Welcome to the Eventual Millionaire Podcast. I’m Jaime Tardy and today we have Robert Smith on the show. Robert is the founder of Champion Media Worldwide which is a PR agency who has amazing testimonials from people like Jay Conrad Levinson of Gorilla Marketing and Chet Holmes, an amazing online marketer. I’m excited to have him on the show. Welcome, Robert. Thanks for coming on.
ROBERT SMITH: Thanks for having me, Jaime. It’s my pleasure.
JAIME TARDY: Excellent. So first, I’d love to talk about how you started. I know you said you’ve had a couple of businesses. What was your very first venture into business?
RS: My very first stab at being an entrepreneur, I was age 22. I started a child support collection agency. Very, very simple story. I couldn’t find a job. I graduated with an associate’s degree as a paralegal. Got turned down from law firm after law firm and legal department after legal department with my paralegal degree and I actually read in a magazine, my mom used to get these business opportunity magazines, and there was an ad in the back on joining the child support collection franchise. So I looked into that. Took my $600.00 tax refund check back in ’96, bought into that and that was my first crack at being an entrepreneur.
JT: Wow, that’s a great story. How did that work out for you?
RS: You know, it started off slow but I did learn. Remember, I’m 22 no business experience whatsoever very wet behind the ear, I did notice something. Because it was set up like a franchise, they gave me the marketing materials and the brochures and kind of gave you a game plan on here’s an ad you can run in the newspaper. Here’s flyers you can put up at daycare to schools and all of that. So I did that and then I had people come in.
Now, I remember talking to a lady who was trying to get child support. She gave me a check for $300.00. I had to send that check out to corporate headquarters and then they in turn would pay me $75. So I did that three or four times. I’m like wait a minute, why am I sending out two or three hundred dollar checks to these people and they’re taking four to six weeks to send me back $75 so I figured out what they were doing because basically I was just meeting with the people. I wasn’t collecting child support, I wasn’t trying to find deadbeats, I wasn’t doing any of that.
So what I did was I figured out what they were doing on the collection side of it. Now I already had enough of the legal side as far as using the law library and the family law and child support law because remember I had a paralegal degree so some of the stuff I did know how to do so I self-taught myself collections. Then I went out and struck out on my own so now the $300 checks I got to keep 100 percent of those and I still used some of the marketing material they gave me. I just changed their name to the new company name I started and it was up and down, up and down because you’re learning and you’re new at it but I finally figured out again through being self taught, always being willing to learn and we’ll get into that later as far as people that really want to be a millionaire, that’s one of my biggest keys is always be willing to learn and so that’s what I did. I just learned everything I could about business and marketing and advertising and so I made that business a success.
JT: Great. How long did you do that business?
RS: I did that for almost three years. The State of Illinois stepped in. I don’t know what it is now but that was a long time ago but back then the state was in chaos. It was just, I mean they weren’t organized. It was really, really, really terrible the way the child support was ran in the State of Illinois so it made it great for the opportunity for people like me but then about two and a half, three years later, they got things in order and they centralized it and they made it better on the state side which made it more difficult for us and then they put in regulations. Before it was unregulated.
A lot of things changed so what I did was I kind of started to see I can’t keep doing this because they keep making it harder for me to collect and so I started to phase out of that and do other things.
JT: Okay, what were some of those other things that you went into?
RS: That led me into starting my PR firm and the way I started that was I read a chapter in a book by Dan Kennedy. He talked about getting publicity for any business and then I was just amazed. Wait a minute, you could get millions of dollars of publicity on radio, television, newspapers, magazines and not have to pay for it? So I started using the publicity and the public relations for the child support business and I was appearing on the news and in newspapers and I could see the phone ringing after a story would run.
So, I actually liked that better than child support. You know, having some guy call me every name in the books because I’m trying to collect child support from him isn’t very fun. But by the time when I first started doing the PR, again, my very first attempt I got two out of the three local TV stations to do something on me. Now this is my very first attempt at trying to get PR. Then again, like I said earlier, I saw the benefit of okay when the story runs the phone rings. Then I just saw, okay let me keep doing this and then again with the state doing all their changes I would have people come to me and say hey how did you get on this TV show? We saw you in this magazine. So I was freelancing, you know, writing press releases and doing different things. Then I just kind of made the natural transition into doing PR full time right after the child support.
JT: Nice. So you’ve been doing that for awhile. So what year did that start?
RS: I say freelancing ’98, 1998, 1999. I turned it more into a traditional PR firm and agency in 2000, maybe 2001. So I was freelancing and made some extra money freelancing and just writing press releases and doing a very, very small campaign for someone. So that kind of was the transition into it was just kind of like as freelancer.
JT: So you were pretty much just all by yourself a solopreneur. How did you go from a solopreneur to where you are now and where are you now in regard to your PR firm? I know you have some employees.
RS: Yeah, I’m at 12 people now. What happened with me is through my always studying and learning and never being satisfied with thinking I know all there is to know, I would just read. I’d go to seminars. I’d attend mastermind groups and I’d do all this stuff and then I would apply some of the stuff I used. The thing with them marketing is I’m a big believer in what’s called pillars. Most people, when they advertise or market a business, whatever industry they’re in, they typically market and do what everybody else in their industry is doing. So if you go to any city you look up flower shops I guarantee you they’re all pretty much advertising in the same way.
Attorneys, I mean it’s almost like there’s a joke in the industry, they call it marketing incest. Everybody is just doing the same thing everybody else is doing. So it’s very hard to expand out and compete when, I mean if you’re a law firm and you’re doing everything else 10,000 other law firms are doing, how are you going to stand out? You don’t. So what I learned through Jay Abraham was have marketing pillars. So all that is, a pillar is like a leg, it holds up your business. If all you’re using is one form of marketing, if that’s compromised, if that’s taken away, like for instance let’s say you were a business and you heavily rely on telemarketing, okay, well what happens when they enforce the do not call list? Now you can’t call people.
See now you’re in trouble. But if you use telemarketing and you have sales people and you have newspaper and then you use radio and then you speak and then you use PR and then you do partnerships, you have 12 different things going on all at the same time driving business to you. When something happens to one you’re still okay.
RS: That made sense to me and that’s how I set up all of my businesses. I have four now and I never rely on just one form of marketing for any of them. If the newspapers decide they’re going to raise their rates or the TV stations, which they all do certain times of the year especially the fourth quarter, especially if it’s an election year, they jack up the rates for the politicians. Well you know what, they jack the rates for us too. So if it becomes unaffordable and that’s what you’ve been relying on, again, you’re in trouble.
JT: So now do you guys do a lot of purchasing like advertising and stuff? I’ve always thought of PR as solely like just press and getting in newspapers and magazines for free.
RS: Yeah, that’s what I started out doing but I’ve branched out to do, I buy media, I do some advertisement. Again when I started out, it was PR but as you grow and expand, I have clients come to me and say hey we got $100,000 budget, you know, I’m not going to say well I just do PR bye, take your check.
JT: Smart entrepreneur!
RS: So I saw that and plus it was an easier sale which I didn’t know going in because I never took a PR course, I never worked at a PR firm. I never studied PR except for just this book and then on my own self taught, just through my own self-taught time. What I found out the hard way was most people don’t understand public relations. We do, I mean you understand it, I understand it but when you talk to a business owner, we’ve been bombarded with advertising. That’s what we understand. So when you kind of carve out public relations, a lot of people don’t really understand what that is, and so it was a harder sale because they didn’t understand it.
So I did find out when I said more advertising they got that and it did make it a little easier to connect and educate. Then not only that, because they understood it, the advertising, they knew it wasn’t cheap. They typically came with a larger budget. So what I did was I just kind of added the advertising arm to the PR.
RS: So we do them both now.
JT: Great, you’re a marketing firm with different branches. Excellent.
RS: Exactly and that’s a lesson too, a business lesson is the marketplace will speak and you can either sell them what they want or lose money and send them somewhere else.
JT: Excellent. So you’ve been doing this for a long time too. What are some of the best tips in PR or in advertising that you’ve had over the years?
RS: I would say that with PR understanding that the media needs you more than you need them. If you think about your daily newspaper, whatever city you live in while you are listening to this, if they have a daily newspaper, that newspaper has to come out 365 days a year and there’s an average of 8 to 12 stories on each page. So you do the math and that’s each section – that’s local, that’s national, that’s business, that’s family, that’s sports, that’s life, that’s health. You do the math. So they have to come out every day and they have to fill that amount of stories. They need people to interview.
So my thing is every time I teach I try to drive that point home is you’re not doing the media a favor. They’re doing you a favor. They don’t want you to know that but you’ve never bought a newspaper and there was a blank page. You’ve never turned on the news on television and there was just a blank screen. They have to put something there so I say why not you but that won’t happen if they don’t know you exist.
JT: So you said before about press releases and it’s funny because I’ve heard both sides of the story. I’ve interviewed some people who are like press releases are the best. We’ve gotten so much free press and other people go well my press release totally didn’t work it fell flat every single time. It doesn’t work. What are your not only opinions on it but also the best way to create a press release?
RS: I would say in this day and age of instant communications and social media and just all of the different methods of communications we have, a press release alone I don’t think will get the job done. I’m not one of these people that just throws the baby out with the bathwater and hey press releases just never, never work. It’s just the game has changed over the last 15, 20 years where before you could just rely on a press release. Send it out to a bunch of people as long as they target it and you know targeted just means if you’re an expert in parenting then that’s who you’re contacting – parenting publications or parenting columnists or people who deal with family.
So that’s the first thing. As long as it’s targeted. You know back in the day you were okay. You knew eventually you’d come around and get a story. But there’s too much competition. There’s too many ways for them to get their information. The media is a lot busier than they were. Newsrooms are short staffed so now you have one reporter who’s juggling 12 stories instead of 3 so it’s easy to send something and have it get lost, misplaced, set to the side and never returned to. So I would say, you still use press releases but you just don’t stick with that.
Remember the example of the pillars in building a business. You want to do the same thing with your PR. So you incorporate some social media. There’s a reporter here where she seeks out stories on Facebook. It’s right on her Facebook page and she’ll say you guys got any story ideas, you know, contact me through Facebook. So some of the media outlets are looking for places there. The press releases is an example.
Going to a website, the two times I had the Oprah show call me the way I got them to call me was I filled out the email on their website. If you go to Oprah’s site and you click on be on the show, you’ll see 15, 20, 25 different shows they’re working on. Same thing for Dr. Phil, Rachel Ray, 20/20, Tyra Banks. They’re putting the shows that they’re looking for guests for right there on the website. All you have to do is click on the show that has your background or your expertise. Fill out the form and they have interns, I’m sure Oprah doesn’t read the email but they got producers and they got interns looking for people who fit that show and then a producer will call you. I’m living proof – two calls from Oprah, two calls from Dr. Phil, just going through the website.
JT: Wow, that’s amazing. Usually it doesn’t seem that easy for most people to get on the Oprah show but you’ve done it twice. That’s excellent.
RS: Well, one is mindset and belief. This is like a cool interview because I mean there’s nothing special about me. I’ve just learned to connect the dots. Now I have mentors who are super, super, super successful but when I didn’t have mentors, I had to kind of connect the dots myself but now I see how the big picture works and see what it is you have to do. So you have to surround yourself with people who know more than you. If you don’t know anybody personally who’s a millionaire, which a lot of us don’t, all we see, as my mentor explained to me, most people they don’t have a very rich person that they can touch.
What I mean by that is someone that they actually know that they can talk to. We see the results. We see the house, the cars, the boats. We hear about the trips. Maybe some people belong to a club or maybe someone at your church or a distant family member. You hear the stories of people are rich but you don’t know them. You don’t know how they got that way. You hear Johnny got rich in the stock market. You hear Susie started a business and got rich but you don’t know what she does everyday.
So we’re robbed of the steps. So what I would say is find someone and they write books. If you don’t know anybody personally, you know what, success leaves clues. There is books they put out. If you can’t afford a book, hey guess what, you can go to the library. They’re free. Well the library doesn’t have this book. Well guess what, there’s something inside the library called the interlibrary loan so if the library in your hometown doesn’t have the book, they’ll request it from any other library in the country for free. So there’s no excuses. You can make excuses or you can make money but you can’t do both.
JT: I like that quote. That’s great.
RS: So that’s the one thing is having the right mindset and mentors, people who can help you along the way because if you don’t know something how can you do it? That’s the thing with the PR. Most people didn’t think the Oprah show or any of these big media is possible going through their site. So someone has an exposure to that. So you got to know it’s possible. And then two, taking action. Because I can teach you everything but if you’re scared or if you don’t do what I tell you, then you’re not going to benefit from it.
JT: What are some tips on taking action, especially in the face of fear?
RS: Okay, fear is a funny thing because I’d heard a lot of different people say what it is, the false evidence appearing real and fear is internal. You start small. You do something small where it builds up your courage because fear is just an emotion usually because you don’t know the outcome of a thing. Unless you reprogram yourself, you automatically think the worst is going to happen. So I just say get some small flags of success, try something small and do it.
Keep doing that and then over time, you’ll get over the fear. I mean that’s the long way to do it but that’s one way that the average person can do it. The other way is just to say, “You know what, what am I scared of?” Again, I got a lot of mentors so I always refer back to them. I’m 37 years old so there’s a lot of things I don’t know so I love talking to people who’ve been in business longer than I’ve been alive because they’ve seen it all. And another one of my mentors whose net worth is about $450 million, the way he looks at fear is basically what we do is we put fear on the level where it should never be.
We’re scared we’re going to make the wrong decision and then we’re scared people are going to laugh at us, talk about us because we failed in business or because this didn’t work out or that didn’t work out. And he told a story of a lady, something happened to her and some I guess kidnappers were going kill her son or her daughter and things didn’t go their way with the ransom and all this other stuff. So they gave her, oh and she wouldn’t cooperate. They told her don’t call the police, told her don’t do some things, this is a true story too. She did it anyway.
So they told her since you did that, we got to teach you a listen. Tomorrow we’re going to kill one of your kids. You choose, your son or your daughter. Now that’s fear. See and when he put it in that light how could you ever be scared to start a business? How could you ever be scared to say okay I want to run this ad? I’m going to call this person. That’s not life or death. If it’s not life or death, you shouldn’t have anything to be afraid of and I had to use that in my own life because I got big dreams and want to take this company to 10 million dollars a year then 100 million dollars a year and beyond.
My brain works like everybody else’s brain. Well what if that doesn’t work? You ran that ad last time for that seminar and only 12 people showed up. You did this and the guy didn’t call you back. All these thoughts run through my head but then I remember the story. Like you know what, I’m not going to lose my family. I’m not going to lose my home. I’m not going to lose, I don’t have to choose between my kids. Sometimes I want to choose the way they act but anyway I’m not going to. So that’s a great backdrop to put decisions up against.
JT: Yeah, that’s perspective for you. I mean we are sort of, especially as entrepreneurs, live in a little bubble of “Oh my gosh this is so important. There’s nothing more important than what we’re doing right now.” But in turn, it’s totally not, not even close to what could be happening in your life.
RS: No, and I tell you this, Jaime, if I really look at it if it is life or death and the decisions you make in business they are. They really are. For those of you listening, if you make at least, I’ll go out and say if you make at least $50,000 a year and you’ve done that for three years or more, so that’s a starting, if you made at least $50,000 for the last three years and that’s each year, all the way up to millions, then you know how to make money. You need to increase your confidence.
Now $50,000 is a long way from $500,000 but my whole point is if you’re making that then you are able to survive under your business. So you can be confident in some of the decisions you’ve made. Now there’s some changes you’ll need to make. There’s a different way of thinking if you want to go from $50,000 to a half a million to five million. But if you’re fine with $50,000 all I’m trying to get you to see is if you’ve done that consistently in business and nobody gave you anything, it wasn’t a handout and it wasn’t an inheritance, it’s something you earned, then logically, if you keep doing what you’ve been doing, then you’ll keep getting what you got.
So, you know, at the very least, give or take, you’ll make about $50,000. So you are able to take a little bit of a risk because we’re all conditioned, most people don’t understand they have a financial blueprint just like you have a wake blueprint. There’s a certain set point where we’re used to being at and subconsciously, which is running our everyday lives, is our subconscious, it’s keeping you there. So the fact that you made $50,000 or $100,000 the last two or three years, that wasn’t by accident. There are certain things that you’re doing. So if you keep doing that, at the very least, you’ll still be getting that.
So I’m just throwing that out there for the people who are scared to kind of step out in faith and take another action to do something different. Just have more confidence in yourself. It took me awhile to do that. Made a million dollars before my confidence got to the level where I’m like wait a minute I know what I’m doing.
JT: That’s really important to say because we assume, you know, the people that aren’t millionaires put millionaires up on pedestals and they go well they must know everything, you know. You just said that you didn’t know everything even after you became a millionaire. That’s really important to say.
RS: No, now I still don’t know everything. That’s the beauty of talking to people who are smarter or richer or more successful than you and I know this interview is about the financial side of life and I get that, but that applies to every other area. If you want to be a better parent or a better spouse well you know what, you need to talk to people who have a good marriage, who have a better marriage than you, better communication. You need to talk to the people whose kids seem to be doing better than yours. It works in every area. It’s not just money.
You can apply that to every area and that’s what I do. I have four kids, three are teenagers, so my thing is you know what I’m not the first guy with teenagers. There are people who’ve raised teenagers. I can either learn this the hard way, I can go through this through trial and error or I can just read a book, find people who have already navigated these waters and learn from them and it has helped.
JT: So how about changing? Yeah, that’s sort of the thing. Reading books are awesome and I like to say reading success stories are really inspirational but making that change and taking that action to do something different because usually what we do is we go back and sit at that set point like you were saying for people that only can make 50 and have always made $50,000 in their business. What do they need to do? Is it just increasing confidence or do you have any advice for people that want to change a set point?
RS: Yes, the way you change it and again I use 50 because I really believe, depending on where you live, you can support a family. Again, if you’re not having an extravagant lifestyle and living beyond your means, you should be able to live making $50,000 so again I just wanted people to understand that the confidence is there. It wasn’t luck or by accident. But to grow, what you have to do is, again this goes back to what I said earlier, not doing what everyone in your industry is doing, and that’s probably why your income is or your sales are where they are.
It’s because if you’re a chiropractor making $50,000 a year, there’s a good chance you’re marketing and running your business just like all the other chiropractors. So my mentor told me not only, if I was a chiropractor, not only would I study the chiropractors who are doing half million, a million plus, to see what they’re doing but I also find people in other industries because if all the chiropractors are dominating yellow pages then I don’t want to be in the yellow pages. How are you going to stand out if there are 40 other chiropractors in the yellow pages.
But if you say well I got to be in the yellow pages, okay well maybe you put a smaller ad or a different kind of ad or you do something to stand out. But you just keep adding marketing pillars. Keep adding marketing channels. You know they all won’t work but all you need is one that works. That’s really all you need. If you try 10 different marketing strategies and only one worked, well that’s great because now you can scale that and make that one work harder. But you won’t know that unless you test.
And that leaves me to another big point and this is what scares a lot of people and they haven’t been taught – testing. They think they need 5,000, 10,000, 100,000 right out of the gate and you don’t. You just need to test small and then you look at your results, you measure everything and then you can roll it out which has been kind of like my secret sauce is I test small. I’ll put $40, $50, $200 so if it doesn’t work, guess what, I’m out $200 versus $2,000 or $20,000.
JT: Yeah. What are some, do you have any stories or examples of testing small and what’s worked for you and what hasn’t worked for you?
RS: Oh sure. I’ll give you a prime example. My seminar company which is called Next Level Seminars, we put on seminars, essentially what you’re doing, you know, how to turn your business into a million, multi-million dollar business. So we’ll go to different cities and we’ll do these two-day seminars. Right now they’re $1,500 to attend. So I remember doing one in Oklahoma. I spent four or five thousand dollars on radio and newspapers and direct mail and doing all this stuff and I had three people show up. Two out of the three were speakers so they didn’t even pay. They were helping me do the event.
JT: That’s good to know though. I’m glad you fail sometimes too.
RS: So not only am I out the thousands of dollars to actually put on the event at the hotel and then the marketing but I had to fly there, there was another speaker we flew there, we had to get hotels, you got to rent the room. So all of those costs. So that was a time where it didn’t work and I didn’t test like I should have. See I should have followed my own advice.
I did another seminar, you guys need to write this down, if you take nothing else from this conversation, use this. In the media there’s something that’s called remnant space or stand by advertising. All that is is anytime you call a newspaper or a magazine they have what’s called unsold space. So when the newspaper goes to print they lay it out. They don’t sell all those ad spaces so they either run maybe a press release and put a story in there and that’s when you read some of this weird news stuff. Or they’ll put a public service announcement give to the American Red Cross but they don’t make any money off either one of those.
So just about 100 percent of all newspapers have done is they leave what’s called standby or remnant and they’ll sell that to you for like 70 percent off normally what it would cost just because you’re standing by and they weren’t able to fill that with anything else. So if an ad goes for $1,000 and they sell it to you for $200, guess what, $200 is better than nothing. So any newspaper you’ve now, I do this professionally so I already have a network, but even if you don’t go through an agency, if you just pick any newspaper, call the advertising department and say you’re interested in your standby rate, they’ll send you what the standby rates are.
So to answer your question, I gave you first example where I didn’t test and I blew through $5,000 and wasted it. Now what I do is I run these seminars, I’ll place these ads on remnant or standby and it costs me depending on the city and I’m in Chicago so I like to kind of dissect the suburbs, so one ad costs me $35, another one cost me $60. So I’ll buy like a little group of those. They’ll reach a half million to a million people and it will cost me $80 and I’ll promote my seminar.
JT: So how is that working for you? I mean that is a ridiculously low price that anyone can afford which I’ve always heard and even clients that have done advertising like that in the past are always like, “Oh my gosh it’s so expensive.” I haven’t heard of this tip which is wonderful. Thank you very much. I appreciate it too. But how did that end up working for you?
RS: I promoted, you know, both of my seminars, this was end of last year so it’s kind of fresh, for 80 bucks and promoted them. Had the seminars. People showed up. Made a profit. Now you got to remember, if you’re spending a $100 on advertising, it doesn’t take you very much return to get that money back. See that’s the whole beauty. Now what you’ve got to understand is when you do a remnant or a standby ad, it looks just like every other ad.
There’s nothing on there that makes it look like your ad was cheaper. They don’t single it out. They don’t stamp it. It looks like you paid just as much as the other guy next to you. So that’s the beauty of it. A lot of people think well what’s wrong with it. There’s nothing wrong with it. You’re doing the media a favor by standing by and telling them any time they have unsold space, here you can run my ad. So that’s what I do. I test. I see, okay, if I run an ad in the city for $35 and I don’t get anybody to respond, guess what, I’m out $35 but yet I haven’t paid money to book a hotel, I haven’t did all this other stuff. I only do that after I have people tell me they’ve signed up and they’ve paid me.
JT: That makes a big difference. That’s great. Do you have any other tips? I mean I love hearing about how you’re marketing for an event. Do you have any other tips on what you’ve done that works well in the past to market for an event? Especially in a new area that people don’t already know you in.
RS: Okay, well, if they don’t know you, that’s the biggest hurdle if you don’t have the name recognition, you know, Donald Trump or they know Rich Dad Poor Dad and go into a city and sell it out because they have the name recognition. Definitely I’m not on that level but I do pretty good with the seminars because I keep the cost down on marketing which will be your biggest expense and you can do that with PR and you can do that with the remnant. But if they don’t know you, then you’re going to have to give, you’re going to have to get them to trust you.
So sometimes, you know, I’ve done free seminars. I’ve invited a company, if they had a staff, they could attend free. Maybe you lower the price. Another thing you can do, this is the Tony Robbins strategy, which again is one of those things where it was taught to me by someone, where you offer to do a training, for example, the way I do it is I will call insurance companies because they typically have agents and sales people and then I have a trainer here, he’ll go in after hours or on the weekend and do a training on how they can pose more sales or get more leads.
Now this is free to the insurance agencies. So you got some insurance agencies – State Farm or Allstate or even a local agency – and they may have 12 or 25 agents or reps. So you come in there, you’re immediately in front of 25 people, you’re giving them good content on how to increase sales, how to close, how to handle objections, how to drive more leads. You’re actually giving them that information. Then you say, “You know I’m doing a seminar. I’ve only spoken here for 45 minutes or 60 minutes, but I spend three days teaching this stuff.” So I’m offering the seminar and then you sell them the seminar at the training.
JT: That’s excellent. Yeah.
RS: So the way you, to answer your question what if you don’t have the name recognition, then you got to give first. That’s when you go in and you give a free talk or speech. You give them content. You give them real meat. Then they’ll see the value and if I just talk to you or showed you ways you could increase your business in 45 minutes, I mean you could actually connect the dots and see like wait a minute we can literally double our sales doing what this guy said in 40 minutes, then naturally you’re going to think okay if he’s teaching me for a full day what am I going to get?
JT: That’s really good. It’s funny how I was likening it to online marketing. I mean in online marketing a lot of the times you give away free content to get people to trust you and stuff like that and I haven’t heard of it to really do it in real life and be able to do the exact same thing that you’re sort of doing online which is a great tip. Thank you so much. That’s awesome.
RS: And that’s another thing with the whole mindset and your awareness. Most things in life, I mean you could kind of interrelate them. Like you say, that happens all the time online but if it works online there’s a good chance it will work offline because people are people. There are certain things we do whether we’re buying online or whether we’re selling online or offline or whatever environment, there’s certain things that we all do so the medium really doesn’t matter.
And that’s the problem. We get caught up in the medium like okay if you can give something free away online. Well you know what, you can give something free away offline. You know you can give away something and when you mentioned Jay Conrad Levinson earlier when you were introducing me, he taught me you can do that in relationships. I mean if you think about it, if you go on a first date with someone, the very first date you aren’t asking them to marry you. Well I guess if you’re crazy, they do that kind of stuff.
But when you go on a first date with someone you’re not asking them to marry you. It’s you giving. It’s them giving and then you build a relationship. It’s the same thing in sales. You don’t necessarily ask somebody to buy, you know, correlation marry you, the first time you talk to them. Maybe you give them something free. Maybe you give them a chance to spend time with you or your product. So I actually like that illustration and it helps me in my marketing so that it reminds me, okay, if I want to get a deal done, if I want to go after a particular client, I give away something free.
And I do that to this day. I give away a free interview. I write articles for certain business websites. And so I’ll promote a business. I’ll reach out to them, interview them, put them up on line. They’ll get traffic similar to what you’re doing for me. Drive traffic. They’ll the see the benefit. They’ll get a copy of the article. They can link to it. They can print it out. They can put it on their website. They can do a lot of things with it. So that’s me giving something first.
Then I have sales people, I have eight sales people who will call the people we’ve interviewed and say we’re impressed with the interview, that was a great article. If you’re looking to get additional publicity, not just internet but radio, television, newspapers and then they go into selling them on hiring us to do it and that strategy, by the way, works very, very well.
JT: That’s excellent. That’s a great strategy. Thank you for all these great tips too. What do you think separates you? I mean we sort of talked about this already with your mentors but what do you think separates a successful entrepreneur from the entrepreneurs who don’t succeed and still have all that drive and take the action?
RS: Okay, and what I’m going to say to anybody who has read any books on success or self-help or running a business, basically I’m going to repeat what they say. You can’t fail if you never quit so always what you want to do is try to learn, okay, well what went wrong, what didn’t I do right? You can try to do this on your own and you can fall, you can crawl and mentally you’ll figure it out years later or you can just find somebody who has already gone down that road who is successful in that and pick their brain. That’s one way to do it.
The other thing too is you have to look at what it is you’re doing. To get in the business to make money is like the worst reason to start a business. You should find something that you love doing and I know everybody has heard that. The reason being is because there are going to be good days and bad days. There’s going to be things in the business you don’t like doing but if you’re passionate about what you’re doing then it’s like it’s not work to you. So to try to do something you really don’t like because there’s good money, most of those people fail.
So I would just have people look in the mirror and say, “Okay, why am I doing what I’m doing?” And a lot of times there was peer pressure, there was pressure from family. Maybe someone you respected said okay you need to go into this, you need to do that and doesn’t really line up with your passion or your strength. So you’re struggling to do it. See fish don’t struggle to swim but if you take them out of the water and throw them on land. Okay, what’s wrong with him?
But if you put him in his natural habitat of where he’s supposed to be, then that’s where he excels and the same thing with people. We’re no different. If you’re right where you’re supposed to be, with what lines up with your values and your passion and your gifts and your strengths, then you’ll be like a fish. Actually, I’m looking at pictures on my wall of a dolphin. I remember going to a seminar, a Les Brown seminar, and we’re sitting at the table and they said, “Okay, if you could be animal what would you be?” And everybody is going around the table and they get to me and I said a dolphin because when a dolphin is in the water, I mean he’s dominating the water. He’s not struggling to swim and stay afloat.
Matter of fact, he gets so good at what he’s done he’s in SeaWorld doing tricks. He’s not working hard. Think about it. A dolphin is not working hard. So I feel when I’m in my office and I’m in business, I am a dolphin. I’m not working hard. It looks to the outside world, when you’re doing another 8, 9, 10 hours, yeah. But if you’re having fun, if it does not seem as work to you, then you’re not taking it and looking at it like it’s work.
JT: Definitely great advice. One question – how did you find your mentors? I mean like you said, a lot of people don’t necessarily know somebody. Did you get like a millionaire mentor even before you became a millionaire and that’s one of the things you did? How did you approach them or find them in order to become your mentors?
RS: Okay, it’s so easy now. So much easier now than it was back in the ‘90s because now, I’ll give you kind of two scenarios. One, if they’ve written a book. Because usually in the back they’ll have their office, their address, their phone numbers, their email, the way to get in contact with them. And if you just write to them or email and say I read your book, it has helped me a lot. My very first mentor, this is what I did. I got his email address from the back of the book and emailed him and told him how much I learned from this book and then he emailed me back and then he sent me some free tapes. Let’s you know I’m dating myself. He sent some cassette tapes.
So that was the first one. Then I figured out, okay, just sent out all, if they’ve written books or they have websites and they do seminars or there’s a newsletter on their website, a free newsletter you can sign up for, just get on their list. Kind of get in their world so to speak. And that’s what I call being mentored by from afar because a lot of these mentors, these authors, they all haven’t responded to me. So there’s some good chances Trump will never call you back or email you.
So what you can do is just find people who are successful in your own backyard and do the same thing. Like if you read your local newspaper or magazine or business journal, they are always highlighting somebody who is successful in business. So you do the same thing. You can write to them or you can call them after hours if you’re kind of scared and you don’t want to talk to them. Call when the business is closed, get the voicemail, tell them your name, you read their story, you admire who they are. You can start there.
If you do that with 10, 15 people a month, you may only have one or two who reach out to you but you know what, that’s a very, very highly successful person that you didn’t know. Now you’re in their world so to speak and you can connect with them and you can learn from them and all it took was some time. A little time out of your day.
JT: Yeah, it’s funny how easy it is. I mean we sort of put these complexes in our brain that, “Oh my gosh it’s going to be so hard to go about doing that” and I remember finding the first person that sold a million dollar business and I was like, “Hi, can I go out to lunch with you?” and they were like, “Sure.” I was like wow that was really easy.
RS: And again, I’m one of these people, I know I repeat myself and my kids and my wife will definitely vouch for that, but I think that’s how you learn is because you hear something over and over again. So what I was going to say is, getting back to not knowing wealthy people in an intimate way and how they do stuff, so what we’re doing is we’re trying to go off what we think. We’re trying to go off what we’ve seen on television and in movies.
So automatically, we have this picture of it’s so hard to try to connect with, like you mentioned this person that you went to lunch with, you just did it. But what I want people to get is there are people who have done it where they aren’t famous. They aren’t well known so to speak. It’s just that they took action, they got past the fear of rejection and they just did it anyway. If you knew someone who was successful, like if you hung around me you’d say, “Wait a minute, that was so easy, you just did this, you just did that.” I can never do that because you were doing this, I’ve been doing this going on 15 years.
But the point is, I’m doing the same thing I did 15 years ago. That’s the only difference. Again, if you followed me around and you say, “Okay, well I can never do that” you’ve attained some level of success, that’s why you do it. No, I got to the level of success because I did it. I did it back then. I was just broke. I was just starting out.
RS: So don’t, they try to flip it and say, “Okay, well you’re doing it now because you’re successful. I’m like, “No, that’s how I got to be successful.” Then you see this is how you build a million dollar business. This is how you lay out the plan. This is how you build your team. This is how you strategize. Again, most people are robbed of that. They don’t, going off of what they think or what their buddy told them and their buddy has never owned a business. He has never made any money but that’s who they are getting their advice from. And you can learn, I just want to share this, I think it will be important. Like Shark Tank, the TV show.
JT: Yeah, I love that.
RS: I remember watching that and they had a guy, he had this really whack, whacky invention that had to do with the medical field and doctor offices and whatnot. So long story short, the Simon of the group, I can’t remember the guy’s name, you know, the mean one that shoots everybody down but then he’ll come back and offer some money. I guess he’s the Simon of the group. He told this guy, he was like how much money did you put into this? Then the inventor said I put a half million dollars, mortgaged two homes, did this, borrowed this and he said, “This won’t work.” This is the billionaire saying this won’t work because of this, this, this and this.
He just ran off 9 or 10 issues the guy never even thought about. He said these are the challenges you’re going to face with the way you’re going about it. So he said, “You know what would’ve been awesome for you is to have our advice and he’s pointing to him and the other judges, whatever they call investors, tell you this before you put $500,000 in it. See most people don’t have people they can bounce that stuff off who’ve been successful.
See we’re bouncing it off our coworkers. We’re bouncing it off the soccer moms and the play group. We’re bouncing it off our work out buddies. We’re bouncing these ideas off our neighbors.
JT: And they’re all like that’s great, yeah, that’s a good idea. You should do that.
RS: Yeah, that’ll work. But when you bounce it off people who are on the other side of the table and those are the exact words he used, and I loved that, he said, “You’ll never get on this side of the table thinking like that.” It’s not that they know wealthy people know everything. We know how to find it and we know how to find people who do know.
JT: I remember that episode and I remember feeling heartbroken for him just thinking a little bit of information ahead of time would have changed where he was and that’s really important that a little piece of information could have changed his whole life and saved him maybe $500,000.
RS: Exactly. And all the hours and time away from his family and the headache and the stress and everything else that comes with that had he just had a team or a mastermind group or just someone who again further along the road than he was. Not to say he couldn’t have done that business but maybe they would have gave him some tips on changing a few things.
JT: Definitely. You’ve given us so much good advice. So for the last question I want to ask you is what’s one action that everyone can take this week to move them forward towards their goal of a million?
RS: Okay, I would say commit to whatever you’ve been putting off and this is for everybody and it’s going to vary per person. So whatever you have been putting off through procrastination, the lies you are telling yourself, the excuses you’re telling yourself. What you need to do next. Then that’s what you need to do because I mean, if you have thousands of people listening to this, they’re all in different places, different spaces. Some have money, some don’t. Different environments. Some are married with families, some are single. Some work full time jobs, some don’t. So it’s kind of hard to give a one size fits all answer for everybody. But I do know this, there’s something they need to do and they know what it is.
RS: If you were to interview them and poll them and ask each one of your listeners who downloaded this what is the thing that you need to do, that you personally, individually need to do that you put off that you aren’t doing, have them do that. So if it is to make that phone call, they’ll make it. If it is to hire their person fully or bring on an outsource, they’ll do it. If it is to create that next product that they’ve been putting off, they’ll do it. So do the very next thing that you’ve been putting off. Find an accountability partner. I don’t know if you want them to email you or find somebody to make sure you did that thing. Because that helps too. Have someone where you’ve got to see in two weeks and they’re going to ask you if you did the thing.
JT: Very important. I know I use them myself. Because we all know we should do them and it’s not as though we wouldn’t, it just sort of gets put on the back burner and unless you have a reason to do it.
RS: You don’t. And I used to hate, I talked to my coach twice a month and I used to hate having to meet and say, “You know what, no, I didn’t do it. No, I didn’t get that done.” I used to hate that. So that showed me the power of accountability. I don’t care who it is. Just find somebody. Say okay I’m going do this thing by this date and have someone that you have to explain why you didn’t do it if you didn’t get it done. I guarantee you if you’re a person of integrity or if you’re really serious about being successful, you’re going to get tired of coming in and saying I didn’t do it. You really will.
JT: Definitely. Thank you so much. That was great advice too. I mean I’m going to bottle it all up and it will actually be in a transcript so we can actually go back and read it once it comes up online too and just sort of tack up some of the quotes that you said from today.
JT: So, can you tell us where we can find you online?
RS: Sure. You can go to championmediaworldwide, that’s all together, championmediaworldwide.com and there’s a newsletter you can sign up for. My phone number. There’s case studies. There’s different things on there to help you guys out but that’s the best way to reach me.
JT: Excellent. Thank you so much for coming on today, Robert. I appreciate it and I hope you have a great day.
RS: Oh, thank you.
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