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You’re probably only one or two tweaks away from significantly growing your business. But what are those things?
It’s not that you lack information. It’s that you have information overload.
Tips, tricks, strategies… we all have backlogged read later queues and videos saved for watching at some point when we have time.
It’s not that you’re unwilling to put in the work, it’s that you’re scared the things you’re focusing on won’t get you where you want to go.
That’s what seanwes conference 2017 is all about: giving you clarity on the things you can and should do now to help your business grow.
We have a legendary speaker lineup of experts coming to deliver actionable advice on sales funnels, data-driven marketing, team building, social media advertising, habits and more.
There are a million shiny objects, but what are the things you should be doing right now to get to the next level?
In this episode, Sean and Aaron explore how to find the right things to focus on when it comes to growing your business.
Highlights & Takeaways:
- It’s not that you’re not willing to work hard, it’s that you don’t know what to work on.
- Develop relationships with successful, smart people.
- Where do you find a bunch of like-minded people growing their businesses in one place? You find them at conferences.
- You have to have something to sell—if you don’t, pause everything you’re doing and get something to sell.
- If you have a product, you should be selling more of it.
- You have to stay top of mind with people if you want to sell to them.
- You have untapped gold mines in the things that have worked for you before; do more of what works, and stop trying to do so much.
- If you want to build a team, prioritize cash (you need way more than you think).
- You should be building processes if you want to grow, scale, hire, or build teams.
- Once you delegate a task, that person will eventually do better than you ever could because they’re specializing in that area.
- You can’t be working in your business and on your business at the same time.
- 01:56 Sean: It’s not that people lack information, it’s more that they have information overload. If you’re like me, my Instapaper is just jammed with stuff, and so is my YouTube Watch Later. I’m just saving things, downloading things… I’ve got that pdf folder in my Dropbox.
- 02:15 Aaron: How’s that stack of books doing?
- 02:18 Sean: Ah! And the books. It’s not that we’re not willing to work hard, it’s that we don’t know what to work on. We want our business to grow, but we don’t know if the thing we’re working on now is the right thing. David was talking about it earlier—“I kind of just pick something and justify it after the fact.” That’s basically what seanwes conference is about this year, helping you focus on the right things.
- 02:49 We have people coming out who are experts. They charge a lot of money to help people through their programs or consulting. They’re helping people with very specific things, like customizing your messaging, so when people come to your website, they see the right message depending on who they are. That way, you’re promoting the right product to the right person.
- 03:17 Brennan Dunn is going to be talking about personalization and data-driven marketing. Scott Oldford is going to be sharing what he know about sales funnels. Scott helps six figure entrepreneurs scale to seven figures with online marketing funnels, and he’s about to triple the prices of everything. I just saw him say this yesterday; he said he’s ready to stop appealing to thrill seekers, and he wants serious business owners. He knows his programs produce solid results, and he almost never shares this stuff on stage, but I got him to speak.
- 03:51 Aaron: That’s awesome. I was looking at Scott’s profile on his website this morning. Pretty cool stuff. Did you know he was in almost $800,000 worth of debt at one point?
- 04:01 Sean: Crazy story.
- 04:02 Aaron: I’m excited to hear that.
- 04:05 Sean: From three quarters of a million dollars in debt to making seven figures in a year or two, I think, it’s absolutely insane.
- 04:17 Aaron: Yeah. Kelly wants to know who we’re talking about.
- 04:20 Sean: Kelly, go to seanwes.com/conference, we’re talking about some of the speakers that are speaking this year.
Want to Grow Your Business? Develop Relationships With the Right People
- 04:50 Aaron: Did you meet Scott at a conference?
- 04:53 Sean: No, Scott is a friend of a friend. I’ve been prioritizing building relationships this year. I’m using a Calendly calendar. I finally upgraded to the premium Calendly, so I can have different event types. I’m sending out links to people I’m meeting, and I’m saying, “Hey, let’s get on a call and let’s talk.” It’s no agenda. Some of my people were basically just trying to out-value each other.
- 05:29 One guy just gave me like $1,700 worth of programs. Another guy sent me a package with his book, guides, manuals, and journals. It’s so cool to connect with people. We’re each trying to out-value the other person. It’s “Hey, what can we do here?” Some people, I’m having out to my conference. Other people are inviting me to their mastermind group. It’s like, “Hey, next time you’re in town, let’s get together. Let’s talk. Maybe we can work together.”
I’m going out of my way to meet more people, and it’s turning into cool things.
- 06:07 For instance, getting Scott to come out and speak.
- 06:10 Aaron: So far, we’ve touched on two things that are great to focus on if you want to grow your business. The first one is what Brendan Dunn is going to talk about, making sure people who visit your site see the right message. The second one isn’t even on your outline, Sean, but it’s this:
Develop relationships with successful, smart people.
- 06:32 Sean: That’s true. That wasn’t even on my outline.
- 06:34 Aaron: I tried to throw you a softball there—did you meet these people at a conference, wink wink? Also, I know that it’s been really hard for you, Sean, but you have been going outside and going to more conferences.
- 06:56 Sean: Yes, I have. I’m choosing to invest in myself and be in places where I can accelerate serendipity. What is serendipity? It’s the off chance that something happens. You go to a coffee shop and you meet someone you’ve always wanted to meet, or you bump into someone and find out that they do the same thing you do. That’s cool.
- 07:26 That’s serendipity. Let me ask you something. What are the chances of meeting someone cool when you go to a coffee shop? We could calculate the chances of that. Every time you go to a coffee shop, you have a one in 500 chance of meeting someone great. If you go to a coffeeshop once a month, you’re only spinning that wheel one time a month. What if you went to that coffee shop five times a week?
- 07:51 Aaron: You’d spend a lot of money on coffee.
- 07:54 Sean: That’s certainly one thing that would happen, but you would also accelerate your chances of serendipity. Coffee shops are a bad example. Tons of people frequent coffee shops, not all of them are people who are going to help you get where you want to go. You want to get around people who are trying to get to that next level, who are investing in themselves, and who have proven results.
Where do you find a bunch of like-minded people growing their businesses in one place?
You find them at conferences.
- 08:20 When I look at a conference, I’m not like, “What am I going to get out of this? What am I going to learn?” I’ve moved beyond that. I’m not that naive anymore. I’m looking at conferences like, “There is zero chance that I will get no return on this. The question is, am I going to get five, 10, 50, or 100 times my money and the value of my time back?” Chris Lema is one of our speakers at seanwes conference. He’s a daily blogger. He consults with people, but he also builds things himself and helps people build better products, run better software development teams. He says, “If I get involved on a project, I drive for results by making sure the staff are well lead, mentored, introduced to new concepts and decision-making frameworks.” He says, “I’m going to help you manage your team. I’m going to help you build a team, whether that’s remote or in person, help them communicate better, make sure you’re bringing on the right people.”
- 09:21 He’s a great story teller, so he’s going to make you laugh. I wanted him to come out personally, for me. Selfishly, I wanted his insights on team building and leading a remote team, building software and things like that. That’s going to be very valuable and I met him at a conference. There’s no way I would be able to get him to speak at our conference unless we had already met. He knew who I was, he had seen my face, we had gone to dinner together, so it was an easy way to get him to come to the conference.
- 09:54 Ok. I don’t want to get too out in the weeds. I want to make this actionable for people. They’re wondering, what are the right things to focus on? There are tons of things you could be doing. What should you be doing?
What to Do If You Don’t Have a Product
- 10:17 Sean: I can’t tell you right now, exactly, for sure, what you should be doing, but I can give you a little bit of a framework and hopefully help you work through it. It does depend on where you’re at. The first thing I would ask is, do you have a product? Do you have something to sell? Business is commerce. You have to sell something. You have to engage in a transaction, or you’re not in business (Related: MakeYourFirstProduct.com).
- 10:40 If you have a website and you have a blog and you’re not making money and you don’t sell anything, you don’t have a business. You have a blog. If you have business cards, you go to a conference, and you’re shaking people’s hands, you have business cards. You don’t have a business. If you don’t have a product, you need to make a product. You need to offer services. You need to have something for sale. Aaron, you just asked in the chat if people have a product to sell, and I’m seeing a lot of “no’s”. If you don’t have a product, how are you going to make money? You have to sell something.
You have to have something to sell—if you don’t, pause everything you’re doing and get something to sell.
- 11:36 Sean: Make something. Put something up. Make something small, something absurd. I know that if you put a sticker on your site that someone can buy for $4, you’re not going to make a bunch of money, but you taught yourself how to make a product, set up a cart, and take people’s money. You have a way to process payment. That is an asset! Now, make another product, and you don’t have to deal with all that setup.
- 12:10 You just duplicate the product, increase the price, and put it up for sale. You’re building off of systems that you’ve created. Next, evaluate your time. What are you doing? Are you spending time making things that will make you money directly? Are you making something that people can buy? If not, focus on that.
If You Do Have a Product, Focus on Selling More of It
- 12:30 Sean: If you have a product, you should be selling more of it. I know you’re thinking, “Yeah, of course, Sean. What do you think I want to do?” I’m not talking about what you want. I’m talking about what you should do. You should be selling more of it. Selling is a verb, an action, a thing that you do, and you’re not selling right now. You’re getting distracted. You have Shiny Object Syndrome.
- 12:56 You’re going to from one thing to the next. “Okay, I made it! I launched it once, I sold it! What’s the next thing?” The next thing is to do more of what works. The next thing is to do that same thing again and again and again. There are two ways to sell more of it:
- Do the things that don’t scale.
- Do the things that scale.
- 13:16 Let’s zoom in on number one, doing the things that don’t scale:
- Business development
- Reaching out to people individually
- Establishing partnerships
- Replying to every single comment
- 13:30 I got an email from someone this morning who had listened to the most recent episode of the seanwes podcast. He wrote, “Love today’s episode. It was so good. I saw you at Digital Commerce Summit and I wish I had said hi.”
- 13:44 I wrote back, “That’s a bummer. Maybe I’ll see you at seanwes conference.” I dropped a link to the conference. Do you know what he wrote back? “I’ll see what I can do. I want to connect.” You know what? Maybe I didn’t make a sale at that point, but I made an impression. I remember one time I was talking to Matt on the Lambo Goal podcast, and he started talking about some social media conference I had never heard of.
- 14:16 The reason he was talking about it and it felt like something he wanted to go to was because he listened to this podcast where, every episode, they talked about the conference. After some 50 episodes of hearing them mention it, he’s like, “I want to go to this thing.”
You have to stay top of mind with people if you want to sell to them.
- 14:38 Do the things that don’t scale, but also do the things that scale. This is not a one or the other. It’s both, everything together. Put in the extra hours. If you’re not selling what you have, you’re not going to make money. What are the things you can do that scale? Build out your sales funnels. If you get a sales funnel in place, like Scott is going to teach at the conference, then you’re going to have sales coming in regularly and you’re going to be able to sell automatically.
- 15:08 Another thing you can do is personalize your messaging. What’s the old school way of selling? You cold call people. You go through a process. “Hey, what is your current setup with this? Do you want something new? Can we get something for you?” You’re personalizing that based on the responses you get on that call, live. You’re asking someone, “Where are you at? How can I help you?”
- 15:35 With your website, you can’t really do that. You’re basically putting up one message. Your website is like a billboard. That’s it. The billboard can’t personalize to your user. Do you ever watch that show, Black Mirror? There’s one episode, the social media thing with the stars…
- 16:04 Aaron: This lady goes into this apartment she wants to rent, and this hologram starts playing that shows her this really handsome guy. It knows that that’s her kind of guy, and it paints a picture of what life will be like for her living in that apartment.
- 16:21 Sean: Everyone basically has a rating above their head, anywhere up to five stars. No one has a 5.0, because that’s too perfect, but every interaction you have with someone, you rate them. It’s a really interesting concept, an interesting episode. Season 3, episode 1. Everyone has this score, and they’re qualified on this score. They’re like, “You can’t rent this apartment, because you’re a 3.” Or you’re a 3.4, and you’re trying to rank up, trying to get to the next level.
- 16:59 She’s walking outside and she looks at a billboard, and the billboard paints a picture of the life she wants to have with some guy next to her, and the guy is custom-tailored to her personal preferences. Obviously, that’s a little bit creepy. It was a super creepy episode. The point is, the billboard in this show was personalized to her interests. It was tailored.
Your website has one message, but what if you could personalize that message based on what someone is interested in?
- 17:43 Aaron: I have no idea how to do that.
- 17:44 Sean: Right. You can do it on your website. You can do it in your emails. You can make those things play together. This is the next level of marketing automation, and that’s what Brendan Dunn is going to be teaching at seanwes conference. That’s really powerful stuff.
Do More of What Works
- 18:07 Sean: Do more of what works. This is a message that people probably need to hear a few more times. You have had something that went well for you. Think back a couple of years. What has worked well for you? What have you done? Who have you worked with? What have you sold that made you the most money? Where have you had the best results? Go back and do more of that.
- 18:39 I have to be honest. That’s the only reason I did Learn Lettering 2.0. I was already wanting to move on in 2015. I thought, “I want to move past lettering. It’s going to make people think I’m focused on lettering, and it’s going to delay me moving on and establishing myself with something else.”
- 19:06 But I heard this advice (do more of what works), and I thought, “You know what, I should do that.” So I launched another version of the course. We reproduced the whole thing. We added some more. We launched it again, and we made $177,000. I was going to move on. Shiny Object Syndrome. Meanwhile, I had this untapped gold mine.
You have untapped gold mines in the things that have worked for you before; do more of what works, and stop trying to do so much.
- 19:38 It’s two messages here. Do more of what works, first. Second, do less better. A lot of you are trying to do too many things. You’re copying other people. You’re like, “They’re doing this. I should do this.” You’re listening to the podcasts with all the strategies and the tactics, and you’re trying to do too much. Ramit Sethi had a great article on Tim Ferriss’ blog where he talks about different marketing channels that he uses.
- 20:20 He says, “Look, there are all these things you can do! If you listen to the marketers, they say that you have to do everything. You have to do paid ads, joint venture stuff, content marketing, you have to have a podcast, do videos, and put on your own conference… It’s everything. You have to do this.”
- 20:43 Aaron: I’m already tired by that list. I’m going to take a nap.
- 20:44 Sean: SMS opt ins. If you’re not doing SMS opt ins, what year are you even living in? Ramit says no, we’re going to double down on just a few of these. This is our bread and butter. We’re good at this stuff. This stuff is working for us, so we’re going to hone in and be really good at those things. What is that for you? I don’t know what that is for you. You know what that is for you. I’m trying to give you some space in this episode so you think about that.
Outsourcing & Building a Team
- 21:27 Sean: The first thing I would say is that if you want to scale, grow, delegate, hire, build your team, and start outsourcing things, number one:
Prioritize cash, and you need way more than you think.
- 22:01 Unless you have some kind of SAS revenue model, revenue that’s all but guaranteed, it’s growing, it’s compounding, you account for churn, but it’s net positive and you’re going up—in that case, you don’t necessarily need this big, huge nest egg in your bank. You don’t need a ton of cash set aside, because it’s all but guaranteed. If you have anything but a SAS revenue model, anything that’s irregular—products, client services, if you don’t have sales funnels or recurring revenue, anything else that’s irregular—you have to have at least six months expenses in the bank (Related: seanwes podcast e269 How to Have Six Months of Income Saved in the Bank).
- 22:43 That’s for your business. I would recommend it for your personal finances as well. Get more money in the bank, and I would recommend this personally: Check out that seanwes podcast episode. You want six months income in the bank, and if you’re going to hire someone new, get to a point where you have six months of their salary already in the bank before you hire them. Get cash in the bank for your business, get more than you need.
- 24:04 The second step is to build processes. With every new step that you’re doing, every new thing, product, service, process, show, content, for anything you do that’s new, build processes. This is a totally redundant list that I made while I was on a plane. It’s totally redundant, but it’s supposed to get you to think.
- 25:16 You should build processes if:
- Something will be done more than once
- It’s currently being done by somebody other than yourself
- It will every possibly be done by someone other than yourself
- You’ve ever made a mistake
- You’ve ever forgotten a step
- You’ve spent energy trying to remember a detail or a step
- Anyone else is involved
You should be building processes if you want to grow, scale, hire, or build teams.
- 25:52 There’s a great book about building processes called The E-Myth. Everything needs to be able to be done by someone with the least amount of skill without you being there. It’s going to be hard to delegate. You do have to delegate, which is number three, but keep in mind that things only need to be 90% perfect.
- 26:34 You’re going to be held back by Superhero Syndrome. It’s going to hold you back from ever delegating, but you can’t grow unless you do. You have to realize that your standards of perfectionism are unrealistically high. You’re not delegating because you think other people can’t do it as well as you, they’re not going to care as much as you, and it’s kind of true and it’s kind of not.
- 27:00 On the one hand, it’s true. You, as the business owner, are going to care more than anyone else. No one is ever going to care as much as you. However, your perspective is wrong. Your context is wrong. No one is ever going to care about your business as much as you, but people can and will care about their department more than you, and eventually, they will surpass 90% perfect, surpass 100% perfect according to your standards.
Once you delegate a task, that person will eventually do better than you ever could because they’re specializing in that area.
- 27:33 When you delegate, the threshold for handing something off is 90% perfect. If people can get it to 90% of what you would call perfect if you did it yourself, that is good enough. You have to define that for yourself. 90% is good enough. Last thing on outsourcing, you can’t do the work and run a business.
You can’t be working in your business and on your business at the same time.
- 28:03 You can’t do it. You can’t do both. Even computers can’t multitask. Even multi-core computers aren’t multitasking. They have two cores working in tandem. When a computer wants to do multiple things, it stops doing the one thing and starts doing the other thing so fast that, for humans, it seems like it’s doing multiple things at once. Multitasking is a myth—you can’t do two things at once. You’re either going to be working in your business or on your business, and if you want to grow, you have to work on your business.
- 28:35 If you work in your business and switch to working on your business, back and forth and back and forth, you’re going to stagnate. Some people are like, “Who cares? You don’t always have to be growing, right? What’s the big problem? Why can’t I stagnate?” Tell me if a plane can maintain a position of stagnation? Can a plane stop moving forward and maintain that position? No. If you get to a point where you’re stagnating, if the growth flatlines, any line that stays flat will fall.
How to Know When to Risk Growing
- 29:15 Aaron: Can we answer a question real quick? Sarah said, “It’s such a balance knowing when to take advantage of opportunities to grow, knowing when to take a risk, and knowing when to insulate yourself and save.” Do you have any thoughts on that?
- 29:30 Sean: Rephrase it for me in your own words.
- 29:34 Aaron: It sounds like she’s afraid of growing. She’s afraid of hiring people, outsourcing, and taking on more work than she can handle. That’s a good place to start: If you don’t have more work than you can handle, it’s probably not time to start hiring or outsourcing. What do you think, Sean?
- 29:59 Sean: Growing is not a short term risk, it’s a long term risk. If you feel like growing is risky right now, it’s not time to grow. You haven’t insulated yourself enough. You haven’t saved enough. Let’s say your expenses are $10,000 a month. You should have $60,000 in the bank, minimum. Let’s say you want to hire an employee and you’re going to pay them, let’s say, $5,000 a month.
- 30:30 You wouldn’t want to go off of your existing money situation. “Well, I’ve got $60,000 in the bank. They’re going to cost $5,000/month.” It’s not that simple. The $60,000 is your padding for your baseline recurring expenses of $10,000 a month. That’s already minimum. You can’t start using that money for other things, like hiring someone. You need more money.
- 30:55 If you’re going to pay your employee $5,000 a month, you need another $30,000 in the bank. You need to get to $90,000 in the bank before you hire this person. If that’s the situation, if you have $90,000 in the bank and you’re looking at hiring someone, it doesn’t feel like a short term risk. You could say that it’s a long term risk, because in the long term, it will cost money to pay their salary, and you’re hoping they can help you grow.
- 31:21 Let’s be honest. As a business, you’re trying to profit. If you can do something without hiring an employee, you should because it’s more profitable. That’s kind of the long term risk. If it feels risky in the short term, you’re not ready. You need to prioritize cash more.
If you enjoyed this post, you’ll love the conversations at seanwes conference 2017. Join us in Austin, Texas this September to learn how you can take your business to the next level and meet other incredible business owners.