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BiggerPockets Business Podcast 22: The Free Strategy to Reach WAY More Customers with PR Expert Josh Elledge

BiggerPockets Business Podcast 22: The Free Strategy to Reach WAY More Customers with PR Expert Josh Elledge

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Like a lot of entrepreneurs, Josh Elledge got started trying to solve his own problem. After launching the personal finance tool SavingsAngel.com, he came to realize that by far the best way to generate brand awareness was to provide massive value to news organizations—who would in turn give him a free platform to promote himself!

If you’ve been struggling to get press or establish yourself as an expert, this episode might just change the whole way you approach publicity. Josh lays out a realistic path for starting off small (sorry, Oprah’s not going to pluck you out of obscurity), describes the two things you must do to raise your authority, and explains how to convert your newfound visibility into sales (without coming across as too “salesy”).

Josh gets into the nitty gritty of how to quickly and easily create a press kit, how to build long-term relationships with journalists, and when appropriate, how to lean into polarizing viewpoints to create true fans. Whether you’re a business owner or a subject matter expert hoping to raise your profile, this episode is a perfect guide for how to “let the media do your selling for you!”

Tell us what you think of this episode in the comment section below, and don’t forget to subscribe to the BiggerPockets Business Podcast on your favorite smartphone app so you won’t miss the next episode.

Click here to listen on iTunes.

Listen to the Podcast Here

Read the Transcript Here

J: Welcome to the BiggerPockets Business podcast, show number 22.

Josh: My company is doing more than 20 sales calls every single week, and it’s so easy to generate leads when you can come up with an offer that is a no-brainer for someone to say, “Yeah, I’d love to talk with you.”

J: Welcome to a real-world MBA from The School of Hard Knocks where entrepreneurs reveal what it really takes to make it, whether you’re already in business or you’re on your way there this show is for you. This is BiggerPockets Business.

J: Hey, there everybody. I am J Scott. I am your co-host for the BiggerPockets Business podcast, here again this week with my lovely co-host Mrs. Carol Scott. How are you doing today, Carol?

Carol: Oh, so great. Thank you, baby. Guess what? Before we get into today’s show, I just want to thank everybody again. Listeners, thank you so, so much to all of you who took the time to fill out our listener survey. We learned a ton. A ton about what you like, don’t like, what you want, and so on and so forth. And one big thing that we learned is that a lot of you are BiggerPockets members and are at least somewhat involved in real estate investing. So before we get to today’s show, we just wanted to give you a heads up about a new and free tool.

Carol: Yup, that’s right. It’s free to help you reach your goals. It’s called the Firestarter. Cool name, right? The Firestarter. And if you plan on becoming financially free it’s an amazing tool that tracks your progress and helps you just hold yourself accountable for what you’re doing and gets you toward financial freedom. So you remember a few weeks ago when we had Brandon Turner on the show and he talked about 90-day goals? Well, guess what, the Firestarter helps you reach your 90-day goal by writing down the daily habits that are going to set you right up for success.

Carol: So if you want to check this out, here’s what you need to do. Go right into your BiggerPockets account, go to your dashboard, my goals and under there you’re going to find the Firestarter tool. And again, it is completely free, it’s right in your dashboard under my goals. Look for the Firestarter tool. It’s free, it’s awesome, and you’re going to love it. So go check it out now.

J: That is awesome. So I want to jump right into today’s show because we have a really, really awesome show today. We have a guy on named Josh Elledge. Josh is the founder of a company called UpMyInfluence.com, and their stated goal is to democratize access to influence. And basically what that means is that Josh helps us entrepreneurs leverage media exposure to attract the perfect audiences for our businesses and to grow our brands. And he does it all without the exorbitant costs of traditional PR firms so basically for anybody that wants to build credibility through media exposure Josh is the guy.

J: And on the show today he tells us all about how he grew his last business to over $6 million in sales and spending less than $5000 total on advertising. And he tells us how we can do the same thing in our business. He gives us some amazing tips on how we can use media to grow our reach, how we can use the idea of giving value to build trust and credibility with our audiences, and finally he gives us some really concrete tips on how we can start gaining media exposure without spending a fortune on traditional PR firms.

J: It is an awesome episode. Now, if you want more information about Josh, more information about the things we talked about on the show, don’t forget to check out our show notes at biggerpockets.con/bizshow22. That’s biggerpockets.con/bizshow22. And now, before we jump into the show, let’s just hear a quick word from our sponsor.

J: Hey, there BiggerPockets listeners. This is Jay Scott and if you’re like me, finding great investment opportunities these days is getting really, really tough especially when it comes to buying rental properties. Now, I’ve written and talked a lot over the past few months about the importance of adding cash flowing rental properties to your portfolio especially at this point in the economic cycle, which is one of the reasons why I’m thrilled that our show this week is sponsored by Roofstock.

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J: Thank you so much to our sponsor. Okay. Now, without any further ado, let’s jump right in and welcome Josh Elledge to the show. Josh Elledge, welcome to the show.

Josh: J, thank you so much for having me. I am so excited. I finally made it to BiggerPockets.

Carol: Well, we’re just as excited to have you, so thank you for joining us. We’re so excited to talk with you.

Josh: Yeah, let’s do this.

J: Yeah, we met Josh for the first time at a podcast conference just about a month, month and a half ago, and so we’ve been really excited after we heard about what you’re doing for the entrepreneur community. We’ve been really excited to talk to you and get you on the show basically to give our listeners some of your valuable advice and to tell them a lot about your business which is called UpMyInfluence. Now, before we jump into UpMyInfluence which is an awesome business that helps entrepreneurs basically gain recognition, gain credibility, gain trust through media exposure, I’d like to hear a little bit more about your backstory and how UpMyInfluence basically evolved. What is your story? Where did this company come from?

Josh: Like a lot of other entrepreneurs, I’d failed in business number of times, and so in fact six times to be specific. And those failures included personal bankruptcy. I lost a home to foreclosure, I lost another home in a short sale. So I didn’t have a very good track record, but I kept at it because anytime that I worked a regular corporate job I just knew I was in the wrong place. Even though I had a couple of pretty good jobs, it just didn’t feel right, and so I kept at it. And sure enough on my seventh business venture, I had learned enough in those previous six businesses so that I knew what I needed to do in order to succeed.

Josh: Honestly, I don’t know that it was so much about the business idea as it was I was the right person now to lead that company and I had let go of a lot of the fear or on a personal shortcomings that I had during my previous six ventures. And so that business was SavingsAngel, and I launched that 12 years ago. It’s just a membership based website and we would help consumers cut their grocery bill in half. We’re very successful in terms of the product, but J and Carol, I mean, you guys know, I mean, you could have the best thing in the world. The best service, the best product in the world.

Josh: If you don’t have visibility, if people don’t know about it, you’re not going to be in business very long. Word of mouth is great, but it’s generally not enough to carry a business. And so what I did is at the beginning when I launched SavingsAngel, I had no money for advertising. So I just reached out to local radio stations, local TV stations, local newspapers, magazines, bloggers at the time of anyone I could who had an audience, and I said could I be of service.

Josh: I figured out a way to cut your grocery bill in half. It involves time in your store sales with coupons, and so I’d explained how to get free stuff every single week. And so I began this regular segment and that’s what I did for advertising. And the cool thing is, is it didn’t cost me anything. I just had to provide really, really good value, and sure enough that first radio segment I did, we made over $300 a month. We started at $300 a month recurring revenue and that $300, J, that was enough to pay my heating bill. And I thought, “Oh my gosh. This is incredible. I need to keep doing more of this.”

Josh: And so you know flash forward many years later, and I’ve been a syndicated newspaper columnist now for nine and a half years, I’ve been on TV, probably close to a thousand times alone just in TV. Most of them as a local consumer guy for three different TV stations here in Orlando, Florida. And then a syndicated radio, and yeah, all total over 2,000 media appearances, and that allowed us to earn more than $6 million in revenue. And this is the crazy thing, and most people don’t even believe this. We’ve spent less than $5000 in advertising. We never had to do paid ads. I mean, everything we do is just going out and providing value. It’s a little bit more of a longer play, but it’s worked out very, very well for us.

J: I love that story. So when you decided with SavingsAngel to start going after free media, was that a strategy? Did you sit down and say, “Okay. This is how I’m going to build this business,” or did it just happen serendipitously and then afterwards you said, “Hey, wait a second. This is working. I need to keep doing this.” What was the thought process there?

Josh: It was kind of like the scene in An Officer and a Gentleman, “I got nowhere else to go.” I didn’t have any choice. What do you do? It was either that or like print out flyers and start stapling them to telephone poles or something. I had nothing else. I mean, social media really at the time was still kind of in its infancy. Facebook just became a thing. And so that was my only option, and it was great because it ended up working out pretty well. But, yeah, no. It was completely unintentional. I had no plans on becoming the coupon guy or the money-saving guy. But it’s cool because today, now, I have this persona. I’m known as the guy who can get you a deal hook up or upgrade on anything in life. So I’m really fun at parties.

J: And we talked a little bit about this at Podcast Movement, and I know you’re big on this whole idea of giving value. And so it’s not just about getting your name out there. It’s not just about getting media appearances, it’s not just about selling, selling, selling. Your whole view on how to convert potential customers to customers is bigger than that, correct?

Josh: Yeah, truly.

J: And if you look at how consumer behavior has changed, so I’ve been studying and leading consumer behavior for over 12 years now, and one thing that… Really what my thing with consumers is, is before you buy anything, before you sign anything, before you engage in any product, just look it up. Do a little bit of research until you feel like you got your questions answered. Don’t ever rely on marketing or advertising alone to make your buying decisions. And sure enough, that’s exactly what consumers have been doing.

J: So now because we can, before we buy a car, before we buy a property we want to learn about the school system. We want to get to know what do people think about the neighborhood before we buy even a box of cereal. We can read reviews on that stuff to see what people think. And so people are looking for reviews. They’re looking for user-generated content. They’re looking for social proof. They are curious what other influential people are saying about them, what is the media saying about that.

J: This third-party validation means so much more today than traditional advertising. One book I commonly quote is Mark Schaefer’s Marketing Rebellion which came out at the beginning of this year. One of the most important books in marketing, and you just need to understand that we are past the day of where you could just put like… If you’re a digital marketer, well, I’m one funnel away. And so I’m just going to put a sales page up on the internet and then I’m going to drive a bunch of traffic to it, and I’m going to make my riches.

J: That is really, really hard to do. You got to spend a lot of money in order to do that. And so I say it works, but it works about as well as being a spammer or a catfisher. So it’s like a certain percentage of people will still fall for that, but that number is getting so tiny now, and the reason is consumers have never been wiser. And I think this is really, really great news if you’re an honest business person, you run an honest business. Your intention, your purpose is to do good in the world and provide value.

J: There’s never been a better time for you today, because guess what? People are going to find that out. They’re going to find that out good or bad, and you got to be a giver. I just had a conversation with one person yesterday and I was just shocked that these people still exist, but he wanted to… On my own podcast, he wanted to talk about how you could write a book in 24 hours. I said, “That’s great. Let’s talk about that.” He goes, “No, no. I can’t tell people all the secrets, then people won’t buy my $300 package.” I’m like, “Listen, brother. You are in the wrong room.”

Carol: Right? Seriously, you’re preaching to the wrong choir for sure.

Josh: Yeah, right.

Carol: So seriously all over the place there. So let’s say we’ve got so many new entrepreneurs, Josh listening to this show right, and it sounds like back in the day you reached your success by just, you hit the ground running, right? You went out to these radio shows. You went out to newspapers. You went to these grocery stores, whatever, and said, “How can I provide value? How can I give back and just let people learn about me? And how can I be helpful to you?”

Carol: Now, that everything… Not everything has changed. Some of those things clearly still exist, but now that so much is online, what tips can you give these new entrepreneurs to get into these spaces online? And actually before we go there, what are some of these spaces online? Like podcasting, that’s a great example of one, right? So what are some of the other online avenues where new entrepreneurs can look for opportunities to spread their value, to spread their message, to become influential?

Josh: Right. And so when you’re beginning, it may be really tempting to go for the biggest shows on the planet, and the biggest influencers in the planet and saying, “Hey, pick me, pick me.” Especially as Americans, we have this rags to riches dream, this fantasy where we think, “Oh my gosh, if only Oprah would just call me, all my wildest dreams would come true.” Or whoever, right? And that just doesn’t really happen because at the same time that you want to work with some of the biggest names in your field so does everybody else. And guess what, I mean, I can speak as a journalist, as a pretty big platform. I’ve been writing for 11 newspapers now, for nine and a half years. I get bad pitches every day, and they all end up in the garbage can.

Josh: It’s because that most people reaching out they do this all wrong or even if you spend a lot of money, hire a PR firm, guess what PR firms do it all wrong as well. It blows me away how much money people would spend thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars to a PR firm. PR firms today, most of them are just glorified spammers. They’re just trying to push their clients story and as a journalist it’s not my job. It’s not my job to promote your client.

Josh: And so if you want to win, then what I would recommend is two things. Number one is that… And we’ll really go… I hope we get to go into this a little bit in depth, and that is really focus on building your authority. Your online authority, your branding really makes a big difference because even something as simple as your headshot, your profile if we go to Twitter, and we look you up, people are going to make very superficial judgments based on what you’re showing them.

Josh: Carol, we live in a swipe left, swipe right world. Everything is so instant, it’s very superficial but it’s interesting as consumers we all believe that we all have this supernatural ability to read people very, very quickly, and we do. Is it based on truly what’s in someone’s heart? No, not at all. And so that’s why it’s really important that… Just like in online dating, if you’re going to be doing online dating you better have a really good profile otherwise it’s not going to attract a whole lot.

Josh: So same thing, social media profile, building up your social proof which that’s going to take time, that’s okay. Building up your associations and then trying to communicate evidence of your success, or that you’re doing things. These are all things that you want to convey. You will never attract a client that exceeds your level of branding. So if you’re on a scale from one to 10, you’re a three. I’m sorry, but the four, five, six isn’t above. They’re just going to be like, “Hey, great for you, but I’m really looking for someone that is at a six. And you’re not there yet, no offense. You’re just newer in business.”

Josh: So influencers would do the same thing. Media will do the same thing. They need credible experts, but again they’re going to be looking for people that they’re used to working, and so that’s why it’s really important that you invest in things like having a press kit, building up your LinkedIn profile, making sure that you really fill out your bio section, you write a compelling bio that’s going to get people’s attention. And you can only work with what you have so you’re if you’re a little bit goofy looking like me, I mean it is what it is. So just work with the best photographer you can afford, and they might have to touch up a couple things. But, yeah, that’s that’s all part of it, and that can really mean a difference.

Josh: And then really the next step is rather than reaching out to the big dogs, start with the people that have smaller shows and refine your message, refine your storytelling. You refine your stage presence, and you do this over and over and over again. I mean, it’s taken me a 180 podcast interviews to finally make it to BiggerPockets. And really, you got to earn your way to the top.

Josh: So sometimes we’ll get people that will approach us, and they’ll say, “Hey, can you get me connected with Gary Vee? Can you get me on The Today Show? And the answer is yes, but based on looking at your current branding and the evidence of your success, it’s going to take a few years. So if you’re patient, we can do that. And you also have to earn your way to the top, so start small. If you want to get in the Today Show, they’re not going to work with you until you’ve done other national media. Other national media is not going to work with you until you’ve done big market media. Big market media is not going to work with you until you’ve done medium media markets.

Josh: So you just have to earn your way there. And you honestly listen. Gary Vee’s guests, they all started somewhere. So if they can do it, you can do it. So it’s just that kind of a thing. Earn your way there.

Carol: That’s a great tip for our listeners to remember. If you’re just brand new, there’s someone else with a podcast that’s brand new. There’s somebody else with some type of blog that’s brand new that needs that content, that needs that expertise, that is happy to give you that exposure because they want new and interesting things as well, right?

Josh: Yeah.

Carol: So once we these new entrepreneurs go after all of these outlets online to begin building our credibility, to begin sharing our expertise, to begin giving, how do we go about converting that to business. So there’s the concept of getting out there, getting in front of people, but how does that translate into bringing business into our company.

Josh: Listen, I am so glad that you asked this question. And oftentimes when we get clients that come and work with us, I mean we’re a completely different model than most PR firms. Most PR firms don’t have a clue about how you monetize PR. They’re good at just like, “Oh, we got you this visibility, and we got you these number of eyeballs.” And they didn’t really tie it to what really matters and what pays the bill, and that sales. So let’s start here. There’s media you do for visibility, and then there’s media you do for authority.

Josh: Most people will overestimate the value of visibility. They think, “Oh my gosh, if I could just get on that podcast. Oh my gosh, if I could just get on that TV station, or that influencer could celebrate me, I’m going to make tons of money.” Most of the time it’s going to be pretty underwhelming. It’s not going to be as great as you think and that’s okay because the visibility is just one of the areas in which you get value. And I would argue, it’s probably one of the lower levels. So what’s more valuable than visibility?

Josh: Well, number one is the authority. Now, if you had a story written about you in Forbes magazine or in Forbes.com, that’s a logo now that you can use. That logo is going to improve your conversion rate. You can AB test this. I’ve seen this consistently that if you add a string of high authority logos to your lead capture page, your sales page, whatever it is, it is going to improve it somewhere, sometimes usually between 8 to 15%. That means 8 to 15% more revenue. We like that.

Josh: Next, you’re going to get a relationship with an influencer. So let’s say that you do the reporter a solid, and you help them out with a story, and I’ve done this before where my first story with [Louis Bouldin 00:22:34] here in Orlando was on a Ford recall. I don’t have anything to do with cars and Ford recalls or anything, but I did this story anyway. I will drop just about anything I’m doing if a reporter contacts me and asked if I can help with his story, whether it’s TV or whatever, giving a quote, whatever it is. And so I did that story.

Josh: Then I did a story on theme park ticket prices. Again, not really in my wheelhouse. But now Louis and I had worked together on two stories. He goes, “Josh, told me him a little bit more about SavingsAngel.” So I told him a little bit about it. He’s like, “Well, we should do a story about that.” “Louis, that’s a great idea.” And so invest in relationships with influencers. Honestly, give them so much value first, help them out, do a solid for them, and don’t ask for stuff in return.

Josh: Even when you make a pitch you need to like make sure there is no sales or marketing involved in that pitch because if they smell sales on your breath, I mean, they’re going to turn and run the other way because it’s like yeah, yeah, yeah. You just want to use me to get in the platform. So there’s that.

Josh: And then also you can, once you have a working relationship, let’s say you do want to pitch something, it’s relevant, you’re newsjacking, you’re paying attention what’s going… Because you have a working relationship, it’s going to be much easier for you to reach out and say, “Hey, would you be interested in doing a story about this?” And your chance of getting a yes, just went up by like orders of magnitude. So that’s also really critical. I also find that it helps with I’m shortening sales cycles.

Josh: So right now if you’re finding that there’s a lot of frustration because people are just not pulling the trigger, it’s because they don’t feel like there might not be much momentum. And so they feel like, “Well, I can start with that any time.” And so if you consistently show them, “Oh, here I am an entrepreneur up. Oh, here I am in Barron’s. Oh, here I am in ABC7.” And you keep showing this stuff, what’s going to happen is they’re going to get this… FOMO is going to start building up and then you make, oh my gosh, this gal is going to take off without me. I better get in while the getting is good otherwise they’re going to raise the race or they’re not going to have availability. And so I find that it’s really good for that as well.

Josh: And again you want to use that as like your follow-up sequence, sharing all this evidence because third-party validation beats conversation any day of the week. Let the media do your selling for you.

J: That is awesome.

Carol: That’s huge.

J: I love that message. And so much of this resonates with me because I feel like I didn’t do this on purpose, I don’t think Carol did this on purpose, but this is kind of how Carol and I have have formed our brand over the last decade. We spent five years writing about real estate and not selling anything, and we had a big blog, and we got popular in BiggerPockets. Before we knew it, I wrote a book and people wanted to buy it. And there are a million books out there on flipping houses, but for some reason people wanted to buy my book, and it’s because for years many years I was giving value.

J: People knew my name and I had built up that trust. I had built up that credibility. I had built up that reciprocity. I had given, and given, and given, and people felt that desire to give back. And so for me, and this is… I’m actually leading to a question here. For me, the hard part was to go from building up all this goodwill, building up all this potential reciprocity to the point where I actually started asking people for money, and that for me was difficult because I had spent five, six years giving, and giving, and giving for free, I felt almost guilty to then start asking people for money. It’s now been a decade and I’m still having trouble getting over that hump of where I have trouble differentiating what I should be giving for free, and what I should be asking people to pay for. Any advice there?

Josh: Okay. So I’m glad that we’re having this conversation because this is actually a pretty common thing. I went through this as well. And so here’s the thing to remember, if we are simply responding to what people are asking for and there are some… Listen, when it comes to information, education, content I pretty much give like 99.9% of it away for free. The only stuff that I hold on to that might be like part of a package where my team is involved, we’re providing services. Obviously, my team’s not going to work for free, but if your audience is saying, “J, I want this.” And you’re like, “Okay. Well, I could provide that. And maybe this I could do for free.” But that, I mean that’s the kind of thing that the people are saying that they’d be willing to pay money for.

Josh: It’s not our job to judge our audience. If they want to give you money for something then it would be it’s audacious of us to say that they shouldn’t be willing to pay money for that thing. And so for me it’s a pretty clear differentiator. I don’t really sell eCourses. I bundle it in with some other services that we provide, but that’s really not where we make our money, and honestly I think the future is less about maybe like eCourses because we live in an age of podcasts and videos, YouTube where everything is pretty much free.

Josh: I mean, sure it’s nice when it’s cataloged, and it’s indexed, there’s a follow course. And there’s some really great courses out there that you should spend money on and invest in. But by and large, I think services, access, paying for access, there’s only one of you. There’s only one of Carol, and so you can’t give your individual time away for free. People will pay money… They love to join your community, but people will pay for exclusivity. And so if you could provide that with small group coaching or they could be part of a group where they get access to special Q&A trainings that sort of thing, that is extremely valuable.

Josh: And so yeah, I absolutely would you know charge money for that, and give them benefits that they just can’t get otherwise. I think it’s the natural evolution, and because it was challenging for you that communicates to me, J that… I mean your heart is in the right place. It’s wake up in the morning and ask yourself, “How can I deliver the most amount of value today?” Rather than waking up… And I know what it’s like at the beginning because I’ve been there, and trust me I’ve failed at this so many times. And when you have a scarcity mentality, and you’re like, “Who am I going to sell to today? Where am I going to make the money?” Man, people just feel it and it’s really hard to shake.

Josh: And I’ll just tell you from an emotional and spiritual standpoint, it’s really hard to grow a business, when that’s the primary question that you ask every day is how am I going to make more money? Flip that to how can I provide the most value? Do what you got to do to make the money? I mean, work extra hours, work another business or job or something like that, to bring it in, but build your business with the intention of, “I am going to provide more value than anyone has ever given in this area.”

Carol: That’s awesome. That’s very much a go giver type of mentality where it’s just like you give and give, and give, and give, and it’s all going to come back to you in spades and you give more and more and more, and it’s going to come back to you more and more and more. So I can see-

Josh: That’s another author, Bob Burg, I source very often. In fact, that’s our whole… Right now my company is doing more than 20 sales calls every single week, and it’s so easy to generate leads. When you can come up with an offer that is a no-brainer for someone to say, “Yeah, I’d love to talk with you.” If you’re willing to give something so valuable that your perfect audience is clamoring over themselves to get on the phone with you, you know you’ve hit that go-giver vibe just right.

Carol: Very cool. I love it. J, go ahead.

J: Yeah. So I wanted to ask… Again, I love that give value, give value, give value, but for a lot of us, and I know a lot of people that have this problem that people that like to give value, love to give value, give lots of value, eventually you’re going to have those people that you realize aren’t going to convert to customers, but they’ve gotten accustomed to you giving free value and they come back, and I find that there are 20% of the people out there or 5% of the people out there that are trying to suck up 95% of my time because I’ve given so much of the past. How do you say no? How do you subtly say, “Look, at some point you have to start paying. I just don’t have the time.”

Josh: Well, that’s where you develop systems. In social media it’s not expected… Listen, I’m not going to be in my Facebook community very often answering questions personally unless it’s part of a premium thing for example. I’ll respond with thank you. Honestly, it’s my team that’s managing a lot of my social media and so oftentimes they’re writing as me. Because I can’t be in all places at once. So you just set up systems to say listen, if you want this or that, that’s what our small group is for. If you’re not ready for that, that’s great, that’s awesome. That’s what my YouTube channel is all about. That’s what my podcasts are for.

Josh: I’m going to keep on bringing you so much value, but if you do want that next level, just know that we have a plan for you. Listen, it’s completely your call. If you’re not yet at the position budget-wise where you can make those investments, don’t even worry about that. Maybe next year is going to be better timing for you. So I really just put it… I just say, you’re not engaging in the paid level. If you choose not to engage on a paid level, it’s probably for budget reasons. And that’s okay. I’ve been there.

Josh: I’m going to keep on giving you tons of free stuff, and you never have to give me a dime. If I can get them to be a fan, and they can refer me to other people who do have a budget, cool I’m happy to do that. But, yeah, I don’t have a problem with people that I engage with for 20 years, never give me a dime. I don’t have a problem with that at all. I can’t spend my personal time there.

J: That’s awesome.

Carol: That’s great.

Josh: Unless it’s, again, part of some sort of thing. My team and I have set the rules. I don’t overextend myself. I can’t.

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J: I want to take this in a little bit different direction. So we’ve talked about value a bunch, but I know that you’re big on media influence. I want to talk a little bit about what type of media influence we’re trying to generate, and just ask a couple questions around that. So I know in this business when I say this business, we have a lot of real estate investors who are listening, and a lot of them there are a lot of real estate gurus out there that kind of cultivate a personality that can be somewhat polarizing. And I know there are some brands out there that they’re constantly trying to appeal to everybody.

J: Their message is… What’s the word I’m looking for? Generic or just bland. Not in a bad way bland, but basically everybody’s a potential customer and never be polarizing. And then there are other people that you see them in the media and they’re very polarizing, and they’re clearly trying to go after a very specific set of customers even at the risk of insulting or putting off others. What’s your view for people that are trying to get media exposure? Is there one way that’s right and one way that’s wrong? It just depends on the business or the person?

Josh: Yeah. If you want to be a generalist just know that it’s going to take you a lot longer. If you’re just a general consumer guy like it’s just going to take you all lot longer to rise to the top because you’re trying to appeal to the mushy middle who doesn’t… They’re not really passionate. If however… I’ve got some great examples of this. We had one guy that he’s in the Bay Area and he wrote an article and it appeared in, I think, a newspaper and he said… What he taught… He had a business and he taught man skills. And so he knows who his audience is. He knows who gives him money.

Josh: And so he wrote an article and he basically said, “Why are men such weenies in the Bay Area was because all of the women are just ball busters.” And as you can imagine he… I mean, they were like stalking him. They were… What’s that term called? They’re doxing it. I mean, it was really bad. They really went after him hardcore. It was horrible, but his audience loved it.And his audience are the type that they’re trying to be that red pill, alpha male where they’re trying to reclaim their masculinity.

Josh: So 80% of the audience absolutely hated it. That 80% was never going to give him money, ever. They were never going to follow him, they were never going to engage with him, but that 20%, they’re on the fence. They’re like, “Hey, do we like this guy or not? Whoa, he took a big stand. That resonates with me. I need to be a part of this.” So your people would become much more passionate and they’ll follow you, and it’ll be polarizing where the rest of people are not going to like you.

Josh: Now, I’ll tell you another thing from a media perspective. And that is when you go to do, let’s say, a TV segment, you should have a unique point of view that evokes a response of, “Oh, wow. That’s really interesting. I never considered that. You want that. You want to be unique. You want people to be able to say, “Oh, Carol. Carol is the gal who,” dot, dot, dot, dot, dot. “And she’s memorable. She takes a stand.” For me, I never pay retail for any consumables. I’m just crazy about that. And I say, “Listen, if you’re not using a coupon and you’re not taking advantage of the absolute best sales, you are getting absolutely ripped off.” And so I take a stand.

Josh: If you go into TV and you say, “Well, I’m a World War II historian and you’re not going to believe this, but Hitler was a little bit of a jerk.” It’s like, “Whoa, wow. Way to go on a limb on that one.”

Carol: It blew my mind.

Josh: Yeah. But that said, go at your comfort level because you might not be comfortable with some of the blowback you’ll get from people that don’t like you. For me, I’m generally a nice likable guy. My enemy is our PR firms, and the old way of doing… Not all PR firms, most people are very, very good, but what I don’t like is PR firms that are charging their clients thousands and thousands of dollars. And it’s just they’re doing the same old crap over and over and over again.

Josh: I blew 25 grand on bad PR. I got one good introduction to a reporter, and I got to speak at a lawn and garden show. That was my $25,000. So my purpose is to make sure that never happens again to anybody. And so, yeah, sometimes I take the PR industry to task and in fact, I have the distinction of having one of the most polarizing presentations ever given at social media marketing world. I was brought in after my presentation and said, “Josh, we had no idea how many PR professionals attend our event. We now know.” And I said, “Listen, the social media people and the entrepreneurs, they love you. The PR people, they hate you.”

Carol: Totally.

J: You knew who your customers were, so it didn’t matter.

Josh: Yeah, right. Absolutely.

J: That’s awesome.

Carol: So much fine. And I just love all these examples, how you have proven over and over and over again, just like back in the day where you spent… He has spent a total of $500 over the course of this whole experience to get where you are with something like, would you say you have something close to a hundred thousand Twitter followers across platforms at this point. You have over 2, 300 podcast interviews and you are helping people all over the world grow their businesses, and you personally have only had to spend $500 on PR. That just shows our entrepreneurs out there that there’s no reason with some hustle and some just being willing to consistently go after contacts that they can’t do the same exact thing. So excellent, excellent tips.

Josh: Yeah. I’ve heard it said, that the founder of Geek Squad said advertising is the tax you pay for being unremarkable.

J: Oh, I love that.

Carol: Wow. That’s wonderful. Yeah, we’re going to put that in the show notes. That is good. That was good Geek Squad.

Josh: Not my quote. But, yeah, it’s one that I remind myself of frequently. What is unremarkable? That means I haven’t given enough or I haven’t brought enough value to the marketplace or to other people, and I’m going to keep on giving and serving until I start to build that and earn that organically.

Carol: Beautiful.

J: And one more thing I want to add for anybody listening, and I’m sure you would agree with this, there’s a difference between giving because you think you’re supposed to give and giving because you really want to help. And the way you approach people, and the way you give is going to change based on your motivations, and if your motivation is to give just to eventually get a sale, it’s not going to generate the same response as if your motivation to give because you really want to help people. So it really is it’s not just giving, it’s the mindset of wanting to help and add value.

Josh: People, if you’re cynical about this, and you’re just checking boxes, so that you can get that [inaudible 00:41:47]. Listen, you can’t fool anybody today. People are going to feel it. And the reason why I know this is because, J, you’re a smart guy, Carol, you’re smart, I’m smart. We’re people. And so we know how to read into this… You can watch a reality TV show and you’re like, “Yeah, I don’t like that person.” Why? I don’t know. They’re just giving off a vibe. You are giving off a vibe. We all have poker tells in business and in sales. And so people can read that. It’s the unconscious, subconscious stuff. That all gets communicated. People are going to figure it out. So just try to get your heart right and you’ll do okay.

Carol: Excellent. Okay. Thank you, Josh. So now we’re going to move into the part of our show where we call Four More, and we’re going to ask you four more rapid-fire style questions, and then the more is where you’re going to tell us more about where to connect with you.

Josh: Sure.

Carol: So J… Actually, I’m going to take the first question. So I want to know, Josh what was your very first or your very worst job, and what lessons did you learn from it.

Josh: Oh, gosh. I actually worked about 10 to 12 different jobs in high school. I guess I’m pretty bad employee. I work Burger King, I worked Wendy’s. I was a busboy. I did all those things. Listen, working over a grease, where you’re dipping fries into the oil that that’s pretty bad. One of my best jobs was I was a rollerskating dinosaur.

Carol: What?

Josh: And so I DJ’d at a roller rink, and then every night I’d get to put the… I’d have somebody else man the booth, and I’d go put on a purple dinosaur, just like Barney except I’d be in roller skates.

J: I was going to say is this a generic dinosaur?

Josh: Yeah. This is actually before Barney just kind of date myself. I think it was [Borney 00:41:47], the dinosaur. That was a pretty good gig. But listen, I think we all have to pay our dues with bad jobs and get comfortable with those things so that it toughen us up.

J: Cool. Question number two, what was the defining moment in your life or your career where you realized you had this entrepreneurial itch to go out and do stuff on your own?

Josh: Seventh grade. And that was I would go to the convenience store and buy all this candy for like five, 10 cents a piece, and then I would come to school and I’d sell it for 50 cents a piece. And so I’m like, “Man, that’s really good ROI.” Now, in middle school I actually got in trouble for that. You weren’t supposed to do that. And I remember when we had this orientation for like, “Okay, you kids are getting older now. You’re ready to graduate. You’re getting into high school.” And I remember they’re like, “Does anybody have any questions?”

Josh: Out of all the middle school, eighth grade, getting ready to go and be a freshman, I’m like, “Can we sell stuff at middle school like candy and stuff?” That was my question they asked in front of everybody, and I remember the… Whoever was the speaker like, “Yeah, we don’t have a problem with that.” I’m like, “Oh, I’m going to like this. I actually went on and sold candy anymore, but yeah. I was in the Navy for five years. I mean, that was a little bit different, but that was still, that’s tough when you’re… Someone else is beck and call and you’re going to do it their way. I’m an idea person, and I really, really like to execute when I feel like something fits with what I want to do.

Carol: Cool. So you’ve been entrepreneuring your whole life basically, I mean, since you were like 10 for crying out loud, getting stuff over at Circle K and reselling it. Out of all of your adventures along the way what has been your very worst entrepreneurial moment?

Josh: Yeah, absolutely. One of my businesses that I started was a blog before there was actually such things as blogs and to go along with that I had a small town newspaper and that was a really bad business to start, but I really wanted to be this spokesperson for our community. And there was a problem though, Carol. I was afraid of getting advertising and selling advertising because I just got in my head over it, and I thought I’m going to… All selling is, is trying to convince someone of something or convince them to do something, and that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Josh: But because of that fear, “Oh, that was my biggest business blunder right there.” Now, my very next business was that I was an independent contractor, and I was doing marketing for a network of law firms and sales and marketing. So I did that for five years, really rose to the top in that, and I learned a lot, and that’s really I gained the skills from that work to truly be able to get comfortable with the process of understanding what sales is.

Josh: Sales is just solving people’s problems or finding out is there a way that I can help you. Yeah, naturally, if I’m going to give you value then I’m going to try and give you more value than money, that you give me, but it’s really an understanding. And so if you don’t quite understand what sales is, it’s going to be tough.

J: I love that. And just to reiterate it because you said it, but I think we needed more emphasis on that. Sales is all about giving value. And I think too many people think of it from the opposite side. They think selling is how do I get something for myself, and it’s really, it’s all about… I’m sorry. Not giving value, it’s all about solving problems.

Josh: Yeah, it is.

J: And so think of it from the customer’s point of view what they’re getting, not what you’re getting. Love it. Okay. Fourth question in the Four More. What is something you splurged on that was totally worth it?

Josh: I buy a lot of gadgets, and I generally upgrade to the latest thing. I’ll say that probably I buy every streaming service that exists. I just like having access to everything. For me, I believe in working really, really, really, really hard, but my downtime, I schedule that, and I take it really, really seriously. It’s like why do mom and dad need to go on a date and leave the kids behind? It’s so we could be a better mom and dad, and we can have a better relationship together.

Josh: I am much more effective at my work when I’m not working 18 hours a day. When I say listen, I can do 12, but I just… Once in a while, you got to put in extra stuff, but I really take my downtime very, very seriously. So I invest in my downtime. And I really try to recharge that way so that when I have 10:00 AM the next morning, 9:00 AM the next morning, I can hit it really, really, really hard.

Carol: That is such a great reminder for our listeners too, right? It’s like you’re investing so much time in your business, but the concept of investing in your downtime that’s a big light bulb moment. So many people are like, “It’s my downtime moment. I’m just going to chill and that’s the end of that.” But you actually full-on make sure you put energy and investment into your downtime so that it make you more productive personal for all. I think that’s huge.

Josh: And I invest in it. It’s like running for example. I buy really the best shoes I can buy. And because now psychologically I’m invested in it. I’m going to treat it much more seriously. Oh, okay. I’m a professional casual runner.

Carol: Right, absolutely.

Josh: I don’t try and cheap out on the things that I want to be very passionate about.

Carol: That’s the place you spend your money. You’re the one who’s known for not paying retailer. And you probably still don’t pay retail for those shoes. I know well enough to know that.

Josh: I work it a little bit. I’m not about being cheap, I’m about saving money on all the things that are really… You don’t really care about as much so that I can splurge on, maybe family vacations or I really wanted to have a Lexus. I got one. I bought it really smart, but still it mattered to me. I wanted to have a very comfortable car, and so same thing.

Carol: Yeah. It’s about realizing your priorities and in acting accordingly.

Josh: Yeah, for sure.

Carol: So finally, Josh the more question, where can our audience find out more about what you’re doing, more about you, and connect with you?

Josh: You could totally cyberstalk me, copy stuff like how does Josh do his LinkedIn profile? How does Josh do a press kit? And just completely steal all my ideas. We never have to connect. I’ll never know you were there, but you can find all of that at UpMyInfluence.com. Our YouTube channel is really super valuable. We spend a lot of effort teaching and giving away what everyone else is charging money for. You’ll find that pretty consistent across all of our content. Lots of great step-by-step guides. I do three podcasts, the SavingsAngel show, Thoughtful Entrepreneur, and authority confidential. Three extremely valuable podcasts. But it would truly be my honor to be of service to you.

Carol: You are just the giver all the way around. I love it. That’s what makes you so amazing and so good at what you do, and just an overall good person. And it’s just going to keep coming back to you over and over. It’s a great cycle.

J: Yeah, Josh.

Carol: Josh, thank you so much. This has been amazing. You’re absolutely incredible. Thanks, again.

Josh: Carol and J, you guys are awesome. Thank you so much.

J: Thank you.

Carol: Thank you.

J: This show really resonated with me, and we really appreciate that you were here and helped us, and helped our listeners. So, Josh, thank you so much. I loved that episode. What did you think, Carol?

Carol: Phenomenal, as always. Josh just always just completely brings it. He brought so many actionable tips about how important it is to give, to just give freely, and that positions you as an authority, and drives business back to you. Absolutely loved it.

J: Yeah. Like I said at the end there, this show really resonated with me because I know we do a lot of this in our business. We’ve done this over the last decade of just trying to give back as much as we can. And we’ve certainly seen the benefits from it, and so I’m sure our listeners will as well. Just amazing tips there from Josh.

Carol: Agree. Loved it. All right. Let’s sign off, darling.

J: All righty. Thank you everybody for listening. She’s Carol, I’m J.

Carol: Now, go and up your influence today. See you later everybody.

J: Bye, everybody.

Watch the Podcast Here

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • Failing with 6 businesses succeeding on the 7th
  • How to be in front of an audience
  • How to do market research
  • Focusing on your online authority
  • How to build your online presence
  • Converting your presence to business
  • Media for visibility vs. media for authority
  • Why he prefers providing big value and how it affects his business
  • And SO much more!

Links from the Show

Tweetable Topics:

  • “You will never attract a client that exceeds your level of branding.” (Tweet This!)
  • “You’ve got to earn your way to the top.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Third party validation beats conversation any day of the week.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Advertising is the tax you pay for being unremarkable.” (Tweet This!)
  • “People pay for exclusivity.” (Tweet This!)

Books Mentioned in this Show

Connect with Josh