Welcome to the "Chasing Financial Freedom" podcast, where we explore the inspiring stories of those who have successfully transitioned from one career to another in pursuit of financial freedom. In this episode, we're excited to feature Steven Lentz in "Fighting Fires & Ranking Higher: A Digital Marketer's Unexpected Journey."
Steven Lentz is a former firefighter and EMT who bravely served his community for over a decade. After hanging up his firefighting gear, Steven discovered his passion for digital marketing and quickly became an expert. His unique background and dedication to helping others have allowed him to excel in assisting business owners and entrepreneurs to achieve online visibility and success.
Join us as we dive deep into Steven's incredible journey, from fighting fires to mastering digital marketing. Throughout the episode, you'll hear about his challenges during his career transition and the valuable lessons he learned. We'll also discuss essential success tips, such as overcoming perfectionism and embracing entrepreneurship, which can help you toward financial freedom.
By tuning into this episode of "Chasing Financial Freedom," you'll gain exclusive insight into Steven's journey and uncover practical advice for pursuing your dreams. Whether you're looking to make a career change, improve your digital marketing skills, or seek inspiration, this episode is packed with valuable information that will leave you motivated and ready to chase your financial freedom. Don't miss out on this fascinating conversation – listen now!Buzzsprout - Let's get your podcast launched!
Fighting Fires & Ranking Higher: A Digital Marketer's Unexpected Journey with Steven Lentz
[00:00:00] Ryan: Hey guys, Ryan Dement from Chasing Financial Freedom Podcast. I hope you guys are having a great day today. On the podcast we have Steven Lentz. And Steven. A little background on Steven is that he is a digital marketer who exited the fire service after more than 10 years as a firefighter and E M T. He now uses his skills to help owners and entrepreneurs get visible on the first page of Google.
And where we met on pod match. I like what he has to say in his little quote. Perfectionism is a fancy procrastination. Steven, welcome to the show.
[00:00:34] Steven: Hey, thanks. I appreciate it and I also appreciate taking my call this morning so we can match our wardrobes. I really enjoyed that.
[00:00:41] Ryan: Yeah. I've got, I got my black shirt on.
So yes we we are actually matching, so we'll get right to it. So before we talk about a little bit about your history and what you're doing, a little bit about you personally, and then we'll start jumping into some rabbit holes.
[00:00:54] Steven: Yeah. Personally, I'm married, been married for over 10 years as well.
Got two kids, eight and six currently. So I don't know when this goes or how, when someone, the road. Like they're not eating six anymore. They're right now, but yeah. Two little animals at being my kids and a coop full of chickens that our kids' grandfather bought for them. And we're gonna sell eggs that he wants, oh, cool. Yeah, that's, I became chicken daddy. I'm not an animal person, but now I have 19 chickens and it's, I love them.
[00:01:24] Ryan: Nine 19
[00:01:25] Steven: chickens. Yeah. One from zero to 19. Just he bought, he they showed up in the mail in a box like, all right, they're at the post office. You go get 'em. So I had 19 chickens in a tent in my living room for a couple weeks, and now they're out in the yard.
It's, wow. It's ridiculous. It's fun, but
[00:01:39] Ryan: it's wild. I'm guessing you have some type of acreage or some land that gives them some space to roam. Yeah, we have quite a bit of space
[00:01:46] Steven: out here.
[00:01:47] Ryan: Oh, that's awesome. That's cool. You get to eat your own eggs and do what you need to do with it. That and your kids get to learn how to raise chickens.
That's pretty cool.
[00:01:53] Steven: That's true. The sick twist is that we're vegan, so we're not gonna eat the eggs. We're just, I've got chickens. That is a twist. There you go. Yeah.
[00:02:03] Ryan: So you're just gonna sell 'em for
[00:02:05] Steven: a profit? Yeah, grandpa bought in front of the chickens and he wants the kids to sell them the eggs.
So it's very beginner entrepreneurial stuff for the kids. That's awesome. It's, yeah it's fun. It's good. It's, I end up doing everything cause they're little and that's, you know what happens when you get an animal in your house and you have little kids, but come out with me and throw the shavings and do that kinda stuff.
But they're already
[00:02:27] Ryan: starting to learn about business and entrepreneurship. Yes. And there's nothing wrong with that. And no they get to see the ups and downs.
[00:02:34] Steven: Yeah, and my eight year old is all about, like for the last, I don't know, four years since he started talking. He saw that we were being entrepreneurs.
He's I wanna have, when he is in the car, he's I wanna have a tire shop. I'm gonna do, tires for everyone. And I was like, I'm gonna do, grandpa's gonna pay me a hundred dollars of pressure wash. I'm gonna have a pressure washing business. Like everything he sees is business opportunities, which is cool.
But also part of me is I love that for him, but I also wanted to make sure that he's being a kid and just enjoying himself. So there's that like balance of bud, like this is your time to not have to work. Like I'm happy for you to be entrepreneurial and driven and wanna accomplish things and do things and build things like that's exciting, but I don't want you to miss out on being a kid at the same time.
So there's that like fine balance of both things. But yes, it is very cool and I'm very excited for them to have business opportunities and be entrepreneurs.
[00:03:20] Ryan: Being a kid in all that innocence, you don't wanna lose all that. And going out and spending time with your friends and learning stuff and just absorbing, that's huge.
You don't want, adult, being an adult and an entrepreneur can be tough at times and you lose I joke about it because I was not always an entrepreneur. I worked almost 25 years in corporate America, and when I became an entrepreneur, I thought I knew it all and that was the wrong thing to, to think.
And The failures I got out of that process and to change my mindset and to grow as a human being, to be, even stronger is all come from entrepreneurship. Corporate America didn't teach me any of that.
[00:03:56] Steven: Yeah. No, you're right. And my goal for my kids is that they're good humans.
Like whether they get a W2 or whether they own their own business. Like I don't really care. Like I want them to be happy with where they're at, whether it's Thinging Pizzas for Dominoes, or they're, got a multimillion business. It doesn't matter to me. And I would like the things that I build to be their legacy and they can step into them and do that, but I'm not, Help on trying to force them into my will of being like, this is the path for you.
So yeah, making sure that they enjoy their childhood is really important to me. But it's, again it's a weird balance of, trying to make sure that they're top of things but not. Because they're so impressionable, right? Oh man, like they see us, entrepreneurship is hard and you're like, I need to get clients to make money.
And they hear like money conversations. They're like, I need to make money too. And it's no, you need to be a kid. Like I need to make money. And it's did I just break my child with one, comment. Yeah. Keeping values and perspective and all that stuff. That's,
[00:04:50] Ryan: but that's life.
That's life. We can go down a whole rabbit hole with that. But before we can go back. We can come back to that. So tell us a little bit about your history. You were a firefighter, e m T and then how you transi transitioned or became, an entrepreneur, what drove you?
[00:05:06] Steven: Yeah, it's, like the entrepreneur journey, right?
It's my personal path was on a straight line and I. In Washington state, about 1% of people who apply for firefighter jobs get them. It's very competitive out here. But I tested for somewhere like three and a half, four years and, slept on the sidewalk to get an application for one department.
Didn't get like it's that competitive and eventually I moved just to volunteer for a department to have a better shot at getting in. I got in with 'em about a year and a half after when they were hiring and I was with them for a year and a half and then they ran outta money and so me and the next low guy on the totem pole got.
Pushed out and I'm like, Hey, sorry, we can't pay for you. Like we get it. And I got picked up by another apartment. I was with them for about a year and a half. And again, I was back out. I was like, this is crazy. Like this pseudo-government, this government job that is supposed to have a pension and provide for my family and security, like that mindset paradigm for was just shattered of, safety and security within the workforce.
And I was like, I need to provide for myself. And so I started taking every class I could, took every course I could, and I did fix and flip real estate. I did, I sold life insurance over the phone you name it, I've done some variation of it and I was like, I hate life. Like this sucks. I, cause I wanna help people.
And I like, I'm just doing all these, like trying to make money is not going with the ethos of I'm doing this because they just wanna help someone. And so I was like, what can I do that makes a difference? And started looking into marketing. I was like, marketing. Helps resolve those money issues that people have.
And it saves marriages and helps kids not get broken homes because that's a huge stress that breaks people up and it provides for other families with people that employ that. Like doing good at marketing and helping businesses helps lots of people. And I was like, this makes sense for me. And so I started looking at that and again, taking everything I could.
And I, got dozens of courses and classes from all sorts of, you name them, I've got them. I was like, okay, I'm getting things and there's always like one piece that's missing, right? From all these different courses and I'm starting to put these together. It's oh, this is actually making sense.
And I got pretty de like decently good at it. And then the fire department calls back, it's been like five years now Hey do you wanna come back? We have money. And I was like why wouldn't I? I love, picking Graham up off the floor and cutting kids outta car. I was like, this is awesome.
Just as we talked about kids being kids and changing and that kind of stuff, like I've changed as a person. And so when I started my fire career service journey, like I was young, just about to get married and now coming back into this with the first apartment, I'm married with two kids and I'm looking at the research cuz new research is come all the time and the fire service and they're like, Hey so this is really unhealthy for you and a lot of firefighters are dying like five, 10 years after retirement, so enjoy it while it's good.
I was like, that's not what I want for myself. I'm like, now that I've got kids, I'm not here for live fast, die young, enjoy life. Like I want grandkids and great grandkids and I want to be around and I don't care to like to have, my. It's painting, oil painting of daddy on a throne, but I wanna be around for my, my offspring.
And so that was just a really weird who references their kids' offspring. But I was like, I wanna be around. And so I was like, I need to work my way out of this. And so how do I do that? And I was like what do I know? I was like, I know marketing. Not a lot of firefighter skills transfer really into other I'm gonna get a job where I cut people outta cars.
Yeah. I was like, Hey, like I've learned all these different things and I understand the new needs and how businesses work and operate and that kind of, that side of it. And so I started working my way into that, and then Covid came through. And I got covid and spoiler, I survived.
And not to be political, but like my, I don't believe people should be necessarily forced to do something. I'm digging the freedom of choice and I said, Hey, you have to get this, or we're gonna terminate you. And I was like I've already had covid, like I'm going into covid houses all the time.
Right now I'm not getting it or spreading it. Like I'm always testing negative if natural immunity is a higher standard than. The vaccine, what's the issue? And they're like that's how it is. And so I picked my principles over my profession and exited a little over a year ago, January 30th, and went full-time in marketing at that point.
And so while that was the path I was leaving towards leaving the fire service, it wasn't how I wanted to go and I wasn't quite ready. But that is the the journey of how and where I got to doing marketing full-time
[00:09:22] Ryan: and. What really, what drove you to the marketing aspect out of everything I know.
Is it a passion? Did you find something that just clicked and said, I love doing this, or I want to be able to help others doing this? What really pushed you there?
[00:09:35] Steven: Yeah. I think it, or it goes back to how I said I like helping people. I've worked at Starbucks and I'm pretty sure, a trained monkey could make a latte.
Like I, I didn't feel like I was really making a difference when I did that. But again, doing marketing, doing good at marketing for businesses changes the business, which changes lives. And that is an important aspect. And so that's important to me, is doing something that makes a difference for people and helps them.
But also, yeah, I'm, I was, I got good at it too, which, I don't like to pat myself on the back and say, Hey, I'm great, but like I, I get results from my clients, which is important.
[00:10:07] Ryan: So you left the fire service and you started going into marketing full-time. What was that transition like in the first, I say the first 60 to 120 days?
Cuz I know when I left full-time employment W2 to transitioning to no paycheck, there was a little bit of there's sticker shock there, but it was also like, oh boy. I gotta do something different. It just, it was a total, I wasn't mindset ready for it. Yeah.
[00:10:36] Steven: I like relationships.
Like I, I grew up in the time where, AOL just came online, right? Sit in the dial
and you have AOL instant messenger in Juno for email and MySpace and all those things. But I was never super techy. I was never like, I. Got the different things. I never really used them. And for me, going into like digital marketing, I'm still as much as I, it's digital and I'm, using tech, I'm a relational person, like if at all possible.
I want to nurture relationships first. And so I made my marketing plan for myself and my business. I went I got B and i where I'm seeing, a room full of people every week and building relationships and. I forget, I don't remember who says it, but it's one of my favorite quotes about business is that business moves at the speed of relationships.
And I started a podcast and not because I like to hear myself talk cause I don't ever listen to my episodes, but because it gave me an opportunity to talk to the owners and the operators and the C-suite level execs of the companies that I want to talk to and work with, and it lets me get bypass the gatekeepers and I make that a value add situation, right?
So after 30 minutes of pimping their product and their brand and making content for them, they, and I tell 'em like, hey, like this is for you that you can come back. Download, cut up for your social media however you want to. This is my gift. After 30 minutes of talking about them and how they came to be and growing up, they always ask what do you do?
Who are you? And I'm like, oh, I do marketing. Like we talked about, these kind of problems. That's what I help with. Oh, this makes a ton of sense. And like I go the relational route when it comes to digital marketing for myself. And that's, yeah, that's my ethos.
[00:12:21] Ryan: So the podcast, let's dive into that.
Yeah. How do you tie the podcast into your audience that you're looking to talk to, build that relationship with? Are you trying to say that each of the episodes are tailored to, maybe a specific clientele or a persona, or are you really driving down into individual customers that you wanna reach out to?
[00:12:44] Steven: Individual customers I wanna reach out to, or like Pod Match. I'm on Pod Match, which is a great platform, right? You can like, Hey, I'm looking for roofers or lawyers, and they'll show me all the lawyers who are looking to be guests on podcasts. I'm like that's perfect. Yeah. Or I'll go on LinkedIn and be like, Hey, I'm looking for X, Y, Z type of person for my podcast where I, make content for you and rip your brand and spread your message.
Who wants to be on it? And I get that ideal type of client saying, Hey, talk to me. And so I just bypass. 99% of the steps talk to the person I wanna talk to.
[00:13:15] Ryan: I like it's a reverse way. I have two podcasts and they've been, one's been around six years, the other has been three years.
And when I first started out I felt like I had to bring people on just to bring 'em on. And then as I developed a. A following and a persona was developed. It's now, it's gotten to the point where I have, I do have those personas, entrepreneurs, small business owners, people that have side hustles.
But it's also about people that truly want to be happy in life and that's where I spun off of my Chasing Happiness podcast. But the funny thing out of that is when all that changed and the personas came into focus I've got more people reaching out to me on a daily or weekly basis to where each of my podcasts are booked out until almost June of 2024 with guests.
And that's wild. I'm on, we met on Pod Match. I'm on Pod Match daily and I've now slowed, really slowed down the guest outreach through my va and now we've gone a whole, we've gone 180. I'm now guesting on two to three podcasts a week now to now get my message being seen by other audiences that potentially can connect.
And I was just like, why did I miss out on this for so long? I've been hosting for five years, six years, and now I'm like, Guesting is really fun. I don't have to worry about anything. Just show up and have my message.
[00:14:38] Steven: Yeah, that, that works really well. And the other thing too, like not just my clients, but I also use pod match and podcasting to reach out to potential people I wanna partner with for like joint ventures and stuff like that.
We're all reach out to other digital marketers who are, in the same niche, but serve in a different way. I'm like, hey, there's a lot of synergy between us again, can I wreck your product? Pimp your brand, talk to you. Make sound good and make a relationship here, and it's my favorite way to do it.
[00:15:04] Ryan: like that. It's really smart. It's different. A lot of people are not trying to build relationships today, even though we are in two separate states. Technology's great. I'm with you. I like to be able to build a relationship and if I can physically build it, be in front of that person or people to build that relationship, we don't, because of.
Technology and social media makes it all about how quickly can I get it? And there's no patience and persistence of working towards building that, that honest, genuine relationship. It's gone.
[00:15:35] Steven: Yeah. And it's important to me that I like my clients like. There's been plenty of podcast guests that are like, Hey this sounds great.
I'm like, I think you're a turd, so I'm not gonna offer anything click. Like it's, that's the honest truth. It's just I don't really I don't have to take an offer to everyone, which is the beauty of making that relationship too, because I've saved hours of tracking these people down and stuff to have a 40 minute conversation and be like, oh, I like this person.
And there's been people that I've been like, we should be friends. Friends like actually, let's be friends. And there's. Then I have some that was like, we text and email and stuff, and there's some that I'm like, I don't wanna say this person again, that's, or just the, the, just the offer.
Hey, I like you enough that I'm happy to offer my services, or I'm happy to like, explore a JV type of thing. So I think as far as like curating and making it what you want it to be it makes it better too, right? Instead of just having, a website like, hey, just, sign up and click on and here you go.
[00:16:31] Ryan: It's all, it's relationship based. My day job, as I say, is we're in the affordable housing, real estate development. So we go into neighborhoods that have been left behind and they're predominantly renters, probably about 60 to 70% renters and 20 to 30% homeowners. And we come in and build brand new homes and help people transition from being lifelong renters to homeowners.
That's awesome. You talk about a relationship based business, it's. You can't do anything unless you're in the neighborhoods and talking to people and working with them. Yeah. And you start, when I started that almost 10 years ago the walls were built up so high that people didn't trust anybody that came in that was outside.
And now I have a quicker way that I can break those walls down, but it's still there. People truly think that you're a for-profit business, that you're you're bad. In that, in those situations. And when you show 'em that we're here to help you and we also have a nonprofit that can help you get the financial literacy so you can be educated on the home buying process, you also can get down payment assistance.
There's so many things that we try to do to help them in their benefit to build the relationship to where I found sometimes, and this is, I'm getting to my long winded question here, is, How do you, you could put a lot of effort into a potential client and it pa in, in my words, takes you down a rabbit hole or a black hole.
Has that ever happened to you and what was the outcome of that relationship?
[00:17:52] Steven: Yeah, I mean there's been a few that's just hey, like it's not working out right? We need to part ways. And there's been a few that as I'm in like year. 1.5 of keep reaching out and talking and just like waiting to start something.
And there's some that have turned into clients that have been with me for a while now. And it's, you get all, it's everything, right? It's every city, right? Every city has every demographic. You have your crazies, you have your homeless, you have your well off, you have your middle class, you have pick a group, it's there.
And business is no different. And if you're in it long enough, you talk enough people, you're gonna cross come across everyone. And. There'll be some things that you chase and you're like, I think this looks really good. And you'll chase it. And you'll chase it. Just like a real estate deal. You'll be like, this deal looks awesome.
Yeah. And you get it and you're like, oh, I didn't see that. That part of the foundation makes this whole thing just awful. Yeah. Or the one time you don't do a sewer scope and everything's blocked up and just destroying, No. And there's times that you've done your research and you open it up and you get into walls.
You're like, this place is awesome. I just need to paint it. I had no idea like you're gonna, regardless of industry or business or anything else, like you're gonna get every demographic and outreach in clients is no different.
[00:19:03] Ryan: Are you only local to Washington or are you working with clients nationwide?
[00:19:07] Steven: Nationwide and international. As long as they have a website that's in English, and even if they're website's not in English, they can make an English page and we could drive traffic to that page to help them get rankings as well on in the map pack for the local area.
[00:19:21] Ryan: How has technology helped you with your business?
Or, let me back that up. Let's scratch that. When you first were transitioning out of the fire service and you're working on this as a side hustle, were you only marketing local or did you start from a national footprint?
[00:19:36] Steven: Yeah, it was just local and I was within the fire service and. Shame on me, right?
Like dirty secret is I had that mindset of having a safety net. So I didn't work on it as hard as I should have to make it a reality. And it was once, it was like, oh, I'm gonna get terminated, is where I was like, I need to like actually really get serious about this. Cause I didn't join the BNI group and stuff until afterwards.
Like most of my client seeking, really getting after. It was once I was like, oh, I have a deadline. I need to make sure I feed my kids and I don't show up and there's a paycheck here.
[00:20:09] Ryan: It's amazing that we hit that wall and all of a sudden our thought process changes. Can you talk a little bit about, how that played out for you and then how you were able to step your game up and really get your marketing business off the ground and going?
[00:20:24] Steven: Yeah, I think part of it right is. You had mentioned the hardest, like one of the hardest things about transitioning from the fire service to working from a home, and for me it was being home but not being available. Okay. I don't know if you've noticed, but I. I'm a family man. Like I love my kids.
Yeah. And like I wanna spend all my time with them. And so when I was at the fire service, I was gone for 48 hours and I was home for, four days. I was all the way home like Daddy Jungle Gym we're playing, we're spending time reading books. Like my time was my kids. And so being home but not available was a huge transition of shock for the kids, which has been I think the hardest part of that.
You're like, Hey, I have a call. And they're like, barging in every five minutes I wanna play. I'm like, I know I do too, but I can't. But I think we're finally at the point of it's a work day today. And they're like, no. I'm like, I know guys like four more days. Then they, sad Charlie Brown music, slow walk out of the room.
It's. Yeah, and it's kids and I love them. And they're funny and they're silly, but that's honestly the hardest part. And that mentality like, all right, like I need to actually focus. So when I'm being busy, like it's productive and doing things that are moving the needle, right? Reaching out and stuff.
Working on my logo, nah, not really productive. It makes me feel good, right? It's like mental masturbation. You like, oh, it was great. There's nothing here, right? Like I just waste a bunch of energy and time and there's nothing to show for it. Now I'm slightly embarrassed and disgusted with myself. That's, there's so many things as business owners that we like to be busy because it feels productive, right?
I'll throw air quotes everywhere here and all the buzzwords of I'm doing a great job. Look at me. But it doesn't actually propel your business forward. And so that's when I was like, I need to get into b and i and have FaceTime with people and I need to make this podcast and like book guests and talk to people.
Like I need to talk to people because that's what actually moves the needle. And so finding like that 20% that does 80% of the work, I think is a huge twist because when we first get into business, we're like, I need all these things. Like I, my website's down right now and I don't know if it's been like hacked or taken ransom or whatever it is, like I'm.
I can't figure out how to get it back. And my guy who built it for me as an answer in my calls is like, I don't know. I don't know if it's gonna but the thing is, I don't have to have a website to be successful. I have Zoom and I have screenshots of successful client campaigns and be like, Hey, like I get results from my clients, right?
If you want testimonial, I'm happy to share that and like I can share these things, like I don't have to have it, but it feels important, right? The grand scheme of things, like there's lots of things to do, but as a small business owner or even a medium or large business owner doing the things that matter is what matters the most.
And there's lots of things that we can do that feel good and that make us busy, that aren't going to get us where we want. And we feel that crush of ah, I need more sales, or I need these things. And you spin your wheels going I don't know what exactly what to do, so I'm just going to do something.
But that something doesn't, but you laugh because I laughed. You understand what I'm saying?
[00:23:21] Ryan: Yes. I've been there before. I totally understand you. Yeah.
[00:23:25] Steven: And marketing is like a key component for most businesses of that 20% that does 80% of the work. Yeah. But another part of that, like that sad cycle of being like, oh, this is really bad for me because I am falling, like he's describing me right now.
Is when times get tough. A lot of people go, what can I cut? Marketing. That's the first thing they go And so they, but a lot of people do. Yeah. Yeah. And they take away their visibility and they go, why is no one coming through my doors? Ah. And it's you shut them you closed the blinds and you said, I moved.
What are you expecting? And so there's that's the hardest part is I, I'm happy to talk with my clients back. These are things that you should cut and these are ways that you should go about and ways that you can streamline, be more efficient, and like marketing. Yes, you need to be good with your marketing, make sure that you're getting the return on investment and that it's being spent well.
But when it comes to Hey, we're looking at needing more cash or cutting back on expenses, marketing isn't one of those things that needs to be like the top tier. This is the first thing we cut, which is what I see. Eight out of 10 times or nine outta 10 times, usually with the small mom pop business owners, is because they don't understand that's what is keeping them alive and what they need better to actually survive and thrive.
[00:24:40] Ryan: One of my favorite authors, grant Cardone, have you heard of the 10 x principle and okay. Oh yeah. What he talks about is simply that is when everybody else is cutting back, you should be putting your foot on the accelerator and. I know what you're doing. You're doing paid ads and so forth, but there's also something in there called free marketing.
And if you're consistent with it, it does help your business and you can grow, through social media. Something that I've done from day one, I agree in paid ads to, and I also agree in free. I have a VA that I've taught how to effectively post across all of our social media channels for our podcasts, for our businesses, eight to nine times a day.
And when I first started doing that, I really thought people were gonna start opting out and not, jumping on or saying you're posting too much. Now, when we don't post that frequent, I have people complaining that we're not putting that stuff out and I'm not, and there's nothing, I'm not even advertising anything that is for our business.
I'm advertising for the podcast. I put out shorts for our guests and I share all that. And then for our real estate, I talk about things that we're doing, but things that they could be doing to improve their wealth or anything to that extent to create a secure financial future. And then on the personal side, I talk about motivation and change and taking, life head on and finding that passion.
There's not even a single ask in any of my social media posts. It's all about I wanna provide value. And our blog posts are all about value. And that's just where we're at. And it's. Small business owners and I'm, this is coming back to a long-winded, I'm sorry, long-winded today. I don't know why's, but I am.
That's alright. That's ok. Must have been, but must have been too much coffee. But on the other side note is right now, corporate, or no, actually I shouldn't say corporate. Small business owners, entrepreneurs are retiring or closing their businesses at an alarming rate. They're baby boomers. There's roughly about 13 and a half million baby boomers that don't have succession.
Excuse me, succession plans, which means their kids or somebody in their family do not want to take over these businesses and they're walking away from 'em. I found this out about a year and a half, two years ago, and ever since then, I've gone down a rabbit hole to try to find a way to work with those business owners, acquire them, bring them into the fold, and then use the technology to grow their business.
Cuz some of these have been around for 15, 20 years and they're very. Profitable, boring businesses. You need to be amazed. How many do not use marketing tactics whatsoever? Oh
[00:27:07] Steven: yeah. I have a rug cleaner. I'm in Washington state and I have a rug cleaner in Tennessee, and within three months of doing our organic campaign for them, they're like, Hey, they're a word of mouth business, like 20 years.
I've never been online. And they go, Hey, first time ever, like someone said they found us on the internet and that's why they called us like, this is awesome. I'm like, yeah, like you don't have to keep like hustling and grinding to get people to. Find you I help you get invisible. Yeah.
People showing up at your door with credit card, like that's what we're here for. And they're like, this is so great. It's yeah, it is. And it's a boring business. You're right. But there was one thing that I agreed with, like 99.998% of everything you said there was one thing I have issue with and that you said free marketing and that I don't believe there's anything such as free marketing.
Why is that? Because marketing, TI marketing takes either your time or your money, and time is only free if you think your time is worthless. And I don't think anyone's time is worthless.
[00:28:02] Ryan: No. Time is the most valuable asset we have. I use free in the sense of paid ads versus marketing that we put out on a daily basis.
So maybe wrong choice of words, but no. Like
[00:28:12] Steven: I know what you were saying, but when again, like the mom and pop business owners, when they hear free marketing, they think, oh, that's something I don't have to spend on. But they don't realize that they are spending their most valuable currency. Of course, I can always make more money, but I can't make more time.
And so when they're like, I can do free and social, and they're like, I'm like, yeah, you can. Absolutely. You don't have money to pay for me. You do the free marketing. That's but I want you to understand that it's not free. Everything has a cost. And so that's I always have to say that it's like there is a cost to it.
You just don't realize how big that cost is because you don't value your time appropriately. So that's what I wanna throw out there for you. Cause
[00:28:47] Ryan: Oh no, no worries. The biggest thing that we struggle with today is we think money is more valuable than time. And you can always file bankruptcy, earn more money again, but you can't get back the time that you lost.
And that is, that's the most valuable asset we have. And I'm with you. It's if I'm doing something. I use this as a joke with my va. I told her, I said, I was just having a conversation with her this morning. I said, if I'm doing something at a, at an $8 or $10 an hour person's doing, I'm in the, I'm in the wrong space because that's not my job.
My job is to drive the business forward, to create I'm in the business of customer acquisition. And eight or $10 jobs, unfortunately are not that, and I'm, that's no downplay on anybody. It's just. The mindset shift you have to have as an entrepreneur and a small business owner is, like you said, you have to focus on the things that are going to make you money and matter to you, not something that keeps you busy.
And we struggle with that in the whole entrepreneur space. It's, there's a lot of people that don't know the difference between those two.
[00:29:49] Steven: Yeah, and for those people like, I mean we're getting deep into it now of the philosophy of business and money and stuff. Yeah. I would highly recommend everyone who has a small business and I get it.
Like my wife had a small business that we just closed, and like it can be hard and tough and you don't have money, but I would recommend doing like a profit first. Business model of Yeah. Making sure that you pay yourself and figure out what you can spend and how, like where that money goes so that way you can start working yourself out of having to do all the jobs.
Cuz you can't pay for a va. I get it for those, like I just started a plumbing business and it's me and my truck. I'm like, yeah, like you need to go out and you need to do all, everything. You're taking the phone calls, you're making the appoint, like you don't have the capacity monetarily to hire someone to do it.
I totally get that. I respect that. That's hard and you can do this, but where they fall off is that they don't realize that they get to the point where they can start hiring help for themselves. And I think that's the biggest shift of that letting go. And you're in that spot and like I can tell you've, you're able to let go easily, but a lot of people have that hard time being so what do you do?
I'm like I do all your marketing stuff for you. I'm like, so do I tell you what you write? I'm like, no, I do that. Really yeah. And it's hard for them to just let go and let it be this done for you thing that they don't have to worry and think about. And
[00:31:08] Ryan: that's probably the one of the biggest challenges I had coming from corporate America to being an entrepreneur, small business owner.
Is letting go. Yeah, because when I was managing call centers and back office teams where I had almost 2000 people reporting to me at one point. It's busy. I'm always in something. I had my hands in something to make sure the operation was running right, but I also had people to do the work.
Right now, I went from, People that could do the work for me to where I had to do it all myself and then figure out how to bring somebody on to help me do some of those things that I really didn't have time to do and I needed to be focused on, like your plumber out doing customer acquisition, servicing the existing customers and making sure you continue to grow the business.
If I sat there and focused on marketing all day and not going out and working on, plumbing activities and so forth. Business is gonna die and it's gonna close. It's just, it's a fine line of balancing. So in, again, long-winded conversation or question coming around again is when you bring on a cu a client, how much education do you have to give them about what you're doing and how you're gonna free up more time for them and selling those benefits?
[00:32:22] Steven: Yeah, I think when it comes to the client education, we focus more on the. What are you trying to achieve and how are we gonna help you get there? They're like, I just want people to find me. Cool, I can absolutely help you with that. Like getting into the why really bogs it down. Kinda like you go into the dentist and Hey man, I just want my teeth cleaned.
He's cool, I can do that for you. But I'm like, but if he's I'm gonna take this type of thing for this molar and start going like this super dental story, it doesn't do anyone any good. And like the digital marketing stuff for the business owners who don't understand digital marketing is very similar.
Just It's more than they need to know and want to know. Like they just wanna know, am I gonna get results? Yeah, cool. You can solve this problem. Awesome. And it's yeah. My goal for you is that we make you visible across all the different platforms and you're organic, and when someone Google searches for what you provide, you show up not only on the first page, but you dominate that first page, right?
Organically, you're in the map pack, you have the first, five. Thing. So when someone says, Hey, I'm looking for a dog walker, rug cleaning or whatever it is, Eagle goes, I know who to recommend and it's this person and here's, something from them in Bloomberg and Yahoo and Fox and C B s and YouTube and Vimeo, and here's a podcast directory audio.
And like someone goes, this person's clearly the expert. Like, why would I have to look anywhere else? It just makes them the overwhelming authority. And when they go, oh, I can like, That makes sense. I wanna be the authority. I'm like, yeah, you do. And that's just like my rug cleaner. Like we're having people call us now yeah, cause you're the authority and someone Googles you and you show up and Google says, I'm not being paid to be on the top.
It's like a billboard, right? We billboards used to be super great and people are like, yeah, whoa, this thing exists. Like this Ford car up there, this Pepsi drink. Like I need to try that. But now we all saying that's cool, like cool story. You paid to have your name up there, but with Google.
When you're organic, we know that Google says it doesn't care about the money, right? Google, their whole goal is to answer your question the best it possibly can. And so I say, Hey, I'm looking for a dog walker. And Google goes, you know what? There's three of 'em. This one's near you, and it has these reviews and these sites that say they do a good job.
I go, yeah, why would I click anyone else? Paid ads are great, but it gets five to 7% of the traffic because we know they paid to be there. The number one spot gets about 40% of traffic. Number two spot. It's about 20%. Number three, about 10 and four through 10 get about the same amount of traffic combined as number two does.
There's a reason being organic matters because we know that Google says this is the authority, and as humans, like we want the most authoritative, credible source. That's why it works. So that's all they, that's all they need to know that's what they want to know. Does it work? Am I credible?
I'm on Google. Yeah. Perfect.
[00:35:03] Ryan: By far. That's, being on the first page and being in the first, second or third slide, that that's game changing for a lot of small businesses. We're gonna, we're getting close to wrapping up, but I got some more questions. The first question is, how much resistance do you get from a potential client, especially one that doesn't use technology to be able to say, Hey, I, I can change your world by putting you on that, first page of Google.
Where they're headed where are they? Where are they thinking? Are they thinking that you're crazy or are they actually saying, Hey, I do need some help in with my marketing, and this could be a great way to go.
[00:35:40] Steven: I think when you get pushback from clients, there's always like multiple aspects of it and variations from that.
And it's like cost, right? Like I think being on Google should cost me X amount of dollars. And when you say actually. It's a long-term plan, like any organic content strategy is long-term. They're like, duh, that's unreasonable. Or they're like, it should be $300 a month. I'm like that's really not $300 a month.
They're like, duh, that's unreasonable. Or you ha like you have these expectations of people who don't have any idea of how the internet works and how marketing works with their expectations. I used to buy gas for 25 cents. How come it's not 25 cents anymore? It's not how it works.
And so you have that. And then just, I think that's really a big thing is various expectations of coming into it and it's just breaking down and being like, look, I understand your problems. You have two different solutions or three different solutions, right? Like you can hire me to do this for you and it will take some time, but we'll get you there and you will be on the front page, like I guarantee visibility for my clients.
You can do it yourself, which will take you. Way longer, you'll spend a lot more money and you'll be doing stuff in your business, on your business that's not helping your business because opportunity cost. And a lot of people don't understand what opportunity cost is. But it's like you're gonna lose money and four different ways because you think I'm just gonna piecemeal it and do it myself.
Or maybe you hire someone else to do it. That's fine too. And I always give my clients different strategies. Hey, like I've told a few, they're like, I wanna hire yeah, you do, but you can't afford me. I would be happy to, try to work with you. But even that, like I'm still out of your price but here's some things that you should be doing for yourself and I'll try to set them up for success of being like, these are some good strategies for the niche that you're in industry in.
Like you need to talk to these people and I'm gonna connect you with this other person. I know this guy who does X, like he is actually super affordable. I'm gonna set you up with it. Try to connect them and set them up for success. Cause again, my goal with. Like talking, like I want a client or like I want the sale, I want to build my business, but I want to help people.
That's what's important to me. And so my goal is that whether it's a sales call or a consultation or whatever it is, that they get value out of it. Not that I get a sale out of it. So they leave better than they came in.
[00:37:53] Ryan: That's great. So for those clients that. Are price sensitive. What would be two or three things that they could actually do and prior to working with you or working with somebody else, however you wanna look at it to get them more visibility on Google.
[00:38:07] Steven: Just like myself, like I lean heavily into, it takes time, but that relationship building stuff, and if you're price sensitive, you're probably lacking money, right? And so then we talk about things that, again, it's not free, you're spending your time. Yep. But I make sure they understand that concept.
I think that's a big concept that a lot of them don't get. I can do social media for free. I'm like, it's not free. Like Facebook is not free. You spend it three hours, that's three hours. You could have been servicing clients or building your business or doing whatever it is. That's huge.
Yeah. But they understand that when they leave, I'm like, if you're serious about this, like I want you to go to these types of forums and start looking for these types of, people and asking these questions and gathering this type of data or make a YouTube channel and this is the type of content you need to be making for this because you're, these are your competent.
Your, I talked with this guy who makes watches. He's gotta watch e-com, watch business because it's like wooden watches and the bands and stuff, right? It's super cool. But he is I, I'm not really sure what to do with this. I was like, here's the deal, man, like your competitor, like what's your price range?
And he was like, okay. So he was like, you're going against like citizen and the cheaper G shocks and stuff like that. He is yeah. I was like, okay. I was like, what are they doing? I was like, what are doing these things? Yeah. I was like, you need to be different. And so within 10 minutes we went through a whole YouTube strategy of this is how you serve your audience and they're gonna love you for it.
And you're gonna see this like growth this way. I don't do that for my clients, but for him, I was like, Hey, like this is what you should do for yourself because you're not gonna hire me. You wanna get results. I wanna see your business grow and if you know someday, like a Doon piece day release, you come back to me, that's great.
Like I would love that, right? But I want to give you the best chance to succeed whether you're gonna use me or not. So
[00:39:49] Ryan: that's awesome. And. That's a great way to approach business, but better yet, you're building relationships because you're putting it out there and at some point it comes back in different ways to you and I know you're not doing it just because of that.
You're doing it because you truly care. But if we all took that stance when it came to business, God, we could be in so much better place on certain things, but that's one big thing that I take away from this conversation with you, is building that relationship no matter what, whether you get business from it or not, you're just building the relationship and you're connecting on a human level.
Yeah. And we as entrepreneurs or business owners don't do that enough. Yep.
[00:40:30] Steven: Yeah it's part of my philosophy and like how I live my life, but I, I see all the bad stuff in the news. I just can't we just get along? Like seriously, like why are we making a big deal of all these things?
Can we just be people? And that's how I approach things. And that's again, like back to the very beginning of the conversation. That's my goal for my kids, right? That they're just good people who help people and that they're happy. That's what I want for my clients, help their people, employ their people, pay good li pay, be able to pay good wages.
And, be beneficial for everyone else. It's
[00:41:00] Ryan: a great motto for life in everything you do. That is something to keep in mind guys, if you're listening. Relationship, relationships. So we're wrapping up Before we do that, where is the best place that if somebody is looking, a small business owner, an entrepreneur looking to work with you, where would they wanna reach you
[00:41:17] Steven: at?
Yeah, like I said, my, my website's been down. I dunno if I'm ever gonna be able to get it back, but if you wanna just shoot me an email, number one, and then my first and last name, one steven LZ gmail.com. Okay. Be happy to start a conversation there and we can make a zoom or whatever, and. We'll go from there.
[00:41:37] Ryan: we will put that in the show notes so people know how to get ahold of you. Sir, thank you for coming on. It's been a great conversation. Thank you for all you're doing. I hope you guys enjoy the chickens. I'm sure that's gonna be fun, but thank you for sharing the Tipton actually building relationships because we need more of that just in the world in general because we're human beings and we're relationship based, so that's really awesome what you're doing.
[00:42:00] Steven: I appreciate that. And thank you again for being matchy with me today and wearing our black shirts together. It made me feel good about myself and
[00:42:10] Ryan: thank you sir
[00:42:10] Steven: for coming on. It was my pleasure. And everyone else, thank you for putting up with me.