Category Archives: Life

Using Your Customers to Create Accountability and Consistancy

Deep down you know what needs to be done in your business…but if you’re like me…sometimes I just don’t do them…they don’t ‘seem important’ right now because it’s to small of scale or the time vs effort isn’t there…but it’s the small things that add up over time… here is the story on how we forced ourselves to do the right thing by promising our customers…

Our email list was growing at about 100-400 emails a day from potential customers either opting in or buying…it slowly built up and we’d email them now and then…a promotion…a survey…then 2-3 weeks would slip by with no emails. Why? I knew these relationships were the whole basis of the business, they were people who had bought from us already! I was focused on building/scaling the customer list and not taking relationships with my current customers to the next level…

This was the old affiliate marketer coming out in me…we got the ROI on adspend so we were profiting while growing the list…emails was just a side bonus so I wasn’t taking it seriously (even though the reason I started this was to get away from affiliate marketing and to build a true asset) – Dang habits coming back to get me!

It was actually worst then that…when we would email our abuse and unsubscribes were huge…I even got a warning from mailchimp. These were real people who trusted us enough to buy or opted in a few weeks ago now marking us as spam…I can’t blame them…we’d disappear then pop up with an email asking them to buy again…how selfish!

So we made a promise to each individual person…we’ll send out our VIP emails every Tuesday and Friday. We told them in the welcome email exactly what to expect. So now they new what to expect and they got regular emails from us…keeping that relationship warm. To the top of each email we added a quick reminder of who we are, why they are getting this email and detailed instructions on how to unsubscribe if they wish…

Abuse reports went down, unsubscribes went down and open and click rates went up and best of all sales went up! Thanks to making a promise and keeping it. On top of that, it’s motivating…seeing the list growing, staying active, and producing more repeat customers and sales…

We solved our consistency problem…now it’s just a procrastination one – we still do last minute emails on Monday / Thursday nights to get them scheduled in time…but that’s for another post…

3 Illegal Businesses I tried Growing Up…What did you try?

I tried some crazy ways to make money growing up…most of the unknowingly illegal. Do you have any? Think way to when you were a teenager, a pre-teen or before? I’m not talking a lemonade stand…what crazy things did you try or plan? Here are 3 of my favorite attempts…

Business attempt #1: My Own ‘Publishing Company’

Before I turned 10 I was reading one of my favorite books and saw the price tag…WOW $19.99 (or something close to that, it was enough to make me think ‘holy, that’s a lot of money’)

My little entrepreneurial brain was cranking…I grabbed some free printer paper from my parents, sat in the basement and started TRACING…haha oh man, I wrote out all the text and traced the images…thinking I could sell this book for even half the normal costs…why wouldn’t someone buy that? Anyways, after many many hours more then I thought…I gave up and realized the time combined with my lack of tracing skills put me out of business…

Business attempt # 2: Why not print money?

I remember hearing about people counterfeit money…more specifically $50 and $100 bills…I was back to the free paper and printer (with-out letting my parent know) – it was time to literally print money. My parents had those photo cutters that did nice sharp edges…I scanned a $5 bill (thinking who would check or care about a $5 bill?) It was genius…I didn’t need hundreds I only needed fives (probably for candy and hockey cards).

After a few attempts at scanning and printing straight….we got pretty close (but I mean come on – we used printer paper) – In the end my parents saw what I was doing and told me how illegal it was…what’s next?

Business Attempt #3: My Bookie Business

Looking back this makes me laugh so hard. In grade 9 my friend Marc (RIP) and I thought we knew everything about sports and hockey. We figured if we made our own odds for NHL games that week and took bets…we’d win. We basically went off gut feel for who was going to win giving odds like 2:1 or 3:1.

We kept track in a binder of all the bets placed. Money was collected upfront and kept in a jar in our lockers.

The first 2 weeks we made a little money and we thought we were going to me rich. We increased or marketing (all viral to friends and friends of friends and even some teachers) and we took on way more bets.

**Note on the teachers – Mr. Kast and Mr. Reid were both skeptical and didn’t want to get in shit from making the bets with grade 9 students. How freaking cool of them to do it. I can only image what they were thinking and telling their friends.

Anyways, back to scaling our business…well…after upping our bets and putting our profits into a contingency fund (just in case) we waited for the games to play out….it didn’t go our way. A few bad losses and we were out of money…after being about 50-100 in the red we shut it down and realized we were not as good at odds as we thought…

Looking back, I laugh and smile. We were out there hustling…trying to make a buck to buy some more candy and hockey cards. I’m so thankful for my parents, teachers and friends that let me try. Even when it was illegal or the worlds dumbest idea.

Do you have any stories or memories as a kid trying to make it rich? If so, maybe you were born to be an entrepreneur…it’s inside you. Get out there and hustle.

7 Words My Grandma Casually Said that Instantly Changed My Life

My grandparents had just retired (at around 65) or a little younger. They had a good life. But like everyone else couldn’t wait to retire. Spend more time in the warm South, golfing, relaxing and hanging with friends. They were ready for some fun! Then it happened…

Out of the blue my grandpa can’t get out of bed one night…they call an ambulance for help…

It’s a stroke. And a fairly bad one…he’s alive but lost control of 90% of his left side. No more golf, no more walking with-out help, no more wiping your own ass. Gone. Instantly. With-out warning.

I can’t begin to imagine my grandpas thoughts. One minute your playing golf, fishing, doing yard work and then next day its gone. Taken away. That is a hard concept to understand. And I don’t.

I remember sitting there in the tiny, all white, hospital bed visiting them…

My grandma looks at me and looks away through the tiny square window. With a sound of disappointment and shock she whispers the 7 words that will never leave me (one of my main motivations in business and life now)

“And they call these the Golden Years”

Those 7 simple words change my life. It hit my right there in the moment. I knew I didn’t want a ‘normal’ life. I didn’t want to wait until 60+ to enjoy freedom. Don’t get me wrong, they had a good life with experiences and a large, loving family. But they had been lied to. They had been told from ‘they’ (who is they anyways?) that you work hard 8+ hours a day for 45 years and then you can do WHATEVER you want for the last 20+ years (when your odds of medical issues is much higher). It’s bullshit.

That was not me. Not my life. I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I had too. There was no other choice. I got started.

This was not just about business and money. It was about time. I wanted both. And I had to enjoy the journey. My mindset changed.

When I catch myself wasting time (it happens quite a bit) I snap myself back beside that tiny hospital bed. I can see my grandpa laying there wondering whats going to happen. Many more questions then answers. And seeing my grandma lean back in her chair and whisper those 7 words. “And they call these the Golden Years”.