How To Value & Sell Your Company or Agency

Chad Peterson is an entrepreneur, author, and award-winning business Broker. His firm, Peterson Acquisitions, was recently acknowledged as one of the best business brokers in the nation. Chad successfully handles business transactions across the United States, and occasionally around the globe. His M&A firm works on deals from $1 million to $25 million, and in some cases exceeding $25 million. He handles the transactions from start to finish with tenacity and results. He lives great life, traveling and making deals with movers-and-shakers around the country, but Chad started out with a more humble beginning.

Chad business journey started when he was a child.  He hustled as a kid, walking dogs, shoveling snow, mowing grass, trimming trees, and cleaning out gutters.   He developed a thick skin by and ‘can do’ attitude by cold calling and knocking on the doors. He learned how to prospect, how to garner the trust of clients, and a how-to work hard to earn every dollar.

Chad also wrote the book From Blue to White, A Working Man’s Guide to Self-Employment, where teaches people how to transition from employee to self-employed.  This book was well-received and garnered attention from the likes of Scott Alexander, author for Rhinoceros Success, one of Chad’s favorite authors. Scott Alexander not only endorsed the book, but he also wrote the foreword.

 

Learn More About Chad Peterson

 

Meet Chad Peterson & Peterson Acquisitions

Phil Singleton:  Hello, everybody, and welcome to another episode of the Local Business Leaders Podcast. I’m your host, Phil Singleton. Today our featured guest is Chad Peterson, founder and CEO at Peterson Acquisitions, an award-winning M&A firm. Chad Peterson is an expert business broker that helps business owners sell their businesses and move on to new business opportunities. Chad, welcome to the show.

Chad Peterson:  Thanks, Phil.

Phil Singleton:  First before we start talking and digging into the nitty-gritty about what you do and how you help companies sell their business, tell us a little bit about your background as an entrepreneur, a little bit about your beginnings. What got you into the business world and your journey basically and to become a business broker?

Chad Peterson:  I hate to go all the way back to childhood because I know we don’t have that time and I don’t think everybody wants to hear it, but in short, I was that kid that was always doing something. Before I was even strong enough to push a lawnmower, I was doing it. I’ve always been an enterpriser. Business for self has always been my deal. I knew the school wasn’t for me. I knew that it didn’t have … The education I need was not in those walls. I was always trying to figure out a way to make my own money and follow my own sword, so to speak.

Chad Peterson:  I built several companies. Even just as a young kid, I sold my first company when I was 19 years old and moved on to flight school, became a pilot and lost my career in 911. In fact, I was flying an airplane while 911 happened, about 15 minutes from where George W. Bush had Air Force One parked, and my flying career was over, and so it was back to, well, what do I do now? I just went back to my self-employed roots and started a company and had 120 employees, and I ended up missing the boat on selling it before the ’08 crash. At that point, it just sparked a real big passion inside of me to make sure that I went out there and let people know about timing and selling their business, and when is the time to sell your business?

Chad Peterson:  I started helping people package their business up and sell it because I’ve built and sold several companies of my own. I know it inside and out. A dear friend of mine just told me very lightly, it was just such a soft suggestion, he said, “Chad, you’re so good at this. Why don’t you help other people do it?” That’s when it really got created, because I had never thought about helping other people do that. I was always doing it for myself. Long story short is I built and sold companies my entire life. I know exactly what business owners go through. Really I think what every business owner faces is burnout and boredom. It’s right around then that you want to sell your business.

Chad Peterson:  What I can do is I can take somebody that has done well. They’ve built it. They’ve made themselves good money. They’ve really done well, but their passion is waning and they’re getting bored. They’re getting burnout. That’s when I want to sell what they’ve built and get that business owner on to a new opportunity. I always tell people, I don’t retire people. Those that think that they’re going to retire and get a new set of golf clubs and golf every day, that doesn’t work. People get miserable. Everybody has to keep working. Everybody has passions they have to pursue. I don’t retire people. I just get them on to a bigger and better thing, something they’re more passionate about, something that gets them out of bed every day because they want to go to work.

Chad Peterson:  It’s not about retiring. It’s not about giving up. It’s about finishing well. I’ve done that for myself countless times and moved on to other ventures that I’m more passionate about. That’s what my passion is. I’m passionate about helping people sell what they’ve built and move on to something else.

Phil Singleton:  That’s so awesome. Tell me a little bit about that because one thing I think is really interesting about you, Chad, is that you don’t fit the typical profile of I think what many of us would think as a stuffed shirt M&A finance person that probably has never actually run a business or have been in the trenches type of thing. When I read about you and when we talked in the past, one of the things I know about you is you actually built businesses, main street businesses too, not just fly by night internet type things just as a hobby but actually built real businesses with employees that built real things.

Chad Peterson:  Right.

Not Your Typical Stuffed Shirt Business Broker

Phil Singleton:  How has that served you and how has that do you think make you different I think than the typical business broker out there, at least the typical impression other people have about the industry that you’re in?

Chad Peterson:   That’s a great question. To my surprise, I have not met anybody in this industry that can even compete with me. That sounds like a very braggadocious statement. That sounds very pompous, but the fact is that most people that are in my industry, they might have been a VP somewhere. They might have been a C-level executive somewhere. They might have had a good management job or perhaps they were in the real estate business, didn’t do too well and then saved up enough money where they could go work for a firm such as mine and survived maybe a year without a paycheck because in order to get in this industry, you do have to have some savings because you don’t have a book of business. You really have to really work hard to get that book of business. People just don’t have the grit that I have, period.

Chad Peterson:  I’ve been self-employed my whole life. Hard work, that’s just what I know. I’m not trying to be a jerk or anything, but the people in my industry, there’s no competition. These guys are in the office around 8:00 AM, maybe 7:30 even, and nobody wants to hear from anybody at 7:30 or 8:00 in the morning, not in our industry. They usually take lunch around 11:30. They take an hour and a half lunch, come back to the office, and they’re usually having a cocktail by 2:00 PM. That’s who they are. Typical profile of a business broker is mid-50s, maybe even getting into his 60s, not highly motivated. Maybe they’ll close two or three deals a year, and they can make a living, and that’s what they’re happy doing. That’s not who I am.

Chad Peterson:  I do more deals individually than anybody out there, and I’ll put my money on that. I work nonstop. I love what I do. I’m passionate about what I do. It’s one thing to be a broker, and to get two people put together and be looking for a commission and letting those two people work it out and seeing what happens. That’s not what I do either. I get two people together and, number one, I start with the right people. I don’t bring on the wrong sellers, and I certainly don’t introduce the wrong buyer to the wrong seller. I make sure it’s a match first because guess what? The bank is going to do that too. Why would I waste my time? I get the right buyer and the right seller put together, and then I teach both of them through the process to get to the finish line. I assist them in creating a friendship.

Chad Peterson:    I told a guy just last week, I said, “Jim, treat this gentleman like he’s your best friend because when was the last time that even a great friend put $1 million in your pocket?” His answer was, “Nobody has ever put $1 million in my pocket.” I said to him, “This guy is your best friend.”

Chad Peterson:  I make sure that people approach the transaction properly. I’m very hands-on. I’m in the mix. I’m making sure that the buyer and seller are on the same page and we’re getting to the banking process, and I’m not checking out at 2 PM to go have drinks, and I’m not putting in three-hour work days. I think there are two types of hunters. The guys that are sitting in the lodge talking about that one that got away, and the guy that’s out there taking thorns in the side because he’s out there hunting it down and trying to get things done. I’m never going to be the guy-

Phil Singleton:   Yeah. Let me bring it home for you here on this because what I think … Look. I’ve never actually sold one of my own business. I guess sold some parts of businesses before and have been involved in some transactions, but my main point here is this. You got to have somebody that’s really confident working for you. You want a killer. You want somebody that’s really confident that they believe that they’re the best at what they do because who wants to work with somebody who’s not, especially in your field?

90% Closing Rate

Phil Singleton:   One statistic I want to bring in here I think that really, really brings this home, and that is, I think I picked this up on your website or some other industry thing I was reading here recently, is I think the industry average for a sell side business broker engagement is somewhere around 11, 10 to 25% closure rate, and yours is up around 90%. Well, I don’t think you get into that level without being an absolute killer.

Chad Peterson:    Yeah. There’s a few reasons for that. I do close 90% of what I bring on. There’s a little catch there. I don’t bring people on … I have criteria to bring people on. Just because you have a business, it doesn’t mean that I’m going to bring you on as a client. You have to have something that I know that I can sell, something that I can match up a buyer with. I would say as far as my competence level and what I know and how I go about it, I am head and shoulders above the competition. I’m relentless. I don’t give up. I make sure that the business gets sold, but more than that, I do it with integrity.

Chad Peterson:   I do it to make sure that the banks don’t have a loss, that the buyer doesn’t put his family’s life on the line with these banks, with the SBA loans and everything else to have their houses repossessed, things like that. I make sure that never happens. In all the deals that I have ever done, I’ve never had a single failure. That means that I could call any buyer out of all the businesses that I’ve sold, and all it is say hi, check in and just have a good conversation. I’ve not had one loan go bad. Not only do I close 90% of what I bring on, I make sure it’s a good fit. Yes, absolutely.

Chad Peterson:   It goes back to your previous question though, comparing me to other brokers. I got to tell you, folks, whoever is listening. Most brokers will bring on any business because there’s no downside. It’s all upside. If they bring you on to sell your business, they don’t have any skin in the game. They’ll say, “Yeah, sure, we’ll try to get it sold.” Next thing you know, your competitors know that you’re selling. They’re sending out mass emails. Everybody knows that you’re selling, and that’s an improper way to go about it. I don’t do that. I make sure that whenever I go to sell a business, I use more of a rifle approach rather than a shotgun blast approach. I work with individual buyers and individual sellers and non-disclosures and discretion is always held to the highest degree because I want to make sure that nobody knows those businesses are for sale, and the competitors don’t know that you’re selling.

Chad Peterson:   That’s what really separates me. It’s tenacity. It’s integrity. It’s also my approach. Just not letting everybody know that it’s for sale. Like I said, I’m head and shoulders above my competition.

Dealing With Business Seller’s Emotions

Phil Singleton:    Well, let’s segue into something else because you touched on a couple of things that I think of as a business owner who will eventually sell my business someday, and that is my business is my life’s work. It’s my masterpiece. If I’m going to sell it, I want to sell it to the right person or somebody that’s not going to maybe pick it apart. Maybe some people don’t feel that way. Maybe they do. I’m thinking about how I think about my own business. I’m going to probably be a little bit emotional about selling it, and I probably would need some guidance. Is that unique? Is that me? Do you feel other people have that same feeling about their business? They’ve lost their passion or they’re just trying to get rid of it like an unwanted stepchild. How does that work?

Chad Peterson:    As direct as I am and as forceful as I can sound, I’ve got a whole lot of bedside manner, so to speak, when it comes to working with business owners because, to agree with what you’ve said, this is not just selling your business. This is like putting your kid up for adoption. It’s something that’s taken more time, more money, more investment, more emotional investment, financial investment, risk. It really has been everything to a business owner. It’s their dream. It’s their vision and everything. Now that they’re not as passionate about it, they decide to sell, well, it’s like their baby.

Phil Singleton:   It’s still important to them, right?

Chad Peterson:   It’s like an adoption. You want to find the right buyer for it. A lot of my job is navigating that seller to let go of his or her business because to your point, it’s what you built. It’s like your baby. I do have a lot of bedside manner to get people over the emotional humps to get them to the ultimate goal, which is to sell when they’re doing well and to get them into something else that’s more suitable to their current passions.

No One Ever Really Retires

Phil Singleton:  What percentage do you think of the people that you work with actually move on to another business versus some that “maybe try to retire” for a couple of months until they pull their hair out or is it pretty much all of them?

Chad Peterson:   I’ve never had anybody retire. It was about two years ago. I sold a drug and DNA testing company down in Texas. He intended on retiring, and I really believed he was going to retire. He was in his late 60s. He sold the business and less than a year later, he called me back and said, “Chad, what else do you have on board?” The one that I was betting on retiring, he didn’t retire. He called me back and wanted to get started. The gentleman that bought his company paid cash for it, and it was a lot of money, and paid cash for it, and he was 73 or 74 years old. I just don’t see people retiring. If anybody knows, it’s me because I’m at the forefront of selling businesses, that people actually don’t retire. They don’t. They got to stay busy.

Phil Singleton:   Awesome. Let’s get into some nitty gritty questions about how this stuff is actually done. You mentioned about buying and selling businesses. I’ve talked to you in the past earlier about, hey, I’ve got some interests myself. When somebody wants to, like a small business owner or a business owner or anybody else wants to buy a business, what are the ways that they actually end up buying one from somebody who is selling? Is it their owner financed a lot when people are selling? Are people buying them for cash? Are there loans involved? How is it you break out from … I know it’s probably a whole mix of everything, but I’m just curious what the typical percentages are that way?

Chad Peterson:   Well, a cash buyer is like Bigfoot. I’m sure it exists, but they’re seldom seen. Out of all the deals that I’ve done, I’ve done two cash deals. I can’t tell you what the percentage would be, but it’s definitely less than 1%. You can’t bet on a cash deal. Number one, money is too cheap. You can go to the bank right now and borrow money. Number two, people just don’t have that kind of cash lying around. If you go to buy a business for $1 million, you’re not going to write a check for that. You’re going to go to the bank. You’re going to get a note on it, and you’re going to pay the debt service because the company is going to be generating enough cash that it pays the debt service.

Chad Peterson:  As far as seller financing or owner financed, there is always a component of that, but it’s usually only 10% maximum 20% of the purchase price.

Phil Singleton:  Why is that? Are there people that just want to be out or that’s just a common way to keep people involved? Why is that?

Chad Peterson:   Well, there are a couple of reasons. There are different vantage points. I could give you three reasons from different vantage points, but the main reason that the banks like them is because the bank knows that the seller isn’t going to walk off into the sunset. Let’s just say the bank wrote $1 million check. The bank wants to know that the seller just isn’t going to walk off in the sunset and not train the buyer properly.

Phil Singleton:   Got you.

Chad Peterson:    The bank is always going to ask for a 10% seller carry. Let’s just say it’s $1 million business. The seller still owed $100,000 so the bank feels pretty confident knowing that the seller has to ensure the buyer’s success and give the buyer a good transition. That’s why the banks like them.

Phil Singleton:   Are they expected to exit out of the 10% over time or are they expected to just hang onto it?

Chad Peterson:   No. The 10% seller carry is usually on a one-year standby. The seller wouldn’t get paid for the first year, sometimes two. It’s usually put on a 24 to 36-month note after that. Let’s just say you’re a seller and you carry $100,000. You should expect to get your payment back in 36 to 60 months with 7% or 8% annual percentage rate with this type of that note.

Phil Singleton:    Most people are going out and putting some money down, 10, 20%. Is that right? What does it look like?

Chad Peterson:   Yeah. Typically as a buyer, you’re going to come in and put 10% down, and then the seller will carry maybe 5%, maybe 10%, and then the bank is willing to go in on the 85 or the 80% at that point.

Phil Singleton:    Is it any bank?

Chad Peterson:   No, it’s definitely not any bank. These banks’ climates change all the time. Banks that I was really doing a lot of business with last year, their climate has changed now. It comes and it goes. A good broker like myself, an expert business broker should know where to go to get these loans. Like I said, right now, I’m in the middle of it right now. There’s a local bank that has done countless deals for me. The last one that I sent to them, I barely got done and I just thought it was that deal alone. Now I’m in the middle of this one. Actually, I’m almost done with it, but they’ve gotten so tight that part of my job is that I’ve got to go find the banks that are hungry and have an appetite for loans. Otherwise, it wastes everybody’s time.

Chad Peterson:   No, not every bank, Phil. A good business broker is going to know where to go to place these loans. That’s again what separates.

Phil Singleton:    What does the business owner look like? How long is it … What are the length of the terms usually?

Chad Peterson:   A business loan is usually 10 years, unless there’s real estate involved. If there’s real estate involved, there are some things to consider there. As a general rule, you’re looking at 18 to 20 years on a term if there’s real estate involved. If there’s not real estate involved, you’re pretty much looking at a 10-year term.

Phil Singleton:   Is there a range of percentage rates on what the business loan would go? Is it-

Chad Peterson:  It’s usually 2.5% plus prime. Right now, I think that’s right at 8%, somewhere in there.

Phil Singleton:   Is it possible to pay them off earlier? Are there all sorts of things like that or you can’t do that?

Chad Peterson:   Yeah, you can pay it off early. Yeah, you can.

How Much is Your Company Worth?

Phil Singleton:   Awesome. That’s really, really good info. Tell us a little bit about some of the type. Obviously, confidentiality, you can’t get into the exact names, but I’m really interested. There’s a lot of people that are listening to this podcast right now that are business owners. A lot of them are probably going to be agency owners. Some of them just traditional maybe home services or main street small business owners. If you’re ball-parking something, what is my business worth, I guess, so to speak? I know there’s a lot of factors into it, but if somebody is trying to ballpark something like, okay, I’ve got a digital agency. Can you give us some insight about is it worth anything? How much is it worth? What will be good to be start thinking about?

Chad Peterson:   Well, it’s an interesting question, and I want to preface this with this is a ballpark, and this is a general rule of thumb. All you listeners out there, your business is roughly worth three times cash flow, or another word to use is seller’s discretionary earnings. What is cash flow or what is seller’s discretionary earnings? Cash flow or seller’s discretionary earnings is the bottom line. It’s your salary, plus the company profit, plus your cellphone usage, meals, entertainment, travel, 401(k) contributions, IRAs, key man life insurance, automobile payments, automobile maintenance, fuel that you put in your car for personal use, personal expenditures on credit cards, things of that nature.

Chad Peterson:  What we do is we go through the tax returns and then what we do is we add any add backs. It’s called recasting the cash flow or recasting the tax returns. We go to what those business owners can write off in accordance to IRS tax code, and we add that back in as an owner benefit. Let’s just say that I came up with $200,000 in seller’s discretionary earnings, which could be $150,000 of that could be salary and company earnings.

Phil Singleton:  Is this pre-tax or post-tax?  Is that before or after tax?

Chad Peterson:  Well,  the personal income tax for a seller is added back in, but the bottom dollar is cash flow. We use that number. Let’s just say you’re living a $200,000 lifestyle out of your business. As a general rule of thumb, your business would be worth 3X. That puts us to $600,000. If your company is earning between you and the company and all owner benefits comes to 200 grand, your business will be worth $600,000 as a general rule of thumb. It changes. That multiple can go up. It can go from three up. It can also go down as well. If you’re on a business that is not highly marketable, if you’re in a business that has a lot of problems with keeping employees, that multiple can go down to say 2.75 or 2.5.

Phil Singleton:   There are all sorts of variables. It’s a total ballpark.

Chad Peterson:   Yeah, there are all sorts of variables. Guess what? If you’re in a business that you can run from a laptop and there’s freedom involved and you get away from corporate America and being chained to your cubicle, you can get as high as 5X depending on earnings. Anytime that you get above $500,000 in cash flow, your multiplier will go up.

Phil Singleton:   Wow.

Chad Peterson:   There are all sorts of little things, but as a general rule, 3X is what I tell people, depending on how sexy your business is, depending on how much that multiplier can be raised or lowered.

Phil Singleton:   Some might have recurring income that’s coming in. That’s got to be more attractive than people that are just getting fixed businesses, I guess. I would think so. That would probably add and things like that. I’m still a little bit confused. Sorry if I’m being dense on this, but let’s say somebody earned $300,000 as a business owner and paid $100,000 in taxes and took home and lived off 200,000. I’m still confused. 3X of what? Is it 300 or 200?

Chad Peterson:   The federal taxes would be an add-back. It’s hard to answer that question, but they’re not going to pay $100,000 in taxes. How do I answer that? Basically, we take the top line revenue minus your cost of goods sold and then add back … I’m sorry. Take off all your operating expenditures, and then add back the owner salary, and then add back the federal taxes, payroll taxes for the owner. If there’s any rent regarding real estate, we add that back in as well, any disparity. If you’re making $2,000 a month off your rent, that would be a $24,000 add back. We add back anything that the company is paying for that is personal benefit like automobile, 401(k), all that.

Chad Peterson:   The cash flow, to answer your question, is based off of the top line revenue minus expenses and then adding back everything that’s a lifestyle. The individual taxes that that person paid income tax, that’s a separate issue. It’s based off the corporation and then whatever the income tax, the federal income tax of the principal owner would be added back to that. It would be an apples to apples comparison. Yes.

Phil Singleton:    That’s awesome. Again, as a general rule of thumb, somebody is thinking, well, we’re talking about dental, lawyer, home services agency, anybody.

Chad Peterson:   Yeah. I’ve sold digital agencies. I’ve sold countless service companies, service-related companies, home service companies. I’ve sold a law firm. I’ve sold an accounting firm. I’ve sold manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, parts manufacturers, restaurants, hotels, foundation companies, roofing companies, any type of service-related business.

Phil Singleton:   There’s just no end.

Chad Peterson:   There’s no end. Yeah, no end.

Phil Singleton:    Talk a little bit about, bringing home with this and wrap up with this. Of course, a lot of our listeners are going to be agency owners. Like I said, there are some small businesses, a lot of business owners out there too. Just from your perspective, how do you see marketing playing a role in the companies that … particularly if somebody is going to buy a business or even selling it. Does it help to have a business that has good lead generation in place, has a good online reputation, maybe has been working on their reviews? Does that factor in at all? I could see as a potential buyer, geez, if somebody has been in business for 20 years and has 105 star reviews online and I can see that they’re getting a lot of leads coming from all sorts of different areas, that would be more attractive to me than maybe coming into one source. I think everybody has got a different angle.

Does Marketing & Reputation Help Sellers?

Phil Singleton:   Maybe some people are just looking at, what does the financials tell us type of thing and just make a calculation based off how much money it’s running. Talk a little bit about that. The marketers out there, of course, are going to want to hear that marketing helps, but maybe it doesn’t. Tell us how it goes.

Chad Peterson:   Yeah. It’s a strange deal where I can’t ever place my finger on what makes somebody buy a business. Everybody has their own passions and desires and interests. Sometimes I look at a business, and to me, I’m just like, what the hell? Why would anybody want this? There’s a market out there for it, and there’s somebody who is passionate about that. I remember selling a circuit board company, and I thought, who in the hell would want to buy a circuit board company? To my surprise, people … I had geeks coming out of the woodwork. It was unbelievable. What somebody wants to buy is … I just quit even looking at it anymore. I don’t even make my own judgment on it anymore. If it’s making money and somebody wants to sell, there’s usually somebody else out there that would like to have it.

Chad Peterson:   As far as the marketing, I find that everybody I speak to has a marketing problem. Literally everybody that I speak to. Everybody should be spending 10% of their gross revenue on marketing, and almost nobody that I see does it. Yes, marketing … People that have a real strong marketing budget, 10% of what they bring in grows. They’re the ones that are winning, always. A big thing today that people don’t really pay attention to is reputation management. It used to be … and I don’t mean not too long ago. Even just six or seven years ago, it used to be, well, are you a member of the BBB? I’m not saying that the Better Business Bureau has no relevance. It just doesn’t have much relevance. 15 years ago, it used to be let me look you up in the Yellow Pages. I’m not trying to say to the Yellow Pages doesn’t have any relevancy, but not very much anymore.

Chad Peterson:   It’s reputation management between Google and Yelp. These are things that people really need to be paying attention to. As long as business owners are focusing on the reputation and doing business right, and people are going online to report that they’re doing it right, I think that’s a big thing. I think if you can get your customers to go online, and hopefully you don’t have to ask them because they’re just great people and they want to go online and give you a good review, but more often than not, you have to ask them to go on there. I think that’s one of the crucial key components of selling your business, to have a really good reputation out there.

Chad Peterson:   If somebody is thinking about selling their business, I usually tell them they’re at least a year or two late to actually engaging in the process. They should be having a reputation tip top. They should have a great reputation online, any cleanup … I’ve seen people go and get reviews removed by just taking care of the customer. If it’s a service company, let’s just say it’s a hardwood floor company for instance, and a message got dropped, somebody didn’t go out there to fix it, whatever. Because people are 12 times more likely to go online and slander you than they are to give you a good review. If somebody slanders you online, whether you did something right or wrong, you have to call that customer and see if you can take care of them in some way and kindly ask them to remove the review because it is everything.

Chad Peterson:   To answer your question, yes, reputation management, making sure you have a good reputation online is everything anymore. It really is.

Phil Singleton:    Actually in your business, it’s probably just going to get bigger and bigger because look, you’re going to sell a business. It’s not just to sell a business, they’re going to sell it to a buyer, and the buyer is just a buyer, a bigger buyer. They’re going to do their homework and due diligence. A lot of it is going to be done online. I can assume that they’re going to look up-

Chad Peterson:   I think frankly … Well, here, there are two ways to look at it, Phil. You can go buy a company that’s already ranking on Google. If you search organically and, boom, they pop up and they’re number one or number two, man, that’s attractive. It really is.

Chad Peterson:   There’s also another way to look at it too though. Let’s just say you run an organic search for that industry in your town and let’s say they don’t pop up. Let’s just say they’re popping up on page number two. Well, that’s also good because that shows that there’s room for more growth. There’s room opportunity.

Phil Singleton:    Well, you just got me fired up here. You got me fired up. A lot of the people that you’re talking about aren’t even spending the 5% or 10% they should be to be the market leader even maybe. Well, look, if you can come in as a buyer and all of a sudden just get a real marketing and marketing partner or a marketing plan in place on your own and willing to buy the company, invest what it can be to reach its potential. You could literally take somebody that’s built a business probably the hard way on the old, making the personal connections, word of mouth, all that kind of stuff without spending a whole bunch on marketing. You go in there and fuel it with a real professional marketing plan. It won’t take you too long to take that million or $2 million business you took to maybe to 5 million pretty quickly.

Chad Peterson:    Exactly. Yeah. As I read in your book, SEO for Growth, the best place to hide a dead body is on page number two on Google. Sometimes those are good businesses to buy because they’re not doing the marketing and they still have a book of business. Let’s just say you can go buy a business that’s making a half million dollars a year. By the way, I think it’s important for your listeners to understand this because we’re throwing all these numbers out there. Let’s drill down on this real quick so your viewers or your listeners understand.

Chad Peterson:   Let’s just say you bought … Remember 3X, three times cash flow. If they’re going to buy a $600,000 business, theoretically that should pay them $200,000 in earnings annually. Here’s the good news. If you want to go buy a $600,000 business, it only takes you as a buyer 10% of that, $60,000 to go buy that $200,000 a year job, so to speak. If you can find one that doesn’t have a good strong marketing budget in it that has room for growth, I call it selling the deficiencies. Find one that’s deficient in marketing and just break it wide open because if you come to it with passion and marketing, you can do 10 times more than what the current owner is because the current owner is burnout and bored.

Chad Peterson:   That’s really what I do. I take people that are burnt out and bored and replace them with somebody who’s passionate. Almost every time, I see the numbers go up. As long as they’re willing to spend the money to put the marketing in and they’re passionate about it, I see the numbers skyrocket.

Phil Singleton:  Huge. Well, we’re going to wrap it up on that. Chad, this has just been so awesome. Tell our listeners where you hang out online in terms of where they can follow you, your website address, and how they can get in touch with you.

Chad Peterson:   Yeah. I’m really easy to get in touch with. No matter what I’m doing and where I’m at, this cellphone is like a shot collar and I’m not hard to reach. If you just go to www.petersonacquisitions.com, fill out the contact page. Like I said, I love the work. I’m responsive. I tell people I work nine days a week and they say, wait a minute, there’s only seven. I said, no, I think I work nine. I’m always working. Saturdays, Sundays, it doesn’t matter. I’m always responsive. Go to petersonacquisitions.com. Contact me and let’s start talking.

Phil Singleton:  That’s so awesome. I recommend everybody to go check out your website. Whether or not you’re ready to sell your business right now, if you want to learn on what steps to maybe learn a little bit more about how to prep your business for sale and just get some more great information about the business broker in this whole process, please visit his website because I’ve already learned a ton. Chad, thanks again. This has been so awesome and hope to have you on again at some point.

Chad Peterson:   Hey, thank you, Phil.

 

How to Get Business Coaching Clients with ActionCOACH Brad Sugars

Brad Sugars started the ActionCOACH brand when he was in his early twenties!

Today the company is internationally recognized as the leading global business coaching firm and one of the leading and most awarded franchises in the world today.

So how did a twenty-something Australian create this global powerhouse? He did it through hard work, determination and a well-organized, systemized approach that leads businesses to profits.

Brad Sugars has always been entrepreneurial. Even from a very young age, Brad was an entrepreneur. He displayed a natural curiosity for how to work smarter and get measurable results. When still at university, Brad Sugars ran several small businesses. Perhaps due in part to his talents which were developed at a relatively young age, Brad’s ability to make companies from every conceivable industry flourish lead him to be known as “The Turnaround Kid”.

Brad Sugars was soon asked to speak to business owners and executives – sharing his tips and advice on marketing, sales, systemization and team building. Audiences were wowed. Brad’s “pull no-punches” approach was a refreshing change from other speakers at the time.

Today, ActionCOACH operates in over 70 countries and has more than 1,000 coaches around the world, coaching 15,000 business every week. The franchise has received numerous awards including Fastest Growing Franchise, Franchisee Satisfaction, Best Overall Company and has been named the number one business coaching franchise in the world every year since 2004.

 

Learn More About Brad Sugars & ActionCOACH

 

Meet Brad Sugars | ActionCOACH Founder & Chairman

Phil Singleton:  Hello everybody and welcome to another episode of the Local Business Leaders Podcast. I’m your host, Phil Singleton. Today our featured guest is Brad Sugars. Brad is the founder and chairman of ActionCOACH, the world’s number one business coaching company. He started ActionCOACH because he saw business owners needed simple how-to and strategies to grow their cashflow and profits and many simply didn’t know what they didn’t know, leading to struggles with their time, teams and money. Brad, welcome to the show.

Brad Sugars:   Hey buddy, it’s great to be with you.

Phil Singleton:   This is going to be awesome. So the first thing I can lead off with is just give us your story, your first steps out of school or what have you, into the business world and you’ve got a really successful business. You’re an influencer or an authority in your space. But I’m sure there might have been a few stumbles here and there along the way. I’d love to hear your journey from getting started to building your empire.

Brad Sugars:   Yeah, look, I think that all of us ended up in business by some sort of an accident, a stumble, a fall or a, “Hey, let’s just make a crazy decision.” I was one of those young people that I got into this business real early and I did it because while I was a kid in Adelaide in South Australia growing up and it’s cold in the winter and I had to deliver the newspaper every morning. And so I employed seven of my friends. They delivered the newspapers and I just manage the business. I thought this is a much better way to do it, but it got a little more complex. So I became an accountant by training. I never actually worked as an accountant. I’m very proud of that fact. But I’ve started businesses all my life and most of what I did was bought broken companies and fixed them early on.

Brad Sugars:  So I’d buy a pizza business that someone was running badly, I’d get in and fix it and then sell that business. It led to me succeeding pretty early. So people say, “Well, how do you do that? What are you doing?” So I started speaking and very quickly fell in love with teaching and all of a sudden here we are, 26 years later, we’re an overnight success. ActionCOACH coaches business owners in 78 countries. And it’s now published 17 books on the subject. So we got overnight success, my friend.

Phil Singleton:  That’s awesome. That’s so awesome. You’d mentioned your book and I know you’ve been a part of or written several of them and you’ve got a recent one. Tell us about your experience as a writer and your latest book.

Brad Sugars:  Yeah, I think being a writer… Actually, I started writing for one simple reason. I got sick of teaching the same material and I thought that if I write it in a book, I won’t ever have to teach it again. Little did I realize that the more you write it in a book, the more you’ve actually got to teach it. It’s like the band with the great song, you’ve gotta play it at every single concert type thing.

Brad Sugars:  So this latest one, about two years ago, a bit over two years ago now, actually, a buddy of mine was sitting at lunch and he runs a very large corporation. He says to me, “Brad, it just seems like magic the way some of these companies like Ikea and Amazon, it just seems like magic the way they keep growing.” And I looked at him and I said, “You don’t mean that for real do you?” He said, “Well, sort of.”

Pulling Profits Out of a Hat

Brad Sugars:  So I sat down, I said, “You know, it’s a formula the way they do it.” So over the last two years we looked at all of our clients around the world who are growing at an exponential rate, meaning year on year multiplied growth and sat down and said, “What are they doing the same? What are they doing similar?” And just as a joke to my friend, we ended up calling and pulling profits out of a hat. So it was kind of like a reference to the whole magic thing that he was mentioning.

Phil Singleton: And that’s the latest book that you’ve written?

Brad Sugars:   That’s the latest one, yeah, buddy. That’s… what’s that, 390-odd pages. You know when it gets to you because it weighs two-and-a-bit pounds. So it’s a heavy one.

Phil Singleton:  So the books that you’ve written before, were those out of your organization or did you write, read as the author on the 17 projects that you mentioned?

Brad Sugars:   Yeah, so I find that writing for me… I’m not a great typist so I actually record all my books and then get someone to transcribe them and then I can edit them from there myself. But I find that when I talk it through, the logic comes out. Because one of the hardest things about teaching is actually getting down in a methodology and a format that someone else can understand why you do what you do and what it is that you do. It’s actually relatively tough to come up. And I remember very early on it was like, “Well how do I do what I do? What is the method?” And so that’s why pretty much everything I’ve done, I’ve tried to break it down into a very simple model for people so people can understand it relatively quickly.

Phil Singleton:   So you wrote this last book and that’s the reason I’m kind of drilling down this little bit is because it sounds like you were a part of book projects or writing before it became the cool thing to do. Like, for example, I’ve written a couple of books now and mostly I’ve done it for not really selling the book so much as trying to build my own authority and credibility. Of course, as you know, it’s really… And you’re in a different space because you’re a true influencer in the niche of coaching, business coaching around the world and globally. But for guys like us that are on the ground building stuff, trying to open doors up when you’ve written a book or been in part of a book project, I can lay that in front of somebody.

Phil Singleton:  It’s almost like they’re holding credibility in your hands. Right. So that’s kind of why I started and I wrote my first book. So it’s a little bit different than what you’ve done. But I’d love to hear your take on, for instance, for the guys that are part of your ActionCOACH network, do you see some of the coaches writing their own books for authority and expertise and trust building and that kind of thing? How do you think that fits into coaching or an agency type of business?

Brad Sugars:   You know, I see a lot of people that use books for knowledge, for really a credibility build. And I think it’s a wonderful thing for credibility build. Because if you can read someone’s thoughts and it’s kind of like one of those things, if you can read the way someone thinks and you go “I think the same way and I think I could learn something from this person,” and it definitely helps out.

Brad Sugars:    I would say a book is probably one of the best brochures there is for understanding the thinking of someone that you want to work with or someone that you want to learn from or someone that you want to grow through. And I think that’s always going to be the case. That being said, I see most of my team writing their books because they have a message that they want to get out there to the marketplace, a message. Most of my team around the world, they’ve joined me because they all live in the same passion that I do and that is those business owners… Executives and entrepreneurs are some of the loneliest jobs in the world. When you’re a high-level person in a business, it’s hard. There’s not a lot of people to chat with. And so a lot of the coaches that work on my team are there because they want to help people. And a book is really an extension of that.

Brad Sugars:  For me it’s always been about what is the systematic methodology by which something can create success? So, for instance, one of my earlier books, The Business Coach, I actually wrote that book after we had coached I think it was around 13,000 business owners to success back then. And I wrote the book, which was, “This is the methodology we use to help business people grow their business.” I find it interesting that people go into business for themselves without learning the formula for business success. It’s like, “Come on, if you’re going to open your own shop, at least learn how to run the whole own thing and make it successful.”

Is Everyone “Coachable”

Phil Singleton:  That’s interesting because I even think of myself, when I first got my agency started, I don’t know, getting the first, maybe couple hundred, $500,000, $600,000 in sales, maybe. I felt, I guess, at that point looking back I was kind of uncoachable because you feel like you can do everything. Then you maybe get up into the… And, again, I’m in a different businesses, I guess we’re probably at a different level.

Brad Sugars:  Yeah.

Phil Singleton:   You get to a point obviously where you hit that kind of classic E-Myth stuff, and it’s like, “Well maybe I do need some coaching. It’s getting a little bit harder for me to manage all these pieces,” and then you can go to somebody else. I’ve kind of seen that myself over the years. But do you find that some people, or do you think your coaches find that some people are kind of uncoachable? Do they have to be coachable? And you see that at different levels or does the business kind of knock people over the head? You know at some point you need help.

Brad Sugars:  Yeah. I think that pretty much everyone is coachable. The question is, do they have the coach that suits their personality style or their profile or the way that they like to work? I think one of the biggest challenges with coaching is that it is such a personal relationship. You are letting someone in to the secrets of your business. You’re letting someone into the inner sanctum.

Phil Singleton:  Totally. I can totally identify with that because that’s my-

Brad Sugars:   You’ve got to trust. You’ve got to know, like, and trust that person. And I think that for my team around the world, one of the big things is that what helps them a lot with their clients is their clients understand that here we are in 78 countries, ActionCOACH has more than a thousand offices around the world doing this. People get a bit of a trust factor and they realize, “Hey, there must be a system behind this. There must be a system for success.”

Brad Sugars:  But I think the other thing, Phil, when you go and get a coach, a lot of businesspeople see that as an acknowledgment or a “Look, I’ve got to give up and admit that I need help,” where it’s exactly the opposite. In the early stages of coaching people would say to me, “Coaching, is that like consulting?” I said, “Yeah, it’s like that only we work once a week and I coach you in how do you get better, not do the work for you.” And then people eventually say, “Oh, they’re failing, they should get a coach.” I think we’ve seen a transition in the last three to five years of people understanding that if you want to be great, not just good, then you need a coach. We see big examples of this from CEOs of Google and Yahoo and Ford Motor car company all talking about their coaches and people going, “Oh, well maybe this makes sense for me now.”

Phil Singleton:  For an ActionCOACH coach, let’s say, what’s the typical ideal client? Is it from small, is it a medium size? You mentioned it could go all the way up to Fortune 500. I’m just curious.

Brad Sugars:  Yeah, we work with everyone from the smallest entrepreneur to the largest executive because we’ve got such a large team. We have someone to suit every level of coaching. But like a brand-new startup, they can come and join us at some of our programs that are only a $100 a month. So it’s really not that hard for a brand-new start up. When you come in at the highest levels, the information we have in pulling profits, we have 12-week programs that we go into major corporates and help them rethink certain areas of their business to help them rethink the business overall.

Brad Sugars:  Because executive coaching is about helping the executive get real good at their job. Corporate business coaching is about the corporation rethinking how they’re going to make money and re-looking at their business and saying, “What do we need to do? How do we apply the five disciplines of pulling profits to make our organization an exponential growth business?” Then in the middle you’ve got those small to medium sized companies who, they are the vast majority of businesses in the world. The vast majority of companies in the world are the small to medium. So we coach all of them as well.

Brad Sugars:  I think that one of the keys to my success with ActionCOACH was making certain that we could help every business person, whether you’re the highest-ranking executive in the biggest company or you’re the brand-new startup entrepreneur with very little money to get going. I made sure we had a way to educate every single level and coach every single level. So it’s kind of that chicken and the egg thing, buddy. In the beginning I would’ve said, “Yeah, just those small to mid sized companies.” Now we have programs to suit every business.

What Are the Best Ways to Get Coaching Clients & Leads?

Phil Singleton:  That’s awesome. I’m going to wrap up with this question because this is one of the things I think that a lot of people are… I don’t want to say struggling with these days, but it’s definitely probably one of the hottest topics is just lead generation in general. Like how to get leads, where to get leads from. What are some of the key ways that ActionCOACH coaches get their new clients? Is that speaking, are they doing their own website stuff? What do you see your team, how they’re successfully getting new clients?

Brad Sugars:  Yeah. D, all of the above.

Phil Singleton:  Definitively doing it all.

Brad Sugars:  Well, the way we work it is when they first start out, they’re going to be working short term strategies. So your short term strategies, your direct marketing strategies, whether it be direct mail, direct phone, but it’s real direct strategies type thing. Then you move to the midterm where you start to say, “Okay, now we’ve got to move to the more social and the more content based, have them start to find you,” type thing. And more strategic partnerships.

Brad Sugars:    And then we moved to the ultimate in the longer-term strategies where it’s about the brand and all of those sorts of things, creating the books and that type of stuff. So we use all three. We love seminars, we love webinars, we love any content-based marketing because the reality is someone may or may not be able to start with you today, but if you can give them some good content, at least they start making some more money and they’re around.

Brad Sugars:  I always live by a very simple thing. All of my coaches everywhere in the world all do five hours a week of pro bono work, four hours with business owners that need help, one hour each, and one hour with a charity every single week to make certain that we get the information out there. And I’ve found that by chatting with business owners for free, some of them come on board, some of them don’t. But at least we help them make some more money so that when they are making more money, they can afford to jump on a program with us and keep growing.

Phil Singleton:  So I absolutely love that. Two little spin-off questions here. One is one of the questions I was going to ask, when I got started, I did my first three, four projects totally for free. And what I did was they became my screaming references and I was able to refer people to those guys and that really, I think, made this successful.

Phil Singleton:  Even today, really on reputation management, trying to make sure that we document our successes, get those testimonials because people buy off that stuff. I love the fact that that’s what you have. Because I think that’s the key to it. But some people are afraid to give some time away and do pro bono work. But I think if you do it the right way, man, that can just snowball.

Brad Sugars:   I think if you’re brand new, you must be doing pro bono work.

Phil Singleton:  Yes.

Brad Sugars:   If you are a further down the road and you’re not doing free work. In other words, it doesn’t have to be free actual work. It can be free content. It can be free information that allows people to see the value in what it is that you’re doing. Because, hey, how do I know and how do I understand the buyers subject if I haven’t done it before? See, most people have never hired a business coach. So for me, if I give them information and they start to understand what it is we do at a better level, then it makes their life easier to make a decision to engage with a coach and actually become a coaching client and grow their business in that methodology.

The Importance of Testimonials & Reviews

Brad Sugars:   That being said, I want to go back to a point you mentioned, the two most important things in this day and age in marketing, two most important: testimonials and ratings. If you are not a guardian of every testimonial, a guardian of every rating that you’ve got out there. If you’re not using Net Promoter Score, if you’re not out there using these things and really pushing it, then you’re missing the best sales person you’ve got: your customers.

Phil Singleton:  I absolutely love it because it’s really funny, because even when we talk to clients it’s like they’re not working on their own testimonials and reviews and on their reputation. But if you ask them how they buy stuff, it’s exactly how they do it. They go to a restaurant, they go to Yelp, they want to go to a new place or a new… So we’re all the same. It doesn’t matter if you’re B to B, B to C, everybody’s looking people up, looking for that trust, looking to make sure that there’s a track record there and they’ve been able to produce for somebody else. I absolutely love that that’s a focus because I totally agree. It’s just the way the world is now, right?

Brad Sugars:  Well, let’s be really, really blunt about it. They may not find you through Yelp or they may not find you through the Google score, but sure as heck they’re going to search, so make sure if they’re going to search, they find what you want them to find. I had to learn this the hard way, buddy. Many years ago when the Internet first started and all that stuff, I didn’t know to put all of my testimonials online. I got people writing me testimonials and I’d put them in my marketing, but you have to make them live. You have to make them live.

Brad Sugars:    We spend a lot of time, a lot of energy these days, making sure we get videos from all of our best customers, making sure the Net Promoter is out there every single year. We’re right in the middle of Net Promoter Score right now. But we worked real tough to get that information out there because if you don’t make it sure that your best customers are telling the world how good you are, then the worst ones are the only ones that people can hear from.

Phil Singleton:  Exactly, man. Because that’s how the whole system’s geared. People, they’re incentivized to tell their bad stories. But if you’re going to tell the good ones… People are being asked to review everything all the time. And when we get a good service and we pay for it, it takes extra work and time to get somebody to actually sit down and write a testimonial. Sometimes they’ll say, “Yes,” and they won’t do it. Or sometimes they feel like they’ve dragged their feet because they don’t know what to write and then it never gets done, so you have to stay on it.

Using Video to Your Advantage

Brad Sugars:  That’s why we use video so much because when we use video, we can get that person, put them in front of camera and they’re done in 10, 15 minutes.

Phil Singleton:   Make it easier, right?

Brad Sugars:    You’ve got to make it dead simple for them. They’re there doing work to help you make sales. Make it easy for them, get them in front of a camera, get a professional, sit them down and say, “Hi,” and just get them feeling comfortable in those interview.

Phil Singleton:  And those are they best, aren’t they? Video testimonials, they’re just killers.

Brad Sugars:   Look, today we all know that in this day and age, video is the thing. I mean, Google, Facebook, Insta, they’re all going, we’re going live. You sit down and you take a look and you say, “Why is it that there’s now live on LinkedIn?” Well, because video is the future. They’ve all got it. They all know it. They want time on site. That’s what they’re going to use. So build what’s being used out there.

Phil Singleton:  All right, final thought here, because this is still along the same lines of lead generation and stuff. Thoughts on, especially in starting out, cold calling and hitting the phones. Is that something people still need to do? Some people? What are your thoughts on that?

Brad Sugars:    100% yes. 100% yes. You should be doing calling. Now, does it need to be cold? No, it doesn’t need to be cold anymore. All you have to do is jump on LinkedIn or Facebook or something. You find out so much information about any prospect that you don’t need to be cold anymore. Now, that being said, if you’re doing short term, if you need business immediately, then, yes, you must do that stuff, the short term marketing reality. You’ve got to do that stuff. Run an event, get there fast. But flip that over.

Brad Sugars:    Now, some people are going to feel a little beat up right here just for a second. I’m sick and tired of hearing people hiding behind social media instead of actually getting on the phone, picking up the phone. If you want to ask for a date, pick up the phone, don’t go and send them a text message. That’s just downright awful. You want to put the best foot forward, pick up the phone, chat with somebody. This, “I sent out 20 LinkedIn connection requests.” Shut up. That is not business. Come on. Be Real. Don’t hide behind social media and emails and all that stuff. That stuff’s a great tool, but it’s not the tool. If you want to speak to a human, pick up the phone, get on the phone to the human. Go visit the human, even better type thing.

Phil Singleton:   We had this conversation today at my agency, which is just like, “Look, nobody ever really is going to spend money with us without looking us in the eye and shaking hands. At some point it’s gonna be a conversation and probably in a lot of cases, a meeting, right? You’re not gonna be able to hide behind and sign an engagement up with never having to talk to somebody.” So the sooner you can get that going, the better. Because in this business that’s one thing that will probably never change is there’s going to be a relationship and some kind of actual either phone call, video call or, more likely, an in-person meeting.

Brad Sugars:   It’s still true today and I guess it’s probably going to be true forever, people buy from people they know, like, and trust. Those three words have been in that sentence for a hundred years and they’ll probably still be there in a hundred years. And the fastest way to get to know someone is to actually have a conversation with them, to actually meet with them. So that, to me, is the best way.

Phil Singleton:  Well, let’s finish this up with telling us the best way to follow you. Where we can buy your book and how we can learn more about ActionCOACH.

Brad Sugars:   You can buy the book at any good bookstore, Amazon, Coles, Barnes & Noble. Any airport bookstore. Me, you can find me on any social media, Linked, Face, any of them, or bradsugars.com.

Phil Singleton:   Do you have a favorite one that you go to or do you pretty much cover them all?

Brad Sugars:  You know, I cover them all because I find that it just is today. Different people like different methodologies and I have different target audiences. Some people love Facebook, the older crowd. The younger crowd in business, you’re getting them on Insta, you’re getting them on the Snap. You won’t find me on Pinterest, though, buddy. I’m not really into crafting. I’m not a crafty guy.

Phil Singleton:   There you have it, ladies and gentleman, Brad Sugars. This was an awesome call. I really appreciate you spending this much time with us and sharing your experience and advice and some tips.

Brad Sugars:   It felt wonderful to be with you, buddy.

 

How to Hire a Virtual Assistant from the Philippines

About John Jonas Founder of OnlineJobs.ph

John has been making a 6-7 figure income online since 2004.

He has helped thousands of entrepreneurs succeed by teaching them how to replace themselves through outsourcing.

He created OnlineJobs.ph, the largest marketplace to find Filipino workers. He also teaches his system for how to find great Filipino workers for free.

While making a full-time living he rarely works full time. His team of 27 full-time Filipino virtual assistants do the work in his businesses, while he manages the process. They range from programmers, designers, and webmasters, to writers, researchers, a project manager, and just general VA’s.

John has made millions of dollars online directly from work that his Filipino workers have done for him and now teaches others exactly how to do the same thing.

If you’ve tried outsourcing before, but haven’t heard what John has to teach about it, give it another try. John’s teachings are SURE to change the way you look at running your business, outsourcing, and the success you have in doing it.

 

Where to follow John Jonas

OnlineJobs.ph

 

Meet John Jonas

Phil Singleton: Hello, everybody and welcome to another episode of The Local Business Leaders podcast. I am your host, Phil Singleton. Today, our featured guest is John Jonas. John is the Founder of onlinejobs.ph, which is an online marketplace for finding talented virtual assistants and more in the Philippines. Hey, John, welcome to the show.

John Jonas: Hey, thanks for having me.

Phil Singleton: Before we get into what I’m excited about and we kind of talked about in the green room before recording here, I’d like to just get a little bit of background about what got you into this. Tell us kind of your first steps out of graduating school and what got you in the business world and kind of what led you here today.

John Jonas: I’m a terrible employee.

Phil Singleton: I already like this story.

John Jonas: I graduated from college in 2003, I think 2003, and I had a job for eight months out of college and my only goal during that job was to quit because I just found the incentive system doesn’t work with me with being an employee. I do good work, I get paid, I do bad work, I get paid. It’s the same thing, it doesn’t really matter. My only goal was to quit. It took me eight months to figure out how to make some money online and I quit. That was fine. I was making a little bit of money and I had some contract work. I was making a little bit of money online but I could see, there’s something here that I can do.

John Jonas: For the next couple years I kind of struggled through stuff. Maybe the next year I struggled through stuff. I was working on my own. I was doing everything. I was working 60 hours a week and I tried hiring other people to do some stuff for me and just kind of leading into what we’re going to talk about today, I had a conversation with someone who, this guy owns backcountry.com. Huge, huge, even in 2004 or 2005 when this was happening it was huge.

John Jonas: He said, “You know John, when you really start outsourcing some of this stuff, make sure you go to the Philippines with it.” I was like, huh, that’s interesting.

Phil Singleton: Were they even on the radar for you at that time?

John Jonas: Not even close. Why would you even think to go to a specific country? Everybody goes to India with outsourcing. That just is what it is. He was like, “Yeah because in India when you tell them something and they say yes, that means yes I heard something come out of your mouth. It doesn’t mean yes I understood what you said.” And I was like, dang, that’s super different.

John Jonas: But what it really did was it kind of gave little bit of hope that the four different times that I had tried to outsource stuff either to local people or to contract workers or to India, it just hadn’t worked out and what it did is it gave me some hope that I might find a different experience. He gave me a reference where I could hire someone full-time and I hired them full-time and that, it took me a couple months before I actually did it because I debated, I didn’t know if I could afford to hire someone full-time. This was the beginning of my business. I didn’t know if they could good work, I didn’t know if I could keep them busy full-time. I ended up taking the leap and that really changed the future of my business across the board.

Phil Singleton: That one hire basically was a success.

John Jonas: Oh dude, that was the single most liberating experience of my life where I was working 60 hours a week and I was doing everything. I was doing the accounting and I was doing the content writing and I was doing the webmaster stuff and I was doing the programming and I was doing the marketing and I was doing the crap that I hated. I hate writing content. But I was doing it because I knew it had to be done but I just hated my life when I had to do it. I hired this guy and I had him starting writing content, which I tried doing that before on it was oDesk at the time. Now it’s Upwwork.

John Jonas: I tried doing that before and it was just a failure because what I found was, and this is kind of the difference between what I stumbled into and what I was trying to do and what most people try and do. I hired this guy to write this content for me and he was a content writer and he wrote the content. And fine. Then he sent me the 50 articles that he had written and I had to go through them and check every one of them because he doesn’t work for me so his only goal was to get paid. I checked them and the first few are really great and then they get worse and they start getting plagiarized.

John Jonas: Then, I had to go back to him and be like, no dude you plagiarized these fix them. Fixism fine. Then I’m done with that process and that’s when it really hit me.

Phil Singleton: You were done when you realized they were plagiarized and then it was just like, how can I get out of this with the least amount of damage?

John Jonas: Well yeah, totally but that’s not the worst of it for me. For me, the worst of it was, I had gone through this whole process to get these articles written and now I had them written and that dude was done. He’s a writer. And he’s a contract worker, that’s what he does. He writes and he gives you your crap and now it’s up to you to do the rest of the work. That was to me the biggest issue was I have all these articles and now I have to go and add links to them and better titles and good resources boxes and submit them and link them together and all this crap. I have to go do all this. I just left myself with 50 hours of work to do from these 50 articles that was supposed to take a burden away from me. Now it just added a burden to me.

John Jonas: That was the first thing I had. I hired this dude, his full-time job was to do anything I asked him to do and that was the first thing I did was I taught him how to do this process. And that was why it was so liberating to me because I could have him write the article then I could have him do the rest of the process. I hated that whole thing and I never had to think about it again, once I taught him how to do it which took a couple weeks.

Phil Singleton: That’s a big part of it. I’d like to talk about that later. I think having a process set up and a step by step thing is something you got to kind of invest in to probably make it work. I’m guessing because I’m going through it right as we’re talking about. You kind of just brushed over it but I do think that’s a big part of probably the whole being successful is knowing that you’re going to hire somebody for and giving them direction, right?

John Jonas: Yes, absolutely. Here’s kind of what I stumbled into, a lot of people, Michael Gerber and the EMR, the E-Myth Revisited, he talks about you have to have these standard operating procedures before you hire someone. You have to do this. Dude, I suck at that.

Phil Singleton: You got to hire somebody, I know, I feel the same way right now. It’s like, I got to hire somebody to help document my procedures.

John Jonas: Creating procedures is hard. It sucks and it’s a burden and I don’t want to do it. When I hired this guy, this was this magical liberating experience for me. I had no idea at the time what I was getting into. I hired this guy and I started teaching him and I taught him to do his stuff and one of Michael Gerber’s biggest things, which is even worse today than it was when he wrote it which I don’t know, he wrote the book 20 or 25 years ago, something like that, is that people just leave today. People don’t stick with jobs at all for any reason except in the Philippines which is this super weird interesting characteristic of the Philippines where they’re super loyal and so that dude who I first hired, still works for me today. It’s 15 years.

Phil Singleton: That’s awesome.

John Jonas: I taught him that one thing and I never had to deal with that thing again. He’s taught other people how to do it since then. And then I’ve taught him other stuff and I taught him other stuff. For me, one of the biggest deals was, I don’t have to create these standard operating procedures that I can pass off when someone quits because people don’t quit. If you treat them well. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t create standard operating procedures because you should. I’m just crappy at it. It sucks. What I found was I can kind of train this person as we go. I can give them this training and I can …

Phil Singleton: Document his training while you’re training.

John Jonas: Yeah.

Phil Singleton: Exactly.

John Jonas: Yeah, and then he can do it and he can mess up with it and then I can correct it and he can do it and mess up and I can correct it and it’ll take us two, three weeks, whatever. And then we get it right and I’m done man, I’m out. That’s the end of this.

Phil Singleton: That’s awesome. The fact when you said 15 years ago, what were you doing at that time where you’re trying to build a business? It wasn’t onlinejobs.ph, was it a website? Something else that you were?

John Jonas: I was doing tons of affiliate marketing.

Phil Singleton: Okay cool.

John Jonas: I had built tons of websites and we were marketing those websites.

Phil Singleton: Got you.

John Jonas: It was super effective once I had people to do the work for me.

Phil Singleton: Awesome. Awesome. And so when did onlinejobs.ph become a real thing? How long has it been around? Tell us about it.

John Jonas: I was part of a mastermind group when all this was going down. In that mastermind group, there was nine of us in the beginning and then we kept adding people, got up to 15 people in this mastermind group, which, just for future reference, 15 people in a mastermind’s too many. We had phone calls every week and after I had had this person working for me for a year, I just found the group was asking me every single week to talk about it. Every week I was telling the same things over and over again because it was so dang good for me and everybody else wanted it. They just weren’t doing it.

John Jonas: After six weeks of this I was like, guys this is ridiculous, I can’t keep just saying these same things over and over again so I recorded myself talking for 45 minutes and I kind of put it out there on the internet and people just went crazy. I was teaching this thing and people went crazy for it and then all the guys in mastermind group starting asking me to teach to their audiences. I was like, okay, I’ll teach it to your audience, fine.

John Jonas: Couple years of teaching it and finding people sucked. It just sucked. One of the things you and I talked about in the green room was the first person i ever hired I went through Agents of Value. They’re an American company, they’re an agency. They recruit Filipino workers, bring them into their office in the Philippines, they mark up their salaries, two, three, 10 times and they lease them back to you. I was paying them $750 a month, they were paying him $250 a month.

Phil Singleton: When did that realization come? Again, we were talking about this before and we just dig right into it now. It was like, I think until just recently, that I had the epiphany, I think a lot of people look online and you got guys like me that are helping maybe virtual assistant companies or virtual assistant services, websites rank and stuff and they’re paying a lot of money so you think that’s where you need to go to get access to the workers but then at the end you start looking, wait a minute, there’s good wages X and these guys are marking it up two or three X. Dominated by middle men even now. Look this up online.

John Jonas: Which, that’s not the worst. It’s not the worst that they’re charging you $10 or $15 an hour and they’re paying them two or $3 an hour. It’s not the worst thing ever. But it just didn’t sit right with me and it certainly didn’t sit right with him when he found out. I think it took me six months to kind of put it together. I said to him, actually what I think happened was he told me, “Hey I’m quitting.” It was like, why? He was like, “I can’t handle to office politics here.” I was like, office politics? I don’t have, your my employee and we don’t have any office politics. There’s nothing of the sort. He was like, “Yeah it’s the managers here at Agents of Value and it’s the people around here. I just can’t do it.” I was like, “Well you can’t quit because you’re amazing now.” I was like, “How much are you making.” 2.50, I was like holy crap, I had no idea.

Phil Singleton: Is this the first guy that’s still with you or somebody else.

John Jonas: Yeah, this is the first dude. Still with me. I was like, I’ll double your salary but you can’t leave for 30 days because that’s part of the contract. The next day he was like, “I quit, I’m working for you today on my own.” I started paying him 500 bucks a month, I doubled his salary. I cut my costs by a third and it’s been amazing ever since.

John Jonas: But still, when I went back to find someone else it was like, this sucks. How do I find someone? Couple years later, I decided to start a marketplace because there wasn’t anything. That was onlinejobs.ph. Starting building it in 2008, we launched it in 2009, that was 10 years ago. For five years, I completely ignored it and didn’t really for five years, I didn’t touch it. It was I think it was when there was 70,000 employees or 70,000 worker resumes in it that I thought, dang, I should probably do something with this thing.
Phil Singleton: Wow.

John Jonas: Today there’s over 700,000 resumes there. That’s kind of how this came about.

Phil Singleton: Yeah, it’s amazing, full disclosure for me, this is one of the reasons we’re having this podcast. I went through it, I was pretty impressed with the whole process. My experience was actually had heard about your website from a second employee that we had that had heard and he’s in and one of them was from home services and the other guy that just recently was kind of in home buying, real estate investment type stuff. He had mentioned at the same time and I wasn’t even really half paying attention but I heard onlinejobs.ph a second time. When I heard this the second time, so I’m going to go check this out because in his mastermind or his group or whatever company he was affiliated with, the guys that were in that kind of business were all kind of talking about it. I was like okay.

Phil Singleton: I went and checked it out and I signed up and really clear what you guys do on the website. I signed up for it. I love the way you guys structured the subscription and the payment. I think it’s very fair. But I went in there so seamlessly and I went in, I paid a reasonable fee. I put very quickly, put up a resume of some of the key tasks that I was trying to look for. Within a couple days over the weekend, I got some great resumes. I found one. First of all, the people were very responsive and I thought that was great. Lots of great feedback and then I ended zeroing in on one person.

Phil Singleton: Talked to her and then what ended up really getting it for me is she gave me the reference of a previous person that she was being a VA for and this person was out of Chicago because I was still a pretty, I was like, this sounds really good, it almost sounds too good to be true to be doing this. Is this going to be one of those, it’s like you were talking at the beginning, so many people go through the heartache of hiring somebody on Upward or on Five are not realizing how much hair they got to pull out and that the money they paid that was so low actually ended up costing them a lot in redoing or editing yourself or going over or have to try it over and over again. It’s kind of deceptively expensive even though it seems like really, really cheap.

Phil Singleton: I had already been burned many, many times but I had never kind of gone this route. But anyway what did it for me is I ended up getting a reference. I got the best reference on this person that I’ve ever gotten for anybody that I’ve hired. And I’ve hired many W2s over the year for my own company and businesses and stuff like that. I was like, okay, I was thinking no matter what, if I get somebody good that’s coming in at a lower risk kind of a salary and is this good, I’ll find something for them to do if they’re really this good. Is hardworking and stuff. And it was great. Has been. It’s been seamless couple days and I still now, I’m thinking I posted for this but I might actually be using her for something different. I’m not really sure. It’s like you said, the passion’s there.

Phil Singleton: You’re talking to somebody here that she already has her own restaurant so she’s already working a full-time job basically I would think. But just the, and I lived in Asia for 10 years so I know what kind of the southeast Asian work ethic is for a lot of countries out there. It’s just different than it is here. We’re all hard working in our different ways but it’s definitely different.

Phil Singleton: I was just super impressed and I’ve had a super great experience and now my mind’s like we were talking about again, in the green room, really excited about it. The possibilities I think of just being like wow, this is just one person but I could actually have a team for what might cost me one employee here where I’m based in Kansas City. I might be able to get two, three, maybe even four, a team of people to help me do many more things. I want more versus I was thinking well if I do this gosh, if I hire one of these through these, one of these virtual assistant companies and they charge 10, 12, 15 bucks an hour, it’s a discount and I’m sure it’s there but it’s not like that. You start talking about five or $10 an hour more, you’re getting into where you can hire some entry level people with a few years experience here in the States, you know what I mean?

John Jonas: Yeah, right.

Phil Singleton: But I had no idea that it was for some of these folks, was three, four, $5 an hour and you’re getting people. And the other thing is I have to mention, the first thing I did was I had a phone call and of course just I already knew Filipinos had good English but I was just like, it almost like she grew up here with a slight accent. I was just completely blown away. The English was good as it was. Obviously I’m really fired up but I just, I wonder, did I just get lucky and you just happen to pull one out of the pack? And I was like wow, this is really great. Or is this kind of norm? I guess you can kind of tell me based on the feedback of the excitement that you’ve had, the people that have hired one and gone on to hire many. Tell our listeners a little bit about how that goes.

John Jonas: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from people, man I just got really lucky. I hear this all the time. No, you didn’t get really lucky, you did a good job of recruiting and they’re really good. Not everybody has a great experience the first time. A lot of people don’t do a good job of recruiting but if you do a good job of recruiting, your chances are pretty high of getting lucky. And then you said something else, a bunch of the thing that you said are things that I hear over and over and over again. There was a light bulb that went on for you, when you recognized, I can get really good talented people. It’s two to $5 an hour. They’re thinkers. It’s not just a robot. They’re willing to work hard. It’s a different hard work than here in the US.

John Jonas: Some of the things that I’ve found culturally with the Philippines that I didn’t know about was, they’re loyal and I already talked about that. The first person I hired still works for me. If you treat them well, they’re loyal almost to a fault to where they’ll never quit. It’s not a matter of, oh they got another job offer, they’re going to jump ship. That’s not a thing in the Philippines. They’re honest to the point where my guys in the Philippines have my credit cards, they have my bank account numbers. They have access to my personal email account. Don’t go doing something you’re not comfortable with and get yourself ripped off but the only situations where I’ve seen people get ripped off in this is either they did something dumb or the tried to rip the worker off. They tried to get them to do a bunch of stuff and not get paid or not pay them.

John Jonas: They speak American English. Like you said, her English was amazing and obviously not everybody’s English is amazing but dang it’s a lot of people. And then they’re not entrepreneurial so they don’t want to steal your idea. They don’t want to take your domain. They don’t want to hijack your hosting account. They don’t want to do any of that stuff. They just want a job and if you’re willing to give them a job, you just found this really great situation of it’s hard to find a job in the Philippines. It’s especially hard to find a full-time job and you’re working from home on your own hours and you’re working for a foreign boss which in most countries is kind of a joke but in the Philippines it’s an honor which is different. It’s like a bragging point. They’ll brag about you their foreign boss to their friends.

John Jonas: You end up getting this situation where this person has a full-time job. They’re working their own hours, they’re working from home, they have a foreign boss, they’re getting paid well and they’ll go above and beyond what you ask them to do to keep their job. Not always, and again it completely depends on how you treat them, and this is especially the case in the Philippines with how you treat them makes a difference on the quality of work they’ll do but they don’t quit. That makes such a huge difference for a small business. And it makes a huge difference for the amount of effort you have to put in. The standard operating procedures, the rehiring. When you lose someone, everybody know this, the cost of losing an employee is double their annual salary or something like that because there’s so much pain involved.

Phil Singleton: Well even time wise. I’ve been spending a couple hours a day already and I’m just thinking, wow, that’s a lot. I’m the most expensive resource in my company but I feel the risk is pretty low. But point, that’s where I think people get it, the hidden cost of hiring. If you don’t like them.

John Jonas: Let me get into kind of a side thing that people don’t realize in there. People here are thinking something and it’s wrong. What most people are thinking of is oh I don’t want to take the commitment. I don’t want to make the commitment. I just want to someone out. I’ll just hire someone hourly in the Philippines and get the same thing. You won’t.

John Jonas: There’s a big difference between hourly work and full-time work and that’s on you, on your end. It’s not such a big deal on their end. It’s much more of a big deal on your end. And there’s a big difference between contract work or freelancers and hiring full-time. Let me just explain these because this makes a really big difference on your business success.

John Jonas: A contract worker or freelancer, this is someone you hired to do a project or to do a specific thing and they don’t work for you. When they’re done, you pay them and they go and do work for someone else. That’s all good and fine but it doesn’t allow you to give them things that will lessen your burden. For me, all of this is about lifestyle. I work 10 to 15 hours a week. Right now it’s summer, my kids are out of school, I’m working 10 hours a week and I’ve been at 10 to 15 hours a week for 10 years now because I get people in the Philippines to do my work for me.

John Jonas: With a contract worker you can’t do that. That person doesn’t care about your business success. You’re still going to have to spend the same amount of time hiring and recruiting and training as you would a full-time, long term person. Just because you always have to bring someone up to speed. But once you’re done with them, they go away and now when you need something done again, you have to go through the full process again. That’s kind of a contract worker, freelancer and that’s a big deal.

John Jonas: The full-time versus part time thing or the hourly versus full-time, part time, if you pay someone hourly and they’re not busy, you don’t care. They do the job that you gave them, they’re not working, it doesn’t matter to you. And that’s a really nice feeling of oh let me do what I’m comfortable with and just continue working on answering my emails because I don’t have to worry if they’re not busy. When you hire someone salaried, either part time or full-time, if they’re not busy, it’s on you. It’s your responsibility and that little change of giving yourself giving that responsibility, forces you to become the CEO. To work on your business instead of in your business.

John Jonas: That was probably the biggest thing that I didn’t realize that kind of changed my life was, this dude who I’m training, I just gave him this task to do and it took us a couple weeks to get to the point where he was getting it done faster than I thought but then he was done and I had to keep him busy. That had to take, that kind of jolted me out of oh man, I got to respond to this email. Oh I got another email I got to respond. Oh I got another. This endless cycle of garbage working in your business to I have to step away and think and give him something else to do because otherwise I’m wasting money. It’s not a lot of money but it’s still wasting money. Then I had to think of …

Phil Singleton: Then I also wonder, I’m a little bit in the spot of now where it’s on me to train. I can’t really give a full-time thing until they get up to speed and we’re both comfortable but my bigger fear to take a step back on this is, which I don’t mind right now that I might not be having full-time hours or work but I also don’t want somebody one, get in the habit of I don’t have enough work for them right now. And two, is that okay, are they going to be bored? If I’m like geez I just do some stuff, here’s some stuff to study but I can’t give you the full workload over day one so it might take a few day or couple weeks even to get the rhythm and the routine where I can start passing some stuff off.

Phil Singleton: And you mentioned a little bit of that. You had some stuff right off the bat then it was kind of like okay, you’re going to have to fill the plate up probably a little bit over time versus on day one. Especially for people that are smaller agencies or maybe a solo printer that’s just hiring their first person.

John Jonas: Yeah, but get on it. Start teaching stuff because it’s going to force you to start thinking about your business instead of thinking in your business. And that will make the biggest difference for most people of growth, success and growth. The other thing you mentioned if I don’t give this person enough stuff to do, are they going to get bored? Yes, and the result of getting bored is finding another job or taking a second job which is not a great situation. You want to keep them working for you and only for you.

Phil Singleton: That was my other fear of hiring actually was how does it work? Is it I’m going to hire somebody and I had this discussion, am I going to hire somebody and the reason it’s the pricing seems really super awesome is because they’re trying to take on three on four, quote unquote, full-time jobs. I was, well that wouldn’t really be fair either if somebody’s trying to take on. I actually was upfront about it. I was like, well what thing, what other responsibilities do you have? Would you be exclusive to me? Would you be taking on a lot of part time work and stuff like that?

Phil Singleton: That’s when it came out. Well I’ve got this restaurant during the day, doesn’t take a lot of my time. I just kind of have to be around but I can work upstairs. That was one thing. The other thing was she was really upfront, was that from time to time taking a couple little small, one or two hourly things, is that okay? I have something now to do, I don’t know if I’ll do them later. I feel like it was, but we had that discussion ahead of time. Is that common? Is that something to worry about?

John Jonas: No, that’s common, you did a great job. Just being upfront about it is a really big deal.

Phil Singleton: Is it common though? Is that a way for people to get ripped off is somebody just come on and they just basically took four full-time, they’re trying to squeeze four full-time jobs into one?

John Jonas: It definitely happens but if you can usually tell. You hire someone, you’re happy with their work, they’re doing good work and all of sudden you’ll see oh your productivity went down, what’s going on? And you need to approach them about it and say, “Hey, I can see that your productivity went down, what’s going on?”

John Jonas: I don’t use a time tracker. A lot of people do, I don’t. I don’t like it. They don’t like it but I can always just gauge like hey, I can tell that you’re not getting stuff done like you should. What’s going on? Or if that starts from the beginning, stuff’s not going on, then that’s when I know this isn’t going to work out.

Phil Singleton: And how quickly and how easy is it to get onto to, hey this isn’t working out. Do people get, they get nasty on you? Is it kind of like …

John Jonas: How easy is it?

Phil Singleton: Or just what’s the recommended way to do it in a way that saves face for everybody I guess?

John Jonas: There’s not. It sucks if you’re firing. Firing people sucks. But, they’re not going to do anything to you. If it hasn’t worked out, it hasn’t worked out. They’re not going to go try and rip you off. They’re not going to steal your crap. Unless you try and not pay them. It’s worse, the worst of it is on you. You’re letting someone go and that sucks. But they’ll go find another job.

Phil Singleton: And one of the things I wanted to dip into now is also to me, the way a lot of these services are pitched and even on yours on your website, onlinejobs.ph, it’s kind of opens up and I guess it’s kind of the common buzzwords is virtual assistants, virtual assistants from the Philippines. But really what I found, even on your own marketplace is you can hire way more than just a virtual assistant for just random tasks. There’s people like skilled website developers. There’s graphic designer. There’s all sorts of skilled people that are maybe would fall outside just what some people think of as a quote unquote virtual assistant. It can get pretty deep with some pretty solid skillsets.

John Jonas: Anything that can be done on a computer, you can hire someone in the Philippines to do it. I have 26 people, we just hired someone today to do customer support. 26 people in the Philippines full-time. I have obviously customer support people, I have graphic designers, I have web designers, I have video editor I have.

Phil Singleton: And those are all under kind of the onlinejobs.ph company?

John Jonas: Yeah.

Phil Singleton: You have actually have office space or all they all remote and somebody manages them remotely?

John Jonas: They all work from home.

Phil Singleton: That’s awesome. Wow.

John Jonas: Programmers.

Phil Singleton: That’s got to be, that’s a plus too for all of us. A corporate job can work actually out of our house.

John Jonas: Yeah, yeah, they get to work from home. You don’t have to pay for office space or utilities or insurance or any of that stuff. Plus their salary’s tax deductible. Really, depending on how much you’re making, it’s saving you one third of their salaries each month. It really is a good situation that is it’s like having a local person without the local issues.

Phil Singleton: And the other thing I was going to mention, is there a few things I’m learning, some of this is on your website too but you take the leap, you get somebody, you find somebody you like, you spend some time training them, hopefully you already have her in the process of kind of documenting some of your tasks and procedures. Just for the long term benefit of your own company, your own operation but for certain hiring somebody I think really does kind of jumpstart that. But there were some things, certain things I just recently learned about the Philippines.

Phil Singleton: There was the salary negotiations that went I think very smoothly. There was an ask to include, I guess a budget for I think she called it HMO or some type of a health kind of a stipend almost for that. Some kind of common and then also the quote unquote, 13th month which I guess was a, there’s some expectation for some of them I guess to pay a bonus that’s equal to about a month of the salary. Is that, hopefully you’re not hearing that for the first time.

John Jonas: The 13th month, if you are in the Philippines, if you’re a Filipino employer, it’s legally required that in December you pay them a bonus of one month’s pay. You pay them November’s salary on December 1st and then some time during the month of December you’re going to pay them one month’s salary.

Phil Singleton: They get doubled up in December.

John Jonas: They get doubled up in December, yeah. It’s not legally required for you because you’re not a Filipino business but it’s something you definitely should pay. And, you’re hiring someone like July 1st, that’s halfway through the year, you should prorate the 13th month so in December you’ll pay them half of one month’s salary.

Phil Singleton: Right, that’s kind of what we talked about. I actually, I didn’t know any better but I just said, “Would that be okay?” And she was cool with it.

John Jonas: Yeah, that’s correct. The HMO, the health insurance is a totally won on a case by case basis. A lot of people will ask for SSS and Phil Health. SSS is their social security. Phil Health is their national health insurance thing. But it’s not really health insurance it’s just kind of a discount thing. It’s kind of silly but it’s also 10 or $20 a month. It’s pretty cheap so it’s worth saying, “Okay, I’m going to pay you this much and here’s your, I’m going to add to that this.”

Phil Singleton: To cover those things.

John Jonas: To cover these things, whatever.

Phil Singleton: I thought that sounded reasonable. It wasn’t like I didn’t know it was going to come. It was like, 10 or 20 bucks. It wasn’t like another $200 a month or something. But that’s what it is here in the States, man. You hire some W2 and put get the insurance going.

John Jonas: Right, you get all that extra stuff here. You don’t get that there. We recently did health insurance after 15 years, we finally added full on health insurance to people and it was an extra $100 a month per person but we had to do a lot of work to get that done. It’s something that I guess we could talk about it on the website.

Phil Singleton: At some point. Look man, this has been super awesome and like I said, I was so excited about that I literally reached out to you and said, “Gosh, I’d love to do a podcast on this because we do, half of our listeners are agency owners. Other half are basically small, larger maybe small businesses and stuff like that.” I think honestly, with the way things are digital, especially in the marketing space, so many, a lot of agency’s owners already need help all over the place. They’re already looking for any kind of assistance they can get to kind of help them scale so they can grow their own business without having to hire too many W2 employees or what have you.

Phil Singleton: And then you got actually a lot of small business owners that could use, they can’t really afford to have a full-time social media or marketing person just to maintain some type of a presence on social media or anything really. It’s either all or nothing. They hire an agency like mine, helps them do everything, gives them a presence like they have somebody in house. But this is a huge opportunity for small businesses, if they can take the leap and train people and trust them to do stuff because it’s, I can see anybody considering this, there’s just no, you don’t just hire somebody and then just press a button and it works. There’s definitely the one thing I think I probably didn’t anticipate was but now I understand, is you just definitely have to take time to train people and tell them what you want them to do.

Phil Singleton: You just think some of the people are going to know coming in the door, know exactly what. It’s not. It’s the same way you hire somebody locally. You have to go through a lot to get them up to speed.

John Jonas: Yeah, for sure.

Phil Singleton: It doesn’t change anywhere.

John Jonas: My advice to people is when you’re getting started, hire someone to do something you currently are doing. Get something off of your plate and yeah, it’s going to add. You’re working 50 hours a week, you’re going to work 55 or 60 the first few weeks. It just is what it is, you have to spend more time.

Phil Singleton: I’m spending a couple, probably two hours, I getting up 6:00, 7:00 in the morning and spending two hours, three hours even. I think I even spent four hours literally just trying to go through every employee.

John Jonas: But then after that, you’re going to work 45 hours a week. You’re going to get time back into your life. If you hire someone to do something you’re currently doing. And then after that you work less and then you have this understanding, this full new world exists for you that you can hire someone else to do.

Phil Singleton: Well then you mentioned something else John, was like how what I’m really hoping is if I have as much faith in this person I have, if she can really understand different parts of the business and get one or two of these things down, can she help me train somebody else?

John Jonas: Yeah.

Phil Singleton: So I don’t have to do it?

John Jonas: For sure.

Phil Singleton: Which is why I really want to put my time and effort into one person that can help me document stuff, understand, they go through all the processes then she can spend 20 hours a week for a couple weeks training somebody. It would totally help. Then that really starts to scale for you.

John Jonas: Yeah. Let me just, let me tell you really quickly how I train people. And I will train two, three, four people at a time on a single thing. For example, we’ll create a process in the backend of Online Jobs where we need to have this monitored. The way I do that is I use Snag It. Have you used Snag It?

Phil Singleton: Yeah, screen capture.

John Jonas: Yeah, screen capture. It’s creating a video of my screen. It’s recording my voice and my mouse and my screen and I’ll just talk through the entire process and whether it takes me one minute or five minutes or an hour, I’ll just talk through it. And then I’ll send it to all of them and say, “I want you all to learn this,” even though only one of them is going to do it. You’re all going to learn this because the more they know, the better off they’re going to be at whatever else they’re doing. And then they’ll come back to me with questions and I’ll just do it again. I’ll spend five.

Phil Singleton: That’s like us as business owners. You know pretty much everything that you’re doing. The process, you’ve gone through it before. You know how to change stuff on your website. You know how to add a blog post, whatever, all that stuff.

John Jonas: Yeah. You want to modify WordPress, fine, talk someone through it. Here’s how we do this. Or you have your Shopify store or whatever, hey, here’s how I do this thing in Shopify. Whatever it is. Open up Snag It, start talking your way through it. It’s so much easier than writing an email and trying to describe every little thing. Or when you are writing an email, take a screenshot and draw an arrow on it so people know exactly what it is.

Phil Singleton: Love it.

John Jonas: It’s so much easier to do that. I do that.

Phil Singleton: I actually use, I use one called Loom, you got Loom US, it’s the same thing sounds like. You go in, do a browser plugin and just screen capture stuff.

John Jonas: Yeah, I do it probably 10 times a day. And that’s how I communicate with people. And everything goes into a project management system for me.

Phil Singleton: So sweet. Last but not least, I always like to ask people that have successful growing online businesses, what kind of things are you doing for marketing for yourself? Obviously you guys know something or do your own kind of SEO. You rank for certain special keywords that you’re doing so that helps. Is there any other things that you guys do for marketing. I’m sure it grows and there’s some, I got to you by a traditional offline referral. Somebody else had heard about you or was happy about it and they were like, hey, check this out and I did and here I am.

John Jonas: For us, that’s one of the biggest things that we have is we just get a lot of word of mouth. But outside of that, one of things I learned a long time ago and this was with that very first person, I do everything. We implement everything we know of, everything we hear of, I just don’t do the work. I just get other people to do the work. We’re implementing everything. I don’t really know what it is that’s working super well.

Phil Singleton: You guys are just trying it all. Last, last question is, of your team members, 26, 27 of them, what does that look on a day, what does, just give me a breakdown of the percentage wise. Are 10 of them customer service? Are they in general, a lot of them just multi-tasked, multi-talented people. You got graphic designers, what’s it look like?
John Jonas: Yeah, I think we have five programmers, I think we have four customer service people, I think we have five or six admin people, no there’s probably more than that. People that are working on data security. We do a lot of work in Online Jobs to make sure, not to make sure, to try and have a clean set of worker profiles. We get scammers. We get people from India. We get all kinds of stuff and we spend a lot of time trying to clean that up. We have a bunch of people that do a bunch of things to clean that up.

Phil Singleton: Got you.

John Jonas: I have a couple front end webmaster kind of people, HTML, CSS. I have a couple designers. I have a girl that does HR. She does recruiting. I have a couple social media people, content writer. I have a project, kind of a project manager. She kind of helps oversee a bunch of different things. What else do we have?

Phil Singleton: You’ve got one or two right hand people. I’m sure that one initial hire is one of them.

John Jonas: Yeah, he definitely is. He manages all the admin backend people. And I could ask that guy to do anything I want. He’d do it. I have a Facebook ads person. A couple of people that write content. We have a pretty widely varied team. They all work from home, they’re all in the Philippines.

Phil Singleton: Sorry, I’m going to wrap this up, I really appreciate you spending this much time with us. So much great info, I know we’re going to have a lot of people interested in this particular episode. What would be the range is usually starting from whatever, two to three, four, $5 an hour to I’m sure it can go up from there. People that have had more experience for other type things. In a general sense, what are we talking about for people with a couple years of experience out of school maybe? I think the person I hired is probably in her early, mid 20s versus maybe somebody that’s in their later 20s, has maybe different degrees. What are we looking at for those types of hires and stuff? What would be a web designer versus kind of a general just virtual just assistant, general assistant? What kind of?

John Jonas: I’ll just kind of change the paradigm here. I have no hourly people. I don’t know how much anybody makes hourly. My people are all full-time. They make between 400 and $1,600 a month and so at the upper end of that I have a really good Facebook and Google ads person or a designer who’s amazing or a couple really good programmers. In the middle end I have these, I have good content writers would be in the middle of that. Good front end people. On the lower end of that I would have probably customer support people or some admin people. At 400, she’s an admin person. Most of our people are probably between 550 and 850 a month.

Phil Singleton: And what would be a let’s say a talented graphic designer? You guys have really great stuff on your website. That’s obviously probably part came from your team, no?
John Jonas: Yeah, 1,500 bucks a month. You can hire a really good graphic designer between a 1,000 and 1,500 bucks a month.

Phil Singleton: Somebody who know what they’re doing with WordPress and stuff like that? Making a WordPress side.

John Jonas: Somebody who knows what they’re doing on WordPress between 500 and $800 a month. A video editor would be 700 to a 1,000. A good content writer would be 550 to 950.

Phil Singleton: Content, that would be a big one. That’s the one thing. Is that really even possible? Your stuff, it looks like you do have a content writer. I forget her name but there’s some really good posts you have on your website.

John Jonas: Yeah, stuff on the onlinejobs.ph.

Phil Singleton: That’s all from your team from the Philippines, right?

John Jonas: That’s our team, yeah. A lot of it’s well, they started posting it is as them but a lot of it was posted as me and I don’t know that I wrote anything.

Phil Singleton: Right.

John Jonas: They wrote it, yeah.

Phil Singleton: But content writer, around a $1,000 a month.

John Jonas: Yeah, you could, I would be less than that, yeah.

Phil Singleton: For a good something that would, even if I have to edit.

John Jonas: It just depends on how you recruit. You do a good job recruiting, it’ll be 700 bucks.

Phil Singleton: Are you looking for somebody that has, how easy is it to hire people in this kind of a system that have maybe secondary degrees or even English type stuff. Is that what you’re looking for for this kind of stuff? That’s why I’m asking so much. Is your marketplace more kind of people that are coming in in that early 20s range that are looking for experience? Or is it all over the map?

John Jonas: It’s all over the map. It’s all over the map. Here’s a couple things. In the Philippines, almost everybody you find will have a degree. That’s just across the board.

Phil Singleton: That’s a baseline.

John Jonas: That’s a baseline in the Philippines of you’ve gone to grade school, middle school, high school. If you have a high school degree in the Philippines, basically the only thing you’re qualified to do is be a nanny. It’s socially you’re kind of an outcast if you only have a high school degree. After that you have a college degree of two to four years, two to five years of college degree and basically everybody you find is either going to have a degree or they’re going to be working on a degree.

Phil Singleton: Got you.

John Jonas: That is just a matter of how much experience are you hiring for? For my, what I would recommend to people is, you’re hiring someone to do something you’re already doing. Unless it’s a technical position, unless it’s programming, design, webmaster, WordPress, whatever, unless it’s a technical position, you’re going to hire them for their English because you can teach them how to do social media. You can teach them how to write content. You can teach whatever if their English is great. Hire for their English skills and then worry about the specific skills after that.

Phil Singleton: Thank you so much for doing this John. This was so awesome. It was one of my favorite episodes. This is going to be I think a great one to kind of promote. I’m sure we’ll get a lot of downloads off of it. Tell us where we can follow you. I know the one thing we’ll have in the show notes is onlinejobs.ph. Is there any particular social media place where you connect with people more? Is it LinkedIn, Facebook, something else, let us know and we’ll make sure that we let people know how best to follow you.

John Jonas: You can follow me on Facebook. I’ll be totally honest, I hate Facebook.

Phil Singleton: Me too.

John Jonas: And if you follow me on Facebook you’re probably going to see …

Phil Singleton: A post a year, something like that, like mine.

John Jonas: No, you’ll see regular posts I think. It’s just not done by me. But if you want to get in contact with me, I’m contactable. If you use the contact desk link on onlinejobs.ph, it doesn’t come to me but if you say, “This is for John,” or you say, “I have a question for John,” I will be the second person to see it. They all know just to send it to me.

Phil Singleton: Awesome.

John Jonas: And I’ll respond.

Phil Singleton: Awesome, awesome, awesome. Well I’m definitely going to type up some notes and let people know that this is one of these things where I actually tried and I’m very, really excited about honestly. I’m like, in my mind I’m imagining a much bigger team over the next months and year so maybe but then you also kind of temper it. You want to make sure that one step at a time. Works out. I can definitely see the potential here for me but for lots of other people. Hope a lot of the people kind of check this out.

John Jonas: Sweet. Love it.

Phil Singleton: All right man.

John Jonas: Hey, thanks for having me man.

Phil Singleton: All right, have a great rest of your week and Happy Fourth of July.

John Jonas: Talk to you later.

Phil Singleton: See you.

Kansas City Keynote Speakers & Motivational Speaking with Joel Goldberg

Joel Goldberg, a popular Kansas City keynote speaker and sports announcer, has one of the most recognizable faces and voices in the metro area.

While Joel has had a first-row seat to one of the most inspirational stories in recent sports history, I found his personal story to be fascinating.

It’s no wonder that he has become on of the most sought-after keynote speaker in the metro area and has spoken companies such as Cerner, Mariner Wealth Advisors, American Family Insurance, Mobank and Enterprise Bank.

Joel shares an amazing story of how he started out in his early 20’s, fresh out of college, and created an opportunity by cold-calling scores of TV stations around the country and fought his way into the business with sheer grit and determination.

You will love this episode!

Click to learn more about Joel, his broadcast career, and all the cool new things he is doing at Joel Goldberg Media!

Learn more about Joel Goldberg

 

Meet Joel Goldberg

Phil Singleton: Hello everybody and welcome to The Local Business Leader’s Podcast. I’m your host Phil Singleton. Today our featured guest is Joel Goldberg. Joel has spent nearly a quarter of a century covering college and professional athletes in football, basketball, hockey and baseball. He’s a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and won a Regional Sports Emmy in 2001 in St. Louis.

More recently Joel has hosted thousands of pre and post-game television shows while traveling with the Kansas City Royals since 2008. Joel is a true storyteller, sharing lessons from the sports world about culture and building relationships with audiences looking to make an impact in their businesses.

He recently spoken at some top Kansas City companies such as Cerner, Mariner Wealth Advisors, American Family Insurance, Mobank and Enterprise Bank. Joel, welcome to the show.

Joel Goldberg: Thanks for having me Phil.

Phil Singleton: This is gonna be awesome. Really before we get started with some of the other questions I’d like to ask you today. Just love to hear about your journey on those first steps out of school, almost what got you here today.

Joel Goldberg: Well I’ll say that growing up like a lot of kids, I had the dream of one day playing professional sports. Unlike some kids, I realized pretty quickly that that wasn’t going to happen. I was, and I’m not being humble, an average athlete at best. I loved talking about it. I was the kid from I can remember as early as first or second grade driving my teachers crazy with details of what was in box scores and games from the night before. So I feel like I always enjoyed telling stories and letting people know what was going on.

So my dream from I would say certainly teenage years on, or maybe even a little before was to be on TV talking about sports. I didn’t know exactly what that looked like. I got out of college, that’s what I studied, and what I found was everybody wanted to do that. So let’s just make up a number, say 10,000 kids came out of college wanting to be on TV in 1994 and it’s more than that. There were only 100 jobs available.

I just started cold calling, and I’m not a cold calling type by the way.

– Joel Goldberg

Now let’s back up and say that this was a time where there was no internet. It was just starting, email had just begun. There weren’t YouTube links. You had to put together physically a tape and then record over and over again more versions of that, put a label on it and stick it in the mail and send it out. I got rejection letter after rejection letter after rejection letter. The first lesson that I learned really in life, business, TV, sports, everything, it was instinctual at that point was I had to figure out a way to get to the top of the list really not being any better than anyone else.

I just started cold calling, and I’m not a cold calling type by the way. I just started cold calling TV stations around the country and the conversation basically went like this, “hi can you give me the name of your news director,” again remember there was no website to look up. Sure it’s Dave Smith, thank you, click. Ten minutes later call back, hi can I speak with Dave Smith, hi my names’ Joel Goldberg. I recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin, I’m looking for a job in TV. I understand that you don’t have one right now, but I just happened to be passing through, fill in the blank, Quincy, Illinois, Terre Haute, Indiana, Rochester, Minnesota, Mason City Iowa, blah, blah, blah.

I happen to be passing through Terre Haute next Wednesday, could I stop by and introduce myself and give you a tape. Sure, and I’d hop in my car and drive all over the country. I started meeting people that way. Put a lot of mileage on the car and sure enough a couple months later I got my first TV offer and within a month or so later, three more came in.

That was the start of it, that’s how I got to the front of the line and 24 years later here I am.

Phil Singleton: That is so awesome. The reason I say that is because seriously, how many of us, I’m guessing you were in your what, 20’s?

Joel Goldberg: I was 22 at that point. I had no idea what I was doing. Was I good, I don’t think I was all that good. I probably did at the time, but I had-

Phil Singleton: Yeah I can tell you right now though, how many kids in their early 20’s have that kind of grit?

Joel Goldberg: That’s true for anything. By the way this is a message that still applies today. I remember talking to my nephew about this a couple of years ago. I don’t know how it all came up. He’s like, well nowadays we have Linkedin, it’s so much easier. I said sure, so does everyone else. So what are you gonna do different than the thousands of people that also have linked in.

The jobs have changed now too by the way. Kids aren’t, I’m hearing this now. Kids aren’t coming out of school saying I wanna be on Sports Center, or I wanna be the local sports anchor. They’re saying that they wanna be the sideline reporter. That’s become a bigger deal. I wanna do the interviews on social media, I wanna have a presence on SnapChat or whatever it is.

So it’s changed, but I still think that philosophy applies today and will apply till the end of time. How do you differentiate yourself from everyone else.

Joel Goldberg – The Entrepreneur

Phil Singleton: That’s a great story. I’d love to talk a little bit. We were talking kind of in the green room so to speak before we started recording here. I look at you as having two sides to your business. Obviously you’ve got the kind of hosting would you call it a career or a job or, almost want to…

Joel Goldberg: Yeah.

Phil Singleton: But then you’ve also got this other side where you’ve got this separate business, where you’re doing things like, speaking, giving motivational speeches, other types of services as well. I’d love to dive into that a little bit more, how that came about.

Then also how you’re going about using your own influence and career path that you’ve taken at this point to grow that business.

Joel Goldberg: Well it’s, the TV things’ been going obviously for a quarter century, and that makes me feel old. I knew I was starting to really get older when we got to a point where there were officially no players left in the major leagues that were older than me. The last one was Jason Giambi, and once he retired I’m like, I don’t even need to search this anymore. It’s gonna take like a 50 something year old deciding to come back and play. So that was one of the points where I realized that I was getting old.

Phil Singleton: But that’s in the sports world in the grand scheme, I mean come on. You’re in your prime.

Joel Goldberg: But I think that there’s a good message there and I would like to sit there and say this was my speaking business and the entrepreneur side of me was all this master plan to have a fall back option or have life after TV. Because I do the speaking thing like golf, I’m a terrible golfer by the way, but you can do it forever.

As long as you can speak, or as long as you have your physical capabilities, you can play golf. You don’t need a lot of physical capabilities to at least get out there and have fun. As long as I’m capable of speaking and standing up on a stage I can do that. But the reality of it is in the television world, it’s gonna expire at some point. Whether they decide tomorrow that they wanna go a different direction, they haven’t for a long time, or whether I just get older.

So I could sit here and tell you that I had this master fall back plan, but it wasn’t that. I just kind of stumbled into it by accident. Being in TV you’re asked to do a lot of appearances and Rotary Clubs and church groups and schools and things like that. I’d always done that, and about two and a half years ago I was asked by a couple different organizations to come out and speak. We have a small budget, so we’ll pay you. I’m, wow, you’ll pay me to do this, wow.

In hindsight, it wasn’t a lot of money, but it was money. More importantly is I got up there and it was two totally different audiences. One was a group of financial advisors, and the other was a group in lawn care and golf course management. I don’t even remember what the whole speech was, I just remember the reaction to it was the same. I thought, boy you got two different audiences, with different professions, dressed totally differently and they had the same reaction.

I was out with a friend, ’cause my off season … I basically work six to seven days a week for six months in baseball. My off season can kind of do what I want, I was doing some other sports. So the natural question from people is always, hey what have you been up to, what are you doing in your off season. I told them I spoke to a couple groups. One of them said, you know you could form a whole business out of this. I was naïve enough to say really, you can?

I didn’t know anything about the business world, about the speaking world, because for all the people that say to me, hey you’ve got such a good job. You get to talk about baseball every day, you get to travel the country. I say yes, they pay me to talk about baseball, life is great. But it’s such a comfortable place if you can get there, that you don’t ever really look outside of it.

Most of us in the TV or the sports world don’t look outside of it. You look at other sports, and this was totally different. So I kind of caught the bug and the entrepreneurial bug. Then I went about this the old fashioned way. I just started networking and great, we have huge audiences that watch us for baseball. So it certainly made getting into doors easier than just some random cold call.

But as you know, one connection, two connections, three connections and suddenly they start multiplying. During my off seasons, I’m two, three, four meetings a day for coffee, breakfast, lunch, happy hour, whatever it might be. That could be anything, it was anything from new relationships to other introductions to brainstorming content. To learning about speaking techniques to being introduced to a speaking coach. To meeting people in the National Speakers Association to on and on and on and on and on.

With that said, this business has been built. I feel like I’m … it’s become sort of an obsession of mine, even in season. It’s kind of giving me new life at a time where I was okay. It wasn’t that I was bored, it wasn’t that I was unhappy. I was lucky enough to love what I did, love what I do. But I think also Phil, there’s sometimes there’s the danger when you’re happy or satisfied of being complacent.

Kansas City Keynote Speakers & Motivational Speeches

Phil Singleton: Right, I was just gonna say that. So take one step back to the new company that you’ve created, that you’re providing services for. The main service you provide is motivational speeches, are there any kind of other services? I wanna make sure that our listeners get that right. What does this business look like in terms of the services that you offer?

Joel Goldberg: Yeah I think the main thing is speeches, and it’s mostly keynote speeches.

Phil Singleton: Keynote speeches.

Joel Goldberg: That’s really where my comfort level is. There have been some workshops and some other activities, but at least for me right now, that sweet spot is the speaking business, and really two speeches. I’m closing in on a third and a fourth.

Phil Singleton: Nice.

Joel Goldberg: But the two, what I’m really focused for now on Kansas City. Just because I think I can provide value to companies all over the country. But the reality of it is, I am, and there’s so much here that has to do with branding. I have a brand as a baseball announcer. I have a brand as the guy that Salvador Perez dumps the Gatorade bucket on and all that stuff.

So I’m trying to take that brand and expand it into someone who can not just come and motivate you, but someone that can come in to teach your employees, or teach the members of your association. Because the one thing that I say is that you don’t have to be a baseball fan or a sports fan to take something out of my speeches, and that is my goal. The same way that when I go on TV, if I’m just gonna go hardcore stats, I’m gonna eliminate a lot of our viewers. If I just go human interest stories and don’t add those stats in, it’ll eliminate other viewers.

So I had to find a way to really pull everyone in. That’s our job, so I try to go about it the same way with the speaking business. Meaning that a lot of former athletes, people on the speaking circuit from the sports world, they can go in there and tell the greatest stories ever. They’re celebrities, and you really don’t have to have a take away. If George Brent or Terry Bradshaw or whoever it might be comes and speaks, they’re gonna make a ton of money by showing up and sharing stories that are gold.

But for me, I don’t think I’m that big of a deal. So I’ve gotta be able to take these stories that I view as a peek behind the curtain. It’s not a tell all. But I’ve been lucky enough for this quarter century to have a shotgun front row seat to teams that have won, lost, everything in between. You look at the Royals, last place to champions. How did they build it, how did they keep it. The highs, the lows and taking these stories and using them as teaching tools for people in business and life.

Storytelling

What I’m finding is, because storytelling … stories are powerful. People remember stories over numbers. People remember stories over pie charts and graphs. That’s important, but I always say when I get to follow the compliance person at a speaking event, I always feel pretty good. Because the compliance, the HR, all that stuff is necessary. You have to do it, but my stuff’s different.

You know what it’s done Phil, it’s given me this new purpose that I can take so many of these things that I can’t necessarily do on TV or I might only have 15 seconds to do on TV, and I can turn them around and spend the better part of an hour with the group really highlighting some of these moments and hopefully opening people’s eyes.

Phil Singleton: Love it. So one of the questions I’ve gathered related to this is, from that standpoint, you’re basically a small business owner, kind of just like the rest of some of us are, right? Of course I know you speak at some of these major top Kansas City companies with lots of employees and stuff like that. But from a business standpoint, in terms of getting new clients for your business. Some of the things you’d already mentioned is how you’re getting new speaking gigs. Part of that is networking, I think you mentioned that. You mentioned you’re active online, on social media. I see you on Linkedin a lot.

I guess one nice thing about also speaking is that kind of leads to other speaking engagements. You do a good job people like the stories that you’re telling, the lessons that you’re teaching and that leads to other things from referrals and that type of thing.

You also have a website right, so you’re kind of like, not only do you have your own social media presences on some of the major social channels. But you’ve actually got kind of a central location for your business online in terms of your own website and you’re kind of marketing that.

Just like to hear a little bit about how that’s working for you, what you’re doing to drive traffic. Other ways that maybe, and let me know if I’m getting this right, other ways that you have tried to generate new business.

Joel Goldberg: Well it’s a good question and I think the first thing I’ll say, ’cause a lot of this is certainly on the website. A lot of this is more your expertise than mine. I’m learning every day, of course we all learn every day, I know that sounds really cliché.

Marketing as an Entrepreneur

Phil Singleton: When you’re doing some of it is common sense. You mentioned you’re going out, you’re having coffee, you’re making it happen. You’re not waiting for the phone to ring. You’re out there actually networking and trying to create these opportunities. I think that’s really just happening because that’s who you are, that’s your nature. It’s like what you said from the beginning. You went out from college and you didn’t wait, sit down and wait for the phone to ring, you went out and made it happen. You had the grit, you made the cold calls, you traveled around the country and finally you got it.

I feel like you’re kind of doing a little bit of that right now. You got this, you got this vision, you got the bug. Now you’re making things happen, like going out and actually meeting with people and being proactive about it. I think that’s a really big lesson to learn for all business owners. ‘Cause so many of us hope for like a magic pill. Throw some money at somebody and hope new business is gonna fall out of the sky.

It really doesn’t happen like that. You have to actually hustle a little bit no matter who you are, especially if you’re gonna start a new business.

Joel Goldberg: Okay, if you have Jeff Bezos type of money or Warren Buffett or name those kind of people, they can make anything happen. Money will buy you if you want. But for the most part for most of us you’re right, there isn’t a magic pill. By the way none of those guys got where they did with the magic pill. All their hard work now enables them to purchase that magic pill if they so choose to. But they also are very astute business people.

But I think it’s a good observation Phil and I appreciate it because it’s weird, I was thinking about this the other day. But when I started this speaking thing two and a half years ago, okay I gotta start networking. I went out immediately, and a good friend and neighbor of mine said you need to meet this guy, he knows everyone. That lead to five more and on and on.

I don’t think I sat there and said okay, I need to do this in the same way that I’ve built my TV career, or started my TV career I should say. It just kind of happened instinctually, which is I think interesting to me. I don’t know how to analyze myself on this one, but I went about it the same way I did when I hit the wall. I didn’t hit a wall on this, but when I had no other chance. My back was against the wall back in 1994, and I just went out there, and I went after it.

So I didn’t go into the speaking thing saying okay, let me go and do this the way I did in ’94, I just started doing it. So you’re right, maybe that’s who I am, and there’s some things you can teach, some things you’re born with, we can debate all that. But I think anyone can do this if they have the desire to do it. I do think that it’s a lot easier to do it when you have a passion for it.

What was interesting to me was as I started this and reading a lot, and all the networking and everybody starting saying the Simon Sinek stuff about finding your why. I didn’t know what my why was. It was almost like you’re not allowed to say the why is for money, you have to have a passion for it. You have to know why you’re doing this. It’s like wait a minute, we all do work to get paid, is that allowed. Am I allowed to talk about that.

The money and the speaking thing potentially is pretty good, and I can control it as a business owner versus signing a contract for TV and this is kind of where you’re at. But along the way I found the why, and I found that I love interacting with people. I love building relationships, I love helping people. I love storytelling and I love opening people’s eyes. Really not all that different than what I was doing when I was seven, eight years old driving those first and second grade teachers nuts. I liked being the one to share that and maybe then it was entertaining. I think now it’s hopefully to help people.

So I guess that’s kind of how everything came about. But I firmly believe that you have to build the relationships in everything. People say to me, when they say to me, hey you’re in the baseball business, you’re in the TV business. I say no I’m not, I love baseball, I’m not in the baseball business, I’m in the people business. I don’t know that I would consider any of the current or former players good friends of mine. But I could rattle off an all star list of guys that if I were to call them or text them right now, and ask for a favor, they would do it.

Because of the relationships and trust that have been built. I’m not doing it, but point being, when I need that interview or I have that big moment, I know that I can rely on these guys. Because, I’ll use a baseball term here, I didn’t steal a base. I went through the whole process. I didn’t try to get to second or third or home before touching first. I think there is a lesson to be learned there. You talk about the magic pill and especially now, as I’m growing all of this and I try to be active on all the social media avenues or platforms.

What I’m finding is, is people try to connect with me on Linkedin and I try to accept everybody because you never know. As I accept them, you start getting some of these messages back. You can see right away it’s sometimes it’s an automated message too, we all get those. It’s like wait a minute, you’re looking for my business and you don’t even know me yet. It’s everything I’m against.

So I’m not asking for everybody that connects with me on Linkedin to try to build a relationship with me. None of us took time for all that. But I’m certainly not gonna do business until we’ve sat down for coffee or gotten to know each other. I think so many people skip that step. I think that’s the one point. Then back to what am I doing. This was another thing that took me a little while to realize, contents’ everything.

So yes, and I have a marketing director that does phenomenal work for me. Basically if you look at my social media, if it looks like something that just was typed out, it was probably me. If it has a nice graphic to it, it was probably her.

Phil Singleton: Right.

Joel Goldberg: She’s very measured with what she does and when she does it. We are at a point now where she is promoting my business and me, which is a little uncomfortable for me. But more than anything, it’s putting out content. Whether it’s sharing quotes or clips from my podcasts or just different things to get people thinking, it doesn’t cost anything.

Just continuing to put out content, building the brand, trying to help people. That doesn’t really cost a lot to do that.

Phil Singleton: Well in a way doing what you are saying that’s been help to get successful your entire career, which is using it in a way with general good content that people are consuming. In a way they’re almost building a relationship with you over the connection, the channels that they’re following you. You’re building that relationship slowly over time ’cause you’re building that trust up and I love that.

Joel Goldberg: That’s right, and again, it doesn’t cost anything. I guess I’m lucky enough that I’m a content person. I also happen to be surrounded by content. But I also think that if we open our eyes, no matter what we do, there’s content around us all the time. There’s stories to be told everywhere. I happen to be lucky enough that I go to work every day of the year for six months a year surrounded by a lot of famous people or people that are less than one percent talent wise. They’re doing something that nobody else could do, that’s really interesting.

But I think everybody has a story to tell, you just have to look for it. You have to ask questions and you have to be willing to share with people and put it in perspective.

Podcasting

Phil Singleton: So that’s a great segue way into one of my recent favorite topics, which is podcasting. You have a podcast, I have a podcast. I think it’s really hot, I think it’s great for all sorts of different reasons. Of course it’s been around since 2005 or before, but it’s really picked up speed in the last three or four years.

Tell us how that came about, what you think about podcasting. If you think it relates to, or can be used by small business owners, other types of business owners. I’d just like to hear what your general thoughts are on podcasting in general.

Joel Goldberg: Yeah, I sort of stumbled into the podcasting in the same backwards accidental way that I did the speaking business. The very short of the story, I mentioned that a friend of mine said to me, hey you can start a speaking business. In the message that I got from him, actually his wife is a speaker. She said, you need to write a book, if you’re gonna be a speaker, you gotta write a book.

You see that in the speaking business, when you have a book you get into more doors. When you have a book you can sell books and you make more money and blah, blah, blah. You’re more credible, and by the way, the whole book thing to me, and the podcasting for that matter too is a little bit silly from this standpoint.

It just means you’ve written a book, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a great speaker. It doesn’t necessarily mean okay, I won an Emmy. I put that in there because, in the bio, because that’s the one that always gets an ooh and an ahhh from the crowd. But you know that’s like winning a Grammy or whatever. It’s a voting thing. I’m not saying I didn’t deserve it, but there’re years where I think I deserved one and I didn’t get it and other years where maybe-

Phil Singleton: In all fairness I think to the rest of us, you have a platform. Most people I think that go out and try to create speaking gigs or get booked on any type of a gig really, they almost need to have something like a book to establish themselves. You don’t because you’ve already got an audience, you’ve already been on the air. You’re a TV host, you won an Emmy.

You could make an argument that you wouldn’t necessarily need that, but if you didn’t have that platform, you might need something like a podcast or a book or something to help you establish yourself as an expert where you have all this kind of stuff. I think it’s a little bit different, but-

Joel Goldberg: I agree, and so I fully get that. So I’m fortunate enough, and not apologizing for it. It’s all the sacrifice and all the years put in and all the content and everything I’ve learned. That now I can show up really well in a speech and podcast and all that.

But back to the whole podcast question, this person said you need to write a book. I met with an author, and really two years ago the thought was daunting. Like how the heck, I don’t know the first thing, what am I doing. She said to me you know what, I don’t think you should write a book, which I appreciated. Because I’m sure she could have potentially made some money by helping me write a book.

She said do a podcast instead. I said why, she said well one, you’re a broadcaster, it’s in your wheelhouse. So I said okay. Two she said it’s an opportunity to meet people and network. Three it’s new content material that could at some point go into a book and fourth, it’s a great way to create a brand.

When she said that, I said well what should I podcast about. She said you figure that out. The one thing I knew was, I don’t wanna do a baseball podcast. I still to this point have friends and people say, hey you should do a season preview, you should talk to … get an athlete on there. I will say this, I could increase my listenership by huge numbers by just doing a Royals podcast. But it doesn’t interest me. I already have that brand, I’m not trying to grow that brand. I’m not trying to stunt it, but I had that exposure that you talked about already on TV.

People see too much of me already and I say that in a self-deprecating way. But I’m hosting 300 shows a summer. I just need to keep doing that job well.

Phil Singleton: I absolutely love it because the podcast that I have called, Local Business Leaders. I could have named it WordPress Website Development Guru, this or that or Kansas City SEO Expert Guy this and that. But no, I wanted to name something kind of like what you’re going after, which is how do we build our network to reach another kind of audience, a new audience. How do we get maybe something that’s more appealing to elevate the type of people I wanna interview. It sounds exactly like where you’re going right. You didn’t just say hey I’m gonna-

Joel Goldberg: That’s exactly it.

Phil Singleton: I love it, I absolutely love it.

Joel Goldberg: Yeah and then it’s just telling stories. I’m not … don’t get me wrong, I have … one of my guests was the new now, it’s been less than two years now. But CEO of H&R Block, I had the mayor of Kansas City, Sly James. I had the CEO of Garmin, those are big name companies and I’ll never say no to those. But at the same time, I’m really interested in telling the story of the start-up entrepreneur who maybe is going to bed tonight worried about financing and making it work and is this gonna work, or is he gonna have to look for something else or she, and telling those stories.

In turn we talk about value of hoping that people that are listening to them, and there’s a library full of them.

Phil Singleton: Tell me, do you think that’s helping your business. I don’t know what episode you’re on right now, but you’ve done dozens of them  Has it lead to new clients, new inquiries, how does it workout that way?

Joel Goldberg: I think it has and maybe I’m not smart enough yet to measure it. One of the things I think with entrepreneurs or certainly people going into a new business and when you’re doing it yourself. It’s the whole scaling issue of what comes first. There’s something and then the investor invest and hope you achieve. So I’m dealing with all that like a lot of people do.

So there’s a lot that I’m still trying to figure out. But what I know is this. I’m getting more buzz, I’m having more people on a regular basis say to me hey, I got a good guest for your. That’s something that wasn’t happening before. I don’t even know if it’s showing up necessarily in the numbers yet. But again this gets back to just trusting this process, it’s very much like building relationships.

Once I got past over obsessing, well I don’t think I was over obsessing, but I would wanna look at those numbers every single week. I was doing it bi-weekly, now it’s weekly, and see how many people are listening to it. I just stopped worrying about that and just keep going out there and more content, more people.

Phil Singleton: It’s like you said earlier, the relationship building. You got a platform now, people know you that want to be interviewed and want to be on your show. Even like this, we’re now talking to each other 20, 30, 40 minutes for a podcast episode. It’s almost like a little bit of relationship starts to build from the nature of podcasting. You’ve already done that with some really heavy hitters in the business world in Kansas City because you have that platform.

I think that’s one of the things people overlook. A guy by the name of Steven Woessler, he’s a marketing guy from one of my earlier episodes. Man people just don’t realize how podcasts, especially the interview format. It’s like the ultimate sales Trojan horse. You get in there, you build up a relationship, you’re doing something for somebody that elevates who they are, their expertise. The relationship actually develops over the interview itself.

That’s one of the reasons it’s happened in the sports world for you. The guys know you because you interviewed them. Then all of a sudden it’s like, you got that, and the same things can happen at the business level. Which I think can apply to all sorts of businesses.

Joel Goldberg: It just grows and it multiplies. It’s one of the reasons why I go, and I trust my network. My network started with one or two, it’s hundreds of people now. It’s started to grow beyond Kansas City. When someone that I trust from in my network says hey you should go for coffee or meet this person. I don’t say why or what am I gonna get out of it. I went to lunch with someone today at the recommendation of someone in my network.

Little did I know we were gonna end up sitting down talking about possibly writing a book together. So you don’t know where the stuff is gonna lead. But I’m looking sitting here in my office, or like you said before we got on the bat cave. It’s a little small for a bat cave. But I’m looking my dry erase board or white board, and when I started this podcast I did every other week because I was worried about, and I think all podcast hosts should be worried about this. I was worried about the regularity of it.

So I know over the years I’ve tried blogging here and there and things like that. I might do one, I might do two and I’m all fired up about it. Then I don’t do one for three months. It’s like who the heck is gonna read or pay attention to something that irregular. So the advice I had from a good friend of mine was, whatever you schedule to be, you have to stick to it. Not just for the listeners, but for the algorithms and all that.

So I thought baseball, I’m gonna go bi-weekly. Well there were stretches. The podcast started in November of 2017. So there were stretches where this podcast, which by the way is called Rounding the Bases, was … I get down there the day before I had to release one and I didn’t have a guest. I thought, I guess if I just wait for the weekend it won’t be two weeks, it’ll be 16 days, that’s fine.

I’m looking at my dry erase board right now, and having switched to weekly guests about a month ago, I’ve got the next eight weeks set, like they’re already recorded. So that’s a product of what you’re talking about and seeing the results to me. I didn’t have to search for those, they just keep coming to me.

So that to me is a sign, a little bit of the branding. When you start seeing and getting traction, again Phil I would say, we’re all guilty of this because we live in a world where you keeps score. I work in a profession covering a sort where somebody wins or loses based on the score. We are since the time we are kids report cards, job reviews, on and on. We keep score and we can get so focused on those numbers understandably. It’s how we get paid, it’s how we succeed that sometimes we forget about the process.

Joel Goldberg’s Kansas City Favorites

Phil Singleton: Such great insight and we could go on and on. But what I wanna do toward the bottom of this interview now is just get into stuff that you love about Kansas City. What you like about living here, kind of some of you’re go to places in terms of maybe you and your family or like where you guys go to eat. Whatever, whatever it is, give us some Joel Goldberg favorites.

Joel Goldberg: Yeah, there’s so much. Mostly I hate and love the barbecue question because one, you’re gonna get yourself in trouble. But to me it depends on what kind of mood we’re in. So if we want the nice sit down, =we love Joes. But we also love, wife and two kids, we love just trying to find some of the outskirts of town Mom and Pop type of places too. Just to try to those out. So those are all-

Phil Singleton: Anything come to mind? I’ve got one client, that’s all he does man. He just goes and finds the hole in the wall, family owned types of things and really tries to stay way from them, somewhat like the commercial places.

Joel Goldberg: I remember locations, I don’t always remember names. So there’s a place, and I’m in Johnson County, but there’s a place out in Leavenworth, I can’t remember the name of it, but that’s really good, we’ve gone there a couple of times.

Phil Singleton: What kind of food is it?

Joel Goldberg: It’s a barbecue place.

Phil Singleton: All right, sweet.

Joel Goldberg: A barbecue place, you can never do too much barbecue. I know that’s such a Kansas City thing to say. The flip side of that is, I can’t tell you how many times we were on the road for baseball and you got press box dining for broadcasters, writers. One night of every series on the road, they always do barbecue, as a homage to Kansas City. I’m like no offense, but-

Phil Singleton: Not necessary.

Joel Goldberg: It’s not necessary, you’re not gonna do it like we do it. So that’s certainly something. Other restaurants, there are so many. But we love-

Phil Singleton: There’s no Goldberg family go tos, it’s just oh, there’s no where else to go to.

Joel Goldberg: This is going to be a little gratuitous, not gratuitous but they named a sandwich after me at-

Phil Singleton: ‘Cause you went there so much?

Joel Goldberg: No and they started at Broadway Deli in the Crossroads, 20th and … I should know this because I think I’m-

Phil Singleton: You have a sandwich named after you…

Joel Goldberg: They said there’s the Joe Goldberg and it’s half corned beef, half pastrami. You can’t go wrong with that. So that’s really good. One of my favorites is Blue Koi-

Phil Singleton: Yeah, that’s there in Leawood.

Joel Goldberg: Which is phenomenal. But if you ask my kids, they’re like any other teenagers. They wanna go to Chick-Fil-A and Kings and wherever they can get chicken tenders and that type of garbage. So that’s it, but the only thing that we really love to do, just to get out of the surburban bubble, we go downtown as often as we can. Whether it be my wife and I, or whether it be with us and the kids and just go try new places in the city and just go explore.

Phil Singleton: That’s awesome.

Joel Goldberg: This city has so much to offer. There a lot of people that’ll go down there if they’re not living there. There are a lot of people in the suburbs that never leave the suburbs. That’s true in most cities, but there’s so much going on here. Whether it’s a first Friday or just really any night of the week there’s always something going on.

Phil Singleton: That’s a good measure for everybody. I mean my job takes me up a lot and it’s just so much. If you stay in your suburban bubble and you don’t pay attention to what’s going on, then you lose what’s all the cool things that are happening and new places that are going up. The new kind of generation of people that are creating new restaurants and stuff.

Joel Goldberg: Yeah, I think like all the influence of the millennials and the amount of people moving to town and all the tech industry and upgrading that’s going well, it’s a benefit to everybody, because you see all the places popping up. I’m too old to go clubbing and all that kind of stuff. But there’s so many great spots for live music, and food and drink and festivals. It feels like its growing by the day. I wanna be able to check all that stuff out.

Phil Singleton: Love it, well Joel, we’re at the end of the interview here. What I wanted to ask is where … mention the name of your podcast again so I wanna make sure we get links to it, and then where else people can follow you online. What social media channels you are most active on. I wanna make sure those is all those on the shoe notes when we promote the show.

Joel Goldberg: Well Twitters’ always been the big one. That’s gonna be my more of the baseball types of updates, goldbergkc. Instagram is really what I’m trying to grow right now which is not easy to grow as Twitter, I’m learning. But just trying to get some of that cool content pictures things like. That’s Joelgoldbergkc, that’s Instagram. I’m on Linked in and I’ve got a Facebook business page, fan page, whatever you wanna call it.

The website is JoelGoldbergmedia.com. The podcast, which can be found anywhere you find your podcast is Rounding the Bases with Joel Goldberg and just having fun doing it.

Phil Singleton: Thanks so much for coming on the Local Business Leaders podcast today Joel. It was so awesome to get some of your insight and listen to your story. I wanna make sure that we have all those show notes up on the page with links to your social medial channel and your podcast as well.

I just wanna thank you one more time for sharing your story with our audience.

Joel Goldberg: I appreciate it, thanks for helping me out Phil.

Redefining Success: The Million-Dollar One-Person Business

Elaine Pofeldt is a freelance writer, editor, and ghost writer who has recently worked with publications including The Economist, Fortune, Money, Inc., CNBC, Crain’s New York Business, Forbes, and many others. Entrepreneurship, small business, and careers are her specialties. She is also the author of a new book, which we’re going to talk about today, The Million-Dollar One-Person Business.

She helps corporate, non-profit, and private clients write and edit proposals, newsletters, blogs, RFPs, reports, white papers, academic articles, and books. Elaine also helps her online editorial clients create inviting high-traffic websites, drawing on her experience on excuse me, Fsb.com to five million page views a month and the number two site in Google after the USSBA. She founded and ran a national businessman competition for fortune, small business and now advises clients on creating and improving contest on their own. She experienced appearing as a guest on TV outlets such as MSNBC and CNN.

You can connect with Elaine and learn more about her and her awesome book here:

 

Meet Elaine Pofeldt

Phil Singleton: Hi Elaine and welcome to the show.

Elaine Pofeldt: Thank you so much Phil great to be here.

Phil Singleton: Alright this is going to be really exciting because as we were talking in th green room so to speak, before we started recording, Elaine wrote one of my favorite books of last year, million dollar one person business book reviewprobably going to be of all time called The Million-Dollar One-Person Business. So as I was explaining to her when we first connected this morning, I think it’s one of the most awesome book titles that I’ve ever heard of and it’s one that’s inspired me I think the first time in my life to buy a book within seconds of actually hearing the title.

So I can’t wait to actually dig into this because as an agency owner and somebody who aspires for this kind of business model I really thought this was exciting and I love the content of the book. But before we actually dive into that I would just like to hear Elaine about your background and those first steps out of school or what have you that got you into the business role.

Elaine Pofeldt: Oh, sure Phil. Well I came into the business world by accident. I started out as a general assignment reporter after I graduated from college. I was an English major and I worked in Jersey City in Patterson, New Jersey for small newspapers covering police stories, city hall that type of thing. Then after about seven years of that I started to feel a little burned out by all the bad news. So I wanted to do something light and fun and I got a job as a fashion features editor at Women’s Wear Daily.

It couldn’t be much more different than my beat of covering the Hudson County Jail. But it was fun and it introduced me to the business world. I found that I really liked learning about the business side of the fashion businesses even more than covering a runway show. So I wound up going in that direction and I had the opportunity to go to Success Magazine which covers entrepreneurship and then I went from there to fortune small business online which is what you were referring to FSB.com and then I went over to fortune small business magazine for a while. Then they brought me back to the website to help build the traffic some more.

Elaine Pofeldt: Then 11 years ago I went freelance, so now I’ve written for a variety of business publications all in that area of entrepreneurship and careers.

Phil Singleton: Excellent. Thank you for giving us that background and it sounds like at one point whatever that was 11 or 12 years ago you went into the business side of covering stories and content and have never gone back.

Elaine Pofeldt: Oh, absolutely. Well the coverage at fortune small business was very much focused on the business side and even some of the stuff I did at Women’s Wear Daily was and Success Magazine of course was also I formed my own business 11 years ago. So I now have the understanding of what it takes to stay in business for a pretty long time and you manage cash flow and all the nitty gritty aspects of running a business that you learn on the job when you start your own business.

Phil Singleton: The one thing I’m going to ask, I want to dig into the book here really in a couple minutes. But since we already started talking about this a little bit you’ve been writing, you’ve been a journalist you’ve been a writer for some time. The Internet’s changed a lot. I’m assuming some of the things when you first got into the writing world so to speak maybe a little bit more emphasis on print publications and then maybe that shifted some. Can you talk a little bit about how that changed for you personally in the way you write and where it gets published and distributed.

Elaine Pofeldt: Oh, its changed completely Phil. You’re completely right about that. The whole journalism industry has been disrupted. It’s had good and bad changes I would say. I came up in a system that was print oriented and there was a level of rigor to journalism that I think a lot of younger journalists had not experienced. I’ll give you an example. If I wrote a story for fortune small business there might be a line editor that would edit it. A top editor of the magazine and three copy editors before it ever went out to the public and so you have a lot of great training that came with the job. Now what’s happened a lot is papers are basically gone. A lot of stuff has shifted online. But with that shift it doesn’t seem like the industry has been able to really find a good profit model. So where I think a lot of publications have gone is to go ultra lean in terms of staffing.

Elaine Pofeldt: So there are times when I’m publishing things where maybe there’s an editor somewhere in the organization who’s looking at it just to make sure there’s nothing glaring, but I don’t have any contact with that editor on a daily basis. So it’s very much you’re sort of out there winging it and you do your best. Luckily I do have very good training and I know how to do things. But that’s what’s evolved so you have to bring that quality control to your own business and do the fact checking even if they don’t ask you to do it and that sort of thing. Sometimes I have sources who laugh and say I’m the only person who ever contacts them with fact checks and I think that’s probably because there are not that many internships anymore. There are very few staff jobs anymore and there are few opportunities for young journalists who are entering the field now to really learn how to do things in that way. Fortunately there are still a lot of very experienced people doing it so they bring that training to the work.

Elaine Pofeldt: In terms of where I get published it’s definitely much more online these days. In the last year or two you’re on the cutting edge Phil of a big trend which is podcasting which has been a wonderful trend because it’s brought a lot of news waste to the whole discussion of whatever topic it is, in this case entrepreneurship. I find that a lot of the hosts of business podcasts are business people like yourself and they ask very, very smart questions. So I really enjoyed seeing that. Now on one hand maybe if a radio veteran listens to them there might be some things that they look at that they would do differently because they have a certain training. Similar to how I feel with written journalism. But from my point of view as somebody who is part of this whole dialect I’m so excited to see all of these new voices and some of them maybe would have not had the inroad to the media. It’s very much a who you know business that goes way back to your early career and it can be hard to break into. So it’s nice that people can just break in if they have something to say and they can build an audience, I love it.

Phil Singleton: Totally fascinating and as you’re talking I want to get right to the book as soon as we can but I have another question I just have to ask you because of your background and how you’ve seen this shift online and the way that you’re explaining how things have changed being published today. It also makes me think of somebody who for myself often times we’re trying to do for our clients is almost treat their websites as a marketing and a publishing platform. So some of the things that I’m doing writing my own books now, I’m publishing. I’ve got a podcast for many of the reasons you explained.

Phil Singleton: But I actually started to produce our own local magazine. So but one of the things I’ve noticed as looking at content as a publishing platform is how tricky it is for some of these online media sites or online publications where you’ve got this gray area. I don’t know what you want to call it. I’d love to hear your take on this where and I’ve seen this, I’ve been reading about it a little bit more as I get into this publishing model about native content. You had the print model before. There was so much checking, so many tiers as you were mentioning before and it was physically separate. But you know now when we publish things online you’re part of a whole system of things. There’s online ads, there’s people commenting. There’s things being advertised within editorial content. There’s people trying to get an SEO or a Google advantage and get links and stuff. So it’s so much more complex just I think in the way things are presented and distributed in the type of technology that’s embedded in new content, versus the simple way of there was literally a physical firewall on content.

Elaine Pofeldt: Oh, yeah.

Phil Singleton: In a newspaper or magazine. So can you comment on that kind of stuff because this is where it really fascinates me the things I’ve never really thought about before because I’m coming at this as an SEO person and here now I’m trying to play with my own almost media publishing platform. I’m seeing this myself and it’s really making me think, wow I can see how people struggle a little bit with the advertising model because it does get a little bit tricky.

Elaine Pofeldt: Oh, it does. Well when I see the publications doing is they’ll clearly label it. I’m talking about bigger publications they label it when it’s advertising. I write some content and what I notice is they label it. It’ll say this is our custom content and a lot of them have gotten very sophisticated about it so they won’t just publish anything like the old editorials of the past. Just aren’t done where it was a pay to play kind of thing. It’s very much when I do it I have a lot of discretion as to who to interview. There are people in the stories that did not pay anybody at the magazine. The publication for an ad that they don’t discuss that with me if an ad was purchased or not. They want me to go ahead and do the best possible story because what the advertisers are realizing is no one wants to read some hokey ad you know? They will read a good article that’s topical and related to what the advertiser is in the middle of doing. So maybe somebody might buy an ad. There still are some print publications.

Elaine Pofeldt: The way I see this done is they’ll buy a full page ad somewhere in the publication and then that supports a section on a certain topic, let’s say it was accounting and then as the writer I’ll be asked to submit story ideas about accounting, similar to being a journalist. It’s almost exactly the same. Then go out and report it. It supports the section itself but there’s nobody leaning on and you saying you have to say this.

Phil Singleton: I mean that’s great to know at least from the bigger and more popular ones and of course they’ve got the reputations and things. But you do see I mean gosh some of these ones that offer a sponsor are clearly marked. I think some of these smart advertisers that are doing it, they’re not producing the good ones anyway. Aren’t producing advert tutorial type content. It’s actually they’re getting it…if the sponsor post even it’s not written by a journalist. It’s provided and information provided by a company. It’s almost like the really good ones are truly trying to provide really good educational content that has value versus something that’s so promotional.

Elaine Pofeldt: Yeah you’re right.

Phil Singleton: Some of those look like they’re so good and then sometimes they’re so good it’s almost like wow is this editorial content or did somebody pay for that? So I pay attention to it a lot more. It’s great to get your insight.

Elaine Pofeldt: Well it’s interesting that you raise that as far as the commentary and that sort of thing. What I found is for awhile a lot of publications were so happy to get the content that they had pretty relaxed standards and then what happened I guess it was the beginning of 2018 when the Huffington Post kicked all the contributors off the site. It seemed like that touched off a wave of scrutiny where I saw a lot of the publications were cracking down on ad content basically. It wasn’t necessarily to “advertisingy” it was more just boring.
Phil Singleton: Lower quality stuff.

Elaine Pofeldt: Yeah, not true thought leadership and they really raised the bar in terms of thought leadership and I do some editorial work for people who have been trying to get published and they don’t understand why the publication won’t take it. Now I was a senior editor so I worked with some of the toughest editors in business trials so I know why the editors are taking something or not taking it. I can give them some guidance. Now some people don’t want to take that guidance. They just want to say whatever they think is interesting without regard to that feedback. But a lot of people say oh, you know what I just don’t know this field so thank you so much for that feedback and they will adapt their content to make it readable. That’s why it’s so similar to what you see on the journalism side because it has to be. They don’t want to junk up their sites with poor content.

Elaine Pofeldt: Now with smaller publications sometimes they have less sophistication. Not always there are some excellent very small publications. But. We see that very, very blurry line it’s usually going to be the smaller ones that maybe don’t have an experienced staff or don’t have the budget to bring that rigor to the whole process, similar to on the editorial side.

Phil Singleton: Interesting. That does sound like you mentioned, I mean the Huffington Post thing it seems like a lot of these larger online media sites really did look at their contributor platform and like you say some of them shut things down completely and redid them. Looked at them with new eyes and then changed and it sounds like it went through almost like a quality upevil and kind of got focus back on the basics and now we’re all getting a lot better quality from the sites. There was great stuff on Huffington Post that got passed around and I’m sure there were probably some diamonds in the rough that came from little known people that once in awhile got something that went viral. But it got really spammy. So I’m being more harsh. You’re being nice about it, but some of these things really got spammy. A few of them got called out probably from people trying to abuse it from a Google standpoint and it just gets stuff in there for either exposure or traffic or back links and then that got really cleaned up which was good because on some of these sites I think it was really starting to become a problem and people are putting content up for the wrong reasons and it dilutes everything.

Elaine Pofeldt: Well you’re a professional too in the field so I can look at things too and I can see when something is put up for that reason. It junks up the whole site. In terms of protecting their brand I think a lot of the publication said we really don’t have enough of a team to police this to the level we need to so it’s easier just to get everybody off the platform and only have paid contributors. It kind of went full circle in a way.

Phil Singleton: Right I’m so happy it did because it got a little crazy for a few years there and it really cleaned up. Thank you for your perspective on that I really want to get to the content and the topic that really excited to reach out and so happy to have you on to discuss it today which is your book. I thought, the first thing I said like I mentioned at the top and then earlier is the title is just so awesome. Probably personally the best book title I’ve ever seen from a business standpoint because it probably just spoke to me and how I’ve always wanted to run my business, what I’ve aspired to. One of the other things I just personally see in terms of technology and maybe some of the agency and digital type businesses that are run because a lot of things we’ve seen I want to give you a little bit of a preface about why I think your book is important to me and how it resonated with me and kind of dig into some of the things that you wrote about and why you wrote about them.

Revenues, Employee Counts & Venture Capital Do Not Equal Success

Phil Singleton: But, one of the things I see personally is all of us that are in business these days are trying to figure out ways to elevate our authority and trust and expertise and get that out there. One of the things a lot of businesses do especially startups but agencies and other digital types of companies as well is trying to put stats out there which are a lot of times they are related to things that I think don’t necessarily relate to true business success. So, let me give you an example of that. You hear a lot of times people here in my town other places that explain to you they’re being really successful because the number of people they’re hiring. Or because they’re revenue is X amount. But at the end of the day it really relates to the way businesses today are and how profitable are you or how much of that revenue are you bringing in that actually you get to take home.

Elaine Pofeldt: Exactly, yeah.

Phil Singleton: Right? A person or agency that makes a million or two million dollars a year but the owner’s only bringing down 100,000 dollars net is a lot different than a mutual person that we know Chris Parker he’s got a whole website business where he brings in around a million dollars a year and it’s just him and his wife. So obviously his take home is huge. Big difference in lifestyle and these kind of things and I think your book speaks a lot to that kind of a new lean business that’s highly mobile and allows you to live a lifestyle and go out while still bringing in large revenues and being able to take home a lot of it. To me that’s what really excites me about business in general ’cause I know there’s a lot of agencies out there that’ll say oh, we do three million dollars in sales but we’ve got 100 employees. Well, you’re struggling. I know I’ve seen this happen all the time in my town and other ones where you start building up the beast, the number sounds really good but then it gets really tough and it gets to be a lot of heartaches in there sometimes.

The average small business in the United States their leading income is less than 50,000 dollars.

Elaine Pofeldt: Well I’m glad you brought that up. I’m sorry.

Phil Singleton: Sorry?

Elaine Pofeldt: That’s such an important topic and I’m really glad you brought that up because with the title sometimes people say why did you focus on revenue and the reason I did was because when you look at the average small business in the United States their leading income is less than 50,000 dollars. So they don’t even have the revenue to be making much of a profit or to live on honestly depending on where you live in the country. I mean there are lower cost places where 50,000 dollars goes a lot longer way than it would say in Manhattan, New York. But I want to get people thinking more about moving the needle on the revenue but you also do have to move it profitably and that can take some figuring out. That’s why there’s so many case studies in the book because there’s not really a cookie cutter as you know because you run a business and I know the same thing. You have to experiment. What worked one year doesn’t work quite as well the next year because something changes with technology in your field or whatever it may be. Something comes more labor intensive, less labor intensive. So it’s a constantly changing thing.

Elaine Pofeldt: But what you take home is important as far as profits too. There’s a point where you get to where the business can be so profitable that you could be paying out so much in taxes that it’s hard to regress. So sometimes what business owners do is make a decision to actually try to lower the profits a little bit so they’re not paying so much in taxes by reinvesting the business or maybe they have a spouse who is helping out with the bookkeeping but they’re not paying that person so they might hire the spouse and then put the money that the spouse earns into a solo 401k or something like that. Rather an IRA I should say. So sometimes you have to look at those types of things too because it’s complicated the whole thing with profit. What people have on paper isn’t necessarily what they’re really capable of bringing home in the business. They may be in a high tax state and make certain decisions that would actually depress the profits because they almost have to as a matter of survival.

Phil Singleton: Excellent. Let’s take a couple of steps back though in terms of what motivated you to write on this topic? I mean obviously you come from business we talked about your journey as a journalist. But this particular topic I mean how did it, why is it exciting to you? Why is it important and how did it come about?

Elaine Pofeldt: I write a blog for Forbes and I was down to my last couple of days of the month, I write five posts a month and I ran out of ideas so I started Googling for inspiration and I came across some statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau for the non employer business. Now that’s a wonky term for businesses that have no W-2 employees. So the owners might work there but no one else. So it could be one person, generally it is one person. Sometimes it might be a couple of spouses. Friends, that sort of business. Anyway I noticed that the numbers of those that were bringing in between one and 2.49 million were going up and they rose 35 percent as of between 2011 and 2016. That was the most recent year we had the census data for and I thought that was pretty interesting. I got very curious about what they were doing and I started looking at the census data and I was able to see which industries they were in.

Elaine Pofeldt: So I published a post about this and then people said well we need to know a little more about this. I need to start a million dollar one person business. Are they doing E-commerce what are they selling and I couldn’t find this out from the census bureau because they won’t give you that type of personal information about the people who fill out the form. So I wrote to the readers and I said if you’re one of these businesses please write to me and tell me what you’re doing because people are curious. So they wrote and I wrote this post about five of them and went very viral. It was I think 340,000 page views now.

Although their numbers are going up  (one-person business millionaires) they’re still a needle in a haystack.

Phil Singleton: Nice.

Elaine Pofeldt: It touched off a whole series of profiles as I found out about these folks. Although their numbers are going up they’re still a needle in a haystack. There’s about 36,000 of them in the whole country out of maybe 25 million non employer businesses. So these are the Olympic athletes-

Phil Singleton: Unicorns, yeah.

Elaine Pofeldt: Yeah. So there are people who just don’t want people to know what revenue they get. They don’t want to go public with that for privacy reasons. All various concerns they might have. So you can’t always get them to do an interview. But the ones that would do an interview I profiled and then over time an agent noticed these and said this would be a great book and it was kind of in the back of my mind that in these posts it was hard to bring them altogether and because I was the only person writing these types of profiles I had some observations about what they had in common that I could share at a high level and go a little deeper into the profiles than you would with a blog post. So that was how the book came about and it came out last January.

Phil Singleton: It’s so awesome too. I remember when I got it, got on Amazon came the next day or whatever it is. I basically tore through it. I started actually reading it again around just slower this time. I didn’t bring it to the recording studio here. It’s sitting on my nightstand still. I’m halfway through it, the slow read. I know we talked about some of the people that you profiled and at least in general. I know there’s towards the beginning I think there’s a couple but there’s at least one E-commerce one in there for sure. You explained some of the backgrounds on some of them an overview. I obviously want get people to… I think everybody should buy the book and read it especially if you’re… I think this is the dream of a lot of people these days is to have something, a lean company that can run from home, home part time and be able to do things to where you can have the freedom to have a lifestyle and actually be able to experience life to the extent that you can.

Phil Singleton: I know that all the people in the book are like that, it’s like a child and they’re doing it 24/7 and even if they are or claim they have a lifestyle they are probably working a lot harder sometimes on the book than they are playing. But I still like our audience to hear a little bit more about the diversity or the types of businesses that were in there.

Types Of One-Person Millionaire Business Owners

Elaine Pofeldt: Oh sure Phil. Well there are six main categories I focused on and just for a little background there are some categories where people tend to go over five million. But I did not focus on those because they’re still niche and require very specific talents and skills. One of them is finance, so they’re hedge fund managers. I didn’t do that because how many people can become a hedge fund manager. That’s very sophisticated skill. Then there are people like actors, actresses people with very unique talents. I guess we could all go to acting school but we might not make five million dollars a year as an actor. So I eliminated those and I focused on the ones that I felt were most relevant to the general worker out there. So the categories were E-commerce and I’ll give you some specific people after I run through this quick list.

Elaine Pofeldt: Manufacturing which sounds really odd for a one person business but it’s actually growing. Informational content creation, so that would be things like people who have webinars. It could be people have a teachable course any kind of informational product. There’s professional services so this could be attorneys, accountants, engineers, architects who can command high prices basically for what they do, they’re that good. Personal services firms, so this could be people like fitness coaches, nutritionists. Often these types of folks will have contractors working under them. They have a methodology that they teach and then they train other people to use it. I had one person who was an eyebrow stylist who trained other eyebrow stylists to use his method in the book. So it could be something like that.

Cory Binsfield – Real Estate

Elaine Pofeldt: Then there’s real estate. There is one entrepreneur I profiled Cory Binsfield who started out buying a single duplex. He was a financial planner but he was just getting his business off the ground. Reinvested the money from that duplex, the rent money into the next property and now 20 years later he’s got 116 properties, or he did as of the time in the book. He’s probably up to like 120 by now is my guess and may throw off one million dollars in revenue. That’s something that’s accessible to all. So I’ll give you a few examples.

Camille and Ben Arneberg – eCommerce

Elaine Pofeldt: In terms of eCommerce there are Camille and Ben Arneberg they started a business called Willow & Everett it’s an Amazon store and they sell housewares and they’re a young couple. They had recently gotten married. He was in the military and she worked in corporate social sustainability but she felt like she was not really a corporate person even though she cared about social sustainability. So they wanted to create a business they could do together. What they did first was they’re both very athletic. She’s also a personal trainer. They said let’s do something related to our shared interest in running. So they started selling running compression sleeves and they decided after a short time it wasn’t really selling what they’re inventory was. So they decided to change gears, they thought about their other interests and they like to entertain people and buy cool coffee mugs and wine decanters and that sort of thing.

So they ordered I think it was like six or seven products from a private label manufacturer in India and put them up on Amazon. They had about a 5,000 dollar budget and they had saved while they were working and they rationalized that a college course would cost that much. So they were going to view this almost as a college course, even if they lost every single dollar they would have learned something, they were committed to being entrepreneurs and once they put them up there they did a horse race. Some of them didn’t sell as well as others so they discounted the ones that did not sell and reinvested that money into the inventory that was selling and ordered more. That was how they built that business. Now they’ve expanded to several other businesses. They’re selling baby products on one site and pet products on another one. They just sold a business. They kick started that business with another couple.

EThey sold maps for people who use standup desks so they don’t get blood clots by failing to shift and that one was just acquired by somebody Richard Jailichandra who was the Chairman of Click Bank, a giant marketplace for informational products. He’s trying to acquire about 100 million dollar one person businesses actually. So they were acquired by him. So that’s one example.

Megan Telpner – Professional / Personal Services

Another example is Megan Telpner she’s a nutritionist. She was working in advertising in her 20s went on a trip to Africa, got very sick. She was diagnosed with Crones Disease and she didn’t like the treatments that were being given to people with Crones disease and she wanted to heal herself with health and wellness and nutrition. She went back to school, became a nutritionist and stopped working in advertising altogether and she started blogging about her views on nutrition which had a very strong point of view that not everybody cared about the role of nutrition and healing and over four years she was on a panel like this. She blogged every single day and built up a following, very gradually through hard work. These are not overnight success stories.

They started selling a product called the three day green smoothie fast and this was 11 years ago so it was a pdf file basically. She sold it to her email list but her email list was not an email list in a CRM system it was just the people in her email. So this 10 dollar product she saw people bought it so she sold it to some more people. This led to other products like courses, eventually and then she started something called the academy of culinary nutrition where she trains people in her entire system of cooking. Along the way she wrote two cookbooks for Random House called the undiet, easy ways to cook nutritious foods. So that was how she built her business. Now she’s also gotten into coaching other people in their businesses, people like nutritionists who are trying to build their business. So she’s an example of professional service, personal services. But it’s a hybrid because she’s selling informational products.

Rebecca Krones &  Luis Zevallos – Manufacturing

Elaine Pofeldt: We say informational products people think it’s going to be a webinar that then tries to sell you some other thing and what I found with the ones that have sustainable business it’s a real value in terms of what they sell. She has a big following among nutritionists and they really trust her as far as what she’s teaching about nutrition. So I think that’s really important is a real value there. Then another example would be Rebecca Krones and her husband Luis Zevallos, they are in food manufacturing. They sell honey online and they’re doing what a lot of people are doing with manufacturing which is using a co packer. They had the good fortune in that her father is a beekeeper and he sells the bees to commercial farms but he wasn’t doing anything with the honey and she did some research and she found that a lot of people were worried about the origins of their honey at one point there was a scare that adult aerated honey was on the market. It has bad things in it and so she knew where the honey came from and so they put up a site for tropical trader factory foods and they didn’t want the responsibility of bottling up the honey and putting the labels on.

Elaine Pofeldt: So they hired a firm called a co packer that does all of that so that it can be sold commercially. There was another woman I came across after I wrote the book who her product is called Booby Bars it’s a nutrition bar for new moms to keep up their energy level and produce milk for their babies. She was a neonatal intensive care nurse. No business experience whatsoever. She was a mother of three, she was running this volunteer group helping the moms and she started baking these bars for the women and they were so popular that the women started offering to pay her because she was making them in such a large volume. You know how people always say you should turn that into a business. This is really one place where she did and she went to a co packer because as you scale up you really can’t make the stuff in your kitchen because of food safety rules.

Elaine Pofeldt: She was able to get the product into Walmart. (Laughs).

Phil Singleton: There it is, there’s your big break.

Elaine Pofeldt: And she told yeah, you’re a marketer and branding guy. She was worried about the name that Walmart would find it too direct but she said they didn’t even bat an eye. They were fine with it and she went on Shark Tank and she’s done really great with the business. So there are a lot of ways you can do these things.

The Millionaire Next Door

Phil Singleton: Yeah so fascinating the diversity and like you say that’s my favorite thing about the book is it’s in some ways one of my very favorite books but before yours is on the list now too is The Millionaire Next Door.

Elaine Pofeldt: I love that book.

Phil Singleton: You know about how the things that you perceive them to be aren’t and how people live high consumption of lifestyles. Some of that I felt some of that, I don’t know if you intended it, but I feel like when I read some of the stories and the way people are they’re hardworking people that are just trying to go after passions and then they’ve got experience and all this kind of thing for people trust them and they’re just working hard. They’re probably also a lot of them are probably just inherently smart people and maybe low consumption I’m guessing. But it felt like that kind of similar type of small business where you had that blue collar work ethic in terms of them really putting the time and effort behind it and then just turning it into something real. Was the feeling that I took away from some of it. I don’t know that that was necessarily your intention but it really struck me there and I thought that was really interesting.

Elaine Pofeldt: That’s interesting that you took that away. I agree with you about that. I think these folks are very hardworking. They’re self motivated. You have to be to run a successful one person business ’cause there’s not a boss there cracking the whistle. Every once and awhile someone will post something like what do I do about motivation. And if you really are not motivated it’s very hard to run a one person business. You can get external motivation by getting a coach or a system of accountability around you, similar to people with exercise right? You have people that are just at the gym at five in the morning no matter what it could be a blizzard. Then you have other people have a personal trainer. They both maybe equally as fit, but these folks have put their motivated themselves or they’ve put the systems in place with a coach or someone like that to keep them on track. It’s not always easy to run a business. These are not get rich quick type of people.

Phil Singleton: Right.

Elaine Pofeldt: I’m not interested in telling those stories because they are not sustainable and I’m more interested in people creating lasting value. Giving something back to the community. It doesn’t mean they have to be almost a nonprofit. But giving something to their customers that makes their customer’s lives better I think is really important ’cause we’re at a point in business where it’s easy not to go in that direction. We see a lot of bad examples of business. So I don’t want to tell those stories. I want to tell the ones of the people that are doing things right and that are working hard.

Phil Singleton: You have to have two pieces of it too. You can’t work hard on something, make a successful profitable business and still on your lifestyle and be making bad decision where you’re maybe squandering the fortune that you’re making. Even to some extent I mean just running my own business there’s some people that take chances with some of the reinvestment money that they make and you got to basically be doing all that stuff which to me then feeds into that work ethic. These people really must be able to not only work hard and be pretty smart in terms of how they’re making money but also kind of how they’re saving and reinvesting in their business. You almost have to have all of those pieces. I think, I’m guessing I don’t have research on it.

Elaine Pofeldt: You do. There is a certain amount of R & D that they do. Some of them like Alan Walton in the book who runs a spy camera store online called SpyGuy uses profit for his accounting and I noticed that a number of them do that where you put your profit away first and you set aside a certain amount of money to do the reinvestment because that’s one difference between these businesses and the sort of scrambling freelancer is that there is a strategy behind it. The owner does step back a little bit and think about okay what is the purpose of this business. Is the business helping me in my life’s biggest goals? Do I have time for my family? I started this business so I have time. Do I actually have it? They set back a little bit and think about the purpose of why they’re doing it all and they do realize the importance of keeping it fresh and sustainable. So you have to do R & D. Even I do R & D in my writing and contact business because there’s new stuff coming out all the time. You can’t know if things are going to work until you try them.

Elaine Pofeldt: Sometimes it costs you money.

Phil Singleton: Right, right.

Elaine Pofeldt: That’s another thing I have to point out which is sometimes folks are thinking about leaving their job to start a business and they can maybe do it without risking any money. These folks have really taken the risk out of things to some extent because they’ll start the business on the side and they do small experiments to test what worked.

Phil Singleton: Was that pretty common that they had the foot kind of in the other boat a little bit and grew it enough to step away?

Elaine Pofeldt: It’s pretty common. Not in all cases. A lot depends on the stage of life. As people who have kids and dependents and things like that often have to start it on the side because it’s very hard to save up enough money to create the perfect circumstances to start a business. The average American has trouble saving 400 dollars, right? So when you think about six months of living expenses, six months of business expenses all the conventional advice which is correct, I mean who can do it. So the way around that is you start it on the side and as it builds up revenue you finally can jump from the job and go into it full time. But you do have to be willing to risk some money because there is some risk to running a business and if you want zero risk at all in your professional life and financial life this is not for you.

Common Success Trait: Ambitious, Self-Educated Risk Takers

Elaine Pofeldt: It’s for people who are willing to take very smart calculated bets on themselves. Ben and Camille they were committed to learning what it took to being entrepreneurs. They knew they wanted to be entrepreneurs. So even if these products didn’t sell they were willing to bet that 5,000 dollars. Now a lot of people don’t have 5,000 dollars but over time you could save up or you could have fewer products if you wanted to be in E-commerce. But there’s going to be certain elements of people might not buy it. That’s the thing you have to be mentally prepared for. It can be stressful for people who are used to going to their job and then in two weeks they get a paycheck whether or not their efforts were successful they would get paid. If they’re really unsuccessful for awhile they might get fired. But basically the money is guaranteed, it’s not in a business.

Elaine Pofeldt: But these are folks who thrive on that and they understand it. But I wouldn’t say they’re extreme risk takers. They’re not like Elon Musk. They’re kind of mildly risk takers and that’s why I thought their stories were so appealing cause there are a lot of people in corporate jobs who are just starting businesses who have that same profile who don’t necessarily don’t want to be the highest rollers in town. But they are willing to take a little gamble on their good idea and on the chance to have the better lifestyle and maybe they’ll decide how much they’re willing to risk. Similar to like if you want to Las Vegas you decide alright that’s it. I’m going to bet this much and that’s it. They kind of take that attitude and then they can go into it with the spirit of fun. But they do put things in place so that they don’t have to end it prematurely.

Elaine Pofeldt: Sometimes it might be that they have a spouse or life partner who has an income coming in or I’ve seen cases where people downsize their lifestyle. I’ve seen this with older entrepreneurs. Sometimes they own a home and now their kids are out of the house and they want to start a business and they might sell the house and move into a rental. Then they have money to invest in a business. I didn’t focus in this business in this book too much on things like franchises. But there actually was one franchise case study in there too so that’s an option too. In that case it was a uni-shipper’s franchise.

Phil Singleton: Yeah sometimes that’s even a bigger up front gamble because it’s a bigger investment.

Elaine Pofeldt: But you can do it. You can get to one million and what he did was he used an outsource back office service so he didn’t have to have all the employees that you would normally have in a franchise and then he eventually liked the back office service so much he acquired it. So there are ways even with that you can learn from these entrepreneurs about how to keep things very lean. But going back to your point about the Millionaire Next Door these are not wasters of money. They’re not people who have to drive a Maserati. I’m not saying anything against someone who wants a Maserati if you like sports cars, but they’re not living for other people. They’re living for who they are and what they want and sometimes they do go on nice trips or I haven’t been to many of their homes so maybe they have really big homes. I don’t know, but the impression I have gotten from them is that their lifestyle focus and they want to build a sustainable lifestyle.

Phil Singleton: Fascinating. I want to wrap this up with just, I should know this but I don’t, first book that I read from you. Was this your first book or?

Elaine Pofeldt: This is my first book under my own name. I’m a ghost writer so I’ve written a handful of books for other people but this is the only one I can really mention here.

Phil Singleton: So just out of curiosity any things that you’ve learned? I’ve written a couple you went through a traditional publisher which is great. We did ours through several different partnerships that I had co-authors and what not. Direct publishing, but I’m just curious. Seems like every time I’ve gone through a book writing process I learn something new. Is there some things that you’ve learned that you would have done differently just in the process? I’m just kind of curious just as somebody myself might write another book again and I know every time I’ve gone through one I was like wow that was a good idea I wish I would have done that a little differently. Just curious if you had anything that you learned from it that you might do differently in the next book?

Elaine Pofeldt: You know there’s always something that you learn you’re so right about that Phil. One thing I found was very valuable was I had events around the book where I would bring together the entrepreneurs from the book and do panel discussions. Sometimes I would get invited to do key notes and I did do some. But I really I liked the more collective approach. So folks would come and get to meet the people from the book and that was extremely popular. Sometimes we’d have two or three hundred people at the events.

Phil Singleton: Wow, that’s great.

Elaine Pofeldt: I think there was something really nice about it not being filtered completely through me. So people could see that these are real people just like themselves and hear it in their voice and there would always be somebody…if you’re a person in the audience maybe you would relate to one person in particular a little more because of the same industry. They’re your same age or your both women or whatever you have in common with them. That was really something that I enjoyed and I thought was very positive for the book and I would definitely do again. I didn’t know to do that when I did the ghost written books with the ghost writing clients but it’s something that I’m now suggesting to others that they do that if they have a case study driven book.

Phil Singleton: Right.

Elaine Pofeldt: The real people plus you can do it regionally. So I did it in San Francisco, Toronto, Chicago, well I didn’t have a panel in New Orleans but I did go. I did it in Austin, Texas. I’m in the New York area do I did it there and I wound up keeping in touch with a lot of people I met at the events. Thinking of something like that that you could do that really brings it to life and makes it about not just you but the subjects of the book. To me that was my biggest takeaway. That that was very, very helpful and I would also record these things in Facebook lives so it enabled me to bring that message to people around the world who would never be able to come to an event in New York. If they were India or somewhere like that necessarily. But they could at least learn the message of the book and there’s always more to say on the topic. So I was never worried that once people were exposed to it then they’d never read the book. It’s a topic that’s evolving by the minute. Like we didn’t even know people could do this a few years ago.

Phil Singleton: Right.

Elaine Pofeldt: So you learn a whole lot in the next few years.

Phil Singleton: It’s interesting ’cause I think at the beginning of the book or somewhere towards the beginning its like there’s only a matter of time before there’s the billion dollar one person company.

Elaine Pofeldt: Yeah that’s evaluation. Yeah it was funny that was a VC and I was talking with someone else about this yesterday, who knows? I mean I don’t know where it could go, but I’m hearing about bigger and bigger revenue businesses. We’ll see what the profits are as you pointed out in the beginning. But just the fact that they can raise the revenue so much without a big team. They often have a team of contractors and that sort of thing. But that’s to me that’s very freeing for people ’cause there’s a lot of people that don’t like managing people. They just, they’re fine with managing-

Phil Singleton: Well this gets so much easier now to build a system and then specifically hire people out as a gig or a contractor as part of your system for something specific. So you build this machine up and it’s like yeah I can totally see it. As long as it doesn’t strip all the profit away from it and you find a way to add a lot of value and then be able to decide and stop somebody from building something really big and scalable.

Elaine Pofeldt: Oh, no and these folks are very good at hiring contractors. One of the things I learned from Sol Orwell who’s one of the entrepreneurs, he pays a lot for his web designer. I don’t remember if he was on or off the record what he pays her so I don’t want to say it but it was what you would consider pretty high fee. But he found that really good people can get done in one hour what it’s going to take a mediocre person six or seven hours to do. Excuse me, and so that’s one rule of thumb that I’ve used in my business. I try to find the best professionals I can even if their hourly rate is high because these folks are so busy they don’t want to pad the bill anyway. They’ll bill you for one hour and in that hour all the knowledge that they bring is so valuable that it’s not worth trying to find somebody who’s charging the rock bottom price who’s not going to be as good generally.

Connect with Elaine Pofedlt (and Please Buy Her Book)

Phil Singleton: Great, great, great advice because I think we’ve all learned the hard way. Shopping around ends up wasting a lot of time and gives you a heartache. If you just find the experts and then pay them a fair rate you’re likely to get the best return on that. Let’s since we’re coming to the end of this time wise, I’d love to tell our audience one where we can buy your book and two, where the best place is to follow you online for your content.

Elaine Pofeldt: Sure, well the book is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, all major book stores. So I hope you do enjoy it and they can reach me at TheMillionDollarOnePersonBusiness.com It’s the title .com. No numbers, all spelled out in words or they can write to me on LinkedIn or Twitter under my full name. I’m sure it’s in the show notes so I won’t spell it out it’s a mouthful. But I do invite people to write to me, I really love hearing from other people in ultra lean businesses and I do write back and I love hearing about what your questions are because it helps me as I’m writing to become a better journalist and think about what were the unanswered questions I didn’t address so I can address them the next time.

Phil Singleton: So great Elaine thank you so much for spending the time. It was absolutely fascinating. Thanks for writing such a great book and then for agreeing to reach out on LinkedIn come to our show and share such great insight and some of your background with us. Personally I thought this was one of my favorite ones so I really appreciate it.

Elaine Pofeldt: Awe, thank you so much this was great. You ask really awesome questions. It was really a pleasure.

Phil Singleton: Alright. We’ll see you soon.

Elaine Pofeldt: Thank you.

Project “X”

We always have several project in progress, but not too many. Sometimes we have a wait list to ensure that our current projects are completed on time and to the service expectations of our clients. We try to treat all of our customers as if they were our biggest clients. Although we get inquiries from all over the country, its no secret that Kansas City businesses are our favorites. Continue reading “Project “X””

Project “Startup Co.”

We always have several project in progress, but not too many. Sometimes we have a wait list to ensure that our current projects are completed on time and to the service expectations of our clients. We try to treat all of our customers as if they were our biggest clients. Although we get inquiries from all over the country, its no secret that Kansas City businesses are our favorites. Continue reading “Project “Startup Co.””