The Bregman Leadership Podcast
Episode 171

Paul Jarvis

Company of One

“Paying attention to the people who are paying attention to me is probably the most important part of what I do.” – Paul Jarvis, Company of One.

Do you have a goal to keep growing your business year after year? Paul Jarvis, author of Company of One, suggests you think cautiously about that objective and he makes a case for keeping your business small. Discover the how and why he prioritizes audience engagement over size, why you should work on just one project or task at a time, and how to think from the customer or client’s point of view.

About

Website: Ofone.co
Book: Company of One
Bio: Paul Jarvis is a veteran of the online tech world, and over the years has had such corporate clients as Microsoft, Yahoo, Mercedes-Benz, Warner Music and even Shaquille O’Neal. ​Today, he teaches online courses, runs several software businesses and hosts a handful of podcasts from his home on an island on the West Coast of Canada.
Link: Paul’s audio gear

Video

Transcript

This transcript is unedited.

Peter: With us today is Paul Jarvis and I feel very fortunate. I chased after Paul for a while because he wasn’t really into doing an interview, but I’ve gotten him to do an interview with us. He wrote a delightful book, company of one. Why staying small is the next big thing for business. It’s an excellent book. It’s an important idea. And I feel fortunate to have Paul with us to sort of talk about both the book and this idea. He lives on an Island, Vancouver Island, which is not the same thing as Vancouver. He lives by by his ideas, right? Because he’s, he has a company of one. So Paul, welcome to the Bregman leadership podcast. So why, why did this book feel important for you to write?

Paul: Well, it, it started with an email to my mailing list. I’ve been sending a weekly email to a mailing list since November of 2012 and it’s usually just an article I write and I usually get a couple of hundred replies to the E to the articles that I write and one day decided to write an article on growth. Just not really to explain an idea for everybody, but just to explain to my mailing list, this is how and why I run my business in this way. Just so you all can understand. And that was the most popular thing that I’ve ever written and it was all about why I don’t care about growth and why I think growth makes sense up into a certain point. And in seeing so many people email me back saying, Oh, I actually feel the same way. I thought I was the only one who ran my business this way over and over again. I thought, okay, I think there’s, I think there’s something there and I think there’s something there that nobody else is talking about or giving attention to where all of these people who are working in this way are feeling like they’re alone and they shouldn’t because there’s, there’s so many more people out there who, who do business like this.

Peter: You know, a couple of thoughts just as you’re talking, one of the reasons I think people specifically might feel alone and why this is such a, an interesting conversation to have amongst this group is because if you’re in a company of one, then you’re alone like yours, you’re by definition your, you know, your, you’re not surrounded by colleagues to have these conversations with. So I think that’s really interesting. And, and the second is, I’m curious how many people are on your mailing list? About 30,000. Okay. Yeah. I love like there’s, there’s an intimacy with which you just described your approach, right? Which just in your language, like not like, okay, I have this idea I want to share with the world. It’s like, no, I actually like I’ve got this relationship with these people, 30,000 people or however many of them are opening up the email at that point. And, and it, and I, I wonder if you could just talk for a minute about the relationship you have because there’s something even in your language that feels a little unique about that.

Paul: Yeah, I mean, I think my mailing list is probably the most important part of my business even though it doesn’t directly generate any income, but it is what connects all of the things that I do to the people who are paying attention. And I think for me that’s the most important thing. I want to talk to the people who are paying attention currently. It’s good to get more people, especially in the beginning. It’s good to grow. And this is kind of the thesis of the book, right? Like it’s good to kind of grow in the beginning and to figure out what you need in your business in terms of revenue and customers and audience and all of that. But once you do have an audience, a lot of times people just focus on the acquisition over the retention, and I’ve always felt like I liked the retention aspect of it.

Paul: I like the people who are on my mailing list because I got to know them. Like I said, I’ve emailed them every Sunday since 2012 they email me back. My email at is not no reply at Paul Jarvis is just my normal email address. So we have conversations, I get to know them, I get to see what they’re working on, what they’re struggling with, what they’re interested in, and that’s what helps me build the business that I have. And so paying attention to the people who are paying attention to me, it’s probably the most important part of anything that I do.

Peter: So Cal Newport, who’s been on this podcast and has blurbed your book. I think what I’m just, I hear his voice in my head. He wrote the book deep work and I think I hear his voice in my head when I say, well, when, when I, when you tell me you get, you know, a couple of hundred emails back from people and I think you’re probably responding to them. But based on on your conversation and is that a good use of your time as opposed to doing deep work and creating things to every week be emailing with 200 or 300 people who are responding to your articles for sharing and deep

Paul: Work is one of my favorite books in cows. Probably one of my favorite authors. So I, and I understand and because I’m very introverted and I definitely see the value in all of the work that I do now, it does require deep and focus work. It’s very hard to write a book while you’re also writing emails or tweeting. Right. So I mean, you know, this is a, you’ve written a bunch of books so I think, but I think there, there is also an ebb and flow. So I like the, the relationships that I built because like you said, if you’re working for yourself, like this is my home office here, right? So I’m by myself working everyday. But just you work for yourself doesn’t mean you have to work by yourself all the time. So I like having this community to talk to and it takes me probably a few hours a week on Sunday if I feel like it or on Monday too, to reply to everybody then that’s it.

Paul: I don’t have their focus on that for for much more than that. And I think it is a really good use of my time because I don’t know how to make Prada, I don’t know how to make a product and then find an audience for it. I know how to cultivate a relationship with an audience, listen and then figure out, okay, what did these people want? Because if I can build that for them, then I’ve already got an audience baked into the idea that I have for the product. Right. So for me, that’s probably, that is the most important part of my business is just listening to the people who pay attention to, to what I have to say.

Peter: It feels really important and it, and it feels like such a counter, not counter argument maybe, but counter position to the typical drive to, to acquisition, right? To say, so how many social media followers do you have? How many? And when you’re publishing a book, publishers want to know that. And I, it’s not clear to me that the number of followers you have in any way translates to the, you know, number of book sales that you get or the number, you know, like I think, I think people who follow on social media are much more casual often. And that’s not important. I’m wondering if you notice care about are on social media, does that feel important to you? Does, does the fact that you have 30,000 people on your list feel, feel useful and important to you in that way? Are you trying to grow that list and I’m, I’m curious about all those things.

Paul: Sure. So social media, I am not on, I’ve never had a Facebook account. Never been on LinkedIn. I used Instagram for a while when I had pets. Now that I don’t have hats, I don’t have anything to take pictures of that I want to share. So I’m on Twitter, but like my Twitter, like the photo of me is me eating a donut.

Peter: My Twitter isn’t really well, but you’re, you’re an engineer and your coder and you’re online. I mean that’s, that’s a choreographed picture. Are you eating a doughnut? Is the perfect picture? Probably have a green hoodie on too when you’re eating the donut. Codeine.

Paul: Yeah. So social media is more for me about connection with people. I would rather just talk to people then promote stuff on there. I’m sure I mentioned things every once in a while. But so for the mailing list, the actual number of subscribers I don’t think matters total vanity metric doesn’t matter. What matters is engagement there. So my mailing list, I just, just probably two weeks ago, I deleted 12,000 people off my mailing list because they weren’t opening or clicking anything. So I like to have a mailing list that’s in with engaged people. So even when I was pitching my book, because my agent and my publisher were definitely curious about those things. There were also, it was also helpful to say the article that I wrote about the topic for the book was the most open read and reply to email that I’ve ever sent. So maybe maybe writing a book about challenging the growth mindset is a good idea and they felt they totally bought that because it was true. And then they said, how big do you think we could make that book? So I think for the mailing list, like the 30,000 the total number of subscribers I don’t think is important. I think what’s important is the fact that the fact that the open rate is high because I continually prove my list. I think the click rate, the reply rate, like if I get more response to an article that I’ve written, that to me is a good and clear indicator that I’m talking about something useful and valuable to my audience versus just this is the number of people on my mailing list.

Peter: What, what’s the outcome you’re going for with the mailing list? This is all my mind right now related to this mailing list conversation. But I want to kind of make it bigger and I dunno if you can answer this very quickly and I also want to make sure we get to the book, but I’m enjoying so much having this conversation with you and it’s, it’s shifting something for me so I’m, I’m kind of going with it. I think we don’t ask that question enough. Not from a goal oriented perspective, but from a sort of intention, thoughtfulness perspective, right? What’s the outcome we’re going for? And as I was writing this morning about it, I was thinking, you know, there’s, there’s a ladder, right? So it’s like what’s my, what’s my life outcome that I’m going for? How do I want to live? My life, what’s my launch it?

Peter: What’s my year outcome that I’m going for this year? What’s my sort of unit of work outcome like my month or my weeks are like, what am I going for right now? And in this moment, in this conversation, for example, what’s the outcome that I want? And I’m curious. So I’m curious at the bigger level what you’re going for in your life, which I think is reflected in the book and this conversation and then, and then how that translates into what the outcomes you’re going for in this relationship with your audience and in your sort of perspective on social media.

Paul: Yeah. So I think the outcome for the easier, the easiest thing to answer is the outcome with my list. And it’s that I’m fishing, I’m throwing out, I’m casting out ideas, seeing which ones people bite on. Yeah. And just like, I want to do things. And it’s funny because earlier on I really didn’t want to think about like the value that people put in my work. I wanted the work to just be by it, the standby itself and remove all of the other outcomes from that. But now I’m like, I want to make things that are valuable to other people. And so if I wrote a book, if I was thinking about writing a book and nobody cared to read it, I wouldn’t write it. Like that’s, I’m a writer for work. So I love writing. But if I didn’t get paid to write, if people didn’t read my books, I wouldn’t do it.

Paul: Right. So with the mailing lists specifically, I’m kind of casting out ideas and seeing which ones people are interested in, which ones people say, Oh, actually there’s, there’s something there that I would like to learn more or like to figure out for myself. And so for me, that’s the, the most important thing is seeing what ideas and what the sissies like as if that’s the plural are, theses are things that people are interested in hearing from me because they think that they’re valuable. And to me that’s important. As far as business. I mean, I don’t really have, I’ve never really had any specific goals for anything. I don’t really care that much about them for me personally. But what I do care about is having the ability to have choice, which is I think what the freedom means, the ability to have choice, right?

Paul: So in my business, the reason I don’t grow it bigger is because I have more freedom now than I would if I had a bunch of employees, offices, all of that complicated things. So for me, it’s all the outcome for me in, in business, in, in a general sense is always just what gives me more freedom, what gives me the most revenue and enjoyment for the least amount of responsibility where I can have the ability to choose what I want to do next. Because I find that I don’t always know, like the year before I became a writer, writing wasn’t even on my radar. The year before I became a designer, I started web design and the mid nineties, the year before that, I didn’t know that that’s what I wanted to do. Right. So I like to leave myself open, so I don’t really plan anything ever. I just kind of see where things take me. I’m still very driven and I think a lot of people think that, Oh, that’s not very driven or that some like hippy dippy thing, but not, I work hard, I’m super driven, but I’m not attached to any outcome. I’m attached to the process and the present and that leads me in whatever direction it leads me. Right.

Peter: Beautiful. Thinking about the book, it doesn’t actually seem the company of one, it doesn’t seem like it’s a manifesto against growth because there’s plenty of examples in the book that you give about people who’ve grown their influence and their impact tremendously and and then and want to continue to do so even to greater amounts. So it’s, it’s more like a manifesto against growing large bureaucratic organizations and putting a lot of capital into ideas that require more capital and more, you know, to your point about your own life, more sort of responsibility and limitation of choices as opposed to an opening up of choices and my thinking about this, right?

Paul: Yeah, it’s definitely not anti-growth because I’m not anti-growth. I think that growth is Def definitely makes sense. Especially, and this is I think where the problem lies because when we start a business, growth is 100% mandatory and necessary. And then we see the growth is good because we start at zero and grow to something. We grow to some revenue, some customers, some audience, some recognition. And we see, Hey, growth is good, let’s keep this, let’s keep the wagon wheels here. And, and the point of the book, and I think that the, the thesis is that if we don’t ever question growth, we could end up somewhere that doesn’t make sense for us or we could end up somewhere that limits our freedom, right? Or that puts us in a place that we don’t necessarily want to be in. Because a lot of times growth diminishes choices.

Paul: And I think that is Edward. Abby said that growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of a cancer cell, which to me makes so much sense because if, if all we’re focused on is growth, then that’s all we’re going to like best case scenario, that’s all we’re going to get, right? If we’re focused on other things and growth is required, then we see that growth as a means to an end and then we get there and maybe we say, okay, well this is enough and that doesn’t mean we stagnate at that point. It just means our priorities shift from growth, growth, growth to something else. Just like with my mailing list, 30,000 people is enough people for me to reach. It supports my business. It makes me enough money. I can handle all the emails that people send me. So growing, it doesn’t make any sense. Right? But I needed to get to that. I needed to grow to that point to get there.

Peter: That totally makes sense. And you know, like it’s like you’re talking about, and you talk about this in the group says in the book, sustainable growth. You know, like what? So what do you mean or I should say? Is that what you mean by sustainable growth?

Paul: Yeah, I think a lot of times the way, especially because I’m pretty much in the tech world, sustainability and growth are kind of opposite to each other where a lot of tech companies, especially venture backed ones, just want to grow as fast as possible and then kind of die off or IPO and then somebody else takes over. And then as a whole,

Peter: Private equity is the same thing. Venture capital is the same thing. It’s all like what can I do to make you know to flip something and to it to add value and then leave it.

Paul: Exactly. And I’ve never wanted an exit strategy. I’ve wanted an exist strategy because I like my business. I don’t want to keep going. I run my business for, I looked at my article of incorporation and that was October 13th 20 years ago, so I just had like my 20 year anniversary of my business, which I’m happy about and I don’t want to close it anytime soon. And I think for a lot of businesses, people, operators of businesses for the most part that aren’t in that hyper growth VC world, want to just keep their business going. They want it to sustain them, their families, the revenues they, they want to keep going and it needs to adapt over time. Obviously I do something very different than I did when I started, but I still want to keep going. My financial advisor asked me like two days ago, what does retirement look like? And I like, I don’t, I don’t know what retirement looks like. Probably just working still, maybe not as much, even though I don’t work a ton now, but it’s still like I can’t see myself not working because I enjoy it. Right.

Peter: The, the, I’m captured by this idea of choices and freedom to make choices. And I wonder the, the couple of things that I think about that compete with that idea is the importance of making choices of priorities. Right? Otherwise you’re all over the place. Like if you have 20 priorities, you have no, I had a client once who said to me like, we really care about priorities in this organization. It’s super important. It’s why we have 20 of them. And you know, like that’s obviously not a priority at all. So as soon as you prioritize something, you’re limiting choices, you’re making a choice that limits other choices. Just sort of saying, I’m going in this direction, it means I’m going to block all, I’m going to make choices to move away from these things. I’m not going to distract myself by these other things. And I’m wondering how you think about that.

Paul: Sure. I think it was the word priority that didn’t become plural until the 1950s so there wasn’t even a plural for the word [inaudible], which is like, this makes so much sense because you need, especially if you’re a small business, you need to focus and focus means one thing at a time. And I think a lot of times when people look at my business, I have a couple podcasts, two software products. I teach a few courses. So it seems like there’s a lot, but I’m only ever working on one thing at a time. So when it’s just like when you asked about doing an interview in the summer, I wasn’t doing interviews because it was focused on something else. Right? So when I’m writing a book, I’m not working on other things, so I kind of do things sequentially so I can focus 100% of my time and attention on one thing, do it, move on to the next, do it and move on to the next.

Paul: And I think especially when you’re not focused on growth, because I think that where growth seems like it’s a good idea in theory is that you can do more and adding more to any business problem is typically the easiest way to solve it. But it’s not always the best way to solve it. And I know that if I brought on more staff, I could do more things, but that would bring me to a place that I don’t, I wouldn’t like how I spend my days. So for me, and for a lot of smaller businesses, we have to be pretty laser-focused with saying no to every single thing except for the one thing that needs doing and do that, do that well and then move on to the next thing. Yeah. If you have 20 priorities, you have no priorities. Like you said.

Peter: Have you faced a situation? I know I have and I’ve run a business similar to yours and I do hire people and I do bring people on and I do partner with people. And part of the reason for that is because there’s projects that engage me and that are really interesting and that I think can have a big impact that I can’t do myself. Meaning I can’t deliver effectively with high quality if it’s just me. So I need to bring other people on or I need to say no to that work. Sure. And I’m curious how you, whether you face that and how you think about it.

Paul: Yeah, I mean I the term company of one that I guess I came up with isn’t meant in a literal sense because I’m not a one person company either. And most of the people in the book that are examples aren’t one person companies. It’s more of a mindset where it’s like Tim Ferriss four hour work week. He doesn’t say you work four hours a week anywhere in the book. It’s more of a mindset for seeing what you can do with the least amount possible and then moving and iterating from there. So for myself, I have two or three business partners for different ventures that I have my biggest expense every year, a freelancers because I would rather quality people do the work that I can’t or that I don’t want to. I’d rather have somebody, even things like, like most business owners still hire accountants or lawyers to do those sorts of things, right? So hiring people to do video editing, copy editing, all of that I think makes sense because it’s a, it’s a better use of my time to pay somebody well to do those things so I can focus on the things that I know are going to give my business the most bang for its buck.

Peter: Right. You sort of talk about it and we’ve talked about in this conversation leading sustainable growth and I’m curious what some of the rules are. You know, you talk about this in the book and what some of the rules are for, for people who are wanting to stay small and not burn themselves out, continue to grow to the point where they’re doing the work that they want to do with the people that they want to do it, but it’s sustainable.

Paul: Yeah, I think, I don’t, I’m not a big rules person. I’ve always been kind of anti authorities, so even it’s funny, in the book my publisher wanted me to have at the end of each chapter have statements of truth and I was like, how about we have questions for people to ask themselves? It’s that feels that feels more on brand for me and that that’s ended. That ended up what we, what we did. I, there are definitely some traits though that companies have won or that companies that feel like they should challenge the growth mindset should have. I think resilience is definitely one of them accepting that we can’t control reality, but we do have the ability to adapt to it. I think when you’re a small business, it’s actually easier to do that if you’re a huge business. It’s really hard to change anything ever because there’s so, there’s so much momentum of scale happening, so for a company of one, resilience is huge.

Paul: Autonomy is another trait that I see present in successful companies have one where they have mastered the thing that they do and then they can be led without having direction or micromanagement to complete tasks. So it’s just like good freelancers. You don’t tell somebody how to design your website. If you’re hiring a good web designer, you tell them, these are my business problems, how can we solve this with a new web design? And then they have the autonomy to come up with the solution. Another thing, another trait is speed. Because I think smaller businesses are able to act and move and even pivot faster. And then the final thing, simplicity. I think the best part about having a small business is you can do things like have simple rules, simple processes, simple systems where you don’t have to refer to a manual that weighs about 20 pounds that you pick up. Like how do I do this? Things like let’s leave through the manual. It’s like if you can remember it or write it down in a couple sentences for a system or a process. I actually think systems and processes are really important, but they should be simple enough to, to remember or refer back to quickly. So those are pro, those are probably the four biggest traits that I see for companies of one who do things well and sustainably.

Peter: Right. How do you manage its scale? Scale in a technology business is, I wouldn’t call it easy, but it makes sense. Like it’s, it’s, it’s easy to understand how to scale a technology business. I’m curious and a lot of the examples that you give in the book I think of as technology business examples, I’m curious about your view of service businesses, like how you can scale a service business within, you know, and in some ways this book is a counterpoint, a Michael Gerber’s, you know, the E myth, right? Which sort of says you shouldn’t work in your business, you should work on your business. And I’ve always had a little bit of a problem like that. I mean I I understand the need to work on your business and I have to do it on my business, but I like working in my business. I like being a craftsmen in coaching and teaching around leadership. And so how do you manage the scale in a service business?

Paul: Yeah, and I‘ve been a service person much longer than I’ve been a product person and I love doing it. It was hard to actually switch from service to products. I just wanted to do, cause I’d done services for so long. But I think in a, in a service business, you basically, you can’t, if you don’t want to grow in terms of employees or resources, then you can’t just work more, right? You can’t just keep adding. And that’s what a lot of people unfortunately do. And then that leads to burnout. So I think you have to try to figure out how you can solve more valuable problems, which costs more money to solve. So continually thinking about how you can make more money from the projects that you’re doing, where you’re not necessarily spending more time on them, but you’re making more.

Paul: I think the first step in that is separating a time from money where you’re not charging by the hour because if you’re charging by the hour, you’re punished for efficiency. And I like to be efficient and I like to make money. So it’s kind of counter to that. So figuring out how you can charge by value or deliverable and then you can ratchet as you get more client success stories, all of that, you can keep ratcheting up what the value of that service is and charge more. I don’t lots of people who have served as businesses who make really great livings and who have they still like, and I’m the same. I love working in my business. I love doing the actual work. That’s why I haven’t grown into a position of management because then I would just be jealous of the people doing the work and me having to manage them.

Peter: Yeah. And I’ve done that multiple times in my business. I’ve also had this business for over 20 years, 21-22 years. And it’s, and it’s, you know, you and I are not dissimilar. I was one to ask in a, in an interview about my, the strategy of my career and I thought about it for a second and I’d like, my career is incredibly unstrategic, you know, it’s entirely opportunistic. Like I do stuff that I love where there’s value and then at some point I stopped loving it or I think the value’s not there as much and then I’d do something else that is all, you know, kind of shifting in the same general area. So I’m continuing to grow in my skill and capacity and value, but, but I’m not, I couldn’t never have told you when I went into college and when I got out of college or even 10 years ago, what the business would look like today versus what it looked like, you know, 10 years ago or before I even started it.

Peter: I, I’m curious about the, you said something earlier that, that that made me think when you said you’re talking about your mailing list and the sort of intimate relationship you have with clients and customers and readers and that you want to make sure that you’re talking about things that have value to them. And I totally get that. That feels super important. And there are times when you might be a prophet of sorts, right? Where you have something you want people to hear and understand, but they’re not necessarily asking for it. And I’m curious whether you even buy that as a concept or whether you would say, you know what, they’re not asking for it. It’s not, you know, it’s, it’s, I have to think about how to reshape how I’m saying it or whether whether you find yourself in that situation sometimes and how you approach it. For sure.

Paul: Yeah. I have found myself in that situation a bunch of times and I think you touched on what the answer I think is his positioning. If you can position it in a way that, and even like every landing page I’ve ever written for sales copy has been verbatim what I’ve heard from people who might buy it or who have bought it in the past. Tell me what the value is or what it, because I can write a sales, like if I write sales copy for product, I’m selling this coming from a place of expertise because I have the expertise to teach or sell it. Whereas the way that I describe it in the words I use to describe it are, could be totally different from the way somebody else would describe it. Who’s interested in learning that thing? Because a lot of times people can, they think they need to focus on something instead of something else.

Paul: And people on the other side of that are like, no, I know you need to focus on this. But they’re like, no, I know I need to focus on this thing. You’re wrong. And sometimes there is that disconnect. I wrote an article and we were talking before you started recording about a my audio set up and I wrote an article to my mailing list about my audio video set up last week. And the last paragraph was something like, none of these tools matter. Like these tools aren’t. I do well in my business with audio and video. These tools are what happened as I started to do well and I started to upgrade the things that I have, whereas everybody, if I do an interview and somebody watches it, they’re like, well, what microphone do you have thinking that the microphone is what’s going to make it good?

Paul: And it’s, it’s not, it’s the microphone is just what I have. And if you do this and you’re iterating on it and you’re finding yourself doing tons of interviews and definitely upgrade your stuff, but that’s not the thing that’s going to get you there. I have actually, on the flip side of that, I’ve seen, I’ve heard from my audience that they want things from me and I’ve realized sometimes a little too far into it that I’m not the right person to, to provide that or it’s not something that I actually really want to want to make. A lot of times it comes down to something that’s super prescriptive, like I don’t want to write a how to for dummies style book, which I think there’s incredible value in that. That’s just personally not something I would rather go into the why instead of the how. So I see the flip side of that where my audience is asking for something from me saying like, we want this for, we want your take on this. And I’m like, it’s not gonna work. I’m not, I’m not the guy. There’s somebody else, but it’s not me.

Peter: And I’m sure because your voice, as we talked about before off, off air does sound so buttery with that without Mike. And part of it’s your voice. Part of it’s the mic. And I know a lot of it’s your voice but, but you’ll, if you can give me the link to that article or that email or joining your mailing list, we’ll make sure to post that. For listeners who want to hear that, cause I know I sort of want to see your audio set up and I want to be more buttery too, but also also wanting to join your, your mailing list. You, you have a, you know, it’s very rare that I talk to people who are in the realm of marketing and digital marketing and I don’t kind of feel like I want to take a shower afterwards and it’s, no, but it’s, but it’s true.

Peter: Like I feel your, the sincerity with which, and the integrity with which you approach it, the way you think about, you know, what getting the word out is. And it’s about a relationship and it’s about adding value to people. And it’s not just about, you know, selling the most things to the most numbers of people, but it’s about understanding a need and being able to speak to that need in, in a way in which you care really comes through, at least for me in this conversation. And I really appreciate that. And and you give me, I’m we’re in the process of hiring a marketing person and, and it, it, it shapes for me what I’m looking for and because I’ve always had a hard time with, with marketing and some of it’s my own issue of like, I don’t want to, you know, sound egotistical and sell myself and I don’t want to do that. And yet I want everything you’re talking about. I have important things

Paul: I want to share and I want to share it to people’s listening and, and I want to support you and you should. And I think this is the, this is the, and I hear this so much and I think, I really think that marketing is just building trust through connection with other people. Like it’s as simple as that. And I think a lot of times that like so the the people on the other side of us, the people who have absolutely no problem selling anything to anyone for any reason have absolutely no problem doing that. It’s only people like us who are like, Oh, maybe I shouldn’t like sell to my mailing list a second time this year or I don’t want to, I don’t want to sound like a slimy sales person. Your net Pew, you’re never going to sound like design the sales person.

Paul: Like it’s just, it’s just not going to happen because it’s not who you are and it’s nice for you to say those. Sometimes I read stuff that that I put out or that gets put out kind of in my name, which I I have to be very aware of because it’s the same thing as it’s coming out from me and I feel like I’m trying to like push a sale. That is that I’m really, I’ve, that I’ve become very uncomfortable with and makes me, it creates, that’s the stuff that where I don’t sleep so well at night because I feel like I don’t know where that line is. People are telling me I need to sell more and yet it’s, and I understand I have to sell because I’m running your business and yet it almost always feels uncomfortable to me and I don’t quite know how to walk that line.

Paul: Yeah. I mean it still feels uncomfortable to me to be honest. I still do it, but the way that I kind of approach it is just if I’m writing an article that has absolutely no sales step in it, it’s going to be my voice. It’s going to be me. I’m a weird, quirky dude. Right. That’s how I was going to come out. If I’m selling something, my voice does and language don’t change. I still am a weird, quirky guy who talks like a surfer. That’s just the thing. If I’m selling something, it sounds like that if I’m writing an article, it sounds like that. And it’s just that it’s the, the, the email that I sent that generated the most revenue ever in my business. Instead of having a buy now button, it was click a picture of my pets and that’s still generated the most revenue that I’ve ever generated from a single email.

Paul: I at the time I had pet rats, so it was just a picture of my pet rats. It’s like the weirdest thing ever. But that was, that was me. So it’s, you know, pet rats are just weird enough that I actually might click on it, whereas if it was just a dog, I probably wouldn’t. So anyway, that’s a whole other podcast probably about why you have pet rats. But, and it’s interesting because I do look at emails that I get from people that are driven to the click. And I do think I don’t like this, but but I might click it cause it’s, it’s kind of effective. And then I think, Oh, I should do that too. Even though it’s so antithetical to to who I am and I guess one of the things that I’m hearing from you is don’t do that.

Paul: Yeah, it’s hard because like scarcity does work. Having a timer, four things generate sales and for the way that I always kind of approach it is I’m fine to do those sorts of things if they’re honest and too, if like I’m always trying to say like, don’t buy this. If you don’t want you don’t buy this. If it puts you in financial hardship ever, that doesn’t make any sense. No product is ever worth that. But too, if you’re curious, talk to me. I convinced more people not to buy my stuff then to buy my stuff when they have a question, there’s usually a valid reason and they’re not the right person to buy that product, so I’m going to tell them and typically those people come back couple of years later or buy a different product and it all works out in the end. But I’d rather, because you’re trustworthy. If you’re not sure, let’s, let’s talk about this and if you’re not a good fit, I’m going to tell you right.

Peter: All Jarvis, his book has company of one. Why staying small is the next big thing in business. Paul, it is. It is. I, I understand why on a deep level, my soul was chasing after you because it was, it’s a, it was worth it. It’s so nice to have this conversation with you and, and I’m looking forward to staying connected beyond this and I really appreciate you being on the Bregman leadership Podcast.

Paul: Thanks so much Peter. I appreciate it. This was fun.

 

Comments

  1. anisuz zaman says:

    Lovely indeed.

  2. anisuz zaman says:

    Lovely indeed. Appetite this.

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