OWEN: My guest today is Justin Eckrich and he is the founder of Appliance Repair Marketing, LLC. Justin, welcome to the show.
JUSTIN: Hey Owen, I really appreciate it Owen. I’ve been a fan of the show for a long time and for me to finally actually be a guest is a huge honor. I appreciate it.
OWEN: Justin, this show is all about bringing entrepreneurs who have been able to systematize their business and have it actually run without them successfully. So that our listeners can stay all the way to the end of the interview I want to know what are some mind blowing results that you now experience as a result of going through that process of systematizing and automating your business.
JUSTIN: Listening to your show I hear entrepreneurs all the time talk about having their business on complete autopilot. If I wanted the business to be on complete autopilot we could do that. I have a strong team in place. Our systems manage the day-to-day. I can certainly put it on autopilot which is amazing. But for me the mind blowing result is really I’ve moved in to more of an investor role in the business. I’m not as involved in the day-to-day. I’m not wearing all the hats anymore. Now I can just really take the advantage that we have, the profits, and the margin, and the systems. And use that as leverage to just invest back into the business. And so now we’re able to grow more rapidly and I’m not nearly as involved in the day-to-day, so I think that’s pretty mind blowing.
OWEN: You also mentioned something about you have new services now. Talk about that. This was during the pre-interview.
JUSTIN: Yeah. We started out offering pay-per-click services to our clients. One of our investments, we’re working on offering our clients new service where it’s not just pay-per-click management anymore, now we’re offering… We’re in the process of building this new service out for offering SEO leads to our clients. And so it’s another lead channel for our clients, another way for them to grow their businesses and multiply their businesses as well.
OWEN: Okay. As a result of systematizing and automating the business you’re able to bring in new product lines as well. How would you say the company has been transformed as a result of systematizing your business?
JUSTIN: It’s funny because whenever we were talking in the pre-interview there’s not any one way that it’s been transformed. Our business has been transformed in every single way. When we first started I was just a solopreneur, just a freelancer working for myself. Initially I would work with any client that was willing to pay us. We worked with e-commerce, in retail, brick and mortar, coaches, information products, whatever client was willing to pay us. It was a nightmare. And so I realized that that wasn’t sustainable. It didn’t give me any leverage. I had no assets. There’s no equity in the business. So when we started building systems that’s when we’re finally able to scale the business, and grow the business, and have some stability. And so without systems we wouldn’t be where we are today at all.
OWEN: Okay. And so from a personal standpoint how is your life been transformed as a result?
JUSTIN: It’s a similar answer. Our business has been transformed in every way, but also Owen my personal life has been transformed in every way. It’s not that feast or famine anymore. When I was a freelancer there was this constant cycle of feast or famine where I would build up my clientele and it would get to a certain point and I would be at capacity. And so I would work with those clients until those contracts ran out and then my pipeline would be empty and I’d have to start over again. And so that impacted every part of my life, my relationships, my spiritual life, my financial life, my home life. But as the business was able to stabilize and our finances were able to stabilize. Other areas of my life became more stable as well. And so at the end of the day it all goes back to systems.
OWEN: You mentioned something during the pre-interview about being able to now spend time at church and stuff as a result of free time. Talk about that.
JUSTIN: Yeah. The more time and the more freedom that I have I can separate myself from the business where I don’t feel this constant anxiety about where we’re at, or what we’re doing, and how things are going. But now I’d set up my schedule and I spend my time the way that I want to. So those big rocks are those blocks of time, those priorities, they’re a lot different now. So whenever there’s something going on at church or there’s something going on… Even taking field trips with my daughters, I can stop in the middle of the day and go on a field trip or volunteer at their school, or volunteer at church. There’s a lot of things like that but I do now that I’m able to do because of systems.
OWEN: That’s great. So now that you have systems in the business I’m wondering and it can actually run without you as you said what’s been the longest time you’ve actually been away from it?
JUSTIN: We’ve taken several week-long vacations. For me being away from the business for a week is long enough and being on vacation for a week is long enough. After a week I kind of get bored and I get antsy, and I want to be able to engage myself in something meaningful. I know that vacations are important. We take a week-long vacation whenever we want.
OWEN: That’s good. Just so the listener gets some context as to your company what exactly does your company do and what big pain or problem do you solve for your customers?
JUSTIN: Sure. We’re a hybrid sort of agency. And I say hybrid because a typical agency is going to work on their client’s accounts, which means they’re working with their client’s website, their client’s web properties, their client’s Adwords account. Everything they do is on the client side. Versus because of systems we’ve been able to figure out how to turn the agency model on its head. So when we work with a client we build out the websites, we build out the Adwords account. It’s our web properties. We own the assets. And so it’s a little bit different model but it’s because we have a proven system. So for the client side they get guaranteed results. They know that it’s going to work. There’s very little risk. And they just pay for results. They’re not paying for marketing. They’re not paying for rankings. They’re not paying for traffic. They’re paying for at the end of the day what is another revenue stream. It allows our clients to really focus on what they do best, run their business, focus on their specialty. And they don’t have to worry about marketing anymore.
OWEN: And how many full-time employees and even part-time employees you have? I’m curious.
JUSTIN: We have one full-time employee besides myself. Actually he’s a contractor. He’s not even an employee. Really there’s zero employees besides myself. We have one full-time contractor and then we have several part-time contractors. And then we have some full-time contractors that are overseas. But even we have nine…
OWEN: So including the contractors I’m wondering how big is the team just to give context to this.
JUSTIN: We’ve got nine people on the team and five are full-time, four are part-time.
OWEN: Okay. Is the company profitable? What was last year’s annual revenue and probably what do you expect to do this year?
JUSTIN: We’ve been profitable from day one. Last year we did about $350,000 in revenue or there about. This year we’re going to do well over 500,000.
OWEN: Great. Let’s go back. We’ve shared the results you’ve gotten so far and what the business is right now. But let’s go back to when the business was not systematized and automated like it is now. What was wrong with it?
JUSTIN: Everything was wrong with Owen. I could’ve been a solopreneur and I could’ve been self-employed, and I could’ve worked for myself. I could’ve been my own boss. And that’s all fine and good but I heard some really good advice during this time in my business. They told me you don’t have a real business until it can run without you. And if your business is dependent upon you and you’re in the center of your business and you’re the hub of your business, you don’t have a real business. You might be a good technician, you might be self-employed, you might be your own boss but you don’t have a business. And so I really took that to heart. And as I started building systems it became less and less dependent upon me. And so we were able to move from just being a freelancer to actually being a real business.
OWEN: You mentioned during the pre-interview a story of how at one point you tried to hire a contractor and something about him having systems clued you into the need for you having systems within your company. Talk about that story.
JUSTIN: This is the way that I gauge whether I work with a freelancer or not. And I know because I used to be a freelancer. I can tell whether someone has systems in their business or not. And one of the things with a contractor is if they walk me through a process that I know is their process then it’s a lot more likely that I’m going to hire them. So this guy, one of the first things he said was, “Let me send you over this new client survey.” And I immediately knew that’s one of his systems. Great. And just the process that he walked me through he started asking me about my business, who’s our target market, what is our ideal client. And I knew that he had this list of questions that he goes through. Then he asked me a survey. For me that gives me the sense of security knowing that I can trust this person.
OWEN: So is that kind of like even though maybe you don’t have employees per se but if you’re working with contractors that’s kind of like a clue into, does this contractor think in terms of systems. That kind of clued you into how in the future you’ll probably hire other contractors they need to have systems on how they would even do your work in the first place.
JUSTIN: Yeah. Because whenever I work with contractors that don’t have that system mindset they’re inconsistent, they’re unorganized, they never deliver on time, they don’t deliver the results that I want and I end up chasing them around, they’re juggling different clients, and it’s a nightmare. But whenever I work with a contractor that has those systems in place and they have a repeatable system then it gives me that sense that I know I can trust this guy and know they’re going to deliver. It sets my mind at ease and it makes my job a lot easier.
OWEN: Back when the business was not systematized you mentioned several low points. And I want you to describe how bad it got. Just to refresh your memory you said something about back in 2001, being divorced, stuff like that. Talk about that. How did that play a role into this?
JUSTIN: Absolutely. So 2011 I’m going through a really rough patch in my life. We go through a divorce. I was working for my father-in-law at the time. The house that we were living in was owned by the company, and so it was like a benefit or a perk. Everything that I had was tied up in the work or in the relationship. And so when that happened it was basically like me starting over from scratch. It was really sink or swim for me and I needed to start over. And so that’s when I started freelancing. At the time I remember one particular story where it was one of those famine…
OWEN: Was this business back then during the divorce or was it created after the divorce? I’m just curious.
JUSTIN: Right after our divorce I went into freelancing.
JUSTIN: Here’s one story Owen that just tells you how bad it got. I remember one day literally scraping up change so that I could pay for gas. There’s a time where it was really sink or swim and it was do or die. And so for me I realized I’ve got to have some sort of sustainability. There has to be some stability in my life. Without systems there wasn’t any. And so as I started building systems into my business and even systems into my personal life then that added that extra stability where there’s a solid foundation for me to grow on.
OWEN: I get that the whole situation, the divorce and all that spurred you into probably start this business on your own, but I was thinking the question is more in line with the business itself when you started. What was a specific breaking point in the business after you started that made you realize that you wanted to have systems? That’s kind of what I was looking for in the answer.
JUSTIN: Sure. I remember whenever a particular client, their campaigns failed. And this person, they’re a small business owner and they were trusting me with money out of their own bank account. They were paying for this marketing out of their own pocket. I remember the disappointment in her voice and me having to tell her that, “Hey, this isn’t working. I don’t know how to fix it. I don’t know what to do. We tried everything we were supposed to do.” And just that disappointment in her voice. And it really kept me up at night because I knew that she trusted me with her hard-earned money and that I had made a promise to her that I would help her get certain results and it didn’t work. And so I went back and that really was a breaking point for me where I started to examine where are my successes and where are my failures. You know which clients are getting great results and which clients are not getting the results that I wanted. And when I started to take inventory of where our client’s results were at I started to realize there’s certain clients that I’m not going to work with anymore. And then there are certain clients that are getting great results and so I need to focus more on those type of clients.
OWEN: During the pre-interview when we asked what was the first step you took to systematize your business you mentioned how figuring out who ideally the right clients were for you or the clients with the best fit. And I’m wondering since you’re talking about that already how did you figure out which clients are the right fit for you I’m assuming the clients you mentioned just now were not the right fit or what?
JUSTIN: Yeah. Really the first step for us was figuring out which clients weren’t a good fit. And when we used the process of elimination what was left were the clients that were a good fit. And for us we realized physical products, e-commerce, information products, any other online businesses we realized that that wasn’t a good fit for us and we weren’t getting the best results with that. But what was left over was lead generation for service-based businesses. And every one of our major successes were lead generation campaigns for service-based businesses and that opened up the door for us to really focus our time and energy on who our ideal client was.
OWEN: Okay. So the second step was figuring out what client made the most sense in this service-based business and doing specifically lead generation for them. But I’m wondering were there any other steps you took to systematize the business besides that?
JUSTIN: Yeah. There was. I guess one of the first systems was figuring out who our ideal client wasn’t and who our ideal client was. But even more than that was figuring out what I was good at and what I wasn’t good at. And so when you look at your business as a whole to me I think that’s one of the most important things for an entrepreneur is figuring out what are the things that you’re not good at. And that way you can outsource those things and create a system for those things. And so one of the first things that I outsourced was my admin, whether that was working on WordPress sites or whether it was making sure that prospects got the right paperwork, etc. And so I realized those are things I’m not good at. So I went and hired a VA, one of the first contractors that I hired.
OWEN: Virtual assistant?
OWEN: And I think during the pre-interview you mentioned how after hiring the virtual assistant to do admin stuff one of the things they did was creating videos. Talk about that.
JUSTIN: Yeah. And so it wasn’t really even intentional Owen. I didn’t know that I was creating systems and I wasn’t trying to create systems but I knew that in order for me to communicate this task to the VA with the best clarity and the best chances of being able to make sure that that task was completed on time and accurately I just started creating these short, little 5-minute videos. With that video it gave me an opportunity to not have to write it down. I just had an outlet where I could use my voice. It was more conversational. But then the visual element allowed me to communicate with another dimension that I couldn’t do with just a text format. And so that worked really well.
OWEN: And I’m wondering, it seemed that you just started creating videos for work that you needed done. And the first one was the admin stuff. I’m wondering what other things did you systematize besides that back then because you talked about the administrative work. But I’m wondering were there other things that you kind of created systems for?
JUSTIN: Just based on what I was good and what I wasn’t good at, and I would encourage all the listeners if you’re an entrepreneur. There are certain things that you excel at and there are certain things that you have a giftedness for. There’s some things that come with ease, that you’re very skilled at, or that you’re better at. For me the things that I wasn’t good at, I don’t know how to code. I’ve never written a line of code in my life. I’m horrible with graphic design. And so those are some of the things that I created systems for and hired freelancers for besides admin. I hired somebody to help with our WordPress. I hired somebody to help with landing page design, graphic design, and that way I could focus on the things that I was good at but then surround myself with people who are more skilled than me in the areas that I’m not so good at.
OWEN: Let’s dive into that a little bit because I understand it can be in the case of administrators start to create systems for stuff you’re already doing. You mentioned that there are a lot of things that you were not doing where you had to get experts to come in to do for instance graphic design and programming. I’m wondering how did you kind of create a system around something that you did not even know how to do in the first place?
JUSTIN: It was really just doing the best I could with what I had. And so I kind of pieced together this solution and it still works to this day. I still use this successfully is I use the idea of swipe and deploy. And if there’s any Dan Kennedy fans out there or direct marketing fans out there who have heard of this concept basically I find the model that someone else is using well and I just steal that model and I just say I’ve got a swipe file that I collect. I collect banner ads. I collect landing pages. I collect different digital assets and it becomes sort of an inspirational file if you will. And so whenever I talk to a graphic designer I’ll set up my video and I’ll just tell him, “Hey, I want it to look like this.” And sometimes I just go to Google Images and I’ll find an example or a template that I like. And that’ll become the inspiration for it. In that way I don’t have to create it from scratch and I don’t have to come up with a new concept but just borrowing concepts from other people. And especially when it comes to coding and graphic design that’s my shortcut.
OWEN: Okay. Showing them kind of examples of what you’re looking for, maybe being as detailed as possible. So in the case of graphic design showing them an example of what you’re looking for. In the case of programming maybe breaking down what results you want and then they figure out how to deliver the results for the software that you’re having them build. Is that kind of what’s happening?
JUSTIN: Yeah. Basically I’ll give you an example. We just redesigned our website. I talked to several web design firms and I got quotes anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 for a new website. We’ve got a guy on our team that does web design and so I just found a website that I liked. I gave him the example. I said, “Here’s the domain. This is what I want.” And in the video there are certain elements of the website that we would change to fit our branding. And so we just use that as the template. I was able to communicate visually to him what I wanted it to look like, what the design elements are, what the plug-ins were. That way it helps to communicate with more clarity and certainty about exactly what I want the finished product to look like.
OWEN: Given that a lot of the people on your team are contractors I’m also curious how exactly did you document procedures and processes for your business? What tools did you use? Earlier you mentioned that you created videos. You can talk about the tool you specifically use to create videos and even other tools that you use in the business.
JUSTIN: Sure. It’s really important especially with the digital team and working remotely, and having a distributed team where we’ve got contractors all over the world Owen. We’ve got folks in the Philippines, in India, and in Bangladesh. We’ve got some in the U.S. but it’s a remote team and a remote culture that we’ve created here. And so it’s important to be able to communicate these things in a way that everybody can understand and there’s ultimate clarity and we can make sure that these processes are repeatable, and scalable, and that we can get the same results every time. And so when we started creating these processes and documenting these procedures the easiest thing for us was just creating these little videos. And one tool that I found originally was called Screencast-O-Matic. It’s like $12 or $13 a year. It was the lowest cost tool out there but it’s so user-friendly. I’ve been using it four or five years and it never gets old. It’s always reliable. It’s been great. Basically that’s one of the first tools that we did and I knew what I wanted. One of my strengths, my typical profile is I’m a textbook visionary. I can always see it in my mind but it’s not always easy to communicate. And so these videos really was a great medium for me. The other thing was our project management software. Originally we started out with Basecamp. Basecamp was very user-friendly. They have a great UI. They have a great element there and it’s easy to use. And so with Basecamp you could create a new project and then you break the project down in a task. And so that’s when I really became fluent at being able to break down bigger projects or bigger tasks into the individual steps needed to finally get to the end outcome. And so Basecamp worked really well for us for a while and then they also have a tool where you could duplicate the projects and so it becomes a template. And if there’s repeatable task or recurring task that you have when you create a template you don’t have to redo the work every single time. And that was one of the biggest problems with us is when we just worked with any client and every client we were always reinventing the wheel. And so we were always starting from scratch. It’s not just the project management software but also if you go back to us dialing in who our ideal client was…
OWEN: What I get from that with Basecamp is you kind of templatize the work so that when you bring on a new client you have that template of what the task should be based on the type of work you guys were doing.
JUSTIN: Yeah, absolutely. So you’re not just figuring it out from scratch. You’re not learning as you go. You’ve got a template and it worked before and so you just copy and paste it.
OWEN: I think during the pre-interview you said now you actually use Asana.
JUSTIN: Yeah. If you used Asana years ago it was really clunky and not very attractive. I just really didn’t like it very much but they’ve updated it last year. Asana is my absolute favorite project management tool. It works great and we love it.
OWEN: You also mentioned something during the pre-interview of something you learned from Tim Francis. What is that?
JUSTIN: I met Tim Francis back in 2012 and then I heard him on your podcast. He was talking about systems and talking about automation and scaling your business. He teaches this concept called the engine room. I started following him. His website is profitfactory.com. He teaches a lot of concepts about how to not just create systems but how to organize those systems. And so that was one of our biggest challenges was we had all these systems floating around. And we had some in email and some in our project management software, and some in Google Drive, and some in Slack. But Tim actually has a formal process for how to organize your systems. And that was one of our biggest challenges and I feel like that took us to a different level.
OWEN: And so to you the listener we actually have two or three interviews with Tim Francis. So if you’re on the blog sweetprocess.com/blog feel free to check out those interviews that Justin is referring to so you can learn from those. Back to the interview I’m wondering at the time when you were working on systematizing and automating the business I’m wondering what books or mentors had the most influence on you and why?
JUSTIN: I’m an avid reader. That’s one thing that I really pride myself on is just always stay in current and leveraging other people’s knowledge. And so one of the first books, and I think a lot of us has probably read it. If you haven’t I would highly recommend it, The E-Myth by Michael Gerber. And probably even before that The 4-Hour Workweek. That might have been the first book that I read that talked about systems and automation. And then one that I read recently I know it’s a little bit older but Work the System. That’s another one that had a huge influence on me. At the end of the day it’s not just about reading a book but it’s about taking that knowledge and being able to apply it in what you do. If you can do that then obviously those books are worth a ton.
OWEN: Okay. Here’s the thing, if we don’t talk about the challenges that you had while you were working on this we won’t give full, well-rounded interview. So I’m wondering what will you say was one of the biggest challenge that you experienced when you tried to systematize and automate the business. How did you solve it?
JUSTIN: I think a lot of it was just in my mind is being able to wrap my mind around this concept. Because especially if you’re a digital company you don’t have a physical inventory, you don’t have a physical store. It’s not like you go to the retail outlet every day and you have a back inventory or stockroom. Everything is done digitally. And so a lot of times the concepts that we deal with are all very abstract. And so you have to wrap your mind around these abstract concepts because it’s not physical and you can’t touch it. So for me I struggle with perfectionism. I want everything to have a place and a place for everything. I want everything to be documented perfectly. And I just realized that it doesn’t have to be perfect. These systems don’t have to be written perfect. One thing like on your blog Owen you talk about the difference between processes and procedures. And you talk about the roadmap versus the turn by turn directions. I’m reading all these different resources and trying to wrap my mind around it. And finally I just said, “You know what, I just got to do the best with what I can. It doesn’t have to be perfect. We just need to make progress.” And so I think that’s another big challenge that I had to overcome.
OWEN: Whatever you could document, no matter how it is at least a starting point where you have something in place. And if that’s not enough then you can build upon that, but at least something to start with. So the issue was with the mind. I like how you solve that. And then also the second biggest challenge regarding systematizing and automating your business what was it and how did you solve it?
JUSTIN: The second biggest challenge I think was I had all these systems spread out everywhere. We had some in Google Drive and some in our project management tools, some in email and we just didn’t have a way to organize them and keep them all together. And so the first step to solving that problem I think was the solution that Tim Francis offers. The next thing that I figured out is within our project management software we really have two categories of tasks. You have your new tasks and then you have repeatable tasks. And when you think about your business that way if it’s a recurring task we would just set it up as such where it would be a recurring task so we could schedule it to be recurring, every day or every week. And then the other thing that we did was we would attach the written document, in this case it would be a Google Doc. We would attach that Google Doc right to the recurring task. So that way whenever it pops back up in the team member’s inbox there’s also the instructions right there with it. So we don’t have to go search, and hunt, and figure out where was that system at, where was that process at. It’s gotten a lot better as we go but I think that was really the second biggest challenge that we had.
OWEN: Another thing you mentioned during the pre-interview was thinking that you needed to be further along the business before systematizing that. You said it was kind of like a mental block. Can you talk about what that was exactly?
JUSTIN: For me, whenever I was first starting out, I was a solopreneur, I was a freelancer. I didn’t have a whole lot of money. And there wasn’t a whole lot of leverage. In my mind I thought that I have to do it all myself. And so it got to the point where it was so bad and there’s so much pressure that I finally had to just try. And so hiring that first person for me, in my mind I’m thinking this is going to cost thousands of dollars a month and I don’t really have that. I can’t afford it. But what I figured out is even if you give them two or three hours’ worth of work it’s going to cost you that much. For me $20 or $30 could go a really long way. And the better I knew exactly what I needed the better results I would get. Hiring somebody on a very part-time basis, it gave me a whole lot of leverage.
OWEN: At what point in time do you feel like your entire business was systematized and it can actually run without you? I’m trying to bring us to a more recent time in the story.
JUSTIN: Right now we’re actually working on kind of tying this all together. And we’re making a move to where I’m going to work in the business probably about 10 hours a week. And that way I still can encourage my team. I can still give them direction but now I’m more of a consultant where each week we meet and if they have questions or they need feedback then I’m there. I’m available. They know that.
OWEN: Do you remember when you moved from more of the doer to more now like you mentioned earlier like an investor/slash consultant. Do you know when in time that was?
JUSTIN: Yeah, it’s actually been fairly recent. I think around January this year. It’s really happened in a way that… I think about it this way Owen, when you’re first starting out and you’re really a true startup the only leverage that you have really is time, unless you have investors. But if you don’t have funding then the only thing you have is time. And so for me there is a period of time where I worked 17, 18, 19, 20 hours a day. You can only do that for so long. But as a startup I think it’s necessary until you start getting momentum, and you grow, and you build, and there’s some level of stability. And then once there’s stability then your role changes a little bit. So right around January this year I really started thinking differently about my business. And my role started to change and I started to hand-off more and more responsibility. We had some key hires within the last year. Now we’re transitioning to where I’m working 10-15 hours a week.
OWEN: That’s great. Since we’re talking about more recent part of the story I’m wondering, because my listeners always want to get a behind-the-scenes look of how the business currently works today. What will you say are the different parts of the business and the specific systems that you have in each part? To make that more concrete imagine your business like a conveyor belt. On one end is someone who fits your ideal customer target profile, needing held getting more leads. And on the other end of this conveyor belt is that same person. They’re working with you guys. You guys are delivering them customer leads ongoing. They love you guys. They’re raving about you guys. But behind the scenes in your business what are the different parts that are allowing this transformation to happen. And feel free to start from even how you find this person in the first place.
JUSTIN: Okay. For us we target appliance repair companies. Business owners that have a business offering appliance repair services. For us, we’re the only pay-per-click agency that works exclusively with appliance repair companies. When they’re looking for marketing services or pay per click services we’re the only game in town. When they come to our website and they see that we solve a very specific problem for a very specific person then it makes our marketing a lot easier.
OWEN: Real quick, I’m wondering are you finding through pay-per-click? Are you using pay-per-click to find them?
JUSTIN: That’s a really good question. We don’t actually use pay-per-click because typically when a small business goes to Google and they type in marketing services or lead services they’re not going to say… They usually don’t even know that we exist. They don’t know that there’s such a thing as marketing for appliance repair companies. If we were to use pay-per-click or use Google we would attract a lot of the wrong customers. For us it’s just organic. We work with Mr. Appliance which is the largest appliance repair franchise in the world and they naturally send a ton of business our way and word of mouth.
OWEN: So more like influencer targeting the big influencers within their niche. And before you know it they’re talking about you kind of thing.
JUSTIN: Yeah, and we do a lot of cold email outreach as well. I think you may have done an interview with the founder of QuickMail, quickmail.io I think.
OWEN: So you use QuickMail to do cold outreach to the specific targets, okay.
JUSTIN: Yeah. And we do a lot of cold email outreach. But when we attract the right client or when we attract the right prospects typically on our website we have tons of opt-ins where they can get more information about our eBooks, we have other lead magnets. And they sign-up and then we have our email process that really cultivates that relationship and that lead and builds the trust. And then when they reach out to us… And all this is done either automated or with systems. So when they finally do reach out to us to find out more information or receptionist has a script and she qualifies them before she sets up an appointment. She asks them certain questions to make sure they qualify for our program. Then she’s got a system for scheduling the appointment. Then we have a system for the sales call. Then we have a system that they do sign-up. We have the system for the onboarding. All of this really gives us a ton of leverage because part of our success comes from not just being able to deliver the results to our clients but making sure that we’re with the right client. The onboarding is automated. We have systems for that. And then even invoicing. We have an automated system for invoicing. And then even the services that we deliver month after month, all of that is systematized. And then at the end of the month it’s just rinse and repeat.
OWEN: That’s great stuff. And so now that you have those systems to actually get the work done I’m wondering if we have not already talked about… I think we’ve talked about things like you’re using Asana for managing tools and tool-types of tasks, new tasks, recurring tasks. We’ve talked about that so no need to go into that again. But I’m wondering how do you track and verify the results delivered by your employees?
JUSTIN: That’s a really good question, because part of our business it’s not just being able to deliver results but it’s also about the perception of who we are in our client’s minds. Do they perceive us as being competent or do they perceive us as just being some garage band. It’s like are these guys amateurs or are they really professionals. The project management tool has a big part to play in it. But also I think this is probably the most important thing to answer this question Owen is over the years we really were just guessing about how well our clients were performing. And we had some tracking in place and we’re doing an okay job but there was a lot left to the imagination. Are we really delivering the kind of results that we think we are. And so we created a dashboard. And the dashboard is really a central tool to everything that we do. In that way we can monitor every single client’s results. We know how many calls they got. We know what their cost was, we know what their cost per call was. We track every phone call. We record every phone call. And so that dashboard has become really critical for us being able to know really how well our clients are performing and make sure that we’re spending the right time working on the right client.
OWEN: And so I’m wondering now that you have a lot more free time in the business which areas of the business are you currently focused on now and why?
JUSTIN: Really for me my giftedness is in sales and marketing and just really being the visionary. Instead of wearing every single hat in the business now it’s about finding out what I’m good at and being able to leverage my unique ability. Sales and marketing is really part of that role but everything else I delegate. I outsource or I just get rid of it. If it doesn’t fit in my unique ability it’s somebody else’s job now.
OWEN: Okay. I’m also curious looking forward what is the next stage of growth for the business and what do you plan to achieve next and why?
JUSTIN: Right now we’re building two new products. We have two new products in the pipeline. With Google Adword there’s still an element of manual work where our results are dependent on our Adwords manager. And so with that being said we don’t have as much leverage as we could. And not to mention there’s a large part of our client’s budget that goes toward their Google Ad spend. For us there’s lower margins and there’s more room for error there. But with a software product every bit of that, the revenue goes toward you and there’s a lot more leverage and scalability. What we figured out is we’re building a dashboard specifically for appliance repair companies. That’s a product that we see being a game changer for us. Another part of the services that we offer is we can only work with one client per area. With this dashboard product it’s going to open it up to where there’s no competition that we could potentially every single appliance repair company could be using this product.
OWEN: That’s great. As we come to the end of the interview if you can kind of give the listeners a summary of the steps they should take to systematize their business what will you say blow-by-blow that should be?
JUSTIN: Sure. Kind of a recap of what we talked about here but the first step is really there’s no systems in your business at all and you’re frustrated and things are unstable. You’re chasing your tail constantly and overwhelmed. The first step is finding out who your ideal client is, or I should say who your ideal client is not. If you’re working with clients and it’s not working and it’s not giving you the ability to scale, if you can’t build repeatable systems find who your ideal client is not. And then the other side of the coin of that is once you’ve discovered who your ideal client is not really spend some time focusing on who your ideal client is. That’s what I would say is the first step. The next step would be personally find out what you’re not good at, what things do you hate, what things cause you the most frustration, where are the areas in your business where you’re dropping the ball, where the areas where you’re inconsistent or where you find that you’re struggling the most. And once you can identify those areas that are not working for you. Hire somebody that is better skilled or better able at those things than you are and then build a system for it. The other thing would be I would say even when you’re first starting out you don’t have to have everything perfect. Don’t worry about having this perfect system. Just get started somewhere. And like I said even if it’s just 5-minute… Jing is free. You can create these 5-minute videos with Jing. That would be a good place to start even if you have no experience at all. And then the next part would be hire a part-time contractor. They could be $5, $6, $7, $8 an hour. You can give them four or five hours a week starting out if that’s where you’re at. But I think that’s really the basic place to start.
OWEN: Okay. As we end the interview I’m wondering is there a question that you were wishing I would’ve asked you that I didn’t ask you yet? If so post the question as well as the answer.
JUSTIN: What is the number one system in our business that produces the best results? For us we created a system for our clients. We have the ultimate lead generation system for appliance repair companies. But we’ve discovered along the way that our clients were really struggling with booking the appointments. So we would send them lead after lead after lead but if they couldn’t book the appointment then at the end of the day our service was less valuable or less effective even. I developed a step-by-step process. I’ve got videos and audios, a handbook, a cheat sheet. We created the ultimate system for how to book appointments. And so we call it Double Your Appointments. I even set-up a new website. It’s doubleyourappointments.net, but this is a way that we train our clients how to answer the phone, what questions to ask, what questions to not ask. And we give them this world class sales training and we train their CSR’s. We train them how to answer the phone and how to book the appointment.
OWEN: Great. As we come to the end of the interview what’s the best way for the listener to connect with you and thank you for doing the interview?
JUSTIN: If you have questions or you just want to chat about systems, or if I can help in any way just reach me by email. Actually, you know what let’s do this. I’ll give you my email but then I also want to give your listeners another resource, firstname.lastname@example.org is how you reach me. I don’t have a systems business. I don’t have resources built for this. But my good friend Tim Francis does. That’s what he specializes. So if you’re looking for help with systems, if you’re looking for help with scaling your business, profitfactory.com is a great resource.
OWEN: And so I’m speaking to you the listener. As we come to the end of the interview I want to give you the opportunity to leave your feedback for us on iTunes. And to do that go to sweetprocess.com/iTunes. Hopefully you’ll give us a positive review on there. The reason why we want the review is because the more reviews we get the more other entrepreneurs while browsing podcasts to listen to will find out about our podcast and going to get benefit from it like you have. If you know another entrepreneur who will find value from this feel free to share the interview with them. And finally, if you’re at that stage in your business where you’re tired of being the bottleneck and you want to get everything out of your head so your employees know what you know feel free to sign up for a free 14-day trial of SweetProcess. Justin, thanks for doing the interview.
JUSTIN: Owen, I appreciate it. Thank you so much.
OWEN: And we’re done.