3000 - CCarter Weekly #2

CCarter

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Previous Issue: Reboot - CCarter Weekly #1

I mentioned this briefly in my Q&A at SERPLogic.com - but I wanted to really nail it down. I believe a ton of people are confused when hearing "passion" or you need to "follow your passion" - and they get stuck on that. I don't know how you find your own passion but I want to show you how to gauge whether what you are doing is worth it for yourself - getting you closer to your passion.

Let's do a quick test - I want you to really think about the first reaction when you read what I'm about to state:

3000 - that's the number of phone calls you need to make within 1 month for your business to get to the next level. Are you willing to do it?

If your gut said "No, fuck all that" - you're clearly in the wrong business.

If your gut said "Lets do it!" - You've got something that you are passionate about and are willing to stay up nights, weekends, and grind throughout darkness till success - or complete failure.

You see I'm in a business that I'm willing to make 3000 phone calls a month for to take it to the next level. If I have to make 3,000 phone calls to bankers, investors, and loan officers for this business I'll do it cause I love this grind.

It's also not just about phone calls for investments, it can be phone calls to get customers.

When I started my agency I was willing to make the 3,000 phone calls, hell we DID make the 3,000 phone calls, cause SEO took 3-4 months to rank, we needed customers today, so we cold called from my business partner's condo where we setup shop until we got our first few customers.

But near the end when I was burnt out and decided to quit I definitely wasn't willing to make 3,000 phone calls for that business. In the beginning I was - this number is how you can gauge passion.

3,000 phone calls comes out to 100 phone calls a day - yes in the age of the internet, talking to a person one-on-one is necessary to take things to the next level.

If you needed a kidney transplant, or one of your kids needed an organ donated and someone gave you a list of 3,000 people to call - would you call them? HELL YES. Cause it's life or death. Cause it's about something or someone that's important to YOU. You would go above and beyond regardless of the consequences to get whatever you need done - and THAT is how you know whether you are doing something right now that you are truly interested in.

So if you are working on something you aren't hungry or willing to go above and beyond - then why bother continuing? You'll be happier doing something else. And no there will not be a "perfect time" to quit your dead-end job and start a business - the only time for anything that truly matters is NOW!

Some of you guys have projects and assets I know you guys wouldn't make a single phone call for and might be rather embarrassed to tell family or friends that you run these projects. And honestly as days, weeks, months, and years go by you get to a certain point where you are running out of runway to take off, so if you don't drop the baggage you'll never take off. And it's definitely baggage if you aren't even willing to make a phone call about it - cause that means you aren't willing to tell a perfect stranger about your idea.

When I look back at the projects that failed versus succeeded I started asking myself was I willing to make 3,000 phone calls for that project. ALL the ones that failed it was a resounding NO. All the stuff that succeeded was a loud "HELL YES"! And here is the thing - I'm not a phone person. I'm not an email person, I'm not a communicate with human person. So if I've got a project that I'm willing to talk to strangers about left and right that tells me that I'm excited about that project.


With excitement brings energy, with energy you can toll the late nights with, grind out the long days, and feel no boredom. And that's another problem - when you are semi-comfortable in life, you tend to feel boredom a bit more, and that leads to actions like watching more TV, grabbing your phone a bit more, sleeping in more and so on - creating a vicious cycle.

When you are hungry, starving, or hustling you don't have time for boredom. So if you ever feel "bored" it's because you are too comfortable with your life - you lack excitement.

For me there is nothing more exciting than competing and destroying my competition. And I mean utterly destroying them, not sitting around having brunches at conferences patting each other on the back stating "we're all going to make it". I want to kill them all.

Every time I see one of my competitors raise the white flag, contact me to sell me their assets to get "some" ROI, or attempt to sell me their customers or operation - there is no greater feeling that warms my soul than knowing I defeated them.

And here is another reality I know deep in my bones, one day someone is going to come and take me out viciously just like I took out my enemies - and I'm fine with that. But for a brief moment in this realm I was here and I conquered whoever and whomever I wanted to.


Something is wrong with the worlds mates. Talking like the above is now "looked down upon" - apparently we are all suppose to be singing kumbaya with each other. There is this anti-capitalist movement in the world, ironically fueled by the most capitalist thing in the world - the smartphone. The irony, people preach anti-capitalist from their smartphones with the latest XYZ gotta have feature.

Here is another reality - that is a part of the same reality - the world is a vicious place, and winners win while writing the history of their conquest, and losers lose blaming the system on their lack of ambition.

And so we've come full circle - the passion you need for that 3,000 phone calls has to contain ambition, and ambition is a counter to boredom. If you feel bored you have no ambition.

Let's not confuse ambition with "wishes". A lot of people "wish" to be rich and successful - that's not ambition. Ambition is putting a want into an action. You can wish your website - your business is successful, but ambition is the element that you'll need to overcome fear and pick up the phone and call 3,000 people in a single month.

--

Story of Howard Schultz (Founder of Starbucks):

"In the course of the year I spent trying to raise money, I spoke to 242 people, and 217 of them said no," he wrote. "Try to imagine how disheartening it can be to hear that many times why your idea is not worth investing in. ... It was a very humbling time."


"I've always been driven and hungry," Schultz said. "Long after others have stopped to rest and recover, I'm still running, chasing after something nobody else could ever see."

Sauce: http://www.businessinsider.com/howard-schultz-profile-2015-10/

--

Dan Peña says you have to kiss a lot of frogs to get to the top. Everywhere you turn the successful ones state - it's a ton of work. Yet a lot of you like Scarlet are still looking for the "golden goose".

And here is another reality - the Dawn of the Internet is coming to an end. Alot of the immaturity that allowed people to get rich quick is being solidified into processes, workflows - creating higher barrier to entries for anyone not in a solid place right now.

TheWireCutter.com - literally the apex of what an affiliate site should look and operate like that just got sold for $30 million. Do you think that only us in the trenches noticed that? No - big money, mega money, unlimited money, and old money folks noticed that too. That means they are going to use the same blueprint TheWireCutter operates off of and are going to pour more resources into each and every niche than most basement dwellers could amass in a life time.

So if at this late date - you still don't have operations or projects that are generating you a nice steady income - you are about to miss the final call, cause Old Money is coming to take over the landscape. I just had 3 different job offers from people on different continents all state they are trying to do what TheWireCutter was doing - obviously I'll never work another day in my life for another person so I turned them all down - but the fact is there has been a ton of chatter among go-getters that are going to be pouring into the affiliate marketing space, the SEO space, and any piece of the pie you don't have a strong grasp on now is going to be gobbled up by killers with cold veins. Become a killer or get killed.

So a ton of you need to get to work and putting in long hours for those 3000 phone calls. And then there are those that aren't even making $100 a month off a single project - if you have been doing any project for more than 6 or 12 months and still can't hit a low number like that - it might be time to pick a new career path - because clearly something is off with your strategy. It's better to know NOW than waste another 2-4 valuable years on a path you really don't want to go down. The days of taking candy from babies are over, this path will soon be engulfed with killers that take no prisoners.

This post was inspired by:

1. 30 Things I Learned From 3,000 Cold Calls in a Month

2. You Need To Become Obsessed About Your Goal

Some great reads for SAASes:

1. Killer User Onboarding Starts With a Story

2. Peek inside Intercom’s Multi-million Dollar SaaS Growth Strategy

Time to get to work.

- CCarter (http://www.twitter.com/MercenaryCarter)
 

built

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Fuck, really makes me think about what I'm doing.

I know I'm not ready to call 3000 people for this site I have, in fact I don't even know if I'll ever be ready.

There is a part of me that craves a "real business" (I define a real business as selling my own products/tools vs affiliate marketing) something that I'd be willing to die for. But I don't know where to start, all I know is building niche websites
 

CCarter

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I know I'm not ready to call 3000 people for this site I have, in fact I don't even know if I'll ever be ready.

something that I'd be willing to die for

I didn't know anything about building a SAAS until I built a SAAS. I think the best way to start is by start making contacts to people that put out products that help people. Even getting an internship so you can start having a pulse to the industry is a great foot in the door.
 

Ryuzaki

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I absolutely agree with this, no questions asked. I'd also like to add to it:

If you don't love what you do, like CCarter is pointing out, your project is doomed before it starts. But there's two other points that will hold you back as well. You need to be good at what you're doing (not just love it) and it needs to have a demand or be able to create a demand.

The only way to get over two of those three initial hurdles is to have money to pay someone else to take care of the hurdles. But one (it needs to have a valuable demand) can't be solved with money. The other two can, but you're not going to get insanely wealthy without all three points coming into alignment.

Yeah, a guy who's never gone fishing in his life can make a fishing review site about shiny bobbles and tackle, and flip it for $100,000 down the line, without doing an ounce of work himself on it and just throwing money at people who know how. Hell, he might nail in $300,000. I can tell you what he won't get: $30,000,000.

Because at the end of the day, money will never buy passion. It can't create passion where there is none. Nothing can but an intrinsic interest of the topic at hand. And either YOU have it (and that's why you started the business) or it's not there. You won't find the most passionate tackle expert in the world who isn't already pursuing it as a business. You can only hire people who know about it, but they don't live and breathe it.

TL;DR:
  • YOU and nobody else better love this topic so much you will sacrifice every other aspect of your life for it.
  • Loving a basketball (or any other example) but sucking at it means you might make a good high school coach, but it's not going to be good enough to create a high cash flow business (aka make it into the NBA and the finals). You need to be good at basketball and at business. You have to be a player to even be in the game.
  • There better be a scalable demand for it with good margins and high frequency purchases. That can mean you move millions of units a year or you reach millions people a year and command influence.
"But what about luxury cars that only sell 200 units ever?" They take a loss on those and see it as a marketing expense for the scalable models.

Love what you're doing, but by god, have the other two pieces of the puzzle in play too or you're still screwed.

CCarter is right though, the very first step to determining a "right" business for you is digging through your own passions. The other two are secondary. If an idea doesn't pass all three of those points, you'll never reach the tertiary point: success.
 

Joe

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I think "do what you love" makes it sound easier that it is though.

It can take a lot to discover or get clear on what you are passionate about. It can then take significantly more effort to cull passions which aren't productive, and those which you're never going to be good enough at to do something productive with, and identify and energize the passions which are going to pay off.

The cliche example is playing computer games. I have some old acquaintances who were really passionate about playing those games. They would play until the early hours of the morning. But for 99%+ of those types all that passion is going to be is a cloud over other lesser passions that they could develop into long term payoff.

So while I think that Venn diagram is true, I think there's a lot of room for material that helps you navigate towards the #win. Structured ways of teasing out and identifying latent or undeveloped passions, structured research methods for putting those through a filter of "what are the odds of me getting good enough at this to make it pay off" etc.

The space of passions and ways you can interface those with society to get reward for them is basically infinite. So I think most people are failing to hit the #win not because they don't know to seek "passion + aptitude + market demand", but because that is hard and they don't know how to do it effectively.
 
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CCarter is right though, the very first step to determining a "right" business for you is digging through your own passions. The other two are secondary. If an idea doesn't pass all three of those points, you'll never reach the tertiary point: success.


Hot Damn. This is what I've been missing.
 

Rec

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*Slow Clap*
This post is absolute gold and needs to be something referenced often and stickied.
I work in a Sales job during the day, until my IM work takes off. This is really the attitude you have to have day in and day out to succeed. I was recently struggling with my side-projects as I felt overextended. I had a few projects I was working on, because the keywords looked good. I hit a bit of a crossroads, and decided last night that I needed to pour myself into one thing and one thing only.

New money is coming, and we all know that, but if you've ever heard JD Roth speak about when he sold his site- it gives some insight. I'm paraphrasing, but he said they didn't do as well as they hoped because the team they put in place didn't have the same passion. And that is the place I plan to leverage. Coming from a Sales job (I used to) love I know the difference between giving 110%, and the 45 hour clock puncher and I know that there were times I was beating the commissions of two or three of them combined. passion + hard work + intelligent decisions = success
 
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what about fear and self awareness though @CCarter ? I have a little different viewpoint on this. I think there's plenty of people out there that are passionate about SEO that would never in a million years make 3,000 calls in a month to get their business off the ground because it's not in their DNA and they fear rejection too much. I don't think it's because of a lack of passion.

Having slung SEO over the phone for 2 years, I'm well aware of how much getting kicked in the teeth day in and day out sucks. Sure it's a nice skill to have, learning how to navigate a sale over the phone, but as you mentioned, the burn out is real even if you enjoy sales! I actually think taking somebody who loves SEO and having them do 100 calls a day could be detrimental to their passion if they TRULY are not a salesperson and hate selling. They could end up hating SEO if they see that as the only path to success.

However, every business NEEDS SALES to survive. You can be the best SEO in the world, but if nobody ever knows about you, you won't make a dime. That's where self awareness comes into play in my opinion. Take stock of your strengths and weaknesses. If you love figuring out Google's algorithm and testing 9 different ways to improve your on-page, but the thought of picking up the phone and dialing brings on cold sweats and a little vomit in your mouth, you need to be aware of that.

Now that you're aware of that, you need to find a partner who loves selling and can fill in those gaps to get your business off the ground. Find somebody who you share a lot of ideologies with, but who also compliments your strengths and weaknesses.

By focusing on finding a good partner instead of trying to psyche yourself up to do something you despise, I think you'll have a much better chance at success. I think there's too many people out there buying consulting and sales courses knowing full well deep down they're never going to implement the strategies in the course.

TL;DR:
  • Know your strengths, find somebody else to fill in your weaknesses
 

CCarter

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I think there's plenty of people out there that are passionate about SEO that would never in a million years make 3,000 calls in a month to get their business off the ground

They'll fail.

So many people try to hide from what needs to be done or try to outsource it to someone like a partner - but in the end it falls a part cause you partnered up with a "sales guy" rather than get someone that's right for the business - I've personally done this. The lesson I learned was YOU have to be your #1 cheerleader for YOUR BUSINESS.

However this topic wasn't really about making 3000 sales calls or cold calling. It's about determining and gauging your passion for a subject.

One example I gave was regarding your child needing a kidney transplant - will you be willing to make 3000 calls, talk to 3000 people to fix the problem? Yes - cause you love your kid.

Take people that play World of Warcraft, Starcraft, League of Fuckall or Halo all day, any video game, are they willing to talk to 3000 people about their passion with their favorite video game? Yes - cause they are passionate about it.

Passion overcomes actual fear when you love and have indepth knowledge of something - you are willing to talk hours on end about the subject. The obstacles/opportunity you need to figure out is how to make money doing your passion so you can run a business.

To circle back to your topic of fear, I run a SAAS, I've always hated talking to customers and clients when I ran my marketing agency. Another thing I hated was writing. I knew in order for the SAAS to be successful there is absolutely no way I cannot get around having to talk to customers. In the SEO industry it is notorious for lack of communication - so I wanted to do the exact opposite set a new gold standard - but I can't outsource this part when in Beta or when I haven't mastered it myself. So I tripled down, talked to every person that had a question or concern and I realized some things:

#1. The customer WANTED to use my software. They want help to make them understand things faster - when you realize that the customers is not the "Enemy" but rather a friend trying to give you money. So I could talk to them all day and night once I realized that.

#2. Most people aren't rude or asshole. Most people are looking to you as the expert when they ask you a question about your software. And what's the real worst they can do? Death is improbable if they don't like my software. I'll still eat tomorrow and have a roof over my head, so when all the serious risk of life are off the tables if someone cancels it's not a death blow.

#3. In SEO - at least for the people who get into SEO, even SEO software - people seem to be afraid of talking to people, I guess it's why they'd rather battle an algorithm than talk to people. That created a HUGE opportunity for me when I focus on answering ALL customer inquiries, questions, or comments - even tweets and FB messages, within 24 hours. Our average response time is under 33 minutes. It became a game to me on how I can better myself, and people complimented it AND stayed on as customers since they knew they had someone they could talk to.

SEO software and SEOs think they are comcast or AT&T with monopolies and can get away with not talking to customers - wrong. They'll soon find themselves out of a customer, client, or prospect. It's why I emphasize on Customer Service and Support.

Now I can tell you that when I ran my marketing agency I would never have made 3000 sales phone calls - we didn't cause it's IRL spam. Cold calling isn't a way in my opinion of getting people to do sales. However someone calling into the office I'd talk to them all day and all night. When I mean 3000 calls - are you willing to talk to people that are looknig for your help OR are you willing to get rejected by 3000 investors to find that 1 investor that'll take you seriously?

The only way to grow is to overcome fear. It will always be there but you just have to do it and see that as you progress it gets easier and easier - what you thought was once hard is second nature after mastering something.

But again, this topic wasn't about telling people to do 3000 cold calls, however if you have zero leads coming in and need to eat tomorrow or cannot pay rent or your mortgage or employee - you'd better get on the phones. I prefer a smarter way of creating content that hooks people and have them contacting me (hence why I had to also over come writing) - but if you need results tomorrow or today - phone call is the only way to do it - that's reality.

Get over it. You cannot move your business to a high performance level without talking to potential customers, investors, or people that come to you asking questions. You will also get a ton of "I don't want to talk to the sales guy I want to talk to you" - What do you say to that if you lack confidence? One solution is go to Toastmasters or train yourself to become a better orator. No one is going to come by and shout to the world "Hey look at this great things XYZ is doing!"

You have to be your #1 cheerleader and show you have passion for what you are doing; that passion will then rub off to your partners, employees. When you write the passion will emmit from your content and your readers will fall in love with what you say, your writing style, or who you are in general.

In business or any thing that needs promoting if YOU aren't willing to get out there and be your #1 cheerleader - why would anyone follow you anywhere? Lack of confidence kills everything - if you don't have confidence you don't get the girl. If you don't have confidence you don't ask for a promotion. If you don't have confidence you'll be dead in the water in whatever you are going after in this life.

If you don't make the 3000 phone calls you better believe your competitors will - they might even be making them to your current clients cause you shy away from talking to them too; the barbarians are at the gate...
 

CCarter

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"Remember you are only 3000 phone calls away from your deal." - Dan Peña

Imagine how different your life would be if you made 3000 phone calls to get your idea off the ground. Even a 1% success rate means 30 people would be interested in moving forward. You whole life can change in a week simply by diving deep and not giving a shit whether you get a no or a yes.

People have changed their lives with a lot less effort. After you read all the books, watch all the courses, and listen to all the gurus the only thing left is action. Everything leads to the final conclusion - Action.

Without action you are dead in the water.

""Even if you are on the right track you'll get ran over if you don't move forward." - Dan Peña
 

builder

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When I started my agency I was willing to make the 3,000 phone calls, hell we DID make the 3,000 phone calls, cause SEO took 3-4 months to rank, we needed customers today, so we cold called from my business partner's condo where we setup shop until we got our first few customers.

What was your conversion ratio, in those days?
 

CCarter

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What was your conversion ratio, in those days?
My partner was a sales guy and knew how to get the meeting. We got 30-40% interest in meeting within the first 2 contact attempts. We also were hyper targeting our list to businesses within certain industries, within our geo-location, and most importantly we knew they had done SEO and/or some form of digital marketing in the past so were somewhat familiar with the process.

When doing cold calls you need to be prospecting off of a list that's been pre-qualified at some level. Example for selling SEO/marketing:
- Do they have a website?
- Do they have social presence?
- Do they have a blog?
- Have they done paid online marketing in the past?
- Do they currently pay for offline marketing to generate customers?
- Do they have margins? (You might not always be able to see from the outside looking in).

One trick we used was to look up the backlinks of other marketing agencies in our location. A lot of times marketing/SEO agencies would get backlinks from their customers within the footer of their client's websites. Easy way to scoop them right out of their hands.

Surprisingly a lot of people were receptive and we got very little turndowns. It's not like calling or texting some random consumer to spam them about CBD oil or a car warranty. We were selling them a service that generates them more customers, revenue, and profit. The business would have to have literally no money to not at least take a meeting.

Side note: I remember one job I had where when the call center system went down they would pull out the phone books for everyone and have us going down the list. EVEN THOSE leads still had a 10% chance of getting closed - you can use the Visa or Mastercard technique on them all day.

Another side note: To practice you can sell someone else's product/service on their behalf and get used to the "Nos" and rejections fairly quickly. That way you get desensatized and can move on to the next call.