Mixergy: Running a startup with your dad
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In this podcast, I had an interview with Andrew Warner of Mixergy’s Startup Stories Podcast. He wants to find out about how I started a company with my dad, how we built it up and more!
Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy, where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses. I’m pausing because I also bust entrepreneurs chops a little bit, and I’m going to do this with today’s guests. Joining me is Sam Ovett. I met him years ago at a conference where I was speaking, and I think your dad introduced me to you.
he’s a pretty outgoing person and your dad,
Sam: Yes. He’s you could use the word gregarious. And that would be, that would be accurate.
Andrew: And still, when I talk to you and your dad, I had the sense that your dad was like the proud beaming father in this partnership, but you were the one who was doing most of the work and probably. If you are different personality type, you would have just said, dad, I don’t want to work with you. I want your advice.
And I might need you as a voice on, on a phone with adults at big enterprise companies, but I’m going to own a hundred percent of this business. And I think maybe you were a little nice back then. I don’t know how you are right now. I’m going to find out about this dynamic between you and your dad. I have all my kinds of theories, but I, but frankly, Sam, here’s why I invited you here.
It’s not for that. You run. A consulting company that helps businesses with their automation. It seems really clear, really, uh, sensible. And it’s the type of business that anyone who’s listening to us, even if they have no outside funding, no interest in raising money, they have no tech experience they’re in the middle of no fricking where it doesn’t matter.
They could sit. They have a computer, they automate people. People’s businesses. They, they show them how their, their business is more organized and brings in more revenue, more profits. It’s a clean, uh, offer. Right?
Sam: Yeah. I mean, and speaking to the middle of nowhere, I’m like literally in the, in the mountains above Boulder, Colorado, there’s like, I’m on an acre at our house here and went back country skiing this morning, the skis aren’t just for show like, that’s the quiver, you know, it’s my wife’s skis too. And so it’s like what, you know,
Andrew: Right over your shoulder. Yeah, it looks good.
Sam: Do this from anywhere. And that is like a beautiful thing. It’s a bit of a cliche of course, nowadays, but like it’s true. And it has real benefits to it.
Andrew: The company is called mobile pocket office. Why you call it mobile pocket office?
Sam: So the idea came from it certainly clearly isn’t from a brilliant SEO perspective. Um, but the idea came from this, this whole idea that. If you set up automation, if you set up process, right, and you use digital tools, you can be mobile with your office. You can run largely run it from your phone once you’ve got it all set up.
Is that a hundred percent true? No, but. Can you largely do that? Can you take time travel and, you know, hotspot from a computer from your phone to take care of little things, if you have automation setup. Yeah, absolutely. And, and work with team members that are remote a hundred percent. The idea is that we are, that is the focus.
That is the outcome. In addition to some of the results stuff that we can talk about that we’re trying to give people the ability to be, have flexibility in their lives back.
Andrew: All right. This interview where we find out how you built up this business is possible. Thanks to two phenomenal sponsors. The first, if you’re doing online marketing at all, you need to know about SEMrush. You probably already do. What you don’t know is that they give us a special code to let you try it for free to help grow your traffic and customers.
It’s a long URL though. So I shortened it and I made it into a URL on my domain. If you go to mixergy.com/semrush, you’re going to get that for a limited time available to you for free. And if you need a website, you should go to hostgator.com/mixergy. Sam. What’s your revenue.
Sam: Revenue is right over a million annually.
Andrew: Are you guys making more than half of that in profit?
Sam: Just about. Yeah, actually, and I can talk about that.
Andrew: That’s before you split it up between you and your dad. Like you have half of that is what you split between you and your dad.
Sam: That’s right. And the rest is, is operating expenses for us because we do have a team that we, that we have to, to make this possible.
Andrew: big is your team?
Sam: So the teams right around. 10 15 people. It depends. Um, and, and the reality is we work with a mix of some people that are full-time with us.
And, uh, we have a handful of VAs that we’ve trained really well, and that’s been a wonderful experience. Um, and then contractors for very specific projects, we need to bring people in that have specialty knowledge around certain code and things like that.
Andrew: All right. Here’s the thing that stood out for me as I was preparing for this interview, I go to your website, mobile pocket office.com. There’s a blog post right at the top that says. That has the word test in uppercase letters in the title. It’s like that Sprite on your site, you guys are in the content business.
Then apparently you’re offering virtually fabulous backgrounds for teachers. So that’s like zoom backgrounds, right? I tap into that. Here’s what it says at the very top of the page where you’re selling these, these backgrounds for $19 and 97 cents purchased today with the big button. It says another benefit is that people can not see what’s in your house.
And set you up for possible burglars kind of marketing. Is this
Sam: so, and this is where you’re busting my chops and it’s totally fine. And this is a good example, and I’m gonna, I’m going to rag on my dad for a second. Here is. He’ll, he’s got a million ideas a minute and he’s always coming up with something. And sometimes he gets ahead of himself and strives to execute them digitally by himself on the blog side of things.
I mean, he is a brilliant mind when it comes to process and automation. Um, and then occasionally he’ll be up at like one or 2:00 AM and half an idea and put it out there. And I haven’t checked the site occasionally. And things like that will pop up and then we have either adjust them or take them down, or he’s made something for like somebody in our family that he wanted.
And he’s like, Oh, let me just think about an offer around this too. And I’ll put it up. And so dad, I love you. And, uh, and I’m, I’m kind of bragging on you a little bit, but that is why those
Andrew: that’s what’s going on there. It’s just his random idea. And then he’s trying to put some marketing dollars behind it to see if he could sell it or it’s just,
Sam: Yeah, he just wants to play with most of the times it gets out there. And then occasionally there’ll be some marketing dollars that get put behind it, just to play with ideas, just to literally see if there’s something. But a lot of the times, if we’re being super truthful, it’s just like Josh had an idea.
He put it out there and published it and was like, it was. Most of the way thought through, but not fully. And, and he was just kind of excited and then we got busy with something else and it was forgotten about, and then a K and then, then we’ll go through and clean stuff up and it’s like, Oh, I didn’t mean for that to be there.
Why is that out there? So it’s a little bit of, uh, of just our underwear hanging out there. So, you know, that’s the honest truth.
Andrew: How old were you when you started?
Sam: How old was I, I am always the worst with like what year I started stuff. But, um, we’ve been doing
Andrew: the year you started it in 2017. Right.
Sam: Yeah. That’s where we started. And then that’s yeah, that’s right.
I always forget. I don’t.
Sam: So I’m going to be 30 this year.
Andrew: All right.
Sam: working back from there in
Andrew: did you decide to start to start this company with your dad? You were old enough that you could have just gone off without them, right?
Sam: Absolutely. Yeah. So I like to tell the story of where, why I wanted to do this, because I think it’s interesting and I think. You know, everybody’s got a different path, but this was mine and it seemed a little bit non-traditional compared to others. You might find I was after. And it’s obviously a little bit after college at that point.
Um, but after college I was guiding in the whitewater industry and I was a professional kayaker. I was running big waterfalls for a living and guiding people around the world. And. Taking them down steep rivers with this company, endless river adventures in North Carolina. And I love that’s what I want to do.
You know, I went to college, got my degree and I there’s a whole background story around what I grew up around and some of the entrepreneurial mindset and where
Andrew: that. Maybe later.
Sam: I was like, I want to go kayak. I want to kayak hard rivers, you know, do this. And the guiding was a way to do it at the time I was passionate about it.
I was excited about it. I wanted to just beat the best at that at that time. That’s what I wanted to do. And I, I followed that. And that’s where I met my wife working on the rivers and she’s super adventurous. And, and funnily enough, now she’s involved, she’s in the world of automation. Uh, but that’s, that’s a separate conversation.
And the whole thing here was that I was. And there’s like a particular point that really sticks out that that kind of made me start to make this transition, because what I learned is athlete for companies, right, is your part of the marketing budget. So there’s actually a really interesting introduction to the world of market.
When you get brought on as an athlete in our situation, there is a company confluence, kayaks. That was one of the primary sponsors of mine. I say we, because my brother did it as well, but, uh, from my experience, we were sitting down. With the head of marketing and talking about, okay, how are you going to help us market these kayaks, you know, and these paddles and stuff.
Andrew: you as a salesperson, even though
Sam: you’re a salesperson, you’re a marketer, you know? And so I had two components that they were interested in. One is at a certain point from a professional athlete standpoint. They’re like, all right, you got the skills. So that’s a, you know, you’re, you clearly baseline physically doing the things that are cool enough to have us interested.
Right. And then the other side of it is, Oh, you guide. So you’re introducing lots of people to this sport. Great. You happen to work with a company that uses our boat fleet. So that was a positive, right? You can get people into boats on the ground, and then you’re making content around whitewater that we can publish. And so that was my first real, I mean, I knew what marketing was. I understood it, you know, growing up I was exposed to it. Um, but the bottom line is you’re a sales slash marketing person out there. And so they’re hiring, you know, they’re quote unquote, hiring you on to be part of the marketing budget. So as an athlete, you’re part of the marketing budget.
So that intro was where I saw it. And then I started to get frustrated because I was doing all this. Content and out there. And I was like, why don’t you use it? Well, why don’t you put it places you aren’t really helping the brand do what it could.
Andrew: Got it. So now you’re, you’re going beyond what you thought was your job to now creating marketing material and they’re not using it well, and you have all these ideas for how they could be doing it better.
Sam: exactly. And so that’s where it kind of like opened up and, and then. My dad being in business for himself for years, ever since I was born, he, you know, we would have discussions about this stuff and we would start to look at it. And he was always for a long time and in the business of business analytic process and with manufacturers and he done well on that.
And he was also starting to kind of get bored, working with it. And so. I wanted to make a change because in here’s the specific point, this is like a very, very specific point in time. There’s lots of little influences, but this one, I was in the airport in Atlanta getting ready to fly to Ecuador, to guide some trips.
And I was invited by, uh, The outfitter we worked with knew someone who was doing an expedition that was funded by the Ecuadorian government of one of the cities to promote their city and an area for like, Hey, this is a good adventure destination, right? So this is like totally out of the idea of automation, but they were doing this and they introduced myself and my brother who were sponsored at the time and involved with this stuff to go.
Do this with them. And they’re like, Oh, these guys seem great. Right? They can make some content. They’re like solid, capable athletes. They know what they’re doing. We don’t have to worry about that part. They can help us promote this town of equity, like in a, in a area of Ecuador. And so I’m sitting in the airport and like the reality is we’re not making much money and it’s like a joke compared to what you know, we talk about now and what we do at, and. We’re sitting in the airport. There’s I got my kayak. It’s like a big kayak and we have, you’re dragging a kayak around the airport. It’s like, people are like, what are you, what are you doing with that thing? You know, it’s like a giant white water kayak. You’re like, what are you, what are you doing? And there’s this.
Group of students, you could kind of tell their group of students and the professor. And I overheard him talking about agriculture and they were going down to Ecuador to study, uh, agriculture in, in Ecuador. Right? Some university. I don’t remember what the university was, but I got to chatting with them and the guy says, Oh, well, how do you make money?
You can’t eat your kayak. Like that was the statement. And I. That statement kind of set it off in my mind that like, I gotta, I gotta, if I want to do this stuff cool. It’s fun. And the reality is like, people have gotten really creative and there are ways to make money at it. But, and I don’t want to discount that, but like, for me, it just, it was like tons of fun.
I was having a great time, but I was like, I, if I really want to build something, I need to like go a different direction and now’s a good time to do it.
Andrew: and your dad was at a period in his life where he was looking for something new. How did you end up with automation? How did you fit? Where did the idea come from?
Sam: Yeah. So we, we took that right there and, you know, went down to Ecuador trip. Like it was awesome, you know? And then about a year later, I was like, over it, I was like, this is just, I got to do something different. Like I need to make a change and I want to make more money. Number one.
Andrew: No, I, I get, I get the backstory. Now take me to the, where this idea came from.
Sam: And so the idea and the automation side was, you know, this was a time when I personally was just reading a lot about how to automate things from the marketing standpoint on the specifically the social media side with what I was doing as an athlete.
So I was introduced to the idea of automation. And when you go down that rabbit hole, It’s opens up this whole new world. You’re like, wow, there’s a lot here. And it’s pretty powerful. And I was listening to all of these podcasts at the time about artificial intelligence and automation, and it’s going to take over the world, blah, blah, blah.
And I started looking into it and I was. Realizing that, Hey, I want to be on the right side of automation. And for whatever reason, that like came to my mind, I want to be on the right side of automation in the world. I see this trend happening. I want to be the one building automation versus getting automated out of whatever I’m doing.
And it sounds completely random, but that’s where it came from. You have a lot of time when you’re traveling to do white water to listen, to podcasts, to listen and read and that’s. When I was reading that, and then I started discussing it with my dad who was in the business of automating some of the analytics around businesses and creating systems for that.
And so he was getting over, working with these large manufacturers. He was just, he’d done well, he’s getting kind of bored with it. And so he said, look, you want to make a change, Sam, I w I want to do something different. That sounds a little more fun. We’re all learning about this world of digital businesses.
Right. They ran entirely online. And so that’s the world that we pursued out of the gate and that’s where this started. And so we, we at first,
Andrew: what I mean hearing is also that it seems like he was in the analytics consulting world where you’re helping businesses, but you’re not showing a measurable impact on their profit. So it’s harder to sell harder to justify yourself. And he was thinking, you know, if we could be on the marketing side, then it’s easier to justify, justify our cost.
Sam: And then part of that, part of that though, was the, the issues on the analytics side where, you know, you have to find a hole, a leaky hole and, and, and fix the hole. And if you can show someone that, and then they can use those analytics to fix their heart internally, that’s the kind of stuff he was doing at the time.
Andrew: by whole meeting their whole in their funnel where they’re
Sam: Yeah. Uh, yeah, like a hole in the business. So an example, I’ll give you an example of one, right? So like he worked with a garbage truck manufacturer Heil. If you drive around and you drive behind a garbage truck, H E I L you probably see it on the flaps of the truck. He went over. One of the projects that he did was he was over in Scotland where they make them and they’re for, I think they were there for a couple of weeks.
And he just went around the plant cause they were doing plant analytics of like the manufacturing. And one of the things he noticed was as they were looking through stuff that, Hey, there are a lot of trucks that are in that yard over there that are considered like just bad dead trucks. Right. They got returned that they put somebody bought and they had to return and give them their money back and give them a different truck.
That’s expensive. So we started looking at that specifically, cause he was looking at the data and he says, Hey, it turns out that it’s this one guy on this one day that all those serialized trucks are coming back from that is approving them and getting them out the door effectively. There’s kind of more details.
But the bottom line is there was one person who was creating the problem and because of the analytics and the data, they were able to identify that. And that problem was worth a hundred thousand dollars per. I don’t remember the exact numbers, but it was like every month or two of trucks that were coming back.
And so that’s what I mean by a hole, right? There’s a hole in the process. So they just adjusted this guy’s schedule, looked at what he was doing, and it turns out on Fridays, he was coming into work drinking. And so he was sloppy with his work. So they just gave him the day off on Friday and largely solved their problem. So that’s the, that’s the kind of hole that I’m talking about. Does that make sense?
Andrew: It does. Where did you get your first customer now that you knew what you were going to sell?
Sam: so first customer, and I think there’s an interesting thing because I think that’s one of the hardest things a business can do is get their first customer. Um, and we were really because of the relationships that my dad had, and I know this is a fortunate circumstance, but I will explain it in the reality that it is.
We’re able to talk with some of the folks that he knew and say, Hey, I want to, we’re going to do more in this marketing side of things. Do you have any interest? And we identified some opportunities with these larger companies. One of them was, I would say the name J X Nippon, uh, when large oil companies and they have a bunch of different business units.
And those, that was the first project that we did under the name of mobile pocket office, because it was a relationship that existed. Now there’s the other side of how do we get customers to day? And how did we build up customers, which I can talk about because it’s not.
Andrew: Right. Well, let’s, let’s build up into that. So what you’re saying is you went back to a customer that he already had. You signed them up. Terrific. The work that you did for them was what
Sam: So this work was around automating the follow-up after sales folks went to trade shows
Andrew: they collect those business cards at the trade show. They.
Sam: all in the drawer and forget about
Andrew: What did you make up for them? I’m assuming it was a scanner that then put their contact information into a CRM that then fired off a sequence of email.
Sam: Uh, effectively, something like that. And I’ll give you the details. But the bottom line was that what was going on is they had these folks going to trade shows, you know, door to door sales type of people in our, I call it that door, you know, hand to hand combat type of sales. And they were going out and trying to find prospects at a trade show and coming back with a list of business cards.
It was, like you said, is it’s and it’s something that people in this world might be pretty familiar with, but it’s yeah. Using an app on your phone to scan the card in that then sends it into a CRM system. And based on some of the parameters that you identified, you know, what’s this prospect interested in based on the different business lines that they have, what should we follow up with?
And they, they would go out, I mean, these, this is, I don’t. I have found this interesting. And I could go down a tangent for just a second, but I found it interesting that the bigger the company, the worst, the automation and sales process, cause they just hire people to do stuff versus automating it. And they also, in this situation had salespeople who they would follow up with the hottest prospect of the day, but the other 30 or whatever that they met, they would largely just forget about.
Andrew: I get that. And you know what, to some degree that works, right. You’re at a trade show, you know, who, the person who you’re most excited to do business with is you follow up with that person, the rest of the business card, just sit there. All right. And so you created a system for them. Did they see increase in profits because of that?
I’m assuming that they saw more sales because of it. Right.
Sam: Absolutely because of all the people that were not, you know, immediate hot prospects, I’m ready to make a purchase today on a very large order. In this case, one of their lines of businesses that use the mud, the oil to create a product that is like the membrane that goes around houses. Most people see steps.
Like Tyvec, it’s a S it’s a competitive product to that. So if somebody wants to place a large order and become a distributor or needs a lot for a construction project, pay their they’re a hot prospect, right? Don’t talk to them today. Haven’t placed that order and they’re going to forget about the rest.
So all these other people we’re talking about and what’s relevant here is when the sales cycle is long creating followup. That keeps you top of mind. I mean, it’s like the most basic idea here.
Andrew: um, let me just close up this one
Sam: Yeah, yeah, sure, sure.
Andrew: just to understand quickly, what software did you build? What software did you put together for them? I want to S I want to get a sense of the deliverable.
Sam: Okay. Yeah. So in their case, they had, um, sugar CRM already, which is like, you know, a little older at this point, but, uh, they had that in place. So there wasn’t a need to redo. The CRM system or anything like that. And it’s like, let’s use what you have and create a win for you. And then we hooked up and, and this is, we talked about this before we jumped on, but like in this case we used, uh, a tool, two different tools to do this.
One was a tool that allowed them. What did we use at the time? It’s a little bit back. We use a tool. I think it was quickmail.io, basically to send. Personal email out of your Gmail,
Andrew: email out of your mail. Okay. All right.
Sam: but automated. And then if somebody responds and so we sent that out with an opportunity to get more information and learn about this stuff that they could opt into.
And then that went out through, in this case, Ontraport was the tool that we used that went out through Ontraport.
Andrew: uh, software
Sam: Right. And it has automation. So we went from a cold email tool that had automation to send it out because
Sam: the lazy salespeople I just said, you know? And so they weren’t following up with everybody.
So we used automation to do that. Then when people opted in or responded. We turned that off. And then it was using the other email marketing tool. In this case, Ontraport automation tool to send them a series of emails over a long period of time about the product. They just use cases, case studies, things. What we did is we worked with their team because they had a lot of knowledge on the team. So we worked with the team to pull it out of her head. I just went over to the offices and turn the camera on and said, Ask questions about it as if I was a customer, you know, I did research about it.
Andrew: you asked them questions, you took the video. Is the video the end result, or did you turn that into art? Into email, into
Sam: Mix of, uh, texts and, and video. Yeah. What do you mean
Andrew: Roughly? What did you charge them for all this.
Sam: Oh for that one, it was, what was it? I think it was like 50,000 because the, the value, and this is a key thing is the value to them. Right. I would think a lot of people look at these tools and they go, Oh, the tool is cheap. Maybe it doesn’t take an enormous amount of time, but the outcome and the value, you know, if you sell one distributor account of this Tyvec stuff that pays for itself easily, the first sale.
Andrew: so, one of the things that I do my sponsors is I have a checklist that I go through to make sure that I’m not just chatting with them, but I’m also getting down to business. And one of the questions is what’s the LTV lifetime value of a customer so that I know how many customers I need to get for them, for the ad to do well.
And then what I try to do is. Create an atmosphere of shared metrics so that I can come back and say, how many customers did did you get? And I could tie it back to the LTV. Did you do, do you do that too? Were you able to go back and see how long it took you to get them the $50,000 they invested in you?
Sam: Oh, yeah, absolutely. Because it’s like, and this happened to be really easy in this case because. Uh, my dad had already done the business analytics previously for them. So we had all those numbers and we could see him. And he had a longstanding relationship with this particular company. Um, so with the CEO of this business unit, so he was really comfortable.
There was it, wasn’t a new relationship. And I think that is a real thing that makes a difference. Um, And there’s a, and when we establish a new relationship, we, we, I have to go through the process of conceptual agreement and understanding of the value that that’s bringing. And we spend a lot of time on that because that’s what allows us to charge more because people really understand.
And if, if that, if that’s not jiving with somebody and we go back to this, it, then it’s not going to work. Right.
Andrew: All right. I’m with you now. I see where the beginning was and I’ve got to say having done these interviews now, it seems like done these interviews now for years, it
Sam: And I grew, I’ve listened to your interviews for a while now. And so I was, I was like, felt pretty, pretty honored to come on and, and, you know, hopefully get something. I was like, I I’m curious. What’s what you think is interesting here.
Andrew: There’s a lot. That’s interesting. One of the things that I’m noticing is that. When it comes to enterprise sales or consulting sales, it really is often going back to the people who hired you before often who gave you a job before and saying this thing that you like, or that I noticed that you needed.
When I worked with you before, I’m now turning that into a consult project or consulting service, would you hire me? You have a sense of how I work and that’s where they, the first customers tend to come from. Right?
Sam: Yeah, I think that’s a good, good thing. And so, and I think that’s accurate. Um, and it’s a matter of, you know, the other thing we, we do, and this is something, uh, That I learned from my dad is, is this idea too, that like, and we don’t do this every time it’s dependent on the project, but like a lot of times like, look, if we’re going after an outcome and we can all measure the results really clearly, and look at them together, if it doesn’t work, we’re either not going to charge you or we’re not going to charge you as much. And so we’re pretty transparent. And we also have what we call, like, we do this thing, like a no bullshit guarantee where. If it, if it just completely bombs, which is going to give you your money back because it didn’t work. And, and that, you know, we’re trying to just do the basic idea of reduce the risk on their end to get involved in a, in a project that may feel like a larger project for them.
Andrew: to imagine that considering the clients that you’re getting in the work you’re getting the time invested on their part and the energy involved in working with you is probably more valuable. So they’re not looking for the money back. So much as they want to know that you will suffer if it doesn’t work out.
So you have a deep incentive and a deep trust in your belief that you can make this work out. All right. Let me take a moment to talk about my first sponsor and then we’re going to come back into the story. So my first sponsor is SEM rush. They are, do you know, do you know much about them? In fact, instead of me telling you what I know about them, do you know much cool.
Sam: don’t know. I like I’ve used it a while ago. I haven’t used it recently. So it would probably be good for you to tell me about them. I could probably benefit from, um, I always learn about new tools that I, you know, need more time or like almost need to hire somebody to really focus on and implement,
Andrew: I learned so much about them just because I reached out to the audience and I said, look, I’ve got them as a sponsor. Tell me how you use them. I ended up with so many responses that I interviewed some of the entrepreneurs who responded because they told me what their numbers were. And I said, this is funny.
Come do an interview with me about the business. If you want to mention SEMrush. Great. If not, I don’t care, but. How did you get so big? One of the people who I met that way was Anita Campbell. She runs a company called small business trends, and it’s a blog where she’s making money from advertising. And I thought blogs were dead, especially this type of blog where you put in time to create content.
Sam: just straight, like advertising dollars.
Sam: crazy. I haven’t seen that lately. Like I’ve seen a ton of content-based, you know, become a primary content content based companies that then sell whatever their thing is. But, but not the advertising
Andrew: Right. No, she’s got an app. She’s got a content based business. I asked her what she’s using SEMrush for. And she said, you know what? In the past, what we used to do was we would think, what articles do we want to create? And then just go and create them by signing up for some rush, they were able to figure out what it costs.
They knew what it cost them to create a, to. Hire, um, a writer to get an article, but they were able to figure out how much money are we actually going to make from this article? What’s the, what’s the appetite, what’s the Google search appetite for this type of article, and then only invest in the articles that made sense.
And then of course, yeah, then that helped them grow their business. And so I interviewed her because I was shocked that someone could actually make money from
Sam: Like Google ads and stuff like that. Like she was getting
Andrew: she’s doing more direct
Sam: like working
Andrew: not direct with the
Sam: then pays them.
Andrew: She works with an agency and she just keeps hunting for these different agencies that could help her, uh, produce the money that she needs in order to keep the business going and growing.
Sam: I’m always impressed by those. Uh,
Andrew: am too. And I’m also scared for them.
Sam: Yeah. Like it’s kind of like built on a volcano in a way.
Andrew: Because the problem is that content now is being done so well by, by people who have software to sell or something else to sell content now is marketing. And those people are so good at it that they know what their audience is searching for. They know what they
Sam: Yeah. They’re dialed into that specific part of the market.
Andrew: And they can make so much more money from it than advertising because they have a direct relationship with their customer.
The person who’s
Sam: And usually it’s some kind of subscription that has a high LTV, you know, and they, they can just like invest a lot in that content to get somebody there because it’ll pay off over time. And it’s like, yeah, it’s pretty interesting thing
Andrew: those businesses are really big on using SEMrush because they, they want to know what can we, if we’re investing money and getting writers to put the content together, what do we need to write about? Or what are the little topics that relate it to the one that we know about that we should be writing about?
Because people are searching for it. That’s where SEMrush comes in, but I’m discovering all kinds of uses. You know, one of the most interesting uses of SEMrush is to do social media marketing, to understand how other people are using social media to build up their following, to get traffic for their site.
I actually, I, um, I really liked Sam Parr. A lot. Sam Parr from the hustle has just shot up in the
Sam: I remember meeting that guy. Uh, the, as a digital marketer convey, like he spoke at digital marketer and I went to his talk and met him and he’s sharp. I was excited to meet him. He was, he was cool. Have you interviewed him? I,
Andrew: I did a bunch of times. Um, and he comes across as this, like just hangout guy. Who’s just, you know, you know, having fun, but man, he puts in a lot of effort into, into everything he does. And so when his Twitter following started growing, I said, I’m going to add him to some rushes, just see what is he doing?
And then I saw what he was doing. And I said,
Sam: And he’s a pretty clever guy. I remember how he started the whole hustle thing and like would the, the book on Amazon and like that, like he, he had, he described to getting raking a book on Amazon and like, basically, I guess, for lack of a better word, kind of hacking it and.
Andrew: He just to see if he could get himself to the bestseller list. And so that was one of the articles that he did and he did it and he wrote up and he wrote about it. Anyway. So I, I use SEMrush just to follow what he’s doing and I’m keeping an eye on him. I’m keeping an eye on one of the, one of the people who worked for him.
Who’s also growing on Twitter. I figure if I’m into Twitter now, let me see what they’re doing. And seminars lets me do that. So any. Online marketing. If you’re doing it, I want you to go sign up for some rush. If you do right now, you’ll get to try it for free limited time. Sam. They gave me this long code because they’re not used to giving this stuff out for free.
I said, all right, that’s going to be too much for me in a podcast to say, I understand that you don’t do this often enough that you have a simple URL. I’m going to create a simple URL. So everyone who’s listening to me right now can get this for free. Please. Don’t put it online or else they’re going to start taking this away from me.
I want to make it available just to listeners. All you have to do is go to mixergy.com/sem rush, and you will be taken automatically to their site. Their discount code will be applied to you’ll be ready to go and use it for free. That’s M I X, E R G y.com/s E M R U S H mixergy.com/semrush. All right, let’s continue with how you got more customers.
So first customer came from somebody who you, uh, the oil company that you work, uh, that your dad worked with. At some point, you figured out, you know what we need partnerships. Ontraport Ontraport is this it’s basically email marketing. They do a, they do a little bit more than just playing out plain old, plain old email marketing.
Right? They do things like, um, marketing automation, where you can set up a sequence of messages. You can tag people based on what they’ve done. I think they even have, uh, landing pages. They, they will even let you sell using their software. It’s just all in one package. Right?
Sam: Yep. Yep. Exactly.
Andrew: And I’m assuming what happened was you started using them with one of your clients and then they started referring clients to you.
Am I right?
Sam: We actually started using them ourselves, um, to run things. And then we use one of the primary things we used first was their recurring billing function. Funnily enough, that was how we got involved with it. Um, and.
Andrew: You could bill your clients at your consulting company on a recurring basis. Do you still do that? I find that that’s actually something that, um, Some agencies do, but the vast majority, don’t where you sign up a client and you have automated bills or automated. Um, when they pay, you get recurring revenue from them instead of every month, trying to get them to
Sam: Yeah. We just put a card on file and like, And automate the time that it’s charged, we explain how it’s going to work and people love it. Right? It’s like one less step. They get their thing. They don’t have to worry about it. And, uh, I th I think all of this boils down to communicating with people about the expectation and the experience, because if they’re, if, if it’s new, if they’re not used to that, they just explain it.
Um, and then you set it up and like, I don’t have to remember to charge it anything. I don’t have to remember what retainers we’re supposed to charge at. Certain intervals of the month when they’ve been established for people after the initial project, which is usually how it works with us. Um,
Andrew: but then what you do is though you have their card on file. You come in and put in how many hours you build for the month, and then you automatically get paid
Sam: Yeah, basically, except we didn’t, we don’t do a lot of, like, we don’t do really by the hour that occasionally we do that, but mostly it’s like a, a consulting package to like speak to us on a regular basis or have us available to think about new process once you’ve got your, and I can talk about like how we actually do business with people like the, the flow.
Cause everybody kind of comes through a similar flow for the most
Andrew: go into that. I’m curious about the flow and I want to make sure that we give people a tactical advice. What is the flow?
Sam: you want to talk about the partnerships after that? Because I think that’s a really important part and it’s a good tool for someone. If, if they’re like, well, how do I go to market? How do I get in front of people? I think that’s such a valuable discussion, but, um, when it comes to working with people in our car, our consulting practice effectively consulting, and then we do the implementation of stuff, but.
We bring everybody in and they do an engagement, a paid engagement, which is a mapping session. And that is people come in in two ways. They either learn largely two ways. One is they, they. Are overwhelmed with the amount of manual work they have to do to run their business because they’re, they’ve figured out their lead generation.
This is the type of client who is really the best works with us the best. They figured out how to generate leads. They figured out how to convert. None of them to run a business. That’s. We don’t really work with many businesses that are doing less than half a million dollars a year in revenue. It’s usually doesn’t make sense because they’re evolving process so fast that there’s nothing to really start to standardize just yet.
You know, there’s some basic things you can put in place, but it’s over pretty quick. Um, At that point and up people are starting to establish process for their business. And so they are overwhelmed with the amount of manual work you can think about it like a river that flows into a Lake, and then it’s like, do you have an aqueduct or do you like carry all the water up the Hill and pour it in to the next section?
Um, and then that, you know, this idea of scale that makes it really hard to scale.
Andrew: Okay. So you’re dealing with people who have at least half a million dollars in sales. They’re doing much of it manually because they’ve just been figuring it out. But now the system seems like it’s there. It’s just too manual. You go in and you say, we’re going to do a paid mapping, uh, uh, project where we will map out how you should be organizing things.
How long does that take?
Sam: So that takes about three to four days, usually for the big picture one and the way.
Andrew: on zoom. Screen-sharing
Sam: is the intense part. This is also builds the relationship with someone really well. Um, there’s an initial sales call to see if there’s even a fit and a, and a prospect, you know, a qualifying process that has to happen obviously.
But then when someone commits to a mapping engagement, uh, what happens at that point is. They either have one very specific, painful problem they need to solve, and they want to focus on that. Or they want to look at their whole business and look at what of the process that we do today. Can we automate, because at that level, most businesses have process.
They don’t necessarily have tons of automation and they don’t always know what their processes are either. So prior to that engagement, like they sign up for this engagement and it ranges. It’s usually about $10,000 to do one of these. And we go through the whole thing. And the idea is that. The following we’re going to take you through and look at we, we break it up into five pillars, so it’s digestible, but we’re looking at how do you attract new business?
Right? That’s the, that’s the creative work of marketing or really good referrals, uh, which is, uh, a strong piece of marketing. Um, how do you convert that new business to leads and then ultimately sales? How do you fulfill whatever you promised? Do you delight people? Most people don’t, you know, do you have any kind of process around actually doing that?
Or is it just one off occasionally? And we could talk about, I mean, I can go on and on by the sinks, this is stuff we deal with every day and then. Do you have a systematic way to ask for referrals? You’ve got, you’ve delighted. You’ve made these wonderful customers. People are happy. Do you have a systematic way to ask for referrals?
Um, and then part of the delight phase we consider is increasing lifetime value. You know, what are the different things that you can. Add on the either you have, or someone else has that you can partner with and put in front of the person and make it available to them. Um, and so that framework allows us to, to look at any industry that someone’s in.
So it doesn’t necessarily matter as long as they have, you know, consistent revenue where they’re. Bringing new people into the fault. They have to put them through those steps of the process and they’re doing a lot of manual work. So that’s, that’s the experience where we’re taking that. But prior to that, most people don’t really know where to begin. And this is if you want, I can share some tactical advice of what we’ve learned, working with people
Andrew: uh, tactical advice to do what.
Sam: of like, how to actually approach this for your business.
Andrew: So, let me see if I understand.
Sam: Yeah. Yeah.
Andrew: you say here are five pillars. We’re going to understand how each part of this process works for you now, or maybe you’ve ignored it. You didn’t think about ways to delight your customer. Fine. We’re going to map it out. See how you do it today. Do you also tell them how they should be automating it by giving them advice on which part of the process can be automated?
Sam: That’s right. And so that’s exactly how it works. So, but first it’s like, how can you think about the future if you don’t know what’s going on right now? And so we get a very, very clear picture. Of how they do business today in those different aspects of the process, those five
Andrew: Okay. And Sam,
Sam: that, yeah.
Andrew: was, what you’re trying to do, though, you’re trying to say, this is the process as it is right now. Here’s how you can automate. If you decide to go and automate it yourself, we’ve given you the blueprint. If you decide to hire us, you now know what we could do, but at the end of this, you’re clear on what you’ve got going on.
You’re clear on what’s missing and you’re clear on what needs to get done. Now they’ve gotten to know you and there’s a higher probability of them hiring you to do this because they see how you work and they understand what results they want. Okay. Got it. So that’s, that’s the process that you take them through?
What percentage of people close after that? What would you say? Um, that conversion rate is
Sam: That’s a good question on that particular conversion rate.
Andrew: I’m assuming the majority.
Sam: Is a majority because you’re, I mean, it’s over, I mean, it’s over definitely over 85%, for sure. Sometimes it’s just, you know, we go through that and we realize there’s, it’s just not a fit. Or we don’t like them, or they don’t like jive with us. And so we don’t like short, we don’t want to deal with that.
And so we, we got like, I, I think this is going to be better if we don’t do this, you know, you got the map, go, go get them. Um, but the you’ve built a relationship and that is the process. Is that. That builds a relationship. You know, we’re going into people’s business numbers at that point, building a lot of trust with that person.
And we’re asking questions and we’re not interrogating these people and making them feel bad. We are trying to uncover the process that they do, and then figure out from there, from our experience, right, working with businesses, where are the potentials for improvement? There’s another thing. And this comes from.
The experience in the manufacturing world is the idea. And people will know it by like six Sigma or Kaizen and pokey Oak.
Andrew: constant improvement.
Sam: Yeah. And so not only is it enough to map out the existing and then look at the improvements, but you have to create systems within businesses to improve the new thing that’s been put in because.
You are probably going to see an improvement. If you’re not doing anything or let’s say on a followup after someone buys, you have just an invoice that goes out or one email. If you put it up a series of emails out that are introducing them to ways they can use whatever they just better reminding them and then giving them offers for other things that would benefit them based on what they just bought.
There is a clear. It’s obvious you’re going to improve your sales, right? Like you have nothing now you have something, but could you make that even better is an important question to ask yourself in every step of the process.
Andrew: do you do that? We’ve added at our company different. Um, we’ve added to every checklist, uh check-in to improve, but I find that it gets stale where people don’t see, they say, all right, I’ve done the 10 things I’m supposed to do. I’ll hit that 11th checkbox that says, think of something to improve. I can’t think of anything and they move on.
We’ve tried instituting, uh, by monthly check-ins to go over the systems to see what stale and what needs to be improved and that’s done. Okay. But you run out of ideas for improving fast. What do you do to keep those processes from getting stale and to make sure they keep improving?
Sam: Yeah, it kind of brings me to this idea when I was going through my in college, I got a degree in environmental science. Right. And. You would think that has nothing to do with marketing and process improvement, but it turns out you learn about ecosystems and how they function and how they better themselves or how they fall apart.
And one of the things that I learned in that is you’re talking about how do you improve the environment through behavior change? Right. It’s really hard to do. It’s hard to change people’s behavior. So that’s why automatic lights, which has worked great. Nobody has to do anything. Right. So as much as we can, we try and take the automatic light switch approach.
If I walk into the room, And then I walk out, it turns off automatically. I don’t have to think about it. So how can you apply that to what you do to improve? Because if you have to ask somebody to go look at something and do manual steps, the less manual steps there are to get to the understanding the better.
Andrew: what do you do to automate that improvement?
Sam: so the, and the reality is we don’t automate improvement, but we automate the ability to see where your process is either succeeding or failing. And what I mean by that is once. And I’ll just take a specific example. Um, and this is something most people in the digital world can probably relate to. We have a customer mastering diabetes.org, New York times bestseller, blah, blah, blah, great guys, both type one diabetics.
They help people. With, with, you know, mastering their diabetes. It’s, it’s pretty incredible. These guys were a classic situation of, they figure it out a market match, right? They were, they, their message resonated they’ve their content resonated and they were getting leads by the droves. Content-based conversion, different story.
They were doing pretty good. It was not any slacker. They were, they were, when we started with them, they were just under a million in annual revenue, through digital products, um, and a coaching program. And so with that in mind, one of the things that their biggest challenge was outside of tools and blah, blah, blah.
It was like, how do we improve our conversions? And so they ran a lot of webinars, both a mix of live and evergreen webinars, and they. One of the things we did with them is created automated follow up out of that. Did you attend, did you not attend? And when you went down that path, being able to see which emails were closing, the deal was really important because then, you know, the type of messaging that’s resonating with the most amount of people coming in and you also had to look at it from where they started from.
Right. What, what piece of content drew them in. And what email closed the deal and what sequence of emails. So that’s the type of, uh, metrics that we’re putting in place that are instead of pulling reports, which a lot of people do and trying to look and analyze it’s dynamic. So it’s always up to date.
And then the bottom line is at the end of the day, somebody does have to go in and look at it and make a human decision about a new creative idea.
Andrew: So then is part of the, when you say improve the process, you just mean somebody needs to own this, the analytics, the analysis, the process, and be responsible for finding ways to improve it.
Andrew: And do you set up, sorry, do you set up a schedule for when you or someone on their team will go in and make sure that, that the emails are all analyzed to see which one is really leading to sales to see which one is stale?
Do you do that?
Sam: Yeah. So we help them to find a schedule on when they should do it. And then. What ends up happening is because they have most clients have some kind of retainer with us to keep looking at process and improving it. There’s a discussion that’s happening, but we also try and really empower the people that we’ve given this process to, to know how to look at it and to think about ways to make these decisions, because there’s always something new to improve.
So we do, we say base and the schedule’s not set for everybody, right? The schedule is dependent on the process. So if the process happens and your sales cycle is roughly a month to where you can gather enough data to then make a new decision on, then that schedule is going to be set on every month. You need to look for.
Improvements because you now have new information, you can try something different for, let’s say 25% of the people going through that process. See if it works better from a percentage standpoint and then deploy it to the other 75%. So we actually take an approach with all the different processes of splitting up the flow of process to where you have your main process.
That’s driving your business today, and then you’re testing. Between five and 25% of the flow through that process to see if the conversion rates for whatever you’re trying to achieve are better. And then if it beats it’s it’s, it’s like basic AB testing, funnily enough. But if it beats, if B beats a you then deploy that.
For your whole business. And that is a risk assessment thing too. And that comes from the kayaking road. You have to, you have to make judgements and assess risk, and we’ve all heard the idea of protecting your downsides in business. What I see a lot of people wanting to do, and we steer them away from it as they learn about the ability to automate things.
And they want to just deploy automation everywhere. They, and they, and it ultimately is going to change their entire business flow. And I say, hold on. Don’t do that. Pick one thing and start there and don’t put all your prospects and all your customers through it because you don’t know how the outcome is going to be until you try it.
I’m not, I’m not a mind reader. I don’t know what’s going to work, but I know that if you have the data to tell you what’s working and what’s not, then you can make an accurate decision and deploy it for the majority of your business.
Andrew: even when you’re getting started automate a portion of your business, see how that works. If it works well, deploy it through the rest of your traffic and then always take some subset of your traffic and test out new processes.
Andrew: And that’s part of what your business Sam does. You make sure that they keep testing this right.
Sam: That’s right. And we give them the.
Andrew: um, automated light switch. You’re the person right? Where they don’t have to say who in our company is going to make sure that we’re testing our flows. It’s Sam’s got to cover it. He’s going to come in. He’s going to push us to test something because his job depends on him showing us constant, uh, lift.
Got it. All right.
Sam: Yep. And that’s why you stick around.
Andrew: Let me talk about my second sponsor. I’m going to ask you a question about it. Second sponsor is HostGator for hosting websites. Sam say, somebody is listening to us right now and says, you know what? I’d like to start an agency of some kind. I want to justify my prices to my clients.
So it needs to be something where they feel that when they have an easy return on investment, if they hire me, what’s a topic. What’s an area that you recommend somebody go into. If they’re going to start a consulting company right now is a way to get.
Sam: The hardest thing to do, but the biggest, the thing people pay the most money for is new leads. That’s the bottom line, new leads that convert to sales, that that’s probably the best money. The, the biggest part of it, you know, ads that drive sales. I mean, I think if, if you can figure that out then. People will pay you money for the new sales.
You are literally generating them revenue and you also can turn it off. So you are, you are really the master of their faith.
Andrew: You don’t want to ever want to lose you because they don’t want to lose the leads that you bring their salespeople. And they know that you’re making money on a regular basis. So, you know what, there’s another sponsor who I don’t even know if they still have any ads with me or not, but it’s called . What they do is they say, look, we’ll give you the software to get leads off of LinkedIn, where.
Yeah. So imagine this, imagine somebody goes to the opto, my other sponsor and says, I’m going to sign up for a subscription. They pay for just one month of that. And then they put up a website using HostGator saying, I will get you leads. Then what they do is they get companies like yours to say, look, we’ll find you people who are using Ontraport, we’ll start sending them.
We’ll find them on LinkedIn. We’ll send them messages on LinkedIn, as soon as they respond Sam. And they say, yeah, we are interested in automating Ontraport. We’ll forward them to who, to you, Sam or to someone else on your team.
Sam: I’m building a relationship with people from the outset and then passing on the, you know, we’re delegating the work out of the implementation.
Andrew: so Sam, what they’ll do is they’ll put the whole thing together. They’ll message people on LinkedIn, where apparently businesses are willing to open up LinkedIn messages, I guess, because they’re hoping they’re going to get business from there. And what they’ll do is they’ll send out a message to everyone.
Who’s on Ontraport. Who’s also on LinkedIn saying, Hey, if you need any help, uh, using Ontraport better, we have an agency that works with clients that do at least half a million dollars in sales. We can show you how to automate and grow your sales. There’s a free consultation. If you’re interested, just hit me back here on LinkedIn.
They’d be writing it better than I would. But as soon as somebody says, yes, I’m interested, they forward that message directly to you, Sam. So you can contact them personally and say, Hey. I heard that you’re interested. Here’s my calendar, actually. In fact, I bet they could even set it up on your calendar.
You give them a calendar, they just book it and then you close sales. I see you lean forward. As soon as I said it. All right. Listen to me, people, if you like that idea, and you need a website, go to hostgator.com/mixergy. Right now, you could actually sell this whole idea on a per lead basis. Right? Sam.
Sam: Yeah. And that’s, that’s the, if you. If, if I were to rethink what we do, which I constantly am trying to do, uh, that is probably the, the direction I I’m, I think is one of the most interesting ones had, if you, if you can give people leads
Andrew: Okay. What if they
Andrew: the, this? I imagine that you’d be willing to pay much more than this, but if they said Sam for the first 20 people, we’ll charge you $10 per lead. All I ask is, and by the way, there’s a no BS guarantee. If you’re not happy, you don’t have to pay for any of it. All I ask is give me feedback at the end of each one of these calls, I’ll put on your calendar, 20 people.
As soon as you finish a call, just fire off an email to me saying this guy’s good. This woman is not good. Here’s why, and I could keep adjusting it until we get it dialed in. Then when we get it dialed in, you see how much it’s worth to you. And maybe we charge you $50. Maybe we charge you a hundred dollars.
Sam: Yep. Or I would put them on a retainer monthly and, and, and then, and the other thing I would do is I would give the first 10 or 20 free because it’s a low risk easy.
Andrew: And then you are giving up something by, by giving
Sam: But the lifetime value is so high. If I structure the actual arrangement of the fee that I’m getting. And if it’s just a retainer, that is, if I look at the value of the lead to you or to me in this case, and I charge you well below the value of the lead, let’s say a 10th of the value of the lead.
And I know that you’re very profitable off of that. You’re going to continue to pay me. And if I can do that continuously for multiple businesses, I can just endlessly create revenue. So it’s something I’ve thought about and been very interested in, in pursuing in different things. And, um, probably over the next year, we’ll try and do more of it.
Cause I think it really is. That’s the lifeblood of business, right? New leads that convert to sales. That’s the lifeblood of business. You can screw a lot up if you get that right. You’re in business.
Andrew: Sponsor is HostGator. If you need a website to run this idea so that you have something to show potential, clients go to hostgator.com/mixergy. You’ll get a website that’s hosted quickly. You’ll get a website that will stand up and keep growing with you. And because you use my URL, you’re going to get a really low price.
That’s hostgator.com/mixergy. And if you’re curious about what that is, opto software is okay. Go to mixergy.com/z O P T O. mixergy.com/is opto. You’ll see a video explaining how that works and how to get leads for clients.
Sam: If you’ve managed to do something really dumb with whatever you bought the domain from HostGator probably has the best customer service to help you fix it quickly. been pretty impressed.
Andrew: Me too.
Sam: I’ve over the years, I’ve reached out a couple of times for different things and they, yeah, I am truly actually been impressed with their customer service.
So, you know, actual truth.
Andrew: hostgator.com/mixergy people. All right. We were starting to talk about how, um, Ontraport and partnerships in general are helpful. What happened with Ontraport? The software company.
Sam: So with Ontraport, this is a very good example and there’s a lot of opportunities out there for this enormous amount of opportunities. They have a, and we can just use this specific example cause it’s, you can use your brain, you can use it across any, any partnership. Um, they have a certified partners consulting program.
You pay, you go through their class and boom. Now you’re listed with them and they. This takes work on being slightly savvy, which is communicating with whoever’s running the partner program, what you can do so that they know what type of business to send you versus just the business that might come from the listing, which it could be hit or miss.
It could be really good. It could be really small, but if you open up a dialogue, maintain a dialogue and, and build a relationship and this idea of communication and building relationships, then. And that’s what we did with the, the manager of the partner program there early on and member partner, program managers change.
So you gotta keep up with that. Uh, they, they, most businesses have situations that their customer service teams are not built to handle, but somebody wants to do something with their software that could potentially be a very good customer for them. And if you. If they know that you do good work and you send videos back of like happy clients and stuff like that, they will continue to send you business.
And I think that’s true for. Any partnership you develop. I mean, that’s not the only partnership. It’s certainly been a strong one for us. Uh, and we like Ontraport because it’s a central tool that we can move lots of other systems data through and trigger things off of. And so when we talk about creating flows for someone’s business, in the different aspects of those five processes, it becomes a very good central tool to put everything through, but.
Andrew: the big message that I’m getting from you is go to the software that you’re using. Talk to the people who are working with clients and let them know what work you’re doing with their software. And that if they have any clients who need more, more hands-on work, they should send them to you.
And the thing that you did that I’ve got to remember to do is you created videos with your clients. It sounds like to show, to show the
Sam: Yeah. You got a happy client. You make them happy, like ask if they’ll talk about the experience they had with you and then send they’ll just, you know, you can use that in other marketing and then. Sales flows and like, whatever you want to do that, but send it back to the partner because they go, we send somebody over there.
They were happy. Most people don’t talk to this software company after they purchase it, you know? And so if they say, wow, they’re making people happy. We, we feel comfortable. It’s just a matter of trust in government. We feel comfortable sending people their way and you can do that. And I think specifically, not just the software you’re using, right, but who do you want to, who do you want as clients and your business, whatever your business may be, just think about.
What does your business do? What tools are out there who’s creating a customer for you is the bottom line.
Andrew: Got it. So who’s working with the people who you want as a customer, go to them and say, if you have people who, who need more hands on support than you’re willing to, to offer, send them our way as consultants, we’ll take care of that for you. And I’ve noticed that Sam, this is especially big with new vendors of services and software.
So for example, when we signed up for, um, We were working with a managed WordPress hosting company a while back. And it was just driving me freaking bonkers because they wouldn’t let me use certain plugins. And they said, look, we can’t do that for you go to this agency that we’ve worked with and they will do it this whole setup for you.
And they’ll help you figure out what’s white labeled and what’s
Sam: And that’s it.
Andrew: right. And so that’s what we need to think about as consultants who has our customers, how do we partner up with them? And they don’t even want a commission. Right. They just want to know when they’re sending someone over to do they want to commission your, I just did something.
Sam: No, they don’t want a commission, but I was going to say, send like the occasional gift, you know, to the person who sent you the business, like we’re humans, working with humans, be a human.
Andrew: What’s a good gift that you’ve given people.
Sam: Uh, so I always try and. Find out a little bit about, you know, I’ve built relationships. So I try to find out what’s interesting to that individual. Um, but like one of the folks that Ontraport who sent us some business, she was, she just had a baby. And so we sent up a stroller like a really nice stroller.
Andrew: You know what kids
Sam: don’t have, I don’t have a generic answer. I have like, people like money, but they like, when you think about them as investors
Andrew: So I have a hard time thinking about what to get people. And I also have to tell you, Sam, I fricking hate getting gifts. I don’t need more stuff in my life, but. You just hit on something that’s really important. Those major moments in people’s lives or their whole life changes. Those are times too.
Think about a gift where everybody wants one babies. Having had a baby, couple of them. I have a sense of what people need and what I wish I’d known. And so I give that to someone who’s about to have a baby. if they’re moving, that’s the type of time when people are changing and they need stuff, but here’s, here’s my here’s my go-to now.
Okay. Number one. I tried to start a conversation with something personal before I get into business, not interviews. So with you, I rip right into you as soon as you
Sam: Yeah. Like beat me up from the get-go. Like I got to go jump on the blog and be like, what have we, you to hang, hanging
Andrew: fix this thing. Um, but yeah,
Sam: sent a note already. I’m like, maybe by the end of the interview, we’ll have this thing fixed.
Andrew: Um, but I do take a moment if someone’s talking to me about something work-related. To talk about their personal lives. And I find Sam, most people don’t know. Should I re, should I share this? Is it weird?
Sam: Yeah, in a business relationship.
Andrew: here’s what I do. I talk about one thing that happened to me in the last 24 hours related to family or to like a personal interest.
Cause they’ll say, so how are things going? I go, well, yesterday I went for this run and I tried this new type of nutrition. And it’s kind of a weird thing because it made me feel tired. What did w and then for some reason, people love talking about the food that they eat and how, uh, the energy they get from it.
The other thing I do is I say, My kids are now home today until my son right now is whittling somewhere in a park with my wife, because she had to take time off. So I share something personal. And then if they have kids, they tend to share something. And then that’s where I give the present. So I love kites lately because we’ve had a lot of wind here.
I just sent him a kite on Amazon. That’s a nice little gift to know your kids get to use it. And their kids feel like mommy’s a hero because she got us this gift because of her work.
Sam: Exactly. So it’s like you, you just have to think about it and B be a human, just be personable. Like.
Andrew: be a human. I need to have a checklist. That’s why I’m telling you. I got a checklist go for the kids.
Sam: So that’s where you bring automation in right sale happens. Get a task that says, Hey, Sam, in time to send a gift. So that’s where you use something like process and automation that because your sale came through a system that you can track and, you know, something came in, you then automate a reminder to yourself with a extra followup reminder to send something over.
Now, if you forget after two reminders, maybe you need a third, but like, you know, I can’t help you after a certain point, but the bottom line is
Andrew: two, how about this? How about you? Forget after two, an email is triggered to your assistant or to someone else to automatically send something. So at least you’ve sent something
Sam: get pick out a minimum, like thing that you would send that would work for pretty much anybody, but, but the biggest impacts, like one of the folks at Ontraport was really in, and then we can go back to whatever you want to talk about, but, uh, was really into, um, what was it like? Comic books, right?
Like super, what does that call, like, I guess just comic books, but like there’s a specific sub genre that he was into and it was like really cool. And he helped us out with something and then, and sent some business our way. And so we. Got like when I found a specialty comic book store and got like a really cool thing and sent it to him that was relevant and interesting to him.
So that’s the idea, you know, it’s just like people think about this in terms of marketing what’s relevant. Think about it in terms of just human relationships. Like it’s, it’s really not rocket science, but it does take effort and the effort that small amount of effort, what I’ve found has a huge. the amount of time that somebody remembers what you’re doing for them is, is pretty big.
Andrew: I found a, I’ve talked about this before. We’ve been setting mikes. I love the way this is a brand new mic that we sent you. I love the way it looks on your desk. It’s this is maybe my favorite, my mic. So far, every time we start sending mikes to guest Sam, Amazon runs out of them, you know, because we’re sending so many and there’s not a lot of inventory and a lot of need for these specialty mix.
So we’ve kind of run out fast. This one I have really been enjoying and you’re thinking maybe you send that out as a gift to people.
Sam: People on zoom calls for a long time, you know, to, to build that relationship with people. And so. You, that idea is something that I, I, as soon as you send it to me, I told Josh, my dad and I was like, Hey, check this out. Like, Whoa. And he, and we were like, this would be a great thing to send to the people we work with because it’s relevant.
We’re not doing podcasts, but we’re doing lots of calls with people and they feel special. Make people feel special. That’s the bottom line. Like make people feel to something that makes them feel special. The time is more important than the money that you invest in thinking about it. But the money doesn’t hurt.
If it’s got some value behind it.
Andrew: I do find, even if it’s just a quick gift, that’s not the most amazing gift. It does force me to spend a minute thinking about them beyond the work. And it’s like this, I forget which fast food it was. I forget. I think it might’ve been Denny’s where they were finding that their chefs were moving too quickly through the food.
And, uh, frankly, I think it was, I thought, I think it was making people sick. I don’t remember the exact story, but of the things that was implemented was. A whole new way of cooking. And then at the end, put a Sprig of parsley on the breakfast. So that at least you’re taking a moment to think about how you want to make this look nice for your guests.
And I think about that a lot that at some point, even if you’re forcing people to think through these little gestures, they’re thinking, and they’re paying attention and I do that for myself,
Sam: Yeah. And so, dude, yeah, you gotta just do it for yourself and like force yourself into somebody ultimately says I don’t have time for that then I can’t help you.
Andrew: all right. Let’s close out with this. The biggest challenge, uh, in your business, Ari, our producer asked you, and you said it was designing custom solutions for people. I thought everything was custom solutions. Talk to me about what the, what you mean by this biggest challenge in the business. Okay.
Sam: so that’s the reality is like the, a lot of the majority of what we do is customer custom, not customer custom solutions. And it is the biggest challenge. It’s the least scalable of the things we do. And so, you know, the truth is that’s something that we’re looking at internally to say, what can we do that is, that is.
Cause we have pieces that we can put in place from other, uh, projects that we’ve done. We go, Oh, we use this process. We introduce it to someone. And then it’s, it’s relatively quick, right. To put in because we’ve put it, we have to adapt it to their situation, but it’s relatively quick. But. Anything that’s that becomes truly custom one-off thought process, which is why people get involved with us because they want something for their unique situation.
Their business reality is a lot of businesses have crossover. Um, but that is the, that is the biggest challenge I would say. And I don’t know that that’s any kind of revelation, but it is, it is just the truth of doing custom work is that while it’s engaging and interesting, it’s also from a managing your time effectively and with a team, when you go into something that’s custom different new, it’s not something you’ve done before, you know, or in
Andrew: around it. This is just one of the parts of the business that you’ve got to deal with.
Sam: Under this current model.
Andrew: What’s the new model going to be that will allow you to deal with this better.
Sam: Well, I’d love to say I have ideal models in my mind, but you know, the reality is the model will be, will be what it ends up being at the outcome. So, uh, but the, the ideal model is in some ways, Very repeatable process oriented solutions that we can deliver to people. They can implement themselves. And we’re not doing the custom work for they’re thinking about it in their context, or it’s a package of processes that they can just take and use quickly.
Right away and get value out of, but you know, that’s something we’re working through internally, if I’m honest with it and we haven’t fully figured it out, how we want to, how we want to do it. We have some ideas where this year is the year that we’re going to be testing more of that. And I have a feeling that we’re going to have things that do well and things that flop because we’re testing.
Andrew: Right, but that’s your next goal? How can you systemize more of the work that you do, Sam so that not every project is a start from scratch.
Sam: That’s right.
Andrew: All right.
Sam: a question or a statement? Cause that’s what I’m trying to do. That’s that’s the goal.
Sam: And I dunno if you, if we have time for it, but I’m happy to talk about the relationship with my dad. Cause I think that’s an interesting thing or it’s totally
Andrew: what? Go forward. Tell me what’s going on with you and your dad.
Sam: So I would say that that’s the other side of the biggest challenge.
Also, one of the biggest benefits is that like working with, and you brought it up right at the beginning, you know, and that, that were father, son partnership in the business and, uh, working. With a family member, specifically a parent and, and everybody’s got different relationships. Ours is really strong as, as a son, father, you know, great communication.
We talk all the time. But when we started working together in a business, here was the biggest challenge that we encountered. If I thought he was wrong, that was the number one thing we had to overcome because it was easy as my dad. If he thought I was wrong, right. That is kind of a natural relationship.
Hey son, you’re wrong. You know, and there’s that that’s kind of built in, but when we are working through challenging, difficult ideas, and we have to come up with a solution strategically for somebody that. Thought process requires a lot of vetting and also the ability to say no, I, I don’t think that is a good idea.
Here’s why here’s all the reasons that it wouldn’t work, you know, and fat and not piss each other off at the end of the day and have my, my mom calling me, like, why is dad all upset at you? You know, and, and wanting to, you know, do get rid of you as a business partner or whatever. And so that. Is a reality and it’s something that has to be addressed because I think it has the potential to completely destroy a relationship that, you know, at the end of the day, if, if it didn’t work working together, we’d rather scrap what we do together as a business and keep our relationship as father and son.
That’s more important.
Andrew: And, and the, one of the ways you do that is you’re saying when you disagree, you want to explain why you disagree, not just, not just take a position.
Sam: Yeah. And not attack personally, but there’s another level to it because it’s easy to interpret that as like a personal attack on someone. So what we developed. Just for ourselves that works is rehab. What we call, we just named them because we needed a name catalyst sessions. And the idea is that we have to get to a better outcome.
And we haven’t figured the solution out. That could be something we’re doing internally for a client, whatever it is, but we have to solve a problem and we need to go through a bunch of ideas and iterations and ways we can look at it. And the outcome is the focus on what the problem is. Not nobody’s being personally attacked.
Everything’s fair game to open up and discuss and break down. And then at the end of that, you know, hopefully we have a solution or we need to do another session to get there, but there it’s known that like, whatever I’m saying, and however, my tone is coming across. It’s not a personal attack on you as my son or as my father.
It’s an attack on the idea to try and get to a better solution. We call them a catalyst session cause it’s like catalyzing an idea to a better outcome. But that’s, you can call it whatever you want. We have established that for ourselves to be able to work rapidly together. Cause you can’t take all day to come up with, you know, forever to come up with ideas and vet solutions.
Like you got to get to it, you got to make decisions. And so that is something that came out of realizing that we were getting frustrated at each other and we had to come up with something. Otherwise it wasn’t going to work.
Andrew: All right. People to the website. And then when they go over, they’re not going to see that temp, that test
Sam: No that’s going
Andrew: put up there, that’s gone away. All right, people go check it out. It’s at mobile pocket office.com. Now that you told me why it’s called that, it makes total sense. Mobile pocket office.com.
and I want to thank the two sponsors who made this interview happen. The first is if you decide that you need a website or you don’t like your hosting company and you decide you need a new hosting company. Go to HostGator. Do what I did. hostgator.com/mixergy. They’ll host you, right. And they’ll keep, keep that price low.
And number two, if you’re into online marketing in any way, go right now. Jump on this offer while it’s still available. It’s mixergy.com/semrush, S E M R U S H mixergy.com/semrush. Sam, grateful to you for doing this interview.
Sam: Thank you. I really enjoyed it. Hopefully people can get something out of it
Andrew: Cool. And I’ll look on your Instagram to see if you’re, if you’re skiing today, skiing tomorrow morning, it seems like it’s a
Sam: Mo like three, three or four days a week in the morning. I’m usually at the Trailhead at around 6:00 AM, either with my wife, brother
Andrew: you’re skiing as much as I run. That’s freaking killer
Sam: Well, so I ski we’re skiing uphill, right? So we’re doing back country skiing. So we like skin up to the top of whatever we’re going to ski. So it’s like, you know, maybe this morning we did 1600 vertical feet up and then we ski down back to the car. So it’s like, that’s my cardio in the winter.
Andrew: workout. It sounds fun to do you listen to music or a podcast while you do that, or you just focused?
Sam: It just depends. I’m a big podcast person. And then if I haven’t downloaded all the way, it’ll die halfway through because I lose service and then I’ll just look around or if I’m out and it’s just myself and my wife or with somebody else, then I’m usually, you know, We’re kind of like, go, go, go. You know, so we get kind of like in this like F we’re pretty F athletic focused with our endeavors.
And so we do get a little bit in like an intense training mode. So it just depends, but sometimes you want to go a little slower to start. Cause it’s like 6:00 AM and you’re just like, I’m just going to like to start this off a little slower. And then usually somebody ramps up and has the horsepower that you want to keep up.
Andrew: All right. Thanks for doing this interview. Hope to see you in person again soon. Bye bye everyone.
MENTIONED IN THE PODCAST:
Link to Masteringdiabetes.org and video 👇
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