wrong with it.

Lynn Serafinn: If marketing a certain way feels really horrible then it’s not right for you and it’s probably not right for anybody. But I do think it is a matter of relearning, reframing what marketing is. As I said, when I’d say to people it’s the act of communicating that you have something of value to share, they just go, wow. And it just gives them so much space to then reinvent it the way that makes it work for them and to their clients because if we are interested in sharing value, as you know your company has the name, has that word in it.

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: If we are interested in sharing value, then it’s really your chance to sit down and think well what is it that I have that’s valuable and really diving into all of the wonderful assets that you have. I think people in my experience and I’m sure in yours as well James, I think people grossly undervalue a lot of their personal assets and the experience. I think, I don’t want to name names but to there’s a woman that I know who’s an actress, recently well known television actress, one of her greatest assets is just her. It’s not her fame, it’s not her beauty either though she’s really, really beautiful, it’s that she’s just so real. And that’s tremendous asset and to — it may sound contradictory to say well then utilize that in your marketing. And so well, then she’s not real anymore. No it is. It’s about, because if marketing is simply the act of communicating that you have something a value to share, it means that you have to be mindful of staying in that real refreshing natural person in all of your marketing. And that’s really important. Now one of my biggest assets, it’s the fact that I’m eccentric. And so I utilize that. And another asset of mine is I am technical. People want my technical and strategic, so my technical and strategic expertise and my slight eccentricity all sort of things are some of my assets. So I have to learn how to utilize them to serve people. So if we want to look at, you know, the baby step, start first with yourself. Come back to yourself. Do a really good internal investigation of yourself. Read what is and isn’t working and don’t give up on marketing because you need it, you need it to make your business work.

James Lynch: Yeah marketing isn’t wrong, it’s not a sin but the way you do it can make or break to that.

Lynn Serafinn: Exactly.

James Lynch: Absolutely

Lynn Serafinn: And if you use marketing that feels yuck to you, it will feel yuck to your audience and down the line even if the other one — one more thing, aggressive marketing might make quick sales but it doesn’t win the long term race of this.

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: It is not sustainable. Not sustainable. Not sustainable. And you won’t like yourself and your customers won’t like you. So don’t succumb to the temptation of quick fix of aggressive sales no matter what anybody says, don’t do it. I hate it. The other day I actually wrote somebody a letter because he had identified — he had done a joint venture with somebody who I thought was just a, I use this word a lot of smooch. And I couldn’t stand it and I said to the person, I said, do you know I would not even have attended such, such webinar if you hadn’t been on it because I can’t stand the way this other person was talking down to me and patronizing the clients. And I said, I thought you would want to know, now I have to be so really, I felt nervous writing this letter to this person but I thought I needed to say something. I needed to say, I value what you do. I respect what you do. Don’t let someone else make you look sleazy. Don’t let another marketer turn you into something sleazy, just, please don’t do that.

James Lynch: Well, there be other people associated with that other marketer’s list that will gravitate towards your friend that will obviously have something of more value for it.

Lynn Serafinn: Yes.

James Lynch: And so, so it was almost necessary for him to be there, it’s his duty to be there to rescue them from the throws — what do you call him the smoozzzzzz?

Lynn Serafinn: Schmooz.

James Lynch: The smooch. Scammy, scammy -spammy. Well I know that.

Lynn Serafinn: Yeah, yeah.

James Lynch: I started this endeavor in that world and you’ll notice I’m six-seven months into this and I don’t monetize anything, I’m just getting people like you out there that are getting it done, real people and bringing in them out to the masses and just letting people decide for themselves with direction they want to come to. But I just want to bring content.

Lynn Serafinn: Well, James, to about a month ago I had the pleasure of hosting a telesummit because it’s one of things I do when I launch author, I work with a lot of authors. And I launched Melanie Dodaro’s book on LinkedIn. And I got to interview Michael Steltzner from Social Media Examiner. Now, he — their site is tremendous. I can’t believe it, it’s something like, you know, the 96th most popular site in the world on Alexa or something like that. Maybe it’s not the 96th but it is like so high, yeah but it’s ridiculous, I felt, wow. But he didn’t monetize for like a year either. His sole goal was to produce content and grow the audience and he did not ask for a penny from his audience until he gets something like 100,000 subscribers or 10,000s, I can’t remember what the number was but he was only interested in growing the audience, sending out the message, giving the content, developing with content, no sales, no monetization. Now of course you have to have a way to make living while you’re doing that.

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: But the point is, if you want to grow a really strong brand online, it’s like planting seeds in your back garden. If you water them every single day and say grow, grow, grow, they’re not going to grow any faster than they’re going to grow. You just have to, you know, if you put them on a hot house and give all kinds of artificial fertilizers, they’ll grow really fast and they’ll have really tough skins and they won’t taste very good. You know what I mean?

James Lynch: Right, right.

Lynn Serafinn: So, you have to let a business grow organically. And it doesn’t mean you have to be lazy about it.

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: You should be the vigilant about it.

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: But it is about cultivating and nurturing it. And allowing people to really understand what your brand is, what it stands for and who you are as a human being?

James Lynch: Sure and it also allows the brand builder to get direction and that’s what they did everyday.

Lynn Serafinn: Absolutely.

James Lynch: I learn something else and I’m not awash in the sea of confusion. It’s just, to him is only the point of the type of marketing that I want to do. And I have something to I’m going to stop monetizing. It’s a way from this. It’s to do with paid advertising that I’ve done for years. I’m just that crazy about doing it in an agency atmosphere where it’s that kind of scammy — not scammy but, how do you say it? Well I forget.

Lynn Serafinn: Smoozzz

James Lynch: Smooch, it’s smooch.

Lynn Serafinn: Smooching.

James Lynch: Yeah, to buy my stuff, buy my stuff, buy my stuff and in case you didn’t hear it, buy my stuff. So yeah and I don’t know, I totally get it and I so appreciate the approach.

Lynn Serafinn: Yeah and to what people are starting to say is, why?

James Lynch: Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Lynn Serafinn: You know, that’s more and more and more and it’s like, actually, I know you’re on to wrap this up.

James Lynch: No.

Lynn Serafinn: But just to say, In 7 Graces of Marketing, I’m trying to remember what chapter it is. I think it’s in the chapter on the deadly sin of deception. Because a lot of our media advertising like television, radio and or a print, a print adverts even, because they go by like the wind, especially TV and radio adverts. In fact I used to have to teach media students how to make 29-second radio adverts back when I was teaching. I had to teach them how to do that. You know, how do you tell a story and sell the product in 29 seconds, that’s a challenge.

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: But because they fly by the wind, there is a lot of cliché manipulative language that goes into media marketing that we are not even aware of and it speaks to us on a almost a preverbal level. And that’s what I talk about in that chapter on the Sin of Deception because there are things like say for instance, one of the things I cite in the book and this is something I noticed for years and I said, I’m dying to just point this out to people, it’s so bloody obvious. And it’s the whole thing reflect let’s say toothpaste or whatever, you know, nothing is more effective than Crest or whatever it is.

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: Or Colgate, you know. What’s that mean? It means nothing. It doesn’t mean it’s the most effective and it doesn’t even mean that any toothpaste is effective.

James Lynch: It’s a validating phrase with no underlying —

Lynn Serafinn: It’s a deceptively validating.

James Lynch: It’s a, yes, yes.

Lynn Serafinn: But it has no, I mean, when you say nothing works faster or nothing is more effective, you know, nothing works faster or nothing is more effective, it doesn’t mean it’s the best, it doesn’t mean the most effective and it doesn’t even mean that any of them are effective.

James Lynch: I’ll give you another one. Prices is low as a $1.99 as low as but you may have one lead are the $1.99, the rest are —

Lynn Serafinn: Yeah, yes and that’s — but at least there are some element for sure.

James Lynch: There is, yeah, yeah, yeah. That should make it.

Lynn Serafinn: That’s got 2%, should the other ones got no proof. Not, not and so that’s the deceptive language that flies by us really fast and, you know, I’ve read another one the other day that I wish I could remember it. It’s something like clinical something, you know, says that, you know, 79% of those who have a preference would possibly recommend this if they were asked. And there were so many hypothetical things and in your brain gets rid of all of the hypothetical stuff.

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: And says, oh gosh, you know, 79% say that they would choose it and that’s not what they were saying.

James Lynch: Yeah, yeah.

Lynn Serafinn: It’s absolutely wrong and it gives a totally false impression. So but, we are trained to accept statistics as real.

James Lynch: Yeah.

Lynn Serafinn: And also when they go by very quickly, the brain actually doesn’t perceive negative statements. It translates them into positive statements. That’s a psychological — I mean, neurological fact.

James Lynch: Yeah.

Lynn Serafinn: That if we say nothing works faster, our brain translates this as this is the fastest. And so, if you took this people to court, they would say but I didn’t say anything that was fault, it wasn’t a lie. And it’s true. It’s not a lie however, it is because of the way the brain works. And those are the kinds of really simple, simple things that if we start to become aware of them. Another one is the sin of distraction and distraction has to do with how the advertising industry now depends upon entertainment value over and above telling us anything worthwhile or useful or informative about the product that they’re asking us to buy.

James Lynch: Sure, sure.

Lynn Serafinn: And that’s really, that’s probably the biggest most pervasive deadly sin in advertising and marketing today and it’s the least recognized. Why, because people are entertained. You know, they’re entertained by the dancing pony. I don’t know if you had it over here. It was the three mobile network and they have this viral video of a dancing pony, a shetland pony dancing, doing like the moonwalk on a cliff. This video went viral everywhere. What the blank-kiddy-blank does that have to do with mobile phones? Absolutely nothing.

James Lynch: It’s all about the attention and it’s like the Super Bowl.

Lynn Serafinn: It’s all to have the attention.

James Lynch: The Super Bowl commercials.

Lynn Serafinn: Exactly.

James Lynch: They’re all about and, you know, let’s tune in to see what the most craziest, outrageous commercials are this year.

Lynn Serafinn: Well, speaking of that, Budweiser who was — you know, I don’t know if they — I’m not in the States and I don’t watch football but I know they used to be the Super Bowl advertisers.

James Lynch: Yes.

Lynn Serafinn: It is the classic, I think now it’s Ford and Chrysler and things like the Chrysler and things like that.

James Lynch: I can’t, I don’t even bother.

Lynn Serafinn: But the Budweiser, they’re not as the king of beers, they’re the king of distraction.

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: Because like the whole, like you are as old as I am, you will remember the old Budweiser adverts with the frogs going “Bud-wei-ser”, you know, like that, you know.

James Lynch: Absolutely, absolutely.

Lynn Serafinn: What does it have to do with beer? What does it have to do with beer? It’s entertainment and it’s strictly planting it in your head.

James Lynch: Right.

Lynn Serafinn: And because people think it’s funny and it does back at the imagination, well, who is that they are trying to appeal to that might think that’s funny? But the fact is it’s distraction.

James Lynch: Yeah.

Lynn Serafinn: It’s distraction. It’s not telling me why to buy this beer and they said, well, nobody will watch the adverts if I just talk about that. Well, again, duh? You know, maybe, that’s the problem with that kind of advertising.

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: Maybe the whole concept of media advertising is distructive, all of it. And so the people say, well, then how do we pay for television programs? Well, honey, that’s why we’re talking about creating a new paradigm right now.

James Lynch: That’s right.

Lynn Serafinn: I don’t know the answer. I don’t know the answer. All I know is it is causing a problem and just because we don’t have an alternative yet doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be talking about changing it.

James Lynch: No and you are on the forefront talking about changing ads.

Lynn Serafinn: Yeah.

James Lynch: I love, I love this.

Lynn Serafinn: I mean, I remember seeing a fella, do you know who Jeremy Paxton is? He is just a top gear here in Britain.

James Lynch: Do not, nope.

Lynn Serafinn: Okay, okay. He, I saw him on an episode actually of Who Do You Think You Are. I don’t have a TV but I’d watch shows on video and stuff.

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: But he was on Who Do You Think You Are which is a genological show.

James Lynch: Oh yeah, yeah.

Lynn Serafinn: And he was — he made a really weird comment and I thought it’s so — it kind of comes back to what we’re talking about here. He was talking about some of his ancestors who had a factory and how it gone gotten shut down because of environmental issue. And he — so this is why I’m anti environmentalist, they are people who, you know, that they say because it’s ruining the water and this and this and this. 3000 people go and lose their jobs. And he went on and on and on about how he is an anti environmentalist and I thought that was kind of radical statement. But this is the same kind of concept. If we say, well we can’t change, we can’t get rid of the media marketing because it’s the thing that pays the program so people like to watch. That’s kind of the same thing as Jeremy Paxton saying, we cannot close the factories because 3000 people lose their jobs even if we’re polluting waters and the air and the land. Now, obviously, to say there are only two options here is not the right answer. It’s not about closing factories and people losing jobs and a choice between that and polluting the air, if you’re making it a choice between these two extremes, then we will never change. And marketing is the same thing. If we say that we need to television advertising and radio advertising to perpetuate the system that we created, and that there is no other alternative, then we will never change. And so that’s what I’m challenging. I’m saying, okay, in the next generation, I challenge the system to change. I really do. I don’t know what it should look like. I don’t know how you’re going to pay for the TV programs in this and this, but something has to change. It does have to change otherwise out economy is going to continue to falter, our environment will continue to falter and people will continue to be manipulated into consuming things that they need and doing to debt. So, something has to change. That’s it.

James Lynch: Amen!

Lynn Serafinn: Sorry I’m honest and so —

James Lynch: No, it’s great. And you know, you brought it full circle because it’s that the debt and the overconsumption and that’s perfect and I’d like to wrap it right there because that is absolutely perfect.

Lynn Serafinn: It’s the big picture.

James Lynch: It really is. It really is and I thank you so much. You’re so inspiring. I know my folks are going to love listening to every inch of this. And so tell me, we talked about the book coming out, where can we find you, what’s your Twitter handle, is everything The 7 Graces with the number seven, The 7 Graces of Marketing?

Lynn Serafinn: Well, the website is The7GracesofMarketing.com.

James Lynch: Yes.

Lynn Serafinn: And yes that’s with the number seven and they can find me on Twitter either @LynnSerafinn with two Ns in both names, no other double letters. So L-Y-N-N S-E-R-A-F-I-N-N or either, I have 7 graces, one was 7gracesmarketng, there is no I in it because I’ve ran out of letters. So it’s 7gracesmarketng.

James Lynch: Marketng.

Lynn Serafinn: And I have another one that’s a spirit authors, it’s specifically advised for people who write, and that’s on Twitter and also the SpiritAuthors.com. We do — we offer, offering building packages, you know, we work with people to develop ethical marketing packages, we are going to be launching our 7 Graces Course in the autumn. We ran two pilot runs of these foundations of ethical marketing and also applications of ethical marketing which is a certification program. And we did like I said two pilot groups and now we’re in the process of revising and bumping it up and getting of cleaning it up and streamlining it and making all the templates nice and clean.

James Lynch: Great.

Lynn Serafinn: And formalizing the assessment program, I mean these are proper courses and by the end of the applications course, people leave with a very cohesive marketing, business and marketing plan for ethical marketing and they get certification. And we’ve been actually approached by some universities to get it a credit to just well. So I’m hoping time that will happen.

James Lynch: Wow.

Lynn Serafinn: And also the students, so that the students can learn some of the stuff.

James Lynch: Then you’ll see the next generation of that one there after.

Lynn Serafinn: Yeah.

James Lynch: Then you’ll see them taking charge. That’s great!

Lynn Serafinn: Yeah.

James Lynch: I’m so happy.

Lynn Serafinn: Yeah, I hope so.

James Lynch: Okay, that’s awesome! Listen, I thank you so much for your time Lynn. We’ll look forward to the book coming out.

Lynn Serafinn: Me too.

James Lynch: Our folks will be able to see everything we talked about transcript to all the links at BigValueBigBusiness.com/episode27 and hey we’ll talk to you hopefully in October.

Lynn Serafinn: I will be here, just give me a shout.

James Lynch: Sounds good, thank you so much.

Lynn Serafinn: Thank you.

James Lynch: Take care. Bye-bye.

Lynn Serafinn: You too, bye.

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026: Alexandra Skey – InBound Marketing Automation

Alexandra Skey
Alexandra is the Co-Founder & CMO of
GetSpokal.com
An awesome inbound marketing automation platform designed to help small businesses to:
– Create and distribute their content
– Attract and nurture inbound prospects.
You’ll find all of this happening at: GetSpokal.com

DOWNLOAD TRANSCRIPT

Have a listen to my chat with Alexandra Skey.

See highlights and links from of our chat below…
ENJOY!
Podcast Highlights:

Alexandra Skey:
Canadian,born and raised
North American entrepreneur. and a marketer.
Spokal is my fourth venture.
Personal life: I love riding horses
I love kiteboarding. And as a little aside, we actually took Spokal remote.
We took our whole (Spokal) team remote and moved to Caribbean for four months last summer. And worked on a company down there, I learned to kitesurf, and through inbound marketing, we were able to grow our business significantly while having a good time under that Caribbean sun.

Upcoming Book – Fall 2014:
Called Zero Friction
I’m working on a book all about e-retail. And so that’s why I decided to call myself an e-retail author.

It’s not specifically e-commerce. It really talks a lot about what happens when the barriers to buying and selling and creating online are gone for everyone and what does that look like as we move towards this concept of a zero friction worlds. And ultimately, I think it leads to amazing customer experiences. And so this book was originally written to be e-retail book and in order to stay relevant and writing an e-retail book, it’s quite challenging.

So we took a bit of a social, cultural, economical, kind of global approach to the book and really looked at what’s the concept of e-retail. And it’s really about breaking down those barriers, and that’s a very similar concept to what marketing automation does for small business, how do you breakdown these barriers and scale up so that you can have a small business marketing from the Caribbean or you can have someone halfway around the world selling something they made and it’s actually economically viable. And so that’s really sort of, I guess, kind of deep down as part of my passion and that’s what I decided yeah, I guess that’s what an e-retail author is.

About Spokal:
We came together full time in Spokal, April 2012. So that’s me and my cofounder, Chris.
Chris actually started tinkering with the idea about November 2007, sort of part time, trying to see does this concept makes sense, is it resonating, can we actually do it technically. Spokal is quite technically robust just because we actually integrate with a ton of different providers. So he really wanted to see could we even do it as possible. And then we actually met at a co-working space out of Vancouver. And I really liked the idea and he was thinking, okay, well, let’s rev this up. So then we both went on it fulltime in April 2012.

Challenges Growing Spokal:
We talked about it being really fun, and it’s great and working in Caribbean. I mean, the honest answer, it was a lot of really, really hard work. And there are definitely some dark days. And I think that we, two kind of deep challenges:

1. The first was convincing anyone who was in a small business that Spokal was a good idea. So when we first started out, we were thinking that we would go your typical start up roots. So we create a little bit of a product, build some demand and fund raise. And every investor we talked to thought we were crazy because the small business market is notoriously difficult to reach, and notoriously expensive to do it. And we were trying to explain through the concept of inbound.

We’re not actually going out and campaigning. People are googling, how do I grow my business online, and they’ll find Spokal. And they’ll go through our inbound funnel, and they’ll convert. And we were explaining this, and we had very few people that were kind of willing to jump on board with us. And so sort of by default, we realized, okay, we’ll need to bootstrap this to show we can actually do what we say we can do. That was really, it was really interesting lesson early on because it actually forced us to really turn Spokal into a business right away and get a product out there and see what customers thought. And our first version of Spokal, I think the churn rate was about 80% to 90

2. I think the biggest challenge honestly was just really having faith in what we were doing to overcome these obstacles. People wanted to, for example, there is a lot of people in our community that liked us, and said, well, if you’re doing another project, we’ll support you, both with knowledge and financial resources.

And so you sort of have to say, well, are we doing this just for a project or do we really believe in the power of small businesses and helping them succeed? And so it was really sort of a test of what do we want to do as entrepreneurs, what we want to spend our time on and what do we have to do to keep food on the table. And so this is actually really interesting. And so the whole time I was working on Spokal, well, not the whole time, but I was actually working on this book, and so that was a really interesting arrangement. So I was moonlighting on the book to help pay our bills so that in the early days, all of the money from customers we’re getting from Spokal, and our investment was going into the technical development because that was Spokal’s wheel-house. And so it’s been a really interesting journey. I mean we’re barely at the start line now. And we’ve definitely seen a transformation in the last, I’d say since about the fall 2013, starting to move faster in the right direction, and that’s been really exciting.

What is Marketing Automation Software?
At its heart marketing automation is anything in that you do for marketing that you automate. And I know that sounds quite obvious but the reason I share that is often times, small business owners are doing marketing automation or are incorporating parts of it without realizing it. So for example, if you’re writing a blog, and you use a plug in to automatically publish your social feeds, that is marketing automation, right? And the platform, a marketing automation platform, as long it really says okay, instead of you doing all of those different things in different places, we’re going to put into one place. So now, we’re going to make it easier. We’re going to automate your keyword research process. We’re going to automate your writing process. We’re going to cut down two minutes here and five minutes here of everything you do to create and share your content so that over the span of time, using a marketing automation platform, not only are you saving time but more importantly, you’re getting reach and effectiveness that you just would find impossible to do if you didn’t use a marketing automation platform.

Staying Productive:
I never check my email in the morning and I read a book where an article said that concept. And I loved it. And so now, I do for the first hour, so if I know I have meetings or something coming up and I know I need to check my email at a certain time, I’ll make sure that I get an hour’s worth of work done so I feel productive and proactive before I start my day. And that’s the number one thing that I think, I really like that.

I always log out of it so that it’s more a conscious thing. I would love Google to design something where you can compose your email without landing in to you inbox interface. That would save us all a lot of time.

In the last eight months, I actually started meditation. And so I do 10 minutes a day, and what it actually helps you do is kind of be mindful. I think that’s the whole concept.
When you’re working way and you’re typing and you think, oh, it’s not happening on Facebook or that’s a cool blog. I’m going to go there. It just, helps you to be aware of, oh, interesting. That’s what I’m not doing right now. So I just have a little notepad. I scribble, check Facebook or whatever. And then by the time I’ve done my task, I look at that notepad and think, that’s not worth 10 minutes but I absolutely would’ve spend 10 minutes on it if I wasn’t mindful.

So I mean, I know what works for one person doesn’t work for the next which is why it’s always interesting to hear productivity conversations. But for me, it’s just that, it’s being mindful when I’m about to get to a spin, an internet spin where you read every blog online and you come out of the internet an hour later, feeling so loaded with information and not necessarily loaded with actionable advise or something that’s going to help you today.

Mastermind Groups & Mentors:
I haven’t found a mastermind groups to be useful personally. I know a lot of people get value out of them. So I just, I haven’t found that for me. I do have some really good mentors. And I mean they have evolved over the years depending on where I am and I guess where am I in my life and who’s around me to kind of help me. And yeah, I mean in valuable, it doesn’t even begin to cut it.

And I think when we talk about what is a mentor, for me, it’s someone that I can call in 2 in the morning or 3 in the morning when everything is gone, hell-in-a-handbasket, and who’s going to give you, sit there with you and go through that process. I mean I think, the concept that I see a little bit more which scares me is that, oh this is my mentor. I meet them once a month for lunch. I think that’s great. But you don’t need help once a month. You need four hours now, and then you don’t need anything for three months.

On the Book Shelf:
Abundance:
The Future Is Better Than You Think
by Steven Kotler & Peter H. Diamandis

Things a Little Bird Told Me:
Confessions of the Creative Mind
by Biz Stone

Contact Alexadra:
Twitter @AlexandraSkey
www.getspokal.com

Have a listen to my chat with Alexandra Skey.

Download the Transcript - Enter Your Email

BigValueBigBusiness.com
Alexandra Skey
GetSpokal.com

Transcript

James: All right, welcome back my friends to yet another edition of the Big Value Big Business podcast. I am your host, James Lynch. I am really big, big, big time super excited about my very special guest today. Her name is Alexandra Skey. Alexandra is the cofounder of Spokal. That’s S-P-O-K-A-L. Spokal is an inbound marketing automation platform designed to help small businesses to create and distribute their content to attract and nurture inbound prospects as well. You’ll find all of this happening at www.getspokal.com. It is my pleasure to welcome Alexandra to the Big Value Big Business podcast today. Hello, Alexandra! How are you doing today?

Alexandra: I’m fabulous, James. How are you doing?

James: I’m great. This chat was a long time in the making. We’re both pretty busy and we’ve been missing each other. I’m glad you are able to come on and we can shoot the breeze so to speak.

Alexandra: I’m super excited to be here, James. We’re sort of joking that we’re becoming really good pen pals in the digital age. So it’s nice to be able to connect.

James: We were. We definitely were. And I should be so lucky to have as elegant and eloquent a pen pal as you. So I appreciate it, and here we are. So listen, I want to thank you for taking the time. And I’m really excited for you to share with our listeners everything you can in the time allowed, about how we can grow our business using inbound marketing to attract, convert and keep both new subscribers and customers for life. Does that sound like a plan?

Alexandra: That sounds like a fabulous plan.

James: Awesome, awesome. So I like to start in the beginning, just to get a little background about you. So can we maybe get a little history, get to know Alexandra Skey and a little bit about where she came from, and about the journey that has brought you here to where you are today.

Alexandra: Absolutely. So I’m Canadian and I was born and raised here. And I’m really an entrepreneur and a marketer. So Spokal is my fourth venture. And Spokal really hits or sorry, Spokal is start up ad I’m cofounding right now. And Spokal really hits home for me. It combines a lot of what I love to do which is, and what I’ve done in the past, which is small business in marketing but it does it on a scale that can actually really empower business around the world, to use some of these tools that I’ve been able to use in my past roles but dialed down from much more companies. So that’s what gets Spokal is. I guess a little bit more about myself, yeah, North American entrepreneur. And in my personal life, I love riding horses and recently, I love kiteboarding. And as a little aside, we actually took Spokal remote. We took our whole team remote and moved to Caribbean for four months last summer. And worked on a company down there, I learned to kitesurf, and through inbound marketing, we were able to grow our business significantly while having a good time under that Caribbean sun. So it is a really cool thing when you finally dial up your inbound channels, what you’re able to do with them.

James: That, in working from the Caribbean for four months?

Alexandra: Yeah.

James: There’s nothing better than that. I can imagine your winters are pretty harsh up there so there must’ve been quite a change.

Alexandra: Well, exactly. I mean, us, Canadians get a little chilly so it’s nice when we can finally see the sun from more than one day in a row.

James: Nice. That’s nice and that is something to aspire to and maybe we’ll get a little more into how you guys were able to scale everything up and get everything running on, I don’t know, to say on autopilot but just as smoothly that you can make that transition and learn how to kiteboard at the same time. That’s awesome.

Alexandra: Definitely. Yeah.

James: Awesome. So yeah, that’s great. I saw, you are in love with horses. And what’s an e-retail offer? Tell me about that.

Alexandra: Yeah. So I’m really excited right now. I’m working on a book all about e-retail. And so that’s why I decided to call myself an e-retail author.

James: I like it.

Alexandra: It’s not specifically e-commerce. It really talks a lot about what happens when the barriers to buying and selling and creating online are gone for everyone and what does that look like as we move towards this concept of a zero friction worlds. And ultimately, I think it leads to amazing customer experiences. And so this book was originally written to be e-retail book and in order to stay relevant and writing an e-retail book, it’s quite challenging. So we took a bit of a social, cultural, economical, kind of global approach to the book and really looked at what’s the concept of e-retail. And it’s really about breaking down those barriers, and that’s a very similar concept to what marketing automation does for small business, how do you breakdown these barriers and scale up so that you can have a small business marketing from the Caribbean or you can have someone halfway around the world selling something they made and it’s actually economically viable. And so that’s really sort of, I guess, kind of deep down as part of my passion and that’s what I decided yeah, I guess that’s what an e-retail author is.

James: Cool. When is that book due to come out?

Alexandra: It’s coming out in the fall. I think it’ll be on the shelves October 1st. And it’s called Zero Friction. So…

James: I like that. I heard you mention that. I actually wrote that down, creating a zero friction world. So out in October, great, I’ll make sure to put that in the show notes because we’re going to look for that. That’s pretty interesting.

Alexandra: I’ll send you a signed copy.

James: I love that. I would love that. I would even give you handy dandy review too.

Alexandra: That’d be fabulous. I’m super keen I’ll send you an early then.

James: Nice, nice. All right, so yeah. From Canada, working from around the world, around the globe, tell me how long is Spokal been around? You mentioned this was one of your fourth endeavors, entrepreneurial pursuits. How long have Spokal been in existence?

Alexandra: It’s over two years now. I mean we came together full time in Spokal, April 2012. So that’s me and my cofounder, Chris. And Chris actually started tinkering with the idea about November 2007, sort of part time, trying to see does this concept makes sense, is it resonating, can we actually do it technically. Spokal is quite technically robust just because we actually integrate with a ton of different providers. So he really wanted to see could we even do it as possible. And then we actually met at a co-working space out of Vancouver. And I really liked the idea and he was thinking, okay, well, let’s rev this up. So then we both went on it fulltime in April 2012.

James: Well, congratulations and you had a two-year anniversary not too long ago. That’s awesome.

Alexandra: Yeah, yeah. We had our first one, as I’ve said, we’re the first one down South and so this one is actually in a sort of sunny West coast of Canada.

James: Cool, cool. So obviously, it hasn’t been without a lot of hard work. So tell me just maybe one of your biggest challenges you had over the last two years or even something maybe that you can refer, now, it’s Chris Mack, that’s the CEO, the cofounder?

Alexandra: Yeah. He’s our CEO cofounder.

James: Cool, cool, maybe something that was like really in the way that you guys you were able to overcome, just kind of like a lesson learned so we can maybe get perspective of, it’s not just breezing in and cruising for two years, there’s got to be some bumps in the road. So tell me how you met them and overcame them.

Alexandra: I mean, I think I’m really glad you brought that up. We talked about it being really fun, and it’s great and working in Caribbean. I mean, the honest answer, it was a lot of really, really hard work. And there are definitely some dark days. And I think that we, two kind of keep challenges. The first was convincing anyone who was in a small business that Spokal was a good idea. So when we first started out, we were thinking that we would go your typical start up roots. So we create a little bit of a product, build some demand and fund raise. And every investor we talked to thought we were crazy because the small business market is notoriously difficult to reach, and notoriously expensive to do it. And we were trying to explain through the concept of inbound.

We’re not actually going out and campaigning. People are googling, how do I grow my business online, and they’ll find Spokal. And they’ll go through our inbound funnel, and they’ll convert. And we were explaining this, and we had very few people that were kind of willing to jump on board with us. And so sort of by default, we realized, okay, we’ll need to bootstrap this to show we can actually do what we say we can do. That was really, it was really interesting lesson early on because it actually forced us to really turn Spokal into a business right away and get a product out there and see what customers thought. And our first version of Spokal, I think the churn rate was about 80% to 90%. And so…

James: That’s cool. It got to start somewhere.

Alexandra: Well, it was pretty horrendous. I mean it was just awful. We really had, we designed the solution completely backwards. And so we spent the next six months designing something that kind of worked. And it took about a year after that actually to really built something and put it in the market that people found value with it. That actually significantly helped their businesses to the point now where we’ve created agency plans that agencies can use Spokal with their small businesses. So that’s kind of cool. But I think the biggest challenge honestly was just really having faith in what we were doing to overcome these obstacles. People wanted to, for example, there is a lot of people in our community that liked us, and said, well, if you’re doing another project, we’ll support you, both with knowledge and financial resources.

And so you sort of have to say, well, are we doing this just for a project or do we really believe in the power of small businesses and helping them succeed? And so it was really sort of a test of what do we want to do as entrepreneurs, what we want to spend our time on and what do we have to do to keep food on the table. And so this is actually really interesting. And so the whole time I was working on Spokal, well, not the whole time, but I was actually working on this book, and so that was a really interesting arrangement. So I was moonlighting on the book to help pay our bills so that in the early days, all of the money from customers we’re getting from Spokal, and our investment was going into the technical development because that was Spokal’s wheel-house. And so it’s been a really interesting journey. I mean we’re barely at the start line now. And we’ve definitely seen a transformation in the last, I’d say since about the fall 2013, starting to move faster in the right direction, and that’s been really exciting.

James: Critical mass, critical mass aiming, that’s cool. Yeah, so and I knew, we always wanted to talk about and remember the good stuff. But it’s also good to remember like where we came from and some of the hard stuff, a way makes us appreciate and my listeners definitely appreciate because they’re all hard working consultant authors, creators, small business owners and yeah, it’s work. And it sounds like you’re on the right track. I love the bootstrapping and just like doing whatever you need to do to move forward. That’s awesome, awesome. Can you, MA Software, Marketing Automation Software, for our listeners, can you basically tell us the nuts and bolts in a 35,000 feet view of what that means to maybe the small business? What is marketing automation software?

Alexandra: Absolutely, James. At its heart marketing automation is anything in that you do for marketing that you automate. And I know that sounds quite obvious but the reason I share that is often times, small business owners are doing marketing automation or are incorporating parts of it without realizing it. So for example, if you’re writing a blog, and you use a plug in to automatically publish your social feeds, that’s marketing automation, right? And the platform, a marketing automation platform, as long it really says okay, instead of you doing all of those different things in different places, we’re going to put into one place. So now, we’re going to make it easier. We’re going to automate your keyword research process. We’re going to automate your writing process. We’re going to cut down two minutes here and five minutes here of everything you do to create and share your content so that over the span of time, using a marketing automation platform, not only are you saving time but more importantly, you’re getting reach and effectiveness that you just would find impossible to do if you didn’t use a marketing automation platform.

James: So tell me how that relates to say someone in my audience, a day of life would be say a consultant or a creator, somebody that’s going out there, trying to get their message out there. So they’re creating content, useful content. They’re giving it out. Well, they’re pushing it out via maybe a Hootsuite or a Buffer or something like that, and hopefully, driving folks into their inbound funnel, some kind of an opt-in page or some kind of bringing them in back to their site and then working through nurturing them and hopefully getting them to one, opt-in and two, eventually getting them to do business with them. So how does that, how would they plug in to your system?

Alexandra: Spokal, specifically?

James: Yeah, yeah.

Alexandra: Totally, so Spokal works actually right from the very beginning of the content creation process. So you do Spokal to do all your keyword research and Spokal does everything from letting you know what you should write about now to what you should write about three months based on their traffic in your reach. And then you blog right in Spokal and we built a really nice drag & drop editor so it’s a super easy interface to use. And we have a ton of stuff in there that just makes the process faster. So for example, on the side, instead of describing what you need to do to optimize your post, we just tell you what to do. So it’s the difference. Instead saying, oh, I need to have a heading in my title, we’ll say, hey, you need to add, hot chocolate into your title, because you told us that’s your keyword and that’s what that needs to be. So it takes the guessing work right out.

Another thing we find is sourcing images can take time. So we integrate with Flickr: Creative Commons, and so you can drag & drop up to 30 million images and they’re properly attributed which is a big deal for again, businesses that don’t have a lot of time or money to spend looking for photos. We actually built that after I made a very big mistake and used a photo that I weakly thought we could use, and we couldn’t. And so we got, that was a really good learning experience for us. And we said, well, we can’t be the only ones here so let’s build that in and save time, and make sure that’s there. And anyway, so you create the content. You share it right from Spokal. We automatically publish to your Twitter, your Facebook wherever you want, and then what we’ve actually built in is a social sharing calendar so that every time you publish a blog post, you can say, share my post on Twitter four times, and then share it once again on Twitter in the next week and a couple times then next month.

And the reason we built that is we often find people don’t promote their content enough. And that’s one of the biggest reason they don’t extend their reach. And again, instead of taking 10 minutes to manually sharing, you’re manually scheduling your tweets. It’s already done in Spokal. And so then it’s super easy to share content as well because we link with Feedly. So you can basically curate and create your entire content strategy in Spokal. And of course, we also integrate with email marketing automation platforms and lead nurturing. So once you’ve published your content and shared it and you’re growing your reach, you can pull your leads back to Spokal and track them, and see how they’re doing. See which ones are the most likely to convert. Spokal will tell you when they’ve reached a certain score and then you can go after them. So it really tries to simplify that entire process.

James: Wow, what a great explanation. Thank you so much. I love that, all the pieces, the creative common images, the nurturing leads scoring and then the yeah, very, very intuitive. That’s awesome, awesome, awesome program. Cool. Let’s see, we talked a little bit earlier about being in and out at email. I’m just going to switch gears a little bit on productivity and accountability and, you got it together because you don’t spend your day in email like I do. And that’s, allows you to get a lot done. You’re not constantly checking in or running back to it and then feel compelled to answer which takes you away from and distracts you from the task at hand or doing business. So tell me about that and tell me about any other little personal tricks or tidbits that you do to keep you disciplined, face to the right direction.

Alexandra: Yeah. That’s a good point and so the first two for email, I never check my email in the morning and I read a book where an article said that concept. And I loved it. And so now, I do for the first hour, so if I know I have meetings or something coming up and I know I need to check my email at a certain time, I’ll make sure that I get an hour’s worth of work done so I feel productive and proactive before I start my day. And that’s the number one thing that I think, I really like that.

Number two is this as well, I tried to check in my inbox couple times a day, and I always log out of it so that it’s more a conscious thing. I would love Google to design something where you can compose your email without landing in to you inbox interface. That would save us all a lot of time. And anyways, another couple of tips, this is a bit, well, it might be a bit of help for your listeners. I’m not sure but, in the last eight months, I actually started meditation. And so I do 10 minutes a day, and what it actually helps you do is kind of be mindful. I think that’s the whole concept.

And anyways, so when you’re working way and you’re typing and you think, oh, it’s not happening on Facebook or that’s a cool blog. I’m going to go there. It just, you helps to be aware of, oh, interesting. That’s what I’m not doing right now. So I just have a little notepad. I scribble, check Facebook or whatever. And then by the time I’ve done my task, I look at that notepad and think, that’s not worth 10 minutes but I absolutely would’ve spend 10 minutes on it if I wasn’t mindful. So I mean, I know what works for one person doesn’t work for the next which is why it’s always interesting to hear productivity conversations. But for me, it’s just that, it’s being mindful when I’m about to get to a spin, an internet spin where you read every blog online and you come out of the internet an hour later, feeling so loaded with information and not necessarily loaded with actionable advise or something that’s going to help you today.

James: Totally, your meditation is becoming by and large, the very popular one even some of the big, big, gurus out there that these guys… I won’t name names but just some… I talked with a guy, particularly, he’s a monster. He’s got, he curses, he swears, he’s spiritual but he’s all over the place. But he meditates 20, 30 minutes a day. He gets so much done. And it is, it brings you, it keeps you centered. It keeps you, what’s the term you use, on task or just mindful. In the moment where you’re not compelled to, what’s going over there or oh, what’s going on over there? So yeah, awesome, awesome. It’s not too hokey at all. That’s a spot on and I’m hearing it more and more. It’s awesome, awesome. Yeah, so how about authors, I kind of like what to see what folks like you out there are reading both for inspiration and to keep up with trends and industry knowledge. What’s on your bookshelf right now on the top?

Alexandra: What’s on the top? Well, I just finished, Let Me Go, what is it called? It’s from Biz Stone, it it’s called What a Little Birdie Told Me. And so he was one of the four founders of Twitter. And it’s his recollection of what happened during that time. And it’s really a little bit of history about himself. And it’s written in a really fun like tone. And so I liked it because it was really easy to read, and it’s very insightful to learn how other entrepreneurs build these crazy companies. And the one that I’m reading right now is actually, Abundance by Peter Diamandis and I can’t remember the other author, so sorry…

James: No, it’s cool. I’ll look it up and I’ll have it in the show notes.

Alexandra: Perfect. But it’s a really cool concept of basically, instead of thinking about our world and our mind as being finite, it’s infinite. And what does that look like? And how do you create a world of abundance? And Biz Stone actually did a very similar concept in terms of creativity, it’s abundant if you use it today, it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to use this tomorrow. And so it’s neat when you read different, I mean Abundance is a much more scientific to read but it’s really neat when you read and you start to see parallels among some concepts. So I love to have a good book on my shelf. And I actually really like to have a hard paperback. So those are real books. They’re not ebooks, and I find when I’m in front of the screen all day, it’s actually really nice to turn it off and to fold, turn paper over paper. And it’s a really nice experience.

James: Agree, I totally agree with you especially outside. I just unplug, if you would.

Alexandra: Yeah, exactly.

James: Yeah, cool. Another trend that I see and actually my last two podcast ago, I kind of did like just tallied up who I interviewed the last 25 and, and these are trends, books and resources, meditation, also a lot of folks say they probably never would’ve made it if they didn’t have a mastermind or they didn’t network with some folks. So where are you with that? Do you have a mentor or do you have a mastermind group or somebody you check in with regularly?

Alexandra: I haven’t found a mastermind groups to be useful personally. I know a lot of people get value out of them. So I just, I haven’t found that for me. I do have some really good mentors. And I mean they have evolved over the years depending on where I am and I guess where am I in my life and who’s around me to kind of help me. And yeah, I mean in valuable, it doesn’t even begin to cut it. And I think when we talk about what is a mentor, for me, it’s someone that I can call in 2 in the morning or 3 in the morning when everything is gone, hell-in-a-handbasket, and who’s going to give you, sit there with you and go through that process. I mean I think, the concept that I see a little bit more which scares me is that, oh this is my mentor. I meet them once a month for lunch. I think that’s great. But you don’t need help once a month. You need four hours now, and then you don’t need anything for three months.

James L: In the trenches with you, when you need them?

Alexandra: Exactly. And I think when you’re looking at least the relationships that I’ve built as for my advisers, it’s you really need to look to someone that you can really build a real relationship with, and full disclosure, full trust, and it takes time to find that person. And it’s also okay to outgrow them or to have a different adviser or mentor different phase in your business career. And I think that’s also okay as well.

James: And there’s no right or wrong answer. It’s like I think a mentor can replace easily a mastermind group and vice versa. But a mastermind typically meets once a week, once a month, and yeah, you have those folks in there like, they’re at network. But if you have a real tight mastermind group, each one of those people are a mentor in and of themselves and you should be able to reach out to them at any point in time between meetings and pick up the phone at the 2 in the morning, saying, I’m in the weeds, help me out. And I think that’s the true mentor-mentee relationship.

Alexandra: Yup.

James: Cool, cool, cool. So tell us what you have going on as we wind it down. We got the book coming out in October. What’s coming down the pipe?

Alexandra: Well, there’s a few exciting things in the pipeline, can’t share a lot more than that right now, unfortunately. I hate when people do that. But I mean, Zero Friction is coming out as we talked about. Spokal is moving along pretty nicely. And it’s still very young in the 2014 year.

James: Cool. And well, tell us where we can check in with you periodically to see what’s happening.

Alexandra: Totally. So my Twitter is probably the best way to do that. And I’m sure we can put that in the notes. But it’s my name, @AlexandraSkey, and that’s the best way to reach out and to chat and to share and connect.

James: All right, and we will keep up with you. And the website is www.getspokal.com?

Alexandra: You got it, James.

James: Awesome. Hey, listen. I appreciate you coming out today. I’m glad we could finally get together and been a wealth of knowledge, very inspiring. Anyone out there looking to get into marketing automation, sounds like the premiere platform to be on. So we’ll check in again. I love to have you back on when the book comes out, maybe we can beat the bushes and I hope you get it out there.

Alexandra: That sounds like a fabulous idea.

James: Awesome, awesome. Thank you so much for your time today, Alexandra.

Alexandra: Thank you, James.

James: Okay, you take care.

Alexandra: You too.

James: Bye.

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023: Jeff Rohrs – Find & Develop Your True Audience

jeff-rohrs
Jeff is the VP, of Marketing Insights at ExactTarget.com
He is a global keynote speaker and author
His latest ground breaking marketing book is called:
Audience:
Marketing in the age of subscribers, fans and followers

Find Audience Here: www.AudiencePro.com
Little more about Jeff….He is a recovering attorney,
bacon-lover, and diet coke addict.
Have a listen to my chat with Jeff.

See highlights and links from of our chat below…
Check out the transcript or download it to read later: ENJOY!

DOWNLOAD TRANSCRIPT

Podcast Highlights:

This Thing Called the Internet
I did graduate from Boston University School of Law and did a Masters in Mass Communication out there as well back in ’94 when they were installing this state-of-the-art power Mcintosh Lab with connection to this thing called the internet. That was my first exposure to the internet. I thought it was interesting. I just saw that match.com celebrated its 20th anniversary and it reminded me that I have been using the internet for 20 plus years.

From practicing law to trying and pay off the school that’s when I realized, that it was going to drive me a bit insane as being a litigator is we’re living the worst moments of other people’s lives and so, I turn to the course back towards technology, worked as an national applications consultant at LexisNexis for a few years before joining an agency and then living with a group of folks to join another agency called Optium.

Early Days of Email Service Providers
We collaborated on a number of new business relationships. – our team won Partner of the Year from Exact Target that one year, I was approached by the CEO and asked if I’d ever consider joining and after about a year of conversation I joined Exact Target in May of 2007. I’m running agency programs and also having a foot in the marketing world and then, after about a year, I just jumped over to marketing full time and I’ve been heading up our marketing insights and really kind of speaking and writing about marketing trends that I was seeing and at various points of my career, I’ve run our digital interactive team, had a hand in events especially programming around our connections, user conference and built our content marketing team. And now, with the book just having come out, the last five months of my life have been in service to that, speaking around the globe on things of audience development.

Recognizing Industry Challenges
As my career progressed I realized that really the biggest challenges I was seeing in business were often a matter of poor communication and when you look at what kind of communication sits with the consumer that sits in marketing and customer service. And so, I wanted very much to kind of turn the course that way, that’s a lot of what I did at LexisNexis… I also began working on some competitive materials because our marketing team at a time is really slow to get some of them out in the marketplace. So, I created my own and low and behold it was getting picked up by marketing, shined up a bit and then used internationally.

All of that experiences at Lexis led me to realize my communications experience and desire to kind of clarify and help people better understand what are the opportunities and challenges are in front of them, was really to fit very well into the marketing realm.

Discovering The Audience
Marketing doesn’t happen without an audience. It’s just a question of where the audience comes from. And traditionally, we have been very used to vying for eyeballs or attention, right? And the audience comes from third parties who aggregate it in the form of the media.

You have a television audience and you buy 30 seconds of their attention in the form of advertising and that money goes right to the network and the network basically is monetizing the audience. They have turned the audience into an asset that they can sell back to advertisers. That model was never going to change. In fact, Facebook’s entire evaluation is based on it and Twitter’s evaluation is based on it. They’re based on trying to capture interest and convert it into a monetizable a bit of salable inventory and the advertiser wants to buy, and that model is fine and dandy.

However, what the internet and mobility and social have brought to us is the ability to drive and build and grow and engage direct audiences.

But what I had discovered in kind of my global travels… …over the years is that there is a fundamental disconnect and that is the company’s are putting like 99% of their effort into content creation and only 1% of their effort into audience development or creation and that seems out of whack for me. Because any content marketer or marketer worth their salt should want their next piece of content or their next big announcement in front of more people and today if you’re going to do that, you can certainly pay for it. Advertiser or media companies are more than willing to take your money and if you have bottomless pockets, you can go and you can buy every single spot tonight on prime-time. However, nobody has the bottomless pocket.

My whole thesis is around the idea that is now we’re responsible with marketing to build proprietary audiences, audiences that your brand and your brand along can reach. They’re permission based. They have given you permission to market to them through certain channels and I believe it’s going to become imperative that this gets professionalized, that just as you have content marketing professionals, we need audience development professionals in marketing organizations and the reason we do that comes back to your initial question around the types of audiences, seekers, amplifiers and joiners. Because the audiences are not monolithic, they are changed. Because they change around in whatever they their needs are at that time.

Seekers is a momentarily audience and they are defined by the fact they’re looking for information or entertainment and when they find that information or entertainment, they’re gone.

Amplifiers are people who will take your information and then amplified out to their audience. They are audiences with audiences.

Influencers usually is somebody who has built a certain amount of credibility, recognition, prestige in their career and so they have more influence over their audience than just say somebody that has friends and family on Facebook. There are also different types of amplifiers out there. Journalists are amplifiers, analysts in the space, Forester or Gardener, etc. So, you look at the amplifier, they too are a momentary audience. I don’t have the ability to push a button and make somebody amplify.

Joiners this is really kind of the holy grail because joiners give you the direct ability to communicate with them. The ultimate joiner is going to be a consumer, a customer, somebody who actually joins with their wallet and through all my remarks, the one thing that I always like to make clear is I understand the primary objective of marketing is to make the sale. All right, we have to feed mouths – if we’re going to stay in business. However sure to that, I sure as heck would love the sale and an email subscriber or the sale and a Facebook fan, and I find a lot of brands aren’t always connecting that way and making it easy for consumers to opt-in and to make communicate with a relevant timely fashion about the things that are of interests to them.

Joiners are the ones we should aspire to, subscribers, fans, followers. The reason is it is a direct audience. It’s permission-base so the audience members control whether it’s on or off that relationship, but it is a lower cost to reach them and we can personalize our messages in a lot of these channels and ways on that are highly beneficial. We can control the cadence and the timing in ways that we can’t necessarily in paid media.

A lot of my message is really about diversification of a portfolio and marketers beginning to think more like asset managers, and one of those key assets is audience. What are you building in terms of your direct audiences that gives you a greater soapbox if you will… than what your competitors have.

Defining Your Audience
First and foremost is think like your target consumer. I see this mistake all the time where people market to people like themselves because they think that the audience they’re trying to reach is just like them. And that inevitably leads to all sorts of, kind of mistaken identity and some bad investments because most – especially as the brand gets larger, most consumers are just simply not exactly like you. They might use different devices. They might use different channels. So, you want to know where are your consumers, what is your target market live online, on what devices, in what channels. Then, you can begin to find what audiences are most important for you.

Nine times out of 10, if not even more than that, one of the most important audiences you can build is going to be an email audience and as you know kind of a weathered and old school as the email channel is, it is still the work horse and kind of the top performer for marketers across the full spectrum of the industries. It is the revenue driver for retail. It is the thing that gets butts in seats in theaters. It is this connective tissue that everybody including the social networks themselves rely on. Because the email inbox has become a place that everybody checks and that has been reinforced in the mobile era by the smartphone. The email, it used to be the email icon was one of just five or 10 that was a default installed app on all smartphones.

Identify where your consumers live and don’t feel like you have to boil the ocean and that you have to use every single channel out there. Focus on the ones that have the highest return for you, allow you to speak directly, honoring permission, honoring the cadence that the consumer wants and giving them relevant information.

Like Facebook, it’s still a wonderful place to really engage brands to stir the pot around product development, product feedback, global or geographic expansion and Twitter remains a great amplification source and a great source for kind of breaking news to spread

You don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket. You want to diversify. This was a lesson that the search engine marketers learned years ago when Google started tweaking their algorithm and wiped out entire industries. So, my book Audiences is really a message of diversifying the available audiences for your brand.

Keeping up with ALL OF THIS STUFF
So, if there’s one little bit of advice I can give to your listeners is don’t beat yourself up. Focus on constant improvement. Nobody can stay on top of all of this stuff. But if you focus on the things that are lasting, then you’re going to get the highest return on value and I believe certainly our goal is to make the sale, that’s job number one.

Job number two, build amazing, lasting brand because if you have a brand that resonates, it makes job number one easier.

Job three out of this is, serve the customer passionately because that is now form of marketing. A satisfied customer becomes an amplifier and then three and four or I should say four and five in my list are great content and great audiences. It goes with the assets that you’re building. And if you have a great structure in that regard, it’s an incredible platform for you to work on. But if you have holes in that, go repair those and build in an iterative fashion. Don’t feel like you have to do it all at once.

Contact Jeff Rohrs
AudiencePro.com
Twitter.com/JKRohrs

Download the Transcript - Enter Your Email

BigValueBigBusiness.comJeff Rohrs
AudiencePro.com

Transcript

James: All right, welcome back my friends to yet another edition of the Big Value Big Business Podcast. I am your host, James Lynch. I am really big, big, big time super excited about my very special guest today. His name is Jeff Rohrs. Jeff is the VP of Marketing Insights at ExactTarget.com. He is also a global keynote speaker and author in his latest groundbreaking marketing book, it’s called Audience: Marketing in the Age of Subscribers, Fans and Followers. Also, a little bit more about Jeff, he is a recovering attorney, a bacon lover and a diet coke addict. It’s a great pleasure to have Jeff with us today. Hello Jeff Rohrs. How are you today, sir?

Jeff: I’m doing well and yourself?

James: I’m doing fantastic. I’m so glad you could come on the show.

Jeff: Thanks for having me.

James: You are very welcome. I love that little tagline, the diet coke I’m there, bacon lover I’m there, I just I never passed the bar. So, two out of three my friend.

Jeff: Well, passing the bar, it was probably one of the more expensive times I went into a bar ever so.

James: I was going to say that I haven’t found many bars that I have been able to pass.

Jeff: Exactly. It’s the old joke.

James: Awesome. Hey, I’m really excited to get down to business and for you to help us to learn how to identify, create and develop our true audience and also to kind of find out where we can find them, what channels the best way to find them and to reach out to them. So, does that sound like a plan?

Jeff: It sounds like a plan to me.

James: Cool. Can we get just a little history about your sir and maybe find out where you came from, where you got your start and tell us just a little bit about the journey that brought you here to where you are today.

Jeff: Sure. So, my journey is rather circuitous. I did graduate from Boston University School of Law and did a Masters in Mass Communication out there as well back in ’94 when they were installing this state-of-the-art power McIntosh Lab with connection to this thing called the internet. That was my first exposure to the internet. I thought it was interesting. I just saw that Match.com celebrated its 20th anniversary and it reminded me that I have been using the internet for 20 plus years.

Jeff: And began to see its commercial promise then. But when I practiced law to try and pay off the school that’s when I realized, that itwas going to drive me a bit insane as being a litigator is we’re living the worst moments of other people’s lives and so, I turn to the course back towards technology, worked as an national applications consultant at LexisNexis for a few years before joining an agency and then leaving with a group of folks to join another agency called Optium that I eventually became President of for a few years. And that’s what helped forged our partnership with Exact Target which at that time, this would have been now 12 years ago was a startup ESP – Email Service Provider and we collaborated on a number of new business relationships. I helped manage the accounts for Sharon Williams and National City Bank back at the time and after a while of working with them and kind of – our team won Partner of the Year from Exact Target that one year, I was approached by the CEO and asked if I’d ever consider joining and after about a year of conversation I joined Exact Target in May of 2007.

So I’m running agency programs and also having a foot in the marketing world and then, after about a year, I just jumped over to marketing full time and I’ve been heading up our marketing insights and really kind of speaking and writing about marketing trends that I was seeing and at various points of my career, I’ve run our digital interactive team, had a hand in events, especially programming around our connections, user conference and built our content marketing team. And now, with the book just having come out, the last five months of my life have been in service to that, speaking around the globe on things of audience development.

James: That is awesome. What a story. Yeah, quite the journey I would say.

Jeff: Long and winding.

James: Yeah. No, it’s awesome. What made you – how did you tip towards marketing? How did that happen in your head like what went on?

Jeff: I’m always on it. I had a communications undergraduate degree. I’ve been a disc jockey on a commercial radio station during college and produced two music video shows. So, I’ve done a lot of stuff around media. Interestingly enough I had never taken a marketing class, never even taken a business class in college and so, as my career progressed I realized that really the biggest challenges I was seeing in business were often a matter of poor communication and when you look at what kind of communication sits with the consumer that sits in marketing and customer service. And so, I wanted very much to kind of turn the course that way, that’s a lot of what I did at LexisNexis, it was an interesting sales and education service kind of role and I found myself called upon to unveil and kind of do the presentation around the migration of their Sheppard site checking product to the web. So, we would call it moving to the cloud today. But when Sheppards.com was released I would just have to go out and speak to VIP audiences about that and as soon as light bulbs begin to click for me and sure enough while I was at Lexis, I also begin working on some competitive materials because our marketing team at a time is really slow to get some of them out in the marketplace. So, I created my own and low and behold it was getting picked up by marketing, shined up a bit and then used internationally.

So, all of that experiences at Lexis led me to realize my communications experience and desire to kind of clarify and help people better understand what are the opportunities and challenges are in front of them, was really skin fit very well into the marketing realm. And it just so happens that somebody would hire me in their law firm, had become general manager of really one of the top digital marketing firms in our area around 1998, ’99 and he gave me my first chance at managing projects and the rest is history.

James: Wow. And then at some point in time probably not too long ago, you decided to focus in on the audience and the type of audiences.

Jeff: Yeah.

James: That’s unique and I was reading just a little blurb and it’s kind of like you’re focusing on the flipside of content marketing which is all the craze now, you’ve got to have content. We talked about our friend, Joe Pulizzi and he is the godfather of content marketing. So, you decided to take a dive into the audience portion. Marketing in the age of subscribers, fans and can we just dive right into the book because I’m really interested in these archetypes of audiences, the secrets, the amplifiers and the joiners. Could you just run those down a little bit? And just for my audience for them to understand, how you break them out?

Jeff: Sure. A maybe place to start is just what do I mean by audience because in a fundamental sense, marketing doesn’t happen without an audience. It’s just a question of where the audience comes from. And traditionally, we have been very used to vying for eyeballs or attention, right? And the audience comes from third parties who aggregate it in the form of the media.

James: True.

Jeff: So, you have a television audience and you buy 30 seconds of their attention in the form of advertising and that money goes right to the network and the network basically is monetizing the audience. They have turned the audience into an asset that they can sell back to advertisers. That model was never going to change. In fact, Facebook’s entire evaluation is based on it and Twitter’s evaluation is based on it. They’re based on trying to capture interest and convert it into a monetizable a bit of salable inventory and the advertiser wants to buy, and that model is fine and dandy.

However, what the internet and mobility and social have brought to us is the ability to drive and build and grow and engage direct audiences.

Email marketing was the first place that businesses began to understand and then acknowledge that. They began to build databases and began to tell the promise of one to one marketing. And then, Facebook comes along and you can actually build your fanbase in Facebook and then Twitter, you can build your followers and in Instagram. You can build subscribers on YouTube etc. All these are direct audiences. But what I had discovered in kind of my global travels and having the honor of speaking at Joe’s, Content Marketing World over the years is that there is a fundamental disconnect and that is the company’s are putting like 99% of their effort into content creation and only 1% of their effort into audience development or creation and that seems out of whack for me. Because any content marketer or marketer worth their salt should want their next piece of content or their next big announcement in front of more people and today if you’re going to do that, you can certainly pay for it.

Advertiser or media companies are more than willing to take your money and if you have bottomless pockets, you can go and you can buy every single spot tonight on primetime. You can buy all the wrap around banners at once. You can do whatever you want in that regard. However, nobody has the bottomless pocket. So, my whole thesis is around the idea that is now we’re responsible with marketing to build proprietary audiences, audiences that your brand and your brand alone can reach. They’re permission based. They have given you permission to reach out to them through certain channels and I believe it’s going to become imperative that this gets professionalize, that just as you have content marketing professionals, we need audience development professionals in marketing organizations and the reason we do that comes back to your initial question around the types of audiences, seekers, amplifiers and joiners. Because the audiences are not monolithic, they are changed. Because they change around in whatever they their needs are at that time.

So, a seeker is a momentarily audience and they are defined by the fact they’re looking for information or entertainment and when they find that information or entertainment, they’re gone. All right, they’re either sitting there watching the television show. They’re not going to change the channel or they found a little bit of information on Google and it served their need, they’re off writing a paper or doing whatever else they want to do. So, for the brand that audience is tampered, where you reach them is through content so, content marketing, search engine optimization, paid advertising. We’re trying to capture initial interest, fleeting interest and convert it into some sort of deeper relationship. That then gets into the next two types of audiences.

Amplifiers are people who will take your information and then amplify it out to their audience. They are audiences with audiences. And this is one of the fundamental changes that we’ve had in the last 20 years because it used to be you would send a message through a channel to an audience. Period -End of story. Now, when it reaches that audience, everybody in that audience is connected with people on Facebook or Twitter or email or even just word of mouth and they will make the decision if they take that message or some portion of it and then amplify out. That’s kind of the viral effect that we all aspire to. It’s kind of a holy grail.

James: It’s the influencer, right? The influencer or the amplifier

Jeff: The influencer is a type of amplifier.

James: Okay. All right.

Jeff: The influencer usually is somebody who has built a certain amount of credibility, recognition, prestige in their career and so they have more influence over their audience than just say somebody that has friends and family on Facebook.

Jeff: So, there are also different types of amplifiers out there. Journalists are amplifiers, analysts in the space, Forester or Gardener, etc. So, you look at the amplifier, they too are a momentary audience. I don’t have the ability to push a button and make somebody amplify. I have the ability to push a button to send a content that you hope is going to get amplified or create an experience that you hope is going to get amplified, but I can’t force that audience to do this. And they do this amplification out of the sense of wanting access, wanting some information that the brand doesn’t share with just everybody, but more importantly, there’s a little bit of ego there, right? They want some prestige from it. They want to curate the information to their audience so that their audience grows.

And you’re playing into – your best amplification plays a little into that ego. So, you got the secrecy, you got these amplifiers, temporary audiences. Then, you got joiners and this is really kind of the holy grail because joiners give you the direct ability to communicate with them. The ultimate joiner is going to be a consumer, a customer, somebody who actually joins with their wallet and through all my remarks, the one thing that I always like to make clear is I understand the primary objective of marketing is to make the sale. All right, we have to feed mouths – if we’re going to stay in business.

However sure to that, I sure as heck would love the sale and an email subscriber or the sale and a Facebook fan, and I find a lot of brands aren’t always connecting that up and making it easy for consumers to opt-in and to make communication in a relevant timely fashion about the things that are of interests to them. So, the joiners are those ones we should aspire to, subscribers, fans, followers. The reason is it is a direct audience. It’s permission-base so the audience members control whether it’s on or off that relationship, but it is a lower cost to reach them and we can personalize our messages in a lot of these channels and ways that are highly beneficial. We can control the cadence and the timing in ways that we can’t necessarily in paid media. So, a lot of my message is really about diversification of a portfolio and marketers beginning to think more like asset managers, and one of those key assets is audience. What are you building in terms of your direct audiences that give you a greater soapbox if you will than what your competitors have.

James: Yeah. And so, is it safe to say now – while you’re talking, I’m trying to relate everything back. I almost saw like the purchase fund or the funnel being those particular you grab attention, you get interest, you get the prospect, you get the lead, you get the sale, almost taking the same graduation towards the holy grail if you would. And how – if you would to my audience of entrepreneurs or wantrepreneurs’ coaches, consultants, wanting to do business with folks online boiling it down to how they could best put their best foot forward in capturing or actually recognizing first and knowing who their audience is and then capturing them, what would be your first guess to or your advice I should say to for these guys to start?

Jeff: Well, first and foremost is think like your target consumer. I see this mistake all the time where people market to people like themselves because they think that the audience they’re trying to reach is just like them. And that inevitably leads to all sorts of, kind of mistaken identity and some bad investments because most – especially as the brand gets larger, most consumers are just simply not exactly like you. They might use different devices. They might use different channels. So, you want to know where are your consumers, what is your target market live online, on what devices, in what channels. Then, you can begin to find what audiences are most important for you.

Nine times out of 10, if not even more than that, one of the most important audiences you can build is going to be an email audience and as you know kind of a weathered and old school as the email channel is, it is still the work horse and kind of the top performer for marketers across the full spectrum of the industries. It is the revenue driver for retail. It is the thing that gets butts in seats in theaters. It is this connective tissue that everybody including the social networks themselves rely on. Because the email inbox has become a place that everybody checks and that has been reinforced in the mobile era by the smartphone. The email, it used to be the email icon was one of just five or 10 that was a default installed app on all smartphones.

Now, it’s a little bit broader than that but email continues to be kind of that bell ringing that is conditioned as like a Pavlovian dog to go and check it on a regular basis. So, when you can get the email address, now you’re starting to form the foundation of the very strong CRM opportunity. And one of the things, as I was writing the book I was thinking a lot about because in the midst of writing the book, the company I work for, ExactTarget, was acquired by Sales Force and it really got me thinking about CRM and CRM used to think about it just a B2B kind of fashion. Now, what I’m seeing is in all companies and B2C is probably where it’s the hardest are thinking about truly what that means customer relationship management. And why do we have to build that around? Why do we have to build it around some sort of channel that we can communicate to those folks through and email becomes their foundational channel and then you layer in additional social channels or text messaging or YouTube subscriptions or other things overtime to deepen the relationship, and the more touches you get, the deeper the relationship, the greater share of wallet in theory.

And so, thinking about your audience, the folks who are listening right now identify where your consumers live and don’t feel like you have to boil the ocean and that you have to use every single channel out there. Focus on the ones that have the highest return for you, allow you to speak directly, honoring permission, honoring the cadence that the consumer wants and giving them relevant information. That can be email, that can be text for you like if you’re an event-driven type of entity, text messaging often can be great because it’s something that people are willing to opt into in kind of short term situations. So, thinking like a two-day festival, right? Text messaging is the best way to communicate with everybody quite possibly.

Jeff: Because you’re still going to have half the attendees not to be on smartphones. So, text is the thing that cuts across smartphone and the old dumb phone if you will. So, you begin to think like your audience now, you can begin to understand okay, the channels and the devices and where I need to build them.

James: Yeah, that’s great. So, I just – I took it note because I got to go back to the old school marketing and the money is still in the list. Is that safe to say?

Jeff: Well, I always avoid using the word list. I make a…

James: Relationship.

Jeff: Yeah. And that’s a good conversation point because it was interesting coming of age during the first wave of the internet because the direct mail folks and I just wrote a piece for Forbes on this. In fact today, we’re recording this on May 6, this is the 20th anniversary of the release or I’m sorry, the 15th anniversary of the release of Seth Godin’s permission market. And I was writing about the fact that when that book came out, the DMA just hated it because the direct marketing folks could not get their heads around the fact they didn’t own the list and that these people who subscribe to email could opt out. No, they can’t. They’re on my list. It was the sense of ownership that old school direct marketing and custom publishing had. Now, 15 years own, it’s really fascinating.

The concepts in permission marketing are the things that drive not just email but also Twitter and Facebook and I mean, does anybody think they own their fans on Facebook or they own their followers? Those are individual decisions whether to opt in, opt out, unsubscribe, unfan, unfollow all the time.
So, I think putting it in terms of relationships and understanding the intent of the subscriber versus the fan versus the follow, why do they subscribe or like you or follow you through those specific channels? It indicates different levels of permission, different levels of intent that you need to honor and not treat all those channels like the same thing. And it may sound like a bad thing, it may sound like it complicates matters but it actually frees you up to use the channels for some of their highest value.

Like Facebook, it’s still a wonderful face to really engage brands to stir the pot around product development, product feedback, global or geographic expansion and Twitter remains a great amplification source and a great source for kind of breaking news to spread. So, it’s interesting, I forgotten because I’d written the article about a week and a half ago that today was fortuitous days that we’re taping this on, their 15th anniversary.

James: Yeah, that’s awesome. I love Seth Godin. I think you do too. So, you make reference to him Harvey Keitel and Jack Black.

Jeff: You got it. That’s my DNA mixer.

James: I love it. Yeah. And you touched on something as well; well it struck with me about email being like the core or the hub. Obviously, we can reach our folks and folks that hang out in other places. But I think it behooves us too because we don’t own the other channels or the other – the Facebooks or the Twitters. That’s not our proprietary or our property.

Jeff: You build up their sand.

James: Right, exactly. Exactly.

Jeff: And Facebook, Facebook brands are active on Facebook if we’re in that quite a bit recently because of the changes in the newsfeed algorithm and what gets distributed and shared. That didn’t come as any surprise to myself or a lot of other folks who’ve been following social media for a while because Facebooks got to monetize. They got shareholders they have to answer to. But that also points to kind of the whole diversification strategy that I talked about in the book, is that you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket. You want to diversify. This was a lesson that the search engine marketers learned years ago when Google started tweaking their algorithm and wiped out entire industries. So, my book Audiences is really a message of diversifying the available audiences for your brand.

You’re always going to be able to go out and buy attention in the form of paid media and paid advertising. But the predicament you have there is you’re dependent on the market state to define the price. So, if your competitors, everybody wants to buy inventory at the same time. The price is going to spike which means they’re going to get less return for that purchase. So, if you begin to think of your direct audiences as assets just as you would pay for advertising, you begin to talk in a language of your C-Suite and they can begin to understand, “Oh, marketing isn’t always costs center. It’s an asset generator. It can help us drive direct audiences and reduce our dependency on paid media. Not so that we get out of them entirely but so that our spend is much more pinpointed and productive.”

James: Yeah. You’re able to sell it upstairs.

Jeff: Yup.

James: Absolutely.

Jeff: I mean, as you well know that’s a big part of the battle.

James: Yeah.

Jeff: I mean, it can make up a ton of sense to folks on the frontlines but if you can’t sell that internally, you got a big problem on your hands.

James: Yeah. I work – my day job is an agency so I felt they hear you. I totally hear you.

Jeff: Yeah.

James: Awesome. So, tell me of what’s going on with you now with the book. Are you still touring around? I’ve seen you internationally or things kind of come down. What’s the next step for you, Jeff?

Jeff: Well, I did about hundred thousand miles in a year through middle of April, of course, came home for what I felt would be a nice restful four-week period and immediately got sick which is I think what you do when you travel that much. Now, I’m kind of on the recovery of that and I’m heading back out on the road, going to be speaking at a client event, pardon me, next week and then speaking at the Atlanta in AMA, Social Media Arizona. It’s going to be a fun one at the end of May and then we got our own ExactTarget future marketing tours. So, I’m going to be keynoting some events in San Francisco, LA, New York and Chicago. So, a lot of domestic stuff, a lot of kind of coast to coast, but it’s been fun because I literally kind of circumnavigated in the globe twice at the beginning of the year. And so, to see what I was talking about resonate with people in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Munich, London and the States, was very satisfying. It also lets me know that marketers’ challenges are the same the world around. And one of the most common things I get after I speak is I get somebody coming up and say, “You know, I’m sorry. We’re so far behind in what we’re doing.” And I always stop and I’m going to say, “Listen, you are not far behind. Everybody feels that about some part of the program even the biggest brands in the world that I have had conversations with have huge achilles’ heels in the marketing program.”

James: Sure.

Jeff: There is one – a CBG company I spoke to a couple of years ago and they were so hot and heavy on social media that they had effectively let their email program atrophy to the point it was being outsourced through an agency. Who was kind of sending email maybe once a month. I mean, they weren’t doing any acquisition program or anything else and after my presentation, their eyes lit up and they’re like, “Oh, my God. We got to double down on that. We got to get back and engage with it.” So, if there’s one little bit of advice I can give to your listeners is don’t beat yourself up. Focus on constant improvement. Nobody can stay on top of all of this stuff. But if you focus on the things that are lasting, then you’re going to get the highest return on value and I believe certainly our goal is to make the sale, that’s job number one. Job number two, build amazing, lasting brand because if you have a brand that resonates, it makes job number one easier. Job three out of this is serve the customer passionately because that is now form of marketing. A satisfied customer becomes an amplifier and then three and four or I should say four and five in my list are great content and great audiences. It goes with the assets that you’re building. And if you have a great structure in that regard, it’s an incredible platform for you to work on. But if you have holes in that, go repair those and build in an iterative fashion. Don’t feel like you have to do it all at once.

James: Yeah. It will boil the ocean. I love that you said that. That’s absolutely. It’s good to know, it’s refreshing to hear that even the biggest brands are having challenges and just keeping up with trend technology. But I think you hit it on the head with how you boil things down with building the brands, serving the customer and a great content and great audience and great audience engagement.
That is perfect. You really put that, drove that home. All right, so, tell us where we can find you, Jeff.

Jeff: Yeah.

James: Give us your contact, your Twitter, your website.

Jeff: Sure.

James: Yeah.

Jeff: Folks who want to reach out to me on Twitter, I’m @JKRohrs, JKRORHS, made that a very tough dramatic spell for all of you and for the book, AudiencePro.com is the website for the book. It’s available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Finer Booksellers everywhere online.

James: Nice. Well, listen Jeff you’ve been a gentleman and I appreciate all the information you brought to us. It’s been a pleasure talking to you today.

Jeff: Likewise, thank you very much.

James: You’re very welcome, sir. We’ll talk again real soon.

Jeff: Okay, have a great one.

James: You too. Take care now.

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022: AJ Amyx – Passionpreneur Academy

AJ Amyx
AJ comes to us from AJAmyx.com
Aj is a business coach, consultant and passionpreneur and founder of the Passionpreneur Academy
AJ’s specialty is in training folks from all over the world on how to:
•Attract new clients
•Create high-end programs to serve people worldwide
•How to implement the mechanics of automated marketing and sales systems so that you not only get paid but you GET PAID WELL!
Have a listen to my chat with AJ Amyx.

See highlights and links from of our chat below…
Check out the transcript or download it to read later: ENJOY!

DOWNLOAD TRANSCRIPT

Podcast Highlights:

It All Started in a Sleepy Lil East Texas Town…
I grew up in a very big town of Seven Points, Texas and there’s about, I think now, there are 1200 people and I think that is including the cattle that roam the pastures in the fields. So, it’s a real small town, Seven Points, and the locals they call it Seven Pints because pretty much the only thing that’s in the town in Seven Points is local little honky-tonk bars and liquor stores. And so, it’s like this typical East Texas town where most people here they’re in the construction industry, they work at the school. It’s pretty order of farmers, ranchers, type of things like that but for me, I just have like these huge dreams. So, I got involved in music when I was in high school. For whatever reason I found this old beat up acoustic guitar in the old little metal shed behind my house. I think I was in eighth grade.
This is 1998. I picked it up, started banging around on it.

Rock Stardom?
Co-founding a Christian rock and roll band called Trade Cities and so we went on from pretty much 2009 was the time like we climb the hill of like I guess people call success in the music industry. But we have like radio play in Dallas. We had this big 38-foot tour bus.

We had offers from record labels but we’re just an independent artist. I mean, we didn’t have this huge record label backing us. We just literally had thousands and thousands of hours of sweat equity and then my ability to just be ridiculously tenacious and figure out the whole business and the whole marketing thing and in order to do that I guess you could say how lucky or whatever you want to call it. I like to say it’s just where preparation and opportunity meet.

Musician AND Marketer
I had the opportunity to work with one of the big music guys in Dallas and I went and worked with him for free for about six months or eight months and his name was Jimmy Swan and I got to learn like the music game from the inside out by while everybody else is out partying and drinking and doing whatever they do and until they get in college, I was out booking shows and hanging out with Mantel Jordan’s manager and Coffey Anderson and Rupert Boneham from Survivor and going to all of these things and learn in the music industry. So, I was able to pull that experience back into what we were doing and then make it happen.

And then we went along and in 2009, I came to this place in October 2009 where we had to make a decision as a group because we just had different visions in life and if anybody’s ever been in a band or if you haven’t been in a band, I tell you that being in a band with five guys is pretty much like being married to five people. And so, we decided that we weren’t going and do it anymore. So, we played our last show in October of 2009 and then between October of 2009 to March of 2010, so I guess it’s six months or so.

Early Midlife Crisis
I pretty much went through this experience where some people had midlife crisis or whatever we call it. I guess mine was a quarter life crisis.

I got to like learn the importance of like relationships and Walt Disney always said or he had this quote and I always remember he said, “Sometimes the best thing in life is a good swift kick in the teeth.” And at that point in my life, getting kicked in the teeth is exactly what happened…

Asking GOOD Questions
Number one was: What in the hell is my purpose for existence? It’s really the main thing and then
The other thing was like: Why did this happen to me? But during this whole process, I picked up a book called Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins and that book honestly is one of the books that has fundamentally radically changed my life and had an impact…

Turning the Corner
I picked up a book in 2008 called the 4-hour Workweek with Tim Ferriss and he talked about this idea of creating a lifestyle business and I love that book. Another book that changed my life because it opened up my vision to a new possibility because in college they don’t teach you lifestyle businesses, I wish they did. I mean, God, why couldn’t we have a degree in like lifestyle design and going through the current internet marketing trends where you don’t have PhDs in Teaching but you actually have people in the trenches teaching what’s working,

Top Influencers
Anthony Robbins, Tim Ferriss, Brendon Burchard, Mike Koenigs, Garret J White…

Listen to my chat with AJ Amyx.

Have a listen or check out the transcript to also hear about:
Turning Consultant – to just creating another J-O-B for myself
Learning & Teaching the Prison to Paradise Journey
Find Your Anchor Client to get Established Quickly
Using Twitter to Grow Your Business
Modeling Successful People in Your Space
Creating Balance in Business and Life
AJ’s New Book
Soar 2 Success and Digital Strategy:
68 tips to igniting your online empire.

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Transcript

BigValueBigBusiness.com
AJ Amyx
AJAmyx.com

James: All right, welcome back my friends to yet another edition of the Big Value Big Business Podcast.
I am your host, James Lynch. I am really big, big, big time super excited about my very special guest today. His name is Mr. AJ Amyx. AJ comes to us from the same titled website ajamyx.com, that’s AJAMYX.com. AJ is a business coach, consultant, and Passionpreneur and he is the founder of the Passionpreneur Academy. AJ’s specialty is in training folks from all over the world on how to attract new customers, create high end programs to serve people worldwide and how to implement the mechanics of automated marketing and sales systems so that you’ll not only get paid but you get paid well, and that being said let’s bring him on. Let’s say hello to AJ. AJ, how the heck are you today, sir?

AJ: Hey bud, hey dude, James, thanks for having me on today. I’m like so stoked to talk with your people, talk with you and see what we come up and chat about today.

James: Yeah. This is not our first time talking to you. You are a wealth of information I’m really excited to share even just a bit of what we’ve talked about, back last time we talked last week. So, I’m really excited. Again, I want to thank you for your time in coming on the show and I want to share maybe a little bit of your journeys, maybe give us some insight on how we can do something with our lives that we’re passionate about, all the while serving others and getting paid in the process. So, does that sound like a plan, sir?

AJ: Dude, it sounds like the perfect plan. So like, where should we start because there was like so many directions that we can go down, rabbit holes to chase. So, where should we start?

James: I don’t know, man. It depends on how much time you have. But let’s start at the beginning. I want to hear about you. I know you were in the band and your humble beginnings. Let’s get a history of AJ Amyx and who you are, where did you get start and a little bit about the journey that brought you here to where you are today?

AJ: Yes. So, I grew up in a very big town of Seven Points, Texas and there’s about, I think now, there are 1200 people and I think that is including the cattle that roam the pastures in the fields. So, it’s a real small town, Seven Points, and the locals they call it Seven Pints because pretty much the only thing that’s in the town in Seven Points is local little honky-tonk bars and liquor stores. And so, it’s like this typical East Texas town where most people here they’re in the construction industry, they work at the school. It’s pretty order of farmers, ranchers, type of things like that but for me, I just have like these huge dreams. So, I got involved in music when I was in high school. For whatever reason I found this old beat up acoustic guitar in the old little metal shed behind my house. I think I was in eighth grade. This is 1998. I picked it up, started banging around on it.

By the time, I got to high school and met with some friends, we played soccer together but they play the guitar. So, we started playing and playing. I went to college with one of my best buddies from high school. We’re roommates four years in college together and our music journey just evolved and evolved and we decided that we want to get serious about music. And so, that kind of led me to going into forming and co-founding a Christian rock and roll band called Trade Cities and so we went on from pretty much 2009 was the time like we climb the hill of like I guess people call success in the music industry. But we have like radio play in Dallas. We had this big 38-foot tour bus.

We had offers from record labels but we’re just an independent artist. I mean, we didn’t have this huge record label backing us. We just literally had thousands and thousands of hours of sweat equity and then my ability to just be ridiculously tenacious and figure out the whole business and the whole marketing thing and in order to do that I guess you could say how lucky or whatever you want to call it. I like to say it’s just where preparation and opportunity meet.

James: Yeah.

AJ: I had the opportunity to work with one of the big music guys in Dallas and I went and worked with him for free for about six months or eight months and his name was Jimmy Swan and I got to learn like the music game from the inside out by while everybody else is out partying and drinking and doing whatever they do and until they get in college, I was out booking shows and hanging out with Mantel Jordan’s manager and Coffey Anderson and Rupert Boneham from Survivor and going to all of these things and learn in the music industry. So, I was able to pull that experience back into what we were doing and then make it happen. And then we went along and in 2009, I came to this place in October 2009 where we had to make a decision as a group because we just had different visions in life and if anybody’s ever been in a band or if you haven’t been in a band, I tell you that being in a band with five guys is pretty much like being married to five people.

It gets interesting when you have different visions and like in a marriage, if two people don’t have the same vision and then if they’re not moving in the same direction together, it just creates absolute chaos. And so, that’s kind of what was happening. Some people wanted to stay home much or whys and some people wanted to go preach the gospel and some people wanted to preach the gospel and make money that would be me and others did it. And so, we decided that we weren’t going and do it anymore. So, we played our last show in October of 2009 and then between October of 2009 to March of 2010, so I guess it’s six months or so. I pretty much went through this experience where some people had midlife crisis or whatever we call it. I guess mine was a quarter life crisis.

James: I know, you’re a little too young for the midlife problem.

AJ: And so, I got to like learn the importance of like relationships and Walt Disney always said or he had this quote and I always remember he said, “Sometimes the best thing in life is a good swift kick in the teeth.” And at that point in my life, getting kicked in the teeth is exactly what happened because the girl I’ve been dating and spent and living with and she said, “You have to go.” And then, my parents they got divorced after 25 years of marriage. My contract position just finished and so I didn’t really have any income coming in. My SUV was broken down and I need to put a new turbo charger on my diesel and I didn’t have the $900 to put the new turbo charger on it just to make it run. And so, I had to come back to this place where I had nowhere to go and so I did the only thing that I knew to do at that point which is I came home and I remember for the first time, in my entire life, coming home to my dad and just crying and like just bawling my eyes out to my dad.

I never done that in my entire life and me being a southern man was always told like “Guys are tough. Guys aren’t supposed to cry and you’re supposed to put on this tough fascade.” And I did that my entire life but I finally when life kind of broke me down to my knees where I had to start asking questions and in this – this left me asking two things. Number one was: What in the hell is my purpose for existence? It’s really the main thing and then the other thing was like: Why did this happen to me? But during this whole process, I picked up a book called Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins and that book honestly is one of the books that has fundamentally radically changed my life and had an impact. Because I didn’t just read the book, I mean, that book T. Ro wrote it, Tony Robbins, I don’t know why I call him T. Ro just like we’re buddies.

James: I like that.

AJ: But I call him that whatever. So, like T. Ro wrote this book and like if you go through it, the information and the exercises literally will change your life if you apply the information like most information product. If you apply the information, you get the result, right? And so, this had me ask.
I learn like the ability of questions and that if we asked good questions, we get good answers and if we had bad questions and we get bad answers. So, therefore, be careful on what we’re asking for because there’s a universal law that says “Ask and it shall be given to you. Knock and the door will be open.” So, therefore, we have to be careful about what we’re asking for and careful on which doors we’re knocking on. And so, when I was asking these questions, I thought, “Well, you know what? This hurts extremely bad right now.”

And I’m in immense amounts of emotional pain and I could choose to say marriage is for this terrible thing and women are this terrible thing and I’m just down and out. Why me? Why me? I go to all this whole pity party but I chose and I consciously chose not to come to a place that’s saying “Well, what I can learn from this? Like this hurts. I mean, this hurts badly. But there has to be good. I refuse. I refuse to accept anything but good. So, what good comes from this?” And so, I continue to ask this question every day seeking, consciously seeking the good. I finally started to see that these people that were around, they’re not mad at me. They’re not bad people. Marriages aren’t bad just people had different visions and maybe in my relationships, I had to make sure that when I have that partner that I make sure my girlfriend, me and my girlfriend are heading in the same direction together, that we’re stepping in the same things, that we’re in the same interests, that we have the same visions.

When it comes to interpersonal relationships, I’m asking: How can I invest in these relationships? Just like we do in business, how can I invest in this relationship daily to get a return on investment if we want to use these words? And at the same time, I had this whole business question coming in and about because I spent 10 years of my life in music and I’m honestly, James, I’m not like the best musician in the world. In fact, I’m a pretty terrible musician. I’m just a pretty half way decent very charismatic performer that knows how to create an experience and also knows how to lead five guys and create and market music. And that was really the only reason we did pretty well. And my passion was always in business and marketing because I learn that these are the books I can’t get enough of like I know growing up, we had to read like, I don’t remember like fantasy books and stuff for school and I hated reading. But once I learn like the whole, like self-development and spiritual and self-help books and all these non-fiction things that exist, I was like, “Where have you been all my life?”

And so I was like, that’s why I love reading and so, I just kind of follow that passion. I picked up a book in 2008 called the 4-hour Workweek with Tim Ferriss and he talked about this idea of creating a lifestyle business and I love that book. Another book that changed my life because it opened up my vision to a new possibility because in college they don’t teach you lifestyle businesses, I wish they did. I mean, God, why couldn’t we have a degree in like lifestyle design and going through the current internet marketing trends where you don’t have PhDs in Teaching but you actually have people in the trenches teaching what’s working, what’s not working and banging stuff out in two years work. It’s like two years is just everyday of current trends and everyday of testing things and split testing. I mean, that would be an awesome degree right there.

James: Yes.

AJ: And it would be a lot cheaper than us in the real world investing in mentors and doing out our own and seeing what works and doesn’t work, if we could just have a source, right?

James: Yeah, eventually it’s going to evolve into that. It has no choice but right now with Seth Godin is doing that industrial educational model.

AJ: Yeah.

James: But yeah, I agree. Yes. So tell me more. So, you’re heading until you’re still kicking stuff around. You’re finding yourself. All of a sudden you love reading; you’re gobbling up all this great information both spiritual and technical hands on. So, tell us more like what brought you to where you are today, the independent business coach consultant?

AJ: So, it’s been this evolution and so, when I read Tim Ferriss’ book 4 Hour Work Week, I went “If Tim can do it, I can do it.” I don’t know this is going to happen but I want to create a business to work from anywhere in the world. That was literally the only goal. That was the vision. And so, as I started digging and reading and I had – I don’t even know how this happen in hindsight but I got on people to email this within the whole internet marketing industry like Brendon Burchard, Mike Koenigs and I think those are really the main two. And as I got on this email list, I’m watching this content that Brendon dropping be a video and Mike’s dropping via video and I’m going, “This is a great stuff.” Like look at all of these possibilities that I never knew were possible. But then, the like reverse engineering aspect of me kicked in and I’m always one of those people who believe like if somebody is doing it successfully just model it, like just figure out what they’re doing.

James: That’s the Tony Robbins’ things on modeling.

AJ: Yeah. Exactly. And so, I started like looking at Brendon, I was like watching his videos but I was like buying his products. I have been to Brendon’s events now. I love them and he drops some of the best content in my opinion in the internet marketing space and so I was just watching like, “Okay, well, how many emails did he send out?” I opted it on a Monday. The sale is dropping. Fourteen days later, what days did he drop them on? What are the subject lines? I was like highlighting the emails, dropping in them to a Word document and saving them on a folder in my computer and then like printing them off. I’m like what’s the sales psychology he’s using? How many links does he have in this email?

If I click on the link, I’d watch it change in the little address bar at the top and I would see and he’d be like, “Aweber dot Brendon Burchard that Infusion stuff” like I watch everything but I haven’t had a notepad. I’m like Aweber and I take a note and then I’m like Google Aweber. What the hell is Aweber? Oh, email system it says to deliver the email. All right, then later, as it evolves like Infusion Soft, what’s that? So, I’d Google Infusion Soft and oh, so, that’s what they’re moving now to do all the shopping carts and checkouts and his email campaigns now, oh, all right.” And so, that’s how I started learning about the software and thankfully, all of these software companies give you a trial version because that’s how I start out. I didn’t have any money. And so, I’m like, “Wooh, let me go and learn this stuff.”

And so, I would go and I would go through it and figure it out and watch the tutorial videos and there’s trial and error to figure it out. So, once I had the skill sets then I was like, well, this would be great information for brick and mortars to use, that’s what led me to finally in 2011, I had the vision in 2009 of creating and helping brick and mortars. Now, I was doing it kind of like on a contract basis. But then in 2011, I launched my first company called A New Way to Market and that was a social media marketing agency because I bought Mike Koenigs’ course that was called Social Media Marketing Machines. I devoured it and went through it. Learn the skill sets there, joined the Chamber of Commerce, stood up and dropped what I teach now called my Passionpreneur Power Statement then it was just more my identity statement and I dropped that which pretty much this consists, “This is who I am. This is how I help. And this is the reason that benefits you.”

So, I used my little window of time and sort of saying, “Hey, I’m AJ with new way to market. I’m a new business. If you need marketing, let me know.” And sit down. I didn’t do that. Here are my three little windows like a presentation. So, I stood up and said, “Hey, did you know that” and this was in 2011, keep in mind. I said, “Did you know that 97% of the online searches, people are searching for you? They’re searching for a solution and your job as a business owner in today’s marketplace is to create content for people to find you?” And I said, “Did you also know that there’s a common thread between the yellow pages and nursing homes? Because the only people that use yellow pages, they’re old and let’s be honest, they’re a little out of it. So, if you guys want to get up-to-date and get leads then my name is AJ Amyx. I help brick and mortars through how they get leads and navigate the online space.” Then I sat down.

And so, for merely after I did that, right when the launching concluded, a guy came up to me and said, “You know what, son?”Because he was way older than me and he’s like, ”You know what, son? I think you can help my son in Las Vegas. I think you’re exactly what he needs.” And I was like, “Well, maybe I am. Let’s have a conversation. Let’s set up.” So we booked a meeting from the meeting and then we went through the whole sales process which I teach now which was like the asked tell us. So, you’re asking questions. You’re saying, “Hey, I have this. It may be a good fit. Hey, do you want this?” And he said, “Yeah.” So, I got my first client from that, the $2500 client and that some kind of what got me into being able to work from anywhere and then over the next 18 months, I went into taking that social media company having 22 reoccurring clients every month and I woke up one day and hated my life.

James: You created a job for yourself.

AJ: I did. I definitely created a job for myself and it was, I spent like 18 hours a day posting for people and managing their accounts and I had like one person working for me. I hired my friend and well, he came on as a business partner at that time and I hired my brother and I was paying him hourly to help me. This wasn’t having fun and so, then it evolved into learning about the coaching process because then I hire a coaching. I said, “You know, I have this vision. I felt like I’m called to like really inspire millions to see their passions.” I see Brendon doing this thing. I want to do it. You’re doing it. Can you help me? And he said, “Yeah.” And so, I invested $6000 with the man named Garret J. White and how it will back sense and that’s what brought me to today. It’s got a long to say what my journey, my story is. What brings me to today where I pretty much just help authors and speakers and coaches with these fitness coaches, health coaches, anybody in the coaching industry to figure out how can we launch and monetize their online product or program in 90 days or less?

James: Every part of that journey was necessary because just towards the end so perfect because so many people they try to escape that cubicle or that job. They end up getting clients. They end doing the same thing you did. They turn around six, 12, 18 months later and go, “Wait a minute. I’m working more than I did before. I don’t have the cushy insurance. I don’t have the cubicle. I’m paying all my own bills and it’s 18 – it’s crazy, 12, 14 hours a day.

AJ: Yeah.

James: So, you were there?

AJ: I was totally there. I became – I mean, I created my own prison. Now, I think the beautiful thing like you said, everything teaches or something to allow it. And I believe like each one of us, we have the opportunity. If we still choose to claim it, to reach back and teach. Like each one of us has the story, each one of us in life has a unique journey and if we take the time to clarify that journey, there’s always, always, always, always somebody who wants to be where we’re at. So, even if we’re experiencing some type of what I call the prison and right now like in this moment, understand that your prison is always, always, always somebody else’s paradise, always. And so, we can always, we take the time to quantify and qualify where we’re at to reach back and teaches those people who are behind us in the journey.

Even if we’re one step ahead of them or two steps ahead, we can create something, whether this is a service, whether this is a products, whether this is a coaching program, whether there this is some type of online, on-demand academy, masterminds a bit, like there’s always something to be able to monetize our life experience because it’s wisdom and then, our job becomes helping the people get through that gap quickly. I mean, even like in the service industry, no matter it’s a business, that’s what you’re doing. But you’re just providing the service to get through that gap for that client efficiently and quickly.

James: Yeah, that’s a great point. I never thought about that and I want to tell these folks that want to go out and get a bunch of clients and behold into that client-base said don’t do it. But I think they have to get there. They have to experience and work it. Quite frankly, it is for some people.

AJ: Absolutely. Dude, I honestly do not regret having the 22 clients because I learn skill sets that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. In fact, I wouldn’t have the credibility that I have today.

James: There you go.

AJ: I wouldn’t have the confidence or the certainty that I have today at a consulting capacity or a coaching capacity because I didn’t live it. I’m so tired that people getting into the coaching or the consulting space because they want to make big money yet they haven’t done anything. They don’t have any results to back up what they’ve done. They don’t have any life experience. So, they just want to go get some type of certification and then think they’re qualified to help people.

James: You mean the gurus? Are you talking to about the gurus?

AJ: I’m talking about anybody who thinks they see what a certification and that qualifies them to help people.

James: Yeah.

AJ: People want the result. If you can help and get the result, perfect. Perfect. But I will qualify that because everybody is at different levels and until you – you may say, “Well, I have never gotten a result from somebody.” And somebody listening to this right now may be they’re starting out, they’re like, “Well, AJ, you know, I don’t have any results. So, what you’re telling me?” You’re kind of telling me that if I go in for a job interview where if you catch 22, it’s like well you can’t have this job because you’re not experienced but yet, the employer is not going to give you the experience to get the experience to get the job, right? So, this comes back to – well, just start where you’re at and don’t go and charge what people have invested 18 years of their life to get the results and they know exactly how to get it and then you want of the gate and charge $5000, $10,000 for consulting. Why don’t you first go around? Maybe your first month…

James: Get to work for free.

AJ: Yeah.

James: I mean, most guys work for free to earn their jobs in there and their testimonials and credibility. Absolutely.

AJ: Exactly. Or a hundred bucks or 50 bucks.

James: Sure. You have expenses or so but be modest about it and say, “Hey…”

AJ: Exactly.

James: Because that person is giving you your break basically or that client.

AJ: Absolutely.

James: Yeah.

AJ: Absolutely. Some people has learned from –I hired a coach, his name is Nick Ainsworth and he teaches, kind of what we’re talking about here and never thought about it and he calls it his anchor client strategy. And it makes sense like if you’re just starting out, figure out, who would be that person or that perfect client that you would go out, you would work for free maybe for your time just make them pay the expenses like if you’re running ad expenses –

James: Sure.

AJ: – or technology expenses. This is the hard cost. But go ahead and work for free, get them the result and then leverage that result. Because if you can get that anchor client the results, well then they’re going to expose to all of their friends and all of their network and it’s a way for you to kind of how to pass that beginning stages of whatever you’re trying to start out with. So, like I didn’t really know I was doing this but when I start it here in town at the brick and mortar which I really don’t do this much anymore. But when I did, I landed one of the biggest well respected clients in town, just kind of happen that way due to I guess my charisma and my speaking abilities that I learn in the music industry. And then so, therefore, an instant credibility when I got them the result, because right, oh, well, if you’re helping Don then you can help me. If he trusts you then I’m going to trust you.

James: Okay.

AJ: So, I think for those listening, if you’re just starting out, it’s a beautiful, beautiful strategy when you think about whatever industry you’re in, go out, find that anchor client if you have to, put in the sweat equity and then leverage that into the next step of your journey.

James: Find the biggest kid in the schoolyard and beat the crap out of him and everybody else leaves you alone.

AJ: I like it. Yeah, dude. Totally, totally same stuff.

James: Yeah, basically. Hey, I love that, great journey man and great talk. There’s so much stuff here. Let’s talk about your shift, your pivot that – was it Garrett, Wright, you said that was your coach that kind of put you leads you dead to rights on the coaching path?

AJ: Yeah, Garrett J. White. Garrett is like awesome mentor. I met him at the Brendon Burchard event. It was Brendon’s 10 X NYC. It’s like his 10K event in New York, Garrett was there and I just kind of connected with him for whatever reason. In a breakout kind of session, Brendon had this out meeting people and I remember meeting him and it came back and I look to my vision board like eight months later when I was hating my life and it said, the highest achiever almost relied on mentors and for whatever reason instantly he popped into my brain. I’m like, well, I listen to it, I follow my intuitions. I reached out to him on Facebook and he said, “Yeah.” I said, I know this what you do but I’m looking for this is where I’m at, this is where I want to go. Can you help me?” And he said, “Yes, that’s exactly what I do.”

And we got on and had a conversation and then I hired him. But yeah, so, he built this coaching business where he was running what he calls or I don’t know, this what I learn from him anyway pod coaching where you’re taking groups of 10 or five people or 20 people but he was using small groups, multiple small groups but you’re running five people to a destination. So, you try to find five people who are experiencing a present and then you are of course to be guiding them to the paradise through the frameworks that you’re creating based upon your life journey and each one of us has of course different journeys and different skill sets.

James: You know that’s cool. So, would you say after your big change happened when you completed the course with him or completed your work with him, tell me where the shifts came from the 22 clients to all of the sudden and now you’re teaching the consultant or the author?

AJ: Yeah. So, like I said it’s been like this constant evolution –

James: Sure.

AJ: – and so, the entire time when I was working, when I read 4-Hour Workweek and that’s one from anywhere in the world, but then when I saw Brendon’s information, I was like “I want to be like Brendon.” Not like be like Brendon –

James: I hear you.

AJ: – but his business model and the people that he attracts. Now, his people were totally different than my people because Brendon has this corporate background. I have zero corporate experience. So, there’s no way in hell I can resonate with the corporate individual. I just don’t walk in their shoes every day. But yet if they’re the entrepreneur then yeah but so, I could use Brendon’s model inside of me, intuitively I want, I’m really drawn to that. And so, I pay attention to what I’m drawn to and so, it’s taken since 2011 to 2014. It’s taken really about three years to get to where I’m at today of having to do it for people to know what works and not, what doesn’t work, to know what platforms to build for people, to know how to identify my target market, to know how to message correctly, to know package and position correctly. And so, I started – I hired Garrett in 2012 of October, October of 2012 and that was the first kind of pivot point. And so, he said – I said, “I want to create programs.” He said, “What can I do in this?”

So, up to this point, I’ve been doing social media marketing for brick and mortar. He said, “You’ve gotten results. What are the results you got?” I’m like, I told him the results and he said, “Okay. Well, then you would be qualified to teach people how to do social media marketing for their own business instead of doing for them, teach them how to do it themselves.” I said, “That’s a great idea.” And so, I did. And so, I had a friend of mine that owns the Dallas Psychic Fair, her name is Charlotte Andrea in Dallas and so she has this big fair every month and she has all these vendors who are different intuitive whether the numerologists, astrologists site whatever and so, I said, “You know Charlotte, I think I’m putting together this program to teach social media. Do you think it would benefit your people?”

And she said, “Yeah. Because if we could help them market themselves better, it would help me market my fair better so it would be a win-win. So, we JV’d that’s what we did and so, I wrote all the email copy, I built all of the lead capture pages, the squeeze pages for the events. We sent out the email to her list. They came to a live event. I taught my butt off for four hours. They’d love it. I pitch at the end of the event to the six-week program, usually $200 a month and they paid and so, within the first 14 days of working with Garrett, I went from having no program, coming up a strategy, implementing and then having $800 a month in reoccurring income for this program that I was walking these healers through.

James: Sweet, sweet. And that was the beginning, that’s awesome.

AJ: And that was the beginning and then, it has been a constant evolution since then of – it’s sometimes working. I think many times as entrepreneurs, we kind of get this shiny object thing. I’m guilty of this.

James: Sure. me too.

AJ: I have to try this. It’s like, no, just go back to what worked and do it again. And so, like even to this day still, even if it’s really small live events, they still create lots and lots of money for me. I mean, I hosted a simple event for brick and mortars. We had seven people in the room and I sold two people consulting off that seven person event and that was $7500 in that month in revenue just off consulting of a seven-person event. And I think lots of people in the coaching industry, consulting industry they think we have to put hundreds of butts in seats, hundred, 200, 500, 1000 people but the reality is you don’t. I mean, you just have to have qualified people in that room, serve them. This is kind of what you’re talking about, James, Big Value Big Business.

James: Absolutely.

AJ: You’re showing up at that event. You’re dropping, I mean, big value.

James: Dude, you did four hours with the healers.

AJ: Yeah. You’re dropping everything you know and then, they’re coming and do business with you and that’s how you kind of take where you’re at to that bigger business and then the bigger business and then the bigger business and each time, you’re just delivering massive value to this people.

James: Absolutely. You hit it right on the head. That’s fantastic. And you had mentioned and we talked before, so, is your model – I get the joint venture obviously this particular woman that ran the fair, she had the list and you had the know-how.

AJ: Right.

James: But you lean towards a live event or a webinar as getting the message out there, is that a model that you teach?

AJ: I do teach that model taking people to a live webinar. They’re great and here I preface this. This is webinars are great if you have an ad budget and Facebook advertising is still to this day good but as of today, today is whatever day it is, I don’t know.

James: Cinco de Mayo.

AJ: Cinco de Mayo, okay. As of Cinco de Mayo, 2014, in case somebody is listening to this like later, as of today, Facebook advertising, you should be still be able to get leads for $3 to $5 for an opt-in to a webinar and then you’re all going to get to have those not all those people are going to show up and then you’re going to have to run encore and then you’ll be able to close 10 to 20% on industry standard. So, in order to get massive value out of this thing, you’re going to have to drop a $1000 or $2000 in ad revenue, now, this not the case. I mean, you may experiment with $200 to $300 in ad revenue to test your funnel to see how it’s working, converting, and you may sell one thing but depending on your price point. You may not have enough margin to make up for it and so you had to have larger people. I mean, larger quantity, more quantity.

You want quality but you have the quantity. And I think there’s this misconception especially in the guru expert space. We see all these people in these huge launches and like, “Oh, put this webinar then I can make hundreds of dollar or hundreds of thousands of dollars doing just a webinar.” But these guys are spending, I mean, they’re converting maybe like a big cold list launch, maybe they’re converting one or two percent of their list. So, they’re spending, I mean, thousands and thousands and thousands and tens of thousand dollars on traffic and even paying out as incentives to their affiliates.

James: Sure.

AJ: And I think there are something as newbies and people beginning to want to get in this industry that we have to recognize that this is business. You have to have a marketing budget if you’re going to run the webinar method, if you don’t have a list and/or to continue build that list. So, that would be one model. For those that don’t have the ad budget, there’s still stuff to do straight up sweat equity and that would to be to make sure you have what I teach like in the Passionpreneur Academy and even in my coaching sessions with people and help them create which is figure out what is your homepage money machine? Meaning your website has to be doing three things which is adding value to the people. This is going to be just like you’re doing James through your podcast, other people blog, other people do videos like you have to add value and solve people’s problems.

That’s why people come to your site. They don’t give a damn about you. They’re with their own lives looking for a solution and our job and as content marketers in this new economy is to solve these problems. Second thing is, it should be creating leads. So, just because you drive traffic to the website, people are digesting and eating up your content. We as marketers in the business, we have to control the experience. If we think people are just going to go to the Contact Us button, hit Contact and say, “Hey, I want to come work with you.” Some of them might, but the reality is everybody is on this different level of a buying scale. So, think of 0 to 10, you have some people coming to your site who may be a 1 or 2 or 3 and they’re not going to want to come spend money with you yet, and your job is to give them something that’s going to add value to life.

We call this the lead magnet, whether this is an eBook or an MP3 or a video series. My personal favorite is a three-part video series that’s been going to train them to the transaction. But yet in the same time, you may have people who are at eight, nine, or 10 who are ready to come and play ball right now. So, you have to have that lead magnet and capture the leads. And the second thing or the third thing actually is to then make some money which you need to have some type of automated follow-up system to be using Aweber and Fusion Soft, MailChimp, whatever that you want to use –

James: Sure.

AJ: – that has that automated follow-up process but also has the sell psychology built in it where you’re sharing your story, where you’re overcoming the obstacles for the person where you’re sharing your story of credibility and your story of kind of wow to win what we call the story of connection. So, you’re building a rapport with these people and then, when you say, “Hey, you want to come in and play here?” They can come in and play. And so, if that’s set up like straight up grassroots, honestly, Twitter is the way to go.

James: Yeah.

AJ: Like if you are to tweet nine times a day, if you were hop in and engaged with people within your target market, if you will spend Monday thru Thursday following people in your target market, you will generate the traffic and get the daily opt-ins and have people going through. Now, I understand it’s just on a small level but it doesn’t cost you anything but time and energy and it works. I have yet to have a person if they tweet nine times a day and know how to craft really good tweets and they can go, go look at mine. My Twitter handle is @Ajamyx or go look at Nick Ainsworth or Life on Fire or @bluegino, Chris Cerrone of the Chris Cerrone Show or go look at Amy Porterfield like go look at their Twitter accounts and see how they’re tweeting. Like they have lots of following so see what they’re doing and then again, model the way that they’re tweeting.

It doesn’t mean you have to write the exact same tweet. You have a story, you have a stance, you have your own strategy but just see how they’re tweeting and then model that with your voice, your style, your brand and it will allow you to get the leads that you need like I said on a small scale. So this kind of like two options, this kind of depends in where you’re playing at.

James: Yeah, if you have a budget of it all but I like that.

AJ: Right.

James: And you know, I was going to ask you for a gold nugget but you gave us a whole coaching course with the paid budget and without. So, that’s awesome. That’s awesome. Hey, let me shift gears for a minute.

AJ: Sure man.

James: You are on fire, man. Business mindset, you spoke of a vision board. What gets you going, man? What keeps you this pumped up, pro-active dude?

AJ: Man, I don’t – I really don’t know. Like people asked me and like – even my girlfriend is like you’re busy all the time and it doesn’t mean like we don’t go out and hang out. I’m very intentional on trying to keep everything balanced. I mean, I go out and I have dinner with my dad and his girlfriend. They live right next door to me. We have dinner every night either here or there. Sarah and I cook twice a week. They cook twice a week and we kind of have the old school southern family round table dinner every single night which was by design by the way. We enjoy that. And then, I’m consciously thinking, “Well, how can I invest in Sarah and I relationship?”

But then also in business, there is something within me and I remember like when everything was falling apart and I was telling a good friend of mine and I said, his name is Rod Warren and I said, “Rod, I can’t quit right now. There are people that I had never even met in my entire life that if I quit right now, they’re going to fall. They’re going to be swept under into the raging waters of life because I’m not willing to persevere and share my message which is you can live a passionate life and do whatever it is and monetize it in life. Like if you don’t want to go have the corporate career, you don’t have to like you can create life on your terms if you will invest in the skill sets of marketing and in sales and in the systems. Like if you will learn how to business owner, you can do that. So, there’s this like this calling within me, James, that I can’t really articulate besides.

It’s just like this burning fire within me that wants to share that stance with people but at the same time, I want to experience all of life. Like I see people who are in marriages, who have been married for 50 or 60 years but yet, there’s no intimacy. Like you can be around these people and they’re great people but there is no – like there’s no connection because they haven’t invested in each other. Yeah, they go to the same routine but they’re not like investing into each other. And I’m like in my relationship, in my marriage, I want to be on fire. Like I know it’s possible. I know I believe God created us to have everything in life and to be passion on fire in our bodies, in our beingness. Like even in our spiritual lives or businesses, in our relationships and so like that should drives me to show the world, it’s possible. And so, I’m always like trying new things and testing new things to kind of demonstrate that walk for people if that makes any sense.

James: Absolutely, absolutely. Well said, too and I totally appreciate it. Wow. Masterminds, coaches, you mentioned a lot, you said all the great successes for the most part. I have had coaches. Tell me a little bit about that.

AJ: Yeah. And so, it feels like – I grew up playing soccer and I played at a very high competitive level. I played on a club team, I played in Europe when I was like 12, I dunno if that counts but we’re on this club team playing in Europe when I was 12.

James: Sure, it does.

AJ: And so, likely I always play, I always played sport at a really high level and I was always pretty good. And if you look at that, you don’t get good without somebody who hasn’t unbiased perspective to give you feedback because so many times in life, we’re so in our stuff that we can’t see the forest for the trees and over we’re blinded. The possibilities are always there. I mean, they exist right in this moment, however, our blinders or our to-do list or clients say I need this, this and this or your schedules or the wife or girlfriend needs this or the car needs like we’re blinded by what’s going on in our lives. So, having this outside perspective person to say, “You know what? If you tweak this, if you did this, this will get you to where you want to go.” That gives you that non BS filter.

Everybody is a high achiever when they have a coach and it’s not just in sports. I mean, it’s like in business. It’s in relationships. I mean, I had a relationship with the mentor of mine. He’s just a really good friend of mine. His name is Ralph Monroe and he’s like in his 80s and him and his wife have a great relationship. They’ve been married for over 60 years like happily, love spending time with each other. They do daily walks in morning. They read to each other. I mean, they just have a really great relationship. They’re one where I can say, “You know what? When I’m 80, I want to have relationship like Pat and Ralph.” And so, by doing so at church the other day we went out to brunch and instead I’m doing whatever most people do, I’m asking – I’m saying, “Ralph, I’m struggling a little bit. My relationship is great but I’m trying to be pro-active because I have a lot going on in the business world right now and I’m trying to maintain this balance, how did you and Pat do this? Because you were a high executive at T.I. so like, how did you navigate this?”

And getting again, it came back to modeling. Find somebody who is successful at it and ask them, be willing to ask the deeper questions of life and get that feedback and then the takeaway was for me and Pat every since we’ve been married, we have a daily meeting. He’s like, he’s not like one where we have an agenda or anything like that, it’s just I share my schedule with Pat for the day, for the week. She shares her from mine’s. We’re always on the same page and moving together and he said, “The other thing is never let something fester. If something is bothering you, say it immediately and the other person’s going to give the grace to hold that space and share it.” So, I said, “Okay, great.” So, I came home and Sarah and I were talking and I said, “You know, I had this great conversation with Pat and I’m really busy here right now and I understand that right southern saying…here we go, “sometimes you just have to make hay while the sun is shining”, okay, meaning the works here we have to do there for us to hit our goals. Let’s implement a daily meeting.”

And so, our first daily meeting was this morning while we lay in bed and we shared “This is my plan for the day and this is your plan for the day. Here’s what I get done for the week. This is the income that’s out flowing. Here’s the income that I think that should be in flowing.” So, we’re all on the same page and I’m like, it’s working for them then I’m going to implement that into my life. So, to answer your question, I guess, I kind of get wordy.

James: No, man it’s good stuff.

AJ: Because we have to have that coach in order to have it all or to have life at its fullest rather than it’s a mediocre life. Like I always tell, I tell my girlfriend all the time, I was like, “You know what? I would rather die than live a mediocre life.” Like if I just had to settle for mediocrity, I would rather die. I’d rather get hit by a car, then that’s the truth for me. I would rather die than have a mediocre life because there has to be more so let’s push the potential where it’s truly possible for the human existence.

James: Good stuff, man and I hope it’s coming loud and clear to the audience because yeah, awesome, awesome. So, tell us what take you have going on, you kind of hinted to a book you’re working on. What’s happening?

AJ: Yeah. So, back in January, I was asked to do a book with the Elizabeth McCormick and for those of you that don’t know Elizabeth, Elizabeth is a really cool lady. She is black Hawk helicopter fighter pilot and she was, I think, one of kind like the first kind of women black hawk helicopter fighter pilots and so, she created this whole story – I mean, this whole book series called Soar 2 Success and she teams up with people who were, like influence her in their space whether this be on social media, whether this be on digital strategy, whether this be sales, mindsets, etc and she called to write these books and so, she said, “Hey, I would like you to do a book on digital strategy. Are you down?” I said, “Yeah, absolutely.” So, I wrote this book. It’s a little less than hundred pages and so it’s called Soar 2 Success and Digital Strategy, 68 tips to igniting your online empire. And I didn’t want just to do tips and so I really kind of wrestle with this idea.

So, “You know Elizabeth, I don’t really want to do tips. I want to do steps. Like this like, I wish I had these steps when I first started, when I had that bug by reading Tim Ferriss. If I had, okay, step one, step two, step three like everything it would take from conception to completion.” And she said, “Okay. Well, let’s just call it a tip book and you write it that way.” I said, “All right.” And so, I wrote it that way and I thought through everything I could think of like that from conception to completion. And I mean, there’s like mechanical stuff in the book, there are videos, links where you can go watch training videos, it’s very interactive but also it goes through mindset. It goes through understanding what I call your PFE which I learn from John Strelecky which is what is your purpose for existence? Because so many times, like I want to make money, I’m going to implement the mechanics and then we do that and then you get 22 clients or you build this business and like that definitely hate your life.

And so, we have to come back to the foundation and establish what I call power first and I broke out the book having the four sections and it’s what I always teach which is power then platform and then your product or your program and then your promotion. Because if we and I learn this the hard way, if we’d learn mechanics and implement mechanics and create a program and then we go to sell it. But we’re not at a place of power, we go to self-sabotage because we’re saying, “Oh, well, I’m not good enough. We play this whole game of I have these clients, but why are they listening to me? I’m not the expert. I’m not the guru. I’m not qualified to teach these people.” So, we have to take a break, clarify on paper or map, what I call your map, where were you? When did you have the bug? When did you see the possibility? Like for me in 2007, 2008 and then what happen every single year, all the way up to 2014 and write it down on paper like this happened, this happened, this was the good, this was the bad, this was the not – I mean, just whatever happened that books I read etc. So, I could see my journey.

Then, once I could see that on paper I’m like, I am qualified to teach this. I mean, here are the results. Here’s my walk. Nobody can take this away from me no matter what. So, then when it comes into going to the mechanics, we have confidence and we have certainty and we have absolute clarity. And in this space without those three seeds, without clarity, without confidence and without certainty, you will not generate cash. And so, that’s kind of what the book is about and it’s called Soar 2 Success and Digital Strategy as of today, cinco de Mayo, I’m taking personally pre-order copies. If there’s any left then if you can find out just connect with me on Facebook or send me a tweet. My Twitter handle is @ajamyx or my Facebook, same thing Facebook.com/ajamyx, send me a private message. Just ask me if they’re still available, I give you the pre-order discount that’s going on. And so, that’s kind of what the book is about. It’s just the steps to igniting your online empire and honestly, it really worked in any online business.

James: I love it. That was good I would say. The last thing I ask is how we can contact you and you’ve given us your Facebook and Twitter so that’s awesome. One more thing before I let you go, Passionpreneur Academy is that still rocking and rolling or do you transform that into more of one-on-one coaching, tell us a little bit about that.

AJ: Yeah. So, it’s still totally rock and rolling and so I have a couple of ways. I have what I call the 90 days to crush a challenge and that’s my one-on-one program where if people are good fit. I mean, you can go to 90daystocrushit.com. If you want check it out. My whole goal is to work with the person, if we’re a good fit, they have to apply for the program. We have a conversation and if they’re good fit, I want to come into their lives and bleed for their success and be able to launch and monetize their idea if they want to be an online space or already have online business that want to take it to the next level and my goals to get it done in 90 days or less than 90 days. It’s a lot of work like it’s not for everybody. It’s a lot of work but it can be done. But the Passionpreneur Academy, it’s like all the concepts that I teach people when they work with me one on one because I was having this people said, “I would love to work with you one-on-one but my budget doesn’t fit it.”

So, I created the Passionpreneur Academy which is like a onetime payment of $997 or they finance it for a year for just $97 bucks a month and again, it goes through everything and teaches in the skill sets. Like what I tell people, they have to know sales, they have to know marketing and they have to have systems if they’re going to be an online business owner. All of that information is there. I mean, we go through creating the homepage money machine, using WordPress and OptimizePress, step-by-step, I mean there are videos like lots and lots of videos where it walks them through here is how you buy your hosting, here’s how you buy your URL, here’s how you link them together, here’s how you install WordPress, here’s how you install OptimizePress, here’s how you build the homepage. This is what should be on the homepage. This is walks them step by step by step by step and all they have to do is watch the video and implement, watch the video, implement.

We start with power and we go through identifying your target market. We go through understanding and claiming your own power which I talked about during this interview which was that mapping process. I help you craft your power statement so you can walk into any room, drop that thing in 10 to 15 seconds and if your client is in that room, people are going to listen to you and come talk to you because they want to get the results that you’re spitting out of your mouth. Okay, we then we come to the platform like I told you building all of your homepage money machine, setting up the lead magnet, setting up the follow-up sequence, integrating it with Aweber, writing all your copy, what should the copy be, how to write good copy that people love, and then we come into designing the program and I always tell people, “Let’s design it on paper.” I call it wire framing. Go out, let’s promote it and if people buy it then let’s build it or let’s build it in the process.

James: I love that.

AJ: And then, we go into promotion using Twitter and Facebook strategies so we can promote this thing and so, that’s what the Passionpreneur Academy is all about and it’s usually for authors, speakers, and coaches who is usually who is design for.

James: Yeah, but if they want to get into the fast track then they can get 90 Days. What is 90 Days to Success?

AJ: No, 90-days to Crush It.

James: To crush it. I love it.

AJ: You got it. You got it.

James: Awesome, man. Hey, listen I really appreciate today’s chat and I’m glad you could come down and be with us. We’ve learned so so much and I know that anybody that listen today will definitely be checking you out and I hope, I wish you so much good fortune with the book.

AJ: Thanks and I appreciate it.

James: When is that going to drop? When is that available?

AJ: It drops on May 9, Friday actually.

James: Soon.

AJ: On May 9.

James: All right.

AJ: Yeah. I have the launch party. It will be like black tie event where I going to get dressed up all nice and fancy schmancy and go to the lunch event and I don’t even know the URLs. It always got ajamyx.com, catch out any information and once I do have the sales page up and running when the publishers like you can let people know it exists now that would be fine.

James: Awesome. All right AJ. Thank you so much for your time and we’re going to keep in touch on you and I hope to talk to you again soon.

AJ: Yeah dude. Thank you so much, James.

James: All right, take care.

AJ: All right, bye, bye.

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021: Bryan Kramer – B2B or B2C is Really H2H = Human to Human

Bryan Kramer
Bryan comes to us from BryanKramer.com
This is Bryan’s personal digital space where he talks about (among other cutting edge marketing topics) the evolution of marketing the models of the B2B and B2C to a more personal, Human 2 Human approach to interacting in the marketplace. You can take a deep dive into this subject by checking out his latest book:
Human to Human: There is no B2B or B2C
Bryan is also the president and CEO of PureMatter.com; an award winning global digital agency based in Silicon Valley. Bryan and his agency have captured over 100 industry awards and accolades, with Bryan landing in the Forbes top 25 list of influencers to follow…
Have a listen to my chat with Bryan Kramer.

See highlights and links from of our chat below…
Check out the transcript or download it to read later: ENJOY!

DOWNLOAD TRANSCRIPT

Podcast Highlights:

Talking with Bryan we find out how we can improve our communication and humanize or rehumanize our message as we compete in this extremely noisy marketplace.

Building in a Bubble &
Combining Traditional and Digital

I worked my way up in the agency world. And I worked in one of the oldest agencies here in Silicon Valley, San Jose. And I got a job out of college working for this agency Carter Waxman at that time and my role really at all the agencies that I’ve worked for was to bring the digital revolution and integration to the agency.

So it was taking a traditional and newly digital at that time integration and bringing the two together by training, educating and selling that service into clients for the agency. And that really kind of became my MO really or the thing that I became I think good at for the next foreseeable future and it became something that I really worked hard at as well because it really was a passion of mine.

Birth of Purematter
By the time, my partner and I Courtney Smith started Purematter, I think it’s now 12 years ago, we wanted to combine again traditional and digital and now we’ve grown into a much more digital agency, here working with enterprise clients like Cisco and IBM and Pitney Bowes and MasterCard and Plantronics and companies like that.

So we’re really excited, really pinching ourselves right now with the work that we’re doing and I think just along the way if there’s any takeaway it’s just really kind of, you know, learning the ropes and not saying no to anything along the way because it really helped prime me for what I’m doing here today.

Key Elements to Success
Infrastructure is probably the most critical before you go to market with anything. So often I see companies produce a product and just go for it rather than concentrating internally and spending the time to get your resources and resource management and financials and all the HR and all the different aspects across the, you know, the internal spectrum up and running first.

I think for the last, gosh, 10 years, we are kind of the best kept secret because I wanted to and so did my partner Courtney wanted to focus so much on who we were and what we can deliver and what our message is and who our people are and, what does our brand stand for and all those things that you just kind of, you rush through and maybe 10 years was kind of overdoing it. But we didn’t want to — we also weren’t about ego that’s why we named the company Purematter instead of Bryan and Courtney. And, you know, so we really wanted to maintain a Purematter atmosphere.

Leading into second thing which is, kind of looking at when is the time to grow and how do you grow and what’s that next step for you? And it’s either grow or die, you know, you’ve got to disrupt in this time and age and if you don’t disrupt, then you’re just not moving forward and at that point, you probably, you’re going to end up finding something new. And so, you know, one of the things that we really needed to do is just to step out and that’s where I started taking a look at social media and figuring out that I really needed to take Bryan Kramer, my brand and not in an egotistical way but in just more of a marketing communications perspective and knowing that people connect with people, they don’t connect with businesses.

I needed to take steps up front as the leader and actually get out there and start talking and so that’s what I did. And that was like a big move for not just me but also for Purematter to be able to help support that and to understand that, you know, putting people out and evangelizing the company is where it’s at. So getting the infrastructure straight and right up front and then also stepping out when it’s time to become, you know, a leader and actually start saying what you can do as a company is really important as well.

Delightfully Disruptive
There are two sides to being disruptive. There is dark and there is delightful. So being dark, let’s start there, there is dark sides to disruption everywhere. So when you look at the different dark sides of disruption, you are really looking at everything permanent, something small that might be annoying to maybe something that’s big as the NSA that’s looking at all of our social records online and tapping in to Facebook and LinkedIn and, you know, all our data. So it really expands the gammit of what we think of a negative dark place that we don’t like to talk about and yet we all get angry over.

It’s that dark side when a pop-up box comes up or your shopping cart online all of a sudden becomes zero and all that work you did shopping goes away and you get fed up with the site and you just don’t shop there. It’s those little things that can happen that just make you not want to take part in something because of the way that somebody says something in the contextual way that they’re saying it. So all these different things play into that dark side, it’s the delightful side that I think in our humanity that we need to spend a little more time on.

As brands start to compete with that, they really need to create unexpected delightful situations that are competing with the dark side, that are competing with that #fail that represents a place where people can be delighted. And I think that that’s our biggest challenge are and then that’s the challenge of every brand is to be delightful even more so today than they ever have been because social media gives them the ability to communicate their negativity.

Winning at being Delightfully Disruptive
So how do you maintain positivity in a disruptive often times negative or dark place like I said before where people are — the word fail is resonating loudly. I think that that’s one being delightfully and unexpectedly disruptive is one way. The other way is really paying attention to, what creates things or situations that people really want to share… And this is actually the next book that I’m working on that dives into this a little bit more although I talk about it in Human to Human which is why do people want to share what, where, when, how and why, because again we are sharing. It’s the humans are sharing even when brands, you see brands share. It’s a human that actually share that.

Brands don’t have emotions, people do. So whoever it is that you’re talking to, whatever it is that you’re doing, however it is that you’re communicating, you’re communicating just like again you said here on this podcast, we’re doing as people, we’re doing as humans. So for us to now take a look at what makes a shared experience exciting, that’s pretty fascinating. I think that we could learn a lot from each other and seeing why things spread, why do viruses, good viruses grow?

Sensory Building
We can create a little bit of something for everyone and you’d never know what somebody is, what their preference is in the sensory aspect until you start testing, until you start, you know, putting out content in those different areas. And then you measure it and you see how you got the response and if in a certain situation whether it’s physical or online, you know how that sense did and you can repeat it. So we are in the test and feel atmosphere where we can take things like sensory building and social contexts and crowds and combine all three of those when you start to build layers on top of each of them and testing and failing and testing and failing, you’re going to come up with the mix that works for you. And I think that that’s really the key out of the book is how do you create human experiences through these different sensory buildings and the contextual area.

Automation
What I’m talking about is how we communicate to our customer and how we communicate to our potential customer and how complex we’re making it with these automation tools and how less robotic we need to sound. A lot of emails that you and I are getting right now sound so robotic. I doubt we weren’t reading very many of them. We’re probably deleting them before they have a chance to even be opened. Because of the type of email that is coming up for how many, who it’s coming from; The thing that we always open is an email from our friend and an email from a co-worker and email from a client but when you’re talking about somebody who is new to your world, you really have to earn that trust and not to be cliché but trust is one of the major factors in what we’re talking about here and how you earn that trust is by being human. It’s embracing your humanness. That should be a word.

Have a LISTEN:

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BigValueBigBusiness.com
Bryan Kramer
BryanKramer.com

Transcript

James: Alright, welcome back my friends to yet another edition of the Big Value Big Business podcast.

I am your host James Lynch, I am really big, big, big time super excited about my very special guest today. His name is Mr. Bryan Kramer. Bryan is the President and CEO of Purematter at Purematter.com, an award-winning global digital agency based in Silicon Valley. Bryan is a social business strategist and the author of the epic marketing book Human to Human which talks about there is no more B to B or B to C, they are all human to human.

Bryan and his agency have captured over 100 industry awards and accolades with Bryan landing in the Forbes Top 25 List of Influencers to follow. I am totally honored and excited to have him on the show with us today. Let’s say hello to Mr. Bryan Kramer. Bryan, hello and how are you?

Bryan: I’m dong great, happy Monday to you. How are you doing?

James: Fantastic, fantastic. You’re over in the Left Coast so it’s a little bit earlier for you. I’m working on just after the lunch hour but I think we’re going to make it.

Bryan: How is the future?

James: The future, it’s so bright. I have to wear shades. Is that kind of cliché or, you know.

Bryan: Well, and it’s good news too.

James: Yeah absolutely. Hey, thanks a lot for coming on the show. I really appreciate you spending some time with us. I’m really excited, you know, for you to help us learn just how we can improve our communication and humanize or rehumanize our message, you know, as we compete in this extremely noisy marketplace out there. So, does that sound like a plan?

Bryan: It sounds great.

James: Awesome, awesome.

Bryan: Yeah.

James: Listen, just for my listeners, could you give us just a little history about, you know, who Bryan Kramer is, where you came from, how you get your start and just a little bit about the journey that took you here to where you are today?

Bryan: Sure, sure. Yeah and thank you again for having me on here, just, you know, one of the — I’m one of those people that just really kind of started out the same way I think a lot of us did where, you know, out of school, I just wanted to, you know, get in to advertising or marketing. I think there’s a lot of people are listening here to your podcast. And so I worked my way up in the agency world. And I worked in one of the oldest agencies here in Silicon Valley, San Jose. And I got a job out of college working for this agency Carter Waxman [ph] at that time and my role really at all the agencies that I’ve worked for was to bring the digital revolution and integration to the agency.

So it was taking a traditional and newly digital at that time integration and bringing the two together by training, educating and selling that service into clients for the agency. And that really kind of, you know, became my MO really or the thing that I became I think good at for the next, you know, foreseeable future and it became something that I really worked hard at as well because it really was a passion of mine. What I — you know, I studied PR, Public Relations was my degree and digital marketing was my passion. I had built sites and websites and all that kind of stuff in college and then I have such a high passion for marketing at, you know, along the whole spectrum of marketing.

So bringing that together was totally exciting to me. And now I’m at the place where, you know, I get to practice that everyday here at Purematter. I had luckily a nice job where I got to help start a company just before Purematter and that really trained me on, you know, the ways to do business and what to — you know, how to work through the financial situations that every business seems to work through and so on and build a, you know, build people and so on and so forth. So, by the time, my partner and I Courtney Smith started Purematter, I think it’s now 12 years ago, we wanted to combine again traditional and digital and now we’ve grown into a much more digital agency, here working with enterprise clients like Cisco and IBM and Pitney Bowes and MasterCard and Plantronics and companies like that.

So we’re really excited, really pinching ourselves right now with the work that we’re doing and I think just along the way if there’s any takeaway it’s just really kind of, you know, learning the ropes and not saying no to anything along the way because it really helped prime me for what I’m doing here today.

James: Oh that’s awesome and thank you for bringing it right up to date, 12 years, well, I must have come across — I counted 10 but, man, you snuck two more years up in there. So time flies I guess, right?

Bryan: Yeah, it definitely does.

James: Good for you.

Bryan: It feels really fast and being at one job for that long that it seems like it shouldn’t be but I’m still in it to win it kind of thing, so, yeah absolutely.

James: Well, you definitely have a vested interest and, I keyed in to what you said in the beginning about learning or being part of a startup in the very beginning and learning from the bumps and bruises along the way, it’s almost an invaluable probably an MBA, you know what I mean, coming out of college and right before starting your own company. So you could kind of learn from the mistakes and learn from the wins. That’s awesome.

Bryan: Yeah it was a lot of fun. It was a lot of fun and, you know, that was during the dot com era end the dot bomb era. So I saw the up and the down, the smart move that they made or we all made at that time was to sell out. We grew it and we’re three people when it started and 75 people when it finished, you know, at that point it just became a little too large for me and I like smaller companies to work within myself on a day to day basis although I like working at large companies like, that was the takeaway for me was just to stay, stay small, stay nimble and we can accomplish great things together.

James: Awesome. So what would you consider one of your biggest challenges over the last 12 years and no doubt over 12 years, you’ve got a lot of time to take some of your own bumps and bruises and have some good wins, but what would you consider one of the biggest challenges you overcame and were able to turn things around and get Purematter back on the right track?

Bryan: That’s a really good question and I’d say that there are two things that come to mind right off the top of my head and one is that infrastructure, is probably the most critical before you go to market with anything. You know, so often we just, you know, I see companies produce a product and just go for it rather than concentrating internally and spending the time to get your resources and resource management and financials and all the HR and all the different aspects across the, you know, the internal spectrum up and running first.

And so really, you know I think for the last, gosh, 10 years, we are kind of the best kept secret because I wanted to and so did my partner Courtney wanted to focus so much on, you know, who we were and what we can deliver and what our message is and who our people are and, you know, what is our brand stand for and all those things that you just kind of, you rush through and maybe 10 years was kind of overdoing it. But we didn’t want to — we also weren’t about ego that’s why we named the company Purematter instead of Bryan and Courtney. And, you know, so we really wanted to maintain a Purematter atmosphere.

And so leading into the second leading into the second thing which is, you know, kind of looking at, you know, when is the time to grow and how do you grow and what’s that next step for you? And it’s either grow or die, you know, you’ve got to disrupt in this time and age and if you don’t disrupt, then you’re just not moving forward and at that point, you probably, you’re going to end up finding something new. And so, you know, one of the things that we really needed to do is just to step out and that’s where I started taking a look at social media and figuring out that I really needed to take Bryan Kramer, my brand and not in an egotistical way but in just more of a marketing communications perspective and knowing that people connect with people, they don’t connect with businesses.

That I needed to take steps up front as the leader and actually get out there and start talking and so that’s what I did. And that was like a big move for not just me but also for Purematter to be able to help support that and to understand that, you know, putting people out and evangelizing the company is where it’s at. So getting the infrastructure straight and right up front and then also stepping out when it’s time to become, you know, a leader and actually start saying what you can do as a company is really important as well.

James: Yeah I love that. I took note of a couple of things that you said and, you know, a lot of people say, you know, good, minimal viable product out there and just, you know, get it out there, rush it. But that, you cold shoot yourself in the foot that way and I think, I don’t think 10 years is a long time to start to get out in the front. I mean, you are learning your chops, you’re establishing your base and at the risk of something cliché, dude it’s a marathon. It’s not a sprint, right?

Bryan: Yeah, that’s right. That’s exactly right.

James: And I like the, you know, you came out with a book and decided to put a face, a human face to the company and you’re becoming an authority and a thought leader. You are and I’m not even saying you’re becoming because I ironically before earlier this morning I was talking to a friend of mine in a shout out to Jess at mind shuffle marketing, she said, you’re talking to Bryan Kramer today? I said yes, did you know Bryan, I said I love his book and totally unrehearsed, totally, you know, this is someone I had no idea that she was following but yeah man, you’re doing just that. You’re getting out there and it’s awesome.

Bryan: Thank you, thank you. I pinch myself when I hear stuff like that. That’s so nice of you to share that with me. Thank you.

James: Yeah, Jessica, she’s going to be a little embarrassed that I talk about that but she’ll get over it.

Bryan: Well thank you Jessica. I appreciate it.

James: Yeah, it’s awesome. So, present day, you know, I did take a peek at your dossier and yeah, heavy hitters, Pitney Bowes, IMB, Cisco, Ellen Degeneres as well?

Bryan: No, that was a campaign that we did actually as a test and it wasn’t run — it wasn’t a Purematter campaign actually that although it was a lot of our team members actually opted in to working with Ellen but short story is that a friend of mine DJ Waldo and I got together and we got together with our wives. We actually met on social media. And we put together this, you know, we had a conversation, we’re all talking of course a couple of bottles of wine. You know, really starts to loosen up the thinking a little bit.

James: Yeah.

Bryan: And we’re talking about how we can make real world relationships on social media and what does that mean and how we do get that to get the point across and that what’s social is really about. And, you know, it’s really the excitement, when you want to look at social media and you want to, you know, figure out how do you make real world relationships, what’s that process? And so we started talking about how we could use social media to maybe build a real world relationship ourselves. And we are talking about maybe doing it with somebody that’s a little more unreachable but social.

And that’s, you know, a whole bunch of people in Hollywood that we came up with, you know, we took them with Justine Timberlake and all kinds of people. And eventually we came — we settled on Ellen Degeneres because we thought that she could, you know, be somebody that we could eventually have a lunch with. We weren’t trying to get our show and we gave and donated money that we earned throughout the whole thing to Feeding America which was, you know, based upon the fact that everybody needs to eat. So we ended up — it lasted for 90 days, it was called 90 Days to Ellen, it’s still up 90DaystoEllen.com and we leverage the crowd.

We had thousands of people take part. We had over a hundred million impressions, we had assets that people are creating for us and ideas and things coming out that perpetuated the campaign itself into becoming I think it was content marketing campaign of the year by the Content Marketing Institute and got a gold award and, I mean it just really did well. The one thing that didn’t do is it didn’t get a reply at all on any social media from Ellen’s camp. They didn’t do anything. What we didn’t — what we discovered is that people — sometimes people just push content, they don’t engage, they’re not really concerned about what people are actually saying out there.

And that’s what we learn about Ellen and her team is that they were not engagers, they were simply just pushing things out and so they weren’t about the relationship. So did we succeed in that aspect? Absolutely not but did we succeed in building real world relationships? Definitely, it set us both DJ and I on our career path even more so because we built all these relationships nearly globally around the world where people were so vided that they felt they are part of it and they were coming out the content just much as we were. So we definitely did that aspect and it’s due justice. So it was good. It was fun.

James: Now that’s — and you got to make lemonade out of those lemons because the lessons learned was again, there are some people that just don’t engage, they just push content and no matter how you approach or how loud you scream or how many times you scream, they’re just going to ignore and be one way.

Bryan: Totally, agree, totally agree.

James: Yeah, yeah.

Bryan: Yeah.

James: Now that is cool and invaluable the, and you said, people were donating creative and hundreds of millions of impressions, that’s awesome that there was an exercise well worth the effort. I don’t doubt.

Bryan: We learned a lot.

James: Cool, cool.

Bryan: Yeah.

James: Cool. Alright, so the book; Human to Human, there is no more B to B or B to C. Now, I did some of looking around and, you know, I read some of the critiques Bryan that, you know, they think that — I think, I think from what I’ve heard, they’re missing the point because you had every transaction, B to B, B to C, there is a human being, they’re clicking, they’re downloading, they’re opting in, they’re pulling out their wallet. You and I are human to human right now, it’s that’s the way we’re exchanging. So, tell me a little bit maybe getting back to the subject of the book and some of the points you bring out. I really like, what intrigues me is how to be delightfully disruptive. Could expand on that a little bit?

Bryan: Sure. Sure, you know, there are two sides to being disruptive. There is dark and there is delightful. So being dark, let’s start there, there is dark sides to disruption everywhere. Excuse me for a second. So when you look at the different dark sides of disruption, you are really looking at everything permanent, something small that might be annoying to maybe something that’s big as the NSA that’s looking at all of our social records online and tapping in to Facebook and LinkedIn and, you know, all our data. So it really expands the gammit of what we think of a negative dark place that we don’t like to talk about and yet we all get angry over.

It’s that dark side when a pop-up box comes up or your shopping cart online all of a sudden becomes zero and all that work you did shopping goes away and you get fed up with the site and you just don’t shop there. It’s those little things that can happen that just make you not want to take part in something because of what the way that somebody says something in the contextual way that they’re saying it. So all these different things play into that dark side, it’s the delightful side that I think in our humanity that we need to spend a little more time on. And I covered this is the book where — and the reason that I’m talking about this a little bit more is because I ran a test online and it was the two words I ran against the #thankyou and the #fail.

And the #fail was mentioned four times more than the word thank you. And so if you think about that just because Twitter is so global and obviously it’s just that, you know, a short little idea of a dark versus delightful way of representing the information. But that said, when you just look at it on that level then, you know, where there is a lot of negativity online that social gives us a lot of ways to talk about things that are challenging for us, you know, whether it’s bad plane ride or bad hotel really or whatever it is, we’re all complainers unfortunately.

And so, you know, as brands start to compete with that, they really need to create unexpected delightful situations that are competing with the dark side, that are competing with that #fail that represents a place where people can be delighted. And I think that that’s our biggest challenge are and then that’s the challenge of every brand is to be delightful even more so today than they ever have been because social media gives them the ability to communicate their negativity.

James: I love it, yeah. That was a four to one fail to —

Bryan: I think yeah, it was either three to one or four to one but it was definitely over the top.

James: That’s amazing, I’m actually surprised but that’s good context for our conversation. So you mentioned, I like to kind of grab like a gold nugget, if we were to take my audience of entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs, small business owners, consultants, what would be the number one takeaway for them to — that they can put in to their social media practice now on the same thought of being delightfully disruptive or to be the contributor of the thank you and help globally tilt that unbalance.

Bryan: Yeah, again that’s a good question because how do you maintain positivity in a disruptive often times negative or dark, you know, place like I said before where people are — you know, the word fail is resonating loudly. I think that that’s one being delightfully and unexpectedly disruptive is one way. The other way is really paying attention to, you know, what creates things or situations that people really want to share? And this is actually the next book that I’m working on that dives into this a little bit more although I talk about it in Human to Human which is why do people want to share what, where, when, how and why, because again we are sharing.

It’s the humans are sharing even when brands, you see brands share. It’s a human that actually share that.

James: Sure.

Bryan: You know, so and as again I mentioned in the book, you know, brands don’t have emotions, people do. So whoever it is that you’re talking to, whatever it is that you’re doing, however it is that you’re communicating, you’re communicating just like again you said here on this podcast, we’re doing as people, we’re doing as humans. So for us to now take a look at what makes a shared experience exciting, that’s pretty fascinating. I think that we could learn a lot from each other and seeing why things spread, why do viruses, good viruses grow?

What is it that makes the people want to share different things? And one of the things I talk about in the book is the human sensory building, how to create something for everyone in a different sense, like if you — some people are more visual, some people are more auditory, some people are a little combination of both. You know, other than smelling and I’m sure that’s coming soon on social media, every other sense is there.

James: Yes.

Bryan: We can create a little bit of something for everyone and you’d never know what somebody is, what their preference is in the sensory aspect until you start testing, until you start, you know, putting out content in those different areas. And then you measure it and you see how you got the response and if in a certain situation whether it’s physical or online, you know how that sense did and you can repeat it. So we are in the test and feel atmosphere where we can take things like sensory building and social contexts and crowds and combine all three of those when you start to build layers on top of each of them and testing and failing and testing and failing, you’re going to come up with the mix that works for you.

And I think that that’s really the key out of the book is how do you create human experiences through these different sensory buildings and the contextual area.

James: Yeah. I think you had mentioned or maybe I saw you tweeted about the visual is really and it’s kind of like a trend coming down the pike is not coming down, it is here that, you know, that we’re more visually, we share more of the social media content as visual, we spend more time at the site with the visual.

Bryan: Right.

James: Be an infographics images with texts transpose on top so totally, but your social is to find out what your audience, your particular audience is interested in how they consume and to test the different platforms in different sensory contexts, correct?

Bryan: Yeah, that’s exactly right and I think, you know, the real point of Human to Human is that we’re starting to automate everything. We’re trying to automate everything. And my — you know, you talked about the critics before and the downside to that and or the interesting fact is that I actually agree with most of them anyway that they are saying that what they’re interpreting is that I’m saying there is no more B to B or B to C process that the process within that infrastructure of each of those different companies, you know, does not exist anymore that couldn’t — that is not what I’m trying to say.

A process in a cultural footprint exists within every company that’s totally unique from the next and it is a little bit different in what you would call the traditional B to B or B to C and I’m not touching upon that. What I’m talking about is how we communicate to our customer and how we communicate to our potential customer and how complex we’re making it with these automation tools and how less robotic we need to sound. A lot of emails that you and I are getting right now sound so robotic. I doubt we weren’t reading very many of them. We’re probably deleting them before they have a chance to even be opened.

James: Sure.

Bryan: Because of the type of email that is coming up for how many, who it’s coming from. The thing that we always email is an email from our friend and an email from a co-worker and email from a client but when you’re talking about somebody who is new to your world, you really have to earn that trust and not to be cliché but trust is one of the major factors in what we’re talking about here and how you earn that trust is by being human. It’s embracing your humanness. That should be a word.

James: I love that.

Bryan: And actually building that into your marketing.

James: Yes, totally, totally, totally agree and I like how you so eloquently put that the book seems to be resonating well with everyone. So and I did your — you know, your Amazon ratings, so 99.9%, five out of five starts, so yeah, I think you’re speaking — I think you’re touching human hearts out there for sure.

Bryan: Oh, thank you very much.

James: Yeah man, it’s a good stuff. So your successful with businessman, you’re in the heart of Silicon Valley, you’re moving shaker in the industry, how does Bryan Kramer keep it all together? What’s your — how do you keep your mindset or your productivity, accountability, what keeps you moving forward Bryan?

Bryan: I have — I get bored very easily and a lot of things that I do I can’t just sit still. So I’m not a person who can sit at a desk eight hours a day or 10 hours a day. I can’t even barely sit one hour a day. I really am somebody who likes to move around. And because to that, I end up speaking 30-40 times a year and traveling a lot. I’ll be in Sydney and Paris and Germany and I was just in Singapore and all, you know, I’ll be in about 20 different cities the next four months in the United States. And it really kind of shakes things up for me so that I can start to move around a little bit and meet new people which is really what I love to do.

So when I’m meeting new people, I’m getting their positive energy and feeling like, you know, I’m learning from them, hopefully they are learning from me and we’re getting to be in exchange for what we’re, you know, all about. And the other side to your question is that I love wine. I love wine and wine keeps me very, you know, kind of well-lubricated in the evening. So, you know, being with my family and my wife and my two kids is just a blast. And something like this weekend, we just had two days of no working and lots of fun and, you know, outside was just a pleasure.

So, you know, it’s just really kind of — you can’t really call it a balance because I never know what I’m going to do what. But I love the quality time of each of those different situations and want to get into them. I really kind of like just enjoy it for the moment that I have.

James: I love it. You’re working hard and you’re playing hard.

Bryan: Yeah, yeah, totally.

James: Good for you, good for you and yeah, it’s envious. How about business resources? I’m just kind of trying to pick your brain about, you know, where you come from, yeah, from a foundation? Any decent good books or books that you really get an inspiration from or?

Bryan: Good books that I get inspirations from, I — you know, it’s interesting because I have an author’s podcast as well.

James: Yes.

Bryan: And my podcast is about helping authors both new and old authors. And I have so many books that I’m not sure I could actually just point one out for the sake of saying that, you know, I love every author that I have on the podcast.

James: Sure.

Bryan: I can tell you that the last maybe two authors that I had on the show were really interesting. The last one that I had was Sebastian Rusk. And he is talking about how — the title is kind of funny, it’s Social Media Sucks, Unless You Do it Right. So, you know, and that’s true. I mean, what we’re talking about and how we’re saying that it’s about relationships, it’s not about one-way communication and so that’s kind of cool. And then the other one is the New Rules of Customer Engagement by Daniel Newman. And he is an interesting entrepreneur because he started, he took, I think he took over his dad’s business and became CEO at a very young age as a millennial and he wrote about his experience of being millennial CEO and what that means today.

But man, there are so many great books out there that I — I mean those are just the latest two I saw and —

James: Sure, sure. Maybe not a fair question for you, I’m sorry that’s really unfair. Well a curve ball, no, no, no. There is no right or wrong answer and I appreciate it but yeah I’m finding your podcast at BryanKramer.com, it’s — yeah it’s awesome, The Author’s Point of View?

Bryan: That’s right. Yeah.

James: Cool.

Bryan: Yeah, so I started it before I started the book H to H and it really was just an idea that I had about meeting authors I wanted to understand what process they go through and now it’s become a little bit more about helping them to help market their book. And so I enjoy, you know, just kind of focusing on, in on their, both their process and who they are but also what’s their book about and how can it help people? So, you know, that’s just kind of a fun thing that I do.

James: That’s great, that’s great, well it started to be kind of investigative, it ended up being a passion for you, that’s awesome.

Bryan: Totally, isn’t everything that way?

James: Yeah, you’re right. You’re right, touche’ my friend, touch’. Cool, I think I saw Joe Pulizzi on their too, did you interviewed Joe for his epic content marketing?

Bryan: I did.

James: Yeah.

Bryan: I did. I think he was my second guest.

James: Yeah, I love it though. He’s such a fantastic human being.

Bryan: Cool guy, right?

James: Yeah, totally, totally. Yeah, alright, while we wrap it up, but can you tell us about anything that’s going on? You hinted about a new book and like where we can find Bryan Kramer?

Bryan: Yeah, so the book Human to Human can be found at BryanKramer.com and I’m on Twitter, @BryanKramer, I’m on Facebook @BryanKramer. So pretty much everywhere, you can connect with me @BryanKramer and I’ve got like I mentioned before I’ve got a podcast, I’ve also got a video series that I do with C level executives. Actually tomorrow, I’ll be interviewing the CMO, chief marketing officer of Cisco Worldwide, Blair Christie so that’d be fun. And so yeah, I’ve got a whole bunch of content on Bryan Kramer as well as Purematter.com and the book is on there as well.

James: Awesome. Well listen Bryan, you’ve been really generous with your time today and I really appreciate you coming out and we look forward to the new book. Does it have a title?

Bryan: You know, I haven’t released it yet.

James: It’s okay, that’s okay.

Bryan: It does but as soon as I — I’ve only just even started talking about it but yeah as soon as I release it I will post it up and let you know.

James: Awesome, awesome. Okay, so thank you very much for your time. You take care. We’ll talk to you again soon.

Bryan: Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.

James: You’re welcome Bryan. Take care now.

Bryan: Cheers!

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020: Aaron Bethune – Digital Marketing For RockStars

aaron-bethune

Aaron Bethune comes to us from
Musicpreneur.ca – Where you’ll find his epic marketing book by the same name:
Musicpreneur: The Creative Approach to Making Money in Music.

While being a musicpreneur as well as an author Aaron is also a speaker, a music
educator, and an in-high-demand
creative consultant.

Aaron’s expertise in branding and marketing goes well beyond the music industry which has allowed him the opportunity to work with many major companies outside of music. You can find his agency at PlayItLoudMusic.com where he offers booking,
management and consulting services for musicians, artists and more.

Have a listen to my chat with Aaron Bethune

See highlights and links from of our chat below…
Check out the transcript or download it to read later: ENJOY!

Note: This could be in and of itself, an epic blog post…
You REALLY have to listen to the recording… or just download the transcript!

DOWNLOAD TRANSCRIPT

Podcast Highlights:

Quote:
“Well, I think if you speak to anybody that’s doing what they’re passionate about, it’s something that’s been a lifetime in the making for me. Music has been a part of me for my whole life.”

Growing Up International
But one of the things that I found was that I was born in Montreal. I grew up in England well at least to the age of 12. Then I moved to Spain and then, in Spain, the last place I lived was in a village with four houses and there are a lot of great things about living in sort of an isolated area. But ultimately, music was always itching at me and so I felt that I really needed to make a move to where I felt there’s more of an opportunity. And so being Canadian, going to Canada was an option. And so I essentially moved back so as to be closer. So I took a degree at a University in Canada.

And so that was kind of, I guess, you can say, my journey into making music my life but at the same time, studying jazz performance, I mean who am I kidding, that’s not really a living. So along the way, I felt that if I was going to have a career in music, I was going to need to figure out how I was going to make music my business. And I quickly realized that talent is a starting point but it certainly isn’t what gets you across the start line. You need to have business skills and I also quickly realized that it was easier in some ways to learn how to do the business than it was to find people that do the business for me. And part of that, I think, sort of comes back to that golden rule, the rule of reciprocity. I mean if you ask people to do things for you, it’s unlikely it’s going to happen. But if you find ways to do things for other people, then they’re more likely to want to return that favor.

And so I felt that if I could create my own business and start to build it, then I would be able to present the value that other people would want to take part in. And along the way, help others and hopefully that they are to help me in return.

Birthing of Play It Loud Music
What is Play It Loud Music? What does it do? So I made a business card and decided what I was going to be was a promoter. And so on a trip back to Spain…to this event and the friend of mine who was in-charge of the entertainment for a city in Northern Spain called me and said, hey, this (famous) blues guitar player that she knew I really liked was coming to town and she happened to be organizing the event.

And so (after the show) I get into the room and I’m waiting in line and I’m trying to figure out what the heck I’m going to tell this person when I meet him because I hear what other people are saying. Oh, I’m a big fan of yours and blah, blah, blah. And I’m thinking, just to say I am a fan is going to end pretty quickly. So when I got there, it just sort of clicked in my head and say, oh, I’m a promoter from Canada. And the guy turned around and he pretty much stopped talking to anybody else, and he said, I’m looking for someone in Canada that I can trust and can promote me.
And…. PLAY IT LOUD MUSIC was BORN

So (during the process) we got a lot of hangout time. It became this friendship, and basically this guy had recorded then from Double Trouble so that’s Stevie Ray Vaughan’s band to Larry Graham from Sly and the Family Stone to written songs for Santana who had performed on his albums as well as live at the second Woodstock to perform with Prince, all these different people.

And then (from artist booking and management) it moved into the world of TV and film and how music is placed into movies and TV shows.. And then it was marketing and branding and management, and all these different aspects. And now, I work with a lot of people outside the music industry and tell them I make them the rock star and they’re clients, the fans because I think there’s a lot of take homes from the music industry for other businesses.

Separating the Music Maker from the Music Marketer
But the big thing for me is that the music has come back to being fun. And I think, by sort of going through the business of music, it started to be a little less fun probably because I was paying so much time doing the business. So my music career per se, these days is mostly to just do it because I enjoy doing it and never stop. I think that was the turning point, realizing that I could do this business, that music could still stay fun. I could still play music but I took the pressure off myself from having to try and go okay, I need to do a career and part of that too. I won’t, lie it does happen when you have a family and realize that you need to be able to provide things on a consistent basis and not just when you’re playing shows or on the road…

But the turning point with the business and my personal music career was I think that by trying to do my own business and then starting to be a part of other people’s careers and really finding enjoyment in their success. It just started to bring about a new interest for me. I mean it’s, I don’t gamble but I guess some of this whole industry is a bit of a gamble. And so when you start to get good at what you do for business and you start to realize that there is a certain amount of a, I guess a pattern. I don’t want to call it formula. But there’s a certain amount of, I guess it’s almost like a checklist that you go through that’s going to at least indicate a certain amount of success.

I think that if music stops being fun, and you’re going to apply this to anything. I mean if you’re a baker and you don’t enjoy baking anymore or you’re a golfer and you don’t enjoy golfing anymore, whatever it might be. As soon as the fun goes then, especially in an industry that’s about having fun and creating moments for others to enjoy, if you’re not having fun then definitely do something else.

I was just down in Mississippi doing something for a ad agency out in New York for a scotch company but it was directly involving an artist, a musician. And then I’ll be down in Vegas next month for a rooftop party for an App with a rock band and then I’ll be back in Mississippi for celebrity event, and these kind of things. I mean that’s my work and at the same time, it’s like, well, explain to the industrial revolution generation that that’s a job.

The Book:
Musicpreneur
The Creative Approach to Making Money in Music.
The Introduction:
I think we all have moments in our lives that stand out for we can say was a real life lesson and for me; And when you look at a mountain that you sort of have to almost hurt your neck to look at from the base; I just remember some of this when it hit me that I had trained for this summit and not getting back. And you never think that little steps would get you to the top and that’s really what it takes. It takes one step and one foot in front of the other not sort of trying run up ahead or lie down. It’s just that consistent little steps that it takes to get to the top. It was this long journey back down again but I think one of the things about it was as soon as the focus changed, and I realize that the true goals to get back down again, every step I took, every decision I made was clear because I knew what the goal was. And I’ve been a little bit, I think, a little bit off when I had thought my goal was just the Summit…

And a big part of finding Mike (lost mountaineer, presumed dead) was this – what are the chances that you spent six months training, you missed the first flight, the prices then becomes half-price of the flight that I would have had to pay for, then all these little things go on and then ultimately I find this guy. I mean what are the chances? Is it possible that that was meant to be, that at that point in his life and my life we were supposed to cross and that experience we had? It led to a lot of questions I guess for me, in regards to, such as, are people born talented? Or is it a coincidence that people find success? Or is it something that you were? What are these different elements? And so I started a book with that story because there’s a lot of the little parts of every step.

10,000 hours to be an expert?
Note: So much is said about the 10,000 rule to becoming world class… You’ll just have to listen 
And so I think this 10,000 hours is hugely important. So if there was any confusion, I think that it’s mostly for people to kind of judge where they’re at in their expertise, in their career, how close they are to those 10,000 hours. I think that when you apply that 10,000 hours, it’s almost as though what we need to do is learn to be patient because it doesn’t matter if your climbing a mountain, it doesn’t matter if you’re starting a company, I mean it doesn’t matter if you’re learning a language. And again, that doesn’t happen overnight. I mean that’s something that you need to gather experience with so it’s partly the observation of the opportunity at hand and it’s also that 10,000 hours that allows you to recognize the opportunity.

And so it is a 10,000 hours but it’s… a big part of it is being able to ensure that every step you take is in the right direction, and that isn’t necessarily by following behind somebody else. Many times, it’s finding your own path. And a big thing for me was realizing, no, no, no, no, no, what you need to do is you need to go… Number 1, believe in what you’re doing and the value that you bring to something.

Connect the Dots – Ultimate Consulting
A lot of what I do is connect dots and I try and find as many dots, whether it’s for a company that makes them who they are or whether it’s for an artist, a musician on the personal branding side of things. And I’m trying to connect those (dots) in a way that makes sense and creates value for their clients or their audience or whoever that target demographic might be, and so I guess it’s sort of a merge is partly one of my expertise as to; 1. Be able to identify the dots and 2. To connect them in a meaningful way that allows for creative brand partnerships and ways to move forward… except the huge thing is that everyone has something that they’re good at or they like to do or their sort of rock star dream or I don’t know, just taking their company public whatever it might be. But sometimes it’s hard to decide, sorry, not decide but sometimes it’s hard to sort of envision how you get to that place.

Note: This could be in and of itself, an epic blog post…
You REALLY have to listen to the recording… or just download the transcript!

Listen to my chat with Aaron

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BigValueBigBusiness.com

Aaron Bethune – Musicpreneur.ca
Podcast Transcript

James: All right, welcome back my friends to yet another edition of the Big Value Big Business podcast. I am your host James Lynch. I am really big, big, big time super excited about my very special guest today. His name is Mr. Aaron Bethune. Aaron comes to us from playitloudmusic.com. It’s a highly specialized music management and booking agency that is dedicated to help each and every artist that they serve to maximize their career potential. Aaron is a musicpreneur, a speaker, a music educator and in-demand creative consultant. His expertise in branding and marketing goes well beyond the music industry which as allowed him the opportunity to work with many major companies outside of the music industry. So without further ado, let’s say hello to Aaron Bethune. Aaron, hello and how are you today, sir?

Aaron: I am good, James. And I’m sure there’s going to be somebody who has heard the word, musicpreneur and has probably kind of like, oh my goodness! What the heck is that?

James: Well, tell us. Tell us what it is, right off the bat, man. We’ll put your feet right to the fire, let’s go.

Aaron: Well, I suppose my perspective on it is that I think it’s, in the music world, it’s going to be taking over the from the DIY musician the do it yourself, musician and it’s going to become more of this musicpreneur which is essentially; it sounds like it’s the musician entrepreneur. And I think that the big part of that is starting to see, in the case of music industry, being able to see your career and what you do in music as a business. Because at the end of the day, I think, when it comes to the music world, a lot of people have seen it for hobbies, as hobbies for a long time. And so when it comes to being involved in music, people quite readily spend more money than they make and it’s bad business and if you’re going to make it a business, you have to get smart about it. So musicpreneurs, a fairly new term but I guess I am just definitely used to certain people kind of turning their nose up at it. And of course you now get artistpreneurs now and what else did I see the other day and there’s probably foodpreneurs and who knows…

James: Well there’s wanterpreneur and the wantrepreneur and there are a few others out there. But I love it. I love it. And that’s a great summary of what it is and yeah, you embody that. Dude, I just want to, I’ve been talking with you back and forth on social media and emails and really excited to get you on because I’m looking to get your unique perspective. I want to talk about your marketing strategies. It’s just amazing how the strategies that you incorporate in the music industry shed a whole new light on marketing strategies and for businesses overall. So yeah, I want to take a deep dive, talk about your book. Can we, let’s rock and roll. Are you ready?

Aaron: I am absolutely ready.

James: Cool.

Aaron: I always rock and roll.

James: All right. Can we get a little history from you; maybe tell us a little bit about Aaron Bethune and where you came from, a little bit about your journey that brought you here to where you are today?

Aaron: Sure. Well, I think if you speak to anybody that’s doing what they’re passionate about, it’s something that’s been a lifetime in the making for me. Music has been a part of me. For my whole life, I, my father plays piano and my grandfather played piano for 80 years. And so I started to learn playing the piano when I was four. And I remember I used to lie under the piano. He had a grand piano and an upright piano and I used to lie under the grand piano & just listen to the sound it would make and watching his feet on the pedals and that, then progressed to taking lessons. And then when I was 7, I found my stepfather’s guitar and the piano kind of ended because I was being told to practice. And then the guitar got picked up and it sort of turned to people saying, hey, you got to stop playing. So I started literally playing 8 hours a day. And so I’ve been involved in playing music my whole life and later on, I ended up doing a degree in Jazz performance.

But one of the things that I found was that I was born in Montreal. I grew up in England well at least to the age of 12. Then I moved to Spain and then, in Spain, the last place I lived was in a village with four houses and there are a lot of great things about living in sort of an isolated area. I mean the locals made cheese. I was about 50 years younger than anybody else. There’s some kind of unique experience that came from it. But ultimately, music was always itching at me and so I felt that I really needed to make a move to where I felt there’s more of an opportunity. And so being Canadian, going to Canada was an option. And so I essentially moved back so as to be closer. That’s when I took the degree. So I took a degree at a University in Canada.

And so that was kind of, I guess, you can say, my journey into making music my life but at the same time, studying jazz performance, I mean who am I kidding, that’s not really a living. So along the way, I felt that if I was going to have a career in music, I was going to need to figure out how I was going to make music my business. And I quickly realized that talent is a starting point but it certainly isn’t what gets you across the start line. You need to have business skills and I also quickly realized that it was easier in some ways to learn how to do the business than it was to find people that do the business for me. And part of that, I think, sort of comes back to that golden rule, the rule of reciprocity. I mean if you ask people to do things for you, it’s unlikely it’s going to happen. But if you find ways to do things for other people, then they’re more likely to want to return that favor.

And so I felt that if I could create my own business and start to build it, then I would be able to present the value that other people would want to take part in. And along the way, help others and hopefully that they are to help me in return. So I remember one day, I was living in an apartment building and there’s this guy who played guitar on my floor. And so one day, he came over and I didn’t even remember, I think the apartment manager introduced us because he knew that both of us played guitar. So he introduced us. And so one day, the guy came over we’re playing guitar and he said, man you got to check out my website. I’m like, wow you got a website? And he’s like, yeah. And he told me why, I pay like 10 bucks a month. Then he done it to himself, and I said wow!

Shit, I can do that. And so I asked what’s the first step? And so I remember spending probably two days trying to figure out what to call the web the domain to purchase. And I came out all kinds of things, the one was I think Bethune-electric, and then it was like, well, in my mind, I’m thinking electric because, kind of electric guitar.

James: Now, you got to come to my house and fix something.

Aaron: Exactly, so that of course no one’s going to get it. So they’re thinking, okay, what’s the power guy So I finally came up with this Play it Loud Music. And it kind of stuck and so I think the next, I spent another two days developing the site. Now, obviously, it didn’t come completely out of nowhere because before this I’d already been dabbling in the business and I’d obviously been pursuing my own musical career. And I had a certain amount of experience more on the performance side of it than the business. But when I started this domain, after figuring out what the domain was going to be, it was also going to be figuring out what the heck that does. What is Play It Loud Music? What does it do? So I made a business card and decided what I was going to be was a promoter.

And so on a trip back to Spain one day, and of course, just to tell you some of the points, I think you’re kind of… but I went to this event and the friend of mine who was in-charge of the entertainment for a city in Northern Spain called me and said, hey, this blues guitar player that she knew I really liked was coming to town and she happened to be organizing the event. She said, you should come. You’re going to like it. And this particular blues guitar player had been giving a cassette tape when I was about 12 or 14. And so this is going to be the first time I get to see him. So I said sure, I’d be there. And she said I can probably even get you to meet him. And so I got there. It was raining. It was just not great weather but the show went on until finally she comes out from being backstage and she’s like, oh, he’s an asshole and this kind of thing.

And then I said why is that? He wants go get paid before they play. I guess they’re concerned because of the rain, if people leave, if we are not going to pay them. In retrospect, that’s pretty smart because no one wants to deal with money after they play, when they stand on stage and wondering if they get paid for it. So she said I don’t think I’m going to be able to introduce you because it’s just not right. The mood is not there. And so I took upon myself to just go backstage anyways and there was not a very long line up backstage. I mean it was raining so people left fairly quickly after the show. And just the location permitted me to be able to get backstage very easily.

And so I get into the room and I’m waiting in line and I’m trying to figure out what the heck I’m going to tell this person when I meet him because I hear what other people are saying. Oh, I’m a big fan of yours and blah, blah, blah. And I’m thinking, just to say I am a fan is going to end pretty quickly. I mean it’s going to be a handshake and I don’t know. They’re going to sign my breast or something, no, it’s a joke. But I thought I want to make this last a little longer. So when I got there, it just sort of clicked in my head and say, oh, I’m a promoter from Canada. And the guy turned around and he pretty much stopped talking to anybody else, and he said, I’m looking for someone in Canada that I can trust and can promote me. And so this was all too kind of weird.

I was thinking, oh man and this is all true. And so I said, well, I might be your guy. And he said, do you have a cellphone? I said yeah. And so I gave him the number he phoned. So now, you got my number. He said call me on Monday. And then he goes to his guitar case which is a soft case. And out of the front pocket, he puts his hand in and he gets out like a scrap of paper. In fact, it was little bundle of paper. And he said, look, these are promoters in Canada that had been wanting me to come over and play. And so I mean, you think this is not real but it was. It was just too uncanny how the whole thing went down, and so anyways, I’ve got all these connections now given to me by the artist, by people that want him to play.

And then that proceeds into, I’ve got the guy’s phone number. I mean this is the person that I sort of listened to and learned some of his licks when I was 12 or 14 or whatever. And so it’s all kind of surreal and then Monday comes along. I begin, you know what, it was probably the Jack Daniels talking. I don’t think it’s going to be, whatever. So I phoned the guy and the first thing is, Aaron he says, I was waiting for your call. I was like, wow, okay. So anyways, fast forward, I think it was probably about a close to a year. I think that was in the summertime and then the following summer, I sure enough had him in Canada.

But the thing that was so cool was this that I put myself in this position of saying, this is what I do. And I actually followed through with doing it. And I spent probably a year just contacting not only the people that he gave me the connection for, but also a lot more than that as well. I ended up dealing with everything from paper works you name it. And I actually went back and I met them in Madrid. And I flew back from Madrid with them in the plane. So we got a lot of hangout time. It became this friendship, and basically this guy had recorded then from Double Trouble so that’s Stevie Ray Vaughan’s band to Larry Graham from Sly and the Family Stone to written songs for Santana who had performed on his albums as well as live at the second Woodstock to perform with Prince, all these different people.

And so what happened was this that this experience of working with him evolved into, obviously working with other people. But these connections I remember it’s hard to sort of try and summarize all of this but I ended up getting involved in bringing talent into Spain because I realized that there’s a lot of fantastic performers that never made into the country and I couldn’t figure out why because where I live now is three times the size of Germany. That’s just our province whereas if you’re in Europe you really can move throughout Europe very easily especially with the EU all that. And so I couldn’t figure out why people couldn’t come to Spain. And so I got involved in directly connecting with artist managers agents and bringing them in to Spain.

And so at one point, because of my connection to this blues artist, I was able to deal with Prince and Prince was doing, there were 21 dates at the, what you call? The O2 arena in London and someone had tried booking him on Spain through the government and they contacted me to find out if I could figure out if the person they were dealing with was legitimate which they weren’t. But I was able to do this through these connections. So I was always this building of contacts and experience and so that led to, of course, people starting to… and by the way, this did, I guess sort of come out of trying to figure these things out for my own career which soon became okay, well, I’m doing this and this is actually starting to make a living for me.

To then, people come in to me, hey can you do this for us which in itself, developed in management and the big thing was, is that I was always trying to figure out what’s next and how does this connect to that, and there must be more. And so it went from the touring world, and I worked with people like Sly and the Family Stone, and Johnny Cash’s band and people like that. And then it moved into the world of TV and film and how music is placed into movies and TV shows. So I got into that. And then it was marketing and branding and management, and all these different aspects. And now, I work with a lot of people outside the music industry and tell them I make them the rock star and they’re clients, the fans because I think there’s a lot of take homes from the music industry for other businesses. So does that sort of summarize it?

James: It does. It brings us to present day. Now, I was going to ask you. You’re a musician, you’re playing, you’re passionate, as young as 4 years old, and you went to school for Jazz music. You come out and… so there’s a point in time where you say, I’m going to, I mean did it come when you said that I can make more money as a promoter/manager/marketer or what kind of, like what went through your head? Because obviously, you’re still a musician, you still play. Where did that separation come? And how do you keep that balance because once a musician, once an artist, always, so tell me a little bit about that in the separation.

Aaron: Sure. Well, I think, I mean I do play music. I don’t think I’ll ever stop playing music. We have instruments here so piano, guitars and all kinds of things like that. I have a 4-year-old son who’s definitely interested in music. So I mean playing music is a big part of what I do and if an opportunity comes to play with someone that I think would be fun, I do it. But the big thing for me is that the music has come back to being fun. And I think, by sort of going through the business of music, it started to be a little less fun probably because I was paying so much time doing the business. So my music career per se, these days is mostly to just do it because I enjoy doing it and never stop.

But the turning point with the business and my personal music career was I think that by trying to do my own business and then starting to be a part of other people’s careers and really finding enjoyment in their success. It just started to bring about a new interest for me. I mean it’s, I don’t gamble but I guess some of this whole industry is a bit of a gamble. And so when you start to get good at what you do for business and you start to realize that there is a certain amount of a, I guess a pattern. I don’t want to call it formula. But there’s a certain amount of, I guess it’s almost like a checklist that you go through that’s going to at least indicate a certain amount of success.

And then, proceeding to work with that client or that company or whoever it might be and seeing those successes happen. It’s very exhilarating and it’s almost addictive, I guess. I mean that, I really do enjoy what I do. So I spend a lot of time with my work, and of course, what’s not to like about the music industry. I mean there’s… I was just down in Mississippi doing something for a add agency out in New York for a scotch company but it was directly involving an artist, a musician. And then I’ll be down in Vegas next month for a rooftop party for an App with a rock band and then I’ll be back in Mississippi for celebrity event, and these kind of things. I mean that’s my work and at the same time, it’s like, well, explain to the industrial revolution generation that that’s a job.

James: I love it. I’m convinced that I’m from that generation. I am totally convinced.

Aaron: So it’s definitely not hard but yeah, that was, I think that was the turning point, realizing that I could do this business, that music could still stay fun. I could still play music but I took the pressure off myself from having to try and go okay, I need to do a career and part of that too. I won’t, lie it does happen when you have a family and realize that you need to be able to provide things on a consistent basis and not just when you’re playing shows or on the road, so.

James: You have the luxury of playing music for the music not to put food on the table.

Aaron: Yes. Yes.

James: That takes all of the stress and all of the mandate out of it.

Aaron: It does. And I think that it’s funny when you figure out how the business works, sometimes or all the time, I tell people you need to understand how business works in order to do business but at the same time just like, if you’re going to speak to musician about what their thinking about when they’re playing, they’re not going to say, well, I just think that this scale is cord progression or I was thinking this. They’re going to tell you, they probably weren’t thinking of anything and it’s kind of the same way. I mean you need to understand the business and then sort of put that out of your mind per se and then just focus on playing. Because at the end of the day, it’s really the informed musicians that make it, but there has to be talent and that ability to move forward in a career.

And I think that sometimes, started a conversation by saying, well, you just need to play and hopefully they’ll find you, isn’t necessarily going to be what people want to hear but there’s a certain reality to that and if, I think that if music stops being fun, and you’re going to apply this to anything. I mean if you’re a baker and you don’t enjoy baking anymore or you’re a golfer and you don’t enjoy golfing anymore, whatever it might be. As soon as the fun goes then, especially in an industry that’s about having fun and creating moments for others to enjoy, if you’re not having fun then definitely do something else. So it’s, yeah.

James: That’s not the case with you. But, let’s talk about the marketing aspect because you turn the corner there and you started to branch out, I guess, your musicianship or your art or love of music. You were able to transcend that into marketing and help other people become successful. Enter the book, Musicpreneur at musicpreneur.ca, The Creative Approach to Making Money in Music. Now, I read the book, most of it. Fantastic! From the opening introduction that you wrote, it talks about some challenges you have and I’m a no-spoiler alert here. But it’s just, what I took away from that was a lot about setting goals and see the goal to the end. Don’t get to the top and not know how you’re going to get back down, kind of, and you know what I’m talking about. You know what I mean.

So could you talk about that a little bit and why you chose that particular story for your book. And then we want to take a deep dive in the book. I want to talk about 10,000 hours and I want to talk about breaking patterns, fan profiling. As much as we have time for it today because I want to say to folks that are listening, this book, and I’m going to plug it again, and I’m not an affiliate, musicpreneur.ca. The book is The Creative Approach to Making Money in Music. I was blown away. I’m a marketer and the similarities and the fan profiling, it’s just, it’s a must-have. It needs to be on the book shelf with Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, Epic Content Marketing, all of these books that have come out recently. This thing is right up there. It gives you such a unique perspective. So let’s start out with the introduction…

Aaron: And bless you, James.

James: No, cut it out. Let’s just start with the introduction why you chose that particular story about goals and elements and belief, because you were young. You were 19 years old. And then let’s get in to just some of the nuts and bolts of the book and how it relates to Monday Marketing because you are now not just working with musicians, you’re able to work with other larger companies that are not musically involved, just in a consulting capacity from what you’ve learned in the music industry, correct?

Aaron: That’s correct.

James: Beautiful.

Aaron: I think we all have moments in our lives that stand out for we can say was a real life lesson and for me, one of the highlights I guess you could say was, I’d actually just turned 19. It was a week, if I’d been there a week earlier, I’d be 18 and basically, I climbed one of the Seven Summits which are for those who don’t know it, there’s a thing I guess that people like to do which is climb the highest mountain on each of the Summits. And so you have Everest in Asia and then the next highest in the world outside of Asia is Aconcagua which is in Argentina. And so, previous to this, I guess you could say that aside from music, my second passion was mountaineering and I’ve been an outdoor instructor and mountain guide and that kind of thing.

And so when this opportunity arose, which really came about from a friend saying, hey, you got to do this. That was really funny too because a friends is going to be there and in the end, they couldn’t go so I went by myself. But what happened was I went to climb this mountain and I spent a lot of time training for it, very passionately. And again, I was essentially living in this tiny place in Northern Spain in the mountains. So I have this ability to be in the right environment and I had enough time to be able to really give quite a big part of my day to training. And so essentially, I guess one of the things that happened was I trained with the Summit in mind the entire time. I never ever gave it the slightest bit of thought that I needed the full journey or the complete trip was coming back again. It was essentially, in my mind, it was the Summit and that was it.

And so the thing about this overall journey was that there’s lots of things that happened in the way and it started with being early at the airport by at least, I think, 2 hours if not close to 3. And anyone that knows me knows that I like to get there just on time. And there I was, first person to come and check in that British Airways but it was until 5 minutes after the plane took off that they found me on their system. And there I was standing at the airport, thinking man, this sucks. I just missed this plane. How could they not figure this out until 5 minutes after the plane leaves? So I said, well you know, we’re at it. Why don’t we wait and see… and make sure that my flight tomorrow is going as planned that you can find me. They said sure and said where you’re going? I said, well, I’m going to Santiago in Chile.

And they said, okay. And they said, oh, well, we have you down for San Diego in California I’m thinking, man! So I’m missing the first flight and now you got me flying to California? Come on. So this resulted in, essentially they made it right. I probably ended up paying half price for the flight that it would’ve cost me to Santiago in Chile. But I paid the San Diego price. They put me up in a 5 star hotel in front of the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao. I was taken there back in a Mercedes. All of a sudden things were kind of changing. And the book, I said I’ve talked about thinking back on these things and how things are, I guess, meant to be.

But anyways, I got to Chile because we were doing the acclimatization mountain and whole idea of that is this that when you’re climbing an altitude, you need to do a certain amount of acclimatization. And the best way to do that is to climb a mountain that’s an altitude and then come back down to essentially sea level. And then that way, when you go to climb a higher mountain, you’re getting acclimatize. Then there’s this climb highest sleep low which is basically you always push yourself to a new limit. And then you come back down slightly to be able to sleep. So that your body is, at that point, feeling a little bit more relaxed, I guess you could say, for sleeping.

But you’ve always kept pushing yourself further and so this mountaineering experience, when you climb an altitude, you really do have to sort of take 10 steps and stop and try and breathe because there’s no or even half the amount of oxygen you get at sea level. And it’s a real battle with your mind. I mean it’s a given that you have to be in good physical condition to be able to do it. But ultimately, it’s a mind game. I mean you know that there’s no way any helicopters coming at that altitude. It doesn’t matter if you see people or not. You’re hearing your breath then you’re hearing your heart and there’s this, it’s a very personal and individual thing.

And so, and I think it also partly, after the fact, I could never have anticipated it being such a mind game and it really does come down to that 10 steps or one step at a time. And when you look at a mountain that you sort of have to almost hurt your neck to look at from the base, you never think that little steps would get you to the top and that’s really what it takes. It takes one step and one foot in front of the other not sort of trying run up ahead or lie down. It’s just that consistent little steps that it takes to get to the top.

Now, the problem was, again, I was pretty, that was just my first altitude experience.
It was funny too because there’s other guys in the expedition and I remember and I got to Santiago day before everybody else. And when I got there, of course no one else is there yet, but the first experience in meeting the other guys in the expedition was at the bar at the hotel. And I get there, and they’re talking about their previous climbing experiences. And they’re talking about Mount Blanche and Elbrus, and then the Matterhorn which is fairly ridiculous technically, and then the Himalayas. Now, I think to myself, man. I just, I haven’t done any of that. What I’m a going to tell these people? They’re Swiss and German. They’re big huge beards. I’m baby face or whatever.

And so anyways, this going up the mountain, the last night before we went for the Summit, I started hearing this guy and this other tent saying, Mike, Mike, Mike. And no one was answering, and I believe there is Polish people, there’s Germans, I was with them, and I guess the guide was Chilenean and I was there coming from Spain. But no one was answering this guy. So finally, I stood my head out and say, hey, over here because they start asking if anyone had a radio. So basically, what had happened was that this guy’s climbing partner had left about one in the morning the day before. And they still weren’t back and it was 10:30 at night. And one of the things about the Aconcagua is it has some of the deadliest storms in the world on the Summit.

That If you’re there past noon, that’s not a good, you’re not looking too good. So that he wasn’t back by 10:30 at night was almost a given that he wasn’t going to be alive. And I just remember, lying in the tent that night, what if we find this guy and have to step over his body, I mean what it’s going to feel like to see someone dead? That is essentially attempted what I’m about to try myself and so that, that was a very weird feeling. And I remember because I was sharing a tent with the guy and he was telling me about all kinds of different experiences he’d had and different ways to lower body down in a mountain, and all kinds of stuff. And I was just, it was just a really weird sensation. And so ultimately, it’s fast forward to going for the Summit. I basically, I got within view of the Summit and by 200 meters which is really not very much.

And a lot people say why you didn’t keep going? And I just remember some of this when it hit me that I had trained for this summit and not getting back. It was almost like a panic. It was like I didn’t ever think about having to get back down again and so I remember that point in time, my grandmother died very recently and it was pretty clear she said, it doesn’t matter, turning back is the harder decision, that no one’s going to say that I did the wrong thing. In fact, people will be proud that I made this tough decision. And so, which what I wrote might have been else to saying this but I was able to use that, to feel my decision and I said, look I’m going back. I’ve had fun to this point but it’s not to be fun anymore. And I remember Tristan who is the guide said no man, we’ll get you down. I said I don’t want to be got down. I want to have fun with this and this had been fun.

And I remember we had this hug and I basically started turning back by myself and low behold on my way down I find Mike. I think when you read the book you can see all kinds of things that happened from the Argentinean Army coming up not being acclimatize so they can’t do much and then have the lower them on ski poles and across glaciers and paraglide. They’re trying to do a world book of world record or whatever, jumping on the summit and crashing behind. It was this long journey back down again but I think one of the things about it was as soon as the focus changed, and I realize that the true goals to get back down again, every step I took, every decision I made was clear because I knew what the goal was. And I’ve been a little bit, I think, a little bit off when I had thought my goal was just the Summit.

And so, having that clear goal and mind really helped in, in making decisions and continuing forward. And a big part of finding Mike was this – what are the chances that you spent six months training, you missed the first flight, the prices then becomes half-price of the flight that I would have had to pay for, then all these little things go on and then ultimately I find this guy. I mean what are the chances? Is it possible that that was meant to be, that at that point in his life and my life we were supposed to cross and that experience we had? It led to a lot of questions I guess for me, in regards to, such as, are people born talented? Or is it a coincidence that people find success? Or is it something that you were? What are these different elements? And so I started a book with that story because there’s a lot of the little parts of every step.

One step at a time with consistency and persistency and strength, mindset and all these other little pieces that I know, so there’s a chap from PR and I talk about story telling and how important story telling is to whether it’s in branding or marketing that a story sticks whereas data doesn’t. And so, I felt that it was important to start the book with a story that would hopefully give people a feel of the person writing the book. I also tell people right off the bat. I didn’t make it to the top. I didn’t get to the top and I think by being honest, there’s an element of what I hope people realize is honesty throughout the book. And I wanted to give an example of telling a story and how that helps to connect in an organic way. And so, it had a few different reasons but I know that wasn’t very long and round about way of telling it, but that’s my answer.

James: I wanted you to try, I’m fine with what you said but I wanted you to keep the Mike thing so people would read it say, what happened to this dude? But it so much more in there that could be taken away especially when you read it as long as you don’t mind telling it. There was no spoiler alert.

Aaron: Well, the only thing I didn’t say in the book which, was that I remember that Mike… so Mike wasn’t the death but the death the happened that year on the mountain was, I mean, was tragic, but it was, just to give you an idea of the storm. So basically, a lady who’s there to climb in the mountain and this was at the same camp that we slept out in the high altitude camp, went to go pee and got blown off the mountain and that was not even the summit… I’m not, I guess I did laugh but I shouldn’t laugh but I mean that was the tragic death that year. But that gives you feel I think for the type of conditions that a mountain like that is, you’re at.

James: Yes no doubt. So let’s just shift gears just for a second. Now, we talked about the journey and just all the, I keep thinking Lemony Snicket series of unfortunate events, that led to this piecing of and great parallels, great metaphors with the one foot in front of the other, I say that all the time. But let’s talk about the happen stance and how it relates to musicians, success, some people say it’s the right place, right time, it’s who you know it’s… this is what business be it marketing, internet marketing whatever. Tell me about, you speak about the 10,000 hours and what it takes to be a virtuouso so the 10,000 hours, and I wasn’t able to grab from the book if you thought the 10,000 hours was a deal breaker whether or not. It was a combination of working as how your 10,000 hours, or if it was a combination of that and circumstances.

Aaron: Well, I think as far as the 10,000 hours are concerned, I mean a lot of this burred from like I was saying, this element of do things happen for a reason? Or do things.. are things out of your power or your own control? And so I spent a lot of time just trying to figure out what the elements or within the context of the music industries. But again, I think it applies anywhere to people that are highly talented that have no career in music and those that do find a career. And so the 10,000 hours I think, I mean Malcolm Gladwell talks about in his book, Outliers and there’s a lot of other, of course research on this number. And I remember a lot of different mentors and teachers telling me throughout my life about these 10,000 hours and the more you look into it, you start to realize that every person who reaches a assuring level of success does have 10,000 hours onto their belt.

I mean Sting will say something like every breath you take I will, I sat down, I wrote that in five minutes but he didn’t write it within the first five minutes of playing music. He wrote it after he had gained experience and knowledge and literally over 10,000 hours which breaks down to 10 years or four hours a day. And Ed Viesturs, he was the first American to climb all 14 – 8000 meter mountains without oxygen. And he happened to, I remember reading an interview, he said that he basically attempted Everest for the first time after 10 years into his climbing career. I thought well, that was a coincidence but guess what? He probably has his 10,000 hours of climbing which led him to have that ability to do it. I think that the example in the book references this music school in which they essentially took the violinist which playing violin is, it’s a very tough instrument.

It’s getting intonation right. It’s nothing you can learn over a year. I mean you could learn to play some nearly young songs on guitar in a year but you wouldn’t be able to go and be the lead violinist in the orchestra. And most violinists are starting at three and four years old so basically, with the help of the professors, they put the violinist of the school into three groups. One was destined to be the world class, those that were really good but not world class and those that were destined to be teachers. And essentially that the whole motive of the research was how much time they’d put in, how much practice. And essentially it all started out with the same amount of hours that they put in, and that led to, I think, up to about the age eight and that started to branch off by age of 12. There was a large difference. And by the age of 20, those that were destined to be world class had put in well over 10,000 hours.

Those that had destined to be really good but not world class, they put in abruptly 8,000 and those that had put in, well, destined for to being teachers, they put in about 4,000 hours. And so what the research showed, part of it showed was that, I should probably add that there was nobody in the world class that haven’t put in 10,000 hours and there was nobody in the destined to be teachers that had put in 10,000 hours. And so with that led to believe is that, we’re not born with talent. It’s not that, oh well, you got the gift and now you’ll find success but more that people do have to work for it and it does take a certain amount of time to reach that level of success. And so, in the music world, how can a band that has just started playing together expect in the first year to get some sort of a record deal. I mean he take you at a Justin Bieber and the reality is that he had very close to a 10,000 hours when he got discovered. Let alone I mean, now he surpassed that.

But again, I think that when you apply that 10,000 hours, it’s almost as though what we need to do is learn to be patient because it doesn’t matter if your climbing a mountain, it doesn’t matter if you’re starting a company, I mean it doesn’t matter if you’re learning a language. One example I talked about in the book because I think the music industry is, it’s very difficult to decide or to demonstrate where in your career you stand. So no one knows if you’re about to graduate per se but if you were to translate that into college, you have people that are in their last semester, fourth year in their last semester, two weeks from graduating, friends and family know exactly where the student’s had and the can support them.

Whereas in the music industry, I mean they have no clue how close they are to breaking or to making it. And so, one of the things I talk about too is kind of like saying, well if you want to go to the gym and get buff or if you want to learn a language, or you want to get a degree, there’s a clear path to doing that and it’s not going to the gym for one day, for one hour or do you like taking French for two weeks that’s like it’s too difficult and you’re going to switch to German because it’s easier or that you’re going to go to school for one semester. If you want the degree, if you want the great body or if you want to be fluent in a language you have to give it time. And so I think this 10,000 hours is hugely important. So if there was any confusion, I think that it’s mostly for people to kind of judge where they’re at in their expertise, in their career, how close they are to those 10,000 hours.

And the other part of it is that I certainly make a point of in the book is, I think that a key to success is to be the ability to recognize opportunities and then to take them. And it takes experience and knowledge before you can recognize an opportunity. I mean the way I see it is it if everyday of your life is a sunny day, then how’d you know it’s a good day? I mean you have to go through those experiences of bad weather or storm or whatever it is, to recognize that. And again, that doesn’t happen overnight. I mean that’s something that you need to gather experience with so it’s partly the observation of the opportunity at hand and it’s also that 10,000 hours that allows you to recognize the opportunity.

James: Okay, let’s turn this on its head and talk up to the entrepreneurs or the wantrepreneurs that are part of my listening audience. So are they to give up hope thinking that if they got to bang their head against the wall for four hours a day for 10 years or nearly get their 10,000 hours or is it metaphorically subjective to you going to get it out of it what you put into it?

Aaron: Well, yeah it is somewhat metaphorically. I think it’s actually quite true though that if you’re actually going to be an expert and this doesn’t mean that you’re not able to make a living from what you do but the idea of expertise to be out to really be someone who has complete understanding and really is an expert, I truly believe it does take that amount of time. However, I think that the recognizing opportunity is, in some ways more important because it’s not just 10,000 hours as much at it is to what those 10,000 hours consist of. Now, I could sit on the couch and I could play the same blues lick for 10 years and that doesn’t mean, okay, now my next blues lick is going to give me a record deal which will turn into platinum or something.

It’s 10,000 hours of actual practice and pushing my boundaries and learning new things. I think if you apply that to recognizing opportunity, one of the things that my experience and the time I put in life come to realize and again, this is partially music industry but I think it relates to any industry, is that I see a lot of people that get in to something, entrepreneurs that are starting companies of businesses or musicians that are trying to have a career in music. They’re looking at other people within their same industry and they’re going, okay well, this person did this and they became successful. So what’s that recipe and so they’ll try and determine what it is that that person did to reach that level of success. And the problem is you can come up with this recipe but the key ingredient is different.

And if you repeat what made them different the more it gets repeated the less different it is and you don’t really start to stand out, so there’s sort of this leaders and followers thing. I mean you have to create your own niche and they’ll follow you. But if you’re always being a follower, you’re not really setting yourself apart from the pack and part of that is the opportunity I think for someone who has gained a certain amount of experience, seeing an opportunity that could seem a little risky or could be a little bit kind of like I don’t know if I should do that because these other people aren’t doing it, can really lead for a lack of an experience that could lead to ultimate to success.

And so it is a 10,000 hours but it’s… a big part of it is being able to ensure that every step you take is in the right direction, and that isn’t necessarily by following behind somebody else. Many times, it’s finding your own path. I mean I could easily go back to mountaineering. Every mountain that’s being climbed has been climbed by somebody first and someone has come along behind them and sort of following their footsteps, but the first people to see the Summit weren’t those who were following.

James: Understood, and I was trying to again, draw parallels to the internet marketing space, the entrepreneurs that are listening and I think a key take away and tell me if you agree, is within those 10,000 hours of your journey, number 1, you never know success can be right around the corner. It’s not like a college degree where you do your four, six or eight years and at the end you get your diploma and bam! You have your degree. People give up too soon. People change. They change direction. So I think if you learn your craft and Steven Pressfield, I love his discipline and the resistance and he talks about just do the work, do the work. Everything he talks or writes about is about revolves around writing and just show up and do it. And it is about becoming that expert but I think you need to have faith, you need to stay the course, and because success can virtually like your artist that’s working, working, working, and they don’t know when they’re going to get they’re big break but it could be right around the corner.

Aaron: I completely agree and I think that, that people do give up all too soon. And there’s no proof anywhere that giving up will ever determine success and I think that one of the things that at least became a big thing for me is I remember early on… I’m an entrepreneur. Part of it was kind of going okay, I got this job, this is going to create income but I need to make sure I’ve got the next job, so that I can ensure that, that’s going to be, okay now I can foresee how I’m making income over the next X amount of time. And a big thing for me was realizing, no, no, no, no, no, what you need to do is you need to go number 1, believe in what you’re doing and the value that you bring to something.

Because ultimately there’s a lot of trying to sit and look for that next client so they suggest that maybe you’re not going to continue with the client you currently have. And so you really need to believe in what you can do for the people that you’re working with or what you know in your product is because it takes a little while. Branding expert Marty Niemeyer told me once, and I though it was a great analogy was, he called that the French shower, I think that’s what he called it and it was this idea that you go to your friend’s house and you have a shower at their house and you get into the shower and you turn the water on and it’s not very hot so you turn it up a little more and you turn it up a little more and it’s still not.

And it’s still not hot and you turn it all the way and still not hot and then suddenly jumped out of the shower screaming because you got burned. And it’s because there’s this lag in which it doesn’t mean that a great idea catches on immediately. And so, for that reason along, you need to stick around long enough for your concept to actually start to connect with the right people and so that in itself is a huge reason to be consistent and persistent when stepping in front of the other.

James: Yeah. You’ve got to let it grow legs.

Aaron: You do… that and I think if you talk about making sure every step goes in front of the other. I mean a big part of it too is going, okay well they’re writers it’s a business , who is your product for or who you writing for, who is your client, who is your audience and I don’t think people spend enough time really researching that. And I could give you some examples of how researching an audience led to essentially bringing about some great marketing ideas and ultimately leading to successes, through really researching audience and finding results that weren’t expected.

James: Yeah, I want to see in your book you talk about fan profiling and that is totally awesome for any business not just to find in a target audience but you also supply some really good tools that can be used outside of the music industry. Absolutely knowing who they are, what they’re pain points are, where they hang-out, what they’re demographic is. It’s not just about they’re 30 to 54 and they’re male but totally, totally, totally. And another thing I wanted to say and we’ll move from the subject and start to wind things up a little bit. Staying the course in our industry is tough because of these so many distractions that ticking a different, everyone’s got an angle and everyone has a bright shiny object that they want you to come consume. So as we move on a little bit, let’s find out what’s going on with you. What do you have cooking right now? You mentioned offline that you have a couple of projects taking you around the country. But anything you want our listeners to know about, obviously, we’re going to talk about the book on the way out as well and I will have on the short notes all your websites and the website to purchase the book, but what’s happening with you?

Aaron: I guess this is when I say what’s not happening but then I recognized that’s what everyone goes through this busy, so. Well, I think and the book has added another layer to things and it looks like some schools are going to be picking it up. There’s one school in particular in San Francisco that’s basically wants to do a course around Musicpreneurship so that’s sort of an unexpected thing I guess you could say. I mean it’s differently uped my speaking engagements which I think a lot of people write books for is to then go out and speak that kind of thing. But actually what’s cooking today is, a lot of what I do is connect dots and I try and find as many dots that whether it’s for company that makes them who they are or whether it’s for an artist, a musician on the personal branding side of things.

And I’m trying to connect those in a way that makes sense and creates value for their clients or their audience or whoever that target demographic might be, and so I guess it’s sort of a merge is partly one of my expertise as to, 1. Be able to identify the dots and 2. To connect them in a meaningful way that allows for creative brand partnerships and ways to move forward except the huge thing is that everyone has something that they’re good at or they like to do or their sort of rock star dream or I don’t know, just taking their company public whatever it might be. But sometimes it’s hard to decide, sorry, not decide but sometimes it’s hard to sort of envision how you get to that place.

And a big part of connecting dots, for me, is to be able to go, okay well, when these dots are connected we’ve now come up with a brand essentially. And once you’ve determined what makes that brand stand out, then every step you take makes sense. It builds that brand and ultimately as we know, a great brand is not so much about connecting the audience with the brand but it’s more about the audience connecting with the audience and the brand being what represents them. And if you don’t know what you represent then it’s a little difficult to get to that point. And so, one of the projects I’m working on that sort of connecting these dots is a guy who has one of the top five most played songs on country radio since year 2002.

He is a radio by golfer’s digest in the top five, of the top 100 celebrity golfers. He’s a philanthropist. Turns out he’s an incredible chef. He got all these different things going for him and all these dots that haven’t been connected, and so I’ve connected them under the, I guess, the brand of what we’re calling the Delta Man. And the Delta Man stands for something that happen, just kind of like the Marlboro Man or the Dos Equis guy, but it’s a little different because it’s a real person. And it’s an easy thing to do because the lifestyle that he lives is true to him, I mean it’s not trying to make something up and that’s where the Scotch company that I was talking about comes in because we created a brand partnership with the Scotch company and so the Delta Man drinks this scotch, and the Delta Man does this and the Delta Man does that, and it’s connecting all these dots.

I mean, other than that, I’m always placing music and TV and film and working with a lot of different artists. There’s a few artists that I’m working with that through discovering who their audience were, brought about some interesting opportunities and one of them was just, country demographic is 35 to 45 year old women. We realized that they’re target demographic were this the audience thinks these were actually 13 to 17-year-old girls. I realized that 13 year olds and turning 17-year-old girls probably have 45 to 55-year-old women are mothers. And the best place to target these girls was in schools. We realize they’re, it was a hugely important and influential time in their lives so this particular artist had a great story for her own.

She had some bullying in school and upon finding her own voice she was able to gain confidence and one thing led to another and her thoughts were able to essentially talk to anybody. There’s no dream too big and don’t let people say you can’t when you can. And that got picked up by Tim Hortons in Canada which is now in the States. Now, she’s a music director this year for camp Kentucky which is run to privilege kids that come down from Canada to Kentucky and then we’re looking at North American tour and that came about from looking at the dots that existed, finding an audience and that’s something that’s been, that was another band that’s really connected with the yoga, vegetarian West Coast lifestyle.

And again, it was a 26 to 37-year-old women and we flip the approach and sort of go, okay well I know it’s a band but how are companies like Lululemon, targeting this audience which also on the same audience and looking at who their PR company was and different ways of approach. So that’s kind of the things that I’m involved in as far as connecting dots and of course the book and other things like that, so. Again, it’s where to begin.

James: That’s awesome. I love that connecting dots and it just goes to show that there’s so much out there that we can mine and that we can build it, that’s great.

Aaron: It’s exciting. That’s what it is. It’s extremely exciting.

James: This has been inspirational, again, reading most of your book, totally inspirational. That is Musicpreneur.ca we can find the book and it’s also on Amazon. Where else can we find you? Where Aaron’s hanging-out on Twitter, Facebook? What’s going on?

Aaron: I was going to say I do go grocery shopping. I do like church and shows. I go to the gym.

James: Long walks on the beach.

Aaron: Yeah, long walks on the beach under the moonlight. Where can you find me? Well, on Twitter you can find me @playitloudmusic. I try to give as much marketing and branding and other types of content as possible there. Playitloudmusic.com is my website. There’s actually going to be revamp done to it. So stay posted. Musicpreneur.ca is of course were the focus of the book but of course there’s a blog posted I think has content that would be relevant to anybody. And there’s abovethenoise.ca which is my journey into doing interviews with people, haven’t done one for a little while but there’s lots there to check out. And I think that just about wraps up where you can find me. Other than like I said, the grocery store or the gym, or long walks on the beach, climbing…

James: Awesome, awesome playing with your 4-year old.

Aaron: Yes, playing guitar too, how about that?

James: Awesome.

Aaron: Or spending time with my wife, everything so.

James: Cool stuff man. Aaron Bethune, thank you so much for being in the podcast today.

Aaron: Thank you.

James: Thank you so much for being just so generous with your time and we hope to talk to you soon. We will check you out and we’ll going to go buy the book!

Aaron: Thank you. I really appreciate this.

James: You’re welcome sir. We’ll talk to you again soon.

Aaron: Thanks.

James: Okay. Bye.

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