Speaker 0 00:00:00 If you can make your workplace or your business or your offering more appealing than where they are, they'll move. Right. And they, but they've just gotta know about it. So you, I think right now is where recruitment has become a game of marketing, right? So you gotta learn how to, to market your business market yourself and your offering mm-hmm <affirmative>. Um, and then when it comes to keeping them, it is once again, remembering that money, whilst it might be in the top 10 or top five, for some people it's not number one.
Speaker 1 00:00:26 If you have a vision for the agency you want to build, then we want to help you build it. Welcome to the agency. Our podcast brought to you by agency Mavericks,
Speaker 2 00:00:35 Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another episode of the agency. Our live here in the digital Mavericks Facebook group. And we are streaming this morning from our brand new studio in Melbourne. If you are listening to this as a podcast, I strongly strongly recommend you get on over to the digital Mavericks Facebook group. So you can have a look at the video. Of course, this is a video live stream into the Facebook group that we then just extract the audio for the podcast. We've built the live streaming studio. It's literally hung together with some gaffer tape and coat hangers at the moment just to get it up in time so that we can bring you this episode of the agency hour. We're very excited about it. Um, and we'd love to hear your feedback, your thoughts, your comments, if there's something that's broken or something that's not working or something you think we could improve, please let us know.
Speaker 2 00:01:23 Um, I also have a couple of massive screens in front of me, which is great. So which means I can see the comments Martin, uh, Satil says new studio looks good. Uh, and of course, please, uh, give streamy yard permission to know who you are. So if you do leave a comment, we can bring your name and your face up on the live stream. Like we just have there with Martin. Awesome. So very exciting. Uh, also very excited to have a special guest here with me today on the agency hour, he is one of our Mavericks club members, and he is a gentleman who started a digital agency with no intention of working in that agency, apart from doing sales and building relationships. And I thought it would be a really interesting conversation to have, because I know that a lot of us who start agencies actually start because we have some kind of creative or technical skill, maybe we're a designer or a web developer, or we know how to do SEO or social media management or run ads.
Speaker 2 00:02:16 And we end up in an agency by accident, and then we find it very hard to get off the tools and we find it very hard to delegate those roles to other people. Well, the gentleman that we're talking to this morning didn't have that problem because he doesn't know how to do any of those things. Well, maybe he does know how to do a little bit of it, but that was never his intention. His intention was to start an agency and then have his team do all the things. And then he would just, uh, build the relationships and, uh, and make the sales. So without further ado, I would love to welcome from Digi LC in new south Wales, Australia, Ben Fure, Ben, welcome to the agency hour.
Speaker 0 00:02:50 Good day, Troy. And thanks for having me. It's pleasure.
Speaker 2 00:02:53 Oh, thank you for joining us. I really appreciate you Simon. Welcome. This is the, the, you are the first guest on the agency hour in our new studio. Feel
Speaker 0 00:02:59 Honored. <laugh> it looks fantastic, mate. Well done. And congratulations on a awesome looking studio.
Speaker 2 00:03:04 Thank you. We were just chatting. We were just chatting in the green room before the show. I said to Ben, literally I could run this business from my car and the phone, but it wouldn't be as much fun. I have a habit of over complicating things. What is it when you end up, when you start to go down a rabbit hole and you can feel yourself going down the rabbit hole and then you can't pull out.
Speaker 0 00:03:21 I think, I think you're a bit like me. You like your toys. And so the studio is a bit of a, a playroom for you, so good on your mate for making that happen. Absolutely.
Speaker 2 00:03:28 It's been a lot of fun and huge shout out to max, our producer and videographer. I couldn't have done this. Adam. He has spent hours and hours crawling around on the floor, gaffer taping things together and making sure this all works, uh, for, for today. So, uh, big shout out to max, and it's only gonna get better from here now for those that don't know who you are and what you do. Just give us the, the elevator pitch, who is Ben Fu trail, where are you and what do you do?
Speaker 0 00:03:50 So, uh, I've been, um, lucky enough to be in business for a long time. And so this, this business, but funnily enough, this business was an accident, digital TLC, uh, my other business as a business coaching and training business. And I had to start using digital marketing nearly maybe 15 years ago to grow that business. And as that business grew and I was sort of using agencies, I was discovering that there was a lot of them that misunderstood what I was trying to do. So I decided just to build my own internal team and then clients wanted me to help them. And that's, you know, naturally over the, you know, maybe six, seven years that that business started to grow to a point where I went, you know what, geez, I need to separate this out as a different business. And so that's what I did.
Speaker 0 00:04:28 So, uh, it was only about maybe just over 12 months ago that we created the separate brand and the separate business. And, and today here we are, um, you know, team of sort of 12 people. And I have been in the office twice this year. I just, I don't go. I don't even live near the office. Um, where I am is two and a half hours north of Sydney in a place called port Stevens. I was one of those, uh, human beings that made that part of that mass Exodus when the, the pandemic was on to go live somewhere more, uh, appealing <laugh> when you're in lockdown and have never looked back. And so, yeah, so this business wasn't meant to be, um, but I can see the opportunity. And I guess the one thing I say to most people, if you are, if you're not doing digital marketing, if you're not looking after your digital assets in your business, then you know, long term, you're gonna fail because that's where everybody turns now. I mean, when I, I started my first business, 20 something year, 30 years ago now actually, um, yellow pages was the place to be, well, yellow pages doesn't really even exist anymore. So, so that's probably the quick, the quick story, um, having bought sold, uh, sorry, bought, built and solve many businesses, coached hundreds of businesses. And now today I still have a couple of businesses that pretty much run without my day to day involvement.
Speaker 2 00:05:34 So this business, the digital agency came as a direct result of your coaching clients saying, Hey, Ben, you know, you're coaching us through this staff. You're making all these suggestions we're going and hiring agencies. They're they don't really understand what we're trying to do. They're letting us down. They're not following the methodology. Can you just do it for us? Yeah. And at that point you are not a web designer or a web builder. You don't run ads, you don't do SEO. So, so I mean, you could have gone down that rabbit hole and learned how to do that. Why make the decision to not learn how to do it yourself and actually grow a team to do it?
Speaker 0 00:06:05 Well. Um, ironically, I actually did learn. So back in the beginning, I had, I'd spent about $90,000 across two agencies on Facebook advertising and Google ads. Um, I never learned the Google ads platform, but Facebook, I saw, always saw as an opportunity because when I, the, the way I built my business was through seminars. And the way I built those was I do joint venture partnerships with newspapers and I'd go to a newspaper and usually the local ones. And I, and I'd say, Hey, um, you know, you want your advertisers to spend more money. They don't understand how to write good ads. So they're putting ads in not getting results and they're pulling outta their contracts, not continuing. Why don't we run some events for them on how to write ads that sell. Um, but then what you've gotta do is you've gotta to give me free marketing to fill my seminars up.
Speaker 0 00:06:47 And so that's how I sort of filled my seminars up. So they'd, they'd gimme full page ads, whatever I wanted, they'd give me whatever I wanted and we'd get maybe, you know, back then in those days, there was a phone number, one, 300 something people would ring up and they'd talk to a human being. And they'd say, I'd like to get a ticket for this event. And we'd send out tickets in the mail. <laugh> in other words, this is the old days. And, um, you know, we'd get maybe a hundred people ask for tickets and we'd have 150 people turn up. It was just the way it worked. Wow. And slowly, what would happen was we'd end up with, you know, getting a hundred tickets or a hundred registrations, and we'd only have 30 people turn up or 20 people turn up. And I had this realization that maybe that, that methodology wasn't working anymore.
Speaker 0 00:07:22 And then slowly the registrations was, were just dropping right off with the papers. Um, and so that's when I started with the agencies, I thought, well, I've gotta continue to find these people somehow. And everything was pointing towards Facebook. So that's when I started. And when they weren't getting me the results, I went, you know what, I'll just learn how to do it. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. And so I did. And, um, you know, really the only difference that I made to it was I, uh, I know how to write marketing, so I know how to write good copy. And that meant that my ads worked a lot better because I got people's attention. And, you know, um, I wouldn't say I'm a master at the technical side. I'm not good with detail at all. I, you know, the technical side of staff really does my head in, um, trying to discover even how to, you know, share a Facebook, um, business manager with somebody else. I just, it's not my gig at all. So I had to hire someone to do that. And that's the first guy that I hired. His name was pat. Um, and I believe he's still working somewhere in the digital market, but the guy was brilliant. He just, whatever he touched, he just turned a gold when, when we created campaigns and I'd write the copy, I'd give it to him and he would just make it work. And we started filling up seminars again.
Speaker 2 00:08:20 Wow. And then, so then at some point your, your clients are saying, uh, can you start doing this for us? Were you, this is not your wheelhouse at this point, you're a coach, right? You're a coaching company. Did you, how did you, did you, at some point, were you nervous about being able to deliver results for your clients? Were you like, well, do we bite this off? If, you know, if it's more than we can choose, this is not really our wheelhouse. How did you get the confidence in the service offering to then be able to offer it to clients and know that you could get them results? Because I imagine that, you know, there's a double barrel here. If you, if you couldn't get your clients, the result from the digital marketing, it could also impact the relationship that you had with them as a business coach. Right.
Speaker 0 00:08:57 A hundred percent. Yeah. Yeah. And that has happened, unfortunately, because I'm, I'm, I'm like a lot of entrepreneurs, I'm very overly optimistic about what I can do. Um, and, you know, whilst I had managed to get it working for me, I probably underestimated what it took to get running for different businesses. In particular, I remember one failure I had with an organization that was an e-commerce or, and of course I had nothing to, I had no experience with the e-commerce whatsoever. Um, so, you know, when they said, can you do our marketing? And I said, yes. And we, it was, was a train smash. In fact, they, you know, we ended up in a big court battle and having to give 'em a lot of money back. So wow. By very virtue that, but, but once again, I look at those things, not as a failure, but an opportunity to learn mm-hmm <affirmative> um, now, fortunately that person wasn't also a coaching client, so it didn't cost me that relationship, but of course we had a negative review.
Speaker 0 00:09:44 We had a very negative experience and I don't want anyone to have a bad experience. I, I really genuinely wanna help somebody, uh, get results. You know, like most of us do, we don't ever really plan on upsetting somebody. Uh, but that was a real, um, eye opener for me to go hang on a minute, we need to either choose our customers more carefully and only do the things that we know that we can do, uh, at, or we need to upskill our team to get, to be able to do those things. And I'm more about se the opportunity than walking away from it. So at that point I went, you know what, I've just gotta find the right people to help me do this. And so I've done that now. Um, I've got some amazing people and, and the, the guy that I have running our ads is just incredible. Um, uh, Kevin is, is, is my main guy. He runs the, the PPC parts of all the campaigns. And when you've got someone who just lives and breathes it and understands it and is passionate about it, they, you know, they will spend their nights rather than watching Netflix, you know, watching tutorials or being on, you know, webinars and reading books and trying new things. And, um, and that's what this guy's like. So I know that, that we don't have that issue now, but back then, it definitely was an issue.
Speaker 2 00:10:47 How did you find Kevin? I'm, I'm curious, what's your process for, for putting base out and getting the right fish to pop their head up?
Speaker 0 00:10:55 Yeah. So I've used, uh, the Upwork platform, a fair bit for recruiting. And, um, you know, I probably should say this quietly because I don't like you taking people off of their platform and hiring them directly, do you really? But I quite often give little jobs to people on there. And then when I find someone who's really good, I'll start building a relationship with them outside of the platform. Now I actually, um, it took us a while I think for us to convince him to come off of the platform cause he didn't wanna upset them. And I think he had a fair bit of work with him until we could sort of give him the guarantee that we would we'd give him the work that he needed and pay him the way that he wanted be paid. And the work working conditions is more important than money anyway, you know?
Speaker 0 00:11:29 So, um, the way our team works, he's actually remote. So he was in Sydney during the lockdown. He said, I can't do this anymore. I need to get outta Sydney. Mm-hmm <affirmative> I'm gonna go traveling. Is that okay? And he's, he has not returned back to Australia yet. I think he's in France at the moment. <laugh> wow. So yeah, so we've got a team member and, and the clients don't know that they've got no idea where he is. Um, and he just does his work when he, when he's awake and, and just, it just gets done works really well. So yeah, so Upwork is where I found him typically I wouldn't do it, do it that way. Um, that's not my typical recruitment method. That's how I found Kevin. So right.
Speaker 2 00:12:02 What, what is the typical recruitment method?
Speaker 0 00:12:05 Uh, so what I've done in, in, in traditionally is like a lot of people I've used seek LinkedIn, you know, just a different advertising, but that, you know, I think when you look at recruitment as a whole, only 5% of the population is actually actively looking for a job. So, and I always find the people that are actively looking out that there's a high percentage of those people that have lost their job. Not because they've left, but because they've underperformed. Yeah. So I'm a big believer that you've gotta go hunting. And so there's 75% of people that aren't looking, but are actively interested. So, you know, I'll ask people in my network, um, Facebook ads actually worked really well for us. You know, I've had quite a few people through running Facebook ads, uh, and putting that in front of, uh, what I think is the right target market.
Speaker 0 00:12:43 Um, and quite often people will share that with people that they think might be ideal for the role. So that's worked well. Um, the other thing is I have used a, uh, a service called being sorted, uh, which was really quite effective as well. It's a, a guy that I know quite well, James Michael, he runs his it's, it's not a recruitment agency as such, it's a recruitment system, uh, that just leverages your time. I'm a great believer in not working very hard when people say, what do you do? My, my default answer is not very much or as little as possible, uh, because I believe if you work in the business or you spend too much time trading your time for money, it's very limited. So I look for anything I can that's leveraged. And so James had this really leveraged system where he would put, he would write the ads, place, the ads, you know, filter the applicants and just gimme the top three to 10 people to talk to.
Speaker 0 00:13:25 So that worked really well. That was probably default. So, I mean, I've tried many different things. Um, and most recent hires come through you guys, which has been brilliant. So we did that through the, the, uh, team, uh, accelerator, uh, system and your, your guys did a great job at, uh, at finding me somebody as a sales assistant, because I'm starting to leverage myself out of the, you know, the sales role in this business. So there's, you know, I really think there's just no one answer to recruitment. Unfortunately, I wish there was. Cause I know we're not looking for that silver bullet, but, uh, I think you just need a good, solid onboarding process when you do find a candidate.
Speaker 2 00:13:57 Yeah. I'll come back to that in a second. One of the things, uh, about LinkedIn that I learned a long time ago was the one of the, just a little tactical thing here to, um, kind of see if people are interested or looking for a new opportunity on LinkedIn is you find someone who fits the profile. You find someone who, who on paper, they look like the perfect candidate. And instead of asking endpoint blank, if they're looking for new opportunity, uh, uh, I think it was Dale Bowman. Actually, I, I might have learned this through one of his, uh, programs is that, um, you, you, you reach out to them and ask them if they have any colleagues that are looking for a new opportunity, because this is what you've got to offer in the hope that they put their hand up and say, actually, why didn't you, why haven't you thought about me?
Speaker 2 00:14:37 Um, and that's worked really well, uh, in, in a lot of cases for us. Um, but I think you you're right, you do have to play the numbers game. And I think people who are, you know, the, the best people to hire are the people who, who are really good, but a little bit bored or not getting a lot of meaning out of their current role and looking for a new challenge, not the people who are unemployed. They're not the best per they're not the best people to, to, to look for, because as you said, yeah, there's probably a reason they're unemployed.
Speaker 0 00:15:05 Hmm. Agreed. Agreed. Yeah. And I think, um, you you've hit the nail on the head. There are a lot of people out there to greater what they're doing, but what happens, you know, what they say? That's saying, um, what a familiarity breeds, contempt, contempt. Yeah. And I think that can be two way, whether it's the employee or the employer. Yeah. And it's easy just to, uh, you know, for a business owner or even a manager to maybe not even, uh, I won't say the word, not care, but no longer nurture that relationship with their employees. And that's, I, I think it's important as a leader to continue to nurture those relationships. So there's a lot of people out there that are feeling a bit despondent because they're not getting that nurturing. They might not be feeling, um, as, as, as, uh, valued in the organization because newer people are always naturally needing more, you know, work and more attention than, than, than existing people.
Speaker 0 00:15:54 And, and it tend, I think they do tend to just end up in the background and not being appreciated as much. And so there's an opportunity if you're an employer that has great working conditions, I think to, to put that out there and show people, you know, that you've got that and people will wanna work for you. And it's not, it's never about the money. I saw a list yesterday, funnily enough, I was on another podcast. I run for the collision repair industry. I was talking to a guy that had just done a series of breakfast seminars on recruiting in that industry. And he'd done the stats in that industry on why people, uh, leave a job and money was number seven, <laugh> number one was working conditions. Wow.
Speaker 2 00:16:29 So I dunno whether I can't remember whether it was Steven Covey or, or who it was, but I read this book, like, I don't know, a long time or 20 years ago. And it was, uh, it was about what motivates human behavior and the top three things that motivate employees in order were a, a cause that they believe in. So think about people who volunteer for a charity they're they're not getting paid at all. Right. Yeah. But they do it because they believe in the cause a leader they respect and money was the third thing that motivates people to either switch jobs or, or hang around. You mentioned your onboarding process. And I wanna come back to kind of working conditions in a minute, but you mentioned your onboarding process. What happens when someone is onboarded in detail, see, how do you make sure that they hit the ground running and that they're set up for success from day one?
Speaker 0 00:17:13 So I think the, the, the short answer is we systemize the role before we hire somebody. Um, because there's too too many people. And, and I learned the hard way you hire somebody that you're not really ready for. Your business is not ready for, then it's gonna consume a lot of my time trying to get them up to speed. So, uh, for example, this new sales assistant, we just started before her first day, you know, she had a login with video training to do and video training that I've done, uh, you know, some time ago, but it's the same training it's instead, it's how to talk to a client, what questions to ask, how to overcome objections, all the standard things that we need to have. Um, there's an, it was an introduction to the entire team, through our, you know, we use teams. So there was an introduction, so they know who everybody is.
Speaker 0 00:17:57 So there's like an induction process. Um, some of the team then are responsible for helping the new person understand, you know, where to find things, you know, what to do if you're sick or if you want a day off or how the, you know, how to access things. What, what happens if I can't log into my, my CRM? So I'm because I don't want those questions. Right. So <laugh>, um, all that stuff is systemized and then making it just really clear. So what are the, the KPIs for the position? And I know you guys have the job scorecard, which I've now adopted in my businesses because we didn't have it that clear mm-hmm <affirmative>. Um, and I love the way that you laid that out. So it's really simple for them to know, you know, how are they measured? And, and that when you look at one of, I think that's Stephen cave, I think it is in that Stephen Cavey book.
Speaker 0 00:18:36 Um, he talks about one of the reasons that people are dissatisfied in their role is they dunno whether they've done a good job or not. Yes. And so that scorecard makes it really clear whether or not you you're on target or not. And, uh, um, and, and it's not about the person then it's about the targets. It's about the, the role responsibility rather than the, the person so takes the emotion out of it. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. Um, and so we, we use that as well when we're onboarding. So the onboarding series, uh, process takes, I mean, anywhere between, uh, one week and four weeks, depending on the role, um, that we have, you know, when we've onboarded a coaching to our coaching, cause it's a four week induction process, you know? So it just depends on, and, and that's, that includes things like sitting in on sessions with other people and, you know, and I think so. I think, I think that onboarding process is more important than the recruitment process, to be honest with you.
Speaker 2 00:19:20 Oh, definitely. What happens in the first, you know, let's say we're 21 days in and you just know that this person is not gonna work out. What, how long do you give yourself and them to actually say, okay, this is gonna work or it's, it's a go or a no go. And then if it's a no go, what, how do you handle that situation? I'm making an assumption that there are times where it's a no go. So I'm making all sorts of assumptions. <laugh> if you do figure out in three weeks, oh, this is, I mean, this is terrible. I have to have to get rid of this person. What, what, what's the timeline and how do you handle that?
Speaker 0 00:19:52 Well, I've been in business for 31 years. I can guarantee I have made that mistake.
Speaker 2 00:19:56 <laugh> yeah.
Speaker 0 00:19:58 Um, and, and you know what, in the early days I made the mistake of holding onto the wrong person for way too long. Oh yeah. And I, and I wouldn't be the first person to do that. I can guarantee you. No, you're not. Um, and so these days I'm a big believer of your higher slow, your fire fast. And so if, if something's not going well, you need to be open and honest and communicate very clearly that they're not achieving what they're, what they're supposed to achieve. Mm-hmm <affirmative> um, on the same token though, if somebody does achieve something, make sure you let them know mm-hmm <affirmative> um, and there's a book by Ken B Blach Blanchard called, uh, well, well done. And it's about catching people doing something. Right. And I don't think enough people do that because sometimes when they, they might be doing more wrong than right in the beginning.
Speaker 0 00:20:43 But if you pat them on the back, as well as, you know, give them the odd, you know, kick up the butt, when they do something wrong, you'll find that that could help them and encourage them to do more of what's. Right. Because we are all, um, trained, like we we're trained animals really we're mamals, we we're, we've got this thing called opera conditioning. And so if you, if you don't condition people properly, if you don't treat people properly and treat them like, and I'm talking about, treat them with a treat, like whether it's a, a compliment or it's a bonus or something, when they do something good, then they're less likely to wanna do that again. So I'm a great believer in that. Having said that if they're just not getting it, um, and they're not going to get it, and you know that within a few weeks, you just need to cut your losses and move on and find somebody else pretty quickly.
Speaker 0 00:21:22 Um, but I'm a big fan of the deselection process. So I will say something like, uh, okay, so your goal is to do X, like let's say it's a sales person. I might say, look, your goal was to book 10 sales appointments a week. You're booking two sales appointments a week. If I was, if you were me and, and, and I was you, what would you be saying to me right now? Mm-hmm <affirmative> and then I let them tell me what they think I should be saying to them. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and they'd be saying something like, well, it's not very good. Unless you lift your game up. You're not gonna keep your job. Okay. Well, that's probably what I'm gonna say. So what are you gonna do in the next week? Or, you know, how long do we, how long do we keep this going before? You know, if you were me and I was you, how long would you give me to, to, to, to achieve these goals? And they're like a week or two say, okay, great. Let's give it 14 days. And in 14 days, if you don't do it, then let's call it quits.
Speaker 2 00:22:04 Yeah. Wow. That's great. Love
Speaker 0 00:22:06 That. And they they've deselected themselves.
Speaker 2 00:22:07 Yeah. I'm totally stealing that. Um, it's like, it's not me, it's you, but I need you to know that I need you to say, it's not me. It's you? Yeah. It's great. Um, well, Alan,
Speaker 0 00:22:17 I dunno if you've left. Did you ever listen to that thing that amps did many, many years ago it was called questions. Are the answers?
Speaker 2 00:22:23 No.
Speaker 0 00:22:24 Brilliant audio goes for about 30 minutes. You'll find it on YouTube. If you Google it amps. Um, he, I think he did a bit of work with network marketing groups. And he did this presentation called questions are the answers where it was about recruiting people and network marketing. But one of the things that he, he says in that is he says, if they say it, it's true. And so I've always taken that with me into any conversation where I've gotta negotiate, whether it's a sale or an employee, or if they say it, it's true. If I say something you can argue with me, if I say you are not performing, they go hang on a minute. I am. Yeah. If they say I'm not performing then for them, it's, it's now true. Right. So that's, I've just adopted that.
Speaker 2 00:22:58 Yeah. I love it. It's great. Uh, Keenan gap selling one of my, my favorite sales book of all time. He talks a lot about that as well is like the, the art to good sales is to ask lots of questions and actually get them to decide that you are the best solution for their problem. Um, was it whale? What, what was the book by Kim Blanchard
Speaker 0 00:23:15 Whale done
Speaker 2 00:23:17 Whale done
Speaker 0 00:23:18 As in a whale? Like, you know, like that up there shelf a whale
Speaker 2 00:23:21 Whale done whale done. Alright. We'll, we'll put a link to that somewhere here. Whale done by Kim Blanchard and a PEs questions are the answers. Yeah. Great. We'll make sure we link to both those resources. Now you've onboarded someone, their, they they've hit the ground running. It's all looking good. How do you keep them from? Because at the moment we had this conversation yesterday on the velocity call them Mavericks club members is that hiring staff is bloody hard at the moment because the labor market is so tight because there's less than 4% unemployment people aren't sitting around looking for a job. And those that do want a job particularly here in Australia. And I know I might offend some people here, but I don't care. We, we, it cost of living is very high. It's the, we have the most unaffordable property in the world.
Speaker 2 00:24:03 Everybody wants to buy their own house because of COVID. They want their little patched dirt, and they wanna stay away from everyone. And they wanna, you know, have that security and the safety. We're an entitled bunch. We're pretty bloody lazy Australians in terms of our work ethic. I mean, Ben has admitted here when people say, what do you do? He says, as little as possible, right? Um, we are a nation of convicts that have become a nation of quarry men. We love digging up the, the dirt and flogging it internationally, cuz it's easier than thinking. And, and frankly, it's very bloody hard to hire Australians because our expectations and what we want to get paid and how, how we wanna work. It just completely ridiculous. So once you find, once you find someone and I'm sorry if I've offended any Australians out there, but Steve shit, that's the truth. Uh, once you've hired someone, how do you keep them and how do you stop another agency coming in and offering them another 30 or 40 grand a year and stealing them?
Speaker 0 00:24:54 That's a great question. First of all, I'll just run things like there's no, there's not a skilled shortage, right? There's, there's the same amount of people. There's just less, uh, I think like you said, there's less people moving from role to roll. So I think from that point of view, if you can make, if you can make your workplace or your business or your offering more appealing than where they are, they'll move. Right. And they, but they've just gotta know about it. So you, I think right now is where recruitment has become a game of marketing. Right? So you gotta learn how to market your business market yourself and your offering mm-hmm <affirmative> um, and then when it comes to keeping them, it is once again, remembering that money whilst it might be in the top 10 or top five, for some people it's not number one mm-hmm <affirmative>.
Speaker 0 00:25:36 And so I really believe that working conditions is so important. And mm-hmm, <affirmative>, it's about the relationship that you have with each of your team members. And my team know that yeah, I might be the owner and I might call myself the ship captain or whatever it might be, but I'm still one of the team I'm still part of the team. And I never, um, I don't treat people like employees. I treat them like team members, like human beings. I tell them to put their family first before my business, because that's what I would do. Mm-hmm <affirmative> um, and, and their health first that's more important than my business. I've gotta just be honest with myself and go like Russ, my business might be one of the most important things to me. It can't be to them. Um, sure. They need to have a job.
Speaker 0 00:26:17 But what I'd rather do is make sure that that role is something that fits in with them, with their lifestyle. And this is probably a new way of thinking, because if you think of it, the old way of thinking, we, we were taught that you, you sort of, and I think it might have been in the industrial age, right? So there's 24 hours in a day. Um, you're working people way too hard. So we're gonna limit working hours to eight hours, eight hours for fun and play eight hours for sleep. And that's how they break the 24 hours up. You know, these days, it's not about how many hours you work. I don't care what time you come to work. I don't care how long you take for lunch. What I care is what is your throughput? Did, did you achieve the results that we set in our 90 day plan?
Speaker 0 00:26:52 Yeah, because that's really what it's about. And then are you contributing to the overall vision of journey of this business? Because that's, when, when I bring people on, I talk about that with 'em and say, I don't want someone just to come in and do the job. What I want is somebody who's gonna actually contribute to the higher cause because we trying to build something much greater. I mean, we, we are not actually, I don't call ourselves an agency. We're a, we're a strategic marketing partner because I don't want to be branded as an agency cuz a lot of people have a preconception as what an agency does, including myself. I've been down that road. Mm-hmm <affirmative> so when I hire people, I say you you're part of a bigger, cause we're trying to change the face of what people or people's perception of how they work with a company like ours that is then engaged to do digital marketing because there's a perception in the marketplace by a lot of small businesses because they've been burnt by people just like me, who started out and did the wrong thing.
Speaker 0 00:27:42 Um, and, and now we need to make that right. And so people that get excited about being a part of that, being a part of something bigger, knowing that they can actually contribute that they're heard, um, you know, a classic example. I, I was talking to you about it the other day on our, uh, group call was one of my team members created a product that is gonna be a million dollar a year product it's already, you know, taking off like that. Um, it's already very successful. It's very leveraged. Uh, and you know, without her having the ability or the freedom to come up with these ideas, maybe that would never have happened. How good do you think now that that person feels that they've contributed to the overall goal of the company by creating something that we've then gone with two hands and grabbed it and said, let's, let's give it a go.
Speaker 0 00:28:26 Yep. Um, you know, that's that, to me that's more valuable than what you can pay somebody and totally, um, you know, sure. From a, a, a money point of view will be rewarded for the results that we get from that, because I think that's important, but I think the what's more important is being, uh, you know, rewarded or being, being, uh, recognized for the contribution to the bigger picture, you know? And I think that's what people want. So to me, it's that, um, the abundance days that you, you do with your team, I've now adopted with my team, you know, because I believe that it is about that, the ability for them to be able to do what they need to do in their life to enjoy living because you know, work is not no who wants to work 40 hours a week. Really nice. No one really does whether you're in Australia or not. I, I mean, I know some cultures are more hard working, but really if they could not work and still live comfortably because they had enough income, would they? Probably not. Yeah,
Speaker 2 00:29:18 Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's right. Unless, unless, unless they're having a lot of fun and they're getting a lot of meaning out of it, right? Yeah. Like I know some people who, I, I mean, I had this conversation with Emily yesterday, actually our ops manager. And she was saying, you know, if, if, if they won a hundred million dollars in Lato, she'd still work because she probably, she might not just work 40 hours a week. She might work three days a week. Right. Because she loves it. And she gets a lot of, uh, she gets a lot of self worth out of it. And a lot of, uh, she feels in, she feels valued and she feels like she's making a meaningful contribution. Right. Couple of things I wanna unpack here. One is there was a, there was a great, um, podcast I heard. And I can't remember who the guest was.
Speaker 2 00:30:00 Uh, they were talking about meaningful work. And, uh, the story, the, the, the example was, if you take someone who's only ever earned $50,000 a year and you offer them $80,000 a year, but you tell them their job is to take this stack of bricks in a car park and to build a brick wall. And that should take them two weeks. And then once the brick wall's built, they need to knock it down, move all the bricks to the other side of the car park and build a brick wall on the other side of the car park. And that should take them two weeks and then knock that down and build the other side of the, and so on and so forth. They'll quit after three or four weeks, they'll be gone. Doesn't matter how much money you pay them because it's meaningless and it's mind numbing.
Speaker 2 00:30:38 Right. And the other thing I've learned about parenting, which, which I'm just gonna, I'm just gonna, I'm, I'm gonna weep. If we're not careful, I'm gonna weep the thing I've learned about parenting, which is by far and away, the hardest bloody thing I've ever done in my life is I'm doing this course at the moment with this, uh, this woman named Amy whose last name I can't remember. And it's all about positive parenting and I'm reading her book and I'm doing her course. I'm down that rabbit hole because I wanna be a better parent because your kids drive your bloody nuts. Right. And, and, you know, max is gonna be a dad in September. And he, he and I have conversations all the time. I'm like, dude, like, you know, you, you, you just, they test your patients and you just, you, you, you have to find a way to stay calm.
Speaker 2 00:31:26 Right. <laugh> which is not my default setting, latest and gentlemen, right. I'm not the calmest person on the planet. Like what does, what does, uh, bill ber say? His wife says he goes from zero to a hundred. And he says, he idols at 80. Well that I idle at 80. Right? I'm never at zero. My wife is super calm under, like, she she'll be in all sorts of trouble with the kids and it'll be absolute chaos and she's super calm. And I'm like, I'm having a meltdown. She says, sometimes it's like, she's living with three kids. Uh, and I understand what she means, but the thing, what I've learned in this course is there are two buckets that kids need filled every day. One is belonging and the other is significance. And the story that you're told then about the team member, who's built this product that is so first of all, making people feel like they belong to the team, but also then giving them a role where they actually feel like they're making a meaningful contribution and that they are significant, I think is super important. And as you've said, that will Trump, how much you pay them any day of the week, if they, if they don't feel like they belong and they don't feel valued, it doesn't matter how much you pay them. They're probably gonna move on and look for another opportunity.
Speaker 0 00:32:33 And that's a good example because, you know, you use that building the brick wall example, but really like if you've got someone who's managing social media, it's a bit like that, isn't it? Uh, once the month's over, they're scheduling all the social media for the clients for the next month and then for the next month and then for the next month. So they do, they do need more than that. And you're, and you you'd mentioned, uh, volunteer work as well. Um, you know, I've done volunteer work. My wife just left. She's off to the koala, sanctuary up here to go and clean up koala PUA in the, you know, oh, wow. In the koala century for free. Yeah. Uh, but because it's meaningful because she knows she's making a contribution to yeah. The koalas, I think you're right. I think that is a big part of it. And that's, that is about building a great team is giving them some sort of sense of belonging. And I mean, children, a children and raising kids is definitely a great learning experience for them leading a team because as people, I don't think our needs change that much from when we are three to when we are 33, to be honest with you. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:33:26 Yeah. Yep. I agree. You said you use Microsoft teams. I'm curious about some of the mechanics in, in how you actually, uh, because you, you, you were all in the office pre pandemic, right. And now you're all working from home and you've kind of stayed that way. Is that right? Do, do you still have team in the office or are they all working remotely now?
Speaker 0 00:33:43 So, so a couple of people have gone back into the office, uh, but most of our team are not in the office. In fact, we've got a team member that lives within, I think maybe 15 minutes drive of the office who started on the very first day where they announced that team members had to work from home <laugh>
Speaker 2 00:34:01 <laugh>.
Speaker 0 00:34:02 And, um, so she had half a day training in the office and then went home. And this is the one that's just created this product. And I said to her, her name's Charlene. And I said, Charlene, you know, when, when the sort of pandemic settled down, I said, didn't go back in the office. Now. She said, I don't want to. I said, that's fine. Um, and that was my realization, but the next thing was at that same time, I was trying to recruit, I had somebody re that that was applying for a role. And I always sort of, you know, dig around to see where they're leaving, where they're leaving. And I said, what, you know, what's going on with your current role? Why aren't you happy there? And they said, well, they're trying to make me go back into the office. And the role that I advertised was work from home or office.
Speaker 0 00:34:35 Um, because if you looked at that stage, when I was looking for, I can't remember what I was, I was looking for that's I was looking for a new, um, client success manager. Yeah. I remember that. Yeah. And, and I looked on the ads on seek, and there was more ads of people to be able to work from home than there was for coming the office. So I think a lot of companies had got onto the, the benefit of that. And, and so to answer your question, yeah. We've got two people in a big office down in Sydney. Some days we have more in that, cuz clients still go there and have meetings with, you know, cuz we've got at both businesses in there, but yeah, most of them are just working from home now or, you know, you said before you
Speaker 2 00:35:09 Can work. So how do, how do you foster that culture of giving people praise and giving people kudos and, and, you know, patting people on the back, not, not only from you, but from team members, giving each other praise and kudos. How do you do that in a remote setting? I'm curious about the tactical way, like first of all, how do you encourage team members to do that? And then what are the mechanics? How do you actually do that? If, if you're all working remotely?
Speaker 0 00:35:33 Yeah. It hasn't been easy. Um, because it's, it's a natural thing to do when you're all face to face and people overhear things and they, you know, there'll be, highfiving going, I wanna sale happens or something. So what we've had to do is we've got a few different communication groups set up inside teams where there's more than one team member in there, depending on who it is, there's one for the entire team. And then there's different sectional ones. Um, we actually bring our two businesses together, uh, as one team in a whole for something. So, you know, just to, to get them all together. So I feel like they're part of something bigger. Um, you know, when I do go down to Sydney, uh, we go go to a lunch. Um, and in that, in that team channel, when somebody does something well, quite often we'll make it a public thing.
Speaker 0 00:36:14 So we we'll say congratulations to this person, you know, give 'em a big, you know, um, high five virtual high five, and they'll share funny gifts and things, you know, that like, you know, that tiger, that goes great or whatever, you know, <laugh> and same thing when somebody does something, well, I'll do the same thing in teams. You know, I'll send them a message and say, just wanna let you know that, you know, for example, I had one with the new sales assistant yesterday, she booked a really good meeting for me. I sent her a message in teams and said, you know, this is, um, you know, this was a great meeting. Thank you. And I sent a funny gift with it, you know? So it just brings a bit of fun to the whole thing. And she was really, you know, really stoked that I took that time out to do that.
Speaker 0 00:36:49 Um, so you gotta remember to do that. The other thing I did, the beginning of the pandemic, I started a Friday afternoon drinks on teams <laugh>, you know, and, and it worked really well. And when I first started, this is gonna be a flop, you know, who's and I said, it's not mandatory. You don't have to come, but if you want to turn up with your favorite drink and we'll just, you know, there's no agenda, we're just gonna hang out for an hour, hang out. Yeah. And so Friday afternoons three o'clock I would just jump on the teams. I'd have a different, I love my craft beer, so I'd have a different craft beer and we'd just, we'd just hang out. That worked really well. So yeah. Talk about just sometimes I think you gotta think outside
Speaker 2 00:37:19 Family stuff. Yeah. Yeah. Talk about not, not work related stuff. Um, ah, again, so you just reminded me of another podcast. I was listening to recently where they are talking about the daily huddle, which is something that we do here, but she was saying one week, one day, a week on the daily huddle, they're not allowed to talk about work. They just talk about whatever's going on. And she said, it's just a, that brings the team together. And it actually makes them care more about each other as human beings. And the more you care about each other as team members, the harder you'll work for each other. Right. And it's been a really, yeah. We, I, I noticed that when we went to the Philippines and met our team, and then we all went to Thailand in 2018 for a team retreat. After that team retreat, it was, it was a game changer because yeah, we all came back and you actually know you you've actually hung out.
Speaker 2 00:38:07 You've, you know, you've been hungover together, you've laughed together. You've done Thai cooking classes together. You've had those experiences and you actually just care about each other more as a human being. And I think that's, so we use a thing called daily bot that integrates into slack and we do a similar thing, uh, where we, uh, one of the things in daily bot is that you can give each other kudos. So, you know, max could give Doza kudos for doing something great. Uh, and, and by the way, no one ever gives me kudos. I haven't not received kudos once in daily bot, ladies and gentlemen. Okay. Just putting it out there. No one has ever given me kudos in daily box. I think someone
Speaker 0 00:38:44 Needs not being me. I give
Speaker 3 00:38:46 <laugh>, I need a hug. I give kudos to people all the time and they give each other kudos. No
Speaker 2 00:38:51 One's ever given me kudos, but that's okay. It's fine. Um, and that's actually not uncommon. I was listening to, uh, the, um, the, that was another podcast I was listening to with a guy, uh, who runs a large, might have even been Atlassian or one of those, like a really large organization. And he said, when they introduced, they introduced the gift card thing where you could actually give each other a $5 Amazon gift card for doing something great in the business. And he said, they'd given away, like, I don't know, $20,000 in, in Amazon gift cards in the last 12 months. And the CEO, hadn't got one from anyone <laugh>
Speaker 2 00:39:25 Damn that backfired. Um, so I think, but I think the, it it's, this stuff doesn't happen by accident. Does it? I think it's, you have to be intentional about building this kind of culture, because if you don't have that, this culture and a larger agency, and we've seen this happen all the time and a larger agency comes along and offers one of your team members in another 15 or 20 grand a year, they'll go. Because even though we've said, money's not important if they don't have meaning, they don't have great work conditions. They're just, they feel a bit invisible. They don't feel valued. The extra money is sometimes what will make them go to a large and larger agencies been doing that for the last 18 months here in Australia, just going around and trying to snap everyone up. And it's become really hard to get staff. Um, how do you know who to hire next in, in the agency?
Speaker 0 00:40:13 So that's, um, to me that's a relatively simple, um, thing to solve in any business. And the way that I do that is when, when you set up a business, one of, I think one of the biggest mistakes people make is when they, when they start a business, it's because they're good at something mm-hmm <affirmative>, or they're passionate about something. And so they'll do the work, they'll work in the business, in that role, and then they'll get busy and then they'll go, well, I need to hire someone to do something to help me because I'm so busy. Instead, if you, if you start at the beginning and you actually engineer what it's gonna look like when it's finished, you can actually have all the roles mapped out. And so when I started the business, I did that. I said, well, what are all the different divisions of the business?
Speaker 0 00:40:51 And I've got this, uh, real simple way of looking at a business of four key areas, lead generation sales, client fulfillment, or delivery, and then the business and admin side of things. So this says four areas. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and you start off probably being the manager of all four, but at some point you've gotta say, well, what, what am I, where, where am I valuable to the organization? And I'm, I love being in the marketing and sales side more than the delivery side. So I go, okay, well, for me, I've gotta start leveraging some of those roles off. And in, in particular, I, I don't know how to run Google ads. So I don't know how to run. Uh, I'll do web development. I'm not a designer, so I've gotta go and find those people. Um, and so, you know, I start looking at the roles and go, what, what can I not do whatsoever?
Speaker 0 00:41:31 What where's, where, where is, where am I least valuable? Let me go and find people to do those things. And then what do, what do I enjoy doing the most? And I've got this chart that I, that is easy. It's like a nine grid. So if you get a square and you draw two lines vertically, two lines horizontally, and you end up with nine squares equally, mm-hmm <affirmative> right. Skill on the left and fun on the bottom mm-hmm <affirmative>. And up the top is high skill or low skill down the bottom, low, fun, and high fun, and start putting all your different tasks in that little chart that's and anything that's low skill, low, fun. Get someone else to do that first <laugh> yep. Cause you're not gonna enjoy doing it. Um, anything that's high skill, high fun. Of course, if you enjoy doing it and it's, and it requires your skill and keep doing it, mm-hmm <affirmative> um, don't my thinking is you don't wanna do anything.
Speaker 0 00:42:14 That's not fun. And, and I same for my team. I say, if you are, if there's something in your role, you're not enjoying doing, let me know, because if you have to continually bang your head against the wall on a daily basis or weekly basis, it is gonna grind you down. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. So, you know, I'm a big believer in finding the things that I'm least valuable doing that I can systemize easily and I can hire somebody else to do and pay, you know, an hourly rate that is, is not worth me doing so, you know, whether it's like bookkeeping is a classic example. I see so many people doing their own books. I suck at bookkeeping I'm I failed maths <laugh> yeah. Um, there's no, there's no value in me doing the bookkeeping, especially when I can pay somebody 50 or $60 an hour to do it.
Speaker 0 00:42:54 I think I pay $75 an hour. Yeah. They they're always gonna do it faster than me cuz they enjoy it. Yeah. So maybe they'll do it three times quicker. So what would take me an hour mm-hmm <affirmative> sorry. Would take them an hour. Would take me three hours to do so I'm saving three hours. What can I do with that three hours? Can I go and build a system, recruit someone else go and you know, I've just, you know, it looks like I've just scored a big, uh, contract with the company to, to look after 80 of their, their, uh, outlets, you know, across Australia with their digital marketing. So, you know, that, that took the time that took a bit of time mm-hmm <affirmative> but I wouldn't have had that time if I was busy doing my books, you know, that's right. So leverage yourself outta those things that you can pay other people to do.
Speaker 2 00:43:31 And also I would argue that you would've had the head space, right? Because one of the things I've learned, uh, my friend, Nick Al, who runs, leads hook in Sydney, uh, he said to me, when I was about to hire my first ops manager, I, I was, I was like, well, what do I do if I hire an ops manager? What do I do? I remember we were in clearly I remember we were in San Diego, actually we're in Carlsbad at this house having this kind of mastermind retreat. We were there out there for a Michael Gerber event, which was horrible by the way, that's a whole other conversation. But anyway, we kind of all ended up just back at the house mastermind on each other's businesses. And Nick looked at me across the dining room and he said, think, I said, what do you mean?
Speaker 2 00:44:06 He said your job is to think, and I didn't understand it at the time. And it took me about two years for the penny to drop. And I was like, oh right. So yes, I get it now. And I would argue that if you were doing the books, you wouldn't have, not only would you have not had the time to build that relationship to land that big client, but you wouldn't have even had the head space to think about how to talk to that client and what to put in front of them and how to build that relationship. Because you are, you are, you are in the you're in the trenches, right? And there's a different part of the brain that you need to engage if you're in the trenches than if you're in the control tower. And I like being in the control tower because you can see the whole playing field and you can see all the, whereas when you're in the trenches, you just focused on dodging the bullet that's in front of you. And that's a, that requires a completely different part of the brain. So how do you know financially that you can, that you are ready to hire the next person, particularly when they are, they might not be a revenue generating role? Like if they're a project manager or they're, you know, if they're not direct labor, if they're a, a, you know, management role or they're indirect labor, how do you know that the business is ready to take that on?
Speaker 0 00:45:08 So I think, um, that's a good question as well. I think you've definitely gotta have your head, uh, around the numbers of your business, right? So you, you need a budget, you need a cash flow forecast. And I always say, when you can afford half of somebody's wage to hire them, because you'll find the other half and a good question to ask yourself, and anyone listening to this podcast or watching this should ask themselves this. If, if I spent 40 hours a week or however many hours, you currently work in the business, if you spent that same time working on the business, how much better off would your business value? I can guarantee you that it would be much better off wouldn't matter. Who, who asked themselves that question and, and, you know, most people are need to get outta their own way. So as hard as it is, I think the biggest challenge, Troy, is that what, when you are working in the business and you're not hiring someone else to do that work, you're trading your time for money.
Speaker 0 00:45:54 You're getting paid instantly. And there's that instant gratification. When you're working on the business, you're not getting paid today. You might get paid in three months time, and that's a challenge. So you do need to be able to cash flow that mm-hmm <affirmative>. Um, so hiring people is a, is, is a bit of a juggling act. And sometimes you just gotta take that leap of faith and hire someone when you, when you feel like maybe you can't afford it because even though their role might not be, uh, revenue generating, you just hit the nail on the head. You've gotta have that time to think. And sometimes having that time to think and make the difference between whether you, you know, you stay doing, I don't know, $20,000 a month to going to $200,000 a month. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, you know? And so, um, to me, that's, I, I think the first million in any business is the hardest, because it is hard to make those decisions without the emotion. Cuz you feel like it's all your money, you know, mm-hmm <affirmative> when it's the first million, you hire someone and you go, oh, I'm gonna have to give 80 grand of my money to somebody else to do a job that I can do. Mm that's. Right. You've gotta value your time more than your money people. That's probably the answer. Yes,
Speaker 2 00:46:52 Yes, yes. Now. And also it helps when, and I am I right in suggesting though I remember this correctly, that your business is largely built on recurring revenue
Speaker 0 00:47:02 A hundred percent. Yes. Yeah. Right. Yeah. I'm very big. If it's not reoccurring, I'm really not interested in having it.
Speaker 2 00:47:08 Yeah. Right. Exactly. What's the point it's transactional. And so it makes it easier to hire people when you're on recurring revenue, because at least, you know, with some level of certainty that in three months time, this is gonna be the cash flow position. Whereas if you don't have recurring revenue and you're just billing projects, that makes it very difficult because as we know, project revenue is lumpy and you might not have the cash in three months time to pay for that staff member.
Speaker 0 00:47:32 Mm. Yeah. And it might rely on the performance of one individual as well. So for example, you know, I'd never own a swimming pool company, for example, like <laugh>, you know, cuz once you sell somebody, a swimming pool, what else are they gonna buy from you? Yeah. Um, you know, it's, it's a very project based business. And so that's why I did have a web development company many years ago. I gave it away because it was painful because if, if somebody wasn't on their game and whether that was your development team, getting things done in a timely fashion or your salesperson not getting sales, you just, it was, you could have droughts for months at a time mm-hmm <affirmative> we didn't make any money. And that was frustrating is where at least with the reoccurring revenue model, even the months like across like here in Australia, as you know, you know, you mentioned before how lazy we are, you know, from December the beginning of December to the end of January, everyone just takes a holiday. <laugh>
Speaker 2 00:48:18 Eventually
Speaker 0 00:48:19 Right. It might still be at work, but they go it's three weeks till Christmas Eve. I'm not doing anything that's right. And in January it takes us, you know, till at least the middle of the month to start doing anything. Yeah. Um, reoccurring revenue at least starts bringing revenue in. So you can have that confidence of knowing. Um, I would highly recommend any business that doesn't have reoccurring revenue to try and work out how to, you know, um, I mean, I've worked with, I've worked with all sorts of businesses that didn't have reoccurring revenue. I had a hairdresing cell on, would you believe <laugh> wow. I, I can't cut hair unless you're bald. Um <laugh> but, but we brought in a subscription model, um, which had never been done before. Right. So I said, let's create a subscription model where everyone just has a pay by the month subscription back then we used to thing called easy pay, which debited from a bank account mm-hmm <affirmative> and uh, and people knew that they could just come in for their, their, their hair treatment once every four to six weeks and I'd have to pay for it.
Speaker 2 00:49:10 That's great.
Speaker 0 00:49:11 Uh, but it worked well because people didn't come in. Um, I worked with a, you know, a cafe once we got, he was pre-selling 10 coffees at a time and, and you got 12. So instead of having the loyalty card that you, you had to pay each time, you would pay your $40 up front and get 12 coffees. This was, you know, 10 years ago, I was one down in aloo mm-hmm <affirmative> um, and he said to me, Ben, sometimes I sell a 40, $40 cup of coffee. They never come back. Not, not ideal, but he said, it's incredible.
Speaker 2 00:49:36 Well, it's the, it's the gym business model. Isn't it? You pay your gym membership and then never go. That's how they make their, their profit.
Speaker 0 00:49:42 Yeah. Cause I don't like accounts receivable either, you know, who wants to have that uncomfortable conversation?
Speaker 2 00:49:46 Yeah. It's all. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We are the same. We are pretty much a recurring subscription based business model as well. We don't have, and I read all, all, I read a lot of books around business and one of the things I talk about a lot is the, the value you have in your accounts receivable. And for us, that's largely a non-issue do you still build websites? If a client comes to you and you're gonna do some marketing for them and their websites on Ws and you need to put it on or they don't have a website, do you still do that? Is how do you, how do you price that if you're a recurring business, if you're, if you're a subscription based recurring model, how do you price in those kind of projects?
Speaker 0 00:50:18 So we, we do have a, a one off project fee for that. Or they can go onto the monthly subscription cuz our monthly subscription works on a points value system. Ah, yes. And so they, they they'll have to come in at a level where there's enough points for us to allocate to the team, to be able to carry out the work. So we might say to them, look, you need a new website first. So your website needs revamping. So for the first 90 days, that's all we're gonna do. Mm. And so they might be paying us, you know, two and a half thousand dollars a month for three months. But in that time we'll build their website. So the, the design and development team will get that done. Mm-hmm <affirmative> um, alternatively, they might say, look, I just wanna pay one off for it. And then, but, but I, we tell people, we don't just build websites. So if we're building your website, you're committing then to going onto a monthly retainer after that for us then to do your SEO, to do digital marketing, to do your content creation strategy, all of those other things. So we don't ever just build a website, um, because I don't want, if they just want a website, I've got a friend I can refer 'em to you, you build websites, you go for it, you know? Yep. So that's so the answer is yes. Um, cuz quite often as you know, you have to fix something. Yeah,
Speaker 2 00:51:18 Yeah, yeah. Because a website, because a, I mean, we've been saying this for a hundred years, but a website I, I, I used to, I used to not be able to sleep at night because I knew I was about to launch a website for a client and they had no plan. It's like, great. We're gonna launch this website. You're gonna call me in three weeks time and go, where are all the customers? And I'm gonna say, this is not the field of dreams. If you build it, they won't come. Like this is not how it works. And so I eventually out of, out of protecting myself, started, this is where the whole go wide. My whole go wide go. Deep methodology came from because I remember a guy came to me once and said, we need a new website. And I just said, well, hang on a second.
Speaker 2 00:51:53 Why? And I, I was trying to convince the guy, this is what I was first starting out and I needed the money. But I knew that if I launched the website, if I took the six grand or whatever it was gonna, I was gonna charge him to build a website. And I built the website. I wouldn't be able to sleep at night because I knew that he'd just wasted his money cuz he had no plan, turns out he was actually looking to sell the business. So he had a very good plan and he had a bit of a post launch plan to just get ma massive visibility across search engines. He didn't care if customers came in the door or not. He just wanted massive visibility because he wanted the new buyer to see the visibility on search, to increase the value of his business, sold that website to him for 11 and a half grand.
Speaker 2 00:52:29 I would've sold it to him for three and a half or four. Had I not asked the question as to why he needed the website. But the reason I started asking why is because I didn't wanna launch a website that got no traffic because I, I, I would feel guilty about taking his money, right? So, uh, I started saying, well, why do you need a website? You sure you don't need a website, just go and you know, do some Facebook marketing or, you know, uh, at the time, you know, get on Twitter or whatever, like you don't need a website. And that's where eventually I realized that. So for me it became websites, SEO and care plans. I wasn't in the business of running ads cuz I don't like gambling with other people's money and I was very bad at it and I didn't wanna do that, but it was websites, SEO and care plans was my sweet spot, became my sweet spot because I knew that without the care plan and without the SEO, the website was just a vanity exercise and wasn't actually gonna produce any outcome for the business. The point system. I'm curious about like, isn't that there, I don't like details either I fall asleep when someone starts talking about the details, that sounds like a very detail orientated business model. That sounds like a pain in the ass that managed from an admin point of view. How do you structure the point system?
Speaker 0 00:53:33 So I'm extremely fortunate that my business partner loves detail. And so, uh, we've been in business since 2005, a lot. And a lot of people don't even know I have a business partner because he sort of just, uh, you know, builds the systems in the background. So I say, here's my, my ideal, this is what I want. He goes away and builds it. And he's a master with, uh, Excel and you know, spreadsheets and stuff. So we actually have a full system. Now that is, is we're also talking to a software development company about building it, making it available to other agencies is the ability to be able to put together a strategic plan. Our team, uh, we, we, we're all built about our business is built about, uh, around rocketry. So the logo is three rocket engines. And our success model that we use with our clients is, is traffic leads and customers, which is the three engines.
Speaker 0 00:54:18 And um, and so when the, our, our digital pilot, we call them our digital pilots does the strategy. They just select from a list in Excel and it allocates, the points tells 'em how many points they've used. Uh, any points that are unused get carried over the benefit to a customer is they're paying a set monthly fee mm-hmm <affirmative>. And if we take longer to do something, then that's on us. But if we can do something faster, then that's our benefit. So for example, we might say, we're gonna do content creation for you. And we're gonna write SEO articles for your website. It's two points per article. And, um, you know, this is the length of the article or whatever, and how we're gonna do it. They'll PA those two points will then get allocated. Now, if we get that done in an hour and a half a point is roughly it equates to an hour.
Speaker 0 00:55:01 Um, if we could have done an hour and a half, well, that's a half an hour in the bag for us, but let's say we send to the client, they go, we're not happy with that at all. You need to do some edits. It might take us two and a half hours, or we have to wear that. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. Um, and this, this comes from, um, the fact that I had times where there was one client in particular, where we had their e-commerce site, my team were trying to get their catalog up onto Facebook, uh, which might be gobbly go to some people it is to me, but that's, you know, that, that there's some, some, um, mechanism for putting people's e-commerce products on Facebook, to be able to show the relevant products to a through retargeting took, it took eight hours or nine hours, and we tried to charge the customer for it.
Speaker 0 00:55:37 Um, and in the end they didn't wanna pay for it. And you know, to me, that was a bit of a wake up call to go hang on a minute. It took us that long. Why, why did it take that long? And it was because of difficulty with their catalog, the system they were running and Facebook not liking it and all these issues, but the reality, it just soured their relationships. I said, how can I prevent that from happening again? And the biggest challenge I have right now is some people go, well, how many points is it for things? And I go, and I say, we don't tell you until we do your strategy because it can change. So for example, let's say that something that used to take us two hours, all of a sudden, somebody like Facebook changes something in their system. That means it takes us twice as long to do.
Speaker 0 00:56:12 We can then amend the points in our backend. So next quarter, when we do the strategy, more points, get allocated to that task. Mm. Um, and what it means is that my team are always profitable because we have a, we have a Mo a model, which is a third or third, a third mm-hmm <affirmative>, um, a third to run the business, a third to get the work done, and a third for me, a business partner. And so our business is built around that. And so that's how we, we run the, the point system. So every point, every time we look at how our job is done, uh, so at the end of the month, we do like a, a, a reconciliation of all the points, all the work that was done. And we work out, you know, did that task take that long? Was it longer?
Speaker 0 00:56:46 Was it shorter? Can we reduce some points on some things increase on some? And that means that each month we are totally, we, we are going and adjusted. Well, I'm not, <laugh> somebody with a lot more details. Do you like my business partner? But it's getting adjusted all the time. Um, and I've got a business manager as well Kirs and who is also very detail oriented. And she, she dives into that stuff as well, but that just works really well. Makes it easy. Um, it's easy for a customer as well, because we can say to them, well, if you don't want us to do that, you can do it. So we, this is where we sort of use our coaching DNA, cuz we say to people, we don't have to do everything. And in fact, if you wanna do your content creation, we'll coach you through how to do it.
Speaker 0 00:57:19 We'll give you the keywords. We'll give you the topics and we'll, we'll give you some instructions on how to do it. We'll put it on the strategy and make you responsible for that. So they get their, their 90 day flight plan and spoken down into monthly ones. And we say, there's the strategy. Um, you now just need to go through and, you know, get those things done. And if you've got any questions, ask your digital pilot and they'll coach you through how to do it, or they'll give you the cheat sheets, the checklist or whatever to make it happen. Um, so they also can since say, well, I don't wanna use those points on that. I'll do that job. Cause I think I can do that. And then quite often they give it back to us because they work out it's harder than they thought, but yeah, that's right. Yeah. It works really well.
Speaker 2 00:57:53 Interesting. Do you have clients that, do your clients who engage with dig TLC and the coaching company? Are they separate engagements or are they just paying you one bill a month and they get everything?
Speaker 0 00:58:02 No separate engagements. So it's two, two different companies. Got it. And two completely separate engagements. So, uh, and I've done that quite deliberately, even when we were doing it all under the one brand, it was two different billing cycles, two different amounts because if they're not happy with one and I've just had this happen where a customer has decided to bring their own marketing in house and they get they've hired their own, uh, team to do a lot of the work we were doing. But they're also a coaching clients that was, you know, instead of going, we're stopping, we're just stopping that. Got it. Um, so as an owner of both businesses, I don't lose out on everything, you know, and that's, that's so important, isn't it? You know, when you build a business is to build in some redundancy. So you're not, you know, you don't want all your eggs in one basket.
Speaker 2 00:58:41 Mm-hmm uh, final question, uh, before I let you go. And again, it's super appreciative of your time. Your generosity in talking about this is really interesting and uh, and very insightful. I know a lot of people are gonna get a lot outta this. How do you report in the marketing agency? How do you report to your clients to so that they know you are doing a good job? This is one of the conversations I had with the Maverick. Yesterday's like, you know, when clients leave after four or five months, because they can't see what we know that what we're doing is working, but they can't see it. How do you report to your marketing agency clients so that they know, oh, well this I'm, I'm sticking around. I'm not, I'm not cutting this off because it's working.
Speaker 0 00:59:18 That was, that was actually a difficult one because it, a lot of what you do is intangible, unfortunately. And it's a bit like, like SEO is a classic example. I mean, everyone watching this probably knows enough about SEO to know that what you do today is not gonna make a difference for, for a few months, at least. Right. Mm-hmm <affirmative> so you've gotta also have some, I use the job school cards in starting a client up a similar type of methodology. So we say to the client at the beginning, okay. In the next 90 days, what would be a good result when we get to the next 90 days, what would have you ring in the bell of success? Mm-hmm <affirmative> you know, is, is it number of leads? Is it website traffic? Is it just better presence? Is it Facebook follows? You tell me what's important to you.
Speaker 0 00:59:57 Let's set the job score card up now and each month, that's what we'll measure ourselves against. Now we'll help you set that. If we go, we don't think that's realistic. So for example, I had a mortgage broker talk to me the other day about generating leads on Facebook. And he said, oh, I've, I've sat, just S two agencies. And, and I said, him, okay, mate, tell me about why that is because I'm seeing a consistent factor here and it's yes, that's right. It's not the agencies, right. That's right. Um, and, and he said, oh, well, they're just not generating me leads for the right amount of money. And I go, okay. So tell me what you think is reasonable for a, for a sale on off a, a Facebook line. He goes $30. I said, okay. I said, tell me, how much do you get?
Speaker 0 01:00:31 What's your average value of a, a client? And he said, well, a mortgage is about 800 grand now and blah, blah. And it's $4,000. And the trailing of all this money, I said, so you wanna make all this thousands of dollars for $30? I said, mate, if I could do that, like, I'd have people cuing up to buy from me. I said, I said, no one can do that. I said, you're being unrealistic. So I said, I'm not gonna take you on as a client. So I think part of it is choosing the right client because you don't wanna take someone who's got unrealistic expectations, as desperate as you might be because you want the money. That's right. Um, and then just managing people's expectations. So the, the answer is you've gotta report back to them that things that are important to them. I remember one of the, these, one of these agencies giving me this big eight page report that they, I think they printed out a SIM rush or something. Yeah. Of all these numbers. That meant absolutely nothing to me as a consumer, nothing. That's right. And I used to look at it and go, what, what, what top hundred keyword? What does this mean to me? What does
Speaker 2 01:01:23 It mean? What does it mean? It means nothing to me, nothing means
Speaker 0 01:01:25 Not important to me, but so that's right. It's about measuring the right things. You know, are you getting the leads or the sales you wanted or the followers or the, yeah,
Speaker 2 01:01:33 I had a conversation yesterday with, uh, someone who said their pro was taking their project manager 11 hours a month to get all the reporting ready for the clients. And I said, wow, okay. First of all, that's not a project. Manager's job. That's your, that's your kind of account manager's job. But also the question is how many of your clients are actually reading those reports? Right. And I guarantee I've just freed up 11 hours a month of your project manager. Cause you don't need to organize those reports. You don't need to organize those because no one's gonna read them. And if they do read them, it's just gonna confuse them. You just need to give them the three bullet points. This is what we did. This is what's working. This is what we're gonna do now. And this is what we need from you. Right. That's it? Yeah. Like if they want the detail, you can show them, well, what are the top 10 keywords we're ranking for ask nobody ever. But if they did, then you can show, well, we actually do have the data to back this up. But what I'm telling you is just what you need to know and what we're gonna do next.
Speaker 0 01:02:25 Yeah. But the point system is also good for that. Cuz we, we say to people, you're not just hiring us for results. You're hiring us for leverage. Yeah. So you could, you are, you are not doing your content creation on a regular basis. So instead let us do it and that say frees you up to go and do something else. So we might not be getting the results, but you should be because we are freeing your time up. So it's about, it's just about having that conversation with people, making them clear as cause expecta just setting expectations. I think, I mean, we use that, um, we use data box mm-hmm <affirmative>, which is as an online software and we just create very simple dashboards of the goals that are important to them. And that's it. Yep. Very simple one page dashboard.
Speaker 2 01:03:01 That's great. Sheila herd says we tried sending loom videos along with the reports once not a single client. Watch the videos.
Speaker 0 01:03:06 Yeah. It doesn't surprise me. Sheila love.
Speaker 2 01:03:08 Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Uh, Hey Ben Fure, this has been fantastic. I wanna thank you so much for joining, uh, a and thank you for helping us Chris in the studio too. This has been a lot of fun. Um, and I feel honored, you know, this is that one of the big, the big takeaway for me here is that you have looked at this business from the get, go as an asset that is serving you as a shareholder, not a job, that's going to allow you to flex your freelance skills. And I think that's just a really big mindset shift for a lot of people who get stuck on the tools. Um, the recurring revenue, uh, is another big takeaway that recurring revenue just makes it easier to hire people. And I love the nine square grid of the skills and the, the fun, by the way, it's no accident that what is most fun is usually what you're best at.
Speaker 0 01:03:56 Yeah. <laugh>
Speaker 2 01:03:57 Who wants to do stuff they're not good at it's frustrating as hell. Isn't it? Yeah. Ah, super interesting. Thank you so much. I appreciate you and appreciate everything you're doing and uh, look forward to keeping the conversation going. Thanks Ben. Thank you mate. All right, ladies and gentlemen, that is an episode of the agency hour live here in the digital Mavericks Facebook group and live from our new studio. Uh, thank you so much for being a part of it. Give us some feedback. Let us know what's working. I noticed James Mero said 10 outta 10 for continuity because this just looks like the old studio that we used to have. There is one small difference. The wall is blue. Uh, not white. Uh, uh, I'm loving it here. It's uh, a fantastic space. We're just getting started. We are gonna be producing more video, more audio, more content, more training for you guys.
Speaker 2 01:04:40 So let us know what would be most helpful. Give us some feedback, uh, and let us know how we can best serve you. Of course you can get this podcast on Spotify or wherever you get your podcast. Subscribe, leave us a comment, leave us a review, give us some feedback, share it with people who you might think, uh, find we'll find it helpful and let us know who you would like to see on the podcast. Uh, suggest some guests and we'll do our best to reach out to them. All right. Look forward to speaking with you again next week on the agency hour. I think, I think we're here next week. I'm not sure. I think I might be going away anyway. If we're not here next week, we'll be here the week after until then have a great day. Everyone. My name's Troy Dean bye for now. Thanks
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