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Have you ever looked at LinkedIn & said “What the heck are people doing here? How can I make LinkedIn work for me?”. Troy Hipolito is someone who has asked, and can answer that question. Troy is a LinkedIn Influencer, brand specialist, and has a very diverse background that we discuss in depth during a dynamic and enjoyable conversation.

If you need to manage your LinkedIn efforts & drive appointments, or support your LinkedIn Events & even run your own revenue-generating system – then you should talk to Troy.

Connect with Troy on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/troyhipolito/ 

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Welcome back, everybody. My name is Eric Wright. I’m the host of your Disco Posse podcast. Thank you for listening. Thank you for watching. If you want to watch, you can actually legitimately watch it’s over at youtube.com/discopossepodcast. Thanks to all the amazing people who are making this podcast possible and growing, growing like crazy. So super proud, having a lot of fun. Hope you’re enjoying the show as much as I am and all of our amazing guests. Speaking amazing guests, you’re about to meet Troy Hipolito. He’s the not so boring LinkedIn guy, but it’s actually a lot more than that. Troy is the founder of the Troy Agency. He’s got a really storied history in helping people with social promotion. But it’s not just about social promotion. He thinks big, and he takes that and applies it to social promotion. His agency style work and understanding of how to help people is really coming together beautifully. So it was a lot of fun. Troy actually was in the midst of a move, and he was kind enough to schedule something. This was one of those fun outreaches that he did a cold outreach to me on LinkedIn, and I actually liked it, and we got connected.

He was super fun. So I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. And talk about not so boring. Let’s head on over and remember the not so boring and fantastic people that make this podcast happen. So shout out to my sponsors, who all right, we got some announcements coming up very soon, so hang on to your hats. But in the meantime, go to vee.am/discoposse to get everything you need for your data protection needs, whether it’s on premises, whether it’s in the cloud, whether it’s bare metal. Metal, yeah. You got mail servers. You got to back those things up. You’ve got to back everything up. How about stuff like SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, Office 365? There’s much more. So again, just head on over to vee.am/discoposse, find out and let them know old Disco sent you over there. Speaking of going over there and doing it safely, protect your data in traffic, in transit, in every form. Head on over to tryexpressvpn.com/discoposse. I’m a user. I’m a fan because hey, I travel around, I move around, I’m on other people’s sketchy WiFi. It’s not sketchy because I use a VPN. So go check it out. Hey, even better than avoiding coffee shop WiFi, get your own coffee. Go to Diabolicalcoffee.com. All right, let’s get to the fun part. This is Troy Hipolito, the not so boring LinkedIn guy on the Disco Posse podcast.

Hey, this is Troy Hipolito. I’m with the Troy Agency. I’m known as the Not So Boring LinkedIn Guy. And you’re watching the Disco Posse podcast.

I loved your tagline, the Not So Boring LinkedIn Guy. And thank you, Troy, for jumping on today and for reaching out, getting connected. I’m a real fan of your content, your approach, your style, and it’s something that I even myself, I think. Good golly. There’s so many things I’m under utilizing around LinkedIn, around a lot of social network. You’ve really, really got some great stuff that you’re coaching people through and bringing them towards really strong outcomes. So for folks that are brand new to you, do not yet know about Troy Hipolito, you want to give a quick introduction and a bio and we’ll talk about what you and the team are doing.

Oh, yeah, I’ll even do one better and tell you the story behind it. So I am a designer and developer by trade, right. So I’m a programmer as well as a UI/UX person. And I was actually an award winning designer here in Atlanta, Georgia, several years in a row, like the top designer. And so back in the day, I had a company called ISO Interactive, and we were building video games. It was like the Rockstar programming. We’re doing virtual worlds, we’re doing app development, back end, front end. And it was really cool. We had a small team, about a dozen people. We paired up a designer with a programmer, and we created stuff that didn’t exist. We loved it. Right. So it was going really well until it wasn’t.

Oh, no.

In Atlanta, Georgia, they no longer depend on the agencies because the companies that you get work are the Fortune 500. They’re very corporate. And so they use agencies up to a certain point, and they pretty much cut a lot of that work off. And the agency started fighting each other. So I was thinking, I got all this great work. I did CocaCola stuff. I did Xbox Mobile, did Harry Potter movie releases. We even had our own Harry Potter fan site that we developed a full 3D, pseudo 3D virtual world using multi-user technologies. And it was just like, why can’t we get any work? Well, the agencies grab a lot of these people and brought them in house and really cannibalize the whole agency model. And so they were really fighting over pennies. We had to find another source of getting work. And so I asked a buddy of mine, he was actually doing well, and he had a competing agency, and he was putting all his work through LinkedIn. I was like, LinkedIn, you’re getting all your work through LinkedIn? He says, yeah. And then I had a sales buddy of mine in New Jersey, and he said, yeah, it’s LinkedIn, man.

It’s LinkedIn. I thought LinkedIn was a bunch of stuff for resumes. And they said, no, you have to build a relationship and all this other stuff. And I realized something. Those relationships were like, analogous to old-fashioned dating. And again, I realized I was a terrible dater, like in real life. So I have type A personality traits because I’m very technical, right? And what I and other people were doing and what a lot of people do nowadays still is they date wrong. They go in there. It’s like me saying this beautiful woman and walking up to her saying, I find you very beautiful. I’m going to have two babies with you right now. It doesn’t work you end up getting slapped in the face. And that’s the technical equivalent of what people are doing on LinkedIn. And so we had to revamp it. It worked really well, and we had a bunch of clients, and then we fired those clients and we rebranded our agency. And people asked, Troy, why did you fire all these clients? I said, Because they weren’t the right type of client. They just wanted to sell. And so my type of clients that I hire on the higher end, the high end type of clients, we look for people that offer value like they’re human.

So if you reach out to them, they’re there to help that person, they’re there to engage, and their audience exists in an active forum on LinkedIn. And so that’s a very narrow band of people that are authentic. They’re willing to kind of contribute some time to help those individuals. I said, yeah, I need to find like-minded people. And that’s when we changed from return client to the Troy Agency. So we only pick up maybe one or two primary clients a month, and it’s residual, works out fine. On the other end, we have course materials, and we have our own show, a monthly show that covers that type of revenue stream as well. So it works great as long as you have something that someone wants and you’re there to help them, don’t sell. If you help them solve their problem, there’s really only one of three things can happen. So I’ll take a 15 minutes meeting. They said, Troy, I’m doing this, and this. I’m having this issue. I help them solve the problem on LinkedIn. I said, this is the thing that you need to do to solve that immediate issue. And there’s one of three things that come out of that.

You put out good energy in the universe. They’ll never talk bad about you. Number two, it works so well that they’re into their business and they realize there’s 23 other things that only Troy can fix, and they hire me. And the third is they’re so happy they can’t afford what I have going on. But they like me. They like me enough to send a recommendation. And being recommended by someone else is ten times easier than you tooting your own horn. So it’s all about being human and doing what you say and helping those people get where they need to go, that’s my story. Little long version anyway.

No, it’s perfect. And a lot of folks that are listening to us obviously have a LinkedIn profile. I say obviously. Many folks would have a LinkedIn profile and they use it for a variety of purposes. And look, my dms are littered with these people that just don’t get it. I sort of say this is the common interaction is, hey, I see we have some common interests and like, all right, I’ll bite – accept, right. Because I also use it as a broadcast channel. Right. So I’m ultimately, all my content is going pushing to LinkedIn. I’m not really using it interactively as much as some people would think. And then the next one is, hey, thanks for connecting. Really great. Like what you’re doing with X or interested to connect and chat more. And then 4 hours later is hey, so what do you do about blah, blah, blah. And they immediately are pitching a product to me. And then the next day it’s like bumping the top of inbox just in case you didn’t see this then it’s not sure if you’re getting my messages. And then eventually like seven messages later you get the hey, I know you’re probably busy or you’ve been eaten by a bear or like there’s some kind of witty thing that they read worked once and so they just reused the same meme. And I’m like, no, this is not the way to use this platform.

You know what that’s called? It’s spam. They’re spamming, that’s what it is. I had to release a client because he wanted to spam people. She says, I always want to help people that need help right now and send this one message to everyone and keep on sending it to them. I said spam. Why is spam? I said, that’s the definition of spam. I was telling me that is what spam is. You want to communicate. And so that communication element is important. So what you’re talking about is seven or eight touch points that people think. They’re thinking, well, I have to get between 12 and 14 touch points before they connect with me. But they’re not connecting the dots. So that doesn’t mean people on sending them messages on your LinkedIn dm, it means how can you connect with them in a more authentic way? It’s okay to send one or two messages, I think. But I don’t like the selling portion. I do like the idea of getting to know that person for a particular reason. And so you want to do things with strategy. So a lot of people will use these systems and they’ll just bombard it and automate it and that sort of thing.

And LinkedIn, they’ll crack down on it, you get enough complaints, shut your account down. And so you have to have good habits. One of the things is like how can I come across authentic? The other thing is that how can I have them come to me? How do I separate myself from every other LinkedIn guy out there or in your business as well. Whatever you do, how do you separate yourself where if there is interest, they acknowledge that and they come to you. So you want two way traffic. And one thing that I do, what I don’t do is I don’t do sequencing on LinkedIn. I will have a witty connection message, and I’ll have maybe one follow up. But the follow up is usually a welcome message, and it’s unique to that individual. Right. I have a daily process, so when I pick on a client, I help them with the profile top to bottom, help them with targeting, help them with their initial messaging, and I help them with the day to day process. And that day to day process is really what’s going to keep you sane. Like, oh, I can be on LinkedIn 12 hours a day. You don’t want to do that. That’s insane. You want to spend between 15 minutes and 1 hour a day to do whatever the things that you need and get out because you have a business to run. And someone says, well, how can I get people to actually book a meeting with me? I said, that’s easy. I can easily get between 30 and 50 meetings a week if I wanted to. I don’t know. I think my camera is getting a little blurry. I don’t know what’s going on here. I think it’s the lighting.

Yeah. It’s the joy for folks that don’t understand. Poor Troy just moved, and we’ve made them do podcasts in the middle of a move.

I just moved in. It was like 80% of my stuff got wires and stuff in there. So it’s like the living room of the stuff.

There you go. That was funny. As soon as you move back in, it refocused.

Yeah. So if you get a process down. I said, well, give me a tip, right? I said, okay, how are you authentic? You’re authentic by understanding who you’re speaking to and creating some bit of information about them specifically. It’s not selling. So when you connect with someone instead of spamming them, why don’t you just use your LinkedIn app and open it up to the video option and you can send a native video to them. That’s what, 20 seconds long, maybe 30 at the most, and just thank them for connecting. Thanks, Eric. I really appreciate the connection. And I noticed that you have an interesting podcast called DiscoPosse Podcast, kind of tongue tied there, and I’d love to learn more about it. I said, if you have a moment, just take a look at my profile. I said, if you see any dots to connect, feel free to send me your booking link. I said, I’ll schedule some time with you. Thank you very much. Have a great day. That does a few things. That’s a unique message. You took the time to address them and what they do. You were not selling. And it’s appropriate time for them to look at your profile.

And if they see anything they want to talk about, the onus is on them. Send you the booking link and you’ll schedule with them. So it’s not me, me, it’s you. And so that concept and smiling and of course I didn’t smile. I did it quite quickly. But that idea is very powerful. You are communicating with them as a human would. And that’s just one of many of the tips and tricks. And I think the other thing we were mentioning was all the touch points. Well, there’s all these different things you can do depending on your strategy. Why are you connecting with people, you know? Are you connecting with them to engage with their network? Are you connecting them to sell them something, which is probably not a good thing. What do you have to offer them? How can you help that individual? You have to get down to the human level. So people think, well, I think I’m going to do this thing for their company. I’m going to do it for the team. That person doesn’t care. I mean, they may care, but they don’t really care. They care about themselves. We’re human.

So deep down inside, you have to figure out how can I help that individual? What does he want? Does he want to be the hero? Does he have a problem he needs to fix? Does he get something off his chest? Can I pass the litmus test? And the litmus test is – you know the old fashioned litmus test, when you dip it in there and you figure out if it’s a certain chemical or whatever, if you passes the test, the acidic thing. The litmus test for LinkedIn is – if this guy would go out and have a beer with me or a drink at a high end bar, because you have to think during covid time, your time is valuable. I’m not going to go off some stranger and have a drink with him because he could be creep. And I’m telling him all my secrets and stuff. So if they feel they could have a drink at a high end bar with you, you pass the litmus test, you pass the friend test. And that’s really where you want to be at. Maybe instead of just sending connection requests, you could take a look at five people a week and see, I want to engage with these five people because of their profile, the type of person they are, their network, whatever the case may be.

And I want to see what they’re posting. So engage with their post before ever sending a connection invite. If you engage with one or two or three of their posts and they respond, the chances of them of accepting the invite goes from there 30% to 90% and it goes all the way to 90%. You’ve not just done that one thing. The second thing that you accomplished is you move the relationship down the line. Your ask has to be appropriate to the relationship. Anyway. I blab a lot, but I think you get what I’m saying. Eric.

That’s a pretty one. We’re here because of your method, right. You took the right approach. I get dozens of inmails a day and people who are like, give me that. I’m like, I get it. You read Jeb Blunt, you want to get to 15 touches fast, right? So you think this spamming out my inbox is getting you to the 15 touches. But that’s not the case. And I get often and get outreach for people. They’re like, hey, we’d love to be on your podcast and like, thanks, booked up. But when you reached out, I did do exactly that, right. I looked at your profile, looked at what you’re doing. I’m like, yeah, here’s my booking link. Right. And here we are. So the proof is in the number of times I’ve said no to people. The one thing I always joke about too, is like, I want to make an explainer video of how not to sell people explainer videos on LinkedIn. Because I swear to goodness, about eight a day, people are like, hey, explainer videos are a great way to do whatever the first thing they do is. They’re like, here’s my calendar link to book your meeting, to set up your explainer video pitch session. Like, Nope, this isn’t going to go well for you at all. But welcome to my broadcast network, right. So for me, I’m like, hey, it’s another audience member. Good luck receiving my feed. But the real genuine connections where I could do, like you said, actually reach out and ask for time and meaningfully give back to them where they will care enough to take that time and give me that time. It’s a beautiful, like, it’s a bi-directional relationship of giving time and effort and attention because this is the real big thing. Right. We’re in the attention economy. And how do you get access to that attention?

Yeah, LinkedIn is so different than anything else. Here you have to come from a place of service. You got people that have, like, these Instagram models and what they call the thirst traps and all that. So that’s a different thing. Linkedin is really geared towards career change or building relationship building, working from home, B2B businesses or high value services. So these cheap off one methods that don’t work well, maybe they work well for a widget, right? We’re not selling widget here. We’re selling conversions to business. I have a client right now. One job that he gets is worth $200,000 per job. He’s trying to get one a month. Right. And not every method will work on his audience. And we may have a method that works perfect for me and awful for him. And it’s our job to figure out, well, where does this thing break apart? And then how can we bring it back where it will convert for them. Or we have to cover those dots to figure out how much is this client willing to do. A lot of these higher end people, high up individuals can’t do a lot of things.

They do certain things well. And if it’s outside the scope and not able to do, how do we cover those things? How do we simplify that process where we can cover those areas? And he can still be that person that can communicate. So it really depends on the strategy and what you’re trying to do on LinkedIn. But LinkedIn is known for a lot of that high-end B2B conversions. For example, I don’t really make a lot of money per client, but I’ll gain between one and two new clients a month, right. They’ll pay something like $3,000 or $4,000 upfront and then $1,100 per month. Right. You think over the course of a year that’s pretty good money because you’re compounding all the previous clients and they’re adding services. So that $1,100 a month could be $3,300 a month and so on. And if you got 20 clients at two grand, you’re making 40 grand a month on it and then adding to it. The trick is to slow down in order to speed up. So it’s not about rushing, it’s about just doing those things right. Another thing, too, is we have our courseware, and I couldn’t have done it without partners.

So partnerships, networking to build really solid partnerships is a really strength of LinkedIn. If it wasn’t for my partners, I wouldn’t have my courses. I wouldn’t have kept the Troy Show. I have a LinkedIn event called the Troy Show once a month, and I don’t want to do it all myself. It’s too much work. So we want to figure out these partners that have ancillary skill sets that will really possibly impact your business. And I even tricked my partner. His name is John Michelle. He’s another LinkedIn guy, a really good guy. And I said, you know what? I said, John Michelle loves to do these profile things, right? I said, Let me get him on a meeting. And so this is an example of a way that I tricked him, but it was beneficial for him. He got three clients out of it, right? So I know he’s going to be I’m a give. I’m a giver, right. I’m going to give him clients. But I said, hey, John Michelle. Hey, Troy. How are you doing? I said, pretty good. I’m redoing my profile. I was wondering if you can jump on a meeting with me, help me out.

He said, well, you’re a LinkedIn expert. Why would you want another expert? I said, well, because there’s crossover and there’s a percentage of stuff you do differently than I do. We have different flavors. I’m more branding, and he’s more SEO. And he’s in a certain type of details versus what I am. So we had a video. It’s 45 minutes. And I was challenging him on certain areas, and it made a good banter back and forth about why certain things. And I even disagreed on just a few blow points just to make it interesting. And he says, well, that was a pretty good video. And I chopped it up into seven pieces that may have a whole series of videos to show on LinkedIn for posting. And then I took those seven videos and I put them together on a LinkedIn article. Then I have an Evergreen article that reaches out to it. And he got three clients out of it. He said, thank you. Why did you give me these clients? I said, well, I mean, you helped out with the profile. He said, not really. I said, Well, yeah, you did. It was entertaining. It was good for my audience.

I said, but your audience is now hiring me to do these profile things. And he charges several thousand dollars, whatever it is, just to do the profile part. And I said, oh, that’s fine. Just keep the clients, you know. I guess. Well what do you want? I said, you know what? You think this would be a good series, maybe a course or something? He says, yeah, this make a great course. That was my goal the whole time, right? So he did the whole course, and then I did the series of courses. Now we have hundreds of videos and courseware now. And then we got people that have a large audience. Now, when I reach out to LinkedIn, other LinkedIn influencers and things like that, they have a large audience. And I said, let’s give them 25%. Let’s have them sell the course, and then they can get 25% and we can split it between the other partners and stuff like that. He says, well, are you okay for only getting a portion of it? I said, sure. Well, my method is if there’s not enough pies, you know the slices, they slice the pie up and you’re slicing it so thin you’re not making money.

I said, well, my idea is just make more pies.

It’s such a good way. The one thing that people are often too short-sighted about this stuff is they just immediately think like I can just hammer up this course and then I can sell it, and then I get 100% of the revenue and there’s literally dozens of ads that people will get a day. Once you click on one, you’re now in a loop of people selling this card and that card.

Oh, yeah, you’re going in a rabbit hole.

But if they don’t do what you did, which is open up the door and give the opportunity to collaborate. And collaboration is bi-directional. Sure, you saw that it would have been great to be able to create courseware with these folks. But in the end, you did it in giving back. You gave before you got.

Yeah, he was already in it before he knew it. And so I don’t think that’s mischievous, but because regardless he was going to get clients and he wanted to do the courses. And he has a certain experience, and I may have a certain audience, it just makes sense. And then we have an email person that comes in to run some of these shows. And so we convert on that, and we bring clients through it. And now we’ve attracted people that have large audiences, and we’ll give them a portion of it. As long as their network is right, everyone makes money. So it’s not a me, me thing. It’s how can we help each other in a way that everyone benefits. And that’s one thing that a lot of these solopreneurs are missing. They’re just like, I can do everything. Well, I’m a programmer, I’m a software engineer, and I’m a UI/UX person. I’m an award winning designer. I can do a lot of stuff well, but I’m a little older now, and I only have like 45-50 hours a week. I’m not doing anything more than that. And so the designer that designs 50 hours a week, and that’s all he does. Maybe he should do those things. We should distribute it out where we want. Because if we do everything ourselves, there’s no growth opportunity.

Right.

Because you’re wearing so many hats and you’re not able to go beyond a certain area. And so that’s where someone’s business processes and actually relationships come in handy.

There’s a great quote that I got from a book, and so I’m going to look it up right now just because I don’t want to miss quote, I want to call the title out because it was one that I really enjoyed, and it was called Twelve Months to 1 million. Ryan Daniel Moran, really fantastic book. But one thing that today says, it’s not a business if you walk away from it and it falls apart. You have to really build a machine around it because it’s easy for especially, we are as creative people as a designer, like, you know, maybe you could make $50,000 off a single client for a six week batch of work. But if three weeks into that batch of work, you have to leave, then you aren’t going to get half the $50,000. You’re going to get zero of the $50,000 and you lose your reputation. So what you do, you wrap a team around it so that you can contribute to it and share in that wealth and also get the benefit that you’re creating future opportunities, because now you can scale versus if you just be Troy Hipalito solopreneur for the rest of your life, something happens where you got to take care of your family, you got to move, you got to do stuff, and all of a sudden what do you do?

You just tell your client story. Work is stopping for the next four weeks because I got stuff to take care of.

Yeah. You definitely want to minimize upsetting your ongoing cash flow. I mean, that’s what’s going to make or break you. All these other things. You can make more money. Like I may make more money in the courseware, but not right now. It was an investment. It’s an investment. It’s building relationships. And on the tail end, you’ll end up making a good chunk of change. So I actually have an article that talks about documenting and creating your SOPs – your Service Offering Procedures. It’s not really a LinkedIn thing, but it’s more of a business thing. And so by having these service offering procedures, you’re actually teaching certain areas of your business so you can hire out. And the truth is, everyone says if they’re perfectionist, you are in the worst boat because you can’t screw yourself up. The person who’s doing his task. You say, it’s true, I can do the job with seven people, but I have to hire one person for one job. And I’ll give you a perfect example. Back in the day, I was the creative director of a company, and it was tied to another company. And they wanted me to engage the engineers and other web people on how to do a project. They’re doing government stuff, and I was doing civilian other stuff. Right?

Yeah.

And they had to create a website for this, this and this. They wanted me to engage with them. And they said, oh, yeah, this is a six month project, seven people. It’s a six month no. How long would it take you to do it? I said, it took me three weeks to do the whole thing. I was just being on. I was naive because I was a designer programmer and I knew all the bits of it. And they said, okay, you do it then. And that was done in two weeks. They never spoke to me again. I screwed up the relationship because they have different processes and stuff. And you have to be kind of careful about because you might be able to get that one thing done. But these longer relationships you can ruin if you don’t have a way to create this service operating procedure, to hire out in order to do certain tasks. And even if they do a task and they’re not 100% as good as you are, do they need to be, you think? Do they need to be exactly like me? I mean, what is really good? Like really good is better than most people.

Look at a program module, someone says, oh, we have to create this one component where it’s reusable. And I said, well, would you reuse it on another project? We probably could. I said, but you’re not. And you have to understand that the client is paying X amount of dollars and you might want to create this reusable component that eats up the entire budget and it makes no difference. So they have to think intelligently. How can I create these service operating procedures so people are taking certain tasks on that they’re good or good enough. And when I mean good enough, I mean very good, but maybe not exactly to what you’re used to doing, because we all are a little perfectionist in our own way.

Yeah. One of my funniest examples of this was like, I was like, 19, and I was building houses. I was working as a landscaper, and we would build houses during the fall when it would be lower in the landscape side. And I worked with this roofing crew, and it was like, such a funny thing that this is their full time gig. And they were run and gun contractors. They knew what they were doing. They come in, they got three days to do a thing. They’re going to stand it up, and they’re working on this house. And it was a friend of mine’s house. So I’m kind of, like, acting a little different because I know the guy that owns the house. And this guy’s hammering in a nail, and it goes in crooked. And then you see him, he’s, like, trying to back out the nail. And it was so funny that the guy’s name was Lumpy. It was his nickname. He said, Jesus Christ, Lumpy, we’re not building an F in piano. Just hammer it in. And it was so funny. I’m like, my instinct would be like, yes, do it right, spend the extra time email.

The other guy is just like, whack. He just hammers it in. It bends it in good enough so that it’s flush. And he’s like, then put another nail right beside it. And the difference of like, look, we just got to get this done. And like you said, it’s weird that we use phrases like good enough or whatever. Like, good enough is good enough. It’s good. It’s not barely good enough. It’s good enough. Most people don’t even do good enough. So it’s like this unfortunate scale that we, and you hear the phrase too, like, if you aren’t embarrassed about your minimum viable product, you waited way too long to put it out.

Yeah, my IT company, I had a lot of people saying, oh, I need to scale it to this. And I just had to tell them the truth. I said, look, you guys spend about $150,000 on this MVP, and once you get funding, you’re just going to rebuild it. Why would you rebuild it? I said, trust me, because investors going to come in because I went through investment many times. So I already know, like the process. They’re going to come in and say, oh, this is great, but our market that I want to hit is this or this is a cool feature and you can’t fit it in afterwards. A lot of times, especially, you have to get stuff done in a very small amount of time. So some people create MVP to take care of the functionality of a certain group of people or a maximum X amount of people. If you get beyond that, sometimes it’s okay to just take that idea and rebuild it, because sometimes the concepts and ideas are half to work. So you really have to think along what is realistic, what is good. When I say good enough, everything that we put out is very good.

But I have certain people that like my writing style. I look at the person and I figure out their personality and I write according to their voice. And another writer may not get that. So I have to figure out everything about the person. So I understand the vibe. And sometimes they don’t like telling me certain things and I drag it out of them. It’s like, okay, how did you grow up? What do you like I said, okay, are you gay or straight? Like, I’m blunt about I need to understand where you’re coming, what’s your audience, what’s your typical kind of client? And I blend that in. I said, okay, I think I got your voice. And I write it down like, wow, this is pretty good. And they make their tweaks to it because when someone looks at your LinkedIn profile, they’re looking at a person, they’re looking at the story. And the reason why we call these reality TV shows are so popular, it’s because it drives the story. I was living in my car and now I make a million dollars. So they want to know that story. How did you start from here and get over there and be successful. Especially in the states, they love a success story. They love the underdog, and they want to relate to you. That’s one reason I work with a lot of clients that have families. They’re family oriented. I understand that they have a bigger care. I work with people that maybe have a similar background because I understand what they’re going through. I have people that try to be sincere. At the end of the day, this is kind of where you’re going. And I’m bluntly honest with my clients. I tell them, okay, I’m going to do this. When you get your first client, I’m charging you more money. I’ll tell them, and we’ll make this thing work. And I think that personal relationship and engagement not just makes him feel good, it makes me feel comfortable and happy about helping other individuals.

The sincerity piece is always an interesting thing because I’ve had people say this. I can help somebody by writing content with them in a sincere first person voice. I can represent their personality. And like, you’re so fantastic at this, right? And then someone would say, like, well, is it really sincere if you’re getting someone else to write it for you? No, but that’s not the point. The point is they don’t have time to create this content. They created, they read it and they’re like, hey, this sounds like I wrote it like, bingo. Yeah.

They may not be good writers. They’re like coaches for this. Coaches by coach. Coaches hire coaches. That’s kind of what I am, and I’m not doing everything for them. Doing the first draft, I feel this is what you’re talking about. So if you’re a good person that does websites, you may be a terrible copywriter. If you’re a good 3D guy, you may be a terrible UI guy. If you’re a good coach that helps women, maybe you’re not that good at helping guys. I don’t know, making stuff up. So everyone has their strengths, but they have this passion inside to do something. And it’s our job to present that passion in a way that makes sense. Like a LinkedIn profile is really about 70% visual. But once you get past the visual, they start digging into the story. That story is the bit that will convert them. So the visuals will bring you in and the story will help convert. Of course, you have your LinkedIn SEO optimization and all those tricks too, but you have to have that balance where they said, you know what, this is someone I want to talk to, and that’s where you want to be on LinkedIn.

And it’s a mixture of all of those things, right? Like you can have great SEO, but then they get there and they go, okay, it was easy to find, which ultimately SEO is about searchability discoverability. But if I have great SEO for a restaurant, but the food’s trash, that’s no good. You can get people there. And then your role is to teach them how to keep people there and engage them and give that sincerity. Tell that story.

People can’t do it. That’s kind of funny. People say, I just want to sell stuff. Well, if you don’t want to put your human out there, maybe it’s not for you to convert in that way. Maybe you’re a high end CEO that uses it for PR purposes, that’s fine. But if you are converting, if you’re trying to get a career going on stuff, you need to have all your ducks in a row. If you’re trying to convert B2B or high value services, you have to have all these things in a row. Because when someone makes a decision, it’s usually an emotional decision first. And second, it’s based on stats. That’s how most humans work, right? And they look at you and you look like a douchebag on your photo. They’re not going to know it. But in the back of their mind, something is off with this guy here. I don’t think I want to work with them. You don’t know why, it’s your douchebag photo.

 t

Exactly.

Something simple as that. So making a decision to work with you, they may have 2, 3, 4, 5, 10 criteria, right? Whatever it is. And they don’t know it’s ten or five criteria. Say five is easy number. But all they have to figure out is one that you’re not qualified to not work with, you know. Like, how do I separate myself from all these other LinkedIn guys? Right. Well, I’m not as serious. I’m more human. That’s why I put the not so boring LinkedIn guy. It’s just funny enough to separate. It’s not really super funny and super off. My other line was actually better, but it didn’t apply to LinkedIn. When I had my gaming company, I was known as the number one Swissipino game designer in the world. Right. Because my mother from Switzerland, my dad is Filipino, I’m half Asian. And so my mother has blonde hair, green eyes, and my dad’s like, really Filipino and so I’m Swissipino. And that would be such a great pickup line of the bars. They would say, really? I think so. I probably number one Swissipino.

The irony is this, Troy, that you’re the second Swissipino person I know. I have a friend, somebody who’s Sonia Missio. She’s actually based in Toronto, and she also in that interesting split. But it is so funny that you say that. And like you said, that the genuineness comes out. And look, the truth is, design is important. User experiences, that engagement is important. If design didn’t matter, then there would be sushi milkshakes.

Yeah.

We like the fact that someone spent way too much time making it look good so you could eat it. Otherwise we would just be having nothing but Soylent milkshakes. And, like, there’s a reason we do stuff. You walk down the street, there’s flowers on the thing. Like, you see somebody’s profile, and it’s like half of their girlfriend or boyfriend’s face is in the shots. It looks like they’re on a fishing boat. That’s great photos.

That’s another thing I tell my clients. Oh, my goodness. Well, I don’t know. Do you have time to make money? I tell them I’m blunt with them. What’s going to cost me so much? I said, how much is the client worth? That’s my closer right there. I said, how much is a client worth to you? Okay. Then you’re going to have to do A, B and C or pay to do whatever. Because it’s like you want to be honest and you want to be authentic. But there’s also a fine line from kissing someone’s feet. The client doesn’t want that. Client wants to know that, hey, Eric knows what he’s doing. Troy knows what he’s doing. If he tells me something, it’s for a reason. It’s not because he’s blabbing. It’s because he’s trying to get me money. And those are the right people. Well, for my market anyway. Those are the right people to actually engage with because they’ll actually take the steps to do a process that works for them.

Yeah. There’s a really interesting thing you talked before about the kind of like firing your client. And it’s an important piece because as you look at where you can deliver real value. Right. And you’re selling value, you’re selling a specific outcome. And I’ve had this for an advisory with startups. And you start talking with them, and as you give them advice and you give them direction and you give them guidance, and they’re just, like going the opposite way on each thing. And then they say, I don’t understand why this stuff is not working. Well, I don’t know, maybe because the last three things I’ve told you that you should do, you’ve kind of gone in the opposite direction. And then at that point. I’m like..

Well, you’re nicer than I am. Yeah.

It feels like I don’t think I’m adding value to this. So I’m going to just step back.

Yeah. I had two clients I remember firing, and there’s a very specific story. One was, I have CPA. Anyone that has a high value of service I could potentially work with. Right. If they’re trying to convert on LinkedIn. One was a CPA, and he was from, I don’t know, the UK somewhere. We moved to Midwest. Older guy in Balding, and he was there. He was very dry. Right. And he used to take Zoom meetings like this. It pissed me off. Right. Like what? He wouldn’t even looked at the camera. He’s talking and he has his accent and all this other stuff. He says, Troy, this is not working very well. And I looked at him with a straight face. I said, didn’t you just get 14 clients in 45 days? How did you know that? I was like, I bet everything I do, I’m a lot smarter than, I don’t tell them that, but I’m a lot smarter than I look. Okay. Because I said, I talked to your VP two days ago before this meeting. He was trying to not pay and get these clients. Right. I don’t like that. That’s being very dishonest. He just wanted to do what he wanted to do.

Right. And I said, you know what? I’ll let you out of contract. Forget about 30 days. Maybe it’s not working for you. And he said, yeah, maybe it’s not working. Oh, it was working for him, but I don’t want to work with people that are trying to lowball me or lie to me. I had another guy, he was in cyber security. It’s another big area. And he was doing training, certification stuff right there’s. All these.

Yeah.

And he wanted to sell the certification to individual LinkedIn. I didn’t think it was a good idea. Right. I don’t know about cyber security. But I was like, yeah, I don’t think this is, is your audience receptive to this? Yes, it is. Yeah, I don’t think so. It’s kind of hard to sell these $4-5,000 courses and stuff. And I said, you got funding for it. And then I said, you know what? You might want to just partner with other security people and use this because you’re an ancillary, you’re an extra. And they already have the in on it. In on this company that’s doing this stuff. And they’d probably need his certifications anyway. And he said, well, I don’t have any partners give me two days. So I went to a security event here in Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia. And I paid my bills to get in, $500 to get in and was talking to these people and I talked to twelve people. I would love to talk to this person. I said, hey, I said forget this whole what we’re doing, just forget it. I’ll give you meetings. I said these clients are worth a lot. I said, this one client here don’t miss the meeting. And he’s traveling and all this stuff. He agreed to the meeting, he missed the meeting twice, right? Twice.

Frustrating.

Yeah. And the other people who were not, I don’t know what he was doing. Some people do their business, shoot by the hip. He was going and he was from Texas and he was going to another country and I was having meetings with them and I told him directly, I said, hey man, I like you, but I don’t want to see what’s happening in their background because he was at his mistress house or something and that’s not cool. I don’t want to know that personally. I don’t care if you have two women or you’re married, you’re single, you’re gay, you’re straight. I think as long as you treat people well, that’s important. But what I have a personal issue with is deception because that means you’re not going to run an honest business, right? So I had to let them go. I like the guy. But if you can’t make the meetings and you’re in these compromising things and stuff and you’re trying to cover the campaign, don’t do that. So you have to work with people that have the same, I wouldn’t say moral structure, but integrity, right. Integrity, that’s a good word to have the same kind of ideals that you do.

Because you know that at the end of the day, if he’s going to do stuff right, I know that I won’t get paid. I’m not going to fight over payment. I would just can you and stop all your services and you won’t make any money. It’s really simple for me. You can’t manipulate me. I’m here to help you to convert. And so you need those individuals that say, you know what, I will make it to this meetin., I will go in here and help this individual do what they need to do and I’m going to make business. You have to have a very clear head on. Like how am I going to get to point A to point B and then know that next month you may have to jump from A to C. You have to figure out the connecting the dots, you have to do some AB testing on what works and then you have to figure out like this works better. And it’s okay because you didn’t know that before. It’s a process. So people think that, oh, I get this automation thing on LinkedIn, I’ll make a million dollars. No, it doesn’t work that way.

It works against you. Linkedin will shut you down. And if that’s the main channel, it’s not going to help you out. So a lot of the lower end and not lower end is money so much, but lower end and thought process and being human and helping, they don’t do very well on LinkedIn, where a lot of coaches that have a little bit of a brand, a little bit of flair, something that separates them from other people, you got people that like them, actually like them, they can engage with them. And every personality works well. Had this one guy really dry personality. I told him, you are dry as toast. I told him, you’re dry as toast. I said, that’s your brand.

Be proud.

I said, yes, you are. I’m telling you are. I said, you know why you could say dry jokes. And it’s funny because you’re such a straight face. It works for you. And I said, and you’re a CPA. Do they want a funny guy to be messing with their money? No, they want a serious dude. And you have to kind of think about it like that. You have to think about what is my personality. And so I actually am somewhat dry. I’m kind of funny. I got dry humor. That’s what it is, right? Not so boring. Linkedin. I’m kind of boring. So I twisted it upside down to do that. And I would love to be the number one Swissipino LinkedIn guy in the world, but it wouldn’t make sense. LinkedIn, they wouldn’t know. It doesn’t. Because when you’re doing gaming, it’s a little more fun. And they’re going to ask, what is Swissipino? But on LinkedIn, they’ll be like, this makes no sense at all. So you have to apply a brand that kind of makes sense to that audience.

And it goes to your approach to it. Right. Which is about adaptability, because even where a method may work for one company, one brand, one person, that same thing. If you just automate it and try and sell it to ten other clients without gating, is this appropriate without evaluating? Is this going to fit their persona, their audience? It’s both sides of that experience, too. It’s not just about you. Two funny people are not two funny people. There are two funny people that each have individual audiences. The one dry CPA guy, like you said, your clients are going to dig this. They want to kind of know that you’re the dry CPA guy. Somebody who’s hiring a real funny person if they want them for a keynote speaker for a CPA conference. Perfect. But if you want, it’s like matching and mapping skills to value, to perception, it is a real like, you achieve a really interesting mix by being dynamic, having the integrity, being genuine through the process. And then making sure that those people then parlay that genuineness, that integrity because of how you work with them.

Yeah. And part of it is clarity. When you’re creating a brand, you don’t want to say, oh, I can do this. I don’t really talk about all my development other than in the story. But in general, when you look at my profile, it’s very clear that he’s a LinkedIn guy. He’d get me clients. It’s very simple concept. But if you say, oh, by the way, I can do website design. I did Coca Cola stuff. What are you, a LinkedIn guy or a programmer? You end up looking like a flea market, and that’s one thing you have to avoid. You want simple clarity. You can add a little humor in it. For branding purposes, you want a separation, but what are you known for? I picked up a client last week, and he says, you know, I want to help professional women, right? They’re owners of businesses or they’re higher up in the thing and they feel like something’s missing. I said, I totally get it, okay? I can help men, too. I said, no, men will come in as ancillary. What do you mean? I said, you can’t say, oh, I helped a lot of women, but men can come in too. Well, no. You want to concentrate on that. Your main nuts or your main fruit, low hanging fruit. And by doing that and doing it well, your interaction with them, they’ll give you another client. You have your clients to come based on referral. I don’t care what kind of system you have going on. We got systems where we have direct message campaigns and stuff, but they’re not sequenced. They’re teaching the client how to reach to certain audiences. We have posting campaigns and stuff like that that we have a whole series of things that are done that promotes authentic conversations. And so a lot of things that we do, we have to slow down, have less but better conversations. By doing that, you convert. How many clients you really freaking need.

Right. Yeah. And the thing that you hit on there is like that clarity and crispness. Like, even when we talk about going to public speaking, I coach people in this all the time. When you go to give a keynote, your opening slide should not be, Hi, my name is Eric Wright. I’m a product marketer. I work for a company, and prior to this, I did 20 years working in financial services. I was a systems administrator. Started off as desktop support. Made my way to me. Prior to that, I was actually a landscaper.

Or you could start with that and say, Just kidding and move on. Right?

But it’s like that’s the first thing they do is they do that, and then they end the presentation with a thank you slide. You’re like, no, what you should do is how many times have you gone into the office and realized that there’s no door by the bathroom? That’s two way door.

Storytelling, yes.

 And you immediately get into this thing. And that’s what your profile has to tell a story. But you’ve got 160 characters to do it in. So you just can’t dilly dally around. You got to get to it and it’s got to be meaningful, engaging. And like you said, it’s got to match the other stuff. But it’s hard as the person, the self, to have the humility to step outside and create that. That’s why having you come in and do this with them, it’s like such a boost, because it is balanced voice.

Because you have character limitations. You have SEO on Google as well as SEO on LinkedIn. So Google has searched everything on LinkedIn, and LinkedIn has their own search as well. And LinkedIn tends to do things a certain way, so you have to do things a certain way. For example, you’re on individual jobs, right. Linkedin tends to pair you with people that are similar to you. Right? Well, that’s not what you want to do if you’re doing B2B sales or your coach.

That’s right. It’s trying to find you a job, not a client.

Oh, I need another programmer. Like, I know a Zillion program. You know what I mean? You’re trying to get business, right? So one trick is to actually put your target market in your title. It’ll start pairing you up with your target market. And people don’t think about that. You know, one thing to do is when I say I’m a Not So Boring LinkedIn guy, right. That’s the first thing I have underneath my name. And it’s not SEO optimized, but I don’t care. It’s more important to have that brand. And then I have the other things that are very searchable. And then when you’re telling a story, this is an easy way to explain it. I want to show the scars, but I don’t want to show the wounds. Right? You can over inundate like you can say, yeah, I was homeless. My mom died. My brother died. He had an overdose. My girlfriend was cheating on me and left me. I was living in the shit. No one can hear that. That’s just horrible. That’s just too much. I mean, you don’t want to say my life is awful, but I’m trying to make it.

That doesn’t work. So showing the scars and then not the wound, that would be showing the wound.

Right.

Showing the scars could be like the dating story. I told you I was an awful dater. It’s funny and it’s true. I am so direct. I used to go straight for it and it works sometimes, but most of the time it didn’t. So taking the approach of old fashioned dating into business just to get to know someone, just to see, I think dots connect. Are you in the same area? You have some commonalities? Is there something that you think he needs that you can help that has maybe nothing to do with your business? Maybe it’s someone I can connect them with or, oh, he doesn’t need a LinkedIn guy. He needs to fix his freaking email. I got an email guy. And people say, oh, I got great deliverability. No, you don’t. People don’t realize that a good portion of emails never make it. And I could tell them, look, LinkedIn is great, but LinkedIn is not everything. Like, we pull stuff off of LinkedIn and create a video funnel series through like dub or some kind of component that makes it more interactive because some people don’t reply on LinkedIn. So what are you going to do? You have to figure out what works best to help convert the goals of that client and a lot of it is technology based. And can you imagine sending a proposal to someone and they don’t get it? And the client says, well, I never got it. Well, the clients not thinking, oh, it’s a mysterious email. No, it’s a you problem.

Yes, right.

You screwed up and you lost the deal. So people sometimes don’t know how important these little components are to fix because it’s a cassette of dominoes. You remove one or two dominoes, it doesn’t complete. And I think a lot of people are so geared about volume. I mean, if you do a high value services, I’m good with one client a month. One, there’s a lot of work for me, maybe two maximum. A high value clients worth at least $1,000 a month compound monthly. You can compound that. My other client, like I mentioned, one job is $200,000. When you take the work in, can you deliver the work? And then maybe you can grow your business and your service offering procedures and training, and you can slowly grow out in that way. But I think that everyone, not everyone, but many people are about that volume and that volume will work against you. Can you imagine reaching out someone’s interested and they reply back and you don’t have time?

If they all come back and say, yes, if you’re not ready for that and it doesn’t have to be many, it can just be, like you said, one or two of them. They say, yeah, go for it. And you’re like, oh but I can’t go for it now.

Yeah, stabbing yourself in the foot. So you have to realize what is appropriate. And it’s okay to have a small business. It’s even okay to have a job if you’re doing career changes. I got a buddy that’s a sales guy for servers. I don’t even know what he does. Right. I’ll be honest with you drinking buddy. We go out, we talk. I said that dude makes a quarter of a million dollars a year having a job. So it’s not all about entrepreneurship. It’s about his ability to build relationships with clients. And whether you’re entrepreneur or having a job, you have to charge what you’re worth and you have to deliver what you say.

Put that on the card. There you go. Well, Troy, this has been fantastic and I tell you that’s a great way to wrap because it is important, right? Whether you’re selling yourself into a job where they’re selling yourself into a service, whether you’re selling a team, whatever it is, there’s the way you do it to bring that personality, that integrity through, I’m glad genuineness that you bring to this is enlightening and it was really great to share this. So for folks, if they do want to reach out to you, they can find you on LinkedIn, I presume.

My first and last name Troy last name is Hipolito. H-I-P-O-L-I-T-O. There is another Troy Hipolito out there, that’s actually my brother but he’s in the army so that’s a whole different guy. I used to be an army. Anyway, long story but I’m the most popular Troy Hippolito out there, right?

Not only is the top Swissipino but he is the top Troy Hipolito.

In the world, yeah.

Well, there you go. Troy, thank you very much. This has been really great and encouraged folks do reach out and taken your content through the great I love the way you approach things and yeah, we all need a little bit more Troy in our lives so thanks for taking the time today.

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Patrick Baynes is an American entrepreneur and marketing executive. He’s best known for working at LinkedIn (#162), as co-founder of PeopleLinx, and being CEO of Nerdwise. More than that, Patrick is a fantastic person and a real pleasure to learn from.

He and I cover a ton of really important lessons in business, startups, product management, biz dev partnerships, sales development and much more.

This was really fun and I learned a lot.

Check out NerdWise over at https://nerdwise.com

Connect with Patrick (tell him DiscoPosse sent you) on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/baynes/

Transcription powered by HappyScribe

Welcome back, friends. This is the show. This is the DiscoPosse podcast and you are listening to what is about to be a really fantastic conversation with Patrick Baynes. He’s the founder of Nerdwise, serial co-founder and somebody with a really cool background. I say serial that he’s actually had successful launches in the past of startups. Great history and just somebody who I really enjoyed chatting with. Nerdwise really solves a neat problem about solving lead generation, creating SQLs, MQLs, is really driving value and getting better information and insight to make the journey towards pipeline friendlier and more effective. But if you’re not going to do that, then you can learn tons of startup lessons and how to build culture and product management. And this literally is just a sea of startup lessons. I could turn this one into a book. So big thanks to Patrick for being such a fantastic guest and conversationalist. I do have to, of course speaking of success, thank you all and the amazing sponsors that make this podcast successful and allow me to keep doing it and bringing it to the world. So I got to make sure that if you’ve got data out there, it is at risk. Unless of course you’re using the fine folks over at Veeam Software. And if you want to find out more, it’s super easy. Just go to vee.am/discoposse and you can find out everything you need for your data protection needs, whether it’s on premises whether it’s in the cloud. They really have so many cool things. I absolutely think you should check it out. And because for the first time in like a zillion years, I’m actually going to read the official line because I think they do have much more than just pure data protection. It’s being backup and replication. We’ve got new V11A, which is out. And this is everything when it comes from AWS as your Google cloud storage repository integration with Kubernetes and ultimately greater RTO for Nutanix. That’s right. If you run Nutanix, then you need to get saved. So go to vee.am/discoposse. Speaking of getting saved, save yourself getting your identity sold online by being better by using things like a VPN. I’m a user of ExpressVPN and I think it’s fantastic. So much so that I’m able to say that I think you should try too. And if you want to try it, it’s easy. Go to tryexpressvpn.com/discoposse. And hey, I also like coffee, so go diabolicalcoffee.com. That’s it. Here’s Patrick Baynes.

Welcome everybody. This is Patrick Baynes and you are listening to the Disco Posse podcast. Welcome to the show.

My start to the year is going so well because it’s really content specific to stuff that I’m digging deep into. You are doing some really fantastic stuff with the team at Nerdwise and we’re going to dive into that. But just with your history that led you up to Nerdwise, with the problems I see constantly in the industry, especially in the startup ecosystem where we’re just pouring over tool chain issues. We’ve got all these interconnected or semi connected things, and everybody thinks they’ve got the ideal solution, and they got 27 single panes of glass and none of it seems to fit. So I’m excited. We’re going to unpack. We’re going to break down some myths about the early stages of setting up effective marketing tool chains and much more. But if you don’t mind, for folks that are new to you, if you want to give a quick bio of yourself and introduce the Nerdwise story, sure.

Well, thank you, Eric, for having me again. And for those of you listening, thank you for listening. I am Patrick Bayne. So I’m an entrepreneur. Both kind of have an agency background and the fact that I’ve provided a lot of professional services in my career and then also a technology entrepreneur. I built multiple software products. I was an early employee at LinkedIn in 2007 and then built the first enterprise kind of employee optimization and management tool for LinkedIn. That was a company called People Links. And we were early, although at the time it didn’t feel early. But we started that company in 2009, and People Links was really my first run at entrepreneurship. Had a good about six years there before we sold the company, raised close to 10 million in venture capital. And yes, we started as a training organization teaching people how to use LinkedIn quickly learned what type of product we wanted to build for the market, and services are a great way to get to know customers and know their pain points and what opportunities there may be. So then we built the People Links platform. That is a whole story on its own.

And then the market had changed more than I realized after People Links in the sense that people talk a lot about the barriers to starting a company being less and less. And of course, now you can have a TikTok account and be an entrepreneur. And it’s like crazy. But when I started this business, I realized I could do something. Now with my skill set, I could build a company without having to raise money. At least I felt confident that I could. And over years, I proved that to be correct. And then this business has started with that was kind of the primary mission was, hey, let me get out of the I don’t even know if you call them golden handcuffs when it’s venture capital. More just like real handcuffs. When you raise money, your business really becomes not just a business anymore. It becomes an investment vehicle like you have shareholders and people that you are responsible to and you have to report to. And it’s a good thing for many people if you want to be, if you’re really building out a company for that exit. But I didn’t know what I was necessarily doing when I started Nerdwise other than I wanted to take a solution to market without needing outside funding.

We have been profitable now for seven years. We built a lead. We work with sales teams, so we do the broader category of sales enablement. But it’s really lead generation and lead scoring for sales teams based on all their different data that they have, their sales outreach, their website traffic, what may exist inside of a CRM. We can help kind of activate that data, generate leads from it and score it. So both sales qualified and marketing qualified leads. And as this world has changed in the last seven years, one of the things, in addition to just access to starting a company, whether that be like launching a quality website or finding talent freelancers and all these other things that are so much easier to do now than ever before, there’s a whole marketplace now of practitioners. Whether they be software developers, graphic designers, web developers, website developers, and they’re affordable. They’re all over the world. Ten years ago, if you were to outsource development to India, for example, it was a much more risky proposition. Now, if you find a decent group in India, they’ve got 10-20 years of cycles under them where they’ve been doing this stuff for a long time.

And in any case, it’s been exciting to be on the front of that. And it’s put us in a better position as a company to be able to build a business without needing outside funding. So that’s sort of the story of nerdwise. We may go out and raise money at some point now, but it’s been seven years working with a whole breadth of different industries and company sizes, but that’s a little bit about who I am.

That’s fantastic. And also I’ll say congratulations on just growth and success already. Not that taking on additional funding to do bigger growth. It’s neither a good nor a bad thing, depending on what your goal is doing that. But I like how you highlighted earlier that getting money from a bank is they’re going to charge you a nominal interest fee for giving you the money. Getting money from venture capital, they specifically are expecting an outsized return on their investment and they have a guiding hand in delivering that outsized return. There’s a very different requirements and responsibility in taking venture money. So whenever somebody gets a new funding round and everybody’s like, yeah, congratulations. Inside my mind, I’m like, hopefully, congratulations, there’s some weight that comes with it. Again, there’s great reasons why companies need that and people need that. But it’s not free money for sure.

Even that’s changed in the last ten years. Now there’s startups to fund startups and even Stripe. So we use Stripe as a payment processor. Stripe is offering Stripe capital to its users based on their revenues. And they’re my biggest investor right now. Yeah, it’s unbelievable what has changed.

And you look at, like in the last year, what’s going on with micro, acquire and stuff. I’ve been kind of deeply watching where that was, this idea of people just posting SAaS. And it’s a beautiful sort of two sided marketplace. And I’m like, it started off as just people buying websites, and then all of a sudden they’re doing an incredible amount of business by being this beautiful two sided broker to it. It’s a vastly different world. And this is moderate level investments. To do it, you don’t have to go in and be an accredited investor, which is there’s a lot of work to do that you can’t just walk in even if you suddenly win $500,000. You can’t just go and become a venture capital investor. There’s legal requirements to be accredited, and there’s this history. It’s a weird sort of whole scene, but I don’t want to disparage it because it’s a fantastic thing, but it’s an odd world. And like you said, it’s changing fast.

And I’ll tell you one of the most interesting things I’ve seen, and this has always been there, but it has shifted completely which is, if you talk to PE firms and VCs, except for maybe some of the unicorn VCs and some of the bigger ones, although I think it’s still true for them. They’re hunting harder and harder for these opportunities than ever before now. It used to be that you had to find them. You had to get in. You have to get the opportunity. Still, by no means it’s easy to go raise money, but they’re hiring multiple associates to go out and find these investments and compete for these investments. And the folks I talked to, we actually do lead gen for three PE firms right now, helping them get in front of established companies that are privately held and they want to be first in line. And they’ve always looked. But it used to be that again, I think the whole marketplace, the boom, all the money that’s poured into startups. But now it’s almost like they’ve got business development operations that are 10X what they were to go out and find these investments and to be the first in line.

Yeah, it’s funny. I used to work in a financial services firm in it. So I became really highly attuned to the investment world and then to come into the tech side and then get involved in startups. So now to really literally see it from inside the machine. And now PE has changed so much. We’ve got private equity. One of the funniest transaction I saw last year was for folks that have kids. You probably know his name is Blippi. So Blippi is a YouTube phenomenon. He’s somebody that created this personality for kids videos. And there’s another one called Cocomelon, and they just do, like, funny cartoons for kids. Well, they were picked up by a PE firm that’s backed by Blackstone, and it’s like they’re literally buying up YouTube channels. Now, I didn’t have that on my bingo card for 2021 for sure.

Don’t get started on NFTs.

Yeah, I’m still trying to figure out how to even approach what it is, let alone what’s coming out of it. That is a wild world.

Oh, my God.

But I think what’s really interesting and I like your personal story that being early with LinkedIn, then the opportunity as you went to found your own firm coming out of it, that story of being inside somebody that solves a very specific problem or set of problems. Like, obviously LinkedIn really, really grew in what they were attacking. It’s a standard name in the market. No one even questions right now. Like, there’s no LinkedIn killer because they came and went right Plaxo, etcetera, etcetera. There’s all sorts of folks that want to do it. But then you had this beautiful opportunity. Now it’s a beautiful marketplace, but then in itself is now the machine that needs to be fed with other ecosystems and partners. And so then coming out, you’ve got this inside view of, like, there’s still a problem to be solved, and now to have the confidence to go out and solve that. What was the thought process, as you said, I think I’ve got something I can build.

Well, hindsight is 2020. And so some of it around what we built and the fact that we were early and how we got there. It happened very organically, kind of day over day. But the real story, the real push, was a desire to grow at a rate that LinkedIn wasn’t offering me, Ironically, because LinkedIn was like this rocket ship. It was a deck of corn. But I mean, it was a unicorn 30 times over. And it was my first job out of College. And so when I started applying for other jobs inside the organization, I was competing against people from Google and Deloitte, going for these entry level marketing manager positions and account manager positions and things where it wasn’t anything that I interviewed really well. They took me through multiple interviews. And I mean, I was interviewing with people who were like, one guy was the former head of marketing at Yahoo who took over marketing at LinkedIn, and then the other guy was on The Apprentice show and then came to work at LinkedIn. And there’s just these people that had profiles that were beyond. And this was before social media. So these were just credentials.

And at the time, in any case, so I couldn’t compete. And I didn’t want to go kind of like horizontally. And I got forward sitting in my cube and felt like I want to do more with myself. I’m 23, 24, and I just knew I wanted to grow at a faster pace. So I called my uncle, who is an entrepreneur, and I told him, I think I want to leave and start my own company. And he said, well, hold on to the job for as long as you can because that’s your cash flow while you figure out what you want to do. And I tried that for about another month. And I was like, I just can’t do it. I was breaking hackysack records out outside of the office three times a day with a buddy of mine. It’s like just fun, but not fulfilling. And so I left. And then I was very fortunate. Not a lot of people were leaving LinkedIn at that time, but another person had just left, and we got connected. And he reached out to me within a week or two and said, hey, I’m starting this other business.

And we kind of interviewed. He hired me as a contractor to do a little bit of work. We were basically selling training on LinkedIn and companies. He had been selling LinkedIn corporate solutions he saw in the marketplace. People just had questions that weren’t part of their solution stack. And for me, it was a low risk opportunity. I’m 24, I don’t have a wife, kids, a house, a mortgage, all those things. And someone who’s in their late 30s, wife, kids, houses like, hey, I’m starting a company, offered me a decent paycheck. I said, sure, there’s no risk here. It aligns with what I want to do. And then two or three months later, he made me a co founder offer. I got a piece of the business I described as being a shotgun seat entrepreneur, where I just got to kind of come along for the ride and learn a tremendous amount. And it paid off. I mean, two or three years later, we were doing seven figures and really built a strong brand and attracted the right people to come work with us. And that’s where I built my version 1.0 of my entrepreneur toolkit skill set.

And then I left there for a similar reason. I was ready. The company was at that time starting to be run by really senior people from the outside. And I was ready to do my own thing again. So went from shotgun seat to driver seat and started Nerdwise.

So when you think of describing Nerdwise, this is always the fun part of either like, there’s product led startups and there are services consulting lead startups. They’re never that far apart because they’re generally paired up. When someone says they have a consulting startup, I say, you have a consulting team. It’s not a start up. You may be building products. A good example I found is a company called Heptio. And I referred to them all the time as a product startup. And everybody’s like, no, no, they’re consulting. They do consulting for people building Kubernetes, but they’re using their own products they’re building to create a machine framework for people. That will be the value they sell. And they did sell, and they got bought by VMware, and it was a big deal. And even when the acquisition happened, I said, watch out, this is going to be a competitive product play into this ecosystem. And everybody’s like, they’re a consulting team. I’m like, no one pays this much money for a consulting team. There were products, but they were consulting lead.

Yeah.

And then other ones are, look at the Maz story. Of course, it’s like, same thing. Consulting, build products. All of a sudden the products are assassin switch up. Now you’re a product led company.

Yeah. You can come at it from a lot of different angles. And when you know the problem that you’re solving or your customer and they say, do things that don’t scale, and sometimes that’s what you do to get to know the customer, get to know those opportunities. And then you realize, oh, hey, we could build an app for that. Or, hey, we’re putting a lot of time into this one process that applies to everybody. And if we just put together a little bit of a user experience and connect some data and add a few buttons, we can now provide a little bit better of a workflow and some reporting and some analytics versus it’s also always good to go look at the spreadsheets. What are you doing on a spreadsheet right now that shouldn’t be or doesn’t need to be in a spreadsheet? And there’s a million examples of startups that were literally just spreadsheets and then turned into these great products.

Well, I tell you, in Enterprise today, I tweeted the other day, it said, it’s like the Scooby Doo, like removing the mask, meme. And it said, what’s running finance today? And it’s like complex AI and machine learning solutions you pulled off. It just says, Microsoft Excel. Like that. Yeah, it’s amazing. When I were in a finance organization, I would have these incredible people that they were quants before they were called quants, but they were doing stuff. And, like, in It offices, we get calls like, hey, I need to restore this three and a half gigabyte Excel documents. Well, first of all, that’s terrifying because it goes beyond what Microsoft even built the bloody thing for. And then you think, what are you doing with this thing? They’re like, this is our modeling stuff. But there was no SAS alternative at the time. And it’s amazing that that stuff still today powers a ton of people’s backends you tableau. You do all these things, no matter how you slice it, someone’s going to just dump that down to Excel, then copy and paste it into PowerPoint to give a team presentation. Oh, no, it’s 22.

Why are we doing this now?

And when you think of the problem, what was the reason that Nerdwise you knew right away that this is a thing we can build? Because this is a question I get asked all the time.

Yeah, well, gosh, even before that, I feel like you have to just sort of be committed to what you’re doing and then know that you’re going to screw it up and you just got to change it quickly, right? In whatever sense that may be, whether it be that you chose the wrong target customer or the wrong value proposition, or you’re building a product and you say, hey, I think we’re going to build we just want to have some SAS element of our company. Sometimes you just have to start to then run into the first brick wall or the first road bump and go, oh, wait, it’s not that. It’s this right? For us, there was a lot of that. And that’s me being candid in the sense that I didn’t have some AHA moment other than I thought I had a bunch of them. And then through trial and error, you find the one that sticks. And for us, it was we were doing lead Gen services for our clients for a broad range of different customers. And there was one theme across all of them, which was in addition to generating the coveted sales qualified lead in the meeting, the appointment, whatever it was that they wanted, there was also this base of marketing qualified leads that were the folks who they were showing interest but not making, not converting.

They weren’t taking the next step. And we were pushing our clients were saying, hey, but there’s all these warmed up prospects, there’s all these people that have been on your website, we can track them, we see all this data, it’s a million ways to pull this data and show it. And we were putting it in a Google sheet and we’re sorting it, we’re scoring it. We pay someone to run all these crazy algorithms, so it scores, it updates, it does all these things. And then we’re trying to push them to do something with it and we’re creating little tactics to get value out of it, to kind of like squeeze some juice from the lemon or whatever. That was the moment we said, hey, wait, the problem here is that nobody wants to work from the spreadsheet. This doesn’t say I’m a lead. It says I’m data. And so people weren’t logging into it. They weren’t using it after some trial and error realized. And by the way, setting up those spreadsheets is a pain in the ass. I think we weren’t smart enough to do it. I have the instructions still on our blog to teach other people how to do it, but it was like 30 steps and something breaks and there’s algorithms and things in there.

We’re paying an outside contractor to help us put them together. So we said, okay, look, let’s build it around this first. Let’s build it around this lead scoring and some workflows and user experience. And it has been night and day. I mean, you can see the same data on a spreadsheet as on the application. And it’s like you want to do something with this, right? So that was the theme is we just saw this kind of opportunity across all of our clients, and we’re trying. We’re using all of our creativity and brute force to try to get something to happen with it. And then it was like we’re fighting this with the wrong tool. We need to go from square one and build something that has a better workflow. And that was the beginning of we went from not just Lead gen and services to a lead scoring application. And then we’re continuing to build more around that to help reactivate those leads and identify them and have kind of a big brain that can take all your data. So now we’re iterating on it. But it took a while to figure that out.

I like this. You’ve really moved into the very specific thing that the audience problem is always like, we pull all this data, there’s a lot of companies out there that are into slicing and dicing data, and then they move it up to tableau and they put it into Snowflake. They throw a hot spot in front of it. They do all this stuff. But then you’ve got you basically have marketing Ops and sales Ops, people that are doing, like you said, what you were doing with Excel. But every time you want to say, like, hey, what active opportunities or prospects do I have? What MQL do I have right now? Okay. I’ll go get Charles to run a report for you. There should be a place that’s live updating at least as close you can to it.

Yes. And also, if you think about the conversion rates on either the effort itself to generate a lead or on the amount of leads that you convert to sales, it’s small on both sides. Right. So you might get I don’t know, let’s just say if it’s sales outreach or something, 1-3% upfront positive meeting flow, and then on converting leads, people say numbers like 15 to 20, and those are high. If you’re converting 15-20% of your leads, that means 80 to 75 or 85% to 90% or whatever percent of your leads aren’t converting. But where are the ones that wanted to convert or that we’re ready to have a conversation? And then on the flip side, 1-2 or 3% conversions on a campaign, it’s still kind of a revolving door. So how do you get the most out of all you’re investing in Zoom info, you’re investing in outreach, you’re investing in all these people that are doing all this work. You got the CRM, they’re tracking it, they’re doing all this stuff, and you’re getting these numbers that are great if they’re working and it’s driving up. But then you just have to go on to the next push. The next push, the more people. More people. So how do you just get more out of all of this investment, time and technologies and everything? That’s kind of where we’re playing.

It’s funny when I’d love to actually find anecdotal ways or analogous ways to show this. It’s really like imagine that there’s a Starbucks or like coffee shop that’s next to a Starbucks. So they’ve got similar keywords. They’ve got similar attractiveness audiences is adjacent. And you’ve got 100 people that walk by the front door or 1000 people that walk by the front door, and then 100 of them go in. But out of that, 100 of them, 80 of them walk all the way up to the cash and then go, Actually, I’m not going to get a coffee today. The numbers are horrifying. We’re still in business anywhere.

Well, I love the challenge of putting an analogy around that, too. They call that storytelling, but that’s great. I’m going to think about that and make a powerpoint slide get back to you on that one.

But then to this idea that we’re just repeating that machine and it’s like I hear all the time, like, SDR is 120 dials a day. If you’re in ten years into being an SDR, what does your day look like? It’s 120 dials. It doesn’t get better.

What do you look like ten years into being an SDR. Probably look a little bit like me. But yeah, SDR is a tough role. People can do that for 5-10 years. But yes, still, the point is valid and that you’re putting in all this effort, you’re getting all this activity, and what more can you get out of it before you just move on to the next thing?

Now, when it came to qualifying, there’s a very human aspect to qualification of leads. And this is what I want to dig in with you. Right. Because I work in an organization and I hear SQL/MQL all the time. I wish that for one thing, can I just throw my anger at the acronyms of the world, the fact that we’re using data and then we call them SQLs. And like, what do you store your SQLs in a database? What kind of database you stored in? Oh, yeah, that acronym was a little bit overused. But we’ve got SQLs, MQLs, you’ve got all these things. And so on the marketing side, we say, like, good lead, my MQL. Right. Then it gets to the sales side of it, and then most of them will just out into the air they go. Hey never get touched. And there’s somebody that says, well, it wasn’t really a good MQL. So that’s the SQL process. But that seems very, does not seem very systematic, that layer. How do you figure out what goes from MQL to SQL?

Yeah, it’s a very good question. So I see things as and there’s a graphic that I’m picturing where it’s like marketing funnel into sales pipeline. Right. And it’s horizontally versus vertically. But if you think about the stages of a marketing funnel and they’re a little different, you can label them however you want. But I think anything in the marketing funnel that hasn’t, like, gone where it goes, like, say, awareness from interest to consideration and then opportunity. You know, awareness isn’t enough. Right. Someone saw your ad, they saw your email. That’s not enough to be a marketing qualified lead. Interest, you could. Now it depends, maybe how many you have. You don’t want to be trying to go after everybody. But if they go to the point of, like, where you think they’re showing some interest to real consideration. And consideration may mean how much time on site, how many times did they visit your site? How much did they go back to an email of yours? More than once. Right. You’re now in the consideration stage. So that’s where I would say, is it true if you’re going to say to your sales team that these are marketing qualified leads, they better not be just like reading your email or saw an ad and clicked on some link bait.

They should be somewhere further down that marketing funnel. Now, a sales qualified lead and from my perspective, has to be in the sales pipeline. And that means that they took a meeting. If they’ve taken a meeting or they said yes to a meeting and maybe didn’t show or they signed up for a demo or requested information or something that is now and maybe not requesting information, but something that has actually said yes, I would like to meet with you. And they’ve gone into a sales pipeline like a CRM. They’ve been assigned to somebody, anything along those lines. That’s a sales qualified lead because that’s somebody that stepped on the showroom floor and said, I want to take this thing for a test drive. And that’s the distinction that I would make.

Now, when it comes to your team going in, and obviously every organization, they’ve got their preferences, a platform or they’ve got some other they got onto AppSumo, and there’s a really sweet deal. There’s always like a bunch of reasons why we choose any particular product. What’s your approach? When you go to an organization and say, we’re going to help you out, how much is their products fit into your process, how much of it is. I would suggest you go towards this other product because it may do you better. I’m curious what that flow looks like.

Yeah. So it’s interesting because we have two parts of our solution, a prospecting system. And that’s a system that requires not just technology, but it requires a true plan. Then you’ve got to have some data and some resources that aren’t necessarily even technology. Like you do need access to prospect lists, for example, or you’ve got to have something like that going on where you need it to do your prospecting. Then you do need automation solutions, and then you do need some resources and things around enablement. But the way that we’ve approached it is that we believe that we’ve selected what are the best in class, best of breed solutions for a turnkey prospecting system. Meaning if you don’t have anything or if you have something that’s maybe not performing that well or whatever the case may be that, hey, don’t worry about it. Let’s not go in and try to tweak a broken engine. Just let’s go. Apples to apples. You can either run what you ran or compare us to what your past performance. I mean, we have tools that we’ve selected that we think are best in class. Now that said, I know there’s a lot of great tools out there.

I like to tell our clients that we are tool agnostic and I want to be agnostic because what I really care about using list as an example is I just want quality data, quality prospect lists, wherever it comes from. Your internal, your CRM, your Zoom info, your email list. However, as long as it’s high quality. If it’s an outreach tool, what I care about is deliverability. Is the tool getting the right open rates, response rates, engagement rates. So it’s really got to be performance based. Now, as an entrepreneur and from a long term perspective, I would like us to be able to have and now I was talking about the prospecting system. From a SAAS perspective, I would like us to have an ecosystem that our platform. You can export your data from Salesforce or from outreach and you can upload it into the lead scoring thing and we’ll score it and we’ll do all that stuff. But we haven’t built integrations with every platform yet. And so on the system side, we have to come ready with everything that’s necessary that we know is no to low risk in terms of how it’s going to play out for our clients because nobody likes spinning their wheels and spending money and not getting returns.

So we have a set of suite of things that come included with our plan. Now on the lead scoring application, I would love for that to be part of. And we are in a couple of different integration partners or in a couple of different like, app marketplaces for different tools. But that’s something I want to build out and have it so you can turn on lead scoring for your Marketo account in a really turnkey way and then have those marketing, not just lead scoring, but then the workflow and the enablement around it and all that. So we have it. We want to be tool agnostic. I love discovering new tools through our clients and finding out that, hey, they’re using something they really like and it seems to be working like got my antenna up. And then from a platform perspective, it’s just about roadmap and prioritization and what we can do first. And selfishly, the things that are on the roadmap, I’m focused more on our existing customers than acquisition. Like what’s the next thing that my customers are going to get the most value out of? And then if we want to hit the gas and do some things from a marketing perspective, try to build that out.

Well it’s funny that you say that, this idea of going to a customer and then finding out what tools are out in the ecosystem. There’s lots of on my Nerd crew, we always had it was if this then that was the first one that was like doing all your goofy home automation. Then I started using it for some enterprise automation, which was kind of neat. And then I got turned on to Zapier, and I was like, okay, this obviously solves a bit of problem. And I had a couple of different folks on the podcast, and they both were like, yeah, we were deeply with Integromat. I’m like, never heard of Integromat. Then I find that this massive enterprise ecosystem wrapped around Integromat. I’m like, you don’t know what you don’t know. These are huge platforms that I had never seen. And now that I get exposed to, I’m like, oh, okay. Now, here’s the interplay and the interoperability opportunity, which is kind of wild, but that’s tough as an entrepreneur. Especially, you’ve got to be sort of ruthlessly pragmatic on how much you invest in partner integrations, because now you’re beholden to their mobile changing API and integration platforms.

Like, I used Go high level for something, and all of a sudden Zapier, they’re like, we’re building our own things, so we’re not doing a Zapier thing anymore. I’m like, oh, no.

I’ve learned that lesson the hard way. And best advice there is, if you’re going to build it, get close with the partner in one way or another, get in. Don’t just do it. Yes, you can tap into the API and start building, but reach out to the CEO first. Reach out to their head of product, reach out. They’ll tell you, if you email customer service, they’ll connect you with their head of integrations or whoever is running their API and make sure that you’re aligned with their ecosystem and that there’s no red flags. And ask them straight up say, hey, look, this is what we’re thinking about building. Is this good? Because it may be that they say that’s actually something kind of where we want to build, or we’re looking for partners more in this area so you can get the plug pulled pretty quick on you if you don’t build a close relationship and truly treat it like it’s a partnership.

Yeah. It’s funny. Whenever a product would come to me as a tech buyer and influencer inside my company, I would always ask them, like, sort of the same stock set of questions. And everyone was always like, do you have a well documented, publicly accessible restful API? I have no plans of consuming your products through a restful API. But what it tells me is that you are invested in external integration, which means that my other software could more easily potentially be linked in with this or put together with this. So it was to this degree of phoning the customer rep and saying, I worked with one company and they’re like, we’ve got a C# SDK. And, like, I’m out because I’ll never write a C# integration to map my data to your tool. So I’m going to have to look elsewhere. It was an interesting lesson in thinking about future proofing my investment, and I think that’s where the partnership ecosystem is pretty heavy in needing that.

Yeah. And even if you built a relationship, even if the ecosystem changes, they’ll be nicer to you. And give you some time, some heads up, some access. Hey, we’re rolling this out, but you got 90 days to adapt or whatever it may be. So you got to build that relationship. And like I said, I learned that one the hard way. Yeah.

When it becomes a point, like you said, where it could be that they’re suddenly going like, we’re about to introduce a similar service to what you’ve got. I used to always love it when you watch Amazon at the AWS reinvent. And on Day One, it’s always like these big keynotes. And like, we’re big handshake. It’s like that when the charity hands you the giant check, you’re like, we’re super proud of our integration. Here’s an amazing customer story, and I’m like, wait for it. Day Two keynote is Amazon announcing that they just launched this exact service that does what the day one keynote does. Like, oh, no, that’s tough news. That wasn’t the way you wanted to find out.

Yeah.

Now, when it came to product management and understanding the consultative experience, how do you weigh where you have to like, is this a solution needed? And then productizing it, what comes first in the chicken and egg of that scenario?

Well, I think at some point you have to have those, like, concentric circles that are what’s important in the middle. What are you really building in the middle? And then what do you think goes around? What are the features that make that kind of core feature pop that aren’t necessarily core, but they do further the user experience, the use cases, and so forth. And so I think that’s part of it. And you have to have that core thing and do it well. People would say it’d be great at that one thing. So I feel like that’s key for us, we’re really focused on productivity, and the lead scoring feature is one of those things. And then it’s like, okay, if we can be really great at lead scoring, that will drive massive productivity, and then what are those features that are going to actually take those score leads and make people more productive? What are the things that they need to take action on those workflows? And so you need some of that. I think it’s just call your true north. But the one thing you want to be good at, and then what do you build around that to support it?

And then you can become big. Maybe I can use all the other companies as examples. But if you can win that one thing, you kind of get the right to start to expand your use cases and what customers you serve and how you want to go from there. But you’ve got to get that foothold. And if you don’t have that priority, you’re going to be spread too thin in many ways. In all the ways, yeah.

And monetarily it’s the biggest punishment for that stuff. Right. Is just the capital investment to stand up a new system or service and then find that it’s not going to be generating revenue. And you’re like, oh boy, that’s a tough one. Now, here’s the interesting thing. We’ve talked a lot about the evolving world.

Right.

As you go into each startup, it’s like fundamentally different from when you started the previous. What about the idea of sort of APIs are forever and clean deprecation? Like, have you ever had to reach a point of the age of your platform or feature where you have to really think, is it safe with customers using it, that I need to just get rid of this thing? I’m always curious, the founder, where you approach that moment.

I think when you’re building products in general, you want to be sovereign with your product. You want it to be that product can be used regardless of an integration or not, and create real value for the client and the integrations can add to that value. Now, it’s very attractive to shortcut that and go right to an integration as a core feature, because now you’ve got all the data and you can just plug in workflows and things can get going really quick. Like you can turn the lights on really fast. But I think that’s the biggest piece is if you’re sovereign, if you’ve got real value, then you’re not taking on as much risk when you build out through integration. And so use integrations to make your product better, to enhance it, to help serve your customers and serve them in more and better ways. But also that if for some reason the lights go out on that integration, that it’s not a showstopper. To our point around at the end of the day, everything’s an Excel file, have that ability to get around the integration. If the data flow stops, at least you can have another way that the customer can get their data into your platform or out of it or whatever it may be. So there’s some of that. But I think that’s the biggest thing is don’t build around and the integration is your core thing.

Yeah. And that’s always a tough thing when you think of scaling the platform is where because you then have a data investment, you’ve got other implications that come by bringing that, bring the data closer to sort of own and be more sovereign with it. It’s not a one to one of us. Just bring it over here. Like we’re presenting a dashboard of external data versus bringing the data in as a different responsibility, especially on SAS. And you’ve got a lot of things to account for on the back end, for running and operating that environment.

Yeah, for sure.

There’s always the tough one to ask, and we give it the safest answer. You can. Have you ever had to fire a customer?

Oh, yeah, sure. But I do it. Absolutely. And I do it with so much love. You know, that can be I can give you scenarios where I’ve let a customer go, but I do it in a way. Like, I try to do it the right way. But the bigger thing that comes to mind is I try not to let them into the clubhouse. If my gut tells me that this is going to be a challenging individual, a challenging company, or that because of whatever element, I’m sensing that this just isn’t going to work out, I’ll pull out the special pricing sheet or have some other things up front. I said to somebody, I said, this guy was just challenging me and challenging me. And I said, you know what? I’m going to respectfully pass on this opportunity. And he was like, you’re giving up that easy? And something I said, well, and to be honest, yes, I am giving up that easy. This conversation has not been pleasant for me, and I don’t think that I would want to pass this on to members of my team, but I appreciate that people hate that, and I don’t like doing it either.

I don’t want to be on those conversations, but hiring a customer, yeah, I’ve done it. I guess I shouldn’t say that it’s easy, but you can wrap it in service and just tell them like, hey, this isn’t working out. And we tried everything, and I think it would be best if we just call it here. But there’s ways to do it with service first. And then I’ve had some of those customers try to come back as well. And it’s a $5,000 set up fee and an annual commitment if you want to come back.

Yeah, there’s a toll at the exit and then a toll at the reentry.

You want it that bad. But if somebody’s got it. And you know what I lost in my early days, I want to say three employees, definitely two to one customer. And the customer was so important to us, literally year two or year three. And they were only like three or $4,000 a month. But it was a big customer for us and meaningful revenues at that time. And I would just assign hire somebody just on that one account, like 10 hours a week, whatever it was, working on their service, working with the admin, and it was just an absolute shit show. But yeah, it took losing the second team member before I realized probably not worth it.

Yeah, it’s tough because I forget who did the Ted Talk, and she has a great book called on being wrong and this idea of sort of that Wiley Coyote that we make the decision that we’ve made a mistake after we’re well off the cliff. And it’s really tough to do that, especially when we’re talking about employee. You’re affecting the core of your company by retaining a customer. And it’s a tough thing as a founder and CEO to have to weigh, but it’s huge respect because I have not had to face that myself. And I hear the stories all the time, and they go either way. But you still bear the burden of that decision.

Yeah, I hear you. It hasn’t happened that often, but the cost far outweighs the reward and the morale of one teammate. And then for them to have to carry that and dread their job. I don’t want anybody I tell my team I want them at 60% to 70% capacity. And if they don’t feel good, don’t force it. It’s not about the grind. It’s just going the right direction. We do our best. And yeah, you don’t want anybody dreading to go to work or dreading to talk to a customer.

And I think this is interesting, too. We talked about the ethos, and the company is a representative of its founders. Right. Like, it’s a mirror of them for a while. We talk about the first ten hires, the most important because they will hire the next hundred. You’ve got a very mindful approach to the way you want to deal with customers, which I would imagine then translates to who you hire. And you just said like 60-70%. The most common sort of founder thing is you’re like 2015 Gary Vee. You’re grinding or you’re dying. Sleep is for the weak. I’ve been in too many startup environments seeing that you’re like, oh, this is not good. I like that you’ve come with it like, hey, obviously you don’t need to be at zero, but you don’t need to be at 120.

Yeah, well, culture is interesting for us because we started remote, or I should say we started in an office for a year or two. And then we went remote. And we’ve been in business a little over seven years now. So the last five have been all remote. And we went from two people to 15-16 now. And now I’m finding all the things that I’m missing in our culture that aren’t there, where I want to be around my team. I want to get to know them. I want to hear what they’re thinking or what’s going on between the Zoom calls. Right. I had a friend. This is just a silly thing, but it’s just a very clear example. A friend and I are texting the other day and he’s like, oh, my Fire remote from my TV stopped working. So we got to take a trip to Walmart to go buy a new one. And I was like, dude, there’s an app for that. You can download the Fire app on your phone and just do that. It’s like, oh, my gosh, perfect. I never would have thought of that. How many of those situations are happening in my organization right now scared the shit out of me for somebody’s doing something and there’s like, someone else who there’s an app for that, or they found another solution or even just the fact that you get to know somebody on a personal level and then the conversation and the working experience is so much more pleasurable.

And I hate that we don’t have this. Actually, I’m opening a lounge, not an office. In two months, they’re renovating the space for us in downtown Philly. And it’s like my team to come a couple of days a week, once a quarter. However often they want to attract new employees, but like a place to actually hang out, work. Feel like I want to go there because it’s awesome, not because it’s cubicles and desks. By the way, if you want to get into office space, commercial real estate, now is a fantastic time.

Lots of deals. That’s not a good time to be an RET investor, but good golly. If you’re looking to get space, it’s opportune.

Yeah. That’s where my head was at. And I found a place that was a yoga studio for 20 years, and they were empty for a year and a half now. And they offered to renovate the whole thing for us and make it nice. But I’m doing it just because I just want even if it’s for a day, a quarter with half of my team. I just want to hang out and get to know them and have those conversations go for a walk. I’m missing that. I think that’s an important part of culture that you don’t get when you’re remote. Any team with any team.

Yeah. It’s funny. When I first became a remote staff, I worked for a company that got hired in Vancouver, BC. And I was living there, and so it was, like, totally normal. And then I had to move back to Toronto, Ontario. So I’m moving across the country, different time zone. But I’d been there for three years, and this is pretty remote work. Before, it was a thing, really. It was really tough to get it. And then when I said I got to move. So I guess we got to figure out what to do to back fill my position. And my manager was really great. He says, well, let’s just order business cards with your new address on it. That’s it. You’ll work remotely. The data center was in Vancouver. Everything that the team’s in Vancouver, different time zone, but your core to the ecosystem. So there was this sunk cost and sunk culture of me fitting in. But if I had gone to them that day and said, I want to do this job and I’m based in Toronto, I wouldn’t have got the second interview. Well, now, obviously, none of us have a choice. Like, we are predominantly remote, but it’s like that just like seeing the look on someone’s face when they’re working on a problem and knowing you’re like, I’ve walked by Joanne’s desk three times in the hour and she looks like she’s really struggling. You just can pop over and say, hey, what’s up? You’re cool? You want to grab a coffee? Pete’s looking like he’s falling asleep at his desk.

Like little things that you can high five once in a while.

Just some kind of like that real water cooler, as they’d call it, interaction. And yeah, I miss it.

That’s how I made it. Some of my best friends came through work and that’s an important source of socializing and meeting people and creating connections. I’m excited to get back to that for sure.

Yeah. Like the pre-planned, like, happy hour 5 o’clock on Friday. No, I don’t want to open a beer over Zoom while sitting in my bedroom because that’s my home office. That’s weird to me.

Yeah. As the day goes on and on, I start turning camera off, headphones on. Like I can’t be on the screen anymore and definitely not to socialize. I took my Zoom battery for the day. I’m done.

Yeah. And it’s funny, I’d actually enjoy seeing more studies on this stuff because it is cognitively tiring to be staring. Like if you’re in a meeting room and there’s twelve people, you’re consciously aware of how you’re sitting, but you can sort of swing around, it’s not a big deal. And you relax. And sometimes I goof around, I touch, I play with cards, you can check your phone here and there, but when you’re on camera, you see how you look and it’s hard to escape that. So you find yourself looking at yourself and like, oh, I need a haircut. And like, stuff you would never think about because you’re staring at your own bloody face as part of the experience.

Yeah. It’s way too immersive in the sense that even if I’m watching TV, I can go do something else, right. Like I can go have a snack, look the other direction, be disengaged. I’m stuck. We’re stuck. And then you do this 6 hours a day. 5 hours a day.

Yeah. Like, you feel guilty if I shut my camera off to reach around to grab something off my shelf. Because if somebody sees me looking away from the camera, it’s as if I’m not paying attention. Like, turning the camera off isn’t not paying attention, but it’s a weird experience for sure. Now, one thing I’d love to dig in on is the give back to the ecosystem because I know that you’re also an advisor. You’re working with other folks in sort of the startup community and what draws you towards doing that. And I’m curious if that helped you in the early days when you started up People Links and when you started up Nerdwise, if that was part of what got you going.

Yeah, it’s fun. It’s fun when you’ve learned how to do a thing and you can share with others, or it’s fun when you can save someone. You can show them the shortcut and save them the headache. So I enjoyed. Sometimes I do wish I could get paid to do it because you do here and there. But if I’m selling my time, it’s a misuse of my time when I’ve got a responsibility to my company and my team and everything. So I just don’t do a lot of paid engagements outside of work. But I love it. I would love to be able to work with entrepreneurs and startups all day. It’s fun. And yeah, it was big for me. One of the things that actually I thought about recently was how much of it. And I’m going to use just the expletive version just to paint a picture. But I want to say I was like a little shit in the sense that when I was starting up at People Links, I thought I was hot shit. I was like, man, we got this great company, all this we’re cooking, and I just had my ego was like I could barely walk through a door.

I felt like. But I was so happy and so proud and everything was going great. And there were so many talented entrepreneurs and investors and people that were around the company and that came to work with us. The most humbling thought the other day is like, they all knew I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing. And they were so nice. They were so nice people, any one of them. And they probably saw, yeah, the part is in the right place and potential and did good work and everything was fine. But I realized now in the last seven years, being going from that shotgun seat to the driver’s seat, all the things I really didn’t know and how much other people were carrying me and that I wasn’t successful at that point. Right. I was very fortunate and we had a great run and everything was fun. So I’m humbled in that sense that I go back and I still want to almost like, pull a bunch of those people aside and go, I just want to thank you for when I was like 25 to 30 that you were knowing that I really didn’t have my shit together in the sense that I hadn’t earned the real merit badges.

I hadn’t really hadn’t earned it. I got lucky and I took all the right chances, did the right things. Everything’s great. I don’t feel bad about any of it. So I think it’s important that’s just important to give back or help other people. But it’s fun. I think they had fun helping me. It’s fun to see people in their earlier stages. But if I had said to you seven or ten years ago that I was advising other entrepreneurs, I feel bad about the advice I might have been giving them because I was so lucky. I was like, everything’s great. But now I’m much more equipped. I’ve actually had to learn all the unsexy hard things about building a company on my own. And through that, you do learn a tremendous amount and you can help others much easier. And I think it’s one of the most important things to do in any practice business. Sports, dancing, making music, whatever it is that you want to do. Go talk to somebody who’s done it before. They can show you the way. They can tell you how they did it. They can tell you what’s important to know.

And that’s going to save you a whole lot of time. Heartache, headache. And so if I can help somebody, I’m always happy to do it.

The communities of practice is something that like as an entrepreneur, there’s not that many. Like, there’s EO. So the entrepreneur organization, which actually has come up a ton, I’ve had a ton of folks on the podcast and they’re members of EO. But I think the floor is like 1 million in revenue, and there was other employee counts, floor and ceilings. They’ve got they’re very targeted of like, this is the phase of the company where we can all be very helpful to each other.

Yeah.

And sometimes they’re second time founders and they stay in because they’re back at that phase again. So they love that range of growth and sharing. But like you said, it’s like asking a guy that’s in a train with no driver, like, hey, how do you drive a train? It’s easy. Just keep going. It works. You’re like, no, you don’t understand. You haven’t hit a bump yet.

And for me, it’s really almost like if you invited me to come and work on a Lego construction that you’re building or an Erector set or some cool project that you’re like, hey, want to give me a hand with this thing? I’m like, awesome, that sounds fun. Like, I want to build stuff. I want to fix things. I want to ideate and be creative and roll up my sleeves. I love that stuff. So it’s fun to work with people, especially when you can have sometimes you need an outside view, right. Because you see everything with kind of near term or with what’s in front of you. And somebody can come in from the outside and they can go, hey, you should consider pitching this way, or you should consider positioning yourself this way. Or you mean to tell me that you can identify things and you’re like.

Yeah, that outside in. Because I remember even in corporate, that was the advantage to going to outside contractors, not because they’re smarter or because they’re better. If they come in with no an empty whiteboard or I’m old enough, I can say it was an empty blackboard back then. So they are a clean slate. They come in. They’ve got no predispositions, no prejudices about the decision they’re about to advise you on. They listen to the evidence and they’re like Supreme Court judges for a business decision. They’re just like, based on the evidence presented to me, I would do this and quite often you’re like, I guess you’re like, what? I can’t believe they would say that. And then when you stop and you sort of take that in for a while, like the kid from the outside is right, we’ve been looking at this way too hard. We should just rip this piece out and refactor like, oh, right. And that is a good advantage to that outside view. If you were to give the advice to somebody saying, I think I got a problem that I can solve, and I’m thinking about putting a business together around it.

What’s the first thing you do when you take them aside to tell them what they’re about to face?

You could attack it from so many angles. But the best thing I would maybe think to say is just get started. And when you get started, pick a vessel brand, which is a term I learned where it could be anything. So if you’re going to build a new headlight, don’t call it like you think you’re going to build the greatest headlight for cars. Maybe don’t call it headlight because maybe eventually it’s tail lights, maybe it’s interior lights. Maybe you find out that it’s like some water resistant technology that applies to planes. And the lights are called something completely different. So don’t get too stuck on your product. And I think sometimes people tend to start with the name of their product or something very germane to it. I’d say start with a vessel brand where you’ve got flexibility to move about and then plan for those learnings like, hey, this is my number one hypothesis of what I’m going to do. And then if that doesn’t work, maybe then it will mean I can do this or start to have some of that mapped out. But I would say just start and start learning. And again, the barriers to getting started are lesser than ever before.

So you can get a cute vessel brand of some kind, go to brandbucket.com and play around and see some fun names and get some ideas and go buy some other, more generic version of it. Get it going and just start learning. Because ultimately time is like it’s your friend and your enemy when you’re in a startup. But it’s your friend in the sense that if you start today, it’s like the old Chinese proverb, when is the best time to plant a tree? It was 20 years ago. If you want to have your own company, start it now. In two or three years from now, you’ll know what it’s like to try and what you learned. And you’ll be much better equipped than you were if you just stay on that blackboard/whiteboard phase and keep working on it.

You think of the tools available today to start a company. The buried entry is so low now. It’s fantastic.

Yeah. I might have gone on microacquire seven years ago and just bought something for 100 grand versus..

Yeah, the build versus buy or build then or buy then build. Like, there’s a lot of ways. And the $100 startup, I think someone needs to do $1,000, $5,000 and a $20,000 version of that because there’s lots of things you can do and you could buy a mommy blog. And it sounds like a pejorative when I say it that way. But like a blog with an audience aimed at folks that are health conscious and they’re businesses, a YouTuber is a business. I’m really excited by what’s available to people today. I think that the job numbers, when we hear them from the government, it’s gone to me because I don’t think that means as much as it used to, because I talk more and more to founders and they’re not shown up in the numbers somewhere. And that’s it is good that it’s happening. But it’s also I’m worried about the lack of measurement of it to open people’s eyes to what’s potential.

Yeah, no, you’re right. I don’t think that the employment numbers include all the TikTok influencer, Instagram influencers. There’s a lot of people that’s their side hustle and now that’s their main source of income. I have two friends who make their living through Instagram. One does custom swimwear for women, and she posts it, gets bought immediately in ships. Another one does glass. You want any type of glass pieces, custom art. He’ll make something, post it, sell it. Another guy is actually free. Another one is it makes jewelry. Same thing.

It’s amazing.

And it’s just Instagram. They didn’t ever got a website. They’re not e-commerce companies, sophisticated. It’s just you make something great. Someone wears it, posts it, Tags it, shares it.

It’s amazing. It’s amazing. Well, and I tell you, this has been fantastic. And thanks for spending the time today, Patrick. For folks that do want to get in, and I tell you, they should. So nerdwise.com, of course, is the main spot to go your testimonials, tell the strong story. This is something that’s really, really good. And I love that feedback loop that you’re able to bring. Like, I see it all the time, the gap between leads coming in and lead generation and successful sales organizations executing on it. It’s a chasm that people don’t realize can be crossed. And so I hope to generate some business for you myself with a few of the folks that I advise and I highly recommend people do go check it out. And your videos are great as well. It’s really good. I saw a couple of your previous interviews as well, and I liked that you’re very open book on your previous experiences. You’ve made it through the phase. You didn’t cut your hair this time around. So this is always funny. I talk about the founder the hair story. It’s generally the first time found the employee clean cut gets the hoodie, then they leave there, then they found their own company so they got a new hoodie, slightly longer hair, maybe a little bit more dark around the eyes because it’s hard to live your life every day working hard.

Then they successfully exit hair grows. They are now angel investor, then the next founding they tend to cut the hair again. So I like that you’ve held on and stayed long hair all the way through.

Yeah, I appreciate it. I can still remember we used to work in legal and financial services. The first time I had the guts to wear jeans and boat shoes and tuck in a button down. That was edgy. You could just tell people like who’s this? But the world has changed so much and I appreciate the opportunity here. It’s been nice chatting with you.

Yeah, it’s been a lot of fun. Excellent. And also, if people want to connect another way, what’s the best way if they wanted to reach out and get in contact with you, Patrick?

LinkedIn is good. Add me on LinkedIn comment that it came through here. Otherwise I probably will ignore it because you get all the stuff. But if you say, hey, I enjoyed the show or you just want to shoot me an email, please have at it.

Awesome. Yeah, I want to actually create I want to go and get an explainer video done to send to people telling them why they shouldn’t ask me about selling explainer videos to me. Because it’s drive me nuts. I get about four of them a week. God bless them. I guess it’s a big ecosystem nowadays, but, yeah, the amount of overuse of LinkedIn as a new outreach mechanism. It’s natural, but, yeah, it’s hard to get the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. All right, great. Patrick, thank you very much. It’s been a real pleasure.

Thanks, Eric.

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You definitely want to listen to every minute and enjoy Matthew’s take on things.

Check out Matthew at https://automationwolf.com

Connect with Matthew on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthewhuntme/

Transcript powered by Happy Scribe

Welcome back. This is Eric Wright, the host of the DiscoPosse podcast. Thank you for listening. You are in for a fun one. This is Matthew Hunt. He is the Automation Wolf, and he is somebody who I really really thoroughly enjoyed a conversation with. We talk about the concept of creating snackable content for LinkedIn. Look, you got to go check it out. Absolutely. This is a great way to get your voice out there, get awareness, and take your message to the world without you having to overthink how to get it there. So Matthew and his team do a great job. We cover the gamut on a ton of different stuff in this conversation. So if you’re at all interested in using social media and getting your message out there and you’re a founder or if you’re just a human, you want to check this out. All right. Anyways, in the meantime, I also have to give a huge thanks and a shout out to the fine folks at Veeam Software who are making so much of this podcast possible. We are in like, this is episode 209, and that’s crazy. And this is because I know that I’ve got the support of a great community and also great platforms that I thoroughly believe in.

If you want to check out everything that you need for your data protection needs, regardless whether it’s in the cloud on premises, it’s cloud native, containerized, Office 365, Microsoft Teams. There’s stuff that you are going to lose that you don’t even realize is at risk. Ransomware – rip, ransomware. Hello, Veeam. It’s just that easy. Go to vee.am/discoposse. You can check it out. And I definitely recommend you also go on the old wayback machine. And I had Danny Allen, who’s the CTO of him on the show. It was just fun to chat with Danny. So highly recommended. So go check it out. Go to vee.am/discoposse. We got a big year ahead. Let’s make sure that we’re protected all the way through. Speaking of protected, don’t forget to protect your life, your identity, and your data in transit. I’m a user of VPNs because there’s a lot of weird stuff out there. There’s a lot of bad people out there. There’s a lot of bad technology out there. So if you can protect yourself in every possible way. I use ExpressVPN, I recommend it. So if you want to go to try ExpressVPN.com/discoposse, you can see why I use it and hopefully you dig it as much as I do.

Oh, and one more thing. I also have a coffee company. And I think it’s really good coffee. It’s also amazing swag. So devilishly good. I recommend that you head to Diabolicalcoffee.com. There you go. Full disclosure. It’s my company, but it’s great coffee. I love it. I drink a bunch of it. And also amazing shirts, amazing hats. But talk about amazing, here’s Matthew Hunt.

This is Matthew Hunt. I’m the founder of Automation Wolf and I help busy CEOs and founders create all of their social media content in 1 hour. You’re listening to Matthew and Eric Wright at the DiscoPosse podcast.

Now, the funny thing when I saw your name come up, Matthew, and now finding out that we are fellow Canadians, always a bonus when you get to share some connect airspace, even though we’re on different sides of the 49th at the moment. I love what you’re doing and I love the name. The first thing I saw was an Automation Wolf. And your tagline about being able to get people there in 1 hour, I just thought of like the Winston Wolf. You’re 2 hours away. I’ll be there in an hour. That’s kind of where it’s at. And looking at the folks that talk about what they do with you, Matthew, it’s working. And so I got a ton that I want to dig in with you about what you’re doing, how you came to do this, and really what the huge opportunity is for businesses to turn content into opportunity and how to do it in the most effective way.

Sure. Sounds good, man. Looking forward to it.

So for folks that are new to you, because they haven’t had a chance to be able to study your bio and look over your content like I have in advance, if you want to give a quick intro and then we’ll jump into what it is that you are getting people doing.

Yeah, sure. I’m a three time business owner now. They’ve all been agencies. And so I exited two of them, one in 2014 and in 2018. I started the first one in 2010 and I’m a glutton for punishment. I just can’t get enough of it. So I decided to do it all over again and start a new one in 2020. And so 2020 was sort of figuring out what the product market fit was. And then 2021 is the startup stage, 2022 is stay up and then 2023 will be scale up. So that’s where we are with the company right now. But this business at the end of day came about from a real problem that I was experiencing in my previous two businesses. And I noticed that a lot of my peers, first time founders and CEOs or really any CEO or founder at the end of the day, anyone who’s just extremely busy had this problem and there’s just not enough minutes in every single day to get it all done. And the one non-renewable resource that everybody has is time. And so I was looking to solve that problem because most of my clients right now, they all know how to do it.

They even know what they need to do. It’s just a matter of they just don’t have enough time to do it. So I was on a mission to solve that problem. And so they all know they need to build a personal brand. And most of them know that it needs to be done on LinkedIn if you’re a CEO or founder. And they know it’s all about being consistent. But their problem was being very inconsistent or being able to find someone, even if they wanted to find someone who goes right for them to do it for them, it’s hard to find their voice. So I said, I think I know the solution to this. We’ll lead with video as the lead domino. And I thought at first maybe the solution was just to slice and dice long form content that they were already doing. But I discovered a couple of things. Some of them were not doing it. And then even if they were doing it, it was a pretty difficult task to do. Because long form content has the intent of being long form. And long form content doesn’t have a place in social media news feeds.

In social media news feeds. We are there to either be to procrastinate or to be in discovery mode. And we’re looking for snackable content, things that are short. And so if you’re going to create short form content, you have to actually lead with the intent of it being short form. It’s almost more about being like, you have to actually create content that’s more like when you become media trained for the 06:00 news. Yeah, we have your sound bites down and you’re able to communicate very clearly and articulately in 60 seconds or less. Some sort of message that piques people’s curiosity. That’s why I always call look, step one, if there’s three pillars to demand Gen, is short form. Step two is Longform. Step three is controlled form. And so, short form is a way for you to stay top of mind and consistent. And you can get transformation from people if they already know you. However, if they don’t already know you, the short form stuff is the hook where they’ll hopefully ladder into more of a long form. So the 1 minute video leads to a two minute video. The two minute video leads to five, then a ten.

Then all of a sudden they’re listening to you for an hour. Next thing you know, they’re binge-watching you like a Netflix series. Well, if someone’s binge-watching you as a Netflix series or engages with you for an hour, they are a pretty big fan and you’re going to get some sort of transformation. And then the trick is to how do we ladder them up into a controlled form, which is a form of community. And so if you’re a SaaS company, this would be a channel partner program. If you were maybe a consultant, this would be maybe a private Slack community or Facebook community with maybe a course that you can get some transformation around. But the point is you’re putting them into a controlled format where you can build goodwill, reciprocity, and continue to keep banking that trust equity. Because you can’t control when someone’s ready to buy, but you can’t control the trust you built to them. And the reality is, over time this compounds and the more energy you put into this over time, the better it is. Most people think they want more leads and more sales, but if you’re a high ticket price B2B business with a long buying cycle, that’s not really probably the best approach to go about it.

It’s probably more important to focus on how do I build more trust and more community with my ideal buyers at the end of the day? Because if you really pay attention to the people who are buying from you, they don’t spend 50,000, 500,0000, $3 million, whatever your ticket price is without knowing who the hell they’re buying from. And rarely is it based on your marketing funnel or your website or all your content that is there. So what you’re trying to engineer is how do we go from zero to building trust right away? That’s the whole system. At the end of the day, what I realize is there’s a lead dominos to this. And the reason why there’s a lead domino to this is, we got to start somewhere with these busy founders and CEOs and usually that first place is creating their stack of content in a consistent way on LinkedIn. Once they lock that down, they can then do the next thing because what we’ve done is we’ve been able to help them create their content in an hour and a half per month, 1 hour to create it, 30 minutes to approve it, or provide feedback so it can get syndicated.

If you can’t commit to an hour and a half to doing the most basic thing around demand Gen, how are you supposed to get into the other things that require a lot more time? And so whenever I’m talking to someone, I’m always asking them most important questions. How much money do you have or what do you want to do or what’s all the cool things. I always ask them, how much time do you have? How much time can you commit to this particular project? How much attention can I get of you? And that will determine what is the right tactic and strategy to pursue.

This is the challenge that I’ll say like content marketing and awareness and brand marketing. It’s like exercising. It requires consistency, commitment, and not necessarily feedback in the early phases, but you don’t get the benefits of the hundredth day without the 99 leading up to it. And we really struggle, especially with small businesses and solopreneurs. People that are focusing on product building or other things that are core to the business. And they don’t have the mindset of like, hey, if I just like talking to a camera for 20 minutes and with a function and a goal of like three pieces of value that I can emote into this camera and someone else can slice it and dice it and do that trust, building that brand awareness. It’s personal brands, too. I often tell people, number one, we’re all in sales. That really twists people up, right? I’m not a salesperson, but I also know I’m in sales. We call it selling yourself. Right. Like, you’re selling yourself short when you’re doubting yourself. Like, it’s in the nomenclature for things. But that’s just it, right? So if I’m a founder, I’m thinking I should be talking to a client in this hour instead of somebody, well, how do you get that client?

Right? Take that time with a good partner, somebody who knows how to do this, and then what will happen is 100 days, 120 days, 150 days in those little snippets suddenly are all over the place. But it’s really, really hard. Like, if you were a founder and that’s what you’re really good at, you’d be the founder of a content agency. Most people, if you’re a product founder, even, like I said, a solopreneur, it’s great to have a coach. Like, somebody like you can just say, look, I know I’m your audience, right? I’m the one that I hunt down people on LinkedIn, and this is how I find them. And you get the chance to be overly aware of how to be effective in that minute versus when you give someone like, I need you to talk and tell me what you do for a minute. And it’s like, well, it’s complicated. And, you know, like, I send all these people to Donald Miller. I’m like, go to watch the Story Brand one-liner workshop. And like, what is it that makes that foundation up? And they really really start to understand it. And then the funny thing is you get to consult with them.

And then there’s that weird barrier where they’re like, you’re going to create me 20 snippets of content and you’re going to charge me how much? You’re like, well, because I know exactly what those 20 snippets of value are. And if they wait four months, they’re four months older, no content. And then all of a sudden they’re like, Matthew, I want to talk to you again about that thing we talked about before. Because if you don’t do content, it doesn’t grow, it doesn’t get discovered. And was the Chinese proverb that says the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. And the second best time is now. And if you’re waiting for the perfect landing page, the perfect script, the better camera, whatever it is, and all these YouTubers that are millionaires now, they started on iPhones, bad iPhones, because they just got in and did it. And when you can imagine, you can shave off that coaching to tell you, like, I can save you the first year that those folks did. I can teach you how to make their content. And then time becomes the discovery model that helps you to amplify it.

I know we’re sort of like preaching to the choir a bit on this, but I want people to understand, I see it every day. And you shouldn’t have to be good at it. If you’re a founder of a company, you shouldn’t be this good at this part. Getting a coach, getting somebody to push you through it is such a fantastic thing. So bravo to you, Matthew, for what you and the team are doing.

Thanks. Yes, it’s kind of funny. A lot of people sign up because they think they want more leads or sales or more content or brand awareness or whatever it is or thought leadership. But the reality is, the first piece of transformation that happens for them is because they’re forced into a routine of sitting down and creating content with us. And because we’re doing it privately, not in a long form, where we can have interruptions and talks or retakes, they start to lock down how they communicate with their sound bites. And by them becoming a better communicator, they actually become a better team leader. They actually become better communicator with their existing clients. So they get more up sales and more referrals. And then once we put it publicly, the same thing happens. The first thing they always talk about is like, oh, my God, I’m getting way more referrals in my warm network. Well, yeah, because they’re top of mind continuously. That’s the first growth. And then after once they get through that, then they start creating a little bit more, and they start realizing I need more leverage in my life because I realized how much this transformed their lives, that they’re able to be consistent and people with their marketing on a regular basis, at least organically.

And the cool thing is this organic stuff can easily be sponsored with paid advertising and controlled if you want to amplify it. And the best ads actually don’t feel like ads. Right. So this is actually even better type of content to amplify. So the reality is they have this also transformation where when they start working with us, I start challenging them on a lot of beliefs that they think they have. So they think they need more sales people. I say you don’t need more sales people. Usually they’re the number one salesperson until they exceed at least two or $3 million in revenue. You really don’t need to be hiring salespeople. They just need more leverage. They’re just used to doing sales appointments as a one to one experience. And then once we teach them how to do it as a one to many experience through a workshop or through ten minute amplifier videos where they can find more leverage for themselves so they don’t need to do a demo. The idea of having more people to be able to do this melts away, which means they have more money and they also have a lot less problems because the reality is more people, more processes, more problems.

I know Vicky said more money, more problems. It’s more people, more processes, more problems. Right. So the next stage is always to develop that long form content format that allows you to create one to many selling. They also start to realize that when they’re consistent, like you said, we’re always selling. We’re all salespeople in a way. I don’t think that that’s necessarily the intent that you want to have. I think you want to have the intent to always be helping but not always be selling. But the idea at the end of the day is that is a form of selling in a way, content marketing and adding value and building goodwill and building reciprocity by putting helpful information or processes or systems or swipe files into the universe. That you get to attract the right people and hopefully repel the wrong ones as well too, is when we do that process, they start realizing, I see what I really need is more leverage. There is a time later on for multiplication, but it’s usually much later on in their journey. And these are why so many of these busy, particularly first time CEOs and founders, have so many false starts.

And it takes them so much longer to get there is because they haven’t developed the decision tree of asking how much effort do I need to put in for how much impact? Or can I do less effort for bigger impact? Or what would be the actual lead domino that knocks down all the other dominoes? Right? Right. Can I just focus on that one little piece? I know people talk about it like the 80-20 rule, but really you have to think of it a little bit different than that. Because that’s a later thing of analyzing, which I find is reactive versus proactive. This is another thing I always tell them is, they also measure their indicators of success a little bit ass backwards. And what I mean by that is – almost all of these people, when I start working with them, they’re always looking at lagging indicators of success. And that’s way too late, right? It’s just too late. So for every lagging indicator of success, you need to have at least two leading indicators of success and know really clearly what those KPIs look like. And if you do, then you will be able to pretty certainly know that the lagging should work out at the end of the day. Particularly if you’re following someone’s footprint who’s done it before several times, because success leaves footprints.

And so you don’t have to guess. You don’t have to make your business the training wheels on something, and it could have been someone else’s business that did that. But if you have that and you have the leading indicator of success, you really pay attention to those dials. You don’t need to worry about the lagging ones. That’s just the confirmation that it did work. But if you’re only looking at the lagging, well, you’re screwed, right? That’s a whole year gone before you figured it out. So always figure those things out. Like I always tell people, if you’re going to outreach the people, you don’t need to have an inbound. You need to have an outbound strategist, not sales or marketing, because you know who your ideal clients and customers are, generally speaking. So why not build the Dream 120 list, right?

No. And it’s funny you say that, like leading versus lagging on indicators. Lagging indicators are only most valuable when they’re tied to the leading indicators and measured as a function of success across the sales cycle. If you’re using hindsight to define what was successful, you’re backing into the answer. And we will always like, so easy to put confirmation bias into this stuff. Or if it took you nine months in a sales cycle to then look back and say, oh, well, this must have been the thing. Then you try that thing. Well, you’ve got nine months to complete that measurement cycle. What you should have had was upfront like, this is the thing that I’m doing and I’m going to measure it. And even when I read the most successful sales authors and speakers and full guy Jeb Blount, who’s got great stuff around the idea of how much it takes to generate leads, turning them into prospects, turn them into opportunities. Like that whole flow. Jeb is a fanatical prospecting, literally. But his whole thing is, what does it take to get to a warm perspective Leads that becomes an opportunity. And in the end, to your point, Matthew, it’s like, don’t just keep selling all the time because that’s not going to get you.

You create awareness. Awareness is built with trust. So don’t tell me that you’re selling to somebody, telling them that you want to be their trusted advisor and all you do is shove your product into their throat all day long just trying to like, you need this. Everybody’s failing because they don’t have us. Just share their problem with them.

Well, the problem is this is that inbound and outbound marketing is extremely limited thinking.

Right.

It really is. And it was cool at the time. Both work. So outbound was a very 2010 thing because of predictable revenue. With Aaron Ross and Salesforce scaling that business, it was the model. And so then every other business thought they could do the same thing. And then fast forward 2014, the hot buzzword was inbound marketing because of HubSpot and what they developed around there and the content. And it was really cool. And then people got crazy ass crazy with all these sort of like what I call Rugo machines were like this funnel to this funnel. There’s lead magnet to this trigger to this, all this fancy stuff, which is super cool. But most of it is just a lot of busy work. And now that its fast forward 2022, it’s not fancy anymore. No one’s wowed by it anymore. And both marketing concepts are very limited. Thinking because you’re only focused on the 1-3% of the people who are looking to buy from you right now. And so the example that I always tell the people is the biggest businesses in the world are founders and CEOs who understand the concept. They understand two concepts, short term pain for long term gain.

And they also understand in a very deep level the laws of compound interest. And this is why Einstein said compound interest is the 8th wonder of the world. Those that understand and earn it, those that don’t pay it. And most people are such short term thinkers and they think in such short term that they only focus on the bottom 1-3% who can buy from right now. So I always ask people this, I go, look, it doesn’t matter what it is that you do, but let’s just take it a really simple example. Let’s just say you are a web design and front end development agency that specifically markets for, I don’t know, let’s say B2B coaches or fractional CMOS. Like something really specific. Hopefully you’ve picked a very specific niche in your marketing. And if we took a thousand of those fractional CMOS or B2B coaches consultants and put them into a room and you were to ask them this question, you said, hey, who here is looking for a new website or a website redesign or possibly a marketing funnel? Okay, in the next 90 days, well, 1% to 3% of the people are going to raise their hand, which is a very small part of that 1000 people.

But what if we change the question? We said, who here out of all this group of people here, these fractional CMOS and B2B business coaches, who here between now and the end of their career will require a website or a website redesign or a marketing funnel. Well then probably 98% of them are going to raise their hand so they can all buy from you. Right? At the end of the day, the challenge is you just don’t know when they’re going to recognize the problem and decide to have money to throw at solving that problem. But what you can control is take that 1000 people. If you had them at an event, you already did it. Put them into a controlled environment like a community. We can continue to keep building that relationship with them so that when they are ready to buy, you will most likely be the first choice for the only choice, or at least you’ll get invited like be able to throw your hat in the ring to participate. And then I find in general what’s great about it is if you truly do have trust, then you can suck at sales or have less sales people, which saves you money.

Less people, less processes, less problems. And you can usually charge more because we don’t buy based on price. We buy based on trust. At the end of the day, it’s the devil you know versus the devil you don’t know. Rarely is the price ever, I would say almost ever really an issue. Most of the time, if anything, the price is higher, usually makes you much more attractive and instantly gives you some advantage and positioning from all of your other competitors who play in the sea of sameness. Right? At the end of the day, this is why I say inbound and outbound marketing is very limited. But what we want to do is we want to take some of the best practices from that, use the inbound and outbound to shake out those that are in market right now, but really lead with demand gen. And that’s what demand Gen is today. The challenge why people throw up these things like, well, how do I know that that works? Is it always comes down to they can’t track it in their silly Attribution software because they can’t have like a neat PNL sheet where they can show where things are working or not working or they haven’t actually just figured it out yet is why it always gets shut down.

It defaults back to the inbound or outbound stuff because it’s very simple metrics for them to be able to see a sales pipeline. How many people do we spam to get into a demo to then get into a close call or et cetera? Or how many ads, how much money do we spend in ads? Do you have people that download our white paper lead magnet, which then are SDR spam to get them into our demo or whatever it is? It doesn’t matter what kind of consulting, doesn’t matter whether they can see it. It’s easy to kind of like piece together, but what they’re realizing is they’re attracting usually the worst clients. They’re treated like a commodity. And when they really do add up all the costs for all those people and all the energy and stress that comes along with it, it’s not a very effective system at the end of the day and all they need to do is ask. They just need to do two things, which is create a process on their forms, on their intake forms as a blank form that just says, how did you hear about us? That’s not like a drop down option.

And they’re going to start to get feedback loop on very clearly on what is working and what’s not working because they can’t track all these relationships. But if people really know at the end of the day, we know like going to the golf club, the ski club, the supper clubs in the private slack communities, YPOs, all these really, those are things are actually driving the very best clients and business for us. At the end of the day, things that are tied to a real relationship, you’ll start to see that appear when you do that or it’ll come from the content marketing or long form content, short form long form control for one of those three buckets is going to come from usually all three, you’ll be told about that. And then when they get into the sales process, you have to teach your sales team or yourself to ask three questions. The question again is to reconfirm, how did you hear about us? Let your customer prospects and clients tell you what they remember, even if it’s not accurate, it’s what they remember. Two, how long have you known about us? So you can understand how long they’ve been the buying cycle again, it’s probably even short.

Like whatever they tell you, you can probably multiply it being longer times two, because they just didn’t realize they were in your marketing funnels. And then three, you ask them what was the thing that you really appreciate that we put out there? And they can tell you what content pieces or podcasts or white papers or lead magnets or blog posts or whatever snackable piece of video that you created that just blew their mind. Help them. And then you can do more of that. And there will be a pattern that starts to show up very clearly. If I look at my sales pipeline right now, literally half of it is from referrals, which is what it should be like, unique referrals. And the rest is from literally, they say LinkedIn. The other one says my community. And then I know there’s a bunch that I get through doing like mastermind dinners and things like that too. This is just crazy. People are working way too hard, spending way too much money, creating way too many processes to accomplish something really simple at the end of the day.

Well, this is the very interesting thing, right? The example I’ll give as an anecdote is people think like, imagine that the kids that play video games today, they’re so good at it. Their hand-eye coordination is fantastic. They’ll become amazing game developers, they’ll be amazing game creators. And then you have to remind them, like, you know, that amazing game that your kids play that gives them this hand-eye coordination that you believe will be the foundation for their future and game development was written by somebody who had Pong. There was no game. So the skill of today, this idea, when the cookie, that was it, the cookiepocalypse came along and they said Facebook, Google, they’re having to shut it all down. Gdpr, all of these things that were the end of marketing. I had to remind people, I’m like, you know that all these companies that are multi billion now trillion dollar companies were built without cookies except the ones in the break room. Like that. If you had to go back to fundamentals. And that’s what I always tell people, products go away, data goes away, what do you do? And that’s it. Even if you just talk to somebody, say, how did you hear about us?

Every sales call, it always kills me, I tell people, ask them, how did you find us? Oh, that’s awesome. How long have you known about us? And it’s so funny that these fundamentals, because immediately they may be a bit guarded, which is natural. Like, human instinct is like, you never want to be like, oh, okay. Why? I specifically downloaded five white papers. You want to say, like, yeah, I saw you on the web. Okay, cool.

Right?

So somewhere on the web, we’re getting closer, right? Or I saw you at an event and you should go into every conversation with that question leading, because the worst thing that happens is you get a fantastic SDR with a fantastic machine behind them. But because they’re so confident, they see a lead that came through a website or an event and they just immediately go to like, you did this. So therefore you’re ready for this. Like, they start to lead with, we know about you. And I’ve seen it time and time again where you don’t know, how do you know about us? Should have been the opener. Instead of you were at X, they say, well, no, I wasn’t there. I’ve been talking to you guys for a year and a half, or like, there’s get them to share with you, and if you get no answer back. Okay, cool, right. You know, they’re probably much more guarded, but it’s a bloody conversation. Take the cookies, take the marketing machine out of it. You suddenly have somebody in front of you who’s keen to know more.

Yeah, totally. I mean, there’s even a problem. At the end of the day, it’s always funny. As we’re talking, what you’re going to start to realize is exactly this. It boils back to the fundamentals. Also, it boils back to a mindset. Like, most people don’t have business problems, they have mindset problems. And I’ve been guilty of it. And I constantly still suffer from this problem. It’s an evolving thing. As you get to the next level, you’re like, oh, my God, I didn’t realize that I was being so limiting in my thinking or so forth. So the reality is, even with SDR, again, it’s a mindset thing. It stands for sales development reps, right? We got to rename it. It should stand for starting deeper relationships. And then the way we reward them is based on commissions and appointments booked or closed deals or whatever it is. The comp plan is even structured more to incentivize the wrong things. What they really need to be treated is really starting deeper relationships to build a relationship or community and reward them more. Like, I would actually pay them the same way you’d pay a client success person and give them the same kind of bonuses based on that.

Because it’s about really being helpful to people and getting them pointing in the right direction, not hitting some weird arbitrary number that the sales manager or sales director or VP of sales farted out to make the CEO and board members and partners, et cetera, happy. It’s really crazy. So again, it comes back to this mindset thing and this limited kind of thinking. And I understand it the other day. I’m not trying to get old woo woo and that we can’t have things accountable and that we can’t grow. But I’ve generally found in general, working with so many businesses now like Holy B2B business, specifically thousands of them at this point in the last 15 years, including my own. And you have no problem growing when you focus more on trust and community. It’s a happy byproduct. You never miss your targets. But we tend to miss them when we’re focused on I need more leads, more appointments. I need the calendar full. We need more SDRs, we need more BDRs, we need more demos. Because again, it’s all about, like you said before, it’s about me, me, right? Instead of you, you, you, right.

One is inwardly versus the other one is outwardly. Outwardly thinking businesses always tend to just do better.

The weird thing of the consultative approach, the first thing any consultant has to do is get somebody to share their problems. Which means you have to get them to trust that they are willing to share their problems. Because they know, like, I’ve been on the other side of that phone a bunch. I’m going to lie to every cold call I get, of course, because I’ve been researching this company for seven months. So when they called me, cold call me, because I finally accidentally fill out a bloody form with a real email, I always will be defensive. And then their reaction to it is what makes me care about opening up to them. And it’s something that we feel like everybody is human. And if we help each other, then in the end, like, look great account executives, great account reps, folks that are in that level of selling. There’s a reason why they’re relationship sellers, because they will work for Company X. They will reach penetration and good market, and they’ll do good quotas, they’ll do good numbers. And then the following year, well, that number just adds 30% to it because we have to keep going up and to the right.

And they know they’ve sort of exhausted their main relationship pool. So they go to work for Company Y and they talk to the same seven strong relationship they’ve got, and they sell them the product of Company Y. But by listening, because they know they don’t want to burn it down because they want to go to Company Z or Z for those folks, they want to be able to do this. So they’ve got longevity in mind. But we need to move that up. And SDRs is a classic. So I’m a nerd, right? I came up in tech building technology, and I remembered the SDR is like help desk. And both are fantastic, valuable, necessary, amazing groups of people. But what I was told, because I wanted to be in server development or in larger scale stuff was, well, we’ll get you a job at this company on the help desk and then we’ll get you a real job from there. And it horrified me because to the recruiter, to a lot of people, that’s what it was. But I’m like, no, you understand, this is your front line. This is the most valuable entry to the vision of your company – is how they will handle the relationship in five minutes of a phone conversation.

And it’s like it’s such a forgotten thing because we just think like, oh, let’s get better call center systems. Let’s get better ways to track, attach it to their account, tie it to Salesforce, do all this stuff great and necessary things in other ways for understanding the intelligence of the customer lifecycle. But in the end, having all that amazing software that ties it all together doesn’t do you crap all good. If people just want to race to get off the phone because they’re displeased with that frontline experience and that’s the trust, that’s the build. Like when you’re going LinkedIn, I’m not going to watch the second minute of your video. If the first minute doesn’t make me actually pause and go, yeah, I get that. Make them care. Then you can talk about stuff later. It’s like Glenn Gary, Glen Ross, Ricky Roma sitting at the bar going just talking about wives and friends and family and cars. And then 4 hours later someone’s like, So what do you sell? I don’t want to talk to you about that. Obviously there’s deeper psychology underneath it like they are in the end going to move towards the sale.

But it’s like when it’s ready.

When it’s ready. Yeah. And it’s very true. You have to be very patient and people don’t really care what you do until they know why you care. This is the whole Simon Cynic thing, right? Start with why at the end of the day. And so it is true when we’re creating stack of content. This is why we follow the Aces method for clients, which sometimes throws them for a loop because they just want to do authority content all the time or expert content that makes them like thought leaders. And so Aces method stands for this authority, connect, Engage and Show or Sell. I prefer show than sell. And so authority is anything you want to be an expert on. You can be a thought leadership or helpful tips on your expertise, but connect is something they always avoid, which is anything that hits the heart, the gut or the funny bone. And when you do those pieces, that’s what makes you likable. People always forget we only buy from people we know like and trust. And they can’t trust you if they don’t like you. And they can’t like you if they don’t know you. So knowing you is about being consistent and increasing the frequency both through paid advertising as well as organic advertising.

Like is making sure you hit all the different notes on the piano. So I tell people like, look, if you’re going to play one key, if you play one key on the piano, it’s really boring song, you want to play all the keys. And so authority, connect and then engage is another one that people forget all the time, which is you don’t need to be the expert on everything. You need to start changing your mindset from being the talent to the talent Scout and being able to go to your community and tag people and promote other people, interview other people or ask questions. Be a really good host of the party to start conversations, right? Be a provider of goodwill, a person who thinks in collaboration in general. And when you do that, you get far more engagement at the end of the day on your content and it’s actually easier to do. Sometimes you just need to ask a question, run a poll and let other people feed in and tag other people who are really smart. The last one is sell or show. I prefer show. I think that’s just where you demonstrate your existing clients transformation.

Where you show before and afters, where you show how to do something really cool that gives you credibility, that you know what you’re doing or you show you give something where it fast tracks someone, where you can make someone instantly awesome, right? Like they can get it and immediately apply it. Not end up in your marketing funnel where you’re going to try to convince them to end up on your demo or sales call for consulting or services or whatever it may be. But at the end of the day, that is a form of selling. And so many people forget those different notes. Like you said, they’re not going to get convinced by just hammering over the head all the time. Sometimes you need to do other types of content and it doesn’t necessarily have to be hard, but if we don’t like you, we can’t trust you. We got to focus on the like part too.

I’ll give a funny truth in how it works. Story of measurability not defining strength of the product. So imagine that I started this podcast selfishly to figure out how to do it. I’ve always been keen on doing it. So let me do it through work and do it completely with no attachment to work. And it was hilarious because they’re like, So you’re going to talk to customers, you’re going to talk to whatever partners I’m like, no, I’m just going to talk to people that are basically going to tell stories that are meaningful, that people who are customers would like to listen to, regardless of what we do. I’ve been lucky, right? I was given a lot of rope, a lot of time, and so I did it. I ran this continuous experiment and I even had some people from the company. It was always meant to be an adjacency to work, as a way to build trust, to just give away content and also sort of like figure it out on my own. Because in the long run, I thought it would be neat to start my own. It kept going. And then at one point someone says like, hey, wait a minute, we have to pay for the hosting for this thing.

So what’s the ROI on this? Where are the metrics? How do we attach? And it became a thing of like, how do you attach when people listen to when they go in the funnel? And I was like, you can’t, there literally is no mechanism to do this. And I was just told like, well then maybe we just need to pull the plug on it. I was like, oh, okay, no problem. Makes sense. Totally get it. So then I just rebranded it called it My Own Podcast. And then the funny thing was from there, I never changed what I did. I lengthened it, I did other things, but what I did was always core. And the funny thing is now, in hindsight, more people come on sales calls and like in product calls and open event discussions and they’ll say, oh yeah, I listen to your podcast and it’s hilarious because the sales people are lit up. They’re like, oh, wow, that’s awesome. Like, how did they know you? And I’m like, Because I just keep giving away stuff and it builds familiarity and trust. And if then they come to me and I show them something that I’m passionate about that my team is passionate about and I trust because my trust is on the line too.

If I sit in on a sales call because I’m not in sales myself, I’m giving my reputation to the experience that customer is about to have. So I have to trust my sales rep is not going to pound them in the head telling them that they need this product or they’re going to go away. It becomes a bi directional. But the first thing I have to do is just give it away. If they come and find it, it’s fantastic. It’s a beautiful experience. Because then same thing for like, LinkedIn content. And I see the way that people are getting so much mileage out of this stuff because like you said, it becomes a muscle that they flex because you do it in this format so that they just know, like, Ah, it’s accessible. They’re training their amplification muscle, their sharing muscle to this format. And then you get somebody that’s really good at getting them to that main point. You are like a personal trainer for that process. Hey, in two years they probably may not be a customer anymore, but that’s fine because they’re kind of self sufficient and that’s the best thing they can be, right?

Totally yeah, it’s interesting. Just in general, like even when you talk about the mindset wise, at the end of the day, the people who want to build a boat around their careers and businesses focus on a community and build a media channel around that community. And they build at the end. I think it’s Geoff Kelly first wrote about it. Your 1000 True Fans was the essay that was first written back in 2010 or something like that. I know Tim Ferriss is a big promoter of it and there’s been different iterations of it since then. But the point is if you do that and you build True Fans or subscribers, right, versus sponsors. Okay. So like when you have sponsors, you’re a victim to the sponsors. If the sponsors don’t like what you’re doing or your boss, like in your situation, well they can just take it away at any time. But when you have subscribers or a community around your immediate channel, well you can decide what you want to do. There’s a lot of power in it, there’s a moat in that business. So even like this time with this third business, one of the things I learned from the first and second business is I quietly made the money and did well with those businesses.

But I never and I had a bit of a community privately, but not a public one. And I realized, oh, I want to do it again. I was like, Holy crap, starting over is hard. And I realized this time when I do it, I’m going to build it publicly as well and much bigger. And I picked a niche that I could live in. So my niche is B2B C. As the founders. There’s a lot of things I can create and sell anytime that I want out of that. And if you have a real relationship with them, you do what Gary Vee and other people are doing today, which is they just ask the community, what are your pain points? What do you need to have fixed? And then go solve that problem and boom, instant business right away because you already own the trust in the community. You just need to make a really simple offer and you can have an overnight business that’s a smashing success right away because you chose to be a media company and have subscribers versus sponsors. You don’t see Joe Rogan with sponsors. I mean he got one through Spotify recently that’s his sponsor, but it was $100 million sponsor.

And you go back and look at his first podcast like there is a joke. But what he did instead was he built subscribers, stay curious, focused on community, focused on relationships with these individuals, and understood the short term pay for long term gain. And a decade later it’s different. And I can’t remember Tony Robbins or if it was Bill Gates, one of these individuals that said we greatly overestimate what we can get done in a year, but greatly underestimate what we can do in a decade. And the reality is so true. We really just don’t think of it that way. And these are all things like what you just said are hilarious because you keep building DiscoPosse podcasts. It’s just going to lead to infinite opportunity for you after opportunity after tuning. And it builds a moat around your fucking career. Nobody can touch Eric Wright. You’re untouchable.

Yeah. And it is an amazing thing. And the hardest part of things to tell people and connect and to make them understand is that it’s a grind. And it’s like Gary Vee, like you mentioned, I kind of laugh now as we look at five years ago, Gary Vee was the guy who looked like he had Coke sweats on stage screaming at people that if you’re not grinding, you’re dying. And 20 hours a day is typical. And if you’re doing less, you’re a failure. He was all about this kind of they called it struggle porn. Right. But that was how he got to that point. And then fast forward five years later and he’s doing like, cartoon art on the back of napkins and then selling it as an NFT, probably making more money than his first business did. Now, per month off of adjacent things. But because he has built this community around him and he’s built this authority, built this trust, built this world, now people are going to in another couple of years, forget about struggle-porn Gary, and they’re going to be like, he’s got it. It’s like fortune cookie Twitter, as they call it, for like the fortune cookie BCs.

They’re the people that are five major exits deep. And people are like, oh, you’ve got all this money. You’ve just got nothing but time to go and be pious on Twitter. Like, no, but this is the next iteration of their career that will get them the next five successful exits because they’re then dispensing this advice that got them to this point. And yes, there’s hindsight bias. Yes, there’s all sorts of things in it, but they’re then giving into a community that will grow with them and evolve with them to the next thing. And that’s kind of always been my thing. And like, what I should have thrown away when the boss said there’s no value in it. Well, this is going to be like episode 208 and go back to pick Rogan as an example. Right. His 208th episode was him talking with his goofy comedian buddies over a really bad video connection and just pushing it out to YouTube or wherever it was going at the time. Right. Now, on the other side of things, we have to be careful when we reference certain large scale things like Gary Vee and Joe Rogan. There’s a lot of opponents as much as there are proponents.

But take the methodology, take the specific human out of it, make it whoever you need to be. It’s like it’s the methodology that we’re mapping to that successful. But most importantly is, credibility is given to you not coming from you. And authority – so that’s what I want to talk to you about. How do you create authority but do it with credibility? The first day I published this podcast, it said the leading technology startup podcast, zero listeners. I have to do it right. So it’s working out. I’m catching up to the moniker. When I was careful, I mean, I wasn’t making a huge bold statement. The number one downloaded or whatever. So when somebody’s getting started, Matthew, what’s the way that they can with credibility, create that authority as we continue to seek?

Yeah. So I think at the end of the day, if you genuinely are actually trying to deliver real results and then actually do it, the results always speak louder than themselves. So my cheat always is do it like execute on it and then use that execution so that you can create testimonials. If you look at my silly little website, there’s literally a ten minute VSL on there video sales letter or what I call an amplifier video, which is like a demo of my services.

Best thumbnail of a video ever, by the way. So people need to go there. I’ll have a link to them. You’re magnificent. I love this.

Well, we’re speaking the truth. The truth is people don’t like to be marketed to or sold to. In the minute they feel it, their guard goes up. And so all your marketing should feel invisible. That’s what I call invisible marketing funnels. Some people are smart enough to know that it’s actually happening. But if you can make the right people and when people are sick and use that kind of thing, do the opposite to make it invisible. But the point is, if you actually deliver results, then all you have to do is people are very happy to share the results that they had and that instantly becomes your copy and your stories afterwards. And before you know it is snowballs, you do become the number one person for that at the end of the day. And the reason why what I would recommend is that the only reason people don’t get that transformation is they’re usually trying to bite off too much to chew to begin with. So even in my whole demand Gen system where I talked about short form, long form controlled form, I have twelve other steps that you can do. But our first year, the only thing we focused on as a service was step number one.

How do we create the best content, snackable content for super busy CEOs and founders in B2B. Right. And just do that smashingly well. And then what ends up happening is they end up rolling into the next service as the beta for the next one and the next one depending on the product that we’re launching. Our source of time, it’s going to be 90 days to twelve months to fine tune it just perfectly. The problem is most people try to do the whole fucking thing, right? And that’s probably just pick one thing, one problem you can solve better than anybody else and just smash that one thing repeatedly and you’ll watch yourself become number one for that thing before you know it. You can always expand into other things later on. Other verticals, other services. But just do one thing.

Don’t start with sitting on the couch and then starting CrossFit. And that’s what it is when people do, they don’t realize they’re like, why don’t you just maybe go for a walk and then maybe go for a longer walk and then go for a gentle run. And that’s how you get to that thing. You don’t just immediately think like, I got to go buy a weightset. I got to head to GNC and get some protein powder. I got to do all this stuff. That’s what we do. I got to get Marketo. I got to get HubSpot, I got to tie in this. I got to get Salesforce. Then you’re $12,000 a month in products, having somebody from you’re hiring somebody to set up your landing pages, and you’re doing all the stuff. And it’s like, all right, well, what do they get when they go in that funnel?

You don’t need it. Totally. Yeah. The person who comes to mind, who’s really good about backing this off and doing that, as James Clear, a really smart dude. Tomic Habits. He wrote as a book, but I prefer his blog at the End of the Day, which I think his book is just snippets of his blog, which I think you can sign up for free and get from. But he’s a big proponent of that. Like, back it down. Like you said, instead of trying to even go for a walk, just stand on the treadmill. Just stand there for five minutes a day, and next thing you’re going to go, Fuck, I’m standing here. I might as well walk. And the next thing you know is ten minutes or instead of doing 20 push ups a day, three times, just do one or just add one per week or something like that to make it so easy that you can succeed. And what ends up happening at the End of the Day, Eric, is this – the reason why people grow, become number one is it’s really about success, beginning success and confidence. Because you can’t win if you don’t feel confident.

And so if you engineer, guaranteed wins for yourself. It plays well with my understanding of how the human brain works. And it’s been like this for hundreds of thousands of years for humans. As we move away from pain and we move towards pleasure, the problem is people set these goals or have set these expectations, even for their companies. Internally, this is the same thing for your team. You want to demoralize a team, set BHAGs that are impossible to hit and then beat everybody up that we didn’t hit it or keep telling them how you’re missing it. It’d be better for you to set very realistic goals that are very achievable and engineered because then people’s confidence goes up. And like I said, success begets success. Just back it down, back down the goal you want to do and build off of that. And if you realize you have a runway of a decade versus a year, you’re going to get there.

Well, you hit on the beautiful point. Especially James Clear is a great example. There’s many others like this, right? Tim Ferriss’s four hour Work Week was his blog organized as a book. Atomic Habits is taking working blog content and reorganizing it in a book. Obviously, he may have had, James Clear may have had the idea of the greater vision he was trying to aim towards, and he may have structured his blog in order to do it. But in the end, snackable content is when compiled correctly, is large, long form, valuable content. But you don’t say, like, I’ve never written anything before. You know what I’d like to do? Write a Tolstoyesque level of book, because I think I’ve got it in me. And I tell even like technical white papers, like sales white papers, people always get this thing of like, I need to write an eight page white paper. I said, well, it’s really hard. It’s actually much harder than you think it would be to write eight pages and have form and have beginning, middle end. So don’t write eight page white papers, write one page blogs and then write a three that kind of relate to each other.

And then, well, guess what? You’ve got an eight page, six page white paper right there. Right?
You take that, you put some more visuals in there. You put a what’s the customer story at the front of it, at the end of it your call to action of how to get there. When you go into it with the purpose of just sharing content that’s valuable for someone to consume without having a strong CTA and everything, create stuff that people will care about. And then in the end, you can package it together and all of a sudden you’re an author. That’s just how it begins this time and time again. We see it. And SModcast was like one of the early podcast, too, is Kevin Smith. And he did a book just like literally just took them and put it into a book format. And it became a best selling book. You know, we can go countless examples. Ricky Gervais did the same thing, took his BBC podcast, produced a book on it, became a New York Times bestseller. Now, granted, other things got him to that point. I certainly couldn’t take this and turn it into a book just yet. To make best seller list. But I always had it in my mind of doing this. In fact, I did a little series specifically with Founders, and I got it down to like five key questions. I asked every founder. And I was like, oh, this is cool. That effectively could become a book. It’s always there.

That’s what Tempers did. That’s what Oprah did, even that’s what you’re aware. They’re actually experts of nothing. They’re just really good at fighting experts and asking them the same questions or questions of what to look for and look out for on behalf of their audience because they care about their audience. Even all the Tim’s books, except for the four hour work week, as far as I know, are just snippets of the same question over and over again to 100 different really smart people this big and a number one best seller. And then what he ended up doing by interviewing that many people, it became a co marketing book because everybody’s featured it and everybody’s going to promote it. So it’s going to immediately make it a best seller right away. It’s the smartest thing to do in the world instead of making it myself, because now they have a stake in making sure that it’s successful because they like to say, yes, I am listed with these other hundred really smart people in the world.

I’m alongside Bill Gates, I’m alongside whatever tribe of mentors. It’s a really great book. And it’s like each chapter has its own standalone thing. Founders at Work is another great one. And goodness gracious, I’m terrible with names, but the author, she also happens to be marries to Paul Graham of Y Combinator Fame. And she just interviewed these founders and like I said, just asked the same fundamental questions. The stories built around them were compelling and just packed them together in a book. And it was great because it’s anecdotal stories that if you just read it, maybe at the end you find out. Oh, she also has a business consulting firm. Right. Like, oh, well, she asked really great questions. I’d actually like to connect with her.

Yeah. Well, what ends up happening is this is actually called the law of transference again. So this comes back to physics, like actual science and stuff like that. But the law of transference is here you are, Eric. Right? You are the host of the podcast. And then you interview expert here. And then next expert comes in. Next expert comes in. Next expert comes in. Well, all the experts come and go, but the constant is you while they’re there, they pass all of their expertise and authority to you. Right. It doesn’t matter. Joe Rogan is interviewing or Schwarzenegger or David Goggins or the vice President. He ends up getting all that transferred to him and he could actually play it dumb and be like, I’m just a dumb comedian, but yet everybody just remembers that. So you get to tap into what I call other people’s authority OPA and other people’s audiences OPA. And it’s much easier to do that just to be a really good talent, skill and a really good curious individual who cares about your own community to pull it out of there. And it becomes all this coworking stuff. People are working way too hard. This is a much easier way about doing things. And anybody can do it right. Like anybody could do this. If you just genuinely care and are interested, then you can do this. It requires almost no skills whatsoever.

Example, Harry Anderson, who if you’re an older fellow like me, he was Harry the Hat from Night Court, but he was a magician and he purposefully did weird bad deals. Like he was a guy that would take people in poker. He goes through his career as a bit of a sham in how he got some of his money. But it’s really cool because one of the examples he gave, I forgot the name of the book was too. But it’s basically how to fool people. And he said, I can take the ten greatest chess players in the world that you can throw at me and I will win more than 50% of the games, even though I don’t know how to play chess. And so he got somebody to take them up on this deal. He says, But I get to set the scenario. So you find me, your ten players and I win more than 50% of the games. And so the way that the set up was, I’ll paraphrase it was they all play at the same time. Ten chess boards lined up. Black, white, black, white. He’s black on the first one. First player makes their move, he goes to the second board, he makes the same move.

And what ends up doing is he’s not playing chess, he’s just moving the pieces, they’re playing each other. And he may pick up a move that he can inject in, right. And this is what doing this podcast has been for me, it’s like I can refer to ten other guests that have similar things every time now because I’ve just been listening and learning enough that now I’ve got an anecdotal history pool to call from. It’s kind of cool. And that’s again, the other thing I always tell people up front is they say, like, how do I talk about my product or my service? I’m like, you don’t need to, because I care way more about your message coming out than you do. You just be you. And this is why I only take guess who I respect in what they’re doing and why you’re here. And so you don’t have to sell your services. I’m going to sell them. Right. Because if I was looking to connect somebody to somebody that I believe in, they’re going to go to the links below and they’re going to go find Matthew Hunt.

Right.

They’re going to see what Automation Wolf is. This is your integrity didn’t need to be given to me. I found it. And that’s also the network effect too. It’s like you said, your community that all of a sudden you find yourself re-meeting people and maybe their company names change, maybe their life situation changed. In the end, we all find each other. And community is such a perfect description of that at its core. That’s why I like the tech community. That’s kind of how I started was just finding other people that had the same problems that I had and kind of just like sharing trench stories of like, oh man, remember that time we had like a server that went down? Or it was like just goofy, nerd technology stuff. But next thing you know you’re hearing like, oh, they’re like blogging about it. I was like, oh, I should do that, right? And we all grow and learn together. And then eventually, whatever new venture you’ve got, you’ve got this baked in community, not audience. They may be an audience, but they’re always if you treat them like a peer community, that’s such a much more respectful way to grow whatever’s coming for you and for them, because they will one day sell you something.

Right? And it’s okay, it’s cool. I say sell it. Sell is almost like a pejorative. It’s a sad thing that we attach negative things to it because there are so many vacuum salespeople. Kind of like methodologies. But also I’m old enough that I used to have vacuum salesmen. Maybe I’m dating myself on that one.

Yeah, it’s true at the end of the day, birds and feather want to flock together, so they want community. We want to understand each other. I mean, people drive around the world to meet other people with the same cars or in the golf or to the same artists. Like people make websites, but a particular person. And then even then those people want exclusivity to that. That’s why you’re going to see all these NFT membership tokens where you can get access to individuals. This is why only fans worked, right? People wanted access to certain individuals. That is a little misrated, but you get the idea. So this is the way to go. And I like the same thing you said. Building a community is better because you’re thinking outwardly versus inwardly. I always think of it as building followers or an audience is one to many broadcasting. But really you’re trying to create a situation where it’s one to one where it feels personal. At the end of the day, you can make it feel like a belly to belly experience. Like you both broke bread together at dinner. That’s how you want it to feel and appear. And when you get that, then you know it’s a true relationship.

And that’s how you know someone will drive 500 km to go have coffee with you or whatever it is. And that’s when you really produce true wealth. At the end financially, but true wealth at the end of the day of meaning and purpose. And that’s what ends up what we’re all really after at the end of the day.

Yeah. But for folks that definitely want to dig in more and will say that they absolutely should and this will not be the last time we chat for sure. Both.

Thanks for having me on, man.

This is really cool. So how do they find you, Matthew, if they want to get connected?

Well, there’s only two places I’m active so you can go to LinkedIn and search my name. That’s the only social network that I’m active on currently. It’s important sometimes to know what to say. No to delete and delegate is what I would say. And the other place is Automation Wolf right now which is spelled exactly the way it sounds. Automation and then wolf.com

And it’s worth the trip. Like I said, being able to spend time with you has been fun. I probably spent way more time talking on this podcast than I should have but it was just fun to you know, you inspired me understanding why stuff has been meaningful. And sometimes that’s what it takes and that’s why even when you’re coaching people and helping them to understand what’s meaningful it’s like the outsider is much better at pulling meaning out of what we do than us digging into 100 hours of content and finding the one thing that’s like let somebody pull you through that are a guide and that’s why I love this. The method you use is cool. So there you go. So if you all go to automationwolf.com, you will be richer for having done it, I can tell you that. And just it’s been a real pleasure. So there you go, folks. Follow the links below and yeah, hang tight. We got hundreds more of these podcasts coming. I can say that confidently now. I’m like there’s a day where I was like I don’t know if this is going to work now. I’m like this is it.

It’s so much fun and I learned every day and you taught me a lot today, Matthew. Awesome.

Thanks, Eric. I really appreciate being on the podcast.