It’s 21:32 and I just finished watching WWE. The one or two things in the week that give me pure joy, except for spending time with my wife and with my son. I’m knackered and really would rather go to bed, but instead, I’m here with you.
Hustle is the creed in my household, and we work hard for what we want. And what is that, success. But mostly what gives me great joy is the success of others.
I have taken on two huge projects building platforms for a business professional and a celebrity. I don’t know which one excites me more, maybe it’s the media partnership I got involved in last week. However it may be, I’m looking at my Facebook notifications and watching a lady fail by asking people to give her their email in a group post for information on local events. I’m laughing at her. I’m laughing because she’s collecting emails for a mailing list that she will send info to and she’ll be lucky to get one of them to open her emails. Why?
Because if you want people to give you their email and it’s even close to a lead, you have to provide them with value?
Why am I hinting at the fact that she’s failing? Because what she could have rather done is go to the 3/4 places she aims to pimp off on her new subscribers and ask them to work out a great deal for her so she can bring them more business. The companies get more feet through the door and she built a valuable list of qualified and valuable leads she could use to build a super local groupon-type platform. And if she’s done it right and was a success because of it, she would get all the businesses calling her up to feature their deals.
Monetization: I’m thinking club membership getting access to super deals. R10 membership per month and if the area is big enough and she’s marketed properly: mailing list, support community like a facebook group, a suggestion box, teazer clips on her vine account, snapshots on instagram, etc. She may get a 1000 members in her first 3 months, giving her a passive R10k on the side, if this is a hobby.
What does this have to do with referrals?
If you haven’t an idea what a referral is, here is a good definition.
A referral is the opportunity to do business with someone who is in the market to buy your product or service. Dr. Ivan Misner Successnet.
Now what I just explained to you is how to build damn good leads. By providing people with tons of value first, building trust and creating an open door for you to share what you can really do.
A referral is a different from a lead because when you contact the person, you they will at least be expecting your call. And that is business you can’t buy any other way that being in a referral network and building solid business relationships with like minded business professionals.
So, this is where I am and I want to show you what I have in front of me.
For those of you who don’t know what that is, those are yellow referral slips. It’s the slips I keep from referrals I’ve given to other business associates within my referral group/chapter. Now I often talk about BNI because it’s sort of part of my life right now.
How may referral slips are there? 108. And that’s over 3 months. That means, by definition, I have 36 opportunities for other to do business per month. Created and searched open doors for my colleagues so that they can be introduced to people looking for them. And I’m lucky, because I stumbled upon this method where I use social media to find people asking especially for the peoples services or products within my chapter. I have even told some people how I do it and it’s still my ace card.
What have I learned from this experience.
Well, here are some facts:
- I always try work harder than anybody I know.
- I have been called the hardest-known working entrepreneur.
- I have joined BNI in July and already made ten times the money I put into my membership.
- I have served on some kind of leadership since day 1.
- I try and give as much as I can all the time.
- Screw 110%, I will always give you 150%, at least.
The above are reasons I chose to work for myself, because usually this kind of commitment is trampled upon by most employers. So what I have I learned from this experience so far? Here are some thoughts:
- Always give more than you ever ask.
- Give people value in their experience of your company.
- Givers definitely gain.
So, what about the cost.
Success in business is going to cost you… deal with that. As soon as you made peace with that you’ll be much better off. We live in a business society and a consumer culture where people want to know what’s in it for them. The last statement is more true for consumers, and the more you give to them, they’ll feel terrible not giving their business to you. What does that mean for businesses. I have just paid R70.00 for a video of almost an hour where the person showed me a multi-million dollar business model where out of 5 steps, 3 of the steps is giving away goods, information and profit. Only after that is profit maximised and customers return.
Back to cost: Let’s ring up the cost of the referrals I gave in the last 3 months (let’s rather look at last month):
- BNI membership fee per month: R200
- Seating fee for the month: R300
- Time spent per day looking for referrals: 1 hour X 20 days X 425 (hourly rate) = R8500.
- Cellular account: R750
That’s modest accounting. If I asked my wife she’ll probably find more. What is the total? R9750. Divide that between the referrals I give? R270. And then there are some people that don’t even call the people you refer to them. That aside.
Why do I try work harder and be more effective? Because the more referrals I work on connecting people with others who are practically asking for their services/products, the less each referral costs me. That’s crazy math right?
What is the spin-off?
There is a spin off to working this hard and embracing the Givers Gain philosophy. Here are some I’ve encountered so far:
- I have the implicit trust of most of my chapter members.
- Most will gladly help me when I ask them for something.
- People want to work with me and I have not only forged great relationships, but have also built great partnerships – and profitable ones at that.
- People listen when you have something to say.
So, the cost of a referral is damn high, especially if you produce only one or two referrals for your network each month. If a referral cost me R270, imagine what it costs others that happen upon referrals and pass them on?
- I put together a report called 30 Ninja Tricks to Produce More Referrals. It’s free and you can download it here.
- If you’re not part of BNI, I encourage you find a chapter near you and check it out.
It’s 11:00 now and yeah, it takes me an hour and a half to write a blog post. I’m off to bed.
In this first episode of a still un-conmirmed podcast name, I talk about building a sales funnel in a niche around content marketing by building leads from a blog.
Steps to follow:
Get a domain.
I would suggest getting a domain for your personal name. This is great for branding and can serve as your primary account as your business grows and you set up more websites. Personal branding is always better for me and you can build your business from there. Click the banner below and set yours up. Remember, it’s best to try and get a .com domain as it carries more weight in the search engines.
(When they ask for nameservers, just keep it on their nameservers, we’ll change it later.)
Simply click on the banner above, follow the easy steps and remember to use the domain you created in the previous step. In the next step I offer to help you for free, just send me your welcome email from Hostgator and I’ll do the rest.
If you came this far, you have shown a commitment to your success and this project. The next step, which is to connect your domain and hosting account together is quite tricky and technical. So much so that it could be a stumbling block for you. So, I want to offer to do this for you to help you get to the next step. What I’ll be doing is:
- Connect your domain and hosting account.
- Allow them to propogate (could take up to 48 hours).
- Upload WordPress for you.
- Upload a theme for you.
- Hand it over to you.
Those are the four tricky, technical steps you have to take up until you come to building your sales and lead generation funnel. So if you want me to help you, take the steps up until the hosting. Contact me though my support link above in the menu and I’ll take you through what I need from you (Your domain logins and hosting account details). So the four steps is technical and if you are using me to help you, ignore them and skip to ‘Getting an autoresponder’.
Follow the instructions in my free report. If you don’t have it yet, the sign up box is in the sidebar.
Upload a theme.
Go to my WordPress design buddies, Woothemes. They have free themes. Download one and upload it via the dashboard inside WordPress.
Start creating content!
Now you gotta start creating those pillar, stellar posts people are going to keep on coming back to. More on this later.
Set up an autoresponder.
I use Aweber for my. You can get yours set up for $1 here.
Get Pop-Up Domination.
Pop up domination is the plugin that let’s you get people’s attention the first time they get to your website. Get it here.
That’s it. I’m going to try make video of each of these in the next week but that’s the gist of it.
Did you take action. Are the steps clear enough? Did you download my report yet? Is there anything I can help you with?
At the risk of getting ‘Grow Up’ messages from readers and peers, I want to tell you how I’m inspired by a kids program. Not so much the program itself, but the story behind it.
How I came about this.
If you know me or have been reading my material online, you would know that I have a son, Elroi and he is such a joy for me in my life. With every baby comes the challenge of keeping him entertained and calm, not necessarily for work (my wife helps me with that), but when we need to do some things, or just want a break. A great way (for me) to get his attention onto something is to put on a DVD of VeggieTales.
So, usually, when I’m busy with other things, I usually need to be around him. He’s getting very attached to me (to the relief of my wife). Having to be around him most of the time, I get to watch VeggieTales too, especially when he has fallen asleep (we have a policy in our home, we watch every DVD finished). So, if that happens, or I’m by myself and feel like a little light-hearted fun, I switch on a VeggieTales program I haven’t seen yet and switch on the commentary (and sometimes watch the extras).
Having done the above, is how I came about the information here.
What is VeggieTales?
VeggieTales is an American series of children’s computer animated films featuring anthropomorphic vegetables in stories conveying moral themes based on Christianity. They frequently retell Biblical stories, sometimes anachronistically reframed, and include humorous references to pop culture in many different eras by putting Veggie spins on them (e.g., classic literature, TV shows, etc.). The series was developed by Big Idea Entertainment.
VeggieTales is the brainchild of Big Idea Entertainment and was birthed out of GRAFx Studios where Phil Vischer created graphics in commercials around 1989. In that year he created an animated short called ‘Mr. Cuke’s Screen Test’ using one of VeggieTales’ staple characters that would later become ‘Larry’. That same year he teamed up with his buddy Mike Nawrocki and created VeggieTales in 2003. Their first program was called ‘Where’s God when I’m s-s-scared?‘ and was released the same year.
All the above information is information I found on Wikipedia (you know, just to have my facts straight). But from here I’m going to add a little more of my experience.
How Mike and Phil inspires the crap out of me.
Back in 1993, these two guys (and one or two other fellas) worked on their first production. What I like about the stories they tell during some of the commentaries is how they burned the midnight oil (and candle at both ends). They sat in studio, taking shift to keep the offices running 24 hours to get their first production finished.
This inspires me because the guys have a dream to produce something awesome, something that’s going to bring value to a lot of people (and children). They worked tirelessly getting things done. There were some folks who worked their bringing in snacks. And they were down to the wire. Little money, hustling so that the investment they make today (and loans taken) can be paid off. Every year, they are lucky if they break even. Most of the time, balancing their year ends books, they see that a lot of money went into the company that are ‘personal loans’ to the company.
They were working hard on this first project, having great supportive wives (like I do Hey, I gotta get my kudos) and hustled to get their project ready one time, for deadlines, to sell the programs distributions rights. I imagine they pulled it off because of the history that followed.
From a few people to a century staffed company.
Four years later they ran out of office space, not yet having the scope they do today. But they moved to the burbs of Chicago having bought the Dupage Theater in Illinois. Rezoning issues due to the renovations forced them to hire space in a local mall. What do you think the size of the company was? Well, the last I heard in commentary is they had over 200 staff members.
Well, fast forward a couple more years and you’re talking about an acquisition by Dreamworks because, like any company, they underwent some challenges with management and a lawsuit. Don’t every company go through challenges like these. Be inspired by the next portion.
Name and amount dropping.
Without giving you too much detail, I want to drop some names and figures. Because this post is not about detail, but about hustle, dreaming and working hard to reach goals you keep setting for yourself.
- Veggietales has been distributed by the same company that distributes Barney and Friends.
- The company is now a staple of Dreamworks Animation.
- The series has been aired on NBC and streamed on Netflix.
- When the company broke off distribution with their then partners Lyrick, they moved to Warner.
- The company became worth tens of millions in a few years.
Wasn’t there a lot of controversy?
Yeah, there was. The company that produces VeggieTales, Big Idea, have been sold, mismanaged, sued, bought, bankrupt etc. This is all the asking of a big company that started in someones garage (well, probably). Amidts the controversy it’s a story of how something small can become something big. Very BIG!
What this means for my company.
I want to talk for a second what I see for my company in the Big Idea story. What I like most about this story is that they started small, like I am right now, but they soon (in a couple years) become VERY big player in the kids entertainment business.
What I also like about the story is they moved in big circles and were involved in big deals with large, influential companies. And if they can do that, from humble beginnings, then so can I.
Amidst all the controversy of the company, looking at their recent material and their online space, they seem to not have lost their identity, which is portrayed by these two charming veggies in the picture here.
How this story is relevant to me.
I also work VERY hard, you should know that by now. I sleep very little and it’s not only because we have a baby in the house. I get up early and finish work later than most ‘employee’ types. I am still small where right this minute, as I’m writing this, I have one person who’s on maternity leave due back in a couple days, I have one designer/freelancer in the Phillipines and one bookkeeper.
I’m working on one of the biggest projects and moves of my company. Although we have been in business for around 3 years now, I have sat in board meetings and I’m part of a large referral network. I have been fortunate enough to have been involved in project that have been building my confidence greatly. So, I’m going to launch a large initiative to launch a new division in the next month. It may just be the push I need in my business to have us move to our own offices (or office block?) and get some professionals in to consult. We may also be able to pay better salaries to our staff.
What I will apply in my business from this story.
Below you will find, in bullet points, the points I look at to apply or take away from this story.
- Don’t be afraid that you’re still small. The only thing that’s stopping you from big deals, success and millions is hard work, the correct connections, innovation and time.
- Have good lawyers walk your road with you.
- Even in big deals and buys, try keep the identity of the company intact and it’s future will be ensured.
- A company cannot grow without a great product, great vision, damn hard work, great partners and leverage.
In this post I haven’t even touched on the awesome talent of the founders of Big Idea, creators of the kids program. I’m sure that has a lot to do with their success, which just goes to show that passion, talent and hard work may just mean millions. I have also not mentioned their sharp wit, appropriate humor, easter eggs or their engineered nuances that entertain and reach their target market: kids.
I would love to hear from you below. Have you ever watched VeggieTales? Was it voluntary or do you also stumble upon it’s brilliance through being involved in your kids life. What lessons from their story do you have to learn. Are you also inspired by a small company of a few people building a multi-million media company?
I contacted the driver yesterday about the accident and this morning heard back from her that the passenger, her son, who were slightly injured in the accident, will hopefully be released from hospital today.
The elements that made me wiser in business.
In the bullet list below, I would like to share some of the elements I thought of after my crash that I thought I can apply to business.
- Slow down – Before the accident happened, I literally mean milliseconds before, I just heard a hooter, I knew somethings wrong. Unfortunately, it was simply too late. Too late to respond. too late to swerve. You know that moment when you see your life flashing before your eyes? Well, my life was flashing before my eyes, and just the last few milliseconds. I looked an I saw the crash happen, and there was nothing I could do. It was too late.
Application: Sometimes we move too fast. Me and you. and my moving too fast, we crash now and then. We realize we have to regroup. Re-envision what we’re doing. retrain. Relaunch. Why? Because we’re moving too fast. And when we move too fast, we miss things. Details. Opportunities. I am literally working on like 5 projects at the same time. And I realize that I cannot commit to everything that comes my way. I have to sometimes decline and say no. When I was young, I used to sit and watch a lot. People. Things. And perhaps that’s what I need to do more. Watch, look, and listen. If I has slowed down a little bit, not that I was excessively speeding, but that I take time to pay attention, I would have probably seen the other car, and stopped, or paused.
- Rest properly – I think one of the reason this crash happened is because I haven’t really been resting, or slept. You may know we have a baby. He’s 11 months now, but have been pretty sick with Tonsillitis the last couple weeks. We haven’t slept well during the night, but having my own business I should adapt. I keep my own time. But being the hustling professional that I am, I start working at 5/6 in the morning, work with no breaks during the day and working until late. This and the little sleep I’m getting from my little one may be contributing factor of why my concentration was iffy and I didn’t see the oncoming car.
Application: When you don’t rest properly, you miss things, you can’t concentrate properly and you do sloppy work. This is not good when you’re an employee and worse if you’re the owner of your own business. You have to remember, your business and employees will only be as good, alert and productive as you are. As yours wind down, you will see the rest of your operation wind down too.
- Don’t chase – I’ve been driving my family to our physician today, and while driving I had a lot of time for introspection. I drove withing the speed limit, which I haven’t before, even with my infant son in the car. In the aftermath of yesterdays accident, people kept telling me I’m lucky my family wasn’t in the car, and that’s true. While we were driving to the doctor today, I thought: ‘I’;m not going to race and chase’… why? Because the risk is not worth it. I could make an accident, and that is not worth the trouble.
Application: We always rush and chase the next deal. Well, perhaps I’m assuming much, but I do. Imagine slowing down, ‘reading the road signs’, and taking just that simple ‘pause’. You may just see a great opportunity coming down the road in front of you.
- Have a support system – While standing next to the road yesterday mornmi9ng, after the accident, I kept on looking if the other cars passengers are ok, making sure they see I’m available t talk etc. After about 15 minutes I realized I haven’t called anyone yet. Not my wife, not my insurance company, nothing. So I started making calls, still in shock, not being able to believe how the hell this happened. I started looking for numbers. My insurance brokers phone number had changed. I called my wife and she put down the phone disconnecting the call. I was flustered obviously. So I called my godmother, who I had hoped had the number of my broker, which she had. She sms’d me the number, which first was wrong as it was my cousin. Then I had to call again. My broker eventually called me. My godmother is my support system, if she hadn’t been available to me, I would’ve still been standing next to the road.
Application: In business, my support system is my godmother, as she is also an entrepreneur like I am. Another support system would be my BNI group. we refer business to each other, and we often talk about our challenges in business. A good support group would be entrepreneurs of the same age group and business maturity that can help each other out in research, resources, experience and solutions.
- Be insured – I wonder if I need to explain this. If I hadn’t had insurance, I would have lost a car, be in lots of trouble, and sued up to my ass for the two cars I messed up and the hospital bills. It can ruing your life, and I would have to start saving for a new car. So, this one is a no-brainer which I was incredibly happy I had.
Application: I don’t have this myself, but it’s something that I definitely would need to add to my insurance portfolio – business insurance. What for you may as? Well, I have a good couple pieces of hardware. that’s something I would definitely miss had I not had it. Something else I would also love to have insured is my income ability. What happened if I had been in hospital for a week or more, what would happen to my income?
- Pay attention – This one has again to do with that one moment of error in judgement. The moment when I hadn’t looked ahead in front of me to see the car coming from the other direction. If I had paid attention, there would not have been a mom’s boy lying in hospital because of me.
Application: When you’re in business you have to pay attention to a lot of things: Your metrics, what is your closing rate on quotes and presentations. Are you perhaps too expensive? What are the upcoming trends in your business? And what trends are fading? Keeping ahead with developments withing your trade/niche will keep you ahead of the pack and in business.
- Dress appropriately – While standing next to the accident scene, I though ‘Shucks, I’m sure glad I dressed as warm as I did this morning’. I had on a long sleeve vest, a shirt, a warm top and a jacket. It was already pretty cold, but having on the correct attire, I was happy, because I would have died of the cold, had I not had it on.
Application: When I have a BNI meeting or I’m seeing clients, I have on a cream pants and a blue shirt. I’m sure my fellow members noticed. When I work from home the whole day, I (sometimes) keep on my pajamas, especially if it’s really cold. When I am home, braaiing, shorts and a t-shirt is appropriate (when it’s warm). So, you see, wherever you go, make sure you know what people are dressing wherever you go, especially in business, and dress one notch smarter than that.
- Be bold, introduce yourself – Right after I was in the accident, I went to the other car and made sure everyone was ok. Even thought the lady in the car called me an asshole (without knowing who the driver was at the time) and told me I should keep me away from her. I understood that. After she was out of the car and stood next to the wreckage, I waited until it looks like she was open and approached her, asked if I could talk to her, tell her I was sorry and if I could pray with her (she said she was a believer). I believe that act opened the door for me to still talk to her today and discuss what happened without sneering at each other.
Application: I worked in a record store once, and I had to do a thing that wasn’t unpopular with a staff member that disobeyed the boss direct orders. I usually would shy away, but if I wanted to keep my job, I had to go back to work, no matter how much my colleague hated me. The same way I don’t have fear of approaching a person. I also have enough life experience to know when a person welcomes the approach. Usually a handshake and an introduction elevator pitch may help you see how open the individual is to you.
- Get back to it! After I had the accident, I came back to my office, processed my claim, and went to pick up my rental car. Sure, I was emotional and had shock, but I went right back on the road. I think it could be attributed to the fact that my car and myself came off better than the two parties involved, but it was also pretty bad for me.
Application: When you fail in business, don’t give up. Do an assessment of what happened like I’m doing in this post and try and make your game/hustle better. Get back into it and try different methods. You’re only a failure when you quit.
Does any of this resonate with you? Have you ever been in an accident? Got any epiphany’s from that you want to share with me?