Speaker 1: (00:06) [Inaudible] RV: (00:06) Over the years, I would say it’s been delightful and inspiring to get to know Dan and Joanne Miller. Dan was one of the very first mentors I sat down with when we moved to Nashville now 10 years ago. And I reached out to him because I heard of him and knew of his, his influence. And he’s the New York times bestselling author of a book called 48 days to the work you love, which just released the 20th anniversary hardcover edition, which is pretty amazing. That book has been in hard cover and still so successful after all these years. He’s also written other books. No no more dreaded Mondays wisdom meets passion. He’s been on CBS early show hardball with Chris Matthews. He’s been on the Dave Ramsey show. He’s spoken at the white house and, you know, he, he has a huge podcast. RV: (00:57) It’s usually like in the top two, three, five, every, every single week for careers under career podcasts on iTunes. And he’s just built an amazing community, the 48 days Eagles dot com. It’s like a community and he’s, they’ve built a business out of it. It’s given them an amazing lifestyle. And I just wanted to give you a chance to meet Dan and hear some of his philosophies about how they’ve done it and the behind the scenes journey, because I, I think of him and, and Joanne of just having more than prosperity, having peace and joy and happiness and just as well as profound impact in addition to money and influence that I think a lot of us aspire to. So anyways, Dan, thanks for making some time for us. Thanks was looking forward to, this has been too long since we had a conversation is going to be awesome. RV: (01:53) Yeah. And I, you know, the other times I’ve interviewed you for like, you know, our other old podcasts and stuff was really kind of about your work. And I, I feel like I kind of called in a favor to say, Hey, would you talk to us today more about, less about your expertise? Kind of, although there’s a lot of overlap and more about how did you become, you know, what you are today? Cause you were a personal brand long before personal branding was ever a term like you were building a digital community long before that was ever popular. And so can you just tell us, like, how did you get, how did you get started? You know, this is before social media was really around and like, this is before all of this, you know, what we know today is are the, the essential tenants of a personal brand. You were doing it long, long before. So can you talk to us about that a little bit? DM: (02:47) Absolutely. Yeah. And I was around doing things, building the business before we had hogs podcast and Instagram and Facebook and Pinterest and all those things. It can Be done. Those are just tools and we’re thankful for them, but I started what I’m doing today as a Sunday school class at our church in Nashville. And it was just a class on career life transition. A lot of people were going through unexpected unwelcomed, kind of transitions. And church asked me if I would do that. My academic background is in clinical psychology. I said, sure. Now the interesting thing about that is that I expected to have the 22 year old had just lost his job at burger King, you know, show up in frustrated, what do I do next? We had a few of those. We also had dentists physicians, attorneys, pastors, engineers, accountants, who showed up and said, everybody sees me as successful and I’m doing okay, but I don’t think this is it. So it was that kind of board that I don’t think I’m on track that was so such an obvious need and an immense need caused me to move into this space. DM: (03:58) Well, I didn’t anticipate originally this being a business. I mean, I’m an entrepreneur. I can go make money in a lot of ways. I’m a sales guy, but this was so explosive that finally with Joanne, my wife’s insistence, if I was going to spend so much time in this, that ought to have something to do with our income, that I started looking at opportunities. There put together a real rudimentary form of my Sunday school notes in the three ring binder. And we started selling those like crazy, but I immediately recognized the need. How do you make this stand out? There’s a lot of material out there on careers, on starting a business, finding your passion, all of that. How do you make this stand out? So I was way back then experimenting with what is the catch phrase? You know, I had 30 days to the work you have. DM: (04:47) Well, 30 is just a generic number. It’s like seven, 10 30, 90, 180. And this was back when 48 hours was becoming popular as a TV show. And I said, I’ll bet I can get some brand recognition. If I use that number 48, wasn’t very scientific. Roy. Wasn’t very thoughtful, but I just did it as a marketing technique, just as let’s try this. We started sending out 48 peppermint patties with every order that we were sending out. And that became something that was really iconic that people recognized and expected, but it was so powerful. It really was like somebody threw gasoline on my business because it was something that got their attention and thus what you do with branding. So 48 days now, here’s how that, you know, gonna close the gap here. I mean, I’m still known as a career coach. So if you put in career coaching in a Google search, you’re going to get 13, 14 million sites. DM: (05:46) I’m sure I’m in there somewhere, but I don’t really care where you put in 48 days. Just that nothing else. I own it. I’m going to own the first couple of pages of Google, not because of fancy SEO or buying ads or anything just because I’m the guy who says not just, well, we’ll figure this out. When the kids graduate, when you get another degree, when you finished paying a mortgage, no, I’m the guy who says you can change your life dramatically in 48 days. If you create a plan and act on it. So I discovered that 20 years ago, and that was so powerful. And so I’ve built everything and celery products all come back to that core message. And that’s important as well. One core message, not 10 different messages, one core message, figure out how God has uniquely gifted you. What’s it going to look like on Monday morning? That’s the message I’ve built from that all these years. RV: (06:42) It seems like you recognize also the problem was a big part of like you recognized early on. Wow. People are really struggling to find purpose. Like they’re really struggling to find sort of their sort of their career identity. So what’s, what is your business model? So you mentioned career coach, and I think, you know, I know a lot of people who kind of think of you in that space, cause that’s like, you know, a lot of, kind of what you’re writing about career transition or you have written about what’s your actual business model. Like how, how do you make money? And then also give us a sense of how that’s evolved over time. And and, and also when did you start this, right? Like how many years ago did you start on this journey? You know, so that we’ve got some perspective cause we got some people that are pretty experienced and then we’ve also got people who are brand new beginners, you know, just trying to kind of figure it out and find their way. DM: (07:36) Well, I started this really about 22 years ago when I started teaching that Sunday school class and the low hanging fruit. So to speak in terms of monetization was coaching. People want said, man, can you meet with me? You know, help me review revise. RV: (07:55) One-On-One you’re talking like one on one coaching. DM: (07:57) Absolutely. So initially I was co when I made the transition and stop the other things I was doing to do just this, I was coaching five days a week, five days a week because the needs were so immense. And here’s the thing about building a brand. I could still be doing that today. The needs of certainly not diminished, they’ve increased, but today, well, starting then, as soon as I started develop other parts of my business, I went to four days to three days to two days today I dedicate one day a month to personal coaching because the other parts, my business have grown now, what has, what has happened there? You know, as you know, as you mentioned at the brand new addition to 48 days to the work you love out as a book. But when I do my projections financially, even though I have a New York times bestselling book and others, lots of others out there too, I project zero in income income directly from a book is so elusive. DM: (09:01) You can’t really do a whole lot to make it happen. I feel like it’s kind of, you know, getting, getting an ice cream cone when those royalty checks come, but I don’t place any direct focus on that, but I use the message and leverage it in other ways. So we have a course that goes with that an online course in person course, other insulary products that we’ve got with that. And because I have a clear core message, I do get requests for speaking. So there’s that, you know, universities contact me a lot for speaking and then there’s live events. Cause right now we’ve changed that model. But we have lots of live events that are really popular. We’ve been doing those at the sanctuary, which you know, is just a barn on our property and Franklin. We, we say we limit those to 48 people. We usually have 60 there. We can kind of cram 60 in that little space. And we were doing seven of those a year, 70 events. People pay a thousand dollars each for those. So 60 times, seven times, RV: (10:09) Hold on, I want to capture this. So you said, so you’re saying seven events a year and six 60 people, DM: (10:19) Right? RV: (10:20) So you’re talking about 420 people, right? 60 times seven DM: (10:27) I’m thousand dollars. So there’s that property on our property and dollars just right there. That’s right. So no, you know, no overhead, no hotel fees. We could handle our own catering. We’d have a lot of fun. We’d have famous, Dave’s show up with their red truck and do live barbecue right on our property and just fun things like that. But our overhead was extremely low. So it did that. And then affiliate commissions, you know, nurturing relationships. My goodness right now I’m doing a lot of interviews. Well, I set out like 50 packets, like I said to you for this book. And I didn’t send those to anybody who I don’t have a longterm relationship with. So you talked about our friendship goes back 10 years. That’s pretty typical. So if I send it to John Lee Dumas or Pat Flynn or Dave Ramsey or Michael Hyatt, you know, those are all people that I know. DM: (11:21) I didn’t just send these out cold and say, Hey, interview me zero of those. These are the people that I know. So I sent those out. I’ve already booked I think 36 interviews as a result of that. So there’s that kind of exponential impact on my brand that comes easily when I’ve developed a relationship. So for years, and then affiliate commissions, the same kind of thing. So a free Edwards is promoting is a copywriting Academy. You know, I promote that. Well, I think the last time I did that one in particular, I think I got $26,000. So, you know, affiliate commissions are another way there. And then the biggest thing, the thing I’m most excited about right now is our online community. So what we talking about though, is having, RV: (12:08) Is that, is that a membership? Is this like a membership model? DM: (12:11) Yes. Yes. It’s $48 a month. We just went with my signature number $40 a month. But it’s where people who know they have an idea they want to pursue, they want to develop it. They can link arms with other people who were in the same path where there’s a generous sharing of ideas and resources. So they’re in that now it’s fairly new for us. We have about 1100 people in there right now. And I’m very quickly focused on growing that to 2,500 people. Well, again, if you do the math on that, you know, 2,500 people, $40 a month, that’s another, that’s a million dollar revenue stream there and doesn’t require a whole lot of me, but it’s those things that have allowed me then to go from coaching, something that requires all of my time and effort and also something that requires that generates linear income. I do at once get paid ones into these models where there’s continuity, where there’s ongoing revenue and things that require very little, my time RV: (13:14) [Inaudible]. So I love that. So you’ve built into that. So you started as service model and then you moved. Can you give me an idea with the courses? Do you do one course for every book or do you just have one course and are, are your courses like, you know, higher price ones or lower price ones? Or have you done like a little bit of all of them? Like give us a sense, a sense of that, because it seems like if you, if you’re doing one on one coaching and then that teaches you a lot of content, cause you’re working and then you go, okay, let me put that into a book and you go, if I wrote a book, now I can produce a course. So do you have like one flagship or do you have multiple ones? DM: (13:52) The 40 days to work you love online seminar is, is really what I would call our flagship course. So there is that, but we have other courses and I am quick to throw out a course. I mean, I’ll put together a course. We have a lot of courses that are $48. How to start a business with 15 hours a week, how to overcome your upper upper limit challenge in those are things I’m doing one right now, I’m going to put together on how to hack cars. So you can drive exotic cars without cost you any money. But I put together courses and in, in having an audience, having an audience that pays attention, I can put things out there and there’s a ready receptance of those. I don’t have to do some fancy, you know, click funnel, launch to get it out there and surprise a lot of people who never heard about me. Now we do a lot of just gentle releases inside our community. And then they spread the word to what goes beyond that. RV: (14:55) So on those courses. So you’ll see like the flagship course versus a $48 course, like just a quick one. How much time is there a big time difference in the content like is, is and I just mean like recorded time. So like if I buy your flagship course, how many hours, you know, do I need to have versus if it’s like, okay, it’s a, it’s a $48 course on something that’s like kind of fun and fast, you know, is there a big difference? Is it, is it the, is it the topic that determines the price point or is it kind of more of like the volume of, you know, training hours that are in the course? DM: (15:36) Some of both we consider 48 days to really be that big, the big, the big bear, you know, that, that really covers a lot in there. I have 48 videos of the, usually four to six minutes. So they’re short, but in that to really go through it, you know, you need to be prepared to spend 20 hours to really go through that. That’s two 97 is what we charge for that, those that are $48 or $17. You know, some of those you can go through in two hours, so there’s much less content. It’s a very specific topic that we’re addressing. Gotcha. RV: (16:16) In a couple and just a couple hours, but that’s, I mean, that’s really interesting. You’ve, you’ve built a flagship course on something that’s a few hundred bucks. It’s not a thousand dollars or $2,000. And like you’ve been over the course of time here just to kind of steadily grow and grow. Like, is that how you would, you would describe your business as just like a, a snowball that kind of just has been steadily growing and then over, you know, years you look back and go, wow, this has grown to be something pretty, pretty amazing. DM: (16:47) Yeah, it is, you know, a lot of what I’ve done and this is almost embarrassing to admit as a business guy, you know, I didn’t sit down and really create a strategic plan, have my big whiteboard up and all about this. This has really evolved around me because I keep responding to things that people I asked for. One of the mantras that has served me really well is if three people ask me the same question, I create a product to solve that. Wow. So a lot of this, and it’s only been my goodness in as much as I’ve been doing this, you know, 20 years, it’s only been in the last three or four years that I brought in as strategists to really help us map out what we’re doing, but there’s been so much just responding to what people are asking for. And we had those, I mean, I didn’t intend to do live events. DM: (17:40) And then people were asking me, how did you do what you’ve done with 48 days to the work you love? And while I’m telling people and over and over again, I decided it’d be easier to tell people, sitting in a room to do that same way with coaching. How have you become recognized as the coach that you are? Well, we started teaching people now one of our flagship training programs is coaching mastery where people come in and it’s a six month program, $4,800 come in. And again, the economy of scale, we have people in a group we’re going through that at any given time. We walk them through, there’s a weekly call. They have to document, they have to go through this certification coaching one-on-one, which is online training that I’ve done. So it doesn’t require my time. And then they have to document 48 hours of paid coaching. DM: (18:35) And that’s really a distinctive element because there are a lot of coaching certification programs out there where you buy the videos and you’re certified that breaks my heart. You know, how do we measure competence in that? So we require 48 hours of documented where I listened to recordings and all that on, on that to get somebody certified, but it’s responding to what people are asking for and in doing so, I keep seeing these new areas of things that are developing as major business legs for us. And the interesting thing is, I mean, right now we know live events have been decimated well, fortunately we’ve got a whole lot of other things in place that have been accelerated in this period of time. Sure. But the interesting thing is as well, if I anticipate what I want my business to look like three years from now, there are some core components that will certainly be continuing, but I am confident there’s going to be new things that I can’t even imagine yet. DM: (19:40) That to me, that’s really exciting. So I use as my business model, a Venn diagram with three circles. So they overlap in the center, are my books. My writing, my writing is my first love. That’s, that’s my zone of genius. That’s where I want to spend more and more time, but those don’t create money directly, but they fuel the growth of everything else we have in place as part of our business model. But having that Venn diagram then allows seven distinct areas. So that at any given time, one of those can be on the bubble. Is this going to continue or not? But replacing it, doesn’t put us back starting over. It’s simply a small component of continuing to move forward. RV: (20:30) So in terms of your audience, like you mentioned it you know, I think there’s such a, there’s such a craze around social media, you know, and, and that, and, and you’re not someone that, I mean, you’ve got a social media following, but you’re not someone that it’s like, you go, Oh yeah, this guy is he’s, he’s the killer. He’s the King of online influence. So you’ve been building your community in some other way. I’m going to presume as more of like the email list and the podcast. So could you just talk about how you what’s, what are some of your philosophies around building that audience? Cause that’s, that is how I think of you is you have this community that you’ve built a longterm relationship with longterm trust. You’re not always pitching them the next highest dollar thing. It’s low dollar things consistently that provide value. RV: (21:24) The soft launches. They’re not like these huge, like blitzes where everyone in the world hears about them. It’s like very casual and, and, and in a nurturing relationship. And I think that’s, that’s just a philosophy that I think is not as many people hear about. I mean, the other one certainly can, can generate a lot of income and be successful too. But I feel like everything you do is more kind of just like graceful. And I, I don’t know that it’s, that slower is not the right word, but it’s more like organic and maybe slower is the word it’s not rut. It doesn’t feel rushed all the time. DM: (22:00) You are exactly right. And I do that very intentionally. Is it tempting to jump on the bandwagon with some of the news, social media things we’ve got where you can do, you know, a $2 million launch? Yeah, it is. But I resist a lot of what I see in those spaces and the way that they use slick sales copy, oughta, hype, urgency, all those things in artificial ways to move people into making a decision. And what I see that also, you know, I hear from people who do a launch like that, and then they have a 30 to 40% refund rate. You gotta be kidding me. I mean, we, you know, we track like with mail order, you can anticipate like 12 to 15% returns just buyer’s remorse. You know how that goes. We’ve never hit 1% in what we do. And what that means is are we missing some of those big infusions of cash? DM: (23:09) Yeah, absolutely. I recognize that I liked the other way around, you know, in our community and in online communities tend to be really volatile. People come in and you know, stick their toe in the water. And two months later they’re gone in shirt is horrendous. That’s not true in my community. We have people who come in and they’re going to be there for a life. They just stay. I have people who have purchased everything I’ve ever done. So they started with an $8 audio. They moved into a $297 course. They came to a live event, you know, then they went through coaching mastery. Then they want to have access to my mastermind. You know, they’ve spent 30, $40,000 with me, but it’s been over a period of time. Not all at once. We’ve looked at that. And again, boy, is it tempting with some of these things, but we did well, I just prefer the tortoise and the Hare. Remember that kid’s story. RV: (24:16) So to dive in on that a little bit, cause I, you know, when I think of like, you know, the different mentors that I have in my life and, and that agent and I’ve had over the years, you know, I think a lot of my life is driven by kind of, you know, like my early development is ambition and success and hustle and drive and even, you know, my own book self-discipline and taking the stairs and you guys are really, I feel like are like a counterbalancing force in our life, which is more like harmony peace you know, like pace lifestyle. And can you talk a little bit about that? Like, just in terms of how much you work and, and, and was there, was it more like there was a season when all you did was hustle and it was like, you know, do the Gary Vaynerchuk work until your eyeballs bleed and then you kinda got to a point where you pulled it back or have you always just kinda been like steady Eddie kind of plugging along, but doing other stuff and like, you know, having, I don’t know, I don’t really love the word balance necessarily, but you know, more, more pursuits outside of just like driving the entrepreneurial success story. DM: (25:32) I’ve always hustled. I kind of resist that word because of what it seems to imply, but I’ve always been a hard worker. I’ve always been disciplined. I enjoy work. There is no way that I am trying to get to four hour workweek. It’s just not on the horizon at all. I have zero desire to ever get there. I hope the day I die, you know, that I write three new chapters in my current book in the morning and then go to my funeral in the afternoon. I have no desire to pare down, but now that being said, I’m very strategic about how I use my time. So let me give you a quick example. Mondays are I take care of anything having to do with business? So meetings with my team, always on Monday benders, considering new software, whatever those things all take place on Monday, Tuesday is my coaching day. DM: (26:29) So any coaching calls I have happened, then I have our coaching mastery call call with my personal mastermind. All this kind of things happen on Tuesday, Monday morning, I do my podcast, I that magic mailbox with mr questions. And I put my podcasts together Wednesday afternoon, I’m available for interviews. So I usually do three or four interviews on Wednesday afternoons. That’s the only time Thursday and Friday, no appointments, no commitments. Those are dedicated to at Cal Cal Newport calls, deep work, deep work. That’s when I think and write, I love. And to me looking at the course of my week like that, I mean, it’s like, you know, salivating to get to the piece of key lime pie. That’s what it’s like for me to get to Thursday and Friday, because I love that so much, but those are days. And inevitably there’s an opportunity. Gee, we want to get together for a committee meeting. Do we want to have you come to this conference or whatever? No, I’m more protective of those two days than anything. Now, to me that provides the kind of harmony that I want my weekly schedule. So I’m not overbooked. I’m not rushing around. I’m not, you know, crazy with, you know, things on top of each other. And so in rushing in and out, I live a very casual life. I’m pretty introverted. So I’m not looking for lots of things, just immerse me in crowds. And I have a really peaceful life. RV: (28:11) I mean, it’s, it’s a wonderful thing. And it’s just your, your home is peaceful. Your relationships are peaceful. And I just, I really think it’s it’s a different energy about how you’ve done it. And yet it’s been hugely successful. It’s given you everything and more, I think that you ever originally set out to do. I mean, beyond DM: (28:35) I, I’m still humbled in recognizing that on a decent day, I make more money than my dad ever made in a year. That’s pretty astounding. You know, I’m a simple farm kid, but I recognize the power of having, having a system in place systems that work for you systems that create residual income. And it allows a freedom that is just hard to have imagined even 20 years ago. And one of the things that comes up a lot roar, and you, you, you’ve alluded to this. A lot of what I get contacted for today is not how to grow your Facebook likes by another 20,000 people, how to get more bog hours or how to launch product. There’s a whole lot of guys out there and your generation that can do a better job with that than I, but I get contacted a whole lot by your generation saying, how can I make sure I create the kind of life that you enjoy and are living now that I don’t screw this up? Just recently, I had worked with the young guy who went from $50,000 a year in one year to two to 1.3 million and is looking to grow that there’s a tendency in that to sabotage it, if you aren’t careful. And he’s saying, how can I protect the things that matter most to me, even though I don’t have to get up and hustle to make another buck this afternoon? RV: (30:05) Yeah. Well that DM: (30:07) Is an RV: (30:09) Awesome perspective. And I think a different perspective that we don’t, we don’t hear enough of Dan, where do you want people to go? If they want to kind of plug in and see how you do it and what you do, and maybe join in as a being led by you? Where, what where would you direct them? DM: (30:25) Well, I appreciate that we created a really cool page for your listeners. They go to 48 days.com/rory, and you’ll see samples of the new book. There’s a quiz there. How close are you to living your best life? I really love that and just free resources. They can go there and circles, see other things we’re doing. RV: (30:48) I love it. We’ll put a link to 48 days.com/rory. You could go check that out. Damn. We wish you the best we miss you at Tennessee. I know you’re down there in Florida now, but thank you so much for your, for your, for your wisdom and, and and just your perspective in your friendship. DM: (31:04) Hey, always my pleasure, Roy. Thanks. [inaudible].
RV: (00:06) Hey, brand builder, Rory Vaden here. Thank you so much for tuning in to listen to this interview, we are so excited to bring you this information and wanted to let you know that, Hey, there’s no sales pitch coming. From anything that we do with this is all our value add to you and the community. However, if you are somebody who is looking for specific strategies on how to build and monetize your personal brand, we would love to talk to you and we offer a free call to everyone that’s interested in getting to know us and is willing to give us a chance to get to know them and share a little bit about what we do. So if you’re interested in taking us up on a free strategy call, you can do that at brand builders, group.com/summit. Call brand builders, group.com/summit. Call. Hope to talk to you soon on with the show. RV: (01:03) I’m so excited to introduce you to one of the coolest people ever here. Juliet funds a story just as a first of all, I’ve known her for years. I met her in the national speakers association years ago when I was this little runt kid, she’s an amazing performer. She has spoken at the global leadership summit, which is like the largest speaking event in the world multiple times. She’s the CEO of a very successful company. And she works with a lot of the fortune 500. So her expertise is around something called white space, which you’re gonna, you’re gonna hear about and we’re going to talk about it and the company is white space at work. But you’re gonna tell us a little bit about her story. So one thing to know, she just got I don’t know how to say this. RV: (01:50) A very awesome, awesome book deal with Harper Collins, juicy, juicy. Yeah. So it’s coming out. Yeah. So we’ll maybe talk a little bit about that. The other thing is she has the last couple years, or several times in her career, she has built her business while living abroad with her family. And she has lived that dream of being able to speak and write and let you know, travel with her family and see the world. So she’s just incredible and had to bring her on. And so Juliet it’s, it’s good to chat with you. I have been called different things, but JF: (02:26) The coolest, so infrequently one of them and I’ve always wanted to be cool. So I’m really, I’m super excited about this one. RV: (02:32) Well, yeah, so I mean, you are cool. I mean, you do cool stuff. You’re your content is fantastic. I think that’s super relevant. I want to, I do want to hear about that, but I, I want to start by your story about how you got into the industry. I think a lot of, a lot of people listening, you know, they want to be a speaker. They want to speak at big events. They want to be an author. They want to travel the world. They want to maybe work with the fortune 500. Some of our clients are more on that, like kind of corporate track, some are more entrepreneurial, but you’ve been able to do so many of those things. And can you just like, give us a little bit of behind the scenes of how did you get started and then how did you end up there and then like, how do you see the world now in terms of your personal brand? JF: (03:23) Yeah, so I started, I really started my speaking career when I decided to be a theater student because the performance elements that I learned when I went to Northwestern and thought that I was going to spend my life with pinner and Shakespeare and Shaw have actually been the secret sauce of everything else that I did in my career. So I tell people constantly whatever you’re about to do to build your career in any aspect, go take acting and theater and improv and voice lessons first, because there’s something about creating a performer self that then follows you around and amplifies everything else that you do for your entire career. And I was just lucky that I accidentally ended up thinking I wanted to be in theater and learning all of those things in college. And, and I did it for a little while. It wasn’t a right match for me, but then those skills sort of became part of my kit bag that I took with me everywhere else. JF: (04:16) And I was really lost in my twenties. I had no idea what I wanted to do. I wasn’t one of those people that found it early, I did catering. I was what’s called a food stylist, which is when you take a little tiny tweezer and you make food beautiful for photo shoots. I’ve always been really into that. And along the way, I started volunteering because I had an eating disorder in my twenties and I spoke on some panels. So, sorry, where’s that off? It’s not even going off now. So sorry. I spoke on some panels. People asked me if I would speak on panels for eating disorders and it was just me with three or four other people, personal testimonial. How did you get better? What did it look like? I was very young and something happened when I was on those panels at those little folding chairs and folding tables at high schools and colleges, where I realized that people leaned in when I was talking in a way that seemed different than other people. JF: (05:18) And it seemed like I enjoyed putting together the arc of thought the stories connecting with the audience. There was something there and it was different from acting because it was getting to be myself and it wasn’t being another person. It wasn’t having to pretend that I was another person. It was me, but still in front of an audience, there was something kind of magical. I just got a little tiny goosebumps of just that feeling of I get to be me, but I still get to perform. And so speaking became an Avenue for that. Now I put it back aside for years and years and years, and I was still doing some volunteer work. I did some talks in colleges and high schools, and that was the beginning of my paid career, but I was working my job as sorry, when you first RV: (05:59) Is this, like how many people are in a room here? Like when you’re first starting. I mean, I have to assume, you know, like some of the events you speak at now or 7,000 people in an arena, and you’re like up there doing your performance when you started, I’m guessing it was quite a bit different than that. 12 people JF: (06:19) For $750. I remember this one eating disorder talk. When I first started getting booked to be paid, to go up and talk about body image and women and media. I was writing content and I was expanding beyond personal testimonial and this little kind of funky high school way up in the mountains in Colorado that paid me $750. Cause a friend of mine, Scott Greenberg, who’s another speaker. We were volunteering at the same place. And he said, come up and got me my first gig. And that was, that was that one. And then I very quickly evolved out of youth and education evolved out of the topic of food, started talking about media, started talking about over-scheduling of teenagers, which was the crossover topic because these kids were so busy, they were busy, busy, busy, busy, busy, and Hey, their parents were busy and their administrators were busy and everybody was busy. And that became the very, very early seeds of whitespace was looking at why are we so overloaded? Why do we keep moving this way? Why don’t we have time to think and pause and breathe and appreciate. And that really quickly took over everything, all the food related body related image stuff dropped completely away. And that became my topic, which became the seeds of white space. And then, yeah, RV: (07:33) That Peter’s early, like the early, like you cry. That was pretty much like your first pivot became the foundation, which you’ve pretty much stuck with of just like, over-scheduling just that concept of being overloaded, you know, just busy over-scheduled. JF: (07:50) But I tell speakers any, and people creating a brand. It actually took me years to get to the point where you’re describing this as a fast pivot. So when people come to me and they say, I don’t know my topic yet. I say, speak on everything in the sun for five years and don’t even worry about it. Don’t even worry about finding the lane cause you might want to be in the lane for a while. Don’t don’t marry the first guy, a kiss, you know, just that get, stay in their play, try different topics, commit to something and then know that it’s going to be iterative and give yourself permission to tell everybody you’re one thing. And then be another thing two days later, this is just so important. I think. RV: (08:29) Interesting. so then over the course of time, like why do you think like a lot of speakers kind of come and go and I’m using speakers just cause that’s kind of the way that we kind of interfaced and met. Do you, do you see yourself as more of a speaker, a consultant, a trainer like an entrepreneur? Like how has that evolved? Cause it does sound like you started as a speaker. JF: (08:57) Yeah. The first, the first 15 years was a speaker. Now the last 10 years has been as an entrepreneur. And I actually had sort of a victory of sorts last year where I spent 14 months in a row where I made no money from speaking. And for me, that victory is that I I’m ready. It’s been 20 years. I love speaking. I’m enjoying different things. Now I’m enjoying writing. I’m enjoying running a company I’m enjoying figuring out where our philanthropic dreams are going to go. And so I feel like I don’t need so much of that anymore. And it was a, it was just a victory in terms of business to be able to sustain ourselves 14 months, no speaking, because speaking is a very lucrative part of our revenue model. And it’s also the most lucrative part of our lead generation model for the things that we sell as a company. So you pull out speaking, you realize, Oh my gosh, all other lead sources suck compared to speaking because there’s something about being up there. The people that you meet are already enthralled with what you’re talking about by the time you even move into a conversation of, can we help you? So you take all of that out for over a year. It’s way more lost than just the revenue loss. RV: (10:10) Yeah. I mean, that’s a, I guess those are the blessings and the curses of a great have a great have a great speaking business. And so so let’s talk about that a little bit because you, you, so it’s interesting that you did that 14 months ago, like for 14 months, a couple of years ago, and now in a COVID world, everybody’s doing that JF: (10:35) Speaking disappeared, RV: (10:37) You know, as a model, it kind of disappeared and you were already traveling and I know, you know, travel, you know, we’ve talked about this. This is kind of a sensitive thing. JF: (10:47) Yeah. Let me actually, I’m just before you get to travel, let me just, I feel like we left our well, we left our friends a little bit disjointed in the middle of a story because we’re having so much fun jumping around, but let me just finish. So youth and education led to talking on overload, which led to about 15 years, speaking on this concept called white space. We can talk more about that in a minute. And then at some point a client said, can you scale this? And we built a company with models that could be taught and digitized and shared, and that’s what we do now. So what allowed me to take that 14 month period was that we sell a lot of other things that are not now involving me speaking for a check. And so that’s just to finish a little bit of that story before we flip to travel, which is so interesting. I just wanted to let them understand the last chapters there. RV: (11:39) No, actually I’m glad that I’m glad that you closed close that loop cause that’s really important. And that’s, that’s I think that’s a rare position that a lot of personal brands never get to the point where they transitioned from a personal brand to a real business where they, they are scaling how many people are, are in like the whole white space at work team. JF: (11:58) It’s small, we’re tiny boutique. We have 11 people including our part time people. And you know, just so you know, it’s still a struggle every day to separate the brand from me. I have branding conversations, people all the time. You’ve been one of the people that I’ve come to for help in a lot of areas that, that there’s something about the looping in of my personality with the brand personally, we’ve tried pulling pictures off the website. We’ve tried pushing the content instead of pushing the person. But it’s really tough when you grow a tree, it’s like those two trees, you see that grow up on a, on a side of a wall in Cuba or Guatemala or something where they’re just, they grew into each other and it’s very hard to unwind them. I definitely have not cracked that secret sauce yet of extricating myself. RV: (12:49) Yeah. Although you have been able to create the lifestyle that we were talking about here, which is where, you know, you’ve lived the dream for years at a time of being able to take your kids and your family and go on the road. You’ve got three kids, right? JF: (13:07) I have three boys, 10, 12, and 14. Now we left on this trip that you’re talking about two years ago. Next week on our anniversary, August 28th is going to be two years on the road. And it has been a dreamy combination of the world of white space. It’s the ultimate white space application really? And it came out of, I was having do you know, David Covey, but one of the Covey brothers RV: (13:38) I’ve met David Covey. I haven’t, I actually he’s been at my he’s been to my house one time. The only time I met him. JF: (13:44) So I had, I was having Indian food with David Covey and salt Lake city about four years ago. And he told me that he lived in different countries with his children when they were growing up. But, but he did a year at a time and he ran his businesses and lived in different countries. And it just fascinated me and it captured my attention and it percolated and percolated and percolated. And then we met these people that were doing something called a world schooling, which had a name in which had an association. And they had conferences about people who had decided that travel was a better education for their children than school. And we left, it took me about four months to convince my husband. And then one day he left a map. I get up about five 36. He gets up around nine and stays up till a billion o’clock in the morning. JF: (14:32) So we have very different schedules and he left a little map in the shape of a heart on my desk. One morning for my 6:00 AM walk in and said, let’s go. And he finally went over the line and decided, and then we left and we went to, we stayed domestic for the first months only because of speaking. I would have been international immediately, but I couldn’t be far away. Cause I was flying away from the trip to go finish the gigs that had already been booked. And then once that concluded and we were able to say, no more gigs after a certain date, then we went international. We’ve been in Europe, Asia, Bali, Thailand. And we are now in New Zealand where we were supposed to be for two months before going to China. And then obviously didn’t go to China. And then we waited and waited. And now we’ve been here six months and we just applied for another six months. Cause honestly we don’t really know where to go. So COVID has stopped the trip where we’re very dedicated to one more location on our way home. So that the story is not that we went on this beautiful trip and then COVID killed it. And we’d like there to be one more different final chapter to go. We’re thinking about going back to Hawaii, which is where we started at the very end RV: (15:48) And, and you’ve been able to do that. So, so the business you mind sharing with us a little bit, how have you operated? JF: (15:54) No, I’m trans transparent to the point of you have to stop me and then I get myself in trouble. So that’s not, that’s not hard to share. We have not sold a house or gone on savings or anything for any portion of this trip. We have earned as we’ve traveled with the one exception that I have quite a lot of miles. So miles have helped for sure with the international, but I work, I live on a laptop. I go into coffee houses all over the world. And in Bali I watched the ducks and in, you know Croatia, I was on my laptop in a hotel above these fighting Russian tourists. Every time I would go work and I pull out the laptop and I, I work in the time zones, kick my butt. And in Bali, I’m up till two in the morning and here I’m up at four 30 and you get used to it and we have a remote team. So we sell, we sell an online product now and actually COVID inversed what you just said, which is that I went back to live presenting because of COVID because so many people wanted immediate help with work from home efficiency, which is a subset of our work. So I actually did more presentations in the last four months than I did in the previous two years. RV: (17:13) But they’ve all been virtual. Yeah. JF: (17:14) Correct? Yes, yes, yes. Yeah. I’m just talking about speaking for money came back after. Yeah. RV: (17:22) Well, and I think that’s it. I think that’s really interesting because you know, if you hang around the speaker crowd, you know, there’s a lot of like, Oh my gosh, you know, all the gigs are postponing and et cetera, et cetera. And it’s like at the same time, every company in America is having meetings every single day that are virtual and they need outside voices. And it’s like, in some ways there’s more opportunity than ever. No one has to rent a ballroom, they just need a link. And like you can be in front of their entire company from anywhere in the world. Like you’re, you’re stuck in quote unquote stuck in New Zealand. JF: (17:58) Yeah. It’s a bad word for wouldn’t being here, but yes. RV: (18:01) Yeah. well I think that’s, I think that’s, that’s, that’s amazing. Now you also have this book deal. How did the book deal come about? Cause that happened over that same time period, right? JF: (18:14) The book deal had been so that my, my, the comic secret of my professional career is that everybody already thinks I’ve written a book because of where I am in the circuit. So if you’re on stage between you and Marcus Buckingham and then Laszlo Bock comes up, there’s no way that that lady in the middle hasn’t written a book. So everybody always thinks that this is my second or third book. So it’s just a funny thing, but it’s not because I had a lot of trouble writing a book and I had trouble getting quiet enough. I’m super interpersonal. I’m great graded all the parts of business that are interpersonal and the lonely quiet work of the chair. And the laptop is very hard for me, but I also was doing other things and I had three children in six years and I was building this business and I made a decision not to be a mom. JF: (19:01) Who’d never saw my kids. And there was a lot of other things. And so the book just kept getting pushed, but there was an agent who adored my work and tracked me through ups and downs of that process. And he became my agent and he’s the best agent in the universe. And when we wrote the proposal, the time was right and we had six offers and it was wonderful. It was a wonderful experience. Wow. And I got the offer. I got the final offer from Harper on a porch in Gatlinburg where we’re looking out at these kinds of Misty. I think I want to say smokey mountains, but I can’t remember if that’s Gatlinburg. My God, it was, I have locked in memory the moment that we got that phone call and, and it’s been a really wonderful experience. I’m preparing for the ups and downs of an actual book launch, especially post COVID. We have a lot of things we’re going through, but it’s been wonderful and I’ve really enjoyed the writing more than I would have guessed. RV: (20:02) I love that story. So, I mean, and you got, I mean, you’re technically a first time author, but you’re not, they’re not treating you like a first time author and that’s something I think that’s good for people to know is like, if for whatever reason you don’t write the book, you don’t write the book, then it’s like, Hey, all of your hard work will catch up with you at some point. JF: (20:22) Yeah. Oh, I’m so glad you brought that up. Cause I, if I could have had someone I trusted relieve the pressure the 10, 15 years in NSA of write the book, write the book, write the book, write the book. If I had written the book at any of those times, it wouldn’t have been this book and it wouldn’t have been as fully cooked and it wouldn’t have been as perfect as it is now to write this book. And so I’m glad I didn’t write the book. I’m glad I didn’t use my content and my brand and the name Widespace on a book that was so much more juvenile than this book will be. Cause I couldn’t have done it twice. And so that I wish that I could have taken that out of my psychological equation. Maybe I can do it for one other person. RV: (21:05) Yeah. Well, and it’s like, you can do it both. Like you can, you can do it both ways. You can be successful either way. Like, you know, some people say, Hey, the book changed my life and here you’re going, look, I was able to do it without it. And now I can write the book and you know, it was like, the book is going to change your life. Again, and it’s like a whole, you know, but it’s not, it’s not a, it’s not as a straightforward formula that you must follow one way or the other. Right. so I love that. Okay. So I want to, I want to spend a few minutes actually talking about this. So, you know your story, I wanted everyone to hear your story about kind of the sequence of how things have gone and, and, and what that’s looked like. JF: (21:50) What is it, RV: (21:50) White space? Can we talk about white space for a second and specifically what is white space? Why does it matter? And then what I’d like to do is be able to get into the, you know, a conversation of how does that apply to personal brands, which is something that even though you don’t traditionally teach that you are, you are one and you know that, you know, you haven’t been and you know, that space really well. So I’d, I’d love to get like a, a once and only Juliet Funt white space for personal brands in the only place you could get it right here in influential personal brand podcast. JF: (22:26) Cause it’s never been done. So here we go. So white space is we define white space as a strategic pause taken between activities. It’s, it’s the open fluid, flexible unscheduled time that used to be in between things in life and now has gotten filled by busy-ness and cell phones and tech addiction and all the things that we cram in. And one way to think about it is if you imagine the periodic table of the elements, and if you imagine what would happen, if one of the elements just fell out and all of a sudden there was no salt or all of a sudden there was no nitrogen systems would collapse. And we believe that this is the case in a sense with white space, that there is this element that is supposed to be present, weaving in and out of our days for breath, recuperation, stepping back, all sorts of things that this element of white space is supposed to give us permission to have that have now just gone away. And the mission of the book is to reinstate that into the lives of working people everywhere. And that’s my mission as well. RV: (23:39) So it’s like going extinct. It’s this thing that’s sort of disappearing from, from the earth because there’s always JF: (23:46) Something to do. So if you have a second and you can think of it really, really tactically, the name white space came from a couple of different places, but the main place came from coaching executives 20 years ago. And we would look at there then paper day planners and we would look for white is the white, just Penn and Penn and Penn and Penn and Penn. And where is the white space here in this day where somebody could think strategize, prepare for a call, step back, reflect on their own behavior. Where, where is the white deer executives? And that’s where the white spaces coming from. The white space is literally on the calendar came from. So we don’t have it because now when there is a pause, our nervous systems are so wired. Usually it’s just the phone is the simplest first insertion. But if you were to, let’s say you were to finish this podcast and you look at your calendar and you realize that you have seven minutes before the next thing, the chances of you leaving any of those minutes open would be very rare. JF: (24:50) You probably get up and get a cup of coffee and do those things, but then you’d come back and you’d realize you had 40 minutes left. You would probably check your email or check a social feed or do something tactical or manual like unplugged desk or pack a bag or get ready for the, the chances of you leaving even a minute where you just looked up and went, Hmm, how’s my life. How’s my work. How am I? Am I okay? It’s been a lot lately. The chances that you would use that time to leave it open and see what happens is very, very rare. And that’s what we want to change. And for personal brands and entrepreneurs, work is never over the, to do list is never over. So if you have five minutes between calls, you have to jam something in there and get one more thing done and check off one more box. JF: (25:42) And the chances that you would use that time to remain open are light, even when it furthers your business goal. So let’s say you’re an athlete and you have a call in six minutes, that’s going to be with a promoter. Who’s going to do something fantastic for your career. Most people would work right up to a minute before, especially if they’re very experienced salespeople or presenters, they just swing around in their Herman Miller and dial right in. They’re fine. But what if you had white space before that call for five minutes and you sat there and thought, who is this person? How were they last time? What were they into? How do I want to come off? What is it? What could this really mean to me? And you really used thinking as a business tool to change the outcome of what came next, everything would be magically and completely different. And so that is part of the goal. It’s not only personal white space or reflective white space or recuperative white space. It’s also a tactical use of white space to further the thing that comes next. RV: (26:48) Yeah. So it’s, it’s not necessarily, you know, I saw one of your videos one time that said like white spaces, not meditation. JF: (26:55) Yeah. Not meditation, mindfulness nine. My wandering, we go through all the things that it’s not, RV: (27:01) But you’re saying it’s like for entrepreneur or a personal brand, that it, it actually that minute to pause, to think, even though it feels like slowing down, you’re saying that that actually could enhance the overall business versus just doing constantly JF: (27:17) Must enhance it. How can you know where you’re heading? Would it be a tragedy if you were on full steam for seven years heading in a direction and you never even took some time to say, is this the right direction that I’m heading full steam for seven years? Or is this the right way? I want my data flow or how, who am I bringing to this business? How am I treating the people that work with me? And for me, these are contemplative questions that great leaders ask, but they must have white space to do that. RV: (27:48) Is there a, is there a amount or a percentage, right. You know, and I, I think this is so relevant, personal, personal brand, right? It’s like, and then onto any entrepreneur, let us, like, you could be shooting a video, writing a blog, preparing a presentation, building a funnel, like answering your emails, writing a book, like customer service. JF: (28:13) And that could all be like within a couple hours. I know. Is there like a proportion of RV: (28:18) Time? Like, how do I know what’s the right? Like, how do I actually practice? You know? JF: (28:26) Yes. And that’s that question is the perfect litmus test of our entire personality. Isn’t it? Like, you want to know, you want to know the formula, right? So that’s yes. RV: (28:38) Block it on my digital calendar and you know how you could color code it. I’m going to color code at white in honor. JF: (28:44) Yeah. Juliette actual white space. So the people that like that more regimented approach, you can just start with two minutes, a couple of times a day, it’ll feel like the longest two minutes of your entire life, just begin to experience stopping the machine and restarting the machine. So for those of us that are more fluid and less structured, it’s just about an interstitial pausing. 10 seconds here. A minute there, 30 seconds here, this incremental and interstitial use of white space is extremely powerful. It’s also the majority of the way that I personally use this tool as an overbusy Energizer bunny, kind of a person. So that interstitial use can be amazingly. It can be you’re finishing work and your kid needs you. And you say just a minute and you spend 30 seconds transitioning from business hat to daddy hat. And that’s all it is now longer stretches of white space, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes with a legal pad, deeper white space away from your technology to think deeply about your business or brainstorm or vision. Beautiful, beautiful, and important. But the life saving element of white space is the interstitial sip. That’s what makes us learn that mechanism again, of stop the machine, start the machine. That’s all we want to do is step off for a period of time. RV: (30:20) Yeah. I mean, I liked that idea of a sip. Just like a sip of water, like water. I feel like there’s a fear that is underneath this. That’s driving that leg. If I’m not maximizing every single second, like it’s all gonna come crashing down. JF: (30:37) Yep. And it is come. I mean, that philosophy is crashing down all around us. Now five months post the novel coronavirus because teams are now working 12 to 14 hours a day because they can. So when the office is in your bedroom, there’s no off switch and there wasn’t an off switch before. So actually one way of thinking about it is all of our corporate pals have now joined the entrepreneurial pain that we’ve all lived with for a very long time, which is work can be all the time where can be all the time. And there’s mental health challenges and focus, challenges and creativity, challenges, and sustainability challenges to that. The corporate people are starting to see it. It’s harder for us to see it because we have that bravado of I’m an entrepreneur. I just have to keep going. RV: (31:22) And if you’re a chronic like, you know, checklist or the idea is not that you have to retreat, you know, you’re not retreating into meditation. It’s just thinking as a business tool about going like, Hey, before I dive into my email, like, let me just process what’s going on? Where am I at? What’s the next most, you know, best use of my time. And JF: (31:48) It can be. So the whole purpose of white space is that it is an open container. Now your saying one possible application of it, thoughtfulness as a business tool, another possible application, I’ll just rifle through a whole bunch of them is daydreaming, which has been proven to lead us to wonderful creative places, appreciation time to combat some of the pain and challenge by looking at what’s wonderful recuperation, literally just doing nothing, letting your body come back during that a little bit of open recuperate. It better be, it better be, you know, we have, we have the dopamine from our devices. We have caffeine, we have energy. We have passion. We have a lot of different ways that we can goose up adrenaline to keep going, but the price paid at some point will arrive for never turning it off. And the, you know, the deep white space that I, one place I’m really, really good at deep white space, even though I tend to take my sips incrementally, is that on those vacations, when I take a vacation, the cell phone is in the bottom of the suitcase. JF: (33:01) It is dead and it is off and there is no email. And it’s the only way that I can come back after the kind of exertion I put into my work month. So I’m a big advocate of when you do disconnect, really disconnect. I think a vacation kind of like driving from New York to LA and you want to get to a different destination, but every time you touch base with work, even once in the morning, you have to drive back to New York. So you never get farther and farther and farther away to have perspective and look back. And that’s why people who do take disconnected vacations, even if they have to be staycations, that’s why they do come back with innovations for the business and great new creative ideas. Cause they’ve gone away. You can’t really go away. If you go back for a visit every 12 hours. RV: (33:52) Fascinating, fascinating. And I could, that would totally apply to any creative work, writing a book. You know, it just, just makes sense to like, to be away from all the busy-ness to just kind of sit and think, or, you know, recoup or daydream JF: (34:11) And writing the book has been a great example. If I take these book day retreats where I’ll do 12 hours in a shot on and off with my white space breaks, but, but a lot for me, and it is so tempting to spend all of the working minutes of that period, working to spend all the working minutes of that period in a document editing, writing on book related phone calls, interviews. But if I’m willing to really just close it all down and think about what do I want to make sure that I don’t not say in this book and what do I want to really make sure that what part of my heart and my willing to be a little shockingly authentic with so that in a business book, you’re crossing a line to realness in a way that people aren’t anticipating those kinds of thoughts can only happen in white space. And they can only happen when you create separation between you and your product. And that can’t happen while you’re in it. RV: (35:11) I love that. I love that. So Juliet, where, where do people go to connect with you and stay plugged in and, you know, be on the list to be notified when the book out and all that JF: (35:24) [email protected] we would love to hear from you. And you’re welcome to reach me personally, a [email protected]. RV: (35:31) Love that. So we’ll link. We will link that up. We’ll keep you all posted. When the book comes out, clearly you can see the application. Y’all I know you’re listening going. Yes. I need white space in my life. Well, we wish you and your family the best be safe while you’re out there traveling and then have your one big adventure Juliet, and then hopefully we’ll get to see you in person soon.
RV: (00:06) [Inaudible] Hey, welcome to the special recap edition of the influential personal brand podcast. Breaking down the interview with Amanda tress, our friend with Amanda AIJ, my wife and our CEO brand builders group. And she was born in the 1980s. There was a lot of Amanda’s that came out of it. The 1980s. You want to kick us off? AJV: (00:31) Yeah, no, I thought this was so good. And there were so many different things that we picked up from this. And I just love to, it’s like when we really get to interview people who are doing it and people who have turned a personal brand and to a full fledged eight figure business is such an accomplishment. And just to learn about how they’re doing it. I think she’d be very insightful and hope inspiring for everyone listening. And that should be reflective of my very first point, which is you can have an eight figure business. And in her case, a $30 million in annual revenue business and still be doing most of your tracking and reporting off of spreadsheets. Right. And I think that was like, it’s so humbling to sometimes be reminded of you when you look around and you see everyone doing all this stuff, you think that you’re behind you think somehow somebody else has it all figured out. AJV: (01:25) And the truth is they don’t. They really don’t. They had an amazing idea with really good content and they were consistent and persistent day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. And she such a Testament to that. Now she didn’t take that many years to do it. It happened really quickly, but you can still be super successful and not have all of the parts figured out in your business. That is a growing evolving process that I think for all of us, it’d be great to take a step step back and do a little self reflection and be like, alright, where am I killing it? And where am I not? And just focus on where you’re killing it, right? She hasn’t had the time to step back and figure out new ways of reporting because I’ve been focused on keeping the main thing, the main thing, which is revenue. AJV: (02:15) And as she was talking, I was like, that is such a great point because we get so caught up and to the comparison of, Oh, I need a pretty website or, Oh, I’ve got to launch this new thing, or we’ll have to keep up with the competition and you lose sight, you lose focus and you get distracted and then you don’t get a seven figure or an eight figure business. Not because you can’t, but because you didn’t do the right things and you didn’t keep the main thing, the main thing, and you got distracted with all of these other little things that weren’t as important. And I think that was such a great reminder to me. And I remember for, for like the first full year at brand builders group, we didn’t even have a website y’all and is like, and I was like, so pressuring where I’m like, that’s so embarrassing. How can we be a branding firm without a website? But so yeah, somehow it was working and now, now we have one and we’re actually redoing it because we got one that was kind of janky and just to have one. And I think that’s a great reminder. It’s like, sometimes you don’t need the things that you think you need to be successful. What you need is great content and people who are willing to listen, that’s where you need. And that’s what they’ve got. And I just thought that was a great reminder. RV: (03:28) I love that. I, for me, it was a good old fashion. My first takeaway was just a good old fashion reminder that anything is possible. And I’m in what a world to live in, where you can go from zero to 30 million in revenue a year and still be operating off of spreadsheets. Like to your point, like, that’s not like we got it all perfected. It’s just like raw passion, quality product, you know, something that works that people need. And it’s such a simple, you know, it’s, it’s the age old, old problem in her case. And she just really felt figured out a simple way to do it, but just in our mind to go, my goodness, anything is possible. And how would you act differently right now, if you knew you were going to have a $30 million company two years from now, right. And I’m sure like that may seem far off for a lot of us, but it’s possible. Like it’s possible. If you get half of that or 10% of that, like you’re going to be doing great and just go most of the time, the people that don’t get there it’s because we limit ourselves. It’s not because it’s not possible. It’s because we, we don’t believe it’s possible. And gosh, I just, I was encouraged by listening to Amanda. Talk of just her story. I just thought was incredible. AJV: (04:47) Yeah. All right. Well, my second point is this whole concept of micro influencers. And I kind of feel like this is the new rage. I felt like this is where marketing is going. I have no doubt that five, 10 years from now traditional marketing, as we know, it will no longer exist. You already see immense trends with traditional advertiser dollars, decreasing an influencer, you know, kind of what we could say, sponsorships or brand deals, or you can see my bunny years brand deals or sponsorships increasing. You already see that influencer marketing is already everywhere. And that that’s only going to enhance and grow as our digital, you know, landscape grows. That’s just the nature of it. And I love how this whole concept of who is the best customer base to have our, sorry, the best for Salesforce to have. And that’s your customer base. AJV: (05:44) Your customers are your best Sales force, right? There’s no one who’s going to sell it better than someone who was like, I had no idea about this. I bought it. And it worked. And now I’m, and you have to know about it too, versus someone who was paid to sell it, who may not have even used your own product. Like, I find that fascinating. How so often? You know, my, my former life was in corporate sales consulting and sales coaching. And I worked with so many organizations where their salespeople did not even use their own products. And I was like, that is so bizarre. Like, shouldn’t it be like, mandatory that you have to like the product that you’re selling and that’s just not how it works. And I just love this because it’s, your sales force has already in love with your product. So why wouldn’t they be promoting it and thus getting paid for it. So you’ve got this builtin, passionate Salesforce with these micro influencers. I just think it’s genius. Absolutely genius. Yeah. RV: (06:43) That was my second takeaway too, was turn your customer force into your Sales force for all the reasons that you’re saying. And I think the, the, hopefully that’s true that your customers are the most passionate. And so I think to me, the, the, the part that, that makes us live up to as entrepreneurs is that the sale doesn’t end when you capture their money, the sale ends when you deliver the result, when you deliver the experience to the customer. And if you, if you take on this ambition, like Amanda has where you’re saying, okay, my customer force is going to become my Salesforce. Then you realize that, Hey, just getting them to buy is not what matters. It’s getting them to experience the result of, of what you offer. And if every small business owner aspired to that, if every personal brand aspired to that, then you’re automatically setting your self up to where your customer force becomes your Salesforce. But I think too often, we’re just focused on, I just want to capture them, capture the revenue and then, and then I’m like, I’m outta there and I’m, I’m done. And so I think that that aspiration holds us to a higher level of, of performance. AJV: (07:55) Yeah. I feel like micro influencers is like the concept. Yeah. But it’s, it’s like the ultimate NPS score. Right. It’s like the ultimate net promoter score where it’s like, yeah, I’ll promote you on every platform and to my email list and to everyone, I come in contact with like, it’s the ultimate NPS score. That’s what I was thinking in my brain. I was like, that’s exactly. Yeah. RV: (08:16) If you’re not familiar with NPS it’s, it’s like a standard AJV: (08:20) One to 10, how likely are you to refer us? RV: (08:22) Likely are you to refer us? And it’s like, who cares? How likely you are? Did you like, did you actually refer us to somebody who bought that’s, that’s what it’s really about. So then my third takeaway, I’m gonna jump in here. It’s a quick one. You know, it was something that actually didn’t come in the interview. So this is a little bit of a bonus tip. It was inspired by something when Amanda was talking about how all of our customers come in to this, this like initial course, and that’s how they start. And then after that, they, you know, they roll into a monthly membership. So they kind of graduate and you know, the term that most people use for that is upsell. And I just wanted to share with you a little term that I heard actually from an old friend and somebody that we were interviewing, she called it Upserve to Upserve. And I thought, you know, that between that conversation with Amanda, and then, then that conversation that I was having with our old friend, I was like, gosh, I liked that concept of Upserve. It really reinforces, like we’re going to overdeliver and then we’re going to serve you at a higher level. And that to me is like, that captures the essence of what it’s all about. And that’s how you grow a $30 million company apparently two years. So that’s what we want to do. And I learned it. AJV: (09:40) Yeah, I like that. And actually, it’s funny because my last point happened at the very, very, very end of the interview, I to watch the whole thing. And it was even after Roy said, how do you get in touch and all of that. And Amanda said this very, very thing, this very last thing at the very last minute. And she said, I want all of you to be successful so that you can go out and redistribute your wealth to your family, your church, and your community. And it hit me in that moment of the importance of helping people be successful. And there’s nothing wrong with helping people make money with the right intentions. And I was actually on a walk. I was on a hike. I listened to all my podcast on a hike and it made me think about something that happened at brain builders group about a year ago. AJV: (10:35) And one of our original taglines was become rich, famous, and influential. And we had a series of clients and even some of our own strategists who says, I mean, I don’t know, is rich the right word and is famous the right word. And it was kind of off putting an offsetting. And so we kind of succumb to the feedback and we said, okay, maybe that’s not it. Maybe it’s a, you know, grow your influence and grow your income. Or, you know, we softened it where the essence was still the same is that we want to help people become rich, famous, and influential, but not for the sake of being rich. So you can keep all of it. And what she said there at the end with just, it hit me in such a way that, you know, we succumb to just a few people said a feedback, but it’s because people misinterpret the word and I love that. AJV: (11:22) She said this, and it’s like, you need to be successful. So you can review redistribute that wealth into your community and to the right causes into your family and into the church. And I think so many people misconstrue, misconstrue rich, cause Amanda talks about growing an enormous business in a really short amount of time and how some of their top affiliates are making a million dollars, a million dollars a year. And, and I just, I think that’s really important and it’s not all about money, but it’s about what you do with money. Like who can you help? Who can you serve? Who can you save with that kind of money? But it’s all in the right context. And then she said, are, we said, you know, famous. And then it made me start thinking about how people misuse that in the terms of what we’re doing. AJV: (12:10) It’s like famous is just synonymous with being known, right? And we say this a lot, but it’s like, people cannot buy from you if they do not know you. And that is Amanda’s entire business model is micro-influencers spread the love, you know, spread the word, like help everyone know about this. It’s like they would not have been able to grow at this rate and this pace, this successfully, without millions of people knowing about them, another word for that is becoming famous within their audience. And I just think that there’s so many times a negative connotation with rich wealth, money, fame becoming known, and it’s all in the context of why do you want to do it? And that brings us back to the heart of building a personal brand and being a mission driven messenger. And it’s like, we want you to be successful. We want you to make money. AJV: (13:07) We want you to become known because if people don’t know about you, they cannot be changed by you. They cannot be saved by you. They cannot, they cannot absorb what you have to give them. Right. And hopefully what you’re giving them is a way to better their life, better their future, and better the lives and the futures of those around them. And it came at the very end in such a subtle statement. But I think it’s so impactful for us all to remember why we’re doing this and it’s to better our own lives, but also better the lives of those around us. And that includes making more money and becoming better at what we do. I went on a tangent. I’m sorry. RV: (13:47) No, what else? There’s that nailed it. So I got nothing else to add. We’re going to end on that. That was strong, babe. I love that. And that’s our desire is to help you serve and make impact and influence and income. And so we’re honored, honored to be able to do that. We’ll catch you next time on the influential personal brand. [inaudible].
RV: (00:06) Hey, Brand Builder, Rory Vaden here. Thank you so much for tuning in to listen to this interview, we are so excited to bring you this information and wanted to let you know that, Hey, there’s no sales pitch coming. From anything that we do with this is all our value add to you and the community. However, if you are somebody who is looking for specific strategies on how to build and monetize your personal brand, we would love to talk to you and we offer a free call to everyone that’s interested in getting to know us and is willing to give us a chance to get to know them and share a little bit about what we do. So if you’re interested in taking us up on a free strategy call, you can do that at brand builders, group.com/summit. Call brand builders, group.com/summit. Call. Hope to talk to you soon on with the show. RV: (01:03) I am just ecstatic to introduce you to one of our newer friends. Her name is Amanda tress, and, you know, at Brand Builders Group, we’ve got 12 different events. And one of our events is called eight figure entrepreneur. And we talk specifically about building an eight figure business and turning a personal brand into a business. And frankly, it’s hard to find examples of people who have actually done that. There’s very few people that, that can turn a personal brand in an online business into something that reaches an eight figure level. And Amanda has done that. She is the creator of the faster way to fat loss which I’m sure you’ve probably heard of it’s it’s the premiere virtual intermittent fasting fitness and nutrition program. AIJ and I are clients of the program. So we we’re big believers in fasting. We use, we actually use it. RV: (01:57) And Amanda is Amanda tress, not my AJ. But Amanda used a micro influencer strategy to scale this company, get this… To from zero to $20 million in less than three years. Which what I heard that it blew my mind. And then we got introduced to her through a mutual friend. We’ve gotten to know her and her husband and their family. And she’s just awesome. And I just, I am so excited honestly, to learn with/ alongside of you here. Since we convinced Amanda to come on the show and anyways, Amanda, thank you for being here. Thank you so much, Rory. I’m thrilled to be here. So is this a true story, like zero to $20 million in revenue in three years? Is that a true story? You know, it’s, it’s not a true story. It is a one to 65 million in two AT: (03:00) Years. So that is the story. RV: (03:02) So you went from, from 1 million to 65 million AT: (03:07) In 24 months, a little bit over 24 months. Yes. That is the story. And, and that is with the fast way to fat loss being our main focus over the past two and a half years since I had my third baby, who is my wild child, she was a bit of a surprise, but I decided to truly focus in on the faster way after she was born. So it’s been quite the ride. RV: (03:34) So, and when you say 65 million, is that annual revenue or that’s the total AT: (03:39) The total gross revenue over the past a little bit over two years. RV: (03:44) That’s incredible. Okay. So you’re, you’re looking, you’re looking at like $30 million in annual revenues. I mean, it’s, it’s a membership model, so it fluctuates, but that is absolutely incredible. So I think for the rest of our interview, I only have one question. How did you do that? And I’m just going to shut up and I just, I’m going to frantically take notes as you tell us all of your insider secrets of you know, just tell us the story, like how did this happen? AT: (04:14) Yeah, absolutely. And I’ll back up just a little bit. So I talk about the past 24 months, but I created the faster way to fat loss in January of 2016. In January of 2016, I started the program with only 11 clients. I was able to quickly empower those 11 clients to become micro influencers for the brand. But at that time in 2016, I was still running my marketing agency for female entrepreneurs in the fitness industry. And to be honest, the marketing agency and serving clients with a managed services model through that particular company was my primary focus. I spent 95% of my time empowering other trainers and wellness professionals to leverage the power of social media, to ramp up their own unique companies. And what I found a couple of years ago after having my third baby is that although I could teach a female entrepreneur in the fitness industry, how to show up online video and spread the word about their program, or get more eyeballs on their content with effective marketing and sales funnels. AT: (05:28) Unfortunately, my clients, weren’t fantastic with programming. So two and a half years ago, I said, you know what? I have this little program called the fast way to fat loss that is highly effective. I was running it myself as a bit of a side project. And I said, why don’t I create a certification around this particular program? And then give my agency clients the opportunity to become certified, run my program with their clients. So my agency clients quickly hopped on board. They trusted me because I had been giving them sound advice for a series of years. They became certified and now my certified coaches serve as affiliates for the faster way to fat loss. And in addition to affiliates, we have micro influencers who spread the word about the program, but it’s only been in the past two and a half years that we’ve decided to focus on the faster way to fat loss and coach certification and actually shut down the agency. So we could be a little bit more powerful in our approach to ramp up that particular vertical, the faster way to fat loss. So it’s been, you know, a lot of shifts and pivots and changes for lack of a better word, but we have found our sweet spot now with the model. We now have a membership model, as you mentioned, which we launched last April, so a little bit over a year ago and the rest is history. RV: (07:04) Gosh, that is so wild. And what an interesting way to pivot, you know, as you’re describing this, this is very similar to the direction that brand builders group is heading. That, you know, a lot of our clients specifically that are interested in teaching people about like online business and they do that, they’re becoming our, our strategists and, and not having to kind of create the curriculum and being able to just do relationships and then kind of layer some of their own, you know, like some of their own stuff on top of it. But you know, you totally pivoted. So, so give us an idea of the mechanics. Like how much, how much does the membership cost? And then, I mean, so you’re talking about 70,000 people. You’ve had something like 70,000 clients AT: (07:52) We’ve had over 150,000 clients go through our new client six week orientation program. So I’ll just quickly break down our model. We like to keep things very simple here at the fast way to fat loss. Simplicity is bliss, especially in 2020. Our model simply involves a six week new client orientation program each and every person interested in burning fat with the faster way to fat loss and participating in our online workouts must go through that initial six week program. After the six week program, our client is then auto-enrolled into our VIP membership. The VIP membership is a month to month commitment. The six week new client program is $199. The VIP membership is $79 per month. A client will then remain in the VIP membership until they decide they are sick of seeing me on video, working them through high intensity interval training. But we have an incredible retention rate, which has been a massive blessing. So that is the model. It’s a new client orientation, six week program enrolled into a VIP membership. And we also have the certification that a client can then invest in if they love the program, love the lifestyle and want to share it with their friends, family members, community, and clients as well. So, RV: (09:19) So I love that. So, so basically anyone can become certified if they invest in it and then they go through, how much does the certification is? That AT: (09:25) That’s a great question. Yeah. And, and, you know, the truth is not anyone can become certified because we have a pretty exclusive group and an arduous process to become certified, do, try to focus on fellow wellness professionals for our certification, we just enrolled a cohort of new coaches last month. It was our second time to enroll coaches. This year, we had about 8,500 individuals on the waiting list. We accepted about 300, actually exactly 300 and to the new coach cohort, after an application process and an interview process, and then our coaches, they pay $5,000 for the certification. They are required to pass the exam with 100%. And once they do, they have the ability to share the program with their community and clients as well. RV: (10:23) Now can the other 8,200 people, can they share the program and be an affiliate? They, they, so they could, everyone can share the program, but only certain people are like certified to actually teach in it. AT: (10:38) Yes, that’s absolutely right. It’s difficult to become a certified coach. However, you can apply to become an influencer. If you are not accepted into the coach certification and you still receive a generous commission for spreading the word about the program as an influencer or affiliate, you just do not have the opportunity or ability to teach the curriculum. RV: (11:02) Got it. Geez, that is so cool. I mean, this is powerful stuff. I mean, and so, so talk to me about how do you get the client? I mean, so, so, so your first six weeks, so you have influencers. So what, so what you’ve done, and this is something we talk about a lot is turn your customer force into your Salesforce. You are a living example of, and what you’ve done, which is so cool, which is what I think modern day technology allows us to do, right. Is like business has always been word of mouth, but you’re tracking it. And you’re paying people for the word of mouth that they would probably do anyways. Brand mills are the same way as like, we want people to just refer us, but we actually want to track it and pay them so that they actually put a little more energy to it. And you’ve done that and it’s just spread like wildfire. So is that, is that the primary way that you generate new clients into the six week? Like new client orientation? AT: (12:06) Yeah, really good question. We have what I call a one tier affiliate model. So not only do we allow Rory for example, to become an influencer for the brand, sorry, but you probably wouldn’t be accepted to the certified coach. RV: (12:22) I know, that’s what I was like, Hey, some fitness classes, give me a camera AT: (12:29) They gave me accepted, but we would absolutely accept you as an influencer. As an influencer, you would then refer clients into the program and if your client became an influencer, they would actually be a child affiliate. And so there’s a one tier model and you would receive some passive revenue when your child affiliate refers their friends and family members to the program. I feel this is a really fantastic way to align incentives with our influencers. And we have influencers who earn up to $84,000 per month. We have certified coaches earning up to a million dollars in their first year, but the one tier affiliate or influencer model has been very powerful. And the beauty of it is that we are not network marketing. We are not an MLM. We have been very specific about our desire to stay away from that particular description and be sure that we’re not flirting with any lines. AT: (13:31) But having a one tier model has been really effective. So that is one of the primary ways that we drive new leads into the program. We also do quite a bit in the way of social media marketing. We don’t do a lot of advertising. In fact, for the first couple of years, as I ramped up, we did zero ads. We’re just now starting to run ads to our live trainings. But one thing that’s really unique about how we do marketing is for example, this month I created a marketing roadmap with steps for success, for both my influencers and my certified coaches. And I gave them the script. I gave them links to a lead magnet. I gave them links to a live training and because we have lifetime cookies, they receive credit. If anyone signs up for that lead magnet goes through our effective funnel or signs up for the training and receives the text campaign. So we like to leverage our army of influencers and certified coaches as we look to generate new, highly qualified leads. And then it’s a big benefit that my background is digital marketing because I’m able to, you know, really leverage those strategies. And, and I empower our community to do the same. Yeah. RV: (14:52) I mean, this is insane. Y’all like we do the exact same thing at brand builders group with the one tier affiliate. It doesn’t go forever like a network marketing company, but some of our affiliates are getting paid two years later. Like off of people they’ve never even met because we track, we tracked that. This gives me, this makes me excited because it makes me feel like we’re on the right track because one day we’re going to grow up and we’re going to be Amanda trust. I, I so I, I, I love that. Now you mentioned your background’s in digital marketing. So just a tech, a quick technical question. What are you using to track all the affiliate like payment? That’s a big, you know, like we have a few hundred, you’ve got thousands of people that you’re having to track and track a second tier and the original like cookie link. What are you using for that? AT: (15:46) Yes, really good question. I know, I keep saying good question because many of these are fantastic. We are currently using post affiliate pro. It integrates with our point of sale system, Sam cart, which is fantastic for upsell funnels. And I love a good upsell funnel. And so those two integrate, we have HubSpot as our CRM as well. But to be completely honest with you, Rory technology has been my biggest pain point over the past couple, few years. It remains my biggest pain point because probably a lot like you, we are always just a little bit ahead of the platform that we’re using. So for example, we are using Kajabi for some of our content and we outgrew them within about 30 days of being on the platform. And we’ve been trying to finagle and customize, but what we really need, if anyone’s listening and having speak fantastic at coding is a proprietary product where instead of having seven MacGyvered systems, I can have maybe one to three systems that work well, post affiliate pro has been adequate. However, I’m not going to sit here and recommend it for people with tens of thousands of affiliates like us, because we have plenty of issues that we have to problem solve on a daily daily basis. So that is what we’re using. I know that was a long, long question. RV: (17:12) Your tech stack. I mean, I think that’s helpful for several reasons. We talk about tech stack a lot in our overall, our whole thing is four phases in our phase two is where we get into a lot of like building your tech stack and thinking both short term and longterm and integrating the shopping cart with the reporting, you know, stuff with the con you know, the LMS or whatever with the CRM. And so I think it’s encouraging one to be like, Hey, you’ve done this. And also to, to go, you’re still struggling with it. Like everybody else’s. So I think, you know, that that’s encouraging and just go and like, Hey, but we’re always telling people, the technology is not nearly as important as the strategy, like make the tech, you can find technology or make technology do what you need to do. And when you get to your size, yeah. You’re just probably at the point where it’s like, you got to invest in building your own system so that you can get to where you have a million active members. AT: (18:07) Yeah. Yeah. Because of technology, we are still in a growth phase versus scalability. And my main goal by the end of 2020 or early 21 is to get to scalability. And here’s what I mean by that for people listening. If I were to go on the today’s show next week, we are not confident that we could take on the amount of clients who would hit the website and purchase the product. We are still capping registration. We are closing registration every single month. We are capping the number of people who come in as coaches. And it’s because our technology is not able to keep up when it comes to a more scalable solution. So that, you know, for me as an entrepreneur is, is something that keeps me up at night, you know, or wakes me up at night and two in the morning. What if, you know, we just today announced that we are the fastest growing fitness and nutrition company in America based on inc five thousands report that came out this morning. You know, if we get, you know, tens of thousands of new clients today from a website, then we’re going to have to say RV: (19:13) All the millions of people from the influential, personal brand podcast come pilot, we’re going to do shit. AT: (19:20) We gotta put them on a waiting list. Yeah. So yeah, you know, that’s something that I, as the CEO of the company need to continue to prioritize and problem solve. And, you know, I have the most incredible team of 25 full time staffers. We have literally one man on our team and no one really heading up the technology side. So it’s me creating our, I literally created our website myself on Squarespace, and we’ve been using it for the past couple, few years, free website, you know, we need a better solutions, RV: (19:59) But what a great example, though, of just like using the tools, the free tools and starting out and just kind of like growing and growing and growing. And then, yeah, I mean, you’re dealing with the real issues of you know, an age. And I have been through this once before with our, you know, past of it’s one of w here’s one of the things I don’t know if you’ll find this to be true, but I had a mentor share with me one time. They said that it’s at the ones and threes at all, the ones and threes are where there are big pain points. So a hundred thousand to 300,000 is this is, you know, like, and then a million, so 300,000 to a million it’s about the same. And then a million to like two and a half million is the same. RV: (20:40) But once you hit 3 million, it’s like, Oh, now there’s a bump. And then between 3 million and 10 million is like, we, it, the swamp that’s like almost no one makes it from 3 million to 10 million. And then from 10 million to like 25 million, you’re good. But once you hit 30 million, which is funny, that’s about right where you’re at, that’s where the next big like hurdle is. And then once you get through this hurdle, like, you’ll be good, totally. A hundred million, like most of the things you figure at 30 million, and then you’ll have another hurdle at a hundred million and then 300 million and then a billion. And so the next time we’ll be doing your podcast on your private jet, like we’ll be, we’ll be doing the follow up here. So okay. So that’s, so that’s awesome. So when you, now, when you first started, I want to just kind of like go back to those early days. Your, your, your first customers just came like anybody else, like just friends and networking and social media, but then you turn those first 11 clients basically into influencers and then, but, but, but to turn them into influencers, are they just like saying, Hey, are they emailing you and saying, Hey, Amanda, here’s someone I think would be a fit for the program, or did you build funnels for them that they could like plug into in? Is that how it started to really take off? AT: (22:05) Yeah, that is an interesting that’s an interesting process that we went through from, from the first days of micro influencers. My first 11 clients, I went to my former workplace, walked around and said, I’m starting something new. You need to join, write me a check. We’ll be back by your office in 10 minutes. You know, that’s kinda how I got those first 11 in those particular individuals had incredible results. And I said, listen, if you tell other people at your workplace, your family members, your friends, about the faster way I will gift you with 50% commission. And what I did at the time was I created lead pages for each influencer. So I literally would create on my own a lead page with their name, many times a photo of the two of us, because you know, we happen to be friends and I’d say, you know, share this on social media. AT: (23:00) And then I would do the nurture campaigns. So they would share the lead page. And then I would do kind of the followup. If they’re a family member or friend joined the program, then I would give them 50% commission based on our analytics in the backend we have since grown it a little bit better from that, that system and process to now where we have post Philly pro integrated with the website. But that is how, you know, we got going. And then things really took off Rory when I created the certification around the faster way to fat loss, because our coaches are technically a affiliates for the brand. So that’s when things really started to gain momentum. RV: (23:46) Gotcha. yeah, well that, I mean, that’s very much, you know, like you texted me part of, we hadn’t talked in a while and you’re like, Hey, I heard John Donald Miller’s podcast. That’s what we did. You know, like if you go to that URL that we gave on his podcast, it just, it’s a picture of me and Donald, and then it’s like drops them into the, into the sequence. It’s just amazing that we live in a world and like a time where this is all possible. Really, really mind blowing about that. Just the power of leveraging word of mouth and all that. So I got one last little thing for you. Holy moly. I can’t believe we’re out of time. So, so actually before we do this, allow me to give my affiliate our brand builders group affiliate link, because we want anyone to come and like check you out and learn about becoming maybe, you know, anyone that’s listening, that’s in more of that like fitness space that maybe is a good fit for you. RV: (24:43) So I think we have a link set up if you go to brand builders, group.com/faster way, right? That’s I think the link that we’re going with brand builders, group.com/faster way. And I totally just encourage you to check this out. Like I said, the program is awesome. That’s a whole, we could do a whole nother thing about how you’ve designed the portal and laid out all of like the, you know, the workouts and also like the the, the recipe, like the eating, the eating guides and all that stuff. But anyways, so go to brand builders, group.com/faster way. The last thing I wanted to ask you about is data. How are you guys tracking and keeping up with like average lifetime value and the number of people who convert from the first six weeks to become a member. And like you said, you had really good retention. What are like a few of the things just that have helped you scale and like that you watch and pay attention to in that regard? AT: (25:46) Yes. And your listeners might lose just a little bit of respect for me as I share how we’re going to do, but hopefully this is an inspiration to someone who’s saying I don’t have money to invest in all the tools, or I don’t have the BI dashboards established. Here’s the deal. I have a person on the team who manually adds to a Google drive spreadsheet every single day. I check it at least two or three times per day to see how many clients we were able to convert yesterday into the new client program, the VIP program, I check retention I check any number of things, our, our swag store our merchandise. We look at churn. We manually still enter this information into a spreadsheet. We have some other tools and dashboards that we’ve begun working on. But primarily it’s still very, very much so bootstrapped and MacGyvered and all of that we are able to see our lifetime value via Stripe and PayPal, which is helpful, that does integrate with our point of sale system. AT: (27:01) And then of course, we have a CRM. We recently you’re saying, right SamCart is our point of sale and HubSpot is our CRM. So we just recently transitioned from active campaign over to HubSpot. Hubspot has been much better in regard to marketing data. We track our marketing campaigns very closely but, you know, I wish I had a better answer. Rory, we are just very much so working as hard as we can, the best we can and, you know, we know what metrics truly matter. So those are the metrics that we track on a regular basis. We are most concerned with retention or churn. We are most concerned with conversions for our highly qualified leads that we bring in with marketing campaigns as well. But, you know, it’s, it’s also an example of we’re just doing the right things at the right time for the right reasons. And because of that, we’ve been able to grow very quickly. I can’t sit here and say that we’re just masters at Facebook ads, or we’ve cracked the code with XYZ. We just have a great program that delivers awesome results. And our clients don’t care that we MacGyvered seven systems together in the backend. They just know that I’ve given them hope to maintain their results, their fat loss, their energy their hormone health. And I think because of that, we have developed a strong sense of loyalty within our customer base. RV: (28:34) Wow. Well, a men too, that, I mean, that is the way to punctuate this because it’s just like, you know, there is no fear when the mission to serve as clear. And if you just focus on helping people, like you’ll figure out the rest they’ll forgive you, right? Like our clients are so graceful with us of just stuff that we’ve had to janky together. Janky is a verb now. AT: (29:01) I love it. We janky stuff together all the time. RV: (29:04) Now I do. I w I do want to tell you, I’m going to send you a weaken your data situation. We know the masters at this, that business intelligence dashboards they’ve changed our life. We interviewed him on the podcast. It’s, it’s, it’s practice metrics. It’s Megan, and AIJ, I’ll send you the interview with them and that, but like they do all e-com automated dashboards, lifetime value, like perpetually updating, calculating commissions. I mean, they are the ninjas, so maybe we can help you solve, solve some of that problem so that you can come pick us up in your private jet than later which would be great. So, Amanda, thank you so much for being so transparent. Oh my gosh. Like, I can’t believe that you just, you’ve been so generous with how you do things and the way you do and what, what tools you’re using. It’s just phenomenal. And we just wish you the best of success and just like keep changing lives both financially and, or, you know, physically and financially. And you know, you guys are awesome. So keep it going. AT: (30:10) Thank you so much. It was truly my pleasure. And I’m an open book. If anyone has questions, I’m happy to answer those on social media at Amanda tress, or even via email info at a managed trust. I want everyone listening to be very successful so we can always circulate our wealth to our family church and community. Thanks again, Rory. RV: (30:31) Amen. All right, we’ll catch you later. Bye bye.
AJ: (00:06) [Inaudible] RV: (00:06) Hey, welcome to the recap edition of the influential personal brand podcast, breaking down the interview with our friend Michael Hyatt, who got real and totally transparent with us about his personal brand journey and his business. And just awesome. So I’m going to turn it over to my wife and our CEO. AIJ and give us your thoughts. What was your, what were your three big takeaways or your first, AJ: (00:33) Well, one, I love Michael Hyatt and I enjoy all interviews with Michael Hyatt. He is such, he has such a depth of knowledge and a real life expertise and experience that he is just, he is one worth learning from so always really excited to listen to anything that Michael does. But I’ll start with my, I’ve got my three points here. So I’ve been really good about taking notes. I’m doing them. Okay. Number one, this is the, this was important for me, cause I felt like you just don’t hear enough about it these days is that nothing is more important than your email list. Nothing. And I feel like so many times in today’s social media driven world all we hear about is how many followers do you have or how many fans do you have and how many likes and what’s your social engagement. AJ: (01:26) And not that that’s not important, but we talk about this a lot at brand builders group is that social media is rented real estate. And the only really way to own your virtual landscape is through an email list. And if you don’t have an email list, if the algorithm changes or the platform changes or the platform goes away, or the government says you can use the platform or they get consolidated or merged, all of that means that all of this work, that you’ve done all of your content, all of your, your audience just poof vanishes into thin air. And I just, I love it. It was, it was clean, was simple, straightforward, but does not get enough credibility anymore. People think that email art marketing is old school. No, it’s not. No, it’s not. So nothing is more important than your email list. That’s my number one. Yeah, RV: (02:22) Those big. And I, you know, for me the biggest thing, it’s interesting because he was promoting, you know, vision-driven leader. So that’s his new book that’s out. And then we were kind of, I thought my biggest takeaway was just seeing that applied to the personal brand business and hearing him tell his journey of how he started with just like basically himself. And then they’ve grown that into a huge team doing major revenue. And if you’re curious, he shares on the interview, he shares like you got to go listen to it, but he shares his revenue numbers. Yeah. AJ: (02:57) How many staff they have the total staff RV: (03:00) And the size of their email list. He’s he shares it. And you know, he didn’t talk about this in the interview, but we were with Michael at Blackberry farm a few years ago. And I, gosh, I wish I could remember this, but you, what you said made me think about it is that basically he was making the case that the amount of revenue that you do every year is directly tied to your email list. And I want to say it’s something to the effect of a dollar per month per email. So if you have a hundred, I think this is it. If you have a hundred thousand people on your email list, then you typically that company is going to generate about a hundred thousand in revenue a month. Okay. So that’d be a $1.2 million a year. So for every hundred thousand people on your email list, you grow that by a million dollars a year in revenue. And you know, so I was thinking about the relationship he was sharing between their numbers and where they’re at now and, and that, and just kinda what you were talking about. But that was powerful for me is just to go like, this is how you do it. And, and, and you can build and build and build by just starting small. And, and just knowing though that if you follow these principles, there’s a huge business available to you and right in front of you. So that was my first big takeaway. AJ: (04:25) Yeah, no was so good. And that’s like, if you look at all of Michael’s social following, cause they have good followings, but their email list is so much bigger than their social followings. And then the revenue of their company is very reflective of their email list, not per se their social platforms. So I just think that’s really important for all of you who sometimes get hung up in the outwardly appearances of social and be like them. Then though you need to be focused on the inwardly. Who’s on my email list. And I just think that’s a great reminder. We’ll have that. Okay. My second thing was that the vision should change in the midst of chaos or the vision should not change in the midst of chaos, but the strategy has to, yeah, the vision should not change, but how you get there. The strategy is something that needs to be flexible that needs to be able to bend and mold to the times. AJ: (05:21) And he gave this great example as we are we’re we’re in the midst of a pandemic, things have changed, right? Things have changed. And that doesn’t mean the vision has to though the strategy changes, but the vision doesn’t have to. And I think that’s a really big deal in terms of just paying attention to where do you want to end up and how you get there may look a little different, but the, the longterm vision, the longterm goal doesn’t have to change in order for the path in which you take to get there. And he used this great example and I’m not going to go through all of it right now. It’s you should go listen it. But he gave the great example of Slack. And I thought, what a great example of what’s, how Slack started as a company and how it started as a company. And then actually what you know it today as is Slack, right? It’s this communication tool that is not what it started as, that was not its original intended use, but that’s what it is today with a billion dollar valuation. I think that’s a really big deal to pay attention to, or the, the vision didn’t change. But the strategy changed in order to meet that vision in the midst of chaos. I think that’s very relative to what RV: (06:35) Well, and I would say brand builders group has been interesting. You know, we, we, we had a vision for our events this year and we had to immediately go to all virtual events. And that was a, I thought a real life example of, of how it affected us internally was how many events did we do in this year, 21, 21? We had no plans to do a virtual event and then all of a sudden they’re all, they’re all virtual and we may never do a live when again, it’s been awesome. I mean, everybody has loved it. And that leads to kind of my second takeaway, which was along the same line of vision. And I really liked the distinction that he was talking about between vision and mission and values. Yeah. So, you know, the vision is where, like, where are we going? The mission is, is Y and then the values are sort of like who we are and who we’re becoming. And I liked, I liked that. I think of you know, I just think that the idea of where we’re going is, is a really good illustration. And yeah, I mean that, I don’t know what else to say other than that was really clear for me AJ: (07:42) And clarity around what is vision, what is mission? What are core values and how do they all connect? I think that was, that was very good, RV: (07:48) Complicated. I mean, I remember being in grad school and being like, why is this so complicated? What the difference is? And that was just, that was super simple. And, and Hey, by the way, you personal brand, like if it’s you one person solo preneur, you need to have these things. Like, you need to have vision, you need to have a mission and you need to have core values. Even if it’s just you brand builders, we’ve got seven core values. And you know, we’ve, we’ve had to do these, these things that like, it’s a big, big, hairy deal. AJ: (08:18) Yeah. I think that’s important too. Cause he talks a lot about how vision is, what guides you it’s like your North star. And if you don’t have vision, then how do you know where you’re going? And he said, the challenge is, is most people don’t. So they get sidetracked and pulled in all these different directions and they’re plagued by distraction without ever making real progress towards this one, you know, uniform vision. And I think that’s a lot of, to what you’re saying and not getting that confused with mission and core values. It was, it was a, it was a great conversation. Okay. I could digress. This is a good topic, but this is my last one. Right? So I’m going to read this exactly. This is how I wrote it. When I listened to the interview that it’s never too late to reinvision your company or your brand, you don’t have to give up on the vision, you just have to change the strategy. AJ: (09:04) Right. And I think that was the part, I think that’s kind of connected to my point too, but it’s like, it’s never too late to reimagine reinvision and reinvent your company or your personal brand. In fact, I think the whole concept of reinvisioning reimagining reinventing speaks to the point of like, now that happens all the time, it can happen all the time. It’s never too late. It’s always the right opportunity to do that. And I know that for us, we hear it. We hear so many people say, it’s like, well, I’ve just been doing this so long. Right? I’ve been at this for this many years, or I’ve already invested this much time or money or resources. And I say to you lovingly, so what, so what, right. Those were great experiences and great learning. And you have taken from that to create what is next, right? You would not be able to create what is next, if you hadn’t been through what you have been through, but it’s never too late. And I just, I really love this concept of living forward, not living in the past, RV: (10:06) Which is another book title of Michael Hyatt living forward. There’s another book. Yup. AJ: (10:12) But I think all of those are just very not synonymous with the time that we’re living in of like, if you’re, if you are not reinventing today, you’re in trouble. Like that is not an option re-imagining and reinventing yourself. And your business is not an option today. It must happen for you to evolve and change with the changing landscape that we are living in. Right. That’s just fact, and I just think it’s never too late, which means that it doesn’t matter if you’re five months behind or 50 years behind, you can still do it. RV: (10:42) Yup. Well, you touched on the vision and distractions there. And that was my third, my third takeaway, which I thought applies both to your personal brand and just to life in general, is that the difference between opportunities and distractions can be very deceiving and that a lot of times opportunities or distractions show up on your doorstep disguised as opportunities. And so like when you were saying, you gotta have that vision and be super clear on what you’re going for and go after it. I mean, gosh, the more we do this and the more we’re working with personal brands, the more I become convicted that the reason people don’t succeed is not because they’re not smart enough or they’re not good enough. It’s because they’re freaking distracted. They get pulled by some ad that they saw that, Oh, they should be launching a membership site now. RV: (11:38) Or their buddy says, well, I made a million dollars doing a challenge. And so now I gotta launch a challenge or, you know, the path of glory is a coaching program or like they just get pulled. And it’s like, yeah, the reality is you can, you can be successful in any model, as long as you drive that one model to success. But if you’re trying all these different models, like you, you can’t work when you have diluted focus, you get diluted results. And to hear Michael come out and just say that so clearly it’s like, gosh, that’s it. And preach it. And just lock in on a model, lock in on a message lock in on an audience and go serve them and make it successful. Quit dancing around looking for things that you’re dipping your toe in. Hoping you find something that works out and, and make it find one thing and make it successful. That’s the way to get there with focus. Focus is power. So yeah, (12:41) Rory got excited. (12:42) I got excited about that one. I got excited. I always get excited. And like you said, any time Michael Hyatt speaks and we have a chance to listen. We’re like always, AJ: (12:52) Why’s so such depth to his experience. And that’s what I love. And it’s like, if you guys don’t know Michael, or you haven’t listened to the interview, like this is just scratching the surface. He is someone who has been on both sides of the coin. He has done it. He is living it. He’s got a team he’s gone from personal brand to full blown a company. And it’s like, again, it’s he is one to follow. Like if you were really wanting to turn your personal brand into an eight figure business, he is one to follow to say, how did it start? And then what, and then what, and I just, again, if you haven’t listened to the interview, go listen to it. So much depth, so much wisdom. RV: (13:33) And I want to do a plug on that note because we’ve interviewed him twice. We interviewed him. If you go to influential personal brand summit.com, you can watch a video interview that we did with him. Like not so much just about vision in the business, but how he built his whole personal brand from scratch. And you can go listen to that influential personal brand summit.com, check it out, tune in and follow Michael. And thanks for, we’ll see you next time. Speaker 3: (14:05) [Inaudible].
RV: (00:06) Hey, brand builder, Rory Vaden here. Thank you so much for tuning in to listen to this interview, we are so excited to bring you this information and wanted to let you know that, Hey, there’s no sales pitch coming from anything that we do with this is all our value add to you and the community. However, if you are somebody who is looking for specific strategies on how to build and monetize your personal brand, we would love to talk to you and we offer a free call to everyone that’s interested in getting to know us and is willing to give us a chance to get to know them and share a little bit about what we do. So if you’re interested in taking us up on a free strategy call, you can do that at brand builders, group.com/summit. Call brand builders, group.com/summit. Call. Hope to talk to you soon on with the show, such an honor, always to introduce you to my friend, Michael Hyatt, if you don’t know him already you probably do. RV: (01:11) He’s the former CEO of Thomas Nelson. He is a number one wall street journal, bestselling author, New York times bestselling author of several books, multiple books. His new book is called the vision driven leader. And I’m so excited about the timing of how the timing worked out with this topic at this particular moment in history. And I mean, one of the things that you should know about Michael, that I just really admire is like he’s actually led large companies as a corporate, you know, CEO and also built a very large business as an entrepreneur. It’s rare to meet that type of a person. And so I, I really admire, and I’m an excited ticket sort of his instincts on leading right now. So Michael welcome. Welcome to the show. Thanks for having me back on. I appreciate it very much on the topic of personal brands. RV: (02:07) Okay. Just since that’s a, that’s a big part of our audience. Can you give us an idea of some of the magnitude of what Michael Hyatt and team has become? How many people are there? Like how many people do you reach or like, what are some of the metrics Cosco and you started as a solopreneur and, you know, cause I think of you as being one of the premier models in terms of scaling, turning a personal brand into a very real business, something that is scalable. And there’s not that there’s not that many personal brands that people can model to go like, Hey, actually there’s a big opportunity here of a big place that I can take my personal brand in terms of jobs I provide and people I reach. So like what are, what are, give us an idea of just like the magnitude or the scope of like what your team, what your team does? We have 40 people, so it MH: (03:00) Just started off with me that I got an executive assistant that I hired a copywriter and then it kind of grew from there. So today we have 40 full time teammates. We’ve got a lot of contractors that work for us as well. We’ll do about $16 million in revenue this year. Wow. That’s awesome. Yeah. And so we’ve been growing at about 60% a year, so, you know, we’ll probably hit 20 million this next year. And yeah, I’m trying to think of impact. We, we probably get a million unique visitors to our websites every month, RV: (03:33) A month, MH: (03:34) Probably 50,000 a week, you know, 200 to 250,000 a month. We have a big coaching program. We have 450 business coaching program or clients that are in our business coaching program. We have eight coaches that work with us. So I’m not the only one delivering the content by the way, this interesting thing, I think for people to know about a personal brand, at some point you have to say, okay, how can I expand this beyond myself? And as you’re successful, you get the opportunity to do that. Name is still on the company. My name is still on the company, but I’ve been able to replicate myself and have other people that are also delivering content. RV: (04:12) I love that. That is so cool. I mean, think about that. Y’all a million visitors a month, 50,000 down podcast downloads a week you know, like a quarter of another quarter million people versus that, not to count all your social media, right? And like whatever your social media is, your email list. Like you’re reaching millions of people. You know, every single, every single month that’s MH: (04:35) Our email list is about 800,000 people. And so we keep that pretty pruned, you know, people that don’t respond, you know, we take them off of it, but, but I, I will say to people that are building a personal brand, nothing is more important than your email list. RV: (04:50) There you go. There’s another, if you want a more, a more in depth interview of Michael and I talking about that we have that on the influential personal brand summit.com. You can listen to our conversation there. Of course, it’s also back in one of our earlier podcast episodes on influential personal brand. So what you know, vision-driven leader, like, how did you, I mean, it’s kind of perfect timing for that with like everything in the world. Of course you, this was had to be way in the works before everything that COVID was going down and quarantine and all that. But what, why did you decide to write this, you know, specifically right now, at this time in your career, MH: (05:31) Just a funny story. So the book came out on March the 31st. And so when the president gave his speech on March the 11th, the next day I called my publisher and I said, this has gotta be the worst time to launch a book. Is there any way that we could delay it? And they said, Nope, the toothpaste is out of the tube and all the, all the orders we’ll cancel it, Amazon in particular, but all the other retailers too, it’ll just create chaos. So I just dug deep and I said, okay, why is vision more relevant now than ever before? And I think that’s what every business owner has to figure out in the middle of the pandemic is how was their service? How was their product more relevant than ever before? And one of the things I realized is that vision is crucial, especially in a crisis because you don’t, if you don’t have a North star, if you don’t have something that is guiding you, that you’re working toward, you’re just going to be lost and drifting on the sea. And one of the things I’ve noticed with my coaching clients is those that have a written vision script, which is what the book advocates are doing pretty well because vision doesn’t change, even in a pandemic strategy will change because there’s a major difference between strategy and vision, but the vision should remain the same and people need to hear it. Now your team needs to hear it now more than ever before. Yeah. RV: (06:50) I love that idea that that strategy will change in a pandemic, but vision will not. That’s a, that’s a really huge idea. You mentioned the vision script and I want to, I want to talk about that towards the end. I want to hear about the tool that y’all created, but so you, you, you lay out these kinds of different questions of, of, of what should be a great vision and what does it make a great vision? Can you just kinda like talk, talk us through some of the ones that you think are maybe the, not so obvious characteristics of what makes a great vision or even like some of your favorite characteristics? Cause you know, this, this is something that you’ve been around a long time. MH: (07:30) Well, let me, let me go ahead and define it, what I’m talking about. Cause I think that in a way kind of encapsulates the whole thing and then we can unpack it if you’d like. So when I talk about a vision script, I’m not talking about a vision statement. So I’m using that language very intentionally, but when people talk about a vision statement, they usually mean a short, pithy, almost a slogan that you could put on a coffee mug or slap on a tee shirt. The problem with that is it’s incredibly intimidating to come up with you think I’m not that clever. You know, I’m not that, that bright to reduce everything I want about the future in terms of a slogan. And I think most people aren’t, but even if you could do it, it wouldn’t be robust enough to really guide your organization into the future. MH: (08:13) So when I talk about a vision script, what I’m specifically talking about is a written document. That’s three to five pages in length. It outlines a clear, inspiring, practical and attractive picture of your organization’s future. This is key. It describes reality three to five years from now, as you see it and written in the present tense as though it’s already beginning to happen, that’s a vision script. And I find that when people get this on paper, you don’t have to be Hemingway. You don’t have to be a good writer, but when you start to disentangle your thoughts from just floating around in your brain, you start to achieve clarity about where you want to end up three to five years from now. And that’s kind of the key to leadership. If you don’t know where you’re going, if you don’t know where you’re taking people, you probably shouldn’t be leading them. So vision and leadership go hand in hand. RV: (09:11) Huh. And then, so, you know, if it’s three to five years out then like how often do you have to be updating it kind of every year? Is that the idea is like, you’re kind of always three to five ahead. MH: (09:22) Definitely not a one and done kind of thing. It’s definitely easier to do much easier to do after the first time you do it. It’s that, you know, initial draft, like you’re a writer, you know, write a book. It in that initial draft is tough. Same thing for a vision script. The hardest work you do is at the beginning, I’ve tried to make it as easy as possible, almost paint by number with the book division driven leader, but thereafter you’re going to revisit it every year. Now I’ll tell you that the way that I recommend organizations do that is as the first part of their strategic planning process. So every year at Michael Hyden company, and I did this when I was at Thomas Nelson publishers, is that we would do a strategic planning week where we would look at things like our vision, look at a sort of a SWOT analysis. MH: (10:08) You know, our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats out of that came our strategic priorities. And then we began to set goals and then we began to chunk that down into, you know, sort of what our quarterly objectives were and then even down to, you know, our weekly outcomes and daily tasks, but it all begins with that vision. And so every year you’ve got a chance to look at it and go, okay, we’ve got a little bit more clarity where you’re closer to where we thought we were going to be three to five years out where you’re closer. Do we see anything differently with more clarity, with more precision? And if you do that, you’ve got a chance to tweak it. And like you said, it is a moving target. Cause it always needs to be something that’s always three to five years out. RV: (10:49) Yeah. I mean that concept in and of itself is I think powerful, like the classic business school vision statement is like, Hey, we like put a paragraph down and everyone threw it in their drawer and never looked at it again. Nobody knows what it is, but you’re, this is a, this is more like a constitution or something, you know, something that’s being updated or it’s I guess constitution is not a great example. It’s not updated very often, but you know, it can be it’s amended and, and it’s, it’s a, it’s a, it’s an ongoing development part of the process here. So what do you think that people do wrong with the vision and, and leaders? And it’s like what do you think are some of the common mistakes or the things that aren’t going that are, are, you know, like an entrepreneur or even a corporate level leader kind of person they’re not doing, or they don’t either in the way the vision is written or in how they reference it or refer to it as part of their normal operation. MH: (11:49) I would say that the first mistake that entrepreneurs or business leaders is they don’t have a written vision. Like in our survey, we less than 1% of the business owners that we surveyed had a written vision statement or script of any kind. Wow. So they may have had something rattling around in their head, but they didn’t have anything on paper. And when you don’t have it on paper, first of all, you’re probably not clear because when it’s in your brain, it’s ambiguous, it’s kind of, you know, just vague. It’s not specific, it’s not concrete. You’d probably don’t have the clarity that you need, but you also have a difficult time communicating that vision. And certainly you’re going to have a difficult time ensuring quality control so that the people who are under you are the people that are working with, you can also continue to, you know, express that vision should their teammates as well. MH: (12:38) So not having a vision script is the biggest single biggest mistake that people make. I couldn’t find a single course in any college curriculum or university curriculum that taught on vision. I could only find a few books that were written about vision and actually too, as a matter of fact, and one of them kind of confused vision and mission and strategy, and they just didn’t take time to define the terms. And I’m very clear on all those terms and that I find many of them in the book, but a vision is a very specific thing about the future. RV: (13:08) Yeah. Can we talk about vision and mission? Cause I feel like those, that’s where the cloud is. Like, what’s the real difference here. Yeah. And I remember going, I remember going through MBA school, coming out more confused about which each one was then going in. MH: (13:26) Yeah. So here’s what, here’s what I would say. Vision answers the question where, where are we going? And mission answers the question, what do we do and why do we do it? So vision is about the future mission is about now I’m working on my vision every day in the hopes that as I do that, I’m going to come closer and closer to that vision for the, for the future. Now strategy is an interesting question too, because that answers the question. How, how do I get from where I am to where I want to be, how am I going to get from our current situation to this envisioned situation that’s expressed in the vision script and just to round it out, then we have core values and values are really about who we are. And more importantly, who are becoming on this journey toward this vision. That makes sense. RV: (14:19) Yeah. So you got where vision is where mission is, why strategy is how and then values are just kind of like, are the who, okay, so who we are, who we’re becoming. Huh. Yeah. So I, I, I get that. And I think, you know, the whole, the concept of having it written down, I mean, clearly it, it makes it difficult to propagate something if it’s not documented somewhere, just that in and of itself. MH: (14:47) And I didn’t say before, but the vision script to Rory is into four parts because it’s not just like you’re thinking about the future is, you know, kind of this under differentiated hole, but I have it broken down into four sections. So if you use the vision script kind of format, it’s really about what’s the future of your team team is everything, the culture you’re building, the people that you’re recruiting, the people that you’re retaining, how you’re developing your team, because the team is the primary means by which you’re going to bring this vision into existence. So team is number one, product is number two. What is it that you produce and bring forth into the world? You know, maybe it’s a product, maybe it’s a service. Maybe it’s a combination of both, but the future of your product, then the future of your marketing and your sales. So how do you reach the market? How do you take your products or your service to market, and then finally the future of your impact that could be expressed in terms of, you know, what is your revenue size three to five years from now? What’s your profitability? What are your podcast downloads or your website visits or whatever metric you want to want to use. It are important to your particular business, but the, that vision script is expressed at each of those four sections. RV: (15:58) Yeah. So you mentioned the podcast downloads, can you apply this to me for personal brands specifically? Right. So like, you know, I think everyone goes, Oh, I’m a corporate leader. We should have a vision or even entrepreneurs like that. But if you’re a personal brand and you know, it’s like mostly built around you, do you still think you need to have one of these? MH: (16:17) Absolutely. I am a personal brand and RV: (16:22) That’s a big one. MH: (16:24) Well, and, and you know, so, so yeah, I started out as, as a solo.
Ep 93: The Three Components of Becoming a Highly Booked Speaker and Thought Leader with Josh Linkner | Recap Episode
RV: (00:00) Hey, welcome to this special recap edition of the influential personal brand. We’re breaking down the interview today with our longtime friend, Dan Miller, who I absolutely just love. I just love his energy, him and Joanne are awesome. And we met them on a cruise a few years ago and I’ve just been, been friends. So we got your top three takeaways from AJ and from me. So, get us going. AJV: (00:32) Yeah, I think the first thing he said this like really close to the beginning of the interview and I loved it. And he said if somebody or three different people ask me the same question more than three times, I’ll just make a product for it. I think the whole concept of what should I make a product about or where do I find content is really simply answered when you just figure out what do people already come to you for? And so instead of repeating the exact same thing over and over and over again, why not turn it into a product, a course or a video series or a book or a coaching program or certification or all the things that he has done and is doing really, he said most of that comes from just, you know, if I get asked the same question more than three times, then I really consider turning that into a product. RV: (01:24) Yep. I love that. I was one of my takeaways too, is just, you know, the power of listening to your audience. And I think one of the, one of the techniques or strategies that you can use is to ask your audience. So in his case, he’s just listening. But the other thing you can do, like if you need content ideas or you need product ideas, or if you need copy for like your sales page, send a survey to your audience, ask them some questions about what they want and what they’re struggling with, and then take their words that they write back to you and use some of their language in CRE in actually marketing what you’re doing and create a product for them. So that was one of my takeaways too. I just love that. It’s such a simple, a simple, practical, actionable thing that any of us can do, you know, right away. So that was good. So what was your second one AJV: (02:17) Second one was this concept of not doing the new and trendy thing that everyone is doing. And he said, I’ll try to recap it here. He said, but I, I resist the temptation to do every single new and trendy thing that is out there. And he talked about, he said, could I be missing out on lots of money? Maybe do I care? Not really. And I think that’s really just really powerful. It’s like, if what you’re doing is working, why would you derail? What’s working to do just what everyone else is doing. That’s new and trendy. And one of the things that I thought was really insightful and something that you don’t hear a lot about, he said, now I’m not saying anything is wrong with funnels or webinars or with anything he said, but you hear all these people all over social media promoting, I made six figures, seven figures in this launch. AJV: (03:10) He said, what you don’t hear about is how much money they had to give back and refunds. And I thought that was really interesting because you hear a ton of people. You see a ton of ads. It’s like how I made six figures in this funnel, or there’s this one out. And I don’t, I won’t say what it’s called, but it’s how do you have a seven figure funnel? And then he talks about how he came up with this whole thing. And yeah, probably you could do that. I’m sure people are doing that all the time every day. And Dan said, but what you don’t hear about is how much of that they’re actually giving back in refunds because a buyer’s remorse or they didn’t get what they thought it was, or it was a little bit misleading or a little bit of a bait and switch. And I’m not saying everyone is but I do think there’s some accuracy in the fact that you hear a lot of the revenue promoted and that a lot of the backend of what was it even profitable and how much did you actually give back and refunds? And I thought that was just very insightful. RV: (04:09) Yeah. I mean, you got the refunds, you also have affiliate fees and, you know, Facebook ads and paying your graphic designer. And, you know, at the end of the day, it’s like, how, how much do you really keep in? Which is but I think his thing into your point is more about the reputation and like the, AJV: (04:26) Oh yeah, no, I love when he said, he said it, he said, I’m way more about building a consistent audience than having huge infusions of cash said, I’m way more about the consistency time, over time, over time, that will last me 20 years than I am about this one time, big infusion of of cash. And everyone is different. Perhaps you are someone who’s looking for that big infusion of cash and like go for it, do it. But I loved what he said. It’s about playing the long game and making this a, a true, a true business versus this one time push. RV: (05:00) Yeah. So for me, the other thing that I thought was fascinating you know, we teach something to our brand new members that we call the fast cash formula, which is how do you, if you need to make money quickly. And we talk about how coaching a lot of times is the fastest way. If you need to replace an income is to offer coaching. And when he was telling his story, that was how he started. And still to this day, he does one day a month of one-on-one coaching work. And I love that because he was a real life example of what we talk about that, you know, coaching is the fastest path to cash in terms of replacing a large you know, income need, but it’s the least scalable longterm. And, and yet, so he sort of toward the story about how he started with that. RV: (05:51) And then after he had done enough coaching, he created a course for the people who couldn’t afford coaching. And, and so he was teaching this course and then people invited him to come speak because there were people seeing him teach the course. And that, you know, basically out of that coaching work came his content which became also his business model. And I just think that’s a really great way to do it is to do the work, to kind of get your hands in there. And obviously we love coaching. We, we believe in coaching in the power of one-on-one and I just, I just thought that was really encouraging. And, and, you know, he, he does have multiple streams of income, but it’s been developed over years and it’s, it really started from one great body of work, you know, that he flushed out with coaching and real life scenarios then applied it to a course, you know, then applied it to live events and speaking. So I thought that was just a great, a great example. AJV: (06:51) Yeah. There’s a great evolution of evolution. That’s a great one. And I think that’s somewhat similar to my third and final point, which is which I thought is very indicative of what you hear a lot. But yet there’s this mystery around it. He said, but I don’t count on any income from my books. And, you know, in his book is super successful and has been out there, just did a 20 year edition, right? 20Th year, RV: (07:18) 20Th or 25th. AJV: (07:20) Yeah. But a long time, right on. He said, but here’s what I have found. He said, it’s not the book itself that makes all the income, it’s the actual content within the book. So the book is the calling card. It’s the credibility source. Then not to say that you won’t make income. He just doesn’t count on that in his forecast or his budget. But it’s the content of that book that he then takes that and turns it into all these different curriculums. It’s a coaching curriculum. It’s a certification curriculum. It’s a course, it’s a video series, it’s a live event. It’s all these different things that are all circulated around the content of the book. And the book is at the center, but probably isn’t, what’s bringing in the most income for him. However, from that, there is just this entire huge circle of all these things that are moving to make this very successful, a very healthy business, even though most of the income is not from the center of it, which is the book it’s from all these other ancillary income streams that have become his primary revenue. RV: (08:27) Yeah. That’s good, good perspective on the book. For me, my third takeaway, which he talked a little bit about, but it’s more of, of what we know about him and Joanne behind the scenes. And I don’t know that he said this directly, but every time I’m with Dan and Joanne, it always occurs to me how they build their life or, or they build work around their life. They don’t build their life around their work. And so it’s, it’s one of the great possibilities of a personal brand is to be able to like fit work in and around your life. And it’s hard to do cause when you’re an entrepreneur, especially early on, it’s like a lot of times, you know, we’re kind of his life, but you, you want to get out of that and you can get out of that. And AJV: (09:14) I think that goes to a lot of what he talked about, where he resists the temptation to do all of the new and trendy things. Because, well, for what reason, it’s like, are you living to work? Are you working to live? And he talked a lot about his time and his schedule, but I think that is a part of it is resisting the temptation to do. RV: (09:34) Yeah. And I, and I hope for you, like, w w I wonder, I would bet if we could take all the podcast listeners and ask if you’ve heard of Dan Miller, I bet less than half of you have actually heard of him. You’ve probably heard of some of our other guests yet. He has one of the biggest businesses of everyone we’ve ever had on the podcast. And, and his example speaks to the power of steady consistency and just trust and playing the long game and plodding along. He’s the tortoise man. That’s a, that’s such a great that’s a great metaphor. And, and, and we mean that AJV: (10:14) It was his, he said, he said, I’m the tortoise. RV: (10:18) Yeah. That’s. And, and that is, you know, and we say that in the most honoring way, AJV: (10:23) He said it so we can say it. RV: (10:26) But even to that extent, it doesn’t mean you have to be slow. It’s just, it’s the idea of consistency. You don’t have to be the person with a million followers. And, and you know, this, these huge extravagant launches and given away cars, and like, you can do those things like, but, but you don’t have to be that person in order to be successful. Like you can just do the right thing for a really long time, and it will work out like you can’t fail if you just pour back into people’s lives. So I’m as encouraged by that. AJV: (11:01) Yeah. Well, I think it just, in general, there are a million different ways to build your personal brand. And Dan gives a one, one really great perspective of how to do it. And there are many other different perspectives that you will hear from other guests, but to what Roy is saying, it’s like, it’s, it’s all about. And what we talk about a lot, it’s playing the long game and Dan is a great example of the long game. RV: (11:26) Yeah. So there you have it. So hopefully you’re playing the long game and you’ll keep coming back here. We’re going to keep working to provide amazing guests for you and hopefully useful insights. We’re so glad that you’re here. We’ll catch you next time on the influential personal brand.
Ep 92: The Three Components of Becoming a Highly Booked Speaker and Thought Leader with Josh Linkner
RV: (00:06) Hey brand builder, Rory Vaden here. Thank you so much for tuning in to listen to this interview. We are so excited to bring you this information and wanted to let you know that, Hey, there’s no sales pitch coming from anything that we do with this is all our value add to you and the community. However, if you are somebody who is looking for specific strategies on how to build and monetize your personal brand, we would love to talk to you and we offer a free call to everyone that’s interested in getting to know us and is willing to give us a chance to get to know them and share a little bit about what we do. So if you’re interested in taking us up on a free strategy call, you can do that at brand builders, group.com/summit call brand builders, group.com/summit. Call to talk to you soon on with the show. RV: (01:03) So you are about to learn how to book over a hundred keynotes a year in the next 20 minutes. So Josh Linkner, uh, is I think the epitome of just a thought leader and an expert. He’s really the world’s foremost expert on innovation, both in academic from an academic standpoint, but also from an experiential standpoint. So you know, that we’re all about practitioners. So first of all, he has had five he’s, a five-time tech entrepreneur. There’s a combined exit value of over $200 million. And he also won the Ernst and young entrepreneur of the year twice, which is insane. That’s like winning two Nobel prizes in the world of entrepreneurship. And then on the thought leader side, he speaks over a hundred, uh, for over a hundred paid engagements. Every single year he is doing, he’s got three books, he’s a New York times bestselling author of three books. RV: (02:03) He writes for Forbes and inc. And just like, literally, if someone is booking an innovation speaker, they will eventually book Josh. Like it’s just a matter of time. So he’s here to share all of his secrets for us and tell us how that works and how in the heck he pulls that off. So buddy, thank you for being here. Truly a pleasure and an honor to join. Thank you. So how do you book a hundred keynotes here? Like what is it, is it, do you think in all seriousness, do you think it is a, is it a combination of a thousand little things or is it a few big things? Yeah. Well, first of all, not everybody wants to do that and I think you are pursuing speaking, you know, there’s no right or wrong. My record, I would think we were chatting earlier as 163, but someone might not want to do that. So please don’t feel obligated anybody, but I’m happy to show what we do. You know, Roy, I think it’s a lot of little things we spent over a decade dissecting JL: (03:00) The speaking industry and understanding how do people set fee? How do you create demand? How do you interact with bureaus? And I wish I could say there was one silver bullet thing, but it’s, it’s the intersection of being a strong thought leader being good on stage, certainly, but also really developing your brand. And I know you guys are the world’s expert at that in a way that the market understands and is willing to buy. And one thing is funny, you know, in my previous business I had about 500 people and 100 of them were in sales. So we had a massive sales organization. We don’t, we’re not, there was a hunting business with hunting down clients and we were able to win 74 of the top 100 brands. The speaking industry, in my opinion, is a fishing business. So it’s more it’s I don’t think you’re going to get a lot of success getting on the phone and cold calling meeting planners. But if you have the right SEO strategy, your website’s gorgeous, your marketing is cohesive and understandable. Your value proposition is clear. It’s about casting, tons of lines in the water and making them irresistible. And ultimately you’re going to get, you know, plenty of activity, RV: (03:59) Man. I love that. That’s such a good distinction between kind of the two and that’s the world that we came from. Also, we used to our old business was training salespeople, how to sell, like training them, how to hunt and then brand builders is basically, you know, how to fish. It’s like how to, how to make people come to you. So, um, you know, and I like to, I like the way you’re talking and thinking about that between like being a thought leader, um, and being great on stage and then really developing your brand. So let’s tackle those. Uh, so let’s talk about the thought leader part first. One of the jokes that I have around brand builders group is I tell people, I say, hopefully at least half of what we teach you is real substance because I, you know, I really think, you know, there is a, it really should be thought. Leader has a lot of depth and it should be about experience and education, but fortunately, or unfortunately it does seem like marketing and perception matters a lot. So how do you think you really become a true thought leader and what is the balance between the like, you know, I actually am an expert and I’m marketing as an expert and I’m doing things to, to position myself as an expert. JL: (05:19) The way I think about it is I think that if you’re a speaker specifically, you’re really running three interchange, interconnected businesses at one time, and let’s think about them separately for a second. One is a thought leadership business where you are truly an expert in your field. The second is a brand marketing distribution business on how do you actually sell yourself as a speaker and a thought leader? And the third one is that of a performing artist, being a great storyteller, being terrific on stage, et cetera, you really need all three of those firing on all cylinders to be successful. You can only get so far if you only have a little bit in each of those categories. So the first thing I would do, Rory is dissect separate those two, marketing yourself as a thought leader is different than being a thought leader. So going deeper on being a thought leader world, as you likely know, craves deep expertise. JL: (06:08) In one thing, you know, I’ve had the chance I’ve hired 10,000 people over the last 30 years, I could, I’ve raised hundreds of millions of dollars of capital. So I could probably talk about hiring practices. I could probably talk about deployment of capital and financial rigor and a bunch of other stuff, but I don’t. I talk about one thing, which is my core passion for 40 plus years, which is the deployment of human creativity to drive productive outcomes, AK innovation. So if I tried to speak on a lot of things where even if I’m semi qualified in many of those, uh, my entire business would collapse. So the first thing I would recommend people do is get super, super deep in one thing and be known for it. If your one thing is customer service being the most profoundly expert world beater in that particular thing. JL: (06:53) So instead of being, you know, really wide and an inch deep go go seven miles deep and a, you know, a millimeter wide. And to do that, I think it’s all about, you know, constantly learning, constantly reading. You should know everything there is to know in your field, read every book there is on the topic, study the masters, watch every podcast, watch every Ted talk, follow every other thought leader, you know, really go deep as an expert in your field. And that again, when you think about these three concentric businesses that enter intersect, um, the first thing you gotta do is get really smart in your area of expertise. But beyond that, I think that, so that would be to be an extra. RV: (07:28) Okay. So hold on. Okay, go ahead. Go ahead. Go ahead. JL: (07:30) One last point, first thing to do is be, be an expert, but to be a thought leader, then you have to have a point of view. You have to ideally reveal something surprising and different and show leadership in the field. Not only expertise, RV: (07:42) Love that. Okay. So almost everyone we talked to has that same advice. I mean our entire phase one event is all about helping people figure out what is their one thing like that entire experience is really just taking them through a series of exercises to help them figure that out. And I liked the, I liked the term that you used, that you are a semi qualified to teach a lot of things. Cause I think most of us are semi qualified to teach a lot of things. How do you, what is your advice to someone who is struggling between the, you know, four or five, uh, you know, different things? JL: (08:23) Well, ideally it’s the one that you feel you’re most passionate about that you have the deepest level of expertise in. And, um, the other thing that you want to look at is, is marketability. So if I was really, really passionate, which I am by the way about jazz guitar, that was a good example. Good example. I could talk about out of play jazz guitar, but there’s not a big market for that on main stage keynotes. Um, on the other hand, my, my core topic innovation is a much more marketable thing. So the first person you want to look at, you know, where where’s your passion, where’s your deep expertise today. And then where does that intersect with market opportunity? And, and once you identify a broader lane of market opportunity like leadership or innovation customer service, then you also have to say, what, where can I add my own unique twist or unique flavor? So instead of being the, you know, one of a thousand leadership speakers or 10,000 leadership speakers, why are you one of a kind and in your particular flavor of, of that broader topic? RV: (09:16) Got it. Yeah, I like that. So JL: (09:19) One, one person that we work with it, you know, he was a really smart guy, wrote a book. He spoke on leadership and his principles were awesome, but they were really generic. And as you know, generic doesn’t really sell. So we started working with them and learn that he also was really into comedy. He actually performed comedy at second city years ago. So we said, well, what’s the intersection of comedy and leadership. And we went through a lot of work. We teased out Saturday night live. So he then said, wow, what if I became the guy that showed leadership lessons from Saturday night live because it’s this awesome organization that reinvents itself every week and has got talent that it keeps developing a lot of really cool metaphors. So then he went super deep on the research on SNL. He interviewed cast members and studied and read everything there was about it. He became expert at the intersection of leadership and comedy Saturday night live. So in that case now we’ve found something deeply compelling and unique and can’t be ignored and doesn’t blend into everything else. RV: (10:13) Yeah. I mean, that’s, uh, almost like thinking about a painter, right? Where you like a painter pallet where you have like, okay leadership, but leadership with what else and mixing it together. It’s like the same color, but a new shade. Um, it’s kind of like, I think that’s really, really cool. And we talk about color and shade a lot, but we usually think about it more from a message perspective more than a topical area, but you’re kind of saying the same thing, which I’m really, really, I love that. I think that is that’s awesome. So, JL: (10:45) Um, can you talk about that? RV: (10:46) So the, the point of view part, I mean, that is kind of what you’re talking about here, but like how do you identify that, that unique point of view as you’re saying, or that unique perspective or that unique slant? So I guess in order to become an expert, I almost hear you saying, go read everything in my space, follow the stuff in my space, know it, and then it’s almost like I have to kind of add something on top of it. I need to add a layer to it. Or a uniqueness is the word that we would use from Larry Winget is a uniqueness, um, or this, you know, how do you identify the uniqueness? JL: (11:25) Well, eventually just like, so again, I should have said I’ve been playing jazz guitar for 40 years. I’m deeply passionate about the art form. And if you personally, you have to do, if you want to be a musician is you have to learn the craft, AKA build some expertise. So I have to have, what are the chords, what are the skills? How do you, how do you play a note, right? That’s the equivalent of basically being a, you know, an expert in your field, but then if all you do is play other people’s music, you’re a house band at the holiday Inn, you know, you’re, you’re not, you don’t have your own original voice or content. It’s those that take the expertise and then build upon it and develop their own message, their own voice. Those are the ones that, that, that, that become superstars. JL: (12:03) And so in our speaking world, if all you do is study other people and have no perspective of your own, that that’s going to be a limiting factor. Once you develop expertise, then the next step of saying, how do I interpret that in a unique and compelling way? What’s my individual point of view. Um, what I learned is that speakers who only recite cliches are gonna cap out at a certain level. But if you, if you’re the opposite, if you’re revealing surprising truths, if you’re sharing, uh, something to different than, or helping people see the world in a different and fresh way, that’s where the opportunity really lies. RV: (12:35) Um, I love that. Um, I think that that’s a great parallel of the it’s basically, are you playing cover tunes at the holiday Inn or are you packing out arenas? Like no one goes to a Garth Brooks concert to watch him play the Eagles. Like they go to watch him play his stuff. Um, that’s a really practical, practical parallel. So I love that. So that first business is the expertise. The second business is, um, the brand distribution. And so is that kind of like content distribution, like a media company? Is that it kind of the right vibe or what do you do? You know, explain what you mean by that second? JL: (13:15) Yeah. So the first business is thought leadership first, you know, part a building your expertise and then part B, having that in a unique point of view, second business that you’re running concurrently as is not immediate business. At least the way I would look at it. That’s, that’s sort of the business of being a speaker. It’s all the things that you do off stage such that you get onstage at higher volume and higher fee. So that’s your overall brand, which you guys help with. It’s your positioning. It’s how you interact with bureaus. It’s how you set your price point. It’s, it’s not the content, it’s not the delivery. It’s the business side of your teaching practice. RV: (13:49) So the, so the, the media component of that, like pushing out your content could, could maybe be part of, it’s kind of like a part of business. A speaking part thought leadership is like putting your, like you write for Ian. Can you write for Forbes and things like that, that you would, you would classify that as more of the thought leadership piece of your business. JL: (14:10) I would, you know, the lines start to blur, obviously, because when you put a piece out of content, which is thought leadership that obviously can drive activity, which is marketing, but I would look at the second component here of a speaking business. The business side of it is everything that you do to get on stage. So that’s, it could be paid marketing, it could be SEO, it could be Bureau relationships. It could be, um, content that’s driving activity. It could be social media marketing. So all the business side of your speaking practice, not the delivery, not the original content development, but the business side. And, uh, and that’s, that’s, um, I know you, you really help people with dramatically. Um, one thing, I don’t know if you’d like a tactic or not today, but we’ve developed a really simple formula of how to communicate your value to bureaus and planners. That seems to be working beautifully. Yeah. RV: (14:54) Uh, no, we, we don’t, we’re not interested in that. Let’s just skip past that. Cause we don’t want any tactic. No, of course he has share. We want to know. We want to know. JL: (15:03) Awesome. And so this has done through tons of mistakes, by the way, through ton. And then once we kind of figured this out, we field tested and on and on. So this is just, I know it’s a bit formulated, but if I were you as a, if someone wants to build their speaking business, communicate your, your elevator speech kind of like this, here’s the old way. What do you speak about answer? I speak about cybersecurity instead of just answering that question in terms of the, the, the general topic that you speak on. Here’s what we like. We like this, this three column approach. The first column is the burning problem that you solved. The second column is why you, why you’re the right person to solve it. And the third column is the transformation that you create. How is that audience different once they’ve embraced your teachings? JL: (15:47) So again, burning problem, why you, your credibility essentially, and then the transformation that you create. So instead of Roy saying, Hey, I speak on cybersecurity. I would say something like this. Now I help organizations that are deeply concerned and overwhelmed with the threats of security, both internal and external, and they’re deeply, uh, uh, frustrated. They’re unable to devote enough resources to serve in clients and building their company because they’re constantly playing defense. I’m going to go to the second column as somebody who’s written five books on cybersecurity and work with 49 of the top 50 big brands around the world and has a proven methodology to protect and insulate against cyber threats. That was my second column. Third column is now the transformation that I create, I would continue and say, I work with organizations to give them the confidence and creative freedom that they know that they are, their security threats have been mitigated, such that they can get on with the hard work of growing their business. And that was sloppy. I’m not a cybersecurity expert, but the notion is say what you do in that format, the problem that you solve, why you and the transformation you create. RV: (16:51) I love it. I love it. So on the business side of speaking, JL: (16:56) You know, you’ve, you’ve, you’ve built these successful companies in lots of different industries. That’s one of the RV: (17:01) Things I think is a big problem. Speakers have is they don’t treat their business like a business. They don’t invest into it. They don’t run it like a business. They don’t keep financial statements. They don’t do marketing, they don’t do sales like JL: (17:11) They don’t. So would you say that a lot of the principles of running a, any great business apply to running a great speaking business? Or do you say no? No. The speaking business is totally different. There are some unique elements to the speaking business, but I would lean on the first one that you got to run it like a business. Imagine if you ran a law firm, you’re like, yeah, I don’t really know. I just, people show up and maybe I send them a bill. Maybe not. I mean, the sloppiness that some speakers embraces is troubling. I think you’re exactly right. You don’t be really deliberate. What percentage of your revenue do you reinvest in marketing? How do you track leads and inbound opportunities? We have detailed dashboards and analytical models. We have throughput. I mean, we, we at it with the rigor of a software company and that’s been very, very helpful. JL: (17:52) Uh, and I, I would recommend people know, take that same approach, treat it seriously. Cause cause there really is a, is a wonderful opportunity. One thing real quickly to just say is that our research has indicated that the industry itself is really big, bigger than most people think there’s actually $4 billion of speeches bought and sold every year in North America alone. So the reason I’m happy sharing what we do is I don’t think it’s going to hurt my business. There’s a massive opportunity out there now. It doesn’t mean you can be half ass about it. You have to be good. You have to treat your business seriously. But if people who really pursue this with vigor, I believe there’s profound opportunity. RV: (18:26) I love that. Yeah. Well we very much appreciate the abundance mentality. I mean, this has been super duper powerful. And on that note, uh, you know, there’s this whole third section you talk about was kind of like the performing artist. Um, we’re not going to have time to get into that today, but, uh, one of the things that you do is you offer events specifically for speakers and building their speaking business, right? So where do you want people to go if they want to learn more about that? JL: (18:53) Yeah, a few years back when I switched you over a decade ago, when I started speaking, there was no real solid high quality training programs to help you build a speaking business. And so as we gained some success, we wanted to give back to the industry that we love. So we created a company with a playful name called three ring circus, and we help either newer speakers that have substance and also existing speakers that want to take their game to the next level in terms of both fee and volume, really build and scale and launch their speaking practice. And we help people develop all three of those components. And if you want to learn more, the website is the number three ring R I N G circus.com because Hey, after all it’s a circus out there, RV: (19:30) [inaudible], there it is. There’s the elevator pitch for the three ring circus. I know several of you listening are our clients and prospects. Obviously speaking it speaking is a huge part of building a personal brand. And, uh, you know, I will say this while we share and teach a lot on it. I consistently hear amazing things about Josh’s team and what you guys are teaching and, and, um, just really, really good stuff. As you can tell here, clearly from a few minutes with this guy, he knows what he’s doing. He’s super intelligent. And I think, you know, I just really appreciate Josh, you being willing to share such a methodical approach. And so many of these insights just abundantly and with open arms, because there’s, there’s a lot of people listening right now that I know want to be out speaking and be speaking more speaking at higher fees. And, um, so any last thoughts for somebody who is sitting there right now with the dream, you know, maybe where you were all those years ago going, Hey, one day I want to be out on stage and, uh, you know, I, I share that same sentiment of it can feel hopeless. Like there’s not a plan or a path, cause it’s not like a common industry or a common trade. So what would you say to that, that person right now, JL: (20:45) First of all, as I mentioned earlier, a massive industry, it’s not going away. There’s plenty of room for us all. If you have something to say, um, second of all, it’s not all about raw talent. It’s not that you were either born really great as a speaker or not. I mean, these are skills that can be developed and learn. Uh, and there’s no question. Now there is a specific thoughtful game plan to, to build a speaking business. The only word of caution I would have is treat it seriously. You, you said this earlier, Rory, but like, you know, if you’re going to open a restaurant and you don’t just like paint your windows and you know, go get a picnic table, you know, you invest in your restaurant and you make sure it’s great and you really build your craft and same thing. There, there’s plenty of opportunity for those that treat it seriously, but you have to be willing to do what it takes to build all three of those concurrent businesses be a really thoughtful thought leader, be a really strong business person in the middle. And then, and then number three, be great onstage. And if you’re willing to do the work, the opportunity is there. I love it. Josh Linkner ladies and gentlemen, check him out and go take a peek at three ring circus. See what they’re up to. And uh, we’ll we’ll I’m sure we’ll hear from Josh again more. Hey Josh. Thank you for being here, buddy. We wish you the best. Thank you. And thanks for your leadership in this field too. I think you’re giving a great gift to your listeners. So I just really appreciate, thank you.
AJ: (00:06) [Inaudible] RV: (00:07) Hey, welcome to this special recap edition of the influential personal brand podcast joined by my wife, best friend business partner and CEO of brand builders, group Aja Vaden. We’re breaking down the interview with Megan and AJ from practice metrics. The other AJ, the male AJ also with red hair, AJ: (00:28) Male and female version. RV: (00:30) So why don’t you kick us off? What did you what’d you think? AJ: (00:33) Yeah, I thought it was a really data interview. And I think the first thing that I think is kind of the essence of the entire interview, if you haven’t listened to it and you’re always in forever reminder, please go listen to the whole episode. And this is really just your recap version, but it’s this whole concept of information is a competitive advantage. And I love that. It’s so true. And it’s the one thing that I think most companies and most brands, personal brands never have enough up. They’re making decisions based on emotions. They’re basing decisions based on what other people are doing. They’re basing decisions on what they were told to do. They were basing decisions on what used to work, but on not actual information and data that is live in real time. That is today. And I think that’s huge. And I really do believe that it’s like information is the new competitive advantage. AJ: (01:25) And I love the way that I think it was Megan raised it. And she said, if you just think about it, you have two very similar brands and they have similar prices and similar features which one’s gonna win. The one that has more information or less information, always the one who has more information, you have more information on your customers, their spending habits, what your Mark, what marketing tactics work, what converts what’s the lifetime value. It’s all these things make such an incredible difference. So I just love that. And I think that’s the essence of the whole interview of information is a competitive advantage. RV: (02:01) Yeah. And I, I think what we got to at the end about tracking was really important. And it’s, it’s related to that where again, I think it was Megan who said it, if it hasn’t been tracked, it does not exist. Yeah. If, and you don’t have to get everything right. You don’t have to know all of this stuff. You don’t even have to do anything with this yet. The one thing you have to do right now is you is you have to get it tracked. You gotta just get the stuff installed and make sure it’s installed correctly. And that was a big takeaway for me to come back even and go, even, you know, we know a lot of this and I’ll go through our stuff and be like, okay, like, are we actually, as the tracking installed properly, like, are we getting it? Cause we can deal with it later, but we got to track it. Now AJ: (02:45) We track a lot of stuff and sometimes it’s are we tracking the right stuff? And I think that’s even a, you know, an issue with us is what are we tracking that really makes it different? And this was one of my other takeaways I would say, this is my second one is, and this is what it relates to us. Cause I was thinking about all the things that we track and it’s like, Oh my gosh, I think we have like a hundred dashboards. We track a lot. We track financials and marketing and social media and retention and cancellations. And we track a lot. I’ll just say that. And here’s what I took away is are we tracking the right things to help us make quick decisions? And they put it like this it’s what are your predictable levers? What do you know that if you just do more of this or spend more here, it will give you X results. AJ: (03:37) And I think sometimes like, and I’ve thought about us intentionally. It’s do we really know that? And it’s like, to some degree, I was like, yeah. And others. I was like, I don’t know. And I thought that was really good and a very, you know, self reflection of all of these dashboards, because I think I have a hundred and it’s like, which ones are my production? My predictable levers of, if I do more of this, I know I’m going to get this output. I put more money here or more attention here. I know this is what I’m getting. And I think for all of us is the whole point of tracking is so that you can start to create what are your predictable levers so that you know what to push and what to pull when RV: (04:15) Yeah, that was my second takeaway too, was the predictable levers, you know? And I know I had it didn’t even know you were going to do that. In fact, I was going to do it third, but you did it second. So I was like, all right, well, I’ll jump on the bandwagon. But she, she said that, you know, they work with these VC firms and that’s what they’re looking for. And that makes sense. Right? And it reminds me, and this is really relevant for me right now. Cause we have our eight figure entrepreneur event that’s coming up. It’s one of our phase four events where we talk about what does it really take to grow a personal brand into an eight figure business. And it’s a huge part of the, the premise of that event is thinking like a real entrepreneur and real entrepreneurs make data driven decisions. RV: (04:57) They look at, they look at the metrics. They should. I mean, you don’t really get to eight figures probably without doing some or you have someone on your team. Otherwise you have a lot of good luck and a whole lot of charisma, but personal brands, a lot of times we don’t, we don’t run it enough like a real business. And you need to know. And I think in our business specifically, we know a lot of like, you know, we know our affiliates are the number one lever we have. Like if we have something coming out with affiliate, we know that works, but we even brand builders group, you know, we’re almost two years in as a company, AJ: (05:37) July 27th. RV: (05:38) Look at that. We’re two years old today. The live taping here. That’s cool. I didn’t even realize that that is awesome. So the, but, but for us, we’re just now as a company getting into phase three, which is high traffic strategies and all paid, and man, you don’t even want to mess around with that stuff until you got this, this dialed in and the data, but that’s, that’s a huge part of the future for us with our, you know, this company brand builders group is we’re going to be able to pull the levers and know this is what works and this is what doesn’t. So I thought that was huge. AJ: (06:16) Yeah. And I think too, that, and I process this interview like I do most, but probably more. So this time, the recent past of more of this introspective look at our own data, our own personal brands, dashboards, and our own company dashboard and thinking about the difference between growth and scale. And I bet this was very, very insightful is that there’s a difference between growth and scale because growth requires money and people it requires investments of time and resources and human capital. But scale is when you get more revenue with the same expenses where growth is like you’re growing revenues, but your expenses are growing with them. But scale is when those expenses, those expenses plateau, but the revenue keeps going because the systems are in place to scale without having to add tons of more people or tons of more technology or tons of more stuff. And I really love that. Just this concept of, okay, am I in growth mode or am I starting to scale? And just knowing where you are and your own business pattern, I think was really insightful. It was really strong. It was a great company. RV: (07:29) That was a great distinction. I’d never heard that before and we’re were close personal friends with AJ and Megan. I had never heard them say that before. And they’re withholding the goods. Like how, how long do we have to be friends before they give us the good stuff now? So my third takeaway which fits in with that was that, you know, she said actually I think Aja said we help brands scale by eliminating waste. And that’s like the difference there where growth is just, we’re adding more to get more, but scale is we’re growing with not incrementally more expensive, just like a fractional increase in expenses or no increase in expenses. And so that’s about eliminating waste. And, and I think as a personal brand, you’re pretty far ahead if you’re tracking this stuff, you’re really far ahead. If you’re looking at it and you’re interpreting the data wisely, and then you’re really, really far ahead if you’re actually using it, not just for marketing, but other parts of your business and figuring out where can we eliminate waste, how can we streamline? And in our case, we kind of came in at the reverse because we needed it so badly on the operational side, it was out of desperation. You know, that, that AJ: (08:44) There was nothing that you can’t use dashboard reporting form. We do it with expenses. We do it with our financial analysis. We do it with commission reporting, affiliate reports, retention, cancellations. There is nothing that we don’t use dashboard reporting for. And, you know, we have Mary seriously considered adding a pull cumin position about what have been complicated to say the least. And I feel like their workload would have been just full of Excel spreadsheets. And these dashboards have eliminated the need for a full time position so that we can use that money to hire other positions that can’t be automated. So I, I can’t say enough about this concept of data. It is the new competitive advantage RV: (09:29) Nerds are taken over the world. Check out Praxis dot brand builders, group.com. If you want to see that free training that they’re putting together or queue up for that. And Hey, we want to be the ones helping you prepare and plan and figure out exactly how you’re going to scale your business. And we’re honored to be going on that journey right along with you.
RV: (00:06) Hey, brand builder, Rory Vaden here. Thank you so much for tuning in to listen to this interview, we are so excited to bring you this information and wanted to let you know that, Hey, there’s no sales pitch coming from anything that we do with this is all our value add to you and the community. However, if you are somebody who is looking for specific strategies on how to build and monetize your personal brand, we would love to talk to you and we offer a free call to everyone. That’s interested in getting to know us and is willing to give us a chance to get to know them and share a little bit about what we do. So if you’re interested in taking us up on a free strategy call, you can do that at brand builders, group.com/summit call brand builders, group.com/summit. Call. Hope to talk to you soon on with the show, nerds are going to take over the world. RV: (01:06) That’s what somebody told me when I was young. And I was like, hell yeah, I’m going to be a nerd. Who’s going to take over the world. And these two days, you’re about to meet. These are super sexy data nerds. They are a beautiful couple, extremely intelligent AJ Yager and Meaghan Connell. And they are close personal friends of ours. They’re clients of brand builders group. More importantly, we are clients of theirs and they are one of our most impactful vendors without a doubt. Their data dashboards have literally automated the work of what we’ve had, like two full time people doing. And so this is what we’re talking about. Okay. So they are a data driven power, couple. They are the cofounders of a company called Praxis metrics. So this is one of the fastest growing data dashboard companies in the world. And they’ve got a team of like 30 different, you know, 30 data scientists and engineers that, that provide like major company insights and tracking and reporting, but at a fraction of the cost. RV: (02:12) And one of the things that is very unique about them that you should know about is we have a hyper special arrangement with them where we have been working with them over a couple of years to build our, our personal brand dashboard. And we have it set up exactly how we want it and their team helps implement that for our clients. So they are amazing and they’re geniuses, and we’re going to talk about all things, data, and tracking, and dashboards, and it’s going to blow your mind, just watch. So anyways, friends, welcome to the show. MC: (02:48) Thank you for having us where you’re so excited to be here. AY: (02:51) Always a pleasure to hang out with. I hang out with you and sexy data nerds. That’s that’s pretty, that’s a nice compliment. Thank you. Yeah. Yeah. Well, and you know, data rich, you’re helping people. RV: (03:02) I mean, I guess, you know, when I think of describing you, I kinda think like, okay, this is data dashboards. You help us automate, tracking and reporting so that we know what marketing is working, how much we can afford to spend. What’s the lifetime value of our customers. Are those, how would you describe what y’all do to specifically? I know that you work with a lot of bigger companies too, but most of the people following us, right? Or like, you know, their speaker, author, personal brand types. So like, how would you describe what you do? MC: (03:36) I think the first distinction we want to make is, you know, data, most people, as soon as they hear it, they glaze over and, and data. Isn’t just ones and zeros. It’s not math and science it’s information, that’s all data is right. And if you were to think about your brand and another brand, and if one of you guys had more information than the other, who do you think would win? Naturally, whoever has more information, whoever has more knowledge about whether it’s their clientele, their target demographic about their area of expertise, right? Information has always been and will always be a competitive advantage to those who have it. And so what we do is we help individuals and companies become more informed about their own clientele and about all of the information that they can gather that will help them do better in life and do better in business. RV: (04:31) Yeah. So is that, is that the spot on? Yeah, so I love it. And for those of you that don’t know, like a data dashboard, this is like this, the coolest thing I wish I could show people this, like, if you’ve never seen one, it’s like, it’s just a website that you log into and it tracks you. It can, I mean, this tool, the way y’all set up, it can track everything, but it pulls like ours starts with front end traffic. So it pulls like we basically start with like our social media reach and what’s going on with social media and our engagement in our followers. And so were you guys pull in our data from Instagram and Facebook and LinkedIn and, and Google analytics. So then we go from social media to then like Google analytics, how much traffic are we getting to our site? RV: (05:23) And then we look at how many people from our site are getting into our funnels and like in our email list. And then you show us every single stage, what percentage of people opt in which people make to the percentage of the next checkpoint? What percentage of people buy, how long they stay in the program, what their average lifetime value is. Anyway, so there’s probably supposed to be a question in there somewhere, but I get so excited about this. So what do you think that personal brand specifically need to know and be thinking about when it comes data and how data can help them make more money? Yeah. MC: (06:02) And I think you hit the nail on the head. It’s the fact that they need to understand their entire customer journey, right? And the problem is you use 15 to 20 different technologies to, to gain customer awareness, to nurture your clients, to then convert them and then to fulfill your services. Right? And so with each of these different systems, it’s all tracking one individual piece of that customer’s journey. And so without the ability to aggregate that all together, to take all of these disparate pieces of information, like, Hey, this customer clicked here. And then they went and purchased here. If those all stay disparate, then you can’t understand what’s working and what’s not working. Right. And our goal is to help brands scale and to help individuals scale by understanding what’s working and not working. Because if you can eliminate areas of waste in your organization, that becomes a catalyst, right? Because a lot of people that we work with, they focus on optimizing, optimizing, optimizing. But if you’re also, you know, it’s kind of like the, if the front door is opening, you’re bringing in more leads and then the back door is also open and you’re losing a bunch, right. You’re never going to grow. You’re never going to scale. So our goal is first to eliminate areas of waste, whether it’s wasted time. Right. And how much time are you spending, looking up all of these things, how much money are you spending on this RV: (07:24) Excel spreadsheets galore? Like someone logging in going to Instagram, pull on analytics, putting on a spreadsheet, going into Google, going like every, like you’re saying, I mean, you just like that, was it 20 different systems to log in just to know what happened last week? Like, are we growing or are we shrinking? Are we reaching more people? Are there any of them paying attention or any of them engaging? Yeah, spreadsheet, hell, it’s a real thing. It really is spreadsheet. And you kind of do that. And that’s one of the things probably practically you do is it’s like you kind of eliminate spreadsheets and you like automate, you basically like make a spreadsheets where they automate themselves in a digital thing that updates every 60 seconds. Right? Right. AY: (08:13) Not to knock spreadsheets. It’s a part of the journey that you’ve got to go on. MC: (08:16) It’s an important stepping stone, right. In order to understand the value of data, you have to first manually aggregate it and be like, Oh wow. Knowing my conversion rates actually helps me make better decisions. Right. And it helps me understand where to spend it and where not to spend. So it’s important for you to start out as a business where, where you’re kind of going through these spreadsheets. Cause it, it makes you understand what KPIs are important, right? What are those things that are measures that will actually help you and will help you make better decisions? Okay. RV: (08:44) Would say before, that is what business questions need to be asked right now. What is most important? Right. Cause there’s a lot of things we could do, but it’s really, what should we do based on where we are in the business from a revenue standpoint, from a traffic, from a conversion standpoint, what’s working, what’s not, it’s a lot of like bringing the insights and the data into a point where that answers the business questions that are crucial to your goals right now. Yeah. Yeah. Just to get it for us. As a, as an example, you know, it’s interesting, my vision and passion has always been around like the marketing and tracking all of that. But we actually first engaged you to automate our commission statements and more of like our accounting. And I think that’s something that people don’t realize is like the power is, you know, we think like marketing and sales, like social media and Google analytics, but y’all automated our commission reports for our affiliates and for our salespeople. And like also our sales reporting of like just how long their people are in certain stages and all that kind of stuff. So there’s a lot you could do here. AY: (09:51) And then the sexy part is the sales and marketing. That’s usually the best place to start for ROI, but in your case, AJ and part of the team were probably ripping their hair out, trying to do all that stuff, which is, again, I didn’t find the waste and where can we automate things that people where people should not be doing. MC: (10:05) And honestly, that’s how we got into this business. We were a marketing agency and one of my top, most valued employees who was brilliant, he was reduced down to data entry. He was logging into 12 different systems, putting it all into a spreadsheet, just so that we can understand what split tests works, you know, where we were seeing the most traffic and what we should do for the next week. And when he was doing that, he was basically not doing his actual job and where his super power was. And so our house, AY: (10:35) Which was not only marketing, but looking at that data for each client, going through it, looking at the patterns, the trends and things that needed to be changed. So he would do the reports, maybe have a limited amount of time to kind of give a quick little insight and then moved on to the next one. Whereas if he had spent flip that on this other side, but able to deliver those insights with those clients, it could have been even more impactful. MC: (10:56) So that goes back to organizational waste. We were paying the salary of a top marketer to do something that literally, you know, coding could do. And that’s why we started this company was really because we were a small company and we didn’t have unlimited resources. And so we needed to pull as many levers as we could to automate and reduce the amount of waste in our organization. And that was the big thing was, you know, I was spending a lot of time doing financial like financials spreadsheets. He was doing the marketing spreadsheet. So looking at each area of the business, whether it’s fulfillment, marketing sales, and then saying, where, where can we reduce all of this human error or human effort? And then once that’s been reduced, right, you now have that person that their skill set can now be used. And they can now, like AJsaid, start analyzing, really start looking for these patterns and not just seeing what happened, but why it happened. MC: (11:53) And cause if you can understand the underlying levers, you know, and what, what really caused these outputs. And then you can start to move into a business model where now, you know, what happens and why it happens. And more importantly, how to make that happen in the future. And that’s where we’ve been able to help brands really shift from being on the treadmill and not understanding why they’re successful or how they’re successful to having a repeatable formula of success, an algorithm to scale. And then all it is is printing money because they know if I do X, Y, and Z, here’s the results I get every single time because I understand why it works. And then they can just go and repeat, repeat, repeat, and scale. RV: (12:36) Yeah. And not you, you know, you said that earlier, like we help brand scale. I really think that’s so compelling. And that is, that is part of as a clear part. I think you eliminate ways to reduce costs and you also help scale on the revenue side you know, in our MC: (12:55) Well, and on that note before we dive deeper, one thing that was an important delineation that I discovered in this journey as a business owner was the difference between growth and scale, because I was always focused on growth. How do we grow our top line revenue or our bottom line revenue, right? How do we grow, grow, grow that? And oftentimes growth needs you to spend more money. You need to hire more people. You need to spend more on systems. You need to increase your ad, spend, whatever it may be. Growth is not the end goal in order to scale, scale is a very different definition. Scale is when you can spend the exact same amount of revenue and increase your top line. So that’s where you get to increase your profit margin. That’s where you really get exponential growth is when the bottom line or when those expenses and cogs data saying. And so the difference between those two is, is my Newt, but it’s important because really as owners, we don’t want to be in a business where it’s just treadmill, treadmills, scraping a little bit off the top. We want to have that scale. And so, sorry, sorry to interrupt. RV: (14:00) Good. I think that’s a really cool distinction is that, you know, growth is, you know, growth is like you pump money into something and you make it grow scale is the idea that you, you streamline it. And so you squeeze more out of the money. You’re already spending data, allows you to do that. Not just the data like you’re saying data is the first part of it is like data collection, which I know we’ll talk about. Really what we’re trying to get to is like insights, right? From the data that we can apply. But, but you know one of our phase three events is called high traffic strategies. And that’s where we teach paid media. And we’re always telling our clients, don’t go to paid media so quickly. You’re wasting money because if you can’t track everything, Every single step of what happens After that click, you’re just wasting money. But once you that, like once you have the data, like you’re saying, you can just ramp the thing up because if, if I, I will put a million dollars in the front, as long as I can track and know for sure 2 million is coming out the back. And I feel like that is the thing that you guys do and that data data does. And your team specifically helps you do. And it’s almost like we can guarantee somebody’s brand to scale and to expand and to reach more people because we can, we can say we can afford to pay for it cause we know what it’s worth. Cause we’re, we’re tracking it. Is that feel right? Does that line up with what you would say and do? MC: (15:36) And a lot of our, a lot of clients that we work with are actually VC firms, right? So if anybody knows the value of numbers, it’s them, right? All they’re doing all day long is evaluating the potential success of a brand. And what they’re looking for are those specific levers. If I know without a shadow of a doubt that if I spend X and it produces, Y all I have to do is increase the money going into this company, and it’s going to, it’s going to expand. And so that’s what we’re doing is we’re really, we’re finding without a shadow of a doubt, what those KPIs are, what the levers are, what are the variables that impact it, and then presenting that, so that then you can take action and you can really make the make better decisions. RV: (16:19) Yeah. I mean, that, that kind of concept of like a predictable lever is just super, super duper powerful. So, alright. So I want to take it down a notch in terms a little bit more into the details. Okay. What is sort of like the first thing? All right. So if I’m sold, I’m like, okay, I see the vision here. Like now I understand why I should do this. And maybe it’s not me. Maybe it’s someone on my team, or maybe it’s a vendor like you, or whatever somebody is going to do this. How do I start? Right. Like if I’m not the Google analytics nerd, and I don’t understand tag manager, and, you know, I don’t know what all, what is the first thing I need to do or make sure my team does to like move in this direction. AY: (17:03) Well, first, before the doing part, I want to also speak to those out there who don’t want to become a data scientist, or don’t want to become a data engineer, but think they might need to, if you’re a founder or a team member, that’s not in the details and not somebody that’s maybe a savant with numbers, you don’t have to be that. That’s what we want to make sure there. The mindset is understanding that inside of data, there are answers there and that can really help you chart a path to success in your company, understanding how to work with the people. Well, first understanding that it’s really important to invest in your company and invest whatever kind of budget you may have at whatever level you’re at to getting clarity on your numbers and getting really good tracking in place and whatever reporting. Even if you’re in spreadsheet, hell right now that’s okay. At least you’re tracking certain things and reporting, but it’s, it’s okay. If, if you don’t have data background. And secondly, it’s also very difficult to maybe work with data scientists, or even understand how to hire one, which is why practice practice exists is we wanted to build that out for people and become an extension of their team. But it’s like, they know data is important. Know that you don’t have to be the, you know, don’t have to it’s if it’s to be it’s up to me type thing, but start asking the questions that we’re gonna go through here and start with tracking. MC: (18:13) Yeah. And yeah, we’re tracking. RV: (18:15) So before you get into tracking, just to, to Edify that, I would say, you know, this is something that, you know, cause AJ and I are, are all, you know, we’re very like, data-driven, this is one of the things that we want brand builders group to be the place where it’s like, we can prove, like we can show that this stuff works and we can track it and you can monitor and you can see it because so much of marketing and branding is like, yay, throw up a billboard, you know, like throw some money at it. And, and does it work? I don’t know, like, did it work or not? But yeah, so, so talk to me about, about tracking and again, specifically to personal brands, you know, like kind of keeping that context of what are some of the things that we should be doing, MC: (18:59) One of the foundational pieces for your tracking and Google analytics, it’s a free tool. It is something that is extremely powerful. We’ve got brands that are doing over 150 million in annual revenue, and they’re all using Google analytics, right? So it is an incredible tool that needs to be leveraged in your business. And like JJ said, if you’re not the one, if you’re the, you know, if you’re the thought leader or if you’re the face of the brand, it might not be you who needs to understand this, but you need to have somebody on your team. That’s owning this because it is the foundational aspect that can connect and collect all of the data around where your prospects came from, what they saw when they saw it, what they clicked and how they interacted with your brand before they decided to spend their first dollar. And all of that is a foundational piece to success. Yeah. AY: (19:46) I was just going to add to that as, as you also want to have that as a redundancy, because there’s other pieces of technology that we’re going to get into that are tracking data as well, but you have to find the source of truth. And by, by having Google analytics on everything that we can possibly and helps you without variability that gap analysis, right? So one is that Google analytics. And I want to be very specific in that, that doesn’t just mean having a coder, put the code on each page and be like, Oh yeah, I’m using Google analytics. That is not, I can’t accept that as a line that we had to raise the standard here. That means you’ve got to find a company or someone online that understands GA is certified in Google analytics and knows how to set up the advanced e-commerce tracking the triggers, the goals going inside of this engine and like building out everything that needs, that needs to be done for your, for your product or service, everything you’re doing for lead gen, all of that. So that’s one part of it. And then also using UTM. Yup. RV: (20:44) Alright. So fail. Everyone’s like okay. Messed that part up. But yeah, so, so, so it’s like version one point, I was like, get the code installed on your site, but you’re saying that you need to know, even if you don’t know how to do it, you need to know like there’s a lot more to it than that to really leverage the true power that’s available here. MC: (21:05) So, yeah. And here’s, here’s the reason why, okay, if you start a brand today and you don’t have this tracking setup, and then in two years, you’re at, you know, 5 million in annual revenue and you’re ready to hire a company like us to analyze your data. If you don’t have data, we can’t analyze it. If it has not been tracked, it does not exist. And so there are simple just buttons, like click buttons within Google analytics that aren’t defaulted as a selection. And if those aren’t collecting data, there’s no way for us to historically go back and find out who these customers were, where they came from and what their actions were. But if you, at this point, don’t have the revenue to go in and buy. AY: (21:48) Yeah, you got fun. And that got punched in can be very specifically, like if people go into their Google analytics and they’re looking at the channels, they’re like, well, 87% is indirect and then there’s like Facebook, and then there’s this. You’re like, Hmm, what’s that big bucket of direct well, that’s, that’s because the tool wasn’t set up to, to grab all these different streams and identify and label them separately so that you can be like, Oh, where do my best people come from? Does that make sense? MC: (22:14) So even if somebody’s not ready to go and analyze the data, just set up the system, right. In order to capture the data and two years in the future, you will thank yourself for having set that up properly. So that in the future, you’ve got two years of storytelling. Imagine not being able to understand or have information on what’s gotten you to this point and that’s all too often what we see. And so we’ll have to, no matter how big the brand is, we’ll start with companies doing 150 million. If they don’t have this tracking foundation in place, that’s where we start, go back to, we always go back to that. And we say, okay, you’re asking these questions. Where did the customers come from? How did they find me? AY: (22:57) What’s my true lifetime value? MC: (23:00) We can’t answer those without the foundational pieces being tracked. And so Google analytics, UTMs, if it’s something that you don’t already know how to do, or you don’t have somebody to do it, we have a couple different paths that we can take, right? We’ve got an educational piece where you don’t even have to work with us for data stuff. We have an educational course where people can go in and learn this stuff and go and turn it on without ever having to talk to a data scientist. And it’s just kind of the step by step educations that you can do yourself. Or you can hand off to somebody on your team to go and learn and implement so that you at least have that foundation for success. RV: (23:38) Yeah, Well it does. I don’t know how much the courses, but I’m, we’re going to buy it. We have, we are we’re we’re. So if you haven’t publicly announced that where you’re we will pay and be your first customer, because this is the, I think this is the future. I mean, this, how could this not be the future? Like at some point it’s going to come down to who can track where the clients are coming from and spend more money going to those places. Like, there’s just, now you threw out, you threw out a fancy, fancy word there. The UTMs. Okay. So what the heck is a UTM? Like what, why do we need to know it? And, and what, what do we need to know about a UTM? And then also I think my question specifically is how do I set one up? RV: (24:28) Like, where do I go to create one? And then I know we’re going to, we’re going to run out. We’re gonna run out of time, which. AY: (24:35) there’s so much more to talk about. I know there’s a lot here. Well, to be really tracking as the first piece of all of it, it’s like if we get a tracking, right, nothing else matters. AY: (24:44) And UTMs is a part of that. It really is. And it goes along with the whole Google analytics conversation and UTMs is urgent tracking mechanism. All it is, is a link specifically that is created for every single piece of marketing material that you do online, anything, blog posts, social posts, anything you’re doing needs to have a unique ID. And basically there’s little parameters in there. She can say, Oh, I sent it via an email. This was a subject line. This was the call to action button. You know, advertising ads, every single ad you run should have in unique UTM by tagging these individual things create that creates this big mapping, all these fishing lines out in the sea, where you can like, Oh, well this is where it came from. So you’re creating these identifiers that when you reel it into the dashboard, you’re like, Oh, well, 90% of my customers are coming from this 10% are over here. And they’re not even that great. I’m going to cut that and I can focus on this. So UTMs is simply it’s free, which is great news, easy to set up. And when I say easy, I mean, it is literally easy to set up. Cause you can do it through Google analytics. You can do it through our tools. MC: (25:45) It takes one minute to set up a UTM link. Like it is extremely basic. You just have to have the right structure to it, but in order to do it, it, it only takes a quick minute. So in the beginning you might take 30 minutes to an hour to understand why it works, how it works. And then subsequently every time you send out an email or a post or an ad, you just add that in. And it all gets tracked and aggregated through Google analytics and the easiest way for somebody to see the power of UTMs is go to your favorite brand, just like Google it. And then, you know, the ads that pop up at the top of Google, if you click on any of those, it doesn’t actually drive you to brand builders, group.com. It has 37 extra characters at the end with question marks and all these things go and look at it. And it actually says, source Google ads, medium this campaign for eCommerce brands, right? And you can actually look at other people’s UTM’s and how they’ve structured it, because all it’s doing is it’s saying where specifically, if I click on that link, where did I find it? How did I get there? RV: (26:52) And so basically a UTM is a longer URL that has parameters built into it that are set up uniquely to tell the story of where that person came from. Not just they came from Facebook, but they came from this Facebook post, not even a page, but this post or not from my ad campaign, from this ad, with this creative, like that kind of granular detail that you would know it was this ad with this picture is the one that people are clicking on. AY: (27:26) Exactly. Exactly. RV: (27:28) Wow. And so you, and then where you actually build that is either inside of like y’alls platform or inside a Google analytics. And you basically just kind of like, you’re saying, you have to have the right structure. Is it basically just source medium and campaign? Or is there like a whole bunch of them? AY: (27:44) There’s five. You don’t have to use all of them. I’m one of the last ones you don’t content or term you don’t have to use, but inside of Google analytics, it’s just a link creator. So they have a built one inside. We have one called track funnels.com, which helps you create them and organize them. So it’s free to do several different places. You just have to use that link On those specific. MC: (28:02) And the reason we said, there’s a specific structure, is it, there’s also naming conventions are extremely important because if you think about, RV: (28:11) Cause then you don’t remember, you can, you can have the data, but not know what it means. Cause you’ve got 75,000 links in there and going, I don’t, I don’t know what I have to be able to read the link. And it’s got to tell me the story. Yeah. MC: (28:23) Well even, even simple things like we’ll have clients come back to us and say, Hey, I’d like to understand how all of my top of funnel campaigns are doing with driving traffic and impressions, not conversions because we’re just generating awareness. And then we say, okay, great. How are you tracking that? And then say, Oh, we were not. Whereas other companies will say, well in every single ad that I’m running, that’s just an awareness campaign. It says T O F in there, top of funnel, right. Or we’ve got clients that say, I want to see how all of my emails are performing and how, how they’re generating revenue. And then when we go into the data, they’ve got email capital E lowercase mail, then they’ve got lower E capital M lowercase mail or E dash mail. And all of those will then be splintered as separate sources of data. Whereas if you just met with your team once and said, Hey, we’re just using it in this way. Everybody agree. It’s email all lowercase. We’re good to go. Then it creates clean data. So simple things like that can save you a lot of headaches down the road. And it’s, it’s a, it’s an internal conversation that takes 30 minutes to an hour. Everybody high fives, you have it documented in a Google sheet somewhere. And then anytime you create this in the future, you just refer back to it. Right. So simple principles that really Strong foundations of success in the future. RV: (29:45) Yeah. I mean, naming convention is something that we’re huge on for your marketing. We use it for our file structure, like where we save files. We use it for a marketing automation like infusion soft or whatever we use it for our Facebook ads. Unfortunately I don’t think we have a strong one in place yet, yet for our UTM. So that is going to be the next generation. So y’all, if you’re listening, here’s what I want you to do. Go to Praxis. PRA X I S Praxis dot brand builders, group.com Praxis stop brand builders, group.com. Y’all are hosting some free trainings that are a little bit longer than what we got time for here, about how to get this started specifically with the tracking analytics. At some point I want to have you guys back because I want it to, I want to know about tag manager and I want to know about after tracking and I want to know about interpreting the data and drawing insights. RV: (30:41) But I think the big idea for me today is that you got to get the tracking done, right? And if you’ve just, if that’s the one thing you get done today, then we have the rest of time to come back and figure everything else out. But if we don’t get that done today, like we’re hosed and, and we’re, we’re, we’re missing all this. So it’s the Praxis Praxis dot brand builders group.com. Guys, you freaking blow me away every time I talk to you. And I feel like, I feel like we have like a secret weapon, but by being friends with you, cause this is, this is, I’m just convinced this is the future. And I just really appreciate you guys and what you do. So thanks for being here. Thank you so much.