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Today, we are joined by a good friend, Brad Costanzo, a serial entrepreneur, direct marketing strategist, business consultant and the host of his own podcast “Bacon Wrapped Business”. Brad made the entrepreneurial transition himself. After losing his job he went out on his own and started and sold several successful online companies. Today, Brad is a business expert whether working with clients or starting and selling his own companies – improving profits, top line revenue, sales or sales process…especially online sales.
Brad does a lot of very similar proven strategies and philosophies in his business aligned to the way we do things in our business and you’re going to hear a lot of that on this episode today. He talks about some marketing hacks and how to create amazing opportunities – and breaks down how he has been successful with his business investments in this actionable episode.
“Access and Influence are the two hinges that’ll swing the door of opportunity.” – Brad Costanzo
Some topics that were discussed include:
- The story behind the Bacon-Wrapped business name and Brad’s expertise
- Why he refer himself as an “Opportuneur” and the driving force behind his business
- Avoiding startup hassles by buying business with no money down
- His ‘nutcracker’ question that opens doors and creates opportunities
- The philosophy and motivation behind his podcast
- Hard lessons he learned from his coffee business
- Using other people’s money to leverage investments and grow cash flow
- Understanding your real business numbers as opposed to your marketing numbers
- Things you need to sacrifice to gain the ability to climb up to the next level
- Audi R8 car ownership experience and his leasing strategy
- Books Brad hopes you’ll enjoy reading as much as he did
Contact Brad Costanzo:
- Brad’s Business Talk Show
- Email: AskBrad AT BaconWrappedBusiness DOT com
References & links mentioned:
- The Gap in iTunes Reporting that Provides Instant Podcasting ROI Article on Digital Marketer by Brad
- Four Hour Workweek book by Tim Ferris (10x your per-hour output)
- The Millionaire Fastlane book by MJ Demarko (crack the code to wealth and live rich for a lifetime)
- Millionaire Masterplan book by Roger Hamilton (book that provides you with a personalized path to financial success)
- Marketing Outrageously Redux book by Jon Spoelstra (increase your revenue by staggering amounts)
- Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits book by Greg Crabtree (keys to unlock your business potential)
- One Simple Idea book by Stephen Key (turn your dreams into a licensing goldmine while letting others do the work)
- 80/20 Sales and Marketing book by Perry Marshall (definitive guide to working less and making more)
- The 2018 EGP game plan (Brad’s episode influenced our new path)
- John Corcoran – Connect With More People To Create Opportunities
- How To Make More Money Without Selling (Us implementing Brad’s ideas)
- Top 10 Episodes Of 2017 (This is episode is mentioned)
- Christine McDannell shares her car rental strategies
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Matt: Hey, what’s up everyone? Welcome back to the Hustle and Flowchart Podcast. My name is Matt Wolfe, I’m here with my business partner Joe Fier.
Matt: And, today we’ve got another awesome guest. This is one that we’ve been really, really excited about, because he actually does a lot of very similar things in his business, to the way we do things in our business. A lot of similar philosophies, and you’re going to hear a lot of that on this chat, today, where we discuss a lot of these similar philosophies.
Today, we’ve got Brad Costanzo on the show. He’s a serial entrepreneur, he’s a direct marketing strategist, he’s a business consultant, he’s one of the most well-networked guys I know. He’s got a killer podcast called the Bacon Wrapped Business Podcast. He’s just doing so much cool stuff, and we can’t wait to dive in with him. So, thanks so much for joining us today.
Brad: Thanks for having me, man, I’m a big fan of you guys, and the stuff that you guys put out, as well. It’s so refreshing compared to a lot of the hype and BS that you hear, with other-
Matt: Thank you, man.
Brad: … folks out there. It’s fun.
Matt: I’m going to say, though, you have the best titled podcast.
Brad: Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Matt: I thought we were good but Bacon, come on.
Brad: The funny story … Everybody asks, “Why did you name it Bacon Wrapped Business?” And you know Los Silva?
Matt: I’m familiar with the name, I don’t know him personally.
Brad: He’s another marketer, he’s a good friend of mine. I’ve been doing the show for over three years, but I remember when he had a podcast, and he asked me to share one of the episodes, so I just jumped on Facebook and I was like, “Yo, check out Lowe’s new episode about whatever. This is some bacon wrapped business advice if I’ve ever heard it!”
Those words just came out of me, and I looked at it and I was like ‘Bacon Wrapped Business Advice?’ And at the same time someone else was telling me to start a podcast like, “Hey you should do this.” I’m like, yeah, “But I just don’t want to do the Brad Castanzo show,” because I wouldn’t listen to that because I’m not famous.
Matt: Yeah, yeah.
Brad: So a week later my friend Nick Unsworth, you guys probably know Nick.
Brad: He had a podcast and he asked me to be on Life on Fire, and I told him the same story, so he’s like, “Are you going to launch it?” And I said, “Yeah I’ll probably launch it.” We do the episode, and he brings it up; he’s like, “So Brad you’ve got a new podcast launching, right? What’s it called?” I just went with it, I was like, “Bacon Wrapped Business.”
They go, “Cool, where can they find it?” And I go, “Baconwrappedbusiness.com.” I had no idea if the URL was available, by the way.
Matt: Oh man.
Brad: No idea. We were done, and you know high fived each other, this was in person. I was like, “Okay, when does this come out?” I was just on John Lee Duma’s podcast, and he was like, “Okay, this will come out in two months from now.” So I thought I had two months to get ready to go, and he’s like, “No, this comes out in ten days.” I go, “What?!” And he said, “Yeah, you’ve got to launch a podcast in ten days.” I’m like, “You mofo!”
Matt: That’s a perfect way to light a fire, though.
Joe: Hell yeah!
Brad: Oh man it did. I was just like … I just figured it out, what I had to do, and it all just kind of came together. What was cool about that is it … I’m not a specialist in any specific area of marketing, necessarily. I’m a specialist at marketing, when you look at business in general, but I’m not a specialist, I’m not the best Facebook advertiser, I’m not the best copywriter, I’m not the best this that and the other.
That’s also why I didn’t name it Bacon Wrapped Marketing. I wanted it to give me an opportunity to get out there and have conversations with people that I wanted to connect with, anyway, and pick their brains in a way that was cool and not douche, and just let me explore and see where it went. Then the whole concept of Bacon Wrapped Business gave me the opportunity to just have fun and be a little bit cheeky and cheesy if I wanted to.
Matt: Yeah, that’s awesome. Everybody knows everything is better when it’s wrapped in bacon.
Brad: 100 percent.
Matt: Yeah, go for it.
Joe: I was just going to ask, let’s give our audience a quick run down of what your business is and what you’re known for, what you want to be known for in your business.
Brad: What I want to be known for or actually what I do, this is one of the hardest questions to answer as I mentioned offline. I often times refer to myself as an ‘opportuneur,’ because I do not fit in any one box. I do not have one business, I’ve had that business before, I’ve had a couple of businesses at a time where then I built those up decently and I sold them to different investor groups, and that was cool, I didn’t get retire and Bali money, but it was cool. Then I started consulting and just using a lot of the direct response and digital marketing knowledge I knew over the past few years to go deep in consulting with now friends of mine and other people to kind of come in as a marketing strategist and say, “Look, here’s all the things that you could be doing to better optimize what you’re doing.”
They kind of saw me as … and I acted like the quarterback. They weren’t just hiring me for Facebook. People didn’t hire me because they knew exactly what they wanted to do, they hired me because they wanted to grow, and they wanted to figure this out, and they wanted a better holistic marketing strategy, and that’s kind of one of my strengths. I’m a very proud jack of all trades, and a generalist. That allows me to bring in the specialists. That allows me to know just enough to know hey, we need some content marketing, we need some Facebook advertising, we need some conversion optimization, and I got you bro. I know who the people are and I can bring them in.
Joe: That’s pretty cool, you’re connected, more or less.
Brad: Yeah, exactly. By the way, the podcast has been an unbelievable way for me to develop those resources. For instance, I just had one of the top YouTube experts in the world out there on the show. Daryl Lee, and I contacted Daryl because there was some things I wanted to know more about. So I contacted him, but I also did it because if I come across a client or a friend or a prospect who needs that, I was like I got you bro. I got the person for you.
Brad: It allows me to have that as a resource, but then it also allows me to, I’ve hired a lot of my past guests to do work for me or work for my clients. The consulting I do, it’s very deep, it’s boutique consulting, I go deep into a company’s strategy. I don’t have some productized service, I don’t have a … Not that there’s anything wrong with this, but I don’t have a glorified info product that I charge $10,000 a month and call it consulting.
Brad: You have no idea what I’m talking about, right?
Matt: Never heard of that. Never seen anybody do that.
Matt: What’s the bigger driver, the, with consulting. I know you talked about this offline a little bit to us, but what’s your big ‘why?’ Where are you headed with the consulting, itself?
Brad: What I like to do with my consulting is see where else I can take them. Recently I’ve done consulting for equity, and I like to consult for things that have potentially much bigger opportunities, as opposed to just a paycheck. I’m not in this business … The one bard part about having a consulting business, depending on the kind of business you’re doing, is you have a whole lot of bosses, right? If you’re actually performing a service for people, you have a whole lot of bosses to answer to, and it gets a little bit crazy.
Matt: Been there.
Brad: Yeah, exactly, but the kind of consulting that I like to do are the ones where I think that I can either do this for a much bigger piece of the pie, whether it’s profit share, whether it’s equity, or whether it’s the opportunity to purchase the company, which is one of the big areas that I’ve been doing recently. In certain cases if a client comes to me, or a prospect comes to me and we’re able to talk about what they need, if I think this is something that I have the ability to capitalize on, I try to get control of the company in one way or another, and that might mean buying the company. That might mean accessing something they have or getting the rights to it.
It’s very Jay Abraham-esque. Which is like how do I get the control of an asset and decide what to do with it later, and one of my marquee clients is a guy named Jesse Itzler, and he is … The reason I decided to work with him is he’s New York Times best selling author of a book called Living With a Seal, 31 Days Training With the Toughest Man on The Planet, but what was really amazing, was his business backstory. How he went from being a rapper on MTV, a white Jewish rapper, to selling a sports music company to a public company, starting Marquee Jet Card company, selling it to Warren Buffet, helping to partner with Zico coconut water and sell it to Coca Cola, buying the Atlanta Hawks, and I’m like dude this guy is the most interesting man in the world.
Matt: Married to-
Brad: Married to Sara Blakley, founder of Spanx, youngest female billionaire.
Brad: The reason I’m working with him, not only because I love his message, and I love what he’s doing, but there’s a lot of really big opportunities there … So I choose my clients by who I want to work with, who I’d love to work with, and who I can really move the needle for, while at the same time looking for opportunities to build and acquire assets.
I’ve always got my eyes open for what the opportunity, going back to that word, ‘the opportuneur,’ what are the big opportunities that I can play with? Because I do, I get very bored with one business for any long period of time.
Matt: Yeah, for sure. Earlier when we were talking you mentioned actually buying businesses with no money down. I don’t know if that’s something that you want to talk about, or you’re even able to talk about, but we’d love to hear more.
Joe: Sounds pretty sexy.
Brad: No, I’m happy to. This goes beyond just consultants, but it definitely goes to consultants, as well, which is … most people don’t ask. I jokingly say … I almost don’t want to reveal this, because it’s so blindingly easy that if everybody did it, it might ruin some opportunities, but most people won’t do it. Which is, if you’re talking to a business owner or a client, especially if you’re a marketing agency, ask the question, “Have you ever thought about selling,” or, “What’s your exit strategy?” Simply asking that question will open up a crazy amount of opportunities, because most people never ask that, especially because most people don’t even think that, “Well I can never buy this guy’s company. I couldn’t do that, I wouldn’t know what to do with it.”
You don’t have to know, you just have to see if the door will open, because you may know people that will. I’ve never purchased a company, before. I’ve sold a couple before, but I’ve never purchased one, and this month I’m under contract to buy two businesses. One’s doing several million dollars a year, one’s doing a lot less than that, but I also know that I have the ability to bring in the people to do the stuff that I need. As a marketing generalist it’s a lot easier for me to take something that’s already got momentum and add value to it, as opposed to starting something from scratch.
I’ve learned to hate the word startup. It’s a four letter word for me. Literally hate it. I don’t want to be involved in startup.
Matt: They’re horrible, I mean there’s just so much work, stress, money outlay, emotions between partners or whatever.
Joe: The worst part about the startup culture that I hated was the whole decision by committee sort of aspect of it. Shit did not move unless five people all agreed on it, and that was the worst part for me working in the startup world in the past.
Brad: Conversely, that can also be the case if you’re working with a very established business, they’ve got a marketing department, they’ve got their entrenched way of doing stuff, so you can run into that anywhere. Kind of circling back to the buying a business for no money down, or with no money, et cetera, that’s a very sexy way to get somebody’s attention and go, “Wow, I would love to do that.” It’s the same way people get into real estate. Buy a house with no money down, and it sounds like BS, but it’s truly not. I’m right now under contract, and I can’t divulge the details yet, but to purchase a business that’s doing about three to four million dollars a year in gross sales.
I’m not bringing any real cash, any cash to the table beyond just some legal fees for my attorney. And the reason behind this is you have to understand the motivation of a client, because you’ve got the personal motivations of why somebody does something, and then you’ve got business reasons and motivations, right? So a business may be worth a lot more money, but you don’t know the person’s situation until you start to ask questions. In this case, the business owner has built his business, multi-millions doing nothing but offline advertising. No digital marketing whatsoever, and he’s at this point where A, he’s kind of burnt out on it. He doesn’t have the vigor to do this. He’s been doing it five or ten years.
He even said, he goes, “Look, I’ve got a few options here,” and especially because sales are starting to go down, right? For various reasons, offer fatigue, people have seen it in the offline publications, so he’s like, “Alright, I’ve got to do something, ’cause otherwise I’m losing. So I either have to hire somebody like a consultant, or ideally an employee who understands all the digital marketing and all this other stuff, and I have to manage them and pay they a salary and all that other crap. Or I need to learn it myself and spend a lot of time learning all this crap that I don’t want to learn, or I could sell it.”
I took a look at the business and I was like, “Alright cool.” You’ve got a business that has done really well. It’s a well known brand in its niche market. It is viable, it’s done well, there’s a lot of low hanging fruit, but your sales are down about 25% recently in the past year, and you need to stem that bleeding. Because of that I simply said, “Listen …”
He understood by the time we had talked that I knew what I was doing, and that if I had control over it I would be able to do this, this, this, and goes, “Yeah, dude I totally get it, I see how you can grow it.”
I said, “Alright cool. I can’t bring money to the table,” and I said these words, “I can’t catch a falling knife.” I can’t catch a falling knife because there is a possibility that I’ll lose money, and if I’m going to bring money in to the table, I’d rather use it on marketing. He said, “Yeah, I totally get that.” I proposed well how about I stabilize your income, and we just say I’ll give you evaluation of X, and I’ll buy it over the course of three years for this amount per month, and I just backed into it.
What are you making right now? What are you paying yourself, and what’s your salary. I simply said look I’ll pay you this amount per month, and I’ll give you this guaranteed dividend distribution. Full disclosure, I’m buying 80% of the company, not 100, because he wants to participate in the upside. It’s like cool, he gets a win, win, win. There’s no risk to him, he gets a stabilized income, he does less work, and he gets to participate in the upside, and I’m not bringing any money to the table. It’s a very amicable deal, we have not really brought attorneys into it except to draw stuff up. I really like him, I think he really likes me, and I brought a partner in here on the deal, I’ll give him a shout out, named Luke Havard, whose been really … I don’t know if you guys know Luke. He’s been on my show a couple times, he’s a good friend and he’s got a little bit more experience in this area than I do.
Actually, Roland Frazier and I, Roland in the very beginning was instrumental in this, not only in giving me advice, but in meeting with the owner of the business as well, and for various reasons Roland couldn’t-
Joe: Participate in the deal, yeah.
Brad: Yeah, long story short couldn’t move forward with this, but there’s still potential. We’re going to be doing some stuff here in the future together on that. I’m just giving a shout out to some of the people, I didn’t do this all myself, but that’s the key, is that you don’t have to know everything, as long as you know the people who do. That’s why I immediately went to Roland, I went to Luke, I went to people who understood this world. I understood it from a 30,000 foot view, what I decided to do was just get my foot in the door and figure out what I was going to do next.
Joe: I love that fact that you just created the situation for yourself, and for him.
Joe: He never would’ve had that win-win. Matt and I actually have done this recently, actually. It’s kind of still in the works, but it’s interesting what a question can open up, because you never know what’s in between their ears. Maybe they have issues with a partner and they want to get out.
Brad: Yeah, you’ve got to ask the question. I wrote an article recently on influensive.com, and it was really about how … I can’t remember the exact title, I’ll send it to you, but it’s really about the power of questions, and how they open up the opportunities for so many things, and the better you get at asking questions, the more opportunities you’ll uncover, because every single thing you want in life is behind a question.
There’s that old adage, I don’t know if it was Jim Rohn who said, or Brian Tracy, or Zig Ziglar, if you want to get rich, help other people get what they want. Or if you want to get what you want, help other people get what they want. Well right before that is you have to know what they want. If you don’t know what they want, you have to ask questions.
Brad: So you guys have listened to my show, and for anybody else who has or does, there’s a question I ask at the very end of every episode, and I call it the nut cracking question. So I’ll say, “Matt, so now comes the time in the episode where we get to turn the tables, and I get to ask you, what’s a nut you’re trying to crack?” I don’t stop there. I use these words very, very specifically, because I dislike the words ‘how can I support you,’ and here’s the reason. If I ask you, “Matt, Joe whatever, how can I support you?” I’m making you do all the work. I’m making you think like, “What do I need?”
Instead I flip it and I go, “What’s a nut you’re trying to crack?” Here’s what I mean: who’s a person you’re trying to meet, whether its to just get advice or to hire, what’s a skill you’re trying to learn, what’s a problem you’re trying to solve. Are you trying to raise capital for something or you want somebody to validate an idea. What is it that’s keeping you up at night and that if you had the solution to right now, that nut would be cracked and you’d be good to go?
That, and there may be even better ways to do it, but that had created so many opportunities for me, because people will now think. I’ve given them something to grab onto, and they’ll go “Oh, I’m trying to hire this, or I’m trying to figure this out,” and I’m like, “I got you bro.” Or if I can, I do. Those kind of questions create so many opportunities, and you’ve just got to ask them to everybody and just listen actively, and that’s how these things come around.
Matt: For sure. Let’s actually talk about podcasting for a minute.
Matt: There’s kind of two questions that I’ve got that can probably be combined into one question. One thing we’ve noticed about you, is that you seem to be super connected, you seem to know everybody. Also you seem to have some really, really great people on your podcast. Obviously those two are connected, so lets talk about your approach to podcasting. What is your sort of philosophy behind podcasting?
The reason I’m asking this question is I actually read an article that I believe you wrote on Digital Marketer-
Brad: Secret Number.
Matt: Something around the Secret Number or the Number the Nobody Knows About or … I don’t remember this title, but you know what I’m talking about.
Brad: They created the title, I forget. I think my initial title for that was, How To Have an Instant Return on Investing in Podcasting, and using a little loophole. I know exactly where you’re going.
First of all, my entirely philosophy, I unofficially call it the most selfish show on iTunes, but I stand by that because I don’t charge people for the podcast, it’s totally free, and I’m doing it because I’m getting a lot out of it, but that’s why I’m doing it, because I’m getting a lot out of it.
I only invite guests on my show who I have authentic curiosity about, who they are, what they’re doing, or if I want to build a relationship with them, right? It’s all about me. If I’m talking to them, I’m going to ask them questions that are going to solve my curiosities, solve my business problems, solve my client’s business problems, or move a relationship forward in one way or another. What that allows, what my listeners have even said, what I love about your show is you ask the questions that I really wanted to know. I’m like, “Yeah, because I’m asking the questions I want to know.” There’s no standard questions.
Number one, I start very, very selfishly, but I think that means a better show. Number two, the way to get instant ROI is define what ROI is. For me it’s not making instantaneous money, it’s defining ROI is access and opportunity. Those are two huge words for me, because I think access … I’m sorry, I said access and opportunity, I meant access and influence.
Access and influence equals opportunity. In fact, I think there’s an old saying that says ‘Big doors swing on little hinges,’ and I think the two hinges are access and influence, and those swing the door of opportunity. By that I don’t just mean access to people, although people is ultimately what you have access to.
It’s access to information, knowledge, capital, access to support, friendship, love, access to anything. If you don’t have access to these things in life, you don’t succeed. If you don’t have access to knowledge and information and the support of system growing up, you probably end up in the lower edges of society.
You also, on the other side of this, with business, you don’t need to own it, you don’t need to have it if you can access it. You don’t need to own a car these days if you can access Uber, right?
Brad: And capital, you don’t have to have the capital if you can raise the money from VC’s, angel investors, crowd funding, friends and family, right? What I started to realize is, wait a minute, access is one big, big part. How can I access it even if I don’t have it? Remember, I said I don’t have to know everything as long as I know the people who do, because I have access to the people who do, that solves that problem.
Matt: Opens up, yeah.
Brad: What’s that?
Matt: It opens up, yeah.
Brad: Right. But the next side of that is it’s one thing to have access to those resources, it’s another thing to have influence with them. Influence can be authoritative influence, I could be an Instagram influencer, right, I could have a lot of influence. I have a lot of influence personally because I have the ability to put somebody that I have access to in front of a lot of people with my podcast.
I can get access to people because I have influence, because I have influence with my listeners, I can get access to people who want that. But, I can also their influence, and if I can build a relationship with them, and I can build rapport with them, that influence can simply being, “Hey I know, like, and trust this person on a one on one level, yeah I’ll give you access to what I’ve got, or yeah I’ll do this.”
To me, it’s this common denominator of success. All successful societies, civilizations, individuals really rely on two things; do you have access to what you need, and do you have influence over the people who have them in order to use them. When you can wield those, it opens up the door of so many opportunities.
Circling back to podcasting, I think it’s the single best opportunity for people right now, because I don’t care how big my listener base is, I just want the ability to access the people that I want to talk to, and get their information, knowledge, and their relationship, and build influence with them so that I can create opportunities. A; That’s how I define instant ROI.
Now, the little secret number is actually the lack of a number that makes it all work. Most people don’t appreciate this or aren’t even aware of it until you start your podcast. Podcasting statistics are not publicly available. If you have a YouTube show and that’s all you’ve got, I can see that you’ve got 6 subscribers to your YouTube channel, or 600, or 600,000. I can immediately judge you by how worthy you are. iTunes does not show this. They’ll come out with rankings, but there’s a billion podcasts and nobody really knows what they are. You don’t know if I’ve got 100 listeners to my show, or 1,000,000 listeners to my show typically.
The general public is not even close to being aware of this stuff, so if you have a good looking podcast, and it sounds good, and you’ve got some potentially good people on there, potential guests will almost always say yes. In fact, I’ve never had a guest say no, and I’ve never had a guest ask me how many listeners I have prior to doing the show, and judging whether or not they’ll do it by judging how big my show is.
Matt: Same here! We’ve never once had any one of those questions.
Brad: It could be your grandma and grandpa are the only ones listening, nobody knows. Chances are that’s not the truth, but it’s the great equalizer for somebody just starting off. I call it, you can literally start off a podcast, and do what I informally call lipstick on a podcast. I have a client who is, a former client, who did this. She is teaching executive leadership, things to technical engineers, like very, very, very niche. B2B technical engineering leaders, helping them be better.
I was like well start a podcast, and we’re going to make it like Leadership Insights or something like this, I forget the name of it, and do ten pieces of content out there just yourself. Contact some of your former clients, and ask if you can interview them, and then go out to some of the folks who are your target prospects at these companies and tell them your name. “Hey, here’s who I am, and I’m with this podcast, and I’m interviewing technical leaders in these various fields about the challenges and opportunities or whatever as technical leaders. I’ve been a big fan of your company, and I think you might have a lot to offer.”
By getting her to go after people who never get asked to be interviewed, it gives them the opportunity to be featured, and it gives them kind of a status symbol, and it gives her the opportunity to get on the phone with prospects and ask them a ton of questions, and then follow up later. I think it’s the greatest lead gen opportunity for lets just say stealthy ninja lead gen opportunity for B2B folk that exists.
Matt: For sure. Just imagine all the niches that people don’t typically get interviewed in. In the marketing niches podcasts are a lot more prevalent, healthy probably, as well. Still, there’s so many people you could tap there. Maybe that’s that person you really wanted to connect with, you really wanted to establish that relationship or somehow get in with their sphere of influence, this is the way.
Brad: Then you can take it another level. Now, let’s say I’ve got an interview with you. Now I can go to some of these major publications, the industry rags, or these are the technical leadership association of America, I’m making that up. You can take that and say, “I’ve got a library of great audio content in this area, can I have a column, and I’m happy to give you guys the exclusive, and I’ll transcribe this and I’ll write articles about each interview I do, and you can share it with your people.”
Now, when I go to these … what do I call them? Like prospective guests, also prospective clients, I can tell them I’ve got a podcast on this, I’m also a write for the Association of Technical Engineering Leaders of America, and I would love to interview you and talk about some of the challenges the industry faced, and what you and your company are doing to overcome them.
Now you’ve just up leveled your game even more, but what you’ve done, is you’ve got access to people that you need, and you have influence with them, because you have influence with their potential employers, their colleagues, and everything else, and you have influence with them because now they’re like yeah sure I’ll sit down with you and talk to you because who knows what kind of opportunities might come out of this. The biggest opportunity is I’m going to sit here and I’m going to do a discovery call on you, and then I’m going to follow up with you and say, “Hey by the way, remember that thing you said? The biggest nut you were trying to crack? I think I can help you solve that, can we jump on the phone privately?”
Matt: Oh that’s so smart, getting into other publications, too, because now you’re going to talk to somebody about being on the podcast, but you’re also going to show look it’s not just this podcast, I’m also going to get you into this industry magazine that you might not have otherwise had access to.
Brad: Yes, now I should probably drink my own Koolaid, and do that with my show, and take it to, I could potentially take this to a business or marketing publications and say hey I’ve got these great interviews with these people, and I’m happy to adapt them for a column on your publication.
I’ve been so busy I actually haven’t done that, but I should. However, if I was doing this exact lipstick on a podcast … By the way, I’m verbally trademarking that shit. No one else come out with lipstick on a podcast formula, damn it!
Joe: It’s yours.
Matt: Hashtag ‘Lipstick on a Podcast.’
Brad: This is the way I think, and this is why as I said I’m an opportunistic thinker, and I think what are all the ways that I can do something that other people aren’t doing, and this is one of the reasons my clients do hire me, is because I do think out of the box, and I think laterally, and how we can find the biggest points of leverage. ‘Cause leverage is my favorite word, it’s the reason I would rather buy a business or buy into a business, because I can leverage everything that they’ve already got, as opposed to starting from scratch. Which I’ve done, I didn’t recently, I was telling you, and it failed because I had no leverage.
Joe: We’ll get to that in a second here, but I have one question about being that opportunistic kind of guy, do you ever find yourself getting spread too thin?
Brad: Oh, it’s my biggest problem.
Joe: So a lack of focus? That’s something Matt and I have battled for nearly ten years now, and literally in the last year we’ve really just focused in on we’re growing our letter, our recurring base, and we have a handful of partner products and come equity stakes, but we don’t really want to spread too much further out of there. How have you battled I guess that focus problem? Or how have you gotten-
Brad: How am I battling you mean?
Brad: I do, that’s my singular biggest problem in life right now, fortunately; could be a lot worse, is battling the switching cost, as I mentioned earlier, offline. The mental switching cost from going from one thing to the next to the next, it does take a toll.
I think … I don’t necessarily recommend people do what I do. The way I run my business, my life is not necessarily a model for everybody else. It so happens to be part of my strengths, because I can multitask relatively well, and I can get my foot in the doors, and I do have enough resources to offload some of the stuff and just let go and say “I’ve got this, now I’m going to bring the people in to take control of this for me to take it off my plate.” It is still quite literally the biggest hurdle I face, so even though … I don’t know if it sounds like I’ve got it figured out, I’ve got some stuff figured out, but absolutely, it’s an issue.
Joe: It’s interesting, because we actually go back and forth doing more of what you’re saying. It’s more or less us creating a base, but it’s long term thinking of, “okay who can we have that influence with? Where can we maybe head?” You create a vision for yourself. If you go down this route, where do you see yourself in the next five, ten years?
Brad: Man that’s … I’ve been doing a lot of just personal work on that, because I’ve always had a problem with creating a concrete vision of what I want. I remember learning about this years ago when Frank Kern came out with his core something formula.
Joe: Oh, right.
Brad: What’s your perfect average day? I don’t live it right now, but I’m pretty close to it, it’s got a lot of the things I want, and I’m not motivated by material things. I’m motivated by the experiences, but when I look at what my vision is, it’s more of what I want to be doing on a daily basis. I want to be highly engaged and excited about the work I’m doing, and knowing that it’s making good money, and it’s putting something good out in the world, and it’s making good money, and it’s doing it in a way that I’m not overwhelmed and confused.
I want to know that I’m doing something I’m good at, that I like, that is working, that is providing me the financial resources I want, but allowing me the time and energy I want to focus on other stuff, and have a lot of free time. That’s why I’ve been focusing more on building assets that pay money, and using leverage as opposed to just trying to just chase how much active income I can make.
Focus on much more on the leveraged passive income, although, I work really hard for that passive income.
Joe: You said one of our favorite words.
Brad: What’s that?
Brad: Assets, yeah.
Joe: And leverage obviously, too.
Matt: It’s an awesome conversation, because I feel like our philosophies and our strengths and weaknesses are so aligned with yours. Your whole philosophy behind podcasting, it’s almost like a selfish means first, but then you’re also sharing that value that you got from the podcast with anybody who wants to tune in. That’s our exact same philosophy with this podcast, hence why we’ve been talking about acquiring businesses, and podcast philosophy, two things we do in our business. It’s been a great thing, and like Joe said, we have that issue with the focus in our business, as well. We’ve had those same issues, and the way we’ve always kind of looked at it is like a ship at sea.
A ship at sea is never going in a straight line, and one of our friends, Gonzalo, was talking about this on one of our episodes. That we’ve got this end destination, but you never really travel in a straight line to it. You’ve got to course correct all the time, and you’re going to get off course every once in a while and “Ooh, look at this product,” eCommerce looks really cool right now, or let’s go all in on crypto-currency right now, you’ve just got to keep on course correcting back to that main path, and that’s how we’ve always sort of looked at things.
Brad: I love the ship analogy, I hadn’t actually thought about that, but it’s actually perfect. The other thing, and this is probably why I do this, as well, is because I actively try to view life as a playground, and business as a playground. If I don’t feel as though I’m playing and having fun and experiencing stuff, that’s the point of life for me, and I want to be involved in businesses that I get to feel as though, this is fun, and I’m playing in it, and I’m doing something I really really enjoy.
Quite honestly, with a lot of the businesses that I’ve done, I figured out the secret to life; it’s a process elimination. Sometimes you don’t know A, what you like or B; what you’re good at, or C; what you like and you’re good at until you’ve done them and you’re like, “Check, nope, nope, nope, nope.” I get into a lot of stuff, I think this is really cool, and I’m like eh this isn’t what I thought it would be. It’s not what was promised.
So when I get out of the point to where it feels as though, and it’s not always play, right, I work really, really hard to be able to play, and I’m able to weather some storms because I still believe in the full vision of it, but at the same time it’s like if I see some big opportunities in life, I’m going to pursue those things, and maybe it’ll work out, maybe it won’t, but I also look at the worse case scenario.
In Tim Ferriss’ book, The 4-Hour Workweek that I first read in 2007, one of the biggest takeaways was when he talked about what is the worst case scenario? Figure that out, first. Is like are you going to be homeless, are you going to be destitute? It’s like, “No I won’t. I’ve got savings, and I’ve got the skills to turn around and make money anywhere tomorrow, so I don’t necessarily have to bank on just one vehicle.
Matt: I was thinking as you were talking about these opportunities, and buying business, anything, being opportunistic, have an exit plan. Some strategy in probably each one of these things that you’re getting into, because you never know. You could be like day two, fuck, pull the cord, I’m out!
Brad: Right. The businesses that I’m buying, I’m absolutely going into it with the end in mind, that’s one of the reasons that the owner of the business and I are getting along so well, and why he’s willing to do this, is because he knows … Listen, I’m not just buying this thing to have a lifestyle business, or to just sit back and have a cash cow, I want to grow it like crazy and I’ve already got exit strategies in general mapped out on what can happen, and he sees the fact that he can potentially come along for the ride with this.
Some of the biggest things that have changed my thinking on this, some of the people, friends of mine that I’ve talked to a lot, and concepts and books. Ace Chapman, he’s a good friend of mine, and he was on my podcast talking about this. Roland Frasier, obviously, Luke Havard, who is my business partner on this, and I learn a lot from Luke as we go along. MJ Demarco, author of Millionaire Fast Lane, and the most recent book, Unscripted, which I’m about halfway through.
Matt: That’s a good one, yeah.
Brad: I’m trying to think who else, Jay Abraham has been a huge influence for me, I’m trying to think who else has been really … whose really helped me kind of put my brain around this concept. It’s something I’m continuously putting my brain around, because it’s … By the way, acquisitions, it’s one of the harder business models to learn. Not everybody can just go out and learn it, because it does take some very high level strategic generalist thinking. It’s not “Hey how do I seel t-shirts on Facebook?” It is, how do I take over the operations, the marketing, the people, the finances of a existing company. How do I hop this train when it’s already moving and do it in a way that it doesn’t derail it, and how do I come in from day one with all the right resources and things that need to happen in order to get this to level up.
It’s not something for the faint of heart, but I’m so crazy curious and I love learning about it, and I actually like all of that stuff, so I also tell other people that you don’t have to be the best at this. You want opportunities. If you’re running a Facebook marketing agency and you’re listening to this show, and you like it. Like Brad and Matt, Joe, this is really smart stuff, I know I can ask those questions of my clients, and next time you’re talking to a client you say this.
What if that client says, “Yeah, I’ve been thinking about it. I would actually love to sell this business, I just don’t know the first thing about it.” You don’t have to buy it, but just say hey I’ve got you bro, I know a couple people-
Matt: I know people.
Brad: Right, I can go to people. So you call Matt, you call Joe, you call Brad, and you go, “Listen, I don’t know if this is up your alley or not, but I’ve got a potential opportunity here, would you like to take a look at this?” I know for those people, if you do, I’m happy to reward you with financially or however reach shoot, I’ll bring you the Facebook account, right?
Matt: Yeah, yeah.
Brad: But opportunities are out there if you have access and influence. It’s easy to get access to a lot of people, you have their email, you have social media. How can you get influence with them? Add value to them.
Joe: Yeah, for sure. Now I have two last little rabbit holes I want to go down with you quickly.
Brad: Let’s do it.
Joe: One was, before we were talking. We talked about your coffee business, you’ve got the Stiletto Coffee business, and you’ve mentioned you’ve kind of had some hard lessons that you learned from that business. Let’s talk about that just for a second, because I do think that will bring a lot of value to the listeners.
Brad: Absolutely, and I’m going to potentially apologize in advance, if you guys hear some noise, my maid is vacuuming the house, and the door is closed, but if you start to hear what is that sound, it is my maid servants.
Matt: No worries.
Brad: The last part of that question, the Stiletto Coffee, remind me the very last part of that question so I can …
Joe: The coffee business, you said you learned some hard lessons while starting up that coffee business.
Brad: Yeah, so the hardest lessons. It’s a great business, Stilettocoffee.com. My wife and I started it, and it’s a great branding concept, and it’s a great product, and I think we did a lot of the great concept, and it’s a great product, and I think we did a lot of the right stuff.
I went into it with blinders on, as it pertains to the economics of the business, and what it would really take in order to make this profitable and successful. What’s funny is I went into it with very, I knew I had blinders on, but I was like this brand is going to be so much fun to do, and I think we can wheel it into an existence. It’s this delusional optimism that is sometimes needed to get a brand off the ground, but then sometimes those delusions are real and you’re like man, here’s reality.
The reality was if I had a very big budget, and if I had a lot of time to just spend on this, and do it, I almost guaranteed that I could make it happen. However, opportunity cost really got in the way. The cost per acquisition of the product, and the amount that I made on the product, and the amount of upside the average customer value that I could create selling coffee is just a really big hill to climb.
I remember thinking with opportunity cost, when a client who became a client because he listened to my podcast, and he said, “Do you do consulting?” And I said, “Lets find out.” What do you need?
Joe: Let’s find out?
Brad: It depends.
Joe: That’s how you sell him, huh?
Brad: Exactly, that’s my ninja level sales skills.
Joe: Yeah man.
Brad: It just so turned out I was like listen, here’s what we can do, we can start to work on a monthly basis, I’ll give you a phone call every week, and we can kind of address, or you can come spend an entire day with me here in San Diego, and you’ll get eight to ten hours of undivided attention on what you’re doing, and he said, “Yeah, I want that, in fact can I have a day and a half.” I said, “Sure.” I ended up charging him $12,500 for a day and a half of consulting with me, which is not cheap, it’s great money for-
Joe: It’s alright, yeah.
Brad: It’s worth it. I started to think what opportunity cost, what would it take for me to make $12,500 in my pocket selling coffee beans, and it just so happened I would’ve probably had to have sold 12,500 bags of coffee, let’s just say 13,000 bags of coffee with no marketing expense. No cost of acquisition. 13,000 people would’ve had to come across my site and said, “Hey I want this.”
Matt: Dear God.
Brad: Right? Then I would have to decide not to put anything back in the company, and I was like what the hell am I doing?
Joe: Good luck keeping that alive.
Brad: So you know all those adages that say never, never, ever, ever give up. Sometimes you should give up. Sometimes you should say what should I be doing elsewhere that could really get me to my end goal. Now, as I also mentioned, one of the things that if I get the time to really pursue this, I will. I want to find a company that will acquire this brand, which is a great brand and run with it, but ideally it’s not somebody who just wants to be an eComm guy, it’s somebody who’s already got a coffee business, and has got a distribution channel that they can “leverage” and then just take this and run with it.
I’m always thinking, what have I done, is there salvage value in that? Speaking of … I mentioned Roland Frasier, before, and if you listeners don’t know exactly who he is, I don’t know if you’ve had him on the show or not-
Joe: Not yet.
Brad: He’s a partner in digitalmarketer.com, and I always say I want to be Roland when I grow up. Roland and I were at lunch, and he goes, “Let me ask you a question, Brad.” This is right before I decided to make the move back towards the consulting stuff.
He said, “If Stiletto Coffee was a client right now, would you keep them?” I go, “Well they’re not paying me, I’m not making any money off Stiletto, so no.” He goes, “Okay, let’s just say,” and he used these examples. “What if they were paying you $5,000 a month? Because you’re not making $5,000 a month in profit off the business now?” I go, “No.”
He goes, “What if they were paying you $5,000 a month, would you do it?” I go, “Well, I don’t know. I really don’t know. It’s a lot of work for $5,000 a month.” He goes, “What if they gave you 50% of the company and $5,000 a month?” I said, “Well, what’s their marketing budget? Do they have another $5-10,000 easily to spend on all the marketing stuff I would want to do?”
He goes, “Okay, let’s say they did, they’d pay you $5,000 plus 50%, and they give $5,000 a month marketing budget.” I go, “I might consider it.” And he goes, “What if they wanted you to spend 50% of your time on it?” I go, “No.” And he just sat there smiling with his big Roland smile, cherub cheeks. I said, “Son of a bitch.” I can’t argue with that, right. I was already spending 100% of my time on it, and I was losing money on the hopes that it would do really well, and then at the same time a consulting time a client said, “Hey, can I give you cash for your brain?” And I was like, “okay.”
I made the decision to put that on the side, sometimes you have to do this. I was in a master mind here in San Diego. We meet once a month, and everybody raised their wine glasses up and said, “Here’s the failure.” That also goes back to why I think the word startup in a lot of cases can be a four letter word, because most startups fail. Most businesses fail, what is, 90% in the first five years will fail?
Joe: Something like that, yeah.
Brad: This is where I mentioned Ace Chapman, who I interviewed on my podcast, and he said, “If you know that 90% of business fail in the first five years, and you want to do a business, why don’t you just put it in your criteria that you won’t buy a business that doesn’t have a five year history. That way they’ve already validated the product.” I was like, “That’s so stupidly simple like, oh my God.” That’s how you overcome all these obstacles.
He’s also the one who told me that he used this metaphor that if … As consumers, when we want transportation we go buy a car, and often times we get financing to buy the car, right? When we a place to live … But we don’t build the car. When we want a place to live, we don’t build the house with our hands and get hammers and nails out. We go find a house that somebody’s built typically, and we get a loan. We use somebody else’s money to buy the place that we live. Even with clothing, you want clothing? You don’t go knit your own clothes, you go to the store. Sometimes you go to Macy’s and you take out a credit card and you buy the clothes you want to wear. Why is it as entrepreneurs we feel as though we have to build our cash flow from the ground floor?
What if you could buy your cash flow using other people’s money. The cash flow you need to live, how could you engineer that? That was brilliant to me, because now you just have to reverse engineer what do I need? If I want $10,000 a month to live on, what do I need? Well, I need to find a company that’s got at least a 10% profit margin that’s doing … and these numbers can change. That’s doing a million dollars a year with a 10% profit margin, or … At the worst case, I might be able to find something with a 10% profit margin that I can take that $100,000 as profit, but I can also pay myself $5,000 a month.
Now I’ve got to buy a $1,000,000 a year business, but what’s it going to take to buy that? If I can find a company that’s willing to do owner financing, maybe I can do it with nothing, but maybe I can find an owner to take $200,000 down, and I can buy that business for 80% owner financing. But I don’t have $200,000, but maybe I can find somebody to invest or loan me the money and say, “Listen, I’ll give you %50 of this company for $200,000 and I own 50%, and I’ll run it and you can run it passively,” and I just got into that business for nothing, but it’s making me now what I need.
I just went through a top of my head example, but when you start thinking like that it starts to change the entire game.
Joe: I think that’s brilliant, as well, I think that’s so smart. The criteria you gave even before that, of would you work for this business if you were making X amount of money. Just kind of running what you’re doing right now thought that sort of filter is genius, as well.
Matt: Oh yeah.
Joe: I love both of those philosophies.
Brad: Thanks! When you start to think like a business person, in our crazy wacky world of internet marketing, and whatnot, which is a cool tribe, I’ve realized that there’s not a lot of business people in here. A lot of us stumbled into this world because we bought a course, we learned how to do Facebook advertising, we learned how to sell an eBook, we just learned sales, but we didn’t really learn business. Like really wise business thinking.
Some of us have stumbled into some pretty good success, but we’re really, a lot of us, just glorified sales people, and that’s it. That’s a big difference between a sales person and a business owner.
Brad: Another great book, by the way, that I read. I don’t know … Do you guys know who Roger Hamilton is?
Joe: I’ve heard the name, but no.
Brad: You’re going to love this book. I hate the name, just like I hate MJ Demarco’s book name, the Millionaire Fast Lane, I think it sounds cheesy, and it doesn’t do the book justice. This one is called the Millionaire Master Plan by Roger Hamilton, sounds cheesy as hell.
You guys can go buy it, or just take a look at it, but one of the things he talks about there is the various levels, almost like a rich dad, poor dad cash flow quadrants, how you go from employer to self employed et cetera. He thinks of it as a lighthouse how you’re going from the bottom to the top. You go from a victim to a survivor to employed or self employed to business owner, investor, et cetera, et cetera. A lot of the times in there he talks about how at each level of the ladder you’re climbing up, the skills that got you there, those cherished skills that you worked so hard to get you to this level you’re at right now, are the exact skills that will keep you there, and will prevent you from climbing up unless you just release them and sacrifice them and say, “Okay, as a self employed person …”
Let’s say I own a small digital marketing business, I’m the only employee, I’m focused on conversion, optimization, leads, sales, average customer value, all this other stuff. He goes, “That’s cool, but if you want to get to the next level you have to start reading profit and loss, balance sheet, cash flow statement, and you have to start thinking and acting and looking at your business like a business owner. Like an investor would, and you have to start by thinking that way first, and then say, “Okay well, who else can I bring in and hire to think about conversion, optimization, stats, and average customer value, and what’s my funnel value.”
Because if you continue to focus on those, you will never take the next step up. There is this sacrifice you have to do, and it’s a very painful sacrifice, because the stuff that got you there will keep you there. It will actively prevent you from getting to the next level.
So, I immediately started … And I’ve got a degree in finance, but it was rusty and I was studying investment finance, not like corporate finance, so I started reading everything I could about balance sheets and P&L’s and numbers like this, even though I hate them. I’d much rather study conversion stats. It’s so much more fun, but I was like I don’t want to stay at this level, so how can I start, if I treat every business that I’ve got like I’m investor in it, not the owner of it, I’ll start to think like that. I’ll start to bring the right people in, but I’ve got to up level my thinking before I up level my actions.
The book is much more than that, but that was one huge take away, is this concept that you have to make a sacrifice, and often times it’s either freedom, or … I think he says freedom or design. As an employee you don’t have freedom, but you can do whatever you want. I’ve got freedom to take my weekends off, I’ve got freedom to do all this other stuff. I’m sacrificing upward mobility and other stuff, but it’s cool.
The minute you quit that job and you decide to be an entrepreneur, you’re sacrificing all that that other stuff. You’re sacrificing the stability, but you’re gaining the ability to design your life. Cool, right?
Joe: By upward momentum. Yeah, the whole opportunity there.
Brad: You’re sacrificing one thing, you’re getting another thing. However, now you’re a self employed entrepreneur and you’ve got the ability to take the day off and go to the beach or do whatever you want. You don’t have that stability, but you’ve got that freedom to design your life. But, if you want to get to the business owner side, now you’ve got to sacrifice that freedom to do whatever the hell you want whenever you want and say, “Well, if I don’t make that much money this year it only affects me,” you go no, “If I want to own a business where people do this stuff, and now I want stability of income, and I want the freedom to do ultimately whatever I want without it impacting my income. I’ve got to sacrifice all those little daily pleasures that I have to put those little systems into place, and I have to put the people, and I have to be accountable to them, and it’s not just me anymore.”
You’re always sacrificing something, gaining something else, and it never stops until you get to the-
Joe: Until you quit. No, until you die.
Brad: I don’t know. Those are some of the big take aways that they just stick with me throughout the day, everyday, and it’s just like man this is-
Joe: Master mindset man. Yeah. Well I’m going to go back really quick, because you mentioned cars, and you mentioned OPM, other peoples money. So, let’s talk about your R8.
Joe: And the strategy of how you pay for that super car. How much is it worth by the way?
Brad: What’s that?
Joe: How much is that worth by the way? How much did you buy it for? We’ll say that.
Brad: I bought … it’s a 2011 Audi R8 convertible Spyder, and I bought it in 2013, and it was retailed brand new, it retailed for 160k, and I got it for about 120k, so I never buy a brand new car. However, and I do have more fun telling this story than I do actually driving the car, which is, it is basically not cost me much at all, because before I bought it I called up an exotic car rental agency company here in La Jolla, and I said, “Hi my names Brad, and I’ve got a couple questions for you because I’m about to go shopping for an exotic car and I just had a couple questions. Number one, do you do consignment rental?”
Meaning if I have a car and I let you rent it out, because I know you rent these Ferrari’s and Lamborghini’s and stuff, do you have a program where you’ll pay? He goes, “Yeah, we pay you 50% of the day rate that we rent it out for.” I’m like alright cool, question number two, “What do you need?” He goes, “What do you mean?” I go, “What do you have in mind?” He goes, “Well, what do you think about buying?” I go, “No, no, no, what do you need?” He goes, “Well, we just sold our Lamborghini Gallardo, so we need one of those. We get requests for an Audi R8, we don’t have one of those. We need an Austin Martin,” and I’m like, “Alright cool, write those all down.” Then I went shopping.
Find out what they need, ask the questions. I happened to find a great deal on this Audi R8, and I allowed them, they rent it out about 4 days a month at about between $600-$900 a day for the people who rent, and I make half of that, and I really only need to rent it out about 4 days a year-
Joe: A month.
Brad: About 4 days a month to pay for the car.
Brad: They don’t put that many miles on it, and I’m actually trying to sell it, so if anyone wants to buy an Audi R8 right now, it’s still great. It’s only got about 26,000 miles, I can teach you how to do this, potentially, but it’s been great. I get to drive it whenever I want, they’ll call me up and say, “Hey we’ve got a rental, do you want to let it go?” And I’ll say, “Yeah, I’ll let it go.” They only rent it out to really good people, it’s not rented out to any 22 year old bro who wants to just take it for a joyride.
Joe: It doesn’t come back with bald tires and all that stuff?
Brad: No, I’ve had to replace the tires, because those kinds of cars the tires need to be replaced, but that’s the cost of doing business. However, what’s cool is because I bought it in my company it’s a capital asset, and capital assets deplete over five years, so I’ve gotten to take an about a $37,000 tax depreciation deduction on the car, every year. So I get to write off $37,000 against my active income in addition to not having to make many car payments on it.
It’s been a really cool way that you can access an exotic car, right, by just thinking ahead of time. Like, alright well, who else may want this, and how can I … I was funny, because I was talking to my CPA before hand and I said, “You’re probably going to kill me for this.” He goes, “No, because I have clients who do this with their boats, with their planes, no it’s very common.” I’m like, “No shit, did I just hack the exotic car market?”
Matt: That’s awesome.
Joe: I know it’s even easier, well I don’t know if it’s easier, but you can do that on apps like Tarot, or Turo.
Brad: Yeah, Turo, yeah. I haven’t used Turo yet, but yeah.
Joe: We know some people who have done that, same kind of situation, so it’s an opportunity. Do you keep it in your garage or do they keep it, you go-
Brad: Depends, they’ve got a garage, sometimes I do, sometimes I keep it there. Sometimes I’m like keep it for a little while, I’m not going to be driving it.
Matt: Very cool.
Joe: Freakin’ awesome man. That’s such an awesome strategy, I love that.
Brad: That’s fine. How else was I going I do that stuff with other things. I love that out of the box lateral opportunistic thinking. Like you know, “What else can I do this with? Can I do this with the house? Can I do this with the car? Can I do it with a boat?” If I can buy it, let other people … I mean this is the access economy. This is the sharing access economy. Why not do this?
Joe: And the downside was pretty much nothing ’cause … I mean yes, you had to buy the damn car and-
Brad: Yeah, I mean there’s a risk. I say this-
Joe: Totally, totally.
Brad: … there is risk. Here is the biggest risk, honestly. I think the biggest risk; well first of all, don’t do this if you can’t. I can afford the car payment, right? Worst case if it didn’t rent, I can still afford it. However, the biggest risk to me I think is buying it and somebody wrecks it but doesn’t total it. Because that dramatically affects the resale value of it. Like if somebody does $10,000 worth of damage to it, that can be paid and it’s like … but now it goes on Carfax and trying to sell an exotic that’s been wrecked is going to wreck my resale value.
Joe: So what you’re saying is, if somebody wrecks you want him to go all out. You want him to-
Brad: Yeah I want them to –
Joe: You want him to just destroy everything.
Brad: And I want him to explode in a fiery accident-
Joe: Take that.
Brad: After they get it ejected from the car and land on their feet in a pool of marshmallows.
Joe: Very cool. All right, so-
Brad: You had something else. Yeah.
Joe: What nut are you trying to crack right now?
Brad: Good point. The biggest nuts I’m trying to crack right now is, building up the … what do I say? So this eCommerce business that I’m buying is … we’ve got very, very big plans for it. My partner and I are lining up all the various resources that we can line up for who’s going to come in and allow us to operate this as strategic business owners and not day to day operational slaves to the business.
So, we are looking for somebody or people actively who have eCommerce or operations logistics et cetera experience who either want … that we can hire to kind of do some of the aspects that we’re not good at. Like inventory management and staying on top of conversion optimization. Whether this is an agency or an individual or somebody who we can either hire or wants to buy in and partner with us or something to where we can operate this at one level higher than … does this makes sense, right?
Brad: One of the things I learned from Stiletto coffee is the fact that I am not at my best when I’m doing operational stuff. If I’m answering all the customer support, if I’m fiddling with Shopify or Big Commerce or whatever the system is, and if I’m doing all that stuff, I’m not able to do the much bigger strategic place that I want to do and add value that way.
The nice part about acquiring a business that’s got cash flow et cetera, is that we’re going to have the money to pay some people. So that’s really the biggest nut, is just to … and there’s a lot of stuff right now that we don’t know that we don’t know. Just the operations of the business, but we’re excited to jump in and I know for the next three months it’s going to be really … we’re going to deep dive on that, but that’s a big nut I’m trying to just crack is getting the resources to help run this business.
Joe: Very cool. Well-
Brad: Especially because we want to take this to … we actually may want to acquire other businesses in this vertical and do a roll up, so …
Joe: Very cool. Well, we do know a handful of people that are pretty active in the eCommerce world, so we’ll have to try to connect you with them and-
Matt: We got you bro.
Joe: If anybody’s listening to this episode that has the solution or knows they can jump on a call with Brad, and help him out, just reach out-
Brad: We can talk offline, this other business that I’m buying, very content marketing driven. I know you guys do a heck of a lot of that. So I want to talk to you offline about some of that. For some of my clients, nothing I’m trying to crack. I’ve got some really cool clients who are doing new things like Sir Jesse Itzler. As I mentioned, he is open to do … he’s not cheap, but he’s amazing public speaker. So if anybody’s having an event or doing some amazing things like that, would love to potentially get like somebody world class to come speak, I’ve got him. I’ve got a lot of public speakers that I’m not even necessarily clients with that I just know a lot of them and I’ve told them that I’m always open to hooking them up with booking arrangements if they ever need that.
So if anybody out there is like looking for some great high profile marquee speakers, hit me up on that kind of stuff because I’m-
Joe: Cool, get it.
Brad: … always looking for opportunities.
Matt: Very cool.
Joe: Very cool man. I think you tapped us out on all of our questions. We’re selfish and asked everything we wanted. I think-
Brad: By the way, can I get you guys on my show too? Can we do this and like turn the chairs on you?
Joe: Yeah, man.
Matt: Absolutely, yeah.
Brad: Nice, this will be fun.
Joe: I think this actually, I think our longest episode we’ve done so far-
Matt: I think so.
Joe: … but we didn’t want to stop you because it was such good stuff.
Matt: Oh yeah.
Brad: So you’re saying I just rattled on and on and on? That’s going to happen when you bring another podcast on.
Matt: I doubt right, that’s the problem. No it’s a good problem.
Joe: All right, we got two quick wrap up questions. I know you’ve already sort of mentioned a few books throughout this episode, but we always like to get a couple book recommendations at the end. Maybe something you find yourself recommending often or something that you find re-reading multiple times because it’s that important to you. Do you have anything like that?
Brad: In addition of books that I’ve just said, I’ve told you like Millionaire Fast Lane, Millionaire Masterplan, the … Some of the books I’m reading right now, one is by Jon Spoelstra, Marketing Outrageously Redux. It’s just a fun marketing book. He was a big marketing expert in basketball. I’m reading a book right now that I really like, Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits by Greg Crabtree. It’s all about that stuff that I talk about. Like understanding the real business numbers of your business as opposed to just the marketing numbers.
Joe: Awesome, thank you. Okay.
Brad: I think that’s amazing. I’m actually scrolling through my Kindle as we talk about this.
Brad: What are some of the other books? Rocket Fuel is an amazing book, I love that.
Joe: You’re like the third person who’s wrote that book and it’s one that I still haven’t picked up.
Brad: It’s so great. You’ll love it. Anything by Steven Pressfield is a go to. Like Steven Pressfield and Seth Godin are two of my favorite business writers.
Joe: Stephen Pressfield –
Matt: Think and solid.
Brad: Real solid. Yeah, all super-duper good.
Brad: I’m trying to think what else, if there’s anything else. One Simple Idea by Stephen Key, is still one of my favorite books. He’s my most popular podcast episode and it’s really all about licensing and leverage with that. So I just find that like absolutely fascinating, and 80/20 Sales and Marketing. I actually just saw that on my shelf and I was like I’m going to re-read ’cause it’s so good.
Joe: All right, cool.
Matt: Perry Marshall, all right?
Joe: Perry Marshall, yeah.
Brad: Yeah. Yep.
Joe: Good stuff man, cool. Well, that just gave me like a month’s worth of reading that work.
Brad: And I don’t know when it’s coming out, but I am writing a book right now. I’ll even give a shout out too. The book does not have a name yet, but it is based on the principles of access and influence equals opportunity. It’s that entire premise of how to think opportunistically like an opportunuer but how to leverage and wield access and influence both. How to get it, how to build it for yourself, and how the plethora of opportunities that can arise with that. By the way, the way I’m writing this book, is I’m not sitting down and chocking it out. I hired a guy named Aaron Wang, from author on demand and he has been amazing interviewing me and pulling it out and developmentally editing out so that I can do what I do best, which is like, let me edit my own words as opposed to sitting down from the blank slate. If anybody ever wants an introduction to him just let me know because he’s awesome.
Joe: Very cool.
Matt: Right on brother.
Joe: Well, cool. Last question, where can people go find you? What’s the best place?
Brad: One of the easiest places is on my podcast, Baconwrappedbusiness.com or just search for it on iTunes in statue. You can always shoot me an email, in fact we’re talking about books. I mean book recommendations or send me your ideas to askbrad AT baconwrappedbusiness DOT com. That is probably the most public facing thing. I do have to Costanzomarketing.com. It’s more of just a brochure page, I don’t use it for a lot, but you can find me just with Brad Costanzo on everywhere from Instagram to Facebook and Twitter et cetera.
Joe: Very cool. Awesome. Well, thanks so much for hanging out with us and just really unloading and being super transparent with us. We really, really appreciate it and we got a ton of tips for our own business which is what this podcast is originally designed for.
Matt: You’re right. And we’ll talk in your podcast so-
Matt: … put that sticker up.
Brad: Cannot wait.
Joe: Cool man, thank you.
Matt: We’ll chat in.
Brad: All right guys.