Welcome to the Eventual Millionaire Podcast. I’m Jaime Tardy and today we have Joy Gendusa on the show. Joy is the CEO and founder of PostcardMania and she founded it in 1998 with only a phone, a computer and zero capital investment. Now it’s a nationwide marketing firm, has been an Inc. 500 company with a revenue of $19 million a year and they help small businesses generate leads through direct mail marketing. I’m really excited to hear about the tips and tricks she’s got for direct mail so thank you so much for coming on the show today, Joy.
JOY GENDUSA: My pleasure.
JAIME TARDY: So first I want to ask you, I know this is of course the question that everybody has on their mind, in this digital age are postcards and direct mail still relevant?
JG: Absolutely, otherwise I wouldn’t be in business. Actually we had our highest year in our history in 2010 and we’re 10 percent up…
JG: Over 2010 where we were this year last year, this time last year. So yeah, they’re still relevant.
JT: Wow, tell me more because usually you hear a lot about email marketing is so much cheaper. You don’t have to deal with postcards. Why is direct mail so relevant now still and why are you increasing in sales? That’s awesome.
JG: Email marketing is amazing and wonderful and we use it every single day but it is not a credible lead generation tool. I mean people will sell you email lists of opted in addresses but let me ask you when the last time you received an unsolicited email from someone you know you didn’t know and you felt a growing rapport or you felt growing trust when you received that email?
JG: I mean that’s what your listeners should be thinking with. Do they want to create that effect on the market? So postcards are a terrific lead generation tool. You create interest. It’s the least invasive type of marketing by survey. So people don’t like commercials, they record their shows and just skip the commercials. They hate unsolicited email. They hate pop ups so a piece of direct mail first of all gives credibility to the company because anybody can whip up a website and send out an email and the credibility is just not there.
JT: Wow. So what are some direct mailing tips that are sort of relatively unknown? I mean a lot of the people that I know, even my clients, go well postcards are expensive and direct mail are so expensive that I don’t even want to bother about trying it. So what are some good tips that we can give the listeners?
JG: You know, the first thing is to think about what is expensive and what are you trying to achieve. When you’re looking at the cost of any marketing campaign what you really want to understand, there are a few things that you really want to understand. You want to understand what is the lifetime value of a new customer for you? What is the average order size of a new customer for you? You take those two things and by looking, of course, through your invoices and your customer database, but what are you willing to spend?
Once you know that information you can figure out what you’re willing to spend to acquire a new customer and what you’re willing to spend to acquire a new lead. You also should be tracking the closed percent; how many leads you need in front of you in order to close one. So once you kind of evaluate your sales and your marketing expenditure and your lifetime value and your average order size, then you can actually have a view point on whether or not direct mail is expensive. If you’re selling a book and it’s $29.95, I don’t recommend you use postcards to do that because you would need to get so many sales in order to make it worthwhile because it is cheap.
I mean you can get out of a mail shop probably the lowest would be about $0.33 with postage or $0.30 if you’ve got your list and your design already created but you know you’re going to come out of there at about $0.30 a pop. So there’s a number of ways to look at it.
JT: Excellent. So what are some typical numbers for people? Like if a book for $30.00 isn’t really worth it, what is worth it?
JG: You know, it really depends on the industry and it’s so hard to say. I mean I can give you some specific examples like a dentist that we interviewed. We have all these case studies on our website. It’s probably about 30 of them across several different industries and one that comes to mind is a dentist we interviewed that has about a $3,000.00 lifetime value of a customer average. You know you can go to the dentist and spend 30 grand or you can go once a year for your cleaning for $100.00. So his average lifetime value is about $3,000.00.
So when he sends out, I forget the exact numbers, but it was like he was sending out I think 18,000 postcards and he was getting something like 60 new patients and the average lifetime value is $3,000.00 and you look at that and you 16,000 times 3,000 and what it costs to send out 18,000 postcard it was a fantastic value for him. It really depends on the industry and it also depends, you know what your competition is like and how many people are mailing to that same person in your industry. So there’s a lot of research that you have to do. If you’re just starting out, let’s say, and you don’t know what it’s going to be you can at least do some research and get on the mailing lists of all your potential competitors so you can see what you’re up against. Does that make sense or am I not giving you the answer you want?
JT: Yeah, no that does make a lot of sense. I mean of course it matters if you put in 50 bucks per person but you’re going to get out 3,000 in the end well then yeah that’s definitely worth it not matter how much you put in.
JG: Exactly. You know even in my business we spend, I think about 200 and something dollars a lead and about 400 and something to close. I can’t even remember the numbers off the top of my head. I have so many people doing the work for me now. But I know that that’s going to be over the long haul but that’s worth it for me.
JT: Excellent. So let’s talk, I have a client and actually we’ve been talking about direct mail and haven’t actually done it yet, they’re a plumbing company and it’s funny because you actually have that book that you sent me and I read about plumbing companies, so I’d love to hear, what I’ve been doing is I’m in a different marketing area than they are so I’m collecting all the postcards that I get from all my local, you know, companies and reading your book I’ve learned a lot. So what would you suggest for like a typical plumbing company to go ahead and start with direct mail?
JG: Well, hopefully you got your ducks in a row in terms of knowing who their competitors are, how formidable they are, how much are they marketing. Now, I live in a pretty upscale neighborhood and I’ve never received a postcard from a plumber. So if you just take that as plumbers don’t generally mail postcards, that’s a good thing. That’s a good thing for you. Dentists go crazy with them. So you have to mail out many more quantity larger size cards to compete with the other dentists’ mailing.
But for a plumber, I think what you really need to do is hit the same list over and over again as long as you know that’s your target market and the beautiful thing is that anybody is your target market. Any structure is your target market. So you are, I love plumbing. I love heating, ventilation and air conditioning too because you can basically figure out.
JT: That’s actually what they do.
JG: Yeah, you can basically figure out how far you want to drive and you can figure out exactly the size of your market and then it’s very easy to find out who your competitors are and blind shop them and see how well they do. So if you have your ducks in a row and you what you’re doing, I would say conquer. I mean I would say how big do you want to be. Do they understand how many people they talk to that gets them how many appointments? That gets them how many closes because if they do, it’s just a matter of math. It’s just figuring out the size of the market and how fast you want to dominate. I mean postcards are such a beautiful vehicle for plumbers.
JT: That’s what I was wondering. Now they’ve been in business for 80 years so I also know that they sort of dominate the area already and that’s sort of why I was wondering if it’s a really good, if they want to break into a new market or push out a little bit farther where they’re willing to drive, it seems like that might make a little sense. But considering they’re so well known, what do you think about that?
JG: I think that probably if they just give some kind of really good special. It’s great to be well known. That’s just something that they have that their competitors don’t. Everybody loves something free especially in this economy, something free or something of a very high perceived value that costs little or nothing to give away. So if you can come up with a really good special for them and we might have some in our arsenal. We have a results manager on post at PostcardMania and we collect the campaign results across so many different industries and catalog them and we are happy to share as long as our clients are okay with it. We get their permission. We’re happy to share the results. So we may have some plumbing offers that have worked really well that we can share with you if you’d like.
JT: Excellent. So, and you mentioned specials and that’s sort of what I always see postcards coming in the mail. You know we have this special and you have to act now. So what’s like the tips that you have for when you are creating a postcard? How do you get people to respond?
JG: Well, first of all, I can tell you that the front of the postcard all you’re trying to do is get their attention. You want a really good headline that either immediately explains what the product or service is or solves a problem immediately. You can’t have the recipient having to guess or figure it out. So you don’t want to sacrifice clarity for cleverness. You want to make sure that it’s really crystal clear exactly what you do and you want a graphic image that backs up that headline so it’s instant.
All you’re trying to do at the front of the postcard is get them to turn it over. Again, an offer is a big deal. I’m actually going to probably come out with, I keep saying probably because I’ve been talking about it for years, but I have so many offers that have worked and there’s no book out there across several industries that just gives offers that have pulled. So I really want to put that together and I just need to take the time to do it. But it’s really just putting an offer there.
Like every year they have this little show, this trade show for the car detailing and car wash industry here in Clearwater where I live. So I speak at it and it’s really interesting because you have your guys who own car washes that are like the kings and they walk around like yep, I’m a very successful car wash owner and I have three locations and we’re always very busy and then you have your guys who have a truck and they go detail at your location and they look up to these gods of the car wash business and one of those gods, two of those gods actually, are clients of ours and one of them, he has a fantastic offer. He sends a card to specific types of vehicles and he also does it to people who’ve just moved to the area and he offers a free car wash.
What he does, they can’t just go in and go I want a free car wash. They have to go to his landing page and they have to give him his contact info and once he gets that contact info obviously he can email them specials to get them to come back or a monthly newsletter or whatever he wants to do which is less expensive than a continuous direct mail campaign. But he gets them in with a free car wash then he gets his staff to up sell them to a better car wash so that they get the $8.99 for free but then they have to pay whatever. Then he has their contact info, they’ve tried his service and he’s a really big deal in his neck of the woods.
So what I find with a lot of business owners is they’re afraid to give something away for free. I can’t afford it. But if they can understand what that lifetime value is over time if that person keeps coming back, then they might not be so afraid.
JT: I love how you do both. I think that’s really great. You take it and you make people trust you with postcard mailings and then you bring them online and therefore they already trust you and you can do cheaper mailings through email. That sounds like a great idea.
JG: Exactly. So we’re doing that now. We create the landing pages. We create email campaigns but we won’t do email campaigns to purchase lists.
JT: Oh, okay. Excellent. So how do you guys find these people? I’ve had clients of mine who have bought lists and they’re horrible lists and they get tons of them back and they’re like well this person is supposed to be brand new moved into their home and they called me and they’ve been a customer of ours for 10 years. So how do we know who to send to and what works well to try and find your target market?
JG: Okay, that’s a loaded question. There’s a lot I can talk about in that question. In terms of finding a reputable list company, it’s really understanding what questions you should ask. They should have a guarantee of the maximum number of returns or percentage of returns that you’ll get. Obviously people move every day and you can’t buy a list today and have it be 100% perfect tomorrow. So 10 percent is the maximum number of returns if you mail out 3,000 postcards and you receive 301 you should be able to get a refund at least on those pieces and including postage.
Also, asking them how often the list is updated. The list should be updated continuously. It shouldn’t be like every quarter we update our list. It should just be something that they’re working on continuously. So there are reputable list companies out there and a reputable list company will stand behind their list. We’ve spent years accumulating compilers that take 100 percent responsibility for their list. In the beginning when I first started this company I almost stopped selling lists completely because we had a couple of times where we sold the list and we provided the mailing and we did everything and the list was so bad and was so off that I wound up refunding or re-mailing for someone and it cost me $5,000.00.
And of course, the lion’s share is the postage not the rest of it. So I said I can’t afford to do this. What if it’s a bad list and we spent years and years and years working up the perfect list of list providers that we work with. On the other side of your question how do you target, who’s buying from you now? You don’t want to send a mailing that is geared to all people with all products on one postcard. You really want to target specifically the product and the market. So if you have a number of products and services, the best thing to do is to look at what is the easiest close for you. For a new product or service, it doesn’t have to be your most profitable product or service but something that you can close all day long because what you’re trying to do is get somebody in your database that you can then up sell later one.
So whatever your product or service that’s the easiest close and then the majority, go do a database analysis and figure out the demographics of the common denominators that make up your target market and you can target just that type of person. Like obviously it’s never going to be like 100 percent women in their 40s that are married whose children are grown. But let’s say that, you can find all that out. I can probably tell you how to do that but once you find out who is the main target market that closes the most, that’s who you want to target and that’s what you want to sell them.
JT: So how detailed can you get? I had heard you can find new homeowners and you can find age ranges and stuff like that but I didn’t realize you can find a lot more detailed things. Like how detailed can you get?
JG: Well, you know, big brother for marketing is out there. I mean it’s kind of scary because who knows what else they’re using it for but they’ve divided the population into 70 different segments. I actually heard the other day that it’s now like up to 120 different segments and I don’t even, I’m somewhat out of the loop on the day-to-day of my business anymore but I am aware of 70 different segments and it’s not just age, income, homeownership but it’s do you live from paycheck to paycheck, is there money in the bank, do you invest, what credit cards do you have, what magazines do you read, where do you travel and it’s broken down probably 10 different categories per age group of what you can be.
What’s really scary about it is we did, we asked for, myself and a number of my staff members, we wanted to see how accurate it was and we asked to find out what category each of us was in and it was pretty creepy.
JT: They know all about you. They know what toothpaste you buy, right.
JG: Pretty much. I mean it was really, really something. So you can really get very, very targeted lists. Now these are done with what’s called modeling so I happen to live in a neighborhood where there’s a lot of, I mean they’ll get the characteristics and then they do it on a zip plus four level so it’s not really that they know exactly about me. It’s kind of bizarre. So there’s nothing that’s really perfect. You can get lists that are very specific like CEOs at home and that sort of thing that you know are very specific or the dentist at home if that’s who you’re targeting a specific type of person like that.
But this guy that works for me, the only thing that was incorrect on his and it also said like trying to have a baby. Like he was 27 or something and it was like working on first child or something like that. The only thing that was off about it was that it said that he read Popular Mechanic magazine and he doesn’t. But it was really, really weird because he’s an odd guy. He wasn’t like your typical person even. He’s kind of a book nerd and it was just interesting which is kind of interesting.
JT: Wow, yeah, I had no idea. So does it cost like the more details you have? Does each list cost more or how does the cost of lists work?
JG: You have it right down there. It’s like if you’re going to just blanket an area you’re going to pay very little for the records. If you’re going to target very specifically the prices are going to go up. But it’s interesting, if you have a highly targeted product or service, it pays to get a much better response and return on your investment in the long run to pay more for the list and know that you’re really targeting who you should be targeting. On the other side, you can save a lot of money on postage if you do something called carrier route which the carrier route is the route of the mail carrier and there’s no name on the postcard it’s just an address and they’re just going to put it in every mailbox.
Now obviously in a certain area if you’re a landscaping artist or that kind of a thing then it might work for you to go carrier route. But there’s minimums. I mean you can’t do it on a small scale. I think 10,000 might be the minimum on carrier routes. So there’s just different things that you have to look at. I mean carrier route would work well for DirecTV or Bright House or one of these where every home usually uses it.
JT: So I know you talked a little bit about how things go but you also said that you have to do this more than once, you can’t decide to just do one mailing and it costs this much for the list and this much for the postcards and this much for the postage and then be done and wait for all your stuff to come back. So what’s like the average price of a list and how many people should we be mailing to?
JG: An average price for consumer list that you have unlimited usage on where you’re getting decent demographic breakdown is about $80.00 per thousand records.
JG: Yeah, it can double that if you’re getting very, very, very specific, $150.00 per thousand records. Your postcards, they’re going to be anywhere depending on your quantity on the lowest quantity you’re maybe at about $0.07 a piece and if you’re buying a 100,000 pieces you can get it down to like $0.04 a piece. Postage is going to be anywhere from, I mean if you put a stamp on a postcard it’s something like $0.27 or $0.28 now. So if we do it for you, there’s so many regulations, but if you’re going the smallest size or the largest size for the first class presort rate of the low rate is 4 ¼ x 6 and that’s a standard size for us. So at 4 ¼ x 6 you can go as low as about $0.20 per piece and the mailing services getting the addresses on there is about $0.05 a piece.
JG: So you’re saving, by having us doing it, you’re still saving about $0.03 a piece per just turning it over to us. If you’re going carrier route the postage is lower than that. There’s so many variables in how it’s priced out and every campaign is treated very differently because it also boils down to how many competitors you have and how many people in your area are your target market and we’ll make recommendations just based on so many things. There’s just so many variables and we want everybody to get it right, you know.
JT: So how many, I’m sure it depends on how many competitors, but how many do you sort, as a basic, say you should mail out? Do you have to do one every month or at least three before you start getting responses or how does it usually work on a basic level?
JG: You should see responses right away from your first mailing. You really should. But you don’t want to do less than three mailings to the same list.
JG: But you want to see responses right away because everybody reacts differently. Like I’m the kind of person that if I see something I need, I get on the phone and I call and I handle it. But some people will stick it on their fridge. They’ll put it in a pile for later and before they throw it away. Some people will start doing some research, they get your card and instead of calling you they’re going to go first to your website, then they’re going to do some research and check you out against other people in your business.
So you really have to, all aspects of your marketing has to be in order. So you want to make sure that when somebody gets to your website that there’s a way for them to contact you easily right on your homepage or you want to send to a landing page. You don’t want someone searching around for where to contact you or they’re going to be gone. So you want to make sure that there’s some kind of fill in form or a talk to someone, chat live chat, thank you right on the site so people can get their answers right away.
But you definitely want to see a response right away but you will get more response down the road. So even from the first mailing, you’re going to get people responding to it before the second mailing goes out even if it wasn’t right away. Do you follow? Like people react to things in different time periods.
JT: Yeah. Is there, can you get some feedback from people as they get the first one and sort of know what they like about the postcard so the next time you mail you change it? You make it a little bit different. Is that how you sort of take feedback or is everybody different so one person might like this design or this wording.
JG: Yeah, any feedback that’s something that you can take with would have to be like from 100 people at the minimum number of people. So what we like to do is use different emotional tones on a card to the same market and create three different cards and sort of gauge this market and this area what is their emotional tone. Are they reacting to fear? Are they reacting to something funny? Are they reacting to something that’s very matter of fact, which would be conservative? So you can sort of pick up which one gets you the best response.
But I like to mail at least those three all the time so that you are getting everybody because some people will react to something funny or a bit sarcastic where some people just want to see something matter of fact and as long as your card is immediately conveying what it is that you sell or what problem you’re solving without them having to think, then that’s going to get you the best response the fastest.
JT: So how big of a deal is design versus the content? Of course you want them both but how do we know what to say and what people want? Usually business owners are just sort of throwing something out and hoping it sticks knowing their target market. What are some advice you have on that?
JG: Go to a professional.
JT: Yeah, I mean do you see a lot of issues?
JG: I mean there’s nothing worse than like trying to design something in Word, on your computer and printing it out at Kinko’s and like thinking, it really depends. Honestly, nothing is an absolute and in certain industries, you don’t want to look too slick because that will make people think that you’re going to be the most expensive. So it depends on your industry too. If you’re in an industry where you want to look a little bit homegrown, then yeah, go ahead and do it yourself and it won’t really matter as long as it’s the right target market but your marketing is an instant sort of perception of you.
So you may be the very best at what you do and have the best reputation amongst your clients who know you but for someone who has never heard of you before, if you just send out a bit of paper with some information on it, it’s not going to look professional and therefore you know perception is reality. You are not professional and that goes the same for your website. I just did a seminar in Atlanta a couple weeks ago. Really nice group of people and we had holistic naturopaths and Bee. She was a doctor but you go to her website and it’s obviously something that was thrown up there by brother-in-law, I don’t who, but I mean somebody who could help her get something up there and honestly, it looked like she was working out of her house.
I wouldn’t feel trust in a medical professional with a website like that. you just feel like wow you must be broke so you must not be doing very well so your website looks like that. You know what I mean? So your marketing materials sort of convey you and then there was another person in the group, a veterinarian, and although his website, I gave him some tips on how to improve it, it was really, even though it wasn’t like a slick super professional looking site like you see the large companies have, it really made you feel comfortable. It really made you feel like you wanted to do business with these people. They seemed like a small veterinarian practice and they combined standard medical with holistic medicine for your dogs and cats and you really, it’s like how does the marketing make you feel and does it make you want to do business with that company.
JT: Excellent advice. So what are two of the biggest mistakes you see in general with postcard mailing?
JG: Slathered with way too much copy where nothing is going to get read because people don’t have time and they’re just going to toss it in the trash. Also, trying to be clever in their copies so that you don’t even know what they sell. Again, the recipient is not going to try to figure out and laugh at your joke and then call you. I’m sorry to say. Also, over thinking it to the point where you don’t do anything. I know that I’m giving you so much information that you can feel like this is overwhelming and you don’t know what to do.
So over thinking and not getting the mail out there. Any marketing is better than no marketing. One thing that we live by, one million percent, is quantity first, quality second. Yeah, we live by it. We live by it in our own marketing. I practice what I preach. We mail 140,000 pieces every single week to promote my company. We spend a lot of money on marketing and I will throw, those 140,000 pieces are not all the same and they’re not all going to the same industry but I will keep my quantity up and tweak my quality over time to get it better and better and better but I won’t wait and wait and wait until I think it’s perfect to get it out there. I’ll get it out there and then survey the market and then fix it and make sure that I constantly have the quantity out there.
JT: That’s not something I would have expected. That’s great to know.
JG: I know and that’s how I operate. That’s how I operate so I’m not telling you to do something that I don’t do myself. When I started doing postcard marketing for my company I had no money. So it was like really, it was my paycheck that was going into postage and I started out sending 1,000 pieces every single week. That was the first quantity that I started with when I started PostcardMania and I sent it to, I didn’t know who was going to respond. Postcard marketing wasn’t something that was being done regularly. So I sent it to all the businesses in the particular thoroughfare in my area.
Not very good quality on the list. I sent out a general postcard announcing postcard direct marketing. Not very targeted. The message wasn’t targeted and neither was the list and it cost me about $800.00 to get those thousand pieces out 13 years ago. That’s a lot of money. That was my paycheck. So I definitely practice what I preach. I grew it from there. I fixed it so that I got a better response. I upped it to 2,500 pieces a week. I doubled it again to 5,000 pieces a week. My story is pretty interesting because I really believed in what I was doing. I really believed in the quantity over quality rule and I live by it and I grew.
I’m not special, anyone, naturally. I’m no rocket scientist here. I just believed in a concept and stuck with it for blood and that’s how I grew my business. It’s the truth.
JT: That’s great. I’d love to go, so back in 1998 you started on your own. First of all, what made you start PostcardMania?
JG: I had a little like graphic design company and it started out with just me and then I hired a girlfriend of mine who actually just retired from my company but this was even pre-PostcardMania. She’d been with me since 1994 and she’s a graphic designer and I couldn’t keep graphic designing and selling and invoicing and doing everything else so I hired her and then we hired another person and another person. So I had this little graphic design company and I also had these little babies who are now 18 and 20 years old but I honestly felt like I was working around the clock and I never, I couldn’t spend enough time with my kids.
I kept thinking I have to do something that is more like one product, something that I could sell in mass quantity, something that I can turn the hats over to other people and I don’t have to do everything. I was really like racking my brain for awhile. I felt like there was an idea out there and I was promoting my little graphic design company and I decided, there was this company and I don’t want to name names because I think they’re still around, but they promoted just to the industry, just to graphic designers, ad agencies, printers that they sold postcards, 5,000 of them for $425.00 and I couldn’t even understand how they could do it that cheap. I really didn’t even understand printing well enough to understand how they could do it that cheaply.
So we decided to order from them and when I got my proof sent to me via Federal Express because it was so long ago that you couldn’t even get your proof online, it had their 800 number on my design. They added, I sent them completed artwork and they added their 800 number. So I called them up and I said, “Hey, I didn’t ask for this and I don’t want your 800 number on my card because I sell printing. I broker printing.” They said, “Well, obviously you didn’t read the fine print and that’s going to cost you $50.00 for us to remove it” and I said, “I don’t want to pay $50.00 for you to remove it since I didn’t ask you to put it there. May I please speak to your supervisor?”
He puts the supervisor on the phone and the supervisor also sort of made me a little bit stupid and wrong by telling me how I didn’t read the fine print but since I didn’t, he would take it off for free this time but I should understand that next time it would cost me $50.00. I hung up that phone, Jaime, and I walked out to my four staff and I said, “We’re starting a postcard company and we’re going to call it PostcardMania and we’re not going to put our 800 number on the back of cards.” And that’s how it started. I mean it was literally out of my frustration with this other company.
JT: So tell me about the very first couple weeks of you trying to figure out this because considering you resold printing and stuff but you started out with a thousand postcards and just sort of did it yourself. What did it feel like then?
JG: The first thing I actually did is I put a flyer in a local newspaper that they issued 20,000 of them in the area to anybody. They would have them and they would insert flyers. I just wanted to see do people want this and we got a good enough response to that. And I went to my printer, the printer that I was doing most of my business with, we manufacture now. We’ve had our own presses and our own plant since ’05 but I went to the printer that I was using for all my other clients and he goes, “Oh yeah, what they’re doing is they’re gang running.” They’re putting all the postcards up on one run and therefore all the customers are sharing in the expense and you get it for much, much less.
So he goes “Sure we’ll do that for you” and we figured out how many we could fit up on his sheet and I put a flyer in a newspaper to see how many people would respond to this and it probably took us about three weeks to fill his sheet which would hold 16 small postcards. So it took us about three weeks to sell enough jobs to fill one run. So we basically told our first clients I don’t know when these are going to be done. I hope you’re not in a rush. I have to fill a sheet.
So in the beginning it was always about trying to fill that sheet so I could have a weekly run, you know. That was the hard part. So we hustled. I mean we really, really hustled. I at one time had someone call up, no he came in and he didn’t have his checkbook with him and I said, “Are you one your way to your office we’ll just follow you there and we’ll pick up the check.” I mean I’ve driven an hour to pick up a check for $329.00 back in the day, you know.
So I said okay I better mass promote this and so I sent out a thousand pieces so we would see how many people would respond. Okay, so we got this many responses and this is how many we can close. I better send out 2,500 because I got to fill that run. That was sort of what ruled me was filling that run.
JT: Go to bed with fill that run, fill that run!
JG: Exactly and I continued doing what I was doing. I didn’t just close up Joy Rockwell Enterprises, my last name used to be Rockwell and I didn’t just close out my little design company and start PostcardMania because I still had to eat. So I had to pilot it. I had to check it out, see if it was going to be viable, figure out how much did I have to sell to be viable and how much would it cost me to sell that much to be viable? That was the game in the first few years actually was really juggling those numbers and I didn’t make as much as my salespeople did in those first few years at PostcardMania.
I mean I really put my blood into it. I really did and I was married then, back then I was married to a guitar player and he was teaching guitar and I was like you better book more students or we’re not going to be able to pay the rent this month.
JT: That’s excellent. Well, what are some of the obstacles and the challenges and the failures that you hit? Because we hear that you’re a $19 million company, that’s huge and we can’t imagine you driving an hour for $329.00. So what are some of the other obstacles and challenges that you faced?
JG: Really it has always been capital. It’s always been capital for me and I’ve had people come to me and say, “I’ll give you $100,000 for 50 percent” and back when you’re making very little that’s very, you go “Wow, should I do it? Should I do it?” But I really never wanted to give up full control because I’m a little bit, I’m not a conformist and I like to do things on the dime. I like to come up with an idea and I want to try it out without having to get anyone’s permission.
And so it has always been capital. It’s always been how am I going to do this without having money to do it? That’s how we came up with selling the product up front. Back in the day, when you bought printing, you paid 50 percent down and 50 percent on delivery the first time you worked with a printer and then after that they would give you net 30 term. Well I was asking, I had to get the money in full in advance in order to stay open. People would say why should I pay you in full in advance and I would say well that’s how you have my prices so low and if you want to go pay, I did the research, back then it would cost about $1,300.00 as low as $1,100.00 to buy 5,000 postcards full color.
I kind of said that’s what you’re going to have to do if you want that price. Then as people started copying me and there’s a postcard printing company on every internet corner, it became sort of the way of the world. You paid in full in advance with your credit card. But capital has always been like a huge challenge and it’s still a challenge. Even at this size, you think oh we’re doing $19 million a year. Well I have payroll, I have health insurance. I have rules and regulations that apply to me that don’t apply to smaller businesses. It’s really ridiculous how expensive it is to grow a business and how penalized you are by the government as the bigger you get and they just think oh you’re the rich man, you’re the man. We have to fight the man for the little people. It’s like very expensive to have a business and keep everybody happy.
JT: Considering right now it’s near tax time I’m sure we can go into lots and lots of things about that but we won’t.
JG: Exactly, yeah really.
JT: It could be hours of conversation.
JT: So what were some of the resources you turned to as you were trying to grow this business? Did you read any good books? Did you find any tools that could help you?
JG: Yeah, I actually couldn’t have done this without the Hubbard Management System. The Hubbard Management System is a very, I dropped out of high school and I didn’t go to college, obviously if you dropped out of high school. Well actually I did take a couple college classes. Back in the day, pre-internet, if you just wrote down that you finished high school it’s pretty much no way to check so I took a couple of classes here and there like typing.
But anyway, the Hubbard Management System really taught me everything I know about business and finance and how to run a business and how to manage the money and even a lot about marketing. So there’s a book called The Small Business Success Manual. It’s written by Stanley Dubin and I think his website is flourishandprosper.com. It’s a really amazing book. It’s short. It’s a fast read. It’s an easy read and I wound up and the book cover is so disgusting. I designed it for him probably 15 years ago.
But back then it actually looked kind of cool. So I read the book and we did the layout for him, like put it in a book format and I helped him find a printer to print the book. That was long before printing on demand was out there. And I read the book and the book was just phenomenal, phenomenal book and it just gives you a lot of data into, there’s volumes of works on the Hubbard Management System but this is a fantastic first book to read to kind of get a smorgasbord of the data. I don’t know if anybody uses that word anymore. I just gave my age away – smorgasbord. I know, array of small bites, you know, of data book that can help you instantly with your business.
JT: Perfect. Excellent. I haven’t heard of that. I’ll have to definitely check that out. So for the last question, what is the one action that everyone can take this week to move them forward in their business to their goal of a million?
JG: I would say get rid of anyone you’re connected to that is negative, that doesn’t think you can do it, that smiles but you know they’re thinking you can’t do it. I literally, before I got on my rocket ride to success, and it did feel like a rocket ride honestly even though it was tortuous and painful at times, it was relatively fast for not having any capital. I literally like went through my rolodex. Rolodex, there I go again with the age.
JT: They’re calling them rolodexes now too, don’t worry.
JG: Okay, good! I went to my rolodex and I literally deleted anyone. I looked in it and I said does this person make me feel better about myself or less or do I feel like this person doesn’t really, they’re not in my corner on thinking I could do it. You say to somebody, “We’re going to make millions” even on your team and they’re like kind of rolling their eyes behind your back. You know that if that’s happening and you need to just remove those people from your life because that’s the thing that is going to hold you back.
JT: Then I have one follow up question. Do you have any tips? That’s a hard thing to do to remove people from your life. Do you have any tips on how to do that?
JG: Be brave.
JT: Deal with the pain.
JG: Grow some cajones! It is hard to do. It is really hard to do. I actually, I have a really, really close friend of mine who I love dearly that I didn’t talk to for five years until I past the hump, you know. She just would sometimes say things that would introvert me or make me just kind of wig out a little bit and even though she was hysterically funny and I had all this history with her and a lot of fun with her, I just basically went I’m not talking to her. She’s kind of driving me nuts.
So after it was, five years went by, we patched things up and sometimes, honestly, she can still do stuff like that. I’m sort of like too big at this point. I don’t mean, it’s like I have enough success under my belt where I’m not shaken. When I say I’m too big it’s like I as a person can’t be shaken that easily anymore because I’ve accomplished what I set out to accomplish and I can have, if somebody is a hater and they’ve drank some haterade and they’re around me, I can sort of go well that person is a hater and I’m really sorry for their life because if that’s how they are that’s how they are. But when you’re just starting out and you’re trying to grow and you’re not at that point yet, it’s a buzz kill.
JT: Oh yeah. You don’t need it especially with a fragile ego and stuff of just trying to get out there and do your thing.
JG: Exactly. So it is difficult and it really, yeah you have to have really good people around you and I would say maybe before you get rid of the bad ones you get some really, really powerful, strong, wonderful, loving good ones, you know, and then it won’t be so hard to get rid of the bad ones.
JT: That’s great advice. That’s great advice especially because you get rid of all the bad ones and then you go, “Wait a minute, I don’t have any friends left, right.”
JG: Exactly but you know what, sometimes that’s not a bad thing. Sometimes you’re better off alone than with people bringing you down.
JG: You know, it’s like when I was pregnant with my first kid, the girl who gave the class that we took, she goes write positive affirmations and put them on the refrigerator. I welcome the pain of childbirth. I thought she was a freaking nut. I was like I’m never going to welcome the pain of childbirth. By the end of my pregnancy I was welcoming the pain of childbirth even though I thought it was stupid and I didn’t agree with it, I thought she knows more than I do. She’s done hundreds or thousands of births. By golly, I’m going to welcome the pain of childbirth.
Anyway, I thought it was really stupid but then I did it and then I really had a wonderful birth and I didn’t scream no through every contraction which I did on my second child because I didn’t welcome the pain of childbirth. I thought I’d been there done that. But anyway, I really had a very calm, I wanted a very calm birth and I did. So I listened to someone that knew more than me and just did what they said and it worked out.
JT: So I’d like to tell everybody to sort of mark a day this week in their calendar to just do a little inventory of all the people that you’ve got in your life to find out whether they’re pulling you down or pushing you up, you know. We need more people to push us up. Excellent. So where can we find out more information about you and about PostcardMania?
JG: Well, what we have is you can go to this page that we’re setting up just for your listeners and it’s at PostcardMania.com/eventualmillionaire and I’m going to give away a 95 point marketing checklist that takes you from beginner through intermediate through advanced and if you get through this checklist it’s full of great resources and if you understand everything in this checklist, which we’re going you the data, you’ll really be an expert marketer at the end of it. So you can go directly to my website PostcardMania.com but you can get this free download at PostcardMania.com/eventualmillionaire.
JT: Perfect! I love checklists. They’re awesome.
JG: I know we love checklists.
JT: That sounds like a great resource.
JG: We love them. Can I give you our phone number too?
JT: Oh sure, of course!
JG: I mean if you just want to call someone, I have about 25 marketing consultants that are really, really smart. They’re all trained personally by me and they’re really good at advising anybody who is interested and you can call 1-800-628-1804 and talk to someone right away if you don’t want to wait to learn the entire checklist.
JT: That’s great especially in this digital age you never actually get to talk to a real person. That’s a great feature. Perfect.
JG: We definitely want people to do it correctly so you can’t even go to my website and just buy online because we do not want you making a mistake and wasting your money and not getting the result that you want.
JT: That’s great especially because it will look bad on you when it’s really not your fault.
JT: Excellent. Well thank you so much for coming on. This has been amazing and I’ve learned a ton and now I’m going to probably tell all my clients to go with postcards because it’s exciting.
JG: Yeah! We have an affiliate program to by the way, Jaime, for you.
JT: Oh good!
JG: Yeah, it’s really good. We pay 5 percent of the gross. Not the postage amount but of the gross sale and it’s all automated and you can track who’s buying and who is not, etc. on our site. You’ll automatically get payment. It’s quite a good program.
JT: Oh great idea too. I wish I had more time and ask you all about that stuff. Maybe we’ll have you back on again. This has been great. Thank you so much for coming on today and I hope you have an amazing day, Joy.
JG: Thank you, Jaime. I had a lot of fun. You’re great. You do a great job.
JT: Thanks! Take care.
JG: Okay. All right, bye-bye.
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