I know we’re making huge impacts in these other countries, but we’re also making huge impacts for the digital marketing companies that want high-quality staff but don’t wanna run in. It’s one thing when you have to manage the task and you have to manage deadlines, but when you have to manage, are the people there?
Are they working for someone else? Am I. Solid eight hours or 48 hour, 40 hours of work, that just adds one extra thing two year day and two year week that you really don’t need to do.
Hi, and welcome to the 91 Day Success Podcast. I am thrilled today to have not only a friend of mine on, but someone that I’ve been working with for the last year or so, and that’s Jonathan Banister from Cornerstone Marketing Solutions, and we build your team. And I’m excited today because even though I’ve worked with Jonathan for about a year, and I’ve known him for a little bit longer than that, I don’t know all of his backs.
He’s promised to share some of those tidbits, some of those origin story aspects with us today, and I’m really excited. So with that, Jonathan, you wanna start by giving us just a 32nd elevator overview to the audience as to who you are, and I know you’ve got multiple businesses and things you’re working in, and then we’ll dive into the backstory.
But can you start with the elevator pitch? Absolutely. Thank you, Jonathan. First and foremost, thank you for inviting me here today. We’ve got some of the coolest names ever on the history of Absolutely. So we’re gonna start there and talk about that. Yeah, I been in the agency space for about eight years, maybe this is the ninth year.
Have a couple different businesses that are related to home service. We’ve got some that are outside of that we’ll talk about soon. This was never my plan. Looking forward to telling the story of how I got here. And yeah. I live in Dallas, Texas. Married, got three awesome little kids that are eight, nine, and 10.
And just happy, I love life and I wake up every day excited for the challenges of being an entre. And there are many of them that come up every day. But I enjoy it and it’s definitely what keeps me going. Awesome. As I. Super thankful for you taking time. I know you got an incredibly busy schedule and there’s tons going on, but let’s start with that origin story you were just sharing with me in the pre-setup here a little bit about how one day you literally are Googling what is SEO and how that works.
And now you’re running one of the leaning home services marketing agencies in the United States. Tell me about where did that get started and how’d you get to the point you are today, John? Yeah, so buddy of mine from high school, so I was actually a police officer at the time. When I’m transitioning to going into the marketing agency world, I was a police officer down on the Gulf Coast area of Mississippi, and I was getting out of law enforcement because at that time, this was 2014 ish, law enforcement just started.
Taking a turn and they were, people were shooting cops for fun. And my wife and I were on, we had three children three years in a row, 2000 12, 13, 14. And she’s just looking at me one day and she’s seeing me interact with the children and she’s just like hearing all the stories on the news and she said, no, it would just be one of the worst things ever.
These boys didn’t have their dad one day over some sense. Idiot that just decided they wanted to shoot somebody and because of the profession you’re doing. And I was like, I just started thinking about that. Had a couple bad incidents at work that when I’d go home and I would process it, I was like, that could have went a different way.
Or pulling someone over, find a bunch of drugs in the car, finding some guns underneath the seat going, they, that could have easily went a different direction. That night. So I made the decision that I was gonna leave before law enforcement. I’d had a sales background, I’d been in the casino industry as well, worked my way up through the casino table games area to a supervisor and a pit boss and things like that.
So I had other things I could fall back on, but I’d always enjoyed sales and I’m the kind of person that I. Come to find out now being a business owner, I’m the worst employee on Earth and I, cause I could never understand like why I just could not keep a consistent job. And it’s because I strive to be the best I can possibly be.
That rubs a lot of people wrong. Either you’re trying to take their job from them or, and it’s, no, it’s just, and it’s not even, I’m never even trying to impress someone that I’m working for. I’m like trying to impress me. I’m trying to see like how quickly I can get out of where I’m at or how quickly I can get to the next level.
So I always enjoyed sales because, especially if there’s no ceiling, like I want to see if I can be the top salesperson and produce the most money. And another thing with me is like that feeling. Being able to talk to someone and help them and show them a product or service that you’re offering. When you get that deal closed, there’s no better feeling for me.
That’s how I know, like I’m a true salesperson. Like my wife actually says I change, I have a different voice when I’m selling. And she like says it’s like nails on a chalkboard tour. Like she can’t get all excited and she’s you just, your voice changes. And she’s I know when you’re on a sales call.
And I’m like, I don’t know. I just get excited helping people when you can actually help ’em. It’s an exciting thing. So I get outta law enforcement and I’m trying to figure out what I’m gonna do, and I call a buddy of mine and I give him a call and said, Hey, or do you have anything you’re working on?
Because he was always into these cool things, developing things and. Had graduated college as a film producer and made some awesome movie that made it to the Sundance Festival and he, and so I was just called him. I was like, Hey Justin, are you work working on something? And he goes, yeah, actually I’m building mobile apps.
And he goes, I was gonna call you here soon to see if you wanted to help me sell ’em. And I was like, all right, I’ll swing by and check out the technology and stuff. So that’s what I did. And he showed me like how it works and they had the push notifications and the geofence, and if you drive in that geofence area, that this push notification would go to the person’s phone.
And this is 2014, and I was like, this is cool. And I was a big golfer, so I was like, I think this would be cool for golf courses, because if you had a couple hundred local people that had the app download, And you could, when the weather was not cooperating for the day, especially down in south Mississippi, being right there on the Gulf of Mexico, the weather was always changing.
Like during the summer it would rain every day. It would rain for a little bit and cool everything off. And if they said like it’s 90% chance of rain, some days it would be beautiful and there would be no rain. So I. Golf courses, people make their decisions when they’re gonna go play golf based off of the weather.
They’re not gonna take the day off or make some big plan to spend four or five hours. If there’s a chance it’s gonna rain or a large chance it’s gonna rain, they’re just gonna go do something else. But I was like, it would be nice if a local golf course had a bunch of several hundred people. They see that the weather is gonna be good.
They send a push notification out and say, Hey look, anybody who wants to come play today, it’s half off or it’s $25 all you can play. And I was like, you put a couple extra a hundred dollars in the cash register, that’s revenue that they were not going to produce that data. And so I started going around the golf courses, then I started going around to restaurants and talking about, Get the people, like you could randomly send a push notification out.
If you come eat lunch today, you get a free appetizer if you come and you could push out what the special, the lunch special was or the dinner special that night. So I started going to these local places and I would sell ’em to every single person. But then as I started going, they would go, Hey Jonathan, I’ll buy one from you.
But. My website. It’s weird, like when you look at it on the phone, it doesn’t really fit. You gotta spread your fingers. So I didn’t know what mobile optimization was and all that, so I was like, huh, that’s weird. I’ve never seen that before. And they’re like, can you help us fix that? Sure, we’ll help you fix that.
And then I remember going to this other place, it was a guy that owned a, he sold and rented 18 wheelers and he was like, he had a bunch of money. So he was like, yeah, I’ll buy one of these apps. Cool. But he goes, can you help me with my seo? My SEO is terrible. And I was like, yeah, listen, Matt, not a big deal.
We’ll help you out. Went to my car after he purchased the app and I had to Google What is seo? I love it. That’s how it started. And then from there, it was like I had someone who wanted a help with a website, someone who wanted seo. So then I had to go and start researching and figuring out how do I get this stuff done?
And that’s how I came on. Outsourcing work and I started reading books and getting into podcasts and that’s how everything started. That’s so cool. I love it. How about Cornerstone Marketing Solutions? So I know you said you’ve been doing that for about eight years. How did you transition from app sales and that into Cornerstone Marketing Solutions?
Was it a natural progression or was it a really conscious decision that you decided to. I’m doing the apps. Me and the buddy of mine, we quickly transitioned to doing full service marketing. We were, we would do websites, we were doing seo, we were getting into some Facebook ads and things like that.
My guess you would say we were a boutique agency. We had ki different clients from all over the place. Him and I are really good friends again, now, we had a couple years break. There was some sour times. I actually took him to Miami with me just a couple weeks ago and let him experience those three or four days.
He was the brains behind everything. He knew how to make the apps. He knew how to de develop websites, like he knew how to do all that. And I just had no desire. And to this day, I still have no desire. Like I couldn’t tell you step one of building a WordPress website. Like I know what the page looks like, that.
This is the beginning of something new or it says something like that. I’ve seen it have no clue how to set it up, and I just, that’s not, my brain is not wired that way. So sure, if I was forced to do it, it would just like my, everything in me would rebel, and that’s the way I was in school. If I had a desire, if I had any interest in whatsoever, I could listen and understand the information and could make it a, in the.
When it came to like geometry, I would ask the teacher over and over, can you please tell me one thing in my life in the future that I’ll ever need this for at all? And if you can tell me that and be honest with me, maybe I can understand it or one understand it. And Because no one could give me a rational reason of when I would ever need it again.
My brain just shut down. So I think I made like a 17 or something in geometry. And so him and I, we took off really quickly. Had a lot of Mr. R coming in, at least what I thought at that time. And he, unfortunately, he didn’t see the value at that time in my sales ability. So it was like he would task me.
Go learn how to build a homepage, the first page of a website. And I was like, I have no desire. Like I’m good at selling. Let me just get out there and sell. And he told me something one day and he still has a hard time remembering that he said this. I like to remind him of it, but he is any monkey can do sales.
And I was like, oh man. I was like, you don’t realize how wrong you are without sales. You don’t have a business. And not everyone can sell, unfortunately, people exactly. Sell themself out of deals. Some people just don’t even know how to even get in front of someone and actually close a deal. And so we parted ways.
I started my own company. I started Cornerstone at that time. And what had happened was my older brother had. Lived in Dallas and he had a lot, he had a print marketing company and he had a lot of air conditioned clients. So I had, at that time, I had a dentist. I had some. Storage unit places like I just had a s mortgage board of types of businesses and he had the print marketing company, his wife was the president of a manufacturer, air condition manufacturer at the time.
And so he was sending me a lot of air condition clients and cuz they would go, Hey, we need print marketing. We need. Door hangers made, and then they were like, do you know anybody that does websites and stuff? So he would send ’em my way. So after about a year of that, I ended up having probably 70% of my business was H V A C clients.
And my team, just like what I’d found is I hadn’t met Josh at that point. I had followed Josh, but followed Josh in his air conditioned marketing company. Okay. So I didn’t hear about nicheing down. But what I found was naturally, organically on my own. This just makes more sense because my team is writing content.
My team is building websites, and when you start doing it with the same types of things over and over, they start getting better at it. Naturally. They just get better because that’s what they do day in and day out. And I can remember a times over in the beginning of my team, Boss is there anything else we can do?
Is, can you go find some different types of clients? We’re getting bored with this. And I was like, no, guys, you don’t understand like everything we’re doing, we’re getting better at because we’re doing the same thing. We’re focused and researching the same type of business. So I said, this isn’t a bad thing.
And so that’s how I stayed focused in that place. And then 2016 I merged my business with two. A guy that was in the H V A C sales space. So he put on these workshops and did three and five day sales training classes with comfort consultants or sales people in the industry. And then I merged with my brother who had the print marketing company.
Okay. So it made us the one stop shop for H V A C that we could do digital market. Print marketing and sales training and that’s how everything took off for Cornerstone. Very cool. I really appreciate that backstory. It’s, again, for those of you that are watching, you’ve heard me talk about Josh Nelson’s seven figure agency numerous times before, and that’s where Jonathan and I met through the coaching programs that Josh Nelson offers.
And it’s so cool to hear how you had. Into that nicheing down process, even before getting involved with that. One question that brings up, and I know Mike, who’s our producer, who’s in the background right now, and I’ve talked about this, but one of the things that we really noticed and we began our process last year in 2022.
But one of the things that surprised me was how much happier and confident my team has become by us focusing on a niche because they don’t feel like they’ve gotta reinvent the wheel for every new customer. They’re all unique because we’re working in the same industry. It makes it that much easier.
Like you said, they become more, more competent. They become better, more skilled, and they’re more confident we find in what they’re doing because they’re able to do it on a repeated basis. Have you seen that same thing with your team, Jonathan, that confidence over time increases as well and they even feel better about what they’re doing?
Absolutely, because I think you really gotta dissect your team and understand who do you have working for you, like from how is their brains? And do you have a team full of creative minds? I’ve seen marketing companies that are full of creatives. That’s how they all came together. And in that sense, I can understand when you have a team full of creative people that taking on a new project where they’ve never understood or have no knowledge of that industry where they want to get super creative and create something special.
And I think that’s, you can do that when you’re focused on brand. Yeah, because you can think outside the box and get those creative minds together. When you are just looking at digital marketing and lead generation, I think you need to focus on data. And for us, like the data tells us everything. So we know when we start running a new campaign for a plumber or for an air conditioning company like we know and we can look at the data, oh, they’re in Baltimore.
We have or had a client in Baltimore, we know what the cost per click is averaging at this time of the year. We know how TikTok was performing, or Facebook is performing, or how we’re gonna set up the YouTube campaign right out the gate because we have that data and kind of start, start from, and I couldn’t imagine.
The stress that it would put on our team at this point, like they like knowing that we are very systematic. We know exactly how long things are going to take from start to finish when they’re in the onboarding process, and we can get focused on the results and the customer relationships so much sooner because we’re not having to re reinvent the wheel every single time we get a new customer.
No. Absolutely could not agree with you more. I think that’s one of the big things we’ve found. The benefit of moving from a generalist agency into a niche focus agency is like you said, Just yesterday, one of my sales reps was asking me about a prospect, and they happen to be located just outside of St.
Louis, and that’s all our team needed to know to be able to give them all kinds of thoughts and budgets and everything else because we’ve worked with other people in St. Louis in the industry and we know what it’s gonna cost. We know how competitive it is. We know what, how much work there is and how much business there is there to be.
And in the old days, you started at square one and you’re like, okay, let, if I’m working with a plumber, I guess I better go look in St. Louis and find out how many commercial plumbers there are and how much competition there is. What are they doing? What are they not doing? And now that is, is really become second nature in most markets because again, we’re just focused on one.
And I’m glad to hear your team’s found the same thing, Absolut. As we talk team, let’s transition a little bit into one of your other businesses. I know historically, valor Circle we, one of our commitments was that we never wanted to bring in people outside of the US and we changed that in the last couple years.
Maybe not on a want basis, but on a needed basis. Because going through Covid we found out that there’s just a lot of people that don’t seem to have the desire to work anymore. It’s hard to find the talent and you and your team at Build my team have really helped us through that process by getting us in touch and helping us get some offshore resources that have amazing skills and an amazing desire to.
Can you talk to me a little bit about we build your team and what that company does and how you help business owners in general? Yes. So that came to be like it. It’s another one of those, can you help me with my seo? And I’m having to Google what it is. So it was never a vision that we had. You’re gonna know the gentleman, like when I tell the story.
We, I’ve joined seven Figure Agency in December or October of 2019, and then throughout 20 and 21 there were. People knew that I had a very large team over in the Philippines and there were people that would reach out and say, could you possibly help me find someone? And I’d say, sure, I’ll join the hands with my operations manager over there.
We’ve got the recruiting and the assessment testing, and we’ve got all that down Pat And I would tell ’em crazy stories like in these other countries, like you can do some strange things when it comes to the interview process. Like you can actually go. The people in their home and you can interview parents and grandparents and stuff like things that would never fly in the US but we would go to through these extreme measures because we wanted the best.
And I ended up in the Philippines back in 2014 or 15 whenever we first started, because when I had to learn how to build a website, Not me. When I had to figure out how to get a website built for someone or do seo, when I started reading the books, I started learning about outsourcing and then that was the first place I’d landed.
And I tell people, never try this now, but in 2014 I went to Craigslist, Philippines, cuz that’s what this book had told me to do. And I actually found three people. Two of the three still work for me today from 2014. And they were some of my first hires and I’ve got extreme, extremely blessed right out the gate by finding these people that I had found.
But, so that’s where we had landed for so long, and a couple of the agency owners, probably 10 or 15 agency owners had said, will you help us find someone? Sure. I don’t have anything to do with it. I’ll pass you to my operations manager. If she finds some, he goes, they would tell, what do you know? What do you want us to, what do you wanna charge us for?
And I’m like, I don’t wanna charge you anything. Let me just help you find someone. And I said, if she finds someone for you, just send her three or $500 PayPal. And that’s all we were gonna do, Jonathan, like that. That was our plan, was just to help people. And then a couple of our intensivess down in Miami.
Nate Haggerty from Tax Pro Marketers kept getting on the microphone and praising me in front of everyone. Still wasn’t the big deal. I was like, thank you. There’s nothing I did. I joined the hands with my operations manager, but hey, I’m glad that we helped you. Then you fast forward a couple months, we are on a Zoom call with our mastermind group and Josh Nelson goes, all right, everybody just kick off the call.
Let’s talk about something good or bad going on in your. And Nate goes, all right, I’ll start. He goes, we lost six new clients because of one of our Filipino hires, and he saw my eyes get real big and he was like, Jonathan, you know this has nothing to do with you at all. He goes, we vet our people extremely well cuz they’re a very Christian based company.
And he goes, y’all vetted ’em. We vetted ’em. He goes, no, this guy was a rockstar. He was perfect for us. The problem was he was working for two or three side jobs and he fell behind on some of his. And because they were brand new clients, those new clients just got cold feet and said, I don’t if this is the way the relationship’s gonna start off.
We’re just gonna walk away. Sure. And man, you would’ve thought that I was a hundred percent responsible for it. I just, it affected me. And I would just started thinking, I was like, wait, why don’t we have that issue? And I was like, We people don’t work for other people with us because they’re in an office.
And I was like, wait, why did we go into an office? Because I went into the office after two years of having building the team over there in the Philippines. I went into an office and the reason why was because I started getting frustrated when I had three or four people. Wasn’t a big deal when I started getting 12, 15, 20 people.
Sure. If every day it was, Hey, my internet’s unstable. I’m trying to find a cafe. Hey, I’m having a scheduled power outage, but when that starts happening multiple times, you can’t run a business. And I had to start questioning was I being. Lied to or was it, was there, was it sure. Authentic, what these people were telling me?
And so I said, you know what, let’s just go into an office. So the first thing I did is I went into an illegal home. I went into a, they call it a mansion over there. It was a three-story house. So I had like web developers on one floor, social media team, one floor, s e o, and paid traffic on a third floor.
And. Because I couldn’t get a real office because you had to have an official business set up. And in order to do that, like I had to go over there and sign like my life away basically. And so we did that at first for a year. Then I, and I got to spend time in that house. Then the next year when I came back, we went to the, like embassy and I had to get like a social security number.
I had to do everything legitimately to set the company up the right way. So when Nate, when I started thinking about that, we don’t have that problem because we went into an office. So I went to Nate and I said, Nate, let me ask you a question. If your team that you have was in an office and we had their own dedicated space and I provided the desk and the computers, the internet, the power, everything to make them super comfortable, all the way down to providing shirts that has your company logo on it.
So they all could feel like they were, they’re in a team setting. Just in a different location. Sure. He goes, I’d have all my staff there. And I was like, all right. And that’s when the light bulbs went off and I made a phone call to the real estate agent over there and said, Hey, is there any other office space close to our current office?
And there was like a blank slate and I built it out and that’s how it started. And we’ve taken it extremely slow. We currently have 20, 25 agencies that range from having one person to, you guys have several and we’re just now made a big launch down in Miami for the business. And cuz we worked out the kinks and made sure that we could figure out how to get the best talent and how to help manage the people for the agencies.
And I’ll tell you, Jonathan, that’s. I did an interview recently with my operations manager and someone asked what I find, what do I do in my day-to-day with all the companies I run that gets me the most excited? And she kinda laughed and Mindy looked and she was like, I know what that answer is.
And it’s talking to agency owners and helping them. Deal with some of the challenges that they’re going through because I’ve been through every single one of them. So eight or nine years doing this. Like I’ve gone through the ups and downs in the peaks and valleys, but I enjoy helping these people. If I can help them skip over one or two of these challenges and get them on the right path to success or whatever success is for them, I’m finding a lot of joy out of helping these agency owners It’s been really good.
We’re super excited. We’ve got country music artists that have video editors. I’ve got small businesses that have a bookkeeper because over there in the Philippines, they run off of the same accounting services that we do in the us. Okay. And obviously I’ve got a lot of marketing agencies, it’s for any small business that needs a VA or a web developer or content writer or something along those lines.
And then obviously any role that a marketing agency would use on a day-to-day basis. And I gotta say, as someone who uses you guys for that, as you mentioned, we have multiple people that will work with you guys through that. Your ability to manage that office and to have the infrastructure in place was a huge selling point to us because it was one of the big risks we saw of, okay.
Like you mentioned, we’ve heard all the horror stories about are you getting played? Are they working for four different companies at the same time? It wasn’t the quality of the work at all. It was always based around, they’re in the Philippines or whatever country they’re in. We’ll use Philippines for now.
And obviously if I’m sitting here in the United States, I have no way to know if there’s a scheduled power outage. I have no way to know did the internet go out in their neighborhood. It’s totally based on trust. And not to say that people aren’t always trustworthy, but the reality. People aren’t always trustworthy.
That’s right. And having that ability to bring them into an office location, have your team manage that and make sure that they were there, and then help us understand the culture. One of the things we learned through that you guys, is the Philippine holidays are somewhat different than the United States holidays are.
They have some different traditions as far as how the employees get paid and things like that, and helping us navigate all that so that we could. Not only a great work environment for our staff here in the US but do the same thing through you guys in the Philippines has really helped us serve our clients a lot better and it’s just been an amazing process that has definitely proven to work out really well.
Definitely if you’re watching this and you’ve got questions about remote staff, talk to Jonathan and his team. They’ve got just so much information and so much experience. Quick testimonial. It’s well worth your phone call. Start there. It’ll save you guys tons of time. So I appreciate that. Yeah, no, it’s been true to, to just hit on that one piece where you talked about the difference and the holidays and the pay.
These were all things that I had to learn over time. And what do you mean you’ve got all these extra holidays? What do you mean? Like I have to pay time and a half. There was just a lot of things we had to work through 13th. Yeah. And, but what we learned was once we made it official and we set everything up the right way, the talent started coming to us.
We would get college graduates come to us. We were getting invited to go to the college days and the career days over there, and people wanted to come work for us because we. Treated people, right? We were giving people real jobs and careers, and when they knew that the company was set up the right way and they weren’t gonna be paid via PayPal and all this stuff that like we have.
I, since I have the official company over there, all I do is I wire from my Chase Bank to my bank account in the Philippines. And I don’t even pay a wiring fee. So that’s, I hear all these people like these fees to like wire money. Like it doesn’t cost me anything and I send a lot of money, but it, everything is set up the right way and we cover their, there.
Healthcare. So we provide their healthcare benefits. We provide their 13th month pay. They know exactly when they’re getting their bonus structure and things like that. And for that reason, they don’t feel like they’re a traditional VA and being treated like a va. They’re an employee. And then like in y’all’s case, having multiple team members, That all get to wear their company staff shirts.
Like it makes them feel like they are part of you invest team, but they’re just in a different location and they get to go to work every day and sit with their coworkers and they’re strategizing and they’re, you’re gonna get more, a more efficient team that gets to work in that environment with other people than when they’re spread all over the place.
And absolutely that’s what we have found. So we’re in the Philippines. We just opened up our office in Columbia, in Bogota, and we’re in talks with the attorneys and the government in Indonesia right now. And so we’re trying to find. The countries that have some of the smartest individuals coming out of college.
And we’ve really been focused in the last three to four months on our training academy and building something to where we can take college graduates in these different countries, give them, put them through a week of a digital marketing program. And then give them assessment tests when they come out to really figure out how their brain is wired and put them through a specialized training.
And I know we’re making huge impacts in these other countries, but we’re also making huge impacts for the digital marketing companies that want. High quality staff, but don’t wanna run in. It’s one thing when you have to manage the task and you have to manage deadlines, but when you have to manage, are the people there?
Are they working for someone else? Am I getting a solid eight hours or 48 hour, 40 hours work? That just adds one extra thing to your day and two your week that you really don’t need to do. Oh, it’s so true. I want to jump in here and make a comment. I know in the audience we’re gonna have a couple naysayers that are like, man, I can’t believe you’re offshoring.
You’re taking jobs away from American people. I wanna tell you, as a business owner, that’s not the way it works. We’ve tried to hire these positions in the us. They’re not positions we can get filled. And because we have access now through, we build your team to other resources, we actually can make our US based staff that much more solidified in their job and more secure in their job because they actually, our US based staff obviously get to receive the same benefits from having that workload.
So their workload is now more balanced and they’re able to, as we talked in the pre-call, We’re able to get executive admins for our staff, which would be something we could never do in other cases that help them be more productive, help them expand their knowledge base, expand their skillset, and ultimately better serve our clients.
And so it was one of the reasons I never wanted offshore for the first 10 years. It’s like I didn’t want to mo take away any of those jobs, but it was eventually seen the opposites in occurred. We’re able to bring on more people in the US in certain roles that we can on hire here because I can have other roles that help us grow, help us fulfill as a company that I can fulfill elsewhere.
So just a win-win all the way around. And for us, we’re the same way. We’re split, like I’ve got a, I’ve got a large. Side. So all of our account managers, most of my operation roles are sales and things like that are all us. I have tried over the eight or nine years to have a web developer that was in the US like prima donna, so hard to fight with.
No, I need it done this way and like just set in their ways and I’m like, whoa, wait a minute. I’ve got four developers in another country and I don’t get any of this. He was just like, I have tried because at one time I was gonna have the every single role or position I was gonna have an US time. And then have the same thing that mirrored in another country where Sure.
The time difference. And every time I tried that, oh my gosh, it was. Now I know why, like I hire from different countries. It was just, it’s very, it’s different. So we have 10 plus people in the US but even my staff here in the US are split like it’s. One in Dallas, three or four in Birmingham, some in Florida, and now we’ve diversified our overseas team.
It used to be Philippines only, and now we are going for the top talent that we can find. So I’ve got staff in Brazil, Columbia, Indonesia. A Pakistan, like I don’t care where the person lives. We’ve been looking at Canada a good bit. Like I want to find who is going to fit the culture of our business. That is first and foremost, super important for us.
Everyone gets to interview, everyone gets to ask questions. We hire very slow at this point because we want to make sure that you’re gonna fit with the core values of our company and what do those core values mean to you. And at the end of the day, you would. Core values would resonate more with a US staff person than somebody on the other side of the world that may not even know what those core values mean.
And at, I just wanna know, what does transparency mean to you in your own personal life? Not, anything to do work related. And at the end of the day, we have found there’s certain roles that we’ll always have in the US and there’s certain roles that I don’t know if I’ll ever bring. TD you asked because I’ve just had such a difficult time managing some of those positions.
No, it’s true. We’ve noticed the same thing. There’s different cultural things that lend themselves to different. Success in different roles and our ability to excel in different roles. Totally agreed. Jonathan, I’m just so good to hear your story and hear all the things you’ve shared. Before we, we wrap things up, I know we talked a little bit upfront about we love to ask if you had to start over, if somebody said, Hey, you’ve got everything you have now, accept your network of people and your money and we’re gonna give you a thousand bucks, what would you do?
Today, 2023, almost April 1st. What would you do to start a new business in the first 90 days? What would your plan be? What things would you consider, what advice might you give to somebody that might find themselves in a similar situation? For me, I think I probably wouldn’t do things much different than how I had to do them.
When I tell you that I had to Google what SEO was like, I was coming out of law enforcement, but. Had sales, my background, but nothing to do with digital marketing. I was clueless when it came to digital marketing, so I had to figure out how to find the people that could help me do the work. One, you could, you obviously need a little understanding there, how you’re gonna hire.
Like I said, I don’t have the first clue of how to start building a website. I can talk to you about technical s e o, and I know what needs to be done, but I don’t know how to go and build back links and things like that. But I can talk through it. I can sell it because I truly understand how it all works.
But now my focus is finding the best staff that I possibly can to do the actual work that I can talk about. So if I was given a thousand dollars, I. For me, sales is all about relationships, so I would focus on what am I going to sell, which services am I going to sell? For the longest time, we pretty much had one program and it was 2000 or $2,500 a month, and I sold a lot of ’em to a lot of companies.
O over the years. I really just started with calling on people that like, if you’re gonna niche down, find people in that niche that can help get you in front of those customers. And that’s what I did. So I started with the manufacturer. I tried to reach out on LinkedIn and find the sales manager of Manufac.
I wind and dine him. So I would use some of that a thousand dollars and I would ask to take that person to lunch, and then I’m going to build a rapport with him or her and tell them if you let them see who you are. Like I just wanna help people. I want to help people, I wanna help their companies. I feel that if I, the services that I offer will help your contractor.
Produce more revenue and grow their business. If they do that, they’re gonna buy more boxes of air conditioned equipment from you. And I would love the opportunity to be able to help some of your customers. And that’s what I did. And then they introduced me to the sales guys, and then I started calling and emailing and calling the sales guys until a couple of ’em used the word you are.
One of the most persistent people I’ve ever heard. And I was like, you can use a bunch of different words there. Like for persistent, like I knew I the shit outta ’em, but they appreciated it in some kind of way that I cared, that I kept grinding and calling and emailing and I said, look, all I’m not gonna stop until you tell me to leave you alone or until you put me in front of some of your customers.
And they were like, fine, meet me in this city next week and you can take a couple of my dealers to. And that’s what I did, right? So I had to spend a hundred bucks for a couple lunches total, and I got to get in front of the people that I wanted to sell my services to, and that’s how I grew the business.
I did that for a couple years. I rented rental cars and would drive to all these different states and cities. And would get in front of these people by the sales guys that are already reaching them. So if you’re in garage doors, you’re in solar, whatever, there’s people who sell equipment to these companies.
Call those people, they already have a relationship and take them to lunch, build a relationship with them. Go on LinkedIn and see where they went to college. Go get a Yeti Cup made and get it lasered. The college that they went to and send it to ’em. Do something from the Book of Giftology. Make an impact with that gift so that they’ll never forget you.
So they’ll take your phone call when you call them, and that’s how you need to get in front of people if you’ve got a limited budget. Great advice. Absolutely love that. And it goes back to admittedly something I’m biased about, but it is still just face-to-face communication works amazingly well. We can maintain relationships like we are here virtually, but it’s no different than the intensive we just went to in Miami.
You know that face-to-face aspect has so much more value than the Zoom. Is zoom better than not going? Sure it’s better than not meeting, right? But when you can sit down with somebody and break bread and chat with them, you can build relationships and those relationships just like you’re sharing then yield fruit for years to come to help you grow your business.
Fantastic advice. Covid changed a lot of that, unfortunately. So I sold in person for many years and then when Covid happened, obviously. We had to sell via Zoom. Yep. And I still feel like if you’re just starting out your business and you’re going to niche down, you can’t focus on the city where you live and be niche down.
Like you’re gonna have to expand yourself to the whole United States. And when you’re start thinking, how am I gonna go see these customers? I’m just starting. I don’t have a lot of money to travel. I get that. But what I’ll tell you is when you close one of those customers and they’re on the other side of the country, Start putting a little bit of money away and save it and let that be a travel fund, because you may close them on Zoom, but you need to go visit them face to face.
Yep. I’ve gotta say, and people ask me like, what is success to me is when I can turn a client into a friend. And I’ve done that many times. There’s clients that I’ll go to Vegas with or I’ll take a trip with and they invite me to go on trips with them that have nothing to do or related with their work or my work.
Like I’ve become friends with some of these guys and that is what success is to me. So just because if you have to sell on Zoom, we sell a lot on Zoom these days now Sure. Visit these people and build that relationship and try to create a bond. No other competitor will be able to break. No, it’s so true.
I know. We just took a an eight week journey down south and visited a number of clients and that, and it was amazing the response that people that you’ve just met on Zoom are only chatted that way. When you show up at their office door, it’s like your old friends and that it really cemented those relationships.
It’s amazingly, Great advice, Jonathan. If we’ve got people that are watching, I know some of them are in the H V C industry and things like that, or in, I know some of them are gonna be interested in learning more about how to maybe begin bringing on some offshore staff, because hiring is difficult everywhere in the United States right now.
We’re gonna put your website up and all that, if they’re watching this, maybe they’re driving, they don’t wanna look at the website. What’s the best thing they can do as a next step to get in touch with you and your. Yeah, so obviously you said you’re gonna put the website up. It’s, yep, it’s we build your team.com and go there, fill out the form on the website, and from the form it’s going to send you some video ask.
We’ve got some technology in there because what we have found is when and when we first started, this was all working through the kinks, was people would say, What position are you needing to hire? And they would literally check like 12 different positions. Sure. And then it’s like we, when we call ’em back, we’re like, so you need 12 people?
They’re like, oh no, I just need one. But they needed someone they can do. I’m like, oh yeah, that’s called a unicorn. Like we don’t have unicorns right now. And so now through the video ask, it’s, we want the person to tell us what exactly are you looking for? Because what we’ve been able to. We can get a web developer and through our training we can teach that web developer how to do go high level as well.
Now you’ve gotta find how that person’s wired, and it’s through assessment tests to go, okay, this person’s more of a technical person. We could also teach them this. So we wanna understand what do you do on your day-to-day right now that if you could take those things off your plate, it would allow you to go sell more.
It would allow you to go build these relationships to grow the business. You may only have the budget for one person, but we may be able to squeeze someone that could do three things to take some of that off your plate. So we’re just gonna go through that process with you. I think it’s important to find out exactly what you are needing.
And Jonathan, I, you and I have talked about this. I’ll do a little plug here for Dan Martel. If you haven’t read this book yet, read this book. So buy back your time. I was telling the guys before the show started that I’m not the type of person that lives in the past, so I’m not a what if or if this would, if I’d have known this, I would’ve done things so differently.
We could all say that. That’s armchair quarterbacking, and I don’t play that game because I learn through the challenges and the struggles and the mistakes. Without those mistakes, I wouldn’t be who I am today. It’s absolutely, it’s important that you learn and grow from it. But there’s things that I learned in this book.
I think you and I were reading this book around the same time, so over the last month or two, I was in this book deep and he talks about in there, and a lot of people probably would think this sounds crazy, but he talks about no matter where you are in business, if it’s your first day or you’re a multi-million dollar, The first hire that you should do is an executive assistant, and it’s like a, like I didn’t have an executive assistant for seven years or more.
So like I thought that was completely ludicrous when I read that. But it makes sense. And when you read that and you talk about, I for years, let my email run my day or control my day, and I would never admit that because. No, I control my day. I set my calendar, but as I went back and he calls it a time and energy audit.
Yep. And when I start looking at that and go back and look at my calendar over the last year, there’s clearly, I didn’t put all these. Appointments on my schedule. It was people grabbing my calendar link and scheduling on their clients, colleagues, whatever that looked like. And in order to really get in the zone and as a leader of a company, if you want to grow your business and get to that next level, you have to do the things that are going to take your business to that level.
I forget what he calls it in there, Jonathan, where he you calculate your time or value is worth. Yeah. Your basically your buyback rate. Exactly. Yeah. Your buyback rate. That’s what it’s, so he actually has a calculation there, like you figure out what you pay yourself, what the company makes in profits, any dime that you take from the company and there’s you times it by 2000 and divide it by something, but there’s a buyback number.
And when you get that number, he pretty much says you do not work on a task that you couldn’t pay someone that amount to go do it for you, because otherwise you are not taking yourself to the next level, and you’re not allowing yourself to be able to do the things that you need to do to grow the business.
So if you haven’t read that book, read it, because I would say don’t go and think that you need this other position. Until you truly know what it is that you’re looking, what is hire to buy back your time, that’s what you need to do. Not hire to grow the business. You have to hire to buy back your time, and if you buy back your time, the business is just gonna naturally grow.
No, as you were talking, I was thinking that exact same thing, Jonathan. And one of the things he recommends is going through and doing a time study, and most of us as executives have done that. What have you done every 15 minutes throughout the day? But he added an interesting twist that I’d never heard before, and that was, at the end of the day, go back through those tasks.
And sometimes it’s different things, but if it’s something that took your energy, if it drained your energy, highlight it. If it was something, just what you did, okay, leave it alone. But if it was something that energized you, something that excited you, something you enjoy doing, I love, for example, creating video content.
And I found out by going through the study that one of the things that I really do enjoy doing is creating that. But I don’t enjoy doing the editing and I don’t enjoy doing the publishing and all that. And by calculating that and seeing and looking back after a month and going, wow, there’s a whole lot of red on.
I know what I need to contact your team about because I need to get somebody to fill in those roles. Yep. There’s quite a bit of just n it’s not highlighted. It’s okay. We’ll get to that and we’ll review that. And then there’s a bunch of green, and the green is what I want to focus on because that’s the stuff like you said, even if it’s not immediately apparent how that impacts your business.
By buying back your time and giving you, as the executive and the leader, the visionary, more time you are benefiting your business because you then have the time to focus on the things that matter more and where if it’s gaining energy, you’re gonna be doing so much more, being so much more productive in that area.
The, I’m losing my words, but basically it adds so much value to the organization, so you’re right. Yeah, so true. So true. Jonathan, again, thank you so much for your time today. Thank you for being just an amazing partner in the business as well. It’s great to work with people that are vendors and providing services that care about your business as much as you do, and you and your team definitely exemplify that.
We appreciate you so much, and I really appreciate your time here on the podcast. It’s my pleasure, Jonathan. I appreciate the invite. You and Beth are amazing humans and this is truly what makes it special for me and gets me excited is any way, like you’ve been doing this way longer than me, and when I can make any kind of impact at all on people that are helping them, making them better, providing more for their family, like it gets me super excited and so I appreciate everything that you guys are doing.
Absolutely. Thank you for watching this episode of the 91 Day Success podcast. If you have any desire to learn more about anything that Jonathan and his team does, whether that’s on the H V A C marketing space, whether that’s on offshoring, whether that’s on virtual assistance, reach out to him and his team.
You will not find better people to talk to. They’re fantastic. Through ups and downs, they’re gonna be honest with you and tell you where things are at, and that’s what you need in a partner nowadays if you’ve run a business. So with that, everybody, have a fantastic day and we’ll see you on the other side.