Starting from Nothing - The Foundation Podcast | Building your business ENTIRELY from scratch. (general)

Jeremy Chatelaine is the founder of Quickmail.io, a tool to help businesses generate leads on autopilot with automated outbound emails and smart follow-ups. Quickmail.io is one of the first companies to provide a solution for sales automation. In just two years since inception, Jeremy grew Quickmail.io to over 1,000 customers and over $50,000 in monthly recurring revenue.

In this interview, Jeremy breaks down each phase of growing his business, from validating his idea to his first customer acquisition to hiring his first team member. He also shares his insights on the realities of a having the freedom of choice with your lifestyle business, and why chooses to focus on customer experience over massive growth.

 

In This Interview I Ask:

2:30 - Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur?

3:34 - What problem did you build Quickmail.io to solve?

4:41 - What did your process look like to validate the idea?

5:42 - Can you give us a sense of where Quickmail.io is right now in terms of monthly revenues and customers?

6:35 - What was it actually like for you to get your first customers?

9:42 - When you first experienced this problem for yourself, did you initially go see if there was something out there to solve it for you?

10:57 - When did you make the shift to focus on Quickmail.io as the business [you’re] going to build?

12:05 - Where were you finding those people [to have one-on-one sales conversations with]?

14:25 - How many sales conversations would you say you had? When you were doing the one-on-one sales conversations, how long did you do that?

15:38 - Once you switched from having one-on-one conversations, what was the primary way that you were acquiring new customers?

16:25 - Roughly what dollar amount, on a monthly basis, did you grow to [during the period] you weren’t really focusing any specific marketing effort?

19:20 - What sort of things are you looking for that would cause you to advise someone it’s time to leave [their] job?

21:42 - What is your most successful channel for customer acquisition? What is the number one factor that drives growth for you over the past couple of months?

23:45 - Have you thought about, [in] three years, what Quickmail.io would look like? Do you have a vision in place for what you want Quickmail.io to be?

24:45 - What was just one thing you personally needed to work on or overcome to grow Quickmail in the way that you did in the last two years?

28:48 - Have you put together any team?

31:13 - What does it look like for you to run a $50k/month business? What do you do on a daily basis?

35:44 - Who is an entrepreneur you admire?

36:30 - Is there something that you do every day in a ritual type way, no matter what?

39:21 - Who was your hero growing up?

41:47 - You’re going to a desert island and you can only bring one book, what book would you bring?

 

When to Quit Your Job

When you know for sure that if you spend more time on your business and it will equate to more sales, then you can quit your job. If you leave before there’s a predictable path to more customers, you’re gambling with your future and your family.

 

The Freedom to Choose When and When Not to Work

Many people build a lifestyle business to have the freedom to choose when and when not to work. However, sometimes you may need to force yourself to work, even when you don’t want to, in order to get things done. Other entrepreneurs who only work when they “feel like it” end up not doing much for their business. A business is like a child. It needs to be fed and changed. There are a few things that you just have to do. It’s not always sexy, but just do it.

 

How to Choose Your Mentors

Have mentors with the skillsets you wish to acquire.

  

Show Links:

Quickmail.io, website

Quickmail.io Job Opening for Customer Support, apply

Direct download: Episode_171_-_Jeremy_Chatelaine.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Brian Scudamore is the founder of many companies under the umbrella of O2E Brands (Ordinary 2 Exceptional). He started his first business 1-800-GOT-JUNK, a junk removal company, in college, and grew it to a global brand with franchises in over 30 cities across North America. Brian’s other franchises include Wow 1 Day Painting, You Move Me, and Shack Shine.

In this interview, Brian tells us how he grew 1-800-GOT-JUNK from a college side hustle to a 250 million dollar franchise. Brian credits his success to two things: having a clear vision for his business, and hiring the right people.

 

 

In This Interview I Ask:

2:30 - How much money can you make running a junk removal business?

4:07 - What were you studying when you were in college?

4:42 - If you were about to have the possibility to enter college today and you still wanted to be an entrepreneur, do you think you would go through it?

6:36 - What did [it] actually look like for you to go from nothing, to getting something created out of thin air?

10:26 - What kind of income were you actually taking home, roughly?

11:44 - During those first five years, what was your relationship like with [your friends and family] relevant to your business? Were they supportive?

14:53 - After you lay off these eleven people, do you start to create a system in a structure around exactly what it looks like to hire the perfect employee for you?

18:32 - So you've actually never taken outside funding for 1-800-Got-Junk or any of the brands, is that right?

20:21 - What kind of a process have you put in place to onboard new franchisees and keep the culture?

21:45 - Was there anything that happened with the franchising model that you guys really learned a lesson from?

24:49 - You guys have a pretty unique way of managing your vision, don't you?

26:26 - How close to that five-year goal did you hit your 30th city?

27:46 - So when does O2E [Brands] come about in relation to 1-800-Got-Junk?
29:46 - What goes into taking a two-to-three week job and making it into a one-day job?
32:01 - What other businesses are now under the O2E Brands’ umbrella?
33:20 - Was [You Move Me] something that you actually engineered from the ground up with you and your team about what an ideal moving experience would look like?
34:49 - What's the kind of core idea behind the whole concept of the entrepreneur? Why is this so important?
36:53 - Why is [entrepreneurship] potentially a better option than a pure entrepreneurship model?
39:26 - What skill sets or lessons did you need to learn to go from one million, and then to fifty million, and then to 250 million? What are the distinctions and that sort of growth?
41:43 - What does it look like for you to be the vision and the culture side of the company in terms of what you do in a day?
43:34 - What does your “painted picture” look like for the next three to five years?

 

Learn in the Way That Works Best for You

In the world of business, there're so many ways to learn. Brian’s style of learning had always been getting out and talking to mentors, finding real-life people who had been where he wanted to go and learn from them. It all depends on what you're doing. If you're learning to code, you don't necessarily need to go to college. If you're learning to be a doctor, you probably should. Lots of successful people have gone the route of the classroom and studying to get an MBA. Find the method that works best for you.

 

 

Overnight Success Stories Take a Long Time

As entrepreneurs, it's worth reminding ourselves that “overnight success stories” take a long time. It took Brian ten years to generate his first million dollars in revenue. There's so much talk of people getting into tech and building the next billion-dollar app, but those are truly unicorns. They do not happen very often. Real businesses are the ones that take time, take that passion that never wanes, and you're just constantly giving to try and really grow your company.

 

Systematize Your Business

Write down all your business processes into a documentation of how your brand does everything. Systematizing became the foundation for 1-800-Got-Junk’s scaling. Brian took everything in his business, how he answered the phone, how he price jobs, how he resolved customer complaints, how he marketed the business when things were slow or busy; and compiled it on a one-page checklist of “how you do this the 1-800-Got-Junk way”.

 

“Inspect What They're Expecting”

When it comes to customer service, always ask, “What we expect, is that getting delivered?” A CEO shouldn’t ever get so far away from the front lines. You have to connect. You have to check in and you have to “inspect what you expect”, even as you continue to grow a business.

 

The Keys to Growing a Business Successfully

 

  1. Have a Vision of Where You're Going

“If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there”. It knows exactly where you're going. You don't have to figure out exactly how to get there until time starts progressing and you start figuring out the how. The vision is all about where you going. What's the destination?

Imagine pure possibility. What could the future look like if only you could imagine it? Write down on a sheet of paper that your business would look like, feel like, and how you’d act at a point in the future.

Example: The “painted picture” for 1-800-Got-Junk was a five-year vision that they would complete by December 31, 2003. It said they'd be in the top thirty metros in North America. It said they would be on The Oprah Winfrey Show. It said they would build the “FedEx of junk removal”, but with clean shiny trucks, friendly uniformed drivers. That painted picture compelled Brian to start seeing the future, and he shared it with friends, family, co-workers, and new hires so that everybody would see this vision and make a decision if they believed, or if they should be doing something different.

 

  1. Find the Right People

It's all about people. It's people that make businesses grow and succeed and thrive. Find the right people.

Ask yourself, who’s the team? What does the team look like? What are the right seats? Bring those people in who have the same shared passion for your vision and towards building something bigger together. Hire and train them. Give them love and support and everything they need to be successful. Treat them right. Never compromise on the quality of people that you bring into your organization.

However, keep in mind that no one will ever be as passionate about your business as you are.

 

What is an Entrepreneur?

Entrepreneur stands for two things: opening doors to a new opportunity and then working together, building something much bigger together than anyone would have ever chosen to build alone.

An entrepreneur is someone who isn't going solo. They're not flying solo. They're building something together and what's awesome about our entrepreneurs is once they've had their own runway and started becoming successful, they recognize that the fastest way for themselves to grow, is taking other employees they have and saying, “Hey, have you ever thought of running your own business, of living the American Dream? I think I can help”.

O2E Brands is a cheerleading organization. They set a vision and help everybody work together towards that common vision. They also provide opportunities. They open doors and say “Come on in. Take the risk”. They invest with entrepreneurs and help introduce them to people could partner with one another to build a successful moving business or shine-our-window and gutter cleaning business in a new market.

  

Show Links:

 

 

Direct download: Episode_170_-_Brian_Scudamore.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:38am CDT

Andrei Mincov is the “trademark guy” and founder of Trademark Factory. He earned his PhD in law and worked for the biggest international law firm in Russia doing intellectual property work for the likes of Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook, J. K. Rowling, DreamWorks and more. When Andrei moved to Canada, he went from being a hotshot lawyer to a nobody. It wasn’t until he read Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad that he decided to start his own firm.

In this interview, Andrei teaches us about what a trademark does, and why it’s better to trademark before you launch your company rather than later. He also shares the story of how he became “the trademark guy” and how he challenged himself to become an entrepreneur.

 

 

In This Interview I Ask:

1:05 - How [did] you come to be the “trademark guy” in the Trademark Factory. What’s your story?

6:15 - How long ago did you join the biggest law firm in Russia?

15:00 - Why are trademarks important, and why are we wrong for not thinking about this stuff?

21:23 - You actually did some research on whether or not the top brands and the world were following [the saying “ideas are nothing”]. What did you find?

22:56 - Let’s say I’ve got a vision of building a lifestyle business, and it’s going to be $100k a year, roughly, is there any value in me going out and trademarking it if I have no intention of going bigger?

24:33 - Does [having a trademark] raise my value if I’m eventually going to sell a company? Is that going to allow me to get a bigger price for my business when I sell it?

27:42 - Are you educating people through your marketing on why they need trademarks or are you just doing traditional marketing in the traditional sense where you are making yourself known to people who are looking for a trademark?

32:46 - What is the cost [of trademarking] dependent on, or is there a flat cost for me to go out and get a trademark?

36:39 - Where can we go if we want to see some educational [trademark] cartoons?

 

 

What is a Trademark?

A trademark is anything that allows the market to tell your stuff apart from identical or similar products or services of your competitors.

The trademark has nothing to do with protecting the product or service itself but has everything to do with the way people identify it.

The more competitive the environment, the more important the branding becomes because everyone is doing the same thing. It’s so easy to copy those ideas so the only thing that will allow you to have the competitive advantage is to protect the brand.

“If you don’t protect your competitive advantage, you don’t have a competitive advantage.”

 

 

3 Reasons Why Protecting Your Trademark is Vital for Any Business

  1. It’s the cheapest and easiest way to minimize the risk of receiving a lawsuit
    Without trademark protection, a company may decide to register your brand as their trademark. They can then demand that you stop using your brand and rebrand yourself or pay them money
  2. It makes it easier and cheaper to go after competitors who come up with similar trademarks.
  3. It allows you to build a brand and asset for your business.

“If you’re running a business [and] you don’t think the value of the business is more than a few hundred thousand dollars, basically it’s a hobby. It’s not a business.”

 

Trademark Your Brand Before You Launch

All the big, hot startups (like Uber, Firefox, Facebook, Google, etc) filed their first trademark applications within the same month, if not many months, prior to launching. One thing that distinguishes these founders from other entrepreneurs is that they believed they could be the next big thing; so they did what potential big things do and protected their assets.

“Trademarks are all about timing. You need to be the first. Just because your trademark was available yesterday, doesn’t mean it’ll be available today.”

 

Trademarking is Not a Huge Investment

The cost of trademarking is marginal is compared to the cost of filing a patent. A patent typically requires tens of thousands of dollars and years of your life.

When determining if you should trademark or not, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Would you be okay with having to rebrand your business?
  • Would you be okay with a competitor using the same brand to do the same business?
  • Is there any value in the brand when you’re not doing the work?

If the answer is yes to all, then you don’t have a business.

 

How Trademarks Affect the Sale of Your Company

Whenever someone buys a company, they do their due diligence. They check competitors to see if your business may be infringing on someone else’s. They check to make sure all your logos and branding assets are protected. If everything is protected, it makes it easier for the buyer.

They’re not just buying your systems, but also your customers and the time that you invested building your brand. If they can’t take advantage of that, that’s a problem. The brand affects the value of the company.

 

Show Links:

Trademark Factory, website

Request Your Free Trademark Search, fill out the form

Trademark Educational Cartoons, website

Direct download: Episode_169_-_Andrei_Mincov.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:26am CDT

Aaron Vidas is the founder and CEO of Strategy Box, a company that helps others companies find their most profitable customers and creates radically simple plans to help them grow.

In this interview, Aaron talks to us about the software he built to help B2B companies determine the ROI of their marketing. Aaron shares his journey from validating his idea to hiring someone else to execute on his minimum viable product. We learn the importance of evaluating the ROI of our marketing and how you can use Strategy Box's dashboard to see what’s working for you in your business.

 

In This Interview I Ask:

  • 2:55 - Recap for us, what did you find out your business was great at that you decided to focus on?
  • 10:23 - When you look at an opportunity, but [realize] I’m not the guy to go execute it, how did you start moving towards this process?
  • 13:42 - How do you view market/idea validation?
  • 17:07 - What did the build look like for the MVP (minimum viable product)?
  • 21:11 - What does the [StrategyBox] dashboard look like in terms of what data you’re showing?
  • 24:00 - How many different roles do you have in the software?
  • 26:30 - How does [AI and the algorithm] play a role in the Dashboard?
  • 29:14 - How is the proliferation of smart technology going to play into the evolution of the C-Suite in big companies?
  • 31:29 - Does [the StrategyBox] dashboard reduce the amount of overall tools [CMOs] need to use or just make better use of them because the data becomes easier to interpret?
  • 32:34 - Who is the ideal customer for [StrategyBox]]?
  • 35:22 - What are the most exciting things on the product roadmap that are coming down the line?

 

Minimum Viable Product

You need a condensed set of specifications of what your MVP needs to do. The functionalities don’t have to be your full vision. You just need to make sure it works solves a problem today. Also, make sure you can sell that version.

 

What is the ROI of Your Marketing?

You need to know the ROI of your marketing. You need to know what’s working and what’s not. You need to have a clear picture of every dollar and how much revenue you get back. The average CMO is using nine to twelve tools to figure out what’s going on in their marketing.

 

There is One Reason Someone is Buying

In any given B2B sale, there is literally one reason somebody is buying. It might they can get it faster. It might be the service is better, but there’s an itch that you’re scratching. That’s the 80% of the reason they’re buying. The other reasons are the 20%.

 

About StrategyBox

StrategyBox shows you what your company does this week in regards to what is driving revenue for you, and what is suck on revenue for you. That way you can evaluate what about your marketing and sales activities is working or not, and who is responsible for what within that.

StrategyBox’s intention is that if you are going to spend a dollar with them, they can provide you an insight or information that you can then go make an action and make eight to ten more dollars on.

StrategyBox’s ideal customers are B2B SaaS (software as a solution) and B2B professional services (ie: agency work, consulting) who spend a lot of money spend a lot of money on marketing and sales, but don’t necessarily know the performance of it. They can help you find leakage in your sales and marketing, even if you are getting leads. Customers who are not ideal are companies generating less than one million dollars in revenue.

 

Show Links:

Aaron Vidas.com, website

Strategy Box, website

Contact Aaron, email

CrazyEgg: Website Heatmaps, website

Zapier: App Automation, website

Direct download: Episode_168_-_Aaron_Vidas_pt2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Siamak Farah is the founder of Info Street (now SkyDesktop), an in-browser cloud app platform that allows small business owners to access, manage, and use all their business apps in one place. Siamak has had an amazing career working his way up at multiple software companies, including Steve Job’s Next Computers. With the knowledge and experience he acquired, it’s no wonder that he now runs his very own successful software company.

In this interview, Sia shares his journey of how he learned every facet of running a software company, from his time at Next Computers to starting his own web-based operating system. Sia gives us his insights on automation, being ahead of “the cloud” curve, and implementing the lattice management structure to empower his team’s passion.

  

In This Interview I Ask:

2:54 - When did Info Street originally start?

3:47 - Tell us a little bit about what you were doing before you started Info Street in 1994.

4:46 - What was your role at Next [Computers]?

10:03 - What did a Next computer cost at that time and who are you selling them to?

12:43 - So when you started Info Street 1994, where was your head at, in terms of what problem are you going out there and looking to solve or what sort of a solution we're looking to provide to people?

16:12 - Give me some examples of the study the type of stuff that you guys were

automating.

17:48 - So take us through a little bit about like the-the progress of Info Street as it evolved.

22:15 - What was it like when you started telling people in `95 that the best

operating system was going to be no operating system at all?

24:39 - How do you sustain that passion when things are getting tough?

28:34 - there's a certain percentage of your employees that are human and then for the rest of it, you employ technology. Let’s talk a little bit about that.

31:34 - what have we got going on in July for Info Street?

33:40 - what are some of the must-haves in there that every small business needs?

 

Know How to Speak the Language of Your Staff

Prior to starting his own software company, Siamak worked for other software companies to learn the multiple facets of running a software company effectively. Having that base understanding of different roles in the company gave Sia the experience to manage his own employees.

“I have a policy of hiring people smarter than me and always listening to them, but nowadays everything's gotten so detailed that when you hire people smarter than you and you want to listen to them, if you don't have a base understanding, you can't listen to them. You don't know.”

 

Railroad Track Your Processes

Info Street was growing too fast for its small team, but not fast enough to raise funding. Siamak then decided to implement automation, or as he likes to call it “railroad tracking”, 90% of his company to better serve his clients and increase revenue.

“Whatever we're doing twice we are going to automate, and whatever process that other people [would] have to use to do, we are going to go ahead and automate that and basically write it down.”

Pro Tip: Write down the processes of ALL repetitive, tedious tasks that you do for your clients, and AUTOMATE IT.

  

Have Passion and Stick with It

Many people think they can go work for themselves, but they forget the benefits of an established organization (things included such as HR, legal, and sales). Eight out of ten small businesses go belly-up in the first year because of passion missing. You have to have the passion to see it through. “You have to go through the passion and not get slowed down with things that seemed more important than the bigger goal.”. It’s easier said than done. If you have a passion you will succeed, but if you don't have the passion, within a few months, you’re going to miss that paycheck.

 

 Empower Employees with Lattice Structure Management

The typical pyramid structure management has a top, middle and bottom. Lattice structure management is characterized by self-management and has no hierarchy or defined leadership. Every point is in support of every other point. The person closest to the problem is the one that's going to make a decision.

“So I may be the CEO of the company, but for instance, if the janitor comes in and says our vacuum cleaner is broken, it shouldn’t be my decision to decide which vacuum cleaner to buy.”

When you empower people, you actually give them passion. If you delegate properly everybody has their own area, and then we all work in unison together, you get very nice results with very little tension.

  

Build Your Business on “The Cloud”

“The internet is a great democratizer.” - Siamak Farah

Thanks to “the cloud”, some things that were only available to the large businesses ten, fifteen years ago are now available to everybody. Nowadays you could work from home or work from some of these shared office spaces or whatnot. You don't really need a secretary. You could answer your own phone, voicemail, whatever. Plus Info Street / SkyDesktop provides various packages of the common tools every small business needs to foster start and grow their business.

  

Show Links:

SkyDesktop, website

Get 10% Off Info Street, link

Direct download: Episode_167_-_Siamak_Farah.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:48am CDT

Kallen Diggs is an international bestselling author, career strategist, and contributor to major publications like Entrepreneur Magazine and The Huffington Post. He is the founder of Reaching the Finish Line, and has both a book & internationally syndicated radio show by the same name. Kallen has helped over 2,000 people reach the finish line in their careers.

In this interview, Kallen shares the mission behind Reaching the Finish Line, how he got started in entrepreneurship, and the habits he practices as well as the tools he uses in his business. Kallen also gives his insight on what it was like to publish his first book through traditional publishing, and why writing for smaller publications actually produced more sales for him than his exposure from larger publications.

 

 

In This Interview I Ask:

1:54 - What is the purpose of Reaching the Finish Line? How do you help folks?

2:38 - Who is the avatar for Reaching the Finish Line book/radio show? Who do you see as your target audience?

4:25 - How long have you been doing this? Give us a timeline [between] the book, the website and the radio show?

9:10 - So what happened right after college? Did you dive right into the path of becoming an entrepreneur? What did that look like for you?

9:29 - What was the job that you got out of college? What did you do initially that kind of gave you the taste of what normal employment might look like?

11:02 - When somebody comes to you, what are the types of things that you put them through to help them essentially get more fulfillment out of what they’re doing? What process do you put them through?

13:13 - Give us an example of some of the questions that you ask [clients] when they come to work with you?

17:23 - What are some of the things that people believe are stopping them from getting what they want, but doesn’t actually matter in the grand scheme of things?

21:07 - How was your book published?

23:09 - When you first thought about writing a book, did you consider all options from self-publishing to traditional publishing? Tell us about the process about how you went about publishing a book.

24:02 - What was it like for you to actually start reaching out to other publishers? How did you actually start connecting with [publishers]?

30:16 - From that interview you did, what is one of the biggest takeaways you got from talking to [Robert Kiyosaki]?

32:27 - How do you plan, set goals, and execute [all the work that you do]?

36:11 - Do you write every day?

41:51 - How do you define success? What does success mean to you?

 

How to Reach the Finish Line in Your Career

  1. You need to be willing to be open, humble and receptive to considering things that you may not have considered previously.
  2. You need to determine if you are happy by defining what happiness means to you.
  3. The most common mental block that people have is the belief “I don’t have time”. You have two options: you can continue to believe you don’t have enough time OR you can look at things that are not getting you to your finish line and cut those things out of your life in order to create the time you need to get you to your finish line. If you want to create more time, what are things you’re willing to sacrifice?

 

Getting Your Book Published the Traditional Way

Books are a great way to earn passive income. Although self-publishing has become popular amongst online writers and entrepreneurs, you may prefer to publish your book through traditional publishing companies.

It is important to have a book proposal for your nonfiction book (publishers will ignore your manuscript alone). You will need to answer the following questions for publishers:

  1. Why is your book project a good idea?
  2. What is your following (what type of people and how many)?
  3. What are your marketing plants to help the book become a bestseller?

 

Tips for Writing for Publications

  1. When you write content, try to repurpose the content so you’re not reinventing the wheel over and over.
  2. It may seem counterintuitive to write for a smaller publications versus a larger, more popular one; however smaller publications have more targeted audiences.
    (ie: The Huffington Post publishes content for all types of people and interests, while The Good Men Project publishes topics that interest men specifically)
  3. The amount of shares your content receives is the primary metric you should focus on. Shares indicate the amount of people who actually enjoyed your content and those people become part of your Also keep in mind that the audience size of the publication you’re writing for doesn’t always produce greater results or shares. Sometimes a smaller more target publication may produce better results and shares.

 

Show Links:

Reaching the Finish Line, website

Reaching the Finish Line, book

Kallen’s Robert Kiyosaki Interview, podcast

Zoho: business management tool, website

Trello: project/task management tool, website

Calendly: appointment scheduling tool, website

Direct download: Episode_166_-_Kallen_Diggs.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:30am CDT

Jenn Scalia runs a coaching business and membership site for women who want to put themselves out there and run their own online business. Formerly, she enjoyed doing social media full-time for the largest casino in Atlantic City until she was laid off. Jenn felt like she hit rock bottom after her second layoff in two years. It was then that she decided that she wanted control over whether or not she worked and how much she earned. Jenn then moved back in with her parents’, and leveraged their support to get out of debt and slowly grow her business to the six-figure company it is today.

In this interview, Jenn tells us all about Little Black Business Book, and what it takes to run a membership site. We also talk shop about creativity and why she’s addicted to investing in one-on-one coaching.

 

 

In This Interview I Ask:

2:35 - Did you go and get another job after [getting laid off]?

4:21 - What were the first 60-90 days like from the time you [decided to start a business]? What did it look like in the first three months of you figuring all this stuff out?

5:40 - Did you have habits or rituals that you did everyday? Did you do things to condition your mindset that way you could keep moving forward even though it was kind of tough?

6:50 - What are you saying in your marketing materials in order to attract clients that sets you apart from the other options that people have?

7:40 - How would you describe your ideal customer?

8:20 - How does your membership fee work?

9:20 - What are some of the specific mini courses that people could go through as a part of the membership site?

10:11 - When you launched the membership site originally, how many mini courses were a part of that?

14:04 - What’s a typical time frame from you’ve got the idea to it’s on the membership site?

14:40 - What’s your magic when and where for creation?

15:57 - Do you have a specific place you like to create?

16:42 - What are the strategies that you use you to acquire your ideal customers?

18:12 - How do you capture testimonials?

20:47 - What’s your most popular mini course?

21:48 - What’s your favorite social challenge that you run? Give us a taste of what that looks like.

23:12 - What’s content prompt?

23:36 - What kind of team is behind this?

24:22 - What do you think is the biggest chokehold in your business? What are you working on the most?

25:28 - What do you see for your business in the next three years? What’s that look like?

26:25 - Of the education and training you’ve experienced yourself, what are some of the game changers for you?

27:35 - What’s the latest book that you’ve read in the last six months that has shown you something new that excited you or that grew your business or your personal life?

28:26 - Did you systematize [drinking water] in any way?

28:52 - Let’s say you woke up and you don’t feel like you want to work. Do you have something that you do to push through or step back from the business? How do you look at a “down day”?

30:29 - Do you ever abstain from technology?

31:36 - What does success mean to you?

 

How to Position Yourself in the Marketplace

Position yourself as a thought leader and as someone who is the go-to person in your niche. Create a viral visibility so that people know who you are and know about your business.

 

How to Capture Testimonials

In order to get the right answers, you need to ask the right questions. Get your customers to express the journey from when they decided to hire you to their end result. Some questions you might include are:

  • Where were you before you purchased [product/service]?
  • What happened during your experience with [product/service]?
  • Where are you now after experiencing/using [product/service]?

Pro Tip: Ask for video testimonials that included specific numbers and actual results such as an amount of money saved or earned or percentage increase of goal(s).

 

Jenn’s Business Game Changer

“Every time I’ve worked with someone one-on-one, at a higher level, it definitely moved the the needle for me. I’ve also taken lots of courses, but I don't think, looking back, any course or program itself was a game changer. It was really having that first hand one-on-one support and accountability that really changed it for me. I'm addicted to it.”

“If I don’t continue to invest in myself, and I don't continue to have that support I'm not going to be able to continue to run a business that’s seven figures.”

 

Show Links:

JennScalia.com, website

Your Body’s Many Cries for Water, book

Direct download: Episode_165_-_Jenn_Scalia.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:32am CDT

Jason Carter is a software engineer with a PhD in computer science. While going through The Foundation Process, Jason dabbled with a few different niches. Once he started seeing results, he focused on the path of least resistance. Through consistent action and reflection, he learned what he what he was doing wrong in his process, then made adjustments to set his system right. In just eight months he was able to generate $115k all from using cold email.

 

In this interview, Jason tells us what he’s learned from mistakes he’s made when he first started cold emailing people, and what he changed in his subsequent emails. He also shares why he deviated from developing a software for multiple customers in one niche (like most Foundation students have done), to developing software on a per-project, one-off basis.

 

 

In This Interview I Ask:

4:41 - What was going on in your life before the Foundation, and what was the impetus for you to decide to go through [the program]?

6:01 - Have you ever been out there selling to the customer?

7:42 - How did you kick off your first project?

10:24 - How passionate are you about dentistry?

13:50 - What was the call to action in the [initial] emails [you sent] that made it seem like you were asking for too much for a cold email?

14:39 - What did you change when you [started] cold contacting the list of dentists you had an affiliation with?

12:52 - Take us through the story of the first person you started working with. What was that like?

15:27 - Why did you decide to build a software for one dentist as opposed to many dentists with the same problem (what students typically do in The Foundation)?

16:50 - So what did you make on this first project? What did you quote it?

18:20 - What was the time frame from the time you sent the first email to the time you started getting paid by your first client?

19:50 - If I were to go out there and pick a list of 100 people, what are some of the mistakes that I would make as a novice?

25:00 - What have been the outcomes of cold email in your life?

22:47 – Have you ever really done anything [related to] a sales career?

23:12 - How uncomfortable was it for you to do this?

23:29 - When you get that voice in the back of your head, how did you get through that?

24:33 - From the time that you did your first project, how many other consulting projects have you brought on as a result of this cold email outreach?

24:49 - You want to tell the Vegas story?

27:50 - Where are you going to take all of this?

28:38 - If I were just the middleman entrepreneur who went in and discovered the problem and then hired a developer to complete that deliverable , out of the $115k, what would I actually keep in my pocket?

31:40 - What is the biggest takeaway for you over the last eight months?

 

The Foundation Process

  1. Find a problem to solve.
  2. Pre-sell your solution to that problem.

 

 

How to Pick a Market

You can pick a market that you’re passionate about, but it would be better to pick a market that actively spends money and invests in their growth. “What you need to fall in love with is the process of starting businesses rather than the specific niche or passion.” - Frank Mocerino

 

Tips for Cold Emailing

  • Find the top influencers in your target market. Those are the type of people who will do extra work (and spend the money), are passionate, and want to grow.
  • Mention your common affiliation (ie: college or networking group) in the subject line of your email. If you don’t have a common affiliation, take the time to read their blog or listen to their podcast. Then share what you found valuable from your experience with their content. They will appreciate you for taking the time.
  • Keep in mind that one lead can connect you to another. Top influences will know and put you in contact with other people in their field. After confirming their problem, ask them if they know of others like them who also suffer from that same problem.

 

Mistakes to Avoid When Cold Emailing

  • Don’t send emails to general addresses like info@website.com. Instead, go for the direct email name@website.com.
  • Don’t try to sell them something in the first email. Instead, explain your interest in learning about their pain and wanting to help create a solution for them.

            Example: Jason was too focused on himself and what he wanted from the email

recipient rather than what he could do to help them. “I was focused on ‘This is

who I am and this is what I want’ instead of ‘This is who I am, how can I help

You?’”

  • Don’t worry about the quantity of your email list. It’s not about how many people you email. It’s about the quality of the people you email.

  

Show Links:

The Science of Cold Emailing, sign up form

Direct download: Episode_164_-_Jason_Carter.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Jennifer Barcelos and Sandy Connery are both alums of The Foundation Class of 2013, who met and instantly became friends at our Foundation live event. Jenny was a lawyer and new mom wanting to explore new ways to fund the nonprofit organization she worked with, while Sandy was a certified pedorthist, who after selling her previous business was looking for a new entrepreneurial challenge. After uncovering a common pain point shared by yoga studio owners, Jenny founded Namastream, a virtual wellness studio service for yoga instructors. Sandy, being a fellow yogi and Namastream enthusiast, joined the team a year and a half later.

In this interview, Jenny tells us the story of how Namastream came to be, and what her experience of building a SaaS solution from inception to growth is like. Sandy shares what prompted her to join the Namastream team and how roles are divided between them.

 

In This Interview I Ask:

4:59 - How many studios did you end up speaking with before you saw the pain you were going to solve for them?

5:35 - How do you actually take that pain and start taking action toward building a solution to it?

7:20 - How were you thinking about the long-term vision of what you wanted to get out of building something?

10:01 - People always say that you should build a business in an area that you’re passionate about; is yoga a passion of yours?

12:50 - Jenny, how long did you run [Namastream] without Sandy, and what was the impetus to bring somebody on?

14:54 - How did you decide to bring someone on as a partner versus hiring a rockstar team member that you pay as an employee?

16:50 - Sandy, what drove you to get involved?

19:35 - How did you go from a bootstrap company to going through the 9Mile Labs Accelerator program?

27:28 - What are some of the core takeaways from the Accelerator program?

29:30 - How do you two divide your roles in the company?

33:30 - Who’s the ideal customer for Namastream?

37:41 - What’s the vision for Namastream over the next three years?

40:13 - Do you feel like you went in and dominated yoga and now you’re spreading, or does it feel it doesn’t do you any good to sit around and dominate yoga for years before you spread?

42:12 - [What is] the biggest mistake that you believe you’ve made that has led to breakthroughs or growth?

 

How to Validate a Pain Point

  1. Interview multiple target customers and find a common pain point.
  2. Have an additional conversation with each of those same customers you interview, and get them to confirm the pain point you’ve discovered.
  3. Research bigger brands and companies who have already figured out how to solve the pain point you’ve discovered, and evaluate their solutions.

 

How to Qualify a Potential Partner

  • This person should know your business.
  • This person should be someone you trust 100%.
  • This person should be as excited and interested in your company as you are.

Example: Jenny and Sandy were already accountability partners within The Foundation program so Sandy knew all about Namastream from their conversations. Sandy was always interested in Namastream so when Jenny proposed a partnership, Sandy intuitively said yes.

 

Show Links:

Namastream, website

Soulful MBA: Start Your Own Health and Wellness Business, website

9Mile Labs: Accelerator Program, website

Direct download: Episode_163_-_Jennifer_Barcelos__Sandy_Connery.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Geoff Woods is the host of The Mentee Podcast and an alumni of The Foundation, who went from having a 6-figure sales job to becoming a full-time entrepreneur. Geoff was going through The Foundation’s “Idea Extraction” process when he realized that SaaS was not a good fit for him. Instead he made a pivot to focus on something he was much more passionate about building, which ended up being his podcast, The Mentee. Because of the guidance from his mentors, Geoff was able to monetize within three months of launch.

In Part 2 of this interview, Geoff breaks down the steps to meet the top influencers in your industry. Plus he fulfills his promise to share the strategies he used to become a contributor on Entrepreneur.com within a mere three weeks, and how you can do it too!

 

 

In This Interview I Ask:

2:26 - Take us through the process of what it looked like for you to find your own billionaire mentor.

5:46 - How can you, wherever you are right now, start tapping into people who are lightyears beyond you?

6:57 - How can other people go out and replicate what you’ve done?

8:10 - How did you acquire the energy, conviction and desire to be committed to your actions?

29:25 - Where can I go to receive this type training to replicate what you’ve done?

 

 

3 Steps to Strategically Add Value to People Who Can Help You Accomplish Your Goals

Get Clarity on Where You Need Help

Ask yourself the following questions, and describe each answer in one sentence:

  1. Out of everything you’re working on right now, what is the ONE thing that you need the most help with?
  2. How would you describe the ideal person who could help guide you with your ONE thing?

 

Tell People Where You Need Help and They Will Rise Up and Support You.

80% of everything you need is already within your circle of influence.” When you share what you’re working on and where you need help, people can’t resist the desire to want to help you. Either that person you talk to will be the person you need, or you plant the seed in their mind so when they come across a person who fits the mold, they’ll consider making that connection.

Example: When you touch based with someone and they ask “What’s up?” you can say, “You know, I realized that I need to surround myself with some really great people who just eat, sleep, breath [topic of expertise].” When you share these needs with the people who care about you, they naturally feel compelled to help you .

 

Strategically show up every day and focus on adding value to one person at a time consistently.

Ask each person, What are you working on? How can I help you? Know that they will share a piece of information, and even if you are not their answer directly, you may know the person who is able to help. Either way, you plant the seed and that connection will eventually happen.

Never ask a successful person out to coffee to “pick their brain.” This is basically asking them to give you their free time. The answer is obviously no.

The moment Geoff learned to become the person who just look to see how can I add value to them to every relationship, he started to find that people bent over backwards to help him.

 

 

How to become a contributor on any publication in three weeks

A common rookie mistake in an attempt to become a contributor on any publication would be to try to connect directly with its editor and pitch them your article.

Instead, Geoff followed his 3-step process:

  1. He became clear on his goal: Geoff wanted to become a contributing writer on Entrepreneur.com.
  2. He started targeting contributing writers. This was the script he used: “Hey, I’m seeking guidance. I see that you’ve written for Entrepreneur. I’m really curious about your journey, and the impact it’s had on you. I’m going through these crossroads in my life, and frankly I wanted to ask for your help. Would you be willing to spend 10-15 minutes with me sharing your journey? I promise I will find a way to add value to you. PS: I already shared your most recent post.”
  3. Finally he was recommended to the editor (which shows incredible valuable). He then asked the editor “Hey, how can I make you look good? What does it take to write a great post?” Then Geoff took the editor’s feedback and went to work.

 

 

Playing the “Long Game”

When you meet somebody, you may have a long term hope of how they can help you, but if you just go for the ask, it won’t help you. It’s more rewarding to have a long term relationship.

“[When] you fast forward to the end of your life, it’s going to be the experiences you shared and the people you shared them with.”

Every time you approach somebody, they’re a puzzle piece. You have no idea what role they will play in your life, but you figure out where they need help and you file it away. Over time you start finding pieces that fit together, and when you connect those people, tremendous value is created and ultimately the vision of your life is unfolded.

  

Show Links:

Listen to The Mentee, podcast

Download 7 Easy Steps to Meet the Top 7 People in Your Industry, FindthebestMentors.com

Get Geoff’s FREE Training, MenteePodcast.com/theFoundation

Direct download: Episode_162_-_Geoff_Woods__Ryan_Twedt_pt2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am CDT