Group Coaching Call: April 18, 2017

Hey everybody. How are you doing? Welcome to our first coaching call. Give you some time to get in and log in but if you can hear me, please let me know if you can hear me and say ‘Jeff I can hear you’ in the chat window. And then, in addition to that, if you can’t hear me, let me know.

I’ll put a little message in here. Hope you guys are starting to trickle in. Okay looks like a few of you are in there. Can you hear me? That’s the first question we have. And where are you coming from, even that might be a secondary question that goes with that.

So can you hear me and where are you coming from? Alright, Peter can hear me. Alright, Peter, awesome. Where are you joining me from, Peter? Personally I’m in Italy right now. I was doing a conference last week. I was speaking at a Adwords Conference last Thursday and Friday, and decided to turn it into an extended little thing.

I’m in Lake Como. It’s pretty nice. Richard, great. Glad you’re on there and you can hear me. And looks like you’re coming from Indianapolis. Does anybody ever say, well this happens to me a lot, I’m from Minneapolis/St Paul area and I hear people saying ‘Oh Indianapolis!’ whenever I say ‘Minneapolis’. Does that ever happen to you in reverse? Curious if you ever get the Minneapolis confusion with Indianapolis. Happens to me every time I say that I’m from Minneapolis. Seems sort of weird. Wouldn’t have suspected that because they’re pretty faraway.

Peter in Richmond, Virginia. Beautiful, beautiful town. Spent some time there. I was doing a project out of Richmond. That was pretty fun. We can talk about that at some point if you want to. Jason’s in Seattle. Another Jason’s in Winter Park, Florida. Good thing I differentiate the Jasons so we’ll just have to differentiate you on here as well. I know that this system is only putting in the first names so I’m not sure how we’re going to distinguish that right now on the chat. But, for now, I know the Jason that submitted the response. We’ll utilize yours.

Cool. Ian from London. Martin from Vietnam. Martin I’m glad you could make it. I see it’s 4am there I believe, where you’re coming from so I respect that you’re up early and joining us. Ian, try to get in pretty late in the day for you too. It’s 7 o’clock in the evening for you. I know we have people from all over the world and all kinds of different times so thanks for making yourself available. You’re awesome.

So I’m going to let those comments trickle in some more. I’m going to post, I prepared just the order that I received things so going to put something in here now. That didn’t format very well but there we go. So we’re going to go through Sean, Neil, Jason S. Ryan, Martin, George, Peter and then Ian.

And then, if you don’t have anything in here, just based on what we’re talking about, if you want to ask questions, lend advice, comments, whatever you want to do in here, based on what we’re seeing, we’re going to see where this goes. So in the past, these coaching calls usually have gone about an hour to an hour and a half. Hey Will, welcome. Will from California. And so, that’s my target here but we’re going to take as long as it takes, as long as we need.

We’re going to go through some really cool stuff, and hopefully all of you find this to be extremely valuable and we will be recording this. We will be transcribing it as well so we’re going to transcribe all the different comments in here and have that ready for you in case you want a script of it. And well, the recording in case you want to watch this over and over again.

And if there’s any special requests, just let me know. But obviously this call is all about you. It’s all about the questions you have. It’s all about making sure that we are addressing your niches, validating them and using the group of people who are on this call to help with that. And so, I’m sure a few more of you are going to be trickling in but I’m going to get started because I don’t want to waste any our time. I just want to get ready for the fun stuff, okay?

So, Sean Power. I might use your, I’m going to use last names. I’m not going to use last names all the time but I don’t know. Sean, I just used your last name so hopefully you’re okay with that.

Long story short, Sean has sent me his client niches and his service niches and so. I’m going to start with that and so basically, from a client niche perspective, Sean is looking at companies that are both socially impactful and they have business success. They’re interested in those things hand in hand, especially focused on health.

Most of his clients are in the health space, anything from global heath, healthcare, life sciences, strategy consulting, patient safety, clinical research. Tends to be purpose-drive, for-profit companies, B Corps, social enterprises, non-profits and charities. That’s pretty much the gamut, when you think about it.

Usually, these companies do between $1,000,000-$5,000,000 in operating budget. So their budget’s reasonable. Sean, if you want to clarify, is that working dollars, as in is that the media they’re spending, or is that their marketing budget, or is that just overall for the whole organization? Because completely different, right. If you look at a marketing budget, it’s usually between 5%-10% of the overall budget for an organization. Do they have $1,000,000 to spend in marketing or is it $1,000,000 overall? Because basically we’re talking about $50,000-$100,000 in marketing versus $1,000,000. I’m guessing it’s the former.

That is, people who have $50,000-$100,000 to spend on marketing on the way up to $500,000. So clarify if I’m getting that wrong. And then the second part is they usually have wanted 0-2 other people working in the marketing team so I’m guessing that’s in the lower budget range.

Okay Sean. Good. So we’re seeing organizational budget of $1,000,000-$5,000,000 overall. And so everybody, just so you know, the chat window in my email is going to be flipped back and forth so I will look at the chat whenever I can. But I’m mostly looking at email when we go through this. Okay?

So that’s the client niche, just so everyone knows. That’s what we’re looking at. And then, service niches, marketing management, doing strategies, social media, email marketing, website content, community engagement, analytics. So basically like an outsourced Marketing Manager. You also have a niche in design, which could be print collateral, annual reports, publications, white papers, web graphics, and also web development. So doing WordPress, CMS action, creating newsletters, email hosting, customer integrations.

And basically he’s saying, with his client niche people, say, I want you to work on a specific project. Whatever it is, build a website, make a video, and they just don’t have the capacity to do everything on their own. So they’re looking to have you do a lot of that, and so you can charge a flat monthly fee to fill the cracks because their existing team is overstretched and are unable to do something.

So you’re sitting somewhere in between the cost for fulltime employee which they will probably bring in-house, and the cost of hiring an expensive consultant who are just not doing it right. That’s a nice place to sit. That’s where a lot of us are going to sit within our niches especially as we’re just getting started.

Now they’d tell you your core value proposition is, they can focus on a certain division because you know what they want to do. But they want somebody like you to manage day-to-day activities and that’s a good place to be. It can be very hands-on. Still, if they’re the one setting the vision to execute everything and so, I do have some questions.

Successes so far, it’s a very small niche. So if they have heard of you, they have heard of any of your clients, they want to work with you, so that’s opening doors, which is nice. And another thing is that you’re doing work very similar for multiple clients, and it helps you be specialized with your expertise because you’ve the expertise. You can raise your rates which is always a good thing to do.

Now, struggles. Want to be a designation agency for the health and wellness niche, let’s call that for now. Doing well in your local area of Canada, want to work with more clients elsewhere, Canada, USA. And your clients look like all over both the US and in Canada, and then even one in Kenya.

So basically, since you are working on multiple clients, you are doing unique projects for them. So that makes you inefficient and it’s difficult to get away with not over-servicing and under-charging. Let’s get into this right now. Sean, when I look at your niche definitions, I’m going to start with services because I think that that’s where I see the biggest flag or the biggest caution. That is, I get the feeling immediately that it’s a ‘jack of all trades’ type situation.

Now you listed 20 things that you’re very good at, and I’m sure you are good at all those different things and things you can do. But what I find is that anytime you do 20 different projects in given time, it’s hard to do them all well and it’s hard to gain any efficiencies. So you could be great at all of them but you might not be very efficient at the way that you deliver these things.

And so first thing I would say is, as you get further down this path, you would want to eliminate from the list of 20 things you can do, versus try to continue to excel in all of those.

Another thing when I think about the services is that a lot of them are very high-touched. What I mean by that is, if somebody is setting the strategy for you, and they’re saying, ‘Hey we are the strategy people and you are the execution arm for us.’ What ends up happening is that your executions are always going to be very direct. Excuse me, the executions are always very much what they’re telling you to do, so it’s like ‘Hey our strategy is to go out and do a Facebook campaign.’ Well ultimately then, you’re responsible for doing Facebook now and so you don’t really have a lot of control in what you do. It’s based on what they come up with.

And honestly, that can be difficult. When you’re basically running around and doing whatever that client wants or whatever they think is the right strategy, then you’re always going to be in that position where if you want to keep those clients, you’re going to have to keep on offering multiple services.

Now, it depends on your ambitions overall with the business, whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I would say, if you’re able to charge a good amount of money, which doesn’t always go hand-in-hand with working with somebody’s non-profit or social good companies, you know. And at that range of $1,000,000-$5,000,000 in overall budget, charging a higher rate doesn’t always go hand-in-hand in the first place. But if you can charge a lot of money and be the jack of all trades, and you just want to be a one-person business, it’s just you and it’s making enough money to pay the bills, have some money left over, that type of situation. And there’s nothing wrong with that approach.

But if you want to scale on any way, if you want to take on team members, if you want to become a specialist or if you want to get your business development going, this is a difficult area when you want to bring other people in, because the business is entirely reliant on two things: one is you and your ability to deliver for people. Basically you have to be able to do everything, and you have to be able to keep up to date and get good at these things so you can charge and continue to have interested clients and all that good stuff.

Not only that, but you also are reliant on these people setting a strategy for you, the clients. And so, not necessarily a bad thing. Clients are usually happy when they know they have somebody to whom they can say, ‘Hey I snapped my fingers and this is done for me.’

Clients love that. They love having that in their back pocket. They love somebody who has that level of service. But you hit the nail on the head when you say over-servicing and under-delivering. And so what I would recommend in this scenario and it’s hard for me to, from email, glean how far along you want this to be and in all that.

Basically, you say the word ‘designation agency’ so I know you want to grow to be the one that people think of in this area. But you want to grow a team of 5-10 people, do you want to grow, you know, what’s the revenue goal? Is it to make 6 figures, is it to make $250,000, is it to make $1,000,000 with your team, is it to have as few employees as possible, is it to grow…

I mean those things will really help me decide or help me tell you whether I think you should do many services or just do a few things well. But generally speaking, just without knowing exactly your situation, feel free to put more in the chat to help me understand.

I would say the biggest thing is you’re doing too much and you are over-servicing your clients. You’re probably delivering a lot of good work but as long as they let you keep on continuing, and raise your rates, there’s nothing wrong with this. But these are the main bottlenecks of the businesses in trying to grow beyond a certain point.

Now, I will tell you that if you can turn this into a 6-figure business or, you know, low-6 figures to mid-6 figures in this area, then that’s a good business. That might be all that you want and that might be all that you need. And the key is just to figure out how do you continue to offer service and how do you scale that type of stuff and so, that’s really how I look at this type of area.

Okay. This is helpful, so I see in there. You’re looking to grow to a million-dollar agency range, is it within the next 3 years, currently doing $150,000. I mean, $150,000 doing all these different things is nothing bad at all. That’s a really good focus. That’s really solid. I would be very content with that area if it’s just a one-person company. Or if it’s a growing company, that’s really solid to be in that area.

I think then the key is to get from $150,000 to $1,000,000. It’s not going to be jack of all trades over-servicing and over-delivering for people. That’s going to be specializing. Now, I’m spending a lot of time on this for everybody just so you know. But you’re going to hear the same advice in a lot of yours as well.

I’ve read through all of your responses. You’re going to hear some of the same advice. So the other ones, the subsequent ones, it will be just catching up what we’ve talked with Sean about. But the key thing here is that you need to niche down somewhat if you’re going to get to $1,000,000.

I think there’s two ways we can do this, right? We have clients, we have services, and then our progress from our outbound business development. So, business development. Now those lessons have just been released over the weekend. Module 2 about business development.

We get into this a lot. Basically saying that your business development, a lot of it comes down to choosing a niche to aid your business development so you can do 20 things. You can do WordPress, you can do social strategy, email marketing. You can do all these things. But when you try to bring in a new customer, what I will try to focus on for you is, let’s say I’m in the health space and I do email marketing, or I build funnels in the health space, or in the healthcare, life sciences.

You know, whatever area you’re in, try to focus on saying ‘I do this service for these people.’ And when you do outbound business development, focus on that and sort of toe the line on that and see how people react. Business development is not a concrete thing.

If you say it right now, I’m the SEO person for health service, and you do that 10 business pitches. Or you sent it out to 10 people and you get 9 people saying ‘Where can I sign up?’ and that’s a good pitch. That means that’s probably a good niche to select. If you do that with 10 people and 0 people are interested, then you got to adjust. I mean that’s the key to this whole thing.

Now when you’re selling services, you can be super malleable. You don’t have to even, I mean, if you’re in a sales call of somebody, and you’re talking to him about what you do, you have all the opportunity in the world to read off of what they say they’re interested in. what they say they need, and to customize what you do based on that.

So, even though my agency has core services that we talk about, a lot of times we adjust that to the people in the room. They may say ‘Okay well you know, we do SEO but we’re really focused on wherever their problem is and then we use SEO to solve that.’ So it’s basically coming up with a solution based on what you’re good at. But then, the way that you sell it to them is based on what they say in their own words. And that’s really a big key to selling services to anybody.

So I see you have a question here: expansion services done by advice from a business mentor to make sure that my services met the need of my clients. What I ask is what’s the right approach to avoiding that.

Meeting the needs of your clients. Obviously that’s the goal of this thing but one, what does a client need? So clients say they need something. They say they want this and they want that. They say they want tactical things. They say they want whatever they say, and then what they really want at the end of the day is to get more customers, right?

So for doing marketing, consulting or anything on the internet, consulting, all they want is to not look dumb in front of their boss and they want to be confident that they’re doing whatever they’re doing. That they’re getting more customers essentially into their business, and that they’re not screwing things up.

I’ve talked to a lot of Marketing Managers and talked to a lot of Marketers, and that’s really what most people want in their jobs. It’s to not screw up. And so you are providing them valuable service just by helping them not screw up in the first place.

So I would say, you can provide a valuable service and you can be niched. It’s not one or the other. Saying yes to everything that everybody puts in front of you is not the same as providing a valuable service. I think it’s actually more valuable service to say no, to be able to say no to somebody if they asked me to do something that’s not the right thing, or if it’s not going to get them the results. So you do have to toe that line.

It’s part of the street smart of being an agency owner or being somebody who’s successful, is that you need to be able to translate and interpret what somebody thinks they want into what you have to offer.

And another thing is, Sean, you might have to say no more often. You might have to lose more deals. I’m very comfortable losing deals. I lose deals way more often than I win them and I do it on purpose because I want to be very close on my niche.

Of course, it requires a lot going on but it does require a lot of big pipeline or strong pipeline. But at the same time, if you’re looking at adding one customer a month, doesn’t take much of a pipeline to be able to do that and to get the right one in place. So hopefully I have answered your question,

Sean. If you have any more, let’s revisit them but I’m going to move on to the next one just in interest of time. Take a drink of water here as well.

Okay Neil are you here? I don’t see Neil on here but I’m going to answer his question anyway. We might not spend as much time if he doesn’t jump into the chat but we’ll record this for him as well.

So Neil says he’s currently setting in planning to run a PPC agency in the future. He also wants to offer Facebook advertising, landing page design and optimization services as a package. Planning on targeting lawyers, dentists, chiropractors, home improvement industries but he wants to know how can he be a thought leader in these industries if he has never the experience working in them. Do you pick a niche where you previously or currently work at, or what’s your steps for becoming a thought leader in an industry without having experience there.

The only thing I can think of becoming a thought leader is that you can market how important is PPC but I’m not sure how I can deliver that message. Do you do cold email, do you do networking events, what do you do? And then, do you want to target a niche locally like, I’m the New York PPC agency or do you want to be nationally or, what geography plays into this?

Awesome question, Neil. This is a spot-on question tonight. I think it’s going to be valuable for everybody to answer this.

First of all, I like how niched you are in saying ‘I want to do PPC’, meaning Google Adwords. I want to do Facebook, and I want to sort of control the funnel so I want to be able to develop the funnel. I’m going to see if I can get some, I think I didn’t plug my lamp. I might try to get some light on myself, just to get this better. So give me one second.

How does that look? Looks like I’m being interrogated, doesn’t it? I look sweaty now which is actually probably true but let’s see here.

Okay so Neil you want to know, basically I’m going to go back to the email. I like this idea of targeting specific industries and then do you have experience in that. Now, lawyers, completely different than dentists, completely different than chiropractors, completely different than home improvement, so you’re probably going to have to choose one or two.

And in dentists and chiropractors, you may be able to say you do lead generation for healthcare or for people in these industries. But it’s probably either one or two of these, not all of them. So one, how did you become a thought leader? So I was a thought leader in the home improvement industry. I’ve swung a hammer a few times. I didn’t really, you know. I’ve had windows and roofing replaced on my house but I was basically spending more money in the home improvement industry for 5 years than anybody on Google, and I’m pretty confident in that.

We were spending about several million dollars a month advertising on Google for home improvement. I was going to home improvement vendors conferences and speaking there. I was up on stage talking about internet marketing, about all these different things. I was publishing white papers about home contractor marketing. I was looking at trends. I was doing crazy reports. I was doing all kinds of fun things in home improvement industry, and I’ve never worked in home improvement.

Now this doesn’t sound like the hookiest, dumbest thing in the world but here’s what I do.

So one, we actually hired somebody who worked in the industry to be part of our sales team. This is a luxury we had because we had enough revenues to hire a sales person who worked on commission and a base salary. So we could afford that. We’ll talk about how you can project, whether you can afford it later in the course, if you stick around for that part.

But basically, he would do the finer details and tell us about how home improvement works, like what are the terms they use in the home improvement industry, how do things work on their side, like how does the company operate. And we just picked up on all the things he told us.

He told us if you set an appointment for a home improvement lead, then you need to make sure that both the husband and wife are there, because that’s the biggest excuse people use to not sell or do not buy stuff for their home. It’s because they say ‘Oh I have to wait till my wife gets home. She controls the check book’ or whatever. And so they basically said, don’t send us a lead unless we can get two-leggers. One-legger’s one half of the couple. You need both people there.

That was a great insight. We use that in every single sales call. Every single time we talk to a home improvement person, he said ‘Hey we’re going to try to avoid one-leggers for you’ and they loved it. We also knew a lot about how the salesperson came into the home, how they wrote quotes. We learnt a lot about how that works, having never done that ourselves, just by asking questions.

If you go to the dentist, ask your dentist what his biggest pain point is, is it a pain in the ass to get leads, how does he get customers. What’s the life-time value of a person who goes to the dentist? Is it $1000, is it $10,000? What do people come in for the first time looking for? They’re coming in because they have pain in their mouth and they want oral surgery of some sort, or they’re coming in for a routine cleaning? Like what’s the scenario where your existing customers come in.

And then, how does that translate to online? And then think about your own behaviour. You have a mouth with teeth, right. You have a house that might need improvement. You have a need for legal advice. You have a need to adjust your back because you’re sitting in a terrible chair like I am right now. Those are the type of things you need to think about and ask of these people.

So I think that industry expertise is completely overrated by clients and by people who are in the industries because they think that specialized knowledge that they accumulate over 10 or 20 years can never be boiled down into something as simple as saying ‘one-leggers’ or understanding things.

You can understand that just by a few little interviews, and then, and that’s really where I say, that’s all it matters. If you can talk their language, if you can understand what they’re going through, you can become a thought leader.

Now, I would say that your thought leadership is not going to be how to be a good chiropractor or how to be a better dentist, it’s going to be about how to be a better marketer as a chiropractor. How do dentists become better marketers.

Does that make sense? So you’re still a thought leader in PPC. You just happen to a client instead of saying ‘here’s what, everybody’s doing PPC, which I wouldn’t recommend anyway because there’s so many different ways to do PPC. There’s lead gen, there’s ECommerce, there’s awareness, there’s all kinds of reasons to do PPC.

But you can say ‘here’s why dentists fail in Lead Gen for PPC’. That’s your thought leadership and you’re basically just spitting out the facts that you know. The reasons why they fail, because you’ve talked to 10 dentists and they hate doing Adwords because they got burned by a provider one day or something happened to them in the past and they say that ‘This is not where we want to focus. It’s not right for us.’

And so, becoming a thought leader is not nearly as hard as it seems, and it’s not about understanding the industry. It’s about understanding how people in the industry fail, and then offer them a solution. And so that’s really where you should be focused on within this area. It’s not so much about whether you know enough to be a thought leader because you’re not going to dental school anytime soon, right. You’re not going to go and get your JD and become a lawyer. You’re going to help them navigate internet marketing, so it’s a lot easier than you think. Just gotta adjust the approach and take it the other way around.

Hopefully that’s helpful for you, Neil. I don’t think you’re on the call right now but hopefully this area. And then the last thing you said is, locally.

Where I found, for all the services that you’re mentioning here, lawyers, dentists, chiropractors, home improvement, you benefit from not being a local one because a lawyer’s not going to want to work with you if you work with 10 other lawyers in New York city. They’re going to find it to be competitive so I would actually do national coverage.

If you’re in the US, do national US coverage and then I would focus on saying ‘We only work with 1 or 2 lawyers, or 1 or 2 dentists in each city so we don’t compete.’ You could do that. You don’t have to do that. We’ve done it both ways.

For some home improvement, they said ‘We won’t sign a contract with you if you work with anybody else in the industry in this market.’ Other ones will say ‘Screw you. We’re the best at marketing home improvement and so if you want to work with us, you just work with us. We’re not doing exclusivity at all.’

Now, which one is the right answer? Depends on your business. Depends on how confident you are. Depends on how deep your pipeline is. Like we talked about with Sean. You have a luxury of saying no or calling the shots when you’re on demand. And if you’re not on demand and you’re desperate, then people can see that. And they’re going to take advantage of that situation. So it really depends on where you’re at right now on your business.

Now hopefully all of us will be completely in demand and perfectly profitable and everything, by the time we get through this course, there’s a lot of homework and a lot of things we need to do to get to that point. So I’m not going to assume that everybody’s there right now. And that’s the reason why we have the lessons and these calls.

Cool. Alright I’m going to keep moving on, everybody. Just because it seems like we’re doing a pretty good job of following through. So Jason S, we have you up here now. So Jason services around proper Google Analytics tag manager, data implementation, some basic conversion optimization, starting point is a formal strategy report.

Basically he does a strategy about here’s how your overall strategy should be. He made test report. I’m not going to open that up here for you all right now. But actually Jason’s here. So Jason, you said that you wouldn’t mind getting on the call so let me see if I can find your thing and ask you to jump on.

Let’s see if we can do this. I’m going to invite you as a speaker.

So I just invited you, Jason, to become a speaker. If you can accept that and see if that works. Technology is always fun so let’s see how this goes.

And while we’re waiting on that, I’m going to continue to read through Jason’s items. Basically he wants to create a custom strategy for each business. Plans to upsell whatever he feels is beneficial for them, and then part of the small agency where you can measure and have the agency do some of the work.

He’s approached local businesses, mortgage, restaurant chains without being able to sell the benefit of doing this. Unfortunately still has several puzzle pieces to put together. One, no agency experience with processes, clients. And then it’s just guessing at market rates and normal procedures.

We’ve already helped him with pricing miles. We’ll get you to your pricing really easily. Pricing is, honestly that shouldn’t be a problem. We’ll get you through pricing as soon as we possibly can. We’re already getting you through that. So if anybody has lack of confidence with pricing, send me a message within the forums or in email. Then we’ll get you there because that shouldn’t be a problem.

I spent a lot of time stressing over pricing, spent years doing it, and we don’t need to do that anymore. I can help you sort through that. He’s done some campaigns, media buys but with the budget and everything, as he hasn’t had much practice with that area, open to new client niches. And so talking to several different industries from healthcare to restaurant chains, to mortgage and everything. So how do you go through those client niches? Okay.

So… okay Jason is back on here. Of course. Let me see if I can invite you, Jason. Alright I’ll try to invite you again. Man, this is terrible lighting. This is the only time we’ll be using this lighting though. So maybe once Jason gets on, I’ll adjust this to look better for you guys on camera.

Alright Jason, I just invited you again to get on as a speaker. Let’s see how that goes and if it works or not. I may get a drink of water.

Okay. This is like watching paint dry everybody. Let’s see here.

Okay, sorry Jason. Looks like you’re not seeing it. I’m sending it to you. Okay so I’m sorry about that. This might be some troubles for all of us as we go through this thing.

And so I’m going to just answer these questions this way and then I might be using a completely different software next week or next time we do a call because it gets to be difficult here. So Jason, let’s just go through this and talk about it.

So, same comments we had about the different niches and different types of businesses. I see that you’re going after mortgage, restaurants. Seems like you have some experience in those areas or you’re just sort of looking at wherever somebody will express interest. Those are the things you’re considering right now which is totally normal.

I would say, going through several industries at first, before, you don’t have to nail on a niche unless you have a ton of experience there. What you can do is just focus more on…

Sorry I lost my train of thought because I’m looking at your notes and that you can’t get in. We’re not going to be able to handle that right now. This is an issue with Youtube Live.

Says you get your niches. You might try 10 of them, and then you might niche down after that point. You might find which ones you like doing the most, or they’ll find you. In my case, it found me, the niches that I worked in.

The thing that I see here is like, creating a custom strategy for a business where basically, it sounds like you’re doing a full audit. Which I love it as a foot-in-the-door technique where you basically look through somebody’s analytics. You put yourself in a position of power where you can look through everything that they’re doing and tell them where you have places you can fix.

So basically, I look through all of your data, all of your analytics, everything you’re doing, and here’s 10 things we can do to improve your results. And then you go out there and say ‘do you want somebody to do this for you? We can do these things.’

I also like that you’re talking about, if you do sell somebody on the 10 things from the audit, you have people who are lined up that can help you do the work. And so you’re basically building in a margin there where you can provide them with whatever you can. You basically farm out the work to a specialized agency as needed. So you don’t have a ton of staff and ton of people you’re taking them on demand. And that can work out well.

I mean, the biggest thing when you’re the strategic partner, like I like your foot-in-the-door, I like your sales area in this place where if you can get a foot-in-the-door, you can do something. But other times when somebody is the foot-in-the-door person, where they are sort of the middle person, and then another one of you is going to talk about this as well in your question.

When you’re the middleman, the value you translate can be sort of getting in the way, or it can seem expensive when you’re just going to farm out the work to another agency. So the key is strong relationships and then people who you can convey the value to. Like what do they value, what does this company value? What does this restaurant chain value, do they value having the actual tactical work done that you’ll be outsourcing? Do they value the strategy, do they value your experience, do they value your industry perspective? What is it that they value, that they would want this thing?

And then how far along are they in the business? Like if you’re doing an audit, are they so far along, that they don’t need you? Are they there getting it themselves, are the things you’re bringing up stuff that they know they need to do, they just don’t have enough staff?

So I think a lot of it comes down to understanding how your strategy, let’s call the strategy come up with saying ‘Hey I’ve looked at everything, your analytics and everything. I looked through everything and you’re not doing a very good job.’ They probably know they’re not doing a good job, right. Maybe they know they’re doing a terrible job and they’re not talking to you to tell them they’re doing a terrible job. They’re talking to you to do something about it.

Is that, I mean, is that really what’s happening there?

I think a lot of clients, again going back to what I said earlier, clients are focused on not looking stupid. And so did your audit make them look stupid, did it make them look like they’re doing everything wrong?

One of my longest and biggest clients – actually the first thing I did is I went in there and I told them how stupid they were, for everything. And there were two people in the room and one person basically wanted to kick me out and never show my face in town. The other guy loved it. The other guy was like ‘Wow. I’ve never had somebody so bluntly telling me that I’m doing things wrong. I want you to fix it.’

And so we went in there and gambled, and the guy who liked us, who liked hearing that ended up getting us a contract and that was a huge contract over time. Probably $1,000,000+ over the life of the contract. All because we led with that. But I think you have to know the audience.

So basically we were rolling the dice and 50/50 chance that they would accept it, that they would want to work with us. And actually, probably less than 50/50 chance in that case and it happened to work out.

So how do you do that, you know, a lot of times what we do in sales pitches, Jason, is actually to go in there with two scenarios: will you go on there with the sunny day. Here’s how we work and here’s how great we are and then if they ‘oh we’re already doing a very good job with all of our marketing’, we would have in our back pocket the audit that show them how bad they were doing.

So I think you could have the greatest plan for all the things they’re doing wrong. But it could fall on deaf ears if they already know that, or if they don’t have the budget to do it, or you wrap them in the wrong way because they just have so much pride they can’t stand to admit that they were doing a bad job.

And so, if you want to put in the comments how, whether I’m getting any of these, which one of these things is correct, or whether that’s the impact that’s happening right now. Or if it’s more that you’re still not sure how everything works. Let me know. But I do, overall, like the idea of going through and finding things that people are doing wrong, and then setting yourself up for those being the next 10 projects you can do.

Now, it takes a certain budget of a company or certain size of a company to have the budget to do something about those. So it might be that they just don’t have the budget to do it.

Great. Sounds like that was helpful, Jason. So that was really good.

Everybody, I’m going to keep on moving on in interest of time but if you do have any follow-up questions, just let me know. Either in the chat box or send me a note, okay?

Ryan. Ryan, it’s 4am in Brisbane time so I hope you’re on. But I understand that it’s 4am in Brisbane time so let’s just get into it.

So, niches. You want to target ideally Adwords. You’re strong in that area and it’s your main interest. He said that ‘I’d touch on upselling to go along with it’ so doing things like landing pages, analytics, all the things that go around with a complete funnel-based campaign. That could be an upsell. And so, and he’s saying, expanding could be good or how can we expand in that area.

I’ll do that in a second. He’s asking me to expand on how do you upsell and how do you do the funnel. He has experience building sites, Facebook ads, Google analytics, but would rather service Adwords as it is a bulk of my work.

It’s pretty straightforward to me. As far as Adwords and PPC management goes, is that you have all the stuff that goes on within Adwords, and then you have all the stuff that goes on the website. And generally speaking, those things are equally important.

Now if you’re a PPC manager, you’d say that everything going on an Adword is the most important thing. But what happens if you send somebody to a crappy website? Can’t tell you how many times that I’ve done campaigns that I thought were beautiful and brilliant and the best can be in the world. And then we send somebody to a client site. They don’t even have tracking in place. They don’t even have conversions. They take 6 years to get a webpage developed.

Like all the things that you shouldn’t be doing in Adwords and I wouldn’t normally do. There’s times where a client expects you to do that because they can’t hold up their end of the bargain. So when I say an upsell in this particular area, the upsell is naturally saying ‘Hey if you want the best Adwords person – me, to do this for you, then you need to participate. And if you can’t participate, which I know you can’t because you’ve been doing this for however long you’ve been doing it and still can’t introduce a landing page, why don’t you let me do that as well?

And we’ll put it together in a package, I’ll give you a bulk discount because you’re not dealing with two agencies. Or you have fewer lines of communication that you need to deal with, so we’re going to be more efficient. Or we’d only need one Account Manager because we are having the same person talk to you about both your campaigns and your landing pages.’

Whatever it is, you can basically sell the person… I don’t know if ‘sell the person’ is the right word but you can basically get them to use these extra services on top of what you’re doing because it’s the key to their success.

Now the reason why I love this is because if you can control the landing page, then you have a complete process. Because if you can only do Adwords to shitty landing pages, excuse my language, you can only send a good ad back if you can only throw a good traffic at bad marketing. Then you’ll always going to be judged by the results, and the results are not going to be great.

And so you’re actually doing two things by upselling PPC on the funnel piece, is that you are creating more revenue opportunities. You can charge maybe 50% more, 100% more, 200% more, whatever that ends up being. So Yeah you can charge more which is great.

Now you don’t have another agency dealing with landing pages. Now if they want to get rid of you, they have to lose their landing pages or they have to consider the repercussions of unwinding you. You’re sticky. You want to be as sticky as you can be, as an agency. You want them to be like, even if they’re not happy because you had a bad month or something like that, then it’s so much work to get rid of you or to fire you, or to not work with you anymore, that they can never see themselves not working with you.

Now of course you want them to be happy and not be looking at ways to get out of their contract or anything. But the reality is that sometimes, people in long relationships are like, what will it take to get out of this. You want them to be like ‘No I can’t. I can’t live without this person.’ And that’s really, I mean as much as my agency would do with our retainer-based clients on PPC, is that they couldn’t imagine leaving us. These are 5, 10+ year relationships but they still can’t even think about leaving, because they don’t even want to deal with the bs on the other side. And so that’s two great things that happen with bundling these things together.

Now the downside is, there’re two different sides of the brain. So if you’re managing PPC, in your managing bids, you’re doing all these different work to try to efficiently advertise. And then at the end of the day, you go out and build landing pages, be creative, try to get hero shots, try to get stock photography, all that stuff that goes into a landing page. As one person, that’s very difficult. As two people, that’s difficult. You need to have a team in order to do that, right. So you need to have a team, a fact in order to get the best of both worlds. And so that’s really how I will look at these things is from that perspective.

Now the second part here is ‘Almost ready to start doing client niches. He’s not aware how to identify a good client target’. Depends on different factors. Do you do brick and mortars. He’s worked in brick and mortar and doing retail, could you expand around retail and rentals. Let me see.

I’m not sure what niches here to target nor do you really care that much about niches. How do you find a case? Do you go after clients with better budget, funner, you know, more fun product that convert better or do you just say ‘I’m not going to work with these particular industries’ or you’ll just go based on who you’re going to avoid.

Now if you have a dial-in service niche, and that is, I do great advertising and I have the full experience around conversion, client niches could be less important to you. You could just be saying ‘I work with Adwords budgets of $10,000 or more’, and that’s it. So you just say I work with this type of budget, and if you fit that profile, if you do lead gen, and you have a $10,000 or more budget, that could be your niche.

So actually, when I talk about my client niches, home improvement was a really big one and that’s where a lot of business development would come in. But if some businesses say ‘hey I know you’re the PPC guys, and I know you do a great job at PPC’, I would sell it to them. I wouldn’t say no because you’re not in the home improvement industry. I worked in probably 20 or 30 industries, and for those ones I didn’t sweat it at all, is basically they needed to advertise online, generate leads, and I knew I’d be able to do that.

And so it’s better to have specific client niches and services niches. But ultimately, if you have a reputation where your business development just sort of speaks for itself you’re that good, then the clients, they’re their own client niche and that’s basically qualifying them based on whether they are fit to work with you.

And then, the other thing is inbound versus outbound business development. So maybe your client niche is all for your outbound business development. But then inbound, you just take inbound as it comes because you can have different positioning in each one.

Alright so I think that’s Ryan’s and since he’s not on, I’ll just take his follow-ups when he wakes up in Brisbane time. I’ll take a drink here. Martin you’re next.

Thanks for getting up early today, Martin. Okay so Martin’s an average consultant. He’s working for other agencies. He’s been doing it for 3 years. Prior to that, he has his own SEO agency. Prior to that, he ran his own franchise printing business. And then before that, IT project manager and IT director.

What he said is that, he’s talked to other people about being a middleman that basically pulls the different elements and parties of digital strategy together. And people told him it’s not an easy sell to be the middleman because the margins are there. Because if you’re outsourcing to other agencies, basically if they want to get paid in full and you want to put money on top of it, you’re more expensive than just going directly to somebody.

He’s a certified professional, AdWords and Analytics so he wants to be the person who pulls together a strategy and then implements it, via either his own resources or outsourced resources and agencies.

This is similar to what we talked about earlier in a previous one as well. Now, he wants to be like a part-time digital CMO for small, medium-sized businesses and be at that sweet spot right at that point in time. And so going through it, basically saying if somebody needs help or something, he can either do it himself or he can outsource it, depending on whether it fits in his skill set or not.

So he’s even gotten this far, Martin has gotten this far, he’s just saying ‘I’ll do strategy, I’ll do Adwords, and I’ll do analytics, but then if somebody wants Facebook or landing pages, CRO, graphic design, then I’ll have that outsourced to other trusted partners that are out there.’

And so, and then ideally for target, 10 clients, $2000 a month recurring revenue, which I think is the good goal. That’s $240,000 a year in revenue which is a nice-sized agency and he’s looking to do, just him and a VA or virtual assistant. He says B2C is easier than B2B so he targets B2C. And how does it work? Do you sell yourself as a strategy person and then I can help with the implementation or I’m doing everything? How does that all work?

Okay so, oh it’s 1:50am. Wow that’s even more so thanks Martin for being there. I know how it is to do late-night calls from South East Asia. The Beta program we did late at night when I was in Thailand. So let’s get through this, Martin, okay.

So it is absolutely hard to be the middleman in a lean type of economy, with transparent pricing to make the money you want to make. So making lots of, say $250,000 just for the sake of rounding. If you want to make $250,000 and be a middleman, then how does that even happen? Let’s just get to the math piece.

If you want to make $250,000, take home and pay out of VA, you need minimum $500,000 in revenue and a 50% margin. So half goes to the person who does the work, half goes to you. And you’ve, that’s it. So to make $250,000 take home, you need $500,000 in revenue minimum. More reasonably, it’s probably 1 million+ in billings that you outsource in order to take that amount home. So that does become difficult in many ways to get to that point.

So one is, instead of finding ten $2000 clients, I would say that perhaps one $20,000 client will get you a lot further where you want to go. Because there’s a lot more, when somebody is willing to pay $20,000, whatever that is, there are a lot less nickel-and-diming with where things go.

Now I don’t know if I would put all my eggs into the basket of a $20,000 client. Maybe two $10,000 clients. I’m just trying to sort of talk about scenarios where you can get the same end game without having to do as many relationships or without having to worry about as much outsourcing.

The other thing is, can you find people that are willing to pay you $2000 to just do Adwords or to just do analytics. I think you can. I think you can find 10 people to do that. And maybe that’s all you need as you just have business development working until you get 10 clients. And then you cycle one on, and you cycle one off. And you basically just fill the gaps whenever a client moves on. And then you just do all the work yourself and you do the strategies. And then, if your clients want you to do Facebook ads, you have to make the decision of whether you want to manage that relationship or bring somebody in, or just tell them, ‘Hey you, I just don’t do that. I don’t do this area.’

Now the problem is, if you want to tell somebody their strategy should be this, and that strategy involves Facebooks ads and you don’t do that, then you need to find somebody who won’t mess up the relationship with your client, who won’t mess up your relationship with the client - meaning they’re not going to one-up you and take over the relationship.

And then two, they’re not going to actually just deliver worse work or work that’s so bad that your client doesn’t want to work with you at all because they feel disgraced by how bad you did on Facebook advertising.

See, a lot of agencies do this. They’re really good at one or two things. They want to keep their client happy so they add a third service, and then that third service they outsource. Outsourced people do a shitty job and they get fired from everything. They don’t just get fired from doing Facebook. They’re gone altogether.

And so, those problems, you just have to ask yourself do you want to deal with that. And then do you have somebody you can trust. And then do you want to manage that. Because honestly, if the going rate for doing Facebook ads is $2000 a month to an agency, and you can charge $2500 a month to your client, so you’re taking $500 a month, $6000 a year and you’re managing these people and your reputation and everything, that’s not a lot of money for that extra time that goes into it.

Now is the going rate for Facebook ads, and I don’t know this up in the top of my head, but is management of Facebook ads a going rate of $1000 and you can charge $2000? That gives you some more wiggle room. It’s still, you know, basically you’re going to pay $12000 a year to manage somebody else doing their work.

A lot of these things are simple math problems of whether it’s a good idea or not, and then what the market will bear. I’ve known a lot of consultants who are the middleperson, who are the strategists, and they struggle a lot. If they get a fat contract, they get fat too, right. They’re living off the fat of the contract and they can do a lot.

If they lose that contract, they’re basically out of business, begging me for work. I know a lot of strategy people who’re like ‘I’m the integrator. I go find the best this, the best that and the best that.’ And then they tell me, ‘You know, you’re my analytics guy so if I ever get business, I’m going to rely on you.’

That almost never works and it’s the exact advice that somebody else gave you. They said that because you’re putting a margin on top of being a middleman, people don’t value that.

Now the people who do value it are the ones who have big budgets and a lot of patience and the need for it. And so that’s why I was saying, instead of doing several $2000 clients, I would say if you’re going to be the middleman, you need more than $10,000 a month retainers to give you the budget to work with and to give you the tangible part where you can skim off the top a little bit.

So it is a hard road. And so I would say, I’ve not seen a lot of people be successful with that. And so if you’re going to do it, I think it’s making adjustments and saying ‘I want 10 $2000 clients but it’s not going to be outsourcing the work to somebody else’. It’s going to be doing the work or building processes so you can have the same effect of working. So its the same amount but not having to pay as much out.

It’s all a margin game, when you think about it. If your margin on outsourcing something to somebody. If your margin on your process of applying project management and strategy to something. If it’s 50% or if it’s 25% then you have a big problem, right. And so, that’s really what it comes down to.

So it sounds like there’s some more stuff to work on here, Martin. So let’s move on to the next one and then we’ll get back to yours and see where we can arrive at the right place to go next. I don’t know if on this call, we’re going to have the perfect idea for where to go with this but I do agree with what the advice you receive from other people as well.

George. He’s in paid media management. Both Adwords and Facebook. SEO, audits, analytics, CRO, landing page optimization, marketing automation. And his client niches are e-commerce, hospitality, content and franchises.

Now George is part of our Beta group and so we worked together on this before and we’ve been talking for a while to go through. Hey George, good to see you.

We’ve been working through a lot of this already. Obviously the same thing we said at the Beta group is that you’re doing a lot of things. And so which one of these things is going to end up being the best at, which one can you see the most success in.

And so I think it’s alright to be doing these things. But then it’s all about trying to narrow them down to say ‘here’s the things that I do the best’ or ‘here’s the things where we get the most traction’. And so let me know if you’ve made any traction there, George, on what you’re doing. But I think you’re not listing a lot of struggles so either put them into the chat or let me know offline if there’s anything we can do. It’s good to see you again, George.

So let’s move on to Peter.

Peter’s saying his service niches are PPC, Facebook ads, conversion optimization, conversion-based marketing consulting. Client niches are healthcare and lawyers, and that’s what we have for Peter right now.

Oh Peter, sorry that you have to run into a meeting. I was just getting into yours. Alright so Peter, I like your service niche focus, Peter. You’re basically focusing on conversion, like traffic and conversion that people are bringing in there. So I think that’s really a good focus, and then actually your niches are pretty narrowed down too, between healthcare and lawyers. And it looks like you are already involved in healthcare. And so you’re doing the marketing in healthcare for your business, is there a way you can start freelance in there.

So that’s a natural one. I mean, Peter, that’s a natural embodiment of what I had said for the home improvement area. It’s like finding somebody who had worked in home improvement or in this area. That’s really, that’s perfect.

So I work in healthcare and so I can consult with you on how to do this. I understand how all these things come together, how it all works. I’ve struggled through getting paid media and making it work. I’ve struggled through Facebook ads. I’ve struggled through conversion optimization. And then I like how you’re saying at the very least I can consult with you on your funnel because I fixed this problem.

So that’s your conversion optimization consulting service you have. And so I actually don’t see a lot of problems with the way that you’re approaching this. And basically you’re saying I’m in healthcare, I own health business. I have to figure this crap out in order to make my business succeed and now I want to help you out because I enjoy helping people. I enjoy this industry and I want to see it thrive.

And so that’s a good value proposition right there. It’s basically saying I’ve struggled and I’m going to get us through it.

Now contrasting this with what Neil had said earlier. Neil saying he wants to be a thought leader without having any industry experience. Obviously, me talking about Peter’s experience is a lot more compelling than perhaps what Neil, when I was telling Neil earlier so what’s the difference and does it matter?

‘I’m the CRO person in healthcare who has done this for my own business’ Is that better than saying ‘I’ve worked with 1000 home improvement contractors and I know their problems’. Which one’s better?

I would say that it’s like 1 and 1a. So it is better, obviously, to have said ‘I did this at the company level’ or ‘I worked in this company’. But it doesn’t mean that the other process of working with these companies, but not having experience being in the trenches doesn’t mean you can’t be successful there.

And the thing is you’re almost never going to go head-to-head in the sales situation with that other person. You know like that’s the thing you’ve had to realize is that, it’s your competing with a bunch of jokers out there who don’t know what they’re doing and don’t know how to position their services. And then you’re the one who says ‘I’m the expert in this industry’.

And you know what, in home improvement there’re basically 3 agencies that did what I did, what my agency did. And we’d sometimes compete against them but we rarely did actually. Once they settled on one of the big 3, the ones that were really quality, we rarely went head-to-head.

And so it does happen from time to time but then when we do go head-to-head, here’s what I end up doing.

If Peter’s company has a more compelling story than Neil’s because he was actually in this area before he started his agency. All I would do is I would, anytime that I take in a client from this person, so we would take clients from the others ones all the time, I would just say ‘here’s the results when an average person works with them. Here’s the results the first month after we take over the account’ and then I’d show a huge increase and we’d win the business. And so I think experience gets your foot in the door but then results are what win you the business.

That’s really what I want to talk about a lot in the sales jumpstart mini course that we’re going to have out there. It’s to go through the sales deck, to go through the process of comparing yourself to others, finding that compelling story and just knowing where to differentiate yourself.

Because we always like to think of it’s us versus them but it’s really us versus the client not caring. So it’s never me versus another agency. It rarely is. It’s me versus the client not trusting me to work with them. And that’s what it’s all about.

So Peter, hopefully that helps out a little bit. Sorry we didn’t get to this earlier in the process. But basically, you do have a compelling story. Use that to your advantage as much as you can but also talk about how you produce results. Neil, do the same. Everybody needs to talk about how they deliver results. Expertise gets your foot in the door. Previous clients and all that stuff. Results are what sell. Results sell every single time.

Alright Ian. Ian is getting started with his agency. And basically saying he’s just getting started. He’s in the data science program. Wants to freelance as a data scientist with marketing as a specialty ideally with combined PPC, Google Analytics, data science. Struggling to find an audience because it’s too broad.

Ian, this is an interesting one. When I first started consulting, I had the same thing. I had like a computer science/database background. I wanted to find clients that could pay me as a contractor but I found that it was difficult to get in trench because usually data science positions or database, they require a certain level of access, expertise and trust from the client to get into their data.

Marketing data is easy. People give you access to their marketing data all day long. But to their customer data or to whatever’s in their back-end database, that takes permissions, rights and security clearance. And so it’s a lot harder to get into that area.

So what I ended up doing was sort of like, you’re talking about as being on the fringe of being data-driven but focused on marketing. And that’s really where I chose, or this area chose me was that, I knew that I could work with 1 or 2 clients max being up here. Data scientist and a consultant. But I wanted to work with bunch of clients and I wanted to expand even further. I needed to completely adjust or say what my difference was.

And so think that’s what you’re going to need to look at is, are you the data-driven marketer? And what’s the value in that and then what does that get somebody? What does that get your client to be the data-driven marketer. Is it get them confidence, does it get them results. What does it do for them? And so I think it’s great to be focused on data science, no doubt.

There’s two paths you can do with that. One is you can get a big fat contract being a contractor, getting paid hundreds of dollars an hour on a contract for a single client. Probably have to be on premises at their location. Probably have to get security clearance and all those things.

You can make a lot of money doing that but you probably wouldn’t be able to do an agency. The other thing is you could be a consultant for a big consulting firm or something like that. So you could be a consultant for a consulting firm and they’ll do all that work for you. Might not get paid as much as direct but it might be more secure because they have a pipeline that they have developed.

The other one is, you can say ‘okay well I’m going to take the principles of data science and I’m going to apply it to your marketing campaigns and here’s why you should listen to me’.

I see that as a good niche. I could see a lot of people finding that compelling. Saying ‘Oh there’s a lot of people who can do Adwords or can do Google Analytics, but I am a certified data scientist and I can apply these techniques that normally you have to pay somebody half a million dollars to figure out. I can do this all myself. I can do this for you at a much more reasonable price’.

So I can give you the big data, the big marketing, the big database brains at an affordable price. And not only that but I can deliver results in doing it. So I think that, to me that makes sense. We can continue to workshop that and to refine it more and more as we go forward.

But I think I’m compelled. I’m actually compelled enough to say that’s a good hallway conversation. It’s good conversation starter. A good way to get your first client is to say that you do that.

Now what does it mean, I mean, what it actually means in a tangible sense is what you produce. So once you get some clients, what do you end up producing for them. And that’s where I would take it to the next level from there.

Okay. I know Ian you’re on there before so I just want to make sure that you’re there. If you have any questions, feel free to speak up, everybody.

Let me see here. Yup. Everybody’s still on so I don’t know if you’re on mute or if you just think this is interesting. But I’m going to move on with one more that came in while I was on the call. And this is Richard.

So give me one second, Richard. I’m going to have a drink of water and we’re going to get to yours. And if you haven’t heard your name or if there’s something you’re waiting on for me, this is a good time to let me know so I don’t miss it. Can’t believe we’ve already gone an hour and 10 minutes into this.

Actually I have sparkling water in a wine glass. This is sparkling water.

Okay. Richard you are specialized in e-commerce and combined basic Adwords service with advanced marketing. Like to find established brick and mortar businesses that have potential for e-commerce or have started e-commerce but have not yet scaled. And may not even have thought about using Adwords because a lot of local businesses do not use Adwords. Any ideas on the best ways to find potential e-commerce businesses.

Yeah so this is a really interesting one, Richard. I have a lot of thoughts on it actually. So one, what type of product do they sell? So I would say, let’s just talk about a local business that has products they could sell.

So if you’re in downtown main street, main street America, main street wherever country you’re in, and you’re walking down. What do you see? You see a flower shop, you see a knick-knack shop that has little scents and candles and all that crap.

Sorry I shouldn’t say ‘crap’. You have the, I don’t go to downtown main streets a lot. What else is there? There’s maybe like a speciality electronic shop. You see the different companies that are out there. You see haircare. Feel free to chime in here.

Let’s just talk about the digital equivalent of these things. So could the knick-knack place go online? Yeah they could create an Etsy shop and they could do really well with hand crafted soaps and scents and all kinds of different things you can do on Etsy.

So actually I think that might be an opportunity, you know. Would they be better off being on Etsy or creating their own store? I actually just read an article about, I don’t know if anybody has heard of Mr. Money Mustache? I don’t know if anybody has ever read that. It’s a personal finance blog but his wife just did 6 figures in an Etsy store selling soap. That’s sort of interesting.

You’re saying larger volume manufacturers/distributors. So that’s good. Okay.

So let’s get off main street then. Because I was going to say electronics store - Amazon can eat them alive. Haircare – Amazon sells those products. There’s lot of problems with taking main street online and they’re honestly probably not going to have a ton of money to pay you what you want.

So manufacturers and distributors going online. I’ve been in a lot of sales calls with a lot of manufacturers and distributors, and here’s the deal.

Big companies, they do go online but they have problems with… let’s say this. So I’ve gone into 3M abrasives and told them they should have an online shop. Where they sell 3M abrasives like industrial abrasives, like the different grid sand paper and stuff that you use to do finishing of large machines.

And that’s a huge business, probably a billion-dollar business, and they weren’t doing anything online. So we get in there and we were pitching them, talking why they need to do better with e-commerce and showing them e-commerce stats. And they go ‘you realize that the second that we do an online store, we are going to either undercut our distributors and they’ll stop selling our stuff or they’ll stop giving us priority or we have these contracts in place. We have all these different complications in place to do this thing. Or we have to be the most expensive thing online and so nobody in their right mind would buy from us’.

So I think that a lot of these people, it’s not so much about whether e-commerce is good for them. It’s the fact that they have all these legacy contracts and they have distributor networks and tier distribution systems where going online actually is a detriment to their business versus a boom to their business. And so part of it I think is, yeah channel conflict, exactly like you say, Martin. And so what’s the, how do you get around it.

I think it’s a sweet spot. It’s like threading a needle. It’s somebody who hasn’t gone online, has a bunch of money and thinks they’re going to make a bunch more money online. And we’re in 2017. How many of those companies exist? That they’re just like, oh 2017 now, we’re going to jump forward and we’re going to do this stuff.

It’s tough because anybody who has enough money that’s gone to this point has something that is a conflict. And so how do you lead them to the golden age? I don’t know if I know the answer to it. I don’t know if I know that it’s possible. I know that you can brainstorm ideas for how to approach these people but we’re pretty late in the game for finding this diamond in the rough, who’s like now is the year I’m going to go.

Unless it’s like a legacy company who the old fart died, and then their kid wants to turn into the 21st century and invest in it. You might be better off actually, well, I don’t know… and also are these companies like getting bought by private equity firms and then stripped out of their cash and then turn into an online brand play, that type of stuff.

So you’re looking for small manufacturers of things. I mean part of that’s the niche. I think there might be an opportunity to take small manufacturers and put them on Amazon and to get them distribution channels and to get things out there.

I have a friend who I was just talking to about this there. He has an agency and he has a client who’s in the paper business. They do all the wedding invitations in the United States. And they’re in Walmart, they’re in Target, and they sell on Amazon.

And there’re so many things they can do but these businesses are just, it’s so hard to make them change because they have so much, they owe so much to so many people. They have all these contracts, all these different things in place. And so for you to turn them around, that’s like a consulting job, not so much an agency job.

As far as I’m seeing, it’s more like being a consultant and working with them for 2 years to get them online and to be nearly full time to get them to that point. So I think that you can do it with small manufacturers. But you have to find the one that’s ready for it. You have to put in a lot of time.

Now there are some in-betweens that I’ve worked with. Like basically catalogues that are trying to navigate the online system where you can do better PPC, you can do product listing ads, you can do all kinds of things in there. Around just getting more advertising to what they’re doing. That might work but maybe I’m just reading the question wrong.

Yes, so how do you enter e-commerce without standing in line behind a hundred other agency competitors.

Well you gotta find one client. You gotta do great work, get a great case study. And then you need to have that client brag to their friends, go to round tables, tell everybody about how good it was working with you. You gotta get them to call you. You gotta sell them on it. You gotta deliver great results with them, and then you build a reputation. That’s how I did it.

Basically one client at a time. Basically finding one person who needed help and just keep on repeating that success over and over again. That’s how you do it. You find one person. You get them to brag to their friends about it.

I actually did, like there’s all these user groups for e-commerce. There’s like lot of companies that need help, or that have people involved. And I went and spoke at an e-commerce group about e-commerce for PPC and we got 5 clients from it.

They’re out there and they’re actually not getting hounded by agencies nearly as much as you think. It’s just that, because agencies they’re lined up, the 100 people you’re talking about agency competitors.

One, I’ve never worried about that because people are coming to me, asking to work with me and that’s what we were going to be talking about throughout this course. It’s not like you’re going to cold call a thousand different companies because they have a certain revenue. You’re looking at getting people to come to you because they know that you’re the expert in this area.

But basically when it lined up, I’m very rarely worried about competition. I’m worried about whether they’re a good fit and whether I can continue to produce the great results I shared in the case studies that we presented to them. If we take them on as a client and how much work do we have and get my team to get the work done. And so, Yeah, that’s what it comes down to.

So in my case, it was called Acorn Online. They were a catalogue. They imported all the British mystery shows and we ended up taking those mystery shows and giving them to distributors and everything. And then they had this consortium of other small catalogue e-commerce brands and you think that there’s like 5 of them. But there’s like so many of them, it’s ridiculous.

And that’s how we ended up doing it. It’s just expanding.

Jason wants to know, is it worth it for agencies with enterprise clients to hand out S&B leads for compensations so they don’t lose positioning, still add margin from the lead. Companies like Analytics Pros.

Jason, you could always do like the ‘hey send me a lead and I’ll get compensation’. That doesn’t hurt to do it. Very rarely will that ever materialize. Almost never does and it’s because no agency really has the proper method of tracking and everything. But I think I see what you’re saying.

You know, I’ve got leads from Analytics Pros. So they’ve sent me leads and they’re shit. I’m sorry for the language, everybody. This is how I get. It’s in the evening here where I am. And so that’s the bottom line.

Analytics Pros which you mentioned there, has sent me leads and they’re terrible because if it was any kind of potential at all, then they would be servicing the lead.

Generally speaking, if somebody who works with big clients hands you a small client lead, it’s because they think you’re dumb enough or small enough that you would actually want it. And they don’t.

I’m just being blunt. I’m just being honest but doesn’t mean that you can’t try. Doesn’t mean that you can’t service it. I mean it’s better than having to go out there. It’s better than not having a rep, not talking to somebody or not getting a chance. It’s better than doing nothing but eventually, I mean you do enough and you’ll find that those are usually not the best clients.

Okay. Okay. Will’s just getting started. No industry experience, just digital marketing experience. Facebook ads, sales funnels, B2C, chiropractors, dentists, real estate agents, home improvement. He asked if I could talk about my experience. I did talk a lot about home improvement but I can add some more if you’d like.

As I learn Adwords, I like to add this service as well. Possibly local SEO, probably not but maybe basically doing PPC and funnels for $1500, managing it for $1500-$2000 a month, 3 months minimum, maybe 6 months.

Sounds a lot like Neil’s info at the beginning of the call. I’m planning to just stay a one-man agency freelancer to keep it simple. Hire VA one day if needed. Though interested in learning more about having skilled freelancers from Upwork to do the work in the back end if that model really works to serve my clients. Now one of the options to work remotely and travel the world, have you organized enough so you can remain successful and travel at the same time Jeff?

How have I done that? Okay so greetings from Italy. It’s a lot to process so let me just go through this.

I love the idea about saying ‘I create funnels that convert and I drive media to funnels that convert’. So the media could be Facebook, could be PPC, could be local SEO. Whatever you find works. You might have to try 10 of them to see what works.

I think setting up a funnel for somebody for $1500 is very cheap and then managing it for $1500-$2000 is actually relatively expensive compared to how cheap the funnel set up is. My general rule of thumb is that set up should be 2-3 months retainer, equivalent of that.

So if you’re doing $2000 a month retainer, your set up should be between $4000-$6000 so let’s just call it $5000. You’re talking about minimum 3-6 months. Yeah minimum contracts are always nice because it gives you some security. But generally speaking, I always give them a 1 month out because if they’re not happy or I’m not happy, I want to have the ability to get out of it.

But I think, I mean I like your line of thinking. You’re already thinking in the right way of saying ‘hey I need an upfront just to do business with me but then I want some recurring revenue coming in.’ I think that makes a lot of sense. It’s cool to have a one-person agency.

Yeah that’s good. Yes, so I mean I think that you’re on the right track. And the hard part you’re going to have, Will, is you’re sort of taking an agency model and then wanting to apply it to one person. You don’t need to do a full agency model if you want the freedom and you want the revenue to be able to travel the world and organize your life.

Actually I don’t do a lot of monthly retainers stuff while I’m travelling because I don’t want to have to get up every 1st of the month every month, and then be like ‘oh shit what am I going to do for these clients to make them pay for the retainer’.

So I actually don’t do a lot of retainer work right now. I do a lot of project work whenever I feel like doing a project. And I’ve turned down a lot of work as well. And so basically a lot of things that I advocate in the course are really agency models where you want to have multiple people on your team. You want to build things out. You want to expand to new levels.

If you’re just looking to be a one-person freelancer lifestyle type business, I think having retainers are good as well. But maybe you have a few of those and then you have more project based work or something, you can sort of figure out what keeps your work flow the level you want. Because one of the things you’ll find is if you’re travelling and you’re working, it’s, you’re still working, you know. It’s still work. I’m still working even though I’m travelling. And so you have to figure that out.

If you want to do that piece, the part about having a successful business, successful travel life which is what I consider myself to be doing right now. It’s going well. You have to realize that you’re adding a third level of complication to this thing.

Like everything we talk about in this course, none of it is easy to get done. It’s not easy to run an agency. It’s not easy to be profitable and successful. But it’s not easy to do that when you’re going into an office or when you’re waking up every day in the same bed in the same place, in the same country in the same time zone, and all these different things.

Like that, adding what I do to it is a whole other level of complication. And so it’s not for the faint of heart but it also is pretty cool to be able to do those things if that’s what you value. And so I think if you’re going to, you know, try to do 3 things at the same time, which is to have the perfect business model, the perfect lifestyle and the perfect amount of freedom to travel and everything, you’re going to find that it’s really hard to do all three at the same time.

So you might as well sacrifice one of the things I talk about in the class in order to do something else. And I don’t want to make any assumptions about what people are doing out there but I will tell you that adding another complication beyond just the hard part of building a business in the first place, I don’t know if I’d recommend that while you’re getting your business established.

Now unfortunately this is my third time being an entrepreneur. And by the third time, you sort of figure out what you can give up and you sort of know how these scenarios will play out with enough experience. And so I sort of knew how this was going to go and I made adjustments accordingly. And so that’s the one thing that I have, is the benefit of hindsight.

Now if you’re just getting started, you don’t have that. I’ll give you all the hindsight in the world and I am giving you the hindsight that I have, and hopefully people in the chat will share that with you too.

But I would tell you that don’t over complicate things. Don’t put too many things in there. Because if it doesn’t go right, you’re not going to be able to even tell what the straw was that broke the camel’s back.

Okay so I think I’ve got everybody’s questions that we have in here. I like how we’re doing on pace. We’re an hour and a half into it. I’m going to monitor the chat window. And if you asked something that you don’t think I addressed or you want clarity, pop it into the chat window and we’ll bump it up so I can see it.

And if there’s something, anything else, just let me know. But I’m going to keep this open until the chat stop coming in so feel free to start putting in questions if you have them. Do a rapid fire round. And if, like I said, if you don’t feel like you got addressed, please do let me know that as well.

And the next time we have one of these calls, I will have better lighting.

Yeah well I mean, it’s tough to hear but it doesn’t mean that you can’t travel and be a consultant. I mean, I know when I was in Thailand and Chiangmai, there’s a lot of people out there who are doing the 4-hour work week thing. And they’re living. They’re surviving. A lot of them are doing the whole work-to-live-not live-to-work thing, which is cool to do. But they’re not necessarily building up the long-term profitability and long-term business prospects. They are sacrificing that. That’s just the truth. Could be different for you, of course.

Awesome, guys. Well thanks so much for joining me on the call. Don’t be discouraged if I’ve said something that was a little more blunt. Normally I will sugar-coat things a little bit more. But since we have a lot of really good questions coming in, some of these things I didn’t sugar-coat as much as I might otherwise. But I think it’s good things to hear, right. It’s good to hear perspective and to do things with it.

Yeah so Martin saying for a lifestyle business, keep it simple, niche services niche clients.

Yeah why would you want, if it’s a lifestyle business, the whole point is to be able to have enough money to afford a lifestyle that you want to live. Then why would you complicate it any more by trying to do everything? Unless that’s actually part of the lifestyle is to be, to feel needed, resourceful, and to continue to extend your brain.

Now it can get super boring, I guess, to do the same thing over and over again but every client’s different. Every situation is different so you can stay stimulated even if you’re doing a repeatable process over and over again.

So I do think that’s a great summary though. It’s to keep it simple. Niche services, niche clients. That’s why we structured that way. It’s to have client and service niches because as much as you can get into that area, and as much as you can narrow down, you’re 80/20ing life, right.

You know the Pareto Principle, you’re 80/20ing your business by doing a client and service niche. Yes you’ll lose things. Yes you’re not going to get 100% of the potential clients that are out there but you’re probably missing out on the 80% of the problems that you’d have otherwise.

Okay I don’t see any more questions coming in so I’m going to sign us off for this one. If you do have questions or follow-ups or anything, or if I annoyed you and you want me to be less harsh next time, let me know. Otherwise I’ll see you, it’s going to be in 3 weeks for our next call and we’re going to be talking about business development. So we’ll do some more things on business development.

Thanks Jason for sending me there. I’ll take a look at that and see how we can fix that.

And I’ll talk to you soon. Signing off.