Recognized as one of the most requested, in-demand business and motivational keynote speakers and marketing consultants in the world, James Malinchak, joins Michelle Seiler Tucker as they talk about running a business of changing lives. From a stockbroker in Rodeo Drive to a world-renowned speaker, get to know James a little deeper as he shares his journey throughout the years. After speaking at his first event and hearing his impact on those who heard him, James was instantly hooked. Learn how James treats his craft, the packaging and tools he uses, and the work he does to help change the lives of his clients. Tune in and realize that speaking is a business and why you should run it as a business.
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Making a Difference, Changing Lives, and Running a Business with James Malinchak
I’m excited to have James Malinchak on our show. After growing up in a small Pennsylvania steel-mill town near Pittsburgh as a son of a steelworker and a housewife, James Malinchak is recognized as one of the most requested, in-demand business and motivational keynote speakers and marketing consultants in the world. He speaks for groups ranging from 20 to 30,000. James was featured on the hit ABC TV show, The Secret Millionaire. He has authored 21 books and has delivered over 3,000 plus presentations for corporations, associations, and universities. Giving back is a big part of James’s life as he has raised over $1 million for various charities and organizations and has donated money out of his own pocket as well. James is a behind-the-scenes go-to marketing advisor for many top celebrities, authors, speakers, thought leaders, professional athletes, and sports coaches. James, welcome to the show.
Michelle, thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
I appreciate you taking the time to be here. You have quite an impressive resume and career. How does a boy from a small town outside of Pittsburg build such an amazing career and such a sought-after speaker and thought leader?
First of all, I’m blessed. It helps when you’re blessed. I had this desire years ago as a stockbroker. I got paid to speak one time for a group and I loved it. It was for an hour and people came up to me and said, “You made a difference in my life. You changed my thinking. I wasn’t planning on coming here. I’m glad I came to this company event. I’m all fired up and ready to go back and take on the world.” I love that and then they handed me a check for doing it. I’m like, “What? This is crazy. I could get paid to talk to people and do stuff that I would do anyway.”
I did not know you were a stockbroker.
I have a relative who was one of the most successful commodity traders back in the day of the World Trade Center on the Komax in New York. I used to work for him on the floor in the gold and silver pits in the mercantile pits. Here I was being a stockbroker, my office was on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, and I met entertainers and sports celebrities. The United Talent Agency was here. William Morris was here. CAA, Creative Artists Agency was here and I was right in the middle of them where my office was. I knew a bunch of the people. What happened was, when I got paid to speak it was much more fulfilling for me than sitting behind a computer screen and watching the stock market all day for people. I did a little self-reflection and I said, “What do I want to be in 10 or 20 years?” For me, it wasn’t sitting behind the screen and managing portfolios. I wanted to go do this speaking thing.
You’ve made the right choice because I remember hearing you speak for the first time at an event. I’m not going to say which one.
I remember in Chicago.
I remember you running out onto the stage and I remember you throwing balls out in the audience. I remember hearing you speak and I’m like, “He’s amazing. He is one of the best speakers ever.”
I have fun with the audience. I’m smart because I run it like a business. A lot of people get into the speaking and they think, “I’m into this to change the world.” That’s one side of the coin. It’s what I always teach. One side of the coin is we help people, we make a difference, we change lives. The flip side of the coin, we’re running a business. That’s no different than what you do to help build businesses. It’s no different than a brick and mortar business down the street. Speaking is a business and a lot of people don’t realize that. I grasped that and realized it from day one. That’s the long-winded answer. How did the steel-mill town boy get to do 3,000 talks in his career? Because I run it as a business.
It’s imperative of what you said because I always wanted to be a business person. An entrepreneur who has multiple businesses who speaks not a speaker who’s trying to have a business.
That’s one of the positioning and packaging techniques and tools that I always want to work on with clients. I said, “We need to be a business person here.” They don’t want just some coach or speaker, I want to build a real business. I’m preaching to the choir, you’re the expert at this, but businesses have assets. You can sell those assets. A speaker is manual labor, gets on a plane, goes to pick up a check, or I can make an offer and then book the next talk. There are no assets. There’s no business there.
That’s correct and it’s hard to sell. That’s why Tony Robbins has a hard time selling his business. That’s why he did an Aesop sown into his employees because he is the brand. One thing I thought was interesting when I sat at one of your events was that you stated that most of your speaking events are right there in Las Vegas where you live. You’re not jumping on a plane traveling all over the country. I’m like, “That’s brilliant. How do I do that?” Because my office is two blocks from the convention center and I’m having a hard time getting booked even though I belong to the convention center. I’m not sure if you want to spill the beans here, but what’s your secret sauce to getting booked at those events right there at the convention center in Las Vegas?
I’ve coaching programs that are $25,000 and $100,000. People pay me to learn these insider secrets.
You got to give us a little bit.
You hit the nail, you’re almost there. You’re a member of the convention. I’ll give you the 30,000-foot view without going into all the weeds. If a convention wants to come to your area, who do they register with? The Convention and Visitors Bureau. Every convention is registered with the CVB. As a paid member, aka vendor. I don’t know how it is in New Orleans because I’ve not tried it there but you have the right to get that list of all the conventions coming.
In Vegas, I get all the conventions coming for 5, 6, 7 years. Some people book 3, 4, or 5 years in advance, as long as they’re on the books, all that data gets reported back to the CVB. The CVB is a data reporting company as well. I’ll take Vegas, for example. If you walk through the Vegas airport, you’ll see these big jumbotrons. It’ll say, “Over 50 million people visited Las Vegas for conventions last year.” How do they know that? It’s through the CVB, the Convention and Visitors Bureau because one of their jobs is to report the data and gather the data.
If every convention is registering with the CVB, they have all that data. If you are a paid vendor, they want you marketing to those conventions coming because another purpose of the CVB is to stimulate business within the economy of where it’s located. Your local Convention and Visitors Bureau, what’s all those conventions are doing, all the business with all the businesses in your town, in your area. They want you to market. The problem is nobody markets to them. Nobody knows about it. I was smart enough to figure it out and mass markets all the conventions.
You probably have some good marketing material, too, I would assume because it’s a market. You got to send out marketing materials and I would assume you have somebody who also calls and follows up after you send something?
No, I have not done that for twenty-some years. I’m a big proponent of direct mail, I have for years. I love it now that everybody is seduced by the internet. That means nobody is dropping anything in the mail to people. I’ll give an example, from my Big Money Speaker boot camps, we dropped 50,000 mail pieces in the mail.
I got one of them.
People like you get them and show up. Think about this, you get no other mail piece from a speaker training. I have top of mind awareness, TOMA, in the minds of all these people. We still do Facebook ads and things like that but one of the hidden gems is showing up in people’s mailboxes because nobody does it anymore. People think it’s an expense so therefore they don’t do it. I hope nobody ever mails. I will always keep mailing.
Think about this. You’re an event coordinator who’s in Idaho and you’re bringing a convention to New Orleans. One of your tasks is to find a speaker or a bunch of speakers for the event there. You don’t know what to do if you’re an event coordinator in Boise. You’re like, “I don’t know what to do.” You start looking up speakers online and you’re finding random speakers, whoever is paying to have SEO come up high with their website. All of a sudden, what comes across your desk in the mail is a marketing piece from a speaker that says this, “National speaker and author lives in New Orleans. Why even consider the added expense to fly in a speaker for your next New Orleans event? I live here and I’m local. You save because I don’t have to travel,” then there’s a whole piece around all the benefits of booking you because you are local there. The savings they get, etc.
All of a sudden, the event coordinator in Boise, Idaho who’s taking their event to New Orleans looks at that piece. It speaks the language directly to them. National speaker and author, successful businesswoman lives in New Orleans. Why even consider the added expense to fly in a speaker for your next New Orleans event? They’re like, “We’re going to New Orleans next year. I could save money. Who is this Michelle?” That’s what happens. It simulates the conversation and then they read the rest of it. They go to your website. Usually, people reach out to me when they receive that in the mail.
You have a nice piece that you send out. You sent it to us for your bio for this show.
We don’t send it out unless it works.
Who do you send it to?
The piece you got, it was the “Meet James.” That’s not for getting talks in Las Vegas. I have a whole different piece for that. Here’s how I came up with that. I said, “If I wanted to get in with Mark Cuban or I wanted to get in with Steve Wozniak and I didn’t know them, how do I get on their radar?” I can send them my book and ask for a book endorsement. They can see all the other thought leaders and people that have endorsed it. They’ll probably endorse the book but when I get on their radar, would they want me in their cell phone? I said, “No.” How do I do that?
They don’t know anything about me. They don’t have time to go play around on the internet and all that. Nobody delivers in the mail. The same way I booked all these talks in Vegas. The same way I throw up my live events with hundreds and hundreds of people. Why don’t I do a mail piece and I’ll call it, Meet James? That’s why I say a book is a great way to get in with top thought leaders because it puts you on the same level as them. Actually, on a higher level if they haven’t done a book themselves.
I thought if I also have that mail piece in there and it looks good, I do it kind of billboard advertising with big pictures and all that so it doesn’t look cumbersome. They flip through that and they see some of my celebrity clients, etc. All of a sudden, it’s like, “I never heard of this guy before but look who endorses him and look who he works with. I think I want to know this guy.” It has been amazing. People call me from getting that piece in the mail or they email me and we jump on Zoom or a phone call. I’ve met so many people by leading with that piece in the mail.
What’s your strategy? Do you target? Do you say, “I’m going to target five people I want to meet every week?” You take those five people and send this piece out to?
I call it my dream 100. You don’t have to have 100, like a lot of people, that’s a big number. It could be 25, it could be twenty people. I did that with my coaching clients, also. I say, “Who do you want to get in with and do business with?” Let’s name ten companies you want to work with. That’s our dream ten. We put a whole campaign on how to learn stuff about the CEO and how to start. We start targeting them over 5 or 6 months with mail pieces. By the time the 5th or 6th month comes around, people are like, “Michelle, I feel like I know you, I feel like we need to talk or have lunch or something.” That’s the strategy. For me, I pick my dream 100. Who do I want to get in with who doesn’t know me, has no clue about me but I want to get in with them and do business with them and that’s who I mail that to?
You do that once a week, a month, a year?
No. Usually, once a year for the dream 100. The top 100 people in 2020 I want to get in with.
That’s a great tip for our readers.
It works like a charm.
When you’re trying to get speaking engagements, I guess you find the event coordinator and ask her who you send your pieces to as event coordinator to get speaking engagements.
Let’s take the CVB as an example. Who’s usually registered with the Convention and Visitors Bureau in your town if they’re having a meeting there? It’s the event coordinator. They’re getting the photographer. They’re getting the awards done. They’re taking everybody out on the boat trip or setting up golf. They’re bringing in the speakers, all that stuff. They’re getting the AD crew. Let me tell you how I was booking 100 talks a year with the cost of a stamp on a brochure.
You’re probably the only person that does that. The only one who’s been successful at that.
It’s funny, I teach this all the time in my boot camps, in my online courses, but it comes down to the 97%-ers versus the 3%-ers. Ninety-seven percent of the people won’t get off their ass and actually take action and do stuff. It’s the 3%-ers who do stuff, figure stuff out. What I did was I built a database of 10,000 event coordinators. I call it my 10-10-10 strategy. Ten thousand event coordinators, and why event coordinators? Because they all got money. They’re the ones that book speakers and write the checks. As I mail 10,000 brochures out that cost me one stamp, one first-class stamp to mail a six-page brochure out all about my speaking with a national speaker and author headline. Just on mailing, no calling or anything, 10% will be interested, which is 1,000. Ten percent of them will book me. That’s 100 talks. If your fee is $20,000, you made $2 million and it costs you on the high end with printing the brochure, let’s say $7,000, $8,000, maybe $10,000 on the high end. Let me ask you a question. Would you invest $10,000 if your fee was $20,000 to make $2 million back?
Of course, you know I would.
When I teach them the strategy, I don’t care if their fee is $3,000 or $5,000, why don’t they sit down and do exactly what I just told him to do?
I have a five-day training course where I teach individuals how to become mergers and acquisitions experts. I’ve trained probably 100 and maybe ten of them were successful out of the hundred. The same thing with business owners. I partner with business owners and I teach them all the strategies and techniques I know that I’ve learned over the last decades selling thousands of businesses. Some will listen, many won’t or most won’t. You’re right, it’s the 3% that will get off their ass to do something.
Even when I was a stockbroker back in the day, I didn’t get as many as 10,000, but I’d build up a warm list of 1,000 prospects who had discretionary income to invest, who already had an investment account somewhere else. Because that means they understand working with a wirehouse. I didn’t want people who had money in a bank or credit union because I got to teach them about investing with a brokerage house. I wanted people who made $150,000 plus a year, who already had a brokerage account someplace else. They’re used to investing even better if they had two brokerage accounts. My goal was, I want 1,000 of them on my list as fast as possible.
I worked twelve hours a day for a few months. I built that list up and that’s my database. I mailed to them every single month. I picked up the phone and I had to call ten of them a day and try to set an appointment. You do that consistently. A funny thing happened, at the end of my first year as a broker, I opened up 200 accounts. That was more than 10%. That was 20% but that’s how I came up with my 10% philosophy.
If I get 1,000 people and they’re the right people, that’s the key. I market to them, I stay in front of them, and I pick up the phone and ask them to have a meeting with me. They’re already pre-qualified to make the money. They already have an investment account somewhere else, maybe two. All I’ve got to do is show them that I’m a good person and that I’ll get the ideas that you’re not getting from your other broker and people take meetings like crazy with me. That’s how I opened up 200 accounts in my first year.
Farm and outsource everything else but don’t outsource your marketing because that’s what brings money and clients in.
How long were you a stockbroker for?
For a few years until I realized, “They’re paying me this to speak for one hour.”
You were on Rodeo Drive?
Right across the street from my office was the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel where they filmed Pretty Woman. I used to eat lunch there 4 or 5 times a week.
From a small town outside of Pittsburgh, all the way to Rodeo Drive, and now Las Vegas. That’s amazing. Those are some great tips. You have good content and good copy. Do you write your own copy or do you have an expert that does that?
I learned this a long time ago when I started. When you start, you do everything. You’re trying to figure things out and it could be a financial situation where you can’t afford to farm things out. Thank goodness that happened to me where I started my speaking business by doing everything because it taught me a valuable lesson. “James, farm and outsource everything else but don’t outsource your marketing because that’s what brings money and clients in.” To answer your question, I farm everything out. Administrative stuff, I don’t need to be doing that. I have a rule, I don’t do anything I can pay somebody $10 to $100 an hour to do for me aside from marketing. I do all marketing, every mail piece you see. You mentioned 21 books.
I was shocked by 21 books.
My 22nd book is called Ask James. I’ve been interviewed by some pretty amazing people, Leeza Gibbons, Kevin Harrington, Jack Canfield, Joe Theismann, Pastor Bobby Schuller on the Hour of Power TV show.
You should ask Michelle Seiler Tucker.
The subtitle is Top-Achievers Interview James on Success, Making a Difference & Becoming A Big Money Speaker. The reason I told you this is because the last nights and days, I have been creating different book covers. This is proof that I do my marketing. I have about twenty different book design covers that I create. I’m the one doing all the marketing.
Are these online books or are these books that you’re publishing?
This will be a hardcover book.
Doesn’t the publisher want their own artwork or they want to design their own cover?
I don’t go with publishers. I have my own publishing company. I outsell most of the people on the New York Times bestseller list because I sell directly to companies. I sell directly on the internet through Facebook ads. I won’t go with a publisher. All they are is book printers. Unless they’re going to pay you a big advance, I would never go over with a big publisher. My point is, marketing is so important. Look how much time I have been spending over the last days to figure this out.
You probably test, split test, and test again. Did you learn marketing on your own? Did you take some marketing classes?
I was forced to learn it in the beginning because you get into a new business and you’re like, “This is great.” The number one mistake everybody makes, you see it in brick and mortar businesses all the time. A flower shop person goes and opens up a flower shop. They buy all this inventory, takes out small business loans, does build-outs, and all this. Has $250,000 put into this thing and then they put a neon sign on the front door that says, “Open.” Know your clock is ticking to when you are out of business. “I don’t have a plan on this, Michelle. How don’t want to get people to walk in the door and give me money for the flowers?”
The only thing that matters in my opinion in business, especially when you’re starting, is you got to get people to walk in your door and buy your stuff. You got to get people online to buy your stuff. I immersed myself in learning how to get good at that. I’ve been doing this for years, so I’m good at flipping the switch, but I put everything else aside. I’m like, “None of that other crap matters. I need to get and keep customers.” That’s what taught me the importance of, I got to be a master marketer. I got to learn this stuff. I made the commitment and disciplined myself to become good at marketing. All the other stuff, none of that matters unless you got customers and clients.
I see you’re doing your own graphics there, too?
This is me just doing it in Microsoft Word. Once I figure out the right marketing angle, then I outsource that, turn it over to my graphics person who does all my books, lays them out, and all that but I come up with the concept because that’s the marketing and the strategy behind it. The actual doing of it, I form that out.
You form out all the tacticals, like Facebook ads, Google ads, and SEO.
I write the ad. Facebook opt-in page, cold traffic to our opt-in page is converting over 50% of the people from cold Facebook traffic that visit our page because of the way I wrote it with all the copy. People online study our opt-in page because of the way I wrote it because I’m a marketing guy.
How did you learn how to write copy? Because I always say, “Writing copy is a try art form, not a science.”
If I told you how many people I’ve invested with over the years, Dan Kennedy, copywriting course, John Carlton, the greatest copywriter.
You work with the experts.
My rule, Michelle, is I go to the best. I pay them a whole bunch of money to tell me and teach me what they know. If I wanted to sell a business and I found out you sold 1,000 businesses, I promise you, I’d be knocking on your door and saying, “I want to know how you do this. I want you to help me sell this business. What do I need to write you a check for?” It’s amazing when you approach people like that, how they open up and teach you everything of their best stuff. I always go with everybody like, “How much do you need me to write your check for to teach you this stuff?”
You want to give them the experts.
God forbid, if you had a medical situation, you’re not going to go down the street to the doc in a box, you try and find the best person you can find. Why don’t we do that for everything in our business and in life?
Because people are trying to save money and by saving money, it ends up costing them so much more money. I’ve been down that road myself. We’ve all, as business owners, entrepreneurs, have made that mistake and I’ve done it by hiring the wrong people to give us marketing advice. It’s the wrong people. It’s important to learn from the best.
Let’s take real estate. I’m in one of my Florida homes. I have a place in Vegas, but I have a Florida home, also. I sold a home in Florida. It was a few million dollars. When I was ready to sell, I said, “Who sells the biggest, baddest homes around here? Who sells the $30 million, $15 million homes, $20 million, $7 million, and $8 million homes?” I found the guy and I’m like, “If he can move these big ones and he’s running with people who got $10 million, $16 million, $20 million homes. He could sell my little $3 million, $4 million home easily.” He got me a high percentage, way above the actual going price where I made beaucoup bucks on it.
Why? Because I went to the best. I went and found him. I started asking around. I started picking up all the realtor magazines. I started calling the editors of the magazines. “Who’s the number one mover and shaker? Who gets deals done and sells massive high-end homes?” I get connected with the person. I did not even list as a client. He said, “I got this great house coming that’s beautiful. It’s on a lake.” He made me an offer that was way above the appraisal. It didn’t matter. It came in all cash. That’s my point. Go to the best people and they get stuff done for you. It doesn’t matter if it’s medical, marketing, speaking, selling a business, real estate, find the best people. It saves you so much time.
That’s why we’re the best at what we do and we get our clients 20% to 40% more than what we appraise. Sometimes, as high as 65%.
When you sent me your book to endorse it, I still have it, it’s in my Vegas house, I was like, “Oh my gosh.” I always remember your first book because it has a little flap thing.
The printer said, “Michelle, you can do hardcovers but when you do a softcover, have the flap on the inside.” That was their idea and everybody loved that because you don’t see that often. That’s why it was called, Sell Your Business For More Than It’s Worth.
You created TOMA. Here we are all these years later and I remember it. If I’m going to exit a business, I’m coming to you. I’m not going to go find somebody that’s sold 1 or 2 businesses here or there.
If I need speaker training, I’m going to you. I want the readers to know what TOMA is.
It means Top Of Mind Awareness. You, Michelle, have top of mind awareness in the selling the business category niche. You’ve done it. You’ve written two books based around it. Everybody knows you as that person. I’m known as a big-money speaker. If you want to make big money as a speaker then you go to James. That’s TOMA, where you come to the forefront of people’s minds on what you do. However, like that mail piece or mailing directly to the Convention and Visitors Bureau event coordinator people. In the mail, when no one else is mailing, you create TOMA within their minds. Top of mind because that’s the only mail piece they’re receiving.
Everybody is emailing. You don’t do any emailing?
No, the only people we email is if they email us. I personally don’t do email. I haven’t done email for years. People are like, “How do I email him?” I’m like, “You can’t.”
We email your sister.
She runs my entire schedule and everything. Email is one of the biggest time wasters on the planet. I don’t want people wasting my time because time is precious, one of the most beautiful precious commodities out there. People usually email you stuff that has no value of where you’re going to make a profit with it. It’s not a business email. It’s usually stuff that takes your time up. I just got rid of it. I journaled years ago. I tracked for over 30 days how much time I was spending on email. It was crazy, Michelle. I would leave for a few days of speaking, come back, and I’d have hundreds of emails. I have a 40 hour a week work job to go through all the emails. I started journaling and tracking how many of these actually brought me new business or turned into renewal, 30 days’ worth of it. My coaching members know, “Call my cellphone and we can talk as much as you want. That way we can talk through things.”
I prefer calling, too. Unfortunately, in my industry, sellers and buyers love to email but things get lost through the translation so I prefer to have a conversation.
They sending spam. If you’re trying to email event coordinators, a lot of their companies got spam blockers, you’re not even making it through. You’re wasting time and money.
Do you send your packages in a certain type of envelope in which to get their attention even more?
Yes, I have an envelope with my picture all over it and on the backside.
All the other stuff, none of that matters unless you got customers and clients.
I imagine the brochure that you send to event coordinators is quite impressive as well.
It is simple. It’s six pages. It’s three 8.5 X 11 sheets that are folded down into a regular mail piece because it only costs one first-class stamp to mail out. That 10,000-person database, think about that. It cost about $5,500 to mail 10,000 pieces. I can mass mail.
All first class. That’s amazing. That’s a great tip.
It works. To mail 10,000 pieces, postage is about $0.55. Add another $0.20 for the mail piece if that was printed 10,000 of them. You’re looking at $0.75, $0.80 to mail out 10,000 people who have budgets and money. That’s $8,000 to reach 10,000 people who all have money. The key is they have to be the right pre-qualified person to make it onto my list. If they run an event but they don’t have a budget for speakers, they’re not on my list. It used to be 1,000, then 2,000, then 5,000, now it’s up to 10,000. The only people are people who have events and they have budgets to pay speakers to speak at those events.
How do you know if they have budgets to pay speakers? Does the information tell you that when they hand over the list?
I don’t know how it is where you are, I can only speak for how I did it where I live. Here’s how it is, it’s a data reporting agency. They get all that data. When the event is happening, which hotel or casino it’s happening, how many people are coming, who the event coordinator is, all their contact information. I know their budget for the entire meeting and convention. I got all those data points.
Are you allowed to sell on stage when you go speak at these events or probably not because they’re paying you to speak because you’re a keynote speaker?
It depends. My rule is if you’re being paid to speak, you’re supposed to speak.
You’re not supposed to sell.
I’ll give you a little example. I self-publish. I print my books up for $0.70, $0.80, hardcover book, 150 pages per copy. If you have an event coming to Vegas and you have 5,000 people coming. Most people don’t know that most companies or organizations have one of these three budgets. It’s a continuing education budget, a learning materials budget, or a training and development budget. You have to understand all three of them because you don’t know which one or which combination of those that a company has. I always say, “Get in the habit of saying learning materials budget, continuing education budget, or training and development budget.” I say, “Michelle, you probably have a learning materials budget, a continuing education budget, or a training materials budget.” You go, “Yes, we have a learning materials budget.” “Great.” Do you know what those budgets are for?
Material for books, training manuals.
Michelle, any of my books qualify as continuing education learning materials and under training and development. Therefore, you can pull funds out of those budgets that you have and let’s get a book for everybody coming. We’ll ship them ahead of time, you can have them stuffed in everybody’s registration bag. After my keynote, I’ll stand out in the lobby or the back of the event room, and I’ll autograph the books for people. I’ll take pictures with them, whatever you want me to do, but let’s give added value, and for that these books are $25 because they’re all hardcovers and I’ll have a sliding scale. If you buy 5,000 of them you get it for $10 apiece or get it for $11 apiece. “That sounds great. Let’s give them great value.” $11, $1 comes off to cover the printing of the book, which was $0.70 to $0.80. I net $10, multiply $10 by 5,000, you just made another $50,000 plus your speaking fee. If your fee was $20,000, you are showing up and delivering a talk and getting paid $70,000. That’s what a big money speaker is.
I’m shocked that you’re printing for $0.80. I’m printing for about $3. How many are you printing that for?
Usually, I have to print about 5,000 of them up to get that price.
How big are your books? How many pages?
First of all, this is my simple little brochure. The label goes right here, this stamp goes right there and it’s all ready to go.
That’s for speaking events.
This is all it is. They open it up.
You do all the copy but you have somebody put it together for you.
Yes, I don’t know how to do graphics. I don’t want to learn that. That’s $10 to $100 an hour job. When you open it up, there’s page one. Here’s the back page. When you open it up, this is what I mean by three 8.5 by 11s. It has more than enough information they need to book me for their event and it just folds like this and with the wafer seals, it’s now self-mailer.
There’s no envelope needed for that.
No. All you got to do is get our lists with the design. I printed it up at the same place, a mail house. The mail house prints this. It has it all folded and sealed. They print the name on here, puts the postage on and within 3 or 4 days it mails out 10,000 of them.
They see it and just open it automatically because they don’t even have to look at an envelope because a lot of times, I’ll see an envelope and I’ll just put it to the side.
Remember, if you’re the event coordinator, it’s coming to you and you’re looking for the speaker or speakers for your event. This is appealing. As a matter of fact, it says, “Attention meeting and event coordinators,” at the top. Everything on here speaks directly to you. The key is that it’s getting mailed to the right person.
You’re not following up with a phone call, would you?
I never have, no. Not in twenty-some years of seeking. If you do it the right way or you have the right message delivered to the right market, the right media the way they like to get it or there’s no competition, they’re going to call you or email you because you’re solving their problem. “We have an event in seven months. We need four speakers. This guy looks good. I’ve never heard of him, but this thing just showed up in my mailbox. Let’s give him a call and let’s go to his website.”
I have one sheet, but I think I might go with that.
They teach you one sheets stuff and it takes forever. People who don’t know marketing teach you to do one sheet. You have one of these which is six pages. Look how much stuff is there. Everybody’s testimonials are on here. I show up as one sheet and you show up with this. Who wins?
Yes. Whoever has the better-looking piece.
What did you do before he had the testimonials?
I did billboards. I put a big picture of my book and that would take up a big space. I made big images to take up space. Here’s my book, Millionaire Success Secrets.
I have that book.
It’s a hardcover with 150 pages. First-class and it looks phenomenal. It’s laid out perfectly.
For $0.83, I want the name of your printer.
It’s all based on volume and doing it the right way.
I’m getting printed 20,000 at $3.50 a pop. I would love the name of your printer.
How many pages in your book?
I’m about 325 pages.
A key ingredient to get book prices for this cost, this is my referral book, is that you’ve got to keep it to about 150 pages.
I can’t do that. I have too much meat and potatoes. I had to go in it.
If I put the two of these together it would be 300 pages which would be, on the high end, $1.70, or $2.
Have your sister email me the name of your printer.
Of course, I’m happy to do it.
Don’t think like a business owner, think like an entrepreneur.
Let’s talk about the Secret Millionaire. The hit show that you were on. I remember meeting you. That’s when we met. It was in War Room with Ryan Deiss.
No, I’ve never to War Room. Ryan and Perry are good friends of mine. Perry lives by me in Vegas.
I met you one time in Austin with them. You were there because you were showing all the marketing that you did for the show, how you monetized, and how other people that were on the show didn’t do half the stuff that you were doing.
That’s true. I have taught that but I’ve never spoken at War Room.
I swear to God, you were there. You might have just been there for a visit. I remember. I heard you speak first and then I saw you there.
Were you at Dave Lindahl’s Real Estate event?
No. It’s with Ryan Deiss and Perry Belcher. I could probably find a picture that we took. You were talking about all the stuff that you did. You’re the master of monetization and how you were able to monetize everything that you did because it was one show, but he still lives on. You still have the residual from that one show because of all the effort you put into it. Talk to us about the show, your experience, and how you were able to monetize that and still are monetizing that.
For anybody who doesn’t know, Secret Millionaire was a great blessing. It was on ABC primetime. I lived undercover. I was in impoverished neighborhoods. I lived on $44.66 for the whole week, not per day. That’s what I thought when they handed me $44.66, “This is all right. I don’t need that much every day.” They’re like, “No, this is for the whole week.” I was like, “What?”
What a wake-up call.
I looked for people who were making a difference in the lives of others. At the end of my week there, I go to them and say, “I’m leaving town and there’s something I haven’t told you.” I rebuilt my identity and then I opened up my checkbook and started writing them checks to help further their mission. I wrote over $100,000 worth of checks to help them with their causes.
I saw that episode and you bought the gentleman that you gave a check to, I think it was a basketball coach.
It’s Coach Tony.
You bought Coach Tony to the event that you spoke at and I have a picture of you and Coach Tony.
On a sidebar, Michelle, Coach Tony and I are best friends. He calls me and we text all the time every week. To answer your question, a lot of people might get to go on a show and they think they’re going to be like the next Denzel Washington. “This is my acting career debut.” I was really honest with myself, like, “I’m not going to be the next Denzel.” We have two sides to the coin. On the first side, we have, “We’re going to help people, make a difference in their lives, write him some checks, they’re going to be able to fund their missions, etc.” On the flip side, we’re running a business here. Television is nothing more than another media outlet. It’s no different than doing a mail piece, running a big ad in a newspaper, or a podcast, etc.
If you use it the right way, you can attract a lot of leads. I went into it from a business standpoint, understanding that this is a way to attract a whole bunch of people to us who didn’t know about me before. I bought all these keywords, hired all these internet companies and I had all these websites coming up on the keywords. You would type in like Secret Millionaire or ABC Secret Millionaire and my websites were coming up everywhere.
How I started to monetize it, to answer your question, was about a year before it actually came out. We filmed it and then it came out a year later. I sat down at Starbucks in a private room. I put three big sheets of paper up on the wall and I wrote B, D, A. What am I going to do before the show comes out to monetize my appearance? What am I going to do during it while it’s running, and then what am I going to do after it? I spent a day or two brainstorming on every single thing that we could create. When we filmed it, because at the time I did it, we didn’t film yet. We’re filming like a month later. One of the things I realized was I need to say certain things on the show where I plant seeds that will make people who watch the show Google me. I have all these websites coming up. When we get them on our email list then I could take them through funnels. We had over 200,000 people.
The day after the show aired, we did a big product launch. We had Russell Brunson, Mike Cannings, and all these people who are big internet marketers promoting our stuff out. I created a course called Millionaire Success Secrets Revealed. We did a whole product launch around it. We did a premiere of the show at my house and had all the big affiliates, Russell Brunson. All these people fly to Vegas and are at the premiere when the show comes out. I have Robin Leach of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, my friend who passed away a little while ago who hosted the party. We broadcasted it live throughout the internet. We had people from 50 different countries. We shut down the internet, actually. I got banned from the cable company because I didn’t know you had to have a special license to widen the pipes so all the people can fit through.
Did you all use Skype? Because we didn’t have Zoom back then.
I hired an entire company to come in and they followed me around the house. They filmed everybody, interviewed people, and broadcasted everybody. We had about 800 people who were at my premier. Long story short, the main thing came down to this. This is just another media and the real way to leverage this is to get people on our email list. Everything I did had to bring back to us somehow. I hired people who are on The Apprentice. American Idol had come to my events as speakers, not because I cared about what they spoke about, but because I wanted to talk to them for the hour and a half dinner before they spoke so I can ask them a question. “If you were going on a reality TV show again, knowing what you know now, what would you do differently to bring you a whole bunch of business?”
One of the things I got was from Bill Rancic, he won season one of The Apprentice. He said, “If you can get them to pick up some of the stuff that you say in your bio when you film and use it in the trailers for the show as a soundbite, then that stuff could be running over and over multiple times a day. You get free promotion.” Here we are filming my bio and I wrote my bio in 50 different bullet points so that it can be easily cut. One of the bullet points I wrote was, “I’m one of the highest-paid most in-demand motivational speakers and consultants in America.” Out of all the things I said they took that, put it into the main trailer and that thing ran 200 times a day for six months leading up to the show.
You’re watching Desperate Housewives or Grey’s Anatomy on ABC, and the trailer for the new show runs and you hear, “I’m one of the highest-paid most in-demand motivational speakers and marketing consultants in America.” You go, “Who’s this guy? I’ve never heard of him. I thought Tony Robbins was.” You go and start googling. Remember, I have all these websites that would pop up. You click on one of the websites, come to the website and I pop up on a video and say, “This is James Malinchak. I’m about to be featured on the new ABC hit TV show, Secret Millionaire. If you would like to know how I built my business to help get ABC to want me to come on the show, put your name and email in and I have some free video training for you on how you can build your business.” I started running keywords and all that. That’s how we know all these people.
You were able to monetize that for years after that and make tons of money.
Let’s play this out. If you had 200,000 new people on an email list and all of them spent $50 with you in a year. That’s $10 million. What if they spend $100 with you? Maybe not in the year but what about over five years? That’s $20 million. A question, “Would you go on a show and, according to your contract, have to write checks for over $100,000 in order to get that kind of return back?”
Of course, I would, but I guarantee you, other people that went on that show probably did not do the before, during, and after like you did and have it monetized because they don’t have the marketing genius that you have.
I want to think of how dumb some of these social other reality shows were after the word started getting around that I did this. I started having people calling me left and right from other shows. People who we’re going to be on different shows like, “I heard that you leveraged this thing and I’m on Undercover Boss or I’m on this show. I’d love to know how you did it.” I said, “No problem. My fee is $25,000. Come and spend the day with me at my house. I’ll walk you through a plan. I’ll structure it and I’ll tell you what I did. I’ll tell you what you probably should do. As a matter of fact, if you want to use my resources, the people we outsourced to build the payouts, give it all. It’s just $25,000 for the day, I’m telling you that it’ll be the best thing ever.” Do you know not one of them would do it?
That’s shocking to me. If I was to go on a show, I would absolutely do that.
They expected me to spend hours teaching them on the phone all this stuff and I’m like, “No, this is my time. I’m busy.”
Everybody wants something for free. How did you get selected for the show to begin with?
My story is unique. I did not audition in a baseball stadium with 200,000 other people. I didn’t even pursue the show. The way it happened was, a mutual friend of mine and the main producer recommended me to the producer. They were having lunch or something and the friend asked the producer, “What are you working on?” “I’m doing this show and it’s successful business people living undercover.” The mutual friend said, “You need to talk to my friend James Malinchak.” He’s like, “Who’s James Malinchak?” He says, “You just got to contact him.” They reached out and I turned them down for two weeks. I didn’t know it was ABC. It was all hidden because they always hide their identity. Finally, I got on the phone two weeks later.
I kept thinking, “I couldn’t believe I almost turned them down.” I didn’t know it was ABC and they’re presenting it as a documentary. I get on the phone and she starts telling me what it’s about and says, “You’d be perfect for this.” I’m like, “I don’t want to do this thing.” She revealed she was ABC and she showed me some of the trailers from the previous ones they did overseas. I was like, “Why would you want me? I’m not a TV person.” Long story short, that was a Friday. I was in Dallas speaking and they asked if they could fly to Las Vegas and meet with me on that Monday and I was free on that Monday. Two producers flew to my house and met with me and I still didn’t believe him. I sat through the meeting thinking, “They’re playing some joke on me. Why would ABC television contact me?” It kept going in my head.
Did you bring yourself back to growing outside of Pittsburgh and going, “I’m just a small-town boy?”
I still say that now. I say, “I’m a small steel-mill town kid who happened to do some things right.” I always said that I just couldn’t understand ABC television. I couldn’t get it through my head. I’m not a TV person. I didn’t know they didn’t want TV people. They want the average everyday people.
They want the average everyday secret millionaires.
I didn’t buy them. I didn’t believe it. I totally thought they were full of crap. I even told them. I said, “You guys are full of crap. You’re lying to me here in my house.” Next to Mark Burnett, this producer is the most successful producer in television. She’s been doing it for 28 years. The biggest shows out there and I’m telling her, “You’re full of crap.” In my head, “I’m thinking somebody’s playing a joke on me.” She got up from the chair, walked around my desk in my office at my biggest house. She grabbed my arm and she said, “Look at me in my eyes. I promise you and give you my word. This is real. We are not going to hurt people and make people look bad. This is a great thing that’s going to change people’s lives. We’d love you. You should do the show.”
I just believed her. I believe she was a good soul, a good human being, and she was. Everything she said, she stuck to her word. We’re still dear friends. I’d call her now she’d pick up the phone. I go to lunch with her every time we’re in LA. If I ever wanted a reality show, all I do is I call her up. She’s just a good human being. I’m blessed to have known her. Here’s the funny thing. Do you remember that mutual person who introduced us? To this day, I don’t know who that person is. The producer can’t remember who the person was and so I can’t even properly thank that person.
The producer cannot remember who told her?
It wasn’t like they were best friends. They knew tens of thousands of people. It was like somebody who was on a previous show or something like that, they happen to be having lunch and that’s how it all happened. She can’t even remember who the person was so I can’t even thank the person. The power of one person who believes in you. We wouldn’t be on this interview for your audience if it wasn’t for that person, because none of this would have happened. It’s the power of relationships and friendships. Being good to people and not screwing people.
I call it your proximity. That one person could change your life forever. You change people’s lives on that show just like Coach Tony, and they changed your life too.
He mailed me a t-shirt. I got Coach Tony speaking. Coach Tony’s written four books. It’s been a great blessing.
That was a great show. I wish it was still on.
The reason is because the people started figuring it out. Most people don’t think about this. When I was filming, I had fifteen plus people around me at all times. Even when I would be sleeping, there were cameras filming me. You might see me walking down the street on the show, you don’t realize there are fifteen people around me. There’s the police for protection. A guy who is in charge of controlling the mic like, “Hang on we have an airplane flying up there it’s going to pick up. We have to stop.” We had people that were showrunners running around getting us food. We had producers, and camera people. You know something’s happening when you see them. You don’t see it on the show but if you’re there, you know something’s going on and so they started to figure it out.
That’s too bad because it’s a great show. That was one of my favorite shows ever. You have many golden nuggets. What are some golden nuggets you have for anyone who’s trying to market, somebody who is trying to be a speaker, and business people? What are some of your biggest tips?
I say this when I sit down with all my clients, “Let me tell you a couple of things. First of all, I am never thinking like you and I as we sit here and create this marketing stuff. I’m thinking like the buyer. You don’t buy from you.” That’s what I tell them. There’s a prospect out there and we have to create from their point of view if you want to get massive conversions. The first thing I always tell everybody is, “When you create marketing pieces never think like yourself.” You got to think like the prospect.
That’s the biggest mistake owners make. When the owners are entrepreneurs and are trying to market, they throw up on the consumer about everything they do, instead of trying to figure out what’s in it for them.
I tell people, “If you want to write your book don’t write your book from your point of view. You write the book from the person who’s going to pick it up the point of view potentially.” That’s why we create different headlines. Imagine, Receiving a Continuous Stream of Doing Repeat Business. Fact, People Would Prefer to do Business with you if you are Referred to Them. This book will give you simple and easy ways to attract more business referrals. That’s written from the person who’s thinking about buying this book I’m referring to. It’s written from my point of view.
Transformation is awareness.
No matter what you’re doing in any kind of marketing. This marketing brochure is not written from my point of view. It’s written from the person who is sitting in Boise, Idaho who’s going to receive it in the mail and start reading it. I need to hit all the triggers. Let me give an example. This little letter here that I wrote to them. Imagine you’re an event coordinator, Michelle and you see this, “Hi, friend,” first of all using the word friend. It lowers barriers for people. “Planning a successful conference or meeting is a huge job and responsibility.” I’m telling them I understand what they do and I understand that it’s important. “I want to make your job easier. My number one priority is to be the easiest speaker you have ever worked with.”
What do you hear? You hear horror stories about event coordinators. “All we had is one speaker. He was such a pain in the butt. I had to get green M&Ms for him. I had to do this and do that. We had moved the chairs around.” I’m telling him that I understand what you do. You’re busy. It’s important. I’m going to be a breeze for you. This is going to be simple. “My goal is to make you look great and have your audience thanking you for inviting me to speak for them. Your audience will be instantly engaged and they will leave inspired and motivated to overcome challenges and achieve greater success. Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to working together to help you create your best event ever.” That’s not saying, “Look at me, I’m so great. You should hire me.” This is writing something from their point of view. That’s the number one tip I always say.
It seems like common sense, but it isn’t. Everybody gets stuck in their head when they write.
Common sense is not so common. Maybe this helps everybody and people can’t believe I do this. Believe it or not, it’s hard for me to write stuff for myself. I can create stuff for you or any client all day long, but now I have to do it for myself. We all get stuck in that writing about me syndrome. What I do is, I write myself a check for consulting. I deposit that check. When I sit down at my desk, I’m still in my mindset of creating it for myself, so I literally stand up, I jump, I look back, and pretend that I’m sitting in this chair. I say, “My client James is sitting here. He just paid me a check and I have to write great copy for him. What am I going to do to make sure I sell him and get people to buy his stuff? Whatever it is he’s promoting.” That’s how I can write great stuff for myself. I trick myself into writing for my client, James.
That’s a great mind shift. You’re not just thinking. You’re taking massive action and you’re shifting. That’s great advice. What are speakers doing now? I’m sure that you’re getting calls, clients and everything about what speakers can do because there are no more platforms. There are only digital platforms. What’s your advice for them?
With companies, groups, and organizations, they’re still in limbo. It’s not like they took all those physical event budgets and moved them to virtual online budgets. They still don’t know what’s happening because we don’t know what’s happening in the economy with this whole COVID thing. I was talking to Jack Canfield. I’ve worked with a lot of business stuff with Jack.
He gave us a testimonial, too.
I love Jack. I’ve worked with his team then marketing stuff. His Vice CEO, Patty Aubrey, is one of my main coaching clients. I talk to her all the time. He had about twenty talks that were on the books that were canceled and probably about 10 or 11 of them converted to virtual, but only one of them paid the fee. That’s because most of these groups are still in this, “We don’t know where this is going mode. Do we go all in and do all of our training for our people virtually, or do we wait back and see what happens in another 5 or 6 months?” That’s what’s been happening. We had this first, “Let’s wait 4 or 5 months then let’s wait another 4 or 5 months. That’s where most of the groups are. The fee paid speakers who are friends of mine and clients who are paid speakers doing 100 gigs a year and high fees. All of them are in the same situation where they might get paid for one, but the majority of the other ones aren’t paying for the virtual stuff yet.
I hope they figured out how to pivot or they have other revenue streams.
I hope they saved their money and don’t have a lot of debt.
That’s what I always preach to my people. Pay your stuff. Get all your bills paid off, but don’t stop making your payments and they’re like, “What?” I said, “Pay your house off, but don’t stop making your house payment. Pay it to your retirement or your stash funds. Pay your car off, but keep making your car payment every month. Pay it to yourself.” People get freaked out like, “I don’t want to pay off stuff. That’s crazy.” No, what’s the price of peace of mind? When you asked what happened with COVID, nothing. Our business didn’t miss a beat. I only missed some speaking gigs.
Because you’re a business owner and entrepreneur who speaks, you’re not a speaker who’s trying to have a business. That’s a big difference, and you have coaching clients. A lot of these speakers rely on their speaking income and that’s it or what they sell from stage and they have nothing else.
I have to be honest with you. I was that person, too, back before 9/11 happened. I remember when it all happened. There were no flights. I was nervous.
I was in Washington. I was at the Smithsonian when 9/11 hit.
I was flying in the air and they brought us down fast. I was going to Tallahassee, Florida to speak for Florida State University when that happened. I always say that when a catastrophe or something unexpected happens, you should let that kick you in the rear and get you in gear to start planning differently. Fortunately for me, when that happened, I had already been paying stuff off. I’d already built up a nice cash influx. I was fine from a financial standpoint but had no income coming in. This could happen at any time again in the future, I better start planning for different streams of income. I better start investing in businesses. I better start having consulting programs and online courses. I started making all these different revenue streams. Here we are. It took a long time for it to come back around but we’re in that same situation.
We had 2008 where the economy fell and we have this. I had Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. That kicked me in the rear to get in together and start having businesses and other areas all throughout the United States. Casualties can cause us to think differently, pivot, grow a business, and thrive out of a catastrophe.
That’s a long way to say it. For my coaching clients, I have always taught them that. I’m like, “We’re not getting caught up in this pie-in-the-sky you’re a speaker thing. We’re going to build a real business here.” I always say, “If another 9/11 happens, you’re not going to worry about it.” One of my clients is one of the top trainers of financial advisors, teaching them how to grow their practices. I remember talking to him right when it all hit. He said, “James, I am so glad I listened to all those years ago.” He’s my longest client. When COVID happened, he’s been with me for about fourteen years. He said, “My house is paid off. The car is paid off. We’ve got about a year and a half worth of money put away for the business to pay all the staff. I’m not worried about that. If we don’t run another event for three years, I’ve got online programs and coaching programs. I have no debt. I’ve got a bunch of money put away and I have different streams of income coming in. Had I not listened to you years ago when you pounded it home to me to not just be a seminar leader, I probably wouldn’t be in this position.”
That’s great advice. That’s why I always said I’m going to be a business owner in many businesses in diverse industries, who speaks.
Thank you for giving us a testimonial for the show. What is the biggest problem you see with people trying to exit their business or what type of advice do you have for people trying to exit a business? Ninety percent of businesses don’t sell.
I tell people this all the time, “You ought to be creating your business right now as if you’re going to sell it because you’ll do things differently.” Let’s say somebody wants to do speaking. They’re like, “I’d love to be paid a check to go speak. That’s great but we need to build a business here. We need to build a business like a training and development type company. We’re going to sell in five years.” They’re like, “I don’t want to sell a company.” “No, it’s not the fact that we’re going to go sell it. It’s the fact that you’re going to run everything differently if you think that way. You’re going to create systems, policies, and procedure manuals so people can pick it up, read it, and know how to run things.” Let’s say that at some point they want to sell their business, we’ll need to start organizing, orchestrating, and getting revenues up. All the things you probably teach, the time to do that is now. When you wake up six years from now and say, “I want to try to sell this thing,” you need everything ready now.
You’re absolutely correct. I always say that the biggest mistake business owners make is not planning their exit. They should plan their exit from day one when starting or buying a business. I’m glad somebody else is saying it other than me because nobody ever plans their exit. Out of thousands of businesses, I found one person who planned their exit from the beginning. You’re right. It’s not about selling today. It’s about running it as if you’re going to sell it because, in that way, you’re building a scalable business that somebody will want to buy one day. Most people don’t think about selling until a catastrophic event has occurred and by then it’s too late.
They’re getting pennies on the dollar versus what they could be getting.
Pennies on the dollar of being forced into bankruptcy. They’re not just going to lose their business assets, they’ll lose their personal assets too because most business owners co-mingle funds.
That’s another mistake. They’re not structured the right way. I would say to get structured the right way now. For the people reading this, you may be right out of dental school, just bought a dental practice, and in your 1st, 2nd, or 3rd year. You’re not even thinking about it. You’re like, “I’ve got twenty years.” That’s fine but get structured the right way now. Start running your practice as if you were going to sell it. Organize everything because you will run everything systematically and smoother. You won’t be in there having to fix the teeth all the time.
If you’re fixing teeth all the time and we take you out of the practice, there is no practice. Chiropractors and MDs don’t have associates. They don’t build a team. They are the business. When you take them out of the business, the business is gone.
The main thing for anybody reading this, it’s what Michelle and I are talking about. It’s about thinking differently. Don’t think like a business owner, think like an entrepreneur.
Transformational versus transactional.
If you are not thinking this way, guess what? You aren’t an entrepreneur. You are doing high paid manual labor in a job. I tell speakers who don’t have the structure. I said, “You’re just a high paid manual laborer. You get on a plane, go speak, travel, pick up the check, and come back home.” You could be high paid, like $15,000, $20,000, $30,000, $5,000, or whatever that is. It’s still manual labor. It’s not a business.
It’s not working for you unless you’re working for it.
My tip to everybody would be to think differently even if you don’t see it now. Michelle, her team, and some guy named James who talked on an interview see it for you because we’ve been down this road before. Trust the experts and start setting your business up right now to run as if you were going to sell it.
That’s the number one advice. That’s the biggest point. That’s what I always try to get across to business owners. Build it that way, then you could sell it for your $20 million price tag. Business owners come to me and say, “Michelle, I want to sell for $20 million.” I go, “What’s your EBITDA?” “My EBITDA is $50,000.” Nobody is going to pay you $20 million for $50,000. “Michelle, I’ve got plans. I’ve got this, I’ve got that.” I say, “I don’t care. The EBITDA has to support the asking price.” They go, “That’s what I need to retire on.” The buyer doesn’t care about what you need. The buyer cares about the value and what they’re going to get when they buy your business and what it’s going to do for them.
I’ve got a coaching member who had an internet company. A lot of people to start internet companies, you start off by helping people and you’re doing all the stuff. Years ago, I said, “Your son was born and you’ve got to think about wanting to unload this at some point. You may not want to be doing it and you can’t be doing all this stuff. You’ve got to put the people and systems in place. You’ve got to start running it now as if you were going to sell it because you never know what could happen in the future.” I’ve told that to numerous people. He took it to heart and started to put systems in place, hiring the right people and removing himself, starting to get higher price programs, getting clients every year for 5, 6 years in a row. In 2019, his wife, who was in her 30s, unexpectedly had a stroke. The doctors say that they have no idea why. It’s just one of those bizarre things out of the blue. He was forced to drive her everywhere and take care of her as a good husband would do for the wife.
Of course, because he set everything up, he was able to approach a company who within a matter of 30 days, ended up deciding, “Yes, we want to buy this. We’re looking for an internet component to add our company.” Because everything was set up the right way and everything was run, starting five years prior, as a company that he was going to sell which he never planned on but now all of a sudden, this unexpected tragedy happened, he was able to unload that thing. He got an amazing price for it. He was so happy. I talked to him on the phone and he was like, “James, had I not started that back then I never thought this would happen to my wife.” He was grateful that he was able to unload it. He would not have been able to or would have got nothing for it had he not started planning way back when everything was fine.
He’s one of the 2% who actually listens and takes massive action. I’ve been doing this for many years. It blows my mind to know that the business owners do not plan to set their business up for a successful exit in the future. Even if you don’t want to sell right now, you’d have a better business. It operates without you and you have a business that makes a lot more money. Profit is never the problem. It’s always a symptom of not having the right people or processes in place, not protecting your IP, having customer concentration, or not protecting your client base. I always say the same thing but it just shocks me. People plan for their children. They plan what elementary school they’re going to go to, what college, or what job they’re going to get but they don’t plan for the exit of their business.
That’s why they need people like us. I’m glad you have written your book and you’ve got the next book out. I say this all the time. First of all, transformation is awareness. We don’t transform if we don’t know and you don’t know what you don’t know. Once you become aware, you can change that fast. What you and your team are doing is awesome. You’re bringing awareness to some good people who are business owners, who had no clue they probably should be thinking this way and acting this way now. Congratulations to you. Kudos to you. You’re doing well business-wise and profitability-wise. You’re making a difference in people’s lives who probably would never learn that they should be doing this.
It became my mission and my passion because I learned that 90% of businesses will go out of business in the first 1 to 5 years. That’s changed dramatically. When I did Exit Rich in 2019, I did the research. Only 30% of businesses are at risk of going out of business in 1 to 5 years. James, the business owners that have been in business for over ten years, out of 27 million businesses, 70% of those businesses will go out of business. You hear about Toys R Us and JCPenney. You heard about the big box stores but you’re not worried about the mom and pops on every street corner in every state across your great nation. They’re going out of business because they stopped innovating. They stopped what you do best, which is marketing. They stop marketing and they go out of business because somebody else comes in, eats off their plate, and takes business away from them. Whoever makes it easiest for the consumer to do business with them is where the consumer is going to go. That’s why Amazon is winning.
That’s unbelievable stats.
I did the research ten different times because I didn’t believe it. Even Sharon Lechter was like, “Michelle, I don’t think that’s true.” I had to do it again and show it to her. It’s my mission and passion to save these business owners from losing everything, not just their business assets but family assets, too.
You are making a difference. It’s an honor to know you. I love people who are changing lives and doing good for others. Thank you and congratulations on that.
Thank you. You’re making a huge difference, too. I’m glad you came on our show and dropped all these golden nuggets. How can our readers catch up with you? How can they find out more information and get in touch with you?
You’re always branding. I love it.
By the way, I’ve got to tell you something. I was on a Zoom one time. I have like a tiny little logo and nobody could ever see it. When we got our shirts printed, I said, “I want a big logo so that it can be seen throughout Zooms and throughout the internet.” That’s why my logo is so big. ABM, Always Be Marketing.
97% of the people won’t get off their ass and actually take action and do stuff.
You and I could go on for hours. We’re going to have to have you back on, for sure. What do you think of the title of the book, Exit Rich?
I love it. When you first sent it to me. I was like, “This is a great title.” With a title, you should know what the whole book is about or hearing its subtitle. It should make me want to pick it up. If you see Millionaire Referral Secrets, you probably want to pick that up. You don’t need to know what the subtitle is. You don’t need to read the back. When I saw Exit Rich for the first time when you sent it to me, I was like, “I would buy this based on the title alone because I know what the whole book is about.”
Thank you. It’s been an absolute pleasure having you.
Thank you so much.
You’re welcome. Thank you to all of our readers for reading another episode. It’s been an absolute pleasure having you on and I definitely want to have you back. I know our readers will want to have you back.
I’d love to come back. Thanks, everybody, for reading.