Episode 40: You've Got The Keys - 15 Minutes to Freedom Podcast | Transcription
Transcription for the video titled "Episode 40: You've Got The Keys - 15 Minutes to Freedom Podcast".
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This is 15 minutes to freedom. I'm your host Ryan Neidell and today's episode is You've Got the Keys. So as I look back at my life I realize the fact there's been countless opportunities for me to alter the path of where I'm currently at. There's been countless opportunities for me to decide to go left when I went right. There's been countless ways for me to affect my future, but why haven't I? What are the choices I've made to go left instead of go right? Have you ever considered that yourself? Have you ever considered why you do what you do? For me, I've come to the realization lately that the reason I do what I do is based off of the information that I'm able to receive. And that information that I'm able to receive is interesting, to say the least. I can receive information any number of different ways. I can receive it from books. I can receive it from family. I can receive it from the universe. I mean, to me, meditation and the power that comes to me through meditation is second to none. There is nothing in my life like the power of meditating and what that does for me. But in saying all that, in pontificating this story, these different things, different way I view life, what I'm understanding is the fact if I go back to my history and look at what I was doing and how I was doing it, it provides clarity as I go forward. So we're going to go back to when I took over the web hosting company I was a part of. So I started in the web hosting direct response affiliate marketing space as an affiliate manager. And what that means to you guys that maybe don't know what affiliate marketing is, it's basically driving traffic to websites and would you get paid although you might not own the property, you might not actually own the physical site. So for instance I could be an affiliate for Nike and provide you a link to click on that every time you bought Nike shoes or Nike apparel I could get paid. That's a lot of how the internet works right now And so I didn't know any of this prior to bring being brought into the web hosting world the direct response is your marketing world I didn't know this stuff existed But then I learned it I wish I was shown it and then I learned it and through learning it I started to do very well for myself started out at a web hosting company at that point that point, we had 10,000 clients. And by the time I took over as president and CEO and we grew it, we're up to 575,000 clients or so. So massive growth in an 18-month period, all done through affiliate marketing channels. So I'm telling you this because I eventually, it behooved the founders of the company to instead of having me be an affiliate manager, bring me on as a partner and offer me the CEO role.
Concepts And Methodologies
Whatever It Takes (02:37)
That was basedved the founders of the company to instead of having me be an affiliate manager, bring me on as a partner and offer me the CEO role. That was based off the amount of hurting I was putting on the cash flow of the business from the compensation I was making. And again, not to gloat or pound my chest, but there were months I was making 60, 70, 80 grand a month by literally figuring out people that had high traffic sources and giving them a link so that their customers would click on it and buy our web hosting packages. That was how difficult my job was to make that sort of income. It's almost laughable. I would fly around the country. I would take these young, affluent entrepreneurs out to dinner, maybe to a strip club, buy them watches, just spend time with them, make them friends, but pamper them with gifts. And for that, they would eventually drive traffic to our website, and which would make it so I got paid. Pretty phenomenal setup, really, when you look at it. I mean, that was how I was earning my living. And like I said before, I'm earning this living that's so massive, I don't know what to do with all the money, which was a blessing and a curse in disguise.
Core Values (03:36)
As I've shared with you, That turned into associating with the wrong people and buying multiple women cars, paying off houses, breast implants. Like, name something that's decadent. Private airplane flights, $50,000 bar tabs. Like, nothing was exceeding, like, excess. So from that, I'm telling you this whole story because eventually, again, I have to take over this company. And not even have to, I decide to. I get sat down by the five take over this company. And not even have to, I decide to. I get sat down by the five partners of the company. They sit me down in the conference room and say, hey, look, we would like to make you a partner in the company. We'd like to give you equity in the company, and we'd like you to be president and CEO. And I'm thinking this whole time, it's because of my massive intellect and incredible skills in business. Admittedly, it wasn't. It wasn't anywhere near that. I now can see it differently that they were doing that because by taking me from an $80,000 a month compensation level down to something much less, about a quarter of that, it freed up more cash for them to make. In the time, I thought, again, it was because of how great of an individual I was.
Positive Value (04:29)
Nonetheless, I take over as president and CEO, and I don't have any real tools to be equipped for this.
A New Challenge (04:42)
Sure, I've been the general sales manager of an automotive dealership, two or three actually. But that doesn't really much equate to running a 150-person domestic operation coupled with another 150 people internationally that are servicing this $30 to $40 million a year hosting company. I didn't have the skills. So all I knew is that I had to grow and keep the company moving in a direction that I was steering the ship. Now when I say steering the ship, I can't even really tell you that I knew what steering the ship was. In my mind, a lot of the steering the ship was artificial. Here I would drive from Columbus, Ohio to Akron, Ohio every day, about an hour and a half because I refused to move to Akron. Part of it was I looked at it a step backwards. Part of it was the fact that if I moved to Akron, I couldn't keep dating the three different women I was dating. Because one was in Akron and two were in Columbus and the law of averages there didn't really work out for me. So I don't move to Akron. I stay in Columbus. I get up every morning. I leave my house by 7.30. I'm at the office by 9. I work until 6. I then drive back home. I'm home every morning. I leave my house by 730. I'm at the office by 9. I work until 6. I then drive back home. I'm home by 8, hit the gym from 830 to 9, and start over the next day. That's my life. And so I was making calls in the car the entire way up and the entire way back. All my phone calls were getting done then. I knew I could maximize that time. Like that was something that I had the opportunity to do. But once I got to the office, it became a little gray. All I knew is an untrained president, an untrained CEO, that I was responsible for making sure we didn't go bankrupt, we didn't go backwards. That was as far as my mind would take me. I didn't really understand that the physical operation of a CEO was to expand the business, to think outside the box, not get caught in the weeds. I didn't segment my time every day. So what happened is I'd hit the office and I'd have a line of people asking me questions. I'd have a line of people, this needs fixed, that's broken, this person's complaining, here's this personnel issue. And that was the way the company was designed prior to me. Not saying that was good or bad, that was just how it was. That was the company structure. That was the corporate structure. So here I am, point 26, 27, running a 30 or 40 million dollar a year operation with not a lot of skill sets equipped. The past partners or the current partners go to start their next property, their next dream, their next vision, and I'm on an island. But I want to be on an island. I push them out because I'm on an island. But I want to be on an island. I push them out because I'm convinced I can do this without them. So here we are, making my phone calls on the way to the office every day, coming in, doing what I think is best, answering these questions, and I come up with the idea that we need to have a scrum meeting every day.
Ultimate Responsibility (07:11)
Not every day, once a week. And the Scrum meeting was essentially a way for us to determine the highest and best priorities every day for the week.
Personal Reactive (07:27)
So we would go around and have a brainstorming session amongst project managers as well as key personnel inside the business. We'd all sit in a big conference room. We'd write them all on a whiteboard. The best idea is to generate revenue or the best idea is to save revenue, increase profitability. And we write them on this board. Then we write them when we write them. Then we write dollar signs next to them. Let's go one to five. You know, if it's signing up a new affiliate, that could be a five. If they had a bunch of traffic, if it's analyzing customer support expense, that could be a two because we're only able to save so much money. So that was what we would do once a week.
Weekly progress review,mapping goals, attributing failure (08:06)
And from that, then we would map out what it took to execute the top five, making sure that we maximize the amount of hours everybody would work. And we'd leave the meeting and my assistant would type up the notes and send them all the key personnel. And that was what we were supposed to do. That was as far as our planning went, was that. Then we come back together the key personnel, and that was what we were supposed to do. That was as far as our planning went, was that. Then we come back together the next week, same day, same time, look at last week's results, and map out the next week's goals. Over and over and over. And sure, at the high level, you might be thinking to yourself, like, boy, that sounds about right. Like, that should work. Uh, kind of. I have to challenge you on if that works because things weren't necessarily measurable and obtainable. What they were, were ideas that had rough estimations of time and personnel expense to execute the idea. And those were only as good as a buy-in from the people that were around me. And that buy-in couldn't be high because I didn't have high buy-in myself. that were around me. And that buy-in couldn't be high because I didn't have high buy-in myself. I admittedly was weak and nervous. I didn't really know what I was doing. I'm sure that exuded through me in ways that I didn't fully understand at the time. But nonetheless, we forged forward. And in forging forward, what we saw was, by running the company in this manner, when I took over the company, we're on a run rate for $35 million in revenue. And when I left, was kicked out, was repositioned as we were going through, you know, went through capital raise, went through, you know, trying to sell off pieces and parts of the business. When I left, we were on pace for $12 million in revenue. So obviously what I was doing didn't work. Thought it was working. I blamed it on the environment. I blamed it on the economy. I blamed it on the economy. I blamed it on a market shift in the way we're attaining customers. I blamed it on the fact of I wanted to go left and everybody else wanted to go right. I blamed it on everybody. The only person I didn't blame it on was myself. I wasn't able to see that, man, there might be an error in the way that I was running this business. Sure, as our revenue decreased, I had a difficult time of course up until recently of having those difficult conversations with people so i wouldn't sit down with people and say look we're gonna have to let you go i remember the first time we had a mass layoff slash firing it was just person after person i would stick to my stomach you know i have all these people that i've spent years now getting to know their families what they're about what makes them tick and they're coming into my office one by one I have to sit down with a witness and say I'm sorry based off the fact of our revenues going down we have to terminate your position and it's horrible I do this for a week straight massive layoffs massive cutbacks and all because at that point, I'm blaming everything else. I'm blaming literally the fact that the market has shifted and we haven't caught up so we need to diversify how we obtain customers to catch up with the market. All really bullshit now the way I view the world. At the time, it wasn't. At the time, that was exactly what I thought I was supposed to be saying. That was exactly what I felt in my heart was to be true, but it wasn't. So go through the layoffs, go through the cutbacks. I eventually leave the company or I'm forced aside and step back into a sales role. And I, of course, still help end up selling off the company. We sell off the servers to a company. We sell off the customer base to another company.
Distinguishing one thing from many things (11:19)
And we end up all as partners, you know, just essentially eliminating this asset or really not an asset. To me, it's a liability. So sit back and look. There's something that I now operate with in the warrior's way called the one thing and the four keys. And what the one key or one door and the four keys are, are taking one thing a week as it pertains to business only and moving that one thing from, in a four quadrant setup, from the urgent or the non-urgent but important quadrant and sliding it up into the urgent and important quadrant. What that would mean in layman's terms or in terms that I could have understood back then, was that if you were to want to, in this web hosting environment, if I wanted to diversify how we obtain customers, the thing I might need to do is start a review site. That is the one thing I have to do this week. I have to start a review site. Because on a review site, people can review our services and decide if it works for them. And we can then have affiliate links for our competition on the review site. And then we can get paid from when people sign up for us and when people sign up for our competition. So that's gonna be the one thing. The four keys are four actionable items that have to happen in sequential order that if the first key falls down, the next key will eventually fall the third and the fourth. And you do that throughout the course of a week. So in this manufactured situation, what would happen would be I want to create a review site. So what has to happen to make that happen this week? Well, I have to have a meeting with the graphic designers, the coders, and the slicers. I know that's a little obscure, but I have to meet with personnel to have them map out site layout, site design, and integration. And then I have to get them to also do the one door and the four keys. It's not enough for me to know it. I have to then instill it upon them and have them do it for the week. And then when they do it, they have to pass that down to the next level below them of the people that might actually do some of the work. So once I know that it's going to be designed, going to be developed, and going to be integrated, the next thing I have to do is go out and find traffic for it. So then I would have to have another meeting with more people, my sales team, sit them down and say, okay, here's a new property we're launching. I need you to get affiliate links to that out to the world. And from that, what that will mean is here's the top 20 traffic providers that we know. Let's go approach them. Then I should have sat them down and done the same thing. I should have sat them down and done the one door and the four keys. So they would have had buy-in. So there's two keys now. Develop the site, get traffic to it. The third key in this equation is to prime customer support for what is coming. So I would then go have a meeting with customer support, and we'd practice scripting and make sure we have the right number of reps on the phone, make sure we're equipped to handle email tickets. We should have done that, because we had 100 people on-site and 125 people off-site to handle these requests. But then again, big surprise, not only should I have done the one door and the four keys, but then I would have had to have the exact same buy-in from the person downstream. I would have had to have my head of customer support do the same thing in front of me so that she could disseminate the information to the people below her. That's key number three. So now if those fall down in sequential order, if we build a site, if we get traffic to it and we can support the traffic, there's one key left. And the key that would be left for that week, in my opinion now, would have been to create a follow-up sequence through email and phone calls to ensure the customers are happy and increase customer loyalty as long as long-term customer revenue. That would have required another meeting with another group of individuals, my copywriters and my email providers, to sit down and map out what that strategy looks like, and then have them do their own version of the one door and the four keys. So that would be what it would have taken to have incremental, consistent movement week over week.
Motivation with Action Able Items (15:31)
It's not enough to put ideas on a board and realize it's going to take six hours to do it. You have to dive in and then get buy-in. And I couldn't get buy-in if I didn't have people that understood where they were getting to. I was just spraying shells from a shotgun and hoping I'm going to hit this target a mile away. It wasn't happening. It just wasn't the way the world worked. But it could have. I can see that now from the warrior's way. I can see how actionable and how successful I am now every week because I know I'm going to be successful on Sunday. On Sunday, I sit down and I write out the one door and the four keys. And not only then do I write it out for business, but then I send it to the guys inside the company. And then through sending it to the guys in the company, what I do is as long as it's applicable to them, I call back or I talk to them on Monday morning and make sure there's buy-in. See, my company's a lot smaller. I don't have 225 employees. I have 10. So the buy-in's not as significant. It doesn't take as long to get there. But what happens is we see large incremental growth week over week that's not only obtainable, but it's measurable. And so if something goes wrong throughout the week, we know it pretty quickly because these four keys have to happen in sequential order. So in this imaginary web hosting world, what I can tell you is I would have had to promise myself not only what has to happen, but the timetable those keys would have had to fall down in and really in this situation those keys couldn't have happened over the course of a week they all would have had to happen back to back to back to back on monday so now i'm setting timetables i'm setting goals i'm setting expectations and then i'm setting how it's going to be achieved and on what timetable. It's powerful. These are powerful things that no one ever taught me that I didn't know existed, but these things apply to every part of your life. Think about it. Maybe you yourself work inside a corporate environment.
Why Your Word Must Be Your Bond (17:31)
Maybe this isn't really your thing. You're like, man, I don't own my own business. This doesn't really matter. Bullshit. Think of the power in doing this for your household. Think of the power in doing this if you want to start your own business. Think of the power in this if you're running a team or even if you're just running yourself. Like what's the one thing you want to do this week that you know would put you in a better position next week if you actually did it? And then through that, what are the actionable items you're going to take to make those things happen? Is it just shooting a shotgun in the dark? Or do you have a high-powered rifle, laser-focused in on where you wanna get to? And although this is designed just for business, it can work in your personal life. Let's say your one thing is to increase your sexual intimacy with your partner. That's the most important thing that you can imagine in your life. So what are four actual items you can do throughout the week to start to get down the path of ensuring there can be some success there? What's your partner's love languages? How can you pour into those every day for four days in a row? Is it flowers? Is it chocolate? Is it foot rubs? Is it being present? Is it communicating with them throughout the day? There's four things you could do this week to impact the future for yourself if you focused on them this week, if you wrote them down and committed to them. Same thing when it comes to your body. Maybe your goal is to be able to run a half marathon, but right now you don't run at all. So what are the four things you would have to do this week to start to put you in a better position to make that happen next week? Maybe it's meet with a dietician so you start to understand how to fuel your body.
Seeing Results Week After Week (19:10)
Maybe it's to meet with a strength and training coach so you don't over train and over exert yourself. Maybe it's actually go to the gym four days this week. And then maybe it's get a massage because you know your body's going to be wrecked. Those are four actionable things that you can quantitate and measure that if you hold yourself to, and you know if you can't hold your own word to yourself, you can't expect someone else to do it. So when you write these things down on Sunday, your word has to be your bond. When you commit to these things to yourself, it has to be the most important commitment that you have. Then of course we can look at business. Let's say you work inside of a company. Let's say you don't have any subordinates. Let's say you by chance right now are the lowest man on the totem pole, but you don't want that shit forever. You want to be in management.
The Active Word (19:53)
You want to grow up the corporate ladder. So what's the one thing you can do this week to start to put yourself on the radar for that position? Maybe it's show up early. Maybe it's double your output. maybe it's make more phone calls there's all types of actionable ways to make this happen but these actionable things aren't going to happen by themselves you have to absolutely put one foot in front of the other day over day and focus on getting shit done hey guys, Ryan here thanks for joining me today getting shit done. five-star rating, then share this podcast with someone who needs to hear it. For additional content, head over to RyanNidell.com. That's R-Y-A-N-N-I-D-D-E-L.com.