Employee Turnover Eating into Your Profits? Learn To Hire Right

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Employee Turnover Eating into Your Profits? Learn To Hire Featuring Dr. Sabrina Starling

Employee turnover has far-reaching implications for your business. There is the monetary cost, the toll it takes on other employees, and the negative effect it can have on your customers. Far too often business owners think it is the price of doing business. But it doesn’t have to be. You can improve your employee retention by changing the way you think about employees. They should be thought of as a long-term asset and it is worth putting in a little more effort upfront. It can be done.

About Dr. Sabrina

Dr. Sabrina Starling, The Business Psychologist™ and author of the How to Hire the Best series is the founder of Tap the Potential. At Tap the Potential, we work to free business owners from the constant demands of a growing business. We believe work supports life, not the other way around.

Clients in our Better Business, Better Life™ coaching program have more time and more money than they’ve ever had before. Next, we send them off on a 4 Week Vacation™ to celebrate their hard-earned journey to Get Their Life Back!

Never one to accept status quo or back down from a challenge, Dr. Sabrina’s How to Hire the Best series grew from her desire to solve the toughest hiring challenges interfering with her clients’ growth and profitability. What sprang from her experience working with entrepreneurs in rural areas catapulted her into becoming the world’s leading expert in attracting top talent in small businesses — no matter what hiring challenges those businesses are facing — and earned Tap the Potential’s reputation as the go-to resource for entrepreneurs committed to creating Great Places to Work with thriving coaching cultures and highly engaged team members working from strengths.

Her newest book (Nov 2020), How to Hire the Best: The Entrepreneur’s Ultimate Guide to Attracting Top Performing Employees. This is truly the mothership book of the series, catering to ALL entrepreneurs in every industry. From decades of work and research, Dr. Sabrina shares crucial hiring strategies to transform small businesses everywhere AND improve personal lives.

As The Business Psychologist™, and with her years of driving profit in small businesses, Dr. Sabrina knows what it takes to find, keep, and motivate exceptional performance out of an owner’s biggest investment—team members.

Her last book, How to Hire the Best: The Contractor’s Ultimate Guide to

Attracting Top Performing Employees, was an International Best Seller on Amazon!


Facebook – /sabrinastarlingTTP/

Facebook – /tapthepotential/

LinkedIn – /drsabrina/

Twitter – @drsabrina/

Instagram – @drsabrina


Full Episode Below

Employee Turnover Eating into Your Profits? Learn To Hire Featuring Dr. Sabrina Starling

Wed, 9/1 11:09AM • 49:13


people, business, hiring, players, business owners, team members, roles, immutable laws, support, recruiting, small business owners, life, person, talk, week, turnover, attract, team, home, work


Dr. Sabrina, Roy Barker

Roy Barker  00:02

Hello, and welcome to another episode of The Business of Business Podcast. I’m your host Roy. Of course, we are the podcast that brings you a wide variety of guests that speak to a diverse set of topics. Today is no different. We are happy to have with us Dr. Sabrina Starling, “The Business Psychologist” and author of “How to Hire the Best series. and also the founder of “Tap The Potential” at Tap the Potential they work to free business owners from the constant demands of a growing business.

They believe that work supports life not the other way around. Clients in their “Better Business Better Life Coaching Program have more time and more money than they’ve ever had before. Next, they send them off to a four week vacation to celebrate their hard earned journey to get their life back. Up to Sabrina, welcome to the show.

Dr. Sabrina  00:54

Thank you. I am so excited to be here with you.

Roy Barker  00:56

Yeah. Can you stamp my passport? I am ready to be on that celebration journey.

Dr. Sabrina  01:03

Yes, every business owner deserves, especially after what we’ve been through with COVID We All right, I’ll need that.

Roy Barker  01:10

Well, and I do apologize. I’m thought I was a little bit better. But I still have a little bit of a cough. So we’re gonna try to make it through this. Unfortunately, you’re not appreciate your patience. You’ve been put off like two or three times the last time, like five minutes before we were going to start taping we had total power outage. So anyway, thank you for your patience. But before we jump into this, you know this is one of my soapbox is I love to get on and love to talk about I think that there’s so much that business owners can do to help themselves that they just overlooked. But tell us a little bit about your journey. I mean, how did you end up here?

Dr. Sabrina  01:53

Well, I’ll tell you, it really goes back to my childhood. And you know, when I was when I was a young girl, maybe like around five years old, I really became aware of my dad and how busy He always was like I would watch him scarf down his food and race out the door. And he would work from sunup till sundown always working. And my mother explained to me that, you know, your father never got to sit down for a meal as a child. And my father grew up during his childhood. My grandfather was an entrepreneur. He owned service stations and multiple drive in movie theaters in West Texas.

And he stumbled on when he had a service station, he wanted to have more gas sales. And so he got this idea that he would put a screen up on the back of his service station. And he would if you purchase five gallons of gas, you would get a free ticket to the movies. Well, that idea took off like gangbusters. And so the the service station got busy. And then he ended up opening multiple drive in movie theaters. And everyone in the family worked. I mean, that was a true family run business with multiple business endeavors. And this was the age of Elvis and, you know, muscle cars.

And like because the business was booming, and my young dad worked and he ate his meal, his diet consisted of whatever they ate in the concession stands. So with no burgers, hotdogs, nachos, soda pop. And I have always wondered, when I look back if, if my grandfather had had a really good team that he could count on? How would that have changed my dad’s experience growing up, and my grandparents lives and even their longevity, you know, because of how they aged and the health problems they had in their older age. If they’d had help, and the team and its support there, they experienced a lot of financial success from that.

But their quality of life, I wonder like that, that was not a good quality of life. And so I was a real family, I grew up in a family that was impacted by the legacy of entrepreneurship. Because my dad was not an entrepreneur, but what I learned from him is you work hard, you don’t play until the work is done. And there’s always more work to be done. And so that’s a situation where life supports work. And I really believe that works to support life, not the other way around. And so these hiring challenges that small business owners have had are not new, they’re worse because of COVID they existed pre COVID they existed back in the 50s and before it this is it’s always been hard for small business owners to find good team members

Roy Barker  04:42

yeah yeah, before we before we move on I’m gonna have to get you to sign up for episode number two to explain service stations and drive ins cuz that may have just gone have gone by some people in the audience. I didn’t drive it. What is the service gas station Should I play? I’m old enough to know what those are? Yeah, it’s kind of cool. Because not to get too far off track. But in the town where I live, they actually lived in the screen.

They had built the house out, you know, like from the screen. And it was like three, four storeys tall, it was kind of thin. It wasn’t really, you know, wide. But it was interesting, dynamic. And, yeah, I grew up worked in the service stations as well. And you know, it was a different time. And you’re exactly right, that life did support work instead of being the other way around. And it’s unfortunate, but for a lot of people my age, it’s hard to flip that switch.

And sometimes just when we think we have flipped it, and we’re doing good, another challenge or another opportunity comes along, and then we’re right back in it. And I think what makes it even worse, is if you really love your job, and you have fun at what you do, it makes it even doubly hard to just take a step back from that. Absolutely. Well, I just and we talk pre show about this. So I’m really not surprising, or I don’t like to do that to guess.

But I just got an alert from the Wall Street Journal. And basically, it said something like the states that discontinued the extra federal unemployment did not fare much, if any better than those that continue that. So I was a true believer that that was part of our problem, a big part, maybe not all of it, but I thought we would solve 75 to 80% of our staffing situation or not being defined staff with cutting that off. But again, proven wrong. So I think you have some insights into that.

Dr. Sabrina  06:49

Yeah. So I think one of the the big, there’s multiple factors at play, and as to why is it that now that business owners are poised to make a comeback, they have lots of opportunity in their business now that COVID is is less of a concern is still a huge concern, but we’re learning to deal with it. So why is it that we have these hiring challenges, even in states where the federal and the state support has been cut, or is getting getting reduced. And what happened is, first off COVID lasted a very long time. So all of us have learned to adapt to challenging circumstances that we have been placed in, we found ways to get by.

So if this had been three months, instead of a year and a half going on to almost two years, we wouldn’t have as much as we would have people ready to go back to work. It was just like a temporary blip, but people have adapted. The other piece that’s happened is that a lot of women were forced out of the workforce, to stay home and take care of children. And because of that many families have figured out how to get by on one income.

Yeah. And so that is a huge portion of the labor force that’s just gone away. And, you know, if they have school aged kids at home, they may be deciding I’m staying home for the next 10 years. Yeah, that’s significant. And then we also have just the general people’s general fear about going back to work because they’re really looking at if they’re really afraid. So they’re looking at, you know, some extra money in my household to make things easier, or safety. And fear and safety, people are always going to choose from from fear.

And so we have a situation where our labor pool has shrunk. Prior to COVID, the hiring challenge that was out there is that only 10% of the population are a players to begin with. So a players are those individuals who are highly motivated. They’re intrinsically motivated. That means that they just want to do a good job, just yearning. And when you find something that you want to do you want to do it, you enjoy doing that kind of work. And so when you have this natural drive to want to do it better, that’s that a player intrinsic motivation. extrinsic motivation is when you have to give somebody a perk like I’m going to give you $1 an hour or more if you produce more for me, a player’s don’t work that way.

The other challenge is that a players who want to work are rarely unemployed, so they are not home reading ads on indeed, they’re not reading the Help Wanted ads. And so your challenge as a business owner is how do I find the eight players that I want on my team? Because the typical hiring strategies don’t work. They actually set us up to this higher 75% of the time, but they’re not geared to attract a players or teams.

Roy Barker  09:55

Yeah, I don’t like to be too rough on anybody. But I think that’s one A skill that’s been lost, even prior to COVID is recruiting. And I think you make a very good point that the A players, the people that you really want, they’re not perusing the ads anyway. Right? You know, because what I always challenge people to do is do actual recruiting, which means talking to people being in touch with people prior to needing them to that way, especially today, you can monitor them on social media to see what’s their attitude about things, how they feel, did they spend a lot of time during the day on there, you know,.

There’s so much reconnaissance that you can do in the beginning, instead of just putting up, you know, instead of like, Hey, we got a guy that left today, let’s put an indeed app. I mean, let’s put it in D dad. And that’s, to me, that’s not really recruiting. And that’s where we get in this position of, well, we hired somebody because we had to hurry and it was basically, okay, they got a pulse, and they filled out an application. So there there are person with the wrong person, which just, you know, trickles through and makes things even worse as we go.

Dr. Sabrina  11:14

Yes. And that that’s exactly the the traditional hiring strategy. That’s what the majority of small business owners do. And that’s what sets us up to miss hire 75% of the time. So that’s where you have that experience of I hate hiring, I don’t want to go through this again, it’s so painful, and I don’t think I’m going to get a good candidate anyway. So because you really aren’t, because one out of four is going to be good, three out of four is going to be awful, and you’re going to fire him. And when you’re a small business, your margins are so slim to begin with. payroll is the biggest expense turnover on your payroll will eat away your profit, like if you’re not profitable.

Now, if you learn how to attract the best, and you actually have a system that works to attract a players to your team, and you can retain those eight players on your team, that is the fastest path to building a highly profitable business. So getting this piece right, and your experience ROI, where so many business owners don’t recruit is spot on. We have been surveying small business owners over the last year and a half. And in a survey of over 200 entrepreneurs 89% have no system to attract a players to their team. 89%. So only 11% have a system for hiring.

Roy Barker  12:34

Yeah. And we’re, I think you can put this as a question, but it seems like we’ve become very reactionary in hiring. I mean, in in the starting the process is we wait till, hey, that guy’s been gone for two, three, you know, sometimes it’s been weeks. And that’s another thing I look at, like this slots been open for 30 6090 days. You have to at some point, ask yourself, do we really even need that person if we’ve been able to go? I mean, maybe we’re paying crazy overtime.

But and then the the other part that’s kind of weird is that sometimes it can the process can take so long that they just lose that they leaves the good people because they’re, it’s competitive for somebody that is that top 10%. And we do all this stuff that sometimes it’s necessary, sometimes it’s not, but look at it’s kind of like the sliding scale, like the lower wage. employees, it seems like, they quit their job today. And they need to go to work tomorrow, they don’t have three weeks, six weeks, you know, for 10 $15 hour an employee, typically what I would see and then, you know, with your professional workers, you know, they’re gonna give two weeks to a month notice. So there is some time to go through that. But let me get your opinion on that as well.

Dr. Sabrina  14:05

design your recruiting and hiring system so that it filters out the wrong people very early on in the process, because you don’t have time as a small business owner to be talking to everybody and interviewing. So you want to filter out the wrong people early on in the process. And you want to fast track the right people. And that’s what I’m hearing you speak to Roy is that you want to treat your recruiting and hiring like you do marketing and sales things. So if you had no marketing system in your business, and you had inconsistent sales, you would have no business.

And yet and so we’ve all learned we figured that part out early on in our business as part of surviving as a business. I’m right at the point where we have steady lead generation and steady sales conversion is the point where we need as business owners to be starting to think About how am I going to steadily recruit and attract the eight players that I need on my team? If my business is going to grow three times from where it is now, over the next few years, how many roles do I need? What role? What are those roles? How am I going to attract those eight players to my team.

So when it goes back to your hiring process, and you want to speed it up, you want to fast track those who seem like they’re a good fit, you want to have some filters in place early on. And if people are passing through those filters, and it’s like, check, they’ve got this criteria, check. They’ve got this criteria, get it on a phone call. I mean, like, just like sales, if someone comes to your business, and they want to buy something from you, are you gonna say, you know, my schedule is pretty full. So maybe in our discussion about this, no, you’re gonna have that conversation right then? Right? Soon thereafter.

Roy Barker  15:48

Right? Yeah. And it’s funny, we must read from the same script, because that’s what I always talk about is that we have to market for talent, just like we market for business. Because, and we, and also talking about growth, you know, it’s one thing, just replacing current staff just in that turnover process. But if we’re in a growth mode, we have to really be thinking, who we’re going to need to add At what point so we can get on that. And again, it’s been a little more difficult through this time, because you know, things I recommend are getting out in front of if you need younger people getting out in front of students to tell them about your business, your industry to, you know, again, we’re selling them on why they need to come to work for us, but also at trade events, things like that, meet people that and not that you need them, right that moment, but you’re always making a list of Hey, I really like this person, attitude, the way they talk and everything they do, that there’s somebody you may want to reach out to in the future.

Dr. Sabrina  16:56

Yes, Yes, for sure. And so when we look at the roles that we need to fill in our business, both the existing roles because you could have turnover, as well as new roles. And you identify what if that person in that role can only get one thing done for me in a given day or given week? What is the most important one thing they’re going to do? Identify what that one result is that you need from them? And then think through what are the personality strengths needed to do this job exceptionally well, day in and day out?

So now you’re starting to define exactly who you’re looking for, in this role, what are their personal qualities, and I’ll explain why this is so important. years ago, I had coached a young man, I think he was he might have still been in high school I never asked he just told me. He was very young. And this was his first business venture. And he had, he had made a product. And he was selling it in a mall at a kiosk. And his product was taking off. And he needed somebody to stand at the kiosk and make the sale. So he could go in the back and make the product. So he hired some of his friends. And they were really good friends of his and they were gung ho they wanted to help him and support him, they would show up for work.

And he said, You know, he said, I need you to wave down the foot traffic. And we’re all just get them to come over here and try the product. And usually they’ll they’ll buy and they’ll try it and they’ll buy some. And he said it works for me. I know you can do this. And so they his friends would do this. And he said, Dr. Sabrina, I don’t understand why after an hour or two, I go I walk away and I come back and I find them standing in the kiosk with their phone, their back, turned to the foot traffic going by and mall. And and I said well, have you talked to them about that?

And you said yeah, we’ve had repeated conversations and they still, you know, they could they come back and I see is I know I need to do this and they’ll they’ll try but then I see them you know later on. And I said I’m just I’m really curious. Are your friends like when you go to parties? Are they the ones who mingle and talk to everybody? And he said Dr. Sabrina they don’t go was trying to get them to come out with me and do things he said they they study and they you know they’re they’re very studious, they don’t miss classes.

They make straight A’s. I don’t understand why I can’t get them here. They look like a players I don’t understand why kick them to me. And I said I’m so I said I’m, I think maybe you have hired some introverts who are trying to be extroverts for you. They’re not succeeding. And that was like a lightbulb moment for him because he said you’re absolutely right. He said they don’t like to talk to people very much. They’re very quiet and reserved, and it’s exactly they’re trying very hard for you. But that drains their batteries.

And when you see them turn their back to the foot traffic. They’re actually trying to recharge their batteries to get energy to do what you need them to do. Like, oh my gosh, so heat started being intentional. The one result he needed was just Get the foot traffic over to try the product. So he started hiring people who were extroverts and from, it just grew from there like it, that freed him up to go do other things that he needed to do in the business, he could rely on them.

So when we get really clear in our hiring process, the kind of person the personality strengths that are needed to deliver the result exceptionally well, we have a description that we can go out and share when we’re networking and saying, I’m looking for someone like this. Who do you know, don’t say, I’m looking for someone like this? Who do you know who’s looking for a job, right? players are not unemployed.

So you immediately whoever you’re talking to, they’re not going to think of anybody. So you just say, who do you know who’s like this. And then the other key piece that’s really nice to be part of that filtering process that I talked about earlier, is your immutable laws. So identifying your core values, your how you what you believe in, and every one of us has three to five core values that really define who we are and how we show up in the world.

And when we can articulate those. That’s a part of how we attract the A players we want on our team, we want to hire a players whose core values align with our immutable laws. And that’s the number one filter to put in place in your hiring process. It’s not skill set, it’s not personality strengths. It’s are your immutable laws are your core values similar to ours, if they’re not, you want to just move on, you don’t even want to talk to them and bring them in for an interview.

But anybody who’s checking the boxes, and the core values lineup, right, want to move them through, and you want to have a conversation with them. Because that’s somebody, they have a network because a players hang together. And they come together around core values. Okay, and so if you have somebody that has filled out an application, even if they don’t have the skill set that you’re looking for, they’re not right for that particular role, they go into your database of who you’re going to stay in contact with, because they have a network of other a players around them, able to tap into that network, know that nobody is ever a dead end when they have a match with you with your immutable laws, because they can put you in contact with other people who might be looking for exactly what you have to offer, again, which

Roy Barker  22:21

follows the the rule of the I guess the sales method is follow. Even if we don’t close a sale, we want to follow up with these people because things can change. Like you said, maybe not necessarily with them, but they may have a good connection that, you know, would be a good candidate. And

Dr. Sabrina  22:40

I am so glad you said that. Because we’ve I I’ve had a job, have you had a job. Okay. And there were days I went to work where I really liked my job. And there were days I went to work, and I was like, This is awful. This place. And it’s like this, you know, emotional roller coaster. If a place is really a great place to work, those feelings that hate this place, it’s awful.

Those come and go and they’re fleeting. But if it’s a place like most work environments that are not all that great, where there’s not a lot of attention put to culture and building relationships with team members, chances are, there’s going to be an opportunity where that person that you would like to work for you is having a number of bad days at work. And if you are present in their world, if you show up and say hey, I’m Roy, remember me I have an opportunity over here is if you’re ever interested, remember this opportunity is over here. And I’d be happy to have a conversation with you about it. Yeah. So that staying present, you will show up in their world, eventually, you’re going to catch them on a day where they’re like, I’m ready to go.

Roy Barker  23:45

Yeah, yeah. And that’s so important, because we need to have those people, you know, not only those people, but we also need to have those that are disappointed that are calling us saying, Hey, I’m just checking with, you know, we have to build up to make it the place that they want to be, you know, we have, and I don’t mean, do a sales job, because it’s not a good place to work.

But I mean, we have to make it a good place to work, but then we have to sell people on why they need to be working for us and get that attention with them reaching out to somebody, you know, being in that constant communication mode. And it’s funny, too, I’m a it’s a difficult situation, because I do believe in education. And, you know, some people aren’t for college, but their trade schools or trade education, but there was a great line in the TV show. It actually was law and order years ago. So there was this lawyer that was just really pounding them in this episode. And one of the assistants is like, I don’t know, I don’t understand this guy’s really killing us.

But you know, he barely passed law school, like, you know, he had like a two five or three or whatever the minimum was and the other guy said Yeah, but the reason why he made poor grades is was because he was always hanging around a court house, learning his craft. And so well, I don’t want to discourage education, I just want to say that, you know, we also have to look at other abilities that go with that, because sometimes, we’ve gotten so rigid on degrees in education that we want. Again, I’m gonna just tell you my story is that, you know, I struggled and went to night school for 20 years to get my undergrad.

So I definitely believe in it, don’t, please, nobody Take me, take me, don’t think we need it. I believe everybody needs it just for the sometimes it’s just for the socialization part. But anyway, we have to just look at the person well round in sometimes I think we may have this arbitrary line that we put up, there’s somebody that could be bumping right up against the bottom of it, that we give no consideration.

Dr. Sabrina  26:02

I absolutely agree with you. As one who has a doctoral degree, I will, I’m the first to say that college may not be the best investment for a lot of people. And there’s, there’s lots of people who have broad skill sets and a broad base of experience, who are very eager to learn in most things can be trained. And I’m not going to say, you know, like, you wouldn’t put somebody in the role of psychologists just because they’ve had a broad live experience.

And, you know, I’m not gonna go into that part. But what I’m hearing you say is, we’ve got to think outside the box. Correct. And I have had many small business owners that we’ve worked with that have done that out of the box thinking and so they will bring entry level team members into their company, and they know they can they figured out their system for attracting their entry level team members. Yes. And then they start working on how do we teach them leadership skills?

How do we give them the skills that they need to advance and fill our higher level roles, because those higher level roles are so hard to fill, they’re finding more success and raising up their team and giving them opportunities for advancement and recruiting that way. And the the other piece that I think it’s so important for small business owners to hear right now is that the bird in the hand is worth more than 10 in the bush. So when you have a players on your team, be aware of why they like working for you and what they consider to be a great place to work.

So ask them, you seem happy here. What do you like here, what could be better for you, you don’t have to make any promises that you know you’re going to do anything extravagant, because you may not be able to, but just you need to be in conversation with them to understand their perspective. And use that to help you create the culture that will attract more a player. So the cult, the A players that you have on your team, are your greatest source of information for how to figure out how to attract more a players still like them. And we need to be focusing on retention moreso than attraction so retain what you have the A players, not everybody on your team, B and C players will be like a player repellent in your business.

So if you don’t have warm bodies on your team, you need to be aware of that because they can actually be driving off your a players, right. So we need to really be focusing on retaining those a players getting to know them spending time and investing time with them that just an opportunity every week for a one to one conversation with the business owner or the person that they directly report to is the number one thing that you can do to retain a player’s know if that goes away. They feel disconnected and they are much more likely to leave. But that’s also your avenue to learn about them and how to figure out how to recruit more like

Roy Barker  28:58

them. Right. Right. And that, you know, I think one thing is that attracting that entry level that we can show a path of promotion that also plays to our future a player’s because we can bring them in and train them up in our own system and move them up. And then the part about getting to know our employees, that’s me, that’s such a big part. Because what I would do and if you’re a larger company, excuse me there, if you’re a larger company, you may have to delegate it to managers and I would want to manage your I didn’t have to delegate it to you that could just do it on their own.

But that is Get to know your people outside of work. I mean, I used to have, you know, we would do quick cookouts at the office just because there doesn’t have to be a reason just that I appreciate you showed up today. And we would also do events outside even if it was just a cook out at the house just to have people but other leaders find it interesting that I knew my people, I knew their wives, I knew their kids, I knew their situations, not macroscopically.

But I knew enough that somebody came in and was having a bad day, we could sit down and talk about it because I knew who they were. But it’s so important because it builds trust, I think between, you know, they, they knew that I cared about them. And therefore, even when we had to make hard decisions, when he had to step up and be a manager and actually say, Look, you’re not gonna like it, but we’ve got to do this. They may have said, a bad word, and they may have stomped off, but they went and did it. And they did it. Right. So I don’t know, I’ve always thought that his key is just that humanization part.

Dr. Sabrina  30:49

At the end of the day, all businesses relationships, yes. And when we take the time to invest in the people who work hard for us, and learn about them and look for, you know, ask the questions, how can I support you? What support Do you need, that’s the number one thing that you can do to retain the A players on your team.

Roy Barker  31:10

And I know we’re running short on time, a couple things I want to hit pretty quickly, uh, the dollars per turnover, I don’t think I don’t think a lot of people really know that there are dollars true expense dollars related to turnover, I usually use about, you know, 5000 is usually an average for, you know, a $10 hour employee.

And then we move up to, you know, like a tech worker, that may be like 400% of their salary, is most of that is true cash going out the door. Because even if you say, Well, we’ve got an HR person, that recruiter on staff that does this, well, if they’re working on that person, they’re not working on your growth person that’s fixing to come up.

So there are true costs or true cost to your staff, because typically, we’re having to overwork them, or there’s something going on inside of this company that is kind of sour in them. I mean, you know, you know, there’s all kinds of internal names. And then the other thing as a customer, when I come to your business, and I’m dealing with somebody new every time I walk in, I have to think, Hey, what’s going on here?

Dr. Sabrina  32:27

Yeah, it creates a lack of consistency, and it breaks the relationships that your customers have, right? And that that the estimates are and it’s anywhere from 100 to 300% or more of the rock the amount that you’re paying that person either in wage or salary. And there’s a lot of hidden costs. And that’s really what you’re touching on the lack of morale, the disengagement and the stakes, the rework that has to be done. losing someone and going through the turnover process is one of the most costly things you can do in your business, plus all the time that’s spent in training and onboarding.

And so this is where what we’ve seen in small businesses, your greatest opportunity for success is to look at those entry level roles, and really focus their first on how are you going to attract and fill those roles and have a steady pipeline of people for those roles, and then move into the higher level roles in your business and figure out

Roy Barker  33:27

we see here got a page full of notes, we could talk for three or four,

Dr. Sabrina  33:32

we could clearly have a lot of similar viewpoints here. And we want to help these small

Roy Barker  33:38

business this. Yeah, because a couple things you talked about, just wanted to reiterate about why people may not be coming back. You know, a lot of people had to develop a side hustle, just to make it through. So they’re just continuing that even at a lower rate. Maybe they don’t, you know, it’s like working from home. You don’t have any cleaning bills, you don’t have to drive the commute. You know, there are a lot of expenses that they may say, Hey, I could do my side hustle.

But then you talked about working mothers and my next door group and some Facebook pages I’ve been on they have just blown up, you know, the last couple of weeks about childcare that as people are being going back to work to offices. And then school, they’re having mothers and families are having trouble finding that after school care, or you know, it’s like I’ve had this is my third person I’ve been on in the last two months, you know, help?

Dr. Sabrina  34:37

Well, and I’ll tell you, there’s even another layer to this as a mother myself, that there are our youngest kids are not able to be vaccinated. And so there’s there with the Delta variant, there’s a lot of fear and there’s a high likelihood that our elementary school kids if they’re in environments where people aren’t wearing masks and not vaccinated They’re going to come down with COVID. And so there’s a lot of moms out there who are like, I’m choosing not to work, because I’m going to homeschool My child, we have that variable in there, too.

And so what we do see is that employers who have roles that can be filled virtually have lots of applicants for those roles. So because people have figured out how to work from home and take care of their kids like that, we’ve had that great juggling act now for a long time. So if you can look at the roles that you need to fill in your business and ask, Is there any portion of this that can be done virtually on a contractual basis, like through a virtual assistant or an executive assistant, and get that administrative support?

And if you have team that are spread really thin? Ask them? What admin support do they need? And then asked, Can any Is there a way we can figure out how to do any of this virtually, because if we can, you can take some of the load off of your existing team. And you again, that helps you to retain your existing team. And then you can get some of the rest of the work done by someone who has virtual, if you’ve never tried virtual work before, I know a lot of you know, Main Street businesses like virtual work, are you kidding?

How do we have somebody who’s not here in the office, we’re all in office? Think about from the perspective that somebody who does virtual work on a contractual basis can teach you they can you can talk to them and say, Hey, you know, we have these bookkeeping functions in our business, or we have these admin scheduling things. It’s always been done by somebody in the office, how would you do that? virtually? What would that look like for us? So, again, that’s some of that out of the box thinking?

Roy Barker  36:44

Yeah. We’ll just touch it on the children. That’s another thing that’s gone crazy here. Because I know that there are now whole classes, and sometimes whole schools that have had to go back into quarantine, again, virtual just because the whole math, you know, and I don’t want to get into the politics of that the whole masking versus not masking. And then but you know, now all of a sudden, we’re back to where we were. But I’m also the remote work. I haven’t figured out why some companies that have survived, even thrived with workers at home, have been so adamant that you’re coming back. And why there’s not more of a was there such reluctance to let people be remote, I don’t get that.

Dr. Sabrina  37:36

So, so much of the way we work in our country is done, because it’s just the way it is. always done it this way. The eight hour work day, five days a week was something that Henry Ford came up with, because he thought that would be a great idea to help factory workers and productions in factories. Well, so many of us now are not producing things, we are knowledge based workers, right. And so shifting our thinking to, we have certain results that we need our team members to deliver. And let’s pay them for the results versus how often how long they show up.

Right? psychologically, people cannot focus on zoom at a computer for eight hours a day with a half hour or an hour for lunch and a 15 minute break mid morning and mid afternoon. And that’s why we have people who are checking out and going on Facebook and doing whatever because their focus is going away. So rather than paying them for eight hours, say here’s the results you’re responsible for this week, go do it. If it takes you 40 hours, if it takes you 20 I’m going to pay you this amount, this result. And so it’s a mindset shift to go on to results oriented versus I’m paying you to show up and paying for your physical presence.

Roy Barker  38:57

Yeah, that’s the thing is I’m paying the you have to be here at these particular times because it and I get deadlines. And I’m not saying that it’s we shouldn’t meet deadlines, but I’m saying does it really matter if I filled out this Excel spreadsheet at nine in the morning or nine in the evening, as long as if you needed tomorrow, as long as I got it to you tomorrow, that’s really all the counts.

Dr. Sabrina  39:21

Exactly. And if there are certain core meetings that everyone you need everyone present for, set those on the schedule, so everyone knows I haven’t either for this, but then give people the flexibility they need. You likely have team members who have family members who have COVID. So you people are stretched really thin and the number one reason people will stay with employers is they feel supported in their personal life. So you can offer the flexibility for someone to take care of a sick family member that builds loyalty and that loyalty is it invaluable. Yeah. And that’s something we in small business can run circles around the corporate world with.

Roy Barker  40:07

Yeah. Yeah. And, again, this gets back to knowing your staff. Because I had a friend that was a nursing home administrator, and one of her best staff just dropped off the face of the earth. And, you know, we have to put ourself in that position is, it’s like, they don’t want to get the hassle of why did you not show up? Why can’t you come to work? So she was like, I’m not calling, I’ll just go, I can get another job at this pay rate, with no problem.

But she was such a good worker that the administrator went to the home actually, to chase her down, sat down and talked with her, and found out that there were some issues with the husband, and he had been in jail. So she didn’t have a car because it was impounded. And instead of trying to explain all that, it was easier not to. But all they did was set. She moved her from her shift from, you know, seven to three to like noon to seven or whatever, something in that, but it was just a small tweak, that it was good for the staff, because she got to retain her job, but great for the administrator because she retained one of her top employees.

Yeah, it’s just as little as that communication as caring instead of just being like, Oh, my gosh, I should have known that person was gonna do me this way and be in the when it there will be people that do that. I you know, I’m not saying there won’t. But we should know the ones that aren’t that way. And the ones that will be that way.

Dr. Sabrina  41:37

Well, and I actually, I want to speak to those who are hearing this and saying, but she just flaked out on you and didn’t show up. So why do you want her back on your team? If you really understand a player psychology, and you think about what might have been going on in this woman’s life, she was juggling a whole family crisis that she was trying to not burden her employer with. So she kept her mouth shut and showed up and did a good job. And then it got overwhelming. And she wasn’t able things were out of her control.

At that point. If she wasn’t able to show up and do a good job, she probably felt a lot of shame. Yes. And that’s that shame, where it’s just easier to go find another job. So I’m playing all this. And I, I know I’ve let someone down that I care about a lot. And so just like he said, Be that employer, when some somebody exhibits behavior that is out of character, from what you’ve known them, get curious, rather than judge get curious and find out what’s going on.

Roy Barker  42:33

Yeah, yeah. Because we have to understand that a lot of people live different lives than what we do. I mean, it’s just, that is their norm. It’s not ours, and we have no understanding. And so it’s something I’ve said more lately than I thought I ever would, but you know, seek first to understand. And there’s a lot of power in that, actually.

Absolutely. So one more thing. And then I’m promised, I’m gonna let you go. This time, with the promise of coming back. What is the end of the rent moratorium going to do because another thing that’s blown up on my phone starting this week? Was I need to move in truck, I need a place to stay? It is. I mean, it’s like to the nth degree. And I assume it has to do with the moratorium being over? I think it was yesterday, maybe?

Dr. Sabrina  43:22

Yeah. Yeah, I think it just ties into everything we’re talking about people have stressors that we can’t even fathom, right. And so we need to be in contact with our team members. And if they need help finding a place to live, we have a huge network around us, how can we tap into our network and help them get the resources they need? I small business owners are notorious for going above and beyond to support their team members. And so this is something we just need, we need to be aware of that our teams need a lot of support, right?

Roy Barker  44:05

Yeah, yeah. And don’t again, let’s don’t lose good workers, just because they’re in a bad spot. And they try to deal with it as much as they can. And then when they can’t, you know, they just have to stop everything else to do it, where if we could just give them a helping hand where possible. It makes life so much easier for everybody involved.

Dr. Sabrina  44:24

Yes. And then I think also give finding out about resources in your community that, you know, the food, food kitchens and places that will help people get through a tough time and sharing that with your team members. The when you’re having those one to one conversations with your team members. You’re building an emotional bank account because they come to trust you more. And a lot of times when we are in crisis. We make fighter flight survival decisions. And so if your team member trusts you and they will come and talk with you about crises in their lives. You can be that trusted guide that can help them identify resources and come up with a plan to get through a very tough difficult time. Yeah.

Roy Barker  45:10

All right. Well, I appreciate you taking time out of your day. It’s been interesting conversation, always learn a lot. When we speak. Before I let you go a couple questions. What is a tool or a habit that you use every day that you feel adds a lot of value?

Dr. Sabrina  45:26

Well, exercise number one, hands down, I do my best thinking, when I can exercise every day and trying really hard to get a good night’s sleep. And most business owners were not so great at that. But I try hard,

Roy Barker  45:40

right, right. Now that’s good advice on both of those, the exercise seems to clear my head where I can get over hurdles that I may have been bumping up to in the day and then asleep always, if I don’t get enough sleep, my day never starts that well. So yes, great words of advice. So I’m gonna, instead of me being tongue tied, I’m gonna let you explain your book series. And then also, you can tell us, who do you like to work with how you can help them where they can reach out and get a hold of you and find your books as well.

Dr. Sabrina  46:11

Okay, so I have the “How to Hire the Best” series. And this evolved from 16-17 years of me trying to help business owners get themselves out of the day to day in the business because, you know, like we’ve talked about everyone needs a break, everyone deserves a vacation. And when you don’t have good team members that you can count on, you can’t take that time off. So my latest in the series is the “How to Hire the Best: The Entrepreneurs Ultimate Guide to Attracting Top Performing Team Members,” it’s available on Amazon, we at Tap My Business is Tapped the Potential and we’re on a mission to support entrepreneurs and taking their lives back from their business.

So many entrepreneurs really have that experience where work takes over life, and you sacrifice your health and your important relationships all for the sake of keeping the business going. We believe work supports life, not the other way around. We have a community of entrepreneurs on Facebook, your is called entrepreneurs take your life back, I would love to welcome your listeners and you right over there.

And we have ongoing conversations in that group to support business owners in building these businesses that are profitable, and what we call life giving where everyone the business owner, and team members feel like they get energy and get life from going to work. So you can join that group, tapthepotential.com/group. And then the final, I have a really good free resource.

That is it’s the best way to get started with everything that you’ve heard me talk about here, as a business owner really starting to bring on team and the quality team members and free yourself up to do the most valuable things in the business. It’s my training on “How to Make Your Time Worth $10,000 an Hour. Oh, wow. And you can get that at tapthepotential.com/10k.

Roy Barker  48:11

Okay, yeah. And I’ll be sure to include all that in the show notes as well. Thank you, boy. All right. Well, thank you for your time. Thank you for the resources and most of all, thank you for your patience and finally making it to the tape.

Dr. Sabrina  48:23

It’s well worth it. I’m so glad to share and support other business owners and I appreciate you giving me that opportunity.

Roy Barker  48:28

You bet you bet. Well, that’s gonna do it for another episode of The Business of Business Podcasts. Of course. I’m your host Roy. You can find us at www.thebusinessofbusinesspodcast.com We’re on all the major podcast platforms, iTunes, Stitcher, Google, Spotify, Pandora, one that she listened to please reach out, I’d be glad to add it and make your listening easier. We’re also on all the major social media platforms tend to hang out on Instagram a little bit more than others love to interact with you there and a video of this interview will go on our YouTube page. So check that out as well as some of our past episodes. Until next time, take care of yourself and take care of your business.


Facebook – /sabrinastarlingTTP/

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Want A Profitable Agency? Understand These Dynamics

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Business Podcast

Want A Profitability Agency? Understand These Dynamics Featuring Marcel Petitpas

Want a profitable agency? There’s much more to being a successful marketing agency than writing great copy, unique placement, and gathering attention for your client. You have to be able to run a financially sound operation. Learn the key indicators you want to look at in order to be successful. 

About Marcel

Marcel Petitpas is the CEO & Co-Founder of Parakeeto, a software company that helps agencies increase profitability by generating accurate, data-driven estimates in seconds using their existing time-tracking data.

He’s also the fractional COO at Gold Front, an award-winning creative agency in San Francisco working with brands like Uber, Slack, Keap and more. As well as the head strategic coach at SaaS Academy by Dan Martell, the #1 coaching program for B2B SaaS businesses in the world.

In his work as a speaker, podcast host and consultant, specializing in Agency Profitability Optimization, he’s helped hundreds of agencies around the world improve profitability and cash flow in their business.

When he’s not helping agencies make more money, he’s probably watching “The Office” or “Parks and Rec” on a never-ending loop and eating breakfast foods for every meal of the day. 


Parakeeto Website

See Marcel Petitpas on:

His Website




Listen to more great episodes on The Business of Business Podcast here

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Full Transcript Below

Want A Profitability Agency? Understand These Dynamics Featuring Marcel Petitpas

Tue, 8/24 12:07PM • 40:24

Estimated reading time: 41 minutes


agency, client, profitability, project, processes, typically, create, gross margin, people, estimate, service, marcel, work, thought, overhead, cash flow, business, revenue, call, sell


Marcel, Roy Barker


Roy Barker  00:02

Hello and welcome to another episode of The Business of Business Podcast. I’m your host Roy. Of course we are the podcast that brings you a wide variety of guests. That speak to a diverse set of topics. Hopefully, we can shine a light on something that maybe you haven’t thought about. To help you be successful or if there’s something keeping you up at night definitely.

We can provide you some information and guest professionals. I can help you with that we just want to see everybody and be successful in their endeavors. Today is no different. We are lucky enough to have Marcel Petitpas I hope I got that right. He is CEO and founder of Parakeeto Software company that helps agencies increase profitability by generating accurate data driven estimates.

In seconds using their existing time tracking data is also the fractional COO of Gold Front an award winning creative agency in San Francisco working with brands like Uber, Slack,, Keap and more as well as head of Strategic Coach at Saas Academy by Dan Martell the number one coaching program for B2B SAS businesses in the world.

In his work as a speaker, podcast host and consultant specializing in agency profitability optimization, he has helped hundreds of agencies around the world improve profitability and cash flow in their businesses. Marcel, welcome to the show. Thanks for taking time out of your day to visit with us.

Marcel  01:32

Thank you, Roy, for having me and for taking the time out of your day for that very elaborate intro. I think I’ve missed the Uber Slack and as KEAP. I’m not sure if that’s keep up so used to be Infusionsoft, they rebranded we actually helped them with some of the creative in that rebrand that launch video. Okay, well, yeah, some pretty cool companies we get to work with there.

Roy Barker  01:53

I’m about 97%, right on pronunciations this morning. So Well, before we jump off into this agency profitability and some things that you could do to help. Tell us a little bit about your past? How did you is Have you always been in marketing? Is that been? It sounds like you may have constant marketing skills and the analytical skills as well. So how do you match those up? And how did you get here?

More About Marcel

Marcel  02:19

Yeah, so I mean, my career at the earliest started in sales, retail sales. And that led to me becoming an account manager with Apple. Where I worked with primarily future shop, and then Best Buy here in Canada as a manager. Helping them sell more Apple products. So that was a combination of marketing, sales, skills, training, you know, all that kind of good stuff. And then left Apple to start my own agency, when I was very young. That agency was called Real Tours Media, and we were doing real estate services primarily in virtual reality.

So we, you know, create those 3d models of a house that people could kind of tour through from their home. Or with a VR headset. We were kind of early days in that. And that was when I first started really running into these problems of, hey, like, when we sell a project to a client. It can actually cost us more money to do that work than the client paid us. Started getting really in touch with some of the challenges of trying to figure that stuff out as a small agency, you know.

The tools that are available out there, your accounting data is in one place, your time tracking data isn’t another, you know, your estimates about the project are probably in a spreadsheet, somewhere bringing all that together to get a pulse on are we actually gonna make money on this thing is actually not as straightforward as I thought it was going to be. And that’s where I kind of discovered this problem space. From there, you know, that agency didn’t work out for those reasons, the cash flow, the pricing, it all just kind of didn’t work.

And candidly, I didn’t like doing the work. And I realized very early on that I didn’t have enough margin in that service to hire somebody to scale us. So I left that business and got really interested in software as a service or SaaS. And from there, you know, started failed at several different ideas and eventually landed on Parakeeto, when a friend of mine called me up and said, Hey, I’m sick and tired of building spreadsheets to answer these questions in my agency about are we making money? Can we bring on you know, new work?

Do we need to hire people? And you know, there isn’t a solution out there. That’s, that’s solving this for me. I want to figure out how to make this easier for agency owners. And I immediately resonated, said, Yeah, I totally know what you’re talking about. We start we put our heads together. And that was the birth of Parakeeto.

Setting Prices

Roy Barker  04:21

Oh, nice. Yeah, it’s, it’s a definite issue. You know, I’m sure not only for marketing agencies but for consultants or you know. A lot of times people that sell products is you know. I’ve worked with people to say, what’s your you know, they charge x numbers like. Well, what’s all included in that? How did you come up with that price? When you sit down and really work it out, it’s like, you know, they were priced at 4999. And they were, it cost them about 7990.

To do that, not a bad thing. I mean, he can’t keep that up. But you know, we, we always talk about price and value. Not wanting to, you know, necessarily be the price leader. Then as the in the consultant world it’s like. We call it scope creep or work creep or cost creep. That, you know, you just do one little thing more, you put a little extra time into this. Then the next thing, you know. Like you said, at the end of the job. You’re writing a check to your customer. Which isn’t ever the position you really want to be in.

Marcel  05:19

Yeah, it’s a it’s a funny thing, right? I think as service business owners, we tend to make the mistake of thinking of revenue as being revenue, or revenue as being the same as profit. And I think that often comes from this starting point, I think a lot of us start into building an agency or building or consultancy doing the work ourselves. And we don’t value our time, the same way that we, you know, inherently understand the cost of having somebody else do the work.

So a lot of times, we’re setting these baseline expectations, that, you know, when I sell something to a client, that money belongs to me, of course, at scale, that money doesn’t belong to you, first, you have to pay all the people to get the work done, and then what’s leftover belongs to you. And then you got to pay your rent, and then you got to pay for all your software, and then you got to pay your lawyer and your accountant, and then you get to keep some of that money.

So often, there is an inflection point where the design of our products and services needs to change dramatically to make sure that there’s enough margin in that service to actually have a healthy and scalable business. And that’s what we help agencies do. Of course, we have software, but we also do a lot of consulting around this as well.

Stay or Go?

Roy Barker  06:20

Now, I think this is an awesome time to be having this discussion. Because you know, we’ve talked about this over the last six or eight months. That some people may have gotten into, into doing some consulting or some marketing, because of COVID. And so now it’s like time to make a decision, do we go back to the work for somebody else? Do we stay in this business? That’s an important part of it. Is being able to make a living. Not just while in way, your time and you know, at the end of the day not having anything?

Marcel  06:54

Yep. Yep. So I think one of the things that needs to be true in order to make that assessment is you need to understand what the profitability of your service offering is, and then be able to figure out if you can truly scale it. So I mean, if you’re just a consultants, and you just want to be solo, that’s one thing, right? Then you just figure out like, basically, how much time does it take me to do this kind of an engagement? Therefore, how many of them can I do in a year?

And does that get me to a level of revenue that I’m happy with from a lifestyle perspective? But notice that even in that simplest possible case, there’s still an element of tracking your time that’s required there so that you can actually assess like, what is my capacity to earn revenue in a year, you should know that number, you should know if I work all the hours that I’m willing to work, how much money could I earn in a given year, so that you’re not setting yourself up again for disappointment. And then if you’re going to take that a level further, basically, what you need to understand is a couple of really important numbers on a project by project basis. And then as well, at the agency level, or at the company level.

The first is, what is my agency gross income. So I think a mistake that a lot of people make in the agency spaces, they focus on top line revenue, when depending on what your service offering is, there might be a lot of revenue that’s passing through you on to another vendor that actually doesn’t belong to you and is not, is not going to be impacted by your level of efficiency. So an example of this would be if you have ad spend, that you’re doing on behalf of a client or print budgets, or you hire an external video production agency to do a part of an engagement, right? There’s might be some external vendors that you work with where they’re actually doing the work.

And so you need to be able to subtract that out from your revenue to understand what is my agency gross income, what is the amount of revenue that I’m responsible, or my team is responsible for earning with the work we do for the clients so that you can start to understand how efficiently your business and your system earns that revenue. The next thing you want to be able to figure out is what is our gross margin or gross profit. And so many accountants that work with agencies don’t actually include this inherently in the profit and loss statement, because it’s designed to be generic for all of their clients who run all kinds of different businesses.

But an agency is unique because you typically have two layers of cogs, you have the first layer, which is all the external vendors that gets you to your AGI. On your profit loss statement today, it’s probably called your gross profit. Then the second thing you got to figure out is what does it cost us to actually earn that revenue, and that is by looking at your production expenses that are typically shared across clients. This would be things like your software that you pay for your Adobe Creative Cloud, your stock images, your you know, figma design software, like all the stuff that you might use to actually do creative work for your clients.

And then there’s the direct labor cost. So what does it actually cost you or cost you for the team that’s doing the work in terms of the time they put in what they cost per hour, whether they’re a freelancer contractor or they’re an employee need to understand what they cost, measure the amount of time that they put in on every project and figure out how much did it cost us so that you can understand what was our gross margin on that product. And if you’re gross margin on a project by project basis is not in that 60 to 70% range, then you probably want to work on getting that up and if at the agency level like across your whole business.

If you’re not in a, you know, 45 to 60% range, then you probably have some improvements that you want to make. So that’s your kind of target on gross margin, then from there, it’s a question of paying attention to your overhead, making sure you’re not overspending relative to your size. But typically 20 to 30% of your AGI being spent on overhead is an appropriate level. That should mean that, say, for example, you’re making a 50% gross margin across the whole agency, after you sold your product.

And you spend 25% of that of your AGI on overhead, you have a 25%. net margin, that’s a profitable agency, and you’re in a good place. So those are kind of some of the baselines that you need to start understanding, no, and we can get into more nuance and how to figure that stuff out some of the details on the calculations.But unless you’re clear on that information, then it’s going to be really, really hard to start hiring people and build the agency and make sure you have good cash flow, and it’s scalable. And what we see too often is an agency owner comes to us once they’ve hired 10 people and they’re like, I don’t get it, we’re so busy, but I have no money in my bank account what’s going on here. And it’s Well, you didn’t pay attention to those important things.

Stay On Track

Roy Barker  11:03

Well, on the secondary part of that, too. Is if we’re not keeping up with, you know, the time that we spend on each project correctly. It’s hard to know. Do we have the bandwidth to take on that next project. Without having to bring somebody on? And you know, we typically see that a lot. And I’ve been kind of reiterating this a lot lately. But businesses don’t always fail, because they don’t have any business.

There’s a lot of businesses that fail because they had too much business to good marketing. Right? They weren’t able to keep up with it, you know, on the back end. And so, another thing you mentioned was, you know, top line revenue. I love to, you know, it’s kind of financial humor. But I love it when somebody says, I’ve got a $10 million company, it’s like. Okay, well, if it costs you 20 million to make that 10 million, then you know what? We’re, you know, and so I don’t think people focus enough on like, what is that margin? What is that bottom line that we get to keep?

That’s the most important part. And even when you’re on your own. There are a lot of expenses, you know. The software, your equipment, your travel, you know. Sometimes you have somebody do a little one off project. Got to be sure, and include all of that into, you know, our pricing as well.

Marcel  12:17

Yeah, absolutely. And I want to double click on something you said there, which was like kind of the difference between starvation and indigestion, they often feel the same in an agency, which is just like shit, our payroll and our overheads coming up, we don’t have a lot of cash in our bank account. And so you think, Okay, well, I just need to go close a couple more deals, so I can pay that. But if the problem is that your services and fundamentally profitable, right, it’s creating cash flow problems for your business, then selling more is actually going to make the problem worse, right?

Your agency is experiencing indigestion. So until you have insight into what is the gross margin, what is the gross profitability of our service, then you won’t know if that’s the case or not, you’re just gonna feel like we just need more work. We just need more work. But you’re just gonna keep compounding this element of being behind the eight ball. Yeah,

Roy Barker  13:01

yeah. And something about, you know, talking about cash flow. And we can I can ask you what is the best way to structure this for the marketing agency? I know, you know, like. In the business that I do, we get a percentage upfront. Because you know, we have to pay, you know, we have to pay vendors and things like that. I have worked with a couple of they were more solopreneurs. They were in the marketing space that they just did the job. And cross their fingers and hope that they got something at the end of the day. And sometimes the end of that day, wasn’t the it wasn’t the same day that the project ended.

Marcel  13:36

Yeah, yeah. So the way I explained this, typically. It’s like for most people’s contracts that they write with clients, profitability is a function of the volume of time that goes into a project, cash flow is a function of the time elapsed on that project. And typically, that’s because to your point, you’re usually trying to get some kind of payment upfront, some kind of deposit, whether it’s 25 50%, the more money you can get up front, obviously, the better.

And then generally, the rest of the payment is tied to milestones, usually the completeness of the project. So when you deliver certain deliverables to the client that might trigger milestone payments, that’s a typical contract. What I love is after some kind of a project based engagement moving on to a retainer, or you get their credit card on file, and you’re just charging it every single month, so that really can alleviate a lot of the cash flow challenges that you run into.

But really, it’s just making sure that you’re not putting yourself in a position where deadlines keep getting pushed out, because of course, that’s the kiss of death, right? Where if all of a sudden, the client needs one more revision, one more revision, one more revision, and all of a sudden your milestone payment gets pushed out three, four or five months. That’s when you start to run into significant cashflow problems, especially if that’s a material amount of money if that’s a big project, a big client, and you’ve put all your eggs in that basket.

So I think contract structure is important. definitely make sure you get enough money up front to cover your costs. So typically, if you’re going to have you know, a 60 to 70% On your project, getting 50% upfront should be enough to pay for all the delivery of the project. And if the client screws off and never pays you again, at least you’re not going to be in the red. So try to push for a 50% upfront deposit. And then do your best to structure the contract such that there are limits on revisions and there are limits on time extensions to the contract.

That perhaps there’s a scope change that’s triggered if that and the timeline gets pushed out too, significantly, so that you’re not putting yourself in a position where you might end up having to go a very long time without getting paid and outlay a ton of capital to get this thing done for the client without ever seeing that cash flow back in,

Roy Barker  15:38

Regular clients, I work with their understanding, and you know. These are part of the ways we can educate them. But I will say that there are some clients that have a short memory. That due to them not getting stuff to you. They want something changes more revisions, this and that. Then at the end of the day, they’re like, wow, we’re 60 days over this deadline. And you know. It’s hard some at that point It’s really difficult to go back and explain to them that, well. You were a major influence, or major influence on that.

So I think that’s where pricing, we have to realize our value. This is another component of realizing that value is that if you want if you want or need 50% upfront. You shouldn’t be scared to ask for that. You know, and that’s sometimes with our newer clients, we have to educate them. Look, here’s the way this goes. If we you know, if we push. If we can’t get our information in a timely manner. We don’t get responses in a timely manner. Then we push out these deadlines. And then that’s not good for either one of us.

Marcel  16:45

Yeah, cuz I mean, imagine that case where the deadline is pushed out 60 days, and then you’ve got 90 day payment terms on your invoice, right? You’re five months late on getting paid, but your whole team still need to get paid in that time. So yeah, definitely an important thing to pay attention to on the cash flow side.

Roy Barker  16:59

Then when you start looking at scheduling work it compounds. Because, you know, I thought this job was going to be over August 30. And now we’re in October, and we’re still working on it. But we had three other jobs that we started. Because we thought we were going to be free on our time. So it can kind of rip has a ripple effect through every part of the business

Marcel  17:20

100%. And this is where like, you know, this is why our company, our thesis is solving this broader problem of profitability for agencies that we started with estimation. The reason for that is estimation, we really see it as being the foundation of agency operations. If you think about it, all the systems that you want to build in your agency that look forward at anything resource planning, capacity management, hiring, profitability, cash flow, all of those rely on the assumptions you make about your client work, when you are designing that and selling it to the client, right?

How much time is it going to take what time horizon, what volume of time and these different skill sets, you know who is going to be required to work on this. And if those assumptions are way off, then all these systems that you try to build on top of it are going to be way off as a result. So that foundation, the place where you have to start is getting really deliberate about estimation how you come up with assumptions for your client work.

How you use historical data to make that more objective and more accurate over time, how you normalize the structure of that estimate, so that you can actually start building time tracking schemas that map back to the estimate, you start building cost tracking that map back to the estimate, like all of these things need to be really intentionally designed, if you want to be in a place where you can quickly and easily answer questions like, did we scope this properly?

How should we change our scope next time? You know, did we make a profit on this? Do we have enough people to work on this project? If not, when can we start? Or who do we need to bring in in order to say, yes, these questions you’re asking yourself every day, but they’re hard to answer, probably because you haven’t put enough thought into how that data is structured, so that you can quickly ask those questions of it and get the answers.

Scope Creep or Under Pricing

Roy Barker  18:53

So when, you know, if you were come to my agency and asked me, you know. What, what is the amount of time you spend per job? versus how much you price that are? Are you finding that people are just letting that the scope creep out and kind of go crazy? Or do you find that they’re not charging enough, you know. Per hour or some I’m sure it’s some combination. But which do you find the most that they’re not charging enough? Or that they’re just letting their hours get out of control?

Marcel  19:25

Yeah, I mean, so we do. Part of our consulting practices. We start with an audit and we go in and we evaluate earning efficiency. Also, we look at average bill rate, we look at gross margin on the p&l. We dig into projects, we look at utilization rates, and then we look at overhead spending. The two major culprits are almost always utilization and or average billable rate. So the two things that we see is you’re not earning revenue efficiently.

That’s typically a question of pricing. And there’s one or two reasons that the price is too low either I they just didn’t set the price high enough to begin With and so they’re being too optimistic in their estimation, or they are not actually targeting a high enough gross profit, or they’re trying to do all kinds of stuff like, you know bake time off and holidays and overhead into their our, like cost per hour for employees, which just makes things way more complicated.

And they’re targeting like a net profit on a project, which, to me doesn’t make any sense at all like this, it just really doesn’t make sense. Like your overhead is not tied to a single project, you’re not going to hire a fire your accounting firm, or downsize your office space because of a single project. So why not focus on gross margin and simplify that calculation? The second reason is because, yeah, they just estimated the project poorly, and it ended up taking twice as many hours as they thought. So it’s the scope creep thing.

And I don’t know if that’s so much, you know, it varies. If that’s more their client management isn’t good, or if it’s more, so they just did a poor job of scoping the project. And it wasn’t the client changed what they wanted, they just didn’t quite do a good enough job of understanding that. Then the second piece is utilization, we see a lot of utilization gaps. And those are typically caused by one of three things. Number one, they are not consistent enough about new business.

So we see what I like to call the feast or famine roller coaster a lot, which is where if the founder is still involved in sales and delivery, they sell, sell, sell, when there’s no work, they get a bunch of work, then they get slammed with the work and they stop selling. Then they lift their head up after six months, and like Oh, shit, we have no work to do, then they sell, sell, sell. And those, you know, 345678 week periods where there’s almost no work to do, that just drags your utilization rate down.

So typically, those companies, when we benchmark their utilization, we create a graph and the graph goes from 150%, where the team is completely slammed nobody’s sleeping, they’re you know, living off of coffee, to they have nothing to do, they’re sitting on their hands, you know, they’re looking for internal projects to work on backup to 150%. It’s just totally unsustainable. The second reason is they just don’t have great project management practices. So they’re not doing a great job of capacity management Resource Planning Task assignments. And a lot of times we see this in agencies where they have either a client or service dilution problem. So they are having a single person work on way too many clients at the same time.

So they’re not productive, because they’re bouncing around, they’re constantly in meetings, they’re not actually getting things done. or number two, they are creating skill set silos where they might have a lot of services that they offer, but their team is relatively small. And so they might have this thing where they’ve got three designers, but only one of them knows how to do this particular thing. So they might have enough hours to keep the whole team utilized. But they can’t effectively collaborate, because they’re creating skill sets silos within the organization. So those are a couple of their culprits. And then the last one is just team composition.

They, you know, typically, we see this when you have a wide and shallow delivery team that’s trying to do a bunch of different services, as opposed to creating deep competency in a couple of specific areas, which again, allow you to have more billable employees relative to administrative employees, because you’re decreasing all the complexity that happens on admin, finance, accounting, project management, account management, sales.

So you can make that process more efficient, reduce that overhead, and focus more of your budget on producers. And if you can balance the team, and then utilize them, that typically makes a massive difference. So those are kind of the two big issues that we see. And some of the reasons behind why those numbers typically are below what they should be for these agencies that we work with. Okay.

Break the Marketing to Fullfillment Cycle

Roy Barker  23:23 Want a Profitable Agency

Yeah. Something you said earlier about, you know. It’s a, it’s a definite cycle for, you know, most solopreneurs entrepreneurs, smaller businesses is market market market. Yeah, who we got all this business. So we quit that. And then, you know, six months out, it’s like, wow, this dried up in a hurry. So it’s back to market market market.

And, you know. That puts a stress on, on your employees. If you if you are a smaller company, or even a mid size. Where, like you said, you know, we’re about 125% of capacity. So everybody’s working from can to can’t, and you wear them out, we get a little burnout. And then we have this period where we’ve got nothing. So now they’re sitting around worrying about is this job going to be here tomorrow. So I think just another good point. And why it would be so nice to at least smooth this out as much as totally possible.

Marcel  24:14

Yeah. And and these things are all related, right? So the way that we get there is by making sure that our delivery process is well defined enough that we can hire people to do that work. And as a founder, we don’t have to be involved anymore, necessarily, or we can make deliberate decisions about whether we choose to be involved in work or not, not that we have to be involved. Right. So we want to as quickly as possible in the agency separate ourselves from delivery, because that is a natural handbrake, right. If you are still going to sell yourself into pain as a founder when you’re selling, then there is a natural handbrake just built into that relationship.

So very quickly start to better define your delivery processes. In doing that your delivery processes should get more efficient, which means it costs you less to earn your revenues your profitability goes up, that’s good. And as your processes get more defined, they’re easier to actually estimate, right? Because if you know, here’s the five steps that we do to build a great website for a client, then it’s much easier to predict what those five steps are going to take in terms of time, who they’re going to require time for how much of that’s designed.

How much Miss development, how much of his strategy, whereas if our processes are not very well defined, then maybe it’s not the fact that we’re just bad at estimating, it’s that the thing we’re trying to estimate is just hard to estimate. So we want to close that gap by defining our processes. And as processes get designed, another great benefit is it typically reduces the amount of skill or experience required to do the work. Because the more open ended processes, the more judgment is required from the person doing the work in order to do that thing.

And typically, employees with good judgment are expensive, because they have more experience, they’ve seen more things, they’re able to be more self sufficient. And that’s not good for margin either. So it is to your benefit as an agency owner, especially in the early days, if you’re still doing a lot of work to document your processes, such that you can get somebody to do every single part of delivering the result to the client as early as possible.

That way, if you do happen to go out and sell a bunch of work, you’re not then going to get pulled in and get pulled away from sales that allows you to then focus on sales all the time, which creates outsize pipeline, which means that you can go into every sales conversation, not worrying about losing the work. That way, you can ask for that 50% deposit upfront, that way, you can ask for the price that you actually need to do this work well, that way, you can start to define the process for the client, as opposed to taking orders from the client, therefore protecting scope creep.

So you can start doing all the things that allow you to actually control engagement from end to end, which usually ends up meaning better work for your client, because you got to do your process the way that you’re supposed to do it, and better margins for you, because you got to actually keep things running the way that you estimated they would, will get the price of the claim in the first place.

Document The Process

Roy Barker  26:52 Want a Profitable Agency

Yeah, I’m a big fan of the documentation of processes. And not only just one time. But you know, we always it should be a, you know, a dynamic document. That we’re always looking at. Because what I found is that even though people think, Oh, this process is really dialed in. When you put it on paper and you start walking through it, you usually will find either gaps that that they were unaware of, or maybe just little tweaks that could be made to make it much more efficient than what it was.

Marcel  27:21

And this is this is the entire thesis of Parakeeto. So for those that are listening, if you want to dig into this, we have a system called the agency profitability flywheel, you can find tutorial videos on exactly what that is inside of our agency profitability toolkit, which is free on our website. So make sure you go check that out. We’ll see if we’re, I can leave it in the show notes for you. Yeah, the basic premise there is absolutely no, you want to create a feedback loop between our estimates and actuals. So we can see what are the projects that are going way better than we thought and which ones are not going the way that we thought?

And then within that we can even get some additional level of insight like, where are we going over? Is it dev, project management? Is it design? Right? What are the problem areas? And then we can start facilitating a regular meeting cadence for most people. This is project retroactive, they do it at the end of every project, they sit down, they have a conversation about how did this go? What can we learn from it, I prefer to do actually what I call project performance meetings, which happen every two weeks.

And we just look at the projects that have finished or that are close to finishing in that two week period. But that depends on the rate of change in your agency. And you get the team involved in that conversation. So it’s not a conversation about, hey, here’s what we’re seeing, I think we should change this. We’re talking to the team, we’re saying, hey, looks like we absolutely crushed this project, we were way more efficient than we thought we took us half the amount of time that we planned. What did we do differently here?

What can we learn from this, we can apply to other projects? And they go oh, well, you know, the way we hand it off from design to dev was super efficient. We did this new thing that I thought was really smart. We reuse templates from the last project that we did. And it really saved us a lot of time. It’s like amazing, that’s a great idea, we should document that process. Do you want to be accountable for installing that process, when we get the team involved in this conversation, it creates buy in, and they’re actually more incentivized to install, following maintain these processes.

And then as an owner that scales because we’re no longer the bottleneck in defining how things should work. We’re just facilitators. And we let the team actually do the work of making the way that things happen in the agency more efficient over time. And eventually, we can be completely removed from this process of estimating, tracking, reporting, and reviewing this and then facilitating process improvements with the team. We could have our whole project management organization running that whole process.

But that is the profitability flywheel which should make our estimates more accurate, make our processes more efficient, and build profitability and scalability into the agency, just naturally with the data and the processes that are happening every single day. So if you want to dig deeper on that, definitely go check that out. But right I absolutely agree that we want to make sure that this is a living document and that process is a process, not an event.

Stakeholder Involvement

Roy Barker  29:52 Want a Profitable Agency

Right, right. Yeah. It’s funny because I just said I had just written down a couple things when you started that about We really need to involve the team and we need to listen, not just lip service, and also our customers, because I think there’s there can, it’s easily to have a disconnect between I think, Wow, this went super smooth life is really good. The customers like good gravy, I mean, what’s going on over that place?

So I think it’s eye-opening. And a lot of people don’t ask it because they’re scared to the answer. But I think you have to turn that around and say, if we want to do this better, we’ve got it. Number one, get the people that are doing it involved and really listen to them. But then we’ve also got to hear what our customer has to say about that.

Marcel  30:39

Absolutely. On that note, I think one of the places that I see agencies dropped the ball all the time is client communication, you know, you go a week, two weeks, three weeks without letting the client know what’s going on. And in those moments, you let the client create their own narrative about what’s happening.

That’s when I see scope creep happen, because the client is used to having to micromanage their agency, and when you’re not creating clarity for them on what’s going on, then they feel like they have to step in and tell you what to do. Because in their mind, you’re not doing anything. Right. So creating these cadences around talking to customers, often giving them updates, getting feedback often is just a really great practice.

If nothing else to like, manage the relationship and reduce the risk that they’re going to feel like they have to step in, and tell you what to do in order to you know, get a successful outcome from the engagement. And it should give you more ammunition to go into that conversation at the end of the project with the team and understand like, not only did this go well, for us, but to your point, like was this a good outcome for the client?

Roy Barker  31:39 Want a Profitable Agency

Oh, yeah, cuz those periods of silence, you know, it’s like, as a customer, you think? How long? How long do I let this go? I don’t want to be, you know, to in their business, I want to give them time. But then I don’t want to let so much time go by that nothing’s been done. Or we’re off track, we have issues. And so that’s why I think, just even if it’s just an email, like, Hey, you know, we told you, we’re working on this, this is what we’re doing.

We’re about 50% there, we should have, you know, something to show you next week or anything, you know, anything is better than nothing. Because you know, at when when you don’t hear anything, you’re, as a consumer, your mind starts kind of wandering. And if you’ve had a bad experience before, that just amplifies those feelings that you start having

Marcel  32:22

100% you just allow your client to bring whatever baggage they have into your engagement. And it’s usually not not good baggage. Yeah.

Niche Down

Roy Barker  32:31 Want a Profitable Agency

So what about earlier you had mentioned? Kind of doing a lot of stuff. So what’s your opinion on kind of having a nice that you fit into, instead of trying to be everything to everybody?

Marcel  32:48

Yeah, I think probably you can probably predict the answer to this question. So obviously, I like systems. I like to have a system for estimating. I like to have a system for tracking time and doing the work. And all of these things. Systems require some level of regularity, right. If there’s a ton of variety in the type of work that we do, then it’s very, very hard to create systems that are predictable and repeatable around that.

So I definitely like the idea of finding a way to reduce the complexity of the work that you offer, and reduce how much that changes. And I think there’s a couple of different ways to look at doing this. Ultimately, it comes down to solving a specific problem for a specific person. So I think a lot of people get too caught up in this idea of Oh, we’ve got to pick just one service that we offer, like we need to just do Facebook ads are just do website design development. And we also need to just serve one industry or just one type of client. And I think those are useful lenses to apply to niching.

But fundamentally, at the end of the day, if you can understand who has a specific problem, understand that problem better than anyone else, and design a great way to solve that problem, even if, right so like this is the one case for full service agencies. I think that’s become a bad word. I think there still is room for full service agencies. But I think full service agencies need to pick one problem that they apply a full service lens to, right.

So you know, it’s not inherently bad to say we will build your website and build your funnel and run your ads and do your email campaigns. If you’re doing that for 100 different industries, or 100 different types of businesses, that’s where there’s too much complexity. But if you can say, we can build the entire marketing engine for a legal firm, then you can start to actually create a process for that that’s repeatable, you can start to create scopes of work for that that are relatively compatible with one another, you can start to create horizontally consistent data schemas, like you can still do a lot of things and create some level of consistency.

Until you create that level of consistency, right, all this stuff that I’ve talked about is a lot harder to do. And so I definitely think it behooves agency owners that might be feeling like they’re doing a lot of different things to start thinking about. How to focus in. And there’s a lot of advantages to that we could do a whole episode on that, and I’m sure you’ve done several others on that topic. So and so have I,

Want A Profitability Agency

Roy Barker  35:08 Want a Profitable Agency

yeah, it’s that it’s strategic, I think is the best way to put it is that you know, because when, when you’re starting out, or when you get that low spot, you know, somebody walked in and said, I’d like for you to change the alternator on that 62 Chevy up front, you know, we’re like, okay, we’ll jump right on that. But it’s, if we set our you know, get our processes down for whatever we do, then when we see upsell opportunities or ways to expand if we do it in a manageable and strategic way, where we, you know, actually develop the processes before we get involved in it.

Because that’s what I see a lot too is that when we get into this, this area, we’re not that we don’t do a lot. And then we’re trying to figure out processes and procedures, you know, in the midst of trying to do the job and do it right. Whereas if we thought about how do we do this, how do we add this extra service, it’s much more manageable. And so it just has to be my opinion, it just has to be very thought out.

Marcel  36:10

And there’s a psychological aspect to this, I think is fascinating. If you haven’t tried saying no to a client during a sales call. Try it. And more often than I mean, this literally happened to me yesterday, where I told the client like, these are the things I think you need help with. And that’s not what I do. I’m not an expert in these things. I think there’s other people out there that are much better suited to serve you.

And that flip the sale, I spent the next 10 minutes hearing from the client, all the reasons that I should work with them, right, they were now trying to sell me on why I should still work with them. And they started adjusting their needs to fit into the box of like what I said, like this is my lane, this is where I like to live, this is where I bring the most value, it’s a fascinating thing to try.

So I’d encourage you to try it on a call when you get somebody that you’re like, clearly this is just not a good fit. Or we’ve never done this before. I’m not really excited about this, push back and just see how it changes the dynamic of the conversation. More often than not, you’ll find yourself basically flipping the sale. Yeah,

Roy Barker  37:03 Want a Profitable Agency

and we talked about that a lot too. With pricing, you know, the minute somebody comes out, start, Oh, that’s too high, you know, start trying to beat you down on pricing. Sometimes all you got to do is say you know what, we just may not be a good match, but I wish you luck. And then like you said, you’ll spend the next 30 minutes listening to them sell you on why you actually should work with them.

Marcel  37:22

It’s a fascinating experiment. And it’s this, it’s this really interesting compounding effect of when you don’t need the work. You can sell like you don’t need the work. And when you sell like you don’t need the work, you typically make more money, you close more deals, and you end up with more profitable projects on the back end.

Roy Barker  37:38 Want a Profitable Agency

Yeah, yeah. Cut down our mistakes or our chances for mistakes for sure. Because when we get in a bind and feel like we have to sell everybody that we talked to, we can do some things we probably shouldn’t be doing.

Marcel  37:50

We end up with indigestion ROI ingestion, I feel like starvation.

Roy Barker  37:55 Want a Profitable Agency

All right, Marcel. Well, is there anything else you want to put out there before we wrap this up?

Marcel  38:00

Yeah, I mean, if you’ve listened to this episode, and you want to dig deeper into all this stuff, I mean, like everything from how to calculate the cost per hour on your employee, you know, basis how to figure out what the right utilization rate is for you all the nerdy details of agency profitability. We’ve got all kinds of free resources for you. I’d start by checking out the agency profitability toolkit, definitely check out our blog. And we also have a podcast called The Agency Profit Podcast where we talk about, you guessed it, agency profitability.

So if you want to go deeper, you want to dive into all the content we’ve created. I spent the last three years just kind of share everything I know, on this subject. So feel free to go and consume that. And if you have questions, or you want to nerd out, you’ll be able to find me on the internet pretty easily. So feel free to reach out. I’d love to hear from you.

Wrap Up

Roy Barker  38:44 Want a Profitable Agency

Okay, yeah. Great. And can you give us the website and let everybody know where they can go find you?

Marcel  38:49

Absolutely. So Parakeeto.com, P A R A K E E T O.com. And it’s The Agency Profit Podcast. You’ll find that on any other podcasts services that you use. If you want to find me, LinkedIn is probably the best place to reach out to Marcel Petitpas, I’m wearing the same shirt with a the Parkeets on it and my profile picture so easy to spot. Feel free to connect, send me a message. Let me know you’re heard about me on Roy’s podcast, and I’ll be happy to chat. All right, great. Well, we appreciate that.

Roy Barker  39:17

I like the that’s a good idea of wearing the same shirt as the profile picture. I’m glad to think about that.

Marcel  39:23

I keep that UX consistent omni channel. Yeah, right.

Roy Barker  39:27 Want a Profitable Agency

Right. All right. Well, thanks so much. It’s been great talking to you a lot of great information y’all reach out to Marcel and, you know, read some of his information, reach out and talk to him, see how he can help you improve your agency profitability. So until next time, that’s gonna do it for this podcast episode. You can also find us at www.thebusinessofbusinesspodcast.com. We’re on all the major podcast platforms iTunes, Stitcher, Google, Spotify, and Pandora.

We’re also on all the major social media networks, probably hanging out On Instagram a little more than others, So reach out there we’d love to interact with you, you can find a video of this interview will go up on our YouTube page. So go over there, check out the video and some of our other great guests from the past. Until next time, that’s gonna do it. For The Business of Business Podcast. Take care of yourself and take care of your business.

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Why Self-Care is Important to Your Professional Success

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The Business of Business Podcast, Roy Barker
Business Podcast

Why Self-Care is Important to Your Professional Success

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Self-care is important for your physical, emotional, and mental health. But did you know that it’s also important for your professional success? When you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, it’s difficult to focus on your work and be productive. Decision-making can also be affected.

That’s why it’s crucial to make time for self-care in your busy schedule. In this blog post, we will discuss elements of self-care, the importance of self-care, and how you can make time for it in your life.

What are some elements of self-care? Fundamentals like getting enough quality sleep, eating a healthy diet, movement, exercise, meditation, journaling, taking time for ourselves, and relationships.

Each of these things is important for our overall health and well-being. When we take time for self-care, we’re telling ourselves that we matter and that our health is a priority. And that’s something to be proud of!

Self-care can be difficult to fit into our busy lives, but it’s worth it. An essential for making it happen on a regular basis is Planning.

Make Time

Here are a few tips for making time for self-care:

-Set some boundaries. If you’re always saying “yes” to others, you’ll never have time for yourself. Say “no” more often and learn to say no to things that don’t matter. Ask yourself if doing this makes you happy.

-Create a schedule. Block off time on your calendar for self-care and stick to it.

-Find a friend. Find someone who can support you and hold you accountable in your journey towards self-care.

Elements of Self-Care

Self-care is so important, not just for our health and well-being, but for our professional success as well. When we’re taking care of ourselves, we’re able to focus better and be more productive. So make time for yourself and see how you feel afterward. You might be surprised at just how good you feel.


Sleep is one of the building blocks of self-care. Each person will need a different amount of sleep. This might range from 7-9 hours generally. The quality of your sleep is also important.

It’s important to listen to your body. It is recommended for a circadian rhythm to go to bed and rise at the same time every day. If you feel you have sleep problems, seek advice from a medical professional.


Meditation is a great way to practice self-care. It’s a form of mindfulness that can help us relax and de-stress. There are many different types of meditation, so find one that works best for you. There are also many meditation apps and classes available online that can help with guided meditation.


Journaling is another great way to practice self-care. It can be a form of meditation, as well as a way of tracking your progress. Journaling can help us reflect on our thoughts and feelings, and it can be a great way to document our journey toward self-care.

There are many journaling apps available that help guide and prompt you with ideas to write about. Some people like to use a pen and paper. There is something about writing longhand that helps them relax.


Exercise is another important element of self-care. It’s not only good for our physical health, but it’s also good for our mental health. Exercise releases endorphins, which make us feel happy and relaxed. And who doesn’t want to feel happy and relaxed?

Physical activity can include aerobic activity like walking in your neighborhood. You might also want to go to the gym and enjoy the benefits of strength training.

The importance of exercise is widely known. Our bodies need movement throughout the day. Sitting has been called the new smoking as it pertains to contributing to diseases in our bodies.

Set a timer to get up during certain intervals throughout the day to just walk a few hundred steps. It adds up quickly and makes a huge difference. It can help clear our heads if we are involved in involved, detailed work.


Drinking enough water and staying hydrated is another element of self-care that we can’t ignore. Our bodies are about 80 percent water, so it only makes sense we should stay hydrated. There is a lot of guidance on how much we should drink a day: from the standard old school eight glasses a day to complex formulas based on your weight, activity, and other factors. Please seek medical advice for your specific situation.   


In addition to the above-mentioned practices, it’s important to reduce stress in all aspects of life. Stress can influence our sleep patterns and quality of sleep. It will affect our appetite, our desire to exercise, our decision-making skills, and make us not very easy to be around.

Time For Yourself

Taking time for yourself, a time to reflect is imperative to your creativity. We need to detach from the routine of the day for just a few minutes every day. This can also be accomplished while walking, meditating, or journaling. There is a lot of evidence that when we are overtasked our creativity diminishes.


Planning might be the key to accomplishing self-care goals. An important role in making sure we find time to be in control of our day and not the other way around. Once our day gets away from us, this can lead to increased stress, getting out of our routine of moving, exercising, and taking that critical time for ourselves.

So, what are you waiting for? Start practicing self-care today! And don’t forget to share your tips with us in the comments below. We’d love to find out how you are practicing self-care.

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How to Get More Out of Your Digital Marketing Strategy in 2022

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How to Get More Out of Your Digital Marketing Strategy in 2022, The Business of Business Podcast, Roy Barker

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Regardless of your brand’s size or niche, digital marketing is a must. If you want to reach your customers, you need to meet them where they are – and that means your brand needs to have an undeniable online presence.

However, executing an effective digital marketing strategy isn’t always easy. That’s especially true for business owners who are already wearing a lot of hats.

But you shouldn’t despair. To get more out of your 2022 digital marketing strategy, here are just a few tips you’ll want to try.

Embrace a Multi-Pronged Approach

Long gone are the days when business owners could use one or two forms of promotion to see results. There’s still a place for more traditional forms of marketing and advertising, but diversification is crucial if you want your business to survive.

Taking a multi-pronged approach to marketing is one of the best ways to build a strategy. Instead of relying solely on digital ads or email marketing to achieve your goals, consider an all-encompassing strategy that leverages the power of every possible lead generation and distribution channel.

If you’re utilizing all the options – from SEO to social media marketing – you’ll increase your chances of reaching your target audience and expanding your reach. 

What’s more, you won’t be beholden to the whims of a particular platform. As we’ve seen again and again, this industry is constantly evolving. Servers can go down, brands can go out of business, features can change, and consumer trends can shift. By including multiple marketing techniques in your strategy, you can protect your brand should the worst-case scenario occur.

Appeal to Local Customers

Local marketing has always been impactful, but it’s become particularly important for small businesses during the pandemic. Customers want to support companies within their own communities – and one of the best ways to connect with those customers is to use local marketing tactics.

For instance, local SEO can increase your visibility in web searches performed by internet users in your area. You might optimize your site for certain locations or local search terms that are relevant to your business and your audience. 

You should also start using Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) to be found more readily online. GBP can help your brand show up more prominently in search results and provide quick answers that result in more traffic and conversions.

You might even consider using a tactic like geofencing with your online ads. This type of advertising allows you to precisely target folks who physically visit certain locations (within a specific radius relative to your business, for example) within a set timeframe. 

Local customers are also more likely to use mobile devices and voice-powered searches to find the information they’re looking for. If you want to appeal to customers in your area, make sure that your website is mobile-friendly and that you optimize for voice searches by including an FAQ page and some relevant long-tail keywords in your content.

Prioritize a Positive User Experience

It might seem strange to talk about how your website looks and functions when developing your digital marketing strategy. But if your site doesn’t measure up, whatever effort you’re putting into your marketing will probably fall flat.

Say a prospective customer clicks on one of your ads or finds their way to your website after your brand appears in a relevant search result. They’re going to hit the “back” button on their browser within a few seconds if your site is slow or tough to navigate. You’ll waste a ton of time, energy, and money on your marketing if you don’t fix issues with your website first.

The importance of having a mobile-friendly website can’t be understated. Your site needs to be accessible and provide a consistent experience on any device. But that’s not the only thing you’ll need to look at when determining your site’s user experience.

You’ll also want to evaluate your site’s loading speed, interactivity delays and layout shifts, navigation errors, overall security, intrusive interstitials, and anything else that could disrupt the visitor experience. 

At a minimum, conduct a site speed audit, fix any broken links, and determine whether your site is easy to navigate. If you’re seeing an abnormally high bounce rate or you’re having trouble viewing your site on your smartphone, address those problems before you put your larger marketing strategy into motion.

Seek Out the Experts

The reality is that marketing your business is a full-time job. And if you’re struggling to simply keep up with daily operations, your marketing strategy will inevitably end up on the back burner.

Because consistency is key when it comes to marketing, that can ultimately hold your business back. Your brand deserves to make use of every opportunity available. But how can you do that when you’re already bogged down?

Your business will fare better if you obtain the support you need, rather than trying to handle it all yourself. Whether you hire in-house, work with a consultant, or partner with an outsourced team, you can access the resources and expertise required to take your marketing plan to the next level.

In the end, marketing is worth the investment. Use these tips to get more out of the strategy you develop for 2022 and beyond. 

“Jeff Shipman is the Director of Marketing Innovation at Semify, a white label marketing agency based in Rochester, New York. Semify provides quality SEO and PPC fulfillment solutions at-cost to help agency owners achieve their dreams. Before moving to Western New York, Jeff earned a BA in History and an MBA at St. Bonaventure University. Go Bonnies!”

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5 Ways To Incentivize Your Franchise Employees

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Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

When researching how to sell a franchise, one of the first items you will stumble across is the importance of being able to offer a highly skilled team to your successor. However, this can be difficult to realize if your business is nothing more than a pit stop for your employees.

Unfortunately, retaining employees is more difficult than ever, with some 38 million workers quitting their jobs in 2021. The “Great Resignation” has been felt particularly acutely in franchises, many of whom have a poor track record of treating their employees well.

Therefore, if you are a franchise owner looking to buck this troubling trend, the following are 5 ways to incentivize your employees to help attract and retain top talent. 

1. Flex Work Times

The shift to remote/hybrid work has changed the business landscape in innumerable ways. One of these is the way it has influenced employee habits. Given a taste of working from home, employees have fallen in love with the advantages of not having to fight a daily commute and being able to fit in their work responsibilities around their personal lives.

While a strict work-from-home schedule is not feasible for service-related franchises, business owners must find ways to incorporate the advantages of a remote schedule into their employee plans or risk losing them to employers who offer more flexibility. One creative way to do this is to schedule flex work times into employee schedules. For example, give employees the option to use the first or last two hours of each day as work-from-home windows, a time to answer emails, or get caught up on any administrative tasks that do not require their physical presence.  

2. Recognize Outstanding Performance

Positive reinforcement goes a long way. In any walk of life, people love hearing that they are valued and appreciated. When recognizing performance in your franchise business, you are much likely to establish employee loyalty. 

However, archetypal employee-of-the-month programs are no longer the best means of employee recognition. Many employees are uncomfortable being recognized as “superior” to others they feel are deserving, while those snubbed for monthly honors can harbor resentment if they feel like they are not being given their fair due.

As such, some better ways for recognizing outstanding performance in 2022 include:

  • Hand written cards from management or other members of the team
  • Lunch on the firm 
  • Social media shoutouts for those employees “caught” killing it
  • “Just because” days off

3. Signing Bonuses

Given the recent labor shortage, signing bonuses are not a novel concept. Just drive down Main Street of any decent-size town and you are sure to see banners and billboards reading “Now Hiring: Competitive Signing Bonus.”

However, giving employees cash for signing a contract will not guarantee retention. Signing bonuses must be offered only after a thorough recruitment process has been conducted. 

“When looking for your ideal employee, make sure that you pick the ones whose work ethic and values perfectly align with yours. This will make attaining the goals of the company more streamlined and cohesive.” ~ Sam Willis, Business Writer and Contributor at Raincatcher.

When these ideal candidates have been identified, the signing bonus can be a major factor in guaranteeing their loyalty, as bought-in employees will be hesitant to defect from a company that made an up-front investment in them.

4. Lifestyle Benefits 

Everyone knows the importance of competitive benefits in attracting and retaining talent. In fact, 30% of professionals state that they would be willing to accept less pay to work for a business that offered superior health and retirement benefits. 

However, compensation packages cannot be limited to these fringe benefits in 2022. The dynamic of the modern household has shifted dramatically from where it was at the turn of the century, featuring working parents, non-traditional relationships, and the pursuit of higher levels of education.

As a result, some benefits that will appeal to the modern workforce include:

  • Paid and convenient childcare for in-person employees
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Gym and health club memberships
  • Subscriptions to online streaming services

5. Invest in Their Training and Advancement

Fair or not, working for a franchise can sometimes be stigmatized as a dead-end job. Work for the corporate monster long enough and one day eventually get promoted to management for a marginal increase in pay.

Therefore, as a franchise owner, it is important that you take initiative in actively investing in your employees’ career advancement. Offer regular training so that employees are at the vanguard of technological innovations in your industry. Encourage and facilitate your employees’ move to better opportunities. Serve as a reference and resource for your past employees on their career journey. By having an outstanding track record of cultivating professional success, you will be in a better position to attract and retain top talent. 

Be Creative When Incentivizing Franchise Employees

Employees have greater choice than ever over when and for whom they work in 2022. As such, it can be difficult to attract and retain top talent. Therefore, if you are a franchise business owner, implementing flex work times, recognizing outstanding performance, adroitly implementing signing bonuses, including lifestyle benefits, and investing in career advancement are 5 creative ways to incentivize employees and improve retention.

About the Author: 

Sam Willis is a business and finance writer that focuses on helping small business owners increase the value of their business. He specializes in topics related to business valuation, business management and business acquisitions.

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Persistence Drives An Overnight Success Two Years in the Making

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Persistence Drives An Overnight Success Two Years in the Making Featuring Alison Lumbatis

Persistence drives overnight success. They’re very few overnight successes in this world. I think it’s actually a disservice to call someone that term. It discounts all the years and hard work they put in to be successful. Probably even some failures mixed in. It’s not easy. You have to show up and grind it out every day. Be persistent and consistent.

About Alison

Alison Lumbatis is a 7 figure entrepreneur and the founder of the Get Your Pretty On website and creator of Outfit Formulas – the #1 online capsule wardrobe building program in the world. She’s served over 40,000 women through the Outfit Formulas program and has attracted an audience of millions to the GYPO website.

As a former engineer, she knew there had to be an easier way to get dressed every day so she created Outfit Formulas – a foolproof system to build your wardrobe and create outfits.

An author and life coach, Alison is a thought leader in the personal style and confidence arenas. She’s been featured in Forbes, Business Insider, Redbook, Life & Style Magazine and on Good Morning Texas. Her book The Ultimate Book of Outfit Formulas will be released on September 14th.


Get Your Pretty On Website

Outfit Formulas Website

Alison Lumbatis on LinkedIn

Get Your Pretty On – Facebook

Alison Lumbatis – Twitter

The Ultimate Book of Outfit Formulas by Alison Lumbatis on Amazon

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Full Transcript Below

Persistence Drives an Overnight Success Two Years in the Making Featuring Alison Lumbatis

Estimated reading time: 45 minutes

Sun, 8/22 2:38PM • 46:54


people, blogging, blog, create, content, women, blog post, business, formulas, Instagram, dressed, put, pieces, thought, day, work, long, top, outfit, started, Persistence drives an overnight success


Alison, Roy Barker


Roy Barker  00:03

Hello, and welcome to another episode of The Business of Business Podcast. I’m your host Roy. Of course we are the podcast that brings you a wide variety of guests. That can speak to a diverse set of topics. Hopefully we can point out something that you haven’t thought about that can help you in your business. Or we can provide you with solutions with things that are keeping you up at night. We have we’re lucky today to have Alison Lumbatis with us.

She is a seven-figure entrepreneur. And the founder of Get Your pretty On website, and the creator of Outfit Formulas. The number one online capsule wardrobe building program in the world. She served over 40,000 women through the Outfit Formulas program and has attached attracted an audience of millions. The GYPO website. As a former engineer, she knew there had to be an easier way to get dressed every day. So she created Outfit Formulas, a foolproof system to build your wardrobe and create outfits. And author and life coach Alison is a thought leader in the personal style and confidence arenas.

She has been featured in Forbes Business Inside, Red Book, Life and Style Magazine and on Good Morning Texas. Her book, The Ultimate Book of Outfit Formulas will be released on September 14. Allison lives in Flower Mound, Texas with her husband, Craig, and three children, Devin, Aubrey, and Ava plus a whole host of critters from their meaning farm. Allison, how are you doing today?

Alison  01:35

 I’m doing good, right? How are you?

Roy Barker  01:37

I’m doing great. Thanks so much for taking time out of your day. Not only do I probably need to be a client, but there’s a lot of us out there. I could share yourself in the wardrobe. After taking a whole year off. It’s like we forget where the nice shirts and slacks are. .

Alison  01:51

Yeah, absolutely. That’s what I’m here for.

Roy Barker  01:55

Well, so tell us a little bit first kind of how your journey went from telephone engineer over into fashion. Has that always been something that you’ve been interested in?

More About Alison

Alison  02:06

Actually, it’s not. So it’s interesting. You know, I’ve always had creative pursuits on the side, I was in a very technical career as a as a telecom engineer for 14 years. And I just felt like there was something missing. Well, I enjoyed the challenges of being in a technical career, I also had these creative things that were on the side that I was doing along the way. So you know, I did some acting in the Dallas area for about 10 years, overlapping with my career, in Telecom, I got my life switching certifications, started working with clients, you know, on their businesses, and in personal life coaching as well. And I always felt like I had something else going on.

So whenever I’m around 2011, I got the opportunity to work from home, which was amazing. Something I always wanted to do, as a mom of three, my kids were still pretty young at the time. And I was just, you know, just so incredibly grateful for this opportunity to do that. But what I started to notice was that I didn’t know how to dress anymore, it’s super easy to get dressed for the office, you know, we get into our little, I want to say ruts, but they’re more like routines of our office uniforms that we put on every single day, whether that, you know, for me, it was a skirt, a blouse and some high heels or, you know, some dress pants or a button-down whatever.

We know what to wear to work, right. I didn’t know what to wear to work from home. And I think a lot of us have dealt with this, you know, just during the pandemic, especially where we’re just not quite sure how to dress for the day. So I did the thing that I probably shouldn’t have done, which was default into throwing on my favorite yoga pants every morning, throwing on a sweatshirt, a big t shirt, pulling my hair back in a ponytail and calling it a day. Which is fine, because I got ready really fast, right? But I noticed over time that things were changing, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I felt like I didn’t have as much motivation as I did when I first started working from home.

And I didn’t want to work out anymore. I wasn’t making time for that anymore, I wasn’t taking care of myself. I wasn’t cooking as healthy as I used to. And I was like the snowball effect of these things happening. And I kind of just woke up one day and said, What happened? Like, what changed? How can I get out of this. So the first thing I knew that I could do that was super easy, was get dressed in real clothes, take a shower, get up and feel good about how I looked for the day. And even if no one was going to see me, you know, as I was seeing my kids off the pool in the morning or whatever, and then getting ready for the day.

So I did that. And the first day that I did it, I was like wow, I feel so much better. I feel so much more productive. I just feel better about myself. And I just kind of went through the day feeling like every like I was clicking on all cylinders. When my daughter got in the car that afternoon, she looked at me and she kind of did a double take and I said what honey, she said What have you done? What She said, You look pretty today. I think for me, that was really that moment where I thought, Okay, this isn’t just affecting me, it’s affecting everyone around me too.

And I want to be the best version of myself. In order to do that, that I need to take a little bit of time and devote it to getting dressed every day and taking the steps that are going to make me feel good. But the problem was that all of those clothes in my closet would have worked great in office, they just did not work for my work from home lifestyle. So that’s really why I started blogging, I had to reinvent my wardrobe, to work for my new lifestyle.

As I went through this journey, I started blogging about it and other women started following along, they’re like, Hey, I’m gonna work from home mom, I’m a stay at home mom, I don’t go into an office anymore. And I don’t know how to dress. And really, that’s what I was teaching them, I was just one step ahead in that journey, but enough to be able to say, this is what I’m learning. This is how I’m rebuilding my closet. And that is how everything started and just kind of really took off from there.

Help Hand

Roy Barker  05:57

Wow. Yeah, it’s an it’s different. I have to admit, for men and women, you know, we do the smell test. If it you know, if it doesn’t smell bad, and it’s good, good to go. But you know, especially working from home. It, it’s a challenge, because, you know, as I told you pre show, I really wasn’t kidding. I have a nail over here on the wall that I keep my nice shirt on.

And then it’s usually sweats or t-shirt and shorts is you know what I do? And that that worked really good back in the olden days. But now that zoom has become more prevalent. It’s like, Well, you know, you have to appear on camera three or four times a day. So you have to probably do a little bit more. But I think for women that it’s even a bigger challenge. Because just there’s so many components like you know. We have slacks and shirt, and that’s really about it. But I don’t know, it’s more, it’s more complicated. I’ve seen it in action.

Slightly. But then there’s also the fact of like you said, dressing for the office is one thing. But if you’re home, and you’ve got kids, and you’re chasing them around. Sometimes that’s not always the best thing to just go with. And so I never really thought about it. But it’s an interesting concept. And so what, so how does this work? As far as the Outfit Formulas? Do you just, I wouldn’t even know where to start. So I’ll let you talk a little bit. Yeah, if I called you up and said, Hey, or emailed you said, Hey, I really need some help. Where would you start? Besides probably firing me for a customer before you get started? But pretend to pretend I did have some potential?

Alison  07:33

No, we never fired. You know, I, I really love meeting people where they’re at as far as as far as getting dressed and building a wardrobe. And I started out with Formulas in 2014, after I’d been blogging for about two years. So I really had built an audience up at that point and was able to go to them and say, What would you like to see more of? What can I do for you?

What kind of service can I provide for you that’s going to help you get dressed every day, it’s gonna make this easier for you. And I sent out a customer survey at that point and or reader survey. They weren’t customers yet. But I asked them these questions. And when I started going through all the responses that came back to me, there were so many women saying, hey, just give me a list.

Tell me what to go out and buy. I want to know what basics to have in my closet. And I want to know what seasonal trends to add in keep things fresh and new. And I said great, I can do that. Sure. So I started working on this list. And then I realized as I was going through it well what good is this list if I’m not showing you ways pair it up, so I inadvertently created a capsule wardrobe which is basically a group of pieces that can mix and match easily in your closet to create outfits. And this first tap hole that came out of Outfit Formulas.

I thought you know, maybe 50 women would sign up with 500 signed up out of the gate and I realized right then and there Okay, this is definitely got some potential to become a really big thing and grow into you know, a great community of women who are able to support each other on this style journey. So I started it as a seasonal program. And what I do is I give women the shopping list of top, bottoms, toppers, which are essentially jackets, shoes and accessories. So there are five pieces of an Outfit Formula.

And then once they have the pieces then they mix and match all of those so there might be you know, say five pairs of jeans or pants or skirts on the list and then six or seven tops and then three jackets, for different types of shoes and then some accessories and I take those pieces and my engineering mind comes in handy here.

And I just mix and match them into different outfits and show the women different ways that they can wear them. So the cool thing about this is that it truly works for everybody. So all every shape, every size, it does not matter. It works for every budget because I am giving you guidance and telling you these are the categories of items you need. For instance a stripe top you can buy a stripe top at anywhere from Amazon to Neiman’s, it doesn’t matter as long as you have that stripe top. Some women do thrift shopping for their purchases too.

And others find that they have a lot of the pieces in their closet, they don’t do any shopping at all, they’re just seeing new ways to pair up the item. And that’s what I love about it is I feel like, I’m able to democratize personal style, like most women aren’t going to spend $150 an hour to have a stylist come in, show them how to pair up pieces in their closet, and then take them out shopping to buy more clothes. They just want somebody to give them ideas and tell them what to buy and then be able to pair it up.

So I really believe that that the way that my program kind of created disruption in the personal styling space, because it wasn’t a one on one program. It’s a group program. And also because I don’t send the clothes out like there are companies out there like Stitch Fix and other box styling services that send you a box of clothing that may or may not work for your body shape that may be the quality’s not quite what you want, or the price is too high.

With this, I’m allowing you to pick those pieces and pair up the outfits and giving you the inspiration to do that. So I love when women can shop with a purpose that we’re not just walking into the store and saying, I don’t know what to buy, I used to be a terrible shopper. And I would do that all the time, kind of walk in and get overwhelmed or chase the bright shiny objects and take all the stuff home.

And then I didn’t know how to pair it up. So I really wanted to make that easy for women and just take away that decision fatigue of deciding what to wear every morning. Now they get an email in their inbox, or they log into our membership site app on their phones. And they see exactly what they’re going to wear every single day. And it just makes it one less thing that they have to worry about.

Are You In A Rut

Roy Barker  11:31

Now, and that’s cool. Because I know for myself. I find myself in a rut is like that pair of pants and that shirt, you know. And I don’t really look outside that box to see that, you know, you can mix and match. And I I think I come from a time that nowadays is a little more liberal and what you can mix and match. It’s not as I don’t know, used to seem like it was a very stringent code.

Well, yeah. We’re relaxed. Yeah. Yeah. So let’s talk a little bit about this transition. So I know that you were saying you’re kind of winding down, you know, at the telecom. But Had this been a thought that something you had been doing prior to that. That you were kind of starting to build the list up. And then at that point, it was like, Okay, now I get it in, this is the direction I’m headed.

Alison  12:20

Yeah, so I had to blog for about six months. And my manager came to me and said, Hey. Would you like to move to the data group? I was a member of an engineering group that had 20 engineers and and I was a team lead at the time. And by the time I left in 2013, there were two engineers left in that team. So I had the opportunity to either go and retrain. And do something completely different. Or take a chance on this blog that I’ve been only doing for six months, and I decided to kind of take the chance on it and see what would happen.

So for the next year, I took that severance. I put it in the bank. And we were very conservative, you know. Living off of half of what I used to make, honestly, just to make it stretch as long as possible. And I put everything into growing that blog into growing my readers. What happened at the end of that year, when that server was gone. I wasn’t making any money. And I think this is an important part of the story that I did not make money.

For two years, I blogged I created free resources. I was blogging sometimes five or six days a week. Just putting information out there and growing my readers. Growing my followers building my email list. So that when I did launch Outfit Formulas in 2014, it was a six figure business in year one. And, you know, this is one of the things that I tell entrepreneurs all the time. Is that you put in the effort. And you’ve got it like the hardest part of being an entrepreneur is doing the work when you’re not seeing the results. Because you just have trust that it’s going to come. Like six months, a year, two years later down the road. When you look back, you’re gonna say. Well, this is happening because of the things that I was doing back then.

We’re so used to that instant gratification. And we want those immediate results and those immediate sales, but sometimes it doesn’t work that way. Not everybody has the luxury of a severance package. And I do understand that maybe you have a side hustle and you’re still in, you know, in corporate America. You’re trying to transition out. Just trust that if you keep putting in the work, someday it’s gonna pay off. And then you’ll have that audience. And those people that are there ready to buy what you’re selling at that point.


Roy Barker  14:25

I think it’s good to that, you know, you have that passion. Because that’s what sustains you on those days you wake up and say, I’ve been working hard at this and I see nothing at all. But if you really feel passionate about what you’re doing, it makes you push on. So I’m always gonna ask about so you get your severance, you leave and the first day you’re at home. Do you like I mean, I’ve you just got your mind’s already made up that that first day off you were pushing it. Or was there some time where you kind of like, Hey, is this really what I want to do? Was there any of that decision-making?

Alison  15:00

You know, it was scary. I think that that first six months honestly, were the scariest of my adult life. Because I didn’t, I didn’t know if it was going to work. And there were no guarantees that it would. And my the law, I worked for Verizon. Than when I left, they assigned me a career counselor as part of my severance package. And she was I would jump on the call, you know. Once a week and talk about what was going on and talk through different options.

And there were times that I was scared. I was like, Oh, I’m just gonna run back into Telecom. And she would say, No, I really think you need to try to make a go of this. Like, this is your thing. And every time I talk to you. This is the thing I can hear you get excited about. And you get passionate about. You start talking really fast, and you start using hand motions. And this is what you need to do. You don’t need to go back to Telecom. And I was like, Okay, okay, but you know. I’m paired up here to pick, okay, all right, just keep going.

And I think I needed that voice there to really just cut through the fear for me and helped me to tap into my intuition, and tell me what she was seeing in me. And that’s what sustained me and I laugh, I tell people all the time, I quit, I’ve quit this, like 100 times, probably 100. I wake up the next morning, and I started again, like, it’s fine, you can quit in 5pm. But you’re gonna start the next day. And and you’ll have days like that, where you’re just gonna feel like, you’re getting nowhere and nothing is happening, or everyone’s blowing past you.

And social media especially makes us feel that way. Because we log in and like comparison is the thief of joy. We see everybody on social media, you see all these other businesses that start out with you. And you think, oh, gosh, they’ve got it. So together, they’re so far ahead of me or whatever. But you really don’t know what’s going on in the inside of that. And everybody struggles and has their things that they go to go through.

And yes, I might be a seven figures now in my business, but it takes an average of 10 years to get there, and I’m on your nine. So it’s not, it wasn’t an overnight success by any stretch. And if you keep at it, though, I promise you it will pay off.

Overnight Success?

Roy Barker  17:02

Yeah, cuz most of the time, we see these overnight successes, and it just means that we’ve just kind of become, we’ve just seen them in the last overnight. They’ve, you know, they’ve all got these 10 15 20 year stories before they got to that point. And you said that earlier about the instant gratification. I think that to us, the old agrarian thing is, you know, we have to plant the seed, and then we have to cultivate it before we can actually harvest it and so many, and this, it goes into sales, too. You know, when we talk about sales, people want to call you up.

Are you ready to buy? No. So they’re off to the next one. They don’t take the time to try to cultivate it’s and it’s the same being this being an entrepreneur, and it’s a struggle, there are times and it’s funny, as I had a an interview years ago, and a young lady was asking me, have you ever thought about quitting? I said probably three times this morning. But true, yeah. But it’s like, you know, it’s like, at some point you get to it’s like, well, there’s really not an option because I believe in this enough, then you know, I’m just going to keep pushing. So that’s interesting.

And I think also to talk about the importance of surrounding yourself with people. Not Not that tell you what you want to hear. But that can be encouraging to you, you know, like this lady, because it’s, it’s sometimes it can feel lonely, especially if we’re if we’re doing it by herself is that you know, and I’m fortunate with Terry, she is awesome to bounce ideas off or to cry on shoulder or, you know, walk outside and throw a rock or whatever.

And then when I’m done with it, she’ll pat me on the shoulder and say, You know what, it’s gonna be a better day tomorrow, we’re going to just push on through and sure enough, it helps. So you know, I guess the message is, get a coach, surround yourself with some other business people, you know, talk to, you know, have somebody that you can talk to it makes a world of difference.

Alison  18:55

It really does. Yeah, see, every all of us need those sounding boards. And we need more than one like, I rely on my husband a lot for that, too. I have my business manager who’s my right hand woman and I have all these different people in my life that I can go through and know that, that I’m not alone. And I think you know, it can be they say it’s lonely at the top.

And when you are a founder, you are a CEO, and you’re the one that’s responsible for everything. You really have to make it a priority to have that support network in place for sure. And I’ve even joined my mastermind groups, I find that they’re really super beneficial not only for your network, but just the emotional support people who really get what it’s like to be in the trenches and be there with you.

Persistence Drives Overnight Success

Roy Barker  19:35

Yeah. So let’s switch over. The other interesting aspect that I found about your story is that you actually blog for two years. And, you know, I realized that some of that was still when you were working for your other company. But I think that’s another point that we could talk about about the instant gratification is I talked to many people that like I did two blogs. But you know, my phone’s not blowing up or people aren’t walking through the door. It’s so much more to that. So tell us a little bit about, you know how you went through that process?

Alison  20:11

Yeah, so and this is a topic, I love talking about this, especially whatever I’m exploring the entrepreneurial side of, of my business and that story, because I do encounter so many entrepreneurs that come to me and say, Hey, I’m just getting started out, or I’ve only been at this for about six months, or I’m just, I’m not making money. And I say, Yeah, you’re you’re right, you’re not making money, you probably shouldn’t be right now, like, that’s, that’s true. Yeah, so building that audience first, I mean, there, there are two ways you can start a business.

And some people get frustrated, because they don’t have the audience there, they have the idea, they have the concept, they have the product, or they have the service, or they have a program that they’re trying to sell, but they don’t have anybody to sell it to. So if you’re in that situation, and you’re wanting to get results faster, then that’s when you got to put some money behind it. And you’ve got to be able to pay for your traffic and pay for your marketing and your ads and all of the things that are going to bring it to you and but I did it organically.

And I think that there are definite advantages to organic growth. Number one, it’s relationship building. So you’re going to be bringing those people on the journey with you, they’re going to be engaged with you, they’re going to love knowing that they were part of your story. I have people with me that have been with me since I started blogging in 2012, that are now customers that have been with me for years and years and years because of that personal relationship that I was able to cultivate with them, and continue throughout all these years.

So you know, you get that opportunity. When you’re producing content, people trust you people like you, they get to know that you’re somebody that’s gonna keep showing up for them. And when I was blogging every week, they were getting glimpses into who I was as a person, they were seeing that I was going to be someone that was going to be around for the long haul, so that they did make a purchase. For me, they didn’t have to worry that I was just gonna take their money and run. But it’s all about that, you know, the know, like trust factor, they, they get to know you, they like you, they trust you.

And they’ll be fans for life. And it’s really about kind of creating that. I want to use the term cult following. Because isn’t that what everybody wants? Like, there are companies out there like What-A-Burger. And you know, these other companies are doing this so well, where they have this cult following of loyal fans that absolutely love them and are there for them and cheering them on. That’s, that’s really one of the biggest benefits of just going slow and gaining that organic following and all of those people that are there just cheering you on.

Another great thing about that is you can involve them in what you’re creating. I involved my readers all along and everything that I’ve ever done, I say what do you want to see? What do you like to wear, what trends do you like this this fall? What colors? are you liking what patterns, and I can take all of that feedback and create a product that they’ve been involved in and that they love? And that absolutely make selling a really easy thing for me to do?

Roy Barker  23:03

Yeah, no. And I think that engagement because a lot of times and it’s hard in the beginning, but you know, we’re blowing this information out there. But we’re not really trying to engage our audience, which I think that’s what leads to the cult following, like you’re talking about is that you’ve engaged them, you’re you, you care what they think, which is important. That’s what people want to do. They want somebody to care what they think and be as responsive as they possibly can to that.

Alison  23:32

Mm hmm. Definitely.

Develop A Following

Roy Barker  23:33

Yeah. Yeah. And that is, again, that there’s a there was a guy and I think his name was Palooza, Joe Pulizzi. He’s a marketing guru guy. And he wrote a book about this about he blogged for like, like you said, two years, with really not even a path, a service or a product in mind. I think he was, you know, talking about something specific, but he actually blogged for this whole entire period, getting that feedback.

So he could decide, you know, kind of which direction he wanted to navigate to versus just, you know, like you said earlier, too, is like, Okay, well, I dreamed up this awesome product in my basement. But I don’t know if anybody else thinks it’s awesome. I do. But maybe there’s something like it out there. Maybe it’s like, I wouldn’t waste my time where, you know, when we do engage, and we do some of this upfront work, we can get it we can get an idea of you know, this is not so great. Or, you know, maybe we need to tweak this or tweak that. There’s just a lot of information we can get out there.

Alison  24:33

Absolutely. It’s a goldmine when you have those people that are already there that, you know, you can use as your beta testers and can give you that feedback. And then you can launch it into the world and on a bigger scale.

Educate Your Audience

Roy Barker  24:46

Yeah, and you’ve talked about this as well, but education, you know, I think to me, that’s what I always strive to do with my blogs is not I don’t want to tell people how awesome I am or how awesome the company is. That’s always better from third party. People to tell other people how great you are. But try to make sure that we’re giving people actionable items like in your, in your position, but also, you know, when I send emails out to different groups, I may say, Hey, I found this article, here’s a couple really good points that might work, you know, might be something for you to think about. But always continuing this education prog process. I think it it’s engaging, because people are, you know, glad that somebody is there to try to help them.

Alison  25:36

Definitely, I, I love educating and I think that a lot of us kind of get stuck in this headspace where we think I’m not an expert. So why would anybody want to listen to me, we don’t have to be an expert, you just need to be one or two steps ahead of the people that you’re talking to, because they sometimes don’t want that expert, you’re more relatable than somebody that they see is an expert on a topic.

And I’ve had to really view myself in that way as a stylist because I did not come from a style background. I’m self taught, I’m you know, and the same thing with being an entrepreneur, I didn’t come from a business background, I taught myself how to run businesses. But that doesn’t make my experience any less valuable. In order to share it with others, it’s just about giving them the shortcuts that you’re learning along the way, that’s what they want.

Roy Barker  26:26

Because I think we’re all experts in our journey, you know, it’s like is that journey, relatable to other people, but you know, once you’ve gone through a buying process for any product or service, you know, you’re pretty well aware of, you know, the different aspects of it, what you should look for the pitfalls, and so I think, yet we are a little hard on ourselves that we think we have to have years of education or experience. But again, I think this gets back to passion, if you’re willing to learn, willing to listen, and that’s your passion, it really comes across to our readers or listeners very, it’s very loud, louder than it is sometimes,

Alison  27:05

for sure. And authenticity is something you can’t fake. And people can see through that, even though you might think you can follow them on social media or your blog posts or whatever, but they’re gonna see through that if it’s something that you’re not truly passionate about. For instance, I have a good story to tell on this. When I started out as a blogger than primary business model, was to sell clothing to people that would come to your website. Or would follow you on social media.

So you would earn commission on the back end of that. I would send them to, you know, Nordstrom and say, Hey, you can buy the shirt I’m wearing or whatever. And I would earn a little bit of money. So that’s what was working really, really well. And it still works really, really well. There’s influencers, they’re making millions of dollars a year on YouTube, and Instagram and Tiktok, and all the places doing this business model.

But it was inauthentic for me because I didn’t shop a lot. I reused the pieces in my closet. So I learned early on that my readers were going to pick up on that, if that wasn’t an authentic to me behavior to be out shopping constantly. And they did. And then I started saying, Well, how am I going to make money if I don’t do this business model that everybody else is doing. But that’s when they came to me with the idea. I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel.

They were waiting. And because I attracted the right people to me, that we’re also not into just going out and buying a lot of stuff. I was able to create a business that was really truly authentic to who and who I am as a person. And I think that that just strengthen that relationship and that trust factor there as well. Yeah,

Roy Barker  28:34

yeah, definitely. So talk about the blog for a few minutes. Did you start out just blogging? Or did you use social, like Instagram is huge on the pictures that were you putting a lot of stuff up there, as well.

Alison  28:49

So I started off just blogging, and this was in 2012. So at that point, Instagram was probably in its infancy, I had a Facebook page associated with my blog. But I wasn’t really putting a whole lot into social media. At that point. One of the things that I want to stress is that social media is great. But you own your website, you own your assets, you don’t own your social media following and if Facebook, Instagram, whatever goes away tomorrow, you lose all of those people. So if you’re not building your own platform, then you’re making a big mistake.

So I one of my biggest regrets is I did not start my email marketing list early enough. In my blogging career, I didn’t started to play around two years in and then I started building my list. But that list is something else that you own. You always have those contacts they belong to you and you will always have those people to communicate with even if something else falls by the wayside. So I wasn’t doing a lot of social media back then I do now. But I use social media more of the handshake and get to know me opportunity not as a sales opportunity.

We do run ads on Facebook and Instagram. And Pinterest is my top traffic. Refer to my website because I have a very visual company, and it works very, very well for me. And I do put some money into ads over there too. And I have specialists that kind of work in each of the social media platforms to help us get the most out of them. But at the end of the day, my program sales are my bread and butter, they’re my revenue. That’s what I focus on is what assets do I own? And how can I feed into my program? And, and that’s really, it’s hard. Because we get distracted by Oh, it’s fun to have all these likes and followers here and there. And then our ego who loves that stuff.

But when it comes right down to it, my P&L statement comes at the end of the month, every month, and I take a look at that. And I realized, okay, this is what really matters is you know, you know, getting people into the program, and social media is fine, to entertain and educate and inspire people and create authority, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to be feeding them into whatever your program product is, as well.

Roy Barker  30:59

Yeah, cuz two examples I like to give is that, no, we’re on an income statement. Do you see Facebook likes listed on that. And also, as you know, this little Mexican restaurant we’d like to go to over here, you know, she brought the check one day and I said, oh, here, I got 1000 Facebook likes, I’ll just put, you know, just take the tag out on my likes.

And you know, she didn’t understand what I find. It’s kind of funny, because we sometimes we do lose our way and think about these vanity metrics. Versus, you know, what does it take to put money in the bank account, which is what we do. So but you mentioned you didn’t start your email list until later. So how did you grow that in the beginning, was it just word of mouth and other people sharing your blog on your website with their friends?

Alison 31:47

Yeah, so it was mostly just organic traffic. For the most part, I was serving a niche that no one was at that point, which was really helping work from home moms and stay at home moms feel stylish and not in the sense that they had to be dressed up. But more about cute, casual put together looks like t shirts and jeans and sneakers, nothing that was really, very like haute couture high fashion.

And there weren’t a lot of blogs out there at the time that were like that. So back in the early days of blogging, we do something called blog hops. We would host them with other bloggers. And essentially, it was this piece of code that you would put in a blog post, and people can link up their blog posts to it. I think that a lot of my growth came through the top because people would hop through the different blogs and comment on them, and would start following them that way.

So it was really a cool way to create, you know, like viral hits on your site by collaborating with other bloggers. And I brought a lot of traffic in that way. I also started out with a few bloggers that were in my circle that were just getting started with me. We’re kind of blowing past me at that point, if I’m being honest. It’s funny now because I’ve kind of like been in, in the long, like the long haul for so long that everything is sort of leveled out.

And I’m kind of going like this now or they’re kind of like this, but they were doing a different business model than me it was all about the affiliate commission’s model. But that group of core bloggers that I started with, we all just kind of lifted each other up at the same time too. And we’re sharing each other’s content, and just getting everyone’s names out there at the same time. Yeah,

Consistancy, Run Your Race

Roy Barker  33:25

it’s important to, you know, kind of beat run your own race be in your own lane, you know, we need to know what the competition is doing. We need to check it out and be, don’t be blind to it. Because we can learn a lot from their research their mistakes and their successes. But when we look at are we successful versus somebody else, those pictures are always the reality, you know, we see the guy with the new car and the new boat, but we really don’t even know if he owns the old, he knows he owns any one of those. So just if you have if you’re passionate, you got your plan, just you know, work your plan and keep moving forward.

Alison  34:04

100% Yes. Now that consistency beats anything else, you know, just showing up every single day and doing it over the long haul?

Roy Barker  34:12

Yeah. Which kind of brings up the next question I had on the there’s always a number of experts weighing in on the number of blog posts we need to make per week. How long do they all need to be? So in the beginning, when you were starting out, what was your averages? And generally what were you putting out?

Alison  34:31

Yeah, so it’s interesting because you can talk to people today who say blogging is dead, most of those people would be millennials or younger and I kind of get where they’re coming from. However, blogging is not dead at all. If you are wanting any kind of search engine optimization on your site, if you want to hit if you want traffic, you should be blogging, curious, unless you’re gonna pay some SEO expert to do a bunch of work for you on the back end and get traffic to your website, blogging is still an incredibly powerful tool. And I went 100%. And still totally on board with it. In the beginning, I was creating probably around five to six pieces of content a week, which was a lot. So I was blogging at normal daily basis in the beginning.

And I did that for, you know, consistently for almost two years. The great thing about that was not only were my people getting to know me, knowing that I was showing up consistently, but Google was, you know, crawling my site every single time I put that new content out there, and creating all of this great stuff on the back end, that I’m still benefiting from to this day. I talked to an SEO expert last week. And I said, I’m kind of embarrassed to say this, but I’ve never done paid search engine optimization. He said, Well give yourself some grace. Because I want to tell you that you are ranking organically on 90 unique keywords. And that’s amazing.

And he said, that’s the result of you, just blogging all these years, and putting that content out there. So yeah, so you don’t have to do that much content if you don’t want to. But if you are going to do it, just be consistent with it, don’t do a blog post, you know, five times in one week, and then wait a month and do one more like commit to one blog post a week, or commit to one every two weeks or whatever, just make sure that you stay on a schedule, because that also helps the people that are following you know, hey, she’s going to show up with new stuff now.

And then what I also do is I send out a newsletter once a week on Wednesday mornings, I’ve been doing this for ever since I started my email list. And I put all of the blog posts in that newsletter, so they can click through and visit anything that they may have missed. We pull evergreen content, because there’s so much out there, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel with content, you can repurpose that your people don’t care, they will read it again, they might get something different out of it this time than they did the first time. So don’t think that you constantly have to always be creating content, either you can go back and pull up some of the stuff that you’ve done in the past to

Word Count

Roy Barker  36:55 Persistence drives an overnight success

Yeah, so how long were when you were putting out four or five a week? How long were those typically, word count.

Alison  37:04

Typically, you know, no more than 500 to 700 words. And I could get away with that, because I was putting a lot of outfit photos in there. So images, images can definitely you know, take the place of putting in a lot of you know, words. And if you’re going to using a lot of images in your blog post, just remember that your images have tags on them also. So we’re you know, kind of like getting into the technical part of this, because I’m an engineer, I got to do it. You know, use that to your advantage because you can rename your images with those image tags. And they will also index in Google so that when people put in key words, and they stick to the search terms, then your images will pop up to and they can find you that way. Yeah,

Roy Barker  37:47 Persistence drives an overnight success

yeah, definitely pictures and videos, anything we can plug in there. But because there’s always this, it’s kind of shifted used to it was that, you know, 800 is a pretty good target. And then now I see a lot like 2000 2500 words, and it can depend on the industry that you’re in, I’m just I don’t long attention span. So for me 6, 7, 8 800 words is probably just long enough for me to look at get all the information I need. So I think that’s it’s a good point to make.

Because sometimes people get so caught up in, you know, this crazy word count that they don’t do anything. That analysis paralysis, sometimes it’s, you know, just keep if you’re consistently put out the 700 800 words, you can see, as you know, you’re a great representative of what can happen if you just stay after it. As far as the indexing, you’re right, I think the putting good content out is is definitely the way to the top of Google.

And we have to make it good. There’s a lot of behind the scenes on that, because you know, Google likes to rank for the experience of their consumer. So obviously, make sure that we’re giving them good, consistent content that you know, that they’re enjoying, and that’s easy to read and all those other things. Any other tips along those lines that you have that you did?

Alison  39:11

Yeah, so YouTube is really powerful too. So if you google virtually any person or business, one of the first things that shows up on that first page from Google is their YouTube videos, if they have a YouTube presence, if you’re creating any kind of video content whatsoever, if it’s on Instagram for igtv, if it’s on Facebook, if you’re doing live, download that content and upload it to YouTube, because that is really going to help your ranking and Google loves to show the YouTube results.

So you know, we we definitely utilize video in that way and I feel like video is such a powerful way to connect with your audience to all of the platform’s are rewarding it now Instagrams loving real, those are this short little 30 to 60 second video 15 to 6o second videos that that people are doing now and I’ve been resistant to some of the newer social media platforms. I’m really not sure like, what, where should I be spending my time, right?

But I did finally become a late adopter to tik tok. That’s another place where you don’t have to pay to play yet. And if you feel like there’s something that you can share on tik tok, I created a video two weeks ago, I’m very new to the platform, I had maybe like 40 followers. Over a single weekend, it got 150,000 views and I was at 5000 followers in a single weekend. So content is still very much able to go viral on tik tok.

And if you don’t think it’s your demographic, let me tell you that it is your demographic, my 50 year old husband system lets you sit back all day long, like I my women are over 40 but do my program and for the most part, I was like they’re probably not Tick tock, well, heck, yes, they are, they are on Tick Tock and they are watching the videos. So don’t discount that. And it can definitely lead to growing, you know, getting your name out there and growing your platform and doing it in a free way, which is something that’s incredibly hard to do right now on Instagram and Facebook, everything is, is pay to play and a lot of those arenas.

Roy Barker  41:12 Persistence drives an overnight success

Well, just a small Tick Tock story, you know, we were the same way, neither one of us because, you know, I just jokingly said, well, you’re not gonna see me out there dancing, or, you know, putting any crazy moves on there, for sure. But a guy just said, Look, just go reserve your names, just in case, you know, things changed later on. So we did and then but now we have gotten hooked that, you know, in the morning, we were drinking coffee, we’ve got a couple people.

It’s they’re not selling anything, but just a couple people we like to follow and look and see what’s going on. So it’s interesting that you know, like, people of our age have, you know, are looking at Tick Tock on a daily basis. So I think it’s interesting. Any other thing you mentioned earlier, just want to touch on briefly, I know we’re getting long on time. But that content repurpose and content, when you write a lot of blogs. And when you have that inventory, it makes it so much easier for your social media campaigns.

Because you know, like us, we will break up our videos into a couple smaller pieces to use, we will pull you know, specific quotes or couple sentences even from an episode and from our blogs to use. So really, it’s because there are a lot of people that struggle like I don’t even know what to put up on social media. But say, if you’re blogging and doing these other things, you’ve got the content, you just have to figure out how to use it.

Alison  42:37

It’s true. And if you have one piece of Cornerstone content, you can take that and you can repurpose it across all your platforms. So say for instance, if you start you can start with a blog post, or you can start with a video if you start with a video as the cornerstone content, you can take that video, have it completely, you know, transcribed on a service, there’s a bunch of free services out there that do that, that will transcribe that for you make a blog post out of that, embed your video in the blog post, then take you know 10-second clips out of that video, use it on your social media create quote cards out of that, you can just take it and put it everywhere.

You can show up on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, your own blog, tik tok, all of it just from this one Cornerstone piece of content. And I think that that’s super important for everybody to realize, because you don’t have the same followers on all those platforms. So not everybody’s going to be seeing that. And just taking that one piece of content really save you so much time and energy and effort thinking that you have to do all of these things for all of these different platforms, because you really don’t.

Wrap Up

Roy Barker  43:42 Persistence drives an overnight success

Right, right. Exactly. Well, Alison, I want to thank you so much for taking time out of your day. It’s been a pleasure speaking with you. And I think it’s such a great success story. I think there’s so many people that can follow in your footsteps. So a couple things tell us. I know you’ve got a lot going on. But tell us about the website about the Outfit Formulas. And then of course, about your book.

Alison  44:06

Sure, yes. So you can find my blog at getyourprettyon.com and it’s just really, it still exists as a free resource for women to really kind of help them on that style journey to give them affordable options. For pieces that work for everybody, every budget, no exceptions. I have my first book coming out September 14, it is The Ultimate Book of Outfit Formulas. It’s already hitting some bestseller lists. So I’m really excited about that. And I’m launching the Outfit Formula Fall Capsule wardrobe in September as well. So it is going to be a really fun and busy month but lots of really good stuff going on. You can learn more about that at outfitformulas.com and the book is sold in on Amazon and stores everywhere. Okay.


Roy Barker  44:46 Persistence drives an overnight success

Yeah, great. Yeah, you’re gonna have a I think this is the end of August. We’re talking right now. So you’re gonna have a busy? Probably six or eight weeks coming up getting it? Yeah, for sure. Yeah. You’ll have to come back. Well, maybe we’ll You rest up in October, November, but you have, and tell us how it’s going.

Because that’s that’s another important part is I like to keep up with guests, especially who were, you know, have something launches like this going on, it’d be nice to come back and see you know, how that went things that you’ve learned from it and just be able to keep our listeners updated. So that way, I love to do that. I forgot to ask what is a tool or a habit? What is something that you use in your daily life that you feel adds a lot of value? Personal professional, either one?

Alison  45:32

Yeah. So I would have to say my planner, I know it sounds so basic, but I have an hourly planner that I’ve kept ever since I first started blogging in 2012. Because I feel like if I can keep myself accountable on an hourly basis, that I never waste time. And one of the most important things I do in there is I put nonnegotiable things in this calendar, like getting showered, getting dressed for the day, working out the things that are important to myself care and filling my cup up. Because that’s what makes me a better wife, a better mom a better leader a better everything. Yeah,

Roy Barker  46:05 Persistence drives an overnight success

All right, that’s awesome. Well, again, y’all reach out, take a look at all of Alison’s content. And we’ll get her back on here. Tell us how these next few months go for. So that’s gonna do it for this episode of The Business of Business Podcast. Of course, I’m your host Roy, you can find us at www.thebusinessofbusinesspodcast.com. We’re on all the major podcast platforms, iTunes, Stitcher, Google Spotify.

If we’re not a one you listen to reach up, be glad to get it added to make your listening easier. We’re also on all the major social media networks probably hang out on Instagram a little bit more than others. So reach out we’d be glad to interact with you over there and a video of this interview will go up when the episode goes live. So until next time, take care of yourself and take care of your business.

Get Your Pretty On Website

Outfit Formulas Website

Alison Lumbatis on LinkedIn

Get Your Pretty On – Facebook

Alison Lumbatis – Twitter

The Ultimate Book of Outfit Formulas by Alison Lumbatis on Amazon

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What Are Great SEO, SEM, and Inbound Marketing Strategies?

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Business Podcast

What Are Great SEO, SEM, and Inbound Marketing Strategies? Featuring Steve Wiideman

What Are Great SEO, SEM, and Inbound Marketing Strategies? Having the best website in your space is just the start. If no one is reading it then it serves no purpose adds no value. Today you have to work hard to drive the right traffic to your site, potential buyers. Those who are buyers are just vanity numbers. Use a combination of SEO, SEM, and targeted inbound marketing strategies to help prospects find your site

About Steve

Specializing in strategic planning for multi-location and franchise SEO campaigns, Steve Wiideman, of Wiideman Consulting Group, considers himself a scientist and practitioner of local and e-commerce search engine optimization and paid search advertising. He is the author of SEO Strategy & Skills, a college textbook through Stukent. Wiideman has played a role in the inbound successes of brands that have included Disney, Linksys, Belkin, Public Storage, Honda, Skechers, Applebee’s, IHOP, Dole, and others, with emphasis on strategy, planning, and campaign oversight. 

In 2018, Wiideman won Industry MVP at a popular SEO conference (C3 Searchies) and helped Meineke earn the NatLo Top 30 in Local Marketing by Placeable.  

Wiideman and his team have worked with Fortune 500 companies and small start-ups alike for over 22 years. His personal experience ranges from having managed or assisted with large sponsored ads budgets, to turning brick and mortar businesses into Internet profit machines using SEO best practices learned while studying under the world’s best organic and paid search optimization specialists. 

Wiideman conducts online video and in-person presentations at various conferences and tradeshows throughout America on such topics as the history of SEO, link-earning, multi-location ranking factors, pay-per-click advertising, responding to search engine updates, and much more. He also is a frequent panelist at online marketing events and speaks at many California meet-up groups and networking events. 

Wiideman designed and teaches the Website Optimization and Strategic Search Engine Marketing online course for California State University Fullerton, the SEO Tools and Analytics course at University of California San Diego, and was recently commissioned to write a textbook for a popular online learning service for colleges.

Wiideman’s information products of the 2000s have been adopted by thousands of small- and mid-sized businesses as a model for building websites on a platform optimized for higher placement in search results and social media destinations.

As a consultant, Wiideman has developed creative strategies that garner organic links and citations to web properties, in addition to strategizing website migrations, upgrades, and social media integration. Wiideman has been mentioned and featured in a number of popular publications including:

  • CNN Money
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Marketing Sherpa
  • National Journal
  • Response Magazine
  • Vice Magazine
  • Visibility Magazine
  • CNBC
  • Vice / Motherboard
  • Fortune Magazine
  • Local Search Association
  • American Express 

Wiideman is currently working on a project to provide his knowledge in the SEO industry in the form of a 6-week online training program. 

Steve’s current projects include a transparency service for small businesses, along with experiments his team is running to better understand the impacts of voice search, featured snippets, and structured data.


How to reach Steve Wiideman:

Phone: (562) 732-4417

Email: info@wiideman.com

Social: @seosteve | linkedin.com/in/seoexpert

Business of Business Podcast Offer: https://courses.wiideman.com/

CODE: SEOSTEVE (complimentary access)

Steve Wiideman Website

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Full Transcript Below

What Are Great SEO, SEM, and Inbound Marketing Strategies? Featuring Steve Wiideman

Estimated reading time: 46 minutes

Tue, 8/17 12:11PM • 45:04


people, page, seo, work, clients, website, search, pay, site, google, create, business, ad, set, questions, important, buy, steve, put, users, What Are Great SEO, SEM, and Inbound Marketing Strategies?


Steve, Roy Barker


Roy Barker  00:03

Hello, and welcome to another episode of The Business of Business Podcast. I’m your host Roy. Of course, we are the podcast that brings you a wide variety of guests that talk to a diverse set of topics. But we want to do is hopefully we can maybe bring up some topics that you may not have thought about. Or if you have something that’s keeping you up at night, we can definitely provide you some information and some professionals to help you there.

Today, we’re excited to have Steve Wiideman with us. He is a writer, a scientist, professor and practitioner of search optimization. Steve lives and breathes and eats SEO, SEM and inbound marketing. When he’s not leading his team of SEO consultants for franchise, multilocation and ecommerce brands. He’s a cheeseball romantic, entertaining dad, and world traveler with a passion for life. Embracing culture and diversity. While serving as an adjunct professor at UCSD and CSUF. Steve’s also building the Academy of Search. While volunteering time to help improve transparency and industry standards as an agency trainer. Steve, welcome to the show.

Steve  01:13

Thanks for Thanks for having me. And I know, you’re just hearing a little bit of my bio brings back so many memories. Of you know, the reason I. I decided to leave, you know, the the employee role and, you know. Kind of venture off on my own as an entrepreneur and how scary that journey was.

Roy Barker  01:29

Yeah, well tell us a little bit about that. Tell us a little as you know, as was marketing something, or SEO, something that you’ve always been into? Or have you kind of grown into that through your career?

More About Steve

Steve  01:40

Sure. So I was actually started in web design, while I was still in the military, it was the late 90s. And, you know, we just discovered this, this whole thing called web design and building websites. And I don’t know, I just, I just found an interest in it. So when I wasn’t, you know, on the on the field. And, you know, playing with, you know, with rifles and, and guns and so forth. We, you know, we’re playing around with gopher servers. And and you know, Wifi. I was part of an operation at the time where I was teaching soldiers how to how to use laptops. To be able to measure and fire Javelin missiles, right over hills, it was really kind of neat.

So So yeah, I just, I just discovered a love for all things. And when I when I got back home. And I was working for IBM I had a lot of friends that said, Hey, I got a DJ business. Can you build me a website? Hey, I’ve got a, you know, a friend of mine who, who has a couple of limousines. But you know, he’s having trouble and and other people using the internet, you know, trying to be found. And so I’m like, Well, I guess I could try to figure this stuff out. Right. And I like designing websites, let me see what I can do.

And before I knew it, I was hooked. I was addicted to, you know, all things, digital marketing, how do I get more traffic. And, you know. Two years later. After sort of blank being Neo from the Matrix, and just diving in a day and night. Into this thing. The DJ comes to me and he says, You got to turn it off. I I’m one guy. I can’t do all I can’t have this many people calling me. And I’m like, I might be onto something here. And so I went back to scrub

Roy Barker  03:12

them to have

Steve  03:13

I know, right? So I so I went back to school, and I got a degree in business management. And I learned how web servers work and got to install web servers. I learned how databases worked and learned everything about SQL and how databases are created. And how to never type in the words DROP TABLE into programming and destroy everything. Learn some programming, you know. We started with like, was a QBasic, and then C++ and a little bit of JavaScript. I’d already been coding HTML when I went back to school.

So that part of it was pretty easy for me. But then I learned how to put all that stuff together. The graphic design that the server that the databases, you know. Put all that into a project so that I can take a site from conception to launch to. All the way to the marketing side of it. And my first job out of college. I left the world of IBM over there. And went to a kind of a startup It was called Paciolan. In fact, Yulin was like Ticketmaster, we ran 20% of the ticketing sales for for the MLB.

And we did theaters and whenever you book a ticket. You always see, you know. Even you dots, whatever their site was, and that’s where the ticketing thing happened. And that’s where I got to really, you know. Show them what I was made of. As it pertained to digital marketing. Not just with HTML and JavaScript. But I also got to do some things with email marketing. So I just I just discovered a passion for all things digital and you know, made that my career.

Roy Barker  04:42

Yeah, that’s a cool story. I guess. I’m not that in depth. But you know, like this, you know. I was of a certain age when this the, I guess the digital revolution came along. And so. I’ve always been interested in it and it’s, you know. Just like yourself. You’ve seen such a change that used to. If you put up a website, you are probably virtually one of the only ones in your industry that had one up.

Steve  05:06

So put on your business card, but it wasn’t good for anything else.

Great SEO, SEM, and Inbound Marketing Strategies

Roy Barker  05:10

Right. And, you know, you gain traffic just because there’s nobody else in your space. But I think now we’ve evolved to. There’s so much stuff out there that you know. You really have to find ways not only in your web design, to set yourself apart and capture that audience. But also you have to have a way for people to find you. I mean, it’s this is like being its like looking for your friend and Times Square on New Year’s Eve. It’s tough.

Steve  05:38

And a lockdown taught us a lesson that we can’t, we can’t depend on people just strolling by our store and coming in as a customer. Is not going to work like that anymore. We have to, we have to be online. We have to pay attention to make sure that the products and services that we sell we appear for in search results. In Google and Bing and YouTube. Wherever people are looking for what we have and what we know about what we do. We want to make sure that we have content there to drive customers. Who either have an affinity or a specific demand for what we have.

So many so many businesses just didn’t realize that and when that pandemic hit, they’re like, the phone stopped ringing. Even even our clients. Applebee’s, Nighthawk who you know, between the two of them have like 3500, you know, stores locations, you know. When when this pandemic happened? They’re like, Oh, my God, what are we going to? Do? We need to put all our, our marketing on pause and stop. And we said, No, no, we’re gonna. We’re gonna help you through this. Don’t pause your marketing, pause spending if you need to, but we’re going to carry the load for you. And what we ended up doing was creating delivery and takeout pages across every single location.

So if you were to do a search for breakfast delivery near me. Or breakfast delivery in your city. And a lot of other queries, for restaurant terms. For Applebee’s You would actually see takeout curbside carside related keywords. Will drive you to their their little pages that we have create. And because of that. We think we played a pretty significant role in keeping the kitchen lights on during a period. Where those restaurants were about to shut down. And and now. Now because you know, there’s two demands, right. Demand one was. How do we get people to still buy from us. When you know, they’re locked in their homes? Now the demand is, everybody’s here, but all our employees quit, and they don’t want to come back. So now we’re launching job pages.

And we have job pages now across every single location. And now they’re getting phone calls from people saying, Yeah, I need a job. My unemployment is going to run out in September, and I need to start, you know, looking for something new. And so, so now we’re trying to satisfy that through digital marketing. Through creating a web page on the website that targets the specific thing that you know. We’re trying to drive people in from,

Roy Barker  07:46

yeah, no, that’s a great idea. Because, you know, we saw such a shift in such a hurry. And I think that the the companies, like you said. That could adapt. They’re the ones that are still here. Because there was a lot that either they couldn’t some resistance or whatever. But unfortunately, they’re not still in business anymore.

So but the other thing is, like, there was that big ramp up. And I don’t think we’re gonna see it go back down to pre COVID levels. I mean, not but I’ll ask you. I think I can speak from my point of views. That we would order some grocery items off of Amazon. Or the local company every now and then. Yeah, yeah. But now, it’s like we are pretty much I haven’t been to the grocery store, you know. Probably in the last year. And we’ve just gotten what we do everything online that we possibly can. So you know, people like me, we’re not going back.

It’s just a waste of time to go in there. When we could sit down and place our order and get it delivered. But What are y’all seeing, you know, across the industries that you serve? Do you feel like we’re going to maintain a certain level, there’s

Steve  08:57

a massive retention, right? When I look at the data, and granted month over month, the numbers are dropping, right. Month over month, they’re slowly dropping more people are going out. They are kind of getting back to somewhat of normal life, but it’s a very slow decrease. We’re looking at like three to 5% per month, going down. Where people are, are looking for directions more than they’re looking to place an order online.

So I’d say it depends on on the industry for shopping and clothes shopping. My wife still loves to go into the stores show $3 and torrid. I kid you not. And she’ll come out and she’ll see me hanging from the rafter. And like no, no, but just mentally yeah and and yeah, so so there there are circumstances where people still do want to shop but you know offline but I do agree. I think I think a lot of a lot of people have assimilated to the idea that they can purchase and buy things online Amazon. Where you can see Amazon stocks, right?

It’s it’s pretty obvious that that everybody is latched on to the idea. That they can get whatever they need from Amazon. Which which is a bit of a. Because there are. There are some really, there are some really good local businesses that we love to patronize and visit that, you know, that are probably not going to make it because the traffic just hasn’t gone back, even though that three to 5% probably helps a little bit, they’re coming out of a deficit, you know, during a period where, you know, and for restaurants, some of the restaurants had to buy all this patio stuff, and then they had to buy heaters, we know when it got cold.

And so save all this debt that they created to be able to stay in business, right. And, and if it doesn’t come back right away, like a hockey stick on a graph, you know. They’re, they’re gonna have to get more loans. And get more and more debt. So I, I really feel for the small business owner. And I would encourage anybody, you know. Who who feels comfortable going out to go out. Patronize the local businesses. They’re, they’re doing online to purchase from them online. Even though their system isn’t as efficient as an Amazon or as, as you know.

Some of the bigger names that are out there. The Targets and Walmart’s, you know. Put up with the wacky system, you know. And then go in and tell them, show them your experience so that they can work with their development teams to get better. But don’t just not patronize them, because their mobile sites are awful. We’re trying as digital marketers to help them right now. But they don’t have a lot of budget. In many cases, we’re just doing it pro bono to try to help businesses that we care about.

Roy Barker  11:22 Great SEO, SEM, and Inbound Marketing Strategies

Yeah, because I’m like you, we actually were having a conversation the other day about a little town just not too far from here, that I spent some time in growing up. And I was thinking that the field that you got, when you walked into this old hardware store, they still had the wood floors that were all worn down the you know, like washers and screws and everything were in these boxes, and I was just thinking, you know, how far that we have come that.

The sad thing is, those people aren’t in business anymore, it’s made our life a little easier, you know, ordering online, but you know, there’s got, I think we have to have a good balance. Because sometimes we do need to go in and actually see this thing or touch this thing or the social contact as well. Sometimes you just want to go out and see people.

Steve  12:09

So so for you business owners that are listening, I think there’s some things that you can do with your webmaster to prioritize and maybe get a little bit more visibility when people are searching locally. The first thing I’d mentioned is mobile experience, really, you know, go through your website and place an order and see what it’s like, Can you do it from your thumb? Can you do it without having to fill in information on a keyboard?

You tap your way through an experience and, and pay with something like Google pay or Apple Pay or Amazon, you know, without having to put in credit card information? Can you can you make that experience for users so seamless that, you know, they can literally find what they need and purchase and get out in a few seconds. Accessibility is important. Make sure using large fonts, make sure that you’re not putting images or text on images so that those people that are have visual impairments, you know, can’t see it. And search engines can’t always read the text in an image either. It’s really like binary code to them.

Yeah, making sure that you know that you’ve thought about security and accessibility, if they don’t see that, that little secure lock on the browser, they’re probably going to go back to Google and choose a competitor. And over time, Google’s gonna say one, that must not have been a very helpful result, I’m going to demote it and put this other more secure website up, you know, make sure that you’re you’re thinking about privacy.

And if someone’s concerned about what you’re doing with their data, that, you know, they can click on the privacy policy, see that it was updated recently, and know what you’re doing with your information. So privacy, security, accessibility, mobile experience, all of those things are, you know, create a strong foundation for a successful digital marketing campaign, not just for keyword rankings, but also for users who, you know, get to from referral, and so forth. Now, that’s

Test Your Process

Roy Barker  13:53 Great SEO, SEM, and Inbound Marketing Strategies

an important part, it’s, I’ve seen to have talked about this on maybe two or three shows of late is that it’s, it’s important for companies to go through that buying process, because you know, what I’ve found is, you know, get all excited, ready to buy and get all the stuff in, and then the submit button is below the screen, and you can’t move it up or, you know, there’s Yes, there’s this and there’s that. And so, also, how many clicks does it take? Or, you know, how burdensome is it compared to others in your field, you know, make it as easy as possible.

And I think that was one thing. You know, we could say about Steve Jobs, I think he, you know, pretty much mandated his engineers, it needs to be three clicks or less to make this thing, you know, to make this procedure work. And it’s important. I mean, unfortunately, our attention spans have grown short, and our patients have grown short. And so it’s like you go on to the site, and if it’s not working, close it and move on to the next one.

Steve  14:55

And if we’re used to a two second experience, where we know exactly what to do, when we You get to a website, and some website that hasn’t updated itself is taking longer than that. You know, it’s why should I have to wait, I can go back to a site that’s going to be faster. And that’s, that’s going to hurt us in the orders we get. And over time, we’re going to sort of our website’s gonna fizzle away and not appear in search results anymore. Right? Yeah.

So I would think, you know, also, there’s, there’s probably three areas that I might focus on, if you’re a small business or midsize business, you’ve got somebody who manages your website, hopefully, you have a team of people that one who focuses on the writing to create content that people are searching for, to, you know, the person who’s in charge of the technical pieces to make that mobile experience great. And three, somebody who can help promote that website.

But you’re going to get with them every month. And you’re going to say, how are we doing in improving these three areas? How are we improving, you know, our relevancy to what people are looking for? When I searched for shoe repair in Dallas? I see 10 pages that show up on page one, I see us on page two, what are these guys on page one doing that we’re not? Let’s look at their titles, let’s look at their descriptions. Their content. Let’s look at it on mobile, let’s look at it on desktop, then let’s come up with a better page that is more helpful than what the other 10 pages have. The second thing we want to look at every month is, you know, how are we improving our visibility off the website.

So somebody needs to be out there making connections with similar brands, if your shoe repair, maybe you’re gonna work with a company that sells shoes, but doesn’t repair them, or a few of them to build those partnerships, where they’re going to refer business to you and maybe even link to your website, those links, Google’s going to crawl and follow and pass some voting power to and move your whole website up for a various number of keywords. And the last thing is, when those 10 results do come up in the search, how do you stand out? How do you stand out so that you get click on More? Do you stand out because you’ve put your customer ratings on there? And they can see five stars under your listing?

Do you stand out because you’ve answered some FAQ questions, and I have two other listings underneath your listing with some questions and answers. Do you stand out because you have a video or a image thumbnail next to your listing, because you’ve told your developer to add some code to your site to make sure that we’ve got, you know, a really standout experience in the search results. So be focused on those three areas every month with your team and set some KPIs some key performance indicators of of where you want to be in a year from now, every month you sit down, how’s our relevancy? How’s our off page visibility? How’s our search experience for users that do see us in search? And if you’re nurturing those three things, you know, you’re gonna see success and you know, search engine optimization.

Roy Barker  17:39 Great SEO, SEM, and Inbound Marketing Strategies

Yeah, important part that, you know, this isn’t like the rotisserie of the night you see on late-night TV that you set it and forget it. I mean, it because I

Steve  17:49

missed those days, that was so easy. Just throw up 50 words on a page somewhere, you know, let it go. And then two months later, you get traffic? Yeah, right, it was early,

Roy Barker  17:59

because if you even get it dialed in today, things change so much tomorrow, that, you know, you just have to stay on top of it. And there’s, you know, competitors moving up and down,

Steve  18:08

not gonna rest on their laurels. Right. That’s for sure.

Beyond Page 1

Roy Barker  18:11

So what I don’t want to do not trying to stump you, but do you know, right off the top of your head? What is the percentage of people that actually would roll to page two to look for results? Is that they still publish those?

Steve  18:25

Sure? Well, it varies based on the query, right? What’s your intent? Is your intent doing research? Are you doing a what, who how, why strategies, tips, ideas, if you’re doing more of a research search, you’ll go as far as page three. But if you’re looking for a product or service, if that product is 20 bucks, 50 bucks, you’re probably not going to go past the first three results, you’re going to get what you need, as long as you feel like this is a sign I trust. This is a site that I’ve I’m familiar with, because I’ve seen it other places, and they’ve helped me in the past with questions I’ve had, I’ve heard of them, you know, then you’re not going to go past the first three or four results.

If your product is over 50 bucks, if you’re getting into the 200 300 400 range, then they might go to page two, because they they want to sort of price things out, they want to see the difference. That’s the larger investment. You know, they want to make sure that they’re getting value, not necessarily the best price, but value. And I think you can provide value by giving people a sense of guarantee that, you know, hey, if you’re not happy with this product, we’re going to, you know, make sure we send it back.

We’re going to warranty it, here’s why you should buy it from us and not go to Amazon and try to find a cheaper rate, the loyalty programs, the initial discounts that you get when you visit a website. So yeah, again, uh, you know, depending on the intent of what the user is searching for, if it’s if it’s something low cost, then I just need to search by it and be done. The first couple of results if it’s, you know, search, but I want to make sure I’m getting value, you know, they’ll go as far as page two, but if it’s just informational.

They’re going to Do all sorts of searches the probably even click on image search and video search and eventually go over to YouTube because image search isn’t that great in Google, or video search isn’t. And so they’ll go over to YouTube and find you know exactly what they’re looking for, for some of those queries.

Difference in SEO and SEM

Roy Barker  20:16

So another question I had is, can you tell us the difference between SEO and SEM,

Steve  20:23

of course, so So there’s two ways to look at it. For us older veteran digital marketers, search engine marketing is the all encompassing umbrella of everything we do in search. It is, you know, optimizing for organic results. It’s optimizing for universal search with our images and videos. It’s having paid ads, you know, at the top for shopping ads for, you know, your static text ads. And so search engine marketing is sort of everything that you do for search.

But in some context and some functional roles, they’ve considered sem more on the paid search side, specifically around paid search ads. So you’ll hear it both ways. For me, I like to look at search engine marketing, as paid and organic. But in a lot of business functions, they’ll say there’s SEO, the organic side and sem the paid side. And that’s okay. I don’t I don’t know why it did that. 10 years ago, it did this little bit of a shift. But there’s two ways of looking at now, the difference in the algorithms isn’t that great, right? That the only major difference is, if you’re willing to spend more on the ads, you have a higher probability of appearing more often, right?

It is an auction still, but the auction isn’t strictly cost. The auction has a lot to do with quality and ad relevancy. Even even if you’re willing to spend $100 a click, if you’re sending somebody to a page that has nothing to do with the keyword that you’re bidding on, Google’s not going to display your listing. So there’s still there’s still that algorithm, but the principles are the same, right? It’s making sure that that the relevancy is there, do we have an ad that’s relevant to the keyword or an organic listing that’s relevant to the keyword?

When they get to our page? Is the content helpful, is it accessible? Is it secure? are they paying attention to privacy? In Google ads, they’ll actually, you know, disallow or disapprove an ad, if you don’t have a privacy policy, and they won’t tell you why you’re just like, Why did my ad get disapproved, and you realize, because you didn’t say what you’re doing with their data. So so the algorithms are very similar.

And they’re all focused around, you know, quality, relevancy, one of the most to actual to actual hacks that you could do to sort of marry, paid and organic. The first is, if you want a better score, and paid and pay less per click, make sure that the language that you use in the ad is represented on the page. So that way, when a user does see an ad, and they go to the page, like, yeah, that’s exactly what I was expecting to see. But if you say, Here’s why you should buy from us, and they go to the page, and it says, here’s another reason why you should buy from us, you’re like, wait a minute, what about what happened in the first reason, you know, so there’s, there’s a lot of that disconnect sometimes.

So that’s one, the other thing to do is, is you take some of the data, after running your ads for a few months, you can take some of those search terms that actually triggered your ads, and move those over to your content strategy to make sure that you’re addressing those keywords. From an organic standpoint. Now, you’ll start to appear more often organically, because you’re taking the you know, the the data from your paid search and applying it to organic, in fact, you’re taking search terms that produce sales or leads for you so that you’re getting higher quality clicks on organic, not just more traffic.

And then you take the same thing from your organic data, using Google’s free Search Console tool, just go to Google Search Console, log in, go to this specific performance URL for the page, it’ll give you a whole list of words that Google serve that listing for, take those words, print out all the weird stuff that doesn’t make sense for you put it in an exact match and throw it into your Google Ads campaign. And watch your quality scores and cost per click, go performance go through the roof. Yeah. So yeah, so there’s some things that you could do if you want to do both.

But having both does give you more visibility gives you more real estates, and the data shows that there’s a higher likelihood of a searcher actually clicking on one of your listings if you’ve got both. So which one you do? I say, do both of them pay less overtime for the paid search while you continue to nurture organic? But I would say do both for sure.

Google Focuses on The User Experience

Roy Barker  24:19 Great SEO, SEM, and Inbound Marketing Strategies

Yeah, and I think one thing I learned not long ago is, if you think about things, and in terms of Google and who they are and what they do, the best, I guess thing I heard about to put that in a concise manner is that, you know, they are very focused on user experience. And so kind of to what you were saying, if, if, if you provide a poor experience for their people that they’re sending to you, they’re going to figure that out. And then they’re going to quit sending people so important to kind of keep that in mind.

Steve  24:50

Yeah, and if they’ve created a whole new dashboard for you, again, it’s free. You just go to Google Search Console, and you’ll go over to the tab that says core web vitals, and they’ll have this whole list of things. that you can do to improve user experience, things like making sure that the content above the fold line on a mobile device loads faster, right? Maybe, Hey, move, move some of those images and pictures down so that people kind of get what they need right away. And then they can scroll and see some of that heavier content. security issues. privacy’s not really something you see a lot in Search Console, but you see security in there.

If you’ve got some problems, where Google can’t really figure out which version of a page to appear for though, they’ll allow you in the URL parameters section to filter some of that stuff out and say, Hey, search engines don’t go into this stuff. It’s all duplicate of what I already have on the website, things like a print version of a page, like question mark print equals one in the URL, you don’t need that just tell the search engines don’t crawl those URLs.

They’re just duplicate of, you know, the main page. So there’s lots of things that that search console will help you to do for free and being has a tool set as well, that being webmaster tool set free to use, you just go in there claim your your site, they’ll have you verify by adding a little piece of code to your site or through your registrar, and then they’ll walk you through all the things that you can pay attention to.

Managing a Team

Roy Barker  26:06 Great SEO, SEM, and Inbound Marketing Strategies

Okay, cool. Well, I want to switch over to just a minute to, I guess two more the business side of what you do, I know that, you know, you started doing this yourself. And now you’ve got a team that you manage, and, you know, I look at I’m, I’m more of the numbers guy on the spreadsheet. And so, you know, it’s easier for me to manage a team, because two and two is always gonna should always equal four, there’s really no interpretation of that.

But when you when you start talking about creative, you know, my creative or what I think is gonna differ from what you think. And so, you know, what are some of those challenges that you’ve had to overcome? And what are some solutions to, you know, go from, you know, the guy that was coding it to now managing a team,

Steve  26:51

I first thing that I first build I had to swallow, is that I couldn’t do it myself. When I was early in my career, you know, I left the corporate world in 2010, I had to do everything myself, it’s all I had, I had no, no other income than what I was bringing in with my freelance clients. And I had to do everything myself. But as I, as I was able to bring in sales people to help me sell some of the things that I was doing, they sold for three times as much as I was selling for, because they’re salespeople, and I wasn’t I was a tech geek.

So they, they saw the value in what we’re providing with SEO, and they sold it accordingly. So I was able to make significantly more money and with that, instead of just saying, Hey, I’m gonna buy a mansion and sports cars, and whatever I reinvested and, you know, put it back into the business to get more people to help me to streamline, get, get more minimes, right, so that I wouldn’t have to do all the work. I think that was that was something I learned right away is, you know, look at, look at the value of what you’re providing.

And change your costs, if you need to, we have a friend of ours that works with us, who’s called Mr. Charge Higher Prices. He his thing is always charged more and have your clients thank you for it. And, and he and he hit it on the nail, because if you if you charge respective to the quality of what you’re providing, people will want to pay it you don’t have to sell they’ll come to you because they heard you’re the best at what you do.

They’re willing to pay, you know, what, what they feel is a reasonable value for it’s not about the cost if they’re, if they’re clients that are looking for low cost cheap products, and that’s what you do great. But if you’re, if you have a lot of pride in what you do, then, you know, don’t don’t target those kind of clients don’t look for that, you know, I’m looking for a cheap discount offer whatever look for somebody who knows that, you know, when we, when we go through an hour of planning with the client for their digital marketing, and they take that planning and update their website, and six months later, they’re getting an extra 20 $30,000 a month in revenue from their site, and they paid us 200 bucks for that call.

Yeah, I mean, it’s it’s pretty easy to see, we know where some of the value can be in what we do in this industry. So how we differentiated ourselves before anything else was transparency coming from the corporate world and working for for Disney parks and resorts and an IBM and some of those other great brands. I had already, you know, established a sense of we’re transparent about everything reporting what we do, how we operate, you know, we don’t keep anything secret.

So with us, you know, when when we set up our project management system for our clients, we include the clients when we set up a Google Drive folder to store all the documents that we’re working on, and don’t keep anything local. We give the client’s admin access to that so that they can pull it down whenever they want to and back it up or, or interact with us in the Google Sheets and Google Docs, we keep 100% transparency, so the client knows that we’re not extorting them, they own it, they run it, we’re just their wing man.

And, and that that gives that gives your client a sense of like a peace of mind. And they’re never gonna want to leave. Because they know that if they go to another agency, or if they decide, you know what, I’m going to try another group to see if I can go faster. And that other groups gonna say, okay. We’re not going to give you access to anything. We’re not going to tell you about what we do, because that’s our secret sauce. When when you go away from us. We get to keep everything we did. And you’re gonna have to start all over. And they’re like, Yeah, no, this is my marketing. This is my brand. I’m gonna bring someone in who’s going to support that not own that. Right. I think that’s, that’s what differentiated us. Yeah, yeah, I

Price or Value

Roy Barker  30:22 Great SEO, SEM, and Inbound Marketing Strategies

think it’s important, you know, within reason that we can either focus on price, or we can focus on the value that we add. And, you know, my opinion, and what I’ve seen is, if you focus on price, there’s, you’re always going to be fighting that battle, somebody’s always going to be trying to underprice you. And so, you know, making that switch to what value do we actually provide, because, you know, as a consumer, I buy from people I, like I buy from people I trust, and I’m willing to pay a premium for that, you know, for certain things, you know, I know, lower cost items is probably not as big of an issue.

But when we start talking about services and high dollar things, it makes a difference, because I want to know, you know, the things like you said that all this is my information, you’re supporting me, you know, those are things that are important to me.

Steve  31:09

Absolutely. And we, we, we know, there’s a lot of snake oil in SEO, and it gets a really bad name, sometimes to me, everybody, every business owner has gotten the call, hey, this is so and so with Google, it’s really just some agency trying to sell them on some $200 a month product that does nothing for them other than extort them and take, you know, access away from their own tools. So we created a site called SEO verified. And basically, it’s, it allows business owners to have this little interview sheet.

So when they’re talking to new SEO companies, they can say, hey, by the way, do I have admin access to my analytics? Or do you own that? Do you? Do you own the content that you create for me? Or do I write asking all those important questions, so they don’t have to worry about starting over if they decide to shift from one agency to another. And I thought it was a neat thing to do to kind of give back to the business community, we got a lot of negative feedback from some agencies when we first started it, because they’re like, our business model is this, you know, if we give our client access to the site, they’re gonna break things and hopefully break things. It’s their fault.

That’s because you didn’t you didn’t communicate with them about what you shouldn’t shouldn’t be doing. But it’s their website, you can’t block them from editing their own website, you know, right. So and I get it, you know, if the client goes in, strips out, all the keywords I used and titles and descriptions, and their rankings go down, and they come back later, and they’re mad at me because their traffic slowed down, I get that.

But that’s why we educate and collaborate with our clients ahead of time, let them know, by the way, any change you make to the website, let us know so that we can we can give you feedback, you know, when when applebees Nighthawk when they when they do press releases, they lead him in anything we can do from an SEO standpoint on this before we blast it out all over the internet. Sure, can you make sure not linking to the homepage, but to the actual specialist page, you know, things like that. So having that communication and that relationship with your clients prevents those things from happening.

I think if you’re if you’re a business owner, whether you’re doing digital marketing or something else, just just making sure your client has enough education on what they’re buying. That that they don’t come back later and are disappointed setting the right expectations, of course, and, you know, making it very clear, here’s, here’s what you’re purchasing, and here’s what here’s what’s not included? And what you can do to you know, take care of those as


Roy Barker  33:27 Great SEO, SEM, and Inbound Marketing Strategies

well. Yeah, I think communication, you know, in any businesses, it’s something we’ve gotten away from, but I think it’s, it’s an important factor from all aspects and that education part as well. But unfortunately, you know, it’s cuz when I think about is that guy that you know, the guy that calls you up and says, Oh, my gosh, I’ve got this plan, you know, if you’ll just send me 200 bucks, we’re gonna get this started. And they don’t take the time to Who are you? I mean, you may sell, you may sell this widget, but what’s your positioning versus the next guy? You know, and I just always say, that’s a huge red flag with any service. If somebody doesn’t ask you a lot of questions about

Steve  34:09

that those dialers now, too, it’s so ridiculous. Yeah, I know exactly what I mean, when I’m, when I’m talking to somebody I really want to work with, I take the time to do the research, it takes about 30 minutes to an hour to come up with with enough information to to help give them something for free. And if they take that and run with it and never hire you, that’s fine, they’re still gonna know who you are, and remember you and you’re probably gonna get a referral out of it down the road. But at least you’re providing value and showing where you know where the sort of the sense of deficit is, and where the opportunity is, Hey, I took a look at the current competitive landscape.

And it turns out, you’ve got about 26% of the share voice and your competitor has 30. Here’s what they’re doing. Here’s some suggestions on what you can do to combat that. We’d love to do a full analysis and see how we can help you build out an entire roadmap. But here are some starter things that we have identified and looking at your top competitors, your top keywords, where your competitors are getting links from that you’re not. And it gives you a starting point of some things to work with. And if you want more of that we’re around, you know,

Giving The Secret Sauce Away

Roy Barker  35:11 Great SEO, SEM, and Inbound Marketing Strategies

you mentioned this earlier, but people are concerned that they’re given the secret sauce away, and I kind of look at it the other way is that, first off, we’re educating number one priority. And then sometimes though, we can actually show people why this is difficult, why you need to hire because when they get this, they’re like, Oh my gosh, I don’t even know, this looks like it’s, you know, written in a different language.

Steve  35:34

Right. That’s what got me into teaching. I saw that so much that I said, you know, what, I’ve got so much in my head that I want to share that I want to get out so many, you know, 1000s of title tag tests that we’ve done to see, you know, what, what users respond to, and so many usability tests and things. So I said, I’m going to start teaching. So I teach at Cal State Fullerton, an SEO strategy course. And they throw me into the landscape class.

And then on the analytic side, at UC San Diego, I get to teach, you know, web, SEO tools and analytics. So we get to kind of show students how to create KPI sheets, so they know, you know how to how to start with a baseline report, here’s where we are. Here’s where I think we can be in a year from now. And that Fullerton community, geez, some SEO, web design, sem, website promotion, you know, we kind of do all these different these courses for the digital marketing.

With those same thing, I get to put these videos together, here’s, here’s how to do it, and present it when you’re going out into the job world. So that you’re you’re educating first, and that you’re creating a roadmap and a strategy. First, you’re not just doing SEO, you’re not just doing Facebook, you’ve got an actual roadmap for technical, contextual and off page. No,

Roy Barker  36:47 Great SEO, SEM, and Inbound Marketing Strategies

no, that’s so important. I was gonna ask you to about the Academy of Search that you’re building? Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Steve  36:53

Sure. Sure. So you know, when you get to 11 years, you know, of, you know, teaching and consulting and training you, you start to put a lot of content together a lot of best practices. So we decided, let’s start creating some videos recorded one that mimics my course sets, Cal State Fullerton, in fact, if your listeners want to take that one at Academy of Search, just use my handle SEO Steve as a code and you get free access. We’re revamping it, but that code will still be good. So you know, just write it down log in, you know, make sure you have it.

And the next few months, we’re going to be launching a series of smaller bite size videos, not a full six week course like the one that’s on there right now. If you want to just learn something with on page optimization, how do I get my one page to rank better, there’ll be something on that there’s going to be one on how to use basic Google Analytics. So if you’re just new to analytics, here’s, here’s a way that you can dive in and get just what you need as a starting point. So we’re, we’re putting those together.

And it’s just one of the thing, few things that we’re trying to do to scale as, as a consultancy, there’s only so many hours in a day. Right? Right. So we figured let’s, let’s put some videos up, let’s see, if we can, we can put some, you know, $30 $40 videos up and, and if it works, and people get the training they want, maybe they’ll buy more of them. Maybe though, they’ll come back to us and ask us to do a strategy forum, you know, and we can apply what they’ve already put into it.

So. So it’s a cool way to give back to create a low cost way to learn. But it’s based on corporate experience in my days, you know, at Disney as well as, you know, 11 years of consulting for some of the most exciting brands, you know, that that you probably know of?

Roy Barker  38:36 Great SEO, SEM, and Inbound Marketing Strategies

That’s awesome. And we appreciate the code. And I’ll be sure to include all that in the show notes as well. But yeah, that’s awesome. I think I love the approach, because again, you know, there’s going to be certain number of people that just either aren’t going to do anything, or they may dabble a little bit themselves, but this just really shows that you need an expert in the you know, in really whatever space it doesn’t matter if it’s SEO Marketing bookkeeping, is that, you know, we’re all good at we all have our own talent. So we need to hire talent to do these things and really make it count.

Steve  39:07

But I wouldn’t have made it had I not brought in the people that I brought it in to help with without, you know, Brian Fernandez, our creative director, we wouldn’t be half as as presentable at conferences and presentations that we’ve done, you know, without Hanzel over here, I wouldn’t have been able to manage those 3500 locations that we take care of with our, our restaurant chains, you know, so you’re right, bringing in the right people that have experience, you know, and, and maybe maybe there’s a way to do it for business owners where you bring them in to set the foundation for you, and give some training to a less expensive resource to manage it.

Some people are fine with that some people aren’t looking for a career. They’re looking for a project, they’ll come in help you set everything up for you the way that it should be set up, train somebody who’s fresh out of college who wants to learn, especially for small businesses, and then they run the fort and if they need that other person, you just pay time material for consulting. I think that’s a, that’s a great strategy for businesses that don’t want to hire six people full time, bring those experts in, lay out the groundwork and then hire somebody more affordable at a school.


Roy Barker  40:10

Yeah. And then with this, the gig economy and with these sites where you can go out and hire professional, you know, what we call fractional? Yes. You know, it’s I mean, it’s such a, it’s really a nice innovation, because, you know, I can’t afford to put on $100,000 a year, you know, CFO or something like that, but I certainly reach out and, you know, get it on those project base, which is a lot better, you know, in the long term to you can actually afford that.

So absolutely love. Great advice. Well, Steve, I appreciate you taking time out of your day to be with us such great information. Before we get away a couple questions. Like what is a tool or a habit, something that you do or use every day that you feel like adds a lot of value? Can it be professional or personally, the one

Steve  40:56

Oh God, I have so many apps on my phone for productivity, I can’t even tell you. I don’t know my favorite right now. I’m using Evernote, right I use that for everything I journal there every day I i staged my my to do’s of things that I’m working on and focusing on Evernote spend, you know, a pretty awesome productivity tool for me. I’d say that’s, that’s super helpful. For digital marketers, I’d say my favorite tools, SEM Rush right now, for smaller businesses as SEM Rush, is a great suite, to manage your digital marketing.

But yeah, I’d say I use that. And I use Slack with my team with, you know, other groups that I’m in, it’s helped me collaborate with other experts in ways that I couldn’t have done and then social media. So I’d say keep Slack on your phone, join some Slack groups of people that are in your industry that you can collaborate with. And then yeah, Evernote, just a really good productivity tool.

Wrap Up

Roy Barker  41:54 Great SEO, SEM, and Inbound Marketing Strategies

Yeah, all three of those are great, I think I use all of those. That’s a, you know, the one thing about the Evernote, what we’ve been trying to do is, you know, get rid of piles of paper and filing cabinets. And with Evernote or some other apps out there, you know, it’s so easy to take a picture of that receipt, file it away or take a picture of that document.

And then you don’t need the you know. I guess legal papers, you know, ask your professionals before you get rid of anything, you know, important but, you know, for a lot of the stuff that we keep around, take a picture of it and store it digitally, get it out of the way. It works. Alright, Steve, well tell us how can who first off Who do you like to work with? How can you help them? And then of course, how can they reach out and get in touch

Steve  42:43

Walways try to save the world, right? And it’s good and bad. It’s good, because I feel like we get to get back. But it’s bad because sometimes we a little overwhelmed. But we we want to help. If there’s something that we can do, we’re not, we’re not working with a lot of small businesses. If we are helping somebody, it’s going to be free.

So if you want to reach out on social my handles SEO Steve, you know, our company handles Wiideman W I I D E M A N, if you want to ask a question, why is our page not ranking? How come this competitor beating me? How do I show up in the maps, ask those questions, we’re going to help you and we’re not going to charge you anything. Our target of you know, the clients that we do still want to work with are usually multi-location brands, you know, those that have 100 to, you know, a few 1000 locations, they want to try to figure out how to scale.

So those those are the ones that we we’ve had a really good track record with. And I’ve learned some things that make the process a little bit a little bit more seamless, and a little less effort on the side of the you know, points of contact we work with. So I’d say those are the folks that we do really, really well with but we’ve we’ve worked with no 11 years, every type of client you can imagine, right?

So if you’ve got a an SEO question are you want, you know, some free templates or checklists are about ready to build a new website and you want to know what prerequisite stock to use. You’re upgrading your website and you want to make sure you don’t lose SEO during that process. Hit us up. We’ve got plenty of those guides and we’re happy to share them with you for free.

Roy Barker  44:10

That’s awesome. Well, Steve, thanks so much for being here. We certainly do appreciate it. Y’all reach out to Steve see how he can help you out a lot of great information in this program as well. Right. It’s been great. Yeah. been a lot of fun. All right. Well, that’s gonna do it for this episode of The Business of Business Podcast. Of course, I am your host Roy.

You can find us at thebusinessofbusinesspodcast.com. We’re on all the major podcast platforms, iTunes, Stitcher, Google Spotify, we’re on all the major social media networks, probably hang out on Instagram a little more reach out we’d love to engage and a video of this interview will go live when it goes will go up when the episode goes live. So be sure to go over to our YouTube channel and check that out as well as our other episodes. Until next time, take care of yourself and take care of your business.

Steve Wiideman Website

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The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy Delivers Value

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Business Podcast

The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy Delivers Value Featuring James Hipkin

The Hub and Spoke digital marketing strategy is a great way to keep the digital marketing plan simple and easy. The hub to the middle is our website, the spokes are are channels we use to deliver our message. The outer rim is our messaging. We don’t always need to next shiny object in messaging. More figure out what works and replicate it.

About James

James is an accomplished, forward-thinking marketing professional with 40+ years of multi-disciplinary experience in marketing and marketing communications companies serving high-profile, global brands and B2C clients in consumer packaged goods, durables, transportation, telecommunications, and financial services.

He has been involved in digital marketing for more than ten years, first as president of a direct marketing agency Brann Worldwide’s San Francisco office, where he led the evolution of the agency from traditional direct marketing to digital. Clients included Apple, Wells Fargo Online Bank and Nestlé.

He went on to become the head of a mid-sized agency’s interactive group, with Toyota as the main client. Over ten years ago, he joined Red8 Interactive, a long-term vendor and became an owner and managing director.


Red8Interactive Website

Inn8ly Website

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Full Transcript Below

The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy Delivers Value Featuring James Hipkin

Estimated reading time: 37 minutes

Tue, 8/10 12:13PM • 48:43


website, customer, strategy, James, people, small business owners, problem, business, spokes, email, important, build, sales, product, create, purchase, messaging, hear, interest, privacy policy, The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy, delivers value


James, Roy Barker


Roy Barker  00:00

Hello and welcome to another episode of The Business of Business Podcast. I’m your host Roy course we are the podcast that brings you a wide variety of guests that can speak to a diverse set of topics. Hopefully, we can shine a light on something maybe you haven’t thought about. Or at the very least, if you have something that’s keeping you up at night, we can provide some information may be to help you solve that problem, or some professionals in that discipline that can give you some great guidance and today is no different.

We’d like to welcome James Hipkin to the show. James is an accomplished forward-thinking marketing professional with 40 plus years of multi-discipline, disciplinary experience in marketing and marketing communication companies. Serving high-profile global brands and B2C clients in consumer packaged goods, durables, transportation, telecommunications, and financial services. He has been involved in digital marketing for more than ten years first, as a president of a direct marketing agency brand worldwide San Francisco office.

Where he led the evolution of the agency from traditional direct marketing to digital. Clients included Apple, Wells Fargo online bank, and Nestle. He went on to become the head of a midsize agency’s interactive group with Toyota as the main client over Ten years ago, he joined Red8Interactive, a long-term vendor and became an owner and manager Managing Director. James, welcome to the show.

James  00:00

Thank you, Roy, it’s pleasure to be here.

Roy Barker  00:00

Yeah, so tell us a little bit about your journey, you’ve got a sound like an awesome background. And I know I gave a little bit but just drill down a little bit more, how did you kind of end up in this space and something that you always wanted to do or something that you just kind of fell into,

More About James

James  01:56

I always wanted to be a scuba diver. But that didn’t work out. Right? I it’s it’s a function of I’m a very curious guy, and things keep popping up in front of me. And I’m not afraid to embrace that and you know, have a have a go at something new. So even with the gray hair on top, I’m still enjoying learning new things and exploring new things and continuing to help. The common theme throughout my career is I’ve always been in account management and working directly with clients, and I just have a deep passion for helping business people, you know, be more successful and take advantage of the opportunities that exists and the technology that exists and the techniques that exist in order to create more value for their customers, which ultimately creates value for the business.

Roy Barker  02:59

Right. Yeah, and that lifelong learning that that’s the one great thing about this age that we live in, it’s given us the opportunity to, you know, continue to learn. And also there’s so many new and different innovations and tools that come out just about every day, you know, you can get behind if you don’t stay on top of it really easy.

James  03:19

That’s true. But that, as with most things has a other side to the coin. One of the things that I counsel small business folks about is you know, avoid shiny new things syndrome, right? An awful lot of the what’s called Digital Marketing. And it’s it’s that genies not going back in the bottle, it’s it’s here to stay. But the principles haven’t really changed. Right? The principles of getting the right message to the right person at the right time hasn’t changed.

Right. And that, you know, that’s, there’s a tendency and to grab the next tactic that comes in to take the advice of the next, you know, plaid jacket sales guy who shows up. And that’s almost never a good idea. Right? Right. And this is I came up with this concept of the hub and spoke strategy to try to make an analogy that small business folks can can relate to. And that’s if they start thinking about digital tactics, they think about the website as being the hub.

The various digital tactics that they can employ are the spokes and then their messaging strategy, content strategy, their you know, what they say, is the rim that holds it all together. Then you have something that’s very powerful because the power comes from the from the connection and the connection is how you create a wheel out of those three disparate parts. When I, you know, pre-pandemic, when I was doing a lot of public speaking, I would stand there with a bicycle hub in one hand and a handful of spokes and another hand and there’ll be a rim sitting on the table in front of me.

And I’d pick that up. And I’d say, okay, each of these pieces is fine. But they don’t have much value on by themselves. Right? Right, you put them together, and you’ve got a wheel, which is kind of a fundamental thing in the evolution of mankind, and a very powerful tool that you can use to create value for your business and for your customers.

Strategy From The Beginning

Roy Barker  05:39

Yeah, I would imagine that, you know, kind of starting at the beginning that developing a strategy, so we can, you know, center our website to make sure it has that material that it needs to have to be the center. And then also, think about each one of those spokes and how we want to deploy that.

James  05:58

Right, how they, how it interconnects with the website, how it interconnects with the brand, the brand messaging strategy, the product, whatever it is that you’re doing, these concepts are universal, it’s there doesn’t matter what business you’re in, these concepts will apply. And the other piece is that in the shiny new things syndrome, pick a couple of things. Do them well, right. You know, avoid the tendency to Oh, my God, I got to do this now.

Oh, my God, I have to do that. I have one customer who sells a very specific kind of orchid. Not orchids in general, not house plants in general, but a very specific kind of orchid. He’s followed this strategy, and he’s picked organic social media is his main spoke and email marketing as another spoke. And he’s generating a significant six figure income using this, these simple strategies, but but the power comes from tying them all together. Right. Right, not treating them as disparate bits and pieces.


Roy Barker  07:11

Exactly. Yeah. And that gets back to the, you know, chasing the new and this, the latest is we sometimes we don’t give the things we have in place, the proper attention or the time and, you know, always try to just to reiterate that, you know, marketing is a long term play, you might get lucky and fling something out there tomorrow, and it blows up. But for most of us guys, it’s grinding it out every day. It’s doing it, it’s getting better at what we do.

James  07:41

Right? Listening to customers. And, you know, the many years ago, a business reporter was interviewing Peter Lynch, who is managing the Magellan Fund for Fidelity, very large, very successful mutual fund. He asked Peter Lynch, what was the key to his success, and he expected a complicated financial kind of response that, you know, ways that he picked stocks and that sort of thing. Peter Lynch came back with a very simple statement, he said, “water, the flowers, prune the weeds?”

Roy Barker  08:23

No, that’s great. Yeah, you know, because a lot of times, too, you know, what I’ve seen is that somebody says, Well, you know, I spent $50 on a, on a Facebook ad, and then that didn’t work out. So we went over and did this. And you know, that for I think it gets back to the strategy and thinking about, you know, how we’re going to deploy our resources, all of our resources are limited. And, you know, we we have a certain amount that can go, but I think really sitting down and figuring that out before we you know, jump off into the deep end is a probably a pretty good strategy. Would you agree?

James  08:57

Absolutely. And patience is also important. You know, $50, on a Facebook ad in the, in the absence of anything else that you’re doing, is $50. That makes Zuckerberg richer? Yeah. But doesn’t help you, but $50 in the context of a larger strategy, where I, I’m using this money to drive traffic back into the website, I’m using the facebook pixel to understand what that traffic looks like. And then using that understanding, to send ads out to people who look just like the people who came back to my website, suddenly, it starts to become part of the plan. And the hub and the spoke are working with each other and supporting each other and it increases the value of all of the pieces,

The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

Roy Barker  09:50

right. So what are some components of a good hub website that we want to really think about?

James  09:57

Well, that’s a great question. I use a concept that I call the five-second rule. Every page on a website needs to do three things in five seconds. That’s not a lot of seconds. And that’s quite a few things, right? You need to make it clear to the visitor, that they’re in the right place. You need to give them a benefit-oriented reason to stay. This is an outside in statement, not an inside out statement. What’s your problem? And how am I going to solve it?

And then you need to make it crystal clear what they should do next. A website is like an onion, it has layers, websites that I see where people have put everything they can think of on the homepage, right? Accomplishes nothing other than confusing the visitor. Now, am I in the right place? I have no idea. What am I? Why should I stay here? I have no idea. What should I do next? I have no idea. So that concept of the five-second rule, when applied to a website is is really important. Another piece of this is what’s the primary objective of the website?

It’s a seems like an obvious question. But more often than not people have an asset of themselves. And I’ll ask that question to somebody that we’re working with, I’ll say what’s the primary objective of the website, and I will get a litany of things that they want to accomplish, then we’ll have a little chat about the movie Highlander. There can only be one that’s a reference that you probably have to be of a certain age to

Roy Barker  11:46

recognize, well, I was racking my brain, I think I’ve no, I’ve heard of the movie, but I just can’t, I can’t place it, I’m sure I’m seeing it. But

James  11:55

the concept was that these were all immortal folks. And there could only be one, so they went around chopping each other’s heads off. But at any rate, with the objective, there can only be one. And in a business to business situation, which most small biz, many small businesses are business to business, professional services, that kind of thing, coaches, you know, lawyers, accountants, that sort of thing. There are basically two objectives that are common. It’s either confirmation or conversion.

And if you’re most of your business is coming from word of mouth, which is very common with professional services, businesses, then the confirmation objective makes all the sense in the world, I often hear this, well, I don’t get any leads from my website. And I’ll respond and said, Well, perhaps, but perhaps it’s because you’re not seeing the null set. You’re not seeing the folks that go to your website, look at it, think my God, this was built by a teenager, 20 years ago, these people can’t be serious, and they don’t even bother to call you.

That’s the null set. And that’s what happens when you don’t have a proper website, even when you’re getting most of your business or word of mouth. Because executive a tells executive B about this great resource, this, you know, marketing consultant or business consultant that they heard about or that they’ve worked with. So executive B goes to that business consultant’s website to confirm that they have the skills and knowledge and expertise that this guy’s looking for, then they’ll call you.

So that understanding that primary objective is a really key piece of creating an effective hub, within the hub and spoke method. And then is your messaging clear? That’s the rim? Are you being consistent about what you’re saying to people? Are you being consistent about how you’re saying it, and then the spokes are the various media that you use to get that message out to the right people?

Check Functionality

Roy Barker  14:10

Yeah, I’m back on the, on the website for just a minute. One thing I was gonna kind of add to that is, you know, thinking about what we want it to achieve, but also make sure that it whatever you have set up on it is functional, I have run into more websites, you know, sign up for this, and then the button is either below the screen where you can’t get to it or, you know, you hit it and it doesn’t do anything. So it’s always good to you know, periodically, like just run through the process. And sometimes I think we lose sight of thinking like our customer and right you know, we need to take that time to do that. Think Like a customer go through the process just to make sure that everything’s working like you want it to

James  14:54

exactly correct and the words are very important on a website. Picture Tell copy sells. And having those words be from the customer’s point of view. I see this often that all kinds of features and attributes being listed on a website, on the assumption that the customer is going to figure out which one of these things works for them, as opposed to making a bold statement about the problem that the customer likely has, and then providing your solution to that problem, and then providing reasons why the consumer can believe that your solution will work, right? It’s exactly the same information.

But it’s presented in a very different way. And the way I’ve just described will actually generate interest and involvement from the consumer, because it’s, they don’t care about you, they only care about their own problem. Exactly, you know, what’s in it for me? And if you recognize that and craft your words, appropriately, and of course, everything needs to function as well, but part of function is the third part of the five second rule, what do I do next? Right. Right, if I am a, you know, it’s a clear call to action, like a typical, you know, response, we have built a website for a business consultant in the Boston area.

You’re sorry, this guy was in New York, that’s different one in the New York area, and he works in government. He was a New York congressman. And and he was now he’s working as a consultant. And his website is all about confirmation. So there’s clear branding, there’s a clear benefit statement as to what it is he does. Then there’s a clear call to action that says learn more about the founder. And that’s where you can see his deep credentials. What makes him valid choice. Right? I mean, he’s, I mean, he’s, he raves about the impact, that just eliminating lots of stuff from his website has had on his business.


Roy Barker  17:14

Yeah. Yeah, sometimes less is more. And you know that that goes to the the sales portion, we won’t get into that. But, you know, sometimes we can talk ourselves out of business if we’re not careful. That’s right. So tell us a little bit about the messaging, I want to skip the spokes for just a minute. But let’s let’s talk about messaging and how we can get that consistent and concise, you know, across all of our channels,

James  17:42

right, I, I counsel folks to use to create an avatar of their ideal customer. That avatar has four components. There’s the demographics, the physical characteristics of the the, the customer, then there’s the psychographics, there, what what’s their attitude? You know, the, how do they think about things, then there’s the problem, what do they need, and then there’s the ideal solution. So if you’ve mapped out your ideal customer in terms of those four components, you’ve got a very clear understanding of who it is you’re talking to, and what it is you need to be talking about.

The other piece of this is mapping the customer’s journey. You know, they go through any consumer of any product goes through a series of steps from, I call it the interest curve, it looks like a bell curve. Out in the far left area of the bell curve, there’s, they’re just not thinking about you. So doesn’t matter what you say, honestly. Then, as they’ve identified a need in their life, that needs to be solved, they go into the consideration phase, and they start climbing the left hand side of the bell curve, in terms of their interest.

That means they start to see the advertising, they start to see the messages from various potential solutions, then they get into the consideration phase, where they’re actually picking, you know, their top three potential solutions. And then they make the purchase. While their interest doesn’t end. When they’ve made that purchase. They’re just at the top of the bell curve, you’ve still got the whole right hand side of the bell curve that you can take advantage of.

So having a consistent messaging throughout this process, but continuing that messaging, and this is where the hub and spoke starts to get involved. They’ve made the purchase there in the website. What do you do with your email marketing? After they’ve made the purchase? Is your messaging consistent? Are you reinforcing how smart they were to make this purchase?

Are you giving them additional information on how to take full advantage of what they’ve just purchased? You know, those that that understands the bell curve that is interest, and it with a consistent messaging strategy, then you can start to apply that across all of these touch points. So that makes sense.

Roy Barker  20:22

Yeah, yeah, does. And, you know, to the last point, I wish I could think of what I bought, it’s not been long ago, but I actually got an email like, Hey, thanks for your purchase, how’s it going? You know, and I wish I could tell you exactly what it was. But it was, it was very, it was very nice. It was a surprise number one, because we don’t take the time to do that.

But I think that we miss a lot of opportunity, because it’s like, you know, we make the sale, and we’re done. But with this follow up, we may actually sell more, you know, we have more offerings. That are, it’d be like, you know, being able to tell my friend like, Oh, my gosh, can you believe it? They You know, this was that process and my journey? Why don’t you provide?

James  21:09

absolutely the most important sale is not the first sale? It’s the second sale, right? Because if they’re purchased the second time, then your chances that they’ll purchase the third time go up exponentially. Right. And that’s, that’s super important for the lifetime value of customers. You know, I spent, I did a training session with our staff this morning, where I was talking about the importance of transactional emails. People forget about it, they just they, it’s, you know, not terribly exciting.

It’s not terribly sexy. Right? They may not see any email that they sent you send to them, but they will see the transactional emails. So take full advantage of that. That’s another one of your spokes is the transactional emails. Is the messaging in that spoke consistent with your brand? Are you taking full advantage of the fact that they’re high in the interest? bell curve?

Current Customer Opportunities

Roy Barker  22:12

Yeah, yeah, cuz somewhere along the way, you know, we’ve gotten and we, we don’t think about our current customer, it’s always, hey, I made a sale, I’m moving on to the next one. But typically, in the cost of acquisition, or the you know, the cost to get that your current consumer to purchase that next product is infinitely lower than trying to go out and attract that next new customer.

James  22:39

Absolutely. There, there are five ways that current customers can generate value for you, the longer they stay with you, the more return you’ve had on the investment that was required to get them in the first place. Right? The longer they stay with you, the more they know about your product and service, the less expensive they are to service, the longer they stay with you, the more likely they are to buy additional products and services from you.

The longer they stay with you, the more likely they are to recommend your product to other people just like them. Right. So we’ve got five different revenue streams that are generating from an existing customer. Yeah. And that’s, that’s a it’s an often overlooked fact, that that your current customer is your most likely source of new business.

Roy Barker  23:34

Yeah. Yeah, definitely take some time and provide care for them. If we’re going to nurture you know, continue to, you know, we always think about nurturing up into the point of purchase, but we always need to continue to nurture, you know, our present customers as well.

James  23:49

Right. And that’s, that’s is why I’ve talked about the the interest curve, that bell curve that they’re interested in, stop at the top of the curve when they made the purchase, it’s still very high, this is your chance to move the relationship beyond transactional into something that has some more equity. Yeah.

The Spokes

Roy Barker  24:11 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

So let’s talk about that. Excuse me, let’s talk about the spokes for a minute. And so how we connect these, you know, we’ve got our website as our hub, we’ve got our messaging as our rim out on the outside. So how do we connect these with our spokes? How do we make these decisions on you know, what, what ones we want to employ?

James  24:32

Well, the key to this is avoid shiny new things syndrome. You want to pick a few things and do them well. The example I was talking about before was with a guy who sells a specific kind of orchid. He uses organic social media, he has built his presence in Facebook and Instagram, and he uses that aggressively and he uses email marketing to maximize The traffic back to the website and do actually generate sales.

Occasionally he will pay for some Facebook advertising. But in the end, it’s very profitable for him, he might spend three or $400 and generate $3,000 to $4,000 in sales. While can’t really argue with that, but it’s not a didn’t come by accident, it came because he’s been very careful about maximizing the impact of the channels he’s using. Email Marketing is an extremely valuable and important piece of this, I know people, all kinds of myths out there about email marketing is dead and blah, blah, blah.

None of it’s true. Even if they just see the subject line in preview text and the email that you’ve sent, you’ve once again reminded them of the positive experience they’ve had with your company. And keeps keeps you in mind. So when their need arises, again, the interest curve we talked about earlier, when their need arises, where they’re going to think about. Yeah. And it’s this, it’s just that it’s an underutilized tool, transactional emails, and then ongoing what I call the lazy river. Now, ongoing emails that are designed to create value are very important. spoke in the hub and spoke strategy.

No Stone Unturned

Roy Barker  26:35 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

Yeah, and I think you the, the point you made was the call it the lazy river. Because, you know, what, when I see a lot of times now is like, I sent James an email and he didn’t buy. So again, I’m off to, you know, whoever the next person on my list is, and there’s, you know, kind of the myths you talk about, there’s always, sometimes you hear salesman, like, Ah, you know, they’re just lying, or this, you know, they always have all these different reasons, but really, maybe James just didn’t need my product at that particular point in time.

And, you know, there’s a lot of things maybe couldn’t afford it, maybe saving up maybe looking around. But I think we, again, we lose the value in our prospects by sending out one, maybe two emails and calling it quits what my strategy has always been, I want to educate, so I’m not just hounding you, James, are you ready to buy we talked last week, and we go ahead, right, let’s do let’s get this done. Let’s get you know, whatever that is. But to take something, you know, a simple strategy for me as if I’m, you know, I do trying to read a lot of articles. So picking an article and saying, hey, James, I saw this article, this might be interesting, here’s three points that I found.

But I try to continue to do this over time, because like you just mentioned is, I want to be at the forefront of somebody’s mind when they actually need it. Because, you know, it doesn’t, it’s not a reflection on me, if if we haven’t talked in 10 years, and you’ve, you know, somebody else just reached out the other day, it’s like, oh, this other guy’s Top of Mind, it really doesn’t have anything to do with whether I’m better or worse or anything like that. It’s just, I haven’t taken the time to be in front of you.

James  28:21 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

And I need to solve my problem. And the timing for when I need to solve my problem is, as you said, I mean, it’s up to the individual. So you just want to have a constant stream, there’s a generally accepted idea that with this kind of, what kind of content do you send out? And is I got the 70/20/10 strategy? You know, 70% of your communication to customers should be just value creation, give stuff away, give them information, tell them how to use the product better.

Tell them about what’s going on that sort of thing. Be friendly. 20% is the kind of thing that you’ve just very well described, which is you’ve curated content that you’ve discovered elsewhere, that nothing to do with your brand, but you think your consumers, your target audience, your list would find value in this and then the last 10% is more sales. Hey, we’re introducing a new product. Hey, have you heard about this?

You know, how did you know about this and they can be combined, for example, with website’s privacy policies and having a privacy policy is extremely important. It’s again, states are God bless America. Every state is different. And every state is writing their own privacy rules. The issue with a website is not where your website is located. It’s where the consumer is who visits Your website. Okay. So if you’ve got a form on your website, then you need a privacy policy published on the website. How many small business owners have that?

My guess is not very many. Right? Then there’s the added problem of every two weeks it changes. Because every state’s publishing their own or changing them or adjusting. So it’s, it’s complicated. Yeah. So now there are resources and tools that you can use to create privacy policies that are dynamic, that are adjusted automatically. And that’s where, you know, folks, like, you know, our company gets involved, because we know about these tools. And that’s the sort of thing that we build into our, the websites that we build for our small business owners, were thinking about what they need before they realize that they need it.

Roy Barker  31:00 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

Yeah. Yeah, because so many times we don’t realize we need it until we’re in trouble because we don’t,

James  31:07

right. And this is the value creating communication that will send out in emails that say, you know, Hey, I know it ain’t sexy, but you really need to pay attention to this, because these are the things that are going on, you should be aware, you know, this, there are multiple ways you can do it yourself, you can hire your lawyer to do it, you there’s a number of resources online, where you can download templates, or you can use a dynamic, dynamic service, that will maintain the privacy policy for you dynamically, and then you don’t have to worry about it. But be informed.

Yeah. And that’s a good example of that kind of relationship building ongoing communication that you can send out in the lazy river. It has all three components in one, it’s it is informative, and creates value that way it does share information about other people who are solving this problem, if you want to take advantage, and it has a sales component, because we offer that service to Right,

Discovery Questions

Roy Barker  32:11 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

right. No, that’s an awesome ideal, I just think that, you know, we have to, we have to take the time to make these thoughtful. And, you know, the other part of that is the gathering of information. So you know, about our clients, so we can know, what might interest them or what we need to send out because, you know, again, try to ask, you know, as many discovery questions as possible, not overloading somebody, but you know, we do want to do a little bit deeper discussion.

Number one, it shows interest that I’m interested in you, not just, you know, I need to book your business, so I can move on to the next guy, but, you know, tell me about yourself, because I want to make a lifetime, you know, the goal is to make that lifetime customer.

James  32:58

Right, and and have that customer beat. I mean, more than half of our current sales are coming through customer referrals. Right, you know, suggest you’re doing something right, exactly, you know,

Roy Barker  33:14 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

yeah, no, that’s, and that’s really where you want to be you want those referrals, because it’s your, whoever made the referral convinced the new prospect that you’re the one that you can get this done, you know, that you’re trustworthy. So, I mean, you’re probably 80% through the hardest part of the sales process once you get that taken care of. exactly correct. Yeah. Alright, James, well, I appreciate you taking time out of your day to be with us. Tell us a little bit before we get out of here about Inn8ly.

James  33:49

Okay, innately is a small business website subscription product. We provide an alternative to the Wixs and Square Spaces of the world, which are also small business websites, subscription products. Our key differentiator is, and you will probably laugh when I say this, we answer the phone.

Roy Barker  34:16 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

Yeah. Oh, yeah. You’re one in a million if you actually do that.

James  34:21

Yeah, we hear all the time I signed up for this. I signed up for that. And you know, the fashion model and the TV ad lied to me. It’s not that easy. Our debt were more expensive than they are, but we do it for you. Yeah, we are training content specialists to actually build these websites for the small business owners, and that’s included in the subscription cost. And we’re here for ongoing support requests. Most of our customers, they don’t want to be webmasters.

It’s not cost effective for them to try to figure it out. How to make a change on a page. Right? So they just email it, the change to us and one of our content specialists makes the change for them, and then we send them a bill. And they love it. Because it’s so much more cost effective to have our folks do it quickly and efficiently.

Because they know how, versus the small business owner trying to Okay, now I need to stop being a dentist and I have to figure out how to be a website guy, right? I mean, seriously. So that that’s our key differentiator is we build high quality sites, they’re well designed, they, they have a strategy, we spend a lot of time educating our own staff about the difference between can and should.

We frequently get requests from clients, and we’re like, I really like to take your money, but that’s a really bad idea. This is why it’s a really bad idea. Here’s another way that will actually cost you less. That will get you where you need to be. And they just love it. Because they know we’ve got their back. Yeah, we answered the phone.

Roy Barker  36:14 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

Yeah, that is such a big deal. You know, because everything is not as simple as, you know, an expert can make the example for an expert on that. But you know,

James  36:25

we are an expert makes it look simple.

Knowledge Transfer

Roy Barker  36:27 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

And trying to transfer that knowledge. And, you know, like myself, I was reading through something the other day, and it wouldn’t work, it wouldn’t work finally emailed support, and I got this, it was like a whole new plan, that it wasn’t even included, where it would have been awesome to pick up the phone and say, Hey, can I get this done? For sure. Right? Exactly.

A couple points to just, before we move on that, you know, I like that, you, you know your marketing on value, which I think that we have to rethink about that we are not always going to be the price, the lowest price leader. And we’re we shouldn’t be scared of that if we have value to offer, we have to stand up and say you know what we we aren’t. But this is the value that we can provide.

And, again, I always think about things in relation to my time, like standing at one of the at one of the bigger big box stores that tell you that they save you money, but yet you spend 30-40 minutes trying to go through the line to check out so I’m always like, well, you saved me 10 bucks, but you cost me you know, another 100 standing in line so really unproductive is that.

James  37:41

Right? And and you know you’re an expert in whatever it is that you do. You’re not an expert in this kind of digital marketing and digital advertising. And what makes a website work. I mean, the concept of the five second rule, it’s a very simple thing to explain. And anybody I explained to goes well build that makes a lot of sense.

And it does make a lot of sense. But yet I see over and over again. navigations on websites with eight or nine or 10 different choices. What am I supposed to do next? I don’t know, I’ve got all these choices. Oh, my God, I have to think about this, then they’re gone. Right? Or this? They get to a page. And there’s, you know, a whole list of things that you do, but I don’t know, how is does it solve my problem?

The Secret Sauce

Roy Barker  38:34 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

Right? Yeah, the other thing, you know, you talked earlier about, you know, maybe talking about the process or given things away. Another misconception I’ll get your opinion on is that sometimes I hear people are scared to you know, we don’t want to give away the secret sauce. And we don’t want to say this. I found just the opposite.

If it’s a complex issue, sometimes when we explain to somebody what we do and how we do it, they’re like, Oh, I can’t I couldn’t do that, or I don’t have the time to do that here. Just take it over. So, you know, I think we have to be careful. We have to be smart about it. Let’s put it that way. We need to be smart about it. But it doesn’t hurt to give information away.

James  39:21

You said something earlier, which I think is very important is that with regards to word of mouth sales and references and the fact that the trust factor has already been established. That sharing of information being clear and honest and upfront about what things can and can’t do. Even the can’t do part builds trust. And ultimately, people buy people and they want to know that they’re going to be working with somebody that they can trust that will have their back that is not their you know in It’s not there to sell them something they don’t need. Yeah. But is there if there is something that they do need?

Roy Barker  40:07 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

Right. And most consumers are willing to pay a premium for that. That’s the other thing is it’s I guess it’s a, it’s the comfort of knowing just like you that, hey, I can reach out make a phone call. That’s It’s incredible. It really.

James  40:28

I had a call from one of my customers, his name was Joe. And I saw on caller ID who was calling. So I picked up the phone and I said, Hi, Joe, how can I help you? Then it was silence. And I heard some ruffling and shuffling around in the background. And then he came back on. I said, Joe, what happened? What’s the matter? And he said, James, I had to sit down. Why did you have to sit down? Joe? You are literally the first web developer I’ve ever called, who answered their phone?

Roy Barker  41:00 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

Yeah, and didn’t have to go through a phone tree three miles long to exactly right.

James  41:09

And because our core business builds large corporate sites, we have a whole support infrastructure in place for those large corporations. So we have a support desk, and we have support software and all that sort of thing. We have a process. So that, you know, even if they don’t want to phone and a lot of people don’t. There’s still there’s an email process that is monitored and maintained, and and responsive to whatever it is that they need.

Take Care of Your Customers

Roy Barker  41:38 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

Yeah, and I’ll just, I’ll tell you one horror story on the way out for another service. I emailed support. And this was like on June, 5, or sixth, got a response. August, the ninth or something, it was just over 60 days? To answer a question. I realized there’s a lot of stuff going on with labor and supply chain and all that, but still 60 days it because what I take it as a consumer, it’s really how important is my business to them? And right, not very much.

James  42:16

Yeah, that’s a that’s a pretty clear message. And, and, you know, it comes into the business executive said something to me when I was a young, bright-eyed kid, explaining why something hadn’t happened. He looked at me and he said, James, I understand your problem, I don’t care. And, you know, I appreciate that there’s stuff going on pandemic, labor’s supply chain, all that stuff. Now. I understand your problem, I don’t care, I need an answer. And even if the answer is we’re working on it, or it’s in the queue, or I mean, communication is so important. Right. Right. Because their interest is high. Yep. Take advantage of it.

Roy Barker  43:11 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

Yeah, and the other thing, you know, I look at the underlying, you know, isn’t an excuse or reason, because we’ve been in this for 18 months now. Right? Most companies that are anywhere near flexible, you know, they figured out obstacles, you know, and some of us, you know, maybe we’ve had to sacrifice profits because of service in our customers.

But you know, to me, it’s a short-term problem that we’re going through that you know, you have to do everything to preserve your customers and your integrity through this and then be okay, on the other end. Right. Exactly. Right. All right, James. Well, tell me one couple things before we go first off, what is the tool or a habit? What is something that you do every day, that really adds a lot of value to your life, personal and professionally, the one

James  44:00

I’ll tell you, my favorite utility is a little utility called text expander. Okay, and what this is, is a little keyboard macro that you can add, so that those things that you have to type every day when it’s the same thing every time like your email signature, or your whatever it might be with text expander I can just type semi colon si g for signature, and my whole email signature gets typed out for me.

Oh, nice. It is you know, I’m we use a lot of Greek and Latin in as placeholder copy for websites and that sort of thing. So I have two little things s l o r for short. lorem ipsum and l l o r for long, lorem ipsum. And it just types it out for me. I don’t have to do anything. It saves so many keystrokes every day. It is the best.

Wrap Up

Roy Barker  45:02 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

I’ll check that out. Which brings up another good question Why? Why do why do people use Latin? On you know, on the web, when you see them under construction or something like that? You see, I have I have no idea. So great question. I’ve never asked that question. I have no idea. I didn’t think about tea brought it up. But it’s usually, you know, pretty much the same thing. Yeah. Same copy. Let’s use lorem ipsum. Yeah. All right. Well, James, tell everybody, you know, who do you like to work with? How they, how you can help them? And of course, how can they reach out and get a hold of you.

James  45:38

We love to work with small businesses that are serious about their online presence, that want to work with a professional resource that want to maximize the power of the online space and digital marketing. It starts and ends with a well-designed, well-built, managed, secure website. And that’s what our product is@inn8ly.com i n n number eight, l y.com.

That’s what we’re offering is a reliable, powerful resource. And then using that like a website as a fulcrum. We’re using that to provide services to these small business owners. We’re not providing the services, we are vetting, marketing communications professionals, and making their services available to the small business owners who subscribe to innately where we want to stay focused on the technology. I happen to have a background in in this.

So I’m pretty good at vetting. Folks, there are a lot of snake oil salesmen in the space, sorry to say, but they can’t get past me. And so if I’m making a recommendation to a small business owner, you need to hire these guys to do your local SEO, you can be assured that you’re getting a good recommendation. And that’s so that’s what we’re looking for is small business owners that are serious about their online presence who want a professional website, but they don’t want to have to look after it themselves.

Roy Barker  47:21 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

Okay, great. Yeah. Tell us a website one more time.

James  47:24

inn8ly.com, I N N number eight, l y.com. Okay, great. And our little tagline is websites without worry. So we got a few little puns going on there. We’ve got the N like I N N, we take care of you. And we have websites without worry, which is of course www.

Roy Barker  47:44 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

Oh, nice. Nice. I didn’t even put that one together. Like that. All right. Well, y’all reach out to James see how they can help y’all. And maybe he’ll answer the phone, give him a call. If you’d be happy to. Alright, that’s gonna do it for another episode of The Business of Business Podcast.

Of course I am Roy. You can find us at thebusinessofbusinesspodcast.com. We’re on all the major podcast platforms, iTunes, Stitcher, Google, Spotify. If we are not on one that you listen to reach out, I’d be glad to get it added to make your listening easier. Also, we’re on all the major social media platforms, we tend to hang out on Instagram a little bit more reach out there, we’d be glad to interact with you. And a video of this interview will go up when the episode goes live. So go to our YouTube channel. Check it out in some of our other interviews that we’ve previously had. Until next time, take care of yourself and take care of your business.

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Want More? Seven Steps to Building a Smarter Business Engine

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Want More? Seven Steps to Building a Smarter Business Engine Featuring Luke Fatooros

Want more? Is your business working for you or are you just trading your time for dollars? Most of the time it’s because your business structure is all wrong. Its always better to consider these seven steps in the initial phases of setting up a business, but It’s never too late to implement these strategic changes to see changes in your fundamental business ops

About Luke

Luke Fatooros: Ideas Into Business – Smart Business Coaching

Luke co-founded his first business at the age of 23. Starting out in his fathers shed, together with his partner, he turned an idea and $800 into a $12 million retail company with 65 staff within 5 years.

He, unfortunately, lost this entire business because he was making the same everyday mistakes most businesses make. His business was not structured correctly. He was exchanging time for money and was focused on tasks to get through the day, not to set himself up for the future.

Therefore, burnt out and learnt the single most important lesson in business – the difference between being Self Employed and being a Business Owner.

He took 7 years to regain his confidence and try again. This time, however, he did things smarter.

Based on his real-life lessons, he created a smart business system that does the work for you while adding value to your business. He applied this system to several new ideas, created a business valued at $3.5 million after just 2.5 years, and sold another business to a publicly listed company on the Australian stock market for $820k after 14 months.

Luke is now a successful business coach who over the last 12 years, has helped over 1000+ business owners implement his smart business system into their businesses, helping them create a valuable asset to set themselves up for life.


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Free 90 min Master Class and downloadable blueprint of the 7 steps covered.

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Full Transcript Below

Want More? Seven Steps to Building a Smarter Business Engine Featuring Luke Fatooros

Estimated reading time: 40 minutes

Thu, 8/5 6:36PM • 50:35


business, people, business owners, step, customers, optimize, set, buy, niche, money, sell, businesses, staff, salesperson, structure, stress, marketing, computers, build, sales, Want More, Seven Steps to building a smarter business engine


Luke, Roy Barker


Roy Barker  00:05

Hello, and welcome to another episode of The Business of Business Podcast. I’m your host Roy. Of course, we are the podcast that brings you a wide variety of guests that can speak to a diverse set of topics. Hopefully we can find something that you have thought about. Or maybe even if you have something keeping you up at night, the material we provide, and the experts that we bring on, we’ll be able to help you get past that. We just really want to see everybody be successful. And hopefully, we’re giving you some tools and ideas to do that here.

So today we’re excited to have Luke Fatooros. He is with Ideas Into Business, which is Smart Business Coaching. Co-founded his first business at the age of 23. started out in his father’s shed together with his partner. He turned an idea and $800 into a $12 million retail company with 65 staff within five years. Unfortunately, he lost the business because he was making the same everyday mistakes most businesses make. His business was not structured correctly, he was exchanging time for money he was forced on, he was forced on tasks to get through the day, not to set himself up for the future.

He there ever burned out and learned the single most important lesson of business, the difference between being self-employed and being a business owner. He took seven years to rein in his confidence and to regain his confidence and try again. This time, however, he did things smarter. Based on his real-life lessons, he created a smart business system that does the work for you while you add while adding value to your business. He applied this system to several new ideas created a business valued at 3.5 million after just two and a half years. And sold another business to a publicly listed company on the Australian Stock Market for $820,000, after 14 months.

Luke is now a successful business coach who over the last 12 years has helped over 1,000 businesses owner 1,000 business owners implement his smart business system into their businesses, helping the creative value, build assets to set themselves up for life. Luke, thanks for taking time out of your day to be with us. Certainly do appreciate it.

Luke  02:27

Thanks for having me, Roy. It’s fantastic to be here. Yeah,

Roy Barker  02:30

it sounds like quite a roller coaster ride. You know, before we get into, you know, before we get into the meat of this discussion, tell us a little bit more about this journey, you know, how you got it sounded like, you know, you created a heck of a business. And then, you know, kind of went through some stumbled a little bit and then came back figured it out that structure is really the key.

More About Luke

Luke  02:55

Yeah, so what you mentioned earlier, I guess, starting out it, my father shared 800 bucks to young kids taking on the world, we’re gonna get rich and do everything. Everything. A person who wants to build a business, all the big desires. But we had no idea what they were doing. We just hope we wait. And yeah, that there was a, you know, we struggled for 14 months not buying anything was just pure will desire, we just got to make this thing happen.

So it was no brains was pure stupidity, just going forward, going forward. And eventually, we worked out a few things. I learned how to do my first joint venture, I did a little bit of bad marketing. And the business took off like it took off like a rocket and we created a $4 million business in five years. And we won so many awards, and we thought we were so marvelous. Looking from the outside, you want to say wow, scars are incredible.

They’re so successful. That success at a young age and happening the way did they actually set us up for failure. It did. We lost the whole business. And you know, reflecting back, it took me five to seven years to just get the confidence to Hey, let me try again. Because obviously, it was a life-changing disaster that happened and what happened on that reflection was those three life-changing lesson which you touched on in the intro and the first one was really to understand how money works. And that was stop trading time for money.

I learned the difference between unlimited earning structure and an unlimited earning structure and working hard. I mean you got to have a good work, work ethic that’s different to just working hard and killing yourself and drop drive yourself into the ground which ultimately What happened to Gary my partner? Now we work so hard, we drove ourselves into the ground, because our business was just not structured correctly.

It wasn’t doing the work, which led me to the second most important lesson I learned on this reflection of failure. And that was the difference between being self-employed, and a business owner. So, when Gary and I started, we thought, this is how many business owners think they think, well, I’m just going to make profits, the business can make profits. And that’s how we’re going to get rich, and we’re going to work hard. But that’s not how you do it. That’s just setting yourself up for burnout, and exhaustion, which happened to us, what you want to be doing is, you want to be creating a structure that actually creates a valuable asset, you want to create a business engine that ultimately does the work for you that you can step back from.

So there was like a huge mind shift, understanding the difference really, between what is a self-employed person and a business owner. And so to give you like an example, my first business, I had 65 stops, was going for five years, and it was a poor million-dollar business each year. And so someone would say, well, there must be worth a lot of money. The truth was, that had very little value. Because if Gary and I stepped out about sequence drop dead, the business just couldn’t work. So it has very little value, even though it’s perceived, well, amazing.

The second business I created from an idea in a home office, and it was me with a notebook. I’ve set up distribution of East retailers, distribution retailers around the world, it was just me one person with a notebook at a home office working to two days a week once that thing was set up. Obviously, there’s a lot of groundwork setting up, but there was barely the three and a half million dollars after three years. That’s, that’s the difference. When I’m talking about now. I had to learn this on my journey. Most business, I just don’t know this exists.

That’s very powerful knowledge. And so the question is, well, okay, well, how do you do that? How do you go from an unlimited limited structure, how do you get an engine working? How do you step back so that your business actually worth something that you can sell? And you can have a life not be equal for your business, which is, you know, most business owners are stressed time or? And the intent or the purpose of the business is just not what they set out? It’s a complete opposite. Yeah. And which leads us to the chat with you today, the seven steps, the sequential steps, and the sequencing is like, the key, which I learned, because, no, you can’t build a house with the roof first and put all the fancy chandeliers and if you don’t have structure, so it’s all a collapse.

And that’s really, our businesses, people want to build a website, or let’s give them a Facebook page. That’s like your chandelier or your roof. Well, who is it? What’s your what’s your resonating message? And you know, how are you going to scale this thing without killing So? So that leads us into race discussion, the seven steps, how did they come about? It came about through my lessons, and the first one is optimizing your mindset.

Now. When you speak to most people about success in business, they will say well in sales and marketing strategies, growth strategies, negotiation products and services, websites, digital marketing. All the cool stuff, and you do need all that. But there’s a piece next to that. Call you and if you’re not straight upstairs in the head. Or you’re not sorted out in your brain Well, you’re going to sabotage your business no matter how good your sales and marketing negotiation, or whatever. And that’s really what happened to me my first business because every one of us has self-sabotaging traits. No, no, no one’s exempt.

And, you know. The people who think they they don’t have any losers or prohibition, you know. Which often you hear and that was me, that’s the voice of my younger man speaking. I the ones who needed that the most they need the help the most. But they the ego says not nurturance not me. I’ve got it all worked out. And you know. These self-sabotaging beliefs usually stemmed from our childhood, you know, the way we were raised the beliefs installed stillness. You know, my biggest problem was my ego. For Success. No one could tell me what to look around them would kill me. Where I couldn’t see was my business. Some sort of train racing towards the water 300 kilometers out. No charge, not anyone’s going to tell me the difference.

So I had a crash, burn and things like people have have issues with money is very common in business. The way they’re raise. The teachers, the church, the parents, whatever, you know. If they told rich people evil, or no, you have a low self-esteem or low value of money. If your services say $150 that you charge for the service. But you have this thing with money. Where you don’t believe people will actually pay for that, because you’re not worth it or whatever, you’re going to start selling your service for $40 or $45.

And so that’s what you call self-sabotaging traits. It doesn’t matter how much time energy and effort you put into your business strategies. You’re an entrepreneur wise, your mindset, your business actually doesn’t have a choice. Yeah, so that’s why step one is, hey, you gotta fix your brain. You need help?

Whos In Control

Roy Barker  11:01

Yeah, yeah. And so many times we, we let the business start driving us instead of us driving the business. And I think you know, you’re right. Because when we trade that time for money than it, all that means is we just have to work more, to earn more. And then, of course, like you said, it leads us down that path to burnout.

Luke  11:22

Correct? It’s a vicious cycle, you know, because cash flow gets tighter, okay, we need to work harder, but you got no time. And then you get exhausted and you just can never get over that grudge. Right? That’s a structural problem. Yeah. And so the second piece is optimizing your niche versus step two. So here’s a very common mistake in business, people try to sell the products and services to the wrong customers. You can’t sell meat to a vegetarian. Doesn’t matter how fancy your sales pitches if the meats been blessed by the Pope.

How many times you practice your pitch, how many energy put into your presentations, you can change the price that doesn’t matter what you’re trying to do a vegetarian is just not going to buy your meat, they’re not your real customers. Right? What you want to do is spend your time finding meat lovers. So they’re not trying and convince and spend energy trying to convert a vegetarian that’s just not optimizing your energy and time sales. So the lesson is, stop trying to waste your time trying to sell to the wrong people.

And what I find is dealing with lots of businesses over the years, most businesses are tortures to sell, sell, sell, you know, the sales managers setting budgets and targets and they slam the hell out of the sales teams. Get on the phone, you want to make 100 calls today, blah, blah, blah. That’s not really smart. Because first of all, who wants to be a salesperson being told to go to hell every five phone calls and maybe you have 250 phone calls you get a break?

What is it doing the brand of your business where your pack the hands, selling, counting customers, chronic onboard customers the wrong decision, pressure tactics, manipulation tactics, which is if you know what I’m talking, you get the sales phone calls all day handling you no one enjoys that and doesn’t have a good reflection on the brain. So what should you be doing? This is where I think a lot of marketing companies get things wrong. There’s a difference between your ideal customer and your real customer.

So one of the first things you always hear is that what is your ideal avatar? What is your ideal customer what they look like? The truth is I’ve found a lot of businesses not all of them have worked as you know what I’ve found over the years and on the business, I mean that when you actually go out there and you start selling and doing things, your ideal customer who you thought was gonna buy your stuff very rarely ends up being the person who actually hand you cash in hand.

And so what you want to do is you want to like hone in on your niche and optimize your niche you want to find out over time you all these real customers are the ones that are actually giving you the cash and stop trying to chase ideal customers you probably know it’s like the wrong marketing This is the wrong currency trying to give these people aren’t your real customers and service them go ahead No, no,

Roy Barker  14:48

no, I was just gonna say because you know, even marketing we if we don’t really niche down to our buyers, you know, we end up spending a lot of money casting this wide net Over people, like you said, you know, we’re the meat salesman, and we’re throwing a wide net over vegetarians as well. And even if we, you know, maybe we it’s something that they may not know that, that it’s not for them, then we can waste our sales team’s time we waste You know, a lot of time and energy, talking and dealing with people that ultimately aren’t our customers anyway,

Luke  15:25

True and then what happens in that situation is the manipulation, the pressure tactics, and some people are polite, and they given to the pressure and they buy other stuff, but that that leads to resentment, resentment of the salesperson presenting to their company’s brand online because no one likes to be sold under pressure or manipulated into into selling something you want a customer to walk away saying, this is the right product, love that salesperson love the company, I’m going to refer my friends to them.

Roy Barker  15:57

Yeah, because sometimes it’s even not as defined as just like, you know, the vegetarian in the meat lover, but it can be maybe not even the right time. Maybe it’s an age thing. Maybe it’s a stage in life. But now I’ve made you upset. And so when it is your time to be my customers like, Hey, I remember those guys. I don’t want anything to do with them.

Luke  16:20

Absolutely. Yeah. Bang on this like a short term view Elliniko cash in the bank today, there’s no long term transit the transactional value today not live value of the customer.

Roy Barker  16:32

Right, right.

Luke  16:34

And so that leads us to step number three, which is optimize your sales now. I’ve been building business for 25 years. And I’ve sat through dozens and dozens of just about every sales training under the sun conferences, whatever. And they all tell you this a sales cycle or sales model, and find the leads, connect qualified present, overcome objections, close the deal nurture in all these fuzzy terms.

But there, I believe that the sales cycles are missing out on the, you know, the most important pieces to be successful in sales. I’m talking long term view. And I believe there’s two secrets that every sales process needs to be successful themselves. And the first one is, what I before becoming a master salesperson, without all the tactics and pressure, and that is let your customers buy don’t sell. Right.

And it’s quite hard for people to imagine, but there’s a process. You set your framing and a property and you just allow the customer to be in control of the equation. They put them at ease number one, because they can make the choice to bet caught on not genuinely, they’re more inclined to buy from you when they feel in control, or they buy.

And the second the second thing I’ll actually ask you question is what is the thing that number one thing more that you are subconsciously scanning for? When you’re going to buy something from someone? That is?

Buildign Trust

Roy Barker  18:23

Well for myself? Usually, it’s trust

Luke  18:27

thing on it. Okay, that is not many people get that right. That’s actually that’s exactly it. That’s trust, when you grant a boss or buy something from the salesperson, you only look at a product or service, they haven’t even opened your mouth. You’re scanning for that one thing, do I trust this person. And if you buy like that doesn’t matter how good your your sales pitch or how fancy product is only five stars, it’s good. I don’t like you don’t trust you. Gonna go and find someone else. You may even have inferior product or whatever it may be me or sales person, but they got integrity, where they got their personal branding of trust. So me to optimize your sales. That’s what you need to do is just average those two critical things.

Roy Barker  19:22

Yeah, it’s so important on the trust, because I’ll be honest, I will pay a premium for somebody’s product or our service where I trust them. And I know that they’re going to be there you know, sometimes they’re one off purchases, but usually it’s it’s usually going to lead to more purchases and I want somebody that I trust is going to be there to take care of me after the fact and what I don’t get a lot about these.

You know about the high pressure sales is there are people that you can bend into buying what you want, you can manipulate them, you can trick them, you can pressure them, you can do all that stuff, but well I found over the years is that tend tends to make a bad customer that, you know, they don’t get what they thought that trust isn’t there, there’s no follow up. And then now you’ve got somebody who purchased that may be upset. And it’s gonna end up costing you more money and time to deal with that in the long run.

Luke  20:21

Absolutely. That’s like taking a longer term view, as opposed to, like, let’s get some cash on the top today. And that’s, that’s the thing, most salespeople I mean, I’ve had worked in corporate environments. And most salespeople are they just got managers on the back of the managers, you got the CEOs on the back on the board, and it’s slam those targets, get those targets, sell, sell, sell.

Now that takes care of that, you know, the sales managers bonus and the salespersons. commission, or that doesn’t take care of your customers. Right. Right. So that only takes us then to optimize your marketing as the next step, because why is marketing? And step four? Well, the first few steps is who are boom? Are your customers who are really selling to who’s gonna buy from you the quickest and easiest. And then when you work out when you’re selling? What products will they buy from you the quickest and easiest, as opposed to what do you want to sell? And who do you want to sell to to different scenarios, once you work that out through the steps?

Well, that’s when it’s time to now market. Because, you know, if you try and talk to everyone, connect with no one. And yet, in my first business, we, we we sold computers, we’ve started out selling personalized software programs, which was a disaster. No one bought it, we thought it was, you know, your search engine was gonna change the world. But it was just an army, we were not in a lucrative niche. This is a classic example, I spoke earlier about our ideal customers where, you know, businesses are going to buy our software, improve the profits and efficiency and blah, blah, blah, no one bought our stuff. And real customers actually ended up being families.

Selling buying computers are both two different worlds apart. That’s where the money led us. And that’s ultimately, when the business started taking off. This is what I call you follow the cash flowing. We had stuck our heels in and had a chart on the wall about your customers will still be there today with no money. And so this is where connect chronotope day run connector, no one comes in. So when we started selling computers, customers will start asking us cars and last cars, but just software’s not interested. But however, do you sell computer audio?

There’s what I call following the money shifting from non lucrative niches to niches customers just asked us we weren’t even trying to sell something they’re asking us Can we buy? Yeah, so we started selling computers. But if you take computers, that’s a huge niche, right? You can have it managers and they can have larger businesses, property owners, who have bigger budgets, you can have small little companies, Home Home operators with tiny budgets, families, bargain hunters gains, all by computers. But you have to have a lot like every one of those, you have a separate resignated message. That’s where you have to find out what he wants to buy from you.

And what do they really want to buy. So in our business, when things went from struggle to rocket taking offers, is the process I’m sharing with you the first few steps, we found that these people were buying, but he was buying from us the quickest and easiest, he was our most lucrative niche. And that became families. Family. Wasn’t that those back in the 90s internet precursor computers were not mainstream. Right, right. So we tapped into this and then we started honing our messaging offering towards families.

And so targeting a message or resonating message. Shorter family is very, very different to an IT manager of a corporation. And so this is what I say like, optimize your marketing, create that resonating message. Now one of the natural things that comes up at this point is what? Surely if you are targeting lucrative niches where the money’s flowing, you’re going to have more competition. Yes, you are. And this is quite a hard concept for many business owners to cross I’ve found over the years. I say, well, there’s no competition. So I’m going to put my business is smart businesses go to where the money’s flowing.

So if you find a niche An opportunity where there’s no competition, but chances are, that it’s a more liquid niche, it’s like trying to find gold in the leg might gotta go to where the money’s flying and where the money is flying is going to be competition. Right? That’s not about what you got to do in that situation is you just got to go through the steps on site, because what you got to do in that situation in their crowded niche, lucrative niche with these money, is you’ve got to stand out. And the way you stand out is you’ve got to create your X Factor on Create your X Factor your resonating message, if you haven’t, the what we did was who we actually talking to, what are the radio on the vibe from you?

And the third part of that is, well, what is your competition thing wrong? So that’s becomes more then plug the gaps. That secret you extract in your resume the message, that’s how you optimize your marketing. That’s a very, very powerful technique that I learned. And that’s only when you get to that point, can you start to scale marketing. And this, I think, is probably one of the most important pieces on the call today. What most people do in business. They start off with a website. I mean, just about every client I have.

First thing I do is like a corporate website. And I say but what about step one? Step two, and step three, like we’re talking about? What is your message? What they spent $10,000 on Facebook ads, and they got a digital marketing agency, and they got an SEO company do all the stuff. And I’m saying what are the marketing niches? If you can’t tell me on this call? What is your resonating message? So why are you standing up? First of all, what niche are you in? Right? And why our customers come to you not competition? If you can on that?

How are you spending all this money? What are you actually marketing? Just noise and confusion? You’re hoping? Many do that? Well, if we market our customers, we’ll work out why we are different I can buy from us, which is ludicrous. Right? Yeah. And that’s what happens. And so that’s one step pause. happens then not before? Yeah,

Who Are You Marketing To?

Roy Barker  27:06

you know, the other part of that, using computers as a good example that when you What do you? When we think about that, what are we going to mark, if we don’t know, our nice, what are we going to market because if we’re marketing to all computer users, that’s a lot of inventory, it’s a lot of different configurations, it’s a lot of, you know, screens, it’s a lot of inventory. And so knowing that, you know, we pick one out, maybe, you know, it’s the family, like you said, this typical setup is what works for most families versus, you know, the gamers or the business people.

So it helps us to, you know, kind of on that back end as well to, to have the product that they’re gonna want not, you know, somebody calls you, again, recalls you out of the blue. And that’s just not the target. It’s easy to say you’re not, you know, you’re not in our customer base. But this these people are,

Luke  28:03

right, this is what our church is optimizing, like optimizing your business engine, so that you’re not wasting time doing all these wrong things, you you process that I’m explaining the steps as what I call the fastest route to passion, just go with the cash flowing, your objective of businesses to be profitable, give yourself time and money in a lifetime, your choice not chasing datings and killing yourself, all the wrong bits and pieces. And this is where the optimization strategies come and missteps. which then leads us to point five.

And this is not optimizing your efficiency. So you’ve got all the stuff going, you worked out what you sell, and you’re selling to your marketing is kicked in your neck, your message, well, then you need to start optimizing your efficiencies, your workflow processes, because obviously, this steps you out of the engine annoys you forever in that engine. And, again, this was a great lesson, I learned that the real money is not in your products and services. It’s in your ability to leverage your time, energy and resource to selling your products and services. And one of the best ways to do this is through adventuring, tapping into others, already got everything out.

They just happen to learn to joint venture with other businesses so that you don’t have to reinvent the process. They want all the infrastructure, their customers, they’ve got everything going on. And so one of the ways is through joint venturing, but great joint ventures, you actually have to have time to set up a joint venture and do a proper job. And the more efficient you’re inefficient you are in the business, the less time you have. The reason why it’s because you’re so busy chasing your tail. You are doing all the work, not your business, right.

So there’s four ways to become more efficient in your business, the first one is stop trading time for money. The second one is create an unlimited earning structure. Third one is systemize your business. And the fourth one, which I mentioned is use joint ventures, to grow your business independently of you. When you do this, this is like the foundation, this is the formula, right? It creates a business engine that does the work for you, your business starts to grow independently of you. This is how your business, creates value in that.

And this is how you create a valuable asset to set you up for life. When you build a business this way. Which is how I build my second business and all my subsequent businesses, you work for less hours, you under way less stress. And of course, you can build an asset that you can cash out on which I’ve done a few times. I mean, the success in this was the biggest lesson I learned all the assets that you can sell. Don’t just keep working on that post every day to profits.


Roy Barker  31:18 Do you want more in your business

Yeah, yeah, it’s tough. You know, if you, if you don’t systemize like you said, if you end up having to touch everything that goes out the front door, you become limited by their 24 hours in every day. And so, you know, setting that system up to where we can really make it happen without us having to touch every unit or be a part of every service.

That’s how we really grow exponentially. And you know, you brought up something else will earlier about, you know, what would the business be worth but it’s the same thing, if if this business is dependent upon you touching everything, typically, your business, if you want to go sell, it will be valued much less. Because if you remove yourself from the business, and this other person that’s buying it, they’re typically not wanting to buy a job, they want to buy a business.

Luke  32:08

Absolutely. Absolutely. You have to demonstrate that they are buying something that runs because if they put themselves in trying to figure out everything you’re doing, that’s not very attractive for me. Right, right. And so you got to demonstrate this is like a machine that they just turn the key and indicate and put the lights on. That’s what they’re looking for. Right, exactly. And so the next piece is, okay, so you’ve got your flow processes your systems, the next thing is you want to optimize your team. And what most people do is they do this the other way around, they get a team, and then they try to systemize the business?

Because I don’t know that’s what they do. And I guess it’s a natural part of business evolution, how ever a problem is if you have staff and no system, what are you doing? Just creating more headaches yourself, because staff don’t really know what they’re supposed to be doing many of them trying. But there’s there’s gray areas, there’s all sorts of things they’ve dropped, the boss may drop the stock man and staff leave because they get frustrated renting the proper leadership. And that’s because just inefficiency says business has not been occupied, it’s not ready yet to actually take on staff.

So the staff are there to help the boss but what they actually do is drag the boss nuts, and try and drain more of the time, put stress on the complete opposite of why you employed someone in the first place. And so step six is optimize your team. And your chains only as strong as your weakest link. Now, it’s very common for business owners and managers to blame stuff shut and scream carry on when things go wrong. But often, you know, screaming and shouting and carrying on doesn’t really fix the situation.

Right. and managing, motivating, getting staff to operate at peak performance. That’s a challenge. I think any business owner would realize that and acknowledge that. And it’s no good promising the world your customers are good your if your staff keep letting you down. You know, one of the reasons they’re letting you down as well, because you probably don’t have systems in place for them to execute.

The busier you get, the more messy things become. And so you know, this happens every every day. Usually staff staff are the biggest overhead and managing staff are the biggest stress points for our business owners and managers. I think everyone agrees that’s not us. So how do you go about optimizing your staff? Well, I had 65 staff my first business and systems and they were very foreign territory for me stick and understand the stress and pails I went through. But through that I did learn a lot of things. And there’s actually eight points but the time is short. I’m going to give you three Three ways of how do you go about optimizing my team and the first one is ensure your staff understand how they contribute to the bigger picture.

So when our employee employee is engaged and made to feel that they’re part of something bigger than themselves, produces a sense of value and belonging. And listen turn, makes him perform better and produce more favorable, favorable results compared to employee who’s just given a task and a manager looking over the shoulder and shouting and screaming. Second one is structure first staff second.

Think you want to paint your business to fit a stock was 10. From tempers, demands personality, or, you know what they’re good at or what they are not good at, which most businesses do this, and they create a structure to fit this in. Now, that’s, that’s a recipe for disaster. What happens when a staff member leaves or you suddenly have a huge crack in your, in your business structure. So every position should have a set of responsibilities to optimize the performance of their position. And then what you do is you then go and find the right store staff member to fill these positions that optimize your business, not any staff member.

The right staff member. And the third one is don’t be held ransom. So many business owners are held to ransom by staff members, they live in fear that the staff members will leave. And then what are they going to do? And so they pander to staff, the morons to the detriment of, of the business. Or if you are clear on the positions and make your company work that needs to function, and inside each of those positions, you crystal clear on the responsibilities that make their position optimal?

Well, then you you caught comfortable to go out and find the right people to fit your profile your tasks not depend on someone jumping and screaming and only ransom. And so after the specific action, I just did it three for the time. And then so did you want to say yes, I

Don’t Fail Your Staff

Roy Barker  37:26 Do you want more in your business

was gonna say, it’s very important because before you got into that, I was gonna say, you know, we need to step back to that last step to the systems that we create, because a lot of businesses that I work with, it’s the business or the management has failed the staff, not the staff failing the business. I think that we get that wrong, because we’ve done one of two things, we haven’t hired the right person to put in that seat.

That’s number one. And then number two is like. I think you said in your, in the first step of that is that we don’t tell them how they are an integral part of this business, what they do. And it can be as simple as a receptionist that you’re the first person that people talk to, and the first person that people see when they walk in, you were one of the most important people in this business, because if they come in and you’re sour, you’re out the door.

So, you know, but just working with people like that, like you get a bad phone call and it makes you upset, walk away, get somebody to cover your desk for 15 minutes, clear your head, don’t sit there and talk to that next customer with the you know, the hangover of being upset. customer. So, anyway, I feel like that a lot of times that, you know, we look at staff and that person is not a good, they didn’t do a good job. And I just think we set them up for failure a lot of times

Luke  38:58

100% agree, right? Yeah. Okay, so the final step of building your business engine is optimize your wealth. And, as I said, as I mentioned earlier, when I first started in business, I didn’t even understand what this meant this concept of building a business to create wealth. It was just what are you? What do you own it, it just didn’t exist. And, like I said, the mistake that Gary now made me first time around which most businesses I work with are doing the same thing.

They would just fold throw to the wall. And they’re trying to make as much profit as possible because they think this is the way that they’re going to build lifestyle of their choice. They’re going to get financial freedom, whatever. But this is, this is like I said, the first step is like changing your mindset, optimizing your mindset. There’s two ways you build a business. And the first the first mistake most most business owners did like I didn’t know First business was working to make profits today by creating wealth for your future.

So what cost you do everyday in your business? Is it hit through dying by the bolts, or you working to set yourselves up for the future. And that’s the concept. It’s, it’s a mindset. It’s two different strategies of how you build your business. And it goes back to the point when I first started, this is the difference between being self employed and being a business owner.

I see business owners, they exchange time for money, this sort nothing to do with how fancy your turnover is, or how many staff you’ve got, or you know, you’ve been in business 30 years, it actually doesn’t matter. It’s the structure of your business, and how you go about building your business every single day, that is ultimately going to determine whether your business achieves what you set out in the first place.

We also had a build business to give us a lifestyle about choice, freedom at some time freedom, money freedom, lifestyle, less stress, whatever. What the truth is, I think it’s like 96% of businesses go about building the business the wrong way. Like I did. And you ultimately pay the price, burnout or your dreams disappear. And it just becomes just become inside this engine. It just kills you.

Handle Your Business

Roy Barker  41:27 Do you want more in your business

Yeah. And it you know, one thing a lot of people don’t think about is, their, there are businesses that go out of business, because they don’t have business. But there’s a lot of businesses that get hurt, because they actually have too much success. And they haven’t walked through these optimal optimization steps, they don’t have structures, they don’t have systems in place, and then you know, they kind of just get drowned in their own success.

And, to me, that’s the very worst thing to see. Because even if we have a little side hustle that we’re starting, if you want to grow it, you really have to think about this stuff from the very beginning from day one, because you can get too far down the road. And then it’s not that you can’t do it, but it’s much more difficult to stop a move and train to move it over to another set of tracks.

Luke  42:23

Like that. Yeah, that’s, that’s correct. That’s a good. Yeah. So the final final piece I have for you, Roy, is just to reflect your three stages of building your business that, you know, I can bring to business owners attention, or people building the business. And the first one is, you know, building your business engine, the first thing is the doing, you can’t get rid of the doing in the first stage. And that doing is you’ve got to prove your concept.

So you can’t scale something or, you know, become independent, but if it’s not proven, you got to prove a concept, it’s got to work, it’s got to get results for your customers, whatever that means. it’s got to be profitable, that’s the first piece then what you do is you move to the managing stage. That’s of course, putting your your flow processes in your systems. And then your staff putting in management, you know, structure KPIs, budgets, targets, etc, that’s managing it.

Then the final stage is, of course, that engine is now running, you step back, and your business is producing independent of you. That’s your investment, that you keep nurturing and looking after, for for your future. Yeah.

Roy Barker  43:39 Do you want more in your business

Yeah, so important, because that’s the one reason what we most of us want to step out here is to give ourself a better life, you know, at some point in the future. So it actually takes care to set ourselves up to be able to do that to achieve that goal. Alright, Luke, any other words of wisdom you want to leave us with? Before we wrap up?

Luke  44:01

I just want to thank you. It’s been a pleasure. Hopefully, you found it useful.


Roy Barker  44:07 Do you want more in your business

Yeah, yeah. I mean, these are great seven steps to optimization that, you know, we all need to keep in mind. And then I think, you know, you stress to that the order, there’s a certain order that we need to work these down in order to make to make it make sense for our business. So before we wrap up a couple things, one, first question is, what is a tool or a habit, something that you use in your daily life, either professional or personal, that you feel like adds a lot of value?

Luke  44:43

One of the things I found when I was like, again, the biggest lesson was my first business, I had little peace of mind. So sort of an oxymoron. You’re desperately trying to work. Give yourself, freedom and call that freedom is peace. Mind free of worry and stress. And it in my first person said for a large portion of my life, because I’m a business owner, I was always stressed, stressed dismissed, as you know, this is this never ending stress.

And one of the ways I found to manage that was, I take time in the morning, I live near the beach here in Australia. I take time out in the morning, but 20 minutes each morning, I get up early, and I just go down there and just spend quiet time just reflecting on life and things and things that worry me and try to this late post going. And, you know, this is I guess, being my saving grace, because when I’m, if I don’t do that, what happens all the stress builds up, builds up, and eventually you start freaking out, you get sick, you get run down.

And your brain becomes like a washing machine is not healthy, don’t make good decisions. You’re not good to your family, your friends, and you have to learn to manage the stuff. Because there’s no one business is not stressed. I mean, anyone who tells you that’s mad. How do you manage the stuff and I found it’s a discipline. So whatever brings you joy, like walk with the dog in the morning, or the evening, I found morning is better.

Set yourself up for the day. But some people might want to diffuse at the end of the day, maybe you can do both. You got to have that precious time that diffusion or setting your priorities. That’s what I found is against my sanity over the years as being a business owner, because, you know, it’s never easy.

Wrap Up

Roy Barker  46:40 Do you want more in your business

Yeah, it’s, it’s, it does wonders, to start your day out right with the little you know, for us, we just take a little walk around the area where we live, and then hopefully in the evening, you know, we can do that just to kind of clear our head and be done with today. We can move on to you know, having family time and then also to restful sleep. So I think it’s very important, different for everybody. So you know, I just always say, try to find your happy place, wherever that is.

Sometimes it’s just setting and being with yourself. But that’s kind of another part of that is we need to be comfortable with ourselves, too. So we can actually do that. Yeah, that’s great. All right, Luke. Well, again, thank you so much. So tell everybody, you know, what kind of businesses do you like to work with? How you can help them? You know, where can they come to, you get to get more information and training on the seven steps to optimization.

Luke  47:38

So I typically work with business owners who pretty much found themselves trapped in an engine, like how do they they exchanging time for money, they need to learn how to leverage? And how do they How do they unstrap themselves and give them you know, freedom, freedom, free of worries, they want more time? And how did they get the business working for them?

How do they put the infrastructure in place that this thing is becomes a valuable asset, that they can cash out one day or give to the kids or whatever. So that is, anyone is in that frame of mind, who has, you know, been struggling once once that outcome, that’s what I’m very structured, we put you through the seven steps. And I’ve been doing this for over 12 years, many, many businesses all around the world have got incredible results. That is, you obviously have to do the work. And so there’s two ways, you can either just go to my website ideasintobusiness.com.

And contact me on the contact page. Or if you want some free training, or a full 90 minute masterclass of what we’ve taught today with the downloadable blueprint of the seven steps. Just go to ideasintobusiness.com/free training. And it’s all free. There’s no catches. And you can check it out and see if you like it.

Roy Barker  49:13 Do you want more in your business

Okay, great. And we’ll include all that in the show notes as well as on the web page so people can reach out. Very important to build yourself some structure, take the take the time to do these optimization steps. You can’t go wrong and you won’t be sorry, you know, at the end when you do have some freedom. And when it’s you’ve built a sustainable business that can last for years and years.

Luke  49:38

Thank you, Roy. It’s been a real pleasure speaking to you. And hopefully your audience. found it useful. Thank you so much.

Roy Barker  49:45 Do you want more in your business

Yeah, it was very useful. Thank you so much, Luke. We appreciate it again for your time. that’s gonna do it for another episode of The Business of Business Podcast. You can, of course, find us at thebusinessofbusinesspodcast.com we’re on all the major your podcast platforms iTunes, Stitcher, Google Spotify for not a one that you listen to please reach out I’d be glad to get it added so you can listen easier.

Also, we’re on all the major podcasts excuse me, all the major social media networks usually hang out on Instagram a little bit more than other places. So reach out, we’d be glad to interact with you over there. Also, you can find a video of this interview live on our YouTube channel when the episode goes live as well. So until next time, take care of yourself and take care of your business.

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Free 90 min Master Class and downloadable blueprint of the 7 steps covered.

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Authenticity is a Great Way to Connect With Your Audience

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Business Podcast

Authenticity is a Great Way to Connect with Your Audience Featuring Ashleigh Chanel

Authenticity is a great way to connect with your audience. There’s an old saying, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken”. How true is that saying? When we try to be someone we arent it really hinders our connection with others. It can also make us uncomfortable with what we are trying to accomplish. Be yourself, you will resonate with those you need to resonate with!

About Ashleigh

Your friendly, virtual, neighborhood Marketing Genie here to make all of your marketing dreams come true.

I’m Ashleigh Chanel! A world-traveling gadgets addict and Expert Digital Marketer. I am also the CEO of Make Your Mark Digital Marketing Agency.

I’m passionate about helping women business owners to market profitably through innovation, creativity, action, and implementing strategic digital media strategies that transform their business.

Through my over a decade journey, I have consistently added monthly 5 and 6 figure revenue to my client’s top-line — product, service, and local businesses alike. This is all done through organic and paid advertising. This positions my clients as authorities in their industries, gain the trust of their ideal audiences, and builds highly profitable business.


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Full Transcript Below

Authenticity is a Great Way to Connect with Your Audience Featuring Ashleigh Chanel

Estimated reading time: 37 minutes

Thu, 8/5 12:13PM • 43:37


marketing, clients, people, business, messaging, audience, hire, Ashleigh, pay, buy, reach, ad, important, vanity metrics, influencer, run, bit, knowing, speak, stepped, Authenticity is a great way to connect, connect with you audience


Ashleigh, Roy Barker


Roy Barker  00:03

Hello, and welcome to another episode of The Business of Business Podcast. I’m your host Roy. Of course, we’re the podcast that brings you a wide variety of guests. That can speak to a diverse set of topics. Hopefully, we can shine the light on some things that you may not have thought about. Or at the very least. If you have something that’s keeping you up at night, we can provide you some information and some professionals to help you out.

Our main goal is that, you know, we want to see everybody successful. And today we’re excited to have Ashleigh Chanel. She is your friendly virtual neighborhood marketing Genie, here to make all of your marketing dreams come true. She’s a world traveling gadgets addict, addict and expert digital marketer. She is also the CEO of Make Your Mark digital marketing agency.

She is passionate about helping women business owners to market profitable through innovation, creativity, action, and implementing strategic digital media strategies that transforms their businesses. Through her over a decade journey. She has consistently added monthly five and six figure revenue to her clients top line. Product service and local businesses alike. This is all done through organic and paid advertising this. She positions her clients, as authorities in their industries. Gains the trust of their ideal audiences and builds highly profitable businesses. Ashleigh, welcome to the show. Thank you so much.

Ashleigh  01:32

Thanks for having me. Happy to be here.

Roy Barker  01:34

Oh, great. Great. Yeah, we’re excited to talk to you about, you know, getting into marketing and the authenticity aspect. But before we get there. Tell us a little bit about your journey. Is marketing something that you you know, you just have always wanted to do you’re always in that? Or is it kind of been one of those long and twisted roads getting here?

More About Ashleigh

Ashleigh  01:55

No, it has not been a long interested road, it has been a straight shot. My mom was an HR all my life. And she gave me those assessments, you know. Those like career assessments, and I took one and we kind of figured because I actually use my brain equally like the left side and the right side. So I’m creative, and I’m analytic. We figured that, you know. Marketing would be a great opportunity for me and I went and my undergrad was in entrepreneurship and marketing. And then my MBA, I got my MBA in Italy. That was a double concentration in global marketing, global finance. So it was a straight shot.

Roy Barker  02:38

Wow. And got to study in Italy, too. I did. Wow, I’m jealous, I’m jealous. Well, you know, we had a pre show conversation. And, you know, we want to talk a little bit about authenticity. And you know, you were saying that you’ve really seen a lot of changes from to, you know. Around 2018 2019 coming into today. Can you tell us a little bit about, you know, what you’re seeing?

Ashleigh  03:02

Yeah, I think because of COVID. Because of the pandemic, because of the shutdown, everyone kind of lost connection from, you know, family, friends, and sometimes within themselves. But what I’ve noticed was that people were craving connection. They were craving authenticity. I even asked my audience one of the questions. I sent them a survey and I was like. What is something one of the questions was, what is something that you cannot stand when it comes to marketing and marketers?

And they said, once I like they all say that, you know. This can happen overnight, or it’s one size fits all marketing. And I hate that because they know it’s not true, you know, our buyers, our customers, our humans, they are not dumb. So if you’re going to sell to them, sell to them in a way that makes sense to themselves, to them in a way that connects with them. Because what what was going on in 2012, 2016, 2018-19 is not gonna fly now. Because they’re just over it. So.

Authenticity is a Great Way to Connect

Roy Barker  04:11

Yeah, and, you know, there’s an old saying that, you know, you have to be yourself because everybody else has taken and so yeah, I think that we, you know, we miss that we look at there’s so much stuff coming at us all the time. We, you know, we think, oh, look at this guy, what’s he doing? And, you know, should I do that, and sometimes we just have to, basically, you know, we had to run our own race standard rule and do our own thing.

And, you know, kind of back to what you said to about one size fits all is that that’s one thing I kind of warn prospective buyers about is if somebody comes to you and says, I got you know, this plan is work for everybody. It’ll work for you. Typically a huge red flag because they don’t know who you are. They don’t know what your product, your service. You know, we have to have somebody that takes a lot of money. interest in that,

Ashleigh  05:00

yeah, it’s such a red flag. I it, you know, what’s so important to me is integrity. And one of the things that I tell my clients is that I’m never going to do a rinse and repeat for you I’m, I’m always going to analyze, what are your clients saying? What do your clients want, because my job is to help your clients connect with you, right. And to do one size fits all to do the same strategy I did for one of my clients doesn’t make sense for another one. Even if you’re in the same industry, even if you have the same business model, your audience is different, your messaging is different. And you’re like yourself, you’re the personality of your business is different. So using the same strategy across the board does not make sense,

Roy Barker  05:45

right. And let’s talk a little bit about marketing as a long-term strategy versus short-term and just that, you know, it’s a marathon. And you have to, and I think it’s interesting, you say, you know, we don’t do the same things for you know, each and every client. But also, as you get started down this path, you may need to tweak what you’re, you can’t just say, in January, this is our plan, and this is what we’re doing, but never really review what the results are that are coming from that.

Ashleigh  06:16

Absolutely data driven. Marketing is extremely important. Understanding what your clients are saying and, and what their actions are, is, is extremely important. I think it’s when when you are looking at what your audience wants, and what they’re saying to you, you can absolutely tweak in marketing, like you said, it’s a marathon, it is not a sprint, and what the marketing community, the online marketing community especially has done, they have done a disservice to, to business owners everywhere, in my opinion, because they made it seem like this one thing can help you move forward, or this one hack is going to transform your business.

But you have to look at what the data is saying if like for as just like for apps specifically, if someone if you have ads running and somebody is clicking, but they’re not buying, there could be a disconnect between your messaging from what you said in the ad versus what they see on the landing page, they could, your load speed for your page could be really slow, and they’re clicking out of it. Because who has time to wait, you know, point 03 seconds to load in a hurry, I gotta go. Exactly. So looking at the data and making decisions based on what is my data telling me.

So if people aren’t clicking on your ad, it could be your targeting, which means you may need to figure out some new targeting. Or it could be your messaging, you may not even be connecting with the with even the right audience. So these are things you have to look at and tweak. Don’t tweak them all the same time. Because then you’ll never know what what worked. But you really have to pay attention to what the data is

Test Your Entire Path

Roy Barker  08:00

telling you. Yeah, and you make a good point about the the disconnect between the click throughs. And what happens maybe once you get to your website, and it’s It sounds very simplistic, but it’s a step that is often overlooked is to test your path through there. Because there’s nothing more off putting as a consumer than to you know, either be signing up for an email or trying to sign up for a product or whatever. And maybe the send button, it’s not there. It does it.

Ashleigh  08:33

Yeah, because the page wasn’t optimized properly. And it’s like underneath this scroll, but you can’t scroll and click at the same time that has happened to me that

Roy Barker  08:42

you’re reading my mind. Yeah, and it’s just and then that sets a bad tone for that person or that that company, it’s like, because I look at things this way is that if you’re not really interested in getting my business or getting my money, how interested are you going to be in me, you know, for that follow up. And I think it’s so important that we really have to give our prospects are those that are in that between being a prospect and a client, we really have to give them a lot of attention to show them that we are interested, you are a value to us.

Ashleigh  09:14


Roy Barker  09:16

Yeah. And we can talk we were, you know, talking a little bit about authenticity. And it’s interesting, because I hear a lot of times like, Oh, this guy’s got, you know, million followers or whatever, and I don’t but there’s a lot that goes into that. Number one, we don’t know how long they’ve been out there. But the other thing, I guess I saw this one thing, it’s like, you know, they show when called train wrecks or people have in, you know, confrontations and things like that. And, you know, unfortunately, people like to click on train wrecks and see what’s gonna happen. But that doesn’t translate to my business. I mean, I could go out and do a train wreck video of my own, but it’s not going to it will probably not attract People who are going to do business with me, right?

Ashleigh  10:03

Or maybe not even the people you want to do business with?

Roy Barker  10:08

Yeah. And so I think that gets back to, you know, running our own race. What is good for us? And that’s take that next step back is that this is why when you have somebody come in to help you with your marketing, they have got to ask these questions like, Who are you? What do you want to try to attract here? Are we just attracting views? Is that our main thing? Because if it is different than trying to attract for a high price service, maybe,

Ashleigh  10:34

right, I know that there’s a lot of a lot of disconnect. I think the the internet kind of makes you feel bad about yourself or your business sometimes. And people think because like, initially, a lot of people and I’ve done it before, when I first got started, you start doing what the gurus are doing. You don’t pave your own way. And I realized that people started hiring me because they liked me. I was like, oh, okay, well, then let me show my personality a little bit more.

And like, really enjoy what I’m doing. Because initially, I just wanted my work to speak for itself. But to be honest, your work can’t speak unless you do. So I needed to get out there. And I needed to show people who I was, what my values were, what mattered to me. And also letting them know what kind of clients I work with, and who likes to work with me.

Because once I started being authentic, I started loving my clients, because initially, I was working with people who they were the reasons why I have certain things in my contracts now. So just knowing you know, what you want, what you want out of life, what you want out of your business, is going to I feel like catapult you into a direction that you’re actually going to love and into a business that puts life into you instead of sucks the life out of you. Yeah,

People Buy People

Roy Barker  12:04

yeah, definitely. And you make a great point about, you know, your work speaking for itself, but people wanted to work with you, because I really liked you. And that’s so important. When we think do pictures and do videos, write our stories, that we have to be authentic and tell our true story. Because people tend to buy from people that they like, or people that they maybe see a little bit of themself in. And so when we’re trying to be somebody, we’re not like you said, we will attract people that we really don’t want to be doing business with.

Ashleigh  12:40

Right, I had, I was so scared to tell my story initially, because I didn’t have a rags to riches story. Like, I grew up in a great neighborhood, I had a great job. You know what I mean? And I didn’t have like, I haven’t been homeless, you know, so I was like, well, who’s gonna buy from me because I haven’t, like, pulled myself up from the bootstraps or from the mud. And I was really self-conscious about.

But when I realized that I have another story from corporate that was that, that I know, so many people can relate to, and that I really have a vision and a grand goals for myself that I know that people can relate to. And my goal is to help get them to their goals. So when I figured out that my story matters, that’s when a lot of like, I was just able to show fully.

Roy Barker  13:36

Yeah, yeah. And I think you’re right, that sometimes even that’s overdone, and because we really don’t know if those other stories are true or not. But you know, it’s like, I’m the same way I came from a great family, you know, had a great childhood growing up. But, you know, it’s taught me lessons, just like, you know, everybody’s story has taught them lessons, how to relate to people. And, you know, the other thing is listening, is you mentioned that earlier, but we really have to listen to our client, you know.

Not only who are they, But who are they trying to reach and, you know, setting down I guess, and trying to figure out that the avatar, you know, who is that person that you’re trying to reach out to with your product or service. Important for a lot of reasons, the messaging, if you’re trying to reach somebody of my age versus you know, a 20 something gonna be a lot. The stimulus will be a lot different. The verbiage will be different. But you know, we have to really know, you know, where is this messaging going?

Ashleigh  14:38

Absolutely. I think the buyer persona or customer avatar, they’re the same thing is the foundation and that’s something else that I realized that the online marketing space has done everyone a disservice in and they don’t teach marketing, which was crazy to me when I finally You know, realized, like, got over being starstruck and and saying, Oh my goodness, they’re doing this, they’re doing that when I really took a step back and was like Ashleigh, you know you like in our in the marketing, or in my entrepreneurship program, it was the number one entrepreneurship program in the country.

We had, you know, business owners and millionaires coming in every Tuesday doing lunch and learns, telling us talking to us about things and showing us their business and how things work. And I was like, Ashleigh, you know, what you’re doing. And all of this stuff was not rooted in marketing. It was rooted in hats. And it was rooted in. I don’t know, some, some of it was fear mongering some of it was, you know, do this, because it worked for me. And I’m like, that’s not how you run a business, you have to have a foundation that’s rooted in marketing.

And the number one thing is knowing your audience, knowing what not only what age they are, what their sexual orientation is, what their marital status is, like those, okay? But sometimes those only matter if they matter. But what really matters is what makes them buy, what is it? What do they value when it comes to buying your product or service, what is it that’s going to actually excite them?

What are they freaking out about, what is wearing them day and night? And what do they what goals do they want to achieve? What do they want their life to look like, after they hire you or purchase your product or service, you know what I mean? So that is so important. And once you know that you’ll never run out of content, you always know how to talk to your audience. And you’ll always know how to reach them and where they are.

Authenticity Shown Consistantly

Roy Barker  16:48

Right? Yeah, and talking about that a guy told me a long time ago, if the influencer to make the purchase may not be the same person that’s taking the money out of their wallet. That’s another thing to think about. And this, this guy did a, he had Taekwondo studio for kids. And so you know, what he, after advertising to the adults, because they’re like now that the, you know, the kids will never do it. Not much traction. But when he shifted to, you know, running videos of kids breaking boards, and all the cool stuff that they were doing, he says, it took some time, but the kids just wore the parents down, like, I want to do this, I want to do this. And that’s really when they picked up some traction.

Ashleigh  17:37

Yeah, that’s so important, knowing who the influencers are, as well. And also, knowing when to when to speak to them. So I mean, I think that’s awesome. I mean, good job for him. Because a lot of people don’t realize that sometimes, you know, especially like, you know, what’s interesting going into this new era of having partnerships in your relationships, and listening to children and allowing them their opinions to matter.

This is something that was not the case, in my mom’s generation, she raised me and sometimes not even in mind, but she raised me in a way that she asked for my opinion, and my opinion actually mattered. I know that I have a lot of friends who did not grow up like that. And I know a lot of people who did not grow up like that. But we’re, we’re in a new era, and you have to pay attention to that there are, you know, Generation Z, they are challenging their parents and their parents thinking, right.

So when you are learning to market, that one of the things about being a marketer is that you can’t be judgmental, you have to take what’s that? So right now, we know that generation Z’s are challenging their parents, how can how does that affect your marketing? How does that affect them showing up? And are they the influencer? Or are they the one who can actually you know purchase?

Generational Differences

Roy Barker  19:03

Right? Yeah, definitely. And that’s something else, you know, there used to be some good, good information on the different generations kind of what they were about what they wanted. And it’s, it’s an interesting background to really think about that not only for the communication part, but also for the, you know, what do they need out of this?

Because there’s some times when, you know, we can talk about employment that, you know, the younger generation now, they want the, the company to be more philanthropic, philanthropic, thing, you know, like environmental issues, or maybe they want some time off, once, you know, every month, a few hours a month to go work toward a charity or something that they really believe in.

So, again, it really affects our messaging. Another thing I think is important is that whether you bring this in house or whether you hire somebody From the outside, like yourself, the business owner still really needs to be involved, there has to be communication back and forth for a lot of different reasons. But it’s not just like, Oh, I finally got somebody do marketing. Now I can just not even think about that anymore. There still has to be. And I’ll let you talk about, you know, kind of what do you need from your client to actually help them be successful?

Ashleigh  20:25

Yes, I’m so happy you said that. Because I cannot work with people who do not want to be involved in their own business, I can’t, I can’t work with them. Because they think that, Okay, I’m going to toss it over to them. And I don’t have to do anything, which maybe if you’re an enterprise, that is true, but when you are a smaller business, or even a medium sized business, you still need to be involved.

Because you know, your client better than anyone. I mean, I do some in depth research, okay, I talk to their clients. And I do research on you know, their, their buying patterns and things like that, and go deep into their financials and things like that. But you still know your client, best your salespeople are the ones going out, or your front of house are the ones speaking to your clients. So you still have to be involved in some way to help shape and, and build a path to to the goal that you’re looking to build.

I mean, in those who don’t want to be involved, I don’t think really understand business, or they don’t take their business as seriously as I think that they should. Because when I have stepped out of my business, things do not run the way that or when I’ve stepped out of certain pieces of my marketing, things don’t run the way that they should. Right. And you have to be involved in it has to matter to you.

Lots of Feedback

Roy Barker  21:54

Yeah, because I think there’s there needs to be a lot of feedback. And this is where, you know, what I see a lot of times from, sometimes even the smallest of companies, if they have one person marketing, one person selling, there’s no communication. And so, you know, you start a plan, something is not right, the wrong people are calling me if I never communicate that, how, how can we ever tweak our plan?

You know, that’s part of it is, you know, if I’m, if I used to do a lot of work in the senior living industry, and one example that I use, there is like, if you run marketing campaign, and you get 1000s, of inquiries, that’s awesome. But if they’re all 20, something, people with kids that you know, not your customer, not looking for a parent or grandparent, then it really doesn’t matter. You know, the, to me, the success is that if we can convert all these leads that we generate into actual clients, which takes some, you know, back and forth to, to get that messaging just right,

Ashleigh  22:57

right. And, you know, marketing, no piece of marketing works by itself, you can run ads, but if that’s all you’re doing, ads are only there to generate leads, they are not there to sell for you. And that is a big misconception. You know, your your landing pages cannot work. If nobody sees them. You’re you know, you can’t follow up with people if there’s no one in your pipeline. So all of these things cannot work by themselves.

Marketing is a full and complete system. So you have to know who your audiences what your messaging is one of my clients, we, we honed her messaging. And then after that she started getting more clients because they aligned with the messaging that then the new messaging, right, because before she was speaking a little bit more generally. And when you’re speaking to everyone, you are speaking to no one I’m sure

Be Aware of Vanity Metrics

Roy Barker  23:50 Authenticity is a Great Way to Connect

your audience has heard that before. But I mean, it’s it’s so true. Right. And we talked a little bit about earlier. Well, we talked pre show about vanity results. And I always like to bring this up because, you know, there’s a huge difference in in, I’ve got 1000 likes versus what what am I getting for business and this kind of translates back to the train wreck stuff is that, you know, I could do outrageous stuff to get views.

But if those people are, you know, now they may be thinking this guy so crazy. I don’t want to do business with you anyways, it’s like, you know, you have to be careful. And, you know, like I’ve said before, is that you can we go to this Mexican restaurant quite a bit. And I always tell like, you know, one time I went in there, and they brought me the bill and I gave them a Facebook page and said, Well, can you just take it off these 1000 likes that I have and you know, they look at you like you’re crazy. So there’s a huge difference between getting some likes versus getting the dollars in the door.

Ashleigh  24:53

Right? I would say always mind the business that pays you and likes don’t Pay likes are vanity metrics. And they may look good because I mean, I have a story where someone didn’t hire me, because I did not have a lot of followers. And he was like, Well, how can you make me money if you don’t have a lot of followers, and I was like, Oh, sweetie, how sad that that’s what you think, is going to make you money instead of me knowing the fundamentals of marketing and getting you in front of your audience. But which is also interesting, people don’t want to pay money to make money.

Yeah, and sometimes, you know, you can start a business with little to no money. But typically, you do have to spend a little bit of money to make money. But when it comes to vanity metrics, I don’t have a lot of followers now, on social media. It’s not a priority for me to build my following, but I absolutely can make money. Because of what I know about my clients. And because I’m positioned properly, and because I have a great front facing offer to get people in to my pipeline. And I know my conversion rates, and I know all of these things about my business and my clients business and what they inherently want, which is to be able to do what they want, when they want how they want.

I can speak directly to that. I know not all marketers have clients who want that. Some people say some of my friends clients say the first thing that they say, I want to spend more time with my family. My clients don’t say that. But it’s involved in the doing what they want, when they want how they want. But the first thing that they really just want the truth freedom, that building a business can can give them, right, but there are steps you have to take in order to scale your business to that point.

Marketing and Advertising Are Marathons Not Sprints

Roy Barker  26:42 Authenticity is a Great Way to Connect

Yeah, and it gets back to the longevity and the marathon that, you know, that’s this is kind of extreme. I know, but I can’t give you $25 and say, Can you just buy me a Facebook ad? And then, you know, we’re done. Right? I mean, it takes a lot of it takes, you know, there, there used to be formulas that said, if you want to increase it by this much, this is what your ad spend should be. But you know, the the I think the reality of this is that it it’s over time, because the first time I see you, and your product or your service.

If I’m not needing it, I’m just moving on, I don’t even pay attention. But now I’ve seen you 10 times A times 30 times. Well, now today, guess what I woke up this morning, and I need what you’re selling. So you’re top of mind, because you’ve been there, right, you know, period. And, again, I think it’s a misconception with the internet. And with our short attention spans, you know, we think we can just throw a couple dollars out run one ad and be like, we’ve done are really in there.

Ashleigh  27:51

It’s so interesting, because now, you know, I know a lot of people know, or have heard that it takes you know, seven times for somebody to buy from you seven to nine, and that’s active selling, right? That is like somebody coming to your house or calling you and you know, having a sales call with you and things like that. But on the internet, it takes upwards of 12 times for someone to even trust you 7-12 touch points.

So meaning them seeing email saying add watching a video, looking at your content, and up to 24 times for somebody to touch points for someone to buy from you. Yeah. So how are you reaching these people? Do you have the content out? And is? Is it the content that makes you money? Because I have people who find me who have never heard of me before and book a call because I have all of my touch points available for them.

Yeah, and I and my content speaks directly to them. So I don’t need 5000 people to like my video, I need five right people to watch my video. And so when you’re talking about vanity metrics, like you said, vanity metrics, they don’t pay bills, your views don’t pay bills, you’re the only time your views and likes may or may pay bills as if you are an influencer, like your job is to partner with brands and give them that brand awareness. But other than that, awareness doesn’t always it doesn’t typically pay the bills for most businesses.

So what you need to do is get in front of the right audience and speak their language speak to their problems or fears or goals or pain points and whatever challenges they have. So that when they like it, they’re actually going to take action on it not, you know, just having 1000 likes and then nobody does anything with it because it’ll

Marketing Strategy

Roy Barker  29:44 Authenticity is a Great Way to Connect

Right, right. Yeah. And I’m sure like an all inclusive strategy. You tell us what components of that typically look like because, you know, we may have one sector that performs better than others, but we really can’t just ignore different parts of the marketing process, right?

Ashleigh  30:04

So what I say is, I help my clients in a way where I build funnels for them. And a funnel is just a marketing and sales system. That’s all a funnel is because I know the word funnel kind of freaks people out sometimes. But it’s just your sales process. It’s just how you get someone from point A high to point B, why buy, right, so they’re not knowing you and then buying from you. So the components of that are, you need a traffic system, a conversion system and a follow up system. These are the only components that you need.

And within that, within those three components, there are many things. So your traffic system is your social media, which is organic, or you can use paid, which is like Facebook ads, or Google ads or something like that, then within your conversion system, you need a great front facing offer. And what that looks like, is some type of lead magnet, which does not necessarily have to be free. Your lead magnet is what engages them so that you can get some piece of information from them, whether it’s your phone number, or their phone number, their email address, messaging with their messenger, some way to contact them outside of them looking at your your page, right.

So once you have your front facing offer, whether it’s something free or something paid, then you can move them in and figure out what is your ascension model, how are you going to get them from just giving you their you know, phone number or their email address to purchasing whatever it is that you want them to purchase. So that’s where your convergence system comes in and you understanding what they want what they need, as your as your customer or potential customer. And making sure your messaging is on point.

Because like you should always be paying attention to your messaging, always be paying attention to what your clients want. And then the last piece in your follow up system can be retargeting ads, it can be your email, it can be your SMS, text, message marketing, but all of these things only work together, they cannot work by themselves. So if you have their their phone numbers or their email address, and you email them, but you don’t send them anywhere, because you don’t have anywhere to send them, what is the point?

And then they’re on top of mind when they first sign up. But then you go three months, because I have done it before I have gone months without speaking to my audience. It’s kind of like crickets, so then you have to re engage them or go find new people. And that is Oh, my goodness, it’s annoying. And you have to start over. So in order to keep yourself from starting over. You have to stay engaged. And that’s also where automation comes from.

Roy Barker  32:46 Authenticity is a Great Way to Connect

Yeah, yeah, that’s a that’s a hazard for, you know, US entrepreneurs, solopreneurs people that, you know, we don’t have large staffs is like you market market market, and then you while you’re fulfilling, you know, yes, all your time. So no marketing, and, you know, that’s the best thing that people like yourself can do to help us is to, you know, show us how to level that out where, you know, we can have an enough marketing to fulfill our needs and not get overwhelmed, because what I was gonna say after, you know, you talk in through the system is that this is where, you know, great marketing advice can help you because what, it’s more about that I’m placing an ad or we’re writing a blog, or we’re doing whatever, it’s what is that follow up?

And what does that look like? Because Do I need to have people in place? Do I have to have, you know, is there is an automated follow up, I need to have this already, you know, we can’t wait until they’re like Holy smoke decided to do an awesome, alright, a lot of traction, but we’re not doing anything with them. They’ve fallen through the cracks, because, again, I’ve had that happen. With with more personal follow up where you reach out to want to talk to somebody, nothing. You know, I know, today COVID. I know we’re have some supply chain and staffing shortages.

But you know, discounting that this has happened long before COVID ever came around, you know, people just not getting back with you. And this can be this is something I think that has to be disclosed up front is not all businesses fail, because they don’t have any business. Sometimes businesses can fail because they have too much business. And they’re not handling it in the right way. Or they have too much too many inquiries or too many people wanting to do business. They don’t handle it correct. And then the next thing you know, they’re viral on the internet, about how poor they are, and then it kills their traffic.

Ashleigh  34:45

Absolutely. I think getting your client fulfillment and your customer experience is so important. And again, all of this is marketing because we have all read either on Yelp or Google some awful, and maybe sometimes hilarious reviews. And those things matter. Like the reviews matter the way that you make someone feel about themselves, even though this is business, we are all humans. This is human to human every single time. And when you remember that you are marketing to people who have feelings, who have things going on in their lives who have, you know, children, you know, business struggles, whatever, you. You can relate to them on a more human level and get them to trust you in a way that makes them comfortable and want to buy from you.


Roy Barker  35:43 Authenticity is a Great Way to Connect

Yeah, I know, we’re running short on time. But one thing just off of what you said, is reviews. And people think that this doesn’t happen. But it just happened the other day, I was looking at a thread, where a lady just said, Look, we had problems with this company. I’m trying to find somebody to reach out to because they won’t return my calls or I can’t talk to him about it. That was it. Simple to say, I’m sorry to hear that. Ma’am. I will reach out, you know, however, let me know.

Oh, no, this business, I don’t know if it was the business, somebody within it how it happened. But this guy came back with this. Oh, you’re the worst customer ever. And you know, I’m sure you know, your husband waited in the car, because I’m sure he knew that you were going to be all crazy when you walked in here. And your something about it took so long to because your credit was terrible. I mean, they will go on. And it was you know, this lady had like three sentences.

And this guy wrote like, you can see that he wrote like this long response that was just terrible. I mean, in my opinion, is if that’s all you have to say, you’re better off being quiet. But absolutely. problems happen in businesses. Not going to say you’re ever going to be 100% error-free, but it’s how we handle it. And I think people look at that. It’s like, if somebody would have just stepped up and say, Hey, sorry, you’re having get in trouble. And I’ll reach out, we’ll work this out. I want to make you happy. That goes a long way to that next guy saying, Well, look, they’re at least trying to work with these people. But now, they just showed what kind of a business they were to a whole lot of people out there. It was crazy.

Ashleigh  37:27

Wow, that’s awful. Yeah. I have seen some like that, too. I also, I, because of my market, I look at how a couple companies do respond. And I love seeing the ones that are so gracious and so nice. Their response even if people aren’t so nice. It’s hard to do. Maybe it’s not you who should leave the response. Maybe you should get your friend to say something nicer, or you know, a different company to go through your reviews and respond. But yeah, that’s terrible. Because

Roy Barker  37:58 Authenticity is a Great Way to Connect

that, you know, to me, that just backfires. They didn’t make the lady look bad. There’s no way that’s going to happen. They just made themselves look bad. And again, no response to me is better than something a crazy one. And you know, we take like a match flicker and turn it into this huge flaming bonfire that was totally unnecessary. Yeah. Well, I appreciate you taking time out of your day. Before we get away a couple questions. First off, what is a tool or a habit? What is something that you do every day that you feel adds a lot of value can be professional or personal.


Ashleigh  38:37

Um, my most, the thing that I I’ve done is self-development. Knowing myself and being self aware has been one of the things that has tremendously helped me, I took this test. It’s called the Kolbe assessment, K O L B E. It told me that my follow through game was pretty weak. I loved hearing that because it made me realize that, Oh, this is why I look, I’m quickstart I’m quick to start something, but I need someone else to implement. And then I can come back and make it beautiful, make it better.

But that showed me that I needed a team and that there was nothing wrong with me because I was like, why do I start all of these things? And it’s taking so long to finish. Why is that? It’s because I need someone else to intervene and help me do do these things. So I need a team. And so when I figured that out, I was like, oh, okay, well, let me do this. And I know for a lot of people that might be a little difficult because you need cash flow, to hire a team. Right? And so that’s where all of the things that we were talking about earlier, the systems and the automation come in.

But me having a team helped me propel my business forward because otherwise, me me thinking that there’s something wrong with me, was hindering me and it was it was you know, low vibrational energy. And now that I know that I’m like, okay, so I just need to hire somebody to do this or hire Someone should do this or outsource this piece, you know, maybe not a full time member of the team, but someone who can help me do these things, and get me over the hump, so that I can make them as grand and as wonderful as they need to be. So I would say self development.

Roy Barker  40:14 Authenticity is a Great Way to Connect

That’s awesome. I think you make a good point is that those things aren’t necessarily to point out our flaws. But they are to point out, where we can take action to make those things better. And it doesn’t, you know, everybody has their everybody is good at one thing or another are better at one thing than they are others are finding those pieces to plug in to help us be better across the spectrum. invaluable. For sure.

Ashleigh  40:41

Right. And it helped me hire better. Because if I know that I’m a visionary, I can’t hire another visionary, who has low follow through game, right. So I need somebody who’s great at implementation, to take my vision, do something with it, and then I can come back and make it as as amazing as it needs to be.

Roy Barker  41:01 Authenticity is a Great Way to Connect

funny you say that, because I depending upon, you know, some of the way the responses or interviews, that’s one thing I have to sometimes make clear is that I’m not looking for somebody to re engineer this. I mean, I know, you know, in the beginning is like, I know what I want and what I need, and I’m trying to hire to that not somebody to come in here and you know, re engineer the whole process where you know, they can be the visionary. So

Ashleigh  41:25

Right, exactly. And that’s also when it comes to hiring. What I want your audience to know is that if someone’s trying to do that, I think that’s a red flag also.

Wrap Up

Roy Barker  41:35 Authenticity is a Great Way to Connect

Exactly, exactly. All right. Well tell everybody who do you like to work with? How can you help them? And of course, how can they reach out and get a hold of you?

Ashleigh  41:44

Okay, I love to work with people who know that marketing is a process who have something that has already worked. So you’re selling a product or service and you know that it works. You just need users looking to scale because you want that true freedom. And you want to be able to do what you want, when you want how you want. That is my absolute goal to help you get there. And you can contact me at theoffice@Make Your Mark consulting.com. And that is a tribute to The Office the show. I wanted to find email address that made me happy.


That’s good. That’s good.

Ashleigh  42:24

And you can find me @AshleighChanel on Instagram, or you can send me an email.

Roy Barker  42:29 Authenticity is a Great Way to Connect

All right. Well, thank you again, so much for your time. It’s been a wonderful conversation, a lot of things to think about a lot of great ideas as well. So y’all reach out to Ashleigh Chanel, let her help you get your marketing going. And that way you can have a little bit more of that free time to do some things that you want to do. that’s gonna do it for another episode of The Business of Business Podcast.

Of course, I am your host Roy. You can find us at thebusinessofbusinesspodcast.com. We are on all the major podcast platforms, iTunes, Stitcher, Google Spotify, and if we’re not a one that you listen to reach out, I’d be glad to get it added. So make your listening easier. Also, we’re on all the major social media platforms, we probably tend to hang out on Instagram a little bit more than others. Reach out be glad to interact with you there. You can also find a video of this interview when it goes live on our YouTube channel. So go check that out in a lot of our other great guests. Until next time, take care of yourself and take care of your business.

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